Thursday, July 19, 2012

Ask The Trainer: What's the best and fastest way to get lean and build muscle?

The actual question is actually several questions. The title summarizes by focusing on this person's goals. The full question is as follows:

"I am a 26 year old male. I weigh 156.6 pounds at 5 feet 8 inches. I currently have a body fat around 15.8%. I have been using a scale to take those measurements.  One observation is that I have lost weight from 160 pounds yet my body fat has been hovering around 15.5%.

I have been trying to have 1700 calories per day and around 170 grams of protein. What do you think of the healthy choice meals in terms weight loss/ muscle building plan? My goal is to have a six pack and increase muscle mass.

What amount of resistance training/cardio would be required? Right now I have been doing resistance training for an hour 5-6x times a week. Along with 3x cardio at 45 min.  I would like the most aggressive plan to maximize results in the shortest time frame. Also I would like to make sure that I do not lose muscle while burning fat."

I'll answer the easiest question first which is my opinion of Healthy Choice meals. I'm generally not a fan of processed foods like the Healthy Choice meals. They tend to be high in sodium and contain a lot of chemicals. I recommend eating whole unprocessed and minimally processed foods as much as possible. In terms of getting lean, the sodium content in those packaged meals will tend to cause water retention and make you look less lean, add pounds to the scale and cause your body fat reading to be higher.

One thing that strikes me about your diet is that your calorie intake seems a little low, especially considering how much exercise you're doing. That could actually be what's stalling your fat loss.

My focus with clients is more about overall health and well being than it is about getting dramatic results quickly. I always tell people you have to be in it for the long haul and results will happen over time if you stick with it.

So, rather than try to make up a plan for you I'm going to recommend my favorite program, P90X. Do all the workouts. Follow the nutrition plan. Stick with it faithfully for 90 days. The results in the infomercials are real and attainable. I've been doing the program as part of my workout rotation for nearly five years and it's worth every penny. The workouts will help you build muscle. The diet will help you get lean. If you have any questions I may have a post about it. I've written about things like how to use P90X at the gym, sample menus, etc.

If you want to go for size, BeachBody (the company that puts out P90X) has a new program called Body Beast. I haven't tried it (and since I don't want to bulk up, never will) but, I know BeachBody programs are top notch and typically have a money back trial period.

Sorry to sound like an ad for BeachBody. I just happen to think highly of their programs and you might find they provide the solution you're looking for.

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