Ok, first, adding 3 hard conditioning days right off the bat is too much too fast.
That’s the perfect example of starting a new goal using all the tools at your disposal right from the start because you are too eager to reach your goal(s). This pretty much always backfires as you either end up with injuries (sudden increases in training stress is the no.1 cause of non-impact training injuries), drained or plateaued after 4-6 weeks with nothing else to add as you are already topped off a far as tolerable training is concerned.
A fat loss phase should be planned, and periodized in a logical and progressive way, just like a strength phase is.
This means gradually adding fat loss tools ON A NEED-TO BASIS.
This is even truer for hard/intense conditioning because it is the type of work that likely creates the most central fatigue, which has the most profound negative impact on lifting performance, and thus on muscle maintenance (or gain).
Normally I plan fat loss phases for 10 to 12 weeks depending on how much fat there is to lose. NOTE, that is for normal fat loss phases, not blitzes which are a different approach that can be used but requires special precautions.
Strictly from a fat loss perspective, hard/intense conditioning is the LAST thing I want to increase in a fat loss phase as it has the most potential drawbacks (even on muscle loss… it was recently compared to lower intensity cardio and found to cause more muscle loss), especially on fatigue and recovery.
In fact, when I start a fat loss phase with a client I pretty much never include high intensity energy systems work during the first 4 weeks. I use exclusively diet, LISS and increased locomotion (walking more) to lose fat. My goal during this phase being to program the body to be more efficient at using fat for fuel. Which is why, ironically, the first 4 weeks of a fat loss phase is where carbs intake is at its LOWEST (fats are higher).
During this first phase I typically add 20-30 minutes of LISS at the end of every lifting session and one 45-60 minutes walk with a weight vest or backpack per week.
In the second phase I will either increase the duration of the LISS sessions (to 35-40 min) OR (not both) replace one of the post-workout LISS sessions with an intense (but short) conditioning session… mostly farmer’s walks and/or prowler pushing.
This also occurs with a slight increase in lifting volume (maybe 2-3 more sets total per workout) AND an increase in carbs intake (to fuel the added intense work). Note that calories do not go up. They might stay the same (if the rate of progress is around 1-1.5% of bodyweight per week) or decrease slightly. Protein stays the same (that’s important) so fats are decreased.
This second phase also typically last 4 weeks.
The third week will see an increase in training density with the use of a bit more intensification methods and we also replace another one of the post-workout LISS sessions by a short hight intensity conditioning session (so now we are at 2 LISS, 2 high intensity and one loaded walk per week).
Carbs are increased a bit again (and fats decreased), and we shift more of the carbs to the evening meals to facilitate sleep and relaxation which will suck at this point.
This third phase is also typically 4 weeks long.
And these are normally the 12 weeks of a fat loss phase. ONLY in extreme cases (e.g. physique competition, photoshoot) do I add a 4th phase, which is the beast mode phase. This is a phase to go from very lean to competitively lean. It is only to be used:
- If the client is super lean already and need to get ridiculously, unhealthily lean
- If the client understand and accept that this phase WILL cause some problems that will need to be fixed afterwards and that it might take a while to correct
- If the client understand that these last 2-4 weeks (depending on leanness and desired leanness) will absolutely suck and that he won’t be a shadow of himself on a daily basis.
In that 4th phase we pull-out all the stops to atteint ultimate leanness. Which means, low carbs AND low fat, LISS on every OFF day and hard conditioning on every lifting day.
I would NEVER recommend this approach in a normal fat loss plan. It’s only for those who are willing to accept the consequences to get contest lean.