One question we frequently receive at STACK is, “How do I lose weight while still building muscle?” This is difficult to do using improper methods, which is why many basketball players struggle with it throughout their careers. To meet both your weight and strength goals, throw out that old treadmill program and replace it with a multi-faceted approach that incorporates both training and nutrition.
Jumping on the treadmill and running for a half hour burns calories; however, you aren’t strengthening your muscles. To elevate your heart rate and engage your muscles for improved strength, perform plyometrics and other bodyweight exercises. This type of training allows you to do more reps at a high intensity, which activates your aerobic energy system and burns more calories. To achieve your goal, perform your regular exercise program with lower weight, more than 12 reps and less than 30 seconds of rest.
If you want to burn even more calories, use the treadmill but avoid simply jogging at a medium pace. You need to push yourself and run like you would in a game. Interval training is a great way to condition your body for improved game-time endurance, while also helping you shed extra pounds of fat. [Learn more about interval training here.]
After all that hard work, it’s important not to go home and suck down four sodas and a bucket of fried chicken. A proper diet is just as important for losing fat and gaining muscle as your time in the weight room. Your muscles need fuel, so don’t pare down your calorie intake too much—trim only around 500 to 1,000 calories per day. Stay away from fatty foods and eat nutrient-dense meals, such as salads and lean meats [fish, chicken breast and pork].