My New Fat Loss Program Is Ready For Takeoff…

October 15, 2014 by danny · Leave a Comment 

Hey, all.  I’ll make this brief as most of the explanation can be found in the video below.  But quickly, I just published my first program for  The first one is geared towards fat loss, but I will be adding new programs with different goals… programs geared towards adding strength and explosivenss (i.e. improving your vertical jump), for basketball players, another fat loss program that will compliment and progress from the one that I currently have up, etc.

Anyway, I’m pumped to be writing programs for them as I think this will help a ton of people.  Many people don’t know where to start.  While others have hit a wall and don’t know where to go to take their training to the next level.  I think this will help get them going in the right direction.

If interested, simply click on the link below.

Fat Loss Program, Block I

And again, check out the video below as I elaborate and on some of the benefits and what this whole thing entails.

Let me know if you have any questions, and I look forward to helping you reach your health, physique, and performance goals!

Deanna’s GREAT Before And After Pictures

November 6, 2013 by danny · Leave a Comment 

The first time Deanna contacted me was via e-mail.  While reading this e-mail, to be honest, I thought to myself, “oh great, another one of those, ‘I’ll do WHATEVER it takes to get results as fast as possible,’ types.”  When she told me her goal (and they were very aggressive goals. Not your typical, I want to lose 1-2 pounds per week, type of goals), I had to e-mail her back, telling her to slow down and ease into this thing a bit more.  But she swore to me, that once she puts her mind to something, she TRULY sticks to it.  Anyway, I was still a little apprehensive and thought that maybe she was setting herself up for disappointment.

What was the end result?  I’ll let her tell the story.  Deanna, it’s all you…

I lost over 40 pounds in 4 months with help from Danny McLarty. Sounds like one of those ads on TV but it’s true.  I did not use diet aids or magic pills.  I used hard work and self discipline while Danny guided, recommended, and encouraged.

Deanna's Before Pic

Why did I choose to lose the weight?  January 2nd I stepped on the scale at the doctor’s office and was so disgusted with my weight that I couldn’t even concentrate on what the doctor was saying.  I realized my clothes were too tight.  I noticed that the steering wheel was rubbing on my belly when I drove.  I’m over 40 and I have had two kids – that’s just what happens, right?  Avoiding the cameras should have been the first clue for my true problem…I was not happy with myself and excuses were not fixing my problem.

I joined a corporate-wide “Biggest Loser” contest through work on January 4th.  My first weigh-in was tough.  I had to get on a scale in front of one of my co-workers.  My stomach lurched as she leaned over to read the scale, stated my weight out loud, and wrote it down.  I was embarrassed at my weight and even more determined to change myself.

I was referred to Danny by a dear friend that had been going to him already.  I contacted him by email through his website and we scheduled an appointment for an evaluation.  I was surprised that his evaluation had absolutely nothing to do with a scale.  He checked my flexibility and had me do a few exercises and ran some measurements that had to do with range of motion.  There was no measuring tape around the waist.  I liked that.  We also discussed eating and accountability.  He gave me a list of recommended food choices and alternatives to what I was accustomed to eating.  We also discussed portion control.

Deanna's After Pic

After the meeting, I obtained a calendar and religiously recorded exactly what I ate throughout the day.  I made sure to measure my portions and I kept track of both the calorie count and the grams of protein for each item.  I even measured salad dressing.  By doing this I soon realized how much I used to consume because I liked the food rather than for what I needed to feel full.  I learned that by eating a reasonable portion of protein I felt more satisfied than I had with an oversized portion of pasta.

Danny created routines specifically for me.  The routines consisted of weight lifting, circuit cardio, and core exercises.  He demonstrated the routines and then monitored me while I performed them.

Final weigh in was March 1st.  With a loss of 14% of my body weight, I won the corporate wide contest.  Besides winning the contest, I also discovered that I enjoyed weight lifting; perhaps not the process so much as the invigorating feeling afterwards.  My clothes were baggy and I noticed that I had more energy.  I went to a follow up appointment at my doctor and found that my blood pressure had gone down and I was happy to report that I hadn’t needed a medication to prevent heartburn in nearly 2 months.

I continued with my twice per week training and by April 1st I had lost even more weight.  I wasn’t being nearly as strict with my food choices but my food preferences had changed.  I prefer fruit to sweets.  Peanuts are now one of my favorite snacks.  I still love pizza but I stay away from the pasta except on special occasions.  It’s now November 1st and I’m still down just over 40 pounds.  My weight has been steady and so has my lifestyle which includes regular exercise and continued training with Danny.  I’m comfortable with how I look and I love how I feel.  Thank you, Danny!

