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It all started when...


I would be the worst client in the world. Seriously, I
am always looking for the fastest way to get results,
and I am one of the most impatient individuals you
may ever meet. However, that gives me a unique
edge when it comes to fat loss programming and
transformations.
You see, I have helped hundreds of people get the
bodies they have always wanted, and it has always
been my goal to do it faster than anyone else.

been tweaking, changing, and manipulating small


aspects of my clients nutrition, training, and
lifestyles to help them get lean, athletic, and fit.
Today, I wanted to share with you 31 of these tips
and tricks that I have learned.
First, let me tell you a bit about how I got into this
myself.

In 2006, I was 335lbs. A BIG 335lbs! As I finished


up college as a collegiate shot putter and discus
If other gyms were running 12-week transformation thrower at Indiana University, I had worked hard
programs, I was running 6-week programs; 28 days to get as strong as possible. I also worked hard at
was too long, so I created 21-day programs; and
drinking a lot of beer and eating junk food. I just
finally, I even worked to create a 7-day program
so happen to be one of those guys who has no
that got people great results.
trouble putting on size. Check it out
Now, truth be told, not all of these
programs got long-lasting results.
Sure, some of it was easy because
we all know that when you get a
beginner, losing weight fast is simple:
A few changes here and there to
their training and nutrition will likely
produce big results.
So, I also worked to help get people
in photo-shoot shape. I took them
to the fittest they have ever been so
that when all the lights and cameras
were on them, they looked amazing.
Throughout the last 8 years, I have

On a wonderful day in June as I was about to


have my left knee cleaned up and a torn meniscus
repaired, I stepped on the scale to see 335lbs pop
up. I honestly had no idea that I was that heavy. It
was embarrassing.
At that very moment, I decided that I wasnt going
to be a fat thrower anymore, and I was going to
start losing some weight. Little did I know that it
would turn into my passion and I would eventually
step in front of the camera and put myself in a
position to win a worldwide transformation contest
several years later.

Throughout my own journey, I have been a


human guinea pig. I test everything out on myself
before trying it with clients. I have tried just about
everything under the sun to see how it works,
how it makes me feel, and if it gets the results it
promises. Workouts, nutrition, supplementsif it is
legal, I have probably tried it.
Here are 31 of the things I have learned to speed up
the transformation process that you can use with
your clients right now!

TRAINING
HACKS

Training Hacks
These arent going to be gimmicky, circus acts
that you can use with your clients but rather realworld programming hacks that you can start
implementing right away to get your clients better
results.

in loading to encourage a higher intensity


workout. This can be a challenging strategy to
figure out with some clients, but it also ensures
that the client is working at the highest level
possible, and it will increase total workload
and volume of the workouts. This also forces
the clients body to retain muscle mass, which
helps keep caloric expenditure high.

So get ready to take some notes, and get excited


to start implementing a few of these for maximum
effect right away!

Example Deadlift Ramp Up 8RM


Warm Up
8 reps @ 135lbs
8 reps @ 185lbs
6 reps @ 225lbs
4 reps @ 245lbs
3 reps @ 255 lbs
Max Effort Set
8RM @ 275lbs
Perform 2 Back Off sets
8 reps @ 250-255lbs

1. On the last set of their prime movements,


have your clients train to a set that is 1 rep shy
of failure. This type of training forces clients
to get out of their comfort zones and push
themselves to the limit, which will help them
impose a much higher metabolic demand on
their system than typical straight sets.
2. Work up to a rep max on your big lifts and then
perform back off sets with 10-20% decrease
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3. Increase the amount of steady-state training


your beginner clients are doing. They are likely
not able to perform at the intensity needed to
get a metabolic effect from training, so they
will need a higher caloric output for enhanced
results. Too often, we try to get our beginner
clients to perform at the level our more
advanced clients do and sacrifice the benefits
of a solid foundation of work capacity. This
additional time spent developing a foundation
will result in positive changes both immediately
and in the future.

designing your client programs: If the client


does 3 sets of 8 reps in week one at 100lbs,
they lifted 100lbs 24 times, which is a total
volume of 2400lbs. Adding 5lbs the next week
increases that to 2520lbs (105x24) but adding
a set (4 sets of 8 reps) will produce 3200lbs of
volume, which is a much higher workload.
Training Week
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4

