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Plan of the Month: Get Lean in 4 Weeks, Week 3

Follow along with MensFitness.com's 'Plan of the Month'. This month is dedicated to leaning down. Here's week 3 of 4.

Program Introduction

This exact moment is a critical time for your physique. Sure, your abs may have suffered a little damage when you overdid it on the cornbread stuffing and pecan pie at Thanksgiving. But, on the other hand, you have yet to pack on the extra pounds from all the holiday parties, office baked goods and drinks with your buddies that always come around at Christmastime.

Right now your body composition is in your hands. You can spend the next few weeks engaging in the bad habits that will have you running on the treadmill from now until August to get your body back or you can buck the trend and actually try to lean out during the holidays, setting yourself up for healthy and fit 2013.

Luckily, we are here to help. What follows is the ultimate month-long Get Lean Program, designed to help support your goal of winning the title of ‘most ripped guy’ at your New Year’s Eve party (truly, all parties should hand out a trophy for this achievement).

The Method Behind The Metabolic Madness

When it comes to a fat loss program there are two critical factors. The first is to utilize demanding exercises that increase the heart rate. Therefore, you won’t find any seated biceps curls or hip abduction machines in the this program. Second is to keep the rest periods relatively short and to actually adhere to them. In other words, you can’t allow yourself to get distracted by the hot girl in the tight yoga pants banging out a set in the squat rack or the latest weather bulletin on your cell phone and extend your rest periods. Keep an eye on the clock at all times. You are going to be performing circuits which alternate between upper and lower body movements (again, to drive up the metabolic demand) while keeping the reps fairly high. This means that, if you’ve been training for strength or even mass, the weight selection will have to be a bit lighter than usual to accommodate.

Incorporating Intervals

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past decade you have probably heard that interval training is a great method for fat loss. We’ll be utilizing interval training as part of our overall program. Intervals are made up of two components: “work” periods and “recovery” periods. Given that people will come to this program with a different level of fitness, it’s not possible to prescribe the exact settings you should use when performing your intervals. Therefore we are going to use a simple rate of perceived exertion scale of 1 to 10; 10 being the most intense. Shoot for an exertion level of 3 during the recovery intervals and an exertion level of 8 during the work intervals. Be sure to perform a light 5 minute warm-up of your choosing before starting your interval training.

* You can utilize a treadmill, bicycle, step mill, climbing machine, rower, battling rope, Prowler, sled or eliptical machine for the interval training.

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