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The Workout

This workout should be performed twice every week. Now since variation in the training routine is one of the strongest tools we have in sculpting a strong and balanced body, 2 exercises from each section will be picked for each separate workout and performed with as short of rest periods in between sets as possible.

Upper/Middle Abs Exercises:

    Ab Crunch Machine
    Air bike
    Ab Roller
    Cable Crunch
    Decline Crunch

Lower Abs Exercises:

    Decline Reverse Crunch
    Exercise Ball Pull-In
    Flat Bench Leg Pull-In
    Flat Bench Lying Leg Raise
    Hanging Leg Raise

blique Exercises:

    Decline Oblique Crunch
    Oblique Crunches
    Oblique Crunches - On the Floor
    Plate Twist
    Russian Twist

Begin by warming up for 15 minutes jogging or doing some cardiovascular activity in addition to some dynamic stretches. Then pick out your 6 exercises above on the list, two from each category, and begin. Do 15-20 repetitions of each, with 15 seconds of rest in between each set.

I typically like to go through the exercises in the sequence they're in, before going back and doing my second set of Upper/Middle Abs exercises, so I can put a little bit more effort into each repetition due to working different exercises.

Beginners do 2 sets of each exercise to the best of your ability. Ideally over time the goal will be to work up to 3-or-4 sets of each of the 6 exercises.




Two Body Parts A Day , Twice A Week


Monday: Chest and triceps

1. Incline dumbbell press-
4 sets of 15, 12, 10, 8 reps.

2. Flatbench barbell press-
4 sets of 12, 10, 10, 8 reps.

3. Incline dumbbell flies-
3 sets of 12, 10, 8 reps.

4. Cable crossovers-
2 sets of 15, 12 reps.

1. Pushdowns-
4 sets of 15, 12, 10, 8 reps.

2. Bent-over cable extensions using a rope-
3 sets of 15, 12, 10 reps.

3. Dumbbell kickbacks-
3 sets of 15, 12, 10 reps.

Tuesday: Back and biceps

1. Lat machine pulldowns to the front-
4 sets of 15, 12, 10, 8 reps.

2. Close grip pulldowns to the front-
4 sets of 15, 12, 10, 8 reps.

3. Seated cable rows-
4 sets of 15, 12, 10, 8 reps.

4. Hyper-extensions-
3 sets of 18, 18, 18 reps.

1. Incline dumbbell curls-
4 sets of 15, 12, 12, 10 reps.

2. Standing barbell curls-
4 sets of 15, 10, 8, 6 reps.

Wednesday: Cardio and abs

1. 30-45 min. of bike, treadmill or Stairmaster.

1. Crunches-
3 sets of 50, 50, 50 reps.

2. Leg raises-
3 sets of 25, 20, 20 reps.

Thursday: Legs

1. Squats-
5 sets of 15, 15, 12, 10, 8 reps.

2. Leg extensions-
4 sets of 15, 12, 12, 10 reps.

3. Lunges-
4 sets of 15, 12, 10, 10 reps.

4. Leg curls for hamstrings-
4 sets of 15, 12, 12, 10 reps.

5. Standing calf raises-
4 sets of 18, 18, 15, 12 reps.

Friday: Shoulders/biceps
or triceps superset

1. (Military) barbell press behind the neck-
4 sets of 15, 12, 10, 8 reps.

2. Standing side laterals-
4 sets of 15, 12, 12, 10 reps.

3. Upright rows with barbell-
3 sets of 12, 12, 10 reps.

4. Seated bent over dumbbell laterals-
4 sets of 15, 15, 12, 12 reps.

Biceps or triceps superset:
1. Tricep pushdowns on cable machine superset
with barbell curls-
4 sets of 15, 12, 12, 10 reps.

2. Seated dumbbell extension superset with
dumbbell hammer curls-
3 sets of 15, 12, 2, 10 reps





This plan requires that you eat a high protein, high fat, low carbohydrate diet for 5 and a half days. Then for 36 hours you carb-up. The high protein, high fat part of the diet is what sparks the increase in blood serum levels of:

  1. Testosterone
  2. Growth Hormone
  3. IGF-1 (insulin-like growth hormone production is stimulated by growth hormone).

Fat Adaptation


Steak low carbAs you will be keeping your carbohydrate level low for most of the week, your body will become a fat-burning machine. At the beginning of the diet your body will undergo a ‘metabolic shift’ and start to burn fat as its primary source of energy. This can take as little as 2 days and up to 14 days for some people. However, the vast majority of you will have become fat-adapted by the end of your first 5 and a half days.