Volume (Sets x Reps)


2x8
3x8
4x8
2x8 (Deload)

4. I nstead of programming your workouts with set


rest periods and sticking to them throughout
6. Change the order of your movements in
the entire training cycle, progress your clients
the program. If you always program big
by reducing the rest period by 5-10 seconds
movements first, try moving them to the latter
each week. This small but effective change
part of the workout. At first, performance
in rest will allow the client to do more work
will suffer due to accumulated fatigue, but
in less time, which will result in the body
ultimately, an inefficiency in the training will
composition changes that the client desires.
have a positive effect. **Caution: If clients
Improving the density of the workout will keep
perform deadlifts, squats, or other high-skill
the clients training efficient and effective.
exercises such as cleans while fatigued, they
should be closely coached with their loads
Training Week
Volume (Sets x Reps)
monitored.
Week 1
45s Rest
Week 2
40s Rest
7. Once every 3-4 weeks, have a gut check
Week 3
35s Rest
workout where you challenge your clients and
Week 4
30s Rest
push them way out of their comfort zone. I am
not talking about making them puke their guts
5. Instead of progressing clients with only
out or giving them rhabdo, but you can make
weight increases, increase the number of sets
them extremely uncomfortable with high-rep
performed each week to increase volume.
challenges or sled distance challenges.
You have to think in terms of volume while

Example Gut Check Workout


Prowler/Sled Quarter Mile
Push, pull, or drag the sled or prowler any way
you want for a quarter mile. A Quarter Mile is
11 trips down and back a 20-yard course or 11
total trips on a 40-yard course. This is a great
workout for groups or in a gym because you
can time each individual and set up a record
board.

to help them get the results they want. A


highly conditioned client who is weak will
not be able to produce the force needed
to get great results (think about a car with a
200-horsepower engine versus a car with a
300-horsepower engine), and a strong client
who does not have a conditioning base will not
be able to perform the volume needed to get
the desired results.
9. Use undulating periodization to ensure your
clients arent adapting to a specific protocol
or training stimulus. Rotate 4x8, 2x15 and
8x3 (sets x reps) schemes over two different
workouts so that it looks like this: Workout A
4x8, Workout B 2x15, Workout A 8x3, Workout
B 4x8, etc. This will allow you to keep the same
exercises programmed for clients and allow
them to improve their form without adapting to
the volume and intensity alone.
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Week 1 Workout A Workout B Workout A
4x8
2x15
8x3
Week 2 Workout B Workout A Workout B
4x8
2x15
8x3
Repeat for 4-8 Weeks

8. Change up the training style of your clients.


If you are performing lots of metabolic work,
implement more strength and vice versa. The
body will adapt, and it may need a change of
pace to continue to produce results. There
are several variables to change in a workout/
training program; however, if your clients
are not strong, they may need to focus on a
strength-building phase, and if they are in poor
condition, they may need more conditioning

10. Complexes and combination movements


programmed either early in the workout, as
finishers, or on off days can produce incredible
metabolic demands and increase the power
endurance a client needs to encourage fat
loss. Not only do these types of movement
combinations require the entire body to work
as a unit, but they also produce an incredible
metabolic demand. Build work capacity,
strength, and power with these moves to get
clients faster results.

NUTRITION
HACKS

Nutrition Hacks
1. Macronutrient tracking works, but it sucks.
No doubt about it, if you are stuck with
your weight loss, having clients track
macronutrients for a few days or even two
weeks will help you get a grip on how to help
them. Most of the time, the tracking alone gets
them to start losing weight again. It is funny
how people tend to pay closer attention to
what they put in their mouth when they have
to write it down!
2. Intermittent fasting works for men but not as
well for women. IF can work for women, but
I have found that women do best with larger
gaps of time between consistent meals. So
instead of having them eat 6 small meals a
day, you can have them eat 3 larger meals with
larger amounts of time between those meals.
You get a similar effect to having men fast for
12-16 hours. .

be consumed in your dinner. This also allows


you to get higher quality of sleep in most cases
due to the hormonal response of spiking your
insulin later in the day.

