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Build Muscle And Burn Fat




If there's one question that I am asked more than any other, it is how to properly build muscle and burn fat at the same time. Here I will offer some guidelines to follow. The more of them you follow, the better off you will be in building muscle while burning body fat.

Burning body fat is simply expending more calories than you consume. You need to create a negative energy balance. If you eat more calories than you burn off, you store fat. So, obviously, you need to burn off more calories than you consume. How is this done? Well, there are two ways: cardio and nutrition. It needs to be done properly and in balance.



The following tips will assist you to build muscle and burn fat. There are no magic solutions, just hard work. Treat these tips like a blueprint, or a roadmap. Follow them closely and you get to your destination. Approach them haphazardly and you get lost.

Get moving! (Do 3-4 intense cardio sessions a week).


The prime reason for doing cardio is to expend energy by burning calories. Cardio also helps to speed up, or "prime" our metabolism. Plus, cardio helps by enhancing our endurance and our cardiovascular health as well.

These are the main reasons we do cardiovascular exercise.

You are not going to lose weight if you do not move your body. You need to burn off more calories than you consume, so this is where the aerobic activity comes in. Three to four sessions, 20-30 minutes each, is all that is needed to see optimal results.

The higher the intensity of an exercise, the greater the energy expenditure will be (in turn, the greater the fat loss). You need to get your heart rate up into your training zone in order to efficiently burn body fat.

Sorry to burst any bubbles here, but taking a leisurely walk around the block at night will do hardly anything to burn body fat. It is better than nothing, but not by much.

You can change that by walking up hills, swinging your arms more, or walking at a brisk pace. The key is to move more of your body. The more you move your body, the more calories you burn. That is why jogging, mountain biking, Stairmaster, elliptical trainers, even treadmill walking at a steep incline are beneficial forms of cardio.

Perform three to four, 20-30 minute sessions of intense cardio a week and you will soon start seeing results.

Get lifting! (Do at least three intense weight-training sessions a week).


Do not try to combine your weight-training sessions with fat-burning sessions. You can lift weights for an hour and you will only burn a minimal amount of calories. However, do think of each weight-training session as an investment in future fat-burning efforts.



Muscle takes more energy to maintain than fat. The body expends more calories to maintain lean muscle tissue than it does fat. So the more lean muscle you have, the more calories you will burn, even at rest! So give weight-training the importance it needs.

At least three intense weight-training sessions a week is a good number to shoot for. Itís not how many days you work out that matter, it is the effort and intensity you do each workout that is truly important.

You are what you eat, so eat well. (Five to six small meals consisting of high-protein, moderate carbs, and low fat).


Other than cardio, nutrition is the only other way you can manipulate calorie intake and expenditure. Your eating habits will make or break your fat-burning results. You can do all the cardio in the world, but if you have poor eating habits, you will not get good results.

You need to be eating every 3 hours or so to keep your metabolism operating efficiently. Constantly grazing on food will keep your body burning the fuel it is consuming. If you eat two or three large meals a day, you slow down your metabolism. Also, by only eating once in a while, your body will start storing fat as a defense mechanism.

Eat a meal or snack consisting of high protein, moderate carbs, and low fat every three to four hours. This means around five or six small meals or snacks a day. When you have been weight training for a while, you will notice that your body requires more food. It needs more food for more fuel and for more muscle-building nutrients. It needs to be more of the right food.

As far as meals, keep protein sources like fish, turkey, chicken, lean red meat, whey protein supplements, low-fat dairy products, egg whites, and some soy products a mainstay in your diet. Carbs should be complex sources such as vegetables, brown rice, whole grain breads and cereals, bagels, oatmeal, and pasta.

Fat doesnít even need to be addressed; most people get plenty without even focusing on it. Peanut butter, olive oil, fish oils, and flax seed oil can be used sparingly, but usually the 10% fat comes from focusing on the other 90% of the calories you eat.

Drink at least a gallon (preferably more) of water a day.


Iím going to keep this one simple and just tell you it should be done. Shoot for a gallon a day, more if you can. Water is so important I cannot overstate it enough. It is used in every single physiological principle in your body. You can live for weeks without food, but you die if you do not take in water for a few days.

Your body is two-thirds water, your muscles 70% water. Keep a bottle of it at work, in your car, in your fridge, or any other place you frequent. It is very abundant so try to get plenty.

Keep track of your progress


You need to see if what you are doing is working or not. If it isnít, you need to regroup, figure what you are doing wrong, and start heading in the right direction again.

Measure your results. You can look in the mirror and see if you are achieving beneficial results. You can tell by the way your clothes fit or by what your friends say. You can judge by the scale, although this is not the greatest way to measure success. After starting a weight-training program, you will soon start adding muscle mass.

This muscle weighs more than fat, so the scale may not show a difference in weight, in fact, it may say you have gained weight. So it is misleading. You may have lost body fat, but the scale doesnít distinguish this. The way to properly measure your progress is through body fat testing.

This is a very accurate method to test the percentage of fat mass and muscle mass that you have. Obviously, if the goal is to lose body fat, you need to see if what you are doing is working. Itís good to test body fat at least every 30-60 days.

Reduce your daily caloric intake by 150-200 calories a day.


After measuring your progress and it is not quite what you had hoped for, you may need to manipulate your calorie intake. Hopefully, you had realistic goals to begin with. You will probably not lose 10 pounds of body fat in a week, but one or two pounds a week is very realistic.

If you are not happy with results, and you are doing your three or more days of weight training, three to four days of cardio, and your nutrition is very good, you may need to start reducing your daily caloric intake to get to the results you want.

First, you need to figure out your daily caloric maintenance level, that is, the number of calories your body needs to maintain what you currently weigh. We are going to go over this when we discuss the basics of nutrition. Once you figure out your daily caloric maintenance level, start reducing it by 150-200 calories a day. Do this for a couple of weeks. If you still do not see results, lower it by another 150-200 until you start seeing the results you want.

Continue to increase weight (overload) when doing resistance training.


Remember that building lean muscle will assist you in the fat-burning process later on.

The more muscle you have, the more energy your body expends to maintain that muscle, even at rest. In order to make constant and significant gains, you must train intensely and for short durations. I like to call them "bursts of exercise!" Work no more than two muscle groups a workout, four to five workouts a week.

Keep reps between four and six on your heavy sets to ensure overload to the muscle. Do only two heavy sets per exercise and keep workouts under 45 minutes. Keep your workouts intense and to the point. Do not do intense cardio before or after weight training.

Itís hard to focus intensely on both weight training and cardio in the same session! Do not rob one to pay the other.


Build muscle and burn fat in less time than you ever thought possible with powerful muscle building workout routines from personal trainer Shawn Lebrun.





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