Building muscle mass and losing weight at the same time is what many typical gym junkies wants to achieve. Nowadays, being ‘cut’ and ‘shredded’ is not only a desirable look for men, but also women.
The emergence of sports like CrossFit over the past few years has resulted in more of us seeing athletes with big, strong muscles, and also with minimal body fat. But how hard is it to achieve that look? And is it something average gym goers can achieve?
The short answer is yes. But, like many things, it takes time, dedication, discipline and hard training!
Here is a look at the basic fundamentals of getting “shredded”:
Body size is much about science at math. The more you eat, the more energy you have in your system. The more you exercise, the more you burn this energy and prevent it from being stored in your body. And the more you exercise, the more chance you have of burning stored energy, or stored fats. And the more this happens, the more your body will begin to show that ‘cut’ and ‘shredded’ look.
But if we are to be more precise, the main hormone responsible for directing energy into muscles is insulin. This is produced by our pancreatic cells. When the muscle cells are refilled, insulin directs the excess energy into fat stores. So really, insulin sensitivity is the key to losing fat while building muscle mass.
Insulin is released into the blood when there is too much sugar. When you are on a diet that is low in carbohydrates, sugar levels are low and therefore insulin is rarely triggered. As a result, there is little chance for excess energy to be stored as fat tissue. So it’s best to avoid sugars as much as possible. Not only refined sugars that we find in lollies and junk food, but also natural sugars we find in fruits. While they are ‘better’ sugars, they still have the same effect and will increase insulin into your blood stream.
Avoid All Carbohydrates?
Short answer is no.
While we should avoid carbohydrates like sugars, not all carbohydrates are bad for you if you want to shred. Before working out, athletes should actually load up on carbohydrates’s to provide energy into the working muscles. Many professional CrossFitters manipulate the carb intake during the day. For example, CrossFit Games champion Mat Fraser changed his diet back in 2016, cutting out all junk food and including more natural foods and vegetables. This helped him drop around 10 pounds, most of which was body fat. There is a stack of shredding meal plans available online as well if you want to do your own research to come up with a diet plan.
So we now know how to burn fat and what to do to avoid having energy stored as fat. But how do we build muscle at the same time? Scientifically speaking, the most important hormone fro muscle growth is testosterone. It has also been proven that exercise helps increase testosterone levels in humans, in particular weight training. heavier loads with shorter rest periods results in bigger testosterone boosts in humans. So the more you exercise with weight training, with short breaks , the more your body will produce testosterone, and as a result, your muscles should increase in size and strength.
Why CrossFit Helps
CrossFit training offers a regime where athletes perform functional movements in high intensity workouts. Many of these movements involve weights, so it is the perfect training programe to build testosterone and muscle mass while also burning fat.
That’s not to say CrossFit is the only training regime to help you ‘shred’, but it is certainly one of the better ones out there.