Combining Interval Training and Complexes for Maximum Fat Loss

By Nunzio Signore (BA, CPT, NASM, PES, FMS)

Barbell Complex and Interval Training - 1My clients frequently ask me for workouts they can do on their own on the days they do not workout with me.  Since the main goal of many of my adult clients is always to reduce body fat and lose weight, I never prescribe them the traditional cardio workouts that use the elliptical, stationary bike and treadmill.  These are extremely ineffective for anyone looking for fat loss.  At the same time, these are also the types of workouts everyone starts to do when they are trying to lose weight.

These workouts are ineffective for two reasons:

  1. They do not produce any muscle.  The more lean muscle you have, the faster your metabolism works and everyone I know wants fast results.
  2. They do not elevate your heart rate high enough to burn many calories. How many calories do you think you are really burning on a stationary bike or jogging on a treadmill?  Not many.

I recommend my clients to do Interval Training combined with Complexes either as a warmup or an entire workout depending on the amount of weight being used.

Complex Training

What are complexes and why are they so good?  Complexes were made popular by Istvan Javorek (Romanian weightlifting coach) in the 1970’s.  A complex, although a rather general term, is when you perform a back-to-back series of exercises, typically using either dumbbells, kettlebells, or barbells, one after another without rest.  The exercise intensity should be taken from the most difficult exercises enabling you to not let go of the weight throughout the circuit.

Complexes combine the benefits of Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) and interval training.  EPOC is the amount of calories you are burning after your workout and it is always higher when you do resistance training versus when you just do cardio.  The reason being, when you are resistance training, you are breaking down your muscles and your body needs more energy to repair itself.  Therefore, even though you might burn more calories in the actual hour of a cardio workout than a weight training session, you will burn more calories every hour for the rest of the day when you weight train.  This leads to an overall higher calorie burn in a 24 hour window.

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

What is HIIT? High Intensity Interval training is a type of discontinuous physical exercise that involves a series of low- to high-intensity exercise workouts interspersed with rest or relief periods.  The high-intensity periods are typically at or close to anaerobic exercise, while the recovery periods involve activity of lower intensity.  Interval training can be best described as short periods of work followed by rest. The main aim is to improve speed and cardiovascular fitness.

Interval training is great for fat loss because interval workouts elevate your heart rate to a certain point that will make you burn a ton of calories in that cardio workout.  Interval work is done at an anaerobic level (out of breath).

By combining both of these two result-driven training methods, you will experience a workout that will leave you wiped out, but feeling really good when it’s over.  The best part is how effective these short workouts are at getting rid of body fat.

Please feel free to give us a call or drop by the gym to learn more.

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