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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Photo Shoot Prep, Derek Phase 3 - Derek

ANNOUNCEMENT: The final pictures will be released and posted shortly thereafter this Tuesday 5/18 so stay tuned! In the meantime I will describe Marcella and my 3rd phase of prep for that big day, starting with mine.
After my Phase 1 and Phase 2 routines, I was feeling right on track to where I wanted to be. I had gained an appreciable amount of weight and worked hard to build a good aesthetic balance. All that was left to do was maximize my muscle definition and get 'shredded'. Check out my routine here.

To accomplish this I used the following techniques:
  • Added Cardio almost every morning (eek!), especially the high intensity variety, which I did on an empty stomach to ensure I was burning as much bodyfat as possible.
  • Performed an ab or calf only workout every morning after cardio. Calves are by far my weakest muscle group and I wanted to do everything I could to improve them. Abs were a focus for this phase to etch out the best 6-pack possible come shoot day.
  • For my weightlifting, my focus was burning maximum calories and achieving the most definition. To do this I decreased my rest between sets and started performing supersets and triple sets. I also added more isolation exercises and unilateral (one side at a time) exercises to really hit every muscle fiber and make everything show. I even threw in a couple Tabata Sets (queue scary music) per week to really burn out the target muscle(s).
All these techniques will burn fat and improve definition, but it is also very easy to lose muscle during a cut down phase. I prevented this somewhat with Nutrition: To aid in fat loss we reduced overall calories, but to maintain as much muscle as possible we actually increased our protein intake so that if the bodies were going to use any protein for energy, it would be from food and not muscle. This is a technique used by bodybuilders as they diet for contests, but I don't recommend it because it is very stressful on the body, particularly the kidneys. Keep in mind we only used this tactic for 3 or 4 weeks.

To get this extra protein we actually selected some processed foods (again not recommended as a staple) that were high in protein and low in carbs and fat. These were Gardein meatless products and Purefit protein bars (my new favorite protein bar).

We also greatly decreased our fat intake and our simple sugar intake. This meant less fruit. I want to stress that fruit is extremely healthy and packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants, and phytochemicals; but in our effort to completely deplete our bodies and force the use of bodyfat we eliminated all fruit but the low sugar options strawberries and grapefruits. These choices had the added perk of tons of vitamin C to keep the immune system running during all our hard work.

If this sounds like a pain, it was. But it was also well worth the struggle and if any readers are interested in looking your absolute best for an event important to you, you might give these tricks a shot. Until next time, eat your greens and beans!

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