The Key to Gaining Muscle and Losing Fat is…

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Question: I am middle-aged man who works out and wants to continue to build some muscle but get leaner, especially around the middle. Weights and cardio seem to be in opposition to each other so how should I approach this? I had heard that bodybuilders do weights for a period and then do mostly cardio prior to a show. Is this correct? Any guidance you have about the relationship between weights and cardio would be helpful.
Answer: Though weights are used to build muscle and cardio is used to burn fat off of the muscles the two training systems synchronize quite well. Weight training should come first in your routine. The intensity is the key to building muscle. It is also the key to burning fat.
For muscle, focus your training on the weight being worked and not the amount of weight itself. Feel the movement of the muscle through its natural range-of-motion. Squeeze that muscle at the peak of each rep. Bodybuilders use as much weight as possible to complete a predetermined number of reps with as much effort as possible on the muscle while it is under the load. Powerlifters and Olympic lifters move as much weight as possible with as little effort as possible while under a maximum load. Slow down your reps so that you spend about 1.5 to 2 seconds on the positive portion of the rep and 2 to 3 seconds on the negative portion of the rep. Move quickly between sets and rest when absolutely necessary. This way you actually affect your heart-rate as your weight train. As soon as you complete your weight portion of training, move directly into the cardio segment while your heart-rate is still elevated. This way you need less time to reach an aerobic state in your cardio and spend more time actually in the fat-burning zone.
On you cardio days mix it up. If you prefer the treadmill then use it going uphill while not holding on to the rails. On the stationary bike, increase the intensity level every 2 minutes until you can’t maintain the pace. At that point, decrease back half way and start the level climb again until you complete 15 to 20 minutes. Cross-fit type training, in which you choose 4 different exercises, usually full-body type movements, and cycle them for 20 minutes stopping only as necessary. This will take you to a whole new level of training.
The key to gaining muscle and losing fat though is the food. Eat clean, follow the 80/20 rule which is 80% of the time eat clean and cheat only 20% of the time. Drink at least 100 ounces of water and consume a gram of protein for every pound of body weight spaced into 35 to 50 gram increments every 3 hours or so. The protein can be from food sources or a mixture of food and supplements. You can accomplish both your goals of gaining muscle and peeling fat at the same time.
God bless and keep training,
Daryl

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