'Fat Loss 5': A Simple But Effective Fat Burning Workout

STACK Expert Nick Tumminello created Fat Loss 5, a simple—but not easy— circuit training program to burn fat. Try it.

Have a feeling that your weight-loss workouts simply aren't cutting it? Chances are they are based on old information and methods that aren't as effective as you think.

So I developed the Fat Loss 5 (FL5) workout protocol as a simple—but not easy—comprehensive training formula to burn fat while maintaining and even building muscle.

An FL5 sequence consists of four exercises performed back to back in a circuit. This creates a constant cardiorespiratory effect, because your body is working hard to pump blood to your major muscle groups. Then, you follow that up with a cardio interval, further increasing the challenge and burning more calories during and after your workout.

Here are the five categories of an FL5 circuit:

  1. Upper-body pushing exercise
  2. Upper-body pulling exercise
  3. Lower-body leg- or hip-oriented exercise
  4. Core exercise
  5. Cardio exercise

The FL5 circuit is simple and versatile. Here's how it works.

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  • A full FL5 circuit is four minutes of work with one minute of rest, for a total of five minutes— that's why it's called FL5.
  • You typically perform two to three rounds of a given FL5 circuit.
  • You can plug in virtually any exercises you want as long as they fit the five categories. For strength exercises, choose movements that require free weights, resistance bands or your own body weight.
  • Perform each strength exercise for 30 seconds and rest 15 seconds between exercises.
  • I don't recommend long-duration cardio, but one to two minutes of cardio performed at 70 to 80 percent of your max heart rate is prescribed for each FL5 circuit. This will dramatically reduce the impact on your joints. Cardio exercise options include shadowboxing, kickboxing, jumping rope, running, stationary bike (AirDyne preferred), rowing, reaction ball, elliptical trainer or VersaClimber.
  • Rest for 60 seconds after each circuit and try to decrease your rest time as you get more fit. Ideally, you should perform a maximum of two minutes of cardio, then immediately repeat the circuit with no rest; you never stop moving.
  • After you've performed two to three rounds of the same exercises in a circuit, the strength exercises change but the cardio remains consistent throughout the entire workout. Keeping the cardio drill the same allows you to develop a consistent rhythm throughout the workout, whereas changing the strength moves every two to three rounds stimulates your muscles and creates enough variety to keep things interesting.

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Circuit 1

  • Prisoner Squat x 30 seconds
  • Single-Arm Plank x 30 seconds
  • Push-Up to T x 30 seconds
  • Alternating Band Row x 30 seconds
  • Shadowboxing x 60 seconds
  • Rest for 60 seconds. Repeat 2-3 times.

Circuit 2

Circuit 3

  • Lateral Lunge x 30 seconds
  • Band Tight Rotation x 30 seconds
  • Physioball Push-Ups x 30 seconds
  • Band Swimmer x 30 seconds
  • Shadowboxing x 60 seconds
  • Rest for 60 seconds. Repeat 2-3 times.

Finally, performing the Fat Loss 5 workouts with the other metabolic workouts from my book, Strength Training for Fat Loss, will help you strip body fat without losing muscle.

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