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Dear Reader,

When it comes to getting information, you have more options than ever. Many of them are online, which is great when you need a little information right away. But when you want detail and depth, a successful outcome, or a rich learning experience, you turn to the source you’re holding now—a book. And not just any book: a Complete Idiot’s Guide.

We designed this Complete Idiot’s Guide for you, because you’re the kind of information seeker we understand and value. You’re smart, competent, and willing to tackle something new no matter how daunting it seems—even when the learning curve is high and you feel like a complete idiot. After all, today’s complete idiot is tomorrow’s expert.

So dive right in and let us guide you past the pain of “beginner brain” and on to the pleasure of discovery and achievement. You’ll get the results you want because our authors are credentialed experts who stick with you every step of the way. You’ll enjoy the process because our editors know what makes learning easy and what just gets in the way. And if we ever fall short, we’ll count on you to let us know so we can fix the problem.

And the next time you need information right away, check in with our online experts at Our commitment to intelligent, accurate information carries through everything we do—in print or online.

Happy learning!

Marie Butler-Knight

Publisher, Alpha Books


Published by the Penguin Group

Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA • Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.) • Penguin Books Ltd., 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England • Penguin Ireland, 25 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd.) • Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty. Ltd.) • Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd., 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park,;  New Delhi—110 017, India • Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, North Shore, Auckland 1311, New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.) • Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty.) Ltd., 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa • Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

First edition originally published as The Pocket Idiot’s Guide to a Great Upper Body, The Pocket Idiot’s Guide to Great Abs, and The Pocket Idiot’s Guide to Great Buns & Thighs

Copyright © 2012 by Penguin Group

All rights reserved. No part of this book shall be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the publisher. No patent liability is assumed with respect to the use of the information contained herein. Although every precaution has been taken in the preparation of this book, the publisher and author assume no responsibility for errors or omissions. Neither is any liability assumed for damages resulting from the use of information contained herein. For information, address Alpha Books, 800 East 96th Street, Indianapolis, IN 46240.

THE COMPLETE IDIOT’S GUIDE TO and Design are registered trademarks of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

ISBN: 978-1-61564-429-2

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 2011912285

14 13 12 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Interpretation of the printing code: The rightmost number of the first series of numbers is the year of the book’s printing; the rightmost number of the second series of numbers is the number of the book’s printing. For example, a printing code of 12-1 shows that the first printing occurred in 2012.

Printed in the United States of America

Note: This publication contains the opinions and ideas of its author. It is intended to provide helpful and informative material on the subject matter covered. It is sold with the understanding that the author and publisher are not engaged in rendering professional services in the book. If the reader requires personal assistance or advice, a competent professional should be consulted.

The author and publisher specifically disclaim any responsibility for any liability, loss, or risk, personal or otherwise, which is incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, of the use and application of any of the contents of this book.

Most Alpha books are available at special quantity discounts for bulk purchases for sales promotions, premiums, fundraising, or educational use. Special books, or book excerpts, can also be created to fit specific needs.

For details, write: Special Markets, Alpha Books, 375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014.

Publisher: Marie Butler-Knight

Associate Publisher/Acquiring Editor: Mike Sanders

Executive Managing Editor: Billy Fields

Development Editor: Susan Zingraf

Senior Production Editor: Kayla Dugger

Copy Editor: Tricia Liebig

Cover Designer: Kurt Owens

Book Designers: William Thomas, Rebecca Batchelor

Indexer: Celia McCoy

Layout: Brian Massey

Proofreader: John Etchison

This book is dedicated to my father, who will always be my inspiration; to my wife, Danese; and to Jeff Tuller, Mindy Mylrea, and the thousands of fitness professionals around the world trying to make a difference.


Part 1: Keys to Success

1 Your Training Mindset

Brain Training Is Key

Schedule Your Workout to Fit

Finding the Workout That Works

Integrating Workouts and Life

Pushing Through the Burn

Add a Ritual or Consistent Routine

Visualize Your New Body

2 Proper Techniques


Maintain Perfect Posture

Weight or Reps Don’t Dictate Form


Three Seconds Both Directions

Go Slow



Do One to Three Sets

Consecutively or Circuits


Ten Repetitions Is Enough

Fewer Reps for Strength

More Reps for Endurance


Less Than a Minute

Long and Short Rests

Two to Three Days In Between

3 Eating Well

Your New Food Lifestyle

How Food Works

The Carbs That Count

Protein Power

Friendly Fats

Lots of Water

Your Daily Diet

Eat to Feed Your Muscles

Eat to Fuel Your Workouts

Eat to Starve Your Fat Cells

4 Putting It All Together

Increase Your Activity

Add Twenty Minutes a Day

Add Five Minutes a Week

Move Your Body


Get in the Mood

Working Out in Intervals

Isolation Training

What Works for You

Add Two Reps a Week

Add One Exercise a Month

Your Healthy Eating Program

Eating After Your Workout

Lots of Water

Essential, Omega-3 Fats

It Works

Part 2 Upper Body

5 Upper Body Made Simple








6 Upper Body at Home

Modified Push-Ups

Close Grip Push-Ups

Chair Dips

Chest Fly on Floor

Single Arm Rowing with Chair

Lateral Arm Raise

7 Upper Body at the Office

Push-Ups Off Your Desk

Dips Off Your Desk

Squeeze the Desk

Shoulder Flexion

Back Exercise

Doorknob Pull-Ups

8 Upper Body at the Gym

Bench Press

Triceps Press

Lat Pull-Down

Seated Rowing

Shoulder Press

Biceps Curl

Reverse Curl

9 Shape and Sculpt

Your Favorite Sitcom Is Your Workout

The Power of Two

Outdoor Training

Mix It Up

Stretching Your Upper Body

Triceps Stretch

Shoulder Stretch

Chest Stretch

Upper-Back Stretch

Part 3: Abdominals

10 Abdominals Made Simple

No Old-Fashioned Sit-Ups

Your Six-Pack

Side Abs

External Obliques

Internal Obliques

Transverse Abdominis



Back Muscles

11 Abs at Home

Posture Perfect

Perfect Crunch


Fingers to Toes

Reverse Crunch



Leg Swings

Side Ab-Ups

Inside Side Abs Reach

12 Abs at the Office

Chair Exercise—Upper Abs

Using Your Desk—Front Abs

Chair Exercise—Front Abs

Chair Exercise—Curls with Resistance

Chair Exercise—Lower Abs

Chair Exercise—Side Abs

Chair Exercise—Advanced Side Abs

Using Your Desk—Side Abs

Chair Exercise—Side Abs 2

Chair Exercise—Advanced Side Abs 2

13 Becoming Toned and Tight

Seated Crunches with Resistance Bands

Roll Up

Butterfly Crunch

Leg Raise

Leg Push

Reverse Crunches with Weights on Your Legs

Reverse Crunches with Resistance Bands

Twists with Resistance Bands

Side Planks

Front Plank

Shoulder Bridge

14 Trim and Tone

Commercial Crunches

Abs at Work

Ab Circuits

Chair Circuit

Floor Circuit

Stretching Your Abs


Upper-Thigh Stretch

Lower-Back Flex

Lower-Back Arch

Back-of-Leg Stretch

Part 4: Buns and Thighs

15 Buns and Thighs Made Simple




Outer Hips

Inner Thighs

16 Buns and Thighs at Home

Lift a Pencil Off the Floor

Free Squat



Climbing Stairs

Back Wall Press

Lying on Your Back Buns Blaster

Lying on Your Stomach Buns Blaster

Side Wall Press

Back Heel Press

17 Buns and Thighs at the Office

Heel Press

Outer Thigh Press

Figure-4 Press

Cross Ankle




Inner Knee Press

18 Buns and Thighs at the Gym

Roman Chair Hip Extension

Stiff-Legged Dead Lifts


Hip Extension

One-Legged Quarter-Squat with Dumbbells

Step-Ups with a Bench

Single-Legged Squat with a Bench

19 Stretch and Burn

Showtime Squats

Working Your Way Up

Walk Before You Jog

Stretching Your Buns and Thighs

Figure-4 Stretch

Straddle Stretch

Thigh Stretch

Side of Thigh Stretch

Butt Stretch


Additional Resources



It’s hard to take your eyes off a well-developed body. A ripped upper body, chiseled abs, and a firm butt and thighs is quite a package, and it’s a package that can and will be yours with the help of this book. All you need are three ingredients explained here: the motivation to work out, an eating plan that fuels muscles and starves fat, and exercises that sculpt your body.

Start your mind-body journey to define your arms, lose your gut, and lift your butt, just to name some of what you can accomplish with the information in this book. You have the desire because you picked up this book; now make the commitment. In a week, you will notice muscles that you didn’t know existed. And when you start to see results in the mirror, like a flatter tummy and slimmer hips, you’ll be hooked.

The purpose of this book is not to turn you into an exercise fanatic or a health-food nut. There is no need to exercise for hours a day or eat perfectly all the time. Exercise a little each day, eat right most of the time, and stay consistent with it, and you’re on your way to a healthy, toned, and beautiful body.

How This Book Is Organized

This book is divided into four parts:

Part 1, Keys to Success, covers the overall scope of your workout program. It discusses how to get your mind set up to meet your goals for your body, the proper techniques for successful workouts, an eating program that will help you achieve long-term success, and how to put everything together to develop and maintain the body you’ve always dreamed of.

Part 2, Upper Body, provides exercises that will cut and define the muscles in your chest, back, shoulders, and arms. You will learn upper-body workouts you can do at the gym, at home, even at the office, as well as stretches to keep you flexible and feeling good.

Part 3, Abdominals, shows you how to work the four muscle groups in your abdomen—your internal and external obliques, your six-pack, and underneath it all your transverse abdominis. Stretches and exercises you can perform at home, the gym, and the office will help you firm up your stomach and love handles.

Part 4, Buns and Thighs, explores exercises you can do at home, the gym, and the office to tone and tighten the muscles in your legs, thighs, and butt—including hamstrings, glutes, and hips. You’ll also learn stretches for the buns, thighs, and legs to help maximize your workouts.


