Men often have a tendency to overdevelop their upper bodies at the expense of their lower bodies. There are also a few common misunderstandings about weight loss versus fat loss out there in relation to diet and nutrition. Don’t sabotage all your progress — especially if you’re trying to lose weight but gain muscle.
Gaining muscle is a delicate balance between consuming enough calories (from healthy foods) and routinely working out. In fact, it is difficult to do both at the same time without sabotaging muscle gain.
Squat Every Week, No Excuses
Squats help to build muscle everywhere south of your waistline. Each squat engages your quads, hamstrings and calves. When squats are done correctly, they trigger a higher rate of release of testosterone that leads to further muscle mass development. Squats help you to achieve the goal of effectively torching calories while building muscle. Additionally, they help to stabilize your core muscles and improve your balance to allow you to see improvements in all realms of your training.
The most common cause of sports injuries are a result of weak stabilizer muscles — muscles that cannot be built by bench presses alone. Squats help to build up the ligaments and connective tissues to support your body’s musculoskeletal system to prevent potential injury. Remember to stretch after your squat reps to further improve your flexibility and expand your range of motion in your ankles and hips.
Get Your Protein Right
It is common practice among athletes to up their protein intake when they are attempting to build muscle. Make sure that you are not going into it blindly though. There is such a thing as too much or too little protein, and it involves a simple calculation.
A 2015 review published in Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism shows that people intake around 25 percent of their calories from protein, meaning a 2,000-calorie diet equates to around 125 grams of protein a day. However, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends that to increase muscle mass, you must perform physical activity and consume 0.5 to 0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight. That ends up being about 80 to 135 grams in a 165-pound adult. If you aren’t getting enough protein in your diet, consider taking a protein supplement, like implementing smoothies into your post-workout routine.
Doing the right kind of cardio can make or break your lower-body muscle gain. Exercising is always more enjoyable when you can combine it with your favorite sport or by getting outdoors. If you enjoy running, try finding some new running trails that include some steep hills to keep it interesting. Pounding away on a treadmill or stationary bike is only for masochists and workaholics; opt to exercise outside for some vitamin D and fresh air. Spend your cardio days skiing at your favorite resort or swimming in the ocean. Downhill skiing and swimming are great workouts for the lower body that activate different muscle groups than running or cycling.
Complete body fitness is important to maintain for both men and women. Practice fitness safety, such as stretching, warming up and down, to prevent potential injury. Make sure to switch up your training routine to include your lower body, as well to protect yourself from potential injury and to increase your overall body fitness. Investing a bit of time researching the proper nutrition standards to build your muscle growth without losing or gaining too much weight will pay off, and your body will reap the rewards.