Eat more… The end. The most basic concept in human nutrition is the energy balance model shown below. Simply put, if the amount of calories in your diet exceeds the number of calories your body needs you will put the weight on. Now, for some reason, the energy model is much hated by some fitness gurus, as if the laws of physics were put on halt once a bare mortal enters the domain of weights and protein shakes.

Unfortunately, energy is never lost in our universe and all the energy (calories) you eat needs to go somewhere. The macronutrient composition of your diet, nutrient timing, quality of the food, genetic make-up, hormonal balance and physical activity will all determine the faith of your meal. By optimising these factors you can ensure that the extra calories you eat to build muscle rather than love handles and this article will help you with getting the most out of your diet.

2. What and How Much to Eat? Muscle Building Nutrition & Supplements

Protein

The key nutrient which builds all human tissues, including muscle. Our bodies don’t store protein, therefore in times of need tissues can be broken down into protein and then to amino acids, which can be used elsewhere – that’s when we talk about catabolism. It happens all the time, casting a shadow over your gains, hence it’s very important to tip the scales towards anabolism and supply your body with protein every 2-3 hours. That will ensure a steady intake of amino acids needed to over-build the muscle damage caused by weight training. It’s worth noting that weightlifting and greater muscle mass, increase the demand for this nutrient (and all the others).

However, there is little evidence that intakes of over 2g per 1kg of body weight lead to more muscle growth. So if your bodyweight is 70kg (150lbs) you should be aiming for 140g of protein – the equivalent of over 1.5 pounds of chicken breast a day! Fortunately, there are supplements which can help you get all the protein you need without being kitchen-bound. Two scoops of Whey protein are probably the most cost-effective 40 grams of protein you can get in few sips.

Good sources of protein: eggs, fish, cheese, beef, chicken, turkey and other meats.

Carbohydrates

Body’s preferred source of energy, bound in the muscle as glycogen explaining the muscle-fullness you got the other day after eating few beagles. Carbohydrates have got a bad name for themselves as having too many of them too often leads to elevated insulin levels. This storage hormone stops fat oxidation and packs both the muscle and fat cells with whatever you ate. It’s a double-edged sword – used wisely carbohydrate consumption leads to epic muscle growth, used not-so-wisely leads to epic fatness.

Nevertheless, carbs are a must if you want to gain muscle! If you put on fat easily you should have most of your carbs around your workout, as at that time their uptake by muscles is greatly enhanced. It may also be a good idea, not to mix fats with simple carbs (sugars) in one meal, as the rapid insulin spike may promote the fat storage. However, if you’re a typical hard gainer, your life will be a breeze with carbs and fats in every meal.

Carbohydrate intake is highly individual and can range anywhere from 2g to 6g (or more) per kg of body weight, thus it’s something you will need to experiment with. It’s quite easy to get carbohydrates from solid food; however powdered carbohydrate supplement post-workout may be beneficial in maximising the insulin response due to quicker digestion and absorption as well.

Good sources of carbohydrates: rice, potatoes, pasta, wholegrain bread.

Fats

Probably the most neglected but so important nutrient, because of its role as a vitamin solvent, building material for sex hormones (including testosterone) as well as a structural component of all cell membranes, including muscle cells. Without at least 20% of calories in your diet coming from fat (e.g. 45g of fat in a 2000kcal diet) you risk fat-soluble vitamin deficiencies and poor hormonal profile.

However not all fat is created equal and body’s response varies depending on the chemical structure of fatty acids. Chances are that your diet lacks essential omega-3s, which shown to have a range of health benefits including enhanced sports performance. Oily fish such as Salmon contains a lot of omega3s; however, eating fish every day may not be something you’ll easily come to terms with. On top of that, the issue of heavy metal contamination in fatty fish has been raised, hence giving the Salmon a break might be a good idea. Instead, you can supplement your diet with purified and convenient Omega-3s.

Good sources of fats: oils, nuts, fatty fish, eggs.

Vitamins and Minerals

These have a wide range of function in the human body, including; energy and hormone production, cell differentiation and many more. As you probably know, most of the vitamins and minerals in your diet come from fruits and vegetables.

Good sources of vitamins and minerals: fruits and vegetables.

3. When You Can’t Eat No More – Choosing the Right Weight Gainer

Hopefully, by now you have some fundamental idea of what to eat to gain size. However, eating can be a chore and even with the best effort and determination you may find yourself in situations where eating a meal may not be possible or convenient. Sometimes, your appetite simply won’t cooperate and you will find yourself dreading a thought of another spoonful. If so, it might be a good idea to reach out for a weight gainer, after all drinking your calories is much easier and quicker… but how to choose the right one?

Impact Weight Gainer – a cost-effective blend of whey protein concentrate and ground oats. Following the previously mentioned rule of not mixing simple sugars and fats in one meal, this product will be a safe meal substitute even for those prone to gaining body-fat. Highly bio-available protein and complex carbohydrates are just bread and butter in a meal schedule of every fitness freak.

Total Gainer – is a more complex formula which contains a blend of fast-acting and slow-acting carbohydrates; beneficial for those who burn through carbs because of high metabolism or very active lifestyle. A mixture of fast to moderately-fast digestible protein ensures a steady supply of amino acids for at least 4 hours after consumption. Furthermore, sources of omega-3s and medium chain triglycerides take care of your dietary fat demands and boost calorie intake.

Hard Gainer Extreme – as the name implies, an extreme combination of ingredients. Notably, this gainer contains the most rapidly absorbed protein; whey hydrolysate and the slowest digestible protein; calcium caseinate. The blend will keep shuttling muscle building amino acids into the bloodstream for at least 8 hours after consumption. Hard Gainer Extreme contains only fast-acting carbohydrates which can be ensured only by the toughest hard gainers. In the ingredient list, you will also find fibre and, similarly to Total Gainer, extra sources of dietary fat. If your metabolism is on a slow side, you might re-consider other options rather than this calorie-bomb.



