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Quick Start Guide:
Build Lean Muscle and Burn Fat!

Xtreme Fat Loss Diet Review
Day 2!

The second day of the 5 day cycle is defined as the “shake” day. As a father of 3 with a heavy work load, I love days like these! Food preparation takes a bit of time but not when it’s delicious protein smoothies! This day is coupled with a full body strength training routine that has some “fun” new exercises I have never tried before…. like dumbbell fly aways!

Learn more about Joel’s program here


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


Xtreme Fat Loss Diet Review

This is the first post of a series where I review Joel Marion’s Xtreme Fat Loss diet and give my personal experience. The program’s punch line is “Lose 25 pounds in 25 days”.

Even though  I’m quite lean right now, I’m going to give this program a shot and see what happens while still pigging out on pizza every 5th day! I honestly think this will be a great test since the leaner you are, the harder it is to keep that hard earned muscle and burn only fat.

Do you want to lose weight quickly and transform your body?

Well, I have 100% confidence that this program is the best out there to rapidly lose fat!

My First Day Experience:

Click the video below to hear about how my first day went!

 Start loosing fat now! <— Click here

My next post will highlight day 2 of the Xtreme Fat Loss diet.




“There are two kinds of people in the world: the ones that protest and complain and want fairness despite never having earned it, and the ones that fight their asses off to be important and make a contribution. You have to earn the right to be treated fair. The people that have a problem with that are the scrubs.”

Jim Wendler
Author of 5-3-1 Training Program and one kick ass  of an inspiration!



How To Bulk Up Fast

How To Bulk Up Fast:
What is the Most Effective Way?

Bulking up is a term used to describe the process of eating an excess of calories while weight lifting in an attempt to build as much muscle as possible. So what is the best way to bulk up fast?

Well… if you’re one of my loyal regular readers then you know by now that I don’t answer the questions I pose right away!

It depends on your body type!

Ok, I’m going to suggest a brutally honest “exercise” for you to do right now (that is if you’re home!). Go stand in front of your bathroom mirror. Don’t worry, this isn’t some sort of sick perverted exercise.

Now what do you see?

 People are generally categorized into one of 3 body types:

  1. Endomorph  (very skinny “hard gainer”)
  2. Mesomorph (broad shoulders; able to gain muscle and lose weight)
  3. Endomorph (Pear shape; thick around the waist and difficulty losing fat)

Pick a number!

…but not only your body type!
What is your current condition?

Assuming we are being honest with each other you will fall into one of the 5 categories below:

  1. Bean Pole
  2. Lean Muscular Dude
  3. Average Joe
  4. Crappy Diet Football Guy
  5. Fat Boy

Let me explain my “patented” classification system
to determine your “bulk up fast” strategy

By no means are these meant as insults! What’s the point if we can’t have a little fun here!

Bean Pole:
You are a human pencil and gym rats often confuse you for a barbell! You are a classic endomorph and you will benefit from the “fast bulk up” plan.

There is also the possibility that you are a bean pole with a pot belly. No Bulk Up for you!

Honestly, I have never heard of a pot bellied ectomorph that wanted to bulk up but crazier things have happened. Email me ( ) and we’ll figure something out.

Lean Muscular Dude:
Your body fat is less than 10% and you can see at least your upper 4 abs. You have broad shoulders and that “athletic” look. You need to be careful with the “fast bulk up” plan as you will bulk up your muscle AND fat cells. Bulking up to gain muscle will work for you but I believe there are better ways like a modest “zig zag” approach or more advanced approaches like macro nutrient rotation. Don’t allow yourself to get too fat!

Average Joe:
You’re not too fat but you’re also not very muscular. Maybe you’re good looking or funny? No? Ok, let’s focus on building some muscle and getting lean!

I’m willing to bet you are a mesomorph in which case, a “clean and modest” bulk up plan can be somewhat effective if your goal is simply to get stronger. If you also want to look awesome as well, a body re-composition meal plan will be more effective than simply trying to eat a ton of food while throwing around the iron in an attempt to slap on slabs of muscle. Since you probably can’t see your abs, you run the risk of adding just as much fat as muscle.

Crappy Diet Football Guy:
You played football in high school and developed a very good muscular foundation. You also ate like crap… then you went to college and drank beer and ate more crap. Hopefully you hit the gym now and then but you simply don’t burn the calories you used to so your a strong fat guy!

No bulk up for you! Don’t even think about trying to gain muscle if your goal is to look awesome. You are most likely a mesomorph. Get yourself on a solid nutrition plan that allows you to lose fat slowly while focusing on getting your strength levels back.

