Monthly Archives: April 2010

Figure Competitor Training: Increasing Fat Loss Pt. 1

Shrell on competition day

When a figure competitor emails me and writes: “I’m working out hard but I can’t seem to lose anymore weight” …the first thing I do is find out just how hard they are working out. Usually I find either:

  • their workouts are ok, but could be much better/more intense
  • or their workouts just plain suck

Lets talk about sucky workouts in this blog post:

Your fat loss workouts fall under the ‘sucky’ category if: you are working out at a gym and using mostly machines, or sitting during most of your workouts, for example:

  • seated chest press or shoulder press
  • seated row or pulldown
  • seated leg press
  • Smith machine… for anything
  • seated ab crunch or oblique twist machine
  • …or any other type of machine that makes exercise easier

You see, the most important thing as a figure competitor you must do when trying to lose body fat is working as many muscles as possible during your exercises. On the contrary, when you are seated in a machine you are isolating specific muscles while the other muscles do nothing (great for bodybuilding and building size in the offseason, but useless for fat loss)… how the heck are you going to burn calories when you are sitting on your butt? The most hilarious are the machines with the seatbelt-like straps… good thing for those straps, I hate it when people go flying off exercise machines.


You need to do exercises which involve multiple muscles groups at the same time

(compound exercises), for example:                                               – A set of seated shoulder presses doesn’t compare to a set of dumbbell squat presses (squatting down while holding a pair of dumbbells at shoulder height and pressing them overhead as you stand up from the squat position) for burning calories.

Suicides (pictured to the left) are one of the best calorie burning exercises.

Don’t get me wrong, machines are important for certain things:

  • for women who are just getting started with weight training
  • machines are safe, which will encourage more women to join gyms
  • can be beneficial for those with injuries or other disabilities
  • good for building muscle because of the isolation

….But for fat loss, machines are like running uphill… on ice… wearing Hush Puppies!

Ok, maybe it’s not that bad… especially for someone just starting out – because any extra exercise may be enough to start weight loss in these individuals but eventually they will have to get off their butts and try compound exercises, like pushups, mountain climbers etc… if they want to keep losing weight.

For the women looking to compete in a figure competition… you need to take working out to a very high level. You are not going to be working out like everyone else is in the gym so don’t look to them for guidance. They are not trying to accomplish what you are doing… so your workouts will look different, be more intense and consists of different types of exercise.

Looking for a figure competition workout?

If your workouts don’t look like the one’s in the video then you better step it up if you are having trouble losing body fat. (of course take your time and progress safely to this level of exercise):

Video: Fat Loss Cardio Workouts

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