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Promoting Fat Loss
I woke to heavy storms blowing outside and the creaking sound of the old rusty back gate swinging free. I headed outside into the steady rain to shut it but without much trepidation and as an early riser and with dawn only a few hours away I decided to start my day. I walk along the narrow, dark alley, with its overhanging branches serving as an awning to the rain, as a crescent moon peaks out from behind storm clouds. The strong wind is unforgiving as I make my way out to the street, past the spot where old the farmers market with all its little shops and friendly smiles once were. Now a vestige of the past, it stood long before the luxury spa and cosmetic surgeon's office and moved in and with much of the other "developments, much of the simple charm left as well. Across the street, a procession of cars jockey for position, some double park while a steady lineup of pre-dawn rush hour commuters stand in a slow-moving line furiously firing off messages, emails through there PDA's, while they wait to order their morning latte and other irresistible baked goods. With it now 4:30am a normal day has begun with the normal two hour, rush hour commute ahead for the weary in line. --Excerpt from "Why grow old gracefully - the Renegade approach to middle-aged health and ageless virility". by John Davies & Dr. Chris Dougherty., Renegade Style Publications (release date August 31, 2007).

This may seem an odd if not unforeseen start to an article regarding the topic of generalized health and fat loss, however the reality of our modern life is that the "solution" is far from a clear-cut one. While I have on many occasions noted that dietary solutions are "simple, the broader issue of improving health and diet with a overlying goal of fat reduction is far more complicated in today's busy world. While on the surface we are discussing diet and exercise habit, it stems from the fact that our society has went through enormous changes in virtually every aspect of day to day life over the last twenty-five years and therefore these habits are engrained in our day-to-day existence. It may seem to be an obtuse connection and one that is rarely discussed but there is no disputing the alarming rise in obesity during the same time period. During this period we have seen a radical change in virtually every aspect of our lives many which have powerful influences upon weight gain. Whether it is the complete disruption of dietary habits, the reduction of general physical activity in both active exercise or the far reaching psychological impact of hectic modern business and family life, the blueprint of "everyday life" is radically different than what is was ten, twenty or forty years ago. The massive globalization and industrialization of the world's economy directly ties into changing obesity rates around the world, further adding ballast to this contention. It seems conclusively that the answer to the problem of health and fat loss lays in understanding these enormous changes, however difficult they may seem to be and then making the appropriate changes to live a healthier life. Whether it is the trebling of childhood obesity in the last two decades or that nearly two-thirds of Americans are considered overweight, the problem is astounding. And while there are many reasons for weight management issues, which will vary from individual to individual in many ways, it is a weight issue as much as "life management" issue." Whether you call it the "first step" of your program or simply a mental concept to embrace, it is important not look at this as a "training program" but an addition to your lifestyle that you will find emotionally and physically satisfying. One of the major weaknesses of all training approaches that are promoted in the exercise community is that they don't recognize the "fun factor". Most training in commercial gyms sorely lacks this and merely becomes some form of drudgery that is doomed to failure. Trainers and gyms that would embrace evolving, fun sessions would find not only their clients more successful but their businesses building as well. The satisfaction derived from a successful "fun" training session will lead to an obvious level of satisfaction and further enthusiasm to train. From a compliance standpoint, the keys to our program are understanding the symbiotic balance of a proper training program, a long-term diet solution and practical lifestyle decisions. Unfortunately for the large majority of individuals trying to lose weight, it generally means they put themselves through a draconian diet that is either restrictive of important nutrients if not just plain starvation or following some ridiculous fad notion devoid of carbohydrates or fat. Beyond being an obvious plan doomed for failure, it should be clearly understood that research has proven that weight loss purely from diet will result in a reduction of visceral fat as opposed to subcutaneous fat which stems from exercise with fat loss also coming at a greater rate as well. If not obvious, the best solution is combining a good exercise program with long-term sustainable dietary habits. In addition to this, standard training protocols do not address the basics of physical movement, improving characteristics to enhance fat loss or recognize the unique starting point of someone trying to lose weight. This is crucial, as for any fat loss program to be effective it must consider each of these important considerations plus in addition recognize the starting ground of the individual. As you will see in our program, structural integrity of the core / trunk region is heavily emphasized using easily to administer postural holds that stress relative strength and furthering the development of proper posture. The route to promoting fat loss is in essence the optimizing of hormonal conditions. It is important to understand this is heavily impacted by our food choices, exercise patterns and general lifestyle (as it relates to stress, rest...etc). I want to specifically point out within this section that it is imperative to eliminate certain food items, in particular those containing high fructose corn syrup. An extremely cheap compound to manufacture, this added sugar is a deadly one and with its introduction in the 1980's, obesity rates began to skyrocket. Its catastrophic effect upon the body is a myriad of issues, including not stimulating the pancreas to secrete insulin. And while this is a (ridiculously) simple way to summarize an extremely complex system, our endocrine system manages glands, which hormones are responsible for all our functions. These functions, which as it relates to our goal of fat metabolism, are thus put into action via hormonal action / secretion. Our major concerns are:
  • Growth hormone, secreted by the pituitary gland is responsible for fat metabolism and muscular growth amongst many other functions.
  • Thyroxine, secreted by the thyroid gland, controls the rate in which glucose is burned for energy at the cellular level with the pancreas secreting insulin to control the metabolism of glucose.
  • Cortisol which with great drama but with a sense of truth is our deadly nemesis. Please note my opening paragraph as it related to the hustle and bustle of our lives. Stress filled lives, racing forward to success but finding we're running faster towards the heart-attack machine. Through the loss of sleep, mountains of stress, the resulting down-turn of sex-drive, muscle-wasting, poor dietary habits, cortisol is secreted and growth hormone production drops (by approximately 75% from the age of 30 to 60), resulting in many health related issues but shown easily with nasty fat deposits.
With this said, let's return to our plan and review our general diet guidelines, supplementation choices and finally our program. However for a broader review of my diet and supplement choices please review the three part article series "Simplicity".

