Whether excessively endowed with rolls of extra fat or just a little off your ideal shape, there are certain non-negotiable body transformation rules that will enable you to achieve the size and conditioning you want and get you in your best shape ever. With summer almost here, now is the ideal time to get serious about your physique goals.
Prioritize Every AspectIt is widely stated that nutrition is responsible for up to 80% of the success we hope to experience with respect to our physique – that to become muscular and lean we must prioritize eating over all else. This may very well be true, to a certain degree; such as the importance of fueling for recovery, rebuilding, and energy purposes. However, without a spark there can be no flame, and without plenty of high intensity training with which to stimulate the muscle growth process, and sufficient time to rest and recover, we may be selling ourselves short.
WHEN TALKING RATIOS AND APPLYING PRIORITY, YOU MUST APPLY 100% EFFORT TO TRAINING, ANOTHER 100% TO NUTRITION AND SUPPLEMENTATION, AND YET ANOTHER 100% EACH TO REST AND MENTAL ATTITUDE. IN OTHER WORDS – THERE IS NO SLACKING IN ANY AREA.
A proper combination of resistance training and cardiovascular work will, aided by enough quality nutrients supplied in the right quantities and at the right times, be primarily responsible for promoting the stimulus necessary for muscle growth and optimal fat burning. The take home message here is that for your summer shape up program to work, you must combine all training facets, including rest, recovery, supplementation and mental approach, along with the requisite training and nutrition.
Training Intensity Matters
Though nutrition may be central to training success, a half-hearted approach to hitting the iron will produce few, if any, fresh muscle gains. Undermining the effectiveness of many training plans is the intensity with which we execute and target each muscle group – training intensity really matters when it comes to muscle gains.
THE TRUTH IS, MOST OF US ONLY SCRATCH THE SURFACE OF OUR TRAINING INTENSITY CAPABILITIES, HARDER TRAINING CAN ALMOST ALWAYS BE MANAGED.
By punishing our muscles from the first rep to the last – with no coasting – we stimulate more muscle fibers and create the anabolic conditions needed for super-compensation, or more fully, the extent to which our muscles respond to the enforced overload our gym sessions promote, ultimately becoming larger and stronger.
Rest, Repair & Mindset
Once we have properly depleted our muscles (and, make no mistake, we damage our muscles in the gym, and rebuild them when at rest), we must devote enough time to their repair. Since a larger muscle is a more metabolically active muscle, the more recovery and growth we can achieve, the more efficiently we obliterate our fat reserves, both during cardio activity, and when at rest. In fact, as will be noted in the program below, weight training and nutrition will bring about most of the lean body mass gains you will achieve. Cardio,while necessary for fat loss, is also extremely catabolic (muscle wasting) and if misused will take away from our muscle building efforts, rather than serve as a primary fat burning agent.
Develop a Terminator Mindset
Without a mindset conducive to conceiving, and truly believing, you can achieve all of your goals, along with the ability to ruthlessly pursue, schedule and following each in turn, your plan may prove unattainable.
KNOWING WHAT YOU WANT, AND HAVING THE WILL AND PERSEVERANCE TO ACHIEVE IT, ARE TWO DRASTICALLY DIFFERENT PROPOSITIONS.To properly structure, balance, and rigorously chase your goals you must be able to switch between tasks with ease and continue to press forward despite any hardships or setbacks faced along the way. Developing a stage-ready or beach-worthy physique is not for the faint of heart. Though many try, few truly succeed. You must be part machine, part human, and part animal in your approach to doing all that is necessary to train with full force, eat all prescribed meals, achieve complete rest, eliminate all outside distractions, and visualize nothing but success.
12 Week Training ProgramBecause of the importance of hard training to achieving unprecedented muscle building results this program emphasizes intensity over volume. Cardiovascular exercise is judiciously included and clean eating will be mandatory to ensure we steadily lose stored body fat. All sets to be taken to failure: if further reps can be completed following achievement of prescribed rep range, increase weight. This program includes no fancy intensity methods other than supersets; intensity is to be created through lifting the heaviest weight possible and by going to absolute failure on each set. For all 12-weeks, you must work to continue increasing weight on all lifts; make this your number one training priority – to get stronger while maintaining perfect form.