Carnitine is a quaternary ammonium compound, which is essential for metabolic function in all mammals. Carnitine is not only essential for the healthy function of various human physiological systems, but also supplementation with carnitine can confer serious boosts to athletic performance and overall body composition in athletes that supplement with it! Carnitine can be suspended in a liquid or as a raw powder which is taken orally, and which following its breakthrough into the fitness world has undergone extensive medial trials in healthy individuals as well as athletes demonstrating extremely interesting effects on fatty acid metabolism and glycogen preservation.      

    In addition to the potential performance enhancing and physique benefits it provides, carnitine has also been connected in various studies to a lower risk of diabetes and heart disease. One of the primary roles carnitine serves in our body is the carnitine pathway shuttling of fatty acids. This is the process by which fatty acids are directly shuttled into the mitochondria of cells to provide essential cellular energy. Additionally, carnitine activation allows the oxidation of fats directly from cellular material, allowing an athlete to derive energy directly from body fat stores, not just carbohydrate metabolism. Furthermore, the presence of muscle carnitine, which can be metabolized into direct cellular energy, it has a glycogen sparing effect on muscle tissue and thereby exerts an anti-catabolic effect on muscular tissue, preventing the depletion of muscle glycogen throughout strenuous training. This allows an athlete alternative means of energy supply and preserves essential muscle glycogen for longer during workouts.

    Adding to its obvious benefits in terms energy production and the improvement of body composition caused by the direct oxidation of fatty acids, rather than pure carbohydrate metabolism; Carnitine, has been connected to a lower risk of diabetes and the prevention cardiac ischemia (decreased blood flow to the heart). The host of bodily mechanisms in which carnitine plays a role suggests that supplementation with it can contribute to broader holistic health, in addition to providing massive physique benefits in terms of its powerful fat burning effects and extremely efficient energy transportation. Carnitine is in many ways one of the essential bodily compounds with roles in a whole host of physiological processes, among which are several methods bodybuilders can utilize to enhance their physiques and athletic performance in the gym.

    Carnitine is, if not an essential, a very useful product for athletes seeking to improve their overall body composition, through the targeted oxidation of fatty acids from their cellular adipose tissue, or to enhance their workouts and overall energy, strength, and power through training sessions with carnitine mediated muscle glycogen preservation, allowing athletes to train harder, with less fatigue, while directly burning body fat and enjoying a variety of potential health benefits. There are a lot of potential upsides to supplementing with carnitine, but people have been getting jacked for decades before companies started selling carnitine; diet and training should come first; however, there is substantial evidence that carnitine could give you a performance boost.

The term maintenance calories is thrown around a lot. For those that don’t know, your maintenance calories are the amount of calories that you shouldn’t lose or gain weight on. But exactly how much is that?

There are theoretical maintenance and practical maintenance calories. They aren’t always equal because of variations in people’s metabolisms.

Theoretical maintenance calculation:

BMR x Harris-Benedict multiplier (Here is an easy calculator to figure it out for you http://www.bmrcalculator.org/)

For example, if you are a 6’ 200lb 25 year old male, your BMR is 1931 calories and, if you work out 3-5 times per week, your theoretical maintenance calories are 2993 calories per day.

On the other hand, your practical maintenance calories, based on your current individual metabolic rate may be lower than that calculated number or above. The concept that many people don’t get is that your metabolic rate is not static. You can speed up (or slow down) your metabolism.

For example, if you are a 6’ 200lb 25 year old male, and you’re working out 3-5 times per week and you are gaining weight eating 2500 calories per day, then your practical maintenance calories are actually lower than your theoretical calories, meaning your metabolism is running slow.

So how can you speed up your metabolism?

Limiting stress, adequate and high quality sleep, increased water intake, increased gut health by eating enough fiber, making sure you’re getting enough of each vitamin, and performing cardio regularly. All of the miscellaneous things that you might not consider.

By taking each of those into consideration, and optimizing them, your theoretical maintenance calories and practical maintenance calories should approximate each other.

The actual macronutrient breakdown is controversial, but a safe breakdown to promote lean body mass and minimize fat mass is: 1g protein/lb lean body mass and splitting carbs and fats evenly or based on food preference. For example, if you are a 6’ 200lb 10% body fat 25 year old male with a theoretical and practical maintenance calorie count of 3000, your macro breakdown should look similar to 180g protein, 280g carbs, 130g fat.

Numbers to remember:

1g protein = 4 calories, 1g carbs = 4 calories, and 1g fat = 9 calories

3500 calories = 1lb. If you lose/gain 1lb per week, you’re in about a 3500 calorie deficit/surplus.

If you are wondering how to build muscle mass, you have come to the right place. Improving your muscularity is the aim to gain muscle mass but decreasing body fat is usually how muscle mass is measured.

What Is Muscle Mass Definition?

Muscle mass is literally the weight of your muscle in pounds or kilograms. To get slightly more technical, it is a measure of metabolic homeostasis, physical strength, and daily living activities. Think of it this way; if you have a higher lean mass means you have higher nutritional reserve and strength whereas lower muscle mass (sarcopenia) is a major contributor to disability and increased mortality.

How Muscle Builds Mass

Muscle builds mass after a workout; your body repairs or replaces the damaged fibers in the muscles through a cellular process. This process fuses muscle fibers together to create myofibrils or new muscle protein strands. These repaired myofibrils increase in thickness and number to grow to build muscle mass.

