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Total Body Training (TBT)

Okay guys, here's my plan:

About once or twice a week I'd like to post an exercise tip to help you. Obviously if I try to post too much too soon its going to be hard to take in all the info. I'd also like to leave some time between each new post so you can apply the information to your workouts (if you wish) and then add new information gradually as we go along. If anyone has any questions, comments or thoughts on this please let me know how I can improve my help to you.

So today, Total Body Training, from hereon refered to as TBT (get used to this acronym as it may be the MOST important single factor in fat loss exercise!)

As mentioned a few times already, when training for fat loss you need to keep reminding yourself this:

The MORE muscles you use, the MORE calories you burn.

Please please please do whatever you can to keep that in your minds! Repeat it to yourself, write it on your walls, get it tattooed, whatever! I cannot stress how important it is.

When you are exercising (or doing anything for that matter) always ask yourself: "Is what Im doing using as many muscles to get the job done as possible??"

I've made some example with regards to resistance training (such as why a Squat seems the same as a Leg Press but is actually much different) but it can also apply to Cardio.

Everyday I get asked what is the BEST cardio machine for losing weight, and I have two answers:

1. The best exercise is the one in which you ENJOY the most and therefore put the most effort into,


2. The Rower.

I think answer number 1 explains itself, but the rower takes a little more expansion.

In the Principles of Fat Loss Exercise post I wrote that as well as using as many muscles as possible you should also use the biggest muscles as much as you can, which are the glutes (hips and butt), chest and back muscles.

Now a Step machine would use the glutes, and the bike just your legs, but a rower uses your legs AND your back muscles, making it the winner in this case.

That of course is based on the equipment available at my gyms. Usually I would bring people away from cardio equipment (as many tend to do too much anyway with no results) and use different methods for cardio training (which I will go into in a later post).

For now though, I just want to go into how to structure a TBT resistance program, and go through the process of putting it together.

1. List all appropriate exercises:

These are exercises that challenge an adequate amount of muscle groups. Don't fret, I'm going to do it all for you here:

-Press Ups
-Rows / chin ups / lat pulldowns
-Jumping Jacks
-Mountain Climbers

Now obviously this isn't an exhaustive list, but it'll make do for now. Basically choose a number of exericses that challenge your whole body.

2. Divide them into 4 Catagories:

The catagories I use are these:

-Lower Body Quad-dominant
-Lower Body Hip (Glutes) dominant
-Upper Body Push
-Upper Body Pull

So here's what your exercise list may look like:

-Lower Quad: Squats, Lunges
-Lower Hip: Deadlift, Step Ups
-Upper Push: Shoulder Press, Push Up, Chest Press
-Upper Pull: Chin Ups, Lat Pulldown

Now, we will create supersets (one set of an exercise followed immediately by a set of a different exercise) based on opposing categories. For example:

1a. Squat (Lower Quad)
1b. Shoudler Press (Upper Push)
Rest 30 seconds

So, in this superset you would perform the amount of squats specified, then go straight on to shoulder presses, rest 30 seconds, then repeat for the number of specified sets (we'll discuss sets and reps later!)

The second superset will involve the other two muscle groups:

2a. Deadlift
2b. Lat Pulldown
Rest 30 seconds

Its important to realise why I divide the groups up as above. This is for a couple of reasons:

-First, it allows you to work longer as you can work your legs, then let them rest whilst you work your upper body. This saves time in the gym and allows more time later to do other things.

-Secondly, swapping between upper and lower body exercises causes a big metabolic distubance to your body. It doesn't know where to send the blood for the muscles, and this creates a higher build up of lactic acid, which leads to mroe fat being burned.

Okay, now that the Upper and Lower Body exercises are sorted, the last piece of the TBT equation is that bit in the middle - the Core.

In my personal definition, an exercise can only be classed as a 'Core' exercise if it engages BOTH the lower back and abs at the same time. Alas, crunches and sit ups are out. Instead we have:

Planks, Side Planks, Reverse Crunches, Woodchops (there are more but these are the ones I've found to be the msot effective)

Core exercises can then be added onto the Upper and Lower Body super sets.

