Building muscle while burning fat is a realistic goal for student-athletes (as well as for non-athletes of all ages). And contrary to what many assume, it does not require multi-hour workouts.
Yes, old school bodybuilders do perform lengthy workouts, because they must take extended rests between sets to allow for muscle recovery. Although this is an effective method for building your Bench or Squat numbers, it's not very efficient. As an athlete looking to build muscle and burn fat, you need to perform a routine that will challenge your muscles and elevate your heart rate—something that long rest periods won't do.
I recommend performing high-intensity, short duration strength workouts. Such "intense and condense" workouts are quite challenging, but they are more productive and take less time than bodybuilder workouts—and they are a proven method for building muscle and burning fat.
These workouts also enhance muscular endurance without using a cardio machine like a treadmill or stationary bike. The endurance phase is built into the workout through performing exercises at a high intensity.
An important characteristic of this workout is that it requires minimal equipment, so you won't have to wait for a machine or a set of weights. Select a single weight—like a 20-pound med ball or a pair of 15-pound dumbbells—and use it for the entire workout.
After a few muscle-building and fat-burning sessions, you may find yourself thinking along these lines: "Intense and Condense Makes Perfect Sense!"
Build Muscle, Burn Fat Workout
Rest: 30 seconds
*Superset Pull-Ups with Bench Dips
Rest: 20 seconds
*Perform Plank and Side Plank (right, left) continuously without rest
Rest: 15 seconds
Jim Carpentier is a certified strength and conditioning specialist, a New Jersey-licensed massage therapist and a health/fitness writer. He currently serves as associate health and wellness director at the Greater Morristown YMCA in Cedar Knolls, N.J.