Best Fat Burning Workouts for Men and Women-Not a One-Sided Solution

Strength training with barbells

The best fat burning workouts for men or women don’t start with the workout. It begins with the food you eat, or don’t.

Been hitting the gym pretty hard but also hitting those pretzel chips and beer pretty hard too?

And maybe some fries and a slice of pizza here and there, or maybe just a few too many helpings of pasta or white rice?

If you have, you’ve probably been noticing your stomach is starting to talk back to you when you look in the mirror. Jiggle jiggle, wiggle wiggle.

But not to worry, starting with cutting out those extra carbs and simple sugars, there is a simple plan to get you back on track to that dream body you’ve been sculpting. Fat down, energy and muscle up!

Burn Fat with Cardio!

Yes it’s true! You can actually burn fat by running, swimming, walking and other so-called boring cardio. There are better ways to do cardio than the villainized long, boring cardio that gets smashed by YouTube trainers so often though. Plus, there are a lot of benefits to getting outside of the gym and disciplining your mind to push your body through a couple miles of constant motion.

Here are a couple of tips for making cardio one of your go to fat burning methods:

  • Get outdoors. Who wouldn’t be bored going nowhere on a machine inside of a building? Also, how is the air you’re breathing in there? Get outside, preferable not next to a freeway. Go to a trail, a park, the beach. Get out early before there are tons of cars on the road. There is a huge difference in how your brain reacts when you get outside, and you’re more likely to go farther and longer.
  • Go harder. You can’t always spend 90 minutes doing endurance training workouts, and it takes time to build up that kind of aerobic and muscular conditioning. You can go hard for 20 minutes however, or break up your 90 minutes into fast/slow intervals. Try doing a warm-up, followed by a pace that forces you to a speed that is fast enough to make you wonder if you can keep it up for an extended period of time. In longer sessions, include ‘all-out’ sprints for brief periods throughout the session.
  • Include cardio at the end or beginning of your resistance training workout. As a thorough general warm up or a finisher at the end, adding 20-30 minutes of biking, running or other cardiovascular activity (or a fast 15) sends your metabolism into overdrive and is a great way to burn off fat.

cardio benefits of sprinting

Aerobic exercise seems to have no shortage of benefits on longevity, especially in extreme aerobic athletes, according to Cleveland Clinic cardiologist Wael Jaber, M.D. (“Better cardiorespiratory fitness leads to longer life.” sciencedaily.com.)

Of course, that extreme endurance comes with the sacrifice of a lot of muscle and strength as well as fat. You are still improving bone strength, however, and may experience some initial muscle gains when starting out.

The key for non-endurance athletes is to balance strength training with cardio training, and perhaps one of the best living examples of this in a human being is Cameron Hanes. If you don’t know, check him out on Instagram @cameronhanes.

Build Muscle and Endurance with Complexes, Giant Sets, Circuits

Some of the best fat burning, muscle-building workouts you can do involve complexes, giant sets and circuits. Technical definitions aside, barbell or dumbbell complexes, giant sets and circuits all have the same idea behind them. Resistance training with little to no rest between exercises.

Circuits:  You can set up as many exercises as you like, but 6 is a good number to cap it off at. Have your equipment laid out before you start, in an easy to follow circuit if possible. This way you don’t forget what comes next when you start getting exhausted.

Make sure you are warm, or do a warm-up circuit. Then get started, going from exercise to exercise with no rest or as much as 30 seconds max. Do each exercise to failure. Complete the circuit. Rest a minute, and repeat 2-3 times. Try setting up 2 or 3 different circuits for 3 sets each and watch the fat fall away while your fitness levels skyrocket.

Sample Circuit

  1. Pushups or Bench Press
  2. Pullups or TRX rows
  3. Barbell or dumbbell cleans or overhead press
  4. Hanging leg raises
  5. Deadlifts

Giant Sets:  Giant sets originated in the bodybuilding world, and usually mean 4 exercises strung together for opposing muscle groups. These are done with no rest between exercises, so have your weights set up before you start. Example:

  • Deadlifts/Pullups/Dips/Presses (bench, overhead, etc.)

You could also structure this as:

  • Deadlifts
  • Presses
  • Pullups
  • Dips

The second sequence keeps the grip from getting too tired for pullups or the triceps from getting too tired to carry out the second pushing exercise.

Complexes

Complexes are essentially the same type of workout. When people talk about complexes, they are usually referring to a circuit done with a barbell/s or dumbbells. Istvan Javorek popularized several barbell and dumbbell complexes many years ago, and are the basis for most of what you see on the internet today. These are also great done with kettlebells.

