Drop Up to 20 Pounds by Summer

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Summer’s upon us, and if you’ve been procrastinating on your training and diet for the warm-weather season, you might think it’s too late to get ready to hit the beach sans the flab. Well, if excess fat is what ails you, we have the antidote.

Here, you’ll find the tools you need to lose 5, 10, 15 or 20 pounds of fat. Muscle & Performance enlisted personal trainer and former fitness competitor Laura Mak to design cardio programs that will help you burn maximum calories. In addition, we spoke to researchers and combed the science so we could suggest supplements to aid your efforts.

“You still have to diet and you still have to exercise; use the supplements as aids to your program,” says Dr. Harry Preuss, a professor of medicine and pathology at Georgetown University and a fellow of the American College of Nutrition.

As for insuring results, that’s where your will to work hard, eat clean and stay consistent with your supplement intake comes in. “If you don’t comply, don’t complain,” he says. “Those who take supplements correctly usually see results. So before you say a substance ‘doesn’t work,’ make sure you are taking it correctly and as directed.”

To get started on your weight-loss quest, find the cardio and supplement suggestions for your desired weight loss on the following pages — it’s all here, whether you want to simply trim 5 pounds or you need an all-out effort to drop 20.

PROGRAM NO. 1: YOU WANT TO LOSE 5 POUNDS

Five pounds doesn’t necessarily seem like a lot of weight — however, sometimes these first (or last) 5 pounds are the hardest to lose. For the next eight weeks, you will do cardio four days per week with a rest day between each workout. As for supplements, you’ll want to use an appetite suppressor and a carb blocker.

Days 2 and 4: Steady-State Elliptical Program

Mak suggests using an elliptical trainer that has moving handles.

Time/Minutes

Speed

1-5

55-65 rpm

6-25

75-85 rpm

26-30

55-65 rpm

Supplements:

Appetite suppressant with insulin support: The Vitamin Shoppe Citrimax plus Chromium

Carb blocker: The Vitamin Shoppe Phase 2 (500 mg)

PROGRAM NO. 2: YOU WANT TO LOSE 10 POUNDS

Taking off a 10 note will take a bit of dedication. Mak suggests doing cardio five days a week — three workouts will use inclines to build intensity and the other two will utilize intervals — for the next eight weeks. Besides eating well, you’ll want to supplement with an insulin desensitizer, a carb blocker, a fat blocker and a fat burner.

Days 2 and 4: Interval Elliptical Program

Mak suggests using an elliptical trainer that has moving handles. You will begin by doing a five-minute warm-up followed by five interval cycles of one minute of work to four minutes of rest, then finish up with a four-minute cool-down.

Time/Minutes

Speed

1-5 (warm-up)

55-65 rpm

6

80-90 rpm

7-10

65-75 rpm

11

80-90 rpm

12-15

65-75 rpm

16

80-90 rpm

17-20

65-75 rpm

21

80-90 rpm

22-25

65-75 rpm

26

80-90 rpm

27-30

65-75 rpm

31-35

55-65 rpm

Supplements:

Fat blocker: The Vitamin Shoppe Chitosan

3 in 1 formula: The Vitamin Shoppe Carb Shredder (This formula contains the carb blocker Phase 2, the insulin desensitizer chromium and the fat burner green-tea extract.)

PROGRAM NO. 3: YOU WANT TO LOSE 15 POUNDS

Get ready to do some work, but know this: You can safely and healthfully lose 15 pounds in eight weeks. Mak suggests doing cardio six days a week with one rest day. You have to make sure that your diet is dialed in and your supplement regimen will cover the spectrum of weight-loss products: carb and fat blockers, appetite suppressants, an insulin desensitizer and a fat burner.

Days 2 and 5: 40-Minute Interval Elliptical Program

Mak suggests using an elliptical trainer that has moving handles. You will begin by doing a five-minute warm-up followed by six cycles of two minutes of work to three minutes of rest intervals, then finish up with a five-minute cool-down.

Time/Minutes

Speed

1-5 (warm-up)

55-65 rpm

6-7

80-90 rpm

8-10

65-75 rpm

11-12

80-90 rpm

13-15

65-75 rpm

16-17

80-90 rpm

18-20

65-75 rpm

21-22

80-90 rpm

23-25

65-75 rpm

26-27

80-90 rpm

28-30

65-75 rpm

31-32

80-90 rpm

33-35

65-75 rpm

36-40

55-65 rpm

Supplements:

Fat burner (choose one or similar; these are examples): Twinlab Ripped Fuel Extreme, BSN Atro-Phex, German-American Technologies Jetfuel

Appetite suppressor: The Vitamin Shoppe Slendesta

Fat blocker and insulin desensitizer: The Vitamin Shoppe Chitosan with Chromium Picolinate

Carb blocker: Natrol Carb Intercept or The Vitamin Shoppe 5-HTP with B6 (100 mg)

PROGRAM NO. 4: YOU WANT TO LOSE 20 POUNDS

You better be determined and dedicated to your fat-loss efforts if you’re going to drop 20 pounds in eight weeks. Your diet has to be perfect, and your workouts will be intense — we’re talking as in time and effort. Mak suggests doing cardio six days a week with one rest day. Your supplement regimen will cover the spectrum of weight-loss products: a carb blocker, an appetite suppressant, an insulin desensitizer, a muscle builder and a fat burner. The goal is to preserve your lean muscle mass while burning the fat that surrounds it.

Days 2 and 5: 45-Minute Interval Elliptical Program

Mak suggests using an elliptical trainer that has moving handles. You will begin by doing a five-minute warm-up followed by seven cycles of two minutes of work to three minutes of rest intervals, then finish up with a five-minute cool-down.

Time/Minutes

Speed

1-5 (warm-up)

55-65 rpm

6-7

85-95 rpm

8-10

65-75 rpm

11-12

85-95 rpm

13-15

65-75 rpm

16-17

85-95 rpm

18-20

65-75 rpm

21-22

85-95 rpm

23-25

65-75 rpm

26-27

85-95 rpm

28-30

65-75 rpm

31-32

85-95 rpm

33-35

65-75 rpm

36-37

85-95 rpm

38-40

65-75 rpm

41-45

55-65 rpm

Supplements:

Fat burner (choose one, or similar; these are examples): Nutrex Research Lipo 6 Black, SAN Nutrition Tight Hardcore

Appetite suppressor: The Vitamin Shoppe Citrimax with Chromium Picolinate

Muscle builder: The Vitamin Shoppe CLA, whey protein

Insulin desensitizer: The Vitamin Shoppe Cinnamon Extract (500 mg)

Carb blocker: The Vitamin Shoppe 5-HTP with B6 (100 mg)

Note: The recommended supplements in this article are for illustrative purposes only. Consult your physician before using thermogenic weight-loss products.