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Strength Circuits and Fat Loss Intervals

Hey CT, I’ve recently read your article on the three fat loss strategies, and fell in love with the intervals section. I also recently read your built for bad strength circuits, loved them, and figured it would be a good combo for a type 1 trying to lift heavy while minimizing cortisol on a heavy deficit.

My plan so far is to run two weeks of a psmf Lyle McDonald style: lean meats (1g/lb of LMB of protein) and lots of geeen veggies but cheating a little with some protein powder and a half scoop of plazma on training days. Total cals 1500, protein 190g.

On the maintenance weeks I’ll be working up back to around 3000 cals over a few days, keeping the same food outline but adding in clean carbs like fruit and oats, and fattier cuts of meat (dark meat chicken, steak, eggs)

Training wise I’ll be on a 6 day training week, 2 on/ 1 off workouts. running the strength circuits 2x/week on the psmf weeks and four times during the maintenance weeks. Like so:

Low weeks:
Day 1:
5-10 easy elliptical intervals

Day 2:
steady state 30-45 minutes

Day 3: OFF

Day 4:

Day 5:
Steady state

Day 6: OFF

My questions are:

  1. does this sound like a reasonable approach?

  2. will 2x/week on the circuits be enough total volume for the week?

  3. on the 2x/week circuits, should I do one each circuit once a week? Just do the first one (higher percentage weights) twice?

  4. can one of the Military press days be a push press?

  5. can one of the lat pull down days be a chest supported t-bar rows, and can you go higher volume like 10-8-6-4-2?

Sorry for the wall of text and thanks in advance for your time

Yep, 100% correct on that point

Honestly I would only increase carb.during the maintenance week since carbs have the greatest impact on leptin levels. You can add some fats in (especially good fats) but I would increase mostly carbs.

I would recommend more lifting days during the low weeks. It will actually help with muscle maintenance. And especially as a 1A you need a dopamine spike daily. and because you will be on a restrictive diet you will not get that dopamine spike from nutrition so on the off days you will feel like crap.

I suggest also doing the circuits 4x a week, but just doing less circuits on each session

It’s no so much about the volume but about feeling good and maximizing muscle maintenance (I believe that in a deficit if you touch a muscle more often it facilitates muscle retention as the body sees the muscles as more “necessary” since you use them intensely almost every day.

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Yes, if you are doing the circuits more than twice per week. If you are doing them 2x per week (which I don’t recommend) stick with the same lifts

I actually prefer the chest-supported row over lat pulldowns. When I was in Colorado doing this program I didn’t have access to it.

No don’t do higher reps, especially if you are a type 1A… well you can do “slightly” higher reps but not up to 10… you can do 6-6-4-4-2 even if two sets in a row use the same number of reps.

CT thanks a lot!

Do you mean keep all five exercises and just do less round(i.e. Only 5-3-1) or doing less exercises (i.e. Only doing dead-squat, bench and supported rows for 5-4-3-2-1?

Understood. Thanks again

Do less rounds (5-3-1 is a good option but you could also do 5-4-3)

Awesome as always. So I’ll stick with 4x/week, doing 5-3-2-1 (taking one set out to start) and see how I feel. Chest supported rows replacing lat pull downs, but I think I’ll keep the military press in and give my elbow a break from push press


One last question:

I aggravated an elbow injury doing TBDL yesterday, so for the time being TBDL and explosive movements (high pulls and push press are out) until my elbow heals up. Today my circuit looked like this:

TM: ~95% 1rm
Lat pull down
Military press
Chest supported row

Presses: 5-3-1, pulls: 6-4-2
Total time: 17 minutes

Finished up with some incline elliptical sprint intervals and walked out feeling strong.

My question, to replace TBDL would you:

A) do front squats for all 4 circuits, or

B) do front squats for the 2 high percentage workouts and do straight bar deadlifts for the 2 low days?

you could take the lat pulldown out (since you have the rows) and do both front squats and RDL