So, overall, our session now looks like this:

1a. Squat
1b. Shoulder Press
1c. Plank (hold for 15 seconds rather than reps)
Rest 30s

2a. Deadlift
2b. Lat Pulldown
2c. Reverse Crunch
Rest 30s

As for volume, initally we'll keep it simple and go for 3 x 12 (3 sets of 12 repetitions) for each super set.

So you would complete 12 reps of 1a, straight to 12 reps of 1b, then 1c, then rest. Complete this twice more (for 3 total sets)

Then move onto the second superset and repeat the process again.

There you have a Total body Workout that uses ALL major muscle groups in your body, and should take no longer than 30 minutes! Who needs Curves lol.


Now this is just a template but its also a solid workout if anyone wants to give it a go. If you do want to try the above workout, or need some help picking the right exercises just let me know.

I'd recommend starting at just 3 sets of each superset (exactly how it is written above) and see how you get on. It will probably be a lot harder than it looks here. If anyone gives it a go let me know what you thought!

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Full Member
S: 10st8lb C: 10st8lb G: 9st0lb BMI: 27.1 Loss: 0st0lb(0%)
Hi Justin. Ok, I'm your first client!! I will definately give that a go tomorrow. I got pretty bored of my previous workout, and I tended to do all the lower body together, all the upper body together and not enough core. I will let you know how I get on. Am excited now!! Lol

Ooh, is a lat pulldown for the machines? Anything I can do with free weights instead?


is Magdalicious
S: 17st6lb C: 14st1lb G: 12st7lb BMI: 29.1 Loss: 3st5lb(19.26%)
Genius!!! I'm going to write all this down!!
Capirossi: It was you who inspired me to write this down tonight. I figured that im here babbling on about TBT and not giving you any insight on how to actually put it together.

You said you had only dumbbells and a bench right? I'd recommend One Arm Rows.

I think it'd be easier for you to understand the exercise if you look for a pic on google, or ask your husband, rather than me try to explain it here. First do the 12 reps with your WEAKER arm, then the other. Then go into the next exercise.

Im sure your husband can see you through the other exercises too to make sure your technique is spot on :)

EDIT: Also, forgot to mention, try this three times per week initially! Leave 48 hours between each session. So Mon, Wed, Fri would be good.


Full Member
S: 10st8lb C: 10st8lb G: 9st0lb BMI: 27.1 Loss: 0st0lb(0%)
Fab!!! Am going to do this after work. I have done one arm rows before, so I should be ok. I have dumbells and a barbell, which I use for my squats (I love my squats!!). Cheers again matey - I'll let you know how I get on :D

Good luck to everyone else that is having a go too ;)


Silver Member
thanks for this,

Quick question!
are you writing this yourself or are you copying it from text?
and what reference book etc are you getting it from?
as it feels like when i read your general talk posts, you write, phrase and type totally differently from the main body of your tips which feel like text book when read.

this is no disrespect but i would like to look at your material source myself so i can read on rather than get snippets of the tips.

Its my own writing.

Don't worry my tutors in college kept asking me where I was getting my references and why was I not listing them, when it was my own writing! I guess I just have that style lol.

The tips just come to me based on past experiences or things I have on my mind due to a session with a client that day, or something they've asked me etc.


Silver Member
no it just that what you write from past experience and when answering a question that someone asks don't seem to match up in style of writing and and your speach termanology.

but cool no problem and it's just that a gym instructor at my gym, practically says the same as you interms of a the best way to burn calories, i have his reference books and will be doing internet searches as well for internet catalogues with this info.
just that i like sports science.
good luck in your teachings
Last edited:
Okay Tryer, no worries. I'll take it as a complient that you thought my posts were from a book or something lol.

I try to break things down as much as possible so that you don't need to know much about science to digest the info, but sometimes, because what I do is based so heavily on science, it gets difficult to explain my points in as simple terms as I'd like.

Btw I've never studied sport science. That field would take you on a slightly different route than the information Im assuming your looking for regarding metabolism / regular exercise etc.

Sport Science has more in relation to performance enhancement for athletes, competative psychology and sports nutrition.


Silver Member
errmm ok ..........will ask my gym instructor what he studied, (i'm sure he said sports science, but will confirm tomorrow)


Most people who end up as fitness instructors studied Sports Science at degree level, as for a time it has been the most relevant topic in relation to gym exercise.

