You’ve put on some extra muscle, but while building muscle mass, you’ve also gained excess body fat. Reducing your body fat percentage will help increase muscle definition, making your body appear lean and chiseled. Implementing a strategy that includes high intensity workouts and a specialized diet will help you shed layers of fat to reveal the muscle underneath.
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Lift weights four days per week. Plan your workouts by muscle group. Train quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and calves on Monday, back, bicep and shoulders on Tuesday, abs and core on Thursday and chest and triceps on Friday. Include a variety of compound exercises in your workouts, such as lunges, squats, pullups, bench press, triceps dips, pushups and overhead shoulder press to work multiple muscles simultaneously. Perform each exercise for four sets of 10 to 12 repetitions. Train with heavy resistance. Completing more than 12 repetitions per set should be a challenge.
Engage in high intensity interval training, or HIIT cardio, four days per week to burn body fat. Jog on the treadmill for two minutes and walk for two minutes or sprint on the stationary bike with light resistance for 30 seconds and pedal at a slow pace with high resistance for one minute. Alternate speeds for 20 to 30 minutes. Use variety when performing intervals. HIIT cardio can be performed on the treadmill, stationary bike, step mill or elliptical machine.
Reduce your calorie intake to encourage fat loss. Monitor your calorie consumption with an online food journal such as My Plate. Decrease your calorie intake by a small amount, such as 250 to 500 calories per day.
Adjust your carbohydrate consumption. Eat complex carbohydrates such as oatmeal, brown rice, sweet potato, vegetables and fruit. Avoid high-sugar, high-calorie, simple carbohydrates, such as white rice, white breads and pastas, desserts and crackers.
Eat frequently. Consume a small meal every three hours to constantly feed your muscles and prevent hunger. Include a serving of complex carbohydrates at each meal. For example, have 4- to 6-oz. of tilapia with ½ cup of brown rice and a cup of green beans.
Measure your results by having your body fat calculated bi-weekly by a fitness professional. Avoid judging your progress by the scale alone, since muscle weighs more than fat.
- American Council on Exercise: High-Intensity Interval Training
- "Personal Fitness Trainer Manual: Fundamentals"; National Federation of Professional Trainers; 2008
- "Sports Nutrition Manual"; National Federation of Professional Trainers; 2006