The 5 Pound Rule – Staying Lean For a Lifetime

February 19, 2009

I have a rule that I follow that allows me to stay lean year round without getting too obsessed with food and counting calories.

You see, I like to drink beer and eat tasty foods, but I also like to have visible abs and a lean youthful appearance. I will talk about a simple and realistic approach to insure that you never have to worry about racing to get in shape for the summer ever again.
carribean beach vacation
[With the increase in beach pictures, you can probably tell that I’m dying for a tropical vacation. People who live in the upper latitudes like me can probably relate. This picture just sums it up perfectly. Suntanning and swimming. My idea of an ideal vacation.]

So What is The 5 Pound Rule?

It is simply this…never allow yourself to get over 5 pounds over your “ideal weight”. When I talk about ideal weight, I’m not talking about the weight you are at when you have busted butt in the gym for 3 months straight and have dropped every last ounce of fat (this is more of a “event weight” which I will talk about later).

Your ideal weight is a realistic weight where you look great in and out of clothes. You aren’t chubby – you lean and toned, but maybe not a ripped as many movie stars get for their special roles.

Your Ideal Weight Depends Upon a Few Factors

To be honest, your ideal weight is defined by you. What weight does it take for you to be comfortable in a swimsuit? What is the weight where clothes fit really well? What weight does your face take on an attractive appearance? There isn’t a “weight calculator” or formula that will figure out this number for you.

For me, my ideal weight is 190…someone else my same height my look better at 200. You may have to experiment a bit to find out your ideal weight.

Find Out Your Ideal Weight and Stay Within 5 Pounds

Do what it takes to stay within 5 pounds of that weight year round. Once you are 5 pounds over that ideal weight mark, tighten up your diet and do what it takes to work back down to your ideal weight.

As long as you follow this rule you will look great year round. It is as simple as it gets.

This Allows a Lot of Flexibility to Eating and Exercise

This is a way of life for me. I can eat those bar nachos and drink beer on occasion and easily stay within that 5 pound zone. If for some reason I go from 190, up to 195 then I tighten up my diet and increase my activity levels…until I get close to 190 again.

I know that people like to get really complex with measuring body fat percentage, but once you know the weight that you feel is the best or you…then you don’t really need to complicate things.

“Event Weight” is Typically 5 Pounds Less Than Ideal Weight

Certainly 5 pounds is just a bit of an estimate, but if you go about 5 pounds lower than your ideal weight…you will reach what I call “event weight”.

I called this event weight, because this is the weight to reach for vacations, weddings, photo shoots, etc. I wouldn’t call it ideal, because it isn’t a realistic condition to hold year round. It is fun to push your body to the limits now and then, but attempting to do this year round is bordering on obsession.

Eating Healthy is The Goal the Majority of the Time

Even if you could stay lean on a junk food diet, that isn’t the goal. Ideally you want to eat a diet that is largely based on vegetables and healthy whole foods. If 75% of your meals are healthy and full of great nutrients, then you are on the right track.

If You Have More Than 10 Pounds to Lose…

If you have a lot of weight to lose, I would recommend that you work hard and allow yourself to be a bit “imbalanced” for a short period of time.

Seriously, just do what it takes to get down to your ideal weight and then make the point of never having to lose a lot of weight again. Once you reach your ideal weight, then use this more balanced approach and live a little.

Note: I was compelled to write this post, because I don’t want people to get too obsessed with fitness.

As long as you stay within a 5 pound range and not let things get out of hand, you can live a well balanced life and stay extremely fit for the rest of your life.

----> (New) Facebook Comments..."Cause all the cool kids are doin' it!"

{ 48 comments… read them below or add one }

Adam Steer - Better Is Better February 19, 2009 at 5:36 pm

Cool advice Rusty, and interesting approach. I can see how this would help avoid the obsessive approach to nutrition. It echoes a post I wrote before Christmas about staying within “striking distance” of your comfort weight over periods where you know you’ll be eating more.


Tim February 19, 2009 at 6:01 pm

hey rusty, such a great post cant tell you how much I agree with you. I stay between 165- 170. right now I am 168. I leave in 19 days for my vacation for laguna beach with my best friends. Cant wait senior year in college spring break. Last one! But I read your cardio article on how you do cardio I have a few questions.

