Muscle Matrix Solution Review (Ryan Hughes)

I’ve had a chance to look over the Muscle Matrix Solution by Ryan Hughes. I’ll start of this review with a little information about the author.

Ryan Hughes
Ryan Hughes

Ryan Hughes first started training when he was a teenager. He was 6’1″ tall and weighed only 135 lb. But he had a passion for training and was able to compete in his first bodybuilding competition at age 19. He would eventually become one of the first IFBB Men’s Physique Pros, an International Fitness Cover Model, and a well-known trainer and fitness professional. He is considered one of America’s top personal trainers and has appeared on nationally syndicated television shows.

Now let’s talk about what you get if you decide to order the Muscle Matrix Solution:

Once you make your purchase you will get an email with login information. As you can see (by looking at the screenshot) you begin with a welcome page. The navigation tabs on the top of the page will take you through the rest of the program:

musclematrixsolutionreviewwebsite

Introduction:
This section includes an overview of the program in video form. Hughes walks you through what the program includes and how to set it up specifically for your needs. Some of the topics he discusses are optimizing hormones (like testosterone), training, diet, and supplementation. He also gets into some motivational issues that will hopefully help inspire you to get started and stick with it.

There are also two downloadable pdf files in this section: 1. Welcome file/e-book, and 2. Cover Model Secrets, which explains some of the final steps bodybuilders/models take to get ready for a photo shoot or contest.

Training:
Ryan Hughes explains the workouts in this section (which he calls Matrix Training). His program combines three different styles of training, all of which are proven to be effective individually. The idea is that these training techniques will work together synergistically when combined. The workouts are set up in three different tracks: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. Progression is built into the workouts so will improve in the amount of weight you use, the amount of reps you can do, and the amount of time you rest in between sets (you will be able to get by with less rest time as you progress through the program). He goes on to explain the specific set and rep range you’ll be doing.

There’s a downloadable file where you can see the actual workout plan (the specific exercises, set/reps, etc.).

Keep this in mind: the program is set up for you to do brief, intense workouts (about 45 minutes). You won’t be spending all day in the gym, but you will have to train hard–these workouts will not be easy.

Nutrition:
Hughes’ nutrition plan is based on three key principles:

1. Flexibility: This doesn’t mean you can eat pizza and ice cream every day. It does mean that you can eat foods like this every once in a while in moderation. In other words, you can follow this lifestyle without having to plan your entire life around a 24/7 strict diet.

2. Meal Timing and Nutrient Combination: You will be guided in eating certain types of foods according to the time of day and/or your training. You will try to eat most of your carbohydrates, for example, in the evening after you train. This advise may sound different that what you’ve heard before, but it does work (based on my personal experience–I eat most of my carbs either after I train or at dinner).

3. Macronutrients: Ryan explains the role of protein, carbohydrates and fats and how you can manipulate your intake of these to build muscle and burn fat.

There is downloadable file you can use to read about these principles.

This section also includes a nutrition calculator. You can use this to customize your eating plan for your specific needs.

Supplementation:
The video and the pdf file breaks down Hughes’ recommended supplement protocol. This is one area where I have some disagreements with the author. I personally do not believe any supplement can significantly increase testosterone and nothing he wrote has changed my mind. Instead of getting into details I’d rather just give my standard advice: stick with basic supplements like whey protein powder, (micronized) creatine monohydrate, a multivitamin, and fish oil. Use these basic supplements with reputable brands and you’ll do fine (and you’ll keep more of your hard-earned money).

The Exercise Library:

Drag Curl Demonstration Video
Drag Curl Demonstration Video

This is another nice feature of the Muscle Matrix Solution. I always appreciate video demonstrations of exercises and these are well done.

Conclusion:
This final video/pdf wraps up the program. Hughes talks about defining your goal(s) that were on your mind when you ordered and implemented this program. He recaps all the program components (training, nutrition, etc.) and encourages you to embrace what you have learned as a lifestyle. He also mentions an insider’s coaching club you can join if you choose to.

Bonus Material:
This section has the Abdominal Accelerator program available for download. This is a plan for those who want to spend 30 days focusing on maximizing their fat loss. I think this would work really well with or without the supplements mentioned.

