Cardio and fat loss go hand in hand but it’s not the only option for shedding unwanted pounds. In fact, there are several ways to strip body fat and many people actually prefer them rather than doing traditional cardio (Treadmill, elliptical, running etc).
Any type of resistance training and proper diet are key to losing body fat. Whole, natural foods are not only highly encouraged for health benefits but the process of fat burning is best accomplished through smart nutritional choices.
Here are 5 ways you can burn fat which does not involve conventional cardio and some tips for proper nutrition…
1- Weight Training (Muscle Building)
Weight training is a general term and that’s what we’re referring too (Weight training in general) as it’s one of the best ways you can burn body fat. It conditions you metabolically and the more muscle you have, the more calories you’ll burn; which in turn incinerates body fat. In fact, if you’re not weight training, you’re not reaching your full fat-burning potential. (1)
Now, the best exercises for fat loss are generally multi-joint movements which work for more than one muscle group at once like deadlifts, squats, bench press, pull-ups etc. (2)
Compound movements are popular because they save time by stimulating several muscle groups and allow for maximal resistance loads; which we all know makes us stronger while building the most muscle mass.
Here’s a sample full body weight training routine:
Squats 4 (Pyramid up in weight with a 15-12-10-8 rep scheme)
Barbell rows 4 x 10-12
Barbell bench press 4 x 10-12
Military press 4 x 10-12
Barbell Curls 3 x 10
Skullcrushers 3 x 15
Plyometrics (Plyos) or jump training consists of explosive exercises which target muscles through maximum exertion in a short span of time. It’s a great way to burn fat through an activity which improves athleticism, explosiveness, strength and it builds muscle too.
Here are some great basic yet effective Plyo exercises which burn fat:
- Squat jumps
- Box Jumps
- Alternating lunge jumps
- Plyo pushups
- Clap pushups
You can start with 3 sets of 10-12 reps per exercise and do circuit type training or perform them in a sequence.
Circuit training is a phenomenal way to burn fat which is why it’s so popular amongst gym goers and athletes. Performing a circuit training routine consists of circulating through several different movements with little to no rest in between.
The whole point of circuit training is to condition the body, improve endurance and strength while building muscle at the same time. It’s fast-paced and should be simple.
Here’s a sample circuit training routine:
You’ll perform one set per movement until you go through every exercise and repeat until all four sets per exercise are complete. It’s preferred to not take rest breaks in between sets but if you must, make it short (No more than 15 seconds).
Bulgarian split squats 4 x 12
Dumbbell rows 4 x 10-12
Dumbbell bench press 4 x 10-12
Shoulder lateral raises 4 x 10-12
Planks 4 sets x 30 seconds
4-Body Weight Training
What’s so awesome about bodyweight training is that you don’t need much equipment which means you save time by not having to set up equipment. Now, despite what many people might believe, there are so many exercises you can perform with your own body weight.
If you have a chair, an elevated surface to push off from, and a pull-up bar, you have everything you need.
Here are some basic bodyweight exercises and sets/reps:
These movements are the most basic and are very simple to perform. If you don’t have enough strength to do pushups, practice on your knees first and/or a wall. For pull-ups, you can use a pull-up assist machine or start at the top of a pull-up repetition and practice slow negatives. This will help to develop your pulling strength.
- Squats 4 x 12
- Lunges 3 x 12
- Pushups 5 x AMRAP (As many reps as possible)
- Pull-ups 5 x AMRAP
- Chair Dips 4 x 10-12
- Planks 4 x 30 seconds
These basic exercises are a great place to start for a body weight workout. When you become more advanced, you can turn up the level of difficulty by making some changes to your positioning.
Here are some intermediate to advanced bodyweight exercises with sets/reps:
These movements are for the more advanced but they are very challenging and effective.
- One-legged squats 4 x 12-15(Hold onto something to balance if necessary and don’t go too far down)
- Bulgarian split squats 3 x 10-12
- Pull-ups 5 x AMRAP
- One-arm chair dips 4 x AMRAP
- One-arm, alternating, or elevated pushups 5 x AMRAP
- Planks 4 x 35 seconds
- Leg-lifts 3 x 20-25
Bodyweight training is so beneficial because you can do it essentially anywhere and it doesn’t take much time to get through a workout.
You can still build muscle with strength training; however, the focus is more on moving weight in a controlled manner. When performing a strength training routine, you’ll generally keep the reps to around 4-8 and you want to progress in training loads on a weekly basis.
Now, hypertrophy training does allow you to progress consistently but the reps are usually a little higher (10-15+ reps) and the resistance loads are usually more moderate. Which means training for muscle growth is more based on repetition rather than a focus on a heavyweight.
One thing to note about strength training is that going heavy too frequently is not safe or recommended. It places a lot of stress on the body and the nervous system, plus your bones and joints often need recovery from the heavy lifting.
But, strength training is fantastic and offers fat-burning benefits.
Sample full body strength training routine:
It’s not recommended to perform this workout more than twice per week since you’ll be using heavy weights. If you’re more advanced then this does not apply.
Deadlifts 4 x 8-8-6-4 pyramid rep scheme
Barbell bench press 4 x 6-8
Barbell rows 4 x 8
Military press 3 x 8
Barbell curls 3 x 8
Close grip bench press 3 x 8
Fat Loss Nutrition
Now, let’s make something very clear… Anyone can lose weight eating type of foods as long as the calories consumed are less than calories expended (You’re burning more calories than what you consume through your diet). (3)
However, this is not only unhealthy but you’ll experience better results by consuming foods which are not processed and consist of live plant-based nutrition.
Here are foods which promote weight loss and longevity:
- Greens (Kale, lettuce, spinach etc)
- Fruits (Berries, apples, Avocadoes)
- Low fat Grass-Fed Meats
- Nuts (Almonds, Walnuts, pecans)
- Low-fat/Sugar Dairy
- Beans/legumes (Lentils, black beans, chickpeas etc)
- Natural Protein Shakes
- Whole Grains (Brown rice, Quinoa, couscous etc)
Diet is essential and it doesn’t have to consist of bland/tasteless foods. There are many healthy recipes and as long as the majority of your diet consists of the above-mentioned foods, the fat will melt away.
Now, you should be consuming more greens than any other food group as it’s listed as unlimited in the amount you can consume daily and all other food groups should be consumed in fewer quantities. So fill half your meals with vegetables and fruits, then the other half should consist of good carbs, protein, and healthy fats. (4)
Skip the Cardio!
There are many great alternative ways to burn body fat and no treadmills/cardio machines are needed. You just need a few pieces of equipment and the willingness to work out with a little intensity. Whether it is bodyweight training, weight training or even jump training… you can burn calories and therefore get rid of extra body fat.
Now, working out is a big factor in losing body fat but diet is also very important, so be sure your meals consist of natural, whole foods and you’ll be a fat-burning machine.