Have you ever wondered why some personal trainers are able to command three figure rates per session, while others are lucky to get enough to buy a few gallons of gas? While other factors may be present, a trainer’s real value lies in their ability to create properly formulated workouts – some trainers have great intuition for this, while others simply throw together different routines and hope for the best. So when you see a trainer raking in the big bucks, with clients lined up for days, you’re likely looking at a person who has mastered the art of fitness programming.
Of course, that usually means you’re paying someone $125+/hour, two to three hours a week, every week. If you’re not especially keen on the thought of throwing down a mortgage payment on a trainer every month, stay with us, because today I’m breaking down my own personal formula for steady, sustained fat loss that has helped thousands of people burn excess fat and get into the best shape of their lives.
What is a Fat Loss Formula?
As some of you know, I’ve been involved in the fitness industry for over 11 years now. During this time, I’ve been fortunate to train a wide range of people, while honing my own skills as a trainer. Having attended countless seminars and workshops, I’ve gotten a first hand look at how some of the best in our industry got to be that way. As a result, I’ve been able to refine my craft, and in the process have developed my own personal formula for fat loss.
As I mentioned above, when someone creates a fitness program for you, you’re hoping they have your goals/body type in mind, when they formulate the plan. Depending on goals, the formula is going to change, but for our purposes today, we’re talking about a goal of burning fat. An effective fat loss formula depends on the type of workouts assigned, the ratio of cardio to strength workouts, and the order in which workouts are delivered. With so many variables here, there’s obviously a lot of room for error…which is why people often pay to have these things decided for them.
A good formula is what makes one workout or fitness plan so much more effective than another. I’m sure we’ve all tried some workout plan with very limited success, while another one had us making progress faster than we ever had in our lives. This isn’t by some random chance – certain workouts or fitness plans simply have a better formula behind them.
The Best Fat Loss Formula
Having been doing this for over a decade, I’ve had a chance to experiment, try new techniques, and get a very specific sense for what works and what doesn’t. I’ve developed a sixth sense of sorts, that lets me know when a program simply isn’t going to work, just by looking at it. I’m here to share this information with you, and give you what I consider to be the absolute best fat loss formula.
While I’ll always change certain aspects to make things even more customized for a specific client, the framework behind the formula is very similar. This combination and ratio of workouts WILL help you make sustained fat loss progress. It will get you tighter, more toned, and cut down on those stubborn areas of accumulated body fat. I don’t care if you’re 80 pounds overweight or normal weight, but wanting to lose the soft look and take your body to the next level, this fat loss formula is going to help get you there.
Let’s take a look at what goes into my fat loss formula…
- High Intensity Interval Training. This probably comes as no surprise to those of you who are regular blog readers, but it’s the TYPE of HIIT training, as well as the variety, and frequency that makes all the difference. With HIIT, more is better, is definitely not the case. It’s a powerful tool, but when overused, it’s going to eat into muscular gains and kill your metabolism.
- Metabolic Conditioning. This is essentially an uptempo way of lifting weights. Compound lifts, coupled with short bursts of cardio, all performed circuit style with limited rest is the backbone behind metabolic conditioning. And as the name suggests, this style of workout is going to really spike that metabolism and get your calorie burning furnace operating at peak potential.
- Heavy Lifting. For nearly everyone, except the morbidly obese, heavy lifting has a profound effect on the rate at which the body burns fat. The accumulation of muscle is going to additionally spike the metabolism, lower body fat percentage, and improve physique. Too many times I’ve seen cardio addicts burn through excess fat, but leave themselves completely unsatisfied with a still soft, very average looking body. You want to burn fat and achieve a better physique? Heavy lifting is in order.
- Body Weight/Flexibility Training. I’ve been a big believer in the physical benefits of body weight resistance training, especially formats that include flexibility training as well. Think yoga. Think pilates. Think foam rolling. Including this type of training provides an excellent change of pace and is often one of the key elements behind a successful weight loss plan. The benefit of flexibility is often overlooked, but could be the one missing piece from your current fat loss program.
