According to fitness magazines, at home fat loss is easy. All you must do is drink a breakfast shake with 600 dollars’ worth of rare ingredients, weight train 9 days per week, do 13 hours of cardio every other day, and eat kale chips for 90% of your diet.
Of course, I’m being a little dramatic, but my point is that most of the prescriptions for losing fat don’t apply to those of us who can’t make it to the gym every day, have jobs that require travel, or little ones at home.
But that’s just not true. It’s possible to lose fat on even the busiest schedule from the comfort of your own home. As with most things that have a big payoff – this isn’t a “magic pill”. It requires consistency and dedication. But once you know the rules of the game you can make it work to your advantage.
The Old Way Isn’t Working
For the last several years of my training career I worked at a gym that was conducting a 20+ year weight loss study. The largest of its kind in the US.
It was truly amazing. The program included:
- 1 Doctor visit per month to check on hormones and blood levels
- 2 Counselor sessions per month to discuss issues surrounding weight loss
- 1 Dietitian session per week to tweak their diet based on an eight stage program
- 3 Personal Training Sessions per week
- 1 Support Group per week to build community around a big life change.
And the most amazing part? The percentage of people who were able to lose weight for good is nearly 10x higher in the program than in “normal” life.
However, that number is still only 48%. Only half of the people who pay between $10,000 and $16,000 for a medically supervised weight loss program are able to keep the weight off.
After working with dozens of these clients though, I was able to see the difference between those who would lose weight, and those who would not.
The biggest difference? FREQUENCY OF EXERCISE.
Those who consistently trained between 5-6 days per week were ALWAYS successful.
The Case for At Home Training
Most of us at our best can only make it to the gym three times per week.
Between family, work, and happy hour, it’s tough to get free for a full hour workout, not including the time it takes to get there, warm up, and get home.
This is especially true if you’re scheduling afternoon or evening workouts. Emergencies and small fires have a way of popping up to derail your training plans right at the end of the work day.
At home training is the best solution to this because most of us can create or utilize our time in the morning for a short workout before anything else can get in the way.
At home training first thing in the morning has a TON of benefits:
- More Energy
- Training early has been shown to increase your energy levels and keep you from the dreaded 2pm crash
- More Mental Focus
- Getting blood flowing early will help you focus and concentrate on important daily tasks
- Move Better
- By starting your day with movement, you’ll feel looser and healthier through the rest of the day
- Schedule Time for Yourself
- Most people (moms especially) spend all their energy on the people around them. It’s like the flight attendant always says: “put your OWN oxygen mask on first!”
- Get It Done
- Training early is a relief! It’s done, you feel good, and now you can focus on the important things with 100% of your energy.
The “Secret” to At Home Fat Loss
Ok…it’s not really a secret that interval training is the key to losing fat. There are numerous studies showing that by limiting rest as your move through a circuit or superset you maintain an elevated heart rate, which allows you to burn more calories overall, and specifically a higher percentage of calories from fat.
Interval training is simply harder work. This is great, because you can take the work of a 45-60-minute workout and condense it into 25-30 minutes, then move on with your busy day.
You might know this as HIIT, Circuit Training, or Sprint Interval Training – either way, these are forms of interval training, a cardiovascular exercise strategy alternating short periods of intense anaerobic exercise with less intense recovery periods. Basically training hard for a short time, taking a quick break, and then getting back at it.
This can be as simple as:
- Sprint 15 Seconds
- Walk 45 Seconds
- Repeat 3-10x
Or this can look like something more intricate:
- Suspension Trainer Pushup with Pike x 30 Sec
- Suspension Trainer Single Arm Row x 20 Sec Ea
- Dumbbell Farmers Walk x 100ft
- Rest x 30 Sec
The possibilities are endless with this style of training. Just make sure you have a plan ahead of time – otherwise it’s tempting to cut it short.
The key here is consistency. Doing one 25-minute workout per week won’t do a whole heck of a lot for you, but doing it six times per week can lead to some incredible results.
