As you go about designing your workout program, one question you must answer before you can completely design and develop your plan is what your primary goal is. Workouts To Build Muscle or Lose Fat?
A workout to build muscle mass is not going to be quite the same as a workout that is designed to help you experience fast weight loss, so understanding the differences between the two will be critical for success.
So, what do you need to know?
Let’s go over the main points to consider when looking at your workout program design.
Exercises To Lose Weight Fast Or Build Muscle Fast
First, it’s time to assess the type of exercises that you will perform. For the most part, this is going to stay quite constant. The reason for this being that when focused on muscle building, you want to use the compound movements that will help you lift the most weight. This triggers the growth response and gets you moving ahead.
When the goal is to lose fat, now your main mission is to boost your metabolic rate as high as possible while also sending the message to the body that it must maintain its lean mass stores.
One again, compound exercises will be what does this perfectly. So in both approaches, compound exercises should build the foundation of the program.
Now, where you will see a difference is with isolation movements. When looking to build muscle, you’ll typically add more of these one muscle group moves into your workout program to help out with refining that muscle and pushing it to a greater state of fatigue.
When you’re looking to cut fat, as fuel is coming at premium now since you’re dieting, you may not have the energy to be adding these exercises to the protocol and doing so could just push you to the brink of overtraining, making you lose muscle, rather than maintain it.
So that’s the first change you’ll likely see as you transition from building muscle to losing fat.
The Volume Weight Training Per Session
Second you have the total volume of training you do in each session. This is somewhat correlated to how many and the type of exercises you are doing, but also takes reps and sets into account.
While with a muscle building program, you might have been doing 25-30 sets per workout, with a fat loss program, you might be doing just 20-25.
Now, this may be counterintuitive to what you may think – when looking to burn fat, wouldn’t you want to do more exercise to burn more calories?
Not usually. The reason being that too much exercise on such little fuel from your diet will only hinder your progress, making your body hold onto body fat stores as your metabolic rate plummets. You’ll start overtraining, you’ll suffer an injury, and you’ll be out of the game before you know it.
Most people make the mistake of dramatically increasing their exercise volume while they begin dieting when really, they should do the opposite. They still definitely do need to exercise to preserve muscle and should exercise wisely so they get the best boost to their metabolic rate, but at the same time, it’s vital that don’t overdo it as they just don’t have the calorie support to do so. If you want to learn more about your metabolic rate I suggest you check out my ebook found here.
This means while you may perform 4-5 sets per exercise on a plan designed to build muscle mass, on your fat loss plan, you take that back to 2-3 sets instead.
Number Of Training Days Per Week
Moving along, next you have to take into account the total number of training days per week. How often are you training?
For fat loss, it’s often a good idea to move into a full body approach, so you’ll be hitting each muscle group three times per week, but you’ll still only be doing those three workouts per week.
When it comes to muscle building, you’ll typically utilize a split body workout, hitting each muscle group less frequently but with more volume per workout. This also means more frequent gym sessions, totaling four to five per week instead.
This allows you to break your body down better, accommodating to the increased volume per session. If your looking for supplements as well, you can read my article on the best supplements for muscle growth found here.
The Level Of Cardio Added In
Another change that very often takes place is the amount of total cardio being added into your program. Since the need to burn more calories will increase during fat loss, often more cardio is going to be included to help you accomplish this.
How much cardio will be a personal decision and will very much depend on how intense your simple diet plan is (the more intense the diet, the less cardio will usually be needed), but in pretty much all cases, you will need to do more cardio during a fat loss phase than you will during a muscle building phase.
For a phase to build muscle mass, you’ll typically just do 1-2 sessions of cardio per week, keeping the intensity level to more of a moderate pace. This will help you avoid limiting your recovery ability between those more intense strength training sessions.
The Focus Of The Protocol
Finally, overall, you are just going to notice a slightly different focus of each workout. When on a muscle building workout plan, the primary goal you need to attack hard is always making sure that your workout is harder than the workout that’s been done previously.
Basically, you need to push your body beyond it’s limit, creating that muscle damage that will then lead to rebuilding the muscle back up stronger than it was before.
Fail to do this and you fail to see results.
With fat loss however, your goals are different. Now, maintaining your lean muscle mass is the bigger priority and you want to focus on boosting your metabolic rate up higher than it was before.
Essentially, your workouts for fat loss are designed to burn calories and preserve muscle, while your muscle building workouts are focused on pushing your limit and breaking tissue down.
This means fat loss workouts will typically be faster pace – your rest periods will be reduced and you’ll utilize more super setting and circuit training techniques. In addition to that, your fat loss workouts may also be shorter overall since total rest time is being cut down.
You also won’t want to stay in the gym for an extended period of time because once again, your total level of fuel available isn’t as great. You want to get in, put in some intense work, and then get out before you start breaking down your muscle tissues much more.
Recovery comes at a premium when on a fat loss diet, so the less total damage you do and have to recover from, the better.
So there you have the primary differences between a workout program to build muscle mass and a workout program to help you lose weight fast. While there are some clear similarities between the two, there are also some important differences that you must note and realize otherwise you are going to be in for a lack of progress and a workout that could potentially hinder your current body composition and health.
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