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Small Improvements Over Time = HUGE Improvements

If you could improve by just one percent at something every week, it’s a certainty that within a year you would be much better at it. Small but steady changes add up over time into major differences in performance. Adding just one pound a week to your max bench press would mean that in a year’s time, you would be pressing 52 pounds more – and that’s significant! Too many people never get started working toward their goals because they are intimidated by the scope of what needs to be done. Life coaches and self-help books are constantly stressing the importance of breaking big goals down into bite-size, manageable piece, essentially having both short- and long-term goals. If you want to have a much better physique a year from now, the key lies in making a series of small adjustments or tweaks to your current program. Here are key areas to address that will transform your body in a year’s time.

Clean Up Your Form

“My form is fine!” was your knee-jerk reaction. But is it, though? We all tend to fall into bad habits over time, and it’s really just our body’s way of trying to avoid discomfort and make the lifts “easier.” Subtle shifts in body position can cut your range of motion short or even shift the stress away from the target muscle. This is one time when I encourage you to film yourself training, as it will allow you to see yourself as an observer would. You may very well notice flaws in your form that have gone unchecked for months or years, and one simple adjustment could be all it takes to drastically increase the effectiveness of any given exercise you might have been cheating yourself on.

Do More Reps

Talk about an easy fix! If you are someone using weight training to build muscle, you have no business doing low reps that don’t keep the muscle under tension long enough to stimulate a growth response. The rep ranges we often talk about are really just representatives of how much time we want to put the muscle under tension for. The upper body seems to respond best to 8-12 reps with controlled negatives, and the lower body thrives on anything from 10-20 reps. I’ve counseled many hundreds if not thousands of people who were at a loss as to why they weren’t growing, and in many cases, they just weren’t doing enough reps. Once they upped the reps, the gains began almost immediately even if they hadn’t grown in years.

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Get Stronger

Harris, you contradictory bastard! Here’s the thing. If you have been training for well over a decade and you’ve started to accumulate injuries and chronic tendonitis and joint pain/arthritis, attempting to get stronger is probably a bad idea. For everyone else, it could very well be the ticket to putting on more muscle mass. You don’t have to train like a powerlifter with low reps to become stronger. It’s just a matter of adding tiny increments of weight on a regular basis in that hypertrophy rep range of 8-12 upper body/10-20 lower body. If your gym doesn’t have any 2.5-pound plates, pick up a pair cheap online and use those. Five or 10-pound jumps are typically too much for anyone except raw beginners. If you add a total of 5 pounds to your top set of squats every week for 10 weeks, that’s a 50-pound increase that will be evident in the dimensions of your thighs. Most machines with weight stacks allow you to add weight in smaller denominations with either sliding “doughnuts” or miniature versions of the weight on the stack that can slide down from the very top of the stack to add on to it. You can and should keep track of the weights you are using, which brings us right to the next tweak.

Log Your Workouts

Unless you have a memory like one of those people that can recite the entire Bible from memory, it’s tough to recall exactly how much weight you did for how many reps even last week, never mind months ago. How can you get progressively stronger if you don’t know what you’ve already done before? Start recording your exercises, weights, and reps either on paper in a notebook or in any variety of options on your smartphone. This way, you can add resistance in small increments as time goes on and can be sure you are actually becoming stronger by glancing at your progress. Otherwise, you’re just guessing and estimating, which is an imprecise method at best. Write it down or type it up and you will have a record to “beat.”

Log Your Food Intake

Gaining muscle and losing fat are both tied into your diet, and it’s impossible to make adjustments up or down if you have only a rough idea of what and how much you’re eating. There are plenty of calorie and macro-tracking apps you can download, many of which are free. These nutrition calculators allow you to know exactly how many grams of protein, carbs, and fats you’re taking in every day as you enter your meals. When results stall, you will be able to either add or subtract from your current intake to get moving in the right direction again.

Get More Sleep

Many of you who are at a loss as to why you either aren’t gaining muscle or losing fat don’t realize it’s probably your lack of adequate sleep that’s to blame. Many of you are part of the “hustle culture” that likes to equate financial success with long work hours and “#teamnosleep.” While that might make you feel like a hero, the excess cortisol production from lack of sufficient, quality sleep is a serious hindrance to recovery. Training, nutrition, and rest are all three sides to the triangle, and that triangle falls apart if any side is weak. This tip is especially important for those of you who are simply giving up sleep to watch more TV or play more video games. What’s more important to you? If improving your physique is a priority, you will forego those hours in front of a screen and get your ass in bed. The age-old recommendation of a solid, uninterrupted eight hours of sleep should be your goal every night.

