Be A Perfectly Golden Marshmallow: Toying w/ BJ Gaddour’s Fat Loss Workout

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BJ Gaddour

BJ Gaddour is the new Craig Ballantyne.

Craig Ballantyne created Turbulence Training back when it was personal trainers were not publishing material on the internet the way that they are now.  Now everyone has a product.

Hey, if you can write and you have the drive to stay motivated after working 9-10 hour days, why the hell not?  Everyone is selling something, product or self.  Doesn’t matter, it’s how we succeed.

BJ Gaddour currently works with Men’s Health as a consultant.  Essentially that means that he made enough noise doing his own thing that Men’s Health contracted him to write workouts, articles and programs for them.

BJ’s claim to fame is fat loss and boot camp style workouts.

A while back he posted a free PDF titled “The Seven Deadly Workout Sins”.

Pretty solid little article.

In it, he describes a general outline on how to design effective fat loss workouts.

When I read the article, it was a wake up call that I should have WAY more confidence in my writing and methods.  It was nearly identical to my training philosophy at the present time.  It was a great moment for me to realize that what I am cooking up here in Eau Claire (the mecca of the Midwest) is well seasoned (nice play on words) and spot on for what’s current in the training world.

Total body workouts, timed efforts and rest, 3-4 days a week.  No cardio.  Cardio is obtained as byproduct from the unique blend of incomplete rest periods and resistance based exercises.  

Again, this is a STYLE of training.  It’s not the law, but this kind of training gets results quickly.  If you buttoned up your eating habits, you would shed unwanted layers in very little time.

I enjoy giving other trainer’s workouts a run through, as it can get a little monotonous writing your own programs all of the time.  Sometimes, it’s nice to have someone else do the designing for you.  I just follow along for once.

BJ’s workout looked something like this:


I talk about movement patterns on this blog all of the time, and a closer look at BJ’s template shows that he thinks along similar lines.  Hip hinging, squat, pressing, pulling, total body movements are all represented in this workout.  It’s a recipe that has endless variations and keeps your workouts interesting and effective.  The systemic effect of a workout like this is fantastic.

Most people will probably find that they are unable to keep moving all of the way through some of the 30 second work bouts with certain exercises.  Chin-ups continuous for 30 seconds doesn’t sound that hard, but talk to me about that in round 3 of the workout when your eyeballs are teetering on your orbitals.  It’s a different ballgame at that point of the workout.  You’re in the eye of the storm in round 3.

What I like about this workout is that is manageable.  The movements can be scaled up or down depending on a person’s training level and age.  Manageable fatigue is the key to successful fat loss workouts.  If you cannot control and OWN every movement in every rep, every round, every workout, you’re putting yourself at risk.  Posture collapses in a matter of a rep.  I’ve seen it in both my own training and others.  That’s all it takes to slip a disc, tear a rotator cuff or and break bones.  It’s a long, painful and expensive ride to the emergency room.

Injury during training is a tragedy.

Overall, this is a great workout.  The rest periods can be frustrating if you have to adjust your equipment in between exercises.  I was using my suspension trainer for a variation of this workout.  I found that adjusting the straps was a nightmare.  15 seconds is not a lot of time to gather yourself and set up for the next movement, especially when your hands are shaking like crazy.  The nervous system is on full alert.

The 60 second rest periods at the end of each round is also well thought out.  One minute gives adequate time to gather yourself, get a drink and towel off before entering into the next round of work.  In the later round, one minute feels like a blink of the eyes.

Successful work capacity based fat loss workouts seem to have peaking point with regard to exertion, whether in the middle of the circuit itself or as gradual accumulating fatigue that reaches a high point at the end of a workout.  The goal is to manage your output, giving an effort that challenges your body steadily in the early and later rounds.  Early burnout makes for sloppy exercise technique in later rounds and a serious lack of enjoyment.  The workout should be challenging but fun and engaging.  Purposeful.

Lately, I’ve been drawing similarities between the perfect “golden marshmallow” and a fat loss driven workout:

The golden marshmallow

When you cook a marshmallow for a s’more, some people enjoy perfectly cooked golden marshmallows and some people like the torched black marshmallows.  Cooking a perfectly golden marshmallow is a campfire art.  If the marshmallow gets too close to the fire it will burn.  If you don’t get it close enough it’s just a warm white marshmallow.

Peaking after the final rep of a workout (while still being able to own your movement) is an art.  We are all at different fitness levels so this is largely a judgment call by YOU, the trainee.  You need to make the decision on when to pull the plug on a set, a workout, or when it’s necessary to add more.

This is what a smart personal trainer can monitor for a client, and why good personal trainer add value to person’s fitness endeavors.  Personal trainers can take a client close to that edge, that fine line, without pushing them over.  The entire workout remains in control, yet impactful in its training effect.

The goal of a great workout is to be a perfectly golden marshmallow at the end.

BJ’s workout accomplishes this.



Cheers to golden marshmallows and better workouts!



One thought on “Be A Perfectly Golden Marshmallow: Toying w/ BJ Gaddour’s Fat Loss Workout

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