The Trainer is 'IN' - What is the Optimal Training Program for Fat Loss
I get asked this question frequently, especially after the holiday season and the beginning of a New Year where weight loss resolutions seem to be a top priority.
First, let’s distinguish the difference between fat loss and weight loss. Just because the number on the scale is going down doesn’t mean that you are losing body fat. It is possible to lose weight by restricting your calories and doing endless cardio sessions but you are also losing precious metabolically-active tissue: muscle. A more practical approach to assessing fat loss is how you feel in your clothes, or by taking measurements.
In order to build a lean, strong physique a varied approach needs to be taken. A well rounded program consisting of weight training, cardiovascular training, and clean eating is fundamental. When it comes to the cardiovascular component it is optimal to perform high intensity interval training (HIIT). HIIT is a form of exercise that is performed at a high level of intensity interspersed with periods of low intensity, followed by short rest or recovery periods. Intervals typically range from 30 seconds to 3 minutes of high intensity exercise, alternating with a period of low intensity exercise.
Regardless of fitness level or ability, everyone can integrate this into their routine by accelerating or modifying the workout to meet their unique needs and goals. This form of interval training boosts metabolism significantly longer than a workout of lower intensity for longer or comparable duration. It also induces the most physiological changes to your body that will be beneficial for fat loss, while retaining muscle mass. If fat loss is your goal, integrate the concepts of lifting, interval training, and clean eating to your lifestyle and you are well on your way!
Manda is the Director of Personal Training at TWPFitness.