How to build muscle and lose fat – Your ultimate home workout plan
There used to be a simple rule- to gain results you had to buy a gym membership and devote a large part of your spare time to going multiple times a week. Today, I am going to challenge that rule and explain why there has never been a better time to create your own gym experience at home.
Helping you to save time
Time is the world’s most valuable currency, time is precious, and anything that helps you to obtain your desired results in less time should be high up on your priority list.
Typically you would have to travel the gym, hope that the equipment you need to use is free, complete your workout and then return home. For many this would be classed as an evening event, leaving you little time for other activities. For many with dependants or young family, this can be an even tougher task.
Working out at home cuts the waste. With careful planning and a regular routine you can include a workout session as part of your day with little impact on your daily life.
Lower cost, higher quality
Over the last 5 years, we have seen a huge drop in the cost to purchase home gym equipment. At the same time, quality standards have risen, meaning the gap between home equipment and gym equipment has never been closer. The good news for you is that there will be good quality home gym equipment that will suit almost any budget.
Today we are going to take a look at a typical setup and give you our own personal hints, tips and recommendations to get you the best results.
Build muscle – Burn fat
The big question- how do I build muscle and lose fat? Well the good news is that you can do both at the same time. There are, however, a set of rules we would advise to follow to get the best results.
Building muscle will help you to lose fat. This may initially seem like an odd concept, but the more muscle mass you have, the more calories that are required by your body to simply function- this includes sitting down and even sleeping.
Warning – When building muscle you may see your body changing shape, but your weight may remain the same or even greater than when you started. Please don’t let this put you off, this is normal! (as muscle weighs more than fat).
To see the best results we recommend the following 2 step approach. It really helps to have a goal in mind. Why not set a goal for trying to look your best before you go away on holiday, for an upcoming wedding or even just trying to look your best for the summer. Whatever you choose make sure you have a goal in mind, it will really help you through those difficult times.
We are going to work through a typical 4 month plan. You can adjust the times as required, but 4 months will give you the best results:
Phase 1 – The Pump (months 1-3)
During this phase, your objective is to lift heavy weights and eat lots of protein.
Lifting heavy weights:
Your core piece of equipment is a weights bench, this will be your friend for the next few months and you will learn to work with each other. Our two recommendations are based on how much room you have and your overall budget.
From a well-known brand, this bench is ideal for those with a smaller budget or without the luxury of a spare room. The inclusion of a preacher pad and leg extension gives you huge flexibility to add an entire range of weight lifting exercises into your routine.
If you’re lucky enough to have a larger budget or have experience in lifting heavier weights, we would recommend the Marcy BE1000 Barbell Weight Bench. It’s a standalone product of a similar price to the above bench but requires you to buy your own weights. The main benefit is that this bench is capable of taking loads of up to 135Kg.
We would recommend a weights set such as the 50kg Opti Cast Bar Dumbbell Set which gives you great quality at an affordable price. You then have the option to buy further weights to increase the load should you require to lift more than 50Kg.
Please note – Be careful with any weights bench. Should you want to lift above 50Kg’s we would recommend that you check your property is suitable to hold the additional weight if located upstairs, for example.
What home workout exercises would we recommend?
We aren’t going to go into detail about what exercise routine you should undertake, *we are in the middle of writing a guide*. We would recommend splitting exercises into muscle combination groups and then into days of the week.
Below is a good chart of available exercises that you can use to get started. Alternatively, the link below from Men’s Health is a great starter set of exercises that you can follow. Almost all are possible and the ones that can’t, can be simply swapped for a similar exercise that target the same muscle area and have the same effect.
As a rough guide the following routine would work well as a repeatable monthly plan:
Day 1 – Back and biceps
Day 2 – Rest day
Day 3 – Chest and triceps
Day 4 – Rest day
Day 5 – Legs
Day 6 – Rest day
Day 7 – Core and stretching
Eating the right foods
Experts are right, half of the gains you see are down to diet, and our healthy eating guide is a great resource packed with hints and tips.
Your core diet objective is slightly different though, as you need a balance of good food and a higher protein intake. We recommend you raise your protein intake by drinking protein shakes and eating more eggs, chicken and fish.
A great protein mix can be found here and is from USN. It is the ideal blend of protein, creatine, amino acids, minerals and sugars. The cost is also one of the best, being a 2Kg tub for under £30. It’s made by USN who are known to produce a mix that blends well with thicker liquids including milk. Protein tastes so much better mixed with milk than water in my opinion.
We advise to take the recommend portion straight after a workout to help your body repair and grow muscle tissue. Depending on your budget, some like to add a smaller additional intake before bed to help their body with that little bit of extra recovery during sleep.
Phase 2 – The cut (month 4)
Often called the cut (or cutting) is when you reduce the number of times a week you lift weights (down to 1-2 times a week maximum) and instead focus on a cardio based routine. What we are doing is essentially building muscle through months 1-3 then trimming fat to give you much better definition.
This is often the toughest phase of the workout plan as your willpower will be tested. We advise to cut your calorie count to no more than the daily recommended allowance (2,500 calories for men and 2,000 for women). These need to be good calories, again we advise you follow a strict meal plan. This will require your own research to find out what foods you will like personally and will allow you to come under the recommended daily allowance.
During this cardio phase there are various options available should you wish to workout within your own home. If you are still following a 7 day plan such as the one above, then exchange your lifting exercises for cardio (apart from day 7). The last day will remain your weights day where you are free to run through as many weight exercises as you like, with the aim to avoid a decline in muscle growth.
If you’re looking for the ideal cardio setup, we recommend the following based on your budget:
Treadmill – The ideal cardio partner. Running is one of the best forms of cardio available. There is huge flexibility to include both low intensity fat burning routines as well as high intensity sprints for those wanting a rise in fitness levels and pushing their gains to the limits.
If you are new to running or have a lower budget, we would recommend the Reebok GT40s. A good all-rounder that will be ideal for the majority of cardio exercises.
For those with a slightly higher budget, we would recommend something with a bigger running track and higher HP motor such as the Reebok Jet 300.
For those who would prefer to use an exercise bike or cross trainer, we would recommend a bike such as the Reebok Jet 100. They are often less intensive but will still burn calories and help you to achieve your goals.
You have made it – The results
If you have completed the 4-month plan, then congratulations! After you have spent the final month eating healthy and spending more time on cardio based activities, you should notice a real difference in your appearance, fitness, sleep patterns and general energy levels.
What happens now?
That depends on your goals! Many people simply enjoy their holiday or event they have been working towards in the knowledge they look that little bit better.
For some, the next steps are to maintain their current level of fitness and will mix both weights and cardio during the week. Others want to keep pushing themselves and simply start the process all over again at a higher intensity, often fitting in cardio based plans between their weight exercise circuit.
If any part of our guide has been helpful then please get in touch below as we would love to hear from you.