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Training For Fat Loss
The Seven-Day Repeat

Often people want to get into ripped shape, or even just drop a few "LBs", so they turn to dieting too hard and perhaps adding a session of cardio to their weekly workout routines. This is the wrong approach. One can "strip the fat" by incorporating the right types of high-intensity exercise either alone or combined with smart eating and a quality diet supplement. By using all three (exercise, smart eating, quality diet supplement) the results can happen in a more expedient manner. The aspect of relatively clean eating can easily be summarized as eat natural foods, avoid foods high in saturated fat, skip the fast foods, enjoy smart MRP's, eat fruits and vegetables and know how to control portion sizes. Seriously, there are great articles on this website regarding how to food shop, how to eat, what supplements to use and thus, this article will focus on one type of a smart workout that you can use to help shed fat over a 21-day period.

The Warm-up
On each day of exercise it is advised to do a minimum of 10 minutes of warm-up (i.e. treadmill, elliptical, bike, etc). The first five minutes should be at a comfortable pace. The last five minutes of your warm up should be at a challenging pace. For example, if walking or jogging on a treadmill, increase both the speed and the incline until it becomes difficult for you to carry on a conversation. Get your heart pounding for a few minutes before we hit the iron.

Day One
After you have finished your warm-up it is time to get started with Antagonistic endurance training. This style of training is designed to maximize the energy expended, while minimizing the time you spend working out. Weight and fat control is affected by how many calories your body burns and just how you stimulate the muscles to adapt and become strong and toned. All exercises are to be done with one warm-up set. That is, do the exercise with one-half the weight that you normally do and do at least 20 repetitions. You will, therefore, do the following four exercises in a superset fashion. Your total volume, including the warm-up set, for each exercise will be approximately 3 x 20,15,15 (I say approx. because the range of reps on sets two and three is 12-15 reps). Again, your time between sets has to be around 30 seconds, no more than a minute maximum.
  • Incline Chest Press -- Can be done with free weights (bar or dumbbells) or on a machine. After your warm-up set, pick a weight that you can lift for 12 to 15 repetitions (reps). Do one set and immediately go on to do the next exercise listed below with the minimum rest time required to move to the next exercise (this should take you no longer than 30 seconds to move from exercise to exercise and get set-up)
  • Lat Pull downs -- This exercise is typically done on a machine. If no machine is available, then chin-ups may be substituted. After your warm-up set, pick a weight that only allows you 12 to 15 clean repetitions. Once you have completed the set, go immediately back to the Incline Chest Press and do another set. In other words, you are doing three repeats of incline bench press and lat pull downs before moving onto seated rows and flat benches.
  • Seated Row -- This exercise can be done on either a machine (like an Icarian or Hammer machine) or on the cable row. Pick a weight that only allows you to complete 12 to 15 repetitions. Right after your first set is done, go to the Flat Bench.
  • Flat Bench -- This exercise is to be completed with free weights or on a machine. Pick a weight that allows you to safely lift no less than 12 reps and no more than 15 reps.
Hopefully you're starting to feel the effects of "antagonistic-synergy" endurance training. Finish up Day 1 lifting by doing two sets of pull-ups and dips (regular dips or bench dips), again alternating sets. Do as many repetitions as you can for each exercise with minimal amount of rest time (approx 15-30sec) between sets. Once you have finished exercising with the weights, it is time to head to the treadmill. Get on the treadmill and start walking. Pick a pace that is as close to running as you can get without actually running. For most people this will be about 4 or 4.5 miles per hour. Set the timer for 20-30 minutes. You are going to alternate the incline of the treadmill every two minutes. At the low end, pick an incline of one-degree. On the high end elevate the treadmill to about seven to ten degrees. So, every 2 minutes for about 20-30 minutes you will alternate the incline from 1 to 7-10 degrees while walking at a pace that is almost jogging. When you are finished, stretch and call it a day -- you are all done with today's workout.

