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Quick Start Guide:
Build Lean Muscle and Burn Fat!

I have developed and revised a lean muscle building
and fat loss plan over the past 18 months
and in this article I will reveal all of it!

Have you ever tried traditional “bulking” plans only to end up feeling like a fat slob (ok, a fat, strong slob)? This is usually followed by long periods of dieting and cardio.

I have leveraged the work of many bright people and applied the concepts to my lifestyle (stressful job, 3 young kids, constant craziness, etc).

What I am going to share with you is my “revised”
diet and example workout routine for
excellent lean muscle gains while losing fat.

This really is the best meal plan in my opinion and it has flexibility built in.


Fine! I’m not interested in what you have to say unless you have tried it for yourself <grin>.

This is the best diet I have found for balance in the extremes and it’s definitely not for everyone. You will see what I mean as you read on! You need to experience short periods of pain in order to reap the ultimate benefits of having your cake and literally eating it too!

Let’s get started, shall we?

Fasting Day

I start Monday off with a 24 hour fast. Periods of “under eating” or an intermittent fast in this case is a great way to hit the reset button after the Saturday “splurge” and Sunday “Relax” day (described at the end). This brief fast puts your body in maximum anabolic state while at the same time accelerating the use of fat stores as fuel.

While fasting, I consume essential amino acids every 3 hours or so. This is in the form of Beverly International Muscle Mass BCAA tablets or Prograde BCAA capsules and Beverly International Lean Out product or Prograde Metabolism. The Lean Out and Metabolism products are “icing on the cake”. Don’t take either of them if you can’t afford to. I have always taken them with great results so I don’t feel like trying without it although some day I might.

2013-02-04 13.25.03

Research indicates that the amino acids help prevent muscle breakdown during the fast while literally feeding the muscles. The body will also convert the essential aminos into glucose to maintain blood sugar levels using a process called gluconeogenesis (Am I a nerd? No! Muscle Geek? Yes!).

Monday Workout:

“Big” Push-Pull Strength Day
As an example, I have done the following in a fasted state:

A1) Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press
4-6 sets of 4-6 reps (or roughly 25 total reps)

A2) Weighted Chin-Ups
4-6 sets of 4-6 reps

B1) Seated cable row to neck
2 sets of 15 reps

B2) Optional Cable Pull Throughs
2 sets of 10-12 reps

High Protein, Low Fat, Low Carb

During the second day, I try to hit roughly BW X 10 for calories. I hesitate to provide this number as it’s not a good habit to start obsessing over calories. Depending on your body fat levels, this number may result in a very low calorie day.

An example day for me might look like this:

Meal 1:
Plain Greek Yougurt with a handful of fresh blueberries
1 whole egg (eggland’s best) + 4 egg whites
4 Beverly International Liver Tablets

Meal 2:
1 can of tuna with mustard and hot sauce
4 baby carrots

Meal 3:
Post Workout shake (2 scoops of blended protein)

Meal 4:
Grilled chicken salad with mixed greens and 1 Tbsp olive oil and vinegar

Meal 5:
6 ounces lean protein (fish, turkey or lean steak) as another salad.
Sometimes I’ll throw a handful of blackberries on top with yellow peppers and
balsamic vinagar. Try it!

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Tuesday Workout:

(Metabolic Circuit Day)
This is my version of a cardio day, except it’s more fun (Definition of fun: lying on the floor gasping for air).

I perform all 10 exercises in a row for 45 seconds each, followed by 15 seconds of rest before moving on to the next exercise.

  1. Goblet Squats
  2. Plank Dogs
  3. Dumbbell Push Presses
  4. Scissor Jumps
  5. “Renegade” Rows
  6. And so on…

Plank Dogs?! Yep!


If you are running short on time then my post: How to get a six pack in 3 minutes
will both destroy you and ignite the fat burning furnace… well, come to think of it, this little devil
of a workout might night save you time becuase you will be lying on the floor
for 10 minutes if you do it correctly!

High Protein, Low Fat, Low Carb + Evening Carb Up

From a nutrition point of view, this day will be a repeat of Day 2 with a glorious rainbow at the end of the day….. the carb up meal! I’m not talking Pizza and cake on this day though. The carb up meal will consist of clean complex carbohydrates. I borrowed this meal from nutrition plans used by Beverly International clients and personally used it while training for my bodybuilding contests “many” years ago…. Ok, more like 12 years ago. Damn!

Repeat Tuesday’s meal plan and eat the following as a sixth meal before bed:
1 1/2 cups oats (before cooking)
1 Tbsp Nut Butter (almond butter works best here)
1 mashed up banana

There is a method to my madness concerning the arrangement of meals thus far.

On Monday, a strength workout fits perfectly with a fast and will rev up your metabolism even more. Tuesday was the metabolic circuit cardio day on a low calorie low carb meal plan. Now that we are on Wednesday, it’s necessary to dig deep because this is a challenging workout. Leg and Horizontal Push (chest) day! This day destroys me since I’m carb depleted by this point

The evening carb up is the perfect fit to re-stoke the metabolism as well as provide a surge of calories and carbs at the tail end of a tough leg workout.

Wednesday Workout:

(Legs, Chest and Horizontal Back)

A1) Dumbbell Band Bench Presses
After warm-up sets: 4 sets of 12/8/6/6 reps

A2) Head Supported Dumbbell Rows
4 sets of 6-8 reps

B1) Dumbbell Front Squats
4 sets of 12/8/6/6 reps after a warm up set

B2) Incline Chest Flys (202 tempo)
3 sets of 12 reps

C1) Seated Leg Press Machine
4 sets of 15 reps (301 tempo)
60 seconds rest between sets

D1) Cry to the heavens for mercy
and sip a drink of powdered glutamine and BCAA’s

High Protein, Moderate Fat, Low Carb

This is a moderate calorie anabolic day. We will increase the healthy fats as well as saturated fats (also necessary!).

Today is an active rest day. Go for a walk, bike ride, etc. This is also a great day to stretch and foam roll your tight beat up areas. Ideally this is done every day even if minimally.

For meals, repeat Tuesday’s meal plan with more healthy fats.
1 extra whole egg with breakfast
1 tsp olive oil added to tuna fish
1/2 avacado in salad with diner or celery with natural peanut butter

2013-04-03 19.03.50

High Protein, Moderate Fat, Low Carb + Option

This day will be a repeat of Thursday. Depending on my current condition and progress, I have been known to have pizza and a beer for diner.

Repeat Thursday’s meal plan.

Now, since I actually have a life, I might find myself out with some friends or at a kid’s birthday party so I reserve the right to have a cheat meal if the situation presents itself.

If I decide to take this option, then I will most likely keep the carbs low on Saturday.


Friday Workout:
Shoulders and Arms Specialization

This day could vary considerably depending on goals and weak body parts.

My focus has been on increased shoulder and arm size:

Saturday (Home Stretch):
High Protein, Low Fat, Low Carb + Cheat Meals after 6:00PM

Ok, we are in the home stretch now! Have higher protein, low fat and low carb meals for breakfast, lunch and a snack or two. After 6:00PM, go ahead and eat whatever the hell you want! Craving an entire BBQ chicken pizza? Go for it! A pint of Ben and Jerry’s? You know it!

The key is to eat lots of carbs and calories! When you follow your version of this plan, you will get a feel for how far you can take it without impeding progress from week to week.

Option Saturday Workout:

This day consists of “functional training” such as farmer’s walks, sled drags, sand bag tosses, car pushing and whatever else you can come up with to make your neighbors wonder what planet you are from!

