Months 10, 11, and 12 - Putting The Finishing Touches On Your Optimal Physique.
You'e made it thorough the majority of the year. You've progressed from a one day split clear up through last month's four day split. You've learned a wide variety of exercises and routines. Undoubtedly you've increased your muscular strength, endurance, and most importantly (for most) you've gained some serious lean muscle tissue.
Up to this point, the programs have been designed with the overall goal being increased muscle mass and strength throughout the entire body. If you've followed my general diet and cardio. advice throughout the year, you've maintained a respectable amount of cardiovascular conditioning as well as a manageable bodyfat level. Most likely you are at a point where the extra muscle mass has changed your overall muscle shape and definition, but a decrease in body fat is needed to show your best body. That is what we will try to accomplish in the next three months. We will attempt to maintain your muscle mass while we shed the excess adipose tissue. If you are still lean and wish to continue gaining mass, you should simply go back to month 4 and progress through month 9 until you are ready to chisel down.
For the rest of you, we will be going back to Month 5 and utilize a three day split/superset workout. You will follow the Month 5 workout for month(s) 10, 11, and 12. You have the option of rotating in additional exercises for variety. For example, you could perform seated rows rather than bent-over barbell rows, and flat barbell bench presses rather than flat dumbbell bench presses. Hopefully you get the picture. You should have a great base of exercises at this point, so this substitution process should be fairly easy. This program should help to increase muscular endurance and due to the increased pace/intensity, should provide a greater amount of calories burned per workout. As I stated in Month 5, this program will also help increase muscular hypertrophy and strength, but due to increased cardio. activity and decreased caloric intake, you should not expect great progress in these two areas (I shoot to maintain strength and hypertrophy while I cut down). Once again, here is the Month 5 workout to be followed in months 10, 11, and 12:
This month's workout is below!
CHOOSE YOUR FORMAT BELOW TO VIEW THE WORKOUT!
The proper execution of this program can be found in Month 5.
As for decreasing your bodyfat to show off your new body, diet and cardiovascular exercise will take on an increased level of importance. The basic gist of it is, you must create a caloric deficit to force your body to utilize stored bodyfat as an alternate fuel source. A pound of bodyfat is equal to 3,500 calories. Therefore, for every 3,500 calories you take in below your maintenance calorie level, you can expect to drop 1 pound of bodyweight. As each individual varies, the exact prescription will vary also. Therefore, I will give some general guidelines that should help everyone.
1. You should have your bodyfat taken by a qualified personal trainer. This will help you determine what you lean body mass is and what your fat mass is. For example, a 200 pound male bodybuilder with 15 % bodyfat would have a lean body mass of 170 pounds, and a fat mass of 30 pounds.
2. Our goal will be to maintain the lean body mass while we shed the fat mass. Using the above example this man may wish to decrease his bodyfat to 5% in order to compete in a bodybuilding competition. Since we know he has 170 pounds of lean tissue, we can estimate his bodyweight at 5 % bodyfat to be 179 pounds (170 / .95). You can use this formula to estimate your goal.
3. This man would need to lose approximately 21 pounds of bodyfat to reach his goal (200-179). This shows us that he would need to create an overall caloric deficit of 73,500 calories to reach his goal (3500 calories per pound X 21 pounds).
4. Once you know this information, you can then figure out how to create this deficit and the optimal amount of time to take to get to the goal. Most experts agree that a loss of 1-2 pounds per week is optimal. Trying to lose weight faster than this will lead to increased risks including, loss of lean tissue, health complications, and a decreased chance of maintaining the weight loss. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO LOSE MORE THAN 2 POUNDS PER WEEK! This means you should shoot for a caloric reduction of 3500 to 7000 calories per week, or 500-1000 calories per day. Although there are no steadfast rules here, I recommend 500 per day for those under 150 pounds, 750 per day for those 150-200 pounds, and 1000 per day for those 200 pounds and over. Our sample bodybuilder would need to create a 1000 calorie per day deficit for roughly 73 days to reach his goal (73500 / 1000). This equates to a diet period of roughly 10-11 weeks.
5. You can then utilize decreased calorie intake and increased calorie output (cardiovascular exercise to reach your goal). I suggest a fairly equal blend between decreased intake and increased output. Using our sample bodybuilder, I would suggest 500 calories per day from diet and 500 calories per day from cardiovascular exercise.
