Want to Shed Body Fat and Gain Muscle? Look No Further!

I used this training and diet split for roughly 16 weeks during the spring and summer months earlier this year. The main purpose of this routine was to hold lean muscle mass while lowering my body fat percentage. In 16 weeks I was able to put on roughly 10-15 lbs of lean muscle while maintaining relatively the same body fat percentage.

Obviously, it is advantageous to modify the split to tailor your own personal goals, but this split can be utilized by strength athletes, physique competitors, and all other athletes. I tried to mix traditional weight training movements along with body weight exercises, often in super sets to completely fatigue the muscle and fill it up with blood. Note: if you are interested in gaining size or achieving the old school “aesthetic” physique, you should rely on the mind-muscle connection as opposed to training your ego via heavy weights and max-outs (albeit something I have struggled with until recently).

If you have any questions, message me on facebook or email me at addisoncocoli@gmail.com. I posted this because a few of my friends had asked for some guidance regarding training and nutrition.

Thanks for reading and cheers everyone!

Training Split: 

Day One: Chest, Triceps, and Abs.

Chest:

Incline DB Press (5 x 6-15), superset with dips (leaning forward- to failure). Warmup set of 15, pyramiding higher weight, lower reps for 5 sets.

Flat DB Flyes (4 x 8-12), superset with decline pushups to failure (feet on a bench, hands on the ground).

Flat Barbell Medium Width Bench Press (4 x 10): Grip a little less than shoulder with, TUT style (4 seconds negative, 1 second pause, 2 seconds up).

Cable Crossovers (5 x 20): Squeeze at the top, slow on the negative.

Triceps:

Rope Pushdowns (3 x 10-15): Just to get the blood in the triceps (even though they should be warm by the time you’re done with chest).

EZ-Bar Skullcrushers (3 x 8-12) superset with close-grip presses (3 x 10-15)

Seated One-Arm DB Extensions (4 x 6-20): Pyramid scheme again.

Dips (2 x failure).

Abs:

Cable Crunches (4 x 12-15) superset with Oblique Side Cable Crunches (3 x 12-15 each side).

Seated Jackknifes (3 x 15)

Hanging Leg Raises (3 x 12-15)

Side bends with 45 lb plate (3 x 20 each side).

Day Two: Biceps and Shoulders

Biceps:

DB Curls (5 x 8-20): Warm-up with 30s, then using TUT style reps, go as heavy as possible with a 2 seconds up, one second hold/squeeze, and 4 seconds negative scheme).

DB Side Hammer Curls (3 x 10-12) superset with hammer concentration curls (3 x failure).

DB Preacher Curl superset with reverse barbell curls (3 x 10-15).

EZ-Bar Spider Curls or Incline DB Curls (2 x 10-12)

Shoulders:

Rotator Cuff Warmups (3 x 10-20)

DB Shoulder Press (4 x 6-12): Pyramiding up with TUT style reps, 2 seconds up, one second hold/squeeze, and a 4 seconds negative scheme).

DB Reverse Flys: (3 x 10-12): Use a lighter weight, sit on the bench and raise dumbbells above your head just like a normal shoulder press, but instead, turn the dumbbells to a neutral palms facing each other grip, and do a fly motion with the dumbbells. Squeeze at the bottom and maintain a slight bend in the arms to work the anterior/medial heads of the shoulder. These give a wicked pump.

Seated Side Laterals (4 x 8-15) superset with DB front fraises (4 x failure).

Reverse Pec Dec Flys (3 x 10-15).

Day Three: Legs and Abs

Legs:

Squats (5 x 5-20)

Leg Extensions (4 x 10-12)

Leg Presses (3 x 10-15)

Hamstring Curls (4 x 10-12)

Romanian Deadlifts (3 x 10-12)

Glute-Ham Raise (4 x 20).

Abs:

Cable Crunches (4 x 12-15) superset with Oblique Side Cable Crunches (3 x 12-15 each side).

Seated Jackknifes (3 x 15)

Hanging Leg Raises (3 x 12-15)

Side bends with 45 lb plate (3 x 20 each side).

Day Four: Back and Abs.

Barbell Rows (4 x 6-12)

Close-Grip Pulldowns (3 x 10-12) superset with wide-grip pull-ups (3 x failure).

Seated Row with underhand grip (3 x 8-12)

Hammer Strength Pulldown (Overhand Grip) (4 x 8-12).

