How long do your summer bodybuilding workouts need to be in order to get in shape for summer? Unless you are a competitive bodybuilder who needs to perform several sessions of 45 minutes of exercise a day (some sessions of cardio and some of weights) to achieve the results needed for a competition physique, the most you will need to be in the gym for your summer bodybuilding workouts is 3 weight training sessions of 60 minutes alternated with 3 cardiovascular training sessions of 20-40 minutes.
Why Not 2 Hours At The Gym?
Because after 45 minutes to 1 hour of training the muscle building/fat burning hormones of most people begin to deplete while cortisol levels (fat storing/muscle burning hormone) increase.
This routine is designed to be performed in the comfort of your home assuming that you have the following equipment:
1. Adjustable dumbbells.
2. Adjustable bench with a good leg extension/leg curl attachment.
3. Pulley that can be attached at the end of the bench to perform pull-downs or pull-up bar.
4. Determination to get things done.
If you have all that, then let’s begin.
Types of Training
We will use two types of training in order to re-sculpt our physique:
1. Anaerobic work: Weight training is the number 1 way to re-sculpt your body. No ladies, weight training won’t make you muscle bound as you girls do not produce enough testosterone to allow for such a thing to happen. Why is weight training so important? Weight training is far superior to any other type of exercise because it increases your metabolism (which in turn helps you burn fat) and gives shape to your body.
2. Aerobic work Walking, stationary bike or doing an elliptical machine in your Fat Burning Zone (which is (220 – Age) * .75 = Fat Burning Heart Rate) is a good way to accelerate the fat burning process, as long as it is not overdone, and as long as it is only used in addition to a good weight-training program. Cardiovascular work should never be used as a substitute for weight training because aerobics cannot create muscle tone.
Calculate Your Heart Rate!
Take 220 and minus your age which is accurate to approximately +15 Beats Per Minute. You then take that number and multiply it by .75 – .85, which will give you your percentages of 75% — 85% of your Maximum Heart Rate.
(220-Age) x .75 = beats per minute (lower range)
(220-Age) x .85 = beats per minute (upper range)
This is the Target Range or Zone that you want to stay in when doing any type of cardiovascular (aerobic) activity. When in this range your body is getting an optimum workout with maximum benefit, and it stays in a Fat Burning mode.
Weight Training Workout
Below is a description of the weight training part of the routine. You will alternate between Workout (A) and (B) every time that weight training day comes around.
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press
Wide Grip Pull-downs to Front (or Wide Grip Pull-ups to Front)
Flat Dumbbell Bench Press
Reverse Close Grip Pull-downs (or Reverse Grip Chin-ups)
One Arm Dumbbell Rows
One Legged Dumbbell Calf Raises
Two Legged Dumbbell Calf Raises
Lying Dumbbell Triceps Extensions
Overhead Dumbbell Triceps Extensions
Bent Over Lateral Raises
Lying Leg Curls
Crunches (preferably performed on an Exercise Ball)
Lying Leg Raises
Notes on Sets and Reps
This program varies the number of sets and repetitions on a bi-weekly basis in order to keep the body guessing and bodybuilding results coming.
1. For weeks 1-2 perform 12-15 repetitions per set and 2 sets per exercise.
2. For weeks 3-4 perform 10-12 repetitions per set and 3 sets per exercise.
3. For weeks 5-6 perform 8-10 repetitions per set and 4 sets per exercise.
Do not rest more than 1 minute in between supersets. As a matter of fact, try to lower the rest down to 30-45 seconds in between. This not only allows for a better pump and an even better cardiovascular workout, but it also builds endurance and will not affect the strength once your body adjusts since you are supersetting antagonistic muscle groups.
As you will later see, the Abdominal Workout is to be performed before the cardiovascular workout. Abdominals should be treated as any other muscle, so use the same set and repetition scheme described above.
Put your ego aside and ensure perfect form in all exercises feeling the muscle contract and expand.
Alternate between Workout (A) and Workout (B) each weight training day. This means that one week Workout (A) will be performed twice while the other one will be performed once. The next week, Workout (B) will be performed twice while the other one will be performed once.
Take your sets to the point where performing another repetition with good form becomes impossible.
