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Quick Start Guide:
Build Lean Muscle and Burn Fat!

The Cable Pull Through is an excellent exercise
that works your entire posterior chain!

So what does that mean in English?? Your posterior chain is your muscle “chain” on your back side spanning from your lower back all the way down your legs including your glutes and hamstrings (the primary muscles of the posterior chain).

I learned about this exercise at Cressey Performance while dealing with some serious lower back pain that prevented me from deadlifting.

I must admit I quickly got over how ridiculous I felt when performing the pull through exercise when I experienced the benefits of it! You really need to check your ego at the door when performing this one in the gym! Trust me, you’ll get some very odd looks!!

Check out this exclusive New England Muscle video with a fun twist on it!



Do you want to know what the
Best Cardio to Lose Belly Fat is?

HIIT right??

Well, that’s what I used to think! If you don’t know what HIIT is, it stands for High Intensity Interval Training.

Instead of long bouts of low intensity cardio, the theory goes that very intense sprints for shorter durations may burn less calories during the exercise BUT the afterburn is much greater!

What do I mean by afterburn? Afterburn is what happens to your metabolism after an intense weight training circuit or HIIT cardio session. The technical term for this is EPOC.

There was a recent study that somewhat contradicts
everything that I have believed about afterburn or EPOC

The study is titled:
Effects of exercise intensity and duration on the excess post-exercise oxygen consumption

and it stated:

“…the earlier research optimism regarding an important role for the EPOC in weight loss is generally unfounded…The role of exercise in the maintenance of body mass is therefore predominantly mediated via the cumulative effect of the energy expenditure during the actual exercise.”

I have used both HIIT cardio and intense bodyweight training circuits with very good results in the past…. but it may very well have been for different reasons! I did get the results so no study can take that away from me!

When you are in an extreme calorie deficit, this type of training may be detrimental as you will lose too much lean muscle mass. Your lean muscle mass adds to your metabolic rate….. or the amount of total calories you need to consume in a single day to maintain your weight.

The higher your metabolism, the easier it is to create
a calorie deficit and lose belly fat using strength training
and the right type of cardio

The man who has convinced me of a more optimal way of performing cardio is Rusty Moore. Rusty is well known as an expert fitness author. He specializes in helping individuals achieve that lean hollywood look…. you know what I’m talking about!

Learn more about Rusty Moore’s killer Cardio Program Here

The answer to the question 
“Can pushups build muscle” is……

Sorry, I’m gonna keep you hanging for just a minute! The answer isn’t so straight forward. First I need to briefly discuss what is required to build lean muscle.

There are a few fundamental principles that must be satisfied
to build muscle:

  1. The load (resistance) you are trying to move must be great enough (in this case, your body)
  2. The human body will adapt to this load so you must apply progressive resistance
  3. You can’t grow muscle out of thin air so you also need to eat right!

Let’s take a deeper dive into the concept of
Progressive insurance Resistance

Let me ask you a question:

Do you think you could build noticible muscle by simply pushing your hands back and forth in the air?

Hopefully you answered no, other wise, you may want to check out
this site. Ok, just kidding!

…but seriously, the point I’m trying to illustrate is that you need to provide enough resistance for your muscle to grow.

So how much resistance??

A general rule of thumb is that anything over 20 reps will not build a significant amount of muscle (there are many exceptions to this but that’s a topic for another post).

This would imply that banging out 30 pushups to build muscle and shooting for more than 30 pushups the next time you try won’t give you much lean muscle growth. It will give you muscle endurance.

The muscle fibers that really like to grow are to ones that move heavy loads OR move ”moderate” loads faster. Both equal force applied to your muscle. Force is good.

So my recomendation to build lean muscle on your chest, shoulders and arms using pushups is to add enough resistance to keep your sets in the 8-15 rep range. If you are fairly new to exercise, lean towards the higher end of the rep range.

There are many options available to add resistance such as:

  • Elevate your feet
  • Push up from suspension straps
  • Weighted vests
  • Bands
  • and my favorite:

  Tractor chains!!


New England Muscle Thor Workout (A-day)

Goal: Build strength and lean muscle, torch fat!

I have posted the first part of the workout that you can download in PDF format from link below.

This is a fairly advanced workout that has a strength building component that will allow you to build lean muscle while burning fat at the same time. For this to happen, you need a very good nutrition and supplement plan!