The advantages of this are:

  1. Increased Lipolysis (breakdown of fat)
  2. Decreased Lipogenesis (production of fat)
  3. Decreased catabolism (muscle protein is spared from breakdown)

Insulin Isn’t your Enemy


Regular low-carb dieters want to avoid spikes in insulin levels but for the bodybuilder, a controlled spike will do you a world of good. You’ll use a 32-36 hour window (I use the weekends for this) to deliberately cause an insulin spike. Friday 6pm to midnight on Saturday works well for me.

Insulin can make you fat, no doubt about it. Insulin has a dramatic effect on decreasing lipolysis i.e. as insulin regulates fat metabolism, large amounts means that your body will not give up its fat stores for energy; it literally shuts the gates to your stored body fat ensuring that it can’t be released and used for energy. Having said that, insulin is not the enemy of the bodybuilder.

Increasing insulin through a carb-loading period is beneficial because:

  • It helps shuttle amino acids into the muscle cells
  • Increases Protein Synthesis in skeletal muscle
  • Glycogen supercompensation (Replenish Muscle Glycogen To Fuel Workouts).

Growth Hormone & Insulin


As stated previously you will also reap the anabolic effects of increasing insulin, growth hormone and testosterone at the same time. Usually when insulin levels increase, the others decrease and vise versa.

It seems that the body (once fat adapted) sees the intake of high carbs at the weekend as a stressful situation and releases growth hormone as a survival mechanism. Increased Growth hormone is your body’s way of mobilizing energy stores to deal with this stressful situation and so at this time you can get elevated insulin and growth hormone levels simultaneously – welcome to muscle building heaven!

Traditional High-Carb Muscle-Building Diets

On a high carb diet, (usually recommended for the bulking phase of a bodybuilding lifestyle) insulin levels are chronically elevated. You therefore don’t get the edge of maximum release of testosterone, growth hormone and IGF-1. Also on the high carb approach, you prevent your body from using body fat for fuel and actually encourage the laying down of new body fat. That’s

  1. Decreased Lipolysis
  2. Increased Lipogenesis

not good news friends :( . What this anabolic nutritional strategy does is take advantage of the anabolic properties of insulin and, at the same time, restricts the fattening properties of the hormone. This bodybuilding diet will keep insulin levels steady and low most of the time but you will also be creating carefully timed spikes for explosive muscle growth.

Your Unique Carbohydrate Threshold Level

The best thing about this bodybuilding diet is that it’s tailor-fitted to your unique metabolic type; it’s not a one-size-fits-all diet. You will find your unique carb threshold level and this will allow you to:

  1. Gain muscle without fat
  2. Lose fat without sacrificing lean mass (when cutting)

Your carb threshold level can be defined as


“The lowest possible daily carbohydrate intake that allows you to function at top level”

Since we’re concerned with building muscle, we need to find the lowest amount of carbs you need in a day to not only feel good but hammer out muscle-building workouts that continually improve, week-on-week.

I recommend you start out at 30 grams per day and adjust from there. Don’t make any changes to this for at least a week because you need to make the metabolic switch to burning fat for fuel first. Once this is completed you will be able to tell from your workout performances whether or not you need some more carbs (if so increase in 5 gram per day increments).

I personally average at around 27 grams of carbohydrate per day for 5 and a half days. Some days I take in 35 grams but on others just 20 grams. Going higher or lower is fine, just check your weekly averages. This low amount of carbohydrate is enough to power me through some amazing workouts; I’ve got bags of energy and feel great :) .



Post-Workout Nutrition


Some of you may be wondering about post-workout carbs. With this dietary approach, they are not needed and may actually be counter-productive. For a full break down of why this is the case, please read my article ‘Post-Workout Carbs – Crucial or Counter-Productive?

So, I don’t take any carbs post-workout. My after-training cocktail consists of some whey protein isolate (40 grams or so), micronized creatine (5grams), and L-Glutamine (3 – 5 grams).



I remember being advised years ago that I needed around 60 – 100 grams of post-workout carbs to encourage muscle hypertrophy. It’s no surprise now, with a little education, that I got fat. Also, remember creating daily insulin spikes will have an adverse effect on growth hormone levels so follow this to the letter.



Your Carb-Up Period



This is perfect as you can enjoy your life too after being so strict during the week. Have some pizza, Chinese, whatever you feel like. Take your woman out for a meal, have some beers with the guys and rest assured that your actually benefiting from this. I limit the junk meals to 2 and the rest of the time I eat a mostly high-carb, moderate fat, moderately low-protein diet.

It isn’t an excuse to go completely nuts but let your hair down a little. Again, there’s no reason to eat passed satiation, let your gut decide how much to eat.

