Q: Looking in the mirror, I see that somehow I’ve gotten very fat. I go to the gym, but I guess my eating has been out of hand for too long. Is there anything I should concentrate on during my workouts to help lose the fat? I plan to do cardio after every weight workout, something you’ve suggested. I desperately want to see abs!
A: First, get your diet under control. You must start eating clean—cut down the junk—and get on an anabolic-meal schedule. You need to eat at least 25 grams of protein at each of six meals a day. Try to eat every two to three hours, and get some carbs too—enough to refill muscle glycogen stores, which is about 200 grams a day. If you need examples, see the e-book X-treme Lean, available at X-tremeLean.com. It contains a number of complete meal-by-meal ripping diets—mine included.
In the gym you should concentrate on two very important fat-to-muscle activators: muscle trauma and growth hormone release. Nail them both, and you’ll not only build loads of muscle but burn off a lot of ugly bodyfat as well. Your etched granite abs will show up quickly.
Growth hormone has been shown in countless studies to supercharge the fat-burning process, especially around the belly. It can also enhance other anabolic hormones like testosterone so you can build muscle more easily.
Muscle trauma, which manifests itself as soreness, revs up your metabolism after the workout. It takes energy to repair the muscle microtears—and a lot of that extra energy comes from your bodyfat stores. You actually burn fat just sitting around or sleeping as your muscles heal and grow bigger and stronger. How great is that?
In our e-book The Ultimate Fat-to-Muscle Workout, Jonathan Lawson, my training partner, and I outline a routine that appears to morph fat into muscle. I say “appears” because you can’t really turn fat tissue into muscle. You can, however, pack on muscle at the same time that you burn off fat—and our program does just that.
It calls for you to do a progressively heavier pyramid on the first exercise, satisfying your need for power-style training. That produces some muscle trauma and can boost testosterone. You follow with a lighter, negative-accentuated set—one-second positives and six-second negatives—which amplifies the microtrauma—and end each bodypart routine with two quick high-rep sets of a contracted-position exercise. For example, the full-range POF lat routine looks like this:
Midrange: Pulldowns (pyramid) 3 x 9, 7, 4-6
Midrange: Pulldowns (NA) 1 x 7
Stretch: Dumbbell pullovers 1 x 9
Stretch: Dumbbell pullovers (NA) 1 x 7
Contracted: Stiff-arm pulldowns 2 x 15-20
The muscle burn you’ll experience on the NA sets, with their 50 seconds of tension time, and on the high-rep sets on the last exercise, is the key to growth hormone release. Studies show that muscle burn increases GH output exponentially, and that will supercharge your fat-to-muscle results big time. (Can J Appl Physio. 22:244-255; 1997)
So with that type of fat-to-muscle program here’s what you get:
1) Heavy pyramid work for muscle microtrauma
2) Negative-accentuated work for extra microtrauma and longer tension times for growth hormone output
3) High-rep sets for muscle burn and extra GH
If you’ve been reading Iron Man over the past few months, you know that another way to get that muscle-burning, GH-churning effect is with a quick 4X sequence. (I explained 4X in the first answer above.) You could use 4X on the last exercise instead of the higher-rep sets listed for a final five-minute GH blast.
If you like the workout you’re currently using and want to stick with it, simply integrate NA sets and high-rep sets and/or 4X for fat-to-muscle success—so eventually you’ll look your muscular, ripped best!
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 videos and Size Surge programs, visit www.home-gym.com. Also visit www.X-Rep.com for information on X-Rep and 3D POF methods and e-books. IM