1. Would you do cardio everyday till I leave?
2. you say warm up 5,
then 10 mins interval(1 sprint 1 walk),
then wait 5 min
then do 20 to 40 mins of low intensity cardio
Do you have to wait 5 mins and how long would you do u recomend do low the low intensity after sprints for

Patrick Cox February 19, 2009 at 6:48 pm

Dear Rusty,
I really enjoy reading your articles as always, I know over the years, I have been obsessed with staying in tip top shape, and constantly weighing myself. This 5-pound rule is a great way to keep it off your mind. It gives me a guidline and range to follow without the feeling of guilt that comes with being off just a few pounds. I get so tired of all the typical fitness myths and misconceptions that I read and hear all the time, over and over, through the years. Thanks for sharing your views, and filling that gap in the fitness industry, I don’t read or listen to anything about fitness anymore unless it’s you or Eat Stop Eat.
Thanks again Rusty
Patrick, Denver, CO

Fitness-siren February 19, 2009 at 7:33 pm

Wow, this is a great post and one that I didn’t even think of myself. I like the idea of choosing your ideal weight based on your own observations. This makes it simpler without over analyzation. Thanks!

Eric February 19, 2009 at 7:50 pm

Hey Rusty,

This is exactly where I’m at right now. I’ve pretty much torn down my site and started this “20 Week Sprint” to eternal leanness. I’m attacking it in stages: Sprinting to 15, Running to 10, and Jogging to 9.

And then stroll my way lower, I guess, haha, if I choose!

David at Animal-Kingdom-Workouts February 19, 2009 at 9:07 pm

The strategy you outline above is a sound one, and should help a lot of people avoid the pitfalls of yo yo dieting. Oh, and I live in a northern latitude as well. I couldn’t agree with you more about your vacation ideas. Sun, Surf, sound good to me!

– Dave

Ally February 19, 2009 at 9:47 pm

Good post. I’m grateful for your blog. I started reading your blog about 10 days ago. I’m trying to lose 7-8 lbs (I’m 5’6 and 132 lbs) and already work out a lot, so I bought 12 training sessions at my gym in December. Unfortunately the training sessions (I still have 4 left) which averaged twice a week for a month–in conjunction with 30-60 minutes of cardio about 5 days a week didn’t seem to make a bit of difference. My trainer has no interest in what I do when I’m not with him (like my diet or cardio workouts) other than to tell me to eat around 2000-2200 calories a day for a total of 6 “meals”, and he isn’t willing to help me come up with a plan–nor do I have confidence in his ability to do so.

I’ve taken a few of your concepts and implemented them and already lost 3 lbs. I do IF a few times a week (for 18 hours), quit doing so much cardio, and have started HIIT 3x a week on a treadmill or outside (jog at 6.5 for 5 minutes, then alternate intervals of running (8.0 to start, increasing by .5 each interval until I hit 11.5) for 45 sec to 1 min with walking for 1/1.5 minutes at 4.5 Then I usually run at around 6.5 for another 20 minutes; sometimes walking depending on how spent I feel. I’ve also quit eating in the 4 hours before my workout. I’ve read your posts on insulin and changed my diet some too.

I’m just not sure, even after reading tons of your old posts, what exactly I should be doing insofar as weights–specifically which exercises and how many reps. I don’t do legs b/c mine build very quickly, so I’m just concerned with upper body. (I do planks for my abs). My trainer has had me doing tons of reps and lots of different things with the bosu, and it seems really inefficient. Surely I can do what I need to for strength training in less than 2 hours a week. Any suggestions? Thank you for providing all of this information! It’s been exciting to already see changes just after implementing a few of your ideas.

Tuscanystone February 19, 2009 at 9:59 pm

I have 27lbs left to be at my ideal weight. And I have been thinking about what my strategy will be to stay down there this time! (Have been a yoyo dieter most of my damn life!) I think you just answered my dilemma!

I took a month off at xmas and ‘only’ put on 3lbs. That’s with a lot of restaurants, alcohol and no thoughts about calories! But eating healthily when I wasn’t out partying! I therefore think your 5lbs is perfectly reasonable for sustaining a life of healthy, but non-obsessive living.

