Create Weekly Workout Plan...

There is a lot of information to digest in this section, so only sit down to study this page when you have plenty of time available.  And if you think all this stuff takes a lot of time to read, imagine how long it took me to write, and I don’t charge a single penny for it.

Decide How Many Times You Can Train Per Week

If you can create a weekly training routine, this will be much better.  For instance, deciding to train every Tuesday and Thursday at 10am, is a lot better than deciding to train twice per week.  If you are planning to train with a regular partner, a routine time is even more crucial.  Without a routine time, one of you will have something arranged for the Monday.  The other won’t be able to make it on the Tuesday for whatever reason.  And then you soon find that it’s the weekend and you haven’t trained all week.  When deciding how many times per week to workout, take a good look at your lifestyle, and be sensible.  Far too often, I see busy mums, who work 40 hours per week and spend most evening and weekends running their kids around, aiming to work out 4 times per week.  If you’re a busy person, like so many people are these days, then aim for 2 workouts per week to get you started.  If you can go 4 consecutive weeks, training twice every week, and you’re enjoying your training, then consider adding in another regular workout per week.  If you find yourself coping well with the 3 workouts per week, then consider adding a fourth regular workout in per week.  I’d highly recommend going no further than 4 workouts per week.  I find this is the optimal amount for most people.  Unless you’re an athlete, body builder or power lifter, you don’t need to train more than 4 times per week.  And more isn’t always more.  I’ve seen people run themselves into the ground, trying to train 5 or 6 days per week, when they would advance further with a few days of rest.  It’s important, that you don’t set yourself a target of 4 workouts per week, if you can only realistically find the time for 2 workouts most weeks.  If your constantly falling short of your targets, you’ll count this as failing, and most likely give up.  So, if you’re just beginning, or haven’t trained in 3-6 months or more, trust me on the 2 workouts per week to start with.  And then progress from there.

Note:  The above paragraph was previously written by me, with the intention of guiding people into training under normal circumstances.  If you are reading this, with the intention of starting the Maxx90 challenge, you should set the bar 30% higher for yourself, to make the Challenge that extra bit more difficult.  At the end of the day, a challenge should be challenging.

Decide On The Type Of Training You Will Be Doing

The following paragraph is an extract about Different Training Types, from Anto's 'Real Life' Guide To Fat Loss

 Most people already know that exercise is a great way to help you lose weight, but many don’t know which type of exercise is the actually best for fat loss.  You already know that to burn fat, you must create a calorie deficit.  So the exercises that help you create a good calorie deficit, are the best for fat loss.  But let’s go one step further.  You want to burn fat and you also want to keep it off.  Therefore, the types of exercise best for lasting results, are the exercises that help burn the most calories over the long term.  Let’s look at a few types of popular fat loss exercises, their benefits and any disadvantages. 

Running:  One of the most popular exercises for losing weight.  It seems to be the starting point for many people beginning a fat loss journey.  Running was one of the first places I started also.  I mean, it’s simple, cheap and you can get started straight away.  Actually, running isn’t as simple or straight forward as it looks.  A lot of people run incorrectly or with bad form, causing themselves a lot of injuries and damage to their ligaments and joints.  My opinion on running, is that it’s possibly the worst exercise for burning fat.  It’s the number one sport for injuries according to a study done by American physios.  It’s good for losing weight, as excessive running (over 45-60 mins approx) can cause the body to become catabolic, burning up muscle tissue for energy and conserving fat stores.  Running actually lowers your metabolism, making it harder to create a calorie deficit in the long term.  Long distance running also plays havoc with hormones.  It can decrease testosterone levels, the muscle building hormone, and increase cortisol levels, the stress hormone.  Cortisol causes the body to store fat, thus increased amounts of cortisol leads to increased fat storage.  Comparing distance to distance, running only burns 10% more calories than walking, but has a lot more long term negative effects on fat loss.  Also, calorie burn from running usually stops very soon after you have finished the run.  Like everything, it still has its benefits.  Running is good for the cardiovascular system, improving the heart and lungs.  It helps increase a person’s fitness and health.  Running is also far better for fat loss than sitting on the sofa watching Netflix.  For many, it’s still a great place to start, as it was for me, and a 15-20 minute run isn’t going to have much negative effects.  But as people get into running, the distances they run become further and further, as we constantly strive to better ourselves.  Running is addictive, due to the release of dopamine, the feel good hormone.  It feels good to complete a run.  To run 5k, then 10k, then complete a half marathon.  It feels great to complete a marathon.  I felt amazing when I completed a marathon, but I looked absolutely terrible.  Flat, weak, gaunt and sick is how I looked at the time, and that was all down to the amount of muscle I lost, especially in the top half of my body and face.  Just know that it does have a lot of negative effects on your body, which you should consider, before making it your main exercise for burning fat. 

