How to Get Stronger Than Ever While Burning Body Fat

March 19, 2008

I have found a way to lift heavier weights while burning more body fat than normal in the same workout.

This method will extend the fat burning window in your workout, without necessarily working out longer. I kind of stumbled upon this method on accident quite a few years ago, and now I use it to get extra lean while increasing my muscle density simultaneously. I have never read about this method, nor have I seen anyone else in the gym doing this.

I don’t think I’m the only person who does this, but this certainly isn’t a mainstream personal training tip at all.

bruce lee's ripped 6 pack abs
[Bruce Lee is the definition of strength-to-weight ratio. This man could do some amazing physical feats. A true bad-ass for sure!]

A Strange Phenomenon I Discovered On Accident…

About 9 years ago, I really started to hit cardio hard. I really decided to increase the performance of my cardio and take it to the next level. I began hard intervals on various cardio machines and came up with an Interval Training Workout that has suited me well over the years. I would do a variation of this cardio workout after every session of lifting and I was quickly getting slim, lean and defined.

The problem was that I was drenched with sweat and my heart was still racing. It felt weird to leave the gym in that state.

One Day I Went Back to Lifting After My Cardio Session

I decided to do flat bench dumbbell presses again (I did them earlier in my workout). I was completely warmed up from doing them, plus my body felt warm and loose from the cardio…so I went straight for a heavy set of 3.

I figured I was worn out from the cardio, so I grabbed a pair of 80 pound dumbbells which I would do sets of 5 with back then. When I did the set, they felt lighter than ever! I figured they would have felt heavier! I went on to grab 90 pound dumbells…they felt totally light! I went up to 100 pounders and they felt heavy, but I did a set of 5 pretty easily.

This was actually a personal best for me at the time, which is nuts since I expended so much energy from interval training!

I Was So Excited I Decided to Try Dumbbell Rows

Due to my log arms, I’m terrible at pressing exercises and strong at pulling exercises. I can do super slow sets of dumbbell rows with 100+ pounds no problem.

Pressing that same weight is a challenge for me. Back to my story…so I grabbed 100 pound dumbbells and did a set of 5 reps. That felt easy…110 pound dumbbells for 5…easy! 120 pound dumbbells…tough, but I got up a strict 5 reps. Yes…another personal best.

What the Heck Was Happening Here?

This really didn’t seem logical at all to me. I should have had a tougher time doing these lifts after HIIT, not an easier time! I was drenched with sweat and breathing hard. How on earth was I setting personal bests in these lifts. It was crazy!

The Next Day I Tried Doing Cardio First, Then Lift…

So the next day I did a similar cardio workout first and then hit the weights. The weird thing is that the weights felt heavier than ever! I felt weak and couldn’t lift even close to the same weights as I normally did.

This wasn’t too surprising, since I have tried cardio before lifting in the past and I had a similar experience. I was wondering if the day before was a fluke, or if I was just stronger that day for some reason.

After a Few Weeks, I Figured It Out

What I discovered was that strength training before my cardio workout basically “awakened” the neural pathways to the muscles (remember, strength training is all about sending strong nerve impulses from your brain to muscles). After I did my typical 3-5 rep strength training routine, I would hit cardio hard for 25-45 minutes.

During that time, my body temperature would increase and all my muscles and joints would loosen up. When I went back to perform those same lifts, the nerve pathways were already primed from the earlier lifting…but now my body was “warmed up” beyond belief, the joints moved better, etc.

The same amount of nerve impulse to the muscle resulted in more efficient contractions.

Lifting Heavy Never Felt So Good

I am always careful to lift slow and deliberately when lifting. Many days I lift light, but contract the muscles hard to mimic the contraction I get when lifting heavy. This is a way to gain strength without lifting heavy all the time. There are other days when I do enjoy lifting heavier weights. Doing my heaviest sets after cardio is a great way to lift heavy without worrying about pulling something. The sets I do after cardio always feel smooth and easy. The weight just glides nicely.

Lifting Weights Widens the “Calorie Burning Window”

What you will notice when lifting after cardio, is that your heart rate will stay at a decent rate.

Even if you are just lifting low reps and resting quite a bit in between, your body will be in fat burning mode.

You are doing two things at once…burning fat and increasing muscle definition by getting stronger without getting bigger. This is like the “Perfect Storm” of getting in amazing condition…I think I’ll call it that!

Here is an Outline Of The Perfect Storm Workout

  • Do 2/3 of your normal lifting routine before cardio
  • Perform Interval Training or tough Steady State Cardio for 25-45 minutes
  • Pick two Lifts total and Do 4-5 sets of 3-5 reps
  • Make sure the lifts are similar or the same as a lift you did before cardio
  • Don’t rush your sets, you will still burn fat with longer rest periods

A Great Way to Develop Lagging Body Parts

You can use this method to quickly develop weak body parts.

Let’s say you are doing chest and back on the same day. You would do your brief strength training routine, hit cardio, and then maybe concentrate on just doing two more lifts for chest instead of one for chest and one for back.

You can be flexible here.

The one thing you don’t want to do is try to do 4-5 more exercises, as it loses its effectiveness. Just focus your efforts on two, maybe three lifts max.

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

{ 64 comments… read them below or add one }

Matt March 19, 2008 at 3:45 pm

Sweet, I’ll definatly try this next workout; some upper chest and back then some HIIT for about 25 min then some heavey dumbell incline press mixed with some heavy incline cable cross overs. Cant wait.

Ricky March 19, 2008 at 4:02 pm

Brilliant observation. Why are there not more people like you on the net? Anyway, I wanted to ask if you ever tried isometric stretching. I have been doing it lately and am getting pretty good definition.

benjie March 19, 2008 at 5:20 pm

great article as always rusty! so far a guy like me who does my cardio in the morning and my weight-lifting at night, is there anyway I could still benefit from this type of training? Any ideas? I was trying to think of how I could benefit from this but I couldn’t really think of any way I could? Any possible suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks Rusty!

Eric March 19, 2008 at 5:36 pm

Would doing cardio before lifting result in a crash all the time or would a cardio workout before weight lifting work well? I have a hard time running after lifting for some reason.Can I run before lifting and get the benefits?

Thanks Rusty

admin March 19, 2008 at 7:23 pm


You are going to love how incline dumbbell presses feel once your body is jacked up from cardio. I swear they will feel easier than ever for you. I did crazy weights on the Hammer Strength dip machine today after killing it on the treadmill. You are going to like this.


“Why aren’t there more people like me on the net?”…I think it being out there on the net takes “thick skin”. Especially when any advice given questions long-held beliefs. When I was posting some of my first posts I used to get ripped on pretty hard in many of the bodybuilding forums. They have left me alone for the most part lately, but I still get the occasional nasty comment that I don’t “approve”. You wouldn’t believe some of the weird racist and homophobic type stuff that many of these guys write. I just ignore this stuff and focus on the people that enjoy the site (which is the majority of the people). I don’t know much about “Isometric Stretching”…I will look into it. Thanks for being a long time reader! I guess I decided to create this site to fill a void. I was sick of generic boring fitness articles I was reading.


You will be fine just doing what you are doing. This is just another “tool” in the toolbox. You will be fine doing the routine you outlined earlier.


Everybody is different. Why don’t you give it a shot. One thing to keep in mind is that the type of lifting I typically recommend isn’t that physically demanding. Proper strength training is energizing, not draining like a tough bodybuilding workout.


Sandy March 19, 2008 at 7:48 pm

WOW, this is an interesting observation. Rusty, how does this workout look? IM doing weights before cardio. Is that okay?

2 days of circuit weight training followed by 30 mins of HIIT
2 days of strength training followed by either HIIT (30 mins) plus 15 mins of steady state cardio. Strength training days im doing chest, back shoulders and then the other day IM doing biceps, triceps and abs. Does that look okay? Now, should I do 3 sets of 5 of all strength exercises? Is that enough sets of should i do 5-6 sets? What exercises do you recommend for the body parts Im working? Ive been doing bench press, pulldowns, shoulder presses (3 sets of 5 of each exercise). For triceps and biceps, im doing tricep extensions and bicep curls and then im doing planks for abs. I also do 1 more day of just cardio (jogging/running) so im working out 4-5 days each week. I dont want to waste my time in the gym. I want results. Sorry for the 20 questions. I trust your advice. (:

Sandy March 19, 2008 at 7:49 pm

My goals are to burn body fat and to lose around 14 pounds.

John March 19, 2008 at 11:04 pm

i find this interesting since im reading the warrior diet…the cft training section is kind of like that. he starts off with aerobics and lifting in the same session like biking and running with dumbells. then he does some low volume pyramids. turbulence training is like this as well. I think the secret lies in the bodys use of fuel. I had my best workout after fasting and jumping rope for 25 min. I think ones the body shifts to burining fat for fuel you simply just can go on forever. so lets keep it simple…eat more fat in the absence of carbs (except beans and veggies)….do aerobics before lifting, then go home and eat what u want.

Raven March 20, 2008 at 8:48 am

Another great article with great advice Rusty! Several years ago I came across the Cyberpump website and started following the HIT protocol and lifting to failure. Looking back I think I only managed to fry my nervous system and never made many gains after a couple weeks of training this way. Since finding your site I have switched to lifting heavy for low reps and short of failure. It feels so much better not to be sore for a couple days after a workout. I feel like my muscles are getting more dense and I know I am getting stronger.

What would be a good way to build some size in a lagging body part? I’ve always felt like my chest was a little flat compared to the roundness of my arms and shoulders. Also, have you checked out the Crossfit website? What do you think of their concepts?


