By Baskaran Sekaran

Get Strong → Move Fast →Burn Fat → Feel Great → More Energy → Look Great → Self-confidence ↑ = UNLIMITED POSSIBILITIES

In the event that this article turns into a rant, I apologize… The purpose of this post is to give you some basic knowledge about my process of achieving fat loss. I can’t overstate my distain for fad diets and fad programs out there that just beat you into the ground with no regard to longevity. The equation above is basically how I design a fat loss program. More importantly, it is the different stages you go through during that process. Sustained fat loss is just as much a mental transition as it is a physical one. My job description, as my mentor Martin Rooney drilled into my head, is to burn fat and build muscle. What I noticed with this is that it applies to everyone. I have athletes and I have everyday people and we all want the same thing when you boil it down: to reach our potential. In order to do that we all need to follow the equation above. Below, I will outline the top 3 most important aspects to fat loss and in the process we will expose some myths out there about fat loss. I will also give you some pointers at the end to implement in your day to day life to help with the transition from who you were to who you will become.

1. Nutrition. We can work out for the rest of your natural life, in the TFW system which has built world champions, BUT if you don’t eat healthy then you will not see the results you want. We are currently in the process of redoing our core values for the gym and some of the feedback from the students suggests that one great thing about the gym is that everyone buys into the nutrition part. Granted, we still need work on it and we always will, but it says something that the students are noticing how much of an impact nutrition plays on fat loss. We have seen up to 60lbs of sustained losses in some people because of our commitment to nutrition. This brings me to my first myth:

– FAD DIETS DON”T WORK. I was listening to the Ben Greenfield Fitness podcast a while back and one of the spokes people for the Atkins diet was on there talking about how great the system works and how much weight people lose, etc. Ben was asking questions about it and then Ben asked how his current weight loss was going because it was well known this guy lost over 100lbs. The guy stumbled a bit and replied that he had “gained a lot back.” With all these diets, whether it is super low calorie, no carb, etc. There are so many flaws that it is almost inevitable that you gain your weight back. I am not a nutritionist and talking science is boring. Luckily, the main reason why these diets don’t work is simple: WE ARE NOT CLONES. Our bodies are all different. We all have a certain chemistry and need to eat a variety of nutrients to maintain that chemistry. Would a no carb diet work for some? Sure. Does Paleo work for some? Sure. Does anything work for everyone? NO!!!! The Atkins diet is anti carbs, most people need carbs! Low fat diets? What do you think makes up part of your cell walls? Or carries LDL through the blood? Fat does! The main thing about these diets is that they are too extreme. It is the same reason why these fad strength and conditioning programs don’t work. You can’t write a workout on the board and throw the whole gym on it and call it a day. Everyone is different and requires different exercises that fit into their goals and body type. If history has taught us anything; it is that extremism never leads to results.

2. Fat loss happens from the inside out. The very first variable to the equation above is: get strong. The turning point in our last 8 week transformation class was when we all had a sit down in the prehab room and talked about the results we were getting. I think we were 4 weeks in (but I can’t remember exactly). They hadn’t lost the weight they expected. I couldn’t stop smiling that day because I explained how true fat loss works. You have to get your body strong first. None of them could do a pushup, everyone had at least one nagging injury that we had to attend to, and no one knew the movement patterns of the lifts so we had to teach that too. Once we got strong and learned the movement patterns were off to the races. If you ask them now about fat loss they will all show you pictures or tell you the jeans sizes they dropped. The point is that I could have taken those 8 weeks and just threw them into some intense metabolic training and beat them up and we would have lost a shit ton of pounds but instead we got strong, then we got injury free, then we moved fast, then we dropped dress sizes!!!!

MYTH 2: Just circuit or HIIT train. I know numerous people who have had a personal trainer for years and they look the exact same or worse than the day they signed up. If you ask them they don’t blame the trainer or their workouts. That’s bullshit! You pay to look good and dammit I intend to make that happen but there is a proper progression to follow to do it safely and effectively. You have to earn your exercises as is our slogan at TFW dojos across the world. Build a strong base and then move fast and that produces results that last and prevents you from being injured. Like I said, we can beat you up to get slightly faster results or we can make you strong with lasting results and not have to visit the radiologist every month to see what our next injury is. On the flip side you can’t move slow forever or else you won’t see results either. FYI when I say move slow I mean body weight exercises, heavy weight training. I don’t mean elliptical or tread walker. EVERYONE at this school lifts heavy. I don’t’ know where this idea that lifting heavy isn’t effective for fat loss came from but it’s crazy talk. I also hate when I hear that lifting heavy is how you get hurt. You only get hurt if you lift with poor form. Another reason why just straight up metabolic training doesn’t work in the long run is because you have to change your mindset along with your body. As our process of fat loss progresses, we also progressively change our lifestyle. The people I mentioned earlier that still look the same after years of training never accomplished that. They see their workouts as just a beat down. They think the gym is a place to sweat and get nauseous. It is just something they have to get through. IF you look at it that way then change won’t happen. You have to look at it as your time to learn, to get better, not a negative event that you have to suffer through a few times a week.

3. Move fast, get fast! Now that we have got a start on our nutrition and we are strong enough to handle moving fast without getting injured we can put the fat loss on the fast track by metabolic training. In the world of TFW this means HURRICANES!!!! There is no doubt that training with speed is the best way to burn fat. Get running out of your head and the “fat burning zone.” It’s bogus. Running will lead you on one of 3 paths: injured, too skinny, or nowhere. The idea behind the hurricane is to create a disturbance within your body so vast (where you will burn carbs mostly during the workout) that it takes you a day or more to recover. In that day of recovery you will utilize your fat stores to replenish your tissue and thus burn more fat! Hurricanes are also safe. There are boundaries that aren’t crossed and that is how we avoid the “beating you up” part. Those of you who have done them know that they certainly kick your ass BUT there is always a specific exercise selection to each student’s needs to avoid injury and we always get the needed recovery during the workout.

Myth 3: If I create a caloric deficit and move fast I will drop fat. I know what you are thinking: “that’s true, it’s not a myth.” It is true but I wanted to make sure you understand that the mental changes and lifestyle alterations we go through during our training is just as important. Martin started calling it “bringing out the warrior within.” It is now the TFW slogan and it is crucial to long term success. We use physical training as a tool to achieve the lifestyle changes. People like feeling and looking good which creates a need to change things in their life. Those that don’t change mentally are the ones who lose a ton of weight and then gain it back and go through that process over and over. I call it the circus. They never get better because they are stuck going up and down. People think that changing the way they think comes first. If you focus on trying to change your brain then you are fighting a losing battle. Actions speak louder than words. I argue that changing the body is first and then the mind adapts. It has been that way since the beginning. 5 million years ago Ardipithecus Ramidus walked upright and began the evolution of the Homo Sapien species. Walking upright led to using our hands for more complex actions. These complex actions required more complex communication, hence language is born. The body evolved and then the mind adjusted. Fat loss is the same way. Move fast, get fast, get health smart and then your quality of life goes up. If you follow the system then you will constantly get better, if you have one foot in and one foot out you will go up and down and never get anywhere.