How Much Muscle Can You Gain In A Month?

Muscle building

Have you ever wondered, “how much muscle can you gain in a month?” It’s a question we hear often. Today, we’ll get you the answer. But first, I need to warn you:

You’re going to need time and consistency if you want to build a dense, muscular body.

Focusing on getting #yoked in one month is a myopic approach that does more harm than good. Building muscle is a long-term process. You can’t rely on a quick jolt of inspiration from the #fitfam or slam an extra scoop of pre-workout powder and hope to gain muscle instantly.

You need to master muscle building habits: eating right (aka a caloric surplus), sleeping at least seven hours per night, and lifting heavier in the gym. When you focus on the process the muscle will come.

How much muscle, you ask?

Well, strap it in and learn how much muscle you can gain in a month below.

How Much Muscle Can You Gain In A Month

Ding. And there it was, a new message slidin’ up in my DM’s on Instagram.

“Bro, I need to get bigger. For real this time. I’ve tried in the past, but nothing seems to work for me. How much muscle can I gain in a month? I don’t want to get fat either.”

Oh, boy. As a former 103 pound runt with toothpicks for arms, I’ve been there: Feeling like I was doing everything right but still weak and wire-thin. Yup, that’s me: young Eric as #68 … just a wee little guy.
Note: I was 12 in this picture, but you get the idea. 

How Much Muscle Can You Gain In A Month

I looked ridiculous. like I didn’t belong in the uniform or on the team. So I trained harder and lifted heavier and grew naturally. 

Even then I ate “a lot” and was bulking,’ bro…

…and yet I couldn’t gain weight.

Days, weeks, and months passed.

I barely gained an ounce of muscle despite hard lifting, dropping wads of cash on supplements and, of course, reading tons of articles and trying new workouts.

Luckily, I pulled out of my tailspin and figured a few things out since then.
How Much Muscle Can You Gain In A Month
And you can do the same if you focus on the muscle-building process and stay the course. You have to hammer away at the basic principles, but first, you need to know how much muscle you can realistically build; which brings us back to…


How Much Muscle Can You Build In A Month?

The short answer is “it depends.”

If you’re a beginner 1.5 to 2.5 pounds of lean muscle mass is the maximum amount of muscle you can build each month without steroids.

As you make progress, your gains slow down to one pound per month and slow to a trickle as you get advanced; gaining as little as .2 to .5 pounds a month, max.

(Please note this doesn’t account for increased water weight/glycogen storage, which can add a few pounds per month).

Here’s a good rule of thumb:

If you’re gaining more than five pounds per month of scale weight, you’re probably adding unwanted body fat.

How Much Muscle Can You Gain If You’re Not a Beginner?

As illustrated by Alan Aragon, nutrition expert, author, and king of the Alan Aragon Research Review, the amount of lean muscle you can build depends on where you begin with your training.

Build muscle without fat

There is no clear-cut method to determine your training status. Instead, let me slice and dice the specifics, so you have some clarity about where you are in your training career, mmm’kay?

Beginner:  60%+ people in the gym

The beginner stage is a wide-ranging category of lifters which extends to at least 60% of people in the gym. In the beginner stage, there are two zones of development: raw beginner and beginner.

Raw Beginner: You’re a beginner if you’ve trained for six months or less.  You move like a drunk baby giraffe, shaking like an earthquake on basic exercises.

The lack of stability in your movements indicates your nervous system is still figuring out how to lift. Nearly all your gains result from improved nervous system efficiency and better technique, not from bigger muscles.

Beginner: Even if you’ve been training for a bit and aren’t shaky, you can still be a beginner. You haven’t yet built a base of strength, the most important foundational piece of building a great body.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but many lifters never leave the beginner stage because they hop from program to program without mastering the basics.

Until you’re sufficiently strong on major movement patterns like squats, hinges, presses, lunges, and pulls, you’re probably a beginner.

Here are a few strength standards. They’re not set in stone, but should be a minimum to consider yourself more than a beginner.

Barbell Bench Press: 1x bodyweight for 5 reps. 170 lbs = 170×5 reps

Squat: 1.5x bodyweight for 1 rep. 170 lbs = 255 lb squat

Deadlift: 1.75x bodyweight for 1 rep. 170 pounds =297.5 lb deadlift

The numbers above are relative and don’t apply universally.

They’re more difficult for women due to differences in muscle mass distribution and don’t apply to people who are extremely overweight. Take them with a grain of salt.

The bottom line is if you’re not strong in your big lifts, you’re not as advanced as you think.

P.S. Looking for a simple, easy to implement muscle building plan? Grab your free Chiseled Muscle Cheat here.

Intermediate:  30%+ of people in the gym

You understand the terminology of training, know when to push yourself and when to pull back, and are capable of making adjustments in your workouts.

workout, How Much Muscle Can You Gain In A Month

As an intermediate, you can hoist a decent deadlift and have some muscle.

People no longer ask, “Do you even lift, bro?” You’re stronger than most people at the gym.

Alas, your training isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. You’ve hit your first plateau. You tweak your training and add more volume to drive new gains.

Advanced: The Top 5%

I’m going to give it to you straight: 95% of lifters never reach the advanced stage. Advanced lifters dominate bodybuilding stages and playing fields. You might know them as “those people.”  You won’t find many at your regular gyms.

Advanced lifters are near their natural genetic limits. They’ve overcome many challenges in the gym and are capable of pushing harder than most people.

Here’s a Step By Step Example of How Much Muscle You Can Gain In A Month

Build muscle without fat





Let me tell you about Jake.

Jake is a 19-year-old college student. He lifted weights in high school and as a freshman in college but fell off every few weeks. Jake would rather play Call of Duty, drink cheap beer, and chase girls. Not a sad life.

Unfortunately, girls refuse to date a guy who resembles their puny little brother, not a powerful mate. Frustrated and determined, Jake proclaims, “It’s time to get jacked” and fill out his scrawny 140-pound frame once and for all.

Jake will be training hard and build strength with 3-4 workouts per week.

He’ll no longer eat “a lot.” Instead, he’ll track his calories to ensure a caloric deficit. He might even drink less beer and sleep a bit more. Here’s what he can expect.

Year One: Beginner

Woohoo! Jake focused on a simple workout plan like this (link) to build strength and size. Now, though still skinny, Jake has a decent amount of lean muscle. Here’s how it breaks down:

140lbs x .0125 (rate of total body weight per month) = 1.75 pounds per month = 21 pounds per year.

Jake gained nearly 2 pounds of lean muscle per month and now weighs 161 pounds. Goodbye, small t-shirts and hello, mediums.

Year Two: Intermediate

For the first time, Jake started to hit a wall with his workouts. Luckily, he tweaked his routine by working with me as his online coach (shameless plug, I know; did I mention I now have a mortgage?) Jake started to add lean muscle again.

161 lbs X .0075 (rate of total body weight per month) = 1.2 pounds per month or 14 pounds in a year. Jake is still gaining at an impressive rate.

Jake gained about a pound per muscle and now weighs 175 pounds. He’s lean with a few abs showing and appears much bigger than he is. Jake deadlifts 405 lbs and looks better than 90% of guys in the gym.

As to whether his dating life is improving, I leave that to your imagination.

Year Three: STILL Intermediate

Jake has learned a lot. He might not be a gym Jedi, but he’s every bit a Han Solo.

He knows how to make subtle adjustments in his training. He tracks his workouts and “feels” when he needs to push harder or dial back. He’s in the zone and pushing his body to the max.

175 lbs x 0.0037 (rate of total body weight per month) = 0.65 pounds of muscle per month, or 7.7 pounds in a year.

Jake gained almost eight pounds in his third year and now weighs 183 pounds. His strength gains slowed down, so he added more training volume to focus on building muscle. Right now, he’s at a level most folks won’t ever reach in the gym.

How did Jake do it?

Well, he’s been consistent.

Jake can continue making progress, but the process will be slow. He’s creeping towards his genetic limit for size and strength. He might gain a few pounds per year, but he’s not piling on 30 pounds of new muscle like a newb.

How Much Muscle Can You Gain In A Month

About two pounds of pure muscle as a beginner. Sadly, your gains go from a full-on fire hose to a trickle as you become more advanced. Less as you train longer.

Two pounds of muscle per month sounds like nothing to the anxious skinny dude, but this is incredible progress.

The most significant mistake many lifters make is thinking they’re progressing too slowly and hopping from program to program. They think it’s a mistake to stick with a program when progress slows.

Wrong. Program hopping is the mistake. Keep it simple.

Start with a basic strength building program like 5×5 and run it for a year. Make sure you’re eating enough to move the scale; not just “a lot.”

Mind Muscle Connection

As an intermediate, you’ll benefit from more variety and training volume in your workouts.

Since you have a base of strength, you’ll benefit from more volume and (gasp) isolation work like biceps curls. (I know: somewhere a CrossFitter is dying, but I call ‘em the way I see ‘em. Deal with it.)

I’d recommend an upper-lower split (like this (link) to train your muscle groups more often while building size and strength. Some lifters use an upper-lower split forever and are incredibly strong and jacked.

After a few years of solid training, your progress will slow to a trickle. No biggie, it’s part of the game when you’re no longer makin’ newbie gains.

Again, your reaction to slower progress is key. Don’t try every method under the sun and end up with information overload,  like most lifters. Instead, reconsider down on your expectations and review your progress.

Are you willing dedicate every aspect of your life for bigger arms or a more symmetrical body?

If not, consider continuing on your path and understanding you’ll still make progress, but it’s going to be a journey.

Remember most guys can build around 40-50 pounds of lean mass naturally, and 20-25 if you’re a woman.

Gaining more than the aforementioned 40-50 pounds requires an elite level of discipline (like competitive bodybuilders) and potentially, a good pharmacist.

The Takeaway

You can gain 1-2 pounds of lean muscle as a beginner and gradually less; .2 – .5 lbs per month after. The process is slow. So you’re better off looking beyond the Explosive Strengthnumber on your scale in measuring progress.


Use the mirror and more importantly, your progress on the key habits below to truly transform your body.

1. Build Strength Over Time

Muscle growth is the result of doing work (lifting more weight for more reps) and how you increase it over time.

Setting a personal record every workout isn’t practical. Instead, get stronger from week-to-week and month-to-month.

As a beginner, getting stronger from month-to-month alone will lead to gains in muscle size and set you up for the future.

The more experience you get, the more increasing volume (sets/reps) will help you eke out more muscle gains. Transforming your body requires you give it a reason: the reason is progressive overload.

2. Eat More Calories Than You Burn

Many hard gainers have said, “I eat a lot.” Well, tough news, buddy. A lot isn’t enough unless your weight on the scale goes up.

A simple equation to find out how many calories you need is bodyweight (pounds) x 20. Eat one gram of protein per pound of bodyweight and mix a blend of carbs and fats for the rest of your calories.

You can find exactly how much you need to eat by heading here.

3. Repeat 1 and 2 (aka Be Consistent)

Train hard, get stronger, and increase your workout volume.

Eat for a caloric surplus every day.

Nail your workouts and don’t skip legs for biceps.

A caloric surplus and progressive overload with workouts only work when you pair them together consistently. Consistency is the key to the process working.

Occasionally eating big won’t build muscle. Skipping legs won’t build muscle.

Focus on what matters. Train hard. Eat big. Rinse and repeat. Building muscle is that simple.

Think building muscle is tougher than eating a $2 steak?
That aesthetic physiques are reserved for the genetically elite?
Take it from me:
A former 103-pound runt being routinely steamrolled on the football field, who has since packed on over 90 drug-free pounds, I’m here to tell you that waking up in the morning, and looking in the mirror to see your dream body staring back at you is far from impossible.
I won’t lie, or tell you that it will be easy.
But, it WILL be worth it.
If you follow the dead-simple strategies inside the Chiseled Muscle Cheatsheet…which are the exact same training and nutrition methods I used to flip the switch from [RUNT] to [RHINO-JACKED]…there’s no way you can fail.
Grab your FREE copy of the Chiseled Muscle Cheat Sheet by clicking here. 

How to Build Eye-Popping V-Line Abs

v-line abs

“Bro. I don’t care about getting stronger. That’s been easy for me. I just want to see my abs for the first time.”

Sound familiar? It does to me.

I regularly hear something like that from experienced lifters. They work hard and get strong. They have no interest in turning into bodybuilders. But they do have one aesthetic goal that’s often elusive:

Building six-pack abs.

And we’re not just talking about seeing the first two or four abs at the top. We’re talking about deep cut v-line abs with visible separation.

v-line abs

What Are V-Line Abs?

Unless you’re a skinny dude with the metabolism of a hummingbird on meth, deep-cut six-pack abs are visual proof of your discipline in the kitchen. They also say something about your training focus.

Still, there are abs…and then there are v-line abs.

V-line abs, when you’re lean enough to show your inguinal ligament, are called anything from “sex lines” to moneymakers. The V comes from the two ligaments that originate in your hips and extend to your pubic bone.

v-line abs
Wannabe Abs vs Real Abs

The V-lines are not a muscle and therefore cannot be directly trained.

How can you make your abs pop?

First, seriously commit to getting extremely lean. We’re talking in the neighborhood of 5-8% body fat or so. Yes, you read that right.

Second, develop muscular abs. Though the actual “v-lines” are a ligament, it does help to have deep, muscular abs.  The more muscle you have, the more definition you’ll reveal once you reduce body fat.

Get Lean First

If I hear the phrase “abs are made in the kitchen” one more time, I might just gag on my protein shake.

The problem is, the phrase is 100% true.

Chances are you won’t be able to out-train a bad diet and get shredded enough to reveal v-line abs unless you’re blessed with great genetics. Alas, most of us aren’t.

So you must diet my friend. Fat loss still comes down to energy balance. (Can I say: “double, alas?”)

You must take in fewer calories than you burn each day to lose fat.

The extreme leanness needed for v-line abs often requires a customized approach. Maintaining v-line abs is not possible all the time for most people. It’s more realistic to shoot for v-line abs only occasionally. My online training client, Naz, is an example. He built v-line abs for a recent photo shoot, then went back to something more sustainable.

v-line absIdeally, I’d advise getting professional help. And guess what? I’m available. (A shameless plug, I know, but hey: I have a mortgage to pay and the doggie food bills are out of control.)

But if you want to go it alone, the remainder of this blog post will explain how in five steps.   

Beware:steps one and two may make your head spin. So unless you have an affinity for math, Consider skipping directly to Step 3.

Step One: Determine Your Own Body Fat and Lean Body Mass

Before determining a plan of action, you must determine where you currently are. Here is a visual display of body fat by percentage.


BIA, known bioelectrical impedance analysis, is a common body fat measurement tool. It often comes in the form of a handheld device or digital scale.

BIA is notoriously sporadic and works by measuring electrical signals through your body. Hydration status and timing play a major role. These are highly variable, so you must be consistent with your timing of measurement as well as hydration. BIA analyzers are often quick and easy, but the numbers can be off by 5% or more.  


Skinfolds, when done with a skilled professional, can be as close as +/- 2-5%. These measure your levels of subcutaneous fat; the fat directly beneath your skin. These are a great option.

DEXA is best

Dexa scans, which normally cost anywhere from $25-$100, are the most accurate test and are generally spot on for measurements. If you want the best measurement possible, get a DEXA scan.

Whatever option you choose to analyze body-fat, stay consistent. Different tools will likely yield different results.

Step Two: Calculate How Much Fat You Need to Lose and How Long It Will Take

Research has shown the maximum rate of fat loss to be about 1-2% of your body weight per week. There are times when you may lose more than this due to water weight and – ahem – bodily functions. But 1-2% is a good, consistent mark to shoot for.

Let’s say you were 200 pounds at 16% body fat. First, we’ll calculate your lean body mass.

200lbs x .84 (% of lean mass) = 168 pounds. You have 168 pounds of lean body mass (bone, water, muscle etc.).

If you need to be 5% bodyfat without losing any muscle, you would do this simple calculation.

168 x1.05= 176 pounds.

Therefore, your goal would be to diet to 176 pounds or so.

Above, we talked about 1-2% being the maximum rate of fat loss. So at 200 pounds, at 16% body-fat, you can expect to lose 2-4 pounds per week at first; provided your diet and training are dialed in.  

Fat loss will slow drastically the leaner you get. But for now, let’s “pretend” you maintain this amount of fat loss each week. You would need to calculate at the new bodyweight to be precise, but if you maintain 2-4 pounds of fat loss per week….

… it would take you anywhere from 6-12 weeks of hard dieting to reach 5% body fat and have deep, v-cut abs.

Step Three: Calculate Your Calories

There are any number of equations to calculate the ideal number of calories to maximize fat loss. As with any fat loss diet, the goal is to minimize the loss of lean muscle and prevent your metabolism from adapting and slowing down.