In this book, you will find sidebars that are tidbits of important and useful information to help you along the way.


Common myths and misconceptions concerning diet and exercise, and what the truths really are.


Cautionary warnings to be sure you’re doing your exercises right.


Explanations of the anatomy of different muscles and of technical or unusual terms.


Quick tips about how to do your exercises correctly and keep your form perfect.


I want to thank the photographer, Ron Barker, and our fabulous models, Brittany Scott and Brandon Sears. My wife Danese, and five beautiful children Alaina, Grant, Laura, Susanna, and Julia, who are always finding ways to make workouts fun. And finally my brother, Rick, my sister, Barb, and my mother, Ann.


All terms mentioned in this book that are known to be or are suspected of being trademarks or service marks have been appropriately capitalized. Alpha Books and Penguin Group (USA) Inc. cannot attest to the accuracy of this information. Use of a term in this book should not be regarded as affecting the validity of any trademark or service mark.



Keys to Success

This part covers the overall scope of your workout program. It discusses how to get your mind set up to meet your goals for your body, the proper techniques for successful workouts, an eating program that will help you achieve long-term success, and how to put everything together to develop and maintain the body you’ve always dreamed of.



Your Training Mindset

In This Chapter

Setting your goals

Keeping from quitting

Managing distractions and injuries

Picturing your new body

Congratulations! Purchasing this book is an important step in getting a toned and sculpted body. Choose your goal—having a well-developed chest, or just being able to wear a sleeveless tee shirt; losing your love handles or getting a six-pack; lifting your buns or slimming your hips. Setting quick goals will keep you pumped up for the long haul. Don’t compare your progress to others; it takes them just as long as it takes you.

Take a minute and think about what you will look like in a bathing suit after a couple months of working out. Create a detailed mental picture of your defined upper, mid, and lower body. Find a picture of a person you admire or would like to look like with your same body structure to motivate you.

Brain Training Is Key

A quick examination of how your goals and desires fit your personality can go a long way toward helping you stay with your exercise program. You may prefer to work out at home, in the office, in a gym, or all of the above. Your personality may lead you to a strict regimen, or cross-training in a variety of exercises.

Don’t just start working out. Get on a program you believe in. This will increase your motivation and provide you with the confidence to stick with your workout to deliver the results you desire.

Although you may have given up on working out in the past, this program is doable. You don’t have to pick one form of exercise and plod through it for the rest of your life. Any exercise that gets you off the couch is fine.

Schedule Your Workout to Fit

Be honest. In the past, when you missed workouts or quit programs, it was partly because you were lazy. This program will help you figure out what works for you when it comes to staying motivated for longer than a week or two.

Schedule your meals and workout into your day. The best time to work out is whenever it consistently fits into your schedule. Working out in the morning is a great way to start your day. It’s an energizing way to stimulate your metabolism, and there is less chance that your workout will be interrupted.

Scheduling your workout for later in the evening may be a disaster. Putting off your training until after work or dinner usually means that it won’t get done. Before you know it, you will feel sleepy and it’s bedtime.

Schedule your workout for a set exact time on each workout day. Be faithful to this schedule no matter what.

To get started, your favorite 30-minute easy daily activity plus a couple days of toning and stretching is all you need. Keep your workouts balanced and progressing. This will keep you motivated.

Fifty percent of those who begin an exercise program quit within the first six months because of lack of time, injury, negative emotions, poor social support, or low motivation. You can be in the successful 50 percent that faces these adversities and overcomes them.

Finding the Workout That Works

A combination of your eating program and isolation training is your blueprint for a tight, toned body. But you have to get started. First thing tomorrow morning, schedule your workout.

But be careful—an overzealous training schedule might be the last thing you need. Start slow and progress gradually. Choose activities you love. People who stick with their workout programs are not more disciplined than you. They have simply found a program that they look forward to doing.

Create workouts that aren’t workouts. Any easy activity counts toward your exercise time. Moving around feels good and getting up and out the door gives you a break from your normal routine.

The back of your arms won’t stop waving after one workout, your stomach won’t be a rock, and your thighs will still jiggle, but you will feel so much better about yourself. Your energy level will increase and you will catch yourself glancing in the mirror to check yourself out. Use the photos in this book to motivate your training. Give yourself a reasonable amount of time to notice results.

Your body doesn’t know whether you are walking or skating. Your muscles will firm up whether you use free weights or exercise bands. If you hate the thought of “working” out, go out and play with your kids or have fun with a sport. Push your kids on swings, or play volleyball or tennis. Different activities keep your exercise program balanced. Try new things to keep your fitness moving forward. Use muscles you haven’t used before. Challenge your coordination with one-legged exercises. Try playing a game of catch with your other hand.

Most people start working out too hard or not hard enough. If you can only endure for five minutes, so be it. Add 2 minutes a week until you are training for 30 minutes. You don’t have to work out at your target heart rate five days a week and eat like a health nut. Re-evaluate your goals so that your exercise is specific to what you really want.

If you don’t have much time to work out, break up your program into manageable parts. A full half hour may be out of the question, so separate your workout into three 10-minute segments.

Keeping a log of your workouts can help prevent overtraining or undertraining. Writing down how long you walked or how much weight you lifted is objective evidence that you are making progress.

Integrating Workouts and Life

Make your eating program and workouts a habit. Do not miss any meals or workouts for your first month. Clear your schedule so there are no conflicts.

If you dread exercise and eating properly, tell yourself you can quit after a month. Reward yourself after each successful day of eating and exercise with massages, manicures, or clothing. Create short- and long-term goals as well for motivational purposes.

After you have been working out for a while, instead of choosing the best “calorie burner,” ask your body how the new workout makes you feel.

During your easy-activity workouts, let your mind wander. Your most creative ideas will come to you when you’re doing a repetitive activity that doesn’t require your full concentration. But don’t set out to cure cancer. Use your easy-activity time to answer less-pressing questions so your workouts don’t become work.

You may be the type of person who needs to get pumped up before you work out. But being too jazzed causes you to lose focus. And if you are too relaxed, you may catch yourself reclining on the couch. Get pumped up, but not too much. Your mind affects your workout. Use music, TV, or whatever it takes to tie those shoes and get moving.

Eating rituals are important, too. Schedule meals in advance and sit down to all of your meals. Be consistent. Discipline is a skill that improves with practice. It is better to be consistent and steady than to be perfect for a week and then quit.


You should feel energized and revitalized after your workout. If you feel sluggish and tired, you did too much.

You don’t have to join a gym, but it sure helps. Sign up for a long-term membership so that you will be wasting your hard-earned money if you don’t go. You will make new friends at the gym. Choose a friend as a training partner. Meet your partner at a specific time to work out. Training with like-minded people is motivating, a bit of healthy competition is fun, and a commitment with a workout partner is difficult to break, too!


Partner training is great for your motivation. Choose a reliable partner.

Pushing Through the Burn

Stay cool no matter what. If something goes wrong during your workout, note it, adjust, and then go on. If you don’t get to all of your exercises, tell yourself you will get to them next time.

Even your best-laid plans may go awry. A phone call five minutes before your workout or an unexpected trip out of town can ruin your schedule. Have a backup plan. Reschedule your activity or take an exercise band in your suitcase for your out-of-town workouts.

Change negative feelings and thoughts that distract you from your goal. Mentally prepare for an unexpected event. If the phone rings during your home workout, let the answering machine pick it up. Make fitness a priority in your life, and you will have a firm and tight upper body before you know it.

If you strain a muscle, see your physician and ask if there is a way to work around the problem. Be open to doing different activities outside of your usual regimen.


If you strain a muscle in your arm or leg, don’t forget about the other 75 percent of your body that is looking forward to your workout.

No matter your intentions, it’s not if you miss a workout, it’s when. You are not perfect in other areas of your life, and your workouts won’t be perfect, either. Obsessing about exercise is worse than not exercising at all. If you feel as if you can’t miss a day, you may be setting yourself up for an overuse injury. Your muscles need to rest and rejuvenate at least one day each week; your mind needs a day off, too. A day off may be just what you need to attack your workout the next day. Giving yourself a mental break prevents burnout and makes you more likely to stick to your long-term exercise program.


Abstinence violation is psycho-babble that means when you miss a day of your workout or eating program, you decide to give up and throw in the towel.

Plan for lapses and relapses. Too many people fall off the wagon and then give up. Lapses are part of this program. Cheating on meals and an occasional week off from exercise are not only acceptable, they’re required. Skip a workout on purpose to prove to yourself that falling off the wagon is no big deal. The next day, get right back on the wagon.

Add a Ritual or Consistent Routine

Create your own rituals in your workouts. For instance, before bicep curls, set your feet, bring your elbows in close, bring your shoulders back, put your chest out, take a deep breath, and begin your first rep.

Don’t rush through your workout. How many times have you seen gym rats (not you, of course) using their backs to swing the weights up, instead of using good form? They strain their muscles so bad they can’t work out for a month.

Try this strategy to work the proper muscles and stay safe: Begin by sitting with perfect posture. Squeeze your hands into fists; relax. Bring your shoulders toward your ears; relax. Press your heels into the floor; relax. Press your lower back into the chair; relax.

This teaches you to be aware of your muscles while you are training them. Then, when you are doing your exercises, you will notice if you are unnecessarily straining other muscles.

Visualize Your New Body

You want to have firm arms, a streamlined back, a six-pack stomach, and a butt that turns heads. Imagine what you will look like after a month on the program. If you think you are too tired to work out, begin your warm-up. If you still feel tired, go for an easy stroll instead of doing your full-blown power walk.

Picture the training it will take to look good in your swimsuit. When you visualize yourself training, nervous impulses are sent down pathways to stimulate muscle fibers. So you’re actually getting a workout just thinking about your well-defined upper body.

Imagine performing the bench press. Pretend you are lying on your back on the bench. Pull your shoulder blades together, your feet firmly planted on the floor, and grab the steel bar. Feel your chest muscles flexing as you take the bar off of the rack and lower it toward your chest. Congratulations. You actually created a mind-to-muscle connection.

