When it comes to investing effort and time into achieving your perfect physique, it’s important to be confident in yourself and what you’re trying to do. You must know that everything you’re doing is going to help you achieve your desired body composition changes and that you have the ability not only to achieve those goals but to maintain them in the long term.
With this in mind, it’s important to understand the principles of body transformation – of losing fat and building muscle. So here, we take a closer look at the six key principles that everyone needs to know.
Training Hard Is Key
Although everyone knows that training hard is key to losing fat and building muscle, it’s surprising how many people actually fail at this first hurdle. Actually, in many cases, those who are training hard in the gym face some criticism or even mockery for grunting and straining. Yet, it’s important to understand that training hard is the only way to truly achieve your goals.
You need to choose weights that will take you almost to the point of muscular failure i.e. when you reach the last set of the exercise you should have only a couple of reps left in you. Most people bail long before they reach the point of muscular failure. Therefore, after every set, you should reflect on what you achieved and answer honestly – could you have done more? Would it have been possible to do just a few more repetitions if you really had to?
If you get to the end of your workout and think that it was quite easy, that doesn’t mean your session was too short. It also doesn’t mean that it wasn’t packed with the exercises you hate. It isn’t even because you didn’t finish off with half an hour of HIIT exercises. It’s because the amount of effort you were putting in wasn’t sufficient.
You weren’t working hard enough. Essentially, you were pacing yourself too well. If you’re able to work any harder safely, then you should. The intensity of your training can make all the difference between achieving a good result and achieving a great result. However, you shouldn’t sacrifice technique for effort – remember that you still need to focus on technique at the same level for the last few reps as for the first few.
Training Frequently Is Also Vital
Not only do you need to train hard, but you also have to train frequently, and that’s something which is frequently overlooked. Evidence shows that people who are training more often are able to hit higher weekly volumes. Since more volumes means more gains, it stands to reason that you should aim to train frequently.
Volume Has A Part To Play
In an ideal world, you should lift around three or four times each week, and you should be performing between three and five sets on every muscle group. That will help you to achieve an effective hypertrophy range each week of ten to twenty sets for each muscle group. Most of the sets should number between six and twelve repetitions – lots of reps means lots of volume.
Of course, some sets can be under six reps if you’re focusing more on strength, and some sets can have more than twelve reps if you’re keen to develop greater muscular endurance – after all, you’ll still see gains using a wide variety of repetition ranges, however, in general, most of your sets should include between six and twelve reps to achieve the best effect.
Consume Plenty Of Protein
You can’t build muscle without protein. It’s simply impossible. A lot of people underestimate the importance of protein, but it’s absolutely crucial to your muscle building goals. You can’t build a house without bricks, and protein is the bricks of the muscle world. If you don’t consume sufficient protein, you’ll be working hard but you’ll see minimal progress.
You need to consume somewhere between 1.6g and 2.4g of protein for every kilo of your own body weight every day. If you can achieve this goal, you’ll soon notice the difference in the effect your workouts achieve.
Don’t confuse overloading with training hard. They’re similar principles, but overloading progressively is more methodical than just hard training. Progressively overloading means that you’re increasing the time, frequency, intensity, or volume gradually.
You should reflect on the weights that you’ve been using in the last few weeks and be truthful with yourself about whether you could possibly lift more. Overloading progressively is a major hypertrophy driving force.
It’s also the primary reason that tracking your workout sessions is so important. Anyone who is lifting exactly the same amount of weight as they were the previous year is just riding their genetic potential wave or simply not overloading progressively in an effective way.
Eat The Right Number Of Calories
The final principle that we’re going to look at is consuming the right number of calories to help you reach your goals. If your goal is losing fat, you need to eat less calories. If you’re keen to maintain the weight that you’re currently at, you need to eat the right number of calories for maintenance in the long term.
If you’ve got no body fat that you want to lose but want to prioritise your muscle gain instead, the best idea is to eat slightly too many calories so that you have a small surplus. You should use a calorie calculator online to work out your individual calorie needs to make sure that you’re consuming the optimal amount on a daily basis.
Recapping The Principles
The six principles of losing fat and building muscle are:
- Training hard
- Training frequently
- Hitting ten to twenty sets for each muscle group each week
- Consuming enough protein
- Progressively increasing the amount of weight, you lift
- Eating the right number of calories
If you can stick to these six key principles, you should find it easier than you imagined to hit your goals.