Abs:

Cable Crunches (4 x 12-15) superset with Oblique Side Cable Crunches (3 x 12-15 each side).

Seated Jackknifes (3 x 15)

Hanging Leg Raises (3 x 12-15)

Side bends with 45 lb plate (3 x 20 each side).

Usually I’ll do some planking mixed with side oblique raises and lying leg raises. Sometimes I superset each move with pushups to failure just to keep the blood flowing.

Cardio Routine:

Cardio varies a lot to be honest. Some mornings before work I’ll run a few miles on the treadmill at home and do a quick pushup/stability ball workout, then have breakfast.

Other days I do cardio right after the workouts for about 30-45 minutes (I usually do the treadmill or stair master). Sometimes I do HITT for 20 minutes with sprints on the turf (I found this produces the most fat burning while staving off catabolism).

If I have a cheat meal I make sure to do a second cardio session right before bed for 20 minutes or so, just to kick start the fat burning during the night. It has never interfered with my sleep so don’t worry too much about that.

All in all, I think cardio has to be tamed accordingly. If you’re active and playing sports and shit, you probably don’t need much anyway, and you’re already in shape and know about cardio. I guess its just up to you what kind of conditioning you’re looking for (cardio and physique-wise). When I first started doing cardio a lot at the beginning of the year I was doing like 2 hours a day and lost way too much muscle. Once I toned it back to 30 minutes LISS and mixing that with 20 minutes HIIT, I had way more energy and saved a lot of gains by limiting the breakdown of muscle throughout the day.

Diet:

Meal 1: 8 Eggs, 2 cups spinach, half a cup of brown basmati rice, ½ red pepper.

Meal 2: Shake containing 2 scoops Gold Standard Performance Whey Protein, 2 cups spinach, ½ cup steel cut oats, ½ cup unsalted blue diamond almonds, low-fat organic milk (how much depends on how thick you want the shake).

Meal 3: 8 oz chicken breast, 1 cup basmati rice, ½ red pepper. (This is usually my preworkout meal).

Meal 4: Same as Meal 3.

Meal 5: Same as Meal 2 (minus the carbs). I usually drink this before bed.

Notes:  For years I packed my shake and took it to the gym with me, but I found it took my appetite away. I really value whole food nutrition over shakes, and since I’ve done cardio this year my body burns the food at a higher rate. So for instance, with the 3rd meal, I might eat most of it and pack the rest in my gym bag and eat the remains right after the workout just to stave off hunger and catabolism until I eat my fourth meal 45 minutes later.

The Diet is also pretty instinctive. That’s normally how I eat throughout the week, on the weekends I might eat more or less depending on if I take a rest day or not (also instinctive). For the most part though it stays the same. It’s also how your body deals with the macros. Sometimes I’ll throw in an avocado with the chicken and rice for some healthy fats, it really just depends. You’re bigger than me and have a larger frame so you could obviously eat more than that and stay lean.

Supplements:

Preworkout: PhD Wired ( 2 scoops )

Protein: Gold Standard Performance Whey by ON.

Vitamin D3

CLA

Carnitine (Carnipure liquid, 2 tablespoons daily).

Cellucor Super HD/CLK combo

Intra/Postworkout: Gaspari Aminolast (Lots of BCAA’s, I drink a scoop an hour before my workout, and a scoop immediately after instead of having a protein shake).

Fish Oil (3 grams daily)

Co-Q10 (60 mgs daily)

B Vitamin Stress Complex (2 tabs daily, can buy at any grocery store for cheap).

Pre-Sleep: (10 mgs melatonin mixed with l-theanine).

Taurine (500mgs / twice daily)

L-lysine (500 mgs/twice daily).

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So, You Want to Start a Fitness Journey…

 

Part One:  Defining a “fitness journey”.

For many people, getting “in shape” carries stringent conditions and ideals. Cover models, celebrities and athletes are thrust into our line of sight daily, and yes they look incredible (not you, Miley). People like these should really be serving as strong motivational tools for the person looking to change their lifestyle, instead I fear that they also may dissuade some from giving it a shot because of self-doubt.

