My fellow Americans, you know that many parts of our fine nation experienced their coldest winters in recorded history just a few months ago. In fact, temperatures were lower in some Midwest states on certain days than they were in Antarctica. That means many of you were dreaming about summer with a newfound desperation, fantasizing about the day when you could feel the hot sunshine on your skin again, hear the waves crashing and seagulls crying out. That time is upon us now. Your body was buried under layers of thick, insulated clothing throughout that seemingly endless winter, but now you won’t be wearing anything other than board shorts. As all of you who live in areas with four seasons know all too well, summer comes and is gone before you know it. It’s a very brief window of time when it’s OK to walk around half-naked. Maybe not at the office or on Main Street, but at places like the beach, pool parties, and water parks. You’ve worked your ass off, punishing yourself with heavy weights throughout all those dark, cold, gloomy days, and now you get to display your masterpiece. But are you ready? And here’s a crazy idea: why not do everything you can to keep looking better and better every day of this summer? How are you supposed to do that? That’s what we’re here to talk about.
Upper Body Emphasis
You’re going to be strutting around in swim trunks for the next couple of months for the world to see, including all those hot girls rocking their tiny bikinis. So guess what? I’m going to suggest something that will strike most of you as insane and will go against all you know and believe as a serious weight trainer. Until summer is over, don’t train your legs! Yes, I went there. You will still hit calves, as they will be seen in shorts, but quads and hams will be taking the summer off. Why would I even propose ignoring your thighs for an entire season of the year? It’s all about prioritization. Training the quads and hams demands a large amount of your time and energy. If we can take those limited resources and shift them over to your upper body for a limited phase of roughly three months, you will see better results from the waist up. It’s the same principle we use all the time to bring up lagging body parts, only on a larger scale. I’ve come up with a training split you can follow (see sidebar), but feel free to customize your own if you like.
If I lost some of you at this point with the whole heresy of not only skipping leg day but also skipping leg summer, hear me out. Yes, you will lose a little size in your quadriceps and hamstrings, but it won’t be much. The cardio you will be performing, especially if you man up and get on a StepMill, will stimulate the muscle fibers enough to maintain most of the mass that you’ve built. And rest assured that any mass you do in fact lose will be regained in a month or less once you resume your usual training program after Labor Day.
There are even a few bonuses to laying off legs for a couple of months. One is that your knees, hips, and lower back will all get a nice respite from the constant heavy squats, leg presses, and hack squats you beat them up with every week. If you’ve had nagging knee pain, the culprit was most likely tendinitis, a chronic inflammation that would never go away unless you let those tendons around the knee joint fully rest and heal. Now they will finally get a chance to do just that! Next, the psychological benefits of getting back to training an area you haven’t been able to in months is something any of you who have been injured are already familiar with. Your motivation will be through the roof! Forget about dreading leg day. You’ll be dreaming about it and bursting through the gym doors like a man possessed for at least the first few weeks after you get back to training legs. And by then, you’ll have made substantial improvements to your upper body that you were able to show off while the weather permitted it.
Lean Out for Summer
This is a tricky area, mainly because we are attempting to do something that isn’t quite impossible, but still a serious challenge: gain muscle and lose fat at the same time. I need be honest with you and state that this feat is far more achievable if drugs to build muscle and cut fat are part of the equation. In most cases where you see people simultaneously building mass and getting leaner, one of three scenarios is at play. The first is that they are using a combination of steroids to build lean muscle tissue, and other drugs like GH, clenbuterol, and/or T3 to incinerate body fat. The second situation is that they are brand new to all of this. Their muscles respond incredibly well to the shocking new stimulus of weight training, and anyone who’s eating clean for the first time after a lifetime of subsisting on the typical shitty American diet of processed foods, fast food, and snacks will drop pounds and pounds of chub in a flash. The third and final possibility is when a person is returning to training after a very long layoff of anywhere from six months to several years. That person will regain their lost mass at a dramatically more rapid rate than another person gaining said mass for the first time.
