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Shredding Strategies

Are there really any secrets left in the world? With the advent of the Internet and the explosion of information across the globe, "secrets" are now few and far between. That's especially true when it comes to dieting tips. That's not to say all the tricks for getting lean are widely known. In a few cases, far from it - there are a handful of techniques bodybuilding pros regularly employ that don't get much play elsewhere. But they work, and here, I'm going to share six of them with you.

Five Perfect Post-Workout Snacks

To maintain peak energy levels throughout the day, you need to refuel with the right food immediately after you train. That means eating snacks containing carbohydrates to replenish lost glycogen stores and protein to aid in muscle repair and recovery. Shoot for around 200-300 calories for every hour of exercise, and a 2-to-1 ration of carbs to protein. Any snack should also be easily digestible since blood flow will still be focused around muscles, not digestion. Try these winners.

2014 Ultimate Athlete Games: The Training Program

The 2014 Ultimate Athlete Games are back, and even better than ever with an all new three-part course designed to test your speed, strength, and agility. And we might even be going on tour to a city near you! We can't share all the details and secrets yet, but to get you primed and ready for competition we've carefully crafted a balanced, well-rounded program by Michael Giovanni Rivera , the owner of GIO Training and contributor to HUMANFITPROJECT .

7 Healthy Food Swaps for the On-the-Go Guy

In an ideal world, we'd all be eating fresh vegetables and clean sources of protein at each meal. The problem is, most of us are constantly on the move and often resort to convenience when it comes to our out-of-the-house meals and snacks. Because, hey, grilled chicken and green beans don't exactly hold up well in the gym bag. But just because you've got to grab something fast doesn't mean it has to be filled with fat, sugar, and sodium. The next time you're forced to choose packaged over fresh, here are a few suggestions for healthier swaps.

Bench Press More Weight Fast

Rest at least two minutes between sets. Researchers found that men doing three-rep-max presses completed an average of two more reps after resting at least two minutes between sets, compared with one. Wear a stopwatch timer or carry a stopwatch to the gym to get maximum gains.

Bulk Up Without Getting a Belly

If you want to bulk up, don’t throw the egg yolks down the drain. Kleiner says the yolk is one of the few foods that contain an abundance of the B vitamin choline. Choline is half of the most abundant neurotransmitter in the body—acetylcholine—which works every time we think or move. By leaving the yolk in, you boost your choline by 50%, which will bring your nervous system and neuromuscular function to peak levels.  Protein Power: 8 Ways to Eat Eggs>>>

Big Ramy and Dennis James Train Chest

Come behind the scenes as Mamdouh "Big Ramy" Elssbiay and Dennis James train chest at a FLEX photoshoot in Columbus, Ohio on March 2, 2014. Stay tuned for the photos by Per Bernal in the July 2014 issue of FLEX Magazine.

March Smoothie Madness: Vote for Your Favorite Smoothie Ingredient

It’s March. You know what that means. It’s time for spring and basketball and smoothies. That’s right, we said smoothies! We’re pitting the best smoothie ingredients against each other in our first ever March Smoothie Madness bracket showdown in order to crown our readers’ favorite smoothie ingredient of all time. Do you have mandatory go-to smoothie mix-ins? Now’s your chance to profess your blender must-haves to the world.

8 Mass Ingredients

For most bodybuilders, pushing through punishing workouts day in and day out is actually the easier part of their regimen. Much harder is sticking with a diet that maintains an anabolic state — that is, building muscle — for the 22 or 23 hours a day when our bodies are desperately trying to recuperate between workouts. Luckily, nutrition need not be akin to rocket science. This simple checklist runs down eight top foods for mass building.

Ronnie Coleman: Walking Lunge

The lunge was mostly relegated to aerobics classes until the world’s No. 1 body-builder made it his signature lift. When it became known that Coleman did walking lunges along the gravel lane in front of Metroflex with as much as 365 pounds during triple-digit heat and even rainstorms, the previously soft-core lunge got a hardcore makeover. It’s now viewed as essential for building functional strength and muscle. Because many gyms lack adequate space for Ronnie’s weighted walk, the exercise has even adopted an alternative name: the parking-lot lunge.

The Men's Fitness Guide to Indoor Training

The Men's Fitness Guide to Indoor Training

HIIT Burns Maximum Calories

High-intensity interval training burns more calories than steady-state cardio, according to a new study.

Big Advice

Most people are hardgainers, who struggle to add every pound of muscle. Ronnie Coleman and Jay Cutler are from a lucky but tiny group of genetic superiors, but of course, both Coleman and Cutler did go from medium to large (although the transition occurred many moons ago). More important, they know how a hardgainer can grow. No, they don’t struggle like you, but the same rules apply, whether you weigh 130 or 310. Furthermore, the bigger a bodybuilder is, the more often he’s asked by someone like you, “How do I get bigger?” so we let five massive pros serve up their answers. Here are some of the largest of the supersized and their advice to you on how to get growing.