This means you need an aggressive, yet sane, diet. Research indicates a 20-25% caloric deficit is about as aggressive as you can go for moderate time periods without messing up your body.

First, determine your maintenance calories. Then, we’ll find how many calories you need to create a deficit and carve away belly fat.

For maintenance, we’ll use body weight (pounds) x 14.

An active, 200-pound man (we’ll call him Gerard Butler) is 16% body fat and in shape, but has no visible abs. He would need 200 lbs x 14 = 2,800 calories.

To create a 20-25% deficit we’ll take…

2,800 calories x.8= 2,240 calories per day.

2,800 calories x.75= 2,100 calories per day.

One caveat: If you’ve been dieting long-term, then this may be way off. Your metabolism can adapt to long periods of dieting, resulting in a metabolic slowdown. This stuff can get complicated when we’re talking’ about extreme leanness.

Step Four: Nail Your Macros

While calories are the most important component, the macronutrient split (how many grams of protein, fat, and carbohydrates) also counts. Some folks do better with higher carbs and low-fat, whereas others thrive with low-carb and high-fat diets. This is extremely variable from person to person.


During a fat loss diet eating a high-protein diet is essential to maintain lean muscle mass. This helps you maintain a sound metabolism and of course, helps you look “more jacked’ once you strip the fat off.

At a minimum, I recommend 1g of protein per pound of bodyweight during fat loss phases, and often move this number as high as 1.2g/lb of bodyweight. Research shows 1g/lb to be the “maximum” benefit. If there’s one macronutrient you’re going to overconsume during an aggressive diet, best that it’s protein.

Plus, protein is tasty! 


As a general rule, 1g of carbs per pound of bodyweight is a safe bet. This is low enough. Unless you have significant fat to lose, or true blood sugar control problems, there is nothing wrong with a higher carbohydrate approach to lose fat. As long as your calories are low, higher carbs during a fat loss phase can lead to better workout performance and more balanced energy.

Later in the diet, you can cut carbs in final prep mode. But again, this is an advanced strategy that requires customization in most cases.


The remainder of your calories will come from fat. You’ll need enough fat to maintain anabolic hormone levels, but not too many where you blow your calories out of the water.

Here is how to break it down. We’ll run with

  • Calories: 2,100 per day.
  • Protein= 4 calories/gram  — 200 g protein (1g/lb) x 4= 800 calories
  • Carbs= 4 calories/gram =200 lbs (1g/lb) = 200g/carbs x 4= 800 calories

2,100 calories -800 (from protein)  – 800 (from carbs) = 500 calories remain.

  • Fats= 9 calories/gram = 500 calories/9 calories/gram = 45 calories/gram.

Altogether, a 200 pound Gerard Butler would aim for:

  • 2100 calories
  • 200 grams of carbs
  • 200 grams of protein
  • 45 grams of fat

Track your calories with an app like MyFitnessPal. Yes, I know counting calories can be a pain in the ass, but I’ve never met anyone who’s gotten shredded without tracking his or her food.

Track your diet, stick to your calories and macros, and reveal your abs once and for all.

The Bottom Line

Calories are king when it comes to fat loss, but macros are also important.  Take care of calories first, protein second, then test different amounts of carbohydrates versus fats. As long as your calories are on target, eat carbs and fats as it fits your preferred eating style.

Step Five (Optional): Supplementation

In most cases, I’m not a fan of supplements for fat loss. But once you’ve dialed in your diet and are training hard, a few supplements can accelerate fat loss. This is especially true for elite levels of leanness.

Green Tea Extract

The fat loss benefits of Green Tea are dose-dependent. According to Examine, the maximum fat loss benefits are achieved at high doses, such as 400-500 mg per day.


Yohimbine can accelerate fat loss and aid in erectile dysfunction, but it’s not for everyone; particularly high-stress individuals and those with anxiety. Examine has found yohimbine to burn fat best on an empty stomach and be dose specific at /2 mg/kg bodyweight.

This results in a dosage of:

  • 14 mg for a 150lb person
  • 18 mg for a 200lb person
  • 22 mg for a 250lb person

Pre Workout: Coffee or Onnit T+

When you’re dieting, hard training will occasionally be the last thing you’ll want to do. In this case, extra caffeine and/or pre-workout supplements will help.

If you’re looking for additional fat burning, caffeine – and coffee in particular – is a useful tool.

If you’d prefer to feel a pre-workout rush, without the “cracked” out feeling and often questionable products, then Onnit T+ is a winner. Since caffeine is a stimulant, over-reliance on it to maintain energy during a cut can lead to an increased cortisol response, which makes it easier to add body fat and lose muscle mass. This is obviously less than ideal, so consider going light on the caffeine if you need a pre-workout boost.

All About Stress And Sleep

Cortisol, the stress hormone,  can wreak havoc on your fat loss diet. Being that you’re already stressed and fat loss diets add an extra stressor, you must also manage stress to build your best-looking body.

First, get more sleep. Your body needs rest, especially if you want to build muscle and stay lean. If you’re not getting six to eight hours of quality sleep per night, kiss your dreams of having sculpted abs goodbye.

In one study published in Growth Hormone & IGF Research, researchers pointed to the fact men have one single burst of growth hormone released each day. And it happens during their sleep.

Guys who sleep less and spend less time in slow-wave sleep tend to notice a decline in the amount of growth hormone released.

Growth hormone is a powerful anti-aging hormone as well as a fat burner. Suboptimal levels of growth hormone can hinder fat loss.

Sleep deprivation correlates with higher cortisol and lower testosterone levels.It hinders workout quality, decreases muscle building, and increases fat storage. Yikes.

Second, start meditating. Meditation improves focus and productivity. It has a positive impact on nearly all areas of your health and decreases stress. Don’t be fooled by pictures of monks meditating in a peaceful garden; you don’t need to spend all day in a zen state. I recommend using the Headspace app and starting with 10 minutes per day at the same time every day.

Adopting the simple habits of meditating and getting adequate sleep accelerates fat loss by improving hormone levels and reducing stress.

Training For V-Line Abs

Your workouts must include compound lifts like deadlifts, squats, pull-ups, and lunges as the foundation of your training.

Lift three to four days per week and do some form of conditioning at least once or twice per week. Training for strength with big movements works your abs, stimulates the release of anabolic hormones like testosterone and growth hormone, and does more for building a beach-ready physique than any single ab routine.

If you’re looking for a dedicated program to get you in tip-top shape without living in the gym, I’d recommend you check out this abs workout.

Still, training your abs is vital to revealing chiseled abs and that coveted V-cut. Stronger and muscular abs create deeper separations and cuts between the rectus abdominis muscle, helping your abs remain visible even when your body fat is a bit higher.

The Workout

Perform this workout separate from your other weight training two times per week. If you need more than four weeks to get in tip-top shape (and you probably will) perform this routine twice a week for one month.

Then, take one month completely off before returning for a second round as you wrap up your cut. This keeps the training stimulus novel; promoting gains. The planned break allows full recovery to maximize your hard work.

1. Hollow Body Hold — 3x 45-60 seconds, rest 45-60 seconds

A gymnastics move by nature, the hollow body hold teaches you to brace and hold neutral spine while contracting your entire rectus abdominis muscle.

Lay flat on the ground, looking up. Flatten your lower back and flex your knees, pointing your toes away from you. Extend your legs in front of you while picking up your arms, keeping your back flat, and lifting your head and shoulders off the ground. Aim to do these twice a week.

2. Ab Wheel – 3 x 6-10, rest 60-90 seconds

Ab wheel rollouts are an absolute killer for ab development. Plus, they force you to resist the extension (arching) of your lower back while also training your lats, shoulders, and triceps.

Kneel down, holding the handles of the wheel with your arms locked out beneath your shoulders. Brace your abs and roll out as far as possible, then roll back without shifting your hips or arching your lower back. Alternatively, the stability ball rollout is a great drill to progress towards the ab wheel.

Start small: The ab wheel brings the pain and serious soreness. Start with two to three sets of six to eight reps twice per week. Add two reps per week (up to 15 or so), and then move on to adding a third set.

3. Farmer’s Walk — 3 x 60 seconds, rest 60 seconds

Dubbed the “most functional exercise” by experts like Gray Cook and Stuart McGill, farmer’s walks should be in every training program.

Walking with heavy dumbbells in hand, your core is forced to dynamically stabilize the hip and midsection during every step, which fires up your abs and teaches deep stabilizing muscles to stay strong and hold position during other exercises.

Grab a pair of heavy dumbbells and walk slowly — heel to toe — for 30 to 60 seconds, squeezing the dumbbells and staying as tall as possible throughout the entire set. Perform 3 sets of 30 to 60-second walks twice per week.

4. Hanging Leg Raise 3×10-15, rest 60 seconds

The hanging leg raise is a popular exercise for targeting the part of your abs below your belly button. By keeping your elbows slightly bent and shoulders retracted, you’ll also stretch the lats, build a stronger grip, and develop more muscular forearms.

As with the other ab exercises in this list, keep your abs braced, and avoid arching your lower back. Grab a pull-up bar with a double overhand grip, squeezing the bar as tight as possible and keeping the elbows slightly bent.

Retract your shoulders, as if tucking them into your back pocket and holding them there.

This protects the ligaments and tendons in your elbows and shoulders from unnecessary stress. From this position, flex your quads and bring your legs up just past 90 degrees, allowing your hips to roll up, forming an L shape with your body. Pause at the top for two seconds, then lower with control.

Too Tough? Start by bending your knees and holding them up at 90 degrees for 5-10 seconds for each rep. Perform 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps twice per week

Putting It All Together

With a strategic plan of action, determination, and plenty of willpower, you can get the vaunted V-line abs that will make your physique stand out.

But you must commit to eating right, training right, and recovering right.

Here’s how:

  • Dedicate yourself to a diet that puts you in a caloric deficit.
  • Continue training with big, multi-joint lifts three to four times per week while doing a conditioning drill once or twice.
  • Refine your training and attack your abs twice per week with the exercises above.
  • Finally, sleep well and reduce stress. These are the secret weapons and the most commonly neglected aspects of transforming your body.

With discipline, perseverance, and dedication, you’ll achieve the epitome of a lean beach-body: deep-cut abs and defined V lines.

And if you’re looking for the perfect workouts and diets to get you there, join the BOSS Group Coaching Community Today. Try it for 21 days for only a buck. You’ll have access to our entire video library, fast-paced muscle building training programs, and custom fat-loss diet guides. You’ll get in the best shape of your life without living in the gym.

⇒ Become a BOSS Today.

The Dirty Bulk: Five Reasons To Do A Clean Bulk

Dirty bulking

Of all the dumb fitness ideas out there, the dirty bulk is one of the dumbest.  That may seem like an extreme statement, but trust me on this one.

After all, I used to guzzle weight gainers mixed with ice cream until I grew a FUPA and had more stomach rolls than abs.

Bottom line: a dirty bulk will leave you fat and frustrated, not jacked and confident.

Dirty bulking, Dirty bulk

The problem is that a dirty bulk involves eating as much as you can. You devour calories like a malnourished hyena.

When you follow a high-frequency muscle building program, you DO need extra calories to build muscle there’s only so much your body can handle.

When you eat with reckless abandon you’ll be rewarded with a set of love handles and man boobs, not bolder shoulders and defined arms.

Remember why you’re trying to build muscle.

Isn’t it to look better naked?

To feel strong, confident, and powerful?

You want to be “that guy.” You want to turn women’s’ heads while walking down the street. You want a body that earns the respect of others and, most importantly, fills you with confidence.

You want to avoid the dirty bulk bitch tits. You want to build a strong, lean, and muscular body.

Here are the top five reasons to avoid the dirty bulk.

1. Caloric Spillover

Calorie balance is still king when it comes to building muscle. If you’re going to put on lean muscle, you need to be in a caloric surplus.

Calories In: Calories from food.

Calories Out: Calories used for daily activity and bodily function.

Caloric Surplus: When you take in more calories than your body burns each day.

Seems simple, right? Well, it is. Problems arise when you fall into the trap of believing more is always better.

Too many lifters are misled by the diets of professional bodybuilders. They try the same ideas without the chemical enhancement (steroids) to back it up.

This is a huge problem for the natural lifter. Steroids allow a user to drastically increase protein synthesis. This makes it much easier to eat an excessive number of calories and use them directly to accelerate muscle growth.

Dirty bulking, Dirty bulk

While a bodybuilder may be able to eat a caloric excess of 1,000 calories and gain insane amounts of muscle, the same plan applied to a natural lifter only leads to a main course of body fat, with a side order of subpar muscular gains.

Like it or not, there’s a limit to how fast you can build muscle as a natural lifter. I’ll dig into how much you need to eat below.

But for now, understand a surplus of 300-500 calories is all you need to maximize muscle growth.

2. Fat Hyperplasia

When you overeat, your body increases the number of fat cells your body stores. It’s a survival mechanism. This is called fat hyperplasia, and it makes it more difficult to lose fat going forward.

The big kicker here is you can’t eliminate cells. You can only make them smaller. When you follow a dirty bulk you’re increasing the number of fat cells in your body. You’ll gain weight in the short term while also making it easier for your body to store fat in the future.

The result? You get stuck in permabulk mode. You gain more fat than muscle. And you may have one hell of a time getting ripped once beach season comes around.

3. Decreased Insulin Sensitivity

At any given moment you’re either burning fat or building muscle.

The switch behind this? Insulin.

Insulin stimulates protein synthesis, inhibiting the breakdown of protein, and is an extremely powerful muscle-building hormone.

Build muscle without fat, Dirty bulkIf you’re a naturally skinny guy like I am, having a high insulin sensitivity is one of the best weapons in your arsenal. When you’re sensitive to insulin, your body effectively burns stored body fat and breaks your food into energy. Better yet, it’s easier to build muscle without getting fat.

When you’re overweight and have a gut to lose you’re not sensitive to insulinHeck, most people aren’t and it’s damn-near impossible to add lean muscle without adding a spare tire on the side.

Instead of the classic dirty bulk, you want to play the long game and add muscle slowly. This allows you to maintain higher insulin sensitivity and keep fat gain to a minimum.

Nutrition partitioning is how well you break down your carbs, fats, and proteins into usable glucose, fatty acids, and amino acids. It’s  is related to your genetics, hormones, and yes, your insulin sensitivity.

4. Poor Nutrition Partitioning

When you gain body fat and decrease insulin sensitivity from mindless eating during a dirty bulk, you impair your body’s ability to break down food into its usable parts.

The result? It becomes easier to gain fat and more difficult to build lean muscle.

5. You’ll Develop Shitty Habits

Raise your hand if you know a lifter who’s always bulking.

More often than not, these folks stay in the permabulking stage. They look like they lift, but they’ve got extra flab and look a wee bit out of shape. There’s nothing wrong with this as many of these guys are very strong.  I value strength, but I also value my health and looking good naked (at least according to my wife.) 😁

When you use #bulking as an excuse to gorge on pizza, ice cream, and eat with the discipline of a small child you’re going to develop shitty habits.
Dirty bulk

Eventually, you’ll have to pay the piper. The bill will be long-term health issues, an increase in body fat, or both.

I’m all for living a life that’s improved, not consumed, by fitness. I like to have a few drinks, steaks, and pizza myself. But moderation is key, even when you’re building muscle.

Keep your eye on the ball.

Play the long game.

Death To The Dirty Bulk

There’s a limit to how quickly you can build muscle.  The work of Alan Aragon and Lyle McDonald suggests the maximum rate of muscle growth appears to cap off around 40-50 pounds over the course of a lifetime.

Here is Lyle’s Model

Build muscle without fat

The amount of muscle you can build decreases dramatically as you gain age and experience in the gym. Though some fat gain and water weight is inevitable, gaining more than a few pounds per month is a solid indication you’re consuming too many calories.

How Many Calories You Need To Build Muscle

To maximize your gains without getting fat you need a slight caloric surplus. To get started, calculate maintenance calories. I’ve tried half a dozen of equations and they’re all pretty close. Plus, they’re all estimations, so ease of use is important.

My go-to equation is this: Bodyweight (pounds) x16= Maintenance for someone moderately active (trains 3-4x per week)

150 lbs x16= 2400 calories for a 150lb, moderately active person.

