Workout Intensity and Fat Loss – Hitting the Sweet Spot

April 20, 2009

If you want to lose fat at a rapid pace, you do need to push hard at things like intervals, circuits and HIIT. The problem is knowing how hard should you push.

Figuring out the ideal workout intensity for things like interval training is almost an art. Besides diet, proper intensity in your fat loss workouts is what makes the difference between looking good and looking your best.

fire woman

[One indicator of proper workout intensity is your skin feeling hot to the touch. It takes a bit of self-discipline to push your comfort zone to reach this point.]

What I Mean by Fat Burning Workouts

When I speak about fat burning, I’m not just talking about the fat you burn during the workout… I’m talking the total calories burned during the workout, the metabolism boosting effect from the workout, the workout’s ability to increase HGH, etc…basically all of the factors in your workout which lead to fat loss.

The Strategy I Recommend for Fat Loss and Muscle Definition

I like to separate the fat loss portion of the workout from the strength training portion of the workout (most of the time).

For muscle definition, I recommend brief low volume strength training with heavy weights. This will create firm defined muscles.

Most of the time the strength training is the easy part. The intensity comes into play when you are doing the fat loss, calorie burning portion of your workout.

You should do a somewhat intense fat loss workout at least 3 times per week. This can be HIIT, body weight circuits, or any other strategic interval or circuit workout that makes sense.

A Low Intensity Workout Doesn’t Create an “After Effect”

What I see a lot of the time in the gym is the lack of intensity when it comes to the fat loss portion of the workout. Walking on a treadmill is a waste of time, unless you are resting up for the next interval. Honestly, the amount of calories you burn doing low intensity cardio isn’t going to make a huge impact on your physique.

There is a strategy I outline in my low body fat cardio routine that involves low-to-medium intensity cardio, but this is done after an intense session of HIIT.

Too High of an Intensity Level Is a Negative As Well

I won’t get into cortisol, because there are a number of factors besides workout intensity that can lead to the release of cortisol into your system.

To me, the biggest problem with too high of an intensity level is what Brad Pilon calls the Activity Sine Wave (read this post, it is a good one). Here’s a quick summary of the Sine Wave: If your workout is too hard and intense, you are very likely to “overcompensate” by resting more than normal after the workout.

You need to pretend like your workout never happened without compensating with extra rest to get the best fat loss results. Working out hard and then sitting on the couch the rest of the day because you are tired, is not a good fat loss strategy.

How to Tell If Your Fat Loss Workout is the Correct Intensity?

I look for a thing called the “HGH Flush”. I forget who coined this term, but this is just an indicator of a good fat loss workout.

If your skin is slightly red and hot to the touch and you are out of breath after your workout, then you have achieved the HGH flush. Remember your PE teacher in Junior High making you “run lines” or pushing you until you were out of breath and your skin felt like it was on fire? This is the HGH flush which is an indicator that your metabolism will be increased after your workout and that your body will release a bit more HGH than normal (your body’s fat burning hormone).

Operate on the “Edge” of Your Comfort Zone

A big mistake I see personal trainers making with their clients is pushing them too hard too soon. I had a personal trainer brag that he could take me through a workout that would “destroy me”.

Um…no thanks. The deal is to workout with enough intensity to get that HGH flush, but no so hard that you have to take a nap after your workout.

This is what I call hitting the “Sweet Spot” of workout intensity. As you get in shape, you can gradually push yourself harder. If you are forced to overcompensate with more rest than normal, then back off a bit your next workout.

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

{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

Arya - weight loss blog April 20, 2009 at 11:49 pm

Hey Rusty,
I’m loving this post frequency! Another Great Post. I love the HGH flush it makes me feel amazing and acts like a reward for my hard efforts. There is nothing like knowing you are burning fat.
Thanks for following my progress and being so helpful. I truly appreciate all the help you have given me. I plan on posting my final physique as proof your plan works and to show readers of my site that it is possible to go the extra mile. As for your recommendation I have two questions. The first is that while I said I need a “bit” of size on my shoulders, they do look pretty small and bony compared to the rest of my body. Do you believe eating a maintenance calorie diet can give me the muscle increase in my shoulders and triceps that I desire? (My shoulders and tri’s are MUCH smaller than Gigandet and Pitt’s) Wouldn’t I need to eat in a calorie surplus to gain muscle? I am just not sure if adding density to these muscles will be enough. I believe they need a bit of size before density. My second question is in doubling the volume for these muscle groups do I also go to failure. Is the plan you are recommending the same as the one in your post on Pavels mass gaining routine in which you perform 5 reps of a weight you can do six times then reduce it my 80 %, perform 5 reps, rest 60 seconds and repeat until failure?

