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2018-01-22T06:14:30.077Z
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If looking like The Hulk, Wolverine, or Batman is your primary goal, then a training program with a bodybuilding focus is what you need.

If you have been struggling to grow, this program may help by giving some balance to your routine. Don’t make the mistake of training your chest, arms, and abs each day, neglecting the majority of the musculature in your body. To have a thick chest, you need to have a well developed back. To have big legs, you need to train your hamstrings. To have shredded abs, you need to have enough muscle mass to make getting lean worth it.

In this article, I introduce the sample Novice Bodybuilding Program from our book, though with abbreviated instructions so as not to overwhelm. I’ll show you how to choose exercises and adjust things for the areas where you are more advanced. 

My advice is to resist the urge to skip straight to the Intermediate Bodybuilding Program just because you have been training for a while. Read through to consider whether this is more appropriate first. The less training experience you have, the faster gains you will make. You don’t need nearly as much work to make gains when you are a novice so enjoy this while it lasts.


The Novice Bodybuilding Sample Program OverviewWhy We Built It This Way

The Novice Bodybuilding Program, unlike the Novice Powerlifting Program, is a four-day program. It has more exercises to...

If getting strong as hell is your primary goal, knowing that size and symmetry will mostly come along for the ride anyway, then you need a strength training program that will emphasize that for you. 

This Novice Powerlifting Program taken from our Muscle and Strength Training Pyramid book is a three or four-day program built around developing skill and strength with the competition lifts, while also developing a base of muscularity to aid further strength development.


The Novice Powerlifting Sample Program OverviewHow To Use The ProgramYou will see a 3-day and 4-day option to choose from. Training volume is the same in both versions.If you have no issue with the cumulative fatigue of performing the main lifts first and don’t mind dedicating more time to longer training sessions, go with the three-day version. If you would prefer shorter training sessions but one more session per week or find that the fatigue of the main lifts is detrimental to your accessory work, choose the four-day option.Exercise Selection GuidelinesSkill development is more important to a powerlifter than a bodybuilder, so the variety of exercises used is fewer by comparison. Sometimes you will have options and in that case I have added little buttons like this which you can click to see them→1. I’ve included links to tutorials on the exercises where I thought this might be particularly useful.Choose movements you enjoy, that...

Do you know what I think when I see a guy who has a body carved out of granite like the guy above? That man has discipline. There is an immediate feeling of respect.

Plenty of guys have muscle, but very few have the abs that they want. We are so desperate to shirk responsibility for this that we allow the charlatans of the fitness industry to kid us we are missing some supplement, ‘bio hack,’ or trendy new training method.

It’s bullshit, and deep down we know it.

  • It takes discipline to go consistently to bed earlier so you can train in the morning without being sleep deprived.
  • It takes discipline to say no to ‘one more’ drink with the boys.
  • It takes discipline to seek out a gym so you can squeeze in a session when you are away from home.
  • It takes discipline to cook more than you eat out so you can fuel your body with what it needs.

Anyone can train hard and eat right for a short while, but where we go wrong is failing to follow through on these actions consistently enough.

But do you know what makes this discipline easier? Defining a deep and powerful reason for why you are chasing your goal in the first place.

This is the one thing that sticks out among the hundreds of people I have worked with that were most successful. Sure, knowing that they need to check in every two weeks helped keep them accountable, but this isn’t the army, I couldn’t force them to do anything. That...

I want you to imagine it is the end of March. 

In January you committed to taking care of yourself better. You dusted off your gym membership and spent the last three months hitting the gym every morning. But you have just quit like two-thirds of the other January returnees.

The frustration with seeing a lack of results and the creep of work responsibility and family commitment has eroded your resolve.

There are two main reasons this happens which I want you to avoid.

The first critical mistake people make is that people try to gauge their progress based on scale weight.

The problem is that this will only tell you about weight change, not any fat or muscle mass changes.

A pattern many people find themselves in is that at the same time they (re)start going to the gym, they make an effort to clean up their diets. People reduce their carbohydrate intake, which often causes 2-3 kg of weight loss in the first couple of weeks, which they think is fat but is just the water that attaches itself to carbs when stored as fuel. At the same time, the muscle from your youth is reactivated, muscle is re-grown, and progress appears to slow dramatically because you’re only gauging it based on scale weight.

