The first thing that must be mentioned is that it is not necessary to have a big physique. You don’t need to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger or even a model. However, if you want to get rid of unwanted body fat, then you will definitely benefit from having a good looking body. If you are interested in getting rid of unwanted body fat, then you should start with a low calorie diet. A very simple way to do so is through intermittent fasting.
I have already discussed about the benefits of intermittent fasting in my previous post: How To Lose Body Fat Without Dieting And Getting Rid Of Puffy Eyes Naturally With Intermittent Fasting (IF)
Another great way to burn excess calories without any side effects is through weight training. Weight training is one of the most effective ways to burn excess calories.
Weight lifting involves using your muscles to lift weights. This type of exercise burns up all those extra calories which would otherwise go towards maintaining your current size.
This method works especially well when combined with other methods such as intermittent fasting or weight training.
It is always better to begin with a lower calorie diet than a higher calorie diet because it allows you to maintain a healthier lifestyle while losing body fat at the same time.
It is important to stick to your diet even when you are not seeing the results you want. At first, your body will be able to cope with the lower calorie intake, however, after a while it will be forced to burn body fat in order to maintain the high energy levels that are needed.
There are many different types of weight training programs. Each one of these programs tend to focus on a different type of muscle or muscle group.
It is important to perform each exercise slowly and in control, taking at least a minute for each rep. This helps to prevent injury and works the muscles more efficiently.
Don’t forget to train your abs as well and don’t overdo it. A good combination is doing crunches combined with squat thrusts.
One of the most popular weight loss methods is circuit training. During a typical circuit training session, you would perform a set of an exercise, followed by another exercise, then another and another until you have performed a set for each exercise.
This type of training style can help to prevent your body from getting used to the exercises and plateauing in your workouts.
When this happens you will need to make sure that you are performing exercises which work different muscles. Like with any exercise routine, you will eventually hit a plateau in which your body becomes accustomed to the exercises and you are no longer burning as many calories.
A good way to overcome this plateau is through periodization.
A typical periodization plan will involve splitting the year into three sections: a buildup, an competitions and a transition phase.
The first section, the build up, involves focusing on increasing your fitness level as quickly as possible. In this stage you should be focusing on increasing your lean muscle mass through a combination of strength training and cardio.
The competitions phase involves preparing your body for any competitions that you may have throughout the year. During this time your calorie intake will decrease and you will be focusing more on your muscle groups in which you will be judged.
The transition phase, as the name suggests, is about switching your body from a “competition mode” to a “recovery mode”. It is a fact that engaging in intensive exercise, such as bodybuilding competitions, can actually damage your muscles and reduce their size.
So after a competition you will need to change your training routine in order to repair the muscle damage and return your body to its normal state.
A great way to lose fat while retaining lean muscle mass is to use HIIT, or high intensity interval training. This involves short intervals of very high intensity exercise followed by longer intervals of low-intensity exercise.
For example, you could perform sprints on a treadmill set at a very high incline for one minute and then walk at a low incline for two minutes. This would be one interval and you should aim to do 4-8 intervals in total.
This type of training increases the fat burning effects of exercise, preserves muscle tissue that would normally be lost during long periods of cardio and also helps to prevent cardiovascular diseases. It is recommended to use this method 2-3 times a week at the beginning of your fitness routine.
To round up this section, it should also be pointed out that nutrition is just as important as exercise when it comes to weight loss and muscle gain. Without the correct nutrients your body cannot function correctly, let alone grow muscle or lose fat.
Always ensure that you eat healthily and get enough nutrients for your goals.
We have already briefly covered the topics of nutrition and supplements in the myths section but we will go into a little more detail here.
There are two types of nutrients: macro and micronutrients. Macronutrients are the large amount of nutrients that your body needs in large quantities and mainly come from food sources.
The three macronutrients are proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Essential means that your body requires them for survival and non-essential means that while they are beneficial, your body can survive without them.
Micronutrients are the smaller amount of nutrients that your body needs in small quantities and are mainly found in vegetables and fruit. These include things such as vitamins and minerals.
Not only do you need to worry about the amount and type of nutrients, you also need to make sure you get enough of them. Some people find it hard to eat certain food types, especially meats, which can be high in protein.
This is where supplements come in.
Supplements are exactly what they say they are, they supplement your diet with extra nutrients. There are several different types of supplements and they each have their own specific uses.