Timmy March 20, 2008 at 9:45 am

Hey, Rusty. I’m a relative newcomer to your site and am really digging it. You’re really good at labeling your posts so that you can go back and read them by category, but I’m not seeing a quick way just to go chronologically through the archives. Do you have an archive page that lets you search by date?

-would you see potential benefit in piling on another 45 minutes of elliptical after the second set of working out? Or should I just do the whole 90 minutes of cardio then do the anaerobic stuff?

-Also, what do you think of throwing some Pilates into the mix on occasion? I can’t imagine in would build bulky muscles, but it seems like a variation on the theme of some of the old stand bys, like crunches that you eschew in favor of planks.

Cory March 20, 2008 at 12:15 pm

Hey Rusty, this sounds interesting I think I will try it in my routine. Anything that helps is awesome. Its amazing alot of the things you have told me have helped me, in fact most if not all of them have. To give you an update on where Im at. I was stuck in a plateau, changed my protein to one without creatine, and took the week off as you suggested boosted my calorie intake with healthy foods 3 meals a day and snack, up to my maitenence level and I stayed level at my weight. Now it the 2 weeks since then I have lost another 10 pounds just like that, and am still losing. To date I have lost 50 pounds!! I am now starting to get closer to my goal and it is amazing! I am definitly going to be lean by summer! Thanks for all the help Cant believe what I have accompished in 2 months of determination. I actually now am back at my normal weight, from before I quit smoking and was off dissabled from work for last year. But I am not happy with that, I want to get lean and fit. I know I can do anything if put my mind to it. Thanks again Rusty!

Luetrell March 20, 2008 at 12:17 pm

Would you recommend this work out for someone who not only wants to burn fat but also increase their muscle mass. I just started training again after not working out for three months. My body fat percentage is up to an alarming 18% and my weight is down to 198lbs. (I’m 6’5″.) The fat is concentrated around my abdominals. Summer is almost here, help!

shailja March 20, 2008 at 2:59 pm

Hi Rusty,
Thanks for another good post.
My goal is to lose 16-20 pounds by end of june.Obviously,I’ve no problem is I hit my goal in 2 months instead of 3 🙂

I’m eating 2 meals a day(vegetarian) and maybe a protein drink/fruit for breakfast.
I’m doing cardio everyday and doing some HIIT with steady state for 40- 60 minutes (no food for at least 4 hours before) .

My question is that if I do more than 60 minutes of cardio will it cause problems for me?

What kind of strength exercises do you recommend for women?

P.S. I’ve not seen any weight change in a week but I’m chipping away.
Thanks.I feel really motivated with all the information you provide.
I’m even learning to like cardio.

marion March 20, 2008 at 3:36 pm


In reference to HIIT – should I be doing it on separate days from weight training? I’m trying to build more muscle and definition. I’m a petite female, ectomorph. Right now, I’m doing HIIT on M W F, then heavy full body weights on T Th. On Sat I do tabata with a jump rope 5 min warmup, then 8 sets of 20sec/10sec, then a 5 minute cooldown. Then on Sunday, a jump rope session of 20 minutes. Am I doing too much? I don’t want to be overtraining. Also, should weight training be separate from HIIT?? Do I need more time off, if so, could I just combine weights and HIIT on same day? I really would like to get my bodyfat down even more, with more definition. Right now, I’m 5’1″, 106lbs, 18.5%bf.

By the way, I love your sight!

Seiyul March 20, 2008 at 6:12 pm

Fascinating idea – you wouldn’t think it would work, but your explanation makes a lot of sense. Another good post, Rusty!

admin March 21, 2008 at 12:21 am


Sounds like you have things well planned out. I normally recommend around 8-12 total sets per body part. Feel free to do more or less. It is largely an individual thing. The main thing is that I don’t want people to feel like they have to live in the gym. Training for strength isn’t about breaking down the muscle, so the volume of sets and reps can be low. You look like you are a bit lower and that is actually fine…maybe aim for 5 sets for now. You may want to increase that once you burn off all the body fat you desire.

It looks like you are chosing one exercise per body part right now and that is fine.

My favorite exercises per body part:

Chest: Incline dumbbell presses
Shoulders: Seated dumbbell presses
Back: Chin-ups (pull downs if not strong enough)
Biceps: Barbell curls (with a straight bar, not e-z curl)
Triceps: Hammer Strength dip machine
Abs: Planks

I love it that you are doing 30 minutes of HIIT and then extending the calorie burning with 15 minutes of less intense steady state cardio. You will burn off body fat like crazy doing this exact cardio plan.


I like the point you made about feeling like you can go on forever. I go into my workouts in a fasted state and carb depleted and feel like I could workout hard for 4+ hours (I normally just try my best to make it an intense hour to hour and 1/2 instead).


