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When trying to lose weight, you have to take in several factors. First thing is your caloric intake. Then there’s the ratio of your total caloric intake in protein, carbs, and fat. After that it’s your caloric usage level.

The reduction in your caloric intake should come from your consumed fat first, then you start to look at your carbohydrates and diminish those while keeping your protein fairly high and stable. You can go to the point where you get your protein-carb-fat ratio to around 60-30-10 or maybe 70-20-10.

The total caloric intake for women— depending upon height and weight profile—can range anywhere from 900 calories per day to about 1,700 calories per day. Men can go as low as 1,200 calories per day and as high as 4,000 calories per day. Eventually you would want to make sure the caloric expenditure for a woman would be no more than 1,200 calories, and for the man, optimally 2,500 calories.

Next, your exercise program: Try a high-intensity circuit-training program that allows you to hit your body in two separate workouts twice a week. Basically, what you’ll do is a complete upper-body circuit routine on the first day, followed on the second day by a lower-body circuit routine. Then take your third day for exclusive cardio. At this point you can decide whether or not after your third day you want to restart the circuit program or take...

One was too early, the other was too late. When Lebanon’s Ahmad Haidar competed in the IFBB Pro League from 1998–2009, there were no 212 or classic physique divisions. Had he been born a decade later, he undoubtedly would’ve won 212 or classic shows. Instead, he fended off  Goliaths in the open class, where he placed second twice and flexed in four Mr. Olympias. On the other hand, Sami Al Haddad, of Bahrain, has competed exclusively in the 212, but he was late to the party. Despite dominating annually as an amateur, he didn’t go pro until 2012, when, at 39, he trounced the top contenders while placing second to Flex Lewis twice. Since then, he’s won three 212 shows, but his stellar rookie year leaves us to wonder what could’ve been if he were 29 when he first faced Flex. 


as of November 2017

  • PRO WINS: Al Haddad: 3 VS. Haidar: 0
  • YEARS AS PRO: Al Haddad: 6 VS. Haidar: 10
  • PRO CONTESTS: Al Haddad: 14 VS. Haidar: 30
  • WEIGHT: Al Haddad: 212 VS. Haidar: 215
  • HEIGHT: Al Haddad: 5'6" VS. Haidar: 5'6"
  • BEST POSE: Al Haddad: Front Lat Spread VS. Haidar: Abs and Thighs
  • WORST POST: Al Haddad: Rear Lat Spread VS. Haidar: Rear Double Biceps
  • STRENGTHS: Al Haddad: Arms, Chest, Quads VS. Haidar: Abs, Symmetry
  • WEAKNESSES: Al Haddad: Back, Hamstrings VS. Haidar: Hamstrings, Triceps

Utilizing an economist's principle for fitness can fuel your growth. [sponsored]





Standing relaxed” in the quarter-turns round of bodybuilding is actually a misnomer, as you should never stand relaxed onstage.

During quarter-turns, the judges are looking for the classic lines of a bodybuilder—wide shoulders and back tapering to a small waist. The legs should have a good quad and hamstring sweep. All muscle bellies should be full, a look that’s enhanced by small joints.

To emphasize these qualities, stand with your stomach sucked in and your chest held high. Your back and shoulders need to be spread as wide as possible without lifting the arms too high to the sides, and the muscles in the arms and legs should be held in tension to emphasize the size of the muscles and the separation evident in a flexed, lean body. All this must be achieved while keeping the face and neck relaxed and maintaining the appearance of comfort.

Even while standing on the side of the stage, while other athletes in your division are being compared center stage, you must not let your shoulders slump or relax your stomach. Judges are always looking, so posture and presentation are extremely important as to how your body is perceived.

The most common major errors made while standing during the quarter-turn “relaxed” round are:

  1. Lifting the arms...


Who know that maybe whatever someone else is doing may not actually be the best for them. Who feel as if there could actually be a better way. But when they attempt to follow that thought, to experiment, to perhaps make something fit them or feel better, it’s only a matter of time until being confronted with the stereotypical gym bro who lets them know they are overcomplicating or overthinking it. And some version of the following conversation occurs:

“Just stick with the basics, bro. That machine won’t grow your back.”

