BONUS. Weight Balance Fat-Burning Strength Training

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This post is the bonus part of The Ultimate Weight Loss Guide.

But this program is the most effective when employed during the second half of Stage 2.

This is my technique for shedding the excessive fat. Are you overweight? Get with the tried and time-tested program and everything will work out just great!

Stunning looks and a slim figure showcasing the state of health of any person. And who does not dream of becoming successful?

What to do if right before the start of the swimming season you have detected some unsatisfactory features of your body? The fashion industry has yet to offer a swimsuit or swimming trunks which can conceal all the shortcomings of one’s constitution. Yet do not despair, turning your body into a great shape is fully within your reach! Believe me, I know what I am talking about! I am offering a real plan to counteract excessive weight, which has been proven time and again with my own personal experience!

There are two main elements: the first is our training (energy consumption) and the second is our nutrition (calories). If we want to lose weight, then our energy consumption has to exceed the calorific value of our nutrition. In other words, we have to spend more energy than we consume. At first glance, it seems to be so simple, but there’s a catch!

The primary sources of energy after carbohydrates, which are expended very fast in times of energy shortage, are fats and proteins. I need to lose weight by burning as much fat as possible yet retain the muscles, which the body regards as an equivalent fuel as the fats when it experiences a lack of carbs.  This is where it gets tough! You can see for yourself in summer when you go to a beach and see how few people around you have slim figures. Trust me, a great many of them do their training.

The main thing we have to do is to power up our substance exchange processes or metabolism. Then we should adjust our nutrition plan in accordance to our training exercises and only then we will be able to see our fat burning like there was no tomorrow! You may have seen people with cut-up looks and six-pack abs yet their food intake is clearly excessive. Such people are simply blessed with a fast metabolism and they are very few and far between. Others have to exert themselves and maintain a healthy diet yet their results range from low to non-existent. Their bodies look like fitness is what happens only to other people.

Even the most carefully balanced diet will bring little results coupled with slow metabolism.

So what are we to do?

You should start by giving your state of health a thorough checkup. Significant deviations from the norm in any area can seriously affect the metabolism by slowing it down. First and foremost check the work of the endocrine system (especially women), of the gastro-intestinal tract and the state of your liver. Therefore your first step should be a visit to a doctor.

The duration of the technique is from 2 to 3 months. This will be quite enough. If you have too many extra kilograms and are frustrated with the results at the end, do not overstrain yourself and instead repeat the cycle in 2 or 3 months.

In order to power up our metabolism we will need to do the following:

  • To lay out our workout routine (cardiovascular and strength training);
  • To balance our nutrition plan;
  • To incorporate sport food supplements in our diet;
  • To edit our nutrition plan and exercise routines based on the body’s adaptation.

Watch your muscle mass!

Let’s begin with the issue of exercises. They will be divided into cardio training (low-intensity lengthy workouts) and strength training (high-intensity short-term workouts with rest breaks spaced at regular intervals). There is a widespread belief that people who aim to slim their figure should go for aerobics, whereas strength training is only a matter of personal taste.

The essential argument in favour of this holds that cardio aerobic training helps burn fat, while carbs are the “fuel” for strength training. Indeed, if this were the case, why would anyone ever think of doing strength training? Despite this seemingly convincing viewpoint I will attempt to make you change your mind and help you get on the right track. Cardio exercises indeed lead to a release of more energy from burning “fat” calories. However, this is true only in the course of the workout and only to a certain extent. Strength workouts have the following undisputed advantage!

Firstly, they have a stressful effect on the hormone system which enables the increased release of fat-burning hormones which in turn powers up our metabolism. That’s exactly what we are looking for!

Secondly, fat-burning occurs not only during the workout, but also over a long period of time afterwards. The body continues to expend fat with high intensity even when you are sitting in an armchair watching your favorite TV-series. That, of course, will be true only if you have a carefully balanced diet.

