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Build muscle and lose fat: athletes and non-athletes want the best of both worlds in the weight room. Follow these "Ten Commandments" of weight training and perform the three sample workouts below to get into top shape for opening day of your sport.
The Ten Commandments of Weight Training
- Focus on standing over seated or lying exercises. They not only optimally build muscle but also enhance fat-burning more efficiently.
- Perform full-body workouts. Train all muscle groups on non-consecutive days to torch fat and add size, rather than dividing workouts into "chest and back days" and "leg and shoulder days."
- Use multi-joint exercises. Do standing exercises that incorporate more muscles per movement for growth and fat reduction.
- Do three sets of 10 reps at 80% RM per exercise. When you build muscle with this protocol, fat-burning metabolism is heightened for 24 to 48 hours.
- Do interval training after weight training. Like weight training, interval training is anaerobic, so it will not interfere with muscle recovery, as would high-intensity aerobic activity, which can prevent size gains. Examples of interval training: run 40-Yard Dashes or alternate running fast in place for 30 second with 15 seconds of brisk walking.
- Perform short, high-intensity workouts. High intensity weight training sessions last 30 minutes or less and involve only brief periods of rest (15 to 30 seconds) between sets—or superset exercises (perform two exercises back to back without rest). This type of training blasts fat and promotes muscle endurance, an essential sports component.
- Engage in active recovery. On non-lifting days, do non-stop light jogging or brisk walking for 30 to 45 minutes for additional fat-burning without inhibiting muscle recovery and growth.
- Sleep seven to nine hours per night. Muscle-building/fat-burning growth hormone is naturally released during longer periods of deep sleep, whereas fat loss is minimized when you get less than 7 hours per night.
- Consume five or six small meals a day and drink lots of water. Smaller, more frequent meals comprising protein and wholesome carbohydrates continually feed muscles and rev fat-burning metabolism more effectively than large meals spaced four or five hours apart. Water boosts fat-burning metabolism and transports nutrients to muscles for growth.
- Allow 48 hours between workouts for sufficient recovery. Lifting hard on non-consecutive days gives muscles time to recover and grow. Performing high-intensity training every day leads to overtraining and constant muscle breakdown, preventing growth and slowing fat loss.
Sample Workouts for Full-Body Muscle-Building/Fat Loss
Sets/Reps: 3x10 at 80% RM
Rest: Superset each exercise (no rest) followed with 15 to 30 seconds of rest between combo sets and 30 to 60 seconds of rest before the next combo exercises to hydrate.