16 Weeks and Shred! A Complete Muscle Building and Fat Loss Plan

16 Weeks and Shred! A Complete Muscle Building and Fat Loss Plan

There's a story about a bird.

This bird sang all day long. Whether it was night or day, rain or shine, this bird was filled with music that he couldn't contain within him.

One day, his owner decided to vacuum the whole house. Then, the owner took the hand that wasn't holding the vacuum to the floor to pick up at quarter preventing it from getting sucked up into the machine.

In doing so, the hand that was holding the vacuum got erected straight into the air. Unfortunately, this also pointed directly at the bird's cage. To the bird, it felt like the force of 1,000 waterfalls had swallowed him up into the vortex of the vacuum.

Somehow, the bird made it out the other end.

But when the owner put the bird back into his cage, the bird just sat there staring out the window. It was like all that was left of a shudder of a doomed soul.

The bird lost his song. The music within him was gone.

Maybe you too have gotten swallowed up. Luckily, you made it through. But you're different now. Years back, you were working out regularly and eating well.

Fast forward to today and you aren't humming the song of joy anymore when it comes to your physique. Seemingly overnight, you've stopped training regularly. You've let the wheels fall off with your diet. And instead of your shirt sleeves splitting, your waistline is busting.

You're ready to change though. You don't want to stay this way forever.

It's time to find your physique.

Lets get you muscular, lean and athletic. You know, the physique that most men wish they had, and the body that women take a double-take at, and not gag over.

With this complete guide, you'll be equipped with the tools to:
  • Build power, strength, and size
  • Develop broad striated shoulders
  • Chisel a wasp waist
  • Construct a barrel chest with thick triceps
  • Construct big, powerful legs and bulging biceps
Phil HeathThis find your physique program consists of a 3 prong approach. In phase one, you'll focus on power and strength. We'll outline what it takes to chisel your current body that you're not so happy with into a physique that you're proud of. We'll break it down to the rep, gram and calorie. Here's how to train, eat and recover to build the body you've always wanted.

How the Program Works

In phase two, you'll transition into packing on as much muscle as possible with more of a hypotrophy based program.

In phase three, you'll switch gears into melting the fat away to reveal the physique you've built in the first two phases.

Phase One Focus: 8 Weeks of Power and Strength

While building a physique that is easy on the eyes is commonly pursued by banging out moderate weights in the 8-15 rep range, we're going to have you build a base of strength before you jump into the classic approach to building your physique.

Why is this important?

If you've had any experience in the gym, there comes a time when your body adapts to the stress you've put on it. The 3x5 incline press, the 4x12 leg extensions and the alternating dumbbell curls you've been doing for the past 19 months eventually stop working if you're not continually forcing yourself to get stronger.

By placing additional stress on your muscles that they aren't accustomed to handling, you force your body into a growth environment known as "hypertrophy."

There are two kinds of hypertrophy.

Myofibrilar hypertrophy is induced from moving maximal loads in lower rep ranges. This medium improves your neural efficiency in moving big weight.

Powerlifters and strongman aren't strangers to this kind of muscle building. That's why they are built like brick-houses. They move daddy weight and they also look strong.

When you train heavy you enhance your neurogenic muscle density. Meaning, you look a lot "harder" when you're training the muscle or flexing your biceps in the mirror while grandpa looks at you with a weird face in the background of your local commercial gym.

Moreover, training like a boss in the gym with big boy loads increases your myogenic tone. In other words, you don't need four scoops of pre-workout and three sets of 20 reps to get your muscles to look swole.

Instead, your physique is dense, hard and full even when you're in a relaxed state reading your favorite novel at Starbucks.

During phase one, we'll have you utilize a DUP (daily undulating periodization) training program. It's a potent way to add power and strength in a hurry. You'll be squatting, benching and deadlifting three times a week with a fourth day dedicated to accessory work.

You will run this program for 8 weeks. you'll train for three weeks, followed by a deload. Then you'll run another four week cycle; three on followed by a delaod. During your delaod weeks, you'll perform all movements at 50% of your training max.

