Over the past autumn-winter period, we worked hard, and gained several kilograms of muscle mass. It seems, that we already look good, but, looking in the mirror, we note that our muscles covered with a layer of fat. What can we do to make muscles defined? The answer is very simple. You need to get rid of the excess fat. For this you need to follow a cutting diet and change the training program. It requires an integrated approach that solves the problem from different angles.
Complex approach to fat burning
- First of all, you need a diet. The amount of calories consumed should be less than calories burned. Without a proper diet, you won’t burn fat. But a diet only will not help to define muscles. With a diet we will simply lose weight mainly due to our muscle mass, while keeping approximately the same amount of fat. In order get rid of fat and at the same time keep muscle mass, it is necessary to observe a few more conditions, described below. We will reduce the calorie intake mainly due to carbohydrates, while the amount of protein consumed may be even increased.
- Secondly, you should include aerobic training in your training routine. This will help burn more fat. However, if we do only aerobics, without main training, our muscles will also slowly disappear. As a result, we will look like a marathon runner. I’m afraid this is not the ideal we are striving for.
- Thirdly, it is necessary to change training programs according to the new aim.
- And fourthly, use the fat burner supplements. Fortunately, there are a lot of them and there are a lot of effective ones.
Cutting program principles
It is obvious that the more calories we burn during the exercise, the more fat we will subsequently lose. The most energy-consuming exercises are multi-joint, basic exercises. For example: you can do 6 reps of lying 130-kg barbell press. Then 20 reps of 70-kg barbell press. In the first case, the tonnage will be 130×6 = 780 kg, and in the second 70×20 = 1400 kg. The conclusions are obvious – with the same number of sets, muscle gain training will exhaust you physically much more than strength training and will more significantly accelerate the metabolism after training, which will positively affect the fat burning process. In addition, in pumping, the capillarization of muscle tissue and vascular tone improves, which is very beneficial for the final result. What is more, the lack of calories consumed overloads the psyche and prevents you from concentrating on exercises.
To avoid losing balance during the most complex multi-joint exercises with free weight, they should be done on exercise machines. For the same reason, cutting training should be short. However, since pumping does not lead to microdamage to muscle fibers and does not cause depletion of the nervous system, the recovery time is reduced. It is known that during strength training, muscles consume energy reserves and receive microdamage. In the future, compensation and supercompensation in the working muscles occur, due to which muscles grow. However, with a calorie deficit in the body, there is no compensation or supercompensation. This means that microdamages in muscle fibers will not be recovered, which will lead to a decrease in the volume of working muscles, and can also lead to injury.
Therefore, you need a training in which microdamage is minimal. The number of reps in the set should be about 12-15 or more, and the working weights in the exercises should be significantly reduced. By the end of the set, a burning sensation should appear in the working muscle. On the other hand, the pumping is much more energy intensive. For example, you can train the same muscle more often than when training for muscle mass. To make the training more intense, advanced athletes can increase the load by doing more reps per set, as well as reduce the rest intervals between sets. For athletes with less than a year of experience, I do not recommend this, as it can lead to overtraining.
So, summarizing all of the above, we came to the conclusion that training should be:
- based on basic exercises;
- training style – pumping;
- the most complex exercises are done on machines;
- cutting training should be short but intense;
- experienced athletes should intensify their training.
Cutting training programs
These training programs are primarily intended for gym-goers who do not participate in competitions.
Program 1. Circuit training
One of the most popular training systems for cutting. For greater effect exercises are better to do without rest. It will contribute to the maximum fat burning effect.
As you train, the number of cycles can increase from one to three. You should train three times a week, and each muscle group should be worked out three times a week in microcycles.
(only working sets)
- Low row – 1×12-15
- Bench press – 1×12-15
- Leg Press – 1×12-15
- Leg curls – 1×12-15
- Smith machine overhead press – 1×12-15
- Standing barbell curl – 1×12-15
- Cable tricep pulldown – 1×12-15
- Cable crunch – 1×12-15
- Incline bench press – 1×12-15
- Smith machine squats – 1×12-15
- Stiff-leg deadlift – 1×12-15
- Upright barbell row- 1×12-15
- Alternating standing dumbbell curl – 1×12-15
- Close-grip bench press – 1×12-15
- Seated cable pulldown – 1×12-15
- Hanging leg lift – 1xMax
- Hack squats – 1×12-15
- Hyperextension – 1×12-15
- Smith machine barbell press – 1×12-15
- Seated dumbbell curl – 1×12-15
- French bench press – 1×12-15
- Bent-over barbell row – 1×12-15
- Incline bench dumbbell fly – 1×12-15
- Incline bench crunch – 1x 12-15
Program 2. Two-day split
A two-day split means working out all the muscle groups in two workouts. In a week we will perform two such splits (four trainings). Accordingly, each muscle group will be worked out twice a week.
- Incline bench press – 3×12-15
- Dips – 3×12-15
- Cable crossover – 3×15-20
- Cable tricep pulldown – 3×15-20
- Cable low row – 3×12-15
- Cable pulldown – 3×12-15
- Dumbbell pullover – 3×12-15
- Standing barbell curl – 3×15-20
- Leg Press – 3×12-15
- Leg extension – 3×15-20
- Stiff-leg deadlift – 3×12-15
- Leg curl – 3×15-20
- Upright cable row – 3×12-15
- Dumbbell fly – 3×15-20
- Bent-over dumbbell fly – 3×15-20
- Cable crunch – 3×12-15
- Hanging leg raise – 2xMax
This double split program is quite difficult. You can make it easier by performing it twice a week with a two-day rest between training.
Program 3. Three-day split
In this split, the muscles are divided into three groups. In a three-day split 3 + 1 system is used, i.e. three days of training, and a day of rest. A three-day split allows you to reduce the load, compared to a two-day split. However, you will have to go to the gym more often, which is also not convenient for everyone.
Monday (chest, arms):
- Incline bench press – 3-4×12-15
- Weighted dips – 3-4×12-15
- Cable crossover – 3-4×15-20
- Close-grip bench press – 3-4×12-15
- Cable pulldown – 3-4×15-20
- Standing barbell curl – 3-4×12-15
- Cable curl – 3-4×15-20
Tuesday (legs, abs):
- Smith machine or Hack squats – 3-4×12-15
- Leg Press – 3-4×12-15
- Leg extension – 3-4×15-20
- Stiff-leg deadlift – 3-4×12-15
- Leg curl – 3-4×15-20
- Cable crunch – 3-4×12-15
- Hanging leg raise – 2xMax
Wednesday (back, delts):
- Low row – 3-4×12-15
- Lat pulldown – 3-4×12-15
- T-bar pull – 3-4×12-15
- Bench press – 3-4×12-15
- Upright row – 3-4×12-15
- Standing dumbbell fly- 3-4×15-20
- Bent-over dumbbell fly – 3-4×15-20
Repetitive load negatively affects the psyche, especially in conditions of calorie deficiency. Therefore, you should change your workout routine regularly. You can use our programs, or make a program yourself. The workout cycle for these programs is about eight weeks. You need to understand that during this cycle, both strength and muscle mass will decrease a little. But later, with the mass gain cycle, the strength will quickly return, and the muscles will become even bigger. We wish you an effective workout!