“But I don’t feel barbell rows in my back. They hurt my elbows, wrists, and lower back.”

“You can’t argue with results. They work. Look at Ronnie Coleman. Look at Dorian Yates. You think you can grow a back better than them?”

And then our “thinker” will generally sulk back to the rack, thinking, “Well, that is true,” and continue to row. (If only he could fast-forward 10 years to see the result of “sticking with the basics”— potentially jacked-up elbows but still no lats.) We’ve all been there!

It’s not that “it works” isn’t good logic or a bad reason to choose...

On Monday morning, the AMI Fitness Group was dealt a devastating blow—our VP and Editorial Director, colleague, and friend Shawn Perine passed away at the age of 51.

Perine was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer on September 22, and had remained upbeat and positive throughout his battle. Perine never drank, smoked, or used drugs, which made the diagnosis so unexpected. In fact, he spent the last 38 years of his life eating clean, pushing himself in the gym, and inspiring others through his commitment to health and fitness.

For decades—as a fitness enthusiast, writer, editor, and later Editor-in-Chief and Chief Content Director for Muscle & Fitness, Muscle & Fitness Hers, FLEX and Men’s Fitness—Perine became one of the most authoritative voices in our industry.

As a child growing up in Long Island, NY, Perine’s passion for the sport of bodybuilding was fueled by the 1977 documentary Pumping Iron. By the age of 13 he was tearing through every exercise book he could find, and also hitting the gym five days per week in hopes of carving a physique like Arnold Schwarzenegger, who would later become one of Perine’s trusted friends.

“Shawn Perine was not only a fantastic ambassador for the fitness crusade and a wonderful editor of Muscle & Fitness, he was a dear friend and a great man,” Schwarzenegger tweeted. “I’m heartbroken, and the world just lost an amazing force. My thoughts are with his family and friends.”

Although Perine concluded that his body wasn’t suited for the stage, he began to...

Usually our "retro athlete" space is reserved for bodybuilders who haven’t competed for three years or more. For Branch Warren, it’s only been a year and a half, and though he claims he’s “unofficially retired,” he’s as big and strong and hard-driving as he’s ever been, so there’s a chance he could return at 43 in 2018. After all, his training partner, Johnnie Jackson, won two pro shows this year at 46. So we’ll call this an “unofficial Retro” and do something a bit different. Step into the time machine and return to 2004, when Warren was 29 and made his long-delayed pro debut with little fanfare. He’d go on to win nine pro titles, including the Arnold Classic twice (2011–12), and finish second in the 2008 Mr. Olympia. But on this day he’s under a bending bar in the squat rack at Metro Flex Gym, building two of the best wheels of all time, one torturous rep at a time.


  • “I keep a pretty narrow stance when I squat compared with most guys, and I keep the bar high on my traps.”
  • “With leg presses, I’ll often do a dropset on the last set.”
  • “I think regular squats and lunges are the best things you can do for your quads, hams, and glutes.”
  • “I don’t do stiff-legged deadlifts because of an injury, but I recommend them to others.”


  • In 2004, Warren said: “I’m not in this just to stand onstage. I’m all about winning.”

Sponsored Content

Breakfast has become a controversial subject in the past few years. However, research is revealing that, specifically, a high protein breakfast may have a wide range of benefits for several reasons.

This suggestion is in stark contrast to the typical breakfast, comprised of high energy carbohydrates such as cereals, bagels or toast.

As you’ll find out, having a higher amount of protein for breakfast extends much further than simply helping to increase muscle mass.

In this article, I’ll discuss 5 important benefits of having a high protein breakfast that will have you reaching for the egg carton instead of the cereal box.

Hey, What’s Wrong with My Breakfast?

The controversy surrounding breakfast falls in two camps: some people think it’s an essential start to the day, while others think it’s unnecessary. Whichever way you spin it; the most glaring issue is that many people are consuming the wrong type of breakfast.

