Are you tired of the same boring cardio workout that’s supposed to help you burn fat? Do you want to see better results and enjoy the variety of different training styles? Although cardio workouts tend to get a lot of the spotlight when it comes to burning fat, they aren’t your only option. Let’s review the top 5 ways to train for fat loss. You can cycle through each of the following types of fat loss workouts in order to see which ones you and your body prefer.
1. Metabolic-Focused Resistance Training
Resistance training is when you use an external force such as a dumbbell to promote the development of muscle mass. The more lean muscle mass you have, the more calories you can burn while at rest. Metabolic-focused resistance training takes this same idea but places the focus on maximizing caloric expenditure.
Metabolic resistance training uses compound exercises with short rest breaks to activate greatest number of muscle groups and increase metabolic response. An example of this would be performing a barbell back squat followed by jump squats.
This type of training can easily be adjusted to further your fat burning progress by adjusting acute variables as you see yourself improve. You can aim to increase your overall volume – more sets and repetitions – while taking shorter rest breaks.
Another option is to focus on increasing the intensity or how tough you perceive the workout to be while extending the rest breaks to give your nervous system a chance to catch up.
Metabolic-Focused Resistance Training Example Workout
This workout will use super sets to increase intensity and calorie burning while promoting muscle growth. A super set is when you perform one set of an exercise then immediately complete one set of a different exercise. In this workout, the first exercise is designated as A1 and the second exercise is A2. Once you finish the first super set, move on to the next one.
- A1: Barbell Back Squats: 3 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions
- A2: Jump Squats: 3 x 10
- B1: Pull-Ups: 3 x 10
- B2: Push-Ups: 3 x 10
- C1: Walking Lunges: 2 x 8 - 12
- C2: Jumping Alternating Lunges: 2 x 10
- D1: Cable Crunches: 3 x 15
- D2: Superman: 3 x 60 seconds
2. High Intensity Interval Training
More commonly referred to as HIIT, high intensity interval training utilizes full-body exercises that are performed in rapid succession to maximize calorie burning. While similar to metabolic resistance training, HIIT workouts tend to focus on bodyweight exercises. What’s more, the entire list of HIIT exercises must be completed before taking a break.
By performing the exercises back to back with no break until you’ve completed the list, this guarantees the maximal level of intensity. As a result, this will significantly increase calorie burning, triggering a positive metabolic response during and after the workout.
High intensity interval training workouts have been suggested to significantly increase excess post-oxygen consumption (EPOC). This is the number of calories you continue burning after you’ve completed the workout.
You can make your high intensity interval training workouts more difficult by increasing the number of rounds (sets) that you perform. You can also increase the number of exercises, but start with the number of rounds you complete.
High Intensity Interval Training Example Workout:
Be sure to warm-up first: Perform 10 minutes of light activity (e.g., treadmill, walking, light jog, etc.) followed by dynamic (active) stretching. We also recommend wearing a shred belt if you want to spot reduce fat on your belly.
Once you’re ready for the workout, complete all of the prescribed repetitions (or seconds) for the first exercise then move on to the next one. After you’ve completed one set of each exercise, take a rest break of 2 to 3 minutes, then begin the list again.
- Box Jumps: 30 seconds
- Push-Ups: 10
- Jumping Lunges: 30 seconds
- Pull-Ups: 10
- Plank: 60 seconds
- Burpees: 5
3. Total-Body Group Fitness Classes (e.g., CrossFit)
If you find it difficult to maintain the motivation to get into the gym on your own day after day, then we recommend trying total-body cardiovascular fitness classes such as CrossFit and kickboxing.
Before we jump into the benefits of group training on your physique, let’s talk accountability. One of the great things about close-knit fitness classes is the support that you receive through other members, especially if everyone has committed themselves to going a few times per week. There is a sense of accountability through group mentality; in other words, everyone excepts to see everyone else at class. This can help to make a consistent routine of cardio exercise for fat loss.
Intense cardio classes in a group setting like spinning or TRX bootcamp have been shown to increase fat burning while promoting lean muscle mass. You’ll also see a boost in your cardiovascular endurance.
Increasing the difficulty and intensity of a class will depend on a few factors such as the individuals in class, the type of class (e.g., kickboxing vs. spinning), and the instructor’s experience and knowledge. The best way to see better results is to push yourself and ask the instructor to do the same as long as they are encouraging.
CrossFit Example Workout:
Cindy is a common CrossFit workout that you can do in a class or at home. Complete as many rounds of the following exercises as you can with good form in twenty minutes. Completing 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, and 15 squats counts as one round.
- 5 pull-ups
- 10 push-ups
- 15 squats
4. Sports Conditioning
You don’t have to be an athlete to benefits from sports conditioning workouts. The fat burning, muscle building, and endurance boosting benefits of sports conditioning can easily translate to the general fitness population. They are also great workouts if you’re seriously involved in CrossFit, powerlifting, and bodybuilding.
We would only recommend sports conditioning for healthier clients that have no issues with their knees, ankles, or hips. If you do have a common fitness injury such as knee pain or hip pain, then you have two options: Depending on the level of pain, you can focus on recovery-based exercises or wear a knee sleeve and go light. If you are in great shape, then keep reading.
Sports conditioning is based on agility-focused maneuvers, speed drills, and high-intensity timed drills to increase fat burning. These exercises are usually performed in an obstacle course-like fashion. As an added bonus, you’ll notice a huge improvement in your speed, stability, and overall performance. Sports conditioning can also help with strengthening your hip flexor muscles, preventing common muscle overcompensation injuries.
To continue progressing your sports conditioning workouts for fat loss, you can make your courses or drills more challenging or complicated by adding extra steps, increasing the time limit, and including light weights such as wrist weights.
Sports Conditioning Example Workout
Here is a basketball drill that you might recognize from high school gym class: Around the Cones is a speed and agility drill where you set up cones throughout different points on a basketball court. You sprint and dribble to each cone, taking shots until you sink the basket. Only after you’ve made the basket at one cone can you move to the next.
5. Steady State Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT)
For those who are recovering from an injury or surgery, or for anyone who has limited mobility, focusing on steady state non-exercise activity thermogenesis or NEAT is an excellent first step to recovery. The idea behind NEAT is also applicable to athletes. What does NEAT mean?
NEAT is when you focus on being active throughout the day – Not just in the gym. When you work out, you may have a session that lasts an hour. You’ll burn a certain number of calories, and that’s it for the day. NEAT is everything you do outside of the gym such as walking to the store, climbing the stairs at work, or any physical activity that takes place outside of the weight room or fitness class.
If you are recovering from an injury or surgery, consider using a piece of supportive fitness gear such as a back brace.
The best way to progress NEAT is to increase time the time you spend every day performing these calorie burning activities. We also recommend incorporating new and different activities into your routine. For example, if you live near work, why not start biking there?
NEAT Example Workout
Here are examples of physical activities that can be done at home, work, and school that help to encourage a higher level of fat burning all day long:
- Walking / Jogging to work / school or going during your lunch break
- Biking to the store, work, or school
- Taking the stairs, not the elevator
- Standing at your desk, not sitting
- Using a Swiss Ball at your desk or table, not a traditional chair
Which of these Ways to Train for Fat Loss Will You Try?
Will you start incorporating more NEAT exercises into your day? Going to start trying to be like Mike and doing basketball drills? Have a video workout of yourself doing one of these ways to train for fat loss? Tag us on Instagram so we can share!