Monday, April 21, 2014

Gain muscle mass and lose weight

I remember that about 10 years ago, when I first attempted a come-back, someone asked me the killing question: "What is your goal: to lose weight or to gain muscle mass?" Unless you start the right way, with someone orienting you in the right direction, you will not be able to answer to it as I could not either.

My return did not happen back then because of health issues (I will talk more about it in another blog in the future). However, the truth is, I did not know what to say. For me, it was obvious that everyone wanted to lose weight. There was absolutely nothing else to think of. And what was this "gain muscle mass" talk?!? I did not want to become a bodybuilder...

Please note that I had already lifted weights before at the age of 19yo. At that time, I was also on a diet to 'put on muscle', but I was not even aware of that. The 10 years gap made me forget the whole process though.

Easter Sunday strength training

But why was this question so important? The thing is that, depending on your goals, not only your workouts, but your diet and supplementation, changes. Because you will be training your body differently, it will need more, or less, of certain nutrients and vitamins in order to function properly and lead you to the desired results.

You will surely find experts (and I mean real experts, not broscience) who talk about doing the two things at the same time. Do I believe it is possible? Yes, I do. Can anyone achieve it easily? I am not so sure about it.

Similar to those who show progress with IIFYM plans, those who have muscle maturity tend to have higher levels of success in building muscle and leaning down at the same time. Unless their metabolism is damaged for whatever the reason, such athletes (professionals or amateurs), are real fat-burning machines on a daily basis. And when they add some cardio to their routine and keep their carbs intake monitored, BOOM!

Unless you have some genetic predisposition, things may not go that smooth when trying to do both at the same time. It is true that you can (and should) try, but be aware that it will take a lot of pre-work before finally being able to implement a solid routine safely if you are new to it.

Temperature in °C earlier today: Perfect weather for running!

To start things, build muscle. If you have never dared entering the free weights room (this one goes mainly for the ladies), it is time to get over it. Personally, I have already gone through pretty much everything, but I am way too stubborn to let a spotter or a sexist take me away from my objective. When there, lift as heavy as you can. If you have to start with 2lbs weight because that is all you can, so be it. However, do not get stuck with them. Remember the quote: "Don't lift weights lighter than your handbag." For the moms, think about your kids weight. You can carry them around, can't you? So why not lifting at least the same weight at the gym?

For the guys, the tip is not lifting whatever weight you can unless your form is perfect. You may not feel it now, but no one can tell the damage bad posture can cause to your back and joints. Swinging dumbbells during curls will not make your biceps grow, but it may hurt your elbows seriously. Remember that you are at the gym for yourself. Leave the ego at the door. It is better to go ass to the grass with light weights than 3/4 squats with 100lbs. 

Depending on your fit level, wait from one week up to two months to start doing cardio. Hard gainers should wait the longest. You do not want to blow your gains at any cost. And when I mention cardio, I am not suggesting that you become a battery bunny and spend hours on the treadmill. Getting fit is the ultimate goal no matter. Becoming a toothpick is not an option. What you want is to get blood flowing in your body and to strengthen your cardiovascular system. Steady cardio once a week is fine and if you need some extra burn, go for HIIT.

Why? Because! Leaving for today's run.

Log your exercises, meals and progress (please see my blog "How you can make it work for you" for tips on ways to create your log). Take your mood and energy levels into consideration. Did you have a stressful day? Did you sleep enough? Everything matters. After a while, you will be able to see a pattern. This should be your guide for moving forward.

These are a few guidelines I have been using for myself in my "Personal experiment". Do you have other suggestions? Please let me know them. I would love hearing from you too.

'Till next time!


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