Episode 62. Using Metabolic Circuits for Fat Loss

Jun 26, 2017

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Show Notes

Are there alternatives to traditional cardio for fat-burning and metabolic optimization? In this episode we discuss Scott’s use of metabolic circuits of various kinds: when, why, and how, plus the history of their development.

Some Housekeeping / New Releases

Mike’s new book is out: The Journal Writing Superpower Secret is available at Amazon now. The book presents a variety of frameworks, structures, a ton of journaling prompts to help you set and achieve goals, stay focused, and deal with self-sabotage.

As well, you can pick up both Scott’s new Great Glutes “At Home” Metabolic Circuits, as well as Awesome Abs by Andy:


  • Technically speaking, habits never go away. You can’t “unwrite” them.
  • In Mike’s words, you can add links to the chain, but you can’t get rid of that chain.
  • It’s also worth remembering that a lot of habits are tied to very specific triggers. You might not be able to remove the habit, but with a bit of strategy, you can remove the trigger (or remove yourself from the trigger).
  • This also means that automatic neural reflexes are just that: automatic. If you have a certain habitual pattern of thinking, it doesn’t make you a bad person. That’s not you. That’s just a habit. It’s fine. The trick is to go through it, and then not worry about it, or not entertain or believe those thoughts. Let them come up, then let them go away.

Using Metabolic Circuits for Fat Loss

  • One of the most common questions we get has to do with cardio and fat loss, since Scott is very wary of cardio, but he does assign it. One way to partially address this is to discuss the metabolic circuit protocols he often adds “on top” of an existing program, almost just like cardio, but with bodypart-specific emphasis: abs in the case of Awesome Abs, and glutes in the case of Great Glutes.
  • Scott says he was influenced by changes in the industry from about 10-15 years ago, especially those brough about by JC Santana’s work on functional training. This influenced Scott’s 5-Day MET, Whole Body Hypertrophy, and the Ultimate Figure Program.
  • Mike pointed out that (good) programs have a kind of underlying internal logic to them. Once you understand the logic, you immediately get heuristics that you can use: would this exercise work here? Yes, it fits the logic, or, No, it doesn’t fit the logic. (Example: the second exercise of this a biplex calls for some kind of pushing movement in such-and-such plane of motion, but this exercise is pulling. Or, it is a pushing motion, but it is a big compound movement with too many work capacity demands, and the bi-plexes towards the end of the workout on this program should always be mostly isolation movements.)
  • When Scott first started getting feedback on his more metabolic programs, he found that the circuits and such were hard to do at big-chain, busy gyms. There are always grey areas here where the trainee has some responsibility to try to make things work, but at the same time, “I can’t do these circuits” can be totally legitimate feedback.
  • Although a complete train-at-home program is harder, it’s much easier to make this sort of thing work in a short metabolic circuit that’s just done one to three times per week in addition to the rest of that person’s training (which can be more traditional).
  • This kind of issue is becoming more of an issue, with traffic and increasing work hours, etc.
  • The idea for the currently released programs is to get a little something extra, metabolically and cosmetically in terms of bodypart emphasis.
  • Scott wants to emphasize that the magic isn’t isn’t the exercises; the magic is in the method. It’s not just “do a bunch of abs” exercises or “do a bunch of glutes” exercises. It’s in the sequencing and combinations. There’s a method. 
  • For both abs and glutes, most trainees won’t get “great” versions of these bodyparts with the standard exercises. Abs and glutes won’t just be developed via squats, for example. But with specific circuits can give you that extra emphasis these bodyparts can need.
  • Circuits like this can also be used to help you increase work capacity. For example, if you’ve never done a 5-day program, do a 4-day program, but then introduce a day of doing one of these circuits, as a kind of transitional “4.5” day program.
  • From a coaching perspective, these circuits are also good for trainees who think they “have” to do a bunch of cardio, when really they’re just driving themselves into the ground.
  • That said, cardio has its place: even in the Great Glutes and Awesome Abs programs, there are options in the “Rules of Application” to add 30 min of steady-state cardio at the end of a circuit session. The reason for this is basically to increase the trainee’s work and recovery capacity without exhausting them. It’s also active recovery, at a point in the program/circuits when you can’t really add more weight training without demanding too much from the trainee’s work/recovery capacities.
  • One of the reasons for the circuits Scott’s actually release is flexibility. If you look at something like 5-Day MET, that is very high-level. By contrast, these metabolic circuits can be done by both newbies and advanced trainees.
  • From a marketing perspective, Mike wants the goal to be a series of products that take the trainee up that ladder, from beginner, to advanced, to ultimate, and/or to expert (in the case of the Program Design Masterclass). Then, reasonable marketing communicates nad helps the trainee self-select what they need, and provides them the steps to move to the next level, and the next, and the next.
  • Note that Scott’s released the abs and glutes circuits, and yeah, they’re paid products, but there are free circuits he’s released: The Dumbbell Matrixstuff on his YouTube Channel, etc.