Note: If you’re looking for a step-by-step workout plan to lose up to 17 lbs while also building lean muscle, then I highly recommend my friends eBook Manual.
How To Lose Body Fat
In my opinion, the best and most practical way to lose body fat consists of 4 parts. In order of importance, they go…
- Diet (most important by far)
- Strength training
- Circuit training
- Long endurance training
- Your diet is hands down the most important part of losing fat. There is no training program in the world that can make up for a horrible diet. Listen again… Your diet is the most important part when trying to lose fat. Fat loss is 80% diet and 20% exercise. For starters cutback on the alcohol, the fattening Starbucks lattes, absolutely no pizza, fast food or ice cream.
- It’s simple, you have to eat less calories. Focus on eating well balanced, frequent meals of small portions.
- Well Balanced: Lots of vegetables, especially green ones (spinach and broccoli are my personal favorites). A good amount of protein whether it’s from meat (chicken, fish, peanut butter) or other sources (eggs, egg whites, soy, beans). Healthy fats in the form of olive oil, nuts and seeds. Have a few pieces of fruit each day. Stay away from all fried and processed foods. Try staying away from dairy and see how that goes. I also recommend no refined carbohydrates such as white bread, white rice and pasta.
- Frequent: Eat 3 meals and 2-3 snacks. Space these equally throughout the day.
- Limited Portions: Are you eating too much? Limit protein sources to the size of your palm for meals. A handful of nuts should be a small handful. Also, eat green leafy vegetables.
- For a more in-depth diet, check out our easy weight loss diet.
- When I say strength training I mean heavy lifting. I said heavy! Heavy will depend on the individual, but it comes down to using a weight that only allows five repetitions or less, regardless of the exercise. Stick with the big multi-joint movements: squats, deadlifts, overhead presses, and pull-ups.
High Intensity Circuit Training
- Circuit training is all about intensity. I’m talking about heart exploding out of your chest, oh my God I’m going to pass out levels of intensity. I’m talking about pushing yourself to the limit. And then coming out on the other side in a puddle of sweat, with a smile on your face and your metabolism jacked.
Long Slow Endurance Training
- Consider this the icing on the cake but not your primary means of exercise. If going out for an hour long jog is something you enjoy, go for it. You’ll certainly burn more calories than if you were watching reality show reruns. Just don’t let the plodding take priority over your heavy resistance training or circuit training.
8-Week Workout Plan For Losing Fat
This workout plan is designed for you to workout 4x per week. We will do 2 days of strength training and 2 days of circuit training. Make sure you are also following the easy weight loss diet. Remember that diet is the most important part of losing fat.
Day 1 (Monday)
Warm-up for 3-5 minutes by either jumping rope, doing jumping jacks, using a rower machine or riding a bike
- Squats – 2 warm-up sets of 5 reps (1 with just the barbell, 1 with some weight added). 5 sets of 5 reps (Find a weight that makes five reps difficult)
- Shoulder Press – 2 warm-up sets of 5 reps (1 with just the barbell, 1 with some weight added). 5 sets of 5 reps (Find a weight that makes 5 reps difficult)
Notes: Rest 2 minutes between each set
Day 2 (Tuesday)
Warm-up for 3-5 minutes by either jumping rope, doing jumping jacks, using a rower machine or riding a stationary bike
- Push ups/Burpee circuit in the following order
5 pushups – 1 burpee
4 pushups – 2 burpees
3 pushups – 3 burpees
2 pushups – 4 burpees
1 pushup – 5 burpees
Try to do the pushup/burpee ladder straight through without a break. If you need to take breaks take them when needed. You should try to do this circuit as fast as you can.