If you are a guy that is interested in gaining some muscle with this routine, do not fall for the myth that supersetting is only for getting ripped and that no muscle can be built while doing it. This is not true as most of my mass has been built through supersetting. In addition, great bodybuilders like Dave Draper and Arnold Schwarzenegger also built their physiques with plenty of supersets.
The Two Ideal Times For Aerobics
Another important point is that in order for aerobic exercise to be an optimally effective fat burner it needs to be performed at the appropriate times. There are two ideal times that aerobic exercise is most effective for burning fat.
The ideal time is first thing in the morning on an empty stomach after drinking 16 to 24 ounces of water in order to prevent dehydration.
When performed at this time Swedish studies suggest that you can burn up to 300 percent more body fat than at any other time in the day because your body does not have any glycogen (stored carbohydrates) in the system to burn. Therefore, it has to go directly into the fat stores in order to get the energy necessary to complete the activity.
The other time that aerobic exercise is effective would be immediately after a weight training session as your glycogen stores have already been depleted. Because of this, once you start doing your cardio, you will start burning fat as soon as you elevate your heart rate since it is the only fuel that will be available.
When aerobic exercise is not performed first thing in the morning or right after the weight training workout, make sure that you wait three hours after your last meal so that you have some depletion of your carbohydrate stores. Otherwise it would take your body approximately 20 to 30 minutes to start burning fat because that is how long it takes the body to deplete its glycogen stores and switch to a fat burning environment.
How Much Cardio?
For this program, the most you will be doing is three sessions lasting between 20 to 40 minutes each at the most. For Weeks 1 & 2, 20 minutes of aerobic exercise, 3 times a week should be performed. For Weeks 3 & 4, perform 30 minutes of aerobic exercise, 3 times a week and for Weeks 5 & 6, perform 40 minutes.
What Type of Cardio?
Good forms of aerobic exercise include:
1. Riding a stationary bike.
2. Fast walking (this can be done on a treadmill).
3. Climbing on a stair stepper.
5. Using an elliptical fitness rider or rowing machine.
6. Using any good cardio tapes or even jumping rope.
7. Or any other form of cardiovascular activity that raises your heartbeat to the fat burning zone.
Note: If you choose fast walking as your cardiovascular activity, ensure that you move your arms in order to get an enhanced aerobic effect.
Bodybuilding Nutrition For A Lean Summer
Keep in mind that without a good diet, your chances of achieving your bodybuilding goals are slim and next to none. Therefore, make sure that you put an equal amount of emphasis in your nutrition program as you do in your training.
A great bodybuilding diet, is a diet that contains all of the macronutrients listed below in the right quantities and ratios:
Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy, and on a bodybuilding diet they should come mainly from complex slow releasing sources such as oatmeal, grits, brown rice, sweat potatoes in combination with fibrous sources such as green beans and broccoli. Approximately 40% of your calories should come from carbohydrates.
Proteins, the building blocks for all tissues in the body, should come from chicken, turkey, tuna, and lean red meats. Approximately 40% of your calories should come from proteins.
Fats, which are used by the body to manufacture hormones, lubricate the joints, brain function and other essential items, should mainly come from monounsaturated and polyunsaturated sources. Canned extra virgin olive oil and flax seed oil should be the main sources of these. Approximately 20% of your calories should come from fats.
After six weeks of following this program in conjunction with a sensible diet program (such as this sample bodybuilding diet) you should be in considerably better shape. Note that the program changes every two weeks in order to prevent the body from adjusting to it providing you with the fastest results possible.
If you train at a commercial gym and have access to a more varied selection of exercises, then feel free to cycle the exercises as you wish in order for a more varied stimulus to the muscle in addition to prevent boredom.
Once you go through the full six weeks, just start over with week 1. Since you will grow stronger over these six weeks, once you start the program again, your weights should be heavier than the ones you used before when performing 12-15 reps.
If all you want is to firm up and lose fat, this routine will do the trick. Try it out and that lean summer body will be yours in no time.
This sort of balanced approach to dieting seems to work best for the purposes of losing body fat while gaining some muscle. Depending on whether you want to mainly gain muscle and bulk up or mainly lose body fat, you will simply adjust your calories upwards or downwards accordingly.