Many people looking to lose weight also want to get toned muscles. However, sticking to a 5-day a week running schedule isn’t going to cut it. There are specific things you need to be doing in and out of the gym to help you build muscle and burn fat.
What you really need to be doing to build muscle and burn fat
The twin goals of building muscle and burning fat are usually tied to workout routines. After all, what you do in the gym or outdoors goes a long way toward transforming your body into a lean, fat-burning machine.
But training regimens usually account for two hours or less of your 24-hour day. What you do during the other 22-plus hours has as much if not more impact. Here are seven ways to build muscle and burn fat—inside and outside the gym.
Bring the intensity
Don’t be the person in the gym who checks your phone between every set, breaking any intensity you could have established. Instead, work in a focused, continuous manner that stimulates muscle growth and fat burning. Leave the phone at home or in a locker. Instead of resting between three sets of the same exercise, consider alternating an upper body pull (such as pull-ups) with an upper body push (push-ups) or a lower body push (squats). That way you keep yourself moving. There’s a reason CrossFit’s philosophy of performing AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) of a workout circuit in the allotted time is so challenging–and effective.
Eat every three hours
Eating small meals more often regulates blood sugar, promotes muscle mass, and eliminates mood swings and overeating. The key is to plan ahead to make sure you have something healthy on hand at work or on-the-go so that you’re fueled every three hours. Ideally, every meal will have a combination of carbs, protein and fat. But if you’re on the go, at least aim for something healthy such as nuts, seeds, dried fruit, energy bars or a ready-to-drink protein beverages.
Hop on the wagon
There’s nothing wrong with the occasional drink. But if you want to build muscle and burn fat, knock it off for 30 days to see dramatic results. Alcohol disrupts REM sleeps, packs on empty calories, increases the release of the stress hormone cortisol, and decreases protein synthesis for muscle fiber repair. Alcohol also diminishes water soluble vitamins required for hormones to do their work and decreases the body’s ability to recover. After 30 days without alcohol, you’ll likely see such dramatic results you’ll go longer. You can go 30 days, can’t you?
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