Goals AGAIN, Best Fat Loss and FAT-LOSS AGAIN!

“If you always put limit on everything you do, physical or anything else. It will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.”

-Bruce Lee

Halfway to 2011

July 1st, 2010

“What gets measured, gets managed”
Peter Drucker
Management Theorist,
Author of 31 books.


In an ongoing series to motivate everyone to take action — here we are again…

Today marks the halfway point of the year.

The entire first half of 2010 has already passed- there are now only six months to 2011.

How are those New Year’s Resolutions looking now?

Are you on track with those New Years Resolutions? Are you on track with your goals?

If you wanted to lose 20lbs this year – are you down 10lbs already?
If your goal was to do 250 workouts – have you completed 125 ?
IF you wanted to make $10,000 more this year — are you on track?

It’s amazing how time passes so quickly.

Don’t waste a single second.

If your goal is fat loss – start today
If your goal is muscle building – start today
If your goal is (insert anything here) – start TODAY !

If you’re just a little behind — adjust your plan – make up for it! Make a half New Years Resolution!

50% of this year is gone forever. Will you make changes TODAY or will another 25% pass, then another 50% — and before you know it — it’s 2011…..

I meet a lot of people in my job, and get a lot of questions via email. I’ll talk to guys who track every single macronutrient that passes their lips, and have tried just about every program out there. When I ask them how things are going — they’ll tell me that it’s great, or that the program is working well.

But rarely do they quantify anything. How many pounds of muscle gained? How much of a strength increase have you seen in real terms?

Very few people actually measure and take stock of their efforts. If you are following a plan to lose fat – are you actually losing fat? And I mean at a rate that is acceptable for your efforts? Or are you blindly following a plan that doesn’t work, and essentially ignoring that?

I know where my progress towards my goals stand because I measure it.

When I was in the hospital for a stem cell transplant – the medical team took measurements of temperature, blood pressure and blood samples every 4 hours.

When we implement a marketing campaign at the gym — we track the results. We know for example how many direct mail pieces we send out, the cost of each mailing, how many inquiries we get, how many appointments are made, and how many people join the gym as a result. We know exactly how effective the plan is, and whether the return we are seeing is worth the investment. We can see that for $X invested, we receive a return of $Y.

We need to know where our membership stands – how many inquiries, how many new members, renewals etc and when our busiest times are – everything is measured and tracked so we can continue to grow and serve our members.

If you remember “SMART” goal setting — one of the keys is ‘M’ – Measurable. Measure your results.

An easy goal for fitness enthusiasts is just to commit to working out X times this year. If your goal is to do 200 workouts in 2010, you should have just finished workout 100. If you’re ahead – awesome! If you’re behind, step it up.

Now -as we enter the second half of 2010, it’s time to take stock of your efforts. Has your current return been worth the investment?

Again — 50% of this year is gone forever. Will you make changes TODAY or will another six months pass, then another six — and before you know it — it’s Summer 2011…..

Don’t waste a single second. Start TODAY.

Where will you be at the 75% point – October 1st ? That’s 13 weeks away. Will you be 13 weeks leaner – down 13, or even 26lbs of fat? Will your business demonstrate 13 weeks further growth – will you be 13 weeks closer to your goals?

The time will pass anyway….


Training techniques to maximize fat loss

June 29th, 2010
Q: What do you look for when designing a fat loss training program? Do you look at what people have done in the gyms before, or do you read the research and then try to recreate that?A: The primary goals of an exercise routine for fat loss are burn calories, maintain or promote muscle mass and try to increase resting metabolism somehow.

Surprisingly there is very little science on the use of weight training solely for fat loss -its something that seemed to come from the gyms and go back to the labs. And even then the programs used in these studies were usually fairly standard.

Similar to a lot of trainers, I noticed that clients who focused on resistance training seemed to lose more fat than clients that focused on cardio. When we opened Results Fitness in 2000, we were able to track this more closely, and in every case – resistance training always won.

I can also state categorically that we have more clients in our gym on any specific fat loss program than pretty much any published study on training for fat loss. Yes, it’s not a controlled lab – but we see subjects (our clients) that are given a specific intervention (our programs) and we track the results. That’s pretty much what research is though – but we’re trying to create a result – not just observe what happens – so we do change stuff ongoing.

