Female Bodybuilding & Fitness

The Fat Burning Secrets

The Never Ending Question about Repetitions

Part 2 - Fat Loss

By Karen Sessions, author of Iron Dolls, The Competitive Edge, and Killer Quads

Read Part 1 on The Never Ending Question covering muscle gain.

In the last article we discussed muscle gain and repetition range. You learned that muscle gain is a combination of heavy weight, intensity, proper form, quality nutrition, rest, and supplementation. Ironically, the same factors are needed for fat loss. How can that be? It's all in how you apply the recipe.

Many people that write me are interested in getting "cut." What they fail to realize is, you can't get cut until you lose body fat, not just weight in general. General weight loss is a loss of fat, muscle, and water that can be obtained through the many fad diets floating around. Fat loss, however, is the loss of body fat and the retention of lean muscle tissue. The prerequisite for getting cut is roughly 15% body fat. Anything higher, you need to focus on losing body fat first.

Eating for Fat Loss and Cutting

The best format for fat loss is carbohydrate cycling, which is outlined in Iron Dolls. This style of dieting will allow you to have complex carbohydrates for energy, but it's done in a fashion that allows you essential fat at times to keep the body off guard.

Getting cut requires strict dieting and eating the right combination of foods at the right time. For the most part, getting cut will require you to keep your complex carbohydrates to a minimum and include more non-starchy vegetables, essential fats, and of course, complete protein.

Too many people try to jump into a cutting program without priming the body first. Proper priming will prevent your body from reacting. You want your body to respond to your program, not react. Drastic changes cause all sorts of imbalances; therefore it is imperative to prepare your body for a cutting program.

Build the body of your dreams!


As you remember, to build muscle you have to lift heavy, intense, and brief. Stimulation, nutrients, and rest build muscle, not repetition badgering. In the same aspect, the same factors are necessary for losing body fat and getting cut. Contrary to popular belief, high repetitions don't burn fat. Proper diet and added cardio, if necessary, burn body fat.

If you have the muscle, keep it by training properly. Now if you are training for a contest and getting cut your energy and strength will drop as the show nears, this is normal. Compensate for that energy and strength drop, but don't purposely lighten the weight and rep-out in the hopes that you will burn additional fat.

You will get a well-rounded workout by choosing 2 to 3 different exercises for the targeted body part. Limit your sets to 3 and keep the repetitions in the 6 to 8 range. You will notice an extra exercise, set, and repetitions allowed on the fat loss/cutting program. This is to compensate for the small drop in strength and to add more variety.

Example of a Quality Shoulder Workout:

  • Shoulder Presses - 3 sets of 6 - 8 repetitions

  • Lateral Raises - 3 sets of 6 - 8 repetitions

  • Front Raises - 3 sets of 6 - 8 repetitions

Alternate front raises with rear delt work every other shoulder workout. This will keep you from over training the shoulders since they are worked to a degree in chest and back training.


To aid in your fat loss you can supplement as well, but please remember supplements only work when your nutrition and exercise regimen are in balance.

Hydroxy Citric Acid

Hydroxy Citric Acid, also known as Hydroxycitrate (HCA), is an amazing supplement. What it will do for you is suppress your appetite and inhibit carbohydrates from being stored as fat (if timed properly), and convert caloric energy into glycogen to be stored. HCA is close to a miracle pill, but only if you take it like you should, and eat a lo w to moderate carbohydrate diet.

When and how to take Hydroxy Citric Acid

HCA has to be in the liver and muscle before the food gets there. You should incorporate fat burning supplements on an empty stomach for maximum benefit. Recommended dosage for HCA is 500 to 1000 milligrams, thirty minutes to an hour prior to a meal, particularly high in carbohydrates.

What type of Hydroxy Citric Acid to take

The best I have come across is Now Super Citrimax, which also contains Chromium Polynicotinate, an ingredient that enhances insulin efficiency, allowing carbohydrates to be directed to the muscle rather than fat. This product is like two fat burners in one. Be sure to purchase the brand name ChromeMate for best quality.

Cutting Gel

Another favorite of mine is a transdermal fat loss supplement called Cutting Gel, which is absorbed via skin. I found it works best when you apply it to where you want to mobilize body fat and promote skin tightening before cardio or resistance training.

It helps to release stored body fat into the bloodstream so it can be used as energy during exercise. However, this does not take place unless you are helping it along by exercising and adjusting calories correctly.

Karen Sessions NSCA-CPT

P.S. Want more in-depth and inside information on muslce gain and fat loss? Check out Iron Dolls - Women's Bodybuilding Secrets for beginner to advanced information!


About The Author

Karen Sessions has been in the fitness industry since 1988 and is a multi-certified personal fitness instructor and specialist in performance nutrition. She is a nationally qualified natural female bodybuilder, holding numerous titles in the southern states including two overalls.

Karen has written six eBooks on fitness. She also writes articles for several fitness websites, and distributes two monthly newsletters regarding weight loss and female bodybuilding.

Karen has helped hundreds of clients reach their goal of transforming their body. Her success and success stories speak for themselves. Iron-Dolls.com