By: Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS
Men's Fitness magazine recently asked me for 3 of my best fat loss secrets. Since most times the magazines just don't have enough space to run my full tips, I thought I'd give you a more detailed explanation of my secrets here (plus a few extra bonus tips that I didn't send to the magazine).
Secret #1 - Focus on burning carbohydrate, not fat, during your fat-loss workouts.
Sounds backwards, right? But not when you look at how I structure my workouts. Remember that Turbulence Training focuses on resistance training and interval training. Both of these use carbohydrate as the main source of energy. So it's obvious the workout is designed to burn carbohydrates during the training session.
I have no interest in you trying to train in your "target heartrate zone" for fat burning (aka - the fat burning zone). The whole idea of a fat-burning zone is an over-simplified idea of how the body works during exercise.
Leave the inefficient fat burning zone to the mis-educated trainers in the commercial gyms (that not surprisingly, also want to sell you a heart rate monitor so you can stay in your "fat burning heart rate zone").
If you want to get the most results in the least amount of time, focus on burning carbohydrates, not fat.
Why do my fat loss workouts focus on burning carbohydrate rather than fat? In order to burn more calories after the workout, that's why. When you exercise with intervals and heavy resistance training, your body uses more calories in the hours after exercise than it would if you did traditional cardio and lifted lighter weights.
Alwyn Cosgrove calls this 'afterburn', and I call it 'Turbulence'. By any name it gives you the same results - maximum improvements in your body composition (helping you lose fat while gaining muscle).
Secret #2 - Use a range of repetitions in your strength training workouts.
In order to train more muscle fibers and burn more carbohydrates, I have clients use a range of repetitions within the same workout. My workouts now use 6, 8, and 12 reps per set in order to work the muscle the most effectively.
This will burn more carbohydrates and promote as much muscle growth as possible when you are keeping the calories low.
Secret #3 - Use the stationary cycle for interval training.
I choose the stationary bike for intervals whenever possible because cycling against a resistance can help maintain muscle mass.
Cycling against a resistance also allows you to perform a large amount of mechanical work, and that is a key determinant of the Turbulence in my training.
But please note: I don't use low-intensity, fast pedaling 'spinning' intervals as I'm convinced that the hard, resistance-based intervals are more effective for fat loss. My clients only cycle against a strong resistance in their intervals.
I really like the bike, but there are many other ways to do intervals. Use what works for you, but if you are at a plateau, try the bike.
Secret #4 - Increase meal frequency
Okay, so this isn't really a secret to anyone that has read about fat loss. But a 2005 study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that eating 6 times per day was associated with eating fewer calories per day, lowering cholesterol levels, and lowering post-meal insulin levels.
Combine an increased meal frequency with an increased protein and fiber intake, and you'll see your body composition improve rapidly.
If you need more nutrition help, then you'll love the new Turbulence Training Nutrition Guide for Men & Women - written by Dr. Chris Mohr, Ph.D.
See below for more details...
Secret #5 - My Synergistic Turbulence Training Workouts
My Turbulence Training Fat Loss workouts are fast becoming the most effective way to burn fat, build muscle, and get lean. The synergistic strength training-interval training workouts are efficient and effective - getting you in and out of the gym in under an hour.
Here are some tips that you can use for an advanced training phase - use these tips for 2 weeks then return to your normal training schedule:
a) Add 10 seconds to each interval but maintain the intensity
b) Add in some bodyweight circuits (10-20 minutes per day) done in the morning or evening (if you do your regular workout in the AM, do your bodyweight circuits after dinner; otherwise, do the bw circuits first thing in the AM, and then do your regular workout at lunch or later in the afternoon or evening)
If you are advanced, you can use squats, pushups, and bodyweight rows for your circuit.
If you are a beginner, you could use lying hip extensions, modified pushups, and stick-ups.
c) Add an extra set to each exercise in the first superset you do in each workout.
Again, use these three tips for an advanced fat loss period of two weeks, then return to a normal training schedule.
But always stick to the best fat loss nutrition plan possible.
If you have any other questions, just let me know.
Author, Turbulence Training
P.S. Big Nutrition Announcement!
The Turbulence Training Nutrition Guide for Men & Women - written by Dr. Chris Mohr, Ph.D., is ready for you.
Here are just some of the things you'll learn from Dr. Mohr...
1) How to calculate your calorie needs (p. 6)
2) Calorie recommendations for obese individuals (p.7)
3) The 23 types of sugar (many hidden!) to avoid (p. 9)
4) The 20 whole-grain sources to fuel your fat loss program (p9)
5) Over 60 fruits and vegetables that should be added to your diet (p. 10)
6) The 16 protein sources you should select most often (p. 13)
7) Shocking trans-fat content of 18 common foods - find out which food is the deadliest in terms of fat content (p. 16)
8 ) The 9 Fat Sources you should select most often (p. 17)
9) Dr. Mohr's 12 Rules for Fat Loss (p. 18)
10) The TT Nutrition Plan for Men (p. 19)
11) The TT Nutrition Plan for Women (p. 23)
12) Bonus Supplement Report: The Truth About Fat Loss Pills (p. 27)
About the Author
Craig Ballantyne is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist and writes for Men's Health, Men's Fitness, Maximum Fitness, Muscle and Fitness Hers, and Oxygen magazines. His trademarked Turbulence Training fat loss workouts have been featured multiple times in Men’s Fitness and Maximum Fitness magazines, and have helped thousands of men and women around the world lose fat, gain muscle, and get lean in less than 45 minutes three times per week. For more information on the Turbulence Training workouts that will help you burn fat without long, slow cardio sessions or fancy equipment, visit Turbulence Training.