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Full-Body Training: Twinlab Militia 30-Minute Workout

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This 30-minute Fuel Team Muscle Militia workout is heavy, intense, and will totally kick your ass. It will push you to utter failure on every major body part, and I’m not talking about mental failure. I’m talking about true physical failure—the point at which you can’t perform one more rep. This level of intensity will spark your muscles to grow while torching calories throughout.

This is the only workout I do. I’ve been on it for five months and I train almost every single day. It’s my cardio and my strength work. This workout has put me in my best-ever shape. At 45 years old, that’s where I want to be.


Meet the Muscle Militia

Ronnie Milo

Sales rep, Twinlab
Athletic Goal:
Competitive bodybuilder

“I want to be proportionate, work on my weak spots, and make sure I give 100 percent in the gym.”

Jason Wheat

Firefighter, Florida
Athletic Goal:
Powerlifter, coming back from pec injury

“My goal is to compete in powerlifting again.”

Chris Thompson

Occupation: VP of Sports Nutrition, Twinlab
Athletic Goal:
Ripped physique

“I just want to be as strong, hard, and lean as I can be.”

Because it’s so versatile, I know this workout can improve any body type. You’re about to watch three different Muscle Militia athletes perform it: Ronnie Milo, a competitive bodybuilder; Jason Wheat, a powerlifter; and me, a physique athlete. We’re going to hit this workout together at the same rep range with different levels of resistance to show you exactly what I mean.

Total-Body Muscle Militia Training
Watch The Video – 11:11

Battle Breakdown

For this 30-minute workout, you’ll do approximately 2 sets of each exercise. You’ll do a quick warm-up set to prepare the muscle group, and then a high-intensity set to utter failure in the 8-15 rep range. Make sure to take the second set to total failure to get the absolute best results.

You’ll start the workout by hitting smaller muscle groups first. The exercise selection may seem strange, but we do this to safely prepare the body and joints for the heavier, compound exercises that come later.

As you begin, you may think this workout is easy, but trust me, it’ll get a lot harder as you go along. Those compound lifts will hit hard!

  • Seated Leg Tucks Seated Leg Tucks Bench Tucks
    1 set to failure
  • Standing Calf Raises Standing Calf Raises Calf Extension
    1 warm-up set of 8-15 reps
    1 working set of 8-15 reps to failure
  • Note(s): Warm-up sets are important because we’re going really heavy. Get those muscles warm before you work them hard.
  • Thigh Abductor Thigh Abductor Abductor Machine
    1 warm-up set of 8-15 reps
    1 working set of 8-15 reps to failure
  • Hyperextensions (Back Extensions) Hyperextensions (Back Extensions) Hyperextensions
    1 warm-up set of 8-15 reps
    1 working set of 8-15 reps to failure
  • Lying Leg Curls Lying Leg Curls Hamstring Curl
    1 warm-up set of 8-15 reps
    1 working set of 8-15 reps to failure
  • Leg Extensions Leg Extensions Leg Extensions
    1 warm-up set of 8-15 reps
    1 working set of 8-15 reps to failure
  • Squat Machine Squat Machine
    1 warm-up set of 8-15 reps
    1 working set of 8-15 reps to failure
  • Pullups Pullups Pullups
    1 warm-up set of 8-15 reps
    1 working set of 8-15 reps to failure
  • Seated Cable Rows Seated Cable Rows Seated Cable Rows
    1 warm-up set of 8-15 reps
    1 working set of 8-15 reps to failure
  • Side Lateral Raise Side Lateral Raise Dumbbell Lateral Raise
    1 warm-up set of 8-15 reps
    1 working set of 8-15 reps to failure
  • Dumbbell Bicep Curl Dumbbell Bicep Curl Dumbbell Bicep Curl
    1 warm-up set of 8-15 reps
    1 working set of 8-15 reps to failure
  • Barbell Bench Press - Medium Grip Barbell Bench Press - Medium Grip Barbell Bench Press – Medium Grip
    1 warm-up set of 8-15 reps
    1 working set of 8-15 reps to failure
  • Note(s): A couple of us have had significant shoulder injuries that we’re still rehabilitating, which is why we don’t perform full repetitions. If your shoulders are healthy, do full reps.
  • Dips - Triceps Version Dips - Triceps Version Weighted Dip
    1 warm-up set of 8-15 reps
    1 working set of 8-15 reps to failure

This workout is meant to challenge your cardiovascular fitness, so keep moving! I don’t have to do any additional cardio, at all. By moving through each exercise, one after another, you get 30 minutes of cardio along with that day’s resistance work.

If you have partners, make sure you’re always moving. For example, if your partner finishes a lift before you, have him or her move ahead and start the next exercise. Keep the intensity high, treat this workout like a war, and make sure you win.