Cardio / Resistance Cardio Circuits:  This type of exercise is much better than running, especially when it comes to fat loss.  For starters, the workouts usually target your full body, instead of mostly your legs, as in running and cycling too.  Resistance cardio means using weights, usually quite light, but sufficient enough to put adequate stress on the muscles and joints.  It is the controlled stress put on muscles and joints that causes them to grow and strengthen.  The use of light weights in cardio circuits, leads to a greater workload and calorie burn.  It can also lead to improvements in muscular endurance.  There is a certain type of resistance cardio which is very popular these days, and for good reason too.  High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT for short, is method of cardio that involves working in bursts of high speed, followed by intervals of slow speed or rest.  HIIT has some major benefits, particularly for fat loss.  Studies show that the calorie burn from a HIIT workout can last for up to 4 hours after the workout has finished.  HIIT is also really good for overall cardiovascular health and fitness, and circuit classes can be great fun.  Classes are also great for beginners who aren’t sure what to do in a gym.  HIIT workouts can be very tough, and really only need to last 10-30 mins.  And studies have shown that HIIT workouts lasting longer than 30 minutes have no real extra benefit for fat loss in the long run.  Just like running, too much cardio training can have negative effects on the body also.  Too much cardio can also cause the body to turn catabolic, which leads to a lower metabolism.  So how much is too much?  Well, I find 30 minutes HIIT is optimal, with 60 minute sessions, 4 or more times per week, probably pushing into the ‘too much’ category for most people.  30 minute HIIT workouts, 4 to 5 times per week is a good fat loss training regime, if resistance cardio is you choice for fat loss exercising. 

Weight Training:  Weight training is where you cause controlled stress to the muscles, with the use of weights.  It is the repetition of progressive workload on your muscles, that causes them to continually adapt and grow.  Although the actual calories burned during a session of weight lifting, is usually less than a session of resistance cardio, the long term effects on calorie burn is much greater, making weight training the best exercise to burn fat, and keep it off.  This applies for both men a women.  The key factor of weight lifting, is that it increases your metabolism, due to an increase in muscle fibre activation and mass.  Remember, the more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism.  The higher your metabolism, the more calories you burn each day.  So, where a HIIT workout can increase your calorie burn for a few hours afterwards, weight training will increase your calorie burn around the clock, making it the king of fat burning exercises.   

Weight lifting also has some other fantastic benefits.  Unlike cardio that can often leave people looking flat and weak, weight lifting leads to the sculpting of a fantastic physique.  Toning up targeted areas for women, while increasing muscle mass for men, not to mention increasing strength for both guys and girls.  Weight training also has the added benefits of decreasing anxiety, increasing confidence and selfesteem as well as a whole other host of health and fitness benefits. 

Like everything, weight training still has its disadvantages.  Weight lifting causes the muscles to contract and shorten, and need to be well stretched out.  Many people, including myself, often don’t bother with proper stretching, and soon find themselves stiffening up, and less flexible.  I highly recommend yoga at least once per week to anyone who lifts weights, to help keep their joints and muscles well-oiled and flexible.  Other disadvantages are that lifting weights just isn’t straight-forward.  Done incorrectly, it can easily lead to injury.  It takes time to learn how to lift weights, and often the expense of hiring a trainer, so that you learn it correctly.  I personally learned weight lifting myself, by following some of the pro’s on YouTube.  At the time, I had a lot more time on my hands, so maybe not a practical solution for someone with a busy schedule. Also, the weight lifting area of a gym, can be a very intimidating place, especially for beginners and women.  I remember back to when I first started the gym.  I used to go at 11 o clock so I would have the whole place to myself.  I’m just the same as everyone else, afraid of looking like an idiot. 

