Men’s Fitness magazine recently asked me for 3 of my best fat loss tips. Since most times the magazines just don’t have enough space to run my full tips, I thought I’d give you a more detailed explanation of my secrets here (plus a few extra bonus tips that I didn’t send to the magazine).
Secret #1 – Focus on burning carbohydrate, not fat, during your fat-loss workouts.
Sounds backwards, right? But not when you look at how I structure my workouts. Remember that Turbulence Training focuses on resistance training and interval training. Both of these use carbohydrate as the main source of energy. So it’s obvious the workout is designed to burn carbohydrates during the training session.
I have no interest in you trying to train in your “target heart rate zone” for fat burning (aka – the fat burning zone). The whole idea of a fat-burning zone is an over-simplified idea of how the body works during exercise.
Leave the inefficient fat burning zone to the uneducated trainers in the commercial gyms (that not surprisingly, also want to sell you a heart rate monitor so you can stay in your “fat burning heart rate zone”).
If you want to get the most results in the least amount of time, focus on burning carbohydrates, not fat.
Why do my fat loss workouts focus on burning carbohydrate rather than fat? In order to burn more calories after the workout, that’s why. When you exercise with intervals and heavy resistance training, your body uses more calories in the hours after exercise than it would if you did traditional cardio and lifted lighter weights.
I call this ‘Turbulence’. By any name it gives you the same results – maximum improvements in your body composition (helping you lose fat while gaining muscle).
Secret #2 – Use a range of repetitions in your strength training workouts.
In order to train more muscle fibers and burn more carbohydrates, I have clients use a range of repetitions within the same workout. My workouts now use 6, 8, and 12 reps per set in order to work the muscle the most effectively.
This will burn more carbohydrates and promote as much muscle growth as possible when you are keeping the calories low.
Secret #3 – Use the stationary cycle for interval training.
I choose the stationary bike for intervals whenever possible because cycling against a resistance can help maintain muscle mass.
Cycling against a resistance also allows you to perform a large amount of mechanical work, and that is a key determinant of the Turbulence in my training.
But please note: I don’t use low-intensity, fast pedaling ‘spinning’ intervals as I’m convinced that the hard, resistance based intervals are more effective for fat loss. My clients only cycle against a strong resistance in their intervals.
I really like the bike, but there are many other ways to do intervals. Use what works for you, but if you are at a plateau, try the bike.
Secret #4 – Increase meal frequency
Okay, so this isn’t really a secret to anyone that has read about fat loss. But a 2005 study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that eating 6 times per day was associated with eating fewer calories per day, lowering cholesterol levels, and lowering post-meal insulin levels.
Combine an increased meal frequency with an increased protein and fiber intake, and you’ll see your body composition improve rapidly.
Secret #5 – My Synergistic Turbulence Training Workouts
My Turbulence Training Fat Loss workouts are fast becoming the most effective way to burn fat, build muscle, and get lean. The synergistic strength training-interval training workouts are efficient and effective – getting you in and out of the gym in under an hour.
Here are some tips that you can use for an advanced training phase
– use these tips for 2 weeks then return to your normal training schedule:
a) Add 10 seconds to each interval but maintain the intensity
b) Add in some bodyweight circuits (10-20 minutes per day) done in the morning or evening (if you do your regular workout in the AM, do your bodyweight circuits after dinner; otherwise, do the bw circuits first thing in the AM, and then do your regular workout at lunch or later in the afternoon or evening)
If you are advanced, you can use squats, pushups, and bodyweight rows for your circuit.
If you are a beginner, you could use lying hip extensions, modified pushups, and stick-ups.
c) Add an extra set to each exercise in the first superset you do in each workout.
Again, use these three tips for an advanced fat loss period of two weeks, then return to a normal training schedule.
But always stick to the best fat loss nutrition plan possible.
If you have any other questions, just let me know.
Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS
Men’s Health Training Expert
Author, Turbulence Training
Discover the top 5 fat loss myths at www.TurbulenceTraining.com