Hierarchy of Fat Loss

With our regular clients or with ourselves, we’re usually extremely limited with time. Most of us can only train three to four times per week. With that in mind – with time being our limiting factor – how do we maximize fat loss? Is there a hierarchy of fat loss techniques? I think so.

The Hierarchy of Fat Loss

1. Correct Nutrition

There’s pretty much nothing that can be done to out-train a crappy diet. You quite simply have to create a caloric deficit while eating enough protein and essential fats. There’s no way around this.

#2. See #1

Yep. It really is that important. Several trainers have espoused that the only difference between training for muscle gain and training for fat loss is your diet. I think that’s a massive oversimplification, but it does reinforce how important and effective correct nutrition is toward your ultimate goal.

3. Activities that burn calories, maintain/promote muscle mass, and elevate metabolism

I think it’s fairly obvious that the bulk of calories burned are determined by our resting metabolic rate or RMR. The amount of calories burned outside of our resting metabolism (through exercise, thermic effect of feeding, etc.) is a smaller contributor to overall calories burned per day.

We can also accept that RMR is largely a function of how much muscle you have on your body – and how hard it works. Therefore, adding activities that promote or maintain muscle mass will make that muscle mass work harder and elevate the metabolic rate. This will become our number one training priority when developing fat loss programs.
4. Activities that burn calories and elevate metabolism

The next level of fat loss programming would be a similar activity. We’re still looking at activities that eat up calories and increase EPOC (Exercise Post Oxygen Consumption)

EPOC (Exercise Post Oxygen Consumption) is defined scientifically as the “recovery of metabolic rate back to pre-exercise levels” and “can require several minutes for light exercise and several hours for hard intervals.”

Essentially, we’re looking for activities that keep us burning more calories after the exercise session without challenging your muscles to the point of promoting muscle mass.

5. Activities that burn calories but don’t necessarily elevate metabolism

This is the “icing on the cake” – adding in activities that’ll burn up additional calories but don’t necessarily contribute to increasing metabolism. This is the least effective tool in your arsenal as it doesn’t burn much outside of the primary exercise session.

Let’s put this fat loss continuum together in terms of our progressive training hierarchy.

Five Factors for Fat Loss Training

1. Metabolic Resistance Training

Basically we’re using resistance training as the cornerstone of our fat loss programming. Our goal is to work every muscle group hard, frequently, and with an intensity that creates a massive “metabolic disturbance” or “afterburn” that leaves the metabolism elevated for several hours post-workout.

A couple of studies to support this:

Schuenke MD, Mikat RP, McBride JM.
Effect of an acute period of resistance exercise on excess post-exercise oxygen consumption: implications for body mass management.

Eur J Appl Physiol. 2002 Mar;86(5):411-7. Epub 2002 Jan 29.

This study used a circuit training protocol of 12 sets in 31 minutes. EPOC was elevated significantly for 38 hours post-workout.

Thirty-eight hours is a pretty significant timeframe for metabolism to be elevated. If you trained at 9AM until 10AM on Monday morning, you’re still burning more calories (without training) at midnight on Tuesday.

Can we compound this with additional training within that 38 hours? No research has been done, but I have enough case studies to believe that you can.

Kramer, Volek et al.
Influence of exercise training on physiological and performance changes with weight loss in men.

Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 31, No. 9, pp. 1320-1329, 1999.

Overweight subjects were assigned to three groups: diet-only, diet plus aerobics, diet plus aerobics plus weights. The diet group lost 14.6 pounds of fat in 12 weeks. The aerobic group lost only one more pound (15.6 pounds) than the diet group (training was three times a week starting at 30 minutes and progressing to 50 minutes over the 12 weeks).

The weight training group lost 21.1 pounds of fat (44% and 35% more than diet and aerobic only groups respectively). Basically, the addition of aerobic training didn’t result in any real world significant fat loss over dieting alone.

Thirty-six sessions of up to 50 minutes is a lot of work for one additional pound of fat loss. However, the addition of resistance training greatly accelerated fat loss results.

One more:

Bryner RW, Ullrich IH, Sauers J, Donley D, Hornsby G, Kolar M, Yeater R.
Effects of resistance vs. aerobic training combined with an 800 calorie liquid diet on lean body mass and resting metabolic rate.

J Am Coll Nutr. 1999 Apr;18(2):115-21.

The aerobic group performed four hours of aerobics per week. The resistance training group performed 2-4 sets of 8-15 reps, 10 exercises, three times per week.

