Monthly Archives: June 2012

Alyssa Adamson

Age: 38

Weight: 145 contest; 150 off-season

Height: 5’11”

Hometown: Long Beach, California

Current residence: Cypress, California

Occupation: Director of IT Finance at the California State University, Office of the Chancellor

Contest highlights: ’12 NPC IRON MAN Naturally, bikini, C-class, 1st, and overall; masters bikini, 1st; ’11 NPC Orange County Muscle Classic, masters bikini 35 and over, B-class, 1st, and overall
Factoid: “If I could go back in time and do things differently, I would have enlisted in the military, probably the Air Force or the Marines.”


Tip 381: Make Strength Gains Today by Decreasing Stress For Faster Recovery

Decrease your stress to recover faster from intense training and make strength gains today. By managing your mental and physical stress levels you will get better results in the gym, have a better body composition, and a happier life. I know it sounds too simple, but you must manage your stress if you want to “be all you can be.”

New research shows that stress will hamper results and put you at risk for poor performance, which will cause you more stress! Don’t let this happen! A new study in the journal of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise found that in trained college students, those who had higher stress scores on two well respected stress scales had a delayed recovery from a high-intensity lower body resistance training workout. Participants performed multiple leg extension sets to failure and then had their psychological stress levels measured during a one-hour period.

Recovery of maximal isometric strength was nearly 10 percent lower in the students who were more stressed. There was a distinct inverse relationship between lower stress ratings and greater recovery of maximal strength.

Researchers suggest the mechanism behind delayed recovery has to do with a chronic overactivation of the stress hormone response—mainly cortisol. This causes a cascade of negative physiological effects that may include irregular muscular activation, altered breathing, low blood pH, altered neural firing patterns, poor glucose tolerance, and atrophic gene expression, which shifts the body to a more tissue degrading state.

The first place to start when managing stress is to optimize your sleep and nutrition habits. This will have the side effect of helping to lower cortisol, support protein synthesis, and clear waste products produced during intense training. Try the following:
•    Eliminate sugar and high-glycemic carbs that will boost insulin and drive cortisol up, hindering recovery.
•    Get optimal pre- and post-workout nutrition: Only use caffeine pre-workout, eat solid protein and smart fats pre-workout, and get fast-digesting protein post-workout.
•    Take BCAAs during training, and consider supporting tissue rebuilding by taking BCAAs and additional large protein doses every 12 hours after hard workouts. 
•    Help clear cortisol post-workout by taking phosphatidyl serine, which has been shown to lower cortisol without affecting growth hormone—shoot for about 400 mg.
•    Plan your sleep like you plan everything else—pick a bedtime/wakeup time and stick to it. Opt for an early-to-bed and early-to-rise pattern for best body composition results.
•    Actively relax yourself before you go to bed by doing a grateful log (write down one thing you are grateful for), doing deep breathing, meditating, or stretching.
•    Get antioxidants from food sources such as blueberries and tart cherries. Both these fruits have shown to accelerate recovery from very intense training because they help remove the waste products or “garbage” caused by muscle damage, allowing for the body to better repair tissue.
•    Take glutamine to further aid in the removal or waste products and boost the immune system.

For more suggestions on lowering stress and speeding recovery, read the Top Five Things You MUST Know About Post-Workout Nutrition.

Stults-Kolehmainen, M., Bartholomew, J. Psychological Stress impairs Short-Term Muscular Recovery from Resistance Exercise. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 2012. Published Ahead of Print.


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Vitamin D – Different Forms

Your body makes vitamin D when your skin is exposed to sunlight, so it's a major source. If you don't spend enough time in the sun (5 to 30 ...

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Should I reduce salt intake if I have high blood pressure?

Recent studies suggest that higher salt intakes may not be so bad for blood pressure after all unless you have a genetic predisposition for high blood pressure.

That’s good news for those who like to salt their food—but do yourself a favor and use Celtic Sea Salt at least some of the time just for the health of it.

