Here in Part 2 of our interview, RKC Cody Bramlett talks about the best breakfast you can possibly have – and it's a good one, what he does for his training (his style of cardio is pretty cool) and why he thinks overtraining is a myth.
If you missed Part 1, click HERE to get the scoop.
And be sure to check out Cody's Kettlebell KXT Transformation System.
Chris Lopez: Let’s talk a little bit about something you said about nutrition. You mentioned everybody knows you have to eat the right foods. You had also mentioned about timing. The right time of day. Can you give us any specific examples of what talking about?
Cody Bramlett: One of the first things I ask people when they want to come in is “What do you have for breakfast?”
I deal with mostly ladies. Either ladies before you are getting married or after you have kids. Just seems to be the people who come to me, who have been finding me. I ask them what do you want to for breakfast. And I hear all the time a banana and a blueberry protein shake. I have whole wheat toast with low-fat or sugar free jam on it, oatmeal, things like that.
What I tell them immediately is, do you like eggs and bacon?
They go yes.
I say I want you to eat eggs and bacon every day this week and we will see results real quickly. They look at me with shock and awe.
What are you talking about?
When you have carbohydrates or things that are high in glycemic levels in the morning it kind of spikes your sugar level and your body will stop trying to burn weight. So when you have a nice protein filled breakfast your body is going to be more efficient during the day and you are going to burn more calories. You are going to put your body into a space where it actually wants to burn weight versus storing weight.
So if the first thing you do in the morning is have a candy bar which we all know is stupid and kind of silly. You are going to get a little jacked up on sugar and crash.
Well guess what?
Breads and lots of high glycemic fruits are the same exact thing as having a candy bar. Jacks you up real high and you get a little crash and your body is not going to want to burn fat. That is what happens when you have a sugary or high glycemic item. So that is what I tell people.
That is an amazing thing to do for them. A little hard at first to grasp that fruit in the morning is not necessarily a good thing for you.
It definitely works. It worked for me.
When I started my program I was about 218 pounds at 27% body fat at the time I created it. And I strictly put myself through it for three months. In the first 30 days I lost, I think it was 25 or 27 pounds. I had worked out like two or three times per week.
Nutrition truly is key when it comes down to dropping those pounds fast.
Chris Lopez: So let’s talk about the little more advanced exercisers. Somebody who like the average in shape guy these days is like 10, 11, 12% bodyfat. What if he wants to drop down to let’s say 6%? To really get beach ready, like if he's getting ready for a vacation or wedding or event. What kind of recommendations as far as programming nutrition would you consider for him?
Cody Bramlett: Two things you want to do when you cut down – you want to increase your cardio and you want to increase your strength.
You want to put on a little bit more body mass, a little bit more size of muscle. So by doing heavy lifts you are going to benefit from that.
I like doing dead lifts. Dead lifts with double kettlebell are great. I just got recently two 48 kilogram bells, 107 pound bells with two of those. That feels great. You feel that strength and you feel the muscle just gaining on the body almost instantly.
With that I also incorporate high intensity drills like the kettlebell snatch so I will do a Tabata which is a 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off. That is the way I do it at my studio. I will do that for five, 10 minutes. So I’ll start out by doing heavy dead lifts, maybe some heavy squats and I will throw in Tabata-style snatches at the end and really smoke myself.
You will see a lot of changes but then again it is all nutrition on top of that. If you are still eating junky and you want to get down on that next level you won’t go anywhere. At that point you got to start cutting carbs like crazy.
I have looked at a body builder’s kind of diet with lean meats and vegetables and that’s it. They even pick certain vegetables because some will make you blow up a little more than others.
That is what it really boils down to. It is a no sugar, no carbohydrate diet. That’s tough.
I don’t want to do it and never want to experience it in my life. I enjoy having my sweets. In our program we do a cheat day once a week. It is kind of fun. I get to go crazy on Saturdays.
