“Diet” 2 Days a Week to Change Your Physique?!

The unique 2-days-a-week diet in The Ultimate Super-Size Crash Course e-book has received much more attention and curiosity than was anticipated. Steve Holman’s summer-time results were incredible, but it could also be the perfect plan for your winter physique. You can get (or stay) lean AND grow more muscle…

The uncommon “roller-coaster size-and-shreds” diet he used has two versions: two or three meals a day with enough separation between feedings to allow your body to tap into loads of fat.  That’s a big difference from the usual 5-6 meals-per-day plan normally used.

Steve explains in The Ultimate Super-Size Crash Course how and why he used both. On workout days he used the three-meals approach–but still with many hours between meals to allow fat burn for energy…

Not only did he NOT lose any muscle with less frequent meals, he actually added more mass as his before and after pics show (see them HERE).
Steve Holman 2-day diet

Steve did this all by tweaking a diet created by a medical doctor for “regular” people, but he modified it for more muscle…

The doctor cites research on how this type of diet accelerates muscle gain, and that was without Steve’s modifications. The doc states that this type of mini-fasting can “result in better metabolic adaptations, improved muscle-protein synthesis and a higher ANABOLIC response to post-exercise feedings.” [J App Phys, Jan. 2011: 236-45]

The radical diet days are not done consecutively. Instead it’s nonconsecutive days a week–like Sunday and Thursday. And it’s been shown in numerous studies to not only burn fat but build MORE muscle–one study by Webber, et al., done in great Britain a few years ago, showed that conclusively…

All of the research he found convinced Steve to try his own “bodybuilding” version, and it worked! He got leaner and bigger with his summer eating experiment after his regular diet stalled, and he managed to redefine his physique at age 54.

The recent e-zine on the basics of this compelling 2-days-a-week, get-big-AND-lean diet and Steve’s before and after pics, can be found HERE.

For information on the new The Ultimate Super-Size Crash Course e-book, which has all the details of the new 2-Days-On, Muscle-Up, Fat-Gone Diet and the full routine that Jordon Williamson used to pack on an astounding 18 pounds of muscle in 12 short weeks, go HERE.
Super-Size Crash Course cover


Review: The Lean Body Promise, 2nd Edition

Lean Body Promise coverA well-known problem with most diets is the fact that they fail. It happens because they don’t focus enough—or sometimes at all—on creating positive physical as well as mental change. The Lean Body Promise isn’t about just a diet, however, but is more about focusing on changing the way you think and go about trying to achieve your physical goals. And who better to guide you than IFBB Hall of Famer Lee Labrada, with more than 30 years of experience and 22 major titles to his name.

Labrada’s promise is that he can help you transform your body with simple, 30-minute daily workouts and his non-starvation eating plan. Following everything as he has outlined it in The Lean Body Promise would certainly help you achieve a leaner and healthier body.

Labrada was one of the best bodybuilders in the world for more than a decade, but his approach is easy enough for anyone to follow. The chapter titled “The Inspiration” highlights just how effective those methods are, with a dozen impressive success stories, including before and after photos and even personal tips that the subjects learned along the way.

“The Meal Plan” is, without a doubt, the best part of The Lean Body Promise. Labrada talks about methods that many of us preach on a regular basis, and he does a great job of laying it out without laying on any guilt. His analogy of calories being money and your body being the bank account should make it easy for anyone one to understand the basics. I’d advise following his idea of purposely bouncing checks through this dietary analogy—but not with your personal account.

The meal planning chapter leaves you with no excuse for not following his Lean Body plan. There are lists of great foods for each macronutrient segment,  info on how much of each to eat, when to eat it and even when and how to cheat. Yes, cheating is a good thing, at least when you follow the plan. That’s the big emphasis here, planning. Everything from actual meal planning to what aisles to shop in at your supermarket to what you should order in just about any type of restaurant you can think of, including some major fast-food chains—for those times when you have no other choice.

“The Workout” is obviously one chapter for which Labrada has no shortage of valuable material. Geared mostly toward those who may not have a lot of experience working out, it still contains a good amount of information for everyone. The training program is a simple push/pull/legs split with descriptive illustrations of most of the exercises.

