Training for Lean Gains
Fat Loss Mistakes and How to Correct Them
Steady fat burning remains one of the many key benefits of regular bodybuilding-style training. By hitting the body with regular doses of high-intensity resistance training we encourage more muscle growth, the metabolic benefits of which make it easier to achieve and maintain a lean physique that is both visually impressive, healthier and better able to perform at a high level.
However, while all forms of heavy weight training have desirable effect on body composition, there exist superior methods that enhance fat loss more efficiently and effectively.22
There are, it seems, as many ways to target stubborn bodyfat removal via intensive weights workouts as there are ways to build more muscle and gain more strength. It’s just that we tend not to readily associate weight training with fat loss; instead, we believe, correctly, that diet, supplementation and the right amount of cardio should be the first consideration when seeking streamlined mass.
Though as fundamentally important as these factors are, without specific resistance protocols the end result will be much less impressive.8 In this case, a typical high-energy weights workout can increase resting metabolic rate by around 20% in the days following such a session, burning around 400 extra calories per day above and beyond the training itself, normal metabolic processes and day to day activities.10 This means more stored calories can, in the long run, be deleted through resistance training’s famed afterburn effect than any other fat loss protocol.1, 2, 5, 6, 7
As most of us know, to achieve single digit bodyfat levels we must ensure that training (weights and cardio), nutrition and supplementation are equally on point. But just as there are certain ways to eat and supplement for lean body success there are specific resistance methods that work best for stubborn bodyfat removal.
In this article I’ll provide five main guidelines we all need to follow, and which workout protocols to avoid, when wanting to become more muscular and as lean as humanly possible. Also included is a 12-week lean body program that incorporates these guidelines and assures the fastest possible fat loss. Getting ripped – a difficult job at the best of times – is about to get easier than ever.
Step 1: Rapid Fire Output
Workouts that involve standing around between sets for minutes on end are least effective when seeking to shrink wrap skin to muscle. Here, the time spent chatting up the chick on the leg press or lying to your friends about how much you bench can severely minimize the fat burning response and limit the amount of muscle building volume of a given workout.
Instead, take only 30-45 seconds between sets. Compared to when resting for 2-3 minutes (the average time it takes for most gym goers to hobble back to the squat rack), shorter rest periods ensure that subsequent caloric burn off can be increased by up to 50%.
Granted, while powerlifters and other purely strength-focused lifters may need the extra time to achieve greater poundages, those specifically wanting to get as lean as possible while adding appreciable mass could do worse than shortening their rest periods by 60-70%.
Step 2: Increase Intensity
It happens to us all from time to time. Just when we think we have reached the pinnacle of our training output, when we feel we have pushed as far as we can go, we realize we have, in fact, ever so slightly taken our foot off the pedal. In short, we may find ourselves coasting. Rather than upping the intensity with each workout we have, in reality, reached a level of ‘comfort’ that has made our training a pleasurable, and more manageable, experience.
Remember this: effective training, where intensity is at its highest and fat loss returns are greatest, should be far from pleasurable. Whenever we feel our sessions have become a little easier to accomplish it’s time to look for newer and crazier ways to make them harder. To embrace the (positive) pain, do the following.
Again, shorten those rest periods. A major benefit of limiting rest is the extra work (training volume) such brevity provides. Along with keeping the metabolism ticking along at a fast rate, increased training volume leads to extra caloric burn off to power muscular movement.
To further accomplish more in less time, add in a series of intensity methods to compound the intensity and increase training volume, both of which will lead to a higher metabolic output and, ultimately, a leaner physique. Here, drop sets, supersets and giant sets work particularly well. The key, as always, is to cram as much intensity and volume into your workout as possible in order to boost muscle gains and enhance fat burning.11, 13, 15, 16, 17, 19
Another great way to boost training intensity is to lift as heavy as possible while adhering to the aforementioned shorter rest periods. By adding up to 10% more weight to certain movements – this may require dropping reps to 6-8 on heavy sets – a hefty metabolic boost can be achieved, which may lead to 600 or more calories being burned in the days following a heavy session.5, 6
Step 3: H20 It
One important fat burning step that tends to be overlooked more than any other is hydration. If you’re wanting to get lean and fall into the above category, remember this: water intake remains a fundamental requirement for proper organ functioning and the transportation of healthy nutrients into and out of the cells; both essential when wanting to maximize fat burning, especially during a workout.
