Get RIPPED! is a well-designed and progressive fitness workout. Each level of the Get RIPPED! workout builds on the previous. All five levels of this workout have specific goals. Special attention has been given to lactic acid accumulation and recovery within the workout that fits the metabolic goal for each level. The methodology of this workout allows for continual adaptation, since each level has unique rest intervals, exercises, and overall volume of work. Through this structure of programming, Get RIPPED! is applicable to both the entry-level and advanced participant.

Key Exercises

The squat (quadriceps):

  • An essential body-shaping tool.
  • Squats are a metabolic optimizer, placing great emphasis on the quadriceps.
  • They demand focus, and it’s important to keep your mind and muscles working together to effect each squat safely and effectively.
  • Squats kick the metabolism into high gear and actually stimulate the growth of muscles throughout the body (research shows that bodybuilders who neglect to exercise their lower body do not make gains as quickly as those who train both their lower and upper body muscle groups).

Bent over row (back):

  • Your back comprises the largest and most complex group of muscles of the upper body.
  • Bent-over row is a good exercise to challenge the back – done by bending forward at the waist and grasping barbell with a medium-width grip.
  • Back injuries are sometimes caused by a strength imbalance between the lower back and abdominals, so it’s important to train your abs frequently in complement to back exercises and squats.


  • Triceps kickback technique means maintaining constant tension throughout the movement and is best performed without overextending the elbow joint.

Biceps curl:

  • In the biceps curl, bring the weight just past elbows (not all the way up) to keep tension constant. If you go beyond this point you allow the tension to come off the biceps and they rest, which renders the move less effective


Kennedy, Robert et. al. MuscleBuilding for EveryBody. Training & Nutrition to Develop a Muscular Body. Mississauga, ON : Musclemag International, 2002.



Muscle Definition (MD)

This is the “Getting RIPPED!” phase of training. Athletes strive to develop refined, polished, and visible muscles. Through specific training methods using high repetitions, fatty acids act as a fuel source and help to burn the fat that hides those precious “cuts”.

Scope of MD Training

  • Burn off fat and increase the visibility of muscle.
  • Increase protein in muscles by doing long, high-rep sets, which results in better definition.
  • Increase aerobic work, which increases capillary density in the muscle and could result in a slight increase in muscle size.




What are the “Zones” and why do you need to know them?

Zones define the intensity of effort while you are exercising. It’s important to understand your intensity for several reasons. If you are new to fitness, you need to be aware of and manage your effort to avoid discouragement while making sure your progress is steady. For instance, you should only attempt higher-intensity zones (3 and 4) occasionally for short periods. You should never attempt zone 5 during the early stages.

If you’ve been exercising for a while, you also need to understand zones. For instance, you can use zones to avoid overtraining and training injuries. Zones also help ensure that your body does not become too familiar with an activity.

Following is a brief summary of the zones and their various training effects.

Zone 1: Healthy Heart Zone

Exercise at this level of intensity:

  • 50-60% of maximum heart rate
  • Burns mostly fat as fuel
  • Considered “aerobic” activity -meaning oxygen is readily available to the muscles
  • Lowers blood pressure, improves cholesterol levels, decreases body fat, reduces risk of heart attack, and improves immune system
  • Ideal intensity while in transition from being inactive to active

Zone 2: Temperate Zone

Exercise at this level of intensity:

  • 60-70% of MHR
  • Burns mostly fat as fuel
  • Builds muscle mass while burning fat
  • Keeps lots of oxygen available to muscles
  • Trains the body to access its fat supplies more efficiently
  • Increases metabolic rate (amount of calories burned)

Zone 3: Aerobic Zone

Exercise at this level of intensity:

  • 70-80% of MHR
  • Burns mostly carbohydrates as fuel
  • Increases caloric use in a shorter length of time
  • Improves physical performance
  • Increases cardiovascular fitness and endurance
  • Stimulates improved oxygen transport (VO2max)
  • Builds resistance to fatigue

Zone 4: Threshold Zone

Exercise at this level of intensity:

  • 80-90% of MHR
  • Burns almost all carbohydrates
  • Considered the “anaerobic” threshold -the point at which muscles cannot get enough oxygen
  • Can only be sustained for short periods
  • Increases lactic acid metabolization
  • Improves oxygen transport (VO2max)
  • Your maximum sustainable heart rate
  • Breathing becomes erratic
  • Needs a recovery period immediately after

Zone 5: Red Line Zone

Exercise at this level of intensity:

  • 90-100% of MHR
  • Burns carbohydrates almost exclusively
  • Extremely high caloric expenditure
  • Considered the “high-performance” zone – generally used by athletes only, and for short periods of time
  • Increases muscle efficiency and coordination
  • Induces fatigue quickly
  • Creates oxygen deficiency in muscles
  • Can hurt aerobic endurance if done too often
  • Has a higher risk of injury

Fueling the Zones

You may have been told that if you’re looking to burn fat, you should stick to low-intensity workouts, because high-intensity exercises burned carbohydrates. While this is true, it’s also misleading because it doesn’t account for caloric expenditure or training effects of higher-intensity zones.

In low-intensity exercises, fat is the primary fuel. As the workout gets tougher, the fuel switches over to the tank that holds the carbs. Although more carbs are being used as fuel, fat is still being burned as well. As you approach your anaerobic threshold, your fat burning level will begin to peak. You burn both carbohydrates and fat as fuel. However, the number of calories you’re burning will be much higher. It’s the ratio of fat to carbohydrates that changes as you go increase or decrease intensity.

Here’s a breakdown of how fat and carbohydrates burn at each of the five heart zones:

Zone 1

Fat: 70-85%

Carbs: 10-25%

Zone 2

Fat: 50-70%

Carbs: 25-50%

Zone 3

Fat: 40-60%

Carbs: 50-85%

Zone 4

Fat: 10-20%

Carbs: 80-90%

Zone 5

Fat: 10-15%

Carbs: 85-90%