When bodybuilding, there are a number of things that you have to take into consideration if you are aiming to lose weight and build muscle fast and effectively.
A lot of weight lifters who are aiming to burn fat as well as gain muscle mass may be wondering why they cannot shift those last little bits of fat.
It is perfectly normal to have your progress slow down over time, and you will find that you have to work hard and hard to maintain and grow muscle after the first few months.
However, for some people, the problem is a little more complicated than just simply biology. For some people, not being able to release those last few pounds may be down to insulin sensitivity, or insulin resistance.
Why is it important to burn fat while working out?
For those who are passionate about bodybuilding, it is obvious that burning fat and building muscle go hand in hand, and that cardio is just as important as heavy weight lifting. Weights can only do so much to build and define muscle: if you cannot see the muscle through a wall of fat, your hard work will have been for nothing.
However, the more muscle in the body, the more effectively and efficiently the body can burn through fat, meaning that bodybuilders can tend to lose fat weight a lot more quickly than other sportspeople.
That is not to say that you can just sit back and wait for the pounds to melt off: it still requires hard work, but it is at least easier as long as you exercise regularly and eat properly. Then your muscle definition will become a lot easier to see.
What is insulin resistance?
Insulin resistance (sometimes abbreviated to IR) is a physiological condition where normal cells do not react in the normal way to insulin, a hormone that naturally occurs in the human body.
This means that, although your body is still producing insulin, your cells become resistant to it and therefore cannot use it effectively.
This in turn can lead to the development of high blood sugar and, if it is left undetected, it can contribute to Type 2 diabetes later on in life.
Why is it important to know about insulin resistance?
If you are not losing that last little bit of fat, you might start to work even harder in order to try and shift it, which can have severe effects on your health. Overworking your body or not eating enough may lead not only to the breakdown of muscle but to health deterioration in general.
If you do not know about insulin resistance or have any idea that your retention of fat could be linked to this problem, then you are more likely to start pushing yourself in ways that are not safe or healthy, which can be detrimental. Knowing about insulin resistance, therefore, is half the battle.
Why can insulin resistance affect muscle building?
Insulin can help your body gain muscle because it has anabolic properties. Although insulin mostly targets the liver, it also focuses on the muscle and fat cells, too, making them work more efficiently.
This means that, if you are perfectly healthy and your body can break down insulin in the correct way, this hormone can really help your muscles to develop and your fat to be broken down quicker and easier than normal.
It is important, then, to know whether you are insulin resistant so that you can make alternative arrangements to help you lose that last little bit of weight.
A few important things to know about insulin resistance
Scientists recently have come to the startling conclusion that insulin resistance is actually increased when the percentage of body fat is vastly decreased or when weight is lost. This means that the lighter and leaner you get, the more prone you become to insulin resistance and all the problems inherent with it.
Also problematic is the fact that insulin resistance gets stronger and more effective the more time you work out, meaning that pushing yourself to drop those few extra pounds is made even more difficult, particularly if you don’t know what you’re dealing with.
Scientists have suggested that this phenomenon occurs because the body wants to preserve itself as much as possible and does not want to lose all of the fat that it has stored, just in case food starts to become scarce.
How do you overcome insulin resistance?
For those few who are having real difficulty overcoming their last few pounds of fat, you will no doubt want to know what you can do to overcome your insulin resistance problem.
Basically, it all starts with the diet. Most bodybuilders know the importance of consuming plenty of protein and carbohydrates to build muscle and keep energy high. However, this can affect insulin resistance in negative ways.
Instead, you need to be focusing back on the basics. Fresh fruit and vegetables need to become a staple in your diet, particularly raw vegetables which often contain a higher percentage of vitamins and minerals than their frozen or even boiled counterparts.
All processed foods, which are usually high in fat, sugar, and salt need to be cut completely from your diet. If you want to lose those last few pounds, you are going to have to really work for it!
Be careful and listen to your body
The absolute worst thing you can do is starve yourself to lose extra weight. Never cut out food to lose a few pounds if you are hitting the gym three, four, or even five times a week.
You need to keep replacing the calories that you have lost by lifting and doing cardio. Instead, just make sure that the calories you ingest are good ones from protein, fresh fruit and vegetables, and carbohydrates.
Starving your body of the things it desperately needs will not help get rid of your insulin resistance problem – in fact, it will just make matters worse.