Labrada Lean Body Promise Cover

Labrada’s Lean Body Promise is full of great, easy-to-follow and proven techniques—definitely worthy of a space in your get-ripped library.



Healthy Coffee – With Vitamins, Minerals and Fiber

Most avid coffee drinkers, myself included, will tend to concentrate on the potential health benefits of coffee rather than any of the potential negatives.  As with most things in life, of course, moderation is key, so it’s not a topic most of us often worry about. 

Of course, the more coffee you drink, the less likely you are to even acknowledge any negative effects, as you simply enjoy drinking it.  Regardless, some people who do enjoy it can sometimes have to cut back or quit all together because of the acidic nature of coffee and its uncomfortable effects on the digestive system.

I’m lucky enough to never have been bothered by the acidity.  Frankly, aside from some people whom I’ve heard complain before, I’ve never even actually noticed it.  That is until I recently sampled some HealthSMART coffee.

My main reason for even wanting to try HealthSMART coffee was because of the nutritional claims.  Their site states that the TechnoRoasting technique they use seals in minerals, B-vitamins, antioxidants and even dietary fiber.  The fiber alone was enough reason for me to give it a try, but all the minerals and vitamins are a big selling point, too.

That same TechnoRoasting technique is what neutralizes the acidity, and it’s noticeable to my surprise.  As I mentioned, I’ve never noticed it before, but it stood out when trying this coffee.  The overall flavor of the HealthSMART coffee is pretty good.  It’s got a noticeably earthy taste up front, but that fades away to a nice light- to medium-roast flavor.  It’s after that initial earthiness where you expect the normal acidity to set in, but it never does.  I’d say it has a nice, clean finish.  For anyone who wants to get back into coffee drinking, but has had to stop because of issues with acidoty, this is definitely worth a try.  They do offer sample packets you can order to see if it works for you.

The only caveat would be the price.  It’s not an inexpensive coffee by any stretch of the imagination.  Of course, once you factor in the fact that it’s a truly healthy coffee, with vitamins, minerals and fiber, it’s not as hard to swallow… Literally.  Plus, 12 ounces of the HealthSMART coffee can make more than 136 cups of coffee (that’s your standard 6-ounce coffee cup) compared to about 30 to 90 cups of other brands.

Made only with 100% organic Arabica beans (not blended with any lower-quality beans), it’s also USDA certified, Kosher, Fair Trade and even endorsed by the Vatican and, more importantly, Suzanne Somers (ha!).   It not only tastes good but also offers 4-22% of several key vitamins and minerals, plus fiber, per 16-ounce cup. That’s much closer to my mug size than 6-oz.  It’s a winner in the battle of healthy coffee, particularly for those with heartburn who miss their morning caffeine buzz.

It will likely be available in certain stores soon, and I’ll update once I learn which ones.  For now, however, it’s only available on the shop page of the HealthSMART Coffee website, and you’ve already been duly warned of the pricing.  Hopefully that will come down a bit as it gains popularity.


Sow Your Wild Oats: The Testosterone Connection

OatmealOats have mostly been known for their health benefits over the years.  The main one being that they can help lower cholesterol because of the soluble fiber content.  

Another benefit of the fiber content is that oats can help to make you feel full, so they can prevent overeating or food cravings for a decent amount of time after eating.  They’re also low in fat, although I tend to enjoy it most with a layer of creamy, all-natural peanut butter and some local honey spread lightly over the top of my oatmeal.  Without that, however, oatmeal is generally pretty low in calories, too, as long as you don’t use the flavored instant packs or add mass quantities of brown sugar and milk.  

There may be another key benefit that most men might want to pay particular attention to, or at least your partner might want to know so that she can hide your stash of dried cereal.  Oats appear to have an ingredient which can boost libido and sexual performance.  Who knew?

According to Jerry Brainum’s article on Anabolic Plants in the December 2012 issue of Iron Man Magazine, an unpublished study reports a link between oats and testosterone in that avenacosides in the oats are shown to bind to, and thus interfere with, sex-hormone-binding globulin, which means that it can cause the production of greater amounts of active testosterone.

