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Cardio for Lifters: Lose Fat While Keeping Your Gains

It may sound like an impossible feat, but yes, you can lose fat and gain muscle simultaneously!

There's no denying that losing and gaining is the exact opposite of each other. They’re each other’s North and South pole, so it’s quite hard to believe they can be done at the same time. As a matter of fact, fat loss requires decreasing your body mass while gaining muscle requires the opposite. But we kid you not! There's no leg pulling in this fact, only pure Science.

Here's how it can be done:     

Balance Strength Training and Cardio

Cardio is usually encouraged to lose weight, while strength training is for building the muscle. Infusing these two can absolutely unlock so many benefits including toning your muscles and shedding off the fat all at the same time. 

According to James Shapiro, an independent trainer with PES certification and master's degree in exercise science based in New York, it is important to focus on large movement requiring a number of muscle groups to work at the same time such as deadlifting, bench pressing, rowing, and squats. 

These routines are the best way to work the muscle fibers. As for cardio, Shapiro says that the more cardio that you perform, the less muscle synthesis promotion happens in your body. Therefore, it would be ideal to minimize your cardio workout to about 20 minutes.

Consume Enough Protein
Protein plays a vital role in building the muscles, so it only makes sense that you should add enough of it on your diet. Eggs, almonds, chicken breast, milk, cottage cheese, and Greek yogurt are some of the popular protein-rich foods. And by the way, it's important to choose a protein source that will give you full amino acid blend.                   


Consider Doing Fasted Workouts
A fasted workout is a great way to get your body to burn fat while also promoting muscle building. Since glycogen is usually drained in the morning, your body turns to fat instead of energy. In other words, you'll burn more fats when working out with an empty stomach. Additionally, fasted workouts are known to improve insulin sensitivity.

A new study backs up the fact that a fasted workout helps you burn fat and build muscle because it increases your body's growth hormone.


Sleep Better
High cortisol levels and stunted growth hormone are two things that can negatively impact your fitness journey. Cortisol is a natural stress chemical that is produced in our body as an internal response. The higher its level, the greater it can affect water retention in our bodies - making us feel bloated and making it harder for us to shed off fat. Growth hormone, on the other hand, is a trigger that builds muscle synthesis -- it's at its highest peak when we are sleeping. So, if you get a better sleep every night, that only means that your cortisol levels will decrease and your growth hormone function will improve.

And there you have it! Four ways that can help you lose and gain at the same time.