There comes a point in every would-be lifter’s day where everything in the gym feels as if it weighs triple your body weight.
You then resort to doing a few pointless exercises to escape the fact that you’re not as strong as you thought you were and leave wanting to cry to your acne-prone sister, Sally, who squats more than you.
After having a: “fuck this, I just want to be strong” moment…
I stumbled on Mehdi Hadim’s Stronglifts 5×5 routine after a quick Google search.
The principle was simple.
Lift heavy – great.
Get stronger and build more muscle mass – great.
But when you can do all THREE?
That’s when you can rip your clothes off and throw your superhero cape on…
…because you’ll be indestructible.
Let’s get into it:
Who is Mehdi Hadim?
Mehdi is the mastermind behind ‘Stronglifts 5×5’.
According to his biography on his website, he first started getting into lifting when he would lose in arm wrestling matches with his friends in school (including a girl).
To make matters worse,
Not being able to do one push up (where the one girl could) made him feel like a beta male.
When he would begin going to a gym, he would quickly plateau when trying out the latest fad workouts and eventually quit.
Stronglifts 5×5 was the antidote to all of Mehdi’s frustrations growing up.
The routine has grown in vast popularity over the years with thousands of people around the world claiming to have gained significant strength and size being on the programme.
Mehdi has also trained would-be lifters from the USA, UK and Australia as well as people from his native Belgium in his self-built, home gym.
Whilst Mehdi doesn’t hold any notable credentials such as Jim Stoppani and is definitely not the ‘biggest’ guy by any stretch, he does know what he’s talking about.
You don’t need to be built like a colossus to understand basic human anatomy and lifting principles (unless, of course, you’re Mike Chang who literally knows fuck all).
With thousands of people raving about the programme’s simplicity and effectiveness, I was intrigued to learn more.
Stronglifts 5×5 is based off the training principles laid out by 3x Mr Universe Reg Park and his original 5×5 workout routine.
It also incorporates teachings from legendary American weightlifting coach Glen Pendlay.
Renown for it’s coherence and efficiency…
The 5×5 training programme has been around for more than half a century and has been slightly modified by Mehdi to include only the fundamental compound lifts for developing overall strength and muscle mass.
· Barbell Rows
· Bench Press
· Overhead Press
In a nutshell:
These 5 exercises are chosen because they allow you to gradually lift heavier weights and work your major muscle groups – making it difficult, but not impossible, to plateau over time.
Each workout begins with squats as this forms the backbone of the programme (bearing similarities with the 20 rep squat workout).
The Stronglifts routine is split into 2 sections:
Workout A and Workout B with each workout given an equal weighting on push/pull exercises.
Lets take a closer look.
Stronglifts 5×5 Workout
Here’s an in-depth video explaining the full details of Workout A:
StrongLifts 5x5 Workout A: Squat/Bench Press/Barbell Row (full body in 30min) - YouTube
Similarly with Workout A, below is a detailed video of how to perform Workout B with tips/hints to get the best out of each exercise:
StrongLifts 5x5 Workout B: FULL Video (Official) - YouTube
Stronglifts does a great job of targeting all of your primary muscle groups.
This is ideal if you’re looking to build strength and size in a relatively short amount of time.
A common theme among old-school bodybuilding routines is a lack of focus on single-joint exercises.
This isn’t an issue if you want to get bigger, but if aesthetics is your focus, this programme might not be for you.
Stronglifts is designed for the hardworking bodybuilder who wants to lift like Brian Shaw but can only spend up to 45 minutes in the gym.
The underlying principle is that more strength means more size, but more size doesn’t necessarily mean more strength.
Mehdi argues that some of the greatest bodybuilders to ever live such as: Reg Park, Franco Columbo, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Ronnie Coleman all had a background in strength training.
This is why isolation exercises are not included as they won’t build up your strength in the same way as compound exercises.
You’ll also notice that 1 set of deadlifts is all that is required, not 5.
Deadlifts are a very demanding (yet necessary) exercise, particularly since you are also squatting in the same session.
Your lower back will begin to feel the strain and thus, fatigue a lot sooner if you perform 5 sets, so stick with 1.
Mehdi also recommends avoiding all machines and instead using free weights.
This is so your body is able to engage any stabilising muscles during the exercise(s) a lot better (and in turn, increase your strength), where you’ll often get support/go through an unnatural range of motion using a machine.
Workout A and Workout B are performed on non-consecutive days.
Mehdi recommends to have one day of rest in between each workout to ensure your body has ample time to recover effectively.
A typical working week might look like the following:
·Monday – Workout A
· Wednesday – Workout B
·Friday – Workout A
The weekend is used for rest although you can do some light cardio/stretching to ease any aches, pains or improve cardiovascular health.
When you have completed your first week, you then alternate the workout as follows:
·Monday – Workout B
·Wednesday – Workout A
·Friday – Workout B
This is repeated for a total of 12 weeks until you have finished the programme.
The duration in which you should complete any of the Stronglifts 5×5 workouts should last no longer than 45 minutes.
In the above videos,
Mehdi was able to complete each workout in and around 30 minutes.
Whilst he’s certainly at an advanced stage, it’s important to take your time when starting out and to not rush each exercise.
Focus on lifting with correct form as this will yield far better results.
In the first few weeks, your rest time between each set should be relatively short.
This is because you’ll need to start this programme with lighter weights and work your way up to a heavier load later.
As a rule of thumb, however, aim for the following:
· 1 minute 30 seconds – if you completed 5 reps on your last set easily.
· 3 minutes – if you struggled to complete 5 reps on your last set.
· 5 minutes – if you failed to complete 5 reps on your last.
The downside of longer rest times is the fact that it makes your workout a lot longer.
You should only rest longer if you need to.
There’s no need to rest for warm-up sets or between exercises, just set the weights up and go.
On his ‘About‘ section of his website, Mehdi explains that since starting his programme, his PB on squats currently sits at 419lbs (190kg) and 495lbs (225kg) on deadlifts.
You won’t be hitting those numbers when you start out, but it does give you an indication of what kind of gains you can make on this plan.
The recommended increments for each workout is as follows:
· Squat: 5lbs/2.5kg – 2.5lbs/1.25kg on each side of the bar.
· Bench Press/Overhead Press/Barbell Row: 5lbs/2.5kg – 2.5lbs/1.25kg on each side of the bar.
· Deadlift: 10lbs/5kg – 5lbs/2.5kg on each side of the bar.
The goal of this programme is to lift as heavy as possible, which involves not using a spotter for any exercise.
If you need a spotter for whatever reason, you’re going too heavy.
Allow yourself to add the above incremental weights to your exercise each week.
You’ll soon enough begin to increase your strength and hit your own records.
Before jumping into the meat of the workout, it’s important to get your muscles thoroughly warmed up.
Mehdi recommends you perform several sets of each exercise using an empty bar.
You then add an additional 25-45lbs (10-20kg) of weight either side of the bar for your next warm exercise until you’ve worked your way up to your working set.
This is to ensure you practice your form and avoid the risk of injury before lifting heavy.
Ideally, your starting weight should be between 50% – 65% of your 1RM which should give you enough space to increase the load every week.
It is advised to pick a tempo that allows you to lift the heaviest weight with good technique.
The fact is:
Lifting too slow wastes strength, and lifting too fast makes it more difficult to control the weight which can throw off your form.
It’s normal to lift slower in the first few weeks as you practice the right technique.
Once you gain a bit more experience, you can start accelerating the bar during the concentric (shortening) phase of the exercise.
A good tempo to follow is 2-1-2-0.
· The first digit (2) is the eccentric (lengthening/negative) aspect of the lift. For the bench press, this would be lowering the bar to your chest for a total of 2 seconds.
· The second digit (1) is the mid-point of the lift. Going back to the bench press, this would be holding the bar on your chest for 1 second before pressing up.
· The third digit (2) is the concentric (shortening/positive) aspect of the lift. For the bench press, this would be pressing the bar off your chest for a total of 2 seconds.
· The fourth digit (0) is the time at the top of the exercise (locking out). Ideally, there should be no time spent in locking out to increase the tension in the muscles.
It’s important to take your time with each rep.
Whatever you do, don’t lift like a headless chicken fuelled by a pre-workout.
You’ll only cause yourself to plateau sooner – or worse, get injured.
As you’ll be lifting heavier than you’re used to, it’s important to control your breathing.
You should take a big deep breath in before doing any of the exercises, hold it and breathe out once completed.
This is the preferred way of breathing for this programme since holding your breath will ensure your abdomen is kept tight during each rep whilst protecting your lower back.
