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 repeat
for a large number of reps. Do this for 3, 6, or 12 months, and
you'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 bodybuilder
workout 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
ii) Burning calories with interval training
iii) 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.