- REST. Yes, even rest is a vital component and can be used to great effectiveness. Knowing when to schedule rest is just as important as knowing when to schedule workouts, as you’ll see below.
Now, we should already know that a great fat loss formula is about much more than the pieces that constitute it. It’s all about frequency, ratio, and type. After years of trial and error, I’ve found what I consider to be the best ratio for fat loss. In general, I use a 2:3:2:1 breakdown of the above workouts. What this means is, two HIIT workouts to three metabolic conditioning workouts, to two heavy lift days, to one body weight/flexibility training session….all spaced by calculated rest periods.
One thing to keep in mind – you should start looking at your fitness program through a wider lens – don’t view things on a week-by-week basis. Most fitness programs cycle through by the week, having you repeat a formula week after week, re-starting things on Monday. I prefer to schedule extended cycles, meaning, my ratio of workouts generally fit into a two-week cycle, rather than the standard one week you often see.
How to Schedule Your Fat Loss Workouts
Below is the basis of the schedule that makes up my personal fat loss program. I’ll often tweak things as needed, increase/decrease rest based on individual needs, or substitute workouts as necessary, but this should be more than enough to get you going with your own fat loss program. You’ll notice, I don’t schedule workouts on specific days (i.e. HIIT cardio on Monday). I schedule things in chronological order; day 1, day 2, day 3, and so on. This makes it easier to stay on track if you miss a workout or need a little extra rest.
- Day 1: Metabolic Conditioning
- Day 2: HIIT
- Day 3: REST
- Day 4: Heavy Lifting
- Day 5: Body Weight/Flexibility Training
- Day 6: HIIT
- Day 7: Metabolic Conditioning
- Day 8: REST
- Day 9: Heavy Lifting
- Day 10: Metabolic Conditioning
- Day 11: REST
Some of you may be questioning the amount of pure cardio (HIIT) found in this formula. I’ve been a big believer that too much cardio becomes detrimental over time. It’s going to eat away at your muscle gains, leaving you with a stagnant metabolism, and a soft body you aren’t going to be happy with. A much better way of doing things is to really push yourself during the metabolic conditioning days, when you’ll be using lighter weights but tapping your fat stores WHILE you’re building muscle – it’s a much more effective manner of getting your “cardio” in.
The Best Workouts for Fat Loss
So now that you know the type and order of the workouts that go into my fat loss formula, the only missing piece of the equation is the variety of these workouts. This is the tricky part, and where customization based on your specific needs and goals is so important. There are literally thousands of different HIIT, metabolic conditioning, and heavy lifting workouts. Knowing which workouts, and WHEN is what separates the good trainers from the….not so good.
“I don’t know which workouts are right…what am I supposed to do?”
Since this article is being written for the general public, it’s a little hard to give specific breakdowns of exactly what type of workouts YOU should be using. Doing that takes a deeper understanding of you, where your current fitness levels stand, and exactly what your fitness goals are. For this reason, we recently launched something called FitPlan. It’s our video fitness plan that is customized to your goals, needs, and abilities. You fill out a questionnaire giving us information on yourself, and in turn, we create your workout program using the general formula listed above. Each day is complete with a video workout to follow along with, very similar to how you would use an exercise DVD. If you’re more into doing your own thing, we give you a text version of the video workout so you can do it at your own pace.
Head on over to Share It Fitness and check out FitPlan – I guarantee you’ll be very happy you gave it a shot. I’ve managed to help a ton of people with this training format, and know there’s no reason FitPlan can’t help you.
Wrapping Things Up
It should be noted that the above formula for fat loss is a general guideline. When I work with clients, no one program or formula is exactly alike. What works well for one person, may not work quite as well for another, so adjustments are continually made, as mentioned above, i.e. FitPlan. Overall though, this formula has been the most effective I’ve come across to help the general population burn fat and tap into their full potential.
So again, if any of you are looking for a little customization to go along with the above fat loss formula, click the link above, give me a holler, leave a comment, or hit us up on Twitter, and I’ll be happy to discuss your goals and what you’re looking to accomplish.
Until next time…. stay happy, stay fit, stay healthy…and have a great weekend!