Into the Black - Intense 28 Day Powerhouse Workout

Into the Black - Intense 28 Day Powerhouse Workout

In business, "in the black" means profit. Progress. Positive cash flow. It means you're on track, doing something right, and headed in the direction you need to be heading. "In the red" means loss of profit and cash flow. You are headed in the wrong direction.

Being in the red means that things are not good.

Related: Massive Freak 4 Day Powerbuilding Workout

Fall is bulking season. People pack on the pounds, both good and bad, as the number of holiday gatherings, company parties, and social get-togethers mount. We might be adding muscle mass, but it's far from lean muscle mass.

We gettin' fat!

Halloween candy. Pumpkin pie. Christmas cookies. O.M.G. I'm going to explode.

This is being in the red. Bloated. Bigger belly. Jeans that are tight AF.

Let's avoid the red. Instead, let's head into the black. Fat loss. Lean muscle mass. No out of control fall weight free-falling.

Into the Black Power House Workout

Fit ChickAfter Thanksgiving, there are 30 days before we celebrate Christmas. This gives us about four weeks to fight the bulge, and minimize the damage that comes during this time of year.

Now, I'm not going to sit here and tell you to abstain from eating holiday meals with your family or co-workers. No way. Enjoy! Life is too short not to eat some pie. Mmmmmm, pie!

With that said, this workout is meant to keep the fat gains under control.

For the next 28 days (that's 4 weeks for those of you keep score at home) we'll be hitting the gym six days a week. You will be performing three intense full body workouts each week, and three cardio sessions per week. Here is a sample schedule:
  • Day 1 - Full Body Workout A
  • Day 2 - Cardio Workout
  • Day 3 - Full Body Workout B
  • Day 4 - Cardio Workout
  • Day 5 - Full Body Workout C
  • Day 6 - Cardio Workout
  • Day 7 - Rest Day
Workout a
Full Body Workout
Exercise Sets Reps
Superset: Squats and Box Jumps  3  10+10
Superset: Dumbbell Bench Press and Push Ups  3  10+15
Superset: Leg Curls and Reverse Lunges  2  10+10
Superset: Machine Rows and Kettlebell Swings  3  10+15
Superset: Seated Dumbbell Press and Pike Push Ups  3  10+15
Superset: Dumbbell Curls and Dumbbell Skullcrushers  3  10+10
Planks  2  60-90 seconds

Box Jumps. You'll be fatigued after squats, so you don't want to pick a box that is too high. You also don't want a height so low that it isn't challenging.
Workout B
Full Body Workout
Exercise Sets Reps
Superset: Dumbbell Stiff Leg Deadlifts and Jack-In-The-Box Squats  2  10+15
Superset: Low Cable Crossovers and Slam Ball Push Ups  3  10+10
Superset: Barbell Rows and Straight Arm Lat Pull Downs  3  10+10
Superset: Goblet Squats and Bodyweight Lunges  3  10+10
Superset: Side Lateral Raise and Dumbbell Upright Rows  3  10+10
Superset: Reverse Grip Lat Pull Down and Cable Triceps Extensions  3  10+10
Flutterkicks  2  60

Jack-In-The-Box Squats. Jump in the air and land in a wide squat stance. Sink into a parallel squat position immediately upon landing in your wide stance. From the bottom of the squat position, jump back upright, bringing your feet back into a shoulder-width position.

Slam Ball Push Ups. Get in a push-up position with a slam ball directly under your chest, and your chest resting on the ball. Next do an explosive push up, ending with your hands on the slam ball.  Now, lower your chest to the slam ball and then place your hands back on the ground.

Flutterkicks. Lie on your back. Place your hands under your lower back to help provide support. Next, raise your feet about 6 inches off the ground. proceed to "flutter" your feet up and down until you reach 60 total reps for each leg.
Workout C
Full Body Workout
Exercise Sets Reps
Superset: Leg Press and Jump Squats  3  10+15
Superset: Bench Press and Feet Elevated Plyo Push Up  3  10+10
Superset: Reverse Hack Squats and Mountain Climbers  2  10+15
Superset: Seated Cable Rows and Lat Pull Downs  3  10+10
Superset: Military Press and Bent Over Flyes  3  10+10
Superset: French Press and EZ Bar Curl  3  10+10
Ab Wheel Roll Outs  2  10-15

Feet Elevated Plyo Push Ups. With your feet on a bench, perform an explosive push up, attempting to launch your torso off the ground by several inches.