Sunday (Relax Day):
Moderate Carbs, Moderate Protein, Moderate Fat

This day can be thought of as a “Zone Diet” day. The Zone diet is a popular meal plan developed by Dr. Barry Sears and consists of roughly 40% Carbohydrates, 30% Protein and 30% fat. Seriously, don’t stress the percentages here… just follow the spirit of it. I make sure my calories are at or above maintenance on this day. I have comfort foods and continue to satisfy cravings in moderation. I try not to go ape shit on this day but I still relax and don’t stress out about what I am eating.

If done correctly, your body weight measured
multiple times on a weekly basis may look
something like this

And that’s it!

Feel free to ask questions because there are many different options.

The best thing to do is try it out for an honest month and track what you are eating as well as weight and waist measurements.

If you do this, I will be more than happy to evaluate your logs and provide feedback!



One square of 90% Cocoa bar with 2 teaspoons of natural
peanut butter is am awesome snack packed with nutrients!


This serving contains:
120 calories

11 grams of healthy fats
3 grams of protein
5 grams of carbs
2 grams of fiber

It’s also a rich source of anti-oxidants,
iron and B-vitamins


I always find it a bit comical listening to people at the gym dispensing advice as some sort of doctrine that is written in stone. Oh my, don’t even get me started. In particular, advice on bodybuilder type routines. Let’s face it, most people that are interested in bodybuilder routines aren’t actually bodybuilders, they just want to look good. Trust me; there is NOTHING wrong with that. I’m right there with you! For several years now, I have focused on full body workout routines but every year, I find emptiness in my heart that can only be filled by the great pump.

In fact, Arnold himself said it best in his movie Pumping Iron “Let’s say you train your biceps, blood is rushing in to your muscles and that’s what we call the pump…..It’s as satisfying to me as cumming is, you know, as in having sex with a woman and cumming. So can you believe how much I am in heaven? I am like getting the feeling of cumming in the gym”. Ok, maybe I wouldn’t take it that far but, unlike the alternative, I can go to the gym whenever I want!

Ok, so back to my opening statement. I will hear people say things such as “you’re supposed to train back with you biceps because you use them together”, or “you have to train chest shoulders and tri’s together since they are all used together”.

Here’s what I say:
Throw shit on the wall and see what sticks!

Before I show you some example bodybuilder routines, let’s chat for a moment about what these typical routines involve and what they SHOULD involve.
There are several ways to make a muscle bigger (I have combined moderate and high for simplicity…):

  • Higher repetitions with minimum rest periods (10-15 reps, 30-60 seconds rest)
  • Higher repetitions with longer rest periods (10-15 reps, 120-180 seconds rest)
  • Lower repetitions with longer rest periods (4-8 reps, 120-180 seconds rest)
  • Lower repetitions with shorter rest periods (4-8 reps, 60-90 seconds rest)

Sadly, most routines focus on the first item…. maybe on the second usually not. The first method will make your muscle big and soft because you force it to store more energy locally. The technical term is sacroplasmic hypertrophy.

If you focus exclusively on this type of training, you will become “big”, soft and weak!

No thanks!! Like everything in life, this type of training has its place and I will use in for 1-2 months out of a training year. The second type of higher repetition training will increase the size of your muscles by growing your slow twitch and type IIA fast twitch muscle fibers. Again, there is value here if your goal is to look big, but you won’t have the lean “carved” look that turns heads.

The lower repetitions are the often neglected and most misunderstood goldmine for true muscle growth. Ironically, ladies need to spend more time in the lower rep range to get that “toned” look they so desire. Confused yet? Don’t worry, in Part II of this article, I will go more in depth on how to utilize both rep ranges and rest periods for maximum muscle growth and I promise to outline some killer bodybuilder routines!

 Example 4-day Training “splits”

Option 1:
Recommended by Clay Hyght, DC, CSCS,
competitive bodybuilder of 17 years and NPC judge:

Day 1 (  Monday) – Chest & Biceps
Day 2 ( Tuesday) – Back & Abs
Day 4 (Thursday) – Shoulders, Triceps, & Abs
Day 5 (     Friday) – Legs

Option 2:

I recommend you modify the order and which day starts after a 2 day rest based on your weakest point.For example, if Legs are your weak point ($10 says they are!), you may want to try:

Day 1 (   Monday) – Legs
Day 2 (  Tuesday) – Shoulders, Triceps, & Abs
Day 4 ( Thursday) – Back & Abs
Day 5 (      Friday) – Chest & Biceps

 Option 3:

Other varieties that I often use inculde splitting legs into quad based or hip based (hamstrings and glutes) and performing pairing one with an upper body muscle group.

