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Oh No, What Have I Done?

We all have such short memories, don’t we? Every year, we start eating a lot of the wrong things right around Thanksgiving and the buffet of fat and sugar just keeps on rolling for the next couple of months: cookies, cake, pastries, doughnuts, whatever holiday comfort foods your family traditionally grubs on, and of course, enough alcohol to float a speedboat. Having been through this ritual of gluttony many times before, we are somehow still shocked that the result is a significant gain in body fat. The muscles that looked carved out of granite last summer are now submerged under a blanket of billowy dough. But now, spring is upon us. The ice and snow have melted, the sun is shining, and the land is warming once again. Panic mode hits as we realize we aren’t covered up in long pants and winter coats anymore. Worse, even though it may have seemed summer would never come, the season of tank tops, shorts, and lazy days at the beach or pool is not far off. Shit, how are you supposed to look good again? How will you lose all that fat in time? Relax, my brethren. I’m here to help.

Just Decide to Get Lean

The first and most important step is a mental one. You simply must decide right here and now that you are going to get lean, and you will do what needs to be done to reach that goal with the understanding that it will require effort. It won’t be easy after a season of relative sloth and indiscriminate eating, but the results will be well worth it. Once you are fully committed, everything else falls into place. All you need from that point on are a solid, structured plan that you will execute. Here is that plan.

Eat Clean and Stay Strict

Playtime is over, kids. You had your fun eating anything that wasn’t moving for months, so let’s buckle down now and clean it all up. In your heart of hearts, you know the things you can’t eat if you want to lose fat. Avoid butter, margarine, any deep-fried foods and saturated fats. Also avoid fruit juice, all breads, white flour, and white sugar. A serving or two of a low-glycemic fresh fruit like apples or berries is OK. Speaking of sugar, don’t think “sugar-free” is a free pass. Our bodies respond to certain types of artificial sweeteners like sucralose and saccharin that spur the same insulin response as table sugar. Insulin is a storage hormone, and it’s very effective at helping our bodies store fat. No Bueno! Most of us are so used to eating tasty things that it will be a difficult transition to more bland foods. The good news there is that you will have less of a tendency to overeat if the food isn’t what you normally find delicious.

Do the Math: Calories in vs. Calories Out

Overeating clean and healthy food? Is that possible? When the goal is fat loss, you better believe it! I’ve had the argument many times when I tell people the easiest way to start dropping fat is to reduce your carbohydrate intake. They heatedly inform me that it’s excess calories that make you fat, not excess carbs! Well, duh – less carbs equals less calories, unless you increase your intake of either protein or fat so your caloric intake remains unchanged. The IIFYM, or If It Fits Your Macros crowd, loves to preach that a calorie is a calorie, which is why they prefer to eat their carbs in the more delicious forms of Pop-Tarts and Froot Loops rather than boring-ass rice, potatoes, and oatmeal. While I refuse to accept this to be entirely accurate, I do concede that fat loss does come down to calories in versus calories out. You must expend more calories than you take in.

The prevailing wisdom for many decades was that it takes a deficit of 3,500 calories to lose 1 pound of body fat. This was the conclusion of a scientist named Max Wishnofksy back in 1958, who also concluded this was the number of excess calories eaten that resulted in 1 pound of body fat gained. The numbers turned out over time to be a bit off, since they were based on dietary fat, which is pure fat. Human body fat is not 100 percent fat, but ranges from about 70-85 percent fat. It’s still a good guideline. However, exercise must be a vital component in fat loss. Many people still believe that simply restricting calories will achieve the same results as burning calories through exercise. The problem with that lazier method of fat loss is that our bodies are incredibly efficient at staying alive. When you reduce caloric intake, the body responds by slowing its metabolic rate and thus burning fewer calories. We often call this effect “starvation mode,” but the technical term is adaptive thermogenesis.

Another unwanted result of weight loss via caloric restriction is that part of the weight you lose will also include lean muscle tissue, which we all work way too damn hard to build in the first place to needlessly sacrifice. That’s why the best strategy for losing body fat and looking your best is to create a caloric deficit through a combination of diet and exercise. For example, let’s say your BMR, or Basal Metabolic Rate, is 3,000 calories a day. That’s exactly how many calories it takes for you to maintain the exact amount of muscle mass and body fat you have right now, given your daily activity level. If you reduce your caloric intake by 500 calories per day and burn 500 more calories doing cardio, that’s a total of 1,000 calories a day less than your BMR. In one week, that will roughly work out to losing 2 pounds of body fat. Over eight weeks, that’s 16 pounds of fat melted off your body, which is right around what the average person should be able to accomplish.

