In this exclusive interview, Chris Lopez, CTT, explains his unconventional approach to fat loss, what he does with his
clients for best results, as well as his unique nutrition experiment.
You’ll also discover his #1 exercise to burn fat, as well as a full workout that you can do in a parking lot. Yes, seriously. He did this exact workout in a hospital parking lot.
Everyone, meet someone who I’ve been a fan of for a couple of years now… Chris Lopez, author of TT Kettlebell Revolotion.
Let the knowledge bombs drop (like it’s hot)…
I’m now and RKC Certified kettlebell instructor and am training for my RKC Level 2 coming up in a couple of months. The RKC School of Strength is the #1 kettlebell instructor training certification in the world and I’m proud to say that I’m one of only 5 of us in Canada (I was born and raised in Toronto).
I’m married, I’ve got 5 amazing kids (all with the same woman…because you have to say that these days) and I run both an offline training business and an online business over at kettlebellworkouts.com.
You probably get this question all the time, but what kettlebell exercises do you find the best for burning fat?
They’re so versatile and can accomplish so much from a fat burning perspective that I think EVERY trainee should learn how to do them properly regardless if you intend on training with kettlebells exclusively or not.
The issue with performing the kettlebell swing is that most people don’t do it right. People think it’s a sumo squat/front raise/deltoid exercise when it should be a very hip dominant exercise. Your hips are the power house that create the lift or “float” in the kettlebell and your arms, essentially, are just along for the ride.
If people can get that concept right, they’re 90% there at mastering the swing and therefore accelerating their fat loss results.
Weird… but awesome.
Can you walk us through that workout?
The doctor said nothing was happening and we had been there for a few hours and I needed a quick pick-me-up and needed to move, so I went outside to the parking lot, popped the trunk and grabbed my 24kg kettlebell. The workout itself took 10 minutes and it involved 5 exercises.
It went something like this…
I did that circuit 3 times and rested about 1 minute in between.
It’s amazing watching that video because it was only 2 years ago and a lot has changed about how I teach kettlebell training from a technique and energy management standpoint.
Nonetheless, it’s a pretty entertaining video – my hair is terrible and it was sunny so it looks like I have a perpetual squint. Thanks for remembering that moment, I haven’t seen that video in a few years!
Mike: I wouldn’t know about the hair thing. Thanks for the reminder that I started to bald at 15. Anyway, I guess with having 5 kids, you do have a limited time to get in some workouts. Is that why kettlebell workouts work so well because they are “bang for your buck”?
I’ll still use the gym every now and then to deadlift, but 99% of the training that I do can be done at home in my backyard or living room. I think when people start to really get in shape they start becoming obsessed with their training and want to do it for hours at a time or have it take up the majority of their day.
With 5 kids, I want to train to support my lifestyle, I don’t want training to BE my life. So in using the kettlebell – especially with RKC Hardstyle Training – I am able to get the most bang for my buck with a minimal time investment because every exercise is a full body exercise.
No training session for me in the past few years has ever lasted longer than 45 minutes. Then, I can use my “new found time” to do the things that really matter like playing with my kids.
Alright, I had a couple of people at my gym that got your Kettlebell Workout program and they raved about it and of course, I’ve always loved your programs. What is it that gets people to stick to them… is it because they are in fact relatively short?
I think the biggest draw is that this kettlebell stuff works.
Even for myself when I started training with them full time, I saw a HUGE change in my body – and I was already in pretty
good shape. My shoulders got broader, my waist got tighter, I became more explosive whenever I tried to do something
athletic like sprinting or jumping.
It was pretty amazing. And the best part about it was I was getting all these results and investing half the time that
I was before to training – so there’s the time commitment thing again.
In the end though, I think it’s the results that people get that’s the biggest draw. People just seem to look more athletic and start to feel stronger when they use a kettlebell. It must be some crazy Russian Kettlebell voodoo stuff at work or something.
So with the swing involving predominantly a Hip Extension movement, I like to superset that exercise with a bodyweight hip flexion/anterior dominant exercise like a Spiderman Push-Up.
You extend your hips and use your upper back to stabilize the kettlebell when you perform the swing, then you balance that out by flexing your hips and using your pecs, shoulders and triceps with a Spiderman Push-up. It’s a great balance.
I also like to go upper-lower super sets, or combine ballistic kettlebell exercises like swings & snatches with bodyweight ab stabilization like planks or Stu McGill’s
opposite elbow touch.
There’s so much that you can do with kettlebells and bodyweight, you’re starting to get me excited!