I also just posted another article on my site on how I discovered body weight circuits through your website if you want to check it out. Thanks again. I look forward to hearing from you.
P.S. that pic is awesome! I set it as the background for my lap top.

Anthony April 20, 2009 at 11:57 pm

Hey Rusty, great post. It is definitely important to establish the correct time to stop. Often times I feel exhausted myself, especially when I first did the crazy 8 body weight circuits. I literally had to lay down and rest for a bit.
I know the HGH flush you’re talking about, but I just need to recognize that I must at that ‘sweet spot.’ Sometimes I overdo it.
I wish your girlfriend luck as well.

marcus April 21, 2009 at 3:04 am

Great info! This shed so much light to what I’ve been doing wrong.
I am pretty noob at doing HIIT so I’ve only done it a few times. But when I do I end up crashing on the couch afterwards and taking a 20 min nap. I’ve always thought that there was something wrong with that.
Great to know that I don’t have to push myself that hard every time because it is pretty damn dreadful.
Wow seriously I can’t even get over how awesome this info is.

pnw fitness April 21, 2009 at 3:24 am

Hmm. Can’t say I’ve ever “looked” for the “HGH flush.” Always just kind of did my thing. Thanks for the info. I’ll use it as a meter to see if I’m slacking 😉

Congrats to your GF! Even w/out PR… still great.

Nate - Fit-Life April 21, 2009 at 4:47 am

Hey Rusty, I love that you brought up the personal trainer saying that he could put you through a workout that would “destroy you.”

…Typical meathead training mentality. I don’t even bother arguing with them anymore. I just let them go on with their outdated training techniques, and go about my business getting better results in a fraction of the time.

Macey April 21, 2009 at 6:04 am

I train late at night, eat, then sleep, i alternate lifting & interval days, do you think i loose the post affects of hiit, hgh, free fatty acid burning etc if i just eat & sleep? ps love this site

Greg at Live Fit April 21, 2009 at 6:53 am

Early on I tried using a heart rate monitor for setting my workout intensity. I ended up being more preoccupied with the monitor than the workout, so I eventually ditched it for the HGH flush method. If I feel like I’ve worked hard, then I have.

Working out over my lunch breaks assures that I’ll continue with my regular routine, whatever the day may hold, regardless of my workout intensity.

Adam Steer - Better Is Better April 21, 2009 at 6:53 am


Congrats to your girlfriend man!!

And great post. This is important information that most people aren’t thinking about (even people “in the biz” – it drives me nuts dealing with the victims of slow-cardio crazy trainers).


Caleb - Double Your Gains April 21, 2009 at 9:47 am

Hey Rusty,

Great post as always:

Strength training + right intensity cardio = sexy

Easy equation 🙂


Helder April 21, 2009 at 9:52 am

Hey Rusty first of all congratulations to your girlfriend, best of luck to her 🙂

Now the term HGH flush has reminded me of those really hard 20 rep breathing squats, for those who don’t know what that is, it’s making a set of squats for 20 reps, but (BIG BUT) using a weight that only allows you to do 10 reps. In order to achieve 20 reps you have to make pauses, while breathing in as much as you can, as many times as you need to make the next rep, believe me it’s really hard, and if anyone ever did you’ll know what an HGH flush is.

Back to the post, i never thought of that small (really big) detail, about not resting more time to compensate the hard workout, usually i don’t get that rest, because i don’t have the time to, but if i had i would have rest more, after some really tough workouts, well good thing that i didn’t 🙂

Very good point you’ve brought Rusty, it makes sense, if we compensate with more rest, the body won’t need to burn fat, the EPOC effect of HIIT workouts will fade away, this is really important information you’re giving here today, i believe that most people never thoght of this, i didn’t.