Day 3 – (Thursday)
Warm-up for 3-5 minutes by either jumping rope, doing jumping jacks, using a rower machine or riding a stationary bike
- Deadlift – 2 warm-up sets of 5 reps (barbell with some weight added). 5 sets of 5 reps (Use a weight that’s difficult to do 5 sets)
- Chin ups/pull ups – Do 5 sets of 5 reps. If you can’t do a chin up, check out the bottom of the chinup page for help on chinups. If you can do more than 5 chinups, add weight to your chinups so that you can only do 5. We have a lot of info about adding weight at the bottom of the page here…
Note: Rest 2 minutes between each set
Day 4 – (Friday)
Warm-up for 3-5 minutes by doing jumping jacks, using a rower machine or riding a stationary bike
- Jump rope/ bodyweight squat (no weight) circuit
Jump rope at an fast pace for 1 minute and then do 25 bodyweight squats. Repeat this circuit 5 times. Try to make it all the way through without taking a break. If you need to take breaks, do so between sets. Your goal is to complete this circuit as fast as you can.
Here is what your workout looks like….
- Monday – Strength training workout
- Tuesday – Circuit workout
- Wednesday – Take the day off
- Thursday – Strength training workout
- Friday – Circuit workout
- Saturday – Take the day off
- Sunday – Take the day off
Follow this training cycle for 4-8 weeks. Remember you can do the circuit training workouts at home, in your office or outside if you’d like. You don’t need a gym for this!
How Will This Workout Make Me Lose Fat?
Strength training and circuit training may not burn as many calories during a training session as long slow cardio, BUT the big benefit comes from the calories burned after your training. Studies have proven time and time again that high-intensity circuit training will help your body burn calories in the 18-48 hours after your workout.
So overall the amount of calories you burn, and most importantly the amount of fat you’ll burn with circuit/strength training will add up to a lot more than what you would burn if you were doing slow cardio type workouts (ex. running 3 miles at a slow pace).
How Much Fat Will I Lose?
A lot of this depends on your current weight, diet and exercise routine. We’ve had clients in my gym lose 25 lbs on this exact diet and workout program in just 8 weeks.
A normal healthy male who weighs 200 lbs and is 5’8” will probably lose 10-20 lbs on this program in an 8-week period. Your biggest losses will be in the first two weeks, so don’t get worried when your losses aren’t as much in the following weeks.
The amount of weight you lose really depends on how well you stick to the diet. If you slack on your diet and start eating pizza and drinking 3 nights a week, you’ll ruin all the progress you’ve made on the other days.
How Will This Workout Make Me Look?
This diet plan and workout program are specifically designed to help you lose body fat. This will make you look lean and toned. This isn’t a muscle building program, or a pure strength program. It’s designed to help both men and women to lose the most fat possible in 8 weeks.
This program will give you…
- A flatter stomach
- Toned legs and butt
- Toned arms, chest and shoulders
Conclusion (What You Need To Do RIGHT Now)
Print out this page and also the easy weight loss diet page.
Get to the grocery store and buy the healthy foods on the diet page. It helps to prepare meals ahead of time so you always have something to eat. Get started on your first workout ASAP. Whether it’s tonight or tomorrow on your lunch break, just do it!
There’s a reason why so many people in this world are overweight. They don’t have the will power and the determination it takes to be in the best shape of their life. Strive to put your body in the best shape it can possibly be, and you’ll wonder what took you so long to try.
You’ll instantly feel better, look better, be happier, live longer and probably make all your friends jealous!
It’s more than worth it.
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Great post! So glad I found this site, Ive been a bit out of shape lately, needed a kick in the butt.
Wow what a great site!
Thanks for this info, Im FAT right now and need to get in shape so I can start getting some dates.
This should help
Good article. But could you give a quick week schedule to incorporate all components? Monday-Circuit, Tuesday-Strength? Would circuit incorporate strength and bodyweight.
@ Chuck: Great question! It’s kinda tough to give you a straight answer without making a few assumptions. . . I’ll assume you can train 5 days per week (Mon – Fri), that you have some familiarity with strength training, and that you have access to a gym.