My advice is simple: track both your scale weight and take stomach measurements. Your weight will fluctuate daily due to water and gut content changes, so weigh yourself each morning upon waking and average it at the...

Dr. Brad Schoenfeld is a prolific research machine and an absolute asset to the lifting community.  I’m ecstatic to have been able to steal an hour of his time to have him answer reader questions.

The key topics we covered are considerations for older lifters, hypertrophy mechanisms, training splits, the value of mind-muscle connection, and how to tell if you are training too much or too little.

3 Key Points

  1. Research should be used as a guideline and not as a clear answer for all people.
  2. Research should not be looked at as individual studies to prove a point and you should be suspicious when it is used this way by others.
  3. There is no magic hypertrophy rep range and periodization of volume is the real key to long-term success.

Show Notes

  • How did Brad get into the Industry? Brad was a really skinny kid and unhappy with his physique. He started to get into lifting weights and ended up wanting to devote his life to fitness. Both of Brad’s parents were medical physicians so he had a great interest in science. Today, he is primarily researching, educating, and writing. He was a practitioner for 20 years, which has really shaped and directed his research. Brad was 49 years old when...

Joseph Agu talks about the challenges he faced working as sports nutritionist to the British Athletics Team, and how those lessons apply to us regular trainees.

3 Key Points

  1. Even elite athletes often fail to focus on basic nutrition.
  2. Protein intake varies based on the individual but is best given as an absolute recommended intake.
  3. As some simple guidelines to give your loved ones interested in making some positive changes this new year: First, positively change your food environment (fewer sweets around the house). Second, increase your lean protein sources at each meal. Third, increase your vegetable intake. The energy deficit is a by-product of your food environment. As a fourth item, realize there is no magic bullet.

Show Notes

  • How does Joseph describe what he does? Joseph usually describes himself as a nutritionist who works with a variety of trainees from the general population to Olympic athletes. [1:00]
  • How do people find Joseph online? Fit-Pro-Development. [4:45]

  • How does Joseph find working with such diverse trainees? The majority of people Joseph works with are the general gym goers that compete in cross-fit, powerlifting, and bodybuilding competitions. The focus for Joseph tends to be on...

In this second part of our interview, Menno talks about the recent HMB and Ketogenic diet study fraud, and why using steroids can be like creating a “game over” scenario which you want to avoid.

3 Key Points

  1. Steroid use, unless you are planning on continuing it forever, is like entering a cheat code in a Mario game. You shortcut your journey and then take all the fun out of training, which is a major drawback that is often overlooked.
  2. Some of the positive research behind HMB and Ketones seems to be backed with fraudulent data.
  3. Connective tissues might be the limiting factor for growth with advanced trainees. So consider fluctuating the loads you utilize, with higher rep range sets as a staple.

Show Notes

  • Menno’s childhood. Menno is grateful for the work his parents did to raise out of financial hardship. [03:00]

  • How long is steroid testing accurate? Andy advises his competitor friend at the gym that some people going up on stage against him will have used steroids in the past, so it’s important to focus on being his best self and be happy with that. Menno talks about how drug testing is only...

Recorded in my living room in Tokyo, Coach Menno Henselmans of BayesianBodybuilding.com shares tips on how he has stayed jacked and shredded while traveling for the last five years.

I also asked Menno about the somewhat controversial topic of race-based muscular potential, why he isn’t a fan of HIIT, why he quit business consulting to pursue a career in fitness, and his frank thoughts on meal timing and intermittent fasting.

 

3 Key Points

  1. Entrepreneurship is not a one-way journey
  2. Don’t be afraid of losing a bit of muscle
  3. Cardio is not the best tool for fat loss in most cases

Show Notes

  • Menno’s childhood. Menno is grateful for the work his parents did to raise out of financial hardship. [03:00]

  • Entrepreneurship. Menno didn’t start as an entrepreneur. He started in the corporate world seeing how things don’t work because of human factors. Menno noticed that often there is a lack of passion and a lack of drive as a limiting factor for a business. Often, Menno would see businesses ignore accurate algorithms to create a rosy, yet unrealistic, vision for the future. [3:30]

  • When did Menno realize he was intelligent? Menno took the...