Everyone looks in the mirror some days and says I want to change this, or I want to change that. This is commonplace in a society that sadly, judges us on first impressions and initial appearances. However, we also live in a society that promotes equality and change, yet when I scour the interwebs for new training footage or interesting workout/diet tips, I see so much bashing, self-loathing, and downright negativity that makes me think, “shit I wouldn’t want to try and get in shape either if this is the kind of feedback id receive”. This is the root of all that is wrong within the fitness community, and just everyday life in general. I see so much hate going on just in the gym after work that it makes me want to just buy equipment and put it in my garage so I can get my workouts done there.

First lets clarify what a “fitness journey” is. I’ve seen this term used on facebook, twitter, instagram and on the forums on various websites.

Basically, it starts with an initial desire. The desire to change the way you look, eat, feel, or think. Fitness is not solely about physical health, I would argue that the most beneficial aspects of being fit stem from the mental tools you gain during the process. This desire is then translated into eating better and regular exercise. The cycle repeats itself day in and day out, until the “old” you “becomes” a fitter YOU.

I would be lying if I told you that simply eating better and consistently exercising is what a fitness journey is. Your body consumes better food, yes. Your body exercises regularly, yes. The variables largely come into play when dealing with what your mind endures; that is the real journey. Your body changes and looks “better”, but your mind is the architect to the entire project.

In Summation….

Fitness Journey = Idea => Nutrition + Exercise. (The idea you have about how you want to change your body/lifestyle yields the changes in your eating habits and exercise, as they as necessary components for change in this arena).

Part Two: Lets Get You Started

You don’t need a fancy gym pass to start, or amazing cooking skills. All you need is your desire. I wanted to write this towards a general audience, I don’t know what your specific goals are.

1). Start slow, if you are new to fitness or have a fair amount of weight you want to get off of you, go for a brisk walk every single morning on an empty stomach. Start for 20 minutes, then progress at your own pace. This is a journey remember, not a race, you shouldn’t care how long it takes, just that it gets done. Losing weight and becoming fit takes immense amounts of trial and error, if you feel like you aren’t making progress, switch it up! If you can briskly walk for an hour in the morning with minimal breaks, congratulations, it is time to step up your game.

2). Use the mirror AND the scale. Weight fluctuates dramatically, for some more than others. If you see changes in the mirror, that’s wonderful, but do not be discouraged if the scale doesn’t say what you were hoping for. A tip I have found when I tried to lose a fair amount of weight was to weigh myself multiple times a day, if I could, to see that weight is in fact just a number. This number will change, it will go up and down, but it should not come close to ruling how you approach your journey.

3). Pay attention to how your clothes fit. If your jeans are fitting looser, or your t-shirts are becoming less snug, then you’re on to something if you want to lose weight. If you are trying to gain lean muscle, gauging progress via your clothes can be tricky (use the mirror instead).

4). Read muscle magazines with caution. Don’t get me wrong, I love magazines like Men’s Health, Flex, and Muscular Development (I don’t read women’s fitness magazines since well, I’m a guy). These can give great generalized advice regarding nutrition, workout regiments, training tips, or motivational tools, but try and remember that what works for you is what matters. I lost over 70 lbs because I didn’t skip a day  of training or any of my meals for over four months. I trained every body part almost every single day, most people will laugh and call bullshit, but it worked for me. Trial and error is key, here. Try the new “fad” workout that everyone is talking about, it might work, it might not, either way do what you want.

5). You will have bad days, and you will have days where you ask if your sacrifice is worth it. Find motivation in something. It could be simply your own desire, or a picture, a quote, a self-affirmation, a video on youtube, a song,  or something a person said to you. Literally, anything. What motivated me will be far different from what motivated you in all likelihood, so do you and keep pressing on.

6). Nutrition is everything. You spend a portion of your day working out to get your dream body or shed a few lbs, don’t sabotage it by not being prepared to make sacrifices in the kitchen. If you’re shooting for overall weight loss, eat lean and look mean. That means lean means like chicken and turkey, along with vegetables. Throw in some brown rice or sweet potatoes for carbs (but don’t overdo it), everyone is different and trying to assess the importance of each individual carb in a general article like this would be exhausting for us both. If you want to gain lean muscle, eat lean and look mean, as well. You cant go wrong with chicken and rice, just at a higher frequency, invest in a whey protein supplement so you can stay in an anabolic (muscle-building) state throughout the day.

