Fat Loss for Weaklings

SkinnyguyLet’s say you’re training someone who’s fat and weak but their goal is to get lean. They aren’t obese but they have 25-35 pounds to lose. Pretty much like every average American. Since fat loss is the goal you might be inclined to put them on a typical “fat loss workout.” This means that they would do a total body, circuit style workout, alternating upper, lower and full body exercises with moderately high reps (8-20) and minimal rest periods (0-60).

Sounds like a decent plan.

Except for the fact that they are too weak to get anything out of it. Their heart rate won’t get elevated anywhere near as high as it should and they’ll hardly break a sweat.

Why? Like I said, they’re too weak. When you’re too weak you can’t get much out of bodyweight exercises and the weights you lift are hardly heavy enough to do anything. Weak people can’t recruit anywhere near the same amount of muscle fibers that strong people can. Therefore the same number of sets and reps is nowhere near as taxing for them.

While it is completely counterintuitive, what this person needs to do is actually get strong first. They should actually be doing the same type of workout I would give the typical skinny hardgainer- low reps, a lower average number of sets and adequate rest periods. Then, when they get stronger you can put them back on the fat loss circuit style routine and they will actually get something out of it.

Many young trainers ask me why their 45 year old house wife clients are hardly sweating and are breathing normally during one of their bootcamp workouts that would kill mnost people, and they are bewildered about what to do with them. Well, that’s the reason, my friends. They’re too weak.

Like I’ve always said, getting strong is the most important thing.

Now, whether or not a 50 year old woman would want to do the same low volume “powerbuilding” type workout that I do is beyond me. But it’s pretty safe to assume she wouldn’t.

When this woman hires you to lose fat she’s expecting to get tortured and to be covered in vomit, sweat and blood by the end of the workout. That’s how most people think you lose fat. It’s not. You can lose fat by doing singles, running sprints and eating right. But most people don’t want to hear that. They need to do what they think they are supposed to do and they need to be entertained. So if you tell her she’s gonna train like Yates for the next 12 weeks it probably won’t go over too well and she’ll probably look for someone else to hire. It’s what she needs, but it’s not what she wants.

How do you work around this problem?

Simple- start each session with 10-20 minutes of strength work. Maybe just pick one exercise per day, and make it a big compound movement. Work up to a few heavy sets of squats and then move on to the circuit stuff for the next 20-30 minutes. You could even pick two heavy exercises like squats and military presses. However you do it, just be sure to get that strength work in. Follow it up with the killer conditioning style circuit and you get the best of both worlds.

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About Jason Ferruggia 7 Articles

What’s up, fellow non-conformists and Renegades?

Are you’re looking to rise above the status quo? To stick a knife in the heart of mediocrity? Seeking a better way to train, eat and live life on your own terms? Then you’re in the right place.

I’m Jay Ferruggia. My work’s been featured in Muscle & Fitness, Maximum Fitness, Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness, ESPN, CBS, Fast Company, The Huffington Post, LiveStrong, and Details.

I don’t believe most of the typical training and nutrition advice being espoused all over the internet. I think it’s bullshit.

I don’t believe anyone has to be unhappy or lead a life that’s anything less than completely fulfilling.

I write, make videos and podcast about those things in an effort to help you become the strongest version of yourself; a certified badass, if you will (say that last part like Dusty Rhodes. Only 5% of you will get that. Whatever.)

I’m a strong proponent of the 80/20 rule and try to simplify everything down to what is truly essential.

The Beginning

As a kid, growing up in small town New Jersey I was infatuated with superheroes and desperately wanted to be one.

Unfortunately, I was a skinny-fat dork with a retainer and the WORST feathered hairdo you’ve ever seen. If that wasn’t enough my mom sent my brother and I to school in matching outfits. Brutal.

I know it sounds cliched like the 98-pound weakling story, but in my case it’s 100% true.. I was always the weakest, skinniest kid in school. I was also painfully shy and insecure, always struggling to fit in.

In 8th grade I decided I had to change my situation so I started lifting.  At the time I was doing what I read in the muscle mags and it got me nowhere. After five hard years of training I graduated high school weighing a whopping 147 pounds at six feet tall. Things didn’t get much better in college.

But finally, after many years of trial and error I figured out what really works for genetically average, steroid-free guys like us.

In 1994 I started my own “superhero training academy,” which was my private, underground Renegade Gym where I helped guys completely transform their bodies in record time. Since then I’ve helped thousands of people get bigger, leaner, more confident and become the strongest version of themselves.

How I Can Help You

I’ve overcome a lot of obstacles and demons; many of which you may be struggling with right now. I can relate and I can help.

If you’re reading this you’re probably something like I was/am…

    • Genetically cursed when it comes to building muscle & losing fat
    • Skinny-fat (very little muscle, but zero definition and a pot belly)
    • Or just fat with no muscle (been there)
    • Narrow shoulders and wide hips
    • Small joints and a pencil neck
    • Pipe cleaner arms and string bean calves
    • Always getting injured
    • Always getting sick
    • Always stressed out
    • Never getting anywhere in the gym
    • Shy, insecure and lacking confidence
    • Possibly struggling with addiction and bad habits (like I was)

Katherine Cowgill by Teren Oddo Oct. 2015

I’ve been coaching people for over 20 years and have worked with high school to pro athletes, firemen, armed forces members, CEO’s, weekend warriors and fitness enthusiast of all kinds. When they follow the Renegade Method of training, they get big, they get strong, they get jacked, they get lean and they get in shape. Period.

In addition to the physical aspect I spent years studying and developing mental strength techniques that completely changed my mind state.

Through this website I’ve been able to help over 300,000 regular readers make amazing physical and mental transformations.  And I can help you completely transform your body, mind and life.

The good news is it won’t take you anywhere near as long as it took me. You can learn from my mistakes and experiences.

I was born with zero gifts or talents. If I can do it anyone can. There is no reason to be average.

There is no reason to settle for mediocrity, to fall in line with the status quo, to conform. There is no reason why you can’t be jacked, strong, fit, happy and healthy.

There is no reason why you can’t have the body, the girl, the dream life. That’s what this site is all about. Helping you get better every day. So pour a cup of coffee, turn up some Public Enemy or Henry Rollins and dig in…

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