There is no real limit on the amount of carbs you can have. The key is just to watch the time it takes for you to begin to smooth-out (lose definition); it may take a little bit of experimentation at first and it will be different for everyone; 32 hours works great for me. You’ll notice that evey week you go through a mini-cycle of being bigger and smaller; this is just due to fluctuating water levels. When you begin to low-carb you’ll flush out some water, it’s perfectly natural.

Continually monitor your weight in conjunction with your body fat levels. If you notice that by Saturday afternoon, you’re smoothing out a little bit too much, you know that you’ll have to limit your carb-up period to 24 hrs; keep monitoring and adjusting as necessary.


Won’t I get Fat if I Eat Too Many Calories on the Low-Carb, Weekday Section?


best bodybuilding diet plan to get rippedIn a word – No. It’s a little different for when you’re cutting (and I’ll get into that in later articles) but for gaining muscle and simply maintaining your current body fat levels it’s damn-near impossible to gain fat with this anabolic nutritional strategy. Remember that insulin is key here; you’ll be keeping insulin levels very low for the majority of the time. This is the (over-simplified) mechanism of lipogenesis:


Carbs – Increased Blood Sugar – Insulin increased – Triglycerides – Adipose Tissue (body fat)

Q:Why is it important to warm up and cool down in a workout?

It is very important to warm up the body before exercising. This aids the performer in preparing physiologically and psychologically for exercise, reducing the chance of joint and muscle injury.

Warm up exercises prepare the body for exercising by increasing the blood flow to the muscles allowing them to loosen up, which can raise the flow of oxygen to the muscle cells. Doing this gradually increases the body's temperature. This then increases the speed and force of muscular contractions, because nerve impulses travel faster at higher body temperatures, and muscles become less stiff or more pliable.

They also help to gradually increase the heart rate and ensure that the demand made on the circulatory and metabolic systems is gradual as well.  In a safe and gradual way they allow blood to be diverted away from other parts of the body such as the digestive system to the muscles being exercised. This initial part of your exercise session helps to improve neural function and co-ordination, protect major joints as it takes time to increase the supply of lubricating synovial fluid and to thicken the articular cartilages – the body’s shock absorbers.

The warm up's intensity should cause perspiration but not cause fatigue. The type of warm up needs to be appropriate for the activity planned. It also needs to be appropriate to the age range and fitness level of the participants, usually lasting for 5-10 minutes in duration.

The following examples cover a warm up:
• walking or jogging to increase the body’s temperature
• dynamic stretches to reduce muscle stiffness
• specific stretches for muscles that will be used during exercises

So in warming up thoroughly, we are preparing the body and the mind for the more energetic demands to come.

The cool down period of an exercise session is just as important as the warm up. The aim is to decrease the intensity of the aerobic session and to return the body to a state of rest.

The cooling down has the effect of:
• preventing blood pooling, returning the blood back to the heart rather than allowing it to pool in the muscles that have been worked
• bringing the heart rate back down, gradually
• preventing fainting by ensuring that the brain continues to receive a sufficient supply of blood and oxygen
• reducing the blood lactic acid levels

Once you have completed the main component of your session you can then focus on the cooling down phase. The key here is ‘gradual’. Use the first 3-5 minutes by walking, or jogging if you have been running, which will bring your breathing under control and back to normal. Once your heart rate has returned back to a state of rest you can then follow this with some stretching. Stretching the muscle groups you used in your workout will return them to their normal length, reduce the delayed onset of muscular soreness, aid recovery and assist your body in its repair process. Don’t forget to include some deep breathing as this will help to oxygenate your system.

Q:How can I maximise my metabolism through exercise and diet?

A:Metabolism is the sum total of all chemical and physiological changes that take place within the body.  This includes the transformation of food into energy, the growth and repair of muscle and bone tissue, and the creation of enzymes and hormones.

While any weight loss regime will cause you to lose pounds in the short run, the real issue is if you will be able to keep it off in the long run.  Many of us are still overweight and obese because we have many misconceptions about the metabolic process that cause people to gain and lose body fat.

Most diets fail the test of time and according to the American College of Sports Medicine, people gain back 67 percent of their lost weight within one year and the rest within five years.

If you go back to our human ancestors, who were hunters and gatherers, hunting down animals whether large or small was exhausting.  They also walked many miles on a daily basis to gather nuts, vegetables, grains and fruits. 

To be able to do this exhausting work on a daily basis, they needed some kind of physical means to store energy and this energy took the form of extra body fat.  This is when the body's ability to store fat began as a survival mechanism.

