How To Get Shredded By Summer

Mike Matthews – Verified Straight Shooter – Practice what you preach.

When you hit the beach this summer, are you going to turn heads, or turn stomachs? Okay, maybe a little dramatic, but seriously, summer is only a few months away, and you don’t want to be that guy playing beach volleyball with his shirt on. Fortunately, it’s not too late. You have time to get shredded for summer, but you need to do it right, and you need to start right now. Let’s get to it.


Here’s a simple little fact most guys want to avoid: If you want to get big and strong, you have to lift heavy weights. Muscle grows in response to increased tension within the muscle. In order to keep stimulating growth, you have to keep increasing the tension caused by lifting that is, you have to keep adding weight to the bar. I think Ronnie Coleman said it best!

Ideal rep ranges are a never-ending debate, and I don’t want to waste your time summarizing the many views on the subject, so I’ll just cut to the chase. If you’re not on steroids, working in the 12-15 rep range for 20-30 sets per workout is only going to lead to overtraining. Forget supersets. Forget drop sets. Forget giant sets. It’s time to follow Professor Coleman’s words of wisdom, and lift some heavy ass weight. What does that mean, exactly? Well, here’s what I want you to do: Warm up, and then lift in the 4-6 rep range with weights at about 80% of your 1RM. Once you hit 6 reps, add 5 lbs if you’re working with dumbbells, and 10 lbs if you’re working with a barbell, and carry on. Work with that new weight until you can do 6 reps, and move up again. I know forum warriors will cry bloody murder and say you can’t grow for shit working in this rep range…but they’re wrong. Research has shown that this is the ideal rep range for increasing strength (and I think we all know what happens to muscles as they get stronger), and through my work, I’ve been fortunate enough to work with hundreds of guys that have made startling gains in both strength and size working exclusively in this rep range.


Machines suck simply because they don’t stimulate muscle growth like free weights do. If you want to maximize your muscle growth leading up to the summer, then you need to keep your hands off the machines, and on the barbells and dumbbells. If you want to build a big chest, then you’d better be bench pressing. (And not on the Smith Machine.) If you want legs, then you’d better be squatting (and again, no Smith machine allowed). If you want a big back everything, then you’d better be deadlifting. Heavy ass free weights only until summer. Hoorah.


Long, low intensity cardio sessions tend to negatively impact muscle growth and burn relatively few calories, thus rendering them ineffective in helping with fat loss. Studies such as those conducted by Laval University, East Tennessee State University, Baylor College of Medicine, and the University of New South Wales have shown that shorter, high intensity sessions, however, not only cause less muscle breakdown than low intensity, steady-state cardio, but they burn more calories and stimulate more fat loss. Simply put, HIIT is the SHIT. Har har har. And it’s really simple.

Here’s how it works:

  • 1. You start your workout with 2-3 minutes of low intensity warmup.
  • 2. You then go allout, as fast as possible, for 30-60 seconds (depending on your conditioning).
  • 3. You then slow it down to a low intensity recovery period for 30-60 seconds (again depending on your conditioning).
  • 4. You repeat this cycle of allout and recovery for 20-30 minutes.
  • 5. You take 2-3 minutes to cool down at a low intensity.

You can apply the HIIT style to any type of cardio that you would normally do. You can head outside and walk and sprint, or you can hop on the elliptical trainer or recumbent bike to get it done.


Chances are you’re going to need to shed some body fat to be shredded for the summer. Just like lifting heavy ass weights makes you bigger and stronger, burning fat is equally simple: Consume less energy (calories) than your body expends each day, and it will burn fat to make up for the deficit.

This requires three simple steps: first, determining how much to eat every day; second, creating
a meal plan that meets those needs; and third, sticking to it. How Much You Should Be Eating Every Day Here’s a very simple guideline for eating to lose weight, based on the Katch McArdle formula.

Every day, eat the following:

  • 1.2 grams of protein per pound of body weight
  • 1 gram of carbs per pound of body weight
  • 1 gram of fats per 5 pounds of body weight

(In case you’re wondering, I’m not a fan of lowcarb diets, because carbs help you lift heavy ass weights, which in turn helps you maintain your muscle while cutting.)

Creating Your Meal Plan
Take your numbers, head on over to CalorieKing, and create a day’s worth of food that meets your targets. If you want to use a free app to track everything, I recommend MyFitnessPal.
I don’t care what you eat so long as you don’t eat too little or too much every day. Try to be within 100 calories of your target (and for calculation purposes, protein and carbs are 4 calories per gram, and fats are 9 per gram).

Download a couple recent meal plans of mine if you want to get some ideas.

Sticking To It
Follow that meal plan every day and exercise 3-5 days per week, and you will lose weight. Or cheat a bunch and be fat this summer. Up to you.


Well, maybe this shouldn’t be a MUST, but it’s worth mentioning. While you certainly don’t NEED any supplements to lose weight, there are a handful that can help.

Ingesting caffeine before exercise increases fat mobilization. Big surprise. The amount you should take depends on your tolerance. If you’re not a regular caffeine user, 150-200mg will get you pretty pumped. If you are, it might take upwards of 400-500 mg to feel anything.

Conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA, is an essential fatty acid that occurs naturally in dairy products and meats. Research has shown that supplementation with CLA helps reduce body fat and prevent weight gain, and also helps preserve muscle by lessening the catabolic effect of training on muscle protein. Like any truly helpful fat loss supplement, CLA is no wonder product, but it does give a little boost to your fat loss regimen. According to the CLA studies cited above, dosages of 3-7 grams per day are most effective. You should spread this out over three servings (one with breakfast, lunch, and dinner).

Green Tea Extract
Green tea extract is an herbal product derived from green tea leaves. It contains a large amount of a substance known as a “catechins,” which are responsible for many of tea’s health benefits.

One of these benefits relates to weight loss. Acute supplementation with GTE accelerates exercise induced fat loss, and can help reduce abdominal fat, in particular. Based on the studies cited above, you want to take 600-900 mg. of catechins per day to realize their weight loss benefits. The average GTE product contains about 150 mg of catechins per pill.


If you TLDRd my entire article to check the summary, here it is… summer body
To get shredded by the summer, you must:

  • Lift heavy shit.
  • Stay off the machines.
  • Do HIIT cardio.
  • Stick to a proper meal plan.
  • Take the right supplements.

You have three months. The fly honeys are waiting. Fuark.

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