8 Easy Ways to Build Lean and Strong Body

You probably heard often enough that if you want to increase your strength or muscle mass, you must also first increase your weight, and in reverse, if you want to reduce your body fat, your strength will drop down automatically. This might be true if you are already training intensively for long period of time. However, for most people you can increase your muscle mass and reduce body fat at the same time by following these easy tips:

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Adequate Sleep

This may sound odd. How come you are telling me to sleep when I want to be lean and strong? But the fact is, while you sleep, your body will be engaging in catabolism that converts body fat into energy. Sleep is also essential for your muscle to recover and become stronger. Hence, if you are on a short term business trip and you must choose between adequate sleep or training, sleep would be a wiser choice.

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Adequate Food

This might also sound strange. How come you are telling me to eat when I want to slim down? The key here is long term success. If you drastically reduce your body weight with extreme diet and exercise from the beginning, you run the high risk of metabolic damage like “The Biggest Looser” contestants experience. Clearly this does not give you the license to gorge on a buffet. The trick is eating reduced portion with increased frequency. You should also emphasize quality over quantity.

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Proper Training

When people talk about exercise and weight loss, most would think of jogging or cycling. Although heavyset people run the risk of knee and ankle injury if they jog too much. Those with thick spine also run the risk of sciatica if they cycle with bent pose for too long. Weightlifting is usually ignored even though you can increase your basalt metabolic rate by up to 48 hours after weight training. And especially for deadlift and squat, you will also increase your testosterone, growth hormone, and insulin-like growth factors production, all essential for lean muscle development. Of course you might need the help of a good coach to help train you how to squat and deadlift properly so you won’t injure your back and knees.

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Eat Your Carbs

Some people are better adapted to low-fat high-carbs diet while others are more suited with low-carb high-fat diet in their quest for healthy weight management. The key here is consuming what your great grand parents would recognize as food. Unfortunately some people took carbs avoidance to the max which will cause three things:

  1. Bad mouth odor. This is due to the catabolism that also occurs while you sleep. Only with chronic deficiency in carbohydrate, it will occur the whole day, overworking your liver and causing bad breath. Catabolism is also the cause of your bad breath when you just wake up.
  2. Loss of energy. When you engage in anaerobic activity such as weightlifting, your muscle relies on glycogen in your muscle and blood as a source of energy. Glycogen itself comes from digested carbohydrate.
  3. Difficulty in burning fat while training. This is essential although it sounded weird. But the fact is, the fat burning metabolism cycle that occurs during aerobic exercise needs to be triggered with carbohydrate. That’s right, fat burns with the flame from carbohydrate.

Of course quantity must adjust to your body type and quality is essential. Steamed yam, boiled potatoes and brown rice is far superior to noodles and biscuits.

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Avoid Excess Sugar

Whoa, you just told me to eat carbs, and sugar is carb right? So why avoid sugar? It is true that a moderate quantity of sugar (less than 6 gram) prior to exercise can help increase your strength while training (and consequently burns more calories). But outside this phase, sugar consumption is best avoided. This is due to the high speed of sugar absorption inside the body. This feature is useful for those running a marathon. But for normal people, sugar consumption will only lead to a spike in blood sugar followed by fat build up.

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Avoid Alcohol

This is essential! Other than containing high calories. alcohol consumption will also lead to fat deposit in the abdominal region. Alcohol will also lower the energy availability in your muscle and slows down your metabolism while training. That’s why, if you want to have a 6-pack abs, you should avoid alcohol.

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Eat Your Protein

Plenty of nutritionist and doctors said that you only need to consume 0.8 grams of protein per kg body weight per day. So if you weigh 70 kg, you only need to eat 56 grams of protein. 3 ounce of beef contains approximately 21 grams of protein, 250 ml of milk contains 8 grams of protein and one hard boiled egg contains 6 grams of protein. But if you want to increase your muscle mass and loose body fat, you need to consume far more than that. Based on latest research, you need to consume up to 2.0 grams of protein per kg body weight per day in order to cain optimal result. Again, quality is essential. Hard boiled eggs and steamed wild caught fish is far superior to hotdogs.

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Fish Oil Consumption

This is something most people tend to ignore. Modern food is rich is highly processed vegetable oil. Even bread, biscuits and instant coffee often contains them. And most highly processed vegetable oil and margarine is rich in trans fat and omega-6. Trans fat itself is proven to be the leading cause of the rise in obesity and heart disease. Omega-6 will also cause a host of health issue from arthritis, heart disease, to obesity. On the other hand. omega-3 has the function to neutralize most of the harmful effects of omega-6, other than muscle and joint anti-inflammatory function that will allow you train with increasing frequency. You might be tempted to say “but I already ate my fish oil but don’t feel any of the benefits.” And the problem lies with the composition of omega-3 to omega-6 you are consuming. Don’t get it wrong, cheap fish oil usually contains far more omega-6 than omega-3 due to the low quality of raw material they use. That is why cheaper brands dare not to say how many omega-6 is actually in their supplement and they would not state it doesn’t contain omega-6 either.

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