I’d start with strength training on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I’d add the high intensity circuit training on Tuesday and Thursday. Circuit training could very well incorporate bodyweight exercises and movements that are traditionally used for strength building (deadlifts, squats, etc.), but the weight used would be greatly reduced to permit a fast iteration during the circuit. A favorite circuit of mine is to deadlift 60% of your maximum one rep lift ten times, then do 20 burpees, and repeat 3 times. I usually see stars on that one – enjoy the pretty lights!
The important thing to remember is to track your results. Are you losing weight? If not, something has to change. Check the diet first. If the diet is tight, then look to the workouts. Maybe try circuit training Mon, Wed, Fri and strength training on Tues and Thurs and see if your weight loss improves. Keep those records! I like to think of myself as a lab rat – but never a gerbil. 🙂
Hi Vic – I’m 220lbs wants to lose 25 pounds, I’m following your strength training and high inensity circuit traing program along with diet. However first, I work out at home and don’t have access to pullups/chinups bars and secondly cannot do even couple of pullups – any alternative for these exercises which may be effective. Another question, how to do heavy lifting at home, don’t have enough weights. Suggestions please.
Love your site and info, cheers
If you check out the 31 day challenge, there are at-home workouts that require no equipment (not even a pull up bar). If you get a pull up bar (a worthwhile investment), you can do body rows as an alternate.
And I REALLY don’t mean this to sound sarcastic at all but to lift heavy weights you need to get the weight. Whether that means joining a gym and using their weights, or combing Craig’s List and garage sales for home equipment, if you want to lift heavy you are going to need weight. Good luck!
I’d suggest that people become more familiar with calories in general. For example, it’s healthy to eat nuts.
But What most people don’t realize is that they’re very high in calories. I’m glad you emphasized the need to switch to whole grain foods and avoid white breads that digest quickly, and thus convert to fat, leaving us hungry again.
Question. What would you say are the best excercies for burning love handles?
Also, if you do want to go out for a drink (alcoholic) which are the best with weight-loss in mind. Right now I am drinking vodka-water when I go out.
Losing love handles is all about your diet! Contrary to fitness commercials and magazines everywhere, you CAN NOT spot target fat loss.
You can’t just do ab workouts and get a 6 pack…fat loss happens when you mix proper diet and good workouts.
The workout above, accompanied with the diet plan will give you AMAZING results in just 4 weeks I bet. You’ll see a good loss of fat, and you’ll also be building muscle as well.
When it comes to booze, keep it to a minimum if possible. Drinking 4 nights a week will really hutrt your recovery. But you are right on with vodka and water, its one of the best choices you can make if youre going to drink.
Let me know if you have any more questions…
Just wondering in your push-up/burpee routine: Is there a push-up IN the burpee as well as the push-up or do you just do the leg back burpee then the push-up?
Hope that makes sense. It’s just that I dont do a push-up in my burpee, I just jump up, squat down, legs back and up again. But I’ve seen some burpee demo’s that have have the push-up at the end of the legs back bit.
oh! And as I’m a girl, can I do the push-up on knees as usual, or is that defeating the object?
Thanks so much for the feedback! Really appreciate it and great job on the site. The $5/day video was awsome!
@ Tuscanystone – sorry for the late response, missed your comment!
Here is a video of my burpee (should be up on GymJunkies soon) this will explain everything for ya https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wpVDa1oY64Y
Pushups on the knees are fine. If you can do them on your toes then by all means do it. But if you cant right now, use your knees and work your way up to a regular pushup!
Hope that helps!
Great Vic, thanks. I’m definitely doing ‘weak’ burpees!! lol But they knacker me out anyhow! I will try harder!!
Thanks, Tusc 😀
Wow Vic, this is a really great starter’s guide you have here. It took me awhile to learn all these things but you summarized it well in one web page. Great site. More power to you!
