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7 Strategies for Maximizing Fat Loss

Unless you are a strength athlete with the goal of lifting as much weight as possible, then your pursuit for a fitter, more muscular, and stronger physique should not be just about building total mass but about building lean muscle.

After all, if the muscle that you have spent so much effort building is not readily visible, then what’s the point of all that hard work?

Sure, weight training has many health benefits and will improve your quality of life, but those are all nice fringe benefits of the main reason you weight train—to look better. And looking better makes you feel better.

The best way to enhance fat loss is with a proper combination of weight training and cardio along with diet.

1. Strength Training Techniques That Enhance Fat Loss

The very act of weightlifting can affect fat loss by increasing both the number of calories your body burns during the workout and how many calories your body burns after the workout is long over.

And it can now be argued that the body of someone who weight trains is better equipped at burning more fat throughout the day and storing less fat.

Yet years of research have proven that manipulating certain acute training variables can have an even bigger impact on the calories burned during workouts and the calories burned the rest of the day after the workout is over.

2. Exercise Selection

While a variety of exercises is always best, there are certain types of exercises that you will want to include in workouts to aid in fat loss.

Research suggests that using multijoint, free-weight exercises, such as the squat, bench press, shoulder press, and bent-over row, will maximize the number of calories burned more than machine exercises or single-joint isolation exercises.

This is likely because multijoint exercises use more muscle groups, such as those that assist the target muscle and stabilizer muscles, which stabilize the joints involved. And the more muscles you use, the more calories you burn.

3. Resistance and Rep Range

The weight you train with and the number of reps you complete can have a big impact on your calorie burn.

To burn more calories during the workout, higher reps do the trick. The more reps you do, the more calories you burn.

On the flip side of that, several studies have shown that while using heavier weight for fewer reps burns fewer calories during the workout, it burns more calories when the workout is over and you go about the rest of your day. This is known as Exercise Post Oxygen Consumption.

In fact, research has shown that when you work out with heavy weights that limit you to 6 reps per set, the boost in your metabolic rate for 2 days after the workout more than doubles the boost you get when you work out with light weight that allows you to complete 12 reps per set.

So some combination of both heavy weight for low reps and light weight for high reps is the best way to take advantage of both benefits.

This can be achieved by either using both low and high rep ranges in each workout or periodizing the rep ranges of the program.

4. Volume

The total number of sets you do for each muscle group and per workout (volume) will affect the number of calories you burn in the workout.

The more sets you perform, the more work you are doing, and the more calories you end up burning.

So increasing total volume of workouts is not only a strategy that can help to increase muscle growth, but it can also increase the number of calories burned.

As a general rule, keeping workouts to a minimum of 20 sets and ideally closer to 30 or more sets per workout can lead to significantly greater fat loss than workouts that are under 20 sets.

5. Rep Speed

A fourth variable to consider is the speed of the reps that you perform. Studies have shown that doing reps in a fast and explosive manner can increase the number of calories you burn both during and after the workout.

While you don’t want to do every exercise with fast and explosive reps, a better plan is to start your workouts with one exercise for each muscle group done in an explosive manner.

For example, for chest you can start the workout with three or four sets of power push-ups or Smith machine bench press throws.

This will help you build muscle power in the chest, which can help you gain muscle strength as you burn fat.

And since ballistic exercises like this are done with light weight, they serve as a good warm-up to the heavier working sets that will follow, such as the bench press.

6. Rest

One of the more critical variables for increasing fat loss is the rest period you allow between sets.

Generally speaking, the less rest you allow, the greater the number of calories you burn in a workout.

Recent studies have shown that if you cut your rest periods from the standard 3 minutes between sets to just 30 seconds between sets, you can increase the number of calories you burn during the workout by over 50 percent.

These shorter rest periods, compared to longer rest periods, also lead to a bigger increase in the metabolic rate boost that follows the workout.

7. Training Frequency

How often you train muscle groups can also have an impact on fat loss.

The most obvious reason for this is that when you train muscle groups more frequently you tend to train more often during the week.

More workouts during the week equate to more total calories burned throughout the weeks.

Another reason more frequent workouts lead to greater fat loss is that when you train muscle groups more frequently, you need to train more muscle groups per workout.

This means that you have more muscle tissue that is recovering after the workout is over. After workouts your body is in a state known as oxygen debt.

That means it needs more oxygen to replenish ATP and phosphocreatine stores. It needs that oxygen to burn more fuel (calories) to recover from the workout.

With more muscle fibers needed to recover, the calorie burn stays higher for longer.


The way in which you design your weight training program can significantly affect fat loss.

Generally speaking, programs that use many multijoint movements, incorporate explosive and ballistic training exercises, use heavy weight for fewer reps, use lighter weight for higher reps, keep rest periods very short, combine techniques such as supersets, employ intensity techniques such as forced reps, train muscle groups more frequently, or have you in the gym more often all seem to be effective ways to keep fat burning maximized.

Of course, you can’t employ all of these techniques into every workout, but a good strategy is to employ a multitude of these techniques in each program you design and swap out techniques as you change up programs.



My name is Steven Goldstein

With over 10 years of experience in the fitness industry, I have worked with clients of all ages and fitness levels. From professional athletes to individuals aiming to lose weight, I have helped countless people achieve their goals and improve their overall health through customized training and nutrition plans.

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Consistency leaves clues

Hundreds of clients of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities have put their health in our hands over the years and achieved truly remarkable results. 

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