Every guy wants fast results.
But, unlike what most people think (or at least hope), you just aren’t going to torch pounds of fat during a single workout session. “You would have to do burpees non-stop for an hour just to burn one pound of fat,” says Alexander VanHouten, C.P.T., regional education and metabolic specialist at Life Time Athletic Centennial in Colorado.
And, contrary to what your favorite fighters are doing leading up to every weigh-in, trying to lose water weight isn’t the way to go. Dehydration, apart from making your muscles, organs, hormones, and metabolism work at anything but top speed, can actually cause your body to retain water. “Don't think water loss. Think water movement,” he says.
It turns out, your body—which is about two thirds water—contains both extracellular water (ECW) and intracellular water (ICW). ECW is contained in the space outside, or between your body’s cells, and when high can make you look puffy, soft, and anything but ripped, VanHouten says. ICW, however, hangs out in your body’s cells, the ones that make up your muscles. So when levels of that increase, your muscles look bigger and stronger. The goal: Maximize your ICW while minimizing your ECW.
Dietary approaches can affect how and where your body stores water, (drink at least half of your body weight in ounces of water per day and cut out added sugars, alcohol, and excess sodium) but what you do in the gym also makes a huge impact, he says.
Check out these five simple gym strategies to make your body’s water work for you—and leave your first gym session looking trimmer and more muscular. Within an hour, you should already start seeing results, he says. And, even better, all of these tactics will help you build muscle and torch fat over the long-term.