21 Tips on How to Build Muscle & Lose Fat Without a Gym

May 25, 2024

Brought to you by…
Coach Adam
(aka TRX Traveller)
Body Transformation Coach
Founder of Fitness Freedom Athletes

Whether you’re using a suspension trainer, resistance band, or your own body weight to workout from home.

These techniques, principles, and nutrition tips will help you transform your body quicker and more effectively…

#1 Slow Down For Faster Results

The greatest metric to build muscle is time under tension.

That basically means slow every exercise right down.

Let go of any ego for hitting high rep numbers.

Instead focus on a slow and controlled exercise movement.

As a base foundation, make every rep a minimum of 6 seconds per rep, which would be a 222 tempo.

Let’s take a suspension trainer chest press as an example:

Upward phase
– 2 seconds on the upward (concentric/positive) phase: This would be the press part of the exercise.

Top phase
– 2 seconds hold and contract/squeeze at the top of the exercise: This would be when you are holding yourself with straight arms at the top of the exercise squeezing the chest muscle powerfully.

Downward phase
– 2 seconds on the downward (eccentric/negative) phase: This would be lowering yourself down so the straps come towards your chest.

#2 Keep Your Insulin Sensitivity Good to Transform Your Body Easier

Think of your insulin sensitivity as the roots from which the rest of your body flourishes.

Poor insulin sensitivity (bad roots) = your body dumps food into fat cells ❌

Good insulin sensitivity (good roots) = your body places food into muscle and functional cells ✅

Carbs spike insulin, too much insulin released throughout the day, every day, means your body becomes resistance to it.

To help keep your insulin sensitivity good, have at least one meal a day, carb free.

Ideally dinner or breakfast.

This means you are giving your body a long period without any insulin in the blood to re-sensitise.

If you want to understand more about how your insulin sensitivity affects your ability to build muscle and lose fat, checkout this post here

#3 Cycle Your Bulking to Prevent Fat Gain

If you want to build muscle fast, you need to bulk.

But prolonged bulking just screws up your body.

To do it without gaining fat or screwing up your hormones, energy, and mood, follow the simple rule of 7×7.

It means 7 weeks of bulking – Eating large amounts of calories with a high carb, low fat, medium protein diet.

Then 7 days of resetting/fat loss diet – Eating low calories (below maintenance level) with zero to minimal carbs, high fats, & protein.

This allows you to supply the body with ample amounts of energy to build muscle mass.

But put the brakes on and reset your body before you gain excess fat and slow your body down.

#4 Breathe Only Through Your Nose For Performance

Breathe only through your nose during workouts as much as possible.

The body is more efficient at oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange with nasal breathing.

Because it uses more lobes of the lungs.

This means more oxygen availability in the cardiovascular system.

And more oxidation of fat cells for energy and more CO2 by-product expelled from the lungs.

Try to live your day to day life, and when sleeping, by breathing only through your nose.

You’ll feel dramatically better.

#5 Eat The Sun For Power and Energy

The number one source of energy to fuel all life is the sun.

So, our goal should be to unlock the energy potential of the sun.

Unfortunately, we can’t eat the sun.

But we can eat the next best thing that absorbs the sun…

Plants.

Energy is never destroyed, it is only passed on and recreated in other forms.

Plants absorb the suns energy and and bundle it into a form we can absorb.

If you eat foods that are packed full of the sun’s energy potential, you will be in a better position to increase and prolong your energy levels.

When you think of your food choices, think:

The closer the food source is to absorbing the suns energy to then go in my mouth… the better it is for me.

#6 Prioritise Your Gut Health on a Morning For a High Performance day

The gut has 100 million neurons.

These neurons are the same that are found within the brain.

The gut is your second brain.

Think about that fact and consider its implications.

The gut is where we produce serotonin.

The chemical that makes us feel happy.

Also, the chemical that drug makers make millions from by selling as anti-depressants designed to replace serotonin.

