A lot of people believe that you can’t build muscle and burn fat at the same time.
They’ll say things like:
“Oh you have to choose one or the other”… “Maybe you should do a bulk, and then a cut”… “Perhaps you should focus on losing weight first, then toning up”…
Quite frankly, they are wrong.
Not only is this something which I’ve done countless times with clients in the gym (and with the men & women who use my programs on RussHowePTI.com), but it’s also been clearly demonstrated in the world of sports research. In fact, I broke down the whole procedure in this article!
Make Her Sweat is a four week training program which focuses on body recomposition (the process of losing body fat and building muscle), so if you’re looking to carve an insane body THIS is a good place to start.
Like all of my programs, there are several moving parts which all work together to create an impressive end result. With this program, we have elements like high intensity interval training (HIIT), cardioacceleration, and reverse linear periodization driving us towards our goal at breakneck pace. I’ll explain how they all work below, but for now I just wanted to wish you good luck on your journey with Make Her Sweat, and I look forward to seeing your transformation photograph at the end.
CAN YOU BURN FAT & GAIN MUSCLE AT THE SAME TIME?
The rule of thermodynamics states that eating too few calories will cause weight loss, and eating too many calories will cause weight gain.
This is why many people believe you cannot gain muscle and lose fat at the same time, but the analogy above isn’t telling you the whole story.
Because in order to build lean muscle we do not actually need a calorie surplus, we simply need enough protein per day to enable our body to retain the lean muscle it currently holds and build some more. So even if you’re in a calorie deficit, providing you are training hard and achieving your daily protein target, you WILL still build lean muscle tissue. (1)
Of course, you can’t body recomp your way to the massive size of The Rock or Arnold Schwarzenegger. For that, you’d need a LOT of calories, but you probably already knew that!
Achieving a calorie deficit can be done by either eating less or burning more. Given that the workouts in this plan will burn a significant number of calories each time you train, this means your food intake can remain relatively high in comparison to someone else on a ‘fat loss plan’, so to speak, and this makes room for you to hit your protein goals as well as to recover from training.
The nutrition plan which accompanies Make Her Sweat will ensure you tick the three boxes required for a successful body recomposition:
- A calorie deficit
- Enough protein to build muscle
- Adequate fuel to recover between sessions
SHORT BURSTS OF CARDIO FOR MAXIMUM FAT LOSS
Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a fan of long, steady-state cardio exercise.
I don’t believe it’s BAD for you, or anything crazy like that, it’s just dull as f**k.
But here’s the thing…
If you don’t LIKE cardio, then you won’t DO cardio, and then you can’t get the RESULTS it offers. And that sucks, because if your goal is to get lean and ripped, we definitely want to unlock those results.
The good news is YOU’LL DEFINITELY GET THE RESULTS WITH THIS PLAN!
(and you won’t have to sit on a stationary bike until your butt goes numb, either!)
We will be using two key training methods (HIIT & cardioacceleration) to do this.
The first component is HIIT. My website has several breakdowns on high intensity interval training for those of you who’d like to go into detail about how it works and why it’s so effective (because yes, I’m a nerd), but the crux of the matter is that we can unlock some pretty crazy fat loss results by ditching the traditional ‘steady pace’ cardio for a more athletic ‘sprint & recover’ approach instead. (2, 3)
Each workout in Make Her Sweat has you performing a 3 minute cardio warm-up before entering a 7 minute mini-HIIT session where you’ll perform 20 seconds fast & hard, followed by 40 seconds at recovery pace. When we reach the halfway point of the program this changes to 30 seconds hard & fast, and 30 seconds at recovery pace.
In doing so, we force the body to rely on carbohydrates for fuel (instead of fat), which creates a phenomenon known as EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, or ‘the afterburn effect’) which allows us to not only burn calories DURING our session, but also for up to 14 hours AFTER! (4)
The second key component, cardioacceleration, is really just another form of HIIT – and that’s why it’s so effective.
Using cardioacceleration, you will finish your set of an exercise (i.e. biceps curl) and then head straight into 30 seconds of cardio, and then take your rest period. This brief period of activity keeps your heart rate up, which results in a greater calorie burn and excellent improvements to your fitness level.
The program tells you exactly which exercises to use for these short bursts, too, but you can get creative if you like. The beauty of cardioacceleration is that it can be ANYTHING, as long as you keep your heart rate up, but as a basic rule you should avoid stuff which works the same muscle group you’re using in your weights exercise (i.e. don’t jog on a treadmill between sets of squats).
Some of you may be wondering whether cardioacceleration will affect your ability to recover between each set of weights, so let me put your mind at ease. In fact, the OPPOSITE is true. A 2008 study from the University of California Santa Cruz found that when trainees used cardioacceleration between sets of weights, they were able to recover FASTER. (5)
The researchers noted that performing cardioacceleration between sets improved blood flow to working muscles, which is why the participants experienced faster recovery (less DOMS) between training sessions, and this also means better results, because it allows for greater delivery of key nutrients to muscles while you train!
These results were doubled-down on in 2014, when a study published in the Journal of Human Kinetics discovered that performing cardioacceleration between sets led to faster recovery & greater performance in the gym, with participants experiencing a 25% reduction in blood lactate levels. (6)
So cardioacceleration has multiple benefits, and that’s why it’s included in Make Her Sweat. It won’t just increase your overall calorie burn, it’ll also boost your fitness, lead to faster recovery between sets & workouts, and even improve muscle growth!
PERIODIZATION FOR EVEN BETTER RESULTS
Periodization is the difference between an athlete and a gym bro.
A typical gym bro will perform the exact same workout routine for months (or even years) because it might’ve worked for them at one time. And even though the results stopped a long time ago, they continue plowing away.
Meanwhile, an athlete breaks their training down into segments.
This is periodization. Each segment is designed to reap maximum results and minimum drawbacks. If you look at the program overview of any of my training programs on RussHowePTI.com, you’ll know that this is one of my underlying ‘rules’ of a good training program because, well, IT WORKS!!!
Periorization works by enabling us to use a training phase for just long enough to reap the rewards it offers (i.e. more strength, better hypertophy) then change the setup before any negative adaptations occur.
The three forms of periodization I typically use are classic linear periodization, undulating periodization, and reverse linear periodization. A classic linear method would be superior if our training goal involved gaining strength, while the undulating method would be optimal if our goal was hypertrophy. The reverse linear method gives us a way to unlock gains in both endurance and hypertrophy. Given the fact that the workouts in this program carry a fair amount of cardio, and the overall goal of Make Her Sweat is to strip away body fat and build lean muscle, it makes sense to use reverse linear periodization in order to maximize our results. (7)
See the graph below:
Basically, we will be increasing our reps per set (and therefore total training volume) as we progress through Make Her Sweat.
Your rep targets will look like this:
- 10 reps per set
- 15 reps per set
- 20 reps per set
- 25 reps per set (ouch, the burn is real!)
You will train each body part TWICE per week (optimal for hypertrophy & recovery!), so we will hit those first two blocks during the very first week and then attack the higher rep work in week two, before repeating the entire process. The results from structuring it this way are three-pronged, because you will reap the benefits in terms of fitness, fat loss, and also hypertrophy! Your short HIIT cardio session at the beginning of each workout has also been periodized for maximum results, because I will flip the times on you at the halfway stage of the program when I expect your fitness levels to be rising (yes, I thought of everything!).
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Bottom line; if you would like to make a GREAT change to your body right now, do it!