Muscle is a calorie-consuming machine. Developing lean muscle significantly increases your energy expenditure. Cardiovascular exercise does burn calories while you’re performing it, and for a few hours after. But resistance training significantly increases your energy expenditure for a longer period of time. We recommend that you devote the majority of your workouts to working hard with weights. On those days when you need to fit in both cardio and weights, do your resistance training first to maximize the energy burn you get during your cardio work.
Attention women: Building muscle won’t result in a masculine physique. Building muscle utilizes existing body fat stores. Muscle is a much smaller, denser tissue than fat; adding muscle will make your body look smaller, more shapely and tighter.
Use splits for a balanced workout
The term “split” refers to how you split up the muscle groups throughout the week. Your plan should focus on training several body groups each day so that over the course of one week you’ll have trained the muscles in your entire body at least once. If you work out twice a week you’ll probably go with an upper and lower body split. Working out three times a week might involve an upper body, lower body, and back and abdominals split. A four-day split could divide up as shoulders and biceps; legs (quads, hamstrings, glutes); chest and triceps; and back, calves and abdominals.
Within your split routine you can also manipulate the order of exercises and rep range/weight, depending on your goals, to attain greater strength, mass or endurance. Whatever split format you chose, it’s critical to make sure you provide each muscle group 48 hours to recover before working it again.
Perform challenging sets and reps
The term “set” refers to one exercise performed a certain number of times with rest in between. The term “rep” refers to the number of repetitions of an exercise. Don’t fall into the “more reps the better” training fallacy. Doing multiple repetitions when you don’t feel any resistance doesn’t work. That’s why it’s called “resistance” training!
The key is to select a weight that causes you to reach a point of fatigue. We typically recommend three sets of 12-15 reps using a weight that challenges you on the last few repetitions. We use the principle of “progressive overload,” basically stressing or overloading a muscle in order to increase the strength and size. This means you must ask your body to do more than it is used to doing in a progressively intense manner. This, along with other training strategies such as supersets, descending sets and forced negatives that stimulate muscular adaptation, is an advanced technique best utilized with our instruction.