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Less Fat, More Muscle, New Abs

You can’t judge your results by bodyweight, however. If you gain muscle and lose fat, your weight may stay about the same—but you’ll look bigger and better, as in leaner.

Q: I’m 45 and have been lifting on and off for about 10 years. I’ve always had a layer of fat but just figured it was thick skin. I got the e-book Size Surge and decided to get serious. I’m just starting phase 2, but I already look bigger and leaner. I’m beginning to see abs for the first time. I don’t do any cardio at the moment. My bodyweight is actually the same as when I started, but it looks like I’ve lost fat. Is that normal? Will I continue to get bigger and leaner on phase 2 if I work hard?

A: Yes. In fact, your results should get better if you keep eating the way you’re eating—controlled. Getting leaner on the Size Surge program isn’t abnormal; however, most trainees use it as a muscle-bulk-building itinerary so they don’t really control calories. It’s all about surplus, as getting big is the name of the game.

That was Jonathan’s mind-set when he gained 20 pounds of muscle in 10 weeks with it, although his after pics show that his abs began to appear by the end too—which may have been a function of his eating and the training program, as I’ll explain. [Note: Jonathan’s before and after photos as well as his strength stats are posted at].

If you get enough protein doled out over six smaller meals a day, cut out junk food most of the time and keep your daily calorie intake in check—at just below maintenance—you’ll lose fat as you pack on muscle with the Size Surge workouts or any basic muscle-building program. Plus, as you get more muscular, your metabolism will speed up and you’ll burn more calories, even at rest.

You can’t judge your results by bodyweight, however. If you gain muscle and lose fat, your weight may stay about the same—but you’ll look bigger and better, as in leaner.

Something else to consider, especially because you’re middle-aged, is that your testosterone may have been low before you started the Size Surge program. Once you began the workouts, using a number of big exercises in a specific sequence at each workout, your T levels no doubt increased. Why is that significant?

In recent studies testosterone-deficient men were given supplemental testosterone, and the result was a region-specific drop in visceral fat in the abdominal area. Less belly fat means ab muscles can begin to surface! In one study the testosterone-supplemented group had a whopping 34 percent turnover of triglycerides in abdominal fat. [J Clin Edocrinol Metab. 80(1):239-43; 1995.]

The lesson for anyone trying to get bigger and leaner is that increasing testosterone will melt fat, get your abs sharper and build muscle size. That’s why so many bodybuilders take steroids, which are basically synthetic testosterone.

You don’t have to use drugs, of course; as you proved, elevating your T levels via the compound exercises as they’re grouped in the Size Surge program can do the job. Training many muscle groups with only a few sets of the big, midrange moves at each one-hour workout works!

What about phase 2? It’s compound-exercise dominant as well, plus you get a new muscle-size jolt with stretch overload and tension-based occlusion. Both of those have tremendous fat-burning and muscle-building benefits, like growth hormone release, so your results should skyrocket! That’s what happened to Jonathan. Then again, he was in his mid-20s during the original 10-week Size Surge experiment.

You’re in your 40s, so you may want to try doing the second set of some of the compound exercises in negative-accentuated style—that is 1  1/2 seconds up and six seconds down on every rep. That will give you a bigger fat-to-muscle kick by increasing microtrauma in the muscle tissue, which has been shown to jack up the metabolism and turn up the fat-burning heat during the repair process. In other words, you burn more fat even at rest so you’ll look your muscular best after your Size Surge success.

Q: The Size Surge program is very motivating, and I want to start. I’m very skinny. My problem is that I can make it to the gym only two days a week. Can I make any progress doing that? How can I alter the Size Surge program for training two days a week instead of three?

A: Yes, you can make progress training two days a week. In fact, Stuart McRobert, who writes IRON MAN’s Hardgainer column, often suggests that high-strung, “skinny” types—a.k.a. ectomorphs—train only two days a week for best results. More than that, he says, can deplete too much recovery ability and slow or halt muscle gains.