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Drink More Water

Most of you don’t drink as much water as you need to. The average sedentary person can afford to live in a constant state of dehydration, which most of them do. For someone whose goal is to perform at maximum capacity in both weight training and cardiovascular training and gain muscle mass, adequate hydration is mandatory. How much? Assuming you don’t have a physical job and aren’t out in the heat all day, a gallon and a half should be fine. Add another gallon to that if you are in those conditions. And even if you snicker at those meatheads who lug a gallon water jug around everywhere, guess what? At least they know how much water they drink every day – and so should you! I bet you good money that most of you who think you drink well over a gallon of water daily fall far short. Start using that water jug to keep track. Generally speaking, you should never feel thirsty or have a dry mouth and eyes.

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Get on a Regular Training and Eating Schedule

All successful lifters, and by that I mean those who achieve their physique goals, not necessarily even those who compete, are creatures of habit. They eat the same foods in the same meals at the same times every day, and they train at the same time as well. This routine is often jokingly referred to as “Groundhog Day” in reference to the classic Bill Murry comedy, because every day can often seem exactly the same. Yet it’s this consistency that produces the best results. I understand that some of you do have hectic and unpredictable schedules. Do the best you can. For the vast majority of you, it would behoove you to get on a strict schedule to ensure you always give your body exactly what it needs, when it needs it in terms of food. Training at the same time every day also allows your body to acclimate to perform optimally at a given time.

Have a Plan for Your Workouts

The late Joe Weider was infamous for his “Weider Principles,” all of which were borrowed from other experts and champions and some of which were horribly misinterpreted. One of those was “The Instinctive Training Principle,” which essentially meant one should be able to adapt a given workout to shifting conditions and pick up on your own body’s cues rather than rigidly adhering to a predetermined workout. Most people took that concept too far and decided it was fine or even optimal to “wing it” at every workout. I truly believe in the adage, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” It’s ridiculous and inefficient to aimlessly wander around the gym, doing whatever strikes your fancy. Some people don’t even know what muscle groups they will train until they stride onto the gym floor. I firmly believe in having a solid plan to execute. For many years I would write my workouts ahead of time, down to the weights I would use and how many reps I needed to get on each set. Those were definitely the most productive years in the 39 years I have been training. I strongly suggest doing this, or at the very least, having a rough idea of what you will be doing. Your workouts will have a stronger direction and purpose, and you won’t waste time pondering what to do next.

Start Food Prepping

The toughest part of weight training and transforming your body is nutrition, and it’s the area most people fall short in. Eating the right meals four to six times a day, every day is critical for making consistent progress toward any physique goal. You are always going to be more likely to adhere to a proper diet if the right foods are always available when you need them, which is why nearly every successful “bodybuilder,” and I use that as a catch-all term for all men and women striving to improve the appearance of their bodies via weight training, meal preps. Meal prepping simply means cooking large quantities of common “clean” foods at once and keeping it frozen or refrigerated until you eat it. You can cook big batches of chicken, steak, fish, ground beef or turkey, rice and potatoes by grilling, baking, or using a crockpot/slow cooker or an air fryer. You can either keep all the protein and carbohydrate sources together in larger containers, or else portion all your meals into smaller containers to thaw out and eat when needed. If you can’t or won’t do this, the next best option is ordering meals from meal-prep companies that cater to the fitness crowd. But trust me on this, if you are constantly trying to figure out what to eat next and where you will get that meal from, your physique progress will always be hampered.

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Stop Buying Junk Food

If you have a hard time avoiding the temptation of “foods” like cookies, doughnuts, muffins, chips, ice cream, crackers, etc., you should treat junk food the way an alcoholic would treat booze – keep it out of your home! If you don’t buy it, you won’t eat it, period. Sticking to a strict diet is tough, which is why you should meal prep so you always have the “right” foods available and stop buying anything you know you shouldn’t be eating. The secret to getting leaner and staying lean isn’t a secret at all. It’s merely the result of eating clean and limiting calories over time. If you have junk food in your cupboards and refrigerator, it will always be there calling your name, especially late at night when most of us crave sweets. Keep that crap out of your home!

Get Blood Work Done

Making gains will always be more likely when your overall health is optimal. Blood work looks at the current status of markers that indicate the relative health of the various organs as well as hormone levels. If you have any issues that may need to be addressed, the blood is the first place they will typically be seen. If levels of free and total testosterone, SHBG, cortisol, and estrogen are out of whack, you can bet it will affect your body’s ability to gain muscle or lose fat.

