Getting Ripped: A Short Guide

From Getting Ripped: A short guide to training and eating to maximize fat loss while maintaining or gaining muscle,

“During the spring of 1995 I was working as a personal trainer for Gold’s Gym in Green Bay, WI, (now Titletown Fitness) and was involved in a feud in the editorial section of The Green Bay Press Gazette with fitness columnist Jane Bodilly, who I frequently criticized for her erroneous and often contradictory advice in letters to the editor. This frequently involved telling people to “forget aerobics” and focus on proper strength training and diet instead.

These arguments caught the attention of a local news network which interviewed Bodilly and me for a segment on exercise and fat loss. I explained that aerobics was not only not necessary but potentially counterproductive for fat loss and other fitness goals and that you could become as lean as possible without it, doing only brief, infrequent, high intensity strength training and reducing your calorie intake.

Getting Ripped - A short guide to training and eating to maximize fat loss while maintaining or gaining muscle
Talk is cheap though, so I decided to prove it by getting ripped and competing in the NGA Midwest Bodybuilding Classic being held in Wisconsin Rapids, WI in June with only very brief and infrequent high intensity strength training and calorie restriction. Fortunately I was already moderately lean at this time so I did not have far to go. I had been following a typical bodybuilding diet – lots of grilled skinless chicken breasts with sweet potatoes or other vegetables, canned tuna with rice, a lot of milk, etc. – and already had good definition.

In eight weeks between mid April and mid June under the instruction of head trainer Mike Moran I was able to reduce my body fat to between three and four percent (based on multiple measurements performed with skinfold calipers, bioelectrical impedance, and Futrex infrared). During these eight weeks my total workout time averaged less than twelve minutes per week, and I did no so-called “cardio” or any other physically demanding activity. I also did not use any drugs or so-called “fat burning” supplements.

There is nothing unusual or particularly special about achieving this degree of leanness. Competitive bodybuilders do it all the time. What is unusual is that I did it using an approach that is nearly the opposite of what most bodybuilders do when contest dieting. The typical approach is to increase workout volume and frequency, often focusing more on simple exercises for “shaping”, and to perform “cardio” once or twice daily to burn more calories. I reduced my workout volume and frequency to extremely low levels, and did no “cardio” at all, creating a calorie deficit by restricting food intake instead. My total workout time for the entire eight weeks leading up to the contest was under two hours.

Although this was done to reduce an already low bodyfat percentage to competition levels, the same general approach is effective for people with more fat to lose. It has worked for every person I have trained over the past twenty years who was consistent with both their workouts and diet, and it will work for you, too.”

Topics covered include original workouts, pace, warming-up, abdominal, neck, and grip and forearm exercises, updated and expanded workouts, repetition methods and ranges/TUL, body part specialization, how to determine the calorie intake that will allow you to lose fat as fast as possible while still maintaining or gaining muscle, considerations and modifications for the obese, macronutrients, meal frequency and timing, meal planning, and supplements. The guide, which is available as an ebook, also comes with a printable worksheet for the formulas in the book.

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