-Deanna Wolfe

Thanks, Deanna!  GREAT job!

The secret?  There is no secret.  Hard work.  Determination.  Consistency.

Let’s take another look at those pics! …


June 4, 2013 by danny · 2 Comments 

Sorry that it has been so long since my last blog post.  I’ve been spending a TON of time giving basketball lessons, training people, and changing poopy diapers.  I promise to be back on here again soon though!  As for today’s post…

Many people claim to be doing HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) as a part of their cardio program.  But in reality, few actually reach an intensity that I would TRULY consider HIGH intensity.  If you honestly go ALL OUT like you are sprinting away from a hungry bear, then after about 12-20 seconds you would need over a minute to recover (maybe considerably more than a minute).  If you do something like 20 seconds “on” followed by 20 seconds “off,” then you are not going as hard as possible during that 20 seconds… and/or not choosing an activity that makes you tired enough after 12-20 seconds (i.e. jumping jacks would be much easier than sprinting up a steep hill).

Quick Note: When I say “intensity” in this article, I’m talking about how fast you are going in regards to your max speed.  In other words, if you do 20 seconds on, and 20 seconds off, you may truly be going as fast as you can, but due to the fact that you’ll be under-recovered going into the next set, you won’t be able to maintain your max speed from set-to-set.

Now, I have no problem with interval training where you do something like 20 on/20 off or 30 on/60 off, but don’t confuse that with TRUE HIIT.  I’ll invent a new acronym right now (at least I’ve never heard it), M/HIIT… Medium/High Intensity Interval Training.  This is much higher intensity than steady state cardio (like jogging 5 miles or doing a 15 mile bike ride), but nowhere near MAX effort followed by a full (or near full) recovery.

Think about it this way, let’s say you were being timed in a 100 meter sprint three times, and here were the 2 scenarios…

#1) Sprint 100 meters, rest 30 seconds, sprint another 100 meters, rest 30 seconds, and finally sprint one more 100 meters vs…

#2) Sprint 100 meters, rest 120 seconds, sprint another 100 meters, rest 120 seconds, and finally sprint one more 100 meters.

Obviously your times would be much faster with the longer rest intervals.  This longer rest allows you to more fully recover, which allows you to run at an intensity closer to your max speed (like when running from that hungry bear).

Dr. Layne Norton and Dr. Jake Wilson talk about all the benefits of this truly HIIT in THIS PODCAST.

In short, HIIT (with the LOOOONG rest intervals) is a great way to hold onto muscle mass and strength/power gains while still getting your cardio in.

Just remember, you don’t rest a long(er) time just for the hell of it.  You do so because you need to in order to repeat that HIGH intensity for the next set.  Here’s an example of me doing plank-ups yesterday.  I did this for 20 seconds, and in actuality I slow down a little bit towards the end and probably should have only done sets of ~ 15 seconds if I wanted to prevent my intensity from dropping towards the end of the set.

So, my advice for the individual that is looking to maximize muscle mass/strength/power but doesn’t want to get “too out of shape,” perform true HIIT for the majority of your cardio sessions (and if this is your goal, you shouldn’t be performing much cardio in the first place… maybe once per week).

If you are a “general fitness enthusiast” just looking to “be in good shape” and lose a few pounds, go ahead and perform a mix of true HIIT AND “M/HIIT.”  And if you’re like me and can’t stand the long, slow stuff, never do it!  If you enjoy that, go ahead and mix a little of that in there as well.  You weirdo, you!  Just kiddin’… kind of.

The best activities for true HIIT include (but are not limited to)…

  • sprints
  • hill sprints
  • sled/prowler pushes or car pushes
  • battling ropes
  • plank-ups
  • hitting the heavy bag
  • heavy jump rope
  • bike sprints (up a hill or on a stationary bike with the resistance turned up pretty high)

Now of course, some of these may not be appropriate for you depending you strength level (and injury history, etc).

Just remember if you are performing HIIT you will NEED a good amount of rest between sets, otherwise it is NOT truly HIIT.  Both M/HIIT and HIIT can be incorporated into your plan if that fits your goals.  Just make sure that you know the difference.

Now go get lean for the summer! :)

And if you know someone that says, “I’m heading to the gym for a HIIT session,” make sure you forward this article to them so that they too know the difference.

