I learned a valuable lesson during my early years as a trainer: changing a person's eating habits is the most difficult of all obstacles that a trainer faces.

It's true. I mean, it's really true. Since I'm not interested in pursuing a Ph.D. in psychology, I realize that I'm not going to be very effective at changing some people's eating habits. I can talk 'til I'm blue in the face, but I can't control what a person does outside of the gym. So that leaves me with the training portion of a client's life: something I cancontrol.

I'm primarily known for my performance and muscle-building programs, but the majority of people who contact me also want fat loss. During my initial consultation, I tell them that if they want to lose fat they have two choices:

They almost always choose option "A." Big surprise, right?

Nevertheless, my mama didn't raise a cat's-paw. Whenever I feel like they're not following my nutritional plan, I mandate that they undertake the following program. If they don't agree, they're out.

My success depends on how my clients perform and look, and I take that very seriously. (For all you trainers out there, you must be steadfast with your principles. Your future depends on it!)

Can You Out-Train Your Diet?

It's been said that you can't out-train a poor diet. I like this advice. No, scratch that, I lovethis advice because you can't go wrong if you always remember it.

However, it's not entirely true. Thousands of people out-train a poor diet every day: they're called professional basketball players. In fact, you could throw many professional tennis and soccer players into this mix too.

I've spent considerable time with basketball players at the collegiate and professional levels. One thing that always amazes me is how shitty their eating plans are when you consider their leanness. Whenever I consult with basketball players over lunch, I'm mesmerized by the amount of starchy-carb and fat-laden foods they pack away. It's a paradoxical situation. How can this be?

Simple, they expend a huge amount of calories each day during the season. A typical day for an in-season collegiate or professional basketball player involves at least two hours of continuous activity on the court. What do you think would happen to your body fat levels if you were forced to play full-court basketball for two hours every day?

Early Addendum

Before I go any further, I want to say that a healthy eating plan is of paramount importance. The following info isn't your free ticket to eat like a teenager whose parents own a chain of pizza joints. However, sometimes we just don't want to think about our diets. Whether it's due to work, family, or school stressors, there are times when people don't want to worry about macronutrient ratios and esoteric food combinations.

After interacting with thousands of trainees, my intuitions are that it's easier to get a person to stick to a sound training program compared to a sound eating plan. Maybe I'm wrong, but motivated people such as the T-Nation crowd don't need to be coerced into going to the gym. However, even the most diligent trainees, on one occasion or another, tend to fall off the nutritional tracks when the train of life loses its steam.

But fret no more; I've got a program that'll burn fat, even if your nutritional program isn't ideal!

The 60/40 Nutritional Principle

This article isn't intended to focus on your diet; however, 60% of your meals must follow sound nutritional guidelines such as those recommended by Drs. Lowery and Berardi.

I've found that most trainees who follow exercise regimens are pretty good at eating a decent meal at least half the time. Nevertheless, half the time isn't good enough; you must consume a healthy meal at least 60% of the time.

So if you eat five meals per day, you're consuming 35 meals each week. Of those 35 meals, 21 must be healthy and balanced. If all of your meals are bad, it's time for you to take a hard look at your priorities in life.

The other 40% can consist of meals that aren't quite up to nutritional par – average, if you will. However, a dozen Krispy Kremes isn't a viable option. What I'm referring to as "average" nutritional meals are meals that aren't perfectly balanced in carbs, protein, and fat. A cheeseburger without fries is a good example of an average meal, or a few slices of thin crust pizza, or a chicken burrito with guacamole. You get the idea.

Who Can Benefit From This Program?

Anyone can benefit from this program! Those who don't follow a perfect diet will lose fat, and those who do follow sound nutritional guidelines will lose even more fat! Nevertheless, your current body fat will determine how well you respond to this program.

This program is specifically intended for males who have more than 12% body fat, and for females who have more than 20% body fat. These numbers represent the majority of the fitness-training community. Sure, there are extremely lean and very obese individuals, but in either case, their eating plan must be the primary focus.

Think of the typical bell-curve distribution. That big portion in the center of the curve represents males with more than 12% and females with more than 20% body fat.

So if you're a male with more than 12% body fat or a female with more than 20% body fat, the following program will drop your body fat 1-2% per month. These recommendations are by no means unrealistic; I've done it with clients so many times that I've lost count.

