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Day 29:Legs

Today, we’re starting Phase Two of Operation Aesthetic, and I’m changing up the exercises you’ll follow for weeks 5–8 on my fat-loss Trainer series. Still, we’re going to begin with barbell squats for legs. This is the best exercise for encouraging overall growth, and that’s important when you’re cutting calories. You should really be seeing the details coming in in your legs as well as the rest of your body.

Because you’re dieted down, it’s even more important to perform a couple warm-ups with squats to make sure everything feels right. Remember, though, that these warm-up sets don’t count toward your working sets in my chart.

Here are some notes on why we’re doing what we’re doing today and on the other leg days during Phase Two:


*We’re going to stick to the pyramid plan of lifting, increasing the weight as reps reduce. This strategy works well for adding mass as well as for cutting stored fat.

*Remember that if you’re struggling to complete your reps that’s a sign that you need to drop weight and go down the ladder. Get in all your sets, but decrease weight and increase reps if needed.

*This workout begins with two compound movements, and you’re going to feel a little relief when you move on to isolation exercises such as leg extensions and leg curls.

*The last exercise in Phase Two for legs is walking lunges, which is a compound move that’s also going to work your cardiovascular system. This is a great move to include when you’re this deep in a fat-loss program.

Early morning cardio


25 minutes

Getting in cardio before you eat supports burning body fat.



Barbell squats

Keep your form solid, and finish off with 2 lighter sets with high reps.

6 SETS / 12, 10, 7, 3, 15, 20 REPS

Hack squat

Place your feet about shoulder-width apart with feet parallel.

4 SETS / 12, 8, 5, 15

Leg extensions

Work hard on every rep and really contract your quad muscles at the top.

5 SETS / 12, 10, 7, 3, 15 REPS

Lying leg curls

Keep this move under control throughout the set, emphasizing the stretch and contraction in your hamstrings

5 SETS / 12, 10, 7, 3, 15 REPS

Walking lunge

I like to perform these with a barbell across my shoulders, but you can also use dumbbells.

3 SETS / Burnout*

Post-Workout cardio


25 minutes

Cardio post-workout supports both fat loss and recovery from challenging workouts.

TIP: You’re going to feel more depleted during Phase Two. Your inclination is going to be to reduce sets or exercises, but I want you to get in every exercise for every set. Make your adjustments in weights and reps instead. Also, keep your rest periods to about 60–90 seconds for compound moves such as squats, and go shorter (45–60 seconds) for isolation moves. That’s really going to bring in detail and support better recovery when you’re depleted.

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