I think Crossfit looks great for pure functional strength and fitness. I know it was designed for military units and it is ideal for people who need to be strong and quick. I don’t think it creates the most aesthetic physiques…and to be honest, it looks demanding in the sense that you would be sore for days after each workout. I guess I’m just not that hardcore…I like to be fit, get 4-5 quick workouts in, and then live life. I wouldn’t want to do workouts that I feel for days after. It looks good, but not for a casual person who just wants to be healthy and look great.

I did the Mike Mentzer style high intensity training around 18 years ago. I remember only working out twice per week and feeling sore almost every day of the week! I’m against feeling sore all the time. What a miserable way to go through life!

About your lagging body part. Just add more volume to that body part for a while. So higher sets and reps, just for that body part. I know it is a simple answer, but it will work.


My site is long overdue for a new navigation menu, new header, and basically an entire new theme. I haven’t changed my theme yet, because so many websites have too much going on and it distracts from the content…do you know what I’m talking about? I purposely keep this as simple as possible. What I need to do is hire a web designer to create a simple design, but with side bars on the left and right, but keep it simple and clean.

You don’t need to spend 90 minutes on cardio. I would recommend a max of one hour. I do about 35-45 minutes (20-25 of HIIT followed by 15-20 of steady state cardio). The only time I would possibly recommend 90 minutes is maybe 2 weeks before a vacation.


When I read comments like this it makes me want to go to the gym. You are doing an amazing job! You will get as lean as you desire, now that you know how to do it. That is a great feeling!


This is a good way to go if you want to burn fat and gain mass. The only thing you would want to adjust is do more sets and reps before the cardio. After cardio, still concentrate on getting stronger and doing less reps and sets. This will work for you.


You can increase the cardio to over an hour, but I don’t like to recommend this as a long term strategy…2-3 weeks max in my opinion is perfect. So, if you chose to do it, make sure you write down an ending date where you will go back to your normal amount of cardio.


You are a maniac. That looks like an effective workout, but how do you find the time to relax and have fun? Here is what I would recommend as a more realistic approach that will still give you great results…do your jump rope work on Tues and Thursday after lifting. If you feel extra fatigued during the week, feel free to skip Wednesdays workout…on the other hand, if you are feeling energetic during a certain week, maybe go for a jog on Sunday. A good approach would be 4-5 days per week. Take the weekends off and enjoy the journey to getting fit a little better! Thanks for the compliment by the way. I love interacting and helping out.


Glad you like it! It does work very well.



Helder March 21, 2008 at 8:21 am

I’ts totally new for me, but it makes a lot of sense. I’ll try that and then let you know how it worked. You’re always ahead Rusty, very good post.

Sandy March 21, 2008 at 10:02 am

So how many exercises per body part do you recommend? I felt like 1 per body part was too low.

Sandy March 21, 2008 at 10:04 am

Since you are recommending 8-12 sets per body part, could you break that down to 2-3 exercises per body part?

Sandy March 21, 2008 at 10:07 am

sorry keep thinking of questions could you recommend a strength routine for me (2 day)? that might make it easier for me that asking you a thousand questions about it. LOL Thanks so much, Rusty! You’re the best!

marion March 21, 2008 at 10:36 am

Thanks for the advice Rusty! I just really like to work out. I’m an older female (not too old, but 40 is happening shortly) so I’m so worried about my muscle loss. I’m actually lucky, at work we have a fitness center, so I work out every day at lunch time, which is great. Doesn’t interfer with my home life, and gets me away from my desk. I try to stay active on the weekends, because I want to be a good fitness role model for my 3 girls. I feel the more they see me doing exercise, the more they will realize that this is a part of life. I do take some weekends off or shall I say, I just do activities that can include the whole family. . . walking, biking, hiking, beach, etc. So, I’m really not insane, just looking to age gracefully 😉

Everyday, I check your website for new articles/information. It becomes pretty addictive reading – especially reading other peoples ideas/concerns. Keep up the great work!!

Matt H. March 21, 2008 at 11:02 am

So I tried it this moring; they totally slide up there like budder(in Mike Myers voice). It felt awesome thanks.

john March 21, 2008 at 3:40 pm

hey rusty, been reading your site for awhile and thought i’d comment on how much i loved it. i’m a lean person too and it’s hard to get much advice because everyones trying to get big and bigger. i enjoy my lean and tone body more than those muscular builds at the gym. You know bruce lee used to actually be quite huge but he shrunk down because he said being to big slowed him down. He wanted a balance of power and speed. Anywho love your site and curious of which beach you took that main pic of yourself. The beach looks sooo clear and nice.

admin March 22, 2008 at 12:33 am


You will love this technique. It just makes the lifts feel really smooth, since everything is “warmed up” beyond belief.


You have the same name as my sister…and she is cool as hell. Anyway…here is a two day routine that works well. I do variations of this routine.

