5 Laws of Fat Loss

Jul 30, 2021

 by Josh Elsesser

Are you training for fat loss?

Many of us want to see the physical improvements in our body composition from the hard work we put into the gym. While celebrities and athletes may have top notch facilities, programs, recovery methods and even daily mapped out meals for fat loss, it doesn’t mean we can’t ride along side them with having a body that you can be proud of.
Genetics sure can be a favorable part for the vast majority, but saying you can’t achieve a better body is just nonsense. It begins with your training, so here are a few basics you want to remember.

#1 You MUST Lift Weights

The first thing most people think of when they embark on a fat loss journey is cardio. Although cardio is important for overall daily caloris expenditure, it is not the most important training that you need to do.
Resistance training is a far greater form of trianing for sustainable fat loss as it helps to change your body composition by increasing lean muscle mass, whcih helps tio increase overall energy burn.
And although you may burn more calories during your cardio session, your body returns to normal shortly after you finish. When you lift weights, your metabolism is stoked for a much longer period of time (48-72 hours in some cases)!

#2 Use Compound Movements

How many times do you see fitness enthusiasts posting workout videos of them doing bicep curls? This one truly shouldn’t be shocking to most, but you need to be performing lifts that increase strength and performance. Working on lagging muscle groups or isolating has it’s time and place for people who have four or more days to train weekly and the who have the time, but for the vast majority… if your training doesn’t include a bulk of these lifts below, you need to re-think your desired goals. The meat and potatoes of your training for fat loss should include solid compound lifts, some multi-joint and unilateral lifts and the side dishes can be isolation work.
  1. Deadlift variations
  2. Squat Variations
  3. Horizontal & Vertical Pull Variations
  4. Lunge Variations
  5. Horizontal & Vertical Press Variations
  6. Loaded Carry Variations
Out of this list you might think you got it covered, but one I would like to target is the work on loaded carry variations. When was the last time you did a farmer's carry? Most likely, it has been a while. Working the gait pattern is essential for everyone.
No one likes doing carries because if you do them right, they are hard! Suck it up and get used to it. If you want to get stronger squats, deadlifts and sprint faster, you might want to buckle up and wipe the frown off your face when you see loaded carries in your weekly program.

#3 Progressively Overload

When it comes to progressive overload, the old school mindset has us thinking the only way to do so is add weight to the bar. While this still is a way to go about it, it may not be the most effective.
For most people, 1 Rep Max lifts are not going to be your best option for longevity and getting lean. You need to be able to stay injury free and agile which means incorporating more ways to progress like adding eccentrics, isometrics, band resistance and some accommodating resistance. Then you can manipulate variations with rep schemes to do pre-fatigue sets, drop sets, rest pause sets and even clusters.
To get strong while training for fat loss, you need to be thinking more than just adding another plate to the bar. Joint angles and exercise selection become just as important. For example, say you have a program that calls for 5×5 at 80% 1RM. You could break this into a cluster set of 2-2-1 with ten-second rests between your clusters and use heavier loads near 85-90%. You keep the force much higher with creating less fatigue and can reach a higher degree of velocity than the straight 5 reps.
Now, this may not always be the best solution for programming, as it depends on the individual and their goals, but managing the speed at which you lift becomes more important with experience.

#4 Metabolic Conditioning

Metabolic conditioining is intelligent cardio. It is not just going for a run, or sprinting, but it is understanding the different energy systems of the body, and training each accordingly.
The popular thing right now is HIIT (high intensity interval training). Facilities all over that workd offer HIIT classes and promote it as the most effective form of trianing for fat loss. In reality, HIIT training is not performed correctly in the majority of training facilities.
We break metaboilic conditioing into 3 categories.
Low intensity steady state (LISS), or SUSTAIN, should comprise the majority if your conditioning. This will help teach your body to use fat as a fuel source, as well it serves as recovery for more intensie training.
Moderate Intensity Interval Training (MIIT), or GAIN, shoudl k=amke up about 20-30% of your conditioing. This helps to increase your ability to use fat into higher intesnoty levels.
HIIT, or PAIN, should make up only about 10% of your weekly training. It will help push your upper aerobic capacities (VO2 max) , while also increasing secretion of Human Growth Hormone (HGH).

#5 Get a Minimum of 8 Hours of Sleep

This isn’t new news, only that you might be surprised to know that most fat loss happens in individuals that get 7-9 hours a sleep every night.
Even professionals like Lebron James are not shy about their sleep habits where he admits to getting 8-9 during the night then an additional 2-3 during the day.
A lack of sleep can do a ton of bad things when it comes to your body composition and training. Sleep deprivation is known to run counter to fat loss goals for a number of reasons, including:
  • Increased feelings of hunger
  • Reduced feelings of satiety
  • Reduced energy expenditure
  • Decreased motivation to exercise
  • Increased cortisol levels
  • Reduced fat oxidation
  • Disrupted carbohydrate metabolism
  • Increased storage of belly fat
  • Impaired athletic performance (which reduces calorie burning!)
Fail to sleep, fail to train with high expectations. A recent study even found that as little as three nights of poor sleep can reduce insulin resistance by 30%. This means that it will be harder for your body to remove unwanted fat, only from just a few bad nights of sleep!
The same goes for your recovery outside of sleep. No one is saying you need to be a couch potato on your rest days, but trying to train 2 or more hours everyday is not feasible long term if you don’t give your body time to recover. I’m sure I don’t need to remind most of you that your recovery is where you grow and repair the damaged muscle tissue, so if you are constantly creating inflammation, not only will your performance drop, but your body composition and fat loss efforts will take a back seat from the chronic elevations of cortisol and adrenaline.
Getting lean and looking like you train hard can be done, but it requires more than just a standard push/pull routine. Aspects of recovery become just as important and your need to fuel properly is something you can’t slack on.