Have you ever performed true HIIT training?  If so, you know that it ain’t for the faint of heart!

Training and Nutrition Content From Around The ‘Net…

April 3, 2013 by danny · Leave a Comment 

I hope everyone is having a great week!  I’m looking forward to the Final 4 this weekend and I’m pumped that the Cubs started the season off with a victory!

If you have a few moments, I have some great reading content for you.  First up…

Roundtable Interview: 3 people you should listen to, Part I

This is a great, common-sense article on nutrition.  And Brian St. Pierre is one of the “people you should listen to” in this article.  If you’ve been reading for sometime now, you know that I’m a huge fan of BSP.  His part alone is worth the price of admission.  Well, it’s free, so it’s a pretty good price either way. :) Anyway, give it a read.

The Doctors Talk Cardio

This is a podcast where Dr. Layne Norton and Dr. Jake Wilson talk all things cardio.  Very interesting!  Long story short – steady-state low(er) intensity cardio (like jogging) breaks down muscle tissue more than high intensity cardio (All OUT sprinting/bike sprints, etc).  And lower intensity cardio has an “interference effect” while high intensity cardio does not (interference effect in this case means that it is harder to add muscle while performing lower intensity cardio).  Plus, as we all know, it is MUCH more time-efficient!   Check out the podcast… a lot of great thoughts!

And here is a video of Paityn performing box squats at MVP Training the other day.  Box squats are awesome.  AND, they are great to use as a progression en route to back squats (with no box beneath your butt).

If you’re looking to improve your squat, or to simply start adding squats, check out this article that I wrote just over a year ago…

First Time Front Squatters and Squat Progressions

Make sure to pass these articles around to your friends on facebook/twitter/e-mail, etc, as they can definitely help out the majority of fitness enthusiasts out there.

See you soon…

How Sarah Lost 10 Pounds In 30 Days

February 27, 2013 by danny · 2 Comments 

My friend and client, Sarah Herschlag recently finished her “30 days of perfection.”  The end result has her down 10 pounds!  Before these 30 days, Sarah had done a “pretty good” job with her eating.  Enough to make modest changes … her clothes were starting to fit looser, you could see her face start to lean out, etc.  But as I tell people, if you want to make a REAL physique change, you need to go ALL OUT for about 30 days.  Then you can get back to “mostly good.”

So, at the start of the new year, I e-mailed all of my clients and told them the plan that will help get them these NOTICEABLE changes in their body.  Sarah had to start her 30 days sometime in mid-January as she had some things to take care of before she could really start to get after it.

And from day 1, she stayed with the plan to a T!  No alcohol.  No poor food choices.  And no missed training sessions.  Her 30 days just ended, and as she said, “it was SOOOO worth it!”

I won’t go into detail in regards to her training program.  But I do want to mention that she really gave 100% at every session!  Effort is always the X-Factor.

ALL OUT Effort!

Below is the EXACT e-mail that I sent to my clients heading into the new year.  As beach season approaches, maybe it’s something you want to consider?.?  Anyway, check it out below, I hope you get something out of it…

“Hola everyone.  Ok, here’s the deal…

Some of you in this e-mail have already said that you are committed to do this (I’ll explain below), and some of you are still considering this.  And for those of you hearing about this for the 1st time, this will give you something to consider going into the new year.  What am I talking about? …

Starting in the new year - 4 weeks of perfection! No cheat meals/days, no alcohol, no missed training sessions (AND 2-3 cardio sessions on your own each week).  THIS is NOT a lifestyle! i.e. “be good most of the time, but every once in awhile have a few beers, or some pizza, or some candy, or some pop, etc.  But most of the time be good.”

THAT is a pretty good plan throughout the majority of the year.  But every now and then you NEED to make a couple runs (~ 4 weeks) where you are machine! THIS is how you see measurable, NOTICEABLE results!

Think of what a physique competitor (bodybuilder, figure athlete) does when he/she prepares for the final weeks before stepping on stage.  Think about what a model does when preparing for a photo shoot.  Think about what an actor does when preparing for a movie that he/she will be shirtless in or in a bikini.  EVERY ounce of their focus for their training and nutrition plan goes towards fast fat loss!

Again, this is not a lifestyle approach.  It is a 4-week “sprint” to REALLY make some great changes.  THEN, you can get back to your moderation, “mostly good” lifestyle.