Keep a Food Log

It would be impossible to adjust your calories if you didn’t know exactly how many you were taking in in the first place, and most of us suck at estimating with any degree of accuracy. In years past, the more cerebral physique champions and professional athletes all kept track of their daily macros and calories in spiral notebooks. By weighing and measuring everything they ate and keeping detailed notes, they were able to add or subtract calories as needed, depending on their goals and results. In 2021, there are literally thousands of apps you can download to your smartphone that make this task much easier, doing the math for you. By tracking your food this way, you precisely arrive at the exact numbers you need to lose fat without losing muscle. Going too high on calories will prevent fat loss and going too low will see you eat away lean muscle tissue along with body fat. I can’t make a blanket prescription for exactly how many calories you should be taking in on this program, and neither can anyone else. Beware of any cookie-cutter diets that promise to be a one-size-fits-all solution. We all have different amounts of muscle and body fat, metabolic rates, and activity levels. Once you know how many calories you are consuming, you can start subtracting. Factor in the calories you will burn doing cardio, and you’re off to the races.

Adjusting Meals to Your Activity

While you must still respect the numbers of calories in versus calories out, it makes sense to adjust your macronutrients to your activities and when they are performed. You’ve all heard that you should cut carbs off at arbitrary times like 6:00 p.m. or 7:00 p.m. That makes sense for the average Joe who doesn’t work out. If you do weight train, and train hard and heavy, you should be eating the bulk of your carbs around your workout. If you train in the morning after breakfast/meal 1, your heaviest carbohydrate meals should be that meal and then the meal following your workout. If you train after work, and you get out of work at 5:00 p.m. or 6:00 p.m. like most people, you should still have some carbs in that final meal even if it’s eaten at 9:00 p.m. You could also choose to have carbs in two of the meals leading up to that workout instead and eat just protein and veggies for your post-workout meal. This is what many competitive physique athletes on contest diets do. The bottom line is, you still want to have good workouts and keep your muscle mass as you lose fat, so it makes sense to eat most of your daily carbs before and after training.

How Many Cheat Meals Do You Get?

You get no cheat meals in these eight weeks. That’s just 56 days to lose as much body fat as you possibly can. There is no time to indulge your cravings for pizza or cheesecake. Cheat meals can be useful when you are subsisting on drastically lowered calories for months on end. Refeeds, which involve bumping the portion sizes of clean meals, also come in handy in those situations. You won’t need either in eight weeks. You can suck it up and stick out the diet for 56 days. Drink plenty of cold water with and between meals. Fill up on virtually calorie-free items like iceberg lettuce, celery, and cucumber (plain, not drenched in ranch dressing!) Always keep your goal in mind. It’s OK to feel hunger between meals when you’re getting lean. If you’re always full and content, it’s a safe bet you won’t be any leaner at the end of these eight weeks. 

Weight Training to Maintain

One of the most common reasons lifters fail to lose as much fat as they had set to is that they are terrified at the prospect of not training to gain muscle. In their minds, they should always be striving to get bigger, even when they’re theoretically on a contest diet or a cutting plan like this one. It’s perfectly understandable, given the reason most of us set out on this journey was to get huge. So even though they may intend to get lean, many lifters sabotage their efforts by eating more than they need to. As stated previously, you can’t take in more calories than you expend and expect to lose body fat. You must alter your way of thinking and look at your weight training, at least for these eight weeks, as serving to maintain your muscle mass while you lean out. Don’t be fooled by the rare cases where people are able to get ripped while adding muscle. In those instances, the credit goes to a combination of extremely gifted genetics and metabolism, along with a long list of expensive and potentially hazardous drugs. Don’t worry about getting stronger in these eight weeks. Don’t even stress out if you lose a bit of strength. You will get it back once you resume your usual caloric intake and cut way back on the extra cardio you will be doing.