Avoid inhaling during the negative phase of the exercise and exhaling during the positive phase, as this will weaken your abdomen and make you more prone to injury.
It goes without saying:
You’ll need to eat big in order to get big.
Eating in a calorie surplus (ideally 400 – 500 calories above your maintenance level) each day will ensure you’re continually fuelling your body to grow and benefit from the progressive overload.
You can get away with being in a calorie deficit the first few weeks (particularly if you’re a novice) since your body will need to adjust to the resistance.
Over time, though, you’ll plateau if you don’t eat enough.
Your body will require more food for recovery which you simply won’t get being in a deficit.
A good calorie intake for Stronglifts is 3,000 calories for men and 2,500 for women.
You can dirty bulk if you so choose, although it will be detrimental to your health.
Opt for whole foods such as meat, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, fruits (avocados are very calorie dense), vegetables and wholegrain varieties.
This will ensure all your bases are covered as you’ll be getting a lot more fibre and micro-nutrients from a wholesome diet which will benefit your recovery.
You’ll also need to keep on top of your protein intake to get back through those gym doors faster.
Interview with James Haskell: England Rugby Player & Fitness Expert
We recently sat down with 6ft 4in, 265lb professional England rugby player James Haskell.
Having performed at an elite level for clubs based in France, Japan, New Zealand and of course, England, and with a career spanning two decades – James has worked with some of the top sports coaches, nutritionists and trainers in the world which has helped him stay at the top of his game.
With that said:
He also happens to know a thing or two about health and fitness too.
We hope you enjoy this interview.
Don’t forget to leave a comment below and let us know your thoughts!
For anyone who is not familiar with you, could you briefly introduce yourself?
My name is James Haskell, I’m a rugby player for Northampton Saints and when selected – England. I have played 78 times for my country and have also represented the British and Irish Lions.
What does a typical week look like for James Haskell? How often do you train and what do you do to chill out/have fun?
A normal week for me is pretty full on.
If we played on a Saturday, Sunday will be a recovery day which will involve me working on one of my many projects and having a bit of down time with my wife.
On a Monday:
I’ll arrive at my rugby club at 8 o’clock in the morning with a mobility/rehab session first thing and then I’ll get some breakfast (although I probably would’ve eaten at home).
This will be followed by a lower body weight session in which I’ll then have a few meetings and a walk-through rugby session in the afternoon with any fitness top-ups.
Tuesday is a much more physical day.
Again, I have another training session in the morning.
I’ll then have another 2 sets of meetings focusing on forward play and ironing out scrums.
After this, I’ll break for lunch and then I’ll go out for a training session later in the afternoon which will be a combination of both units which is scrums and line-outs for forward play.
Wednesday is normally my day off.
This is where I do all of my work-related stuff: book promotions, DJ interviews or whatever it might be (I’m pretty much booked out on my rest days).
Thursday will be very similar to Tuesday in terms of physicality.
I’ll have one rugby session outside and a power training session in the gym. I’ll then stay afterwards and do some extra mobility work.
Friday will be a team run day which means we’ll go through all of our moves ahead of Saturday’s game. It will be quite a short session.
I’ll rest and recover and probably speak with my sports psychologist too.
And finally, it’s game time on Saturday and so it goes round and round.
Why rugby? What is it about the sport that you still love after all these years?
I never really wanted to be a rugby player in the beginning.
It was something through disappointment at England Under-16’s where I didn’t get selected and I was never that interested in doing it.
But when someone said I was never good enough to do it, I was very keen to prove myself.
I came back in a bit of a ‘Rocky’ montage where I got someone who trained with me that allowed me to train harder, I focused on my diet and everything else where I managed to break into England’s Under-18’s.
I got the opportunity to play for Wasps and essentially I decided I was going to give it a go for a year – 17 and a half seasons later I’m still going.
I cherish the sport because I enjoy the camaraderie that goes on and off the field.
I love the fact that I get to compete week in, week out in front of a crowd. I get to do something I’m passionate about and I just appreciate getting paid to train/being in shape and having fun with it all.
If you could narrow it down to one thing, in your experience, what is the most important consideration to take when trying to excel at a sport or get in better shape?
I think the most important thing is worrying about what you can control.
In other words:
Your dedication, your focus and how much hard work you want to put into things are all within your control.
It’s also about making sure you have a plan, sticking to it and executing it.
To achieve anything from body transformation to excelling at a sport, it requires sacrifice.
It’s not fun, it’s not for everyone. It’s about falling down and getting back up again.
These are all important things that help you achieve whatever your goal is.
What are the biggest mistakes you made as an up and coming professional athlete that you would otherwise take back (if possible)?
Probably spreading myself too thin.
Recovery and rest are hugely important.
Sometimes I’m guilty of trying to do too much which has been detrimental in some ways (not noticeably), but mentally trying to make sure I’m getting the work-life balance right.
Having stuff outside of rugby is really important, but it’s about getting a balance too.
I wouldn’t necessarily take it back, but I would tweak it to some degree, from a nutritional and diet point of view, I was probably under-eating for a while.
In the past,
I would try and go for that Men’s Health cover model physique without prioritising fuelling my training and recovery. Meeting my wife and working with different nutritionists has since helped me in this area.
What is your overall outlook when it comes to nutrition? Are you quite strict with what you consume? Or do you take an ‘everything in moderation’ point of view?
A lot of rugby players aren’t as a strict as that, but for me, it works really well.
I’m a mesomorph by nature so I can put on a lot of muscle but also put on a lot of fat easily as well if I’m not careful. Thus, I make sure that I maintain a certain size.
I really enjoy tracking and being quite anal about what I’m doing. I have a miniature pair of scales and I’ll weigh my foods out before eating them.
My wife is also a qualified nutritionist and she’s incredible at what she does so she’s really helped me to understand how to track.
She’s been able to change her body on a regular basis so I’m able to change mine quite quickly from out of shape to into shape, to building muscle and losing muscle and so on.
I do believe everything in moderation is important.
People need to understand that there’s no such thing as good or bad foods. Once you track and have an idea of how many calories you have left to play with, you have the freedom to be able to enjoy yourself within reason.
My point is:
There are foods with better nutritional value than others.
It doesn’t make them bad, but it just means that when you understand what your whole diet/weekly calorie count looks like, you can’t be eating doughnuts everything single day to get in better shape!
How has your approach to fitness, training and nutrition changed compared to how it was 5 years ago, if at all?
Anyone who’s into health, fitness and nutrition has to understand that their views are going to change constantly.
I think a sign of a good coach/nutritionist is someone who changes their opinion over time. There’s all sorts of information constantly put out on training and diet.
If you stick to your guns the whole time, and aren’t prepared to evolve, that’s when you’ll fall down.
5 years ago, I was probably under-eating and I wasn’t tracking what I was doing.
I thought I had a fantastic diet but I was actually under-eating on protein quite considerably and my fats were very high.
I’d eat a lot of pork pies and other processed meats not realising the high fat content and not realising that every protein source comes with fat.
I was training far too much. On my days off as well as working, I was doing wrestling, jiu-jitsu, extra sprint training and driving all around the place.
It was damaging. I was in great shape but these things were not helping me mentally.
What supplements do you currently have lined up in your cupboard?
My supplements are things that will supplement my needs such as: fish oils, multivitamins and probiotics.
I will also have a protein shake or a mass gainer just because of the amount of calories and protein I have to eat after training to try and top my stuff up.
I’m not a massive supplements man as food will generally come first in everything that I do.
I believe supplements should only supplement your ‘already good’ diet.
A lot of young male and female players (males especially) want to know about supplements. They become obsessed with them.
They think that by taking creatine or a protein powder they’ll get massive. However, they don’t understand that it’s down to your training, and most importantly your nutrition.
Most people are hugely under-eating. They think they’re eating 3 meals a day and they’re scoffing food, but they’re just not on the right playing field to build muscle.
What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever seen/done on the rugby pitch or at the gym?
The funniest thing I’ve ever done on a rugby pitch was to run into a post in England vs Wales at Millennium Stadium live on the BBC.
So that didn’t go down to well.
In the gym:
Making the mistake of loading up one side of the bar (forgetting you’ve taken off the weights on the other side), lifting it off and it all falling onto one side making a giant clatter and everyone looking at you like a tit.
Is there any ‘accepted wisdom’ out there regarding strength training/performance optimisation that you would, through experience, experimentation or otherwise, discredit?
One thing that is commonly seen as ‘accepted wisdom’ is more is better.
When building muscle or developing strength, you’re tearing muscle fibres so you’ve got to give your body time to recover, adapt and grow.
