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72 responses

  1. Christine
    December 31, 2008

    Hi Rusty,
    I’ve been following your site for almost 2 years. I have a request to make, and feel free to decline, if it’s too much to ask. I was hoping that you could do a post on how to “get to it quickly” and lose weight – maybe even geared towards women. I know it’s that time of year again – the infamous New Years resolution time. Therefore, instead of having to peruse through an infinite number of articles to come up with one plan, maybe you could put it all together (ie. IFing, HIIT, and how many calories/macronutrients to eat during the feasting stage). This would help tremendously!
    Happy New Year!

  2. NYC-Meathead
    December 31, 2008


    I’ve been an avid reader for some time now. I’m finally ready to take the plunge. I’m currently 220 with that “bouncer” look and about 20% body fat, even though I work in a large bank and wear a suit everyday. I’m about to head out for the night this NYE, but looking forward to logging in 35 lbs lighter and lean this exact time next year.

    I’ve been through the posts and will re-read them religiously. Thanks for sharing your insight, and hope you keep blogging for the new year!

    Happy 2009 All!

    NYC Meat Head

  3. Tom
    January 1, 2009

    Hey again Rusty,

    This is off the beaten path but just curious about how tall is Hugh Jackman and what would you say he weight is for the upcoming Wolverine movie? You are great at finding or guess what a persons weight is for a role.

    THanks!! Happy New Year!!!

  4. Venkat
    January 2, 2009

    Have you tried the crossfit workouts? They have some great workouts every day on their website http://www.crossfit.com

  5. Dax
    January 2, 2009

    Hey Rusty,

    So, I am down to my last 20 pounds and will be going to Greece for vacation this spring. I really want to lose the weight and it’s getting harder (the closer to your ideal weight, the harder right?). I read this article, have read the articles you wrote on HIIT cardio routines, and the article you wrote concerning the 800 calorie a day diet for short periods (based on the LCD diet study).

    But, I had some questions. When I read the article on the 800 calorie a day diet, they were comparing diet+cardio to diet+weights. The diet+weights was superior at maintaining lean body mass, which I’m concerned about. The study did not mention doing all three (the diet, weights, and cardio).

    So, is doing all three too much? Will an hour long cardio routine (the first 20 minutes of which is HIIT) in the morning, a weight routine as you described in this article at lunch, and a 800 calorie a day diet be TOO harsh? I’m thinking of doing this for 3 weeks, then being moderate for a week, then doing it for another 3 weeks, etc.

    I’d very much appreciate your advice.


  6. admin
    January 3, 2009


    I have done bodybuilding-type lifting and strength training. Strength training routines are nice, because you don’t get the soreness that is typically associated with bodybuilding.


    I’m going to create a free downloadable report focusing in on losing the last 10 pounds. Unfortunately the title “Losing the Last 10 Pounds” in taken. Darn It! As far as losing weight quickly, I’m trying to get an interview with a well respected trainer in California who helps clients drop large amounts of weight quickly. His course is kind of pricey, but much cheaper than hiring this guy for a couple of sessions.

    NYC Meathead,

    You are going to go from bulky bouncer to “hip GQ guy”…very good decision. You will fit into some nicer suits. The only down side is that you old ones aren’t going to fit anymore. Still, well worth it in my opinion!


    Hugh Jackman is 6’3″ tall and has a medum-to-slightly-large frame. I’m the same height but have a small frame. I would estimate his weight at 210-215. Many people would guess higher than that, but his ripped looked is caused by dense muscle and low body fat but he doesn’t occupy a large space. When he wears clothes he looks a little bigger than average, but doesn’t have the bulky look at all.

    I would guess he wears a size 44-46 Long Athletic Fit suit. He most likely has a size 34 inch waist. One of the reason’s I’m good at estimating sizes is that I have managed a high volume suit store over the past 5 years and I rarely need to use measuring tape to fit anyone these days.

    In an interview with his trainer when Hugh was getting ready for the last X-men movie said this…

    “Wolverine isn’t supposed to look like a bodybuilder. It’s a very athletic role that he has to play. So he needs to look the part but he needs to move properly so we tried to focus on athletic movements. Things that would not make him move like a bodybuilder but move like an athlete.”