One more point: If you are 40 years old, you’ve lived about 2080 weeks on this Earth.  All I’m asking for is 4 weeks of complete discipline and focus.  This is a fraction of your life that WILL BE OVER BEFORE YOU KNOW IT!!!


Below you’ll see a sample day of eating.  You’ll notice that I put the “fast fat loss” plan in red.  So, think about eating the foods in red the majority of the time.  And then if you OCCASIONALLY start to feel really sluggish/low energy, you can throw in a meal with carbs in there (maybe like once every 5-7 days).

Check out the sample plan with the food list below and let me know if you have any questions.


  • Old-fashioned oatmeal with blueberries, scrambled egg OR
  • Spinach omelet made with omega-3 enriched whole eggs


  • Turkey burger on whole-grain bread, salad OR
  • Grilled chicken breasts, steamed vegetables


  • Salmon with grilled zucchini and squash OR
  • Steak with plain sweet potato and salad OR
  • Grilled chicken breasts (2) over large spinach salad, olive oil-based dressing
  • (either dinner example in red will work)

Food list…

Protein: lean steak, grilled chicken breasts, turkey breast, baked or grilled fish, protein powder, etc.
Veggies: large pile of mostly green veggies, steamed broccoli, spinach, zucchini, squash, etc.
Starch: small amount of dry sweet potato, whole-wheat pasta, or rice (these foods should not be consumed at all, or like I said, *maybe* once every 5-7 days)
Salad: large salad with olive oil and vinegar dressing — no cream dressings!
Dessert: small amount of fruit

Danny’s notes:
-The point about the salad dressing is HUGE… IF you are eating salad with “regular” dressing, then you are moving further away from your goals.  Salad with dressing other than olive oil and vinegar dressing is NOT healthy (with a few exceptions)!
-If you include fruit on this plan, only eat 1 serving per day and try to make your fruit of choice berries more often than not.  Focus on veggies over fruit for this 4-week run.
-Continue taking fish oil on this plan and try to include green tea daily.”

End e-mail.

So, props to Sarah for sticking with it for the entire month!  It paid off!  Now, there is more than one way to skin a cat, but the above plan works great for a quick fat loss burst.  For anyone that I know that has TRULY stuck with it for the entire 30 days, they always see great results.

If you decide to give it a try, or are about to “hit it hard” with your fitness/nutrition plan, let me know… what is your plan?

Q and A: “Is Circuit Training The Best Way To Get In Shape?” Part II

February 20, 2013 by danny · 3 Comments 

In case you missed my take on circuit training for athletes, check out this blogpost that I wrote up yesterday.  Today, I’ll attempt to answer the same question… “Is circuit training the best way to get in shape?”  But this time, I’ll gear my thoughts more towards the “general fitness” individual (rather than athletes).

My short answer is, surprise, surprise…. IT DEPENDS.  Ha, what’s new!  Let me explain with a few different scenarios…

The below scenarios are me assuming that the person is looking to lose weight as opposed to someone with increased strength (i.e. powerlifter) or adding mass (i.e. bodybuilder or just some dude looking to, “get buff”), as their main goal.  I should also note that I’ll be speaking more to the weight lifting side of circuit training.  Circuit training when performing cardio is perfectly fine, and encouraged.  This is what we do at the “bootcamp” that I run.  That would entail something like using battling ropes, the slide board, the heavy jump rope, and hitting the heavy bag in circuit fashion.  Now, onto circuit training for the weight lifting portion of your program.

Scenario #1: “The Newbie”

I’m not a big fan of lifting in a circuit fashion (this can also be called “Metabolic Resistance Training” – aka “MRT“) for people that are new to lifting weights… even if fat loss is their main goal.  While MRT is a great way to train to help with fat loss, I don’t think it’s a good option here.  First of all, it takes awhile to learn proper form on lifts like push-ups, deadlifts, and squats (to name a few).  If you are doing this in circuit fashion where you are going from exercise to exercise to exercise with very little rest, you are either going to a) increase the amount of time it takes to learn proper lifting technique because it’s harder to learn a new skill in a fatigued state, and/or b) hurt yourself.  Obviously, the last thing you want.

Another problem here, is that newer lifters are usually weaker.  With that said, imagine already using relatively light weight (again, because of weakness), and then making the person very tired with MRT… the weight is going to be decreased even more.  Do you think doing one arm dumbbell rows (for example) with those 3-pounders is really going to do anything to help change your physique?!?  Hell no!

Just say no.

