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All right, now it's time to train. And it only took me fourteen chapters to get here. (My wife would tell you that's pretty good, by my standards.)

Alwyn has created three training programs, one each for fat loss, hypertrophy (the fancy word for "muscle growth"), and pure strength.

Each program has three phases. Each phase is meant to stand on its own as a multi-week program, but the phases also build on one another. Thus, the gains you make in Phase 1 prepare you for Phase 2, and Phase 2 prepares you for Phase 3. You can do all three phases of any program consecutively, and that's fine.

But the real beauty of Alwyn's vision here—the reason this book is different from any other we've seen—is that the programs can be broken down into modular parts for you to mix and match, based on your shifting goals and preferences.

Everyone will start with the Break-In program, which I'll show and explain in Chapter 17. But after that, you've got the chance to create an individualized training system that you can follow for months or even years without having to look elsewhere for new routines and challenges.

Let's look at four lifters, and how each would put together his own system from Alwyn's programs. For the sake of simplicity, I'm going to assume each lifter starts in the first week of January.

LIFTER #1: THE ETERNAL BEGINNER

Let's say you're thirty-five. You've never followed a program for more than a couple of months. You'll join a gym in January, or renew your membership to the gym you joined the previous January, and you'll do pretty well until you find yourself losing the spark around Valentine's Day. You go through the motions for a few more weeks, but by St. Patrick's Day you're running on fumes. Since you've made no gains since late January, your motivation is sapped.

The great thing about you is that your body has made very few adaptations to exercise. That means virtually everything you try is going to produce visceral, measurable, visual results. You'll feel better, you'll see your strength improving every week, and you'll be able to see it all working when you look in a mirror. Others will see it, too. Your plan:

Weeks 1-4: Break-In program

Two workouts a week for four weeks.

Week 5: Off

Seriously, you'll take a breather this week. Your body has made some improvements in strength and muscle size. Even though those changes aren't dramatic, your body is still going through a remodeling process. So here you'll give it a week to catch up. If your muscle strength is getting ahead of your tendon strength, we'll slow it down a bit and let everything recover completely. (Connective tissues have a smaller blood supply than muscle fibers, so their recovery is always compromised somewhat compared to your muscles'.)

There's also a psychological reason for taking that time off: Your body is probably just starting to "get" the routine. You're getting good at it. A couple more workouts, and you'll hit a peak with these exercises, in this order. And we absolutely do not want you to peak on anything. We want you to leave a little in the tank. We want you to wish you were at the gym, finishing what you started, throughout the week you're not there. Believe me, wishing you could go to the gym when you can't is a hundred times better than wishing you weren't there when you could be.

Weeks 6-11: Fat-Loss I

Three workouts a week for six weeks.

Week 12: Off

Same reasons, except now you've made some serious improvements—less fat, certainly, and probably some gains in muscle size and strength. (Beginners have that magical ability to improve in both directions at once.) You've also increased your workload from ten exercise sets twice a week to eighteen sets three times a week. And you've done that for six weeks, using heavier weights every week, with shorter rest periods in between sets.

Weeks 13-18: Fat-Loss II

Three workouts a week for six weeks.

Weeks 19-20: Off

The exercise volume in Fat-Loss II is the same as before—eighteen sets, three times a week—but the loads are heavier (in the fifth and sixth weeks of Fat-Loss II, you do sets of eight reps, with heavier weights than you've used so far), and the rest periods are even shorter. Big gains? Oh, yes. The mirror alone should show a very different image by this point, five months into the program. If you're following the diet suggestions in Part 5, you've probably lost a couple of inches off your waist. You feel more "toned" (much as I hate to use that word) from shoulders to calves, with your muscles harder to the touch, and the contours of all your muscle groups more pronounced.

That's why it's the perfect time to take a slightly longer break here. It doesn't have to be two full weeks, if that doesn't work with your schedule. We just want you to be aware that adaptations like these come with a price; you can pay the price up front, by giving your body a chance to recover fully, or you can pay it weeks or months down the road, with an injury.

Weeks 21-28: Hypertrophy I

Three workouts a week for eight weeks.

Week 29: Off

I'll explain the shock and awe of Alwyn's first Hypertrophy program in Chapter 19. Here, I'll simply note that it involves shifting around between three set-and-rep con figurations for the major exercises: five sets of five reps, three sets of fifteen, four sets of ten. That's a lot more volume, and much heavier weights in some of the workouts. Take a week to recover, or perhaps even two if you feel beaten up here.

Weeks 30-37: Hypertrophy II

Three workouts a week for eight weeks.

Week 38: Off

The swings in Hypertrophy II are even more extreme: six sets of three, on up to two sets of twenty-five. You'll have fun, and you'll see gains you didn't think your body was capable of making, but you'll need this break. Seriously.

Weeks 39-44: Strength I

Three workouts a week for five weeks, with one workout in the sixth week. Week 45: Off

You're also taking most of Week 44 off, so this is nearly a two-week break. But given the fact that you'll have just done the most aggressive program yet, lifting the heaviest weights you've ever lifted, your shoulders, knees, and elbows will be very happy to have this break.

