Program Design for Fat Loss

Written by Master Coach Kim Leggett

When it comes to designing a program for a client, we need to firstly look at their goal in order to ascertain what approach and training systems will best elicit results.

The number one principle we look at when designing a program for fat loss is ensuring we are prioritizing hypertrophy. The stronger we are, the more load we can lift into a training session which allows us to maintain lean muscle mass that aids in optimising fat loss by increasing basal metabolic rate (BMR).

Specific loading parameters of program design such as volume, intensity and frequency also need to be considered when designing a program for fat loss. We want to elicit sufficient metabolic stress without tipping the client into overtraining (as they will also assumably be in a calorie deficit). High volume training which stimulates lactic acid work best to elicit fat loss results, so programming typically made up of 12-16 sets of 8-20 reps per body part whilst maintaining intensity is ideal.

In order to be progressive with fat loss programming we need to ensure more work is done during each phase. We do this by ensuring each phase includes more work done (volume) in a 45 minute training session. We also want to increase the frequency in which we train each body part and do this by pairing multiple muscle groups in one session in order to create greater metabolic demand.

This is one reason why beginner clients who are looking to improve their body composition are often given a German Body Composition or ‘GBC’ style program for their first phase. This type of programming pairs lower and upper body exercises, with moderate rep ranges and limited rest between sets in order to increase muscle size and elicit fat loss whilst not negatively impacting performance given the non-competing nature of the paired exercises. Other training methods for fat loss include circuit training, giant sets, HIIT and modified strongman.

An example of how we would periodize 3 phases of a fat loss program to ensure the client has increased volume during their training is as follows:

Phase 1: GBC
Phase 2: Heavy Light
Phase 3: 8-8-16

A well-designed training program will make it much easier and set up for keeping fat off long-term. Not only will your client raise their metabolism by increasing lean mass, but they will also build strength and movement that all make them more inclined to be active and healthy.

Want to learn how to effectively structure fat loss and body re-composition transformation programs to achieve world leading results?
Enrol into the Ultimate Program Design Bundle, which includes the online courses:
– Fundamentals of Program Design
– Advanced Program Design

References:
Performance PT Coaching Certification Level 1 and 2 – Clean Health Fitness Institute 2020

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