Get Therapy

I’m not referring to seeing a therapist for your mental and emotional health, but by all means do that if you need to. What I’m talking about is deep-tissue massage and chiropractic adjustments. Our bodies take such a beating from the repetitive trauma of heavy weight training that our spines are often out of alignment and our muscles become bound with adhesions and scar tissue from thousands of microtears. If you can’t afford deep-tissue work, which in the USA will run you anywhere from $60 to $120 per session, invest in a percussion gun like the Theragun. For that, you will need another human being to work on hard-to-reach areas like your back. A good foam roller is also something you should use a few times a week to roll out those kinks. All of these will enhance your recovery between workouts and lead to better results over time. 

Make Cardio a Regular Thing

Cardiovascular training keeps your heart and lungs functioning optimally, and it also burns calories so you can stay leaner even if you do indulge in treats here and there. Unless you are on the far end of the hardgainer spectrum with an incinerator for a metabolism, cardio will not interfere with your gains. Recent studies have shown that just 150-200 minutes of moderate cardio weekly, which breaks down to about 20-30 minutes per day, equates to living almost another three years. I don’t know about you, but I would consider that a small price to pay for three more years on earth! Finally, being in good cardiovascular condition will allow you to train harder on leg and back days, when “wind”’ is often a limiting factor.

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Train Your Abs and Do Vacuums

Big guts are never attractive, yet many of us are disturbed to find our midsections expanding as we head into middle age. A weakened abdominal is often the culprit. If you don’t train abs on a regular basis or at all, start now. It doesn’t have to be anything crazy, just a few sets of knee raises and crunches three to four times a week. You should also practice vacuums every day or every other day, aiming to work up to five to six “sets” of 20-30 seconds each. These will further train the abs to stay tensed and sucked in rather than loose and relaxed. Every physique looks better with a smaller, tighter midsection and worse with a protruding, bloated gut.

Rest Less Between Sets

Unless you are a powerlifter who needs to fully recover his or her strength between low-rep sets with extremely heavy weights, you should really only be resting long enough between sets to catch your breath. Limiting your rest periods keeps the blood inside the target muscles, which both provides a better pump and helps avoid injuries like muscle tears. Further, you will complete your workouts faster, giving you more time in the day to get other things done. Realistically, no weight training session should exceed 90 minutes, and you should be able to get anything aside from legs or back done in an hour or less.

Warm Up Before and Stretch After Every Workout

Two things I would have done differently over nearly 40 years of training would have been to warm up and stretch more. Mobility/flexibility is one of those things you take for granted and don’t even think about until they are severely compromised. If you don’t want to move like an old man at 40, take a few minutes to warm up with cardio before any weight training session and always stretch out when it’s done. Stretching is best after a workout when the muscles are warm and pliable. Pay special attention to stretching the shoulders, hips, and lower back, as these are the areas most likely to become stiff and immobile after years of heavy weight training.

Revisit ‘Lost’ Exercises

If you’ve been training for years, chances are there are some excellent exercises that were very productive for you that you simply forgot about or stopped doing for whatever reason. If you ever kept training logs, now’s the time to check them out and see what you might want to put back into your rotation. In many cases, there was never a legitimate reason you stopped doing them anyway; and the fresh new movement pathways will spur brand-new gains.

Have a Target to Get in Shape For

If your goal is get into extremely lean condition, you will almost certainly need a specific day or deadline to aim for. Otherwise, there will be no sense of urgency and no compelling reason to adhere to a strict diet for any length of time. The most obvious example would be competing in a physique contest in the Men’s Physique or Classic Physique divisions, but it could be for something like a class reunion or a tropical vacation. Anything that gives you a limited time frame and an exact date to be in your best shape will do.

Put Your Phone Away While Weight Training

There’s no way to sugarcoat it, we are addicted to our iPhones. Many of us can’t go more than a few waking moments without checking our notifications on texts, emails and social media posts. To refer to our phones as a distraction would be a laughably inadequate understatement. Your time in the gym should be completely focused on the task at hand, and glancing at our phones between every set drastically takes away from our ability to stay focused on the actual workout. Unless you have some type of demanding job in which you must be reachable at all times, or you have small children and could theoretically be called by their school or daycare in case of emergency, do your physique a huge favor and put your phone away while you weight train. Cardio is a different story. Unless you’re doing HIT style with rounds of sprinting, you can easily catch up on whatever it is you missed on your phone on the treadmill, bike or stepper.