    I have a ton of respect for the people who are involved with crossfit. Definitely a step in the right direction away from bodybuilding type workouts…and more towards functional strength and health.


    The politically correct answer is to tell you that the routine you described is too harsh. I would tone it down a bit and see what happens. Also…you could possibly do a tough 3 week stretch maybe just once. When you are 5 pounds away from your ideal weight, you have to be careful…you may have to alternate one week tough with one week moderate.

    The more I think about it, the more I think that 3 weeks is just too rough for someone who only has 20 pounds to lose. Try 2 weeks on and one week off and calibrate from there. The cardio doesn’t have to be for one hour in the morning…I would stick to 30-45 minutes max. Always remember, the leaner you get the more cautious you need to be about a drastic calorie reduction or too much cardio, etc. The first 15 pounds can be lost in 4-6 weeks, but the last 5 may take 4-6 weeks if you want to keep all of your muscle.

    Hope that helps,


  7. Tom
    January 3, 2009

    Thanks Rusty!!

    My question from your response on the Hugh Jackman is how to I know which is better for my frame. I am also 6’3 and I hover around 205 always. I know I have some fat to lose but no more then 10lbs. I am between a meso and endomoph and I am naturally lean. Should I work towards more of a will smith I am legend or the hugh jackman with a little more muscle mass at 205 i am very lean broad shoulders about the same suit size as mention for Hugh.

  8. Dax
    January 4, 2009

    Hi Rusty,

    Thanks for being so helpful and having such a great site. I appreciate your input. I’m leaving on my Grecian trip in June, so I have several months (though honestly, I would definitely like to get to my ideal weight . .. with abs . .. way before that.

    I will do as you suggest and stick with my plan for 2 weeks, 1 week off, with only 30-45 minutes cardio, 800 cal diet, the weight routine. The weight routine would be set up so I can work upper body muscles at least twice a week (like the split you described). I don’t work my legs mostly because of the elliptical workout I do for cardio. I have defined muscular legs and calves already.

    However, if you have a better suggestion, I’d love to hear it.

    Thanks as always,


  9. Chris
    January 5, 2009

    I think a lot of people are mistaken about what effective training for bodybuilders consists of.

    The body part splits that are often referred to as “bodybuilding workouts” are effective for precontest, heavily chemically enhanced bodybuilders with several years of training.

    Even if your goal is to gain mass (mine isn’t), unless you meet the above profile, that kind of training is not the best way to do it.

    Big, heavy compound movements are. Despite all the guys you see curling in gyms and the like most of them would have bigger bicepts if they put the toy weights down and spent more time deadlifting and doing chins. The programming most people seem to associate with “bodybuilding” either very specific to high level bodybuilders (not most of the gym population that wants to look good) or being misapplied.

  10. ahm
    January 6, 2009

    hey i’m looking for for some re-assurance that the next workout plan that i will preform is a good idea.
    i’m 18 yrs old 5 10′ and about 155 pounds with very low body fat, i’m happy with my amount of muscle and am not looking to put any mass on(at least for a couple years)

    so usually i’ve been working out with wieghts every second day alternating from a chest, back, and shoulders day to a legs, biceps, and triceps day. (abs are thrown in their as well)

    and for the next week or two i intend on doing a efficient full body workout using mainly dumbbells and obviously in order to make it efficient the exercises are compound and multi joint
    i’m wondering if doing the full body routine will give me enough recovery time and if there is anything else i should keep in mind about this plan it would be appreciated, keeping in mind it is not going to be my usual workout out i’m just doing it for a bit to switch things up
    thank you!

  11. Jim
    January 7, 2009

    When you say use low reps for getting toned what are considering to be a number of reps?

  12. admin
    January 7, 2009


    I am betting you would look ideal right around 195-200. It is hard to know for sure. You will fit in a wider variety of clothes if you get closer to 44L in a suit coat. So I guess slightly bigger than Will Smith in I am Legend would be a great goal to shoot for.