Phase One Nutrition

During phase one, your main aim is to add power and strength. To do that, you need to eat like you give a damn. Picking at carrot sticks and drinking sugar-free Red Bulls won't cut it.

First you need to find an average of what you currently take in every day. Track your food using an app on your phone. Myfitnesspal is easy to use. For three normal days, track everything you throw down your gullet. Don't feel pressured to change your diet or alter anything.

After three days, average total calorie intake. For example if you're three days looked like this:
  • Day 1 = 2,700 calories
  • Day 2 = 2,600 calories
  • Day 3 = 3,400 calories
Your average would come out to be 2,900 total daily calories. This is your starting point of total energy take daily. Once you figure this out then we need to partition macronutrient ratios.

Use the chart below to determine what your body type most closely resembles:

Then, once you've determined what your ratios will be, you'll then add 3o0 calories to your daily intake. Once you arrive at this number you'll apply your macro ratios to arrive at your daily targets. For example:
  • 2,900 total daily intake starting point
  • 3,200 total daily intake (added 300 calories)
If you're endomorphic, your breakdown would look like this:
  • 40% Protein (There are 4 calories per gram of protein)
  • 25% Carbs (There are 4 calories per gram of carbohydrate)
  • 35% Fat (There are 9 calories per gram of fat)
  • 3,200 x 40% = 1,240 calories/4 = 320g protein
  • 3,200 x 25%=800 calories/4 = 200g carbs
  • 3,200 x 35%= 1,120 calories/9 = 125g
Your new total daily intake and macros would be:
  • 3,200 total daily calories
  • Protein 320g
  • Carbs 200g
  • Fat 125g
The sweet spot for muscle gain during this phase is about 1/2 pound to a one pound every two weeks. If you're trending this progress keep intake and ratios the same. If progress is slower, bump up your intake another 300 calories with the same ratios. Continue to monitor in this fashion until phase one is over.

Phase One Cardio

During phase one, you'll do 2-3 conditioning workouts per week. Even though our main goal here is to increase power and strength, augmenting you're training with a few cardio sessions during the week will keep you healthy and assist in recovery.

And, you don't want to be that person who can squat the house, but can't get up a flight of stairs without taking a few breaks.
Pick whatever medium you like; run, bike, swim, or row. Perform 20-25 minutes.

Phase Two Focus: 8 Weeks of Hypertrophy

Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy is the second kind of muscle building medium. It's probably the one you're most familiar with and we'll definitely utilize it the Find Your Physique program. This type of hypertrophy is the result of a higher volume of training. It's also more targeted when it comes to body-parts.

When it comes to building your best body, utilizing both methods of hypertrophy is the golden ticket. Taking a holistic approach to developing your body across multiple domains of muscle building is the time-tested method to making sure you're not all show and no go.

Fast reps, slow reps, low rep ranges, moderate rep range and high rep ranges; by maximizing every avenue of muscle building, you'll walk away with a body that most only wish they had.

During phase two, we'll bump up the volume and use some higher rep ranges to induce some serious gains.

you'll be training four times a week during phase two. This phase will run for 8 weeks.

Phase Two Nutrition

Continue the same diet plan you developed in phase one, monitoring in the same fashion.

Phase Two Cardio

Your cardio protocol stays on par with what you did in phase one.
Phil Heath

Phase Three Focus: Shedding Body Fat

It's time to get ripped up from the floor up.

You've put in the work and grinded your way through those tough deadlift sets. You've pushed through those reps on the bench press when you questioned if the bar would make it back to the rack.

You've managed to drive the bar up on all those squats even though it felt like the weight was going to staple you to the floor. Now it's time to unveil all the hard work you've put in.

Phase Three Nutrition

Now it's time to make some adjustments. Wherever you left off with your diet in phase two, you'll take that intake and reduce it by 300 calories.

You'll keep the same macronutrient ratios, but your overall intake will be lower. Use the same formulaic example we used above.

The sweet spot for fat loss during this phase is about 0.5 to 1% of body fat every two weeks. If you're trending this progress keep intake and ratios the same.

