Spring is just around the corner so questions about getting into shape for the warm-weather months are coming in frequently. Many are asking if a 4-days-per-week routine, like the one in The Ultimate Fat to Muscle e-book, is enough for the fast fat loss…
That particular 4-day routine works surprisingly well for fat loss because you get the benefit of heavy pyramids with negatives and higher-rep sets. You can potentially get increases in size in both the myofibrils, the force-generating strands in muscle fibers, and the sarcoplasm, the energy fluid in the fibers. Plus you can actually burn fat along a few distinct pathways at the same time.
We all like the idea of maximizing fat loss as we gain muscle, so it’s important to train both “sides” of the muscle fibers. Whenever possible, you also want to naturally increase anabolic hormones, such as testosterone and growth hormone, as both of those have great benefits when it comes to building muscle and burning fat.
Here’s a chest routine from the Fat to Muscle e-book:
Midrange: Bench presses or incline presses, 3 x 9, 7, 5; 1 x 7NA
Stretch: Flat-bench flyes or incline flyes, 1 x 7-9; 1 x 7NA
Contracted: Cable crossovers, 2 x 15-20
The NA (negative-accentuated) sets listed above are performed with one-second positives and six-second negatives on every rep. Seven NA reps will give you a tension time of around 50 seconds, which is just about perfect for muscle growth, especially in the sarcoplasm. The slow lowering, or eccentric/negative part of the movement, will also create trauma in the myofibrils. That can help with some growth AND will help to trigger additional fat burning after the workout.
How in the world does that trigger fat burning after your workout? Well, the trauma, or micro tears, in the myofibrils can often take a few days for the body repair. During that process, your body is burning fat as your metabolism is kicked up. It takes energy for the repair process to happen, so you’re burning fat to some degree 24 hours a day as your body rebuilds. The heavy pyramid sets on the presses also create some myofibrillar trauma to add to it.
The long 40- to 50-second tension time of the NA sets creates a great muscle burn. That burn is from lactic acid, which has been shown to create a surge in growth hormone (GH). GH is both a muscle builder and a fat burner, so you can see how great NA sets are for both muscle building and fat burning. You can also get that GH surge from the higher rep crossovers at the end of the chest workout.
With a routine like this, you can amplify muscle-building as well as fat-burning pathways:
1) Testosterone release. Heavy pyramids on multi-joint exercises will increase testosterone release, which can help burn fat and build muscle.
2) Muscle fiber trauma. You get myofibrillar trauma from the big, heavy exercises and also from the NA sets. You add to that on the second set of the stretch-position exercise with NA. All of that trauma will kick your metabolism up and help burn fat for a longer period of time after the workout.
3) GH release. Muscle burn on the NA sets and high reps on the contracted sets can set off more growth hormone release, which can dramatically help increase fat burning.
Spring is still several weeks away, but if you’re looking to be in shape for the warmer weather, the time to start is now.
About the Author
Jonathan Lawson has been working in the health and fitness industry for over 20 years; weight training for 21 years, competed in numerous bodybuilding competitions, worked for IRON MAN Magazine for 17 years, co-owns X-Rep.com where he has co-published over 15 e-books and writes a daily training blog. He has appeared on the covers of, and been featured in, dozens of international magazines, books and e-books.