Ever wondered how your favorite pro bodybuilder, action movie star or fitness model transform their physique from lean to insanely peeled in just a matter of days? It's not camera trickery or crafty Photoshop techniques.
It's a combination of hard work, strict dedication, dietary manipulations and advanced supplementation that will get you this ultra-dry, ridiculously peeled and vascular appearance. Even if you won't be walking out onto an Olympia stage or starring in the next big blockbuster action movie, you can adopt a few of these tricks and tactics and deploy them when you want to showcase your most extreme muscularity.
Imagine captivating that group of girls by the pool, or capturing the attention of that super-hot fitness chick at your gym with your best-ever level of shocking muscle detail.
These advanced techniques won't get you completely diced in five days if you're carrying too much fat to begin with. You'll need to strip enough of the off-season blubber to get your bodyfat into the single-digit range. Once you're there, follow these simple shredding tactics and, in five days, you can reveal fully separated, dense muscularity riddled with rope-like veins and intricate muscle striations.
1. Understanding Subcutaneous Water
Before you can start your water-shedding process, it is important to know the location of the water you are trying to eliminate, and which water helps contribute to keeping your muscles looking their fullest. The skin is composed of two functional layers called the epidermis and dermis.
The epidermis is the top layer, which gives your skin a healthy color and acts as a barrier. Under the epidermis is the dermis layer, which contains fat cells, blood vessels, nerves, sweat and oil glands, hair follicles, lymphatic systems and connective tissue. It's also in this layer that subcutaneous ("sub" meaning below and "cutaneous" meaning skin) water is stored.
When you need to achieve your most shredded conditioning, consider this water your primary target for elimination. By reducing the volume of subcutaneous water stored in the dermis layer, you can trigger the skin to wrap more tightly around underlying muscularity. This will help make intricate muscle details literally pop out from beneath the skin to produce a much more dramatic and visually pronounced appearance.
Two components of this five-day cycle - water manipulation and supplementation - are specifically designed to help you reduce subcutaneous water.
The other location of stored water for you to be concerned with is intracellular muscle water. Consider this volume of water to be your number one ally if your goal is to expose skin-stretching muscle fullness with granite density at the end of your five-day cycle. Lean muscle tissue is approximately 75 percent water. So the more water you can store in muscle cells, the fuller they will appear with a greatly volumized appearance.
In contrast to this, if you don't manage your variables appropriately, you could end up with soft, deflated muscles when your five-day cycle is complete.
To help prevent this from happening, this program features two components - training and diet - which are both customized to maintain optimal muscle-hydration levels and intracellular volumization. The first way to encourage muscle cell volumization is through the process of glycogen depletion and glycogen supercompensation.
2. Glycogen Depletion Workouts
You're not going to add any new muscle in five days, but you can dramatically alter the size and composition of your muscles to make them appear bigger. Muscle cells have a high storage capacity for glycogen (the stored form of carbohydrates).
In a normal adult, muscles can store about 250 grams of glycogen in the muscles and 100 grams in the liver in the fed state. When intramuscular glycogen levels are topped off, muscle density is at its peak and muscles are harder and fuller. This is in part due to an increased plasma component in the muscle cell that accompanies glycogen in a 3:1 ratio. When muscle glycogen levels are filled beyond a previously set threshold, glycogen "supercompensation" is achieved.
The primary goal of your training program during the first four days is to completely empty your muscles' glycogen content, and then re-fill them with a strategic carbohydrate load before you need to hit your peak condition.
Many experts believe that glycogen depletion is best achieved using higher rep ranges such as 12-20 - typically more conducive to burning local stores of carbs in the muscle.
You'll also want to avoid complete muscle failure during your sets and stay away from excessive negative contractions, which can both interfere with and delay glycogen replenishment. It might also stimulate your body to utilize precious amino acids as fuel, potentially cannibalizing your size by the second.
