The 4 best ways to build muscle and lose fat

Summer is always lurking in the corner. Make sure your body is ready by following these tips!

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body building
A well balanced lifestyle will help in achieving a toned body. Photo: Markus Mainka, Bigstock.

Muscle building and weight loss are both hard, and present different challenges depending on your body type. It can be very difficult to do both simultaneously, and it is not the best way to either build raw muscle or to lose weight. However, if you follow the following 4 strategies you will be able to make yourself significantly stronger at the same time as your waistline narrows.

Compound Weight Lifts
A lot of people try to focus on one muscle or muscle group at a time in the gym (for example, doing bicep curls). Compound movements such as squats, however, work multiple muscle groups at the same time. This not only saves you time, it also means you can lift more weight, which burns more energy.

Compound Weight Lifts
Compound weight lifting helps develop a toned body. Photo: Andrei111, Bigstock.

Compound movements allow you to work several muscle groups at a time, meaning they will all grow. The increased weight you lift also forces your body to burn more energy – and if you use free weights, your support muscles will also be in use. Compound movements that will help you burn fat and put on muscle include squats, deadlifts, bench press, bent over rows, chin ups and shoulder presses, among many others – you won’t run out any time soon!

Interval Training
in addition to weights training, cardio workouts are a major help in getting rid of fat. However, if you want to build muscle at the same time then there are more effective cardio workouts than simply running forever. Interval training (training in short, intense bursts – i.e. sets of 25m sprints) will not only get your heartrate up, which burns fat, but will also help to build muscle.

By pushing yourself to your limit for short bursts, you are effectively forcing your body to increase your muscle mass to cope. Interval training can be done with any form of cardio exercise, so it can be done outside with running or bike riding or in the gym on a rowing machine or other form of equipment.

Circuit Training
Circuits can be a great way to burn energy while increasing your muscle mass. This involves cycling through a set of movements (generally a combination of body weight and lighter weights) that target different muscle groups while also raising your heart rate.

Unless you have a personal trainer you’ll probably do this in a gym, because they have the equipment, however this is not a heavy weights workout. Where a heavy weights session involves multiple sets of the same movement before switching, a circuit will involve one set of each movement before repeating. Some good circuit movements include rowing, kettlebell swings, push ups, sit ups and walking lunges (weighted or otherwise).

Eat Right
The diets that people typically follow to lose weight and to grow muscle tend to be very different, as weight loss requires a low energy diet and muscle growth needs high energy and high protein. However, if you are trying to burn a significant amount of fat then your body already has a fair bit of energy stored up. Therefore, a high protein/low carb diet will allow you to lose weight while turning some of your excess fat into muscle.

High protein food
Adopting a healthy diet is essential for body improvement. Photo: Marilyna, Bigstock.

These four strategies will help you to build muscle mass as you lose weight. The pure weight loss won’t be as dramatic if you are building muscle at the same time; however your body fat percentage will go down much faster than your weight will.