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4 Secrets to Staying Lean Year Round

Q: I want to thank you. I got your X-treme Lean and Fat-to-Muscle Workout. Following the training methods and diet advice in them kept me so much leaner over the winter. I can’t believe it’s almost February and I can still see abs—not much blur at all. I usually get a bigger gut and abs vanish. Not this year—and my eating wasn’t all that different from past winters, so I know it’s your methods. Thanks again!

www.ironmanmagazine.comA: That’s great to hear. Those methods took a lot of trial and error, but I know from experience that they work—I stay much leaner year-round now thanks to the following:

1) X-centric sets. These involve doing a few sets every workout with a very slow negative stroke on each rep—lift in one second and lower in six. That creates more muscle trauma, which requires more energy (from fat) outside the gym for repair. You burn more blubber 24/7.

2) The 4X method. Use a moderate weight for four sets of 10 reps, but taking very short rests between them—30 to 40 seconds. That style of training not only builds muscle via myofibrillar and sarcoplasmic expansion, but it also stresses the mitochondria, the lean machines in cells where fat is burned.

3) Growth hormone release. Both of the above methods—X-centric and 4X—trigger major muscle burn, which in turn causes GH to churn. GH is a muscle builder as well as a potent blubber buster. In other words, more GH will get you bigger and leaner.

4) Carb cycling. Jonathan Lawson and I mention this in X-treme Lean—that our diets actually have built-in carb fluctuation. For example, on nonworkout days we don’t have a postworkout shake. That cuts about 60 grams of carbs from our diet on those days. We also have a loose cheat day on the weekends—not too extreme but enough to jack up daily calories. The calorie and carb zig-zag keeps metabolic momentum revved to the max—no starvation, no cravings and no thyroid shutdown.

All of the above are good ideas to keep you ripped and buff year-round—or to help you lean out now.

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 the POF DVD and Size Surge programs, see the ad sections in this issue. Also visit  and for info on X-Rep, 4X and 3D POF methods and e-books.  IM

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