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The Ultimate 30-Day Beginner's Guide To Fitness Day 24

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There’s cardio, and then there’s high-intensity interval training, or HIIT. People who have experienced both have trouble accepting that the same “cardio” label could possibly describe them. HIIT is an explosion of action that leaves you drained, gasping, and still sweating for hours after you do it. It may be hard to understand at first, but doing this for even just a few minutes is great for both your heart and your waistline!

Ultimate 30 Day Beginners Guide To Fitness:
Watch The Video – 02:28


Day 24 challenge

  • Perform a high-intensity interval cardio workout.


Get Fit With HIIT

You dipped a toe into the world of high-intensity interval training last week when you tested yourself in one of four challenge workouts. The only difference is that in a challenge workout, you’ll usually track your results and try to beat them next time around.

In most HIIT workouts, you focus on nothing more than pure, unadulterated effort. If you can think about anything more complex than “Go, go, go!” before you get a chance to rest, you’re either not pushing hard enough, or you’re doing an activity that’s too complicated.

Today, keep it simple both in what you do and how you program it. Stick with things like stationary bikes—or even better, the fan bike, because it gets more difficult the faster you pedal—or foot-powered locomotion such as sprinting, hill returns, or sled pushes and pulls.


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Need a place to start? Take a deep breath and leap into these hardcore protocols from Bodybuilding.com’s expert contributors!

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The Ultimate 30-Day Beginner's Guide To Fitness Day 24

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AMP: Marc Megna's 8-Week Aesthetics Meets Performance Trainer Phase 1, Day 10

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In today’s full-body training session, I want you to concentrate on dialing in your bench press form. It’s actually a much more technical movement than most people realize. Practice having an arch in your back and using your legs to drive the weight up. (It’s not simply about using your chest and arms to move the bar!) The bench press is as much of a full-body exercise as it is a chest-building movement.

If you aren’t able to perform full range-of-motion chin-ups, do negative reps or jump chin-ups. Assistance machines and bands aren’t always the best choices for building muscle and skill. For negatives, hop up to the top position and slowly lower yourself. See if you can make the eccentric portion of the lift last for three seconds. As you improve, go even slower.


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AMP: Marc Megna's 8-Week Aesthetics Meets Performance Trainer Phase 1, Day 10

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The Ultimate 30-Day Beginner's Guide To Fitness: Day 23

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In this final week of your fitness education, you’re going to step on the throttle. Today is the first in a string of progressively challenging workouts. In your first week you learned how bodyweight workouts build a foundation. Today you will see how you can use your body in unique ways to develop athleticism as well as strength.

Kathleen will tell you more in today’s video.

Ultimate 30 Day Beginners Guide To Fitness:
Watch The Video – 02:49


Day 23 Challenge

  • Perform a circuit workout using plyometric training principles.


Plyo For Power

As Kathleen explained, today you’re going to train your body to produce more power. You might think of someone lifting huge weights with that word, but in training circles, power is all about producing maximum force in as short of time as possible. Training this way teaches your nervous system to use many muscles in coordination during a movement, helping your whole body become more efficient and athletic.

The simplest expression of power might be jumping, which is what most people think of when they hear the word “plyometric.” In simple terms, plyometric exercises focus on rapidly contracting a muscle after it has been stretched. This happens in the bottom of a squat, where your hamstrings stretch before pushing the weight upward quickly. But you can also train this quality without added weight or using just a medicine ball, like we will today.


Plyometric Pushup

Perform today’s movements explosively, just like when you jump. For example, during a normal push-up, you would move in a slow and controlled fashion to train for bigger muscles, but in a plyometric push-up, you press off of the floor as fast as you can, so your hands actually come off the ground at the top. Follow the exercise instructions and you’ll find that these are a safe and exhilarating way to do a lot of work in a little time.

You will do these movements today back-to-back in what is known as a “circuit.” In a circuit, you perform one set of an exercise, followed by a set of a different exercise, and maybe even another few exercises. You rest as little as possible between exercises, and when you’ve finished all the exercises in the circuit, you rest before performing another round.

Key Terms

  • Plyometric: An explosive muscular contraction in response to the rapid stretching of a muscle, as in jump training. Plyometric training is used to unite strength and speed, increasing overall athleticism.

