You may recognize Marc Megna. He’s a fitness model, former NFL linebacker, and also a strength coach at Bommarito Performance Systems, a facility that caters to pro athletes in Aventura, FL. We asked Megna how he preps for photo shoots on short notice. Use his secrets the next time you want to look ripped for the beach, a vacation, or anywhere you want to take your shirt off. All you need is three weeks.
RAISE YOUR REPS
“The first thing I do is increase my rep ranges,” says Megna. So if you’ve been performing three sets of 10 for most of your exercises, increase to six sets of 15 to 20. Use the heaviest weights you can and you’ll increase your caloric expenditure enormously. Megna also slightly changes the exercises he performs. If he works his chest with a barbell bench press the first week, he’ll switch to dumbbells the second week and then go to a floor press in Week 3.
“If I do a boatload of cardio for a long time, it will start to eat up my muscle mass,” says Megna, so it’s best to keep sessions short and intense. “I’ll do a minute of sprinting and then a minute of slow walking. Then 45 seconds on and 45 seconds off; then 30 seconds on and off; then 15 seconds. As the time decreases, the intensity picks up.”
CYCLE YOUR CARBS
Set up a routine of high-, moderate-, and low-carb days for the first two weeks and cycle through them. Make sure your hardest training days (such as leg workouts) land on days you eat the most carbs. This rotation will minimize body-fat storage and keep your muscles full. “In the last week, cut the carbs,” says Megna. Eat mainly plain chicken or white fish, such as tilapia plus green vegetables for five days. Then, right before you want to look your best, carb up by eating lots of sweet potatoes, oats, and brown rice.
“I take Nitro-Tech and a banana an hour before I work out,” says Megna. “I also take naNO Vapor Hardcore Pro Series 15 minutes before I train to really drive up my energy and intensity.”
For the first two weeks, “flood yourself with water—about four liters a day,” says Megna. When you cut carbs, start reducing your fluids. If your event is on Saturday, start the Monday before and drink only three liters. On Tuesday, drink two; Wednesday and Thursday, just one, and then half a liter on Friday. The day of the event, just sip water until your unveiling.
TAKE FISH OIL
Shoot for three or four servings per day. “That’s the only fat I’m taking in during this whole time,” says Megna. “As your body is drying out, it keeps your joints lubricated.”
Megna likes to eat rice cakes with Nutella and honey a few minutes before a photo shoot. “The rush of carbs makes the muscles look bigger,” he says. “After dieting so hard, you’ll feel great and you’ll have the energy to enjoy yourself.”