Smashing your body into the ground every single day is never a great idea.
For rugby players in general,
Most believe that being massive and really good in the gym is going to make you a good player. This is something that’s a perception for a lot of young players but it’s simply not true.
Some of the most powerful players, and those who’ve beaten the most defenders, are those who are terrible in the gym and who aren’t particularly big.
It all boils down to mastering the core skills and not necessarily what you can do in the gym.
What are your long-term goals for when you finally decide to hang up your rugby boots?
My ultimate dream at the moment is to DJ.
It’s a very fun hobby and I enjoy the performance element of it.
I think a lot of rugby players who finish their careers tend to struggle because they don’t get to perform in front of a crowd anymore.
When I DJ, I get the same sort of adrenaline rush when playing on the field which is great.
I also want to keep running my health and fitness business. I really enjoy presenting and writing. I’ve got a couple more book ideas I want to develop too.
So, I don’t have one set goal (which is kind of dangerous), as I’ve got lots of different passions.
Are there any final pearls of wisdom that you could offer our readers?
We live in the age of social media so a lot of people need to understand that what you see online is not necessarily the truth (and more often than not, it’s not).
Whatever you want to do, have a plan and follow people you actually believe in, who are legitimate and who are prepared to change their stance on things.
Don’t be bought into the image of celebrities, those who are constantly in shape 24 hours a day – it’s just not true.
Be realistic about your goals.
Understand that when you’re looking at someone online thinking, ‘I want a body like that’ that person has probably been training for 8 years and is doing all sorts of things they don’t tell anyone about.
Sharing your life on social media and following people – it’s not what life’s about.
It causes a lot of anxiety.
You spend your time looking at what other people are thinking of you and who are qualifying your life by likes, I think it’s bullshit.
But I think it’s great for inspiration, information-sharing and for positivity (and it should be seen as that).
If you’re spending a large proportion of your time on it, you need to re-evaluate yourself.
More about James Haskell
In addition to learning more about James Haskell on his website, you can also follow him across all major social media platforms including:
With the myriad of training methods readily available on the internet, you wouldn’t be alone in either…
Being confused as shit, or
Thinking the majority of them are a load of bollocks (they are).
A quick YouTube search for “how to build muscle and strength” immediately returns a horde of nonsensical programmes from ‘ehowhealth’ who also teach you how to take a punch and how to stave off depression through their own ‘secret concoction formula’.
At this rate,
You have a better chance of building muscle through a 3 hour binge session on PornHub’s Gym Category.
We recently came across Jim Stoppani’s 12 Week Shortcut to Size plan which, according to Stoppani, aims to bring the lab into gym through proven ways to build muscle and strength concurrently.
Let’s get into the review:
Who is Jim Stoppani?
Jim Stoppanni previously served as the ‘Senior Science Editor’ for Muscle & Fitness, Muscle & Fitness Hers and FLEX Magazine.
He holds a PhD in Exercise Physiology with a minor in Biochemistry and was an award-winning scientist at the John B. Pierce Laboratory and Department of Cellular and Molecular Physiology at Yale University School of Medicine.
In other words:
He knows his stuff and his 12 Week Shortcut To Size programme is designed and backed by hard science.
Who can argue with that?
Shortcut to Size is based on the training protocol called ‘periodisation’.
This is where you change your workout at specified intervals which involves lifting light weights with high reps and progressively increasing the weights and reducing the reps.
A classic periodisation programme can take anywhere between 4 – 12 months to complete.
Jim Stoppani’s workout utilises a concept called ‘microcycles’.
This means that rather than sticking with the same weight/rep range for months on end, you change this every week for a total of 12 weeks.
The end result?
An increase in muscle size and strength.
Below is how the programme works at a glance:
· Week 1 – 12-15 reps
·Week 2 – 9-11 reps
·Week 3 – 6-8 reps
·Week 4 – 3-5 reps
You then repeat the above for a further 2 phases (3 in total) which concludes the programme, leaving you looking Hercules-esque.
Jim Stopanni’s stratagem of ‘real science, unreal results’ boasts guaranteed muscle mass and strength gains with his workout.
Jim’s reported that he’s seen gains of strength over 90lbs (40kg) on the squat and over 50lbs (22kg) on the bench press.
Size wise, he’s also stated that some guys saw 15lbs (6kg) growth in muscle mass whilst also dropping body fat among his clientele.
Shortcut to Size Workout
Phase 1, 2 and 3 – Week 1 to 4Workout 1: Chest, Triceps and Calves
Inclince Dumbbell Flye
Cable Overhead Tricep Extensions
Standing Calf Raises
Seated Calf Raises
Workout 2: Back, Biceps and Abs
Dumbbell Bent-Over Row
Straight Arm Pulldown
Dumbbell Incline Curl
One-Arm High Cable Curl
Workout 3: Shoulders, Traps and Calves
Dumbbell Shoulder Press
Dumbbell Lateral Raise
One-Arm Cable Front Raise
High Cable Rear Delt Fly
Seated Calf Raise
Leg Press Calf Raise
Workout 4: Legs and Abs
Lying Leg Curl
The above rounds off Phase 1 of the regime which you then rinse and repeat for Phase 2 and 3.
As mentioned earlier, after every week, you should begin increasing the weight slightly for every exercise and reducing your rep range as you work your way through.
It’s also important to keep a diary/journal with you so that you can accurately log your lifts to ensure you’re progressively increasing the load on your muscles.
So for Week 2 onward, you should be working towards the following:
·Week 2 – 9-11 reps
·Week 3 – 6-8 reps
·Week 4 – 3-5 reps
For more information on the workout you can download the full PDF below:
Has your girlfriend just left you for a Jason Momoa look-a-like?
… Or do you simply want get jacked as fuck?
If any of the above sounds like you, look no further as we’ve rounded up some of the most controversial, motivational and hilarious CT Fletcher quotes on the internet to help get your shit together.
Who is CT Fletcher?
Born on June 8th, 1959, CT Fletcher is a former professional powerlifter, media personality, motivational speaker, actor, personal trainer and all-round complete badass.
Some of his biggest accomplishments include:
· 3x World-Strict Curl Champion
· 3x World Bench Press Champion
During the peak of his career, CT was often labelled as “the strongest man on earth” and, at one point, held the world record in the strict curl category by curling 225lbs.
But that’s not all:
Performing a strict bicep curl involves your head, back and arse being pressed against a wall to execute the movement. CT claims to curl over 300lbs without a wall.
Above all else, his meteoric rise in popularity can be attributed to his motivational story and his early days in competition.
The Strongest Man You've Never Heard Of: CT Fletcher - YouTube
The Making of Compton’s Superman
Fletcher grew up in Compton, LA in an abusive household where his father would regularly beat the shit out of him despite being a devoted Pentecostal preacher.
Regardless of a troubled upbringing, CT developed a mental toughness that enabled him to excel in the sport of bodybuilding and powerlifting.
His early days instilled in him a boisterous arrogance that would rival both the likes of Floyd Mayweather and Kanye West.
The funny thing is, it seemed that absolutely no one wanted to knock his block off.
Perhaps because he was the biggest “sidewalk cracking motherfucker” around.
A famous example of CT’s level of confidence was when he hilariously announced at a World Championship Competition in a room full of super heavyweight competitors:
“Which one of you motherfuckers is coming in second? Because all you motherfuckers know that I’m winning this shit!” – CT Fletcher
Which one of you motherfuckers is coming in second? Because all you motherfuckers know that I’m winning this shit! - CT Fletcher Click To Tweet
He sure as hell did.
CT later stated:
“This was my attitude in 1992 when I thought I was the best on the planet.”
You may well question Mr Chow’s credentials as a medical practitioner (he is, after all, an Asian mobster) but you’d never question CT Fletcher as a World Bench Press and Strict-Curl Champion.
For starters, he’d pummel the shit out of you.
The CT Fletcher Diet – A Heart Attack On A Plate
You wouldn’t be mistaken in thinking that as a professional power lifter and world weight lifting champion, CT followed a strict diet to maintain his size and mass.
The simple truth is, this wasn’t the case.
During his prime, CT Fletcher would rock up to his local McDonalds and devour 4 Big Macs, 4 Fries, 4 Apple Pies and 2 Milkshakes for lunch every day over a 20 year time span.
Picture this below.
This would consist of well over 5,000 calories and clogged arteries to boot.
Fletcher would eat anything and everything to be the “king of the jungle, the baddest beast on the planet” who felt that stuffing his face was the only way to do it.
Eventually, years of binging at McDonalds resulted in CT having life-saving open heart surgery in 2005 where he flat-lined on 3 separate occasions but managed to make it through.