And over the years, we have tracked those results, and adjusted the programs to develop the best fat loss/body composition training program that we can – which is essentially a resistance training – interval training – self limiting exercise hybrid.

Resistance training – specifically what we call “metabolic” resistance training, always – always – outperforms other forms of exercise in terms of real world fat loss – even when calories burned during training are similar.


Well, it’s either muscle gains from the resistance training that increase metabolism., or some sort of post-workout effect. But the fat loss is far bigger even in the short term – before any muscle would have been built. So it’s some type of post-workout change to the metabolism that we’ve coined the “afterburn” effect. Which we describe as

“the post workout period that results in metabolic disturbance, elevating EPOC, fat burning enzyme activity and total body fat oxidation to maximize caloric burn for the other 23+ hours per day”.

I have gotten emails disputing EPOC etc, saying that it’s only a few calories, and the actual numbers don’t add up to much.

I agree.

When you look at the research.

EPOC in the research is often a small number. Why then is there such a big difference in real world results when compared to other forms of exercise?

From our experience – exercise routines that generate the highest EPOC – even if it’s only a few calories more – always seem to result in more real world fat loss. But it’s true the actual EPOC numbers don’t explain it. It doesn’t add up.

We’ve seen interval training studies that show more total fat loss than aerobic programs that burn the same calories during the exercise session? Why? It must be a post workout effect.

We’ve seen weight training studies show more total fat loss than cardio programs that burn the same calories during the exercise session? Why? Same deal.

It’s not just the calories burned during training that make the difference. So we have to go after programs that result in some type of change to the metabolism post workout.

I propose that there is an accumulative effect of the post workout increase in metabolism. Most of the studies look at single isolated workouts and the corresponding short term metabolism changes. But that’s not real world. Real world fat loss is several workouts, increasing in volume and intensity over a longer period of time.

What happens when you look at multiple workouts – over weeks or months? There are several studies showing that two separate shorter sessions in a given time period have a higher total EPOC than a single longer session – even at the same intensity.

It makes sense to me that if metabolism is elevated as a result of the first workout, then exercising again will elevate that “already elevated” metabolism further. The evidence is clear on that. What we don’t know is how long that “between workouts” period is – some studies suggest a few hours, some as long as 38 hours.

But it’s not a stretch to think that a small percent increase, on a small percent increase could compound over time…

I’ll confess though, I don’t think we really know what causes the end difference. But we know what works – and we should just use that as our model and let the researchers try to figure out why.

I do spend time trying to figure out the “why” — but bottom line – that’s not what I get paid for. I get paid for getting clients in shape. I get paid for end-results not mechanisms.

Our programs

So before you say “But you quote research!!!” – Let me explain how we evolve and upgrade our programs at Results Fitness.

First – we see what works in the gym – in reality. Then we talk to fellow gym owners and coaches as to what they see working in their facilities and share what we see. We adjust certain things and see if it works better or not. Then we look at the research to explain the why.

So – it’s our own experience and observations. Then it’s the experience and observations of some of our colleagues. And then it’s the research.

So when I quote research here in my newsletter or blog, it’s actually step three. I’m not looking at research for methods – I’m looking for further explanation as to the mechanisms behind what we see on a daily basis at our facility. Charlie Francis once mentioned that he felt training research was at least five years behind what coaches and practitioners are doing. Maybe that’s not too far off.

So, we don’t ignore the research. But we also don’t look for research to tell us what to do — We’re looking for research to explain why what we do works. Sometimes we find those studies- sometimes we don’t. But we keep training people in our own little “research lab”. I don’t think any research paper has ever changed what we do in practice too much.

A question I get asked a lot from seminar attendees and interviewers is ”

Is there any new information/research that has you reconsidering any of your current views on training? “

Quite honestly-that rarely happens.

While I read a lot of research, I don’t think that good coaches and trainers ever change their minds on training based on new research. A good coach is already seeing what works with his or her athletes on a regular basis. In fact it’s not uncommon to see studies that are investigating what coaches, nutritionists and trainers are doing and looking to explain them.

