How to Get Jacked: A Step by Step Guide to the Gym and Nutrition by My Mentor

Hey guys,

So I’ve been getting asked A LOT lately about the recent gains I’ve had in the gym, and getting swole as the kids seem to be saying these days.

For whatever reason, diet and bodybuilding advice almost always turns into ridiculously heated debates, and even though my program is working SICK for me, I didn’t feel qualified to give you advice in this arena, and wanted to get a true expert.

I badgered my good friend and fitness mentor Dubbaldown for weeks, and let me tell you, he delivered!

This guy has literally worked with everyone from Mr. Universes, NFL athletes, and even Navy Seals Teams, so truly is qualified to give you top notch advice. I follow his routine to a T, and you can see the results from my recent videos.

So below what we have is my first and probably ever guest post, and let me give a few quick insights.

I love how he gears it specifically towards bodybuilding for a physique towards aesthetics. Yes, it’s light on the legs, but who cares if you got tree trunks that you can’t see through your jeans anyway.

Fill out the shirt, get some pythons, and people will notice. If you are getting disproportionate, you are probably going to the gym enough to take the next step beyond this basic fundamental gameplan.

Oh, and the big secret is that damn thick ass bar if you want serious biceps. Check out Fatgripz IMMEDIATELY if you want bigger arms.

I also like how essentially you never go full failure in the gym. It’s more of an “always around 80%” approach, so you recover quicker, yet still build more strength every workout. Then mixing strength building and bodybuilding (the pump) to get great physical results.

And of course, making it a LIFESTYLE, not a diet. A ritualized habit, and not a quick fix tactic.

If you have any questions, feel free to post them below, he said he’d be down to answer a few of them.


How to Get Jacked by Dubbaldown

This article is designed to give you the cliff notes of muscle building and fat loss.

The information in it is the result of almost 2 decades of experience in the fitness industry learning from the best strength coaches and natural bodybuilders as well as my own training and the dozens of people I have guided along the way.

It’s not an exhaustive analysis of muscle building and fat loss techniques – its a simple “how to” guide.

If you follow this advice you can get JACKED….. FAST.

How To Start

1) Make the decision right now that being muscular and lean is something you want.

Trust me, it will change your whole life…. and girls will start to approach YOU, haha :)

2) Join a decent gym.

All it needs is some dumbbells, some barbells, some benches, a pull up bar and, ideally, a squat rack. Nothing fancy.

3) Go to that gym 4-6 times a week.

Don’t make excuses about money (there are cheap gyms everywhere) or time or how you are feeling. There are 168 hours in a week. You only need to spend 4-6 of them in the gym for great results. (Developing this consistency, like all new activities, may be hard at first but after 3-4 weeks of forcing yourself to go, you will soon find it hard NOT to go. Your mind might resist at first but it will eventually get on board).

4) When you are in the gym, work hard and follow the advice in this article.

It will work. It always does.

5) Remember that training is one part of the physique equation. Nutrition is equally important.

Does nutrition sound boring to you? Get over it. It’s part of the game and it can be more tasty and fun than eating the shit that most “normal” people cram into their mouths.

Different Goals

No doubt, some of you are a little skinnier than you would like to be, some of you are a little heavier than you would like to be and some of you are somewhere in the middle.

Well, you might be surprised to learn that, regardless of where you are now, assuming you want more muscle and less fat, the recommendations I will make for you are almost the same. The only thing that will change is the amount of carbs consumed and overall calories.

Everything else (training, types of foods, supplements, protein intake) will be the same.

Things Worth Understanding Right Off The Bat:

• Weight training is essential for everyone who wants to look better

• Cardio is not very effective for fat loss

• Fat loss is mainly caused by good nutrition and consuming less calories than you are using

• Higher carb diets are great for muscle gains but can slow, prevent or reverse fat loss

• Lower carb diets are not good for muscle gains but can be great for fat loss

• If you are a little heavy, focus on getting lean first and then building more muscle

• Protein should be high for everyone (numbers below)

• Being lean is essential for looking great even if you are not very muscular (yet)

• Big shoulders, big arms, low bodyfat and a tan are the keys to a great physique

• Your body can change very quickly if you follow the suggestions in this article

• Try not to think in terms of “dieting” and “working out”. It’s much more effective to think about creating a fitter lifestyle for the rest of your life.

How To Train For Maximum Muscle And Minimum BodyFat

In training terms, muscle gain is about 2 things:

(a) getting stronger in the 6-15 rep range

(b) “pumping” the muscle.

You know what getting stronger means, but “pumping” the muscle mean exercising to fill it with as much blood as possible so that you can see and feel it getting bigger right there and then in the gym.

Some exercises and rep ranges make you strong.

Some exercises and rep ranges give you “the pump.”

Both are required for rapid and significant muscle gain (and both are contained in the training program below).

How To Eat For Maximum Muscle And Minimum Fat

Guidelines for everyone, regardless of where you are now:

• Eat lots of protein throughout the day. 1.5 grams of protein for every pound of body weight is the minimum. If you weigh 180lbs, you need to be consuming 270g of protein a day for maximum muscle gain

• Eat SOME “clean” carbs at breakfast and after training. “Clean” carbs means oatmeal, whole grain rice or yams

• Eat as many green vegetables as you can

If your biggest priority is to drop some bodyfat, your diet should:

(a) Focus on lean protein sources like chicken, turkey, lean cuts of beef and egg whites

(b) Be very low in carbs (have some oatmeal or wholegrain rice at breakfast and immediately after training but almost no carbs at other times)

(c) Contain about 30% healthy fats

(d) Ensure that you are eating 500 less calories every day than your body is using

If your biggest priority is to pack on some muscle, your diet should:

(a) Focus on red meat and whole eggs

(b) Contain some “clean” carbs (oats, wholegrain rice or yams at every meal)

(c) Contains about 20% healthy fats

(d) Ensure that you are getting 500 more calories every day than your body is using

If you are somewhere in the middle, your diet should, be in the middle of these two. Be sure to weigh yourself once a week (always the same day) immediately on waking to monitor progress. Adjust your calories and carbs up or down depending on your goals and whether or not you are making progress.

