We’ve all looked in the mirror and not been happy with what we’ve seen looking back at us.
I get it. Work is busy, the hours are long, and one day you are talking to a friend, and telling him something along the lines of;
“When I was X years old I could do Y, whatever happened to me?”
That spare tire has crept up and taken place around your waist, walking up a couple of flights of stairs leaves you out of breath, wherein the past you would have run up them!
It’s all just a part of growing up though right?
Everyone lets themselves go. It’s Normal. Right?
Well, what if I tell you it doesn’t have to be that way?
What if I tell you it’s ok to be MORE than ‘just normal’?
How about if I show you how you can beat the middle age slump, torch that body fat, build muscle, and reclaim some of your lost youth!
And before you ask, no, I’m not selling a magic potion or anything like that.
I want to take you on an Adventure!
It won’t be easy, and it won’t happen overnight, but like any great venture, the rewards far outweigh the risks.
So what do you need to do on this adventure? Well, today I will show you my 10 best exercises for getting rid of fat and building muscle!
But before that, let me explain to you the science behind why I have chosen these exercises. (Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be a biology lesson or anything!)
The science of Losing Weight
Firstly, losing weight is simply a matter of burning more calories than you consume! However, the concept may be simple, but the application can be far more complicated.
And when you wish to lose just fat, not muscle, it becomes trickier still!
But don’t worry, you have me to guide you!
So, let’s talk about the calories you consume. To keep it simple, eat less, and eat healthily! There is only so far you can go with this one, and eating too little can be as bad as eating too much! But, eating habits is a discussion for another article, so for now, just remember to be careful of how much, and what, you eat!
So, if there is a limit to how little you can consume, how about how much you can burn? Well, the good news here is that theoretically no, there isn’t!
You can always do a little more, train a little harder, and as you do, your threshold for both increases! Now, in reality, you can’t train all day every day, or bench press trucks, but you can turn your body into a calorie burning machine, one that works even as you sleep!
No, I don’t mean countless hours of cardio or 3-hour gym sessions.
I mean using the right exercises, training with intensity, and letting your body recover from it.
Which leads to the exercises down below. The one thing these exercises all have in common is that they are ‘multi-joint’, or ‘compound’ movements. Basically, this means they all use multiple muscle groups, and this is key, because the more muscle you use, the more calories you burn.
And not just during the workout. A hard strength training session can raise your metabolism, (the rate at which you burn calories at rest), for up to 2-3 days! Even while you are in bed asleep!
The key here, though, is “strength”. The tactic isn’t to try and train every single muscle in your body, but rather to hit the big muscles 2-3 times a week, and focus on building strength, rather than doing endless reps
So, with no further ado, here are my top 10 exercises to help you get rid of fat, and build muscle at the same time!
The Top 10
Picking something heavy off the floor, it doesn’t get much more functional than that! Here’s how to Deadlift with proper form:
- Stand with your mid-foot under the barbell.
- Bend over and grab the bar with a shoulder-width grip.
- Bend your knees until your shins touch the bar.
- Lift your chest up and straighten your lower back.
- Take a big breath, and stand up with the weight.
Remember to keep a straight back, and use your legs as well as your back!
The muscles in your legs are some of the biggest in your body! Get them all working with squats!
- With a bar on your upper back, supported by your hands, keep your feet slightly wider than shoulder width, and feet pointing outward slightly.
- Keeping your weight on your heels, and your head looking forward, bend at the knees.
- Try to keep your torso upright, slightly pushing your bum out.
- When thighs are parallel to the floor, push back up to standing.
This is a skill we do naturally as a young child, but lose as we get older. If you find you are struggling to get low enough, you probably need to do some work on your flexibility first!
A personal favorite of mine! This works your chest, shoulders, arms and your lats directly, and your abs, upper back, glutes, and legs indirectly! Here’s how to do it properly:
- Lying on your back, with the bar directly above you, keep your hands just wider than shoulder-width apart.
- Lower the bar to the midline of your chest, with your elbows not directly
- by your sides, but only slightly out (45 degrees)
- When the bar touches your chest, brace your abs, and push the bar back up
If you try and pull your elbows towards each other slightly as you push the weight up, will make your chest do a little bit more of the work!
4/ Bent Over Row
Similar to the deadlift, but less work for the legs, and more for the upper back!
- Standing upright, with the bar in your hands, around shoulder width apart and down by your legs, lean forward
- Keep the back straight, and allow the bar to swing freely in your hands below your shoulders. This is the starting point
- Keeping your elbows by your sides, pull the weight up to your lower chest, squeezing your shoulder blades together
- Lower the weight to the starting point and repeat
5/ Shoulder Press
Broad shoulders are a sign of strength, and there are few better ways of building them up than with the shoulder press!
- Start with a dumbbell in each hand, shoulders pinned back, hands either side of your head and palms facing forward
- Push the weights up above your head, and bring them together at the top, then bring them back down to the starting position
When you lower the weights, you only need to go so far as your hands are level with your eyes. A mirror can help with this.
6/ Leg Press
This exercise uses a specific machine, and is fantastic at building up strength in your legs! The machines usually have their own instructions on them, however, here are some key points:
- Use a similar foot position as with squats – slightly wider than shoulder width, and feet pointing outwards a touch
- NEVER hyper-extend your legs underweight (locking knees out). Not sure why? Type in “Leg Press Injuries” into YouTube and you’ll see why!
- When you are bending your knees, stop when your legs reach 90 degrees. Any further than that and you will be putting abnormal stress on your spine!
7/ Pull Ups/Lat Pulldowns
Not my favorite exercise, however, it is super effective! If you can’t quite manage pull-ups yet, lat pulldowns are a great way to build up strength for them!
- Hands a little wider than shoulder width, palms facing away, pull the weight down
- Unlike the shoulder press, you want your hands to come down lower so that the bar is below your chin
- When pulling, pinch your shoulder blades together, and pull your elbows back slightly, pushing your chest forward
- Lower under control
A brilliant bodyweight exercise, there are 2 ways to do this. If your feeling strong, you can do dips on 2 parallel bars, lowering your bodyweight until your shoulders are level with your elbows.
Or if you can’t quite manage them yet, find a step or bench, place your hands on the edge, and walk your feet out until your bum is just off the edge. Lower down, and push back up!
Thrusters take 2 of the above exercises, and puts them together to create a Super Exercise!
- Hold a bar just below your chin, palms facing forward, and hands a little wider than shoulder width
- Squat low, and come back up quickly
- Use the momentum to help you drive the weight up into a shoulder press.
This exercise is a power exercise, meaning you are using the bigger muscles (legs) to generate momentum to help the smaller muscles (shoulders) to move the weight.
Many people shudder at the thought of burpees, but when it comes to using as many muscles as possible, you don’t get much more effective than burpees! Not only do they work almost every single muscle in your body, but they will get your lungs working hard also, for that added cardio benefit! Here’s how to do a proper burpee:
- Start from the standing up position
- Squat down, and place your hands on the floor in front of you
- With a slight hop, kick your feet out behind you, and land in a push-up position
- Lower your weight down, and push back up [do a push up]
- With a hop, pull your feet back in towards your hands
- Instead of just squatting up, jump up and clap your hands together at the top
If you struggle with push-ups, this move can be done without them, but it is more effective with the push-ups!
So remember, don’t eat too much, don’t eat too little, and use as much muscle as you can, it really is that simple! And now you have 10 fantastic exercises, that will lead the way for you on your journey of self-improvement! Follow these, and you will shred that fat, and build strong muscles that will you make you smile every time you walk past a mirror!
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