Here are two simple things to do as soon as you wake up for optimal gut health all day long:

  1. Clean and floss your teeth: You don’t want to wash down any bad mouth bacteria from your long nights sleep. They can affect the good bacteria in your gut.
  2. Then have a pint of water with lemon, ginger, and a probiotic: Helps to detoxify and cleanse your body, and boosts your good gut bacteria army.

#7 Carbs + Fat = Fat Stored

Eating a large amount of fat and carb together leads to one thing = fat storage.

Carbs cause insulin to be released in the body, insulin is a fat-storing hormone.

The body will look to store fat when insulin is spiked (due to carbs).

Don’t eat meals that are high in fat and carbs. One should always lead.

Either a high fat, low carb meal.

Or a high carb, low fat meal.

Think of all the foods that are bad for you because they lead to excess weight gain, fast:

Chips, cookies, donuts, chocolate, biscuits, cake…

What do they all have in common?

They are a combination of high fat and high carb.

#8 There are Two Techniques to Exercise Effectively (One is useless for building muscle)

There’s a massive ‘effective’ difference in the way people exercise to transform their body.

It comes down to two techniques:

  1. movement-centric technique (99% of people)
  2. muscle-centric technique (1% of people. This is us!)

One is much less effective than the other when it comes to ACTUALLY building muscle.

That is ‘Movement-Centric Technique’.

With movement-centric technique you allow the body to activate all the muscles it can, to move.

The body is great at this.

It loves to use as many muscles as possible to efficiently move a load.

This is great for things like running, cycling, power lifting, day to day living…

Lots of muscles working together as a team.

Like in a tug of war. Team work.

But it’s not good for building lots of muscle in the most effective way.

Becuase the load is shared across multiple muscles.

So no single muscle takes enough load to cause a BIG muscle building stimulus.

This is why people struggle to build muscle for years and get stuck spinning their wheels.

You need to use “Muscle-Centric Technique” to build muscle faster and more efficiently.

Isolate the muscle you want to target and don’t allow other muscles to help out.

By using slow, controlled technique, and your mind-muscle connection to squeeze the single muscle powerfully.

Then the majority of your body weight load goes onto that single muscle.

One muscle handling the majority of the load under constant tension…

Creates a BIG muscle building stimulus.

Which means you build lean muscle effectively from each workout.

#9 Start Every Exercise With The Target Muscle

The last tip leads us nicely onto this tip…

This is THE most important thing you can do for muscle growth…

Start every exercise with ONLY the target muscle. 

For example, if you’re doing bicep curls, only the bicep muscle should cause movement.

Simple to say, but always overlooked and takes mindful focus to do

If the muscle you’re trying to target is the ONLY muscle that is causing movement….

Then you have eliminated any swinging or momentum.

Which means the TARGET MUSCLE actually has to do all the work.

This is muscle-centric technique. Isolating a muscle.

Create tension in the working muscle BEFORE initiating the exercise movement

Avoid singing and momentum.

#10 Don’t Underestimate Rest For Muscle Growth

If your body is never allowed the time to fully recover and regenerate, because it is constantly getting broken down again before it has the chance to recover…

How can you ever use the potential of the fully re-grown and stronger muscle?

You’ll always be training at only 60-80% of the muscles potential.

Becuase the the other 20-40% is still repairing.

Which means you’re starting the workout with already 20-40% less muscle development potential.

Take your rest days.

It leads to better muscle development in the long run.

#11 More is Not Better

Which do you think is better to do for muscle growth…

  1. 16 reps of a TRX Suspension Trainer Chest Press with each rep taking 1-2 seconds or…
  2. 8 reps of a TRX Suspension Trainer Chest Press with each rep taking 6 seconds

If you’re like the majority of people, you’d have said number 1.

Which is wrong.

Hitting 16 reps with each rep taking 1-2 seconds = 16 reps with 2 seconds per rep = 32 seconds

That’s 32 seconds the muscle has the opportunity to be placed under constant tension. If the exercise is performed correctly.

Hitting 8 reps with each rep taking 6 seconds = 8 reps with 6 seconds per rep = 48 seconds

That’s 48 seconds the muscle has the opportunity to be placed under constant tension. If the exercise is performed correctly.