Stop Filming Every Damn Set You Do

Hey, you kids out there, I’m talking to you! I know it’s fun to post tons of IG stories and TikTok videos of your workouts, but there is absolutely no way you can have a focused and intense training session if you’re constantly setting up tripods and filming all your sets. And really, the vast majority of sets that are posted are nothing special. If you’re going for a PR or want to demonstrate some clever new twist on an exercise, that’s one thing, but otherwise what you’re filming and posting is about as thrilling as watching paint dry. Maybe you will get some likes and comments, but the time and effort you are applying to all the filming is detracting from the overall quality of your workouts, not making them better. And need I mention that these video shoots often inconvenience other gym members who are merely trying to get their own workout in without worrying about “walking through your shot”?

Take Regular Physique Photos

What you should do is take photos of yourself at regular intervals, perhaps every two or four weeks, in the same poses, location and lighting. It’s nearly impossible for any of us to objectively look in the mirror and see changes. A photo record makes it easy to reference how you looked a week, a month or a year ago and compare it to your current condition. If you want to be truly thorough, also record your bodyweight each time and if you have access to a reliable method of body fat measurement, get that number too. The photos are especially useful in determining whether you have been making progress toward a specific physique goal, such as increasing the size of your arms or thighs or reducing your waist. Obviously, a tape measure would be helpful in this assessment as well, but with the visual record, you will have a very comprehensive system to track your physique over time.dreamstime m 119741468 1 1024x683 1

Don’t Compare Yourself to Others

President Theodore Roosevelt famously said, “comparison is the thief of joy.” I saved this mental tweak for last because I wanted it to sink in and resound within your psyche. Making progress and improving is what lifting weights is really all about; most of its practitioners will never set foot on a stage. There will always be someone with a better physique than yours, someone with bigger arms, or better abs, or far superior calves. So what? None of that really matters. Your only true competition is you, and success should be measured by being able to be better than you have ever been before, regardless of what that looks like compared to anyone else. Each day is another chance to start making positive changes. As you can see from what we’ve gone over, there are so many areas in which you can make small but meaningful improvements, which in a year are guaranteed to translate into substantial improvements to your physique. Start today!

The post Transform Your Body! appeared first on FitnessRX for Men.

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By: Ron Harris
Title: Transform Your Body!
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Published Date: Thu, 04 May 2023 22:08:33 +0000

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Mens Health




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By Bryan Hildebrand

Senior Editor, Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals

CogniSport® is a unique combination of botanical extracts and nutrients that support cognitive function, mental focus, and overall visual health. The ingredients in CogniSport® are well studied and have been found to provide tremendous benefits, including support for concentration, motivation, mental focus, and reaction time. In addition, CogniSport® can enhance mood and well-being as well as lower cortisol levels to reduce the effects of stress. There are also several ingredients found in CogniSport® not found in any other focus or electronic gaming product.

With the addition of Visual® 2020 to the formula, CogniSport® provides support for optimal visual performance by supporting the ability of the eyes to filter high-energy blue light – from laptops, cell phones, and other blue-light sources. Visual® 2020 also supports visual function under bright light conditions such as the basketball court, gym, football field and other outdoor pursuits.

The alkaloid profile in Thermo-Rx® is unmatched by any other Senegalia species due to its phenylethylamine content, as well as numerous other alkaloids and amines. Phenylethylamine is a sympathomimetic amine found in the leaves of Senegalia Berlandieri. Phenylethylamine also naturally occurs in chocolate, and is responsible for its effects on mood, appetite, and sense of well-being. Researchers believe that Phenylethylamine may be the cleanest stimulant ever studied. Its ability to stimulate the central nervous system without causing a nervous feeling or the “jitters” is remarkable. Phenylethylamine acts on alpha-receptors in the brain, as do norepinephrine and ephedrine. It is also believed by chemists and scientists in the industry to cause the release of dopamine in the pleasure-sensing areas of the brain.

While the idea of providing concentration may seem potentially foreign to bodybuilders and fitness athletes, nothing could be further from the truth. Winding down a day’s training and you still have a few exercises left. Plus, cardio. Plus, the drive home. Plus, dinner for the kids. The energy from pre-workout products have proven they can only take you so far. The clean, long-lasting focal energy found in CogniSport® provides a much longer source of energy and motivation to power even the hardest working athletes, moms and dads through the remainder of their day without that dreaded jitters and impending neurological crash associated with so many high-caffeine pre-workouts and weight-loss products that many use for energy in the gym.