MondayMorning: (before breakfast) 30 minutes of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) cardio 30 seconds at 70% of maximal heart rate/30 seconds at 90% of maximal heart rate, back to back to completion. Evening: Back and Biceps
- Chin Ups: 4 x 8-12 (add weight once bodyweight becomes less challenging)
- Reverse-grip Pulldowns superset with Single Arm Dumbbell (DB) Rows: 3 x 8-12
- Bent-over Barbell Rows (overhand grip): 2 x 6-8
- Rack Deadlifts: 3 x 8-10
- Incline DB Curls superset with DB Hammer Curls: 3 x 8-12
- Barbell Curls: 3 x 8-12
TuesdayMorning: Steady State Cardio 40 minutes at 75-80% of maximal heart rate Evening: Chest & Triceps
- Incline DB Press superset with Incline DB Flyes: 3 x 8-12
- Medium-width Bench Press superset with Close-grip Bench Press: 3 x 8-12
- Decline DB Flyes: 3 x 8-10
- Single Arm DB Overhead Triceps Extensions superset with DB Kickbacks: 3 x 8-12
- Lying Barbell Triceps Extensions: 3 x 8-10
- Rope Press-downs: 2 x 8-12
WednesdayMorning: (before breakfast): 30 minutes of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) cardio 30 seconds at 70% of maximal heart rate/30 seconds of 90% of maximal heart rate, back to back to completion.
- Barbell Squats: 2 x 8-12
- Barbell Squats superset with Leg Extensions: 2 x 10-15
- Leg Extensions: 2 x 8-12
- Walking Lunges: 3 x 15 (each leg)
- Leg Press: 2 x 8-12
- Standing Calf Raise: 3 x 15-20
- Seated Calf Raise superset with Toe Presses on the Leg Press Machine: 3 x 10-15
FridayMorning: (before breakfast): 30 minutes of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) cardio 30 seconds at 70% of maximal heart rate/30 seconds of 90% of maximal heart rate, back to back to completion.
SaturdayEvening: Shoulders and Abs
- Standing DB Lateral Raise: 3 x 8-12
- Bent-over DB Raise superset with Standing DB Press: 3 x 8-12
- DB Front Raise superset with DB Shrugs: 3 x 8-12
- Swiss Ball Crunches superset with Hanging Leg Raises: 3 x 15-30
- Knee Raise (from bench): 4 x 15-25
12 Week Nutrition Plan
To ensure optimal hormonal health and consistent fat burning results, work in one cheat/high calorie day per week during which three carbohydrate grams per pound of body weight may be consumed and 1-2 meals may comprise any off-limits foods you fancy (each meal totalling 800 calories). Such high calorie days are an effective way to elevate the metabolic rate, restore thyroid function and (with the inclusion of saturated fats) boost testosterone levels. Trial this approach for 2-3 weeks to see if it works for you; depending on your body type and metabolic rate you may need to schedule two of these days per week or one every 8-10 days. Vary the overall caloric intake of this diet based on your present body fat levels and dietary requirements. For example, if your body fat levels exceed 13% (for males) or 20% (for females) and you find it difficult to lose weight, calories may need to be scaled down accordingly, or adjusted up if your BF levels are in the single digits and/or your body type is more ectomorphic. This can be done by modifying carbohydrate and fat intake accordingly. Protein is to be maintained as prescribed. It is encouraged that you mix and match the following meal options to ensure a varied nutrient intake, and adherence to your diet.
Meal 1Option 1: 150 grams of baked potato; 100 grams of broccoli; 1 whole egg; 6 egg whites Option 2: 1 cup of brown rice; 100 grams of chicken breast; 1 apple Recommended Supplements:
- One VITAFEMME multi-vitamin pack
- 1 gram of Vitamin C
- 1 scoop ISOFLEX
- 1 Omega 3
Meal 2Option 1: 120 grams of water packed tuna; 1 cup of brown rice; Option 2: 120 grams of chicken breast; 1 cup of whole wheat pasta
Meal 3Option 1: 120 grams of lean red meat; 150 grams of baked potato; one apple Option 2: 7 egg whites; 100 grams of green beans; 150 grams of sweet potato Recommended Supplements:
- 1 serving Omega 3
- 1 gram of Vitamin C
- 25 g of ISOFLEX (directly after evening training session)
- 1 serving of CARBION+, a quality Carbohydrate formulation (directly after evening training session)
Meal 4Option 1: 150 grams of baked potato; 100 grams of beets; 100 grams of broccoli; 120 grams of chicken breast Option 2: 120 grams of cabbage; 100 grams of asparagus; 1 cup of brown rice; 120 grams of lean red meat
Meal 5Option 1: 7 egg whites Option 2: 100 grams of low fat cottage cheese Recommended Supplements:
- 15 grams of CASEIN-FX protein