7 Tips for Building Muscle Mass

  • Get Stronger. Figuring how to grow muscle mass may require consistency, but at the very least it requires strength. Basically, more strength means more muscle.
  • Add Weight. Remember that weight is important, not just repetitions of an exercise. To get bigger muscles, the body needs to pump bigger iron. Start off by adding more weight to the last lift; slowly over time the body gets stronger.
  • Do Compounds. Do exercises that work several muscles at the same time.
  • Use Barbells. Barbells enable the human body to exercise with the most weight; as we said, more weight equals more strength.
  • Increase Frequency. If you think squatting once a week will get you the perfect butt, think again. Consistency and repetition are key, so try upping your squat routine to 3 times a week, then, up it to 5 times a week.
  • Recover. The human body needs work and rest. In order to rebuild the muscles for growth, sleep and rest is required for the process
  • Eat Protein. Protein is essential as a tool for rebuilding muscles. You need 2.2g protein per kilogram of body-weight (1g/lb.) to maximize muscle recovery and build muscle, although at least a gram of protein per kilogram of body-weight is less intense and will put you on the right track.

How Long to Build Muscle Mass?

Obviously building muscle doesn’t happen overnight, but even if you do not think you see results in the mirror, don’t lose motivation. Often when working out, it looks like muscles are getting bigger. When exercising, blood rushes to the muscle to give it fuel and start repair in a process called transient hypertrophy aka muscle pump. Although muscle pump makes muscles look bigger, think of it as more like a preview of what is to come. 

What Causes Muscle Mass Growth?

Whenever you work out, whatever stressor or movement that is unfamiliar to the body will cause microtears in muscle fibers; these microtears will take anywhere from a day to a few days to heal. This is why trainers do not recommend you work out the same muscle groups on back to back days, although to gain muscle mass quicker working out a set of muscles two times a week is recommended.  If you start a workout or movements that are new or unfamiliar, your body will focus less on muscle building and more on the body’s neurological system of how to do the exercise. The neurological system enables the body to learn when and how to fire up those muscles to do certain movements in an order.

How to Develop Muscle Mass?

In the beginning of practicing a strength building workout, the body will mostly be making neuromuscular advances, namely the muscles in the body and the nerves that serve them. Communication between the brain and the body is tantamount to executing the exercises and doing them correctly; the more consistent and longer you strength train, then the muscle gains will start kicking in. Being strict on workout means exponential growth, especially eight weeks after sticking to a consistent strength training routine and a strict diet.

Your maximum muscular body-weight depends mostly on your height and bone structure. A more petite bone structure can only carry so much muscular weight. Diet is also highly important, as your body needs the resources to not only perform exercises but recover afterwards with the right nutrients. To get the most out of gaining muscle mass, try three to six sets of six to twelve repetitions and remember to focus on your whole range of motion.

What is Shredded Academy?

Check out Shredded Academy for fat-loss workouts and nutrition plans at all levels. The free articles on ShreddedAcademy.com also have a ton of information and motivation.

Losing body fat to get shredded may not always be easy, but it’s always worth it. Keep your eyes on the prize!

Summer days can get pretty hectic with work, sleeping enough, hitting the gym, and then to add cooking a suitable meal for your diet is nearly impossible. Meal prepping has been the best solution to this widespread problem, and I’ve got tools to make it even easier.

3-in-1 Avocado Slicer

Avocados are great for snacking, and are growing more and more in popularity. This avocado slicer will make that snack, and prep, much easier.

Quick Watermelon Slicer

Everyone knows summertime means sweet sweet watermelon. Make the hassle of slicing this snack disappear with a watermelon slicer that really works.

Drainer Clip

This draining clip makes cooking, and prepping more importantly, a breeze.

Pineapple Slicer

Another obvious summer snack, this slicer makes eating and preparing pineapples simple and quickly delicious.

Strawberry Huller

Helpful with a fruit salad, strawberry’s, tomato’s, and a bunch of other foods, a must for a dieters kitchen.

Mesh Steamer/Strainer

Helpful with vegetables, this strainer will keep your meal fresh and easily kept together.

Nothing here you’re looking for? Well check out mealpreptools.com!

Suddenly it’s July and everyone is going to the pool or beach; consequently, people are scrambling to get shredded and beach ready. No, ‘shredding it’ isn’t a surf term! Figuring out fitness and how to shred fat can be a daunting experience, but it doesn’t have to be. Just follow a few steps to get your mindset right to begin shredding.

What Does Shredding Muscles Mean?

A shredding exercise is a movement that makes your body burn fat. Although focused on exercise, shredding is a combination of diet and workouts consisting of cardio and weight-lifting. It allows you to step into a whole other level of muscularity and definition.

What is Shredding Season?

Shredding season is slang referring to shredding exercise or shredding bodybuilding to prepare for either a bodybuilding contest or for the general warm months. It refers to cutting down to a low percentage of body fat while maintaining muscle mass aka get shredded.

Fitness: How To Shred:

Hydrate- The body is 70% water, so it is important to make sure you are fueling your engine. A body can survive 7 days with food, it can only survive 3 days without water. Dehydration slows the fat-burning process and has negative effects on your muscles and joints. Therefore, water is the best weight loss asset out there.

Eat frequently- Yes you heard that right. Eat. Frequently. Also drink water often (see above). But the trick is to be careful what you eat; you would think that splitting up your food into smaller meals would help and that is correct. Additionally, you want to think about spreading your calories across meals so you feed your body throughout the entire day. You also can’t eat just any food, but food that is good for you. Think along the lines of lean proteins, healthy fats, and complex carbs; if you space these evenly throughout the day it will help your metabolism stay constant promoting fat loss.

Nutrition- Although it sounds boring, what you eat as well as when you eat makes a difference; if you stick to plenty of protein your will lower your hunger while maintaining lean tissue. Instead of frying, stick to steaming or sautéing food in a little oil; find flavor by adding spices, herbs, and kinds of vinegar and steering clear of any creamy or fatty sauces or dressings. Heavy or sugary desserts and alcohol tend to hide a lot of calories; you can always read the menu at a restaurant or do a quick Google on your phone to figure out the best choices on the menu.

