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No part of this report may be reproduced or transmitted in any form whatsoever, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any informational storage or retrieval system without expressed written, dated and signed permission from the author. All copyrights are reserved.

Copyright Notice

Disclaimer and/or Legal Notices
The information provided in this book is for educational purposes only. I am not a doctor and this is not meant to be taken as medical advice. The information provided in this book is based upon my experiences as well as my interpretations of the current research available. The advice and tips given in this course are meant for healthy adults only. You should consult your physician to ensure the tips given in this course are appropriate for your individual circumstances. If you have any health issues or pre-existing conditions, please consult with your physician before implementing any of the information provided in this course. This product is for informational purposes only and the author does not accept any responsibilities for any liabilities or damages, real or perceived, resulting from the use of this information.

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Table of Contents
Introduction Chapter 1: How to Lose Weight Chapter 2: Spend Less Time Exercising Chapter 3: Strength Training Routine Chapter 4: Bodyweight Routine Chapter 5: Six Pack Abs Routine Chapter 6: Cardio Routine Chapter 7: Intermittent Fasting Diet Chapter 8: Cheat Day Diet Chapter 9: Muscle Building Supplements Chapter 10: Fitness in a Flash Summary 4 5 11 15 20 25 30 37 45 47 53

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Introduction
Why Am I Writing This?
This book was written for the average person who’s looking to lose weight without spending hours in the gym. Whether you have 10lbs to lose or want to gain 10lbs of muscle, my belief is that you can do it in just 3-4 hours per week…and I’m going to show you how!

Who Am I?

My name is Dave, and I run a fitness blog, Not Your Average Fitness Tips. For years, I struggled to find the best approach to weight loss and muscle gain. Despite a terrible diet that consisted of everything from pizza to burgers to ice cream, I survived by excessively exercising. All that changed after the birth of my son. I no longer had hours on end to exercise to offset my poor diet, and my body paid for it. To top it off, being in your 30s isn’t like being in your teens and early 20s. Six months later I was at the highest weight and highest body fat I had ever seen. I decided it was time to get back in shape. I really only had 30 minutes per day to commit to exercise so I knew that I was going to have to focus on my diet. I had to find an approach that was going to allow me some freedom since I enjoy my fair share of sweets as well.

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An Approach That Works

By combining high intensity exercising with a flexible diet, I was able to cut my body fat almost to single digits while losing more than 15lbs. Despite being in my 30s, I have a body that compares favorably to the one I had during high school when I was exercising 2 hours per day because of football and wrestling practices.

Help Me Help You

I hope the approaches and routines outlined in this book will help you get in the best shape possible. I’ve tailored this book so that anyone from beginners to advanced exercisers can learn something. There are fat loss tips as well as muscle gaining tips spread across various workout routines and diet plans. If you have any additional questions about the methods or would like to share your success story, I’d encourage you to participate in the active commentary on my blog at Not Your Average Fitness Tips. Wishing you fantastic fitness success!

Dave

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Chapter 1: How To Lose Weight
Weight Loss Equation
Weight loss is made overly complicated by a lot of people. The following equation lays out the real way to lose weight:

Calories Eaten – Calories Expended Exercising < BMR
The complication comes in defining these variables.

Calories Eaten

There’s nothing hard about counting calories, right? Wrong! Even if you look at packaging labels, it’s challenging to determine exactly what portion size you eat for most foods. Unless you weigh all your food (a major headache!), this can lead to a 20-30% difference in the estimate of how many calories you eat. That’s 400-600 calories on a 2,000 calorie per day diet, enough to gain or lose a pound of weight every week (3,500 calorie excess/deficit = 1lb gain/loss).

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Calories Expended Exercising

To determine how many calories you expend exercising, you can safely assume 500-600 calories per hour for intense exercise. The challenge is that intensity changes throughout your routine meaning that you might only burn 300 calories in an hour of exercise. Those differences in calories burned add up over time (difference of 200-300 calories per day = difference of 1,400-2,100 calories per week)

BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate)

The final determinant of weight loss is your basal metabolic rate (calculator here). This represents the amount of calories you burn even if you stayed in bed all day. The problem is trying to adjust for an activity factor. Simply comparing a sedentary factor of 1.2 to a moderate exercise factor of 1.55 leads to a difference of over 500 calories per day. Again, that’s one pound per week!

A Simpler Weight Loss Equation

Because of the variability in the key components of weight loss, I like to dumb down the equation even further:

Calories Eaten < BMR (no activity factor)
By using this equation, any exercise you perform will lead directly to weight loss. Not adjusting for the activity factor will help offset any underestimate in
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calories eaten. Yes, the number of calories eaten will be low, but nobody ever said losing weight was easy! Give this strategy a try. If you’re losing weight too quickly and feel like you’re burning muscle, slowly eat more food. If you’re not losing weight quickly enough, continue to cut more calories. Over time you’ll find a good equilibrium.

Diet vs. Exercise

Now that you know how to lose weight, the next logical question is what to do to lose weight. Most people naturally gravitate toward exercise to lose weight. However, a great diet is much more effective than a great workout routine. Even a person with the worst workout routine could lose weight and get in pretty good shape if they committed to a strong diet. No amount of exercise can topple a really bad diet though. Why does this happen? Let me describe a simple situation. It takes you a minute to eat a nice fattening candy bar. You just added 300 calories to your diet. It probably takes 30 minutes to burn off those calories. So it takes 30 times as much work to burn the calories as it did to eat them. Would you rather cut

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300 calories by not eating the candy bar in the first place or by exercising intensely for 30 minutes? Ultimately you only have so much time to exercise which is why dieting is the most effective way to lose weight. In general, 75-80% of results will come from a diet while only 20-25% will come from exercise. The one caveat is that once you get close to your target weight, this changes a bit as you can only cut so many calories. When you really want to lean out to see your abs, a good strength training routine and cardio program become necessary.

