Ripped Roundtable, Vol. 4: 18 Fat-Burning Tips From The Pros

Need some fat-loss guidance? These three fitness pros reveal what they do to stay lean. Their moderator? None other than our very own Ripped Dude.

Want to lean down for a competition, lose weight for health, or just sustain your shred? If you need some helpful information, I've got it for you right here!

Three fitness pros—Tiffany Lee Gaston, Max "The Body" Philisaire, and Darrell Holloman— have come together to bring you their personal philosophies about getting and staying ripped. Each of them brings unique advice to the table. Take that advice, and you'll advance toward your goals faster than you ever thought possible.

Do you eat healthy all day, every day, or do you have cheat meals?

Tiffany Lee Gaston: I allow myself one cheat meal per week. It allows me to be a bit more social and helps keep my cravings at bay. I find that when I don't eat sugar, I don't crave it.

Max Philisaire: I eat healthy seven days per week. I have a small appetite, so I have to make sure that every calorie I eat counts. Every now and then, I will have a cheat meal, but it's not on a weekly basis.

Darrell Holloman: I eat clean six out of seven days, and devote a full day to cheat. I will eat anything I want, all day on my cheat day. I believe in cheat days. For me, it's a metabolic booster. We are human, and it's normal to crave things other than chicken breast. If you trained your body five days out of the week consistently, one cheat day won't hurt you.

What's your normal daily diet?
Tiffany's Nutrition Philosophy ///

Here's a general idea of how I eat in the offseason.

Meal 1
Meal 2
Meal 3
Meal 4
Meal 5
Meal 6

I eat a Paleo diet, so no grain or dairy. I have the leanest off-season physique when I implement this lifestyle, and I've have eaten this way for more than a year now. I also drink at least one gallon of water per day.

Max's Nutrition Philosophy ///

This does not include my shakes:


Darrell's Nutrition
Philosophy ///

Darrell: It's not normal, and that's the point. My diet is like my training: I mix it up daily to keep my body guessing, and a lot of it is instinctive. If I was being scientific, I would say my diet is carb cycling. It really depends on the body part I'm training.

What type of cardio do you prefer?

Tiffany: I much prefer HIIT to steady-state cardio because it's quick, and it accomplishes the joint goal of burning fat and building muscle. Beyond that, I have a passion for running. It's a mental escape for me, so I implement a 3- or 4-mile run when I need to empty my head a bit. I have three kids, so a once-per-week run is a necessity!

Max: I prefer low-intensity cardio because I've always had a low body fat percentage and don't want to burn muscle fuel. My cardio is a pick-up game of basketball once per week.

Darrell: I alternate. I love to do 30-40 minutes of steady-state cardio. I think it's better for my body when I'm dieting for a show or shoot. I also do HIIT cardio twice per week. It's tough, gets my heart rate going, and shocks my body.

How many days do you lift, and which days do you rest?

Tiffany: I train 5-6 days per week both in season and during the off-season. Sunday is my off day. I try to sleep in and let my body rest. I also listen to my body. If I feel I need an additional off day, I will take it. If I do, I keep my meals clean.

Max: I train five times per week. I have no typical rest days; I leave two days open for rest and schedule changes. I just make sure I get in the gym five days.

Darrell: I weight train five days per week and typically rest on Saturday and Sunday. If I'm preparing for a show or shoot, I switch to six days per week, and one day off.

What is your weekly body-part split?

Tiffany: During my recent figure show prep, I utilized split training, but I always tried to switch it up in order to keep my muscles guessing. I found the best results this way:

  • Monday: Hamstrings/Glutes
  • Tuesday: Back/Shoulders/Biceps
  • Wednesday: Triceps/Chest
  • Thursday: Plyometrics
  • Friday: Quads/Glutes
  • Saturday: Active Rest/Run
  • Sunday: Rest

I love functional training and also enjoy using my sandbag and doing CrossFit workouts.

Max: I like to focus on individual muscle groups most of the time. Each group gets a priority day, except for my chest, since that is the most developed part of my body. I'm working on proportion.

  • Day 1: Shoulder/Abs
  • Day 2: Biceps/Light Back
  • Day 3: Lower Body
  • Day 4: Back Heavy/Abs
  • Day 5: Triceps/Chest

Darrell: I train one body part per day, and rest two days out of the week. I'm 40 years old, so rest benefits me more now than 20 years ago. With rest and proper nutrition, you do most of your growing outside the gym.

How much time do you spend in the gym?

Tiffany: If I'm prepping for a show, I'll be in the gym for 60-90 minutes. In the offseason, I utilize HIIT and keep many of my workouts less than 20 minutes.

Max: I spend between 1-2 hours in the gym. I go hard, and then I go home. My theory is, if you train too long, you're not training hard enough or you don't mind burning up muscle for fuel.

Darrell: I spend a little more than an hour in the gym—that's all I need! You get the pump, you keep the pump with 30-45 seconds of rest, and you maintain intensity. I never understood people who just waste two hours in the gym talking and getting cold between sets. Keeping that pump and intensity helps stimulate growth!

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