It is an unfortunate fact that, even with the best of intentions, many people fail to achieve their body composition goals. Many people invest in home fitness gadgets, DVDs, diet plans, and expensive gym memberships, yet still struggle to achieve their objectives in terms of burning fat and building muscle.
This is not always due to a lack of discipline. Gyms up and down the country are filled with men and women grinding away on treadmills and following grueling resistance training routines. Many of these people are very health conscious, consuming a healthy, balanced diet.
Nonetheless, despite this dedication, muscular and lean physiques are something of a rarity. While many people are “in shape,” meaning that they have built some muscle mass and are not classified as overweight, their body may still lack the degree of leanness and muscular development that they desire.
From maintaining consistency and progressive overload to reducing fatty foods and refined sugar and carbohydrates, we share five pro tips to take your physique to the next level.
1. Forget the idea of a magic fitness program
One of the mistakes someone seeking to improve their fitness can make is falling for the myth of a magic workout system. In reality, there are no shortcuts to building muscle and burning fat. Instead, the key lies in finding a plan and sticking with it.
Consistency and progressive overload are integral to improving fitness, strength, and physique. While many inexperienced exercisers may be tempted to blame the program for their lack of progress, in reality, it is more likely due to a lack of consistency and a reluctance to add weight to the bar.
The best thing a weight trainer can do is to find a workout system that keeps them motivated, stick with it, and adjust it to fit their individual needs and schedule where necessary. Too often, a lifter will try a program for a few days, discover certain aspects they dislike, and simply move on to the next program. However, expert trainers suggest that rather than abandoning the entire program, a more beneficial approach would be for the lifter to identify aspects they dislike about a system and tweak them. After all, consistency and progress are far more important than specific training tools.
2. Incorporate plenty of strength training in your routine
Strength training is a form of exercise that causes the muscles to contract as they meet resistance. The five strength training formats are bodybuilding, high-volume training, isometric weight training, brute strength powerlifting, and circuit training.
Strength training has multiple health benefits, particularly when it comes to fat loss.
According to a review of 58 separate studies, resistance training for a minimum of four weeks has been shown to decrease body fat by 1.46%, on average. The review also indicated that resistance training can also result in a significant reduction in visceral fat and body fat mass.
Another study revealed that strength training for five months was more effective than aerobic exercise alone in reducing body fat in adolescents with obesity.
3. Get enough sleep
Going to bed an hour or so earlier, or setting your alarm a little later, has been shown to boost fat burning while simultaneously preventing weight gain.
In a study involving more than 68,000 female participants, those who slept longer than seven hours per night over a 16-year period were shown to be less likely to gain weight than those who slept for five or fewer hours per night.
4. Maintain a protein-rich diet
Research suggests that, on average, adults should consume approximately 1.5 grams of protein per kilo of body weight per day. In addition, it is important to integrate regular resistance training sessions to build muscle efficiently.
Robert Iafelice is a registered dietitian for Set for Set, a supplement, gym equipment, and workout program brand. He explains that it is necessary to include high-quality protein sources in your diet, adding that the amino acid leucine is typically found in higher amounts in animal-based proteins. As Iafelice points out, leucine helps to stimulate muscle gain. Food items rich in leucine include fish, chicken, eggs, and dairy products.
5. Reduce alcohol, fatty foods, refined sugar, and refined carbohydrates
For those striving to build muscle and burn fat, eliminating food items that could sabotage all of that hard work at the gym is particularly important. Cutting out unhealthy foods provides the body with an opportunity to grow and strengthen itself.
According to experts, a staggering 80% of composition changes in the human body are dependent on diet, highlighting the need to stick to cleaner options to improve both physique and overall health. When it comes to getting into shape, the maxim “you cannot out train a poor diet” holds true. Limiting your intake of unhealthy foods is part and parcel of maintaining and improving your physical health.