Most people want to lose body fat, and for most men they also want to increase their muscle mass. I believe to achieve these goals and stay motivated with your training you need to set yourself challenges. In the past I have competed in triathlons and power lifting, but my next challenge was against another personal trainer and the goal was simple: Who could put on the most lean mass (muscle), whilst losing the most body fat percentage at the same time. We had 8 weeks, and here’s how I approached it.
The first change i made is to change my carbohydrate intake. Carbohydrates affect your insulin levels, and whilst they are high, your body does not burn fat. For the first two weeks i had almost no carbs. This means cutting out bread, pasta, rice, potato, oats, sugar in my tea, carrots, and quite a few more things. Having a high protein breakfast is important too and after the two weeks i started to introduce one portion of carbs a day. No energy drinks and plenty of water.
The next stage of the diet was making sure my omega 3 levels are right, you can do this simply by taking a good quality fish oil, not cod liver oil. I however found that it didn’t agree with me so used flaxseed oil instead. As well as this i made sure my snacks were either protein shakes or seeds and nuts. After the two weeks you can have a cheat day (eat whatever you want) and then you can have them about once per week.
When you read fitness magazines they will recommend the best way to build muscle is......and then give a list of training methods and repetition ranges. This may be 5,3,1 or 5 x 5, or high intensity, drop sets, supersets, upper/lower, push/pull or a standard split routine. The fact is most things work its just a case of varying your training. Your body needs to adapt to new things to progress so doing the same program for 2 years will do nothing for you. As well as this you need to stay mentally switched on in your workout and by doing the same routine all the time, you will not stimulate your brain and this will result in less effort being put into the work sets.
For this challenge, i went mainly for an upper body / Lower body split routine, training weights 3 to 4 times per week, whilst still teaching my 3 spinning classes per week for my cardio. In my workouts i was purposely doing exercises that would challenge more than one muscle group in order to build muscle, and also increase my fat burning potential. Through the 8 weeks i also varied repetition ranges, some days 8-12 others 6 reps and some even 15-20. Like i mentioned earlier, variation is key.
After the 8 weeks i took another body stat test and had lost just over 2% body fat (around 2.5kg of fat), as well as increasing my lean mass (muscle) by just over 3kg.
This is just an overview of how I did it and how at ActivZone we can help you achieve your goals. Our customers can have detailed individual exercise programs and nutrition plans to maximise their results. For more information please contact Activzone 01483 448666 or visit our website www.activzone.co.uk