Here’s What A Typical Day Of Training and Eating Looks Like For Me

7:00 am – wake
7:15 am – whey protein shake and black coffee
7:45 am – heavy weight training for 60 mins
8:45 am – finish training and drink another whey shake plus eat 3 rice cakes
9:15 am – breakfast – 6 eggs whites and 2 whole eggs on 3 slices of rye bread
9:20 am – 30 min nap in the Sun (great for recovery after training if your lifestyle allows)
12:00 noon lunch – chicken salad with 2 chicken breasts
3:00 pm – chicken salad with 2 chicken breast
6:00 pm – whey protein shake
9:00 pm – steak with vegetables

A Solid Training Program That Everyone Seems To Grow One (Google the exercise name for proper technique)

Day 1 – Shoulders

Barbell Behind-The-Neck Presses - 3 sets of 6-10 reps plus one set of 15 reps (start with a weight you can just about lift for 6 reps and then try to get more each time you train shoulders. When you can get 10 reps or more with that weight, increase the weight by approx 3% and start again at 6 reps. The goal is to be a little stronger every time you train).

Dumbbell Lateral Raises - 3 sets of 12 reps (move the dumbbells quite quickly – 2 seconds up and 2 seconds down) and concentrate of squeezing your deltoid muscle and filling them with as much blood as possible

Bent Over Lateral Raises – 3 sets of 12 (move the dumbbells quite quickly – 2 seconds up and 2 seconds down) and concentrate of squeezing your deltoid muscle and filling them with as much blood as possible

Day 2 – Back

Shrugs – 3 sets of 6-10 reps plus one set of 15 reps (start with a weight you can just lift for 6 reps and then try to get more the next time you train back. When you get 10 reps or more, increase the weight by approx 3% and start again at 6 reps. The goal is to be a little stronger every time you train)

Bent Over Dumbbell Rows – 3 sets of 6-10 reps plus one set of 15 reps (start with a weight you can just lift for 6 reps and then try to get more the next time you train back. When you get 10 reps or more, increase the weight by approx 3% and start again at 6 reps. The goal is to be a little stronger every time you train)

Lat Pull Downs – 3 sets of 6-10 reps plus one set of 15 reps (start with a weight you can just about lift for 6 reps and then try to get more the next time you train back. When you get 10 reps or more, increase the weight by approx 3% and start again at 6 reps. The goal is to be a little stronger every time you train)

Squats – 3 sets of 12 (2 seconds up and 2 seconds down – go down to where the top of your quads are parallel with the floor) and concentrate of squeezing your thigh (quad) muscles and filling them with as much blood as possible

Day 3 – Chest

Low Incline Barbell Bench Press – 3 sets of 6-10 reps plus one set of 15 reps (start witha weight you can just about lift for 6 reps and then try to get more the next time you train chest and then more the time after until you get 10 reps with that weight. When you get 10 reps or more, increase the weight by approx 3% and start again at 6 reps. The goal is to be a little stronger every time you train) plus one set of 15 reps

Flat Dumbbell Bench Press – 3 sets of 12 (move the dumbbells quite quickly 2 seconds upand 2 seconds down) and concentrate of squeezing your pecs at the top, stretching them at the bottom and filling them with as much blood as possible

Pec Dec – 3 sets of 12 (2 seconds up and 2 seconds down) and concentrate of squeezing your pecs at the contraction, stretching them at the extension and filling them with as much blood as possible

Day 4 – Arms

Barbell Curls – 3 sets of 6-10 reps plus one set of 15 reps (start with a weight you can just about lift for 6 reps and then try to get more the next time you train chest and then more the time after until you get 10 reps with that weight. When you get 10 reps or more, increase the weight by approx 3% and start again at 6 reps. The goal is to be a little stronger every time you train)

Incline Dumbbell Curls – 3 sets of 12 (2 seconds up and 2 seconds down) and concentrate of squeezing your biceps at the contraction, stretching them at the extension and filling them with as much blood as possible

Standing EZ Bar Curls – 3 sets of 12 (2 seconds up and 2 seconds down) and concentrate of squeezing your biceps at the contraction, stretching them at the extension and filling them with as much blood as possible

Weighted Dips – 3 sets of 6-10 reps plus one set of 15 reps (start with a weight you can just about lift for 6 reps and then try to get more the next time you train arms and then more the time after until you get 10 reps with that weight. When you get 10 reps or more, increase the weight by approx 3% and start again at 6 reps. The goal is to be a little stronger every time you train)

Cable Press-downs – 3 sets of 12 (2 seconds up and 2 seconds down) and concentrate of squeezing your triceps at the contraction, keeping the tension on them and filling them with as much blood as possible

Wrist Extensions (forearms supported on a becnch or Scott curl bench) – 3 sets of 12 (2 seconds up and 2 seconds down) and concentrate of squeezing your forearm muscles at the contraction, stretching them at the extension and filling them with as much blood as possible

Day 5 – rest

Day 6 – repeat (always trying to beat previous performance)

This program works really well for everyone I’ve used it with.