The Ideal Training Program For Burning Fat 

Weight lifting may be the best form of training for burning fat over the long term, however, resistance cardio circuits offer many great health, fitness and fat burning benefits.  Therefore, I recommend to my clients, a program which combines the 2 forms of training.  Depending on your weekly schedule, 2-3 weight sessions per week with 1-2 resistance cardio circuits or HIIT drills per week is a great training regime.  Another option I give many of my clients is 2 to 4 weight sessions per week with 10 mins resistance cardio or HIIT drills at the end of the workout.  A HIIT drill is like a mini-circuit, where you select 1-3 exercises and perform them in a HIIT format for a certain length of time.  It is something you can very easily setup yourself in the gym, instead of going to circuit classes. 

When it comes to steady state cardio, like running or cycling, my advice is, if you like doing it, by all means do it.  The best form of exercise always, is the one you like the best.  However, if you are looking to burn fat and want to introduce exercise to help you, steady state cardio like running or cycling is not the necessarily the best place to start. 

The Fat Burning Zones Either Side Of Running 

Slower than running is walking, while faster than running is sprinting.  Both these are excellent for fat burning.  Walking is a fantastic way to burn calories while not putting the body under much stress.  Due to the low intensity that walking is done at, your body can release almost all the energy required from fat stores, instead of glycogen (blood sugars), making it a fantastic fat burning activity.  On top of that, walking is great for recovery, health, fitness, stress relief and lots more. 

Sprinting is another amazing form of exercise for fat burning.  Studies have shown sprinting to actually cause muscle gain in athletes.  Unlike long distance running which lowers testosterone, sprinting has the opposite effect, actually increasing testosterone production.  Sprint training is a form of interval training, and brings with it all the same fat burning properties as HIIT workouts.  Hill sprints add extra resistance and are even better again. 

Add a 30 minute walk into your daily routine and a 10-15 minute sprint training session once a week and you’ll certainly increase the rate at which your body burns fat. 

Training Conclusion 

Regular exercising is better than no exercise, that’s for sure.  But if you are serious about burning fat, don’t just go with the exercise that you feel most comfortable with.  Yes, off course you must enjoy your exercise, that’s the only way you’ll stick at it long term.  What I mean is, don’t just go running because it’s easy, or don’t just do circuit classes only, because that’s what your friends do, or you’re afraid of doing weights in the gym.  If you don’t already do so, step out of your comfort zone and try weight lifting for fat loss.  You’re gonna be sore, that’s for sure, but I’m sure you didn’t expect it just to tickle.  And remember, a balanced workout program is best, including weights, resistance cardio, HIIT and walking.  This may seem like a lot, but you could fit all the gym work into three 45 minute workouts per week, and then just add the walking in as much as you can.

End of extract.

Whatever you decide as your type of training, you can of course change or alter it at any time.  Understand the different types of training from the extract above, and use this when creating a plan to suit you.  For most people with health, fitness, strength and fat loss goals, I’d recommend 70% weight training and 30% resistance cardio.  If fitness was more your goal, and change that to 50-50, weight training and resistance cardio.  There is ways to combine weight training and cardio into your weekly program.  Do them together, in the same workout, or do them separately, on different days.  A good example of mixing weights and cardio, would be a workout consisting of 5 mins warm-up, 25 minute weight lifting, and 10 minute resistance cardio at the end.  At the Maxx Life gym, we have a special 10 minute circuit setup for members to use, who adopt this method.  Each of your workouts will last around 35-45 minutes, combining weight lifting and resistance cardio into each workout.  

Another option is to perform 1 to 2 workouts per week, of 40 mins weight lifting.  Then 1 day per week, you could attend a 30 minute circuit class, and you have a well-balanced training program.  

A third option which is slightly tougher, better for fat loss, better for fitness improvements, and can be done quicker, is intra-set cardio.  Intra-set cardio, is performing a cardio exercise, like burpees for example, at a high intensity, between each of your weight exercise sets.  The cardio eats into your rest time between sets, forcing your body to recover quicker, improving your fitness faster, and sending fat burning though the roof.  Definitely not one for the absolute beginner, but try it after a few weeks.  Using intra-set cardio, you can have a fantastic, tough workout, and be out of the gym in under 30 mins.  3 times a week, this is a great one for the busy person.  What could you picture yourself lasting longer at doing.  5 one hour sessions per week, or 3 half hour sessions per week.  The 5 one hour sessions will produce slightly better results, but will you still be doing them after week 12.  The 3 half hour sessions may not produce instant results, but you’ll still be training come next Xmas, and I can guarantee that you won’t recognise yourself.

