8 best free workouts on YouTube

If your New Year ambition is to get fit, but the cost of a gym membership is putting you off and you can’t really face getting out in the cold, then we may have just the solution.

Combining the ease of a workout DVD with absolutely zero cost (all you need is an internet connection!), video sharing site YouTube is bursting with expert exercise classes for you to try from the comfort of your own home.

Whether your goal is to burn fat or tone up, we’ve scoured the web to bring you five of the best free workouts on YouTube. What are you waiting for? Grab your laptop and get cracking.

‘Revolution – Day 1, Practice Ease’ by Yoga with Adriene

Best for: Yoga

Why do it? From de-stressing to improving your flexibility, the benefits of yoga are huge. If you’ve always wanted to give yoga a try but don’t fancy forking out for classes in case it’s not your thing, then Yoga with Adriene is for you.

Perfect for beginners, instructor Adriene has created an easy-to-follow ‘Revolution’ 31-day plan to get you hooked on the de-stressing activity in 2017. Ease yourself into it with the ‘Day 1’ video and, you may well be doing ‘Downward Dogs’ like a pro by the end of the month.

Sign up to the programme on Adrienne’s website and you’ll also receive a downloadable exercise planner and daily email for extra motivation.

‘Total Body Tone Up!’ by Tone It Up

Best for: Full-body toning

Why do it? If you’re looking to firm things up in one go, then this full-body toning workout from popular personal training duo Tone It Up could be just the ticket.

While we’ll admit the intro/soundtrack is a little bit cheesy, don’t let that put you off as these two really do know what they’re talking about, and have garnered a loyal following for good reason: their workouts work.

Lasting 14 minutes, and including a warm-up to help prevent injury, the girls offer clear instructions and plenty of encouragement to boot.

’32 Minute Home Cardio Workout with No Equipment’ by Fitness Blender

Best for: Cardio/Fat burning

Why do it? If you want to torch fat, then try working up a sweat in your living room with this half-hour cardio routine from specialist site FitnessBlender.com.

Designed to help you optimise your calorie burn, the workout requires absolutely no equipment, making it a doddle to do at home.

There’s even a handy link so you can print out the instructions and familiarise yourself with the moves before you start. No wonder it’s been watched over 9 million times!

‘5 Minute Flat Belly Ab Workout’ by PopSugar Fitness

Best for: Getting a flat stomach

Why do it? A flatter belly in just 5 minutes? Sign us up now! This targeted workout from specialist channel PopSugar Fitness can even be done with a heavy book, rather than dumbbells, so we defy anyone to find a decent excuse not to try it!

Forget endless crunches, this standing routine will help target your core like nothing else, helping to tone up your mid-section. The best bit? The trainer offers tips on how to take things down a notch if you’re a bit of a beginner.

’30 Day Fat Burn: Legs and Butt Shaper Workout’ by BeFit

Best for: Toning your legs and bum

Why do it? If you’d like to concentrate on your lower body, including your thighs and bum, then this 10-minute routine from popular fitness channel BeFit could work wonders.

As well as helping you tone those hard-to-tackle areas, the workout is designed to burn fat, incorporating a blend of cardio moves and strength training. Best of all, all you will need is a towel and a bottle of water, while the routine can be adapted to suit your level.

‘Total Arm Workout’ by XHIT Daily

Best for: Toning your arms

Why do it? Toning your arms can be tricky to say the least, which is we were thrilled to discover this 10-minute routine from popular exercise channel XHIT Daily.

You can use cans of food if you don’t have weights to hand, and the pace isn’t too intense, meaning this is an easy one to follow no matter your level. With clear instructions and a focus on correct technique, we’re not surprised it’s been viewed over 4 million times.

‘Get Fit 4 Free – The SB 30 Day Sweat Hiitgirl Workout’ by Sweaty Betty

Best for: High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

Why do it? HIIT has been big news in fitness circles for a while now – and for good reason, too. This type of workout allows you to burn fat in the most efficient way by alternating between intense periods of activity and rest.

