Healthy Eating Helps to Build Muscle

erik ledin weightThere are many ways to build muscles. As you begin to employ weight training, you will quickly feel your body getting stronger. However, there is another important element to add to your routine if you want to build muscle bulk as well as strength.

To really build up your muscle size, particularly if you’re a big guy, you need to greatly increase food intake and make sure that you are eating consistently, every day. It may be hard to eat as much food as you need to not only maintain, but also gain weight. You may feel too lazy or not feel a great appetite. However, eating a large amount of food consistently is the only way to really bulk up and gain desired muscle mass.

Gaining muscle is not an easy endeavor. It requires enough tension and volume accompanied by enough calories to help to build the muscle. Building muscle is a slow process and takes consistent work and time to see results.

Many people identify the fact that they want to lose fat while gaining muscle. This is very difficult because as you cut back on calories, your body responds with hormones that dictate it should preserve body fat. Additionally, if you are operating on a caloric deficit your body will not waste valuable energy on building muscle. Therefore, the only way to build muscle is to ensure that your body is getting enough food. Even if it feels counterintuitive because you’ve just scaled back your diet to help with weight loss, you need to ramp your diet back up to help build muscle.

This can sometimes be a balancing act. Eating more will make you gain weight, but if you are training correctly it will build muscle. There may be times that your fat to muscle ratio will change and you may need to diet again to get to where you want to be. The bottom line is that building muscle is a slow process and you need to feed your body to help muscles develop.

Cardio/Interval for Fat Loss and Muscle Gain?

erik ledin cardioCommon questions from those looking to lose weight or gain muscle: Should I use cardio? Intervals? How much? My answers usually depends on each individual person–their goals, their timeframes, etc. But there are a few general things I can say here.

Cardio/Interval for Fat Loss?

First of all, for fat loss, I usually like to put the main focus on diet and nutrition, secondary focus on interval training, and tertiary focus on low intensity cardio. If you’re not eating right, the exercise won’t do you much good. With an average client, I’ll usually assign them somewhere between one and three interval sessions each week with varying work/rest ratios. I’ll often give my lighter clients more cardio because their calorie intake isn’t going to be that big to start with.

Here’s an example. One client is 230 pounds and eats about 3,450 calories a week. Another client is 110 pounds and eats about 1,650. Right off the bat I like to create a 20% deficit in calorie intake and see where that gets us. So, if you do the math, client one  will be consuming 690 less calories and client two will be consuming 330 less calories. If they stick to the diet, client one is well on the way to losing over a pound of fat per week, but client two is not. So I’ll prescribe client two some additional interval or cardio to get a reasonable fat loss rate.

Cardio/Interval for Muscle Gain?

If gaining muscle is the goal, I’ll often ditch interval training entirely, since the calories you’d lose could have been used towards gaining the muscle you’re looking for. If it’s your heart you’re worried about, weight training will provide plenty of cardiorespiratory benefits. If you don’t believe me, the next time you’re lifting, take your pulse.