Additional Pointers

• Warm up carefully for EACH EXERCISE. Do a few light sets of each exercise before getting into the “work” sets.

• Try to eat organic food wherever possible – it really does make a difference

• You only need 3 supplements: (a) whey protein (b) creatine (c) fish oil. When you buy your whey make sure it is organic, has no artificial sweeteners and is made from cows that eat only grass (trust me, this type of whey is far superior for muscle gains). I personally use Protein 17 because it meets all of those criteria and is one of the only protein powders which isn’t made in China. When you buy creatine, just get the basic creatine monohydrate WITHOUT any added ingredients. I personally use Prolab creatine but any standard creatine is fine. Take 10g per day. When you buy a fish oil, look for one which guarantees that it does not contain any heavy metals. Carlsons is a good brand and is available in most places.

• Use a thick bar and thick- handled dumbbells whenever possible. These are simply barbells and dumbbells which are thicker than the standard one inch diameter. Using thick bars will make a MASSIVE difference in your muscle gains, especially in your arms. Most gyms won’t buy thick barbells and dumbbells because they are expensive so grab yourself a pair of Fat Gripz from They are cheap and are the best training tool you can invest in for muscle gains

• Get plenty of sleep BUT have some protein just before and just after so that your body has a constant supply of protein for re-building

• Limit alcohol. Alcohol in moderation (5 drinks per week) will not kill your muscle gains but take it easy. Try to stick to “cleaner” drinks like wine or vodka with soda.

Like is said, I am just giving you the meaty information that you need and leaving the rest out. If you have questions, leave a comment below and I will try to answer them for you.

I hope you found this useful. Getting lean and muscular is a very rewarding journey.

Follow the above advice, be consistent, train hard and you will soon be looking at a leaner, more muscular body in the mirror.

127 replies
  1. Leonard Herndon
    Leonard Herndon says:

    Your daily schedule looks pretty simple and with some slight adjustments, I think I can adapt this to my lifestyle. I did have a question though. The nutrition sound sound pretty solid but it also looks like that can get pretty boring after a while. Do you do anything to change it up or keep what you are eating from seeming too plain?

    • Dubbaldown
      Dubbaldown says:

      This diet is designed to produce the highest quality results in the shortest period of time. Would I advise you follow this diet as a long-term eating plan? …no, but adhering to it for a 2-3 month period is advisable. Don’t forget about herbs and spices. You can turn a boring, bland meal into a mouth-watering dish with the right spices!

  2. Levi
    Levi says:

    Bet the chicks are creaming over greg valentino up there :)

    Great advice on “Things Worth Understanding Right Off The Bat”.

  3. Warren Smith
    Warren Smith says:

    Hell fucking yeah.

    Been in the gym myself working starting strength 3-4 times a week. Always admired your physique in the vids!!!


  4. Warren Smith
    Warren Smith says:

    Hey Brad,

    I’d really appreciate a post on anti aging as well. Specifically the supplements/lifestyle you use live to minimize the effects stress, growing older and working hard have on the body.

  5. Rory Tonkin
    Rory Tonkin says:

    Really like the article, would def print this off and give to everyone i know. I was just wondering why on your arms day you havent included any tricep exercises? Do you feel they get enough work from the chest and shoulder pressing movements?

    • Dubbaldown
      Dubbaldown says:

      Rory, the cable-press-downs and the weighted dips will target your triceps. Be sure to include those on your arm day.

    • Dubbaldown
      Dubbaldown says:

      While I do advise eating animal protein, I have trained vegan and vegetarian clients. You can achieve great results with this dieting strategy too. Be extra conscious of your protein intake as a vegetarian.

    • Dubbaldown
      Dubbaldown says:

      The purpose of this workout is to develop a physique that women will be immediately drawn to. Eventually, you will want to adopt a program that includes legs…

  6. Chazz
    Chazz says:

    I’ve been fasting 16 hours a day with a cheat day a week for fat loss.
    Can I keep doing that for muscle gain or do i have to change it and eat more like you explained? Btw, what’s your view on cheat days?

    Also, I do contemporary dance 3 times a week, and i was wondering if that can affect the training program? maybe in the rest day?

    • Dubbaldown
      Dubbaldown says:

      I have experimented with IF with great results in the past. Many of my clients are professional athletes, and that approach is not supportive of their fitness goals. If you have an active lifestyle, you will need to increase your calorie intake to accommodate it. If you are stagnating in your muscular growth, being adding more calories to your first meal of the day as well as your post-workout meal.

    • Dubbaldown
      Dubbaldown says:

      There is a great deal of debate in the fitness community if cheat meals are beneficial toward fat loss and/or muscle gain. Personally, I do not recommend them because people often go overboard and completely derail their diet. If you are going to enjoy a cheat day, taper your calorie intake as your day advances and keep your highest calorie meal post-workout.

      • Chazz
        Chazz says:

        Thx for the advice Dubbaldown!
        Now I’m having trouble gaining muscle without gaining fat, like if i gain 2 pounds of weight, 1 pound is fat.

        My diet is not perfect but is very good, so i guess my first step is to make it even better. But do you have any other recommendation for not gaining fat while maximizing muscle gain?

        I have an active lifestyle and I’m following your excercise routine without using any supplements.

        Btw, what is a good rest period between sets for optimal muscle gain? I’m waiting 2-3 minutes between exercises.

  7. Stefan E.
    Stefan E. says:

    Awesome wrapup!