REVIEW:
I think the Muscle Matrix Solution program is put together very well and will get results if you follow both the training and the nutrition plans. The set and reps Hughes recommends makes sense to me because it is a good mix of strength and hypertrophy (growth) rep ranges. I found the material to be well organized and easy to navigate.

Who would this program benefit? A few types of people come to mind:

*New trainees who want a step-by-step system to guide them on their journey of building muscle and/or losing fat.

*Intermediate or advanced trainees who have reached plateaus in their training and are ready to try some new workout techniques.

*Guys who want to look better–those who want to build a lean, muscular physique and be more self-confident.

If what I have described sounds like you then I think the Muscle Matrix Solution would be a good investment for your training library. Just CLICK HERE if you would like to order this program or learn more.

Fighter Abs Review (Andrew Raposo)

I’ve had the opportunity to look over Andrew Raposo’s Fighter Abs program. Let me start this review by explaining what you get if you order this program. You’ll be directed to a download page where you’ll see the following:

Beginner Workout
Beginner Workout

The Coaching Video Workouts:

This page has videos divided into three levels of difficulty: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. There are 19 videos total with a pretty good variety of exercises. These videos are well done and you’ll be abele to see exactly how to do the prescribed exercises.

Fighter Abs Exercise Manual:

This pdf file is a complete illustrated guide to the exercise program. It includes both pictures and step-by-step descriptions of the movements you’ll be doing (stance, body positioning etc.). You could easily print this out if you want, but I had an easy time reading it in digital form.

12 Week Blueprint:

The previous components I mentioned show you how to do the exercises. The blueprint shows you how to put it all together–it is a complete “road map” of how to set up your training schedule. It includes tips for getting started, how to incorporate the Fighter Abs routine in an existing program, choosing the phase you should start with, etc.

Bonuses

Mobility Video
Mobility Video

Get Mobility Like a Fighter Videos: These warm up exercises are designed to help with flexibility/mobility. Doing these movements will keep your joints healthy and should help with tight muscles or even poor posture.

Mobility Exercise Manual: This is the illustrated guide to the mobility exercises. Like the main exercise manual, you’ll see descriptions/instructions on how to properly execute the movements.

Mindset Solution:  This document is all about the mental aspects of training.  You’ll learn how to condition your mind for training and you’ll find some of these principles carry over to other aspects of life.

4 Week Mobility Blueprint: Raposo explains how to incorporate this mobility work into your routine over the course of a month. I’m guessing you would notice a marked improvement in just a few weeks, especially if you’ve never worked on your mobility (or haven’t done it in a long time).

7-Day Rapid Fat Loss Accelerator Guide: Needless to say, no one will see your abdominal muscles if they are covered in fat. This guide shows you how to kick-start your fat loss if that is one of your goals. You’ll be manipulating your calories and macronutrients (carbohydrates, etc.) for maximum results. There is a limit to how much you can lose in a week, but this will teach you the limits of what can be done in a short period of time and maybe even motivate you to keep working towards getting leaner.

Supplement Guide: As the name implies, this is a the author’s recommended supplements. He recommends some specific brands (as most fitness professionals do), but I’d suggest you just stick to the basics and find less expensive brands.

REVIEW:

Not everyone who trains does so with the idea of looking like a bodybuilder. Some find the lean, athletic, powerful physiques of MMA fighters to be more appealing. Fighter Abs is the kind of training that is more in line with that goal.

I should mention something here: this program is not some “short cut” to having six-pack abs–there is no such thing, and anyone who tells you otherwise just isn’t being honest. Having visible abs comes from having low body fat along with a few other factors (genetics, etc.). I’ve mentioned MMA fighters, and they are the perfect examples of this–some of them have washboard abs, others don’t–even when they are in top condition.

I think this program is put together well and would be beneficial for the following:

*People who want to add some variety in their training. You could incorporate these exercises into an existing program to help with core/abdominal strength, conditioning, and mobility.

*Trainees who want an alternative to the typical bodybuilding routine. This may mean you want a break from lifting weights or you just want to explore another type of training altogether.

*Martial artists who want a program that will help them with their basic strength/conditioning. I think this would be especially good for beginners who need to develop the basic strength.

*People who are interested in studying self-defense. This isn’t a self-defense program per se, but learning some of these movements would be useful for that purpose.

*Trainees who want to ad some variety to their abdominal training. It is easy to get bored with crunches, etc. This program may help you stay motivated to train abs and core muscles.

If any of the above describes you then I think Fighter Abs would be a good investment for your library of training information. Please CLICK HERE if you’d like to get this program for only 20 bucks (a great value).

Prohormones: Hype and History

Every once in a while I get asked about the form of supplements known as prohormones.  I’ll share what I believe to be an informed opinion (along with some personal stories for your amusement), but keep in mind I’m not a doctor or pharmacist.

I’ll start with a little personal history:

Some of you may know that I spent wasted a lot of money on supplements in the 90’s.  That era was in many ways the the “wild west” of supplement industry.

Prohormones came on the scene the mid-90’s, not long after anabolic steroids had been reclassified as schedule 3 controlled substances (since big biceps are apparently as dangerous as heroine).1  They were still legal because they were supposed to be precursors to anabolic hormones–converting to testosterone only after passing through the liver.

This was also around the time of the internet boom, so all kinds of stuff was being sold online.  I remember GHB, the “date rape drug,” being marketed since it induced a deep sleep which would theoretically help with growth hormone production.

Androstenedione was the first prohormone to be heavily marketed (and given the nickname “andro”).  This one was made famous when a sports reporter “accidentally” spotted a bottle in Mark MgGwire’s locker–some believe he put it there to draw attention away from allegations of steroid use (which he denied for years).  AST_Androstene

I was a naive 20-something who had been training for over a decade.  I was eager to find an edge to make me bigger and stronger (ironic, since I considered myself a “natural” trainee).  I tried several prohormone formulas: androstendione, 4-AD, 1-AD, etc.  I even tried some unusual administration routes, like spraying them on my skin (which was supposedly superior to taking them orally), and even spraying them up my nose (which supposedly helped with focus and aggression, since that’s a more direct route to the brain).  Did I mention what a naive consumer I was?  I can’t help but laugh thinking back to some of the moronic things I tried.

I used prohormones on and off from the mid to late 90’s, but I can’t say they made any difference whatsoever.  If I had it all to do over I would have simply enjoyed the gains that come from being in the peak years of my natural testosterone production (and saved some of my hard-earned cash).  My best lifts of that decade came from simply adjusting my training methods—not from supplements of any kind.

At some point I discovered just how unpredictable prohormones were.  Androstenedione, for example, was shown to raise the level of certain female hormones–not what I had in mind!2  I had never experienced any feminizing side effects, but the illusion of inducing a legal, side effect free testosterone boost was completely shattered.  I never bothered with prohormones again–part of the hard lesson I had learned about trusting the supplement industry.  I’m extremely grateful for reaching this conclusion because the worst was yet to come.

The hype regarding prohormones lived on in the 2000’s even after some were banned by the Steroid Control Act of 2004.  “New” products came up that were not covered under the current law.  I would see brands/names mentioned on bodybuilding forums, complete with testimonies of muscle/strength gains.   But I was done–I wasn’t about to potentially tamper with my natural testosterone production based on endorsements in forums.

I have since learned that most of the prohormones were not really new at all–they were originally developed in the 60’s by chemists that were trying to create new steroid formulas.  These compounds were abandoned because they were found to be ineffective and/or extremely toxic to the liver.   Unscrupulous companies had essentially repackaged toxic waste of the 60’s as muscle builders.   Apparently some the formulas that were resurrected in the 2000’s were more toxic than what was sold/used in the 90’s–a few unfortunate users required medical intervention due to liver toxicity.The FDA eventually banned these new/old drugs as well.

So here we are, about 20 years after prohormones were first introduced.  I don’t know if any “new” versions are out there and I could care less.  I’m content to lift, live and just optimize my testosterone levels naturally.

References:

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anabolic_steroid#United_States

2. JAMA. 2000 Feb 9;283(6):779-82. Oral androstenedione administration and serum testosterone concentrations in young men.

3. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2007 Jul;5(7):809-12. Epub 2007 May 16. Hepatotoxicity associated with dietary supplements containing anabolic steroids.

DUP Method Review: Daily Undulating Periodization Program (Jason Maxwell; Mike Samuels)

TheDUPMethodReviewThe DUP Method (Daily Undulating Periodization) Review:.  I’ve had an opportunity to check out a new program from Jason Maxwell and Mike Samuels. I’ll start this review by explaining what you get if you decide to invest in this program:

Component 1: The DUP Main Manual
This document serves as a starting point, explaining the overall training philosophy and science behind the strategies you’ll be using.  It will give you an overview of the program as well as some different options for training frequency (anything from 2-5 days).  Once you’ve read this you’ll have a basic understanding of why this method should make you stronger.

Component 2: The DUP Method Nutrition Guide
Needless to say, you can’t get big and strong without a good eating plan.  This document will show you how to set up your diet/nutrition in order to maximize the benefits of your training.  You’ll be guided in calculating your daily caloric intake as well as macronutrients (fats, proteins, and carbohydrates).  Be sure to look over this carefully–many trainees fail to reach their goals because they don’t put much thought or planning into their diet.

Component 3: The Optimal DUP Workout Log
According to the author, the ideal setup for this program is to train five days per week.  That may sound like overtraining, but you have to remember that the volume (number of sets and reps) is adjusted so you’ll be able to adequately recover.  Anyway, this workout log is convenient because you can print it out or put it on your smartphone.  Either way you could bring it to the gym with you.

Component 4: 4-Day Per Week Workout Log
As the name implies, this workout is designed for those who can only train four times per week.

Component 5: The “Busy Man’s” Workout Log
This one is for those who can only train three times a week.

Component 6: DUP For Beat Up Lifters Workout Log
This is a program variation for lifters who are a little older and/or training around old injuries. Some trainees, for example, may have back issues or joint problems that require them to make some adjustments in their exercise selection, etc. This would be helpful for men (or women) in that situation who want to keep getting stronger while avoiding re-injuring themselves.

Component 7: DUP For Hypertrophy Workout Log
As the title implies, this program is set up for those who are primarily concerned with building muscle (vs. those who are only interested in strength/powerlifting).

Component 8: DUP For Fat Loss
Last but not least, these workouts are set up for those who are interested in maximizing fat loss while also benefiting from the strength aspects of the training.

Bonuses:
You’ll also get some nice bonus material if you decide to order.
BONUS #1: Bench Press Tutorial Video
BONUS #2: Squat Tutorial Video
BONUS #3: Deadlift Tutorial Video
BONUS #4: Bigger Bench Checklist
Bonus #5: Customization Guide
Bonus #6: DUP Arms Specialization

Deadlift Tutorial
Bonus Material (Deadlift Tutorial)

I think you’ll find the video tutorials especially helpful. You can watch them online or download them onto your hard drive (I’d recommend downloading them).

Additional Products (Upsells):
Here are additional program packages you can add on to the basic package. You do not have to purchase these, but you can if you are interested:

The Accelerator Package:
This includes a manual for diet, training, supplementation and complete workouts for those who want to do an all-out, 6-day per week training schedule.

The Done-for-You Package: This includes spreadsheets for all five of the workouts in the basic package.  You just put your one rep max in and it calculates it for you.  A nutrition spreadsheet is also included.

The Specialization Package: This includes specialization guides for bench press, deadlift and squat. These programs would be useful for those who really want to focus on improving one of these lifts.

REVIEW:

Have you ever noticed how many guys go to the gym and lift the exact same weight for the same number of reps week in and week out?  The reason is pretty simple: they are training like newbies.

Beginner trainees will usually get a little bit stronger every week, regardless of training methodology.  But linear progression (adding a little weight to the bar each workout) will only get you so far.  You will eventually reach a “sticking point”–a lesson I learned the hard way back in the 90’s.

This is where periodization comes in–training in a way that works with your muscular and neurological system.   Daily Undulating Periodization is a unique variation of this strategy that can be very effective.

Keep this in mind: this way of training is not like the typical bodybuilding type split you see in the magazines (and gyms).  But I think you’ll find it to be a refreshing change of pace–one that is backed by science.  One study, for example, found that the DUP method was superior to linear methods (like 5×5) for building strength in those with significant training experience.1

I believe the DUP Method can teach you how to start making progress again if you find yourself stuck in a rut of no noticeable gains.

*Intermediate to advance trainees who want to break through plateaus in their overall strength.  This includes increasing your max in the bench press, squat, and deadlift.

*Athletes who want to increase their strength in order to be more competitive in sports.

*Guys (or girls) who want be strong in addition to looking strong.

*Trainees who are willing to commit to a different style of programming than what they may be used to (especially those who have done a traditional bodybuilding split).

If any of these descriptions fit you then I think the DUP Method would be a worthwhile investment as part of your training library.  Just CLICK HERE if you’d like to order this program or learn more.  Don’t delay because the price will be going up soon. 

Reference:

1. J Strength Cond Res. 2002 May;16(2):250-5. A comparison of linear and daily undulating periodized programs with equated volume and intensity for strength.

The Psychology of Strength Review (Mike Gillette)

ThePsychologyofStrengthReview
Mike Gillete

I’ve had the opportunity to look over a new program called The Psychology of Strength. Let me start by telling you a little about he author, Mike Gillette.
Gillette is a former Army paratrooper, SWAT commander, Homeland Security consultant, and armed forces tactical trainer.  He is currently an executive bodyguard, performing strongman and martial arts expert (the bar you see in the picture was bent with his bare hands).  He holds the world’s record for the most steel-tipped arrows broken simultaneously with his neck.  He’s also the creator of the Savage Strength Training System, a popular program on this blog.  Needless to say, he knows a thing or two about developing both physical and mental strength.

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

StrengthPsychologyReview Strength Psychology Instruction Manual:   This document begins with a summary of Gillette’s fascinating life story.  He was raised in a very dysfunctional environment that left him afraid and suicidal (literally) by the time he was 18.  But he made the decision to turn his life around and discover his purpose.  The author goes on to explain the mindset of mental Toughness he was able to develop and gives specific steps on how you can do the same.

The Videos:  This program also includes videos where you can hear Mike Explain the concepts in more detail.  The videos are the most important component of The Psychology of Strength program.

Video 1: Introduction–Mike begins this video by describing people who are not mentally tough–people who “just get by.”  These kinds of people, he argues, have a tendency to settle for less in life.   This can be changed if you develop mental toughness and take control of your mind, which will enable you to pursue the life you want.  He explains how this happened in his life and how he wants to help it happen for you.  This program, he explains, combines things he has learned from the various phases in his life (military, law enforcement, etc.).

Video 2: Personal Story of Strength–As I’ve mentioned, Gillette had a rough upbringing.  Hearing him share it personally is very powerful: “My story is one of weakness transformed into strength and second chances.”

Video 3: Mental Toughness (Part 1)–The primary concept in this video is the mindset of mental toughness.    Mike talks a great deal about the connection between the body and the mind.  Physical talent, for example, is not maximized until one develops the mental focus need to perform optimally.  He also discusses how negative emotions can affect everything we do.   This video includes some specific strategies to change negative emotions.

Video 4: Mental Toughness (Part 2)-This video focuses on fear–learning what it is so you can begin to overcome it.  Mike starts off by sharing a personal testimony of how fear used to control his life.  Fear management training is a concept you’ll be introduced to–not banishing fear (which is impossible and even inadvisable), but learning to face it. “What I want you to be able to do is recognize fear and do what you want to anyway,” he says.

Video 5: Mental Toughness (Part 3)–Mike talks about overcoming fear in this video.  Once again he shares a personal story (this one from his days as a police officer) illustrating our tendency to “freeze” when we are afraid.   He takes his life-or-death experience and explains how the same principles apply to almost any fear-based experience.   Mike then gives some practical steps that will help you confront and manage your fear.

Video 6: Life by Design (Part 1)–This video teaches you how to make effective plans for your life.  People often fail, Mike argues, because they don’t plan well.  Example: someone may say he wants to lose weight.  This is an admirable goal, but it just isn’t specific enough to really mean anything.  One component of proper planning is a specific, measurable goal.   This video really focuses on how to make challenging yet attainable goals and reach them.

Video 7: Life by Design (Part 2)–Mike shows you how to set long-term goals for five different areas of your life (physical, financial, etc.).

