Getting the perfect body requires a strong commitment to a healthy diet and exercise program. Luckily, as a man, your muscle mass makes it easier for you to lose fat and build muscle than a woman. However, it's unrealistic to expect to get the perfect body really fast. Fat loss and muscle growth take time. Consult your doctor before making drastic changes to your eating and exercise habits to discuss how best to reach your goals.
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Perfect Diet for a Man
Although it's tempting to just eat just steak and eggs, for the perfect body, you need more than just protein. A well-rounded meal plan gives your body the right nutrients to support muscle growth and fat loss -- a healthy balance of protein, carbs and fat. For muscle building, aim for 10 to 35 percent of calories from protein or 0.5 to 0.8 grams per pound of body fat. So, for example, a 185-pound man needs 93 to 148 grams of protein a day. In addition to eggs and steak, poultry, fish, yogurt, milk, tofu and beans also provide protein. Include protein with each meal and snack to meet needs and preserve and promote muscle growth.
Skipping carbs or fat won't help get results faster. These nutrients provide energy, and if you're not getting enough, your body may break down muscle for energy. At least 50 percent of calories should come from carbs such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Nuts, seeds, vegetable oils and avocados are healthy fat choices for your diet plan. Aim for 20 to 35 percent of calories from fat.
The number of calories you need depends on your current weight, height, age and activity level. Plug your information into an online calculator to retrieve your calories needs to maintain your current weight; then, subtract or add calories depending on whether you're trying to lose or gain weight. To prevent loss of muscle, do not eat fewer than 1,800 calories a day.
Sculpt the Body You Want
Whether you have weight to lose or you simply want to bulk up, weight-training shapes and builds muscles to help create your ideal physique. Use free weights, weight machines, body weight or medicine balls to work out your muscles. According to the American College of Sports and Medicine, men should weight train two to three days a week for fast results. Include eight to 10 exercises, aiming to hit each of your major muscle groups -- arms, legs, chest, back, shoulders, legs and abs -- at each workout, completing eight to 12 reps of each exercise. As your strength improves and your muscles grow larger, increase the weight or number of reps to continue to challenge your muscles to reach your fitness goals. If you're not sure where to begin, consult a fitness professional for assistance developing a plan that's tailor-made for you.
Burn Fat With Cardio
Cardiovascular exercise is essential in your pursuit of the perfect body. For the greatest health benefits, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that you engage in moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, such as a fast-paced walk, most days of the week, for 60 minutes.
High-intensity interval training may also be beneficial in helping you perfect your physique. HIIT burns more calories during and for about two hours after exercise than do other types of endurance activities. This form of aerobic exercise alternates between periods of high-intensity and low-intensity exercise for a set period of time. For example, you might include a 60-second sprint followed by a 4-minute jog alternating back and forth five times for a period of 25 minutes. Limit HIIT to once or twice a week to allow for proper recovery time, according to ACSM.
Keep a Positive Attitude
In pursuit of your perfect body, it's important to be realistic. While you might be aiming for six-pack abs and bulging biceps, your genetics may say otherwise. According to Brown University, once a man reaches his peak muscle mass, it's impossible to add anymore without adding both muscle and fat. Remember: Building your perfect body takes time. Stay positive and celebrate each goal as you complete, such as losing a few pounds or increasing the amount of weight you lift.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- WeightLossResources.co.uk: A Diet for Men
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: 4 Keys to Strength Building and Muscle Mass
- American College of Sports Medicine: Protein Intake for Optimal Muscle Maintenance
- McKinley Health Center: Breaking Down Your Metabolism
- American College of Sports Medicine: Resistance Training for Health and Fitness
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: How Much Physical Activity Do Adults Need?
- American College of Sports Medicine: High-Intensity Interval Training
- Brown University: Body Image
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: 4 Ways to Shed the Weight for Good
- Baylor College of Medicine: Adult BMI and Calorie Calculator