HGV (Fat Loss Edition): Program Overview

HGV (Fat Loss Edition): Program Overview

When I released my popular HGV program, one of the most frequent questions I got asked was:

“I love German volume training, but can I still use it if my main goal is fat loss?”

The answer is YES!

In fact, you actually have two options! The first is to combine the original HGV program with a solid fat burning diet plan like this. But, truth be told, I don’t recommend that option. You see the original program works best when it is followed “as is”, and that means heavy weights all the way, but training like that while in a steep calorie deficit will leave you feeling more tired than usual, not to mention more susceptible to injury and maybe even less adherent in the gym.

But don’t worry, your second option is looking right at you: HGV Fat Loss Edition!

This brand new twist on HGV takes all of the benefits of German volume training and combines them with HIIT (high intensity interval training) to give you “the best of both worlds”.

Now you may be wondering – how can you do HIIT with weights?

Well, most trainers would do this via circuit training, but as you know, I’m not most trainers (!!??). There are plenty of other programs on RussHowePTI.com for people who love circuit training like this or this, but my new program takes a different route.

Instead, we unlock the benefits of HIIT by applying my “Rest Down” technique. I’ll explain this in more depth down below, but basically I’ll be snatching your rest periods from you as you move through the program, starting with 50 seconds rest between sets during week one and eventually reaching zero seconds rest (100 reps straight) in the final week. If you thought the 10×10 sets in the original HGV were tough, training this way is a completely different ball game!

Be sure to read the program overview below so you understand exactly how your new plan works, then let’s see how far you can go in the next six weeks!

Program length: 6 weeks.
Frequency: 6 workouts per week.
Muscle trained: 2-3 muscle groups per session.
Rep ranges used: 10 sets of 10 reps on your main exercises each day, alongside straight sets of 10-15 reps on other exercises.
Muscle Buster techniques: Rest down, German volume training, hundreds training, dropsets, supersets.

russ howe pti hgv program

“Rest Down” For Success!

The key driver of muscle growth anf fat loss with this program is my “Rest Down” technique.

This is a nasty method I’ve been using with clients for many years – in fact I first spoke about it online way back in 2015! – and it involves stripping away your rest periods with every new week of the program.

If you take a look at your workouts for week one you’ll see that your German volume exercises give you 50 seconds of rest between each set. This is ample time to recover and go again. When you reach week two, however, this is reduced to 40 seconds between sets, and so on, until you reach the final week of the program where you’ll be up against 100 reps straight. This flips the focus of traditional German volume training and turns it into a form of HIIT (high intensity interval training).

We know how effective high intensity interval training is (more on this below), and we know that reducing our rest periods is excellent for boosting fat loss results via weight training. It’s this combinations is what makes the “Rest Down” technique such a killer method. (1, 2)

hiit with weights

Given how the program works, it’s very important to accurately track your rest periods. I say this because barely anybody does.

I used to be one of those people who never, ever timed how much rest I took. I’d just start the next set when I felt ready, but the issues it caused undoubtedly held back my results. For instance, sometimes people would start talking to me, or I’d get distracted by my phone, and other times I’d feel awkward standing around so I’d just go again straight away, so throughout my workout there’d be certain sets which received much longer (and often unnecessary) rest while others didn’t receive enough.

It probably took me about two years to see the value in doing this. When you think about it, the amount of rest you take is actually an important part of your program (especially this one). It’s a variable which we can use to periodize your training to make sure you’re progressing (much like increasing your weights or changing the rep range).

I recommend using a stopwatch timer on your phone to keep yourself accurate. With 10×10 sets sometimes I like to grab a scrap of paper to tally off sets, but you can also do this on most stopwatches by logging each rest period as a lap so you know how many sets you’ve completed.


Why HIIT Is So Effective

The mechanism which makes HIIT such an effective fat loss tool is called EPOC.

This is short for excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, and it is the process by which your body burns fuel differently during intense exercise versus comfortable activity. Think sprinting versus walking. When performing a low intensity exercise, such as walking, your body will burn fat as its primary fuel source, and when performing a high intensity exercise, like sprinting, it switches to carbohydrates.

And here’s where things get weird…

Because while the calorie burn of low intensity exercise ends the moment the workout ends, the calorie burn for high intensity exercise is only just beginning. Using carbohydrates for fuel triggers the EPOC process, which causes the body to continue burning calories at an accelerated rate long after the workout is over (studies put it at about 14 hours). The net result is more calories being burned, and significantly greater fat loss! (3, 4)

what is the afterburn effect

It surprises most people when I tell them that weight training triggers this exact same process.

Lifting weights is actually very similar to HIIT when we break it down. You perform an intense set, then you rest, then you do another set, and so on… just like a HIIT workout! So it should come as no surprise that the body responds the exact same way in the hours following a session.

And just like with HIIT, if we want to maximize our results we must ensure we are training intensely (i.e. not sitting around for 5-10 minutes between each set!), so this is why we must accurately track our rest periods.

This will not only give you the fat loss benefits of HIIT and GVT, it’ll also have a unique crossover benefit which will carry over into the next program you choose. You see, given the tough nature of 10×10 sets (particularly in the last couple of weeks when rest is scarce) your body is forced to adapt to having less recovery time, and when you return to what I would call ‘normal training’ you’ll notice that resting for a full minute between sets feels like an eternity! This is great, because it shows you are more conditioned than you used to be, and by taking the extra recovery time you should be able to either increase the weights you’d normally lift or add a few extra reps to the set!

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