People often ask me how they can lose weight and build muscle. The first thing I say to them is “No, bad person!! You can’t build muscle and lose weight simultaneously!”. Then I slap them and walk away into the sunset.
But seriously, there are some things that people often overlook when it comes to getting in shape. I’ve noted some of the ones I do below:
Sort your diet out
At the moment the world is obsessed with protein. It’s all over the TV and internet. Now, people go out and buy overpriced protein shakes and down them expecting to build incredible muscle mass overnight. By my tone, you can tell that this is wrong. Here are some of the common misconceptions I’ve heard from all kinds of people regarding diets when trying to get in shape:
- Fat is bad – Nope. Fat can actually be good for you and is necessary if you want to build muscle. Excess calories are what make you gain fat.
- Lots and lots of protein – Sure protein is important. But it’s not the be all and end all. It’s only a small part of what you need to pack on muscle. You also need fat (as mentioned earlier) and carbs.
- Carbs are bad – Carbohydrates are key to muscle growth. If you want muscle, you need carbs. You only cut the carbs when you are trying to lose weight.
Get plenty of rest
Too many people hit the gym and train the same body parts too often. I commonly see people training their biceps every day of the week. This is called over-training and can actually have a detrimental effect on any muscle growth. Not only do you need to train hard (not too often) but you need to “rest hard” also. This means giving each of the body parts that you destroy at the gym chance to recover before going back and hitting them again. The general rule is to only workout one body part per week and also get at least 8 hours sleep at night.
Don’t do too much cardio
If you are trying to bulk and gain muscle, you should limit your cardiovascular sessions to once or twice a week. To much cardio means that you are burning off the precious calories which you want for your muscle growth and defeating your goal. If you choose to include more cardio, you should also increase your calories.
Do compound exercises
These are key to building some serious strength and muscle. No professional bodybuilder ever became big by doing only curls all day. There are 3 exercises that absolutely everyone needs to do to make any sort of reasonably progress. These are squats, deadlifts and bench press. These compound movements pretty much hit the entire body in some form or another. These are also the only 3 things that powerlifters do.
Lots of crunches = abs?
No. You cannot spot reduce fat. Doing lots of abdominal exercises if you have decent amount of body fat will not make you slim and give you ripped abs. People with abs on show always have a low bodyfat level to so that their abs are visible. Abs actually only take a small amount of work to build as they are actually only a small muscle group. So wasting hours doing ab work is pretty much a waste of time.