Day Two
Day two of the workout schedule is one where we look to maximize short-term energy expenditure. In general, lifting weights supports long-term metabolic enhancement, while aerobic activities are great for burning calories "in the now". Day two exercises are about being in the now! After warming up, do 3 sets of 15-20 calf raises. Next, go for a five-mile run. If you cannot run five-miles, than go as fast as your comfortably can on the treadmill at an incline of two-degrees for 40 minutes. If you can run the five-miles, try to do so in less than 40 to 50 minutes. When finished with that cardio, head off to a place where you can do abdominal exercises. Ideally you should have a stability ball (often referred to as a Swiss ball). Do three sets of 20-30 repetitions as you can of each of the following exercises: Straight crunch, stability-ball pull-in, reverse crunch, and hip rotation. After finishing this, do leg raises, three sets of 25 reps with one-minute between each set. Once done, call it a day.

Day Three
Today, it is about working the arms in a unique way. Again you will be super-setting every two exercises, and doing a total of 4 x 20,15,15,15 (includes warm-up set).
  • Standing Bicep Curls -- This exercise is to be done with a barbell using a wide grip. Do a warm up set with a weight that is about half of what you would normally curl. When finished with the warm-up set, get into your exercise. Pick a weight that you can curl in a safe fashion up to 15 repetitions. When the first set is completed, head immediately over to the Triceps Pushdown Machine.
  • Triceps Pushdown -- A straight or cambered bar is normally used. Pick a weight that you can use for 15 repetitions. Once done with the first set, go back to doing Bicep Curls. Now, repeat this circuit for three sets of each exercise. Remember, antagonistic-synergy is in action, so push yourself and keep the time between sets to a minimum.
  • Incline Bicep Curls -- This exercise is great for elongating the bicep and bringing about the "peak" of the muscle. It is great for bringing out the look of a full, peaked bicep. Sit on an incline bench. Set the incline back so that it is about 45 degrees. Sit leaning back and curl the dumbbells with your palms centered and with purpose. Use a slow contraction and even a slower relaxation. In other words, allow yourself 1-2 seconds on the "curl" and 2 to 4 seconds on the return. Perform one set of 12 to 15 repetitions. After you complete the first set it is off to blast your triceps.
  • Triceps French Press -- This exercise is to be performed lying on a flat bench. You lie on your back and use a cambered bar. Take an inside grip or one that is comfortable for your wrists. If you are unfamiliar with the lying French press, take a gander at Arnold's Encyclopedia of Bodybuilding or even do a "Google" to get a pictorial of it. Do one set (to start) of 12 - 15 reps. After you complete one set, go immediately back to the Incline Biceps Curl.
Perform three full circuits of these biceps and triceps exercises. For proper development of your arms, since your triceps are about 40% larger than the biceps, do two full extra sets of the lying French press once you have completed the biceps-triceps circuit. Now that you've completed your weights for the day it's time to get your cardio in. Before starting, get 3 sets of 15 calf raises. First get a solid twenty to twenty-five minutes of whatever machine you like (bike, elliptical, stairmaster, treadmill, etc). Choose a "random" program that your machine offers and complete your 20-25 min at a medium to medium-hard intensity. Once finished, stretch for a minute or two, get a drink, and get ready to finish with some treadmill interval sprints! Set the treadmill incline for 0.5-1.0. Figure out a sprint pace that you can maintain for 20-25 seconds. For most, this is somewhere in the speed 10.0-12.0 mph range. You will do one sprint every minute, and complete it in the following fashion:
  • For the first 25 seconds of every minute you will run at top speed. At second number 25 you will carefully hop off putting your feet to the sides and resting while the treadmill continues to run at top speed without you. You have the remainder of the minute (35 seconds, or 40 seconds if you were only able to sprint for 20seconds) to rest.
  • Get back on and sprint at the top of the next minute. Repeat for 10-15 repetitions.
  • As an option, you may increase the incline to make the sprints more challenging -- just be certain that the last two sprints that you do are with the incline back down to 0.5. If you choose to add incline go up 0.5 every sprint after the first two sprints until you have found an incline that exhausts you after 20-25 sec, yet allows you to recover in 35-40 sec. When you are finished stretch your hamstrings and hip flexors thoroughly and call it a day. 

