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-   -   Cosgrove Afterburn (http://www.catalystathletics.com/forum/showthread.php?t=114)

Greg Everett 10-23-2006 10:32 AM

Cosgrove Afterburn
Good article on why interval training is more productive than long steady-state aerobic work for fat loss:


Steve Shafley 10-23-2006 10:50 AM

Cosgrove's Afterburn is good example of a focused fat burning program. It runs about 16 weeks, so it's a serious committment.

Before you read on, the review is scattered with profanity. If this offends you, maybe you shouldn't read it.

This was my review of the product:


I've always liked the material Alwyn has written for T-mag and EliteFTS, and even remember reading some of his stuff from mainstream men's fitness magazines and thinking it was good stuff. I recently had the opportunity to go over his "Afterburn" program (and a few other products), which is a program for losing fat.

The link:


First off is a blurb I wrote on Lyle's forum, comparing Cosgrove's "Afterburn" to Lyle's "Rapid Fat Loss" manual.


Afterburn is a comprehensive program for fat loss, not mass gain.

Alwyn lays out both the resistance training and the energy system training in roughly 4 week blocks, as well as gives dietary recommendations.

There are 4 blocks total.

The workouts are not retarded, either. They are well designed, and if you know enough about the meta-principles of training, you'll be able to substitute workouts of your own in place of his. Some folks can see the big picture behind this shit, other's can't, and probably shouldn't try.

I don't mean to be a bit of a whore, but I feel it's a very solid product. I think it's possible a newbie could put on a bit of size from it, but probably not an experienced lifter, except in areas that had been previously neglected that the program might hit harder. A powerlifter or an olympic lifter going through the program could reasonably expect to lose strength in the competitive lifts (and might want to substitute workouts to compensate somewhat for that), but I think that would be a transitory thing. You would come out of the program leaner and with a much better base of conditioning behind you, and I would imagine you'd realize some gains on the competitive lifts after a period of re-specialization.

A 16 week commitment is no fucking joke, though.
Like I mentioned above, I feel it's a solid program, and if you have had good luck in the past with programs like Poliquin's "Manly Weight Loss", or Alessi's "Meltdown" you'll probably have good luck with this program.

It's a bit higher in repetitions than most strength guys would prefer, but for a change in pace, I can see it working very well indeed. It's aimed more for a beginning lifter rather than an advanced lifter, but the program is progressive in nature, and well put together.

Danny John 10-27-2006 07:15 AM

That's a great review, Shaf. I love the program. I needed something crystal clear and I enjoy not having to think. In fact, that is like the basic point of my next article.

I like the way he combines things...

Steve Shafley 11-15-2006 05:57 PM

I just took a look at his Afterburn II program.

What's interesting is that he points out some stuff that I should have noticed, given both my personal experience and having listened to other's anecdotes.

I never did, but he's summarizes it pretty thoroughly in both materials.

I am doing the original Afterburn workouts for much the same reason Dan is doing the Afterburn II workouts...I am just sick and tired of dabbling with this, and that, and it fit my needs at this point in time, remarkably well.

Danny John 11-16-2006 07:57 AM

I also just bought Frank Forencich's two books, "Play as if Your Life Depends on it" and "Exuberant Animal." Now, he argues a different approach to workouts, but I am going to stick with Cosgrove's workouts for my "training" and model my throwing et al (as I honestly already have done) on the goanimal approach to fun and play.

This crap has to be fun. Oh, and not so damn scientific. You can measure and test and measure stuff all day and still not deadlift what my daughter Lindsay pulled on her first day of class.

That was a good lesson...for me.

Craig Cooper 11-16-2006 03:32 PM

Frank Froencich is awesome! I attended an intro to goanimal here at the club where I work, and it was a lot of fun. We are now offering group goanimal classes here at the club taught by him.

Yael Grauer 11-16-2006 04:19 PM

I found a link for that site on the Parkour site, so if anybody reading this hasn't seen it, it's http://www.goanimal.com/

Looks fun.

Ron Nelson 11-17-2006 12:03 PM

Hey Dan,
I bought the Afterburn program about 6 months ago and have let it sit on my computer because I thought it was geared mainly toward beginners and females.

I'd like to know if you made any adjustments to the program.

Based on Shaf's review, I better take a second look.

Steve Shafley 11-17-2006 07:04 PM


I am a low rep guy. I train in the 1-5 rep range for most of my big movements. To counter this, I do my metcon work (when I do it) with kettlebells, the jump rope, the heavy bag, and bodyweight calisthenics (because that's what I can do in the basement when the back yard is mush).

When I first looked at the workouts in Afterburn, I kind of snickered. Just take the first one:

Each couplet is a superset.

Squats: 20 reps, 60s rest.
T-Push Ups: 8 reps each side, 60s rest, then repeat 2-3 times

Step Ups: 20 reps each leg, 60 sec rest
Rows to neck, 20 reps, 60 sec rest, repeat 2-3 times

SHELC: 20 reps, 60s rest
Ball crunch: 20 reps, 60s rest, repeat 2-3 times

Doesn't look all that hard.

It floored me. It was so far away from what I normally did with weights that the minimal amount of anerobic conditioning that I did perform didn't help me much.

So, basically it's all about managing EPOC, and eating right, and performing both appropriately metabolically challenging weight work with interval energy systems work.

(EPOC = excess post-exercise oxygen consumption)

It's was, for me, a big surprise when I finally bit the bullet to try it for real.

If you're a dedicated XF kind of guy, to be honest, I don't know if it's going to be as good for you as it is for me.

Steve Shafley 11-17-2006 07:18 PM

There's one alteration Alwyn mentioned for "advanced" guys. His definition of "advanced" for the Afterburn program was to have attained a good level of leanness, either through something like Afterburn or whatever else...having established a certain amount of competence in losing fat.

Anyway, the alteration was simply this:

Before you do the high rep stuff, do a few sets of heavy, low rep work in the appropriate lifts.

Using the above workout as an example, you might do some heavy squats first, before you started the rest of the program.

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