Day1: Chest – Back – Abs
Incline Dumbbell Press: 4 sets of 3-5 reps
Incline Barbell, Hammer Strength, or Nautilus Bench: 3 sets of 3-5 reps
Flat Bench Dumbbell Flyes: 3 sets of 5 reps

Chin-ups or Pull-downs: 5 sets of 5 reps
Low Cable Rows: 3 sets of 5 reps
One Arm Dumbbell Rows: 3 sets of 3-5 reps

10 Minutes Abs Workout

Day 2: Shoulders – Biceps – Triceps

Seated Dumbbell Presses: 5 sets of 3-5 reps
Machine Military Press (any type of machine): 4 sets of 3-5 reps

Barbell Curls: 4-5 sets of 3-5 reps
Alternate Dumbbell Curls: 3-4 Sets of 3-5 reps

Dips or Hammer Strength Dips: 4-5 sets of 3-5 reps
Triceps extension or close Grip Bench Presses: 3-4 sets of 3-5 reps

Note: Usually I do one light set of 5 reps, then grab a weight I can just get up 5 times…sometimes by the last set I can only get it 3 times…that is what I mean by 3-5 reps. If you can get 5 reps on every set that is fine. When I feel like heavy weights feel great, I’ll grab a heavier weight after the second set and do a couple sets of 3 reps. The best time to do this is if you do a few bonus sets like described in this post. The heavy weights just move easier after tough cardio.


We are close to the same age. I probably look 40, but in my head I’m 25. I probably will never grow up! glad you enjoy the site.


What is crazy is if you do this for a month or two, you will quickly get stronger…especially if you decide to specialize on a few lifts. I did super slow one arm dumbbell rows today with 125 pound dumbbells for 3-4 reps. I grabbed 90 pounds for my first set and it practically jumped off the ground. This works very well!


The beach was a beach about an hour from Cancun, Mexico…called Playa Del Carmen. Here is a picture from our Beach Villa, that we rented for one week. It was right on the Gulf of Mexico. We had our own private beach to skinny dip, drink beer, etc. They had satellite radio and huge speakers on the balcony. We were cranking out thumping dance music a lot of the day. It was my favorite vacation to date. Unbelievable.

playa del carmen vacation home
[This picture was taken at about 5:30 pm. As you can see, we took naps before showering up and hitting the clubs.]

It is like a nicer and fancier version of Cancun, but less of a “spring break” drunk-fest scene. It is a little more expensive and exclusive, but worth it. They have a few of the coolest dance clubs I’ve ever been to (I’ve been to a lot). One of the clubs is a techno club that is indoor and outdoor…right on the beach. It is hard to describe how cool it is to dance on the white sand with pumping tunes echoing out over the Gulf of Mexico…swing sets at the bar, etc. Unreal!


Harry March 22, 2008 at 3:56 am

I’m a 6’0″ tall guy(19 yrs old) and my weight is 183 lbs.Even though my BMI is just in limits,i have a pot belly.My lower waist is 34″ while my waist is 37″ on navel height.My question is

Will I develop saggy skin if i lose my belly fat?

I never exercised in my life,nor i played any sport (yeah! its true!).
Is it possible for me to have six packs?

Sandy March 22, 2008 at 9:46 am

(: That’s cool! Im pretty laid back and lots of fun too! (well thats what my friends say) Thanks so much for the great workout. Your site is awesome and you have helped me tremendously, Rusty! Have a nice weekend.

Sandy March 22, 2008 at 9:48 am

PS that beach is beautiful. You ever been to Cozumel? I thought it was pretty nice too.

admin March 22, 2008 at 1:39 pm


People your age don’t have to worry about the skin sagging unless you have 100+ pounds to lose. Your skin is still very elastic at this young age. I would recommend losing this little bit of weight you have now and then stay fit from that point forward, your entire life. I know it is weird to think of having a six pack for 40+ years straight, but it is possible.

You can easily get a six pack…just begin exploring my site a bit. Remember…focus on the cardio sections more than anything, to obliterate that fat.


I have been to Cozumel. It is actually just a ferry ride across from Playa Del Carmen. That entire part of the world is unbelievably beautiful! Enjoy your weekend as well.


Sandy March 22, 2008 at 2:43 pm

Yea its awesome! (: Off to workout!

Jennifer March 22, 2008 at 9:10 pm

That’s it…I’m going to travel more! I like to get away, but I am going to start making it a more regular thing! There is nothing like planning a vacation to ignite the inspiration to get as fit as possible! Rusty, that dancing on the white sand sounds incredible (so does the skinny dipping)!!

tim March 22, 2008 at 11:35 pm


when are you gona do a post on heights and weights of men celebs what are some heights and weights of men celebs that are 6 ft



Sandy March 22, 2008 at 11:48 pm

I have somewhat skinny legs (only calves, not thighs). Is cardio enough to build that area? Should I do calf raises? I also have noticed since Ive lost inches that Im losing in my butt (a place I dont want to lose)..I want it more rounded…is cardio enough for that area or should I add-in some extra strength exercise? Sorry for all of the questions! Thanks so much!

admin March 23, 2008 at 4:25 pm


I need to travel more as well. If I had a choice between nice material things like a nice car -or- traveling…I’d pick traveling for sure!


