I used to be the hardest of hard gainers. In the above photo I had already been following a bodybuilding split for 4 years.
Yes, you read that correctly.
Then over the course of 5 years I gained 60lbs of muscle and got SWOLE.
...And I did it without using steroids, SARMS, or PED's.
My transformation was 100% natural.
How is it possible to gain so much muscle, AFTER you've experienced your newbie gains?
This isn't normal, however my nutrition and training was also far from normal.
After conducting many experiments in the gym, I found that things which many "bodybuilding experts" said to do - was producing little to no gains. And things which they say not to do, gave me some of the best gains of my life.
In this article I'm going to reveal some things that I did to achieve my dream physique.
- Light weights/high repetitions
- Eat big to get big
Light weights/high repetitions
"8-12 reps build muscle and high reps increase muscle tone".
Not in my experience.
Through my experiments I've found that when I increased time under tension, I built more muscle. I used to train in the 6-12 rep range, but now I will regularly hit 40-60 reps in a set.
Now I never lift heavy weights, you will often see me doing 2.5kg for bicep curls or 15kg for tricep pushdowns.
However, from all of this light training not only have I built a lot of muscle, I've also surprisingly gained a tonne of strength. For example, the last time I did tricep pushdowns I wanted to see how much I could lift and I recorded 121.5kg for 2 reps.
There's more evidence that supports the 'high rep' methodology: people in the gym who lift super heavy weights, and succeed in getting stronger, but never build any size. This is because their muscles simply aren't under tension for long enough in order to grow.
This is why you can often see skinny guys deadlift over 120kg for reps, yet never change in regards to muscularity. Too few reps, not enough time under tension.
Eat Big to Get Big
Bodybuilding legends such as Lee Priest were well-known for performing epic bulks, bingeing on KFC and McDonalds.
However, is this bulk tactic really effective?
The experts say:
"A 500 calorie surplus is optimal when bulking. Anything above this will just lead to fat gain".
I have gained 40lbs of weight in the space of 6 weeks, eating up to 7,000 calories a day.
Note: Don't try this at home - this isn't healthy.
I can verify that you do gain a lot of fat from excessive overeating - but also a lot of muscle too.
In the time between my transformation photos, I would do big bulks (gaining 40lbs), then spend approximately a year cutting away the fat. By the end of my cut, my muscles would be significantly bigger than before I bulked, thus it was worth sacrificing my abs in the short term, for the end result.
This was my main tactic when trying to get bigger and overcome my skinny ass genetics. However, this method requires a lot of dedication as I would regularly be cutting and losing a lot of fat. It's not the best protocol for someone who's never dieted before, which may end up in them being fat and not knowing how to lose it.
However, on the flip side it does cause you to become more skilled at cutting.
"Only train a muscle group 1-2x per week, and workouts that last over an hour are counterproductive".
People are beginning to expose this myth, with big bodybuilding personalities such as CT Fletcher and Rich Piana (RIP), waking up the masses.
I have trained muscle groups for as much as 40 hours in 5 days.
Yes, that wasn't a typo: 8 hours a day, Monday to Friday.
At this point I admit I'm officially a gym rat and (possibly) mentally deranged.
But, guess what happened from such crazy volume?
I grew A LOT.
This is insane time under tension, and it's the reason why Tom Platz built the biggest legs bodybuilding had ever seen (squatting for 4 hours in a single workout).
Also people have been trying the 'One Day Arm Cure', which consists of an 8 hour arm day.
Many report gaining half an inch to their arms from this.
I actually don't know anyone who has tried the One Day Arm Cure, and didn't make permanent gains.
In all of my experiments I've found that when volume and training frequency increase, so do my muscle gains.
This is also the reason why gymnasts are jacked, guys in prison are SWOLE (the guys who don't juice), ice skaters have epic quads and ballerinas have bulging calves.
Also there was a guy Arnold knew who was supposedly natural and Arnold said he had the biggest arms he ever saw, his name was Bill Pettis and he regularly trained at Muscle Beach in the 70's. He was known to do insane volume for his arms, performing 6 hour long workouts. He soon built humongous arms, that became disproportionate to the rest of his body. You can read more about Bill (and other examples of overtraining) in this post on Inside Bodybuilding.
Don't always believe what you're told.
Instead, test what gym gurus tell you in the GYM.
Only then you'll see what works and what doesn't. I was able to completely transform my body by going against advice from bro-scientists.
Now, my arms have evolved from 12 inches to 17".
My legs used to look like they were from a chicken, now they resemble a mini Tom Platz.
My shoulders used to be the size of peas, now they can be mistaken for cannonballs.
Don't let others tell you how much you can or can't grow. If I listened to experts about how limited I was by my genetics, I wouldn't have built even a quarter of the muscle I have.
If you want something enough, you will find a way to get it. The key is to train smarter and harder than anyone else.
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