How To Use Kettlebells For RAPID Fat Loss-Part 2

The “Zatsiorsky Principle”:
THE Secret to Great Strength AND Rapid Fat Loss

Professor Vladimir Zatsiorsky is a legend in the sports science world.

He is currently a biomechanics professor at Penn State University but before that he was the Chief Biomechanist for all Soviet sports teams from 1980 through 1988. (Yes, those were the years where they wiped the mats with the athletes from the West.)

And he came up with the secret to exceptional progress. Here it is:

“Train as often as possible, as heavy as possible, as fresh as possible.”

These are the secrets to great strength. 

But what most people don’t know is –

They’re also the secrets to Rapid Fat Loss.

However, it’s not enough to “know” these secrets.

You must know how to apply them. 

And to do so you must understand the concept of “Neuro-Metabolic Contrasts.”

Before we get into Neuro-Metabolic Contrasts we need to truly understand the importance of the Zatsiorsky Principle and what it means for our training.

PART 1: “Train as often as possible.”

Basically this is the practice of the “skill of strength,” known for over 150 years by the world’s greatest Strongmen, but recently re-popularized by Pavel Tsatsouline, founder of the modern kettlebell movement and the Russian Kettlebell Challenge.

The process is called “synaptic facilitation” – the repetitive and frequent stimulation of motorneurons – which strengthens the synaptic connections and even forms new ones. 

It essentially trains your body to become more efficient at a particular movement, making it easier to perform. This means that you will be able to do more and more and more work. 

And that’s important for fat loss because more work equals more calories burned.

PART 2: “Train as heavy as possible.”

Heavy of course is a relative term depending on the individual.

But really we could translate this into “use as much force as possible.”

That’s important because Force is made up of two distinct components – Mass and Acceleration. (Force = Mass*acceleration.)

So in order to use create as much force as possible we either lift a very heavy weight slowly or a lighter weight as fast as possible (explosively). These two “force factors” can be uniquely applied to kettlebells and literally will allow us to generate large amounts of force, which we can also think of as work, much more frequently than we formerly thought possible.

But heavy is also important in terms of fat loss. 


Because, when you lift heavy, your body is forced to use your Type 2B fast-twitch muscle fibers, which rely solely on carbohydrate as fuel source to produce ATP (energy), unlike your Type 2A fibers which can use a mix of carbohydrate and oxygen to produce ATP (energy), or your Type 1 fibers which rely solely on oxygen to produce energy.

But more about that later on…

PART 3: “Train as fresh as possible.”

This is where most people get into major trouble. They train too heavy (or too hard) too often and this zaps them of the energy necessary to strip off body fat.

Their bodies produce the wrong kinds of hormones at the wrong times and they end up overtraining or injured and fat

So we need to install mechanisms into our workouts that allow us to literally be as fresh as possible, which means we have to be able to recover enough between training sessions to do more and more work (expend more energy in the form of calories).

This is quite a challenge if you’ve ever lifted heavily frequently.

Sure, extra sleep helps, but only so much.

We need to implement other strategies and tactics that allow us to remain fresh.

Because that’s the KEY – being able to remain “fresh” while still training heavy and frequently.

More force more frequently equals more work.

And more work, in a calorically restricted state, means a greater amount of fat lost in a shorter period of time.

This leads us back to…

Contrasts: The “Secret Agents” of Change

This concept of “contrasts” has been rolling around in this melon of mine for over 16 years. It started when Alfonso Duran, my weightlifting coach, told me about Professor Vorobyev’s scientific findings on strength – that  frequent practice with radically contrasting changes in loads, produced faster gains in strength. 

(Siff and Verkhoshansky refer to Vorobyev’s work in Supertraining.)

Then I sat in 1998, I sat in a private lecture at Yale University, from a PhD and sport coach from Romania, Georg Marom, who talked about research into the Zatsiorsky Protocols throughout the Eastern Bloc.

He shared with us that the best gains in physical adaptation – strength, speed, whatever, were best obtained through the contrasting of loads – Heavy followed by light, followed by heavy, and so on.

He showed us how that looks on a weekly basis:

Heavy – Light – Heavy – Light – Heavy – Light

This allows the body to do as much work as possible by training the “skill of strength” way more frequently – TWICE as much as traditional training protocols of Light – Medium – Heavy.

It also promotes “freshness,” as the light workouts provide a sort of “tonic” effect on the nervous system, allowing it to recover faster than just taking complete rest days.

I have always kept this contrast in the back of my head, looking for places I could apply it successfully.

Some times I got it right in my own practice.

Many times I didn’t. 

But I have been haunted by my results and experiences back in 1996 – those amazingly quick gains in strength and losses in bodyfat. I’ve wondered how I could replicate those amazingly fast results not only myself but for others.

That, and applying these ideas to my clients’ programs, led me to designing a modification of my original program with the release of Kettlebell Burn in 2010.

But that still wasn’t enough. The results, although good, weren’t fast enough.

They didn’t match the results that I had gotten.

Sure, 2 pounds per week is good when you’re really overweight, but I know from personal experience that it’s possible to lose even more.

So I looked at the Zatsiorsky Principle and my own results, and tried to find some common ground. What I came up with astounded me.

The secrets to success were right in front of my face all along and I had missed them.

Throughout my career, both as a trainee and a trainer, the training and nutrition protocols that I had used in the past with the best successes were the ones that relied on CONTRASTS.

These contrasts included alternating light/heavy in training, high calories/low calories when eating, passive/active recovery after workouts, and other such things

Yes, the body seems to produce faster adaptations when there are contrasts in ALL areas of training.

Which brings me to what I believe is the most amazing discovery for rapid fat loss: 

The Neuro-Metabolic Contrast

The Neuro-Metabolic Contrast is what I believe to be the application of The Zatsiorsky Principle. 

It is the contrast of the training variables most necessary for making rapid changes in your body’s appearance.

It is the stimulation of the nervous system  through exercise and recovery and the stimulation of the metabolism through diet and exercise.

It is a systematic application of the concept of contrasts where key contrasts are literally “stacked” for larger gains in lean body mass and faster losses in body fat. 

This stacking effect compounds the nature of each contrast, making them more powerful when applied together than when they are used on their own. 

Why “Neuro-Metabolic?”

Because both the nervous system and the metabolism are the drivers for change. 

And by strategically manipulating the input to both, we can determine, direct, and achieve a desired output – in our case, rapid fat loss.

There are FIVE (5) Neuro-Metabolic Contrasts that produce the rapid changes in body composition we are looking for. They are as follows: