5 Ways to Maximize Fat Loss And Build Muscle
We are back with just the two of us in this episode of the Messy Mom Podcast. Today, we are going to be discussing something that we get asked almost every day, and that is, “how do I lose fat mass and build muscle?”
So we are exploring the five ways that you can maximize burning fat while also building muscle. You’ve probably heard us talk about them before, but we thought we would tie it all up, and put a nice bow on it. So stay tuned as we cover the 5 points: consuming enough protein, strength training, rest + sleep, non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT), and hydration.
1. Consuming Enough Protein
Number one on the list, which we have talked about many times is consuming enough protein. Protein helps you stay fuller longer, keeps you more satisfied, and helps increase overall muscle mass when done in the right way.
The recommended daily allowance is 0.8 to 1 gram per kilogram, which is very low. That is almost the amount that is needed just to keep you healthy and not sick. For the majority of people we should be upping that (if you have a condition or your doctor is saying you need to keep the amount lower than you need to do that).
Typically we recommend anywhere from around 20 to 30 grams of protein per meal and about 10 to 15 grams for snacks.
One tip that Cari does is front load her first meal. So, usually, right before her workout she will get say 40 grams in so that she knows if a snack or meal is lower she still got it in for the day.
If you’ve heard “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” when it comes to protein, it is. As Bailey mentioned, it keeps you satisfied, takes longer to digest, and helps regulate your blood sugars at the start of the day.
So, if you are asking, how much protein do I need day by day? It is really individualized depending on your age or activity level but most likely on the higher side of 20 to 30 grams per meal.
This leads us to our next point, to look at the quality of your proteins because they’re not all created equal.
Some examples of good quality proteins are animal proteins like chicken, grass-fed beef, bison, eggs, and dairy. Then there are some supplements like whey protein, specifically if you’re vegan or vegetarian. Bailey typically recommends pea protein because they all contain essential amino acids.
There are 20 amino acids, 9 of which are essential amino acids. And essential means that our bodies do not make them, therefore we have to get them from our diet.
A high-quality protein source will help you with things like fat loss and muscle building. So, just because it says 9 grams on the label doesn’t mean it’s a complete protein, it’s could be lacking those essential amino acids.
One thing to note is collagen is not a complete protein source. Now, we do love collage for a lot of things especially glycine in particular during pregnancy. But it is not a complete protein.
2. Strength Training
That brings us right to number two which goes with fat loss and muscle building and that is strength training, specifically progressive strength training.
It means as the name implies, you are gradually increasing your strength in some manner. So, that doesn’t always mean you have to increase your weight. There are so many ways to build strength without going from lifting 5-pound dumbbells to 25 pounds. That is one way but there are other ways to do it. You can do band work, do it with time under tension, and tempo changes, there are so many ways to switch up strength training to get those results and help your body adapt.
And muscle is key for so many things on top of fat loss such as bone density, longevity, and metabolism.
After you reach your peak muscle potential, at around 30 to 35 years old, every year your muscle mass starts to decline, so you’ve got to do something about it. It starts slowly at first and then once you hit 65 to 70 years old, it goes fast. But there are ways to combat that and one of those is strength training.
Something we want to note though is there is nothing wrong with cardio. We love cardio and do it ourselves but our focus is our strength training routine. And that’s the focus of our Fit Mama in 30 program, we have 4 strength sessions, usually 1 hit day, 1 rest day, and 1 leisure day.
Another thing is there are a million benefits for pregnancy too. There are a lot of aches and pains that come with being pregnant and strength training can help manage some of that. Strengthening the lower back and core will help lead to experiencing fewer alignment shifts and more support for your body. It will also help lower the risk of things like pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes and potentially decrease the chances that you would need medical intervention during your labor and delivery.
And lastly, one question that we hear is does strength training make you bulky. Cari loves this question, she reminds us that the bulk of muscle actually comes from what you put into your body. It’s not the strength training that gives you the bulk but the consumption. It’s going to be more of what you consume in conjunction with lifting that’s going to cause the bulk, not the muscles you’re building yourself. So don’t be afraid to pick up 25-pound dumbbells and do some squats for fear of bulking because that’s not going to happen.