While it’s probably not the best workout to try if you haven’t exercised in a while, this 30-minute routine from activewear label Sweaty Betty offers three different levels, to suit everyone from total newbies to experienced HIIT fans.

‘POP Pilates for Beginners – Total Body Workout’ by Blogilates

Best for: Pilates

Why do it? Pilates is usually associated with expensive equipment, but you can try the moves at home, even if you’re a complete beginner, thanks to this total body workout from Blogilates, fitness instructor Cassey Ho’s popular channel.

With a focus on breathing and proper posture, this half-hour workout is the perfect introduction to Pilates for beginners after a full-body workout.

Your 3-step plan to do 20 pullups without stopping

Pull your weight with these essential bodyweight workout tips.

PULLUPS ARE FLAT-OUT hard as hell.

Here’s how to really pull your weight:

1) Elastic bands

Use elastic assistance bands for a boost. That’ll help get you to knock out a few more reps than you otherwise would.

2) Negative Pullups

Focus on the lowering portion rather than the lift. Find a low bar and jump up so your chest in near bar level, then slowly lower yourself.

3) Forced Reps

When your muscles are on fire, have a training partner give you a boost to crank out two to three more reps.

The Back Day Burnout: A Big Thick Back Workout

Want to do a back workout that will challenge you and leave you feeling as though you’ve really accomplished something? Try the Back Day Burnout Workout!


Absolutely nothing makes you look as physically dominate as a thick, wide back.

Every true alpha male has a back as wide as the Great Wall of China and as thick as the bricks it was built with.

But, if you’re not quite there yet, have no fear.

Today we’re bringing you an epic back day workout that will help you develop that V-taper every single lifter aspires to develop from the first day s/he picks up a dumbbell.

This workout isn’t for the faint of heart and if you’re not an experienced lifter, it’s not a good place to start.

Build the foundation for your muscle with a beginner workout and once you’re a little more experienced and ready to tackle a challenge such as this workout, come back and give it a shot.

There’s no need to burn yourself out right off the bat.


The Back Day Burnout covers all of the bases. It has heavy sets for you strength seekers. It has high volume hypertrophy sets for all of you aesthetic animals.

But the true challenge of this workout comes down to completing the final burnout finisher, and only those with some serious muscular endurance will come out victorious.

This workout is best done with a partner who has similar strength as yours. As the workout progresses, you’ll find comfort in knowing someone is going through this workout with you. Believe me, it’s a doozy!


The Back Day Burnout workout starts off with some heavy deadlifts. The deadlift is one of the most crucial exercises a lifter can have in their workout program to build a strong and functional lower back.

By keeping the reps low and the intensity high with this compound lift, we can get an enormous bang for our buck in total poundage moved to start things off.

Related: Deadlift Domination – 5 Tips for 5 Plates

Perform a dynamic warmup and some light warm up sets before working your way up to the working sets of the Back Day Burnout.  Also, you may want to be prepared to be on the platform for a while. You’ll be performing 8 total sets of heavy deadlifts.

Once you’re warmed up, start of with 3 sets of 5. Whether you keep the weight the same or not for each set is completely up to you; however, I’d recommend only moving up as the reps per sets drop.

After you finish off your sets of 5, move right into 3 sets of 3. The reps are lower, but the weight you’re using should be heavier. Keep your focused dialed in. These are the reps where gains will be made.

Lastly, hit a couple of heavy doubles. You want to go as heavy as you can here, but it is important to know your own strength. There’s no point in risking injury trying to pull weight you’re not used to. Go heavy (I like to try and out do my partner), but be smart.


After you’ve finished up your deadlifts, move on to the first exercise of your hypertrophy lifts. We’re going to kick things off with wide grip lat pulldowns to try to build some lats that flair out.

Shoot for 3 sets of 10 with your first lat pulldown variation and really focus on contracting and squeezing your lats on each rep. Be sure to pick a weight that is challenging, but also allows your to hit every prescribed rep of the program with perfect form.

M&S Athlete Performing Lat Pulldowns on Back Day


We’re not moving from the cable pulldown, but you are going to need to swap out the cable attachment. We’re going with a close grip variation next, but this variation will probably be slightly different from any you’ve done before.