Weeks 46-51: Fat-Loss III

Three workouts a week for six weeks.

Week 52: Off

If you started the program the first week in January, you're so much bigger, stronger, and leaner by Christmas that your friends and family may not recognize you. So go reintroduce yourself to them.

LIFTER #2: THE GUY WHO CONSIDERS "SKINNY" AN INSULT

Let's say you're twenty-two, six feet tall, 160 pounds. Maybe you can see your abs, but to you it's no badge of honor, considering you can also count your ribs by looking in a mirror . .. from fifty feet away. I'm going to assume you're an intermediate lifter, perhaps with a history of bouncing around from program to program (like, every time a new issue of Flex hits the newsstand). You're embarrassed to say how many sets of biceps curls you do in an average week, despite the fact that your biceps stopped growing in your freshman year of college.

Weeks 1-3: Break-In program

Three workouts a week for three weeks.

Week 4: Off

Seem absurd to take a week off, when you're just getting started? Yes, except I have a sneaking hunch you've been doing a lot of "bonus" work during the Break-In program. Like, ten extra sets of curls, extensions, and lateral raises after each workout? Fine; admitting you have a problem is the first step toward recovery. This week is for that recovery.

Weeks 5-10: Hypertrophy I

Four workouts a week for six weeks.

Week 11: Off

Come on, I know you're still doing those curls.

Weeks 12-19: Hypertrophy II

Three workouts a week for eight weeks.

Weeks 20-21: Off

Because I know you really worked out five times a week for the past two months.

Weeks 22-25: Strength I

Four workouts a week for four weeks.

Week 26: Off

At least this time I'm pretty sure you didn't sneak in any extra workouts. And I'll bet that wave-loading those squats made you look forward to this break. (The phrase "wave-loading" will make sense when you read Chapter 20.)

Weeks 27-30: Strength II

Four workouts a week for four weeks.

Week 31: Off

Thought it looked easy, didn't you? But then you actually tried those quarter-squats in Strength II, and you realized they aren't the fun kind, the ones where you think you're Iron Man because you're doing these instead of full squats. You learned that these quarter-squats are the ones where you use more than 100 percent of your one-rep max and descend only partway on purpose. Whole different sensation.

Weeks 32-37: Hypertrophy III

Four workouts a week for six weeks.

Week 38: Off

By now you're with the program, and not even tempted to sneak in those extra-credit sets. Still, after six weeks of slamming your body every which way, including loose, you'll be happy for this little interlude.

Weeks 39-42: Strength III

Four workouts a week for four weeks.

Weeks 43-44: Off

You won't argue.

Weeks 45-50: Fat-Loss II and Fat-Loss III

Four workouts a week for three weeks on each program, with no break in between. Weeks 51-52: Off

Now go show off that bigger, stronger, and still-lean (thanks to those six weeks of Fat-Loss workouts at the end) physique of yours.

LIFTER #3: A MAN OF CONSTANT OBLIGATION

You're twenty-nine, your job demands your brain, and your young children demand your energy. All you have left is your body, which you love to challenge with hard workouts and heavy weights. But workouts feel more like a luxury these days, and you find yourself getting to the gym erratically—sometimes four times a week, some times .. . almost once. And yet this is your favorite activity that doesn't bring in revenue for your company or improve the quality of life for your family.

I'm going to propose something very radical: You're going to train just twice a week but forbid yourself to skip either of those two workouts. The way Alwyn's system is set up, you can do these workouts on consecutive days if you have to, or separated by four or five days if that's your only choice. The one absolute is that you're going to squeeze in two workouts a week. If you can do more, fine; the system allows for you to do that, as long as you keep alternating the workouts in Alwyn's designated order.

Also, I'm assuming you're an intermediate-to-advanced lifter, perhaps a former athlete who's had some coaching. But, because of your erratic schedule (and some late-night stress-relief eating, thanks to the kids' shaky sleep-wake cycles), you've put on a few pounds around the middle. Your brain may remember how to do the exercises, but your body will nonetheless struggle with executing them at first.

Weeks 1-3: Break-In program

Two workouts a week for three weeks.

Week 4: Off Weeks 5-8: Fat-Loss II

Two workouts a week for four weeks. (You skipped Fat-Loss I because you've already done similar sets and reps, and similar exercises, in the Break-In program.)

Week 9: Off

Weeks 10-15: Hypertrophy I

Two workouts a week for six weeks. The charts indicate that you should perform a total of twenty-four workouts. But you're stopping at twelve, since your body will probably make most of the potential adaptations after six weeks. And even if it doesn't, six weeks is long enough for this program.

Week 16: Off Weeks 17-24: Strength I

Two workouts a week for eight weeks. This program has four workouts, so it'll take you two weeks to do each of them, and eight weeks to cycle through each four times.

Weeks 25-26: Off

Perfect time for a summer vacation.