The Fit Five: Raw Strength

"Use a barbell, which will allow you to load the greatest amount of weight for the strongest muscle-building stimulus. Hold the bar at shoulder width with your palms down (or use an alternating grip if the weight is too heavy to hold on to; lifting straps are another option). Shrug your shoulders to your ears, pulling them back a bit as they come up. Since the bar will touch your thighs, it won't allow you to retract your shoulders very far, but doing so activates more of the traps."

The Best Dumbbell Only Shoulder Workout

The first exercise, a neutral-grip overhead press , is the safest way to do any pressing movement. If you’ve backed off of shoulder work in the past because it hurt to execute, relief can be as simple as turning your palms to face each other. In this position, your upper-arm bones can glide through the shoulder joints without risk of impingement.You’ll follow this up with a variety of shoulder raises, ending with a crucifix hold, in which you keep your arms raised for  time. This is an exercise popular among strongman competitors , whose shoulders are the size of pumpkins. Finally, the workout ends with seated dumbbell cleans. If you’ve ever done power cleans, you know what exploding a weight up from the floor to shoulder level can do for your shoulders, and this variation isolates them more. It’s as simple to do as it sounds: heave the weights up. Brute force builds big shoulders.

Get Crushed: Hell's Bells Kettlebell Circuit

Then there are some days you just walk into the gym feeling extra pumped and super focused. Sure you could bang out your regularly scheduled training program. Hell, the way you’re feeling you could probably hit a couple of PR’s. But, today, you’re same-old training program just won’t do. You want to tackle something tough. You want a challenge. You want to train so hard that you crawl out of the gym. You want to GET CRUSHED.

Q&A With R&B Star Tank

Celebrities and the fitness industry go hand in hand. Most celebs have made it a part of their careers to stay healthy and look good. One guy who's got it down—Tank. A mainstay in modern R&B, this singer, songwriter, and producer has already got four albums and eight Grammy nominations under his belt. Set to release his first album in three years with his Atlantic Records debut, Tank is putting out his best stuff yet. His latest single, "You're My Star," dropped this month and has been climbing to the top of the charts. With such an elaborate music career, how does this R&B star manage to stay so fit? We sat down with him to find out.

Weider Principle #30: High-Low

You’ve probably heard of high-intensity interval training (HIIT). This is a very effective style of cardio that alternates periods of higher intensity work (such as sprinting) with periods of lower intensity work (such as jogging). Essentially, the Weider High-Low Principle applies this strategy to weight-training, but in this case you’ll alternate lower reps (typically 4–8 per set) with higher reps (typically 12–20 per set). There are two ways to do this.

Two Truths and a Lie: Home Remedies

You know the game Two Truths and a Lie, right? It's where someone you've just met reveals three personal facts. Except there's a catch: One is completely bogus. We're taking the gist of this classic icebreaker and applying it to some commonly used home remedies. Check out each trio of "truths" and see if you can spot the lie.

8 Trends You Need to Be on Top of This Spring

8 Trends You Need to Be on Top of This Spring

Phil Heath Trains Chest

Phil Heath was limited on time during his second annual NPC show in Houston, TX, but that didn't stop him from getting a workout in! Phil takes you through a quick training chest workout between pre-judging and finals of the 2014 Phil Heath Classic.


We’re not talking about exercises that may not be appropriate for certain individuals based upon their conditioning level or training goals. For example, depth jumps may be a valuable plyometric exercise for an elite sprinter, but such exercises should be avoided by novice trainees, especially if their goal is to build muscle or improve body composition. Likewise, there are special exercises such as the Peterson Step-up that should not be used to develop massive quads, but rather to correct structural balances. That’s not what we’re talking about.

Torch Away Fat in 20 Minutes

Circuit training, which combines cardio and strength training maximizes fat burning and helps you tone muscle.  Circuit training burns approximately 10 calories per minute and 30% more calories than a standard weightlifting routine. Try and alternate between the 2 intense workouts below to ramp up your fat burning, and muscle sculpting results.

7 Powerlifting Strength Secrets

If you’re into pressing, pulling and otherwise dominating barbells and dumbbells on a daily basis, then you need to get serious about it. Far too often, you hit the gym and blast through your normal menu of sets and reps with little to no real thought given as to how or why you’re doing what you’re doing. Simply being purposeful is a positive first step in getting stronger faster. Beyond that, you have to become an active learner – getting your arms (and brain) around as much useful information from reliable sources as possible. And, in the strength game, reliability can be measured in pounds.

10 Ways To Burn Fat And Keep It Off For Good

10 Ways To Burn Fat And Keep It Off For Good

Mike O'Hearn

Mike O'Hearn

Flex Lewis 2 Weeks Before the 2014 Arnold

Flex Lewis 2 Weeks Before the 2014 Arnold

Easy Gains for the Hardgainer

But the task is far from easy. The hardgainer will typically have a poor appetite and be naturally “weaker” in regard to muscle strength. This means diligent, planned eating will take priority and daily appointments with heavy iron will need to be habitual. As the hardgainer slowly but surely gets meals down and masters the mechanics of old-school Olympic lifts, his/ her muscle mass and muscle strength will inevitably increase.