Use Good FormWeight-lifting as a fat burning work out is fantastic, but if you are using bad form plus going too fast this can end in hurting yourself. Correct form is essential to gaining the most from exercise as well as protecting your body from injury. Check yourself in the mirror or partner up with a workout buddy to help.

Strategic Cardio– Just getting on a bike or treadmill and starting the machine is not enough to get what you need out of cardio. For the best shred results there are many cardio programs; try “Fasted Cardio” when you do cardio first thing in the morning on an empty stomach 4-5 times a week. HIIT that stands for High-Intensity-Interval-Training is also a popular strategic cardio method as it combines sprints with walks as break periods designed to push the body to the peak. Post-workout cardio is another cardio method to fatigue already tired muscles and burn through those glycerin stores to get shredded.

Less Sitting/More Moving– The human body was not designed to sit for extended periods of time; in response, the body has weakened butt muscles and consequently lower back pain. The key is to break up long periods of sitting down with short periods of standing or walking; every hour try standing up either when you are on the phone or the commercials or on tv. Walk around to refill your water cup (when was the last time you drank water?). Remember that consistent movement shreds fat even if you are making small progress.

Sleep More- In sounds contrary to what you think you should be doing, but sleep is an essential part of the body’s process of rebuilding and replenishing to do more work. Little sleep, broken sleep, or even light sleep can hinder your metabolism rate.

BONUS

Stress Less– When the body is stressed, it retains cortisol that hinders fat breakdown by encouraging the body to hold on to fat and breaking down muscle instead. So take a deep breath, square your shoulders, you can handle this!

Be realistic without yourself about your goals; there is only so much you can change in a week. However, if you can turn these tips into habits, the structure for a better performing body with cardio and nutrition will pay off over time.

What is Shredded Academy?

Check out Shredded Academy for fat-loss workouts and nutrition plans at all levels. The free articles on ShreddedAcademy.com also have a ton of information and motivation.

Losing body fat to get shredded may not always be easy, but it’s always worth it. Keep your eyes on the prize!

Height: 5’0 – 152cm
Weight 105lbs – 48kgs

How did you get started with competing competitively in the bikini division?

I wasn’t too familiar with the NPC until I started dating my boyfriend who competes in bodybuilding. The first show I went to I was hooked and decided to make it my goal to one day step on stage. I made the gym my number one priority and joined Team Edge. I gave myself six months to prep, and by June 8th I was on stage at my first show where I placed first!

I was hooked and two weeks later stepped on stage for my second show where I also placed first!

2

Where does your motivation come from?

My coach Ingrid Romero has been one of my biggest motivator’s. Before she was my coach I would watch her videos on YouTube and was completely inspired, her beauty, body, stage presence and personality is completely motivating.

3

What workout routine has worked best for you?

I’ve noticed more changes in my body when I stick to moderate weight and higher reps.

Full Routine:

Monday: Arms/Abs/Cardio

  • Dumbbell Curls 3×20
  • Triceps Rope Extensions 3×20 (Superset)
  • 1 minute Sprint
  • Jump Squats 3×20
  • Ice Skaters 3×20 (Superset)
  • Hammer Curls 3×20
  • Assisted Dips 3×20
  • 1 minute Sprint
  • Tuck Jumps 3×20
  • Jump Lunges 3×20 (Superset)
  • 20 minute Ab Workout
  • 30 min Cardio

Tuesday: Back

  • Assisted Pull Ups Wide Grip 3×25
  • Kettle Bell Swings 3×25 (Superset)
  • 2 min run on 10% Incline
  • Seated High Row Wide Grip 3×25
  • Plyo Push Up 3×25 (Superset)
  • 2 min run on 10% Incline
  • Straight Arm Row 3×25
  • Med Ball Slams 3×25 (Superset)
  • 2 min run on 10% Incline
  • One Arm Dumbbell Rows 3×25
  • Tuck Jumps 3×25 (Superset)
  • 45 min HIIT on Treadmill

Wednesday: Legs/Abs

  • Weighted Squats 4×25
  • Jump Squat on Bosu 4×25 (Superset)
  • 1 minute run at 75% of Output
  • Weighted Curtsy Lunge 4×25
  • Sumo Squat Jumps 4×25 (Superset)
  • 2 minute run at 75% of Output
  • Donkey Kicks on Smith Machine 4×25 Each Leg
  • Leap Frogs 4×25 (Superset)
  • 3 minute run at 75% of Output
  • Weighted Sumo Squats 4×25
  • Straight Leg Deadlifts 4×25 (Superset)
  • Weighted Abs on Decline Bench 3×25
  • Roman Chair Holding Dumbbell with Feet 3×25 (Superset)
  • 45 Minutes HIIT Cardio

Thursday: Chest

  • Dumbbell Press 3×20
  • Push Ups to Failure
  • High Knees 1×1 minute
  • Incline Dumbbell Press 3×20
  • Push Ups feet on ball to Failure
  • High Knees 1×1 minute
  • Cable Fly’s 3×20
  • Standing Calf Raises 4×20
  • Weighted Abs on Incline Bench 5×35
  • V Ups 5×35
  • Cardio: 30 Min

Friday: Total Body Circuit (High Tempo)

  • Squat to Shoulder Press 3×20
  • Deadlifts to Upright Rows 3×20 (Superset)
  • Alternating Dumbbell Curls 3×20
  • Skull Crushers 3×20 (Superset)
  • Reverse Lunge with a High Row 3×20
  • Assisted Pull Ups x 20 (Superset)
  • Curtsy Lunge on Box 3×20
  • Weighted Bridge on Ball 3×20 (Superset)
  • Assisted Pull-ups 3×20
  • Hack Squats 3×20 (Superset)
  • 45 minutes of Cardio

Saturday: Plyo/Sprints

  • Yard Sprints 4x50m (1 minute rest between)
  • Tuck Jumps 2×30
  • Jump Lunges 2×30
  • Yard Sprints 3x50m (1 minute rest between)
  • Jump Squats 2×30
  • High Knees 2×30
  • Yard Sprints 2x50m
  • Yard Sprint 1x100m
  • Cardio: 45 min

Sunday: Rest Day

  • Recovery

4

What is your diet like?

