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Burning Questions: Should I Go Heavy?

Fat Burning Workouts Heavy or Light weights
When I first started Fat X 101 back in 2008, I had a weekly segment where I would answer reader submitted questions.  By popular request, I’m bringing it back and titling it “Burning Questions”. If you have a fat burning, workout, diet and or any other fitness related question, feel free to e-mail me, or contact me via one of my social media accounts and I will answer it in Burning Questions.  

Today’s question was sent to me via Facebook:


Wondering if you can give some advice. I haven't really worked out in about 3-4 yrs but now I finally got my ass in the gym. Been going steady for 5 weeks now doing light weights 15-20 reps for 3 sets on everything plus cardio. I want to train in kickboxing , BJJ and boxing at my gym. I know if I go heavy on the weights I'm going to bulk up but I'm afraid my range of motion will be affected ( it's not that great to begin with). Should I stay with light weights or should I go heavy now and how can I improve my range of motion if I do? Thanks.

- Oscar V. 

First, congrats on getting back to exercising.  Any exercise is better than no exercise, but, I hope I can help you get the best and most out of the time you have to spend on exercise and your fitness and fat burning goals.  

Let me clear up some terms so that we’re on the same page.  Cardio is short for  cardiovascular exercise. It can be any type of exercise that gets your heart rate elevated and works or enhances your cardiovascular system.  This can actually be done while resistance training.  Getting your cardio in while resistance training is the method I prefer.  When time is of the essence, getting in your cardiovascular work within your resistance/weight training workout, helps the efficiency and efficacy of a workout for overall fitness.  

I’m a big fan of the two E’s, effective and efficient.  My 12 day Fat X Program, and most of the workouts in the Bonus Series are based on the two E’s. The workouts are generally set up so that you’re getting the benefits of resistance training while also getting your cardiovascular work in. This is done by utilizing, in conjunction, the concepts of HIIT (high intensity interval training), EDT (escalating density training) and EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) a.k.a the afterburn effect.  

Now let’s get into the “bulking up” term.  Resistance, or weight training in the lower rep range will not necessarily bulk you up. 

Weight training exercises enhance the ability of your muscle to contract and produce force. The way you eat, will assist in making your muscles bigger, as well as will either reduce or add body fat.  If you add body fat, and your muscles get bigger, that’s what will create the appearance of “bulking up”.  

Resistance training in the higher rep range is not as beneficial as weight training in the lower rep ranges in enhancing the ability of your muscles to contract and produce force.  High rep training is good for increased blood flow and for tendon and joint strength.  

Keep in mind, muscle and body fat are different tissue types.  If you want to have a leaner look, you should lose body fat, but maintain or build muscle tissue.  Muscle tissue will help keep your BMR (basal metabolic rate) elevated so that you can burn more calories throughout the day.   

I prefer lower rep ranges, as this is the best way to train your muscles for strength and size.  The stronger you are, the more you will be able to get out of a fat burning program.  For example, you will burn more energy from squatting 100 pounds 10 times, than by squatting 5 pounds 100 times.  This is not just because of the initial work done, but the energy that is required  to recover from the more intense work. 

So to answer your question, YES!  Go as heavy as possible for your fitness level.  Just make sure you’re eating for fat loss and fat burning goals.  

fat burning workouts flexibility
As far as range of motion is concerned, make sure you stretch and use exercises that utilize a full ROM.  Dedicate some time to stretching and try some Yoga moves.  

- Coach Rollie

More Fat Burning Tips:
Fat Burning Plateau Busting Tips

Advanced Fat Burning Workout Tips 

Have a burning fitness question?  Feel free to contact me! 

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