V02 max increased equally in both groups. Both groups lost weight. The resistance training group lost significantly more fat and didn’t lose any LBM, even at only 800 calories per day.

(The reason the calories were so low was to really take any dietary variables completely out of the equation and compare the effects of the exercise regime on LBM and metabolism.)

The resistance training group actually increased metabolism compared to the aerobic group, which decreased metabolism. It seems that resistance training is a more significant stress to the body than a starvation diet.

In my experience, full body training in a superset, tri-set, or circuit format (with non-competing exercises) in a rep range that generates lactic acid (and pushes the lactic acid threshold or LAT) seems to create the biggest metabolic demand.

It makes sense: training legs, back, and chest will burn more calories and elevate metabolism more than an isolated approach training one of them.

The rep range that seems to work best is the 8-12 hypertrophy range, although going higher will work just as well with a less trained population.



For Fat Loss

Exercise Sequence:

1A: GB Sqauts, 2-3 sets of 8 reps
1B: USB Row, 2-3 sets of 8 reps
1C) Single Leg KB Dead Lift 2-3 sets of 8 reps
1D) Push-ups 2-3 sets of 8 reps

Transitioning into metabolic work

2. High Intensity Anaerobic Interval Training

The second key “ingredient” in fat loss programming is high intensity interval training (HIIT). It burns more calories than steady state and elevates metabolism significantly more than other forms of cardio.

The key here is an activity that doesn’t damage muscle, working at a high intensity and an appropriate recovery between each interval that allows us to repeat this high intensity effort for maximizing EPOC and fat loss.

Therefore, heart rate training using more calisthenic activities and light loads working up to 90% of our heart rate max and resting down to under 75% our heart rate max with each interval.


1A) Battle Ropes work to 90% MHR
Rest to 74% MHR

1B) MB Alt. Slap Shots work to 90% MHR
Rest to 74% MHR

1C) Kettlebell Swings work to 90% MHR
Rest to 74% MHR

1D) Bag Cross punch to alt. Leg kicks work to 90% MHR
Rest to 75% MHR

Work for 30-45 minutes

The landmark study in interval training was from Tremblay:
Tremblay A, Simoneau JA, Bouchard C.

Impact of exercise intensity on body fatness and skeletal muscle metabolism.
Metabolism. 1994 Jul;43(7):814-8

This study pitted 20 weeks of endurance training against 15 weeks of interval training:
Energy cost of endurance training = 28661 calories.
Energy cost of interval training = 13614 calories (less than half)

The interval training group showed a nine times greater loss in subcutaneous fat than the endurance group (when corrected for energy cost).

Read that again. Calorie for calorie, the interval training group lost nine times more fat overall. Why? Maybe it’s EPOC, an upregulation of fat burning enzyme activity, or straight up G-Flux. I don’t care. I’m a real world guy. If the interval training group had lost the same fat as the endurance group, we’d get the same results in less time. That means interval training is a better tool in your fat loss arsenal.

3. High Intensity Aerobic Interval Training

The next tool we’ll pull out is essentially a lower intensity interval method where we use aerobic intervals.

Talanian, Galloway et al

Two weeks of High-Intensity Aerobic Interval Training increases the capacity for fat oxidation during exercise in women.

J Appl Physiol (December 14, 2006). doi:10.1152/japplphysiol.01098.2006

This study looked at high-intensity aerobic interval training and its influence on fat oxidation. In summary, seven sessions of HIIT over two weeks induced marked increases in whole body and skeletal muscle capacity for fatty acid oxidation during exercise in moderately active women. In layman’s terms, the interval work appeared to “upregulate” fat burning enzymes.
Basically this means we can burn more fat in other activities as a result of this inclusion. In other words, we get some more bang for our buck.

A quick disclaimer though”Caring about how much fat is burned during exercise is equivalent to worrying about how much muscle is built during exercise.” In other words, substrate utilization during exercise isn’t really an important variable in the big picture of fat loss – total calories burned overall is.

4. Steady State High Intensity Aerobic Training

Tool number four is just hard cardio work. This time we’re burning calories – we aren’t working hard enough to increase EPOC significantly or to do anything beyond the session itself. But calories do count. Burning another 300 or so calories per day will add up.

5. Steady State Low Intensity Aerobic Training

This is just activity, going for a walk in the park, etc. It won’t burn a lot of calories; it won’t increase muscle or EPOC.

