Is it possible to turn fat into muscle?
Many people will tell you it is not possible to turn fat into muscle. Biologically, this is true. However it is possible to induce a change in your overall body composition. This process is known as body recomposition. Your body burns fat while gaining muscle, and your overall bodyweight remains about the same, or maybe drops slightly (depending on how much fat you need to burn). The end result is a leaner, more muscular physique with less fat covering your definition. This gives the overall impression that you have turned fat into muscle.
Rep Range for Cutting
Many trainees live by the classic recommendation of high reps for cutting, and low reps for strength. There are studies showing that lower rep ranges are more effective for building strength, but that does not mean one should only use high reps while cutting. What will happen is you will need to use lighter weight than usual in order to hit the higher reps, thereby reducing the strength requirement for your muscles. You will lose strength if you switch to high reps only. It is best to keep the reps low with the compound movements, and use high rep ranges in the isolation movements. Isolation movements should be used at the end of the workout in order to hit any leftover fibers.
Cutting Workout: Chest
A good cutting workout for the chest consists of at least one "strength-maintenance" exercise and a few isolation movements to get shredded:
1. Flat barbell or dumbbell press (3 sets of 3-4 reps)
2. Incline flies (2 sets of 10-12 reps)
3. Decline flies (2 sets of 10-12 reps)
3. Pushups or dips (1 set to failure)
We have chosen the flat press as the main strength movement, and we are using flies to hit the other angles of the pecs. Pushups or dips are used as a finisher. The overall volume is kept low because you will be operating at a caloric deficit, and you could easily end up overtraining if you overexert yourself.
Cutting Workout: Back and Biceps
1. Deadlifts (3 sets of 3 reps)
2. One-arm row (2 sets of 10-12 reps)
3. Seated incline curls (2 sets of 10-12 reps)
4. Pullups or chinups (1 set to failure)
Choose a deadlift weight you can just barely get for 3 reps, and do 3 sets of 3. Follow that up with one arm rows to hit the lats and biceps. A couple sets of seated incline curls (one arm at a time) will finish off the bis and forearms. Complete the workout with a failure set of pullups or chinups. Again the volume is kept low, but the muscular stimulation is varied and the intensity is kept high.
Cutting Workout: Shoulders, Traps, Triceps
1. Seated military press (3 sets of 4 reps)
2. Front shoulder raise (1 sets of 10-12 reps)
3. Lateral shoulder raise (1 sets of 10-12 reps)
4. Bent lateral raise (2 sets of 10-12 reps)
5. Dumbbell shrugs (2 sets of 10-12 reps)
6. Overhead dumbbell extension (2 sets of 10-12 reps)
Use a barbell or dumbbells for the seated military press, whichever you prefer. Many trainees find that dumbbells are more comfortable and provide a better range of motion, so don't be afraid to try them out. Just 3 sets of 4 reps here in order to maintain strength. This is followed by dumbbell raises from all angles in order to really burn out the delts. Shrugs and overhead extensions finish off the traps and triceps.
Cutting Workout: Quads, Hamstrings, Calves
1. Squats (3 sets of 5-6 reps)
2. Leg extensions (3 sets of 10-12 reps)
3. Leg curls (3 sets of 10-12 reps)
4. Calf raises (3 sets of 10-12 reps)
We're keeping it basic here with squats, leg extensions, leg curls and calf raises. Be sure to warm up thoroughly with about 20 drop squats (drop down into a squat position with no weight on your back, and then stand up quickly).
Cutting: Maximizing Results
1. Always warm up
2. Eat a decent meal about an hour before your workout
3. Consume a BCAA supplement or protein shake just prior to your workout
You will be well on your way to a shredded physique if you follow the routine and tips above. Remember, though, a good diet is just as important to the cutting process, so be sure to also check out our free cutting diet. Good luck!