Which is Better for Fat Loss?

Settling the Cardio vs. Weights Debate

The Cardio + Strength Workout Plan

The strength-training portion of this program involves alternating sets and reps. By alternating set/rep schemes, it ensures you hit your muscles in a different manner, which has been shown in research2 to be a more effective method of improving muscle than using the same old rep every workout. Plus, changing the sets/and reps keeps your workouts more interesting and varied.

For the workouts below— unless the exercise is otherwise noted— you’ll perform each exercise in one of the following two set/rep schemes:

Set/Rep Scheme 1: 2-3 sets of 12-15 reps
Set/Rep Scheme 2: 3-4 sets of 6-8 reps

Day A – Chest, Shoulders, Triceps

1. Flat Chest Presses (Dumbbell, Barbell or Machine)
2. Cable Chest Flyes
3. Incline Presses (Dumbbell, Barbell or Machine)
4a. Parallel Bar Dips
4b. Rear Delt Flyes
5a. Triceps Skull-crushers (Dumbbell or EZ-Bar)
5b. Dumbbell Lateral Raises

Day B – Legs, Calves, Abs

1. Barbell Squats (Front or Back)
2. Dumbbell Lunges (Walking or Reverse)
3a. Barbell RDLs
3b. Ball Ab Pikes, 3-4 sets x 10-15 reps
4a. 45-degree Back Extensions
4b. Side Plank Lifts, 3-4 sets x 10-15 each side
5a. Calf Raises (Seated or Standing)
5b. Ball Ab Roll-outs, 3-4 sets x 15-20 reps

Day C – Back, Traps, Biceps

1. Chin-ups
2. Wide-grip Lat Pulldowns
3. One-arm Dumbbell Rows
4. Wide-grip Seated Rows
5a. Dumbbell Biceps Curls
5b. Dumbbell Shrugs

Notes:
• Exercises marked with an “a” and “b” should be performed as supersets.
• Rest 60-90 seconds between sets and supersets.

The Cardio Workouts

Not only will you alternate between two set/rep ranges in this program, you’ll also be alternating between two different types of cardio workouts: Short duration/high-intensity training and longer duration/medium-intensity training.

On the workout days you use the higher set range, your weight training will take longer, so you’ll follow it by performing the short duration/high-intensity training.

On the workout days you use the lower set range, you’re weight training will take less time, so you’ll follow it by performing the longer duration/steady-state training.

Here are the two cardio workouts:

Cardio Workout 1: 30-40 min at approx. 70% of your max HR.
Cardio Workout 2: 10-15 min. Go as hard as you can.*

*If you’re running on treadmill or on a bike, go as far as you can (rack up the most miles) in the timeframe. Try to beat your previous time each workout.

Setting Up Your Weekly Workouts

This chart shows you how to put together your cardio and strength workouts using this alternating method.

Day Week 1 Week 2 Week 3
Monday Strength Workout A:
Scheme 1
Cardio Workout 1
Strength Workout C:
Scheme 2
Cardio Workout 2
Strength Workout B:
Scheme 1
Cardio Workout 1
Tuesday Strength Workout B:
Scheme 2
Cardio Workout 2
Strength Workout A:
Scheme 1
Cardio Workout 1
Strength Workout C:
Scheme 2
Cardio Workout 2
Wednesday Strength Workout C:
Scheme 1
Cardio Workout 1
Strength Workout B:
Scheme 2
Cardio Workout 2
Strength Workout A:
Scheme 1
Cardio Workout 1
Thursday REST REST REST
Friday Strength Workout A:
Scheme 2
Cardio Workout 2
Strength Workout C:
Scheme 1
Cardio Workout 1
Strength Workout B:
Scheme 2
Cardio Workout 2
Saturday Strength Workout B:
Scheme 1
Cardio Workout 1
Strength Workout A:
Scheme 2
Cardio Workout 2
Strength Workout C:
Scheme a
Cardio Workout a
Sunday REST REST REST

References

1. Willis et al., J App Phys., vol. 113 no. 12: 1831-1837; 2012.
2. Simão et al., J Strength Cond Res., 26(5):1389–95; 2012.

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Nick Tumminello is the owner of Performance University fitness training and education in Fort Lauderdale, FL. He’s the author of the “Core Training: Facts, Fallacies & Top Techniques” 3-DVD set. Nick also writes a popular training blog at www.PerformanceU.net.

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