Lose Fat, Gain Muscle

While many will argue that you can’t lose fat and gain muscle at the same time, I think it’s possible. You certainly can’t add 10lbs of muscle and lose 10lbs of fat simultaneously (unless you’re a beginner or use steroids), but you can trim a lot of excess fat while maintaining or slightly building muscle. The key is to use your diet for fat loss and resistance training for muscle gain. Eating less than you expend allows your body to burn fat. If you’re consistently lifting more during each subsequent workout, you’ll gain muscle.

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As previously described, the best way to use diet for fat loss is to ensure that calories eaten are less than BMR. The best way to gain muscle is to keep lifting heavier weights each workout. By forcing your muscles to do more work, they’ll have no choice but to continue growing. If you start to struggle with weightlifting, then perhaps you’ve cut your calories too far and you may risk losing muscle. As long as you can maintain or lift more each workout, your muscles will be fine, and you can watch as your diet helps burn off fat.

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Chapter 2: Spend Less Time Exercising
A Time Efficient Workout
Most people are too busy to commit to exercising for 1-2 hours per day, 6 days per week. I had to find a way to exercise for 3 total hours per week, whether that was 30 minutes per day for 6 days or 1 hour per day for 3 days. To get an effective workout within this time frame, I used many of the principles that Craig Ballantyne lays out in Turbulence Training.

High Intensity Exercising

The key to getting a short but effective workout is that you need to exercise intensely. Whether you are doing a strength training routine or cardio, you need to deploy maximum effort to get the most out of your workout. You shouldn’t be able to carry on a casual conversation during your workout. You should be completely focused on the task at hand. At the end of the day, you’ll be thankful that you finished quickly. Plus, you’ll see tremendous results from your intense effort.

Supersets

One of the main limitations of a strength training routine is that your muscles need rest between sets. Instead of resting
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my muscles, I challenge different muscles during this time period. Essentially, supersets involve performing one exercise after another in succession. Competing supersets mean you work the same muscle with two exercises in a row (barbell curls followed by dumbbell curls). Non-competing supersets involve back to back exercises that work different muscles (bench press, squats). Competing supersets just create additional fatigue for your muscles. Non-competing supersets are the real time saver. Your workout doesn’t really change except that you make use of your rest time.

Circuit Training

Circuits are another great time saver that provide an excellent way to burn fat, build muscle, and get a great cardiovascular workout. Circuit training involves rotating from one exercise to the next with little or no rest. While many people consider this nothing more than glorified cardio, a proper circuit training workout routine can provide all the benefits of a strength training routine combined with a high intensity cardio routine.

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You can put any number of exercises into a circuit but exercise order matters. It’s best to rotate the muscle groups you work rather than perform bench press followed by pushups followed by chest flies. By rotating, you allow one muscle group to rest while you work another. In essence, circuit training is a superset routine without rest.

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Chapter 3: Strength Training Routine
Why Perform Resistance Training
Resistance training, including weightlifting and bodyweight routines, is a great way to build a stronger, better looking body while burning excess calories. Initially, a strength training routine can be kept fairly simple with the focus on good form and compound exercises that work multiple muscle groups. As you advance, changing exercises as well as sets and reps can help you craft your ideal body.

Strength Reps vs. Muscle Mass Reps

There is a lot of confusion about how to use a strength training routine to sculpt a more visually appealing body. There is an antiquated notion that you should do a high number of reps to build muscle tone and a low number of reps to build muscle mass. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Fortunately, Rusty Moore sorts all this out in his book, Visual Impact Muscle Building. First, let’s define muscle tone and muscle mass. Muscle mass is what you would find on a bodybuilder, very large, but somewhat soft looking muscles. Muscle tone is what you would find on an Abercombie model, very tight, yet defined looking
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muscles. Ultimately the type of set and rep scheme you choose to perform will depend on your goal. If you want muscles like an Abercombie model, then it’s best to perform low rep, heavy weight training. In doing so, you want to ensure that your muscles avoid failure by always keeping one rep in the tank. Doing 3-5 sets of 3-5 reps provides a good range for building strength. Many people who train exclusively for strength will perform 5-10 sets of 2-3 reps. If you prefer the bulkier, bodybuilder look, then you should perform high rep training until your muscles are fatigued. By exhausting your muscles, you force them to grow larger. However, in the process, they look less defined. A good starting point for muscle building is 4-5 sets of 12-15 reps. The amount of time you rest between sets also affects muscle growth. For a strength training routine, you want to wait 1-2 minutes until your muscles are fully rested. For a bodybuilding routine, you probably only need to rest 30 seconds to 1 minute to ensure cumulative fatigue for your muscles.

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How you lift weights is also important in developing a particular look. Strength training reps should be slower and more controlled whereas muscle mass reps can be faster since you’re trying to quickly fatigue your muscles. If you’d like to learn how to combine and benefit from both of these approaches, Visual Impact Muscle Building serves as an excellent guide.

Leg Training

It’s a sin in weightlifting culture, but I don’t generally recommend direct leg training. While I do recommend exercises like squats, lunges, and deadlifts for beginners, I think more advanced exercisers can avoid these. Generally, lifting heavy weights with your lower body leads to a bulky, thick look, rather than the nice V shape with a narrow waist that most people prefer. Once you start performing a cardio routine using high intensity interval training, your leg muscles should be receiving all the exercise they need.

How Often to Workout

I think exercising 3-4 days per week is adequate to lose fat or gain muscle. However, every person is different; therefore everyone needs to figure out how often to workout on their own. It’s all done through trial and error. If you’re losing weight and lifting more by exercising 3 times per week, then stick with that. If not, try 4 days per week.
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Personally, I have a couple of different approaches. Some months I prefer to perform 20-30 minute workouts 6 days per week by rotating between strength training and cardio days. Other months, I do 3-4 days of 45 minutes to 1 hour workouts where I perform both strength training and cardio.

How Often to Change Workout Routines

A key to continued success in strength training is changing workout routines. Your muscles adapt to a particular motion over time. Once they become more efficient at that motion, the exercise is no longer as challenging. Therefore, the muscles don’t experience as much growth. I find that changing routines every 4-8 weeks is ideal. It gives your muscles enough time to grow by getting efficient at an exercise. Additionally, it’s a nice psychological change of pace to start a new workout every month or two.

When to Take a Week Off

In conjunction with changing workouts, it’s also important to give your muscle adequate time to rest and grow. You shouldn’t be working the same muscle groups, including abs, two days in a row. Additionally, it’s good to take 4 days off after 6 weeks and a full 7 day rest after 12 weeks of exercising. While people worry about muscle loss, most find that they come back stronger after these rest periods.

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Sample Workout Routine

Here is a workout routine that I adapted from Visual Impact Muscle Building. I’ve taken the principles of Phase 3 (building lean, defined muscles) and created supersets with a few compound exercises so that I get an effective, time efficient workout. I like to pair a barbell exercise with a dumbbell exercise to avoid changing weights between exercises. The whole superset routine takes around 15-20 minutes, including setting up and changing weights between sets. Most times I’ll add a 10 minute conditioning workout afterwards to elevate my heart rate and accelerate fat burning. When: 3 days per week, 20-30 minutes per day; I rotate the order of supersets each day Sets/Reps: 3 sets of 3 reps; first set is a warm up set done with slow, controlled reps using 60-80% of training weight Superset 1: Closed Grip Bench Press, Individual Seated Dumbbell Curls Superset 2: Incline Dumbbell Press, Standing Barbell Curls Superset 3: Standing Barbell Shoulder Press, Abs (Leg Raises, Planks, Renegade Rows)

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Conditioning (optional): choose from the following Circuit Training (Various Barbell, Dumbbell Exercises) Bodyweight Circuits (Pull Ups, Dips, Inverted Row, Pushups) Kickboxing Routine (Weighted Punches, Kicks) Cardio Routine or Plyometric Training Exercises

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Chapter 4: Bodyweight Routine
Build Functional Strength
While weightlifting is a great way to add strength, bodyweight exercises are a way to add amazing functional strength. The core exercises that I utilize in my bodyweight routine include pushups, pull ups, dips, and inverted rows. Pushups and dips utilize pushing motions while pull ups and inverted rows utilize pulling motions.

Convict Conditioning includes some of my favorite bodyweight exercises. The goal of this program is to perform one-arm pushups, one-legged squats, one-arm pull ups, hanging straight leg raises, stand-to-stand bridges, and one-arm handstand pushups. For anyone who has experience with bodyweight exercises, these are certainly lofty goals. However, Convict Conditioning lays out a progressive training routine that allows anyone from a beginner to advanced exerciser to achieve these elite goals. The importance of making bodyweight exercises more challenging should not be understated. High rep pushup training isn’t nearly as effective in developing strength or
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The Best Bodyweight Exercises

muscle mass as low rep training. Unfortunately, traditional full pushups may become too easy too quickly. One-arm pushups are much more challenging.

Plyometric Training Exercises

In addition to these exercises, you can perform bodyweight exercises for legs. As previously mentioned, I tend to avoid direct leg training overall since I think high intensity interval training provides enough of a leg workout. However, if you’re going to do any leg training, I would stick with bodyweight exercises like squats and lunges. In fact, I think a plyometrics training routine utilizing various jumping exercises helps develop explosive leg strength while avoiding the bulky leg and hip look.

Hindu Squats and Hindu Pushups

A couple of other unique exercises that I would recommend trying include Hindu squats and Hindu pushups. Hindu squats work all the muscles in your legs (quads, hamstrings, calves) and also work your hips, lower back, and lungs as well. To perform a Hindu squat, you stand with your hands pulled into your chest. As you lower yourself to squat, extend your hands behind you (downward toward the floor). As you approach the bottom of your squat, raise up on your toes. Propel yourself
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upward, at the same time extending your arms in front of you. Bring your hands in toward your chest and begin a second rep. The key to Hindu squats is that motion should be fluid. Additionally, breathing takes getting used to. Instead of inhaling when you descend and exhaling when you rise as you would for a traditional squat, you exhale as you descend and inhale as you stand up. Done without stopping, Hindu squats lead to a challenging cardiovascular workout. Hindu pushups are a variation on traditional pushups that involve an arching back motion. In addition to the arm and shoulder involvement, this arching helps to incorporate the hips and back. To perform a Hindu pushup, get in a pushup stance. However, spread your legs wide and stick your butt in the air. Your arms will be extended straight in front of you. To execute, bend your elbows, lower your hips, and push through until your arms are straight. Your hips should be very close to the floor and you should be facing forward. Keeping your arms straight, move back into the starting position. Once again, this movement should be relatively fluid.

The Best Full Bodyweight Exercise

Finally, the ultimate in bodyweight training is the burpee. This exercise combines a squat jump with a pushup to create a total body workout. In addition to gaining total body strength, the burpee provides an exceptional cardio routine since your body is constantly in motion.

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To execute a burpee, do a squat from a standing position and throw your legs back so you are in pushup position. Do a pushup and immediately bring your legs back underneath you and jump up. By performing reps rapidly in succession, you’ll find that you’ll get a fantastic cardio benefit in addition to a great arm and leg workout.

Sample Bodyweight Routine

Here is a sample bodyweight routine that I adapted from Convict Conditioning. Because I like quick workouts, I paired the exercises together in superset fashion. I follow the progressions as outlined by Convict Conditioning. When: 3 days per week, 20-30 minutes per day Sets/Reps: 2 sets of 10-20 reps (varies by exercise) Superset 1: One-Arm Pushups, One-Legged Squats Superset 2: One-Arm Pull Ups, Stand-to-Stand Bridges Superset 3: One-Arm Handstand Pushups, Hanging Straight Leg Raises Superset 4: Burpees, Planks

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Conditioning (optional): choose from the following Circuit Training (Various Barbell, Dumbbell Exercises) Kickboxing Routine (Weighted Punches, Kicks) Cardio Routine or Plyometric Training Exercises

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Chapter 5: Six Pack Abs Routine
A Six Pack Abs Secret
Want to know a secret? Crunches don’t help you get six pack abs. This is a secret that the fitness industry has been hiding for years. Doctors and physical trainers know that crunches only serve to hurt your back and posture. Think of what the function of abdominal muscles is: to keep your back straight. Why would a crunching exercise help keep your back straight? Additionally, there is a myth that you can spot reduce fat in your abs. Unfortunately, the truth is that you need to perform high intensity exercising to burn fat in order to see your abs. In fact, you could probably do nothing else for your abs but a regular strength training and cardio routine and still develop a nice six pack if you lost enough fat.

