FAT LOSS training plan
Setting your training plan is an integral step for fat loss, writes MATT NORRIS in Part Two of a three part series.
Like nutrition, we have many different methods available to us but there isn’t a “best” or “only” way to get your desired results. When training to lose body fat most people will concentrate on cardio and trying to burn calories. That is one way to do look at it. Myself, I like to think long term like we have talked about in the nutrition section. We are looking to maintain this for life, not just a few weeks.
If not lots of cardio, then what? Strength training!
You see, burning lots of calories in the gym is great, but I want you to start thinking about your muscles and how you want them to look. A word that gets thrown around is “tone”. “I just want to tone up.” “I want to look toned.” These are all quotes that get said to me regularly, yet “toning” is not possible, you are either trying to build muscle (be anabolic) or you are wasting muscle or burning it as fuel (catabolic). There isn’t a middle ground. That is what you need to realise when looking for fat loss.
If you have tried hours of cardio already, you know it’s not very fun and once you stop burning all those calories through training then you find it easy to gain weight again. Here is the reason why:
Muscle is active tissue burning up to 50 calories per pound and that is something we want to maintain when dieting. If we lose muscle then our metabolic rate lowers meaning we don’t need to eat as much and that sucks when you are already lowering your calories to make a deficit.
This is where strength training comes in to play, if you are eating enough protein, (see last issue), then as long as we give the muscle stimulus to grow we can maintain or even in some cases build a small amount of muscle even when dieting.
How to make sure we don’t lose muscle and keep active tissue?
Full body workouts are awesome for maintaining muscle mass and torching calories at the same time. Training four days a week using resistance training can really improve the way you look and add in a few small cardio sessions and your will have that body you have always dreamed off in no time.
When I build a training programme I have several movements that I like to hit. This may be slightly different to the old body part split style of training, but I find this works great and is easy to use.
LEGS (Hip dominant / knee dominant) – Deadlifts, hip raises, squats, lunges. PUSH – Press-ups, shoulder presses, PULL – Pull ups, seated rows. CORE (Rotational / anti-rotation) – Planks, cable rotations, wood-chops.
GAIT – Lunges, walking, farmer’s walks, sled pushes.
I have grouped all the leg and core exercises together to make it easier. What I would like you to do is make your own list of exercises and put them into a chart.
These are all fundamental move-
ments that will help you, not just with fat loss, but also day-to-day life. Our aim is not just to lose fat, but also to move and feel better. If you feel great you will want to move more and that doesn’t just mean in the gym, but social sports and general play.
So when we go into the gym we want to make sure we hit all the areas we mentioned above. If you do this then you have had a good and productive workout.
Fat Loss programmes – are they any different?
A simple answer is, no. The programmes I like to use for fat loss could be used for strength or hypertrophy. The main difference is the sets, reps, tempo and rest intervals. These are the variables, which can make a programme go from a strength-based programme to a fat loss programme.
Sets, reps, rest and tempo
When you get a programme, it’s not just all about the exercises; what’s more important are the details.
SETS – are the amount of time you have to lift your prescribed reps. An example would be 3 x 10, which would mean you would complete 10 reps then rest and go again.
REPS – are the amount of times you will have to lift the weight. On a squat lowering and then standing back up would be one rep.
REST – If you look round your gym next time you’re there, you will see lots of people just standing around, playing on their phones and basically not paying attention to rest times. Rest times are important. If you rest too long, we will not get the physiological response we are after.
TEMPO – is very rarely used in gyms and it is something I like to play with when programming. This is the amount of time spent to lift and lower the weight. It is usually counted in four numbers such as 3010. On a squat that would be three seconds to lower, naught seconds at the bottom, one second to stand up and then naught seconds before you lower again.
Putting it all together
So now we know all the components of a training programme, lets put them together. For a fat loss programme I like to complete alternating sets. This means completing one exercise, resting, then completing another before going back to the first. Here is an example A1: Squat A2: Press-ups This way we get to use the time we have more efficiently and get the most out of each workout.
I have given you an example of a training programme and template so you can create you own.
In the next issue, Part Three, I will teach about what cardio you should do, warm up, cool down and other tips and tricks to keep you motivated.