Our facility sees a couple of hundred clients who train on a regular basis. We have been open for close to ten years, and have the records of every single workout ever performed in our facility, in addition to body composition and other performance data that we regularly assess (for fat loss clients we assess body composition weekly). Over the years we have recorded and observed a plethora of data and correlations.

If you contrast that with the fact that most studies tend to run for a matter of weeks, and use perhaps 9-10 participants in each group — it’s fair to say that we have collected more real world training data than most peer-reviewed studies have. So when a “new finding” appears that doesn’t gel with what we’ve observed, then I tend to ignore it, despite any media coverage. (The recent TIME article suggesting that exercise doesn’t help with weight loss is a good example).

Again – it’s not that I ignore the training research — it’s that I put more faith in what I’ve personally observed with large groups of people, and what my colleagues have observed, before accepting the findings of a single study.

Fat Loss Training Studies

However here are a few studies that have helped explain to us what we see in the gym and influence some of our adjustments:

  • A 1999 study compared a resistance training and aerobic training program with a very low-calorie liquid diet and looked at it’s effects on lean muscle and resting metabolism. Both groups lost the same amount of weight but the resistance training group lost significantly more fat and did not lose any lean muscle. Additionally, the resistance training group actually increased metabolism compared to the aerobic group which decreased metabolism.
  • Another study from the same year assigned overweight subjects to three groups: Diet Only, Diet plus aerobics or Diet plus aerobics plus weight trainingThe Diet-only group lost 14 lbs of fat in 12 weeks but when they added in the aerobic program – that group lost only one more pound than the diet group.However the Weight Training group lost 21 lbs of fat in the same time frame.
  • A 1992 paper compared 40 mins of high intensity aerobic training, a circuit-training routine and a heavy weight-training routine. The heavy weight training and circuit routines both burned more calories post workout than the aerobic routine.
  • Another group of researchers compared the short term EPOC effect of two resistance training modalities: A standard weight training program using 80% of RM (3 x 6, six exercises, two minutes rest between sets) and a circuit based weight training program using 50% RM (3 x 10-12 reps, six exercises – 30s between sets). The total work volume was similar.However the circuit training group had a bigger EPOC effect. Basically – there were more calories burned with the shorter, lighter workout – probably because minute for minute the actual workload (or density) was higher in the circuit group.
  • A paper from 1994 showed that resistance training resulted in a higher post workout metabolic increase than aerobic exercise.
  • A study published in 2005 compared a treadmill workout and circuit weight training at the same intensity and found a higher increase in calories burned post workout with the circuit group. In other words – despite working at the exact same effort level – a circuit training model burned more calories overall than treadmill exercise.
  • A 1997 study looked at two groups over 8 weeks – a strength training group and an aerobic training group (both workouts were designed to burn the exact same amount of calories Both groups followed the same diet and lost the same total amount of weight – 19.8lbs However the strength training group lost significantly more fat and maintained more muscle than the aerobic group.
  • A 2003 review from Norway noted that “Little is known about the mechanisms underlying EPOC after resistance exercise.””The relationships between the intensity and duration of resistance exercise and the magnitude and duration of EPOC have not been determined, but a more prolonged and substantial EPOC has been found after hard versus moderate resistance exercise” – basically there is a longer, bigger post-workout elevation with heavier training
  • And a 2007 study from the Human Performance Center at Anderson University, on caloric burn in weight training using the same loads but different lifting tempos: This study compared explosive training and slow training both using 4 sets x 8 reps @ 60%RM.The explosive group actually burned 13% more calories during training and 7% more in the post exercise period despite using the exact same loads as the slow training group. The researchers summarized – “by using explosive contractions and moderate exercise intensity, experienced recreational exercisers can increase their energy expenditure during and after resistance exercise, and this could enhance weight-loss adaptations.”

But here’s the one thing that you don’t really find in the research – programs that need to work or the researchers don’t get paid! That’s the difference between their world and ours! All these studies are essentially observations to see what happens. None of the studies are trying to get real people to lose fat as quickly as possible, which is what we are paid to do with our clients.

Compound that with the fact that we work in the real world – our clients can often only give us 2-3 hours total workout time per week – you can see that every minute counts in training.

What I can tell you is that in our facility when we combine all of the above findings into a program – there is some synergy. The whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts.