Full Diet:

  • Meal 1: 1/2 cup of Oats & 4 Egg Whites
  • Meal 2: 4 oz. Sweet Potato & 5 oz. Tuna
  • Meal 3: 1/2 cup Brown Rice & 4 oz. Chicken & 1 cup of Greens
  • Meal 4: 4 oz. Tilapia & 1/4 Avocado
  • Meal 5: 4 oz. Chicken & 1 cup of Veggies
  • Meal 6: 4 Egg Whites & 10 Almonds

5

When trying to cut down do you prefer to use HIIT or just normal cardio?

HIIT cardio has been the most effective for me. It has helped me lean down while keeping a substantial amount of muscle.

6

Everyone wants to get ripped and peeled, but usually only a few ever make it. With the hot months on the horizon, everyone at the gym starts talking about their upcoming diet and how excited they are to get the ball rolling.

A common scene really, but it’s uncommon that someone’s efforts actually payoff the way they originally intended. Within a month most guys find themselves pretty frustrated. They are halfway done cutting at best, and feel like they are running through quicksand. As a competitive bodybuilder and contest coach, I get to hear my fair share of rants from these guys and it’s the same issues over and over. Landmines placed in the exact same spot as last year get stumbled upon the following year. In this article we will name a few of the most common traps that slow down, discourage, often leave cutting phases unfinished, and with results that leave so much more to be desired.

Bodyfat

“What’s your body fat dude?”
“What’s my body fat at?”
“So what bodyfat should I get to?”

This has got to go!!

Be it if you are trying to compete in a bodybuilding show, gain the notoriety from the opposite sex, or just look good for your upcoming vacation. Nobody is going to look at you, point and say “WOW! Check out his 5.62934% bodyfat!” Truth is you are either in shape or not, and aiming for bodyfat percentages is a waste of time, a distraction at best. When I start dieting for bodybuilding shows I will get that question quite a bit. “So what bodyfat are you going to cut down to?” Truth is I just keep losing weight until I have achieved the look I desire. While your goal might not be striated glutes, I am sure you have a look in mind. What if you get callipered at the 8% you were aiming for, but don’t quite look the way you anticipated? Do you end your diet there? Which brings me to my next point: bodyfat testing in general is pretty hit or miss, at least all the affordable ways are. This is why I never have my clients send me bodyfat percentages in their weekly reports to me. I want weight (which tells us how many lbs. of bodyfat we have lost) and pictures which of course you can’t argue with. You are either ripped or not, and it’s that simple. Yes numbers are sexy, and being able to quantify things is something people just like to do in general, but “ripped” you either are or you aren’t.

Let the mirror decide, not some plastic calipers. Much like the judges don’t get on stage and caliper myself and the other competitors, neither will that young lady at the beach. Shredded doesn’t need a number, it just is.

Carbs
Fat loss and carbs just don’t go together in the eyes of most people looking to get into shape. Dieting is synonymous with low carb, and even no carb diets. While you will have to cut out some of your carbs when you start your mission towards getting lean, usually the amounts that are cut are too extreme. I will get asked often “so how man carbs should I take when dieting?” The answer is simple: as many as you can while still losing fat at the desired pace. Key words there being as many as YOU can!

Carb intakes can be one of the biggest variables when it comes to dieting.

Two guys with similar training programs, ages, and weights will often require two different approaches nutritionally. Some people might need to diet on 100 grams of carbs, others might require double or triple that amount. One thing is for sure, most folks low ball their carbohydrate threshold and diet on too little food. When you diet on less carbs than you require you will see the following occur: You will come out flying at the start, and then it will drastically slow down, and from there you will likely have to apply more aggressive protocols. Either dropping food lower or adding ungodly amounts of cardio will be required. You will then plateau to where nothing seems to work and progress will simply stall. This is where most guys end up a few weeks into their diet plan.

Use as many carbs as you can, as they will help power through your workouts in the gym, keep your metabolic rate healthy so you can lose fat longer and more efficiently and not just make progress the first month.

Second Approaches
Well if it worked for him than it should work for everyone else? If it were only that simple, how wonderful would it be. It would be great because I would no longer need weeks and weeks to get a feel for a client’s metabolic rate. Actually it would not be a good thing because there would be a “secret diet’ that would be applicable to everyone, and in turn I would be out of business. All joking aside, there is enough variation from individual to individual that one diet plan simply can’t fit all.

So while it’s cool, and I am always intrigued as to what other guys have done to get into magnificent shape, my interest has nothing to do with me wanting to mimic their approaches. I enjoy reading these protocols because it confirms the notion that we are each very unique and a wide array of approaches do work.

Some guys need to get in 3-4 hard cardio sessions a week, and others can count the number of cardio sessions they do during their whole diet on one hand. Varying protein intakes, caloric requirements, training guidelines etc. However as intriguing as these protocols are, what most likely makes these athletes successful is trial and error over the year, attention to detail, and being consistent. Good genetics usually help too, which in most cases these individuals happen to possess. For these guys almost anything will work, and let’s be blunt for a moment, if you were genetically predisposed to being muscular and lean you would likely not be reading this article.

Hard work and persistence is going to really make a big difference, the other half will come from using more sound physiological approaches, and not some copy and paste job.