Grab the close grip handle as you normally would to get into a pulldown position. Instead of sitting on the machine though, we’re taking this all the way down to the floor.

You may need your partner’s help to get in position for these. As you approach the floor, wrap your feet around the bottom of the machine for stability. Arch your back slightly and using your lats, pull the weight to your chest.

If you’re too far back, the weight will hit the top of the machine, so make sure you are level with the pulldown cable.

Go lighter on these the first couple of times you try them and make sure you hit 12 reps on all 3 sets.


After you complete both pulldown variations, head over to the t-bar machine row. Don’t actually get on the machine though, because instead of t-bar rows, we’re going to be performing Meadow rows.

Related: John Meadows – His Journey to the Arnold, Brand, & Back Workout

Hover over the end of the t-bar and grab it with one arm. Once you’re in position, row the weight up as you would while performing a dumbbell row. Remember to squeeze your back with each rep.

The Meadow row can be tough, especially if you lack grip strength. If you find yourself struggling to hold onto the end of the bar, don’t worry you’re not alone. Either lower the weight you’re using and work on building that grip of yours, or implement some straps for these.


Continuing on with our rows for this Back Day Burnout, finish up your hypertrophy sets with supported dumbbell rows on the incline bench.

I love performing dumbbell rows in a supported fashion for a few reasons. After those heavy deadlifts and Meadow rows we just did, your low back is going to be fried and the support is going to be a breath of fresh air.

Also, by implementing the support on your front, it eliminates potential cheat reps that many lifters are guilty of when performing traditional dumbbell rows.

Set up an incline bench and rest your chest on the back of it. Grab the desired amount of weight you wish to use and perform 10 strict reps for 3 sets.

M&S Athlete Performing Pullups on their Back Day


By now, you’re probably thinking that everything listed above looks like your normal, run-of-the-mill back day workout. So, if you’ve been reading all this time and just waiting to see where the burnout comes into play, you’re in luck.

The Back Day Burnout finisher is no joke. You’re going to need some serious endurance to accomplish this after all of the aforementioned exercises.

The finisher to the workout is 100 total combined reps of either pullups, chin-ups, or inverted rows. You can perform as many reps of any of the three that you prefer, but there are three rules.

  1. You have to hit at least 10 total reps of each by the end of the 100 reps.
  2. You have to cycle through them in the order they are listed (pullup, chinup, inverted row).
  3. Once you fail, you have to move on to the next exercise in the rotation.

If you’re working out with a partner, turn this into as much of a competition as the heavy sets of deadlifts were. See who can do these 100 reps in the fewest sets. And make sure that each of you are doing full reps with perfect form.

Come all the way down on the pullups and chin-ups (but not to a completely unloaded position) and pull yourself up to where your chin is over the bar. On the inverted row, make sure that you touch your chest to the bar on each rep. If you or your partner doesn’t accomplish this, the rep doesn’t count and they have to move on to the next exercise.

Good luck!


Exercise Sets Reps
1. Deadlifts 8 5, 5, 5, 3, 3, 3, 2, 2
2. Lat Pulldowns 3 10
3. Close Grip Lat Pulldown from Floor 3 12
4. Meadow Rows 3 10
5. Supported Rows on Incline Bench 3 10
6a. Pullups
6b. Chinups
6c. Inverted Row 100 total reps

 Author|Josh England

Five Female Fitness Myths Debunked by Science

In today’s guest article, Luke Briggs breaks down the most common myths in female fitness and backs it all up with science.

Luke is an equally talented writer and passionate coach who truly get the most out of every single one of his clients, and challenges the current fitness industry with new and innovative ideas.  Let me tell you, he doesn’t just write about training, he is an avid competitive powerlifter who truly walks the walk.

He has really put together an exhaustive list of the downright fallacies women have been burdened with in our industry.  So ladies AND gentleman, get ready to pay attention and take some notes. Time for Luke to set the record straight!

