Home Blog Final Phase Fat Loss – An Interview with John Romaniello

Final Phase Fat Loss – An Interview with John Romaniello

Written on February 16, 2010 at 12:01 am, by Eric Cressey

I’ve known John Romaniello for almost a decade now, and he’s a guy who delivers great content and plenty of humor and entertainment.  Oh, and he also happens to be in pretty good shape.


EC: You were really active as a writer at T-Nation a few years back, and then took a little hiatus before returning with a vengeance – and some great content – recently.  Where the heck did you go?

JR: Ha! I guess I did kind of fall off the radar there.  I didn’t mean to intentionally withdraw; I wasn’t looking to make a statement.  In fact, I guess in retrospect my abscence was specifically because I didn’t have much to say.  I never wanted to be the type of trainer or writer who rehashed other people’s ideas; rather, I wanted to just gather as much information as I could from as many sources, and formulate my own ideas and theories based on that.  So in my early articles, you’ll see that.

Then…I wouldn’t say I ran out of ideas…it was more that I knew that the only way I could really develop my own theories was to dive in.  And that’s really what I’ve been doing.  I’ve been developing and redeveloping my own strategies and methods of over half a decade, while watching what was going on in the industry from a modest distance and not really making any attempt to re-enter ”the scene.”

At the same time, I was of course working on other stuff. I did some fitness and underwear modeling for a while, and that took some focus; plus, of course, there is my actual training, which takes up most of my time.

EC: You built up a pretty big clientele in that time period, didn’t you?

JR: You could say that. For about the past six years, I’ve built a hugely successful personal training company that works with a lot of athletes, actors, models, etc.

The great thing about working in (and more specifically, right outside of) New York City is the access you have to so many different types of clients.  Add to that the fact that I had been doing the modeling, and I made a lot of good contacts in the industry and was able to work with a lot of clients with very exacting goals.

So, while I haven’t gotten away from my muscle-head roots, I seem to have become a bit of a fat loss specialist–which makes sense, because that is what so many people are after.  I obviously work with a lot of people looking to drop a lot of weight, but in large part, my in person clients are very often those looking for polish their physiques and take it to the next level.

EC: Along those same lines, let’s talk about your new program, Final Phase Fat Loss.  I’ve read it and I like it a lot, but tell our readers about some of the details of it.  How is it different from some of the other stuff out there?

JR:Ah, I’m very excited to talk about this.

Final Phase Fat Loss (FPFL) really represents all the work I’ve put into my evolving theories over the past few years.  It draws from a good number of pre-existing ideas and methods, as well as much of my own original stuff, and blends it in synergistic way that makes the entire program work in an incredibly effective way.

There are a lot of great fat loss programs out there, but none of them really do what FPFL does.

The thing that makes it different from pretty much any program out there is the built in variety.  Now, as you know I’m not generally a fan of anything for its own sake, especially variety; but here, the variety makes everything exponentially more effective.

You see, one of the main facets of my fat loss programs is to include multiple training styles into the programming, usually within the context of a given training week.  Not to use muscle-mag clichés like “keep the body guessing,” but the fact of the matter is that by constantly varying the training stimulus, you just increase the amount of metabolic disturbance and force you body to adapt more quickly.  It’s as simple as that.

And, of course, every fat loss trainer will tell you that.

So, variety is one of the main things that makes Final Phase different.

EC: You’re a big believer in metabolic resistance training (MRT), too, which certainly sits in agreement with some of the more modern fat loss approaches out there.  For those that aren’t familiar, can you fill them in a bit more?

JR: Here are just a few reasons why MRT is better than general cardio:

1) Higher caloric expenditure when compared minute to minute

2) Increased stimulation of muscle, helping to hold onto LBM when dieting

3) Increased Excess Post-exercises Oxygen Consumption (EPOC)

So, MRT is really just fast paced lifting, right? Kinda. The best way to do metabolic resistance training is to use non-competing circuits—that is, set up a circuit of exercises during which you alternate opposing muscle groups.

Examples would include doing a chest exercise followed by a back exercise, or alternating an upper body exercise with a lower body one, you allow the opposing muscle group to rest. By setting your workouts up like this, you can move faster, rest less frequently, and get a great total result.

The great thing about MRT is that it’s more of a concept than a protocol. That is, it’s adjustable to nearly any type of training. You can get a great MRT workout with so many different pieces of equipment and styles of working out.

Kettlebells are a great tool for metabolic resistance training, and it’s easy to see how they’re great for fat loss. Another great way to start using MRT is with dumbbell or barbell complexes, which are exercises circuits using minimum space and equipment. With a complex, you transition smoothly from one exercise to another, never letting the barbell or dumbbells leave your hands. It’s fast-paced, effective, and brutal. You can even do metabolic resistance training fat loss using just your bodyweight, as the circuit below shows.

