In our last installment of T Nation Twitter, we put a few of the T NATION coaches on the spot and asked them to come up with their five essential kitchen tips to kick-start fat loss.
This time, we're sticking with fat loss but switching to the subject of training. Because after all, even if diet is the biggest player in the fat loss equation, how you train matters, right? Or does it?
Before you take your Christmas bonus and buy the Kung Fu 5000, that latest infomercial fat loss gadget that doubles as an autoerotic asphyxia device while folding up neatly in the closet, give this article a quick read. You might learn a thing or two.
Scenario: Do you have a favorite fat loss routine (a workout complex, a finisher, an ab routine) that you use with all your fat loss clients?
Same rules apply: 140 words, all killer, no filler.
Check it out!
I have one exercise that is 100% guaranteed to expedite your fat loss gains. I'm not kidding, guys and gals, this one's foolproof. It works for EVERYONE.
A little interested, aren't ya?
They're called Table Pushaways. Push your fat ass away from the table more often, and it's amazing what kind of progress you can see.
I'll be frank — fat loss programming is pretty easy. Maybe not going from 6% to 4%, but the start of the journey is easy with regards to programming.
The diet/nutrition is where people get lost.
Whether it's peer pressure from friends, emotional issues tied to food, or simply being lazy, if you can get your diet in check and eat a little bit less, you should be pleasantly surprised at the success of your next fat loss training program.
I don't have a specific favorite fat loss routine because they vary a lot from client to client, but I certainly have a favorite fat loss protocol.
The idea is to rotate multiple training styles over the course of the week: one day bodyweight, another day density based fat loss training, another day complexes.
Taking it a step further, each workout would use variations of different exercises, but always include one variation of the squat, lunge, press, pull, dynamic abdominal exercise, and static/stability abdominal exercise.
A single workout might be: jump squat, floor press, plank, alternating lunge, pull-up, and ab rollouts. These exercises would be done according to a set up determined by what style of training we're doing.
Doing this keeps the workouts fresh, the client motivated, and the training stimulus both challenging and varied enough to ensure consistent progress.
For my athletes looking to drop fat, I go to my Hurricane Training. Of the five categories, my favorite version utilizes a treadmill and simple weight exercises.
Do a 30 second sprint on the treadmill at 10% grade and about 10 mph (or whatever is comfortable), followed by 10 reps each of two weight exercises like the bench press and barbell curls. Then, you jump right back onto the treadmill and sprint again. The sprints and two lifts are repeated three times to equal one "round." Rest one minute between rounds and perform two to three more rounds with two new exercises between the sprints.
Good choices are high pulls, chin ups, triceps pushdowns, and push jerks. Keep the intensity high and not only will you lose fat, you'll gain some muscle too!
For fat loss, I like total body strength training workouts with "finishers" at the end. I believe that the Airdyne and Prowler are the two greatest pieces of equipment for fat loss.
With the Airdyne, you're using your upper body pushing and pulling muscles and your legs to pedal the bike as fast as possible. I like alternating intervals of 20 seconds fast and 40 seconds slow.
With the Prowler, you're using your lower body to push the sled while contracting your upper body and core muscles for transfer into the sled. I like 30-meter sprints with the Prowler with 60 seconds of rest in-between sets.
An important caveat to these two activities is that there isn't too much technique to them; any healthy, somewhat athletic individual can do them.
It's more of a technique than a routine. It's called "put the fork down." There's also the advanced version called "stop eating, you fat bastard!" But in all seriousness, there are a few routines that I used when I was training athletes that were always very effective.
This one was a "favorite" of one of my hockey players who played in Europe. Back in 2001, he started the summer at 195lbs and 12% body fat, and ended the summer at 192 and 6% body fat; all without any particular attention to his diet.
A1. Power snatch from hang:
3 reps using around 70-75% of your maximum.
A2. Sprint 200m:
(basically 100m, turnaround, 100m back to the starting point).
A3. Power clean:
3 reps with the same weight you used for the snatches.
He started at two sets, and by the end of summer was able to do 14. No, I'm not kidding; but he was also the freakiest overall athlete I've ever worked with. Besides him, the most anyone ever did was 8, with three minutes between sets.
If you're training indoors and can't do sprints, do burpees (15 reps) or sprint stair climbing (30 seconds).
For fat loss, fast full body exercises are best since they create a large metabolic demand. I've used the following sequence for years with clients that need to lose fat and build athleticism.
Start with 50 revolutions of rope jumping, then drop the rope and perform two burpees (a squat thrust with a push-up, and be sure to jump in the air and reach overhead).
Next, do 50 revolutions and four burpees. Then, it's 50 revolutions and six burpees. Keep adding two burpees each time until you each 10. At that point, decrease the burpees by two each time and work your way back to 50 revolutions and two burpees.
This is an excellent way to finish up your fat burning workout to bring out those "hidden abs."
Dr. Clay Hyght
All of my fat loss clients that have access to a Step Mill (aka Gauntlet) do a killer 20-minute HIIT routine on it.
Warm-up two minutes, then go ALL OUT for 30 seconds (skipping a step with each stride), followed by 60 seconds at a normal pace (normal single steps). Repeat 12 times. Five of these sessions per week will get you lean FAST!
