While that may have sounded like your regular alarm getting you out of bed today, it wasn't. It was the ding-dong of a bell indicating summer has arrived. And now we're staring down the barrel of an exciting post-pandemic summer rush; full of beaches and pool parties. Good as that sounds though, if you're like many gym goers, you've got a problem; you ain't in shape! And whether it was an overzealous bulk, or gym closures leaving you under-trained and over-fed, really; the 'why' isn't important.
What is important though is the 'how.' As in how you're going to answer that bell and get into amazing shape for a summer like no other. Because if you don't, you'll be left standing on the sidelines wondering what if. Don't be the guy convincing people that the 'bulk' under your shirt is muscle, or the guy making excuses about why he's not in shape; when you could be sporting a six-pack and catching all the looks; not to mention hundreds of likes blowing up your phone. Answer that bell and come out swinging with these six (6) steps to your summer shred!
Step #1 - Up The Water
Water is key on a cut. In a systematic review published in Nutricion Hospitalaria (2019) researchers concluded that "all the studies showed a weight loss effect after follow-up ... with a mean percentage of weight loss of 5.15%."1 Moreover, a study published in Obesity (Silver Spring) found that "when combined with a hypocaloric diet, consuming 500 ml water prior to each main meal leads to greater weight loss than a hypocaloric diet alone."2 Water not only increases your metabolism, it also helps keep your appetite in check and your body running optimally. According to the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, adequate daily fluid intake is about 3.7 liters a day for men, and roughly 2.7 liters a day for women.3 While that may need to be tweaked based on your activity and exposure to the elements, it's a good start. And that mark is easy to hit with our new 2.6 liter MEGA MUG. Filling this bad boy up twice a day gets you over five (5) liters of water! Get one here.
Step #2 - Do H.I.I.T. Cardio
Cardio is non-negotiable. If it doesn't call your name like the iron though, then get in and out with High Intensity Interval Training (H.I.I.T.). Compared to Low Intensity Steady State (L.I.S.S.) cardio, which usually involves hour-long sessions on the step mill, H.I.I.T. is quick 30 to 60 second bursts of high intensity work, followed by a period of active rest. The British Journal of Sports Medicine (2019) reported that H.I.I.T. led to almost 30% "greater reductions in total absolute fat mass" than moderate intensity continuous training.4 There's no doubt; H.I.I.T. slaps for fat loss! It outperforms regular cardio and gets the job done fast. You're looking at three (3) to five (5) sessions a week, depending on your starting point; performed independent of your iron work. Yes, that means two (2) a days! And if you really want to go next-level, do them fasted, first thing in the morning. The British Journal of Nutrition (2016) reported that subjects exercising in a fasted state experienced significant increases in fat oxidation, as compared to subjects exercising in a fed state.5 It ain't gona be easy, but it'll be worth it!
Step #3 - Keep Compound Movements
The goal of any cut is to lose body fat, but in doing so, to also preserve as much muscle mass as possible. Failing that will leave you with that over-dieted, stringy look. Oftentimes gym goers think they have to change their training on a cut by focusing on banging out more reps with isolation work. Don't fall for this! Compound, multi-joint lifts like the bench, squat and dead lift produce greater strength gains, as compared to single-joint isolation work6 and better muscle gains. What builds the muscle is what will preserve it. Also remember that we're trying to create a calorie deficit by burning more calories than we take in. As such, will squats or leg extensions burn more calories? Right. Knock back our pre-workout super fuel MADNESS for the explosive energy, power and mental focus needed to help grind through your lifts. To try MADNESS, click here. And remember to go hard and heavy with attention to great form.
Step #4 - Stack Up On Supps
The right supplement stack while you're on cut is vital. Think about it, you're in a calorie deficit so you don't have the luxury of extra calories supporting your energy, growth and recovery. That's where bangers like BCAA THERMO, CARNITINE 1500 and GEAAR come in to play.
Remember those fasted intervals? Ya, by the way, those are tough! Taking a shot of BCAA THERMO before your H.I.I.T. cardio is like a cheat code that cranks up your mind and body. The effectiveness of BCAA THERMO comes from its dual-action formula. There's a thermogenic component with a strong blast of caffeine and a new fat loss ingredient called CaloriBurnGP® shown in clinical research to increase whole body energy expenditure.7 The amino acid component includes (6) grams of vegan-fermented Branched-Chain-Amino Acids (BCAA's) per serving, which helps fuel recovery and has anti-catabolic effects. Talk about the perfect supplement on a cut! To try BCAA THERMO, click here.
Carnitine is an amino acid derivative that plays a key role in energy production by transporting long-chain fatty acids to the mitochondria of the cell, where they can be burned for fuel.8 In a meta-analysis (Obesity Reviews 2016) of trials examining the effects of Carnitine on adult weight loss, researchers concluded that "receiving the carnitine resulted in weight loss."9 Our CARNITINE 1500 contains the highest-quality, lab-tested 100% pure liquid L-Carnitine for fast absorption. Add this to your stack by clicking here.
GEAAR is our Essential Amino Acid (EAA) product that's loaded with the full complement of EAA's and Arginine. That's more than ten (10) grams of amino acids per scoop, including four (4) grams of Leucine! That's huge because research out of the International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance (2011) found that subjects who supplemented with four (4) grams of Leucine daily experienced way better strength gains than subjects who supplemented with a placebo during their training program.10 Sipping on GEAAR while weight training can help prevent that dip in strength that often occurs on a cut; not to mention helping you reap the benefits of less body fat and more lean mass, which have also been shown in research to stem from BCAA use.11 To jump on GEAAR, click here.
Step #5 - Get Your Diet Right
Regardless of how on-point you are with your training and supps, if you're not in a calorie deficit, you're in trouble. Shoot for a high protein, moderate carb and low fat diet with calories spread out over six (6) meals per day. For protein; chicken, fish and whey are gold, as is lean, grass fed beef; a super food that will also help keep your strength up. For carbs, refined sugar is out and green leafy vegetables are in. Starchy carbs like oatmeal and rice are for pre and post workout only. Monitor carb intake and adjust accordingly if you're not dropping weight. For fats, keep them low and clean. That said, MUTANT MCT OIL is great, given that it digests rapidly, which allows the body to tap into it quickly for energy. This is key because remember, you're not running high carbs. Research out of the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics (2015) indicates that replacing long-chain triglycerides with Medium-Chain Triglycerides (MCT's) can foster weight loss through "increased energy expenditure and lipid oxidation."12 Try mixing MUTANT MCT OIL into one of your shakes by clicking here.
Step #6 - Tan Up
And the final step to your summer shred is a tan. The reason bodybuilders compete with several coats of tan on is because it enhances their physique. You look better with a tan; your muscles 'pop' and both definition and vascularity are enhanced with that sun-kissed look. Whether you opt for a sunless tanner, a tanning salon or rely on Mother Nature, tan up before you hit that pool bash this summer. You definitely don't want to be the pasty dude at the party. If you're going to rely on the sun for your glow, use a high-quality sunscreen. The only thing worse that the pasty white look, is the red, sun-burned look.
It's Go Time
A glance at the calendar tells us that it's go time! Start NOW! Not tomorrow ... or next Monday.
This is a summer like no other we're talking about! The best time of the year; the months we waited on all Winter and Spring.
Don't be a spectator in this summer's festivities when you can be the star of the game. Imagine all the looks and the fun!
You have a plan; now answer that bell and get into the best shape of your life!