By Myprotein Writer Eugene Tsai
Are you all still keeping true to your new year’s resolution?
It’s getting close to spring, and next thing you know, it’ll be summer time…time to work off that winter bulk you’ve been working on for so long!
The problem with bulking in the winter is that most people often end up with excessive fat from all the extra calories they’ve ingested.
That being said, it’s near impossible (while staying natural) to gain muscle without adding any body fat. But there are definitely ways to stay relatively lean while gaining muscle mass, though.
If your goal is to build your best self and stay lean throughout the year, then keep these four key factors in mind…
1) Monitor what you eat
The saying “If it fits your macros” is not very reliable for those that feel vulnerable eating ‘bad foods,’ in terms of losing body fat.
You can eat 3 Oreos and get the same amount of calories as a hearty whole-wheat turkey sandwich…
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out which one will fill you up more – especially if you’re prone to scoffing a little too much once you get started.
It may take time in the beginning, but once you calibrate yourself, you’ll develop a good knowledge and feeling for what your body needs.
The well understanding of yourself and your caloric needs is the key to having a good physique – that and making sure you’re eating enough protein!
If you’re struggling food wise, Protein powders are an incredibly convenient, tasty and affordable! For example, Myprotein’s Impact Whey Protein has 20g+ of protein per serving and is available in tons of nice flavours, e.g cookies and cream, sticky toffee pudding, apple crumble and custard etc.
If you can develop this skill, then you’ll be able to make constant progress toward your goals without painfully tracking every little detail.
So, take some time to use an app or a notebook to track down what you’ve eaten daily.
You don’t necessarily have to track the caloric intake in the beginning, you just have to track the kind of food eaten.
You can also use a TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure) calculator to find out how much calorie you burn in a day and figure out your macros from there.
Keep in mind that the TDEE calculator is only a machine. It takes great perseverance to keep a good physique, but with time and practice you can do it!
2) Perform cardio
There will always be hate towards cardio from the weightlifting community due to the myth of “losing mass” after.
Although a cardio session isn’t always needed after a workout, it plays a vital role in keeping/building your desired physique.
It is also extraordinarily beneficial to your overall health.
In fact, there has been many studies that says cardio fitness is one of the indicators of your risk of mortality or disability.
In other words, the fitter you are the lower the risk.
Cardio is key to a sustainable, fit health guys… do it.
Cardio sessions could include:
– Boxing… etc!
One of the more recent, popular training regimes to burn off fat is HIIT (High-intensity interval training).
For example, 30 seconds on (fast) and 30 seconds off (slow) 20 seconds on 20 seconds off etc…
HIIT has been shown to improve cardio health, aid in fat loss and help with short twitch muscle gains.
Additionally, it can help boost your speed and agility.
Doing cardio will also help you burn MORE calories post-workout…Which means you get to eat a little more food! Win-win!
Speaking of food…
Try a combination of protein and carbs for an efficient post-workout snack – fuelling your muscles for recovery to aid growth!
3) Lift heavy!
One of the biggest mistakes people make when they try to cut fat or get lean is to stop lifting heavy.
Lifting heavy doesn’t only make you stronger, it builds more muscle. Muscle burns FAT!
Also, when lifting heavy, the body will go into overdrive and produce more hormones to help (again) more muscle.
Creatine is a great supplement to supply you with sufficient strength to hit PB’s or even if you’re just wanting a bit of extra power!
The body will continue to burn calories post-workout a lot longer when lifting heavy, and combined with cardio (yay!) it’s one of the most beneficial ways to keep lean while staying strong.
Try and lift heavy at least once a week to “shock” your body. It will boost the metabolism (burns more calories).
Try doing a heavy back day, leg day or chest day once a week.
Here is an example of a heavy back day:
|EXERCISE||SETS and REPS|
|Normal Deadlift||8 x 3-5|
|Lat Pulldown||4 x 6-8|
|Seated Cable Rows||4 x 6-8 (squeeze!)|
|Dumbbell Pullover||4 x 8-10 (Focus on the stretch)|
|T-Bar Row||6 x 6-8|
|Barbell Row||6 x 6-8|
|Straight-Arm Pulldown||4 x 10-12 (Squeeze!)|
Make sure to use a lifting belt for heavy lifts! (Prevent that snap-city back injury)
Need that burst of energy before you start?… You might just need it!
Consuming pre-workout 30 minutes before starting your training session will give you a boost of energy to focus on exceeding your potential down to every last rep!
Just 2 scoops of Myprotein’s MYPRE will supply you with a whopping 400mg of caffeine, 4g Creatine for a enhancing strength and power boost and 4g BCAA’s for effective muscle recovery!
4) Accept fluctuation
As you’re working toward building muscle, you’ll notice that your weight, your body-fat percentage, and your appearance will fluctuate.
Accept the inevitable fact that your goals, the types of food you eat, how much water you drink, your training, and your sodium intake are all factors that will directly affect your appearance, weight, and body fat levels.
Instead of focusing so much on the digits on the scale, look in the mirror instead.
You like your progress? Good! Keep going!
If not, find out what you’re doing wrong and adjust!
Accept that you may not always be able to see your abs perfectly, but you’re making progress towards other goals! (Strength gains, for example)
Take home message
Don’t think of your body as lean or bulky; think of it as it lies on a spectrum.
With a good plan and a solid effort, you can remain on the leaner end of the spectrum.
You can do it!