Muscle is built from time under tension.

More reps does not mean better results.

Longer time under tension does.

#12 Take Your Muscle Through it’s Full Range of Motion

Imagine the muscle as a large landscape canvas ready to be painted.

Performing a full range of motion is painting across the entire canvas from left to right to create a masterpiece.

Not doing a full range of motion means you are leaving white space at the edges of the canvas and not painting on them.

It means the masterpiece is incomplete.

Think of your muscles as this canvas.

Depending on how bad the technique is performed, will depend on how much white space is left at the sides of the canvas…

Unfinished and undeveloped.

We don’t want to leave muscle undeveloped.

The muscle will not grow into a masterpiece.

Don’t do half reps just to hit numbers for ego.

Focus on the biggest range of motion you can. You need to slow down and reduce your weight to do this.

Take every muscle from a fully stretched position to a fully contracted position.

#13 Control your Negative Phase

“well lowering myself is the easy part, gravity will take over and I’ll just drop down”

EXACTLY my point.

It’s really easy to give up on the negative phase of an exercise (the part where you are lowering your bodyweight),

because most people assume we only need to put the effort in on the concentric (positive) phase…

The positive phase would be pulling your body up whilst performing a TRX Suspension Trainer Row.

People think that the positive phase is the only bit that will make a difference in building the muscle.

It’s wrong and will lead to poor transformational results…

A muscle has 3 strength phases to grow:

  1. Positive – Pulling yourself up on a suspension trainer back row
  2. Isometric – Squeezing the muscle at the top of the row
  3. Negative – Lowering yourself down slowly on a row

Not engaging the muscle on the negative part means you are leaving out 33% muscle gain.

That’s a huge amount you are leaving on the table.

Go against gravity and lower yourself slowly, maintaining a constant squeeze on the muscle.

#14 Become a Master Figiter to Lose Fat

The body loves to be constantly moving.

It thrives when it does.

When we sit for prolonged periods our body goes into a state where it purposely slows metabolism and cellular activity.

It essentially goes into fat-storing hibernation mode.

Recovery then slows for transforming your body because less blood is being shuttled around and less cellular activity happening for repair.

And your metabolism slows down meaning less calories burned.

Become a master figiter for fat loss, focus, and faster muscle building from recovery.

Never stop moving.

#15 Reverse Diet so You Don’t Rebound

The main reason people rebound after cutting calories to diet is because they don’t gradually increase their food intake back up.

A diet has two pathways:

  1. You diet down by gradually reducing calorie intake over time.
  2. Then you diet back up by gradually increasing calorie intake over time.

If you spend 4 weeks in a diet phase, you need to spend 4 weeks reversing out of that diet phase.

Always apply this equal principle to your diet lengths.

The exception to the rule is anything below 14 days.

This more like a reset (like in cyclical cycling for bulking, see tip above).

#16 To Lose Fat Eat Fat

To lose fat you need to get your body to use fat as it’s primary source of energy throughout the day.

This means reducing the other source that it relies on for energy, carbohydrates.

If you want a simple method to lose fat consistently, overtime without complication, do this:

  • Only one meal in your day should contain a small amount of carbs.
  • Your other meals in the day should only contain fat, protein and veg.

This will allow your body to become metabolically flexible, where it learns to use fat as it’s primary source of energy.

Including your body fat.

So long as you don’t overeat, you move a lot each day (steps), and exercise regularly, you will lose fat consistently overtime.

However, to lose large amounts of fat fast. You need to get more complex.

This is where it’s best to seek professional help.

#17 Choose Your Goal and Stick To It

Maintenance/recomposition:

If you want to build some muscle and lose some fat at the same time.

Then calculate your maintenance level and eat at that level consistently

Progress will be slower for building muscle and losing fat, but it is simpler to live life doing this.

And it will consistently happen over time

Build Muscle, Fast:

Takes focus, time, and consistency.

You need to eat in a LARGE calorie excess (mainly carbs) to build muscle.