  • Circuit: A group of three or more exercises done in succession with little or no rest between them. Rest may be taken between each round of the circuit.


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The Ultimate 30-Day Beginner's Guide To Fitness: Day 23

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The Ultimate 30-Day Beginner's Guide To Fitness Day 21

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Protein is probably the best-known supplement for athletes and gym-goers, but creatine isn’t far behind. This odorless, tasteless compound launched the modern age of sport supplementation back in the 1990s, and today, it is perhaps the most researched of all supplements, with more than 200 studies and dozens of peer-reviewed articles in prominent journals.

We know more than ever before about what creatine does and how it can help athletes, but myths and misinformation are still common in the media and in locker rooms worldwide. Steve will tell you more in today’s video.

Ultimate 30 Day Beginners Guide To Fitness:
Watch The Video – 02:12


Day 21 Challenge

  • Learn about creatine.
  • Rest or perform an optional bodyweight circuit.


Creatine Is King

As Steve mentioned, creatine won’t turn you into the Incredible Hulk. What it will do is help fuel intense, short-duration exercise like weight training and sprinting. Your body has plenty of creatine already, but it can struggle to keep up with demand, particularly as intensity goes up and rest periods go down.

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Creatine’s major appeal is that it can help you train more, and train harder, before you wear out. As Steve said, it’s the substance your body uses to get “one more rep.” If you don’t train hard or don’t want to, then it’s probably not something that you’ll need.

So who takes creatine? Among athletes, both amateur and professional, surveys have indicated that at least half take it, and potentially many more. Increasingly, women take it, and a growing number of middle-aged people and senior citizens take it as well. Why? One obvious reason is to help them retain muscle mass, which has been linked in studies to both quality of life and life expectancy. Creatine has also been linked to a range of health benefits in recent studies.

These articles can tell you more:

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If you’ve got anything left in the tank after yesterday’s free weights workout, feel free to tackle of the two bodyweight circuits below! One adds a suspension trainer such as a TRX into the mix, which makes movements like dips and push-ups even more challenging. If you’re not ready for that just, then stick to the pure bodyweight circuit.

On the other hand, if your body is screaming for a rest day, then by all means, listen! You’ve got plenty of fun training ahead in the last nine days of this trainer, and we want you to be ready.

  • 5 rounds:
  • Pushups Pushups Pushups (To side rotation)
    5 reps, 4 reps, 3 reps, 2 reps, 1 rep
  • Pullups Pullups Pullups
    5 reps, 4 reps, 3 reps, 2 reps, 1 rep
  • Dips - Triceps Version Dips - Triceps Version Dips
    5 reps, 4 reps, 3 reps, 2 reps, 1 rep
  • BurpeeBurpee Burpee
    5 reps, 4 reps, 3 reps, 2 reps, 1 rep
  • Barbell Side Split Squat Barbell Side Split Squat Side Lunge (Shown w/ barbell)
    5 reps, 4 reps, 3 reps, 2 reps, 1 rep

Or:


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The Ultimate 30-Day Beginner's Guide To Fitness Day 21

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The Ultimate 30-Day Beginner's Guide To Fitness Day 20

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The first time most people give the weight room a try, they pick up a light weight and crank out reps by the dozens. This is great for getting to know a movement, but once you have specific goals, you’ll learn that there are specific “rep ranges” that are proven to help you achieve each goal. Today, you’re going to learn about them in action!

Ultimate 30 Day Beginners Guide To Fitness:
Watch The Video – 02:19


Day 20 Challenge

  • Perform a free-weight workout incorporating strength, muscle growth, and endurance rep ranges.


The Rep of the Story

Workouts focusing on sets of 5 reps or fewer are generally considered “strength-building” work, since you can handle more weight in short small sets. A range of 8-12 reps per set is popular for muscle growth or “hypertrophy,” whereas sets of 15 reps and above are great for building muscular endurance. If you’ve only done 3 sets of 10 up until now, it’s time for you to expand your horizons!