He more recently had a heart transplant in June 2018 after suffering from a heart attack back in mid-2017.
Was it all worth it?
Most will say no, but for the beast himself (who refuses to give up bodybuilding and insists that it’s still his motherfucking set) argues it was all worth it.
An Internet Sensation Overnight?
CT Fletcher gained significant fame back in February 2013 with his YouTube videos gaining instant virality.
His back story – combined with a predilection for vulgar laced language, no-bullshit attitude that hits you right between the eyes and a likeable personality – have helped this bodybuilding personality attain large-scale fame in a short amount of time.
CT has since grown to become a force to be reckoned with in the fitness and bodybuilding community including putting out his own small movie documentary entitled – “CT Fletcher: My Magnificent Obsession”.
CT FLETCHER: My Magnificent Obsession - Official Trailer - YouTube
The Best CT Fletcher Quotes
Aside from being an absolute unit, CT Fletcher is certainly one of the most quotable figures in the fitness industry today.
From the most obscene to the downright motivational. Check out some of the best quotes from the big man himself:
#1 – “I’ve got a metal valve where my heart used to be. I sometimes wait for the watch to stop. But you know what? It’s still my motherfucking set! And if I can take my ass into that gym and work… you have no excuse! None that I can’t listen to.” – CT Fletcher
It's still my motherfucking set! And if I can take my ass into that gym and work... you have no excuse! None that I can't listen to. - CT Fletcher Click To Tweet
#2 – “Everybody wants to be a fucking iron addict. Everybody can’t do that shit. Everybody claiming that shit. You’re a motherfucking liar! You ain’t paid the cost to be a fucking iron addict!” – CT Fletcher
Everybody wants to be a fucking iron addict. Everybody can't do that shit. Everybody claiming that shit. You're a motherfucking liar! You ain't paid the cost to be a fucking iron addict! - CT Fletcher Click To Tweet
#3 – “I will fucking die in pursuit of my goal. I won’t let death or any fucking thing of this earth (or not of this earth) stop me. I will have it no matter what the fucking cost! I WILL HAVE IT!” – CT Fletcher
I will fucking die in pursuit of my goal. I won't let death or any fucking thing of this earth (or not of this earth) stop me. I will have it no matter what the fucking cost! I WILL HAVE IT! - CT Fletcher Click To Tweet
#4 – “Death… I looked you in the fucking face and I’m still here. You ain’t taken me out yet. I’m still here and still kicking your ass!” – CT Fletcher
Death... I looked you in the fucking face and I'm still here. You ain't taken me out yet. I'm still here and still kicking your ass! - CT Fletcher Click To Tweet
#5 – “If you don’t have the mental capacity to be that obsessed about what you’re trying to get… then motherfucker you ain’t never gonna have it!” – CT Fletcher
If you don't have the mental capacity to be that obsessed about what you're trying to get... then motherfucker you ain't never gonna have it! - CT Fletcher Click To Tweet
#6 – “Fuck average, beast or bitch, it’s your choice!” – CT Fletcher
Fuck average, beast or bitch, it's your choice! - CT Fletcher Click To Tweet
#7 – (speaking about competitive weight lifting) “For competition, always loop the thumbs around the bar and squeeeeeeze, squeeze that bar like you’re trying to snap that motherfucker in two!” – CT Fletcher
For competition, always loop the thumbs around the bar and squeeeeeeze, squeeze that bar like you’re trying to snap that motherfucker in two! - CT Fletcher Click To Tweet
#8 – “History never remembers the haters.” – CT Fletcher
#9 – “Obsession isn’t always a bad thing. Obsession is a downright requirement to be great.” – CT Fletcher
Obsession isn't always a bad thing. Obsession is a downright requirement to be great. - CT Fletcher Click To Tweet
#10 – “Today is not your fucking day, today you won’t win, today I will take you on (on your ground, on your territory) and come to you and kick your fucking ass fear!” – CT Fletcher
Today is not your fucking day, today you won't win, today I will take you on (on your ground, on your territory) and come to you and kick your fucking ass fear! - CT Fletcher Click To Tweet
#11 – “Whatever’s thrown at you, it’s still your motherfucking set motherfucker. Conquer that shit!” – CT Fletcher
Whatever's thrown at you, it's still your motherfucking set motherfucker. Conquer that shit! - CT Fletcher Click To Tweet
#12 – “Find your magnificent obsession, whatever it is, and let nothing or no one tell you that you can’t do it. Tell them to sit back and watch you do it!” – CT Fletcher
Find your magnificent obsession, whatever it is, and let nothing or no one tell you that you can’t do it. Tell them to sit back and watch you do it! – CT Fletcher Click To Tweet
#13 – “Every time I go to the doctor, they tell me everything that I shouldn’t be doing and what I can’t do, and I politely go out of the door and do what ever the fuck I want to do. And, I’m gonna do that until they throw dirt on top of me.” – CT Fletcher
Every time I go to the doctor, they tell me everything that I shouldn’t be doing and what I can’t do, and I politely go out of the door and do what ever the fuck I want to do. And, I’m gonna do that until they throw dirt on top of me. - CT… Click To Tweet
#14 – “Everything I went through, every beating I got, every broken bone, every time I was rushed to the emergency room, every single struggle is what made it all worth it.” – CT Fletcher
Everything I went through, every beating I got, every broken bone, every time I was rushed to the emergency room, every single struggle is what made it all worth it. – CT Fletcher Click To Tweet
#15 – “It’s impossible – I’ve heard that so many times. It’s always impossible until some crazy son of a bitch has the audacity to believe that no matter what the experts or the doctors says, ‘I can do that shit!’” – CT Fletcher
It's impossible - I've heard that so many times. It’s always impossible until some crazy son of a bitch has the audacity to believe that no matter what the experts or the doctors says, ‘I can do that shit!' – CT Fletcher Click To Tweet
#16 – “Don’t make no difference what it is… I’ma pick the shit up! How much it is… I’ma pick the shit up! That’s what I do… I pick shit up!” – CT Fletcher
Don’t make no difference what it is... I’ma pick the shit up! How much it is... I’ma pick the shit up! That’s what I do… I pick shit up! - CT Fletcher Click To Tweet
#17 – “Nobody wants to work hard these days, everybody wants the easy way… the 20 minute abs, the 10 minute this, the 10 minute that… FUCK THAT! Come to the gym, work your ass off. Earn it!” – CT Fletcher
Nobody wants to work hard these days, everybody wants the easy way... the 20 minute abs, the 10 minute this, the 10 minute that... FUCK THAT! Come to the gym, work your ass off. Earn it! - CT Fletcher Click To Tweet
#18 – “If you see somebody with great abs, a great butt or a great whatever – they didn’t do the shit in 20 minutes, and if they tell you they did, they are a fucking liar!” – CT Fletcher
If you see somebody with great abs, a great butt or a great whatever they didn't do the shit in 20 minutes, and if they tell you they did, they are a fucking liar! - CT Fletcher Click To Tweet
#19 – “You have no excuses. So, no matter what – your nose bleeds, it’s that time of the month, the kids are crying, you don’t feel like it, your back hurts, you’ve got aches and pains… It’s still your motherfucking set. Let’s get it done!” – CT Fletcher
You have no excuses. So, no matter what – your nose bleeds, it's that time of the month, the kids are crying, you don’t feel like it, your back hurts, you’ve got aches and pains… It’s still your motherfucking set. Let's get it done!…
One of life’s finest movements – the quintessential test of mental strength, physical prowess and complete savagery.
An exercise so simple and sophisticated, even the average gym noob can safely attempt it and acquire bountiful gains rather than waste their time on useless exercises.
As far as training programmes are concerned, they arguably don’t come as straightforward, brutal or painstakingly effective than the notorious 20 Rep Squat Routine.
Let’s get into it.
The 20 Rep Squat: Historical Context
The 20 Rep Squat workout dates back to the early 1930’s when Mark Berry, a highly successful Olympic weightlifting champion, began preaching high rep squats for putting on muscular bulk and additional size in numerous strength-training articles at the time.
Using this ‘new’ training protocol, Mark Berry began training several athletes who all saw muscular growth at unprecedented rates.
Inspired by his methodology, one of Berry’s students at the time, a young lifter named Joseph Curtis Hise, began designing a routine off the back of Berry’s principles and experimented with squatting for 20 reps.
Hise reasoned that, if you took a weight and performed 20 reps in one set, you would, over time, begin to gain weight.
When it came to the 20 Rep Squat workout, the first 10 reps would be performed ‘normally’, but right after the 10th rep, 3 deep breaths should be taken between squats.