Cardio: HIIT vs. LISS

Speaking of cardio, it’s time to discuss the C word. You have your choice of performing two styles: LISS, or low-intensity steady state, or HIIT, or high-intensity interval training. Those who truly hate cardio typically opt for LISS, and will plod along on a treadmill at a moderate pace for 45-60 minutes, perhaps not even breaking a sweat. They do this because they don’t want to put forth any real effort, and they also erroneously believe LISS is superior for retaining muscle mass. Studies have shown this to be totally untrue. Longer cardio sessions lower testosterone and will in fact threaten to put you in a catabolic state where you lose muscle tissue. In contrast, HIIT sessions of 15-30 minutes, alternating 60-second periods of “sprinting” at 80-90 percent of your maximum heart rate (MHR) with 60-second recovery periods at a slower pace at 40-50 percent of your MHR not only burns more fat, but also increases both testosterone levels and insulin signaling. The evidence is compelling. You can do either, but if you want to burn more calories in less time as well as stand a better chance of holding on to all your muscle as you shred it up, HIIT is the way to go.

You can either do cardio fasted in the morning, or what many others have found far more convenient, which is to perform it immediately after your weight training. If you choose to do that, hold off on your post-workout shake until your cardio is complete. If it sounds like too much to do both your weight training and cardio in one session, here’s a crazy idea – shorten up your weight-training workout! We just said you’re only trying to maintain your muscle mass in these eight weeks anyway, right? Shave off about one-third of your usual volume with the weights, and that provides ample time to get your cardio in too.

How much cardio should you do? Just as with the calories, no one can tell you exactly. You’ll have to start out with a baseline of 30 minutes every day and go from there. HIIT is an attractive option because virtually no one would ever need more than 45 minutes of it per day. With LISS, depending on your weight and how much fat you need to lose, it’s possible you’re looking at as much as two hours every day. In the end, it’s your time and your body, so choose what’s best for you.

What Results Can You Expect?

As we said earlier, the average man should be able to lose around 15-16 pounds of body fat in eight weeks. A 300-pound man might lose as much as 30 pounds, where a 170-pounder may only drop 10 pounds. Regardless, anyone who applies himself to the task and puts the work in will look significantly better by the end of the program. You can expect to see abs, veins, and separation between all the major muscle groups. You will be ripped and ready for the beach, pool parties, cookouts, or anywhere else you want to show off your cuts. Now go rip it up!

Sample Diet*

Meal 1

10 egg whites, ½ cup (dry) rolled oats with ¼ cup blueberries or strawberries

Meal 2

8 oz chicken breast, 1/2 cup (cooked) brown rice

Meal 3

8 oz salmon, large green salad or 1 cup steamed broccoli

Meal 4 (pre-workout)

8 oz ground turkey (1 tbsp salsa OK to mix in), medium sweet potato

Post-workout Shake

40-50 grams blend of whey and casein protein

Meal 5

8 oz white fish, ½ cup brown rice

*Assuming late afternoon/early evening workouts

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By: Ron Harris
Title: Get Ripped and Lean for Summer
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Published Date: Mon, 10 May 2021 19:31:26 +0000

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Ripped Leg Blast for Carved Thighs



Powerful and thick thighs require gut-busting exercises like squats and leg presses. However, once you have acquired adequate thigh mass and strength, you should consider adding some balance and sharpness to the muscle bellies in your thighs. Although tough to accomplish, leg extensions provide a great way to carve the separations between the muscle bellies, and to accentuate the “teardrop” shape of the four quadriceps muscles of the anterior thigh.

Active Muscles in Leg Extensions

The three vasti muscles comprise most of the anterior thigh.1 The vastus medialis covers the medial (inner) part of the femur bone (thigh bone). When it is well developed, it forms a teardrop-like shape over the medial side of the knee joint. The vastus lateralis muscle attaches to the lateral (outer) part of the femur bone. The vastus intermedius connects to the femur bone between the vastus lateralis and the vastus medialis muscles. The fibers of all three vasti muscles come together at the quadriceps tendon, which crosses the patella (kneecap) to attach to the tibia bone just below the knee.1

Together, the three vasti muscles extend the leg at the knee joint, although the vastus intermedius may be more fatigue resistant than the vastus lateralis.2 The vastus medialis oblique (VMO), which is a small part of the vastus medialis muscle, attaches to the medial part of the patella. It is thought to help the patella track properly during movement of the knee. Improper tracking can increase the likelihood for knee injury.

