6 Steps to getting leaner, more toned and more muscular
1. Make it your primary focus to actually achieve it for around 3-12 months of disciplined effort (or more if you really like). In the grand scheme of things, this will be a short period of time for you to sacrifice if you end up with an excellent physique for life. So be more determined than you ever have been and let nothing stop you. Once an individual gets more lean and muscular, you can usually tolerate to ‘cheat’ on your meals more often than you think. With the caveat that you are still progressing with frequent quality training (in my opinion – weight training). If you are not willing to do everything you can to get the result you want and I really mean this…. you may as well give up the dream of ever being in great physical shape. If you think you can do it, which by the way pretty much anyone can if they have nothing that physically (not emotionally) stops them from doing so. Then read on….
2. Pick good quality food, then find roughly what calorie range is ideal for you! There is not a generic number that fits all people, your height, your age, your lifestyle and your goals will need to be factored in which of course will be different for all people. Generally you want to aim for around 500-250 calories less than your basal metabolic rate (how many calories you’d roughly require to maintain as you are and have enough energy to perform well daily), if you needed to gain extra muscle or as some might call; ’tone’ then you need to add around 250-500 calories or sometimes more!
3. Still not focussing on which training mode to pick yet as you’re not done with food! You need to find what ratios of proteins, fats and carbs are going to suit your goal also. There will be a big difference in the outcome of your results if you have established your target calorie intake but elect to make those entirely of doughnuts, cakes and crisps compared to lean meat, fish, dairy, nuts and vegetables for example. If you want to get in excellent shape, you have to eat what to most people will seem like a truckload of protein daily and tweak your fat and carbohydrate totals according to your goal.
4. I won’t go into too much detail but generally speaking, if you want to lose body fat and weight then you usually want to reduce carb consumption (reduce complex carbs is best option initially) for a few weeks. DO NOT completely remove them however! It is useful to have ‘refuel’ days. You will need to select these carefully around your activity. Generally post workout and maybe 2-3 days out of the week should be moderately high on carbs. Mainly if you are using weight training as your method for fat loss and muscle maintenance/gain that is.…
5. Once individuals achieve leanness, congratulations! (Around <15% body fat for men and <20% for females) and you’ve held and potentially slightly increased muscle. Your body is better prepared to take on a ‘rebuilding phase’ (due to better insulin sensitivity). Individuals that have damaged more muscle fibres are going to be more insulin sensitive. When a muscle fibre gets damaged, it has the capability to repair and reinforce itself. Provided there are sufficient nutrients in surplus after the bodies daily tasks of thinking, digesting, breathing, moving etc. are done. Muscle cells are lined with insulin receptors that become more receptive to glucose to aid in muscle development when they are in a state of damage.
This is when you CAN switch to more higher carb days throughout your week compared to lower carb (around 5-6 days of the week want to be between moderate to very high carb consumption) as your muscles will potentially be able to take in more glucose depending on the extent of damage YOU have caused (through resistance training). This will usually help bring those calories up also, which is what you would need plenty of to really pack on some muscle. So anyone that fears they would get ‘too bulky’ from weight training, ask most people trying to bulk in the gym just how hard it actually is. It’s safe to assume that most people are not on average eating in excess 4-6 good meals a day! If you are not eating A LOT, you will NOT get too bulky from weight training!
6. Finally do lots and lots of cardio…. just kidding. You can probably safely guess by now that I have a biased towards resistance training/weight training so long as diet is nailed. For the record; I DO NOT HATE PEOPLE DOING CARDIO! In fact I commend people for including it into their weekly activity. It will more likely than not help you get in shape too. However you needn’t slog it out on a treadmill to get out of breath and test your lungs. You could give Metabolic Resistance Training (MRT) a try and then try to tell me you’re not working your cardiovascular system! If you want to know how to do that then I have blog on how to do it.