The researched ingredients in CogniSport® have been found to provide huge benefits, including support for concentration, motivation, mental focus, and reaction time. The other side of this is the mood-enhancing properties it exhibits. Gamers, athletes, and students who have used it say it provides reductions in stress and an overall sense of well-being. There are also several ingredients found in CogniSport® not found in any other focus or electronic gaming product!

• Maintain a Mental Edge With High Demand, Rapid Sequencing

• Supports Mental Agility in Fast-Paced Sports

• Improve Reaction Times in Rapid Movement Environments

• Helps Reduce Stress in Physical Situations

The researched ingredients in CogniSport® have been found to provide huge benefits, including support for concentration, motivation, mental focus, and reaction time.

For more information, visit

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By: Team FitRx
Title: CogniSport®
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Published Date: Wed, 24 May 2023 17:16:53 +0000

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Mens Health

Get a Beach Body: 8-Week Plan



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“Spring forward” is a mnemonic meant to help us remember that in accordance with Daylight Savings Time, we move the hands on our clocks forward one hour in an instant time change designed to provide one additional hour of daylight. But there is nothing “instant” about gearing up for fat loss to get a beach body. It’s not a process that should be rushed into, for both physical and psychological reasons. Just as it’s not wise to walk into the gym and go right to your heaviest weights without a thorough and proper warm-up featuring several sets of gradually increasing resistance, losing substantial amounts of body fat is a process that should also be eased into for best results.

The Case for Making Haste Slowly

Both mentally and physically, our bodies don’t respond well to sudden, drastic change. It’s better to gradually adjust variables so you have time to acclimate. It’s not a good idea to go from eating whatever you want to a strict type diet in one day. Going from having done no cardio at all for months to hitting it for 45 minutes every day is a brutal punch in the face to your system that typically has negative results, similar to someone who hasn’t squatted in months getting under 405 and expecting to do a good set. If you’ve been gorging on things like fried foods, desserts, pizza, and alcohol, going cold turkey will probably have you craving the bad stuff again soon. Not to mention the fact that sudden and drastic reductions in overall caloric intake force the body into survival mode in which the metabolism is slowed down in the body’s effort to do the one thing it’s designed to do – stay alive! And because cardio involves a certain amount of repetitive stress on your knees, ankles, and feet, it’s smarter to start off with lower intensity, volume, and frequency to rebuild strength and endurance in those areas. Otherwise, you increase your odds of incurring tendinitis, bursitis, stress fractures, and muscle strains (minor muscle tears). What we are going to do to make this transition smooth is the following:

• For several weeks, your calories will still be well above maintenance level, thus facilitating muscle gain.

• The transition phase both psychologically and physically allows you to adjust to the changes with less trauma.

• Because your diet will become stricter over a period of a couple of months, you will begin losing body fat and have a head start once your official “cut” begins.

• Cardiovascular training will be ramped up gradually, giving you a chance to rebuild your stamina and thus be better prepared for a more demanding cardio regimen as summer nears.

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Nutritional Spring Cleaning

First off, don’t feel like a failure because you went off the wagon there for a while. Nearly all of us do once the weather starts getting cold. The gluttony begins for many Americans at Halloween, a holiday marked mainly by the wanton consumption of candy, which provides few nutrients but loads of sugar and fat. We buy enough for a theoretical battalion of trick-or-treaters, yet ultimately wind up eating most of it ourselves when they don’t show up at our door because parents in this era don’t allow their children to leave the house. Then along comes Thanksgiving, where we celebrate and honor the Pilgrims by force-feeding as much turkey, gravy, stuffing, candied yams, and pie as possible before passing out on the couch in a food coma after watching football. This is immediately followed up by the Christmas/holiday season. Even if your workplace has a PC non-denominational holiday theme, you can rest assured there will still be plenty of delicious foods rich in sugar and saturated fat to feast on: trays of cookies, pastries, and doughnuts – for free! There will also be home parties and dinners where food and drinks flow as freely as something out of an afterlife promised to the supremely faithful. If the host is either Italian or Latin, bet on an even greater abundance of decadent dining. The year ends with New Year’s Eve, where we ring in a new year by imbibing as much alcohol as we are able to without vomiting. Though the next day is typically marked by some form of grand resolution where eating better and losing weight often figures prominently, we don’t all act on this noble goal right away. And here we are.

As I said, we are going to progressively ease you into eating cleaner, a little bit more every week. By doing it this way, we can comfortably make these changes without shocking your system or feeling deprived and awake at night with cravings. Here’s how you will do this over eight weeks.

Weeks 8-7

Eliminate starchy/complex carbohydrates from final meal of the day.

Cheat meals should be a maximum of four per week. This means meals where you eat whatever you want, in any amounts you want. Note this is one meal, not an entire day of eating crap.

