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How can I lose Weight and Gain Muscle?

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One of the first questions I ask my clients before I start working with them is what their health goal is.  By asking this question I hope to get a better idea of how to help them.  Many times people have the goal of losing weight, and gaining muscle at the same time.   Although this is sometimes hard to do simultaneously, it is possible.

Today I will teach you 10 tricks I personally use to lose fat and build muscle at the same time.

10 Ideas on Losing Fat and Building Muscle

1.  Don’t skip meals – I’m listing this one first because I feel like it is one of the most important tips to follow.  When we skip meals our blood sugar drops and we start craving things that will raise your blood sugar quickly. Or in other words we crave CARBS!! And not the fiberous hardy carbs, but the sugary fatty sweet carbs that raise your blood sugar quickly.  This can QUICKLY trash our carbs for the day and leave us eating low carb the rest of the day or blowing way past our allotted carbs for the day. By not skipping meals you also avoid overeating at your next meal.

2.   Eat within 15 min of working out – This is probably the trickiest tip given.   Here’s why.  If you are trying to burn fat than you want to workout on an empty stomach so that your body uses your stored fat as fuel during your workout. This happens because you have very low glucose in your body due to fasting through the night.  Also if your main goal is to lose fat than you won’t want to eat any carbohydrates till about an hour after your workout so you continue to burn fat as fuel.

Here’s where it gets tricky.

If your goal is to lose fat AND gain muscle you want to maximize that window of muscle building after a workout. The muscle building window is within 15 – 60 min after your workout.  For muscle building you want to FUEL those muscle right after your workout with high glycemic (simple) carbs.  Examples of this might be a banana, liquid carbs such as chocolate milk or a protein and carb shake, buttermilk pancakes, or even pop-tarts. Basically anything that will get digested quickly allowing glucose (the storage form of carbohydrates) to get PUSHED into your muscle giving that full, pumped look. This will allow your muscles to have plenty of energy for your next big training session so you can continue to break down muscle to allow for continued building.

3. Track your food & follow a macro plan – I can not stress enough how important this step is in building muscle and losing fat. If you have a specific goal, you need a specific plan.  Their is nothing more frustrating than having a goal and then GUESSING on how to reach that goal.  When tracking calories only you are guessing on the right percentage of carbohydrates, fats and protein you need. You could be following a low calorie diet to lose fat, but if the majority of those calories are coming from carbs and your not getting in the protein you need than your body will actually break down muscle to get the protein in needs and the extra carbs you are eating and not burning off will be stored as fat. So even though the scale might be moving down there is a good chance you are losing muscle and increasing fat stores.  Following a macro plan and having someone calculate the exact percentages of protein carbs and fat you need will not only help you reach your goal quicker but will leave you feeling satisfied and allow you to eat the foods you love all while losing weight and gaining muscle.

4.  Plan your meals and grocery shop at the beginning of the week – If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. I’m sure all of you have heard this but I can tell you from experience that it is 100% true!! I don’t know a single person that has enough will power to make a healthy choice when they are hungry and their is no good food in the house.  For me it’s straight to the cereal box if I don’t have a plan! We all have our vices and if we don’t have a plan for our day our chances of succeeding are much lower. When I first started macro counting what worked best for me was to plan my food out for the entire day the night before.  I would lay in my bed and enter in my food for the next day into My Fitness Pal so I knew that I would hit my macro numbers and I would have a much better chance of resisting temptation.  I would (and still do) start by putting in my dinner first so I could always plan on eating dinner with my family.  This is very important to me as I have 5 children (3 daughters) that watch everything I do and I want to set good examples for them. Then I would enter in my breakfast and lunch. After my 3 main meals were entered I would use my snacks as fillers to help me get to my macro numbers. And if I had enough macros left or if I felt like a treat, I would plan for a small treat at night. This has been a life saver for me because it allows me to feel like I am not on a diet. Remember this is a lifestyle that I am teaching.  Diets don’t last.

If it feels like a diet you won’t stay on track. If it feels like a lifestyle change you will always feel happy with yourself, the way you look and feel, and your relationship with food.

5.  Eat your veggies and aim to hit 25 g of fiber a day – Besides all the micronutrients found in vegetables they are also PACKED with fiber as well.

I’m sure I don’t need to tell you the benefits of fiber but just in case, here are a few.

1. Lowers blood sugar levels

2. Aids in weight loss

3. Helps maintain bowel health

4. keeps you “regular”

5. Lowers cholesterol levels

Some high fiber vegetables (and fruits) are:

6. Split peas

7. Artichoke

8. Brussel Sprouts

9. Broccoli

10. Berries

11. Pears

6. Set small goals and allow little victories – We all want to feel recognized for our hard work. And setting and achieving goals is definitely something worth celebrating. However it’s important that we don’t undo all our hard work by celebrating a little too hard. I’ve noticed with my kids that my husband and I often will celebrate something they accomplished by using food as a reward.  Although this is ok every once in a while, it is important to come up with some other options for rewarding yourself for you hard work.

Here are a few ideas.

1. Sleep in one morning

2. Buy yourself a new outfit (your body will be changing and you may need one anyway)

3. Get a pedicure

4. Treat yourself to a massage

5. Post a selfie of your new HOT BOD and let the comments ROLL in!

7. Drink Water – This is a little trick I use when I am hungry late at night and my mind thinks I need more food. Sometimes we think we are hungry when we are really just thirsty.  So before you reach for that bag of chips try drinking a large glass of water and waiting 15 minutes. My bet is that you will feel satisfied and forget all about your so called hunger pains. If you are still hungry after trying this than of course eat, but make it a healthy choice and stay within your macros if at all possible.  Another trick I use is drinking soda water when I’m hungry but it’s not time to eat. The carbonation tricks my body into thinking it’s full.

8. When you want a treat have some fruit – Fruit is a great way to satisfy that sweet tooth.  However not all fruit is created equally. Eating fruits that are low on the glycemic index and low in carbs will keep you from blowing your carbs and will also have the benefit of getting in your fiber.  Berries are always a safe bet when choosing a fruit as a treat.

9. Allow a cheat meal here or there – Ok, don’t get too excited! I said cheat MEAL not cheat DAY!!  After weeks of tracking and focusing on your goals it really is nice to have one meal that you can let lose. Don’t worry about it setting you back.  One bad meal will not make you fat, just like one good meal will not make you skinny.  It takes months of consistency to reach your goals, so don’t stress about one meal that you don’t track. Everything will be OK, I promise!

10. Be accountable to someone – Everyone needs someone to be in their corner and give

them support when they need it. I don’t care how strong you think you are, there will come a moment of weakness and you will be grateful that you have that “someone” to reach out to that knows your goals to help keep you on track. This could be a family member or close friend or even a nutrition coach. Whoever it is make sure it is someone that you know will always be there for you.

So now that you have the tools you need to be a lean mean fighting machine, it is time to put these tips to use and focus on your goal. There are always a million excuses on why you CAN’T reach your goals. Don’t wait for the perfect moment or time in your life to chase after this goal. There is never a better time than now. You will thank yourself later. Be consistent, be dedicated and you WILL get the results you so badly want!

If you would like to learn more or are interested in nutrition coaching please visit Transcend Daily OR email Tiersa directly at info@transcenddaily.com.