We’re getting down to some basics this week, addressing beginner jump rope workouts, whether you need to drink protein supplements, the bare minimum equipment for a heart-pumping fat loss workout, and alternative exercises if you’re working around past injuries. But first, we get a little technical, answering whether infrequent calorie-spikes (otherwise known as re-feeds or cheat days) are beneficial to a fat loss program.

  1. What Is The Best Beginner Jump Rope Routine?
  2. Do Infrequent Calorie Spikes Help Fat Loss?
  3. Best Alternative to Clean and Presses?
  4. Do I Need Heavier Dumbbells?
  5. Should I Drink Protein Powder?

Question #1 | What Is The Best Beginner Jump Rope Routine?

Question: “What’s a good jump rope routine/workout for a beginner?”
Answer:  “Jumping rope is an awesome way to do interval training, whether you’re a beginner or a jump rope master. A simple routine to do as a beginner could look like this:

20-30 seconds of jumping
30-60 seconds of rest

Repeat 6-10 times

Make sure you give yourself enough recovery time between intervals to slow your heart rate and catch your breath. Start with fewer and shorter intervals with more rest time, and work your way up to doing more intervals for a longer period of time with less rest.

If you don’t have a timer or don’t want to pay attention to a clock, you can count 50 rope jumps and then rest until you’ve slowed your breathing and rate rate to a comfortable level, then repeat. For a couple more jump rope articles, check out “How to Jump Rope Like a Pro” and “7 Jump Rope Workout You Should Try“. ”

Kristin (Kristin Rooke, CSCS, CPT)

Question #2 | Do Infrequent Calorie Spikes Help Fat Loss?

Question: “In the last few months, I have been an avid reader of BuiltLean which I find highly informative.

I wanted to get your thoughts on a technique of mine…

Every Friday night, I like to administer what one could call a “Metabolic Shock” to my system by drinking a vast amount of alcohol (8 drinks or so), occasionally followed by a large, calorie-dense meal in the early dawn. From Monday through Friday, I return to an impeccable, fat-free 1800 calories per day diet, while my belly fat is assaulted by daily sessions of grueling interval cardio.

While I have no scientific proof of the impact of my Metabolic Shock strategy, the philosophy behind it is, as you may have guessed, to keep my body guessing and kick my metabolism into higher gear. With a low calorie count and intense cardio sessions during the week, I am concerned that a prolonged low-calorie effort would decrease my basal metabolic rate and sabotage my cutting cycle.

What are your thoughts on infrequent spikes in calorie intake for fat loss?”

Answer: “Hi,
If you’re a young guy, you can probably get away with something as prescribed as your “Metabolic Shock”, as I’ve seen countless younger guys do such things on the weekend with concerns to alcohol consumption and I wrote an article that describes these situations (See: How to Have a Huge Feast Without Gaining Fat).

With that said, leptin levels tend to drop when you’re on a diet, quicker than you actually lose fat, and something like a metabolic shock tends to help bring leptin levels back up (although it usually takes a bit longer than a night to fully bring them up to baseline). Therefore, “metabolic shocks” do have some usefulness in helping to keep your metabolic rate running at a more normal level over the long-term. With that said, I would probably not drink so much alcohol if you’re in a fat-loss cycle. Once you get to a place where you’re more interested in maintenance, you could add some more alcohol and work the system you have. Here are some of the reasons why I recommend less drinking during a fat loss cycle: (See: Alcohol and Weight Loss)”
John ( John Leyva, CSCS, CPT)

Question #3 | Best Alternative to Clean and Presses?

Question: “Would you say that DB Clean & Presses are the best alternative to clean and presses? Unfortunately, I have a bad wrist from an old football injury, so anything that involves bending my wrist back causes me a lot of trouble and quite a bit of pain. (See: DB Clean & Press Video)”
Answer: “Hey Ryan,
I had wrist surgery a while back so doing a standard hang clean with a barbell is not an option for me. I think the DB clean and press is an excellent alternative, and I think the single arm DB clean and press puts even less pressure on the wrists and is a smoother, easier movement where you can still lift some good weight. Good luck!”

Marc ( Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT)

Question #4 | Do I Need Heavier Dumbbells?

Question: “My question is, what can I do with a pair of 11lbs (5Kg) dumbbells? As you can imagine recession hits us all so I’m basically on a “low budget and no time” exercise program. So, dumbbell complex routines are exactly what I need! I’m forced to do my workouts at home and all the equipment I have are those dumbbells and a yoga mat.

I’ve read several of your articles and I’ve read more than once that if you’re not gasping after the workout you’re using too little weight. I think that’s my main problem. I’ve tried your dumbbell complex routine and found that I don’t get the “I-want-to-die” feeling. Do you recommend increasing the number of reps and cycles, and decreasing rest time, or just stop fooling around and go off and buy a worthy set of dumbbells?”

Answer: “Hey Javier,
Getting some heavier DB’s would definitely make the workout a bit harder. There are 25lb adjustable dumbbells that are around $150 on Amazon. Aside from that, I think a pull up bar for pull ups is ideal. Then consider a weighted vest as well. That’s really all you need for some awesome workouts.”
Marc ( Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT)

Question #5 | Should I Drink Protein Powder?

Question: “Hi,
If I have a low-average level body shape (kind of thin) and my goal is to be lean, fit and have some muscle, should I drink protein power and which type? I’m a beginner and I’m new to this. I went to the gym and my friends told me to do split workouts as opposed to the full body workout for beginners provided by the “Fitness buddy Free” phone app. What is your advice? What should I do to reach my goals?”
Answer: “Drinking protein powder is not a necessity if your goal is to put on some more muscle. It is an option but it isn’t required. You can get the required amount of protein you need from natural foods such as lean meats, fish, and nuts. Check out the free Get Lean Guide on Builtlean.com for some more tips on exercising and fitness. You’ll find it very useful as a beginner. Also, in regards to your friend’s suggestion, whether you do a split workout or a full body workout is more of a personal preference, if general fitness is your goal. Check out our article on the subject: Full Body Workout vs. Split Routine: Which Is Better? ”

Kwesi (Kwesi Peters, CPT, Community Manager)



  1. profile avatar
    Z Dec 28, 2012 - 17:45 #

    Re #2: If this is a serious question, I don’t think weekly binge drinking (followed by late-night junk food) can really be a sustainable (or recommended) calorie cycling diet. You can get away with it when you’re younger, but eventually it catches up with you.

    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Dec 28, 2012 - 19:15 #

      @Z – Agreed, that’s along the lines of what John said in his answer. At the end of the day losing fat requires creating a calorie deficit. It’s a law of nature. Alcohol is particularly bad for effectively losing fat.

Comments are closed 30 days from the publication date.