When it comes to building muscle you’re much better off going slow and steady instead of the dirty bulk. The maximum rate of muscle you can build is between 0.5-3 lbs depending on your experience level.
✅First, calculate your calories.There are many equations to do this and they’re all pretty damn close. The assumption here is you’re moderately active, exercising 3-5x/Wk.
✅Determine Calories: Take your bodyweight in pounds (lbs) x18. This will give you the total number of calories you should aim to each day. A 140 lb skinny bro would then take 140×18= 2580 calories. .
👉Macros:We’ll follow a balanced diet plan. No, neither carbs or fats are bad.You need both. . 🍗Determine Protein:A high protein diet is essential during fat loss diets to maintain lean muscle tissue.After all, there’s no point in losing fat if you have no muscle to reveal…unless you’re going for the “do you even lift bro” Justin Bieber body. Eat 1g/protein per 1/lb of bodyweight. If you’re 140 lbs, this means 140g of protein. There are 4 cals/g of protein, so 140g of protein=560 calories. . 🍚Carb Intake:Carbs are essential for building lean muscle. Not only are they fuel for training, but they’re also protein sparing.We’ll start with 2g/carbs per 1lb of bodyweight. If you’re 140 pounds, this is 280 carbs. There are 4 cals/g of carbs, so 280g of carbs=1120 calories. . Fat Intake: Fats are essential for hormone health and shouldn’t drop below 20% of your caloric intake.Fat is the most calorically dense at 9 cals per gram. This is why suckin’ down half a jar of peanut butter or hand fulls of nuts can add up to a pudgy waistline quickly.The 140 lb skinny belieber is eating 2580 calories. 2580- carb cals(1120)-protein cals (560)= 900 calories from fat Since there are 9 cals/g of fat, 560 cals/9 cals/g= 100g of fat. . If you know someone struggling to gain muscle, send them there. .
#ectomorph #superskinny #bachperformance #iifymfam #flexiblediet #weightgainer #benching #armday #armdayeveryday #supershake #weightgainjourney #massgain #bodybuilderworkout #proteinshake #proteinbar #highprotein #curlsforthegirls #trisfortheguys

A post shared by Eric Bach Online Coach (@bachperformance) on


From here, you’ll want to add another 300-500 calories to get into a slight caloric surplus to trigger muscle growth. I use the higher end on training days and the lower end on rest days.

Calorie Counting

On the days you workout you’ll have 2900 calories. On non-lifting days have 2700 calories.

In real food, this comes out to 1-2 protein shakes and a banana or two per day above maintenance calories. Alternatively, this is an extra sweet potato and a chicken breast each day.

It’s not a 1200 calorie burger meal from the fast food joint!

How Much Protein Do You Need to Build Muscle?

You need sufficient protein to build muscle, though it’s not as much as supplement companies would have you believe.

All you need is .82g/lb. -1g of protein per pound of bodyweight.

This means a 160lb guy needs 131g-160g of protein per day. Can you have more? Sure, but a 2011 study by Phillips and Van Loon found .82g/lb. of bodyweight to be the upper limit of protein synthesis.

In other words, eating more protein won’t increase how much muscle you’ll build.

Dirty bulk

This means our 150 lb dude needs 123-150g of protein per day to build lean muscle. IF he’s getting his calories, more protein won’t lead to more muscle growth.

Protein has 4 calories per gram, means you’ll have 492 to 600 calories from protein.

How Many Carbs Do You Need to Build Muscle?

Most people hopped on the low-carb bandwagon at some point. These diets work well for fat loss, but not for building muscle.

Here’s the problem. Carbohydrates are protein sparing. This means eating carbs will spare your body from breaking down stored muscle tissue to fuel your day.

Eating a moderate-high carb diet helps you keep the lean muscle you’ve already built rather than breaking it down for energy.

Further, your workouts will suffer during a low carb diet. You’ll be lethargic and have terrible pumps. You’ll end up flat and deflated, not pumped and jacked.

Carbs are your friends. They’ll spare the muscle you have, improve your workouts, and help drive nutrients into your cells to maximize lean muscle gains.

Eat 1.5-2g of carbs per pound of bodyweight to maximize lean muscle growth. This means 225g-300g of carbs per day.

Carbs have 4 calories per gram, means you’ll have 900-1200 calories per gram.

Fat Intake

Fat, the most calorically dense macronutrient, has 9 calories per gram. You need ample fat intake to optimize hormones, brain, and nervous system function. The remaining of your calories will come from fat.

Let’s use our 160 lb lifter as an example.

Lifting Day: 2900 calories     Protein:160g/640 cals   Carbs: 300g/1200 cals

2900-640-1200= 1060 calories remaining

1060 calories/9 cals/gm= 118g of fat per day.

Demystifying Dirty Bulking

Dirty bulking appears attractive. But the promise is false. The sad reality is that dirty bulking will slow down your progress because it adds more fat you’ll need to lose later, while significantly slowing down your ability to build muscle.

When in doubt, take the long road. It will end up being faster.

Pick out a muscle building training routine, like those in the BOSS group coaching program. You can access a full year’s years worth of workouts for only $1.

Eat slightly more than you need to build lean muscle.

And most of all, be patient. It takes time to build muscle.

Play your cards right by sticking to the basics.  You’ll build a strong, lean, and muscular body.

P.S. Want to look good naked without living in the Gym? Pick up your FREE copy of the Chiseled Cheat Sheet Now.


The Ultimate Guide To Building Muscle Without Getting Fat

Build muscle without fat

If you want to add muscle without using steroids and without gaining fat, you’ve come to the right place: The Ultimate Guide To Building Muscle Without Getting Fat.

Below you’ll discover:

  • The right blend of heavy strength work, higher-rep, bodybuilding exercises, and even (gasp) cardio to optimize muscle building without getting fat. 
  • The four models that outline how much muscle you can build naturally. This is humbling, to say the least. 
  • How to build lean muscle with minimum fat gain. I’ll give you a hint, avoid the dirty bulk, follow a slight caloric surplus, and follow the step-by-step plan we outline instead. Build muscle without fat

Pump yourself up with some pushups. Or bicep curls in the squat rack. Whatever. Okay. Now pour yourself a protein shake and dig in. This is the most important article you’ll read on how to build lean muscle without getting fat.

P.S. Looking for a simple, easy to implement muscle building plan? Grab your free Chiseled Muscle Cheat here.

Don’t Be Like Young Eric. He Was A Jerk. And Had Protein Farts.

Flashback to the young Eric. If this were a movie, you’d be hearing weird, ethereal music now as we dissolve to grainy black and white footage of my 19-year-old self.


I guzzle another protein shake mixed with mint-chocolate chip ice cream.

Oh, the sheer gluttony.

I sigh in relief as my gut rumbles and sit back on the couch. 3,000 calories already consumed, but another 2,500 left to “eat”.

I’m in the thralls of a “dirty bulk” and on the see-food diet. That means if I see food, I eat it. I make it a habit to devour every calorie containing-morsel in sight. I move only when needed.

After all, conventional wisdom says the more you eat the muscle you can gain, right?


You see, as a former 103-pound runt I wanted nothing more than to be big, strong, and muscular. After I stopped playing football, I continued to lift and eat everything in sight. It was bulking season year round.

But soon…

My stomach ached. I become lactose intolerant from drinking so many dairy-based protein shakes. Even worse, I spent winter break in the doctor’s office trying to figure out why my gut hurt and why I kept droppin’ bombs.

Sexy, right? I was a real chick magnet!

My weight crept into the low 190’s. That might not sound alarming until you consider I’d weighed 170 pounds three months early. Instead of being healthy, strong, and lean I looked and felt like crap.

And guess what I was studying in school? Yeah, binge drinking kinesiology. Ironic, huh?

But I digress. The point is I was not alone.

If you’re like most skinny guys you’ve made the same mistake: tried to gain too much muscle too quickly.

Don’t fall for the flashy ads and ridiculous promises. You’re more likely to end up with man boobs than bulging biceps.

But you’re better than that. So it all begins with setting realistic expectations on how much muscle you can build without steroids and without getting fat.

Before setting any goal you must know what’s physically possible. After all, a 5’6″ man can’t expect to guard Shaq in the low-post as an NBA center. And an average guy can’t expect to train, eat, and look like a stage-ready bodybuilder.

A good way to get started is swiping your FREE Chisled Muscle Cheatsheet. Click here to get it NOW. 

First and Foremost: Forget Scale Weight

Those struggling to lose weight obsess over scale weight. So do anxious bulkers. They’re both wrong.

Remember: the goal is to add lean muscle, not weight.

To quote the great Vince Gironda, “If you don’t like what you see in the mirror, what difference does it make what the scale says?”

Build muscle without fat, Building muscle without getting fat

The mirror is the ultimate judge, not the number in the scale.

For many guys who want to look bigger, it’s all about getting lean first. Their ideal is 10% body fat or lower. Achieve this and you’ll look better and build muscle more efficiently.

If you’re a skinny-limbed dude, be realistic about your expectations.

Can you really expect to develop the body of an NFL running back? The average 5’7 to 6’0″ guy looks much better at 165-185 pounds and 8-12% body fat than at 200-plus pounds at 15% body fat or higher.

Instead of looking at the scale, take measurements.

Track your waist, chest, arms, and thighs every two weeks. Snap progress photos in your skimpies.

The scale rarely tells you the full story. But the combination of measurements, photos, and the scale paint a clear picture.

Consider the following before setting your goals:

Many men see pro athletes and magazine covers and decide, “This is what I want to look like” Yes, it’s great to set high goals and push yourself, but you must understand three factors that differentiate these folks.

  1. They’re completely focused on building their bodies. They eat, sleep, and train to be in great shape. This is a luxury most busy men and women (read: you) with 9-5 jobs, a family, and a commute don’t have.Build muscle without fat
  2. While less important but still relevant, a good chunk of these folks use performance-enhancing drugs like steroids.
  3. Plain and simple, most athletes and pro-bodybuilders are genetically superior. They’re the exception, not the expectation you should have for yourself.

Trying to emulate genetic outliers or geared up bro’s is a mug’s game. Don’t even try. But that still leaves the question:

How much muscle can you gain naturally without gaining unwanted body fat?

Read on.

How Much Muscle You Can Gain Without Steroids

You’re the average, busy dude with a family and obligations outside of eating, sleeping, and flexing your biceps. How much muscle can you gain? Here are some of the leading models from leading authorities.

Model #1: Alan Aragon

Alan Aragon, the researcher and author who runs the Alan Aragon Research review provides a clear-cut breakdown of the maximum rate of muscle gain, here:

Build muscle without fat

Example: Jake is a 25-year-old busy dude who hasn’t lifted since high school. He weighs 140 pounds.

Build muscle without fat

Year One

140lbs x .0125% = 1.75 pounds per month = 21 pounds per year.

If Jake eats enough calories, trains 3-5 times per week, and sleeps 6-8 hours per night he can gain about 21 pounds in year one.

Year Two

161 lbs X .0075% = 1.2lbs per month or 14 pounds in a year. Jake is still gaining at an impressive rate.

Year Three

175 lbs x 0.0037 = 0.65lbs of muscle per month, or 7.7 pounds in a year.

This puts Jake at the maximum weight of 182 or 183 pounds. Yes, he can continue to gain muscle after this, but it will be slow.

Bottom Line: Your muscle potential decreases each year you train. Progress slows and tops out around 40-50 pounds of lean muscle total.

Model #2 The Lyle McDonald Genetic Muscular Potential Model

Lyle McDonald, researcher, author, and head honcho at Body Recomposition has a similar model.

Build muscle without fat

The rates of lean muscle gain growth slow dramatically the longer you train. Like Aragon’s model, there is a  cap at 40-50 pounds of lean muscle for men. The cap for women is about 20 pounds.

Age also plays a role. A 30 or 40-year-old person will struggle to gain as fast as an 18-year-old male with the testosterone of a raging bull.

Lyle also drops these words of wisdom. “After seeing a pro bodybuilder stepping on stage at 260 pounds or more and shredded, the idea that a natural may top out at 180-190 pounds of lean body mass (if that) can be disheartening.

Build muscle without fat

Of course, to the general public, an individual at a lean 180-190 pounds is still pretty enormous.  It’s just that compared to the absurd size of a pro bodybuilder, it seems absolutely tiny. But it is reality.”

The Bottom Line: Reality check time. There’s a damn good chance you’ll look your best between 165 pounds and 185 pounds, and not at the size of a professional bodybuilder.

Lyle’s model indicates your muscle gains slow dramatically after your initial training. If you start lifting at your hormonal peak in young adulthood, males can expect to gain 40-50 pounds without drugs and females half that.

Finally,  people with bigger joints and a bigger overall bone structure may have greater genetic hormonal advantages to build lean muscle compared to my skinny-limbed, narrow jointed brethren.

Model #3: The Casey Butt Equation

Casey Butt, Ph.D. is a natural bodybuilder who’s analyzed the frames of thousands of bodybuilders to determine the maximum muscular potential for steroid-free lifters.

His formula is the most complicated and is based on the idea that bone structure plays a significant role on how much muscle you can gain. By measuring the size of your wrists and ankles you can determine how much lean muscle you can gain with this equation.

If you stumbled on this in High School math class you bright shriek  in  sheer terror:

Build muscle without fat

Yikes, right?

The Bottom Line: If you’re a skinny, small jointed dude like most hard-gainers you simply can’t build as much muscle as thick-jointed people.

Bigger jointed humans can build more lean muscle because they have the support. But don’t despair if you are smaller jointed. Your #gainz may end up looking more dramatic. You’ll appear more muscular than your scale weight indicates.

Model #4: The Francis Holway in the Sports Gene

Similar to Casey Butt’s model, this model relates muscular potential to bone structure. “Like muscle, bone responds to exercise and repeated stress.” Repeated stress builds bone, which increases your ability to carry more lean muscle.

Stronger by Science explains:

“In measurements of thousands of elite athletes from soccer to weight lifting, judo, rugby, and more, Holway has found that each kilogram (2.2 pounds) of bone supports a maximum of five kilograms (11 pounds) of muscle. Five-to-one, then, is a general limit of the human muscle bookcase. The limit for women is closer to 4.1 to 1.”

The Bottom Line: You can build bigger, denser bones through repeated training. While you have a limit to how much muscle your frame can support, heavy lifting can indeed build muscle and give you a bigger frame. And a bigger frame leads to more muscle growth.

Making Sense of It All

Here are the two key points:

(1) The longer you train correctly the less muscle building potential you have. Sorry, you can’t have newbie gains forever.

(2) Your bone structure plays a role in how much muscle you can build.

But don’t use the “I’m a skinny hard gainer” as a crutch if you’re a naturally narrow jointed dude. You can still build an impressive physique.

So focus on what matters:

  • Training hard and consistently.
  • Sticking to a muscle- building diet.
  • Getting enough Sleep to recover from hard training.

And for god’s sake…

Say Goodbye To The Dirty Bulk

All the dumb fitness ideas the classic “dirty bulk” is one of the dumbest. With so much competition, that’s quite a statement.

The classic dirty bulk leaves you devouring fast food and weight gainer shakes like it’s going out of style. The focus is all on consuming more calories to gain as much size as possible. While you’ll gain plenty of muscular size much of it will be fat.

What’s the point in bulking if you look worse?

There isn’t one.

After all, you want a big chest, arms, and strong legs, not flabby love handles, sagging tits pecs and a beer gut.

Why should you avoid the classic dirty bulk? Let me count the ways, then suggest what to do instead to get jacked, stay jacked, and live happily ever after.

First, the fabulous five fuck ups.

(1)  Consuming Too Many Calories

(2) Fat Hyperplasia (Teaser Alert: This Is Bad)

(3) Decreased Insulin Sensitivity (Also Bad)

(4) Developing Shitty Habits

(5) Rushing

Consuming Too Many Calories

You don’t need THAT many additional calories to build muscle.

Eating 5,000 calories per day works for lifters on a boatload of steroids, but not the average guy.

The truth? our body can only build so much muscle with its natural growth mechanisms at work.

Eat 300-500 calories above maintenance and you’ll gain lean muscle, not fat.

This is 1-2 protein shakes and a banana or two per day above maintenance calories. Alternatively, this is an extra sweet potato and a chicken breast each day, not a 1200 calorie burger from the fast food joint.

Fat Hyperplasia

When you overeat your body increases the number of fat cells your body stores as a survival mechanism.

This is called fat hyperplasia, which makes it more difficult to lose fat going forward. The big kicker here is you can’t eliminate cells, you can only make them smaller.

Following a dirty bulk will make you fatter. It will make it easier for your body to store fat in the future. Worse, it will make it harder to lose unwanted fat in the future.

I’ll pass. I recommend you do the same.

Decreased Insulin Sensitivity

At any moment you’re either burning fat or building muscle. The switch behind this?


When you’re sensitive to insulin, your body effectively burns stored body fat and breaks your food into energy.

Insulin stimulates protein synthesis, inhibiting the breakdown of protein, and transforms amino acids into your muscles. Insulin is an extremely powerful muscle-building hormone.

