12 Week Get Shredded and Jacked Plan


by Chris Marzarella, CFT

Aaah the new year's resolution. For years, many folks have tried to make promises for the new year that encompassed quitting smoking/stop drinking, making more money/be a better worker, start eating healthier­lose weight­exercise. There’s nothing wrong with these. I made a pact with myself to watch less TV and devote myself to more gaming. So far, I’ve been racking up levels on FallOut 4 like a madman, while Master Chef, Food Network, House and The Housewives of NJ (it’s a guilty pleasure, don’t judge me) have started to panic because I’m no longer there.

The problem with these are that most people are non­dedication couch potatoes with no plan on how to accomplish this somewhat Raiders of the Lost Ark feat. They usually last about 4­6 weeks, fill our beloved gyms with their new gym spandex clothes that probably have a store tag on them somewhere, ugly Beats headphones, will carry in some sort of BPA protected bottles with a flash color, curl in the squat rack, do the worst form of (insert exercise here) and are just fucking annoying. I hate these obnoxious newbs like I hate crossfit.

Now, don't get me wrong, I applaud anyone who starts a new goal. The first step is always the hardest. But for God's sake, do it right and get someone qualified to train you. You don't have to be champagne budgeted when you have a beer wallet. Tell the trainer you want 4 sessions. Tell him your goal. Tell him it isn't long term and you don't have the kind of money to continue training long term. Go at it, and give yourself a truly realistic goal.

Bodybuilders and strength athletes are a whole different breed. We do this some thing as a lifestyle. We do the diets, whether it’s IIFYM, keto, or any one of the various keto diets, or a structured method of dieting to get shredded and jacked. We do the workouts regardless of pain or injury ­ not that I'm condoning training with a serious injury. That's just looking for a way to truly be injured and make an already existing injury possibly permanent. We even go as far as doing the drugs that will help us get to that goal even faster because we are hungry for achievement.

This article is aimed at the experienced athlete with at least one or more years of quality workouts, who are consistent with logging their workouts and diet, can't wait to get to the gym and are willing to do shit that needs to get done. It's purpose is to have a plan for 12 weeks, to get you to a whole different level than where you are now. I'm going to break this plan up into four components: training, diet and supplements and not so over the counter supplements.


In the process of getting leaner, you need to remember one thing; in dieting, you will lose some muscle tissue. The extent or amount that you lose is dependent on your genes of course, but also diet, whether or not you plan on using drugs and your training. For this endeavor, we will use an eight day split. I love frequency in my training, and most of the time, I will use a varied rep range throughout the week. There is a great deal of research out there that says protein synthesis goes back to normal within 36 hours. Why not beat up the muscle a bit more and grow?! The problem with the typical 4 day split most athletes do is that there is too much time off to recover.

Those of who know my writing, I am a bit of a zealot on daily undulating periodization (DUP). In quick but easy to understand terms, the reps and sets change through the week. For those want more insight on this type of training, take a look at my list of articles, there’s a three part series on DUP.

Use a perceived rate of exertion scale of 1 being the easist to 10­as in you cant do another repetition if you tried. You need this to get an idea of where you should be, but get your one rep maxes of all 4 compound lifts ­the bench press, squat, standing overhead press and deadlift. You can use any variation, but make sure you don't stray off the beaten path. Dumbbells are acceptable alternatives for bench and overhead press, but be careful with your weight selection. Also, don’t go to full one rep max when using dumbbells and use a formula for one rep maximums. It’s safer that way.

I like Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1/calculator:
Estimated 1 RM = Weight x Reps x 0.0333 + Weight.​ So if you bench 225 lbs x 6, your estimated 1 RM is 225 x 6 x 0.0333 + 225 = 270. If you can bench 225 for 6 reps, your "theoretical" 1 rep max for the bench is 270.

Day 1
Upper Body Strength Day
5 sets of 3 repetitions (read 5x3)
Bench Press variation
Reverse Grip Barbell Row
Standing Barbell Overhead Press
Barbell Curl
Close Grip Bench Press
10 minutes of intervals+20 minutes of low impact cardio.

Day 2
Lower Body Strength Day
5x3, PRE 8
Squat variation
Smith Machine Hack Squat
Walking Lunge­go to 10 on each side
Stiff Leg Deadlift
Good Morning
Standing Calf Raise­go to 10 repetitions

Day 3
Ab Work: Ball Crunch+Leg Raises+Roman Chair Situps+Barbell Twists
Standing Calf Work+Seated Calf work. Use the method of blood flow restriction when
performing calf work if they are lagging.
15 minutes of intervals+30 minutes of low impact cardio

Day 4
Upper Body Hypertrophy
3x10­12, PRE: 7
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press
Lat Pulldown
Arnold Press
Tricep Pushdown
Alternating Dumbbell Curl

Day 5
Lower Body Hypertrophy
3x8­10 unless otherwise specified, PRE 7
Deadlift variation­Start with a PRE of 6 and build to a 9, go only to 10 repetitions for the first set, 8 for the second set, 6 for the third set and 4 for the final set, increasing weight
as you go along. Be wise when increasing weight, believe me these are taxing.
Leg Curl variation SHELC (google it, there’s a few variations, pick one)
Front Squat
Step Ups
Bodyweight Split Squat­go to no more than 25 on each side for three sets. After three sets are completed, add weight with dumbbells.
Seated Calf Raise­go to 20 repetitions on these.
12 minutes of intervals+23 minutes of low impact cardio