  • Day Four This day is about resting and doing nothing. Kick back, relax, you deserve it! I'm only joking. There is no rest if you are looking to slash your body fat!! So, today you will do stadiums: Locate a high school with big bleachers or a college/pro-stadium. Here is how you are to run the stadium:
    At the bottom of the stadium row start running up taking two steps at a time if you can. Once at the top, run across the row until you encounter the next set of stairs and walk briskly down to the ground level. Turn and run back up. Repeat this up, over and down and back up routine for 35 minutes. When finished, walk for about 5 minutes throwing in at least 3 sets of 20 steps of walking lunges to cool down and stretch out the groin and hip area after such a workout. Next do basic static stretching out after you have finished, being certain to not forget your calves (2-3 x 30sec per calf).
    If you do not have a stadium to use but can find an apartment building with at least 10 flights, get to it! Run while taking two steps at a time, and run to the 10th floor. Turn around and walk down the stairs until you reach the 5th floor. Once at this floor, run back to the top floor and walk briskly down to the 3rd floor. Now, run back up to the 10th floor and walk back to the 5th. Repeat the run up, walk down, alternating between the 3rd and 5th floors until you have run/walked for 25 minutes. Once done, stretch out, drink some water and go hit the abs. When you are finished with your cardio for the day, head off to a place where you can do abdominal exercises. Ideally you will have a medicine ball (you can substitute a dumbbell or weight plate, but be careful to grip it well to avoid dropping it on you) of 8-15 lbs. Do 2-3 sets of 50 repetitions of each of the following exercises: regular crunches, crunches w/legs at 90-degrees, seated twists (a.k.a. Russian twists), reverse crunches, toe touches.

  •   Day Five
  • Now is the moment of truth. The truth today is that you truly deserve a break, so take today off and rest! This is not a day to eat "cheat meals".

  •   Day Six
  • Today we train the legs. Our aim is to strengthen them a bit without overdoing it
    • Step-Ups, Lunge Style -- Today, you will start working the legs by finding a bench that is about 12-16 inches in height. I want you to start from a position that is about one to two feet from the bench, far enough to where you are lunging onto the bench and putting emphasis of the ham-glute area as well as the quads. Step forward with whichever leg you wish making certain to use the heel to toe contact that a lunge should have, then fully step through and pull yourself onto the bench to where the other leg joins on the bench. In true fashion, the exercise is really a lunge, step up and follow-up step up, and a reversal of that so that you can repeat. Do at least 12 step-ups per each leg. Pick a dumbbell weight that is about 20-25% your body weight (if you weigh 100 pounds, the dumbbells should total 20 pounds). Do three sets of each leg prior to moving onto the next exercise.
    • Hi Leg Press -- We have all done a leg press, but this type of leg press is different -- it stresses the hamstrings and the rear. Place the seat in such a position whereas the back support is about three slots away from the last hole. Sit in the leg press and place your feet high up on the pressing board in such a manner whereas only your heels are firmly set. Your feet should be shoulder width apart. Having your heels only on the pressing board (keeping your foot placement high) allows the stress of the downward movement to be transferred from your quadriceps to your hamstrings and lower gluteal muscles. Slowly lower the pressing board downward toward your thighs, keeping your heels only on the top of the board. The top half of your feet will hang over the top of the pressing board. You may find that your lower back/butt curls away from the back pad and this is ok -- it is the normal compensatory movement by the body to avoid a compression injury. The important movement is the negative or eccentric downward movement of the high-foot leg press. This, when done enough (high repetitions with moderate weight) the exercise will help tighten the butt and help tighten the tie-in of the hamstrings and gluteus maximus and minimus. Make sure to do 15 -- 20 repetitions for 4 sets. Always do a 3-0-1 pace. The use of a "3-0-1" pace is used to indicate use of 3 seconds for the eccentric part of the movement, 0 seconds at the midpoint of the movement and 1 second to explode to a complete contraction or extension. This system of training nomenclature is used throughout this article and by better exercise physiologists.
    • The Leg Curl -- The exercise is started with you snuggly positioned into the leg curl machine. Make sure the curl pads are nestled on your Achilles tendons. The idea is to have the knees slightly bent (not hyper-extended) and the footpad resting on your Achilles tendon (back on the ankle). Your knees should be a position where you are comfortable curling the chosen weight. When curling the weight, always try to point your toes away thus enabling you to concentrate on curling with your hamstrings. When curling the weight up, remember to keep your hips on the bench and toes pointed forward. Make sure you move the weight through a full range of motion (ROM), and curl your feet as close to your butt as you can go. Give those hamstrings a little squeeze throughout the contraction and again at the top of the rep, then lower the weight under control to the starting position. Ideally this exercise should be done in a very controlled fashion. Aim to do 12 to 15 repetitions in a 3-0-1 fashion. Four total sets is your goal.
    • Calf Raises/Calf Press -- do 3 x 15-20
    These exercises are all you are going to do for the legs. You can substitute single-leg leg press or Smith machine squats instead of dumbbell lunges. That is your call. We are trying to not overdo the leg muscles since these legs are also powering us through the cardio sessions. Cardio is also on the agenda for today. Once finished with the legs lifting, go find yourself either a Precor Elliptical or an exercise bicycle and do 30 minutes at a moderately challenging pace. After you finish, stretch and call it a day.

