When you need to get dialed-in quickly, you don’t want to hear a lecture on advanced meal planning, periodized cardio and weeks worth of fat-burners. You want to know what you can do right now to get your body tight and lean, our roundtable of expert trainers, physique artists and lab rats fill us in on what you can do to get the job done, pronto. Luckily, there’s more than one way to kill the fat.
“Panic is the worst thing you can do when trying to get ripped up,” says physique competitor David Sandler, MS, CSCS. “That leads to overdoing cardio, simply trying to sweat it out, which in turn forces your body to hold back its fat stores. Instead, I restrict my calories a bit and time my carb intake around my workouts. I up the pace and volume of my workouts to help with additional calorie burning while forcing the muscles to suck up the water around them. It probably goes without saying that you need to increase your overall protein intake to maintain muscle and metabolism.
I also do a water depletion cycle rather than trying to drop it all at the last minute, thereby reducing overall water and forcing the muscles to pull it in. The end effect is achieved even if I don’t hit my desired body fat—my muscles are harder and leaner overall. Besides, you can always just suck in the gut, don’t slouch, and when you need to let it all out, make sure no one is looking!”
No need to abandon the barbells and run for cardio row, says Josh Bryant, MFS, CSCS, PES. “I recommend barbell complexes performed as quickly as possible, moving exercise to exercise with no break. To construct a complex, you may do 5-8 squats, followed by 5-8 squats-to-presses (or thrusters), followed by 5-8 good mornings, followed by 5-8 power cleans, followed by 5-8 bent-over rows and finally finished off with 5-8 deadlifts.”
Bryan recommends following these guidelines when developing your own fat-shredding complex:
- Use compound exercises
- Perform exercises as quickly as possible while maintaining proper technique
- Do not rest between exercises
- Try your best not to drop the bar
- Start with an empty bar and add weights in increments of 5-10 pounds
- Do 5-7 exercises per complex, each set consisting of 5-8 repetitions
- Rest 1-3 minutes between sets, doing no more than four sets. The total duration should be no more than 15 minutes.
“Complexes work because they are essentially intervals done with weights, which stimulates your post-workout metabolism much greater than long, slow cardio. Additionally, studies have shown intense intervals increase anabolic hormone response post-workout.”