Your Workout Plan for a Year-Round Lean Body
The best workouts for fast fat loss are usually short and intense; for example, those emphasizing High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) protocols, which increase the famed afterburn effect to enhance fat burning for up to 24 hours post-session. But while such workouts (in their strictest sense) do work wonders when it comes to shrink-wrapping skin to muscle, there exist a number of similarly effective training options to round out your fat-burning repertoire. Steady fat burning remains the primary goal for most devoted lifters, but not at the expense of muscle depletion. And therein lies the problem with many a fat burning protocol: while traditional cardio-based approaches will, without question, rid the body of much unsightly adipose, such methods will also, to a certain extent, compromise muscle gains. While such Low Intensity Steady State (LISS) methods are vastly superior to sitting on the couch and simply dreaming of lean body returns, they are far from ideal when seeking to develop and maintain a captivating physique. In fact, there are several superior methods which may get the fat loss job done just as effectively while preserving maximum muscle size and strength. This article will detail the best of these methods and provide a workout plan incorporating each. So, put away that treadmill and get ready to become a massive loser (of unsightly fat and waistline inches).
Workout Approach 1: Whole Body CircuitsIf you wish to resemble the stereotypical endurance athlete (poorly muscled and skinny-fat) you would be advised to spend a decent portion of your time engaging in low intensity, long duration exercise (running, excessive steady state cardio etc).9, 15 If on the other hand your goal is to be well-muscled, shredded and freaky strong (i.e., everyone reading this article) you’d be wise to get a little unorthodox once and a while and include some super-challenging high intensity strength circuits. While steady state activities, compared to typical strength-training protocols, tend to burn more calories directly, a certain amount of muscle tissue will also be sacrificed to sustain the longer and more continuous output of energy needed to complete such endurance-based training. Contrary to popular belief, such a strategy could be one of the least effective ways to maximize fat burning. Let’s look at it another way: with every five pounds of muscle lost through excessive cardio, 250 fewer calories will be burned over a 24-hour period – a massive drop off in caloric expenditure that’s likely to kick us out of our desired caloric deficit. By comparison, a vigorous resistance workout of the same duration will burn approximately 150 fewer calories but, on the upside, will also build much metabolically-active muscle tissue to keep the basal metabolic rate functioning at full speed while we rest. By further increasing the intensity of this workout, greater EPOC (Excess Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption) returns can be achieved – an effective way to ensure continued fat burning long after the workout is over.1, 3 While upping the intensity of given resistance workout (shortening rest periods, increasing weight, including intensity methods such as rest pause etc) will greatly improve metabolic efficiency (and around the clock fat burning) compared to traditional cardio methods,4, 10 there is another, more effective, way to achieve the coveted shredded look: whole body strength circuits. The following three circuits – as included in the training plan to follow – will serve you well in your fat loss endeavors. Perform each movement back to back and rest for one-minute between circuits.
- Heavy Dumbbell Deadlift: 30 reps
- Battle Ropes: one-minute continuous
- Medicine Ball Slams (wearing weighted vest): 30 reps
- Farmer’s Walk: one-minute continuous
- Wall Balls: 30 reps
- Crocodile Walk: one-minute continuous
- Burpees (with weighted vest and light dumbbells): 20 reps
- Barbell Thruster: 20 reps
- One-Arm Kettlebell Snatch: 15 reps (per side)
Workout Approach 2: Lower Body BlastWhen it comes to building massive quads and hams, there is no substitute for high volume, heavy resistance training coupled with intensive cardio methods (think sprinters as opposed to marathoners). In addition, by combining traditional lower-body mass building movements with fast, explosive, short-burst cardio methods (the typical HIIT protocol), maximum fat burning can also be achieved at a faster rate. Thus, the following workout can be used for extreme fat loss and lower body muscle retention. Incorporate it every second leg workout to keep fat tissue at bay and leg mass on the increase.
- Medium Stance Squats (12 reps per set) supersetted with 20 seconds of low intensity walking/10 seconds high intensity sprinting: 4 sets.
- Walking Barbell Lunges supersetted with Bulgarian Split Squats: 3 sets of 20 reps per set (per movement)
- Romanian Deadlifts supersetted with Standing One-Legged Leg Curls: 3 sets of 12 reps per set (per movement)
- Sprinting for 10 seconds supersetted with Wide Stance Squats for 12 reps per set: 2 sets.
