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Critical Cuts

You know ultimate conditioning when you see it—or better yet, achieve it yourself: skin so thin it appears that your muscles have been shrink-wrapped in cellophane, showing every striation and vein. The mere flex of your pecs looks like a Fourth of July fireworks display.

There are a few excellent examples in the pro ranks, but the current top-tier bodybuilder who hits that target consistently is Branch Warren. It’s one reason he landed in the coveted runner-up spot at the ’09 Mr. Olympia. His type of eye-popping conditioning is the result of his learning how his body responds and lots of dietary experimentation; however, specific hormone manipulations can speed up the cutting process for anyone.

For example, the key thermogenic hormone is norepinephrine—and according to Warren, “Achieving powerful thermogenesis is absolutely critical.” Finding ways to amplify the fat-burning power of norepinephrine with specific supplements can get you ripped faster. Caffeine does it to a degree, but it can be synergistic with other compounds.

Trying specific supplements, of course, is how you determine whether something works for your particular physiology. I saw Branch Warren’s conditioning leading up to the Olympia, and he swears by the new Hydroxycut Hardcore X. I was preparing for a photo shoot—at age 50—and having some trouble losing that last layer, so his thumbs-up to the newly formulated fat burner got my attention.

Because of my position at IRON MAN, I was able to make arrangements to talk with one of the scientists behind the new Hydroxycut. I was very curious, as I needed to sharpen my conditioning quickly. Time was ticking away, so I wanted to know the facts—and I needed confirmation that the supplement is safe for someone my age.

During a conference call he explained most of the ingredients and why they produce results synergistically and safely. It’s all about supercharging norepinephrine release as well as optimal-ingredient delivery via nitric oxide production and neurotransmitter activation. From betaine to L-tyrosine to L-carnosine to capsicum, every ingredient has a thermogenic objective.

That all may sound lab-coat-esque, but the bottom line is that the combination heightens fat metabolism along multiple pathways, or mechanisms [see the diagram below].

MuscleTech is a very large supplement company. Being so successful enables the people behind it to pour lots of money back into research and development, which is why the brand is so popular: The supplements work. The R&D department leaves no stone unturned—and speaking of stone, or, rather, chiseled rock-hard granite, back to Branch Warren:

Hydroxycut Hardcore X is what I use to get competition ready,” he said. And, boy, was he ready in Vegas at the Olympia! Impressive, and at 10 days out from my photo shoot I could see that getting some of Branch’s graininess was just what I needed. The soft look would not do.

I decided to try Hydroxycut Hardcore X as my last-ditch effort to at least get close to the hardness Warren is famous for. After all, it had an X in the name, so I took that as a sign that it would spontaneously combust bodyfat when combined with my X-Rep training—okay, maybe I was reaching, but it was worth a shot.

What happened? See the photos above. I got more shredded every day during the last two weeks. Was it the Hydroxycut Hardcore X? That was a big part of it, although I increased my carbs those last 10 days and also used a carb depletion and load for few days at the end. Nevertheless, I noticed major changes start to happen the week before, so the supplement obviously had a very positive impact. I’m convinced it ignited a metabolic firestorm that raged right up to the day of my shoot.

Seeing that inside-out shredded look materialize the last 10 days has never happened to me before. Not bad considering I’m a 50-year-old hardgainer who’d hit a plateau—my fat loss was at a standstill.

The newly formulated Hydroxycut Hardcore X gave me an extra fat-burning edge. And, by the way, I’m not being paid to say any of this—I’m simply relating my most recent ripping experience—which was a shrink-wrapped success. IM

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