High rep/low weight is NOT better for fat loss – here’s what to do instead:

The idea:

High reps and low weight will help you be more “toned” and lose fat. Low reps will help you gain strength and build muscle.

Forest says:


Sorry Charlie.

There’s not a single research study but I am aware of that proves “high reps” (for the purpose of this article, we’ll call that sets of 15 and above) are better for fat loss.

High reps WILL help you with:

  • Muscle endurance – so if your goal is for example to be able to do more push-ups – like going from being able to do do 20 in a row, to 30 in a row – then higher reps are good!
  • Giving you a “burn” – higher rep sets cause a buildup of lactic acid in the muscles, giving you that feeling of your muscles burning, which some to some people feels like has the effect of burning fat (though it doesn’t)

Now your goals MAY include muscle endurance, so I am NOT saying that high reps / low weight is bad.

BUT, for the purposes of this article… if you HAVE been doing high reps / low weight in efforts to burn fat, this is what I recommend you do instead:

1 – Continue to work on building strength. Especially if you are in a calorie deficit (which we’ll get to in a second), we want to do our best to offset any kind of muscle loss, and continuing to lift heavier and keep your strength up will help a lot with that. If you need help, drop us a line here and we’ll point you in the right direction in terms of a program that would be the best fit for you.

2 – Get your diet in check. A short term challenge is for a lot of people a great way to reset some habits and get on the right track. We are looking for a few more folks to join our 14-day Metabolic Reset Challenge right now, fill out this form and put RESET in the subject line if you are interested.

3 – Make sure you’re doing enough cardio (but not too much). This is a balance, because if we do too much would you start to dip in and start taking away from some of our strength and muscle gains. But if your goal is fat loss, research says you should probably be doing somewhere in the neighborhood of 3 to 4 times per week for 20-30 minutes. Shoot us a note here if you have questions, let us know what you’re doing now and what you’re trying to accomplish, and we’ll do our best to help.


The sum up, high reps are not better for fat loss. Instead, you want to 1) keep training for strength, 2) focus on your diet, and 3) do just enough cardio.

To your success!!

– Forest and the FVT Team

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