But you can’t do it for too long because it screws up your body (fat gain, hormones, lethargy, brain for).

So cycle your nutrition with bulk phases and reset phases (see tip about 7×7 bulking above).

Lose Fat, Fast:

Takes focus, time, and consistency.

Ramp up your fat intake and lower your carb in take to get your body using only fat as its fuel.

Then eat less than what you burn each day. Gradually reduce your calorie intake week to week.

Then reverse out of it by gradually increasing you calorie intake week to week.

Hitting 10k steps a day is the biggest fat loss shifter.

Workouts aren’t for losing fat, they are for maintaining muscle mass and spiking metabolism and fat boosting hormones.

Chose your goal and stick to it for at least 3 months to see a difference.

People don’t get good results because they jump ship after a few weeks.

Leading to an up and down rollercoaster of success.

#18 Need More Energy, Eat Potassium

Most people rely on “caffeine and carbs” for energy fixes.

If you’re waking up each day feeling sluggish and you get daily fatigue…

Caffeine hits and energy bars are a short term fix with long term consequences.

The root cause of this is most likely your low potassium levels.

You need to ensure your daily potassium intake is higher than your sodium intake.

Otherwise you’ll feel out of whack and generally tired.

How do you get high levels of potassium? Lots of green veg.

Yep, it’s that boring and that simple.

Top up with a powdered greens supplement to help.

#19 Fat Free Diets Will Screw You Up

It’s the classic belief – “I don’t want fat, so I’ll just stop eating fat.”

Healthy fats increase your cholesterol (the good kind).

Cholesterol is essential for hormone production.

When you follow a low fat diet, you lower your good cholesterol.

And hormone levels.

Lower testosterone in men, causing man boobs, and a degrading sex drive.

Fluctuating levels of Estrogen in women, affecting your menstrual cycle and leading to water retention.

Your hormone levels are naturally decreasing as you age.

Don’t make that worse by following fat free diets.

#20 Use Nutrient Timing to Build Muscle

During and after a workout, blood flow to your muscles is increased by 80%.

Take advantage of this and feed the muscles the main things they need to repair and grow:

carbs, salts, water, and protein.

If you take creatine, this is all an ideal time to take it so you can flood your muscle cells with it.

Blood flow gradually reduces to the muscles and levels out the further from the workout you get.

Eat straight away after a workout.

#21 Become a Poser

There’s a reason physique athletes and body builders pose a lot!

As in, they flex their muscles.

It’s not just to show off on stage.

Ponder this thought:

“If you can’t squeeze (contract) your muscles correctly and effectively without a weight.

What right do you have to try and do it with a weight.”

Practicing to squeeze your muscles outside of workouts, like in front of a mirror, will help you squeeze (contract) them better inside of workouts.

Squeezing your muscles and practicing to pose, is a form of isometric exercise.

It builds muscle.

(I see it as free muscle gain.)

But better than that, it increases your mind-muscle connection by improving neurological pathways to your muscles.

It helps you become better at powerfully connecting and squeezing your muscles.

So you can then take that powerful squeeze into your workouts for better muscle development overall.

By the way, if you want to learn how to build muscle with a suspension trainer, checkout my complete body transformation Programs here.

And If you’re struggling with stubborn belly fat, checkout Belly Fat Annihilation here, to lean how to optimise your nutrition to lose belly fat fast.

Or if you’re struggling to build noticeable amounts of muscle, checkout The Muscle Maximisation Method here, to learn how to optimise you nutrition to maximise your muscle growth.

Coach Adam
Body Transformation Coach

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Coach Adam  (aka TRX Traveller)

Coach Adam (aka TRX Traveller)

Body Transformation Coach

I help people build lean muscle, lose fat, and transform their body anywhere! With my complete body transformation TRX Suspension Trainer and Resistance Band Programs, and Private 1-1 Coaching.

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Adam Atkinson TRX Traveller Fitness Freedom Athletes
Adam Atkinson TRX Traveller Fitness Freedom AthletesAdam Atkinson TRX Traveller Fitness Freedom Athletes

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