Sunday, October 12, 2014

Training routine for fat loss

When you goal is losing fat, you should tune your training and nutrition accordingly. This article focuses on the training part and gives you a workout sample so you can implement it right away and start shedding fat.

Who is this article for

This article is for anyone wanting to lose fat, be it for getting from lean to ripped or from obese to normal. It is also written for men and women, even if women are usually more interested than men in getting lean (I guess guys are usually more concerned with getting big and strong, I can relate to that :D).

It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner or an advance trainee, you can still do this routine and get results, you just have to adjust the exercises to match your current level, as in all my training programs.

Why does it work

In these workouts, you are going to use your whole body, which will make every single one of your muscles work and burn fat. You will also rest insufficiently, or at least less than you would like to. Training at a fast pace like this while doing big basic exercises will raise your metabolism and send a serious signal to your body, which will also increase some important hormones for fat loss levels, like growth hormone.

And hey, if you push the pedal to the metal, you may even puke, which by itself will take some calories out of your body… but don’t make this an habit!

Workout design

The workout must be done in a circuit fashion, so you can rest your muscles while performing other exercises.

Exercise selection

Focus on full body, multi-joint exercises. This will allow you to hit many muscles at once, and hit every one of them with 2-3 exercises.

As always, I like to cover the 3 basics:

·         Upper body push
·         Upper body pull
·         Legs (squat or deadlift)

These exercises are more than enough, but for fun, variety and balance,  I highly recommend you add to the mix other things like strongman exercises, rope jumps, all kinds of jumps, easy to perform explosive lifts (like a 1 arm dumbbell snatch), and every other exercise that makes you tired fast and uses your full body, like wrestling or pushing a car.

Number of exercises

You don’t need many exercises. Actually, if you did a workout that consisted just of sandbag cleans and presses for time, that would make you burn a lot of fat, and be awesome too! So whenever you are in a rush, or do not want to overcomplicate things, just pick 1-3 full body exercises and do them for time or rounds.

If you have the time and means, try to do a pulling (pull up or row variation), a pushing (push up variations, weights or things presses…) and a leg exercise.

Once you have this covered, you can also add something like rope jumps, burpees, sprints, shadow boxing or whatever you like.

It is also good to have a few different workout so you can alternate between them, and every time you repeat one of them, try to beat your previous session, be it more reps, rounds or less time.

Intensity

Intensity is one of the variables of the training you can adjust. All of these variables are related to each other, and can’t be studied without the others.

Now, when I say intensity, I mean the level of difficulty/resistance of a certain exercise variation/weight for you at that moment in your training life.

For an advance trainee pull ups are a low intensity exercise, but for an obese beginner, pull ups are not even an option!

I want you to choose a variation/weight you could do 10-20 reps with. You will not be doing as many reps per set, since you will some reps in the bank and you will finish your workout in a fatigued state without enough rest to recover fully.

Reps

As a good rule of thumb, do half the reps you can do, and try to maintain that number of reps for that exercise throughout the session. So, if one of the exercises you have chosen is the pull up, and you can do 10 straight pull ups with good technique, try to do 5 reps per set in your first workout. It’s better to start easy, and then increase the reps when you are ready.

Time per round

Start with a time which will allow you to complete every rep in every round while resting enough, and as you progress make it shorter.

Number of rounds

This depends on how much time you have, how many exercises you are doing and the others variables. 4 to 8 rounds is okay.

For example, if you want a 20 minutes workout, and each round takes 4 minutes, it’s obvious that you will be doing 5 rounds.

Total time

You have to decide this parameter depending on how much time you have that day. Remember that you will need around 10 minutes to warm up properly.

One option is to decide that you will be doing a 10 minutes warm up and a 20 minute workout, and adjust the rest accordingly.

The other option, if you have enough time, is to decide which exercises you will be doing, how many rounds, and much time you will need per round. Then you can calculate how much time your workout will take. This is a good way to avoid losing time between sets, and keep the intensity high.

Remember to bring a stop watch with you, and start every round on time.

Training frequency

This depends on the intensity you do your exercises with. If you train heavy, it’s better to take at least a day of rest in between workout days. If you do the exercises with a medium/low intensity, even if you focus on the overall intensity of the workout and rest very little, you can train in consecutive days.

Still, I wouldn’t train in this way more than 5 days a week, but you can still do other activities on your “rest” days, like playing sports or moving in any way you like!

Don’t forget to sprint

Sprinting is one of the best exercises you can do for overall athleticism, fat loss and awesomeness.
You can do sprints on your rest days, at the end of your workouts, or include it as an exercise in your fat loss program. In this case, do it the last exercise before the round break, so you have a bit more time to come back and recover.

If you want to start sprinting, I highly recommend you to read this article from Jay Ferruggia.

Nutrition is key


You need to understand that the best fat loss training program cannot make it up for a very bad nutrition/diet in terms of fat loss.

My advice is that if right now you are not gaining nor losing weight, just start training, or training more/better, because this will shift the balance towards fat loss. Then, once the progress comes to a halt, start changing a bit your nutrition/lifestyle.

I recommend this for two reasons:

·        It is easier to change one habit at a time. So if you are motivated to lose fat, just start training a few times a week and nothing else. Just add one new habit at a time, even if it is every two weeks, otherwise, you will be overwhelmed because of too much change and your chances of success will be lower.

·        If you are training and dieting as much and hard as you can coming from doing nothing suddenly, aside from being very difficult to make the change last in time, what will you do once you reach a plateau? You are already doing everything you can do!

Think of it as an investment and its profitability. If you can progress with 1 hour of training a week and without any change in your nutrition, why change drastically everything? At least at the beginning, do the minimum you can do to progress, so it is easier for you to stay on track, and you will be looking for the next workout.