Water also assists the kidneys in flushing toxins and accumulated metabolic waste products from the body (many of them stored in fat cells). When waste is filtered from cells, these cells retain more vital nutrients, including electrolytes, a process which both supresses bloating (which in itself can add inches to the waistline) and makes fat burning more efficient.
More H20 can also to lead to faster lipolysis (the breakdown of fats), increased caloric expenditure (up to 2-3 percent more calories can be burned in the 90 minutes after drinking 500mls of either cold or room temperature water), and increased resting energy expenditure (here, cold water may work best by forcing the body to expend more energy heating up the water for digestion).4, 20
Water intake is particularly important before, and during, training. Indeed, each of the above-listed benefits are more likely to be supressed when we fail to consume sufficient H20 while working out (remembering that we lose much water through sweat and energy metabolism). So, for faster fat loss be sure to drink at least 500mls of water before training and another 500mls, or more, during the workout itself.
Step 4: Movement Selection
There’s a popular expression among advanced fitness coaches: train movements, not muscles. This means that when seeking to maximize muscular recruitment and improve body composition we should emphasize movements that work multiple muscles simultaneously, or, at the very least, those which hit the largest muscles with maximum force. In other words, for faster fat loss 60-80% our training plan should be dedicated to compound, multi-joint movements (for example, bench presses, squats, and barbell rows).
By incorporating more heavy compound movements, greater caloric expenditure is achieved. In addition, by including more multi-joint mass builders we develop more metabolically-active muscle, which, by itself, burns more calories at rest.
The corollary of this ‘mass-builder’ bias is that we should also limit our usage of single-joint isolation movements. While such movements do have a definite place when it comes to stimulating impressive mass gains, they tend not to require as much effort to execute and thus burn minimal bodyfat compared to their compound counterparts.
One more thing: avoid excessive cardio. While a certain amount of cardio is necessary for bodyfat reduction, too much can have the opposite effect: metabolic adaptation, muscle losses, and less fat burning.9, 21
Experiment with different cardio approaches to find a method that works best for you. Begin with a smaller amount and gradually increase both duration and frequency until the perfect fat burning response is achieved (generally 4-5 30-minute sessions per week, with an emphasis on HIIT).
Step 5: Fuel Up
Our final step to training success could also be the most important factor when it comes to optimizing fat burning when working out: workout nutrition. But before fuelling up correctly we must first address one of the main reasons why so many people fail to target stubborn bodyfat in the lead up to, and during, training: simple carbohydrate consumption, either during the pre-workout meal or immediately prior to hitting the iron.
The big thing to remember here is that consuming the wrong carbs before training (anything containing table sugar, high fructose corn syrup or other ‘simple’ forms, which may include fruit juices, soda of any description, and your typical ‘sports’ drinks) causes a massive spike in blood glucose (blood sugar), which leads to increased secretion of the storage hormone insulin.
While insulin release is encouraged post-training where it may lead to greater nutrient storage and where fat accumulation is less likely, this otherwise anabolic hormone may, at most other times, discourage fatty acids from leaving the fat cells.18 Which, of course, may lead to supressed fat burning.
Instead of fuelling up on poor carb choices and suffering the ill effects of poorly-timed blood sugar spiking, incorporate the following three supplements for sustained energy levels, improved training output, and steady fat burning.
Training for Lean Gains Supplements
While the high sugar carbs discussed earlier will likely lead to a reduction in energy and increased fat storage, there is one carbohydrate source that is guaranteed to improve the training experience and, by association, optimize fat burning. In providing just the right combination of high-performance carbs for ease of digestion and optimal assimilation, CARBION+ is the perfect workout companion for the intense workout program to follow.
Phase-delivered to the muscles along with key electrolytes’ sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium for maximum hydration and performance, the medium-chain maltodextrins and specially engineered carbs contained in CARBION+ boost energy while minimizing bodyfat accumulation.
CARBION+ also encourages greater water consumption both before, and during, training. While many people have an aversion to regular water intake – and, let’s face it, most of us do not drink enough of it before we train – the great-tasting CARBION+ not only increases water assimilation, but also makes topping up on H20 a more pleasurable experience.
Besides fuelling up with a high-quality pre-workout meal one hour before hitting the iron, smart bodybuilders complete the training prep process with a hefty complement of BCAAs just prior to their first set, and during the workout itself.
