Summer Shredded: Get A Beach-Ready Body
Don't get caught with your shirt on when the weather warms up. Here's a six-week plan to make sure your physique turns plenty of heads this summer.
Name: Train Magazine
The Official Print Partner of Bodybuilding.com
If you're like most guys, then your Pavlovian response to tighter trousers is to make a beeline for the cardiovascular machines and start reading a diet book.
For all the hours spent leafing through pages of a dietary manual while on treadmills, stationary bikes, and the like, most people's trousers should be hugging their ankles. Unfortunately, that strategy won't get you anywhere.
But here's some good news: The fast track to weight loss is far easier and takes the opposite approach.
You need a delicate balance of weights, cardio, and plenty of eating to get rid of any unwanted pounds. That's because lifting weights significantly speeds up your metabolism.
A study by the fat-burning mathematicians at West Virginia University supports this.1 They found that weightlifters peeled off an average of 14.5 kg and watched their metabolisms speed up by 4 percent.
The reason for this? Well, the more stacked you are, the more calories you'll burn during everything you do. Lifting your coffee mug or watching your favorite show suddenly becomes more productive as you burn fat for free.
The guys in the study who did just aerobic exercise, such as running, lost more weight, but that also included four kilograms of muscle. Consequently, their metabolisms slowed down by an average of 14 percent. In the future they'll have more trouble keeping the weight off—a problem easily avoided if you build muscle while dropping fat.
So, what's the best way to dive in? We've carefully stacked the scales to create a perfectly loaded fat-burning plan which will see you losing up to three pounds every seven days for the next six weeks.
Be warned, you may have to shell out for a new wardrobe.
YOUR FAIL-SAFE STRATEGY
This plan involves three full-body workouts and limits each training session to just 60 minutes, the amount of time that maximizes the effect of the muscle-building hormone testosterone.
What's more, the lab coats at the University of Alabama2 found that full-body regimens gave on average 2.27 kg (or 5 pounds) greater muscle gain per month than sessions that focused on single muscle groups.
You'll combine these lifting workouts with short, sharp interval training sessions. Research at Laval University3 found this burns up to three times more fat than exercising at the same pace.
This three-pronged attack is a surefire way to earn you more muscle and less fat. Repeat this workout 3-5 times per week to keep building muscle and burning fat, or alternate between the workouts listed below.
Follow these golden rules in every workout to build muscle and blast fat fast:
Choose a weight that's 80 percent of the most weight you can push or press just once.
Do just one set of every exercise using 8-12 reps.
When you can do 12 reps, add 5 percent more weight.
Take four seconds to raise the weight and four seconds to lower it.
If the routine takes more than 45 minutes, you're taking way too long.
Do 3-4 workouts per week, leaving a day's rest between each one.
If you want to do cardio, do it after lifting to burn more fat.
Don't rest between sets. The setup time for a new exercise is enough.
Push out the reps until your muscles fail and cry for mercy.
Use perfect form for all exercises to avoid injury.
3 Workout Options
Choose a cardio machine (rowing, cycling, treadmill, etc.) and do one of these sessions after each workout. Pick a new session after each workout to keep your muscles guessing and adapting to the new stimulus.
- Session 1: 8 sets of 30 sec. 60 sec rest.
- Session 2: 10 sets of 20 sec. 40 sec rest.
- Session 3: 12 sets of 10 sec. 20 sec rest.
- Session 4: 8 sets of 35 sec. 15 sec rest.
- Session 5: 5 sets of 40 sec. 40 sec rest.
- Bryner, et al. "Effects of resistance vs. aerobic training combined with an 800 calorie liquid diet on lean body mass and resting metabolic rate." J Am Coll Nutr. 1999 Apr;18(2):115-21.
- McLester, Jr., J. R., Bishop, P., & Guilliams, M. (1999). Comparisons of 1 and 3 days per week of equal volume resistance training in experienced subjects. "Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise," 31(5), Supplement abstract 443.
- A. Tremblay et al. "Impact of high-intensity exercise on energy expenditure, lipid oxidation and body fatness." International J of Obesity. 2001 Mar;25(3): 332-39.