Thirdly, strength workouts shape your figure by developing your muscles. Certain training programs can even make some adjustments to the development of certain groups of muscles. Additionally, the fact that strength training bulks up your muscles which themselves are very energy-consuming is of no small importance as well. Even when idle, trained muscles require considerably more calories. Therefore your overall fat-burning may be increased tenfold. There you have another point in favour of bodybuilding!

From our point of view, cardio workouts are primarily intended for the purpose of increasing or adjusting our energy consumption levels to the daily nutrition plan. However, there is one exception. The slimming effect of strength training is lost only on beginners who are not yet accustomed to high-intensity workouts. For beginners, I would recommend to consider cardio trainings as a priority and to continue strength workouts in order to establish some sort of groundwork for the future.

My program is intended for people who have a background in strength training and a strong desire to continue their weight-lifting exercises. That is why our primary focus is on strength training.

Now let’s go over the details of each type of training!

It’s about time we delved deeper into the topic of strength training. If your preconceived idea of a strength training here is that it’s nothing but endless repetitions of the same power exercises then you’d better think again. Such an approach to weight loss is undoubtedly counterproductive!

A misperception of this kind is based on the oversimplification that bodybuilding is logically the same as aerobics, that is the more you run, the more fat you burn.

However, a hundred reps of exercises with dumbbells will lead to a reverse effect! Burning of fat will be substituted for burning of muscles! A very high-stress load in the course of your triggers a massive release of cortisol into the bloodstream.

Since an overly strenuous training leads to a devastating drop in blood glucose level, the body responds by using cortisol to break down muscle protein. To be more precise, it destroys protein molecules, or if you’d like to get to the bottom line – it breaks up the links between certain amino acids. Such “free” amino acids go straight into the bloodstream and are transported to the liver which processes them into much-needed glucose.

You may recall that strength training is very demanding in terms of carbohydrate “fuel”. Therefore, in order to stave off our loss of bulk and excessive fatigue, we will limit our strength practice to 45 minutes. Trust me, this duration is sufficient for the release of much-needed fat-burning hormones into the bloodstream.

Make sure to set the workload for each group of muscles at moderate levels. In order to lose weight you have to burn more calories than you gain – that’s why we cut our food intake. There is no point in raising your level of strength workout beyond moderate. Don’t attempt to bulk up as you are definitely going to end up over exhausted. Our objective here is to keep your muscle bulk and make it more shapely by cutting the fat. It may sound unbelievable, but the muscle structure of almost anyone can be considered perfect – it’s that fatty component of the body which won’t let it shine through.

Workouts with heavyweights have their good points but they should be performed with great care to prevent any injuries. Furthermore, only a limited number of basic heavy-weight exercises can aid in maintaining your muscle bulk. The number of sets for each group of muscles should be from 4 to 8 or 10 at the most if you are doing legs, chest or back. Weight loss in itself is no easy target. You have to understand the mechanics of the process and be fully committed.

Now let’s determine the necessary number of training practices per week. I recommend to practice at least 4 times a week, or even 5 – which is better. The more often we practice, the more often we give a serious boost to metabolism in the body. If you can afford the time, you can arrange to practice more often, although 4-5 times a week is sufficient for achieving the required results.

Please also keep in mind that for an inexperience athlete an increased amount of training practices means that he is more likely to overstrain himself.

So what are we going to do during our training? Depending on your athletic background we will have to do a so-called “split” meaning that we will split your practices in accordance to various muscle groups which will be in the focus of the training.

In the course of the diet phase, I would recommend from 3 to 5 training sessions per week for working out all the required sets of muscles. The higher is your sports background, the heavier should be the split routine. As for me, a 5-day split routine works best and after every two days of power lifting you should take a day’s rest from all the crossbars and dumbbells.

As for cardiovascular training, then its session should not last more than 60 minutes. Some people may argue that fat deposits start to burn only when the body is doing some heavy exercises. However, if you practice for more than an hour, your body enters a stage of increased catabolism which marks up the risk of expending your muscle protein to release energy.

Since we are on a diet, our carbs intake is relatively small, which means that fat and muscles are more likely to be used a great deal sooner to replenish the energy shortage. Thus, 2 or 3 cardiovascular practices per week is enough, yet you should take care not to combine them with strength training. If you are short of time, then you can stick with a 10-15 minute cardiovascular session before proceeding to strength training, although it is undoubtedly less effective.

