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Cutting Guide: How to Build Lean Hard Muscle

By August 30, 2016 September 10th, 2022 No Comments

Lean Hard Muscle and The Athletic Physique

Summer Shred is On!
Do you want to sport the lean hard muscle of an athlete? Maybe you’re in a workout rut and no matter how few carbs you eat or how many squats you do, you’re sick and tired of not seeing those abs the magazines promised you. Or maybe you’ve been bulking and are ready to get that hard athletic body you always wanted. Whatever your situation, if you’ve been focusing on putting on muscle for a while and are finally ready to show it off, you need a solid structured plan to get you there.

I’ll let you in on a little secret: to have a shredded physique you don’t have to give up your beloved carbs or spend hours sweating on the treadmill. What you will have to do is a little planning and a lot of hard work. No one said this was going to be all sunshine and rainbows.

Luckily for you, we’ve done the hard work. From diet and supplements to cardio and weights, we got you covered. All you have to do is plug in your stats, hit the gym, and take some killer sweaty selfies to showcase your rockin’ bod.

Part One: Diet

Although you will definitely need a strong training program to get your body shredded, your diet will be your greatest ally throughout this process. One of the most effective ways to get your body to drop fat without losing the muscle you have worked so hard to put on is carb cycling. The method of cycling we are going to cover in this plan is fairly straightforward – on heavy training days, you will follow a high carb plan, on other training days you will follow a medium carb plan, and on cardio only or rest days you will follow a low carb plan.

Carb cycling will allow you to burn fat by lowering your carbs on days when you are either having a medium lifting day or resting, while giving you more on days you are doing heavy weight training sessions. Basically, you are revving up your metabolism one day by fueling your body with carbs on high days, and on medium and low days your body’s insulin lowers so that you burn fat and preserve muscle mass. Your protein intake should remain constant throughout the week. On high carb days, you will lower your fat intake, and vice versa. You will also be timing your carbs, consuming the majority of them before and after the workout which is when you have the greatest anabolic window.

Throughout the week, your protein intake will equate to 1.2g per lb of body weight. Fats will be 20-35% of your diet, meaning about 0.3-0.4g per lb of body weight. Finally, carbs will be about 1-1.5g per lb of bodyweight .

For example, a 200lb man will have a daily macronutrient breakdown like this:
Protein: 200lbs x 1.2g = 240g
Fat: 200lbs x 0.4g = 80g
Carbs: 200lbs x 1.25g = 250g

This equates to 2,680 calories a day, and about 18,760 calories a week. Since we know you want to keep protein constant, that number will always fall to 240g a day. This will allow for steady fat loss when you add in your workouts but isn’t so drastic a cut that you will lose the muscle you have been building.

For carbs, you want 50% to fall on your two high carb days, and 35% divided between your three medium carb days, and the remaining 15% on your two low carb days. If you consume 1,750g of carbs weekly (250 x7), that means high carb days will each have 437.5g, medium days will have 204g, and low carb days will have 131g per day.
Fats will be divided up similarly: you will consume 15% of your weekly fat intake between your two high carb days, 35% between your three medium days, and 50% between your cardio and rest day. Using the example above, you would consume 560g of fat weekly. This breaks down to 42g on high carb days, 65g on medium days, and 140g on low carb days.

Here are examples of all three types of days for a 200lb man:

High Carb (242g protein, 431g carbs, 41g fat)
Meal One: 6 egg whites + 1 whole egg, 1 cup oats, 1 cup blueberries
Meal Two: 1 can tuna packed in water, 2 cups cooked brown rice, 2 cups broccoli
Meal Three: 5oz cooked chicken breast, 10 oz (raw) sweet potato, 2 cups green beans
Meal Four (post workout): 2 scoops protein, 1.5 scoops (75g carbs) quick-digesting carb,
Meal Five: 8oz cooked tilapia, 2 cups brown rice, 2 cups asparagus, ½ tbsp olive oil

Medium Carb (240g protein, 210g carbs, 62g fat)
Meal One: 6 egg whites + 2 whole eggs, 1 cup oats, ½ cup blueberries
Meal Two (post workout): 2 scoops protein powder, 2tbsp almond butter, 2 rice cakes
Meal Three: 6oz raw turkey breast tenderloin, 8oz raw sweet potato, 2 cups broccoli
Meal Four: 5oz cooked chicken breast, ½ cup cooked brown rice, 2 cups zucchini
Meal Five: 6oz raw NY steak, 2 cup asparagus

Low Carb (240g protein, 130g carbs, 142g fat)
Meal One: 6 egg whites + 3 whole eggs, ½ cup oats, ½ cup blueberries
Meal Two (post cardio): 4oz cooked chicken breast, 2tbsp almond butter, 2 rice cakes
Meal Three: 8oz salmon, 4oz raw sweet potato, 2 cups broccoli, 1tbsp olive oil
Meal Four: 2 scoops protein powder, 1 cup strawberries
Meal Five: 6oz cooked NY steak, 2 cups asparagus, ½ tbsp olive oil
Meal Six: 2 scoops Casein Protein

Part Two: Cardio and Abs

No one likes cardio, but to get where you want to be, you will have to do things you may not want to do. There are two different cardio components to this plan – fasted cardio and HIIT cardio. Fasted cardio will be performed twice a week upon waking, before leg day and back day. HIIT cardio is done twice a week.
Cardio and Abs

Fasted cardio burns more fat because you haven’t taken in any other nutrients yet for the day. This means your body focuses on tapping into stubborn fat stores rather than digesting food or shuttling those nutrients to your muscles. This should be done at a moderate intensity for 30 minute sessions on either a treadmill, elliptical, or step mill.

HIIT cardio is proven to burn more calories and fat, tapping into the afterburn effect by raising your metabolism for the rest of the day. We are incorporating both types in order to hit your body from different angles and it keep it guessing.

To perform a HIIT session (treadmill, elliptical, or step mill), we will be using the Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) scale of 1-10, with 1 being sitting on the coach and 10 being an all-out sprint like a bear is chasing you. You will start and end your session with a 5 minute warm up and cool down session at a 4 on the RPE scale.

Intervals will be performed as followed: 30 seconds at a 9-10 RPE with a one minute recovery period at a 6-7 RPE. Perform 10 intervals for a total of 15 minutes.

Abdominal training will consist of 100 stick turns for 3 sets, followed by a circuit of 4 exercises with little rest in between. You may pick from: leg raises, decline crunches, crossover crunches, reverse crunches, Russian twists, variations on planks, etc. Complete 15-20 reps per exercise.

Part Three: Weight Training

Weight Training
If you thought the cardio element stopped in the last section, you were sorely mistaken. Your weight training split is going to consist of short rest periods, super- and trisets, drop sets, and burnouts. You will be in the gym to do work – not to text your buddies about how much you just benched for three reps while you take a snack break.

You will be performing midrange repetitions – meaning 8-12 reps per exercise – in order to stay close to the hypertrophy training range which means lifting heavy, but also towards the endurance range to keep your heart rate up. Rest periods will be kept to no more than 60 seconds between sets; if the plan calls for a triset, you will complete all three exercises back to back before taking a rest. Make sure to pick a weight that allows you to complete all the reps but is still heavy enough to make you struggle on those last few reps of each set. You will be performing four sets for all exercises unless otherwise noted. Some routines include a burn out set, which means going until failure on the final set for a body part with medium weight

Your “heavy” training days are going to be legs and whichever day you are training your lagging body part. That is, the body part that you have the hardest time growing or keeping up with the rest of your physique.

Here is your split:
Monday: Cardio + Legs
Tuesday: Chest and Triceps
Wednesday: HIIT + Abs
Thursday: Back and Biceps + Cardio
Friday: Shoulders + Calves
Saturday: Arms + HIIT + Abs
Sunday: Rest
High Intensity Interval Trainning

The Plan:


Set 1:
Back Squats x 10
Step Ups x 8 per leg

Set 2:
Romanian Deadlifts x 10
Leg Press x 12

Set 3:
Walking Lunges x 12 per leg
Hamstring Curls x 10

Drop Set: Leg Extension – go as heavy as you can for 10 reps, then drop the weight by about 20% and go to failure, then drop the weight one more time by another 20% to failure. Repeat for 3 sets total.

