Weight Lifting, Weight Training, Bench Press & Bodybuilding
December 1, 2023

Can You Change Fat Into Muscle?
By Doberman Dan

Can You Change Fat Into Muscle?

OK... to be quite honest, it's simply NOT possible to change body fat into muscle. But it has become a popular saying. What it REALLY means is to lose body fat while retaining and/or gaining muscle mass.

In this article I would like to share the basics of a training protocol advocated by Charles Poliquin and many other bodybuilding gurus called German Body Composition (GBC).

GBC uses weight training for fat loss. Aerobic training is not utilized -- at all! The primary goal of this method is fat loss while preserving hard earned muscle. Contrary to popular opinion, aerobics usually cause a LOSS of muscle tissue.

Also, as an added little perk, many trainees will also add lean tissue during the course of a GBC cycle.

Can You Change Fat Into Muscle?

Results normally seen from this type of training average a loss of approximately one-half a percent of body fat per week.

The basic premise behind GBC is the promotion of fat loss by increasing lactic acid levels in the body, which in turn produces higher growth hormone levels. This puts the body in an optimal state to burn fat and build lean tissue.

So how do you go about attaining this state with your workouts?

The following is a bullet point list of what you need to do:

Full Body Workout Utilizing Upper and Lower Body Supersets -- By alternating between upper and lower body exercises it is possible to keep the rest intervals short, even with big compound movements like the squat and bench press. This allows you to accomplish a large amount of work in a relatively short time.

High Reps (10-15) Stopping Short of Failure -- Studies have shown that high reps sets with a time under tension of 40 to 75 seconds produce an appropriate amount of lactic acid for the purposes of GH release and fat loss. You should stop about two reps short of concentric (positive) failure. Training to failure has little benefit and potential drawbacks with this protocol.

Remember, the goal is to create the environment within your body to burn fat.

Also, if you train to failure it would be highly unlikely you would last until the end of the workout. The volume of work is pretty high (at least for a natural trainee).

Short Rest Intervals (30-75 seconds) -- By alternating between upper and lower body exercises, you will be able to cut down on needed rest intervals greatly compared to repeating the same movement in a straight set fashion. These short rest intervals accelerate the accumulation of lactic acid and create our desired state.

Workout Duration Less Than One Hour -- Studies have shown that weight training sessions lasting over one hour tip the anabolic/catabolic scale in the negative direction. Fifty minutes seems to be the ideal time frame. This does not include warm-ups, stretching, or cool-down. Sample Workouts

Can You Change Fat Into Muscle? Below are three sample workouts based on the GBC protocol. These three workouts can be alternated throughout the week. Frequency of workout sessions depends on training age and starting condition. The minimum is twice a week and the maximum that I would recommend would be five per week.

In these examples I use the notation system developed by Charles Poliquin because it provides a good amount of detailed information on each of the workout variables.

There are a few notations that you might not be familiar with. These are used to denote supersetting and tempo.

Supersetting is designated by the use of letters and numbers i.e. A1 and A2 or B1 and B2. First perform the A1 movement. Rest the prescribed amount of time and then perform the A2 movement. Continue alternating between the two exercises until all the recommended sets of each are complete.

Tempo (the speed at which you perform the movement) is designated with a three-digit number in units of seconds i.e. (301). The first number is the eccentric or lowering portion, the second number indicates the isometric or pause, and the final number is the concentric or positive portion. For example, on a bench press with a 311 tempo you would lower the load for three seconds, pause on the chest for one second, and then extend to the start in one second. Note: "X" denotes explosive effort.

Day One

A1 - Step Ups 4 x 12 (20X) 60 sec
A2 - Chin Ups 4 x 10 (311) 60 sec

B1 - Lunges (dynamic) 3 x 12 (311) 45 sec
B2 - Incline Dumbbell Chest Press 3 x 10-12 (411) 45 sec

C1 - Seated Leg Curl 3 x 10 (401) 45 sec
C2 - Barbell Shoulder Press 3 x 12 (311) 45 sec

D1 - Seated Dumbbell Hammer Curl 2 x 10-12 (411) 30 sec
D2 - Lying Dumbbell Triceps Extensions 2 x 10-12 (422) 30 sec

Day Two

A1 - Deadlift 4 x 10-12 (311) 60 sec
A2 - Swiss Ball Push Ups 4 x 12-15 (222) 45 sec

B1 - Leg Press 3 x 12-15 (411) 60 sec
B2 - Seated Cable Row w/rope to Neck 3 x 10-12 (321) 45 sec

C1 - Single Standing Leg Curl 3 x 10 (411) 45 sec
C2 - Lateral Raise 3 x 12 -15 (221) 45 sec

D1 - Barbell Curl 2 x 10 - 12 (311) 45 sec
D2 - EZ Bar French Press (seated) 2 x 10- 12 (311) 30 sec

Day Three

A1 - Squat 4 x 12-15 (401) 60 sec
A2 - Bench Press 4 x 10-12 (411) 60 sec

B1 - Lunge (static) 3 x 15 (311) 60 sec
B2 - Barbell Rows 3 x 12 (311) 60 sec

C1 - Good Mornings 3 x 10 (312) 60 sec
C2 - Standing Alt. Dumbbell Press 3 x 12 (201) 45 sec

D1 - Reverse Barbell Curls 2 x 12 -15 (212) 30 sec
D2 - Triceps Pushdowns (underhanded) 2 x 12 -15 (312) 30 sec

I hope you find this program effective in achieving your goals. Give it a shot and let me know how it goes for you.

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