Reduce the amount of bread and dairy you consumed in the off-season by one-third.

Regarding the bread, you should never eat white bread. Opt for whole wheat or whole grain. Ezekiel Bread is very popular with fit people and competitive physique athletes. This brand is sprouted, made from whole grains and legumes, and contains no refined flour or sugar. This is purely an unpaid testimonial, but it also has a lot more flavor than any white bread I’ve ever tried.

Week 6

Cheat meals should be a maximum of three per week. All other variables remain the same.

Weeks 5-3

Eliminate starchy/complex carbohydrates from final two meals of the day.

Bread and dairy consumption should be reduced to half the amount you were eating previously, during the rest of the year before your 8-week fat-loss program began.

Week 2

Cheat meals should be a maximum of two per week.

Reduce your bread and dairy so that it’s roughly a third of how much you consumed during the rest of the year.

Week 1

Cheat meals are still allowed this final week at two for the week.

Eliminate starchy/complex carbohydrates from final three meals of the day. Ideally, two of your meals with carbs should be the meals before and after training.

Bread and dairy should either be fully eliminated or reduced to two servings of each per week. 

Week 0 – Cutting Diet Officially Begins

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Complex carbs should be eaten with no more than three meals per day, though this is an individual matter. Some people can lean out while still taking in ample carbohydrates, while others must consume very low carbs to lose fat. Again, the two meals where your carbohydrates will be utilized best will be your pre- and post-workout meals, so plan accordingly depending on what time of day you train. If you train in the evening, your carb meals will be eaten later in the day as opposed to someone who trains in the morning.

You should not have more than one cheat meal per week, and some who have a tougher time dropping body fat should not have any cheat meals.

All bread and dairy products should be eliminated.

Easing Back Into Cardio

Though you may feign ignorance, you are doubtless aware of the benefits of cardio. Yet even knowing it’s necessary for both maintaining good cardiovascular conditioning, i.e., a strong and healthy lungs and heart, as well as keeping body fat in check, many people drop cardio from their program the minute they decide they have kicked off their off-season. And trust me, I get it. Cardio is something most of us never signed on for. Personally, I started lifting weights at age 13-14 and didn’t begin doing any type of cardio until I had already been competing as a natural bodybuilder for three years. Even then, I did it grudgingly, holding it in contempt as a necessary evil if I wanted to shed the layer of blubber I’d accumulated via force-feeding at least double the amount of calories my body required in the form of 2-pound baked potatoes, bowls of rice large enough to use as helmets, and the sugar-laden mega-calorie weight gainers in vogue at the time. I did what many bodybuilders still do today, which was to take my cardio from zero to 60 overnight. I was able to get away with this shock to the system back then as I was just a whippersnapper in his early to mid-20s. By the time I was on the wrong side of 30, I was alarmed to find how badly I would suck wind if I returned to cardio after more than a month or so away from it. That’s when I realized it would behoove me to keep a certain amount of cardio in my program year-round.

Unless you are one of those rare metabolic freaks who stays lean without any conscious effort, or you have a physical job that keeps you breathing heavy and burning calories, you too should strive to include a bare minimum of three 20-minute sessions per week. But let’s assume you’ve done what so many other lifters do and stopped all cardio as soon as the leaves changed color. Here’s a reasonable schedule to ease you back into a level of cardiovascular fitness so that when it’s time to drop the hammer and enter full cutting mode, you’re more than ready.

Weeks 8-7

3 x 20 minutes, moderate intensity

Perform three sessions of 20 minutes per week, moderate intensity. That means it shouldn’t be so easy you can type clever comments on Instagram posts and stories, but you shouldn’t be gasping for breath like a fish on the dock either. You should have a light sweat by about halfway through. When you do these three sessions, as with any time you’re getting your cardio in, is up to you, your schedule, and your availability. We can all argue the relative benefits of fasted cardio versus doing it after your weights, or even in a fed state on days off from weight training. No studies have ever proven superior fat-burning results, though many people have verified over the past 20 or so years through their own experience that fasted morning cardio does seem to burn more body fat than doing it at other times. This seems particularly true once your body fat is already low. Since we’re not trying to get shredded in this transition phase, don’t fret if you can’t do fasted cardio. You can do it after your weight-training workout, though I would save your post-workout shake with carbs until after the cardio, so you don’t have that shake sloshing around in your belly. You can eat breakfast before heading off to the gym or to your own cardio machine at home; just give your body a good hour or more to digest it first.