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Muscle Militia Mindset: 5 Must-Read Mental Intensity Tips

Long-term progress requires consistent mental focus. Build intensity that lasts with these five tips from the Twinlab Muscle Militia!

Eat, Lift, Grow: 4 Rules To Help Build A Performance Machine

Elite strength athletes and amateurs alike know that their training will only go as far as the food that fuels it. Build your nutritional strategy around these four rules and you can’t fail!


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Full-Body Training: Twinlab Militia 30-Minute Workout

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Body Transformation: Jordan Brown Beat Fat With Brawn!

Why I decided to transform

I struggled with weight problems throughout my life but acted like it didn’t bother me. People made crude remarks regarding my size and I blew them off. I walked around thinking that I looked good and nothing needed to change.

After nearly reaching 300 pounds, I decided to change for the better because I couldn’t stand the sight in the mirror. I realized that it wasn’t okay to be overweight and it was taking a toll on my body. It was the best decision I have ever made and I’ve never felt better.

This isn’t the first time I tried to lose weight, but it’s the only time I stuck with it. Living with a mindset that it’s okay to be overweight is something I cannot understand now. The change allowed me to live a more comfortable life. In the gym, I’m able to work harder and longer. It’s easier to talk with girls and develop relationships. I make better choices when I go out to eat and am able to help others with fitness goals.

My life is much easier now that I’m in better shape. Through my transformation, I built lifelong skills and relationships. I changed my body and mindset toward life. I want to live healthy no matter what.



AGE 21 / HEIGHT 6’4″ / BODY FAT 30%

AGE 22 / HEIGHT 6’4″ / BODY FAT 13%

Post To Fitboard

How I accomplished my goals

It took everything I had to not quit. I used to think I was active and athletic but wasn’t. To make such drastic changes in a year, it took willpower to overcome cravings and the desire to quit. Reverting back to the old me would’ve been easy, but I decided to take the road less traveled and put my nose in the dirt.

The days I thought most about quitting were loaded with cardio. It would’ve been easy to step off the treadmill and walk out of the gym, but I kept reminding myself that it would be worth it. I got inspiration from compliments and others who made progress around me.

Nothing feels better than having a random person in the gym come up and say they notice the hard work you put in. It helps to see others in the transformation process and know that it’s possible.

Apply Here To Be A Transformation Of The Week!

Apply Here To Be A Transformation
Of The Week!

Bodybuilding.com honors people across all transformation categories for their hard work and dedication. Learn how our featured transformers overcame obstacles and hit their goals!

Supplements that helped me through the journey

Diet plan that guided my transformation

  • Green Vegetables Green Vegetables

    2-3 cups

  • salmon Salmon

    6-8 oz

Training regimen that kept me on track

I started my transformation on the The Bizzy Diet 21-Day Fitness Plan. After that, I started a 4-day on 1-day off workout schedule. I do abdominal workouts every other day and start every workout with stretching and 20-30 minutes on the treadmill or stairmaster.

What aspect challenged me the most

The biggest challenge was to stick with my transformation and avoid quitting. It was hard, but I didn’t fall to temptations. I didn’t cheat once on the Bizzy Diet or miss a workout.

Another challenging aspect was my lack of patience. I expected to see results quickly but kept telling myself to wait for the results, which eventually came.

“No matter where your starting point is, it can be done with the right mindset.”

My future fitness plans

Now that I’m at a comfortable weight, I plan to bulk up and maintain my healthy lifestyle and never going back to the old me. I plan to live as healthy as possible.

Suggestions for aspiring transformers

Don’t quit. It will be worth it in the end. No matter where your starting point is, it can be done with the right mindset. I’ve been there before, but when you decide that it’s for real, the opportunities and outcomes are endless.

How Bodybuilding.com helped me reach my goals

My transformation wouldn’t have been possible without Bodybuilding.com. When I first started, I had no idea what supplements were or how to work out. Thanks MusclePharm and Cory Gregory for teaming with Bodybuilding.com to create the Bizzy Diet.

I also want to thank Lifting Luke at Bodybuilding.com for helping me when I had questions about supplements.

Jordan’s Top 5 Gym Tracks

  1. “Till I Collapse” by Eminem
  2. “Sail” by Awolnation
  3. “All Me” by Drake (Feat. 2 Chainz & Big Sean)
  4. “Don’t You Worry Child” by Swedish House Mafia (Feat. John Martin)
  5. “305 To My City” by Drake (Feat. Detail)

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About The Author

Have you made a dramatic change either by gaining muscle of by losing all the weight you have been hoping for?

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Body Transformation: Jordan Brown Beat Fat With Brawn!

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Strong-Arm Tactics: James Grage's Superset Arms Workout

Life isn’t always fair. Losing 50 pounds of hard-earned muscle and living with chronic pain isn’t fair, but fair is just another four-letter word that starts with “f.” I didn’t choose to be critically injured, but I don’t use my injury as an excuse. Your life and your body are what you make of them. Today, we’re going to make a pair of badass arms.

