In order to make a fat loss program effective, you are going to have to exercise in the right way.  In part 1 of this series, we discussed the unconventional principles behind effective fat loss programs.  In this article, you will see examples of what workouts built on these principles will look like, and how you can start doing them today.  You'll find that these workouts are simple to follow and effective for fat loss.  If you’re new to lifting weight, consider getting a personal trainer or someone who is well versed in exercise technique to guide you through your first few workouts.  Nothing will short circuit a fitness program faster than injuries, so take appropriate care.  That being said, let’s get started!

The Schedule

The workouts will be covered over the course of one standard calendar week (7 days).  Over the course of this week, you will be doing 2 weight training sessions and 2 interval cardio training sessions.   Each workout is going to be brief and should feel relatively intense.  You don't need to give the effort of your life each workout, but you'll be working near your maximum each time.  Remember that you have to be able to sustain this program over the long term, so it’s OK to leave a little in the tank so that you can be excited for the next round.  Due to the intensity of these workouts, I would recommend doing no more than 2 in a row to start.  The intense work is going to put your body into a recovery cycle that builds muscle and burns fat, however too many in a row can leave you exhausted quickly.  Here is a recommended schedule over 7 days:

  1. Lift
  2. Rest
  3. Cardio
  4. Rest
  5. Lift
  6. Cardio
  7. Rest

Weight Training

Man Lifting Dumbbells
Credit: Petr Kravocil

The foundation of your success will be built with weight/resistance training.  For these workouts you are going to need a barbell and weights, a pull-up bar or substitute (pull-down machine or assisted pull-up machine), weight rack or power cage, and a bench press.  Most of these items are available in a gym.   We're going to create an A routine and B routine that should be alternated during the course of the week.  

The focus in each of these workouts is to get our last sets close to our maximum ability for the day, and to rest just enough to complete all of the sets for each workout.  These workouts will hit your muscles hard, but your also going to notice your heart rate getting up as well.  Don't start a set unless you are 100% certain you can complete all the reps safely.  For each exercise you are going rest 2 minutes between each set and as needed when moving between exercises.  Select a weight that is roughly 70%-80% of your 1 repetition maximum.

Workout A:

  • Barbell Back Squat:  3 sets of 10 reps
  • Barbell or Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 2 sets of 5, then 1 set for max reps
  • Pull-ups: 2 sets of 5 reps each, then 1 set for max reps
  • Dips: 2 sets of 5 reps each, then 1 set for max reps
The Concept Of Power And Determination Of A Man Lifting A Weight
Credit: David Castillo Dominici

Workout B:

  • Barbell Deadlift: 5 sets of 5 reps
  • Bench Press: 2 sets of 5 reps each, then 1 set for max reps
  • Barbell or Machine Row: 2 sets of 5 reps each, then 1 set for max reps 
  • Barbell Lunge: 3 sets of 10 reps each leg
Credit: gregoj

If the weight seems too easy, add 5-10 lbs for the exercise the next workout.  If you can't complete all the work, reduce the weight by at least 5-10 lbs immediately, so that you can complete the set.  For the Barbell Squat and Deadlifts don't work too close to your maximum as the risk for injury goes up substantially as you fatigue.  You can leave 1-2 reps in reserve with deadlifts and squats and still get great benefit because the weights you will be moving will be the heaviest of your workout.   

Cardiovascular training

Andrea Ager
Credit: jsfet

High intensity cardiovascular training will keep your metabolism working to burn fat throughout the week.  In these workouts, the focus will be on near maximum effort in each set.  Two types of workouts will be provided here: a standard interval workout where you can run, bike, row or use whatever cardio mode you like and a bodyweight circuit that can be done with no equipment at all.  Make sure you take at least 10 minutes to warm-up thoroughly before each of these workouts.  You should feel loose and already have a light sweat.

Workout A: Standard-  30:30 x 5-8

  • Run/Bike/Row etc for 30 secs at 80-100% effort
  • Rest for 30 secs
  • Repeat 5-8 times

This is a good workout if you have simple timer.  You can set it for 30 seconds, hit the start button and start working, then stop going when you hear the alarm go off, then start working again when you hear the next alarm.

Workout B: Tabata Circuit

  • Get an interval timing app or interval timer (link to Amazon)
  • Set the work timer to 20 secs and the rest timer to 10 secs
  • Set the set number to 8 (or more if your feeling fit)
  • First 20 sec work interval: Burpees
  • Rest 10 sesc
  • Second 20 sec work interval: Bodyweight Squats
  • Repeat until you complete all 8 sets

If you don't know what a burpee is take a look at this video:

The Tabata Interval (20 secs work : 10 secs) rest was developed by a Japanese exercise scientist who was training speed skaters.  He found that using this work to rest interval was able to produce substantial increases in both power (28% anaerobic increase) and cardiovascular capacity (14% aerobic increase).  You can use this interval with almost any exercise(s) and get a quick productive workout.


Gymboss Interval Timer and Stopwatch - VIOLET / PINK METALLIC GLOSS
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The Gymboss is the perfect tool for timing you interval workouts.

The 4 workouts above are examples of the kind of work you should be doing to focus on fat loss.  Each is brief, high in intensity, and simple to complete.  With a little variation in exercise you can run this program for many months and still see continuous fat loss progress when combined with a good nutrition plan.  In the last segment of this series, we will look at some meal suggestions to pair with the exercise program.