So how should you structure the workouts? Before I answer, here’s how phase 1 is set up for three-days-per-week training:

Monday: Legs, chest, back, delts

Wednesday: Deadlifts, biceps, triceps, abs

Friday: Legs, chest, back, delts

That’s a fantastic mass-building split. Legs and torso at one workout and deadlifts and arms at another create tremendous anabolic acceleration. So let’s keep the split as is and shuffle the order instead.

To change the above to a two-days-per-week program, do the Wednesday deadlift/arms/abs workout every third session, like this:

Monday: Legs, chest, back, delts

Thursday: Legs, chest, back, delts

Monday: Deadlifts, biceps, triceps, abs

Thursday: Legs, chest, back, delts

Monday: Legs, chest, back, delts

Thursday: Deadlifts, biceps, triceps, abs

And so on, with the third workout always being deadlifts, arms and abs. Remember, your arms are getting lots of indirect work during chest, back and delt training that will keep them growing steadily. Deadlifts are so taxing to many muscles that doing them every 10 days or so should be fine, especially if you work your legs hard at your other two workouts.

One other consideration: In the original Size Surge program Jonathan used phase 1 for five weeks of all-out training, then continued it for one back-off week, stopping every set two reps short of muscular failure. We call that a downshift phase for complete recovery. Because you’re training only two days a week, you can extend the all-out-training phase for eight weeks, then take a downshift week to recover, and still add more mass.

Q: I have the new e-book Size Surge, and I also got the e-book 3D Muscle Building. In 3D there’s a different version of the phase 1 Size Surge workouts [on pages 81-84]. It has rest/pause and drop sets. Should I use that as phase 1 or the one listed as Jonathan’s [straight-set version] in Size Surge?

A: The Mass F/X Program in the e-book 3D is the same three-days-per-week phase 1 that Jonathan used but with a few twists: You do a max-force-generating workout for a bodypart (F), then at the second workout for that bodypart you do an extended-tension-style workout (X). That gives you the power-density mass-building combination I’m always harping on.

For example, at your first delt workout on Monday you do the following force workout:

Dumbbell presses (X Reps)     2 x 7-9

Dumbbell upright rows

(X Reps)   2 x 7-9

When you train delts again on Friday, you do the following extended-tension workout:

Dumbbell presses

(multirep rest/pause)     1 x 9(6)(4)

Dumbbell upright rows

(drop set)   1 x (9)(6)

Multirep rest/pause is also known as Dante’s DoggCrapp training. You take a weight you would hit failure with at nine reps, rest for 15 seconds, then rep out with it again, getting around six; rest 15 seconds and rep out one last time, getting around four. On the second exercise you do a drop set—do a set to exhaustion, reduce the weight, and immediately rep out. Notice that you try to get zero rest between those sets.

Okay, back to your question: Should you use the F/X version or Jonathan’s straight-set version for phase 1? Here’s what I suggest:

Weeks 1-5: Use Jonathan’s straight-set phase 1 workouts (three days per week—pages 21-23 in Size Surge).

Week 6: Continue with it for a downshift week, stopping all sets two reps short of failure.

Weeks 7-10: Use Jonathan’s full-range POF phase 2 (either his every-other-day split or the three-way-split version; both are outlined in Size Surge).

Week 11: Continue with it for a downshift week, stopping all sets two reps short of failure.

Week 12-15: Use the SS Phase 1 Mass F/X Program (three days per week—outlined on pages 81-84 in 3D Muscle Building).

After week 15 it’s up to you. There’s a POF version of Eric Broser’s Power/Rep Range/Shock system in 3D Muscle Building that you can use as is or tailor to your needs and schedule. It provides unique changes every week, which should pack even more mass on your physique.

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, see the ad sections beginning on pages 204 and 250, respectively. Also visit www
for information on X-Rep and 3D POF methods and e-books.  IM

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