Remember, you're not trying to tear down muscle tissue in these five days. You're just emptying muscles of their glycogen content so you can prime them for a supercompensated state in the days to follow. To get you started, here is a sample four-day glycogen depletion program.
Glycogen Depletion Training Program
Note: You will be doing your carb-load on this day.
The goal here is to get just enough blood in certain muscles to make you look fuller and more vascular. If you under-pump, you'll look small and flat. If you over-pump, you'll be bigger, but you'll lose some muscle definition and separation, making you look smoother than you really are.
The main muscles you'll want to flood with blood are the chest, back, shoulders and arms. Never pump the legs because this will ruin the deep, cable-like muscle separation in the quads.
To induce maximum vasodilation and support rapid and efficient nutrient delivery to the muscles being pumped, consume a serving of a powerful nitric oxide stimulator about 15 minutes before your pump-up. Here is a sample pump-up routine that you can use to fill out key areas with vascularity and dense hardness.
Post-Pump-Up Secret: Many pro bodybuilders consume various formulations after their pump-up including glycerol, waxy maize, glucose, red wine and even fats. It's best to experiment with how your body responds to these compounds before choosing which one to use on stage or at the beach.
3. Short-Term Carbohydrate Restriction
To support your glycogen depletion efforts during the first four days of the cycle, your carbohydrate intake should not exceed 50 grams per day (for a 200-pound bodybuilder).
By not replenishing muscle glycogen after every workout, many nutritional experts believe that you may prime your body for a massive influx of carbohydrates by increasing insulin sensitivity and glycogen synthase activity. In other words, you create an intracellular physiological state in the body that is more conducive to achieving glycogen supercompensation.
(Anti-catabolic tip: During the four days, keep your protein intake at 1 gram per pound that you weigh, as a minimum requirement. This should help you maintain muscle fullness and prevent excessive catabolism during carbohydrate restriction.)
On the fifth day, you will begin a strategic carbohydrate load phase with five to six meals each containing 50-75 grams of carbohydrates.
Start the carb-load with rapidly absorbing carbohydrates such as dextrose, maltodextrin and white bread for your first one or two meals. This will create a massive anabolic trigger that will help drive the carbohydrates into the muscle cells. For meals three to six, consume slower burning sources of carbohydrates such as yams, red potatoes, brown rice and Ezekiel or sprouted grains bread.
When you wake up on the morning of the sixth day, take a good look in the mirror and assess your conditioning. If you're looking flat, have another simple-sugar meal. If you're holding water, have a protein-only meal. If you're happy with your conditioning, have a small serving of protein and starchy carbs.
4. Cycling Water Intake
To support that ultra-dry look, you'll want to make your body shift into a "flushing" mode. You can do this by consuming large amounts of water for the first three days, then significantly reduce it for the last two days. Some nutritional experts believe that this may influence the fluid-retaining hormone, aldosterone, to support subcutaneous water elimination. Here is a look at what your water intake might look like for the five days:
5-Day Water Intake Schedule
- Day 1: 2-3 gallons water throughout the day
- Day 2: 2-3 gallons water throughout the day
- Day 3: 2-3 gallons water throughout the day
- Day 4 & 5: Significantly reduce water
5. Extreme Water-Shedding Supplementation
The final element of your five-day shredded-to-the-bone cycle is to include a powerful herbal diuretic formula as the central component of the program. If you choose the right water-shedding agent, this critical factor could make the difference between you simply looking lean and becoming a walking, striated anatomy chart.
An advanced diuretic formula will also supply precise amounts of key minerals, vitamins and electrolytes to help maintain optimal muscle function and bioenergetics while you train for peak muscle definition.
Key ingredients to look for in an effective herbal diuretic formula include horsetail extract, dandelion root, horse chestnut seed extract, taurine, withania somnifera root extract and uva ursi leaf extract. Follow the label directions of your herbal diuretic to trigger a powerful subcutaneous water-removal signal.
If you follow these five key components, you will be on your way to exposing fully separated, dense muscularity riddled with rope-like veins and criss-cross striated muscle bellies.