If the cold winter months have you thinking about beach vacations and summer days, before you know it, the warm weather will return, and the truth is, we all enjoy trips to the beach better when we’re looking good.
I recently went over some intense fat burning information for buddy Alwyn Cosgrove on his site, so I thought I would share this with you. Let’s face it no one wants to be walking around showing off their belly fat.
Alwyn Cosgrove: Craig, How can someone who has neglected their training and nutrition improve their physique in the next 4-8 weeks, so they still look great before the end of summer?
Craig Ballantyne: Usually I don’t recommend machines for fat loss, but in this case, there is one that works really, really, really well.
The time machine. So if you know Marty McFly, and you can get your hands on one of these, set the date for 3-4 months ago, and head back to when you should have started getting your butt in gear. What’s the matter? Can’t just walk into a store and buy plutonium?
Okay, then here’s your other option.
First, get your head right.
A) Give yourself permission to succeed and lose the fat you are struggling with.
B) Sit down and identify the obstacles preventing you from success.
C) List 2 solutions to overcome each obstacle.
D) Reverse goal set. Knowing how much fat you want to lose in the next 4 -8 weeks, work back each week and set targets you need to achieve. Then write up actions you need to take to achieve each goal.
E) Check your head again. You’re going to need to be disciplined for those 4- 8 weeks. However, with every hardship that other people are undergoing around the world, can’t we at least commit to a 4- 8 week advanced program and stick to it?
That’s not too much to ask. I know you have it in you.
So now that you have shifted your mindset to a success mindset, you are ready to rock with training and nutrition details.
Let’s move to the MOST important of the two NUTRITION. It goes without saying you need to cut the junk. You can have one planned meal per week where you eat small amounts of food that would otherwise not be allowed on a fat loss program.
For example, you can have a slice of pizza OR a burger. NOT multiple slices of pizza and a burger and hot dogs, etc. Stay disciplined even during this reward meal.
For the rest of your meals, focus on the following…
– Cutting portion sizes so you reduce calories in (duh)
– Replace grain products with fruits and vegetables – this will help cut calories – simply by volume. You just can’t easily eat as many calories from fruits and vegetables as you can from whole-grains.
– Plan, shop, and prepare on the weekend and one night during the week so that you are never without your planned meal. Remember, we’re only talking about 4 -8 weeks here. Not the rest of your life.
So stick to some sacrifices and focus on the big day or week or summer ahead. Okay, on to training.
A) You’ll do three days of total body strength training per week. I like strength workouts to follow this formula:
– 5-minute bodyweight warm-up circuit
– first superset of the most difficult exercises, performed for 3 sets of 6-8 reps (you could even use explosive exercises here)
-second superset of moderate difficulty exercises, performed for 3-4 sets of 8 reps (I look at this as the “bodybuilding” superset)
– thrid superset features high rep bodyweight or dumbbell exercises (a little twist I’ve stolen and Deployed from Jason Ferruggia)
– once per week spend 10-15 minutes on abdominal training
– rotate the main superset to focus on different muscle groups each workout, so that in workout 1 of the week, you might focus on upper body pressing, while in workout 2, you’d switch to lower body, and in workout 3, upper body pulling.
So you ask, how does this strength program differ between men and women? Not much, but if you want to gain more muscle, do more volume. If you don’t want to gain a lot of muscle, do less volume (i.e. only 1 hard set of 8 reps with weights). Muscle grows in response to intensity and volume. Cut the volume, and you won’t grow as much.
B) Move directly into interval training
I like people to do the strength and interval training on the same day. Intervals right after strength training. This gives you fewer structured workouts per week. More recovery. Fewer trips to the gym or to the basement, depending on where you train.
I really don’t think anyone can say for sure that doing intervals immediately after training works better than doing intervals on off-days – or vice-versa. I’d love to know the answer…and the only way we’ll find out sooner than later is by hearing the feedback from you.
C) On off days, do low-intensity, moderate volume circuits of bodyweight, dumbbell, and kettlebell exercises at home, OR choose a relaxing activity you can do with your friends or family for 30-60 minutes.
I think there’s something to be said for having more days off from structured, high intensity training, but that doesn’t mean to sit on your butt all day.
D) Never take a day completely off from exercise. So on your “rest” day, at the very least, do a 30 minute walk.
No one is going to overtrain by doing this, but I can’t think of a logical reason why anyone would avoid all exercise for 24 hours. Get up and get moving. Okay, that’s it. That’s your plan. The best body-sculpting approach you’re going to have for the next 4 -8 weeks.
Work hard, stay focused, and have the best body for the greatest summer you’ve ever had,
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