Shattering Myths: 5 Essential Truths About Fat Loss and the Power of Compound Lifts

The fat loss, spot-reduction article you’ve been waiting for! (Or not)

Like everyone in this industry, we ALL want to be able to spot-reduce fat, but I’m here to tell you that your personal trainer has been lying to you.


Unfortunately spot-reduction is a myth, as much as we’d like to believe the opposite. I remember back when I was studying at University this topic came up and the lecturer replied with;


“It takes approximately 250,000 crunches to burn 1lb of fat”

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Now, I don’t know about you, but firstly, who has the time for that?! And secondly, I’m not sure I’d want to experience the ab cramps during, after and for the next 5 days following that, JUST FOR 1LB of fat loss. (And that’s MAYBE)


So, let’s re-evaluate this topic and establish some “key” exercises that will get you the results you’re looking for! (Click here for a transformation story!)


Compound lifts

First and foremost, I’m sure many of you have heard the term “Compound lifts.” What are these? Well, simply put, compound lifts are exercises that incorporate more than one muscle group at the same time. The great thing about using multiple muscles in one movement is that we can lift more weight when comparing with single joint exercises.

So, what are they?


barbell squats



For the most part, we all know what a squat is. Why does it work? It’s a full body movement, albeit a complex one. Squats work your quads (front of the thigh), your glutes (booty), hamstrings (back of your thigh), hip flexors and core.


Typically, the more weight we lift the more the muscle needs to work to move that weight and therefore more energy required to move said weight. What does this result in? More calories burned! That doesn’t mean run to the gym and load up the bar for barbell squats. As I mentioned, these are a complex movement and should be done with caution, especially when using a lot of weight.



barbell deadlift



An incredibly beneficial and massively under utilized exercise, the deadlift targets the posterior chain (muscles on the backside from your head down to your heels). Commonly seen performed poorly in most of your local fitness centers and mentioning no names, in some not at all (Planet Fitness).


The deadlift is a key exercise everyone should be able to perform, we use it without realizing on a daily basis when we go to pick up, well, literally anything. Dead in the sense that you should come to a dead stop each time the weight touches the ground. This allows you to reset your position at the start point of the exercise, reducing the risk of injury and displaying true strength where you’re not “bouncing” the weight off of the ground.


I absolutely recommend the deadlift and I absolutely recommend you have a certified trainer who understands the mechanics of the deadlift to help you! You can’t lose weight if you’re injured and can’t train! Form comes before load ladies and gents!


barbell bench press


Barbell Bench Press


The gym bro’s hot topic! How much can you bench? How many of you get asked this question? What is the relevance and is it relevant? Not really. The barbell bench press is largely not applicable in daily life, but is great at your friends bbq. (Guys, most women are not impressed by how much weight you can lift, in fact, the number is likely meaningless to them – moving on)


Bench press is great for building your chest, working your triceps and shoulders (angle dependent) Get lifting!




pull ups



These should be a staple in everyones program! Everyone should be able to perform a pull up, what if your hanging off a cliff and need to pull yourself up?! The ‘what-if’ scenario in everyones daily life. Yes, I realize this isn’t a likely scenario, but the pull up is a great challenge and goal for many people to accomplish. The pull-up will help to strengthen your upper body, targeting your lats or ‘wings.’ Just remember that gym bro that walks around with his arms out in space (although, usually these guys don’t have lats). They also work your other back muscles, core and a little bit of your chest. (Don’t expect to grow pecs from just doing pull-ups though)


Similarly to our other posterior chain movement (the deadlift) pull-ups (when performed correctly) will help counter that awful desk posture we all know so well. Let’s get a strong back ladies and gents!



barbell hip thrusts

Barbell Hip Thrusts


The latest trend and popular exercise among the ladies, the barbell hip thrust. The glutes are the largest muscle in the body. Let’s not forget that the glutes help to stabilize our pelvis and are therefore just as important for the men out there. Include this in your training program and you’ll likely see an increase in the weight you lift for both the barbell squat and the deadlift. Aside from barbell hip thrusts, the glutes do work in a multitude of exercises, for example: lunges, Romanian Deadlift, Single leg deadlift, Squats and so on.


I can talk all day about the benefits of strengthening your glutes but will save that for another blog post. Just remember the next time you’re sitting on your butt all day long, these muscles are getting lazy and need to be put to work otherwise they won’t work!




Compound Lifts – why do they help with fat loss?3 Month Fat Loss Body Transformation Real Life Experience

So, now that we’ve established some key compound lifts, lets discuss why they help with fat-loss.


Simply put, incorporating multiple muscle groups, in particular the larger muscles, requires far more energy in order to make the muscle perform the task you’re asking of it. More energy required means more energy used, equals more fat loss. So get to the gym, load up that bar and lift (safely, please lift safely)


Remember, above all else

“Form before Load”


Want to learn how to optimize fat loss and be the best version of you?!

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Maximizing Strength Training: The Top 3 Footwear Choices – Barefoot, Minimalist Shoes, and Flat Soles

The Benefits of Strength Training with Different Minimalist Footwear: Barefoot, Barefoot Shoes, and Solid Flat Base Shoes

Strength training is a vital aspect of a balanced fitness routine, contributing significantly to overall health and muscle development. While the focus often lies on techniques and equipment, the type of footwear used can also play a crucial role. This article delves into the benefits of strength training while barefoot, in barefoot shoes, and wearing solid flat base shoes, supported by scientific references.


strength training barefoot


1. Strength Training Barefoot

A. Enhanced Stability and Balance

Training barefoot improves stability and balance, a key factor in exercises like squats and deadlifts. A study by Robbins and Waked (1997) in “The Journal of Foot and Ankle Surgery” highlights that barefoot activities can enhance stability by increasing sensory feedback from the foot to the brain, thus improving balance and proprioception.


B. Improved Proprioception

Barefoot training boosts proprioception – the body’s ability to sense its movement and position in space. Research by Bisson et al., published in “Physical Therapy in Sport” (2012), has demonstrated that barefoot training can improve proprioceptive abilities, leading to enhanced movement coordination.


C. Strengthening Foot Muscles

Training without shoes engages and strengthens the small muscles in the feet. A study by Warne and Warrington (2014) in “Journal of Sports Sciences” found that barefoot running, for instance, activates foot muscles more efficiently than running in shoes, suggesting similar benefits could be extended to strength training.



strength training barefoot shoes

2. Training in Barefoot Shoes

A. Protection with Minimal Interference

While offering basic protection, barefoot shoes preserve most of the benefits of barefoot training. A study in “The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness” (2017) indicated that minimalist shoes can provide necessary protection while allowing natural foot movement.


B. Natural Foot Movement

These shoes allow for a natural flexing and movement of the feet. Research by Lieberman et al. in “Nature” (2010) noted that minimalist footwear mimics barefoot conditions, allowing natural foot mechanics, which can be beneficial in strength training for enhancing biomechanical efficiency.


C. Enhanced Grip and Traction

Barefoot shoes often feature enhanced traction for dynamic movements. A study by Frederick (1986) in “The Engineering of Sport” observed that appropriate footwear grip can positively influence performance, especially in sports requiring quick, dynamic movements.


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3. Using Solid Flat Base Shoes

A. Stability in Heavy Lifts

For heavy lifting, solid flat base shoes are crucial for stability. Research by Sato, Smith, and Sands (2012) in “The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research” emphasized the importance of shoe type in weightlifting, noting that flat, solid footwear can enhance stability and performance.


B. Uniform Pressure Distribution

These shoes aid in evenly distributing pressure across the foot. A biomechanical analysis by Hagen and Hennig (2009) in “Research in Sports Medicine” demonstrated that a uniform pressure distribution is critical in reducing injury risks and improving weightlifting performance.


C. Enhanced Power Transfer

A solid base facilitates efficient power transfer. A study by Lake, Lauder, and Smith (2012) in “Journal of Sports Science & Medicine” found that footwear with a solid base improves power transfer during weightlifting, potentially enhancing lifting capabilities.




The choice of footwear in strength training should align with your specific goals, the nature of the exercises, and personal comfort. Barefoot and barefoot shoe training can significantly improve balance, proprioception, and foot muscle strength. In contrast, solid flat base shoes are more suited for heavy lifting due to their stability and efficient power transfer.

It’s crucial to transition gradually to different types of footwear to allow the body to adapt and to be mindful of gym policies regarding footwear. Selecting appropriate footwear can not only elevate your training experience but also augment performance and prevent injuries, ultimately enriching your strength training journey.