Many thanks!

Tusc 🙂

2weeks February 19, 2009 at 10:11 pm


So I have a question for you, I’m going on vacation in two weeks and, of course, I want to look as great as possible. My body looks pretty good, but I do have some extra untoned flab that I’d love to get rid of. Do you think it’s possible to see changes in 2 weeks? What do you suggest I do? What do you recommend I eat? And what should I do when I go to the gym? Also, how do you feel about diet pills, cleanes, etc? Btw, I’m 5’4″ and 121lbs (would LOVE to lose 4lbs in two weeks – is that realistic?).

Bryan February 19, 2009 at 10:47 pm

Great article. I love how your site never feels too extreme. It just comes across and real and natural. Between your site and Mark’s daily apple I’ve been making some real changes in myself due to my doctor ticking me off after pushing meds (statins and high blood pressure) without even mentioning diet. I took it as a wake up call. Now, after 10 weeks I’m down from 209 to 182 today and my cholesterol is down from 253 to 203. Only 1 point over what it was when I was on statins. Still have a ways to go but I can just barely make out some abs. Thanks for a great site.

Methuselah - Pay Now Live Later February 20, 2009 at 2:25 am

Rusty – of course things do get a bit more difficult when you are trying to gain muscle, or fear you might be losing it. Temptation is to try to factor that into the equation and the rule becomes harder to follow. I have a set of scales that measure fat percentage and my rule is that I never allow myself to get above 12%. Of course their measurement is a little crude, so I am always left guessing about that too!

Helder February 20, 2009 at 8:10 am

It’s an excellent strategy Rusty, that’s the one i use, and it works very well, Life is to be enjoyed so i can’t stand that obssessive mentality we see a lot in other sites and mags, we are here on this Planet to be Healthy and Happy, and that means enjoy all good things, so your strategy works just perfect for it, those 5 pounds are always easy to deal with it. With summer coming those beach photos are always very inspiring

Elle February 20, 2009 at 9:58 am

Once again: great, balanced advice. Kudos.

Caleb - Double Your Gains February 20, 2009 at 10:50 am


This is a great post man! I always refer to the pareto principle when it comes to eating healthy — do it 80% of the time and allow for, be ok with ,and even expect 20% of the time to eat unhealthy — it works for me. I’d agree even 75% will work for most people!


Yavor February 20, 2009 at 11:36 am


in 2 weeks with moderate training (3 times per week) and lets say fasting twice per week, you can expect to get some difference, say 3-5lbs down. You will look a bit sharper, but nothing really dramatic.

Check out my before after pics from last year spanning exactly two weeks apart. All I did was train 3 times per week with body weight circuits at home and fast for 24 hours twice per week:

Now, you can step it up a notch – you can train 3 times per week with the turbulence training body weight circuits – just search Rusty’s site to find the post with the free workout AND do the fat burning cardio workout:

Diet wise – fast twice per week AND eliminate all sugars, flours (bread, pasta and so on), rice and potatoes, as well as dairy (some folks don’t digest it well). Basically eat natural unprocessed foods – veggies, fruit, butter, meats, eggs, oilve oiletc..

This way, you can expect a very noticeable difference.


it is good you are giving this plan so folks have an easy way to keep tracks of things and not get really obsessed with fitness… unlike us LOL


Donovan "DFitnessguy" Owens February 20, 2009 at 11:45 am


This is a great post!

This should tug at the heart strings of a lot of people who find being fit and healty being a task. It’s really not and it’s best to keep it as fun as you can.

You can restrict yourself of all the foods that you enjoy and you will lose weight but you will most likely gain it back and more.

Find out where your “peace point” is with your body and enjoy life as much as you can while hanging around your “peace point”.

If you get outside of the point you and your clothes will know.

Donovan “DFitnessguy” Owens

Busy Womens Fitness Blog

Hutto, Texas Womens Fitness Boot Camp

Mike OD - IF Life February 20, 2009 at 12:03 pm


I think you hit the nail on the head with finding your “ideal” weight….or better yet find your ideal “look”. We are all different and hold weight differently….hell I threw out my scale long ago as the real truth was always in the mirror. Now I’m happy just being detached from caring about some number on a plastic piece of equipment.