If progress is slower or nonexistent on your two week check in, reduce your intake another 300 calories with the same ratios. Continue to monitor in this fashion until you reach your desired level of leanness.

Keep in mind, there is a diminishing return effect on dropping your calories. For most men dropping below 1,800-2,000 can be counter-productive. For women, that number is between 1,400-1,700.

Phase Three Cardio

Your cardio routine will depend on your body type. If you're endomorphic, you'll want to do 3 HIIT (high intensity interval training) sessions per week.

An easy way to employ this is to do 30 seconds of work at about 80-85%, followed by 60-90 seconds of recovery. You can pick any medium you like. Sprints, rowing, airdyne bike, ski erg, kettlebell swing, sled pushing. Each session should last 15-20 minutes.

If you're mesomorphic, you're blessed.

But it doesn't mean you should skimp on your conditioning. You'll want to do one HIIT session and one steady state session per week.

If you're ectomoprhic, cardio will continue to serve as a health and recovery tool. You'll do two steady state cardio sessions per week.

Phase One Training

Day 1
Phase One
Exercise Sets/Reps Load
Squat  6x3  70%
Deadlift  5x5  80%
Bench Press  4x8  70%

Day 2
Phase One
Exercise Sets/Reps Load
Deadlift  6x3  70%
Bench Press  5x5  80%
Squat  4x8  70%

Day 3
Phase One
Exercise Sets/Reps Load
Bench Press  6x3  70%
Squat  5x5  80%
Deadlift  4x8  70%

Phase Two Training

Phase 2: Hypertrophy (8 Weeks)
Day 1
Phase Two
Exercise Sets Reps
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press  4  8-12
One-Arm Dumbbell Row  4  8-12
Wide Grip Lat Pull Down  4  8-12
Flat Bench DB Fly's  4  8-12

Day 2
Phase Two
Exercise Sets/Reps Load
Squat  4  8-12
Lying Leg Curl  4  8-12
Romanian Deadlift  4  8-12
Leg Extension  4  8-12

Day 3
Phase Two
Exercise Sets Reps
Dumbbell Overhead Press  4  8-12
Dumbbell Lateral Raise  4  8-12
Rear Delt Fly (Machine)  4  8-12
Plate Front Raise  4  8-12

Day 4
Phase Two
Exercise Sets/Reps Load
Barbell Curl  4  8-12
Dips (Tricep Version)  4  8-12
Cable Hammer Curl  4  8-12
Tricep Push Down  4  8-12

Phase Three Training

Day 1
Phase three
Exercise Sets Reps
Bench Press Superset with Wide Grip Pull Ups  4  12-15
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press Superset with Barbell Row  4  12-15
Push Ups Superset with Back Extensions  4  12-15
Ab Roll Out Superset with Leg Raises from Bench  4  15-20

Day 2
Phase Three
Exercise Sets Reps
Front Squats  4  12-15
Deadlifts  4  12-15
Jumping Lunges Superset with Kettlebell Swings  4  12-15
Leg Extension Superset with Seated Leg Curl  4  12-15

Day 3
Phase One
Exercise Sets Reps
Barbell Curl Superset with Dumbbell Overhead Extension  4  12-15
Smith Machine Behind the Neck Press  4  12-15
DB Lateral Raise Superset with DB Rear Delt Raise  4  12-15
Ab Roll Out Superset with Leg Raises from Bench  4  15-20

  • Repeat Day 1 on Day 4
  • Repeat Day 2 on Day 5
1) Bryant, J. (2013). Built to the hilt: Creating a muscularly strong and superbly conditioned body that will last a lifetime.
2) Myogenic tone and reactivity: definitions based on muscle physiology. - PubMed - NCBI. (n.d.).
Previous article Build Strength With This 3 Day Powerbuilding Program


Andros - August 22, 2019

I am a little confused on the length of Phase Three

Conor - April 1, 2019

I’m currently in Phase 2, almost in Phase 3 the results have been amazing to date!
Went from 186 with 20% BF so far to 196 with 15% BF. Looking forward to increase cardio and reducing calories. 100% would recommend

Scott Pirtle - January 11, 2019


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