Q: When it comes to my workout routine, what's the fastest way to lose 10 pounds?
A: First, it doesn't matter what you're doing at the gym if you're not eating well. To change your body composition (i.e. lose body fat), you absolutely have to clean up your diet. That said, I've found that the most efficient and effective training strategy for getting a lean body follows these three guidelines:
1. Total-body metabolic resistance training (MRT) performed on three, nonconsecutive days per week (i.e. Mon., Wed., Fri.)
2. Interval training two days per week (i.e. Tues., Thurs.)
3. If you want to add in a longer cardio session each week, feel free to do an aerobic recovery session on Saturdays
What is MRT?
Metabolic resistance training is accomplished by performing a total-body, strength-training workout as a circuit with little to no rest between movements (Click here for a simple guide to circuit training). This style of training is excellent at increasing excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), which is just a fancy way of saying that you'll burn more total calories. In fact, research shows that a very demanding MRT session can elevate EPOC for up to 38 hours after your workout is over.
Here's an example of an MRT session:
|KB Front Squat||3-4||8-10||30s, 20s, 15s, 10s*|
|TRX High Rows||3-4||10-12||30s, 20s, 15s, 10s*|
|KB Swings||3-4||12-15||30s, 20s, 15s, 10s*|
|Flat DB Bench Press||3-4||10-12||30s, 20s, 15s, 10s*|
|Lateral Walk with Mini Band||3-4||15 steps/side||30s, 20s, 15s, 10s*|
|Standing DB Curl to Press||3-4||10-12||30s, 20s, 15s, 10s*|
|Plank||3-4||30- to 60-second hold||120 seconds|
*30s, 20s, 15s, 10s = 30 seconds rest in week 1; 20 seconds rest in week 2; 15 seconds in week 3, and 10 seconds in week 4.
Perform one set of each movement, rest for the prescribed amount of time (see above), and after completing all seven movements, rest for 2 minutes before repeating the sequence 2-3 more times. Perform this routine three times per week for one month.
On the interval days, you can pick your cardio poison (treadmill, bike, etc.), but my personal favorites are the Concept 2 rower, Versa-Climber, or running outside. Follow the guidelines below and use the RPE scale to figure out what your intensity should be for both the work and recovery intervals.
Before each interval session, make sure you perform a 5-minute warm-up, gradually increasing the intensity from start to finish. You will also notice that the number of reps increases each week so in the final week you are performing 9 reps. Finish each session with a cooldown and some static stretching.
|Method||Sets||Reps||Work Interval (REP)||Rest Intercval (RPE)|
|Your choice||1||See below||30 seconds (7-8)||90 seconds (2-3|
Week 1: 6 reps
Week 2: 7 reps
Week 3: 8 reps
Week 4: 9 reps
Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE)
1: Extremely easy. Very relaxed
2: Very easy. Can carry on a conversation (easily)
3: Easy. Can carry on a conversation (labored)
4: Moderate. Talking becomes difficult
5: Somewhat hard. Breathing becomes heavy
6: Moderately hard. Deep breaths; conversation avoided
7: Hard. Deep, forceful inhalation/expiration
8: Very hard. Labored breathing; cannot talk
9: Very,very hard. Very labored breathing
10: Extremely hard. Gasping and struggling for air