Trainees will use rep ranges in every possible combination. Some will have a “strength day” and a “hypertrophy day” in the same week, or even some balance of those styles in the same workout. Others will work in specific phases, where they devote weeks or months to low-rep strength work, and then do a muscle-building phase as a follow-up.


Dumbbell Shoulder Press

Which style is right for you? The answer is complicated, and depends on your goals, schedule, and experience level. For now, just focus on continuing to learn the movements, and on learning how different rep ranges feel with different weights. For today’s bench press and deadlifts, pick a weight that feels significant, but not overwhelming. What you do for 5 sets of 5 should be heavier than what you would do for sets of 10.

It doesn’t have to be much heavier—after all, you’re just learning, and you may not have a spotter for the bench press—but take this as an opportunity to see what a little heavy weight can teach you!


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To learn more about the fine art of strength programming, check out these articles!

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The Ultimate 30-Day Beginner's Guide To Fitness Day 20

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The Ultimate 30-Day Beginner's Guide To Fitness Day 19

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Over the last three weeks, you’ve been working hard and—hopefully—sleeping hard. The trainers who help actors achieve incredible transformations for movie roles know that those two factors are central to their success. The meal that that actor reaches for after a well-earned rest—breakfast—is just as important!

What’s on your plate or in your bowl in the morning: Something that reflects your ambitious physical goals, or something that reflects Saturday morning cartoon ads? If breakfast is still an afterthought or a nutritional black hole, it’s time for you to get serious about the most important meal of the day. Here’s Kathleen to tell you more.

Ultimate 30 Day Beginners Guide To Fitness:
Watch The Video – 02:40


Day 19 Challenge

  • Make a nutritious high-protein breakfast and post-workout meal.

Today, your challenge is simple. Start the day with protein and the other nutrients your body needs to fuel hard training! As Kathleen mentions, if you’re someone who trains in the morning, you may want to wait until after a workout until you take in a big meal. But if you’re following the Ultimate 30-Day Beginner’s Guide to Fitness program and resting today, then take this opportunity to indulge in one of these recipes!

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Your day is too important to be fueled with kids’ stuff, cheap carbs, or worse yet, nothing at all. Try the breakfast that elite athletes rave about: a serving of meat and a handful of nuts!

The recipes above can be tailored to meet different tastes or grocery supplies. If you like a sweet breakfast, or if you enjoyed making homemade protein bars earlier this week, try one of “The Protein Powder Chef”Anna Sward’s whey treats.

If you’re a whole-food lover or prefer a savory breakfast, give Vince Del Monte’s meat and nuts breakfast a try. There’s a world of ways to start your day off with protein!


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Gyms Of The Month: All The World's A Weight Room

We bring you three very different gyms this month. Mark Fisher Fitness in New York City is a colorful space for people who are turned off by the regular iron scene but still want to deadlift heavy. The Kaboddycom gym in Kampala, Uganda is a dirt-floor boxing gym in the heart of Africa. CIRIUS Fitness in New Jersey is a family-owned business organized around community.

Mark Fisher Fitness
The Kaboddycom Gym

Cirius Fitness

Mark Fisher Fitness

Growing up, Mark Fisher was skinny and far from the strongest young man in the macho environs of teen locker rooms. But he didn’t let it dissuade him from lifting. On the contrary, it pushed him to imagine what his ideal gym would look like—and to bring it to life. His Manhattan fitness center, which goes by the alternate title “The Enchanted Ninja Clubhouse of Glory and Dreams,” combines progressive training and nutrition strategies in an unconventional, fun, and often profane environment.

“Our tagline is ‘Ridiculous humans, serious fitness,’” Fisher says. “We take the fitness element very seriously.” Fisher and his trainers use outlandish imagery and club-specific terms to teach Broadway dancers and city servants correct lifting form—particularly when it comes to neutral spine, that tricky position that often keeps novices from being able to do the big barbell lifts. They call overarching your back during a lift a “porn star,” and a posterior pelvic tilt is a “sad dog.”

“We keep things fun using those sort of teaching techniques,” Fisher says. “There’s lots of glitter, rainbows, club lighting and fun music. It may sound goofy, but Fisher’s devotees on the Internet and the streets and theaters of New York swear it works. “We’ll take people who in the beginning might be scared to lift weights at all, and a lot of the ninjas become very passionate about lifting—and not just about lifting but about technique,” he says. “Girls do chin-ups and pull-ups. People get very competitive about their deadlift numbers.”

