Most fitness enthusiasts fall into one of two categories: Those who want to lose weight and those who want to build muscle. This article is intended for the latter sort of person and will focus on methods that are meant to develop maximum strength and muscle size. Weight loss alone is beneficial for your overall health, but it doesn’t really increase your physical capabilities. Strength training, on the other hand, offers a practical benefit that you should not ignore. Let’s look at a few basic principles that will help you get ripped.
Balance Your Macronutrients
There are three macronutrients: Protein, carbohydrates, and fats. These are arguably the three most important groups of nutrients, and most foods contain a mixture of the three. Of course, there is a question of proportion, and that is a very important question, indeed.
Protein is easily the most important of the three nutrients when you want to increase your muscle mass. The body uses protein as a long-lasting and slow-burning source of energy, but that’s not its only function. Protein is also the primary material that your body uses to build new muscle and repair the damage that comes from hard use.
When you subject your muscles to serious exertion, you are causing microscopic damage. It’s nothing to worry about, as we are only talking about tiny tears in the muscle fiber. These minor muscle tears are the cause of post-workout soreness. While torn muscles might sound bad, it isn’t usually problematic. This kind of exertion damage is normal; its how you build muscle, and your body can repair it quite easily.
After a workout, your body will be rushing to repair the damage that you have just caused, sending vital resources to the muscles. What are those resources, you ask? Amino acids. Amino acids are unique proteins that the body uses to repair damage and build new muscle tissue. The process of recovery is intimately linked to the process of building muscle.
A lot of people might feel as if their muscles are growing while they are doing a workout. However, the real growth phase doesn’t begin until the body enters recovery mode. At this point, the body uses amino acids as building blocks to repair the damage. Once that is done, those healing processes will keep going, and this will add new muscle mass every time. Without a sufficient amount of protein, you will experience longer recovery times and slower muscle growth.
Carbohydrates are essential to your muscle-building efforts, but for a different set of reasons. Carbohydrates are high-density energy sources that offer a lot of energy in a small package. What’s more, the body will convert them directly to energy instead of storing them as fat. Don’t be confused: Carbs will be stored as fat if you do not use them quickly.
When the body ingests a bunch of carbs, it converts them into glycogen in a process called glycosynthesis. Glycogen is a fuel that drives many body processes, and the body uses it as a source of “quick energy.” For this reason, your energy levels during a workout (and after) will be directly related to your consumption of carbs.
Before working out, it’s a good idea to eat a dose of carbohydrate-rich food. This meal will provide you with ample fuel. The fuel should, in turn, make it easier to complete a hard workout. People with more energy will also tend to put more into their workout, and that usually means they will get more out of their workout.
After working out, the body will have used up its glycogen stores. Since you probably don’t have all day to sit around recovering, it is a good idea to eat some carbs about 30-60 minutes after your workout. This snack will bring your glycogen levels back up to a normal level so that you don’t experience too much fatigue. A lot of people like to work out in the morning, so they need to make sure they have enough energy to get through the rest of the day.
If you are looking to get a lean and chiseled physique, you have probably thought about ways to cut the excess fat from your diet. Reducing fat is a good idea that will likely help your weight loss efforts, but don’t go too far. Fat is essential for the human body to function correctly, but you can focus on the right kind of fats to ensure that you don’t defeat your purpose.
For one thing, the human body cannot process large amounts of protein without using a certain amount of fat. Of all three macronutrients, carbs are the easiest to digest. Proteins are the hardest to digest, and fats are right in the middle. In nature, it is difficult to get a high-protein meal without eating a decent amount of fat.
If you want to know how crucial fat is, you might look at a phenomenon known as “rabbit starvation.” This phenomenon is a protein overdose that results from eating meats that are too lean. Rabbit is probably the leanest meat we know, and that’s why the body will have to use many calories to digest the meat. By the time it’s over, you’ve lost more nutrition than you have gained.
