If you’re like us, you’re a little concerned. Spring is just a few weeks away and summer will be here before you can say, “Who stole my abs.” When the heat hits, you don’t want to be the victim of an ab-napping. It’s a lot more fun if you peel off your shirt that first warm day at the beach, pool, or lake and your midsection looks like acid-etched granite.
Of course, there is a downside. You have to put up with all the glares, stares, and the questions, like, “Man, how do I get ripped?” or “What workout are you on?” or “Can I touch your abs?” LOL!
If you’re willing to put up with that small downside but loads of upsides—including sky-high self-esteem and people raising eyebrows, then it’s time to focus on fast fat-to-muscle effects. Here are a few fast fat-to-muscle tips to get you ripped and ready before summer screams, “Surprise”:
1) Do one set slow to rip and grow. The latest research shows that the muscle microtrauma you trigger in the gym helps you burn fat for days after as your body repairs the damage. That’s great news because you burn fat even when you’re sitting still. To get more microtrauma, all you have to do is slow down the negative, or lowering,
In The Ultimate Fat-to-Muscle Workout we describe those Negative-Accentuated sets, which is simply raising the weight in about 1.5 seconds but lowering in six seconds—you accentuate the negative stroke on each and every rep of an NA set. Doing about seven of those NA reps for each bodypart is all it takes to jack up your postworkout fat burn. As prescribed in that program, the big compound, or midrange, exercises are best. Simply do your last set in NA style.
Research also shows that the negative stroke may be the size key as well, which makes NA sets even more important. More size, as adipose says adios—now we’re talking! (Note: For trainees using the 10×10 method, you’re doing 100 negatives in each 10-set grouping, so you may not need NA sets. 10×10 alone produces a lot of microtrauma on its own; however, if you don’t get some muscle soreness, you may want to tack on an NA set to accelerate your fat-to-muscle results.)
2) Go for the burn to fry fat. Research studies [Eu J Appl Physiol. In press. 2009.] [Can J Appl Physiol. 22:244-255. 1997] have shown that shorter rests between sets and muscle burn heighten muscle-fiber recruitment as well as anabolic hormone surges.
Those hormones include testosterone, which builds muscle and burns belly fat, as well as growth hormone, which also plays a role in hypertrophy but is even more potent at incinerating ugly fat. So if you want to roar down the road to ripped, you must go for the burn…
The best time and place to sear a muscle is at the end of each bodypart workout. Finish off each muscle with a set or two of an isolation, or contracted-position,
You must keep tension on the muscle throughout the set, but to get a serious searing effect…
A. Do a set slow-mo style for 8 to 10 reps—3 seconds up and 3 seconds down
B. Do higher reps, like 12 to 20, at a standard 2-up/2-down cadence
C. Do a drop set—two sets back to back with a weight reduction. [In our e-workout programs, a drop set is written as 8(6), which means do eight reps to exhaustion, reduce the weight, and immediately do a second set to exhaustion—hitting the wall at around six reps.]
D. Do a 10×10 sequence—take a weight with which you could get 20 reps, but do 10; rest 30 seconds, do 10 more reps, rest 30 seconds, etc., until you’ve done 10 sets. That ignites a fierce fat-burning firestorm in about 10 minutes.
3) Tap into fat stores faster. You’ve read all the info about how interval cardio, like sprinting the straightaways and walking the curves on a running track, can burn
So if you’re doing heavy leg work during the week, you don’t want to overdo interval-style cardio—you could do it maybe once or twice a week if your legs recover quickly.
As for steady-state cardio, do a little immediately after every weight workout. Why? Because your weight work will have totally depleted the energy substrates (sugar) in your bloodstream. With no sugar to burn for energy, your postworkout cardio taps into bodyfat stores almost immediately. More blubber-busting bang for your cardio buck.
In other words, you don’t need to do as much to get the fat-burning job done when you do it after your weight workouts. Keep in mind that your intensity should be fairly low—go only hard enough so your breathing is only slightly elevated. Ten minutes? Fifteen minutes? You can decide. In the Ultimate Fat-to-Muscle Workout programs we suggest a quick 15 minutes on the treadmill after each weight workout.
The time is now: Spring is practically here, so get your fat-to-muscle workouts in gear. You want to impress when you undress!
Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson
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