Thus, the 20 Rep Squat routine also received the nickname ‘breathing squats’ which is commonly used today.
After completing the 20 reps, Hise suggested that every lifter “should feel like he has run 2 miles at full speed”.
And Lo’ and behold, the 20 Rep Squat programme was given birth.
The workout has since endured a strong legacy, having been touted by John McCallum in the late 1960’s and through Randall J. Strossen’s 1989 work: “Super Squats”.
Strossen claimed that one could easily gain 30lbs of pure muscle in 6 weeks by performing 20 rep squats.
Squatting for 20 reps was also the workout of choice for the legendary lifter, Tom Platz (famously nicknamed ‘The Quadfather’) who had some of the biggest and strongest legs in the field of bodybuilding.
Just check out this video of him squatting 525lbs for 23 reps. Insane!
As you’ve just learned, the 20 Rep Squat is an old-school bodybuilding routine designed to accelerate your gains.
Following this routine (and ensuring every exercise is executed correctly) will help you slap on large slabs of muscle on your frame at an alarming rate.
And like many muscle-building workouts which have stood the test of time, the routine is very easy to perform – even for the bare faced, acne prone, puberty-infested gym virgin.
In a nutshell,
The workout can be summarised as follows:
High rep squats + a gallon of milk a day = MASSIVE GAINS
The 20 Rep Squat routine, alongside the nickname ‘Breathing Squats’ is also referred to ‘Squats and Milk’.
In addition to completely frying your legs with high rep squats, drinking a boatload of milk a day (usually a gallon) was typically recommended to get the extra bulk you needed.
This protocol is commonly known as GOMAD.
On this workout programme, you’ll be drinking so much milk that you could breastfeed the entire population of San Marino (current size 31,595).
But wait – there’s more.
Your quads will grow so exponentially that ripping your jeans will become the norm, so be prepared to buy a few that are couple sizes up!
However, be warned:
20 Rep Squats is unbelievably hard.
You need some serious mental strength to subject your body through such a grueling routine as it makes most muscle-building routines look like your girlfriend’s ‘legs, bums and tums’ class at PureGym – a pile of shit.
The 20 Rep Squat Workout Routine
At the heart of this training programme lies 1 set of squats for 20 reps.
More importantly, 20 breathing squats must be performed at your 10 rep max.
Why is this so?
The reason being evident in the name.
Once you’ve completed 10 solid reps of squats, you’ll be gasping for air and will need to dig deep to complete the remaining 10 reps.
This is why 3 – 5 deep breaths were typically taken to complete one more rep as you’ll be recruiting more higher-threshold motor units by not resting in between reps.
Because of this:
It’s not unusual for a set to last anywhere between 5 – 6 minutes or even longer.
When it comes to the actual programme itself, there are many variations available which you can perform depending on what you prefer.
Each routine includes 1 x 20 reps of squats as its foundation, followed by a combination pull and push compound exercises.
Note that there is little to no isolation work here as the main objective of these routines are to put on huge size, not accentuate certain areas of the body.
John McCallum’s Original ‘Squats and Milk’ or ‘Breathing Squats’ Programme (1968)
Behind The Neck Press
Bent Over Row
Stiff Legged Deadlift
Scaled Down 20 Rep Squat Routine for Beginners
‘Big 3’ 20 Rep Squat Routine
Bent Over Rows
20 Rep Squat Power Routine
This routine should last for a total of 6 weeks and be performed at least 3 times a week on consecutive days (e.g. Monday, Wednesday and Friday).
Due to the taxing nature of this routine, rest and recovery are extremely paramount to avoid injury.
If you’re not recovering in time before you hit your next session, consider performing this routine twice a week with at least 3 days of rest in between (e.g. Monday and Friday).
Once your body has built up a higher tolerance to the routine, begin performing the 20 Rep Squats programme 3 times a week.
This training programme should be performed infrequently and it is recommended to not return to it after 6 weeks has passed following completion of one cycle.
The key to this routine is to progressively overload your muscles every session by adding an additional 2.5kg (5lbs) of weight to the barbell.
This translates to 7.5kg a week (16lbs) and 45kg (99lbs) over the course of the 6 week cycle.
For most, 20 reps are usually performed at your 5RM by the final week.
So how do you know how much you should be lifting in the beginning?
Work backwards by subtracting the total progressive weight of the 6 week cycle (45kg or 99lbs) from your 5RM.
For example, if your current 5RM on a barbell squat is 120kg (264lbs), you should begin with a weight of 75kg (165lbs) and continue to add 2.5kg (5lbs) to the bar every week for 6 weeks until you reach 120kg in your final week to perform at 20 reps.
Before performing one of the above routines, it’s important you thoroughly warm up your muscles beforehand.
It is a good idea to perform a set of 20 reps with a light weight to prepare your body for the movement and ensure your fully mobile for a heavier load.
I also include 10 minutes of light to moderate stretching before approaching the squat rack to ensure my major muscle groups are flexible and limber to avoid any injuries.
An important component of performing the 20 Rep Squat workout is correct breathing.
This is especially the case when it comes to smashing out those final 10 reps.
Depending on your experience level, you’ll probably have no problem getting through the first 10 reps. However, the next 10 reps are a completely different animal.
You want to ensure you’re body is fully upright and erect with the bar supported by your arms and core to ensure you’re in a comfortable position to take a few deep breaths,
It’s important to stress that your breaths need to circulate right down to the pelvic floor rather than stay stuck in your upper torso to ensure your respiratory system is getting sufficient oxygen to all major muscle groups.
During the eccentric (lowering) phase of the exercise, inhale through the nose all the way down with a slight pause at the bottom. Then, during the concentric (lifting) phase of the squat, exhale slightly out of the mouth as you explode back up.
Breathing this way will ensure you are in a good state to complete 20 full reps and avoid feelings of nausea or even passing out!
As it will no doubt feel like you’re squatting the earth for the final 10 reps, you should ensure you have taken some safety measures to reduce your chances of injury.
Having a spotter or safety pins (or maybe even both) to keep everything in check is generally a good idea, and something we definitely recommend.
Just make sure your spotter doesn’t get too up close and personal like Leonardo DiCaprio, otherwise you’ll be in an even more uncomfortable place.
Behind The Neck Press
I’m not a massive fan of the behind the neck press exercise and much prefer a standard military press (either standing or seated) due to less strain placed on the shoulders and neck.
Injuries can occur with any exercise, just ensure you’re properly warmed up and have good mobility in the joints first before attempting the behind the neck press.
Once you’ve finished crushing it in ‘Squat City’, waddle over to a bench, grab a light dumbbell and smash out 20 reps.
Early proponents of this exercise (including Arnold Schwarzenegger) believed that pullovers increased overall chest size and expanded their ribcage due to its natural elasticity and strengthening of the coastal cartilages already worked through the heavy breathing from the 20 squats.
Whilst this makes sense in theory, there’s a lack of supporting evidence which concludes this.
This exercise does serve as a gentle cool down from squatting some heavy ass weight.
For the rest of the exercises. select a weight where you can comfortably complete each rep and set with no issues.
These should be nowhere near as gruelling as your 20 rep squats, however you must ensure you progressively overload your muscles during these exercises throughout the 6 week cycle for maximum results.
Drinking a gallon of milk a day (around 8 pints) is central to the overall routine.
If you want to feel like an old school bodybuilding badass, which is part of the beauty of the routine, stick to the milk.
In spite of that,
There’s no doubt that some will find drinking that much milk a day slightly excessive or even quite sickening (myself included).
If this is the case for you, just ensure you’re continually eating towards a calorie surplus on a daily basis and are perhaps factoring in a diverse range of protein sources or supplements to aid the muscle building process.
The 20 Rep Squat Routine is a ‘back to the wall’ workout designed to put your body through a world of pain.
This routine is recommended for intermediate to advanced lifters (those who have between 2 – 5 years+ lifting experience) as most beginners are likely to run the risk of injury due to a lapse in form or not be able to train with enough intensity which is what will give you the best results.
Some beginners might be reading this and think:
“Come on… it surely can’t be that difficult, right?”
Looking at it another way, your quadriceps are mostly made up of Type II A (fast-twitch) muscle tissue which responds positively to a lot of volume.
Because of this, endurance-based athletes commonly deploy maximum tension in this muscle group during training to give them an explosive edge in their sport.
And it is that ‘intensity’ placed on the quadriceps which makes them grow at a mammoth rate.
20 rep squats is no exception to this either.
So unless you’ve successfully built up a higher tolerance/threshold for high rep work over time, this routine is not for the feint of heart.