While under a "diet" sub-heading, I'm prone to call this more of a lifestyle choice section as each of these ten points will have dramatic impact upon your life if you adopt them.
1. Never consume man-made items and yes that means no boxed items or soft drinks to eliminate added sugars.

2. Push away from the table. "Leaving a bit on the plate" is a good thing and you'll find that performance in every aspect of life improves when you're not "full".

3. Turn your cell phone off well before you eat. No phones, no texting, no im'ing. Life is short and is meant to be lived and not a race to the grave.

4. Control stress in any manner you can whether it is a leisurely walk, yoga class or a fun hobby

5. Drive by the drive thru. I don't know how to put this simpler but it is killing the health of our nation and our world. Don't let this happen to you.

6. Start each day with this centuries old tonic. A simple blend of a few tablespoons of unpasteurized honey, preferably from local sources where possible, 1-2 lemons squeezed in a glass of hot water every morning. (A great online source for honey is

7. Eat healthy balanced meals with meat, vegetable and fruit sources with proportions of each roughly the size of your palm and make use of natural marinades that include olive oil as an example. Don't debate the endless idea of the perfect ratios - simply have balance from the spectrum of natural whole foods and the decision is simple. The best snack food is straight from the earth. Add fruit with every meal as well as real snack food that'll sustain life such as nuts and olives.

8. Drink more water. Bring a significant amount of ice cold water (i.e. 2 liters) with fresh lemon slices in it to the gym / your office and any other environment.

9. Eat more vegetables. Insist upon 10-15 a day as a minimum and where possible choose from organic sources! One of the most important food groups are cruciferous vegetables. They are lifeblood to enhancing protein efficiency and are known to radically reduce the incidence of many types of cancer and other health issues.

10. Cook at home...yes, actually cook. Its incredible but simple food preparation is both relaxing, enjoyable, allows you to plan out healthier choices for you and your family.
Supplementation There is little introduction I need to make with these five supplements. However this is worth repeating that these supplements should be considered an absolute must and along with a proper exercise and diet plan, take on a great form of "pro-active" medical care. For those of you old enough that this comment will register, there is nothing that can replace your health and I simply will not do without this grouping on a daily basis.
Ultra PS Gold: this is a powerful nutrient as it significantly improves muscular recovery as well as suppresses cortisol. And yet while I say this, PS is known to sharpen memory (including age related), improve mood and enhance learning capabilities.