According to the November/December ’10 Well Being Journal, sea salt comes from sun-evaporated seawater, which contains nearly identical proportions of minerals to what’s in the human body, including sodium, potassium and magnesium, along with important trace minerals.

Persistence Pays Off

A thought occurred to me the other day—and not for the first time. As the years go by, however, this thought becomes more pronounced and meaningful to me:

“Thank God I never quit!”

At the front of each of my books I inscribe this brief phrase: “Train hard, train smart, and never give up!”

It’s the never-giving-up part that resonates the loudest with me. Some bodybuilders were always big and strong. If you look at photos of Jay Cutler when he was 18 and had yet to start training, you can see that he was already a size some guys would need years of heavy lifting and eating to reach. A year of training later Jay was a solid 260 pounds at just 5’9”, bigger than most bodybuilders ever get no matter how many years they train or how dedicated they are.

When I started fooling around with weights at 12 to 13 years old, I was not consistent. I would work out like a madman for a few days, and then quit for months. I quit because I failed to see any results, and that led me to believe I never would. The real issue at the time was that I had not yet hit puberty, and without that burst of hormones there was just no way my muscles could grow. I was still a child—but I knew that I wanted to be a big, strong man someday. By the time I started high school in ninth grade, I had made up my mind to stick with lifting no matter what. I had no expectations of ever being able to put on much size, though I desperately wanted to. I was just under 5’ tall and 95 pounds.

As high school went on, I kept my promise to myself and continued lifting: at home, in the attic of my friend Paul’s house for the year we trained together every day after school and at the weight room of the Boys Club in Waltham, Massachusetts. I was gradually starting to become more athletic and muscular looking. I hoped to get a lot bigger eventually, but I still didn’t believe it was possible. The couple of kids I knew who were much bigger and stronger than the rest of us had gotten that way very fast. It was clear to me that there was something different about those kids and that they responded to training in a way that most people just didn’t. Nutrition and drugs were not in any way part of this equation. These kids ate the same crap food we all did, and nobody back then was using steroids at that age in my city.

By the time I started college in the fall of 1987—at the University of California at Santa Barbara (a long, long way from home)—I had read my first bodybuilding magazine, and it was like a light bulb went off over my head. Staring in awe at photos of the stars like Rich Gaspari, Lee Labrada, Lee Haney, Gary Strydom, Mike Quinn and Mike Christian, I knew that I wanted to look like them. I cut pictures out and taped them to the walls of my room, which my two roommates found hilarious. They found it even funnier that I thought I could look like that someday. So did everyone else who heard my plan. I was discouraged at every turn and told not to get my hopes up. The next summer my girlfriend in L.A., a B-movie actress named Linda, thought I was delusional, as did Dr. Ellington Darden of Nautilus fame, to whom I sent photos for evaluation, and countless more.

Rather than believe what they said and get discouraged, I got angry and decided I would prove them all wrong. That “I’ll show them” attitude changed over the years as I matured and gained more self-confidence, a quality I had been sorely lacking throughout my entire early life. Eventually, I began to enjoy the process of challenging myself to train harder, eat better and experiment with different workouts and pretty much every new supplement that came along.

Despite not dominating in competition, I kept doing that too, really because I loved it. Team sports had never been my thing, but I enjoyed wrestling my senior year of high school, and bodybuilding was more like that.

Bodybuilding is all about the strive for self-improvement. You can always be a little bit better.

Long story short, here I am today at 41 years old, having been training consistently for 27 years. The people who told me I would never stand on a Mr. Olympia stage with the best pros were right, because my genetics were not at that elite level (and you can forget drugs—without the right genetics all the drugs in the world won’t take you to that level). Still, I’ve won a couple shows, and I’ve had not one but five photo shoots for IRON MAN with Mike Neveux, one of the greatest physique photographers of all time.

