California Fitness Expert Reveals Fat Burning Secrets
By: Craig Ballantyne, CTT
Certified Turbulence Trainer
Turbulence Training for Fat Loss
If you want to lose fat and save time, you need to discover one of the most
famous fitness experts and fat loss trainers in California, Alwyn Cosgrove.
I recently saw Alwyn speak at a seminar, and Alwyn showed study after study
supporting his fat loss programs.
In this article, Alwyn will reveal his fat burning secrets in greater
detail. This is Part 1 of a 3-part series. Parts 2 and 3 will deal with
nutrition and the psychology of weight loss.
First, a little more about Alwyn (pronounced Allan!)...
Alwyn Cosgrove is a superstar in the world of physique transformation for
men and women. He's trained champions in multiple sports and winners of
multiple 12-week body transformation contests. Alwyn owns and operates a
training facility in Santa Clarita, California and he's also written his own
fat burning secrets book called "Afterburn".
CB: What is the significance of adding circuits as you sometimes do? Are you
always using total body sessions or do you sometimes use upper-lower splits?
I tend to use split routines from the get-go, however I split the work based
on movement patterns not on muscle group.
If the goal is fat loss I don't use upper and lower body splits - although
regardless of goal I tend to favor the non-competing supersets system that
we both use.
As the client progresses I feel that they start to increase their loads in
their exercise and need more rest between sets of the same exercise.
1a: Squat: one minute of work (e.g. 10 reps) with one minute of rest
1b: Push ups: one minute of work (e.g. 10 reps) with one minute of rest.
Between sets of squats I have 3 mins of rest (rest + push up time + rest)
but if I'm doing three sets of each I'm still getting all the work done in
12 mins - one set every two minutes. My ACTUAL rest time is short - but my
practical rest time is 3 mins, and my work density is one set every two
Eventually though we use heavier loads and need more rest - but here's how
we do it:
1a: Squat: one minute of work (e.g. 10 reps) with 45s of rest
1b: Push ups: one minute of work (e.g. 10 reps) with 45s of rest.
1c: Seated Row: one minute of work (e.g. 10 reps) with 45s of rest
So now I have 4 min 15s of rest between squats (45s rest + push ups + 45s
rest + row +45s of rest). I can definitely go heavier with my legs having
that much longer of a rest.
If I do three sets of each it takes me 15 mins and 45s. But I'm now getting
NINE sets done in that time or one set in 1 min 45s. I've increased my
practical rest time but I've also increased my work density. So I can go
heavier AND get more work done in the same time when compared to the
And just a reminder - we're talking about fat loss training here - I'm not
talking about optimal hypertrophy or strength routines.
CB: You talk about the "Afterburn" being a massive metabolic disturbance
(aka - what I call "turbulence") being applied to the muscle. Can you
explain why this metabolic disturbance matters and simply, what it is?
Quite simply if you work out every day for an hour - you'll do seven hours
But there are 168 hours in a week. 7 hours (a significant commitment that
few people have time for) is actually only 4% of your week. Do you really
think that you'll make a difference with fat loss based on a 4% investment?
So we have to focus on the OTHER 23 hours of each day - the entire 168 hours
in the week.
The bulk of the calories your body burns comes from your resting metabolic
rate (RMR). If we can turn that number up slightly - then we can make a big
difference in total fat lost.
Now if we took that hour of exercise that we spend every day and could
create a disturbance in RMR that would last (and as I mentioned earlier -
studies have shown increased EPOC from a single workout 38 hours later) -
then we are affecting the bigger picture.
Just by doing the math - forget about the workouts and the diet for now - if
I could increase RMR only 25 calories per hour, every hour that would end up
being 600 additional calories per day - or 4200 calories burned per week.
That should result in over a pound of fat loss per week before we ven talk
about the calories burned during the workout, the caloric deficit from the
diet, the thermic effect of feeding, etc etc.
