I want to kick this off by acknowledging that it is definitely possible to build muscle and burn fat over the course of a week, a month or even a few days. Cycling your calories has been proven to do this.
But this column is not about cycling calories. So let’s just let that sink in before you go throwing science at me.
This article is a direct result of getting a lot of messages from people about their progress. When I ask them what their goal is, a lot of people say something like, ‘I want to build lean muscle and burn some fat.
The problem is, many people seem to think this is possible to do at the same exact time. As in, eat the same amount of calories every day, go to the gym and expect to build muscle and burn fat simultaneously.
Unfortunately though, unless you’re completely new to training, pharmaceutically enhanced or just a genetic mutant, this just isn’t possible.
Losing fat requires a caloric deficit, building muscle requires a caloric surplus. You can’t do both at the same time. It’s like putting your foot on the brake and accelerator and trying to drive.
From my experience (which has been years), focusing on one goal at a time will give you the best results. If you want to lose a significant amount of body fat, then you’ll need to spend a decent amount of time in a deficit. If you want to build muscle you’ll need to spend some time in a surplus. It’s quite simple.
And if you want to try and do both – then carefully cycling your calories from a deficit to a surplus is required, and you’ll need to be specific. You can’t just eat a random amount of calories each day and expect miracles.
I hope this clears up any confusion.
Some tips to banish bloating
Bloating is a common occurrence for many people. It certainly isn’t pleasant, but if you experience it on a frequent basis, what can you do about it?
Here are six tips to help you reduce that uncomfortable bloating sensation.
- Consume smaller portions with more frequency: If you go from three meals a day to four or five, but you are still eating around the same amount, you’ll easily feel less bloated after each meal, simply because you aren’t trying to digest as much.
- Eliminate carbonated beverages: Heavily carbonated beverages might be a key cause of being bloated. They may be delicious, but you’re also swallowing bubbles of carbon dioxide, and that extra air in your stomach can cause serious bloat.
- Use enzymes and probiotics: Digestive enzymes work wonders and allow you to break down and absorb nutrients better. Probiotic supplements aid the natural bacteria in your digestive tract. If those bacteria aren’t operating properly or if you have too few good digestive bacteria, food won’t be digested properly and you’ll find things get particularly uncomfortable.
- Eat more fibre: Bloating and gassiness can often be the result of constipation. It’s a common digestive problem, and most recommendations say to eat more fibre to solve it, as fibre helps move food through your digestive system.
- Be careful how you eat: If you eat while talking, eat in a rush, chew gum, drink with big gulps or through a straw, you may be swallowing air without even realizing it. The fix? Chew slowly and shut up.
- Rule out intolerances: If your body has an intolerance or allergic reaction to a particular food, that could easily manifest as bloating. Common food intolerances and allergies include dairy products (lactose), grains (gluten), eggs, nuts, and seafood.