When most people thinking of working toward a leaner body composition — or getting “shredded,” as it’s often referred to — their main focus tends to be on weight loss.
Yet there are several other factors that can help someone achieve their goal of a more toned physique, including a concerted effort to build muscle.
Enter: the 6-Week Shred.
Led by Coach Nick, the digital training program (complimentary for Life Time members) provides structure and guidance to those looking to get lean and build muscle in a healthy, sustainable way through an approach that guides proper form, creates a strong foundation for lifting, and maximizes strength.
Who is Coach Nick?
Nicholas Sandoval, or “Coach Nick,” is one of Life Time’s feature coaches for several digital program offerings, including the in-app 30×30 program and the 6-Week Shred program. He’s been a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach for more than a decade and is based out of Life Time’s Gilbert, Ariz. destination.
Coach Nick is no stranger to a healthy lifestyle and busy schedule, and he lives by the mantra “work hard, train hard, live balanced.” He enjoys spending most of his time with his three children, Sparrow, Raven, and Wren, ages 9, 6 and 3, respectively.
You can read more about Coach Nick here: “Get to Know Your Trainers: Meet Nicholas Sandoval”
What is the 6-Week Shred program?
This program is intended for anyone looking to see total-body toning. Coach Nick shares that the program is designed to produce this result “by shifting participants’ body composition by way of increasing lean mass while decreasing fat.” It’s laid out to be a traditional, body-building-inspired training style delivered through an approach called a split routine.
How was the 6-Week Shred program designed?
Split routines break up each workout into separate muscle groups. The 6-Week Shred program provides five strength-centered workouts every week for six weeks, each about 60 minutes in duration.
The workouts rotate through a focus on the chest, back, shoulders, legs, and biceps and triceps. “This approach ensures we’re providing the appropriate volume of work to generate fat loss and muscle building, as well as providing optimal recovery before each muscle group is worked again,” says Sandoval.
The program was designed to be done in the club using various machines, weights, and resistance training.
“I see other programs that tend to overcomplicate things with all sorts of tricks and complex exercises,” says Sandoval. “6-Week Shred is structured simply and advances smoothly week over week. It provides progressive load on the most efficient movement patterns to help participants achieve optimal results.”
Why is the focus on strength versus cardio?
It’s common for those looking to address their body composition to over-train aerobically with cardio and under-train, or train inefficiently, with strength work for fear of getting bulky or not losing enough fat.
Strength training with weights and resistance is a crucial aspect of overall health and to changing physique. “Building muscle not only supports structural integrity, bone density, stability, posture, and performance, but it also increases the calories we burn at rest,” emphasizes Sandoval.
What can someone expect from the 6-Week Shred program?
One of the biggest benefits of the approach of this program is that it’s mindfully designed to boost your confidence on the fitness floor at the club. “I know that area can be intimidating and confusing for a lot of people, causing them to stray away from certain equipment and machines,” says Sandoval. “It was important to me to help outline exactly how to lift on supportive equipment to achieve the desired result, rather than just guessing.”
The other major benefit of the program is that, when done properly, most participants can expect to feel stronger week over week, especially if they do not have a lot of experience with weight training.
Coach Nick shares that some soreness at first can be expected, especially if you’ve never done a split routine before. However, some soreness is normal any time a new fitness approach is taken, and it should be manageable and short-lived.
What’s the best way to maximize results?
“Form is everything,” emphasizes Sandoval. “You’re going to get the absolute best results if you practice good form and don’t cheat any of the movements.”
Coach Nick breaks it down further to explain that, in any strength-training move, the outcome relies on three factors:
- The movement pattern in the given exercise.
- The load (or weight/resistance) applied to the muscles.
- The time under tension that the muscles endure.
Because of this, any time form is compromised or incorrect, the weights are moved improperly. Even if the goal repetition target is reached, the desired outcome won’t occur with improper form. To support good form, each movement should be slow and controlled.
Coach Nick also warns that “there’s an increased chance of injury when you’re loading the muscles and moving them improperly.”
The program provides exercise demonstrations to ensure you know how to perform each recommended movement.
What comes with the program — and how does it work?
The program is digital and delivered through the Life Time Training app. Each workout outlines exactly what exercises to do and in what order, with a short demonstration video and recommended range of repetitions to target for each movement.
The program also comes with a downloadable program guide to help make sure you understand exactly what to do throughout the six-week duration, including tips for navigating the fitness floor, managing soreness, and fueling and recovering from workouts properly from a nutrition standpoint.
You’ll also have access to Coach Nick and the 6-Week Shred coaching team to help answer your questions and champion you along the way.
How can I get started with the 6-Week Shred program?
If you’re a Life Time member, open the Life Time Digital app and under “Featured Coaching Programs,” click “View All.” From there, you’ll be able to choose the 6-Week Shred program to enroll in.
If you’re not yet a Life Time member and have access to the required equipment, you have the option to join as a Life Time Digital member, and then can access the program by following the same steps above.
5 Questions With Coach Nick
1. What does your personal workout routine look like?
It looks an awful lot like a combination of this 6-Week Shred program and the 30×30 program! I currently follow more of the lifting structure of the 6-Week Shred program with the body group splits of the 30×30 program.
2. Do you have any non-negotiable daily habits that you don’t waver on?
I never skip my vitamins and supplements. I always carry them with me in my bag, and I keep extra ones in my drawer at work.
At the moment, I’m also on my second week of the Life Time 14-Day D.TOX.
3. How do you prioritize exercise despite a busy schedule, including having three kids and working full-time?
I have to plan for it. I carve out a regular time for exercise and schedule it into my daily calendar — and I have a backup plan in case the day goes haywire.
For that backup plan, I have resistance bands and dumbbells at home, so I will usually crush a workout that looks very, very much like the total body day from the 30×30 program.
Last line of defense is the good ol’ feet to the street for some quick sprint intervals outside.
4. What’s one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I am a huge sci-fi nerd! I love Star Wars, Sasquatch, and all those types of things.
5. What’s one thing you can’t live without?
Mexican food! I eat some form of it for dinner at least four days a week. At a restaurant, I could literally throw a dart at a menu and be happy with whatever it lands on, but if I’m cooking, it’s a tossup between fajitas and a burrito bowl.