Grow Muscle to Get Leaner

We’ve had it all wrong. We’ve been looking at fitness backwards and sabotaging ourselves in the process.
 
I keep meeting people who are so focused on fat loss that their eating is out of whack and their workouts are ineffective. They’ll go through periods of having overly-restrictive meals not suited for the amount of activity they’re doing (usually too low in carbs), or periods of excessive fasting. I see both dietary strategies result in the same thing: splurging and overindulgence, guilt, then the effort to “burn off” what they ate at the gym.
 
And to top it off, this miserable cycle leaves them with a physique they’re not even happy with.
 
When your main priority is fat loss and only fat loss for an extended period of time, and when going to the gym is simply a means to compensate for the food you eat, you’re doing yourself a huge disservice. 
 
Your effort to lose fat can actually make you put on more fat.
 
Here’s how it happens: First, you undershoot your nutritional needs. Then, overeat as a result of what your body missed out on. And consequently, you accomplish less than you’re capable of at the gym because you’re either hungry and weak when you go, or you’re punishing yourself by trying to undo what you ate. This is a total mess.
 
Here’s how to change it.
 
Improve Your Intentions
 
Shift your thinking. See working out as a way to build yourself up. See food as the building blocks to do so. Eat regularly for this goal. It doesn’t require restriction. It requires balance. 
 
This shift in thinking will do three things for you:
 
Benefit #1. You’ll gain the right kind of control. 
 
Thinking in terms of muscle growth takes the pressure off. You won’t be obsessed with eating less or stressed out if you slip up and overeat. And by trying to build yourself up, you’ll stop eating restrictively and negate the unplanned overindulgences.
 
Feeding yourself for growth will balance out your eating. Rather than struggling to eat less than an appropriate amount, you’ll aim for eating the best amount and the best stuff for your needs. Instead of thinking, “I need to burn off this morning’s carbs” you’ll think, “this morning’s carbs will help me build muscle.”
 
Benefit #2. Regular meals will make you leaner. 
 
Contrary to what many fasting fanatics believe, appropriate meals at regular intervals helps a lot of people get and stay lean. It has for me, and it has for all of the clients I’ve seen who would continually overeat at night because they didn’t consume enough food in the morning. Fasting is not their friend.
 
Consider this: Why do sumo wrestlers eat twice a day with long periods of not eating in between each meal? Because it’s effective at making them huge -- in a sumo way.
 
And why do 9 out of 10 figure competitors and fitness models eat 6 meals a day? Well, they wouldn’t be eating and preparing all those meals if that wasn’t also effective. Standing on stage in a bikini and having your body judged removes all your bullshit “beliefs”. You do what works, period. And won’t be swayed by the compelling dogma of any popular diet
 
Which physique is more aligned with your goals, sumo or fitness model? 
 
Benefit #3. You’ll become a machine. 
 
When you’re feeding yourself for muscle growth and focusing on building it in the gym, you’ll be far more effective at kicking ass and taking pleasure in it. Going to the gym will no longer feel like punishment or penance, and you’ll probably be lifting a lot heavier and hitting more muscle groups in a variety of ways. 
 
And instead of just trying to break even and undo what you ate, you'll continually make progress at the gym.
 
That progress is what will keep you going back to the gym. Because when you’re not trying to punish yourself or shrink yourself, working out gets a whole lot more enjoyable. You’re actually doing it for pleasure and making the most of your potential rather than squandering it. 
 
 
Eating enough food will mean that you’re not catabolizing muscle when you’re at the gym. Those who work out for caloric compensation often train fasted and end up losing muscle tissue (even if they feasted the night before). If you want to become a fat-burning machine, muscle is your best friend. Going to the gym and allowing it to be eaten up by activity does the opposite of what you need in order to be lean.
 
When to Drop the Fat Loss Goal
 
Sure, there are times when focusing on fat loss is a perfectly fine thing to do. But if that’s continually your goal, and has been for a long time, there's a problem.
 
Follow the fat loss goal to its logical conclusions. (Which one can you relate to?)
 
Logical Conclusion #1. You lose the fat you need to lose, and then find another goal. 
 
Logical Conclusion #2. You never lose the fat (or lose it temporarily) and you continue striving for fat loss in unattainable or ineffective ways. 
 
Logical Conclusion #3. You lose all the fat you need to lose, and then become sick, weak, and frail because your life still revolves around fat loss
 
I don’t know about you, but logical conclusion number one looks like the best option to me. You don’t have to be fixated with fat loss for the rest of your life in order to look and feel amazing.
 
Choose Building Over Burning
 
Be constructive in your thinking when it comes to your fitness and nutrition. Eat consistently and for nourishment. In doing so you’ll train yourself to take pleasure in foods that make you healthier. 
 
Don’t lift weights to burn calories, lose fat, or shrink. Lift weights to grow. Because focusing on building muscle will take care of all the “burning” you need. You’ll feel a lot better, and ironically, become leaner as a result. 
 
 
See the hot chick at the top of the page? That's my friend Kelly Dessington. Kelly focuses on building muscle, and as a result she doesn't have to stress about fat loss. Let's join her.