When you’re following a weight loss plan, it’s common to focus on calories eaten versus calories burned. You know that you need to carefully monitor your eating plan while also exercising to burn stored energy (in fat cells). But as we always remind our clients and blog readers, there is a third component to a solid weight loss plan, and it’s just as important as the other two: Building lean muscle tissue will help to boost your basal metabolic rate, and therefore help you lose weight even more efficiently. Plus, toned muscles look nice!
So, how do you go about building lean muscle tissue? After all, you’re trying to lose body mass, not gain it!
First of all, keep in mind that most people, under normal conditions, can only gain one to two pounds of muscle per month. If your weight (fat) loss is slow, this could lead to the appearance of a weight loss plateau. But in reality, you’re still changing the composition of your body and getting healthier. For most people, though, adding muscle tissue is not going to affect the numbers on the scale too much. And since a pound of muscle takes up less room than a pound of fat, you will still notice your clothes becoming looser.
So, how do you go about it?
Work out correctly. You know that strength training will help you build muscles. There are many ways to go about this, but many personal trainers recommend more sets with fewer repetitions, per exercise. For example, you would perform eight to twelve repetitions of a particular move, and then repeat that five times. So you would perform five sets. This strategy increases the “time under tension” required to grow new muscle tissue.
Increase your weight. Each week, or at least every other week depending on your progress, increase the amount of weight used. Even just two pounds will make a difference, and keep your muscles challenged as they develop.
Fuel your muscles correctly. Choose high-quality sources of protein, and include them with each meal. It’s better to spread out your protein requirement throughout the day, if possible.
On that note, come see us for a consultation on your weight loss plan. We can help you decide how much protein you should be eating, and together we’ll design a fitness and nutrition plan to help you meet your goals.