Now, I don’t know which research study is the best or the most applicable. And we can argue all day about sample sizes, flawed research etc, and I’m sure that you can find studies that literally contradict each other. All I know is:

  • our clients get leaner faster than the “numbers” say is possible
  • our clients do metabolic resistance training
  • our clients get better results than most gym goers

One of our clients wore the body bugg (a device that measures how many calories you burn) when she started with us, getting a baseline daily calorie burn including her workouts and then spent a year performing metabolic resistance training consistently 2-3 days a week. Wearing the device again 1 year later, she was burning an average of 20% more calories per day.


So in our facility we are constantly reviewing our programming to maximize client results. And over time we have found the best fat loss training characteristics to be:

  • Metabolic Resistance Training – big movements
  • Heavy resistance (go as heavy as possible within the set)
  • However use a time under tension in the 45s area (so this may be a slightly longer set than traditional weight training)
  • Shorter rest periods than traditional weight training
  • The use of explosive reps at times
  • The use of alternating sets/mini-circuits to maximize work density and minimize local fatigue

Basically the routines are designed to burn more calories during the workout using many different methods, and increase post workout caloric burn to maximize overall fat loss.


Weight loss is not just about diet and exercise.

June 24th, 2010

Guest Blog from Dr Bryan Walsh

Weight loss is not just about diet and exercise.

Bold statement, but it’s true.

If losing weight were simply about following a diet and exercise program, why are so many new books being written on the subject? Because they aren’t working and honestly, it’s time people learned the truth about fat loss.

Let me first make one thing clear – diet and exercise are necessary for weight loss. Without them, weight loss won’t occur.

But what happens when diet and exercise don’t work?

Unfortunately this happens for far too many people. They follow a good diet and exercise program and they either don’t achieve all the weight loss they are hoping for, or they don’t lose any weight at all. It happens all the time.

Weight loss is a complex and well-orchestrated metabolic, biochemical and hormonal event that requires a number of factors to be working properly for fat loss to occur.

Hormones, blood sugar balance, gastrointestinal function, thyroid . . . if just one of these systems are not working properly, weight loss will not happen.

Consider the following:

• A recent study showed that the presence of certain bacteria in your gut can actually increase the amount of calories you absorb. In other words if you are eating 1,500 calories a day, but you have too many of these bacteria in your gut, you could be absorbing 2,000 calories a day!

• Another recent study showed that food sensitivities were the cause of inflammation and obesity, and that the removal of food sensitivities is a treatment for obesity. Everyone in this study who eliminated foods they were sensitive to lost an average of 37 pounds in 12 weeks.

• Neurotransmitter imbalances (i.e. low dopamine) can lead to fatigue, sugar cravings and carbohydrate binges. In other words, if you have a hard time sticking to a diet – it might not be about will-power and motivation, but rather you might have a neurotransmitter imbalance.

• Many common pesticides and chemicals in our environment have been shown to increase fat gain in animal and human studies.

The list goes on. There are so many underlying reasons people are having a difficult time losing weight, I created a multi-media program called Fat Is Not Your Fault. It contains a manual, assessment form, audio interpretation guide and over two and a half hours of video covering why people are having a hard time losing weight. It is the missing link in the weight loss industry that unfortunately no one is talking about.

The point is, there are many more factors to weight loss than simply diet and exercise.

We’re told by doctors that we need to lose weight to be healthy. And while that’s partly true, we also need to be healthy to lose weight. The healthier we are on the inside, the easier it is for us to lose weight on the outside. I cannot tell you how important understanding this concept is.

If you’re a couch potato and wondering why you’re overweight, the first thing you need to do is follow a good diet and exercise program.

But if you’ve been following a good program and aren’t seeing the results you’re after, it’s time to look closer as to why you are not losing weight, which Fat Is Not Your Fault can help you do.

Be well,
Dr. Bryan Walsh
Fat Is Not Your Fault


About MaxOut Performance Fitness
Sergio Maldonado is a Sports Performance and Fitness Coach in the San Francisco Bay Area. He strives to be the best at what he does through training, professional development courses, and practice. The purpose of this blog is to get out some of the knowledge that he obtains to better help others in their pursuits towards fitness and a better life.

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