Now i’m adding something to my workouts, after intense HIIT i go take a walk, slow walk for 30/45 minutes, it’s good for relaxing, for burning fat, and for muscle recovery

Kevin April 21, 2009 at 10:32 am

DUUUUUde— Rusty
please talk more about diet!!!
all your posts are about training and just genrally eating (clean)
could you get into specifics about diet. pleeeeease.
thanks. Talking about what you eat and when would be much apprieciated.

Patrick April 21, 2009 at 10:43 am

Hey Rusty,
Why is it that almost everyone i see at the gym does cardio half assed with hardly no intensity whatsoever. I think im the only one at my gym who pushes it with some intensity, just about everyone else I see walks. Do you see this as well? Whats your opinion as to why half assed cardio is still so popular and common? Anyways, great to know about the hgh flush to measure intensity.
Thanks, Patrick

Yavor April 21, 2009 at 12:12 pm

Ladytron yay 🙂

Btw, this here tip is great Rusty. I know you’ve mentioned it already in other posts. It’s one of your core principles:

[One indicator of proper workout intensity is your skin feeling hot to the touch. It takes a bit of self-discipline to push your comfort zone to reach this point.]

Lately I’ve switched to basketball and running the stairs of my building with my Lab… Both exercises get the job done of making my skin hot, though my dog doesn’t appreciate having to run up the stairs LOL


Ron April 21, 2009 at 12:12 pm

Hi Rusty,

After seeing myself on camera in my commercial class last night, I was thinking that I need to make some changes to look better on camera and was wondering if you could recommend a routine/diet.

-On camera, my arms look too big (strangely, I thought they almost looked TOO muscular) and my chest too small. How could one increase the chest (especially near the collar bone) without inadvertently increasing the size of the arms?

-Also, my stomach looks a distended (or fat – like a pot belly). I assume HIIT 3xweek & diet will clear this up?

-Sometimes I think it looks like my ribs actually stick out farther than my chest. Anything I can do about this? Is it a posture issue?

I’ve gotta look good in clothing on camera!

Marc Feel Good Eating April 21, 2009 at 4:40 pm

Good post rusty. Congrats to the girlfriend. Must be very gratifying for her.
I get a good flush from CB’s TT. I do modify it just a bit for more intensity on the weights side of things.
I enjoy his workouts as a good staying on track foundation. I’ll add randomly for variation.

G. April 21, 2009 at 6:17 pm

Hi Rusty,

big, big congrats to your partner……hope she goes all the way with it.

Now, Rusty you have posted some pretty awesome pics on your site, but in my opinion you have out-done yourself with this one.



Doné April 22, 2009 at 6:47 am

Hey Dude!!

Congrats for your Girlfriend and good luck with Runway! 🙂
That video is cool hehe

Im a bit confused… ive been following the fat burning protocol thingy.. where you do HIIT and Low intense Cardio… which is great i suppose – but it does take a long time… And after HIIT i do get the HGH flush which is great and feels good!
Ive started to decrease my “resting” periods to increase the intensity… but according to “people” your heart rate is suppose to drop in that resting period the below 100, before running again, otherwise you wont get the full affect of HIIT and fat burning. But my heart rate doesn’t drop below that – even if i walk for 1 and half min. Do i really have to worry about that?

And also – are you saying that if i can do HIIT for a long period (at the moment its 15 mins) and not bother with low intense cardio afterwards – ill get a better result? Or should i just stick to what im going now?

Thanks man – you’re FAB!!!! 🙂


Mandy Alexander April 22, 2009 at 7:52 am

Good article. people need all the help and advice they can get with so much conflicting advice around.
Keep up the good work.

Simply Lose Weight

Pitt April 22, 2009 at 10:33 am

hi rusty, firstly congrats to your girlfriend.. =] =]

i know this may not be the best post to comment on but i’ve read somewhere that you plan on traveling a fair bit so i was wondering if you’ve ever considered resistant bands (i hope this is the correct terminology). from one of your earlier post you mentioned strength traning or keeping in shape with bodyweight circuit and such which i really enjoyed doing, however, there are certain exercises such as ones for your biceps and shoulders that cant be done easily while traveling. (i’m too chicken to do a handstand shoulder press by the way. seems quite dangerous)

so back to the point i was wondering about your take on resistant bands

thanks, very best Pitt

Mike OD - LifeSpotlight April 22, 2009 at 12:09 pm

Good post. I think way too many people try to crush themselves all the time….and then wonder why they get injured, fatigued and not get lasting results. I always say….if you get done with an intense workout and need to either sleep or down a gatorade….it’s too much….especially for those that try and train that way consistently.

