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The High Def Handbook

Diet is a big part of The High Def Handbook for the very good reason that you can’t get ripped without watching what you eat.

High Def ZaneIn the bodybuilding world, Frank Zane is a legend. Not because he was huge and freaky but because his physique was perfect. Even today surveys say that the body most serious weight trainees would like to have is that of a contest-ready Frank Zane—aesthetic and ripped to the bone.

In The High Def Handbook, Zane tells you how to get there, genetics permitting. Its subtitle is Workouts, Diet and Recipes for Incredible Definition, so if you’re looking for Zane’s ripping secrets, this 64-page guide is your road map.

You’ll find “Frank” discussions on abs (“Get Waisted”), including exercises, workouts and info on the stomach vacuum—a pose that can shrink your stomach, not a fat-sucking device. There’s a section on aerobics that details how and when to do it and how to stick with it, plus details on posing, stretching and weight training for the high-def look.

One of the most interesting sections is on bulking up, which Zane discourages. He recounts how he bulked up and regretted it. For example, in 1965 he pushed his bodyweight up to 220—he usually competed around 190. At that high bodyweight his thighs were a massive 27 1/2 inches apiece, but his waist was also up—to 38. Afer dieting down, he was back to 190 with nothing to show for his overeating efforts.

Diet is a big part of The High Def Handbook for the very good reason that you can’t get ripped without watching what you eat. Zane covers the basics, such as manipulating protein, carbs and fat, but the majority of the info covers unique topics, like using specific amino acids to affect your mood and energy levels, nutrient timing, acidic and alkaline foods, plus page after page of wife Christine’s healthful bodybuilding recipes and Frank’s High Def Diet at 65.

Because he’s hit retirement age, Frank also discusses hormone-replacement therapy, longevity, DHEA and thyroid supplements. As for motivation, the booklet is filled with classic photos of Frank. His physique is arguably the most classically perfect in bodybuilding history. The High Def Handbook is a must-see, must-read guide for anyone serious about getting lean while building muscle.

—Becky Holman

Editor’s note: The High Def Handbook is available for $22 plus shipping and handling at

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