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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 Train
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image 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
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    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
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    to keep you honest on rest time.

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

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