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Lose Fat Like You’re on Crack!

I love designing conditioning programs. It gets me off. Some people like gambling, or chugging down chicken wings and beer, but me; I’ll take a few hours of program design to center my chi…whatever that is.

I like giving programs to beginners, mainly because I get a kick out of their overly skeptical bitching:

Client: “There’s no tricep pressdowns in here, what about my triceps?”
Marc: “They’re fat, follow your diet. And dips don’t involve Ruffles.”

Client: “Why would I do deadlifts, I don’t wanna be a powerlifter.”
Marc: “Because your glutes look like a couple of folded frisbees, and trust me, you’ll never be a powerlifter”

Client: “Where’s my weight belt, I can’t do squats without that”
Marc: “You won’t be needing a weight belt here, friend, just these knee pads…”

I like giving programs to intermediate trainees, because they are the only group that still seems overly eager to listen and learn. They make the most progress, ask intelligent questions, and are highly appreciative of advice. They are also appreciative of losing the nicknames they receive during their beginner phase, like scooter, or turbo, or dumbs#%t.

Advanced trainees are especially fun to design programs for, because they think they know everything. They usually have catastrophic static and dynamic postural deviances, and one or two grossly underdeveloped muscle groups, and/or muscular imbalances. They’ve experimented with every supplement out there; and usually a few illegal anabolics or lipolytics. This opens the door for program design, and allows me to get into some fun/humbling exercises.

My program database has hundreds of programs for different goals, phases, and experience levels, all very effective. Sometimes, however, I put together a program that just kicks so much a$$, I want to keep it to myself. I want to throw it in the triple password protected vault, and hire an IT nerd to firewall it and protect it with a cyberspace version of the bird flu. But I know it will do no good all locked away, so I break it out and run my clients through it…but I keep an eye on it, like a man standing guard by his girlfriend doing straight leg deadlifts in the gym.

This is one of those programs, I love it. I’ve never loved a woman (OR a man…easy now), but every time I do this workout I think I get closer to understanding what that might be about.

Generally speaking, this program is targeted towards intermediate-advanced trainees. However, some adjustments can be made to allow beginners to play too, mainly exercise selection and total volume.

First, let’s look at what you can expect from this program:

  1. Significant body fat loss
  2. Increase in Work Capacity (more work in less time)
  3. Increase in Cardiorespiratory Capacity
  4. Sarcoplasmic Hypertrophy (growth and accumulation of fluid around muscle fibers)
  5. Increase in Metabolic Byproduct Clearance Rate (all of the byproducts of muscular contraction clear quicker, allowing you to repeat the same force and length of contraction with a shorter refractory period)
  6. Increase of Mitochondrial Density (force muscle cells to adapt by increasing your intracellular energical machinery)
  7. Force everyone else in the gym to feel like complete candy-asses after watching you train

 

Although I’ve had clients admit to eating “freely” and still achieve significant fat loss on this program, you will not maximize your efforts unless you are eating properly. That goes for ANY program, so DO IT!

One last note on the overview of the program, although it is designed primarily as a fat loss plan, it’s also great for general athleticism and all around conditioning if you’re content with your current body fat levels, just up your calories a little bit.
Circuit Training is for Nannies

Tragically, I’m old enough to remember when ‘circuit training’ was the hip method of weight training for fat loss. It started out as a system of getting out of shape lemmings into gyms, strapping them down to some biomechanical nightmare machinery, having them squeeze out 15 reps, then slide over to the next machine, and so on, down the line of useless pods of self destruction…ending at the finish line of slightly reduced self loathing…

Did it work? No.

Is ‘Curves’ still trying to make it work? Yes. And congrats to those ladies who train there for 3 months, lose 7 pounds, half of which being lean body mass. Your metabolism may be even slower than it was 3 months ago, but at least you can warm yourself with the blanket of pseudo-effort and obese-errific comradery!

BUT…

Circuit training isn’t ALL wrong. It just needs to be vastly overhauled. More on that in a moment.

Recently, a movement has come to the fitness forefront; that involves a somewhat counterintuitive method of weight training for fat loss. It has become quite popular with many strength coaches, and kind of the en vogue style to follow. The premise is that time spent in the gym should be spent trying to gain/preserve lean body mass, done so with low reps, heavy weight, and adequate rest periods. Fat loss comes outside of the gym, through cardio and diet.

Two points on that:

1. This is not that kind of program.
2. I believe that method has much merit, and should be used at times.

From my experience, that method works great for many people. Also, from my experience, that method just doesn’t knock the fat off of some people, even with proper cardio and diet.

That being said, the program I am presenting here, can and should be used cyclically with a heavy weight/low rep method per above. Neither one of these is the “right way”, they both are!

Now, let’s take a look at that archaic machine circuit training method, and see how we can make it better for some serious fat loss and conditioning.

