How much can you change your body in four weeks? More than you think – but only if you have three things: a good exercise plan, smart eating rules, and the right attitude to follow both with focus and determination.
This four-week plan has been designed to constantly test your body and push it outside of its comfort zone so your body has no choice but to build new muscle mass and burn away body fat to radically change your physique. That’s why there are small tweaks to the programme each week: these changes keep your body guessing and, therefore, changing.
Making a big alteration to your body in just four weeks is hard, but it can be done. Start as you mean to go on, both in the gym and the kitchen, and soon these small steps will lead to big changes in how you look with your shirt off .
1. The plan
The plan contains two two-week blocks. The first has four sessions a week: chest and back; legs and abs; arms; and shoulders and abs. The second has four sessions a week, and they’re different: chest and triceps; legs and shoulders; chest and triceps; and back and biceps.
2. Strong start
The workouts for the first week of the first block are below, then the sessions for the second week of the block are detailed in the tables below that. Do the workouts in order, sticking to the sets, reps, tempo and rest periods detailed to start the plan as strongly as possible.
The tempo code refers to the number of seconds taken to complete each part of the exercise. Taking the bench press as an example, the first digit refers to how long you take to lower the weight, the second digit how long to pause at the bottom of the lift, the third how long taken to lift the weight, and finally the fourth digit refers to how long you pause at the top of the movement.
3. Big finish
The big change in the second block of the plan is that you’ll train your chest, back and arms muscles twice a week. This increase in training volume will shock your body into building more muscle mass, while also stripping away unwanted body fat so you get both bigger and leaner.
4. Steady gains
The workouts contain the same exercises in the same order for weeks one and two, and then weeks three and four, but the sets and reps change from week to week so you push your muscles harder. This approach will keep your positive body composition changes coming.
5. Get your rest
We won’t lie: this four-week plan is tough, but that’s what it takes to transform your body for the better quickly. This means that good nutrition and quality rest are essential. Follow the food rules below to give your body the nutrients it needs, and try to get to bed early each night
To build lean muscle mass and get a flat belly, what you eat is as important as how you exercise. Follow these four rules for success
If you don’t eat enough protein – red and white meat, fish and eggs – then don’t be surprised when you don’t add muscle as fast as you want. Lifting weights causes microscopic tears in your muscles, and it’s the consumption of protein that repairs this damage and rebuilds your muscles bigger and stronger. Aim for at least a fist-sized portion of high-quality lean protein at every meal.
You don’t need to cut out carbs altogether to transform your body, but making smarter carb choices will help you get bigger, stronger and leaner. Avoid sugar and limit consumption of fast-release carbs like processed white bread and pasta, which have been stripped of many of their nutrients and fibre. Instead choose slow-release carbs, such as sweet potatoes and brown rice, as well as plenty of fibre-rich, nutrient-dense veg.
If you struggle to get your daily five-a-day then you’re missing out on a wealth of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients essential to both better health and getting leaner. Eat a wide variety of different-coloured veg to give your body the nutrients it needs after hard training, as well as fibre to keep you feeling fuller for longer and stabilise blood sugar levels so you won’t be tempted by sweet snacks.
To make the biggest positive change to your body in four weeks you should consider cutting out alcohol. It’s high in calories you don’t need, and too much booze will kill your motivation to hit the gym hard and eat well. Your best bet is to stick to water, green tea and black coffee to stay hydrated and load up on antioxidants that will help you recover from exercise.