For a complex, choose 3-6 exercises which will work the whole body. Then choose a number of repetitions (hint: if you’re new to these, start with a low number!) and a number of sets. So for example:

  • Barbell deadlifts x 6 reps
  • Barbell bent over rows x 6 reps
  • Barbell hang snatch x 6 reps
  • Barbell back squat x 6 reps
  • Barbell behind-the-neck push press x 6 reps

Depending on your fitness level you may choose to do 1 set or 5. Keep the rest to 90-120 seconds between complex sets, and do not rest between exercises. In the example above, you should never have to put the bar down to move to the next exercise.

Muscle, Metabolism, Cardio and Diet

Diet plays a huge role in your body composition, so it’s important to develop a lifestyle around eating healthy and giving your body a scheduled day to allow anything. (See “How to Lose 100 Pounds on The Slow Carb Diet” on the Tim Ferriss blog.)

It’s also important to build muscle as this is the number one consumer of energy in our body while sleeping and awake. The effects of this tend to be exxagerated however. Building muscle alone won’t keep the weight off, especially if you are eating to satisfy the increased hunger from the greater metabolic burn. Nonetheless, a regular strength training routine is essential.

Cardiovascular health is one of the greatest indicators of good heart health and longevity. It’s also a great activity on light training days to help your body recover by delivering more oxygen to the muscles and flushing out CO2 and lactic acid (mayoclinic.org). balancing strength and cardio

As with most things, there is a simple solution that gets more complex the longer you look at it. Losing weight and getting fit are simple in one respect-just get started and keep working.

As you get into better condition, though, you run into things like boredom, soreness, plateaus and so on. However, by the time you get to this point you should have a good idea of what works for you and what doesn’t, and more important, you’ve developed the habit of being a healthy, fit. person.

So what are the best fat burning workouts for men and women? Ultimately, it’s the one you stick with for life, and keep improving and evolving as your body adapts. So get started, and don’t look back!

Working Out the Same Muscles Two Days in a Row

In a recent Men’s Health magazine e-mail, they were pimping a book called “Huge in a Hurry” by Chad Waterbury. In this book the author expounds upon the virtues of working the same muscle groups multiple days in a row. 
Because I focus a lot on the energy system and performance aspect I am improving when I train, this concept made perfect sense to me. Let’s go over the basic idea here.
First, working the same muscle group two days in a row does not mean taking the same bodybuilding workout routine you did for your back and repeating it the next day. That is a sure way to overtraining. 
Instead, consider the gymnast. One day’s workout may consist of a typical warm-up, then technique work on the rings. If one day is heavy on the rings, the next day may be split between strength work (in the gym) and a review of the previous day’s techniques. 
The same muscle groups are being used, but the ring’s training load has decreased, and a different modality is used in the gym. The next may be spent doing recovery exercises. An example would be lighter resistance and stretching; nothing too heavy or difficult. 
Functional workouts, such as those used in Crossfit gyms or at GymJones, focus on a particular energy system. The workouts are designed to improve strength, power, endurance or build muscle; but usually a combination of these. This approach means the same muscle groups will often be trained several days in a row, or at least with less than 48 hours recovery time.

For example, an Absolute Strength day may look like this:
Warm-up: 10 minutes on stationary bike or rower.
Dynamic-specific warm-up for:
-Deadlift: 1-2 sets at 40-50 percent of 1 repetition max x 10-20. Not to failure.
Then:
-Deadlift: 5-6 sets; work up to singles or doubles at 90% of 1 rep. max.

A Strength Endurance day:
Same warm up and dynamic warm up (only one set this time.)
-Deadlift: 5 x 12, 6,5,3,12, working up to 80-85 percent 1 RM.
Between deadlift sets do:
Stationary bike or rower x 1 minute at hard pace.
After deadlift/sprint rest 90 seconds and repeat.
Finish with 20 minutes at steady pace on rower or bike.

A Power workout using the back squat could look like this:
General warm up
Dynamic warm up with bodyweight squats or light weight.
Then:
Back Squat: 8 x 3 reps. Use a fast but controlled eccentric movement (going down,) and accelerate the bar as fast as possible when standing up. The power reps are not to failure, and are done with 40-50 percent of your one rep. max.
Although you may not want to train any single performance aspet two days in a row, these workouts could be done as strength, endurance and power three days in a row. Or as strength, power and strength/endurance. Other combinations training sport specific activities are also possible.
There are training systems that subject the trainees to heavy workloads on a daily basis, such as the Bulgarian method. Bulgarian Olympic lifters have been known to work on maximum and near maximum lifts six days a week, often enduring more than one workout per day. 
If weightlifting is not your full-time job, though, stick to varying your workload and your intensity. The results will be magnificent, and you just might make faster gains than you ever have before.
***Get the advice of a professional trainer or coach (which I am not) before attempting new and different exercise programs!
Listen to Louie Simmons teaching about increasing bench pressing power. This man has a wealth of knowledge.
Get Chad Waterbury’s book “Huge in a Hurry” here:

                                           

For more information about lifting with bands, go here:

http://www.flexandflow.com

Read more about muscle-building workouts here:

http://www.realmusclefast.com

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