Whether it's to better your health, for aesthetic purposes, or athletics, losing body fat may be your goal.
Cardio is the first thing that comes to mind for many when considering a weight loss or fat loss program, and while aerobic training is a great starting point for a fat loss, it’s not the only solution.
When trying to burn fat, it is beneficial to incorporate different types of training, conditioning, and variables into your workout routine so that the body is continuously challenged. Keep in mind too, that nutrition plays a key role in body composition and that healthy fat loss is typically 1-2% per month. Try incorporating these seven techniques into your regimen to lose body fat.
1. Compound movements
Compound movements are exercises that involve more than one muscle group. While compound movements alone won’t give you striations and a big bicep peak like isolation exercises may, they will work for multiple muscle groups at once and increase the number of calories you'll burn. Makes sense right? More work = more energy required. A few examples of compound movements include squats, bench press, pull-ups, and deadlifts.
Get your heart rate up by mixing plyometrics into your workout routine. Plyometrics are exercises in which muscles exert maximum force in minimal time. The idea is to build explosive power by improving both your speed and strength. Examples of plyometric exercises include box jumps, lateral shuffles, and BOSU burpees.
3. Circuit training
If you get bored easily or are in a pinch for time, circuit training is a great option. Circuit training requires you to efficiently complete a combination of resistance training and cardio exercises by performing each movement in your workout once for a predetermined number of repetitions or amount of time, then resting and repeating the sequence for your total volume of sets/rounds. Try to set your circuit up so that you're alternating between strength and more endurance-based exercises for a real challenge!
Supersetting is a technique that involves doing two exercises back to back, typically targeting two different muscle groups, with minimal to no rest in between. This is another great way to increase the efficiency of your workouts. If you typically do full body workouts or train multiple muscle groups per workout, supersetting antagonistic pairs are one way to up the intensity and really challenge your body. An example of an antagonistic muscle pairing would be biceps and triceps or quadriceps and hamstrings.
5. High-intensity interval training (HIIT)
True high-intensity interval training is just that, highly intense. Typical bouts are roughly 20-90 seconds of work at a time with a work to rest ratio of 1:2 for beginners and 1:1 as you get further into your training. High-intensity interval training increases a number of calories that you’ll burn throughout the rest of your day, even when you’re done with your workout! This is possible because of a phenomenon is known as EPOC (post-exercise oxygen consumption).
6. Low impact steady state cardio (LISS)... after your lift
If you get your lift out of the way first, your body will be more likely to tap into fat stores during your cardio session as your glycogen stores will be used and may even be depleted post-lift. Steady state cardio simply means performing some form of low impact cardio (jogging, walking, light swim) for a long duration of time, maintaining roughly the same heart rate, intensity, and speed throughout. 30-60 minutes is the typically recommended duration.
7. Hypertrophy training
Hypertrophy training involves using relatively high volume and moderate loads to induce growth. Get stronger and increase your lean muscle mass by aiming for 3-5 sets of 8-12 repetitions with rest periods around 60 seconds between sets. The stronger you get, the more weight you can lift, which in turn increases demand and exertion on your body, burning more fat. Additionally, the more muscle mass you have, the faster your metabolism will be at rest. How cool is that?