Unfortunately, at some point in our lives we’ve all experienced the negative version of metabolic snowballing. During December, I always seem to eat more fruitcake (thanks Grandma!), drink too much egg nog and rum, and have less time for the gym, which seems to compound until the first week of January when everything seems to catch up and I’m feeling bloated and sloppy.
This can also work in reverse.
Many of us have heard of the EPOC Effect – Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption. This principle basically says that after burning let’s say, 300 calories during our strength workout, we’ll burn another 300 over the next 2 days repairing and rebuilding.
Increasing your daily calorie burn also BUILDS your metabolism – the opposite effect of long term dieting.
Building your metabolism into a calorie incinerating furnace doesn’t happen overnight, but with proper training and nutrition is the secret to being Lean for Life.
If a 135lb female with a Base Metabolic Rate (BMR) of 1600 calories per day can increase her metabolism to 1800 calories per day, that’s an additional 1400 calories PER WEEK that she can eat while still maintaining a healthy weight.
The same is true for men, who have a slight advantage by being able to build muscle easier. If a 225lb man was to increase his BMR from 2100 calories to 2600 calories per day by increasing exercise and building a few lbs of additional muscle – he would have a 3500 calorie buffer EVERY WEEK.
How much easier would the holidays be with an additional 1400-3500 calories to spend?
What Type of Exercise?
The ideal type of exercise for a morning workout is a bodyweight based interval training session lasting between 25-35 minutes.
Bodyweight training is fantastic for several reasons. It’s easy to start, doesn’t require fancy equipment, can be progressed endlessly, and you don’t need 20 minutes of warm up and activation drills like you would for a heavy squat.
The best reason to train with bodyweight exercises is because they’re Closed Chain Exercises. This means that you’re moving your body through space, rather than moving an external load (a bar or dumbbell) around.
Closed Chain Exercises include:
- Squats (weighted or bodyweight)
- Muscle Ups
- Handstand Pushups
- Single Leg Squats/Pistols
This exemplifies what we want from a fast interval training workout. Big reward, low risk. By using closed chain exercises, we build more muscle, burn more fat, and use more muscle fibers (including the small stabilizers).
Our body doesn’t know the difference between training techniques – all it understands is STRESS.
So when you’re running from a SaberTooth tiger and have to climb a tree to get away – your body responds by signaling that you need to drop ANY NON FUNCTIONAL WEIGHT (bodyfat), and increase FUNCTIONAL TISSUE (muscle) in order to get in that tree and away from the tiger.
Your body DOES NOT want to change, but it DESPERATELY WANTS to live.
Once you understand this primal motivation, it will become easier to nudge your body towards what you want it to do.
If you don’t get anything else out of this article, I want you to understand this:
BECOMING PROFICIENT AT BODYWEIGHT EXERCISES COMMUNICATES TO YOUR BODY THAT YOU NEED TO HAVE MORE MUSCLE AND LESS FAT.
(Obviously you can’t just do wall sits and crunches to achieve this, but we’ll get to that.)
But What If I Don’t Have a Home Gym?
Gyms are expensive. Home gyms are a onetime cost, but can still add up, and doing a home workout in the morning is a lot less appealing if you know your workout is going to be 100 burpees, 100 crunches , and 100 jumping jacks.
It has the essentials of home training, and can be set up anywhere: door frames, beams, pull up bars, trees, your significant other…etc.
Here’s what you NEED for your home gym:
Suspension Trainer – This can increase or decrease the difficulty of any bodyweight movement, and offers thousands of variations to keep training interesting.
40” Resistance Bands – These can be used in place of a cable stack, and are also great for warming up. I’d recommend you get 2 sizes, a smaller and larger to be able to get the most out of them.
Sliders – A great addition to leg and core exercises, and offers endless variations to maintain progress.
Here are 3 of my favorite Home Interval Training Workouts that you can do with the equipment above in 10, 15, or 30 minutes.
Edit: after getting a bunch of feedback from y’all, I put the workouts into a PDF for you, complete with clickable video links.
Try these out, and let me know what you think!
And if you’re serious about getting results using my Lean for Life Method with the FREE Bod In A Box, drop me an email. Serious inquiries only please!