With that said,
I’d argue that 20 Rep Squats is more taxing mentally than it is physically.
You’ll almost have to dig deep from the pits of your soul to summon the strength and energy to hammer past the final 10 reps of your 10RM after your body screams:
“F*ck this you crazy son of a b*tch, are you trying to kill me!?”
If that wasn’t enough:
If you do manage to complete the 20 squats and still have your sanity in check, having the will to then pick yourself up the floor to complete the other exercises is a completely different ball game.
The mere sight of another weight will make you feel like Kirby Roy’s crotch after being hammered by 1,100 pounds of brute force from a vicious Thai Kick delivered by an American Gladiator.
20 Rep Squats is a routine well worth breaking the pain barrier for as it’s so effective.
After completing 2 separate cycles of John McCallum’s orgininal ‘Squats and Milk’ workout, the gains have been nothing short of wonderful.
It is also a far more conducive programme compared to the workout splits you read in fitness magazines and across the internet based on the results you’re likely to see.
One thing about the milk, when I did this routine for the first time, I followed GOMAD to the letter.
In the process, I ended up putting on around 3kg – 4kg of weight (most of it fat) and had the farts like crazy. After all, I was drinking around 31L of milk a week!
I’m pretty sure that I accounted for 90% of my town’s dairy business as others went through a milk drought.
Also, unlike others who might argue, this routine is primarily a mass building routine and not a strength workout.
Whilst you might see some increase in strength, 20 Rep Squats mainly targets endurance, intensity and physical size.
But as this routine is so tough, it’s better used as a way to break through a plateau or to shake up your central nervous system every now and then to keep your body guessing.
The 20 Rep Squat workout is a punishing routine which will push you to the brink of physically and mentally breaking down.
But, if you can work through it, the rewards will be tremendous.
Several factors will come into play in terms of how you will develop: none more so than your diet and your mentality.
Eat like a king every single day and maintain a mindset that Vince Lombardi would be proud of, and you’ll be on a surefire way to making all kinds of gains.
But the bottom line is this:
20 Rep Squats is a straightforward, no frills and agonising way of getting huge.
31+ Fitness Experts Reveal How To Build Muscle Fast with Just 3 Simple Tips!
So you want to build muscle fast in 2018.
You Google: “How to build muscle fast”.
289,000,000 results… “Well shit, I thought this would be easy?”
You click through onto the first 5 results, each with contradictory articles on supplementation, recovery, supersets, dropsets, optimal rep ranges for hypertrophy, supination and time-restricted feeding.
You then think,
“Fuck me, this is complicated. I’m going to do some bicep curls on Tuesday, crunches on Thursday, get absolutely tit-faced on Friday and hope for the best”.
We’ve all been there.
Unfortunately, the internet is littered with conflicting information, scientific studies drowned out in complexity and unsupported advice from those who want nothing more than to sell you a ‘4 Week Hardcore Muscle Gainer X’ program, all in the name of packing on some muscle.
Because of this…
We contacted some of the biggest names in the health and fitness industry:
From celebrity fitness coaches, qualified personal trainers, registered nutrition specialists to sponsored athletes in order to put to rest the nonsensical bro-science that blights a seemingly ‘simple’ process.
Straightforwardly, click on your favourite fitness personality’s name to jump to their top 3 muscle-building tips.
Without further ado, enjoy these super actionable muscle growing pointers shared by some of the biggest health and fitness experts in the world!
How To Build Muscle Fast: The Pro Secrets
Aside from working out frequently, eating big and recovering well (which are all important aspects of building muscle effectively), from a training point of view – here are a few things you can do to build muscle mass faster:
#1 Focus on contraction – Avoid going through the motions of an exercise without thinking about how you can engage the muscle further. Always aim to squeeze the muscle in it’s shortening phase as this will tear the muscle fibres needed to make the muscle work and grow bigger.
#2 Lower the weights with control – If you’re doing the first tip, it’s important to not neglect this tip either. Lowering the weight with control (for 2 seconds at least) will make the exercise more difficult to perform which will promote even more muscle fibres to tear in its lengthening phase. This will also cause the body to respond.
#3 Lift with full range of motion – This is the most common mistake I see. Lifting with full range of motion is also a form of good technique. It doesn’t matter how much you lift, but how much you lift with excellent form. This is what will give you the progress you need.
I made a more detailed video of these tips on how to build muscle fast which you can check out here:
3 Tips To Gain More Muscle - YouTube
Lifting with full range of motion is also a form of good technique. It doesn't matter how much you lift, but how much you lift with excellent form. This is what will give you the progress you need. Click To Tweet
#1 Focus on carbohydrates – Place most of your carbohydrate intake around your workouts (both pre- and post). This is when your body is going to be able to use them most efficiently.
#2 Don’t be frightened of food – For most people you’ll get a little “softer” in the quest for muscle. The goal is to not get fat, but you’ll struggle to grow if your not consistent with food intake.
#3 Train each body part twice a week – The science shows time again, that training frequency really is king when it comes to adding muscle tissue.
The science shows time again, that training frequency really is king when it comes to adding muscle tissue. Click To Tweet
About Mark Coles: Mark is an Educator, Physique Coach, Mentor and Brand Ambassador for Scitec Nutrition. He is also the Owner and Founder of M10 Fitness, a personal training service based in Nottingham, UK. You can learn more about Mark by following him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
#1 Time under tension (TUT) – Performing exercises with ‘time under tension’ is something I see being massively under-utilised. I cannot stress how important it is to train with real intensity and focus. Forcing your muscles to hold either the concentric (shortening of the muscle) or eccentric (lengthening of the muscle) phase of the exercise for a few seconds will either make or break your muscle building efforts.
#2 Eat lots of good food – It’s important to eat good foods to build lean muscle tissue. There’s nothing wrong with having a cheat meal here or there, just make sure you don’t stray off too far. If you’re getting in enough protein, carbs and fats on a daily basis and working your arse off in the gym, you will naturally build muscle.
#3 Focus on good technique – This is another important component of building muscle. Without good technique, you will never engage the working muscle effectively and force it to grow. This will make training with time under tension and eating good food pretty pointless.
Without good technique, you will never engage the working muscle effectively and force it to grow. This will make training with time under tension and eating good food pretty pointless. Click To Tweet
About Kirk Miller: Kirk is an International Fitness Model, Personal Trainer and Sponsored Athlete for Myprotein. We’ve interviewed Kirk on a separate occasion which can be read here. To learn more, be sure to visit his website and follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
#1 Intensity – Too few train with intensity over time (and its easily done). The gym gets a little lack lustre, people get comfortable or tired, our goals get a little lost, but your gym training has to be hard and intense. That doesn’t mean be in the gym all the time, that means perform 3-5 intense training sessions a week.
After all, if you don’t train with intensity, you can’t adapt. Ensure you are telling the body to grow – challenging it in lots of different ways.
#2 Maintain function – Mass is nothing without function. Sure, hit hard body building style workouts and get the volume in, but don’t neglect body weight training, mobility, some gymnastics and a bit of sport – don’t be that guy or girl that can’t use what they’ve created.
#3 Sleep – We can’t over look this. I would rather people train less, sleep more, but trained with intensity – this is key. Rest up, that’s when you grow!
If you don’t train with intensity, you can’t adapt. Ensure you are telling the body to grow - challenging it in lots of different ways. Click To Tweet
#1 Willingness to train – My golden rule of thumb for training is simple: if it compliments my day – I’ll do it, if it complicates my day – I’ll avoid it. If you can’t focus yourself to train, you either have something else on your mind, or your body is giving you feedback in some way, shape or form. Save your energy and time for another day. Go for a walk or get something else done.
#2 You don’t need to ‘confuse’ the muscle with new exercises every week – Learning new moves takes time and can be counter productive to mass gain, especially if you haven’t mastered the basics (most haven’t).
#3 Bar speed – Embrace those workouts where the barbell feels like a feather, you’ll know the ones I’m talking about. Everything seems to click and move with sheer velocity. If the bar feels sluggish, there’s a good chance you’re under recovered or going stale.
If you can’t focus yourself to train, you either have something else on your mind, or your body is giving you feedback in some way, shape or form. Save your energy and time for another day. Click To Tweet
Nutrition has become more complicated than it should be.
No carbs after 6pm? XYZ food makes you fat? Sugar is bad for you?
The fact is,
You can safely build muscle irrespective of the claims people throw around regardless of when and what you eat (within reason).
However, for the night owls among us, or those who prefer to hit up their ‘Iron Mecca’ well into the evening, the REAL question that crops up is:
What to eat after a workout at night?
