Ok listen up, we have all heard before that weight training has many benefits and will improve your quality of life. Those are all nice benefits but we know the real reason most of you train, it is to tone muscles and get a flatter belly, get stronger to handle daily life, help with your posture and just to have more energy during the day.
Now unless you goal is to lift as much as almighty possible, whether you are a powerlifter or your sport requires you to focus on that, then your goal to be better, leaner, and more muscular shouldn’t just be about gaining mass but also about building lean muscle. It’s always nice for people to see all that hard work you put in.
I always say that the best way to focus on fat loss is with a combination of weight training and cardio, proper nutrition and recovery. Today we are going to focus on weight training techniques to help you get rid of that extra layer of flab you might be carrying around.
So without further ado, here they are...
Pick the Right exercises
Training in itself can help with fat loss by increasing the number of calories you burn during a training session and how many calories you burn after the workout is finished. Now, typically a wider selection of exercises is always great, you will want to include certain exercises to help with getting you ready for the beach.
If you looking to lose fat using compound exercises, like the deadlift, squat, overhead press, and rows, will help you burn more calories than machine or single joint exercises. This is due to the fact that compound exercises use more muscle groups and the more you use the more calories will be burned.
Frequency of Training
More workouts during the week (To a certain point) will lead to more calories burned each and every week. The more frequent the workouts, the more muscle groups are trained per workout and this means the more muscle that has to recover when the workouts are done.
When you finish each workout your body is in a state of oxygen debt, this means you need more oxygen to replenish and recover from each training session. The more muscles that need recovery, the more calories you will need to burn to keep you going.
Speed It Up
You should keep in mind the speed of the reps you do as well. I have found that doing reps in a fast or explosive manner can help increase the amount of calories you burn during and after your workouts. Typically during fat loss phases of training you will see fast paced circuit style exercises which help you move more and create that oxygen debt I was speaking about earlier.
Now you don’t need to do every exercise in a fast and explosive manner. You could always start off with one explosive exercise like squat jumps and follow through a strength focused movement like an overhead press, next slow eccentric rows and finish off with mountain climbers. Some of the exercises are explosive while other are in a controlled manner so you get a little of everything.
Pump Up the Volume
The more sets you are doing the more calories you will burn compadre. Think about it like this, the number of sets you do during each workout will increase the number of calories you burn. There is no need for overkill thinking that doing 8 sets of 20-25 reps per exercise will burn even fatter. You will just end up burning out.
By increasing the total volume in each workout, you will be able to increase the total calories being burned. A good rule of thumb, workouts with a minimum of 20 sets or in the case of workouts I give my clients which are usually 30 or more sets, will torch the fat right off you more so compared to workouts with 15 sets or less.
Increase the Intensity
A great way to really increase that fat burning potential in any workout is through intensity techniques. Training methods such as supersets, drop sets, negatives, rest pause, tri sets, forced reps, twenty one’s etc., will help increase the production of growth hormone even more so then ending the set at failure.
Growth hormone will help release fat from cells and this helps contribute to more fat being freed up so it can be burned away as fuel for your workouts. In a future article, I will go over these techniques in detail.
Weight and Reps Bro!
How many reps and the weight you use during each workout will help you with your fat loss goals. To burn more calories during a workout, using higher reps will tend to do the trick but this does not mean lifting a tissue box for 50 reps. You will also want to keep up your strength to help maintain what you have gained. (I like to rhyme, all the time)
Strength training will help with retaining muscle while you are in a calorie deficit and losing that gut. Secondly strength training has a greater level of excess post oxygen consumption than aerobic exercise, so your body needs to do a lot of work to replenish and recover.
So some combination of heavy weight (2-6 reps) and low weight higher reps (15-25 reps or more), would be best to take advantage of both ends of the spectrum. I like to use both in the same workout. Remember don’t be afraid to push yourself, you would be surprised what you can do.
Catch Your Breath
One of the biggest factors to help with fat loss is with the rest periods you take during each workout. Now in most cases the less rest you have, the more calories will be burned. These shorter rest periods will help with a larger increase in metabolic rate following your workout.
The only objection I would say with rest is when you are focusing on your strength portion of the workout. Typically, using heavy weight over low reps, sets with higher rep ranges and sets in which you are focusing on explosiveness will require a much higher output from the central nervous system and will require an extended amount of recovery time, somewhere around the 2- to 3-minute mark. During fat loss phases keeping it 2 minutes would be a little more ideal.
Closing Thoughts (Yes I Just Said That)
Now always remember, how you design a program will affect fat loss. Let’s go over a quick recap
- Use compound movements
- Incorporate explosive reps
- Use a combination of heavy weights a low reps (keep good form, don’t be a hero) and light weight and higher reps.
- Try to keep rest periods shorter (0-30 sec) but don’t forget to take some time with heavy compound lifts (Around 2 min).
- Use high intensity techniques like supersets, tri sets, drop sets, negatives etc.
- Train more frequently like 5 days instead of 3-4 but keep workouts shorter around 45 min or so.
Now you won’t be able to use all these techniques in every workout but try to incorporate as many of the training week as you can or during a 4-6 week phase. Now remember to add in some cardio with these programs such as walking or interval training and you have a pretty well rounded fat loss program.
Now if you aren’t very happy with trying to make up your own workout routine, just remember I’m always here to help. Feel free to contact me at any time.