Hi vic, i was wondering how can i lose fat without losing weight cause i have 15% of body fat but I’m not overweight so how can i do that… should i eat more during the day ?
Vic – for the Tuesday circuit, is that the entire workout? How many times do you go through the circuit?
@Jose: Are you weight training? You have to hit the weights if you want to cut fat, but not cut weight. You may have to increase your daily calorie intake as well.
@Nick: Yes, that is the entire circuit. If you need to make it more challenging, increase the rep scheme to as much as starting with 10 push ups and 1 burpee and ending with 1 push up and 10 burpees. If you can pull off the opposing ladder rep format at 10, I’m guessing you probably don’t have any weight to lose.
Vic – u r a mind reader…your right – 5’10 and 178…want to be more cut…stuck at a 32″ waist….probably need to cut out beer and the once a week fried fish fest.
Hi im trying to work out at home for a every day thing i was on birthcontrol in 2007 i never been the same im only 17 years old im 145pounds I know it is not that bad wich it is not its just blew me up in my belly. I will show my friends and family and they will tell me that a little workout can take that away it may be true i just wanna look good and summer is coming and so is my birthday.
@ Gwendolyn: Be sure to include a solid nutrition plan with your at home workouts. Good luck!
Awesome website! I’ve gone through “The Beginner’s workout” and I’m currently following the “How to loose fat”. I’m seeing some great results and feeling much better. Although I think I’ve still got a ways to go, I have a few concerns. I’m getting loose skin around my stomach, and my moobs (man-boobs) although are getting smaller still stick out. I know you say you can’t do spot/target specific areas, but i’d appreciate any advice you can offer.
Much appreciated, and thanks again for sharing your expertise.
@Dafied: Glad to hear you are getting results and feeling better. My advice is to stay the course. Stay with solid nutrition and stay with a solid exercise regimen. Your body will adapt slowly and your aesthetic concerns should cure themselves overtime (especially the moobs). Ask yourself how long it took you get the moobs – now allow yourself just as much time to improve your body. Exercise and diet need to be lifelong habits; do your best to not get caught up in wanting instant results. Stay the course; you can do it!
Vic, I’m 5’8 & 205 pounds.. with your Diet and Workout plan I finally found a routine that will keep me motivated and consistent, I’m starting it this week, my goal is to be at around 170Lbs, lean, cut but not just a beach body, also in good shape to play any sport comfortably, my goal is set for May/early summer, is that possible? and what else could i do to make me reach my goal? thank you very much! really.
@Allan: I recommend breaking your big goal of dropping to 170lbs into smaller incremental goals. A good healthy weight loss average for a week is about 2 lbs. If you don’t drop at least 1.5 lbs in a week’s time, something needs to change. Keep in mind that your diet is THE most important component on your weight loss journey. Also track EVERYTHING: your diet, your workouts, and weigh in at the same time and day once per week. Now, is dropping 35 lbs by early summer (let’s call it May 31st) possible? That’s an average of about 3 lbs. per week; so yes, it is possible. It’s an ambitious, aggressive goal but it IS possible. I’ve personally coached several clients to 20+ lb losses in 8 weeks. You CAN do it!
thanks for the advice! one more thing though, I’m following your work-out plan and diet, to reach my goal of dropping 3lbs a week I wanna add cardio to the strength training and circuit training. how much do you think that will help towards my goal?
@Allan: Think of cardio (assuming you mean long slow steady paced activity) as “icing on the cake”. Don’t even worry about it until you have the following on track in this particular order: 1) diet, 2) strength training, 3) high intensity circuit training, and a distant last place 4) “cardio”. How much cardio? I’ll just say don’t let the energy you expend with the long slow activity zap you of energy that could be used for strength and circuit training. Good luck and let us know how it’s going!
