With gyms opening their doors once again on 12th April across England - whether you're an existing gym member or have recently joined - chances are you're looking into the ways that you can lose weight, maximise muscle gain, or even turn fat into muscle.
With gyms opening their doors once again on 12th April across England, many people will be setting new fitness goals or will be looking to meet existing ones. Whether you’re an existing gym member or have recently joined, chances are you’re looking into the ways that you can lose weight, maximise muscle gain, or even turn fat into muscle.
Regarding the latter, the shorter answer is that it is not possible to turn fat directly into muscle - you cannot turn one type of tissue into another. To lose fat, you need to lose weight, which involves following a weight loss programme. However, there are things you can do to preserve or gain muscle during this process, such as consuming the right foods that are good sources of protein. With the right approach to exercising in the gym and healthy meals to keep you on track, you can reduce your body fat whilst maintaining or increasing your muscle mass.
In this blog, we’ll look at the best types of exercise to factor into your routine at the gym whilst they have just reopened, before outlining how healthy meal prep can help you to achieve your fitness goal, whether that’s weight loss or muscle gain.
Factoring cardio into your exercise session
To lose body weight, cardiovascular exercise - or aerobic exercise - is essential in the gym. This type of physical activity is so effective because it puts large muscle groups to great use and increases your heart rate for a period of time to burn more calories. Even if losing weight isn’t your primary goal, and perhaps you’re focusing on gaining muscle instead, it is still worth doing some cardio training because of the benefits, besides weight loss. Overall, cardio is great for promoting health and wellbeing and keeping essential organs, such as your heart and your lungs, healthy. Even just a few 20-minute sessions per week will be enough to reap the benefits without hindering your goal of gaining muscle by burning too many calories.
If your goal is to lose weight, the amount of cardio you need will vary depending on numerous factors, such as your age, gender, diet, activity level and current weight. The rate at which you lose weight will also depend on different factors, such as your body composition, age, gender, current weight and the intensity of your exercise routine and workouts. To find out more about this, you may find it useful to speak to a qualified professional - such as a personal trainer - who will help you to determine an effective exercise programme or create a tailored guide for you.
The type of cardio you do can vary during each session. For example, you may choose to switch between elliptical, stair climbers, cycling, rowing and even swimming, if your gym has the facilities for this type of exercise. Another effective type of cardio is high-intensity interval training (HIIT), which involves bursts of exercise - where you’ll really push yourself - between recovery periods. HIIT can be an effective workout made up of different explosive exercises, such as squats, kettlebell swings and push-ups, but it can also be used for cardio-based sprints. If you’re using an elliptical machine, a bike or a rowing machine, using these for a HIIT workout can also be beneficial too. Your gym may even offer HIIT classes - many people like to attend these as they feel they are more motivated and accountable for their progress when in a group setting.
Another form of cardio, favoured by many, is low-intensity steady state training (LISS). Contrary to HIIT which allows you to push yourself for short periods of time, LISS involves a low level of exertion but for a longer period of time. Combining HIIT with LISS can also help you to reach your weight loss goals, whilst keeping your exercise routine varied and exciting. Your LISS activities may include the likes of a 2-4 mile walk out of the gym or using an elliptical machine or exercise bike in the gym, at a moderate pace, for around half an hour to an hour. The benefits of LISS include burning body fat and improving your posture and cardiovascular health.
As with many fitness goals, the key to successful, sustainable and healthy weight loss involves a combination of diet and exercise. To lose weight, being in a calorie deficit is essential. In other words, the number of calories you burn should be greater than the number of calories you consume. For effective weight loss, you should combine an exercise routine that works for you with a diet that is full of the right foods to aid your weight loss.
