How To Gain 20 Pounds In 28 Days: The Extreme Muscle Building Secrets of UFC Fighters

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Nate Green's muscle building experiment

The following is Part 2 of a two-part guest post from Nate Green, who works with John Berardi, PhD, Georges St-Pierre’s nutritional coach.

Part 1 detailed how top UFC fighters rapidly lose weight before weigh-ins for competitive advantage.

Now, in Part 2, Nate shares how he gained 20 pounds in 28 days, using techniques an elite fighter such as Georges St-Pierre (GSP) might utilize to move up a weight class. This is a very, very comprehensive post.

If you’ve ever wondered how to quickly gain muscle — or how a GSP versus Anderson Silva super-fight could happen — you’ll want to print this out and refer to it often.

Let’s jump into the detail…

Georges St. Pierre vs. Anderson Silva: The Superfight

For the past couple of years, there have been rumors of a super-fight between current UFC Welterweight champion Georges St Pierre and current Middleweight champion Anderson Silva.

If the fight becomes a reality, it will easily be the biggest fight in UFC history.

Fans want it. Sponsors want it. UFC president Dana White wants it. The only people who seem like they don’t want it?

St Pierre and Silva.

And it’s easy to see why when you look at the stats:

St Pierre, who’s 5’10″, fights in the 170-pound division. Silva, who’s 6’2″, fights in the 185-pound division.

After reading Part 1, you know how elite fighters use weight manipulation to strategically lower their body weight before official pre-fight weigh-ins. You also know that they quickly rehydrate to get back up to their real weight.

In GSP’s case, that would be about 190 pounds. In Silva’s? 230 pounds.

So for the super-fight to go through, and for it to be a reasonably fair fight, one of two things would need to happen: either St Pierre would have to gain 20-30 pounds to move up a weight class, or Silva would have to lose 20-30 pounds to move down a weight class.

Both are very difficult.

In fact, it’s enough of a weight disparity to make even the most enthusiastic MMA fans chalk up the super-fight to a pipe dream, something that will likely never happen.

But here’s the thing: That kind of extreme weight manipulation isn’t impossible. Far from it.

In fact, it’s entirely possible to gain 20 pounds of quality mass in as little as 28 days.

That’s what Nate did recently with some help from GSP’s nutrition coach, Dr. John Berardi and Martin Rooney, a strength coach who regularly trains UFC athletes.

And in this post, we explore how a guy like GSP could gain 20-30 pounds in a short period of time, increase his power, boost his strength, and maintain his athleticism and (mostly) endurance.

And maybe — just maybe — these techniques will make this super-fight a reality.

Take it away, Nate…

Enter Nate

I recently decided to try and gain 20 pounds of quality mass in 28 days.

Why?

For starters, a lot of people in the fitness world don’t think this is possible without taking steroids. Fortunately, this isn’t true. With the right program and world-class advice, it’s attainable. I wanted to prove this beyond the shadow of a doubt.

Dr. John Berardi wanted a guinea pig to show exactly how someone like GSP could–if he wanted to–gain enough muscle to move up an entire weight class and take on a fighter like Anderson Silva.

I started the official experiment at 169 pounds and 28 days later, weighed in at 190.

This post detailed exactly how we did it.

Nate Green before muscle-building experiement

Here’s a breakdown of the strategies I used to put on 20 pounds in 28 days.

6 Strategies for Rapid Muscle Gain

[Note from Tim: Nate shares the exact meal plan and workout program after outlining the six strategies/principles. Again, after reading once, this is probably a post you'll want to print out for reference.]

STRATEGY #1: CYCLE THE AMOUNT OF FOOD YOU EAT.

We kept things simple here. My nutrition plan was split into two different kinds of days: High-Calorie or Low-Calorie.

On my weight-training days, I ate more food. This ensured I was getting a huge influx of nutrients on the days where my muscles could put them to use. On the days I did interval workouts or took off from the gym, I ate a little less food. This helped me to add weight without adding lots of body fat.

It’s important to note that even my “low calorie” days still involved eating more food than I was previously used to. So, no matter the day, I was always in a positive energy balance. Except for Sundays. Which brings me to the second strategy.

STRATEGY #2: USE INTERMITTENT FASTING.

Every Sunday I did a 24-hour fast to offset the inevitable fat gain that would normally come with an eating plan like this. The goal was for me to be in a caloric surplus – an anabolic state – six days per week, eating more calories than I burn which would lead to muscle growth.

And then I’d be in an extreme caloric deficit one day per week, which would help reset my insulin sensitivity, boost growth hormone secretion, and help stimulate fat loss while preserving my lean mass.

STRATEGY #3: GIVE YOURSELF ROOM TO GROW.

Making a big change is all about small incremental improvements. You try something for a little while, see how it works, and if you need to, make a small change and repeat the steps.

For this experiment Berardi started me off with a lot of food, enough to where I’d be in a caloric surplus and gain muscle. But he didn’t overload me as much as he could have. Not at first, at least. He wanted to leave a little wiggle room to make changes if needed.

In both Weeks 3 and 4 we strategically added more calories to help push me past a plateau when my weight stalled at 178 pounds. (You’ll see how we did that below.)

STRATEGY #4: EAT MORE FOOD. MUCH MORE.

My weight-gain nutrition plan called for way more food than I was used to eating. So instead of focusing on counting calories — which would have been a nightmare — we turned our attention instead to making sure I was in a positive energy balance.

When you eat more calories than you burn, you gain weight. Dr. Berardi knew all I’d have to do to gain weight was eat more food than I was eating before we started the experiment. And that was easy to do, since I was eating enough to only maintain a 170-pound body.

So how much food does it actually take to gain 20 pounds? I went through and added everything I ate in 28 days. Here it is:

  • 65 pounds of meat
  • 54 bananas
  • 84 scoops of protein powder
  • 72 pieces of bread
  • 36 sweet potatoes
  • 7 jars of almond butter
  • 5 jars of fruit jam
  • 8 jars of sauerkraut
  • 144 cups of vegetables
  • 36 pieces of fruit
  • 72 squares of dark chocolate
  • 8 bags of frozen blueberries and raspberries
  • 7 cans of coconut milk
  • 4 cartons of heavy whipping cream

STRATEGY #5: TRAIN YOUR ASS OFF.

Most guys think the training program is the most important part of gaining muscle. Well, most guys are wrong. If I didn’t eat enough food I could have trained as hard or as long as I wanted and not much would have happened.

Of course, the workout program is important. So Martin Rooney hooked me up with a variation of his Training For Warriors routine that he uses for high-level UFC athletes like brothers Jim and Dan Miller.

Here’s what it looked like:

Monday: Upper Body Strength

This workout focused on compound exercises and used heavy weights to build strength and target fast-twitch muscle-fibers, the ones most primed for growth.

Tuesday: Hurricane Day – Sprints

An intense total-body workout that promoted rapid fat burning and power development. Martin calls them “hurricanes” because the workouts are like a brief, powerful storm that create disruption in the muscular, cardiovascular, and neurological systems.

They’re also some of the hardest workouts I’ve ever done in my life. (I nearly passed out after my first Hurricane session; I took a 5-minute nap next to the treadmill.)

Wednesday: Off – Recovery

A much-needed rest for my muscles and mind.

Thursday: Hurricane Day – Energy Circuit

A brief, intense workout comprised of five unconventional exercises (like sledgehammer slams, medicine ball work, and rope climbs) all done in circuit fashion.

Friday: Upper Body Hypertrophy

A second upper-body day that used less complex exercises and higher reps to promote more muscle growth.

Saturday: Lower Body Strength

Just like the Upper Body Strength day, this workout focused on compound exercises and used heavy weights to build strength and target fast-twitch muscle-fibers.

Sunday: Off – Recovery

Another rest day.

So when you put it the weight-gain nutrition plan and workout program together, this is what you get:

Monday: High Calorie / Upper Body Strength

Tuesday: Low Calorie / Hurricane Sprints

Wednesday: Low Calorie / Off

Thursday: Low Calorie / Hurricane Energy Circuit

Friday: High Calorie / Upper Body Hypertrophy

Saturday: High Calorie / Lower Body Strength

Sunday: Fast / Off

STRATEGY #6: USE STRATEGIC SUPPLEMENTS.

We like to say “Supplements are supplements.” In other words, they’re ingredients you add to a smart eating and training program. They don’t replace them.

Despite what the supplement ads say, no guy has ever built a good body by taking a weird powder with a stupid name and doing nothing else.

For this experiment, however, Dr. Berardi decided I should use a few supplements strategically to maximize the amount of muscle I could build on such a short time-frame. With only 28 days to gain 20 pounds, I had to look at every opportunity to take in more calories.

The following surely didn’t “make the difference”. But they did help.

Multivitamin: Helps fix small decencies of vitamins and minerals and enhance energy metabolism. I used Optimen Multivitamin.

Protein powder: Makes eating large quantities of protein easier. I used Optimum Gold Standard Casein (for my Breakfast Pudding) and Jay Robb Egg-White Protein (for my Super Shakes).

Vitamin D: Even though natural sunlight allows our body to create Vitamin D, many of us are still deficient, which can lead to loss of muscle strength and mass and low levels of immunity. I used Vitamin D3 by NOW.

Creatine monohydrate: Helps regenerate muscle energy stores and can improve strength, boost performance, and increase muscle mass. I used Biotest creatine monohydrate.

Liquid fish oil: A key source of omega-3 fatty acids that helps improve mood and motivation while boosting fat-burning and dampening inflammation. I used Carlson’s Very Finest Liquid Fish Oil.

BCAA capsules: Helps reduce the chance of muscle tissue breakdown while stimulating protein synthesis, leading to better recovery and preservation of lean muscle mass. I used Optimum BCAA capsules primarily on my fasting days.

Greens powder: Veggies, fruits, algaes and/or grasses that have been compacted and distilled into powdered form and contain vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytonutrients. All good things for a growing man. I used Biotest Superfood.

Peri-workout drink: Supplies essential amino acids to help re-build muscle and acts as a performance-enhancing stimulant. I used Purple Wraath by Controlled Labs.

Post-workout drink: A mixture of high-quality protein and fast-acting carbohydrates that helps your body recover and rebuild quickly. I used Universal Torrent.

The Weight Gain Menu – Weeks 1 and 2

Now that we know the strategies, let’s get to the actual menu.

HIGH CALORIE DAY (MONDAY, FRIDAY, SATURDAY)

Breakfast

Breakfast pudding

The following was all put into a blender and blended into a pudding.

2 frozen bananas, blended until creamy
1/4 cup of almond milk
3 scoops casein protein powder
2 squares high cacao chocolate

Side dish

4 pieces whole grain bread
2 Tbsp peanut or almond butter
2 Tbsp jam
multivitamin
3,000 IU vitamin D
1 tsp creatine in coffee or green tea

Immediately Pre-Workout

500ml water
10 grams BCAA’s

Sip During Workout

1L water with
1 scoop of workout drink

Immediately Post-Workout

1L water with
3 scoops post-workout drink

Post-Workout Meal

1.5lb any type of lean meat
3 cups of favorite veggies
½ cup sauerkraut*
2 large sweet or white potatoes
1 Tbsp Udo’s 3.6.9 oil

Anytime Meal

1lb any type of lean meat
3 cups of favorite veggies
½ cup sauerkraut*
2 servings of your favorite fruit
1 Tbsp fish oil

*Your body has a mixture of good and bad bacteria in it. Fermented foods like sauerkraut are rich in enzymes and help increase the amount of good bacteria in your intestines. You’ll notice my diet contained a cup of sauerkraut per day. That’s not in there by chance.

LOW CALORIE DAY (TUESDAY, WEDNESDAY, THURSDAY)

Breakfast

Breakfast pudding

2 frozen bananas, blended until creamy
1/4 cup of almond milk
3 scoops casein protein powder
2 squares high cacao chocolate

Side dish

2 pieces whole grain bread
1 Tbsp peanut or almond butter
1 Tbsp jam
multivitamin
3,000 IU vitamin D
1 tsp creatine in coffee or green tea

Lunch

1.5lb any type of fattier meat
3 cups of favorite veggies
1/4 cup mixed raw nuts
½ cup sauerkraut
1 large sweet or white potato
1 Tbsp Udo’s 3.6.9 oil

Dinner

1lb any type of fattier meat
3 cups of favorite veggies
½ cup sauerkraut
1 servings of your favorite fruit
1 Tbsp fish oil

FASTING DAY (SUNDAY)

I fasted every Sunday with the goal to reboot my insulin sensitivity and carb tolerance before another 6 days of big eating. The rules were simple:

Rule 1: Stop eating by 10pm on Saturday.