Watch a mental movie of yourself training. All elite athletes do this. Seeing your workout before you do it is not hocus-pocus; it makes your workouts easier and more effective. Imagine you are in the cafeteria line. What foods will you choose?

Place your right hand on your left upper arm. Feel the definition. Imagine yourself doing a bicep curl. Feel the imaginary flexing of your arm muscles. The more you practice in your head, the more ripped and toned your arms will become. Do the same for your abs and lower body.

Daydream about your goals and you’ll get them. Self-talk such as “My arms are becoming defined,” “My hips are getting slimmer,” or “My abs are getting tighter” raises your enthusiasm. Use your sense of humor every chance you get. Keep your mind on your workout. Use emotions to pump up or relax. Feel strong and know that your body can handle the physical effort. Remain confident no matter what.

The Least You Need to Know

Set specific and quick goals for your exercise program.

Joining a gym and finding a workout partner are helpful in reaching your workout goals.

Missing workouts will happen, but it doesn’t have to throw off your whole routine and goals.

Visualize the body you want and the training it will take to achieve it.



Proper Techniques

In This Chapter

Realizing the importance of good form

Learning how resistance training works

Putting variety in your sets

Understanding rest

When working your muscles, proper form and technique is as important as doing the exercises themselves. Poor form or technique is a recipe for muscle strain, soreness, and injury. This chapter explains proper form and technique when exercising your muscle groups.


All exercises should be performed in a controlled manner and in a range of motion that is comfortable. Keep your form perfect and maintain normal breathing.

Maintain Perfect Posture

Keep your stomach in; relax your neck; keep your back flat (don’t arch). Draw your navel in toward your spine by contracting your lower abs. Do this before and during all of your exercises.

Focus on a specific part of your body. For example, to train your chest, think about pushing away from your body. Relax the remainder of your body so a higher percentage of force is exerted behind the specific muscle group you are working.

Place the palm of your hand just below your navel. Pooch your stomach out as if attempting to pose for the “before” picture on an infomercial. Then use your lower-stomach muscles to slowly squeeze your lower abs toward your spine and hold for three seconds. Relax for a few seconds and try it again. Do this exercise for a few reps. Then, whenever you’re performing exercises, remember to flex these muscles before and during all of your reps.

Weight or Reps Don’t Dictate Form

Move smoothly into each repetition with a controlled and yet 100 percent energized effort, keeping the rest of your body relaxed.

Move through a full range of motion on each of your upper-body exercises. Ease into your workout. Start with some easy repetitions, and then gradually increase the intensity. Breathe normally during an exercise; however, if you are exerting, exhale during the contraction. Inhale on your short rests between each contraction.

Balance is important for symmetrical development of your muscles. An unbalanced workout program can lead to a difference in strength between your arms or legs or chest and back. When this happens, you are more susceptible to injuries.

Muscle groups that oppose each other need to be balanced. Development between each side and the fronts and backs should be balanced. Fortunately, this program has built-in exercises so that you will be training all of your muscle groups.


Take your time on each repetition. The slower you move, the less momentum, and the more work your muscles are accomplishing. You should be able to stop at any point during your rep.

Three Seconds Both Directions

During each repetition of your workout, there are two different phases. One is called the positive or “up” phase of the repetition. The second is the negative or “down” phase of the repetition. It is important to come down slowly on the negative phase. Moving slowly on the negative phase will speed your progress to chisel that new body.


A full range of motion means to stretch each muscle group to 1.2 times its normal resting length on each rep.

Go Slow

Don’t worry about how much weight or how many reps you can do. Instead, think about the quality of your movement. If you are too fatigued to do the negative portion of the rep with perfect control, then you have done enough reps for that exercise.

Your muscles will respond very well when you are using good form at a controlled speed. Cheating on your reps leads to injury. Don’t try to keep up with someone else. Work at your own pace.


Resistance training tones your muscles. Use dumbbells, bands, or your own body weight to challenge your different muscle groups. Pushing and pulling are forms of resistance, too.

Training your body with resistance increases your lean muscle mass. The more lean muscle you have, the more calories your body burns. There is no better way to contour and streamline your body than by using resistance. You cannot spot-lose body fat, but you can tone your muscles.

Your metabolism may be defined as how many calories your body uses, even while sleeping, breathing, or reading this book. Muscle makes up about 25 percent of your metabolic rate. Muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue, with each pound burning about 50 calories a day. Each pound of fat only burns about 2 calories a day.

A major factor behind losing your metabolism is muscle loss. After age 25 you lose about a half-pound of muscle each year. If you don’t start toning, you will lose 5 pounds of muscle and replace it with about 15 pounds of fat every decade. It’s no wonder that your friends who eat the same now as they did in high school are 30 pounds overweight. Resistance training helps shrink flab. The muscle tissue firms up to speed your sluggish metabolism. Muscle is toned and more compact than fat.

Your muscles will tone and tighten in response to repetitive exercise against progressively increased resistance. As your muscles adapt to a given weight, that weight must be gradually increased to stimulate further improvement. The key to strength and muscle tone is the overload principle. Overloading involves applying a greater-than-normal stress to your upper-body muscles. The overload may be increased weight, reps, sets, or less rest between sets. Exercises that do not overload your muscles have little benefit.

Your body won’t get muscle-bound from resistance training. Women are especially concerned that they will develop huge arms or thighs. Because females don’t have high levels of testosterone, they won’t get big and bulky if they train the right way. Even swimsuit models lift weights.


Isometric exercise is where your muscles flex, but there is no movement. Isotonic exercise takes your muscles through a full range of motion. A full range of motion is best to develop the entire muscle.

The intensity of your training is important to your progress. Intensity depends on how many reps and sets you do, how much resistance you use, and how much rest you take between sets.

Duration is how long it takes for you to complete your workout. Your workout should not take more than an hour. Ideally, each session should be completed within 45 minutes. Training too long may have a detrimental effect on your adherence.

Frequency is how often you train your muscle group, such as two times per week. The rest between workouts allows your muscles time to recover from the stress of the workout and for them to become toned and stronger.

Evaluate yourself. If your muscle group is feeling stronger and more toned and you’re not gaining additional body fat, you are doing everything right.

At first, your body weight is enough resistance. Soon your muscles will adapt and you may add resistance using bands, free weights, or machine weights. Your goal will be to do 10 reps with about 75 percent of the maximum resistance you can handle.

When you begin to use resistance, start with a very light weight. Be sure you can perform 10 repetitions with perfect form before advancing to a heavier weight. Gradually add weight. Do not increase your resistance more than 5 percent in a single workout.

If you do not have adjustable bands or plates, perform more repetitions at your previous intensity. Most equipment has 10-pound weight increments.


At first, perform only 1 set of each exercise. In addition to being time efficient, single-set training is almost as effective as multiple-set training.

Do one exercise for each muscle in every muscle group. Always work your larger muscles before your smaller ones. For example, it makes no sense to do a set of close grip push-ups before a set of bench presses. If you fatigue the backs of your arms by doing the close grip push-ups, you won’t have enough strength to perform well on the bench press. Both of these exercises target the backs of the arm muscles. The muscles in the backs of your arms become the weak link in the chain.

Instead, do a set of bench presses followed by a set of close grip push-ups. In this case, your chest muscles won’t fatigue before the backs of your arms do.

Do One to Three Sets

After you have trained for a few months, your muscle groups can handle more than 1 set of a particular exercise. Do up to 3 sets of each exercise.

If you have a break in form, stop immediately. A break in form signals that you’ve worked your muscles enough. Losing your form means you can’t finish your reps without changing your body position.

Whether you’ve done 1 set or 3 sets, after you’ve groaned out that wobbly rep, you’re done. Pay attention to your form rep by rep.

Consecutively or Circuits

If one of your goals is to lose body fat, move quickly from one exercise to the next. Keep charts to record how you are advancing in each of your muscle groups. Write down how many sets and reps, how much resistance you are using, and how much rest you take between sets. As you increase the resistance and the number of repetitions, your muscles will respond.

When you are ready for an additional challenge, do a circuit. Perform 1 set of each exercise without rest. This burns more calories than straight sets of exercises.

Circuit training also forces your cardiovascular system to work overtime. Without resting between sets, you increase the amount of time you spend toning your body compared with the amount of time you spend resting. This increases the metabolic demand of the workout while maintaining your body strength.

Pulsing through your exercises is another way to add intensity. The principle behind pulsing is that instead of doing full-range-of-motion exercises, you just stay at your mid-range and do partial reps. Pulsing preps your body for using more resistance because it allows you to overload the parts of your muscles that are strongest, without being limited by the part of the movement where you’re weakest.

Do 3 sets of 10 pulsing repetitions, resting one minute between each set. Follow that up with a regular set of 10 full-range-of-motion exercises.

Choose an exercise that you have difficulty doing for a single rep. Perform 10 sets of 1 repetition, resting 30 seconds between each set.

This is a fabulous workout because you end up performing 10 repetitions of an exercise you normally can only do for 1 or 2 reps. This program requires you to recruit more total muscle fibers than usual.

Reverse your sets and reps. Take your current set and rep scheme and reverse it. Because you normally do 3 sets of 10 reps, try 10 sets of 3 reps. Because you’re stopping at 3 reps instead of 10, rest 10 seconds or less between sets. Reversing your sets and reps allows you to do the same number of total repetitions, but increases the average amount of force your muscles apply during the exercise.

Another way to change your program is to cut your workout in half. Believe it or not, you may be overtraining your muscles. By reducing the demand on them, you’ll allow them to recover. Another option would be to take a week off. When you come back stronger after this break, you’ll know you were overtraining.

Giant sets consist of performing three different exercises for your muscles consecutively. Set one is performed, directly followed by a set of the second and third exercise. There is minimal rest between the exercises, but rest between sets is about one minute.

A superset is performing two different exercises for two opposing muscle groups consecutively. Set one for the fronts of your arms or legs is performed, directly followed by a set for the backs. There is minimal rest in between the exercises. For example, do a set of reverse curls followed by a set of dips.

Negatives are flexing your body muscles as they lengthen. These are performed by completing a set and then having a training partner help you with the up phase of your exercise.

