Which 4 programs, EXACTLY?
Well, not actual programs names, per se -
We’ve been talking for the last week or so about different
training goals/outcomes –
+ Fat loss
+ Strength gain
+ Muscle gain
+ Fixing weak links
We’ve looked at the importance of each, but we haven’t
talked about any sort of order or sequence in which to
In other words, we haven’t created a logical plan and we
haven’t discussed why that plan is logical.
So, fasten your seat belt and hang on, cuz we’re gonna do
that right now.
If you’ve been paying attention (and I know many people
have from the emails I’ve gotten saying that people are
experiencing exactly what I’m talking about in this series),
you’ll know that not all kettlebell workouts are for all
kettlebell users all the time.
For example, there’s no way you should be using a double
KB workout if you’re not very proficient with the single
That would seem to be common sense.
Other things are not so common:
– You shouldn’t be on a high volume fat loss program if
you’re recovering from injury or have active or chronic pain
– You shouldn’t always be on a strength program
– You should plan on doing a muscle building program
at least once a year (if not more)
– You should look at what’s holding you back – your
weaknesses – and fix those before you go on any sort of
aggressive fat loss, strength, or muscle-building program
So Then How Should You Train For Optimal And
Here’s how you should plan your annual program.
You should look ahead and plan what you’re going to do,
otherwise, how will you be able to measure your progress?
“Failure to plan is planning to fail.”
Here’s the set up:
Phase 1: Get Rid of Your Weak Links
Phase 2: Get Stronger
Phase 3: Get Leaner
Phase 4: Get More Muscular
Let’s take a closer look as to WHY these are in this very
(NOTE: You don’t have to do only one phase of these each
year. You can do multiple phases of each, as long as you
follow the cycle. And the cycles don’t have to be evenly
spaced – you can bias them toward your weakest areas.)
Phase 1: Get Rid of Your Weak Links
We’ve discussed the reasons finding and fixing your weak
links are important at length over the last several emails.
(Go digging through your inbox if you never got them.
Powerful info in there.)
Why does it need to go first?
If you have movement dysfunctions and compensations, it
effects EVERYTHING you do and EVERY system in your
body, from your cardiovascular system to your digestive
system and pretty much everything in-between.
If you’re deep abdominal stabilizers aren’t working properly
or at all, then your guts, which are held behind those muscles,
protrude out and get irritated and inflamed, impairing
digestion, making you need things like digestive enzymes,
etc, to digest your food. (Ask me how I know…)
And here’s a bonus for you – since the majority of your
immune system (over 70%) is housed in your digestive
system, your immune function can decrease too.
And, if you’re not moving efficiently, the way you’re designed
to move, then you’re creating unnecessary stress and [low
grade] chronic inflammation throughout your entire body.
And that slows everything down.
Movement compensations are like a computer virus – sure,
everything “works” – just not as well as it should, or did, when
it came out from the factory.
For example –
If you have a bum knee, you’ll automatically and subconsciously
move away from that pain or discomfort. That in turn will
asymmetrically load your body – more often than not the
opposite side (right knee —> left side of lower back) and
you’ll develop more aches and issues.
This creates more inefficiencies, which creates more stress,
and therefore more inflammation.
(Recall the relationship between cortisol, insulin, and
inflammation from earlier emails.)
And that means you won’t recover.
And that means you won’t get stronger.
In fact, based on both personal and professional experience,
I can tell you firsthand that doing a heavy strength cycle
with parts banged up is bad. You just end up more banged
up. And then weaker in the long run.
It also means you won’t lose fat.
You’ll be turning on your stress (fat gaining) hormones
instead of turning them off. So there’s a very good chance
you’ll get fatter, not leaner, from your fat loss program, no
matter how many swings you’re doing.
Same thing with muscle building. You can’t grow muscle
when you’re in a catabolic state. (State of destruction.)
Just won’t happen.
So you can see, if you don’t find and fix your issues, your
weak links, you’re not only wasting time, you’re essentially
shooting yourself in the foot, or digging yourself a bigger hole,
however you want to look at it.
Once you’ve got those weaknesses shorn up, then it’s time
to move to –
Phase 2: Get Stronger
Once you have you’ve eliminated your movement dysfunctions
and compensations, you’ll want to focus on getting stronger.
Because now you’ll have a level foundation upon which to
It’s like this:
I’ve done some real estate in my past.
One real estate strategy is a “fix and flip” – that’s where you
find a house that needs some work, buy it cheap, fix it up
cheap, and sell it for profit.
You always want to look for a house that’s a “pig” – it’s dirty
on the inside and out and just needs a cosmetic work – cleaning,
changing out of fixtures, etc.
You rarely if ever want anything with foundation issues.