Or, if you’ve got some equipment at your fingertips:

Now, I won’t go so far as to say we should stop doing all other types of cardio in favor of metabolic resistance training—not by a long shot.  I don’t care for (or make) such absolute statements, speaking generally.

Speaking more specifically about metabolic resistance training, I’ll say that while MRT seems to be the most effective single option, I strongly believe that everything has benefit and you can enhance your results even further by doing a combination on of MRT, High Intensity  Intervals, and even a slow walk on the treadmill (as recovery after workout that taxes your lower body pretty heavily).

EC: Got it. What else makes this resource unique?

JR: The other thing that makes is that it unique is that it was designed to address a lot of the hormonal reasons for fat storage.  As an example, we know that if you’re insulin resistant, you’re going to store fat in your love handles.  So, given that insulin resistance (and therefore love handle fat) is extremely common, FPFL was designed with that in mind–the workouts (some more than others) are drawn from training styles that elicit certain hormonal responses–or increased production of certain hormone–and helps to combat difficulties like insulin resistance – and in part some of the problems that causes, like chronic love handular fattitude.

Pretty awesome.

The great thing about it is that it’s really intended for a few very specific purposes–it’s called “Final Phase Fat Loss” and that obviously carries certain implications.  We all know someone struggling to lose the last 5-10 pounds; whether it’s a mom trying to get into some pre-baby jeans, a 30-year-old guy looking to see his abs for the first time, or an athlete trying to drop a weight class (in actual fat, not water manipulation).  FPFL addresses those things.

No other fat loss program available specifically addresses the needs of people who are trying to get past that barrier between good and great.  Those programs simply don’t have the components organized the way I do, and aren’t ideal for losing the last bit of fat.

Final Phase fills that gap, and it’s going to help a lot of people do what my models and actors need to do all the time–get into lean, hard, photo-ready shape.

Of course, it’s also a great general fat loss program, and it’s proven itself to be exceptionally valuable for those who are just trying to bust through a fat loss plateau–so there’s that, as well.

EC: Intriguing stuff – and it’s backed by an excellent product that I’ve had a chance to review.  The training sessions are absolutely brutal, and anyone who is up for a challenge (on top of the benefits you already outlined) ought to check it out: Final Phase Fat Loss.

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9 Responses to “Final Phase Fat Loss – An Interview with John Romaniello”

  1. Scott Says:

    Been reading JR’s latest stuff on t-mag, his approach to fat loss programming is awesome. Also just picked up a copy of Final Phase Fat Loss and can’t wait to get started!

  2. Bert Says:

    How would this differ from something like Lyle McDonald’s Stubborn Fat Solution? That is a product that also seems to target this particular “niche”.

    Differ may not be the right choice……………I guess what I am wondering is how would this program be more effective/what would distinguish it?

  3. Darren Says:

    I saw this yesterday and it is exactly what I deal with and I am anxious to read more on it and the theory behind it.

  4. Lisa Says:

    If someone is always stressed and they have a increase in visceral fat, how can this program be of benefit for them. I know that with stress comes an increase in cortisol levels,and a certain amount of insulin resistance. She has tried everything she can to lose weight but it doesnt seem to want to go anywhere. Any suggestions?
    Keep up the great posts!

  5. Conor Says:

    Really excited to see this product! Jon’s stuff is always top notch!

  6. Mike Says:

    Sounds a lot like the Crossfit protocol, nothing new. It works for fat lose, but can’t be the bulk of the programming. DB complex’s, BD complex’s it’s all very similar; just get over the name. It’s a tool, but call it what it is!!! MRT=Crossfit. What a genius!!! This idea has been around since the beginning of time, Greg Glassman just out a name in it. Oh well. MRT, not too sure?

  7. Dan Says:

    I have got to agree with Mike here, this program uses “Constantly Varied, Functional Movements, Done at High Intensity” The CrossFit motto. The similar movement selection as well makes this seem like it came right off the white board of a CF affiliate.
    I know that above quote include a tremendous amount of stuff, however, if I was to release this product, I would give a shout out of CrossFit as a inspiration for FPFLs development b/c it clearly was.

  8. Eric Cressey Says:

    Dan – Couldn’t be further from the truth. John was doing great stuff like this long before Crossfit even came into existence. They didn’t invest metabolic conditioning, circuit training, etc. They just took existing concepts and organized them to prioritize a number of fitness qualities. No credit is due whatsoever – and this is coming from a guy who has no dog in the fight.

  9. Danno Says:

    Got to agree with Eric on this. Nothing against Crossfit. I too hit the WOD – albeit occasionally. But John’s been around for a long time and knows his stuff. This workout looks challenging and I’d love to try it. Why not try something new every few months. Whether it’s crossfit, Lyle McDonald or Eric’s Maximum Strength?

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