My studies are in Exercise & Health Science, which differs somewhat as it focuses more on aspects of the psychology of typical gym goers, why drop out rates are so high, and how to prescribe exercise for people with conditions such as old age, diabetes, obesity and heart conditions.

Perhaps some of these aspects are covered in a sports science course but I doubt it would be in too much detail (but I can't say for sure).

I'll post a new tip tonight!
Good post, I think the technical side of Justins writing likely comes from having to explain it over and over. I know when I explain the same thing a few times a day it gets to the point where it isn't really personal it is more textbookish.

Justin, that's only 3 days work lol where's the ab work!! and maybe some plyo!!
Atribune: Time spent on excessive isolated abdominal exercise is time wasted not burning maximum calories.

Everyone HAS a six pack of abs, its just hidden under a layer of fat. So trying to increase the size or strength of those muscles isn't going to show until the fat is removed. Therefore, maximise the amount of fat you burn and keep your diet clean if you want to show off a ripped tummy. If you get down to around 12% bodyfat and can see your abs well, THEN worry about targeting them directly.

And to top it all off, I've already put some core work into the above workout! Its all you need, trust me.

As for plyometric exercise, that would be included in the Metabolic workout days (exercises such as burpees or jumping jacks would be classed as plyometric). However, most people need to be wary of including plyometric exercise as in excess it can often lead to bone and joint problems.

NOTE: The Metabolic Workout is described in the post "Your NEW Cardio workout"


Silver Member
S: 19st9lb C: 15st10lb G: 11st0lb BMI: 35.5 Loss: 3st13lb(20%)
Having just read the "how much should I be doing" post and you saying to come read this... I'm now more confused that before - they say the more you learn, the more you realize how little you actually know right?

Hope you don't mind a couple of (probably daft) questions?

Cos of various limb disabilities, Miss Jelly can't actually DO most of that workout up there :( - it's why I tend to lean towards bike and rower - low impact :) How can I get just as thorough a workout (in terms of fatloss/caloriesburned/mostmusclesused/etc) as this?

I tend to get a bit fed up of trainers saying "I'm the qualified person, you WILL do this!" and then I feel like I've failed before I've begun - hardly motivational really :p

Definitely a LOAD of points in there I can now shape around myself though :) how awesome are you, eh? :p


Silver Member
S: 19st9lb C: 15st10lb G: 11st0lb BMI: 35.5 Loss: 3st13lb(20%)
Double post eh?

It's kind of hard to explain. I can't put weight through bent knees - so that's things like the stepper, squats, lunges or do jumps as it puts too much pressure through the knee and ankle joints. I also can't run for the same reason, but I manage walking at a speed of 4.5k on the treadmill but that's verging on pain for me.

It's why I love the exercise bike/rower and arc/cross trainer.. they tend to be low impact on leg joints :)

But I CAN use the weighted leg press... where you sit and push yourself back using your legs on a foot board - I think it's to do with the direction the weight goes through my knees.

I hope that makes more sense to you than it did me when I re-read it :p
No that makes sense. Ah, I thought the first time the post didn't go through so had to type it again!

Would a Standing Shoulder Press cause your legs harm?

If you've been okay'd to use a leg press, I should think that a standing squats should also be fine. A leg Press could actually put more stress on the knee joints as the legs are forced to do all the work, whereas in a squat your lower back and core move a lot of the weight.

Has a medical / fitness professional advised you specifically not to do these exercises? Or do the squats, stepper etc. actually cause you pain?


Silver Member
S: 19st9lb C: 15st10lb G: 11st0lb BMI: 35.5 Loss: 3st13lb(20%)
No it wouldn't cause any pain :). The squats and stepper cause me pain, as I don't have knee sockets or working ligaments - lowering myself to the 90degree position and back I have no real control over the movement..

http://www.ncpad.org/get/VirtualTour/LegPress/LegPressGen1.jpg < this is what I meant, I'm not always great with names.

http://www.fit-senior.com/acatalog/192gm.jpg < This, I can't.

As I'm still being "diagnosed" at the moment, it's more trial and error as to what I can and can't do. Pulling myself up steps from the leading leg causes pain and my knee joint to crunch.

Sorry if I'm not explaining things well. It's hard to get fitness professionals to take me seriously as "they have the qualification not me" :D

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