How Do I Build Up Muscle and Reduce My Stomach?

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question-icon-newIf a person wants to build up muscle mass and also wants to reduce his stomach at the same time, is it possible?

answer-icon-newIt’s very difficult to gain a large amount of muscle mass when you’re trying to reduce body fat. In order to add muscle mass, you need to substantially increase your calories and eat a lot of food every day. This surplus of calories will provide the necessary levels of protein, carbs and fat in your diet which will allow your body to build lean muscle tissue. The type of food you include in your muscle building nutrition plan is absolutely critical to your success in building quality muscle mass. You would never put cheap, low octane gas into a race car so don’t put cheap fuel into your body. Nutrition accounts for as much as 75% of your overall results when you’re trying to add quality muscle. Without eating the right foods at the right times, you are simply setting yourself up for failure. So, make sure to put as much energy and hard work into your muscle building diet plan as you will be putting into your weight lifting program.

The key macronutrient is protein. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and this is what builds up and maintains muscle tissue. Your goal should be to eat at least 1 gram per pound of body weight, every day. Divide this total number up into 5-6 meals for optimal results. Eating protein throughout the day helps keep a steady flow of nutrients to your body. For example, if you currently weigh 175 pounds then you should be eating at least 175 grams of protein each day. Each of your meals would then have around 30-35 grams of protein. Make sure to include a lean protein source every time you eat a meal and try to get your intake from complete protein sources such as skinless chicken breast, lean meat (top round, London broil), seafood (tuna, salmon, cod), turkey breast and egg whites.

For carbs, you should focus on eating 2-3 grams per pound of body weight each day. So, at 175 pounds you will be eating anywhere from 350-525 grams of carbs per day. You will also divide this total up into your 5-6 meals throughout the day which will provide a steady stream of nutrients to your muscles. Make sure you eat quality, clean carbs from sources such as sweet potatoes, brown rice, whole wheat bread (Ezekiel bread is the best), oatmeal and whole wheat pasta. The amount of carbs you eat will be different for each person, so you will want to really gauge the amount you eat based on the mirror. If it looks like you’re adding some additional fat when taking in the upper limit of carbohydrate grams (3 grams per pound of body weight), then taper down a little to 2 grams per pound of body weight and track your results for another week.

multi-joint-exercises-deadliftThe other key to adding lots of lean muscle tissue to your body is to make sure and train with compound multi-joint exercises like squats, bench press and deadlifts. By including more basic mass building movements into your routine, this will help recruit as many muscle fibers as possible. Your repetition range should be on the lower end since you will be lifting with high intensity to increase strength and overall muscle mass. Lower reps in the range of 5-7 work very well for adding size.

Also, limit your weight training workouts to a maximum of 60 minutes for the best results. Any longer than 1 hour per workout will result in diminishing gains since you run the risk of overtraining. You might even benefit from limiting your workouts to only 45 minutes (not including warm-up) since this will allow you to mentally know that you need to hit it extremely hard in a short time period and then get out of the gym to rest, recover and grow. When training at such a high level of intensity, it’s very important to listen to your body. If you feel run down or tired a few days in a row, don’t feel bad to take a day off completely from the gym and focus on resting up. Go to a movie or to the park and just totally relax from any physical activity. This will do wonders not only for your body but also for your mind.

While following a mass building nutrition and workout plan, it may be difficult to keep your stomach trim and tight unless you have a very fast metabolism. Eating a high level of calories and training with heavy weights will tend to add muscle along with a little fat. Just make sure to monitor your body fat levels very closely and cut back on the calories and carbs a little if you start gaining a too much fat around your midsection. Remember, the mirror does not lie and the camera is an even better tool to monitor your body so try to take photos each week to really be able to visually see any changes in your physique.

After your diet and workout routines, the last critical factor to packing on slabs of muscle mass is going to be rest and recovery. Getting enough sleep is paramount in your ability to recover from strenuous workouts and start the rebuilding process of repairing torn muscle fibers to make them grow bigger and stronger. You should be getting at least 8-9 hours of sleep each night. Ideally, shoot for 10 hours per night to make sure you are fully rested and recovered after each high intensity muscle building workout. The quality of sleep is also very important. Try to lower the overall temperature in your bedroom and keep it as dark as possible to get solid, deep sleep. Close all your blinds and try to “black out” your entire room in order to make it a nice cozy sanctuary for deep sleep and optimal recovery.

Also, try to avoid physical activity outside the gym if you’re overall goal is to pack on muscle mass and get big. You should avoid any extra strenuous activities such as playing sports (basketball, tennis, flag football, etc). Adding any extra activities outside the gym will be placing additional stress on your body and ultimately limiting your overall ability to pack on muscle mass.

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