Lean Muscle Changes Everything
There are many benefits that come when you focus on building lean muscle. An increased metabolic rate, an improvement in strength and a more sculpted physique, just to name a few. If your goal is to change the way your body looks, you need to perform exercises that keep the body under load for an extended period of time.
All the cardio in the world will not produce the desired results that you are looking for. You may lose a lot of pounds from doing JUST cardio but you will not be able to increase your muscle “tone”, nor will you build any muscle to help your metabolism stay on fire.
Make sure that your body is nourished with the right amount nutrients. Even if you are eating pretty well, if your digestion is off, your body will not break down, absorb and eliminate what you consume properly.
Consuming enough fat is also a huge factor when trying to build lean muscle. Taking a fish oil supplement can be the first step in the right direction.
In this post, I cover 4 key strategies you can implement that can make an immediate impact on the way you look and perform.
1. Perform Sprint Conditioning 3 Times Per Week
In order to look like you put on some new muscle, you have to maintain a reasonable body fat level to let it show through. This is where some solid sprint cardio workouts come in.
When it comes to cardiovascular exercises that produce the most results with the least time invested, sprint-type cardio workouts reign supreme.
The actual act of sprinting on two feet can be tough for many. If you are not a runner or a sprinter, I advise you proceed with caution and build up to proper sprinting.
If you have a lower-body injury or have had one in the recent past that hinders you from running, actual sprints may not be for you.
So, instead, I like the Airdyne/assault bike or Concept 2 rower. These two pieces of cardio can have a great bang for the buck without injury. Leading training expert, Alwyn Cosgrove referred to this type of cardio as having minimal disruption on the joints but maximal disruption on the metabolism, making them ideal for those looking to keep their bodies healthy and get the tremendous benefits from sprint workouts.
Below is a 4-week workout that is sure to burn fat and get you in phenomenal shape.
Concept 2 Rower
- Sprint workout week 1: do ten 100-meter sprints at 90% intensity, resting 60s between each sprint.
- Sprint workout week 2: do six 300-meter sprints at 80% intensity, resting 90s between each sprint.
- Sprint workout week 3: do eight 200-meter sprints at 90% intensity, resting 75s between each sprint.
- Sprint workout week 4: do eight 200-meter sprints at 100% intensity, resting 75s between each sprint.
- Sprint workout week 1: do ten 10-calorie sprints at 90% intensity, resting 60s between each sprint.
- Sprint workout week 2: do six 30-calorie sprints at 80% intensity, resting 90s between each sprint.
- Sprint workout week 3: do eight 20-calorie sprints at 90% intensity, resting 75s between each sprint.
- Sprint workout week 4: do eight 25-calorie sprints at 100% intensity, resting 75s between each sprint.
2. Perform The Ultimate Kettlebell Complex
In order to build lean muscle, you have to put the body under load for a significant amount of time. The problem for many of us is finding the time. Well, I have the solution for you.
Strength training complexes! Get a ton of work done in a short amount of time by implementing various complexes into your workout regimen. As described by coach Dan John, “A complex is a series of lifts performed back to back where you finish the reps of one lift before moving onto the next lift. The bar, dumbbell, or kettlebell only leaves your hands or touches the floor after all of the lifts are completed.”
My go-to strength-training complex is what I call the “Ultimate Kettlebell Complex”. It is a series of 5 movements that hits every major muscle group and movement pattern that the body can use. The “metabolic hit“ from this intense complex will not only leave you gasping for air but it will also force your body to adapt to the new stress you put on it and put on some muscle.
S0, grab a couple kettlebells and let’s get to work!
The Ultimate Kettlebell Complex
- Double KB Cleans
- Double KB Press
- Double KB Front Squat
- Double KB Deadlifts
- Farmers Carry about 50 feet
Ladies use 12-16 kilo bells, Guys use 16-24 kilo bells
3 rounds for 8 reps each. Rest as much as needed between sets
3. Take Fish Oil Everyday
This supplement really is a no-brainer, and most people are already aware of marine oil benefits, but it is worth repeating. Fish oil is a very critical supplement that I feel just about everyone should be taking at some level. It is one of the most studied supplements in the world, and you will have a hard time finding research, doctors, or nutritionists that are against taking any type of marine oil.
First, they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids containing (eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)) that are acids that play a critical role in brain function, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, anti-inflammatory and are hormone-like compounds that affect almost every system in the body.
So, why can’t we just eat some fish and be good you ask? Well first, most of our fish is either poorly farmed raised, or contains a lot of heavy metals, and do not have the amount of EPA and DHA necessary to reap the full benefits of this superfood (there are still some great fish out there, so keep eating fish). I prefer calamari oil for it’s DHA content and krill oil because of its high absorption rate.
4. Slow down your eating for better digestion
Four primary advantages to slower eating habits are
- Rushed meals = Natural satiety fails to kick in.
- You increase your ability to lose or maintain weight, improving digestion.
- Reduce overall caloric consumption for better fat loss.
- Increase absorption for better recovery and muscle growth.
We’re a rushed, distracted, and over-the-top-busy society. This causes us all to rush when eating. Learning to eat more slowly can be one of the simplest yet most powerful things you can do to improve your overall health. Once you slow down your eating, you give your body time to recognize that you’re full. It takes a full twenty minutes from the start of a meal for the brain to begin sending out signals of satiety.
Most people’s meals don’t even last that long! I know mine don’t! This causes you to eat too many calories simply because you didn’t allow your body time to register that it no longer requires food.
Slow Eating: It’s Science!
Eating slowly also improves digestion. At the University of Rhode Island, researchers examined how eating speed affected the early stages of digestive processing by observing 60 young adults eat a meal.
Slow eaters consumed 2 ounces of food per minute. Medium, 2.5 ounces, fast eaters 3.1 ounces per minute.
Basically, fast eaters ate more food during this time. The food that they did consume was improperly digested due to the inadequacy of their chewing. Fast eaters are doomed from the start. Digestion starts in the mouth. The reason food needs to be broken down effectively is so that it can be turned into chime. Chime is the liquid mix of partially digested food, hydrochloric acid, digestive enzymes, and water that passes through the pyloric valve on it’s way to elimination.
Food that isn’t properly broken down may lead to indigestion and other potential GI problems. Eat your food slowly and you will improve digestion and reduce caloric intake, leading to better body composition and overall health.
Time to build some muscle!
There you have it, four simple and effective ways to build lean muscle. I am confident that if you implement these training and nutrition tips in your regimen, good things will happen!