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 (MI40) came out last month. I’ve had the opportunity to look over this program and I’ll share my review with you. Let me first tell you a little bit about the author/creator.
Ben Pakulski is a successful IFBB professional bodybuilder. He competes at the highest level and has placed in Mr. Olympia. He has also developed a reputation as a trainer. He is sought out by men and women all over the world who want to know how to build muscle, lose fat, or both. He trains both elite level fitness competitors and those who simply want to improve their physiques. Ben is know for his cerebral approach to lifting weights and building muscle: he is both brawn and brains, and is a lifelong student of everything relating to bodybuilding.
The First Mass Intentions Program
Ben’s first program was called MI40. Like this new program, there was an emphasis on intentions: subtle manipulations in the way you train that can pay big dividends for hypertrophy (muscular growth). Pakulski is freakishly strong, yet he believes that adding muscles is not just as simple as adding more weight. Sometimes all it takes is a slight adjustment to your grip, etc. to get exponentially more out of each rep.
The number 40 is important in Pakulski’s training scheme. He tends to use 40 second sets, believing that this is the ideal time under tension to produce muscle and strength.
One other concept from MI40 was the neurological overload set. This is a technique to overload the muscle by adding extra time under tension and creating the ideal environment for muscle growth.
MI40X was the next step in Pakulski’s training programs. He took these above concepts a step further, making an even more effective program. MI40 was really popular and effective, but this program is even better and includes more content. Here’s an overview:
MI40X Program Components
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. Watching the video will help you know how to navigate through the program elements (how to download the different files, etc.). This is very helpful if you have never used this kind of program before.
The Training Phases Summarized
One thing you’ll notice is that every phase of MI40X is meticulously planned. Pakulski leaves nothing to chance. It’s important to follow the plan as closely as you can to get the best results. Remember: you are paying for his expertise and years of training experience—don’t waste it by thinking you can jump to the next phase before he has prescribed it. In other words, just follow the program.
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. This is a relatively new concept in our understanding of hypertrophy. 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. Increasing the size if individual muscle cells ultimately results in bigger muscles.
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:
I 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. It’s much easier to see exactly what he wants you to do and the form you should use when you are able to watch it (vs. just reading about it).
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. He’ll show you how plan out your carbohydrate, protein and fat intake along with the overall number of calories you should be eating. The more meticulous you are with your meal planning, the better your results will be.
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. A lot of guys waste way too much time (and money) on supplements and not nearly enough time planning out their nutrition and training.
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. Remember that training knowledge is one of the most important investments you can make if getting bigger and stronger is your goal.
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. It’s not unusual for guys to get “stuck” after their first few months of training because they quickly made “newbie gains”—those initial increases in size and strength often come easy no matter what you do. This program can show you how to take things to the next level.
2. Trainees who have hypertrophy (strength) as their main goal. In other words, this is a bodybuilding program. It’s not a powerlifting or Crossfit program. But you can use this program for fat loss if you carefully follow the nutrition guide.
3. Those who are willing to invest time and effort to finish 18 weeks of carefully planned training and nutrition. Real changes to your body take time and effort. You should be willing to put the time in if you want to see the most results from this program.
If this describes you then I think MI40X would be a good investment for you–it is a really nice upgrade of Pakulski’s MI40 of a few years ago. 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. I also think that Ben Pakulski is one of the sharpest minds out there when it comes to both training and nutrition. If I were to hire a personal trainer or bodybuilding coach it would be him.
This program lasts 18 weeks, so 11 dollars/week isn’t a bad deal for something that will help you reach your goal—much less expensive than hiring a personal trainer. Just CLICK HERE to learn more about MI40X or to order the program.