I am so glad I never gave up. As I tell people, you just never know how good you can be until you try. I gave it my all and continue to do so, and the physique I see in the mirror today is one the 14-year-old me would have been stunned to know was coming his way. If the younger me had known what I would look like in the future, it would have been a huge boost of motivation, but none of us can do that. When we start out, we have to operate on faith.

You really won’t know what your ultimate potential is until you have put a lot of time and effort into training hard, eating right and resting—and I mean years. After almost 30 years of training (!), I can honestly say I am still improving. If at any point I had given up or even decided that there was no way I could possibly get any better, I wouldn’t look as good as I do now.

Do I look as good as Jay Cutler or Phil Heath? Nope—but so what? And you should not worry about what you look like compared to Jay, me or the guy at the other end of the gym doing curls. Measure your success by how you look next to the previous you, and there’s no way you can fail. Bodybuilding is all about the strive for self-improvement. You can always be a little bit better. The gains don’t come quickly for most of us, and the longer you’ve been at it, the slower they’ll come, but you can’t ever quit. As long as you don’t quit, you are a winner.

Tip 380: Take Magnesium for Better Performance: How It Affects Vitamin D, Calcium & Zinc

Take magnesium for better athletic performance and get the most out of vitamin D and zinc at the same time. New research shows that magnesium enables optimal athletic performance because the body is better able to use energy and perform muscular contractions.

A recent study performed on elite handball players in the journal Magnesium Research found that supplementing with magnesium will increase red blood cell production, and it increases the availability of both zinc and magnesium to support energy production, muscle contractions, and removal of waste products produced by intense exercise.

Magnesium is redistributed throughout the body when you start exercising, which is one reason that studies trying to identify the optimal daily intake of magnesium for different populations have produced inconclusive results. What is clear is that athletes have greater need for magnesium, and 500 mg a day is a reasonable dose. Your needs be higher if you are a heavy sweater or experience symptoms of low magnesium such as muscle spasms, arrhythmias, or unexplained fatigue or weakness when training. 

In addition to magnesium’s role in red blood cell production, it is also taken up by fat cells as fat is used for fuel. If you are deficient in magnesium, muscle contraction rate will be impaired because the calcium pump that transports calcium ions to the sarcoplasm of the muscle will be reduced. When this happens, you will feel fatigue, and reduced power and strength.

Zinc is also involved in optimal red blood cell production and it allows for the release of anabolic and fat burning hormones during exercise. It plays an interrelated role with magnesium and calcium, as seen by an interesting study that found that when intra-abdominal pressure is increased—a common occurrence when strength training—brain blood levels of magnesium, calcium and zinc are altered significantly. This study didn’t test optimal levels of these minerals; it only highlighted the close relationship they play physiologically.

In addition, magnesium activates cellular enzyme activity, allowing the body to convert vitamin D into its active form to help bone building. It also leads to the release of the hormone calcitonin, which helps to preserve bone structure and draw calcium out of the blood and soft tissues to be deposited in the bones.

With all of these physiological uses for magnesium, it’s no wonder that this mineral is one of the most important for athletes.  For best results with magnesium, vitamin D, and zinc take 500 mg/day of magnesium from a highly absorbable source such as magnesium glycinate. Researchers suggest that for women, a healthy calcium to magnesium dose is 1:1, whereas men probably do not need to get supplemental calcium since there is some evidence that it can lead to cardiovascular problems.
Also, ensure your vitamin D level is optimal by getting a vitamin D blood test (you want a level above 40 ng/ml).

To test your zinc level,  do a zinc taste test that works because we know that taste and smell are dependent on there being adequate zinc in the body. To do this test, get zinc sulfate and put about 1-2 teaspoons in a cup and sip it, holding it in the mouth. If it tastes just like water, you are very zinc deficient. If you taste something slightly metallic, you are moderately zinc deficient. If it tastes disgusting—strongly metallic and unpleasant—your levels are probably adequate. This test is subject to individual taste perception and it is not 100 percent valid, but it is a good place to start.

