Mix the right exercise routine and good dose of healthy nutrition habits into the equation and you’re on your way to increasing your metabolic rate, burning off that extra fat and gaining muscle.

Regular resistance training exercises are key to building and keeping muscle. As we get older our metabolism changes and starts to slow down, on average we should be weight training at least 2-3 times per week, between 45 minutes to an hour to build strength. This routine needs to be split up between upper and lower body exercises and of course, intensity needs to increase with adaptation – which is usually every 2 weeks.

To reduce body fat and weight, you have to expend more kilojoules than you take in, and this can be achieved either by eating fewer kilojoules or by expending more energy through greater levels of physical activity or by preferably doing both. Wade also warns, “Excessive cardiovascular demands without proper nutrition can lead to the body breaking down muscle for energy”.

Try these 4 sure-fire ways to help you lose fat and build muscle:

1. Eat throughout the day

Aim to eat a small meal or snack every three to four hours – eating regularly is also an important factor in keeping your metabolic rate steady. With each meal you eat, your body fires up its metabolism in a process called the “thermic effect of food”. This “thermic effect of food” is the increase in metabolism needed to digest, absorb and metabolize nutrients.

When you skip meals, your metabolism slows down in an effort to conserve energy. If you regularly skip meals, it can lead to weight and fat gain, rather than loss.

2. The “right” carbs

While ‘carb’ is a four letter word to many, it certainly is not the diet-wrecking evil food that some people might lead you to believe. It’s the powerhouse nutrient—”the preferred food for exercising muscle”.

Carbs are stashed in muscles in the form of glycogen, where it’s immediately burned during exercise. Without them you run out of energy, which can lead to muscle fatigue, making performance fizzle.

3. Choose protein

Add protein to each meal and snack. Not only will protein help you feel satisfied after a meal, it’s also needed to help build muscle mass, which helps to speed up metabolism. Examples of high-protein foods are peanut butter, nuts, lean meats and poultry, fish, eggs, lower fat cheeses, legumes, soya, tofu and yoghurt.

4. Refuel after a workout

The Medicine in Science and Sports Exercise Journal stated that the combination of carbs and protein, after a workout, promotes the release of the hormone insulin, which in turn helps to refuel and repair muscles faster. So pack a stash of bars, chocolate milk or a sarmie in your gym bag ready to nosh on after your workout.

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