My Instinctive Diet And Training for Fat Loss

By Nick Nilsson
Author of Metabolic Surge - Rapid Fat Loss


I'm going to give you a good "insider" view of how I manage my own training and eating here.

This is my "random" fat loss mash-up program that I'm currently doing right now.

It's 10 minutes of your life you're never going to get back, but I think you'll get a lot out of it...

And ok, I shouldn't really say it's TOTALLY random diet and exercise...more like "instinctive" diet and exercise. Random implies no rhyme, reason or strategy and I DO have an overall strategy to what I'm's just not a very strict or particularly cohesive one...

I'm doing my training and eating this way right now because I don't feel like following a strict fat-loss program like my Metabolic Surge program.

That program is ridiculously effective but it does require strict adherence to the diet and exercise programs to be most effective. I just prefer not to be strict right now and allow myself to experiment with some new techniques I've been wanting to try out.

NOTE: I'm going to include links to other useful articles that I've written that explain in more detail some of the techniques and methods I'm going to mention here. All of these links will open in new windows and they'll provide more insight into what I'm doing here.

So without further ado...


The diet that I'm following is based completely on what I feel like eating on a given day, which is also based on what I ate the previous day and what type of training I'm going to be doing.

I'm switching between low-carb eating, low-fat eating, zero protein eating (all fruit), fasting, and calorie-bomb cheat meals.

Having been around the block in terms of dieting, I know exactly how much I need to eat on all of these phases of the diet in terms of effectiveness for fat loss and maintaining muscle and strength.

Is Calorie-Counting Truly Necessary For Fat Loss?

For example, I started out last Monday and Tuesday with low-carb eating straight through until dinner on Tuesday, at which time I actually had a cheat meal (yeah, I lasted a whole day and a half before having a cheat meal). The next day I did all fruit and nothing but fruit as a zero protein and cleansing day.

If you're interested in the rationale behind the all-fruit day, check out these articles I wrote on the subject:

How to Gain Muscle By Eating NO Protein

Will Fruit Make You Fat?

Then it was low-fat eating for a couple of days then on Sunday, I went low-carb the whole day. Monday and Tuesday was back to low-fat but lower calorie.

It may sound very haphazard and that's because it IS.

If I was on a timetable and looking to lose fat as fast as possible, I would be on a much stricter schedule.

Right now, I just want to lose some of the fat I've put on after gaining about 30 lbs doing my Mad Scientist Muscle program for the past 6 months.

Nick Nilsson

This is me after completing the first 3 cycles of the program. I gained some fat but gained a LOT of strength (deadlifted 600 lbs!) and muscle, so I was happy with the overall results.

Coming off of that training, I felt I needed a bit of a mental break from the constant regimented training and eating hence this random program came about!

Having been doing this for a week and a half, I've dropped about 4 lbs of bodyweight (from 216 lbs down to 212 lbs) and can actually see a difference in fat stores. I'm maintaining strength quite well, too, and it's kind of fun not having a set schedule on what I have to eat next. It allows for more variety in what I'm eating and flexibility.

If I had a big meal the night before, I'll have a light breakfast and maybe just do low-carb eating the rest of the day.

If I'm planning a high-volume training session, I'll eat more carbs for breakfast to have more available energy for it. If I don't have training, I might just do a fasting day.

Some days I'm eating two meals...some days I'm eating 4 times and some days just once. I don't subscribe to the idea that you have to eat 6 meals a day to lose fat and be constantly constantly fueling your body, even with small meals, you're just continually giving it something other than bodyfat to burn.

Don't be afraid to be hungry! You're on a diet for crying out loud. It happens.

And honestly, the research that led to the idea that you should eat small frequent meals to lose fat was that the body's metabolic rate increased a bit after you ate food. It was then theorized (by a supplement company that wants you get those frequent meals in supplement form) that by eating more often, you'd get a constant increase in metabolic rate and burn more fat.

That hasn't been proven by research to actually happen. What I HAVE noticed is that by eating constantly throughout the day, you may not get hungry and your metabolism may be SLIGHTLY increased, but you don't burn as much fat.

