8 Week Gym Routine for Fat Loss: Your Guide To Shedding Weight

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There is no way around it. Fat loss is hard. But it’s easier if you have a plan. So, if you’re looking for a straightforward and effective way to kickstart your fat loss journey, you’ve come to the right place.

In this article, I will guide you through an 8-week workout routine designed to get you lean. No complicated exercises or confusing jargon – just a simple and practical plan to help you melt away fat.

You may notice that the fat loss program is like a routine to build muscle. That is by design. A quality program to build muscle will also maintain it during a cut. To lose weight, we only need to make a few minor tweaks, add cardio, and cut some calories. So, if you are ready to start, it’s time to take the first step toward a leaner, more shredded you!

Table of contents:

  • 8 Week Fat Loss Workout Routine
  • The Cardio Program
  • How to Set Up Your Diet For Fat Loss
  • Fat Loss Tips For Success
  • FAQs

good workout routine for fat loss

8 Week Fat Loss Workout Routine

The 8-week fat loss workout routine is a three-day rotation split into two phases. You train three days in a row, take the fourth day as a rest day, and restart the program. After four weeks (not rotations), move on to phase two. With this schedule, you will lift weights five or six days a week.

The training split is as follows:

Day 1: Chest, Back, and Abs

Day 2: Legs and Calves

Day 3: Shoulders, Triceps, and Biceps

Day 4: Rest

Day 5: Start back with day 1.

The training split allows us to set up the program’s key feature – supersets. A superset is when you perform two exercises back-to-back with little rest in between. There are two main benefits to supersets. One, they increase calorie burning, and two, they save time.

However, you have to pick the right exercises. Based on research, the best supersets are agonist/antagonist supersets.¹ These involve exercises that target opposing muscles, such as the chest and back, quads and hamstrings, or biceps and triceps.

best workout program for fat loss

Phase 1 Workout Plan: (Weeks 1 to 4)

In phase one, we lay the groundwork for the program. The first four weeks will acclimate you to the program before volume increases in phase two. Keep in mind that just because this is a fat loss program doesn’t mean you shouldn’t aim to get stronger. Keep a journal of your weights and try to beat them. Anytime you can add a rep or 5lbs to the bar, do it.

The bulleted exercises indicate a superset, or a triset if there are three exercises indicated. Perform the exercises back to back with little rest. After completing the superset, rest for 1-3 minutes before doing the next round.

Day #1: Chest, Back, and Abs

1. Superset #1

  • Barbell Bench Press: 3 sets x 6-8 reps
  • Pullups: 3 sets x 6-8 reps (add extra weight if possible)

2. Superset #2

  • Dumbbell Incline Press: 3 sets x 8-10 reps
  • Dumbbell Row: 3 sets x 8-10 reps

3. Superset #3

  • Cable Crossover: 3 sets x 10-12 reps
  • Neutral Grip Lat Pulldown: 3 sets x 10-12 reps

4. Triset #1

  • Hanging Leg Raise: 3 sets x 10-20 reps
  • Decline Sit Ups: 3 sets x 10-20 reps
  • Bicycle Crunches: 3 sets x 10-20 reps (each side)

Day #2: Legs and Calves

1. Barbell Back Squat: 3 sets x 6-8 reps

2. Superset #1

  • Leg Press: 3 sets x 8-10 reps
  • Barbell Romanian Deadlift: 3 sets x 8-10 reps

3. Superset #2

  • Leg Extension: 3 sets x 10-12 reps
  • Seated Leg Curl: 3 sets x 10-12 reps

4. Superset #3

  • Standing Calf Raise: 3 sets x 8-10 reps
  • Seated Calf Raise: 3 sets x 10-12 reps

Day #3: Shoulders and Arms

1. Overhead Barbell Press: 3 sets x 6-8 rep

2. Superset #1

  • Dumbbell Side Raise: 3 sets x 8-10 reps
  • Cable Facepulls: 3 sets x 8-10 reps

3. Superset #2

  • Barbell Curl: 3 sets x 8-10 reps
  • Cable Triceps Pulldowns: 3 sets x 8-10 reps

4. Superset #3

  • Dumbbell Hammer Curl: 3 sets x 10-12 reps
  • Lying EZ Bar Triceps Extension: 3 sets x 10-12 reps

fat burning gym workout routine

Phase 2 Workout Plan: (Weeks 5 to 8)

In phase two, we jump to higher volume and higher reps. The higher reps are not necessarily better for fat loss or to “bring out the cuts,” as some say, but the added reps are one form of built-in progression. The extra sets and added reps increase the overall workload. Keep this in mind when selecting weights.