How to Get Washboard Abs

That being said, I think there’s value in increasing your core strength which will serve to help you get better looking abs. So, how do you increase core strength? Planks. Yes, the yoga
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plank is one of the best exercises to develop core strength. To perform a plank, get in a pushup position (the “down” position) with your stomach on the ground. Instead of lifting with your hands, raise your body up on your forearms and toes and hold the position. You may not feel anything at first but after a minute, holding your back perfectly straight becomes very challenging. Try to do this for 2 minutes. If regular planks become too easy, there are a variety of plank exercises that can add to the challenge. You can perform weighted planks, side planks, stability ball planks, one-arm or one-leg planks, or even the human flag.

Other Abdominal Strengthening Exercises

There are a couple of other exercises I recommend to help develop abs. The first is renegade rows. Essentially this is maintaining a plank-like position while performing one-arm rows. Another recommended exercise is hanging straight leg raises. You’ll require significant abdominal and core strength to lift your legs multiple times. To perform renegade rows, take a set of dumbbells and get in a pushup position (the “up” position) with your feet spread about shoulder width apart. With one arm, slowly pull the dumbbell up to the side of your body without twisting your back and slowly lower it. Repeat with the other arm. Renegade rows require you to tense up your abs to maintain your balance. I recommend starting with very light dumbbells

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until you get the correct form. Try to aim for 3 sets of 5 reps alternating between each arm. Hanging straight leg raises are part of Convict Conditioning. You hang from a pull up bar and slowly raise and lower your legs. The key is to avoid momentum or swinging and really utilize the strength of your abs to move your legs.

Visually Appealing Abs

Finally, a way to improve the look of your abs is through breathing exercises. I perform the Farmer Burns stomach flattener and stomach vacuum exercise as part of my training. Because these are breathing exercises, they can be done every day. The value in these exercises is that your abs will develop muscle memory. Over time you will be able to walk around with tighter abs without consciously flexing them. The Farmer Burns stomach flattener exercise involves taking in a deep breath and “exhaling without exhaling” while tightening your abs: 1. Stand up straight with your feet shoulder width apart. 2. Take a deep breath through your nose filling your lungs with air, but keep your abs from expanding.

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3. Flex your abs while trying to force the breath out. However, you want to minimize the amount you actually breathe out. I leave my mouth slightly open while tightening my abs. It can help to clench your fists to really tense and tighten yours abs. 4. Continue forcefully flexing your abs while slightly exhaling in this manner for 5-10 seconds and then allow your breath to completely escape before taking in a new breath of fresh air. The stomach vacuum consists of exhaling all the air in your lungs while sucking in your stomach: 1. Start from a bent over position with your hands on your knees. 2. Exhale all the air from your lungs. 3. Slightly rise up while sucking in your stomach but avoid taking in any air. 4. Hold your stomach in for 5-10 seconds before exhaling and repeating. I perform a slight modification as well, rising all the way to a standing position and slightly arching my back to work my upper abs. As a starting point, just focus on the steps above without standing up straight.

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Shrink Wrap Effect

It’s highly challenging to get visible abs since you generally have to get your body fat below 10%. Everyone’s body carries fat differently though. One thing you need to keep in mind is that if you’ve lost a lot of weight, you likely have loose skin around your abs. It takes time for this skin to adjust to your new, tighter body. As a result, you might not be able to see your abs for a while. Rusty Moore of Visual Impact Muscle Building offers a free 9 page report on “shrink wrapping” your abs that you can download for free here (right click and select “Save As”). Page 8 highlights the exact strategy that you should use.

Sample Six Pack Abs Routine

This is a fairly simple six pack abs routine that I regularly incorporate in my training. It’s nothing advanced but should help you get better looking abs and a strong core. For more advanced tips, you may want to check out the Truth About Six Pack Abs. Farmer Burn’s Stomach Flattener: 2-5 minutes Stomach Vacuum: 10 reps Hanging Straight Leg Raises: 2 sets of 10-30 reps Weighted Planks: 1-2 minutes Right Side Plank: 1-2 minutes Left Side Plank: 1-2 minutes
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Chapter 6: Cardio Routine
Fat Burning Zone Myth
The first thing you have to realize about a cardio routine is that the fat burning zone is a myth. This myth states that you burn more fat by performing slow, steady state cardio than by performing high intensity interval training. The myth is perpetuated by the fact that you burn a higher percentage of calories from fat during a steady state cardio routine. However, the high intensity interval training routine burns more calories overall and more total calories from fat as well. It’s not pleasant, but if you’re trying to lose weight, you’re going to have to perform high intensity exercising and not limit yourself to a steady state cardio routine.

HIIT Workout Routine

HIIT stands for high intensity interval training. Essentially, you alternate really intense short periods of exercise with active recovery periods. For example, you may sprint for 1530 seconds and walk or jog lightly for 1 minute. HIIT is fantastic for fat loss. The intensity of the exercise results in a release of fatty acids into your bloodstream as well as a release of HGH (human growth hormone) which helps burn fat while preserving muscle. Additionally, your legs get an exceptionally good workout and you burn a lot of calories. However, the biggest benefit is that you continue burning
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calories after the completion of your workout due to an afterburn effect known as EPOC. The downside of HIIT is that you can’t perform such a routine every day due to its intensity. Just like a strength training routine, you should allow your legs to rest for at least a day between HIIT workouts. The variables of a HIIT workout routine include sprint interval length and recovery length. By performing shorter, more intense sprint intervals of less than 30 seconds, you will get a stronger HGH and fatty acid release. Intervals longer than 30 seconds require more perceived effort resulting in more calories burned and depletion of glycogen which allows your body to burn more fat after your workout. The recovery interval provides time for your muscles to recover. It is represented in a ratio of recovery to sprint. A 15 second sprint and 45 second recovery would be a 3:1 ratio. The longer the recovery (2:1 or 3:1), the more effort you can exert in the following sprint interval. Once again, this results in a higher HGH release while helping to avoid overtraining. A shorter recovery of 1:1 results in lactic acid buildup, glycogen

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depletion, and a greater after burn effect (EPOC). This increases the risk of overtraining though. I think the best cardio for weight loss routine involves a combination of the above and also incorporates steady state cardio. By starting with short intervals, you release fatty acids into the bloodstream. This is followed by steady state cardio. While steady state cardio is terrible at releasing fatty acids, it’s excellent for burning fatty acids once in the bloodstream. Finally, the routine concludes with long intervals to deplete glycogen and ensure a caloric after burn effect.