Fat Boy:
Again, I’m not trying to be degrading or mean here! If your body fat is over 20% then you are fat. Accept it so we can move on and focus on reducing it. You might already have some great muscle hiding under there. Get started on an extreme fat loss plan to get your body fat cut in half.

This One’s For You, Bean Pole:
The simplest way to bulk up fast

I am making a big assumption that you are following a solid workout plan (heavy compound movements and no triceps kickbacks).

Your answer is the G.O.M.A.D. diet

Say what?? It’s an acronym that stands for:

“Gallon Of Milk A Day”

This is probably the most ridiculous thing you have ever heard. Drink 1 gallon of whole milk per day. Tell me you can’t gain weight with that!

Milk is a very inexpensive and AWESOME source of protein and healthy fats. I would stick with organic milk purchased from local farmers. I know you want to bulk up fast but try not to gain more than 1-2 pounds per week. The faster you gain weight, the more it will be fat weight and not muscular weight.

Eric Cressey Gives Some Great Tips On
Training Around Lower Back Pain:
(Disc Herniation and Bulges)

My experience at Cressey Performance was world class. Eric quickly determined that I had very tight hips that amplified my lower lumbar disc issues. Following his programs and advice I am back to doing Front Squats, DB power cleans and trap bar deadlifts!


Carb Cycling For Women

Carb Cycling For Women

      Carb cycling is a very effective nutrition strategy for women to burn fat and build lean muscle. Please don’t be turned off when I say “build lean muscle”. For most women, it simply is not possible to gain significant muscle mass due to lower testosterone levels than men. You can find one of my more recent posts that outlines a complete plan here.

Is a Low Carb Diet Best to Burn Fat?

     Ok, I’m going to try and keep this discussion simple, so here’s the deal. Carbs are NOT evil but most people consume the wrong kinds and far too many (sugars, breads, pastas, cereals and such). Trust me, your body knows the difference between a sweet potato and a bowl of “low fat” cheerios with processed “low fat” milk!

     If most of your dietary intake is from processed foods and “junk” carbs then your insulin levels are chronically elevated. Elevated insulin levels make it nearly impossible for your body to burn fat for fuel! This is why low carb diets seem to work so well….. until they stop working!

      A low carb diet to burn fat works very well for the majority of people because it allows your body to basically reset itself from chronic consumption of processed carbohydrates.

Pure Low Carb Diets are flawed
if you Lift Weights…..

     When you consume carbohydrates they are first converted into blood glucose (aka blood sugar). Your insulin levels raise since insulin is a storage hormone. Your body will store this glucose in your liver first as something called glycogen. If your liver glycogen is full, next on the list is muscle glycogen. Think of muscle glycogen as fuel tanks full of carbohydrates in your muscles. When you lift weights, these glycogen tanks are depleted.

     If your body is good at burning fat for fuel (more on how to do this later) then it will take longer to deplete your muscle glycogen stores but it your train hard, it WILL happen.

…and you need to lift weights to achieve
great muscle tone and a sexy slender body!

This article is not about how to train to burn fat, but I will be clear that if you aren’t performing challenging strenuous activity (either body weight exercises or weight lifting) you may lose weight but you won’t look the way you want to!

Enter: Carb Cycling

     Carb cycling is no secret among bodybuilders and fitness competitors but those of us that have full lives, jobs and families want to look great too! Until recently, there has been very little knowledge about carb cycling outside of those elite previously mentioned circles.

     In a nutshell, carb cycling allows you to remain is an optimal fat burning state most of the week. Periods of increased carbohydrate intake are planned 1 or 2 times per week to replenish glycogen stores, satisfly cravings and rev your metabolism if your calories where low.

     The timing of your carbohydrate intake is very important! Increased levels of carbohydrates in your diet, when timed correctly, have the following benefits:

  • Replenish Muscle and Liver glycogen (stored carbohydrate energy)
  • Increase Leptin levels (chronic low calorie diets cause leptin levels to fall and your metabolism slows down!)
  • Increase Thyroid hormone levels (chronic low carb diets caused these levels to drop)
  • Increased Insulin levels after strength workouts to drive nutrients to your muscles for recovery

Teaching Your Body How To
Use Fat For Fuel

     If you have never followed a low carb plan before, you need to understand some important concepts. For a low carb plan to be effective, your body needs to perform some metabolic “re-wiring” to turn on the fat burning enzymes that have been suppressed  by insulin.

