Although we live in an era where technology gets a lot of things done for us, there is still no exercise machine which will burn your excess fat, get you ripped in an hour or two, after which you would leave the gym, toned and chiseled. Burning fat and gaining muscle is a slow, complicated process and here is why.
Interesting Details about Fat
Let’s look at it from a mathematical and physiological point of view: if you want to gain a pound of muscle, you need to consume 2,500 calories on top of your usual intake. If you want, for instance, to put on a pound of muscle in two weeks, it works out at about extra 180 calories per day. Simple, right? Yes, but in order get rid of one pound of fat, you need to burn about 3,500 calories. This means, if you were to lose one pound of fat over a period of two weeks, you have to burn additional 250 calories a day. Seems kind of contradictory, doesn’t it?
The truth is, the processes of burning fat and gaining muscle are connected, and they will happen at the same time provided that you stick to proper nutrition that consists out of lots of protein, complex carbs, good fats, all the while avoiding sugar. Apart from proper diet, you also need to exercise, with your workout routine including both cardio and resistance training.
According to the results of most studies conducted, if you stick to resistance training, it will result is loss of excess fat, in addition to building more muscle. While there are ways of measuring your body fat percentage, there is one far simpler test you can do, and that is: the clothing test. You see, as you lose fat, your clothes will become looser, as a result of dropping all that fat.
However, a lot of people tend to make the mistake of looking at the numbers on the scale. They put in the hard work, and when they step onto the scale, they see the same number, which leads them to give up the whole thing.
This is wrong, because muscle weighs more than fat, so even though you lose fat, you gain weight through muscle mass. This is why the way your clothes fit is a much better indicator. Also, if you really want to monitor your progress and measure your weight, do it just once a week. That way, you will put a lot less pressure on yourself. The only time when you should be worried is when the number stays the same, and your clothes starts to become tighter, which means you are definitely doing something wrong.
So, if you are looking to get rid of fat, and build a lean, chiseled physique, these are the 3 steps you should incorporate into your workout routine:
Lifting Heavy Weights for 2 Days to Build Muscle
This approach should involve heavy weights and a low number of repetitions. Instead doing one set of 10 or 20 reps, try to do 4 sets of 4-6 reps instead. During one of these two days, you should focus on targeting major muscles groups in your upper body, such as your back muscles and your chest. On the second day, you should work out the muscle groups in your lower body, like the quads, hamstrings, and the glutes.
High-Intensity, Whole-Body Circuit Training for 2 Days
This type of training should be aimed at all muscle groups, and should involve very little resting time between all the different exercises, and a higher number of reps with lighter weights. You should also alternate between muscle group, to prevent your body from getting used to the routine and to avoid plateauing.
For instance, you should do sets of 12 to 15 reps during a single circuit, and repeat the entire process 3 times in a row. The exercise should involve chest presses, squats, sit-ups, pull-ups, hamstring curls, bicep curls and triceps extensions.
The goal of this routine is to increase the production of human growth hormone which is, apart from being responsible for burning loads of calories, also essential if you want to build muscle and boost your metabolism in the process.
Long-Duration, Low-Intensity Endurance Training for One Day
This step should be the easiest from the intensity standpoint. One example of this low-intensity exercise would be walking or cycling at an easy pace, for the duration of 60 minutes.
Now, what you need to understand, is that these exercises are there to make sure your body burns as much fat and builds as much muscle as it can. However, just exercising alone is not enough. Arguably, proper diet plays an even bigger part in the entire process. Let’s take a look at how you should balance your diet in order to achieve maximum results.
Calories to Protein Ratio
In order to calculate the number of calories you should consume in a single day, measure your weight in pounds, and multiply it by 13. That number should give a pretty good idea. It may seem a bit steep, but because you will be working out regularly to build muscle mass, you will need every single one of those calories. If you fail to eat enough calories, you will lose fat but you will also lose muscle, resulting in a look that is definitely not lean and toned.
You will also need to calculate the amount of protein you should intake during the day, which works out at around 1 to 1.5 grams of protein per pounds of lean body mass, which is your body weight, minus the fat. The best sources of protein are chicken, white fish, turkey and so on.
As you can see, staying in shape is fairly simple. In this case, try to avoid stepping onto the scale too often, since it’s not a reliable indicator of your progress. Stick with your tape measure instead. Regardless of the number on the scale, as long as your waist circumference is getting smaller, and your clothes looser, you are on the right track. Armed with this new knowledge, go out and be the best you that you can be. Good luck!