Some amongst us plain and simple hate cardio and would prefer to avoid it as much as possible. But luckily for us, it doesn’t take cardio equipment to burn body fat. There are several training techniques and principles that you can incorporate into your workouts to turn your lifting session into a fat-burning frenzy.
1. Use compound movements
Build your workout routines around multi-joint movements like rows, deadlifts, and squats to burn the most calories. Performing compound movements requires an overall muscle recruitment, more stabilizers and supporting muscle groups are used during these exercises which results in more caloric expenditure. Additionally, compound movements performed with free weights burn more calories per minute than those done with machines or isolation moves. Isolation moves, or single-joint exercises, such as leg extensions, biceps curls, and triceps extensions, should represent only a small portion of your routine in this case.
2. Train circuit style
Another effective way of burning fat is circuit training. Circuit training is done by performing a series of exercises back to back with little to no rest in between. Once a circuit is completed, you then start from the top of the order and go right through the exercises again. Train circuit style using 6 to 15 exercises with at least 10 reps with each exercise, alternating upper and lower body exercises to burn maximum fat. Once you adapt, increase your reps to 20 plus. Limit your circuits to 2-5 minutes, it takes two minutes for your aerobic system to kick in. At the end of the circuit, take a 2-3 minute rest; this will make the workout similar to interval training on the treadmill or bike. To optimize fat burn you will need 20-30 minutes of work time which translates into 6-10 circuits, three times per week.
3. Train more often
You can also burn fat by training more often. It’s simple math, the more often you train the higher your metabolism increases during and hours after your workouts, consequently, you will burn more calories. Training six days a week with shorter workouts – as opposed to three longer sessions when you train 2-3 bodyparts – will create a greater overall metabolic increase. So instead of doing a once-per-week body part training, for example, trying train a body part twice a week with short and intense sessions. By pairing muscle groups the right way you can come up with six short fat-burning sessions per week.
4. Train large muscle groups
You burn more calories and subsequently, more body fat during and after a chest and back workout than from an arms workout simply because you’re involving more muscle mass. The larger the muscle mass involved, the greater the energy, and therefore the calories required for the exercise. Additionally, you burn more calories training those larger bodyparts with free-weight compound exercises rather than isolation and machine moves. Try train your large muscle group more frequently such as twice each week and perform 2-3 exercises per body part, 4-5 sets each.
5. Lift heavy
Most people think that you should lift with light weights and high reps to burn more calories and fat. Not necessarily so. Studies have shown that training with heavy weight keeps your metabolism higher and your testosterone levels elevated for longer after the workout, both of which result in greater fat-burning potential. Train with the progressive-overload principle, increasing the weights gradually from week to week and keeping your rep range between 6 to 12 reps to build lean muscle and rev up your metabolism for fat optimal.
6. Keep your rest periods short
To maximize fat burn, keep your workout moving by resting 30-45 seconds between sets. Short rest periods maximize calorie burn and research shows that this rest period increases caloric burn by 50% during the workout, compared to the usual two-minute rest period. You may not be as strong heading into your next set, but the added calorie burn may be worth it.
7. Extend your sets
Techniques such as drop sets, rest-pause, and forced reps help amp up your calorie burn. These techniques allow you to burn more calories by squeezing in more work in roughly the same amount of time. For example, if you’re doing a set of six reps to failure on a given exercise. After the sixth rep, either decrease the weight and immediately rep out to failure again (drop set), or rest 15-20 seconds and perform a few more reps with the same weight (rest-pause). Extending sets in these manners burn more calories and fat. To keep your calorie burn optimal, incorporate supersets or drop sets on the last set of each exercise and try to increase the weight or reps you do each week.
8. Speed up your reps
Fast explosive reps burn for calories than the typical slow, controlled reps that most people used doing. Keep your reps explosive by controlling the movement on the negative portion and powerfully driving the weight on the positive part of every rep, with little rest at the top of each rep. You can also simulate interval training using fat reps by performing 2 sets with 3-8 fast reps, then following with 2-3 sets of normal-paced reps using a weight you can lift for 15-25 reps for each exercise.
9. Be functional
Some exercises used in functional training are great options for burning more fat. Functional training combines the effects of the body strength, metabolic conditioning, muscle confusion, explosive intervals, and flexibility and mobility to allow you to burn maximum fat. You can build your own fat burning workout program by combining six to ten of exercises such power cleans, deadlifts, kettlebell swings, clean and press and farmers walk, etc… into metabolic circuits.