Nielsen, F., Lukaski, H., Update on the Relationship Between Magnesium and Exercise. Magnesium Research. 2006. 19(3), 180-189.

Molina-Lopez, J., Molina, J., et al. Association Between Erythrocyte Concentrations of Magnesium and Zinc in High-Performance Handball Players After Dietary Magnesium Supplementation. Magnesium Research. 2012. Published Ahead of Print.

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How do I build the muscle down the center thigh?

www.ironmanmagazine.comQ: I know that it’s necessary to have a low bodyfat percentage in order to see the muscle that goes down the center of the thigh, but are there any quad movements that help bring it out?

A: The muscle you’re referring to is the rectus femoris, and it is certainly true that unless you’re at single-digit bodyfat, you have little chance of seeing it—even if you’re flexing at full intensity.

That said, there are two exercises I have found to be particularly effective at targeting the rectus femoris, and doing them regularly will help to thicken it significantly. The first movement I recommend is the old-school sissy squats. They’re a much underutilized exercise, in my opinion, as they really add detail to the fronts of the thighs—and they’re anything but for sissies. Done correctly and with proper effort they can cause a searing burn in your quads that’s so painful, you may end up crying like a sissy. Here is a link to a Web page that shows you how to properly perform this movement:

A second exercise you can add is leg extensions performed with your feet pointed straight ahead, rather than flexed. To hit the rectus femoris even more intensely, put the seat back far enough that your torso is leaning back a bit.

Oh, and if you’re especially brave, try supersetting the two. Ouch!

Editor’s note: Eric Broser’s new DVD “Power/Rep Range/Shock Max-Mass Training System” is available at His e-books, Power/Rep Range/Shock Workout and The FD/FS Mass-Shock Workout, which include complete printable workout templates and Q&A sections, are available at

Tip 379: Perform Better in the Heat: Tips for Cooling the Body and Recovering Faster

Perform better in the heat by reducing heat stress before, during, and after training. With temperatures nearing 95 degrees at the Poliquin Strength Institute and high summer temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere, you need some strategies for cooling off so that you can still compete and train at your best.

A new study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that for highly trained athletes, using recovery baths in between multiple competitions in the heat can improve performance during a second and third exercise trial. Although results were not dramatic, both a cold water bath and a cold-then-hot water bath allowed rugby players to perform better and minimize residual stress. The cold water immersion was performed twice for 5 minutes at 50°F and a cold-hot immersion was done for five cycles of 60 seconds each in water at 50°F and then 100°F.

Results showed that both water baths resulted in better recovery and higher performance on the second and third all-out sprint tests than a control group experienced that did passive recovery. Performance was improved by 2 to 6 from the recovery baths. It’s likely that the impact of hydrotherapy on recovery was minimal because it was not performed for long enough—other studies show there is a dose response effect to cooling and recovery.

For example, a previous study showed that recovery is accelerated with a cold water bath for at least 15 minutes at 50°F (12 minutes is too short, and 59 °F is too warm). A cold-then-hot bath protocol should be at 50°F followed by 108°F, each for 90 seconds for a total of 15 minutes. Also, a cold water bath is most effective at restoring maximal strength and power, whereas a contrast bath of cold followed by hot water restores all-out sprint ability faster. Twenty-four hours after the exercise test, the hydrotherapy groups in this study had better power performance than a passive recovery or a group that used temperate water.

Other cooling and recovery methods that have shown to boost performance include the following:
•    A total-body immersion in cold water (head is out of the water) is most effective for cooling core temperature and restoring cardiovascular capabilities to normal levels.
•    Immersion of the feet and hands in ice buckets is also very effective and more practical.
•    Cooling in a shaded area such as a tent, pavilion or shade is ineffective unless paired with some other cooling method such as drinking cold water before and after intense exercise in the heat.
•    A review in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism notes that ingesting cold beverages can ease thermal stress and improve performance by as much as 10 percent.
•    Forearm immersion in cold water can also speed recovery from thermal stress. A study of firefighters experiencing significant heat stress from intense exercise found that cooling the forearms in cold water for 60 minutes effectively lowered core temperature to near baseline. Cooling in 50°F water was most effective, followed by using 68°F water. Be aware that it is necessary to immerse the whole forearm, not just the hands for the best body-cooling effect.


