Recently, friend and author of the Belly Fat Effect, Mike Mutzel, invited me to be on his podcast “High Intensity Health.”  I was humbled by the invitation and thrilled to work with Mike on this episode.  This was a first for me being included on a podcast or any version of a live recording discussing training.

Please check out Mike Mutzel’s work with the following links:

High Intensity Health

The Belly Fat Effect

Belly Fat Effect photo






Check out the Episode Below:

#38: Learn the Best Exercises to Get Lean and Prevent Fat Gain with Dan Stephenson, CPT

Show Notes

Dan hurt his back deadlifting, which caused him to study powerlifting and strength training. He strives to have perfect form during these lifts.

Key preparatory movements and strengthening up the core and warming up properly leads to less lower back pain and injury. Take your time with these!

Dan has learned how to protect his lower back from books and videos by Stuart Mcgill and Brian Carroll. They teach activating the neuro drive and the “big three.” These different exercises to activate core and stiffen it up.

Mobility is a hot topic and look at how much they need versus how much they doing. Dan recommends mobility exercises before working out, but not overdoing it.

Dan has found the biggest health and metabolic biggest from doing the big core movements (squat, deadlift bench press and military press). Why? He discusses time efficiency and how these movement don’t create muscle imbalances.

Big compound movements are the core of Crossfit, powerlifting and bodybuilding.

Compared to isolation exercises, compound movements involve many muscle groups and activate many different assessor muscles and core.

Dan discusses key attributes of successful clients: accepting health and fitness as a lifestyle change, not a means to an end.

Letting go of the short minded journey that one needs to loose a certain amount of body weight then simply stop working out will lead to failure. It needs to be accepted as a lifestyle.

This mental fortitude is a key aspect that Dan has scene in his successful clients at the ProClub in Bellevue.

The lifestyle changes are important because achieving a healthy physique requires diet changes, ample sleep, stress reduction and minimal alcohol consumption; it’s more than just training at the gym.

Women should not be afraid to do heavy compound movements and lift weights. Unless women take anabolic steroids or hormone precursors, it’s hard for women to become bulky and gain a lot of muscle.

Where should you start if you want to loose weight and burn more fat? Dan says start with the squat, deadlift, military press and bench press. Dan says after his clients work up to bar bells, he increases the weight. Not too heavy, but he feels clients should push themselves to get results.

Don’t make the mistake of doing a lot of cardio (aerobic training) right off the bat. Start by building up some lean muscle and utilizing cardio to burn extra calories, alternating different types and increasing the intensity.

For fat loss, Dan likes to program in more high-intensity interval training that mimics the same energy systems that are incorporated during strength training sessions.

Circuit training is great for helping to burn fat, but ideally someone would also include higher-intensity interval training, heavy weight lifting and long-duration weight lifting.

Four day program for fat loss and wellness:

Four strength based-days (day one could be legs, day two could be shoulders/chest and day three could be back)
One aerobic conditioning day (hiking, group exercise class, stair stepper)

Dan discusses key tips to induce muscle hypertrophy for getting nice and toned muscles. It’s really taking the exercise to failure and beating the muscle up, he says.

In contrast, power-strength is really working on developing muscle patterns so that you can move more weight with proper form. Going to failure may throw off the technique and cause injury.

Periodization: have a sub goal for six to eight weeks to build up strength during one cycle and increase muscle mass in another cycle. Keep changing it up.

Measurements to asses body composition: Dan likes waist circumference, pant size, shirt size and health markers like blood pressure and triglycerides.

Dan discusses crossfit. Should everyone do crossfit? Dan feels that crossfit can be great for people with a strong foundation. It brings a lot of different variables (i.e. intensity, competition, and amount of work done during training sessions). But Dan thinks it can be risky to jump right into crossfit; so Dan suggest that it’s great thorough assessment and get individual coaching.

Additionally you should have proper shoulder mobility to get into a front squat before you do a power clean.

Before you start power-cleaning, you should really master the deadlift and have a proficient front squat.

Risk of injury occurs when you do high-volume Olympic lifts with short rest. Once technique goes you can really get into trouble and injury yourself.

Kettlebell swings can lead to lower back injury because there is a lot of force that can be generated and can have carry over to other exercises

Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe has people starting out with high-frequency (many sessions per week) to get the technique down but as you increase the weight, it’s important to reduce frequency so as to avoid injury.

Everyone from young adolescents to elderly folks can really benefit from the squat, deadlifts and overhead presses.