Fat Burning Series: Essential Exercises for Weight Loss
Fat loss on paper is simple: burn more calories than you eat every day. What sounds easy can quickly become overwhelming as you realize there are dozens of exercises per body part to choose from. One of the three pillars of weight loss, exercise, can help to burn excess calories, placing you into that necessary caloric deficit to trigger fat burning.
Let’s take a look at the best exercises for weight loss and the training methodology to follow to maximize caloric expenditure.
Compound Exercises for Weight Loss
When you want to maximize the number of calories you burn each day, you need exercises that utilize the greatest number of muscle groups. Compound exercises require several muscle groups to work together to execute the movement. As a response, you’ll be burning more calories than you would during an isolation movement.
Compare the squat with the leg extension. Sure, both work the legs, but the squat demands a lot from your quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, glutes, and core. Leg extensions only focus on the quadriceps. Which one do you think burns more calories?
Ten of the best compound exercises you can start with include the following:
Standing Military Press
Now that you have your exercises, you’ll need to learn the best way to use them to maximize fat loss.
Weight training with compound movements can help to improve muscle connectivity and the working relationship between the upper and lower body. Cardiovascular workouts can improve your endurance, strengthen your heart and lungs, and lower your risk for disease.
Most workout programs separate weight training from cardiovascular workouts, leaving cardio for resting days or the weekend. In order to maximize your fat loss, I would recommend performing a workout that combines both weight-based compound exercises with high-intensity, bodyweight-based cardio exercises.
You’ll be strengthening your muscles and developing lean mass while safely elevating your heart rate into a fat-burning zone. This type of workout will also boost your excess post oxygen consumptions (EPOC) levels, allowing your body to burn even more calories long after you leave the gym.
Hybrid Weight Loss Workout
For beginners, I would recommend performing the following workout three days per week (e.g., Monday, Wednesday, and Friday). If you have previous experience with similar workouts, you can add a fourth day (e.g., Monday, Tuesday, Friday, Saturday).
The workout will be based on the training methodology of supersets. This is where you will complete one exercise (A) and immediately perform another exercise (B). Only after you’ve completed the second exercise (B) should you take a break of no more than two minutes. Once your break is finished, return to the first exercise. When you’re finished with all three sets, move on to the next pairing of exercises.
We’ll be combining opposing muscle groups so that you can safely perform the secondary exercise without worrying about burnout.
A: Barbell Squats: 3 x 12 to 15 repetitions
B: Push-ups: 3 x Failure (Do as many as you can with perfect form)
A: Romanian Deadlifts: 3 x 12 to 15 repetitions
B: Pull-ups: 3 x Failure
A: Dumbbell Bench Press: 3 x 12 to 15 repetitions
B: Superman: 3 x Failure
A: Barbell Rows: 3 x 12 to 15 repetitions
B: Plank: 3 x Failure
A: Standing Military Press: 3 x 12 to 15 repetitions
B: Burpees: 3 x Failure
Starting the Workout? Keep Us Updated!
If you’re starting this workout, be sure to let us know how it’s going or if you have any questions. Don’t be afraid to show off your results by submitting before and after pictures.
It’s important to remember that nutrition is the second pillar to fat loss. Check out my next article on the best meals to trigger fat burning.
"It only takes one person to change your life: YOU"
By: Penny Bergstrom
In June of 2014, my doctor told me my weight was negatively affecting my health and my job as a middle school science teacher was becoming increasingly difficult.
From June to October, I tried to lose weight on my own but at 245 lbs, it was too overwhelming and I made little progress. I needed help, so on October 14, 2014, I hired a personal trainer at my local gym, Pound 4 Pound Fitness, and began the process of shedding 100 pounds and restoring my health.
It was humiliating and extremely difficult in the beginning but soon I became a woman on a mission. My initial goal was to lose 50 pounds by my 50th birthday.
I met with my personal trainer three times a week, attended boot camp classes, started meal prepping healthy foods, gave up drinking soda, and two weeks prior to my 50th birthday I met my goal.
By October of 2015, I had lost a total of 100lbs. Since then, I have completed a Tough Mudder, ran two half-marathons, and I currently hold four national powerlifting records. I now love working out and can be found at my gym on most days each and every week.
My journey back to health has inspired me so much that two years ago, I became a certified personal trainer and began teaching group fitness classes, educating people on how to meal prep, and most recently conducting fitness nutrition counseling.
Cellucor products that helped with my success throughout my journey
Also known as the Caveman Diet, the Paleo approach models its meals on those who inhabited the planet 10,000 years ago. Is there merit in this plan, or should you leave it in history?