Hormonal Increases

Hormones such as human growth hormone (GH), testosterone, and IGF-1 have been shown to play a role in muscle hypertrophy and strength gains.  Many of the great bodybuilders in the early ’90s trained with short rest periods between sets, as earlier research found that short rest periods in conjunction with intense training led to significant increases in GH and testosterone. The anabolic effects of testosterone on muscle mass are dose and concentration dependent. The prevalent dogma for the past 50 years has been that testosterone increases muscle mass by stimulating fractional muscle protein synthesis. Testosterone administration also results in increases in GH secretion, androgen receptor number, satellite cell activity, and increased IGF-I expression in skeletal muscle. It’s also been demonstrated that the increase in muscle anabolism is associated with an increase in the expression of intramuscular mRNA IGF-I. GH is also highly recognized for its role in muscle growth. Resistance exercise stimulates the release of GH from the anterior pituitary gland, with released levels being very dependent on exercise intensity.

6 Salad Ingredients You Need to Scrap

It’s hard to mess up the easiest part of the salad—the greens. All greens offer some level of phytochemicals, fiber, and essential nutrients, but iceberg lettuce is the one exception. It’s not that it doesn’t offer any nutrients, but the amount is so much lower compared to all other types of lettuce. The healthiest greens you can get year-round: spinach, kale, and romaine. And keep in mind that to get the biggest range of nutrients, it's best to constantly rotate your greens.

Pump Up the Volume for Mass

The authors of the paper admit there is no research looking specifically at the contribution of the pump during exercise to muscle growth, so much of this is just reasonable conjecture. It is true that cell swelling can cause an increase in protein synthesis in most cell types. It is also true that this likely involves mTOR and other signaling pathways shared by other stimuli. However, the cell swelling that occurs after muscle contraction lasts only a few minutes. This is because under in-vivo conditions, the ability to maintain homeostasis of cell volume is critical to the cell’s viability. This is why these reactionary changes in cell volume are very short, lasting only minutes. I concede, that cell swelling produces an anabolic reaction in cell culture studies, but the jury is still out as to the significance of this effect during training and how much it might contribute to growth in the real world when other factors such as altered genetic expression, growth factors, and satellite cells are known to play such a significant role. Having said all this, you can bet that I will continue to try to get the best pump I can every time I train.

10 Form Mistakes You Need to Fix Now

Avoid these critical form mistakes to build more muscle and prevent injuries.

Retro Athlete: Charles Clairmonte

He stayed there for two more years. Although he never won another pro show, Clairmonte landed in the top three seven times in 1994 and 1995, including the 1995 Arnold Classic. His placings faded over the next two years as mass monsters dominated, and he competed for the final time in 1997 at age 34. Having quickly traveled full circle, his final hurrah was, appropriately, the English Grand Prix, where he was next to last, leaving observers to wonder if they had imagined how great he had been four years prior. But he was great.

elitefts™ Swiss Press Bar Cage Press with Fat Gripz™

About the Author Charlie Kimerline is an intern at™. He will soon complete his undergraduate degrees at Capital University. Kimerline started his lifting career at age 12 in order to improve on the gridiron, and after hanging up his helmet in 2010 has had a variety of diverse experiences in the weight room (some better than others). In the last year, a return to powerlifting with a set of great training partners has fueled a strong, new passion for the sport. He has a moderate addiction to carbohydrates, prefers ammonia-scented car air fresheners, and values sarcasm and satire. He plans to compete in his first meet in July 2014.

Walk This Way for A Total Body, Fat Burning Blast

Lucky for you, we’re here to help. Each week we’ll give you a tough, one-off workout that you can try when you are looking for the ultimate training challenge of just feel like you need a break from your regular routine. But be warned, this training program will leave you totally CRUSHED.

5 Sex Myths She Believes

We’ve all heard about oysters and dark chocolate supposedly boosting your sex drive, but is it all just hype? “There is a lot of research available that shows how certain foods can improve your sexual function,” Herbenick says, but there’s not hard evidence that proves the commonly cited aphrodisiacs —oysters, red wine, dark chocolate, avocado—are actually boosting your desire. That doesn't mean you should nix them from your pre-sex routine if you don't want to, though. “If something makes you feel sexy, go for it,” Herbenick says. “Just know that the food itself isn’t magical.”


Grab the ends of the rope with a pronated grip. Protract your shoulders and extend your forearms. Begin the movement by retracting your shoulder blades, and then immediately bend the elbows to continue the movement until the forearms make contact with the upper arms. Make certain to eliminate the lower back from assisting with the exercise by keeping it perpendicular to the floor at all times. If the development of your rhomboids is lacking, pause for a moment when the shoulder blades are retracted.