Because they can be very expensive. The dirt has to be
removed from the damage parts of the foundation, it has
to be repaired, shorn up, and everything replaced back to
where it was originally.
If not, the crack running up the side of the kitchen wall into
the ceiling and that hump in the floor will return pretty quickly,
no matter how much spackle and paint you put on the wall,
or padding and carpet you put down.
The body is the same way – it doesn’t matter which tool you
use or what program you do, if you still have a poor foundation,
then your issues will show up again. It’s not a matter of “if” -
it’s a matter of “when.”
And once all of the kinks (or most of them – sometimes this
takes several phases) have been straightened out. And now
you can take advantage of your body’s restored movement
efficiency to do some high quality work.
You’ll also find that once you get rid of your movement
dysfunctions and compensations you can not only do more
work, but you can recover faster from that work. Which of
course means, you can do more work.
How’s that “more work” thing work?
Your entire body is functioning more efficiently. So each
workout isn’t a stressful as it once was, so you can and will
adapt faster to the stimulus of your workouts.
Wait – what does “more efficiently” mean?
It means that all the right muscles (called stabilizers and
prime movers – stabilizers stabilize joints and prime movers
move limbs and other parts of the body) are now working
when they’re supposed to be instead of either not at all or
at the wrong time. And because they are, more work gets
Here’s something cool –
Sometimes, because more work is being done, fat loss is
“accidental” in this stage.
It happens of a result of the entire body functioning the way
it’s supposed to –
+ Hormonally – proper balance of stress and growth hormones
+ Management of stress and inflammation
+ Decreased perceived stress levels
+ Increased sleep
+ Increased positive mood associated / resulting from hormones,
It’s a positive feedback loop.
WARNING! Skipping This Phase Can Hurt You!
You may be tempted to just jump from Phase 1 right into
Phase 3 and doing a fat loss program. Not a good idea.
In fact, it’s a very bad idea.
Because if you’ve been walking around jacked up with
movement dysfunctions and compensations for any length
of time, then your work capacity – your ability to do and
recover from work – is severely limited.
And most fat loss programs are high volume and/or high
density. There’s A LOT of work going on!
And if you haven’t sufficiently built up your work capacity,
you’re just looking at another injury.
You have to be able to do 10 swings pain free before you
can do 100 of them, let alone 500 a day, right?
Therefore, getting everything working correctly again and
building your work capacity sets you up nicely for –
Phase 3: Get Leaner
Now you have re-established base and have your work capacity
Time to strip off the fat.
But which program do you use?
There are now SO many kettlebell fat loss programs on the
market, which one do you choose?
How do you know which one is right for you right now?
Here’s a good rule of thumb:
The longer you were out of commission with your
“issues” – the “easier” and less complicated your fat
loss program should be.
In other words, if you were struggling to do get ups or presses
because of a bum shoulder, or your low back was chronically
sore after snatches, then you need to go back and revisit
those exercises as part of your program and not take on
something more challenging like double kettlebell complexes.
It violates one of the major tenets of program design:
Move from simple to complex.
Think about it – you have to be able to master the technique
with one kettlebell before two.
Because there’s less to think about with just one kettlebell
when compared to two.
So if you were hurting doing single KB presses, you need
to get that movement down pat and feeling good again before
adding a second KB to the other side, because –
a) You’ll want to make sure you can move/lift pain/
discomfort free again
b) You want to do that without having to [re-]learn
how to lift with two KBs on the double press
There are a several of other reasons too like work capacity,
technique capacity, minimal effective dose, and initiating an
“over-stress” response, but I don’t want to cover those right
Once you’ve gone through a fat loss, you’ve set yourself up
nicely for –
Phase 4: Get More Muscular
Once you’re done with a fat loss program, your hormones
are primed to set you up for new muscle growth.
Your body is starting to revert back to “natural” – the way it
was designed to be – to burn more fat than it stores.
All the hormonal issues we’ve talked about in previous
emails like insulin resistance have been reversed (or close
Then, we are moving from a state of restriction and destruction
(restricted caloric intake and the destruction of fat cells) to
a state of expansion and construction (surplus caloric intake
and the construction of new muscle).
The really cool thing is that when you do this right, using the
Supercompensation Theory, which states that training creates
fatigue, and that fatigue negatively impacts performance, and
with the proper application of rest, you see an increase in
performance above baseline -
You’ll continue to lose fat for 7 to 14 days and start putting
on muscle due to the decreased work and increased rest.
In fact, it’s possible for you to get a bonus of 20 to 50% extra
fat loss by structuring your programming this way.
That’s a lot of info to put in an email.
And it probably begs one or more questions, like:
So how EXACTLY do you put this information to use?
How long should the cycles be?
Which exercises should you use for each phase? (Are some
better than others?)
We’ll get those questions and more over the next couple of
Keep your eyes peeled…