In the following, I will present to you my current training and diet routine. This is the exact program I used to put on 20 lbs over the last 12 weeks while staying in decent shape. I will preface this by saying I was able to gain this much weight in such short time due to me coming out of a prolonged (calorie) deficit, with my body just waiting to take in large amounts of food and train like an unchained animal.
Remember, just because you emulate my training and eat the foods I eat doesn’t mean you’ll see the same results. There are hundreds of individual elements to be considered. Still, I want you to get the inside scoop on what yours truly is doing, as I believe it will help you understand the process of building muscle better.
It’s not rocket science. Just dedication, consistency and a glaring lack of excuses.
It’s not what you do but how you do it
For the last 2+ years the core of my training consisted of progressive bodyweight exercises (“But bro, push-ups don’t build muscle”). Push and pull- up variations, muscle-ups, dips, leg raises, squats, lunges, isolation work such as curls and extensions performed with gymnastic rings or a suspension trainer. I train outdoors whenever the weather permits it. And every once in a while I will hit up the gym and lift some heavy iron to keep things fresh and challenging.
You can stimulate muscle growth by several different means. It’s really not about where you train or what you do, but how you do it. Stick to basic exercises and perform them in progressive fashion, adding resistance and/or reps over time.
Victor’s Push/ Pull Program:
- 4 strength training sessions per week
- Monday/ Thursday: Chest, shoulders, triceps, legs
- Tuesday/ Friday: Back, biceps, abs
- 4-6 exercises per session
- 3-8 sets per exercise
This push/pull routine allows me to train every bodypart twice a week while giving the individual muscles enough time to recuperate between sessions.
Resistance training is performed on monday, tuesday, thursday and friday. On wednesday and saturday I do some form of high intensity cardio. While you read this, understand that a higher training frequency will only work in a solid calorie surplus, with all your nutritional bases covered, or at the beginner stage (or with a needle up your ass).
Two of the four sessions are hypertrophy based, with higher reps (12-20) and shorter rest periods between sets. The other 2 are strength and power sessions, with heavy weight/ high complexity exercises and lower repetitions (5 -10 reps).
Low reps or high reps? What’s better? The answer is both. Progressive overload combined with sheer volume will maximize the anabolic stimulus of training.
Exemplary Pull Session:
- Muscle-ups: 4x 6-8 4 sets of 6-8 reps. 2-4 min rest between sets
- Pull-ups: 8x 8 Short rest between sets, Gironda style
- Horizontal row: 4x 12-15
- TRX curls: 5x 12-15 Slow and controlled motion. Short rest between sets
- Leg raises: 5x 10 Picture perfect form. Minimal rest between sets
What about cardio?
Should you do cardio if you want to gain size or is it a hindrance? I believe in doing cardio regardless of fitness goals. You want to be a performance machine, not the buff guy gassing out on his way to the pec deck.
During my mass gaining phase I incorporated some form of cardiovascular work 2-3 times per week to stay sharp as my body weight increased. Also, intense cardio helps me eat more by upregulating appetite and moving food through my body at a faster rate.
The net result being an increased energy turnover (more energy coming in, more energy going out). A high energy turnover is key to optimizing body composition and physical performance.
Cardio of choice is sprints, jump rope intervals and heavy bag work performed with high intensity and rarely exceeding the 30 minute mark. I also do a fair amount of walking but don’t consider that cardio work so much as an invaluable health tool.
Don’t be afraid to eat
3 intense training sessions a week will be sufficient for most to trigger a substantial growth response. Training is the easy part, really. Your diet, on the other hand, leaves less room for error.
You have to eat enough food to support growth without becoming a fat slob.
To maximize muscular growth while keeping fat gain in check, I use my patented cyclical bulking startegy. Consuming a solid calorie surplus on at least 5 days of the week, while hovering around maintenance or being in a slight deficit on the other 2 days. On training days, I always follow this peri workout nutrition protocol to further support physiological adaptation. If you want to grow, I suggest you do the same.
Daily energy intake:
- 3800-4200 calories on training days
- 3000-3600 calories on rest days
3 meals a day + a pre workout snack on training days. Nothing fancy, nothing sciency. How many meals you eat is of little importance. At the end of the day, you must meet your energy requirements.
I prefer to eat a higher fat diet (40-50% of calories), with moderate amounts of carbohydrates and protein. (This is why). I don’t eat “clean”. I don’t follow a particular diet. I eat real food, with the occasional goodie thrown in.
Typical day of eating is oatmeal or granola with nuts (almonds, macadamia), dark chocolate and whole milk for breakfast. Eggs, cheese, bread ‘n butter for lunch. Dinner usually consists of some type of meat, a source of starch (rice, potato, pasta), veggies, avocado, more dark chocolate and ice cream to finish off my day.
See? It’s not that complicated. Not at all, actually. Set clear goals, be stubborn in their pursuit and don’t let up until you’re at the finish line. Follow my lead to a bigger, better body. The time is now!
Thank you for reading