Maintenance Mode – Staying Lean Once You Get There.

January 23, 2010

Life is too short to work your butt off year-round.

I am a firm believer in spurts of effort and then backing way off on those efforts and just enjoying life. Is your goal to workout as much as possible or to look and feel good? You can go periods of 3-4 months on a skeleton workout schedule and maintain an amazing physique, if you plan it out properly.

After those 3-4 months you will need to put in more time, then you can go back to maintenance mode. I’ll talk more about how to do this in this post.

Maintenance Mode

[I like the idea of working hard towards a goal, like a two week tropical vacation. Kick butt in your career, get in amazing shape, and then stop and smell the roses…or in this case the coconut scent of your sunblock and the lime in your beer.]

What I’ve Learned from Watching the TV Show “Survivor”.

I hate to admit it, but I am a big follower of “Survivor”. I skipped a few seasons, but this past season (and a contestant by the name of Russell) got me hooked on the show again. He was the villain that we loved to watch. I didn’t like him at first, but the guy grew on me.

One thing I have noticed while watching the show is that the contestants keep much of their muscle tone, despite being somewhat inactive. Obviously this is due to chronic calorie restriction.

I’m Not Advocating Starving Yourself!

Don’t take this the wrong way…I think the contestants looked famished by the end. The diet is obviously extreme and it would be nuts to eat like they do on the show. What I did notice however, was that about 2 weeks into the show all the contestants still had good muscle tone while doing very little in the way of exercise.

People who have been following this blog for a while or who have downloaded my free report, have heard me say again and again that diet pays the biggest role when it comes to staying (and getting) lean.

…but You Want to Eat a Lot on Vacation?

I am with you there! In fact, in Vacation Body Blueprint, I recommend that people go into their vacation after a period of slightly more intense training than normal.

Your body will do well with the extra calories and period of rest. Enjoy all the good food and drinks that your vacation has to offer. You will put on some weight, but a lot of that is water weight that will come off after you back off on the calories again.

[I don’t want people to get the idea that I am a total TV Junkie…but this is the best show on TV in my opinion. Anthony Bordain is my hero.]

After Vacation It Is Time to Clean Up Your Diet

Usually a good strategy after vacation is to restrict the calories a bit for a week or two when you get back. This will easily allow you to drop any fat you may have gained on vacation (which will be minimal).

I went off on a tangent a bit, since 2 week vacation is a short term period. Let’s talk about 3-4 months of staying in maintenance mode…

You Can Maintain Off Very Few “Official” Workouts

The key to being lean and mean all summer is cutting back your calories a bit. You can do this and still enjoy nights out clubbing (if you are in that age group), going out to eat with friends and family, etc.

If you want to enjoy good meals and higher calorie foods, you have to eat less meals. Another way to accomplish this is to eat 1-2 tiny meals and just one bigger meal at night when it is time to go out.

I Like to Think Of “Calories Per Week” NOT Calories Per Day

This shift in thinking will make staying lean a breeze while still having an active social life. On the days where you are just working and then going home to chill-out, eat low calorie meals. When you are alone keep the meals small and bland.

Save your calories for the days in the week where you plan on being social.

This approach works extremely well! If take away one thing from visiting my site, understand that your metabolism will not slow down from skipping meals from time to time -or- having a few low calorie days in a row.

So How Many Workouts Per Week to Maintain?

Remember my survivor example? It depends upon how much you eat. I have found that most people can get away with 1-3 “official” workouts per week.

I will typically do 2-3 workouts each week throughout the summer. A key to making this work is to stay active when you are not in the gym and walk more, etc. Also, you can do intense HIIT followed by steady state cardio each and every workout…since you are training less.

Have Some Fun While You Are on This Planet!

The thing that makes me hesitant about writing fitness posts is that I don’t want anyone to become obsessed with working out.

I encourage general misbehavior, late nights, not following the rules, eating happy hour food at least once per week, enjoying a beer in a mug that is much too large, sleeping on a tropical beach, playing music that is too loud, etc.

Bottom line…have some fun…and don’t be a cheesy person that talks about grams of protein and how much you can lift when you are out in the “real world”.


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{ 59 comments… read them below or add one }

Jason Hend. January 23, 2010 at 9:49 pm

Hey Rusty, I just found your website about a month ago and I am picking up loads of amazing tips and advice. The Vacation Body Blueprint has completely changed the way I go about working out and staying lean. Love the site. Great post.

Andrew January 23, 2010 at 9:55 pm

Bought your newest report on Wednesday. Really good stuff! I’m guessing that this posted nutrition strategy works for the bonus phase you mentioned? And without giving anything away, I’m also guessing you still take that supplement you mentioned in the bonus phase during this 3-4 month period, then stop once you go back to a harder workout schedule?

