Q: I’m a man in my late 30s, but I’m very motivated by Becky Holman’s before and after photos and her story. Is the training program she used okay for men to use?
A: Absolutely. Men and women should both strive to build muscle, and that’s what her program does. Women won’t get bulky muscles no matter how hard they train because they don’t have the hormonal profile for that to happen. It’s a testosterone thing—and as you can see in the transformation photos below, Becky (Steve’s wife, who was in her early 40s below) doesn’t have a lot of testosterone…
The program she used is very sound, but keep in mind that it won’t do much if you don’t tighten your diet the way she did (a few eating tips are coming up). Getting the right nutrients to fuel muscle recovery and supercompensation while minimizing foods that pack on fat is mandatory (although, as we mention in X-treme Lean, a cheat day is mandatory too).
Steve created a split routine for me, using his Positions-of-Flexion training method [midrange-, stretch- and contracted-position moves]. I started going to the gym three days a week and training more intensely. The first two days I did a split routine [Monday was quads, chest, back and abs; Wednesday was hamstrings, delts, arms and abs], and then on Friday I did a full-body workout with slightly higher reps [10 to 12] on each exercise [or drop sets].
Steve designed the program so there was direct and indirect work for every bodypart on Monday and Wednesday. In other words, I really trained every bodypart on both of those days. For example, I did chest on Monday and triceps on Wednesday—pressing for chest also trained my triceps and flat-bench dumbbell presses with my arms angled into my torso [like a close-grip bench press] for triceps also trained my chest.
Then on Friday I did one or two sets of higher reps, around 12, for key exercises, and I did only one exercise per bodypart—although there was direct and indirect work for almost every bodypart within that day’s routine. For example, I did feet-forward Smith-machine squats for my hamstrings, but they also work quads, which I trained directly with the next exercise, leg presses, which also hit hamstrings. With direct and indirect work on Monday and Wednesday and a full-body workout on Friday, I was essentially training every bodypart three days a week.
Now at that point, we hadn’t discovered X-Rep partials; however, she was doing a static hold at the end of many exercises, like leg curls for example. She would do as many full reps as she could, and at exhaustion pull the weight up to the sticking point, and hold the weight for about five seconds to extend the tension time as the target muscle continued to fire. These days we recommend X-Rep partials on one set per exercise instead because some movement better stimulates the nervous system to activate muscle fibers—but the static hold is good second choice.
A few of her key eating tips include having at least 15 grams of protein with each meal, eating six small meals a day, minimizing carbs, with most of her allotment early in the day, and not eating anything after 8 p.m. Those apply to men also, although their protein intake should be higher.
One other tip: Never make a gigantic calorie cut at once (intermittent fasting is the obvious exception). That shifts the body into starvation mode, which means you hold onto fat and burn muscle tissue (that’s Mother Nature’s way of helping you survive famine). Decrease your calories gradually—100 to 200 every few weeks—for a more efficient fat-to-muscle transformation. [Steve’s diet in X-treme Lean is a good example, or if you prefer a non-standard but highly effective approach, you can use his intermittent fasting diet found in the Super-Size Crash Course.]
Note: Becky Holman’s complete training program and diet appear in the X-treme Lean e-book (pages 45-56). That e-book also includes Steve and Jonathan’s ripping diets, eating tips, and the High-Definition Workout, featuring growth hormone-boosting tactics. (See note below about how to get X-treme Lean for FREE.)
Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson
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