One of the main advantages to taking BCAAs when training is the energy these muscle aminos provide when a session is at its hardest. While regular food can be ultra-tough to digest in the lead-up to a workout, the rapidly assimilated aminos in AMINOCORE provide readily usable fuel that’s taken directly to the muscles and not to the waistline (here, BCAAs have been shown to be carbohydrate sparing, thus allowing stored carbs to be used over a longer period).3
In addition to boosting muscle gains by enhancing muscle protein synthesis (a key attribute of the BCAAs), AMINOCORE, the most bioavailable and efficiently absorbable product of its kind, also has an unrivalled taste which encourages greater intra-workout water consumption.
No pre-workout fuelling process could be considered complete without a reputable pre-workout energizer. In this case, IMPACT IGNITER has proven superior for countless athletes (strength or otherwise).
A stimulant-based product with maximum kick and packed with nootropic compounds for increased mental alertness and heightened focus and drive, IGNITER is especially popular among bodybuilders seeking maximum energy when low on calories.
Fat burning workouts are usually only as effective as a lifter’s energy levels will allow. Poor training output coupled with low intensity will not give the desired return on investment. However, by fuelling up on IMPACT IGNITER immediately prior to training, the energy to get the job done with maximum impact will be there from the first rep to the last.
A muscle’s ability to respond to a training stimulus is limited to the degree to which full recovery between sessions can be achieved. It’s here that a superior Whey Isolate with high bioavailability can provide the building blocks for continued muscle growth.15
Touted as having the ultimate taste and being the ultimate in quality, ISOFLEX is today’s most trusted Whey Isolate. Utilizing cutting-edge Hybrid Ratio Isolate (HRI) Ion Filtration Technology to retain seven unique whey protein isolate fractions, this product provides an exceptionally high protein yield and is as pure as it gets.
Taken post-training, ISOFLEX – which contains no filler substances and zero whey concentrate – gives the muscles exactly what is needed to commence the growth process.
12-Week Lean Body Training Plan
Note: rest for no more than 45 seconds between straight sets and supersets. Rest for two minutes between giant sets.
-Select training weights in accordance with prescribed rep range. Choose a level of resistance that ensures failure on the last rep of each work set.
-BB = Barbell
-DB = Dumbbell
-Double Drop Sets (DDS): complete one set, reaching failure within the stated rep range; reduce weight by 30% and complete another set; reduce weight by a further 30% and complete a final set.
-Supersets (SS): complete a second set with a different movement immediately following the first set.
-Giant Sets (GS): perform three, or more, movements back to back with minimal rest between each set.
Morning: Cardio – Following one serving of AMINOCORE
Evening: Back and Biceps (following one serving of IMPACT IGNITER and CARBION+). Consume one serving of AMINOCORE during the workout.
Evening: Legs and Abs (following one serving of IMPACT IGNITER and CARBION+). Consume one serving of AMINOCORE during the workout.
Morning: Cardio – Following one serving of AMINOCORE
Evening: Chest, Shoulders and Triceps (following one serving of IMPACT IGNITER and CARBION+). Consume one serving of AMINOCORE during the workout.
Morning: Cardio – Following one serving of AMINOCORE
Morning: Cardio – Following one serving of AMINOCORE
Evening: Full Body Workout (following one serving of IMPACT IGNITER and CARBION+). Consume one serving of AMINOCORE during the workout.
Morning: Cardio and Abs – Following one serving of AMINOCORE
Health Tip: Healthy Fats for Fast Fat Loss
In haste to boost depleted glycogen stores and commence the muscle rebuilding process, many otherwise well-meaning lifters over-emphasize carbohydrates and proteins at the expense of that other, equally valuable, macronutrient: fat.
When aiming to burn more body fat, a nutrient that should never be neglected is fat itself. As seemingly counterintuitive as it may sound, one of the most effective ways to possess a lean physique is to fuel up on fat. Here I am speaking of healthy fats – not off-limits trans-fats or less than desirable saturated fats.
First of all, compared to that other energy nutrient carbohydrates, fats keep us fuller for longer.12 Healthy fats also provide dietary balance; thus, fats can improve health, enable us to absorb vital nutrients and produce important hormones, give the body energy and support cell growth. All of this adds up to more efficient fat burning and better overall health.14
To benefit from fats, have this macro comprise 20-25 percent of your daily caloric intake and select only beneficial types, which may include: avocados, nuts and seeds, fatty fish (including salmon), and coconut oil.
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