    Do you want to make this fully Paleo and Primal? Use sweet potatoes instead of rice and oatmeal. This source of starches is the cleanest and healthies you can get. Oats themselves still contain lots of phytic acid.

    • Dubbaldown
      Dubbaldown says:

      Substituting sweet potatoes is an excellent alternative if you wish to adhere to a Paleo diet. As I mentioned in a previous comment, this diet isn’t structured as a lifestyle eating plan. If fat loss is your goal, eliminate fruits until you have achieved your desired body fat.

    • Dubbaldown
      Dubbaldown says:

      Deadlifts are a phenomenal exercise. After a few months on this program, begin a new program that includes them. Deadlifts are also extremely technical, so be sure to check your ego and focus on technique before weight.

  8. Josh
    Josh says:

    Thank you so much! This looks awesome. I started hitting the gym again after going to a hotseat event and listening to Tyler speak. Reading your articles helps the motivation process too. I’ve been going four days a week and can feel a difference! I was doing about 12 minutes of treadmill running and then doing lifting (bench press, squats, curls and rows… but after reading this I wonder if it’s even necessary to run? isn’t it beneficial to spike your heart rate up and doesn’t that help you burn fat? If it’s a waste of time I might just scrap it…I’m about 6ft 2 and 175 pounds. Skinny but toned…I want to look like Brad Pitt in fight club lol

    • Dubbaldown
      Dubbaldown says:

      I recommend ditching the cardio. Focus on building muscle or burning fat with weight lifting and dietary manipulation. If you insist on doing cardio, check out HIIT.

  9. Brad Branson
    Brad Branson says:

    I’d also like to ask a question. How to determine caloric intake, is it based off of BMR? (Don’t even really know what that is, haha…)

  10. Bigfoot
    Bigfoot says:

    I like this routine.

    I’ve gotta get back in the gym, I’ve been not doing anything but physio for my legs after my knee broke and I’ve lost quite a bit of noticeable muscle mass. I’ve lost my appetite too! I don’t look as good with a shirt as before.

    I have around 3 months before University starts so I’m going to sticky this and modify it without the the squats.

    Working out is awesome. One of the best benefits of working out is that I”m always hungry so I can eat more delicious food(Yes that sounds messed up, I’m so glad I’m naturally skinny otherwise I’d be a huge fatty).

    • Dubbaldown
      Dubbaldown says:

      Injuries can be physically and emotionally devastating. Be extra cautious and ease your way back into leg exercsies when fully healed. There are many health benefits beyond looking good from eating clean foods.

  11. Andy
    Andy says:

    Thanks a lot!!! I greatly appreciate the advice, goes beyond the call of duty! I’m currently on my law degree exams, but July 1st, putting this plan compleeetely into action!!! Promise!

  12. Richie Rich
    Richie Rich says:

    One thing confuses me… aren’t you supposed to eat breakfast before working out. Dubbaldown says he only has a protein shake before his early morning, intensive workout. It seems to fly in the face of what most people recommend, what’s the reasoning behind that?

    • Dubbaldown
      Dubbaldown says:

      Studies have shown that working out in a fasted state boost fat loss and increases muscle synthesis. Take a whey protein shake or BCAAs pre-workout to protect your muscles. Try this out and see what you think.

  13. Dan
    Dan says:

    can you please give example of meas you eating during the day when fasting 16 hours?
    great post love it thanks!

  14. Andy
    Andy says:

    Oh and I have a “stupid question”, I’m sure one of the readers can answer this one for me, PLEEEASSE guys:

    In day 6 it says “repeat” does that mean repeat Day 4’s routine or just repeat the whole routine starting from day 1 again?

    Thanks! Just wanted to be crystal clear so I can follow it!

  15. Sean
    Sean says:

    When I eat whey protein I get sick (extreme lactose intolerance). Lactaid has not helped with alleviating the symptoms.

    Do have any alternative suggestions to whey?

  16. Frank
    Frank says:

    Hey Brad ! great post. I would like to add that bodybuilding is a LONG LONG TERM process. You can have flawless nutrition and the best workouts routines but even with that is a very slow process. I think it’s important to remenber this, because like pick up, don’t expect to have massive results in the first 6 mounths. Also take in count the genetic potencial.

    Hey Brad ! how long have you been going to the gym?, I bet no less than 3 years

    • Brad Branson
      Brad Branson says:

      I’m pretty new to the weight lifting scene. The gains have been slow and steady, but I’m seeing better results with diet manipulation.

  17. John
    John says:

    Just one quick question, you mention taking your whey product throughout the day. What about the creatine? Should you take both throughout the day or should you just take one or the other?

  18. Rob
    Rob says:

    This is sick. I had a massive transformation my first year of college when I went from a 135 lb skinny distance runner to 160 lb of top-heavy muscle (I went the shoulders/arms/abs route too hahah) and I can definitely vet the workout/supplement combo your mentor broke down in the article. I was roughly using the diet he recommended, and using exactly the supplements he was (whey, creatine monohydrate, and fish oil) and the gains were just inevitable. Glad to know that the research I did for my bulk cycle was on point with the experts, because I certainly got good results! I’m a real hard gainer, and definitely recommend other lightweights to eat more protein than you ever think you would need., Thanks, hugely valuable article for those who are serious about getting aesthetic.

  19. Darren
    Darren says:

    Great Advice Dubbaldown! Definitely got straight to the point and inspired everyone to start hitting up the gym hard.

