Get ripped and toned

Get ripped and toned

You cannot build that body by staying in your comfort zone. It is time to step up and start pushing the envelope, if you want that chiselled and sculpted physique, observes, Neeraj Mehta

It is the dream that many a gym-goer nurture - to have a ripped and toned body, like that of Wolverine! And this is not a fantasy. Such a physique is attainable through commitment, discipline, sound workouts and right nutrition. But, for your body to transform, you must train with weights. So, you need to forget about starving yourself and monotonous cardiovascular routines. Let’s build muscles with iron and get shredded.

Weight Training
It is a myth that you will become bigger with weight training. The fact is that it helps you get leaner, gain muscle mass, leading to faster metabolism. This means fat is burned faster, while your body becomes leaner. The amount of muscle you have dictates your metabolic rate. The more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism will be. And a higher metabolic rate will lead to greater fat loss.

Another interesting fact is that it requires seven calories to retain a muscle, but only two to retain fat.
You need to understand that only high-intensity efforts will lead to better results. That means “a certain number of sets and reps” won’t really “get the job done”. You have to go beyond your limits to get the results. The best part of weight training is that you burn or utilise fat not during the session like cardio, but for four to forty-eight hours after the session. With a combination of adequate protein and carbohydrate consumption, weight training will help build muscles and give you the ripped look.

Too much cardio can have a negative impact on your body composition. Excess of cardio releases catabolic hormones and this catabolic environment promotes muscle wasting. You can burn fat only during your cardio session. That does not mean you give up cardio
completely; but rather than doing endless sessions on the treadmill, elliptical or
stairmaster, a better cardio alternative is high-intensity exercise, like interval
training, tabata, stop and start, which burns more fat and spares your hard-earned muscles at the same time. If you want to spare more muscle mass, separate your sessions of high-intensity cardio and weight training days.

Specialised training
There are two ways of doing weight training exercise –compound and isolation. If you use two or more joints for specific movements that is compound; you shed more fat from the entire body, when compared with isolation exercise, that is a single-joint exercise. If you are concentrating more on specific body parts, like chest, back or bicep muscles, that will not serve the purpose. You should train each body part with the right amount of
workout.

Your leg muscles are the biggest and strongest muscles. If you train them with heavy weights, your body releases growth hormones, which leads to better results and a ripped physique, faster. So it’s necessary to concentrate on each body part and incorporate a schedule where you train your entire body muscles once or twice a week, depending on your fitness level, rest and recovery time. 

Doing it right
If you really want to get ripped, you need to cut down your cardio workout, because this will lower your muscle mass.
Concentrate on developing a solid base of core strength (abdominal and lower back).

Choose a weight that will allow eight to ten repetitions to build muscle endurance and muscular strength, for three to four sets for major muscle group per exercise.

Balance your resistance training programme by completing equal number of sets and repetitions with opposing muscle groups.  Emphasise the weaker muscle groups, especially the back and hamstring muscles.

Squats and dead lifts are the best possible exercises for toning your entire body.
Once a week, you can add plyometric training to increase your calorie expenditure.

Plyometrics is designed for individuals with a high level of fitness and is a type of anaerobic interval training. It is the ability to work farther into anaerobic metabolism before lactic acid builds and the exercise is over.

Food facts
If you want to get ripped, you need to eat more, but the right food at the right time. Eat six to eight meals everyday. Keep your carbohydrates in check and your protein intake high.

When you’ve been dieting strictly, your levels of leptin (hormone that plays a key role in regulating energy intake and expenditure, including appetite, hunger and metabolism) start to drop. Overeating boosts leptin levels, which keeps your metabolism high and hunger low, allowing you to burn more calories and consume less. Here go a few tips to eat right:
Eat slow-digesting carbs before workout. They help you burn fat faster. Also, you will be able to train longer before reaching exhaustion.

High oestrogen levels are also a major cause of fat accumulation in the body. Do everything to keep your oestrogen levels low. Eat lots of cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprouts). Eliminate all soy products.

Eating dairy isn’t just about getting protein for building muscle; the calcium is a huge benefit for fat loss, too.

Calcitrol, a hormone that promotes fat gain and limits fat burning, is suppressed when adequate calcium is consumed in the diet.

Hydrate yourself throughout the day. It leads to metabolising the food. Drinking two cups of cold water could increase metabolic rate by about 30 percent.

Diet sodas and other artificially-sweetened beverages satisfy sweet cravings. But these sugar-free beverages increase insulin release, which can inhibit fat burn. Try to limit yourself to one drink per day.

Fruits are full of nutrients and antioxidants to help protect the body, but they’re also full of sugars (carbs). If you substitute veggies for fruits that allow you to keep the nutrients and antioxidants, your sugar/carb and total calorie intake will also reduce.

(The author is fitness professional,nutritionist and director,GFFI Fitness Academy, Delhi)

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