Fitness-siren February 20, 2009 at 12:43 pm

Hi Ally, have you tried any online workout programs? I am using a particular online program right now and it has worked for me so far. I am now down to 16.9 % body fat from 25.1%. I could name some programs here but I’m not sure if Rusty would be ok with it.

Good luck!

The Spaniard February 20, 2009 at 12:51 pm

Rusty – I must confess that I feel jealous of you and the people that write here. You are all either in shape or can easily lose weight. I have been struggling for the past 8 years with 30 pounds that I cannot get rid off…and food is not the problem, for I probably eat better than most of the people in your blog (and I am not talking about doing cracy stuff like fasting). I have more or less identify what is preventing me from losing the weight. To my very slow metabolism and slow heart beat (great when I was playing sports like Rugby or futbol), I have to add my age (almost 43), the fact that I moved from Madrid (where I would walk every where) to Florida (you need the car even going to the restroom), and becoming a father (believe me, working out is a hassle even now that my son is 5). When I had to give up the sports I mentioned before due to age and aches, I still would walk 4 hours on the golf course, but here in Florida is impossible (I understand using a golf cart in summer, but the rest of the year?). BUT, I have recently discovered what is really not allowing me to lose the weight: STRESS. No matter how much you work out in the gym or outside, how many days you can go without eating (I still think that doing fasting is cracy), Tabata, Hiit, whatever…with a lot of stress you cannot simply lose weight because one of the first requesits is to sleep for 8 hours and I can’t even get 6 hours of decent sleep. I am 5’10” and I weigh 202 pounds (eventhough if you look at me you wouldn’t think I do)…it seems I have very heavy bones (must be all the milk i’ve had since I was born…hehehe). This past years I have felt very frustrated because I could not lose the weight, but now I know that I am not going to lose it because of the stress, and I won’t get rid of the stress until things get better here and in Spain…or I win the power ball.

Chris - Zen to Fitness February 20, 2009 at 12:51 pm

This is an awesome post. Just when things start to get obsessive I think this is an important rule for people in good shape to keep an eye on. It also helps people who are aiming for a weight goal as they are allowed to have leeway on their goal……The other great thing about 5 pounds difference is that it allows you to fit the same clothes all year round!

Yum Yucky February 20, 2009 at 1:05 pm

This is a great concept! You just took a load of pressure off my shoulders.

Miah February 20, 2009 at 2:57 pm

Rusty – Spot on as usual.

Spaniard – I was in nearly the same position as you up until about a year ago. No matter what I did I couldn’t lose the weight. A year later and with some good tips from this and other sites I’m at what I would consider my ideal weight. The only thing that changed in the last year was my attitude. After I convinced myself that I could and come hell or high water I was going to get into shape… I started making progress. My point here isn’t to gloat but to tell you that you can… Know that you can and then don’t worry about it, just make it happen…

Ted February 20, 2009 at 5:10 pm

Rusty. Awesome post.
Somewhat unrelated question:
I’m a collegiate swimmer who swims 4 hours a day and lifts weights twice a week. It’s hard for me to do lo-carb cycles because I require so many carbs for my aerobic activity.
However, even with healthy eating and tons of exercise, I still hover around 12-14% bodyfat and I can’t seem to get that ripped look. Additionally, I have no role model because Michael Phelps “eats whatever he wants whenever he wants”

What is your opinion on the matter? I value it highly.

Lori February 20, 2009 at 6:16 pm

Hello, I just read your post… dreadful… you NEED A NEW trainer!!!!!!!!!!
I’m no expert on anything (now weighing 250 pounds, and just getting back to making an effort), but i have PAID dearly, and worked with 2 trainers in the past (excellent and informed- both) Although one worked better for me than the other did… you have to jive with your trainer, request different ones untill the lightbulb goes off… each trainer has different tactics, and approaches… and you are PAYING DEARLY FOR THEIR TIME…

so don’t waist yours or your money either… it sounds like you might need a trainer that also is a dietricain, they are out there, and many for the same price you are paying now…

ask me how i know… my trainer hooked me up with an 1800 calorie diet… 65% protien 15% fat 20% carbs…

even showed me when it was best to utalize those cals…


Lori February 20, 2009 at 6:20 pm

bryan: you totally just gave me a boost… 10 weeks, 27 pounds… you rock my freind… I just came back from a 2 mile walk/jog… and i feel great… keep going!, Lori

Lori February 20, 2009 at 6:24 pm

To Rusty: I think I’ve read every post from your site, and now i pour through your email… I love every one of them… Thanks so much…

You are such a a staple in the quest for encouragment and inspiration…

It’s easy to pick up a fitness mag… but how many talk about the normal people that want to start from imperfection?

