“Exercise for Weight Loss” is an article series detailing the most successful exercise strategies that can be used to assist in speeding up the weight loss process, and help you end-up with a sleek, toned physique once your body weight gets down to your goal-weight. 

How to optimise your diet for building strength

If you’re dieting at the same time that you are trying to build strength, you’re in a tough situation. You’re really trying to build muscle tissue (anabolic) while reducing fat tissue (catabolic).

These two processes are almost impossible to achieve at the same time, except for complete exercise novices (for whom the training stimulus is so new that they are able, for a while, to do both). For the rest of us, the reality is that while you can get a little stronger while losing weight, you’re not going to significantly build muscle tissue if you don’t eat enough calories to do so.

So what to do? You want to be strong AND lean

Separate the two. Just for now!

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Get strong first, and then diet the fat away after. This may not be the answer you were hoping for, but it’s the most effective way to do it. You see, building more muscle first means you’ll burn fat off faster later, and keep it off, too.

How do you do that, diet wise?

First, eat more calories in general. You should be aiming to have a moderate caloric excess every day. But there’s a secret to this: you need to eat a lot of protein, a decent amount of carbs, and then fill the rest of your total up with fat. Aim for around 150 – 200 grams of protein per day. This is for the muscle building process. The carbs will help with training energy and muscle growth too.

Most importantly, you need to be training HARD. You need to stick to a strict, no-nonsense weight training programme, and you need to be focussed on building strength where it counts. There’s no point in eating more and not using the calories for good.

Take three months to build strength and eat more, and then do a three month slim-down diet by keeping your protein high and your training levels up. You’ll be amazed at the results.

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While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.