T Nation

Look Like a Bodybuilder,Perform Like an Athlete


Hi coach, I know you mentioned that you don’t train specifically for strength, or for performance, or for size, or even for fat loss and you train for it all but I wonder if it is still a good idea to train 7 days a week as I am trying to lose some fat? Should I lower the overall volume since I am on a calorie deficit and I would like to add some squat clean in this program?


Do NOT use your lifting program to lose fat. A lot of people want to train more when they are trying to lose weight and it is a mistake. First because you have a lower caloric intake, that alone raises cortisol. Second because you are likely doing energy systems work which furthers spikes cortisol. And cortisol released during weight training is highly correlated with training volume. So by doing more when your body is in a state that is not optimal for recovering could actually make you LOSE muscle and maybe even prevent weight/fat loss.

Understand this. While cortisol, in the short term can help you lose fat by mobilizing it. When it is constantly elevated it will kill your fat loss effort because constantly elevated cortisol levels reduce the conversion of T4 to T3 thyroid hormone/ T4 is inactive and T3 is active and is what makes your metabolic rate higher… if T3 goes down so does your metabolic rate. So constantly elevated cortisol levels can slow down metabolic rate over time.

You can still train 7 days a week, but with a slightly lower daily volume. You can add squat cleans but you will have to take something out when you add it in.


Hi coach. I ran the program as written last year and made impressive gains in conditioning and body composition. I trained in the morning, and in the evening I was learning Oly lifts with EMOM and complexes. Combining both was never an issue but the strength gains were limited, so I finished the program and moved to something else. Since then, I have transitioned from Oly lifting to Kettlebell sport, where explosiveness and conditioning are more important than strength, and I’m thinking about running the program again, paired with a technical KB session in the evening. But I have two questions:

  1. could use KBs for the NCT (with light bells and explosive moves such as cleans, high/power swings, snatches, snatch-to-lunges, etc.)?
  2. KB sport training is based on increasing workload by increasing pace and/or time, but also on improving efficiency (“rest” in between reps). But the workload increases quite fast with pace/tim. Would you have a suggestion for the best approach to ramping it up without getting fried?

Thanks in advance


Sure… the principle of neural charge is simply to do explosive movements up to non fatiguing levels. Any tools with which you can do that can be used.


Howdy! I came across the program and was intrigued, in part because it runs counter to some principles that I’ve operated under for years (like that I needed twice as much back work as pushing work). I’m eager to get going with it, but I had a few questions about the program:

  • From your point of view, is it better to use the exact exercises you indicated (because they generate the best results) or to use an exercise that feels better when I do it? For example, I prefer db flat bench or db incline bench over bench press (feels better on my wrists). I also prefer to do front squat over back squat. I’m not dodging the basic movement and hit the same muscle groups, but am I screwing things up by making these substitutions?
  • If making these changes is cool, then how would I adjust the workouts for db use? Figuring out my MTW is the same, but would I use MTW - 10 (per db) in Zone 1?
  • Last, I know you said go by feel on the assistance work, but do you have a preferred few lifts for traps, rhomboids, and rear delts? And do the same principles apply (focus on explosion) with the assistance work?

Thanks for the great program!