Fat Loss: The HARDEST thing to do…and that’s all people want to do!

The two hardest things to do for the human body are to lose fat and build muscle. And practically ever question I get from adult males is that they want to both lose fat and build muscle.


We all understand this. Few of us think through the process of trying to do two polar opposite things at once, but no one pays very much to get more mobile and flexible (stretch!).


If you noticed that your waistline has nudged over half your height, I consider you a body composition client. We have two simple tools for you:


Caloric Restriction (of some kind)

Inefficient Exercise


Frankly, all diets work. Adherence is the issue, but actually it is learning the habit to constantly choose “better over worse.” Our resident nutritionist, Marc Halpern, has a simple arrow that goes to the right. Where the arrow points is “Perfection.” Rule One, according to Marc, is “Forget Perfection!” The far left is soda, chips and crap food. “Move to the right” by choosing veggies, protein, clear water and cleaner, wholesome food.


Don’t worry about perfection. In Australia, I met a man who figured out a “hands on” method, literally, to decide on every food and beverage. He teaches his clients to put his hands outside every food or beverage. The left hand is “away from the goal” and the right hand is “towards my goal.” Which way will this choice take me? It is simple and it works.


Inefficient Exercise is doing something that takes a lot of movement and breathing and really doesn’t get you very far. If you are poor at swimming or dancing, swim or dance.


The bulk of your Inefficient Exercises should be fairly big movements that will naturally prod the body into deep breathing. There should be some bellows work in the lungs and this can be done with swings, Goblet Squats, Burpees or any training that makes you move up and down and back and forth.


I recommend Steve Maffetone’s numbers for this training. Very simply, he uses the formula 180 minus age (with a few variations) to figure the high range for the Heart Rate. When the HR dips below 160 minus age, it is time to get going again. Reps and sets change when you use a HR Monitor to control a training program. When the HR goes above 180-Age number, stop. When it goes below 160-age, go.


You can do this with skipping, running, jump roping, hiking, blading or whatever you feel like doing. I like the control of Kettlebell swings, when the buzzer goes off you either stop or start, but everybody is different.


We also encourage work with standard cardiovascular machines for some of the inefficient exercise training. Several bouts of around two minutes seem to have a positive impact on HR, body temperature and accelerated breathing without impacting the other qualities like strength and power too much. So far, two bouts of around two minutes each with a piece of cardiovascular equipment seems repeatable and doable every day. Tossing in these two heats makes the rest of training more inefficient.


The following is a great workout:

100 Swings

500 meter Row

100 Swings

500 meter Row

100 Swings


With the Nutrition Arrow (and the Hand Choice Drill) in place, Inefficient Exercise will drive your fat loss goals. Three days a week, burn up some excess calories but always remember that six pack abs are made in the kitchen.


For muscle gain, I tell people to get the fat loss work in first, then address muscle gain. I like a repeating template of alternating days:


Two or Three Days a Week

Workout A

Bench Press

Pull Ups

Back Squat


Workout B

Military Press


Front Squat


You can do Inefficient Exercises and these two workouts on the same day, or alternate if you have the time.


For sets and reps, try this fun scheme from Josh Hillish:


First workout, one set of 20 for each exercise (So. BP 1 x 20, Pull Up sets totally twenty reps, B SQT 1 x 20). Do A, rest a day or two, then B with One by Twenty.


Next workout, 2 x 12. Again, rest a day or two, then do Workout B.


Third rotation: 3 x 8. Again, rest a day or two, then do Workout B.


Fourth rotation: 4 x 5. Again, rest a day or two, then do Workout B.

Next time, return to 1 x 20. For load, try to go heavier as the sets diminish. Each time you repeat a workout, go up a little more than last time.


It is all simple to do, but it might not be easy.


This is a reasonable, doable simple program that can bring you to your goals of both fat loss and muscle building.




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