But here’s the problem: most people are insensitive to insulin. This makes it damn-near impossible to add lean muscle without adding a spare tire on the side.

Build muscle without fat, Building muscle without getting fat

When you follow a dirty bulk you’re constantly pounding your body with food, forcing insulin to work double-time. This causes three problems.

(1) You’re never giving your digestive system a break. This makes it hard to digest the food you’re taking in.

(2) When you’re constantly eating, especially carb-based meals, you’re spiking insulin repeatedly. You want to spike insulin strategically, like post-workout to maximize lean muscle and not build fat.

(3) You’re more than likely gaining fat on a dirty bulk. This decreases your insulin sensitivity, making it harder to build muscle and lose fat.

Your best option is to follow a clean eating plan. Progress will be slower, but you’ll build big muscles, not a big gut.

Developing  Shitty Habits

Yes, guzzling mass gainer shakes and drinking a gallon of milk per day increases scale weight. But the scale doesn’t matter if you don’t like how you look in the mirror.

Don’t use the excuse  “I’m bulking, bro” to eat like a spoiled six-year-old.

You’re developing tough-to-break habits while doing irreparable harm to your body.

Keep your eye on the ball.

Play the long game.


There’s a limit to how quickly you can build muscle.

More food doesn’t equal more muscle. Eat slightly more calories than you need, rather than emptying the fridge.

There’s a limited amount of muscle you can gain at any given time.

The Keys To Building Muscle Without Getting Fat

Time and consistency are key.

If you’re serious about building muscle without getting fat, you need to commit to a 3-6 month program and not a month of bulking, followed by a month of cutting.

Remember: the muscle building process is slow, likely 2-3 pounds of muscle MAX per month when you’re eating and training well, and getting plenty of rest.

Stay the course and hammer the following 8 things.

First, the list. Then, more details about each.

  1. Eat For a Slight Caloric Deficit
  2. Eat Mostly Clean
  3. Eat High protein and Relatively High Carbs
  4. Time Your Carbs
  5. Take a “Diet Week”
  6. Lift Heavy and Get a Pump
  7. Do the Right Kind of Cardio
  8. Lose Unwanted Fat Before You Bulk

1. Eat For a Slight Caloric Surplus

You have a maintenance calorie intake to keeps your body weight level. To build muscle, you want to eat 400-500 calories above this number. This is a far cry from the “eat everything in sight” diets that have you adding excessive amounts of body fat.

Find out how many calories you need here:

Bodyweight (lbs.) x 16 + 500 calories

So, 160 lbs x 16 + 500 = 3060 calories

A 160-pound guy would eat about 3060 calories. Now, understand this number isn’t set in stone and there is no-one-size fits all equation. Chances are, you’ll need a little more or a little less. Either way, track your calories with an app like MyFitnesspal. Get consistent with your diet.

If your weight isn’t increasing, eat an extra banana or try one of these muscle building shakes to your diet.

You need to eat more calories than you burn, but not by much. Aim for a slight caloric surplus and you’ll give your body the fuel to build muscle while limiting fat gain.

2. Eat Mostly Clean

You don’t need to haul food containers in a cooler and choke down dried chicken breast and broccoli all day.

But you shouldn’t be spending your afternoons crushing Baconators and using bulking as an excuse turn into a fat slob.

If your body isn’t healthy, who cares how big you are? You’re playing a fool’s game. You’ll fail sooner rather than later.

Most of your foods should have had a face or grown naturally in the ground.

Aim to have a source of protein and a vegetable every time you eat.

As for macronutrients consider the following:

Protein: Provides amino acids, the building blocks for muscle. With each meal eat one of the following:

-lean beef, bison, venison, wild game, chicken, turkey, eggs, and seafood. Baked or grilled is your best bet.

Fats: Essential for healthy hormone levels. (men, you should read this)

You’ll get some from your protein sources. Also consume nuts, avocado, and some oils like coconut and olive oil.

Carbohydrates: Carbs are essential for energy production and prevent the breakdown of muscle tissue for energy. Reduce or eliminate refined crap and most white foods, including flour and sugar. (Rice is an exception.)

The majority of your carbs should come from rice, potatoes, squash, oats, barley, quinoa, 100% whole wheat bread, fruits, and vegetables. These foods provide a boatload of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants for both health and performance.

3. High Protein and Relatively High Carbs

You need both sufficient protein and carbs to maximizing muscle building. The amount of protein you need to build muscle is often drastically overstated.

All you need is .82g/lb. -1g of protein per pound of bodyweight.

This means a 160lb guy needs 131g-160g of protein per day. Can you have more? Sure, but a 2011 study by Phillips and Van Loon found .82g/lb. of bodyweight to be the upper limit of protein synthesis. In other words, eating more protein won’t increase how much muscle you’ll build.

And carbs?

Everyone’s hopped on the low-carb bandwagon at some point. These diets work well for fat loss, but not building muscle.

Here’s the problem. Carbohydrates are protein sparing. This means eating carbs will spare your body from breaking down stored muscle tissue to fuel your day.

Eating a moderate-high carb diet helps you keep the lean muscle you’ve already built rather than breaking it down for energy.

Further, your workouts will suffer during a low carb diet. You’ll be lethargic and have terrible pumps. You’ll end up flat and deflated, not pumped and jacked.

Carbs are your friends. They’ll spare the muscle you have, improve your workouts, and help drive nutrients into your cells to maximize lean muscle gains.

Protein intake: Eat .82g/lb. -1g/lb. of protein per pound of bodyweight, or 131-160g for a 160-pound person. More protein won’t help, more calories will.

Carb intake: Eat 1.5-2g of carbs per pound of bodyweight to maximize lean muscle or 240-320g per day on workout days.

4. Time Your Carbs

If you want to gain muscle without fat there is one stubborn bastard of a hormone you need to control: insulin.

When you eat carbs, insulin is secreted and your body is in storage mode. That’s perfect for building muscle. But you don’t want to always be in storage mode otherwise you’ll gain fat.

The solution? Cycle your carbs to control insulin so you can build muscle and burn fat on demand. Here’s a more simple approach to carb cycling: Carb Cycling Made Easy.

On workout days eat more carbohydrates throughout the day. Eat oatmeal in the mornings, faster-digesting carbs like rice after your workouts, rice at lunch, and sweet potatoes in the evening. To build muscle you’ll need to boost insulin throughout the day.

On off-days, keep carbohydrates lower, such as 1-1.5g/lb. of body weight. Move most of your carbs into the afternoon and evening. This limits number of insulin spikes throughout the day, promoting fat burning, maintaining insulin sensitivity, and gives you enough carbs to build lean muscle.

As a bonus, moving your carbs into the evening prompts the release of serotonin, a precursor to melatonin to improve your sleep.

5. Take a “Diet Week”

To maximize lean muscle while preventing fat gain you can cycle your calories to maintenance for one week every six to eight weeks.

This helps you in three ways.

  • You’ll give your digestive system a break. By dialing back a few hundred calories you’ll give your body time to rejuvenate.
  • Increased insulin sensitivity. The more sensitive your body is to insulin the better you’ll be able to minimize fat gain.
  • You’ll get a mental break. Eating to build muscle is a job. This break gives you the mental firepower to recuperate and come back full-speed.

What To Do:  Multiply your bodyweight (lbs.) x 16, so a 160-pound person would eat 2560 calories for one week. Then ramp your calories back up. You’ll feel refreshed, should be a little leaner, and ready to dominate another sprint.

6. Lift Heavy and Get a Pump

Everyone’s over-complicating building muscle and looking good naked. It doesn’t have to be this hard, especially the training component. If you want to keep it as simple as possible, consider enrolling in the Power Primer workout.
The Power Primer

Otherwise, make sure you’re doing the following.

Use Compound Movements: Want more results in less time? Emphasize big lifts. They’ve been around for a long time. And the reason is simple: They work best.

Lower body: squats (all forms), deadlifts, and lunges

Upper body (chest): bench press, dumbbell bench presses, dips

Upper body (shoulders): barbell shoulder presses, single arm dumbbell press, push press, seated dumbbell shoulder press

Upper body (back): barbell rows, cable rows, dumbbell rows, pull ups/chin ups, lat pull downs.

Use a variety of rep ranges: If you’re trying to build muscle, you need a variety of rep ranges to improve strength to get stronger and improve your ability to build muscle. This means you need to get strong so you can lift heavier weights for a higher number of reps, and add volume.

Lift Heavy: Train to get stronger. Your muscles require what’s called mechanical tension to grow. You’ll activate more muscle fibers, which helps you get stronger and fatigue those muscle fibers to grow faster. Get stronger on compound exercises with rep schemes like 5×5, 6×3, or 4×6.

Get a Pump: You know the crazy pump in your arms after biceps curls? This is the pump, an essential component to building muscle.

Pick an exercise and do 3-5 sets of 8-12 reps with 45-60 seconds of rest.  Lifting hard without full rest will give you the muscle building pump.

Create Muscular Damage: Remember the soreness after doing legs for the first time in months, or heck, years? This is muscular damage. This triggers your body to send nutrients to these areas so they come back bigger and stronger. Use 1-2 high-rep finishers like high-rep goblet squats or bodybuilding methods like drop sets to finish your workouts.

Lift weights 3-4 times per week, training the upper body and lower body twice each. This is what we do in the BOSS Group Coaching community. You don’t need to lift on the other days, but stay moving. Workouts take under an hour, which helps you build muscle and look better naked without living in the gym.

7. Do The Right Kind of Cardio

Skipping all cardio when you’re trying to build muscle is a great way to add fat and get out of shape. But any old cardio won’t do.

Building muscle without getting fat

Go for a walk each day. Take 15-20 minutes after dinner and go for a stroll. If your phone tracks steps, aim for 8,000 steps per day for overall health.

Take 10-15 minutes twice per week and focus and perform some form of high-intensity interval training (HIIT).

Also, try to …

8. Lose Unwanted Fat Before You Bulk

This is one of the best-kept secrets of building muscle while minimizing fat:

You need to get lean first.

Excess body fat works like an organ; pumping out nasty cytokines which increase chronic inflammation and cortisol.

Unfortunately, cortisol also works in opposition of testosterone, increasing fat and making it damn near impossible to build muscle.

Further, the more body fat you have the more likely you are to be insulin resistance. This means your body will have one hell of a time breaking food into usable energy for training and building lean muscle.

So here’s what you need to do. If you’re a man and can’t see a spec of abdominal definition, 15% or so, or a female above 21% body fat you need lose fat first.

Check what this looks like here: Estimate your percent body fat.

If you don’t? Sure, you can gain 11 pounds, but 7 of them will be fat, not muscle.

Take 8-10 weeks and diet down first. It could be the most powerful way to build muscle instead of fat.

The Final Word On Building Muscle Without Getting Fat

There’s a limit to how much muscle you can naturally build. Your bone structure, habits, and training experience will all play a role.

And as a natural, non-steroid using guy?

You can’t expect to be the size of pro bodybuilder. In fact, it looks like you can expect to gain about 30-50 pounds of muscle if you’re a guy and half of that as a female.

But above all else, your habits in the kitchen, in the gym, and your consistency with both are what determine your results.

The good news? You’re now in control. But you can do better by…


A good way to get started is Swiping your FREE Chiseled Muscle Cheatsheet. Click here to get it NOW.


Never Have a Bad Workout Again


Guest Post By Dave Bonollo

Here’s why workouts are like sex and how my Ladder of Workout Awesomeness  will ensure you never have a bad workout again.

How many times have you had bad sex? If you consider the alternative of not having sex, even bad sex is still pretty damn good.

Now let me ask you: how many times have you had a bad workout?

Odds are this number is considerably higher. I’d argue it’s more frustrating than not getting any. Don’t lie. You’ve considered quitting the gym after plateauing for a while.  I know I have.

Then I go on Instagram and I see someone crushing a PR. It’s almost like everyone in the world is crushing it every day.


What’s A Bad Gym Session?

Before prescribing the cure, let’s first diagnose the disease. What exactly is a bad gym session?

Did you miss a PR?

Was your energy nonexistent?

Were you sucking wind more than usual?

Each of these things can put a damper on a pretty sweet gym session. Put them together and you might as well pack it up and consider the day a waste.

The truth is you can’t kill it every day in the gym; some days are just going to suck.

If your #gainz have stalled, check out my Plateau Busting Cheat Sheet. <<<=== Downlo
ad Now

workoutAcceptance is the first step.  The next step is to define what a good workout is.

Hitting a PR? Lifting more than last time? Never-ending energy?

If these were the only criteria for a good workout, I’d only have two or three awesome workouts a month.  That wouldn’t have been enough to keep me working out hard for more than ten years.

An awesome workout and a bad workout, like everything else, are based on perception and perspective.

These days, I have only awesome workouts.  I don’t hit a PR every day, and that includes when I was recovering from back surgery hoisting those hefty 25’s.

I chose to look at my workouts like sex. Even a bad workout is better than no workout.

PR or Bust?

Using PRs is the obvious go-to for progress checking. It’s pretty badass when you push yourself further than you have ever gone before.

It’s also one of the hardest to achieve. It’s like trying to score an 80-yard touchdown every carry. You need to lay down some two-to-three-yard gains to set up that 80-yarder.

When you start working out you, racking up PR’s is easy. I mean, it’s easy since your previous PR was what? Zero? Don’t get me wrong. Focusing on PRs is a good way to stay motivated in the beginning, but it shouldn’t be the basis of an awesome workout once you have been lifting for awhile.


workoutIf you can hit a PR once or twice a month, then you’re trending in the right direction. 

And that doesn’t have to be a 1-rep PR. That could be a 5-rep PR or a 10-rep PR. Any progress is good progress.

Getting frustrated with your progress at the gym doesn’t do anyone any good.  

Reframe how you judge the awesomeness of your workout.

Perception is everything. If you have a crappy outlook, then everything will be crappy. 

If you look at your workouts in a different light…
…then workouts and sex belong in the same category of awesomeness.

As they should. They were for Arnold.

Here is how to reframe your perception.

The Ladder of Workout Awesomeness  Explained

If setting PR’s and lifting more than last time is your only criteria for a good workout, I wish you the best. You’re going to be one unhappy mofo.

It all comes down to measuring progress. Did you get better than last time? But there’s more to progress than PRs.

I introduce to you the Ladder of Workout Awesomeness (Cue the trumpets.)

The Ladder of Workout Awesomeness™  is:

Personal Record (PR): You’ve accomplished something you’ve never done, like a 405-pound deadlift.
Here’s a simple formula to ramp up to a new max.  

Weight: You increased the amount of weight lifted

Volume: You increased the number of reps.

Frequency: You worked out more often, such as moving from three workouts to four in a week.

Form: You stopped rounding your back on deadlifts. Score!

Did You Show Up? Consistency is the most important factor for transforming your physique.

The Ladder Of Workout Awesomeness Explained

This ladder works like every other ladder on the planet. You start at the bottom.

Did you show up? If you did, you had a good workout. This means you didn’t die last night. This is huge. Most people can’t muster enough motivation to get to the gym. But you did. Someone is looking for a gold star for the day.

Now I know you might be thinking that’s like giving everyone a ribbon for participating but keep in mind that most people don’t participate. They’re too busy thinking of excuses and rationalizing not going to the gym. You didn’t. That’s a huge win.


Form. You can never go wrong when focusing on form. It’s the most important thing keeping you out of the ER. Good form takes practice; lots and lots of practice. Even if you could do a power clean in your sleep, a little practice now and then will help you when you need it most. If you can progress your form, you’ll be doing your future self a huge service.

Frequency. After having good form, did you make it to the gym more this week than last week? Did you do two back workouts in one week? That’s progress. I bet you weren’t crushing two back workouts in a week a few months ago.

Volume. Are you doing 4 sets of 10 now? But isn’t that the weight you were doing 3 set of 10 last week? Adding an extra set or hammering out a few more reps than you did last week is all progress. Revel in it.

Weight. A numerical representation of progress that we showcase on social media. Adding more weight to the bar is tough to do. It doesn’t matter if it is 2 pounds or 50 pounds, progress is progress. Congrats bruh, you are in the upper echelon of awesome gym sessions.

PR. Let the euphoria of the PR wash over you as you post this on social media. Remember it’s not bragging if it’s true. You have reached the pinnacle of gym achievements. If you can lift more than you ever have in any lift, celebrate that shit.

The Takeaway

Excitement mounts as you go up the ladder. Personal records may get all the Instagram likes, but don’t forget about the factors that lead to your success.
First, you need to show up. Then, you may need to train more often, use more volume and add weight to the bar before going for personal records.

Once you ingrain these habits you’ll be well on your way to never having bad workouts again.

