Fat and muscle are two totally different types of tissue, so you can’t simply turn one kind into the other. But by training smarter you will strip away excess body fat fast, whilst building lean muscle mass quickly, to make it feel like you’re swapping a soft and tubby physique for a hard and defined one. Here’s what you need to do to make your better-body goal a reality!
Don’t get us wrong, if you want to lose body fat and build muscle to totally transform your body shape you need to start working out – after all, nothing worth having ever comes easy!
But exercise isn’t just about training hard to make big changes to your body fast: you must also start to train smarter to make the biggest difference to your body in the fastest-possible time.
And the best bit about training smart is that more often than not it requires no extra effort or energy – but simply the awareness and knowledge of how to do things better. Greater benefits for no extra work? Sounds too good to be true, but for once – it isn’t!
Here’s our three favourite instant tips to get more out of every single exercise so you can build that bigger and leaner body you want.
1. Stop texting, start flexing!
One of the quickest and easiest things you can do to add muscle faster is use your rest periods smarter. Instead of checking your phone for emails, social media, or any other app or activity that’s going to take you out of “The Zone”, instead spend that rest period flexing, stretching and tensing the muscle or muscles you’re working. Why? It will keep pushing blood and nutrients into the muscle; it will keep your mind-to-muscle connection firing; and it will keep your head firmly in the zone, which is crucial for body-transformation success. It’s so easy to do yet the benefits are profound. Help yourself out by leaving your phone in your locker or, if you use it for music, turn on airplane mode to avoid the temptation to keep checking it.
2. Get a cast-iron grip!
Ahead of every set, whether you’re using dumbbells, barbells or machines, squeeze the bar or handles as hard as you can for a two-count, while taking a deep breath, then go into the first rep. It’s a super-simple yet incredibly effective tactic to really focus your mind on the set ahead. It will make you more aware of your major muscle groups that need to get tight and engaged to get your body working smoothly as a single unit, and it will set your central nervous system on high alert, which will allow more muscle fibres to be recruited and activated faster, making you stronger and more powerful.
3. Pull then pause and hold!
For every single back or biceps exercise try this super-simple trick to massively increase the workload on your muscles and increase their time under tension to get bigger, stronger and more defined. For all row, pulldown or curl exercises, make sure you always have a good and controlled pause at the “bottom” of each rep – try a one-count or two-count – to force your muscles to contract harder to hold the weight in this position. You may have to lift a lighter weight but you’ll benefit big time from a greater muscular contraction and increased time under tension, not to mention a greater focus on your form and range of motion! Quick word of warning: you’re really going to feel the effects deep in the working muscles, but the rewards are well worth the very short-term burn!