Problem: Machines- Lord no. Machines are for washing clothes in, not for fat loss. When you’re sitting down on some chest press machine, your metabolic output and workload is almost completely absorbed by the piece of steel underneath you. The machine is getting a much better workout.

Solution: Free Weights- Not just any free weights either. Compound, hard ass exercises. Movements that crank your metabolic rate through the roof; and drive blood flow to every part of your body. Hell, your eyelids are going to get room service. Whole body lactate levels will be high enough that your urine should taste like cow’s milk. Now we’re talking.

 

Problem: Irrational Supersets- Supersetting and eliminating rest periods: great idea, and integral to our program. However, haphazardly selecting the exercises to pair together based on where the delivery guy’s dropped them off in the gym is not going to fly with this coach.

Solution: Logical Pairings- By rotating upper body and lower body exercises; we force the body to work much harder with regards to driving blood flow and nutrient delivery up then down, then back up, etc. This forces the body to achieve ultra high whole body lactate levels, which for our purposes is a very good thing. Also, it’s just really damn exhausting, and burns more calories than Lindsey Lohan has seen in weeks.

Problem: Very High Reps- Time for some math, nothing algebraic though, stay with me. Ultra high reps + no rest + low calories = muscle loss. Old fashioned circuit training targets Type I muscle fibers predominantly without enough stimulus to elicit growth in Type II’s which have a much greater potential for hypertrophy. Even if growth of Type II fibers is not plausible on this program (which largely depends on individual caloric intake), we want to elicit enough of a training effect to prevent atrophy.

Solution: Moderate Reps- We take a middle of the road approach between the old circuit training style and the more up to date low rep approach. Enough load to prevent loss of strength and size, but high enough reps to make the sets physically demanding and kick your fat a#%.

Problem: Nonsensical Training Splits- Circuit splits would often mimic bodybuilder type splits i.e.; grouping muscles together like Chest/Triceps, Back/Biceps and so on. Or, another option; was to train every muscle in the body every workout. Both of these methods borderline useless.

Solution: Movement Splits- The body need not be broken down into individual muscle groups for the training split, it’s counterproductive. We’re focusing on movements here, so the workouts are divided accordingly. I personally hate bodypart splits, and haven’t used them for myself or clients for many years, with rare exceptions. These workouts are designed to hit the most amount of musculature possible each workout and still avoid overtraining/overtaxing any part of the body.

Problem: Silly Outfits- Traditional circuit training requires you to wear one of the following:

1. Bunchy socks. Also adorned by ballerinas and sexual predators.
2. Spandex Shorts. Apparently more widely accepted if the shorts caused a “squeezed balloon” effect that made the upper thigh fat look as though it was trying to break out of captivity.
3. Velcro High-tops. Preferably Reebok. Who has time to tie shoelaces when hopping between an adductor machine and a glute blaster? Not me.

Solution: Self Respecting Clothes- Try something like, workout pants and an athletic shirt. This does not include your 1989 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse t-shirt, however. Current research shows a 7.6432% increase in lipolysis when wearing proper gym attire (1).
The Program Outline

The following is a 6-week program, after which most would benefit at switching to a more load intensive routine.

Progression is built in to the workout. Gradually throughout the 6 weeks, I have built in an increase in volume (total sets/reps performed) as well as density (the amount of work done per unit of time). It’s up to you as the trainee to increase intensity whenever possible (increase weight only when all sets/reps can be performed in good form, avoid failure).

 

Try to complete 4 workouts per week, just space them out somewhat, i.e. don’t do 4on/3 off. You will have only 2 different workouts to alternate between, Workout A, and Workout B. Got it?

Week 1

Workout A (Quad Dominant/Horizontal Push/Horizontal Pull)

A1: Overhead Squat 1×10
A2: Push Up 1×10
A3: Split Squat 1×10
A4: Bent Over Row 1×10
A5: Hanging Leg Raise 1×10

Rest 2 minutes
Repeat A1-A5

Rest 2 minutes
Move to B’s.

B1: DB Front Squat 1×10
B2: Flat DB Bench Press 1×10
B3: Elevated Full Lunge 1×10
B4: Horizontal Ball Pull Up 1×10
B5: Incline Leg Raise 1×10

Total Sets: 15
Total Rest: 4 min

Prehab/Rehab:

C: Seated External Rotation 2×15 (Teres Minor emphasis)
(This is included mainly because if I see one more person with underdeveloped external rotators and corresponding humeral internal rotation, I’m going to quit and become an astronaut. Always train the weaker side first, if one exists.)