After you have completed a set of 10 repetitions, you should be using enough weight so that your muscles are depleted and cannot perform another rep with perfect form. Your muscles are so fatigued that you need help from your training partner to complete the up phase of any additional reps. Let your partner aid you in the up phase, then perform the negative portion of the exercise on your own with your partner’s guidance.


Strength gains are not only achieved by increasing the amount of resistance you are using. Increasing the number of repetitions you perform will make your muscles stronger. If you increase the number of repetitions you can perform with good form, you have increased your strength and most likely your muscle tone as well.

Ten Repetitions Is Enough

Doing hundreds of repetitions is kind of like chewing gum. You don’t get a trimmed, toned jaw if you chew a lot of gum. Also, if you could do hundreds of reps with perfect form, you’d be overdue for adding resistance. Ten reps of each exercise is enough, and when those get easy, add resistance.

When you train your muscles, you damage your muscle fibers. After your workout, your body begins to repair those fibers, a process that requires calories.

Added resistance to your body training requires you to use more muscle fibers. You’ll increase the number of fibers that are damaged and burn more calories.

Fewer Reps for Strength

Do 10 repetitions for each exercise. Increase the weight and do fewer reps (6 to 8) if your goal is to gain strength in your muscles. Add enough weight to challenge your muscles but not enough to compromise your form.

More Reps for Endurance

Complete 10 to 12 repetitions with 75 percent of your maximum resistance if your goal is muscular endurance. Ten reps is a good compromise for both absolute strength and muscular endurance.


Training your muscle groups two days a week each is more than enough. Figure out which days will work best in your busy schedule. Spread your days out to get enough rest between your workouts.

Depending on how many days a week you want to work out, you may split up your routine in a variety of ways. For example, here is a six-day split routine for the upper body:

Monday: Chest and triceps

Tuesday: Back, biceps, and shoulders

Wednesday: Legs and abs

Thursday: Follow Monday routine

Friday: Follow Tuesday routine

Saturday: Follow Wednesday routine

You can apply this same idea to your mid- and lower-body muscle groups. There are certainly no absolutes when it comes to splitting up your routine. If you are making progress, stick with your program. If you plateau, change things up to shock your muscles.


There are no good or bad exercises, but some are better than others. Choose those that tone your body without creating aches and pains.

Less Than a Minute

Rest no longer than a minute between sets of any exercise. Do not dawdle between exercises. If you rest too long, you may lose “the pump” and decide to call it a day. Rest a minute between sets of your workouts. Short, frequent rest periods during a workout are important so that your muscles don’t burn out too early in your program.

During your rest period, blood delivers oxygen and energy to your muscles and carries away waste products.

Long and Short Rests

Rest longer on heavy sets and shorter on light sets. Keep track of how much time you rest between sets in your workout. As your conditioning improves, perform the same total number of sets and reps, but lessen your rest periods to a maximum of 45 seconds. This requires your muscles to recover faster between sets and increases your results.

The harder the set, the more rest you need. One way to maximize your time is to superset your exercises, and take less rest between sets.

Two to Three Days In Between

Your muscles should be given 48 to 72 hours of rest before attacking them again. Your muscles firm up between training days. However, too much rest between workouts can hurt your progress. In as little as 96 hours, the benefits of your hard work can begin to disappear.

The Least You Need to Know

Slow your speed to ensure your muscles are doing the work as opposed to momentum.

Strength is gained from increasing resistance and repetitions.

Circuit training adds more cardiovascular exercise to your workout.

Rest two or three days between workouts of the same muscle group.



Eating Well

In This Chapter

How to choose the right carbs

Why a little fat and lots of water are so important

Why a treat doesn’t have to mean total failure

How to feed muscle and starve fat

You may have tried one diet after another with no long-term success. Perhaps you tried a low- or no-carbohydrate diet and noticed a rapid weight loss, only to gain it all back in water weight a few short weeks later. Or perhaps those same foods you abandoned when you started your diet were the ones you binged on and couldn’t resist any longer, and you fell off the wagon. You may have thought it was your fault that you couldn’t resist the cravings and blamed your lack of willpower. But you didn’t fail. Your diet failed.

To slim down the flab on the backs of your arms, get rid of stubborn abdominal fat, and reduce cellulite in your buns and thighs, you have to eat right. The layer of fat between your skin and muscles is the problem. A good eating program, as discussed in this chapter, is the solution.

Your New Food Lifestyle

Rather than viewing changes in your eating as “going on a diet,” see it as a lifestyle change with modifications to your existing nutrition and foods that will make the change easier to maintain.

Keep a food journal to keep track of your nutritional and caloric intake. Simply write down the foods you eat for a week. Keep track of when, what, and why you ate. Did you eat because you were hungry, bored, tired, or nervous? You don’t have to keep a diary forever, but it is one of the best tools to get you the body you want. It may be tedious at first, but it requires you to pay attention to everything you eat.

By keeping a food journal, you can also see what your body is responding to in a positive way or what is hindering you in your progress. You may find that you are not getting enough of one thing and too much of another.


Any diet that restricts a certain food group won’t work in the long term. Short-term diets yield short-term results.

Healthy eating requires discipline, motivation, planning, and commitment. Also, it’s important to get enough fresh air and sleep and to minimize stress—all of which contribute to poor eating habits when you’re not getting enough of them.

How Food Works

When you do not eat enough, your body naturally slows its energy expenditure. Whether it is a famine or just a long time between feedings, your body has a protective mechanism so you do not need to eat as much food during lean times. That worked great during caveman days. Unfortunately, in times of plenty, nature’s protective energy conservation translates into a coating of fat surrounding your upper body, abs, buns, and thighs.

The Carbs That Count

At first you might lose weight on a low-carb diet, but the loss of muscle and resulting metabolic slowdown causes you to regain weight. These diets also restrict fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, making them tough to stay on.


You lose weight quickly on a low-carb diet, but what the scale doesn’t tell you is that most of your weight loss is water and muscle.

The truth is carbs aren’t good for you—they’re fantastic! You just have to make sure you’re eating the right kind of carbs. There are calorically dense (processed) carbs and nutrient-dense carbs. Calorically dense carbs are man-made, refined, and contain a lot of calories per serving, such as pasta, bagels, and boxed cereals. Nutrient-dense carbohydrates energize your muscles for the long haul. These include fruits, veggies, and whole grains. They are packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Most fruits and veggies contain fewer calories than processed carbs and give you the energy you need without adding fat to your physique. The proof? There has never been a single case of someone getting fat by eating apples and oranges.

Colorful veggies such as sweet potatoes, tomatoes, kale, spinach, broccoli, peppers, and carrots are vitamin arsenals that you cannot get enough of. The deeper and darker the color, the better for your body. So eat them as often as possible.

Fruits, veggies, and whole grains provide you with quick energy to power your workouts. They also contain fiber and other compounds that are essential to uncovering your muscles. Nutrient-dense carbs are your muscles’ best source of energy—they’re rocket fuel for your muscles. Think of your diet as feeding your muscle and starving your fat. Eat and drink just enough to satisfy.

The bottom line is carbs aren’t the problem, too many calories are. Don’t eat more calories than you use and your body won’t turn to mush. If you eat more than you burn, regardless of the source of those calories (carbohydrates, proteins, or fats), your flab will grow.

If you’re a marathon runner or ultra-distance cyclist, you burn up a lot of extra calories, so a high-calorie diet is appropriate. But if you work a desk job and don’t have the time to run, bike, or swim several hours a day burning all those calories, you should try to only eat nutrient-dense carbs.

Protein Power

Besides nutrient-dense carbs, another major staple in your diet is lean protein. Eat a serving of protein about the size of a deck of cards at each meal. Protein is muscle-building fuel as long as you eat enough carbs with it. If you eat enough nutrient-dense carbs, then it allows protein to do its job. If you eat too few carbs, the protein you eat has no choice but to be used for energy.

Whether you get your protein from beef, pork, chicken, or turkey, go for the leaner cuts. If you are a vegetarian, eat low-fat dairy, tofu, and lots of beans and legumes.

Even the leanest animal protein contains fat, and eating too much saturated fat is not heart-healthy. The solution is to eat the right kind of fat. Garnish your meat, fruits, and veggies with healthy omega-3 monounsaturated and unsaturated fats. Nuts, seeds, and peanut butter are also tasty, fat-chiseling essential fats. Eat fish several days a week. Fish is rich in omega-3 fat and protein.


Diet sodas don’t satisfy a thirst craving the way water can. And if you miss the potato chip crunch, choose cauliflower, broccoli, peppers, carrots, or celery.

Protein slow-releases carbs so that you feel full longer. This nourishes your muscles and decreases fat stores surrounding the hard-earned muscles of your upper body. Protein is also the foundation for your muscle. Besides water and nutrient-dense carbs, protein is the most important macro-nutrient in your body-sculpting program.

Friendly Fats

Carbs and protein have 4 calories per gram. That doesn’t mean much until you find out that fat has 9 calories per gram. Combine a serving of protein and a serving of carbs and it doesn’t equal one serving of fat.

Fat has more than twice the calories as protein or carbs, but fat is not your enemy. You just need to eat the right kind of fat.

Fat is important in your diet because it makes you feel full. You may eat all of the carbs in the house, but until you eat a morsel containing some fat, you may not be satisfied.

Fat disperses flavors across your tongue. This gives your taste buds a chance to experience a wide range of flavors (sweet, sour, spicy) to create a feeling of satiety or satisfaction.

Drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil, flaxseed oil, or canola oil into your eating program. Eat omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fish, whenever you can.

Omega-3 fatty acids from fish, flaxseed oil, and canola oil improve nerve conduction, lubricate your joints and skin, and have been touted as the next miracle anti-aging agent.


Grab a handful of seeds or nuts. Peanut butter on whole wheat is also a great source of essential fat.

Lots of Water

Water is a very important part of a healthy diet. You need water as a coolant, to digest and absorb food, transport nutrients, build and rebuild cells, remove waste products, and enhance circulation.

Most people walk around dehydrated and don’t even realize it. Drink about 64 ounces of water a day. But if you work out hard, drink more than that. If the weather is dry and hot, or if you are sweating profusely, drink liberally. Water by itself won’t sculpt your body, but it keeps your metabolism revved.


