Don’t waste your time commenting that diet is key for fat loss.
Yup. 100% it is.
BUT the best results always come when we dial in our overall lifestyle as a system to work together.
And too often we turn to cardio when we want to lose fat.
We think we even need MORE cardio to improve our results.
But not only do workouts NOT have to be just cardio or just strength, but you could technically see BETTER results by dialing in your strength training over simply adding in more cardio type workouts.
That’s why I wanted to share 5 tips to get better fat loss results from your strength workouts.
But before I do, I want to highlight why strength training and building muscle is so key if we want to look leaner and KEEP the fat off…
Why Strength Training Is Key:
To build muscle, we need to challenge our body to grow stronger.
While you can 100% lose weight without working out by just adjusting your diet, you need the challenge of training to help you build that muscle.
Not to mention a consistent workout routine can make it so much easier to lose fat faster and maintain those results long term.
Working out though isn’t just about burning more calories. And weight training especially improves your hormone levels for easier fat loss and a better body composition.
Weight training, and increasing muscle mass, can even increase insulin sensitivity for better fat burning benefits and a higher metabolic rate.
And that is why paying attention to your workouts and not just your diet is so key.
Through your strength training, and creating progression in your workouts, you can build lean muscle.
While we often think about creating progression through using heavier loads, progression can also occur by adding in instability, using variations of movements, changes in tempos and even changing up the range of motion you’re performing during movements.
But we need that clear challenge to create the change no matter how we create it.
We can’t just see our workouts as a time to burn more calories, and do MORE, which is why we often turn to cardio.
We have to also recognize that cardio can be catabolic to muscle tissue and, when combined with a calorie deficit for fat loss, can actually lead to us losing more muscle mass over the course of our weight loss journey.
It’s why strength training is so key.
It helps us do what we can to increase lean muscle mass and at least preserve even the muscle we have.
And we want to do everything in our power to preserve our lean muscle mass to make sure the weight we are losing is as much fat as possible to look our leanest.
While, especially if we have more weight to lose, some muscle mass loss will occur, the leaner we get, the more we want to do what we can to avoid more muscle loss than necessary.
Because muscle is metabolically costly.
What this means is it requires more calories to maintain more muscle on your body.
More muscle therefore means a higher metabolic rate and more calories burned at rest.
So if you’re looking to lose more fat faster, you want to retain and even add muscle.
Focusing on strength training to build and retain lean muscle will help you avoid some of the metabolic adaptations that often occur with weight loss and allow you to eat more as you lean down.
Muscle will then make it easier to maintain your weight loss long term not to mention actually LOOK LEANER because you truly will have lost fat in the process!
Now…What Are 5 Tips To Help You Dial In Your Strength Training For Better Fat Loss Results?
#1: Focus on compound moves.
Compound moves or moves that work multiple joints and muscle groups at once allow you to move heavy loads and build lean muscle efficiently.
They are a perfect way to work more areas in less time, which is key if you are trying to create efficient workouts to match your busy schedule.
And while we don’t want our training to just be about burning calories, compound moves will help you burn more calories during your sessions than isolation exercises will.
You are working large muscle groups and more muscles at once, which means your body needs to utilize more energy to perform these lifts.
You may find you get more out of breath and see your heart rate increase more when focusing your workouts on compound movements, especially when you challenge yourself with heavy loads.
Working muscles require increased blood flow to deliver glucose, oxygen and other nutrients to muscles, which will increase your heart rate to match these demands aka you’ll burn more calories.
And not only will you burn more calories during your sessions but these muscles that have been worked during your session will require more energy to support the healing process so they can grow stronger.
Especially if you are in a slight calorie deficit, your body will need to utilize stored energy to fuel the repair and growth!
#2: Avoid body part splits.
You’ll see many bodybuilding splits working very focused areas of the body each session.
This often limits the large muscles you are actually targeting per session and decreases your training frequency for areas over the week.
Especially for stubborn areas, increasing training frequency may be helpful so you can more efficiently build that lean muscle.
This may mean full-body, anterior-posterior or even hemisphere splits may be more beneficial so you can target muscle groups more than once a week easily.
This will also allow you to hit more large muscle groups each and every session to more efficiently build strength and muscle.