Day 1: Chest and Quads
Day 2: Back and Shoulders
Day 4: Hamstrings, Calves and Core
Day 5: Arms and repeat weak bodypart

There is NO right answer! I have made progress on every one of these
as well as twice per week (not day) training!

At the moment, I am enjoying fantastic results on a 3-day routine with a 4th day that utilizes metabolic circuits as part of a fat loss phase…. but I’ll save that for another article.







Check Out This Short Video Where I
Show You A VERY Simple Fat Loss Snack!

Sometimes You Just Have To Suck It Up:
Eat Real Food and Work Your Ass Off…

Don’t get me wrong, I’m just as guilty as you. I want instant muscle gains and fat loss. Heck, I’ve even reviewed extreme fat loss programs and created several of my own. They do work if you are committed and have a high pain threshold.

At the end of the day, it’s what you do over the course of months and years that ultimately makes a difference.

About 2 years ago, I weighed about 175 pounds. I wanted to see how strong and heavy I could get so I started eating A LOT. I did get stronger…. but boy did I pile on the flab!

I finished my “bulking” plan around the end of January. Why end January 1st? I was having too much fun eating!

The most significant transformation has occurred for me the past 6 months. I have been focusing on 3 or 4 full body workouts per week that incorporate heavy strength and metabolic circuits.

I call this hybrid training system:
The Thor Workout

Look Mom, No Cardio!!

You can get my templates for free (no strings or sales pitch bull shit).

Get instant access by signing up in the right hand column of my site (at the top of the page).



The Single Leg Romanian Deadlift (RDL),
A Great Deadlift Alternative!

The 1 leg dumbbell “RDL” is an excellent posterior chain exercise (hamstrings, glutes and lower back). As an added benefit, you learn how to balance on one foot!

Here’s how you do it. Make sure to watch the video!

  1. Stand holding dumbbells in front of your thighs with a pronated grip (palms facing your body)
  2. Curl 1 leg up slightly so you are balancing on 1 leg
  3. Take a deep breath and hold it while you start the movement by pushing your hips back
  4. Let your knees bend slightly
  5. Lower the weights past your knees as far as you can while maintaining a flat back (natural arch)
  6. To complete the movement, focus on squeezing your glutes (ass muscles) while you drive your hips forward
  7. Keep your core tight throughout the movement

Anytime you see the word “Romanian”
in a deadlift variation, start the movement
with your hips moving back.


 Keep your shoulder blades “tucked in your back pocket” and make sure NOT to round your lower back!


…And For The Love Of God, Don’t Be This Guy!!


Deadlift Benefits:
The Hack Deadlift

I’m guessing you never heard of a hack deadlift… I thought I made it up then did a search and found it by this and other names! Some call this a hack squat but since the weight is being pulled from the floor, it’s a deadlift.

This Deadlift variation involves pulling the bar
from BEHIND you!

Since I have a weak lower back, I love this deadlift variation as it puts your upper body (and hence spine) in a more vertical position.

As a consequence, this will shift the loading from your glutes and hamstrings to more of a quad dominant exercise. None the less, you’ll still get a great full body workout with this one!

Hack Deadlift Exercise Tips:

  • Keep a natural arch in your lower back (no rounding!)
  • Keep the chest high
  • Keep your shoulder blades “tucked in your back pocket”
  • Look straight ahead
  • Drive your hips forward and squeeze your ass to complete the movement


For more discussion of general deadlift benefits, read this post. Women (and men!) can also refer to this post.