Of course it’s not always easy convincing novice fitness entrants to pick up a loaded barbell, but that’s where the other unique part of MFF’s approach helps out. Everyone who lifts here has a trainer on hand. There’s no open gym. You sign up for classes, join group sessions, or lift one-on-one with experienced trainers. They touch on all the key points—lifestyle, nutrition, and fitness—helping to draw the line between what Fisher calls “health and hotness.”

His approach has been the subject of numerous features in major magazines and newspapers, because it uniquely combines inclusiveness with high-level training, unlike the dumbed-down vibe of, say, Planet Fitness. “Mark Fisher Fitness is dedicated to making very serious and aggressive training principles accessible to people who are not being stirred by how fitness is normally discussed in the conversation,” Fisher says.

Kaboddycom Gym

Imagine a room built of wood and tin, filled with wrought iron, and devoid of modern convenience. Here, at Kaboddycom Gym in Uganda’s capital city of Kampala, grit isn’t just a metaphor for mental toughness; it literally covers the floor. Who needs chalk when you can use the dust at your feet?

Between the bouts of boxing and bench press, members of this small gym can be found lifting homemade dumbbells, with slivers of light jutting through the eaves of the tin roof. Muscle is earned the hard way.

Sekiranda Tyson, one of the two cofounders, was a boxer for many years until his health began to suffer. He felt fitness could revive him. A few months later his health had improved, and he decided to share his story with others in Kampala, Uganda’s capital city. “We started the gym because we wanted to help more people,” says Tyson of himself and cofounder Kateregga Dalvin. “We’d already gained a reputation as boxers and gymnasts, so we decided to use that reputation to establish this gym.”

In the mold of great boxing gyms the world over, Kaboddycom also gives the youth of Kampala a safe haven and a sense of purpose through physical training. “Moral values and behavior are invested in young people through this gym,” Tyson says. “We use it to curb crime and city violence from our community.”

So how does one start a gym like this? From the ground up, with the money contributed from its members. It was created to fill a need. “There is only one other gym in our area and the only members who have the access to it are the rich and elite persons,” Tyson says. “Ours is a community-based gym which involves every class of person.”

Cirius Fitness

Guy Cirincione always wanted to own a gym, recalls his son Joe. He tried a few times, but none of them seemed to work out. But the dream refused to die, until the day came when Guy’s children were finally old enough to help him bring it to fruition.

In 2013, the family came together to buy Centrex Sports, a 14,000-square-foot gym in Red Bank, New Jersey. They remodeled and rebranded this large training space to create CIRIUS Fitness. “This time it worked!” says Joe. “It’s streamlined efficiency. Had he done it 10 years ago, we would have been in school, and may not have been as helpful.”

Even in the capable hands of five Cirinciones, there were plenty of bumps and struggles along the way. But with a lifetime of shared history, the partners knew they could overcome them. “It was a challenging first three months, but we banded together and broke through,” Joe says. “It’s good to work with your family. You can lean on one another and you trust each other.”

The result is a family gym with a friendly vibe from the second you walk in. “We focus on a family atmosphere and get away from the chain gyms, where you walk in, swipe in and nobody knows your name, you do your thing, and leave,” Joe says. “We try to encourage one another to be the best you can be.”

The gym offers a wide range of options including MMA training, hot yoga, Zumba, and spin classes alongside its heavy weights and vintage dumbbells. And even though CIRIUS Fitness has only been open for a year, they’ve already seen enough of a positive response to consider expanding.

“We are happy,” Joe says. “We want to continue to grow our brand and do more fundraisers for the community and focus on youth fitness. We want to grow into other forms of fitness so we can be a more fulfilling gym for everybody.”



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Gyms Of The Month: All The World's A Weight Room

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Ask The Fitness Jewell: How Can I Eat Healthy At A BBQ?

QSummer barbecue invites are tempting, but I’m afraid the foods will wreak havoc on my fitness goals. How do I hit up the grill but keep my options healthy?

