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Articles Fitness Nutrition

Pump Iron and Tone Up Fast

Jan 3, 2010

You don't want to lift weights and bulk up anymore. You want to pump iron and tone up fast.

What Happens

Lifting heavy weight with low reps will certainly build and strengthen muscle. Basically the muscles will micro-tear, bleed and heal. This is where the term "ripping" can sometimes be applied. When the muscles heal, they heal slightly stretched from the micro-tear, causing them to expand. This will bulk up a body creating a thick, but sometimes fat looking, mass. However, the bodies often seen in Michelangelo paintings or sprinting along an Olympic track are less bulky and more rippled. This is due to to a low body fat percentage. The less fat surrounding the muscle, the more muscle you will see. You can pump iron all day, every day, but if you have high body fat you will never see the muscle at work. Sculpting thick, dense muscle into long, lean lines can be done by pumping iron, but first there's the matter of fat.

A Matter of Fat

This is the hardest and most important step. It is next to impossible to tone up fast without a nutrition regimen that will help you lose weight. Shedding fat is difficult, but if you're able to focus in a safe, monitored fashion, the rest will seem like a piece of cake (without the calories).

  • Commit to an intake change. Changing eating habits takes great willpower and knowledge. Find what works best for you (consulting your doctor before embarking on a diet change is a good idea).
  • Don't crash diet.
  • Eat high protein, fruits and vegetables.
  • Cut back on the carbs and fat.
  • Create a realistic time frame.
  • Stop your weightlifting workout.
  • Step up your cardio training.

The more aerobic excercise you can do, while leaving the weightlifting for a short time, will give your body a chance to burn off the fat that's in the way of your muscles.

Hydrate and Eliminate

As you slowly lose weight, you'll need to drink plenty of water and electrolytes (try Emergen-C powder packs) to help your body move out toxins and hydrate the muscles.

Lift, Stretch, Pose

Once you're in a good weight bracket and a lower fat ratio your body is ready to get back to pumping iron. However, this approach will be different from power lifting. Instead of three sets of ten reps with increased weight you will want to lower your weight and increase your reps. Fifteen to twenty reps is a good start. The concept here is that instead of micro-tearing muscle fibers that will rebuild and re-bulk, you will be elongating muscle fibers and shedding more fat. The result is a sculpted, toned look and if done right, results can be seen pretty fast. Remember, if your fat index does not decrease, lifting weights in any capacity will not tone your muscles. At the same time, deep stretching will aid in a more defined sculpted look, while at the same time avoiding any limited flexibility due to inevitable muscle buildup. Yoga is an excellent addition to a workout. Start with a beginner's class and learn all the poses. Either continue into an advanced class or use what you learn at home before or after a workout.

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