Video 8: Mind Strengthening Skills–This final video offers several mental exercises you can practice.  Mike encourages you to try all these skills/techniques so you can gain better control of your thoughts and improved awareness of your body (breathing, etc.).  Practicing these techniques can help you become physically stronger as you improve over time.

Review:

Sometimes we think mentally strong people were just born that way or grew up with every possible advantage.  This may be true in some cases, but it definitely wasn’t in Mike’s.  Mental strength is something anyone can develop if he/she will simply commit to new ways of thinking.

Most of the programs I review are about diet and training–physical aspects of self-improvement.  The Psychology of Strength is unique in that it deals almost exclusively with the mental aspect of improving your life.   I think it is worth your time/money.

I think this program would be good for the following:

*Athletes/trainees that want to overcome psychological barriers and further develop the mental aspect of their skill/game.

*People who want to overcome fear or lack of confidence.

*People who want to live more intentionally.

*Coaches and/or motivational speakers who want to add to their personal development library.

I think The Psychology of Strength would be a worthwhile investment if this describes you (or if what I’ve shared in this review/summary appeals to you).  The digital version is $49 and the “hard copy” version is $99.  This is relatively inexpensive when compared to what it would cost to go to a seminar of this length and quality.

JUST CLICK HERE IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO ORDER THIS PROGRAM OR LEARN MORE.

Note: You may see a video called The End of the American Male at the bottom of the program page.  I personally do not endorse (or use) any “testosterone booster” supplements.  My review only covers the program I have described, not any other products.

Alternative Products:  As I’ve mentioned, Mike Gillette has a program called the Savage Strength Training System.  Feel free to check it out if you want to learn more about his physical approach to strength training.

Deadlifting without Calluses

francodeadlifting

I’m a big fan of the deadlift.  It’s one of those foundational strength and mass builders that packs on muscle like few exercises can.  This exercise has a tendency to give me calluses on my  hands, and that used to be fine with me: I considered them a badge of honor in my younger days.

But my wife hates them, and this has changed my attitude considerably.  I started wearing training gloves (something I never did in my single days), but that didn’t seem to help very much.

That’s when I ran across this helpful tip: try gripping the bar in a slightly different way.  Grabbing it in the middle of your palm (like you are going to bench press) really doesn’t make much sense because it will pinch the skin as it pulls towards your knuckles.  Grab the bar lower in your hand (where it’s going to end up as you pull) and you’ll avoid calluses.  I tried this today and it works–I didn’t notice any reduction in grip strength and it drastically reduced the pinching/callusing.

The point of the deadlift is to build strength and muscle–not nasty, bleeding hands.  Check out the video below for a visual.

Visual Impact Frequency Training Review

Visual Impact Frequency Training Review

I’ve had the opportunity to look over Rusty Moore’s latest workout program.  I’ll get VisualImpactFrequencyTrainingReviewstart by explaining some of the basis premises of this workout:

We know that frequency (how often you train a muscle) is one of the training variables we can adjust in order to meet our goals.   Conventional wisdom is that a muscle must get trained then have 48 to 72 hours of recovery.  Most bodybuilders try to take advantage of this by doing body part splits: training a muscle with a lot of volume, then allowing it to rest for the next day or two while you train other body parts.

No one is questioning the effectiveness of traditional split training.  But it clearly isn’t the only way to get stronger–it may not even be the best way, depending on your goals.  Many athletes, for example, train at least once a day.  Let’s use boxers as an example:  they don’t hit the bag for an hour then wait 2-3 days to do it again. Athletes sometimes practice/train several times a day, yet they end up improving in their sport.

Moore argues that we can learn from those who don’t follow the typical bodybuilding pattern of working out.  He believes, in fact, that training like an athlete (with higher frequency) is a much more efficient way of getting stronger and leaner.  He also believes a higher frequency style program will produce a harder, more dense kind of muscle.

Moore spent a great deal of time studying the methods of Eastern European athletes in developing his program.  He looked at the philosophies of legends like Pavel Tsatsouline and Vladimir Zatsiorsky.   Zatsiorsky believed in lifting with maximum velocity in order to create the maximum amount of force possible.  Tsatsouline emphasized lifting the weight with slower, controlled speeds in order to maximize the tension on the muscle.   Rusty’s program combines both of these philosophies, since each of them have merit.

How is this program set up?  I’ll try to summarize it without giving too much away:

You’ll be training 5-6 days a week, training every muscle group daily.  That may sound like a lot, but it can be done when other variables (like training volume) are properly adjusted.

You’ll only be doing one exercise per body part per workout.  Since you will be training daily there is no need for multiple sets.

You’ll be alternating between “explosive” workouts (emphasizing lifting with maximum speed/force) and “TUT” workouts (time under tension–emphasizing slow, controlled movements).

Moore says he was “blown away” when he tried training this way: he saw improvements in in his physique and strength levels in just a few weeks.

Here’s another bonus to high frequency training: fat loss.  The book goes into detail about the best way to adjust your diet and add some cardio so you can get lean while building strength.

REVIEW:

I’m very impressed with Visual Impact Frequency Training.  I really like the way Rusty has put this program together.  Is it right for you?  It depends on your goals.

I would not recommend this program for beginners–those who have not put on their first few pounds of muscle.  Jason Ferruggia’s Muscle Gaining Secrets may be better if you are a novice trainee who is just getting started.

I would also not recommend this for guys who are looking for a typical bodybuilding physique.  MI40X would be better if you are only concerned with mass.

But this program would be great for the following:

1. Trainees who are basically satisfied with their size but want to improve their strength and muscle definition.

2. Guys (or girls) who want to lose fat while maintaining (and even improving) their lean mass (muscle).

3. Those who are willing to train 5-6 times a week.  This program is designed for those who can go to the gym (or train at home) several times a week.

4. Trainees who desire to “mix things up” for two or three months in order to add variety to their workouts and keep things interesting/challenging.

5.  Older trainees who would like an effective way to work out that is relatively easy on the joints.

I think you would enjoy this program if you match any (or all) of the five criteria I’ve just described.  Please CLICK HERE if you’d like to order or learn a little more about Visual Impact Frequency Training

Eccentric Training: Negative Overloading for Hypertrophy

I remember doing concentration curls back in the early days of my training.  I was in the high school gym and an older teammate on the football team gave me a tip.  He advised me to slowly lower the weight over a count of a few seconds.  This was my first time to hear about “negatives.”

Mike Mentzer
Mike Mentzer

I’ve learned more about this kind of training over the years. Mike Mentzer believed in emphasizing the eccentric/negative part of the repetition.  He advocated doing a few slow negative reps at the end of an all-out intense set.  Ben Pakulski also utilizes this technique in his training videos.

One advantage of this method is maximizing time under tension–the amount of time the muscle is under the stimulus of a given weight.

Overloading the negative repetition is another variation of this technique.  Here’s the idea: you can resist more weight than you can actually lift.  Let’s say you can bench press 275 lb.  Chances are you could slowly lower more than that–probably well over 300 lb.  By doing so you would be putting 300+ lb of tension on your muscles, even if you can’t lift that amount of weight.

At least one study suggests this way of training is effective.  Forty male subjects were divided into five groups and trained using the leg press for 3x a week.  They all used the same percentage of their one-rep max during the concentric (lifting) part of the repetitions.  But each group used a different % of their one-rep max for the eccentric (negative part of the lift): 0, 33, 66, 100, or 138%.  Strength gains were the same in those using the 100% and 138% load for their eccentric training.  But only the trainees who overloaded the negative repetitions (the 138% group) gained mass in their legs (they were also the only trainees to increase bone mineral density).1

One if the biggest challenges with this kind of training is the need for a spotter on certain lifts.  But there is a pretty simple solution that can be applied to many exercises: lifting the weight with two arms/legs, then lowering it with one.  This works very well on the leg press, for example.

We shouldn’t go crazy over one study or think of this technique as a “magic bullet.”  But it seems like it is worth a try if you are trying to break plateaus in your size gains.

Reference:

1.Eur J Appl Physiol. 2014 Jul 22. Early-phase musculoskeletal adaptations to different levels of eccentric resistance after 8 weeks of lower body training.

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 for muscle growth.

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.