The vastus medialis and especially the VMO part of this muscle are primarily responsible for tibial rotation (rotation of the tibia bone of the lower leg on the femur) during knee extension. This rotation or “twist” has been shown to increase the activation of the VMO portion of the vastus lateralis even more than doing knee extensions with the hip adducted (thigh rotated so that the medial portion of the knee is facing mostly upwards).3 Dorsiflexion of the foot (moving the ankles so the toes are pointing towards your head) also increases the activation of the VMO by more than 20 percent.4 Likely this is because the dorsiflexor muscles stabilize the tibia during knee flexion and resist rotation of the tibia on the femur as the knee straightens.

The fourth muscle of the quadriceps group is the rectus femoris muscle. It attaches to the anterior part of the hip bone just above the hip joint.1 The largest bulk of the muscle fibers are located on the upper three-quarters of the thigh, whereas the largest belly of the vastus medialis and vastus lateralis are more inferior (i.e., closer to the knee). The distal end of the rectus femoris muscle becomes tendinous and it creates a deep valley between the lateral and medial vastus muscles as it approaches the knee.1 It assists the other quadriceps muscles by extending the leg at the knee joint, although it is less effective when the hip is flexed than if it is straight.

Leg Extensions

The three vastus muscles of the anterior thigh are strongly activated by single-leg knee extensions. The rectus femoris is not activated as strongly, but it does undergo some overload when the anterior thigh is under contractile effort, about halfway up to the top of each repetition.

1. You should always warm up your knees with some stationary cycling prior to getting into leg extensions. Furthermore, the resistance on your first set should be fairly light to allow the joint to fully warm up before you get to the heavier stuff.

2. Adjust the knee extension machine so that the pivot point of the lifting arm is directly adjacent to the center of the side of your knee joint.

3. Position the ankle roller/leg pad over the lower part of the leg (above the ankle joint).

4. Take about three seconds to slowly extend (straighten) both leg so that the weight is lifted upward from the stack.

5. Continue upwards until the tibia and the femur bones form a straight line and the knee angle is straight. Hold this for two seconds at the top.

6. Slowly lower the weight (about four seconds down) towards the starting position. Once the knee has reached 90 degrees, start the upwards extension phase again. Continue for 12-15 repetitions for the first set. Lower the number of repetitions but increase the resistance for subsequent sets.

7. On the next sets, lift the weight upwards until the knee joint becomes almost straight, but just slightly short of a total knee lockout. Be careful that you do not “jam” the knee joint into a fully locked out position, because this could cause knee cartilage damage5, especially with heavy weights. Hold the top position for a count of three before lowering the weight.

8. Lower the weight slowly (four to five seconds) towards the starting position where your knee is flexed to 90 degrees. Just before the weight stack contacts the remaining plates at the bottom, start lifting it upward for the next repetition.

The downward movement should be slower than the upward phase because you are resisting the pull of gravity. The slow lowering of the weight stretches the muscle under a resistance and this is a great stimulus to improve muscle shape and size.6

Make sure that you do not hold your breath during the lift upwards.7 Rather take a breath at the bottom (start) of the lift, and exhale as you extend the knees/legs. Take another breath at the top and slowly exhale as the weight is lowered. Take another breath at the bottom and repeat the sequence.

This is a mechanically simply exercise, but it really can be very challenging and blood depriving8,9, especially if you try to control the weight as it is moving up and down. However, if you are willing to work through some discomfort, you will be soon enjoying your new shape and slabs of carved thighs.

GettyImages 674163248 600


1. Moore K.L. Clinically Orientated Anatomy. Third Edition. Williams & Willkins, Baltimore, 1995; pp 373-500.

2. Watanabe K, Akima H. Neuromuscular activation of vastus intermedius muscle during fatiguing exercise. J Electromyogr Kinesiol 2010;20:661-666.

3. Stoutenberg M, Pluchino AP, Ma F et al. The impact of foot position on electromyographical activity of the superficial quadriceps muscles during leg extension. J Strength Cond Res 2005;19:931-938.

4. Coburn JW, Housh TJ, Cramer JT et al. Mechanomyographic and electromyographic responses of the vastus medialis muscle during isometric and concentric muscle actions. J Strength Cond Res 2005; 19:412-420.