This being said, you have to avoid sugars! I am not going to elaborate this, but just know that cutting sugars completely from your diet will make a big difference.

Mindset: the most important factor

In life, you are unlikely to achieve your goals without the right mindset, and this applies also to training.

If your mindset is set on being lean and healthy, you will automatically make the right choices during the day, and not only when you are training. This means you will try to go to bed earlier because you know it’s good for you, since it will help you shed fat and recover from your workouts. You will train when you are supposed to even if you do not feel like it, since you are committed to it and are not going to back down. And when the moment comes to choose your food, be it at the grocery store or at the restaurant, even if you are not on a diet, deep inside of you you know what you should be eating, what is good for you, and since your mindset is right, you know when you have to eat what’s right and when you can have a cheat meal.

If you keep thinking that the program or diet you are doing will not work, it won’t work, since doubts won’t allow you to do your best. Find a program/diet/lifestyle that you really believe it is going to give you the results you are really looking for, stick to it, and be 100% sure that you will achieve your goal, because this is the only way you can put all the sweat and effort into it, and effort is what bring results.


He who says he can and he who says he can't are both usually right.
Will Smith 

Workout example

Your workout should look like something like this, but feel free to do play with it, and add or cut some exercises.

Circuit A
Reps
Circuit B
Reps
1A) Australian Pull Up variation

1B) Push Up variation


1C) Squat variation


1D) Rope jump variation
5-10


5-12


5-12


50-100
1A) Pull Up Variation


1B) Overhead Press / HSPU  variation

1C) Deadlift / Olympic Lift variation

1D) Carry / Drag variation / Sprint
5-10


5-12


5-12


40-100 m

Stick to the same number of reps per round for each exercise, e.g., try to do 5 push ups and 8 squats per round, every round. If you are not able to do it at all, lower the number of reps. If you almost got it, stick to that number and try to do it on the next workout.

Do 5 rounds, or as many as you like.

Progressing

One exercise

Once you are able to complete the reps in every round of one of the exercises, you should try to do one more rep per round on the next workout. If you are already doing as many reps as the higher end of the rep range given in the table above, then it is time to decrease the reps and up the intensity.

Example for push ups:

Workout
Push Up Variation
Set 1
Set 2
Set 3
Set 4
Set 5
1
Inclined (hands on a bench)
5
5
5
4
3
2
Inclined (hands on a bench)
5
5
5
5
4
3
Inclined (hands on a bench)
5
5
5
5
5
4
Inclined (hands on a bench)
6
6
5
5
4
5
Inclined (hands on a bench)
6
6
6
4
4
6
Inclined (hands on a bench)
6
6
6
6
5
7
Inclined (hands on a bench)
6
6
6
6
6
8
Inclined (hands on a bench)
7
7
7
5
3
18
Inclined (hands on a bench)
10
10
10
9
8
19
Inclined (hands on a bench)
10
10
10
10
10
20
Regular, hands on the floor
5
5
5
3
3
21
Regular, hands on the floor
5
5
5
5
5
22
Regular, hands on the floor
6
6
5
5
5

Whole Circuit

Once you complete every set of every exercise, and want to make it harder for the overall body, heart and lungs, instead of the muscles, instead of adding reps or upping the intensity, you should decrease the time you have per round.

This means that if you are doing one round every 5 minutes, you should decrease this time to something like 4:45. This time decrease can be as big or little as you want. It should be between 5 and 30 seconds.

Eventually you'll find a sweet spot of reps, intensity and time per round.

Routine Example

For people with time

Week
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
Sunday
1
Rest
Workout A
Hill Sprints
Workout B
Rest
Car pushing
Workout A
2
Rest
Workout B
Hill Sprints
Workout A
Rest
Boxing / Swimming
Workout B
3
Rest
Workout A
Hill Sprints
Workout B
Rest
Sports / Hiking
Workout A
4
Rest
Workout B
Hill Sprints
Workout A
Rest
Hill Sprints
Workout B


For the busy ones, just one workout during the week

Week
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
Sunday
1
Rest
Rest
Workout A
Rest
Rest
Hill Sprints
Workout B
2
Rest
Rest
Workout A
Rest
Rest
Hill Sprints
Workout B
3
Rest
Rest
Workout A
Rest
Rest
Hill Sprints
Workout B
4
Rest
Rest
Workout A
Rest
Rest
Hill Sprints
Workout B

Recap

Follow the guidelines above, and feel free to use the workout and routine sample I have given you. But in the end, it comes down to this:

Training

Choose a few full body exercises, and do them in a certain time per round. Once you are able to complete the circuit for the determined amount of rounds within the given time, up the reps or intensity for one of the exercises, for all of them, or do it in less time.

Nutrition

As long as you are progressing, just try to eat healthy (lots of vegetables and real whole foods) and do not overthink it. Once or twice a week have a big cheat meal with lots of carbs and fats and enjoy it.

Wrap Up

If you want to be lean, you have to commit to it and do the work. Do not overthink it and stick to the plan for at least 3 months before changing to another one.

If after the first 2 weeks you have not lost an ounce, then it’s time to first make sure you are avoiding sugars, and then, check your diet, skip a meal, and plan your nutrition.

You can ask me anything on my Facebook page, on the comments, and if you give this program a shot, please let me know how it worked for you.

If you want an exact plan to follow regarding diet and programming so you do not have to worry about anything and just want to do the work, you can hire me as your personal trainer. For more info on this send me an e-mail to gabrielpieren@hotmail.com and we will talk about it.

Train hard!

Gabri