Shoe Recommendations




Personal Training: The 5 Benefits of Strength Training for Weight-Loss and Health



Optimizing your results from Strength Training with Personal Training

In the realm of fitness, strength training emerges as a powerful tool, not just for bodybuilders, but for anyone aiming to lose weight and enhance their overall health. This comprehensive guide, crafted from a personal training perspective, delves into the multifaceted benefits of strength training, providing insights into how it can revolutionize your health and weight loss journey.




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The Power of Strength Training in Weight Loss

Contrary to popular belief, strength training is incredibly effective for weight loss, and it’s not just about building a bulkier physique. The real magic happens with your metabolism. When you engage in strength training, you’re essentially giving your metabolism a booster shot. Muscle mass is metabolically active, meaning it burns calories even when you’re at rest. This is where the game changes.

A study in the ‘Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research’ illustrates that increased muscle mass significantly boosts your resting metabolic rate (RMR). This boost means your body continues to burn calories at a higher rate long after your workout is over, a crucial aspect for sustainable weight loss. But there’s more to this story.

The ‘afterburn effect’, or excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), is like your body’s natural weight loss assistant that works overtime. After a strength training session, your body needs to recover and repair the microscopic muscle damage that occurs during lifting. This repair process requires energy – hence, your body continues to burn calories.

Moreover, strength training’s role in weight loss isn’t limited to physical aspects. It also involves significant hormonal responses. Lifting weights leads to an increase in muscle-building hormones like testosterone and growth hormone, which not only help in building lean muscle mass but also aid in burning fat.

And let’s not forget about the long-term benefits. Unlike crash diets or quick-fix solutions, the muscle you build through strength training leads to a sustained increase in your calorie-burning capacity. This means you’re not just losing weight, but you’re setting up your body to maintain that weight loss in the long run.

So, while cardio workouts are often touted as the go-to for weight loss, it’s time to put strength training in the spotlight. It’s not just about lifting weights; it’s about lifting your body’s capability to burn calories more effectively, making your weight loss journey both efficient and sustainable.




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Enhancing Health Beyond Weight Loss

Strength training’s positive impact on health is comprehensive and multifaceted. Beyond its role in cardiovascular health improvement and diabetes risk reduction, it also plays a crucial role in mental health. Regular engagement in strength exercises has been linked to decreased symptoms of depression and anxiety. The endorphins released during physical activity act as natural mood lifters, contributing to a greater sense of overall well-being. Moreover, it improves sleep quality and enhances cognitive functions, making it an integral part of maintaining a balanced and healthy lifestyle. This holistic approach to health, combining physical and mental benefits, underscores the versatility and necessity of strength training in regular fitness routines.



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Mental Health and Cognitive Benefits

Strength training not only sculpts the body but also molds the mind. In addition to easing depression and anxiety symptoms, it acts as a mental sharpener. Engaging in this form of exercise has been observed to enhance various cognitive functions, according to ‘Frontiers in Psychology’. This includes not just better memory and concentration, but also enhanced creativity and decision-making skills.


The physical effort required in lifting and resistance exercises triggers brain functions that extend well beyond the gym. It’s a workout that challenges both muscle and mind, leading to improved emotional resilience, stress management, and a boosted sense of achievement and confidence. These mental benefits complete the picture of overall well-being, positioning strength training as a comprehensive approach to health maintenance.




Personal Training

Personal Trainer’s Perspective: Customizing Your Routine

With personal training, the emphasis is always on tailoring strength training to individual needs. Beginners might start with bodyweight exercises, gradually moving to free weights and machines. It’s crucial to focus on proper form to prevent injuries and to progressively increase the intensity for continual improvement. The fastest way to end a transformation journey is by getting injured, personal training should help to massively reduce that risk. Additionally, a balanced approach combining strength training with cardio and flexibility exercises offers the best results for overall fitness.




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Nutrition and Strength Training: A Synergistic Approach

To maximize the benefits of strength training, combining it with proper nutrition is imperative. A diet rich in proteins aids muscle recovery and growth. Incorporating a balance of carbohydrates and healthy fats is equally important for energy and overall health. Hydration, too, plays a key role in optimizing performance and recovery during strength training sessions. For more on the importance of hydration; https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/hsph-in-the-news/the-importance-of-hydration/




In conclusion, strength training is a multi-faceted tool for weight loss and enhancing overall health. As a personal trainer, the advice is clear: incorporate strength training into your fitness routine, not just as a means to an end, but as a lifestyle choice for long-term health and well-being. Embrace the journey with patience, persistence, and the right balance of nutrition, and witness the transformative power of strength training.


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