Weeks 27-34: Strength II

Two workouts a week for eight weeks. (Same as Strength I.) Week 35: Off

Weeks 36-43: Strength III

Two workouts a week for eight weeks. (Same as Strength I and II.) Week 44: Off

Weeks 45-50: Fat-Loss III

Two workouts a week for six weeks. No, you aren't doing this because you're fat. You're doing it to give your muscles some new stimulation—high-rep sets following Strength programs will have that effect.

Weeks 51-52: Off

You not only need a break, you've earned it.

LIFTER #4: SERIOUS ABOUT LIFTING, BUT SERIOUSLY OVERWEIGHT

You're forty-five, and you've been lifting since the beginning of time. Since you were fifteen, anyway. In fact, you were the bench-press champion of your college fraternity four consecutive years, and you seriously considered flunking a couple of classes your final semester so you could return to campus and win it again. You're still a strong guy, although no one could tell by looking at you.

Yes, you still hit the gym three or four times a week, but most of your "program" involves sitting on a bench, working on your biceps, triceps, delts, and pecs.

So, even though your arms and chest and shoulders are bigger than ever, so is your gut. And your legs seem smaller by comparison with every passing year.

Let's be frank: About three-quarters of the work you need to do to get back in shape will take place outside the gym. You'll need to read Part 5 carefully, and adopt an every-waking-hour diet plan that gives you enough energy to train and enough food to kill hunger pangs but also allows you to lose fat safely and steadily.

In the gym, you also need to change your approach. You have a world of potential, since you already know how to lift and are in the habit. But you also have one significant handicap: Your body has already adapted to many of the programs we could throw your way. To use a rather strange metaphor in this context, all the low-hanging fruit has been plucked.

That would ordinarily be a problem. But you're lucky: You have Alwyn Cosgrove on your side. Here's how to use Alwyn's New Rules programs for your transformation.

Weeks 1-3: Break-In program

Start on the Intermediate plan, with total-body workouts three days a week. But we want you to do something that we haven't suggested for the others: After each of these workouts, we want you to do the "Metabolic Overdrive" interval program, shown in Chapter 7.

Week 4: Off

Keep going with the intervals, but take a weeklong break from the weights. Weeks 5-8: Fat-Loss II

Three workouts a week for four weeks. Continue with the intervals, cranking up the intensity as described in Chapter 7.

Week 9: Off

Take a break from everything here, including the intervals. Weeks 10-13: Fat-Loss III

Three workouts a week for four weeks. Continue with the intervals, cranking up the intensity as described.

Week 14: Off

Lay off the weights but continue with the intervals, reaching peak intensity. This is it for intervals for a while, so make these count. At the end of each session, finish with the warm-up exercises shown in Chapter 5—treat them more as flexibility exercises than true warm-ups. You can also do ab exercises and some light calisthenics if you choose.

Weeks 15-22: Hypertrophy I

Three workouts a week for eight weeks.

Weeks 23-24: Off

Stay active, and eat clean at least 80 percent of the time. ("Clean eating" is described in Chapter 22.)

Weeks 25-32: Hypertrophy III

Three workouts a week for eight weeks.

Week 33: Off

If you want to hit the gym this week, resume the interval program, starting at the beginning. Don't push yourself here; the goal is to get your body used to it again.

Weeks 34-39: Strength I

Three workouts a week for the first five weeks, and one workout in the sixth week. (Strength I has four workouts, and you want to do each four times. So the sixteenth workout will fall on the first gym day of the sixth week.) Continue with the intervals as before.

Week 40: Off

This is really close to a two-week break from the weights. Continue with the intervals, cranking up the intensity as you did earlier in the year.

Weeks 41-46: Strength II

Three workouts a week for the first five weeks, and one workout in the sixth week. Use the balance of the sixth week to peak on your intervals.

Weeks 47-50: Fat-Loss I

Three workouts a week for four weeks. Now, after eleven months of progressively harder work, you're going to downshift. It's like an athlete's taper before the biggest event of his competitive season: You'll finish the year with higher reps, basic exercises, and a break from the heaviest weights, as well as the peak-intensity intervals.

Here's the real beauty of it: Since you haven't done high-rep sets for months at this point, it'll be something new for your body. So will the reduced workload. As your body starts to "catch up," muscles will become more visible, even as the tightness that accrues from steady, hard training starts to fade away. You'll feel better and look better.

Another benefit of the taper is that it helps reduce pre-holiday stress while giving you a body that's better rested and recovered for next year's programs.

Weeks 51-52: Off

In the four examples, you'll notice that the lifters never repeat specific workouts. Which brings up a logical question: Should workouts ever be repeated? Alwyn says it's okay to repeat, as long as you put at least twelve weeks in between. In other words, it's fine to start the year with a Fat-Loss program, move on to Hypertrophy programs, and then shift back to the original Fat-Loss program to get a little leaner for summer. Just follow the twelve-week rule, and the programs should work fine the second time around.

5 Ways To Get Rid Of The Baby Fat

5 Ways To Get Rid Of The Baby Fat

Many women who have recently given birth are always interested in attempting to lose some of that extra weight that traditionally accompanies having a baby. What many of these women do not entirely realize is the fact that breast-feeding can not only help provide the baby with essential vitamins and nutrients, but can also help in the weight-loss process.

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