When you are trying to burn stubborn body fat the last thing you want to be doing is wasting time. John Romaniello author of Final Phase Fat Loss program, shares with us today his thoughts on the amount of training days are necessary to help  you burn fat so you can show off your lean physique.

Even though the workouts are short, intense and very specific, he always provides exercise substitutions, to name a few, jump back to part 3, of this interview series where he gives a few training variations that are effective and safe.

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Craig Ballantyne: I want to talk about workout length. At what point do you get diminished returns from the workout length?  How long do you recommend keeping the workouts and what’s the training frequency that you have in your program?

John Romaniello: I’ve set it up two ways.  I prefer for people to train often, about four days per week.  So the best schedule I have found is Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday or Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, something like that.

You want to have two days in a row as infrequently as possible.  So if you do Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday the only time you’re training two days in a row is Friday and Saturday.  And usually you have Sunday off, and that’s a very relaxing day for most people.  It really depends on your schedule.  If you only can make it to the gym three days a week Monday, Wednesday, Friday is fine.

In terms of workout length, I recommend that people keep their workouts, the actual training – and this doesn’t include warm-up and this doesn’t include post workout cardio or what I call active recovery.  At the end of every workout I like for people to go for a walk.

You don’t have to do it right after the workout, just do it at some point during the day because it will help alleviate soreness.  And I talk a lot about soft tissue work and foam rolling for recovery and stretching and all that.  So if you’re not including that as part of the workout, honestly you should be in less than an hour, considerable less, about 50 minutes is fine.

Some of these Final Phase Fat Loss workouts are taxing so in the initial stages, they will require a fair amount of workout time just because of their fair share of rests a lot, but going forward from there as you get more and more conditioned you should be able to do it in 45, 50, 55 minutes.

Now I’ve had someone complete a full workout in 27 minutes, but this is an incredibly well conditioned athlete.  So even if you’re not that person, and it takes you literally double that amount of time it’s still just under an hour, so keep that in mind.

Craig Ballantyne: I guess that’s it for the workout length.  I guess one other question, here is if someone only had 10 or 15 minutes. What would they do in a short amount of time?  Like if they were using your program, and they only had 15 minutes that day, what would they do?

John Romaniello: If they only had 15 minutes what I would have them do is come up with a single circuit of three exercises, all compound exercises.  So just like I did in that workout that I gave you, a pushing exercise, a pulling exercise and a leg exercise.

All you need is three exercises.  And you would just do as many reps as you can with a given weight in 30 seconds each, rest and then increase the weight and do it again.  And again, from there after that I would just take a bunch of different body weight exercises and get as many done in 5 minutes as I could.  And that should take you about 50 minutes.

You just have to be creative.  As long as you’re hitting all of your major muscle groups with two heavy sets, not super heavy but heavyish, after that you can really just do a bunch of body weight stuff to get your heart rate up and burn more calories.  And you should make progress.  The Final Phase Fat Loss program, there’s a method to the madness, so I would recommend trying to minimize the number of days where you’re going to make changes in that way, but obviously life happens.  And from there you’ve just got to do the best you can.

Craig Ballantyne: Okay, cool.  Now let’s switch over to some of the exercises that you put in the program that we’re putting together, the Clash of the Titans‘ follow-up program.  So you’ve got an exercise in there called the dumbbell squeeze press.  What’s that?

John Romaniello: Dumbbell squeeze press, it’s like a chest press, it’s like a dumbbell chest press, only instead of just pressing the weight straight up what you’re going to do is the dumbbells are going to be in contact with one another the whole time.

So instead of having your hands in a pronated grip like a barbell bench press, you’re going to turn your hands towards each other so the dumbbells will be facing one another, and then you SQUEEZE them together the whole time.  Keep in mind that one of the main functions of the pectorals is to add up the humerus.  That means to bring it medially across the body.

So one of the things that you’re doing is by pressing those weights, squeezing them together as hard as you can as you’re allowing the pecs to tempt to create that movement even though the weights are blocking each other.  So you can use lighter weight here, but you’re still going to activate a lot more of the muscle fibers in your chest.  And this is particularly true in the sternal fibers, in particularly the inner fibers.

So a lot of times you’ll see guys with good outer chest development but no inner chest development.  So it’s more of a specialization exercise.  And the reason I put it in, there is because I know that in fat loss programming, we use a lot of very basic exercises, so I know that those are underdeveloped tissues for most people who primarily do your programs and my programs.

So what this allows them to do is by using this exercise and hitting those muscle tissues and those fibers which are – I don’t want to say neglected, but, which aren’t given priority – they’ll actually BURN MORE FAT more fat because again, this is a “new exercise” for them.  And there will be a little bit more adaptation so it will force them to burn a little bit more calories.

So even though it’s a little more of a specialty exercise that you would think would be most effective in building muscle, it has merit in the context of a program like the one we’ve designed.

Stay tuned for part 5 as we address muscle soreness.

[Clash of the Titans] When you are trying to lose weight and burn stubborn body fat the last thing you want to be doing is wasting time. In the Final Phase Fat Loss program, fitness expert John Romaniello helps you to get rid of those last few pounds so  show off your lean physique. 

The workouts are short, intense and very specific. If you are looking for a few exercise substitutions I would suggest reading part 3 of this interview series where John gives a few strength training variations that are effective and safe.

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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

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