When it comes to changing one’s body composition, there are a few variables that an individual can manipulate to elicit the changes they’d like to see. Although one’s basic lifestyle guidelines are the building blocks to any shift in body composition, an adequate training program can make all the difference. Below are three impactful ways to upgrade your training to see the results you want.
Full-Body Resistance Training:
In order to lose unwanted body fat, we need to adhere to the law of energy balance; in the simplest terms for weight loss, this means that energy consumed must be less than energy burned. Human beings burn calories in several ways:
- Non-exercise activity thermogenesis
- The thermic effect of food
- Exercise activity thermogenesis
- Basal metabolic rate (BMR)
The calories burned by each of these processes vary. As an example, an individual’s BMR burns the most calories each day while the thermic effect of food burns the least. Ideally, one would want to elevate their BMR to aid in achieving the body composition they desire. In order to do this, full-body resistance training is essential. This means breaking down muscle tissue from ‘head to toe.’ Selecting exercises in one’s training that will take them through all of the different movement patterns (squat, bend, push, pull, single-leg, core) will enhance their ability to break down the most muscle tissue, thus leading to more lean muscle mass. The more lean mass an individual has, the more calories they burn on a daily basis and the more resilient they become to carbohydrate sources.
Time Under Tension:
If one is already utilizing full-body resistance training, there is another variable within training that can be manipulated to promote positive body composition effects known as time under tension. The longer a muscle is under tension, the more likely it is to break down, become damaged, and grow. This is similar to using tempos within a training plan. When you apply a tempo to an exercise in your training, you can completely alter the dose-response of the exercise.
A back squat where you descend two seconds to the bottom and hold at the bottom for two seconds before standing up is dramatically different than a back squat performed with a one-second descent and no pause. Not only are the physiological effects different between these two tempos, but the weights you’ll use and volume you’ll be able to handle with each will also vary. If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of time under tension in your training, and how to read and manipulate tempos, click here!
Short Rest Periods:
Rest periods are another variable one can manipulate in their training to help aid their body composition goals. When the rest between sets is reduced, a higher heart rate is reached, which increases core body temperature - two things one would want to achieve in training if they have weight-loss goals. By shortening rest periods, one can keep that elevated state of caloric expenditure for longer periods of time during their training.
Putting It All Together
In the fitness world, there’s one specific style of training that reflects the variables described above - German Body Composition training. The training boils down to the following principles:
- High volume
- Low rest periods
- High time under tension
- Full-body resistance
A sample day of a full-body German Body Comp style training would look something like this:
- A1) Leg Press: 42X0; 10-12 reps x 4 sets; rest 45 seconds
- A2) Cable Pull-Through; 30X3; 10-12 reps x 4 sets; rest 45 seconds
- B1) Dumbbell Bench Press: 3030; 12-15 reps x 3 sets; rest 45 seconds
- B2) Supinated Pull-Up; 60X1; 4-6 reps x 3 sets; rest 45 seconds
- C1) Dumbbell Walking Lunges; 20X1; 20 steps x 3 sets; rest 45 seconds
- C2) Dual Kettlebell Front Rack Carry; 60m x 3 sets; rest 45 seconds
As explained above, by keeping the time under tension high and rest periods low, one can achieve an incredible calorie-burning stimulus that promotes the desired body composition changes
While German Body Comp training can be incredibly effective for most individuals in achieving their body composition goals, without supportive lifestyle and nutritional habits, it’s very unlikely that lasting progress will be achieved. In order to see long-term, sustainable changes in one’s body composition, there needs to be more support outside of training alone. Lifestyle, nutritional habits, and a personalized approach to the GBC method need to be implemented.
At Central Athlete, we specialize in helping our clients make the necessary behavioral changes that will support them in achieving their specific goals. If the principles about German Body Comp training seem too complicated, or if overcoming your own nutritional/habitual struggles has been a challenge, schedule a FREE strategy session with a Central Athlete coach today and get started on a fitness journey that is built specifically for you!