Building Muscle

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This week I am starting a new weight training program, The Masters Hammer and Chisel (which BTW is on sale this month with the Shakeology challenge pack…sweet!) GOAL-to build me some mean, sexy, muscles for the summer!! While I’m super stoked and familiar with the importance of ‘lifting weights’, this time I haven’t taken on a full comprehensive program in conjunction with a portioned (clean) eating plan to support the muscle building. Here’s a few tips from Oxygen Magazine on how to Boost Metabolism and Build Muscle:

Strength Train to Build Muscle

Strength training is the absolute best way to boost your metabolism because it helps you to build and maintain muscle. Lifting weights stresses and breaks down your muscles, which respond by building more muscle cells to compensate for the new loads being placed upon them. These new cells require energy, and burn three times more calories than fat cells, even at rest.

Changing your rep range is another great way to switch things up. Use heavy weights and low reps (six to eight) for a few weeks to help your muscles grow, then follow with two weeks of higher reps (12 to 15) and lower weight to build endurance. Increasing your strength-training stamina will help you hit the weight stack for longer periods of time, therefore burning more calories in the process. Also try changing the time of day you train. Though there is no research proving that a particular time of day is better metabolically than another for lifting, you might find you have more energy in the morning than at night, or vice versa. More energy equals better focus, and better focus equals more intensity and more energy expended (and that means you burn more calories too!).

Add Intensity to Your Cardio Sessions

One Scottish study revealed that in just two weeks time, subjects were able to boost metabolism by doing intense 30-second cardio bursts. So instead of plodding for an hour on the treadmill or elliptical trainer, warm up thoroughly, then do five to 10 high-intensity, 30- to 60-second sprints with 30- to 60-second rests at a slower pace in between.

Fuel Your Metabolism with Clean Eating

In addition to your workouts, you know that nutrition is a vital piece of the metabolic puzzle – properly fueling your body with the necessary nutrients allows it to build muscle, metabolize fat and perform well in and out of the gym. As a clean-eater, munching on five to six small meals during the day already puts you on the right track. The more frequently you eat, the faster your metabolism and the more quickly you’ll lose fat and drop dress sizes.

But there’s more to the equation. What you eat is just as important, and when you’re talking metabolism, the key is protein. Those skinless chicken breasts and egg whites you’re including in your meals work to spike your metabolism in several ways. Not only are they superstar muscle-building foods, but they also have a thermogenic effect in your body. Proteins take a lot of effort and calories to process, and more than fat or carbohydrates. That means your body requires more energy to digest protein, and all that extra effort translates to more calories burned. As an active woman, reach for about one gram of protein per pound of body weight each day.

Lastly, make sure to avoid crash diets or drastically cutting your calories.For an average size woman, when you dip below 1,200 calories a day you can actually see negative metabolic changes and a decrease in metabolic rate, and that once your metabolic rate drops, you won’t be able to eat much without piling on some weight.

Think of your diet plan in the same way as your workouts: Approaching your meals with the goals of muscle-building and a boosted metabolic burn is the best way to get a body that stays lean, strong and healthy at every age.

Don’t Forget Your Rest Days

If you want to accelerate your metabolism, your rest days are just as important as your gym days. During off days, your body recovers and repairs itself, building more muscle cells to burn even more calories and boost your metabolic rate even higher. Continually exercising with no time off can lead to overtraining, which can cause you to become catabolic, literally eating the muscle cells you’ve worked so hard to add! Take at least one full day completely off from training per week, two if you’re working extra hard.

So the real question is, who is going to join me on building some mean, sexy, muscles!?


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