With spring in full swing and summer shortly behind it, you’ll be shirtless before you know it. We just hope that body of yours will be ready in time. But once you’ve gotten yourself where you want to be, then comes keeping it on point all year. We spoke with four life-long fitness experts to answer four of the most common questions about building muscle, burning fat, and staying lean all year.
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What foods should I always stock my refrigerator with? What foods should I eliminate completely?
“Organic whole eggs/egg whites, green veggies, cococut milk, almond milk, Greek yogurt, fresh organic berries, organic chicken and cottage cheese are your absolute must-haves if you’re looking to trim down. Foods like, butter, full-fat milk, and condiments filled with sugar should be without a doubt – elminated. These items are fattening and loaded with useless calories. Fruit juices are another killer because they’re loaded in sugar that will spike up your caloric intake. Fruit, as a whole is great, but they need to be monitered closely especially when body fat reduction is the goal.” – Tim McComsey
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What are the most important exercises I should be doing for muscle-building? Any exercises that I should avoid?
“Multi-joint or compound-multi-joint exercises such as squats, deadlifts, bench press, bent over rows and overhead presses. The reason for this is because they pull in the whole body to stimulate growth and they allow you to really throw around a lot of weight. As for exercises to avoid: anything that’s hyper-isolated, such as concentration curls, tricep kickbacks, etc. Not that these aren’t great movements, but they’re not going to help keep you lean. Stick with big moves and go after the large muscle groups.” – Justin Klein
What’s a smart ratio of cardio:weight lifting for my programs to get lean? Does it matter?
“Strength training will add lean muscle and lean muscle will burn more calories. Cardio, especially interval training, is great way to burn calories and assist in lowering your body fat percentage, but it won’t do much more building muscle mass. I’d say a 75/25 split between weight training & cardio is an effective ratio to develop muscle and burn additional calories during workouts. Far too many people still believe cardio is for fat loss and weight training is to get big.” – Chris Power
What are the best exercises for training your abs and how much/often should you train them?
“The best way to keep your abs conditioned all year round is to follow a healthy diet with a close eye on slightly restricting your starchy carb intake like breads, pastas, etc. It’s also a good idea to somehow include cardio training into your daily routine. This cardio training can be short intervals or steady-state, longer duration runs. As for physically ‘training’ your abs; go with hanging knee or leg raises as the movement activates many more muscle fibers throughout the core than most other ab exercises. Other exercises such as weight cable crunches are also great to add into your routine because of the resistance element. Muscles grow from resistance and your abs are no different. Personally, I do varying amounts of ab work 3-5 days per week.” – Jay Zuccato