Finishing Phase 1, healthy eating, working out, and taking the right supplements should be a regular part of your daily routine. Hopefully, your commitment is revealing positive change and increased energy. It’s time to prepare yourself for some intense muscle-building in Phase 2, as well as the introduction of cardio to kick-start the fat-burning process.
Training: Week 5 & 6
Moving into Phase 2, the focus continues to be building muscle, courtesy of a 6-day workout split. The repetitions in this phase fall between 8 and 10, with the exception of certain exercises, where really challenging the muscle requires more volume.
Work at 85 percent of your maximum effort, which means your last rep in each set should be a struggle but still doable. Don't sacrifice form for strength, and ask for a spot as you progressively lift heavier weight. Safety is key!
Lifting heavier means you'll need longer rest periods between sets. For some exercises, you'll feel ready to continue after one minute; other exercises might require two. Regardless, the rest period should be long enough to allow you to tackle each set with as much exertion as possible. The one exception is when you encounter exercises grouped as a superset. This means performing an exercise set immediately after a different exercise set with nearly no rest taken between exercises (sets)—only enough to position yourself for the second exercise.
You'll also need to know what "lifting to failure" means. On your last set of an exercise, instead of lifting to a set number (rep), continuing to lift until the muscle is fatigued and another full rep can't be performed. Though lifting heavier will increase your heart rate, at this point in the program, we will begin to incorporate 4 days of medium-intensity cardio, done in 30-minute increments. Forgoing the cardio in the first phase allowed your body to use all of the "clean" calories it consumed for everyday activities and building muscle. By introducing medium-intensity cardio in Phase 2, we'll begin to facilitate fat burning, while minimising the risk of losing any hard-earned muscle.
Training: Week 7 & 8
These are your last two weeks to achieve as much muscle gain as possible. These workouts are intense—you should use as much weight as you can safely. Instead of consisting of 3 sets, many of these exercises will increase to 4, with fewer repetitions (e.g., 4 sets of 8 reps). As during the last few weeks, you'll be incorporating supersets and taking your sets to failure. With maximum exertion required, you might need to rest longer between sets. Two or three minutes should suffice for most of you.
Your workouts for these weeks might take longer to execute with the increased volume and rest time. If you feel like you need to, reduce the outlined 4 days of 30-minute-cardio sessions to just three. Once we move into the final and third stage, the workouts will shift from an emphasis on weight training to a greater emphasis on fat burning and cardio.
Nutrition: Weeks 5-8
Because you're doing even more activity during this phase, you might find yourself becoming hungrier. No worries. Eat up, as long as you make healthy selections! You need more fuel, and your Phase 2 nutrition plan will accommodate your body's newly developing needs.
You'll still be eating a meal or snack every 2-3 hours, focusing on healthy food, you'll learn how to adjust your calories so you're not starving.
During Phase 2, I want you to start reducing your carbohydrates, since the goal is to lean out. The best way to taper down is to begin eating fewer carbs later in the day, or at least exchanging starchy carbs like potatoes and grains for vegetable carbs like broccoli. Your total calorie intake during Phase 2 actually won't change a whole lot from Phase 1, even as we remove some of those starchy carbs from your diet. Your macronutrient mix will change a bit, as those carbs are replaced with a bit more protein. You're starting to add the cardio, which we didn't have before, so you're naturally going to be burning more calories.