This workout, like any other, is more mental than physical. Training is about your ability to tune in to your body, focus on each and every single rep, and make every one count. That’s where growth occurs. When you’re uncomfortable, and it hurts, you force your body to adapt. Believe me, this workout will force your biceps and triceps to adapt.

Strong Arms Workout: Overview
Watch The Video – 12:17

Strong Arms Tactics

This workout is built on two supersets and one giant set. Each superset begins with a biceps curl and finishes with a triceps extension. The final combo is a giant set finishing with back-to-back triceps exercises.

I don’t really like to rest; I like momentum. When I do these supersets, the intensity is high and my heart rate is elevated. I want to build muscle and burn fat at the same time. Too many times I see people go to the gym and just check sets off their lists. Make sure you train with focus and intensity. Push yourself out of your comfort zone. If you hit a wall, rest-pause, shake it out, and get right in your head again.

This workout starts with a short cardio warm-up. It lasts just long enough to get some blood flowing and get you mentally ready for the work ahead. I take this time to visualize the upcoming exercises.

“Each superset begins with a biceps curl and finishes with a triceps extension.”

I then warm up with chin-ups to prime my biceps and push-ups to prepare my triceps. I don’t do them to fatigue—just enough to stimulate the muscle. In between the push-ups and pull-ups, I do some light stretching.

Don’t take your warm-up lightly. Injury is no joke, unless you want to take a couple months off from training. There’s no need to jump in too fast, because trust me, we’re going to kill the workout.

Strong Arms Workout

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All too often, life partners don’t commit to being gym buddies. It doesn’t have to be that way. Learn how to motivate your spouse to spot you in life and in the gym.

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Strong-Arm Tactics: James Grage's Superset Arms Workout

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Arnold Schwarzenegger Blueprint Trainer Day 31

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Sergio Oliva was so dominant, no one challenged him. In 1969, only the young Arnold dared step on stage with him. Oliva won, but Arnold proved he had arrived.

The second phase of Arnold’s rise to the top was dominated for the first few years by a single rivalry, with Cuban-born bodybuilder Sergio Oliva. And with good reason—not only was Oliva the two-time defending Mr. Olympia, but he won it unchallenged in 1968, something never done before or since. “Nobody dared to jump on the platform with me,” Oliva told Bodybuilding.com in 2008. In 1969, only one lifter saw fit to give Oliva a run for his money: Arnold, just 21 years old and fresh off of his second Mr. Universe title. Here’s how Arnold remembered the contest in “Total Recall:”

“Finally, we were warming up backstage. Sergio was famous for his lengthy pumping-up routine, during which always wore a long butcher’s coats so the rival bodybuilders couldn’t see his muscles. When the time came for us to go onstage, he took off the coat and walked ahead of me down the hall. Of course, he knew I’d be checking him out. Very casually, he lifted a shoulder and spread out the biggest lat muscle I’d ever seen. It was the size of a giant manta ray. Then he did the same thing with the other shoulder. His back was so huge it looked like it was blocking out all the light in the hole. It was a really effective psych. I knew right then I was going to lose.

“We each posed, first me and then Sergio, and we each had the house screaming and stomping. Then the judges, announcing that they couldn’t decide, called us back onstage to pose simultaneously. Someone shouted, ‘Pose!’ But for a minute neither of us budged—like we were daring each other to go first. Finally, I smiled and hit my double-biceps pose, one of my best. That brought a roar from the crowd. Sergio answered with his trademark two-arm overhead victory pose. Again the crowd went nuts, chanting, ‘Sergio! Sergio!’ I executed a chest pose, which he started to match but then thought better of it, shifting to a most muscular shot. More screams for Sergio. I did my best trademark pose—three-quarters back—but it wasn’t enough to turn it. He was simply still ahead.

“I just kept smiling and hitting poses. I’d already done what I came to do, and I was much better off than the year before. I’d run over everyone except him. I could say to myself, ‘You did great, Arnold, and Sergio’s days are numbered.’ But for now he was still clearly the champ, and when the judges declared for him, I gave him a big hug onstage. I thought Sergio deserve all of the attention. I was much younger, and I’d be number one in no time, and then I would enjoy all of this attention. In the meantime, he should have it. He was better.”

The champ-to-be knew how to find value in a well-earned loss. But he also knew he would come back and face the same challenge for as long as it took.

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Arnold Schwarzenegger Blueprint Trainer Day 31

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Leg Training: 8 Unique Quad Exercises

For a lot of us, leg training is pretty simple. A heavy dose of squats, leg presses, lunges, or any other torturous exercise is usually all it takes to demolish your lower body. But what happens when you fall into a rut and your quads already know what’s coming?