Into the Black Cardio Workouts

Cardio workouts will last about 55 minutes. The format is as follows:
  • First 15 minute block - HIIT cardio
  • 5-minute rest
  • Second 15-minute block - Bodyweight cardio
  • 5-minute rest
  • Third 15-minute block - Steady state cardio
HIIT Cardio. Perform 15 seconds of high-intensity exercise, followed by 45 seconds of low-intensity exercise. HIIT sessions can consist of:
  • 15 seconds sprinting, 45 seconds light jog
  • 15 seconds aggressive sled drag, 45 seconds light sled drag
  • 15 seconds fast cycling, 45 seconds light cycling
HIIT can also involve swimming, battle ropes, car pushes, or any other form of exercise that elevates your heart rate through the roof for 15 seconds. Follow up this intense period of time with a more moderate form of steady state cardio.

Bodyweight Cardio. Perform the following circuit for 15 minutes. Rest as little as possible in between exercises. Once you have cycled through all the exercises, start over. Try to improve your performance speed while also decreasing the rest between exercises as much as possible.
  • Jumping jacks - 20 reps
  • Bodyweight squats - 20 reps
  • Sit-ups - 20 reps
  • Dive bomber push up - 10 reps
  • High knees - 20 reps
  • Ball slams - 20 reps
  • Frogger - 20 reps
For froggers, begin in the plank position. explode your legs forward while keeping your arms firmly planted. You'll end up in a crouching frog position. From here, explode your legs back until you land in the plank position.

Powerhouse Diet and Nutrition

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There are several ways you can approach diet during these 28 days.

Weight Gain, or Muscle Building. If you're the underweight or skinny guy, and just want to use this program to get in shape while building muscle and packing on pounds, then eat at about 300 to 500 calories above maintenance level.

Weight Maintenance. If you're simply trying to hold weight and survive the holidays, it's best to eat at a calorie maintenance level. Here is a calculator that can help you determine a starting point:
Fat Loss. For men, eat about 300 to 500 calories less than your maintenance level. If you're not certain what your maintenance level is, start with 2400 to 2500 calories per day and aim to lose 1.5 to 2 pounds per week.

For women, if you're not certain what your maintenance level is, start with 1700 to 1800 calories per day and aim to lose 1.5 to 2 pounds per week.

Macronutrient Intake. Proper macronutrient intake is important. The three macronutrients are protein, fat, and carbohydrates. Here is what I suggest:
  • Protein - Men, 180 to 220 grams per day. Women, 100 to 120 grams per day.
  • Fats - 30 to 35% of your daily calories from quality fat sources.
  • Carbs - Fill in the rest of your daily calories from carbohydrates such as rice, oatmeal, fruits, and veggies.
For example, if you're a man trying to lose weight and taking in 2,400 calories per day, here is how you might break down your macronutrients.
  • Protein - 200 grams, or 800 calories worth of protein.
  • Fat - 30% of daily calories from fat, or 720 Calories. This equates to 80 grams of fat.
  • Carbs - After eating 800 calories of protein and 720 calories of fat, you are left with 880 calories. This equates to 220 grams of carbs.

Powerhouse Supplementation

This will be an intense four weeks. Make sure to do everything you can to make the best food choices, to get proper sleep, and to maximize recovery. Here are some supplements that might be beneficial.
  • Whey protein powder - Whey will help you to increase your daily protein intake without overdoing the calories. One shake contains less than 150 calories and up to 25 grams of protein.
  • BCAAs - BCAAs, or branch chained amino acids, can help with recovery and muscle repair.
  • Machine Greens + Multi - Consider this your nutritional backup plan. Machine Greens + Multi contains multiple servings of fruits and vegetables and functions as a quality multivitamin.
  • Thermogenic Fat Burner - Assist your efforts to burn fat and keep weight off by using a quality thermogenic fat burner.
  • Pre-Workout - Power your workout with more energy, focus, stamina, and drive by using an intense pre-workout supplement.
  • Fish Oil - As they say, if squats and fish oil can't cure it, you're probably in trouble.
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