Muscle Building Fat Burning Exercises
The summer might seem like a distant memory, but you might still be thinking about getting into shape for your next beach vacation. Exercise and the right type of it can be a great aid in achieving a trim, toned and healthy physique. So if you are looking for some help with choosing the right type of exercise to burn fat, then you are in the right place.
It is a well-known fact that muscle takes more energy to sustain than fat. Based on this principle, the more muscle you have, the more fat your body will be able to burn.
There are a number of exercises out there that are designed to help you build strength and muscle and burn fat at the same time.
You might work up a good sweat doing lots of cardio, but these type of exercises alone are not designed to help you build muscle quickly or burn the unwanted fat.
Ready to burn that excess fat? Then keep reading!
Warm-up and Stretching
Whichever muscle building fat burning exercises you chose to incorporate in your workout routine, make sure that you warm up before starting to avoid injury. This is where cardio exercises can come in very handy. 10 minutes should do the job nicely.
Also, if you are doing a particular exercise for the first time, make sure that you start with body weight only or a couple of kilos extra weight at most. You have to get the technique and the form right first before increasing the weight. Getting this wrong can cause you injury and set you back on your journey to that beach body.
Finally, to finish off each workout session, make sure that you don’t forget to stretch. This may not be the most exciting part of your workout, but it can be very relaxing as well as help to keep you injury free.
Tight muscles can be uncomfortable on their own, but they are also more prone to injury. So don’t skip stretching!
You can do between 8 and 12 reps and 3 or 4 sets of any of the below exercises. If you are using weights, you can decrease them after each set as you get more tired. Alternatively, if you start with lower weights to warm up, you can increase it with each set.
Whatever you do, don’t forget to keep that form!
Deadlifts are one of my favourite compound exercises. It is also one of the great muscle building fat burning exercises that will help you to achieve toned legs and bum.
It works your lower back, your bum, hamstrings, thighs, calves, arms and even your core all at the same time. However, it is particularly important with this type of compound exercise to perfect your form before the weight is added on. Not having the right form and piling the weights on poses a serious risk of injury.
So don’t rush. Master the form first!
There are a number of different types of deadlifts. If you are new to this muscle building fat burning exercise, you should probably start with the conventional deadlift.
When you are doing conventional deadlifts:
- Your feet should be about hip-width apart pointing forward. Make sure that your feet are firm on the ground, not moving when you lift.
- Your arms should be straight and shoulder-width apart. If you are using weights you can use some dumbells or kettlebells on each side. Alternatively, if you are using a bar, it should be over the middle of your feet.
- Your back should be straight, maintaining the natural curve of your spine at all times and your knees slightly bent when going down.
- Lift your chest and keep your head and neck in line with your spine. Don’t look at your feet or look up. This might strain your neck.
- The bar should be close to your body when coming up to standing.
- It’s important not to lock your knees when you come up to standing. Your legs should not be completely straight, the knees should be “soft”.
If you are using a bar, the grip is really up to you. Some people prefer to hold their hands facing the opposite way to one another. Others will prefer a grip where both palms of the hands are facing away from the body or towards the body. You might find it easier to start with if both hands are facing you.
You can choose to use gloves or straps to protect your palms. Use whichever you find more comfortable. Or if you prefer bare hand that’s fine too. Just be prepared for the burn.
Last but not least, don’t forget to breathe! Keep your breathing in a rhythm with your movement.
These bad boys will work your hamstrings just that little bit more. The main steps are the same as before, just make sure that you keep your legs straight when lowering the weight. If you have mastered conventional deadlifts, you can move onto these.
You won’t be able to lift as much as you were with the conventional type. I’d recommend starting only with body weight, always making sure that the form is perfect before adding weights.
Those with more flexibility will find this type of deadlift easier.
It is especially important to stretch after straight-legged deadlifts as these work your hamstrings extra hard. If you skip stretching after these bad boys, you may pay the price the next day.
Squats are also great muscle building fat burning exercises. You can do them in many ways either using a machine (assisted squats) or with a bar on the back or in front, on the chest.
If you are new to squats, however, it is best to start with body weights only first.
- Feet slightly wider than hip-width apart and firm on the ground pointing slightly out to the right.
- Back straight maintaining the natural curve of your spine at all times.
- Lift your chest and keep your head and neck in line with your spine. Don’t look at your feet or look up.
- Bending the knees when coming down to squat.
- Ensure that your knees do not go further forward than your toes and that your feet don’t lift off the ground.
- Come back up to standing with legs straight, but don’t lock your knees.
- Hands can be in front of you or on the bar if you are using one.
- Keep your breathing in rhythm with your movement.
Like with other muscle building fat burning exercises, there are many ways of doing lunges.
You can do them using only your body weight. You could do them using kettlebells or dumbbells in your hands or a bar on your back. Or you could do is using a machine in the gym.
I know you are going to be sick fo hearing this, but whichever way you choose to do it, make sure you get your form right first.