6. You can figure out your maintenance calories in many different ways. I have found a reasonably accurate formula that works with the vast majority of people I train. The formula is 15 times your bodyweight for a person with an average metabolism. If you have a slower/faster metabolism you will need to adjust your number up or down from here, but this will give you a starting point. Taking our sample bodybuilder, we can estimate that he takes in 3000 calories per day (200 pounds x 15). If we reduce his calories to 2500 calories per day, he will create a deficit of 500 calories per day (3000 -2500).
7. I recommend a diet that consists of 1 times your bodyweight in grams of protein, 15-20% of total calories from fat, and the remainder of calories from carbohydrate. Again, this is a general suggestion. I am not pretending to be your Doctor on dietitian, and I strongly suggest checking with your Doctor or dietitian before utilizing these suggestions. Neither I nor Bodybuilding.com assumes any responsibility for those who choose to ignore this disclaimer. Taking the 200 pound bodybuilder, his diet would be as follows: 2500 calories per day, 200 grams of protein/800 calories from protein (1 gram per pound of bodyweight), 15% calories from fat (42 grams/375 calories per day). You can figure carbohydrate grams and calories by subtracting calories from protein and fat from total calories. 2500 (total) - 800 (protein) - 375 (fat) = 1325 calories from carbohydrate calories. The grams of carbohydrate is carbohydrate calories divided by 4 (calories per gram of carbohydrate). This example would be 1325 / 4 = 331 grams of carbohydrate per day. Once again, his breakdown would be 2500 calories, 200 grams of protein, 331 grams of carbs, and 42 grams of fat. I suggest that you try to divide your calories up into 5 to 6 fairly equal small meals. This bodybuilder may therefore choose to have 5 meals at 500 calories per meal with 40 grams of protein, 66 grams of carbs., and roughly 8 grams of fat.
8. Again this is just a general guideline, you will need to adjust to fit your individual needs. Further complicating the formula is the fact that your body will adjust to a decreased calorie intake by slowing your metabolism. This will require that you increase/decrease your calories on a consistent basis in order to keep your body guessing. Using the above example, I would have this bodybuilder at an average of 2500 calories per day, but would likely reduce his calories even further for one or two days per week, and increase his calories on or two days per week. The increase or decrease would come from carbohydrate calories. This is known as carbohydrate/calorie cycling, and details on this are beyond the scope of this article. I suggest reading the book "Sliced", by Negrita Jayde and Bill Reynolds for further details on this dieting method.
9. Remember to keep your water intake high. Again, I suggest .66 ounces per pound of bodyweight.
10. I know this diet stuff is quite confusing, just as it is hard to comprehend, please realize, it is also very difficult to articulate. I strongly suggest getting further help from a qualified personal trainer if this is going over your head.
11. Cardiovascular exercise should be utilized to create a further caloric deficit. Our sample bodybuilder would need to create an average of 500 calories per day deficit via cardio. This is an area where I prefer to keep it simple. There are so many opinions on the optimal form/duration/intensity of cardio. that it can be quite confusing. Some think short duration/high intensity is the key. Others think long duration/low intensity is the key. Some prefer running, others prefer cycling. Don't get caught up in all of the things that don't really matter. What does matter is that you need to burn calories. In our example, 500 calories per day (on average), will help get this bodybuilder to his goal.
12. You may be curious as to how many calories you burn in a specified period of time. The truth of the matter is that this is very difficult to estimate without the use of sophisticated equipment. The best we can do is use the estimates that our standard cardiovascular equipment gives us. You know, when you get on the treadmill, and it estimates calories burned for you, use this number. I prefer to use the equipment that allows me to plug in my bodyweight, as these are more accurate. I know there are alot of experts out there who will shun my method and who think that this is not as accurate as possible. To those people, I suggest posting additional ideas on the Bodybuilding.com message boards. This method has proved to be very successful for me and my clients. As for cardio. outside the gym, you will have to estimate the number of calories burned. There are books out there with estimates ("Sliced" is one of them), but remember, they are only estimates.
13. Once again, I emphasize the importance that this is an average daily caloric deficit. You may choose to have more on one day and less on another. I typically recommend a little less on weight training days and a little more on no-weight training days.
14. Also, I suggest you take a complete day off from any activity at least once per week to allow your entire system a recovery day. If you don't do this, you will be much more likely to fail in your endeavors.
That is it in a nut-shell. I realize that this information can seem somewhat vague and confusing. I promise you, I have used these formulas with success with hundreds of clients. If you follow the general guidelines, I am confident you will see outstanding results, and you will have a body that others envy, and that you once thought was impossible to attain. It has been a pleasure sharing with you all my one year program and look forward to communicating with you in the future.
Good luck and train hard. Let me know if you have any questions.
Please contact me if you have any questions at OPT4FIT@OPT4FIT.com.