What I Ate Today:
Jamie’s Muscle Building Diet

Ok, so this is my first post of a series that I have planned on what I eat over the course of a day. I get a lot of questions and it changes regularly so writing about it is long overdue! Using some serious creativity, I decided to call this series “What I Ate On My Muscle Building Diet”. Worthy of a Pulitzer prize, wouldn’t you agree?!

Alright, getting my serious back on, it’s almost summer…. and that means my goal is maintaining and improving the lean muscular look. Big Surprise! Don’t know to many people that are trying to gain weight just before the beach weather!

I’ve been having a lot of “fun” following a
Macro-Nutrient Rotation Diet

I absolutely can’t stand nutrition plans that require you to be strict for weeks at a time. Unless you are single and have complete commitment, it’s doomed for failure. On top of that, I strongly believe you can get BETTER results by cheating!

On any given week, I rotate my days with any of the following combinations:

  • High Protein, Low Carb, Low Fat
  • High Protein, Moderate Carb, Moderate Fat
  • High Fat, Moderate Protein, Low Carb
  • Fasting ( done intermittently for no more than 1 day at a time)
  • Protein + Fruit until late afternoon and then a cheat blitz until around midnight (pizza, beer and ice cream!)


This type of plan is sometime referred to as carb cycling as well.

Food is a drug and these days are used to modulate hormonal responses!

Ok, so what did I eat today for my
Lean Muscle Building Diet?

Upon Rising:
6 BCAA Tablets
Rev Coffee

Meal #1
2 Eggland’s best whole eggs
3 egg whites
4 Liver Tablets

Meal #2
Protein Shake (Beverly International Casein, Whey and Egg blend)

Meal #3
1 can albacore tuna with organic mixed greens and baby carrots
Paul Newman’s Oil and Vinegar dressing
4 Liver Tablets (awesome supplement)

Meal #4
Protein Shake (Bev. International Ultimate Muscle Protein)

Meal #5
2 bowls grass fed beef chili topped with greek yogurt and tabasco sauce
1 Tbsp natural peanut butter
1/4 cup fresh blueberries


Today was a rest day (meaning no strength training or metabolic training). As you can see, carbs were kept quite low.

Contrast this with yesterday which involved 25-30 “heavy” reps of weighted chin ups and incline dumbbell presses followed by a slow tempo triple circuit of calf raises, hammer curls and shoulder presses.

Since my goal is moderate lean mass gains, I eat more carbs on my training days. Therefore, yesterday I consumed Ezekiel bread with natural peanut butter and greek yogurt with fresh berries for breakfast.

After my noon time workout I had a banana, protein shake and more Ezekiel bread. Before bed I had oatmeal as well. This is all in addition to lean meats, eggs and protein shakes throughout the day.

So there you have it! A sampling of one day of my macro nutrient rotation muscle building diet!



Nearing the End of Joel Marion’s 5 day Cycle
With His Xtreme Fat Loss Diet

Today was the “protein depletion” day. That means very low carbs, very low fat and very low calorie. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?!

On this day some of my meals consisted of cans of tuna, mixed greens and a small amount of balsamic vinegar dressing.

 Day 4 video review

My apologies for the “laggy” video! My laptop is not acting very well at the moment!

Day 3

Day 2

Day 1

Start the Xtreme Fat Loss Diet now

Xtreme Fat Loss Diet Review
Day 3!

The third day of the 5 day cycle is defined as the “moderate carb” day. This is defined as 40% carbs, 30% protein and 30% fat. If this looks familiar, that’s becuase it’s basically the Zone diet.

A key difference is that the zone diet has a “40/30/30″ balance for each meal. Joel makes a few key modifications as to when you eat the most carbs during the day (protein + carb meals) and when you should eat the fat ( protein + fat meals). This nutrient timing maximizes fat loss.

My “pretend this is audio only!” day 3 video:

Starting kicking your own ass today!

Just in case you missed the first or second day:
Link to Day 2 Review
Link to Day 1 Review


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