Scenario #2: Transitioning to “Intermediate” Status

After you have put some time in with the iron and your form has greatly improved (i.e. lifting with proper technique becomes second nature – like when you set up to deadlift you subconsciously brace your core, get your lats tight, “puff” your chest, etc. etc.), and you are lifting significantly heavier weights, MRT can be a great option.  This is actually the route I often go with my “fat loss” clients once I think they’ve “earned the right” to do so.

But don’t get it twisted, we still move some weight when lifting MRT style.  And quite often, I have the client start the session with a low rep, heavier compound movement (i.e. 3 sets of 5 reps for box squats or 2 sets of 6 reps for RDLs) or two before moving onto the MRT style of training .

Scenario #3: The “Cardio Queen”

Sometimes us trainers have people that come to us looking to lose weight that really actually enjoy performing cardio.  I know, crazy!  And no matter how hard I try, I can’t get her (or sometimes, him) off the treadmill or elliptical.  Not that I’m anti-cardio, it’s just that sometimes too much emphasis is put on cardio and not enough on weight training.  Anyway, if I have a client that is going to be lifting with me 2-3 times per week, but is ALSO going to be performing cardio on his/her own 3-4 times per week, I’m not going to make our lifting session circuit style.  I’ll write up the program with a little more rest involved between sets and spend a little more time lifting in the low(er) rep ranges (~8 reps and below).

Cardio only glutes vs Cardio AND Weight Lifting Glutes

Scenario #4: People that Run a Business & Have Kids & Spend Their “Down Time” Rescuing Baby Seals

My feeling is that if it is important enough, you WILL find a time to include exercise in your busy life.  But, I also know that no matter how hard I try, getting some people to do more than the 2 times they come into see me each week is unrealistic.  Hey, at least they are finding time to get in two workouts per week.  I mean, I’ve trained people that work over 60 hours per week and literally fly across the world for a business trip, only to land and come straight in to see me for our workout.  And then they shower up and head straight back to the airport for another 12 hour flight to China (or however long that flight is).

So, if we only have 120 minutes to train all week, I’m going to make sure that MRT is a big part of their program – assuming the person is past the newbie stage that I talked about above.


I know there are many more potential scenarios, but as you can see with the four scenarios that I provided, there are really no cut and dry answers.  ”IT DEPENDS” is almost always the right answer until you dig a little deeper.  Whether you are an athlete or a weekend warrior, I hope my thoughts on conditioning, circuit training, and lifting weights over these last two blogposts have helped you out.

I’m thinking that my next blogpost will be on my client that lost 10 pounds during her 30-days of “perfection” and how she did it.  We’ll see.  Check back soon to find out…

October Training Videos Inside – A Look at My Clients and I Getting After It!

October 9, 2012 by danny · Leave a Comment 

Hola friends.  Today I’m going to share some videos of my clients and I working hard to build stronger, healthier, and more bad ass bodies.  So, let’s get to it…

This first video is me getting my cardio in.  If you’ve read much of my work, you’ll recall that “traditional cardio” (i.e. jogging on the treadmill) is mind-numbing to me.  So I prefer to get my fat loss on in non-traditional ways.  Plus, as I often mention, I try to keep my cardio low(er) impact whenever possible.  Sure, if you are currently competing in sports like cross country, basketball, and football, high impact is a part of the sport – nothing you can do about it.  BUT, if you no longer compete, try to choose exercises that are more joint-friendly.  Burn some fat WHILE being nice to your joints… sounds like a win-win to me!

Here, Bryan performs cheated barbell curls to make his gunz look even more gunny!  And yes, there IS a time and place to use a little body english on some exercises.  As long as it is planned and not the norm.  And YES, there is a time and place to perform curls in the squat rack… like when you train at a semi-private training facility when there is no one “in line” waiting to squat.

And here is Bryan’s wife Mandy, performing Rack RDLs with chains.  Work those hams and glutes, Mandy!

Joie working her glutes with some hip thrusts…

Amy performing feet elevated push-ups with FULL range of motion…

Me, torturing myself with high rep trap bar deadlifts to finish off my leg session.  Torture… nah, more like fun.  Yeah, I feel like I’m about to die on those last couple reps, but it builds character. :)

Savanna performing ass-to-grass goblet squats.  And Chris in the background learning how to goblet squat to the box.  Chris has since “graduated” to barbell box squats.  She performed them last night for the first and her form was flawless!

Capri and Daxton learning two very important words… “hi Daddy.”

