I guess you could say it is my mission to show people the value of intense strength training for fat loss. Every month more research comes out to support intense training over slow cardio, and light weights. And each week, in real-life, more and more men and women (yes, women too!) see the benefits of pushing themselves with strength training.The evidence from research and real-life continues to pile up that you need to put down those light weights and cut out those high reps.
Take really light weights, add in isolation exercises, and repeatfor a large number of reps. Do this for 3, 6, or 12 months, andyou’re guaranteed to have the same physique you have today. This approach just does not work.
You need to step out of your comfort zone with strength training.
Research has shown using a weight that enables only 8 reps per set results in a greater post-exercise metabolism than using a weight that allows 12 reps per set. And this was in women! So lifting challenging weights is not just for men, but also for the ladies.
Another research study showed that a 30-minute, hard total-body strength training session can boost metabolism about 36 hours. You just don’t get that from slow cardio or light, “toning”isolation exericses, I’m sorry to say.
But what if you are worried about “bulking up”? Just do one or two sets of 8 reps per exercise, rather than three or four.
Bodybuilders know that high-volume training builds muscle. But if you don’t want massive amounts of muscle, just don’t do a lot of volume. That’s just one of the reasons I don’t use bodybuilderworkout programs for fat loss.
Another way to avoid “bulking up” while still boosting your metabolism is to use more bodyweight exercises.
As for exercise choice, say goodbye to biceps curls, hamstring curls, and triceps kickbacks. Seriously, I couldn’t think of a more useless exercise for a fat loss program than triceps kickbacks.
Stick to full body movements. Use squats, lunges, split squats, pushups, chinups, rows, etc.
Remember, you don’t have a lot of time to workout. So you can’t be doing bodybuilding splits from the 80’s that call for three exercises for the long head of the triceps, and two exercises for each of the anterior, medial, and posterior deltoid.
That’s just not possible in the real-world. A pushup trains almost all those muscles, and more. It works your abs, chest, triceps, and shoulders. That’s the type of exercise that is going to help you get more fat loss results in less workout time.
I train in the concept of a short time frame. That is, anyone that wants to use my programs has less than 3 hours per week to devote to structured exercise. So there just isn’t much room for isolation training in that time frame.
But training should be fun too, and adding some curls as a reward for completing a hard workout is fine, but only if you want to. You don’t need those types of exercises to get results.
But remember, isolation exercises are not actually going to burn fat, but they can build muscle and help you sculpt your body. Here’s the list of methods that lead to fat loss, in order of importance:
1.) Nutrition2.) Burning calories with interval training3.) Burning calories due to an increased metabolism from interval training and strength training (with multi-muscle movements)
As long as you understand that nutrition is the most important factor in fat loss, and that strength training is essential for sculpting your body, than you will have realistic expectations of success – based on how well you commit to each process.
How Often Should I Workout?
People often email me asking how many days per week should they workout. For the average person wanting to lose weight and focus on fat loss, the answer is simple. They will get fantastic results by training hard only three days per week. Now for the average person, that should be manageable.
And yes, all three of those workouts should be done in less than an hour. Research shows that 20-30 minutes of interval training is more effective than 40 minutes of slow cardio for weight loss. Combine the intervals with 20-30 minutes of strength training. Do that 3 days per week, and pow, you’ll lose fat fast. (With good nutrition too, of course!)
On off days, I encourage people to be as active as possible, but without making extra effort to go to the gym. Walking to do your errands for an hour is great, if you have the time. Just do some form of health-promoting exercise (which can mean a half hour walk, yoga, or aerobic training if you desire). The duration and intensity of these off-day workouts depends on your fitness level, your recovery capacity, and your nutrition plan.
For many people, New Year’s resolutions mean a return to high-volume cardio programs. But I urge restraint, caution, and conservatism. Trying to re-do your old running programs after some time off is a recipe for disaster.
If you plan on resuming a former running program, please start conservatively, especially if you are running on hard surfaces. Start easy. Build up in volume. Monitor your energy levels, strength levels, and mood. Be conservative, train consistent, and superior results will be yours.
And what about for beginners? How often should they workout?
Well, if you are the utmost of beginners, and haven’t done any formal exercise in a long, long time, then simply do 3-6 bouts of 5 minutes of walking each day. Every day. Progress with your walking by increasing the time you walk and decreasing the number of “bouts” per day. For example, in week 3 of your exercise program, do 3 bouts of 10 minutes per day. And by week 6, you should be able to walk for 30 minutes straight. That is a place to get started.
At the same time, combine your walking program with a professionally designed bodyweight 3-day strength program that you can do at home (heck, most beginner exercises are even done lying on the floor!). After 6 weeks, you can increase the intensity of your workout, as outlined by your personal trainer. Eventually, you can progress into a more intense 3-day per week program.
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As Creator of the Revolutionary Turbulence Training System, Craig Ballantyne has helped millions of body builders worldwide lose fat while gaining muscle at the same time with a proper diet and just 3 short but intense workouts a week. For a FREE, Immediate Controversial Fat Loss Report and FREE Turbulence Training Newsletter containing tips to help you maximize metabolism, build muscle and gain workout success go to