The goal of many bodybuilders, wrestlers and fitness buffs as well as multiple other athletes is to gain muscle / lose fat whilst doing so simultaneously. Unfortunately, for most who’ve been training for any amount of time, training with this goal in mind is typically just a surefire way to stand in one place spinning your wheels for months, if not years on end. It’s often noted that bodybuilders tend to be extremists. Whether this is just a natural personality tendency among them, or it is a result of the habits with which it takes to induce noticeable and lasting physical changes in their physique, it does ring true for a large majority. Even when taking training out of the equation, what other group of people, or athletes, puts themselves through the dietary rigors of a bodybuilder other than a wrestler or serious fitness enthusiast? Eating enough to feed a small country while on a bulking phase yet turning around and barely subsisting on enough calories to feed a bird while on a cutting phase.
Anyone who’s ever truly been on a real bulking phase or a cutting phase will know exactly what extremes I’m talking about. In order to gain muscle the body needs food and lots of it coupled with a reduction of all extraneous activities. In order to shed fat after building this muscle the body needs much few calories and lots more tedious cardiovascular type exercise. To try and embark on a mutual compromise between bulking and cutting typically brings compromising results in either direction.
However, with science, information, and understanding on how the various systems of the body function, we can better understand and apply correct exercise and nutritional timing to better enable us to achieve the goal of increasing muscle mass and losing fat simultaneously. The plan I am about to unfold here is, as only a bodybuilder and wrestler would have it, a bit extreme. However, if dedicated to and followed, it will enable you to achieve these 2 mutually exclusive goals simultaneously by taking advantage of nutrient and exercise timing.
What we are going to do is take advantage of the body’s hormonal state as it pertains to day to day circadian rhythms, exercise, and nutrient timing. The plan involves periods of both rather extreme underfeeding for fat loss, and rather extreme overfeeding for muscle gain coupled with both training for fat loss (cardio, HIIT) and training for muscle gain (heavy weights). Basically what will be happening is you’ll be in a fat burning mode the majority of the time eating lower carbs and calories and performing fat burning activities like regular cardio and HIIT cardio to help in this aspect.
The rest of the time you’ll either be sleeping, hitting the iron heavy and hard, or eating like a madman or women to drive protein synthesis, build muscle, and take advantage of the anabolic hormones induced by the weight training and feeding schedule. So let’s take a look at the nuts and bolts of the program.
Some form of cardio should be done 3-6 days per and alternated between longer, slow duration cardio, and HIIT cardio. Walking on a slightly inclined treadmill for 45 minutes is an ideal form of the longer duration cardio which should be performed on weight training days (up to 3x per week) and sprinting outdoors, on a treadmill and/or cycling is an ideal form of HIIT cardio which should be done on weight training off days (2-3x per week). For the HIIT portion there are many different methods of implementing this. See: http://tru-strength.com/fitness.htm for more advice.
I like to keep the work:rest intervals a little longer than most at 1:2. As an example, after a 4 minute slow jog/cycle warm up perform 20 seconds of all out sprints followed by 40 seconds of jogging repeated for 8-12 sets with a 4 minute cooldown of slow jogging at the end. If there is one key to HIIT cardio it is to keep it creative. Basically, the more you struggle with fat gain and/or loss, the more cardio and HIIT sessions you’ll need to perform with 3 cardio and 3 HIT cardio sessions being the max. Those somewhere in the middle of the metabolic continuum should perform 3 HIIT sessions and ditch the regular cardio sessions. Those with excellent metabolisms might find they need only 1 or 2 HIIT sessions per week.
The actual content of your weight training sessions is not nearly as important as the timing. It is important for this program that your weight training sessions be done sometime in the late afternoon/early evening to allow you to burn fat throughout the day as this is the time when you’ll be eating a lower calorie/low carb diet. Also make sure you schedule the weight training early enough in the evening so that you are allowed a minimum of 6 hours between your weight training session and bedtime as this is the time you will be overfeeding to drive protein synthesis and replenish glycogen stores. Doing so too early in the day would halt fat burning for the rest of the day and put a damper on our training and fat burning economy.
The weight training should be done 3x per week on alternate days, M/W/F or Tu/Thu/Sat being ideal. The training sessions should consist of heavy, basic compound movements with some overlap. In other words, don’t make any sessions “arms only” as you want workouts that stimulate a lot of anabolic hormones and muscle mass.
With the information above, BUILDING MUSCLE AND REDUCING FAT IS DEFINITELY POSSIBLE for those that want to put in the work. If you’re local and would like to see how to cut your workout times in half by implementing the strategies listed above, simply give us a call anytime. Our contact information is located at TRU-STRENGTH.COM
In just 8 weeks, our Spotlight Client of the Month is June H. She went 140 lbs with 24.9% body fat to 137 lbs with 19% body fat. You see her scale weight only dropped 3 lbs however, she was able to reduce her body fat almost 6%. In terms of actual results… June lost 9 lbs of Fat and put on 6 lbs of lean Muscle at the same time.. Which in my opinion is an AWESOME BODY TRANSFORMATION AT ITS BEST. June is currently training for a Triathlon and has accomplished quite a bit in such a short period of time utilizing the training methods taught at TRU-STRENGTH. ANYONE CAN DO THIS!
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