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By now, most people realize that adding lean muscle mass to your body does wonders for your metabolism, causes fat loss, and is responsible for host of other benefits that allow you to live out a healthy life.

Unfortunately, most people I see performing weight training or resistance training at the gym are spending too much time with the exercise and not working hard enough.  They’re not going to burn very much fat this way.

The secret I’ve found is that training for lean muscle and strength requires the proper application of three vital elements that are often ignored by those who attempt it.  Those three elements are:

-Intensity

-Volume & Frequency

-Progression

The intensity is how hard it is to perform for you, given your current condition.  The volume and frequency are how much and how often you perform the exercise.  The progression is related to how much the demands increase from workout to workout.

Most times, weight training, is carried on for too long and performed too many times per week.  It is unfortunately treated much the same way as so-called fat burning aerobic exercise.  But they are vastly different forms of exercise.  In fact, they’re complete opposites.

Aerobic exercise typically is characterized by low to moderate intensity, high volume and frequency, and little progression.  Anaerobic exercise, or weight training, must be performed at a high intensity, lower volume and frequency, and with progression to be as effective as possible.

No amount of weight training performed at a low or moderate intensity will provide significant muscle or strength building benefit beyond the first few weeks.  On a high level view, it is simply the combination of sufficient intensity, coupled with attempting to increase either the number of repetitions of a weight training exercise or the amount of weight used each and every workout that will keep your body evolving into the ultimate fat burning machine!

You also have to pay attention to other details when creating an effective and efficient routine to maximize your workout and minimize your time spent in the gym.  Why?  Because perhaps even more important than the workout itself is the rest period that follows.  You’re not going to get stronger or more muscular if you don’t rest.

You see, when you strength train properly, you are creating tiny injuries to your muscles.  You then have to let the body repair itself, and then overcompensate and build upon the already existing amount of muscle mass you have.  If you workout again before that process in completed, you’ll experience lackluster, if any, muscle building or fat burning results.

So make sure to get proper rest between workouts, which typically means a minimum of 1 to 3 full days of rest between properly executed resistance workouts.

Now upon hearing the idea that you’ve got add muscle to your body to ensure the maximum fat burning environment, a lot of people, women especially, start thinking, “But I don’t want to get bigger, I want to lose weight!”  But this is such a shame, because getting bigger is very unlikely to happen. Countless women are losing out on these fat burning benefits because of erroneous thinking.

You see, most men and almost all women simply lack the necessary genetic traits required to produce such muscle gains that would cause them to look bulky or overly-developed.  These traits include testosterone levels, muscle fiber makeup, muscle belly length, and others.

Those competitive bodybuilders you’ve seen on TV and in the magazines are the genetic cream of the crop for muscle development, and they are typically on heavy doses of anabolic steroids, growth hormone, and other bodybuilding drugs.  Don’t be fooled by the images of bulky, overdeveloped bodies.  Also, lean muscle is more compact that fat, as it takes up less space in your body, so you will actually be getting smaller when replacing the fat on your body with lean muscle.

Please understand that you’re putting yourself in the best position to succeed with your fat loss and fitness goals when you perform properly conducted intense resistance training, no matter who you are.

But make sure you understand and apply the three critical principles I discussed above.  If you don’t, you’ll ultimately be unhappy with your results, both in your ability to burn fat and realize the lean, strong, and healthy body you deserve.

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For more from Latwanas, read her personal blog and follow her on twitter

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