Typical breakfasts are often filled with unsatiating, high-energy carbohydrates (you know, sugary cereals, breads and baked goods)

For years, people have been told their body requires this large amount of energy in order to be able to function throughout the day. But when you factor in the nature of most peoples’ work – oftentimes stationary and...

Pavel Ythjall


You go to the gym, you pick big compound moves, hit them as heavy as possible with good form in hypertrophy-centric rep ranges, go home, devour tons of protein and some carbs, rest, and repeat. And then you grow.

That’s more or less how mass gaining works. When you start overthinking it, start getting too cute with your exercises and sets and reps, that’s when results stall out. Confusion is good (muscle confusion, that is), but complicating matters is not.

We’re into the cold months now, so it’s a great time to stay bundled up and start adding some Winter Mass—that’s what we’re calling this six-week program. We think you’ll like it. It’s only four days a week, so it won’t rule your life; it’s customizable in that you’re able to pick the exercises you want from our generic movement menu (see the “Exercise Options” section); and it’s grounded in the well-established, and very straightforward, linear periodization model. It’s not complicated, nor should it be. It’s simply more size in six weeks.


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Per Bernal

Sports have shown time and time again that a punch in the mouth can serve as the ultimate wake-up call, helping you return to the fray stronger than ever. It rattles you out of complacency and refocuses your efforts. And it's an apt lesson for the gym.

Consider the shoulders. Made up of three smaller heads— the anterior (front), middle, and posterior (rear) deltoids—their muscle tissue isn’t so easy to break down and set the stage for growth. Training shoulders can get downright tedious, and concentration can wane. The question is, When was the last time you really gave your delts the vicious thumping they need to get growing again?

Charles Lowthian


The key to a great shoulder workout is ensuring that those three heads get pushed harder. While the front head is engaged during chest training and overhead pressing movements, the middle and rear delts aren’t activated to the same degree and require focused attention. This workout accomplishes that—prioritizing...

cody-montgomery-chris-cormier.jpg Bill Comstock

1987 Teen Nationals class winner Chris Cormier trains 2012–14 overall champ Cody Montgomery. 

For most of its history, the Teen Nationals was a fertile proving ground—the place to spot genetic potential and an aptitude for heavy metal and high protein. Eight-time Mr. O Lee Haney won it before the formation of the NPC in 1982, and Shawn Ray, Chris Cormier, Jay Cutler, and Branch Warren were among the class or overall champs from 1985-94. Then came...nothing. The nine years from 1995-2003 have yet to produce a single pro. Since then, however, the Teen Nats has regained its previous status. Eight competitors over the 10-year span of 2004-13 have already qualified for pro. We spoke to 10 former Teen Nationals competitors— five who won the overall and five who didn’t, but all of whom eventually earned IFBB Pro League status—to get their best advice for the next generation. 


“Bodybuilding is, of course, a really individualistic sport, but to succeed you need supportive people in your life. To tell you the truth, at first my parents thought bodybuilding was really weird. They didn’t tell me not to do it, but they...

Former Champions Cedric McMillan, Dexter Jackson, Dennis Wolf Highlight 30th Anniversary Field at 2018 Arnold Classic

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Cedric McMillan, who won the 2017 Arnold Classic for the biggest victory of his professional career, is one of three former Arnold Classic champions who will do battle at the prestigious contest that celebrates its 30th Anniversary at the 2018 Arnold Sports Festival.

The 2018 Arnold Sports Festival will feature IFBB Pro League contests in a record nine divisions, including Arnold Classic Physique for the first time.

McMillan, five-time champion Dexter Jackson and 2014 champion Dennis Wolf lead a field of 14 professional bodybuilders who will take the stage in Columbus, Ohio for the 30th Annual Arnold Classic on March 3, 2018. Jackson won the Arnold Classic in 2005, 2006, 2008, 2013 and 2015 and holds the event’s record with five titles, one more than Flex Wheeler.

