What's your pleasure? Want to pack on some muscle mass? Get ripped? Turn those biceps from objects of beauty to weapons of destruction? Fitness maestro Jim Stoppani, Ph.D., has refined three of his exercise programs to create a series of high-demand workouts that deliver all the goods—and do it far faster than you might think possible. Welcome to the rugged but beautiful world of Stoppani's "Shortcut" series.
Stoppani's triple crown of Shortcut to Size, Shortcut to Shred, and Shortcut to Strength have helped thousands of people around the world reach their individual fitness goals. They can help you in your quest for your #bestself, too. But they're no walk in the park.
As concentrated and intense as these workouts are, one of your most difficult challenges might be deciding which one to start with. Stress not. Stoppani offers sage advice to anyone ready to scale the fitness mountain: "No matter your starting point, no matter your goal, one of these programs is perfect for you."
Shortcut to Size
This is the "OG" of the "Shortcut" series. Over 12 intense weeks you'll learn the fundamentals of lifting, how to use periodization to your advantage, and sound strategies for changing your rep range as you advance.
Don't let the title fool you: This shortcut is all about gaining muscle mass, but in a way that helps you shed body fat. Your scale may tell you you're gaining weight. Remind it that it's all muscle mass—the kind of weight you want!
Shortcut to Shred
If you're a gym regular who's ready to take that next step and showcase your physique, now would be a good time to get ripped—but to do it the right way. With his doctorate degree in exercise physiology, Stoppani can show you how to shred lots of body fat in six weeks, without losing the muscle mass you've kicked yourself in the ass to build. He dispels some popular myths along the way.
"Some people think that cardio and muscles don't mix," he says. "In Shortcut to Shred, I'll show you why it's okay to do cardio while you're lifting weights."
Stoppani challenges this myth head-on by creating supersets that combine weight training exercises with different forms of aerobic activity. Although the primary focus here is losing weight and shedding fat, you may also notice increases in strength and muscle size. You're cool with that, right?
Shortcut to Strength
Muscle mass is awesome. Sharp muscle definition is astounding. Then there's pure strength. If that's your focus, or if you've already battled your way through the first two "Shortcut" programs, Shortcut to Strength is calling you.
Over six wild weeks, Stoppani will have you building up rep speed on some days, then spending other days building max strength. At the same time, you'll build muscle mass and shed body fat.
"Think of this as the next logical step after taking the other two shortcuts, or just head straight for this one for the best of all three," says Stoppani.
Take a Shortcut Again, Only With More Intensity
If you're one of the many people who has completed—and loved—one or more of these programs, there are a few ways you can take another shot at them, but this time with some new challenges. The following are time-tested techniques fitness and strength athletes use to get more from their workouts:
Supersets: Perform a combination of exercises without rest between sets.
"This is a popular technique," Stoppani says, "because you can both increase the intensity and decrease the time it takes for you to get through your workout."
Cardio acceleration: If you want to burn some extra calories and push yourself a little harder, add the cardio acceleration portion to your shortcut program.
"Not only will you develop strength and muscle size," Stoppani says, "you'll maximizing fat loss, too."
Reduce rest periods: As the saying goes, "You don't miss the water till the well runs dry"—and, man, is that true when it comes to those precious seconds between sets. Start by taking 5-10 seconds off each rest period. Adjust your times further as you progress.
"With time and practice," Stoppani says, "you'll learn just how little rest you can take while still being able to do the next set to the max."
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