Chest and Triceps

Set 1:
Bench Press x 8
Flat Bench Flyes x 12

Set 2:
Incline Dumbbell Press x 10
Incline Dumbell Pullovers x 8

Set 3:
Low Cable Crossover x 12
Decline Flyes x 10

Set 4:
Overhead Triceps Extensions x 10
Underhand Grip Cable Pushdowns x 8

Burn Out Set: Machine Chest Press

Back and Biceps

Set 1:
Pull-ups x 12
Bent-over Rear Delt Flyes x 10

Set 2:
Wide-Grip Lat Pulldowns x 10
One-Arm Rows x 8 per arm

Set 3:
Straight Arm Cable Pushdowns x 12
Seated Cable Row x 8

Set 4:
Alternating Dumbell Biceps Curls x 10
Preacher Curls x 8

Burn Out Set: T-bar Rows


Set 1:
Military Press x 10
Thumbs Up Lateral Raises x 12

Set 2:
Arnold Press x 8
Cable Rear Delt Flyes x 12

Set 3:
Alternating Dumbbell Front Raises x 10
Dumbbell Shrug x 8

Set 4:
Standing Calf Raises x 10
Seated Calf Raises x 12

Drop Set: Machine Lateral Raises – go as heavy as you can for 10 reps, then drop the weight by about 20% and go to failure, then drop the weight one more time by another 20% to failure. Repeat for 3 sets total.


Set 1:
Standing EZ Bar Curl x 12
Skullcrushers x 10

Set 2:
Alternating Hammer Curls x 10
Triceps Kickbacks x 12

Set 3:
Cable Rope Triceps Extensions x 12
Standing Cable Curls x 10

Set 4:
Barbell Spider Curls x 8
Triceps Dips x 12

Run the Rack: Starting with light weights (we’re talking 5-8lbs here), perform 8 biceps curls, then grab the next weight up and perform another 8, then the next weight up and perform 8 more, and so on until you cannot complete the full 8 reps. From there, reverse the process, dropping down each time for 8 reps until you get back to the light weight. Rest for 2 minutes, then complete one more time through.

Part Four: Supplements

When you are working for a chiseled body, diet and exercise alone isn’t always enough.  A prohormone like Androvar or Anabolic Trinity can not only accelerate your muscle development but also help you gain more muscle than you might otherwise be able to.  In addition, you will be putting wear and tear on your body and you need it to keep working like a well oiled machine. One of the pitfalls of carb cycling is every day will have a different range of nutrients which can lead to gaps. Supplementing your food intake with a multivitamin is a surefire way to keep your nutrient levels where they should be for optimal health.

Taking fish oil 2-3 times per day will help keep your skin healthy and provide important Omega-3s to support brain function which can decline as a result of consuming fewer calories than you are used to.

Using an intensity boosting preworkout, like Wild Thing or Mesomorph are also a great way to increase your energy levels when it comes time to train. We all have those days where we feel sluggish or didn’t get enough sleep, and carb cycling may make those days a little harder. Using a preworkout formula will give you that extra dose of motivation to not only hit the gym, but complete your workout with enthusiasm and energy you may not have known you even had.

During fasted cardio, you need to sip BCAAs in your water. One of the criticisms of fasted cardio is that it can burn through muscle instead of fat. Taking in a steady stream of amino acids during this exercise will help prevent such a tragedy.

A good, quality protein powder is important after a weight training session to help your muscles repair and recover faster. Stay away from protein “blends” – you want high quality whey or vegetable protein that will provide plenty of amino acids, the building blocks of muscle, straight to your body. It’s an easy way to get protein on the go as well, but don’t rely on protein shakes.

Along with your postworkout protein shake, on high carb days you will take a simple carbohydrate formula. On high carb, heavy training days, you will exhaust your muscles glycogen stores. The carbohydrates will go straight to replenishing your muscles at the optimum time for consumption.

A fat burner will not only help suppress your appetite, but will also boost your metabolism when simply dieting and exercising no longer seem to have an effect. Despite its name, a fat burner alone will not do the work for you – you still have to put in your hours at the gym and in the kitchen. The ingredients are designed to work with your body to enhance metabolism and fat loss while providing a steady stream of energy, and will also help you get to a lower body fat percentage when your body is desperately trying to stay where it is.

Finally, add in CLA with your three main meals. CLA, or conjugated linoleic acid, helps your body convert fat into fuel and boosts your metabolism.


A crucial step in monitoring the effects of this program lies in tracking your progress. Make sure you take before and after photos in natural light in boardshorts from a front, side, and back angle. Take measurements: chest, waist, hips, thighs, and arms. Get your body fat percentage taken (trainers at most gyms can do this for you). And even more importantly – retake your photos and measurements monthly to check your results. If your progress begins to slow down, reevaluate your diet. Always be looking to lift heavier weights when your workouts begin to seem easy.

Stay consistent and you will reap the benefits. Whether you are already close to seeing those abs or fresh off a bulking cycle, if you follow the plan you will see the difference. Are you ready to commit to getting in the best shape of your life? Comment below with I AM STRONG and share your before and after photos with us.


