When you are breaking through a fat loss plateau or trying to get to the Final Phase of leanness, things get a bit murkier than they do with traditional fat loss.
Rather than dieting excessively in order to create a calorie deficit, we instead focus on creating energy debt by way of intelligently designed training protocols. In addition, keeping energy intake high ensures that leptin levels don’t drop and throw another hormonal monkey wrench into the machinery.
Because when you’re getting very lean or you’ve hit a plateau, fat loss is not just about calories in vs. calories out–it’s about your hormonal environment.
When you’ve lost the first 20 or 30 or whatever pounds, you’ve lost the “easy” fat. Now the fat is specifically in your trouble areas, and when you’re trying to rid yourself of those last stubborn 5-10 pounds, it’s a hormonal battle.
And There Is Only One Way to Win: Fight Hormones With Hormones
In a previous post, I covered the three specific hormones that cause the three most common types of regional fat storage:
The female sex hormone responsible for lower body fat storage patterns.
Or rather, insulin resistance; this nasty dude heavily influences fat storage in the love handle and lower back area.
The appropriately dubbed stress hormone is part of the reason you’ve got more flab than ab.
Those are your enemies.
And you can actually increase the production of other hormones that offset the above “bad” hormones through the manipulation of training methods.
Estrogen vs. Testosterone
How else would you combat estrogen but with testosterone? Simply put, when it comes to fat loss and muscle gain, testosterone = good, estrogen = bad.
It’s for that reason that professional athletes, bodybuilders and the juicers down at the Jersey Shore use illicit steroids that are derivatives of testosterone.
But we’re going to increase testosterone levels naturally—through training. Not only will this increase the fat-burning effect of your exercises, but it will also help get rid of lower body fat.
I should mention something here to alleviate any concerns: It is not possible to produce a detrimental amount of testosterone through training. So ladies, you don’t have to worry about any masculinizing effects. Training only produces what we would term a ‘high’ amount of testosterone from a physiological perspective, relative to what your body normally produces. For the guys, this means that such training will help you put on a bit more muscle–just not steroid muscle.
At this point, I know you’re thinking, “All right Roman, get to the point, what do I do?”
The answer is Density Training.
Training density can be defined as the amount of work you do in a given amount of time during a training session, and increasing training density is one of the best ways to spur your body to produce and release more testosterone. If you want to increase density, you can do more work (sets, reps, or both) in the same amount of time, or do the same amount of work and decrease the time in which you do it.
And I’ve come up with a method of density training that is specific to radical fat loss, and this means that not only will you produce the testosterone necessary to mitigate your regional fat issue, but you’ll also lose more fat on the whole. Pretty cool, right?
So here is how we do it.
As an example, let’s pick 3 exercises: the overhead press, the dumbbell row, and the squat.
Setting these up in a circuit fashion, you perform them one after another with little rest in between.
Sounds like just about any circuit training protocol, right?
Instead of having a set number of reps, we’re going to be performing each of these exercises for time–you simply have to do as many as you can in a given time period.
To make it easy, let’s say you did each of the above exercises for 30 seconds. In performing such a circuit, your results might look like this:
Overhead Press: 25 pound dumbbells for 20 reps
DB Row: 40 pound dumbbells for 18 reps
Squat: 100 pound barbell for 22 reps
Not too shabby, but here is where it gets crazy.
We’re going to increase the weight by 10-20% and try to do more reps.
Does that seem impossible? It isn’t. Due to neuromuscular junction and neural activation, in almost all cases, you’ll be able to do just that.
Your second attempt at that circuit might look like this:
Overhead Press: 30 pound dumbbells for 23 reps
DB Row: 50 pound dumbbells for 20 reps
Squat: 120 pound barbell for 25 reps
I know you’re having trouble believing that outcome is even possible, much less common, but try it for yourself!
Density training is fun, challenge-based, burns a heck of a lot of fat, and–most importantly–is one of the best training modalities around for increasing testosterone production and release, which will help you shed stubborn lower body fat and more fat on the whole.