What is the Paleo Diet?
The Paleo Diet seeks to replicate the nutritional behavior of Paleolithic-era humans, who inhabited the Earth some 10,000 years ago.
It is believed that their diet revolved around ‘whole’ foods that were easily-attainable from the landscape, such as meat, nuts, fruits, and little much else.
Paleo proponents hold that the age of agriculture and mankind’s move to dairy and grain products brought about numerous health issues that persist to this day.
Paleo Diet: The Pros
Real Food is Right
Regardless of whether you’re looking to pack on muscle mass, blast away body fat or train for a specific sport, basing your diet on whole, high-quality foods such as fresh protein, vegetables, and mono/unsaturated fat can only be a good thing for your health.
There is some research, namely a 2016 study conducted by The Endocrine Society, that suggests the Paleo Diet aids the body’s insulin sensitivity.
This refers to the efficiency with which you digest carbohydrate, and in those seriously overweight, a period of low-carb life can help you get lean.
Nailing the Nutrients
Paleo has been dubbed a fad diet, but its founding principles have much greater nutritional substance than others on the list.
Fresh cuts of meat, heaps of vegetables and healthy sources of fat are a worthy inclusion in any diet. These foods are rich in micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) which can fend off disease, fight inflammation and aid recovery from exercise.
Generally, people are much less active nowadays than in centuries past, so for many, perhaps focusing nutrition away from high-carbohydrate foods is a positive pursuit.
The Pickle of Processing
There are processed foods which are ‘healthy’ and rich in both macro and micronutrients – such as whey protein, peanut butter, and coconut oil.
However, proponents of Paleo assert that you need to consider what is meant by 'processed'. All forms of cooking and preparing food involve processing. Roasting prey over fire is man’s earliest example of ‘processing’ cooked food, but this still preserved much of the nutrient content.
This approach would differ to the extent of processing involved in eating reformed meat out of a packet, for example. You lose the freshness and reduce some of the vitamins and minerals when preserving meat through such a method.
Paleo Diet: The Cons
Adherence is Key
The success of any diet depends on how easily you can adhere to it. A diet can promise the world, but if it’s too tricky to stick to then the likelihood of maintaining your results is going to be a challenge.
Despite appearing to be a very straight-forward diet plan, Paleo is extremely restrictive due to the sheer variety of foods in existence. Placing such vast limits on what can and can’t be consumed makes Paleo a difficult diet to maintain.
Adhering to a strictly organic diet can also prove to be quite costly, which may prove a further stumbling block to maintaining the plan.
Processing Holds Merit
It would be over-simplistic and downright wrong to suggest a food is unhealthy, simply because it is processed or not ‘raw’.
Whey protein, for instance, is highly-processed but is one of the most potent forms of protein available. Its high leucine content and rapid digestion make it the ideal pre or post-workout food.
Despite the demonization that Paleo places on carbohydrates, whole wheat grains provide high fiber and slow-release energy, both essential for general digestion and performance. Even coconut oil, a staple of the Paleo diet, is prepared via cold processing – which would not have been available thousands of years ago.
Causes of Weight Gain
You could argue Paleo’s proponents have misinterpreted the real causes of obesity. While mass-processed meals low in nutrients may contribute to some health problems, the real reason so many gain weight is a lack of activity. Desk jobs, TVs, and vehicles all contribute to the reduced physical activity.
Paleo-era humans had to remain active in order to catch prey and fend off territorial attacks – which may have contributed to low levels of obesity rather than the diet itself. Life expectancy in the Paleolithic era was also very low, generally falling between 30 and 40.
Who is to say that these people wouldn’t have encountered much greater health problems had they advanced beyond these years?
What is the overall verdict on the Paleo Diet?
The principle of Paleo is sound, but in practice carries its own challenges.
Consuming a diet rich in high-quality sources of protein can generally help you lose weight and get lean. However, it is a big jump to assume that the rest of the strict guidelines put forth provide any real benefit. Unnecessarily negating processed foods that do provide health benefits may lead you to fall off the wagon.
The low level of carbohydrates also has the potential to compromise your sport and training performance, if maintained in the long term. Even then, it is worth remembering that the people of the Paleolithic era simply had to eat that way due to their lack of travel or ability to store food.
As a baseline template, Paleo lays the ground rules – but as a complete dietary system, you should look beyond its limits.
CrossFit 101: A Beginner's Guide To Prepare For CrossFit
The CrossFit craze is getting stronger and stronger by the day.