4. Carb cycling is not as complicated as most


people make it out to be and can be used as
an effective means of getting a client to drop
fat without changing much else. On strength
training days, eat higher carbohydrates, and on
3. Load your carbohydrate intake later in the day.
non-training or metabolic-conditioning-only
Your body will store these carbs as glycogen,
days, stick to green veggies only and avoid
which might lead to a slight increase in weight
starchy carbs, especially if you arent tracking.
the next morning, but it will lead to longer term
fat loss. A majority of your starchy carbs should
Example High-Carb Day
Meal 1: 2 whole eggs, cup egg whites, 1 handful of spinach, and cup oatmeal
Meal 2: 1 chicken breast, any green veggies, 1 med sweet potato, 1 thumb of butter
Meal 3: 1 palm-sized serving or about 1/3 lbs of lean beef, cup white rice, 10-20 stalks of asparagus
Optional snack if needed: 1 scoop vanilla protein, 1 cup blueberries, cup cottage cheese, 1 tbsp peanut or almond
butter. Add ice and water to mix to desired thickness to create a smoothie
Example Low-Carb Day
Meal 1: Omelet with 3 whole eggs, 1oz turkey breast, tomato, spinach, and small amount of 2%/reduced fat cheese
Meal 2: 1 palm-sized serving or about 4oz of salmon, large spinach or romaine salad with lots of veggies, olive oil
and vinegar dressing
Meal 3: 6-8oz of lean red meat (sirloin, filet, strip), roasted broccoli and cauliflower drizzled in olive oil
Optional snack as needed: 2 scoops of chocolate protein, 2 Tbsp of almond or peanut butter mixed with a small
amount of water to create a protein pudding.

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5. Pink Himalayan Sea Salt might lower cortisol


if taken first thing in the morning. During
periods of high stress, a small amount 1/81/2 tsp. taken with a large glass of water first
thing upon waking will help lower cortisol and
kick start some fat burning. Cortisol has been
shown to promote fat storage, so reducing
this hormone during periods of high stress is
beneficial to many people and makes burning
fat easier.
6. Dietary fat isnt bad, but it certainly can hold
people back from losing weight. I like to keep
fat around 20-25% of total calories, pushing
as high as 35% in some individuals. This takes
some experimentation to dial in for each
individual, but when you get it right, you can
eat more carbs and still lose weight, which
means performance in the gym increases
and progress comes much faster. Fat isnt the
enemy, but you certainly cant consume it with
reckless abandon.
7. Re-feeds work if done right. Reduce calories
throughout the week to somewhere between
10-12x bodyweight in pounds. You can also
restrict carbohydrates to between 75-100g/
day during the week. On one weekend day,
you can do a re-feed day and aim to triple
your food intake. Most of this should come
from carbs if possible, and fat should be kept
to a minimum. This will keep the hormones
functioning well while allowing people to get
the feel of a cheat day.

down to one dogmatic approach to dieting.


Moderation is the key to most individual longterm success. You cant be healthy and perform
at a high level by eating all your calories from
Pop Tarts and cookies, but you also dont have
to eliminate entire food groups to get results.
9. BCAA supplementation to replace pre-, peri, and post-workout recovery methods that
typically are recommended has produced great
results for my clients. Supplement with 10g
of BCAA pre- and peri-workout instead of a
regular recovery drink or meal. This will reduce
the overall caloric load without reducing
recovery.

10. Caffeine supplementation prior to training,


especially for morning or mid-day training
sessions, can boost the clients workouts.
Starting with a cup of coffee or two is effective
(aim for 100mg of caffeine); for those who
are more stimulant-experienced, you may
need a more aggressive supplement. If you
8. Flexible dieting takes work (you have to track
want to stay away from stimulants, try Onnits
macros), and other means of dieting are a bit
ShroomTech Sport, as it has produced good
simpler but dont allow you the freedom to
results for me and my clients to whom I have
enjoy some of your favorite foods. Find the one
recommended it for pre-workout energy
that works for the individuals own personality
boosts.
and sets them up for success. Dont tie yourself

