Would you like to lose weight and or reduce belly fat while improving your overall health and body composition? If you said “yes”, the best way or the best approach to achieve that dream body that you desire and deserve is to avoid a “bad diet” and increase your lean muscle mass or muscle tissue by including resistance training or weight training as part of your exercise routine. It is this synergistic combination of a healthy diet and strength training that will help you achieve the best results.
Although participating in any regular physical activity or regular exercise will promote good health and contribute to energy expenditure, there’s a direct correlation between exercise intensity and the number of calories that you burn while performing different exercises. In other words, the higher the intensity of your workouts, the more calories you will burn in a shorter amount of time.
This is one of the reasons why high-intensity interval training or HIIT workouts are generally considered as the most effective weight-loss workouts. Participating in HIIT workouts is a great way for building muscle and boosting your basal metabolic rate. And, due to its fast pace nature, HIIT is the best bet or a great option for different people without a life threatening medical condition that are especially pressed for time and interested in maximizing their calorie burn.
The other good news about HIIT is that not only do you achieve a calorie deficit during your workout sessions, you also benefit from a “bonus burn” 24-48 hours after your workout has been completed due to an improvement in your post exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC).
Unlike a bodybuilding type of workout whereby you might train your lower body one day and your upper body another day, HIIT workouts are usually a full-body workout that include short bursts of intense activity performed back-to-back with only seconds of rest taken between each activity. An example of a HIIT workout would be to jump rope for about 30 seconds at a high intensity and then immediately perform kettlebell swings.
Depending on your fitness level, an effective weight loss exercise might involve you using just your own body weight. As a general rule, the best type of exercise is one that you can do safely and consistently.
The important thing to remember when doing a HIIT workout or different exercises is that you should always use proper form in order to avoid injuries. The best workouts are the ones performed with good form. Furthermore, given how taxing and demanding HIIT workout routines can be on your body, it would be advisable to include low intensity training between your HIIT workouts assuming you workout every day.
The other benefit about HIIT workouts is that, you can do them anywhere including your home with very minimum equipment required. For example, if you’re a stay-at-home mom, you can literally get fat-burning HIIT workout completed in under 15 minutes while your baby is taking a nap with just a pair of dumbbells. No need to leave your home and drive to a gym if you don’t want to.
As a personal trainer (PT) with over 20 years of hands-on experience helping hundreds of men and women of all fitness levels lose weight, below is my personal list of the best weight loss exercises that you can strategically combine into HIIT workout routine while training at home or anywhere really:
2) Push Ups
4) Grasshoppers (Burpees)
6) Jumping Jacks
9) Back rows
10) Clean & Presses
Guidelines For For Your HIIT Workouts
These are the guidelines that you must follow every time you lift weights to elicit the best result:
- Limit your weightlifting sessions to a maximum duration of 30 minutes;
- Do total-body routines exclusively that train your entire body;
- Use compound exercises (such as, deadlifts, squats, lunges, back row, pull ups, and so on) that work on multiple muscle groups on your body at the same time; and,
Make sure that you’re consistently challenging all your muscles; otherwise, you will eventually hit the dreaded weight loss plateau and your metabolism won’t increase over time.
What I do not want you to do is adopt the training approach of a body builder, which means that you train only one muscle group each time you work out. For example, you work on your chest, legs, and back muscles on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, respectively. This is what’s generally known as a body building split.
Would that training method ultimately help you lose weight? Yes, however, it takes a long time. On the contrary, my goal is to help you lose weight and burn fat in the shortest amount of time possible. I do not want you to spend hours in the gym. If you do a body building type of workout, you are almost guaranteed to spend no less than an hour in the gym assuming that you are doing it correctly. This is not what I want for you especially if you lead a busy life like most of us do.
How To Lift Weights For Maximum Fat loss
There is a specific training sequence that I want you to follow whenever you lift weights that will cause your body to burn the most amount of fat during each training session. You would perform a compound exercise followed by what I call an “active break.”
An active break is any plyometric-type activity other than lifting weights that will keep you moving using just your own bodyweight. If you remember from earlier that plyometrics are exercises that typically involve jumping. One of the many mistakes most people make when working out to lose weight and burn fat quickly is that they stop to completely rest after performing an exercise and before they begin their next exercise. That is not what I want you to do.
Immediately following the first active break, you would perform a second compound exercise followed by a second active break. Then you would immediately perform a third compound exercise followed by a third active break. After the third active break you would immediately perform any abdominal specific exercise of your choice in order to improve your core strength. Upon completion of the abdominal exercise, then and only then would you take a complete rest for no more than five minutes.