Fat is also essential for the proper functioning of the brain. Of course, this only applies to the “good” fats. If you’ve ever heard people talk about “good fats” and “bad fats,” you may have wondered what the difference might be. Most of the time, people who use this terminology are referring to the differences between saturated and unsaturated fats. Those good fats are so essential to mental health that doctors will often prescribe them for patients that have degenerative brain disorders.
Making A Meal Plan To Get You Ripped
Now that we’ve given you a crash course, it’s time to get into the specifics. In this section, we are going to teach you the right way to eat. By following this plan, you should be able to lose weight and add muscle with an emphasis on the latter. Some people will try to tell you that a caloric deficit always results in muscle loss, but this is not true.
Creating A Caloric Deficit
A “caloric deficit” occurs when you are using more calories than you eat. Thus, the body will have to use some of its stored energy to get you through the day. Usually, your body pulls this backup energy from your fat stores, so that’s a good thing in the weight-loss department. However, once those fat stores begin to run low, the body may start to draw energy from the muscles! Since you want to get pumped up, muscle loss is the last thing in the world that you would ever want!
The average human body needs about 2,000-2,500 calories per day to maintain body weight. It is generally accepted that men need more calories than women due to a higher metabolic rate, although there are exceptions to this trend. Health authorities generally recommend that women should eat 2,000 per day while a man should eat about 2,500 per day. Of course, those numbers will have to be lowered if you want to create a caloric deficit.
Counting Calories: How To Do It And Where To Set The Limits
Let’s think about this for a minute: A pound of fat will contain about 3500 calories, so you need to remove that many calories from your body for every pound you want to lose. For someone who wants to lose ten pounds or more, this adds up to (at least) 35,000 calories that have to be burned and not replaced. So, if you drop your caloric intake down to 1,500 calories per day, you are losing about 500-1,000 calories per day. As a result, women will lose about a pound every 7 days, and men will lose about a pound every 3.5 days.
You can use a food scale to keep track of your caloric intake. A lot of people shy away from calorie counting because they think it will involve a lot of math or research. In reality, calorie counting doesn’t require a whole lot of either. You just have to look at the nutritional information that is commonly displayed on every food label. The information on these labels will enable you to figure out how many calories per gram that item contains, and then you multiply that number by the number of grams that are present.
A Sample Meal Plan
Here is a sample meal plan that covers one full day. Total caloric consumption for this plan is about 1000 calories, so it should fit into any weight-loss regimen.
- 3 scrambled eggs (whites only)
- 3 cups of fresh spinach
- 1/2 a cup of chopped tomatoes
- 2 ounces of sauteed turkey
- 1 glass of skim milk
- 8 ounces of nonfat Greek yogurt (plain)
- 1/2 a cup of blueberries
- 1 ounce of chopped almonds
- 2 ounces of broiled salmon
- 1/2 a cup of brown rice
- 1 and 1/2 cups of steamed broccoli
This meal plan is just a sample, of course. You want a diet that is relatively low in fat, very high in protein, and loaded with all the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that you need to maintain optimal health. We recommend lean meats like turkey and fish, but other meats like beef and chicken can also be lean if cooked in a certain way.
For instance, beef is a somewhat fatty kind of meat (pork has even more fat, actually). However, lean beef is available at most supermarkets. It tends to be slightly more expensive, but it will give you loads of protein without nearly so much fat in the bargain. You should make a habit of draining the grease from your meat before eating. This small act can make a significant difference in the saturated fat content of your meat.
Getting pumped up is not an easy goal. If it were, everyone would look like a bodybuilder. However, the right nutrition, combined with hard work, can yield amazing results. Let’s recap a few general points for your convenience:
- Make sure you get plenty of protein
- Make sure you create a caloric deficit if you want to lose weight
- Use carbs as a source of energy for your workouts
- Stick to unsaturated fats
- Give yourself plenty of recovery time
By following these principles, you can set yourself up for success and make it easier to achieve the body that you want. Those bulging muscles don’t have to be a fantasy, but you had better be prepared to earn them! If our article has been helpful to you, and if it has inspired you to get pumped up, you can follow us on Facebook for more great articles!