So like almost everyone now you would like to have toned body with beautifully defined muscles covered only by the lowest possible amount of fat. Look around and you will see actors and model ripped to maximum. Forget bulking – lean muscles rules.
So you decide to get that ripped effect for yourself and seeing those great transformation videos on YouTube (and elsewhere) you get an instant motivation for hard training. Unfortunately, even though you think you follow the instruction book, you fail to reach your goals.
Here’s why – read 5 lean muscles mistakes you make too often.
You avoid using heavy weights
There is a huge misconception that in order to get that toned body you need to stop lifting heavily and use more reps with lesser total weight.
In fact you should use heavy weight, topping around 80% of your maximum rep. Just like in bulking up stage but this time heavy lifts will be used to preserve muscles rather than increase their volume. You will get your volume once the cutting stage is finish. Nevertheless you should continue lifting big.
You do too much cardio
Don’t get me wrong – you want your cardio. Quite a lot, in fact. Doing too much cardio however may result in decrease of your muscle size – hence your all cutting goal will suffer tremendously. Low-intensity cardio maybring catabolic effect.|
OK, so how often you should do the cardio?
3-5 a week. The key is not to overdo it. What does it mean? Your one hour is really not necessary and may actually backfire. Instead you may focus on intensiveness of you training. To achieve this you can regulate the pace – change it from slow to fast and then back to slow again. If we take running as an example of cardio exercise you want to run on your regular pace and then speed up drastically to about 75% of your maximum speed. Keep fast pace for a minute and then slow down again (you won’t be able to keep fast pace for too long anyway). High insensitivity training will not only help you to reduce more fat but also save you time as you can cut cardio to about 20-30 minutes getting better results in the end.
Your carbohydrate intake is too high
Even though you get your carbs from good sources (brown rice, oats, sweet potatoes) your intake is too high making cutting harder.Complex carbohydrate are welcomed during your bulking phase – but not so welcomed when you try to reduce the fat on your body.
So what’s the desired ratio? How much carbs you should consume?
Typical ratio for protein, carbohydrate and fats intake is 40/40/20 or 40/30/30. You should focus on protein intake as high protein intake during the cutting phase will help you to preserve muscle mass.
You don’t have to go too low with your carbs. While some diets such as ketogenic diet may offer good results for bodybuilders wanting to get ripped (very low level of carbs and high protein intake) there are certain dangers related to it . Simply put –once there is no enough carbs in your body it will start using fat to produce energy. This can results in unwelcome side effects such as lowering level of testosterone.
It is advisable, especially for athletes with less experience, to keep carbohydrate intake on recommended level.
You don’t drink enough water
Water is good for whenever you exercise or not. However during the cutting stage you should increase the amount of water you drink. Remember that cutting will require certain amount of cardio during which you will be sweating a lot (at least you should). Drinking more water will help you to retain desired level of hydration.
Another benefit comes with elevated metabolism which water helps to produce. Keeping metabolism rate on high level is important while cutting.
So how much water you should drink?
It is recommended to drink around one gallon of water (about 4l) but you will easily find bodybuilder who claim they drink much more.
Remember that all that water shouldn’t be drunk at one go. You should drink regularly, smaller amount, to prevent water flashing out electrolytes out of your body.
You don’t cycle your calories intake
To make simple: there is hormone called leptin. What it does? It down-regulates during caloric restriction. What it means? It makes you feel hunger while slowing your metabolism at the same time.
So, if you keep your calories low for too long your body slows down metabolism to save you. That mean at some point of your dieting you will hit plateau. You will struggle to reduce the fat.
So what’s the solution?
You need to cycle your calories intake. Putting this simple – you have the days when you are on strict diet with lowered calories intake while add a day or two when you increase the amount of calories to your so called maintenance level. There are different cycling strategies with 5 days diet/2 days maintenance level and 3 days diet/ 1 day maintenance level among the most popular. Here you can find more information.
You want the increase to come from carbohydrates.