In the Arnold Classic 212, 2017 runner-up David Henry and 2015 champion Jose Raymond headline a field of the seven who will vie for the title. Henry and Raymond, third in Columbus a year ago, will be challenged by Guy Cisternino Jr., fourth here in 2017, and Hadi Choopan, a rising star who finished second to McMillan in the open division at the San Marino Pro in late November.

A new champion will be crowned in the Fitness International with the retirement of four-time champion Oksana Grishina. Most of the top competitors from 2017 return in March, including runner-up Regiane Da Silva, third-place finisher Whitney Jones...


In a blender, add 1 avocado, 1⁄4 cup fresh basil leaves, 1 garlic clove, 1 tbsp fresh lime juice, 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, 1⁄4 cup plain Greek yogurt, salt and pepper to taste, and 1 tbsp water. Blend until well combined. Use this dressing to top roasted vegetables, salads, fish, poultry, or your favorite whole grain.


In a bowl, combine 1 cup diced strawberries, 1 cup diced pineapple, 1 medium chopped avocado, 1⁄2 cup diced red bell pepper, 1⁄2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves, 1 medium chopped jalapeño, 1⁄4 cup finely chopped red onion, 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, juice of 1 lime, and a pinch of sea salt. Mix well and serve with whole-grain or bean-based chips.


Peel and slice 2 avocados and squeeze lime juice over the slices, then sprinkle with garlic and herb seasoning. Coat slices with a high-fiber our like coconut or oat; dip into a beaten-up egg, then whole-wheat breadcrumbs. Place slices on a greased baking tray and bake at 400°F for 15 minutes. Serve with chipotle-mayo dip or a mix of plain Greek yogurt and hot sauce.


In a bowl, mash 1 avocado. Melt 1 cup dark chocolate chips and mix in with avocado. Add 1 tsp pure vanilla extract and a pinch of sea salt. Place mixture in fridge for 20 to 30 minutes, until batter is set. Scoop out batter and roll into 1-inch balls. Pour unsweetened cocoa powder in a bowl and powdered peanut...

Pavel Ythjall

Previously, I gave you the first installment of my fat-loss superfeature. Nutrition plays an absolutely pivotal role in maximizing changes in body composition; however, so does training. In this second part, I’m going to show you how to maximize fat loss through training in the gym and your cardio. Follow this plan to the letter, and you can show off a shredded physique.


Usually when people switch to a fat-loss phase, there are common pitfalls that slow down progress. After almost 30 years in the world of bodybuilding and performance coaching, I’ve noticed the same mistakes arise on a consistent basis. These are:

  1. Not focusing on performance in the gym while on a calorie- restricted diet. As a result, overall performance goes down significantly, leading to an unnecessary loss in muscle mass and reduction in energy expenditure. This leaves the individual with a less aesthetic physique as well as a more compromised metabolism going forward.
  2. Losing sight of the fact that overload and training intensity are still relevant during a fat-loss phase. People often become one-dimensional in the gym during a fat-loss transformation, doing lots of volume and just chasing the pump. Since there’s no focus on periodization or global muscle...

Per Bernal

Pecs make the bodybuilder. They form a breastplate, armor cast in flesh, vigilant guards before the engines of life itself. So there’s that. But they’ve also become so emblematic of “jacked” that today’s kids are as likely to hit a most-muscular as a double biceps when asked to “make a muscle.” We’ve assembled an alphabetical guide to growing your fleshy breastplate—26 top tips from current chest masters. From A (for angles) to Z (for zone) and all the letters in between, this expert advice will help you grow more chest flesh to flex.


“The chest, more than any other body part, has distinct regions that need to be worked with different exercises and hit from different angles. There’s the upper chest, lower chest, inner chest, and outer chest. Each of those should get some work in every chest workout. I’m doing six exercises [incline dumbbell press, Smith machine incline press, incline ye, at machine press, decline machine press,
pec deck ye or cable crossover] to make sure I hit every angle.” —Cody Montgomery


“I always do some kind of at press. I use either dumbbells or a barbell, and I switch it up. The dumbbells make me...

