That title is no misprint. You must stop training your muscles if you want to lose fat. Or at least change your mindset to training movements rather than muscles. Save the bodybuilding routine for those who have the time to go through a 2 hour weight training workout. Your fat loss will not be maximized by a routine in that format anyway. Instead lets look at how our body moves and try and incorporate exercises that fit those movements.

Most of our body’s movements incorporate our core. When I use the term core I am referring to the part of your body from your shoulders down to your knees. And in order for your body to increase its metabolism and burn fat effectively, the core needs to be stressed. You will not burn fat from doing arm exercises and calf raises alone, it just won’t happen. It is also good to say here that without a solid nutrition program you will see minimal results from whatever program you are performing.

There are a few ways in which you can incorporate exercises that stress the core. One way is through combination exercises, which utilize two movements in a given repetition stressing two movements, and the second way is performing one movement that stresses a large part of your body. For example, Squat to shoulder press is a combination movement, where a squat is a movement stressing a large part of the body. Both are highly effective for fat loss.

Now lets take a look at two exercises that on the surface seem to work the same muscle. This would be seen and thought of as training muscles not movements: I will use the Squat as an example again. The Squat is predominately seen as a leg exercise or if you would like to be more specific, a Hamstring muscle down the back of your leg) exercise. However, in truth the Squat is a movement, as there are many different types of squat and they all work different muscles. The traditional Squat will stress several muscles itself, including, Quadriceps (front of your leg), Hamstrings, Glutes (butt), Low back, Abdominals, and several other smaller muscles in the core and middle back.

You get the idea, but imagine performing exercises that involved several muscle groups at once. Your efficiency of burning calories increases exponentially. So it would only take a few of these movements to develop a great workout that will have you in and out of the gym in less than an hour, you’ll be burning fat long after you leave the gym and you will be seeing results in no time.

Another reason that training movements is superior to training muscles is to develop a balance within your muscles and joints. This will prevent you from becoming injured or suffering from the aches and pains that you hear about all the time from long time lifters. Let’s take the shoulder for a minute as an example. The shoulder, when speaking in terms of lift movements has four directions: horizontal push, horizontal pull, vertical push, and vertical pull. In an ideal exercise program, all of these movements are balanced getting equal attention (same number of sets and repetitions). A program that has an uneven number of exercises for each movement is flawed and will lead to overuse injury,
muscle imbalance or acute injury, usually in the smaller Rotator Cuff muscles inside the shoulder joint. Creating that balance is essential in developing long term success, as it is very difficult and very discouraging to exercise while you are injured or less than 100%. Creating this balance also causes you to choose exercises with very different movements, which also reinforces more use of more of your body in a shorter amount of time. You can pair two exercises together back to back that stress very different movements, and this can shorten your time in the gym as well while also maximizing the other benefits of fat loss and muscle balance.

Two hour workouts are a thing of the past. The truth is you are more than able to get a high quality fat burning workout in much less than an hour if you maximize your time. All while reducing your risk of injury (which is a huge benefit to resistance training, if done right, of course), and striving for that feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment. Training effectively, efficiently, and with effort are the keys to your success.

Article courtesy of Ben Warstler & Groundbreaking Fitness, LLC

Ben is the owner of Groundbreaking Fitness, LLC in Vermont. Specializing in fat loss, Ben runs Fitness Boot Camps and Metabolism Makeover Programs in addition to Personal Training. For more fat loss tips go to and sign up for his weekly fitness journal.