Here’s What You Need To Know…

1. Lifting weights won’t make women bulky, but it will make them strong, lean and healthy if you’re interested in that.

2. Save the pink dumbbells for a doorstop, ultra high rep training is a dead practice. Sticking to strategic rep ranges will build the body of your dreams.

3. Weight lifting is not inherently dangerous; being brutally weak is actually a more risky daily practice.

4. Cardio may help you lose weight, but that “weight” may be muscle mass, which can lead to the dreaded skinny fat appearance. Not exactly the long-term result you had in mind from your daily run.

5. Protein should be prioritized, and eating more with goals of building muscle won’t leave you fat and dumpy. It will help you stay satiated and recovering from training more effectively than ever.

The Female Fitness Industry

Step aside, guys! It’s time to share the squat rack. We are currently living in the new age of fitness. As men, you are no longer the only gender passionately pumping iron with goals of chiseling a strong physique that will turn a few heads while tossing around a few plates.

While men have traditionally dominated the global strength scene, the change is becoming blatantly clear; women are lifting, training and dominating the iron game more than every before. And no, it’s not just about toning up the muscles with pink dumbbells and yoga!

According to data from the National Health Interview Survey, the number of women who participate in strength training increased significantly from 1998 to 2004 (Kruger, Carlson and Kohl III 2006). Just think that was more than a decade ago, before the rise of CrossFit, The Glute Guy and our American obsession with the backside.

While it’s about damn time that more and more females are starting to prioritize strength, it’s a damn shame that droves of misinformation about women and strength training still exist.

Though zombie lies are as hard to kill as the monsters themselves, we need to set the record straight once and for all.

Here is where I stand on dispelling the five most heinous mainstreamed fallacies that the fitness industry force feeds down the throats of vulnerable women looking to improve their bodies and health.

#1 Lifting Weights Will Make You Bulky

trap bar deadlift

One of the biggest misconceptions surrounding females and strength training involves the notion that lifting weights will make them appear bulky.

Unless females take anabolic steroids or double their clean food intake, that simply won’t happen.

Hormones factor heavily in determining an individual’s size. According to Medline Plus, women naturally produce about only 5-7% as much testosterone as men.

That means men produce 14 to 20 times as much testosterone as women, so women won’t increase muscle mass at nearly the same rate unless they supplement with steroids or other performance enhancing drugs.

They can work at the same intensities as men and build lean, slender physiques like fitness models instead of massive bodybuilders. This is absolutely possible, but the bulk thing? Not so much.

According to a 2004 study by Dr. Andrew Fry, “In general, females do not exhibit as great an absolute hypertrophic response when compared with males, although relative gains may be similar” (Fry, 2004).

Ladies aren’t going to throw on big slabs of muscle even if they exert the same level of effort as men. Whether this is good or bad is for you to decide, but being informed of facts, not opinions or anecdotal case studies of one, is necessary.

If women want to build muscle while losing weight, they should focus on maintaining a negative energy balance and burning off more calories than they consume. It doesn’t get much simpler than that. And guess what? That same tip can be used for men! Who would have thought?

To take it to the next level, females should work on reducing stress and getting a requisite amount of sleep per night. Again, this is not rocket science, but it has been shown that getting decreased number of hours of sleep reduces anabolic hormone levels and increases catabolic hormone concentrations (Cook, Kilduff and Jones; 2004).

While the very word “anabolic” may scare some women, it’s actually an important hormone for building lean muscle and burning fat. You’re either building muscle or losing muscle, and you definitely don’t want to decrease muscle mass because muscle burns more calories than fat.

So if females want to remain lean, they had better prioritize staying in an anabolic state.

That means ladies should aim for at least seven hours of sleep per night and consume plenty of high quality, unprocessed foods like lean meats, vegetables, fruits and nuts. And yes, it can be that simple. Master the basics to move your goals forward.

#2 If You Want To Tone Muscle, Lift Light Weight For High Reps

lindsay bloom

Women need much more than five-pound pink dumbbells to build the bodies they desire.

If you don’t think women should lift heavy weights, take a trip to your local grocery store to find women of all types hauling massive grocery bags and lifting children over their shoulders.