Thanks, look forward to your next post!!,

BurritoKid February 21, 2009 at 12:17 am

Does your weight remain pretty consistent? Sometimes ill get my weight to drop down to 152, but after the weekend it’ll rise to 162. And this cycle will just continue. Am I allowing it to drop too much to see any progress?

Brad February 21, 2009 at 1:02 am

Hey Rusty, great stuff as usual. How goes it? Haven’t left a post in a while…………but it is that time of year for me, time to get lean again! I’m excited.
Anyways, got a couple quick questions for you. Due to an injury I’m dealing with right now, I cannot run on the treadmill, which is horrible for me because that is my favorite way to get lean and do my HIIT. When healthy I do HIIT 3 days a week always on the treadmill.
Have you ever had any success getting lean and doing HIIT on something that is low impact? I know I can use the elliptical or the stationery bike………..but is that even effective for getting a great HIIT workout?
I’m afraid this injury is going to keep me from getting in great shape again as I’m not allowed to play sports or run until I’ve recovered, basically nothing explosive.
Any advice would be helpful. Thanks Rusty!

Anthony February 21, 2009 at 3:43 am

great post rusty. this is the only website i check out and i think everybody appreciates the work you put into it. answering questions is what seperates you from the rest. keep it up man!

Lysa February 21, 2009 at 12:34 pm

Excellent advice and extremely logical! I absolutely agree that it is illogical to try to maintain what you call ‘event weight’ I’ve tried and you just end up getting upset at yourself. Anyway, i’m trying to lose 2 pounds, down to 108, before spring break but my main concern is that I want definition in my lower back and abs and i’m having trouble getting there. I’ve always had a flat stomach and small waist but I want the long model-esque definition, not the six pack look which I think tends to make the torso look shorter. I find swimming can achieve that look but I do not want the bulky arms of a swimmer… If you have any advice or suggestions I would really appreciate it. Thanks

Yash February 21, 2009 at 4:04 pm

Hey Rusty,
This was a great post. Sticking to this rule definitely allows you to enjoy yourself a little more. Also, once you’ve been fit for a while and you’re self-aware about your body, that 5 pound cushion is just enough that you know you can get right back on the horse and lose it if you need to. Another great thing I picked up from Steve Maxwell about knowing how to stay in your ideal range is pullups [really any bodyweight exercise works but pullups are probably the best]. Unlike weights, bodyweight exercises assess how fit you are because your weight is factored in. So, if you can do 10 pullups normally, but you’ve been a bit lazy and can only do 6 or 7 now, you know you’re nearing your upper limit weightwise. On the other hand, if you’re hammering out 12 or 13 pullups, you’re likely close to your “event weight”. This method is also good because it completely takes out the scale, and its completely based on what you see in the mirror and how you feel.

Tim February 21, 2009 at 9:16 pm

Hey you mentioned lyle do you ever. Have you ever tried his flexible dieting or refeed methods. I bought the book and I heard he knows alot anbout nutrition

Brad February 22, 2009 at 12:03 am

Hey Rusty, what about rowing machines for a good low impact cardio workout……….have you ever used a rower? Also, what do you think of stairclimbers for good cardio?
Just curious, I’m trying to think of new ways to go about my cardio routine that would be low impact……….getting old sucks.

admin February 22, 2009 at 2:55 pm

Alright guys…I’ll try to respond to as many of these comments as possible.


You don’t necessarily have to wait 5 minutes. You could do low intensity at a slow walk for 5 minutes instead. You could do cardio every day for the last 2 weeks, but no more than 5-6 days per week leading up to that point.


I appreciate the compliment. I really enjoy Brad’s advice at Eat Stop Eat…he is a guy who lives while being lean and healthy. There are a few guys who comment on my site that have outstanding blogs as well, so make sure you explore those sites as well.


