Many lifters consider Marty Gallagher the king of powerlifting. Not only has he been a champion in various powerlifting organizations and weight classes over the last 20 years, but he’s coached some of the best powerlifters the world has ever seen, including the world’s best Ed Coan. His name has become synonymous with success. His workouts are simple, yet brutally effective.
A few years ago, an obnoxious naysayer commented that Marty may be a great powerlifting coach, but he doesn’t know the first thing about training the average gym member. According to the critic, Marty was blessed with genetic freaks with dogged determination and attention to detail, which made his life as a coach much, much easier. Average gym members with bad genetics, commitments and responsibilities, and half-committed diets and exercise programs are an entirely different game. Get those members to lose weight and become healthier, and then you can call yourself a coach of champions.
Marty, being one who is always up for a challenge, got wind of the criticism, and quickly accepted the challenge. He knew the principles the used to create champions would also work with the average gym member. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, ““As to the methods there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.”
Can lifting heavy weights help you lose weights?
So he took several overweight, unhealthy average joe’s and jane’s from his community, and trained them for 90 days. The results:
• Ron, a 48 year old former Mack Truck factory worker, went from 241lbs to 175lbs
• Betty, a 61 year old grandmother who had trouble walking 50 steps without losing her breath, went from 305lbs to 264lbs. Even more impressive, by the end of the 90 days, she was squatting 205lbs and benching 100lbs.
• Connie, a 39 year old mother of 5, went from 183lbs to 148lbs. And even though she was initially afraid of lifting heavy weights because she didn’t want to get “too big”, she ended up squatting 185lbs and benching 145lbs.
• Jen, a 33 year old computer programmer, went from 305lbs to 271lbs.
What was his secret? What magic pill did he use? Simplicity. He chose 3 exercises and performed them 3 times per week. Each lifting session lasted less than 30 minutes. Cardio was added at the end of the session and was just as simple: beat your distance from your previous workout in the allotted time. A sample workout looked like this:
Squat 3 sets of 10 repetitions
Bench Press 3 sets of 10 repetitions
Deadlift 3 sets of 10 repetitions
And that was it.
So guess what our Phase 2 workout consists of? Bench press, squats, and deadlifts. Machine-based weights are great for beginners and those that can’t make the transition to free weights due to medical conditions. Members can make tremendous transformations using just the machines. Progression can be accomplished by increasing the weight on each exercise, increasing the number of circuits per workout, or increasing the number of repetitions per exercise. However, free weights are the true catalyst for body transformations. They’re what bodybuilders rely on to build freakishly huge muscles, they’re what powerlifters use to lift astronomically big weights, and they’re what Bob and Jilian use to take their Biggest Loser clients from fat to fit. The bottom line: If you can physically perform a free weight exercise, you should. You won’t find a more effective or efficient answer to your problem.
Phase 2 – Day 1
So day 1 is simple. Perform each exercise for 3 sets of 10 repetitions. Perform all sets of one exercise before moving to the next exercise.
1. Dumbbell Squat to bench 3×10, rest 60 seconds between sets
Rest 90 seconds
2. Dumbbell Bench Press 3×10, rest 60 seconds between sets
Rest 90 seconds
3. Kettlebell Deadlift 3×10, rest 60 seconds between sets
Then hop on the treadmill, elliptical, or bike and perform 30 minutes of cardio. Right down the distance you covered in those 30 minutes on your workout sheet.
This first week is what we call a “break in” week. Select a weight that you could probably do for 12-15 repetitions for each exercise. When you finish the resistance portion of the workout, you should be rejuvenated not annihilated. We’re going to gradually increase the resistance over the next 4 weeks, and coax your body into lifting heavier weights than you ever thought was possible.
And since we’ve already had 4 weeks to make exercising a habit, we’re going to throw another wrench at you. Our diet goal for the next 4 weeks is to gradually reduce the amount of caloric drinks you consume Monday- Friday. During those 5 days, you should be drinking water or diet soda. If you’re a heavy soda drinker, don’t quit cold turkey. Set progressive goals and reach them (1 caloric drink per day for the 1st week, 3 caloric drinks per week the 2nd week, 1 caloric drink per week for the 3rd week, and then just caloric drinks on the weekend for the 4th week). Small wins make a huge difference. They will quickly snowball into success.