Higgins, T., Cameron, M., et al. Evaluation of Passive Recovery, Cold Water Immersion, and Contrast Baths for Recovery, as Measured by Game Performances Markers between Two Simulated Games of Rugby Union. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2012. Published Ahead of Print.

Burdon, C., O’Connor, H., Gifford, J., Shirreffs, S. Influence of Beverage Temperature on Exercise Performance in the Heat: A Systematic Review. International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. 2010. 20(2), 166-174.

Biesbrecht, G., Jamieson, C., Cahill, F. Cooling Hyperthermic Firefighters by Immersing Forearms and Hands in 10 Degrees C and 20 Degrees C Water. Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine. 2007. 78(6), 561-567.

DeMartini, J., Ranalli, G., Casa, D., Lopez, R., Ganio, M., Stearns, R., McDermott, B., Armstrong, L., Maresh, C. Comparison of Body Cooling Methods on Physiological and Perceptual Measures of Mildly Hyperthermic Athletes. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2011. 25(8), 2065-2074.

Pournot, H., Bieuzen, F., Lepetre, P., Duffield, R., Cozzoline, C., Hausswirth, C. Short Term Effects of Various Water Immersions on Recover from Exhaustive Intermittent Exercise. European Journal of Applied Physiology. 2011. 111(7), 1287-1295.

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Is 4X the Savior for Advanced Trainers?

www.ironmanmagazine.comThose who have been at this lifting thing for a couple of decades or more all probably tell very similar tales. In the beginning you didn’t have a lot of knowledge about proper training, but you more than made up for it in enthusiasm. With youth on your side you pushed and pulled iron with zeal, and you steadily grew bigger and stronger. In love with working out, you gradually learned about things like proper exercise choices and form, split routines, the value of good nutrition and adequate rest and so much more.

The gains slowed, but they still kept coming. Eventually, you looked in the mirror and hardly recognized the person you had become, transformed by years of dedication in the gym into a true specimen of muscle and might. But there was also a price to pay for that transformation for many of us—acute and chronic injuries. Most trainees with 20-plus years of hard and heavy training under our belts have either torn a muscle, dealt with ongoing issues in areas like the lower back, shoulders or knees or suffered from arthritis. Some of us have experienced all three.

To compound the situation, even if we do manage to remain injury free, there’s still a sobering fact we all have to face: At some point we will not be getting any stronger. Maybe we started out using 10-pound dumbbells for curls, and years later we can knock out a good set with 60s or even 70s. Why isn’t anybody doing curls with 200-pound dumbbells?

The fact is, the longer you’ve been training and the greater the improvement in size and strength you’ve made since you started, the closer you get to your ultimate potential. If you’re an advanced trainee slammed with the double whammy of injuries and having reached your full strength potential, things can look pretty grim. When you can’t handle the weights on many exercises that you used to, training ceases to be the enjoyable respite that it was for so long. Even if you are still as strong, it’s very likely that an injury is around the corner.

Everyone thought that eight-time Mr. Olympia Ronnie Coleman was some indestructible juggernaut. Nobody was as big and strong as Ronnie in his prime. In his training videos we saw him squat and deadlift 800 pounds, press 200-pound dumbbells, do barbell rows with 500 pounds, etc. Ronnie recently underwent his third spinal surgery and is scheduled for a fourth. Even he couldn’t keep throwing around those crazy weights forever. The spirit was willing, but the flesh eventually gave out.