But if you are into that and you want to get down to those single digits especially if you have had a lot of fat in your life and you want to get down really small it is going to be a challenge.
I’m not going to lie, but you can do it. Anybody can do it you just have to really stick to a program and stay with it.
Chris Lopez: You mention you get a cheat day in your program.
Can you run down as nutrition is concerned do you have days where you have kind of broken stuff up or do you have like a high carb day? I know carb cycling is pretty much the buzz word right now and so people are really interested in that. Do you cycle your macro nutrients? Do you have any fasting days? What kind of stuff do you do as far as nutrition is concerned in the program.
Cody Bramlett: Fasting I think is kind of neat. I’m happy you mentioned that. I have done that in the past. I am not experienced with it a lot especially recently when I’m not feeling well and kind of sick I will cut food out for a while. Just have a smoothie, something like that. Something simple. That does always make me feel better.
Not the focus on processing nutrition but actually kicking out the bad stuff in your body.
In terms of a normal week my brother and I recommend eating whole food. I say whole I don’t mean whole grain that is a carbohydrate. That is just going to jack you up. Talking about solid meats. Not like a processed hamburger but like a steak, a chicken breast, fish filet. Something that is real, natural and fresh preferably organic. I know organic is hard to get out there. I come from a food background working in restaurants and stuff like that when I was younger. Looking for things with a natural label on them is a good alternative to organic.
A lot of times a farmer who has a natural product is a few steps away from being organic. The land he is on is not considered organic. But the cattle or the chicken could be. That is a good alternative to look at.
Eating whole, natural, organic foods throughout the whole week. I don’t have sugars very often except for after the workout. You got to have a little bit that helps rebuild.
I love coconut water. That is one of my go-to's is some protein powder and a coconut water shake it up in my little bottle shaker and boom that’s what I have after my workout.
But then cheat days. That’s the fun thing, right? I say cheat day I mean cheat day. Especially when you first start it is almost important that you go to town. So much stuff that you don’t want to do again.
I remember my first cheat day I had a whole pan of brownies. Friday night I made a whole pan of brownies. Saturday morning I ate them. Didn’t feel good the whole day and kind of learned my lesson.
When you do that kind of carb cycling it fools your body into thinking it is not being starved to death.
It helps your brain to be able to have the things you have been dying to have all week that cake, that margarita, that pizza whatever it is that you happen to love.
With that you still lose weight. As is said I lose 27 pounds the first month doing it. That included four cheat days when I went to town. It is a very important thing to do and it helps you to have more success. You are not withholding everything from your psyche and from your body.
Chris Lopez: Actually, one of the things I wanted to talk to you about because I’m really interested in this. Me, myself, personally I have gotten a lot of emails about this is I was watching on your blog and your latest YouTube video talked about the myth of overtraining. How overtraining was a myth. It is really hard for our bodies to get into that complete overtraining state. And that most people they just have a tendency to under recover. Can you talk a little bit about that and then tell us what some of your best recovering strategies are?
Cody Bramlett: Overtraining is a total myth.
When my brother came to town two months to visit me and he found a hand balancing expert who used to work at Cirque de Soleil. So we went into the class with the guy. It was a lot of fun. We trained with him for an hour. And we asked him what his training schedule was like.
They would train all day long and eat whatever they wanted because they were just going constantly. Every day of the week. That is what Cirque de Soleil guys do. Olympians, circus athletes, people who are just out there on the fringe in terms of athletic performance they don’t burn out.
So when people work out five days a week and are saying they are overtrained there is something wrong. There is something not right there. This guy was doing squats with a 120 pound person on his shoulders. That is how they train. I don’t know anybody that does that kind of thing. And he still wasn’t burned out.
It is under recovery. Think about this; if you’re stressed at work you kind of get tired you are kind of burned out, right? You can feel that happen. When you don’t sleep enough you get burned out you feel that happen. So if you are not sleeping, if you have high stress and also aren't recovering good, and not eating organic foods. Not processed junk. Then your body won’t be able to spend time fixing and healing you will have to spend time just trying to maintain growing.