If you haven't already jumped on the bandwagon, you've probably at the very least considered it. CrossFit is a fun, albeit intense, way to get yourself in shape.
But, before you go diving headfirst, check out how to prepare for CrossFit with our beginner's guide below.
What is CrossFit?
CrossFit is a strength and conditioning program that, according to their official website, prides itself on being broad, general and inclusive.
CrossFit unapologetically works on making you proficient in ten general physical skills: cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, agility, balance, coordination, and accuracy.
Is CrossFit for you?
Understand that CrossFit, like every other discipline, carries with it risks and rewards. Watching it looks like fun, but is it really for you?
If you answer yes to the below questions, then you can be confident that you’ll reap the most benefits from CrossFit.
Do you enjoy variety and get bored easily?
No two days or WODs (workout of the day) are likely to be the same in your progression through CrossFit training.
If the idea of hitting the same routine every session is enough to make you snooze, then you’ll be in your element here.
A dynamic mixture of weightlifting, cardio, calisthenics, strongman and whatever else your CrossFit coach wants to throw at you will keep you on your toes.
Do you enjoy leaving every last drop of energy at the gym?
Don’t kid yourself before your first session–CrossFit is intense.
If you haven't pushed yourself to the very edge of exhaustion before, prepare to be enlightened. There will be plenty of occasions where you’ve surpassed 100% effort, and the only thing pushing you further are fumes and the support of your fellow CrossFitters.
Speaking of which…
Do you enjoy training in a community environment?
You enjoy the supportive environment of fitness classes, but maybe you want a step-up intensity? CrossFit has got you covered.
Probably the most enticing aspect of CrossFit is the community bond and the inclusive atmosphere of their setups.
If being cheered on as you smash personal records sounds like the dream – CrossFit is that sport. It’s almost impossible to feel demotivated in that environment.
Are you a competitive gym rat who can’t get enough?
For some, it’s about cramming their workouts in three days a week.
For others, it’s almost therapy and the gym is their second home.
The comradery is awesome, but they need competition too.
If you have a sport-specific athletic goal, then a CrossFit WOD that isn’t customized to your sport won’t be optimal. Don’t get it twisted; it’ll likely help in most aspects of your fitness, but it won’t be as tailored.
Similarly, if your goals are to have bigger biceps and pecs, you’ll not be hitting 20 sets of bench press and 15 sets of curls at your CrossFit box every week.
How can I prepare for CrossFit success?
Research 'boxes' in your community to get a sense of which ones are top of the line with coaches who are certified.
Introduce yourself to the coach on your first day and be completely honest about your level. Most CrossFit coaches will be friendly, thorough and professional to ensure your safety.
Don’t be shy – say hello to all the other kids. Make some friends. That's what CrossFit is about
It’s tempting to push yourself and get lost in the amazing hyped atmosphere, but be honest with yourself. Most coaches will see your form breaking down and advise you to stop, but if you can notice it yourself, or feel any pain – just stop. An injury will take the fun out of your experience really fast.
Many WODs will include complex multi-joint movements. Your coach will take you through the technique, but if you’re struggling, be sure to get some one-on-one attention. Better to pester until you get it right than to do yourself harm.
Enjoy yourself. Don’t be put off after your first session. You might even lose your lunch; persevere. You’ll get fit, fast.
Take these steps as a CrossFit rookie and you'll be on your way to maximizing the CrossFit experience, as well as your newfound fitness.
Maybe you’re looking for energy and focus to get off the couch and into the gym. Maybe you’re looking to take your gym session, workout class, or at-home training to the next level. What if there were something out there that could help you crush your workouts no matter what your training level or goal? There is.
On a practical level, pre-workouts are designed to help you increase training volume and intensity so that you can get more from each workout session. In time, those extra reps, sets and minutes spent add up to major gains. When you see your hard work pay off, the more motivation you have to train. And the more you train, the more progress you continue to make.
Traditionally, pre-workouts have had a reputation for being exclusive to the highly advanced gym-goer whose sole focus is to get as muscular as possible. But the truth is, pre-workouts can help just about anyone who wants to improve his or her fitness levels–from the beginner all the way to the hardcore gym buff.
Can't I just have coffee or an energy drink before a workout?
Coffee and energy drinks have their place in an active lifestyle. But it's important to note: while you do get an energy boost from a cup of coffee or a standard energy drink, pre-workouts offer additional performance benefits. That’s because most pre-workouts have tailored formulas that enhance physical output for a variety of activities–whether that's deadlifting 500lbs or running a marathon.
In other words, pre-workouts combine specific ingredients in specific doses to give you the biggest bang for your buck–a.k.a they maximize time and effort you put into your workouts.
Energy to perform
You don't just buy a car without checking out the features. You read the fine print to make sure what you're getting is exactly right for your lifestyle. The same goes for choosing a pre-workout.
Before purchasing a pre-workout, you want to examine the label and look for ingredients that support your fitness goal, training level, and so forth.
A few key ingredients to look for in a traditional pre-workout are:
Caffeine: That classic ingredient found in your morning pick-me-up is used to get you energized before your workout. Your C4 pre-workout can have anywhere from 135mg-300mg per serving compared to a coffee or standard energy drink, which falls within the 80mg-150mg range.
After oral ingestion, caffeine is 99% absorbed within 45 minutes by the gastrointestinal tract, according to areviewin theAmerican Journal of Health-System Pharmacy. For this reason, research on caffeine’s effect on athletic performance has primarily been in the areas of running and cycling. Specifically, a 2010Journal of Sports Sciencesstudy foundthat 3mg of caffeine per kilogram of body mass improved cycling performance compared to a placebo.
Another study found experienced cyclists were able to ride faster for 60 minutes at 75% of peak power output in 95 degrees Fahrenheit compared to cyclists that weren’t stimulated. Other studies have found improved reaction time, mental clarity, and focus in strength-athletes that take caffeine. This improved alertness can also come with a better tolerance for pain.
CarnoSyn® Beta-Alanine: Your muscles are made up of proteins, and amino acids are the foundations of those proteins. CarnoSyn® Beta-Alanine is a patented amino acid used to help your muscles endure a tough workout. It’ll also give you tingles to tell you “hey, I’m working”.
Beta alanine is a nonessential amino acid (meaning our bodies can produce it) but it can also be found in protein-packed foods like beef, chicken, pork, and fish. Beta alanine is a precursor to carnosine, which buffers hydrogen ions within muscle cells. This buffering results in a fatigue-fighting effect since the muscles are able to contract for longer/more efficiently.
According to a 2014reviewin theInternational Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism,there are studies that found beta alanine may increase power output and working capacity, decrease the feeling of fatigue and exhaustion, and have a positive effect on body composition and carnosine content.
Beta alanine is one of the few ingredients in any C4 product that elicits a physical feeling—if you feel a tingling sensation in your lips, face or even fingertips, it’s a harmless effect of beta alanine.
Beta alanine works best where large muscles are contracting quickly, like when running sprints, wrestling, high-intensity cycling (yes, spin class), and Olympic weightlifting.
Creatine Nitrate: You’ve probably heard of it before, but we promise it’s not just for giant shredded weightlifters. Creatine can be found naturally in bone and certain foods and helps to build strength and lean muscle. Creatine Nitrate is a university studied, advanced, and more soluble form of creatine that helps with "pumps".
Arginine Alpha-Ketoglutarate: Arginine Alpha-Ketoglutarate is a precursor to nitric oxide, which promotes nitric oxide production in the body. Ultimately, this helps in achieving pumps.
Arginine is an amino acid found in eggs, chicken, nuts, dairy, pork and other foods. The body converts arginine to nitric oxide in a complex reaction. Arginine is also used in the urea cycle which is the natural process in which ammonia is detoxified through its metabolism into urea.
Although arginine may improve blood flow and circulation, there’s no conclusive evidence that the arginine-nitric oxide relationship results in improved performance.
TeaCrine® (Tetramethyluric acid/Theacrine): TeaCrine® is a non-stimulant source of energy and focus, and it is structurally similar to caffeine. Preliminary human studies indicate that the body does not adapt to it as quickly as it does to caffeine, therefore prolonging the tolerance buildup.
N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine: N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine is a more soluble form of L-Tyrosine, which supports the production of noradrenaline and dopamine, in turn supporting mental and cognitive health during stressful activities – such as physical training.
According to a 2010European Journal of Applied Physiologystudy, oral supplementation with tyrosine improves cycling performance in the heat. Moderately trained athletes were able to cycle longer compared to a placebo after taking 150mg of tyrosine per kg of body weight. Tyrosine plays a role in providing a better mood, which may result in getting more out of your workouts.
Velvet Bean (Mucuna Pruriens) seed extract (standardized for L-Dopa): Mucuna Pruriens contains high concentrations of L-Dopa. L-Dopa crosses the blood-brain barrier where it then converts to Dopamine, therefore supporting a positive effect on mental well-being, enhanced mood, alertness, and cognitive function.
