‘The Coach in association with Improve You Workout is here to help and provide expert advice on everything from training plans to nutrition and supplementation.’
All of your emails are now in for May and ‘The Coach’ has chosen the top 3. Over the next few days The Coach will announce the winners and answer their training and nutrition questions here on The Zone, so let’s get down to business! Our 3rd place letter this month was sent in by Robi Henderson…..
I am a 21 year old male former cross country runner. In my running days I weighed as little as 58kg I’m now 70kg, a weight I wouldn’t like to drop below again however my fat percentage fluctuates from around 13-15% and like most people the majority of my fat seems to sit on my lower stomach. I want to get down to 10% body fat and below. My diet is high in protein and vegetables. I save my carbohydrates for post workout and my remaining meals consist of tuna, chicken or quorn mince with spinach and mushrooms etc. I think my diet is pretty good and very strict, 2000+ calories a day. I would like to drop body fat but increase muscle. I do HIIT training 5 times a week but my resistance training isn’t the best and I find it difficult to balance the right amount of rest with exercise. Any advice would be really appreciated.
The Coach response
It sounds like you are on the right path with your nutrition, however there are a few minor changes you should make when trying to increase your muscle size and reduce body fat at the same time. At the moment, with your metabolism, you simply aren’t eating enough calories to build the muscle you require.
To lose body fat but maintain your body weight will be difficult, but possible. I would suggest boosting your calorific intake to 2,500 a day and maintain this for at least 16 weeks. This sounds like a long time, but progress is a slow and steady race, not a sprint. The additional calories should come from high protein sources, such as lean meats, eggs and Impact Whey Protein. This will help with muscle hypertrophy you are looking for. The more muscle tissue you have, the more fat your body will burn for energy naturally.
It does take time to drop body fat and you can’t spot reduce fat from specific areas. You are the same as the vast majority of men who store their fat in the lower stomach and back. Unfortunately, this will only go as you drop overall body fat and is often the last place to go. So be patient and consistent.
With your training, I would suggest performing heavy, compound weight training, stick to squats, deadlifts, bench press etc. As you’re currently training 5 days a week, you can train a specific body part on each day and follow each session with HIIT cardio. By performing resistance training first, you are using your glycogen stores for energy to stimulate muscle trauma which is needed for growth. Performing cardio after, with depleted glycogen stores, will allow your body to target fat burning, rather than waste and muscle tissue for energy first.
Hope this helps and keep up the good work.
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