Read more about what to do once you get to the gym in my free Plateau Busting Cheat Sheet. <<<=== Download Now

About the Author

When not hating on the New England Patriots, Dave Bonollo is a fitness writer and Online Coach at He enjoys beer pong, his deadlifts heavy, and his shirts one size too small.


9 Ways To Torch Fat In 15 Minutes

Torch Fat

They say confession is good for the soul. So here goes: For years, I didn’t do much cardio/conditioning. (Call it what you like. I just knew I didn’t like it.)

Sure, I hoisted heavy deadlifts. But I figured the wrong cardio would make me scrawny and weak. Plus, I had the not-so-repressed memories of “extra conditioning” workouts doled out as punishment for slacking at football practice.

And most of all? I claimed: “I don’t have time.”

But here’s the dagger: I was “fake” in shape. While lifting itself is great, you can’t claim to be in-shape or athletic if you’re sucking wind walking from the car to the gym. Just as endurance athletes need well-planned strength training, the iron- inclined lifter needs a healthy dose of conditioning.

The best bet? Rather than slogging away on the treadmill, well-timed metabolic finishers.

Torch Fat

Metabolic finishers are a fancy name for short-duration, high-intensity conditioning exercises done at the end of your workout. The perfect middle ground to getting your conditioning done without hating your life or living in the gym.

This article:

  • Explains why incorporating metabolic finishers is the best use of your time to get back into shape, lose stubborn fat, and build a lean, athletic body.
  • Gives you 9 of my favorite metabolic finishers to accelerate fat loss in as few as 10 minutes, two times per week, I pinkie swear.

Bonus: Grab over a dozen more finishers in the checklist here.


The Real Reason Most of Us Skip Conditioning Workouts

You need conditioning and we all know it. Still, If I had to hedge my bets, “cardio” is the last factor you plan in your workouts.

And when you get busy at work or tired in the gym?

Cardio is the first thing you “skip.”

I’ve been there too. But here’s what you need to remember:

Your strength won’t tragically evaporate, leaving you weak and wimpy.

Conditioning won’t turn your precious muscle into pixie dust or transform you into a skinny-fat, sunken chest hard gainer.

If you do skip conditioning you’ll find …

(1) Your ability to recover from hard training stinks worse than a flaming pile of dog poop. Your work capacity is down, so it’s harder to recover from intense sets. As a result, your overall gym performance hits a plateau and you stop making progress.

(2) You’re out of shape and unhealthy. If you’re strong but find yourself gasping and out of breathe while or chasing your kids, it’s time to re-evaluate your workouts.

Torch Fat

(3) Your athleticism is withering away. It’s great to be strong, fast, powerful, and muscular. But if you want to be the total package then you’ll need conditioning to build and sustain your skills.

(4)  The last bit of belly fat hanging around your belly button? It’s still there and growing. Two to three metabolic finishers will accelerate your fat loss.

Now, I don’t mean to paint a lack of conditioning as the reason for feelings of impending doom. Rather it’s to highlight that it’s best to embrace conditioning as a tool to improve your performance in the gym. You’ll lose fat, improve your health, and have more energy.

Now, let’s get to it.

What are Metabolic Finishers?

Metabolic finishers are a fancy name for short-duration, high-intensity conditioning exercises done at the end of your workout.

Think of finishers like an all out, short duration sprint rather than yogging (more fun to say than jogging) for 20 minutes at the gym before calling it a day.

Metabolic finishers are total-body in nature, meaning you’ll be working large muscles during each exercise to maximize each finisher.  The more muscle mass you work, the greater the cardiovascular demands and number of calories burned during the exercise. In other words, focus on big movements like squats and sprints to help you hit the conditioning hard.

Metabolic Finishers Shred Fat

Metabolic finishers are my favorite method to supercharge fat loss for two reasons:

1. They’re time efficient, helping you lose more fat in less time.

Torch Fat

Due to the effects of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and exercise post oxygen consumption (EPOC), your body keeps your heart rate and metabolism elevated far after near-maximal bouts of exercise. This means although a finisher takes 5-10 minutes, it may keep your body humming and eviscerating stubborn fat for 24 hours after exercise. If you’re overextended, busy, or hate “cardio,” then metabolic finishers will help you burn more fat in less time.

2. They’ll create hormonal adaptations to help you lose fat.

Hmm, sounds like science, eek. Let’s break it down.

Hormonal adaptations is a fancy way of saying these conditioning exercises will trigger the release of powerful fat burning hormones. Since finishers force you to do more work in less time – a concept called training density – you’ll get the oh-so-wonderful burning, “my legs feel like lead” feeling from built-up muscular fatigue and metabolic stress.

Studies have shown incomplete rest, metabolic stress, and muscular fatigue stimulates the release of growth hormone (GH), IGF-1, testosterone, and improve insulin sensitivity. These are the most important hormones for losing fat, having more energy, and building a strong, aesthetic-looking body.

Metabolic Finishers Build Endurance

I think we’d both agree we feel best when we have plenty of energy and endurance. Amiright?

High-density training like the metabolic finishers improve your work capacity. This might not sound sexy at the onset, but consider the following:

Torch Fat

  • Better recovery between sets. You’ll more efficiently clear metabolites after weight lifting sets, allowing you to lift more weight for fewer reps, and continue doing so, longer. In other words…a greater work capacity improves your ability to train harder for gaining size and strength. Thus, even if your only motivation for training is getting as big as a house and as strong as an ox….you need metabolic finishers.
  • Sports specific endurance. Most sports require quick bursts of all-out intense action, like jumping for a basketball and sprinting down court. Periods of low (or no) intense movement follow. By using conditioning workouts you train your body to use the energy systems needed to improve at your sport whether you’re a weekend warrior or high-level athlete.
  • You’ll sleep better. Well, according to this article titled Exercise Effects on Sleep Physiology, high-intensity exercise reveals robust and consistent data. The meta-analyses summarizing chronic exercise effects reveal significantly shorter sleep onset latency, time awake after sleep onset, and significantly longer total sleep time.

Here’s where most people run into issues– their ability and drive to train exceed their recoverability. Because they lack the work capacity to recover, their training tolerance doesn’t allow them to handle heavier weights and more volume.

This is like a new lifter training for speed and power without having a base of strength.

It. Won’t. Work.

You need a general level of endurance to recover fast and handle greater workloads, even if your primary focus is building muscle or getting stronger.

Metabolic Finisher Exercises

Okay, let’s get down to the exercises. I’ve added a number of tools so no matter your gym situation, you’ll have options to lose fat, boost energy, and take your conditioning to the next level.

P.S. Make sure you grab the full list of finishers here.


Torch Fat

Let’s keep it simple. Sprinting gets you jacked and is a key skill in nearly any sport. But not every gym has turf and not every neighborhood has an open field. Which leads us to hill sprints and treadmill sprints.

Hill Sprints

Since most folks stop sprinting after they’ve stopped playing a sport, your chance of tweaking a hammy are pretty high. Hill sprints reduce your chance of injury while eviscerating fat and building incredible hamstrings and glutes. Since you’re running up a hill, you’ll have a shorter footfall, which reduces joint stress. Plus, the incline prevents you from over-striding and tweaking a hamstring.

Perform a 5-10 minute dynamic warm-up before jumping into hill sprints with some light running, lunges, squats, and high knees.

Set a timer for 10-20 minutes. Run up the hill, flex like Rocky at the top, and walk back down. Rinse and repeat until the timer is done. Don’t make it too complicated.

Treadmill Sprints

Treadmill sprints allow you to train in nearly every gym environment. I recommend putting your treadmill at a slight incline before doing one of the following programs:

Level One

Run two days per week on a treadmill or hill. After a warm-up and some speed drills, perform this drill for ten minutes.

Week 1: Sprint 10 seconds, rest 50

Week 2: Sprint 11 seconds, rest 49

Week 3: Sprint 12 seconds, rest 48

Week 4: Sprint 13 seconds, rest 47

Week 5: Sprint 14 seconds, rest 46

Week 6: Sprint 15 seconds, rest 45

Level Two

Week 1: Sprint 20 seconds, rest 40

Week 2: Sprint 22 seconds, rest 38

Week 3: Sprint 24 seconds, rest 36

Week 4: Sprint 26 seconds, rest 34

Week 5: Sprint 28 seconds, rest 32

Week 6: Sprint 30 seconds, rest 30

Remember, all these must end at the 10-minute mark. Increase your speed before jacking up the incline to preserve technique.

Jump Rope Conditioning

Torch Fat

The jump rope allows you to get creative as a conditioning tool. Because it’s low impact with low stress on the joints it’s a fantastic addition to Power Primer workouts as a metabolic finisher. The neural demands are light enough that it won’t overly fatigue the nervous system and hinder training results with big-bang exercises like deadlifts.

As a stand-alone conditioning implement Double-Unders and the Runnin’ Man are my two go-to conditioning drills with each being performed twice per week, with at least 48 hours between workouts.

Death by Double Under

Like it sounds—whip the jump rope two times in a row with one singular jump. Work up to sets of 10 and use an interchangeable rope like Crossrope. Rest 30-60 seconds and continue on for 10-15 minutes or until your lungs and calves explode, your choice. As your skills increase, increase the weight of the rope to continue making progress.

The Runnin’ Man

Run in place while skipping the rope. Not only will this improve your coordination, it’s a deceptively tough conditioning workout. Go for time and work up to 10-15 minutes of continuous “running.” The impact is far less than your traditional steady state cardio or plodding along on the treadmill.

The Rower

500 Meter Row Test

The row is the great equalizer. Unlike running or biking, few people use a rower regularly. So baseline of efficiency is low, making this a great standard for testing total body endurance and mental toughness.

Despite its simplicity, these tests will make your legs quiver, forearms burn, and lungs scream for mercy.

Indy 500

What to do: Hop on the rower and turn the resistance all the way up. Warm-up with one sprint to 100 meters, resting about two minutes. Perform one all-out set to 500 meters as fast as possible.

Elite: 1:35 or under

Pro: 1:48 or under

Get to work, dude: 2:00 or over

Take too much pre-workout? Rest three minutes and do two or three sets.

P.S. I’m sorry.

Row As You Go

What to do: Hop on the rower and put the resistance on max. Row for 60 seconds at a moderate pace, then rest for a minute. Once the rest minute is up, alternate 30-second sprints with 30 second rest.

Sets: 12

Resistance: 10 (or all the way up)

Work: 30-second sprint

Rest: 30 seconds complete rest

Duration: 12 Minutes. (13 with the warm-up.)

Sled Push-Pull Suicide

Load up a sled to the top with 25 lb plates and get to work. Set up five cones five yards apart, for 25 total yards.

You’ll push the sled forward five yards, drop your hips, and pull the sled back while staying low in a back-pedal.

Strip off a plate and jump right into the next set, going ten. You’ll repeat the process of stripping a plate every time you finish a leg.

What you get: The sled is an incredible tool for conditioning and adding training volume without destroying your recoverability. There is no eccentric stress on the sled, so you’re not limited by debilitating soreness despite a high workload.

This mental challenge of a test scorches your legs, lunges, and core. It’s a challenge any lifter.

The goal? Finish in 60-90 seconds. Rest five minutes and repeat… if you dare!

Bonus: 300 Meter Shuttle Repeats

“Gassers” are much beloved by hardass high school football coaches everywhere. The 300-meter shuttle is a classic football conditioning drill. This isn’t a speed test. These shuttles separate the men from the boys. The mentally weak and out of shape fail. The grinders succeed.

Most lifters are under-conditioned. Adding in old-fashioned shuttle runs is one of the best ways to eviscerate fat and build endurance.

The set-up: Set up markers approximately 50 yards apart. You’ll sprint back and forth for six total lengths (or three down and backs) for a total of 300 yards.

The Goal: Two 300-yard shuttle runs, with two minutes rest. Finish the first set in under 50 seconds and the second in under 55 seconds. If you don’t make the allotted time, do 100 punishment burpees.  I’m kidding. Step up your conditioning.

Here’s a five-week plan:

Add two 300-meter shuttles twice per week. Start with four minutes rest between them, decreasing the rest by thirty seconds each week. By the fifth week, you’ll be leaner, faster, and in better shape.

Week One: 2×300 meter shuttle, rest 4:00

Week Two: 2×300 meter shuttle, rest 3:30

Week Three: 2×300 meter shuttle, rest 3:00

Week Four: 2×300 meter shuttle, rest 2:30

Re-Test: Week Five: 2×300 meter shuttle, rest 2:00

Programming Finishers

Remember, the primary goal with weight training is building muscle and strength. One key tenant of why the Bach Performance clients are so successful is keeping the goal the goal. Train hard for strength and performance. Dial-up conditioning AFTER weight training, on a separate day, or 4-6 hours after training.

How Often Should You Do Finishers?

How often you do a finisher is dependent on your recoverability and current goals. For most, I’d recommend a finisher twice per week after your weight training workouts.

For the week,  3-4 weight lifting workouts and 2 hard metabolic conditioning workouts is a great place to start. Beware…you’ll have a temporary decrease in performance in the gym. One step back for 7-10 days while your body acclimates will lead to huge leaps forward in terms of how much fat you lose and how well your performance increases in the gym.

The Takeaway

You still need conditioning; especially if you want to lose fat, and even if you want to build muscle and strength.

And if you’re short on time, heavy on excuses, but need to get it done anyway?

Metabolic finishers are your best bet.

They’re the most time efficient and effective way to rapidly transform your body, improve work capacity, and take back your health. Before you head out, grab your Fat Blasting Finishers below. There are nearly a dozen options I didn’t mention in this article that only take 15 minutes or less.

Grab them Here: Fat Blasting Metabolic Finishers

The Last Damn Protein Article You’ll Ever Need to Read

The headline trickled across my newsfeed: High-Protein Diet Raises Cancer Risk As Much As Smoking.

Bang! That’s my jaw hitting the floor. Are you shitting me?  Are you actually serious with this clickbait headline?

Now, I get it. Nutrition is complicated. It’s no secret there are a million diets out there. But demonizing one macronutrient as a carcinogen on par with smoking is insane.

So now I’m riled up, heavily caffeinated, and ready to settle the score on protein once and for all.

Is protein an essential piece of a muscle-building, fat-burning diet?

Or, is it a demonic nutrient guaranteed to destroy your kidneys faster than a Conor McGregor punch?

Among the issues:

– How much protein you need to build muscle

– Whether you’ll lose fat faster by eating more protein

– Do you need to guzzle a shake right after training, or is that broscience?

If you’re confused about protein, you’re not alone.  Which brings us to…

Ted’s Protein Story And Why It Matters

Ted is a busy guy who just wants to retake control of his health and look good naked.  Three weeks into the training and nutrition plan I put together for him, everything was runnin’ smooth.

Ted dropped a few pounds of fat and texted: “I’m getting rid of this Dad-bod.”

Hell,  yeah. He was stoked.

Two days later I opened my inbox to a handful of frantic messages.

“Eric, I’m concerned about my diet. After a friend noticed the results I was getting, he started talking about my diet. I told him we increased my protein intake and he said protein gives you cancer. Is this true?”

Scary headlines and everyone suddenly becoming an infographic-generating nutrition expert on Instagram contribute to the confusion. Eating healthily and transforming your body is more complicated than ever.

But you can’t live life in a double-blind study with scientists nit-picking your diet. I’m going to draw on the latest science and my experience as a coach to hundreds of clients to offer the best possible advice.

First up….

What Is Protein?

Stick with me, this is some dry #sciencestuff. Still, it’s essential if you’d like to free yourself from the bullshit-spewing clowns who make nutrition so damn confusing.

Proteins are long chains of amino acids. These structures are the building blocks of nearly every structure in your body, from your nails and hair to your cells, veins, and of course, your biceps.


There are complete proteins, those which have all 20 amino acids,  like meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk, cheese, yogurt, quinoa, and soy.

There are incomplete proteins which are missing a handful of amino acids. This is problematic as there are nine essential amino acids that are not processed by your body. If you don’t get them, you’ll have problems with tissue repair and (gulp) muscle loss. Still, you can create complete proteins by combining incomplete protein with certain plant foods combinations like beans and rice.

Protein is one of the three macronutrients (fat and carbs are the others) which make up the calorie-containing foods we eat.

And what happens when your diet is devoid of protein, as in cases of malnutrition?

Your body will break down muscle tissue into amino acids to support basic bodily functions to keep you alive.

To paraphrase my friends  at Precision Nutrition:

All your enzymes and cell transporters… all your blood transporters…. all your cells’ scaffolding and structures…. 100 percent of your hair and fingernails… much of your muscle, bone, and internal organs… and many hormones…

… are made of mostly protein. Protein enables most bodily functions.

Put simply, you are basically a pile of protein.