There isn’t very much research showing that low intensity aerobic training actually results in very much additional fat loss, but you’re going to have to really work to convince me that moving more is going to hurt you when you’re in fat attack mode.

Putting It All Together: Time Management

You’ll notice that this is perhaps the opposite recommendations from what you typically read in the mainstream media. Usually fat loss recommendations start with low intensity aerobics, progress to high intensity aerobics, then intervals. Finally, when you’re “in shape” they recommend resistance training.

My approach to massive fat loss is attacking from the complete opposite of the norm. If your a “real world” client with a job and a family can rarely afford additional time; therefore, we need to look at our training in a more efficient manner and focus on our time available first, then design our programming based on that.

If you have 2 hours per week, use only #1 above: metabolic resistance training
This can be two, one-hour training sessions, or four 45-minute training sessions. It doesn’t seem to matter.

However, once you’re getting two hours per week of total body resistance training, in my experience I haven’t seen an additional effect in terms of fat loss by doing more. My guess is that, at that point, recovery starts to become a concern and intensity is impaired.
This type of training involves barbell complexes, supersets, tri-sets, circuits, EDT work, kettlebell combos, etc.

If you have 2-4 hours, use #1 and # 2: weight training plus high intensity interval work
At this point, any additional work is usually in the form of high intensity interval training. I’m looking to burn up more calories and continue to elevate EPOC.

Interval training is like putting your savings into a high return investment account. Low intensity aerobics is like hiding it under your mattress. Both will work, but the return you get is radically different.

If you have 5-6 hours available, add #3: aerobic interval training

Aerobic intervals wins out at this point because it’s still higher intensity overall than steady state work so it burns more calories. There appears to be a fat oxidation benefit and will still be easier to recover from than additional anaerobic work.

If you have 6-8 hours available, add #4

If you’re not losing a lot of fat with six hours of training already, then I’d be taking a very close look at your diet. If everything is in place, but we just need to ramp up fat loss some more (e.g. for a special event: a photo shoot, high school reunion, etc.) then we’ll add in some hard cardio – a long run or bike ride with heart rate at 75% of max or higher.

Why not do as much of this as possible then? Well, the goal is to burn as many calories as we can without negatively impacting the intensity of our higher priority activities.

If I have more time than that, I’ll add # 5

I think I’m getting into fairytale land at this point. I don’t think most of us have more than eight hours of training time available per week. But if we do, this is when any additional activity will help to burn up calories, which is never a bad thing.

A lot of fighters have used this activity to help make weight. This works because it burns up calories but doesn’t leave you tired for your strength training, sparring, or technical work.
That’s the key with the addition of this activity: just to move, get your body moving, and burn up some additional calories – but not to work so hard that it inhibits recovery and negatively affects our other training.

The research and the real world don’t really show massive changes from the inclusion of this type of activity; however, I think everything has its place. Remember, this is a hierarchy of training, and this is fifth on the list for a reason.

Smart guys call this NEAT – Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. I call it moving a wee bit more than normal.


Keep in mind that all I’ve said here is that harder training works better than easier training. It really is that simple.

Tim Rudd

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wonder Woman 42

End Stinkin, Thinkin!

Negative self-talk does nothing for you, and it does absolutely nothing for those around you.

The crazy thing is that over the last 17 years working with mostly female clients, growing up for 18 years with three sisters and now living with a wife and two daughters for the last 10 years, I’ve found most women talk to themselves negatively all the time.

Constantly putting themselves down and finding every flaw they have, but never recognizing their own strengths.

If anyone else were to talk to them the way they talk to themselves, they most likely would not be friends with that person for long.

Bottom line: You don’t deserve to be talked to that way! Don’t let anyone tell you that you are fat, that you have no willpower, that you are frumpy…not even yourself!!! Got it?

I am a huge believer in your mind being very closely connected to your body. I believe our bodies listen to everything we say. Every thought, every word, everything; and after planting them in our subconscious, our bodies take each of these as a command for what it needs to do.

We have about 50,000 thoughts a day. If the majority of these are negative, your body and life will reflect that. If you keep saying – I am fat, when you are trying to lose weight, you will not succeed. Guess what? Your body thinks it is a command.

You must start to visualize where you want to go, what you want to look like, and how you want to feel, and focus on that.

You may be thinking…this is fine and all until you head outside of the gym, into the real world, where people who are constantly bombarding you with negative thoughts surround you.

