Building lean muscle mass has many incredible health benefits. Our muscles are responsible for our mobility and help us enjoy an active lifestyle. Our muscular system also plays a vital role in energy metabolism, and building muscle mass can lead to improved blood glucose stability and reduce the odds of developing type 2 diabetes. Further, new research has shed light on the complex biochemical crosstalk between bone and muscle. So how do you build muscle and lose fat? Start here:
1. Get off the treadmill and head straight to the squat rack.
Many adults believe that the best way to lose fat is to perform intense cardiovascular exercise. And cardiovascular training is certainly very beneficial when it comes to fat loss as it can help to drive your body to a state of caloric deficit; however, many adults overlook the importance of weight training as it relates to fat loss. Weight training will help you build muscle, and building muscle will help you lose fat because muscle tissue has very high energy requirements. When you consume excessive carbohydrates, the excess carbohydrates are eventually converted into fatty acids by your liver and later stored as adipose (fat) tissue. Building muscle tissue will increase your body’s energy requirements, which will keep excessive carbohydrates from being converted into fat tissue.
2. Distribute protein intake evenly throughout the day.
It's widely understood that eating enough protein is necessary to build and maintain muscle. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of protein is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. Hence, a person who weighs 75 kilograms (165 pounds) needs to consume about 60 grams per day of protein. While it's important to reach one’s RDA of protein, many research studies have demonstrated the importance of evenly consuming protein with each meal. If the aforementioned person’s breakfast consists of a cup of coffee along with a bagel, muffin, or waffle, their protein intake at breakfast time will likely be between 2 and 10 grams, resulting in a skewed protein intake distribution rather than one that is even. Try to consume an equal amount of protein with each of your meals, a principle often called protein-pacing.
3. Explore supplements that can help build muscle mass.
The world of nutraceuticals can often seem like the Wild West. There are a lot of options, so it's important to do your homework, evaluate the research, and understand exactly what it is that you're taking. On a positive note, many clinical studies have demonstrated that supplements such as vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, and branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) can safely lead to improved gains in muscle mass. The bottom line is: Do your homework, research the ingredients that are contained in any nutraceutical that you may be interested in, and make sure that there is clinical research to back up the claims that are made.
Following these tips will help you gain muscle, lose fat, and maintain strong bones and a healthy metabolism.