Getting ripped takes hard work and a smart workout plan.
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Getting into a regular exercise routine can offer many benefits, such as getting you ready for a sport or improving your cholesterol levels. But for many -- perhaps inspired by the impressive physiques on magazine covers -- the goal of exercise is to get ripped and not lose muscle. Doing so can be complicated, so you'll need a well-designed workout plan to accomplish your goal. The best way to get ripped and not lose muscle is to follow a workout plan with workouts focused on compound exercises for muscle gain and high-intensity interval training for cardio.
Compound exercises should be central to your workout for getting ripped without losing muscle because this type of exercise can encourage muscle gain and fat loss. Compound exercises are those that work multiple muscle groups simultaneously, rather than focusing on just one. The high demands of these exercises promote increased production of testosterone and human growth hormone, which support muscle growth. Research from the February 2007 edition of the journal "Nature Reviews Endocrinology" also indicates that both hormones can help reduce body fat as well.
Perhaps as important as the types of exercise you perform to get ripped and not lose muscle is the repetition range you use during your workouts. The kind of response your workout triggers -- increases in strength or endurance, for example -- depends upon how you work your muscles. For muscular growth, you'll want to perform six to 12 repetitions per set, and perform three to six sets of each exercise.
Rest and recovery are crucial for optimal workout performance, and that includes the rest periods between exercises in each workout. To maximize your odds of getting ripped without losing muscle, use rest periods of about one minute between exercises, as this may help promote increased growth hormone production.
High-Intensity Interval Training
Getting ripped involves reducing your body-fat percentage. Typically, this can be done by performing cardiovascular activity. But traditional steady-state cardio doesn't help you maintain your muscle mass. Thus, performing high-intensity interval training -- which consists of sprinting interspersed with recovery periods of moderate effort -- is more effective. This type of cardio helps stimulate your muscles to promote the maintenance of muscle mass as you burn body fat.
Balancing cardio and weight-training workouts is important for optimal health; and to prevent burnout, you should take at least one day off from exercise each week. You may wish to alternate workouts including compound exercises such as deadlifts, bench presses and squats with interval-training cardio workouts. For example, you can work out with weights on Monday, Wednesday and Friday; perform interval cardio training Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday; and rest on Sunday.