Bryan Kavanagh Interview

Bryan Kavanagh is a fat loss expert and physique transformation specialist, speaker and co. author of The Athletic Body System’ and Athlete Physique, with the prestigious CSCS qualification he has also completed a BSc degree (hons) in Health and Human Performance in Dublin City University

MK: Hi Bryan, I really appreciate you taking out some time for this interview.

BK: No problem marc, sorry about the delay, things are just hectic at the minute!

On a side note…it’s a good thing this is a text interview because your readers would not have a clue what I’m saying in my Dublin Accent!

MK: Can you tell the reader a little about your coaching background?

BK: Well, I’ve, been involved and competed in martial arts and boxing for as long as I remember so naturally I started experimenting on …martial artists and boxers. Ive gotten some great results. With both national and world title holders in both sports. I have since strayed and I work with golfers, badminton players, American footballers… you name it I’ve probably helped them in some way.

MK: Your book “The Athletic Body System” is based around training for performance; could you tell us why you think improving performance is beneficial for fat loss?

BK: The nature of these sports require the athlete to be as lean as possible and as strong as possible… i.e. they need to make weight and still be able to kick ass. There is a particular way of getting lean and staying strong.

The athletic body system 🙂

Only joking, but too many people complain about being tired and lacking energy and motivation when training. Reason being they are doing nonsensical cardio and eating like a rabbit. ABS forbids both 🙂

Athletes not only look lean, they are able to perform to the highest standard…olympic standard…WHILE they are lean… I read an article the other day that outline a cover models regime a couple of days out from a photo shoot…


A six-day carbohydrate-depletion diet, in which he eats little more than chicken and broccoli, leaves his muscles weak and his brain so starved of glycogen, its source of fuel, that he feels dizzy and disorientated when he stands up. He can barely walk, let alone hit the gym…

MK: Doing endless amounts of cardio for fat loss is one of the biggest mistakes I see people make. Would you share your thoughts on the cardio myth and the so called fat burning zone?

BK: I think I touched on this already without being asked…nice 🙂

Cardio and the fat burning zone DO EXIST

There I said it…

But are they optimal modes of fat burning and will they become useless or even counter productive in the long run? There’s the question…

I have three hang ups about steady state aerobic training…

1. Thing is, aerobic exercise WILL burn fat…any exercise will… problem number one is; you get better at it. It seems like a good thing, but in actual fact the only way your body can adapt to aerobic exercise is make your body more efficient…i.e. burn less calories doing the same thing. For example. If you burn 200 kcals this week on your run…next week you get better at it and burn 180…your essentially telling your body to burn less kcals.

2. It makes you store MORE fat.

Yup, if you burn fat during low intensity exercise then it only makes sense that your body will store it for the next time you decide to do aerobic activity… so you go for a long run today…burn some fat…your body detects that your burning fat and stores some more for next time…makes sense eh?

3. It just doesn’t make sense.

If you need to stay in the ‘fat burning zone’ (heart rate will depend on your age) but for arguments sake lets pretend its 100 bpm.

And your resting heart rate is 70 bpm… when you are on the couch watching television

So let me get this straight…you get your gym bag ready, travel to the gym and slog it out on a treadmill for 60 minutes to burn as many calories as you would in 90 minutes of sitting on your arse at home…

Sorry but that’s just not for me…

MK: Thanks for clearing that up. I often see ladies in the gyms lifting those little pink weights for high reps in the belief that they are “toning” their muscles. What is your opinion on this, should the readers be doing endless reps with light weights to “tone up”?

BK: Ah the pink dumbbells…

Let me ask the ladies this… how much does a baby weigh?

I don’t know but I know its heavier than one of those silly dumbbells and ladies…you can carry that around all day!

Those of you that don’t have babies but carry around those suitcase size handbags with all your earthly belongings in there. Come on challenge yourself and lift something heavier…

Oh right…you don’t want to get huge arms… sorry.

But lets think about this one… think about the last time you were in the gym…how many guys walked by that were ridiculously skinny? They are lifting ‘relatively’ heavy weights and guzzling down protein shakes and weight gainers to TRY to put on muscle and you think it will just happen by accident?

Doesn’t work like that.

Weights are just a tool…they can be used as a fat burning tool or a muscle building tool…depends on sets/reps/exercise selection and ultimately calories consumed.

MK: What about spot reduction? For instance, what would you say to someone who is doing thousands of crunches and sit ups a day to get six pack abs?

