Try Protein Shake Recipes
Combine your favorite ingredients with protein powder to create refreshing, delicious protein shakes for muscle building.
Blend the following ingredients together to create a custom-made protein smoothie:
- 1 1/2 2 cups of milk or plant milk
- 1 scoop of protein powder
- 1/4 cup of fruit OR 1 teaspoon of nut butter OR coffee OR matcha green tea powder
- A handful of ice
Use this basic protein shake recipe but plugin ingredients of your choice based on your taste preferences.
When using protein shakes for weight loss, drink them as meal replacements or consume smaller shakes between meals.
Losing Fat And Gaining Muscle At The Same Time
To understand why losing fat while gaining muscle can be problematic, we need to explore both processes.
Lets consider the following points:
To lose fat, your body needs to be in a caloric deficit. This deficit forces your body to use pre-existing fat stores for fuel.
To gain muscle, your body needs to be in a caloric surplus. This surplus provides the energy your body requires to repair and build bigger muscles.
Given this, losing fat at the same time one is gaining muscle seems impossible.
However, if we go a few steps deeper into the science, it IS possible!
To appreciate the nuance here, letâs get into some specifics on losing fat and gaining muscle separately, and then weâll combine them.
The Importance Of Protein
When youre trying to build muscle, the right diet is critical.
A healthy diet rich in whole foods, such as fresh produce, healthy fats, complex carbohydrates and protein, is best for everyone, regardless of fitness goals.
Individuals trying to reform their body composition may need to focus on bumping up their protein intake, as studies have shown that a high-protein diet is necessary for promoting muscle growth.
For example, a recent review concluded that 0.731 gram of protein per pound of body weight per day is best for maximizing muscle gain and strength .
Another review of 49 studies found that even though participants consumed an average 0.64 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day, supplementing with 35 grams of additional protein daily led to even further gains in lean body mass .
This review included people in resistance training programs.
The researchers concluded that consuming the recommended daily allowance of 0.36 grams per pound appears insufficient for those who have the goal of gaining greater strength and fat-free mass with resistance training .
Whats more, research from the International Society of Sports Nutrition suggests that even higher protein intakes of 1.11.4 grams per pound per day may be needed to maintain lean body mass in resistance-trained people who are following low-calorie diets .
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Protein: The Muscle Building Macronutrient
Adding more protein in your muscle gain diet can benefit you in multiple ways, as listed below:
A big reason why people fall off the diet wagon and quit their diets is because theyre hungry all the time. With food restrictions and calorie restrictions, the mentality of feeling deprived every day leads to an increase in hunger. Adding a substantial amount of protein to every meal will leave you feeling satisfied and keep hunger at bay.
Boost Your Metabolism
Out of all three macronutrientsprotein, fat, and carbsprotein has the highest thermogenic effect. Everything you eat takes energy to digest, store, and absorb the nutrients, and discard whatever is left. The digestion of protein takes the most energy out of all three, so about 30% of the protein you eat gets burned off in the digestion process, increasing your metabolism.
Build and Retain Muscle Mass
Muscle itself is metabolically expensive to maintain. It costs a lot of energy and calories not just to build muscle but also to maintain it, because its active tissue.
Protein is a macronutrient that your body cannot store. This is why it is vital that you eat protein around the clock to support muscle growth and repair. Without protein, your body will be unable to build new muscles that you are breaking down in the gym.
Best Exercises For Gaining Muscle
Along with a high-protein, whole-foods diet, incorporating strength training exercise into your routine is crucial.
Strength training involves using resistance exercises to build strength and muscle mass. An example of strength training is lifting weights.
If building muscle and reducing fat is your goal, experts recommend a training protocol of at least two days of resistance training per week.
A review of 10 studies demonstrated that resistance training twice per week was more effective at maximizing muscle growth than training just once per week .
Combining strength training exercises like squats, bench presses, pushups and other muscle-building exercises for two to three days per week alongside one to two days per week of interval training may be the perfect combination.
Studies show that combining high-intensity interval training with resistance training leads to fat loss, as well as increased muscle mass and strength .
To build muscle, increase your protein intake to at least 0.73 grams per pound of body weight per day and complete strength-training exercises at least twice per week.
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First Lets Talk About Cutting Calories If Youre Trying To Cut Calories To Lose Weight There Are A Few Things You Need To Know To Do It Safely
You need to create a calorie deficit to lose weightthat is, you need to consume fewer calories than the energy you burn at rest and during your workout. But thats only when you want to lose weight. If youre looking to lose fat and gain muscle, your number on the scale might not budgeor might even go up!even though your physique is changing dramatically. In fact, you might even notice that you look slimmer or more toned even though you havent lost weight. Thats simply because youre gaining muscle and losing fat.