For fat loss - what you do in the workout is irrelevant - we are looking
solely at a stimulus to drive EPOC up. Interval training and resistance
training do that very well.
Steady state aerobic work, particularly at low intensities doesn't do that
as well - so it's not the first tool we turn to.
Look at this study...
"Fat loss following 15 weeks of high intensity, intermittent cycle ergometer
Trapp EG and Boutcher SH
University of New South Wales , Sydney , Australia
The study found 3 x 20 mins of intervals for 15 weeks resulted in more
fat loss than 3 x 30-40 min of aerobics at 60% V02 max.
The interval training group lost about 3 times as much fat.
CB: Without spending too much time going over your thoughts on aerobic
training for fat loss, is there a time you would ever use aerobic training?
Of course. I use it with deconditioned people - I've used it heavily myself
since my transplant, and I use it with athletes needing to develop their
Aerobic exercise is very beneficial - please don't misinterpret my thoughts
on the matter - it's just been overemphasized for fat loss. Does it work? Of
course. Is it the BEST program (which is what people pay me for)? No.
For fat loss - I don't use it too much. It doesn't burn very many calories
when compared to interval training and does little to increase EPOC - which
is the biggest key in fat loss programming.
I do use aerobic training as part of a "stubborn fat" protocol that Lyle
McDonald introduced me too, but realistically that type of training only
applies to a small percentage of people. I don't believe most people have
stubborn body fat as much as they need a longer period of fat loss training
Additionally - very occasionally you can have a client eating well, doing
metabolic resistance work 3-4 days per week and intervals 3-4 times per
week, and because of time constraints (e.g. a show/photo shoot/ movie is
coming up) - you need to burn some more calories.
Under circumstances like that, it's impractical to add another weight
training session or another interval session - so we add 1-2 steady state
CB: What's your favorite interval method and duration - has anything stood
out in your experience as being more effective than other methods? And do
you have any uniquely effective interval methods?
I think the Tabata Protocol holds some merit (20s on 10s off for 8 rounds)
to just crank metabolism - but it is better for conditioning and athletic
performance than for fat loss. But as with most things - it's a useful tool
in your arsenal.
Last year I experimented with a bunch of different work to rest intervals.
Basically what I found is that the best fat loss results seem to come with
30 to 60s of work and 60-120s of rest. As much as I played around with it -
I couldn't really come up with anything that stood out as being superior.
As far as uniquely effective intervals - I think the future of fat loss
training is going to move away from traditional cardiovascular based
intervals and move towards, tabata stuff, bodyweight circuits, complexes,
and strongman type medley's with the same loading parameters.
CB: What's more important - exercise fat oxidation or 24-hour energy
24 hour energy expenditure.
If I take a workout and burn 300 calories from fat (ie very low intensity
work), that's 300 calories burned.
If I take a 30 min workout and create enough metabolic disruption so that
you burn even a calorie extra per minute, (and studies are showing an
elevated EPOC for 38 hours), - then I'm looking at another 720 calories for
the next 24 hours PLUS the calories burned in the original workout.
Focusing on what is burned DURING the exercise session is massively short
sighted. That type of thinking has its roots in the mythical fat burning
zone. I hope we don't have to go into that.
CB: Look for part 2 where Alwyn discusses where most nutrition plans go
wrong....and whether or not low-carb diets work...
About the Author
Craig Ballantyne is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist and writes for Men's Health, Men's Fitness, Maximum Fitness, Muscle and Fitness Hers, and Oxygen magazines. His trademarked Turbulence Training fat loss workouts have been featured multiple times in Men’s Fitness and Maximum Fitness magazines, and have helped thousands of men and women around the world lose fat, gain muscle, and get lean in less than 45 minutes three times per week. For more information on the Turbulence Training workouts that will help you burn fat without long, slow cardio sessions or fancy equipment, visit Turbulence Training for Fat Loss
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