After the resting period is over, which means that your heart rate has returned to a normal level (you can carry a normal conversation without breathing hard) then you would repeat the entire sequence again two more times at the most as described above. Therefore, your weightlifting program should look something like this:
- Compound exercise #1;
- Active break #1;
- Compound exercise #2;
- Active break #2;
- Compound exercise #3;
- Active break #3;
- Abdominal exercise;
- Complete rest (no more than 5 minutes); and,
How much weight should you lift when performing any compound exercise?
At the beginning of your body transformation journey, I want you to choose a load amount the first time you lift weights that you can barely perform for no more than twelve repetitions (reps). This means that by the time you get to your eleventh repetition you are struggling and can barely do one more repetition (rep) without assistance. This is important because you always want to make sure that the weight you’re lifting is appropriately challenging your muscles for your fitness level.
Another common mistake most people make when trying to lift weights to lose weight and burn fat quickly is that they use a load amount that’s too light. Consequently, even though they are lifting weights, they usually only lose a ridiculously small amount of body fat, if any, before they eventually get frustrated and give up. This is not what I want for you.
After you establish a load amount that you can only lift for a maximum of twelve reps, then you want to strive towards doing thirty reps with that particular weight over time, nonstop.
For example, if you perform a back squat at 100 pounds for barely twelve reps, stay at that weight and aim towards doing thirty reps nonstop over time. This is one of my outrageous secrets to losing weight and burning fat quickly. Lifting weights in this way will convert your body into a fat burning machine, and your muscular endurance will skyrocket which simply means that it would take a while for you to get tired during your workouts. Furthermore, you will develop long, lean, non-bulky muscles.
After you’re able to do that weight (in this example, the 100 pounds back squat) for thirty reps, you would increase the load again to a new amount that you can only do for a maximum of twelve reps and then repeat the entire process as described above.
Keep in mind never to lift an amount of weight that would compromise your technique and lead to a potential injury. You do not want to get injured trying to lift heavier weights too soon before you’re ready.
How To Do Cardio For Maximum Fat loss
I want you to do cardio immediately following your weightlifting session so that you can burn even more fat and extra calories; however, you should do it in a specific way. You will use an advanced technique known as Interval Training (IT). IT is fantastic because you can burn tons of fat in a very short amount of time while still preserving your muscles or avoiding muscle loss.
One reason why many people struggle to keep the weight off is because they did what’s called steady-state cardio to lose weight. Steady state cardio is basically getting on a treadmill, for example, and then just running for an indefinitely length of time at a constant pace.
Can you lose weight with steady state cardio? Absolutely. However, you will end up also burning off most of your muscles, especially if you run long distances often. If you remember from a previous chapter that your muscles account for about sixty five percent of your metabolism; therefore, any decrease in your muscle mass will directly cause your metabolism to also decrease proportionally thus making it virtually impossible for you to keep the weight off for good. This is not what I want for you.
Another benefit of IT is that it saves you tons of time, if executed correctly.
Basically, with interval training, you sprint as fast as you can for 30 seconds and then recover by bringing your heart rate all the way back down. You want to make sure that you are fully recovered before you go for another round of 30 seconds sprint. A good indication that you’re ready for your next set of sprint is when you can carry a normal conversation without you breathing hard. This known as Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE).
Please note that if you can sprint for longer than 30 seconds, it means that you’re not pushing yourself hard enough and therefore you’re not maximizing the benefit of IT. In this situation, you would need to increase your speed and your effort because you need to challenge your body to see results.
You can do these sprints either in a gym, preferably on a treadmill, or outside either on a track or in an open field.
Following the instructions from above, your cardio workout will look something like this:
- Sprint for 30 seconds;
- Rest and fully recover for about five to six minutes;
- Sprint #2 for 30 seconds;
- Rest and fully recover for about five to six minutes;
- Sprint #3 for 30 seconds; and,
- Rest and fully recover for about five to six minutes.
The cardio part of your workout should be limited to a maximum of 30 minutes, and I want you to strive towards completing twelve rounds of the 30 second sprints during those 30 minutes.
Initially, it’s going to be very challenging, especially if you’ve not worked out in a long time or you’re highly deconditioned to complete all twelve rounds of 30 seconds sprints within a 30-minute period. However, as your fitness level improves and your body gets stronger over time, the length of recovery time that you will need between sprints will start to decrease thus making it more likely for you to complete all twelve rounds within those 30 minutes.
One more thing I would like to recommend is that you limit your cardio interval training to no more than three to four times per week because IT can be hard on your joints, and you want to avoid any potential overuse injury.
Super Advanced Fat-Burning Tip
If you want to burn even more fat during your workouts, then I recommend that you perform your workouts (weight lifting and cardio) in a fasted state (before you eat your first meal of the day). The reasoning behind this is that when you work out, your body is going to need energy and your body will typically go to the most accessible source of energy first, which is your carbohydrates reserve.
