Training tips for fat loss

reps in reserve table

First things first, fat loss is diet driven. There are no magic exercises, no secret training methods, and no super supplements that make fat loss happen without having your diet in check.

That being said, there are a few things you can do in your training sessions to improve your fat loss results. I believe you should go after the low hanging fruit first. That is, find the simplest options and do them consistently before you go trying to get too fancy.

Here are 5 simple (note: not easy) ways to improve your training for better fat loss results.

Increase training intensity.

This is the most obvious one I see when I’m in the gym. Folks just not putting in nearly enough effort into what they are doing. Too much half hearted, going through the motions.

As a general rule, for your working sets on a given exercise, if you feel you can do 4 more reps beyond your target for the set, you need to put the weight up. Yes, you’ll likely not get the target reps, but that’s ok, that’s how you make progress. The weight goes up, you do 8 reps instead of 12, but next week you do 9, then 11 then 12. Then it gets easier. Then you put the weight up and repeat the process over.

reps in reserve table
You should be aiming to be at around 8/10 for most of your working sets

 

As a general rule, for your working sets on a given exercise, if you feel you can do 4 more reps beyond your target for the set, you need to put the weight up. Yes, you’ll likely not get the target reps, but that’s ok, that’s how you make progress. The weight goes up, you do 8 reps instead of 12, but next week you do 9, then 11 then 12. Then it gets easier. Then you put the weight up and repeat the process over.

Yes, you’ll likely not get the target reps, but that’s ok, that’s how you make progress. The weight goes up, you do 8 reps instead of 12, but next week you do 9, then 11 then 12. Then it gets easier. Then you put the weight up and repeat the process over.

Training tip: challenge yourself.

Decrease rest times.

This is a direct follow on from point 1, rest times stretching past 5 minutes. I find it interesting that guys particularly, tend to take ages on rest times while using loads that really don’t need them, then wonder why they look exactly the same 6 months down the line.

While you certainly need longer rest times between sets of heavy deadlifts or squats for example, and by heavy I mean <5 reps, you don’t need massive rest times when fat loss is your goal. And for hypertrophy, rest times around 3 mins seem to allow you to shift more weight and build more muscle. You may have to drop the weights a little to handle the lower rest, but I guarantee your heart rate and calorie burn will get a big boost.

For fat loss, however, you may have to drop the weights a little to handle the lower rest, but I guarantee your heart rate and calorie burn will get a big boost.

Training tip: Keep your rest times to around 60 sec between sets.

Increase training density.

Same amount of time, more reps and sets. What has the bigger calorie burn? 12 working sets or 24?

By increasing the density of your training session you increase the total work done in the same time. By using supersets you can easily increase the amount of work you get done in a fraction more time. What’s more, if you pick your exercises well, you can improve mobility and/ or stability at the same time.

For example:

1a. DB press 3×12

1b. TRX cossack squat  3×5 per side

Rest time 60s

2a. Landmine squat 3×10

2b. Med ball slams 3x30s

Rest time 60s

And so on. You do around 30seconds extra work per set with the

You do around 30seconds extra work per set with the supersetted exercises and get increased mobility and a jacked up heart rate as a bonus.

Training tip: Try supersetting exercises to increase your training sessions total work.

Train for strength.

A still common belief, though gradually disappearing, is that training for fat loss means super high reps and low weights. Getting stronger, and putting on some associated muscle mass is not only great for fat loss and body composition goals but for your health and well-being too.

Tied in with point 1, training for strength requires you to push yourself and look to make increases in your loading when you can. It doesn’t necessarily mean just chasing big numbers in the squat or deadlift.

If you can do 10 reps at 20kg on a goblet squat when a month ago you could do 8 at 16kg, you got stronger.

If you get your first pushups on the floor after being on an incline for a couple of months, you got stronger.

Aiming to improve your physical performance, and eating to do the same, tends to have far better impacts on your body composition than trying to train for fat loss.

Training tip: Train for strength and performance.

Make cardio fit your preferences and time

Cardio tends to be the focus for many folks chasing fat loss, and while it can certainly be a useful tool to burn some extra calories and improve fitness, it is far from essential.

As for the type of cardio, recent research has shown that when calorie expenditure is matched, the mode of cardio activity doesn’t affect the levels of fat loss achieved. Therefore, if you have the time and inclination to do long, steady cardio, and that’s what you enjoy, then crack on. If, like me, you prefer short, intense bouts of conditioning, then do that.

Seriously. Just do what you prefer. It’s the icing on the fat loss cake, not essential, but makes things more interesting.

What is more important is how active you are on a daily basis. As calories go down, your body tends to make you less inclined to get out and be active in a bid to save energy. Getting yourself out for a 15-30 minute walk every day has been shown to be hugely beneficial for fat loss. So by all means, do some cardio at the end of your training sessions, but more importantly, get out and do something every day.

Training tip: Make a point of being active every day.

Stay healthy,

Dave

 

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