Eight weeks to get ripped, week 7

Eight weeks to get ripped, week 7
(Image credit: Unknown)

You might notice I'm a tad beardy in the above video. UFC fighters and boxers often grow their facial hair when they’re deep in a training camp – I think to signify to themselves that their focus should be on nothing other than getting into hyper-conditioned shape for their fight. That’s the logic I’ve applied to my own face fuzz during this eight-week challenge.

At the end of week seven I don’t think I’ve ever been stronger or more ripped (or hairier) than this. The beard’s coming off next week, which should make me feel and look leaner and more chiselled, but I’ll miss stroking it.

I'll stop being weird now and talk about the chest and abs workout in the video above, which is my favourite from the intensity phase. The weighted dips are harder but more satisfying than the explosive ones we did in the volume phase – as well as helping you make serious strength and muscle gains, they draw lots of admiring glances. To my mind that’s the sign of a good move!

This session ends with a superset containing barbell rollouts. These are possibly the most demanding exercise in the entire programme and you need to do them on a soft floor so that if you fail you don’t lose teeth. If you find them too hard to do, start with your knees on the floor to take some of the pressure off your abs.

I'm down to 8.1% body fat and am still at 84kg so I'm close to the targets Dave Fletcher and I set at the start of the challenge. I've been pretty disciplined about not missing gym sessions, taking on lots of protein and avoiding simple carbs, which cause the blood sugar spikes that lead to weight gain. This kind of discipline is vital if you want to become a better athlete.

I'm going straight into triathlon training after I finish this challenge and I look forward to seeing how this programme affects my swimming, cycling and running speed. I’m hoping a new PB might be on the cards at the 2012 London Triathlon.

Phase 2 

Weeks five to eight – Intensity training

Superset reps
Do 3 reps of the first move and 6 reps of the second

Three minutes between sets

Superset 1
Barbell stiff leg deadlift, bodyweight hamstring curl

Superset 2
Barbell shoulder press, dumbbell explosive turn and press

Superset 3
Barbell good morning, gym ball hamstring curl

Superset 4
Dumbbell seated shoulder press, dumbbell seated lateral raise

10x10sec hill sprint (10sec rest between sets)
5x30sec run (60sec rest between sets)
3x60sec run (90sec rest between sets)

Superset 1
Barbell bench press, bodyweight explosive press-up

Superset 2
Hanging straight leg raise, thick band drag

Superset 3
Weighted dip, dumbbell incline chest press

Superset 4
Bodyweight abs rollout, dumbbell sit-up press


2x3min round (90sec rest between sets)
3x2 minute round (60sec rest between sets)
4x1 minute round (30sec rest between sets)
5x30sec round (15sec rest between sets)
6x15sec round (10sec rest between sets)
*If you can't do this for whatever reason, do the below treadmill or rowing intervals

Treadmill - adjust the incline to 5˚
3min run, 1min walk
2min run, 1min walk
1min run, 1min walk
Rest for 3 minutes and then repeat
10x50m sprint, aiming to complete each in under 10sec, with a 20sec rest between sprints.

Superset 1
Barbell Back squat, dumbbell static lunge jump
Superset 2
Weighted close-grip chin-up, dumbbell single-arm row
Superset 3
Barbell front squat, plate-loaded leg press

Superset 4
Barbell row, overhand chin-up (jumping)


You can find Sharmain Davis's nutrition advice at the bottom of the first blog. Here's Dave Fletcher's:

1. 175-200g of meat/fish per main meal. Stick to chicken, turkey, salmon and any fish with white flesh.
2. Snack on coconut chunks, unsalted nuts, dark fruits and oat cakes with almond butter.
3. On training days, consume 50g of whey protein (ideally with glutamine and no carbs) five minutes after a workout.
4. On training days, consume up to 50g of carbohydrates with your post-workout meal. Stick to sweet potato, brown rice, rye bread and quinoa.
5. Eat steamed green veg and lemon juice with each meal.

Click here to see the final part of Nick's blog.
For more from Nick Hutchings, find him on Facebook.

For more on Sharmain Davis, go to maxitone.com/asktheexperts
For more on Dave Fletcher, go to theodysseyway.co.uk
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Nick Hutchings worked for Men’s Fitness UK, which predated, and then shared a website with, Coach. Nick worked as digital editor from 2008 to 2011, head of content until 2014, and finally editor-in-chief until 2015.