  • Simon says:

    Hi, good advice, do you have any information on how to get lean for people who suffer from Type 2 diabetes, thanks.

    • James Strong says:

      Hi Simon-

      Thank you for your comment and question. We’ve actually had people who had type 2 diabetes lose weight and have their blood sugar levels return to normal.

      I know its simplistic to say eat a proper and clean diet and exercise but everyone is different so its not appropriate for us to answer an individual’s question without knowing about your present condition, weight, age, etc. So let me leave you with this:

      1. Please contact our Pro Support Staff – There are many ways to reach them which are convenient and easy (the link will show you all the ways to reach them). Explain to them about YOUR personal situation and they can help to guide you.

      2. You can read this article to get an idea about what can be done – please know this is intended for healthy adults – Fat Loss Guide.

      Thank you again Simon and have a GREAT HOLIDAY & HAPPY NEW YEAR – now call Pro Support damn it!

  • Justin says:

    For carbs is it 2 high, 2 low, 3 medium? The way it is broken down appears 2, 2, and 4 medium. Is my math off?

    • James Strong says:

      Hi Justin-

      Good catch – you are right. There was a typo in the article, which has been corrected. Thank you for your comment…

  • Lubor says:


    Are the macros same for any weight? This calculation leads to the same number as are my maintain calories calculated using calorie calculators or measured by watch. Does it mean I do not need to be in deficit to lose fat? Always thought I need to be. Thank you.

    • James Strong says:

      Hi Lubor- Thank you for your question.

      Macros should be the same for all weight. If you are cutting and trying to lose fat but not muscle, you don’t necessarily need to be in a deficit. The deficit is only necessary to lose weight. If anything you could cut by 250-300 calories to expedite the process, but you don’t want to drop your calories too drastically or you risk losing the muscle you’ve worked so hard to build.

      Thank you again for your question…

  • Lubor says:

    One more sorry. I train Mo, We adn Fri heavy weights. Tu and Th cardio and weekend off. Does it correct to consider high carbs on Mo, We and Fri; medium on Tu and Th and low on weekends? Thx

    • James Strong says:

      Hi Lubor – Thank you once again for your question. Don’t worry about it – ask away!!!

      You want to do your high carb days on the days when you exert the most energy. If you feel you need to add a third high carb day, you can, but if you want optimal results you can pick your two hardest days – usually leg day and the day dedicated to whatever your lagging body part is – and make your other training day a medium carb day.

      Thank you again for your question…again lol…

  • Bryan says:

    Question on the weight exercises. It list 4 sets , do I do the lifts in each set only once? Looks like for set 1 it has back squats and step ups. So if I’m understanding this right I would do one set of 10 reps of back squats and 8 step ups per leg and then I am done with that lift, is that right?

    • James Strong says:

      Hi Bryan- Thank you for your question.

      For each set of exercises, you will perform 4 sets. So for the example you gave, you would do a superset of back squats and step ups, rest, then repeat three more times.

      Thank you again for your question…

  • Chris says:

    Hi there I train at 5:30 am and I have been told many different things to before going. Some trainers say eat an hour before and others say just have a shake. What do you recommend?

    • James Strong says:

      Hi Chris – Thank you for your question.

      The objective here is to make sure your body is fueled for your workout. That means different things to different people. A shake with the proper calories from carbs, protein and nutrients might be all you need. However, some people do better getting the fuel from a full meal.

      Why not try this – do the math. Try the shake method for the first week. Document and record your performance in the gym, for instance jot down after each exercise how you felt, how much you lifted (weight & reps) and how fast you performed the set, then do the same in the 2nd week. After that compare notes. If you see a significant change from one week to the other go with the one that worked best for you. If you didn’t notice any change in how you felt, how you performed, etc. Then do which ever you like.

      The bottom line is be sure to properly fuel you body before you workout.

      Thank you again for your question…

  • Hamil says:

    Hi, this is a great step by step training guide. Cant wait to get into the rhythm of things. Could this guide also good for an ectomorph? And with high metabolism? I have also have very active job (working in a swine barn) and works 11days straight. Any suggestion with supplementation,diet and training (since i only train at home: but have almost a complete sets of weight equipments. Is your begginer stacks supplement best way to go? Thanks

    • James Strong says:

      Hi Hamil- Thank you for your question.

      The write-up is a solid general guide to help all body types of healthy adults, that said, everyone is different and may benefit from adjustments based on their specific characteristics and needs. It is one reason we started Pro Support, which is our in-house team who is there to help you in such a case. Think of Pro Support as knowledgeable customer service. They are free and just one way we help customers to be successful with their use of our products – if you’re not successful we won’t be successful, right?