Acetyl-l-carnitine: is known to improve fat metabolism in transporting fatty acids from the main body of the cell into the mitochondria as well as being involved in the production of acetylcholine. There has been enormous research on it as a neurotransmitter as well as in treatment with Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease. Because levels of ALC are known to decrease over the age of 40, this is absolute must for any "maturing" individual and dare I say for anyone under this age, please note this to friends and family above.

Alpha-lipoic-acid: is an incredibly powerful antioxidant that helps speed muscular recovery, decrease the storage of fat, help in appearance of skin tone and complexion as well as address other age related issues. The combination of the above two supplements has created intense stir within the field and when used hand-in-hand can have extraordinary impact with recovery.

Omega-1250: Omega oils are essential for the metabolism of fat. Given the low grade availability of natural resources and the poor quality from farmed fish, supplementation of Omega oil is becoming increasingly necessary. "Branched-Chain Amino Acids": a powerhouse for muscular recovery. This could be a highly strategic supplement for those entering this program given potential level of muscular soreness. Usage of

BCAA can vary extensively with quality benefits from recommended dosages found on labels to athletes in hard-core training looking for above-average gains. I would make the following suggestions based upon a 200lb. athlete.

non-training days: 2.5 grams, 3-4 times per day
training days: 5 grams upon waking 2.5 grams, 90 minutes prior to workout5 grams, at start of workout 5 grams prior to sleep

In addition to this grouping, I would further suggest for those following this program to utilize Mega Max Multi-Vitamin (to complete the "Renegade stack"), naturally a quality protein supplement such as NytroWhey Extreme and if you have cravings and don't want to be saddled with guilty (guilt = stress = cortisol) then the Supreme Protein Bar is incredibly great tasting with a remarkable nutritional value. Finally in addition to this, on the fore-front of cutting edge nutrition is DopaTech HGH. I'm highly optimistic of this product which is derived from a potent extract of the herb Macuna pruriens. Recent studies on macuna have noted marketable improvements on restoring the endogenous levodopa, dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin content in the brain. Along with enhancing recovery from strenuous exercise, skin elasticity and general mood enhancement, this product is very quickly becoming recognized as a pre-eminent supplement.
The Program
After reviewing the hormonal commentary it should be obvious our route to attaining our goals within our training section will be to elevate growth hormone secretion. To do so, our sets are going to be longer in duration and we'll use a complex combining traditional weights with a simple medicine ball movement. To start our session we're going to take a trip back in time, long before complicated cardio machines and get back to basics, with a simple plastic skipping rope. While this may be outdated, it is perfect training tool and one that no-one can do without - the skipping rope!

Rope Skip
is a consistent and dependable exercise medium with many benefits such as:
  • foot and hand speed
  • cardiovascular efficiency
  • improved motor skills/muscular harmony
  • reduced of body fat
  • strengthen soft tissues
  • increased work capacity
Your choice of rope should be simple and I tend to prefer the inexpensive plastic models or leather although I will leave that up to you. Make sure the rope is long enough so that when it's looped under your feet, it will reach chest height. There is no right or wrong way to position your hands when skipping. However, while most will allow there hands to naturally drop to their sides, I prefer to pinch my elbows at my sides and position my forearms parallel to the ground which will increase rope speed. Most important and I want to stress this, please wear good quality footwear when skipping and make sure you stretch the calves out immediately after.

Opening Circuit (done daily)
Now with our skipping rope we're going to use a "great" twelve minute opening circuit with bodyweight exercises. These movements are not "complex" and will help promote strength relative to your bodyweight and overall body awareness. This opening circuit should be done on a daily basis and will serve as a preliminary "warmup" to activate your trunk for the balance of the workout.