7). The secret to success is that there isn’t one. Consistency wins, period. Staying positive throughout your journey is essential as I briefly alluded to in #5. Seriously though, believe in what you are doing. It sounds so cliché, but if you set your mind to losing 50 lbs, BELIEVE that you can. The strongest mental tool I have ever discovered is the power of visualization. See yourself stepping on the scale achieving your goal, see yourself on the treadmill every day, or running, or whatever your regimen entails. Visualization breeds positivity, and positivity generates progress, isn’t that what we all want in life anyway?

8). Failing is good. If you at some point you don’t achieve what you were hoping for, its ok! Failure is simply another opportunity for you to succeed. If a workout kicks your butt, so what! Get up the next day and focus on beating what beat you. That is the quickest way to progress. Use that failure as motivation, not an excuse to quit.

9). Drink only water. You could write multiple articles about the health benefits of water, but for fitness purposes it’s a simply a must. When you’re dehydrated your body goes into “starvation” mode and actually holds more of that water, hindering your weight loss goals. Stay hydrated all the time. First thing in the morning, drink water. Have your coffee after your water, you’ll notice your stomach wont respond as negatively. Water boosts cognitive function and lubricates your joints, so your mind and body will be on the same page during your workout.

10). Take pictures. You don’t have to post them online obviously, they should be for you. Take pictures every week or two weeks, or if you had a really good day of eating and killed your workout. They serve as motivational tools during this process. It’s a long journey and you are going to need to see some returns on your investment (looking at pictures of the “new” you will boost your morale and increases the likelihood of your success).

Part Three: Why Should You Listen to Anything I Have to Say?

“Yo so are you a CPT (certified personal trainer)?”. No, I am not. I don’t have certs, or multiple degrees in exercise physiology, nutrition, or physical therapy, but don’t give up on me yet. I have been training in the gym since I was 16 years old (currently 23), and have been playing sports all of my life. Going to the gym, training outside, and making healthy progress is my favorite thing to do, and I’m slowly realizing that I could help people achieve their goals; nothing would satisfy me more as a person.

I have had two separate “fitness journeys” in my seven years of training. When I first started working out, my goal was to put on muscle and gain strength. I started at 175 lbs and not being able to bench press 75 lbs, I was painfully weak. By age 19 I had reached a solid 230 lbs in weight and was far from that initial pathetic bench press (my personal best is 425 lbs unassisted and fully paused at the bottom at age 22). My second journey started this January when I got the flu. I lost almost 20 lbs in two weeks and ate maybe twice in that span. I felt horrible, losing all that I had worked for, but I saw it as an opportunity. I got back into the gym, started getting back to my roots of running and playing basketball, small and simple changes. I began eating healthier and mixed with cardio every single day, I lost a little over 72 lbs when it was all said and done.

Everyone asks for “stats”, so I’ll just provide them.

Age: 23

Height: 6 ft.

Weight: 192.3 (this morning after two meals)

Waist: 28 inches.

Current Goal: Lean Muscle Acquisition, Overall Health.

Current “Diet”: Chicken, mixed vegetables, brown rice with a touch of tomato sauce (4x daily), 6 eggs and 2 cup of oats in the morning, 2 tbsp of extra crunchy peanut butter every 3 hours as a snack.

Supplements: Creatine Monohydrate (no, it doesn’t kill), green tea extract (I also drink 3-4 cups of green tea daily, mixed with stevia sweetener at times), coffee and amino acid capsules before workout, and at gaspari nutrition aminolast during my workouts (2 scoops provides over 10 grams in aminos).

Strength/Fitness Feats: 425 lbs flat bench press, 635 raw deadlift, 415 decline bench @ bodyweight of 181.2 lbs (morning weight), 140 lbs one-arm dumbbell clean and press (done last week at 189 lbs). 140lbs dumbbell incline presses for 5 reps @ 182 lbs bodyweight, 180lbs weighted dips for 5 reps (4 45 lb plates wrapped around a weight belt),  150 decline pushups consecutively, 6:10 mile at 225 lbs bodyweight, 710 lbs rack pull (192 lbs), and 30 handstand pushups.

(These stats span over the seven years I have been focused on training). I started putting in body weight movements during the month of March (2013).

I didn’t post any pictures in this article because that just felt so self serving, but there are some progress pics I have on my instagram (addisteven). Follow me!

Thanks for reading, any and all feedback is appreciated but most importantly I hope I can serve as some kind of motivation for someone to get out there and make their own incredible journey into a real life success story. Take care, all.