I recently was asked by a few friends how to go about setting a schedule and finding a workout program that works best for them.
Most people usually resign themselves to going to the gym, running, and doing whatever weight machines are currently open, but if you aren't working a comprehensive set of complex exercises, your body will begin to develop musculature in uneven or mismatched placed. Examples are the frat boys you see at the gym who usually only do curls and bench press, leaving their trapezius, deltoids, latissimus dorsi, and forearm flexors and extensors, relatively unworked. Not only does this promote poor posture, but the added bone tension from mismatched muscular torsion can also increase the risk of injury, loss of balance, and an improper "body build."
Building Muscle to Lose Fat
The best way to start going about losing weight is to learn a few basic lifts that work the body comprehensively. Focus on: rows, squats, bench variants, and dealifts. These all work a multitude of muscles and if performed in one day, will provide you with a total body workout that if extrapolated over time, will yield fantastic muscular growth and a great body. Additionally, every added pound of muscle takes more energy for the body to maintain and upkeep than a pound of fat. Every pound of your muscle is widely regarded to burn up to about 100 calories in a given week, just by doing nothing. This is why people with moderate diets and a good lifting routine can maintain such a good body fat percentage, because this muscle raises their minimum rate of calories burned, almost like getting a decent cardio workout in by the end of the week.
Additionally, many people want to lose their guts and the fat that builds up in embarrassing places such as the inside of the thigh, the back, and on the back of the arms. There is a distinction between types of fat however. The classic beer gut is considered visceral fat. Visceral fat is located in between your internal organs and the abdominal muscles protecting your abdominal cavity. This fat is mostly White Adipose Tissue, think of it as fat you get from inactivity, specifically the kind the body stores for energy. The unsightly fat that builds up in awkward places is called subcutaneous fat, or under the skin fat. When you grab that malleable fatty skin on your gut, thats your subcutaneous fat.
How to lose the Fat
The single best way to lose both visceral and subcutaneous fat is High Intensity Interval Training. This form of cardio is quite intense and differs from the steady state workouts that people are usually seen performing at the gym. A typical workout involving HIIT usually is a sprinting session on a treadmill or a stationary bike. The sprinter will alternate between walking or biking at a moderate intensity, about 50% of maximum exertion, for about a minute; then he will increase the intensity to maximum, sprinting or biking as hard as he/she is able to for about 20 seconds. This will be repeated about 8-10 times, elapsing about 10-15 minutes in total. Try not to exceed 10-15 minutes per HIIT session as too much intensity over a period of time can force the body into a catabloic state, or the breaking down of muscles and other lean tissues. Perform HIIT sessions on the days that you do not lift, and you will be able to maintain this schedule for 7 days a week to really kick your weight loss into high gear. Go get em'