Let me share my own experience of cardio workouts.  In due time I have tried all types of cardio workouts: a treadmill, a stair stepper, an elliptical trainer, doing laps at the nearest ball park, etc. These experiments were useful of course yet they have made it obvious that classical aerobics is not for me. It is just not my type. It’s simply too boring! I have found another way which works best for me – I play tennis in the morning two times a week. My third cardio workout is boxing. Taking into account that boxing is a very energy-consuming workout, I schedule it for days with no strength training.

Here’s an example of a training split routine

Let’s get back to strength training for a while. We will conduct a standard practice, with no frills. You are free to choose the time for practice – for instance, I prefer to practice in the evenings after work. The rest between sets should be no more than 90 seconds and can be increased to 2 minutes when doing some heavy lifting exercises.

Please note that for each group of muscles I recommend no more than one heavy lifting exercise with the average number of its repetitions reduced to 8. In all other situations, my rule of thumb is to do 10-15 reps of every exercise. This routine will help you keep you muscle bulk and safeguard against injuries which are likely to occur in the setting of low-calorie diet.

I am intentionally suggesting an unusually wide range of repetitions. The trick is that a shortage of calories triggers fluctuations in your muscle tone. With some exercise, you will be able to do all 15 reps, while with others even 10 will seem hard enough. Nonetheless, the last repetition of any set should be done with you literally breaking a sweat!

A sample of the training split

Day 1 Morning tennis, chest, abs Day 1 Morning tennis, chest, abs
Day 2 Back, rear deltoid Day 2 Boxing
Day 3 Boxing Day 3 Back, rear deltoid
Day 4 Thighs, calves Day 4 Thighs, calves
Day 5 Morning tennis, deltoid muscles, abs Day 5 Rest
Day 6 Rest Day 6 Morning tennis, deltoid muscles, abs
Day 7 Hands, calves Day 7 Hands, calves

 Of all the techniques for increasing the intensity of training, I prefer the so-called weight-stripping (i.e. taking off the disc weights from the barbell or a weight-lifting machine and doing the extra reps of the exercise without rest) and outside assistance (especially as a safety precaution when doing heavy weight-lifting).

Some of you may be surprised to hear that I do not use supersets and tri-sets (sequences of exercises which are done continuously without any pauses between them). Such sets are just one of the techniques designed to increase the workload. However, please note that the final exercises in sets are characterized by a drop in the weight load and a sharp decrease in load concentration which, in my opinion, negates all the possible benefits of this technique.

I also like to work with dumbbells because they allow maximum peak-to-peak amplitude as opposed to barbells. In addition to that dumbbells go easy on your joints which is an essential issue when you are dieting. Keep in mind that the aim of our training is to provide the body with the required exercise load and to speed up our metabolism. Let your diet plan do the rest of the job!

Statistics show the number of strong-willed people who can go the whole nine yards is no more than 4% of the population! They are the ones who are behind the progress of mankind. The other 96% stop half-way and decide that they are happy with where they are. Do everything you can, stay on track and get the job done! That’s the only way, I’m counting on you.

Thus, to power up our metabolism we have to do the following:

  • Duration of strength training practice up to 45 minutes at a time;
  • 4-5 strength training practices per week;
  • 10-15 repetitions of every exercise; for strenuous power exercises the amount of repetitions is reduced to 8;
  • Rest between sets for 1.5 minutes, with up to 2 minutes when necessary;
  • Cardio training 2-3 times per week;
  • Cardio-training practice up to 60 minutes at a time.

Strength training. Rules of Nutrition

Now let’s talk about the daily nutrition plans. First of all, we have to work out a balanced diet. Our daily diet rests on three fundamental elements: fats, proteins and carbs. I will not describe them or the products which contain fats, proteins and carbs in detail here since this information is readily available in any reference book on the subject. I take a premise that you have some background knowledge of biochemistry and human physiology. Our main points of interest here are: when and how much of each needs to be consumed.

