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Sports Nutrition

Stay Shredded While Gaining Size

Having big muscle is great as long as you’re not carrying around big fat, too.

[Q] Hey Joel, like you I’m a bigger guy but I’ve always had trouble getting lean. How much, and what kind of cardio should I be doing if I still want to hold the muscle?

[A] Well as far as cardio goes, I do 30 minutes every other day during the offseason. This is to keep good cardiovascular conditioning and blood circulation going. When I’m eight weeks out from competition, I’ll do 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes at night, every day except for leg day. In addition to cardiovascular conditioning, it also gets rid of that thin layer of fat in order to show off the lean muscle tissue that’s hiding underneath. I’ll change it up all the time so I don’t get bored of the same machine. I mostly do the StepMill or stair climber. As for holding on to muscle, you’d be wise to keep your calorie intake high, especially protein. Watch the mirror and the scale to see how your look is developing.

[Q] Joel, a lot of research recommends high-intensity interval (HIIT) cardio for getting super lean but I’m old school ⎯ I like to walk at 3–4 mph on a slight incline for 30–40 minutes. Which way do you prefer?

[A] I’m an old-school guy, too, performing lower-intensity, steady-state cardio. As long as the diet, supplements and training are on point, the fat loss shouldn’t be a problem. I just walk the treadmill for 30–40 minutes at an incline and pace of 4 mph. That gets the job done for me. But as with any kind of training, I’d recommend sticking to whatever your body responds to best.

[Q] My diet is pretty clean and I train hard; but I just can’t seem to find a good supplement stack to help me lean out. What supps do you recommend for getting rid of that last bit of stubborn bodyfat?

[A] Supplements are a huge ally when it comes to getting rid of fat. My supplement stack includes MuscleTech’s NitroTech, which helps me get enough protein to build muscle and support recovery, which is key for sustained fat loss. MuscleTech’s Hydroxycut, along with some CLA, yohimbe and L-carnitine help me get as lean as possible. Tying it all in, I take MuscleTech Vitakic as my multivitamin to ensure I’ve got all the micronutrients I need.

[Q] When you’re trying to get shredded, do you prefer training in the heavier rep ranges or going lighter for more reps?

[A] Well, the training varies. Some days I’ll go in and continue to lift heavy and cater to the larger muscle groups, giving them a major shock. On other days I’ll use relatively lighter weights at a much slower pace, with pauses to shock the muscle and address its smaller fibers. This time, I’ll train until complete muscle fatigue. The bottom line is to make sure you get adequate stimulus during every workout and a crazy pump to know that your muscles are being worked to their max.

Joel’s Top 5 Get-Lean Tips

1 Drink. Increase water intake to 2 gallons per day to maximize the flushing of impurities and the body’s ability to shed subcutaneous water. It also helps keep you feeling full.

2 Eat. Increase protein intake to support muscle gain while reducing your carb and fat intake.

3 Supplement. Bolster your fat-fighting by using supplements that include caffeine, green tea, CLA, L-carnitine and yohimbe.

4 Dry out. Hydrazide by MuscleTech is a good supplement to help you shed excess subcutaneous water.

5 Move. Increase cardio to two sessions per day, varying your intensity and duration each time.