    I’m 5’7 200lbs
    My ideal weight to me is about 170 with 10% body fat.

    my idea of getting in shape up until reading your article has been to “gain 10lbs of muscle and the muscle will just eat up the excess fat over time?

    I actually really like your approach to getting results and I have a few questions.

    1. Generally everyone i’ve reached out for advice recommended doing 6 exercises, 5 sets each per muscle group (total of 30 sets per day). In your workout Chest and Shoulder workouts you do only 3 exercises. Is that enough to really hit the smaller muscle fibers?

    2. what is your stand on working out legs? Doesn’t working out your legs testosterone which is good for muscle growth?

    3. What about abs? Im a pretty decent sized guy, but i have this beer belly for years, while toning down, how often would you recommend doing abs(core exercises)?

    4. Can you tell us a little more on cardio and weight loss?

    Lastly, for a 30lb over weight guy? with your work out advice. How long would you say it would take for the belly to flatten out?

    Thanks for your advice, i found it extremely helpful

    • Dubbaldown
      Dubbaldown says:

      1. Absolutely. Performing too many exercises for one muscle group is counter-productive.
      2. Working out your legs is important, but for the purposes of this workout, I wanted to focus on developing strong shoulders and arms. After a few months on this program, I do recommend starting a new routine with heavy back squats and add deadlifts to your new program as well.
      3. Everyone has a sixpack underneath their bodyfat. Focus on fat loss prior to building muscle. You will indirectly strengthen your abs through compound exercises. If you wish to include more abdominal exercises, stick with planks and rotational exercises.
      4. Weight lifting is more beneficial towards weight loss. LISS cardio is a complete waste of time in my experience. With the proper workout program and proper diet, weight loss is simple. The amount of bodyfat you have will determine how long it takes. When you reach single-digit bodyfat, it becomes even more difficult to burn off. This is when I recommend a client start intermittent fasting.

  20. Chris
    Chris says:

    Two more questions: For the barbell shoulder press do you recommend standing or sitting down? Also should I be using the fatgripz for every exercise or just some exercises?

  21. Venusianspitfire
    Venusianspitfire says:

    The routine seems pretty hardcore. A few questions – my primary objective is to gain muse mass as well as weight.

    Would I be able to get enough carbs from mainly fruits instead of oats brown rice etc? I understand that my body would require carbs to sustain through daily activities allowing proteins to go to the muscles. Is that the logic behind higher carb intake for muscle building?

    Also will working out 3 times a week and doing compund exercises work as well?

    Is working out 2-3 days per week to failure

    • Dubbaldown
      Dubbaldown says:

      Fruits are not an ideal substitute for starchy carbohydrates. If you are concerned with eating brown rice and oats, substitute the two with sweet potatoes and wild rice. If you do a 3 day per week program, it needs to be full body. I recommend a 5×5 or Starting Strength in that case. Be sure to allow yourself at least one day off between workouts as well.

  22. Brad C
    Brad C says:

    How do you remedy this? From the crossfit faq website:

    “If you train the WODs hard, and eat right and get lots of sleep, you will definitely gain lean mass, lose fat, and yes, you can build muscle mass with the crossfit protocol. More specifically, according to Coach,
    Here is a hierarchy of training for mass from greater to lesser efficacy:
    1. Bodybuilding on steroids
    2. CrossFitting on steroids
    3. CrossFitting without steroids
    4. Bodybuilding without steroids
    The bodybuilding model is designed around, requires, steroids for significant hypertrophy.
    The neuroendocrine response of bodybuilding protocols is so blunted that without “exogenous hormonal therapy” little happens.
    The CrossFit protocol is designed to elicit a substantial neuroendocrine whollop and hence packs an anabolic punch that puts on impressive amounts of muscle though that is not our concern. Strength is.
    Natural bodybuilders (the natural ones that are not on steroids) never approach the mass that our ahtletes do. They don’t come close.
    Those athletes who train for function end up with better form than those who value form over function. This is one of the beautiful ironies of training.”

    • Stud muffin
      Stud muffin says:

      Dude your saying the exact same shit Ive been saying since I first worked out. Word for fucking word, thank you for existing. Do you do strip sets (drop sets)?

    • Dubbaldown
      Dubbaldown says:

      Steroids will obviously boost muscle growth on either protocol, but I do not agree that CrossFitting without steroids will build muscle faster than weight lifting. CrossFit is great, especially CrossFit football, but based off of the WODs I see, they involve much more cardio than I desire. If it works for you great, but in my experience, the amount of time and effort required is less efficient for muscle growth versus a bodybuilding protocol. Due to my stubborn nature and love for bodybuilding workouts, I am slightly biased :)

  23. Danny
    Danny says:

    Hey Brad,

    Seriously thank you so much for posting this up, I’m following to a tee.

    Doin’ the “fat body” version as I have 10-15 lbs of fat I should be able to drop.

    Thanks to dubaldown as well, man THANK YOU

    -Danny (dzdevil)


  24. Patrick
    Patrick says:

    Hey Brad, I just signed up for the gym about a month ago and I found this article very useful. My only concern is with sleeping hours. I go out 4 days a week, wednsday to sunday, and you mention that sleep is something very important in building muscle mass. How do you manage to go out 5 days+ a week and keep a schedual like this. Any tips?


    • Brad Branson
      Brad Branson says:

      With my schedule, I can go out every night and still get 8 hours of sleep. This has forced me to develop amazing time management skills. I’ve talked about establishing habits before, and most guys wonder how I have such solid work ethic. Truth be told, I didn’t develop all of these habits in a month. I cultivated 1-2 new habits a month for years. It takes time to master time management…don’t try to balance too much at once or you’ll deplete all of your willpower and fuck it up.