Not all pre-workouts are created equal
There are different levels of pre-workouts thanks to the amount of stimulants found in each serving. In general, pre-workouts can fall into 3 categories:
Level 1: Low/moderate stimulant. Good for those who enjoy a standard energy drink or cup of coffee during the day.
Level 2: Moderate/high stimulant. Good for those who enjoy multiple energy drinks or cups of coffee a day and/or take pre-workout before the gym.
Level 3: Extremely high stimulant. Good for those who have taken pre-workouts for years.
C4 is America’s #1 selling pre-workout brand
There are a lot of pre-workout brands out there but C4 is America’s #1 selling pre-workout brand. We've sold over a billion servings of the C4 family of products (that’s enough to stretch around the world three times, although we’re not sure why you’d do that). Unlike other brands, we don’t skimp on quality and our formulations include patented, clinically studied ingredients at doses that yield the best possible products for your goals.
With the C4 family of pre-workouts, you’ll be able to find one that fits your lifestyle–whether you want to lift as heavy as possible and get all Schwarzenegger-ed out, kill it harder at the sport you play, or just look a little more toned for the beach.
How do you know which C4 to take? That depends on your goals and stimulant tolerance. The C4 ID Series personalizes your pre-workout experience so you can choose the best formula for you.
Find Your C4
C4 Sport:The perfect choice for athletes, coaches, and trainers of all levels! C4 Sport provides explosive energy & performance, and proudly wears the NSF® Certified for Sport® logo. The NSF certification is recognized by many major sporting agencies. You'll be ready to crush it the second the clock starts.
C4 Original:The ORIGINAL explosive pre-workout! It's great for beginners as well as those who want to take their training to the next level. Featuring clinically studied ingredients – such as CarnoSyn® Beta-Alanine, and NO3-T® Creatine Nitrate, C4 original combines incredible ingredients & flavors, to provide explosive support for energy, pumps, and muscular endurance! That’s why it’s America’s #1 selling pre-workout!
C4 Ripped:C4 Ripped takes the explosive energy and flavor experience of C4, and incorporates a formula to support weight loss! With ingredients such as Green Coffee bean extract, L-Carnitine tartrate, Coleus Forskohlii, and Capsimax® Cayenne, C4 Ripped is the perfect combination of energy and weight loss support!
C4 Extreme Energy:For those seeking the next level of pre-workout energy, C4 Extreme Energy combines 300mg of caffeine with 3.2g of CarnoSyn® Beta-Alanine in every serving! C4 Extreme Energy also incorporates Huperzine A and Rauwolfia root extract – providing focus support and taking energy to the extreme!
C4 Ultimate: For those who are seasoned pre-workout users looking for a fully-loaded, high-impact pre-workout. C4 Ultimate combines 300mg of caffeine with 3.2g of CarnoSyn® Beta-Alanine in every serving – alongside 6g of Citrulline Malate! This ultimate C4 also contains Nitrosigine®, Creatine Nitrate®, BetaPower® Betaine, and a robust cognitive support blend – featuring Zembrin®, AlphaSize® A-GPC, and Huperzine A!
What if I am sensitive to stimulants?
You can still reap the benefits of a pre-workout without having stimulants. Non-stimulant formulas focus on the power of amino acids to enhance muscular endurance and may also include ingredients for pumps.
*If you are sensitive to caffeine, Beta BCAA is the perfect stimulant-free alternative to our C4 line.
Can I take other supplements if I take pre-workouts?
You certainly can, however, you want to make sure you do not exceed your nitrate threshold or double up on stimulatory products such as pre-workout and weight loss products.One stimulant based product should be used at a time.
Products with higher concentrations of nitrate-based ingredients such as the C4 ID Series family and NO3, for example, are not recommended to be used together.
A good rule of thumb when stacking products: take a pre-workout (a C4 ID Series product), an intra-workout (Alpha Amino to support hydration and recovery) and a post workout (a Whey product: Cor Whey, Casein or Gainer).
When should I take pre-workouts?
Typically, you take pre-workouts 20-30 minutes before your training session. Refer to each product's 'Suggested Use' for specific directions.
What's up with scoop sizes?
The first day of the best workouts you’ve ever had
Taking a pre-workout isn’t going to immediately make you able to deadlift 500 pounds or run 50 miles, but what a pre-workout can do is help you get off the couch and into the gym, onto the field, or wherever you put in work. Over time, you will reap the benefits of taking pre-workouts consistently. And when you’re ready to progress to the next level, we’ll be right there for you with a C4 for your goals.
Now that you have the 411 on pre-workouts, find training advice, motivation and more here.