After gaining around fifteen pounds of fat, despite exercising regularly, I started looking for a better, more effective way I could get back into shape in the comfort of my own home. It was in my Junior year of college, and I’d been hitting the weight room religiously for over 6 months.
I was following a bodybuilding program I found in a muscle magazine. The goal was to…basically…look like a bodybuilder. Really, I would have been happy if I could drop mybody fat below 15%, but the lowest it ever got was 18%. I ate 6 times a day, did lots of cardio, and trained one-two muscle groups per workout.
It simply didn’t work. I actually ended up gaining weight, close 15 pounds, and looked worse then ever. I didn’t know what the problem was. Frustrated, I just stopped going to the gym and began reading everything I could get my hands on about fat loss.
There was one question in particular that I had – how was it that athletes such as sprinters, dancers, and gymnasts were able to stay lean practically year-round while bodybuilders went through extreme phases of being super lean and then super fat?
If you did not know, most bodybuilders “bulk up” for around 6 months where they eat anything the can get their hands on. This allows them to put on lots of muscle mass. And the they diet like crazy and do tons of cardio to burn off the fat. Of course, this is the short version of what they do, but the idea is the same.
But I didn’t want to constantly get fat and get lean. I wanted to stay relatively lean all year round. That was when I started training like an athlete as opposed to like a bodybuilder. I literally started copying the training programs of sprinters and gymnasts.
My current training program consists of 100% bodyweight exercises. The key to losing fat in the comfort of your own home is to perform whole-body movements such as quad hops, froggers, and side planks. I stopped splitting up my body part the way bodybuilders do.
Instead, I perform full body workouts. This allows me to engage more muscle groups at once. The more muscle mass you engage within one session, the more growth hormone and testosterone you release. These two hormones have been linked to greater fat loss.
In addition, I’ve also stopped performing lots of steady state cardio. The problem with excessive cardio is that it actually breaks down muscle mass. When bodybuilders perform lots of cardio to get ready for a competitions, they know that they’re losing some muscle mass along with the fat.
For bodybuilders, this method may work. But for people like you and I, stick to full body bodyweight workouts at home for long term fat loss.