No one’s seen you without a shirt on—in public, anyway— for the past several months, and that’s probably just as well. Between holiday partying and the cold winter, you haven’t had much incentive to keep your belly in check. Until now. Warm weather’s around the corner, and you might even have a vacation to some tropical destination planned. In short, you’re ready to start training again so when that shirt does come off, it’s not so big people mistake it for a bed sheet. Use this plan to cut up in six weeks.

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HOW IT WORKS

The biggest mistake most make when trying to lose fat fast is performing high-rep workouts and overdoing cardio. The best way to increase your metabolism is to increase your muscle mass, so you burn more calories both during exercise and at rest—and that means heavier weights and lower reps. It also means hard exercises. Moves like the Zercher squat, farmer’s walk, and deadlift promote the release of testosterone and growth hormone, which tell your muscle cells to grow and your fat cells to shrink. 

We’ve included cardio intervals at the end of two of the workout days. They take only four to eight minutes to do, but they’re still not required. We’re so confident that the weight training prescribed here—combined with a high-protein, lower carb diet—will carve you up that we’ll leave the cardio to your discretion. Whether you do it or not, rest assured that you’ll be home, showered, and watching TV while the other guys are still slogging away on the treadmill.

DIRECTIONS

Perform each workout once per week. You can do I and II on back-to-back days, rest a day, and then do III and IV. Superset exercises marked A and B. So, you’ll do a set of A, then B, rest as prescribed, and repeat. The remaining exercises are done normally. Take three seconds to lower the weight on each rep of each exercise. In the first week, use light weights— about 60% of what you can handle. Increase your loads gradually each week until, in Week 6, you’re sure you’re going heavier than you could have in Week 1. At this point, add one set to each exercise (the number of reps is up to you, where applicable). Do no training the next week. Your body will compensate for the intensity by growing bigger and stronger.

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DAY I

1A. WEIGHTED PULL UP
Sets: 4 Reps: 4–64–64–6, as many as possible Rest: 120 sec.
Attach a weighted belt to your waist or hold a dumbbell between your feet. Hang from a pullup bar with hands just outside shoulder width, palms facing away from you. Pull yourself up until your chin is over the bar. It’s OK to use body weight alone, or a latpulldown machine, if need be.

2A. BENCH PRESS
Sets: 3 Reps: 8 Rest: 0 sec.
Grasp the bar just outside shoulder width and arch your back so there’s space between your lower back and the bench. Pull the bar out of the rack and lower it to your sternum, tucking your elbows about 45 degrees to your sides. When the bar touches your body, drive your feet hard into the floor and press the bar back up.

2B. DUMBBELL PULLOVER
Sets: 3 Reps: 8 Rest: 60–90 sec.
Grasp a dumbbell and lie back on a bench so your body is perpendicular to it. Hold the weight over your face and, keeping your elbows slightly bent, lower the dumbbell behind your head until you feel a stretch. Pull it back over your face.

3A. LOW INCLINE DB BENCH PRESS
Sets: 3 Reps: 8–10 Rest: 0 sec.
Set a bench to a 30-degree incline or less and lie back on it with a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder level. Press the weights up directly over your chest.

3B. ONE-ARM DB CHEST SUPPORTED ROW
Sets: 3 Reps: 6–10 (each side) Rest: 30–60 sec.
Set an adjustable bench to a 30- to 45-degree angle and lie on it chest down. Grasp a dumbbell in one hand and draw your shoulder blade back as you row the weight to your side.

4A. SPLIT STANCE DB PUSH PRESS
Sets: 3 Reps: 8–12 Rest: 0 sec.
Hold a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder level and stand with feet staggered. Brace your core and dip both knees to gather momentum. Immediately explode the weights upward to press them overhead. Switch the front leg each set.

4B. FACE PULL
Sets: 3 Reps: 12–16 Rest: 30 sec.
Attach a suspension trainer to a sturdy object and grasp an end in each hand with palms facing each other. Lean back and then pull the handles to bring your body up to vertical. Your hands should end up near your ears and your upper back should be fully contracted.

5. HIGH-INCLINE TREADMILL SPRINT (OPTIONAL)
Sets: 4–6 Reps: Run 30 sec. Rest: 60 sec.
Warm up for a minute on the treadmill and then set it to a steep angle. Sprint 30 seconds, then lower the speed and incline. Walk for 60 seconds.That’s one set.

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DAY II

1A. ZERCHER SQUAT
Sets: Reps: 6, 6, 8–10, 12–15 Rest: 0 sec.
Set up a barbell in a power rack just below chest height. Wrap a towel around the bar and then hook your arms under it so the bar rests in the crooks of your elbows. Take the bar out of the rack and stand with feet shoulder-width apart and toes turned out. Squat as low as you can, keeping your torso as upright as possible.

1B. PUSHUP PLANK
Sets: 3–4 Reps: Hold for 30–60 sec. Rest: 120 sec.
Get into pushup position with your abs braced and hands shoulder-width apart on the floor. Your entire body should form a straight line.

2A. SNATCH GRIP ROMANIAN DEADLIFT
Sets: 3 Reps: 8 Rest: 0 sec.
Hold the bar with a wide grip and stand with feet hip-width apart. Push your hips back and, keeping your lower back in its natural arch, bend your torso forward, lowering until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings. Bend slightly at the knees as needed. Squeeze your glutes as you come back up.

