You’ve heard it before: “Abs are made in the kitchen.” While maintaining a healthy diet is certainly vital to burning fat and losing weight, it’s only half the battle. Strength training workouts, like high-intensity interval training (HIIT), are the most effective way to produce more muscle mass, burn more calories, and melt away fat.
It may seem obvious, but in order to build muscle, lifting heavy weights is key. Staying in a weight range that feels easy and comfortable (sorry to say) won’t make you any stronger. In order to see real results, it’s important to gradually increase the amount you’re lifting. Don’t go all out with ultra-hefty weights on your first gym visit, but do get comfortable feeling uncomfortable in order to start seeing progress. Always listen to your body and remember that you are stronger than you realize.
Once you start lifting heavy, consider not just how much but also how often you’re lifting. Mixing up the amount of reps you do will keep your body guessing and prevent plateau. Try doing a low amount of reps with heavy weights and a high amount of reps with lighter weights. Changing up what you’re doing every time you workout will ensure your body is always working hard, rather than adapting to one routine.
To build muscle, you’ll need to increase your usual calorie intake. Contrary to popular belief, increasing your calorie count won’t make you gain weight if you’re balancing your increased intake with regular exercise and eating the right foods. Adding healthy, natural foods to your daily diet – think lean proteins, vegetables, and fruits – can help you build muscle and look leaner. (Maybe abs really are made in the kitchen, after all.)
While you won’t build muscle and lose fat overnight, remaining consistent and committed is key. Both take time, so find a regular routine that works for you, stay committed to your plan, rest and recover when your body tells you to, and you will see results.