First off, “heavy” is a relative term. What’s heavy for a 110-pound female will be different than what’s heavy for a 200-pound male.

A certain level of stress must be placed on the body’s muscles and joints in order to create adaptations to allow for lean muscle growth.

According to a recent research review by Brad Schoenfeld called The Mechanisms of Muscle Hypertrophy and their Applications to Resistance Training, “Intensity (i.e. load) has been shown to have a significant impact on muscle hypertrophy and is arguably the most important exercise variable for stimulating muscle growth (Schoenfeld, 2010).”

Schoenfeld also indicated, “The use of high repetitions has generally proven to be inferior to moderate and lower repetition ranges in eliciting increases in muscle hypertrophy.” And we’re talking lean, toned muscles.

It should be noted that women who use strictly high repetitions will develop sarcoplasmic hypertrophy, the build-up of non-contractile fluid in muscle cells. This type of training makes muscles appear puffy. Not exactly what you are shooting for, right ladies?

Most women probably prefer to build lean, dense muscle. In this case, they should use fewer reps to achieve myofibrillar hypertrophy, an actual increase in the size of the muscle fibers.

Since we’ve already established women won’t get big and bulky unless they take steroids or eat massive amounts of food, let’s discuss the rep ranges women should use.

The majority of women (and men, yeah you guys!) exercise mainly to improve their physiques, so they don’t necessarily need to perform one-, two-, or three-rep maxes like strength athletes.

Sticking between six and 12 reps should be sufficient for optimal lean muscle development, assuming you’re working at a maximal level of intensity.

Women should make sure to use compound exercises like squats, deadlifts, push-ups and pull-ups to stimulate their nervous systems to the highest degree.

#3 You’ll Get Hurt If You Lift Weights

lindsay bloom female

You may actually increase your chances of getting hurt if you don’t lift weights. Like my man Bret Contreras says, “If you think lifting weights is dangerous, try being weak. Being weak is dangerous.”

A lot of females possess great flexibility, but lack stability. According to a 2012 report from the University of Colorado Hospital, anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries are four to six times more likely to happen in women than men (Osborne, 2012).

ACL injuries are more likely to occur in sports that involve jumping and changing of direction, so improving core stability and developing greater strength in the posterior chain can assist in reducing the possibility of injury.

While it’s important to have some level of flexibility, women who focus solely on stretching-based routines like yoga are short-changing themselves.

According to a 2012 study published in Yoga Journal, more than 82 percent of the 20.4 million yoga practitioners in the United States are female (Yoga Journal, 2012). The point isn’t to entice the guys to sign up for stretch class, but to put a number on the popularity of fitness fads.

Yoga is certainly a wonderful practice, and many women who are already flexible are naturally attracted to it because it’s something with which they’re going to have success. On the other hand, men tend to stick to weight lifting because they’re stronger and have more muscle mass than women. Perhaps many of them would benefit from doing more yoga.

Women can certainly get hurt lifting weights. Men can too.

Attempting to squat or deadlift under heavy load without proper form is a recipe for disaster.

That’s why; if you’re not confident with your form, seek out a qualified professional to learn proper exercise technique. You can then make sure you’re performing the proper progression for each exercise and you’re focusing on quality movement and form and build a foundation of strength to work towards for the long term.

Once you’ve gained confidence in your ability to complete a lift with perfect technique, you’ll be able to increase the weight without worry.

And who knows? Maybe you’ll start putting some men to shame with the amount of weight you have on the bar. No shame in showing up the boys every now and then!

As long as all of the movements are being performed correctly, adding in some form of resistance training is highly beneficial for females from an injury prevention standpoint. Start slow, master your movement, and you will progress faster than you would have ever dreamed.

#4 You Need To Focus On Cardio To Get Lean

lindsay bloom dr john rusin

Just about all of us have walked into a commercial gym to find dozens of exercisers on a treadmill or elliptical moving at a slow and steady pace for prolonged periods of time in an attempt to burn fat.

While there’s no question cardiovascular exercise can help you lose fat, you would be remiss to ignore strength training.