Thanks for reminding me. I know there are a few people who want this done, so I will put it higher on my priority list.


You could do really high rep lunges as a way of doing circuit training type cardio, with a bit of more emphasis on the butt. What will probably happen as far as your calves are concerned is that your thighs will slim down to be proportionate to your calf muscles. Typically, extremely fit people don’t have big calves. If you want to add a few standing calf raises in your routine that would work. Alternatively, you could do some jump rope training to work the calves a bit harder.


Sandy March 23, 2008 at 6:19 pm

Thanks a bunch as always, Rusty! I was thinking I would incorporate the lunges into my 2 days per week circuit training.

Sandy March 23, 2008 at 9:28 pm

What do you think about that comment you sometimes hear from people, “Thats what happens when you get older, you get fatter, bigger.” IM almost 40 and I take pride in taking care of myself! That comment is a pet peeve of mine. I usually just ignore but lately find myself saying “Age is no excuse to let yourself go!”

katie March 23, 2008 at 9:57 pm

this is a bit off topic, but WOW rusty that beach looks amazing!!! i live in canada and there is still 2-5 feet of snow in some places, pretty miserable weather! 🙁 i’m so jealous of your vacation!!

ps: the advice you give has been working really well for me. i’ll let you know when i hit my goal!

admin March 24, 2008 at 9:55 am


I’ll let them get out of shape from age 40 on. I’ll chose to stay in great shape. One of the most defined guys I have ever seen was about 10 years ago and the guy was 70. He didn’t just look good for 70, he actually looked good for any age. Seriously…I wish I had a picture.


Yeah…I need to go on another vacation like that soon! I’m glad you are getting great results following these tips!


AFDerrick March 24, 2008 at 11:06 am

Rusty, couple questions for you real quick. First question is: when you normally lift weights do you go slow and deliberate with your training? One time you said you take 3 seconds up and 3 seconds down with each rep is that everyday or only when you lift light weights? I have found if I go quick I can lift a LOT more than when I am trying to go so slow, but I feel like I get a better workout with less weight at a slower pace.

My second question is, if you do lift slow evyertime, I need a name for your workout, I look silly at my size (6’5″ 250lb with a goal of 215lb) lifting lighter weights really slow, it would be cool when someone asks, ‘why do you lift like that?’ I can reply with ‘I’m doing the Great Rustian Workout’ or something.

Jules March 24, 2008 at 2:34 pm

Rust I think i’ve been to that club in playa del carmen! with swings at the bar and sand on the floor and fire dancers before it turns into a club with the dance floor right on the beach?

we’ve been going there for the past 4 years or so and that whole area has sooo many fun places, my sister and I always have an amazing time. so glad it was a great time for you as well!

Erica March 24, 2008 at 4:01 pm


Okay, I’ve just been introduced to your site and I love it! I’m going to Cancun on May 3rd and I’m desperate to drop these lbs. that I’ve put on over the year. I traditionally follow a low-carb diet, try to do 40min to an hour of cardio a day followed w/ weights. I play soccer and flag football 2 times a week and try to fit in pilates somewhere in the mix. The problem w/ me is I think I’ve screwed up by metabolism by not eating enough calories over the years ( 800-1100 a day). I’ve read that you have to up your caloric intake for 2 months to readjust your metabolism but that doesn’t help me w/ my trip to Cancun this May. I’m 5′ 7″ and currently weight around 150 (24years old). I generally carry my weight in my upper legs and butt….Is there any program/diet/exercise you can recommend to me to help me get some what decent by May 3rd? Also, how can I fix my metabolism?

tim March 24, 2008 at 7:54 pm

I have a question? what is the best time to weigh yourself in. I notice that my weight goes up during the day is the weight more accurate to weigh first thing in the mourning or at night?

Sandy March 24, 2008 at 9:05 pm

Thats right. We cant control what other people do. (: WOw, thats cool. I love to see people continuing to take care of themselves for years to come! (:

Sandy March 24, 2008 at 9:06 pm

What is your advice if you have a bad eating day for the day after as far as eating and exercising? I was tired and ate too much today. What if i eat low carb tomorrow and then bust it in the gym with strength or circuit and HIIT for as long as i can stand it?

admin March 24, 2008 at 10:14 pm


You don’t really need to take 3 seconds down and 3 seconds up, just go slow enough to build tension on the way down, which will make lifting the weight easier on the way up. It is more like 2 seconds down and 1.5 seconds up. In the short term, you will be a bit weaker when you lift like this…but you will get very strong over the long term…and you won’t get all the injuries that go along with explosive heavy lifting.

I have to think of a name! Good idea.