Rule 2: On Sunday, have 3 “meals” consisting of the following:

  • 1L water with 1/2 serving greens powder
  • 15g BCAA’s
  • 1 cup of green tea

Why have these fake meals? According to Dr. Berardi, we release a hormone called ghrelin about 30 minutes before our normal meal times, which stimulates hunger pangs and gets us ready for the upcoming meal.

So it was psychologically comforting to have some kind of eating routine. The BCAAs and greens powder made it feel like I was still “eating”, which helped curb those hunger signals. (Plus the BCAAs helped preserve my lean muscle mass.)

Also, the caffeine in green tea (or coffee) helped to liberate stored fats. This helped my body eat the “food” that was stored in my love handles instead of requiring me to actually have a meal.

Rule 3: Break the fast at 10pm Sunday night by eating 1 pound of any protein with 3-4 cups of veggies.

Nate Green's high calorie breakfast

Nate Green high calorie lunch

Nate Green dinner

The  Weight Gain Menu – Weeks 3 and 4

My menu on Weeks 3 and 4 followed the same base menu as above but we strategically added calories. In Week 3, we introduced a Super-Shake (basically a fancy protein shake) because by this time I was tired of chewing. Drinking a shake was much easier.

Here’s what we added:

WEEK 3 ADDITIONS

High-Calorie Day Super Shake (Monday, Friday, Saturday)

  • 8 oz unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 Tbsp heavy cream/whipping cream
  • 1 scoop protein powder
  • Handful frozen raspberries
  • Handful frozen blueberries

Low-Calorie Day Super Shake (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday)

  • 8 oz unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 oz coconut milk
  • 1 scoop protein powder
  • 2 Tbsp cacoa nibs or 99% chocolate
  • 1 Tbsp favorite nut butter

WEEK 4 ADDITIONS

We continued to add more food to my existing meals in Week 4.

Additions to High-Calorie days

  • 1 banana to my breakfast pudding (for a total of 3 bananas)
  • 1 chocolate square to my breakfast pudding (for a total of 3 chocolate squares)
  • 1 scoop Purple Wraath to my workout drink (for a total of 2 scoops)
  • 1 scoop Universal Torrent to my post-workout drink (for a total of 4 scoops)
  • 2 Tbsp nut butter to my breakfast toast side-dish (for a total of 4 Tbsp)
  • 1 Tbsp of jam to my breakfast toast side-dish (for a total of 2 Tbsp)
  • 2 Tbsp heavy cream to my Super Shake (for a total of 4 Tbsp)
  • 1 scoop protein to my Super Shake (for a total of 2 scoops)

Additions to Low-Calorie days

  • 1 banana to my breakfast pudding (for a total of 3 bananas)
  • 1 chocolate square to my breakfast pudding (for a total of 3 chocolate squares)
  • 1 Tbsp nut butter to my breakfast toast side-dish (for a total of 2 Tbsp)
  • 2 oz coconut milk to my Supe Shake (for a total of 4 oz)
  • 1 scoop protein to my Super Shake (for a total of 2 scoops)
  • 1 Tbsp chocolate to my Super Shake (for a total of 3 Tbsp)
  • 1 Tbsp nut butter to my Super Shake (for a total of 2 Tbsp)

These were seemingly small changes that made a big impact on how much weight I gained this week.

Workout Program – Week 1

MONDAY – UPPER BODY STRENGTH

Warm-up

3 sets jumping jacks x 10
3 sets pogo jumps x 50
3 sets of wide outs x 10
2 sets of 20 yard skips
2 sets of 20 yard side shuffle
2 sets of 20 yard carioca
2 sets of 20 yards backward run
1 set of fire hydrants x 8
1 set of forward hip circles x 8
1 set of backward hip circles x 8
1 set of side leg raise x 8
2 sets of band shoulder external rotation x 10
2 sets of band shoulder row x 10
2 sets of band shoulder extension x 10

Weights

Bench Press

Warm-up sets of 5 reps up to the weight of your 5RM (5 Rep Max)
Perform 5 sets of 5RM.

Weighted Chin-up

Warm-up set of 8 reps.
Second set with 25 pounds of 6.
Perform 4 sets of 6 reps with 6RM.

Weighted Dips

Warm-up set of 10 reps.
Second set with 30 pounds for 8.
Perform 4 sets of 8 reps with 8 RM.

Overhead Press

Perform 4 sets of 10 with 10RM.

Barbell Curls 

Perform 4 sets of 10 with 10RM.

Abs of your choice

(I did 3 sets of 8 reps of weighted crunches.)

TUESDAY – HURRICANE SPRINTS 

Warm-up

3 sets jumping jacks x 10
3 sets pogo jumps x 50
3 sets of wide outs x 10
2 sets of 20 yard skips
2 sets of 20 yard side shuffle
2 sets of 20 yard carioca
2 sets of 20 yards backward run
1 set of fire hydrants x 8
1 set of forward hip circles x 8
1 set of backward hip circles x 8
1 set of side leg raise x 8
5 sets of quick steps for 5 yards
5 sets of high knees for 5 yards

Hurricane Category 2

Round 1

Sprint on treadmill at 10 mph and 10% grade incline for 25 seconds.
Jump off treadmill and perform the following:

1 x 20 regular crunch
1 x 20 table-top crunch

Repeat from beginning for a total of 3 rounds.
Rest 2 minutes before moving on to Round 2.

Round 2

Sprint on treadmill at 11 mph and 10% grade incline for 20 seconds.
Jump off treadmill and perform the following:

1 x 20 knee-grab crunch

Repeat from beginning for a total of 3 rounds.
Rest 2 minutes before moving on to Round 3.

Round 3

Sprint on treadmill at 12 mph and 10% grade incline for 20 seconds.
Jump off treadmill and perform the following:

1 x 20 bicycle crunch

Repeat from beginning for a total of 3 rounds.

WEDNESDAY – OFF

THURSDAY – HURRICANE ENERGY CIRCUIT 

Warm-up

3 sets jumping jacks x 10
3 sets pogo jumps x 50
3 sets of wide outs x 10
2 sets of 20 yard skips
2 sets of 20 yard side shuffle
2 sets of 20 yard carioca
2 sets of 20 yards backward run
1 set of fire hydrants x 8
1 set of forward hip circles x 8
1 set of backward hip circles x 8
1 set of side leg raise x 8
5 sets of quick steps for 5 yards
5 sets of high knees for 5 yards 

Training For Warriors Circuit 

Complete each station of the circuit for 1 minute for 5 total minutes. Rest for 3 minutes and repeat.  Rest for 3 minutes and perform the last round for 30 seconds each station.

1. Rope

Begin standing holding one end of the rope in each hand. Start by performing 10 double arm swings by bringing the arms up and down as violently as possible. Then perform 10 alternating swings by bringing each arm up and down one at a time. Then perform 10 rotations by bringing each arm up and out to the sides and back down. Once all 30 reps are completed as fast as possible, start back at the beginning for the allotted time.

2. Kettlebell Swing

Begin standing with the kettlebell in both hands. Swing the bell between the legs. Extend at the knees and hips and swing the bell forward to shoulder height.  Repeat for 10 reps.  Then perform 10 more reps using each arm (single-handed swings). Once the 30 reps are completed, start back at the beginning with two hands for the allotted time.

3. Medicine Ball Slams

Begin holding the medicine ball in both hands overhead. Fire the ball into the ground as hard as possible. Recover the ball and repeat for as many reps as possible in the allotted time.

4. Sledge Hammer Swings

Begin facing the tire with both feet forward holding the hammer. Bring the hammer back and over one side of the body and hit the tire as hard as possible. Return the hammer over the other side of the body and repeat for as many reps as possible in the allotted time.

5. Ladder

Begin standing inside of the ladder with both feet.  Jump and land with your feet outside of and forward one box. Jump your feet back into the box and repeat for the length of the ladder and back.  Once completed, begin running with high knees using one foot in each box, down and back the length of the ladder. Once this second set is finished, perform side steps through the ladder using two feet in each box down and back up the ladder.  Once the third set is completed, start at the beginning and complete as many reps in the allotted time possible.

FRIDAY – UPPER BODY HYPERTROPHY

Warm-up

3 sets jumping jacks x 10
3 sets pogo jumps x 50
3 sets of wide outs x 10
2 sets of 20 yard skips
2 sets of 20 yard side shuffle
2 sets of 20 yard carioca
2 sets of 20 yards backward run
1 set of fire hydrants x 8
1 set of forward hip circles x 8
1 set of backward hip circles x 8
1 set of side leg raise x 8
2 sets of band shoulder external rotation x 10
2 sets of band shoulder row x 10
2 sets of band shoulder extension x 10

Weights 

Close Grip Bench

Do 3 warmup sets of 5 reps.
Perform 4 sets of 8 with your 8 RM.

Cable High Pull

Do 4 sets of 10 reps after a warmup set.

Band Triceps Pushdown

Do 4 sets of 15 reps.

Cable Rows

Do 4 sets of 8 reps with 8RM.

Dumbbell Curls

Do 3 sets of 8 each arm.

Abs of your choice.

(I did 3 sets of 5 reps on each side of half-kneeling chops.)

SATURDAY – LOWER BODY STRENGTH

Warm-up

3 sets jumping jacks x 10
3 sets pogo jumps x 50
3 sets of wide outs x 10
2 sets of 20 yard skips
2 sets of 20 yard side shuffle
2 sets of 20 yard carioca
2 sets of 20 yards backward run
1 set of fire hydrants x 8
1 set of forward hip circles x 8
1 set of backward hip circles x 8
1 set of side leg raise x 8

Weights

45-degree back raise

Perform 1 set of 10 with bodyweight.
Perform 1 set of 8 with 25 pounds.
Perform 1 set of 8 with 45 pounds.
Perform 1 set of 8 with 70 pounds.

Barbell Squat

Do 3-4 warmup sets.
Perform 5 sets of 8 reps with 8RM.

Deadlift

Do 3-4 warmup sets.
Perform 5 sets of 8 reps with 8RM.

SUNDAY – OFF

WORKOUT PROGRAM – WEEK 2

MONDAY – UPPER BODY STRENGTH

Warm-up

Same as Week 1.

Weights

Bench Press

Warmup sets of 6 reps up to the weight of your 6RM.
Perform 5 sets of 6RM.

(The goal is to use heavier weight in last few sets than Week 1 at 5 reps.)

Weighted Chin-up

Warmup set of 8 reps.
Do second set with 25 pounds for 8 reps.
Perform 4 sets of 8 reps with 8RM.

(The goal is to use heavier weight in last few sets than Week 1 at 6 reps.)

Weighted Dips

Warmup set of 10 reps.
Do second set with 30 pounds for 10.
Perform 4 sets of 10 reps with 10RM.

(The goal is to use heavier weight in last few sets than Week 1 at 8 reps.)

Overhead Press

Perform 5 sets of 6 with 6RM.

Barbell Curls

Perform 5 sets of 8 with 8RM

Abs of your choice

(I did 3 sets of 10 weighted crunches.)

TUESDAY – HURRICANE SPRINTS 

Warm-up

Same as Week 1.

Round 1   

Sprint on treadmill at 9.5 mph x 10% grade for 25 seconds.
Jump off treadmill, grab a 65-pound barbell and do the following:

Push Jerks x 10
Close Grip Snatch x 8

Repeat from beginning for a total of 3 sets.
Rest 2 minutes before performing Round 2.

Round 2   

Sprint on treadmill at 10.5 mph x 10% grade for 25 seconds.
Jump off treadmill, grab a 65-pound barbell and do the following:

Wide Grip Bent Over Row x 10
High Pull x 10  

Repeat from beginning for a total of 3 sets.
Rest 2 minutes before performing Round 3.

Round 3  

Sprint on treadmill at 11.5 mph x 10% grade for 25 seconds.
Jump off treadmill, grab a 65-pound barbell and do the following:

Biceps Curl x 10
Cleans x 10

Repeat from beginning for a total of 3 sets.
Curl into a ball and try not to throw up.

WEDNESDAY – OFF

THURSDAY – HURRICANE ENERGY CIRCUIT 

Warm-up

Same as Week 1.

Training For Warriors Circuit 

Complete each station of the circuit for 1 minute for 5 total minutes. Rest for 3 minutes and repeat. Rest for 3 minutes and perform the last round for 30 seconds each station.

1. Farmer’s Walk   

Begin standing holding a heavy dumbbells in each hand with the elbows extended. Walk for 20 yards down and back as many times as possible in the time allotted.

2. Sandbag Drag   

Begin facing the sandbag while gripping the bag with both hands.  Drag the bag backward for 20 yards, using a toe-heel foot contact. Repeat for the distance as many times as possible in the time allotted.

3. Hand-Over-Hand Rope Pull 

Begin standing with the single rope in each hand. Pull the rope to the hip with the far hand and then grab further down the rope with the opposite hand. Repeat for as many times as possible in the allotted time.