This brings a whole new meaning to the phrase, “Sow your wild oats.”  

Of course, this would also mean that there would be potentially great benefits to eating oatmeal as part of an exercise nutrition plan.  With the added benefit of potentially increasing testosterone production, it seems a no-brainer to use it as part of a post-workout meal, and possibly even using it in a pre-training meal.  

I’ll report back on personal findings… unless my wife does too good of a job hiding our oatmeal after reading this.


Detour Lean Muscle

Detour Lean MuscleAnyone with goals of building a better body knows very well that it can get tough  to maintain proper nutrition, especially while on the go.

Protein and meal replacement powders (MRPs) have been around longer than I can remember.  Most of the protein powders available 20 years ago were downright gag-worthy, though.  To say that they’ve come along way with regard to potability is a huge understatement.  

The idea of taking powder with you everywhere was always a nuisance, too, let alone the weird looks you’d get when pulling out a small bag of white powder.  Then came shaker bottles to add to the convenience, but within the last several years companies have come up with pre-made shakes in ready-to-drink (RTD) packaging. 

Protein bars from years past were pretty disgusting, too, and the ones that tasted good happened to have very little nutritional value, let alone having just trace amounts of protein.  I remember working at some fitness expos 10-15 years ago when companies starting touting their new breakthrough bars that actually tasted like candy bars.  Sure enough, a couple of them actually pulled it off, and Detour was one of them.  I remember the spokesperson saying that it tasted exactly like a Snickers.  Well, I didn’t necessarily agree with that bold statement, but it was still the best tasting protein bar up to that point, and they still continue to make some of the best tasting bars available.

Their original Caramel Peanut Detour protein bar is now available in a Lower Sugar version, which tastes almost exactly like the original, but with half the sugar and 10 fewer calories per 3-ounce bar.  Even better than that, however, is their Peanut Butter Chocolate Crunch Lean Muscle bar, which has even less sugar, but more protein and fat, so it’s about 80 more calories.  With the additional protein and added vitamins, minerals and Omega-3 fatty acids, however, it’s worth the extra calories in my opinion.  Plus, I just like the flavor better anyway… no doubt because of the added fat, I’m sure.

Along with the Detour Lean Muscle bar, they’ve added a pre-made high-protein Detour Lean Muscle shake to the list of convenience.  The drink is considerably lower in calories than the bar (260 vs. 420), but has the same 32 grams of protein.  It loses its calories with the 12 grams of carbs versus the bar’s 33 grams, and it has only 9 grams of fat rather than the 18 grams in the bar.  It still does have the same 1,000 mg of Omega-3s, however.  The chocolate shakes are pretty tasty and incredibly convenient, but they do have that slight “pre-made” flavor that most RTDs seem to have.  Still well worth having around for when you’re on the road, at the office, or simply don’t have time to stop and make a solid-food meal.

While I’m a big proponent of eating solid “real” food meals whenever possible, it’s always best to be prepared with something you can take with you.  It doesn’t hurt that there are now products like these which also happen to be quite good.  The Peanut Butter Chocolate Lean Muscle Bar is so good that I crave it now even when I don’t “need” to eat.  

  Lower Sugar Bar Lean Muscle Bar  Lean Muscle Shake 
 Calories  340  420 260
 Total Fat  10g  18g 9g
 Total Carb  33g
(5g sugar, 24g sugar alcohol
(3g sugar, 17g sugar alcohol)
(6g sugar)
 Protein  30g  32g 32g

Basic Guide to Lean Muscle Pride

Guide to Lean Muscle PrideWith such a wide variety of products and “gurus” offering THE best way to get in shape, it’s easy to get confused, aggravated or completely demotivated.  It really doesn’t have to be that complicated when it comes to building lean muscle, though.

Here are 6 easy-to-follow guidelines to steer you in the right direction:

1) Eat five to six small meals per day and be sure to have at least 20 grams of protein at each. This works like a trickle charger and keeps a nice, constant flow of muscle-building nutrients available at all times. Whole foods are almost always best, but if time is short and you want to use a protein powder or meal replacement powder to make life a little easier and to ensure you’re getting your protein needs met for building lean muscle, try to find a good casein-and-whey supplement for fast and slow protein delivery between solid meals, or a high-quality whey protein if trying to add a bit of protein to meals.  