Rope Skip 60 seconds 60 seconds
Table 20 seconds 80 seconds
Rest 40 seconds 120 seconds
Rope Skip 60 seconds 180 seconds
Bridge 20 seconds 200 seconds
Rest 40 seconds 240 seconds
Rope Skip 60 seconds 300 seconds
Plank 20 seconds 320 seconds
Rest 40 seconds 360 seconds
Rope Skip 60 seconds 420 seconds
Side Plank (right) 20 seconds 440 seconds
Side Plank (left) 20 seconds 460 seconds
Rest 40 seconds 500 seconds
Rope Skip 60 seconds 560 seconds
Horse Pose (right) 20 seconds 580 seconds
Horse Pose (left) 20 seconds 600 seconds
Rest 40 seconds 640 seconds
Rope Skip 60 seconds 700 seconds
Superman 20 seconds 720 seconds
The Bridge The bridge is a great exercise. Laying on your back, with feet planted firmly and shin's basically perpendicular to the ground push your hips up as high as possible squeezing your buttocks tight. You'll feel this through hips, trunk (lower back), glutes and hamstrings.
fat loss training article

Simply create a flat "table" position with your trunk / upper thighs, pushing the hips up. A tougher-than-it-looks hold that reinforces a strong posterior chain.
fat loss training article

The basic Plank is such a "simple" exercise that can have a profound extraordinary impact. With toes and forearms on the ground, keep back flat and bring navel in. Hold stance for designated length of time.
fat loss training article

Side Plank
The side plank is an excellent, if not the best static exercise for strengthening and stabilizing the trunk. Plank movements are extraordinary for strengthening the transverse abdominus that wraps around the entire core. Self explanatory from the picture, with hand against the ground, pointed away and top leg stacked atop the lower one with the navel drawn in; hold position with a totally balanced and straight line for designated length of time.
fat loss training article

Horse Pose
The Horse pose is another simple yet extraordinary movement. From the all four's position, raise leg up and opposite arm up, maintaining at parallel position for approximately 30 seconds. Thumb should be pointed up and navel drawn in again. This seemingly simple static exercise will create havoc on the entire posterior chain from the hamstrings to the upper shoulders and build a solid trunk.
fat loss training article

The Superman
The Superman hits the posterior chain incredibly hard and will challenge anyone. Laying on your stomach, raise both hands / legs off the ground as high as possible. Maintain the hold for desired length of time
fat loss training article
Exercises Prior to getting into our program it is probably best to have a "brief" review of the exercises to be used as well as a reminder to maintain proper form at all times. Without proper form, the intended muscular action isn't garnered and our training effect is limited. Our choice of movements is straight-forward, using lifts that will utilize the broadest group of musculature in the body and will have a decided posterior chain focus. While void of most direct chest and arm work, over the four week program, we should be well underway of meeting our fat loss goals and can then begin to add more direct work if that is to your liking.
Exercise choices / descriptions
Squat: As you walk into the rack, grasp the bar firmly with complete and absolute control and allow it nestle along your traps. With a good inhale of the lungs, the chest up, back strong walk out of the rack under control. Initiate the movement by pushing the buttocks back and ensure the angle of the hips and knees are the same as you descend to parallel or rock-bottom position, and then begin to reverse the motion in your ascent as you drive up against the floor. Pay particular attention that the torso lean isn't too far forward as this will have a dramatically different (negative) impact upon your training.

Med Ball Squat / Board Touch fat loss training article fat loss training article fat loss training article
This is one of my favorite movements from my basketball program and is perfect for this work (although you don't have to pivot and dunk the ball in this case). Using a light med ball (i.e. 4-6lbs), drop to squat position by pushing the buttocks back with a neutral back position. I tend to like to touch the ball on the ground to make sure I'm getting enough depth. From this position, drive the hips forward as you leap up touching the ball to an imaginary rim. Land and repeat a set of 6 reps. I want to emphasize that in this situation, with fat loss as our goal, we recognize most individuals are not prepared to performed this movement explosively and shouldn't. Given this, we'll perform this movement with you reaching as high as possible with the ball instead of jumping.