Advanced HIIT Training

Once you get really lean, you may be able to blast through a fat loss plateau by trying to increase VO2 Max. Studies have shown that fit people, as measured by VO2 Max, burn more fat after a workout than people who weren’t fit. So if you can increase VO2 Max and become “more fit,” you can increase your fat burning potential as well. The best way to increase VO2 Max is to perform long interval training workouts early in the week and short interval training workouts later in the week. This type of routine has a high risk for overtraining and should only be used for a few weeks at a time.

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Tabata Protocol

The Tabata protocol is the ultimate form of HIIT. It’s a 4 minute routine that is as intense as any workout you’ll ever perform. The routine involves all out sprints for 20 seconds followed by 10 seconds of rest. This is repeated for 8 sets or a total of 4 minutes. This type of workout can be done with cardio but can also be done with weights or bodyweight circuits. As described above, the fat burning effects from such an intense routine will accumulate for hours after completion of your workout. The Tabata protocol has been shown to increase both aerobic and anaerobic capacity as well compared to moderate intensity exercise that only increases aerobic capacity.

Walking Benefits

Intense exercise is great for fat loss, but walking can actually be more beneficial to your overall health. Walking has been shown to offer numerous health benefits: 1. Lower risk of heart disease or stroke 2. Lower blood pressure and bad cholesterol 3. Lower risk of breast cancer or type 2 diabetes 4. Strengthens bones 5. Controls joint swelling 6. Weight loss 7. Emotional benefits: lower stress, better sleep
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Another big benefit is that you spend less time sitting. Studies have shown that 35% of people who spend 75% of the day sitting will have a shorter life span than those who spend just 25% of the day sitting. Walking reduces both hemostasis and inflammation, leading to improved cardiovascular health. High intensity exercise only reduces hemostasis. Therefore, walking’s real value is that it is not a high intensity exercise. Because of this, you reduce inflammation. That being said, high intensity exercise is still the preferred way to reduce body fat and increase endurance. However, for cardiovascular health, nothing beats a nice walk.

Plyometric Training Exercises

If you don’t like cardio machines, plyometrics can serve as a great alternative. Such exercises help improve both power and speed. However, most routines are flawed in that they focus on high volume training. Just like a strength training routine, the best plyometrics routine involves low rep training. Because plyometrics involve explosive movements that require a significant effort, you will burn off glycogen which will help lead to fat loss. I tend to use these as a substitute for HIIT from time to time.

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Sample Cardio Routines
Best Cardio for Weight Loss Short interval HIIT: 8 sets of 15 second sprint, 45 second slow jog (8 minutes total) Steady state cardio: 15-25 minutes light jog Long interval HIIT: 5 sets of 1 minute fast jog, 1 minute slow job (10 minutes total) Best Cardio to Increase VO2 Max Day 1: 4 minutes running, 3 minutes walking for a total of 30 minutes Day 2: 2 minutes running, 2 minutes walking for a total of 30 minutes Day 3: Off Day 4: 1 minute running, 1 minute walking for 15 minutes followed by 15 minutes steady state cardio Day 5: 30 seconds running, 30 seconds walking for 10 minutes followed by 20 minutes steady state cardio Day 6-7: Off Plyometrics Training This is a routine I adapted from various sources, including The Jump Manual. 1. One Leg Calf Raises (50 reps each leg): high reps actually work well for calf muscles.

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2. Step Ups on 2ft box (10 reps each leg): step on a box and jump as high as you can; I prefer to land with the alternate leg on the box and switch off but you can do one leg at a time. 3. Leap Ups (5 reps): slightly bend your knees and explode upwards. 4. Depth Jumps from 2ft box (5 reps): jump off the box to about 2ft away and immediately leap up as high as you can. 5. Burn Outs (100 reps): stand as high as you can on your tip toes and bounce a couple inches in the air; kind of like jumping rope without the rope. 6. Standing Broad Jump (5 reps): with your feet flat on the ground, jump as far as you can horizontally. 7. Lateral Jumps (10 reps): hop back and forth over an object (like a cone) ensuring that you bring your knees up high. 8. Squat Jumps (10 reps): do a quarter squat and jump up high. 9. 4-Square (10 reps): imagine standing in a box with 4 squares. You start in square 1. Jump right to square 2, then back to square 3, then left to square 4, then forward to square 1. Reverse the motion going from 1 to 4 to 3 to 2 to 1. That’s one rep. 10. Jump Onto 2ft Box (5 reps): jump high and get those knees up. 11. Squat Bounce (50 reps): get in a very low squat position, slightly on your toes. Bounce a couple inches off the ground. 12. Drop Jump w/Knees to Chest (5 reps): jump off a 2ft box to about 2ft away. Absorb the impact for 2-3 seconds and then jump, bringing your knees to your chest.

