Strength Training for Fat Loss
Q: "I'm really happy I read your article Arm Training Assault on bodybuilding.com. I followed the sample program for 3 weeks and added a substantial amount of size to my arms. Is it necessary to train the arms this frequently to gain mass on the arms? Is it possible to train the arms twice a week instead of 3 and still get the same amount of size?
"Thank you very much,"
My Answer: Glad you like the results on the program. To answer your question: yes, you can gain substantial size on your arms training them only twice a week, but only after training them for 3-4 times a week prior. Training a muscle only twice a week works fine as a decompression phase (refer to Strength and Physique, V1 on this concept), but your gains will plateau fairly quickly. You can still train your arms frequently by separating your arms from your back and chest workouts. That way you've trained them twice a week directly and twice more indirectly through the chest and back workouts.
Q: "Hello, I saw on www.bodybuilding.com you were a personal trainer. I only have one quick question! I need to lose 20 pounds, but I prefer lifting since I am a big guy. Is there any way to get bigger muscles while getting rid of the gut? There must be some way? I am 5'11 and weigh 245, but I know what your thinking. And yes I do sound fat as hell, but that's not the case. Everyone I ask think I weigh 220-225. I am generally muscular and stocky. I just need to get rid of the layer of fat on top of my muscles. Any way possible? Should I maybe do cardio before or after a workout? I am down for any advice you might have!
"Thanks and have a great day!"
My Answer: Everybody wants to lose the fat, but only with weights. Can it be done? Yes, it can be done. But if you're weight training and not losing the fat, then there is something (or several things) missing from your workout routine. Your current weight training program isn't getting you ripped, because:
1) you're not dieting
2) you're not doing the right type of cardio, if any
3) you're still lifting for strength and mass, but you're not lifting in a way to get you ripped
You can't just lift weights the way you've always been lifting them and expect a different result. If you've been lifting to get big, then no wonder you've got a gut. Your strength training program has to be designed specific to your goal, which is fat loss. Chapter 14 of Strength and Physique, V1 goes over 7 different strength training strategies to lose fat while lifting weights.
Now as far cardio, it's better to do it after your workout. A properly designed strength training workout can stimulate more fat loss when you do cardio after. If you do cardio before, then you'll just be tired for your workout.
Strength and Physique, Volume One book is awesome!! Definitely a good book to have in your collection. But I'm a little tossed between my dieting and cardio plan. My goal is to gain size and lean muscle, but I'm not to sure what type of cardio to do. I'm already on the skinny side, but without the ripped six pack. Should I be doing cardio at all seeing that I'm trying to gain size?"
My Answer: If you're on the skinny side, then forego the cardio for now until you gain some muscle. Your body likes to concentrate on one goal and one function. You know the saying, "Jack of all trades, master of none." What you can do is alternate between mass phases and fat loss phases. That way you concentrate on one goal at a time. Gain as much mass as you can for a few weeks and don't do any cardio. Once you start smoothing out just a little too much, start dieting and adding in the cardio.
Do interval training, don't do steady state cardio. In other words, rather than jog steadily for 30-45 minutes, do sprint intervals. Do an all-out sprint for as long as you can, then walk for 60-90 seconds, and repeat for about 20 minutes. And when I mean sprint, I mean ALL OUT, balls to the wall, I'm-going-to get-you sucka chase. If you're doing cardio out in the city streets, then you can use telephone poles as markers: sprint from one telephone pole to the next, then walk to the next pole and so on and so forth for 20 minutes.