  25. JBarros
    JBarros says:

    I’m not a huge gym fan. However, I’m thinking about going to one because I know it’s a good place to meet women. So I’ve going around gym to gym, checking which ones are the best.

    Anyway, that guy in the photo lol. I certainly don’t want to be like him :)

    Thanks for the tips.

    • Brad Branson
      Brad Branson says:

      HAH nice. There are a lot of hotties at the gym. Yah I don’t know many people that would want that physique :)

  26. dido
    dido says:

    I don’t get it. How is everything organised throught the week? Is it like (supposing you decide to start on Monday) :

    Monday – day 1
    Tuesday – day 2
    Wednseday – day 3
    Thursday – day 4
    Friday – rest
    Saturday -day 1
    Sunday – day 2

    Monday – day 3
    Tuesday – day4
    Wednesday – rest
    Thursday – day 1
    ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, and so on?

  27. Dubbaldown
    Dubbaldown says:

    Thank you everyone that left a comment. I am going to respond to each comment shortly. As you can imagine, my schedule is extremely crazy. Thanks for the patience :)

  28. dido
    dido says:

    Firstly how exactly are the wrist extensions done and how much weight is used? Also is the lat pull down the alternative for the pull up. Thank in advance from a complete novice.

  29. dian
    dian says:

    “Weighted Dips – 3 sets of 6-10 reps plus one set of 15 reps ” What should i do if I even can’t do 1 dip lifting my own body weight

    • Brad Branson
      Brad Branson says:

      If you can’t do weight dips, build up from bodyweight. I struggled with the dips until I got stronger with other exercises, and now I can do quite a few bodyweight dips.

  30. Charlie
    Charlie says:

    Hey, it´s a bit late, but I just found this article:)

    My question:
    I also play soccer, so I have to train my legs as well and building muscles helps for that, but if I build to many muscels I´ll start to get slower and lose my drive/vitality, which would affect the way I play a lot in a negative way.
    Any sugggestions on that?


    • Brad Branson
      Brad Branson says:

      I’ve been doing a lot more research on different exercise protocols. Have you tried looking for a workout geared towards athletic performance?

  31. Miro
    Miro says:

    Is there any chance for a follow up article for a complete workout including legs and so on ?
    Or are there any additional sources you can give, like forums where this training is discussed in detail ?
    Thanks for your time and the great article !

    • Brad Branson
      Brad Branson says:

      If you can weed through a lot of junk tends to have good workouts. I recently discovered Scivation, and they have free e-books online with amazing detail. Check out “tri-phase” and “lean mass diet.”

  32. james
    james says:

    Thanks for this guide. If it wouldn”t be too much trouble do you think you could post a routine that is tailored towards guys who already have a solid base (I’ve been consistently lifting for almost a year). Its not everyday that there is a chance to get advice from a pro..

    Just something that will help me towards my goal of mass and aesthestics. I like legs and deadlifts

    • Brad Branson
      Brad Branson says:

      James, check out Scivation’s Lean Mass Diet. I’ve been reading through the e-book (it’s free), and learning a ton about building mass. I’m having some great gains too.

  33. VD
    VD says:

    I’m eating steak everyday, it’s obviously fatty stuff, but it has a lot of protein and it tastes very good.

    I cut the bread, the pasta, the rice, the potatoes, the beans, the tortillas and the sweetened drinks completely.

    My diet is pretty much:

    and some cheese on the side

    I decided to do this because I was not getting any results with exercise alone, and I was running like crazy, I was even doing the P90 (the program before the P90X) and nothing.

    Now I’m just walking and I’m already losing weight just by having this diet.

    However you mentioned more white meats than red meats, which I don’t do. I wonder if that would actually have a negative impact later on.

    I personally hate fish and get bored really fast of chicken, but steak I can eat forever, plus I get full faster with smaller portions as well. That’s why I had been able to stick to this diet because I actually enjoy eating red meats.

  34. VD
    VD says:

    P.S. I forgot to include I eat spinach a lot, I love spinach, it’s probably the only green that I eat in large quantities, and I eat it fresh, without boiling it or anything like that, I like it just as it is.

    Again, just wondering if it is essential to move to lean meats entirely, ’cause that would really suck.

    • VD
      VD says:

      I’ve been reading some articles and it changed my way of thinking really fast, I guess that’s not good or whatever, but most of those show how red meat will ultimately kill you of a chronic disease faster.

      So I’m reframing the situation to start eating lean meats like chicken and stuff. I rather get used to eating those than what I saw in those articles, even if it sucks for a few months.

      Of course a lot of ithat info was probably influenced by vegetarians (a form of religion in my opinion), but then again, so many studies from Harvard and places like that, it really makes you wonder if you should even eat red meat at all.

      I’ve been eating red meats for the whole week, no sugars or carbs and I have lost 2 pounds, considering my weight, that’s not very much, but I’m happy for it. It is what is healthy to lose. Plus I’ve been drinking a lot of water and maybe that’s balancing it.

      I decided to look up about red meat because in only 7 days of eating straight up red meat I had developed a form of temporomandibular joint disorder. Maybe it has nothing to do with my diet, but just in case, I decided to change plans.

      Either way this the first diet I ever tried, I always say I am going to do a diet and never do it and I never start. So I’m excited looking forward to see how I do.

