The following is an excerpt from the October 2007 issue of Muscle & Fitness:
Who made the rule that states you have to wait until January to make your resolutions? It seems so arbitrary, so defeatist — putting off your goals as if they're not important enough to bother with at the moment.
That's not the typical Muscle & Fitness reader we've come to know. You dream of a muscular physique capped with wide delts, a full chest, a thick back and legs, and a deeply etched six-pack — and for you, there's no time like the present to get it. With this program, you'll be hanging your 2008 calendar with confidence.
While everyone else is laboring away at square one at the start of the new year, you'll be gliding through your workouts with ease and will have a slew of results and accomplishments under your weight belt. Instead of circling Jan. 1 on your calendar as the day to start getting your body back, the sky's the limit as far as where you can venture next — add size, correct muscular imbalances, even start this program over with heavier weights. Yep, 2008 could just shape up to be your best year yet.
While the exercises laid out in this program aren't too complicated, the offbeat split and gamut of rep ranges will likely take some getting used to. But don't worry, this routine, described below and presented on pages 125 and 126 is structured to help you recruit boatloads more fibers within your targeted muscle groups — and thus burn more fat and grow more muscle — over the next 12 weeks. The addition of cardio will only serve to speed things up.
Training Program A:
Weeks 1, 3, 5, 7, 9 & 11: In all of your odd-numbered weeks — if we count today as Day 1 of Week 1 — you'll train for muscle strength and hypertrophy with low-to-moderate rep ranges. You'll focus on heavy compound lifts, usually with barbells, to get your muscles growing.
Shorter rest periods (45-60 seconds) are intended to help you maximize your energy stores — studies have shown that most individuals will be adequately recovered after one minute as opposed to three — while still keeping your heart rate up for added metabolic benefits.
Training Program B:
Weeks 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 & 12: During the even-numbered weeks, you'll head into higher rep ranges (12-20) to chew through more stored bodyfat, extend muscular endurance and achieve a greater pump.
Your workouts here will be dumbbell-heavy, forcing you to recruit more stabilizer muscles to complete lifts with balance. Since you'll strive for muscle failure at higher reps, you'll want to bump up your rest periods to 90 seconds between sets.
As with your weight workouts, your approach to cardio will vary each week. You'll alternate between steady-state cardio and high-intensity interval sessions to burn fat through different mechanisms. Each week you'll stride through as many as five cardio sessions, each lasting 20-60 minutes.
You can get more out of these sessions by performing them before breakfast or postworkout; saving cardio for after high-rep sessions with a given bodypart can help burn more subcutaneous bodyfat from that area. The fat, which is mobilized through exercise, is then used as fuel during cardio rather than redepositing itself under your skin. With that in mind, try to get your cardio in after your ab workouts on Days 2 and 5 each week, and schedule a few other sessions for first thing in the morning.
Resolve To Succeed
From here to January, we've given you a full playbook: heavy sets of six, moderately weighted sets of 10-12, lighter sets of 20. For abs, you'll at times dabble in 30-rep sets, giving your belly the opportunity to burn some of the released fat afterward in a hardcore cardio session.
As for cardio, let's just say you're going to work hard and sweat through plenty of towels. But as you adapt and improve week after week, your body will switch to calorie-burning autopilot, where each workout will force your body to call upon its stubborn fat stores for energy.
Come Jan. 1, you'll be exactly where you want to be. While those around you are getting ready to make resolutions and often hollow promises to themselves, you'll be displaying the results of a strong finish to 2007.
A Happy New Year? Absolutely. M&F
For the complete Get Ripped by Jan. 1 program, pick up the October issue of Muscle & Fitness, on newsstands September 3.
Photos by Ian Logan
For more M&F, visit their website: www.muscleandfitness.com.