Workout Approach 3: Increase Heavy-A** Weights (+HAW)Quite possibly the most important principle for progressively producing huge slabs of prime muscle could be: “always lift enough weight to impose the desired training effect.” In this case we are talking about keeping reps within the 8-12 range and achieving failure before the 12th rep. This will require lifting between 75% to 80% of a given one repetition max (i.e., a certifiably heavy a** weight). Given the correlation between heavy weights, increased muscle size and enhanced metabolic efficiency, it stands to reason that the harder and heavier our weights sessions are, the more fat we’ll lose in the long run.7 Lighter workouts – though they should also have a place in our workout plan – will, perhaps not surprisingly, have more of an adverse effect on muscle growth and fat loss – but perhaps not for the reasons most of us expect. It all comes down to that much-publicized stress hormone cortisol. The further we go beyond 15 reps per set, per movement, the greater the upregulation of stress hormones such as cortisol. As most of us know, cortisol, besides limiting muscle growth, also puts the brakes on fat burning and, thus, its excessive output is to be avoided when seeking to shred. As well as increasing the afterburn effect and enhancing calorie burning via the metabolically-active nature of muscle tissue, an emphasis on heavy weights can also help preserve muscle when in a calorie-deprived state; improve insulin sensitivity; enhance testosterone production; lower the risk of overtraining (compared to longer duration sessions with excessive volume); and provide a strong training stimulus for the body to respond to.5, 6, 13, 14 All of these factors add up to more muscle and less fat. Instead of just listening to heavy metal while you train, try to lift more of it. Rather than seeking out all manner of exotic training approaches to reveal one’s underlying muscularity, instead get to work hoisting heavy poundages to build some real muscle and to kick your fat burning machinery into overdrive.
Workout Approach 4: Low Intensity Steady StateThough it was discussed earlier that low intensity cardio methods can do more harm than good when to comes to ensuring appreciable gains, to feature this method as an effective fat burning approach is no contradiction in terms. Stating that this method may be counterproductive and stating that it has zero benefit are in fact two separate things. Indeed, whereas more intensive pursuits tend to burn carbs predominantly along with a smaller amount of adipose, low to moderate activities will always be most effective for targeting fat as a primary fuel source.8 While we have established that HIIT methods, strength circuits and heavy weights will provide more fat loss benefits in the long run and over a longer period of time, lower intensity approaches still have their place in any good fat burning plan. As well as directly burning more fat, steady state options may also provide a welcome respite from more intensive pursuits (thus doubling as a form of ‘active’ recovery to prepare the body for the next heavy bout). Here, it’s important to again note that, under most circumstances, we get the body we train for. If you want to resemble a marathon runner, the best option would be to emphasize long-duration, less intensive protocols. However, if size, strength and all-round athleticism are the goal, intensity of effort and complete muscular overload must always come first.
Shred Fat Year-Round Supplement Plan
By consistently following the proven principles outlined within this article, fast and effective fast loss will follow like DOMs after a painful leg session. However, following these time-tested tenets will only take you so far. Nutrition, including targeted supplementation, comprise the remaining foundational elements that will get you into your best-ever shape. Use the following stack to maximize your training efforts and keep fat burning consistent.
12-Week Shred Fat Year-Round Workout Plan for Fast and Efficient Results
MONDAYMorning: Cardio – Following one serving of A-CUTS Bike, Stepper or Treadmill: 30 minutes of HIIT, alternating between 30 seconds moderate intensity and 30 seconds super-high intensity (maintaining a maximum heart rate of between 140-150 beats per minute during the high intensity phase). Evening: Back, Traps, Biceps – 30 minutes following one serving of RAPIDCUTS SHREDDED and one serving of LIQUID L-CARNITINE (both to be taken on an empty stomach, one hour after pre-training meal). -BB Deadlifts SS with one-Arm DB Rows: 3 sets of 10 reps per set (per movement) -Pullups: 3 sets of 12 (add weight if necessary) -Reverse-Grip Pulldowns SS with Seated Cable Rows: 3 sets of 12 reps per set (per movement) -BB Shrugs (to the front): 3 sets of 12 reps -BB Curls SS with Incline DB Curls: 3 sets of 10 reps per set (per movement) -BB Reverse Curls SS with DB Hammer Curls: 3 sets of 12 reps per set (per movement)
TUESDAYMorning: Cardio and Abs – Following one serving of A-CUTS Bike, Stepper or Treadmill: 45 minutes steady state (maintaining a maximum heart rate of between 120-130 beats per minute). -Stability Ball Crunches SS with Ab Wheel Rollouts: 3 sets of 25 (for crunches)/15 (for Rollouts) -Hanging Leg Raises: 3 sets of 20 reps per set Evening: Chest, Shoulders, Triceps – 30 minutes following one serving of RAPIDCUTS SHREDDED and one serving of LIQUID L-CARNITINE (both to be taken on an empty stomach, one hour after pre-training meal). -BB Bench Presses SS with Inline DB Presses: 3 sets of 12 reps per set (per movement) -Decline BB Presses: 3 DDS of 12 reps per set -Incline DB Flyes: 3 sets of 10 reps per set -Lateral Raises SS with Seated DB Presses: 3 sets of 12 reps per set (per movement) -DB Front Raises: 3 DDS of 12 reps per set -Rope Pressdowns SS with One Arm Overhead Extensions: 3 sets of 12 reps per set (per movement) -One Arm Triceps Kickbacks: 3 DDS of 10 reps per set
WEDNESDAYMorning: Cardio – Following one serving of A-CUTS Bike, Stepper or Treadmill: 30 minutes of HIIT, alternating between 30 seconds moderate intensity and 30 seconds super-high intensity (maintaining a maximum heart rate of between 140-150 beats per minute during the high intensity phase). Evening: Legs – 30 minutes following one serving of RAPIDCUTS SHREDDED and one serving of LIQUID L-CARNITINE (both to be taken on an empty stomach, one hour after pre-training meal).