Abs & Cardio
I am talking about the guys that go to the gym and spend 30-40 minutes working out abs. Not only is it a waste of time, but there could be better things you can spend fluff time at the gym on. For example prehab work, foam rolling, as in all the things that will help keep you healthy and progressing for a long time. Quite often I will get curious inquiries from clients about dedicating a whole workout to abs in an effort to tighten up the mid-section. Which still leaves me in awe since we can’t spot target fat loss, and why would a bicep grow when you use it, but the torso muscle shrink and tighten up? Truth is a little goes a long way since abs are involved in some of the bigger movements we do in the gym, and also what works best for other muscles works best for your ab development. Weighted ab exercises in the 5-12 rep range, at about 3-4 sets twice a week is more than enough. Real definition and true sculpting is going to come via fat loss, but like any other muscle in your body it can be very well developed, but if you are not lean enough it won’t show.

As the old saying goes: “abs are made in the kitchen”, not on the 400th rep of some weird ab crunch variation that is synchronized to some horrible techno music.

Weight Training Gone Circuit Training
In the offseason I love to hit heavy squat sets. Most of my leg development has come from the 1-5 rep range. So come time to diet I like to squat in the 1-5 rep range. Yes you read that right, and I do keep about 90% of my strength when dieting. In reality, if you want to keep your hard earned muscle, you need to continue lifting heavy throughout your diet. If it’s getting harder to hit those heavy sets I would first abandon the higher rep work so that I can save my energy, and recovery for the heavier weights. Here is how I would adjust once I get into those nitty gritty portions of a diet. The last few weeks where things can get tough at times, as not only does the weight seem heavier, but energy can take a hit.

Offseason Chest Workout
DB Press (Flat)
145 X 5 (2 sets)
135 x 7 (2 sets)
125 x 10

On season/Dieting Phase Chest Workout
DB Press (Flat)
145 x 5(2 sets)
135 x 7

On the contrary what you will commonly see is guys abandon the lower rep work for the higher rep work. The main reasons behind this is one, they have a hard time holding on to strength because they attempt to keep volume at offseason levels. Next is the all too common they are trying to “condition” the muscles. The latter is still one of those bodybuilding fables that I wish would go away, but like fanny packs they are still a sight for sore eyes at gyms today.

Want your muscle to look its best when you diet? Then go with what got you there in the first place. Keep lifting heavy!

Too Much Diet Restriction
Everybody cheats on their diet, I have found this out first hand. I have had my share of slip-ups, but also from working with countless bodybuilders over the years. Yes even the most hardcore guys have their moments of weakness where they give in. However, so much of this can be avoided by not sweating the details that don’t matter and avoiding specific pitfalls.

Such as banning specific macronutrients (fat, carbs and protein) completely, as many popular diets have in recent years. Be it the 80’s with their extremely low fat approaches, or in recent years the ketogenic type diets. This is why I am a fan of moderate approaches, because if you swing the pendulum too hard one way, it’s going to push back just as hard.

For example the guy who decided to diet on 1,000 less calories than he required, and then binges out of control on the 3rd week of his diet. Or perhaps a diet were you must eat 8 meals a day to keep the metabolism fast (which is more fitness folklore) and one day misses a meal and loses his mind. You’ll have a hard time dieting in the real world where you can’t always eat every 90-120 minutes. Trying to do so is an unnecessary stressor. When designing a diet for someone, I never hand them an envelope labeled “the diet” as for the numerous reasons discussed above it just doesn’t work that way. On the contrary, often we have to discuss what their real world looks like. If they have foods that lead to binges we get rid of those right away, if they have special occasions coming up were food will be eaten we adjust. If they are a busy mom and eating six times a day is too much, well then we will only eat three times a day.

Final Words
The most perfect diet will not work if the person cannot adhere to the details that actually matter. A diet has to make sense physiologically and psychologically. Diets that leave both variables unaccounted for are usually setting up people for failure, rather than helping them reach their full potential.

Height: 5’4” – 160cm
Weight: 117lbs. – 53 kg.

How did you get started with bodybuilding?

I’ve been pretty athletic my whole life. When I was younger I participated in a variety of sports including Swimming, Ballet and Gymnastics. Even in High School I was a part of the Track & Field Team and also Inline Speed Skating Team. It was always my dream to one day become an athlete. While I was in the Inline Skating Team, I was blessed with the opportunity to travel to Medellin, Colombia as part of Puerto Rico’s national team. Representing my country was one of the best experiences ever. Fitness had always been a great outlet to the stress in my life during my younger years. I was always trying to keep my mind and body active to prevent me from overthinking about my problems at home. Growing up wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows, sometimes at home it felt like I was entering a battlefield.

My father had a very strong temper back in the day due to his bipolar disorder and this resulted in my parents having really bad fights.

My parents then decided to divorce which was hard to deal with at the time but thank God later he learned to deal with his temper and began going to church on a weekly basis. He became a changed man after that. Things seemed to be getting better in my life for once until disaster struck and we received the unexpected news that my father had cancer and only a short time to live. A couple months passed and my brother in law suddenly died in a car accident which hit all of us really hard. Then five months later my father passed away in my arms over Christmas Holidays, a moment that broke my heart and I fell into a big depression. I had stopped going to the gym and also lost interest in dieting. A year after my father’s death on Thanksgiving Day a cousin of mine was accidentally killed, I kept moving on trying to accept it all and stay strong for my family’s sake. Finally one day I got accepted by one of the top Modelling agencies “Next” in Miami. I flew over to Miami and stayed with some family. The plan was to find a way to move to Miami, find a job and pursue my dream of working as a fitness model but God’s plan was a different one.

Two weeks into Miami and my life took another hit perhaps the biggest one of them all.