Were not suggesting that you should cut calories, but if thats something you want to do, youll need to keep a few things in mind. For one, if you cut too much at once youll only sabotage your efforts. Restricting calories too severely leaves you with limited energy to complete a workout, and ultimately slows your metabolism. Drastic changes in calories make your body compensate metabolically to defend your initial body weight. Therefore, your body will decrease the amount of energy burned to conserve calories and prevent weight loss, says Kristen F. Gradney, R.D.N., director of nutrition and metabolic services at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Healthy Fats Are Great For You
Some people are simply afraid of the word fat. And you shouldnt be! Most people, especially when they are working on trimming off excess fat, think that eliminating fat from their diet is a must-do. But the reality is that this is not true.
Fat usually supplies energy to your muscles when youre going about the day, particularly when youre working out. What fats should you incorporate into your meals? Fatty fish like salmon, extra virgin olive oil, almonds, and avocados are all good choices.
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Forget About Weight Loss
Body recomposition isn’t about weight loss it’s about fat loss. On a body recomposition plan, you may maintain your current weight or even gain weight — remember hearing “muscle weighs more than fat”? This is semi-true. Muscle is denser than fat.
During body recomposition, what changes, instead of weight, is your physique. As you progress through body recomposition, you may notice changes in your body, such as an overall firmer look or that your clothes fit differently. You may even gain weight, but have a smaller physique, at the end of your body recomposition program.
For example, I weigh exactly the same now as I did before I started exercising and eating healthy. I wear smaller clothes, however, and my body has more muscle tone than it did before. I also feel much stronger than before I began a strength training program . So you can ditch the scale, because it doesn’t differentiate between fat loss and muscle loss, and weight loss isn’t the primary goal with body recomposition.
There’s one caveat to consider, though: If you want to lose a large amount of body fat and don’t intend to put on much muscle mass, you may lose weight in the long run.
How To Choose The Right Diet
Realistically, the best diet for you is one that you can stick to.
You aren’t going to get results on any diet unless you can stick to it. It is consistency over time that will help you reach your goals – not perfect eating and not a few weeks of perfect eating. Simply put, if you can stay on track most of the time and be patient, you will get there, and are more likely to stay there.
While a little sacrifice is needed, getting healthy, losing weight, etc. doesn’t have to be painful. And you shouldn’t feel forced to eat foods you just don’t enjoy. Your food preferences and how certain foods make you feel is an important considerations before going on any new eating plan. If your food is making you feel tired, bloated, or just plain awful, this could be a sign this diet is not a good fit.
Bottom line, if you’re having a hard time trying to decide what meal plan fits you best, here are a few key things to keep in mind:
- Pick the diet that includes foods you enjoy eating
- Stick with a diet that makes you feel good, physically and mentally
- Choose the diet you can maintain the longest
- Be consistent and give yourself time to be successful, no matter what diet you choose
Take this simple quiz to get paired with your perfect meal plan based on your taste preferences and personal health goals.
Your results on their way to your email inbox!
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Put It All Together: Calorie Cycling
It sounds confusing that you have to eat fewer calories than you burn to lose fat, but you have to eat more calories than you burn to build muscle. It’s actually pretty simple when you learn about the concept of calorie cycling: modifying your calorie and macronutrient intake to match your goal for the day.
The first thing you need to do is figure out your maintenance calories, or how many calories you burn on a day you don’t exercise. You can see a certified personal trainer, dietitian or other health professional to find this number, or you can use an online calorie calculator. This one from Mayo Clinic uses the Mifflin-St. Jeor equation, which pros consider the gold standard.
On days that you do cardio exercise, you should consume enough calories to meet your maintenance number. Consuming maintenance calories on a cardio day ensures that you’re in a slight deficit to promote fat loss, but not in a deficit so large that your body starts using muscle tissue as fuel. We want the muscle!
On days that you do a strength training workout for 30 minutes or more, eat more calories than your maintenance number with a focus on protein. Depending on how much muscle you want to put on and how quickly you want to gain it, add 5% to 15% to your maintenance calories.
On days that you don’t work out at all, eat slightly less than your maintenance calories — decrease that number by 5% to 10%. This number is called your “rest day calories.”
Eat Protein Every Day To Lose Fat And Build Muscle
Protein is essential to both fat loss and muscle gain. For fat loss, include protein in every meal to have an increased thermic effect. You see, protein-rich foods help to increase your metabolism because your body requires more energy to digest them.
Which foods increase the thermogenesis, or fat burning process?
- Chicken and turkey
- Cottage cheese and full-fat yogurt
- Red meat like pork and beef
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Be Aware Of Your Carbohydrates
No, I didn’t say “beware of carbs.” But if you want to build and burn at the same time, I wouldn’t advise consuming carbs when you don’t need them!
