During fat loss cycles, you will increase the amount of cardio based upon the results of your weekly assessment.
Your weekly assessment will tell you exactly how much muscle and fat you have gained or lost. With that information, you can make intelligent decisions on where to go from there.
You can keep the amount of cardio constant or increase the amount of cardio to increase fat loss to the optimal rate of 1 pound per week. The decision will be made on a weekly basis during your weekly assessment.
In Order to Burn Fat, You MUST Create an Energy Deficit
In order to burn fat, you must create an energy deficit for your body.
When you create an energy deficit, your body must find an energy source. Fat stores will act as that source of energy for your body when you eat a healthy diet, lift weights progressively, and use medium intensity cardio to burn energy.
You can create an energy deficit for your body in two ways: (1) Eat a fewer amount of calories and/or (2) Burn more calories through exercise (either weight lifting or cardiovascular exercise). You will choose cardio to burn more calories and focus that energy source to fat loss.
Remember, oxygen must be present to burn fat directly and weight lifting is anaerobic.
Aerobic exercise is the only activity that burns fat directly. So, you will work on creating an energy deficit through cardiovascular exercise.
The first option on any of our programs is to burn more calories through cardiovascular exercise. The second option is to eat a fewer amount of calories (assuming everything else in your program is optimized).
Always Increase Cardio Before Cutting Calories
You will always increase cardio first. Then cut calories when needed. Some of you may never need to cut calories on a fat loss cycle.
You will never alter your weight lifting program to burn more calories. You will always lift weights to build muscle on ANY of our programs – even on our fat loss programs. Too many people make a huge mistake by lowering the amount of weight they lift and doing more reps to burn more calories. That's a big mistake.
You don't want to alter your weight lifting program in any way for fat loss because this changes so many other factors. I have included everything you need in the weight lifting programs, so do not change them. They are perfect the way they are.
Remember, you lift weights to build muscle and not to burn calories. Do not alter your weight lifting program simply to burn more calories. This will be the biggest mistake you can make.
Always lift weights to build muscle. Use cardio for fat burning and only decrease calories in your diet when absolutely necessary.
So, What's the Fat Burning Cardio Strategy?
For fat loss, you don't want to be doing excessive amounts of cardio if you don't need it. What this means is that you will start with lower amounts of cardio and evaluate your results on a weekly basis. If you are losing fat at the optimal rate, there's no need to do more cardio and risk muscle loss.
What is the optimal rate of fat loss?
Well, the optimal rate is going to be different for everyone. If you aren't losing any muscle on a weekly basis and losing fat, you've found a great rate of fat loss. I would shoot for a goal of 1 pound of fat loss per week with little to no muscle loss.
So, you will start with 3 cardio sessions per week for 30 minutes each session, medium intensity steady state. You will check your fat loss results and adjust from there. If you are losing fat at the rate of around 1 pound per week, there is no need to add more cardio sessions. Only add sessions or time as needed.
You should be doing cardio on your rest days to begin the program cycle. So, on 3 rest days, do a cardio session for 30 minutes. This is your starting point. From there, you will add cardio sessions based on your weekly results.
You Always Need a Plan of Progression… Even with Cardio Workouts
Here's your plan of progression for cardio sessions during fat loss cycles:
1. Start with 3 cardio sessions at 30 minutes each week. Perform these sessions first thing in the morning if possible. If not, do them at the most convenient time.
2. Add morning cardio sessions on other days if needed up to the maximum of 7 morning cardio sessions per week.
3. Add shorter duration sessions directly after your weight lifting workout. For example, start with 15 minute sessions directly after your weight lifting.
4. Add an afternoon/night cardio session on your off days. Only add a few sessions at a time to burn the desired amount of calories.
5. Increase the intensity of your cardio sessions to the higher end of the medium intensity zone.
6. Increase the duration of your cardio sessions.
Remember, only use the options above when you aren't losing as much fat as you'd like. Most of you will lose fat very quickly from the first few options. You have several different options for increasing the amount of cardio you do. You should never run out of options…
Some Additional Fat Burning Cardio Guidelines
Remember to switch cardiovascular exercise activities, or at least alternate between two different activities. The more activities you have to rotate is even better. This is very important.
Never increase the duration of your cardio to more than 60 minutes.
You can do twice a day cardio up to a maximum of 6 days per week.
Give your body at least 1 rest day if you're doing that much cardio. The huge majority of you will never need that much cardio to lose fat at a very fast rate.
I'm just giving you that option for those of you that may need it. You will burn the fat from your body. You're going to be amazed.