My younger brother the one I called “my twin” was in a motorcycle accident. Someone passed a stop sign, hit him and drove away. I flew the next day back to Puerto Rico, he was never able to open his eyes or speak to me again. A week went by and he passed away and all I remembered were his last words before I flew to Miami “Don’t go, take me with you”. After that I experienced the worst abyss my soul had felt and deep sense of loneliness. He was more than my brother; he was like a son and a friend all at once. I went into shock for a couple weeks I didn’t even want to speak. The words just wouldn’t come out of my mouth I was like a zombie. I lost my soul, my strength and my will power.

Through the depression I had gained weight and I didn’t even want to go out just so I could avoid friends from seeing me like that.

Thanks to the help and love of my family, friends and God little by little I started to regain my strength. I remember crying one day while I still couldn’t speak and a fitness commercial came on TV and I stared and just pointed to the TV and I thought to myself I want to be like that. Although it was not just the physique I was after it was more like I wanted to add meaning back to my life and I remembered working out made me feel better. It was time to stop feeling sorry for myself. I slowly started picking up the pieces and going to the gym again and pushing myself hard. I liked how my body was shaping up so I decided to give competing a try. I joined an online coaching team to help me for the show I had chosen and to my surprise I placed second at my first NPC Bikini show and right there I was hooked and haven’t stopped since then. I found the perfect platform to engage with my inner self again and combine my two favorite things sports and modelling in a different way with the most gratifying bonus; getting to touch people’s lives along the way. Bodybuilding changed my life and gave me a purpose again.

There’s always something new to learn, new experiences to share and the chance to inspire people and really make a difference in this world!

1

Where does your motivation come from?

My motivation comes from my desire to reach my goals and see how far I can push past my limits. It also comes from my family since they are the reason I breathe and it’s also one of my goals to be able to help them out more. My online followers are also a source of where my motivation comes from. The lives I get to touch on a daily basis by sharing my emotions and experiences is great. Having the opportunity to change someone’s life for the better makes me very happy.

You decide what direction you want your life and future to take! Don’t let negativity and/or the circumstances around you dictate who you are and who you will become. It’s your life, choose wisely!

4

What workout routine has worked best for you?

I love to work in circuits (supersets, tri-sets and giant sets) when I lift because it keeps my heart rate up through the workout and it’s great when you’re pressed for time. I also love to do drop-sets on any muscle group I need to emphasize.

Full Routine:

Monday – Legs/Abs

  • Smith Machine Squats 5 x 20 (superset)
  • Diagonal Walking Lunges 5 x 20
  • Cable Side Squats (each leg) 3 x 20 (superset)
  • 1 min (Jump rope, jog in place, etc.)
  • Leg Extensions 5 x 20 (superset)
  • Shoulder Width Leg Press 5 x 15
  • Medicine Ball Pikes 3 x 20 (superset)
  • Incline Bench Crunches 3 x 15
  • 1 min Plank

Tuesday – Shoulders/Triceps

  • Dumbbell Shoulder Press 4 x 10 (superset)
  • Military Press 4 x 10
  • Rear Cable Fly’s 4 x 10 (superset)
  • Arnold Press 3 x 8
  • Lateral Cable Fly’s 3 x 8 (superset)
  • Dumbbell Kickbacks 3 x 10
  • Cable Rope Overhead Triceps Extension 3 x 15 (superset)
  • Push ups Close Grip 3 x 10

Wednesday – Legs

  • Leg Curls 5 x 15 (superset)
  • 1 min weighted Step Ups on bench
  • Stiff Leg Deadlifts 5 x 12 (superset)
  • Lunges (each leg) 5 x 12
  • Leg Press 4 x 10 (superset)
  • Donkey Calf Raises 4 x 15

Thursday – Back/Biceps/Abs

  • Wide Grip Pull Ups 4 x 8 (superset)
  • Cable Row Machine 4 x 8
  • Bent Over Cable Rows 4 x 12 (superset)
  • Lat Pull Downs 4 x 12
  • Medicine Ball Hyper Extensions 5 x 15 (superset)
  • Good Mornings 5 x 15
  • Alternating Seated Dumbbell Curls 4 x 8 (superset)
  • EZ Barbell Curls 4 x 12
  • Cable Curls 4 x 10 (superset)
  • Hanging Leg Raises 3 x 15
  • Inclined Russian Twists 3 x 15 (superset)
  • Crunches 3 x 15

Friday – Chest/Shoulder/Glutes

  • Incline Dumbbell Bench Press 4 x 12 (superset)
  • Standing Cable Fly’s 4 x 12
  • Lateral Raises 8 x 8 (superset)
  • Straight Leg Cable Kickbacks 4 x 15
  • Cross Back Lunges 4 x 12 (superset)
  • Smith Machine Lunges 5 x 15
  • Hip Bridges 4 x 12 (superset)
  • Butt Blaster Machine 4 x 12

Saturday – Rest Day

  • Recovery

Sunday – Cardio

  • 45 mins cardio session

6

If you had to pick only 3 exercises, what would they be and why?

  1. Stiff Leg Deadlifts – They are great for tightening the back of my leg and works great on the glute/hamstring tie in. I also love the burn I get from it every time.
  2. Arnold Press – It has helped me gain some decent size on my deltoids. Truly a great compound exercise.
  3. Lunges – This exercise can be performed anywhere and has also been a huge help in getting my quads and hamstrings in shape.

5

What is your diet like?

Daily Diet:

  • Meal 1: 4 Egg Whites, 1 Egg, 1/2 cup of Oats, Mixed Berries, Flaxseed Oil & Asparagus
  • Meal 2: 4 oz. Salmon, Broccoli & Sweet Potato
  • Meal 3: Tuna, 1/3 cup of Brown Rice, Spinach & Grapefruit
  • Meal 4: 4 oz. Chicken, Steam Vegetables & Avocado
  • Meal 5: Egg Whites, Ground Beef Scramble, Brussels Sprouts & Olive Oil
  • Meal 6: 4 oz. White Fish, Steak, Asparagus, mixed Salad & Baby Carrots

8

When trying to cut down do you prefer to use HIIT or just normal cardio?