Sleeping eight hours a day or more.
I have one student who sleeps like 10 or 11 hours a day and she trains with me, yoga, Pilates, spinning she does everything else she is a college student and sleeps all the time. Besides working out and in class. So sleeping a lot, eating organic, healthy real foods that are not processed like quick bars, protein bars throw those suckers out. I do not believe those are good for you.
Then having a stress free environment. De-stressing could be A) quitting that job you hate and I have done that before. Get it out of your life. It’s not worth it. It’s not worth the extra 5 or 10 grand you have to be that stressed and that horribly unfit because of it.
Or taking a yoga class, hiking in the mountains, just standing in the beach, barefoot and breathing and watching the sunset.
Those kind of things help your brain release and everything starts focusing on healing and growing versus just keeping the body alive and from deteriorating. That is what I have experienced in my own life and I have seen some of my students kind of had to help adjust their lifestyles.
Chris Lopez: Just on this whole Cirque de Soleil practice I mean that kind of goes on the whole RKC philosophy of practice and not train, right? It pretty much plays on the same thing. You know, the recovery strategy that you kind of experimented with? I have heard some people talk about like a lot of eastern stuff like Chi Qong and that kind of stuff. Anything you use specifically? I mean you, yourself, how often do you train right now, Cody?
Cody Bramlett: At my most I was training five days a week. I was going crazy at the time. I was much leaner. I was probably the same strength I was now but not the same body fat. I was definitely a bigger guy at the time. So right now it is maybe three days a week. I know how to push myself to the maximum density so I can pull that off.
I can put 45 minutes in 3 times per week because I am so engaged giving 100% effort per lift. That is how I trained and I like it that way. I don’t have those crazy strength goals like trying to clean and press 150 pounds overhead and do one handed pull ups.
Never happened. I just always wanted to be healthy, strong and more importantly I’m older and I don’t want to trip on a staircase and blow my hip out and die because of that.
That is where this whole revolution for me comes from is so that when I’m older a stupid normal mistake isn’t’ the end of me. That is the plain and simple truth to it all.
Looking good and feeling strong. That is the biggest thing of all is to live a long, healthy, life and not go down in a really sad way.
Chris Lopez: So in training five days a week let’s talk a little bit about intensity when you are training and everything. Now with five days a week there are some schools of thought that you can go hard five days a week. And how long you can sustain that is always the question. And then there are other schools of thought where you can train five or six days a week but you have got to cycle your intensity. Can you talk a little bit about your thoughts on that. The intensity that you were training was that cycled at all? Did you go hard five days a week and would you do anything differently based on that?
Cody Bramlett: Yea, definitely. There are three types of drills I do. One I do heavy lifting. That is what I found to be the most fun.
I will set up double kettlebells and all the bells I have and I will just play the rack on five or six drills going as much as I can for three to five reps. That is something I’m personally fond of. It is something I don’t do all the time. Let’s say I do that once a week maybe twice a week. The heavy protocol where I am doing a low amount of reps once or twice a week.
I would also do a normal class. A normal class using my kettlebell training program high cardio – not high cardio but high intensity and quick paced. So you are going to get a lot of cardio out of it. You are still going to get a lot of strength building we don’t recommend using baby bells. We use the right size bell and that is a lot.
The third one I do is yoga. I love yoga. I always have. Have yoga classes in my studio. I have taken a lot of yoga certification courses. It is one of those- it is my recovery. It is training still. Think about this, try holding a pose with one leg squatting funny for two minutes straight. It is a severe challenge. It is also mental recovery for me. It helps me kind of detox my thoughts and get clean and pure and that way I can continue to keep doing the hard lift.
Like I said today I am going about three times a week. I will do yoga every week or two and then I do heavy lifting once or twice a week and cardiovascular once or twice a week. That way I can push strong. Do some heavy cardio and then distress and relax.