If someone wants to lose weight and will do anything I tell them, I have them get up earlier in the morning and do a brisk 30-60 minute incline walk before breakfast.
Most people should start out walking at 4 mph with a 2% incline for 30 minutes, and try to work up to 4.5 mph with a 4.5% incline for 45 minutes in a couple of months. Do this four or more times a week and you'll get leaner, guaranteed.
The beauty of walking is you can put it in your regular routine and you won't overtrain; in fact, you'll probably recover even better. You can also do this walk after your workout or before bed if necessary, but I do think fasted in the AM is the number one choice for it.
Fat loss training is about maintaining muscle, burning calories and cranking up metabolism. The best programs have always used a combination of weight training and some kind of cardio or interval training (with solid nutrition planning).
However, the fastest training method that I've used (with several hundred clients) is a hybrid that we call metabolic resistance training (MRT). Basically, it's higher rep, density based, short rest-period resistance training.
The usual argument about high reps not working for fat loss is bullshit. Traditional interval training (e.g. running) has always worked for fat loss and that uses VERY high reps! MRT is just taking that same principle and using more muscle than traditional cardio while doing lower reps (albeit still high).
Think higher rep (or about 45-60s work), superset or tri-set style with incomplete rest periods.
I'm with Coach Robertson, my favorite fat loss exercise is Table Pushaways. Most people just eat too much and need to push themselves away from the table with greater frequency.
The old saying that you can't out train a bad diet is so true. I tell my clients seeking to lose fat to forget the word meal and substitute the word "feeding"; five to six small feedings a day is the key. Combine Table Pushaways with Airdyne intervals and you have a pretty good start on fat loss. For intervals, try riding a half mile for time on the AirDyne at a 2-1 rest to work ratio, or better yet, use a HR monitor and just rest until your heart-rate goes under 120 BPM.
But first and foremost, fat loss is primarily a psychological exercise, and requires more mental strength than physical strength.
Are people really this confused? Fat loss doesn't have to be complicated. Push something heavy: a Prowler, a truck, a shopping cart loaded with a couple of your fat fucking friends, it doesn't matter. Run up hills or stadium stairs. Do this four to seven days a week. Lift four days/week.
Eat less, type less, and train like you have a fight. Repeat.
First off, the only thing that separates a fat loss exercise from a conditioning exercise is the diet. So, if you're trying to lose fat, tighten up the diet!
One of my personal favorite fat loss exercises are good old fashioned 300-yard shuttle runs performed at the end of a workout, two to three times per week. Depending upon your available space inside or outside, place two cones either 25-yards or 50-yards apart.
Sprint as fast as possible, completing six 25-yard round trips or three 50-yard round trips for a total of 300 yards. This should take you roughly one minute to complete. Perform two to five 300's per workout, resting three to five minutes between sets.
Be warned, until you adapt to it, this workout will have your legs feeling like over-cooked spaghetti. Exorcist-inspired projectile vomiting is also a common side-effect, so please be kind to the guy who owns the gym and adjust your pre-workout food choices accordingly.
My favorite fat loss routine combines German Body Composition Training and a ketogenic diet.
For all you fat sum-bitches, follow a 4-day Poliquin GBC program such as the following:
|A1||Trap Bar Deadlift||4-5||4-6||30X1||60 sec.|
|A2||Sternum Chin-Up - supinated grip||4-5||4-6||2010||60 sec.|
|3 mins after circuit|
|B2||Dip - Chest||3-4||8-12||30X1||60 sec.|
|3 mins after circuit|
|C1||Glute-Ham Raise||2-3||6-8||30X0||45 sec.|
|C2||Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press||2-3||6-8||30X1||45 sec.|
|C3||Cuban Press||2-3||6-8||30X1||60 sec.|
|A1||Javorek Wave Squat||4||5,5,5,5||10X1||60 sec.|
|A2||Hanging Leg Raise||4||6-10||2010||60 sec.|
|3 mins after circuit|
|B1||Incline Thick Bar Press||3-4||4-6||30X1||60 sec.|
|B2||Pull-Up Pronated, close-grip||3-4||6-8||2010||60 sec.|
|B3||Drop Lunge - front||3-4||6-8||X0X0||60 sec.|
|3 mins after circuit|
|C1||One-Arm Cable Row - offset stance||3-4||6-8||21X1||45 sec.|
|C2||Reverse Hip Extension||3-4||6-8||2010||45 sec.|
|C3||Low Pulley Upright Row||3-4||8-10||30X1||45 sec.|
Combine this with a ketogenic diet such as Dr. Mauro DePasquale's Metabolic Diet.
I have personally lost up to 10lbs of fat in less than a month on this type of regimen with no loss of strength or muscle mass. I have many clients who've achieved similar results.
Well, first off, no one can out train a lack of diet consistency for fat loss.
Next, people are too concerned with the "immediate" aspects of fat burning, as in calories burning, rather than the cumulative effects of application and diet. And yes, circuits are great, but they can take people too far away from muscle-development work.
I have dozens of finisher type moves that are strategically placed once or twice per week in programs to enhance fat burning, while not adding too much time, or too much unrelated work. I've paid special attention to other sports and have noticed what I call "sequential activation" as a common thread in leaner athletes' training. I've since been implementing various new versions around this concept.