I can say that I felt physically better and more energetic performing cardio with a meal in me. Those of you who follow Dr. Layne Norton know that he has effectively debunked the need to do your cardio in a fasted state. So long as you get it done and burn the calories, it really doesn’t matter.

Weeks 6-4

4 x 20 minutes, moderate intensity

We are adding another cardio day now, which takes you to four 20-minute sessions per week. For those of you grumbling about that, try to look on the bright side. In the old days, you had only your Sony Walkman and a cassette to keep you going during cardio, which eventually became a CD and a Sony Discman. MP3 players and iPods were the next evolution. Now, all of you own smartphones with access to almost unlimited text, audio, and video content.

Weeks 3-1

4 x 30 minutes, moderate intensity

For our final three weeks of spring training before it’s time to jump into full-fledged cutting, we’re keeping the frequency at four cardio sessions per week, but the duration bumps up from 20 to 30 minutes. Do the math and this has you hitting a total of two hours of cardio a week. That’s enough to make a real dent and melt away some of that winter hibernation fat you put on. Don’t be surprised if you start seeing the biggest difference in your body fat at this stage.

Weight Training

By now, the more detail-oriented among you might be asking, what about the weight training? What should I change, if anything? You may know from some of my previous articles that I believe in utilizing more intensity techniques such as drop sets, supersets, and giant sets in the off-season rather than in the cutting/prep phase as most people prefer to. This is because anything that ramps up your workload and intensity also takes a higher toll on your recovery ability. It makes sense to work harder and longer with the weights when your body has more resources to apply toward recovery. That’s why you should put those techniques into practice when you are in a surplus of energy and calories rather than a deficit.

Assuming you are doing this, the spring training period should see you gradually scaling back toward more straight sets. If you’re doing drop sets or supersets at every workout for every body part, start limiting them to just two exercises per body part, then one. Try to match the rate you transition back to straight sets with your increasing cardio frequency and your decrease in carb meals per day and cheat meals per week. Think in terms of overall energy expenditure, or energy in (food) versus energy out (weights and cardio).

As you can see, there’s no need to ever drastically jump into or out of fat-burning mode. Work your way into the summer cutting phase gradually with this “Spring Forward” spring training program, and you’ll be in an excellent position to launch your successful shredding regimen.

498473103 screen shot 2023 05 08 at 4 53 12 pm


Stop Buying Foods You Shouldn’t Eat

Unless you share your living area with junk-food junkies (or children), you’re in full control of what you stock your refrigerator and cupboards with. You can’t eat crap like cookies, muffins, or frozen bean burritos if they aren’t in your home in the first place. Try to do your food shopping on the perimeter of the supermarket where they stock the healthier basics like fruits, vegetables, fresh meat, fish, eggs, and poultry. Stay the hell away from the aisles full of cereal, snacks, soda, and candy. They can be very tempting, especially if you spy some sweet two-for-one deal. You’re better off leaving those aisles alone.

Start Meal Prepping

It’s always easier to eat cleaner when you have clean food already made that you just need to heat up in the toaster oven or microwave. Meal prepping is something a lot of people only start doing after Memorial Day when they panic and realize it’s going to be beach weather in a few weeks. Don’t wait that long! Start taking one day a week, maybe Sunday, to grill, fry, and bake batches of chicken, ground turkey or beef, and fish to freeze so you won’t have to cook the rest of the week. Otherwise, if most of us must choose between cooking fresh, clean food every day if not several times a day or going for fast food, the easier option often wins out even if it means we know we aren’t eating right. We are all busy in 2023, so use your time wisely. Be prepared to eat clean, and it won’t be an excuse not to.

Take a Break From Social Media

I confess I stole this one from four-time Classic Physique Olympia champ Chris Bumstead. Like me and most of you, he has no love for cardio. One way he makes the time pass by faster for his fasted cardio is to not even check his texts, emails, or messages on social media until he’s on the treadmill or StepMill. If you’re even a remotely busy person, answering those should take up a good chunk of the time you’re huffing away burning calories. Before you know it, you’re done!

The post Get a Beach Body: 8-Week Plan appeared first on FitnessRX for Men.

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By: Ron Harris
Title: Get a Beach Body: 8-Week Plan
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Published Date: Wed, 24 May 2023 14:38:01 +0000

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Mens Health

The Keys to Success: Determination, Consistency and Desire



WADE 47 600

Relentless Pursuit

By IFBB Pro Josh Wade

Sponsored by ALLMAX

Weight training changed my life, kept me out of trouble and gave me a sense of accomplishment I never had before so I immediately fell in love with the sport of bodybuilding and after about eight years of serious training, I wanted to show my hard work and compete on a bodybuilding stage. At that point I was all in and even as a first-time competitor I ate, trained, and studied like a pro, reading articles in Muscular Development magazine about how the pros trained, their reps and sets and the splits they used and what their meals looked like.

