Thursday, February 24, 2011

Building Muscles While Losing Fat

Some people believe that they first have to lose all their excess fat before they begin to build up their muscles. Neglecting muscle building while concentrating on just burning off fat could be harmful, though, because you could start burning off your muscles, too. This will weaken you and slow down your metabolism. It could also result in a host of health problems including hormonal imbalances and a compromised immune system. It is, therefore, more advisable and better for your health to do your muscle building while you are losing your excess fat.

Cardio workouts are the most effective exercises for fat burning. These use the largest muscle groups in continuous movements that raise your heart rate to its maximum level which is your fat burning zone. This should be maintained for not less than 12 minutes and not more than 60 minutes per session, with sessions done at least three times a week. Shorter sessions that combine high intensity and low intensity cardio exercises burn fat even more efficiently. It is important, however, to accurately determine your maximum heart rate through a cardiac stress test done by a medical professional.

Strength training workouts like weight lifting or resistance training, on the other hand, are necessary for muscle building. These provide enough physical challenge for your body to intentionally stress your muscles and provoke them to react. The exercises create microscopic tearing in the existing muscle fibers, forcing the body to repair them and create new muscles for reinforcement. Strength training workouts should be done only on alternate days, though, to allow for rest, muscle repair and muscle building.

You can build muscles while losing fat if you do cardio workouts and strength training workouts on alternate days, with one day of the week devoted to light strength training. If you need to lose more fat you could do additional cardio sessions after every strength training session. Your body will burn more fat because the previous session had already used up your glycogen stores. You should never do heavy strength training more than three times a week, though. To make each strength training session also a fat burning session, you should do high repetitions with low rest periods. This means 15-17 repetitions for 60 seconds with 30 to 60 second intervals.

As you combine your cardio workouts and strength training workouts to build muscles while losing fat, you should also supplement your efforts with the right diet. To lose fat you should cut out unhealthy fats and simple carbohydrates like sugar and starch while to build muscles you should eat adequate amounts of lean complete protein, high fiber complex carbohydrates and healthy fats. Only then will you have a completely balanced fat loss and muscle building regimen.

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