If there is anything I want you to keep in mind in this whooooole fat loss progress is this… Weight training for fat loss is CRUCIAL. In fact….
(Write this down)
In the face of fat loss – one MUST continue to weight train, continue to lift “heavy”, and continue to push the limits. What BUILDS muscle in the face of fat loss KEEPS it!
Now that I’ve put that out “chea” – Imma need you to go on and read that last sentence again.
It is SO important to fat loss – and the results that you see, that it ain’t even funny. And now that I’ve gotten that out straight away, let’s discuss the why behind the whys.
Weight Training for Fat loss, Why Ya MUST Have Both for Success
I can’t tell you how many times I can say that folks have asked me whether switching to high rep training to “burn fat” should be their primary goal, OR if they should continue to lift heavy to see better results….
And I’m going to let you in to a little secret right now…
You should probably focus somewhat on BOTH.
And to tell you the truth, this is a reason why training over various rep ranges while building muscle is ideal. In this way, you do keep the body somewhat “on its toes”, and avoid the kind of adaptation over time which can slow progress.
But moreover, when it comes to HOW you program your workouts during fat loss phases, you get to pull from a variety of tools, tactics, and approaches.
Ok, so think about this…
Fat loss isn’t really a physiological process your body LIKES to be in. All your body cares about on the cellular level is your survival. And it’s going to do EVERYTHING IT CAN from allowing you to essentially “starve yourself and die”.
Really, your body doesn’t CARE about your six pack dearies. Not one iota!
This is why hunger increases, and you have increased cravings the moment you go on a diet. Your body is also in a great place to break down tissue, and that’s what produces weight loss at the end of the day. This is a GOOD thing.
However, good things can come to an end – or at least a screeching halt – when a greater majority of that broken down tissue is MUSCLE!
Muscle is Metabolically Expensive – And The Body Wants to Rid of It During Fat Loss
This is what makes weight training during fat loss so incredibly crucial!
The less muscle that you have at the end of the day, the less the demands are on your body to burn calories. So the breakdown of muscle tissue is like the ultimate survival tactic for your body during times of famine (aka – simple dieting).
What helps to slow down this catabolism in the long run…
If you said WEIGHT TRAINING, you’ve guessed correctly!
Training hard AND heavy during fat loss forces your body to stop breaking down muscle to a major extent. Certainly, you will need that muscle tissue to continue to meet the demands you’re placing on the body! So instead, body fat becomes a much better option to fuel your workouts, and other activity, instead of muscle.
Another thing that can help to preserve muscle is making sure to keep your protein intake on the higher side. So anything around 1 to 1.5 x BW in pounds is enough to see your body hold onto muscle as you continue to lose fat.
You don’t need to go OVERBOARD with the protein intake, but again, just allowing for a nice elevated level during your fat loss phases provides enough amino acids for your body to use to repair tissue post workout, preserve our hard earned muscle, and even use some of it as fuel in the absence of enough carbs.
The Best Ways to Approach Program Design With Weight Training for Fat Loss
The best things I can say to you about your approach to training when fat loss is your goal is to mix it up – but keep the intensity HIGH!
When I design fat loss programs, like to incorporate metabolic circuits, total body strength days (where we hit all the major body parts – back, chest, and legs – with two exercises each per workout), and traditional body part split workouts (upper body, lower body, chest, back, shoulders, arms, etc).
So if you think about it, the possibilities are endless as far as how you can set up your training week. There’s enough variety in that kind of approach to keep you challenged AND entertained at the same time.
And then the other key component is definitely to keep lifting heavy.
When I say that, I mean heavy relative to the demands of the exercise, number of reps and sets you may be doing. So if you are doing an exercise where you need to complete 15 reps, you should be using a weight heavy enough to not be able to complete more than that.
The same would apply if you are lifting 6 or 8 reps in a set. Now, of course the latter sets would require MORE weight than the former (working up to 15 reps), but the ideal is still the same when it comes to intensity. The weight needs to be HEAVY ENOUGH for that set! So you shouldn’t be able to complete more than 6 or 8 reps in that set.
So think of heavy in those respects as you are moving that weight in the gym.
All and all, it isn’t rocket science! Apply these principles and keep your focus in the gym. With consistency – you will see change.