Whole Body Workouts With Fast Results

Whole Body Workouts With Fast Results

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Pick weights that are challenging but that you can still lift with good form.

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Working your whole body in every session is a surefire way to ramp up your calorie expenditure and burn more fat in less time than training one or two muscle groups each workout. Whole body workouts require a lower time commitment, result in a greater testosterone release and are easy to schedule, according to Edmonton-based trainer Shannon Clark. Whether you're training for fat loss or muscle gain, the speed of your progress depends on how much effort you put in, as well as the structure of your training program.

Weekly Workout Schedule

Higher frequency training can be hugely beneficial -- the more often you work out, the more calories you'll burn and the more stimulation your muscles fibers get, leading to greater fat loss and muscle gain. You need rest though and training too often can be detrimental. To begin with, aim for three whole body workouts each week, with at least one day of rest between each. Training more will not necessarily lead to faster results -- intensity is more important than frequency.


To get the best results in terms of calorie burn and fat loss, pick moves that work multiple body parts. Pick six exercises per workout, advises strength coach Eric Cressey in "Maximum Strength." Each session should include two lower body exercises -- one pushing movement and one pulling movement. Examples are a back squat and a stiff-legged deadlift, a front squat and a regular deadlift or a dumbbell lunge and a glute bridge raise. For your upper body, choose two pushing exercises and two pulling ones. Pushes include pushups, dips, bench presses, dumbbell presses and overhead presses, while pulls are chinups and pullups, pulldowns, cable rows, dumbbell rows and barbell rows.

Lifting Guidelines

The number of sets and repetitions you perform makes surprisingly little difference to your goals and progress -- again, intensity is more important. To build muscle mass, sets of six to 12 reps are optimal, while strength training requires lower reps of one to six per set, and muscular endurance requires sets of 12 or higher. Whatever rep range you train in, pick weights that challenge you and cause you to reach close to muscular failure each set while still maintaining good form.

Muscle-Building Specifics

To build muscle, work primarily in the hypertrophy rep range of six to 12. Keep your rest periods between 90 and 120 seconds to allow your muscles to recover between sets. To build mass, you also need to eat a calorie-dense diet, as your body requires extra calories to fuel muscle growth. Increase your calorie intake until you're gaining between 1/2 and 1 12 pounds per week, advises coach Chris Martinez. This will ensure you're building muscle but not gaining weight too quickly and adding fat. Aim to increase your weight or the number of reps you perform each session.

Fat Loss Specifics

Training for fat loss is actually very similar to training for muscle gain. Decreasing your rest periods to just 30 to 60 seconds can be beneficial though, notes strength coach Charles Poliquin. Adding cardio to your workouts can increase calorie burn and fat loss as well. Either perform 20 to 30 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio at the end of each session or on days in between, or add high-intensity cardio into your whole body sessions. Amy Ashmore of the IDEA Health and Fitness Association recommends alternating a strength exercise with a short burst of high-intensity cardio, such as a 30-second sprint. Diet is crucial too -- you must consume fewer calorie than you burn, so aim to lose 1 to 2 pounds each week.