I think it is called the Blue Parrot. Does that sound familiar?


It would probably take you 2 weeks max to reset your metabolism to normal levels…not 2 months. After that, you will have about a month to go low carb and hit the cardio hard. Just do high intensity interval training on an empty stomach beginning tomorrow. Eat higher calories until April 5th, then go low carb for a month. The first week just get used to doing high intensity interval cardio on a lower carb diet. Maybe just do it 4-5 times that week. Then see if you can do 21 days straight of 60 minutes total cardio each day without skipping a day. This is a tough thing to do, but you can transform your body quickly if you focus hard.


I like to weigh myself in the morning.


When I eat badly the day before, I do try to go low carb leading up to my workout. The problem is that your muscles are still going to be carb loaded. I spend more time hitting the weights on this day, because everything feels lighter due to being carbed up. I also will include a short HIIT workout. The day after that is when I hit cardio hard again, because you will get better results in a carb depleted state.


Erica March 25, 2008 at 11:14 am


Thanks for the advice. I did my 1st interval training this morning and it was great. I didn’t burn as many calories as I usually do running for the full 30 min but it still felt great. Should I do any resistance training?


Bryan March 25, 2008 at 1:02 pm

Quick question, any recommendations on increasing your vertical? Im not trying to build up my legs by doing squats. I know that weighted stepups are good, weighted lunges, anything else that wouldnt build too much muscle but also increase my vertical? Thanks.

admin March 25, 2008 at 2:17 pm


Don’t pay attention to the amount of calories the cardio equipment says you burned. With intervals, many more calories are burned the following 24 hours.


I was a High Jumper, back in my school days. Here is an exercise that works well. Especially if you are trying to get vert for basketball. This is directly from strength and conditioning coach of LeBron James.

Vertical Leap


Sandy March 25, 2008 at 11:20 pm

Thanks for the advice! I was stronger than ever on my weight workout today. WOW! I also added in some HIIT! I plan on hitting it hard tomorrow (:

Sandy March 26, 2008 at 10:06 pm

I get to the gym (in a carb depleted state) this afternoon and I had a great circuit weight workout and then I did some HIIT. About 18 mins into the HIIT, my shins start to ache and I almost couldnt finish my workout! I run flat footed. I need to figure out how to run correctly. You think its shin splints? I remember having them when I used to run track in high school. I got off the treadmill after 25 mins and then rotated to the elliptical and went as hard as I could for another 15 mins.

admin March 27, 2008 at 2:41 pm


I’m glad you liked the effect of doing a few sets after doing intervals. It works very well…I need to do an article on shin splints. I have made a few friends online that are track coaches. I’ll maybe find out what I can.

Have a great one!


Sandy March 27, 2008 at 3:51 pm

Yea it was awesome! I love working out! I really think that’s what it is based on my symptoms. I found a few stretches to do before running (I will lay off the running for a little while) and do the bike and elliptical. Any information you can find out will be helpful, thanks.

Sandy March 29, 2008 at 6:09 pm

Hey Rusty!
I guess I dont have shin splints. I did HIIT last night and did it today (30 mins plus 10 mins steady state jogging). I stretched a bunch and made sure I warmed up first. Im sooo glad. I thought it was going to ruin my workout program.

admin March 30, 2008 at 9:38 pm


That is good news. Sometimes your body will just get sore or have pains when you are first adapting to a new way of training.


Erica March 31, 2008 at 11:45 am

What exercise (strength training and cardio) would you recommend for tonning down my thighs? Again, I have until May 3rd to try to look somewhat decent in a 2 pc. I usually follow a low carb diet, but what is your definition of low carb. Atkins suggests under 20 carbs a day for the 1st two weeks. What do you think? How do you feel about swimming?

admin April 1, 2008 at 2:21 am


My female friends who look amazing in swimsuits all run on the treadmill like crazy. These are girls in the 30-35 age group range and most of them have better bodies than girls in their early 20’s.

Slim thighs…treadmill intervals for 20 minutes followed by steady cardio for 20 minutes on an elliptical or stairmaster type machine. Stay away from exercise bikes for a while, until your leg get slim. Exercise bikes are great, but they can “pump” up the quads a bit, which will give your legs extra size. Once you are slim they are a good for toning, but don’t so them when you are trying to rreduce your leg size.

As far as carbs go…here is my big tip. Eat as few carbs as practical leading up to your workout and eat the majority of your daily carbs after your workout. Try to eat 75% of your daily carbs during a 2-3 hour window after your workout. You will get the most out of your cardio and the carbs you do eat after your workout will mainly get used to refuel your depleted muscles.

The amount of carbs you do decide to eat will depend upon how much fat you have to lose and how long you have dieted. You need to take breaks every now and them while on a low carb diet. I personally think that 20 grams of carbs per day is pretty low…don’t torture yourself!


Sawyer April 1, 2008 at 4:00 pm

Hey Rusty,

I really enjoy your site, it has cued me into a lot of great new fitness tips.