This is especially pressing if you’ve just smashed a PB or have physically crawled out of the gym to your car from a torturous leg workout.
We’re here to lay down 9 of the best foods to consume post-workout after a late night gym session to stifle the beast within, and to satisfy those hunger pains you’ve put yourself through for maximum recovery.
What the f*ck to eat bro?
Ideally, you should be eating slow digesting protein and carb-based foods to repair your muscles as you sleep. The goal is to aid protein synthesis and replenish your glycogen levels through low-glycemic load foods.
Also, adding in some fats (the right kind) is highly beneficial as it will ensure you’re kept fuller for longer and will help with maintaining a healthy metabolism and boosting hormone production.
Foods to eat post-workout may include the following:
#1 – Chicken
Chicken is a staple to any bodybuilder’s post-workout fuel and is an excellent source of protein, containing all nine essential amino acids to repair damaged tissue and build lean muscle.
Not only this, chicken is also low in saturated and trans fat – that’s if you don’t buy it from KFC and grill it yourself at home.
A 4 ounce chicken (100g in weight) contains roughly 30g of protein and is an absolute no-brainer to delve into after a heavy gym session at night.
It’s overall versatility means you can have it with any sides including rice, roasted vegetables and more which can be prepared in a matter of minutes.
#2 – Salmon
If you’ve maxed out your redemption rewards on your Nando’s loyalty card and Santiago at the front till is sick of you walking into the restaurant in your sweaty Gymshark clothes, salmon is another excellent muscle-building food to devour.
With 20g of protein found in a 100g serving, salmon is a rich and nutritious food to consume after a late workout.
High in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D levels, salmon will ensure your body is getting the nutrition it needs to build muscle effectively and help your joints and tendons recover from clattering weights all night.
If that wasn’t enough:
Salmon is a lot more calorie dense than the majority of white fish varieties (such as tilapia and cod) so will play a key role in helping you remain fuller for longer and reaching your daily caloric intake whatever that may be for you.
Perfect before hitting the sack.
Salmon goes great with some potatoes and vegetables followed by a drizzle of lemon so be sure to get this in you.
#3 – Tuna
Like it’s salmon counterpart, tuna is a muscle-building powerhouse packing up to 30g of protein per 145g serving.
The best part is:
It is low in both carbs and fat which is great for those who are looking to lose weight or lean bulk.
Tuna has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits and is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
This is crucial to keep your physique in top form and reduce your risk of arthritis, heart disease and other ailments.
In particular, tuna is also potent in the mineral selenium which has been shown to defend against oxidative stress on the body.
A bonus of tuna is that it’s relatively inexpensive and can be eaten straight out of a can.
If you’re strapped for time or don’t want anything too fancy, a tuna salad sandwich on wholegrain bread is a great choice to have at night.
#4 – Eggs
Despite getting a bad rap over the years, eggs are a must for your post-workout fuel.
Heck, if Rocky Balboa is able to back raw eggs and get ripped as shit then that’s all the evidence you need.
Even if Rocky was Balboa was to drink a raw glass of human feces mixed with a few acai berries, it would almost certainly be the next fitness fad (thank God it isn’t).
However, rather than look like a complete cock with egg yolk hanging off your face, cooked eggs is what you should be gunning for.
There’s no evidence to suggest that raw eggs are more superior to cooked eggs and vice versa, it’s just a safer bet from a health perspective.
Eggs are a good source of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) and have a high biological value which means they are readily absorbed by your body as it contains all essential amino acids.
The best part?
You almost certainly won’t be asking yourself what to eat after a workout at night as eggs are cheap, versatile and portable which makes them a great choice to cook up.
They’re also filled with key vitamins and minerals such as biotin, zinc, iron and B-complex vitamins – a haven for making some serious late night gains when you nod off.
#5 – Avocados
Still struggling as to what to eat after a workout at night?
Give avocados a go.
Avocados are an excellent healthy fat source and made up of a unique nutritional profile which include high levels of fiber and essential vitamins and minerals such as B-complex vitamins, vitamin C, E, K, magnesium and potassium.
The average-sized avocado contains roughly 240 calories, 10g of fiber and 15g of monounsaturated fat (which has been proven to lower LDL “bad” cholesterol levels).
Whilst it is not exactly high in protein, avocados do make a good food choice to keep your hunger cravings at bay in the middle of the night and will ensure you are getting enough good fat in your diet for muscular growth.
#6 – Nuts and nut butters
Whilst we’re on the subject of fat and what to eat after a workout at night, a good quality nut butter is my absolute go-to.
Peanuts, cashews, almonds – it makes no difference. Nuts are rich in healthy unsaturated fats and are a great way to add some much needed protein to your diet.
For instance, 100g of peanuts contains roughly 20-30g of protein which is perfect for a post-workout snack.
But wait – there’s more:
With nut butters especially, you can throw a dollop in your smoothie or on some oats, spread it on some wholegrain bread or simply eat it out of the tub (for fat cunts like me).
The fact is,
You get all the benefits of eating raw nuts in a more convenient way.
They’re also an excellent source of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin E, niacin, potassium, selenium and iron.
The high content of both polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats will also help with overall testosterone secretion for men during sleep.
So, if you want more late night gains – eat some nuts and nut butter!
Check out our supplement reviews section for some of the best nut butters we’ve tried and tested.
#7 – Sweet Potatoes
No diet is ever complete without some carbs.
Enter sweet potatoes.
Unlike white potatoes, sweet potatoes boast a much lower glycemic index.
This means that it will release glucose (sugar) throughout your body more slowly, giving you a more sustained level of energy without spiking your insulin levels too drastically, which is what you need before going to sleep.
For the newbies reading, insulin is the hormone produced by the pancreas to utilise glucose as energy.
Whilst having simple carbs with a high glycemic index is beneficial post-workout, if you’re looking to sleep in the next hour or so, it would be best to stick to complex carbs for the purposes of getting a good night’s kip.
There’s nothing worse than spiking your insulin before you sleep only to find yourself convulsing like a rogue crack addict.
Sweet potatoes are also a good source of the compound beta carotene (a precursor of vitamin A) which plays a key role in immunity, healthy cell growth and maintaining adequate sugar levels. All crucial factors to building muscle effectively.
Carbs after a certain hour of the day will not lead to fat gain. Period.
If you’ve worked your arse off in the gym and eat carbs right after, they will be put to good use regardless of the time of day (just keep an eye on your total calories consumed).
Don’t fear à la sweet potatoes.
#8 – Beans and legumes
When people typically think of what to eat after a workout at night, immediately they’ll think of lean cuts of meat.
What most don’t realise is that beans and legumes are a healthy and cheap vegetarian food source for building lean muscle mass.
Despite being a low biological food (that is, not containing all essential amino acids), when eaten in combination with other varieties, beans and legumes can pack a mean protein punch.
Not only this,
Beans and legumes are also high in fiber which is important for overall gut health and for keeping you full at night.
They’re also a rich source of vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants which contain little to no fat and are cholesterol-free, unlike meat.
All-in-all, beans and legumes require very minimal prep time and can be eaten with some of the other foods in this list for a nutritious bodybuilding meal.
This may include throwing some cooked lentils with grilled chicken breast or salmon with vegetables topped off with some lemon juice.
#9 – Leafy green vegetables
It goes without saying:
Including some leafy green vegetables in your diet (regardless of the time of day), is an absolute no-brainer.
They’re jam packed with vitamins, mineral and antioxidants which are key for keeping your body functioning optimally.
In particular, a handful of spinach, kale or broccoli are some of the best vegetables to eat after a workout at night.
Your body can’t build lean muscle with protein alone as it is a complex mechanism that also relies on vitamins and minerals such as calcium, folic acid, iron, vitamin A, C, E, K and many more to complete it’s basic metabolic processes.
Together, the vitamins and minerals found in leafy green vegetables are vital for muscle contractions, the production of red blood cells, controlling inflammation, reducing oxidative stress and more which all help with building muscle.
One pigment in particular which is prevalent in leafy green vegetables which can’t be found in any other group of vegetables is chlorophyll.
Chlorophyll is vital for photosynthesis allowing plants to absorb energy from sunlight. When it is ingested by the body, it has numerous benefits including detoxification of the blood, stimulating the immune system and providing energy.
Therefore, if you want to optimise your progress, including some leafy green vegetables in your nutritional program is crucial.
Bonus: #10 – Casein Protein
Although this is not strictly a food, casein protein is arguably the best protein supplement to take at night after a heavy lifting session.
Micellar casein is derived from milk and is a slow-digesting protein that contains all essential amino acids for muscular repair and growth.