Day 6
Ab Work: Ball Crunch+Leg Raises+Roman Chair Situps+Barbell Twists
Standing Calf Work+Seated Calf work. Use the method of blood flow restriction when
performing calf work if they are lagging.
15 minutes of intervals+30 minutes of low impact cardio

Day 7
Upper Body Hypertrophy+Metabolic Stressor
3x12­15 with (3) dropsets decreasing weight by 30 percent each time.
Flat Bench Press variation
Dumbbell Row
Rack Chins
Shoulder Complex [Front Raise+Side Laterals+Bent Over Reverse Laterals] Dont put the weights down until the entire set is complete; go only to 12 reps without dropsets on this exercise. Do NOT do dropsets after the set is complete.
Zottman Curls
15 minutes of intervals+20 minutes of low impact cardio.

Day 8
Lower Body Hypertrophy+Metabolic Stressor
One­and­a­half­rep back Squat. Descend on the first part of the rep, then go to a full ascent. On the second PART of the rep, go all the way down and then come up ONLY half way.Finish by going all the way up. Perform the entire set in this fashion. These suck, but the growth you get is ridiculous! Go only to 12 repetitions on these, as they destroy the CNS!
Goblet Squat
Leg Extension
Stiff Legged Deadlift with the front balls of your feet on a 45 pound plate on the floor. Use a weighted barbell and stretch all the way down to the floor, giving it a dead stop on each repetition. Stop when your glutes are full squeezed. Don't hyperextend.
Hip Thrust­do these with a weighted barbell and a foam pad on the bar.
Leg Press Calf Raise
Toe Raises­go to 50 on these with no dropsets.


We will be using a low carb/higher fats/moderate protein approach. Take your bodyweight and calculate it with the number 10. For example, we have a 200 pound bodybuilder, this gives him 2000 calories to use, not including a protein drink after training. The percentage split will be 60 percent fats, 30 percent protein and 10 percent carbs. So taking a look back at our 200 pound bodybuilder: 60 percent of 2000 calories is 1200 calories, at 9 calories per gram of fat, this gives him 133g of fats, 30 percent 2000 is 600 calories, at 4 calories per gram of protein, this gives him 150g of protein. I know what you’re thinking­that’s not enough protein, but because our fats are higher, the fats act as our muscle tissue savior.

Finally, 10 percent of 2000 is 200 calories, at 4 grams per gram of carbohydrates, this gives him 50g of carbs. This is not set in stone, as you may need to add or deduct FATS. If that is the case, and you’re losing 2+ pounds a week or more, increase the fats by 5%. If the scale isn't moving for 2 weeks in a row, deduct 5%. Simple. Give yourself 2 weeks without going off the diet. After every 2 weeks, have a free meal day where you can eat whatever you want for 18 hours. However, there are some rules: Protein will drop down 40% of what your existing protein intake is.
Fats will be trace amounts­ do not ingest any extra fats except the required fish oil. Carbs will make up the entire diet of the day. Eat what you miss, starches, candies, bagels, pasta, potatoes etc. Enjoy it, but one thing you need to remember is to not eat a lot of fiber. It’s uncomfortable after a while and the sounds that come out will be truly repulsive.


Take these daily: Creatine Monohydrate. Cheap and simple. Have it after training in your post workout protein shake. 5g daily no loading phase. BCAAs. I drink this during the workout. A scoop will do most just fine, but if you’re a larger guy, consider a scoop and a half. Protein Powder. Duh. it’s a no brainer right after training! Multivitamin+minerals. Take a good quality supplement but dont get crazy. A complete vitamin shouldn’t cost more than 12 bucks on the high side. Fish oil. 3 capsules with 4 meals a day. Don’t skimp on the quality of these wonder pills.
I prefer Carlson’s lemon flavored fish oil, and take a teaspoon with the four meals. It’s expensive to use, but the quality is up there. Fiber. You will be somewhat constipated if you don’t drink enough waterand digest fiber. Shoot for at least 30g daily. Use an unsweetened fiber supplement to add more bulk and squash the hunger pangs. Fat burning supplements: Most suck, and there haven't been many that have truly been known to work. I do like 7­-Keto Rx by IronMag. 7­Keto has some decent research behind it. Take a look.

If you decide to go the drug route, I have had amazing success with T3+Clenbuterol. I like clen because it retains muscle mass and T3 keeps my metabolism stoked. This is important because your thyroid can get sluggish during a diet. One caveat though, is to be very aware that you at least need to be on some sort of testosterone support to use T3. It can eat away at your muscle and the best insurance is to use a backbone of test in a cycle.

Be consistent with your diet, log all of your workouts, log your food accurately, do your foam roller work and recover. I don't recommend taking a full day off, and will usually do my cardio with ab and calf work. If you need to take the day off because of a social engagement or your body is saying to, do it. Take photos when you start, then every 3 weeks after in the same clothing, same lighting and same time of day.

Get rolling with this plan because summer and competitions are right around the corner and will be here before you know it. Have a great new year and stay healthy!