Recorded in my living room in Tokyo, Coach Menno Henselmans of BayesianBodybuilding.com shares tips on how he has stayed jacked and shredded while traveling for the last five years.

I also asked Menno about the somewhat controversial topic of race-based muscular potential, why he isn’t a fan of HIIT, why he quit business consulting to pursue a fear in fitness, and his frank thoughts on meal timing and intermittent fasting.

 

3 Key Points

  1. Entrepreneurship is not a one-way journey
  2. Don’t be afraid of losing a bit of muscle
  3. Cardio is not the best tool for fat loss in most cases

Show Notes

  • Menno’s childhood. Menno is grateful for the work his parents did to raise out of financial hardship. [03:00]

  • Entrepreneurship. Menno didn’t start as an entrepreneur. He started in the corporate world seeing how things don’t work because of human factors. Menno noticed that often times there is a lack of passion and a lack of drive as a limiting factor for a business. Often, Menno would see businesses ignore accurate algorithms to create a rosy, yet unrealistic, vision for the future. [3:30]

  • When did Menno realized he was intelligent? Menno took the Dutch equivalent...

This time I have Patrick Umphrey on the show, the man behind the legendary “Eat. Train. Progress.” Facebook group. I talk to him about the power of empathy when working with clients, building that community, and how that has lead to a stream of applicants for his coaching business.

Show notes

  • What would Patrick talk about if he was invited to speak at TED? Empathy. However, Patrick is not a confident public speaker. [01:30]

  • Imposter Syndrome. Andy feels like this is a common struggle. People who are at the top of their game always feel like they could do better. Is there something to people being humble? Patrick is not sure what makes him feel like an imposter. However, Patrick does feel like it is an emotional and instinctual thing. Andy talks about people not being able just to get started. [2:30]

  • Writing for peers over an audience. Andy talks about his struggle with trying to make his content match the level of his peers. He feels that his writing output has gone down as a result. However, realising his audience enjoys his writing Andy doesn’t obsess about this point. [7:30]

  • Patrick speaks on Empathy. Patrick has a child on the...

This interview with Luka Hocevar was absolutely epic.

Luka owns Vigor Ground fitness, a 12,000 square foot facility just outside of Seattle in a town called Renton. It’s the best gym I have ever walked into, so I invited Luka on to talk about his journey to opening that, from being a regular LA Fitness trainer.

The interview ended up being SO much more than that, we discuss building a fitness business yourself and how Luka has run charity boot camps for the last 10 years every Saturday, which is not only something he loves doing but has helped him seal a solid reputation in the community and earned him heaps of clients along the way.

We dig into how you can leverage ideas such as this to build trust, empower people to make a change, and build a business out of something you love doing.

Here’s Luka Hocevar….

Show notes
  • Andy was impressed with Luka’s gym. Space is an open concept at Vigor Ground Fitness. Luka mentions it was years of planning and following his vision. “Tomorrowland” whiteboard was a place where Luka visualized his gym of the future about six...

On this episode, I answer questions from members of The RippedBody.com Family Facebook Group, we discuss newbie gains, intermittent fasting, adjustments when moving to a bulk and much more.

Thanks to all of the group members that submitted your questions. If you’d like to join the weekly Q&A, join for free here.

Show notes
  • What are the updates you said you’ve been working on for the website? The menus have been simplified and the website will load much faster. Andy’s inspiration for the changes to the website was from James Clear and Mark Mason. [00:45]
  • Who does Andy have coming up for the podcast? Joseph Agu is a sports nutritionist in the UK. Luka Hocevar owns a great gym just outside of Seattle. Patrick Umphrey has an exceptionally popular Facebook group called “Eat Train Progress” and wrote an article on RippedBody.com called “Mindless Eating.”...

“The thing that ties all lifters together, regardless of their level, is that we are all interested in getting to the next PR.”

On this episode, I interview Mike Tuchscherer, founder of Reactive Training Systems, and father of using ‘Rate of Perceived Exertion’ (RPE) based on ‘reps in reserve’ to modulate recovery with training. Mike has coached 12 people to world records, he is one of only five people to have ever totaled over 2100 lbs in the 260 lb in the IPF, and is something of a legend in the training community.

In this interview, you’ll hear the story of how Mike accidentally pulled a world record deadlift. You’ll learn how to use RPE in your training to help manage and progress better, and we also answer reader questions. Enjoy!

