Today’s idea of building muscle mass is different than it used to be. I mean, it was just over 15 years ago when EAS designed and sold their original Phosphagen creatine powder. And before that there were vitamins and protein, or steroids. And before that, it was all blood, sweat and tears – Rocky style.
Since that first creatine hit the market, everything has changed. Every supplement company has been scrambling to find the latest and greatest new supplement that works better than the last. I mean, the truth is, if they aren’t making progress with their supplements, someone else will, right? At least they will make you think they have anyway. And I think this is what people see and why they think building a muscular physique is so easy if you just take the right stuff.
But, get this. And I say this knowing that there are many, many very effective bodybuilding supplements on the market today. In fact, I use many supplements on a regular basis and they play a huge role in my ability to gain mass or get lean at will; supplements, at their best, are only responsible for 25% of your results. The rest – the major majority of your results –comes from your food choices and your workout plan.
To put it plainly, if you are using supplements as a shortcut to more muscle mass, then you’ve been sold a lie or you are fooling yourself. The truth is, supplements – AND STEROIDS – are designed to help you workout harder, longer, and recover faster. They don’t do the work for you. They don’t allow you to work less, they allow you to recover faster so you can work out harder or more often. With the exception of a protein powder, if you think that you can grow more muscle simply by adding a supplement to your current bodybuilding regimen - and not make any other changes - you’re wrong.
You know what really sucks about this? It’s the truth. I hate that it has to be this way. But getting out of the denial that supplements can “make up” for a person’s lack of work ethic is what keeps the supplement companies in business. And they don’t want you to know this truth. There’s a line in the book Steroids 101 where the author says, “Steroids make fat people fatter.” There is no truer statement in regard to steroids.
So how can a person gain 15 pounds of lean mass so quickly then?
Glad you asked!
It’s a simple plan actually. But first let me preface this “advice” with a simple explanation of my background and my body type. I’m 39, 5 foot 10, and 195 Pounds. I have been working out for some 20 years nearly continuously and I have tried nearly every type of workout program/supplement/diet plan you can think of. The plan I am about to explain works for me, my body type, and my genetics. It might not be as effective for you and that is ok. You can use it as a base and adjust accordingly. And you should, so you can make it your own and really dig in.
K, here it is.
I workout 5 days per week; Three of those days, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I train with weights; The other two days, Tuesday and Thursday are “cardio only” days. On the three weight training days I do 15-25 minutes of slow cardio warm up then a simple three way split of push, pull, and legs. I keep it pretty simple with 4-5 exercises per day, 4-5 sets per exercise, 10-14 reps per set. Slow and focused with good form. I will outline below the exact exercises so you can see what I am doing exactly.
On cardio days, I only do 45 minutes of cardiovascular work but I try to make it as intense as I can. My options are swimming, biking, plyometric work, basketball, racquetball… or anything that allows me to incorporate some sprint work into it. Long, slow walks or jogs are not sufficient here.
The 5 day workout week along with the split allows me to work hard on the days I workout because I have a full week to recover. Now, I have to be careful because the way to be the most efficient in growing muscle is to workout hard enough – yet not so hard – that you aren’t recovered (at least mostly recovered) by the time you go back to the gym to work that same muscle group. And a week-long recovery between hitting the same muscle groups is awesome but you can still easily over train if you aren’t mindful.
Sunday – Rest
Monday – PULL Day
- 15-25 min warm up
- Seated Rows 4 x 12
- Lat Pull downs 4 x 12
- Rear Delt Fly’s 4 x 12
- Shrugs 4 x 12
- Curls 4 x 12
Tuesday – Cardio day
Wednesday – PUSH Day
- 15-25 min warm up
- Flat Bench press 4 x 12
- Incline Dumbbell Flys 4 x 12
- Military Press 4 x 12
- Triceps Pushdowns 4 x 12
- Dips/Pushups 2 x Failure
Thursday – Cardio day
Friday – Legs Day
- 15-25 min warm up
- Front Squats 4 x 12
- Roman Deadlift 4 x 12
- Walking Lunges 4 x 12
- Calf Raises 4 x 12
Saturday – Rest
Each and every day, food is the number one key to any bodybuilders’ success. You won’t find me ever eating fast food or microwave dinners. Each meal is mostly protein – either a protein shake, canned tuna, grilled chicken or fish, or grilled beef. My veggies are fresh or steamed. My fruit is fresh. And I drink water, coffee or non-sweetened brewed tea. That is a clean diet. Eating clean is key to looking lean. Then, if you want to gain weight, you simply eat more and if you want to lose weight, you eat less. This sounds so simple. And the concept really is. But doing it is the hard part. I know for me, my genetics, my height/weight, etc…. If I stay at 1700 calories per day, I maintain my weight. If I want to build mass, I add supplements and food, adjust my workout accordingly and BAM! I know for me, adding 1000 calories per day puts me in a massive growth state. I can put on 10-12 pounds in a few weeks. Now, If I add the food and don’t adjust my workout or supplements, I’ll get fat. So it all has to work together for success. If any part of the puzzle is missing, the whole thing won’t work.
Finally, the supplements I use are pretty specialized supplements. I basically put them into two categories… ones that I use all the time as a support to my diet, and ones that I cycle through depending on my goal. My dietary support supplements are protein powders, multi vitamins, EFA’s, and glutamine. My cycle supplements are usually a combination of prohormones (legal steroids), Testosterone Supplements, or Fat Burners… depending on my goal. I will use a caffeine pill from time to time as an energy boost but I never use any growth hormone or nitric oxide supplements. They just don’t seem to work well enough for me to justify it.
Lastly, I adjust my standard workout plan to fit my goal and my supplement use as well. You see, as I stated in the beginning, supplements and steroids don’t work on their own…. supplements allow you to be more efficient in recovery and therefore you can work out more – THAT my friend, is how it works.
Let me put this into action for you. If I am on a prohormone cycle called the Freak Of Nature Stack, over the 8 week cycle, over the 8 week cycle, I can now actually workout harder and break my muscle down even more than I do without it – and still recover in the same 1-week time period. So what I do is keep the same workout plan and schedule and simply add 2 more sets per exercise. So instead of 4 sets, I now do 6 sets. That is 20-28 more repetitions per exercise and 100-140 more reps per body group! I have options too. If I want, instead of adding 2 sets per exercise, I can add another exercise or two altogether… or I might even add a 4th day of weight training and do a nice full body blast on Saturday. The point is simple; the more you break down your muscle in the gym, the more potential there is for muscle growth. But if you don’t have the supplemental and dietary support, you will be leaving muscle on the table because you simply won’t be able to recover before its time to workout again.
Now, this might not sound super exciting or appealing to you. You might prefer a cardio based program like Thai-Bo or Insanity or cross-fit instead… and that’s ok too. But if you want to build big, freaky muscles you have to train in the gym with weights as your primary focus. And recovery is the key to progress!
There you have it. I tried to make it as clear as possible and still give you some room to make it yours. So what are you going to do now? It's time for me to get to the gym!