- Stand with feet hip-width apart.
- Step forward with one of your feet – about a meter in front of where you stood originally with that foot.
- Bend both legs at a 90-degree angle, lowering your upper body in the process.
- Your foot in front should be flat on the ground and your knee should be above your ankle, not going above the toes.
- Your heel should lift off the floor on your foot at the back.
- Keep your back straight and arms straight at the side or supporting the weight you are holding.
- Push back up with your foot at the front to your original standing position.
- Repeat the movement with the other leg.
Pull-ups, also a compound exercise, are also fantastic muscle building fat burning exercises you can do without using weights or fancy equipment.
It works a number of muscles in your arms, shoulders, back, chest and even your core, all at the same time. If you are just starting out with pull-ups, you might want to do some machine-assisted pull-ups at the gym first to gauge your strength. Alternatively, if you are a pro and want to make it harder, you can use weights on your leg.
Remember, it’s not just about strength, a lot depends on your technique too.
It can look frightening when a bar with heavy weights are towering above you. But bench press doesn’t have to be scary. It is a great way of working your upper body and one of the great muscle building fat burning exercises.
If you’ve never done bench press before I’d suggest that you start with small dumbbells in each hand first to get used to the motion. 1 or 2 kilos will be fin to start with if you have never done this before. You will soon be able to increase the weight.
- Make sure that your back and head are well-supported by the bench. Your head should not be hanging down the bench.
- Your knees should be bent with feet flat on the floor. You should be feeling stable.
- There should be equal amounts of weight in each hand.
- Your arms out to the side and bent the elbow (90-degree angle) with your hands facing up.
- Use your back, shoulder and arm muscles to push your hands up, straightening your arms. The arms should be shoulder-width apart at this point.
- Go back down to bent elbows again, but make sure that your arms don’t fall below the level of your back.
If you are ready to increase the weight you can use heavier dumbbells or a bar with weights. But don’t go crease, increase it gradually so you can still keep the right form.
Support with muscle building fat burning exercises
If you find it hard to keep track of your sets or you need some encouragement or support with your muscle building fat burning exercises in the gym, you might find it easier working out with someone. Workout partners can help motivate you and keep you on track especially if they are working towards the same goal as you.
There are free resources available on youtube, but the quality can be a bit hit and miss. You will also have to search around to find all the elements for your workout. Also, they may not come with the nutritional guidance.
You can also invest in a personal trainer if you are looking for a bit more direction. Most bigger gyms will have their own so just ask at reception. I know that this can be costly in the long run, so it is not for everyone.
Online workout programs
Alternatively, if you are looking for a structured workout and nutrition plan with video guidance at a fraction of the cost of a personal trainer, you may want to invest in an online workout program. These can be great whether you are planning to work out in the gym or elsewhere.
There are plenty of workout guides you can choose from, but we have found Boss Workouts an excellent all-rounder. They have different programs based on your needs. Whether it is mass you are looking to build, shredding those last few kilos or getting that hourglass shape you’ve always wanted, they have a 12-week program for you. These online videos are complete with nutritional guidance and e-books to help you along your journey of building muscle and burning fat.
You can sign up for one of these programs for just £65 which seems like a great deal for what you get. Check out their website for more information at Boss Workouts.
Alongside doing the right type of muscle building fat burning exercises, nutrition is equally important in helping you achieve your goals of looking trim and toned.
There is so much information out there about what to eat and what to avoid. An if that wasn’t enough, the advice changes all the time. Who can keep up with it?
If I had to sum it up, the best advice to follow about eating a healthy and balanced diet is this.
- Eat plenty of unprocessed food containing a variety of colours of fruits and vegetables.
- Supplement this with free-range /wild meat (or organic if possible) and eggs.
- Eat fish at least twice per week – more is better, but don’t go crazy on larger fish like salmon and tuna. These larger fish contain more mercury than smaller ones like anchovies or sardines. And large doses of mercury are not particularly good for us.
- Avoid ready meals, fried food, sugary drinks, processed food where possible.
- Limit your alcohol intake as you don’t want to be drinking your calories…
- Drink plenty of water
- Be adventurous with nuts – there are plenty of different nuts out there so if you don’t like the taste or texture of almonds, try cashews or pine nuts instead. They are a great source of good fats and a brilliant snack food when cravings rear their head.
If you follow the above guidelines with a few additions, you can’t go wrong. If you need some tips, you can check out some healthy meal ideas in aid of weight loss to help you on your journey.
Supplements to help fat burning
As well as the right muscle building fat burning exercises, you might consider taking a fat burning supplement to fast track your results. These supplements are not magic pills, but they can enhance your efforts in the gym and help you achieve your fat loss goals faster.
If you decide to use a supplement, be sure to choose a product with natural ingredients to help you avoid unwanted side effects. There are a lot of products out there and some could do you more harm than good, so do your research before you buy. Check out our top-rated natural fat burners for some ideas.