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Chapter 7: Intermittent Fasting Diet
Conventional Diets
Conventional wisdom says that you should eat 5-6 small meals per day. Conventional wisdom also says that you can’t cheat on your diet. Well call me unconventional then because I’ve managed to lose a significant amount of weight and get to my lowest body fat level ever by skipping breakfast and lunch twice a week and eating whatever I want once per week. Even better, I’m not an outlier when it comes to the successfulness of these approaches. In fact, scientific research actually supports intermittent fasting and cheat days. If you’ve struggled with calorie restrictive diets, maybe it’s time to take a more unconventional approach...the only thing you have to lose is weight! Before I discuss intermittent fasting, it’s worth mentioning the problems with low fat and low carb diets. Any diet that helps you maintain a caloric restriction is going to help you lose weight. However, a diet’s success really depends on your ability to perform in the long-term. Research backs me up on this as restrictive diets generally fail because a person eventually can’t endure that lifestyle forever.

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The Problem with Low Fat Diets

The theory is that by limiting fat intake, your body won’t store excess fat and you lower your risk for heart disease. However, you need to differentiate between bad fat (saturated) and good fat (unsaturated). Bad fat causes all the health problems while good fat has actually been shown to improve health. By eliminating all fat from your diet, you may actually be negatively impacting your health. The big problem with low fat diets is that you tend to overeat carbohydrates. Fat actually makes you feel fuller than protein or carbs. If you take fat calories out of your diet and replace them with carbs, you won’t be able to lose weight since you’ll still be eating at a caloric surplus. If you can successfully remove fat from your diet without increasing your intake of carbs, then you will in fact lose weight. Over the long-term, it’s unreasonable to expect that you’ll be able to maintain a diet free of fat. Think of the lifestyle impact of constantly trying to avoid fat. You won’t ever leave the house again. Plus, there is very little variety in foods you can consume if you eliminate fat from your diet. This may be a successful short-term approach, but you will most likely fail in the long-term.

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The Problem with Low Carb Diets

This is the diet that was popularized by Dr. Atkins. The theory is that by limiting carbohydrate intake, your body will reduce insulin levels. High insulin levels are generally seen as a cause for storing body fat. The problem with a low carb diet is that you eliminate healthy foods like fruits and vegetables from your diet. Additionally, you may overcompensate for not eating carbs by eating too much fat which could increase the risk of heart disease. Low carb diets are successful for short-term weight loss. By eliminating carbs from your diet, you have a very limited array of foods that you can eat. In this manner, the amount of calories you eat is actually reduced causing short-term weight loss. One problem is that some of this weight loss is water weight and some is even lean muscle since your muscles need carbs to intensely exercise and grow. The biggest problem with low carb diets is that they are socially awkward. Avoiding carbs in a social setting is extremely difficult. It’s a lifestyle that I don’t think many people could live with for an extended period of time which means that the short-term weight loss will dissipate over the long-term.

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Fasting is a word that people fear. The associations include starvation mode, metabolism slowdown, and muscle loss. These may be true if you go too long without eating or stop resistance training, but research has shown that short-term intermittent fasting is highly effective for fat burning. There are a number of popular intermittent fasting approaches but I think the method laid out by Brad Pilon in Eat Stop Eat is the most lifestyle friendly. The general approach is to fast for a 24 hour period 1-2 times per week. For example, I stop eating after dinner on Sunday around 6pm and fast until 6pm on Monday by skipping breakfast and lunch. I drink plenty of water though.

Intermittent Fasting Overview

Intermittent Fasting Benefits

Even if fasting doesn’t have any negative connotations, why would anyone want to skip a couple meals? Because fasting offers several distinct benefits: 1. Weight loss: by skipping two meals twice per week, you cut out a significant number of calories. If you normally eat 3 meals per day, 7 days per week, you are cutting out 4 of 21 meals…almost 20% of your weekly calories!

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2. Fat loss: Brad goes into all the scientific details but fasting helps your body release more fatty acids and burn those fatty acids significantly faster than normal. 3. Reduced insulin levels: high insulin levels result in fat storage; by controlling these levels, you can keep your body in fat burning mode. 4. Increased growth hormone (HGH) levels: HGH is a hormone that burns fat while preserving muscle. Fasting offers increased levels without illegal injections that some celebrities and athletes have been caught using.

Intermittent Fasting Approach

I hope this list of benefits has offered a glimpse into how effective intermittent fasting can be. That being said, you still may not think you could possibly skip any meals, let alone 2 in a row. I recommend a phased approach: Week 1: Eliminate eating after dinner. Assuming 6pm dinner and 6am breakfast, you’re already halfway home! Week 2: Eliminate eating between meals. Just eat breakfast, lunch and dinner on your fasting days. Week 3: Eliminate lunch. Week 4: Eliminate breakfast.

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The first 3-4 times you fast will be challenging, but once you succeed, you’ll know it’s worthwhile. You won’t be as dependent on food either.

Intermittent Fasting Flexibility

You don’t necessarily need to make dinner your one daily meal either. You could easily eat breakfast while skipping lunch and dinner. The key is to avoid calories for 24 hours. Don’t compensate by overeating before or after the fast either. By employing this method, you have much more freedom to eat whatever you like during the rest of the week. When I first started fasting, I still ate dessert every night and had meals like pizza and hamburgers. I successfully lost a lot of fat just by fasting twice per week. The great thing is that I could keep this up forever since I’m not sacrificing my favorite foods. Calorie restrictive diets may work in the short-term, but they’ve been shown to fail in the long term. Intermittent fasting works for the long-term.

While I’ve found Eat Stop Eat to be a very successful intermittent fasting diet, I think it’s worth describing the daily approach in comparison to the weekly approach. With these intermittent fasting approaches, you can either have a daily window of eating or for 1-2 days per week, go a full day
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Daily vs. Weekly Fasting

without eating. The daily approach is advocated by the Warrior Diet and Fast-5 amongst others. Essentially you intake all your calories within a 4-6 hour window. The other 18-20 hours are free of calories. Weekly fasting involves avoiding calories for a 24 hour period of time without overcompensating by eating more before or after the fast. The biggest advantage to daily fasting is stubborn fat loss. Not eating for as little as 15-18 hours ramps up your body’s fat burning potential. Doing this on a daily basis can really help you lose belly fat or other stubborn areas. Another advantage to daily fasting is that you still get to eat a full day’s worth of calories every day. A disadvantage is that you may be tempted to overeat during your window of eating meaning you might not eat at the caloric deficit necessary to lose weight. Weekly fasting only needs to be done 1-2 times per week so it’s a little more flexible than daily fasting. You go a full 24 hours without eating by skipping two meals. Doing so not only increases fat burning potential, but also leads to significant fat loss. In fact, fat calories are burned the fastest between hours 18-24 of a fast. Just like daily fasting, you have to ensure you don’t overeat before or after fasting. However, it’s easier to have that discipline 1-2 times per week than it is every day. By doing so, you will create a significant caloric deficit for the week

