Using Active Recovery During Your Finishers

I had a great and intense conversation with my long time client earlier this week. His finisher was one of the shortest ones I’ve written, but brutal:

Squat Thrusts (20), rest 10 seconds – 2 X

After the finisher, he was … well, finished. Duh. But after our session, we always hang out and take photos and/or do some filming. This week, we took photos for some crazy moves for my Super Finishers bonus with John Romaniello’s program later this month.

I... dramatic pause.... am Finisher Man .... awkward pause.

The madness includes Captain’s Chops, Batman Lunges and the Hulk Jump. After some huffing and puffing, and we were making our way out of the gym, he asked me,

“So, last week, I had a plank in my finisher. Is a plank really a finisher exercise?”

Me: “Sir, I cannot give you my secrets… it’s like the Coke formula.”

Him: “You’re a loser. Now tell me.”

Me: “No way”.

Him: “You’re an idiot.”

Me: “Ha… you’re right.”

I love conversations like that. Moving on, I discussed with him how I like to use “active recovery” during my metabolic finishers. You see, I like to “sprinkle” in easier moves like Planks, Bird Dogs, and Jumping Jacks during the longer or more intense finishers so that the entire finisher can be completed with the right intensity.

If you’re doing pushups halfway, you’re not getting the full benefit.

Him: “You should do a video explaining this madness.”

Me: “I have a few minutes… how about you?”

Him: “Let’s do this”

That’s how you can adjust a finisher to your fitness level. Now everyone in all the land can do finishers. Yayz.

Now for my favorite part… the Q and A…

Q: How do I lose fat while maintaining muscle and strength?

A: That’s easy – use Metabolic Resistance Training and finishers. Use finishers 2-3 times a week, while being sure you lift heavy at least twice a week.

Q: How should I eat? I always have 5-6 meals. I never have junk foods. I always eat whole healthy foods and I have a cheat day. On those days I do 1hr of normal cardio, weights and karate training. Please help.

A: I have good news, you don’t have to eat 5-6 meals per day. That’s so 2009. I would skip the cardio (that can increase your appetite) or reduce it to 30 minutes. Use to record your intake and see where you can improve. If you’re having a full cheat day, your calories will need to be low enough during the week.

Joel Marion explains this and details it all in his Cheat Your Way Thin Program.

Q: Can you lift weights, do cardio and conditioning in one day?

A: Sorry, that’s a recipe for overtraining. I would dish the cardio and stick with weights followed by conditioning. If it’s a full conditioning workout, I would do it the next day, as long as it doesn’t impede your recovery.

Q: How to stop cravings?

A: I can relate to this one. Find out your trigger spots. It’s tedious, but write down anytime you break down and eat junk. Were you tired?, Bored?, Angry? This will open your eyes. Then figure out a new ritual to break that habit. In other words, instead of going to the freezer for ice cream, do something you enjoy.

For me – I play an epic game of crawl chase with my little boy, Champ. Bonus – (I learned this from John Berardi) – a small chocolate with a little peanut butter hits the sweet and salty craving.

Q: What would be a sensible diet plan to accompany a MRT program & metabolic finishers to lose 14lbs of body fat?

A: Define sensible (ha… I’m hilarious). Seriously, the programs I found the easiest to stick to with my clients are Eat Stop Eat by Brad Pilon or Fat Loss Forever by John Romaniello and Dan Go.

Q: (from myself) … It’s been a while since you posted a pic. There are a lot of words, but no pics. Should you post one here to break it up a little?

A: Sure self. Good call.

Q: Are there barbell exercises that can be used in finishers?

A: There is a barbell finisher in the bonus program with Workout Finishers, and I’ll be happy to share. Please note the name (it’s awesome).

The “It’s Complexicated” Finisher

Do the following circuit twice, resting for 45 seconds between circuits:

1A) BB Front Squat (15)
1B) BB Bent-Over Row (15)
1C) BB Romanian Deadlift (15)
1D) BB Military Press (10)

Q: How can I get rid of these last few pounds to show my abs, I have been working hard they just don’t see to wanna show!

A: That’s going to come down to advanced diet measures. Advanced results = advanced measures (totally stole that from Craig Ballantyne). So, really, really dial in your nutrition, eliminating any processed foods, stay active, use metabolic resistance training and finishers, and if you’re feeling crazy, throw in a couple of interval sessions per week, too.

Q: What is the best food to eat after a workout and how soon should it be eaten?

A: It really depends on your goals, but if it’s for fat loss, just stick with a protein shake (no carbs needed). That’s what I do, as well as my clients and they lost fat.

There is no need to force calories either. If you’re not hungry after a workout, you don’t have to force down a shake. Remember – fat loss is simple. This is what I do:

2 cups of almond milk

1 scoop of protein powder

1 TBSP of Athletic Greens

Sometimes, I’ll add a handful of cashews. No reason really… other than cashews are awesome. I even like typing the word cashews.



Have a great weekend… looking forward to answering more questions.

May you never, EVER get bored with your workouts,
Mikey, CTT



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Leave A Reply (6 comments so far)

  1. Dianne
    11 years ago

    Speaking of cashews…..I have a great recipe for “bread” which uses cashew butter and coconut flour ….very delicious, grain free, good fats, low carbs…..and yum!

    • Mikey
      11 years ago

      You have my attention. That sounds amazing!

  2. Dan
    11 years ago

    Hey Mikey,

    Above you said to be careful doing cardio for fear of overtraining yet you also stated to do a few interval sessions a week if you want to see your abs. Could you show me an example of how to set this up so I dont overtrain anymore. I am all over the place with this one. Thank you.


    • Mikey
      11 years ago

      Sure Dan – great question. I actually separate “cardio” from interval training. Interval training can take as little as 10-12 minutes, where some people will do cardio for an hour. I think that’s where the overuse injuries can happen. If I were to set up a schedule of MRT, finishers and interval training, I would probably do something like this:

      Mon – MRT and a finisher
      Tue – Interval training
      Wed – MRT and a finisher
      Thur – Recovery day
      Fri – MRT and a finisher
      Sat – Intervals
      Sun – Recovery Day
      Of course, this can be flexible based on your recovery ability, etc., etc.

  3. Rick Kaselj
    11 years ago

    Great post!

    Like the superhero graphic, very cool.

    Excellent info on the active recovery.

    Rick Kaselj of


    • Mikey
      11 years ago

      Thank you sir! It’s something I haven’t talked much about before and I knew it was time.