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LIFESTYLE
HACKS

Lifestyle Hacks
1. Sleep is one of the biggest factors when it
get your day started off on the right foot. If you
comes to fat lossand the hardest to control
check email or hit up social media first thing
as a fitness pro with your clients. Get them
in the morning, you only open yourself up to
to start heading to bed just 5 minutes earlier
more stress, which makes it tougher to lose fat.
each week, and soon enough they will start to
accumulate more sleep and get better results.
3. Work in intervals. If you have a client who
The best way to do this is by establishing a preworks at a desk, have them set a timer for
bed routine of reading fiction or something
either every 25 minutes or 50 minutes and then
non-stimulating, performing Self-Myofascial
have them get up to walk around the office or
Release or foam rolling 15-20 minutes prior to
at the very least stand for 5-10 minutes. The
bed, or mediation. This routine will start to cue
increase in activity, while minimal, will add up
the body that it is time for sleep.
over time, and they will also feel better for it.
2. A short 10-20 minute walk first thing in the
morning can do wonders for stress relief and
focus for the day. My clients have had great
success with adding this into their routine. It
doesnt need to be cardio, just a leisurely
pace. Being out in nature and starting your
day away from the stress of having to make it
go-time from the second your feet hit floor

4. Weekends are tough when it comes to social


activities, so encourage clients to keep
themselves busy with active things with the
family or their friends to keep them from
hitting up the bars or overindulging. Replacing
these non-supportive activities with something
positive will result in success more often than
just subtracting activities.

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5. Goal setting is a huge part of a fat loss


program. Set short- and long-term goals with
images that the client can aim to achieve.
Using pictures is a great way to motivate
people because we tend to relate best to
images. Knowing what losing 10lbs or 20lbs
looks like to the client also helps you set
appropriate goals. Start off by having them
describe in detail what losing the weight looks
and feels like to you, and then have them go
get a picture of what they think it looks like to
keep as motivation.
6. Have your clients use technology to help them
de-stress and get motivated. I have been using
the Brain Wave App on my iPhone for months
to prepare for the workday on my morning
walks and calm myself down when I get
anxious. It may not seem like it does much, but
I swear it does the trick.
7. Try replacing old habits with new small
changes and connecting your triggers with
a new habit. For instance, if you are always
getting hungry or craving junk food at night
when you watch TV, the next time you go
to watch TV and get the craving, replace
that craving with foam rolling. Foam roll for
5-10 minutes until the craving subsides, and
then you will start to replace that feeling of
boredom and cue to eat junk as a cue to foam
roll.
8. Encourage the streak! Have your clients track
just one small thing each day and get them to
build up a streak of consecutive days where
they accomplish their goal for the day. Bonus
points if you can make it positive instead of
negative.

9. Use interval goals. If you have a huge weight


loss or fat loss goal, I have always found it
better to stay on track by setting up short-term,
aggressive goals for clients as well. If you want
to lose 30lbs in 3 months, then setting the goal
for the first month at 12lbs buys you time later
on and also allows the client to focus on the
task at hand.
10. This seems a bit silly, but have your clients
write down a mantra or a positive affirmation
statement on a 3x5 index card that states
their goal as specifically as possible as if it has
already happened. They need to read this out
loud to themselves at least once every day,
and they can read it in times where they may
be tempted to skip a workout or cheat on their
nutrition plans. It helps reaffirm why they are
doing the things they are doing.

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The MOST important hack of them all.


Get your clients to buy in to what you are doing, have faith in the process, and understand that it might be
a bit of a struggle. Fat loss isnt always fun and exciting, but it sure is gratifying once you reach your goal!
Have your clients verbally acknowledge that they believe the plan you laid out for them will work and that
they are 100% positive they will see success with it. A huge part of success is believing in the plan you lay
out to get there!
That wraps up our 31 Fat Loss Hacks. I am confident that each one of these hacks will help you get at least
one of your clients better results from their time in the gym with you.
If you want to keep the momentum going and continue finding new and exciting ways to deliver
incredible results to your clients, make sure that you check out the blog at
www.vertexperformancesystems.com

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