My weight training has generally been focused on muscle gain (hypertrophy) or strength training.

But the third type – fat burning – hasn’t ever been a priority for me.  I do my fat burning through diet and cardio.  In fact, part of the reason I do hypertrophy training is to prevent muscle loss from my running.

I’ve been really pushing myself over the past 3 months with heavier weights.  And my joints are screaming.

But I’m getting ready for the Oklahoma City Marathon on the 26th of this month.  So I decided now would be a good time to try a fat-burning weight training program.

Wow – these workouts are kicking my butt. It’s so intense, but a different kind of intense compared to lifting heavy stuff.  But I’m getting ahead of myself…

Why go with a fat-burning weight training program now?

Well, a good fat-burning-with-weights program should:

1) use lower weight, so the joint stress is lower; I want stress-free joints entering the marathon

2) involve grueling workouts, really testing your endurance; and I want maximum endurance for the marathon

3) supposedly burn fat right?; well lower fat means I’ll be a little lighter for the marathon and that should make it a little easier

4) relieve a slight boredom that’s been creeping into my workouts since I’ve been on the same routine for about 8 weeks now…

What Is a “Fat Burning” Weight Training Program?

Ed Note:  After writing this, I have released my exact routine Fat Burn Furnace available here.

There are so many programs on the market for using weights to burn fat.  Also, in New Rules of Lifting (one of the best weight lifting books you can buy – it’s a physical book), they present some.  For the ladies:  New Rules of Lifting For Women.

The basic ideas of how to make a program to burn fat through lifting weights are:

  • 12 to 15 reps per set
  • lighter weights (related to the first bullet of course)
  • not training to failure on a set but going for overall fatigue
  • little to no rest between sets
  • full-body workouts (not splitting muscle groups from day to day)

Depending on whose program you jump into, there may be cardio components as well.  (That’s my one criticism of the aforementioned books’ programs – they eschew most cardio.)

And trust me, you won’t burn fat with a poor diet.  That’s made really clear in both The Truth About 6-Pack Abs and in Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle.

But these are just the basic principles.  Once you get to an advanced experience with weight training, you can put together your own programs.  So that’s what I did.

What Is My Routine?

This would become a really long post if I provided my exact program but here is the main outline:

  • I triple-set with unrelated muscle groups
  • I used this as an opportunity to add in some exercises I usually don’t do (this ads some fun to the workout)
  • It’s a 4-day a week program, each day different
  • While each one is full body, I do emphasize slightly different muscle groups on each day
  • I still include my running – after all, I’m training for a marathon!

Try it out, or suggest alternatives in the comments section.

I have released my exact routine Fat Burn Furnace available here.

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