Even worse, what happens when you get bored of your normal leg routine? More than likely, you’ll end up just going through the motions and quitting on a body part that demands your utmost attention and intensity.

When you hit a lower-body wall, reach into your little bag of tricks and pull out one or more of these eight unique quad exercises! When it comes to fitness, I’m always trying to keep things different and think outside the box. My creativity usually leads to great gains. And that’s what you’ll get with these distinctive quad moves—some craziness that will take your legs to a higher level!

1 German Volume Leg Extensions With A Twist

For this exercise, I put together two things most people are familiar with: leg extensions and German Volume Training, which is basically 10 sets of 10 reps for a total of 100 reps. But, I also threw in a brutal twist. You only get 10 seconds of rest between sets.

Leg extensions are a basic quad exercise, but doing them for 100 reps with hardly any rest will leave your lungs burning and your quads wondering what hit them. While you’re going through the reps, you’re going to hurt. Power through and keep the rest to an honest 10 seconds—not a slow 10-count that takes 30 seconds—and you’ll be impressed.

2 Close-Stance High-Bar Olympic-Style Squat

I like to call these dive-bomb squats because it’s all about going really deep —ass-to-grass deep. Keep the bar high on your back—on top of your traps—and your stance close. The position of the bar and your stance will ensure that the bulk of the focus is on your quads.

If you’re normally a low-bar squatter, changing the bar placement and stance will definitely be a challenge. These are great to add in at the end of a workout. Use them as a finisher and don’t be afraid to do a lot of reps.

3 Track Lunges

The concept of bodyweight lunges may sound simple, but I crank up the intensity to max levels. You’ll be doing bodyweight lunges for a distance of up to one mile, and no less than 400 meters, or one lap around the track.

If you’re feeling really frisky, put on a weighted vest and go for a mile. It may take you up to an hour to complete, but you’ll find out how mentally tough you are in a hurry. The key is to keep moving. Don’t stop for many breaks. Push through the pain and push through the burn and the carryover to quad development and your squat strength will be massive.

I basically replaced my cardio work with these track lunges and the difference was huge. I build muscle while I do cardio—that’s an ideal scenario. One final warning, though: be prepared for mad soreness.

4 Frank Zane Single-Leg Leg Extension

Frank Zane gave me this idea after I asked him about his freaky quad separation. He credited single-leg leg extensions for his great quads, but he added a few little secrets.

He told me that he only did the top quarter or even half of the movement, focusing on squeezing the quads at the peak of every rep. He also explained that he did extensions without rest. He simply switched legs and went back and forth for a killer 6-8 sets of 20 reps per leg!

This is an awesome finisher to any leg workout and you’ll notice how effective they are, especially when you squeeze at the top of every rep.

5 Sissy Squat

This exercise might have the worst name in workout history, but let’s focus on how effective it is. It’s a lost exercise for most guys—likely due to the name—but it can blow your quads up.

To perform sissy squats correctly, keep your hips up and make sure you push up through your quads. You’ll get an unbelievable pump! I recommend 20 reps for this movement, but if you want to get crazy, superset them with another exercise in this article. It will be mind-blowing, that’s for sure.

6 28-Method Squat

The 28 Method takes quad punishment to an entirely new level. You’ll do it like this: perform 7 normal reps, 7 slow reps, 7 quarter-reps in the hole, and 7 quarter-reps at the top.

The worst part of this method is the seven slow reps. You have to stay slow on the descent and there’s no rebound out of the hole. Stay slow out of the hole to torch your quads. The tension you’ll feel on your muscles during those seven reps is incredible.

Believe me, you will need to go much lighter than you might expect, but the payoff is immense. These are a definite go-to for me when I want to get a little crazy with my quad routine.

7 28-Method Leg Extensions

We stay with the 28 Method here, but trust me: Just because you’re doing leg extensions doesn’t make it any easier. Your quads will be screaming the entire time and the slow reps are absolutely brutal.

By going slow, you take all of the momentum out of the lift and your quads work overtime on each rep. This is another perfect finisher for any leg workout.

8 Russian Split Squat with quarter-rep method

The finale in this crazy quad lineup includes another of my favorite techniques: the quarter-rep method. When you apply it to the split squat, it’s almost like you’re doing a pump fake out of the hole. Your quads fall for it every time.

Every time your knee touches the floor on the way down, come back up only a quarter of the way, and then drop back down before finishing the full rep. Your quads will be wondering what the heck is going on, especially after the sixth rep. Doing 8-12 reps per leg can reap some serious benefits.

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About The Author

Cory Gregory co-founded MusclePharm. As Executive Vice President of Business Development, Gregory works closely with all of the world-class athletes.

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Leg Training: 8 Unique Quad Exercises

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Arnold Schwarzenegger Blueprint Trainer Day 24

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Saturday’s cheat meal is still four long workouts away. Are you keeping it clean in the meantime? Despite having a legendary appetite, Arnold also knew that being the best in required world-class dietary discipline. Here’s how his training partner Ed Corney remembers eating with him:

“He wanted to get better and I wanted to get better, so we trained, we dieted. The diet was really funny. We would order a hamburger steak and get the napkins and pat the top to get the grease off. At home we would have tuna with eggs whites mashed up. No other food in the house, because then you can’t get to it,” Corney told Bodybuilding.com in 2007.

Ed Corney hands Arnold some much-needed protein. The lifting partners were careful about what foods they kept in their home.

Read that again and ask yourself: What’s in your house? You know you need fuel to grow, and plenty of it. But is there a stash of junk food calling to you from another room? If so, maybe it’s time to do some spring cleaning.

  • Arnold performed a max-effort squat when he really wanted to push the limits. Judge how you’re feeling and if things are going well, work up to a max-effort squat every couple weeks.

    Technique Max Effort
    Pick one exercise and see what you can do for a 1-rep max. To get there, work up to the weight with the following rep pyramid, taking ample rest between each set: 20, 15, 10, 8, 5, 3, 1, 1, 1-rep max.

  • Barbell Squat Barbell Squat Barbell Squat
    5 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Stiff-Legged Barbell Deadlift Stiff-Legged Barbell Deadlift Stiff-Legged Barbell Deadlift
    5 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Good Morning Good Morning Good Morning (only perform once per week)
    5 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Barbell Lunge Barbell Lunge Barbell Lunge
    5 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Superset
  • Leg Extensions Leg Extensions Leg Extensions
    5 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Seated Leg Curl Seated Leg Curl Seated Leg Curl
    5 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Superset
  • Standing Calf Raises Standing Calf Raises Standing Calf Raises
    5 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Seated Calf Raise Seated Calf Raise Seated Calf Raise
    5 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Cable Crunch Cable Crunch Kneeling Cable Crunch
    4 sets of 25 reps

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Arnold Schwarzenegger Blueprint Trainer Day 24

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Build Mass With Class: Hunter Labrada's Guide To Adding Muscle

Growing up, bodybuilding wasn’t pushed on me at all. This might sound strange to some people, seeing as my dad is Lee Labrada, the IFBB Hall of Fame bodybuilder, but it’s completely true. I consumed a healthy diet as a child, but I never ate that much. As a result, I was always skinny.

More than anything, I loved sports. I played hockey from the time I was 5 years old until I was 12, and I never felt like I was at a disadvantage due to my lack of size. I could skate fast and was pretty strong—what else did I need?

In seventh grade, I became interested in football, and from the first practice I was hooked. I quickly realized that unlike hockey, I was at a distinct disadvantage. I had fun and did well enough in my first season, but my growing passion for football made me start looking for ways to put on size so I could become a better player. I’ve learned this is a common story among bodybuilders. Many, including my dad and Shawn Ray, got their feet wet in bodybuilding in order to get better at high school football.

I immersed myself in the afternoon and summer strength and conditioning camps my school had to offer, and while I made some progress initially, it wasn’t as much as I had hoped for, or expected. Following my eighth-grade season, I weighed a whopping 100 pounds, and I knew things had to change big time if I ever wanted to see playing time in high school.

Grow Like Dad

I consulted with—who else?—my dad, who made it clear that if I wanted to gain weight, I had to dramatically increase my caloric intake. Sure, I was training hard, but I had to eat more! That offseason, with his help, I started eating like a horse, and it made a world of difference. I gained 25 pounds that year alone.

As I kept working out and getting bigger, I began looked forward to training for football almost as much as I enjoyed playing football. By my senior season, I had built myself into a 5-foot-8, 210-pound running back and strong safety, and I signed a letter of intent to play football for a Division-II university in Boston. My senior season was a major letdown, however; I tore my hamstring on the first day of regular practice.

Hunter Labrada was part of the bodybuilding community long before he ever decided to become a bodybuilder.

After rehabilitating, I returned and played just four games before hurting myself again. This time, I suffered an avulsion fracture when my quadriceps tendon pulled a piece of bone off my hip at the growth plate, which was still soft because I was so young. Essentially, my legs had become so strong that the tendon had overpowered the connection to the bone, resulting in the fracture.

Football was looking less and less like my future, but as an upside, these injuries gave me an opportunity to train on a strict bodybuilding split routine. I found I had to split up the work for my upper body into multiple sessions so I could still be at the gym as much as I wanted to be. I made incredible progress, and by the time I was cleared to begin running, my athletic dreams had transformed along with my musculature.

Soon enough, I found I wasn’t enjoying all the things I used to enjoy about football. The highlight of any day became getting into the weight room. I decided that fall that I was done with football, and I was going to become a competitive bodybuilder.