Grok January 23, 2010 at 10:06 pm

You can get away with 1 workout a week. Just make sure you Get R Done during that workout πŸ™‚

Dan January 23, 2010 at 10:15 pm


Great post. Balance is key. I’m all for getting in great shape, but I am also all for beer, bars, parties, women, traveling, good food and all the other wonderful things life has to offer.

Now tell me what island that picture was taken at because I am booking a flight. Sitting on that beach with a cold one, soaking in some rays sounds real good right now.


Clement January 23, 2010 at 11:31 pm

hey rusty, another great blog post! i love your takes on diet and nutrition and i do follow these principles all the time. i have a hive of bees in my bonnet though, and it would be great if you could help me out!

do you think athletes can incorporate fasting into their diets and still perform at their peak potential? if so, should they fast once or twice a week? or should it be left mainly to people who want to lose weight?

Also, you talk about 3-4 months of maintenance of muscle definition and tone. is it possible for people who are reasonably lean and defined already to still continue seeing gains if they incorporate this diet style for the rest of their lives? (that is, if they cut back on their calories when on their own but eat high calorie meals when out socialising and do this on a regular basis all year round while still dropping body fat)

Finally, i find that HIIT does not help improve my 5km timings. if i were to replace them with mostly tempo runs and high-intensity cardio (hard running for 10-20min) after strength workouts (low volume, heavy weights) and add in some shuttle runs (to exclusively train speed and not really burn fat), will it be possible that i can get the same benefits as HIIT?

thank you very much. once again, i’m your biggest fan!

Clement January 23, 2010 at 11:34 pm

oh sorry for the ambiguity. “regular basis” meaning maybe once a week of high calorie eating, not that they eat high-calorie every night!

Joe January 23, 2010 at 11:39 pm

Nice post. I’ve become a regular reader of yours over the past 6 months or so. Since last Thanksgiving I’ve lost almost 100 lbs. and learned a lot about intermittent fasting, BMR and calorie restriction, HIIT and really started using jump rope in my workouts after reading about it on this post. I’m now down to 205 which is a good weight for me.

Now I’m worried about maintaining but don’t want to become neurotic about exercise and diet…although I’ve really began enjoying working out.

Anyway, thanks for keeping it interesting and new. I learn a little more on just about all of your posts.

keith January 23, 2010 at 11:41 pm

Great post Rusty,
I had a question though. I know you use Eat Stop Eat in your life, and I am currently using it too. My BMR is 2000 calories However, can you use it as a tool to eat a crapload of food. For example, could you fast from say Thrusday night 6pm to Friday night 6pm and then on Friday, I would eat 4000 calories( i know thats crazy). Wouldn’t I be able to eat 4000 calories and not gain a single pound of fat since the day of fasting burned 2000 and the next day allows me to eat 2000 as well. I know this is not how you’re suppose to use ESE, but would it work? I know I will gain alot of weight the next day due to the weight of the food and water weight, but non of it will be fat right??

Thanks so much and sorry for the long comment.

Kevin January 24, 2010 at 12:00 am

Rusty – love the site. And love your ‘calories per week’ vice ‘calories per day’ take. Makes a load of sense, and makes maintainance much more palatable. I think too many people think, “I can never be in THAT kind of shape. I’d have to give up my beer nights with the guys and the occasional pizza.”

A lot of folks take the “all or nothing” approach, and figure that if they commit to staying in shape, they have to give up everything they enjoy. I think we’ve got to adopt a maintenance strategy that we can follow for a lifetime, not just something we can somehow suffer through for a few days. Looking at it the way you’ve stated here should open some eyes and make ’em realize that maintaining a healthy, fit body doesn’t mean total and utter sacrifice.

Keep up the good work, brother!

craig January 24, 2010 at 1:23 am

Great post, Rusty. While those of us that follow your site won’t be surprised by it, this pretty much sums up what it’s all about…

JL January 24, 2010 at 2:35 am

Like Andrew I also bought your latest Visual Impact ebook …within the first hour after silently following your site the last 5 months. Great read btw but it does raise several questions.

I had the exact same question as Andrew regarding the length of use of the supplement for the Bonus Phase. Could you address that or will you field questions from book buyers for a subsequent update? I have several myself. Thanks for the great read!

Meg January 24, 2010 at 3:55 am

I just got back from a University of Hawaii b-ball game where I drank beer and ate nachos. No worries though, because I ate very low calories up until that point today. My dad’s always been my inspiration for keeping his weight in check. He likes to go on cruises, and he commits to losing 5-10 pounds before he goes, eats all he wants, and comes back his “regular” weight.