The best times to give yourself larger portions of carbs is before and after workouts. This is when they can power your workouts and get burned off. The rest of the time, limit yourself to no more than 25-35 grams in other meals, and make them high-fiber, vegetable-based carbs.
Why Rest And Recovery Are Essential
In addition to eating healthfully and exercising, rest is equally important when aiming for a certain fitness goal. Building muscle isnt as simple as lifting weights and eating more protein. When challenged to lift heavier weights or push through added resistance, your body breaks down muscle fibers before building them back up. This process is known as muscle hypertrophy, and it’s what increases muscle size and mass.
Your body needs time off to recover and repair itself. Plan to take at least one or two days off from your workouts each week. If you feel that your body is not coping with the volume and intensity of your exercise plan, consider reducing it by half or taking a few additional days off.
Getting enough sleep is also imperative. Research from 2019 on sleep and exercise in athletes found that there are clear negative effects of sleep deprivation on performance, such as less-than-optimal endurance, strength, vigor, reaction time, and accuracy.
Aim to get a consistent amount of sleep each night by going to bed and waking up at the same time, even on weekends.
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Calculate Your Basal Metabolic Rate
Your BMR is the number of calories you use daily at rest. Many factors, including your gender, activity level, and weight, influence the final figure you get when calculating your BMR. The most common way of estimating your BMR is by using the Harris-Benedict equation.
This formula factors your weight, height, age, and gender to get your BMR. Heres how you can get yours:
Men: BMR = + + 5
Women: BMR = + 161
Using a 190 cm 30-year-old male weighing 85 kg as an example, the result will be about 1900 calories. This means that his approximate daily calorie burn at rest is 1900 calories. This is the bare minimum your body needs for optimal performance. Going below this will result in your metabolism stuttering.
How To Get Started With Intermittent Fasting
Thats the easy part: just stop eating! To get started, you may want to test the waters and skip one meal on one day. Then, gradually build that up to two meals, and so on. It can also help to identify your main goals for why youre wanting to begin intermittent fasting. That way, youll have a good foundation for how to eat during your eating windows to make the most of the food youre consuming.
As for what foods to eat during your eating windows, check out my Clean Eating for Beginners for an introduction into clean eating, as its very important to remove processed foods from your diet and include more whole, unrefined foods. That being said, Intermittent Fasting works great with any healthy lifestyle diet as well, such as Paleo, Keto, Whole30, Clean Eating, etc.
It should be noted that, if you have current medical issues, you should consult with your doctor before undergoing any major lifestyle or dietary changes, as it can have an effect on your medication, if applicable.
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How To Calculate Macros For Weight Loss And Muscle Gain
Keeping track of your macros is crucial if you want to achieve your fitness goals. However, if youre new to this, you probably wont know how to count macros for weight loss and muscle gain. Worry not, weve got your back.
First off, here are some tips that will guide you through the process:
Always Maintain A Reasonable Calorie Deficit
The logic is simple. You go too big, and your muscles wont grow. Go too small, and the rate at which you lose fat will be extremely slow.
Have A Comprehensive Weight Training Program
These programs will ensure that youre actively breaking down muscle tissues and allowing them time to repair. This will help you come out of the program with more robust and bigger muscles.
Include Enough Protein For Muscle Growth In Your Diet
Always make sure you get enough protein to enhance protein synthesis while outweighing protein breakdown.
Make Sure Your Hormonal Levels Are Balanced
Losing fats and muscles heavily depends on hormones. These hormones are responsible for releasing fat stores and building muscle tissues. The best way to achieve a healthy hormonal balance is by eating a nutrient-dense diet, getting plenty of sleep, and exercising.
Now lets look at how you can calculate your macros for muscle gain and weight loss.
Meals To Eat Daily For Weight Loss And Muscle Growth
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Believe it or not, summer is just around the corner, and if youre looking to tighten up your midsection, lose some of the stubborn fat and gain some muscle, keep reading. Luckily not all foods are created equal, and there are some foods that are better for weight loss than others. To hit your weight goals it will not only take a structured diet, but also a lot of hard work. Especially when its so easy to lounge in sweats all day and choose Netflix over your Bowflex. But hey, you gotta fight that dreaded Covid-15 somehow, and its going to take work.
Turning fat into muscle can only be done by getting into a set workout routine and getting after it. However, too many people make the mistake of going to the gym to make those gains, but they slack on their diet and they dont see any results. Eating some of the best foods for weight loss is one of the most effective ways to lose weight. Working out will help you build the body you want, but your diet will allow you to really see the effects of your discipline.
So, what are the best foods for weight loss?
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