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allowing you to lose weight without significantly restricting calories the rest of the week. I find both approaches useful for weight loss. Weekly fasting as advocated by Eat Stop Eat was a great starting point for me to lose excess fat. It’s flexible and really helps create an overall weekly caloric deficit. Once I got really lean, I started to add in 18 hour daily fasts here and there to get more fat burning benefits. I only do daily fasting for 3-4 weeks at a time though because of the temptation to overeat during the eating window. At the end of the day, I’d recommend choosing whatever approach seems best suited for your lifestyle. I think either will offer you significant fat burning benefits you won’t see from other diets. So why not give one of these intermittent fasting weight loss approaches a try?

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Chapter 8: Cheat Day Diet
Cheat Your Way Thin
Despite the success of intermittent fasting, once I really leaned out, I had to take a more restrictive, healthier approach during the week to lose more body fat. I eliminated saturated fat and refined sugar. However, with a wife and family, it was too hard to maintain that discipline during weekends. I had to incorporate one cheat day per week on Saturday or Sunday. As counterintuitive as it may seem, this actually helped boost fat burning. Joel Marion, author of Cheat Your Way Thin, offers the scientific rationale for why cheat days accelerate fat loss. Our body contains a hormone called leptin that is responsible for regulating hunger and burning fat. By eating a restrictive diet, leptin levels fall making it more difficult to burn fat. This can happen in as little as a week. The solution is to create a spike in leptin levels by purposely eating foods high in fat and carbs one day per week. This one cheat day can restore leptin levels to normal allowing fat burning to continue. In addition, cheat days have emotional eating benefits as well. They allow me to get my fix of sweets and treats and not
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sacrifice my lifestyle. Every Saturday or Sunday (not both), I can eat whatever food I want, in whatever quantity I want. Cheats days are also a good reminder of what it feels like to overeat. After gorging myself, I often feel lethargic and slow and realize why it’s important for me to eat healthy until next weekend.

Combining Intermittent Fasting and Cheat Days

Overall, losing weight is about expending more calories than you take in. By following a cheat day with a fasting day, you can still create a weekly caloric deficit. If you eat healthy at a slight caloric deficit for the remainder of the week and throw in a fasting day at the end of the week, you should see a huge drop in weight and body fat. I’d highly recommend giving intermittent fasting a try. If you can’t bring yourself to do that, Cheat Your Way Thin offers a carb cycling approach while still allowing you one cheat day per week. Ultimately, doing both approaches together makes for a great fat loss combo.

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Chapter 9: Muscle Building Supplements
Protein
Protein is on everyone’s list of favorite “supplements.” Mainstream bodybuilding magazines have brainwashed exercisers into thinking they need 200-300 grams per day to build muscle. However, most of that is conjecture. Few people have actually taken the time to examine studies on protein and muscle building. While carbs and fat are generally considered sin foods, protein is hailed as a muscle building macronutrient. The truth of the matter is that if you eat too much protein, your body will ultimately break it down into fat. In others words, you can’t eat 5,000 calories a day and expect all those excess calories to turn into muscle. That being said, getting a minimum amount of protein is important for muscle building. The Recommend Daily Allowance for adults is 0.4 grams per pound of bodyweight. This is the level required to maintain muscle mass. Notice that this is significantly below the bodybuilding recommendations of 1-2g per pound. Just remember that those publications have a vested interest in selling you the benefits of protein since a lot of advertising dollars comes from protein manufacturers.
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The best study I’ve found on protein was done by Brad Pilon. His How Much Protein report summarizes a broad range of studies and finds that you need significantly less protein than recommended by bodybuilding publications. In fact, the amount needed to grow muscle is only slightly more than the Recommended Daily Allowance. That being said, there is no downside to eating too much protein (aside from cost) as long as your overall calories are under control. When I want to get really lean, I actually have protein shakes after dinner as a dessert replacement or for lunch as an entire meal replacement. They’re useful in that you can more easily monitor how many calories you’re drinking and that there is limited sugar and saturated fat. One key point to realize is that protein intake does not lead directly to muscle growth. In other words, if you eat twice as much protein, you won’t double your muscle growth.

Post Workout Nutrition

Most people tout the benefits of protein shakes for post workout nutrition. In fact, many argue that you should intake a mix of protein and carbs immediately after a workout. However, I think you should wait 1-2 hours.

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The reason that most advocate ingesting calories immediately is that you’re body is in an anabolic state where it is poised to turn a combination of whey protein and dextrose into muscle. The unfortunate reality is that the study that showed this was done on 70 year old men. If you think a 70 year old is representative of your demographic, then you can keep drinking your protein/carb shakes as soon as you finish your workout. How Much Protein goes into more details about this. On the other hand, I like to wait 1-2 hours. What difference does that make? After an intense workout, your body has increased HGH (human growth hormone) levels. HGH allows you to burn fat while maintaining muscle. Take advantage of that fat burning time frame without worrying about muscle loss. The effects deteriorate a couple hours after your workout so enjoy them while they last. Eating immediately after a workout will cause an insulin spike which reduces HGH back to normal levels. As for what to eat after a workout, it’s up for grabs. If you enjoy protein shakes, have one of those. If you prefer real food, have a balanced meal. I do think it helps to have a mix of carbs and protein while limiting fat since fat is digested slowly. A great substitute for an expensive protein shake is fat
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free chocolate milk. An 8-16 ounce glass can offer the optimal mix of recommended post workout protein and carbs.