5. Senter C, Hame SL. Biomechanical analysis of tibial torque and knee flexion angle: implications for understanding knee injury. Sports Med 2006;36:635-641.

6. Alway SE, Winchester PK, Davis ME et al. Regionalized adaptations and muscle fiber proliferation in stretch- induced enlargement. J Appl Physiol 1989;66:771-781.

7. Garber CE, Blissmer B, Deschenes MR et al. American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Quantity and quality of exercise for developing and maintaining cardiorespiratory, musculoskeletal, and neuromotor fitness in apparently healthy adults: guidance for prescribing exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2011;43:1334-1359.

8. Denis R, Bringard A, Perrey S. Vastus lateralis oxygenation dynamics during maximal fatiguing concentric and eccentric isokinetic muscle actions. J Electromyogr Kinesiol 2011;21:276-282.

9. Ueda C, Kagaya A. Muscle reoxygenation difference between superficial and deep regions of the muscles during static knee extension. Adv Exp Med Biol 2010;662:329-334.

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By: Stephen E. Alway, Ph.D., FACSM
Title: Ripped Leg Blast for Carved Thighs
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Published Date: Mon, 25 Jul 2022 19:11:16 +0000

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PRIMAL Preworkout



Training hard and intensely is the only way to train – you can’t step into the gym in low gear or
asleep at the switch and expect results. To get the most out of every training session with no
compromises, you need a pre-workout that will power your performance and enable you to crush
it every time you train. Bottom line, you need to maximize your workouts by pushing yourself to
your limits and that’s what Animal’s PRIMAL Preworkout delivers.

A Better Pump

PRIMAL is Animal’s most comprehensive pre-workout supplement ever, and is scientifically
designed for the advanced, hard trainer. Animal worked tirelessly to find the right combination of
ingredients that could be worthy of the Animal name. First on the agenda was giving you a better
pump, which is why PRIMAL Preworkout is empowered with the breakthrough, patented
3DPump-Breakthrough ® . Not only does it increase nitric oxide for the valued “pump,” but it also
helps increase exercise capacity and endurance and helps optimize vascular endothelial function,
aka vascularity.†

Other key benefits of PRIMAL come from four scientifically formulated blends that work in tandem
to deliver the ultimate pre-workout:

• Endurance & Performance Complex so you can train longer and harder. Beta-alanine,
betaine and taurine are combined as a powerful endurance trio†. Beta-alanine is a vital ingredient
used to combat the urge to quit.

• Focus & Intensity Complex helps you keep your head in the iron game so you train hard and
maintain focus. Includes the amino acid tyrosine, which is involved in neurotransmitter production;
Huperzine A for brain health; and choline bitartrate, which supports energy metabolism and helps
the brain send messages for improved mental endurance and focus†.

This blend is completed with the patented Teacrine ® . Among its many benefits includes increases
in energy without the jittery feeling, increases in motivation to accomplish tasks, mental energy
and decreases in feeling of fatigue†.

• Quick and Sustained Energy Complex is the energy core of PRIMAL Preworkout . It is
powered by a combination of tried-and-true caffeine, along with an herbal complex of green tea,
coffee bean extract and guarana†.

• Electrolyte Complex to support muscle hydration and help get you through those intense
training sessions – because proper hydration is key for maximal performance. PRIMAL
Preworkout tops it off with a combination of AstraGin ® to support nutrient uptake and Senactiv,
which helps the production of citrate synthase, an important enzyme that is responsible for
producing more ATP†.

How to Use PRIMAL
30 minutes prior to training, consume 2 rounded scoops (20.3g) with 8-12 oz of water or your
favorite beverage. Users that are sensitive to stimulants should start off with 1 rounded scoop
(10.1g) to assess tolerance.

PRIMAL Preworkout

• Enhances energy and endurance†
• Supports muscle hydration†
• Supports intense focus†
• Contains AstraGin ® to support nutrient uptake†
• Contains Senactiv ® which helps the production of citrate synthase, an important enzyme that is
responsible for producing more ATP†
• Absorption and nutrient enhancers
• Great tasting, easy to mix

PRIMAL is a pre-workout that will power your performance and enable you to crush it every time you train.

For additional information, visit
†These statements have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This product is not
intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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By: Team FitRx
Title: PRIMAL Preworkout
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Published Date: Thu, 21 Jul 2022 16:51:41 +0000

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