Far too often, people looking to burn fat assume loads of cardio is the best way to reach their goals. While cardio plays a part, the most effective way to burn fast, is by taking a three-pronged approach. Full body workouts, targeting power movements, explosive high rep sets, and metabolic conditioning style cardio workouts with weights let you workout at the proper frequency and intensity required to melt that stubborn body fat. The three vastly different formats of training pair well, as they allow your body to sufficiently recover between training sessions.
One key point to remember however, is when you are taking in fewer calories per day (as many people do when trying to burn fat), your body takes longer to recover. Rather than starve yourself, which leads to piss poor workouts and muscle loss, I’m a huge advocate of “eating your gains”. What this means is, you’ve got to eat to make the gains you’re working towards in the gym. You can’t expect lean muscle mass to appear out of thin air – you’ve got to consume ample protein and calories so your body can create this new tissue. But wait a minute, why are we so concerned with adding muscle – I thought we were talking about burning fat here? Stay with me – it’s all related…
Metabolism is the key to fat loss…
You see, when you add muscle to your body, your body must work hard to maintain this new tissue. In other words, your metabolism receives a boost. You burn more total calories throughout the day as a result of your new-found muscle. This is why our three-step plan is so resistance heavy. We focus a lot of our efforts on building muscle because THIS is the long-term solution to lowering your body fat percentage.
Sure, you could burn 700 calories running on the treadmill for 2 hours…but if you’re completely neglecting your strength program, you’re going to burn muscle and actually end up lowering your metabolism in the long run. This slow metabolism will make burning fat even harder, despite those 2 hour marathon sessions on the treadmill. As someone looking to burn body fat, your goal is to keep your metabolism as high as possible.
That said, I whole-heartedly encourage you to get some extra exercise. Consider turning this into a 4 or 5 day routine, by adding a day of HIIT cardio and/or yoga. Yoga will help keep you limber, promote muscle gains, and do wonders for your core strength and balance. The addition of HIIT cardio will add another explosive element to this routine, making it something very effective at burning fat fast.
Time to Burn Fat…
This workout is designed to hit your muscles hard and heavy. Use a weight that has you reaching failure on your last rep of the final set or two. Remember to use good form and grab a spotter if at all possible.
- Deadlifts: 3 sets of 6-8
- Clean and Press: 3 sets of 6-8
- Dumbbell Bench Press: 4 sets of 5-6
- Upright Rows: 4 sets of 6-8
- Dumbbell Squat Press: 3 sets of 8-10
- Wide Grip Pull ups (with assistance if needed): 4 sets of 8-10
- Military Press: 3 sets of 6-8
- Dips: 3 sets til failure
This workout is designed to sap your muscles of all their glycogen. We’re going to explode through our reps on the way up, and take a nice and controlled 3 second count on the way back down. We’re going for higher rep/lighter weight sequences, making this training session vastly different from our power workout above. By using both of these formats in one monster routine, you should experience consistent progress.
- Squats: 5 sets of 6 using weight approximately 60% of your standard 3 x 10 rep working
- Bench Press: 4 sets of 12-16
- Incline Dumbbell Press: 3 sets of 12-16
- Lat Pulldowns: 3 sets of 15-20
- Hack Squats: 3 sets of 12-15
- Arnold Press: 2 sets of 25-20
- Bent Over Barbell Row: 3 sets of 12-15
- Upright rows: 3 sets of 12-15
- Seated Rows: 3 sets of 12-15
- Skullcrushers: 3 sets of 12-15
- Barbell Preacher Curls: 2 sets of 15-20
A great way to accomplish the above workout is to do it in a circuit style format. Complete 1 set of the first exercise, then move on to the second. Continue in this fashion until you’ve done the appropriate number of sets for each exercise listed.
This workout is completed circuit-style, which will not only tax your muscles, but will give you a serious cardiovascular workout. We’re going all out intensity here, only stopping to rest at the end of each circuit. This type of workout is a metabolism booster, and will do wonders for your long-term fat loss goals.
- Russian Lunges: 10 reps
- Dumbbell of Kettlebell Snatches: 8 reps
- Hindu Push Ups: 6 reps
- Dumbbell Curl Press: 8 reps
- Burpees: 6 reps
- Dumbbell or Kettlebell swing: 10 reps
- Eagle Sit Ups: 10 reps
Repeat this entire circuit 5-8 times total, depending on your fitness ability.
To make the most of this three-step fat burning plan, I would suggest the following schedule:
Day 1: POWER Workout
Day 2: HIIT Cardio
Day 3: Rest
Day 4: EXPLOSION Workout
Day 5: Yoga
Day 6: ENDURANCE Workout
Day 7: Rest
Keep in mind, diet plays the most crucial role in any fat loss plan. When combined with a solid diet plan, this three-step fat burning workout plan above is almost a sure-fire way to burn fat, tighten up, and build the body you’ve always dreamed of.