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Build muscle,burn fat

Rude Health magazine asked two super fit experts to give us their tips for how to build muscle and burn fat

Carl Cautley of Health & Fitness Together, Ranelagh, Dublin 6.

“Burning fat and building muscle, although related, are two separate entities. There is a common misconception that you can turn fat into muscle. Unfortunately, this is not true. It’s physiologically impossible to turn fat into muscle because each is an entirely different type of body tissue with a different cell type (fat is made up of adipose tissue, while muscle is made of protein).

“The key to getting into better shape, feeling fitter and healthier is to get rid of the fat and grow the muscle.

“To grow muscle, you must engage in a weight-resistant programme and ensure protein is a staple in your diet. The best weight training programme is hypertrophy. The idea is to do many sets, but only 5 to 6 repetitions (reps) on each exercise where you are close to fatigue on the 5th to 6th rep. Hypertrophy (where muscle cells grow in size) is quite advanced and it is important to get sound advice before starting.

“The good news is that muscle burns calories 24/7, so the more muscle mass you have, the more calories you will burn, even at rest.”

“Now that your metabolism has increased, to burn fat you must reduce your daily calorie intake by about 300 to 500 calories. It is very important you keep a balanced diet, roughly 55% carbohydrate, 25% protein and 20% fat. The release of insulin into the bloodstream has a huge effect on fat stores. How much and how fast depends entirely on the type of carbohydrates you eat. The best advice is to cut back on starchy carbs and increase non-starchy carbs.

“In summary, the weight training programme will build muscle, increase metabolism plus many more benefits. But to reduce fat you must alter your diet so it is healthy, balanced and about 500 calories below your metabolic rate. Everybody’s metabolic rate is different, depending on age, size, weight and amount of exercise. If you would like a free metabolic reading please send your details to

Tom Dalton of TD Fitness in Foxrock, Dublin.

Clear the junk Make no mistake – if food you shouldn’t be eating lurks in your fridge, presses or freezer, you will give in at some point or another.

Drink green tea daily Green tea helps to rev up your metabolism, allowing you to burn more calories and fat. It is also loaded with antioxidants.

Eat enough food If your goal is to build muscle and get lean, you need to take in more fuel. If you don’t eat enough of the right stuff when you work out, your body will have to take energy from your muscles. High quality sources of protein found in meat, poultry and fish will fuel you for longer.

Catch your zzz’s Sleep is an underrated part of proper fat-loss. If you aren’t sleeping enough, your insulin sensitivity will decrease, because sleep affects levels of hunger-regulating hormones. Feeling tired makes you more likely to reach for sugary pick-me-ups. So try to get to bed at the same time every night.

Stay hydrated A simple technique to try if you struggle to cut back on your food intake is to drink one glass of water before each meal. This will help you feel fuller for longer.

HIIT High-Intensity Interval Training is any workout that changes between intense bursts of activity and fixed periods of less-intense activity or even complete rest. This is one of the best exercises for fat loss and muscle building. It’s tough – you have to work your hardest. Running, cycling, skipping and rowing all work great for HIIT. High knees, fast feet or anything plyometric (where muscles exert maximum force in short intervals of time) like jumping lunges work just as well to get your heart rate up fast.

Cian Doyle is a personal trainer at Icon Health Club, Lr Camden St, Dublin 2.

Stop doing cardio Do HIIT instead

Don’t cut carbs If you drop carbohydrates from your diet you can get a six pack, but you will burn muscle in the process.

Don’t just do a fat-loss programme Your body will adapt to getting less food. You need to vary your training between strength/fat loss and strength/hypertrophy-based programming.

Ditch fat-loss tablets These will artificially suppress hunger, causing too much of an imbalance in the stress hormone cortisol in your body. The results of using these tablets is quickly negated and afterwards your body will actually increase the amount of fat it stores. Instead try supplementing with CLA/omega 3 or alternatively eating more oily fish.

Do not overtrain Your training programme needs to elicit enough stress to cause hypertrophy, but not so that it has an increased amount of cortisol from overtraining. Too much cortisol in your body as a result of overtraining will cause a reduction in testosterone and inhibit your body’s ability to burn fat.

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