I use a combination of both. Some days I will do LIIS cardio (Low Intensity Steady State) and others I’ll do HIIT sprints (High Intensity Interval Training). But I prefer HIIT sprints because I find them more challenging and fun!

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Height: 5’2” – 158 cm
Weight: 115 lbs. – 52 kg

Transformation story:

If I were to choose a few words to define my former lifestyle they would be: junk food, lack of commitment, low self-esteem, and lack of self-belief. I used to make up excuses to justify why I wasn’t working towards my goals when it came to health. I would normally say I was too tired for the gym and that diets were for crazy people. Although it came to the point where I wanted to completely transform my life and build the body of my dreams. I knew it was going to be a tough challenge but I was determined to give it my all. Conciliating work and training was quite hard at the beginning until I got used to my new schedule and to waking up at 5 am.

My work required a lot of reading and thinking so I used to be extremely (mentally) tired at the end of each day. But I never let that be an excuse after I decided to change. I overcame that difficulty.

2

What is your life like now that you’ve made a transformation?

I love myself like I’ve never loved before. I realized that self-esteem and self-love have opened many doors in my life, professionally and personally. I turned into a stronger human being and found peace within.

Being able to help others through my own transformation is also priceless and something that I have definitely embraced as a life mission.

4

What motivates you to keep going and push harder?

Everything I have accomplished. When I look back and see the obstacles I overcame and the amazing progress I have achieved I really don’t feel like giving up, even when I am tired. I try to motivate myself by thinking how much I would regret if I didn’t train or eat properly. We can never jeopardize something we want for our life for a temporary feeling or craving we have. Laziness and temptations go away. We can’t focus our attention on that but on what we want to accomplish on a long-term basis. I am never satisfied.

I can’t afford to be in a comfort zone. I am always seeking improvements and I know there’s always something to learn, to add, and to improve.

5

What is your current training philosophy?

I am always focused on hypertrophy. Slow moves, less reps and more weight. Concentrated movements and a couple of supersets. I always like to vary the grip and angles, from week to week.

Monday: Quads

  • Leg Press 4×12
  • Leg Extensions 4×12
  • Squats 4×12
  • Walking Lunges 4×12
  • Cable Leg Extensions 4×12
  • Hack Squats 4×12

Tuesday: Back/Biceps

  • Rows 3×10
  • Lat Pull Down 3×10
  • Cable Rows 3×10
  • Bicep Curls 3×10
  • Hammer Curls 3×10
  • Alternating Bicep Curls 3×10

Wednesday: Off day

  • Rest

Thursday: Glutes/Hamstrings

  • Glute Kickbacks 4×12
  • Leg Curls 4×12
  • Bulgarian Split 4×12 (WHAT IS THIS)
  • Sumo Squats 4×12
  • Kettle Bell Swings 4×12
  • Deadlifts 4×12

Friday: Shoulders/Triceps

  • Shoulder Press 3×10
  • Arnold Press 3×10
  • Side Raises 3×10
  • Front Raises 3×10
  • Tricep Push Downs 3×10
  • Tricep Dips 3×10
  • Skull Crushers 3×10

Notes:

I do abs 3-4 x a week. Normally in between each exercise, 3 to 4 different types exercises with 3 sets of 15 reps. Cardio Split: I do cardio 6 x a week, either before or after training for about 30 min. I used to do a lot of HIIT but lately I have been focused on incline treadmill and elliptical. That has helped me a lot with developing stronger legs and glutes.

6

Favorite form of cardio?

Like I mentioned above, I have been doing a lot of inclined treadmill (and I do walking lunges, sumo jumping squats and side runs on the treadmill), and elliptical. On the elliptical machine I like to squat as I go.

It burns and works very effectively for the legs and butt.

7

What is your approach to nutrition?

I am passionate about it. I even went to Nutrition school to learn more about it. I came to realize that nutrition really is a science that changes everything when we know how to use it properly.

I never call the way I eat a “diet”, but a “lifestyle”. I eat super clean and try to keep my cheat meals at 1 to 2 per week.

8

Do you bulk and cut or stay lean year round?

I only bulked for my show back in April. I normally stay lean all year round. I am happy with my weight so I will just maintain from now on.

Daily Diet:

  • Meal 1: 2 slices of Ezekiel Bread (low sodium) with 2 tbsp. of Almond Butter, 6 Egg Whites and 1 scoop of Isolate Whey Protein
  • Meal 2: 1 Sweet Potato, 10 Asparagus and 5 oz. of chicken breast
  • Meal 3: 1/4 cup of Quinoa, 1 fillet of Orange Roughy and Salad
  • Meal 4: 4 oz. of Ground Turkey Breast, 1 Sweet Potato and 10 Asparagus
  • Meal 5: Omelette made with 6 Eggs, 2 slices of low sodium Turkey, Cherry Tomatoes, Onions and Broccoli
  • Meal 6: 80g of air popped Popcorn and 2 scoops of Isolate Whey Protein with water

12

What has been your biggest accomplishment in the fitness field?

I think that changing other people’s lives is my greatest accomplishment. Nothing else can be as great as that. Taking my game to the next level when I thought I was defeated is also an amazing accomplishment.

I proved to myself how great I am and how much my body can do when I am able to control my mind and make it work towards my goals.

10

What are your best 3 tips for someone looking to reach their goal physique?

  1. Believe in your potential.
  2. Be patient, nothing happens overnight.
  3. Eat in accordance to your goals and remember that without effort there are no results. If you want to have the body you never had, you must do things you’ve never done.

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