I found myself in a similar situation at the end of 2011, having just undergone two surgeries myself, a triceps tendon repair and a shoulder “decompression” to make room for the joint to move. Though far from Ronnie’s feats of inhuman power, I had moved some decent weights in my time. Those days were over whether I liked it or not, but at age 42 I wasn’t ready to give up and move on to Zumba and Spinning classes. As crazy as it sounds, I wasn’t convinced I was physically maxed out either. Maybe I wouldn’t be putting on 20 more pounds of muscle, but a couple pounds in strategic areas to improve the overall shape of my physique? I knew in my heart I still had that in me, but I had to wonder. Without superheavy weights, how would I accomplish it? Enter 4X.

By now IRON MAN readers should be quite familiar with Steve Holman’s 4X training system. The key point is that you do four sets of 10 reps with the same weight, taking just 30 seconds of rest in between. Since you use a weight that you could get 15 reps with, the first set is not challenging. As the sets go on, blood and lactic acid build up rapidly in the target muscle, making those 10 reps increasingly difficult to complete. The final set takes all-out effort, and if you can get 10 reps on it, you can use a bit more weight the next time.

It seemed too simple to be effective, but there were plenty of testimonials from trainers, many of them older and/or advanced, praising 4X and reporting significant new results. Having nothing to lose, I resolved to give it a go once I had healed from my surgeries.

As I have zero financial interest in 4X, you can take my satisfaction with it after just a few weeks as being totally sincere. I’m not being paid to endorse 4X, but I do. Though in hindsight I suspect I could have avoided some of the damage to my tendons and joints in recent years had I discovered this method sooner, I feel more gratitude than regret—better late than never!

From day one my pumps were outrageous, yet I felt none of the frightening strains in my joints and connective tissues that I typically get these days when I use weights that limit me to six to eight reps. Have I packed on 25 pounds of fresh new mass? Of course not, but I have definitely seen more fullness to my muscles, and I am making gains in the key areas I’m targeting. That’s simply huge for me, given how long I’ve been training, the laundry list of injuries I’ve accumulated and the fact that it runs contrary to almost everything we collectively believe about muscle gain—i.e.; that mass gains are only possible when you use greater resistance than you’ve ever used before. My back, shoulders, knees and elbows feel fine, and I can honestly say I haven’t been this excited about training for years.

If you fall into some or all of the categories discussed above—if you are close to or at your maximum possible strength, have a history of injuries that makes very heavy weights impossible or at least foolhardy or simply haven’t seen any physique improvements in years and need to try something completely different—you owe it to yourself to try 4X. I’m kicking myself for not finding it sooner, but I am so happy I did and decided to use it. I suggest you check out The 4X Mass Workout, an e-book available at That’s a plug but a very sincere one, no compensation whatsoever required.

Editor’s note: Ron Harris is the author of Real Bodybuilding—Muscle Truth From 25 Years In the Trenches, available at

August 2012 Issue Preview

Our August issue, as usual, is an Arnold extravaganza. We always pay homage to the big guy around his birthday, and this year we present his best IRON MAN covers. Amazing stuff—from mountainous biceps to Terminator bad-ass you’ll see it all. Then, Gabriel Wilson, Ph.D., and Jacob Wilson, Ph.D., look at the intriguing research on breakfast and lay out what you should be eating to boost your muscle-building and ripping results. Plus, Dr. Joe Klemczewski tells you how to peak your physique to look your ripped best—whether you’re headed onstage or on vacation.

Cory Crow gets Matt Christianer’s unique physique-champ perspective on building boulder shoulders. Check out his unique exercises, like barbell lateral raises (yes, with a barbell!), exclusively in the digital version:

For inspiration, Sean Sarantos reveals how to get up after life knocks you down. David Young interviews the active-duty United States airman after a brutal knife attack nearly ended his life. Sarantos, a CytoSport and sponsored athlete, lives what he preaches: “You can never schedule when life is going to take you for a loop. You take the hit, get your focus back, and move forward.”