Sid January 24, 2010 at 4:05 am

Hey Rusty πŸ™‚
Awesome job on the premium report! It was exactly what I was looking for. Your reports are awesomely timed. Your Vacation Body Blueprint came out when I needed to lose fat, and this came out when I need to put on some mass πŸ™‚
So anyways, I am going to go put those things into action but I have a general question to ask you because there is a lot of confusion from what I’ve read about this topic.

Is it possible to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time?

The reason I ask is because I am at a point where I am lean enough for my adonis belt to show but not lean enough to get that last little bit of lower ab fat to go away. I am currently on Lyle McDonalds Keto/modified RFL diet, and I just started training according to the guidelines you’ve laid out in your new report.

Would it be possible to lose that last bit of stubborn fat and get ripped and put on a decent amount of muscle? Let me know your thoughts!

Sorry I’ve been out of action and not visiting your site as often as I wanted cause I was studying for my GMAT’s. If I get accepted I might be coming to UW Foster in Seattle, so if that’s the case we’ll definitely be seeing more of each other πŸ™‚

Have a great one and keep’em rolling!
Sid πŸ™‚

Wazzup January 24, 2010 at 4:13 am

tone ? I get shivers down my spine everytime I see that word and my bullshit detector goes of. Please don’t use that word anymore.

“In physiology, medicine, and anatomy, muscle tone (residual muscle tension or tonus) is the continuous and passive partial contraction of the muscles. It helps maintain posture, and it declines during REM sleep.”

that’s not what you meant right ?

apart from that nice article about flexibility in diet, workouts and life in general πŸ™‚

Greg January 24, 2010 at 9:00 am

I love the ‘calories / week’ philosophy. That mode of thinking allows for some level of freedom with diet, which I, at least, am far more likely to follow. I started with this approach several years ago, and it has served me well.

CSRunner January 24, 2010 at 9:46 am

Great Post and Great Timing! I was actually planning on putting this into practice this year before I even found your blog. Spending the months leading up to summer working out frequently (4-6 per week) and then coasting through summer with just 2 short but intense workouts (I am also more active during my none training days in summer, golfing waterskiing etc.). I am glad to have confirmation that, if done correctly, it will be possible to acheive what I am looking for!

Dave January 24, 2010 at 9:47 am

Saw Jillian Michaels saying the same thing on Larry King Live a couple of weeks back – kinda of ironic when you watch Biggest Loser and the majority of the focus being on exercise.

It’s time to stop obsessing about exercise. Thanks for the reminder Rusty!

McSalty January 24, 2010 at 12:28 pm

Love this post. Everything in moderation — and moderation doesn’t mean “none!” No sense missing out on the finer points of life due to some unnatural need for “perfection” in diet. Especially when, ironically, a recent study showed those who abstain from alcohol are actually MORE prone to depression: (Probably because it’s such an integral element in our social lives. If you condemn yourself to never drink for “health” reasons, well, your social health is going to suffer a lot more than your physical health would from a drink or two.),8599,1928187,00.html

I just finished watching the show “Jersey Shore” with my friends (haha, say what you will! It’s entertaining). I can’t help but wonder how these guys stay cut while drinking copious amounts of beer what seemed like every night. I’m sure artificial growth hormones may have something to do with it for some of them, but most likely hitting the gym regularly and cutting calories during the rest of the day is enough to compensate for a few months when you’re already in peak condition.

Here’s an article that outlines a few studies on Ramadan fasting (sunrise to sundown every day for a month) on football training and performance: they found it had no effect on performance.

ted January 24, 2010 at 2:06 pm

If im trying to lose extra muscle mass do i need to eat 1gm of protein for that desired weight(i.e. 160gms protein) Im 186 right now and prolly only about 9-10% bf and i want to slim down to 160.
thank you

Rafi Bar-Lev at Passionate Fitness January 24, 2010 at 3:52 pm

Awesome post. Depending on your age and habits you really don’t have to work that hard to maintain your looks. I know your blog is more about physique, but the biggest reason I have for keeping up some kind of workout routine is so you don’t lose your strength gains.


-Mike January 24, 2010 at 7:58 pm

Hi Rusty,

Just bought your Visual Impact program. Very good πŸ™‚ Only one thing, I wish you could be a little more spesific on the rest periods for phase 1,2 and 3. Do you recommend 45-60 min. rest between sets in phase 2 also, and what about phase 3.