  • Day Seven
  • Today is about cardio and abs. Today's cardio session is to be done on both the treadmill and the rowing machine. I want you to go grab dumbbells that are about 5% of your body weight. Hold these to the side of your body. Start the treadmill so that it is on a 10-15% incline and the pace is 2.5 to 3.5 miles per hour. Walk holding the dumbbells either to your side or slightly swinging naturally. Vary the workout (and alleviate boredom) by adding a minute of side-stepping here and there (getting both sides evenly), or even walking backwards. You may need to slightly lower the speed when going sideways or backwards, but should find it as challenging as going forward at a higher speed. Walk for a total of 40 minutes. Without hesitation, go over to the rowing machine. Most gyms have one to three of these. Strap your feet in and start the computer. Pick competition setting. You will now be racing against the machine's rowing team. The goal is 10 minutes of "crew" rowing and of course, for you to beat the machine. Once you finish, it is time for training your abs. Alternatively, you can go for a 5-mile run; aim to complete it in less than 45 minutes, or 9-minute miles. If you cannot run five-miles, put the treadmill at a five-degree incline and walk at 4.0 MPH for 40 minutes, do not hold onto the front of the treadmill. Once done with your cardio for the day, head off to a place where you can do abdominal exercises. You should pick one of the two ab routines that you did earlier in the week (on Days 2 & 4). If you are feeling particularly good, do one workout and add exercises from the other that do not feel too repetitive. You may also select to use the basic abdominal machines that are at your gym. If you do that, then be certain to get 80-100 reps in. 

  • This is it, this is your seven-day rotational fat loss workout. Follow this same exact workout for 21-days, follow it verbatim while keeping your eating as clean as possible. Do this workout and I guarantee your body will be in better fitness and physical shape than from before you started this program. Also, it's critical to stay disciplined with your diet supplement (Tetrazene ES-50 is highly recommended) as the goal here is to stimulate your metabolism, while causing your body to adapt to a different type of workout stress. This stress will help your muscles to become more defined, stimulate strength and endurance gains while also helping you to shed fat. Following this workout as intended, using drop and complementary sets as written and limiting the time between sets to no more than a minute, while keeping the lifting intensity high and doing the cardio as prescribed herein, will only lead you to fat-be-gone heaven. So, let's strip that body fat and get in better shape, you deserve it!

  • Douglas S. Kalman MS, RD is a Director in the Nutrition and Endocrinology Department of Miami Research Associates ( and contributes to the ProSource Forum.