4. Prowler Push or Sled Push

Begin using the high grip on the Prowler. Taking as big of steps as possible, push it 20 yards. Run around to the other side and push it back using the low grip. Repeat for as much distance as possible in the allotted time.

5. Tire Flip 

Begin facing the tire. Bend down and grab both hands under the bottom rim. Using the legs, lift the tire onto one side while keeping the elbows extended.  Turn the hands over and push the tire down as hard as possible. Run to the opposite side of the tire and flip it back to the other side. Repeat for as many reps as possible in the allotted time.

FRIDAY – UPPER BODY HYPERTROPHY

Warm-Up

Same as Week 1.

Weights

Close Grip Bench

Do 3 warmup sets of 5 reps.
Perform 4 sets of 10 with your 10RM.

Cable High Pull

Do 4 sets of 8 reps after a warmup set.

Band Triceps Pushdown

Do 4 sets of 20 reps.

Cable Rows

Do 4 sets of 8 reps with 8RM.

Dumbbell Curls

Do 3 sets of 8 each arm.

Abs of your choice.

(I did 3 sets of 6 reps on each side of half-kneeling chops.)

SATURDAY – LOWER BODY STRENGTH

Warm-up

Same as Week 1.

Weights

45-degree back raise

Perform 1 set of 10 with bodyweight.
Perform 1 set of 8 with 25 pounds.
Perform 1 set of 8 with 45 pounds.
Perform 1 set of 8 with 90 pounds.

Barbell Squat

Do 3-4 warmup sets.
Perform 5 sets of 8 reps with 8RM.

Deadlift

Do 3-4 warmup sets.
Perform 5 sets of 8 reps with 8RM.

SUNDAY – OFF

WORKOUT PROGRAM – WEEK 3

MONDAY – UPPER BODY STRENGTH

Warm-up

Same as Weeks 1 and 2.

Weights

Band Bench Press

Warmup sets of 5 reps up to the weight of your 5RM.
Perform 5 sets of 5RM.

(I used mini-bands. Here’s a video of how they work.)

Alternating Grip Weighted Chin-up

(One hand using a overhand grip, and the other hand using an underhand grip.)

Warmup set of 8 reps. (4 reps with each grip.)
Do second set with 25 pounds for 8 reps. (4 reps with each grip.)
Perform 4 sets of 8 reps with 8RM. (4 reps with each grip.)

Weighted Dips

Warmup set of 6 reps.
Do second set with 40 pounds for 6 reps.
Perform 5 sets of 6 reps with 6RM.

Overhead Press

Perform 5 sets of 5 with 5RM.

Barbell Curls

Perform 4 sets of 8 with 8RM

Abs of your choice

(I did 3 sets of 10 of reverse crunches.)

TUESDAY – HURRICANE SPRINTS 

Warm-up

Same as Weeks 1 and 2.

Round 1   

Sprint on treadmill at 9.5 mph x 10% grade for 25 seconds.
Jump off treadmill, grab a 65-pound barbell and do the following:

High Pull x 10
Bent-over Row x 8

Repeat from beginning for a total of 3 sets.
Rest 2 minutes before performing Round 2.

Round 2   

Sprint on treadmill at 10.5 mph x 10% grade for 25 seconds.
Jump off treadmill, grab a 65-pound barbell and do the following:

Close-Grip Snatch x 10

Repeat from beginning for a total of 3 sets.
Rest 2 minutes before performing Round 3.

Round 3  

Sprint on treadmill at 11.5 mph x 10% grade for 25 seconds.
Jump off treadmill, grab a 65-pound barbell and do the following:

Cleans x 10

Repeat from beginning for a total of 3 sets.

WEDNESDAY – OFF

THURSDAY – HURRICANE ENERGY CIRCUIT 

Warm-up

Same as Weeks 1 and 2.

Training For Warriors Circuit 

Same exercises as Week 1 but with different time parameters  Complete each station of the circuit for 30 seconds for 2.5 total minutes. Rest for 1 minute and repeat. Do 4 total sets.

FRIDAY – UPPER BODY HYPERTROPHY

Warm-Up

Same as Weeks 1 and 2.

Weights

Incline Barbell Bench Press

Do 3 warmup sets of 5 reps.
Perform 4 sets of 10 with your 10RM.

One-Arm Dumbbell Row

Do 4 sets of 8 reps after a warmup set.

Cable Triceps Pushdown

Do 4 sets of 12 reps.

Bent-Over Reverse Fly with Dumbbells

Do 4 sets of 8 reps with 8RM.

Dumbbell Curls

Do 3 sets of 8 reps.

Abs of your choice.

(I did 3 sets of 8 reps on each side of half-kneeling chops.)

SATURDAY – LOWER BODY STRENGTH

Warm-up

Same as Weeks 1 and 2.

Weights

45-degree back raise

Perform 1 set of 10 with bodyweight.
Perform 2 sets of 8 with 45 pounds.
Perform 2 sets of 8 with 90 pounds.

Barbell Squat

Do 3-4 warmup sets.
Perform 5 sets x 6 of 6RM.

Deadlift

Do 3-4 warmup sets.
Perform 5 sets x 6 of 6RM.

SUNDAY – OFF

WORKOUT PROGRAM – WEEK 4

MONDAY – UPPER BODY STRENGTH

Warm-up

Same as Weeks 1, 2, and 3.

Weights

Band Bench Press

Warmup sets of 8 reps up to the weight of your 8RM.
Perform 5 sets of 8RM.

Weighted Pull-Up

Warmup set of 8 reps.
Do second set with 25 pounds for 8 reps.
Perform 3 sets of 6 reps with 40 pounds added.

Weighted Dips

Warmup set of 6 reps with 25 pounds added.
Do second set with 40 pounds for 6 reps.
Perform 5 sets of 6 reps with 80 pounds added.

Overhead Press

Perform 4 sets of 8 with 8RM.

Barbell Curls

Perform 4 sets of 10 with 10RM

Abs of your choice

(I did 3 sets of 12 of reverse crunches.)

TUESDAY – HURRICANE SPRINTS 

Warm-up

Same as Weeks 1, 2, and 3.

Round 1   

Sprint on treadmill at 10 mph x 10% grade for 30 seconds.
Jump off treadmill, and do the following with light weight:

Cable Row x 10
Cable Triceps Pressdown x 8

Repeat from beginning for a total of 3 sets.
Rest 2 minutes before performing Round 2.

Round 2   

Sprint on treadmill at 10.5 mph x 10% grade for 30 seconds.
Jump off treadmill, and do the following with light weight:

Cable High-Pull to Chin x 10

Repeat from beginning for a total of 3 sets.
Rest 2 minutes before performing Round 3.

Round 3  

Sprint on treadmill at 11.5 mph x 10% grade for 30 seconds.
Jump off treadmill, and do the following with light weight:

Cable Lat Pull-Down x 10

Repeat from beginning for a total of 3 sets.

WEDNESDAY – OFF

THURSDAY – HURRICANE ENERGY CIRCUIT 

Warm-up

Same as Weeks 1, 2, and 3.

Training For Warriors Circuit 

Same exercises as Week 2 but with different time parameters  Complete each station of the circuit for 30 seconds for 2.5 total minutes. Rest for 1 minute and repeat. Do 4 total sets.

FRIDAY – UPPER BODY HYPERTROPHY

Warm-Up

Same as Weeks 1, 2, and 3.

Weights

Incline Barbell Bench Press

Do 3 warmup sets of 5 reps.
Perform 4 sets of 6 with 6RM.

One-Arm Dumbbell Row

Do 4 sets of 8 reps after a warmup set.

Cable Triceps Pushdown

Do 4 sets of 10 reps.

Bent-Over Reverse Fly with Dumbbells

Do 3 sets of 10 reps.

Dumbbell Curls

Do 3 sets of 8 reps.

Abs of your choice.

(I did a basic plank for 3 sets of 30 seconds.)

SATURDAY – LOWER BODY STRENGTH

Warm-up

Same as Weeks 1, 2, and 3.

Weights

45-degree back raise

Perform 1 set of 10 with bodyweight.
Perform 2 sets of 8 with 45 pounds.
Perform 2 sets of 8 with 90 pounds.

Barbell Squat

Do 3-4 warmup sets.
Perform 5 sets x 10 of 10RM.

Deadlift

Do 3-4 warmup sets.
Perform 5 sets x 8 of 8RM.

SUNDAY – OFF

Girth, Body Fat, and Performance Metrics After Gaining 20 Pounds

Nate Green after muscle-building experiment

So let’s say Georges St Pierre wanted to put on 20 pounds to move up a weight class to fight Anderson Silva. (Granted, he probably wouldn’t do it in 28 days.)

What would happen to his performance? Would he get slow and fat? Or even more powerful and agile?

We can only speculate with GSP, but here’s what happened to me.

Baseline After Weight-Gain
Weight 169.6 190.2
Girth Measurements
Neck 15.25 15.38
Shoulder 48 49.25
Chest 41.5 44
Upper Arm 14.75 16
Waist 31.5 32.25
Hip 38 39.5
Thigh 23.13 24.25
Calf 15.5 15.38
Body Fat Measurements
Mid-Ax 2.8 3.8
Cheek 2.8 5.7
Chest 2.8 4.7
Ab 7.6 3.8
Subscap 5.7 7.6
Triceps 2.8 3.8
Suprailiac 2.8 4.7
Knee 5.7 2.8
Hamstring 3.8 4.7
Calf 9.5 6.7
Body Fat (%) 3.03 (probably ~6) 4.1 (probably ~7)

GIRTH MEASUREMENTS

Expected: We were confident every part of my body would increase in size, and for the most part, that was true.

Surprised: My calf measurements actually went down. We believe it had something to do with the resultant fat loss from doing the Hurricane sprint days.

BODY FAT PERCENTAGE

A quick note about the body fat test: We used calipers and a 10-site skinfold test. All measurement days were done at the Missoula Underground Strength Training Center and performed by trainer Mike Scialabba.

When testing body fat with calipers, there’s always a 2 – 3 percent margin of error. Mike, who’s done this same test on hundreds of his clients, ended up with skinfold measurements that indicated the obviously wrong numbers of 3.03 and 4.1 respectively. Adding a 3% margin of error, the real numbers were probably more like 6-7% and 8-9%.

All of this to say, my body fat percentage went up, but very minimally.

Surprised: I expected to gain more body fat than this (but was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t). Also, while most of my individual sites increased, there were a few that went down (ab, knee, calf). Those were three of the places that had the highest body-fat percentage on the initial Day 0 test.

And here are the performance metrics:

STRENGTH TEST: DEADLIFT MAXIMUM

Baseline: 405 pounds
After Weight Gain: 475 pounds

POWER TEST: VERTICAL JUMP

Baseline: 28 inches
After Weight Gain: 31.7 inches

STRENGTH ENDURANCE TEST: 225-POUND BENCH PRESS

Baseline: 8 reps
After Weight Gain: 15 reps

ENDURANCE TEST 1: MAX VELOCITY ON TREADMILL (VMAX)

Baseline: 9 minutes and 32 seconds of sprinting at 8mph, working up to an incline of 8%
After Weight Gain: 7 minutes and 38 seconds of sprinting at 8mph, working up to an incline of 6%.

ENDURANCE TEST 2: MAX TIME ON TREADMILL (T-MAX)

Baseline: 3 minutes and 11 seconds of sprinting at 8mph with 6% incline
After Weight Gain: 3 minutes and 14 seconds of sprinting at 8mph with 6% incline

STRENGTH/POWER/MUSCLE ENDURANCE TESTS

Expected: We expected to improve performance dramatically in all three of my non-endurance tests (vertical jump, 225-bench, max deadlift).

Surprised: No surprises here.

V-MAX AND T-MAX

Expected: I wasn’t too sure what to expect here, honestly. I felt like I was in better shape than on our baseline testing day, but I didn’t know if my short duration Hurricane sprint training (25 second sprints) would translate to better endurance.

Surprised: What surprised me about both the VMax and the TMax was that I actually felt like I had more endurance. However, I was much heavier and I felt it during the endurance testing. Perhaps I didn’t have enough time to adapt to my new body weight.

Now, this is something GSP may not have to deal with, since he’d likely gain weight over a longer period of time and his body would have more opportunity to adapt.

Closing Words

During each phase of my experiments, I pushed my body to its physiological limits.

I ate as much as I could for 28 days straight. I fasted for a full 24 hours multiple times. I purposefully dehydrated myself and robbed my body of water. I lifted heavy weights and sprinted as fast as I could.

I proved that it’s possible to for a regular guy to gain 20 pounds of (mostly) lean mass in a month. That it’s possible to then lose those 20 pounds in a week. And that it’s possible to gain them all back in a day.

