It is no mystery that weight loss is one of the most common training goals. In the fitness industry there are endless formats and training styles, but when it comes to fat loss in particular, Alwyn Cosgrove came up with a hierarchy to help you reach your goal. Understanding this hierarchy will help you succeed with your weight loss goals:

  1. Nutrition

You can’t out-train a poor diet. One must create a caloric deficit (less calories consumed than burned) and consume a proper intake of protein, carbohydrates, healthy fats, and hydration. Using less is more is a perfect tool for creating sustainable nutritional habits that can lead to healthy fat loss.

  1. Exercise and activities that burn calories, elevate metabolism, and promote muscle mass

Your RMR (resting metabolic rate) is where you burn most of your calories. Your exercise and activities throughout the day will influence how your RMR burns those calories. Building or maintaining muscle mass will directly influence how your RMR works. Thus, if you want to burn the most calories and have an elevated metabolism, you must work your muscles hard.

At One on One, we use metabolic resistance training (weighted exercises, group classes, circuit training) to get the muscles working the hardest, elevate EPOC, and burn the most calories. This type of training can be seen in many different variations, including High Intensity Anaerobic Interval Training (HIIT) which allows you to train in a short period of time with limited rest between sets while burning the most calories.

  1. Exercise or activities that burn calories and elevate metabolism

This training still involves creating EPOC and burning a significant number of calories during your workout. Depending on your fitness level, this training might still challenge you to the best of your abilities.

At One on One, we generally use interval training on cardio machines (High Intensity Aerobic Interval Training). Going for a hard run or bike (Steady State High Intensity Aerobic Training) are also good options to accomplish this level of training.

  1. Exercise or activities that burn calories, but might not elevate metabolism

Going for a long easy run or bike (Steady State Low Intensity Training), recreational activities, and NEAT are all great ways to add to your burned calories in a day. If you can find time for any of these, that caloric deficit can become much more attainable!

If weight loss is your goal, use this hierarchy as a guide. From an exercise perspective, metabolic resistance training is most effective. But remember, regardless of how you exercise, you can’t out-train a poor diet!

Copyright 2011 Fitness Consultants Inc. All rights reserved.


Cosgrove, A. (2007, April 11). The Hierarchy of Fat Loss.