Targeting more large muscle groups each and every session also allows you to ultimately create a more anabolic hormonal environment which can also assist you in burning more fat even at rest.
With these harder training sessions that focus on more large muscle groups each and every session you can elevate levels of growth hormone and testosterone and reap their fat burning benefits.
Besides initiating fat burning, growth hormone also facilitates protein synthesis for faster recovery and greater muscular development.
Testosterone also is key to creating that anabolic environment which not only promotes fats burning but the development of lean mass.
Not to mention, again working those large muscle groups leads to more calories being burned not only during your sessions but even in the follow time as your body repairs and rebuilds!
#3: Use fewer single lift workout designs.
While you don’t want to turn every strength workout into a cardio session or that will fight against your muscle gains, you do want to use the cardio-strength spectrum to your advantage.
While single heavy lifts with longer rest periods can and should be included strategically, especially to build strength, they aren’t necessarily the most efficient for muscle hypertrophy.
Intense heavy lifting sessions with at times shorter rest periods, not no rest periods, can even better optimize those hormone levels.
By using more supersets, trisets and circuit type workout designs, you can allow areas to rest while still working other areas.
This often allows you to work more muscle groups in a shorter time frame and keep your body having to work harder to again, burn more calories to rebuild stronger.
The metabolic element to these sessions can also help you get cardiovascular benefits and stay in great conditioning shape, even improving your lifting.
Plus, by alternating areas worked, you can still get adequate rest to keep using those heavy loads to encourage muscle hypertrophy or growth!
#4: Mix up the tools you use.
Often when we think about building muscle, we think about lifting heavier and getting super sore.
While you may find at times during your fat loss phase, you do get more sore as you are in a slight calorie deficit, you also don’t want to try to make yourself sore after every session.
Soreness isn’t an indicator you worked hard enough. And it isn’t needed to build muscle.
While muscle tissue damage can lead to soreness, it isn’t the only driver of muscle growth either – there is also mechanical tension and metabolic stress.
That is why you want to consider not only adding heavier loads but different types of moves and resistances to your training routine!
Consider a barbell hip thruster but add in a mini band around your legs. Or even test out a double banded variation.
Don’t be afraid to use banded moves that change where and how tension is applied during a movement.
Don’t even avoid including some isolation work that does use bands to create that pump and burn to really target those stubborn areas!
These different tools and different moves help you use all three drivers of muscle growth to get the best results possible and even increase your training frequency over the week.
Not to mention they can make training fun, especially if you are finding your motivation at times fading. It can be fatiguing at times to keep trying to drive to lift more or do another rep.
And that is also why including progression through different tools and even the same but different can give you another way of progressing that mentally may be more fun and motivating!
#5: Do a proper warm up – Don’t skip the activation!
This tip is extremely unsexy but the one so many of us are guilty of doing…Especially when we think about designing workouts for weight loss and we’re short on time.
Our warm up is the first thing to go in our workouts so we can “get to the good stuff” and burn a ton of calories.
But if you want to get the most benefit from every training session and really make sure the correct muscles are working, you don’t want to skip your warm up, especially the activation.
Activation exercises not only create metabolic stress to drive muscle growth, but they can be used to establish that mind-body connection.
Through focused activation of one muscle they do also stretch the opposing muscle group as you go through the movement. A glute bridge, where you focus on those glutes will in turn stretch out those hip flexors!
And the more we are able to FEEL those correct muscles working in our training, the more those muscles are truly benefiting.
That ability to recruit muscles and feel them working, that activation, can improve our muscle hypertrophy.
For example, if you feel only your quads or hamstrings during a weighted glute bridge, your glutes aren’t getting the benefit they should. You want to feel them as the prime mover.
Doing glute activation in your warm up can help you establish that mind-body connection so you can better engage those glutes during your workout.
That way you’re not overloading muscles, which can lead to injury AND you’re also really truly using those muscles correctly so they get the full benefit of the workout lifts you’re including!
We want to be intentional with our training to get the best results possible.
The more we can use every tool in our toolbox to get results, the better and faster our results will be.
So if you’re really working to lose fat and have your diet dialed in, don’t ignore how beneficial strength training can be to building that lean, strong physique and even maintaining your results long-term!
Learn more about my 3-Step Recipe For Results…