One of the things you’ll need to come to terms with when embarking on a quest to build muscle or lose fat is that it takes a long time, and you’re going to have to do things you don’t necessarily enjoy pretty much every day if you want burn fat or build muscle fast.
This is a stumbling block for many people, most can cope hernia-inducing gym workouts, or painfully tasteless low carb meals, but there are very few that have the mental fortitude to do such workouts and maintain such nutrition plans day after day, month after month, year after year.
Sure things usually start off pretty rosy, new dieters or gym members are full of enthusiasm and are often spurred on by promising initial gains which eventually tail off, leaving them dejected and demotivated. This is why most even the most determined of dieters or trainers fail after a few months.
Consistency is absolutely essential in achieving your goals, this means eating clean, or training hard 85% of the time (you can have 1-2 off days from the gym or cheat meals per week and still make great progress).
If you really want great results, make sure you are comfortable with the fact that it could take YEARS to be exactly where you want. This means you won’t necessarily see progress every couple of weeks or every couple of months.
It means getting your head down, getting to the gym no matter what the weather, or your mood, or your time constraints, and training hard, 4 days per week minimum. So why is consistency so important?
Fat loss is complex process, but I’m of the opinion that it’s triggered by your metabolic rate which can easily be manipulated. Keep your metabolism high and you will burn fat even when resting, let it drop and your body will stop burning fat.
So how do you keep it elevated? By exercising regularly. Your metabolism is like a fire that needs to be stoked, stoking it regularly by exercising will mean it ignites fat more aggressively, letting the fire go out by taking long breaks from training will halt fat loss.
The more intensely you train, the brighter the fire will burn, and the longer it will burn for, so if your training session don’t really get your heart racing, regularity is even more important.
Any exercise is good, so brisk walks outside the gym will all contribute to keeping that fire stoked. Even standing up will burn calories quick than sitting down, so whenever you can, stand up, walk around, and reap the rewards.
Consistency when it comes to muscle building is juts as important as it is for dropping blubber. Imagine you worked your chest, once a year, would it grow? No. You’d stand a better chance if if you worked it once a month, and MUCH better chance if you worked it once a week. Depending on your goals you may even need to work it twice a week.
Unlike fat loss, rest is essential when trying to build muscle, but this must be balanced with regularity. How regularly you work each muscle group depends on the intensity, volume and length of your workout. In you do a twenty set chest workout, you’d be well advised to leave it at least a week before training that muscle again.
Conversely if you do a 10 set workout, training twice a week may be beneficial. Training frequency is just another tool you can use to spark new muscle growth. Being consistent with one muscle group is not enough however, your body wants all muscle groups to growth synergistically; essentially you need to train EVERY major muscle group if you want ANYTHING to grow.
… And this is exactly where most people fall down. For me, training at least 4 times a week is essential for growth, and many people simply don’t have the mental fortitude to do this, week after week.
Consistency is the base from which all your other successes will stem. You may not have an amazing workout every time you go to the gym, but so long as you actually go get the work done, and get out, that’s half the battle won. Don’t ask yourself how often should I workout?, ask yourself how often can I workout?