One of the most common misconceptions surrounding bodybuilding is the notion that weight training with the view to increasing muscle mass will automatically make the athlete lose fat. This is not generally true and it is only a very small percentage of bodybuilders that will show simultaneous fat loss and muscle gain with weight training alone. The reason for this is fairly complex and successful fat loss while bodybuilding requires a sound knowledge of the physiological mechanisms involved in both processes.
Our bodies store fat as a defence mechanism against times of famine when these fat reserves would be used to fuel the body when food supplies dry up. For the vast majority of people, the only effective way of burning these reserves off is with a calorie controlled diet and vigorous cardio exercise. Bodybuilding presents a catch 22 situation in that the associated diets tend to be anything but calorie controlled.
Sustainable muscle growth requires a diet high in carbohydrates, proteins and good fat. In addition the exercise routines involved in muscle gain don't burn nearly the same amount of fat as cardio activities do. As a result the disciplines of muscle growth and fat loss have to be approached as separate entities when bodybuilding. Time and focus need to be invested in a specific fat loss regimen to prevent you actually gaining fat while building muscle.
And fat loss is an essential part of bodybuilding because, by its very nature, bodybuilding is all about big, well defined muscles. Heavy fat padding ruins muscle definition and even if you are really successful in packing on muscle mass, the benefit will be lost if you can't cut the fat. This is why pro bodybuilders dedicate time and effort to their cardio training, and constantly monitor their body fat percentages. Cardio exercises have the additional benefit of building stamina which is a plus to bodybuilding in general.
Fat loss in bodybuilding is not dependent on cardio exercise alone. Your diet needs to be fine tuned according to your specific body type, goals and the resultant exercise routines. This is why it is essential, as a beginner, to seek professional advice regarding these issues early on in the process. A pro assessment of your body type and what you need to do to achieve your goals can be critical to your long term success in the game.
The balance between carbs, protein and good fats can be adjusted to reduce the fat and carb intake during periods of fat loss exercise. Adequate hydration is also critical in bodybuilding but particularly so during these phases of your exercise routine. Good hydration ensures efficient toxin elimination and aids in the metabolism of fat. Particular attention to diets will be given in the next in this series of articles but suffice it to say at this point that diets are generally very personal. There is no one, struck in stone, sure fire winner when it comes to bodybuilding diets.
Whatever you do though, don't start to cut radically on your diet in an attempt to reduce your fat percentage. That can do more damage than good to your long term goals. Rather take an informed, scientific approach and hammer the cardio routine. You need to maintain the muscle building component of your diet as cardio exercise will be seen as a rest period by you body and it will probably be building muscle mass while you are working the ticker.
To summarise, fat loss and muscle gain do not generally happen during the same exercise routines. To successfully burn off fat you need to include periods of intense cardio exercise in your routine and look to reducing your intake of carbs and fat at the same time. If you are to gain the ripped, explosive physique you dream of, fat loss is going to be an essential part of your bodybuilding regimen and, in the long run, will be well worth the necessary investment in time and effort.
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