    • Brad Branson
      Brad Branson says:

      From my understanding, eating red meat is fine, but you want to focus on eating organic grass-fed cuts. Hormones are predominantly stored in fat, so these fattier cuts are going to be loaded with horrible crap if you aren’t getting an organic grass-fed variety. You don’t have to completely eliminate red meat from your diet, but you should still include lean meats as well. I still eat steak a few times a week :)

      • VD
        VD says:

        Yeah, I didn’t consider the organic part, that’s definitely a key distinction.

        Yeah, it would be hard for me to give up on steak. I’ll switch to organic and that way I don’t have to worry about it that much, doing it two times a week doesn’t sound too bad. I will do that ’cause I really enjoy steak.

        Good news, I’m liking my chicken now. I’ve lost so far 9 pounds and I’m only in day 10. So it’s going good. I’m liking this.

  35. Nathan
    Nathan says:

    What is the rest time between sets?

    Should you start out at, for example, 5lbs then 6lbs then 7lbs for the sets? Meaning should you be increasing weight every set or using the same weight?

    What about leg exercises?

  36. Odin
    Odin says:

    In this program there are only 3 exercises on the chest and shoulder days. Does this mean you just go to the gym, warmup and lift weights for like 10-15 minutes, then leave? Is that really enough? The amount of exercises just don`t match up with the “60 minute workout” Or am I missing something..

  37. Rodrigo
    Rodrigo says:

    Hey Dubbaldown, really liked your post! I have a question that I’d like to ask though.

    I’ve been trainning Krav Maga (Self Defense Technique) 2 times a week, how do I adapt your plan? Because I use a lot of the muscles (tricipes, biceps, chest and shourlders mainly) at the same day, so I think it mix up or disturb the rest’s day.

    • Brad Branson
      Brad Branson says:

      I usually use water. I like to add different berries and make a smoothie, but when I’m on the road I just make a shake with water.

  38. sven
    sven says:

    Hi like this post. Also check out Fitocracy a social fitness site with different groups like Leangains/Stronglifts/Carb Bacloading etc. Really cool!

    Why you dont include deadlifts? Guys like Martin Berkham, Jason Ferrugia all advice deadlifts, they even say you only need squats/deadlifts/bench and chins (currently testing this, works great!)

    Good read also about the diet :)

    • Brad Branson
      Brad Branson says:

      I am a big fan of LeanGains. I made great gains with this workout but when I realized I needed more leg work I incorporated deadlifts.

      • sven
        sven says:

        Hi, now i’ve been reading a lot about diet. From Jason Ferrugia (Renegade Diet) and Carb Back Loading from John Kiefer they will disagree both about your breakfast. The only place for carbs in both their diets is in the evening (also if you train in the morning execpt maybe some fruit).

        It’s leangains Evolved! Hope you lik eit.

          • Niels de Kok
            Niels de Kok says:

            Great to hear you mention and leangains Brad. I have been on the RPT minimalistic training style combined with the leangains nutrition protocol for 12 weeks now. I have made much more gains than on the typical bro splits in less time. I would recommend it to everybody who is reading this article. Happy lifting Brad…

  39. CK
    CK says:

    This is a totally different approach from what I’ve been doing, and I’ve been looking for something to change it up – I’ll try it out for a bit and see how it works. Other than maximizing post-workout protein intake, what’s the purpose of working out shortly after waking? I like to eat a carb-rich meal earlier in the day before hitting the gym, but this is just preference – no science behind it. What’s your rationale?

  40. Greg - Kinobody Fitness
    Greg - Kinobody Fitness says:

    This is a really solid article!

    I completely agree that cardio for fat loss is overrated and not very time efficient. Strength training is where it’s at regardless if the goal is muscle gain or fat loss. Protein should be high for everyone and carbs reduced for fat loss.

    I also like the emphasis on lifting for the upper body. Most guys who have lifted for a couple years already have enough lower body mass. They would maximize their appearance by dropping direct leg lifts and devoting more time to their upper body. Perhaps olympic lifts or sprints to build power in the legs.

    WIth that said I generally don’t advocate the conventional bodybuilding approach of 6-8 small meals per day. I have had insane fat loss and body recomposition effects once I started intermittent fasting 18 hours per day and consuming 2 big meals in a 6 hour eating window. In addition this approach is so enjoyable and easy to maintain. I can go travelling and easily maintain leanness with this approach. It’s also much cheaper and convenient.

  41. Viktor
    Viktor says:

    When doing “Barbell Behind-The-Neck Presses ” it kinda squeezes in my middle-back and I don’t know if I’m doing wrong or not, do you have any alternative workout for that or perhaps some tips on how to do it?

    Thanks! :)

  42. Maxi
    Maxi says:

    Hey Brad,

    is it really bad to take some shitty cheap proteins? I’m a student and don’t want to spend half of my money for Potein 17.

    There are some for around 30 € – 40 € / 5 lb

    • Brad Branson
      Brad Branson says:

      Creatine can be good, and seems to work for me, although minimally, I think it’s probably the most tried and tested supplement, and been around for forever. I don’t use it much on the road tho, and supposedly it makes you a bit bloated because you retain more water…

  43. O
    O says:

    The cycle repeats every six days? As far as cardio what do you recommend I wanna lose 20 to 30 lbs. I am 240 currently and was at my heaviest 305 2 years ago but I have been steady at 240 for 6 months.

  44. Peter
    Peter says:

    This is by far the easiest workout plan to follow on the web. So simple. I have a question for Doubledown:

    I’m 5’9″ about 185 pounds and wanna look like Tom Hardy in Warrior (shredded)

    I bought fish oil from Costco (Kirkland brand) it has omega 3’s and is 1000 mg. No heavy metals. Is this ok?
    How much fish oil should I be taking?