From the teen scene, BodySpacer, Savon Wyant, tells how he went from the verge of an eating disorder to his dream of a healthy, ripped and muscular body at age 16.

IRON MAN Publisher John Balik gives high marks for Old School, New Body, the new e-book by IRON MAN editor in chief Steve Holman and wife Becky. The Holman Team have reworked Vince Gironda’s density training principles to create their own F4X System, serving up several excellent programs primarily for those 35+ looking for health, some muscle and the amazing anti-aging benefits of resistance training.

Tired of the same old low fat meals devoid of flavor? Enter Fitness Model/Writer Jamie Eason, one of the most recognized faces in the fitness industry, spokesmodel for and creator of the LiveFit Trainer. Each month Jamie’s Kitchen will feature one of her mouth-watering and totally fit meals such as Cinnamon Swirl Protein Bread and Pumpkin Spice Pancakes. This month’s feature will be Lemon Protein Bars, which is to die for.

Jamie Eason Recipe Videos

Each month plug yourself back in and recharge lagging motivation by subscribing to Iron Man magazine. How does one reach their goals? By staying motivated, sticking to the workout program and getting to the next level.

Download a FREE SAMPLE ISSUE by clicking the link below and remember to share the link with your family and friends!

About Iron Man Magazine
Iron Man magazine has been teaching the world about proper nutrition and bodybuilding weight-training techniques since 1936. For over 75 years, Iron Man has been providing bodybuilding information and inspiring transformations worldwide.

Since 2002 has been encouraging incredible transformations from their massive BodySpace community members whose numbers continue to grow. These are real people getting real results. Want to build a leaner, sexier body and inspire others to do the same? Head on over to and submit a transformation story. You could be the next featured role model in Iron Man magazine!

Download a FREE SAMPLE ISSUE by clicking the link below and remember to share the link with your family and friends!


The TEG guys up their density intensity with Pre-Ex 3X. It’s more work in less time for major mass gains.

From the teen scene: Savon Wyant tells how he went from the verge of an eating disorder to his dream of a healthy, ripped and muscular body.

To celebrate the Oak’s 65th birthday, we present a retrospective of his best IM covers—in full-page glory.

Dr. Joe Klemczewski reveals how to peak for a competition or other event. It’s all about balancing the right ripping variables, like sodium.

David Young interviews the young physique star, who knows how to get up when life knocks you down. Very motivating—plus, details on his workout and diet.

Ron Harris discusses the power of focus in getting big and ripped—know exactly what you want and then zero in on the results.

Gabriel Wilson, Ph.D., and Jacob Wilson, Ph.D., look at the intriguing research on breakfast and lay out what you should be eating to boost your muscle-building and ripping results.

Shawn Bellon outlines the amazing lean-out, power-up workout. Give it a go to grow, and get in the best shape of your life.

Cory Crow gets Matt Christianer’s unique physique-champ perspective on building boulder shoulders—it’s totally instinctive. Plus, you’ll see many of his unique exercises, like barbell lateral raises (yes, with a barbell!).


Chest and quad wisdom from a top pro, Lee Labrada on building biceps and Joe Horrigan looks at power dumbbell rows.

Top researcher Jerry Brainum checks out the latest on beta-alanine. Plus, Jamie Eason’s delicious lemon protein bar recipe.

Mr. Natural Olympia John Hansen explains how to grow more muscle with Hellcentrics training.

Workout architect Steve Holman says go slow, then explode—for major muscle growth. It’s the size-building rep tempo.

Coach Charles Poliquin discusses vertical leaps and biceps peaks.

Jerry Brainum checks out the time lapse for testosterone effects.

L.T. takes you up, down and round the world of bodybuilding—from NYC to L.A., with stops in Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Vegas.

Old School, New Body review and Dave Goodin discusses age, muscle and optimal recovery.

More from Bill Starr on sets, reps and getting strong. Plus, beautiful model of the month Lauren Rae and how sadness can be a good thing.

Motivation master, 1,100-pound lift and freaky abs.