Even though the summer days might be waning a bit faster than anyone would like, barbecue events continue on! For people who attend unprepared, the picnic tables can be glutted with nutritional landmines: succulent baby back ribs with too much barbecue sauce, greasy burgers, mystery-meat hot dogs, an uneven ratio of chips to salsa—never enough salsa—and copious amounts of booze.

What’s a person with fitness goals to do?

Fortunately, after reading this, you will be more than prepared to eat at any summer event without having to compromise your fitness objectives. The key is to plan ahead and bring something you know will be “safe” to eat so you can avoid some of the most common diet pitfalls.

From preparing your own healthy side dishes to saying no to the fruit cocktail, you can dance around these six pitfalls while still having fun and rockin’ your abs.

Pitfall 1

Solution

Chips have long been a barbecue staple, but like the Pringles commercial says, “Once you pop, the fun don’t stop.” Chips typically throw portion control out the window, especially as you hungrily wait for the main course.

This mindless consumption of fat and vegetable oils from the chips simply does not cooperate with anyone’s health and fitness goals.

I say skip the chips entirely. Sometimes this is easier said than done, but your fail-safe measure would be to bring your own big bowl of fruit salad or a fresh veggie platter to enjoy. Crunchy carrots and celery can provide a crispity-crunch similar to the chips—without wrecking your waistline. Don’t be afraid to go heavy on tomato salsa, as well.

If chips are absolutely something you want, there are now healthier baked and popped variants available in stores.

Pitfall 2

Solution

One dip, two dips, and three dips later—the calories and fat sure add up quickly, even with veggies! Store-bought dips are usually the worst offenders because of long ingredient lists and obscene amounts of fat.

Steer clear, and if you must indulge, stick to the tomato-based salsa or moderate servings of guacamole. If you’ve been put on dip duty, easily sneak in extra protein by whipping up a packet of powdered dressing with low-fat plain Greek yogurt.

And there you have it—delicious, healthy dip!

Pitfall 3

Solution

Beer, margaritas, and summery cocktails all have their place on barbecue menus and aren’t likely to disappear anytime soon. Watching your alcohol and calorie intake—while not being a complete buzzkill—is a delicate process. Thankfully, there are ways to enjoy your adult beverages and not drink a quarter of a day’s worth of calories in one glass.

First, cutting out mixers such as juice, sugary soda, or anything with “creme” in the name will drastically cut calories per drink. Instead of fruit juice or premade cocktail mixes, use club soda and squeeze in lemon or lime with your alcohol of choice.

If you love your brews, stick to light beers; the greater the alcohol content, the greater the number of calories. Love wine? Wine definitely has its healthy perks, but the quantity can add up quickly. Stick with red wine and try to avoid the sweeter varieties.

Remember to be mindful of how much you drink, and raise a glass to living the fit life!

Pitfall 4

Solution

Leave the greasy beef patties and overly salty hot dogs on the table; their protein-to-fat ratio is typically abysmal.

Instead, bring your own lean protein source like chicken, lean steak, or salmon, which all taste spectacular when grilled on the ‘cue.

If it’s a burger you’re after, then leaner ground beef, buffalo patties, or turkey patties will work.

If your only option is what the host has in hand, eat the patty without the bun, using lettuce and veggies to dress your burger.

Pitfall 5

Solution

The last backyard soiree I went to actually had more desserts than it did regular food: cookies, cupcakes, cakes, brownies, and pies—you name it! Had I known ahead of time that the dessert spread would rival Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, I would have been more prepared.

Choose a simple protein treat recipe that’s both delicious and satisfying for your sweet tooth, sans sugar crash and extra calories. Try whipping up a batch of protein brownies or maybe even this protein berry cheesecake. There are so many choices that the main problem now is deciding on one!

Of course, if you don’t have the time to prepare dessert ahead of time and you want to nibble on some sugary goodness, I recommend choosing one dessert and sticking to that one. You tend to run into trouble when you want to “sample” a little bit of everything.

Pitfall 6

Solution

Forgo the traditional macaroni salad, and opt for an actual salad—you know, one with real vegetables that aren’t drenched in fat. Your salad doesn’t have to look like rabbit food.

