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3 Steps to a Ripped Beach Physique

7206-cmass1Q: Okay, I’m ready to get to it and get ripped. I need more muscle too. What type of program should I be on? Do I need cardio? I want my body to be beach ready.

A: It’s difficult to prescribe a “program” because you didn’t say how much experience you have or what your body type is. I’ll assume you have at least a year of lifting under your belt and are about 15 pounds overweight—no abs in sight.

1) Train with weights four or five days a week, with workouts lasting about an hour. That will keep your metabolism stoked with a gradual buildup of muscle. (If you have time, doing 20 minutes of cardio right after the weights can help speed fat burning.)

2) Slow down the negative stroke of your exercises. I always recommend lifting in one second and lowering in three because the lowering, or eccentric, stroke provides the most trauma to the muscle fibers. It takes energy to repair the microtears, and much of that energy comes from bodyfat.

I also suggest negative-accentuated, or X-centric, sets—lift in one second and lower in six. It’s a unique way to flip the fat-to-muscle switch. One or two sets per muscle is all I recommend in that style, however. It will get you sore (but your metabolism will soar).

3) Reduce the rest time between sets and/or do some with higher reps. The reason for both of those tactics is to emphasize the muscle sarcoplasm, the energy fluid that contains the mitochondria, which are the cell powerhouses where fat is burned. By stressing and expanding the sarcoplasm, you make the muscle larger and you supercharge your fat-burning machinery.

Higher reps and/or short rests between sets also produce more muscle burn. That in turn has been shown in research studies to increase the natural output of growth hormone, which is a power-packed fat burner.

There you go: Three key ways you can get big and lean for the summer scene. See you on the beach with a ripped physique.

Shameless plug: All of the big-and-lean steps discussed above are included in the programs in The Ultimate Fat-to-Muscle Workout, an e-book, available at


Editor’s note: Steve Holman is the author of many bodybuilding best-sellers and the creator of Positions-of-Flexion muscle training. For information on POF as well as many other mass-training methods and workout programs visit  and


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