T Nation

4 Week Complexes for Fat Loss Experience


I just ran this 4 week programme http://www.T-Nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance/complexes_for_fat_loss

I was going to post a quick update in the Chris Colucci thread but didn't want to clutter his one up, so here I am. TL;DR at the bottom.


I'm an out of shape 30 year old just getting back into training after three years indulging in French wine, women, and food. I used to box so I'm used to hard workouts, but this year is the first year I've focussed on strength. As such, I'm still quite weak.


I ran the complex programme during the 5th month of 5/3/1. I kept the main 5/3/1 lift, and then did the complex afterwards. I decided to start in a back-off week, and only got the required reps on the last set, excluding week 4 where I got at least a triple on all main lifts.

In weeks 2 and 3 I managed to add some assistance work.


Fat loss.


Eating 3 solid meals and two shakes per day as per Precision Nutrition. Low carb except when I was feeling run down.

Cut 300 calories from maintenance to total ~2700. Had previously lost 2kg in 4 weeks.

Week 1

Complexes A-C felt very easy at 40kg, actually easier than the BBB super sets I'd been doing previously. Complex D left me in a heap on the floor.

Week 2

Felt confident, so decided to up the weight to 50kg on Complexes A-C. This worked fine for Complexes A+B.

On complex C my hands gave out on the last rep of the last set of Squat + Clean combo. Took a few seconds and went again. This complex really wrecked my wrists and forearms.

I kept Complex D at 40kg, but there was no way my pauses were 10s at the bottom of the squat.

Week 3

Back to 40kg for complexes A-C.

On Complex D, I dropped the weight to 30kg on set 4.

The short rest periods really made themselves felt this week.

Week 4

Had to take a break in set 5 of Complex C as my shoulders were burning.

Tried complex D at 40kg, but dropped to 30kg after two sets. I also removed the squat and hold. Just too much for me.


I lost 4kg! Down from 109kg to 105kg! Very happy with this. The complexes really make you melt away: 1kg per week! People at gym started commenting that I looked leaner.

To test the effect on conditioning, I went and ran 5km. I hadn't been running since starting the complexes, but I felt the difference when out running, and knocked 4 minutes off my time. Down from just over 30 min to just over 26. The perceived effort was actually less, too.


I really enjoyed the programme, and the results speak for themselves. Compelx D kicked my arse every single time. I wonder if the accumulated fatigue had something to do with it, and it would be interesting to play around with the order of the complexes to see.

I'd also like to see what effect keeping the carbs up in my diet would have, so that may be an option for next time.

I'll definitely do this again, perhaps after Christmas. I was actually amazed at just how effective it was.


4kg weight loss in 4 weeks
4 minutes off 5km time
Complex D is a fucking nightmare


Very cool. Not sure if I mentioned it elsewhere, but I added something similar, 2 days of lower volume strength work and 2 days of relatively-low volume "bodybuilder" stuff (arms, shoulders, calves).

I think some non-complex lifting is the only bit missing from the program. Even though it's "just" 4 weeks, I believe keeping some consistent heavy lifting would only be a benefit.

Solid results all around. Great work, man. Yeah, something about those paused squats are killer. I think part of it is, after a few sets, trying to breathe like crazy while still holding the depth and not cheating it shallow.