Snatch lift with Iron Woody bag: This is simply a one-armed Snatch lift that can be done with any weighted instrument, such as a kettlebell, dumbbell, bands or whatever you have available. And while many will look to complicate this movement, in essence all you're really doing is pulling a weight over your head with power being driven from your legs. With the correct loading (recall, no more than 65%) posture will be maintained and this is a perfect movement for our goals. Shoulders still are pinched back as you push the buttocks out while the weight comes down roughly to the lower thigh / knee area. In this position the hamstrings are engaged and ready to explode in the next frame. Once the touches (in this situation lower thigh / knee region), you explode the weight up with tremendous speed, vigorously pulling the bar with the entire posterior chain. As the weight is moving upwards, there is an "unloading" effect as momentum carries it up as you simultaneous drop under to catch the bar with a slight bend at the knee/hip. The weight is caught with arms straight and now simply stand up. Keeping the shoulders back is critical to protect the shoulder during the sequence of lifting as the scapula "sets" itself against the thorax to act as a stable base. In the above photo I am showing with a full squat underneath but that is optional and based upon your level of flexibility.
fat loss training article
Hi Pull:The Hi-Pull is a tremendous lift that closely resembles the Power Clean or Power Snatch but without the complexity of the "catch" and can be performed with either a "Clean" or "Snatch" grip. The set-up for the Hi-Pull is relatively simple with the bar on the floor. Feet should be roughly shoulder width apart, bar near shins and back in the safe "neutral" position. Head is level with eyes focused directly ahead, drive the weight off the ground as you would in the "first pull" of the Power Clean or Power Snatch, "punching the hips through" as you vigorously pull the bar up with the shoulders and traps up towards your chin level, keeping the bar tight to your body and elbows high. A simple and effective lift that builds the entire body.

Hang Pull:
The Hang Pull is effectively the same as the "Hi-Pull" but starting from the hang position. This starting position effectively places significantly greater emphasis on the explosive drive phase and is a powerful hamstring developer. From a standing position, exhibiting good posture and grasping the dumbells, push the buttocks back till you are in the safe "neutral" position of roughly 45 degrees. From this position, explode the hips up and through, driving the weight up as you simultaneously vigorously pull the weight up and elbows high.

"Four Corner Lunge":
With the barbell resting on back lunge forward, then back then to one side (do not attempt "cross-over). Repeat to opposite side to make one official repetition. Take your time with this and catch your breath - this is a grueling exercise that will wind you.
fat loss training article
Deadlift:To begin, align your feet flat beneath the bar and squat down to a neutral back position (i.e., 45 to 60 degrees), as in the clean lift. Grip the bar with your hands spread wide as in a Snatch lift. Pull the bar up and by fully extending your hips and knees. Throughout the lift, keep your hips low, your shoulders high, your arms and back straight by pinching your rear delts back and the bar close to your body.

  Internal External Rotation: With bands looped under feet and upper arm parallel to ground, rotate hands down so that it is level with the elbow and back up with constant tension. Perform 3 sets x 12-15 reps, thrice weekly
fat loss training article
Muscle Snatch: With loops of band under feet and grab bands in both hands. Pull bands above head in straight fashion keeping it very tight to body and constant tension. Perform 3 sets x 12-15 reps, thrice weekly.

Cuban Press:
As above, holding bands at sides, pinch shoulders back, then pull weight up such that upper arm is parallel to ground and constant tension . Perform 3 sets x 12-15 reps, thrice weekly.
fat loss training article

Flying squirrel:
As a special notation to these basic exercises, for those that are having difficult performing this movement to desired rep count one very helpful means is by looping the Iron Woody bands over the bar with the opposite end under your knee. In this manner the bands will provide you assistance in performing the movement.
fat loss training article

Chest Pass:
feet shoulder width apart. Explosively toss ball straight ahead by pushing off chest.
fat loss training article fat loss training article

One-Hand Twisting Chest Pass:
opposite hip facing target; with ball at shoulder height, twist and shoot ball forward as your shoulder turn to face target (repeat to opposite side).
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Walking Chest Pass:
same as typical chest pass but walk into throw (repeat with opposite leg forward).
fat loss training article fat loss training article

