- Exercise & Fitness
The Truth About Building Muscle and Losing Weight
Nothing Happens Overnight: There Is No Magic Pill
The diet and fitness industries spend millions of dollars on advertisements each year to promote and sell their new products. Often these ads will "guarantee" the consumer that they will lose weight or build muscle quickly without spending much time or putting much effort into the process. How often have you heard "The new [name of product] pill has been clinically proven to help you lose weight fast and easy!" or "The new [name of product] equipment has been scientifically tested to get you ripped with only 10 minutes per day, 3 times a week!".
The truth is most likely none of these products were clinically or scientifically tested like they were advertised. Beyond that, the advertised performance and efficiency of these products make them sound like miracle pills and equipments designed by Nobel Prize winning biomedical engineers. In fact, more money is spent on advertising than the actual design and testing of these products. Ask yourself this: If all these products did in fact work wonders exactly like the advertisements said, why hasn't the obesity issue in America been solved and why doesn't every person you see on the street look like they jumped straight out of a health and fitness magazine? Also, why are hundreds of new diet and fitness products still being produced and advertised each year promising the same thing?
The answer is simple - losing weight and building muscle simply does not happen overnight with some magic pill or magic equipment. If anyone tells you that they gained 10 pounds of muscle or lost 20 pounds of fat in a week, they are either lying or taking harmful substances. Drastic and rapid changes in body weight whether it is muscle or fat is simply unnatural and very damaging to your health. The truth is, if you want to become healthier and improve your personal fitness level, you must make a conscious decision to put in the work and effort to affect that change.
What You Must Do: Exercise and Eat a Healthy Diet
Now that you have accepted the fact that there really is no short cut on the road to building the body of your dreams and a healthier lifestyle, let's see exactly what you can do to achieve your goals.
Exercising and eating a healthy diet are both essential in gaining muscle and losing weight. Exercising is a given if you want to achieve either or both of the two results. Weight training will increase the muscle mass and essentially increase your overall strength. Performing cardiovascular (aerobic) exercises will help you burn off calories and excess fat that is stored in your body. If you want to gain muscle and lose weight at the same time (although more difficult but not impossible), then you must have a consistent weight training routine along with daily cardio exercises.
A common misconception is that you can turn fat into muscle. This is absolutely false! The basic biological building blocks of the two are completely different and there is no way to turn fat (fatty acid and glycerol) into protein (amino acids) simply by working out. What you are really doing is gaining muscle through weight training and losing fat through cardio exercises and these should not be considered to be one combined process.
What should be combined with exercising and will actually aid in achieving either or both of the two results is eating a healthy and nutritious diet. If you want to gain muscle mass, you must eat enough protein daily to support healthy muscle growth and repair if you are also weight training. If you are also trying to lose weight, then you must watch your daily caloric intake, especially the calories from fat.
You should develop a healthy habit of reading nutrition labels and always understand and know exactly what you are eating. Ideally, you want to take in as little calories from fat as possible on a daily basis and also minimize your overall daily caloric intake to a recommended level which varies based on your age, height, and body weight. Since each person is different, there is no single recommended amount of daily calorie intake that works for everyone. A simple google search for a calorie calculator can get you an idea of what is the recommended daily caloric intake that works for you.
Once you have an idea of how much calories to consume per day, you should now focus on slowly cutting down your diet in order to reach this recommended amount. Again, I emphasize the need to make changes gradually so that your body has time to adapt. Combining this with cardiovascular exercises will be the key to losing weight just as combining weight training and a high protein diet will aid in muscle growth.
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Start Making a Change for A Healthier Life
So there you have it. These are some of the basic information you need to understand about building muscle and losing weight. Now it's time to go out there and start working towards your fitness goals. Sorry to break the news to you but the only person that can actually help you fulfill your goals is YOU. Nobody said it was going to be easy. Remember there is no magic pill or magic equipment. No one has ever gotten fit or lost weight by purchasing a piece of hardware. You simply have to put in the time and effort in order to see results. Once you do see results, it will only boost your confidence and give you more motivation to continue.