How does this one relate to training?  Well, it makes me laugh.  And laughter is good for our health.  It reduces stress and helps us build a better, healthier body.  So, remember to laugh/smile as much as possible on a daily basis! :)

I think it’s always cool to see what goes on in the walls of different gyms.  So, there is your little sneak peak of what’s-a-happenin’ in the walls of my gym.

I’ll try to make this a monthly thing where I include videos of my clients and I killing it!

See you soon…

My Fat Loss Program – Part Deux

July 20, 2012 by danny · 4 Comments 

In case you missed it, yesterday I gave some of my thoughts on the importance of nutrition and how training comes into play when attempting to drop fat.  Check it out HERE. My friend Jason Leitner mentioned on facebook that he enjoyed that post, but was looking forward to seeing my next post, which I said I’ll go over the program that I am using.  Now, I didn’t plan on doing today’s post until sometime next week as my twins and basketball lessons and training sessions keep me extremely busy.  But he then called me out on FB… he called me names, made me cry, told me “no excuses, Danny!,” and threatened to slit my achilles tendon (on my left leg), if I didn’t get this out asap!

So, rather than get abused by Jason, here we are…

Day 1

A1) Neutral Grip Pull-Ups – 1 X 2, 2 X 6 (that is 1 set of 2 reps, and 2 sets of 6 reps) – Full Recovery Between Sets

A2) Scap Push-Ups – 1 X 10-12, Ys – 1 X 10 (these are low-level exercises designed to help with scapular stability/long-term shoulder health… also known as “fillers.”)

B1) Back Squats – 1 X 15, 2 X 12 – 30 second RI (Rest Intervals between sets)

B2) 1-Arm DB Row – 1 X 15, 2 X 12 – 20 second RI

B3) Slight Incline Bench Press with Chains and a 211 tempo (one second pause at the chest) 1 X 15, 2 X 12 – 60 second RI

C1) 1-Leg Swiss Ball Leg Curls – 3 X 12/Leg – ZERO RI

C2) Dying Bug with Wall Push – 3 X 10/Leg – 30 second RI

D1) Zottman Curls – 2 X 12 – 30 second RI

D2) Band Pushdowns – 2 X 15 – 30 second RI

Notes - My left shoulder has been feeling a little cranky, so the 1 second pause on the bench press makes it a little more shoulder-friendly since you can reduce the load and still get a good training effect.  Too, the use of chains reduce the load when the bar is at chest level.  Win-win for my cranky shoulder.

Day 2

A1) RDLs – 4 X 8 – 30 second RI

A2 ) Feet Elevated Band Push-ups – 4 X 8 – 30 second RI

B1) Barbell Bulgarian Split Squat – 4 X 6/Leg – ZERO RI

B2) TRX Inverted Rows – 4 X 8 – 45 second RI

C1) Cheated Barbell Curls – 1 X 8, 2 X 10 – RI = ALAN – (As Long As Necessary)

C2) Dragon Flys – 2 X 9 RI – ALAN

I was able to catch this workout on tape yesterday.  But, for some reason the camera shut off when I was taping my RDLs.  And I was using 1250 pounds during that set!  I hate it when I don’t get my world records on camera! ;)

Notes - Yes, there is a time and place to perform sets with a little body english (i.e. the cheated BB curls).  I usually use pretty strict form and don’t usually recommend this style of training.  But again, it has its time and place.

Day 3

A1) Reverse Band Floor Press – 3 X 6 – RI = Full

A2) Band Pull-Aparts -1 X 10, 2-Way Hamstring Mob 1 X 6 in each position (once again, these are “fillers” that I like to place along side low-rep, heavy work)

B1) Barbell Reverse Lunges – 4 X 8/Leg – 20 second RI

B2) Chin-ups – 4 X AMRAP (As Many Reps As Possible) – 20 second RI

B3) Hip Thrusts – 1 X 12, 3 X 9 – 20 second RI

B4) Slight Incline Chest Press – Neutral Grip – 3 X 12 – 70 second RI

C1) Ab Wheel Rollouts – 2 X 10 RI = ALAN

C2) L-Lateral Raise – 2 X 10 RI = ALAN

Additional Notes

Notice that on each day I have a different set-up as far as how many exercises I do before finishing the circuit or before moving onto the next exercise pairing. i.e. on Day 1 I have B1-3 (3 exercises in a row before taking a “significant” rest interval), Day 2 I have only 2 exercises paired back-to-back (A1/A2 and B1/B2), and on day 3, I have a BIG 4-set circuit (B1-B4).