    Protein 17 is expensive, and finding info on whether the protein is grass fed and meets all your other criteria is very difficult. Are there any other protein supplements you recommend?

    Look forward to hearing your take. Thanks.


  45. Louis
    Louis says:

    Brad, solid post.

    Question about the “3 sets of 6-10 reps plus one set of 15 reps” bit:

    How are we meant to do a 15-rep set if we’re meant to barely do 6?

  46. Alex
    Alex says:

    Does plus 15 reps mean after doing 3 Sets of 6-10 reps, go grab a lighter weight which you can lift for 15 reps?

    So you ultimately do 4 sets. I’ve been doing the routine this way for two months and i’d just like to double check :)

    Thanks so much!!!!

  47. George
    George says:

    Do you do leg workouts or squats? I normally skip legs how important are they, also i go to the gym about 4-5 days a week and I try to eat healthy im pretty lean right now but i can’t seem to gain weight no matter how much protein and carbs I eat do you have any suggestion to what I need to do differently to put on mass without gaining fat?

  48. Socialkenny
    Socialkenny says:

    Personally, I think getting ripped is overrated. I think most guys focus too much on buffing up in the gym instead of handling other areas of their lifestyle. Strike a balance, but don’t become a gym-rat.

  49. Phil Muzalewski
    Phil Muzalewski says:

    Hi Brad,

    You mention you need 1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight which is superb. Is there any similar sort of guidance you would give in relation to carbohydrates?

    Many thanks dude (Big respect for your work)

  50. Richard Allan
    Richard Allan says:

    How can you suggest a workout that neglects the entire lower body for resistance training? If the premise is to get a body women would like, neglecting the lower body would neglect the hip complex, which means no hip flexor definition or what laypeople commonly refer to as those hard to hit “lower abs”. I would think lower body exercises that firm up your core and tighten your butt would be as desirable to women as opposed to someone with a Johnny Bravo type of body. More importantly it is a scientific fact that working your lower body with compound movements such as deadlifts and squats increase free testosterone and IGF-1 levels more than any other exercises. There are also more muscles in the legs than in the shoulders, arms, chest or back. So on a leg day you are working much more muscle than any upper body day. Also a lot of major leg exercises are closed chain so you need to utilize your core and arms for stabilization when barbell squatting or deadlifting. I am also skeptical about your recommendation to eat rice cakes after a workout. A single rice cake has a glycemic index of over 100 which would cause a huge spike in blood sugar which is contradicted after exercise even in the presence of protein, as it can facilitate the progression of type 2 diabetes. The protein intake you recommend is also way to high and will absolutely cause kidney stones in any client it is recommended to without a serious intake of water to balance it out. First off the human body can only process up to 40 grams of protein per meal the rest is waste. The human body also only needs one gram per KILOGRAM of weight not lbs. All scientists use the metric system, so to say someone who was educated recommended a gram to pound intake does not know what they are talking about. Someone who is heavy weight training would require two grams per kilogram of body weight which is still less than a gram per pound. This is what you learn in basic college level performance nutrition lecture. In reference to your exercise prescription it has also been found that doing any behind the neck exercises such as a lat pulldown or behind the neck presses causes humeral grinding and can lead to serious shoulder damage. So my real question is what are your credentials, and what are those of the “fitness mentor” who recommended them. The only reason I am sharing my opinion is I am an MS RCEP BS HFI CSCS, and I have been working in fitness for over nine years, and everything you suggest contradicts everything I have learned at two of the most prestigious universities in the United States for Exercise Physiology, as well as hold the highest level of certification with the two top certifications schools, the NSCA and the ACSM. I look forward to your response and hope to hear from you soon as I eagerly await it. I also have a blog that I write which I use to debunk a lot of incorrect and harmful fitness information. I think that us having a discussion on one of our blogs would be beneficial to the both of us as we have very radical differences about fitness and training and I think a lot of people can learn from a discussion we would have. Thanks again and I wish you nothing but success in your fitness and health endeavors.

  51. CTWilliams
    CTWilliams says:

    This article is pretty good and well written, but to me this kind of level of advice is akin to the early pick up community information, its alright and effective somewhat, but it is at a lower level paradigm and certain things are not fully understood under this approach leading to a less optimal set of guidelines and advice.
    If you want to understood the latest scientifically backed paradigms of building muscle and losing fat i really suggest people subscribe to 3DMJs youtube channel, they are in my opinion the RSD of natural bodybuilding as far as quality of information. Other great sources are articles by Lyle McDonald, Alan Aragon, Layne Norton, Bret Contreras and Brad Schoenfield as well as the Alberto Nunez and Eric Helms from 3DMJ.

    The info here isnt terrible or “wrong” but it refers to some extremely outdated concepts like “clean organic eating”, bodypart split training, neglecting lower body to some degree and meal timing and frequency.

    I understand that this website is meant to be the “lifestyle product” but i would like to see the experts used to explain things like nutrition and exercise, business and pick up to understand the higher level cutting edge paradigms of information, obviously brad has that covered for the pickup content, but some of the other stuff Im not convinced on the quality or depth of research in that information, its ok to learn by anecdote and experience in pickup and business, but in fitness science and then an individual tailoring of that basic scientific information reigns king over anecdote and bro-logic.

    With that said it is awesome to see people in the community actually starting to address lifestyle factors, i just think there needs to be some delving deeper to actually reach the higher level information that is really key to achieving success in these areas


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