2B. PLATE PUSH
Sets: 3 Reps: Push for 45–60 sec. Rest: 90 sec.
Place a weight plate on a towel on a waxed floor or other slick surface so it slides easily. Bend down and push the weight along the floor with both hands.

3. SPLIT SQUAT
Sets: 3 Reps: 6–8 (each side) Rest: 30–60 sec.
Hold a dumbbell in each hand and stand with feet staggered. Bend both knees and lower your body until your rear knee nearly touches the floor.

4A. HAMMER CURL
Sets: 2 Reps: 8–10 Rest: 0 sec.
Hold a dumbbell in each hand at arm’s length. Keeping your upper arms stationary at your sides and your palms facing your sides, curl the weights.

4B. W PUSHUP
Sets: 2 Reps: 8–20 Rest: 0–30 sec.
Get into pushup position and place your hands close with thumbs touching so they form a W shape.

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DAY III

1. BENCH PRESS
Sets: 4 Reps: 4–6, 4–6, 4–6, 6–8 Rest: 120 sec. See page 104.
See DAY I. 

2A. TWISTING DUMBBELL BENCH PRESS
Sets: 3 Reps: 8–10 Rest: 0 sec.
Lie back on a flat bench with a dumbbell in each hand. Hold the weights at shoulder level with palms facing forward. Press them over your chest and twist your wrists as you go so your palms end up facing your face in the top position.

2B. INVERTED ROW
Sets: 3 Reps: 8–10 Rest: 60–90 sec.
Set a barbell in a power rack (or use a Smith machine) at about hip height. Lie underneath it and grab it with hands about shoulder-width apart. Hang from the bar so your body forms a straight line. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and pull yourself up until your back is fully contracted.

3A. NEUTRAL-GRIP OVERHEAD PRESS
Sets: Reps: 6–10 Rest: 0 sec.
Hold a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder level with palms facing each other. Brace your core and press overhead.

3B. LAT PULLDOWN
Sets: 3 Reps: 6–10 Rest: 30–60 sec.
Attach a lat bar to the pulley of a lat pulldown machine. Grasp the bar outside shoulder width and set your thighs under the pad. Pull the handle to your collarbone, driving your elbows down and back.

4A. CABLE LATERAL RAISE
Sets: 3 Reps: 12–20 (each side) Rest: 0 sec.
Attach a single-grip handle to the low pulley of a cable station and stand perpendicular to the machine. Grasp the handle with your far hand and raise your arm straight out to your side until it’s parallel with the floor.

4B. FARMER'S WALK
Sets: Reps: Walk as far as possible Rest: 30–60 sec.
Pick up the heaviest pair of dumbbells you can handle and walk as far as you can. If you don’t have much room, walk in a figure-eight pattern. Keep your core braced and let your arms hang straight at your sides.

5. BURPEE W/PULLUP (OPTIONAL)
Sets: 8 Reps: Perform reps for 20 sec. Rest: 10 sec.
Stand under a pullup bar and bend down to touch the floor. Shoot your legs behind you so you land in pushup position. Reverse the motion and then jump up to grasp the pullup bar and perform a pullup. That’s one rep.

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DAY IV

1A. DEADLIFT 
Sets: 3 Reps: 3–4, 3–4, 6–8 Rest: 0 sec.
Stand with feet about hip-width apart. Bend your hips back to reach down and grasp the bar so your hands are just outside your knees. Keeping your  lower back in its natural arch, drive your heels into the floor and pull the bar up along your shins until you’re standing with hips fully extended and the bar is in front of your thighs.

1B. DEADBUG
Sets: 3 Reps: 6–8 breath cycles Rest: 120 sec.
Lie on your back on the floor and bend your hips and knees 90 degrees. Reach one arm overhead behind you while you extend the opposite leg. Reverse the motion and repeat on the opposite side. Breathe in as you extend your limbs and out as they come back. Each in-and-out breath counts as one cycle.

2A. GOBLET SQUAT
Sets: 3 Reps: 8–10 Rest: 0 sec.
Hold a dumbbell at one end with both hands in front of your chest. Stand with feet turned out, shoulder-width apart. Squat as low as possible.

2B. JUMP SQUAT
Sets: 3 Reps: 8–10 Rest: 60–90 sec.
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Hold for a second, then jump as high as you can.

3. HIP THRUST
Sets: 3–4 Reps: 10–15, 10–15, 10–15, 16–25 Rest: 30–60 sec.
Rest your upper back on a bench and sit on the floor with legs extended. Roll a loaded barbell up your thighs until the bar sits on your lap (you may want to place a towel on your hips or attach a pad to the bar). Brace your abs and drive your heels into the floor to extend your hips and raise them until your torso and thighs are parallel with the floor.

4A. BICEPS ROW
Sets: 3 Reps: 8–15 Rest: 0 sec.
Perform the inverted row as described on DAY III  but grasp the bar with palms facing you. Squeeze your biceps at the top of each rep.

4B. DIP
Sets: 3 Reps: 8–15 Rest: 0–30 sec.
Set up on dip bars. Lower your body until your upper arms are parallel with the floor.

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