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Reshaping Your Body And Burning Fat By Strength Training: Part 2

Jun 11, 2008
Strength training does not only build muscles and strength. It also helps lose fat by increasing the body's resting metabolic rate (RMR). Many people don't understand this. Aerobic or cardio training is still the main activity for increasing the metabolism and losing fat. However, the standard 30 minute of continuous cardio activity will only burn calories during the exercise period itself. Once you stop, the metabolism gets back to normal and you no longer burn calories. Of course, there is an exception for high intensity training, which allows the body to continue burning calories as you sleep.

When you train your whole body with weights intensely using multi-joint exercises for both upper and lower body such as bench press, squats, deadlifts and pull ups, you have pretty much stressed every major muscle in your body. What this does is create a metabolic environment where your body has a full time job of trying to recover from the massive stress it has been put through.

The repair work is not a 9 to 5 activity. It is a continuous one as muscle fibres have to rebuild themselves with amino acids that is in reserve in the body, which is why consuming adequate proteins within an hour after working out is crucial. This activity will continue up to 48 hours after you have finished training. What this means is that your metabolism is elevated for many hours, burning calories as your little muscle "construction workers" build up the fibres to make them structurally stronger. Muscles are metabolically active. They require calories to be burned in order to maintain themselves. This is good news if you have developed muscle mass. You are burning calories at rest, even fat 24/7!

How do you train for optimum results to burn fat and elevate your metabolism 7 days a week for 24 hours? A good suggestion would be to train the whole body in one session 3-4 times a week with one day rest. For instance, you may train this way: Monday, Wednesday, Friday and/or Sunday.

You may want to experiment with supersets for 4-6 weeks (this is how long the body adapts to a particular routine before it stops being effective). There are two types of supersets. One is the Single Bodypart Superset and the other is the Antagonistic Superset. For the person who doesn't have much time to spend training, we will focus on the Antagonistic Superset. This type of exercise focuses on working opposite muscle groups back to back without rest. This is an example of opposite body part combination. Each combination makes 1 set:

Legs: quadriceps (leg extension) + hamstring (leg curls)
Body: back (pull ups) + chest (bench press)
Arms: biceps (barbell curls) + triceps (tricep extension)
Shoulders: Front (dumbell front raises) + side (dumbell lateral raises)

You can make your own combination to keep the workout interesting and work slightly different angles of the muscle group to cover all areas. Keep to 3 sets of 10-12 reps per set with 1 minute of rest between each set.

Go easy on the cardio training, especially the steady state type, where you stay at the same intensity and speed for 30-60 minutes. It has been shown in research that you can actually lose lean muscle mass, which means a reduction in RMR. This, in turn, will make it easier to store bodyfat even though you have lost weight. You have not only lost fat, you have lost muscle as well, resulting in the 'skinny fat" look, which is far from attractive or healthy.

It is more beneficial to practice high intensity training, which is a combination of a burst of speed and steady pace training. For instance, you may walk briskly for 2 minutes followed by 1 minute of sprint and back to brisk walking for another 2 minutes. Alternate this process for 20 minutes followed by 3 minutes of cool down and you will experience residual RMR for many hours after you have laid your head on your pillow. Another advantage of this type of training is that it is not the boring typical "hamster on a wheel" type of training. You can even change machines during the 20 minutes to make it even more challenging.

Try supersets and high intensity training for 4-6 weeks and watch your body take shape as it loses fat. You'll be amazed to see how effective this type of training is and how quickly you can see results in a short period of time. Don't forget to incorporate 5-6 mini meals a day which combines lean proteins and fiber rich carbohydrates in each meal for more effective results. You won't regret it!
About the Author
Nina Redza is a health professional who practices good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise More information about strength training for shaping muscles can be found at http://www.strength-training.us
You can browse through Nina's homepage on fitness at http://www.ninaredza.com
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