3 Tips on Getting a Lean and Muscular Body
This is an extremely common occurrence that happens when someone has been training for a few months.
They get their newbie gains (the large improvements in both strength and size that we experience when we first start weight training), and then typically plateau quite significantly immediately after that.
This is because they have gone above what I would consider a novice lifter. Once we have surpassed this training milestone, it becomes increasingly difficult to put on both size and strength.
While this can be perceived as a negative, it is by no means a bad thing – it is a sure sign that you have been putting in the hard work and have built some appreciable size, lost significant fat, and have achieved some decent gains in strength.
So here are some tips to build mass and strength while losing fat long after you have your newbie gains.
Avoiding Body Part Training Splits
When we first start training we do almost anything and still see results. It usually takes approximately 24-48 hours for a muscle group to recover from an intense weight session which means we actually have the capacity to train an individual muscle group 2-3 times in a given week. While body part training splits provide a large amount of training volume in a one session, they don’t actually provide a lot of training volume over a week of training.
If you opt for a training split where you get to train a given muscle group 2-3 times per week we can significantly increase the amount of training volume a given muscle group receives over a training week, which helps you get boosts in muscle growth.
Opt For Large, Compound Exercises
When it comes to both building mass and burning energy, multi-joint, compound exercises are king (think presses, rows, squats, and deadlifts).
These movements use the most amount of muscle mass, utilising multiple muscle groups at one time. This allows us to train a number of different muscles simultaneously, increasing the total volume they receive over a given a training week, which is a key driver for the growth of new muscle tissue.
Mechanical tension (and the subsequent increase in mechanical stress on the tissues) has been shown to be one of the key drivers for muscle growth, and is essential for maximizing strength development.
By prioritizing compound exercises over smaller, isolation movements, we can maximize the development of muscle strength, increase muscle size, while also promoting fat loss.
HIIT for Cardio
When most think of cardiovascular exercise, they picture long distance jogs at a relatively low pace.
When trying to build a lean, muscular physique this is arguably the worst way we can go. Low intensity endurance activities promote the development of type I muscle fibers.
While these fibers are fantastic at producing low amounts of force for long periods of time (such as that needed to complete a marathon), they are not particularly conducive to a lean, muscular physique. Hence, cardiovascular exercise is essential to promoting fat loss. Fortunately, there is a happy medium called Enter High intensity Interval Training (HIIT).
HIIT describes intermittent periods of extremely high intensity physical activity (think sprinting) combined with periods of low intensity physical activity (think walking) as a form of recovery.
In addition, HIIT training burns an absolute ton of energy and it is a fantastic way to promote additional fat loss, which is integral to building a lean and powerful physique.