Do you find that bodyweight and kettlebell circuits improve conditioning?
It’s like a by-product of your training. It’s funny too because when women especially, read that they’re going to get “strong” they automatically think that they’re going to pack on muscle and get big. But strength is a neurological function and really doesn’t have much to do with the size of the muscle.
So women who stay the course get that great athletic look and are able to handle their bodies from a relative strength standpoint without gaining weight.
And for the guys reading this that want to be well-conditioned, strong & athletic and pack slabs of lean muscle, all you have to do is eat more and that’ll happen. It’s really a very simplistic approach.
Chris: Sure, I actually just started a program for myself that I’m doing to train myself to strictly press 1/2 my bodyweight with 1-arm, so this is the workout I used yesterday…
I’ll start most sessions with foam rolling & static stretching for my hips, hamstrings, quads & pecs.
Then I’ll move into a dynamic warm-up where I’ll do various exercises to open up my hips and upper back. And then I really am focusing on getting better at doing pistols and handstands so I’ll practice doing pistols (maybe 3 per side with perfect form) and then I held a handstand for 45s.
Then I’ll take a light kettlebell (a 16kg for me) and do a circuit of 1 get up on each side, then 10 x 1-arm swings per side, 5 cleans per side, 5 snatches per side, 10 goblet squats and finish with another get-up.
Then I’ll get into the main workout….
I always like to start with an explosive movement, and I’m teaching myself to handle a heavier load over my head so I started with a superset of…
And I repeated that superset 5 times.
Then I move to the strength portion of the workout and supersetted a press with chin-up ladders so I did
And finally I finished with double 24kg kettlebell front squats doing 20 straight and then holding a plank for as long as I could.
That was a really great session and I left it feeling refreshed. I don’t think that anyone should ever feel like they got hit by a truck after their training session.
Remember what I said before, “your workout should support your life”. If you feel demolished after your session and are sore for the next few days, how good really are you going to be for everyday life? To me, it doesn’t make much sense.
Mike: Great saying. I might steal that one.
Now, you know I’m going to ask this… how do you use finishers with your workouts?
Yesterday it was the Double 24kg front squat – holding a 24kg kettlebell in each hand in the rack position for 20 straight reps. Today it will be a 5-minute snatch test – doing as many snatches as I can with a 24kg kettlebell within 5 minutes. Tomorrow it will be Swings combined with Prowler Pushes. The next day it could be high rep kettlebell rows and push-ups.
All my workouts follow the template of:
This is the type of workout that I find will get the most results and is the most time efficient. I think having some type of finisher element to any session is key for fat loss.
Anyway, if somebody wants to start utilizing kettlebells, what weight do you suggest a woman and a man start with?
A woman should start with a 6kg or 8kg. The thing to remember is that you’re using your body as a unit when you’re using kettlebells.
Therefore, your entire body is much more stronger than any individual part. It’s not like buying dumbbells and using them for isolation exercises like curls or tricep kickbacks.
You need to have a little more weight to be able to get proper feedback from the kettlebell.
My 14 year old daughter is a great example. She can’t curl a 16kg kettlebell to save her life, but she sure as heck can swing it for 100 reps only because I’ve taught her how to use her whole body to move that bell. Your body is a network of individual muscles that should be used as a unit, not individual muscles that move in isolation of each other.
Let’s talk a little nutrition. What’s your approach with your clients?
I’m a bit contrarion in my beliefs – shoot, my wife and I homeschool our 5 kids – so I don’t really follow what everyone else is doing.
I used to buy into the “eat 5-6 small meals per day stuff” until I realized that people were getting fatter doing that.
So for myself, I eat very little in the morning and throughout the day and then go to town at night. I’ll start my day with a “Bullet Proof Coffee” which I make
at home using really great coffee from a French Press and blend it with 1 tablespoon of raw butter and 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin organic coconut oil.
Then later in the afternoon I’ll have an espresso before my workout and after my workout I’ll have a banana & 2 big glasses of raw milk. Then I’ll snack on veggies & hummus while I’m making dinner.
And then my family and I sit down to a dinner of whatever I make for the evening (usually a starch, a protein and veggies) and we’ll finish with in-season fruit for dessert.
This is the nutrition approach that I’ve found is best so that I don’t feel lethargic during the day and can be super-productive and get the most out of my training.
Once per week I’ll throw that approach out the window and eat whatever and whenever I want and once per week I’ll completely fast – only drinking non-calorie drinks like water and black coffee – for 24hrs.
You can find out more about Chris’s program right here:
=> Kettlebell Revolution