Hi I tried your kickboxing out yesturday with my boyfriend and loved it. It wore me out but I felt great ! Anyways A few questions 1. Would kickboxing be a good place to start for weight lose? 2. How many times a week should I do classes? 3. Do you still offer the 8 week program and if yes how much is the program? Thanks So much
Damn VIC.. you just keep making this better and better… yeah… Definitely intensity is the KEY..don’t be afraid to push YOURSELF… we are capable of doing so much more than we realize~ Step it up every workout. Maximize your time…Girls..don’t be afraid to pick up a heavy weight~ It’s amazing how wonderful it is~ I’m 51 years old..and I love all these new challenges that I find I can do that I never even thought of before. Mind over MATTER… it’s so damn TRUE.. yes? i say hell YES~…thanks as always for the awesome info VIC. I can’t wait to hit the gym hard in the morning… also i see in the post above Danielle mentioned a Kickboxing plan? Do you have one of those as well? I am actually getting my first boxing lesson tomorrow and I am so excited…it has been on my list of things to do. Stop waiting and START DOING! I can’t wait to throw a good punch..the right way… it’s so magical when it’s done right!!! For cranking up the intensity.. how do you like the ‘tabata’ training method,Vic”… i absolutely LOVE IT.. so many variations to choose from 20/10, 60/60, 30/30… it really gets the heart beating!!! try doing 8 rounds of mountain climbers in a tabata style,just a short 4 minutes of 20 on 10 off..yah… sorry for taking up so much room..i tend to get excited.. 🙂 LOVE THIS SITE, VIC!
In my opinion, if you don’t monitor your energy intake, you’ve only got half the solution. The way that made most sense for me was to buy a little set of digital 1 gram scales, and weigh everything I ate whilst recording it’s protein and calories, sounds really boring, but I felt I needed to reducate myself on good food choices, and portion control so that this would be a sustainable long term change. I soon cut out high energy foods, instead choosing foods which will fill me up and provide me with some nutritional value. I barely need to use the scales now, I have a good idea what to eat and how much to eat of it.
Hi Vic! i love the site.
I want to start this “how to lose fat” program in a few weeks. due to an old neck injury, i can’t perform shoulder presses. i know you really put a lot of emphasis on how good they are, but is there something i can substitute for them. they just give me an instant headache. thanks so much! i can’t wait to start.
Thank you! The burpees video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wpVDa1oY64Y
is no longer available… hoping you can please fix this???
Hi Vic… burpee video is working for me now… thank you.
I am 5’7 147 pounds and have been weight training for 2 years but only in the last 4-6 months have i been training properly as i was clueless in the gym. I have been loosing fat and improving strength by doing 3reps for 3 sets at heavy weights and then 8reps for 3sets on a moderately heavy weight. is this a good way to improve strength and cut fat at the same time or is their better methods? i train five times a week and rest each muscle group for atleast 3 days. My diet is good high in protein and vegetables and only eat ‘good’ carbs before 5pm and before workouts. also would 10 minutes on the treadmill comprising of jogging and sprinting be intense enough to burn fat?
would be grateful for advice
Admory, a few things. . . when you say muscle group, I’m afraid you might be doing a bodypart split. You know, Monday is chest and back, Wednesday bi’s and tri’s, Friday legs. If that is the case, I recommend instead that you focus on movements and not muscles. Focus on the big compound lifts like deadlifts, squats, and over head presses and you can’t go wrong. As far as your set and rep format, it sounds like it could work. The only way to know for sure is to track your workouts and see if you are getting results. Your diet also sounds like it’s ok.
Treadmills are for gerbils. That being said, ten minutes on the treadmill of jogging and sprinting might be intense enough to burn fat. Then again, it might not. Again, the only way to know is to track. You have to keep detailed notes, and think of your self as kind of a lab rat. Just not a gerbil. 🙂 Best of luck in your training!
Nicole, as much as I’m not a huge fan of them, the bench press may be a better choice for you. Give it a try with light weight and see how the neck feels. As always, be sure to check with your doc and get their opinion on your exercise regimen. But don’t let that neck injury stand in your way, there are plenty of movements you can do to help you reach your fat loss goals. Good luck!