The first part of the workout is a classic “size and strength” module. You will use a weight that is in the 4 – 8 rep range for 2 compound upper body movements. You will alternate between them until you have completed 25 reps. Simple right?!

The second part is a metabolic circuit. The goal is to perform all 10 exercises in a row for 30 seconds each with only 30 seconds of rest in between each exercise.

This routine never gets easy and has me on the floor when it’s over…..

Good luck, should you choose to accept this mission!!

Download the Thor Workout PDF version here

New England Muscle Workout Routines Page



A review of Mike Geary’s Truth About Six Pack Abs


Yes, believe it or not, all of those hours upon boring hours of repetitive low to moderate intensity cardio training sessions are not the best way to lose body fat and reveal your abs. Many trainers and the media seem obsessed with the thinking that the best and only way to lose body fat is through long boring cardio routines. Well, I’m here to tell you that they couldn’t be more wrong!
Mike Geary
Author of The Truth About Six Pack Abs


Click here -> to read my full review

If you would like to purchase the Ebook and download instantly, click my affiliate link below:



Have you ever wondered how many reps
is best to build muscle?

This is a very common question with a lot of confusion! The trainers and strength coaches that know what they are doing always have a specific reason for the number of repetitions they prescribe for a given exercise.

After reading this post, YOU will understand the benefits of all the different rep ranges and answer the question of just how many reps are needed to build muscle.

Before I get into the number of reps,  let me take a brief moment to explain what parts of a muscle can grow (i.e. get bigger, more numerous and/or thicker):

What muscle parts get thicker, more numerous and/or bigger?

  • Muscle fibers, called myofibrils
  • Protein filaments called actin and myosin (they move the muscle fibers)
  • Sarcoplasm (not the slime from Ghost Busters!) is the gelatenous energy stores of carbohydrates (glycogen) and fat, enzymes, etc.
  • Connective tissue

Ok, so after looking at that list you can see that there are 4 general things that “build a muscle”.

There’s No Such Thing As A Bad Rep Range!
Many rep ranges can build muscle….
It just depends on your goals!

Now I will discuss the rep ranges from a single rep all the way up to 20 reps and the benefits of each range.

Low rep ranges (1 – 5 reps)

This rep range puts your muscle under the greatest amount of tension (although moving a moderate weight faster could achieve the same tension but that’s a different post!) since you are moving the heaviest weight.

This rep range increases the number of muscle fibers called myofibrils.The more of these you have, the more force you can produce and the stronger you are! This rep range is ideal for strength gains although some individuals will build massive muscle size as well using this range if they have a higher percentage of fast twitch muscle fibers.

High rep ranges (11 – 20 reps)

This type of training increases the muscle energy stores that I generally called sarcoplasm in the above list box. This type of muscle growth is called sarcoplasmic hypertrophy. I call it the all show and no go muscle! Perhaps that’s a bit extreme… and If you are a body builder, you should spend some time in this rep range.

If you are an athlete then this range has a more limited value (although still very useful!). It does increase muscular endurance and has some fat burning benefits.

On a side note, the one mistake I see far too often is people switching exclusively to high rep training when trying to “get ripped”. This will not force your muscle to stay strong and you stand to lose more lean mass while dieting with this approach.

Medium rep ranges (6 – 10 reps)

As you might have guessed, this rep range is an optimal compromise between the low and high rep ranges and you will build muscle endurance and strength..

This is where most people spend their time but more in the 8 – 12 rep range. Over the long term that is certainly not optimal.

Here is my top 5 list of supplements
for building muscle


So  you want to know how to build muscle fast?! These supplements have stood the test of time and have helped produce superior results over and over. Before I list them, there is one point I need to make very clear.

Food, my friend, trumps any natural supplement on anyone’s list.
Eating REAL food (i.e. the list of ingredients is 1) and enough of it is essential for building lean muscle.

If you don’t believe me that’s fine… it’s your money. Hey, we all need to learn our lesson’s! Ok, I promise I’m done ranting.

Check out my quick start guide if you want to see an example meal plan that will help build lean muscle.


  • Protein Powder (whey protein based for post workout shakes and milk protein based for meal replacements)
  • Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA’s)
    Learn about the benefits of BCAA’s at this post.
  • Glutamine
  • High quality multivitamin and/or super greens


So you’re either deep in thought wondering why Nitric Oxide Blast 2000 and Andro-Whatchama-dione aren’t on the list, or you’re thinking that I can’t count!

Indeed, I put 6 items on the list. The sixth one wouldn’t be necessary if you truly ate fruits and vegetable at every meal. Even If you do (in which case kudos to you!), the soil in which they where grown was most likely over farmed and not nutrient rich.

Think of this last entry as added insurance for your health and hard earned money you are spending on the other supplements.

Fish Oil?

Ok, maybe I have been reading too much from Charles Poliquin. I started using fish oil over 10 years ago when he talked all about it at an olympic weight training seminar I attended in Buffalo, NY (my home city… and yes, I am a Buffalo Bills fan…). Chad Waterbury, Dan John, Eric Cressey and countless other “celebrity” strength coaches all have Fish Oil
near the top of their supplement list for building lean muscle…. and you should too!

Creatine (of course!)

I’m sure you figured you would find this one on the list. Did you know that Creatine is naturally found in high amounts in red meat? If your diet is high in grass fed beef, then you will need to supplement less with creatine AND fish oil since grass fed beef is high in omega-3 fats.

Creatine is about the safest most researched supplement out there. Make sure you follow my link above to read more about creatine. I am a big fan of Beverly International Creatine Select.

 BCAA’s and Glutamine (the amino superstars!)

These essential amino acids provide a serious anabolic (lean muscle building) and anti-catabolic (muscle breakdown prevention) tour de force. Using these amino acids before, during and/or after training will produce phenomenal results… but only during intense training sessions where you are really pushing yourself hard.

This combination is also very effective in maintaining or even building lean muscle mass during periods of significant calorie deficits like extreme fat loss phases (oh no, summer is around the corner!) or the final 3-6 weeks leading up to a bodybuilding show.

My wife and I use Beverly International Glutamine Select Plus BCAA’s and have done so for many years now. It’s one of the few great tasting powdered formulas that has the highest grade ingredients.





This Carb Cycling Body Building Diet Plan is designed for Maximum Fat Loss


Carb cycling is a healthy and super effective technique to maximize fat loss for bodybuilders. In this post, I outline a meal plan similar to the one my wife and I both used to prepare for a body building show with amazing results!

When you keep carbohydrate consumption low throughout the day, insulin levels will be controlled which allows you to remain in a fat burning state.

Weight training throughout the week will deplete glycogen stores within your muscle so it’s necessary to “fill the tanks” with well timed high quality carbohydrate dense meals.

You’ll want to customize this plan based on your weight and starting point.

As a general rule, your total calorie intake should be rough 10 – 15 calories per pound of body weight. If you are near 10% body fat, use 14 or 15 as your multiplier.

 If you want to discover a COMPLETE rapid fat loss program that involves carb cycling, read my review of Joel Marion’s Xtreme Fat Loss Diet.

The following diet is an example body building plan for a 180 pound male at roughly 10% body fat. It is based on a proven nutrition plan designed by Beverly International and tested on thousands of body builders.

Note: I have placed amazon links to the only protein powder I have ever used with phenomenal results. I make a small commission off sales from those links at no extra cost to you. Use other brands at your own risk. Beverly International is the Protein King!

Meal #1

6 oz lean beef or turkey
1 whole egg, 4 egg whites
1 grapefruit (or strawberries or blueberries if you must)

Meal #2

Protein Shake using 2 scoops Ultimate Muscle Protein, 1 tbsp healthy fat (flax oil, olive oil, etc)
Whole Food Option: 1 can tuna packed in water, 1 whole egg and 1 tomato

Meal #3

6 ounces of  chicken or turkey breast (no deli meat!)
2 cups of salad vegetables

Meal #4

Repeat meal #2
You can also make the Ultimate Muscle Protein into a pudding.

Meal #5

8 ounces of lean fish, chicken, turkey, bison, etc.  (beef leaner than 93% or higher)
4 cups salad (lettuce, tomato, carrot, cucumber, green peppers, etc.)
2 tbsp olive oil and vinegar dressing

Now for the carb cycling portion of the plan:

Every 3rd, then 4th day (Sunday and Wednesday for example) at the end of the day:

Instead of your 5th meal or as a 6th meal (this really depends on your progress, lean mass, etc):

1½ cups oatmeal (precooked) or cooked rice,
10 oz sweet potato, medium banana,
1 cup vegetables,
1 tbsp butter, almond butter or oil

You seriously need to eat all of that!

You will feel full but it will rev up your metabolism (increase leptin levels), satisfy cravings (well, sort of) and replenish glycogen stores.

Personally, I love mashing up the banana, adding it to the cooked oats along with almond butter and a little bit of sugar free hazelnut syrup added.

Give this body building diet plan an honest 6 to 8 weeks
and you will be shocked with the results!







7 quick tips to Increase Max Bench Press

I learned these 7 tips from Bench pressing authority:
Mike Westerland

1) Tuck your elbows

This has several benefits. First, doing thist takes preassure off your shoulders and transfers it to your triceps. This will ensure shoulder health! Second, it brings the bar closer to your lower chest which allows the bar to travel in a straight line instead of a “J”.

2) Decrease the range of motion

Widen your grip, retract your shoulder blades and arch your back. Arching your back is called a bridge. This is different than raising your hips off the bench. That’s called idiotic and dangerous!

3) Hold your air

Before you unrack the weight, fill your stomach with air. You may be used to taking a deep breath on the negative (and it’s ok for general weight training) but for big lifts like the bench and squat you need to hold your air to form a solid foundation!

4) Rep Ranges

If you have been living in the 6 to 12 rep range, it’s time for a change! Start with the classic 5 X 5 program and progress down to triples.

5) Training Partners

You need a good reliable spotter and someone to hold you accountable! There is a large mental component to a big bench so choose your partner wisely.

6) Squeeze the bar

By squeezing the bar, you recruit more motor units (aka muscle). You’ll notice that every big bencher also has big forearms. Oh, and keep that thumb around the bar! There is nothing cool about having the bar roll out of your hands and staple you into the floor!

7) Don’t neglect other muscle groups

I once heard a famous strength coach say “You can’t fire a canon from a canoe”.  Train your legs and your back! Nuff said!



 Discover Tips on How To Get Toned Abs

Your success starts with what you put in your mouth…before I get into my rules I need to immediately debunk the myth that a calorie is a calorie. The human body is more complex than that and you must appreciate the differences.

100 calories of lucky charms is NOT the same as
100 calories of broccoli!!

The food that you eat is the foundation of every successful set of toned six pack abs (or even 8 pack abs!).
Contrary to what many believe, it’s even possible to add some lean muscle while getting leaner…..
but again, nutrition is 60% of the battle.

If you are interested in a complete kick ass rapid fat loss program then I highly recomment Joel Marion’s Xtreme Fat Loss Diet. You can find my video review of the Xtreme Fat Loss program here.

Food is a drug.
Lucky charms cereal and Broccoli give two completely
different metabolic and hormonal responses!

Now that I have (hopefully) stressed the importance of your diet, it’s time to talk about fat burning! .

Using cardio exercise as your primary strategy with lack of proper nutrition to get toned and defined abs
will back fire and leave you skinny from muscle loss, flabby and weak!

You must combine an effective meal plan, a well balanced strength training routine and effective metabolic cardio activity. Enough lean protein and a well balanced strength training routine will allow you to maintain your precious calorie burning lean muscle.

How to get toned abs
10+1 Rules for Success!
  1. You must follow a balanced weight training program
  2. You must do the right kind of cardio
  3. Mental toughness is paramount!
  4. Eat 5 or more meals per day
  5. Have protein with every meal
  6. Manage insulin levels with carb intake.  Keep them below 100g per day (less than 50g on non training days).
  7. Fat – Consume essential fats first
  8. Eat vegetables with more than half of your meals!
  9. Fruit is “healthy” but you don’t need to eat it every day (stay away from bananas, grapes and raisins).
  10. Don’t drink calories, drink lots of water!
  11. Eat higher calorie foods early in the day.



Implementing those 11 rules for 8 weeks allowed me to get some awesome toned abs.
(should have been smiling but it was a long day!):


I have several meal plans and weight training routines on this site to get you started.

If you are interested in rapid fat loss, then you need to check out Joel Marion’s Xtreme Fat Loss Diet. I have reviewed and personally used the program and you WILL see results if you follow it. It is definitely not easy though. How bad do you want it?!



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