How to Build Muscle and Burn Fat While You Sleep
By BEN EZRA
Did you know that research suggests one of the best times to build muscle and burn fat is while you sleep?
By following the four steps below, you will effectively be able to build lean muscle while simultaneously burning fat. Here's how:
1. Lift Heavy Weights
One of the best ways to prime your body for both muscle gain and fat loss is by following a proper workout regimen--and that involves weight training.
Studies suggest that people who lift weights on a regular basis will not only build more muscle, but will also increase their resting metabolic rate (RMR). This allows them to burn more calories throughout the day while at rest.
[Read More: Get Six-Pack Abs With Zero Sit-Ups]
Your resting metabolic rate naturally decreases with age, so following a proper weight-training program can help reverse this process and maintain an increased RMR that allows you to also burn more fat in the process.
Adding a number of compound exercises to your routine -- squats, deadlifts, bench press, wide-grip pull-downs, chin-ups, push-ups, etc. -- will help you get stronger, build more muscle and burn more fat faster.
2. Add High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
Another great way to boost your fat-burning results is to incorporate high-intensity interval training (HIIT) into your workouts. HIIT is all about short, intense anaerobic exercise with lower-intensity recovery periods.
HIIT will also boost your excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), which basically means that your body will burn far more additional calories long after your workout is completed.
Example HIIT workout: sprinting as fast as you can for 10 to 30 seconds, immediately followed by 20 to 40 seconds of light walking or jogging, and then repeat the process between four and seven times. You can also substitute the sprints with other forms of intense exercise like cycling or jumping rope.
[Read More: 8 Foods That Boost Energy]
The key is to be as intense as possible and really push your body hard. You can also turn your weightlifting workouts into a form of HIIT by keeping your rest time between sets and exercises to about 30 seconds or less.
These HIIT workouts are usually short, but they are extremely intense and will definitely have you huffing and puffing by the end of them, but the benefits are worth it.
I would recommend HIIT as an alternative (or addition) to any other forms of aerobic exercises.
3. Track Your Calories
This is the step most people have trouble with, yet it's the most crucial part of building muscle or burning fat.
The key is to find out how many calories you need to maintain your current weight by using an online calorie tracker. Once you find out how many calories you need to consume, try to stay close to that number while you add steps 1 and 2 to your exercise regimen.
Track your results for two weeks or so. If you are getting stronger and leaner you can try adding 100 to 200 more quality calories to your diet. If you're going in the opposite direction make sure you're calculating your calories correctly and try decreasing your calorie intake.
4. Get Eight Hours of Quality Sleep
Quality sleep is the final piece to the puzzle for building muscle. Sleep allows your body and muscles to properly repair and recover from all your hard work in the gym -- and it will also promote healthy hormone levels.
And due to the increase of your EPOC from HIIT and lifting heavy, your body will be primed to burn more fat as you sleep and recover.
Readers -- Do you follow any (or all) of the tips mentioned above? Did you find this article helpful? Do you have a favorite workout method? Leave a comment below and let us know.
Ben Ezra is an author and fitness expert who specializes in helping people lose belly fat, get six-pack abs and build muscle. He is also a model and has been featured on the covers of more than 20 romance novels worldwide. Ben is the creator of Abs NOW! and author of the Guide to Six-Pack Abs.
Dattilo, M., Antunes, H. K. M., Medeiros, A., Mônico Neto, M., Souza, H. S., Tufik, S., & de Mello, M. T. (2011). Sleep and muscle recovery: Endocrinological and molecular basis for a new and promising hypothesis. Medical Hypotheses, 77(2), 220-222. doi:10.1016/j.mehy.2011.04.017 (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21550729)
Paoli, A., Moro,T., Marcolin, G., Neri, M., Bianco,A., Palma, A., & Grimaldi, K. ( 2012). High-Intensity Interval Resistance Training (HIRT) influences resting energy expenditure and respiratory ratio in non-dieting individuals. Journal of Translational Medicine, 10(237), 1-8.doi:10.1186/1479-5876-10-237 (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23176325)
Knab, A.M., Shanely, R.A., Corbin, K. (2011). A 45-Minute Vigorous Exercise Bout Increases Metabolic Rate for 14 Hours. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 43(9), 1643-8. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3182118891. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21311363)
Braun, W. A., Hawthorne, W. E., & Markofski, M. M. (2005). Acute EPOC response in women to circuit training and treadmill exercise of matched oxygen consumption. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 94(5-6), 500-504. doi:10.1007/s00421-005-1383-7 (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15942765)