“You’re lifting weights? You’re just going to get big and bulky and never going to lose the weight.” “Why don’t you just have a glass of wine and some bread…don’t deprive yourself! It isn’t working anyway and you’re no fun these days!”

Here’s what you need to do in these situations. You are Wonder Woman! Remember Wonder Woman’s wristbands? Well, your wristbands deflect any negative comment.

So, the next time someone says something to you to try to bring you down and sap your motivation, deflect the comment with your super power wristbands and don’t let it get to you.

Another scenario women come up against is when they are hanging out with their girlfriends, and one of them starts in on the body bashing comments – “I hate my pooch…” The first instinct is to join in and say, “I have a pooch too, mine is worse than yours…” DO NOT DO IT! Do not join in on the body bashing.

Again, your body is listening. Instead, tell your friend you think she looks fabulous and change the subject! Take a moment to yourself and think about why you go to the gym every day. Think about why you watch what you eat. Think about what it is you want from this lifestyle and what motivates you to stick with it?
If you have been struggling with getting the results you want, stop listening to that negative voice in your head…tell it to shut up!                                                    —–                                                                                                                                    Change those thoughts to focus on where you want to go and how you will feel. The next time you catch yourself saying things like, “I can’t get my big fat butt up there.” Or “I look really fat in this outfit.” Immediately catch yourself and cancel that thought and replace it with something positive and motivating!—————-

This may seem touchy feely, but you won’t reach your potential if you don’t get your mind in the right place. The key to getting long lasting results is not just about the training programs, but also about changing your mindset and your internal dialogue.

Think about it, and if this applies to you, the next time you have a negative thought cross your mind or cross your lips cancel it out. Next time you have a friend feeding you negative de-motivating thoughts, get your Wonder Woman wristbands out and do not join in on any body bashing!

Train hard and stay focused on what you want from all of your hard work. You deserve to feel empowered, confident, and have nothing but compliments and positive thoughts! You’ll find that with this new attitude you’ll inspire others!

See you in the GYM,
Tim Rudd

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Can We Talk?

Can we talk? Yes this is a pep talk!
If you have found yourself saying or thinking – “I don’t seem to be getting the results I want right now…” Let’s talk!
We know you are very busy and don’t have a lot of time so at Fit-2-The-Core we make sure to use the time we have as efficiently as possible. During that time our goal is to make sure to design the absolute most effective fitness program we can to get the fastest results possible in the least amount of time.
During your session with us we create a metabolic disturbance giving you an advantage for the rest of the day of increased calorie burn along with increased strength. We are constantly seeking out new ideas and tools to make this time we have with you even more effective.
We can hands down say you won’t get a better workout, more carefully designed and thought out than you do at Fit-2-The-Core. That hour you set aside to come in and see us – we got that!
Now let’s talk about the time you aren’t with us…ahem.
Here comes the pep talk…
If you aren’t making progress toward your goals then you are making choices that are not taking you closer to your goal. Bottom line- You chose to eat the cookie, or whatever you gave into this week, and not get closer to your goal! And that’s ok if you’re ok with not getting closer to your goal.
Stop justifying your choices! You know what I’m talking about. Whatever it is for you…the one thing that you think “I’ll do anything you tell me BUT…I’m not going to give up X.” What is it? Your wine? Your Ice Cream? Your 900 calorie Starbucks?  What are you justifying? What are you rationalizing?
You have total control at any point in your life. If you are rationalizing your choices because of your circumstances stop! Do not let your circumstances determine your behavior.
“I had a long day at work I need a glass of wine.”
“It’s been a stressful week I need to relax and eat what I want this weekend.”
“I’ll start tomorrow.”
Sound familiar???
These are examples of your circumstances determining your behavior and taking you further from your goal.
Or maybe you are out to eat with friends and everyone is ordering a burger and fries – get yours bunless and ask for a salad on the side. Don’t let your circumstances determine your behavior. You are in control. Learn to say – “No Thank you.” A secret when you’re out to eat is to order first and lead the way, many times your friends will follow!
I hope this pep talk helps you to navigate your week and weekend! Now let’s work together both in the gym and out of the gym to accomplish your goals! Summer just ended and the kids are now back in school! Let’s do this!
If you feel stuck or in a rut and you need a push with more accountability and support then don’t miss out on our next session of Fit In 42!
Our next Fit in 42 program starts this Monday August 27th, with are kickoff meeting this Saturday at 11am here at Fit-2-The-Core. If you want to join us for this next round get your interview scheduled asap! To learn more click this link. 
We are the exclusive gym in this area offering this program and we are excited about it. If you think you want to be a part of it set up an interview with Tim this week to see if  you are ready to do what it takes.
We have limited spots & will only accept serious applicants if you are serious text us at 925-794-8287 or email us at tim@fit2thecore.com to set up an interview time with Tim. Fit in 42 launches August 27th.