      Anyway, please contact them – you can call – chat on the site – email or text. Tell them your situation and your GOAL, they can give you some specific guidance about what to take, eat, etc so you reach it. The Beginner Stacks are a good place for many to start – but I don’t know for sure if you want to cut or bulk so I can’t even tell you which one – that is why you should call them – they will empower you with the knowledge you need.

      Here is the link to all Pro Support’s contact info.

      Thank you again for your question…

  • Chris says:

    Great article. I weigh around 175lb and looking to lean up and look solid. Any suggestions based on your article on a good breakdown of the protein, carbs and fats to optimize my results? Also to clarify, it’s 2 high carb days, 3 medium and 2 low? Thanks again

    • James Strong says:

      Hey Chris- Thank you for your comment and question. To help you out personally, please contact our Pro Support Team (click the link to get all the contact info). I would need to know more about you and your personal characteristics, and that is why we have Pro Support, they will be very helpful. They are laid back and knowledgeable. I suggest you get a hold of them.

      Thank you again…

      • Adolphus Oxford says:

        My name is Al I haven’t been to the gym since 9-9-2018 had a ruptured tricep I had surgery on 6-11-2019. Doctor said I be out the jym possible till 1-2-20 it’s playing a big part on me mentally

        • James Strong says:

          Hi Adolphus – Thank you for sharing your story. Many of us here have gone through injuries that have taken us out of the gym, it sucks. Being away from our passion and our gym friends is bad enough, but once you’re on a working routine its even tougher. Talk to your doctor and see if there are exercises you can do with your other muscles. If they clear you, you just might get some of your fitness life back.

          Get well soon…

  • Tom says:

    Hey Chris, been training for quite a while now. The rest of my body seems leaner but I have a have a stubborn belly fat. I’m on check with my diet (less carbs mostly) but it’s still a bit of a struggle. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!

    • James Strong says:

      Hey Tom-

      Thank you for your question. Stubborn belly fat can be the result of more than a few things. In any case here are some suggestions for where you might start, especially if your diet is in check.

      1. Some of our customers looking for finer muscle definition have reported good results by eating very lean meat such as fish and chicken breast fillets, no red meat.
      2. You may want to increase your workout emphasis on abs, both with weights and Isometrics. We have some customers doing ab work (working out in general as well) with gymnastics equipment like rings and parallel bars. The results are somewhat amazing from what I’ve seen.
      3. Increase your cardio – or if you are not doing so, consider starting a High Intensity Interval Training Program (HIIT). I can personally recommend this as its how I stay lean and get more done in less time!
      3. I don’t always suggest this but I will here because more than a few people reported that using Alpha Lean-7 helped them really lose fat – take a look at the product and checkout the reviews, Alpha Lean-7 maybe for you.
      4. Lastly, you may want to try an estrogen blocker like Estro-Strike. Sometimes, especially if you are on a cycle or taking a test booster, or sometimes guys get/have a larger amount of estrogen in their bodies. Customers report an estrogen blocker has helped them.

      I hope these are helpful Tom. Thank you again for your question…

      • tom says:

        Thank you very much Chris for your advice. They are truly relevant , straight forward, honest and no BS. Quite lucky to have bumped into your website thru social media and now I have a trustworthy reference with my fitness needs. Especially for supplements etc.

        Anyways, I’m doing HIITs ones a week. But one trainer told me that by doing HIITs I would loose all the muscles I worked hard for. I don’t want that to happen. Is that even true? I wanted to be lean but I also want to gain muscles and definition (specially with my belly)

        Thanks in advance.

        • tom says:

          Uh Oh! Big apologies JAMES. I’ve made a mistake of calling you Chris over and over. It was because of the last comment I saw which I thought came from another customer saying “Hey Chris”. Didn’t realise it was your reply to a customer named Chris. Apologies again JAMES STRONG.

        • James Strong says:

          Hi Tom-

          Thank you for your question. Your trainer speaks the truth you do need to balance your cardio with your other muscle gaining activities when sculpting your physique, its part of the reason I listed multiple options. Based on your first question I didn’t know your specific body goal. Its part of the reason we often recommend customers and readers contact our Pro Support, so we can get to know your particular characteristics and goals – then we can hone in on more personal options. Give them a try – those guys know their stuff.

          Thank you again for your question…

          • Jodi says:

            I work out around 40 minutes a day, not including my practices that are 3 hours long. I am looking to shred a little more fat off than i already have, then build some lean muscle. Any suggestions?