Limit your soft drink consumption and drink water instead. The average can of your favorite soft drink contains about 10 teaspoons of sugar. Replace sugared drinks immediately and within a couple weeks you will see changes in your body just from doing that.

It’s almost impossible to drink too much water. Drink enough water so that your urine is clear, and that you feel a need to relieve yourself every two hours. Water helps to speed up the cellulite-burning process and aid your metabolism. Water is your first choice of liquid fuel, but if you must substitute, drink flavored water.

Your Daily Diet

You should consider adjusting your nutritional intake, time, frequency, and so on according to your schedule and activities. Figure out the foods that work for you. You may prefer to eat most of your starchy carbs through the day and cut back on them in the evening. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a queen, and dinner like a pauper.

Eating breakfast is an important part of a healthy diet. After fasting all night, your muscles need energy. Eating breakfast not only increases your energy, but you will make better food choices for the rest of the day. A good breakfast is oatmeal or a low-sugar cold cereal, nonfat milk, and a banana or raisins.

Eat a turkey or lean roast beef sandwich for lunch, replacing the mayonnaise for mustard or horseradish. Between lunch and dinner try some sliced fruit with cottage cheese. Dinner can be fish, rice, salad with a drizzle of healthy dressing, and your favorite fruit.

Eat before you are hungry, drink before you are thirsty. Never let yourself go more than a couple hours without sustenance. If you don’t eat now, you may eat too much later.


Under-eating leads to cheating. Don’t skip meals. Craving sweets may mean that you are not eating enough throughout the day.

Regular snacks between meals assure that your system won’t cannibalize your hard-earned toned body. A perfect snack is a combination of carbs and protein. Your favorite fruit and cottage cheese or peanut butter and a banana are good choices.

Spend a few minutes each evening planning the next day’s meals and snacks. Examine your schedule. Figure out when you get hungry and have appropriate snacks available. Carry a cooler in your car filled with plastic containers of your favorite foods. Pack peanut butter on whole-wheat bread, yogurt, and a banana; pita bread with hummus, baby carrots, and a green pepper. Keep your desk drawer stocked with nuts, pretzels, dried fruit, and oatmeal.


Simple carbs that have a high glycemic index travel from your stomach to your bloodstream to your muscles, liver, or fat stores very quickly.

Don’t be afraid to special-order at restaurants. Ask that your foods be poached, grilled, steamed, or baked. Request that the chef not add extra oil, cream, or butter in your dishes. Some “special sauces” are very high in calories. Remember to order dressing on the side, so you control how much you will eat.

It is better to be disciplined about your eating than fanatical. Choose round steak instead of hamburger; pork loin instead of bacon; baked potatoes, rice, and beans instead of French fries, fried rice, and refried beans.

What if you need to eat 2,000 calories a day to maintain your metabolism? It’s 10:00 P.M. and so far you have only eaten 1,500 calories. Should you go to bed hungry, or eat 500 more calories?

The answer is: Don’t go to bed hungry. Have a reasonable, healthy 500-calorie mini-meal to ensure that your muscles stay nourished.

Eat to Feed Your Muscles

What you learned in health class and from your mother is still true: a balanced diet of fruits and veggies is good for you. Add a portion of lean protein with a tablespoon of your favorite healthy essential fat and you’re on your way to that sculpted body you deserve. Think of a round plate cut in thirds. One third is a lean protein, one third is a fruit, and one third is a vegetable.

Three things happen to the calories you eat. Either they are burned up by your metabolism or activity, stored in your muscle, or stored as fat. Try eating small meals throughout the day instead of a couple large ones. Your fat cells are a lot less likely to fill up if you eat mini-meals because your body has immediate energy to draw from. If you eat large quantities of food in a single sitting, your body stores what it doesn’t need at the moment. And yes, your body will store this extra energy as fat. A few hours later, you will be hungry again, even though your fat stores are full.

Use the eating-frequency plan that works best for you and your particular lifestyle. A midmorning mini-meal helps stabilize blood sugar so you won’t be ravenous at lunch, but if you eat a huge breakfast of eggs, whole-wheat toast, and oatmeal, you may not need a snack between breakfast and lunch.


Eat until you’re full or you’ll be tempted to eat something that isn’t so good for you. If your body hasn’t received enough nutrients, it’ll let you know through hunger pangs, tiredness, and so on.

When you eat food your body must work hard to digest it. When your body works hard it uses up calories. Eating breakfast-snack-lunch-snack-dinner keeps your metabolism revved all day long. You are constantly feeding your muscle so you don’t have to worry about muscle being used for energy.

After eating correctly becomes a habit, you will look forward to feeding your muscles quality food every few hours. Eat right most of the time and you are on the program. You will have bad eating days and that’s okay. Bad days are part of the eating program. It’s about getting back on track again and again that makes your eating program a success.

Eat to Fuel Your Workouts

Fueling your workout is a major part of seeing great definition in your body. What you eat today and tomorrow will benefit your workouts the next day and the day after that.

Your muscles are 70 percent water. Before you begin your training, drink 2 cups of water. To keep your muscles full and tight, begin drinking 6 ounces of water every 20 minutes throughout your workout.

Balancing your meals energizes your workouts. You may burn between 300 and 500 calories per training session. Therefore, be sure you are eating enough to maintain your hard-earned muscle. Eat four carbs to one protein as soon after your workout as you can to speed nutrients to your depleted muscles.

Eat real food! You don’t need to buy expensive supplements; they don’t make up for poor eating habits. Unlike tablet supplements, fruits and vegetables offer far more than just vitamins. They also contain fiber and other compounds that are essential to a healthy body. Feed your muscles and starve your fat.


Eat for the right reasons. Most people eat for reasons other than hunger. For one month, develop the mentality that you’re going to eat to fuel your workouts. After a month, you can do whatever you like. You’ll be amazed at the difference this makes in how you approach eating, because you won’t want to lose the great results you achieved in that one month.

After your workout, grab a sports drink or glass of juice to energize worn-out muscles. Include a little protein in your after-workout snack, too, because working out tears down muscle tissue, and protein rebuilds muscle. Pair a tuna on whole-wheat sandwich with a glass of juice or sports drink.

Your depleted muscles need energy to return to normal function. Consuming protein and carbs after a workout will also aid in repairing and rebuilding muscle, and replenish the glycogen stores you need. Look for a sports drink with between 10 and 20 grams of carbohydrates per 8-ounce serving. Your next workout will feel easier if you refuel your muscle as soon as you have completed that last set of squats.

The quantity of food you eat before and after your workout depends on your metabolism and your activity. The harder the activity, the more calories you need. If you want to be scientific, eat at least 10 times your body weight in calories to maintain your hard-earned muscle. If you weigh 150 pounds, eat at least 1,500 calories throughout the day. Try having a snack before your workout and see if that helps you move a little farther or get a few extra reps.

The more you work out and the harder each workout is, the more food you need. If you walk a mile, that burns about 100 calories. If you take an indoor cycling class, count on burning at least 450 calories. There are all kinds of formulas to try and determine how many calories you should eat, depending on your metabolism.

If you are moderately active—for example, you walk 30 minutes four days a week and lift weights twice a week—then multiply your body weight by 13. The number you come up with equals the minimum number of calories you should eat each day just to support your metabolism.

Eat to Starve Your Fat Cells

If you don’t eat enough, your metabolism slows and your body holds on to your fat stores. If you eat too much, you add extra insulation around your brand-new muscles.

If you deprive yourself of a certain type of food, you will want it more. Rather than eat all of the health food in your house and then succumb to the “forbidden” item, you could go ahead and satisfy your craving immediately. On the other hand, if you know that a “trigger food” will set off a binge, then don’t start at all. The best way to eliminate trigger foods is to not have them in your home.

To inspire you to stay with your healthy eating program, pinch the fat on the back of your upper arm, on the side of your waist, or on your inner thigh. Grab an inch of fat between your thumb and index finger and then decide if you really need to eat. Or decide if the food you are about to eat will fuel your muscle or add to your fat stores.


A pocket spiral notebook will help you determine if you are eating right or cheating too much.

Eating perfectly all of the time is no fun, and nobody eats right 100 percent of the time. “Keep progressing, not perfecting” is the mantra of healthy eating. It has nothing to do with willpower; it just requires some thought and planning. Plan your meals in advance and have the discipline to eat every few hours.

You’ll know when you lose that extra fat. You’ll feel better. Don’t worry about what the scale says. Instead, focus on how your clothes fit. You won’t be afraid to wear sleeveless shirts, shorts, or a bathing suit. When your clothes fit looser and your energy level increases, you are on the program for life.

The Least You Need to Know

Eat nutrient-dense carbs instead of calorically dense carbs.

Keep a food journal to track your eating habits and make improvements.

Expect not to eat perfectly all the time, but always strive to get right back to healthy eating after a slip up.

Eating several small meals and drinking lots of water are essential to maintaining a healthy diet.



Putting It All Together

In This Chapter

Adding more activity to your day

Learning how to split up your workouts

Starting your healthy eating program

If getting a toned and defined body meant spending a couple hours a day working out, more people would have a sculpted body. It’s not just about working out.

To get the body you want, put it all together: eat right, stay active, and do isolation exercises in the areas you want to strengthen and tone. You will see results fast if you combine all three aspects of this total body program.

And it’s not that hard. The hardest part of the workout is turning off that computer. Finding the time to work out is an art. A few minutes of exercise, several times a day, boosts energy, decreases stress, builds confidence, and helps you sleep better. So if you can sneak five minutes several times a day, you will get more of your computer work done in a shorter period.

Increase Your Activity

Just move. After you start moving it becomes a habit. Soon it will feel excruciating to sit for long periods. Your body loves to move, so let it!

No exercise gizmo is better than simply moving your body against gravity. Move at different angles and intensities to burn more calories.

Listen to your body. Talk with your physician about any tweaks or creaks that last more than a week. Stay below the symptoms of any discomfort or pain.