From 2006-2014 I was as consistent as anyone could be climbing from a middleweight to a super heavyweight and finishing top five at multiple national level shows and narrowly missing my pro card multiple times. In 2015 I had two surgeries (shoulder scope and triceps tendon reattachment) and missed the whole season, which had me in a depression with self-doubt that after all the years of grinding and complete devotion to the sport I love, I couldn’t compete again and fulfill my dream of becoming an IFBB Pro! After that season I got a message from Dante Trudel, whom I highly respected, but I had no idea he knew who I was saying, “Hey man, I didn’t see you at the National shows this year and you are so close I hope you didn’t hang it up.”

The realization that people followed me and were rooting for me and supporting me lit a fire under my ass and my self-doubt (weak mind) turned off and I found the drive to push harder than I ever have – and from that point on my mind would never again be my limiting factor to seeing how far I could go – and that’s why I work so hard every day in the pursuit of my dreams and goals, which had taken me as far as making the Olympia in 2018.

I’m writing this the day after Samson Dauda won the 2023 Arnold Classic in Ohio. He is a true testament of Determination, Consistency and Desire to accomplish your goals and dreams. I met Samson and his wife Mel in 2019 as he was just coming on to the scene and competed with Samson a few times that year where I bested him in those shows. His humbleness and character are what immediately drew so many people to him, but you could see he had the desire to be Great! Every time I think of Samson’s rise, I think back to when he was quarantined in a hotel room getting ready to compete at a show using only bands to train. He was away from his family, secluded from the world in pursuit of his dreams; that’s sacrifice. The point is Samson has determination and desire, but his consistency is what’s allowed him to climb to the top so fast and already be one of the (if not the) best bodybuilders in the world! Like my late friend, coach and mentor John Meadows always said, “You never know what you are truly capable of unless you give it your all”!

WADE 47 600 1

Better Sleep, Growth and Recovery

Q: I work a lot of night shifts, and I know sleep is crucial for growth and recovery. Do you have any tips?


Honestly, I think no matter what your work schedule is, it’s the consistency that matters the most so your body gets used to what you want it to do and when. During the week, I’m lucky if I get six to six and a half hours of sleep nightly with a few extra hours on the weekends, and I feel rested because again that’s what my body is used to. Calories and rest are the most important things for recovery and growth but a lot times it is hard to get the recommended eight hours of sleep, so then it becomes even that much more important to get enough calories and protein at frequent intervals to keep your body in a positive nitrogen balance – so make sure to eat every three to four hours while you are awake and have a protein shake after your workout to keep consistent calories to allow your body to grow. Supplements around training are a super beneficial and easy way to make sure you are getting adequate nutrients to support recovery and growth.

To aid in recovery and growth I use a lot of intra-workout nutrition, making sure to shuttle the nutrients I need into the muscle I’m training, which is another thing I learned from John Meadows. Carbs are super important for growth and recovery so even people on lower-carb diets can benefit from intra-workout carbs to make sure their workouts don’t suffer.


1 scoop Impact Pump (helps increase blood flow and transportation of nutrients while significantly helping the focus for mind-muscle connection)

1 scoop Aminocore (prevents muscle tissue breakdown during training)

10g Glutamine (helps with DOMS, insulin sensitivity, gut health and immune system)

5g Creatine (for that fast-acting, explosive power needed to push weights and helps with muscle hydration)

1 scoop Carbion (50g carbs) (really helps with energy and endurance during workout by giving your body carbs that don’t have to be digested, therefore they are readily available for fuel)


2 scoops IsoFlex (fast-digesting protein with essential amino acids to start the building or repairing process immediately)

10g Glutamine again (helps with DOMS, insulin sensitivity, gut health and immune system)

Give these a try and I can guarantee your energy, intensity and pumps will dramatically increase in the gym.

ALLMAX is now selling directly to the consumer. For a great discount on all your Allmax Nutrition products, go to and use code JOSHWADE15 for 15% off.

For questions you would like answered in my column or coaching inquiries, please email






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The post The Keys to Success: Determination, Consistency and Desire appeared first on FitnessRX for Men.

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By: Team FitRx
Title: The Keys to Success: Determination, Consistency and Desire
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Published Date: Thu, 11 May 2023 21:09:00 +0000

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