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, it doesn’t necessarily make it effective for another. I also tell them that the recipe for awesomeness is: two parts leanness to one part muscle!
When determining the purpose of a training session, there are several considerations to take on board. For example, different rep quantities produce different effects on the body. Therefore, the same exercise could be used to increase strength, muscular endurance or burn calories. I have split my 14 top exercises to make 2 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 so give them a go and don’t forget: ‘Do or do not, there is no try’ – Yoda.
Final thought before we begin… Good nutrition is just as important as exercising.
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 as your training has to be goal specific, your food needs to be on point too, with the emphasis being nutrition.
This is the first movement of workout one and should be performed on its own.
Why? The strength sets help promote muscle maintenance within the plan. The deadlift is best for this as it works the whole body and increases gym cred by 76%.
NOTE: Perform the next 5 exercises as a circuit.
2. Barbell Lunge
Why? 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.
3. Barbell Bench Press
Why? When selecting exercises for circuits it’s always good to work a selection of muscles. Bench press works the chest, triceps and anterior deltoid very well.
4. Bent Over Rows
Why? A great back exercise. Ensure that you keep your form strong on these. If you feel it slipping, reduce the weight or reps.
5. Sit Ups
Why? Works the abs.
(Note: It’s good to include some ab work in circuits but I don’t tend to clutter my sessions with ab isolation exercises as the abs are worked in all of the big movements. Keep it simple with sit ups and let your training intensity and nutrition take care of your definition.)
Why? As the name suggests. Bastards will finish the circuit in style - if style happens to be a sweaty mess on the gym floor! They’re great for adding intensity and priming your body to burn fat.
Rest for a few minutes.
7. Incline Treadmill Sprints
Just when you thought it was over! Finishing with a few sprints will definitely help to boost your results.
4-5 x 15sec sprints at max. effort
Rest for 60-90secs
2-3 x 60sec sprints at max. effort
Rest for 90-120secs
1 x 6min hard incline run
Celebrate with a protein shake and stretching.
1. Barbell Squats
Why? I’ve added squats as they’re a great compound movement (and secretly I know you love them!) Use the same format here as you did for the deadlifts in session one.
2. Clean & Press
Why? 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.
Tip: For this movement, don’t go too heavy and for the technique, it doesn’t need to be textbook clean and press. I often go with a deadlift to upright row to press hybrid format.
3. Inverted Rows
This is one of my favourite back exercises. To adjust the difficulty of these you can adjust the angle of the body by raising/lowering the hands/feet. The closer you get to being parallel with floor, the harder it gets. As your fitness increases, add a plate to your chest for extra resistance.
4. 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 too easy.
5. Roll Outs
Roll outs are by far one of the best ab exercises out there. They’re very challenging though so keep the reps low (start with 6-8 and see how you go).
Too difficult? Swap them for the plank or Swiss ball roll outs until you become strong enough to include the ab wheel or barbell versions.
6 & 7. Ergo Interval
Rowing is pretty horrible - I expect even rowers would agree with that - but the level of intensity you can achieve in sessions makes it a staple in fitness and fat loss plans around the world.
Here are 2 example sessions:
Example Session 1:
Repeat for 2000m
Example Session 2:
Repeat 8 times
Once you’ve completed both sessions, give yourself a pat on the back and a big well done from me. With these training sessions in your routine and solid nutrition you’ll achieve your fat loss targets in no time.