Arya - weight loss blog April 22, 2009 at 2:28 pm

Hey everyone,
I wanted to post this slightly altered version of Craig Ballantyne’s crazy eight bodyweight circuit. I just performed it today and it wiped me out. It was especially effective in releasing he HGH flush. I know I only substitued a couple excercises but doing so combined with extra burpees and a plank to finish had my face on fire at the end. Try it out and tell me what you think. Check out my blog and post your comments there as well!
Alternate body weight circuit
8-15 jump squats
pushups 1 rep short of failure
20 walking lunges
spiderman climb 10 per side
abs bicycle – 45- 60 seconds
plank 60 seconds
burpees 5 or more
50 high knees
At the end of your final circuit finish immediatley with a plank until failure.
Try and go through this three times!
Good luck!

– Arya

P.S. not sure if I can post a link on here, but you can type “jump squats” in google or youtube to see how they are performed. I have a link on my website as well.

Yash April 22, 2009 at 10:07 pm

Great post Rusty. The problem I’ve been having lately with my workouts is that they seem to be on the low end of intensity. For some reason I feel like I’m doing them at half speed since going on a low calorie diet. I don’t worry too much about my meals since I know that eating when you’re hungry is the most important thing, but sometimes late afternoon workouts after only a small breakfast seem daunting. It makes me want to cheat a little with my eating. It makes me feel that I’d rather be making some concessions with my diet and making up for it with the fact that I’ll have more energy for my workouts. Also, with 3 days of weight training and another 2 – 3 days of rugby, I’m definitely thinking I should be eating more. What’s your opinion?

Also, in response more specifically to the article, I’d rather overshoot the intensity of a workout [ammuing it won’t result in injury] because it’s a good motivator to see how far you can push yourself. Though it may be hard that day post-workout and you’ll be tired, the next time you hit the gym or wherever you work out, you’ll want to keep it intense. I think getting used to higher intensity is the reason I’m disappointed that I’m not getting the same energy in my workouts now.

Viknesh April 23, 2009 at 2:21 pm

Great post Rusty , iv started my fat loss programme by watching my diet and to compensate for my lack of discipline in self training i decided to engage in martial arts . The padworks,bodyweight circuit training are giving my more than enough hell , finally getting to see a flatter tummy and toned legs and hands .

Sam Barnett April 23, 2009 at 4:25 pm


Your website has been a big inspiration. I am a former college soccer player who has got caught up in the supplement industries framing of the perfect diet and thus have become bulkier than I would like. I am currently 5’10” and 179 pounds and would like to get back down to my soccer playing weight of 155-160 pounds in the next two months and then hold that for a couple months in order to let the skin tighten around the muscle and achieve that lean and hard look you emphasize. I am currently doing 20 minutes of interval training 4-5 times a week striving for the HGH flush you talk about. I then follow this with weights, lifting heavy and trying to use the fatty acids that I released during HIIT. I do intermittent fasting for 16-20 hours and then eat in the remaining window, the way that Ori recommends in the WD, starting with veggies, protein, and fat, and then finishing the meal off with carbs which is usually low glycemic fruit since I try to eat primal most of the time. If you could please comment on what I am doing and give me any advice I would appreciate the help.

Keep up the fantastic work!


admin April 23, 2009 at 4:52 pm


I never recommend going out of your way for a calorie surplus. I would recommend staying at maintenance level or just barely above that level and adding volume to the shoulder presses. It is a slow, but better approach to gaining size. If you can get strong in the 5 rep range for quite a few sets of shoulder presses, the right amount of size will follow. That Pavel method works well and is what I would recommend. Thanks for posting the info pointing to the body weight circuits. I appreciate it!


Thanks for wishing my girlfriend good luck. She is making her video today to submit to Project Runway.


Thanks for the compliment. Yeah…don’t kill yourself with HIIT. Some days I go all out, but other times I go at about 80%. Today was a moderate day for me, because I felt a little tired.


Yeah…it is good to have some sort of indicator to know if you are hitting the right level of intensity. This method works pretty well.


