Since summer is now in full affect (June 20th was the first official day of Summer), I am going to outline four ways to build lean muscle during the sunshine months.
By improving or incorporating these four tips with great execution, you will make some body composition changes in just 4-8 short weeks.
So. Let’s get after it!
1 Perform Sprint Conditioning 3 Times Per Week
In order to look like you put on some new muscle, you have to maintain a reasonable body fat level to let it show through. This is where some solid sprint cardio workouts come in.
When it comes to cardiovascular exercises that produce the most results with the least time invested, sprint-type cardio workouts reign supreme.
The actual act of sprinting on two feet can be tough for many. If you are not a runner or a sprinter, I advise you proceed with caution and build up to proper sprinting.
If you have a lower-body injury or have had one in the recent past that hinders you from running, actual sprints may not be for you.
So, instead, I like the airdyne/assault bike or concept 2 rower. These two pieces of cardio equipment can have a great bang for the buck without injury. Leading training expert, Alwyn Cosgrove referred to this type of cardio as having minimal disruption on the joints but maximal disruption on the metabolism, making them ideal for those looking to keep their bodies healthy but get the tremendous benefits from sprint workouts.
Below is a 4-week workout that is sure to burn fat and get you in phenomenal shape this summer.
Concept 2 Rower
Sprint workout week 1: do ten 100-meter sprints at 90% intensity, resting 60s between each sprint.
Sprint workout week 2: do six 300-meter sprints at 80% intensity, resting 90s between each sprint.
Sprint workout week 3: do eight 200-meter sprints at 90% intensity, resting 75s between each sprint.
Sprint workout week 4: do eight 200-meter sprints at 100% intensity, resting 75s between each sprint.
Sprint workout week 1: do ten 10-calorie sprints at 90% intensity, resting 60s between each sprint.
Sprint workout week 2: do six 30-calorie sprints at 80% intensity, resting 90s between each sprint.
Sprint workout week 3: do eight 20-calorie sprints at 90% intensity, resting 75s between each sprint.
Sprint workout week 4: do eight 25-calorie sprints at 100% intensity, resting 75s between each sprint.
Perform The Ultimate Kettlebell Complex
In order to build lean muscle you have to put the body under load for a significant amount of time. The problem for many of us is finding the time. Well, I have the solution for you. Strength training complexes! Implementing various complexes into your workout regimen is a great way to get a ton of work done in a short amount of time. As described by coach Dan John, “A complex is a series of lifts performed back to back where you finish the reps of one lift before moving onto the next lift. The bar, dumbbell, or kettlebell only leaves your hands or touches the floor after all of the lifts are completed.”
My go-to strength-training complex is what I call the “Ultimate Kettlebell Complex”. It is a series of 5 movements that hits every major muscle group and movement pattern that the body can use. The “metabolic hit“ from this intense complex will not only leave you gasping for air but it will also force your body to adapt to the new stress you put on it and put on some muscle.
So, grab a couple kettlebells and let’s get to work!
- Double KB Cleans
- Double KB Press
- Double KB Front Squat
- Double KB Deadlifts
- Farmers Carry about 50 feet
Ladies use 12-16 kilo bells, Guys use 16-24 kilo bells
3 rounds for 8 reps each. Rest as much as needed between sets
3. Take Fish Oil Everyday
This supplement really is a no brainier, and most people are already aware of marine oil benefits, but it is worth repeating. Fish oil is a very critical supplement that I feel just about everyone should be taking at some level. It is one of the most studied supplements in the world, and you will have a hard time finding research, doctors, or nutritionists that are against taking any type of marine oil.
They are rich in omega-3 fatty acids containing (eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)) that are acids that play a critical role in brain function, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, anti-inflammatory and are hormone like compounds that affect almost every system in the body.
Why can’t we just eat some fish and be good you ask? Well first, most of our fish is either poorly farm raised, or contains a lot of heavy metals, and do not have the amount of EPA and DHA necessary to reap the full benefits of this super food (there are still some great fish out there, so keep eating fish). I prefer calamari oil for it’s DHA content and krill oil because of its high absorption rate.
4 Slow down your eating for better digestion
Four primary advantages to slower eating habits:
- Rushed meals = Natural satiety fails to kick in.
- You increase your ability to lose or maintain weight, improving digestion.
- Reduce overall caloric consumption for better fat loss.
- Increase absorption for better recovery and muscle growth.
We’re a rushed, distracted, and over-the-top-busy society. This causes us all to rush when eating. Learning to eat more slowly can be one of the simplest yet most powerful things you can do to improve your overall health. Once you slow down your eating, you give your body time to recognize that you’re full. It takes a full twenty minutes from the start of a meal for the brain to begin sending out signals of satiety.
Most people’s meals don’t even last that long! I know mine don’t! This causes you to eat too many calories simply because you didn’t allow your body time to register that it no longer requires food. Eating slowly also improves digestion. At the University of Rhode Island, researchers examined how eating speed affected the early stages of digestive processing by observing 60 young adults eat a meal.
Slow eaters consumed 2 ounces of food per minute. Medium, 2.5 ounces, fast eaters 3.1 ounces per minute.
Basically, fast eaters ate more food during this time, and the food that they did consume was improperly digested due to the inadequacy of their chewing. Since digestion starts in the mouth, they were doomed from when they started. The reason food needs to be broken down effectively is so that it can be turned into chime – the liquid mix of partially digested food, hydrochloric acid, digestive enzymes, and water that passes through the pyloric valve on it’s way to elimination.
Food that isn’t properly broken down into chime can lead to indigestion and other potential GI problems. Eat your food slowly and you improve digestion and reduce caloric intake, leading to better body composition and overall health
Get In Shape This Summer
There you have it, four simple and effective ways to build lean muscle this summer. I am confident that if you implement these training and nutrition tips in your regimen, good things will happen. Only if you stay consistent and want it!
Justin Grinnell is the Owner of State of Fitness in East Lansing, Michigan. State of Fitness opened up just four years ago and is already one of the leading training facilities in the Midwest. State of Fitness has over 450 members who train every day under his leadership. In addition to being a facility owner, Justin has his own blog at www.grinnelltraining.com (link below), and has been a featured writer for over 6 years in the magazine Healthy & Fit and is a writer for Muscle & Fitness.