How to Increase Fat Loss for Women – Advanced Program
Let’s get two things out of the way – lifting weights is NOT going to make you bulky and learning to love your body will do much more for you than obsessing over every step or calorie. Short-term fat loss for women often leads to refeeds and quick weight gain, but we’re so used to having everything NOW that it’s incredibly difficult to stick to lasting change. And I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve been asked,
Will this exercise make my muscles too big? Because, you know, I just want to tone…
This is where most ladies get lost in a fat loss program. Not only will lifting weights empower you, but commitment to a plan (sets and rep scheme) helps you show up every day to do something for your health. Little, incremental changes really do work wonders. It’s hard for these super strong, bad a** women to get the muscle tone they’ve earned. Without testosterone, it becomes really difficult (impossible) for a female to blow up into a bodybuilder from getting under a barbell to bench press. Heck, most guys I know don’t train properly enough to achieve this result. Long story short, if we want to program fat loss for women, we need to still apply sound principles that work for everybody. Lifting weights has been and will always be effective.
Additionally, stress hormones make fat loss virtually inaccessible. When you’re chronically stressed, your body is inflamed and your metabolism is running inefficiently. Elevated cortisol leads to energy conservation. Your body wants to stay alive, and it can’t differentiate between the stress of near-death or the stress of “omg I just ate a tiny piece of cake I’m going to have to run a marathon now to avoid public humiliation”. Yes, that is ridiculous thinking but most of us are guilty of it. And then the body thinks it needs to conserve, and you become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Okay. Now that that’s out of the way. Let’s get to what you lovely ladies are here for – Fat loss for women.
Notice I didn’t say weight loss. 99% of people who want to lose “weight” really mean fat mass, and NOT fat-free mass (bone, muscle, other tissue, water). Unless you’re in the one percent who needs to make weight for a competitive sport, I’m talking to you. Weight loss comes from a negative energy balance, but specific fat loss is harder to achieve.
Enter Weight Lifting
Resistance training, from kettlebells to barbells to bodyweight exercises, works by actually increasing fat-free mass (before you panic, see note above about being bulky). Your body basically builds a bigger, better, and stronger engine to increase your metabolic rate. While you may not burn as many calories in 30 minutes as you would on a 30 minute record-distance run (we’ll get to that later), it’s the post-exercise effects that really make that fat fall off. The more fat-free mass you have, the higher your resting metabolic rate will be.
So – in short – combine a well-structured anaerobic resistance training program with aerobic conditioning for fat loss. You’ll get the intra-workout, calorie-burning effects of aerobic exercise, not to mention the heart-health benefits. But you’ll also build muscle tone and increase your body’s fat-burning prowess at rest.
A Fat Loss for Women Program
These workouts are designed specifically for two things – an upper body focus and total body fat loss through heavier loads and higher volume supersets. It’s hard for us ladies to tone our arms, unless your name is Michelle Obama. And we know she worked for those. Triceps, upper back (and lower back, for that matter) get a lot of attention as “problem areas”. And you know a girl means business if she has shoulder definition.
Most properly trained ladies can squat a house. We tend to carry our center of mass lower than our male counterparts, but that doesn’t mean we should neglect the legs either. Toned glutes and tapered quads/hamstrings look stellar in leggings, and they’re the powerhouses of movement. Nothing feels better than a deadlift personal record. If you want more information on how to work on your legs, check out the article How to Get Perfect Legs – 4 Principles to Improve Your Leg Workouts.
Make your primary exercises count. Don’t cheat, take your time and really test the edge of your strength through good form. Secondary exercises will supplement your muscle tone and accessories will maintain balance aesthetically and functionally.
Finally, there are some conditioning options tacked on at the end. Use these as finishers to your weight training or as a separate workout. Remember – work your butt off and then rest like crazy during these intervals. Use these to keep your heart healthy and challenge your metabolism in a new way. These high intensity conditioning options are perfect for increasing fat loss for women.
Upper body Weights Session
- A1: 5 sets of 5 bench press
- B1: 4 sets of 6 bent over row
- C1:3 sets of 8 lat pull/pull up
- C2: 3 sets of 10 each shoulder complex (lateral raise, overhead press and bent over lat. raise)
- D1: 3 sets of 8 alternating incline dumbbell press
- D2: 3 sets of 10-12 each SA Bent Over row
- E1:3 sets 20m each suitcase carry
- E2: 2 sets 20 cable tricep extension
- E3:2 sets of 30 curl to overhead press
Optional Core Finisher
- 3x30s superman holds
- 3x30s hollow holds
Combo Weight Training Session
- A1: 5x 5 each Barbell Step up
- B1: 3×5,2×3 Push press
- C1: 3×8-10 each Kneeling SA lat pull
- C2: 3x 12-15 KB swing
- D1: 3x max effort Push up
- D2: 3×12-15 Goblet squat
- D3: 3×10 MB slam
- E1: 4 ½ mins of 30s plank, 30s side plank, 30s side plank
Lower body Weights Session
- 2×15 Hamstring curl
- 2X15 split squat
- A1: 3×5 dead lift, 2×3 Deadlift
- B1: 5x 7,5,3,5,7 Back squat
- C1: 4×6 each walking lunge
- C2: 3×12 clamshells
- D1: 3×10 Cossack squat
- D2: 3×10 Hip bridge
- D3: 3×12-15 Hanging knee raise
- 2x 10 mins of 8 seconds hard, 12 seconds off Airdyne or row
- 10 x 1 minute on, 30 seconds off bike
- 3 sets of 6, 30s on, 30s off Battle ropes circuit
Trapp, E. G., Chisholm, D. H., Freund, J., & Boucher, S. H. (n.d.). The effects of high-intensity intermittent exercise training on fat loss and fasting insulin levels of young women. International Journal of Obesity (2008). Retrieved January 10, 2017,
Resistive training increases fat-free mass and maintains RMR despite weight loss in postmenopausal women. (n.d.). Ryan, A. S, Pratley, R. E, Elahi, D, Goldberg, A.P. Journal of Applied Physiology. Retrieved January 10, 2017