2) Try to get a healthy, protein-based meal (or meal replacement if necessary) every 3 hours or so during the day. This may sound like a repeat of number 1 above, but it’s a reminder that you need to spread out your protein intake throughout the day.  Otherwise, it’s possible that your body might shift into starvation mode and start using your hard-earned muscle tissue for energy .  That won’t help you reach your goals. 

3) Don’t skip breakfast!  Seven or eight hours of fasting can make your muscles very receptive to lean muscle-building nutrients , so make sure to get at least 15-20 grams of quality protein when you wake up in the morning.  

4) Don’t eat large meals. Doing so can shoot you insulin levels through the roof and promotes fat storage.  Small-to-medium and easy-to-digest meals wit a good protein source are always best.  The only time you really want an insulin surge is immediately after a workout (see number 6). 

5) Eat fruits and vegetables.  Not only do they provide you with important nutrients to make lean muscle-building and fat burning easier, as well as adding much-needed fiber to make “other things” easier, they also balance the acidity of protein. Contrary to many super-low-carb diet promoters, letting your carbs get too low won’t help build muscle.  While lower than “average” carb intake can sometimes help with fat loss, extreme low-carb levels aren’t for anyone looking to hold onto or build muscle.

6) Have fast-release carbs and fast-release protein immediately after you work out. This is very beneficial for refueling the muscles at a time when they crave carbs and protein the most. The half hour or so after a workout is often referred to as the anabolic window. For your muscles, it’s the most important meal of the day.  Fast carbs quickly turn to glycogen and replenish your depleted muscles.  Fast carbs will also create an insulin surge as mentioned above, which promotes glycogen storage and the muscle building process by aiding carbs and protein into the muscles.

Remember, after training you want to get fast protein to repair the muscle damage from exercise and enough glycogen from the fast carbs to refill energy stores and spike insulin to speed up the process of building lean muscle.

These basic guidelines are from the X-treme Lean e-book.


Old School, New Body

I spent almost 20 years training with Steve Holman, Iron Man magazine’s editor in chief.  From 2004 to present we’ve published several e-books together through X-Rep.com and its sister sites (X-Workouts.com, SizeSurgeWorkout.com and MuscleQuickStart.com).  We came up with some of the greatest training routines I’ve ever followed, and there’s still more on the horizon as we get to do our training research separated by a couple thousand miles.   

Since then, however, Steve has also ventured into new training territory with Becky, his wife.  He and Becky have come up with their F4X System based on the legendary density training techniques of the late Vince Gironda.  Similar to our 4X training technique, the methods in their new Old School New Body e-book are aimed at those over 35 years of age who want increased health and the anti-aging benefits of resistance training—without the need for anything more than moderate weights.  That doesn’t mean the training is easy, though.

They’ve split the training into three levels:

  1. Lean: A simple 4-exercise routine for beginners or anyone else who wants to train 3 days a week with weights. Not for the hardcore, but perfect for anyone looking to naturally increase growth hormone production and to melt body fat with the added bonus of a couple pounds of new quality muscle to make you look great.
  2. Shape: More extensive 45-minute workouts 3 days per week. Basic bodybuilding for both men and women utilizing F4X on every exercise so there’s no need for injury-inducing poundages.
  3. Build: Full-range Positions of Flexion routine used on every muscle group. It’s got the F4X system combined with other intensity techniques to allow continued use of moderate weights with even more gains.

Old School, New Body has multiple meal plans, making it an even more complete e-book for those also looking for fat-loss and nutrition tips.  They cover some key supplements, hormone boosting, alcohol (how it’s not so bad) and a whole lot more.  



Geared towards those over 35 looking to increase their quality of life through weight training, it’s got a lot of great information for anyone of any age looking to get in better shape.  Plus, the e-book purchase includes multiple other e-books as well, with information from muscle building and fat burning to general health and better sex.  

Available at OldSchoolNewBody.com