Workout B (Posterior Chain Dominant/Vertical Push/Vertical Pull)

A1: Hang Clean 1×10
A2: Pull Up 1×10
A3: Hip Pull Thru 1×10
A4: Dips 1×10
A5: Cable Crunch 1×10

Rest 2 Minutes
Repeat A1-A5

Rest 2 Minutes
Move to B’s

B1: Deadlift 1×10
B2: Standing Cable Pulldown 1×10
B3: Glute Ham Raise (Natural or Dedicated) 1×10
B4: Standing DB Overhead Press 1×10
B5: Cable Crunch 1×10

Total Sets: 15
Total Rest: 4 min

Prehab/Rehab:
C: Low Cable External Rotation 2×10 (Infraspinatus emphasis)
(Again; included for shoulder health. The infraspinatus typically contains a higher percentage of fast twitch fibers than the teres minor, hence the lower rep range. We still need to keep the reps moderate, as the rotator cuff is poorly vascularized so increasing blood flow and nutrient delivery is paramount.)

 

Week 2

(Now a 4th series is added to each day)

Workout A

A1: Overhead Squat 1×10
A2: Push Up 1×10
A3: Split Squat 1×10
A4: Bent Over Row 1×10
A5: Hanging Leg Raise 1×10

Rest 2 Minutes
Repeat A1-A5

Rest 2 Minutes
Move on to B’s

B1: DB Front Squat 1×10
B2: Flat DB Bench Press 1×10
B3: Elevated Full Lunge 1×10
B4: Horizontal Ball Pull Up 1×10
B5: Incline Leg Raise 1×10

Rest 2 Minutes
Repeat B1-B5

Total Sets: 20
Total Rest: 6 min

C: Seated External Rotation 2×15

Workout B:

A1: Hang Clean 1×10
A2: Pull Up 1×10
A3: Hip Pull Thru 1×10
A4: Dips 1×10
A5: Cable Crunch 1×10

Rest 2 Minutes
Repeat A1-A5

Rest 2 Minutes
Move on to B’s

B1: Deadlift 1×10
B2: Standing Cable Pulldown 1×10
B3: Glute Ham Raise (Natural or Dedicated) 1×10
B4: Standing DB Overhead Press 1×10
B5: Cable Crunch 1×10

Rest 2 Minutes
Repeat B1-B5

Total Sets: 20
Total Rest: 6 min

C: Low Cable External Rotation 2×10 (Infraspinatus emphasis)

 

Week 3

(Now rest periods are decreased between phases)

Workout A

A1: Overhead Squat 1×10
A2: Push Up 1×10
A3: Split Squat 1×10
A4: Bent Over Row 1×10
A5: Hanging Leg Raise 1×10

Rest 1 Minute
Repeat A1-A5

Rest 1 Minute
Move on to B’s

B1: DB Front Squat 1×10
B2: Flat DB Bench Press 1×10
B3: Elevated Full Lunge 1×10
B4: Horizontal Ball Pull Up 1×10
B5: Incline Leg Raise 1×10

Rest 1 Minute
Repeat B1-B5

Total Sets: 20
Total Rest: 3 min

C: Seated External Rotation 2×15

Workout B:

A1: Hang Clean 1×10
A2: Pull Up 1×10
A3: Hip Pull Thru 1×10
A4: Dips 1×10
A5: Cable Crunch 1×10

Rest 1 Minute
Repeat A1-A5

Rest 1 Minute
Move on to B’s

B1: Deadlift 1×10
B2: Standing Cable Pulldown 1×10
B3: Glute Ham Raise (Natural or Dedicated) 1×10
B4: Standing DB Overhead Press 1×10
B5: Cable Crunch 1×10

Rest 1 Minute
Repeat B1-B5

Total Sets: 20
Total Rest: 3 min

C: Low Cable External Rotation 2×10 (Infraspinatus emphasis)

 

Week 4

(Now Jump Rope is added between each set, and rest is increased between each phase)

Workout A

A1: Overhead Squat 1×10
*Jump Rope x 20
A2: Push Up 1×10
*Jump Rope x 20
A3: Split Squat 1×10
*Jump Rope x 20
A4: Bent Over Row 1×10
*Jump Rope x 20
A5: Hanging Leg Raise 1×10

Rest 2 Minutes
Repeat A1-A5

Rest 2 Minutes
Move on to B’s

B1: DB Front Squat 1×10
*Jump Rope x 20
B2: Flat DB Bench Press 1×10
*Jump Rope x 20
B3: Elevated Full Lunge 1×10
*Jump Rope x 20
B4: Horizontal Ball Pull Up 1×10
*Jump Rope x 20
B5: Incline Leg Raise 1×10

Rest 2 Minutes
Repeat B1-B5

Total Sets: 20
Total Jump Rope Sets: 16
Total Rest: 6 min

C: Seated External Rotation 2×15

Workout B

A1: Deadlift 1×10
*Jump Rope x 20
A2: Pull Up 1×10
*Jump Rope x 20
A3: Hip Pull Thru 1×10
*Jump Rope x 20
A4: Dips 1×10
*Jump Rope x 20
A5: Cable Crunch 1×10