BK: I have a nice analogy for this one…think of all of your bodyfat as a swimming pool… and then take a bucket of water/fat out of the corner of that pool. It comes from the pool as a whole not just the corner.

Similarly, in the body if you are performing crunches (which are ridiculous anyway) you could be using fat from your legs or back to fuel that exercise…not the fat on top of the working muscle.

MK: Do you think people looking for fat loss should concentrate on body composition changes and not get hung up on what the weighing scales say?

BK: scales can be a good indicator of someone has like 100lbs to lose because to be fair… they should be losing fat fast at the start and if they don’t they just aren’t following the programme and they are lying to themselves and their trainer.

As someone becomes more experienced I’d nearly throw the scales out because it can be really disheartening to a person who really has put in the effort only for  their weigh-in to be sabotaged by a little water retention or muscle gain… you just have to monitor everything I suppose…one measurement usually explains any discrepancy in another.

MK: What do you think about all these celebrity diets and workouts in the press?

BK: boooo

There are one or two that are decent… I mean one or two. And I cant remember them because they were only decent in comparison to the crap ones.

Okay so they are all crap…next question 🙂

MK: Moving on to nutrition, what are the 3 biggest mistakes you see people make with their fat loss nutrition?

BK: 1. Eating too much

2. Eating too little

3. Eating the wrong thing at the wrong times

A poorly timed meal is worse than a bad meal sometimes.

Eat to replenish after a workout…the notion that you can eat something big at 1 because you have a heavy session planned at 7 is complete nonsense. You will not burn it will be stored. Full stop.

Eat heavier after sessions is they way forward. The calories and nutrients are in demand now. Most if not all will go to aid recovery. WIN

MK: A lot of people think that eating fat will make you fat and that a low fat day is the best way. What are your opinions on this?

BK: Fat is necessary for so many bodily functions that it is nonsense to think we should be restricting it… it is also slow to digest and makes stuff taste nicer 🙂

Obviously im talking about healthy fats.. Omega 3, flaxseed, mixed seeds etc. we’ve all heard that before… but there are some saturated fats that are essential for hormone production and even fat metabolism. Stearic acid and palmitic acid found in beef are just a few examples.

Don’t fear the fat!

Fat has made very few people fat,

It’s the metabolic damage caused by chronically elevated insulin levels as a result of diets that are overloaded with ‘low calorie’ and ‘fat free’ foods that makes people fat.

So there 🙂

MK: What role would you say protein had in a fat loss program?

BK: mostly satiety, protein will be slower to digest and give you that full feeling for a little longer…

MK: Before we close Bryan, what would be your 3 top things to do regarding training and nutrition to help the readers to cut body fat

BK: 1. Time your meals, eat normal on training days, restrict calories on non- training days

2. Train metabolically don’t waste time on silly isolation exercises. Move! Jump. Step. Push and pull.

3. adopt and athletic mindset and set yourself some goals. Do you honestly think an athlete would train as hard if he had nothing to train for?

Set a date, any date.

Buy an outfit that’s too small.

Start NOW not Monday!

MK: This has been an awesome interview Bryan. Where can the readers go to find out more about you and your training programs?

BK: My own personal website is and that has all my rants and blogposts on there…

The athletic body system website would be a good place to start. We are currently working on ABS 2.0 and when its ready anyone who buys athletic body system will get ABS 2.0 free when its ready.

MK: Thanks again Bryan

BK: Thanks for having me buddy…anytime!

About Bryan:

Bryan Kavanagh is a fat loss expert and physique transformation specialist, speaker and co. author of The Athletic Body System’ and Athlete Physique. with the prestigious CSCS qualification he has also completed a BSc degree (hons) in Health and Human Performance in Dublin City University. Bryan and his business partner Ian Graham run a small personal training studio called The ABS Gym in Dublin Ireland. Bryan is a Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do and has been Boxing for the past 5 years. He has competed internationally in both disciplines in over 20 countries.

With an extensive international career having customers and clients in over 10 countries, Bryan is an expert in both personal and online training and nutrition. Constantly striving to help others and achieve their potential.

Although the title suggests he is a personal trainer, Bryan prefers the title ‘Coach’ because a coach is somebody who helps you win. Whether your goal is to increase sports performance, lose weight or just increase vitality and health Bryan can help you WIN and be successful in whatever it is you seek. Bryan actively influences and contributes to the education, capability, and development of all his clients through thorough consultations and accountability strategies.