In the process, I hope I’ve demystified the process of muscle building, weight cutting, and rehydration. In the end, there’s no voodoo and witchcraft here. Just the right advice, expert guidance, and a ton of hard work.

+++++

For more about Nate, Dr. Berardi, and their work on building muscle and gaining strength, check out Scrawny To Brawny.

Additional resources: You can download the entire weight-gain nutrition plan Nate used here: Muscle-Building Nutrition Plan. And you can download the entire training program he used here: Muscle-Building Workout Program.

Posted on: May 11, 2013.

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279 comments on “How To Gain 20 Pounds In 28 Days: The Extreme Muscle Building Secrets of UFC Fighters

    • This is a ridonkulous amount of information. So detailed and chalk full of key information. I’ve always wanted a look inside the programs of professional athletes, especially MMA.

      I can’t wait to start eating a buttload of food!

      Like

      • Glad you like, Benny. If you’re interested, check out our free 5-day course for building muscle (google Scrawny to Brawny and you’ll find it). There we spell out a more sane and sustainable protocol. Remember, this is actually a pilot project for a specific goal: move up a weight class in a hurry, as if your job depended on it.

        Like

    • David, you might want to check out our free online book “Bigger Smaller Bigger” (www.biggersmallerbigger.com). We detail everything from this two-part article series in painstaking detail. We also talk about whether you SHOULD copy this and follow it exactly (probably not). And what you might do if you wanted to do something like this in a more healthy, sustainable way. Remember, this is a weight gain crash course designed for a fighter who might have to go up a weight class in a hurry. Because it’s, like, his job :-)

      Like

    • It’s a good question, stretch marks are actually dependent on elasticity of the skin. Some of this is genetically determined. And some can be controlled by a regular moisturizing regimen. My wife, who’s had 2 children, used a regular routine of moisturizing her tummy with almond oil and a special lotion for pregnant women. And no stretch marks. So, my advice to anyone interested in gaining muscle mass in a faster way, do the same. Almond oil and/or a good lotion daily, after showering.

      Like

  1. Was very excited to read this as soon as I read the headline. I am a health junky and for my entire adult life I have had a great deal of trouble adding on mass. While I was not totally surprised that the key is to eat lots and train accordingly, I have tried this but not with such a comprehensive plan. I was very pleased to read about the supplements section, certain ones like vitamin D3 for example I have promoted on my site for health conscious individuals. I currently take a total immune supplement that is directed towards boosting glutathione levels, among acetyl l-glutathione it has other ingredients targeting tissue and cell repair. I hope to implement an eating and workout schedule very soon, combined with this supplement hopefully I can gain some much needed healthy weight.

    Like

    • Very cool…best wishes with the protocol. If you’re interested, check out our free 5-day course for building muscle (google Scrawny to Brawny and you’ll find it). There we spell out a more sane and sustainable protocol than this one. Remember, this is actually a pilot project for a specific goal: move up a weight class in a hurry, as if your job depended on it.

      Like

  2. The deception from this article comes from its subtle ambiguity; “20 pounds of quality mass”. What does this even mean? How much was water weight? I assume a lot seeing as bf% is claimed to have increased by only ~1%.
    Fact of the matter is that its nigh on impossible to gain 20 pounds of lean mass in 28 days even ON a heavy dose of steroids, growth hormone and insulin (and this is coming from a competitor and user).

    I do love the blog, but its posts such as these that really grind my gears.

    Like

    • Thanks for the note, man, but there’s certainly no deception here.

      I weighed in every morning after 8-9 hours of fasting (sleeping) and did all my bathroom business beforehand. So I was as dry as possible every morning.

      I’m sure my body was holding on to a little bit of water…but so does every healthy body that’s not dehydrated. That’s just being a human. :)

      Again, check out the girth measurements and body-fat differential. We added 20 pounds in 28 days with only a slight increase in body fat.

      Take care,
      -Nate

      Like

    • I totally get where you’re coming from…in an industry (fitness) that’s been dominated by hucksters and charlatans for years, it’s easy to see bold claims as more of the same. As Nate said, however, we’re not trying to sell anyone anything here. We did this as a pilot project for a very real world application (helping a UFC fighter move up a weight class in a hurry). And we decided to share our protocol here with Tim’s audience. Further, we documented everything in even more painstaking detail than we could here in a free online book called Bigger Smaller Bigger (www.biggersmallerbigger.com). If you’re interested in getting even more information about the protocol – and perhaps ungrinding your gears a little – we’d love you to have a look.

      Like

  3. Love Scrawny to Brawny. It’s been a classic reference guide that i’ve gone back to over the years. Definitely the best weight gain book on the market.

    I’m impressed man – your abdominal skin fold % went DOWN by 50%? Is that right?

    Like

    • Thanks for the feedback on the book, Alexander. Everything we’d done with the Scrawny to Brawny brand, I’m really proud of. From the book to the website to the coaching program. We’ve helped thousands of guys build muscle, strength, and live a bigger life. Feels good.

      Like

    • Can’t speak for Tim but I am very familiar with both protocols and I think that the fasting day can work with Occam’s protocol as long as you eat enough on the other days of the week. If not, the zero calorie fasting day will lower your weekly caloric intake and make it harder to gain weight. That being said, if you do eat enough on the other days, the fasting day is a great strategy for hormone management, as discussed in the article.

      Like

  4. Some truly amazing results here! Can’t wait to implement parts of it into my own program. Tim – I love your work and love testing it in my own life, keep up the great work!

    Like

    • Best wishes trying some of this stuff out. For now, if you’re interested, check out our free 5-day course for building muscle (google Scrawny to Brawny and you’ll find it). There we spell out a more sane and sustainable protocol than this one. Remember, this is actually a pilot project for a specific goal: move up a weight class in a hurry, as if your job depended on it.

      Like

  5. What?!? Something doesn’t feel quite right.

    From the weight gain post: “I started the official experiment at 169 pounds and 28 days later, weighed in at 190.” Then from the weight cut post: “I started at 190.2 pounds and had 5 days to lose 20 pounds.”

    I don’t dispute what Nate did with his body, I think that it is pretty dang amazing what our bodies can do. I am just curious about the timing of both experiments, his age, and a few other things…

    How far apart in time is Nate doing this to his body?
    It appears that Nate gained, then lost? Is that right?
    What does Nate walk around at (from his bio, do we assume 185ish?)? Nate is already fit…does this hurt the expectations of someone who is trying for the first time? Either losing or gaining? Maybe someone older…who is not a teenager…who is not already fit?
    Did Nate have any goals outside of add/lose weight for this experiment?
    Is this just an experiment for the sake of manipulating body weight?

    Like

    • Yep, this is a great question to ask and I suspected some people would be skeptical unless we were painfully detailed about the timeline.

      The weight gain experiment actually came FIRST. So, Nate started at about 170 pounds. Then he proceeded to:

      -Gain 20 pounds of lean mass in 28 days (detailed in this article)
      -Lose 20 pounds in 5 days (detailed in part 1)
      -Gain 20 pounds in 24 hours (detailed in part 1)

      In the end, I know some people will be skeptical about these experiments, not knowing us. But we’re trustworthy guys and have documented everything in painstaking detail in our free online book “Bigger Smaller Bigger” (www.biggersmallerbigger.com).

      Like

      • Hey Dr.Beradi, I was wondering, does this work for women as well or is it different for them.

        Like

      • Good question – the principles here would work for female fighters too. Of course, it’d have to be adjusted to their body size and body type. Remember, this is actually a pilot project for a specific goal: move up a weight class in a hurry, as if your job depended on it. If a woman simply wants to build muscle, there are safer and saner ways of doing that. Check out our free 5-day course for building muscle (google Scrawny to Brawny and you’ll find it) for more on those.

        Like

    • JB summed it up nicely here.

      As far as age, we’ve helped TONS of guys from age 17 to 60+ gain muscle and get stronger.

      Also, I know I look like a teenager…but I’m actually 27 years old. :) I think I need to grow a beard.

      -Nate

      Like

    • To some of your more specific questions, we answer some of them in our free book. We also talk about whether you SHOULD copy this and follow it exactly if you’re younger, older, less experienced (probably not). And what you might do if you wanted to do something like this in a more healthy, sustainable way. Remember, this is a weight gain pilot project designed for a fighter who might have to go up a weight class in a hurry. Because it’s, like, his job.

      Like

  6. Thanks a lot for this greatly detailed post! As an ectomorph, I really enjoy seeing this type of detail showing how its truly possible to gain a large amount of muscle mass over a short period of time. I really appreciate you including the diet and workout routine used. (IMO, there are way too many posts on how to lose weight out there)

    In each of the weight lifting days, it always says to go to your #RM; did Nate achieve this without a spotter? Should the #RM on the last set for these be one that the individual can do without needing a spotter?

    Is there any reason why you didn’t want to spread out the food intake over something like 6 meals every day? Is that to keep the metabolism down and not continually burn calories, thus allowing the individual to gain more weight?

    Like

    • Thanks for the note, man.

      I didn’t have a spotter on every day, but 90% of the time I had a friend with me in the gym to help me out and make sure I didn’t drop anything on my head. :)

      Regarding the RM stuff, don’t worry too much about it. As long as you’re using enough weight to challenge you, you should be fine. As a good rule of thumb, I made sure my last set of every exercise was tough…but doable.

      As far as the food stuff and 6 meals per day, it’s a common misconception that eating more frequently throughout the day increases metabolism. It doesn’t. So eating 3-4 BIG meals a day was more of a convenience thing than a metabolism thing.

      Make sense?

      -Nate

      Like

    • Thanks for the questions…Nate did this without a spotter. When it says 3RM or 6RM, that means his true 3 or 6RM. In other words, what he can actually lift without a spot.

      As far as spreading out the food intake, after a little trial and error, we decided this would be best for Nate (preference-wise). You could try spreading the meals over 6 feedings or whatever you prefer. I don’t think it would make a huge physiological difference. What we were after is what Nate felt like he could handle best with his lifestyle.

      Like

  7. Always great to see what professional athletes go through in order to compete at their best, with this post highlighting just what some people will do to have a competitive advantage.

    Working with athletes and bodybuilders our results for gaining lean mass in a short duration, and cutting weight (fat and water) in a matter of days have been similar, but this is a whole new level of weight maniupulation outlined above. Great results, many principles can definitely be tailored to the individual to achieve amazing results.

    Been following Dr Berardi for a long time in terms of his research and methods, loved this post.

    Trevor Degen
    Certified Sports Nutritionist.

    Like

  8. Dr. Berardi,

    I have a question regarding rest time between sets.
    As a general rule: the longer the rest, the more the strength gain, right?
    So conversely, the shorter the rest period, the more (sarcoplasmic) hypertrophy?

    These posts are very intriguing to read. Very cool!

    Like

  9. Great post – thank you!

    However, eventhough he looks pretty lean, he doesn’t look to be 6-7% and 8-9% (could just be the pictures though).

    Like

    • You’re right…skinfold testing isn’t always accurate in terms of the absolute number, even with a trained tester. That’s why in this article, and part 1, we’re more interested in the change in skinfolds over time (which indicates change in body comp) than the absolute number. With an experienced tester, skinfolds are more reliable (able to detect change over time) than they are accurate (exactly correct in terms of the absolute number).

      Like

  10. Sounds awesome. I’ve been meaning to do Occam’s Routine again, since it’s the only thing that ever got me over 160 pounds. Looks like Nate is reasonably mesomorphic. Tim, would you recommend this or Occam’s for a skinny guy who finds it nearly impossible to gain weight?

    Also, I was thinking about using IF to maintain insulin sensitivity, but the way I was thinking of doing it was with 16 hour fasts, about a couple times a week, each fast ending with my workout and a shake consumed during the workout. I’ve read from a lot of places that fasting raises growth hormone levels, and so putting a workout at the end of a fast capitalizes on that. Anyone want to comment on this strategy vs. 24 hours once a week on a non-workout day?

    Like

    • IMO, this isn’t the best strategy for guys who simply want to get bigger. You might want to check out our free online book “Bigger Smaller Bigger” (www.biggersmallerbigger.com). We detail everything from this two-part article series in painstaking detail. But we also talk about whether you SHOULD copy this, which in your case, I think probably not. Which is where some of our more healthy, sustainable protocols kick in.

      As far as the IF thing, 16/8 fasts work great for fat loss and very slow muscle gain. You can check out our other free online book “Experiments with Intermittent Fasting” for more on this (http://www.precisionnutrition.com/intermittent-fasting). The weekly 24h fast works much better for ectomorphs trying to gain 15 or 20+ pounds of lean mass, as long as the other parts are included (calorie cycling, etc).

      Like

    • Good question…fattier meats come in on lower calore/lower carb days while leaner meats come in on higher calorie/higher carb days. We generally like to take fats and carbs in opposite directions. In other words, we increase fats when carbs go down and decrease fats when carbs go up.