Add Twenty Minutes a Day

If you can work your way up to moving an extra 20 minutes each day, you are guaranteed to make progress. You don’t have to move fast, just move.

Take the stairs instead of the elevator and park in the space furthest from your office. Make your life one mini-workout after another instead of finding ways to sit.

Don’t work up a sweat, but move. If you have to sit, and no one is watching, punch an imaginary boxing speed bag by rolling your hands around each other above your head.

Keep track of how many extra minutes you move each day. If you haven’t reached 20 extra minutes by dinnertime, go for a quick walk.


A muscle cell weighs more than a fat cell, but a fat cell is almost five times larger than a muscle cell.

You may decide to use a pedometer that attaches to your belt like a pager. It keeps track of how many steps you take each day. Aim for about 10,000 steps a day.

Although you have probably heard these suggestions before, they really work. Shedding fat is a cumulative effort.

Train yourself to move instead of being still. Be creative about adding movement into your day. When your exercise is a pleasure, developing your abs will be easy.

Add Five Minutes a Week

Twenty minutes of extra activity each day is your first step toward seeing better definition in your body. Your next step is to add five minutes of movement each week. In just eight weeks, you will be moving an hour a day beyond what you were doing before. By then you will have the sculpted body you’ve been hoping for.


Crossing your anaerobic threshold or lactate threshold means that you are no longer training at a steady state. You have crossed over the line and are huffing and puffing and burning.

If your boss allows you to sit on an exercise ball instead of a chair, you burn extra calories just keeping your balance. Instead of using email, walk a few steps to your colleague’s office and deliver the message in person.

The more you move, the higher your energy level. With increased energy, you move more. It’s a cycle of progress that trims your body in no time.

Move Your Body

You burn similar calories whether you walk a mile or jog a mile, so why not take it easy? Some people think that there is something magic about running and losing weight. Walking briskly burns even more calories than a slow jog.

If you want to maintain your upper-body muscles, abs, and lower-body muscles, walk instead of run. Pounding the pavement actually breaks down your hard-earned muscle. You probably don’t want the body of a marathon runner, so don’t train like one. Too much aerobic activity breaks down muscle tissue, and you don’t want that.

Stick with nonimpact activities such as stair climbing, elliptical machines, cross-country skiing, and cycling. Do the minimum amount of cardio—30 to 45 minutes, three or four days a week. When you do too much cardio, your body uses your muscle tissue for energy. So take it down a notch.

To discover if you are doing too much cardio or working out too hard, take notice of your strength levels. If you remain strong and your upper-, mid-, and lower-body muscles are sculpted and toned, you are doing fine.


Train according to your perceived exertion. Perceived exertion is a measure of how hard you are training based on how you feel.


Dress for success in your workouts. Comfortable, supportive, breathable clothes are important to melting fat and toning your body. The most important part of your exercise wardrobe is your shoes. If your feet don’t feel good, you’ll find a reason to stop moving. Take a look at your shoes before you begin. Don’t wear your old tennis shoes. Purchase a shoe that supports the type of activity you choose. Because you want to avoid impact activities, get a good, supportive walking shoe for the trails or treadmills. A walking shoe is specially designed with added flexibility in the ball of the foot to “toe-off” on each step.

A cross-training shoe will be fine for pedaling, stepping, or gliding. When you find a pair you like, buy an identical pair for the office. Then over your lunch break, you can walk up the stairs of your office building and take the elevator down for a nonimpact workout.

Get in the Mood

Training your body in the weight room requires concentration. If you zone out during your weight workouts, you won’t achieve the body of your dreams. But your mental state for easy activity is a different story. Movement is a mood improver, and even just walking will lift your spirits. If you don’t enjoy being alone with your thoughts, take headphones on your walk. Get pumped up with your favorite tunes. But don’t let the music inspire you to a level of activity that breaks down your precious muscle tissue.

Working Out in Intervals

After your toning workout, your metabolism stays revved for several minutes. The same is true after you complete your cardio workout.


Excess postexercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) is the afterburn—the extra amount of calories your body continues to burn after you have completed your workout.

Interval training is a way to burn calories fast. And if you burn a lot of calories, you lose a lot of fat. On all of these interval activity programs, stay below the level of huffing and puffing and burning. Warm up for five minutes before you begin and cool down for five minutes at the completion of your workout.

If you reside near a track, try this interval recipe. After your warm-up, walk the length of the track briskly at 70 percent of your maximum effort. Walk slowly around the curve. Do this for 5 cycles. Be sure to cool down with some slow walking and easy stretching when you have completed your workout.

Here are a couple other programs to change up your workouts and keep you progressing. Begin with easy movement, then gradually step it up. Moving fast simply means moving at a pace that is challenging but doable.

Program 1: Begin with a 5-minute warm-up of easy movement and always finish with a 5-minute cool-down. During Week One, move for 25 minutes doing a 3-minute fast interval and a 1-minute slow interval. During Week Two, move for 30 minutes doing a 4-minute fast interval and a 1-minute slow interval.

Program 2: Recreational intervals are fun. You speed up and slow down depending on how you feel. If you’re ready to pick up the pace, go for it. If you are breathless, slow down. Although recreational intervals are not structured, the benefits are the same as regular intervals.

Interval training is not magic. Don’t try intervals every time you move. In fact, it’s better to train according to how you feel. If you love doing intervals, have at it. If not, stay with your favorite easy activity. Moving slowly is a lot better than not moving at all.


Don’t get caught up with thinking you must have a sensational workout every time you hit the pavement. Everyone has off days.

Isolation Training

You can perform your isolation training at home, in your office, or in the gym. Train your muscles no more than twice a week, but with at least 48 hours rest in between workouts. Your exercises should take no longer than a few minutes.

How hard you train your muscles is more important than how long. Go for the burn occasionally, but if your muscles feel uncomfortable for a couple days afterward, you went too far.


Choose the routine that works for you. Push one day, pull the next. Or try chest, back, and shoulders one day and arms the next day. When you stop making progress, it’s time to change your program.

What Works for You

If you prefer to minimize your workout time, just train each area twice a week. But if you love to train, you can do a split routine. A split routine means that you will train a couple times a day on the same area.

If you enjoy working out daily, you can train several days a week using a split routine. Perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions of each exercise with perfect form. Your first set is a warm-up and your second and third sets are working sets.

Remember to mix and match. Your muscles need to be challenged from different angles and intensities for them to grow. Use perfect form to maximize your progress and minimize soreness.


If you are extremely short on time at home or in the gym, do supersets. This routine keeps your heart rate up so that your muscles get toned and streamlined simultaneously. Focusing on one area of the body, perform a set of 10 reps of one exercise, then without rest do another set of 10 of a different exercise. Do 3 sets, take a one-minute break, and then repeat with two other exercises in the same body area.

Add Two Reps a Week

When you first begin training, your body responds to almost any exercise you do, especially women. When they begin training, they improve at least as fast as men.

But if you don’t challenge your muscles, they stay the same. That is why you should add weight when you can complete 10 repetitions with perfect form. Look for visible results in a few weeks.

Add One Exercise a Month

Just as you get bored doing the same exercises, your muscles do, too. When you don’t add anything new to your muscle-isolation programs, don’t expect to see improvement. Adding one new exercise each month will ignite your progress.


Do not stretch your working muscles vigorously between sets. Wait to stretch until after the workout. Instead, use that time to mentally prepare for your next set.

Your Healthy Eating Program

Anybody can go on an exercise program, but changing your eating habits is the key to seeing your new body emerge.

Miracle diets return every seven years with different names. The Atkins low-carb diet is similar to Dr. Stillman’s diet in the 1960s, which required you to eat meat, cheese, and eggs.

Liquid diets have come and gone and so have the single-food (grapefruit, cabbage), all-you-can-eat plans.


Subtract 250 calories more each day from your diet and in a week you will lose half a pound. It doesn’t sound like much, but by using another 250 calories in exercise, you can lose about 2 pounds of flab in a week.

There is no doubt that you can lose weight on diets that limit you to a few food groups, but you cannot keep the weight off. So get back to the basics and do it right. Make eating right part of your lifestyle instead of “going on a diet.”

Eating After Your Workout

Eat half a gram of carbohydrate per pound of body weight within three hours of your workout. If you weigh 150 pounds, you should eat a quick 75 grams of carbohydrate (1 banana) and 19 grams of protein (2 cups of nonfat milk). Eat to fuel your muscles. After you work out, you should eat a 4:1 ratio of carbs to protein as soon as possible to replenish glycogen stores and rebuild muscle. Not only will you feel better, you will have more energy and your arms will thank you.

Following is a partial list of foods for your eating program. This is just a quick sample; what you choose really depends on your taste.


Eat a substantial breakfast and it will power your workout and energize your day.

Mix and match a lean protein, complex carbohydrate, and fruit for each meal and snack throughout the day.

Sample Foods on the Eating Program

* * *

Lean Protein Complex Carbs Fruit

* * *

Turkey Cruciferous veggies Strawberries

Pork loin Cereals Blueberries

Dairy Whole grains Raspberries

Fish Corn family Apricots

Venison Salad family Bananas

Buffalo Lentils Pineapple

* * *

Lots of Water

Water is the ultimate nutrient. Approximately 70 percent of the body is water. Water does not provide energy, but it is involved in just about every process in the human body. Eight glasses of water a day are enough for sedentary couch potatoes, but not for you.

Drink about 1 milliliter of water per calorie that you burn. That means if you burn 2,000 calories working out, you need to drink an additional 2 liters of water.

Essential, Omega-3 Fats

Omega-3 fats from fish and unsaturated fat from oils are part of a body-toning diet.

Eat dietary fat as 15 to 20 percent of your total calories. For men, that is about 60 grams of fat on a 2,500-calorie diet. Women should take in about 40 grams of fat on a 2,000-calorie diet. Your activity level helps determine the amount of calories and fat to consume.

It Works

This eating program is your dream come true. You eat before you are hungry and you drink a lot of water throughout the day. Never let yourself go more than a few hours without food. Choose foods that you love. There are no forbidden foods; you eat what you like in moderation. Prepare your foods in advance so that you know what you are going to eat tomorrow.

