For those who want to lose fat and change their body shape, training is going to be one of the key areas to get right. It will play a huge role in building muscle and adding a better look to your body – something people want more than just the average weight loss.
However, many people struggle with their training and become frustrated when they don’t see the desired results, despite being consistent and disciplined. It is so important that when you turn up to your training session, you not only give maximum effort but also prioritise the quality of your performance. This is going to be vital to getting great results.
So, how do you achieve this? What are the key training principles to perfect when working toward a fat loss goal?
One of the first things you need when training for fat loss or any goal is structure. When you are doing things off the cuff and spontaneously, your mind will often be scrambled as you will have to constantly think of what you have to do for the day. You have to have a plan in place of how to get to your goals and you should be turning up to every training session with a clear idea of the exercises you need to do.
Having structure will also help you to manage your time much more efficiently, which means that you can organise your fitness tasks around your other daily tasks, such as work, family, and social events. It also allows you to identify when you can have free time for yourself, which can be vital for your mental and physical wellbeing. Your training plan needs to have a simple, uncomplicated routine to start, before building to more advanced exercises later down the line. Making the process easy to understand is vital to adherence and consistency over time.
One of the biggest mistakes people make with their training is not placing enough emphasis on technique. As a result, not only can you not make progress with your body shape, but you also put yourself at a much higher risk of gaining a serious injury, particularly on the heavier, compound lifts. This is why, before you look to increase or even add any weight, your exercise execution needs to be of a high standard, which means practicing and getting comfortable with a handful of movements, with a focus on building strength and stability in your body.
For some people, this can progress easily, and once it does, only then must more weight resistance be added. For others, it takes weeks to perform an exercise correctly and move to the next level. However, this is a great indicator of progress because it shows improvement in coordination, balance, flexibility, knowledge, and your ability to feel a muscle group working. Make sure that exercise execution is high on your list of priorities when training. Otherwise, your sessions will be ineffective and even dangerous, if you are prioritising lifting more weight over good form.
When you train, it is very important that you push yourself and not just stroll through the session. If you do not work your body during your training, you will see limited progression in a number of areas, such as fat loss (due to a fewer number of calories burned), muscle gain, strength, fitness and enjoyment. While it will be easier to add muscle at the start when you don’t have much initially, if you want to develop them more, you have to train with intensity.
Aside from performing effective exercises and nailing your execution, make sure your tempo (the speed at which you lift) is slow and controlled so that you maximise time under tension, which encourages muscle development and growth. Also make sure that you are lifting an appropriate weight for your strength levels – go off the reading of performing ten reps, with the last few being challenging – and then gradually work up from there as you get stronger. Adding in advanced training systems (supersets, drop sets, tri-sets) can also be effective at a later stage, particularly if you are struggling to break through strength barriers.
Another key training principle for fat loss is the temp at which you perform each exercise. Many people make the mistake of trying to perform an exercise too quickly so that they can finish a set as soon as possible. The issue with this is that you are reducing what we call ‘time under tension’, which is the amount of time that the target muscle(s) is being worked for. All quick reps will do is improve your endurance and will have a negative effect on your ability to build muscle and lose body fat.
So, when you train, it is vital that you perform each movement with a slow, controlled tempo so you maximise time under tension and give yourself the best chance of building lean muscle tissue. This links with intensity, as it ensures that the workout is more challenging and the muscles fatigue more than if you tried to do each exercise quickly. Correct tempo is a vital component of training towards a goal of fat loss and a better body shape.
One of the most important things to remember when looking to change your body shape is that you are making progress with the weight you are lifting. In order to gain more muscle, you need to make sure that you are consistently overloading the muscle(s), week by week so that it is working harder, meaning that the breaking down is more intense during the session and therefore new muscle tissue is being developed during the eating and recovery phases.
It is important, however, that this process is gradual. Getting stronger takes time, particularly on the compound lifts, and after prioritising technique first, make sure you increase the weight slowly per week so that you are progressively overloading the target muscle in a safe and efficient manner. Focus on performing eight to twelve quality reps per set with a manageable weight before gradually increasing it over time. You should then find that your performance increases safely and efficiently, and that is when your body makes positive changes.
So, if your fat loss goals to be reached, your training should be of good, of not high standard. You can do this by having structured sessions, improving exercise execution, performing each movement with the correct tempo, training at a good intensity and looking to improve during every session. Take these tips, apply them to your training and you will find that you have given yourself a much better chance of reaching your fat loss goals.
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