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“The Fat Loss Business Lesson”

This was a great post by Alwyn Cosgrove yesterday about customer service.

When we teach our clients about fat loss at Results Fitness, we usually include a lesson about physiology that teaches them that there is never a zero change in body fat levels at any one point. Sure, you may stay at the exact same weight and body fat percentage from week to week, but all that actually means in physiological terms is that your body spent the exact same amount of time, storing body fat in the exact same amount as it did burning fat.

The net effect is “no change” but as a basic premise there’s never a situation where the body is neither storing or burning fat. The physiology doesn’t stop. The tank is being filled or drained.

Your business is the same way.

Think of your business (or yourself) as having a “gauge” of, for example, your professionalism.

Every interaction you have is going to move the needle to “more professional” or “less professional”. Which is really “more business” or “less business”.

There’s never an interaction that results in zero change in how you are perceived. Everything moves the needle.

And it’s not just your interactions with the other party. It’s interactions that a third party can see. A prospect watches you deliver a world-class training session and be 100% invested in your client – that moves the needle. They see you check your phone or become disinterested? That moves the needle too.

It’s not just interactions either – it’s your marketing. It’s every point of contact with a prospect before they become a member. It’s how you dress. It’s every coaching cue that comes out of your mouth. It’s every instagram picture on your profile. It’s every social media post.

Everything moves the needle.

Now I’m not suggesting that you be “on” all the time anymore than I expect our body composition clients to follow their diet perfectly 100% of the time.
However we do need to understand that everything counts. Everything speaks.

The net result of how professional the market perceives you to be will be a combination of how often you’ve moved the needle to “more professional” as opposed to less.

The needle is never stuck.
The needle always moves.

Dedicated to your success,

Alwyn & Rachel Cosgrove

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Realistic, Effective, and Sustainable Real Life Strategies

Fitness in the context of real human life is just like the rest of life.

We’re all just doing the best we can in challenging, complicated circumstances.

We are all living messy, imperfect lives. We are all human.

If we can just keep moving forward, no matter what happens, no pause buttons, no do-overs, we win the game.

Here are a few strategies for getting out of the pause-button mentality and into a more realistic, effective, sustainable way of thinking.

1. Try the dial method.

Think of your fitness like a dial that goes from 1 – 10.

If you were to dial it up to “10”…

What would your workouts look like?

What would your nutrition look like?

What other actions/habits would you practice in that scenario?

If you were to dial it down to “1”…

What would your workouts look like?

What would your nutrition look like?

What other actions/habits would you practice in that scenario?

Giving thought to your life right now, where is your dial set?

Would you like to make any adjustments?

Could you move the dial up a channel, or even half a channel?

If so, what would that look like?

On the other hand…

Should you move the dial down a channel so you can stick with health and fitness even during a difficult time?

2. Aim for a little bit better.

An all-or-nothing approach usually doesn’t get us “all”. It usually gets us “nothing”.

You know what actually works?

Small improvements done consistently over time work — we have proof in the nearly 100,000 clients that have been helped through Precision Nutrition Coaching method.

You might be trying to make a meal out of hospital cafeteria food, or gas station food, or airplane food. You might be spending hours awake with a newborn in the middle of the night, or stuck in yet another full-day meeting.

These aren’t ideal scenarios, but they’re not necessarily hopeless either.

Look around. Get creative. See if you can find some small — maybe minuscule — improvements.

3. Anticipate, strategize and plan.

Since we already know that stuff is going to go wrong, the best thing we can do is anticipate and make plans for how to deal when they do.

A simple way to do this is by answering two questions:

What’s likely to get in the way of what I hope to accomplish?

What is something I can do today to help me keep going when I face those obstacles?

For some people, that might be a Sunday ritual where they prep food for the week so they won’t be scrambling for healthy meals on busy weeknights. For others, it might mean having a healthy meal-delivery service on speed dial.

Don’t be surprised and dismayed when things go haywire. They will at some point. Just arm yourself with the best tools and strategies so you can stay in the game when you’re thrown a curveball.


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