Currently I am following the Warrior Diet, supplemented with a lot of green tea. I found this article the day after I accidently stumbled upon this principle myself; I was lifting biceps and chest and did 30 minutes of cardio and then decided to to do some chin-up/dip ladders and it was amazing.
Anyways I see you talking a lot about overtraining and how you shouldn’t be sore afterwards. Personally I have never felt the effects of what most consider “overtraining.”
I workout 7 days a week for at least 45 minutes a workout, on average I get in at least 2 workouts a day spliting my workouts up into cardio/muscle and harder cardio. I was just wondering what your thoughts were on that…..maybe I’m a freak of nature? B)
The soreness thing I get as a personal preference, I know I hate to feel like I can’t move because I’m so sore; but I do like to feel some burn in my muscles. When I do weight work I tend to alternate between weights and bodyweight routines, and the one thing I have really come to notice is that I can’t really get a good burn in my biceps without using weights and isolating them or doing at least over 50 chins (I try and work in at least 30 chinups a day alternating grip styles when I can). Any thoughts? Also what are your thoughts on bodyweight routines? I am a huge fan because I do Parkour so I need to be sure that my body will be strong, stable, balanced and flexible throught a large range of motions.


admin April 2, 2008 at 9:43 pm


Some people can handle a much higher load of training without overtraining…you sound like one of those people. You can most likely continue to workout every day if you have the time and energy…no worries. I do like body weight routines a lot, but I like to supplement them with weights. I think it is easier to add heavier and heavier weights with weight lifting than it is to add weights to your body to make bodyweight exercises tougher. So a mix of both would be my suggestion.


KK April 3, 2008 at 3:13 am

Hey rusty. I’ve done just about 3 months of trying to gain mass and I guess I’ve come quite a ways. It’s not a significant gain but I have a feeling that I’m gaining in the chest area and I think it’s muscle too.. Anyways, I really am just more excited to start the leaning process and maybe just continue the leaning process but with weight training of course. I used to do interval training before and I did it first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. However, I didn’t supplement that with weight training at all so that is probably the reason why I look a bit bony as opposed to lean. My biggest question is, can you develop muscle in some areas while you’re on a calorie deficit and lots of cardio ? I’m sure these two things are bad if you want to gain a significant amount of mass but I’m more interested in getting lean. I never had a visible six pack but I would love to achieve that someday (hopefully soon).

So what do you think? I’ve done my first 3 month gaining phase. Should I just go into the leaning phase from here on out? Or should I cycle gaining and losing a bit more.

admin April 3, 2008 at 4:44 pm


At this point I would recommend getting stronger as you get leaner. You will gain a small amount of functional muscle that will become more defined as the weeks go by. Honestly…as long as you gain strength while getting lean, you will wind up looking outstanding.


Richard Nick July 21, 2008 at 5:13 am

The above mentioned workouts r similar to Craig Ballantyne’s
Turbulence training ……but for one difference that the interval
cardio sessions are done right after a 20-30 mins of weight
training. Is there any difference between swapping cardio and
weight training and doing cardio right after the weight training?
Which method will produce high RMR?

mokwls July 28, 2008 at 10:52 am

Hi Rusty,

When you mention to do 60min of cardio for 21 straight days, does this include also adding HIIT to it as well? Would you do 21 straight days of HIIT and steady state cardio for 60min?


MarkFu July 31, 2008 at 12:39 pm


What are your thoughts on this variation? I would start doing light to medium snatches and cleans and then do the 20 minutes of cardio as you describe and when finished, lift heavy doing Oly supplemental lifts like front or back squats, deadlifts or heavy kettlebell swings or snatches.
I already do the lifting part of the workout. The introduction of the HIIT would be the addition.

Lucas January 13, 2010 at 3:29 pm

Hey Rusty.
I really enjoyed reading this.. Untill christmas i used to run around 30-40 kilometers every week. Besides that i did alot of other cardio rutines, all stuff i needed my feet for. Then i injured my foot, and cant use it till late spring/early summer. That really made a negative impact on my cardio. Do you have a good way to do cardio without using your foot?? Is much needed
Hope u can help

Greg July 5, 2010 at 5:21 pm

Rusty,I really enjoy your website,im learning a lot.Ive worked out before with little results and am asking if you would give me some workout advice?I want to lose bodyfat and weight,im 5’9″tall and weigh 250lbs.i was wanting to know what workouts to start with and follow with.Im bulky in my upper body with skinny legs.I want to trim down and muscle up to have that healthy lean,muscular look.Should i follow your plan of phase work,sarcoplasmic hypertrophy to hybrid muscle growth to myofibrillar hypeertrophy,or try something different,im really confused from imformation overload from reading muscle mags.I believe in what you are saying though,it makes alot of sense to me.Id really appreciate your help!Thanks,Greg.

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