HGV: Fat Loss Edition will shred you with weights. Here’s how it all works.

HGV fat loss edition

Written by Russ Howe PTI, and most recently updated 1 day ago.

11 min read

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.
Session breakdown: 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, which is ample time to recover and go again. However, in week two this is reduced to 40 seconds, then 30 seconds in week three, 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).

Studies show that gradually reducing our rest periods in this way is great for fat loss, and of course HIIT is well documented for it’s own fat loss benefits. It’s this combination which 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 used to be one of those people who never, ever timed how much rest I took between sets. Honestly, I’d just begin my next set when I felt ready, and I never realized how much it was holding me back. Sometimes people would talk to me, or I’d get distracted by social media, and sometimes I’d just feel awkward standing around so I’d go into the next set straight away. Throughout my workout there would be certain sets which received much longer (and often unnecessary) rest breaks while others didn’t receive enough.

It probably took me about two years to see the value in doing this.

Think about the key variables we can change to ensure we are progressing in the right direction:

  • How heavy you can lift
  • How many reps you can do
  • How long you can hold something for
  • How fast you can recover

It’s one of the main reasons why HIIT is such an effective fat loss method (more on this below), because the faster we can recover, the fitter we become, and the fitter we become, the harder we can train!

Many clients who have used this program have also reported that they continue feeling the benefits of it long after the final week has ended! This is normal, and I expect you’ll notice the same thing.

You see, as the weeks go by and your rest breaks are stripped away, your GVT work will gradually transition into what’s known as hundreds training. 10×10 with barely any rest feels more like cardio than lifting, and your body is forced to adapt. When you eventually start your next program you’ll notice that resting for 60 seconds between sets feels like an eternity! This is great, because it means your muscles are more conditioned, and one of the crossover benefits you can reap here is that by taking the extra rest you should be able to either increase your normal weight or smash a few extra reps out.

So that’s why we track our rest periods on this program.

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…

The calorie burn of low intensity exercise finishes the moment the workout ends, as expected, but the calorie burn for high intensity exercise is only just beginning! When our body uses carbohydrates for fuel this triggers the EPOC process, which enables you to continue burning calories at an accelerated rate long after your workout is over (studies put it at about 14 hours). The net result is more calories being burned, and greater fat loss is achieved! (3, 4)

what is the afterburn effect

Most people are surprised when I tell them that weight training triggers the exact same process as HIIT.

But really it shouldn’t come as a shock. I mean, when you think about it they’re very similar; you perform an intense set, you rest, then you do another set, and so on… just like a HIIT workout!

And just like with HIIT, if we wanna unlock maximum results from it 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.

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