So this kind of random eating schedule is working well for me and it may work for you, too. If you're the type of person who thrives on a strict schedule, go with that, otherwise you may find yourself having a cheat meal every day...


What I've been doing is basically dividing my training sessions into two blocks of time. The first block is dedicated to weight or bodyweight training while the second block is resistance-cardio training (I'll tell you more about that below - it's fun stuff!, way better than traditional cardio).

My goal with this is to maintain muscle and strength in the gym while forcing my body to adapt to a whole different way of training for cardio.

So the first block of time is generally a 15 minute block of Time/Volume Training.

Time/Volume Training - A Program For Building Mass Even With Bodyweight Exercises

Even though I originally came up with it as a mass-builder for bodyweight training, because of the tremendous amount of volume it gives you and how it stays well away from failure, it's actually a great way to burn a LOT of calories while providing a muscle-building stimulus to the body at the same time.

Day 1 - Time/Volume Flat Barbell Bench Press

Day 2 - Time/Volume Chin-Ups


Day 3 - Random Scattering of Shoulders, Biceps, and Triceps exercises (not Time/Volume Training)

Day 4 - Rest

Day 5 - Time/Volume Incline Barbell Bench Press, done off the rack rails (The BEST Way I've Found To Do Incline Barbell Bench Press)

Day 6 - Rest

Day 7 - Time/Volume Decline Lying Pulldowns - They're an EXCELLENT exercise for the lats.

Day 8 - Rest

And that's as far as I've gotten.

I'm going to continue this style of training, using the Time/Volume approach for the most part, unless I really feel like doing something else. I'm going to be experimenting with using different exercises for each session to really target some of my weaker areas (which is why I used the incline barbell bench press).

I'm staying away from failure on the weight training, going more for a volume approach.

You're also probably wondering where my LEG training is...not to worry, it's on the way.


Onto the resistance-cardio's the other half of my workouts and it's where I get my lower body training right now.

I got the idea for training like this from my friends Mike Westerdal and Elliott Hulse and their Lean Hybrid Muscle training program (which is GREAT, btw, so definitely check it out if you haven't seen it before) and from watching those Worlds Strongest Man shows on ESPN (LOVE strongman training - it's lots of fun).

After completing the first block of weight training and basically burning up most of the available glycogen with that high-volume approach, I move to the "carrying" portion of the show.

Cardio Training For Fat Loss - Should I Do It BEFORE or AFTER My Weight Training For Best Results?

EVERY single session I'm carrying something moderately heavy around in a variety of ways.

Right now, I'm focused mostly on carrying 7 gallon water jugs around, as well as a 70 lb sandbag that I've got.

The water jugs I got at the Bass Pro Shops outlet store, but just about any camping (or even hardware) type store will have something similar. A 7 gallon jug weighs about 60 lbs and I've found it be a great weight to work with (single or carrying in pairs like a Farmers Walk). These things are inexpensive and durable - a great investment in exercise equipment and MUCH better than any informercial fat-loss crap out there.

The nice thing about carrying water jugs around (or the not-nice thing, depending on your mindset) is that the water is constantly sloshing around while you're moving around. It makes it tougher to grip and tougher to move with. It really ramps my metabolism up like crazy because of this.

Everything you do with it is a challenge and that makes every movement inefficient, which is awesome for fat loss.

Why You MUST Be Inefficient For Maximum Fat Loss

The first few sessions, I did water jug carries up and down my basement steps. Very simple, very effective. I actually did these Time/Volume Training style, doing once up and down then resting 10 seconds, then again, then rest 10 seconds, until that was a struggle, then I increased rest to 20 seconds.

I did these for 15 minute blocks of time. It definitely gets the heartrate up. Here's the video I put together showing that.



As you can see, very simple to do and a fun challenge. Doesn't require much space and you've got no excuses for not doing cardio training. I liked it WAY better than running on treadmill or parking myself on a stair machine. This is functional stuff that gets you some good strength work. Climbing stairs carrying extra weight is phenomenal leg training, which is why I haven't felt the need to do any with free weight this past week.