Stack your plate full of as many veggies you can get your hands on! The greater the variety of crunch, texture, and color to the salad, the better. Your salad will be more filling and satisfying than just, well, lettuce.

If you live for a side serving of potatoes, mash up some sweet potatoes and top them with cinnamon! Or even cut them length-wise and bake them to make some awesome baked sweet potato fries for folks to enjoy with their fare.

Balance, BBQ-Hopper

In the end, it’s all about balance. You don’t have to bring everything to a barbecue, but remember that you probably shouldn’t indulge in the chips, alcohol, dips, greasy protein, and decadent desserts all at once!

Play a little give or take and tell yourself that if you opt in for chips, you’ll have to cut down on alcohol. If you want dessert, skip the chips and alcohol. And so on.

With so many healthy alternatives to traditional barbecue foods out there, there’s no reason you should think twice about accepting an invite. Taking these simple steps and preparing ahead of time will make it far easier to stay on track with your fitness goals.


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Internationally published fitness model, fitness writer, and certified personal trainer Jen Jewell has maintained a passion for staying active…

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For Gino Spada, it’s one last hurrah.

The 54-year-old bodybuilder is heading to the Henderson Thorne provincial championships this weekend in Hamilton. This comes after he took first place in the grand masters 50+ category at the regional invitational in Ancaster on July 12.

If he wins, Spada will head to Winnipeg to compete in the nationals.

But that’s as far as he’d like to go.

As Danny Glover’s character in the Lethal Weapon movie series might say: he’s getting too old for this stuff.

“This is it,” he said. “This is my last hurrah. It’s getting difficult.”

It’s not that the training’s getting to him. Every day, he’s works out at G&M Fitness and Health Club in Port Colborne, which he founded in the ’90s and handed over to his son, Mark, eight years ago.

Spada said the hardest part about getting ready for competitions is the diet – the careful counting of calories to ensure he’s always working off more than he takes in on any given day.

Right now, he weighs about 174 pounds, which is great for showing off his muscles but is about 20 pounds less than what his ideal weight should be.

“Maintaining that weight is difficult,” he said. “You have to be hungry.”

Spada got into bodybuilding relatively late in life – age 38 – and only because he felt he needed to prove a point. Though he took courses and was certified with the American Council on Exercise, Spada said his clients at the gym wouldn’t take him seriously. He said the mentality at the time was that if he didn’t have muscles, then he didn’t know what he was talking about.

“That’s really what the perception was, unfortunately,” he said. “So that’s what I did.”

Over a period of four to five years, placed in the top three in all six competitions he took part in. He also wrote a book, The S.O.S. Book: Eat Smart, Eat Often, Eat Small.

He said during the off-season, he would work on building muscle mass, and would work up to a more reasonable weight. But three months before a competition, he’d be back to counting every single calorie.

“The objective is to show off your muscles, so the least amount of body fat, the better,” he said. “That’s very difficult to maintain.”

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AMP: Marc Megna's 8-Week Aesthetics Meets Performance Trainer Phase 1, Day 2

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Cardio output training consists of steady-state work done for an extended period of time. Today, you’ll choose your cardio weapon of choice—the treadmill, the stair climber, or the stationary bike—and work for 40 minutes. You’re not doing intervals or sprint work, so you’ll keep a consistent speed for the entire workout. This type of cardio will build your work capacity and cardiovascular function, which helps you perform better. Cardio workouts will also help you burn fat so you can uncover that excellent physique.

The goal of this workout is to keep your heart rate at 130-150 beats per minute (bpm), but measuring your heart rate can be difficult without a device. If you don’t have a heart rate monitor, go by feel. Your heart rate should be elevated, but you should not be so out of breath that you can’t hold a steady conversation.

Don’t forget that your nutrition habit for this phase is to eat every 2-4 hours. This is an essential part of the AMP trainer. If you’re not fueling your body often and with healthy, whole foods, you won’t see the results you’re after. This habit might be difficult for the first couple of weeks, but it will soon become second nature.

  • Jogging-Treadmill Jogging-Treadmill Cardio Of Choice
    40 minutes at 130-150 heart beats per minute


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AMP: Marc Megna's 8-Week Aesthetics Meets Performance Trainer Phase 1, Day 2

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