The main exercises stay the same while the assistance movements change. I programmed it this way mainly to prevent boredom. I want you to attack all eight weeks with a lot of enthusiasm.

Day #1: Chest, Back, and Abs

1. Superset #1

  • Barbell Bench Press: 4 sets x 8-10 reps
  • Pullups: 4 sets x 8-10 reps

2. Superset #2

  • Machine Incline Press: 4 sets x 10-12 reps
  • Seated Cable Row: 4 sets x 10-12 reps

3. Superset #3

  • Incline Dumbbell Fly: 4 sets x 12-15 reps
  • Reverse Grip Lat Pulldown: 4 sets x 12-15 reps

4. Triset #4

  • Ab Wheel: 3 sets x 10-20 reps
  • Cable Machine Crunches: 3 sets x 10-20 reps
  • Med Ball Russian Twists: 3 sets x 10-20 reps (each side)

Day #2: Legs and Calves

1. Barbell Back Squat: 4 sets x 8-10 reps

2. Superset # 1

  • Hack Squat or Belt Squat: 4 sets x 10-12 reps
  • Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift: 4 sets x 10-12 reps

3. Superset #2

  • Bulgarian Split Squats: 4 sets x 12-15 reps (each side)
  • Lying Leg Curls: 4 sets x 12-15 reps

4. Superset #3

  • Leg Press Calf Raise: 3 sets x 10-12 reps
  • Seated Calf Raise: 3 sets x 12-15 reps

Day #3: Shoulders and Arms

1.Overhead Barbell Press: 4 sets x 8-10 rep

2. Superset #1

  • Machine Side Raise: 4 sets x 10-12 reps
  • Reverse Pec Deck: 4 sets x 10-12 reps

3. Superset #2

  • Preacher Curl: 4 sets x 10-12 reps
  • Dumbbell Overhead Triceps Extension: 4 sets x 10-12 reps

4. Superset #3

  • Dumbbell Incline Bicep Curls: 4 sets x 12-15 reps
  • Cable Triceps Kickbacks: 4 sets x 12-15 reps

workout plan for fat loss

The Cardio Program

The lifting routine is only part of the 8-week fat loss program. To round out the fat loss protocol, we need to add cardio. The question of how much cardio you should do to lose fat is common. Unfortunately, it depends. Some people can lose fat with very little or no cardiovascular work, while others need a substantial amount. Of course, diet factors into this as well.

That said, most people lose fat more efficiently with a program that includes cardio. For this program, we break the cardio work into three categories: daily steps, moderate-intensity steady state (MISS), and high-intensity interval training (HIIT).

1. Daily Steps: Every Day

The first step of the cardio plan is tracking your daily steps. Over the years of coaching clients, I noticed adding cardio didn’t have the effect I wanted. We would get an initial benefit for the first few weeks when we added it, and then it would trail off. I assumed it was the body adapting to the cardio, which could have been some of it, but something else was at play.

Fast forward a few years, and with technology advancements, it became much easier to track daily steps. For most of us, our smartphones always stay in our pockets. The cool thing is that they have a built-in pedometer. When I had my clients start tracking their steps, I noticed something wild. As we added structured cardio, people became more sedentary outside of training.

Some admitted it when I asked about it, not realizing the issue. One client said,“Since we added cardio, I started playing more video games. It helps me keep my mind off eating.”This client’s daily step count went from 10k a day to 6k, even including the cardio. We don’t want that.

During the 8-week fat loss training, aim to hit a minimum of 8,000 steps daily. For some of you, this will be easy. For others, it will be more of a challenge. Admittedly, 8k is an arbitrary number, but I have found it’s a good baseline for fat loss. My clients who consistently get fewer than 8k steps have more difficulty losing fat. If you need to artificially increase your steps by doing low-intensity steady-state cardio, such as brisk walking, you can. However, the goal is to become less sedentary and more active in your daily life.

workout regimen for fat loss

2. Moderate-Intensity Steady State (MISS): 30-45 Minutes 3-4x a Week

Moderate intensity steady state (MISS) cardio is a straightforward and effective form of aerobic work that involves maintaining a consistent moderate pace for an extended period. MISS is also called Zone 2 cardio. Zone 2 is training at 60-70% of your max heart rate. At this intensity, it should be challenging, but you should be able to maintain a conversation. The best part of this style of cardio is the ease of entry. Anyone can do it. You can even watch your favorite show while cranking away.