Lou Ferrigno is at the top of his game. And that’s saying something, considering he starred alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger in the legendary 1977 documentary Pumping Iron before landing his hallmark role in The Incredible Hulk shortly thereafter. Most bodybuilders would have peaked in their 20s with that résumé—and let’s be honest, some Pumping Iron cast members certainly did. Not Ferrigno.

Since the Hulk series went off the air 35 years ago, Ferrigno has had more than 40 other movie and TV credits to his name, not to mention dozens of magazine covers. But his recent work is arguably his most notable—and it has landed him on yet another cover.

Weeks before this issue went to press, news broke that President Trump had appointed Ferrigno as the head of the prestigious President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition. Arnold Schwarzenegger famously had a similar position under President George Bush in the 1980s.

If the appointment goes through, Ferrigno will be as busy as ever. He already spearheads the annual Ferrigno Legacy in Palm Springs, CA—a weekend-long event, that features physique and strength competitions, a host of other sporting events, and a new fitness expo.

With these two endeavors, Ferrigno has saved potentially his most important work for late in his...

Ian Spanier

If you watch an athlete over the course of his career, you can see how he changes not only physically but also mentally. Andre Ferguson says that if you saw him at his first contest and told him he would eventually place in the top five at the Men’s Physique Olympia, he would have been surprised. “The Olympia is the biggest stage in the sport,” Ferguson says. “So to be in the top five, I’d have said you were crazy.” 

Fast-forward to the 2016 Olympia Weekend, where that exact scenario would happen. His thought process revealed how he had evolved as a competitor: “I was happy, but I was looking at those guys and immediately thinking about how I need to improve, because now I know I can win this.”

In 2017, Andre climbed the ranks even more, earning a 2nd place spot at the Men's Physique Olympia. “I need to be a little better conditioned and come in drier,” Ferguson says. "I think I have the muscle and individual body parts, but conditioning is where he (Jeremy Buendia) got me. I plan on handling that, and if I do, I believe I can win it.”

That’s a belief that is shared by his coach, Omar Ventura, who he feels has been a big...

"Ben and Joe Weider are really the pioneers who made bodybuilding what it is today,” Riley Janzen said. “So to win the [2017] Ben Weider Legacy Cup and my pro card was almost surreal. It’s one of those things that I’ll never forget and will always cherish.” Janzen made the commitment to go for pro status in 2011 after winning his first show. “I was hooked after that and wanted to see how far I could take it.”

Janzen hasn’t had a smooth road to the IFBB. He is a survivor of an autoimmune disorder called Guillain-Barré syndrome. The immune system attacks healthy nerve cells in the peripheral nervous system. It can lead to weakness, numbness, and eventually, possible paralysis. “Guillain-Barré was diagnosed in 2006. Within a few days I was completely paralyzed from the neck down. After weeks of close calls and complications I finally was transferred to a rehab hospital. In total I spent five months in hospitals, and it took well over a year to recover.” Janzen attributes his recovery to a strong will to fight and a mental toughness to do whatever he had to in order to recover.

His status as GBS survivor is an incredible testament to that willpower that also led him to his new status of IFBB pro. He admits he’s far from done and plans to compete in 2018. “Everything needs to improve if I’m going to be a contender at the pro level. My main focus right now is to stay...

Re-live the excitement of the 2017 Olympia, only on Amazon Prime!




I learned a tremendous amount from Rich. I’m thankful for the opportunity he gave me. I worked my way up in the business with him, gained insights into the ins and outs about how things worked in the industry side of bodybuilding from him. I’m proud to call him my big brother. Rich is always learning and always open about sharing what he’s learned. He taught me about old-school raw training when we met and showed me how he trained, and in turn I showed him my unconventional new-school training ideas. He taught me a lot—about ethics, about how to treat fans, even about how to structure a diet. He was a great mentor.

Kevin Horton

It wasn’t just about learning from a pro how to be a pro, or about maintaining my status as a Gaspari athlete, which was a great honor coming so early in my career. Rich brought me along with him as he attended to all the aspects of the business and involved me in a way that allowed me to understand how it all worked—sales, marketing, quality control, ordering,...