Great job buddy. I like the term “Eternal Leaness”.


That is right, you are just north of me in Vancouver Canada if I remember correctly. Great city!


Thanks for the great testimonial. It is too bad your trainer isn’t interested in what you do outside of the gym, because that is the big difference maker. As far as strength training goes. Just do Back and Chest exercises on one day and Shoulders and Arms the next. Do each workout twice per week for 4 total workouts (each workout is only 20-30 minutes). Keep it simple…2 or 3 exercises per body part, 3-4 sets of 3-5 reps per set, and don’t lift to failure. Basically tense the muscles hard and go slow when you are lifting. Use the weight as a way to generate strong contractions in the muscle, because that is what causes true muscle tone. Once you 30 minute session is done, nail out some HIIT. This will work well, just continue doing the other things you mentioned.


I eat at restaurants, and enjoy great food with friends and family…but like you, I eat really well when I’m eating alone. It is a great strategy to stay lean while enjoying social events.


You could easily drop 4 pounds in two weeks. The thing is you can diet HARD in the short term and experience amazing results. The best approach I know is eating nothing but chicken breasts, salad and rice vinegar dressing for two weeks. It is the most bland and rough diet you will ever experience and it only works short term, but you will drop stubborn weight like crazy. Stay away from diet pills.


That is awesome! Being healthy, more energy, and looking better. There isn’t a downside to this lifestyle!


You know I never really obsess about muscle. I just feel that each individual has an amount of muscle that is “natural” for their body. Someone like Matthew McConaughey or Laird Hamilton have more muscle than Brad Pitt or David Beckham, but they all look great. My body likes to be around 185-190 when lean, Will Smith who is the same height is about 5-10 pounds heavier. You do make a great point for people who want to carry a bit more muscle, but I suggest people avoid excess muscle in the first place.


The cool thing about being within 5 poounds is that you are never more than a month away from getting in amazing shape.


Thanks for assisting me with the comments. Great advice! The last thing I want is for people to get obsessed. I’m obsessed with setting up my next beach vacation:) Can’t wait!


I love the term “peace point”…this is exacly what I was talking about.


Yeah…the mirror is a great tool as well. The longer people do this, the less they really need tools. I like to weight myself because it just takes a few seconds and is dead simple.


Good point. There are a few great courses out there. Pretty much can’t go wrong with any thing by Brad Pilon, Lyle McDonald, or Craig Ballantyne. I try to keep promotions to a minimum on this site, but reference a few online product I personally use now and then.

The Spaniard,

I hope things go better for you. I sense the stress and frustration, just reading your post. I love the comments you provide on this site and consider you a friend. I’m wishing that things look up as far as reducing stress goes. The economy is really tight in the US as well. Just a rough spot that will eventaully improve.


Competitve swimmers actually have a tougher time getting lean than many other athletes. There have been a few studies investigating this, but really no clear answer why this is the case. You probably don’t need to do low carb cycles, maybe experiment with reducing your calories a bit each day. It sounds too simple to work, but less eating in general will probably do the trick.


Thanks for the compliment. My goal with this site was to make it feel nothing like a Fitness Mag. Fitness magazines are mainly just articles supporting the supplements that they sell. They are a vehicle to sell supplements. They used to be so much better, but my guess is that they are dying for subscribers so have to “milk” the most out of each reader.


When I was younger it would fluctuate more. Now that I have gained my ideal amount of muscle and eat decently well year round, it doesn’t fluctuate much at all.


You can get ripped from hardcore HIIT on a stationary bike. It gives you a very different feeling and in some ways is more painful as far as the burn you feel in your legs. Before treadmills were so prevalent, I got great results from using a stationary bike.


I do my best to answer as many questions as possible. I probably get to about 1/2 of them these days. At some point it will only be 1/4…but I will keep plugging away and helping as many people as humanly possible. It is very fun and rewarding for me.


Type in the term “planks” into my search bar in the upper right hand corner of my site. A bunch of articles will come up and give you different strategies to do this exercise. This is exaclty what you need to get that sexy female flat toned stomach. I agree with you for not trying to get a six pack if you are a woman. Too much tone in that area can look masculine.