-Mike January 24, 2010 at 7:59 pm

sorry, I ment seconds and not minutes πŸ™‚

Clement January 24, 2010 at 8:39 pm

awesome, thanks! this solves my indecisions over whether to introduce fasting to gain muscle definition and recover from training. i’m not too much of a low-carb eater (i eat loads of grains but almost no wheat), so i suppose i wouldn’t be too lacking in energy throughout the day!

Sherah January 24, 2010 at 11:32 pm

Thanks for another great article!

I love this approach, and I am looking forward to my very first summer of trying it. I hope to be lean and looking great by summer time. Currently I kind of do this anyway – fasting 2x per week, and eating low-medium calorie days otherwise. A couple times per week I go out to eat at night with friends and/or my husband OR just plain & simple have a good normal meal at home.

But on the workout side of things, I am working HARD to lose the fat and gain muscle, about 5x per week. The weight is dropping off at a nice, steady pace and best of all, inches are coming off too. I love it!

Kathy Bude January 25, 2010 at 3:49 am

I strongly agree with you in there! Have fun while trying to be lean and sexy. Don’t try to kill yourself by being so strict on the diet and exercise. For once in a while, or like once a week, pamper yourself, enjoy! And you’ll see that losing weight is not that hard.. atleast you get to enjoy and pamper yourself sometimes… πŸ™‚

Aditya January 25, 2010 at 5:31 am

Whats up Rusty, been a long time, I was off on vacation! And I had to go through a hell lot of your articles to make up for the off time haha πŸ˜€

Good Post again and this was something I had always waited for. Ok here’s a question for you. I noticed Keith also posted something similar.

Lets keep ESE/Warrior Diet/Any given diet out of this discussion for a while, for similicity (I am an ESE guy btw). Say my BMR is 2000. Now if I am off food for 24 hours that has created a deficit of 2000 calories. So now, if I go really crazy on my binging and say gobble up around 3500 calories of food on ending that fast, what would be the fat gain/loss like? If you notice I have still created a deficit of 500 calories over 2 days which is not that great an amount. But ideally and theoretically speaking if I keep this going for say a week that has created a weekly deficit of 500 X 3 = 1500 calories which means I am on a deficit anyways right?

So my question is, does the GI or amount of food in those binging periods matter when it comes to the fat loss equation. Keeping in mind that the deficit is still there over a period of time, I suppose I am free to eat any kind of food provided the calorie count stays within a deficit right?

On the fun side, we can have a beer or two (150 calories) every other day, if what I said holds true as in, right? Haha, just joking about the beer, but thats correct in the ideal case innit? πŸ˜€


Aditya January 25, 2010 at 5:35 am

Would like to correct this line from my post right above this “So my question is, does the GI or amount of food in those binging periods matter when it comes to the fat loss equation.”

I meant to say, ‘amount of food keeping in mind that the total calories for that day stays within the BMR’.

And also, I know eating healthy, be it Paleo or Primal style is what we should aim for if we want to stay healthy but enjoying that sweet bite of chocolate every other day or enjoying a Guinness with good friends wont hurt. But my question is entirely related to BMR/Calorie Count of the diet!

Simon January 25, 2010 at 11:12 am

Thanks for this, good info, you said you’d be writing something about maintenance.
Definately agree with your philosophy on enjoying life, it’s about obtaining a balance I think, who wants to live in a gym (well I know a few people…). Also constant indulgence gets you down, makes you unhealthy etc, moderation allows you to enjoy it more.

gus January 25, 2010 at 12:51 pm

hi rusty.

i did one of my best investemnts last week by bying your report, great GREAT stoff, i would easily pay 10x more than i did πŸ˜›

feels good to have a really good insight when it comes to building the physic that i want and how to do so. and i think u are right, i probaly know more now than 99% than the gym trainers about how to build muscels. kind of feels like it anyway
so thx for this report, it is GOLD!!:P
good post also, keep em coming=)

tom January 25, 2010 at 1:04 pm

hey rusty great post!

offtopic, i was wondering what your thoughts were regarding swimming as a main cardio exercise. i ran a _lot_ last year, HIIT, steady-state, skipping, etc. and this year i decided to instead do swimming for an hour 3x a week and only 1x HIIT running session, just to change it up to avoid boredom. plus i always hated going to the beach or on vacations and not being able to adequately swim.

i dont think its very good for weight loss, for example it creates unholy food cravings whereas after HIIT i dont really feel like eating. but unlike running, you invoke your whole body and afterward _everything_ hurts. it may create too big a back, but in my experience running can create tree trunks for legs, so pros and cons i guess!