          • James Strong says:

            Hi Jodi-

            Thank you for your question. Many customers are reporting good fat loss and muscle gains from our new product, Muscle Sculptor. As a fat burner its very intense as its formulation is much like that of Alpha Lean-7, yet it also contains a full dose of a powerful natural muscle gainer, Laxogenin. There is no other product like it on the market and it can be used by both men and women. If you do go with Muscle Sculptor make sure you are getting enough protein as you will want to be sure the Laxogenin has what it needs to do its part. If you need help in determining your protein intake you are welcome to contact our Pro Support Team for assistance.

            Thank you again for your question

  • Lubor says:

    Hello, I have a question. Training at 5.00 am as hardly find time any other time in the day. I usually use pre-work out drink only. So, I think that is “fasted” training. Is that still ok for building the athlete body? 🙂 By that I mean more transforming my 97kg and ~ 18% body fat into >12% body fat. Or shall I try to eat something though I found it hard at this hour. Thank you.

    • James Strong says:

      Hi Lubor-

      Thank you for your question. In general it is a good idea to eat before working out. You need energy for working out and having the necessary carbohydrates at the ready is paramount to “killing it in the gym”. Obviously if you have more energy to workout you will be able to put in a far better effort, which can lead to more muscle gains.

      I would say it would be best to have eaten 30 minutes or so before going to the gym. That said, there are some pre/intra workout products that do supply carbs for the purpose of energizing your workouts and work quite well. I’ve used Intra-MD from Prime Nutrition and Formula 19 from Blackstone Labs. I use to like Intra-MD, although I was probably the only one as I believe our customers have voted it off the site. Formula 19 is probably a better choice for you since it gives 50g of carbs. I find Formula 19 keeps me going throughout my workouts and has the added benefit of virtually eliminating the following soreness, at least for me.

      Thank you for your question…

  • Steve says:

    Holy cow that’s a lot of food!! I’m not even sure how anyone can eat that much in one meal! I mean, just that breakfast alone is massive. And 2 cups of rice at every meal :S …Is that for real, or is this just “ideal” based on the numbers alone?

    • James Strong says:

      Hi Steve-

      Thank you for your question. First, the 2 cups is for cooked brown rice not raw, just in case that was causing any confusion. I know it seems like a lot but it is part of the high side of the carb cycle. You also need to make sure its brown rice.

      You will be working out at a good rate, which offers its own challenges. But, the diet is often the most difficult part of the process, eating more to gain muscle is often as difficult as eating less to lose weight. Also, please note this information is a general rule and is base on a program for a 200lb man. Feel free to call our Pro Support team to get individual suggestions base on your personal characteristics. I am sure they can help you dial things in.

      Thank you again for your question…

  • Joshua Groblebe says:

    Quick question: Due to schedule and life circumstances, I’ve been out of the gym for about 2 years. Prior to this I was very focused on the “athletic” build. What is a safe ramp-up to get back there? I know muscle has memory, but am I starting over? Also, previously I did my workout based on the ectomorph body approach (less cardio, high weight, small breaks between sets, 3 days/week). I have that body type still so it’s not hard to lose weight but harder to gain. I am 6’2″ and 195lbs…should I look at the general outline above or should I stick with ectomorph workouts? Thanks bud.

    • James Strong says:

      Hi Joshua – Thank you for your question. There is a ton of stuff I don’t know about you, like how old are you, what is/are your related goal(s), what is your diet like, etc. etc. Thus giving you a solid answer is difficult. So I’ll say this and then suggest you contact someone on our Pro Support Staff here to get a more detailed response.

      If you are young and in good physical health and condition then ramping up can be faster. Obviously if you are older then the ramp will most likely be slower, however, sometimes those who kept their health in check will do better and may enjoy a faster ramp (note: there are always exceptions so be careful). I think the general rule is don’t over do it and let your body be your guide. I would suggest before you start sit down and figure out exactly, in detail, what you’d like to achieve. Then assess your diet, what is your current calorie intake and what might you need to accomplish your goals. Once you understand where you are going and what level of additional fuel you’ll need you can then plan out a workout routine that ramps at a healthy rate and doesn’t cause you injury; you can best do this by working with a certified trainer. I would also highly recommend you visit the doctor for a physical first and discuss your objectives. A once over by s/he and a blood test can go a long way in helping you understand your current fitness level and doing what is necessary to balance your hormones and general health. 99% of the people who go through this process regularly end up feeling much better, have more energy and consequently get much better results from their workouts.