It never pays to argue with those guys. The funny thing with the personal trainers in my gym is that they all could stand to lose 20-30 pounds of body fat. A couple of them can lift heavy, but I never see any of those guys doing intense intervals or circuits. Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve seen a personal trainer work up a sweat in my gym. I do see them doing hundreds of balance ball swiss-ball ab workout variations. Too bad they will never get to see those abs due to the excess body fat.


You know…I did the same thing for a long time when I worked nights. I got ultra lean by doing this. You will be fine, but you may need to be a little tighter on that night time meal when you have those last 3-5 pounds to lose.


I love the idea of brief lunch break workouts. I used to work in management in a salaried position. I got lunch breaks, but rarely was able to leave my store. Nothing worse than a sucky job.


Yeah…I’m proud of my girlfriend. She has worked extremely hard to get to where she is at. One tough girl! I’ve been doing this HIIT type cardio since the mid-90’s. It blows my mind that it has been over 15 years since studies proved that this interval circuit type training is the way to go to burn fat…and nobody in the gym is doing it. I swear…I bet only 10-20 people in my gym do any type of interval training besides myself…and 5 of those 10 people are my friends. This is the sort of stuff that drives me to write this blog. I’m glad that you and many of the other friends of this site have growing blogs as well. Keep it up buddy!


Right there with ya. I would add in clean diet, but that is a given.


I never really thought too much about the resting part after the workout, until Brad wrote about it. It is a good call on his part, because if you decrease activity to compensate…you get much less benefit from the workout. Adding steady state cardio (even low intensity activity) is great to do after HIIT. This is the time you will derive the most benefit from lower levels of activity.


I can talk more about diet, but so many of the contributors and commentors on my site have incredibly detailed posts about what they eat…I figured they do such a good job that I haven’t really bothered to write about this so much. I’ll make a note about this and add this to a future post.


Half-assed cardio is popular because it is easy. People don’t want discomfort. I think lifting heavy weights is easy as well. There is nothing that will challenge your willpower as much as interval work (HIIT, circuits, bodyweight circuits). We have many, many people to reach and teach the proper way to burn fat. So many people take the improper approach.


I just found out that Ladytron is coming to Seattle. I bought tickets for me and the girlfriend. Saw Franz Ferdinand last week and they put on an amazing show. Anyway…great way to get creative with burning fat. I get smoked playing tennis with one of my good friends. He is better than me, so I end up running all over the court. Basketball kind of kicks my butt as well…I’m always shocked when I see an overweight professional basketball player. You know they must eat a terrible diet, because basketball burns some serious calories. Soccer is even better…I have never seen an overweight high-level soccer player.


You may benefit from some heavy dumbell flyes with a bit of volume to add size to your pecs. Do incline to build up the upper pecs near the collarbone. In fact, you could find an adjustable bench and do 6-8 reps of flyes at the highest incline level, then go down a notch…do 6-8 more reps…and continue going to a lower and lower angle. This will really work the upper chest hard. Aim for 6-8 sets of 6-8 reps (this is a size building rep and volume range). After this, hit the regular bench press and do 5-6 sets of 6-8 reps. Since your chest has been pre-exhausted a bit from the incline flyes, your chest will fatigue before your triceps. This will work well. The stomach will flatten out with HIIT and a clean diet. I expect royalty payments if you get a role in Fight Club 2 (if they ever decide to make a part 2).


Craig Ballantyne has done a lot for the fitness community. One of the few “big names” in the industry that I feel is right on the mark. I really love his program and message he is sending out.


This is one of my favorite pictures as well. It took me a while to find this one!


I hope my girlfriend makes the show because she is fun and quirky in a good way. People would really root for her. As far as doing the Steady State after HIIT…that is completely optional and only if you have extra time. I go weeks without adding the steady state afterward, if my schedule is too busy. It is just icing on the cake. The idea that your heart rate needs to go below 100 before running again is false. I get my heart rate up to 180+ on the tough part of my interval and it probably doesn’t go below 150 for the walking part. I would feel like a slacker if I allowed it to go down to 100…in fact I am not sure I would be able to get it that low. If you are limited in time, just do 20 minutes HIIT without the steady state part. It works well.


