Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Can You Change Fat Into Muscle?

By Doberman Dan
OK... to be quite honest, it's simply NOT possible to change body fat into muscle. But it has become a popular saying. What it REALLY means is to lose body fat while retaining and/or gaining muscle mass.

In this article I would like to share the basics of a training protocol advocated by Charles Poliquin and many other bodybuilding gurus called German Body Composition (GBC).
GBC uses weight training for fat loss. Aerobic training is not utilized -- at all! The primary goal of this method is fat loss while preserving hard earned muscle. Contrary to popular opinion, aerobics usually cause a LOSS of muscle tissue.

Also, as an added little perk, many trainees will also add lean tissue during the course of a GBC cycle.
Results normally seen from this type of training average a loss of approximately one-half a percent of body fat per week.
The basic premise behind GBC is the promotion of fat loss by increasing lactic acid levels in the body, which in turn produces higher growth hormone levels. This puts the body in an optimal state to burn fat and build lean tissue.
So how do you go about attaining this state with your workouts?
The following is a bullet point list of what you need to do:
Full Body Workout Utilizing Upper and Lower Body Supersets -- By alternating between upper and lower body exercises it is possible to keep the rest intervals short, even with big compound movements like the squat and bench press. This allows you to accomplish a large amount of work in a relatively short time.

High Reps (10-15) Stopping Short of Failure -- Studies have shown that high reps sets with a time under tension of 40 to 75 seconds produce an appropriate amount of lactic acid for the purposes of GH release and fat loss. You should stop about two reps short of concentric (positive) failure. Training to failure has little benefit and potential drawbacks with this protocol.
Remember, the goal is to create the environment within your body to burn fat.
Also, if you train to failure it would be highly unlikely you would last until the end of the workout. The volume of work is pretty high (at least for a natural trainee).

Short Rest Intervals (30-75 seconds) -- By alternating between upper and lower body exercises, you will be able to cut down on needed rest intervals greatly compared to repeating the same movement in a straight set fashion. These short rest intervals accelerate the accumulation of lactic acid and create our desired state.
Workout Duration Less Than One Hour -- Studies have shown that weight training sessions lasting over one hour tip the anabolic/catabolic scale in the negative direction. Fifty minutes seems to be the ideal time frame. This does not include warm-ups, stretching, or cool-down.
Sample Workouts
Below are three sample workouts based on the GBC protocol. These three workouts can be alternated throughout the week. Frequency of workout sessions depends on training age and starting condition. The minimum is twice a week and the maximum that I would recommend would be five per week.
In these examples I use the notation system developed by Charles Poliquin because it provides a good amount of detailed information on each of the workout variables.
There are a few notations that you might not be familiar with. These are used to denote supersetting and tempo.
Supersetting is designated by the use of letters and numbers i.e. A1 and A2 or B1 and B2. First perform the A1 movement. Rest the prescribed amount of time and then perform the A2 movement. Continue alternating between the two exercises until all the recommended sets of each are complete.
Tempo (the speed at which you perform the movement) is designated with a three-digit number in units of seconds i.e. (301). The first number is the eccentric or lowering portion, the second number indicates the isometric or pause, and the final number is the concentric or positive portion. For example, on a bench press with a 311 tempo you would lower the load for three seconds, pause on the chest for one second, and then extend to the start in one second. Note: "X" denotes explosive effort.

Day One
A1 - Step Ups 4 x 12 (20X) 60 sec A2 - Chin Ups 4 x 10 (311) 60 sec
B1 - Lunges (dynamic) 3 x 12 (311) 45 sec B2 - Incline Dumbbell Chest Press 3 x 10-12 (411) 45 sec
C1 - Seated Leg Curl 3 x 10 (401) 45 sec C2 - Barbell Shoulder Press 3 x 12 (311) 45 sec
D1 - Seated Dumbbell Hammer Curl 2 x 10-12 (411) 30 sec D2 - Lying Dumbbell Triceps Extensions 2 x 10-12 (422) 30 sec

Day Two
A1 - Deadlift 4 x 10-12 (311) 60 sec A2 - Swiss Ball Push Ups 4 x 12-15 (222) 45 sec
B1 - Leg Press 3 x 12-15 (411) 60 sec B2 - Seated Cable Row w/rope to Neck 3 x 10-12 (321) 45 sec
C1 - Single Standing Leg Curl 3 x 10 (411) 45 sec C2 - Lateral Raise 3 x 12 -15 (221) 45 sec
D1 - Barbell Curl 2 x 10 - 12 (311) 45 sec D2 - EZ Bar French Press (seated) 2 x 10- 12 (311) 30 sec

Day Three
A1 - Squat 4 x 12-15 (401) 60 sec A2 - Bench Press 4 x 10-12 (411) 60 sec
B1 - Lunge (static) 3 x 15 (311) 60 sec B2 - Barbell Rows 3 x 12 (311) 60 sec
C1 - Good Mornings 3 x 10 (312) 60 sec C2 - Standing Alt. Dumbbell Press 3 x 12 (201) 45 sec
D1 - Reverse Barbell Curls 2 x 12 -15 (212) 30 sec D2 - Triceps Pushdowns (underhanded) 2 x 12 -15 (312) 30 sec
I hope you find this program effective in achieving your goals. Give it a shot and let me know how it goes for you.