If you focus only on cardio, you’ll likely lose weight if you ensure your diet and recovery are also on point, but you’ll lose muscle if you don’t engage in resistance training.

Having more muscle speeds up your metabolism because it burns calories at a faster rate than fat. If you perform too much cardio, you can actually lose muscle. That is worth repeating, but I’ll save you the burden.

According to the National Strength and Conditioning Association, “Chronic, high-volume running creates a catabolic response that can lead to muscle degradation and reduction in power (Campbell and Spano, 131).” In case you read that quickly, this is not a good thing.

If improving body composition is your goal, it’s important to incorporate, if not prioritize weight training and other exercise methods that involve working at high intensities for shorter periods of time to place your body in an anabolic state.

Protein synthesis is elevated after bouts of strength training and can remain elevated for up to two full days following your workout (Campbell and Spano, 100).

For strictly aesthetic-based goals, ladies should implement at least two or three strength-training workouts and a couple of high-intensity interval routines each week.

Steady-state cardio is OK to use occasionally, but it shouldn’t be the main focus of any exercise regimen focusing on physical appearance. This can even be said for the high level triathletes I train on a daily basis.

Ultimately, women must have a negative energy balance to lose weight, so they must make sure diet and recovery are up to par first before focusing on exercise methods. You certainly can’t out-train a bad diet, no matter how hard you train. Sorry to burst your bubble!

#5 You’ll Get Fat If You Eat Too Much Protein

lindsay bloom rusin

Exercise is important, but your diet will have a much greater impact on your physique and your health for that matter.

Making sure you have a good balance of all your macronutrients (protein, carbohydrate, fat) and micronutrients (vitamins, minerals) is essential.

Protein is often talked about among men looking to bulk up, but it’s equally as important for women seeking to burn fat. Protein supports muscle and tissue growth, so it’s essential for the development of lean muscle mass, which elevates metabolism.

The Center for Disease Control recommends 56 grams of protein per day for men and 46 grams for women. But recommendations you find on food labels are generally for sedentary individuals.

Women who are active need more protein even if their goals are to lose weight and body fat.

The National Strength and Conditioning Association recommends you consume between one and one-half and two grams per kilogram of body weight per day and to “maintain or slightly increase protein intake…when following a hypocaloric diet (Campbell and Spano, 192).”

So even if you’re only a 50-kilogram (110-pound) female, you should still take in between 75 and 100 grams of protein each and every day.

Also, eating protein can help you eat fewer calories overall because protein has a high thermic effect of food. It requires more energy for the body to digest than the other macronutrients.

Think about it. Have you ever eaten a piece of steak before and felt stuffed? The portion you ate was probably only a couple hundred calories at most.

You’ve probably also eaten a large bag of potato chips and still felt hungry. That bag could have been more than 1,000 calories, but because chips are mostly carbohydrates, your body processed them really quickly.

Precision Nutrition, among the world leaders in nutrition coaching, recommends females have one palm-sized serving of protein with each meal. You should be able to fit about 20 to 30 grams of protein in your palm. If you have three meals, that’s a total of 60 to 90 grams.

So, ladies, start getting in more protein if you want to build your dream body. And skip the potato chips while you’re at it!


*All images were provided by Lindsay Bloom- Business Manger of John Rusin Fitness Systems, LLC

About The Author

luke briggs

Luke Briggs is a strength coach, powerlifter and former full time print journalist.  Luke is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) through the National Strength and Conditioning Association who also holds a bachelor’s degree from the prestigious University of Wisconsin’s school of journalism. Luke’s vision is to help people around the world build muscle, burn fat, get stronger and become the best versions of themselves.  With his background in print journalism, he combines his writing skills, knowledge of fitness and personal training experience to be the best possible resource for you to reach all of your strength and physique goals.

Visit Luke at  Luke Briggs Fitness


Baechle, Thomas R., and Roger W. Earle. “Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning.” Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2008. Print.

Campbell, Bill I., and Marie A. Spano. “NSCA’s Guide to Sport and Exercise Nutrition.” Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2011. Print.