      Thank you very much for your question…


    Hi i weigh 130lbs and would like to gain lean muscle.. what are your suggestion for food intake and supplements…

    • James Strong says:

      Hi Hamilcarr – Thank you for your question. The article gives some solid guidance for general diet and exercise. You can use it as a guide or to get more specific help contact our team at Pro Support. Because I don’t know your specific characteristics I cannot begin to offer suggestions beyond what the article gives, however, Pro Support is here for that exact reason. My suggestion would be for you to contact them.

      Thank you again for your question

  • Rishabh says:

    Hello it says cardio and leg day so do i need to do cardio in morning and weight in night. What if i train only ons time. How would i go for please guide…


    • Alexandra Wright says:

      Hi Rishabh,

      On days when you have both, it would be ideal to do one cardio session in the morning and legs later in the day. That being said, if you are only able to hit the gym once, add the cardio in after your leg workout to maximize your weight training session because cardio is not the priority. In this scenario, you should definitely eat before you train.

  • Richard Fraijo says:

    Hello I’m 6′ and 230 lbs. and I work overnight and I go to the gym when I get off work sometimes and I just want to lose weight for the most part but I want to get my six pack back. I have a crazy week where I can just do cardio on Wednesday and alternating Fridays. I take the weekends off to let my body rest.

    • James Strong says:

      Hi Richard

      Thank you for your comment. It sounds like you are determined and disciplined, two of the most important elements in reaching any goal. Following this program can really help you get that “six pack” back. If you need any help feel free to contact our pro support team – they will be happy to guide you or answer any questions you may have.

      Thank you again for your comment…

  • Lubor Sedlacek says:

    Hello, I have a question regarding the macro/calories you calculate above. How does this go in line with one’s TDEE? Reason why I am asking is that according to TDEE I should eat 2748 cal a day to maintain. But with the calculation above I do not come to it. Well, not exactly. So do I need to change the fat 0.3-0.4 and carbs 1-1.5 until I reach my TDDE? Or how do I know if I should go with 0.4 and 1.25 as you did in your example or 0.3 and 1.5 for example? Hope not too stupid questions. 🙂 Thank you. Lubor

    • Alexandra Wright says:

      Hi Lubor,

      These are all great questions. This guide is only a guide, and not necessarily a “one size fits all” plan. If you are trying to cut, more than likely you will need to be at a slight caloric deficit to reduce body fat while maintaining your muscle. If your true TDEE is 2748 calories, then you will probably be aiming for closer to 2400-2500 for cutting to start. The ranges exist to make up for this discrepancy as some people will require a little more fuel and some a little less based on their current size and training intensity. The ranges are also there because most nutrition information is based on averages, so hitting your exact macro goals every day is just about impossible to gauge. The ranges allow a little leeway so if you end up within 10g or so of each macro, you will be okay.

      Thanks for your questions!

  • Lubor Sedlacek says:

    Hello, Any example of meal plans in case the training is early morning (1st thing)? 🙂 Thank you.

    • Alexandra Wright says:

      If you don’t have the ability to get your first meal in before training in the morning, make sure to grab something with carbs and protein in it to fuel your workout and keep your intensity high. This might mean a protein shake and carbohydrate complex upon waking, or if you plan ahead you can make some eggs and oatmeal to throw in the microwave before you leave.

      Thanks for the question!

  • Denver A Burns says:

    Though you give a really solid breakdown and walk through here, it should be mentioned the same excersises and training method will begin to stall overtime. As such the program you designated should be an example or a good start to a program right?

    Also do you get a little further in depth as to the carbs and fats that should be avoided and which are ok, in a nother article? I know that can get down in the weeds but can be important the further along you get.

    • James Strong says:

      Hi Denver-

      Thank you for your comment and insight. You are correct, the article provides guidelines for cutting and serves as a start point for most people. If you read our comments you’ll see we always suggest people contact our Pro Support Team to get individual guidance. Like you eluded to, people are at different stations of the journey and we feel they can benefit from some personal guidance, which is why we created Pro Support over 7 years ago. If you are looking for some guidance or just opinions feel free to contact our Pro Support Team, they are made up of people like you, passionate about fitness, bodybuilding and athletics. They take the products we sell and help literally thousands of people each year, why not take advantage.

      Thank you again for your comment…

      Thank you again for your comments…

  • Lando says:

    This is incredible advice

  • Zeli says:

    Than you for this awesome training program.

    For how many weeks should we train? And I don’t see a deload phase, why?

