Dedication, determination and discipline—All three of these are needed if you want to build a strong, lean, muscular figure. But you also need a plan! Here are a few things to keep in mind if you're looking to make a physical transformation.
1. Reduce Calorie Intake
Calorie intake is key to losing fat. But the amount of calories your body needs is different for everyone. It all depends on your weight, age, gender, size and activity level.
Tip: Many people don't realize this, but not eating enough calories per day can lead to muscle loss. Women should be eating at least 1,200 calories per day, and men should be eating no less than 1,800 calories. But remember, it's different for everyone, so consulting with a professional is your best bet in getting it right.
2. Maintain A High Protein Diet
A high-protein diet contributes to the preservation and growth of lean muscle, particularly when you're trying to cut back on calories for weight loss. Ideally, you should be consuming 0.9 grams of protein per pound of your body weight daily. For example, a 150-pound person would benefit from 135 grams of protein spread between all meals and snacks.
Tip: Your meals should have a balance between protein, gains and greens. Some healthy sources of protein are lean meat, fish, low-fat dairy, poultry and soy. Consuming protein after workouts is also beneficial for muscle growth.
3. Hit the Weights
A lot of people forget that weight training helps with weight loss, not just cardio. Strength training helps you maintain lean muscle as you reduce calories and is essential to adding more muscle. You should work weights into your exercise routine at least twice per week.
Tip: Just because you may not be lifting as heavy of weights as the person next to you, doesn't mean you're not building muscle. Start off with light weights and work your way up. It's better for your body, and it minimizes the chance of injury.