Day 1: chest, abs Day 2: back, rear deltoid

1 Warm-up   for 5-10 minutes 1 Warm-up   for 5-10 minutes
2 Leg lift on parallel bars 3* max 2 Lat pull down 3* 12-14
3 Twisting sit ups (on the floor) 3* max 3 Dumbbell renegade row 4* 8-10
4 30 % incline dumbbell bench press 4* 8-12 4 Cable seated row with narrow grip 3* 10-12
5 Dumbbell extension at 30% 3* 10-12 5 Inclined dumbbell extension 3* 10-12
6 Cross-over 3* 12-14 6 Back extension (lower back) 3* max

Day 3: legs, calves Day 4: deltoids, abs

1 Warm-up   for 5-10 minutes 1 Warm-up   for 5-10 minutes
2 Leg extension 3* 10-14 2 Body twisting standing overhead pull 3* max
3 Front squats 4* 8-12 3 Leg raise in suspension 3* max
4 Leg curls 3* 10-14 4 Dumbbell lateral extension 3* 10-14
5 Alternate stepping lunges with dumbbells 3* 12-15 5 Seated dumbbell bench press 4* 8-12
6 Seated calf raise (exercise machine) 3* 10-15 6 Dumbbell lunges (trap training) 3* 10-12

Day 5: hands, calves

1 Warm-up   for 5-10 minutes
2 Biceps with dumbbells 4* 10-14
3 Triceps standing overhead pull 3* 12-14
4 Biceps in exercise machine 3* 12-14
5 Lying triceps extension 4* 10-12
6 Standing calf raise (exercise machine) 3* 10-15

The first element is proteins. Proteins are an essential part of our diet. I recommend to stick to the following measure: 2.0-2,5 g per 1 kg of weight. I don’t think it’s safe to consume less than 2.0 g because proteins are required for the successful recuperation of the muscles’ flexibility. I would recommend the following products: lean poultry meat (chicken, turkey).

You have to be careful with animal meat, even if it’s lean. Animal meat is difficult to digest and it can slow down your metabolism. Eggs are great but only if eaten without yolks (egg-yolks contain unnecessary fats). I strongly advise to include saltwater fish dishes in your daily diet – for instance, Atlantic salmon, regular salmon, trout. Fish is rich not only in easily digestible proteins but in healthy fats as well.

You also can’t go wrong with other types of seafood – mussels and shrimps. It’s best to cut back on the intake of dairy products – they contain very “unhealthy” fats and hard-to-digest protein. This is especially recommended if you are over 30 years old. As for calcium, I suggest to take it in the form of food supplement instead.

The next essential element is fats. Fats play an important role. They are vital for our well-being. My recommended daily fat intake is 1 g per 1 kg of weight. It’s best to use vegetable oils (sunflower oil, olive oil), preferably unrefined, previously mentioned fish oils, a handful of nuts. For instance, I make sure to eat leafy vegetable salads with salad oil once or twice a day. However, you have to keep in mind that fats have a very high calorific value (1 g = 9 kcal), and excessive intake of fats will be detrimental to your diet. As for methods of cooking, it is preferably to boil and bake your food instead of frying – this way you will secure yourself against excesses of calories.

The last but not the least element is carbohydrates. The intake of carbs should vary in types of carbs used and their value depending on age, weight, sex and the degree of physical fitness, however, we will also make some carbs-related changes in our diet over the duration of the training cycle. Therefore I will put forward only some rough estimates in regards to the consumption of carbs: 2 or 3 g per 1 kg of body weight. Wave-like structure of the carbohydrate intake is an essential aspect of your diet, especially during the second or the completion stage of the cycle.

Grits and porridges act as a wonderful energy boost. You can add some dry fruit, too. For example, every morning I eat a few dried apricots with coffee or tea. Tomato and cucumber salads with fresh leafy vegetables are very healthy. In regards to fruits, caution is needed – only a limited amount and only in green apples or citrus fruit. Completely avoid such foods as potatoes, bread (even whole grain) and pasta! Bread can be substituted with crisp breads.

Water does not play a significant role here so drink as much as you want but stay away from sweet drinks. It’s best to restrict yourself to plain water, tea or some coffee. Do not forget to drink a glass of water before every meal, especially when it contains protein-rich food. Any drink after a meal, especially coffee or tea, considerably reduces food digestibility which in turn inhibits our metabolism.

And here’s another interesting point. You do not have to cut the calorific value of your food because your energy demands will increase anyway. Furthermore, by powering up your metabolism you will make sure that more calories will be spent for the body’s own use. Please also note that a very low-calorie intake results in an inverted effect of reducing the metabolism!

Break your daily ration into 5 or 6 meals and eat in small servings. Thus you will receive an immediate energy boost with every meal. This will help you stay in good spirits even in the period of serious shortage of calories in your daily diet. Furthermore, in a couple of weeks of such split meals your insulin secretion will decrease and this hormone is responsible for restoring the body fat reserves.

I would like to point out that the better part of your total daily food intake (especially of carb-rich foods) should occur in the first half of the day because the level of metabolism in this period is notably higher.

If once in a while you start to feel like you cannot take this anymore and find yourself on the verge of a nervous breakdown – take a “day off”. Increase your carb intake, eat as much as you want but only the healthy foods! This will allow you to get the weight off your shoulders (metaphorically speaking) and may even aid in getting better results in the end. However, try to limit the number of such “let-yourself-go” feasts to 2-3 times a month.

These are general basic recommendations, your foundation so to speak, which is available for your customization. Now let’s talk about the sport supplements. Only the ones which are legal, mind you, because they can be guaranteed to have no harmful effect on the body, provided they are used according to the manual.

The first must-have is a balanced vitamin and mineral complex. The dosage, admittedly, does not have to be drugstore-size (100% of daily value) however super large doses are equally inadequate for the job! As you may recall, water-soluble vitamins (group B vitamins and vitamin C) are expelled from the body in as little as 3-4 hours after eating regardless of their dosage. Therefore their intake will be more effective if we take them several times during the day. In addition to vitamins, I would recommend antioxidants as well as any other supplements which help strengthen the immune system.

The second in importance is protein supplements. As it turns out that in terms of our diet it is quite hard to get the required amount of whites from food, protein supplements will really come in handy. White can be consumed in the form of pure protein supplements as well as in the form of complex amino acids. I, myself, prefer amino acids. I do take pure protein as well though not too often.

As you may recall, the selection of market-available high-quality amino acid supplements is very poor whereas we need hydrolyzed (degraded) amino acids with zero additional substances! Protein is best to be taken in the form of a high-protein concentrate (protein content over 80%), and even better if it is whey protein isolate. Inexpensive low-protein concentrates and amino acid supplements like pressed-protein patties are not an option!

The third component is restoration supplements which prevent the development of anabolic (destructive) processes in your muscles. I refer to branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) and glutamine. They increase your muscle stamina so the tougher your diet is the more of them should be consumed.

The fourth must-have supplement is a “fat-burner”. Fat-burning supplements include the ones called thermogenics or thermogenic supplements. Their job is to enhance metabolism and to help increase your performance. This aids in battling psychological fatigue especially during the last stage of the training program. Another suitable variety of fat-burners is lipotropics like carnitine.  They are not the primary ingredient since I use them only as additives and in combination with thermogenic supplements. Yet upon completion of a diet plan, I increase their intake because they prevent the recovery of a fatty layer.

The 1st break fat (9 AM)

Oatmeal + dry fruit Vitamin and mineral complex  1 tab.
Egg whites (6 pieces) with fat-free cheese Food supplement for joints        1-2 tab.
Coffee (before meals)

The 2nd break fat (9 AM)

Rice + salmon (steam cooked) Amino acids                              5-10 g
Leafy vegetable salad + vegetable oil
1 green apple

 The 1st dinner (3 PM)

Seafood salad + vegetable oil Vitamin and mineral complex  1 tab.
Buckwheat + boiled chicken breast
Dietary crisp bread

The 2nd dinner (6 PM)

Rice + shrimps
A handful of nuts

Before workout

Glutamine                                       2-5 g
BCAA                                            2-5 g
Thermogenic supplement               1-2 caps

Workout (7 – 8 PM)

Mineral water 800 – 1000 ml

After workout                              

Glutamine                                       2-5 g
BCAA                                            2-5 g

Supper (10 PM)                               

Tuna salad + an orange Food supplement for joints        1-2 tabs.
Dietary crisp bread Protein supplement                    30 g
Antioxidant supplement             1-2 caps

 Before going to bed             

L-carnitine                                      0,5-1 g
Glutamine                                       2-5 g
BCAA                                             2-5 g

 The fifth element is the supplements for body joints. Any diet if it is consistent leaves a mark on the general state of the body. Besides that, there is a higher risk of joint injuries during workouts so to be on the safe side I add these supplements to my nutrition plan.

The main groups of required supplements have already been listed, although there are quite a few others. Such supplements can, of course, be taken but only as additives to the main course.

Thus, to power up our metabolism we have to do the following:

  • For a start, lay out a healthy and balanced diet plan.
  • Eat often and in small portions, 5 or 6 times a day.
  • To incorporate sports supplements in our diet.

Daily nutrition plan for your strength training day (only the meals and supplements regime, size of portions to be determined individually):

  • Amino acids 5-10 grams
  • Glutamine 2-5 grams
  • BCAA 2-5 grams
  • 1-2 caps of thermogenic supplement

The onset of victory

My average cycle lasts 3 months. The first changes become apparent within 4 to 6 weeks, which means that my metabolism has been boosted. There are some positive results, however, I begin to slow down because of the adaptation effect. The body refuses to burn its fat deposits to release energy, storing them for a rainy day. And if we merely cut back on the calorific value of the diet, the effect will be reversed. Therefore, it is time to continue to the second stage.

Let’s make some changes to our training program by adding another cardiovascular exercise. I usually add a day of tennis practice. Power workouts will remain the same with only a few possible changes of the exercises for the sake of diversity. The main changes are due to be made in our nutrition plan. Heads up, everyone!

I cut back the intake of carbs by 25-30 % but only for any two days during the week. For example, Friday and Saturday. If food cravings become unbearable, I eat an extra portion of egg white. During other days my carbs intake remains at a regular level. This way we can fool the body and make it utilize the last available fat deposits for releasing energy!

This will be the only available course of action for the body since the intensity of workouts is maintained yet the intake of carbs is suddenly dropping. In order to make up for the energy shortage, the body will be forced to burn the fat layers under the skin. When you are through your third month of workout program, you are most likely to feel that your dieting days have come to finish. Be sure to take pictures of yourself so as to compare your looks before and after the program.

Here a tip from my own experience: you will be able to see positive changes in the mirror every day during the last few weeks of the program. This boosts your motivation to no end which is particularly great since your mental capacity is very likely to be severally depleted at this stage.

There you are, it looks like I have told you everything I had to say. Now you can safely walk up to the bathroom mirror and check the final results. Behold your own masterpiece! How do you like it? The view of a job done great is so uplifting that all the hardships just slip away from your memory at once.

Although to be fair, it is the difficulties you have overcome which should be the subject of your pride. At the very start, you have set a goal and made your way to achieve it. This is your most important victory! Keep trying, don’t shy away from any experiments because this program is merely a framework. And most importantly, keep your eyes on the prize, stay on track towards the goal and the results is bound to exceed your most ambitious expectations!

What do you think about it? I would be very grateful if you share your opinion in comments!

Updated: November 20, 2017 Author: Dmitrii

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Hi, I am Dmitrii!

I have become a master of my own weight without exhausting diets or fasting. No, I am not yet another guru from the weight-loss industry. I am just a regular guy who wanted to live a balanced and healthy life. Like many of you, I have studied great volumes of information on the subject until I have found what truly works for me. And I would like to share all I have learned with you and most importantly, to tell about finding your own way towards a healthy and fit body.

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