For example, multivitamins are great for people who don’t get enough vitamins and minerals from their diet. Pre-workout supplements are designed to increase your energy levels before exercise and creatine helps promote muscle growth.
Just as with everything, there is the possibility of supplements being overused or used incorrectly. For example, too much creatine can lead to a buildup of toxic chemicals in the body and too many multivitamins can lead to negative interactions with prescribed medicines.
Always consult with a doctor or trainer before using any new supplements and read the instructions carefully.
Supplements can be a great way to achieve your goals but it is important to remember that they should be used alongside a healthy diet, not as a replacement.
There are many different types of supplements on the market all claiming to be the best but it is important to do your own research and find the ones that suit your specific requirements. Remember, supplements cannot compensate for a poor diet and will not help you lose weight if you are eating more than you need.
Supplements are just that, a supplement to your diet.
We mentioned weight gain a few times in this section and some of you may be wondering how to do that if your goal is weight loss. We will cover that in more detail shortly but, generally speaking, eat more calories than your body needs and you should gain weight.
Good sources of energy are fruits, fruit juice, carbohydrate rich foods such as pasta and rice and fats such as vegetable oil and nuts.
So, you know the basics of weight training now but how do you put it into practice and start building bigger muscles?
Well, assuming you’ve already figured out your goals and have a good diet and supplement plan in place, it’s time to move on to the fun part. We’re going to break this down into separate sections for beginners, intermediates and advanced trainers.
Keep in mind that these are just guidelines. Everyone is different and these principles may work for some people better than others.
For example, you may find that you put on a lot of size following the beginner routine but most of it is fat, in which case you should move onto the intermediate section.
If you’re a complete beginner then the best thing to do is to follow a program that delivers slow but steady progress. You want to create good habits from the very beginning to ensure long-term success.
A lot of people like to start with the common “3 day split” where you train a different group of muscles every other day. This isn’t the most effective way to train when you’re just starting out as your body doesn’t have the capacity to recover and adapt quickly enough but it’s still possible to gain some muscle at this stage if you focus on big compound exercises.
The best program for a complete beginner is the push/pull/legs program. This splits your workouts up into three separate days where you focus on exercises that work the chest, back and arms (push day), legs and shoulders (pull day) and finally your core, abs and other supporting muscles (legs day).
This program focuses purely on compound exercises that allow you to use the most weight and still hit the desired muscles. Here is a sample push, pull and legs workout:
Exercise Sets Reps Bench Press 3 5-8 Barbell Row 3 5-8 Overhead Press 3 5-8 Deadlift 1 5-8 Wide Grip Pull Up 1 5-8
This program is very simple to follow and will get you very effective results as long as you take the time to rest and eat right. You can design your own push/pull/legs routines or follow the one above.
Simply split the exercises into three groups and perform them on separate days. Give yourself at least one day of rest between each workout and three days afterwards before starting the next routine.
For the first few months we recommend that you keep your exercises fairly basic. Concentrate on the big, multi-joint movements like bench presses, squats and deadlifts for the chest, back and legs respectively.
Over time as you get stronger you can start to add in some of the other exercises like chins, dips and military presses but always prioritize the big three first.
Beginners may also want to focus on their diet to help them gain size. Try to eat more often and include foods that are high in protein.
Food with a higher fat content such as eggs, chicken, tuna, salmon, beef, and some nuts are all good.
You’re no longer a beginner but you’re not an advanced lifter either. You’re still learning proper form and your body isn’t used to heavily taxing certain muscles yet.
For the first four weeks try to increase the weight you’re using for each exercise by 5lbs each time you work out. This will give your muscles a good shock and help you build some strength as well as increase your weight tolerance so you can keep growing.
After that, increase the weight whenever you feel you can comfortably do so. Always try to push yourself, if you’re not challenging your body then you won’t get the results you want.
Once you get more experienced you’ll need to start changing things up a bit. Your body will adjust very quickly to the exercises you perform and you’ll hit a plateau.
Don’t change everything at once but rotate between programs to keep your body guessing. Try switching between weight training and bodyweight routines, eventually mix in some cardio as well for a full body workout.
We’ll leave you with one last piece of advice: Never, ever, never give up! If something is too hard or you’re not making the progress you want, walk away from it for a while and come back to it with a fresh perspective.
You really need to be passionate about bodybuilding if you want to see the true results and never let anything stand in your way. If you believe in yourself, you can achieve whatever you want. Good luck!
Sources & references used in this article: