Following up from my first blog "Setting up your diet and nutrition for fat loss", it’s time for the heavy stuff. Be it pumping iron, pushing tin, lifting weights, or whatever you want to call it, resistance training is a fantastic option if you’re looking to lose fat and build some muscle.

It’s important to remember exercise and training are different. Exercise is sporadic activity not done with any real structure or goal in mind, basically whenever the mood strikes, sound familiar? It’s not ideal for attaining and sustaining a fat loss goal or a healthy lifestyle. Training on the other hand, is specific exercises chosen with a purpose and structured to elicit progression; to build muscle and get stronger in a range of movements.

In general, training should be based around compound movements along with effective accessory movements. A compound movement such as the bench press, squat or deadlift works a large group of muscles while accessory movements like the bicep curl or leg extension are used to target smaller specific muscle groups. Training body parts twice or more per week has been shown in research to be most effective in providing a stimulus for progression but it’s vital to structure your training around your lifestyle to ensure you stick with it long term; for example, if you can only get to the gym three times a week then three full body workouts would be the best option for you or if your training four times per week then an upper-lower split will be most effective.

When all is said and done fat loss comes down to a calorie deficit. Conflicting messages can lead one to believe certain exercises lead to increased fat burning. (We’ve all seen the 5 minute belly blaster workouts). Alas they tend to be sensationalised a bit. Certain exercises or training sessions may increase calorie expenditure both during the session and in the recovery phase after like a strenuous leg session. These sessions may result in a greater calorie deficit but this deficit can be achieved by a reduction in food intake also. Another point to note is muscle tissue’s metabolic activity, which per pound burns more calories than fat tissue. The extent of the difference is marginal so don’t dwell on it too much. Arguably the main benefit of a resistance training protocol during a fat loss phase will be to build and maintain lean muscle for function and to look your best. An elevated protein intake will also help in the maintenance of muscle mass, so the weight you lose will be fat and not muscle.

Carbohydrates consumed around training and pre training stimulants are fantastic in ensuring efficient and progressive training. Research repeatedly shows a caffeine dose of 200 - 300 mg can significantly increase performance of high intensity activity. In a busy lifestyle it’s vital to ensure you get the most bang for your buck for the time you spend in the gym. Our Gun Powder pre-workout has evidence-based dosages to maximise one’s progression. Along with a substantial 300 mg caffeine per dose, it also contains 3.2 g Beta Alanine and 3 g Citrulline Malate. Both of which improve performance by reducing the accumulation of fatigue and are also growing in popularity among elite level athletes. If you’re looking to maximise muscle gain, creatine supplementation will definitely help. Creatine is the most researched supplement out there, simply 5 g per day every day has been shown to be the most effective dose to allow you to work that little bit harder in the gym resulting in the ability to build that physique you’re looking for.

It’s a common misconception that cardio is required for fat loss. It’s not. There’s no need to slog on the treadmill for hours at the end of a training session, clinging on for dear life. A calorie deficit is all that’s required for fat loss. Now although it’s not required, cardio can be beneficial in getting into a calorie deficit, but more of that next time!

In terms of recovery, post training whey protein supplements are a great option to maximise your progression and adaptation between sessions. ROS Nutrition boasts some fantastic options for whey protein supplementation. With 30 g of protein per 35 g serving and with only 1.1 g carbohydrates and 1.3 g fat, Blue Label Whey Protein is an excellent option to keep calorie intake low and to allow you to reach your fat loss goals.