Funny you should mention that, because I am looking into these. My buddy Mike O’Donnell over at Lifespotlight likes to use resistance bands while travelling. I should have him do a guest post. I honestly haven’t used them, but like you…I’m not a big fan of handstand pushups.


I have done the crazy 8 bodyweight circuit, so I know how brutal this one must be. You are probably breathing like mad after 50 high knees…good stuff!


You sound worn down and not eating enough. You definitely need to eat more. It is cool to get lean, but it shouldn’t require this degree of torture. With your level of activity, consider eating again a few hours after breakfast.


Awesome…I think martial arts is a great form of exercise. Diet is key as well…add in the bodyweight circuits and you will get in great shape.


I have no doubt that you will get extremely lean following that plan…especially since you have been that well-conditioned in the past. I wouldn’t change a thing. Sounds like the exact thing you need to do to reach your goal. Consider being a little bit flexible in your approach to IF. I like Brad’s Eat Stop Eat version, which is just doing this twice per week (or 3 times max).

Good comments everyone!


Matt April 23, 2009 at 5:16 pm

Great post rusty.

Dont know if you have ever tried kettlebells, but I find these kill two birds with one stone for many of my own clients, great at developing muscle tone, while delivering a strong cardio response and noticeable EPOC after the session has finished.

Best Wishes

Greg April 23, 2009 at 7:00 pm

Hey Rusty,

I just want to say that your posts help to really keep me motivated and inspired every day. I have been following your advice since Mid-January with great success. I am 6’3″ and started out at 256+, now I am down to 229. I have another 10-12 pounds of fat to lose to hit my goal of around 6% body fat (I use the accu-measure calipers to track progress). I haven’t lost much strength at all since I am sticking to your low rep / heavy weight recommendations. The empty stomach cardio and caffeine in the morning is what really seems to work. I don’t do the HIIT, but I keep it high intensity the entire way through my 25 minute sessions (heart rate = 170+). I can really feel the heat radiating off my body when I am done and I enjoy the effort, but is there any advantage to doing intervals over this approach? I am looking forward to my final goal so that I can start a short maintenance phase of two weeks so my metabolism readjusts.

I know you don’t focus on gaining lean muscle mass, but is there any articles you can point me towards that help with post final goal routines? I am losing this weight so that I can have a nice clean start to gaining 5-10 pounds of lean muscle mass so my proportionality is balanced. Just wanted to say that your stuff is by far the best advice out there.

Arya-weight loss blog April 23, 2009 at 8:54 pm

Thanks for the great advice and continued guidance. I know I will reach my goal soon. I just have two more questions on implementing this new routine. In performing double the volume for shoulders am I going to failure in order to break down the muscle and also am I still hitting shoulders twice per week like in my strength training routine?

P.S. Thanks to you I love body weight circuits and frequently substitute them for HIIT. If you ever give the one I posted a try tell me how it works out.

Sam April 24, 2009 at 1:24 am


Thanks for the advice! I have read that eating fruit can inhibit fat loss. Do you think I am doing that by eating low glycemic fruit (apples, berries, and oranges) after my evening meal on the Warrior Diet?



myra April 24, 2009 at 6:06 am

Hi Rusty,
I think your posts are all great and interesting, but this one is making a very good point indeed. I combine HIIT with a weights programme and i get the HGH FLUSH every time. i dont see the point of going to the gym unless i work my ass off when im in there! and it feels so good!

PATRICK…. i see both men and women in my gym walking on the treadmill for what seems to me like ages, i dont think they are aware they aren’t “working” to have any real benefit. sometimes i want to say if you want to see a difference run! but its not my business to do that, unless i become a PT. It is frustrating to see it though hey!
Rusty congrats to your girlfriend. sounds like shes on her way up.

Doné April 28, 2009 at 4:23 am

Hey Rusty

Thanks Dude!!!

Much Appreciated 🙂

Ron April 28, 2009 at 3:03 pm

What’s your HIIT routine looking like these days?

admin April 28, 2009 at 5:24 pm


I think kettlebells look like they would do a great job, unfortunately I avoid them due to a pre-existing spinal injury I suffered years ago. My back feels fine right now, but there are certain movements I try and limit to insure it stays pain free.