     To do this, you need to it may be beneficial to switch to a High Fat, Moderate Protein, Low Carb meal plan for about 2 weeks straight. I need to stress that your normal low carb days will not be high fat, but rather moderate fat. This is going to sound a bit strange but you need to eat larger amounts of fat for a short period of time to teach your body how to burn fat! After 2 weeks, have a 12 – 24 hour “Carb up”. Go ahead and eat chocolate cake, pizza and ice cream…. and try not to feel guilty doing it!

If your current “diet” consists of large amount of low fat carbohydrates such as fruit juice and toast for breakfast, etc, then your insulin levels may be quite high.Insulin is a storage hormone and it is nearly impossible for your body to utilize fat for fuel in this state.

Switching to a high fat, moderate protein diet for
12 days is a great way to hit the reset button.

As I said above, this phase is NOT mandatory, but could be beneficial if you have been on chronic high carbs OR chronic low calorie. The goal of this phase is to fix your metabolism. You should only lose some water weight!

Low Carb and Carb Cycling in Action

     Once this adaptation has occurred, you will switch to High Protein, Moderate Fat, Low Carb.

So after the above mentioned carb up, you will follow a high protein, moderate fat, low carb plan for a specific number of days, followed by one or two days of increased carbohydrates, then repeat the cycle.

There are 2 primary carb cycling options:

Option 1:

If rapid fat loss is your goal, keep your calorie intake low during the week and follow a high protein, moderate fat, low carb meal plan. If you are above 25-30% body fat, this may be a good option for you. Each weekend you will introduce carbs into each of your meals for a 24 hour period as well as one or two cheat meals depending on your progress.

This short period of time will not be long enough to cause body fat to increase (unless you really go crazy!). Your body will also quickly shift back to a fat burning state after this carb up period.

This carb cycling plan works very well for women and is based on Dr. Mauro Di Pasquale’s Metabolic Diet. There are many many variations, tweaks and modifications that can be made based on body type, training volume, lifestyle, etc.

Option 2 (my preferred choice):

A stricter meal plan that incorporates 3 or 4 days of High protein, moderate fat, low carb, followed by 1 day that is high carb, then repeat the cycle.

Rachel Cosgrove has an excellent plan outlined in her book “The Female Body Breakthrough” that follows this approach in the later stages of the program.

Example Low-Carb Day:
(order of the meals is not critical)

Meal 1:
4 oz ground turkey, 1 whole egg, 2 egg whites, spinach, 1/2 grapefruit (or handful of berries)

Meal 2:
Meal replacement shake or post workout shake:
1-2 scoops whey protein
handful of mixed berries (post workout)
2 tsp flax seed oil (meal replacement)

Meal 3:
Grilled chicken breast salad with lettuce, peppers, cucumber
2 Tbsp Paul Newman’s olive oil and vinegar dressing

Meal 4:
6 ounces of lean chicken, beef or fish
2 cups of mixed vegetables (no starches such as corn, peas or potatoes)
2 tsp almond butter on celery

Meal 5:
1 can of tuna in water
(mix with mustard and 1 tsp flax oil
2 tsp olive oil based mayo)

Example High-Carb Day:
(order of the meals is not critical)

Meal 1:
1 whole egg, 3-4 egg whites, spinach, 1/2 grapefruit (or handful of berries)
2 slices of Ezekiel toast (sprouted grain bread)

Meal 2:
Meal replacement shake or post workout shake
1-2 scoops whey protein with peach and banana
1 tsp flax seed or Udo’s choice oil

Meal 3:
Grilled chicken breast or turkey breast
on a spelt tortilla (or 1/2 cup brown rice)

Meal 4:
6 ounces of lean chicken, beef or fish
2 cups of mixed vegetables
1 medium sweet potato or 1/2 cup corn

Meal 5:
1/2 cup cottage cheese with pineapple (no sugar added!)
greek yogurt with 1/4 cup raspberries

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Hidden carbs can completely derail your progress as you attempt to shift your body into fat burning mode both in the initial phase and the low carb days that follow. Here is a quote from the book “The Anabolic Solution”:

“Watch For Hidden Carbs The start up phase will run smoother and get you in gear quicker if you remember that refined carbs are hidden in almost everything you will find on those supermarket shelves. Seasoning, ketchup, mustard, salad dressings, nuts, BBQ sauce, breaded or processed meats, gourmet coffee and sausages can all present a problem. These foods are renowned for hidden carbs and you have got to check the label to make sure what you are getting on this diet”

Get started with a Carb Cycling program developed by Celebrity Trainer Shaun Hadsall

Learn More By Clicking Below

tara Tara Arellano
Fitness America Pro Athlete



Click on this link to see a list of foods that
can help you determine food exchange options:
-> Food list for losing fat and building lean muscle


Carb Cycling Nutrition Strategies
to Burn Fat and Build Lean Muscle:

The following video gives a brief overview of a nutritional strategy called macro-nutrient rotation. Macro-nutrients are classified as carbohydrates, proteins and fats. By cycling the the amounts of these in your daily meals in a very specific way, you can create the ultimate lean muscle building and fat burning environment within your body.

This is a must watch video!

Rotate Nutrition Strategies To Break A Rut

I currently follow a modified version of this plan and it works amazingly well!

Can you build muscle without protein?

    First let me answer this question by asking another question! Where does the word protein come from? It originated from the Greek word “proteios” which means “of the first rank or importance”. Well, if that’s the case, I’ll bet you can start to draw your own conclusions!

   Every cell in the body is partially composed of proteins!

   The food you consume is composed of 3 macronutrients: Proteins, Carbohydrate and Fat. Although your body has the ability to use any one of these nutrients for energy, typically only 10-20% of it comes from protein in a well balanced diet. Lower carb meal plans that are high in protein will use a higher percentage.

Your body can’t make proteins out of carbs or fats

   The human body is amazing and it has the ability to convert protein or fat into glucose for energy. It also has the ability to turn excess carbohydrate into fat! This can also happen with protein but it’s a very inefficient process. What it can’t do is generate protein from carbohydrate or fat.

   Since protein is comprised of strings of amino acids, your body can convert some amino acids into other forms in the liver but there are several amino acids your body simply can’t create.

There are 8 essential amino acids
(protein building blocks)

The 8 essential amino acids that your body needs from your dietary intake are:

The 8 essential amino acids:

The Branched Chain Aminos:

  1. Leucine
  2. Isoleucine
  3. Valine

The remaining 5 essential aminos:

  1. Lysine
  2. Methionine
  3. Phenylalanine
  4. Threonine
  5. Tryptophan



A protein is classified as a “Complete” protein if it contains all 8 essential aminos acids.

You need complete proteins to build muscle!

   So can you build muscle without protein? The answer is that you NEED complete proteins to build muscle. What this also means is that if you are consuming the 8 essential amino acids, your body has the ability to manufacture any non-essential amino acids.

If you are an athlete, your protein requirements will be higher than an individual that is not involved in activites that may break down muscle tissue.

If your goal is to build lean muscle and you  follow a well structured weight lifting routine, your protein requirements will be even higher!

How much protein do you need?

   The amount you actually need is a subject of endless debate! Some nutritionists will state that you only need minimal amounts of protein but hundreds of thousands of weight lifters and bodybuilders have proven time and again that higher amounts of protein provide significant benefits to building lean muscle!

It’s much safer to error on the side of too much protein than not enough. Do you want all that hard work in the gym to go to waste?!

A good rule of thumb is 1 gram of protein per pound of LEAN body mass.

This is an EXTREMELY generalized statement and only intended to be a rough starting point! Your protein requirements are highly dependent on the type of overall nutrition plan you are following as well as specific goals.

I have personally followed a meal plan that was 2 grams of protein per pound during my final weeks leading up to a body building show! The protein intake had to be this high since my carbohydrate and dietary fat levels where very low. The calories had to be made up of excess protein.

I would not recommend consuming this much protein for extended periods of time. It’s very expensive and you will not get all the nutrition your body needs.

Now, having said that, I need to make one more statement….

There is NO scientific evidence that excess protein
is bad for your kidneys!

This is one of those rumors that simply will not die! Once false (or flawed) information has propagated, it is nearly impossible to undo it. The original study that is responsible for spreading this information involved feeding excess protein to hospital kidney dialysis patients!!

If you have normal healthy kidney function then I am unaware of any studies that prove higher amounts of protein have a negative impact….

So train hard, eat a nutritious diet and
get enough protein!



Here are 8 tips for selecting the best
muscle building supplements

In 2008 (which was many years ago!) the sports supplement industry revenue had exceeded $25 BILLION dollars. Today the estimate may be more than double that. Guess who the target market is?? Young adult males!  

These tips are summarized from Jose Antonio and Jeffrey Stout’s book entitled “Sports Supplements”. This is the only college level text book based on sports supplements that I am aware of.

1 ) Recognize that a “natural” supplement is not necessarily safer than a synthetic supplement. Manufacturers will often claim that a supplement is “natural” to give the impression that it is completely safe. There are tons of natural substances that can produce undesired or adverse side effects!

2 ) Sound the alarm when a product claims to produce miraculous results in a very short amount of time. Products may be able to increase fluid levels quickly but this is not the same as building lean muscle! Success is not achieved over night. Please repeat that 3 times right now!

3 ) Look for products that back their claims with solid research instead of relying exclusively on testimonials. This is a good line of defense but still not perfect as scientific studies can also have hidden agenda’s depending on who sponsored the study!

4 ) As a follow up to the previous tip, be on the look out for cited scientific studies that are inadequately referenced. For example: “Researchers at the University of New Hampshire found that our product maximizes muscle uptake by 2000%!”. Go to your local supplement store and you’ll find these kinds of claims!

5 ) If a product claims to produce “steroid like” results. Do yourself a favor and dismiss it IMMEDIATELY! Please don’t fall prey to this garbage! Best case scenario is you waste your money. Worst case scenario is that you completely screw up your endocrine system ( can you say bitch tits?! ). The best supplements to build muscle are safe and effective ones, not dangerous and quick gambles!

6 ) When supplement ads are endorsed by proclaimed “experts”, look for dubious credentials that aren’t recognized by mainstream science. Drop the supplement and back away slowly if it’s endorsed by a “Doctor of telekinetic ergogenics”. MD is an example of a “good” credential…. although that’s even debatable!

7 ) Supplements are exactly that. They “supplement” a solid nutritional foundation. BE wary of any company that claims you can pay little attention to your diet and make significant gains (or loses for a fat loss product) using their product! Your nutrition plan is paramount and your body knows the difference! If supplements could really make all the difference then everyone would be walking around huge and ripped!

8 ) Use common sense! This should have been the first tip. You know what they say about claims that seem to good to be true don’t ya? Yep, thought so. Just don’t forget it!

The best way to build lean muscle is slow and steady…. just like to fable of the rabit and the hare.

I have previously written about my top list of best supplements for building lean muscle. Trust me, it’s a very short list and it doesn’t have all the latest miracle supplements on it!



Do you want to know how to
get a six pack in 3 minutes?!

Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s super easy as long as you are 21 years of age (In the United States at least…) and enter a “small” store that will allow you to walk to the beer cooler, grab a “six pack” and pay for it in no more than 3 minutes!

I know… I’m a really fun guy… except I didn’t hear anyone laughing. Let’s move on to see how this is really possible.

The truth is that it IS possible to get six pack abs in 3 minutes
but there is a couple of caveats…

Obviously, no one would expect to achieve this in a TOTAL of 3 minutes, but I am going to explain an exercise technique that can be performed multiple times per week for a total of 3 to 4 minutes that really will help you burn fat and see your six pack.

What I am going to propose here is an exercise technique that will allow you to perform an astronomical amount of work in a short amount of time as in 3 to 4 minutes.

In addition, you need to follow a fat burning meal plan that aligns with your goal to see those six pack abs! Here’s a good place to start for the meal plan.

Tabata Be Thy Name

Perhaps you have heard the term Tabata, Tabatas or Tabata protocol.

The Tabata protocol is based on a study where the subjects (aka victims) completed 6 to 8 rounds of ALL OUT effort for 20 seconds followed by a brief 10 second rest. If you manage to perform 6 to 8 rounds of this, it translates to 3 to 4 minutes.

As Coach Robert dos Remedios states in his book on Cardio strength training:

“The Tabata Protocol” is perhaps the most bastardized form of exercise ever.”

What he means is that performing a round of leisurely pushups or lunges for 20 seconds followed by a 2 minutes chat with your buddy is NOT the goal here!

To Unlock the benefits of the tabata protocol
your effort must be All-out!

“All out” is a very simple concept to understand but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to perform!!

It means you couldn’t possibly work any harder if your life depended on it. That’s All-out. Before you beat me up for that statement, I’m merely trying to make a point here. I’m sure you or I could dig a little bit deeper if our life truley did depend on it.

Example Exercises that will help you
get a six pack in 3-4 Tabata minutes:

  • Burpees (Squat Thrust)
  • Split Squat Jumps
  • Kettlebell Swings
  • Front Squats
  • Jump Rope “Rocky style”


If you are following a 3 or 4 day per week workout routine, perform a tabata as a finisher!  I promise that people that happen to be in the gym when you do this will wonder if they should call 911!

You will probably be a complete mess lying on
the floor when you are finished

Give it a shot!


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