How Much Protein You Need to Survive

The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for protein intake is 46 grams daily for women and 56 grams for men.

But here’s the catch.

RDA’s are created to prevent malnutrition so your body doesn’t break itself down…not improve your performance, help you build muscle, and be a strong, jacked, badasses. I’d wager you’re hoping to thrive, not merely survive, right? Read on.


How Much Protein You Need to Build Muscle

proteinIf your primary concern is building muscle, losing fat, and looking great then “preventing malnutrition” is far from ideal. It’s clear you need more protein than the commonly prescribed RDA’s if you want to optimize body composition.

But it’s less clear how much protein you actually need.

The most common recommendation is to aim for 1g of protein for 1 lb of bodyweight every day. Thus, a 180 lb male should have roughly 180g of protein to maximize body composition.

And for most, this is a fine recommendation because it’s simple, straight-forward, and easy to calculate without a calculus degree.

But is this more than you need?

More and more the answer appears to be yes.

This study by Hoffman et al. (2006) found no differences in body composition, strength or resting hormonal concentrations in strength athletes consuming either 0.77g/lb or >0.91g/lb over a 3 month period.

It appears  .82/g/lb of bodyweight is the upper limit of protein needed to derive maximum protein synthesis, according to this 2011 study by Phillips and Van Loon.

So, why the recommendation of 1g/lb/ of bodyweight?

First, it’s easier to remember. And if you’re going to overeat one macro it’s better to overeat protein than carbs or fat.

Second, research can be a finicky little bitch. Protein peddlers who benefit greatly from the sales of protein pixie dust (kudos to Bryan Krahn for the term) fund private research companies who unsurprisingly conclude “more is better” when it comes to protein consumption. Protein candy bars pack with fat and sugar? Sure! It’s good for you. Because protein.

So, what’s the difference between 1g and .82g?

Using a 180lb jacked bro as an example, 180x.82= 147 g of protein per day. Most protein scoops are 25-30 g per serving. And 147+30? 177g, or damn near 1g of protein per 1/b of bodyweight. Not to play conspiracy theorist, but the slight difference makes you wonder.

My Take

Consuming .82 g of protein per 1 lb of bodyweight is probably enough.

But if  1g of protein per 1 lb of bodyweight is working for you, it’s fine to stick with it.


If fat loss is your primary goal, getting more protein than the average person has three huge benefits:

It prevents muscle wasting. Muscle is the most metabolically active tissue. If you’re in a calorie deficit while combining low protein your metabolism can plummet, stopping weight loss in its tracks. Combining a high-protein diet with resistance training is the perfect recipe to stave off muscle loss during a diet. Plus, when you retain muscle while carving away fat you’ll finally show off muscle definition, your #shredz, or (gulp) “tone.”

Protein keeps you full. When calories are low and you want to prevent yourself from giving in and crushing three containers of Ben and Jerry’s, protein is your best friend.

Protein burns more calories during the digestion process, as much as 30% more than carbs or fats. If you’ve ever had the meat sweats, this is why: the thermic effect of food. This means if you have 100 calories of fat (25g of protein, like 1 scoop), then your body will burn 30 calories of this amount by breaking protein into usable amino acids.


✅EAT More Protein To Lose Fat✅ . Eating a high protein diet during a fat loss diet will… Help you look better naked. 🤓Yep, seriously. But more specially a high protein diet will… 💥Preserve lean muscle mass. In turn, this supports maintaining a healthy metabolism to prevent 😩agonizing dieting plateaus AND helps you maintain the lean muscle you already have. This helps you show more definition of what mainstream media calls "tone." . 💥High protein foods are generally more satisfying and satiating. When you're dieting and craving 🍦🍫🍕… a high protein snack is a life saver to fill you back up and prevent binge-eating. As a rule of thumb, aim for a protein dense food with each meal whether it's 🥚at breakfast, 🍗 at lunch, 🐮🦄 or 🐠at dinner. 🍼(shakes) Are also a good bet in a time crunch. . —— VEGANS DON'T START w/the protein is bad shit. Thanks 😊—— . 💥While a lesser effect, the thermic effect of protein can play a role in fat loss in beginners. Some studies pointing as far back as 1902 and 1930 (Lusk) indicate you could burn as much as 30% of the calories from protein in digestion as your body breaks protein into amino acids. Jacking your protein up while simultaneously decreasing calories can lead to big changes in the short term… until your body Down- regulate energy expenditure during fat loss to preserve energy. 💥The biggest benefit of them all? High protein diets make it easier to feel full and eat fewer calories (✅the real key for fat loss✅) and have consistently been shown to be incredibly effective for fat loss. So… How much protein? 1 gram per 1 pound of bodyweight is the perfect amount for fat loss. So, is you're 180 pounds, that's 180g. Track your nutrition OR simply use your palm as a guestimation tool, using each "palm" as 25-35g each. Questions? Ask'em. Know someone in need of #protein gains? Pay it forward and tag'em. . . #iifym #paleo #dadbod #nutrition #flexibledieting #southbeachdiet #protein #lowcarb #atkins #fatloss #repost #repostapp #fatlossblog #dadbod #weightloss #sixpacksecrets #protein #onnit #Irma's making me bored so I created an infographic.

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In other words, protein retains the muscle you have, keeping your metabolism from dropping and helping you look better once you’re leaner.

Protein keeps you full, helping you stay with your diet. To sweeten the pot, the meat sweats from crushing a lot of protein results in a net consumption of roughly 70% of calories due to the thermic effect of protein breakdown.

So, what does the science say about losing weight and protein?

Longland et al ran a study in 2016 comparing diets of 2.4 g protein/kg of body weight (1g/lb) to a diet containing 1.2 g protein/kg of body weight (.54g/lb).

Those smart dudes in lab coats concluded high protein diets, when combined with resistance training, lead to an increase in lean muscle mass and a decrease in fat mass. In other words, lifting and eating more protein helps you lose fat and build muscle.

My Take

Again, calories are king.

I’ve found the greater the caloric deficit (the tougher the diet), the greater the need for more protein.

Eating a high protein diet is generally more satiating, meaning you’ll feel full and satisfied during a fat loss diet. If eating a higher protein diet means you’ll eat fewer refined sugars or calorie-dense fats.  You’ll stay in a caloric deficit, then it’s a great idea to eat more protein.

Now, About Those Scary “Protein is Bad For You” Headlines

Here’s where things get interesting. We’ve all seen the scary headlines lie, “bacon is worse for you than smoking” or steak gives you cancer.

Terrifying headlines. That’s why they gained traction.

But are they full of shit?

I’ll let you decide, but I’ll lead with this 2016 study by Phillips et al which concluded:

“Substantial evidence supports the increased consumption of high-quality protein to achieve optimal health outcomes.

A growing body of research indicates that protein intakes well above the current Recommended Dietary Allowance help to promote healthy aging, appetite regulation, weight management, and goals aligned with athletic performance. Higher protein intakes may help prevent age-related sarcopenia, the loss of muscle mass, and strength that predisposes older adults to frailty, disability, and loss of autonomy.

Despite persistent beliefs to the contrary, we can find no evidence-based link between higher protein diets and renal disease or adverse bone health. “


If you want to optimize health and look better naked, eat more protein than the meager RDA’s given.

But really, does protein give you cancer?

This idea arose from the work of Dr. T  Colin Campbell, author of the China study and research including work by  Cell Metabolism indicating a high protein diet in midlife (50 to 65) is linked to premature death.

So, in the best interest of sensationalism and gathering pageviews, bacon=cancer.

They noted higher protein amounts midlife increased cancer risk 4x, yet was completely erased by consuming plant protein instead.  But is this the case?

Again, there are multiple variables at play. You can check out the study for yourself, dig into this excerpt from’s analysis of the study (read it here):

The study found:

….“A positive correlation between moderate and high protein intakes and diabetes-related mortality, relative to the lowest intake. This persisted, albeit to a lesser degree, when looking at people over the age of 65.

No relation between higher protein intake with all-cause mortality, cancer-related mortality, or cardiovascular mortality overall. A small increase in risk was seen when looking only at people between the ages of 50-65. This risk was reversed for people above the age of 65, where dietary protein had a protective effect against all forms of mortality (excluding diabetes-related).”

What’s the link researchers are attempting to make?

Stick with me on this one. I’ll make sense of all the jargon.

Protein increases the growth hormone 1GF-1, which increases the growth of all cells…from the ones in your biceps to the cancerous ones roaming all of our bodies.  So the belief is more IGF-1 equals more cancer.

But here’s the catch: lower levels of IGF-1, which occur with aging, are one of the reasons people lose muscle and become frail.

It’s been well noted that a loss of muscle mass and frailty lead to a loss of independence, an increase in falls and, as you guessed, earlier death.

While completely eliminating protein may reduce cancer risk and extend life, but it sure doesn’t appear to improve the quality of life.

My Take
By reducing your intake of animal protein you may limit your chance of certain cancers. But it’s likely you’ll also lose functional capacity, via muscle loss, which in and of itself limits the quality and duration of life. There seems to be a tradeoff of cancer prevention and quality of life.

At the end of the day, over consuming anything leads to imbalances in the body. And in this case, eliminating animal protein for the love of IGF-1 can lead to other dietary imbalances equally likely to cause ill health and yes…death.

What About Organ Damage?

There’s a belief too much protein is bad for your kidneys. This stems from research in 1983 when researchers found protein intake increased glomerular filtration rate (GFR), or the amount of blood your kidneys have filtered per minute. Thus, greater GFR means more stress on your kidneys and voila, harm.


Still, an increase in GFR doesn’t necessarily mean your kidneys are being harmed, especially if you’re healthy. Per this study and the previously mentioned study Phillips et al study in 2016, it was found that a high protein diet doesn’t impact kidney function in individuals with healthy kidneys. In fact, the Institute of Medicine concluded, “the protein content of the diet is not responsible for the progressive decline in kidney function with age” (Phillips et al., 2016).

So, what’s the word, big bird?

If you have any organ damage, kidney or otherwise, then talk with your doctor and a nutritionist about the best course of action. I consulted with my obesity doctor main man Spencer Nadolsky for you. He was kind enough to provide this graphic:


If your doctor lifts, he or she will know these things. – Protein has gotten a bad reputation. – 1. In healthy individuals, high protein diets have never been show to harm your kidneys. In fact, at very high levels done in Jose Antonio's lab, they showed no harm over a year of a very high protein diet. There are some big reviews recently showing the same. I would discuss with your doctor if you do have kidney disease because you'll want to adjust. – People always ask if they can handle more than 30 grams of protein in each feeding. This was started due to protein synthesis maxing out around that level but you also have to look into protein breakdown. Higher levels of protein in a meal my lower protein breakdown and also be used for other things in the body. – The last thing I hear often is how protein is bad for your bones. This is BS … ESPECIALLY if you combine it with resistance training. Eat it up and stay hydrated and lift weights. References #protein #weightlosstips #weightlosstransformation #fitness #fitfam #proteins

A post shared by Spencer Nadolsky (@drnadolsky) on


My Take:

Claims of organ damage from protein appear overblown. If you have concerns or a pre-existing condition, you should consult with a doctor and a nutritionist. I am neither, but don’t see an issue for healthy people. If you’re healthy, stick to the recommended .82g/lb or 1/g/lb of protein per your body weight and you’ll be fine.

What About Protein Supplements?

Pre- versus post-exercise protein intake has similar effects on how much muscle and strength you’ll gain.

In this study by Brad Schoenfeld et al analyzed pre- versus post-exercise protein intake and concluded:

“These findings refute the contention of a narrow post-exercise anabolic window to maximize the muscular response and instead lends support to the theory that the interval for protein intake may be as wide as several hours or perhaps more after a training bout depending on when the pre-workout meal was consumed.”

In other words, protein timing doesn’t matter nearly as much as the total amount consumed. There’s no need to sprint shaker-in-hand to fill up your shaker bottle. Protein timing doesn’t make a huge difference.

And do you actually need fancy protein supplements?

This study looked at whether protein supplementation leads to more gains in size and strength.

In short, yes….but not if you have more than 1.6g/kg of protein. This is in line with the .82g/lb recommendation mentioned earlier.

Basically, if you’re not getting enough protein, then a shake will help you make faster gains in the gym.

But if you’re already getting .82g/lb/protein, then extra protein won’t lead to more gains in size and strength.

So NO. You don’t need a shake. Go eat a steak instead.

The Grand Finale on Protein

The fitness industry and mainstream media needlessly complicate two simple questions:

(1) Is protein healthy?

(2) if so, how much do you need?

The protein research is not clear-cut.  There’s a study to support or cast doubt on most contentions. Anyone who writes about the topic (including me) risks accusations of selective citation.

But here’s the bottom line from where I stand as a coach who simply wants to help you live well and look good naked:

Fitness comes down to science — plus its real-world application within the lives of everyday people like you.

My take? Don’t consider protein in isolation. It’s one factor among many. You also need to consider diet, fitness, and lifestyle options to arrive at a rational decision that works for you.

Make sure you’re eating more veggies, sleeping well, and eating mostly whole foods to begin with. Mix in plant proteins like hemp protein occasionally with your steak and chicken.

And if you want to look good naked?

Then get your protein.

To build muscle aim for .82g/lb/body weight. More is fine if it helps you get the calories needed, but protein itself doesn’t mean more gains.

To lose fat, .82g/lb of bodyweight or 1g/lb is fine. Doing so will preserve lean muscle, help you control hunger, and burn a few more calories.


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Get Your Rocks Off With These Studies and Sources

Will a High-Protein Diet Harm Your Health? The real story on the risks/rewards of eating more protein. (2016, August 30). Retrieved August 24, 2017, from

Patel, E. K. (2014, March 06). High-Protein Diets Linked to Cancer: Should You Be Concerned? Retrieved August 24, 2017, from

Schoenfeld, B. J., Aragon, A., Wilborn, C., Urbina, S. L., Hayward, S. E., & Krieger, J. (2017). Pre- versus post-exercise protein intake has similar effects on muscular adaptations. PeerJ, 5. doi:10.7717/peerj.2825

Schoenfeld, B., Aragon, A., & Krieger, J. W. (2013). The effect of protein timing on muscle strength and hypertrophy: a meta-analysis. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 10(1), 53. doi:10.1186/1550-2783-10-53

Tang JE, Moore DR, Kujbida GW, Tarnopolsky MA, Phillips SM. Ingestion of whey hydrolysate, casein, or soy protein isolate: effects on mixed muscle protein synthesis at rest and following resistance exercise in young men. J App Physiol (Bethesda, Md: 1985). 2009;107:987–92.

Lemon PW. Beyond the zone: protein needs of active individuals. J Am Coll Nutr. 2000;19(5 Suppl):513S–21S.

Hartman JW, Tang JE, Wilkinson SB, Tarnopolsky MA, Lawrence RL, Fullerton AV, et al. Consumption of fat-free fluid milk after resistance exercise promotes greater lean mass accretion than does consumption of soy or carbohydrate in young, novice, male weightlifters. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007;86(2):373–81.

Campbell WW, Barton ML Jr, Cyr-Campbell D, Davey SL, Beard JL, Parise G, et al. Effects of an omnivorous diet compared with a lactoovovegetarian diet on resistance-training-induced changes in body composition and skeletal muscle in older men. Am J Clin Nutr. 1999;70:1032–9.

Hoffman JR, Ratamess NA, Kang J, Falvo MJ, Faigenbaum AD. Effect of protein intake on strength, body composition and endocrine changes in strength/power athletes. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2006;3:12–18. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-3-2-12. [PMC free article] [PubMed] [Cross Ref]

Phillips, S. M., Chevalier, S., & Leidy, H. J. (2016). Protein “requirements” beyond the RDA: Implications for optimizing health 1. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, 41(999), 1-8.

Sports Sci. 2011;29 Suppl 1:S29-38 (2011). Retrieved August 9, 2017,Dietary protein for athletes: From requirements to optimum adaptation.

Int. J Sport Nutr Metab.,10(1), 28-38. (2000). Retrieved August 9, 2017, from Do regular high protein diets have potential health risks on kidney function in athletes?

Kim HH1, Kim YJ1, Lee SY2, Jeong DW3, Lee JG1, Yi YH1, Cho YH4, Choi EJ4, Kim HJ5, “Interactive effects of an isocaloric high-protein diet and resistance exercise on body composition, ghrelin, and metabolic and hormonal parameters in untrained young men: A randomized clinical trial.” J Diabetes Investig. 2014 Mar 23;5(2):242-7.