Feed your workouts with a combination of lean protein, starchy carbohydrates, and fibrous vegetables. When in doubt, always choose whole foods and natural fruits and vegetables instead of man-made, processed, and hydrogenated products. Take a day off from the eating program once a week—that is part of the program. If you give yourself permission to have a treat now and then, you’re less likely to binge and fall off the wagon. You’ll just get back on the program for your next meal.

The Least You Need to Know

Increase the amount of time you are active by 20 minutes a day.

Add more reps and exercises to your regimen each month to continue your progress.

Steer clear of fad diets and consistently stick with whole, all-natural foods.



Upper Body

This part provides exercises that will cut and define the muscles in your chest, back, shoulders, and arms. You will learn upper-body workouts you can do at the gym, at home, even at the office, as well as stretches to keep you flexible and feeling good.



Upper Body Made Simple

In This Chapter

The major muscles in the upper body

The upper body results men and women seek

The best way to remember your back

The path to broader shoulders is not a dream

Ever notice someone with a great upper body walking through the mall? Your eyes are drawn to well-defined arms, a broad chest, and a tapered, V-shaped back.

Changing the shape of your upper body isn’t brain surgery, and you can have that sculpted upper body, too. Evaluate your upper body in a mirror. Decide if you want to shape and slenderize your arms and shoulders, lift up that chest, and/or firm your back. Be specific about the changes you would like to make according to the anatomy presented in this chapter.

Males usually want to increase the size and density of their upper-body muscles. It’s hard to find a man who doesn’t want a big chest and strong arms. Women prefer an athletic, shapely, firm, and feminine body. A well-proportioned, sleek, and defined upper body is ideal.

Good genes may provide you with a great figure, but you have to earn defined muscles. The purpose of this chapter is to help you design the ideal shape for your upper body. Sure, genetics play a role, but you can improve each of your upper-body muscle groups, increase the separation between each muscle, and enhance the detail of your entire upper body.


There are three basic body types: endomorph, a heavy, rounded appearance; ectomorph, very thin; and mesomorph, V-shaped and muscular. Although you cannot change the shape of your muscles, you can sculpt them to create the best-shaped upper body your genetic potential will allow.

The muscle groups in your upper body.


The upper arms consist of two muscle groups, the biceps and the triceps. The biceps run along the front of the upper arms and are responsible for bending the elbow. The triceps run along the back of the arm.


When it comes to arm training, men have an obsession with the biceps. To be able to fold up your sleeves and display peaked, rock hard, striated upper arms, is one of the greatest sensations of the male ego. Men want big biceps because they are visible in the mirror and attract the attention of others—not just from the opposite sex, but also among their peers.

Make a muscle by bending your elbow and bringing your fist toward your shoulder. The biceps consist of an inner and outer head on the top side of your upper arm. The biceps brachii is your beach muscle. Although some people can make this muscle peak at the top when they flex it, genetics plays a huge role in the actual shape of the muscle.

The brachialis muscle is underneath your biceps and adds fullness to your arm. You can see this muscle better from a side view.


Spend more time focusing your training on your major muscle groups (chest, back, and shoulders) instead of worrying about your arms. When you train your large muscle groups, your arms are working, too.


Women are concerned less about the size of their biceps and more about firmness and definition. The focal point of female upper-arm training is the triceps in the back of the arm.

Well-defined triceps are very attractive. A toned set of triceps creates an image of youth, vitality, and sexiness. Everyone wants to bare his or her arms and be buffed and tank top–ready. Well-toned triceps are a perfect warm-weather accessory. With a little effort, sculpted triceps are within your reach.

The triceps run along the back of the upper arm. Their purpose is to extend the elbow to straighten the arm. Your triceps muscles are almost double the size of your biceps.

The triceps are two thirds of the muscle mass of your upper arms. Because your triceps has three heads and your biceps only two, your biceps will never catch up to your triceps; nor should they.

Extend your elbows to the front with your palms facing down. Find a mirror and look at the back of your upper arms. Your defined triceps are shaped like miniature horseshoes.


One of the first mistakes people make when training the upper body is to train the muscles they can see—chest and arms. Your chest and arms are small muscle groups compared to your back. They don’t have as much potential for adding a visual change to your body.

The back muscles are neglected because you don’t see them every day, but your back is important in creating an overall symmetrical physique that is pleasing to the eye. Women want a toned back because it helps them stand taller and stop that nagging bra-strap bulge. A V-back silhouette gives the appearance of a narrow waist and smaller hips, as well as creating the illusion that your arms are more developed.

Feel the widest part of your back just behind your armpit. Those are your latissimus dorsi muscles, or lats. The lats are the largest back muscles, and the ones that give most of the “V-taper” to your upper body. Your lats run the entire length of your back from your shoulders to your hips. Well-toned lats add shape and width to your upper body. A lat spread that fans out resembles a cobra’s head. If you develop your lats, your friends will notice immediately.

Another important set of back muscles is the rhomboids. These are small rectangular muscles at the center of your back just beneath your shoulders. They are named after the geometric parallelogram with no right angles and adjacent sides of unequal length. They have two parts, a major and minor, and are located on both sides of the upper part of your spine.

If you work at a desk all day, you probably round your back. Pull your shoulders back and down. Your rhomboids are the muscles that did most of the work. Sloppy posture is unattractive, so a poised, confident look is important. Your rhomboids are one of the major muscle groups responsible for maintaining perfect upper-body posture. Flex your rhomboids and your shoulders stay back and your chest naturally extends outward. Your rhomboids counteract the tendency to hunch your shoulders. You feel better and look better with strong, toned rhomboids.


Whether you’re fat or thin, dressed for work or for the beach, wide shoulders give a powerful impression. Broad shoulders are the most visible part of your “X-frame.” Your shoulders are the top of the “V” created by your sleek back. Great-looking shoulders hide possible flaws in your waist and the rest of your upper body. Broad shoulders combined with a V-back create the illusion of a smaller waist, even if your waist size doesn’t change.

To see just how much of a difference this makes, take a pair of socks and stuff them inside your shirt on each side of your shoulders. Then look in the mirror. Even a small increase in width completely transforms your appearance.


You have four rotator cuff muscles that attach your shoulder to your upper arm bone. They are your supra-spinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis.

Shapely shoulders can be yours with a little effort. Cup your right hand on your left shoulder. Raise your left hand toward the ceiling and you can feel your shoulder muscles flex. Any pressing movement over your head involves your shoulders.

Your shoulder muscles, or deltoids, have three parts: medial, anterior, and posterior. Feel your medial deltoids by raising your arms from your sides as if you were doing slow-motion jumping jacks. This is the muscle that widens your X-frame, and, if you train hard enough, will make the sides of your shoulders the size of softballs.

Flex the front of your shoulder (anterior deltoid) by raising your arm to the front. The anterior deltoid muscles are visible just to the outside of your chest muscles. When these muscles are defined, it’s hard to take your eyes off of them.

Don’t forget to train the back of your shoulder (posterior deltoid). The posterior deltoids look awesome when they are cut and defined. They are located further back on your shoulder, just above your shoulder blade. These muscles make an impression when someone sees you from behind.


It is important for you to identify each set of shoulder muscles so you can increase them, tone them, or leave them alone. You have a nice-sized chest, well-defined delts, and your lats are so wide your elbows don’t touch your sides anymore. But the mirror tells you that something is missing. Your head and neck don’t seem to have a solid base of support.

This is where your trapezius (traps) comes in. Your traps are a set of muscles that are often overlooked, because they’re not in your immediate vision. You don’t recognize them as a separate muscle because you use them when you train almost every other upper-body part.

Your traps are thick, triangular muscles that run from your neck across the top of the shoulder, and down along your backbone to the middle of your back. These kite-shaped muscles are the largest muscle group in your upper shoulder. A toned set of traps adds shape to your shoulders and upper back.

Use your traps to shrug your shoulders. Your traps also work with your deltoids to raise your hand. If your traps become too large you might begin to resemble a cartoon character.


If a muscle becomes too large, stop training it. If a muscle is not used, it atrophies. Use it or lose it.


A wimpy chest detracts from an impressive upper body. An undefined chest makes you look older than your years. A sculpted chest appears attractive even if your lower body carries more fat than it should.

A broad chest is perhaps the most widely sought muscle group of the human physique. It is rare to find a gym-goer, particularly a male, who isn’t looking to put another inch or two on the chest. It is the body part that even skinny guys on the beach try to develop.

Place your right hand on your left chest muscle. Push your desk with your left hand. Feel the chest muscles stimulated by the pushing movement. Now place your right hand on your left chest muscle. This time, move your left arm horizontally, back and forth. Your chest muscles flex when you bring your arm toward the middle of your body.

Ideal chest development is not a hanging, bulbous mass, but muscles that are fully defined from top to bottom. The chest muscles run all the way from your collarbone to just below your nipple.

For guys with low body fat, the chest muscles cut a sharp, flaring line clearly delineating the outer and lower chest border. The chest muscles are fan-shaped, and the outer and lower fibers are one and the same muscle.

Your chest muscles are referred to as pectoral muscles. The pectoralis major can be felt under the breast when the muscle is flexed. The pectoralis minor is near your collarbone on the upper chest.

The pectoralis major is larger and attaches to the sternum. The pectoralis minor connects to the collarbone. Both pectoralis muscles are surrounded by the collarbone, sternum, and ribcage, and are attached to the upper-arm bone.

The Least You Need to Know

The upper body is comprised of arms, chest, back, shoulders, and traps.

Don’t neglect training your back just because you can’t see it.

Broad shoulders are desirable because they make the waist look smaller.

A well-defined chest gives a youthful appearance.



Upper Body at Home

In This Chapter

The convenience of upper-body workouts at home

The most effective push-ups and dips

The way to target your chest and back

The shoulder workout

There’s no place like home for training convenience. You don’t have to drive anywhere, the weather is never a problem, and you don’t have to worry about parking. Best of all, you can exercise in your pajamas and no one will care. At home, you don’t have to talk to anyone. If you feel uncomfortable around hard bodies, you won’t have to see them, either. And you may not enjoy working out around people of the opposite sex. You don’t have to wait for machines or hear the endless clanging of weights, and you don’t have to wipe sweat off machines. At home there are fewer distractions than in the gym. Most importantly, you won’t have a monthly gym payment.

