The Ultimate Guide To Getting Jacked And Tan For Summer

The winter bulking season is soon coming too an end and it’s time for those abs to come out of hibernation. Did you successfully add on lean muscle over the winter to did you give in and eat everything in sight?

Either way, it’s time to plan on getting your 6 pack back for the summer so you can take your shirt off at the beach and look jacked and tan. I mean, that is why a lot of us started lifting right?

Even if you are not looking to lose weight, you can still follow this training guide to help you add on some lean muscle mass. The only difference would be in terms of diet. When you calculate your macronutrients  as I will discuss later on, be sure to slowly increase your calories over time instead of decreasing calories.

So for myself, this winter started off as slow bulk as I gradually increased my calories each week. I initially was having a hard time putting on weight at less than half a pound each week. I went from about 190 lbs in October to 195 lbs just before Thanksgiving.

Once Thanksgiving hit, all hell broke loose and then my diet went off track but I was seeing strength gains in the gym so I wasn’t too worried. Then of course Christmas and New year and my birthday came which meant more excessive eating. Hey at least I’m honest…

Here we now in early February and I weight about 205 lbs at a height of 5’7”. I wouldn’t say that I let myself go because that wasn’t the case at all. I just put on a little bit more weight than I wanted, but I’m not too worried about it. Before you cringe and call me a fatass, I do not have a pot belly and multiple chins like you might think. I’m short and stocky and would consider myself a manlet.


If you’re wondering why I don’t keep bulking and adding mass it’s because I see a point of diminishing returns to gaining weight. Yes, some weight gain will my strength in the gym but excessive weight gain does not mean even more strength gains in the gym. Heck, there are some guys our there who are only 160-170 and squat 400-500 pounds.

weight loss meme

Now you might be wondering why I decided to bulk in the first place considering I weighed 190 lbs at a height of 5’7”. I believe that most people my age (20 years old) focus too much on getting lean and having a 6 pack year round. While this may seem cool and all, I don’t really see any value in being ripped if you’re not muscular and symmetrical. While I don’t want to look like the next Mr. Olympia, I certainly don’t want to look like I don’t lift-just my two cents. Here are some images of my ideal physique.

Steve Reeves
jacked and tan
Frank Zane


Strength Emphasis

I placed an emphasis on strength improvements over the course of my bulk as I didn’t want to gain weight without gaining strength because the stronger that you are, the more muscle mass your body will be composed of. Also I didn’t want to weigh over 200 lbs and not be able to squat at least 315. Plus, I also considered the fact that studies have shown that heavy resistance training naturally increase hormones that build muscle e.g. testosterone and IGF-1. Testosterone has anabolic effects include growth of muscle mass and strength, increased bone density and strength, and stimulation of linear growth and bone maturation. IGF-1 is also known to have anabolic effects in adults.

So given this information, I like to use a 5×5 sets and reps ratio for strength. 5 sets of 5 reps. Over the course of my bulk, my squat 5×5 went from 275 to 315, bench went from 185 to 245, and deadlift went from 275 to 365 as well. Yeah my deadlift is somewhat shameful but I had a nagging hamstring injury which prevented me from training it more than 1x per week.

So although I put on a decent amount of bodyweight, I did see significant strength improvements that I will continue to try and increase as I begin to cut weight.

bulking meme


Cutting Plan 101

For the next few months, my goals are to gradually lean out while at the same time increase my strength in the gym. At least for the first couple months I should be able to increase my strength while decreasing my calories. Once I get towards the end of my cut, I will at least try to maintain my strength. I’m going to try to lose weight at a slow of a rate as possible in order to maintain the most muscle mass. It definitely is frustrating to lose weight a slow rate because like most of you, I want to see results now. But looking at the big picture, my main goal is to be the leanest and strongest version of myself so I am going to do what is optimal.

Just like any other goals you have in life, it is important to remember to set dates! If you always have a “someday” or “eventually” mentality, then you will not be as accountable for your goals. I like setting dates because not only does it keep me on track in terms of decreasing calories, but it also helps keep me motivated. I’m not the type of person who lacks motivation, but just like everyone else, I have days where I don’t necessarily want to go to the gym. My goal is to be around 7-8% bodyfat by June.