-Alternate between workouts 1 and 2 from week to week
Workout 1:-Medium-Stance Squats SS with Leg Extensions: 3 sets of 12 reps per set (per movement) -Leg Presses: 3 DDS of 10 reps per set -Bulgarian Split Squats SS with Walking BB Lunges: 3 sets of 10 reps per set (per movement) -Lying Leg Curls: 3 DDS of 12 reps per set -Romanian Deadlifts SS with Standing Calf Raises: 3 sets of 15 reps per set (per movement) -Seated Calf Raises: 3 sets of 15 reps per set
Workout 2:-Medium Stance Squats (12 reps per set) SS with 20 seconds of low intensity walking/10 seconds high intensity sprinting: 4 sets. -Walking Barbell Lunges SS with Bulgarian Split Squats: 3 sets of 20 reps per set (per movement) -Romanian Deadlifts SS with Standing One-Legged Leg Curls: 3 sets of 12 reps per set (per movement) -Sprinting for 10 seconds SS with Wide Stance Squats for 12 reps per set: 2 sets.
THURSDAYEvening: Back, Traps – 30 minutes following one serving of RAPIDCUTS SHREDDED and one serving of LIQUID L-CARNITINE (both to be taken on an empty stomach, one hour after pre-training meal). -DB Rows: 3 DDS of 12 reps per set -Close-Grip Pulldowns SS with Lying DB Pullovers: 3 sets of 10 reps per set (per movement) -DB Shrugs: 3 sets of 10 reps per set Strength Circuit: complete each movement back to back with as little rest as possible between movements. Rest for one minute; complete circuit a further two times for three total circuits. -Heavy Dumbbell Deadlift: 30 reps -Battle Ropes: one-minute continuous -Medicine Ball Slams (wearing weighted vest): 30 reps
SATURDAYMorning: Cardio – Following one serving of A-CUTS Bike, Stepper or Treadmill: 30 minutes of HIIT, alternating between 30 seconds moderate intensity and 30 seconds super-high intensity (maintaining a maximum heart rate of between 140-150 beats per minute during the high intensity phase). Evening: Legs – 30 minutes following one serving of RAPIDCUTS SHREDDED and one serving of LIQUID L-CARNITINE (both to be taken on an empty stomach, one hour after the pre-training meal). -Goblet Squats SS with BB Hip Thrusts: 3 sets of 12 reps per set (per movement) -DB Step-Ups SS with Side Lunges: 3 sets of 12 reps per set (per movement) Strength Circuit: complete each movement back to back with as little rest as possible between movements. Rest for one minute; complete a further two times for three total circuits. -Farmer’s Walk: one-minute continuous -Wall Balls: 30 reps -Crocodile Walk: one-minute continuous
NOTENote: rest for no more than 1-minute between straight sets and supersets (unless otherwise prescribed). -Select training weights in accordance with prescribed rep range. Choose a level of resistance that ensures failure on the last rep of each work set. -BB = Barbell -DB = Dumbbell -Double Drop Sets (DDS): complete one set, reaching failure within the stated rep range; reduce weight by 30% and complete another set; reduce weight by a further 30% and complete a final set. -Supersets (SS): complete a second set with a different movement immediately following the first set.
Health Tip: Maintain Perspective
Getting bodyfat low, and keeping it there, can be a painstaking task involving many hours of gym time and much discipline at the dinner table. For some, the excess weight appears to melt off, whereas for others simply losing single pound may be classed as a monumental achievement. Either way, the process cannot be forced. We must be willing to let the results unfold in their own good time and celebrate each incremental improvement (be it an extra pound on the bar or an extra pound off the midsection). So, to enjoy the kind of long-lasting progress that can be maintained indefinitely, be sure to keep your training in perspective. Don’t rush the process and celebrate all the good that comes your way. If you keep working hard enough for long enough, the results you desire will come soon enough. By following the training and supplement plans outlined above, you’ll be immensely satisfied with your gains after 12 weeks. Then, the real work of maintaining what you have achieved while further improving upon your newfound success begins. Enjoy the journey.
Shred Fat Year-Round References
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