I like to do this because it gives me a “different look” on each day… and my extreme ADD works well with change.

I also use “cybernetic periodization” when I train.  Meaning, I use the training program that is laid out but adjust on the fly depending on how I’m feeling that day.  So, I may actually have done a set or two more than what you see above.

Even though getting as lean as possible is my main goal on this program, I didn’t want to do this at the expense of losing muscle mass and strength.  Therefore, I included a couple low-rep, high-weight exercises.


I definitely prefer to train the more “traditional way,” … more rest intervals between sets, with lower overall rep ranges.  But this was a nice challenge (it wasn’t easy at all!).  If you are someone that gets lean easily, I’d definitely suggest going more the traditional route with your weight training program.  And then just use nutrition and bit of extra cardio to shed that last layer of unwanted fat.

BUT, I do train many people that have fat loss as their main goal, and outside of our training sessions together, they don’t get a whole lot of exercise in.  If that sounds like you, then this type of “metabolic resistance training” could be exactly what the doctor ordered.

If you have any questions about my program design above, just leave a comment and I’ll be sure to get back to you.

Happy now, Mr. Leitner?!?  The things I do for you. ;)

My Fat Loss Program

July 18, 2012 by danny · Leave a Comment 

For the past four weeks I’ve been performing a program that I wrote up with fat loss in mind.  Another way to look at it for an individual that is already lean, this is a program design to help take someone from lean to ripped.  Either way, it’ll help a person shed away some unwanted fat.

In this blogpost, I’m not going to get into the specifics about my program.  I’ll save that for the next post that I make.  Today, I want to talk a bit about program design as it pertains to a “fat loss program.”

Nutrition is King

The training god of the world could write up the “perfect” fat loss program for any of us, but it wouldn’t do us much good if we didn’t pay special attention to our nutrition plan.  I mean, I could actually gain fat on a fat loss program if I consume too many calories.  Likewise, if I were on a plan designed to add muscle mass, I could actually become skinnier/smaller if I consumed too few calories.  So really, the program is only as good as the nutrition plan that goes along with it.

Not too long ago I had a few “fitness pictures” taken so that they could be used when I write for various fitness websites.

To prepare for this “photo shoot,” I did ZERO cardio.  All I did was lift hard, and most importantly, tighten up my nutrition in the days leading up to the shoot.

Does the Training Program Even Matter When Trying to Drop Fat???

After reading what I just wrote above, you probably think, “well, if nutrition is THAT important, the only thing that matters is that you eat ‘right.’  Therefore we can perform any training program we want because nutrition is going to be the deciding factor in the results we get anyway.”

I almost agree with that thinking, but not completely.  I definitely think adding in some cardio and designing a lifting program that is conducive to fat loss is the ideal route to take.  But again, if your nutrition doesn’t compliment your cardio/weight lifting program, you are NOT going to get the results that you want.

Then How Did you Get So Lean for Those Photos?

I can get very lean without performing cardio and/or a lifting program designed for fat loss.  This makes me one of the “lucky” ones I guess.  But don’t get it twisted, I work my ASS OFF in the weight room, and this goes a long way in one reaching their physique goals.  BUT, just so you know, I am also “cursed” when it comes time to adding muscle mass.  Another words, I can easily get lean, but have a hard time adding size to my biceps and calves and shoulders, etc, etc.  We all have weaknesses when it comes to physique development.  It sucks, but it is what it is.  All we can do is do our best and not stress too much about it… as excess stress will just lead to more problems.

My Fat Loss Program

For my fitness clients (the non-competitive athletes), I spend the majority of my time designing programs designed to help them lose fat/weight.  But for the reasons mentioned above, for my personal programs, I don’t usually write up and perform “fat loss” programs for myself.  However, I decided to do something a little different a spend some time training with fat loss in mind.  This involved a weight training program with higher overall reps than I am used to; less rest intervals between sets than I am used to; and more overall suckiness than I am used to. ;)

Most people make the mistake of making their weight training session turn into a cardio session.  While my heart was pounding through my chest for much of these workouts, I MADE SURE to also include some heavy, low rep sets to make sure I don’t turn into a weak and skinny looking human being.

