Many people in the fitness industry promote a combination of “fat burning” workouts and “muscle building” nutrition.
I believe this is a completely backwards and highly ineffective approach to improving the looks of your body.
It’s very difficult to lose weight purely by working out, whether you try long distance running, interval training, high-intensity weight training, or any combination of the three.
Individuals may push their “ultra fat burning workouts,” but the truth is that exercise alone is a poor stimulus for weight loss. Even if the workouts are metabolically demanding, they actually have a very small effect on calorie burning.
Some calories are burned after hard workouts, but it is only about 8 to 10 extra calories per hour, and they usually don’t burn for the 24-36 hour timeframe some people promote. Research concerning after-exercise metabolism boosts is inconclusive at best.
Furthermore, there is very little proof that any type of eating style can build muscle. There are plenty of companies and individuals who say that certain eating methods will help you gain massive amounts of muscle mass, but these claims aren’t backed by science.
I have been researching as I work on my new book, “How Much Protein?” and I can tell you that there is very little evidence that any type of diet can build muscle. Diet has very little to do with building muscle.
Putting the two myths together can get you in a messy situation.
If you follow the myths, you will be eating high protein and more calories multiple times per day to gain muscle, and you’ll be working out with fancy weight training circuits, cardio intervals and lots of ab exercises to burn fat.
Neither approach is effective, so you’ll end up spending a lot of time in the gym and a lot of time worrying about your diet, but you’ll won’t see any results.
It would be better to eat for weight loss and to work out to build or maintain muscle.
Research does prove that eating less will cause you to lose weight. And research also proves that muscle-building workouts will preserve muscle mass, ensuring that weight you lose comes from body fat.
Eat Stop Eat uses a combination of fasting and resistance training. The combination of the two leads to optimal fat loss with the least amount of physical or mental work.
The most ideal way to improve the way your body looks is to eat for weight loss and exercise to build muscle. It sounds simple, but it’s actually rather difficult to accomplish. It’s easy to be distracted by the latest and greatest new ways to burn fat in the gym.
If you’re looking to change the way your body looks, keep your workouts simple and geared toward building muscle, and let your diet take care of your fat loss.
To do this, you’ll have to follow a few simple rules:
- Switch to lower reps. If you’ve been doing 15-20 rep exercises, try increasing the weight and doing sets of 5-8 reps.
- Stop doing most isolation exercises. Instead, use total-body, multi-muscle movements.
- Stop doing crunches and sit-ups. Instead, focus on larger multi-muscle movements.
- Change your workouts frequently.
And for your diet:
- Find an easy way to eat less than it takes to maintain your current body weight, and use that method. (This is the only truly important diet tip for weight loss.)
If you’re stuck spending hours in the gym every day and trying to eat in a way that supposedly maintains or builds muscle, try changing your approach and see what an amazing difference it can make.
When you have begun eating for weight loss and exercising for muscle building, then you can add exercises like intervals or metabolically demanding body weight exercises to speed up the fat burning process. Only do this if you have the first two steps set into motion.