Overhead Pass:
with body facing target, lift ball behind head and throw to target overhead.
fat loss training article fat loss training article

Walking Overhead Pass:
same as above but walk into throw (repeat to opposite leg forward).
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Daily Training Regime
The program we will use is a four-day cycle lifting regime, divided into four distinct sections; (i) opening preparatory circuit, (ii) focus lifts, (iii) supplemental lifts and (iv) further core / trunk work. At the conclusion of each four day session you should take one day of active rest before restarting the program. Please note that I said "active" rest which means get out and participate in fun and healthy recreational activities. The training program should be repeated no more than four to six times. Within the "focus lifts" we are performing three basic exercises of four sets of 6 repetitions each using roughly 65% of our 1 rep max, which are then combined with another movement of the same rep count in a giant "super-set". Rest periods of all exercises are short, typically 45-60 seconds in length, maximum.

Day 1
Focus Lifts -Squat (Olympic Style) -Med Ball Squat Board Touch -Snatch Lift (1 arm - hang) -Med Ball Squat Board Touch -Hi-Pull -Med Ball Squat Board Touch

Supplemental Lifts
-Pullups 3 sets x 5 reps -Internal / External Rotation 3 sets x 12 reps @ 70% -Cuban Press 3 sets x 12 reps @ 70%

Core / Trunk Exercises -Plank 1 set x 20 seconds -Side Plank 2 sets x 10-15 seconds -Horse 1 set x 10-15 seconds -Superman 1 set x 10-15 seconds -Flying Squirrel / Paratrooper 2 sets x 10-15 seconds -Bar Hang 1 set x 30 seconds

Day 2
(please perform standard "warmup")
General Physical Preparation Med Ball circuit; -Chest Pass -One-arm twisting Chest pass -Walking Chest Pass -Overhead Throw -Walking Overhead Throw Perform each throw x 10, repeat 3 sets continuously

-Jumping Jacks -Shuffle Splits -Pushups -Plank Perform each for 15 seconds, move in continuous circuit fashion. Repeat for 10 total sets over 10 minutes.

Day 3
Focus Lifts -Hang Pull (perform with dumbbells) -Med Ball Squat Board Touch -Four Corner Lunge -Med Ball Squat Board Touch -Snatch Grip Deadlift -Med Ball Squat Board Touch

Supplemental lifts
-Chin-ups 3 sets x 5 reps -Internal / External Rotation 3 sets x 12 reps @ 70% -Muscle Snatch 3 sets x 12 reps @ 70%

  Core / Trunk Exercises -Plank 1 set x 20 seconds -Side Plank 2 sets x 10-15 seconds -Horse 1 set x 10-15 seconds -Superman 1 set x 10-15 seconds -Flying Squirrel 2 sets x 10-15 seconds -Bar Hang 1 set x 30 seconds

Day 4 (please perform standard "warmup")
General Physical Preparation
Med Ball circuit; -Chest Pass -One-arm twisting Chest pass -Walking Chest Pass -Overhead Throw -Walking Overhead Throw Perform each throw x 10, repeat 3 sets continuously

-Jumping Jacks -Shuffle Splits -Pushups -Plank Perform each for 15 seconds, move in continuous circuit fashion. Repeat for 10 total sets over 10 minutes.

Day 4
(please perform standard "warmup")
General Physical Preparation
Med Ball circuit; -Chest Pass -One-arm twisting Chest pass -Walking Chest Pass -Overhead Throw -Walking Overhead Throw Perform each throw x 10, repeat 3 sets continuously

Calisthenics -Jumping Jacks -Shuffle Splits -Pushups -Plank Perform each for 15 seconds, move in continuous circuit fashion. Repeat for 10 total sets over 10 minutes.

Returning to the start of this article and the over-riding theme - t ake charge of your life and attack your goal of fat loss. This program, in conjunction with a proper diet and supplement plan will help you shed that extra weight and help you live a healthier life. Be confident and focus, within you lays greatness.

Thank you,
John Davies, Founder Renegade Training
Chat Live with Coach Davies in the Renegade Training forums!

Products featured in this article:

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