GREAT actor! Poorly muscled. ;)

Final Thought

Now, in order to lose fat/weight, you do NOT need to turn into a miserable person that can only eat broccoli and plain chicken breast day-in-day-out.  I definitely make sure to enjoy the finer things in life like beer, pizza, and cookie crisp cereal.  I just try to make sure that those types of foods are NOT the staple in my nutrition plan.  AND, if you are serious about making a “significant” fat loss run, you will probably have to give up those foods for a month or so.  I think that is a great thing to do… live a “mostly clean life” (but not to strict) as your way of life, and then from time-to-time go on a ~ 30 day “strict” run.

Anyway, in my next post I’ll include my current “fat loss” training program, so you can see how I set it all up.

I’ll see you then…

My Photo Shoot

January 23, 2012 by danny · 6 Comments 

This past weekend I did a “photo shoot.”  Well, kind of.  It wasn’t the type of photo shoot where I went in to see a professional photographer and get make-up applied, a spray tan, and air-brushed every which way possible.  Although my wife did do a good job of taking the pictures and catering to my needs (she fed me grapes between shots).

Why did I have these pictures taken, you ask?  Well, because I’m a trainer and a fitness writer – and a number of times I’ve had different people (for an interview for a website or for an on-line magazine) ask me to send some “fitness pics” over to them to include in the article/interview.  I read all the time and when reading another trainer’s article/interview I often see great shots of them working out and/or showing off their physique.  When I get asked by an editor to send my pics I start scrabbling/panicking… “Shondra, where did you save that one picture in the computer?!?  I can’t find any good ones. What do I do!?!”  So, I figured I better get some professional-ish shots done so this is no longer an issue.

Why I’ve Been Hesitant To Do This

I knew I needed to get these pictures done, for the reason I mentioned above.  But I’ve been hesitant to get these pictures taken and to post them on my website and all over the Internet.  Hesitant?  Yes, that’s right.  The reason is simple… I don’t want to make it all about me.  When I train clients it is about them (both in person and on-line).  It’s their time to get in the gym and get work done; their time to work to look better and feel better.  But, as people have pointed out to me, “Danny, you need to sell yourself.  It’s not ’showing off’ to post a picture without a shirt on.  You are just showing people that you practice what you preach.  Fitness is your profession.”

And I get that.  I’ve had a number of friends/clients say to me over the years; “I always had respect for your knowledge.  But it wasn’t until after I saw you without a shirt on, that I realized that I am working with someone that REALLY takes his job and this lifestyle seriously.  That motivated me to want to work harder in the gym, eat better in the kitchen, and just take better care of my body/mind.”  (Note: I am NOT saying that I have the best physique in the world. But I think I’ve worked hard enough and consistent enough over the years to earn the respect of at least some people).

This is just human nature I guess.  If I were to “hand over my money” to an investor, I wouldn’t be happy if I heard that he has filed for bankruptcy four times in his life so far… not good for business!  Likewise, if one is thinking about working with a trainer, they are more likely to do so if they know the trainer practices what (s)he preaches.  So, I’ve decided to “put myself out there” a little more.  All of this led to my “photo shoot” …

Reminder For Me

I’m usually a pretty strict guy.  As I’ve mentioned before, I definitely find time to incorporate some of the finer things in life (beer, pizza, peanut M&M’s), but I like to “pick my spots.”  In other words, I try to limit the time in which I subject myself to such foods.  However, from time to time I find myself indulging more than I should.  But when I set the date with my wife to get these pictures taken, I was money with my eating.  It wasn’t very hard to walk by a cookie and NOT grab it.  I made extra sure to prepare just the right food in advance.  Etc. etc.    What I am saying is this; taking photos of yourself is very motivating.  I remember reading that John Berardi has often encouraged his clients to schedule a photo shoot because it is such a strong motivator and this will help you achieve your goals that much quicker.  Keep this in mind (even if this “photo shoot” is just between you and your husband/wife).

Reminder #2

We are our own worst critic.  There were a couple shots that Shondra thought were really good.  While my response might of have been something like, “are you kidding me!?!  Delete that picture.  My 3-year old niece’s triceps look bigger than mine do in this picture!”  If channelled in the right way, this can be a good thing… as a motivator to improve.  If channelled the wrong way this can be terrible… causing someone to stop altogether and give up.  Just remember that’s it’s ok to be hard on yourself, but channel it in the right direction!

So there you go… my photo shoot, the reasons for the shoot, and the power of pictures for motivation.

What event or occasion had you especially strict in order to reach your physique goal(s)?  Did use the camera to “help get you there?”  If taking pictures didn’t motivate you as well as you thought it would, what has worked better for you?  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below…

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