Rest 2 Minutes
Repeat A1-A5

Rest 2 Minutes
Move on to B’s

B1: Hang Clean 1×10
*Jump Rope x 20
B2: Standing Cable Pulldown 1×10
*Jump Rope x 20
B3: Glute Ham Raise (Natural or Dedicated) 1×10
*Jump Rope x 20
B4: Standing DB Overhead Press 1×10
*Jump Rope x 20
B5: Cable Crunch 1×10

Rest 2 Minutes
Repeat B1-B5

Total Sets: 20
Total Jump Rope Sets: 16
Total Rest: 6 min

C: Low Cable External Rotation 2×10 (Infraspinatus emphasis)

 

Week 5

(Now we keep jump rope in, but decrease rest periods)

Workout A

A1: Overhead Squat 1×10
*Jump Rope x 20
A2: Push Up 1×10
*Jump Rope x 20
A3: Split Squat 1×10
*Jump Rope x 20
A4: Bent Over Row 1×10
*Jump Rope x 20
A5: Hanging Leg Raise 1×10

Rest 1 Minute
Repeat A1-A5

Rest 1 Minute
Move on to B’s

B1: DB Front Squat 1×10
*Jump Rope x 20
B2: Flat DB Bench Press 1×10
*Jump Rope x 20
B3: Elevated Full Lunge 1×10
*Jump Rope x 20
B4: Horizontal Ball Pull Up 1×10
*Jump Rope x 20
B5: Incline Leg Raise 1×10

Rest 1 Minute
Repeat B1-B5

Total Sets: 20
Total Jump Rope Sets: 16
Total Rest: 3 min

C: Seated External Rotation 2×15

Workout B

A1: Hang Clean 1×10
*Jump Rope x 20
A2: Pull Up 1×10
*Jump Rope x 20
A3: Hip Pull Thru 1×10
*Jump Rope x 20
A4: Dips 1×10
*Jump Rope x 20
A5: Cable Crunch 1×10

Rest 1 Minute
Repeat A1-A5

Rest 1 Minute
Move on to B’s

B1: Deadlift 1×10
*Jump Rope x 20
B2: Standing Cable Pulldown 1×10
*Jump Rope x 20
B3: Glute Ham Raise (Natural or Dedicated) 1×10
*Jump Rope x 20
B4: Standing DB Overhead Press 1×10
*Jump Rope x 20
B5: Cable Crunch 1×10

Rest 1 Minute
Repeat B1-B5

Total Sets: 20
Total Jump Rope Sets: 16
Total Rest: 3 min

C: Low Cable External Rotation 2×10 (Infraspinatus emphasis)

 

Week 6

(Final week. Rest periods are a sweet memory. This gets nasty..)

Workout A:

A1: Overhead Squat 1×10
*Jump Rope x 20
A2: Push Up 1×10
*Jump Rope x 20
A3: Split Squat 1×10
*Jump Rope x 20
A4: Bent Over Row 1×10
*Jump Rope x 20
A5: Hanging Leg Raise 1×10

No Rest
Repeat A1-A5

No Rest
Move on to B’s

B1: DB Front Squat 1×10
*Jump Rope x 20
B2: Flat DB Bench Press 1×10
*Jump Rope x 20
B3: Elevated Full Lunge 1×10
*Jump Rope x 20
B4: Horizontal Ball Pull Up 1×10
*Jump Rope x 20
B5: Incline Leg Raise 1×10

No Rest
Repeat B1-B5

Total Sets: 20
Total Jump Rope Sets: 16
Total Rest: 0

C: Seated External Rotation 2×15

Workout B

A1: Hang Clean 1×10
*Jump Rope x 20
A2: Pull Up 1×10
*Jump Rope x 20
A3: Hip Pull Thru 1×10
*Jump Rope x 20
A4: Dips 1×10
*Jump Rope x 20
A5: Cable Crunch 1×10

No Rest
Repeat A1-A5

No Rest
Move on to B’s

B1: Deadlift 1×10
*Jump Rope x 20
B2: Standing Cable Pulldown 1×10
*Jump Rope x 20
B3: Glute Ham Raise (Natural or Dedicated) 1×10
*Jump Rope x 20
B4: Standing DB Overhead Press 1×10
*Jump Rope x 20
B5: Cable Crunch 1×10

No Rest
Repeat B1-B5

Total Sets: 20
Total Jump Rope Sets: 16
Total Rest: 0

C: Low Cable External Rotation 2×10 (Infraspinatus emphasis)

That’s the program. If you’re not ripped, you’re an idiot and there is little hope for you, so good luck digging ditches…

From here, whether you still want to continue a fat loss/conditioning program or not, I would advise to use lower rep ranges with longer rest periods for at least 4 weeks.

Refrences

1. Stupid, stupid, stupid…

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