You have the power to sculpt your body with the foods you eat, as well as the type of exercises you do. Before I address how to sculpt your body with how you eat, let’s talk about how you train.
Sculpt Muscle by How You Train
“The more muscle your workout requires, the more muscle you will gain…”
While protein is very important for sculpting a fit body, supplementing without the proper training will not get you the results you want. How you train greatly determines what you store for energy and what you use for energy. With intense movements, your body will likely store more energy as muscle. Your body is smart. The more muscle your workout requires, the more muscle you will gain, or keep. – And don’t worry ladies, you won’t be a beef-cake bodybuilder, you will just look super fit. It takes a LOT of work to look like a man! 😉
On the contrary, if you are a marathon runner, you are more prone to burn both muscle and fat as energy, and store fat, because muscle is not needed as much for low to moderate intensity workouts. While running a marathon is quite grueling, it doesn’t require a lot of explosive power, it requires endurance. Of matter of fact, a runner’s body considers muscle as unnecessary added weight. However, fat is a good source of energy for long runs, so that is why your body is prone to storing fat. If a runner wants to maintain muscle, they need to pump up their muscles in the gym (and pump up protein) in addition to their running program to encourage their body to keep muscle.
Sculpt Muscle by How You Eat
Now that you understand the importance of how you train, let’s dive into your eating. As you’ve heard before, “you are what you eat”. Fat and carbs makes fat bodies. Protein make fit muscular bodies. That is why it is so important to get enough protein if you want to maintain, or add, more muscle mass. Your body is always burning calories from a combination of fats, carbs and protein. If you eat carbs and fats, but are low on protein, your body doesn’t just stop burning protein. It still burns protein, but it burns stored protein (muscle). The same goes for fat stores. If you are short on fat or carbs, your body will burn stored fat to turn it into the fuel it’s missing.
If you are like me, and don’t want your body to burn muscle, then you want to keep a steady stream of protein in your diet so your body can feed off that – and not feed off your precious hard-earned muscle. If you want to GAIN muscle, then you need to give your body more protein than it needs so it stores more protein (muscle). *Use the protein calculator, below, to learn how much protein you should get a day.
Just the same way our body stores fat and carbs as body fat when you eat too much of it, your body can store excess protein as well. However, you still have to watch overall calories if you don’t want to gain weight, because too many calories is still too many calories – and it can cause you to gain weight, whether it’s coming from muscle or fat. Understand, if you eat more calories than you burn, you WILL gain weight – whether it’s muscle weight or fat weight.
So, the trick to a lean muscular physique is to eat a low-calorie, low-fat, moderate-carb, high-protein diet. This will encourage your body to burn fat stores to reduce body fat, while storing (or maintaining) protein to sculpt muscle. 🙂
What’s Your Number?
Click HERE to use GNC’s Protein Calculator to help you decide how much protein should be in your diet.
Have you ever seen a sprinter’s body? O! M! G! When people think of sprinters, I think most people generally think of runners – but there is a HUGE difference in the two sports AND their physiques.
A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
Let’s just compare the two body types. Because sprinting requires strength and power, training like a sprinter develops very muscular, yet very lean, legs. Sprinters leap, jump, explode, lunge and squat their legs into the powerful machines they are.
Since plyometric exercises also burn serious calories, sprinters tend to be very lean so you can clearly see their sculpted muscles. Although many sprinters may never lift a weight, and just use their own body weight in explosive movements like box jumps, many sprinters use powerful functional weight training exercises like the Snatch or a Clean and Press to increase strength.
Running, on the other hand, trains primarily the slow twitch muscle fibers. Slow twitch muscle fibers are more efficient and take a while to fatigue. Fast twitch muscle is for power and fatigues quickly. The different muscle fibers also look different too. For example, let’s look at a chicken. A chicken’s legs are primarily made up of slow twitch muscles (dark meat) because they are on them most of the day. Since they rarely fly, they only need strength to fly in short bursts. That’s why most of their fast twitch muscle is in their upper body (white meat). Like a chicken, runners can have thin “chicken legs” because they too are using their legs for long periods of time. Since the sport of running requires little to no upper body strength, runners often have Read the rest of this entry