Thanks for the compliment. Okay…doing intervals is a way to get the same fat burning effects of the tough workout you are doing, but is less likely to cause over-training. As long as you are getting good results keep doing what you are doing. As far as gaining muscle goes…go to the search bar in the upper right hand corner of my site and type in “muscle mass”. One of the articles will be called “A Sensible Way to Gain Muscle Mass”. This is a good one to read.


When you are aiming primarily for mass, but don’t care about strength gains you can go to failure and beyond. If you top short of failure you will more likely gain strength and muscle. A lot of how hard you push depends upon how sore you are getting. A slight soreness is fine when going for mass…if you are toast then don’t go to failure.


I reached my lowest bodyfat percentage while eating a large Fuji apple right before bed. It helped me feel full enough to sleep while still being able to maintain a pretty large calorie deficit.


Thanks for the compliments to both me and my girlfriend. She is a big part of my life and I couldn’t be more happy for her. I really hope she makes the show. I think she will freak out when she meets Heidi Klum! She is a big fan.


You bet!


These days I’m doing HIIT on the step-mill (the evil stair machine with actual stairs that you have to walk on). I do level 15-20 for 12-15 minutes and it is brutal. I do this 2-3 times per week. Once per week I do some sort of body weight circuit. So that is a total of 3-4 times per week. About 1/2 of the time I follow it with 20 minutes of low intensity cardio on a treadmill. I do this routine after a brief strength training routine.

Good stuff!


Jon May 8, 2009 at 10:36 am

hey rusty, loving your website. i have a few questions for you when you get the chance to answer. i myself workout in the fasted state simply cuz i dont like having to wait hours for food to digest and plus the hgh benefit you get. this may be a dumb question, but i have a 8 year old muscular beagle mix. will fasting and having him exercise on empty which he already does (he sprints around the yard) give he him health benefits like it supposedly does in humans?

Jon May 8, 2009 at 10:40 am

one more thing rusty, if you dont have access to weights, can bodyweight circuits preserve muscle mass you already have? also, you recommend slower reps for bodyweight circuits or fast reps? explosives concentrics and slow negatives and fast concentrics and eccentrics for reps in bodyweight circuits??

Jeff Todd November 5, 2009 at 10:43 pm

Hi Rusty – can I get your thoughts on creatine? I’ve used it in cycles for the last several years and wonder how you feel it either benefits or detracts from getting/maintaining that toned look we all work towards.

The people here that respond to your blog are great.

Treadmill January 19, 2011 at 1:28 pm

I watched the video and liked it. What was it trying to say about women in the fashion industry?

astha March 6, 2011 at 2:06 pm

hey Rusty,

i have a fitness dilemma which i’m hoping you can help me out with. i’m 5 foot tall woman, 30 yrs old, and weigh about 42 kgs…the doctor says i’m underweight. problem is i’m also one of those skinny fat girls. i have a spare tire on my tummy, slightly bingo wings although not that noticeable but my biggest problem are my thighs, especially my inner thighs. they jiggle loads along with my butt and i have cellulite on my upper legs and butt too. i look slim in my jeans etc. but underneath my clothes i don’t like the way i look especially my lower body. i can’t wear skirts/shorts despite weighing so little. because of my ehight i don’t want to get muscular legs but i would like a sleek, toned, lean look for my body particularly my legs, arms and torso. could you please suggest what sort of workout routine and diet i should adopt so that i don’t lose weight but i get the lean, toned look i’m after and lose the unsightly layer of fat i’m carrying on my small frame. i’ve always been naturally slim throughout my 20s and unfortunately i took it for granted that my physique would stay that way which it didn’t now that my 20s are over. i fell into the habit of snacking on sugary, fatty junk food and coupled with a desk job hardly getting any exercise. i was also recently diagnosed with PCOS. i want to put my health and fitness back on track and get back my body and just be a healthy woman. i would really, really appreciate whatever help and advice you can give me.
I came across your site quite by accident but i love the way you explain things and the tons of info available here. thank you for being so generous with your knowledge.

Jonathan September 23, 2011 at 8:44 pm

That part about trainers putting you through workouts so hard you need a nap made me laugh.

I just went through a brutal lower body workout with a trainer and fell asleep for two hours as soon as I got home. I can already tell that my legs are going to be so sore I won’t want to get out of bed tomorrow morning either and will probably be a couch potato all weekend. 🙁

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: