MI40X Review (Mass Intentions Extreme 2.0): CEP Exposed

MI40X Review (Mass Intentions Extreme 2.0): a look at Ben Pakulski’s program featuring the cell expansion protocol (CEP).

The newly upgraded version of Mass Intentions came out last month.  I’ve had the opportunity to look over this program and I’ll share my review with you.  I’ll start with a general overview of what you get if you decide to order this training program:

The Rapid Action Start Plan:

You’ll go to a members page immediately after ordering this program.  It takes a little trial-and-error to navigate it, but it’s not hard to figure out.  This page starts with an introductory video by Ben in which he explains how to get the most out of this program.  I would recommend you watch this intro video in it’s entirety and not try to skip directly to the training.

The Training Phases Summarized

Primer phase: this regimen last for three weeks and it is designed to help your body prepare for the intense workouts to come.

Phase 1-2–high volume: As the name implies, you’ll be doing a lot of sets/reps during these phases.  Each body part will be trained twice a week (one workout will be higher weight and the other higher reps).

Phase 3–power/hypertrophy: you will be training with heavier weights during this part of the program.

Phase 4–strength training: workouts for increasing your capacity as far as your one-rep max goes.

Phase 5 –dealoading: this is an “easy” phase which will allow both your central nervous system and your muscles to rest–preparing for the next phase.

Phase 6–overreaching:  you’ll go through an intense time of training right after you deload.

Phase 7–hyper recovery phase:  This time is not so intense on training and is designed (as the name implies) to help you maximize recovery.

You can download pdf files (workout sheets) to guide you through each of these before-mentioned phases.

The whole program will last for 18 weeks if you do it as prescribed (which is what I recommend).

You also have the option of selecting your level of training experience (beginner, intermediate, or advanced).   This means you could repeat the program through progressively difficult levels and maximize your purchase.

 Cell Expansion Protocol (C.E.P.)

One of the central concepts to MI40X is Cell Expansion Protocol (C.E.P.).   MI40x has ten downloadable videos explaining this in detail (Ben discusses this with a Ph.D.).  But I’ll explain the basic idea:

One of the keys to muscle size/growth is the muscle cell’s unique ability to contain/acquire more than one nucleus.  Muscle cells basically “borrow” nuclei from satellite cells when exposed to certain stimuli (like lifting weights).  This transfer of nuclei is a key component of building muscle.  Mass Intentions Extreme 2.0 shows you some specific techniques to make your training even more likely to cause this cellular process to occur.

The Videos

MI40X includes a complete video library, organized according to body part training.  I was really impressed with the quality of the videos.  A few years back most programs only had low-res, small videos.  This is (thankfully) no longer true: the videos I’ve downloaded have really good resolution, even in full screen mode.  Just keep in mind they are big files and may take a little while to download (depending on your internet connection speed).

Here’s a screenshot of the chest workout:

MI40XReviewChestTraining300I think you’ll find the video content to be the highlight of this program–watching the videos is as close as most of us can get to hiring Ben as a personal trainer.

Nutrition Guide

One of the most overlooked aspects of building muscle (and fat loss) is diet.  Be sure to follow the MI40x nutrition guides so you’ll have the right fuel for your training and recovery.  The more meticulous you are with your meal planning, the better your results will be.

Supplement Guide

I’ll give you a word of caution here: I’d recommend you just stick with very basic supplements (whey protein, creatine monohydrate, etc.) of brands that you trust.  I’m sure Ben’s recommended brands are fine, but don’t stress over supplement brand/budget.  Stick to the basic supplements and focus more on training/nutrition.

Additional Programs:

What I have just reviewed is the basic MI40X package.  You will have the option of buying additional products/programs.  You don’t have to order them to get what I’ve described above.   But they would be worthwhile if you find some of them meet your needs.

Review:

I think MI40x is a worthwhile investment for certain types of trainees.  Here a few that come to mind:

1.  Intermediate or advanced trainees looking to break through plateaus in building size and strength.

2.  Trainees who have hypertrophy (size and strength) as their main goal.

3.  Those who are willing to invest time and effort to finish 18 weeks of carefully planned training and nutrition.

If this describes you then I think MI40X would be a good investment for you.  It is not the cheapest program out there, but I think you’ll be satisfied with the amount of content you get for the money.  This program lasts 18 weeks, so 11 dollars/week isn’t a bad deal for something that will help you reach your goal.  Just CLICK HERE if you’d like to learn more about this program.  Please use MY LINKS if this review has helped you.

UPDATE:  You can now get MI40X for 97$ (normally 197$) while the offer lasts.  CLICK HERE for more information.  If you want to skip the cheesy intro sales video just find the “buy program” tab at the bottom of the page.

The Man Diet Review Chad Howse

The Man Diet
The Man Diet

I’ve had a chance to review The Man Diet by Chad Howse. I’m always interested in
learning new ways to boost testosterone naturally, so I enjoyed reading through his suggestions.  Let me start with a summary of what you get if you decide to order these books.

The Man Diet (main manual/e-book):  This is Chad Howse’s introduction and explanation of the diet.  He explains why it is so important to maximize your testosterone and shares how you should eat if that is your goal.  He also includes other lifestyle methods you can do to help boost your levels of the manly hormone.

The Man Diet Meal Log:  This is a simple way to keep records of the types of foods you are eating to ensure you are on track.

The Man Diet Cheater’s Guide: Howse explains how you can use strategic “cheating” (eating the foods you love) while staying on track with your overall fat loss goals.

QuickStart Guide: This is the summarized version of the program–you can use this to get started immediately while you study the details later.

Supplement Guide: As the title implies, this is the author’s suggestions for supplements to maximize your testosterone.

You also get unlimited updates if you choose to order this program.

Optional Products:  You’ll have the option of buying additional products if you decide to order this program.  You do not have to order them but you can if you choose to.

#1 Man Workout: This is a well-designed training program to help you build strength/muscle and lose fat (which will help with testosterone levels).  You may not need this one if you are an experienced trainee who knows how to work out.  But it would help guys who are out of shape and need a program to get started training again.

#2 Epic Sex Drive: These e-books have tips specifically designed for increasing libido.  I especially appreciate the fact that the author recommends against viewing sexually explicit material.  I believe porn does a lot of harm and can cause erectile dysfunction (visit yourbrainonporn.com for more details).

#3 Cookbook:  This e-book has recipes that are consistent with the dietary recommendations the author makes in the program.

Evaluation:

I was familiar with many of the recommendations made in this book.   There are a lot of similarities between The Man Diet and The Renegade Diet, which is a good thing (it means both authors know their stuff).   But I did pick up a few new strategies that I haven’t heard before, especially in regards to the timing of specific supplements/nutrients.

There are a couple of disagreements I have with the author in regards to his supplement advice.  He recommends specific brands of supplements.  I’m sure the brands he promotes are fine, but I’d recommend you shop around for better deals.  Vitamin D3, for example, is available at any drug store.  He also recommends tribulus in one of the books, which I don’t completely understand–a recent study has confirmed that it does not boost testosterone.1  I wish he had recommended maca powder instead (it won’t boost testosterone, but there’s some evidence maca is good for libido).  He could have also included the Citrulline-Arginine combination for sexual potency.

Conclusion:  Overall The Man Diet has a lot of good tips for boosting your T levels.  I think the author has listed about everything you can do short of testosterone replacement therapy.  I think this would be especially helpful for older guys who are looking to implement every possible strategy towards this goal.  It’s also a good value (the going prices is about 20 bucks at the time of this post).  Just click here if you’d like to order this program or learn more about it.

Note:  This review/product is not intended to replace medical advice.  Low testosterone cannot always be resolved through diet/exercise and can be medically dangerous (it can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, etc).  Be sure to talk with your doctor about this.

Reference:

1. Actas Urol Esp. 2014 May;38(4):244-248. doi: 10.1016/j.acuro.2013.09.014. Epub 2014 Mar 14. Tribulus terrestris versus placebo in the treatment of erectile dysfunction: A prospective, randomized, double blind study.

Advanced Giant Set for Abdominal Muscles

I was going through some old papers today and I ran across this advanced giant set for abs.  I printed it out from some website back in the 90’s (not sure if the before-mentioned website even exists anymore).

Here it is:

Hanging Leg Raises
Hanging Leg Raises

Hanging leg raises–15 reps, 2 second intervals

Hanging bent-knee raises–5 reps, 1 second intervals

Lying 6″ leg raises–30 reps, 1 second intervals

Rest for 15 seconds, then

Lying 6″ leg raises–20 reps, 1 second intervals

Reverse crunches–20 reps, 1 second intervals

1/4 twisting sit-ups–35 reps, 2 second intervals

Rest for 10 seconds, then

1/4 sit-ups–35 reps, 2 second intervals

Crunches–20 reps, 0.5 second intervals

Unless specified, no rest between sets.  Make sure to breath out during the contracting phase of the motion.

What I like about this is you progress from difficult to easier movements as your abs get fatigued.

Muscle Explosion 2.0 Review

Nick Nilsson has updated Muscle Explosion, a program I reviewed a while back (you can muscle-explosion-20check out my original review if you are interested). This program is based on the same principles as the original but he has tweaked it to make it even more effective.  What’s new with the version 2.0?  I’ll explain.

1. A day of fasting.

One of the strategies in Muscle explosion is to get your muscle glycogen levels low through certain dietary strategies.  In the this revised version you’ll have the option of fasting for 24 hours (kind of like what is proposed in Eat Stop Eat).   The idea is to prime your body/muscles to “bounce back” once you refill them why glycogen (by eating carbohydrates again).

2. Reverse Carb Tapering

You will be advised to try eating most of your carbs at dinner (your last meal) during the third and fourth week of the program.  The idea is to minimize fat or even promote fat loss (similar concept as the Renegade Diet).  Nilsson calls this “reverse carb tapering,” and it is explained in more detail in the program.

3. Supplements

Some new supplement brand recommendations have been added.  But I would recommend you just stick to reputable brands and take a minimalist approach to supplements (protein, creatine, fish oil, and a multivitamin).

4. Fat Loss Circuit Training

Nilsson has tweaked the fat loss aspect of the training.  You’ll be doing movements that involve the whole body instead of bodypart split training.  You should find this workout more interesting (and challenging) than what was in the original version.

5. Lactic Acid Training

The original Muscle Explosion utilized partial training methods (stretched and contracted positions) in the lactic acid training phase.  But the new version uses more conventional methods for this–high repetitions and rest-pause training.  You’ll find this to be a simpler way to get the lactic acid going.

6. Positions of Flexion 1 and 1/4 Rep Training

Nilsson found has replaced stretch-pause training with this method.  This is better to maximize the tension on the muscle you are trying to train.  It also allows for a better stretch and contraction.

7. Weak Point Training

The new program has a day dedicated to target the weak points of major lifts.  You will do a lot of volume on weak points without frying your central nervous system.  The result should be stronger overall lifts.

8. Single-Rep Cluster Training

The original Muscle Explosion was more for hypertrophy and didn’t really include strength training.  You’ll be dedicating a full day to strength in the the new program through a method called single-rep cluster training.

Review:

I think Nilsson has taken a great program and made it even better with Muscle Explosion 2.0.  This would be good for intermediate to advanced trainees who are looking to break through plateaus in building strength and size.  Please click here if you’d like to order this program or learn more.

70-Year-Old Bodybuilder Sam Bryant Jr.

This is another inspirational story/video that I’ve run across: 70-year-old bodybuilder Sam “Sonny” Bryant Jr. It’s inspiration for a couple of reasons: 1. His physique is absolutely phenomenal. 2.  He didn’t even start training until he was 44.

This is one of the most motivational things I’ve seen in a long time.  It’s proof that dedication to the gym can pay off even in the later years of life.

Riviera Fitness Center Review (Centerpoint, AL)

RivieraCenterPointIt’s time for me to give another shout-out to a great gym: Riviera Fitness of Centerpoint, AL.

My Buddy Shannon
My Buddy Shannon

I learned about this gym a few years ago when I was still living overseas.  A pastor friend recommended I check it out because I was looking for a place to train while visiting here in the States.  He told me to talk to Shannon (one of the staff/trainers–pictured here with the blue sweatshirt).

I was really impressed with everything: the trainers, the equipment, the atmosphere, etc.  I’ve worked out in quite a few gyms around here and this place has been my favorite.

My wife and I have moved back to the States and are now living in Pinson.  We joined Riviera Fitness Center soon after we moved here.  Here are a few pictures of the facilities and equipment (with my description underneath):

RivieraFitnessMachinesResistance machines.

RivieraFitnessCardioCardio and abdominal training equipment.

RivieraFitnessFreeWeightsThe squat racks and free weights (squat racks, benches, dumbbells, etc.)–this is where I spend most of my time when I’m here.

RivieraFitnessLadiesThe ladies training area.  This room allows a little privacy for women while they work out.  My wife does some of here training in this (very large) room.

I haven’t taken a picture of everything–there’s another cardiovascular room and group training room I haven’t included in these photos.  This gym is located in what used to be a department store.  It’s really spacious and you can work out without feeling crowded.

I recommend this Riviera Fitness Center without hesitation.  Check it out if you live near the northeastern section of Birmingham (Centerpoint, Pinson, etc.) and are looking for a great gym.  Tell them Kevin sent you.

Adonis Golden Ratio Review (John Barban)

I’ve had the opportunity to review John Barban’s Adonis Golden Ratio program.  I’ve been meaning to post this for quite some time because some of my readers have asked me about it.

John Barban
John Barban

First I’ll explain the whole golden ratio concept.  The idea is pretty simple:  achieving certain body measurements/proportions will give you a more aesthetically appealing physique.  Some studies suggest, for example, that women are very attracted to men whose shoulders measurements are 1.6 times the size of their waist.  A man with these measurements would have broad shoulders, a v-taper back, and a narrow waist.  The goal of this program is to get as close to these ideal measurements/ratios as possible.

Now let’s talk about what you get when you order this program:

Program Components
Program Components

1. Adonis Golden Ratio Training Program:  Once you order you’ll have access to the members area of the website.  Here you can type in your height and weight in order to get the program that will help you with your specific goals.  This 12-week program will guide you through your training.

2. Adonis Golden Ratio Nutrition Guide:  As the name implies, this material will show you how to eat properly so you can lose fat and build muscle.  Please don’t overlook this component–especially if you are trying to lose fat and get leaner.

3. AGR Nutrition Software:  This is another tool to help you make sure you are doing things correctly as far as diet goes.

4. AGR Video Series:  Over 70 instructional videos so you can see demonstrations and learn how to do the exercises properly.

Demonstration Videos
Demonstration Videos

5.  AGR Supplement Guide:  The authors’ take on supplements–which ones help and which are worthless.

6: AGR Specialization Programs:  You can download workout programs designed to target specific body parts (arm & abs, back, calves, lesg, and shoulders).

REVIEW:

One thing I really like about the AGR program is the customized design of the workout/diet.  Not all trainees walk into the gym with the same body type, so why should they all train in the exact same way?  I put my height and weight into the website (see image below) just to see what it came up with.  The program and diet it gave me matched my goals/needs very well (fat loss).

AGR Customized Program
AGR Customized Program

The specialization programs give you even more options for customization since you can target muscle groups that may be lagging.

The only area of disagreement I have is with the supplement guide.  His advice is OK, but he endorses a specific brand of supplements.  I’d advise you to simply shop around, buy reputable brands, and stick with the basics.  Do that and I’m sure you’ll be satisfied with your results, regardless of the supplement brand you use.

Overall I think this is a great program that would work well for the following:

*Men who are primarily interested in building an aesthetically pleasing physique.

*Trainees who want a targeted, systematic approach for their goals.

*Beginner or novice trainees who want to spend 12 weeks on a focused transformation program.

The Adonis Golden Ratio program would be a good investment for you if any of these describe you.  Just click here if you are interested in ordering this program.

You can also look at my list of recommended programs if you think something else may better match your goals/needs.  And feel free to contact me with any questions.

Hypertrophy Max Review Phase 4

Phase 4 of Hypertrophy Max is called Max Volume.  These workouts are designed to maximize (you guessed it) training volume.   You’ll hear them talk about the concept of over-reaching–doing more volume than you would normally do.  This can be very effective if you can do it without over-training.

Hypertrophy Max Phase 4: arm training
Hypertrophy Max Phase 4: arm training

Here are a few benefits to this kind of training:

*You’ll break through size and strength plateaus as you push your body to new limits.

*Like the previous phase, volume training tends to result in increased growth hormone production.

Keep something in mind with volume training:  this only works if done as prescribed by Vince and Ben.  You have to give yourself adequate time to rest/recover, use the appropriate level of intensity, etc.

Just CLICK HERE if you are interested in ordering Hypertrophy Max. 

Rock Hard Grandfather Robert Durbin, Age 64 (Body Transformation)

Robert Durbin has a physique much younger men would envy.  But this wasn’t always so: as you can see by the before/after picture, Robert was in terrible shape a few years ago.  He wore braces and couldn’t walk without using a cane.  He decided to transform his body and life so he could enjoy his family.  The video (posted below) has made him an internet sensation.  He was kind enough to do this interview for me.

Robert Durbin, "Rock Hard Paw Paw"
Robert Durbin, “Rock Hard Paw Paw”

Kevin: Robert, I’d first like to thank you for taking the time to do this interview. Why don’t you tell my readers a little bit about yourself (education, family, work, etc.)?

Robert: I graduated from Fairdale High School in 1968. I’ve been married 34 years as of this month. We have five kids, five grandkids, and two great-grandkids. I’m retired.

Kevin: Let’s talk about your younger years. Were you in pretty good shape as a young man?

Robert: I was involved in several sports in high school: football, track, and cross-country running. I was pretty healthy until I reached my late 30’s.

Kevin: What was the turning point for you? What motivated you to transform your body?

Robert: I wasn’t able to do anything with my children and grandchildren, and I was always sick.

Kevin: What do you consider to be the most difficult part of this process?

Learning how to eat properly was definitely the hardest thing for me.

Kevin: Please tell my readers (in general terms) about your diet and training.

Robert: I don’t eat fried foods or white bread and I also never eat out. I eat lean meats like chicken, turkey breasts, and tuna. I also eat a lot of green vegetables. I believe in pushing myself to my physical/mental limits every day in the gym. I train 2.5-3 hours a day, and I also train abs every morning and night.

Kevin: One of the topics I’m interested in (as I age) is training into later years. What adaptations (if any) have you made to your training as an older athlete ?

I do the same workouts younger guys do but I use a little less weight. I also try to add a lot of variety: kickboxing, kettlebell training, Crossfit, yoga, etc.

Kevin: What advice would you give to people who want to get in better shape?

Robert: Just put your mind to it and do it! Set your goals and when you reach them raise them higher. Age is just a number—it’s never to late, get out there and do something.

Kevin: Please talk about the differences in quality of life you are experiencing now that you are in better shape.

I’m able to get around and I’m not afraid to try anything. My mindset is very positive.

Kevin: What does your family think of your new physique and notoriety?

Oh man, my kids brag about me all the time. It’s an incredible feeling and it makes all my hard work worth it.

Kevin: What’s next for you?

Robert: I’d like to make another video with Barstarzz. I’m also thinking about entering a physique competition like the Kentucky Derby Muscle Show.

Kevin: Thanks again for taking the time to do this interview!

Thank you!

Here’s the youtube video featuring Robert: