Weight Training for Fat Loss

If your fitness goal is fat loss you should already know that weight training is just as important (if not perhaps more) as cardio in your workout plan. But did you know how you lift, your workout split, can be a crucial factor in your success as well?

The Fit Truth: You Must Strength Trainimage by ericmcgregor

I’ll never forget meeting Goldie for the first time. She was doing a 4 day split, hitting each muscle group one time a week. Nothing wrong with that particular method – if she was a 20 something guy looking to gain mass. But she wasn’t. She was a woman in her late 40s looking to burn fat and get healthy. The trainer who had given her the program either didn’t take the time to understand that her goals were different than his (he was a body builder) or didn’t know how to design a program for a woman who wanted to maximize fat loss while adding a bit of lean muscle.

When it come to losing fat, and having curves in all the right places, your workout split should have two elements: it hits each muscle group an average of 2 times per week and it keeps your heart rate elevated. There are few different ways you can achieve both of these goals.

Hitting each muscle group an average of 2 times per week:

  • Full body workout
    Hit all muscle groups at each workout. Keep the exercises big and multi joint, like squats and pushups. It’s efficient and great for beginners lifting weights only 2 days a week.
  • Push/Pull
    Think about the force the muscle group generates. We push with our chest and pull with our biceps. Legs can be added on one day or the other. If you lift 3 days a week, alternate so that in a 2 week period you hit all the muscle groups 3 times.
  • Upper/Lower
    Just like it sounds, legs one day and chest, back, arms, shoulders the other. You can do 3 days a week, like Push/Pull, or do weights 4 days per week to cover each muscle group twice in a 7 day period.

Increasing your heart rate:

  • Circuit training
    Just like the old school health club circuits, you move from one exercise to the next with no rest. Make it more fun by doing a cardio exercise, like jumping rope or jumping jacks, in between each weight exercise.
  • Super setting with short rest periods
    A super set is 2 exercises back to back with no rest till after the second exercise. Keep that rest period to about 30 seconds. Use a watch, kitchen timer or Gymboss Interval Timer to keep you honest on rest time.

Combining these elements you make sure your workout split will meet your fat loss goals.

  • http://exerciseisbest.blogspot.com/ Isaac

    I’ve always cringed when I see personal trainers prescribing their favorite exercises and routines, rather than catering the routine specifically to their clients needs (I honestly see muscle bound PTs doing this with 40 year old mothers all the time at my local gym).

    Beginners definitely need to stick to whole-body type stuff rather than doing the bicep curls and shoulder raises every session, that everyone else at the gym seems to be doing.

  • http://www.thrivepersonalfitness.com/about-pamela/ Pamela

    I see it way too much and hear about it more often than note. Guy trainers just don’t always seem to get a female’s goals and motivation.

  • http://leanmassgains.com Neil

    Female trainees can still benefit from “traditional male” routines – but I agree, there’s little point trying to push women into a “cookie cutter” approach that they don’t want to follow. Full body, resistance strength training can be an enjoyable part of a female weight training protocol if set up correctly.

    And don’t forget – you won’t get big and muscly just through the exercise – you need to eat to build muscle too. Many women are scared of weights because they think it will cause them to “bulk up” rather than get toned.

    Good article, thanks for posting.

  • http://www.thrivepersonalfitness.com/about-pamela/ Pamela

    No one should have a cookie cutter program, male or female. :)