In The Facts on Body Fat,  I introduced you to fitness guru’s “pretty boy” John Romaniello, who created an innovative fat loss system called Final Phase Fat Loss.

He is a believer that if you want to lose stubborn fat, you need to  change things up, to “keep your body guessing”, as he explains in today’s expert interview.

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Craig Ballantyne: All the metabolic workouts are going to boost some of these hormones a little, if not a lot, but how do you separate the one being better than another?

John Romaniello: It’s not that they’re better than the other.  The greatest thing about them is that they all kind of supercharge each other by working in concert.  That’s why all of them are in the program.

I don’t particularly have a problem with belly fat, and I certainly don’t really have a problem with high estrogen.  I mostly have trouble with insulin management.  So I’ve tried to create programs where I’m only doing workouts that are intended to manage insulin by producing more IGF-1.  And they work, they’re not ineffective.

However, what we find is that all of these things work better when they’re doing a kind of in a rotational style.  And whether that’s because of “muscle confusion” or just staying ahead of the adaptive curve, or if it’s because there’s interplay between these hormones – and I suspect it’s that one – it’s just more effective to do all of them. Even though you might only be dealing with lower body fat storage you don’t just want to do density training.  You want to do all of them.

But what you’re going to find is that presence of the density training is going to start you down that fat loss road and your journey down that road is going to be accelerated by all the other ones.  So you don’t want to necessarily isolate it out, you just want to have an understanding of why it’s happening.  And that is why the book is written in the way that it is, so it explains things in the way that it’s done.

Certainly, you could tip the scales a little bit more if you are mostly dealing with lower body fat storage, and you know that  can be affected by density training.  Well then maybe you do two density workouts a week instead of just one and that will help a little bit, but you can’t do only density training.  All of these workouts in some regard will produce all of these hormones. By having a workout that is specifically designed to release more of one hormone and doing that once per week and then dealing with the other hormones on different days, that supercharges everything.

Like anything else in the body, there’s no real isolation exercise.  Even a bicep curl doesn’t just work your biceps.  Your shoulders act as stabilizers, your abs and lower back are involved, your forearms work to curl the weight up.  So even though it’s mostly a bicep exercise, in much the same way density training is mostly for estrogen but other things are involved.

So I think that’s an analogy that will help people.  It’s just about understanding that the program is written in a scientific way to allow for these things to take advantage of one another and work in concert, and sort of allow for a synergistic effect rather than simply an additive one.

Craig Ballantyne: Perfect.  So let’s move back to that workout then.

John Romaniello: Cool.  I’ve always loved density training because it’s very challenge-based.  You just do as much as you can, and then you just try to beat that every subsequent set.  So the way that I did it in that particular instance. The space in my gym is a little limited.  I work out in the gym in my building downstairs, and so we have one power cage.

And no one happened to be on it, so I decided I was going to monopolize it, which isn’t the nicest thing to do, but I was in a rush.  So because I didn’t want to mess around with having multiple bar bells or multiple things, all I did was I just picked three exercises – four exercises, I think it was – where I could do a reasonable number of reps with 185 pounds.

And I just choose 185 pounds because it was just easy to throw on a 35 and a 25 on each side.  And so once I had done that first set and established a baseline. I knew that all I had to do was beat those numbers of reps in that amount of time in subsequent sets.

So one of the really important things to take away there is that yes, if you’re trying to gain muscle you should always have an idea of like what your starting points are and calculate percentages of one rep max or ten rep max.  But for fat loss, it becomes a little less important.  And one of the things people always ask me about Final Phase Fat Loss is, “Well, what if I don’t have free weights?”, or “What if I can only train with body weight?”  It doesn’t matter.

The important thing is that the efficacy of Final Phase Fat Loss comes not from the workouts themselves – although they’re kickass workouts, I’ll give myself some credit – it’s the concepts, following the concepts, the methods.

Rotating training styles of really doing workouts that are based on density, doing workouts that are based on lactic acid.  That’s important.  The equipment doesn’t matter.  Any exercise can be replaced.  Okay?  Ultimately, the weight doesn’t even matter that much as long as it’s challenging.

And the workout that I gave you, theoretically I could have used three different weights for three different exercises, but I didn’t.  I just used the same weight because that was what was going to make the workout faster and easier.  In order to make it harder I just pushed myself harder and that’s what made the workout effective.

So this is a really important point for people.  So we’ll talk about that workout, specifically, but in both Final Phase Fat Loss and Turbulence Training and anything else you guys do, it is the methods.  Following the methods, the concepts upon which the entire program is written is going to be by far more important than trying to join a gym so that you can get those workouts done in the exact way that they’re written.

If you need to replace a barbell squat with a dumbbell squat, that’s fine.  If you need to replace a dumbbell overhead press with a resistance band overhead press, fine.  If you need to replace a barbell bench press with pushups, again it is totally, totally fine.

For the purposes of fat loss, ultimately as long as you are working hard and following the concepts of the modalities those are going to make the difference. And that’s a really, really frequently asked question, so I just wanted to clear that up.  So sorry for that little tangent, but I think that’s really important stuff.

In part 3 of this expert interview series, John will get into specific workouts and some substitutions.

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Craig Ballantyne

Craig Ballantyne is the author of The Perfect Day Formula: How to Own the Day and Control Your Life. Craig has been a contributor to Men's Health magazine for over 17 years. Today he teaches his gift high-performing entrepreneurs how to squeeze more out of their days, increase their income, and make more quality time for their families in his Perfect Life Workshop and Work-Life Mastery programs. Craig used his own advice to overcome crippling anxiety attacks in 2006, and he'll teach you his 5 Pillars of Success so you can increase your income, decrease your work time, and live the life of your dreams. Learn more about Craig at craigballantyne.com