Cook, Christian J., Liam P. Kilduff, and Marc R. Jones. “Recovering Effectively in High-Performance Sports.” High-Performance Training for Sports. N.p.: Human Kinetics, 2014. 325. Print.

Fry, Andrew C. “The Role of Resistance Training Intensity on Muscle Fibre Adaptations.” Sports Med 34.10 (2004): 663-78. Web. Female Fitness

Kruger, J., S. Carlson and H. Kohl, III. “Trends in Strength Training – United States, 1998-2004.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 21 July 2006. Web.

Osborne, Maria. “Why Do Females Injure Their Knees Four to Six Times More Than Men…And What Can You Do About It?” University of Colorado Health (2012): 1-6. University of Colorado-Denver. Female Fitness Web.

Schoenfeld, Brad J. “The Mechanisms of Muscle Hypertrophy and Their Application to Resistance Training.” Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 24 (2010): 2857-872. Web. Female Fitness

Yoga Journal. “New Study Finds More Than 20 Million Yogis in U.S. – Yoga Journal.” Yoga Journal. N.p., 05 Dec. 2012. Web. Female Fitness



6 Phases of the Perfect
Dynamic Warm Up

By | May 26th, 2015|Bodybuilding, Lifestyle, Strength Training

What Fighters Know That You Don’t: 5 Facts For Losing Fat

[Original Article]

Andrew Read

A recent study in the Strength and Conditioning Journal explored methods fighters employ to make weight – still largely unchartered waters – and a few simple facts stood out.

Fact 1:
If looking to drop body fat to assist in making weight, consuming carbohydrate within four hours of exercise will limit lipid oxidation and usage. This is compounded if the carbohydrates are rated highly on the glycemic scale as insulin attenuates lipolysis so much that it appears to limit fat oxidation.

Lesson: If looking to drop fat don’t eat quick acting carbohydrate too close to training.

Fact 2:
While there is some evidence to show fat oxidation is improved in conditions of limited carbohydrate availability it is also important to note this same condition also increases the rate of potential amino acid oxidation, meaning if you are relying on fasted training to boost fat loss you are likely going to cause muscle wastage too. If your goal is making a certain weight to perform it is unlikely you are going to want to diminish force production at the same time.

Lesson: Make sure to keep the intensity low during fat cutting workouts, otherwise you may cause muscle wastage too. Evidence shows that above intensities of 65% Vo2Max carbohydrate utilization dominates while fat oxidation decreases. Bodybuilders have known this for years – walking and other very low intensity exercise is best for getting shredded while preserving precious muscle mass.

Fact 3:
Interestingly, as moderate intensity exercise becomes longer in duration the rate of fatty acid oxidation seems to increase while showing a corresponding drop in carbohydrate usage. Current research is showing that lipid activation is increased during training if not supported by carbohydrate intake as traditionally thought. However, given that protein breakdown may occur under such situations it is recommended to increase or supplement protein intake.

Lesson: To prevent muscle wastage you can supplement Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) or use a long lasting protein blend including casein during training.

Fact 4:
By splitting training sessions up there is an opportunity to increase fat burning even more. Fat storage increases as the day goes on but it is possible to continue fat utilization and minimise fat storage by continuing to encourage the body to work later in the day when fat storage is usually at it’s highest.

Lesson: Minimise fat storage by splitting workouts into two halves performed morning and night.

Fact 5:
The tradition of early morning, fasted, moderate intensity cardiovascular activity has been shown to positively influence fat use. Given the lack of a possible pre-workout carbohydrate meal, the low availability of blood sugar for the exercise session is more likely to enhance adaptation of skeletal muscle and insulin sensitivity while, as explained before, maximizing fat oxidation.

Lesson: Make morning sessions easier and save the hard sessions for later in the day once you’ve topped up your fuel tank.


If you’re looking to drop fat the best route is early morning, moderate intensity cardiovascular work. By limiting your carbohydrate activity and forcing your body to use fat stores you encourage your body to burn fat more effectively. If you’re worried about muscle wastage supplement BCAAs into your water bottle for during the workout. Hard, intense sessions are best saved for later in the day when your energy stores have been increased during the day.

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