Hugh January 25, 2010 at 2:29 pm

I’m new to your site and this is the first post I’ve read. From what you’re saying, it sounds like you’re a big advocate of balance. I used to look at vacations as vacations from everything, including eating well and exercising. Now that I’ve gotten a little older and wiser, I’ve found that I can actually achieve (and enjoy) a healthy balance while on vacation. Of course I tend to eat and drink more on vacation, but now I also concentrate on drinking plenty of water, getting good rest, and being active and going for runs. An added bonus – going for runs in a new destination is an awesome way to explore that destination.

wolverine January 25, 2010 at 3:36 pm

what will really happen if i did only sprinting and cross trainer intervals 3 to 4 times a week with no resistance training, really? i really hate bulk and i am bulky already, mixture of fat and muscle, i feel really good after running very fast, jumping around etc, lifting just doesnt do it for me, even bodyweight stuff doesnt do it for me cos my bodyweight means i am pressing and squatting a fair bit of heavy weight. Thanks

Tom Brokaw January 25, 2010 at 6:17 pm

This is great advice and my gf and I have been following this routine for some time now, even before reading this site. January 25, 2010 at 6:25 pm

Love this post Rusty!! We often forget to balance our lives! You can’t run yourself in the ground by working out all the time. But you have to make the right choices about eating if your workout sessions or intensity levels have lowered in order to have more fun! Dieting does have a profound impact on the way we lean down or not. Workout all you want but if you are gulfing down calorie after calorie, you might not get anywhere and you will have to workout like crazy to get the body you want. Thanks for sharing this. I often forget to balance things out and just have fun! Take care πŸ™‚


Thiago January 25, 2010 at 9:03 pm

Hello, Rusty!
I’ve been surfing on your site for about 2h and I’m really motivated to start working out again. But I’m a little lost with all those posts, actually =/

Could you give me any tips on how to start? What kinda of exercises should I begin with? Strength?

If you could help me, here or via e-mail, I’d really appreciate it.
Thanks in advance.

Steven Ponec January 26, 2010 at 4:51 am

Great post Rusty! You make good points, that you shouldn’t become obsessive with exercise. Sure, it’s fine to train really hard for a little while or be out of balance, in order to get that body. But then enjoying life and letting it slide for a while is ok too.

Quick question about Visual Impact. Do you have an affiliate program for that? Thanks

Trainerpack January 26, 2010 at 9:14 am

Yes, minimize calories in the first few weeks until you get there and then you can start to increase them slowly as you put on more muscle

Shaun January 26, 2010 at 9:21 am

It’s been a while since I posted here Rusty, but out of all the statements here, I think this is the most important.

‘Have Some Fun While You Are on This Planet!’

Being too serious about anything is just not cool. Fitness, career or whatever. Because the days that you become less active with age will be the days that you look back. And if you look back and realize you’ve missed out… let’s just say that moment is tragic.

Helder January 26, 2010 at 9:21 am

I like Dan John’s plan, it’s a lot like what you describe here, he says fat loss is a war, you take a month to win that war, intense workouts and low caloric diet, and then it’s maintaining.

When i use to spend a few weeks in the summer at the beach with my friends, i almost didn’t eat, it was basically only dinner, and there was no workout, or you can call it a workout without really working out, it was swimming, diving, running around, playing football (soccer) and i got so lean while even gaining a little more mass.

A lot of people get scared if they train less, or eat a little more that they screw it all, but they wont, because the only thing they’re screwing is their Life by not enjoying it.

But i blame most fitness and BB sites for that, because those so called experts are always telling people that they can’t fail a workout, they have to workout almost everyday, they can’t eat an extra Cal, or else they’re wussies and losers and so on, and they also tell people that they’re success is due to never failing a workout and by keeping their diet strict, of course they forget to mention steroids, diuretics and other stuff.

This one the things that makes all the difference in your blog Rusty, you defend a balanced Life, enjoying with Health

Tim D January 26, 2010 at 11:53 am

Hey Rusty,

Just bought the premium report and the only question I have is whether or not it’s o.k. to fast twice per week during phase I (Sarcoplasmic Hypertrophy)?


Rahim January 26, 2010 at 2:46 pm

I sometimes like to compare getting in shape to a plane taking off. It burns a lot of fuel just like you would burn a lot and sweat a lot in the gym at first. But once a plane gets to it’s desired height, it levels off and doesn’t have to burn as much. Same thing with the human body. Once you reach your desired goals and attain your desired level of fitness, you just have to work to maintain it. Getting in shape is different from Being in shape.

Alexis segura January 26, 2010 at 7:10 pm

Hi Rusty how are you? I have a doubt I hope you can help me with. I recently start to learn how to skate in rollerblades. i am 28 years old and think that never is too late to learn something new jaja. My problem is that I realized in my firsts lessons that my lower back and waist is pretty much weak and I canΒ΄t reach the balanced needed to skate in a proper way. I know that you have a back injury so I wonder if you can give me some advice or set of exercises to strength this specific area of my body.