If you eat a diet that is calorically deprived over a long period of time, it actually causes the body to begin to hang on to the fat supplies it has, even adding to them.  Going back to our human ancestors, a steady supply of food was not guaranteed and this caused the body to develop the added ability to slow down the metabolism and store extra fat.  Therefore this is why very low calorie or starvation diets do not work in the long run.

If you have ever been on one of these diets and wondered why you reached a plateau after losing those initial pounds, it's because your body's natural fat-storing survival mechanism has kicked in.  So the message is to eat a certain amount of calories per day to lose body fat and preserve and build lean muscle mass, as eating too few can even cause your body to cannibalise its own lean muscle to get the nutrients needed for survival.

Apart from eating  the right number of calories to support your metabolism, it is also important to eat low-glycaemic nutrient dense calories to prolong the length, health and quality of your life.  For some, this might indeed mean cutting back on calories and for most this won't be the case.

When a lot of people hear the word carbohydrates, they cringe and avoid them because they think they are fattening.  This is not true because you need a basic amount of carbohydrates just to keep brain function and other metabolic processes efficient.  Low carbohydrate diets can make you feel exhausted and irritable.

To lose weight, maintain weight and stay healthy, choosing the correct kind of carbohydrate is the key.  Sugary and over-processed foods such as cake, sweets, and soft drinks are simple carbohydrates.  Bran muffins, brown rice and whole-grain breads are complex carbohydrates.   Fruit, vegetables and grains also have a different rate of digestion based on their glycaemic index.  By eating carbohydrates that digest slowly and release their energy into the bloodstream gradually, the result is less stored fat.  Those that digest quickly release their energy in amounts greater than the body can use.

People also have a fear of eating fats because they associate them with instant weight gain.  If we chose low-fat or fat free versions of everything we eat then how boring and tasteless will our diets be? 

To consume a diet that is balanced, exciting and tasty, we need to include a sufficient amount of protein and acceptable fats to go with carbohydrates.  Those who limit their fat intake typically eat dry toast or bagel, cereal with low-fat milk for breakfast, a sandwich with very little meat and no mayonnaise or cheese for lunch and pasta, brown rice or a potato with a little protein for dinner.  Eating all these carbohydrates by themselves can trigger insulin release, causing blood sugar to dip. 

Studies have shown that a healthy nutritional program consists of 40 percent low-glycaemic carbohydrates, 30 percent of lean protein and 30 percent acceptable fats.

Fat is essential as it is an energy source that our body needs a certain amount of to be able to function properly.  No one can avoid it and expect to stay healthy.  Choosing the right kind of fats - mono and polyunsaturated fats vs saturated fats - is an important factor in weight loss, weight management and good health.

The more active you are, the more efficient your metabolism works.  This includes everything from planned exercise to walking through the park or playing with your kids.  If you're not physically active, you will begin to gain weight.

As you get older, it is not your metabolic processes that are slowing down, it is your lifestyle and level of activity.  As muscle tissue is metabolically active and fat just basically sits there, the fatter you are, the less metabolically active your body will be.

So to create metabolic efficiency, engaging in exercise at least 3 times per week for a minimum of twenty to thirty minutes is needed.

Exercising will reduce body fat and increase lean muscle mass.  By increasing lean muscle mass, metabolism will increase and aid in the weight-loss process. Muscle tissue uses more calories than fat tissue because it has a higher metabolic rate. There are two main types that will affect your metabolism, having an impact on your BMR and your level of physical activity - Cardiovascular exercise and Resistance training.

The bonus of cardio exercise or aerobic exercise is the speeding up of your metabolism for four to eight hours after you stop exercising. Walking, swimming, jogging sprinting, rowing and cycling are examples of cardiovascular exercise.

Resistance training involves using resistance to build strength and muscle mass. Even though resistance training alone does not speed up your metabolism it does burn fat, increasing your muscle mass which increases your resting metabolic rate.  Bodyweight training, weight machines and free weights are examples of resistance training.

A combination of both these two types of exercise will definitely assist in optimal fat burning and metabolism boosting.


What is the best complete abdominal workout? check out

Everyone wants a rock hard 6-pack, however, the abdominals can be a very tricky set of muscles to is the workouts for an amazing 6-pack!

Perform crunches with the feet elevated (on a bench/box, ball etc.) to place more stress on the actual abdominal muscles instead of the lumbar spine and hip flexors.

During leg raises, bring the legs up to 90 degrees to the body.

To increase difficulty, focus on the contraction and eccentric portions of each rep. Aim for a 5-10 second eccentric to really feel the burn.

Only add minimal weight once exercise is no longer challenging. Increase weight slowly.