3. Rest and Sleep
Next up is rest day and sleep. Getting rest days in is just as important as working out. Rest days allow muscles the opportunity to recover and repair. It helps reduce the risk of injuring yourself by over-exercising, so, at least one is important. But that doesn’t mean just laying in bed all day. Maybe you go for a walk, do some yoga, stretch, or do something that is lighter and not as heavy.
The same for sleep. You do most of your muscle building and recovery when you sleep. And when you are sleeping you produce growth hormone which is vital in muscle repair and muscle building. When your sleep is disrupted then that decreases, therefore, it’s not doing the work that it needs to.
It’s important that you get at least 6 to 8 hours of sleep each night and try to make that consistent. If you have young kids you may be like, yeah right. But try to make it as much of a priority as you can.
Not only does it affect muscle building and overall fat loss but how you feel on a daily basis.
So try to set a routine and get into the habit of that. One thing you can try is an app on the iPhone we love called Sleep Cycle. For example, it will give you a reminder of 30 minutes when you want to go to bed. If you also have an Apple watch it lets your health app know how long you were in deep sleep, how long you were interrupted, etc.
If you are a new mom though we wouldn’t recommend it – it may be very discouraging.
Add that to the list, it may not be new but sometimes we need reminders to do these consistently to help change our life.
4. Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT)
We don’t talk a lot about this but the next one is something called Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT). Which means the calories that are burned outside of your formal exercise like steps.
Neat is a great way to improve your fat loss and improve your overall health. So for example, if you work out for an hour a day, that’s 4% of your calories from your exercise. That means the rest of it is from whatever you do in your day. Whatever extra movement you can create.
So, while steps are a great goal. Think about other easy things you can do. So, if you work at a desk job all day, how can you add some NEAT into your life? If you have a bathroom that’s 13 steps away and you have one that’s 2 floors down, go to that one. Go fill up your water bottle, stand up when your Apple watch tells you, park your car a little bit farther, or take the stairs instead of the elevators. These little things add up just like everything. Think about how you can implement that in your life because that does increase the NEAT burn.
Which helps long-term throughout your day if you can move just a little bit more. Now we’re not telling you to cut your workouts out but your daily movement patterns are as beneficial as exercise. Even walking to the mailbox or going for a quick walk. It doesn’t have to be this 40-minute power walk. It’s just finding those little things.
We always say some movement is better than no movement at all. Each little thing that you do is going to make improvements.
5. Staying Hydrated
Finally hydration. We are sure it comes as no surprise that staying properly hydrated is important. There’s not one cell in your body that doesn’t need water. So that right there tells you how important it is when it comes to fat loss and building muscle as well.
Every single organ system and cell of your being needs to stay adequately hydrated. And again, not for just these two things, but for everything – digestion, bones, and joints.
If you can remember to keep a water bottle next to you as much as you can and take little sips throughout the day, then that’s going to help you stay better hydrated. We like to recommend drinking half of your body weight in fluid ounces. And if you’re exercising, it could be more. If you’re not, it could be less. It just kind of depends on a person-by-person basis.
So for example, if you weigh 150 pounds, divided by 2 then you will want to aim for drinking around 75 ounces of water.
And figure out what works best for you. So, for us, it’s easier to drink more water when we have a water bottle with a straw vs a flip lid. For some, it may just be drinking a cup of ice water. But figure out what works for you where you drink more water.
Replenishing is just going to give you the energy that you need so that you can maybe even exercise a little bit more. Your performance is better when you’re hydrated. Therefore, you can get to that point of fatigue and exhaustion to help build your muscles.
Final Thoughts to Maximize Fat Loss and Build Muscle
So, there you have it. Our top 5 things to maximize fat loss and build muscle.
- Consume enough protein
- Strength train
- Rest days and sleep
- NEAT – non-exercise activity thermogenesis
- staying properly hydrated.
Remember you can’t just implement them for one day and expect to change the world. So while these five are great, if you can only take away one and implement it consistently for a month, that’s better than taking away five and doing it two days a week.
You got to find what works for you and how you can implement it. Staying consistent will be what helps you get results, lose fat, and maximize your muscle gain.
This is only the beginning of our conversation on 5 ways to maximize fat loss and build muscle. Listen to the full episode wherever you listen to your podcasts.
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This information is meant for educational and informational purposes only. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems without consulting your personal medical practitioner. Always seek the advice of your own medical practitioner about your specific health concerns and need.