Burn Fat And Build Muscle With Just Four Moves

Woman performs barbell squat
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The jury is still out as to whether you can burn fat and build muscle at the same time, but someone who firmly believes you can is Ollie Campbell, PT and founder of Priority6, a fat loss and CrossFit facility in Oxfordshire. 

“Many people who want to achieve fat loss find the right method is presented as strength vs cardio,” says Campbell. “But some people don’t like the feeling of just doing weight training as it doesn’t get them out of breath, while others don’t like the thought of endless cardio and fear the loss of muscle mass. Somewhere in the middle lies a combination of the two that ticks all the boxes.”

Campbell’s approach combines higher-rep strength exercises with power-based movements and some cardiovascular movement thrown in for good measure. “There’s the potential to build muscle tissue via an increase in load and time under tension, athletic development from the power movements, targeted isolation movements for more volume in areas we want to build extra muscle in, and then the cardio to blast the lungs and increase the EPOC [excess post-exercise oxygen consumption] of the session,” he says.

Here, Campbell has used his formula to devise an exclusive four-move fat loss leg workout for Coach. It’s a session for the gym unless your home set-up features a leg extension machine and a cardio machine.

Fat-Loss Leg Workout

Campbell recommends spending 15 minutes warming up with light sets of squats and on the leg extension machine, building up to a weight that makes it hard to complete 20 reps.

Start with three rounds of the below in week one, progress to four rounds in week two and finish with five rounds in week three.

1 Barbell squat / dumbbell squat 

Man performs barbell squat

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Reps 20

Either hold dumbbells by your shoulders or place a barbell across your back. Stand with your feet just wider than hip-width apart, keep your core engaged and back flat, and push your hips back to lower into a squat. Drive up through your heels.

2 Broad jump

Reps 6

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, maintaining a slight bend in your knees. Keep your arms by your sides with your chin tucked in. Engage your core and, keeping a flat back, lower into a quarter squat. Push through your heels and explode forwards, swinging your arms forwards to generate momentum. Land as softly as you can on both feet, bending your knees and finishing in a squat. 

3 Leg extension

Man performs leg extension

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Reps 20 

Leg extension machines can differ so be sure to read the instructions on the model in your gym. Once seated in the machine with the weight selected, extend your legs using your quads, stopping just before you lock your knee out. Slowly lower the weight back to the start.

4 BikeErg

Group of people riding exercise bikes in a gym

(Image credit: Getty Images / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Time 60sec

You can use a BikeErg or your cardio machine of choice. Work flat-out for the duration.

More Workouts

Lucy Gornall

Lucy is an experienced health and fitness journalist, and was formerly health editor for TI Media’s portfolio of women’s titles. Lucy qualified as a level 3 personal trainer with Train Fitness in 2016, and also holds qualifications in pre- and post-natal fitness, as well as in nutrition for exercise.