Learn To Lift Weights

As with everything, there is a right way and a wrong way to lift weights.  The wrong way will get you injured, while the right way will get you the results you want, and faster.  There are 2 ways to learn to lift weights.  I learned how to lift weights by watching YouTube videos.  Still, to this very day, I watch the very best trainers in the world on YouTube, and am constantly learning new techniques and tips for weight lifting.  If you have the time, YouTube is a great place to learn weight lifting.  The main guys I follow are Jeff Caliver from Athlean X.  He’s more a sports physiotherapist than trainer.  This guy knows his stuff, and I have learned so so much from him.  I’ve completed 3 or 4 of his programs also, and highly recommend them to anyone.  Another guy I have learned a lot from on YouTube, is Scott Hermann.  He’s got loads of great videos explaining all the different weight lifting exercises, in a manner that is easy to understand.  Both guys are natural lifters and great teachers.  I owe so much of what I know about lifting weights, to these 2 guys.  More recently, I have learned a lot of exercises from a YouTuber called Whitney Simmons.  Her exercises are great for women, and again, are completely aimed at the natural female lifter looking to shape and tone her body.  So, like I said, if you have the time, look these guys up, and learn from them.  What I actually done, was to have my training program written down in front of me.  I would search each of the exercises individually, and learn them from the 2 guys I mentioned.  Then I’d go to the gym and try and remember them.  That’s how I personally learned weight lifting.  

Lucky for you, there is another, slightly more expensive, but a hell of a lot easier, quicker and a lot less time consuming way to learn weight lifting.  Hire a personal trainer to teach you.  Let them know that you want to learn to lift weights, and not just be put through a workout.  Also, choose a trainer that actually trains with weights themselves.  If a trainer takes a lot of circuit classes, spin classes and goes running themselves, then they probably wouldn’t be the best trainer to ask to teach you weight lifting.  If you are going to hire a trainer, do your homework first.  Don’t just hire the first trainer you see.  We are all very different, and have different ideas about training methods, intensity, expectations from clients, etc. etc.  I have a great ‘Learn To Lift’ program, where I teach clients all the basics of weight lifting, in as little as 4 sessions for most people.  If you are local to the Armagh area, and interested in learning weight lifting, then my ’Learn To Lift’ program is your best solution, and the one I highly recommend LOL.  

Hire A Trainer

We’re just after talking about hiring a trainer, and now we are going to talk about hiring a trainer again LOL.  That’s because we talked about hiring a trainer, to teach you how to lift weights.  Assuming they are good, and that you have some natural ability LOL, you should learn weight lifting quick enough.  

For this step, I want you to consider hiring a trainer, to keep you on your toes.  Hiring a professional trainer has many benefits, and one major draw-back.  The draw-back is quite obvious.  Personal trainers cost money.  But the benefits can be huge, and the return on your investment can be much greater.  

The massive advantage of hiring a personal trainer is that you will actually go to the gym, or face having to cancel your session.  At Maxx Life Gym, we have a cancellation policy in place, not only to protect the interests of our trainers, but to reduce the amount of cancellations clients.  There will of course be times when you genuinely be unable to attend your PT session.  But talk to any PT, they’ll tell you the same thing, 95% of cancellation excuses are just bullshit.  So if your PT doesn’t take bullshit excuses, then your gonna be at the gym, training hard much more often, and get much better results.  Most gym members rarely remain in a good consistent training routine all year round, as they have no one to be accountable to.  Other benefits of hiring a PT, is that they ensure you are performing all your exercises correctly.  I can tell you, from working in a gym, that at least 80% of gym members don’t perform the weight lifting exercises correctly.  Your PT should keep your workout moving quickly, so that your time in the gym is quick, and you can get on with your day.  You can ask your PT any nutritional questions you have during your session.  If your have a PT workout booked for the start of the week, say on a Monday or Tuesday, then it will set you up for the week.  Having a regular weekly PT session booked in, will make it much less likely that you fall of the wagon for a few weeks at a time.  Sometimes, it can be hard to get motivated to go to the gym, like after a week’s holiday away.  Having a regular weekly PT session booked, takes the decision out of your hands, as you have to be there.  Well, you don’t have to be.  No one has to do anything they don’t want to be.  But the chances of you going to the PT session, and getting started back at it, are much greater.  So, for the price of a half hour PT session per week, you get so many great benefits, that will help keep you on track to achieve your goals, way beyond the 3rd week in January, and beyond a 12 week training program.  

If you think a PT may be the best way forward for you, you can book in with a Maxx Life PT for only £7.50 per session.
Simply click the image below to book in.