Tip: Ladies, Build Muscle to Get Leaner

Lift weights to lose fat. Use these 4 training tools for a smokin' physique.

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Never Sacrifice Muscle

Even when fat loss takes precedence, do your best to minimize catabolism (muscle loss). Why? Because muscle is pretty and it's metabolically expensive. Why would you want to destroy something that eats up calories and makes bodies look harder and tighter. And if you think your legs (or any other areas) are "too big" the worst thing you could do is try to atrophy them.

Don't get so weird about trying to lose weight or shrink body parts that you end up making yourself weak, skinny, flabby, and metabolically stunted. This is what happens when muscle gets the shaft. Weight train for the purpose of building more, not losing fat. Fat loss will happen easily and inadvertently if you become a fanatic about building muscle and being able to see that muscle.

Four Muscle-Building Tools

  1. Power. If the way you lift is always slow and controlled, look for opportunity to add more power movements. Schedule it in. Make explosive action an essential. Try Olympic lifts, kettlebell swings, depth jumps, broad jumps, and anything that forces you to use all the speed you've got.
  2. Time under tension. If the way you lift is always some variation of a power movement, then increase time under tension by slowing the eccentric (negative) portion of your lifts and controlling the weight. Try back-off sets, partials, and drop sets when you've exhausted yourself with full range of motion. Being able to lift a very heavy weight for one or two reps (though important) won't automatically score you conspicuous muscle mass. You have to earn it with increased time under tension.
  3. Strength. If you're so obsessed with feeling a muscle burn and ache for tons of reps that you keep yourself from increasing the weight, then reprioritize. Strength is still essential. Find your one rep max. Test yourself and set PRs. Take the time to get out of your comfort zone with high weight and low reps.
  4. Isolation. Zero in on muscle groups that'll improve the look of your physique: delts, lats, and glutes are common key areas for women. Other areas naturally become jacked and gorgeous with the big basic compound lifts. But isolation can add even curvier curves right where you want 'em.

Contour your body with weight training. You've got all the tools.