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Training to Lose Fat


I need to lose about 20lbs (go from a 38" waist to a 34"), 30 ideally, I have been following 5/3/1 but due to some health concerns I want to focus my attention to getting this excess fat off forever. I have a diet and training log already on this site. I am coming from a strongman background with my best lifts usually being carries (and my favorite being atlas stones!). Im posting in this forum because I know there are a lot of experienced people who are in way better shape than I am. I am not too concerned about losing strength as I have never been a hard gainer, however I have never trained specifically for fat lost. The closest I have done was German Volume Training (which I enjoyed) 2 years ago. Based on what I have read, the following criteria needs to be met:

Intensity >= 75% 1 RM
Rest Periods <= 30 to 90 seconds.
Lower weekly volume
big compound movements

I have read many articles and there is a great deal of conflicting information. The list above is what I have found that is common in all of them. So, what do you recommend for programming that is conducive to long term fat loss? I have some ideas myself but Id like to get some feedback first.


I recommend fewer plate to mouth curls w/ fork.

For training, you need to expend more energy. That is, work longer or work harder or work more in the same time.

Full body movements use the most energy.


keep the focus of your weight training on getting stronger.

Let your diet and energy systems work do the fat burning.

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Yogi nailed it.

People have lost bodyfat following all sorts of weight training programs. If whatever plan you’re utilizing is allowing you to progress and build muscle, then locking down your diet and a smart (not excessive!) cardio program will allow you to whittle away the pudge while keeping (and possibly still gaining) muscle.


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For long-term fat loss, 3-5 days of training (any kind of training) per week for 2,000 weeks.

For short-term fat loss, I do agree with Yogi and Stu. Diet and cardio/conditioning will go a long way, and those are both areas that you need to work on.

But, as I’ve mentioned in your previous thread/s, I still think you’d benefit from focusing all efforts 100% on fat loss, instead of trying to significantly increase your front squat or whatever while “hoping” to drop some fat along the way. I feel like you’ve been doing the “train for strongman first, maybe-possibly lose a little fat second” for a long time.

Thibs’ War Room routine, though not inline with his current training, has been popular with a lot of guys - A little heavy lifting, some circuits, some strategic cardio.


I have. At the same time for some reason the fat loss has been much more difficult this time around. I gained weight before due to bad habits and lost it simply by restricting my calories to 2000/day. I wasn’t even following a lifting regiment and wasn’t strong at all. I gained weight this time due to meds and it has just stuck. Yeah, I did lost 10lbs of bodyweight and increased my lean mass, but it seems no matter what I do I am stuck at 260. I feel like something about my metabolism changed. It deeply pisses me off because I never was this overweight in my life. I was never a skinny guy, but Ive never had a giant spare tire and excess fat all over. Hell, I don’t even like carbs or sugary food. Either way shit has got to change. This week is my rest week so ill be starting that program next week.


Not losing weight? Eat less or move more. (Or drugs. Or surgery.) Simple. Eating less is probably the best option.

And I’d agree with @Chris_Colucci. You’re better of focusing your efforts.


You could start by stopping changing goals.


My experience has been that training to lose fat while maintaining/gaining strength involves REMOVING training stimuli rather than adding to it. Nutrition has to be dialed in, you have to eat exactly what you need and you need to remove anything hindering your recovery.

Otherwise, you could always try the velocity diet. Dan John wrote very favorably of it, and it’s only 28 days. Get a quick shock for fat loss and decide your way forward from there.


I have some broad concepts that may help you, and I can go into detail on specifics if you’d like. I notice you said you’d like to keep this fat off “forever”. This is my truth that I know from my own experience the past 3 years when I started my own fitness project – which has kept my spare tire off with no sign of coming back.

I’ve been helping a friend get in shape, and the first thing I told him was to mentally reframe the entire endeavor differently. The actual problem is a busted metabolism…the fat is just a symptom of that problem. Instead of being the guy chasing 20 pounds, be the guy who is determined to fix his metabolism, which will eventually end with being fit. He’s been doing well for three months, and sometimes I have to tell him dial it back a little because he thinks he’s going to look like Brad Pitt in Fight Club by summer. But I keep telling him he’s sabotaging his long term progress by going too hard with the calorie deficit and training. People will tell him he looks better this summer…but next summer he’s going to look good.

Which leads to the second important point…set a long term goal and work toward it slowly, because from what I’ve seen with people around me (and myself) is that when you set a short term goal to “lose weight” quickly, you may make it there – but the crazy, intense program you’ve used will not be sustainable over the long term. I’m not saying make things easy for yourself, but it has to be something you can work into your lifestyle and almost not notice it’s there. Once you stop the super intense emergency diet and exercise (which will happen) the fat will come back with a vengeance because you’ve further damaged your hormones and told your body to basically be a fat storage depot. It can’t wait to get back into that mode and will do it as soon as you allow it by letting up.

I fixed my metabolism by intermittent fasting and adding hill sprints to my workout program twice a week, and not eating bread or processed foods. Of course, it’s a little more complex than that. While I don’t pay too close attention to my macros, I do focus on getting lots of protein, with (good) fats second and carbs a very distant third – unless I’m bulking like I am now. The first year I looked OK, but the second year I was looking great. The third year has been even better, and I haven’t reverted back to my old ways because I eased into my fitness program, and also had room to experiment with different thing like ketogenic diet (which I abandoned) – but I’ve stuck with IF and HIIT (mainly sprinting) because it seems to help me drop body fat when needed. Ever see a sprinter’s body? They didn’t get that insane physique by jogging on a treadmill.

The last thing I’ll say is I’ve noticed that once you get lean, you would have to make an effort to get out of shape. I believe this is because over a long period of time, I’ve wrangled my metabolism to prefer fat burning to fat storage. This isn’t something which will happen in a few months.

Oh, and don’t worry about volume vs intensity so much. I do both with no rhyme or reason, depends on how I’m feeling that day and it’s been working nicely. Just do the work and the results will come. I will say I really like 5 by 5, as long as I’m using it to make progress with one body part.

Some will disagree I’m sure, as it always happens. This is my own personal experience and if it helps someone, that’s great.