No gym equipment is necessary to develop firm arms, a tapered back, and a well-defined chest. On all tone-at-home upper-body exercises, keep your back straight, stomach in, neck relaxed, and head up. Perform each exercise three seconds up and three seconds down through a full range of motion. Perform 10 repetitions of each exercise exhaling on the exertion phase of each rep. Focus on the muscles you are training and relax the others. If an exercise is too difficult, choose another one.

Modified Push-Ups

Modified Push-Ups are the best exercise for your upper body. You firm your chest, back, arms, and shoulders. The rest of your body has to support your movement, too.

Keep your back straight and knees slightly bent so that a straight line can be drawn from the back of your head to the back of your heels. At first, don’t concern yourself with how far you descend. The up position is a workout in itself. As you get stronger, go down further until eventually your elbows bend at 90 degrees.

Do not rest in the up or the down position. Do not fully extend your elbows in the up position. Your elbows should always remain soft (slightly bent). Move slowly through each repetition so that if you stop at any point during the rep, you maintain perfect form.

Be careful that your back doesn’t sag as you fatigue. Lead with your chest and resist the temptation to drop your head. Your head should always stay in line with your spine. Begin doing modified push-ups on the wall. When you can do 10 repetitions with perfect form, do them from the floor on your knees. When you can do 10 reps with perfect form, try them from your feet. You can also use a stability ball to make the exercise easier or more difficult.

Your hands are shoulder-width apart on the wall or on the floor. If you are on the floor, you may begin on your knees or on your feet.

Lower your chest a few inches by bending your elbows 90 degrees.

Return to your starting position by extending your elbows.


Your pectoralis major and pectoralis minor muscles are the muscles of your chest. They may be toned and tightened from several different angles.

Close Grip Push-Ups

Close Grip Push-Ups zone in on the backs of your arms and the fronts of your shoulders. This is one of the best exercises for the backs of your arms.

The back of your body should be a perfectly slanted ramp from the top of your head to the back of your heel. Don’t allow your head to drop or move to either side. Your head should always stay in line with your spine.

Lead with your chest on each repetition. Keep your upper arms near your sides. Do not allow your elbows to flare out or lock in the up position. If your wrists or elbows hurt when you perform this exercise, spread your hands out until you are pain-free. Do not rest in the up or the down position. Keep your elbows in close to your body and your back straight throughout the duration of the exercise.


Any movement where you flex your elbows in a pulling motion tones the fronts of your arms. Any movement that extends your elbows tones the backs of your arms.

Your hands are together creating a diamond shape with your fingers on the wall or on the floor. If you are on the floor, you may begin on your knees or on your feet.

Lower your chest a few inches by bending your elbows to a 90-degree angle, keeping the elbows close to the body.

Return to your starting position by extending your elbows.

Chair Dips

Dips tighten the backs of your arms, chest, and shoulders. Don’t round your back or bend your elbows too much. Keep your back straight, elbows in, shoulders down, and chest out.


To preserve your shoulder joints, do all exercises in front of the neck instead of behind the neck. For all exercises there is a risk versus benefit. There is no reason to do any exercise pressing from behind the neck because of possible rotator cuff damage and cervical spine injury. And for triceps, the load puts too much stress on a hyper-flexed elbow. There is no need to flex the elbow beyond 90 degrees to train the triceps. A great rule of thumb is that you should always be able to see your hands during any exercise.

Begin each exercise by drawing your navel into your spine. At first, bend your arms only slightly for each rep. As you get stronger, bend your arms further until you max out at 90 degrees. Never bend your elbows further than 90 degrees. In the up position, keep your elbows soft.

If this exercise is too difficult, allow your legs to boost you back into the up position on each rep. An advanced form of this exercise would be to place a weight in your lap when you perform your repetitions.

Sit on the edge of a chair with your hands behind you and your palms facing downward.

Keep your hands shoulder-width apart and extend your legs out to the front.

Brace yourself with your hands as you lower yourself a few inches by bending your elbows.

Return to your original position by extending your elbows.

Chest Fly on Floor

The Chest Fly on Floor shapes up your chest. Begin each exercise by drawing your navel into your spine. Flex your chest muscles as you move through your range of motion. Imagine flexing your chest muscles together so that a nickel wouldn’t fall out from between them.

Concentrate on flexing your chest on both the upward and the downward motion to get maximum results. Keep your elbows bent at all times and be sure that both arms move together. Shoulders should stay down and your head should rest on the floor. When you can perform 10 repetitions with perfect form, add more weight.


If you have a twinge of discomfort as you move through any exercise, find a different range of motion to prevent pain and possible injury.

Lie on your back with your arms out to the side with your elbows slightly bent. Hold a light can in each hand.

Bring your arms together toward the middle of your chest as if you were hugging a tree—not too straight or bent, just a slight curve at the elbow.

Return to your original position, bringing your arms in the same path that you did when you brought them together.

Single Arm Rowing with Chair

The Single Arm Rowing with Chair gives your back that hourglass shape. Begin in a position of stability. Draw your navel into your spine. Keep your upper body square to the floor for the duration of the exercise. Resist the temptation to twist your upper body.

The first movement you make should be your shoulder blade moving toward the ceiling. It is particularly important on this exercise not to jerk the weight up. Be sure to keep your back tabletop flat and don’t bring your elbow up too high.


Be careful not to fully extend your elbows or knees on any exercise, as that takes the resistance off your muscles and puts pressure on your joints.

Stand next to a chair and bend from your hips with your left hand supporting your body on the chair and your right arm extended by your side. Keep your back straight during the entire exercise. Hold on to a can with your right hand.

Pull the can up to your side by lifting your elbow toward the ceiling.

Return to the starting position moving your arm along the same path.

Lateral Arm Raise

The Lateral Arm Raise builds the sides of your shoulders. You may never have to wear shoulder pads again. Perform this exercise seated or standing.

Begin by drawing your navel into your spine. Keep your back straight and move slowly so that you are not throwing the weights. You should be able to stop at any point during the lift and maintain perfect form. Keep your elbows slightly bent throughout the movement and bring your hands no higher than shoulder level.

If this exercise is too difficult, lighten the weight or bend your elbows 90 degrees. To make this exercise more challenging, extend your elbows until they are just slightly bent. For further isolation, you may perform all of your repetitions with one arm and then repeat with your other arm.

Begin by sitting with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms held to your sides with your elbows slightly bent.

Keep your elbows bent as you raise both arms up from your sides until they are parallel to the floor.

Return to your original position, keeping your arms moving in the same path.

The Least You Need to Know

Weights, a chair, and/or a bench are all you need to tone your upper body at home.

A straight back is essential for effective push-ups.

Always use slow, controlled movements with weights.

Add more weight when you can perform a set of reps in perfect form.



Upper Body at the Office

In This Chapter

Working out at work

Toning with desk push-ups and dips

Working the shoulders and back from your chair

Using a door for arms and back

Upper-body training in your office is fun because there are so many different exercises to choose from. Do a set of 10 repetitions and then write that important memo. During your next set, ponder a company takeover. The great thing is that you won’t sweat bullets because you are cooling down between sets, writing memos, and answering the phone. Your creativity will improve when you add mini-workouts to your day. Your colleagues will marvel at your always-pumped, well-defined arms.

Treat your office workouts just as you would your gym workouts. Your chest muscles don’t care whether they are pressing a bar or a desk. Train each upper-body muscle group no more than twice a week, but if you enjoy working out daily, split up your body parts. On Monday, train your chest and the backs of your arms. On Tuesday, work your back, shoulders, and the fronts of your arms. You could even tone a single muscle group each day.

Use perfect posture on every exercise. Hold your head up, shoulders back, stomach in, and chest out. Perform 10 repetitions of each exercise. Be careful not to lock your elbows. Begin each movement by drawing your navel in toward your spine using your lower-abdominal muscles. Continue to flex those muscles through the duration of your reps. Breathe normally or exhale on the exertion of each rep.

Push-Ups Off Your Desk

Push-Ups Off Your Desk are great for your chest, the backs of your arms, and shoulders. Make sure your desk is secured to the floor!

Performing desk push-ups is less challenging than doing them from the floor, so you may have to do several sets to fatigue your muscles. Draw an imaginary line from the top of your head to the back of your heel. Keep your wrist neutral and don’t allow your back to sag.


Don’t baby yourself during your office workouts. Your muscles don’t know whether stimulation comes from a weight machine or pressing against the back of your chair.

Move slowly through each repetition—three seconds down, three seconds up. If it is too difficult to do a regular desk push-up, just bend your elbows a couple inches on each rep. As you get stronger, increase your range of motion. Never go beyond a 90-degree angle with your elbows. After a few months, you can challenge yourself further by stopping for three seconds every inch on your repetition down and every inch on your repetition up.

Stand about a foot away from your desk and place your hands shoulder-width apart on the top edge of your desk.

Lead with your chest as you lower your body toward the desk by bending your elbows.

When your elbows bend to 90 degrees, press back into your original position.

Dips Off Your Desk

Dips Off Your Desk tighten the backs of your arms, shoulders, and chest. Make sure that your desk is secured to the floor. Sit on the edge of your desk or chair and (as soon as no one’s watching) begin your repetitions.

Maintain perfect posture throughout the duration of the exercise. At first, bend your elbows an inch or two on each repetition. You may rest in the up position if you need to. Use your legs to help you move up and down.

As you become stronger, bend your elbows a little more. Be careful not to bend your elbows farther than 90 degrees. Move slowly through each repetition. Breathe normally or exhale on the exertion phase of each rep. As you become more advanced, do not rest in the up or the down position and do not use your legs to help complete your reps.


Your triceps consist of three muscles in the back of your arm. These muscles are used to extend your elbow for pushing movements.

Stand with your back to your desk and your hands placed behind you on your desk with your fingers pointed forward.

Use your legs for balance as you lower yourself by bending your