The importance of strength training in your exercise programme
If you want to lose weight but would like to preserve or gain muscle whilst doing so, then engaging in strength training is vital. Strength training, which is also known as resistance training, involves physical exercise to improve your strength and endurance whilst building muscle mass. This usually involves weight training to aid muscle growth. Most experts recommend strength training 2-3 times per week for effective muscle building. Whilst it usually takes a few weeks to see results, you can increase the amount of training you do as you begin to adapt, or as your focus starts to shift from weight loss to muscle growth. Essentially, if your goal is glute gains or solid abs, you need to incorporate strength training into your routine at the gym.
Popular strength training exercises include the plank, squats, deadlifts and pull-ups. Yoga classes are also a form of strength training - your gym may also offer these as a part of their exercise class programme. When it comes to strength training in the gym though, using free weights or weight machines to perform exercises is most commonly associated with this type of training. Most people will alternate their exercises to focus on different parts of the body such as their back, biceps, triceps, chest, legs and glutes. It may be tempting to reach for a bigger weight, but you should start with a comfortable weight before progressing onto bigger ones. The most important things are your form - in other words, performing the exercises correctly - your breathing, and lifting an appropriate weight so then you can lift 12-15 times comfortably.
Strength training offers many benefits and, as well as helping you to gain or maintain your muscle mass, it can also assist with weight loss. By increasing your metabolism during your resistance training, you’ll burn more calories and, providing that you are in a calorie deficit, this will help you to lose weight. Other benefits include the development of strong bones, as strength training can increase your bone density. Strength training is also a go-to for those that suffer from chronic conditions, as it can help to manage the symptoms and signs of conditions like back pain and arthritis.
Whilst strength training is important for muscle growth, it is not the only factor to be considered if building muscle is your goal. It’s also important to factor rest days into your exercise routine - rest days help to prevent injury and promote muscle growth, which will help you to achieve your goals. Your diet is also an incredibly important factor for building lean muscle. Combining a protein-rich diet with an exercise routine that includes strength training is the key to success when it comes to muscle growth.
Don’t underestimate the power of your diet
Whatever your fitness goal, exercise will only take you so far to achieving it. For the best results, you need a carefully controlled and considered diet that factors in different nutrients, key macros and the right amount of calories for weight loss, sustaining your weight or building muscle. For weight loss, consuming a diet that keeps you in a healthy and sustainable calorie deficit is key. It’s also important to avoid sugary and processed foods, whilst factoring plenty of fruits and vegetables, proteins, healthy fats and carbohydrates into your meals. For muscle gain, a high-protein diet coupled with an effective exercise routine will help you to achieve your goal. It’s important to factor foods into your diet that can help you to build lean muscle, such as eggs, chicken breast and salmon, just to name a few.
Making meals that strike the right balance of contributing to a healthy diet and your fitness goals, whilst still remaining delicious and full of flavour, may seem like a challenge sometimes, especially if you’re short on time. Thankfully, our meal prep plans offer a great solution - whether you’re looking to lose weight or build muscle, we can tailor our plans exactly to your goals, preferences and dietary requirements. We offer a wide range of meals for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks to keep you going throughout the day. Healthy eating doesn’t have to be boring, as our meal prep customers know!
Wherever you are in the UK, you can enjoy having healthy meals delivered to assist you on your fitness journey. To get started, simply select one of our plans and how many meals you would like to order. Once you’ve decided, you can then select which meals you’d like to order - from tasty curry, jerk chicken, fajita bowls and noodle dishes, we have a wide selection of meals to choose from, so you’ll never get bored. When that’s done, log in to your account, provide your delivery details and then head to the checkout page. Submit your payment details and then that’s it - you’re all done! You’ll get your meal prep delivered to you twice a week, with each portion labelled with the calories and macros it contains so that you can track your progress and your calorie intake.
Place your meal prep order from Diets 2 Go today
Are you heading to the gym and need a healthy diet to go with your exercise programme? Our healthy meal prep is the ideal solution. If you’d like to find out more information about our healthy meal prep plans or place your order, you can speak to the team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 0333 360 0278.
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