Spring is coming and summer isn't far behind, so it's time to start melting the fat. Nick Cheadle, the male winner of Bodybuilding.com's 2017 Spokesmodel Search, says you need to start shredding now to preserve all that hard-earned muscle you've put on this winter.
"When it comes to fat loss, the slower you go, the better," Cheadle says. "Get started now so you can keep your calories up, maintain your strength and muscle mass, and not walk about like a calorie-starved zombie."
Read Nick's seven ground rules for safe, effective fat loss, then try his five-day split. "You'll lose fat, maintain muscle and strength, and get your shredded summer body the right way—slow and steady," he says.
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As you go through this program, focus on minimizing the amount of time you spend working to failure. Aim to consistently increase the total training volume.
"Don't dig yourself into a hole by smashing your body every time you train," Cheadle says. "Pace yourself so you can increase volume over time and make it easier for you to maintain strength and muscle mass."
Nick Cheadle's 7 Ground Rules for Fat Loss
Okay, you've got the workout to get you looking lean and mean for beach season. Put that together with these basic rules for losing fat and gaining strength, and you're on your way. And congratulations on getting started now so you have time to shred for summer the right way!
1. Consistently track your workout progress
"Writing down your weights, sets, and reps can help you see what changes to make if you're not moving in the right direction."
2. Maintain a calorie deficit
"By forcing your body to look elsewhere to fill the energy deficit you've created, you'll end up losing more body fat."
3. Double-check your protein
"Aim for 1 gram of protein per day for each pound of body weight. By consuming adequate protein, you'll be able to limit the amount of muscle mass you burn through."
4. Understand meal-timing principles
"Stay in a caloric deficit and meet your macronutrient intake. But try to consume 20-40 percent of your total carbohydrate intake in your pre-workout. Doing so will help you fuel your workout and maintain strength and muscle mass."
5. Add cardio as a supplement
"Cardio can help by increasing the total number of calories you burn each week. If your fat loss stalls, add more cardio instead of eating less."
6. Train at the right frequency
"Train 2-3 times per week for the big lifts. Squats, deadlifts, bench presses, barbell presses, rows, and pull-ups burn the most calories—and elevate your post-workout calorie burn. Keep your workouts short but intense."
7. Don't be afraid to lift heavy weights
"The best way to get shredded is to maximize muscle retention. Either lift the same weight for more reps or sets, or lift more weight for your current reps and sets. Just keep trying to push yourself."