Do The Caloric Math

That was three years ago, and since then, I have been able to transform my body even more, adding layers of muscle and quality size. I now weigh 237 pounds and am holding sub-8 percent body fat. More importantly, however, I’ve learned through trial and error, and hours upon hours of research, what works for me in terms of training, diet, and supplementation, and what doesn’t.

Remember that bodybuilding is a marathon, not a sprint!

Do you know what doesn’t work? The old method of walking up to the biggest guys in the gym and asking them what their splits looks like, what they do for certain body parts, or my favorite, what supplements they take.

Nine times out of ten, the people asking these questions do it with the best of intentions, and they just can’t figure out what the big guys’ secrets are. All they see are beasts crushing heavy weights in their workouts and drinking concoctions afterward that look questionable for human consumption.

The real secret is what those guys do during the other 22 hours of the day. What sets them apart from the people who are not growing is nutrition. Many people might think they know what I mean by that statement, but even they could be way off the mark. If you are truly trying to put on muscle mass, your traditional breakfast, lunch, and dinner simply won’t suffice, no matter how hearty they are.

The basics of growth are simple: Consume more calories than you expend. In some ways, it’s that easy. But figuring how many calories you need to maximize quality growth, well, that’s not as simple. Here’s how you burn calories during your day:

  1. Resting metabolic rate: These are the calories burned by your body just so it can function, which accounts for approximately 60 percent of your daily caloric consumption.
  2. Daily activities: You burn plenty of calories just doing your daily tasks like walking, talking, working, and every other way you pass time outside of the gym.
  3. Training: These are the calories burned by your workout and cardio.

There are a number of different ways to calculate these numbers, but no matter how you look at it, that’s a lot of calories!

The amount of surplus that you’ll need varies based by your goals and how your body individually responds. One person might only need a 300-500 calorie daily surplus to make incredible gains, while another might require closer to an extra 1,000 calories. And the bigger you get, the more you will need to eat. This is a result of the increased metabolic rate caused by the added muscle mass and, most likely, your heightened training intensity.

The New Macros: Lean, Complex, Healthy

As you know, figuring out how many calories you need is only one part of the battle. Choosing which foods are the best to fuel your body and achieve your daily required caloric surplus is the other.

There are several schools of thought on this, but the one that I am most partial to, and have had the most success with, is simply eating large amounts of clean food. And no, I’m not talking about how you wash your vegetables.

I’ve never been one to go on the pizza-and-ice-cream bulking diet, because while you’ll probably put on weight, you will also be left with a lot of empty calories and unwanted body fat that you’ll have to burn off later.

Remember that bodybuilding is a marathon, not a sprint! So why put on large amounts of unnecessary body fat when you can achieve the same end goal of building dense muscle, while looking and feeling much healthier, by doing it the right way? It’s simple: You can’t go wrong by eating lean proteins, complex carbs, and healthy fats.

These clean-food options aren’t complete lists, but they are guidelines. Why “ultra-lean” ground beef? Food marketers in our country have done a great job of capitalizing on consumer ignorance, so when the average person picks up a package of ground beef and sees a big “93 percent fat free” sticker, they think they are making a great choice. This beef, at 93 percent fat free, is actually approximately 33 percent fat per serving.

How is this possible, you ask? Because the beef is 93 percent fat free by weight, not by calories! A gram of protein has 4 calories, and one gram of fat is 9 calories, so you can see where it can get tough to stay on top of the numbers. This is why I look for 98 percent fat-free lean meats for my diet; these work out to approximately 10 percent fat per serving, by calories. I keep my proteins lean, and make up for it by eating fats from the “healthy fats” list.

The bigger you get, the more you will need to eat.


Before we dive into training, it’s important to touch on the supplements I use to augment my nutrition plan. As any smart athlete or coach will tell you, supplements can’t replace hard work and quality nutrition.

They can, however, round out your diet, introduce performance-boosting nutrients, and make getting adequate amounts of specific macronutrient easier.


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Protein is usually the first thing that comes to mind when you talk to someone about supplements, and for good reason. Protein is essential for muscle growth and post-workout repair.

Whey is digested much faster than any other protein source available, which makes it ideal after training. Try to drink your whey within 30 minutes of your workout, targeting roughly 40 grams of protein.

When searching for a good whey protein, look for servings per container, protein per serving, and the presence of any “filler” nutrients like fats and added sugars.

You obviously want to maximize your money spent and give your muscles the best possible quality of protein for optimal results.


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Creatine monohydrate is simple, safe, effective, extremely well-tested, and cheap. You will experience size, strength, and performance gains while taking it because creatine increases phosphocreatine stores inside your muscles and also causes them to hold more water.

I don’t like to mega-dose creatine, so I stick with five grams per day. When shopping, look for a pharmaceutical-grade creatine like Crealean.


