14 top exercises for fast but effective fat loss
I often tell clients that there are no good or bad exercises as a general rule and just because an exercise is good for one goal doesn’t necessarily make it effective for another. I then tell them that the recipe for awesomeness is two parts leanness to one part muscle!
When determining the purpose of a session, there are a number of considerations to take on board. As an example different numbers of reps will produce different effects on the body. The same exercise therefore could be used to increase strength, muscular endurance or burn calories (to name a few).
I have split my 14 top exercises to make two complete training sessions. This is important as the structure of the sessions determines the outcome, not simply the exercises by themselves. These are tough but effective, give them a go and don’t forget “Do or do not, there is no try” – Yoda.
- Good nutrition. Before we look at the sessions I want to emphasise just how important goal driven nutrition is. If you follow a fat loss plan in a calorie surplus with bad food choices you will not lose fat. If you follow a fat loss plan in a calories deficit with good nutrition you will lose fat. In the same way your training has to be goal specific your food needs to be on point too, with the emphasis being nutrition.
- Trap bar deadlift. This is the first movement of workout one. This movement is to be performed on its own and will require 2-3 minutes rest between sets as it will be worked in the strength rep ranges. I would suggest performing 3 warm up sets of 10 reps getting progressively heavier followed by 3-4 sets of 5-8 reps (5 reps for experienced lifters, 8 for less experienced to start) done at near maximum weight for the number of reps. This would then be followed by one set of 15 reps for intensity and endurance with a much lighter weight. The strength sets are included to help promote muscle maintenance within the plan. The trap bar deadlift has been selected as it works the whole body and increases gym cred by 76%. 4a
- Barbell lunge. The next 5 exercises are to be performed as a circuit. For each exercise I suggest 4-5 rounds of 12-15 reps. The intensity of the session is determined by the rest periods and I would say to start with 30 seconds between movements with 60 seconds rest at the end of the circuit before repeating. As you get fitter you can cut the rest between movements but still keep the 60 second rest after the circuit. The lunge is great as it works a large number of muscles and after 12-15 reps on each leg it will be testing your muscular endurance to the limit.
- Barbell bench press. This is the second movement in the circuit, when selecting exercises for circuits it’s always good to work a selection of muscles. Bench press covers the chest, triceps and anterior deltoid very well.
- Bent over rows. A great back exercise to have in the circuit. Make sure to keep your form strong on these, if you feel form slipping on these reduce the weight or reps.
- Sit-ups. It’s good to add some ab work to circuits but as you can see I don’t tend to clutter my sessions with ab isolation exercises (the abs will be worked in all the big movements). Keep it simple with sit ups and let your training intensity and nutrition take care of your definition.
- Bastards. As the name suggests. These will finish the circuit in style, if style happens to be a sweaty mess on the gym floor. These are great for adding intensity and priming your body to burn through some fat.
- Incline treadmill sprints. Just when you thought it was over! After a few mins rest once the circuit is complete some added sprints will certainly help boost your results. Warm up gradually to a hard run, then again easy for a couple of minutes before starting. Performing a variety of intervals can work well as it challenges your different energy pathways. Here is a sample session. 4-5x15sec sprint max effort 60-90sec rest between onto 2-3x60sec max effort 90-120sec rest followed by 1x6min hard incline run. Once the session is complete feel free to celebrate with a glass of protein shake and some stretching.
- Barbell squats. Session 2. I would suggest not doing these sessions on consecutive days, I imagine your muscles will also tell you that after session one. Use the same format here as you did for the deadlifts in session one. Squats are used as they are a great compound movement and secretly I know you love them.
- Clean and press. This is the first movement of the second session circuit. This circuit will follow the same rules as the session one circuit to keep things simple and effective. If you have ever done 12 reps of clean and press you will know why they are included, they work the whole body and really bring a lot of intensity. For this movement don’t go too heavy and for the technique it doesn’t need to be text book clean and press. I often go with a deadlift to upright row to press hybrid format.
- Inverted rows. One of my favourite back exercises and third in the circuit. To adjust the difficulty of these you can adjust the angle of the body by raising/lowering the hands/feet. The closer to parallel to floor the harder it gets. Once these are a breeze add a plate to your chest for extra resistance.
- Push ups. These really are one of the best movements in the gym. You can vary hand position for different stimulus and don’t be afraid to add some weight (plate on back or weighted jacket) if you find 12-15 of these a breeze.
- Roll outs. The ab move of the second circuit and by far one of the best out there. These are very challenging though so keep the reps lower to start 6-8 would be sufficient. If these are too much to take on then either utilise the plank positon or swiss ball roll outs (easier to adjust difficulty) until strong enough to include the ab wheel or barbell versions.30a
- Ergo interval. Rowing is reasonably horrible. I expect even rowers would agree with that. But the intensity you can do sessions at really does make it a staple in fitness and fat loss plans around the world. A couple of session options.
Repeat for 2000m
Once all this is complete give yourself a pat on the back (if able to) and a big well done from me. With these training sessions in your routine and solid nutrition you will be hitting your fat loss targets in no time!