Not just another workout

The Xtreme Fat Loss Programme started as a group exercise class, that was based on the same coaching principles I used with my one-to-one clients.

I'd found that most group exercise classes focussed on either having a lot of fun and sweating, or absolutely blasting the participants.

Having taught Les Mills classes for many years, I appreciated the benefits of a standardised format, but was frustrated by the limited exercise and movement options.

As a PT, I knew that whilst everyone is different, most people need a number of common approaches, albeit applied differently.

So, I took one of the most common programme formats I used with my personal training clients and structured it for a group exercise class.

Whilst it went through some early changes, it's actually not changed that much. As long as you have a step, a pair of reasonably weighted dumbbells and a barbell (studio barbells are the best bet for home use), you're good to go.

Sound, time-tested principles

Progress in any program is based on one key principle: Progressive Overload.

That means that over time, the workouts become more challenging.

The challenge is not making the workouts harder for its own sake, but rather, in a way that encourages the body to adapt positively.

For most people full body workouts are more effective for fat-loss, muscle gain and strength improvements than split workouts (different body parts on different days).

Most of the cardiovascular benefits of exercise can be achieved without doing traditional cardio, provided effort is high enough and rest periods are short enough.

 

So...

One size that fits most, most of the time

I'm not going to pretend that this is a perfect programme for everyone. In fact, I'm going to tell you that it's probably not for you.

If...

  • You don't have the motivation to exercise
  • You don't have a basic level of co-ordination
  • You have attention deficit disorder or simply get bored really quickly
  • You can't count past 12
  • You don't have access to a timer of some sort
  • You don't have a barbell, a pair of dumbbells, an exercise step and a mat

But if none of the above apply...

Anytime, any place, anywhere

Thanks to the marvels of technology, no matter where you are on the planet, I can help you get fitter and healthier than you ever dreamed possible.

As long as you've got access to the internet and have the basic equipment and space to move needed, you're good to go.

Whether you're in the privacy of your own home or using the workouts as gym sessions, you'll have everything you need.

Each workout has the following:

  • An easy to learn, yet effective warm up
  • A simple programme divided into three sections, Lower Body, Upper Body and Core
  • A four week progression detailing time, reps and rest periods
  • Videos for each of the exercises with key technique points
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

Is it suitable for everyone?

No, although most people should be fine. I recommend that anyone with any pre-existing health issues check with their GP before trying the class and women in their final trimester of pregnancy may find other exercise options to be more suitable. Other than that, most people should be fine. Each exercise has modifications to make it harder or easier to suit all levels and if you have a particular issue, I’ll always do my best to suggest something more specific

What if I haven't got all the equipment?

If you haven't got a barbell, you could theoretically do the workout using dumbbells instead.

But, the workout is designed to be done as is. It's not that I can't come up with alternatives, but it takes more work and more time and therefore starts to drive the cost up. If you need something more bespoke (and are prepared to pay to have it), get in touch and I'll either come up with a workable strategy for the programme, or design you something specific.

How much weight do I need?

Most of the workouts are written based on the following:

 

Women:

Lower Body Barbell Exercises - 6-12kg (3-6kg either side)

Lower Body Dumbbell Exercises - 2-5kg (each dumbbell)

Upper Body Barbell Exercises - 4-8kg (2-4kg either side)

Lower Body Dumbbell Exercises - 2-5kg (each dumbbell)

 

Men:

Lower Body Barbell Exercises - 10-20kg (5-10kg either side)

Lower Body Dumbbell Exercises - 4-7kg (each dumbbell)

Upper Body Barbell Exercises - 6-15kg (3-7.5kg either side)

Lower Body Dumbbell Exercises - 3-6kg (each dumbbell)

My weights are heavier or lighter than the recommended range, what do I do?

If your weights are either too heavy, or too light, you have five basic options:

  1. Increase or reduce the reps/time
  2. Slow down or speed up the tempo of the reps
  3. Add or remove an intensifier (half reps, mid range pause, etc)
  4. Increase or reduce rest periods
  5. Increase or reduce the complexity of the exercise

I haven't got a mat, but I'm doing it on a carpet, is that ok?

Carpets vary massively so it's hard to say definitively. As long as neither you or your equipment are going to slip or get friction burns (that bit's just you) and the floor is clear of any hazards, you should be ok.

How much space do I need?

For all of my classes, I typically recommend that people have access to at least 2m x 2m, with 3m x 3m being the ideal.

You should be able to lunge forwards, sideways and backwards without restriction.

What should I wear?

Comfortable gym/exercise gear is ideal. No straps or buckles though. It can also help you to evaluate your own technique if your clothes are not too baggy, as it allows you to better asses your movement.

Is there a minimum age?

Yes. The minimum age to use the programme is 18. This is because the programme has not been written with people under this age in mind and I am not qualified or insured for the instruction of minors.

How does it work?

Each of the three main sections are comprised of giant sets, which means you perform one exercise followed by another for the same area of the body, with short rest intervals between each. This type of exercise encourages the production of Lactic Acid, which the body buffers by raising Growth Hormone levels. This in turn encourages fat burning and improvements in heart and lung health.

Some sections may also include specific exercises or methods that trigger higher levels of Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC), which is a sciencey way of saying you’ll not only burn a shedload of calories IN the class, but because of the effects on your metabolism, you’ll continue to burn an increased number of calories AFTER the class.

What makes it extreme?

When I first started teaching the class, people were used to working out non-stop for the hour. The extreme tag was partly to entice the hard-core participants in, but also a little tongue in cheek humour on my part.

Most people get really good at doing the things they're really good at. The XFL programme challenges your body in a lot of ways that most people simply aren't used to. Because of that, despite "more rest periods than any reasonable person could expect", 24-48h after the class, you could always tell who'd attended due to surprising levels of post-workout muscle soreness.

Over the years, the most common observations on the programme revolve around the fact that the workouts are:

Sophisticated, yet simple

Demanding, without being unnecessarily brutal

Accessible, yet offer enough options to challenge most people

What results could I expect to see?

Results vary massively and it’s important to remember that you can’t out train a bad diet. However, if you’re eating healthily with a bias towards fat loss, you should expect to initially lose between 1-2lbs a week. This depends on how much excess fat you have to lose when starting though.

It's essential to note that this programme is not about the calories you burn during the workouts, but rather what your body does with the calories it receives, AFTER the workout.

Is it only suitable for fat loss?

Not at all, although that is the main focus. You’ll also get stronger, improve your shape, get fitter, improve your posture and potentially reduce your likelihood of injuries.

How many times a week should I do Xtreme Fat Loss?

I recommend 2-3 times a week, assuming sensible levels of activity through the rest of the week.

Any other tips?

Have some water and a towel to hand, as you may perspire and will definitely get thirsty

If it’s your first workout, be a little reserved with the weights as this will help limit excessive soreness in the 24-72 hours after the class

If it’s not your first workout and you're comfortable with the exercises, start to up your weights, reps or time and really push yourself.

Never compromise technique. I'm obsessive about technique because I know just how much of a difference it can make to your results. I'd rather you did 8 perfect reps than 12 shoddy ones, so never sacrifice quality for quantity.

Enjoy it. I want your workout to be fun and a highlight of your week. Stay focussed on the serious stuff like technique, tempos and rest periods, but otherwise enjoy the experience and sensation of your body moving and working.