      Like

  11. This is awesome, though it doesn’t hurt that the dude started being pretty ripped/fit to begin with (baseline 405 lbs deadlift?! goddamn…).

    Still, very cool, very scientific, and kudos!

    Like

  12. I’m curious to know what the maximum weight is that Nate has been in the past. In my experience it was more difficult to gain weight the first time I tried, than it was to gain the same weight, after having lost it, a few years later.

    Can anyone else comment on this issue? Is it a real thing?

    Like

    • Great question. Yes, regaining muscle mass (vs. building it from scratch) does seem a bit easier. Some people call it muscle memory. But I’m not sure if it’s a physiological phenomenon (what some call muscle memory), a psychological one (the confidence of knowing that you’ve been bigger and can get there again), or a little of both. As far as Nate, I’m not sure what his max weight had been in the past or how long it’s been since he was that weight. I’ll let him respond to that.

      Like

    • Hey Jared –

      The heaviest I’ve ever been was about 185 pounds, but that was back when I was 19-20 years old. (I’m 28 now.)

      I’ve weighed lower than 180 for the past 5 years or so, and right around 170 pounds for the past 2-3 years as I started focusing more on my relationships and work than time in the gym.

      So when I started this experiment I was a legit 170 pounds — and had been for 2-3 years.

      Thanks for the note!

      -Nate

      Like

  13. I was pretty excited to try this up until I read that he used creatine. Creatine was responsible for at least half of what he gained.

    Like

    • Thanks for the note, man. However I’ll have to disagree with your assertion that “creatine was responsible for half” of what I gained.

      The thing is, we all have creatine in our muscles already (about half of which is derived from eating creatine-rich meat).

      Supplementing with creatine can have huge positive effects on your body (something Tim has written about in detail before), the most notable being increasing maximal force production of your muscles. (That means you can lift more weight more explosively.)

      In the end, the creatine obviously helped a little. (That’s why we used it.)

      But the real reason I gained all that weight was due to the sheer amount of food I was eating, smart nutrient-timing, and a progressive weight-training program.

      Like

      • At least half the weight gain from creatine? Where did that statistic come from? That’s a little ridiculous. If creatine could put 10lbs of lean mass on a dude in under 30 days we’d all be damned monsters!

        Like

      • Weight gain is not the same as muscle gain. Creatine facilitates water retention in the muscles, hence increased appearance of muscle size and overall mass. I am pretty sure creatine was heavily responsible for Mark Wahlbergs look in Pain & Gain. Nate and John must know this very well, don’t they :-) At least, I know John does :P So, definitely would be a nice disclaimer to include.

        Like

    • If you want to make big gains you need to take creatine. It’s completely safe. You get more energy in your muscles so you can lift more. When you stop taking it you’ll lose water for sure but the gain you’ve made will stay.
      And it’s very cheap. There’s no reason not to take creatine.

      Like

      • Thanks Dr John Berardi and Nate for this detailed post and your answers to the queries below. A ton of useful information in the blog and the comments. I am 26 yrs old, 5′ 11″ and 204 lbs and trying hard to pile on the muscles. Sometimes all this information sounds confusing to a newbie like me. As I gain more insights I learn that there are many paths to achieving my goals.

        Like

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts…although your assumption is a strong one. Usually creatine-related gains (which can be in the neighborhood of 5-6 pounds) come in novices who aren’t taking creatine to begin with. Nate was not a novice. And he was previously taking creatine. So I’d be surprised if 2-3 pounds of his 20 were creatine related.

      Like

  14. That’s an awesome case study, and I think it might be an improvement over Occam’s. I did Occam’s for myself once. It worked (10 lean pounds in 4 weeks) but boy was it unpleasant. I would have killed for a fast day.

    The real trouble I had was keeping it on. Within a year I was back to my pre-Occam’s equilibrium weight. How long do you have to maintain the routine to establish a new homeostasis?

    Like

    • You might want to check out our free online book “Bigger Smaller Bigger” (www.biggersmallerbigger.com). We detail everything from this two-part article series in painstaking detail. We also talk about whether you SHOULD copy this and follow it exactly (IMO, probably not). And what you might do if you wanted to do something like this in a more healthy, sustainable way. Remember, this is a weight gain pilot project designed for a fighter who might have to go up a weight class in a hurry. Because it’s, like, his job. Since it’s likely not yours, you might want to try things in a more sustainable way. Again, we talk about all this in the free book. Check it out.

      Like

      • So far (I’m on day 9) Nate’s struggle to eat sounds a lot like mine. Thankfully my wife was willing and able to prep my meals for me during the month – you’re right that I would not have been able to do it with a whole foods approach on my own within my job’s constraints. Eating was by far the worst part of the effort. The exercises, while intense, were brief and did leave you feeling good about yourself. Constantly stuffing your face is an exhausting grind. I’m looking forward to learning more in the book.

        Like

  15. Tim and Nate:

    How does degree of training affect the total potential mass gains? From the baseline numbers, it seems like Nate was already pretty trained and had good strength and muscle mass.

    I am guessing (though not certain) that GSP is closer to his genetic potential in terms of strength and mass.

    I don’t know his physique precisely though. How much would his current degree of training be a limit to GSP gaining enough mass to enter a new weight class?

    And conversely, could someone less trained than Nate gain even more than 20 pounds if they followed a similar program?

    Not asking to start an argument or for any practical purpose of my own, just genuinely curious.

    Graeme

    Like

    • These are all good questions. But the answer is: it doesn’t really matter. You see, the protocol listed above is one that we developed and then adjusted on a weekly basis for Nate. I call it outcome-based decision making. You essentially start with a baseline and then adjust based on the results each week or two weeks. So, whether someone was a slower or faster responder is really irrelevant as we’d simply tweak the protocol based on their response to drive toward the desired goal. Make sense?

      Like

  16. Maybe I’m wrong, but the problem I have with this is that it’s incredibly easier to regret muscle that you previously had versus creating muscle you never had before.

    That is the one thing never mentioned in 4HB, The Colorado Experiment, and this post.

    Like

    • You’re actually right, regaining lost muscle often does seem “easier”. However the “ease” has to do with timeline and a host of other factors. I’m not sure if it’s a physiological phenomenon (what some call muscle memory), a psychological one (the confidence of knowing that you’ve been bigger and can get there again), or a little of both.

      Here’s what Nate posted above: “The heaviest I’ve ever been was about 185 pounds, but that was back when I was 19-20 years old. (I’m 28 now.) I’ve weighed lower than 180 for the past 5 years or so, and right around 170 pounds for the past 2-3 years as I started focusing more on my relationships and work than time in the gym. So when I started this experiment I was a legit 170 pounds — and had been for 2-3 years.”

      Based on this, and on our experience coaching thousands of guys, these type of gains are not impossible – regardless of whether they’re “regains” or “new gains”. And it’s possible to achieve them drug-free. In the end, you simply need good coaching and the right mindset (and probably a little genetic help from your parents…with that said, it’s possible for everyone, regardless of the genetic hand they’re dealt, to progress). I know it sounds cliche. But it also happens to be true.

      Like

  17. Im cutting down to 150 lbs (@ over 6′) in order to gain very low body fat and then do a bulk. I am not quite the novice at body building. I might change this up a little and add guayusa and MCTs with the green tea, coffee.

    Like

    • There’s a lot you can use here, for sure. However, you might want to check out our free online book “Bigger Smaller Bigger” (www.biggersmallerbigger.com). We detail everything from this two-part article series in painstaking detail. We also talk about whether you SHOULD copy this and follow it (IMO, probably not). And what you might do if you wanted to do something like this in a more healthy, sustainable way. Remember, this is a weight gain pilot project designed for a fighter who might have to go up a weight class in a hurry. Because it’s, like, his job. Since it’s likely not yours, you might want to try things in a more sustainable way. Again, we talk about all this in the free book. Check it out.

      Like

  18. Impress Nate. May I ask what what your normal body weight is though? If your normal weight is 190 lbs, and then you dieted down to 169 before this experiment, then that changes everything.

    Like

      • My normal weight before starting this experiment was legitimately 169 pounds.

        In terms of the 2-part article series, the weight gain experiment actually came FIRST. So, I started at about 170 pounds. Then I proceeded to:

        -Gain 20 pounds of lean mass in 28 days (detailed in this article)
        -Lose 20 pounds in 5 days (detailed in part 1)
        -Gain 20 pounds in 24 hours (detailed in part 1)

        -Nate

        Like

  19. Great article. How should an overweight endomorph approach the strategies outlined in the last two articles? Lose weight first and then gain muscle? Any tips appreciated.

    Like

    • Hey there –

      I gotta be honest: I’d never encourage an overweight guy to try something like this. (I actually don’t think most guys should try it.)

      Remember, this is a weight gain pilot project designed for a fighter who might have to go up a weight class in a hurry. Because it’s, like, his job. Since it’s likely not yours, you might want to try losing weight and getting fit in a more sustainable healthy way.

      Google “Lean Eating For Men” and check that out. It’s likely more up your alley. And make sure to go back and read through the weight-loss part of The Four Hour Chef. There’s good stuff in there.

      Like

    • Hey Kevin, remember, this is a weight gain pilot project designed for a fighter who might have to go up a weight class in a hurry. Because it’s his job. If you’re interested in building muscle in a more sane/sustainable way, I highly recommend you go check out the 5-Day Free Course at our website, Scrawny To Brawny. Tim linked to it above in the article, but here it is just in case: http://www.scrawnytobrawny.com

      Like

  20. Yeah Missoula! I’m really impressed with this post. I was surprised to see just how WILD the training workouts are. The detail on diet and the attention to metrics was great. Thanks Tim, for the great content.

    -Kevin

    #Montana’s for Badasses

    Like

  21. Thank you for the awesomely detailed post.

    Could you provide the nutritional metrics you used rather than just the foods you ate? That way, in case I can’t find the exact foods you used or am allergic to some of them, I can figure out substitutes. Like, how much protein, carbs, fats, etc., were you aiming for on your High Calorie and Low Calorie days?

    Many thanks!

    Like

    • Plugging your meal plans into a nutritional calculator (I used the “myfitnesspal” app), I got…

      High Calorie Days on Weeks 1-2 (1 day)

      Total fat: 56 g
      Saturated fat: 16g

      Sodium: 4077 mg

      Total Carbs: 301 g
      Dietary Fiber: 66 g
      Sugars: 134 g

      Protein: 539 g

      Total Calories: 3824

      Does that look about right to you?

      Would be great if you could provide a similar chart for Weeks 3-4.

      Thanks again!

      Like

      • Hey David –

        We actually didn’t count calories (or macronutrients, etc.) on purpose.

        Why?

        The easy answer is because I’m lazy. The thought of looking at the Nutritional Facts of everything I eat — or, worse, Googling the amount of calories in a medium-sized sweet potato — made me shudder. No way I was going to do that.

        But the real answer is I didn’t NEED to count calories.

        Gaining weight (or losing weight) is all about energy balance. As long as I ate more calories than I burned, I was gonna gain weight.

        And this eating plan definitely had me in a positive energy balance.

        Counting macros or calories can be useful for some top performers, like MMA fighters or other athletes. But for 99.9% of us, it’s more of a pain in the ass.

        But if you want to plug it all in and figure out the exact breakdown, I definitely won’t stop you. We’ve just found that it’s more sustainable when you’re focused on the FOOD (quality and quantity) instead of the calories.

        Take care,
        Nate

        Like

      • You’re Numbers are way off.
        Should be closer to a 20% fat, 40%carb and protein.
        Do You really expect a 170 pound man to be eating almost 600g protein?
        I came up with around 108g fat, 382g carbs, 380 grams protein. Thats both doing it manual and using the same app. The only problem ive had is that the lower calorie days can actually be higher then the high calorie days do to 2.5 pounds of “fattier meat”. Im assuming to do the reduction in carbs like listed and eat about 300-500 calories less than high calorie days.

        Like

  22. I’m 40 years old and could stand to lose weight but also would the muscle. How well would an average 40 year old do on this program? I’m sure my testosterone is much lower these days.

    Like

    • Hey Mike –

      Remember, this is a weight gain pilot project designed for a fighter who might have to go up a weight class in a hurry. Because it’s, like, his job. Since it’s likely not yours, you might want to try losing weight and gaining muscle in a more sustainable, healthy way.

      Google “Lean Eating For Men” and check that out. It’s likely more up your alley. And make sure to go back and read through the weight-loss part of The Four Hour Body. There’s good stuff in there.

      -Nate

      Like

  23. After you gained the muscle/weight, how much more do you have to eat on a daily basis to keep it? Have you incorporated this ‘new normal’ into your life? How about from a training perspective?

    Like

    • Since this was more of an experiment and less of a “new normal” for me, I maintained the weight for a couple of months and then decided to drop back down to a lighter weight.

      I’m currently at about 180 pounds. (190 just felt “too big” for me, honestly.)

      -Nate

      Like

      • Great article Nate. I dug Bigger, Smaller, Bigger and this was a pretty brilliant summary.

        I’ve got a question.

        I’ve gone from 130 to 190 over the course of a couple years (lean mass). If I eat a comfortable amount of food I drop down 10 or so pounds, and then it level off to the point where I can very very effortlessly maintain that 180.

        Last year I was 175 … and the same thing would happen. I’d level off at 10 or so pounds lighter, and then it would be effortless to stay there.

        It sounds like you’re more or less the same?

        What’s going on here?
        Will it ever become effortless to maintain, say, 200? (For either of us.)

        -Shane

        Like

      • I definitely find it easy to maintain 175 – 180. Sometimes I even forget to eat. As far as what’s happening, I’m afraid JB would probably have a better answer than I would.

        The real question: Do you WANT to be 200 pounds? :)

        Like

      • I’m pretty much like you. For me to stay at 200 it’s a huge amount of eating, much more than I’m comfortable with or, frankly, have time for nowadays with a family, a growing company, and some new goals (competitive masters level track and field). In other words, ectomorphs are ectomorphic because of the hormonal and hunger/satiety signals. So, if they want to change their bodies, they have to override those signals. For some, it’s worth it for some portion of their lives. You just have to decide if it’s worth it for you.

        Like

      • Thank you for the answers guys! Both really helpful, and exactly what I hoped for.

        That’s a really good question Nate. I think so, yeah, even if just to know that I CAN do it. It’s more about accomplishing goals than it is about health or body image at this point—I’ve been very very happy with both ever since gaining my first 30 or so pounds.

        Hmm. Do you know much about changing hormones and hunger/satiety signals? (Book recommendations are always welcome.)

        It almost seems like a taboo subject, because everything is about how to feel satisfied while eating less, not about how to be/feel healthy while eating more.

        Like

  24. Hi Tim, and what about Experiment Colorado what is a different? And I wondering whats happen if you stopped eating that much and stopped exercise… my weight loss?

    Like

  25. This is great! It would be nice to have a post on what you eat to stay clean and maintain weight for weekly workouts instead of just gains and cutting. Could that potentially be posted soon?

    Like

    • Hey Ben –

      If that’s what you want, I highly recommend you go check out the 5-Day Free Course at our website, Scrawny To Brawny. Tim linked to it above in the article, but here it is just in case:

      http://www.scrawnytobrawny.com

      We help guys gain muscle, lose fat, and improve their health. And we also help them stay that way. :)

      -Nate

      Like

  26. Amazing article.

    I see you put a teaspoon of creatine in your coffee/green tea. I thought caffeine greatly reduces the effect of creatine. Is this false?

    Like

    • Thanks for the question…I, too, remember when it was thought that caffeine would impair creatine absorption and uptake into the muscle. That’s largely been debunked, although it’s not a big deal to separate the two. When we design nutrition plans, we just want to make them as easy to follow as possible. Adding creatine to your morning coffee (which is automatic for most people) is simply a great way to remember to take it. But it’s not necessary to do.

      Like

  27. Hi Tim, I’d like to follow your advice to eat more but after a while I will surely lose my appetite. Do you have any special method to increse your appetite?

    Like

    • Hey George –

      For naturally skinny guys who are trying to gain muscle, this is one of the hardest things for them to get through. But there’s no way of getting around it: you’ll have to eat even if you don’t feel hungry.

      Here’s a trick we’ve used with thousands of guys: Drink two or three “Super Shakes” per day.

      It’s basically a fancy protein shake with a ton of good stuff in it like fruit, protein powder, vegetables, and more. And it helps you pack in a lot of calories without a lot of chewing.

      You can make the one I outlined in the article above or check out this free Super Shake guide:

      http://www.scrawnytobrawny.com/super-shake-guide

      One more thing: Once you get a couple weeks of “practice” with eating a lot of food, you’ll find that your body naturally acclimates to it. In other words, it gets WAY easier after a couple of weeks and you’ll even start to feel hungry between meals.

      Good luck!

      Like

    • Good luck! Just remember, this is actually a pilot project for a specific goal: move up a weight class in a hurry, as if your job depended on it. Unless you’re in the same situation, I highly recommend that you check out our free 5-day course for building muscle (google Scrawny to Brawny and you’ll find it). There we spell out a more sane and sustainable protocol.

      Like

  28. @ Nate (or Dr. Berardi/Tim):
    In the BiggerSmallerBigger book you mention a few times that you had some beers, I’m wondering what you think about the effect of alcohol on your results?
    I’ve red a lot of conflicting studies about the effects of alcohol on muscle growth and hormones. How much is still okay without influencing your results too much, as a lot of top athletes don’t drink at all?

    Thanks in advance for your insights, and really enjoyed this post and the PDF, especially that you really go deep into details!

    Like

    • Thanks for the great feedback…I won’t try to speak for Nate here, I’ll just weigh in on my perspective. When trying to gain muscle, a small amount of alcohol is no big deal. As in a few drinks a week. That surely won’t inhibit gains or cause fat gain. However, binge drinking a few times a week would be a problem.

      Like

      • Hey Yoeri –

        JB’s right: a small amount of alcohol isn’t a big deal and won’t inhibit muscle gain. I normally have 1 glass of beer or wine per night with dinner, or maybe a bourbon or rye old-fashioned at home. As long as you’re limiting it to 1-2 drinks per night, you’ll be fine.

        -Nate

        Like

      • Thanks both for the clarification, and happy to know I can keep continuing to enjoy a beer or glass of wine with friends every now and then without hurting my progress.

        I like how both of you answer everyone’s questions, you’re really putting in the effort, before, during, but also now after the study, keep it up!

        Like

  29. I don’t want to start an argument but there must be a problem with the body fat % measures. I’m at about 13% body fat and I’m more defined than him on the second picture. You can look up online pictures for the differrent percentage of bodyfat. At 7% you’re VERY ripped and it takes a lot of dedication to stay there. Or maybe much of his fat is muscular fat ??
    I would appreciate more details.

    Like

    • You’re right…skinfold testing isn’t always accurate in terms of the absolute number, even with a trained tester. (I know this well as I’ve performed thousands of skinfold tests in a laboratory setting). That’s why in this article, and part 1, we’re more interested in the change in skinfolds over time (which indicates change in body comp) than the absolute number. With an experienced tester, skinfolds are more reliable (able to detect change over time) than they are accurate (exactly correct in terms of the absolute number). In the end, it doesn’t really matter what Nate’s absolute fat % was. Only how it changed in response to the protocol.

      Like

  30. Key element missing in before & after performance comparison: speed! If GSP followed a similar regiment to put on all that muscle, would it slow down his kicks, punches, takedowns, etc.? All that extra muscle does you no good IF it slows you down, even the tiniest fraction of a second.

    Like

    • Hey Josh –

      Good question. We actually tested a power exercise (vertical jump) that would be a good representation of how a fighter like GSP could maintain or even improve his striking speed/power.

      My vertical jump increased by 3.7 inches even though I gained 20 pounds.

      In other words, getting bigger doesn’t necessarily mean you get slower.

      -Nate

      Like

      • I’ve read experts on both sides (extra muscle does / doesn’t slow you down). That’s why some testing for speed (Tim Ferries and Ramit Sethi love testing :-) ) would be interesting to help settle the debate.

        What sorts of tests could be set up to measure striking speed? Takedown explosiveness, etc.?

        Like

  31. As a trainer and former “skinny guy” I enjoyed this post. Calorie cycling mixed with IF, love it.

    Skeptical of this being a broad sweeping program that would work for everyone, but still the post is great.

    Thanks for the info.

    Like

    • Hey Alex –

      Thanks for the note! I’m glad you liked the post. As far your comment of “being skeptical that this would work for everyone”, I completely agree.

      Remember, this is a weight gain pilot project designed for a fighter who might have to go up a weight class in a hurry and NOT a lesson on how to gain muscle and get healthy in a sustainable way over time.

      We go into way more detail about this in our free book “Bigger Smaller Bigger.” Do a quick Google search and check it out! I think you’ll like it.

      Like

  32. Big article ! If Mr. Berardi want to try this king of project on another guinea pig, I’m ready to give my body to the science.
    Nicholas

    Like

  33. Hey guys,

    I already have the Precision Nutrition 3.0 course and I’m about half way through it right now. Is it worth adding any of the tricks from this blog post or the scrawny to brawny material or will the PN 3.0 cover me completely in regards to gaining muscle and nutrition?

    Thanks,
    -Mike

    Like

    • Hey Mike!

      Keep following the course and let us know what you think. :) And if you want to take a free 5 day course with more tips and tricks that can help you out, do a quick Google search for “Lean Eating for Men” or “Scrawny To Brawny.”

      Take care.

      Like

  34. I am maybe asking a dumb question how do you use Google ad words to test for a market before you design a prototype product??? Sorry if this sounds dumb…I heard tim speaking about this, is their anymore information I can review…Thanks in advance …Kevin

    Like

  35. He was admittedly SEVERELY water depleted according to the previous post, therefore his gains in mass had very little to do with his workout or even his diet.

    The above fact has caused me to severely lose respect for this blog and the poster.

    Like

    • At Anthony, I can totally understand your skepticism here (and thus, your post). However, you’ve got the order twisted around. Let me clarify. Nate actually did this phase of the project FIRST.

      So here’s how it worked. Nate was 170 pounds, his normal weight for the last 2 years. Then he did THIS phase. He gained 20 pounds in 28 days, weighing in at 190lbs. After that, he cut down to 170 in 5 days (as described in part 1). Then he rehydrated back to 190 in 24 hours (as described in part 1).

      I hope that makes sense…in essence he got bigger (170-190) then smaller (190-170) then bigger again (170-190). If you want more evidence of the timeline, etc, you can check out our free online book outlining the entire project at http://www.biggersmallerbigger.com.

      Thanks for the comments, hope this makes sense now.

      Like

  36. I didn’t see this question addressed so I apologize if I’ve skipped over it somehow, but how much were Nate’s grocery/supplement bills during this time period? That’s a lot of food (especially protein) and that stuff ain’t free.

    Like

    • Hey Kelley –

      Good question. My personal food bill was fairly high for the month since I eat nearly 100% local, organic food. (Which, as you know, generally costs more than non-organic stuff.)

      Another thing that added to the cost was the fact that I rarely made my own lunches. Since they took me so damn long to eat, I decided to let the good folks at my local healthy grocery store do all the cooking for me. (I normally grabbed 8 cooked chicken breasts at a time to last me for two days.)

      All in all, I don’t remember the exact number. But I want to say it was around $750 for the month. Maybe a bit more.

      Like

      • I’ll follow-up to Nate’s post in saying this can be done for MUCH, MUCH less $$. To be honest, Nate is a little over the top when it comes to spending on food as he shops at Whole Foods type markets almost exclusively and eats almost exclusively free-range, grass-fed, organic everything. Not a bad thing, of course, if it aligns with your priorities. However, it’s not necessarily budget-friendly.

        Like

  37. Valuable information here.

    I’m big fan of Dr Berardi,

    I used some basic tactics he outlined in his website (PN) last year, and I was able to gain easily 20 pounds in 2-3 months using no supplements (just fish oil).

    Now after some months of inactivity due to surgery, I will use this post as a blueprint to regain the weight I lost and increase it even further, and I’ll check out Scrawny to Brawny definitely. Dr Berardi is always a good source of knowledge and information.

    Just one question, is it extrictly necessary to take all those supplements? I prefer to increase the amount of veggies in the diet to get more minerals and vitamins, and protein podwers can be easily done with eggs and milk.

    Thanks for providing these valuable insights to Tim’s blog readers,

    Regards,

    David

    Like

    • Hey David –

      Thanks for the note! It’s definitely NOT necessary to take supplements to build muscle or become healthier.

      Remember, this is a weight gain pilot project designed for a fighter who might have to go up a weight class in a hurry. It’s definitely not a way for most of us to live.

      From the article:

      “We like to say “Supplements are supplements.” In other words, they’re ingredients you add to a smart eating and training program. They don’t replace them.

      Despite what the supplement ads say, no guy has ever built a good body by taking a weird powder with a stupid name and doing nothing else.

      For this experiment, however, Dr. Berardi decided I should use a few supplements strategically to maximize the amount of muscle I could build on such a short time-frame. With only 28 days to gain 20 pounds, I had to look at every opportunity to take in more calories.”

      However, I would like to say that although supplements aren’t necessary for a healthy lifestyle, there are some that help and that we recommend for nearly everyone including:

      * fish oil
      * multivitamin
      * probiotic / digestive enzyme
      * protein powder
      * greens powder

      You can learn more about this (and how much we recommend taking of each) on Day 3 of our 5-day free course on Scrawny To Brawny.

      Like

  38. Great post guys, thank you for this.

    Any reason eggs were not a part of the diet? I’ve been eating 3-4 eggs with an avocado in the mornings as a way to eat high protein breakfasts, but I don’t see anything but egg white protein.

    Would love to hear if this was a conscious decision and why, thanks!

    Like

  39. Hey Dr. Berardi,

    What happened to Nate’s weight after the 28 days were finished?! Is he drop back? And how to prevent these pounds to be lost? Thanks!

    Like

    • Ahmad, Nate dropped back down to 180 as he feels better at that weight. Remember, this particular article details a pilot project for a specific goal: move up a weight class in a hurry, as if your job depended on it. The intention was to never keep him at that weight. And, of course, there are certainly better ways to gain strength and size in a more sustainable way. If you’re interested, check out our free 5-day course for building muscle (google Scrawny to Brawny and you’ll find it).

      Like

  40. This article is interesting but you lost me on the bodyfat bit. From the pictures you are clearly over 10 percent and probably more around 12 percent, ie nowhere near the recorded 5 or 7 percent. Either intentional or ignorant such a drastic error taints the validity of the whole report.

    Like

    • You’re right…skinfold testing isn’t always accurate in terms of the absolute number, even with a trained tester. That’s why in this article, and part 1, we’re more interested in the change in skinfolds over time (which indicates change in body comp) than the absolute number. (We even make reference to this in the articles). With an experienced tester, skinfolds are more reliable (able to detect change over time) than they are accurate (exactly correct in terms of the absolute number). In the end, it doesn’t really matter what Nate’s absolute fat % was. Only how it changed in response to the protocol.

      Like

  41. Great article! I’m always amazed/fascinated with stories such as these. I realize this was for a specific purpose but it would be interesting to expand the test to:

    1) continue this for another month or two, would you have gained 40 pounds in 2 months, 60 pounds in 3 months, etc. I wonder what would be the limit…

    2) run the experiment on a 50 year old man (especially someone who is more ‘average’ build, not competing or lifting like a true athlete for 30 years). And analyse what the effect of age has on gaining muscle as compared to a 27 year old.

    Like

    • Great comments, Ed. To #1, I suspect that the results would have tapered off. We probably could have gotten Nate to 200 lbs with this approach before he started gaining too much body fat. Remember, continued weight gain is certainly possible. However, continual muscle gain isn’t. To #2: We’ve worked with plenty of older individuals and the process has to be slower and more measured. (In fact, one of our last Scrawny to Brawny finalists was in his 50s. He gained about 35 pounds of lean mass in 1 year coaching with us). If you’re interested in learning more, check out our free 5-day course for building muscle (google Scrawny to Brawny and you’ll find it). There we talk about a host of other protocols for different body types and ages.

      Like

  42. Great insights in this article.

    Any details on how much it would cost to do this?
    – $ Meals – totals or per day
    – $ for supplements for the month

    Toshi O.

    Like

      • Good question. My personal food bill was fairly high for the month since I eat nearly 100% local, organic food. (Which, as you know, generally costs more than non-organic stuff.)

        Another thing that added to the cost was the fact that I rarely made my own lunches. Since they took me so damn long to eat, I decided to let the good folks at my local healthy grocery store do all the cooking for me. (I normally grabbed 8 cooked chicken breasts at a time to last me for two days.)

        All in all, I don’t remember the exact number. But I want to say it was around $750 for the month. Maybe a bit more.

        Like

      • I’ll follow-up to Nate’s post in saying this can be done for MUCH, MUCH less $$. To be honest, Nate is a little over the top when it comes to spending on food as he shops at Whole Foods type markets almost exclusively and eats almost exclusively free-range, grass-fed, organic everything. Not a bad thing, of course, if it aligns with your priorities. However, it’s not necessarily budget-friendly.

        Like

  43. Tim or Nate: Can you explain the pros/cons of taking this approach as opposed to the Geek to Freak approach? Why this training regimen rather than one-set-to-failure, and why the high carb approach as opposed to Slow Carb plus sweet potatoes/GOMAD, etc? Finally, aside from fast muscle gain what do you both recommend for a more sustainable long term training regimen? Thanks! Tim: I’ve read all three of your books and given some away to friends and family, and love your work. Thanks for doing great work guys.

    Like

    • Hey Matt, if you’re interested, check out our free 5-day course for building muscle (google Scrawny to Brawny and you’ll find it). There we spell out a more sane and sustainable protocol. Remember, this particular article details a pilot project for a specific goal: move up a weight class in a hurry, as if your job depended on it. There are certainly better ways to gain strength and size in a more reasonable way.

      Like

  44. Well…first of all you have to have the genetics for this kind of muscle building. People who can build ~15-20 pounds of lean mass in one month are what we call “responders.” And you CANNOT achieve this without such genetics or if you have already built muscle over the years.

    Secondly, the amount of sets this fella used was WAY overkill. More sets does not necessarily = more muscle. Nor do you need any of the warm up sets. 3-5 sets per body part upper/lower is plenty if you perform them in a high intensity fashion. He performed WAY more sets than is needed. He might have gotten better results with LESS total exercise in fact.

    And if LESS total sugar/carbohydrate was consumed, he’d have gained no fat in the process. Carbs are not required after training for building muscle. It’s a wives take that is not supported in the scientific literature. It will just make you fatter than you want to be. You get enough insulin from the protein you take in for anabolism.

    Great to experiment, but MAN is this overkill!

    Like

    • Thanks for your perspective, Fred. Always great to share ideas. It’s also interesting to see the diversity of ideas here. On the one hand, some people are posing that this is IMPOSSIBLE without steroids. (Which were not used in this experiment). And you’re suggesting Nate could have done BETTER with your protocol tweaks. As I have 20 years experience in the field and have worked with thousands of document clients, including those at the highest level of sport, I don’t necessarily agree with either. (To your comments, we would have certainly backed off on exercise volume if we would have seen signs of overreaching/overtraining. Plus, we do believe that carbs are necessary, especially when carb cycling, the whole point of the nutritional protocol). Anyway, it’s always great to get the dialogue going. Thanks!

      Like

      • You bet John. Always good to share.

        What I am saying is that 1. He did not need that much exercise to induce hypertrophy. This is well documented. It’s not a matter of showing signs of overtraining per se since you were only at it for a month.

        2. The work done by Volek and Phinney showed remarkable gains in lean mass on a nearly zero carb diet. One subject gained 19 pounds of lean in under a month. You should check out their work. Amazing stuff.

        And since the amount of sugar he took in at times was VERYhigh, if you can build the same amount of muscle without it, that’s the way to go IMHO.

        Like

  45. Awesome post. Do you think similar results could be achieved with a vegetarian diet? What changes would you make other than substituting meat?

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    • Allen, great question…Nate was weight stable (170 pounds) for 2 years before starting this experiment. And for the previous 3 years he was between 175 and 180. So this isn’t really a detrain, retrain scenario.

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  46. Well this is one of the most unhealty, unnecessary post I have read when if comes to nutrition. I don’t see why would anyone would their bodies through so much unless they are a professional fighter and I don’t think they are reading this. Same comments goes on the immediate weight loss, both makes absolutely no sense. Tim I love you man but I can’t understand these posts.

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    • Marcus, totally get where you’re coming from. And, as we state in both articles, these are pilot projects for very specific types of athletes who have very specific types of goals. Likewise, they’re not for the casual reader to try. So, instead of thinking of them as prescriptive, you can file them as “wow, isn’t that a fascinating look behind the scenes.” Perhaps you can see some value in posts like that?

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  47. Get to a weight that you have not been to before and I”ll be impressed- Google Search’s on Nate clearly show that he has been 190 before, Tnation article.

    Also, It makes me suspicious the fact that Nate’s baselinie weight in this post is the same has his dehydrated weight in the previous post… I have somewhat of a hard time believing that Nate, a muscle-head, was willing to walk around looking like how he did in the Before pictures (scrawny).

    Again, not sure what this article is seeking to prove: that one can retread past training success? Congratulations, you proved it.

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    • Anthony, I can sense your skepticism and definitely see why you’re holding it. However, here’s Nate’s weight history (posted above).

      “The heaviest I’ve ever been was about 185 pounds, but that was back when I was 19-20 years old. (I’m 28 now.)

      I’ve weighed lower than 180 for the past 5 years or so, and right around 170 pounds for the past 2-3 years as I started focusing more on my relationships and work than time in the gym.

      So when I started this experiment I was a legit 170 pounds — and had been for 2-3 years.”

      Also, you’ll note that he started the experiments at 170 pounds, gained 20 pounds in 28 days using the outline in this article, then lost all 20 in 5 days using the strategies outlined in part 1, then gained it all back in 24 hours.

      Again, I totally get where you’re coming from. Just to clarify the timeline. And make sure people reading don’t think any of these results were falsely manipulated.

      Like

  48. What sauerkraut did you eat? The store bought stuff is generally pasteurized or treated with vinegar which defeats the purpose of it.

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  49. I am impressed with the results over these 2 posts. But I was wondering if there are any risks to helath in such quick changes in body weight?

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    • Thanks for the questions…risks…sure there are. With the weight loss experiment, we discuss that in the article. You’re essentially dehydrating yourself (albeit for a short period of time with an intention to rehydrate quickly). With the weight gain experiment, not necessarily a risk with the weight per se. But you’re training super hard and that could lead to training-related injury. That’s why we don’t recommend this sort of stuff unless you have a coach’s supervision.

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  50. Outstanding results. Makes me remember of the famous “Geek to Freak” post by Tim, when half of the commenters disputed if more than like 1 pound of muscle per week was even possible. Well, there´s another proof that it is…

    Regarding protein powders, why casein and egg-white protein, and not whey in any moment? Some people, especially perhaps Ori Hofmekler, says that whey is a superior protein source. I know he is selling the thing, but makes nevertheless some strong arguments about it (and whey is cheaper than other powders, too). Perhaps whey could impair in some way the nitrogen balance?

    Dr. John, as a tall ectomorph wich tried everything, now I really liking HIT workouts. Do you think that the guidelines of HIT – one set to failure per exercise 2-3 times per week, depending of exercise/muscle group selection of each workout – could be a good muscle gain strategy for some guys? I like the economy of the thing from the point of view of saving body resources for growth.

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    • Good questions…as far as whey protein…I’m not convinced it’s substantially better when a person is following a normal or high protein diet. (Sure, if you’re marginally protein deficient and protein intake is low, every gram matters, and whey might offer slight advantages). But for a normal person following an adequate protein diet, I don’t think it’s that important. In fact, other sources carry some other advantages too: http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-protein-powders

      As far as the 1 set to failure approach, sure it CAN work. The question is: IS it working for you. If so, keep going. Until it stops working, which all training programs do. At that point you’ll have to switch to something else. Perhaps you’d like to check out our free 5-day Scrawny to Brawny course, which offers our take on an effective muscle-building program: http://www.scrawnytobrawny.com

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      • Thanks for the reply, John. I forgot to mention about plain cow´s milk. Caught my atention that Nate only has used other forms of milk, like almond milk. Meanwhile, many bodybuilders have used GOMAD or LOMAD for years with sucess. What´s the reason Nate used other forms of milk – perhaps to avoid substantial fat gain, or because of lactose-alergy issues?
        Congratulations for you work!

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      • Yep, cow’s milk allergy and lactose intolerance are things I take seriously (I have both). While not everyone does have a problem with milk (initially), I’ve seen far too many weightlifters BECOME lactose intolerant and develop milk protein allergies with too much consumption of cow’s milk. At first I thought what I was noticing was a coincidence. Then I realized that high calorie intake plus lots of milk might just be causing the problem. So it’s something I keep to a minimum for most people, especially those overfeeding to gain weight.

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  51. I got really hyped up reading this and will be following it to the “T” so to speak. Perfect timing for the Summer. Thanks Tim!

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    • Steven, if you’re interested, check out our free 5-day course for building muscle (google Scrawny to Brawny and you’ll find it). There we spell out a more sane and sustainable protocol. Remember, this is actually a pilot project for a specific goal: move up a weight class in a hurry, as if your job depended on it.

      Like

  52. Fucking amazing work, Nate. Thanks for sharing.

    I had never heard those psychological benefits of eating *fake* meals on your fast day. Excited to try it out.

    Mike

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  53. Dr. Berardi: I respect the way in which you are addressing my concerns.

    One final one: Anytime someone leaves the gym and loses 10 lbs, as Nate did, I think we can safely assume he is blessed with a faster-than-average metabolism.