And it doesn't end there...

Once the weather got better, I decided to take my water jugs and my sandbag outside to the street (and yep, you will get strange looks from your neighbors when you do this type of thing but really, who cares...not me).

The first session, I started by doing a long Farmers Walk carrying two 7 gallon jugs as far as I could before my grip ended it. Then I would rest a bit then pick them up and go again. I went about half a mile in this fashion (total) before picking up one jug and carrying it on my shoulder (which is GREAT shoulder training), then carrying it in a bear hug, then carrying one jug at a time in a Farmers Walk (about 100 yards at a time on those).

I've got demos of these techniques in the video below.

The next session, I mixed things up and brought out one jug and my sandbag.

Training Equipment Review - Sandbag Training

I started by throwing the bag over one shoulder while doing a Farmers carry of the jug in the other hand. Then I switched around arms on each thing and came back. I repeated this a few times then did a normal Farmers Walk carrying the jug and the sandbag down by my sides.

Then it was back to one shoulder for carrying, then a bear hug carrying at the upper chest (much harder) then down at the abdomen, then sandbag carrying at the upper chest, then at the abdomen with arms bent 90 degrees to hit the biceps, too.

Then it got hard...

I got the bright idea to do Walking Lunges with the 60 lb water jug supported on one shoulder and held down at my side. After about 20 yards, my legs were on FIRE, because of the lunges and because the stupid water kept sloshing around, forcing me to constantly fight to keep my balance.

Then, I rested a few seconds, switched shoulders and kept going. I made it about 100 yards total, then I came back the same way (took about twice as long as my legs were already TRASHED).

Lactic Acid Training is something I've talked about before and it's one of THE best ways to lose fat. Lactic Acid leads to large increases in Growth Hormone circulating in the body, which is a key hormone for fat loss.

In my Metabolic Surge program, I use Lactic Acid Training very's done while eating low-carb to maximize the impact it has on Growth Hormone levels. GH and insulin don't play nice together so doing training designed to pump out the lactic acid is best done when you don't have carbs in your system - gets you MUCH better results with it.

So back to the Walking Lunges with a Water Jug on Shoulder...they suck. I hate them. They're miserable to do. And I'm going to do them again in my next session because I can feel how good they work. This is why I don't need to do any other leg training.



So that's the other half of my training. If I were to lay out a program, it would look something like this:

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5
T/V Chest T/V Back Rest Shoulders, Biceps, Triceps Rest
Carry Heavy Sh%# Carry Heavy Sh%# Carry Heavy Sh%#


Not exactly art but you get the idea and it's working VERY well for me right now. If you don't have water jugs, you can use a suitcase with a bunch of books in it to get something heavy. Load up a duffel bag or whatever...just load up something and carry it around. You'll thank me for it - much more fun than mindlessly slogging on a treadmill.

And the nice thing about water jugs is you can empty them and adjust the resistance very easily. So if you can't carry a 60 lb jug very well right now, fill it halfway and you've got 30 lbs to work with.

The other thing is, when I say "rest", I mean rest. No training or cardio that day. With all this carrying of heavy stuff around, you'll need the recovery time, especially since you're eating fewer calories.


This is the most IMPORTANT part of training for fat-loss... It's not.

Supplements are great for supporting your training and eating efforts but don't think for a second they're going to drive your results. You can't eat that pizza and take a carb blocker and a fat blocker and expect it all to just pass right through (and it will...) without consequences.

Right now, I'm taking a basic whey protein along with some hemp protein.

I'm also taking a "greens" supplement called "Athletic Greens," which tastes great and covers a lot of nutritional bases that most vitamin products don't.

Aside from those, it's glutamine, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin K2 (which helps your body use the calcium you take in for the right purposes), a joint supplement, and calcium/magnesium.

As you can see, nothing too crazy in's all stuff designed to support health and metabolism and not activate the central nervous system into a state of constant freak out.


So that's where I'm at with my current "random" fat-loss program. I'll keep you posted on how things are going and I hope you found this information useful.



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