You are here

Better Habits, Better Results

Six ways to tweak your current fitness strategy and boost your gains

Advertisement

You probably first learned how to build muscle and lose fat by watching other guys in your gym. Some of them got it right, others definitely did not. Still, you made some gains, and now you're looking to be one of the guys others come to for counsel.

Well, embrace these six simple nutrition and diet fixes—in most cases, minor tweaks to already good ideas that make a big difference—and you'll build muscle and burn fat even more effectively. You'll be one step closer to being the gold standard in the gym.

1) WHAT YOU'RE DOING NOW:
Drinking a cup of coffee before you work out.

DO IT BETTER:
Switch to green tea. A recent review of 15 studies found that the combo of green tea extract and caffeine resulted in greater weight loss compared to caffeine alone. In addition to helping you get leaner, green tea may also wind up making you healthier since it is also filled with a wealth of disease-busting, anti-aging antioxidants. Shoot for three to five cups daily.

THE BOOST:
Burning an additional 3,500 to 10,000 calories in a month.

2) WHAT YOU'RE DOING NOW:
Training for higher testosterone.

DO IT BETTER:
Use a supplement. Lifting heavy on compound exercises like the bench press increases your body's production of testosterone, but research from the University of Connecticut has shown that taking two grams per day of L-carnitine (a common amino acid found naturally in the body) prior to working out may also help to increase the number of testosterone receptors in your muscles. More receptors mean more places for testosterone in your system to "bind," assisting with recovery and muscle growth.

THE BOOST:
An increase of up to 13% in testosterone receptors.

Find us on Facebook!

3) WHAT YOU'RE DOING NOW:
Cutting back on high-carb foods.

DO IT BETTER:
Eat more fruits and vegetables. Don't be afraid to pile fresh fruits and veggies on your plate, even though they have carbs. A Penn State study found that a 12-month diet rich in fruits and veggies led to greater overall weight loss than many low-fat diets.

THE BOOST:
An additional 5 to 10 pounds of fat loss each year.

4) WHAT YOU'RE DOING NOW:
Pounding a post-workout shake.

DO IT BETTER:
Drink the shake before you train. Post-workout shakes get nutrients to hungry muscles, fueling growth. However, you may be able to jumpstart your muscle growth and recovery (and have more energy for training) by chugging your drink on your way to the gym. Research from the University of Texas shows that getting an extra shot of nutrients before you work out channels more amino acids to your muscles, setting you up for even bigger muscle gains.

THE BOOST:
A 79% increase in the uptake of the amino acids used to build muscle immediately after each workout.

5) WHAT YOU'RE DOING NOW:
Taking creatine for muscle growth and strength.

DO IT BETTER:
Pair it with beta-alanine. Creatine can give your muscles energy to crank out an extra rep or two, but combining it with the amino acid beta-alanine may make your supplement regimen even more effective. Recent studies show that beta-alanine may help quell the lactic acid burn your muscles experience when lifting, allowing you to do more reps. Shoot for six grams daily on workout days.

THE BOOST:
You'll delay fatigue during a hard set, so you'll get more reps overall, increasing the exercise's stimulus.

6) WHAT YOU'RE DOING NOW:
Avoiding the scale when trying to lose weight.

DO IT BETTER:
Weigh yourself regularly. Some experts say how your clothes fit is a better indicator of progress. But a 2008 review of 11 studies found that men and women who weighed themselves at least once per week lost more weight (between three and six pounds in three months) and kept it off longer than people who rarely weighed in. Whether the scale kept them accountable, or simply moreaware of what they were eating, wasn't clear, but the results were.

THE BOOST:
Better tracking of your goals and more consistent weight loss.

Want more Men's Fitness?

Sign Up for our newsletters now.

You might also like

comments powered by Disqus