One thing I should mention is that I don’t like to think of my cutting plan as a “diet.” The word diet has a negative connotation to it and brings thoughts of starvation and hunger to most people. While I will be eating less, at no point will I ever deprive myself of food. If I’m hungry, then I will eat. I will just be eating less.

Weight Training

As far as my training goes, I will be using a push/pull/legs routine repeating it twice in one 1 week. The push workouts will work the chest, triceps, and front/side delts while the pull workout will work the back, biceps and rear delts/traps. The leg workouts will work the quads, hamstrings, and calf muscles.

I prefer to train each muscle multiple times per week as I have found this to be the most effective in gaining mass and strength. If you’re still doing a bro-split (Mon-chest, Tues-back, Wed-arms, etc) then I suggest you give this a try and see for yourself.

I will be 6 training days and 1 off day per week. The off day will not be the same day each week as I like to listen to my body especially when I am going pretty heavy during my workout. If I feel that I need a rest day, then I will take one.

Like I stated before, I want to increase my strength so I will be utilizing a 5×5 ratio of sets and reps for each heavy lift and on occasion I will increase the weight and decrease the reps to 2 or 3 and sometimes even a 1 rep max on my 3rd, 4th, and 5th sets. Will I always be able to lift the same weight for my 5×5? Of course not! There will be days that I feel weaker and there will be days where I feel stronger-sometimes you need to listen to your body.

After the heavy lifts which will be towards the beginning of each workout, then I will switch up the sets and reps ratio accordingly. There is more than 1 way to build muscle just like there is more than 1 way to skin a cat (do people do that?). I might do 8 reps or 12 or 15 or whatever. I like to go until the muscle is exhausted (not necessarily failure) so even if I told myself I was going to do 12 reps; If I can do a few more, then I will.

In terms of training methods, I will switch up my workouts as I see fit in order to add some variety. So I will incorporate dropsets, supersets, paused reps, negative reps, decreased rest, etc. With my focus being primarily on strength, you won’t see me doing jumping jacks in between sets of deadlift in order to burn a few more calories. I take enough rest in between my heaviest sets so that I am able to lift the heaviest weight possible.

Sample Push Day

Strength Work

-Bench Press 5 sets x 5 reps 

Pyramid up in weight until I reach a weight that I am just able to do 5 reps. This effort should be about 80-90% of my 1RM.

-Standing Overhead Military Press 3 sets x 5 reps then 2 sets x 3 reps

Pyramid up in weight until you reach a weight that is manageable for your 3 x 5. Then increase the weight on the last 2 sets for 3 reps.

Hypertrophy Work

-Incline Dumbbell Bench Press 5 sets x 8-10 reps

-1 Arm Side Laterals Raises 5 sets x 8-10 reps 

-Close Grip Bench Press 5 sets x 8 reps

-Tricep Rollback Extensions 5 sets x 10 reps (awesome exercise to help increase your bench)

-10-15 minutes of abs


Video: How to Bench Press Correctly

Video: How to Overhead Press Correctly

Video: Side Lateral Raises

Video: Close Grip Bench Press

Video: Tricep Rollback Extension

How To Get Ripped Abs

Sample Pull Day


-Wide Grip Pull Ups 5 sets x 10-12 reps

Strength Work

-Deadlift 5 sets x 5 reps

Pyramid up in weight until you reach a weight that is manageable for your 3 x 5. Then increase the weight on the last 2 sets for 3 reps.

Hypertrophy Work

-Bent Over Barbell Rows 5 sets x 8 reps

-Face Pulls 5 sets x 12 reps

-Straight Bar Curls 5 sets x 10 reps

-EZ-Bar Preacher Curls 5 sets x 10 reps (alternate close grip and wide grip)

-Concentration Curls 5 sets x 10 reps

-10-15 minutes of abs


Video: How to Deadlift

Video: Face Pulls

Video: Preacher Curls

Video: Concentration Curls

How To Get Ripped Abs

Sample Leg Day

Strength Work

-Heavy Squats 3 sets x 5 reps then 1 set x 3 reps then 1 set x 1 rep

Pyramid up in weight until you reach a weight that is manageable for your 3 x 5. Then increase the weight on the last 2 sets for 3 reps and then 1 rep. Last set should be a 1RM (1 rep max)

-Stiff-Legged Deadlifts 5 sets x 10 reps

-Seated Leg Extension 5 sets x 8 reps

-Lying Hamstring Curls 5 sets x 12 reps

-10-15 minutes of abs


How To Squat Correctly

Video: Stiff Legged Deadlift

How To Get Ripped Abs


As far as my diet is concerned, I will be tracking my daily calories and macros (protein, carbs, and fat) on the MyNetDiary app for the iPhone. It’s very similar to the MyFitnessPal app that you can get for free. You can read more about how to track your macros here.

At my bodyweight of 205 lbs, my starting macros will be about 200 grams of protein, 60 grams of fat, and 250 grams of carbs. I always aim for 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight especially since my carbs are still high. When my weight loss begins to plateau, I will slightly decrease my carb and fat intake and increase my protein intake to maintain the most muscle mass. I won’t ever and don’t suggest doing any sort of keto diet (severe carb restriction). Dropping carbs too much will mostly result in a loss of water weight which will cause you to rebound as well as damage to your metabolism.

carb restriction

Remember that your macronutrient numbers will be different than mine so if you have no clue how many grams of protein, carbs, and fat you need then be sure to check out which has an awesome calculator tool to get your numbers. The goal of tracking your macros is to HIT your numbers each day or at least be consistent as possible. I don’t really have “cheat” meals because I still eat everything I want. If my buddies want to go to chipotle then I will adjust my macros for the day accordingly.

You should take note that your body is not a machine. Just because you eat 3500 calories below maintenance does not necessarily mean you will lose 1 pound. It might be frustrating, but weight loss has peaks and troughs-sometimes it takes a little bit longer to lose the weight. Just because you aren’t seeing consistent weight loss does not mean you should automatically drop calories even more. My overall goal is to build a stronger metabolism, not weaken it just so I can be super lean.

Being in college is no different than being at home for me when it comes to hitting my macros. In fact I find it easier to not overeat at college because I am always busy with classes and homework. I also don’t have easy access to food like at home. If I want something to eat then I have to walk to the dining hall. I keep some snacks in my dorm such as pretzels, nuts, greek yogurt, etc.

For breakfast, I usually just have a protein shake since I have morning classes and don’t have time to sit down and eat. I am also not super hungry in the morning so I would rather save those calories for later in the day when I get pretty hungry. I’m a simple (and cheap) guy so for the most part, my lunch consists of a sandwich. My dinner varies with whatever the dining hall has but I can usually guestimate the macros in the meal since I used to weigh out my food for years. I know about how much a cup of rice is, breast of chicken, sandwich bread, etc.

One thing that I’ve found helps suppress my appetite is a cup of coffee. I do tend to get hungry a lot so I will grab a cup of coffee if I want to wait a little bit longer before I eat. Most fat-burners are caffeine based so if you don’t like coffee, you can pick some up.


As far as cardio goes, I plan on incorporating some speed work 1x a week during the first month or so and then 2x a week toward the last couple months or so. I will add the second day of cardio per week when I begin to plateau with my weight loss and don’t necessarily want to continue to cut calories.


Sample Sprint Workout


-Walking lunges 100 meters

-100 meters sprints at 70% max effort 2 sets

Speed Work

-Sprint the straights lanes and walk the turns at your local track for 20-25 minutes


Are you ready to get shredded for summer? With this comprehensive guide, we can both be jacked and tan in time for summer. It doesn’t matter if you’re looking to lose weight or gain weight, the time to start is now. Being a visionary is all about envisioning your goals and doing the work in order to achieve your ideal physique. #Visionary