By Shawn Lebrun
Certified Personal Trainer
If you're looking to burn fat and gain muscle, I want you to first
work on getting a tan. (Although that may be tough for us
living here in the frigid northeast!)
I can see it now, people are going to be lined up at their
local tanning salon, telling the clerk they want to
burn fat and gain muscle.
Well, let me save you from stares of confusion from the
You're not going to
burn fat and gain muscle from sun tanning.
But the cause and effect relationship between the sun and
tanning perfectly illustrates a point I want to make about working out too much.
I must get 3 or 4 emails each day from people wanting to know why they're not building muscle or burning fat as fast as they'd like. They tell me that they're working out as often as possible.
Well, the thing is, there's no law in weight lifting or cardio that says if you double your time, you double your results. Usually, if you double the amount of time you lift or do cardio, you actually lessen your results.
It's because weight lifting is closer to the "Less is More" theory
than the "The More The Better" one.
So I want to show you how getting a tan actually answers why you do not want to weight train a muscle group more than once each week.
Getting a sun tan is a cause and effect relationship.
The sun is the cause and the tan is the effect.
In other words, the sun is the stimulus and the tan is the result.
When you get a tan, what is actually happening is that your melanocytes are producing melanin pigment in reaction to ultraviolet light in sunlight.
You have to expose yourself to UV for a short period of time to activate the melanocytes. By repeating this process over 5 to 7 days pigment builds up in your cells to a level that is protective.
But what happens when you get too much sun? That's right, you get a sun burn, something you do not want to happen.
Too much of the stimulus leads to a negative result.
So the key is to find the right amount of sun for the desired effect.
Too little sun results in no tan and too much sun results in a sun burn.
So, how does this relate to you if you want to
burn fat and gain muscle?
Muscle growth happens by overloading a muscle with heavy weight and then allowing it to rest and recuperate.
So in this case, the lifting of heavy weight is the stimulus and, if
the environment is properly set up, the result is lean muscle growth.
The proper "environment" for muscle growth is rest and proper nutrition (high protein, moderate carbs, plenty of water).
If you train a muscle group (biceps, triceps, etc) more than once each week, it does not get a chance to recuperate and will not grow or become stronger.
It's like going back out in the sun too much. Overexposure to the sun leads to a burn.
Overexposure to lifting leads to overtraining. When overtraining occurs, you will not burn fat or gain muscle.
So to maximize muscle growth and keep that "anabolic window of opportunity" intact, you definitely want to train a muscle group once each week.
Too much weight training or cardio (stimulus) will produce negative results.
If you do not allow your muscles to rest, recover, and get ready for the next workout, you're doing the same thing as if you went back out into the sun too much.
Too much of something can produce negative results as much as too little of something.
So if you want to burn fat and gain muscle, start working on your tan ;-)
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