Most people come into La Habra CrossFit to me wanting to lose fat and tone up. While muscular and cardiovascular endurance training are awesome for burning fat, they are inadequate for developing a sexy lean and toned body.
We have all heard that spot reducing (losing fat in a localized area) is a myth, which it is BUT did you know that you CAN spot hypertrophy (tone up a particular area of the body by weight training)?
What is hypertrophy?
Hypertrophy training is specific for adaptation for maximum muscle growth, focusing on high levels of volume with minimal rest periods to force cellular adaptations that result in the increase in muscle size.
But you might be wondering, won’t weight training make me bulky?
The answer is no! Being fat makes one look bulky. Building lean, toned muscle while burning fat is the holy grail of body transformation training BUT, you need to do it the right way.
The way we spot hypertrophy an area, say your jiggly thighs, arms, belly or back is through a specialized form of training called hypertrophy-endurance training.
Hypertrophy-Endurance training is a hybrid form of training that lets you get lean and toned at the same time, not bulky.
High amounts of volume are generated in this phase of training. Because of the high demand this form of training places on the body, this phase of training should last 4-6 weeks.
This form of training uses advanced training techniques such as super-sets, tri-sets, giant sets, drop sets, rest pauses, clusters. These advanced training techniques increase the density of the workout. Training density refers to the amount of work done per unit of time. Increasing density basically means fitting more work in a set period or doing the same work in less time.
There are several benefits to having a higher training density.
- Keeps you focused: When you take shorter rest periods and keep moving, you always keep your mind on training, and you do not let your mind wander. This better training focus is often what separates those who get okay results from those who get great results.
- It leads to a better hormonal milieu: Higher density of training is associated with a greater release of growth hormone, local growth factors, and a higher free testosterone level. A higher density also leads to less cortisol output for a given training volume. In other words, the anaerobic hormones (toning) are higher and the catabolic one (fat storing) is lower
- It increases caloric expenditure: It’s always nice to jack up energy expenditure and get leaner while adding muscle mass. A higher density of work increases caloric expenditure during training as well as in the period post-training. For example, our workouts burn twice the calories in half the time when compared to traditional gym workouts. What that means to you is, you get twice the results in half the time!
- It provides health benefits, specifically for the cardiovascular system: Higher density of work keeps your heart rate elevated for longer, which will improve cardiac efficiency and help keep the vascular system in top shape.
In conclusion, hypertrophy-endurance weight training is the fastest, easiest, and best way to improve the shape, tone, and strength of the body. Running, swimming, cycling, and aerobics classes are excellent cardiovascular conditioners and burn calories, but they cannot compare with weight training for developing a lean and toned body.
When you begin a hypertrophy-endurance weight training program – stick with it-you’ll notice changes in a few short weeks. Even if you don’t lose weight, you’ll find that clothes that you may have grown out of will begin to fit you once again. This is because muscle is denser than fat and as you gain muscle and burn off fat, your mirror, and your clothes will tell you more than the bathroom scale.
As your abdominal muscles become stronger, your stomach will become flatter. Flabby areas will decrease: the triceps or back of the upper arms will tighten up and cellulite, the fatty dimpled deposits on the thighs will diminish and gradually be replaced by firm, toned muscles. Small-breasted women often increase their bust size and women with larger breasts often find their breasts have become firmer and sag less without surgery.