Ask a dozen trainers how to best workout for fat loss and you’ll probably get about a dozen answers! As the saying goes, there is more than one way to skin a cat and there is more than one way to workout for fat loss.
You Can’t Outrun a Bad Diet
First, it’s important to understand you can’t outrun a bad diet. That is to say, if your diet is bad no amount of exercise will make up for the fact that you are filling your body with junk food. One hour of exercise will result in approximately 600 calories of expended energy. One regular burger (no fries, no soda) contains a similar amount of calories. If you eat a lot of calorie-dense junk food every single day, you’ll soon discover that there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to exercise and burn all those unwanted calories off.
The Best Workouts for Fat Loss
So in terms of exercise, what is the best way to workout for fat loss? During my 14 years as a certified personal trainer, these are my favorite methods for stripping fat in minimal time.
1) Circuit Training
High intensity circuit training workouts not only burn a lot of calories, they also leave your muscles toned, improve your cardiovascular system, improve muscular endurance and are also very time efficient. They can be performed using a variety of different tools from kettlebells to TRXs and from body weight exercises to resistance training machines.There are literally hundreds of circuit training options to try, each of which is a tremendous fat loss workout. Fun, effective and providing plenty of workout variety; what’s not to like about circuits?
2) Interval Training
Many people perform a high volume of moderate paced cardio in the belief they are exercising in the “fat burning zone”. While it is true that when exercising at 60% of your maximum heart rate you are predominately burning fat, such a slow paced workout does not have a very high energy cost so it’s a high percentage of a small number. In simple terms, when it comes to fat loss faster paced exercise is better.
In contrast, interval training (periods of high intensity exercise interspersed with periods of low intensity recovery) does not burn such a high percentage of fat but does result in a much greater total caloric expenditure. In addition, interval training creates a big calorie “after burn” effect called EPOC which is short for Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption.
In simple terms, interval training creates lactic acid and this metabolic waste product has to be flushed away with lots of oxygen. This means that your metabolism remains elevated for hours after you have finished your interval training workout and, subsequently, you will experience greater fat loss not only during but after your interval training session.
Slow paced cardio is okay when you want an occasional easier workout but if you want to get lean, interval training is the best option for you to choose.
3) Strength Training
Lifting weights builds muscle and muscle burns calories. Therefore, the more muscle you have on your body, the more calories you burn each and every day and the greater/faster fat loss you are likely to experience. Combine this increased caloric expenditure with a moderate reduction in food intake and you’ll find you lose fat much faster.
For a real fat burning workout, try performing your strength training as a complex.
A complex is a series of exercises performed with the same weight and number of repititions without stopping. Complexes are fun and effective and also very time efficient. A well-designed complex will work just about every muscle in your body while cranking up your heart rate and burning lots of calories.
Try this complex in place of your next regular strength training workout…
Deadlift x 5
Bent over row x 5
Hang clean x 5
Back Squat x 5
Pushups x 5
Barbell roll out x 10
Move smoothly from one exercise to the next and only rest when you finish the barbell rollouts. If you are unsure as to how to do any of these exercises, come and ask me – I’m only to happy to help.
By Mark Darco CPT
Mark Darco is a certified personal trainer and boxing instructor with 15 years experience.