How Workout Finishers Can Help Fitness Professionals Get Better Results with Their Clients

Today, I have some info on workout finishers.  Something new that trainers have been chatting about.

I went to the person that has started the workout finisher craze, Mike Whitfield.

How Workout Finishers Can Help Fitness Professionals Get Better Results with Their Clients

Rick: Let people know a little more about yourself

Mike: I am Mike Whitfield, a Certified Turbulence Trainer in Acworth, GA.  I specialize in fat loss using Turbulence Training style workouts and metabolic workout finishers.  The whole reason I got into fitness is because I have lost over 100 lbs, which helps me connect with my clients.  It also allows me to love what I do, because I can certainly share in the clients’ success.

Rick: What is a workout finisher and why is it important?

Mike: I have been experimenting with workout finishers for almost 3 years.  They are basically a way to replace interval training.  They are short, intense “mini-workouts” that can be done at the end of any workout program.  I found that my clients and campers enjoy them more than interval training.  They typically use all major muscle groups, which burns more calories.  We all know how interval training can help with fat loss.  I just wanted to take interval training to the next level.  They can be more “fun” than intervals, which helps you stay consistent.  I’m a big believer in consistency for fat loss.  One of my favorite finishers is theUpper/Lower Countdown“:

Do the following superset resting only when needed.  In the first superset, you will perform 10 reps of each exercise.  In the next superset, you will perform 9 reps.  Continue in this fashion until you complete 1 rep of each exercise.

  • 1A) Lunge Jumps (starting with 10 reps on each side)
  • 1B) Push-ups (starting with 10 reps)

Good times.

Rick: Let’s go bac to when you were 100 lbs heavier. When you were that big, how did you start exercises?

Mike: I remember starting out, I was pretty conservative because I was nervous. I was also really out of shape.

I remember walking around the track at my old high school for one lap and being exhausted. But that’s why I started. I was sick of feeling that sluggish.

As for a finisher – I certainly wouldn’t do one like the one above. I would have substituted the lunge jumps for total body extensions, where you basically partially squat down, bring your arms behind you, then stand up and extend your arms over your head.

I also would probably start at 6 instead of 10.

For beginners, a kneeling or incline pushup could be used instead of normal pushups.

Finishers really came into play when I lost the last 30 lbs. We all know the pain of a plateau. I have found that finishers can fix that, helping me lose the 105 lbs all together.

BREAK TIME – I met Mike in Las Vegas at a fitness conference.  Here we are after one of the sessions:

Rick: Where did the idea of Workout Finishers come from?

Mike: It’s funny because I was actually “under pressure” to come up with finishers.

My clients were getting results from interval training, but one of two things were happening was:

  1. The cardio equipment would be taken up and they couldn’t get to them for the interval training
  2. They were looking for something to replace interval training because they wanted something different

That’s when I would put together a “mini-workout” to replace the intervals. I purposely put in a mix of exercises with short rest periods to mimic intervals. But the results were my clients getting leaner faster, and they would stick to doing finishers better then intervals. Then it hit me. Why not better results? We’re using more muscle, burning more calories. That’s when I started to implement finishers on a regular basis.

This is Mike and his son, Champ (Yes, Champ).

Rick: Do you need any equipment to do workout finishers?

Mike: Some finishers use simple things like dumbbells and stability balls, but many of them just use bodyweight.

Rick: How would you add Workout Finishers into a bootcamp?

Mike: I love incorporating workout finishers into my fitness camps.

But with my camps, I have a variety of fitness levels to work with.  So instead of using a specific rep scheme, I would use timed sets using a stopwatch or a gymboss.  I also like to offer substitution exercises.

For example, I would have some people perform Spiderman Push-ups for 30 seconds, while some are performing Kneeling Push-ups for the same amount of time.  That way, people of all fitness levels get the benefits from finishers.

Rick: How would you add a Workout Finisher to a personal training session?

Mike: Once they are done with their main workout, I’ll take my clients through a finisher based on their goals and fitness level.

If they are at the gym without me, they have one written down to follow – trust me (ha-ha).  It’s a staple in my clients’ programs and they expect it.  That’s why I wrote an easier version of each finisher in the program because I know everyone has different fitness levels.

Here is an example of Mike in action doing a Workout Finisher with John Rominello:

Rick: Can someone just do Workout Finishers if they do not have time to do a bootcamp class or a full workout?

Mike: Any exercise is better than no exercise.  If you’re really tight on time, you can look at this program or finishers as a fast workout.  But it’s certainly designed to complement a main workout and not replace one.

Rick: How can a Workout Finisher help you prevent injuries?

Mike: The way I look at it is this – let’s say you have someone that chooses treadmill intervals after their workouts.  All those repeated reps are done with the legs, which can lead to over-use injury.  But what if we did some bodyweight movements, including upper body moves like push-ups and inverted rows instead?  You use more muscle groups, burn more calories and take some work load away from the legs.

Rick: Where can people get more information about yourself?

Mike: They can get more info about workout finishers at and my fat loss blog is at

Thanks a lot Mike for the Q&A.

Rick Kaselj, MS