Selected links

In this 3-part interview, I meet with Greg Nuckols of StrongerbyScience.com, we talk about a variety of topics including how he started out in the industry and has come to speak internationally in such a short period of time, how crucial he feels it is to read research yourself versus rely on a research review, the hilarity of consuming too many blueberries and much, much more.

Enjoy! 

Part 1 – Greg Nuckols on Keeping up with the Research and the Science of Strength

Selected links Show notes
  • How Greg felt about presenting at a fitness conference. – Greg described presenting with Eric Helms and Mike Tuchscherer as a surreal and great experience. [2:00]

  • How Greg started. – The story of how Greg got started in the industry until now, where he is invited to speak internationally. Greg didn’t feel like his formal education is really meaningful. Greg learned out of genuine curiosity as to why things are true. Greg started writing on GregNuckols.com because of the encouragement of his wife. Next, Greg started to offer online training because he was moving cities. Greg decided not to go...

“I don’t track my macros either, and loads of people are surprised when they hear that because I talk about it all the time. But if you want to do it via the simplest method possible, why would you track more meticulously than you need to?”

Ben Carpenter is an in-demand and immensely popular UK-based personal trainer. He’s well versed in all the geeky stuff we fitness nerds like to talk about on the internet, but I would argue that his special talent lies in the ways he takes that information and breaks it down to advise the regular folks who walk into his gym. In this interview, we did into that.

We also discuss his incredible physical recovery from losing nearly 50lbs, all his hard-earned muscle mass and more, twice(!) after suffering bouts of Crohn’s disease, and most common mistakes he sees with his clients with advice on how you can avoid making them.

Selected links Show notes
  • Ben tore his bicep.

In this 60-minute interview, researcher and coach, Eric Helms, answers twenty reader questions posted in our Facebook Group. We talk about a variety of topics including RPE (Rating of Perceived Exertion), full-body versus splits, protein frequency and how bodybuilders can progress through a plateau.

The show also starts off with an exclusive musical number by yours truly. Enjoy! 

Selected links

How can we stay up to date with training research? What is the point of even trying to do so when we have studies coming out that seemingly contradict one another so often?

Fresh off of finishing up his Ph.D., I welcome Eric Helms back on the podcast to explain why these seeming contradictions exist, how research can be useful, and the tools we can use to stay on top of it.

We begin with a story of the hard realities of conducting the type of studies we want – those that will tell us how to get more jacked and ripped. Eric, as always, totally crushes this. I hope you enjoy this conversation with my friend, co-author, researcher, geek, powerlifter, bodybuilder, and highly sought-after coach, Eric Helms.

Selected links

On this episode of the Rippedbody Podcast, I welcome back researcher and online coach, James Krieger, who I have invited back on the show to discuss one of the most important considerations for tweaking a nutrition and training program, individual differences.

Research is great at telling us what will likely work on average, but it isn’t able to tell you what will work best for YOU. In this interview, James suggests some simple questions you need to ask yourself when looking to optimize your nutrition and training strategies.

Not only is James one of the most educated researchers out there, he is also one of the most genuine guys in the industry and I really enjoyed this second deep dive chat with the one and only, James Krieger. 

Selected links

Individual responses to different types of training and why it is important. – While research tells us important things, James explains that it looks primarily...

Welcome to this frank conversation with writer, speaker, strength and conditioning specialist, power lifter, and the owner of Push Private Fitness in LA, Chad Landers. Chad has been a ‘legit’ trainer to rock stars and Hollywood actors for over 24 years and throughout this interview you’ll find simple, actionable, no-nonsense advice, which is all too often absent from this area of the industry.

For the first half, we focus on how his nutrition and training advice differs for his actor clients on a time crunch versus his regular clients. In the second half, we talk about how Chad built his career, going from a farm in Illinois to being California state co-chair of USA Powerlifting, and training Hollywood clients in Studio City. 

Selected links Show notes
  • Chad’s Bio. – Chad is a graduate of the University of Illinois in Kinesiology, a certified strength and conditioning specialist with the NFCA, and in 2007 he was the first and only American to graduate with a Diploma in Sports Nutrition from the International Olympic Committee. He is a personal trainer in Los Angeles since 1993 and opened Push Private Fitness in 2003. Chad is a powerlifter,...