Love the site — I’m currently building strength with the 5×5 program which aligns well with the principles you have here. I’m trying to figure out a good mix of HIIT workouts to do on off-days and I’ve started doing the Bear and planning to work in the burpee ladder soon. Do you just do one burpee ladder a session? Is that enough to get the benefits of post-workout increased metabolism?
DC, yes one ladder should get the job done. But only you can be the judge of whether or not you’ve pushed yourself to the limit. Push to the limit every session? Probably not. A good self inflicted thrashing once a week – hell yes!
thanks for your reply vic it was usefull. i do compound exerices when i work my muscle groups i.e chest press for chest and tri’s, squats for legs and pull ups for back and biceps etc. You are right about isolation exercises and machines in my opinion they are nothing compared to free weights. I have recently hit plateu with a few exercises do you have any tips for geting over it? i train early in the mornings so usualy only have breakfast before i hit the gym and dont feel as if i have enough energy to really go for it at times.
Vic could you reccommend a replacement for the jump rope in the jump rope/squat circuit? I don’t have one and limited space to jump.
Burpees would work well…
Just curious about the push up – burpee ladder. Am I supposed to do it more than once? Start to finish it took me about five minutes, which just doesn’t seem like enough. I was certainly winded but felt like I was missing something. Thanks for your help!!
Love the site, but most of all I love your attitude to training. Im doing this program and was wondering what the best way to make the friday program harder? It gets my hard pounding and lungs blowing hard but I have a fairly good recovery rate and 5 mins later Im usually good to go again. Could I incorporate cardio/fartlek/interval training or is that best left to a different session?
Change it to 50 bodyweight squats. If thats too easy, then I would add weight and do them with either a dumbbell or a barbell…
Hey Vic, Great site; I found your site through Israel at http://www.FatManUnleashed.com
I am 29 y.o. and 6’3″ and about 325, about 20-25% body fat. I consider myself to be fairly in shape (compared to other 300+ pounders) and want to lose weight but get stronger also. My goal weight is somewhere in the 260’s but with 10-15% body fat.
Do you think its a good idea I do this workout first for 6 or 8 weeks, and then move to the “Building Strength” workout? or do you think if I start at the “Building Strength” workout, that the weightloss will come naturally.
Again, great site; it is one of the sites I check almost daily!
I love these exercises but I have no access to barbells. (I am jobless and living with 7 other people all being supported by one person… damn economy) I have dumbbells and I have a pullup bar. Are there modifications to the exercises you have there that use barbells?
All barbell movements can be done with dumbbells. Your best bet would be to just look them up on Youtube, as it would take me 3 pages to explain them…
Just look up dumbbell shoulder press, dumbbell bench press, goblet squat and dumbbell deadlift. Those vids will help you!
On the Monday and Thursday sessions, am I supposed to do both exercises back to back without resting as a set? so on monday: 5 squats followed by 5 shoulder presses, rest. then repeat.
Or do i get through each 5 set – 5 rep before moving to the next exercise?
I know I won’t get a response in time today so I am doing it the way I first described. Please let me know if I have to change that for the future.
The first way you described it is the correct way. Keep it cranking for fat loss! Best of luck and train hard!
When you loose weight you loose the charm on the face, what can be done for that ? Please advice
Not sure what you mean by the charm on the face. . . I think my face looks better when I’m lean.
This exercise program rocks except the part with the intense skipping rope with the 25 squats for five sets. I can’t jump rope so I’ve replaced the skipping with sprints however at the moment I can only do two sprints and two sets squats, I think I’ll just continue what I’m doing and slowly work on building up my number of sprints and sets of squats. Sound like a plan?
Sounds like a great plan! I think sprints are a better choice to be honest. I recommended the jumping rope assuming most people would be training indoors. Train hard!