The best way to build muscle and burn fat is through a combination of aerobic exercise, strength training, periods of recovery, and proper nutrition. There are no quick and easy fixes to build muscle and burn fat, as much as some advertisements or television programs might promise. It is necessary to make the effort every day, and only then will you see results.
It is best to begin by creating a plan, either through your own research, or with the help of a trainer. A trainer or nutritionist at a gym will be able to determine your daily caloric needs in order to build muscle and burn fat. In addition, he or she will be able to direct you in the amount of strength training and aerobic exercise you should do per week.
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A simple program is to plan to lift weights three days per week, giving the body one or two days in between each session to recover. The weights can be simple free weights or those found in more complex gym machines; either can be equally effective. In addition, strength exercises such as crunches, squats, and leg lifts, among others, should be incorporated into a workout routine in order to build muscle.
Some trainers recommend performing aerobic exercise immediately after strength training, while others believe it does not matter when the aerobic exercise is performed. In general, however, it is best not to do any aerobic exercise right before strength training, as that can make the muscles more prone to injury. Aerobic exercise can also be performed between three and five days per week at a moderate intensity level; this is the "fat burning" portion of the workout routine. Some effective aerobic exercises might include brisk walking, jogging, cycling, or swimming, just to name a few.
Finally, it is important to eat a healthy diet and not starve yourself. There are many free calorie calculators online that can help you determine the amount of calories you should be eating in a day to maintain a healthy weight. The body needs fuel for exercise, so a diet should consist of lean sources of protein, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and some healthy fats, such as from fish or olive oil. It is very important to stay hydrated in order to burn muscle and burn fat; as much as possible, this hydration should come from water, not sugary juices or sodas.
Keep in mind that it takes time to build muscle and burn fat. It is important to be patient and persistent, and to not expect miraculous results overnight. Remember to vary the workouts to prevent hitting a plateau, and to increase the intensity gradually as physical fitness increases. Some people find different ways to motivate themselves to keep working to build muscle and burn fat, such as by taking body measurements, before and after pictures, or by writing down their improvements such as the amount of weight lifted or increased time spent exercising.