    You will have plenty of time to get in the best shape of your life. Make it a reality and enjoy that trip!


    Good points. The big lifts are definitely the best bang for the buck for gaining overall body mass. Also…feel free to put the name of your website in the comment section. I want people who comment to get visitors to their sites as well. Next time you comment do this: Your Name – Name of Your Site. Have a good one.


    A full body routine is a great way to switch things up. Once you get back to your original split, you will find you will get even better results from that workout. Not a bad idea at all (I recently did a similar thing for two months by doing a full body Turbulence Training Workout).


    The typical bodybuilding rep range is 6-12 reps. I would consider 3-5 reps to be a low range for definition. The main thing is to avoid the pump, stop short of failure, make sure the diet is in order and do some form of HIIT.


  13. Tom
    January 8, 2009

    Thanks once again Rusty!!! You input is so valuable. I dont know what I would do without this site. I check this site for new updates more than I check my email!!! Have a good one keep up the great work!!!

  14. mike
    January 8, 2009

    I dont get the whole functional fitness thing. ( i actually do but ill get to that later). Who wants functional fitness. Most people browsing websites about fitness are not athletes anymore. What good is strenght and functional fitness if you are not in college or high school anymore. Why train like an athlete if you no longer are on a team? Also, you all act like its so easy to put muscle on..!!!??? If i just did cardio and high rep training i would be a skinny geek. Whats so bad about looking good. 3rdly, the bodybuilding look? Come on now. You only get that look if your on roids, or if you are naturallly a big person who works out. guys who are under 180 should look to build muscle. thats what looks good. Back to the funcional fitness thing. everyone wants to talk about functional training because its the only way personal trainers like you guys can make money … on athletes. There isnt much money in training the average joe just to get fit.

  15. Anferney
    January 10, 2009

    Hello Rusty

    Nice Post i really learnt lots of things from reading this.
    Am also trying to go for that GQ look but i have more of a Running Back physique, for some strange reason i cant loose the mass on my thights and legs. am going to start The 2 Day Split work out you posted so at what rep and set should a 210 pound individual work with and also do i use light weights or heavy thats the only part that i get confused with.

    Thank you.

  16. Mark Thomas
    January 16, 2009

    You say that you dont train legs directly? Surely to train your back muscles but to then leave your legs to tone through cardio would lead to muscle imbalances? The back muscles would become a lot stronger than the hamstrings, which would lead to back trouble. Or maybe i’m missing something here?

  17. admin
    January 20, 2009


    Being functionally fit is what makes the body look good. Also, training like a bodybuilder, even without roids, create a bulky look that is not only unappealing, it slows you down. Being slim and defined is a way to not only look better now, but look better as you age. Anyway, it seems you have a different opinion and that is cool.


    If I was you I wouldn’t do direct leg lifts. Stick with heavy weights, but try to drop overall body weight while you maintain strength. Thing low reps, without training for “the pump”…then hit cardio hard after that. If you are already lean, but still too muscular, you may have to focus a bit more on “marathon cardio”. This is steady state cardio done for 30-40 minutes at a moderate jogging pace. If you just need to lose fat and have the right amount of muscle, then do more HIIIT (Intervals). Either way, watch your food intake.


    I know that my advice of “avoiding direct leg lifts” is my most controversial piece of advice. Even a decent amount of the regular readers of this site disagree with me here. I still argue that HIIT, sprinting, running stairs, and bodyweight circuit activities build the ideal legs…lean and defined without excessive mass (similar to male and female professional soccer players). Intense HIIT keeps the legs strong, but in a different way than lifting.


  18. Goonie – Easy Weight Loss
    January 21, 2009

    Great Tips Samuel, This workout split would be better for people who want to get the best result on bodybuilding with proper ways. Slow but scheduled!

  19. Hunter
    February 7, 2009

    Hi Rusty,

    So if it’s a 2 day split to you do it 3 times a week?