If there are carbohydrates (glycogen) present in your system, it’s going to tap into that first; otherwise, it will tap into your fat reserves instead thus causing your body to burn even more fat during your workout sessions.
We are being very strategic here and working smart, not just trying to work hard. In the beginning of your fitness journey, you might not be able to pull off this advance strategy but, over time, your goal should be to strive towards completing your entire workout before you eat your first meal of the day.
In any given seven days cycle, I want you to lift weights and perform cardio no more than four times. You will have two days of what I call “active rest” and one day of complete, total rest. An active rest is any activity you consider fun like dancing, going out for a leisurely walk, gardening or anything else that doesn’t involve lifting weights or overly exerting your muscles.
You could even do a super low-impact exercise such as riding a stationary bike (aerobic exercise) at a very leisurely pace.
Whereas a day of complete and total rest means that you take a day off from all physical activities and, yes, that means you can just stay home and binge watch your favourite Netflix shows all day If that’s what interests you.
Therefore, you seven day activity chart should look something like this:
- Monday (workout);
- Tuesday (active rest);
- Wednesday (workout);
- Thursday (active rest);
- Friday (workout);
- Saturday (active rest); and
- Sunday (complete and total rest).
Taking at least a day off to completely rest your body from working out is very important because you want to avoid sustaining any potential overtraining injury. Also, from a psychological standpoint, you want to make sure that you don’t get “burned out.”
Essentially, the ultimate goal beyond losing weight in the short term is that working out will become something you will do regularly just like brushing your teeth every single day in order to keep you healthy.
The only way that’s going to happen is if working out does not consume your entire life thus bringing additional stress into your life. In a nutshell, work out to live, not live to work out.
How To Eat For Maximum Fat loss (Fat Suppressant Eating Strategy)
An advanced eating strategy that you’re going to use to lose weight and burn fat quickly is a variation of Intermittent Fasting (IF) commonly known as OMAD, which simply means that you’re going to eat only one meal a day.
This is not an article on IF, so I’m not going to delve into the science of why or how it works. All you need to know for now is that IF has many health benefits when implemented correctly including helping with losing weight and getting rid of unwanted body fat. Having said that, the best way to really find out if it will help you achieve the body you’ve always desired and deserved is for you to give it an honest and fair trial for at least twelve weeks.
If you want to find more about IF, however, obtain a book titled, “The Obesity Code” written by Doctor Jason Fung. It provides an insane amount of information about IF including tons of research studies on why it works and so forth.
One of the main benefits of IF is that you will literally be able to eat your favourite foods and still lose weight as long as you stick to a certain eating window. Intermittent fasting works especially well for those people with busy schedules because you’re less likely to find yourself thinking about food outside your eating window when you’re busy.
IF is also great because, not only is it a lifestyle instead of a diet, it is incredibly flexible and you can fit it into your lifestyle instead of the other way around. For example, If you’re someone that works a twelve-hour shift as a nurse, you can design your eating window around your work schedule.
Finally, IF is the only friendly lifestyle eating strategy that you can literally practice anytime regardless of where you are in the world without feeling deprived or restricting the kinds of foods that you eat. That is the power of intermittent fasting.
With all that being said, if you would like to turbo charge your body’s ability to get rid of your unwanted body fat, I want you to use my Fat Suppressant Eating Strategy (FSES) while still practicing IF every time you sit down to eat a meal. In order to benefit from my exclusive FSES, I want you to plate-and-eat your food in this specific order: 1) Leafy vegetables; 2) Healthy fats; 3) Protein; and 4) Unrefined carbohydrates.
Why does my FSES help you lose weight and keep it off for good? When you eat in this way, you will be minimizing the amount of insulin spikes in your body. Insulin is called a “fat storage” hormone because whenever it is released inside your body, your body is signalled to store fat.
The food group that causes the greatest amount of insulin to be released into your blood stream is carbohydrates (carbs). This is the main reason why you want to strategically minimize the amount of carbs that you eat without eliminating it from your diet completely. In a nutshell, my FSES helps you eat less carbs which leads to less insulin spikes which then leads to your body storing less fat.
A Word of Caution About Intermittent Fasting
Although IF has numerous benefits described above, it is not for everybody. You should not practice IF under the following circumstances:
- If you are underweight;
- You have had some sort of eating disorder;
- You are pregnant;
- You have any underlying health condition (such as, diabetes, high blood pressure, and so on); and,
- You are taking any sort of medication.
As always, it is highly recommended that you consult with your doctor before dramatically changing your diet or adopting a new way of eating
In conclusion, remember that everything that I have discussed in this chapter are advanced strategies meant to help you lose weight quickly and keep it off for good. If you are not mentally ready to implement these strategies yet, that is okay. Simply start where you are and strive to get better every day.