There have been myths floating around forever on how the “perfect workout” can give you the body you want, but the truth is that there is no one workout that will get, or keep, you in shape. The best workout is the workout that is constantly changing. Whether it is going from lighter weights to heavier weights or turning up the intensity of the workout from week to week, you need to shock your muscles! Humans are creatures of habit and if your muscles become accustomed to you bench pressing 200 pounds twice for three sets on the barbell twice a week, eventually it won’t become a workout for your muscles any more. So maybe instead make it dumbbell pressing 90 pounds for a few sets of 5 repetitions. Changing the workouts every six to eight weeks will keep your muscles guessing and growing!
Another key to a solid all-around workout is to hit every muscle. The person who goes into the gym and works their biceps and triceps will never have anything besides large arms. Burning fat is about burning calories, and the bigger the muscles burn the most calories. The biggest muscle group in the human body is the quadriceps. This may sound unappealing to many gym-goers, but you should incorporate leg workouts one to two times per week depending on how often you frequent the gym.
It is important to hit all muscle groups to give your body a proportional appearance. The more important reason you should hit all muscle groups is to avoid injury. Muscles that are opposite each other, like the biceps and triceps or the quadriceps and hamstrings, need to be worked evenly so that there is no favoring of either muscle. When one muscle is favored, it puts the weaker muscle at a higher risk of overworking; putting you at a higher risk of pulling that muscle.
The ultimate myth about cardio is that the more you do, the more you burn. While there is some truth to that, you don’t want to do more than 30 minutes straight of cardio on any given day. The best way to burn fat and build muscle at the same time would be doing short-interval rest sprints, but for those who don’t want to sprint, the bike or treadmill is fine. Instead of doing an hour on the treadmill, you are better off doing 5 minutes warm-up then 10 minutes of intense running with a short walking rest and then turning the intensity back up with an eventual cool-down walking period.
The other myth about cardio is that it is the only way to burn fat; this is absolutely false. The best way to burn fat is to lift weights. The energy your muscles exert while lifting weights will burn fat faster than running will. If your muscles are pushing more than they are used to, they will burn more fat. Running does raise your heart rate, but your body is accustomed to moving its own weight around all day, which is why running doesn’t build muscle as quickly as lifting weights does.
Spot reduction is the idea that working a muscle will burn fat around it, which is not true. The body burns fat as a whole and the definition around the muscle depends more on the size of the muscle than the amount of fat around it. People with six-pack abs do not necessarily always have defined arms. It just means that person has more muscle than fat around their core. And they don’t have enough muscle to appear defined on their arms. Losing fat does not happen in one particular section, your body loses fat as a whole through a rigorous exercise regiment and a diet that does not have excess calories.