    My point is that, while Nate can up his calories and have success maintaining a pleasing shape, I think that Endo and even Meso morphs may have trouble with their fat storage pattern after following Nate’s diet recommendations.

    I also would assert to you that what Nate was doing was merely “filling up a balloon” that had already previously attained that shape. Someone without Nate’s training history would likely have trouble recreating Nate’s success in such a short timeframe (without fatgain)

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    • Anthony, thanks for the follow-up. Just to be clear on this end, Nate was NOT detrained. (He didn’t “leave the gym”). He was routinely working out before this experiment started. Nevertheless, I get your point. He was once bigger (about 8 years earlier) and some people think it’s easier to regain lost size than build it in the first place. And, indeed, regaining muscle mass (vs. building it from scratch) does seem a bit easier. Some people call it muscle memory. But I’m not sure if it’s a physiological phenomenon (what some call muscle memory), a psychological one (the confidence of knowing that you’ve been bigger and can get there again). With all that said, Nate and I run a coaching program (http://www.scrawnytobrawny.com) and we work with thousands of guys trying to build muscle very year. In fact, I suspect we have more experience in this area than anyone else on the planet, in terms of sheer clients we’ve coached. A lot of these guys see extremely impressive “new” gains as well. So we’ve seen the entire spectrum. And are convinced that gaining 20 pounds in 28 days is entirely possible with the right program, the right effort, and a little help from mom and dad (the right genes). But even without the last part, people can still get better. Which is the point, isn’t it?

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      • Dr. John, regarding the coaching program that you mention above, do you still believe that your 2005 book, Scrawny to Brawny, is a good basic structural resource, or the information, based on what you know now, is somewhat dated? In case of yes, any other book you recommend? I don´t live in US but really want some information on your approach (Kindle makes that easy). And the “Ground Zero” training of the free program is really interesting.

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  54. It’s challenging to read such long post…

    I want to say that I already started a combination of low-fat, high-protein diet and the Hitman training, combined with kickboxing and running…Even though I was a less muscular, but fit guy for the past 3 years, results are starting to show up. Muscle starts to build.

    Until now, I did not grow muscles because I was training very intensively and was eating only twice a day and did not focus on protein foods. Now I am eating 3 times a day and I have a lot of proteins at each table. It’s amazing

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  55. Shouldn’t you be able to essentially use this for bodyfat reduction? or would the high calorie days effectively nullify the weight loss? I would think the training (especially the hurricane days) would be ideal for weight loss especially on a 4HB or paleo style diet? Or would you recommend better ways to get quick and healthy fat loss?

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    • Brian, great thinking. You could absolutely use this for weight reduction. In fact, while this nutrition protocol helped Nate GAIN 20 pounds (from 170-190), we used a very similar nutrition protocol to help a heavyweight UFC fighter to LOSE 20 pounds (we went from 275 to 255). If you’re in a calorie surplus you gain, if in a deficit, you lose. The rest of the strategies are special tricks that we think make a difference in optimizing body composition in the face of weight gain or loss.

      Like

    • Also is there a way to scale this up?

      I’m 6’4″, did a dirty bulk last year and went from 215 to 240. I started cutting in Feb. and I’m now back down to 215. I only a few more lbs before I get some good definition. I’ve had some decent muscle growth but nothing spectacular because of the dirty bulking.

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  56. I’m such an easy gainer that it would be down right mind blowing if I were to complete a program like this diet and all. Too bad I’m way to poor to eat like this. I’ll tell you what, if anyone is interested in sponsoring my diet and training efforts I will fight anybody on any platform. Fact. Oh and win unanimously. Also fact. Email me.

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  57. Great post Tim! I was very pleased to read each of the supplements section, basically vitamin D3. It’s been a classic reference guide that I’ve ever gone to. But would like to raise a question, wouldn’t such rapid weight gain cause some serious stretch marks?

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    • It’s a good question, stretch marks are actually dependent on elasticity of the skin. Some of this is genetically determined. And some can be controlled by a regular moisturizing regimen. My wife, who’s had 2 children, used a regular routine of moisturizing her tummy with almond oil and a special lotion for pregnant women. And no stretch marks. So, my advice to anyone interested in gaining muscle mass in a faster way, do the same. Almond oil and/or a good lotion daily, after showering.

      Like

  58. I can’t stop farting, I am trying to eat all this food but this is a rather inconvenient side effect…

    Is there a supplement I can take that allows me to control my bowel movements and gas releases?

    Like

  59. Great post.

    Can this weight gain be achieved on vegan diet and non-synthetic supplements?

    Can this hurt vital organs?

    What is recommended for maintenance? If one has a full time job taking time for these workouts and food prep may not be sustainable?.

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    • Yep, guys that eat a plant-based diet can certainly gain muscle. We’ve helped quite a few, actually. Like this guy Jasey, a vegan who gained 25 pounds with us. http://www.scrawnytobrawny.com/plant-muscle

      As far as hurting vital organs, not directly. Maybe if you drop a dumbell on yourself :-).

      As far as your last question, if you’re interested, check out our free 5-day course for building muscle (http://www.scrawnytobrawny.com). There we spell out a more sane and sustainable protocol. Remember, this is actually a pilot project for a specific goal: move up a weight class in a hurry, as if your job depended on it. It wasn’t designed for the average guy.

      Like

  60. Dr. Berardi and Nate Green; thanks for this.. great stuff.. When so much of what we Natural Bodybuilders have learned through personnel experience ( aka BroScience ) it is nice for some one to come at it from a more scientific angle.. I wonder how much more weight/muscle Nate could have gained if he would have focused more of his training on Hypertrophy type weight training and cardio; like a Natural bodybuilder? My guess is he could have almost doubled his gains. I understand that you wanted to keep the athleticism angle in there for the example of GSP for obvious reasons.. But for the average Jane & John Doe whose biggest opponent is Unhealthiness, Diabetes, and Obesity.. focusing on a Natural Bodybuilders routine would be smarter.. since they are not wrestling or fighting in a cage.. Also, a nice addition would be nutrition/supplementation geared at increasing anabolic hormones like testosterone & Human Growth Hormone.. I did an experiment very similar to this; using my own Natural Bodybuilding techniques.. and I gained 19lbs. of Lean mass ( in 4 weeks ) at the age of 47 as a Life long Hormone & drug free bodybuilder.. So I know it works.. Thanks for all you do.. I am def gonna follow you Dr. and Nate as well… I have heard many good things about your work… Keep it Up!!

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  61. That’s probably the best article on mass building I’ve ever read… and I’ve read many! The detailed information on nutrition and workouts as well as the progress assessment at the end make this an excellent resource.
    John Bernardi and his team always produce top-quality material!
    I’m forwarding this article to my mailing list!
    Well done, guys!

    Like

  62. So, after you gain the 20 pounds, do you lose some/all of it ?
    Or is maintaining a healthy work-out plan (3 times a week for example) and healthy eating habits sufficient to keep all the muscles you built ?

    Like

    • Hey Romain –

      Good question.

      After gaining the weight, I actually dropped back down to 180 pounds as I felt better at that weight.

      Remember, this particular article details a pilot project for a specific goal: move up a weight class in a hurry, as if your job depended on it.

      The intention was to never keep me at that weight.

      And, of course, there are certainly better ways to gain strength and size in a more sustainable way.

      If you’re interested, check out our free 5-day course for building muscle (google Scrawny to Brawny and you’ll find it).

      -Nate

      Like

  63. How many times a day did you eat the “anytime meal”? That seems like a rather crucial piece of ifno you left out, but I do hope to try and replicate this exactly.

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  64. Nate,

    Cheers for the post and thanks for being thorough.

    I’m a vegetarian, so I’ve read your plant-diet post on Skinny to Brawny. Any other tips you’d suggest to give this a go “plant-power” style?

    I’m about to tweak it for my “vegetarian version” attempt. I’ll let you know the results in a month!

    Thanks,

    J

    Like

    • Hey Jethro –

      I don’t really have any other tips on how to make it work for a plant-based eater. (The plant muscle article you mentioned spells out how we helped a vegan gain 25 pounds. http://www.scrawnytobrawny.com/plant-muscle)

      Remember: gaining weight is all about energy balance. So you’ll just have to make sure you’re eating more than you’re used to.

      All that said, I have to caution against doing this for a month since it was weight gain pilot project designed for a fighter who might have to go up a weight class in a hurry.

      There is definitely a better way to build muscle in a more sane/sustainable way. If you haven’t yet, go check out the 5-Day Free Course at our website: http://www.scrawnytobrawny.com

      Like

  65. I read the first part of this segment in regards to losing 20 pounds in a couple of days. I was excited to see this article to complete the balance. It’s amazing what the human body can do. You supply such a detailed regime that’s easy to understand and surprisingly doesn’t seem as intimidating when broken down in an organized manner. Thanks for the tips!

    Like

  66. Isn’t usage of term calories misused in this article?

    Numerous of scientific researches have proved again and again that calories mean nothing.

    It is the nurtient quality we gets. For instance how different is it from a 150 calories Twinkles and a 150 calories Broccoli?

    Was this pounds gain from eating food with high-quality nutrients, not calories?

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  67. How offen do i have to eat the “anytime” meal? Do i have to eat it Once a Day or can i eat it as offen as i want during the Day?

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  68. Dr John Berardi when you say a 24 hour fast is better than 16/8 is that implying that Breakfast is an essential part of making Muscle gains?

    Thanks!

    Like

  69. Doc,

    Was wondering how would you use these tips for sustained weight loss? To apply these nutrition and exercise strategies for real-life situations for guys that want to shed a fair few pounds of fat but keep muscle?

    Cheers loved the article

    Like

  70. I’ve started to follow a variation of this plan. I’m on week 3 and I feel like I am gaining more fat vs muscle. How do I make sure that I am building more lean muscle than fat?

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  71. I would be interested in a couple of things regarding the plan outlined here. One, what was the approx. cost of the food you ate for that 28 day period. I think many of us that have tried to gain weight have been challenged with the cost of quality meat for 5 to 6 meals a day. Second, how long were each of your workouts? It looks like you were in the gym forever.

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  72. I understand that the caffeine and the BCAAs are incorporated into the fasting day to keep Ghrelin levels to a minimum and to decrease the feeling of hunger. However, wouldn’t making this time a true fast by not eating anything except for water more effective in terms of growth because of the release of growth hormone that is incorporated in the release of Ghrelin?

    If anyone knows any studies where this is tested, let me know.

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  73. Thanks for the post. I am preparing to try this program out. I am going to have to adjust the diet as I am already 205lbs. Any advice? Also how long are you resting between Hurricane reps (not the 2 minute rest between sets)? He much are you resting between sets for the weight routines? Are you staying at the same weight for each of the sets of each exersize (ie. staying at the same if on the bar for bench for all 5 sets for the same number of reps? I have done the Rooney programs before (TFW and WOFW). This looks like a great next step.

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  74. Great information. I am starting week 3 today. Based on my results I have gained a nice 8 to 10 pounds. My strength has increased dramatically, hitting a new max every week. I’m a regular gym attendee and have not seen myself hit new highs, this has been a great change up in routine.

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  75. Hello,

    Great article. Extremely detailed. Couple things that seem foggy (to me at least… maybe because I am accused of having an extra chromosome on a daily basis)..

    On your meal plan, you have listed breakfast/pre workout/post workout/pwo meal and anytime meal. Is this open to shuffling or does this protocol more or less require mid day workouts? I sell cars and morning is the only time I can be sure to be free. Could I preform this routine fasted with just the BCAAs and purple wraath? If so would you then shuffle the pwo meal to the front and have pudding midday?

    My other question is concerning weight loss especially with regards to the gluten. Would oatmeal, potatoes or rice be cool to swap for bread ?

    thanks and again, I really appreciate the level of detail here. Those are the only stones I found to be unturned

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  76. Gotta call bullshit on this.Regaining muscle is a piece of piss and i done it many times, the other 10lb is just water and carbs, not lean muscle tissue. Seems a bit dishonest to me.

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  77. From just the size of this post, almost 99% of the people will never even come close to doing this. You have to be a mad man to do this(ie UFC fighter). THe simple truth is that there are ways to really pack on muscle that the main stream will never know/understand/do.

    Like

  78. Great article. as usual Nate is treating his body like a lab rat…. I might have to try some of this my self

    I would be interested to know how you survived the day fasting after eating so well in the week.

    Greens i’m sure!

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  79. This article really inspired me to gain weight. Imagine for just only 28 days you can gain 20 pounds? Wow! That was really great! Like me as a skinny guy, I would love to try this so that I will look mature physically.

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  80. An intriguing read… and just a few questions… regarding the 10 site skin fold protocol, how does a 3% margin of error equate to an increase from 3.03 and 4.1 to 6-7% and 8-9%? which callipers were used? and how does 8 mph equate to a sprint? Thanks, and happy training.

    Like