Even if you don’t fit into any of those three boxes, results can still be yours if you buckle down and get to work. First up, clean up your diet. You can have your treats and cheat meals or whatever after summer is over, but until then, you’re basically on a competitive physique athlete’s contest diet. Avoid butter, margarine, any deep-fried foods and saturated fats. Also avoid fruit juice, all breads, white flour, and white sugar. Obviously, fast food is not an option. You will have to meal prep and cook batches of grilled chicken breasts or thighs, baked fish, sirloin patties, ground beef and turkey, rice, and potatoes. I do advise you limit your carbs to just the right amount where you are still able to continue making incremental muscle gains (this is not a bulking program, so forget about trying to add 10-20 pounds of muscle), while still losing body fat. This amount will vary by the individual, but most men find they don’t need carbohydrates in any other meals other than breakfast, the pre-workout meal, and either the post-workout shake or meal, usually not both. You will need to experiment and adjust. You also have the option of going keto for the summer, though many find it impossible to gain mass without at least some carbs in their diet. A lower carbohydrate approach will work well for most.
Finally, let’s talk cardio. How much you will need to do depends on how much body fat you need to get rid of to be fully beach-ready, but suffice to say that a minimum of five 30-minute sessions is to be expected. You can do these sessions fasted first thing in the morning if possible, or after your weight training, but before you have your shake. Some of you will have to hit double cardio sessions. We men hold most of our body fat right around the middle. If you can’t see your abs and you have a little muffin top going on, you will obviously need to do more cardio than someone who already has some abs showing. Few of us look forward to doing cardio, but just throw your Beats headphones on and grind it out. Every ounce of fat you strip off your body is only going to make your muscles look better.
Grooming Makes the Man
Even the finest luxury sports car only looks its best when it’s washed, waxed, and detailed, and you need to give your physique the same consideration. First up, let’s talk body hair. Women have mixed reviews as to how hirsute or hairless they like a man to be, but they all agree that a shaggy back is repulsive. If you look like Bigfoot back there, that hair needs to go. Unless you have long arms and are double jointed, you will probably need someone to help you. Your four options with any type of hair removal are shaving, waxing, depilatory cream, or laser. Shaving is the most common method. If there’s a great deal of hair, you will need to start off with clippers to take the bulk of it off before using a razor. Since “manscaping” is widespread these days, you have many products to choose from. Waxing can be done at home or at a salon. That horrifying scene in “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” isn’t so far from reality— this shit hurts! The upside is that it takes hair much longer to grow back from waxing as opposed to shaving, wherein you’ll see new growth showing in just a few days. Depilatory creams and gels like those made by Nair and Veet dissolve the hair. Finally, laser hair removal is permanent, yet expensive, and requires a series of up to 10 visits for an area as large as your back.
Should you shave everything else? That’s up to you. For both competition and photo shoots, professional athletes and fitness models get rid of everything: hair on the chest, arms, abs, even the legs. If you want to show maximum definition, you should probably do the same. Chances are you can leave your legs alone. Assuming you wear board shorts to the beach, lake, river, or pool rather than a Speedo, no one’s going to see your thighs anyway.
Next up is tanning. A darker skin tone will allow muscle definition to be more evident. Again, you have options: real tan from the sun, tanning in a bed, or an artificial tan from bronzer or a spray tan. If you want your skin to stay supple and wrinkle-free, and you also wish to avoid skin cancer, the fake tans are your best bet. If you opt for the sun or a tanning bed, protect your skin with sunblock and absolutely avoid getting burned.
Be the Biggest Stud Around This Summer!
Let’s be honest, no one will judge you. Any time you’re at a beach, pool party, or any place where it’s hot and bodies are on display, you immediately scan the area to see how your physique stacks up against those of all the other males you can spy. Who is the best built, the Alpha Male? Who will the ladies lick their lips at and make flirty eye contact with? Who will they look at like a piece of prime beef? And for my gay brothers out there, simply substitute men for women in that scenario. Obviously, you want it to be you, and it can be you. You’ve already put most of the necessary work in before the weather heated up, now finish the job and fine-tune it all so you can be the biggest stud around this summer!
Beach Body Training Split
Day 1: Chest, shoulders, triceps
Day 2: Back, biceps, abs
Day 3; Calves and cardio
Take rest days when needed.
2 whole eggs, 6 egg whites, 1/2 cup (dry) gluten-free oatmeal with handful of blueberries or chopped strawberries (NO DRY FRUIT)
40-50 grams of protein from extra lean ground turkey, 1 cup green vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, or several asparagus stalks, 1/3 cup unsalted mixed nuts
40-50 grams of protein from lean red meat of choice (steak or ground, patty), 1 cup green vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, or several asparagus stalks
Meal # 4 (Pre-workout)
40-50 grams baked or grilled chicken breast, 1/2 cup brown rice
40-50 grams of whey protein isolate, 1 apple
40-50 grams of protein from chicken breast or white fish, large green salad, 1/3 cup unsalted nuts