Creatine

There are very few supplements that have a basis as the best muscle building supplement. As I’ve just described, even protein’s touted effects are questionable. However, creatine is the one supplement that has been clearly proven to increase strength and muscle growth. This is flushed out further in How Much Protein as well. Creatine is a natural component found primarily in the body’s skeletal muscle. The most prevalent sources of ingested creatine are meat and fish. After ingestion, creatine is transported to muscles to increase their energy levels by increasing the availability of ATP. The increased ATP provides an extra kick during repeated bouts of intense exercise which helps the body build more muscle. While creatine does help growth in muscle fibers due to the ability to lift heavier and more intensely, it primarily results in muscle volumization. Muscle volumization is caused by fluid retention. As muscles become saturated with creatine, they attract and retain water giving the muscles a fuller appearance. When you first start taking a creatine supplement,

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you are likely to gain 5-10lbs in a month because of this water retention. In my opinion, it doesn’t represent true lean muscle growth but the gains are legitimately fat free. Sadly, these gains in muscle volumization will disappear if you take a month off from creatine. However, any gains in muscle fibers and muscle strength will be maintained. The great thing about creatine is that it has been extensively studied and no major side effects have been found. That being said, there are some minor considerations. One potential drawback is that your weight will increase due to water retention. This can be a concern for certain types of athletes. Additionally, some people experience gastrointestinal issues such as stomach cramps or nausea. Dehydration is also a problem. Both gastrointestinal and dehydration problems are solved by ensuring adequate fluid consumption when you are taking creatine. A more adverse potential side effect is kidney problems. This is possible if you abuse creatine by taking too high a dose for too long a time. Finally, I’d recommend checking with a doctor if you are on any other medications to make sure creatine supplements do not conflict, especially those on high blood pressure drugs. Most creatine supplements recommend taking 20 grams of creatine for the first 4-5 days. This is known as loading. The theory is that you saturate your muscles with creatine as rapidly as possible. However, at the end of 30 days, the
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results won’t be much different than if you just had the 5 grams per day maintenance level. You will merely see results faster by loading. One point of caution related to the side effects is that you are more likely to have an upset stomach if you take too much creatine in too short a time period without adequate fluids. Some people think it makes sense to have creatine before a workout because of the aforementioned strength building qualities. However, most studies have found that creatine is most effective when taken after a workout. There are also concerns with taking creatine before a workout, mainly dehydration. After a workout, your body is primed to absorb creatine. Some tout the benefits of taking creatine with a high glycemic liquid like grape juice, but simply mixing with water works just fine in my experience. Don’t go out of your way to ingest extra sugar unless it happens to be part of your post workout nutrition. On days when you don’t exercise, you can take creatine any time. In general, you might want to take a month off from creatine supplementation to cleanse your system. You can also strategically use creatine to shrink wrap your abs. Rusty Moore, author of Visual Impact Muscle Building, stumbled upon this method. Rusty has offered a free 9 page report on this topic that you can download for free here (right click and select “Save As”). Page 8 highlights the exact strategy that you should use.

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Chapter 10: Fitness in a Flash Summary
My Approach
Because I’ve offered so many different strategies to help you get a lean, defined body, I thought it would be useful to provide my daily routine that incorporates all the key points.
Day Saturday Diet Maintenance Morning 1. HIIT 2. Steady State 3. Plyometrics 1. Strength Training 2. Bodyweight Circuit 3. Kickboxing 1. Abs Routine 2. Bridges 3. Grip Training 1. HIIT 2. Plyometrics Night OFF

Sunday

Cheat Day

OFF

Monday

Fasting

OFF

Tuesday

Maintenance

Wednesday

Low Carb

Thursday

Maintenance

1. Abs Routine 2. Bridges 3. Grip Training 1. HIIT 2. Plyometrics

1. Bodyweight Routine 2. Circuit Training 3. Kickboxing OFF

Friday

Fasting

1. Abs Routine 2. Bridges 3. Grip Training 53

1. Strength Training 2. Bodyweight Circuit 3. Kickboxing OFF

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As you can see, I focus on heavy weight, low rep strength training two days per week. On Sunday, I perform supersets utilizing a warm-up set followed by 2 sets of 3 reps. On Thursday, I simply perform 2 sets of 5 reps to save some time and surprise my body a little. After strength training I do a bodyweight circuit and kickboxing routine. On Tuesday, I like to vary my workout so I perform a bodyweight routine followed by circuit training and kickboxing. I perform morning cardio on Tuesday and Thursday to maximize fat burning when my body has depleted glycogen levels. I simply do a short interval HIIT workout followed by plyometrics. On Saturday, I do my full cardio routine including steady state cardio to burn fatty acids. Instead of including these as part of my nightly workout, I do my six pack abs routine, stand-to-stand bridges, and forearm/grip strength training on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning. My diet is mapped to particular workout days. Because I don’t do strength training on Monday, Wednesday, or Friday, I perform intermittent fasting or low carb eating to encourage my body to continue burning fat. Monday is a great fasting day because Sunday is a cheat day that serves to increase leptin levels. Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday are all regular maintenance eating days because I perform intense training.

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Up the Intensity

The great thing about this workout routine and diet plan is that it’s easy to maintain on an ongoing basis. However, another nice component is that you can increase the intensity every 3-4 months to further accelerate fat loss. For example, if you have an event like a wedding or a week’s vacation at the beach, you can exercise for 5-6 hours per week and lower the calories you eat on maintenance days. If you tried to maintain that intense approach and calorie restrictive diet throughout the year, your body would fail. Ramping up the intensity every once in a while surprises your body and allows you to get really lean.

While this is my workout approach, I’d encourage you to build your own using the principles I’ve outlined throughout Fitness in a Flash. Generally speaking, I and countless others have had great success using these tips. However, you have to figure out what’s right for your body. More importantly, don’t forget that fitness doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your lifestyle. Personally, my diet is structured to be flexible so that I don’t feel guilty about a night out with friends. My workout routine is designed to maximize the time I can spend with my family. Ultimately, that’s what diet and exercise are all about: getting a better, healthier body so that you can enjoy life with family and friends. Good luck!
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Live Your Life

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