Poortmans, J., & Dellalieux, O. (2000). Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. Do regular high protein diets have potential health risks on kidney function in athletes,10(1), 28-38. Retrieved August 19, 2017, from

Rantanen, T., Masaki, K., He, W., Ross, G. W., Wilcox, B., & White, L. (2012). Midlife Muscle and Human Longevity up to age 100 years: a 44-year prospective study among a decedent cohort. American Aging Association, June(3), 563-570. doi:10.1007/s11357-011-9256-y

Five Ways To Stay in Shape At Age 40+

5 Ways To Stay In Shape At Age 40+

If you’re over 40, can you live up to the saying: “You’re not getting older, you’re getting better!”

Can you stay in shape despite going toe to toe with an insane schedule and the aging process?

Can you avoid the pain of achy joints and the disappointment of losing muscle strength?

5 Ways To Stay In Shape At Age 40+, Stay in shape

Consider the story I posted on Facebook a few weeks ago about Craig, project manager at an oil company who trains at my gym. Craig gets to the gym at 6:00 am damn near daily, but there’s a problem.

He does the same exercises and uses the same weight every time. There is no rhyme and no reason. And he looks the same…day after day, week after week, even year after year.

He’s annoyed by his lack of progress. He’s using the same workout routine he used when he was 25.  But now his joints constantly ache. He hasn’t gotten any stronger. He doesn’t have more energy. His arms haven’t grown bigger. And most of all, he’s pissed he can’t lose his gut, pointing to that annoying lower belly fat.

The reason?

If you don’t push your body beyond what it’s currently doing, it won’t change.

Further, what worked early on in your fitness journey won’t always help you stay in shape and may actually set you back.

When I posted the story on Facebook, controversy erupted, along with some misinterpretation. (Oh, the joys of social media.) But amidst the trolling, a great question was asked.

How does “progress” change when you get older?

Whether you have decades of experience or are walking into the gym for the first time, here are specific ways you can train smart and make progress well past the age of 40.


P.S. Before You Head Here, I’ve Put together a Free Cheat-Sheet on How to Build Pain-Free Size and Strength.

Determine Your Goal

What is progress to you? Different goals require different plans of action and levels of determination. Consider the following.

You Want to Gain Muscle or Minimize the Loss of Lean Muscle

Maintaining lean muscle mass and strength is progress in and of itself. This study suggests untrained people will start losing strength and muscle at age 30. Yikes.

If you’re in your 30’s and not exercising, now is the time to start.  You can delay the bad stuff. Those who already train, like my client Tim, can take their fitness step further stay jacked.

Here’s a picture of Tim and me training nearly six years ago. Today? Well, he still has bigger biceps than I do. Damn it.

training over 40, Stay in shape

The benefits of gaining lean muscle:

  • The more lean muscle you have, the more muscle glycogen your muscles will store. Besides keeping your muscles looking full, increasing glycogen storage in your muscles creates a “dietary buffer” that allows for more flexible food choices. Hello, steak and potatoes.
  • Lean muscle mass improves insulin sensitivity. This means you’ll break down the food you eat more efficiently to fuel muscle growth and provide energy and store less fat. You’ll also decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
  • It helps you look pretty fucking awesome. You don’t want to develop the dreaded grandpa butt, right? Muscle will keep you strong, athletic, and capable of handling yourself in the gym and out in the world.
  • Muscle is metabolically “expensive,” meaning it takes more energy to maintain lean muscle mass than fat mass. This supports a healthy metabolism and makes it easier to stay lean.
  • When you lose body fat, muscle provides the “tone” shape, and/or definition you crave. Dieting only takes you so far. You need a base of lean muscle to get the look you’re after.

What About Getting Stronger?

Getting strong is a great way to stave off muscle loss and improve everyday function and energy. Regardless of your age, the rules of progressive overload always apply. To build muscle and strength in the gym you’ll need to do more than your body is accustomed too.

But don’t limit your options to heavier weights or more reps. Maintaining your strength but improving range of motion, technique, or using a slower tempo is overload, after all.

Here’s why maintaining or even improving your strength is so important:

  • Strength makes everything else easier, meaning you’ll have more functional capacity to do everyday activities.
  • Strength increases muscle fiber recruitment. Building (or even maintaining) strength helps you maintain muscle fiber function, particularly type 2 muscle fibers. This helps you maintain athleticism. On the other side, type 2 muscle fibers, the fast twitch ones, can help prevent falls as you reach the twilight years.
  • Strength training can reduce bone loss (osteoporosis) and muscle loss, atrophy. In both cases, you’ll gain the strength and structure to perform regular activities with ease.

It’s clear lean muscle and strength play an important role in helping you maintain a high quality of life as you age. But here’s the deal: A 55-year-old lifter probably can’t do the same stuff as the 25-year-old hot shot at the gym.

How Does Making Progress Change?

If you’re new to training. You’ll be able to build lean muscle and strength by weight training 2-3x per week. You’ll make gains right away by improving your central nervous system (CNS) function as your body learns to activate more muscle fibers and improve coordination between muscles and movements. We call this neural adaptation. Further along down the road, eating a diet to support building lean muscle will help. Don’t expect to build tons of muscle if you’re older. But remember: even a slight increase or maintenance over time is extremely beneficial.

If you’re an experienced lifter. Yes, you can still make gains. But chances are your body won’t take kindly to chasing strength records as your only means of making progress. Look for other methods to create progressive overload.

  • Add pauses during your reps. This builds strength in common weak points and increases time under tension. Together, this can drive gains in strength and muscle.
  • Increase your range of motion. More range of motion will hit a greater number of muscle fibers. Make sure your form is tip-top.
  • Decrease rest periods to increase the cardiovascular and metabolic demand of your training. Always good to lose the spare tire, right?
  • Give timed sets a whirl. Your body doesn’t know reps or weight, it knows tension and time. Battle the clock, like performing a set of goblet squats for 45 seconds, instead of chasing rep or resistance based- records.

Putting It All Together

Lift weights two or three times per week to get stronger. Keep your focus on the bread and butter lifts of all good programs: Squats, hinges, rows, presses, lunges, and carries. Don’t be obsessed with setting a PR or stick to barbells as your only training tool. Use whatever tools allow for pain-free training, bump the reps up a little bit, and get after it. Done right, you’ll improve muscle fiber recruitment and stave off sarcopenia, the dreaded “

Done right, you’ll improve muscle fiber recruitment and stave off sarcopenia, the dreaded “age-related muscle loss” that drains your performance, physique, and strength.

Add movements like skipping, light rope-jumping, cariocas, and other athletic-based movements to improve your balance, coordination, and athleticism. Learning (or relearning) new skills is great for both mind and body.

Challenging your body keeps neural pathways fresh for better physical and cognitive function. As a bonus, many of my clients have said this is a fun change of pace.

Five Tips for Training Smarter

1. There are NO absolutes.

No, you don’t need to do a barbell back squat. Or a deadlift. Or (for the love of god) Bosu ball jump squats. In the gym, there are no absolutes. Don’t fall prey to the dogmatic folks who say, “you need to do this” or nothing works.

Here are a few common sense rules to keep you in the right direction.

(1) If something hurts, don’t do it.

(2) Move your body in multiple ways. Push, pull, squat, hinge, and carry stuff.

(3) Don’t fall in love with one tool. Use your bodyweight, dumbbells, kettlebells, or whatever you have around you. See what forces you to work hard without breaking you down.

2.  Warm Up Every Day

Most people spend their days hunched over computers and phones. Over time, that takes its toll. The bad posture gets hardwired into your system and becomes the new “natural.”

Take time each day to move in new ways. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but stay active.

Use the mobility drills and activation outlined here to increase your mobility, reduce pain, and improve posture.

This is the exact warm-up my clients follow day in and day out.


3. Reduce Axial Loading

Axial loading, known as loading from the top-down in the lifting world, is done via exercises like back squats, cleans, and military presses. In small doses, axial loaded exercises are great. They’re the big compound movements. They improve bone density, total body strength, muscle mass, and are important for building a strong, athletic body.

But you must do them sparingly. The older you become, the less tolerant you’ll be too heavy and explosive exercises. Your spine won’t tolerate heavy compressive load from heavy weights or shear stress.

These exercises aren’t bad. They’re only problematic when they’re poorly planned, don’t allow enough recovery, and irritate chronic injuries like a twinge knee or achy back.

If you’re going to do squats, presses, and deadlifts, cool. They’re great exercises. But pay close attention to how your body recovers.

4. Make Heavy Days Lighter and Less Frequent

The biggest difference between now and ten years from now will be how often you’re able to lift heavy.

While heavy one-five rep sets are great for building strength, more experienced lifters will have a much harder time recovering from heavier weights. Instead of always blitzing the 1-5 rep range, bump strength work to 4-8 reps, control the eccentric (way down) and accelerate every rep on the way up.

If my clients want to push strength numbers in these lifts, We keep “heavy” sets in the 4-8 rep range rather than 1-5 rep sets. Further, we ramp up to heavy 5-8 rep maxes every 4-6 weeks, not weekly.

Feel free to lift heavy regardless of your age, but pay close attention to how your body tolerates the stress. Consider a deloading from axial loaded exercises like squats and deadlifts every 8-10 weeks to give your body a break.

Once you have a significant base of strength, you’ll preserve most of your strength and might even build more muscle in this rep range, all while preserving your joints for the long haul.

5. Find the Routine You Will Do, No Matter The Circumstances

Training four or five times per week with strength work, mobility, and conditioning is great. But sometimes it’s impossible to do everything when you have work obligations, kids, school, and dozens of commitments.

Instead of skipping the gym when life gets crazy, understand what you’re capable of doing consistently and schedule training like a non-negotiable meeting. If you skip make the gym, perform this short routine every morning when you get up.

Set a timer for ten minutes and do this:

– Push Up x10
– Squat x10
– Inchworm x5

Groiner with T-Rotation x1/side

– Side lunge x5/side

This takes just ten minutes each day. That’s it.

Remember, half the battle is getting there. Sometimes it’s okay to maintain. When the chance arises, increase your focus and intensity.

In the greater scheme of fitness, an imperfect fitness routine performed consistently will win out over the “perfect” program done sporadically.

Go Forth and Stay in Shape, And Live Well

Growing older is part of life. The pursuit of a healthy, strong, and energetic body is about pushing past your comfort zones and getting a little bit better over time.

But there are many ways to accomplish your goals.

Don’t fall for the trap that you “must do” any one thing. The only absolute in training is there are none.

Instead, find what you enjoy and do it consistently.

Even more important, find out what agrees with your body and keep doing it. If exercises are making you hate the gym or causing old pains to creep back in, take them out and find the cause.

The real goal of the gym is to challenge yourself and take action to conquer what was previously deemed unconquerable.

The payoff is a happier, healthier and longer life. And big biceps. 😉


P.S. Before You Leave… I have a Gift for you.  I’ve Put together a Free Cheat-Sheet on How to Build Pain-Free Size and Strength.

Physique Training For Athletes: Look, Feel, and Perform Superhuman

Explosive Strength

Look, Feel, and Perform Like an Athlete

Physique training for athletes? WTF? Is that a joke?

Training for physique and improving athletic performance are often seen as opposite goals. Which brings us to a common cliché: “opposites attract.” And like most clichés, this one contains a large measure of truth. But does it apply to training for physique (lookin’ better naked) and improving performance?

More importantly, can you harness the power of opposites to your benefit and have it all? That would include an athletic body and that looks like it’s a few weeks of dieting away from being on a magazine cover.

Want to Look better naked and perform like an athlete? I’ll show you how in our FREE course Seven Days to Superhuman. Click here to Join the FREE Course.

The Physique-Performance Dilemma

At one end of the spectrum lies physique. That would be physique-driven training aimed at maximizing lean muscle gains while staying more shredded than a julienne salad. (Yes, that was a Tropic Thunder reference.)

At the other end of the spectrum lies performance. That’s training focused on optimizing movement efficiency, strength, and speed to improve sports performance.

Can You Improve Performance AND Look Better Naked?

In a word, yes.

But it requires specific planning.

To be the best in anything, you need to eventually specialize in it.

This is why:

  • Tom Brady doesn’t strut onto the Olympia stage in a pair of nut-huggin’ briefs.
  • Rich Froning isn’t huckin’ touchdown passes all over the field.
  • Phil Health doesn’t crush cleans and kipping pull-ups at The Crossfit games.

World class performance requires a narrow focus and specialization.

But for you, me…and 99.9% of the people meandering around the gym? We’re pretty damn good, but we’re not world class. If you’re willing to make reasonable compromises in both physique and performance you can lose fat, build muscle, and improve your athleticism at once.

Sound too good to be true?

It’s not. You can drive performance gains while simultaneously building muscle and losing fat.

But it takes time. You’ll need an expert plan, patience, and consistency. Which brings us to…

What Happened At the Coffee Shop

The other day I grabbed a coffee (well, a red-eye with an extra shot of espresso) with a prospective client, Ryan, at a basic coffee shop near the gym. Ryan is a 29-year-old former college athlete sick of watching his gut grow bigger and clothes grow tighter (in a bad way.) His athleticism is vanishing and he isn’t happy with how he looks.

As we chatted, he made it crystal clear what he wanted: everything.

He didn’t want to train like an athlete anymore. His shoulder aches and his back twinges. Still, he wants to stay athletic, but he’s really more concerned how he looks and regaining the “I can accomplish anything confidence” he had in his early 20’s.

Translation: He wants to be confident and get laid more without looking like a scrub when he’s playing pick-up basketball. No harm in that!

Here’s my step-by-step process to creating the ultimate plan for Ryan. If you’re looking to boost athleticism and look a bit better naked, this sample template can serve as a guideline for your next training plan.

The Warm-Up (8-12 minutes total)

The typical gym-goer spends their day crunched up in a desk, car, or keeled over their phone. They’re left with chronically agitated body positions like locked-up hips, internally rotated shoulders, stiff backs, and dormant glutes that leave them with pain and quasi-modo-esque posture. Sexy. The best remedy is a specialized warm-up to attack stubborn tight spots, activate weak and dormant muscle groups, and wake your body up for intense training.

General warm-up

This is a three to five-minute spurt of general activity followed by five to seven minutes of dynamic activation drills. I’m not too specific here–get up, move, and warm your body up with a rower, jump-rope, or bike. Alternatively, bodyweight circuits work well.

Sample Bodyweight Circuit
Bodyweight Squat
Inverted Row
Reverse lunge
2×8 for all movements and minimal rest.

Activation and Mobilization
Emphasize improving movement through the hips, trunk, and shoulders. Moving from simple to complex drills. Hold each position for one or two seconds at the end range of motion.

Do these drills daily, as mentioned in my Warm Up Every Day article. You’ll find thorough explanations of each exercise there.

Quadruped Fire Hydrant 1×6


Quadruped Hip extension 1×6

Sumo-Squat to stand 1×6

Groiner with t-rotation 1×3/side


Inchworm 1×6

Overhead extension+ floor slide 1×6


I tend to keep all prehab/rehab based movements during the warm-up. If we need to dig into the nitty-gritty of improving T-spine or hip mobility, we’ll do it here then move on.

Workout Specific Warm-Up+ Power Development:
3-10 Minutes

Moving past the general warm-up, we look directly at the training goal for the day. Is it strength or power? Hypertrophy or fat loss?

I used to jump directly into a heavy lift after the warm-up, but I’ve found people have fewer injuries and better performance with a little more work.

Spending additional time grooving movement patterns is a great way to add pain-free volume for muscle growth. It also fires up your nervous system for better strength, power, and athleticism.

Lower Body Focus, Squat Example
1a. 45 degree back extension 3×10 Rest 0-30 seconds
1b. Pick one of the following: squat jump, box jump, medicine ball back toss. 3×5, rest 60-90 seconds

Why: This fires up your glutes, lower back, and prepares your posterior chain for all the gains. Explosive exercise to improve muscle fiber recruitment and athleticism.

Lower Body Hinge Pattern
1a. ½ kneeling Pallof press 3×8 rest 30 seconds
1b. Broad jump, box jump, or medicine ball back toss 3×3, rest 60-90 seconds

Why: Provide additional activation for deep stabilizers before heavy or explosive loading. Then, groove explosive movement pattern similar to the lift.

Upper Body
1a. Band dislocations 3×8 rest 0 seconds
1b. Band pull-apart 3×8 rest 0 seconds
1c. Clap push-up or medicine ball overhead slam 3×8 rest 60-90 seconds

Why: Here, we improve shoulder mobility activate the muscles responsible for stabilizing the shoulder joint, then add an explosive exercise to improve muscle fiber recruitment.

In all cases, we’re focused on movement quality and the mind-muscle connection first. Then if it fits your goals an explosive movement to boost athleticism, prime the CNS, and increase muscle fiber recruitment.