Never heard of the pullup rule. Sounds like a solid strategy, expecially for athletic performance. I always think strength-to-weight ratio is more impressive than just going for maximum strength and putting on 30-40 pounds in the process.

Lyle McDonald and Brad Pilon are the two guys I go to and trust about nutrition. Their products are a cut above many other courses online because they state their case with scientific studies. Both are WAY ahead of the curve in the Fitness Nutrition industry. You really can’t go wrong with anything they produce.


I haven’t done much with the rowing machine, but I have friends who enjoy it. As far as stair climbers go, there are 2 types. The regular stair climber and the StepMill. The regular stair climber isn’t that great, but the StepMill is amazing (and brutal). The StepMill is like an escaltor with real stairs and will make you breath and sweat like crazy. In my opinion this could be one of the best cardio machines in the gym. If you don’t have access to a StepMill and want to go low impact, then opt for the stationary bike. Pick the “old school” upright bike, not the one where you are laying back.

Solid comments and questions…I appreciate it!


Michael February 22, 2009 at 4:07 pm

Good post. I follow a similar rule myself which allows me to stay in decent shape in the off season (winter) and then really tone up for the summer season.

Dan February 22, 2009 at 4:47 pm


I have 10 pounds or so of body fat I’m looking to lose.

Do I go with “Warp Speed Fat Loss” or “Eat Stop Eat?”

I read “Warp Speed Fat Loss” and loved how every single meal for the month is listed for you. All you have to do is find your weight and follow the meals.

Keep up the good work on this site.

Hurtarte February 22, 2009 at 8:08 pm

I want to thank you for creating this website, great info. Do you take any creatine? I have heard good things about this supplement. Can this stuff be taken everyday if so how much??

Ally February 22, 2009 at 8:30 pm

Fitness-siren–I checked out your website and the online program you’re using–thanks. Rusty thanks for your suggestions. They are much appreciated.

ryan February 23, 2009 at 7:28 am

Hi Rusty,

I’m 5’7″, 128 pounds and my suit is about 36 inch (shoulder size). I’m naturally a small guy and a hard-gainer. What do you think my ideal weight should be? I read that you are somewhere around 6’3″ and so you would look great lean or even with bigger muscles. For me, I’m not sure if I should put on more weight and get bigger or stay lean, because for someone small like me, putting too much muscles won’t look good, it makes me look too brawny.
Tom Cruise is about 5’7″ and i’m not sure how much he weighs, but he looks pretty fit. Any advice?

Thanks so much!

Sean P February 23, 2009 at 3:21 pm

Good Day Rusty

First of all I would like to tell you how much I appreciate you sharing all of your knowledge with us and making it easier for most people to understand the truth about health and fitness. Anyways Im 21 and 5’9 165lbs…I work for Goodlife Fitness where I am a “Fitness Trainer” and absolutly love it. I am in the best shape of my life but like anyone else want to continue to improve . I know most people dont suggest this but I am trying to get bigger while lowering my body fat %. Im from Ontario, Canada and want to look ripped for the beach(approx 3 months) while keeping size. Right now I work out my chest and back Monday and Thursday, my biceps/triceps and shoulders Tuesday and Friday. On Wednesdays I just focus on my core and some cardio. Also in between most sets I do core workouts. After each workout I do a 3 min warm up (5.5mph) than I do 15 min HIIT (1min-7.5mph jog and than 1 min- 10.5mph sprints) than cooldown obviously. I was just wondering what you think about if I try a fat burner such as Hydroxycut or something like it. My BF% fluctuates between 12-14% and I want it down to under 10 in 3 months. Also I eat healthy other than I treat myself to a case of beer a week lol. I know this is long but I wouldnt have taken the time to write this to you if I didnt respect your opinion. Thanks again for everything!

Tom Parker - Free Fitness Tips February 23, 2009 at 6:06 pm

Sounds like a good approach Rusty. However, I think it’s more suited to people who are looking to lose body fat. If your ideal weight involves you building muscle I think it’s a bit more difficult than this.

Raz February 27, 2009 at 5:48 pm


Is fasted cardio essential?

p.s. why do you delete my comments. address this.

admin February 27, 2009 at 9:57 pm


Warp Speed Fat Loss is the best course for losing body fat quickly and Eat Stop Eat is the best way to eat long-term for low body fat. I really like them both.