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Glutamine is the most prevalent amino acid in your muscle tissue, and it’s one of the key shuttles for nitrogen into your muscles.

Beyond the muscle-building and recovery benefits of glutamine, it’s helpful for immune support and gut health, making it an essential supp in my book.

Take 5-10 grams per day.


Yes, the stimulant present in nearly every pre-workout is a plus, but you shouldn’t purchase a pre-workout product just for caffeine. You should purchase it because of other physiological boosts.

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A good pre-workout will increase blood flow to your working muscles, which increases your strength and endurance by delivering more oxygen and nutrients. This, in turn, increases your performance and supports growth.

Look for a pre-workout powder that contains a full dose of creatine, beta-alanine, glutamine, and other performance ingredients.

Stay away from products that feature proprietary blends. That’s usually where manufacturers hide useless pixie dust amounts of exotic sounding ingredients that don’t help you much.

Fast-Acting Carbohydrates

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I don’t normally advocate fast carbs, but they can be helpful around your workouts. Since your body rapidly processes simple carbs, they allow you to replenish the glycogen in your muscles that you deplete during training.

This helps you recover faster and train harder. After a workout, fast carbs spike your insulin and help dliver nutrients to your fatigued muscles.

You can get simple carbs from fruits, sugary sports beverages, dextrose, or any number of extremely simple carbohydrates. I personally use Labrada’s PowerCarb product; it contains a special carbohydrate molecule designed to serve the exact function I described above, but better than any of the previous options listed. I enjoy sipping one scoop throughout my workout; it helps me sustain a full pump.


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When you consume proteins, your body breaks them down into amino acids. There are three essential amino acids called branched chain amino acids, or BCAAs, which are leucine, isoleucine, and valine. These amino acids are some of the most important for muscle growth, repair, and recovery.

I like to supplement with BCAAs before, during, and after my workouts to prevent catabolism (or breakdown) of my hard-earned muscle tissue and provide the fuel necessary for additional growth and energy during the intense stress of my training.


Here’s how a week of nutrition and supplementation looks for me on the system described above:

Training for Mass

Training regimens are a dime a dozen, and they’re almost all impressive in their own way. You have to listen to your body and find the one that works for you, or alter an existing one to better suit yourself. In the end, I believe it comes down to optimizing what I like to call your “training intensity equation.” Here’s what that looks like:

Training Intensity = (Volume x Weight used)/Rest time

This isn’t an equation that will spit you out a number. Instead, it’s meant to portray the relationship between the variables, so you can change them according to what works best for your body. You can increase or decrease your training intensity by either changing the volume, the weight you use on each set, your rest time, or all three.

I’ve been training on a push/pull-style split almost since I started, with all of the trial-and-error experimentation happening in the variables making up the training intensity. Initially, I pounded my larger body parts with upward of 25 sets. While I initially got great gains, my progress quickly slowed despite my good nutrition, supplementation, and rest.

What I didn’t realize at the time is that you don’t grow in the gym—it’s the opposite! You incur tears and trauma on a microscopic level, breaking down those precious muscles you have spent so much time and money to build. If the tears and trauma are too great, or they’re not given adequate time to recover, you’re not doing yourself any favors.

Of course it’s normal to be sore or feel like you did something taxing the day after you train, but you shouldn’t feel like you got hit by a truck for three days after every workout, either!

The Intensity Sweet Spot

Once I started tweaking my training intensity equation, I found that I experience my best gains doing 12-15 sets per large body part (chest, back, legs) and 8-10 sets per small body part (shoulders, biceps, triceps) using a moderate 8-12 reps. This level of volume allowed me to keep my training intensity high by decreasing my rest time between sets and by performing each set to failure using techniques such as forced reps and negatives.

Staying mindful of these variables allows me to be more efficient in the gym, as well. My weekly chest and triceps workout takes me 1 hour and 10 minutes, but if I did the same routine in 1 hour and 45 minutes, I will feel like I did significantly less work. And for all intents and purposes, I did!

I challenge you to increase your intensity in some way during your next workout. That increased intensity, as many greats like my father have shown, makes muscles grow. Just stay mindful of the equation to avoid getting hit by the intensity freightliner!

Increase or decrease your training intensity by changing the volume, the weight you use on each set, your rest time, or all three.

My Sample Bodybuilding Workout

Abs and cardio

Abs and cardio

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Amateur Bodybuilder Of The Week: Paul Is A Massive Canadian Competitor!

QHow did your bodybuilding journey begin?

I started training at the university gym in Ottawa, Canada, in 2004 at 160 pounds. My friends introduced me to bodybuilding training, diet, and supplementation. I remember getting my first look at the Arnold Encyclopedia. Seeing huge guys in print brought back childhood memories of heroes and the cool role models of the 80s. Initially, I wanted to get bigger than my roommate in the spirit of healthy competition but it became much more.