Strength (15-30+ Minutes Depending on the Day)

At this point, you’ve attacked faulty movement patterns, addressed weak-points, and fired up your CNS to move some weight. It’s time for world domination (aka lifting heavy ass weight!)

Focus on one or two strength movement per session and use primarily total body, upper-lower, or push-pull-legs style training splits.

Here are my favorite strength movements:

Lower Body: Conventional deadlifts, trap bar deadlifts, sumo deadlifts, back squats, front squats (here’s a wicked progression), or cleans

Upper Body: Chin-up (rings or rotating handles), dips (rings or rotating handles), floor press, close grip bench press, low incline press, single arm press, single arm clean and press, seated military press.

Reps and Maxes: Confession time. I rarely have clients shoot for a true one rep max. The risk isn’t worth the reward most times and we’re better off building strength with near maximal strength work between three and six reps. Older, seasoned, and more beat up lifters stay in the five to eight rep range.

The trade-off for a new 1-2 rep max P.R. is rarely worth the injury risk and systemic fatigue. Translation: it’s not worth feeling like dog shit for 2-3 days after all your lifts unless you’re training purely for performance.

Micro Progressions and Variations: Within each lift, we hit a ton of variety and cycle lifts frequently. Besides keeping lifts *fun* for clients, the slight tweaks prevent overuse and redundant movement patterns that can cause injuries. Make slight changes to:
Tempo (add a pause or longer eccentrics, like this neutral grip pull up)

 Mid-rep pauses (like this isodynamic biceps curl)


Accommodating resistance, like these band-resisted trap bar deadlifts



Every change, no matter how small, results in a different exercise with different muscle recruitment and adaptation for your body. If a movement pattern feels stale, even a slight change can bust you out of a rut without completely changing a program.

Your body doesn’t know an exact lift. It purely understands time, tension, coordination, and calling muscle fibers to generate force. Don’t fall in love with a particular lift. Once you’re strong, add in slight changes to avoid clawing your eyes out from boredom and continue riding the gains train to a better body.

Hypertrophy Portion (15-30 minutes)

Think back to when you looked your best. You weren’t just leaner; you were also younger, more active, and probably had more muscle mass.

With that is mind, training to build muscle mass is the most important factor in radically changing body composition…ergo looking better naked. Hell, more literature comes out daily that maximizing muscle retention is vital to your long-term health.

Why Muscle Mass Matters

Having more muscle mass can…
1. Improve insulin sensitivity, helping you lose weight and control blood sugar more easily. Basically, you’ll use food for what you want (exercise recovery, muscle growth), rather than adding fat.
2. Increase metabolism: Burn more fat at rest. Game blouses.
3. Lead to more activity: Given your strength also improves, everything in life gets easier from climbing stairs to chasing your nephew. More muscle begets you to be more active.
4. Make you look hotter. In clothes. Or naked.
5. Build a “dietary” buffer. Ever scowl at those jacked Fit Pro’s posting pictures of doughnuts? Me, too. But having greater muscle mass allows more flexibility in your diet. Your “cheat days” will be less harmful.

34577979 - muscular man skipping rope. portrait of muscular young man exercising with jumping rope on black background

In the hypertrophy portion of your workout, we’ll bump the reps up to 8-15+ reps per set, keeping rest periods from 15 seconds to 90 seconds. You’ll need to push the tempo, sweat, and bust your ass. But hey, nobody said it would be easy, right?

We’ll be attacking three main factors to help you build more muscle:

Mechanical Stress
Mechanical tension is achieved by using a substantial load and performing exercises through a full range of motion for a certain amount of time. The time you spend under load creates mechanical tension in the muscles to drive the anabolic process.

Metabolic Stress
Gettin’ a wicked pump isn’t just for stretching shirt-sleeves and feeling awesome, it plays an important role in hypertrophy. When you work out hard to achieve a pump, you build up lactate, hydrogen ions, creatinine, and other metabolites, but you also prevent blood from escaping. This metabolic stress plays a key role in signaling muscular growth.

Muscular Damage
Soreness is part of the training game. The inflammatory process from muscular damage actually aids in muscle growth. But too much muscle damage can keep you out of the gym, restricting your #gains. Pick two or three exercises based on your training for the day. Aim for anywhere between 25 and 50 reps with a slower tempo and 8-15 reps per set. Then add one or two more exercises focused on ultra-high reps, 15-25 reps for one or two sets. Keep the rest short, stress high, and make gains.

The occasional 5-10 minute finisher or high-intensity conditioning bout can make you one tough cookie. You’ll build muscle, supercharge fat loss, and get the mental edge to dominate in and out of the gym. You can read more about finishers here.

Don’t crush yourself every time you hit the gym. Random challenges for the sake of being a training sadist and muscle “confusion” is a sure fire way to stay injured. But use periodic throwdowns and epic finishers as challenges to t0 see how tough you really are. They can help you conquer plateaus.


What you can do Going Forward

Ask what is missing from your current workout. Focus on giving your body the training it needs so you can look and perform the way you want.

This means hypertrophy routine would focus a little less on strength, power, and performance and more on volume and bodybuilding methods.

A performance focus would have a greater focus on strength and power, with less volume and fewer bodybuilding methods.

You can blend multiple levels of performance at any given time, but the attention you pay to each component should be specific to your goals at the point in time.



90% of lifters make excuses, get overwhelmed, and never get jacked. The other 10%? They reside in the Bach Performance Community. Sign up today for the latest scientifically proven, experienced backed tips to get you jacked. I’ll show you how in our FREE course Seven Days to Superhuman. Click here to Join the FREE Course.


McGill S. Low Back Disorders – Evidence-Based Prevention and Rehabilitation. 2nd ed. Human Kinetics; 2002

Four Training Splits to Build an Athletic Body

The Power Primer

We’ve both been there: Every rep feels explosive as if you’ve unlocked another gear. You’re adding weight to the bar and getting stronger damn near every workout.

Basically, you feel like Superman. Your skin is tighter, your shirts fit better, and you hold your head high at the beach because frankly, you look fucking awesome. 

Then, as quickly as your gains started, the floor falls out from underneath you.

You’re lethargic in the gym, and exhausted most of the day. Your knees ache, shoulder cracks, and back is sore.

And your motivation? Non-existent. Even after taking enough pre-workout to fail a drug test you’re dragging. Each rep is a grind and the gym feels like a waste of time. 

Yep, You’ve hit the wall. 

When your training takes a sharp dive off the deep end and your progress stalls it’s time to change.

Not just your grip, your stance, or another micro progression. Nor a change from front squats to back squats.

No, I’m talking a monumental shift.

A new training split.

Yes, your long-term training principles should remain constant, but you need new methods.

As long as you’re adding weight to the bar, moving like an athlete, eating well, and sleeping enough then a new training split is what you need to build transform your body and get a strong, jacked, and athletic body.

The Power Primer, athletic body

That said, let’s review the best splits to help you build a stronger, shredded, and athletic body.  I’ll explain the good and the bad of each, giving you the knowledge to pick your next training split so you can build the lean, athletic look you’re after.

Either way, a new program is exciting—renewed motivation will have you attacking each workout and getting in the best shape of your life. 

P.S. Want to get strong, jacked, and athletic? I’ll show you how in our FREE course Seven Days to Superhuman. 

Click here to Join the FREE Course.

Upper Lower Training Split

Upper-lower training splits are an excellent training split to help you build strength and muscle with four workouts per week.

Pros: Upper-Lower training splits are a great progression from total body training and work well if you want to gain muscle and strength.

Upper-Lower splits allow greater training frequency for quicker learning and mastering your lifts while still lifting heavy to build strength. Together, this helps you get better at your big lifts, train with enough volume to build muscle, and lift heavy enough to get strong. 

Cons: Upper body workouts can take much longer than lower body workouts. Sure, this is great for your biceps, but if you crave consistency and have troubles working out when life get’s crazy, the inconsistency between workout times might drive you crazy.

Plus, if you’ve been following bodybuilding style body part splits (chest on Monday, back on Tuesday etc), then you might notice you’re not recovering as quickly. Of course, you can fix this by spending time with recovery methods like foam rolling, getting 7-8 hours per sleep, and when all else fails, eating more steak

Here’s a sample outline:

Monday: Upper Body (Push Strength Emphasis)

Tuesday: Lower Body (Squat Pattern Strength Emphasis)

Wednesday: Off/active recovery

Thursday: Upper Body (Pull Strength Emphasis)

Friday: Lower Body (Hinge pattern strength Focus)

Saturday/Sunday: Off

Total Body Training Split
When you train your upper and lower body in the same workout, you’re doing a total body workout. Another way to think of it is rather than training each muscle individually, you’re training your body as an integrated machine.

Pros: If you only have three days to workout per week or have issues skipping workouts, then look no further. Since you’re training your entire body you’ll minimize the fluff. There’s no need for 13 variations of lateral raises when your training pressing, pulling, squatting, lunging, and deadlifting movements multiple times per week.  

Since you’re training muscles as much as 2-3 times per week, you’ll trigger more frequent protein synthesis in your muscles being trained, potentially helping you build muscle faster.

And if you’re looking to drop a few pounds?

Total body workouts can cause a massive disruption to your body as it tries to catch up with multiple muscle groups working in a short period of time to help you lose fat.

Cons: One of the downsides of total body workouts is you may get bored, especially if you crave variety and the novelty of a well-timed biceps pump. Plus, if you’re looking to maximize muscular size, then the low volume of workouts will limit some of your gains. A key component of muscle growth is metabolic stress, so unless you add a high-rep finisher like biceps curls to failure, you won’t get as big as a house with total body training.

Moreover, stronger and more experienced lifters struggle recovering from three hard leg training workouts per week. You’ll need to vary how often you go heavy, possibly adopting an undulated periodization model.

Still, among all training splits total body workouts are your best bet if you tend to program hop, skip workouts, and get “too busy” to train….especially if you’re skipping leg day. 


Day One:

1.Power Clean 5×3

2.Bench Press 3×6

3.Lunge 3×8-12

4a.Farmer Walks 3×30 seconds

4b. Dips 3x 30 seconds timed set

Day Two:

1.Push Press 5×3

2.Deadlift 4×6

3.Chin Up 3×8-12

4a.Plank 3×30 seconds

4b. Biceps Curl 3x 30 seconds timed set

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Push-Pull Training Split

If you’re like most people, you have a tendency to train what you see in the mirror while conveniently forgetting about the back side of your body.

Tsk. Tsk.

As much as we all like to push it like Salt-N-Pepa, building a strong, athletic, and shredded body requires more balance. 

Enter the push/pull training split, arguably the most balanced training split for total body strength, size, and athleticism.

On “pull” days, you’ll hammer the backside of your body, hitting muscles like your lats, traps, glutes, and hamstrings.

On push-days, you’ll hit the movements to train your chest, shoulders, triceps, quads, and abs.

You can work the entire front side of your body or the back side of your body all in one workout. Alternatively, you can break these days down further by breaking these workouts into upper body and lower body days each.

For example…

-Upper Body Push (chest, triceps, shoulders)
-Upper Body Pull (Lats, biceps, rear delts, traps)
-Lower Body Push (squats, leg extensions, lunges)
-Lower Body Pull (deadlifts, good mornings, hip thrusts)

Pros: Push-Pull routines are a great option for experienced lifters as they’re both efficient and flexible. You’ll be able to train with enough volume to trigger muscle growth without living in the gym. 

Cons: There are very few issues with these workouts. The biggest hiccup will come if you miss workouts and start skipping “pull” or “lower body” workouts. Push-pull workouts are okay, but not great for beginners in the gym.


Day One: Pull (legs/hamstrings, back, biceps, lower back)

Day Two: Push (chest, shoulders, triceps, legs/quads, abs)

Day Three: OFF

Day Four: Pull (legs/hamstrings, back, biceps, lower back)

Day Five: Push (chest, shoulders, triceps, legs/quads, abs)

Day Six: OFF

Day Seven: OFF

Intensive/Extensive Training Split


These are my favorite.

The intensive/extensive split bases training splits on the neural demands of a workout.

For example, a heavy/explosive day is often followed by a metabolic/higher volume bodybuilding style day.

This also corresponds with conditioning.

For example, a workout with squat jumps followed by heavy squats, and sprints workout is intensive, as it is very demanding on your nervous system and joints. If you pair too many neurally intensive workouts in a row, you’ll end up beat up, beaten down, and over training.

Hard pass, right?

Instead, it’s best to follow an intensive training split with an extensive workout. An example here would be doing an upper body workout focused on higher reps sets of 10-15 reps, shorter rest, and lighter weight. You lift as heavy, but you’ll  create tons of metabolic stress to build muscle, lose fat, and improve your endurance. 

Pros: Intensive/Extensive training splits are lifting strategy ideal for people looking to get stronger, more muscular, and more athletic at the same time.
If you want to train like an athlete, it’s easy to add high technical sprint work on the intensive days.
If you want to build muscle, you’ll train heavy enough to trigger increases in anabolic hormones and the tension needed to build muscle. Still, extensive days allow you to train light enough to get an incredible pump.

And for fat loss? 
They work here too. The variety of training stimulus isn’t too much to recover from, yet it’s enough to help you lose fat.

Cons: They’re difficult to program. If your primary goal is to look hot naked (hey, I can’t blame you), you’ll want to eliminate some of the intensive work and focus on some more higher rep work. If your goals are performance based, the opposite is true.
If you train too many factors too close together, you risk the chance of becoming the “jack of all trades and the master of none,” wallowing in mediocrity and not really getting good at any one thing.
Plus, intensive workouts are longer as you’ll need to pay more attention to your rest if you want to maximize performance.

Sample Workout

This is focused on keeping you athletic, but a bit more on body composition so you look hot.

Monday: Olympic lift+ compound push exercises, Heavy and explosive. Light conditioning.

Tuesday: Pull Emphasis, high rep (8-15+) and hypertrophy focused. Hard conditioning.

Wednesday: Off

Thursday: Olympic lift+ compound pull exercises. Heavy and explosive, light conditioning.

Friday: Pull Emphasis, high rep (8-15+) and hypertrophy focused.

Saturday/Sunday: Hard conditioning 1x, active recovery

 So, which workout is best for you?

Your training must be specific to your goal. 

If your goal is to look great naked above all else, then by all means trade in your power cleans for biceps curls. 

On the flip side, if you need to build muscle from head to toe and get stronger, don’t start your workouts by curling in the squat rack. 

How much time will you dedicate to training?

Regardless of how “busy” you are you still have 24 hours like the rest of us. I don’t say this to be a dick, but it’s true.
You have the time to prioritize training if you want your dream body. Regardless, weigh how committed you are and pick a training split you know you’ll do consistently.

How experienced are you in the gym?

For most guys, they’re best off crushing total body or upper lower training splits to get strong, explosive and athletic. Still, make sure you’re varying training as you gain strength and experience to prevent plateaus and minimize joint stress.

Do you focus on recovery…or only training?

The body is an integrated system. Rather than looking at recovery based on how your muscles feel you must take into account everyday stress, the nervous system, sleep quality, and nutrition.

For example, for a few years I crushed training in a high-end performance facility. That meant tons of sprints, jumps, throws, coffee, and explosive demonstrations. All these short, high-intensity bouts added up quickly as my energy fluctuated. I had to dial back heavy lifting, sprints, and jumps.
Now that I train fewer clients, write more, and demo less, I’m more recovered and can train harder more often.

Stress is systemic, everything counts and should be factored into your training.

Your Training Split to Build an Athletic Body

If your current training isn’t helping your build an athletic body, then you need to make a change. 

Don’t fall into the trap of endlessly pursuing one goal at the expense of all others

That’s fine for elite athletes.

But for the rest of us, we’re after the total package.

You probably want to be…

Strong in the gym, yet athletic enough to kick ass on the weekends.

 Strong, lean, and athletic. 

Happy and confident with your shirt off. 

There’s no better tool to bridge the gap between the body you want and the athleticism you deserve than my latest program The Power Primer, 2.0.

 I’ve created a Full Eight Months worth of programming to get you Strong, Shredded, and Athletic.

This isn’t a program for athletes.

It’s for those of us that refuse to accept pathetic athleticism a the cost of building your best-looking body.

It’s time to bridge the gap between looking your best and performing like an athlete. 

It’s time for the Power Primer. And it can be yours for less than $.17 (yes, 17 cents) per workout. 


thePowerprimer athlete strong

>> Get The Power Primer here <<

For less than you spend on protein powder each month, you’ll have all your workouts expertly planned, organized, and guided by a custom video guide from now until the Spring of 2018. 


1. Gould D, Petlichkoff L. Participation motivation and attrition in young athletes. In: Smoll FL, Magill RA, Ash MJ, eds. Children in Sport. 3rd ed. Champaign IL: Human Kinetics; 1988:161-178.

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