  20. Regina
    February 8, 2009

    Hey Rusty,

    So as you’re not a fan of bodybuilding type of training then what do you think of Bodypump? (http://www.lesmills.com/global/en/members/bodypump/bodypump-group-fitness-program.aspx) Would it be a good way for females to achieve the perfect shape of body by doing Bodypump? I mean it’s not going to bulk you up because of the really high reps, just give you some muscle tone. I’d like to know your opinion about this kind of training.

  21. Al S
    February 18, 2009

    Rusty, i agree with everything you said in the article (along with the entire website), but i am confused with the 2 day split routine. DID YOU MEAN THAT I SHOULD ONLY LIFT 2 DAYS A WEEK OR DID YOU MEAN TO REPEAT THE 2-DAY SPLIT AGAIN DURING THE WEEK?

  22. charlie
    February 19, 2009

    This is a great site. I don’t even know how I came across it, but I’m hooked. My question to you is…I’m 6 ft. 160 lbs. I’m not really looking to lose weight, in fact I’d like to gain maybe 5-10 lbs but I really want the look you promote here on your site. Right now my routine is similar to the bodybuilding routine you mention in this site, although I do your HIIT 2 days a week and also play hockey 3 nights a week. What’s your take on this routine for a skinny guy that’s trying to gain a little weight but achieve your look?

  23. peter j
    March 13, 2009

    Hi Rusty-

    Thanks for this great site – I’m very new to the gym and working out, so I’ve been reading and taking tips from you nonstop.

    I like this split and it seems to get me where I want to go. I’m 6’2″ and weigh 150. Got so skinny because I was hit by a car a while back and loss all sorts of stuff in my recovery. Feeling good now, but want to get some strength and tone back.

    I’m just about 4 weeks in, 5 days a week. I do this split and just a HIIT on Wednesdays. Problem is, I’m LOOSING weight! Haha, seems like a good thing, but I don’t want to waste away. What would you think about cutting the HIIT from my splits and just doing the weights? I bike 15 miles roundtrip to work everyday, about 25 mins each way with enough change to keep the heart pumping. I eat plenty, though never really had a massive appetite. I’m hoping more of this sort of training will just bring the tone out of my skin and bones…

  24. Tim
    April 4, 2009

    So, with each set, do you increase the weight? I’ve been doing compound exercises for back, chest, and legs on Monday. Wednesday, I’ll do isolated exercises for biceps, triceps, shoulders, etc. Friday, I’ll do compound exercises again, but at inclines or declines depending on the week. For each excerise, I do four sets:
    Warm up set: 12 reps, 50% of 1 RM
    Acclimation set: 8 reps, 75% of 1 RM
    Working set: 5 reps, 90% of 5 RM
    Final set: 3 reps, 95% of 5 RM
    I just started this routine last week, and I’m wondering if I have the wrong idea. Obviously, in reading this article, my objective is to gain strength and not bulk. Please advise. Thanks.

  25. MB
    May 18, 2009

    Hey Rusty,

    First of all, I can’t tell you how glad I am to find your site. Such good advice, written in a simple straight-forward easy-to-understand style is extremely rare on the Web! Keep up the GREAT work!

    I’m 5’10” and weigh around 195 lbs with around 20% body far!!! I want to get down to 165 lbs and around 10% body fat.

    I currently follow a “whole-body” workout routine 3-times a week, working with one exercise per body part. I do 3 sets per exercise of 8 reps each.
    Following your advise, I’ve dropped leg exercises in favour of a 20-min HIIT session on a stationary bike afterwards. My routine is as follows:
    Mon, Wed, Fri: “whole-body” followed by 20-min HIIT session followed by 2×1 min planks.
    Tue: 30-min HIIT followed by 15-min steady state.
    Thu: 45-min of squash
    Sat-Sun: OFF (time with family)

    I’m also trying my level best to eat a healthy low-carb diet.

    Do you see anything in my exercise program that I need to change to achieve my goal??? Please adivce.

    Many thanks.

  26. MB
    May 18, 2009

    Also, how does a 3-day whole-body workout (1 exercise per body par) compare with a 2-day split (2 or 3 exercises per body part) like you’ve outlined above?