Creatine is the last breakthrough the supplement industry (over 15 years ago). The best muscle building supplement without a doubt. I don’t take it because I don’t want to build muscle. The funny thing is that you don’t have to mix it with fruit punch as recommended by so many people (unecessary calories).


That is really hard to say unless I saw you in person. My estimate is 140-145 range, but it depends upon how big your frame is.


It sounds like you are doing what you need to do to get lean. Make sure you go into your workout in a fasted state and on some ocassions you will want to add 15-20 minutes Steady State Cardio after the HIIT. At the bottom of my site there will be a link that says “Low Body Fat Percentage”. Click that link for a detailed explanation of the type of cardio I recommend. Have fun on the beach!


Please understand that I do my best to reply to as many comments as possible, but on any given day I can get 50-100+ comments. I love comments and do read them all, but can’t respond to everything. I rarely delete comments. When you post a comment it will appear as if it has been deleted until I “approve” it. The ones I do delete are from when a Bodybuilding forum picks up one of my posts (they can’t stand my site). Typically the bodybuilding forums are out of control…they throw around racial slurs, homo-phobic remarks, profanity, etc. I created this site so you guys could avoid all that nonsense. So to your question…”is fasted cardio essential?”. No it’s not essential, it just makes it a bit more effective. You will reach your fat loss goals a bit faster if done in a fasted state.

Hope that helps,


myra March 5, 2009 at 7:48 am

Hi Rusty
What good advice you give hon!! I will be sticking to the 5lb rule once i reach my target of 136 lbs (which im getting there, gradually).

what i need to know is how do i maintain the weight and not keep losing once i hit my target? im worried of not getting the balance right. i love gyming it makes me feel refreshed and alive, so dont want to cut it down think im addicted to the results im getting!!!!!!!! also i want to stick to healthy eating. when i give myself a day free to eat what i want im finding id rather stick with healthier options. can you advise me on this rusty please?

admin March 21, 2009 at 3:39 pm


I don’t think you have a problem getting too light. The body seems to naturally slow the fat loss down once it reaches the right weight. I don’t think you need to dedicate a day to eating junky food. When you know you are going to eat junky just prepare the body a bit by eating lighter meals a day or two before the higher calorie meal.


Cindy March 29, 2009 at 9:38 am

Rusty, your site is the best! I love your outlook on life and fitness. I have lost 55 lbs over the last year and am only a few lbs away from my ideal weight, 140 at 5’10”, thinking event weight at 135 – never to exceed 145. My body fat right now is 24% – how low do you think I should get it? I weight train 3x/wk and cardio 3xs, mostly intervals.

Thanks again for a great post!

Jared | October 14, 2009 at 2:37 pm

Rusty, Just downloaded your Vacation Body Bluprint. It’s like you created that exactly for my wife and I. We are avid SCUBA divers and travel every 6 months to some place tropical. Always scrambling trying to get into shape. We’re headed to Cozumel in Dec.

I was going to try the warrior diet, or Eat Stop Eat, but I want the fasted way of shedding fat (doesn’t every one!). I’m been working out for a few months, but I’m just not loosing body fat. It’s my diet I know!

I’m 39, 5’11” and weigh 183 and a few days ago 23% BF. I’m doing light resistance training 5 days a week (2 day split) and HIIT after each workout just started HIIT yesterday (treadmill adding .5 to runs). We have 7 weeks before vacation.

I was considering doing the Eat Stop Eat (Mon and Thurs), then switch to a protein shake for breakfast and lunch (and dinner hour after workout) every day two weeks prior to vacation while still encorporating Eat Stop Eat on the same two days. Oh, and I work out at night after work, resting on Wed and Sun (although we’re trying to at least walk on those day’s too)

Any suggestions for best results in 7 weeks for 39 Year Old, 5’11”, 183 lbs and 23% BF?

Jason February 9, 2012 at 2:11 pm

I’ve been following your visual impact course for about 6 months now (i stayed on phase 1 longer) But I was just wondering if you had an easy way to figure out your ideal body weight when you’re finished with phase 3. Do you go on feel or is there a little equation involved?


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