I have an addictive personality and lifting became my healthy addiction. I stopped smoking first and then stopped drinking and started eating well later. In my first six years of training, I bulked up with lots of muscle, but had high body fat. I was 280 pounds before I realized that I looked more like the incredible bulk than the Incredible Hulk. This started my itch to lift competitively.

I was at a stage in life when I needed a new goal. I just graduated from college and settled into my career. Initially, I trained for powerlifting meets. My first was a raw bench meet in Waterloo, Ontario, where I placed second overall. I was interested in bodybuilding but never intended to compete until I watched my friend compete in 2011. After his show, I decided to become a bodybuilder.

I didn’t know how much mental, physical, and psychological change was required to become a successful bodybuilder. I adopted new eating habits, training philosophies, and made lifestyle changes. In 2012, I stepped on stage in London, Ottawa, Ontario, at 218 pounds. My first season was a learning experience that helped me realize what needed to be done to make it to the next level of competition. In 2013, I stepped on stage as a conditioned heavyweight in Couberg, Ontario, where I clenched the provincial qualifying spot after a third place finish.

Cool Fact

Paul holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and has several vocational rehabilitation designations!

What workout regimen delivered the best results?

I like to hit a muscle group with at least six exercises with a minimum of 4 sets at 8-10 reps and a maximum of 10 sets at 10 reps per exercise. I can do phenomenal things with my chest and lift high volume with high weight. My back can also handle this kind of training. I hit arms and legs with high frequency and moderate weight at 12-20 reps. Here is my pre-contest training routine.

21s Technique: 7 reps of top half of ROM, 7 reps of bottom half ROM, and 7 reps full ROM

What nutrition plan fueled your body?

What Supplements Gave You The Greatest Gains?

How did your passion for bodybuilding emerge?

Bodybuilding is a lifestyle, passion, art, sport, and a form of entertainment. This is what makes bodybuilding attractive. When people ask how my show prep is going, I say that I love every second of it. I take pride for declining everyday pleasures and delaying short-term gratification. The best part of bodybuilding is that the gratification isn’t winning the class or the show, it’s getting there and being the best you can be on stage.

What motivated you to be a bodybuilder?

New goals motivate me to be a bodybuilder. Dreaming and taking action to make that dream come true is one of the best feelings. The results are enough to keep me motivated.

“Taking action to make your dream come true is one of the best feelings.”

Where did you go for inspiration?

I love the friends I met at the gym. They’re the most loyal and honest people I know. We have a sense of community that can’t be broken. They inspire me every day.

“I plan to take a year off and perfect my physique so I can blow everyone away when I hit the stage in June 2015.”

What are your future bodybuilding plans?

I qualified for the Ontario Provincial contest by placing third in the combined heavy and super heavyweight class in Cobourg, Ontario. I came in at 224 pounds with 5 percent body fat and looked great in terms of overall symmetry, strength, and leanness.

I plan to take a year off and perfect my physique so I can blow everyone away when I hit the stage in June 2015. There, I hope to qualify for the Canadian National Contest.

What is the most important bodybuilding tip?

Fun isn’t the result, it’s the process.

Who is your favorite bodybuilder?

I don’t have a favorite bodybuilder. I respect what many bodybuilders contributed to the sport. Arnold introduced bodybuilding to the mainstream and had an iconic personality. I respect Frank Zane for brining classic physiques to bodybuilding. Dorian Yates broke the mold and paved the way for the new generation of bodybuilders. I also like Kai Greene because of his humble and perseverant personality.

How did Bodybuilding.com help you reach your goals?

Bodybuilding.com content provides posing tips, diet plans, training routines, and supplement reviews. BodySpace helped me network with the international community and diversified my understanding of bodybuilding. Resources on Bodybuilding.com are limitless.

Paul’s Top 5 Gym Tracks

  1. “Microwave Mayonnaise” by MF Doom
  2. “Winter Isn’t Coming” by RJD2
  3. “Crows” by Asop Rock
  4. “Right This Second” by Dead Mau5
  5. “Otis” by Jay-Z
Contest History
  • 2013 OPA Winston Invitational – Heavyweight
  • 2012 OPA GNC Ottawa Classic – Light heavyweight
  • 2012 OPA London Invitational – Heavyweight
  • 2011 CPF No Frills Bench Press – 2nd Place, 365-Pound Raw Bench

About The Author

Our Amateur Bodybuilder of the Week has the extraordinary qualities to endure the pain and discipline of bodybuilding. Of course, he/she also…

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Amateur Bodybuilder Of The Week: Paul Is A Massive Canadian Competitor!

Posted in Bodybuilding, Exercises, Nutrition, Training Methods, Uncategorized, Warm upComments Off on Amateur Bodybuilder Of The Week: Paul Is A Massive Canadian Competitor!


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