Thank you and regards from Mexico city

admin January 26, 2010 at 9:06 pm

Wow….thanks for all the comments (always appreciated). I will try my best to answer as many as possible. I am limited on time, but let me see if I can do some damage πŸ™‚


For the bonus phase, I would stick to low-cal for 3-4 weeks while taking creatine. After those 3-4 weeks are up, then I would on to maintenance.


Honestly I am not sure where this was taken. It is a photo, I bought a license to…but didn’t find out where it was taken.


It depends upon the sport. A hardcore endurance athlete need more calories than outlined here. As far as fasting while gaining muscle…it is possible. Just make sure that the one meal you do eat is after your workout. Some of the leanest people I know with decent muscle, eat their main meal about an hour after training. You can certainly get away with the cardio that you described. It will increase HGH in a way that is similar to HIIT. It does look a bit more taxing on the body, so you wouldn’t be able to do it as often as the typical HIIT workout I outline on this site. Thanks for the compliment, by the way…and thanks for reading.


Just find realistic ways to keep your weekly calorie amounts under control and you will never have to worry about massive weight gain ever again. Some days and meals will be high calorie meals and days, just balance those days with eating really light.


It does work. My buddy Mike O’Donnell of calls this IFOC (Intermittent Fasting on Crap)…at least I think it is the acronym. You can do this, but I wouldn’t necessarily aim for this all of the time. Even if you are lean, it helps to eat well when you can…but no doubt that this strategy works.


I am going to wait for things to slow down a bit, and then I am going to e-mail a questionnaire to those who registered their ebook. I will answer the common questions in a video and then update the book and give everyone the new and improved copy.


Yep…life wouldn’t be as bright if I couldn’t eat nachos with a cold beer from time to time…a winning combo!


Well…it is hard to get to a muscular size you have never reached before while losing body fat. Someone who has had a certain degree of muscle can get to that previous point while getting lean (some call this muscle memory). New muscle growth beyond your previous best is a bit tougher to do while losing fat. The way I set my program up was to reach peak muscle size somewhere into phase II…harden the muscle in phase III while losing fat…then quickly regaining your previous size at a lower body fat level in the bonus phase.


I value your opinion, but I will continue to use the term muscle tone. I know that it is a pet-peeve of some people, but it isn’t a huge pet peeve of mine. It it a valid description of what I am talking about, plus it takes so much more effort to type “definition” instead of “tone”. πŸ™‚


I am glad I am not the only one who admits to watching trashy TV. I have never seen “Jersey Shore”, but I watch Joel McHale clown on it on “The Soup” each week. Also…I would be a little bummed out if I didn’t have a drink from time to time. Friday’s afternoons are greatly enhanced with a large beer in a frosty mug. It is the perfect way to let your body relax from work and get ready for the weekend.


If you are trying to reduce your muscle size, then you can get away with less protein. Also…avoid “the pump” and anything that really burns or fatigues the muscle (great for building muscle, which isn’t what you want). Do low rep, low volume strength training, a low cal diet and plenty of HIIT followed by steady state cardio.


Yeah…I am going to put out a version 2. Everyone who already has a copy gets lifetime updates. My goal is to improve it over time.


The last few pounds are tough. It can take as long as 6-8 weeks to lose the last 4-5 pounds…but much easier to keep off once you get there.


You are correct about that eating approach working as far as fat loss is concerned. I think you will look and feel better if you eat more moderately. I have used a similar approach that you outlined and I did stay lean. The GI doesn’t matter in this case (as far as fat loss is concerned)…but like you said in your second comment…a more sensible whole food meal is better. As far as enjoying beer and Happy Hour food from time to time…Heck yeah. Exactly for the reasons you mentioned…It will work well.


Good point about “constant indulgence” <—I have never seen it framed like that before, but completely agree. Some of the most miserable people on the planet just lead a life of indulgence without working towards goals. Mix work in with the fun…healthy in with the higher calorie foods, etc. Great point!


The hardest part of the program is to lower the weight enough in able to increase the reps to gain mass. People have a tough time swallowing their pride and lifting much lighter weights than normal, in phase I.


Swimming is a great workout…especially the way you are implementing it. Do it for a few months, then maybe go back to running…or do a combo of both.


I tend to exercise in the way of swimming or being active on vacation. I certainly walk a ton. Also, now that I am a little older, I don’t feel the need to be out at 3:00AM at a dance club or anything. This makes it much easier to get up early the following day and actually explore (and enjoy) the place I am visiting.


If you are naturally pretty muscular and bulky, you can take a break from all resistance training for a while. There are pro soccer players who do very little in the way of resistance training who look great. Same thing with surfers, etc…Give it a try for 3-6 months. Worse case scenario is that you will wind up a little skinny…but since you are naturally muscular you can get that back in 4-6 weeks.


I wish I could respond via e-mail. There just isn’t enough time for me to personally help everyone. I would if I could…it sometimes bothers me that I can’t.


I am going to get feedback from all of the people who currently own the course…gather all of their questions…then add about 20 more page and create an affiliate program for the book as well. I also may write a course on how to build a high traffic fitness blog. I have learned a lot of advanced strategies that I never read about…and would love to share this stuff.


I try to image that I am 80 when deciding whether to do something or not. For instance, I want to take my girlfriend on vacation in March…part of me thinks that it might be smart to save the money…the other part thinks that a vacation would be fun. I then envision my imaginary 80-year old self and what that person would think. Would I be more happy when I am 80, that I saved this money -or- more happy about my decision that I went to Acapulco with my girlfriend. No contest! I am going to go to Mexico for sure. My 80 year old self is so much wiser than my 40 year old self πŸ™‚


How’s it going my friend? Great to hear from you. I spent my entire childhood in the summer all day at the beach with no food until 5:00 or 6:00pm. Me and all my friends were super-lean without trying. About those sites that tell make people feel bad…people should stay away from those sites! There are quite a few great bloggers who comment here and add to this site who have the right attitude. I do my best with my site, and there are many others who get it right as well. I like the way our little community of sites is growing.


It is fine to fast twice per week…if you exercise right before the meal that breaks the 24 hour fast. So if you fast until dinner, then workout right before that meal. If the fast is on a non-workout day, then obviously this wouldn’t matter as much. Just aim for the rough calorie estimate in the course.


Do plank holds for 3 sets of 2-3 minutes per set. You will need to work up to this point. Do a few sets of hip bridges after the planks to insure that your spinal column gets worked as well. These are amazing for injury rehab as well as creating a rock solid foundation in your mid section.

Great comments as always!


Phil January 26, 2010 at 10:20 pm

If you google search fitnessblackbook with lower back injury in the search block ,Rusty has two articles on it. He just added shoulder bridges lately. I send it to people all the time.

Anna January 27, 2010 at 7:15 am

Ha Ha! Great timing this one! I’m in Oz, and its summer here already. Went out for Mexican- nachos and margheritas last night. Sooo good. Sure, I weighed 1-2 kg more this morning- fluid retention and such. Even had a bit of choccy cake at work today, but now I’ve started a fast (skipped dinner), training in the morning, and I’ll break fast post that. Balance Balance Balance. What more can you say? Live and love life!
p.s Rusty and fellow Commentors (is that a word-prol not!)- you’re the best!

Anna January 27, 2010 at 7:17 am

Whoops, that would be commentators. Ahh well its past my bed time.. πŸ˜‰

Scott January 27, 2010 at 10:10 am

Hey Rusty,

Love your site. Been reading it almost daily since I have a lot to catch up on.
I stopped going to the gym for a year already since I fly around a lot, so now I’m thinking of getting the TRX. It’s small piece of suspension training equipment, which a lot of people have recommended. You think a home gym like that will be enough to keep fit aside from the regular cardio and jump rope training? I lost a lot of muscle since I stopped, but I guess it’s a good thing since I overdeveloped my lower chest from too much bench presses in the gym. I’m not sure if the bodyweight training you’ve been mentioning often is similar to the TRX, or maybe you can recommend some other equipment for a frequent traveller.


Vortex January 27, 2010 at 11:25 am


Brilliant article. Thanks.

I find the subject of dairy very confusing. In your opinion, does dairy inhibit fat loss or cause fat gain?


jesp3739 January 28, 2010 at 4:39 am

Hi Rusty
I bought your new book visual impact in the first hour, and it says I should register the book, so that I can get updates for it, but how do I register the book? – can’t figure it out πŸ˜›


Jay January 28, 2010 at 4:58 pm

Hi Rusty,

Just purchased your latest ebook – great read and great value for money! One thing i am slightly dubious about is just when to go on the 5-6 ‘protein shake + salad’ diet to drop the fat. Of course my goal is to end up with a beach worthy upper body but my concern is that i will end up looking skeletal!

i’m currently on Phase I and am looking to jump straight to Phase 3 and while incorporating a 4-5 week stint on the pro-shakes and salad. My chest always lags (currently nearly 41inches at my height of 6ft2). I def want the lean look but neither do i want a flat chest!

would appreciate any advice on how I can use the different phases to keep my chest!


Aaron Curl January 28, 2010 at 7:11 pm

Great post. I have learned the hard way not to talk to much about being fit when out. I only talk about it to those who question about it. I want to influence people by my actions, not by telling everyone to eat right and exercise. Some of my facebook friends are actually scared i’m going to start talking fitness and tell them to get in shape when I see them in person. I have to tell them “just because I have a blog on getting fit doesn’t mean that’s all I talk about every day”. I choose to be in great shape, but I also know how to relax and enjoy my life! Keep up the great work Rusty.

Deanna January 29, 2010 at 1:15 pm

I just love the advice you offer. I actually did a lot of what you suggested for my vacation last summer — restricted calories, then just ate away during vacation, then restricted when I got home. I often find that once I eat a good, full amount of food after a period of calorie restriction, that’s when the excess body fat or water weight or whatever it is comes off.

Besides, I would much rather be riding my bike outside or golfing with my husband or swimming in the ocean than working out!

Crumple it Up January 30, 2010 at 2:10 pm

Great article! So many people think that the hard work is losing the weight in the first place, but really, keeping it off is a lifetime job!

Luke of LMD Fitness February 1, 2010 at 4:13 pm

Hey Rusty,

I’ve been absent from the Fitness Blackbook comments for too long, and have missed it. But upon my return, it’s great to read some excellent fresh content.

I fully support your closing paragraph. Life is more about having fun than being rule-bound by fitness, which I don’t think I can be persuaded is ever fun. Since I work a standard Monday – Friday week, with access to a great salad bar at my work canteen, I can keep a clean low calorie diet in the week. It is easier when you are busy at work and don’t have time to think about food so much. I also find fasting at work much easier. Maybe it’s a routine thing but home life always has more temptations for me. So as you say the calories can be saved for the social times, and I find that it’s ok for this to be every weekend. Given the working life most people have, I think the majority would find it easier on Monday-Friday to be that bit stricter. Just keep nuts and seeds in your desk drawer instead of junk.

As for workout frequency, I also agree that diet is the easier option to control. It takes soooo much hard work to burn off silly calories. However, I am a great lover of food and tend to train 5-6 times per week, so that I can chill out a bit more on the food front. It’s the harder route (and more time consuming one) but we all have our own way. If you are happy to live off vegetables then agreed that you could stay lean with next to no exercise, and could probably retain muscle with just one full body workout per week. I’d love to find out how others balance fitness/diet, and also surely there is a little bit of genetics to it all too…No excuses though!

DegreeFinders February 2, 2010 at 3:16 pm

Wouldn’t it just be a better idea to eat healthy year round, as opposed to going off a healthy eating regimen for vacation? I think it’s hard if you deny yourself things all year and then splurge on vacations because generally after vacation the person doesn’t want to deny themselves the things they’ve just enjoyed. Learning to eat healthy and eat junk in moderation seems like the better way to go.

Izell March 7, 2010 at 1:45 am

Hey what’s shakin’ Rusty, love your website man you opened up my eyes to a lot of things when it comes to working out and I know lot now because of all your great posts. Keep doing your thing brother.

Okay enough kissing ass lol. My question is similar to the post you have up here. I currently ordered Craig Ballantyne’s bonus bodyweight excercises, I got the link from a post on this website. And I’m about to start week three monday for the 6 month bodyweight manual. These past two weeks have been awesome I’ve dropped like two pounds of body fat and hoping to get rid of more.

But that’s just the thing, after I get my results then what? how do I stay looking that way. If I’m at the desired weight I want to be how do I make sure I don’t lose or gain anymore weight?

Seane November 30, 2010 at 5:03 am

Oh Rusty. Staying there is the toughest of all unless you truly have changed your lifestyle habits. My issue is bread. Oh I can devour a loaf without it hitting the sides.

Aaron March 8, 2011 at 1:08 pm

my life is comical. i am 18, 5 foot 9 and 160 pounds. at first i wanted to look lots bigger 2, years later i feel like now i want to slim down. Should i still be trying to eat one gram of protein per lb or is that too much to get lean?

i dont know what else to do besides losing the protein cuz i only eat at MOST 1500 cals a day usually round 1100

if you could please help me with this i would greatly appreciate it

Sol Hinchliffe June 20, 2011 at 4:41 am

Well said! Finding that right balance between eating and exercising is very important. Life really should be lived to its fullest, with all the amazing things that life offers: alcohol, desserts and other great pleasures in life. Everything can be consumed in moderation, even exercise. There is no point in over-exerting oneself, and then causing self-injury to oneself in the process of doing it. Enjoy our food and enjoy our workouts – that is the key to happiness in life.

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