How to Perform MISS:

  1. Pick your favorite form of cardio – incline treadmill walk, rucking, outside jog, elliptical, exercise bike, step mill, etc.
  2. Push yourself hard, but be able to maintain a conversation throughout the duration. You should only have slightly labored breathing.
  3. Perform 30-45 minutes 3-4 times a week.
  4. You can do this anytime – morning, night, or post-workout. The only time I don’t recommend doing it is right before your lifting session.

workout routine for fat loss

3. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): 15-20 Minutes 1-2x a Week

In the mid-2000s, HIIT cardio was the “secret.” As a side note, the longer you are in the fitness space, the more secrets you realize there are. As soon as some research supported the notion that HIIT cardio was more efficient (i.e., burned more calories in less time) than other forms of cardio, people ran with it. Literally.

If some is good, then more must be better. However, with HIIT, that’s not the case. Why? Let’s look at one form of HIIT session called The Tabata Method. Developed by Japanese scientist Dr. Izumi Tabata, the Tabata method consists of 20 seconds of all-out effort followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated for eight rounds. I have found an Airdyne exercise bike works best. Go ahead and try it. If you are honest with the effort (maximal) and the rest periods (10 seconds), it will be one of your life’s most brutal four minutes. Does it work? Yes, but good luck mentally preparing yourself to do that five times a week.

The point is this: HIIT is great, but we only need to do it once or twice a week to get the benefits.

How to Perform HIIT:

Although the Tabata method is short and sweet, I have found doing HIIT with more volume and longer rest periods is better for fat loss. For this program, I want you to do:

  1. 15-20 minutes of HIIT broken up into a 3-minute warm-up at a slow pace.
  2. 10-15 rounds of all-out effort followed by 45 seconds of recovery.
  3. End with a 2-minute cooldown.

You can do regular sprints, hill sprints, prowler sprints, sled sprints, treadmill sprints, Airdyne sprints, spin bike sprints, elliptical sprints, etc. The key is effort. High intensity means high intensity. That’s why we only do it once or twice a week. If you want some specific ideas, check out our article on 6 Best Fat Burning HIIT Workouts.

best fat loss training program

How to Set Up Your Diet For Fat Loss

A fat-loss workout program is only complete with a diet component. As the expression goes, you can’t out-train a bad diet. To effectively lose fat, we need to create a calorie deficit, and you can do that in two ways – increasing activity and reducing food intake. With the cardio we have planned, increasing activity is all set. All that is left is nutrition.

1. Calorie Intake

The first step in designing a fat-loss diet is determining how many calories to eat. There are endless ways to do this, but we will keep it simple for this piece. Start by multiplying your body weight by 10 to 12. Using this simple calculation gives you a range of daily calories to start with. For example, if you weigh 180 pounds, your estimated daily calorie intake would be between 1800 to 2160 calories.

The starting number is just that, a starting point. You can adjust your calories based on your progress and how your body responds.

And in case you were wondering, yes, you can build muscle in a calorie deficit.

2. Macronutrient Intake

Next up is calculating your macronutrients. I like to start with protein intake. Again, keeping it simple, calculate your protein intake by multiplying .8-1.2 of your goal weight. Notice I wrote goal weight, not body weight. For example, if you weigh 180 lbs and your goal weight is 160 lbs, you would use 160 to calculate your protein intake. The more weight you have to lose, stick closer to .8.

Once we have protein figured out, I like to calculate fat next. Fat is easy to calculate. Set fat to 25-30% of your calorie intake. Let’s go back to our example above.

We have a 180-pound male who wants to cut down to 160 pounds. He is lean but wants to get a shredded six-pack finally.

  • Calories: 180 x 12 = 2160
  • Protein: 160 x 1.2 = 190g
  • Fat: 25% of calories = 60g

All that is left to calculate is carbohydrates. So far, between protein and fat, we have used up 1,300 calories. 760 calories from protein (160 x 4), and 540 calories from fat (60 x 9). When subtracting the 1300 calories allocated to protein and fat, we have 860 left for carbohydrates. Since carbs are four calories per gram, we have 215g of carbohydrates (860/4 = 215). Now, all you have to do is go through this process for yourself and create the calorie and macro goals specific to you.

fat burning gym routine

Fat Loss Tips For Success

You have everything you need for a successful fat loss phase on paper. However, knowing what to do is only part of the equation. Here are a few tips to help ensure success.

1. Continue Training Hard

People tend to reduce effort in the gym when dieting. It happens little by little. Most of the time, it’s not a conscious thing. But, as fatigue sets in, it’s easy to make deals with yourself. “I don’t need to go up in weight today. Those 100lbs dumbbells look too big. Besides, I’m in a calorie deficit. I’m not adding any new muscle. The 80lbs will be good enough.” Keep training hard. Pushing yourself in the gym will help you maintain muscle during the cut.

2. Time Your Workouts

Similar to effort, if you are not careful, the time it takes you to complete your workout will mysteriously increase throughout the fat-loss phase. An easy way to prevent this is to time your workouts. As soon as you start, set the timer. No need to “watch the clock,” but be mindful that the clock is ticking. At the end of the workout, jot down in your notebook how long the workout took. There should only be slight variations in time from workout to workout.

3. Sleep

Sleep is often the missing link during a cut.Sufficient and quality sleep plays a crucial role in weight loss. Lack of sleep can lead to increased hunger and cravings. Anyone who has dieted before knows that hunger is your worst enemy. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night to support overall health and optimize your body’s ability to lose fat.

4. Track Your Food Intake

Keeping a food diary or using a tracking app helps create awareness of your daily caloric intake. By monitoring what you eat, you gain insights into your eating habits, making it easier to identify areas for improvement and maintain a calorie deficit for effective fat loss. Tracking your food is the best nutrition education you will ever get.

5. Eat More Veggies

How many veggies do you eat daily?Whatever the answer is, eat more.Incorporating more vegetables into your diet provides essential nutrients, fiber, and volume with fewer calories. The fiber content promotes a feeling of fullness, helping control appetite and reduce overall calorie consumption. Don’t discriminate; eat a wide variety – broccoli, spinach, green pepper, carrot, green beans, the list goes on. If it’s a vegetable and you like it, eat it.

In addition to veggies, eat lean meats such as chicken breast, eggs, fish, lean red meat, low-fat milk products, and whey protein. Don’t forget healthy fats either – nuts, natural peanut butter, salmon, olive oil, avocado, etc.

6. Weigh Yourself at least Three Times a Week

Regularly weighing yourself, preferably at least three times a week, allows you to track progress and make necessary adjustments. It provides valuable feedback on the effectiveness of your diet and exercise routine, helping you stay accountable and motivated. I recommend weighing yourself at least three times a week due to normal weight fluctuations. When you weigh yourself three times, you can create a weekly average. Use this value to determine progress.

fat burning workout regimen

FAQs

Have more questions about fat loss? Let’s answer them.

Can you lose body fat in 8 weeks?

Yes, it’s possible to lose body fat in 8 weeks through a combination of a calorie deficit, regular exercise, and a balanced diet.

Can I go from fat to fit in 8 weeks?

While significant transformations take time, making positive changes in diet and exercise over eight weeks can kickstart your journey from fat to fit.

What is the best gym routine to lose fat?

A balanced gym routine that includes a mix of cardio exercises and strength training is the best plan for fat loss.

How much weight can you lose in 8 weeks, realistically?

Realistically, a safe and sustainable weight loss goal is around 1-2 pounds per week, so aiming for 8-16 pounds in 8 weeks is achievable and realistic.

fat burning weight program

Conclusion

Well, there you have it, an 8-week gym routine for fat loss. By incorporating a combination of strength training, cardio, and healthy lifestyle habits, you’re not just focusing on losing fat but fostering a sustainable approach to fitness. Remember, it’s not about perfection but progress. Chances are, you will stumble along the way. That’s okay. As you embark on this journey, embrace the positive changes, relish the small victories, and enjoy the process. The next eight weeks offer an opportunity for both physical and mental transformation. Take it one day at a time. Keep moving forward, stay consistent, and savor the positive impact this 8-week plan can have on your life.

Research:

  1. Andersen, A., Brendløkken, S., & Dammen, R. (2021). Time Efficient Strength Training: The Effects of Agonist- Antagonist supersets versus traditional strength training. Ntnuopen.ntnu.no. https://ntnuopen.ntnu.no/ntnu-xmlui/handle/11250/2783217

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