  27. MB
    May 19, 2009

    Yet another question regarding your 2-day split; doesn’t it lead to overtraining of the biceps and (specially the) triceps…because these are being trained on successive days, and even more so if the 2-day split is done “back to back” for 4 consecutive days?

    Many Thanks,

  28. Jonz
    June 30, 2009


    I’m new to your site and i’ve been reading non stop for the past 2 days or so. I am currently caught in the “gym body” category for quite some time and recently took much time to hit more cardio to get leaner. Loads of ppl are sayin that i’m getting bigger – aint something I want coz i’m 5’11” and weighin in at about 185lbs and about 19% body fat mostly on the trunk.

    I’ve just tried out your workout routine for the first time – to me it feels weird to churn out those low high intensity, controlled reps compared to the 8-12 reps i’ve been used to. I’ll keep this goin on for a month or so to test it out as your site has open my eyes to exactly what I’ve been goin after for so long. Hopefully i’ll be reaping off positive results from this.

    Cheers for all the great write up.

  29. fitness1st
    February 10, 2010

    nice post!are manny pacquiao do this workout?are all boxer player do this?helpful topic.

  30. Boxing Routine
    May 31, 2010

    I agree. Among all athletes, I think boxers have some of the most impressive physiques.

  31. carlos
    August 8, 2010


    Just wanted to let you know of the progress I’ve made over the last two months. I’ve lost 30lbs, down to 34″ jeans that are starting to feel loose around the waist, my strenght has greatly improved and I’m saving money on groceries!

    I used to be in the military back in the day and was always a bit more fit than my non-military buddies. On our ten year reunion I was the only one who could still fit inside our class shirt.

    Fast forward a couple of years and things had changed, I’m 5’9″and wal already up to 230lbs with a 37″-38″ waist. I was feeling like crap needless to say.

    I made a comitment to get back into shapeon 6/6/10 and I’m chugging along nicely , next step is to get down to 190 and then re-evaluate where I go from there.

    I’ve been thinking about trying this out, tell me what your think.

    incline press 3×3
    incline fly 3×3
    db press 2×3
    pull ups 2×3 add 5lbs every week
    standing press 2×3

    standing presse 3×3
    db press 3×3
    side lat 2×20
    db rows 2×3
    incline press 2×3

    pull ups 3×3
    rows 3×3
    pull downs 2×20

    thxs for everything!
    incline flyes 2×3
    standing press 2×3

    Each bodypart has a day where it is prioritized and the others have a lower volume. i would do strategic cardio on the three weight training and go for walks or 65-70% cardio on “off” days. EST would be doneon sundays and thursdays.

  32. Joe C
    June 7, 2012

    If you want to build mass you do 6-8 reps (a former Mr. Universe says so), where do you get the idea that low reps doesn’t build mass? You need to do a little more research.

  33. brian
    July 22, 2012

    Hello, my years of trial and error and being around “lifters” has taught me the word “bulky muscles” is just well….SILLY.See, you ever hear girls say ” I don’t wanna lift weights cause ill GET BULK muscles ??? Your silly for thinking muscles get bulky, when they simply ADD LEAN MUSCLE MASS, remember you will not wake up and look down and say to yourself DARN THOSE SQUATS GOT ME BULKY AND ALL I WANTED WAD MUSCLE TONE

  34. sam
    July 26, 2012

    Hey Rusty,
    I’m a soccer player and am not new to working out. Its just that im very inconsistent because i don’t see results like i want to. Anyways you mentioned that some athletes train their whole bodies everyday. I was trying to do a full body workout for three days but i want to know if i can do a full body workout every day(obviously it wont be intense). I want to workout in the mornings so i can do cardio/soccer in the afternoon with friends. What do you think? Also i know how you emphasize on toning so much, but i feel as though some of my muscles need to be a bit bigger.(ex i don’t have any back muscles but my chest is ok, i want bigger lats than my chest.) so is there a way to make all my other muscles stronger, while at the same time enlarging other desired muscles for a more proportional body?

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