However, you must be diligent with this training plan. Come hell or high water, you must do these workouts exactly as I prescribe. I'm letting you slack on your diet, but if you also slack on your training plan, you'll get nowhere.

How's It Possible to Lose Fat Without Dieting?

First and foremost, this fat-loss plan is possible because of the exercises I select. There will be no single-joint exercises and no seated exercises whatsoever. Every single exercise on this program is very challenging. I'm giving you fair warning.

Overall, you'll be using big, compound movements that recruit hundreds of muscles at a time. In addition, you'll be using a myriad of heart-pumping drills that'll boost growth-hormone and burn fat.

Oh yeah, and you can't sit down at any point during the sessions! In other words, the metabolic cost of each session will be very high. Without a huge metabolic demand during the workout, you'll never lose fat without changing your diet.

Supplements

Before I introduce you to the fat-burning program, I want to mention supplements. There are indeed some supplements that'll help your efforts on this program.

I'm one of the many who shudder when I see someone constantly chasing the new miracle supplement while they continue to gorge themselves with food from the vending machine. However, as I mentioned before, there are some people who are willing to work hard in the gym but don't want to broach the subject of a super-strict diet.

So here are the best supplements for optimizing your results on this program:

The Program

Now, what you've been waiting for! Are you excited? Well, don't get too excited. Even though it might seem counterintuitive, I've found that "eager beavers" are usually setting themselves up for failure.

It happens at the beginning of every year. People say, "I'm going to start exercising for an hour every day. I'm going to hire a trainer and I'm going to eat right. I'm excited!" By February, they've usually quit.

Here's how your thought process should go:

"I'll likely encounter many obstacles that'll keep me from succeeding on this program. Nevertheless, I will be diligent."

This program must be a part of your daily life. You don't ever skip out on brushing your teeth, do you? Well, your training program should be just as important, maybe more important! After all, your body and health depend on it. You can get your teeth fixed much easier than you can fix a damaged cardiovascular system! Okay, enough with the shrink talk.

Here's the good news: you don't need to spend 3-4 hours in the gym to lose fat without dieting. Here's the program!

Day 1

Rope Jumping or Jumping Jacks

Duration: 10 minutes

Barbell Hack Squat

Sets: 1
Reps: 5
Load: 5RM or 85% of 1RM (rep max)
Rest: 60 seconds

Barbell Back Squats

Sets: 1
Duration: 2 minutes
Load: 25% of 1RM
Rest: 120 seconds

Note: You can't remove the bar from your shoulders for two minutes. This is one long set!

Standing Dumbbell Military Press

Sets: 1
Reps: 5
Load: 5RM
Rest: 60 seconds

Standing Barbell Military Press

Sets: 1
Duration: 2 minutes
Load: 25% of 1RM
Rest: 120 seconds

Chin-ups or Supinated Grip (Palms Facing You) Pulldowns

Sets: 1
Reps: 5
Load: 5RM
Rest: 60 seconds

Supinated Grip Pulldowns

Sets: 1
Duration: 2 minutes
Load: 25% of 1RM
Rest: 120 seconds

Medicine Ball Throw with Sprint

Duration: 5 minutes

Note: Squat down with a medicine ball. Jump and throw the ball as far as possible. Sprint to the ball and repeat the throw. Continue for 5 minutes straight. Pace yourself!

Incline Treadmill Walking

Duration: 20 minutes

Note: Set the incline grade to 8-10 and walk at the fastest speed you can maintain for 20 minutes.

Day 2

Cycle Sprints

Description: Cycle at a moderate pace for 60 seconds, sprint for 15 seconds, moderate cycle for 60 seconds, sprint for 15 seconds, etc.
Duration: 10 minutes

Single Arm Dumbbell Hang Snatch

Sets: 4
Reps: 25
Rest: 60 seconds

Note: Don't rest between sides. Perform 25 reps on the right side; perform 25 reps on the left side. Rest 60 seconds and repeat.

Medicine Ball Throwdowns

Sets: 4
Reps: 40 (20 with each leg forward)
Description: Hold a medicine ball overhead with your arms straight. Step forward with your right leg and slam the ball down to the floor in front of you. Repeat by stepping forward with the left leg. Perform 20 reps with each leg forward (40 total per set). This exercise is great for your lats and abdominals.

