Finding the right workout to target your stubborn fat can seem like a bit of a mystery. Should you be lifting heavy weights? Should you be spending all of your time on the treadmill? It isn’t always straight forward when you are looking to replace your unimpressive stomach for six-pack abs.
There are luckily some workouts that will aid in the process of shedding that fat, as well as being able to improve your overall health at the same time. We’ll touch on four intense workout routines that will boost your health and energy while increasing fat loss in the process.
HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) Cardio
High-intensity interval training consists of exercises focused around a steady pacing, and then suddenly switching to a higher intensity for a short period of time. This could be implemented with running, biking, swimming, or weightlifting.
According to research of ourfitness.life HIIT workouts have been proven to be the most effective method to increase fat loss in the gym. HIIT workouts improve insulin sensitivity, which results in increased fat loss over time. Low-intensity cardio, however, doesn’t see the same benefit, solely acting to burn calories at a lower metabolic rate.
In addition to improving insulin sensitivity, HIIT exercise also boosts your metabolic rate well after your workout has ended. Similarly seen with weight training, burning extra calories after your workout is over is a benefit you won’t see with normal steady-state cardio. Here is an example of a HIIT workout that you can implement for increased fat loss:
HIIT Treadmill Workout:
- Round 1: 90 seconds of a brisk walk/jog
- Round 2: 30-60 seconds of a sprint
- Round 3: 90 seconds of recovery with a brisk walk
- Round 4: 30-60 seconds of a sprint
*Continue repeating the rounds for a total of 15-20 minutes.
This workout can be adjusted to any form of cardio, with intermittent sprints in between slower-paced rounds. Some great replacements would be indoor or outdoor cycling, swimming, or rowing. Not only will HIIT cardio help to burn extra fat post-workout, but you will also be in and out of the gym in a fraction of the time.
PPL (Push, Pull, Legs) Circuit Training
Breaking up workouts into specific body parts is a normal part of the fitness and bodybuilding workout regimen. The most common of which is the Push/Pull/Legs split. This means focusing on pushing movements one day, pulling movements the next day, and then leg exercises on the final day. Examples of each of the movements include:
- Bench Press
- Flat/Incline Dumbbell Press
- Tricep Extensions
- Dumbbell Shoulder Press
- Skull Crushers
- Lat Machine Pulldowns
- Bent Over Rows
- Bicep Dumbbell Curls
- Bicep Hammer Curls
- Leg Press
- Hamstring Curls
- Leg Extensions
While normal weight lifting can act to boost your metabolism post-workout (similarly to HIIT above), it doesn’t have the same cardiovascular aspect necessary to really kick your fat loss into high gear. Implementing circuit training into your weightlifting can increase your overall heart rate, burning more calories and speeding up the fat loss beyond what is possible with a normal weight training session. Selecting four or five main exercises, rapidly switch from one to another without rest. Optimally you should perform the exercises at about 70-80% of your normal strength limit.
Here is an example of a ‘Push’ circuit training session:
- Dumbbell Press: 10-12 repetitions
- Tricep Rope Pushdowns: 10-12 repetitions
- Dumbbell Flys: 10-12 repetitions
- Overhead Dumbbell Press: 10-12 repetitions
- Pushups: 15-20 repetitions
*Rest and repeat this circuit 3-5 times
You can implement the same strategy with both pull and leg days, and then take your scheduled rest day and repeat. Try to avoid implementing this workout during busy hours at the gym, as you will need access to a number of pieces of equipment simultaneously.
Full Body Circuit Training
Similar to the circuit training method mentioned above, this workout strays slightly and includes a selection of exercises encompassing the entire body. These are a great option if you have limited time during the week, letting you attack your entire body in one fell swoop. An example would be:
- Bench Press: 10-12 repetitions
- Squats: 10-12 repetitions
- Overhead Dumbell Press: 10-12 repetitions
- Bicep Dumbbell Curls: 10-12 repetitions
- Dead Lifts: 10-12 repetitions
- Dumbbell Rows: 10-12 repetitions
If you are someone who prefers to workout from home, you can also implement bodyweight exercises to the same effect. An example of this would be:
- Pushups: 15-20 repetitions
- Lunges: 15-20 repetitions
- Crunches: 15-20 repetitions
- Closed Grip Pullups: 15-20 repetitions
- Wide Grip Pullups: 15-20 repetitions
Again you will be repeating either of these circuits 3-5 times, with little to no rest in between exercises.
HIIT Weight Training
A combination of the strength-building benefits of heavy weight training and the cardiovascular benefits of HIIT, these workouts can build and preserve muscle while simultaneously burning fat. Because of the combined benefits of muscle gain and fat loss, HIIT weight training proves to be one of the best workouts for body recomposition.
These workouts mainly focus on one or two muscle groups, switching between lighter and heavier weights for varied repetitions. An example of this would be:
Chest and Triceps
- Dumbbell Press: 12-15 repetitions at 40% of your max weight, followed by 6-8 repetitions at 60% of your max, followed by 12-15 repetitions at 40%
- Dumbbell Flys: 12-15 repetitions at 40%, 6-8 repetitions at 60%, 12-15 repetitions at 40%
- Skull Crushers: 15-20 repetitions at 40%, 12-15 repetitions at 60% , 15-20 repetitions at 40%
- Rope Pushdowns: 12-15 repetitions at 40%, 6-8 repetitions at 60% , 12-15 repetitions at 40%
*Repeat each exercise 2-4 times, with sufficient rest between sets.
This workout can be adjusted for each body part, or in conjunction with a whole-body routine. To achieve maximal fat burning during your gym routine, the main goal should be to increase your overall tempo. As mentioned above, weight training and HIIT exercises will also see increased metabolic effects after your workout, so these will be the most effective routines.
Whether it is bodyweight exercises, dumbbell routines, full-body workouts, or isolated movements, maintaining high intensity with your workout will be your best bet in burning excess fat and maintaining muscle mass.