    • James Strong says:

      Hi Zeli-

      Thank you for your question.

      This is a starting point for people looking to begin a cutting phase. It should be followed for no more than 8-12 weeks at which point you can reevaluate your phyisque and complete a deload phase if desired. There’s no specific programming for a deload phase because this is just the active portion of the cut and, as such, there will be no deload phase during the 8-12 week period. Were this a progressive strength building program we would add something like that in for recovery and progress.

      Thank you again for your question…

  • rick says:

    Right now I am in my bulk phase of super mandro stack . Then of course I want to cut up

    The plan was on pct phase to start cutting up while keeping mass, but I read on one of the supplements that I should wait until my pct phase is over.

    I want results fast as possible, I close to 13% bf already, I want get down to 10 with as much as mass as possible.

    • James Strong says:

      Hi Rick- Thank you for your question. Its true, wait until your PCT is finished first, otherwise you will risk losing some of your hard earned gains. You should probably call our Pro Support Line as those guys can give you some great guidance in this area.

      Thank you again for your question…

  • Shaun says:

    Hi can u plz explain to me the difference with fat burning n getting shredding

    • James Strong says:

      Hi Shaun- Thank you for your question. In short, people who are fat burning are more concerned with reducing their body fat percentage or fat in a specific area. These people are generally less concerned if they lose muscle in the process, which tends to happen especially if they incorporate a lot of cardio and decrease caloric intake. Shredding is very similar in that Shredders want to decrease their body fat percentage to expose more muscle definition. However, shredders don’t want to lose muscle, in fact they want to put more muscle on in the process. Shredders will eat more lean proteins and do less cardio (most still do some cardio) and work their training around defining the areas of their physique they want to focus on. Shredders often supplement their programs with fat burners stacked with muscle gainers, something like The Muscle Sculptor or True Shred is perfect for this phase (please forgive the shameless plug). Those interested in only fat loss will tend to supplement their diets with just a fat burner, like Alpha Lean-7.

      Thank you again for your question…

  • Jeff Rowe says:

    not talked about much was the training routines. They sound good and very doable, but in my extremely busy gym these routines would be very hard to do, take the example of running from the low weights up the heavy weights in succession sounds good but in my gym they won’t just sit there waiting for you to get to them they would be gone and heaven help you if you gather them all up to use for you routine, some girl will go complain about the weight hog. she has no dumbbell to sit on to do her cable pull downs for her back. Any advice of how to do these routines in busy gyms?

    • James Strong says:

      Hi Jeff- Thank you for your comment and question.

      First, lets be fair, “some girl” can also mean “some guy”; both genders have their share of cry-babies as well as heroes.

      I don’t have an easy (or cheap answer) I’m afraid, just a reality.

      • You can think of it like traffic. If the gyms are crowded in the morning or evening try to work your schedule around those times, like late pm or early am.
      • You can purchase the equipment and create the ultimate personal workout set-up where you live.
      • With the changes taking place in many gyms, we get it, they’re more crowded. I’d suggest looking for a bodybuilding type gym. For every Gold’s gym that is selling out there is bound to be an entrepreneur bodybuilder out there starting a Muscle gym somewhere near by.
      • In some areas in the city or I’ve even heard its happening in Russia, bodybuilders are taking to doing their workouts on city built workout or gym equipment. Don’t laugh, some of these guys are buffer than buff (if that is a thing).
      • Find a new less crowded gym.

      Nothing is easy I know, but like anything else where there is a will there is a way; and if you are an avid bodybuilder I know you have the will.

      Thank you for your question…

  • Richard hauley says:

    What to take for cutting ! Loosing weight too !

    • James Strong says:

      Hi Richard – Thank you for your question. First, I would suggest you contact our Pro Support Team to get individual assistance. They can set you up right for exactly what goals you have.

      Generally speaking though, I would say you should try either The Muscle Sculptor or True Shred.

      The Muscle Sculptor is the contains Laxogenin, which is a highly active natural anabolic, in additioin it contains an intense fat loss complex too. The end game with The Muscle Sculptor is muscle gains even while you cut fat, loose weight and build definition.

      True Shred is more of a muscle gainer than fat loss, however, it contains an estrogen blocker that helps to keep fat down as well as help to give you dry gains. With True Shred customers report good muscle gains and cut definition.

      Thank you again for your question…

  • ivan says:

    You laid it out for us , I’ve been competing for years and do most of the things you talk about but you just cut to the bone. Thank you for helping me refocus again.

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