Backward Treadmill Walking

Note: Set the incline grade to 6-8 and walk backward. This is tougher than it sounds!

Duration: 10 minutes

Day 3

Rope Jumping or Jumping Jacks

Duration: 10 minutes

Hang Clean

Sets: 4
Reps: 6
Load: 8RM
Rest: 90 seconds

Note: This isn't a power clean. A hang clean involves the full squatting portion.

Waterbury Walk

Sets: 4
Reps: 6
Load: 25% of 1RM for the deadlift
Rest: 90 seconds

Note: Start by performing a deadlift. Step forward with each leg (take steps), reset your stance, and lower the load onto a bench or block that's just below knee level. Re-lift the load, step back with each leg, reset your stance and lower the load to the floor. The following sequence represents one repetition. You must perform 6 continuous reps for each set.

Push-ups

Sets: 4
Reps: As many as possible
Rest: 90 seconds

Note: Each of these sets should be taken to concentric failure.

Medicine Ball Overhead Throws

Duration: 5 minutes

Note: Squat down with a medicine ball between your legs, your feet should be wide. Jump and throw the medicine ball overhead and behind you. Perform continuously for 5 minutes.

Treadmill Sprints

Description: Sprint for 10 seconds, walk for 60 seconds, sprint for 10 seconds, walk for 60 seconds, etc.
Duration: 15 minutes.

Day 4

Cycle Sprints

Description: Cycle at a moderate pace for 60 seconds, sprint for 15 seconds, etc.
Duration: 10 minutes

Single Arm Dumbbell Snatch

Sets: 4
Reps: 25
Rest: 60 seconds

Note: Do not rest between sides. Perform 25 reps on the right side; perform 25 reps on the left side, then rest 60 seconds and repeat.

Medicine Ball Throwdowns

Sets: 4
Reps: 40 (20 with each leg forward)

Backward Treadmill Walking

Note: Set the incline grade to 6-8 and walk backward.

Duration: 10 minutes

Day 5

Rope Jumping or Jumping Jacks

Duration: 10 minutes

Overhead Squat

Sets: 10
Reps: 5
Load: 8RM
Rest: 90 seconds

Bent Over Row

Sets: 10
Reps: 5
Load: 8RM
Rest: 60 seconds

Note: Use a palms-up (supinated) grip.

Squat Thrusts

Sets: 4
Reps: 25
Load: 40% of your 1RM for the dumbbell Romanian deadlift
Rest: 90 seconds

Incline Treadmill Walking

Duration: 20 minutes

Note: Set the incline grade to 8-10 and walk at the fastest speed you can maintain for 20 minutes.

Day 6

AM Workout:

Medicine Ball Throw with Sprint

Duration: 5 minutes

Treadmill Sprints

Description: Sprint for 10 seconds, walk for 60 seconds, etc.

Duration: 15 minutes.

PM Workout (6-12 hours later):

Medicine Ball Overhead Throws

Duration: 5 minutes

Treadmill Sprints

Description: Sprint for 10 seconds, walk for 60 seconds, etc.

Duration: 15 minutes.

Day 7

Off!

Day 8

Repeat the cycle

Final Words

I'm expecting somewhat of a backlash for writing this program. I say this because I'm sure there will be talk that accuses me of undermining the value of a healthy eating plan. That's simply not true.

What I'm saying is this: if you aren't extremely lean, this program will get you leaner without dieting. However, if you're a male with say, 8% body fat, you can't get to 6% without putting some serious effort into your nutritional plan.

As paradoxical as it might seem, my primary motivation for writing this program is to encourage people to follow the nutritional advice posted on T-Nation. That's because it's often best to tackle one issue at a time. It's very easy to overwhelm people when you throw a couple dozen different training and nutritional principles at them.

My goal is to get people leaner, which will, in turn, motivate them to stay leaner. The only way to stay lean and healthy is to follow sound nutritional guidelines. And, of course, an effective exercise plan is part of the equation.

This program is, without a doubt, the most challenging routine I've ever written. You'll be constantly sore during the first few weeks – suck it up and train through it. If you want to out-train a poor diet, you can do it, but it takes a lot of work and dedication.

Now, it's time for you to hit the gym!