Because of its slow absorption rate (due to its insolubility), it releases muscle-building amino acids at a lower level over a prolonged period of time making it an ideal choice to consume before bed.
Your body is fasting as you sleep, so micellar casein can help with preventing muscular breakdown which is why casein is often referred to as an “anti-catabolic”.
On average, 1 scoop of micellar casein protein powder can contain up to 24g of protein and is an ideal supplement for improving your recovery time and is a quality source of protein which often goes under most people’s radar.
So, if you’re looking to build lean muscle mass effectively, give micellar casein a shot.
Wrapping it up
There you have it – 9 of the best foods to eat after a workout at night (including one bonus supplement).
Building muscle is a relatively simple process: lift heavy, eat well and rest even more and you won’t fail in noticing a difference.
Often times people will begin to over-complicate things by focusing on the latest trends without sticking to the basics.
Don’t do this.
Keep it simple, stupid. Especially when it comes to fueling your body.
Joseph is the Founder and Editor in Chief of CheckMeowt.When he is not sat at the computer guzzling down the nearest thing with protein in it, he can be found pulling up the world in the gym. Occasionally, he is best described as socially unreliable and easily distracte.
21 Of The Worst Gym Personalities You’ll Ever Encounter
With the New Year in full swing, the influx of wankers entering a gym near you is vast.
The worst part?
You’re more than likely going to come across most, if not all of these gym personalities at some point if you haven’t done so already.
Think it’ll be a smooth road to getting cut and jacked this year?
Amidst all the broscience, hype and rush to get lean in 15 (seriously?) there are 21 gym rats waiting to troll your workout and make you never want to forget your headphones at home ever again.
Gym Personalities: The Worst of The Worst
#1 – The New Year’s Resolutioner
This specimen’s objective is to ‘get in better shape’.
They can often be heard muttering the words “new year, new me” over and over again like a crazed schizophrenic throughout each repetition.
As if that wasn’t enough:
You’ll often find they’ll get in your way at almost every set as they reach for the dumbbells or other piece of gym equipment you were about to use.
Coincidence or just a plain cunt?
We think the latter.
Telltale signs of a New Year’s Resolutioner:
Finishing off their sloppy set of crunches before proceeding to the mirror to check on their imaginary abs.
They do not have an ounce of muscle on their body and will never be seen again by February.
#2 – The Old Creeper In The Locker Room
This man has absolutely no intention of working out.
His idea of cardio is to do 45 minutes of sitting naked in the locker room watching everyone else undress to bolster his heart rate.
Bored? Lonely? Or just a complete sick fuck?
Most certainly all of the above.
Telltale signs of the Creepy Old Man:
Old, shrivelled and at the breaking point of jerking it off.
#3 – Scrawny Teenagers
Pointless exercises, light machine work and damn awful flexing are high on the agenda.
You’ll most likely see the worst form in history as they flutter between seated cable rows, failed pull ups, hip abductors and crunches.
Like a herd of moose, they’ll often avoid the wolf-like-territory that is the free weight area, and will more than likely only be around the “women only” section of the gym.
Telltale signs of Scrawny Teenagers:
Typically in groups of 4 or 5 when half-term is on – they can often be seen spotting one another on the first repetition of each exercise.
#4 – The Squat Inspector
Every gym has one.
When he is not taking 30 minute breaks in between sets or checking how many “likes” he’s gotten on instagram for his newly uploaded pre-gym game face – he’s on a booty call.
He’ll find any excuse to stare at you while you squat and critique your form for his own sexual enjoyment.
But that’s not all:
He’ll even go as far as to press up against you and completely fondle your upper torso to ensure you go “deep” enough on each repetition.
An absolute vile human being.
Telltale signs of the Squat Inspector:
Perched up at the end of a bench gawking like an owl with an awkward semi-erection.
#5 – Jimmy Struthers
After reading one full article in Men’s Fitness Magazine, this man has all of a sudden become a fully qualified PT.
According to himself, he’s also an “expert” on power lifting and has gone on to compete with some of the best during the golden era of Mr Olympia and Mr Universe.
He’ll spend most of his time at the gym trying to help guys get better results without any results to show for himself.
His advice is questionable and quite frankly, is utterly full of shit.
Telltale signs of a Jimmy Struthers:
In his mid-sixties and most likely working out his jaw more than his body.
#6 – The Annoying Crossfitter
When he’s not busy doing endless burpees in the free weight area, he’s usually performing the most neck-breaking exercises to simply grind your gears.
The worst part?
He’ll continually bang on about how superior Crossfit is and will try and convince you to join his fiendish cult.
Besides being one of the most obnoxious gym personalities to ever step foot in the gym, looking like a total douche whilst “working out” is simply his forte.
Telltale signs of the Crossfitter:
Reebok classics, speaking in acronyms and “kipping” pull ups. Avoid at all costs.
#7 – The Clamorous Black Guy(s)
They are commonly lifting a lot of weight and will most certainly make you know about it.
Endless shouting, grunts and clattering of weights on the floor after every set are the order of the day as they make your gym experience a living hell.
They are also largely responsible for all the broken equipment you find too.
Telltale signs of the Clamorous Black Guy(s):
When they are not shattering the earth in the free weight area, they can sometimes be seen chewing off the end of a dumbbell.
#8 – The Secretly Competitive Guy
This guy’s ego smells worse than an unwashed protein bottle shaker and would love nothing more than to out-lift and out-perform you in everything.
The truth is:
He is enviable of you in some way.
Perhaps you got a nice long stare from that hot chick he’s been trying to impress on the cross trainer?
Either way, he’s a twat.
Telltale signs of the Competitive Guy:
Attempting to get one over you only to tear his tendons in the process.
#9 – The Eastern European
He’s big and will have no hesitations in ripping your head off if you dare interrupt his set.
He’ll often endanger your life by chucking weights at the end of every exercise.
“If he dies, he dies”.
Giving a shit is most certainly not his specialty.
Telltale signs of the Eastern European:
Deadlifting 250kg for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
#10 – The Risk Taker
Despite being at risk of entering good ol’ “snap city”, this guy has utterly no regard for his body or other gym goers.
Lost, clueless and downright stupid pretty much sum him up as he attempts to make gains in the most ridiculous way possible.
Perhaps someone should have told him that being a tool has its limits.
Telltale signs of the Risk Taker:
Being wheeled out of the gym on a stretcher.
#11 – The Not So Super-Set Guy
Looking for a bench? Dumbbells? A medicine ball? Your sanity?
Your best bet,
That bitch-of-a-supersetter in front of the mirror gorging over his ghastly physique in his tighter-than-life Under Armour top is hogging it all.
If that wasn’t enough:
He’ll scatter weights in different areas of the gym in order to be a bigger cunt turning your morning workout into a cardio-filled treasure hunt.
Telltale signs of the Superset Guy:
Leaving a happy trail of towels, water bottles, sweat and his hideous concoction of intra-workout formula around every piece of equipment imaginable.
#12 – Scraggy McGee
Despite going to the gym more than usual and wolfing down some protein shakes, he’s fairly lean.
Like a fat girl with big tits, it simply doesn’t count.
He still weighs 40kg and will even go as far as to wear a tank top to the gym.
It doesn’t make him look big, and quite frankly, his lack of muscles is very depressing.
Please put it, whatever you call it, away.
Telltale signs of Scraggy McGee:
Talking to the biggest guys in the gym whilst curling 6kg dumbbells.
#13 – The Unmotivated Guy
We have no idea why he’s in the gym, nor does he.
Not only does he suffer from a severe case of “what the fuck am I doing here?”, he’ll often find some way (any way) to disrupt your workout.
He’ll try to use equipment you were planning on using, but his heart really isn’t in it.
Go home, son. Just go home.
Telltale signs of the Unmotivated Guy:
Walking around the gym like a defunct zombie with 2 failed shoulder press sets to show for his efforts.
#14 – The Profuse Sweater
There’s nothing worse than approaching a bench only for it to be completely drenched in human perspiration.
To make matters worse:
This foul make-up-of-a-man has now made every gym equipment a haven for bacterial infection and has absolutely no qualms about it.
He’s never heard of such a thing.
Telltale signs of the Profuse Sweater:
Looking as if he’s just showered with his clothes on, he’ll often ask how many more sets you have left only to soak your shoes in his sweat.
Word of advice?
Use everything you can before him.
#15 – The Hard Man
A real animal of a man.
He’s been in and out of those gym doors more times than you’ve masturbated in your lifetime.
Not only this:
With a restraining order pending against his ex-girlfriend, he’ll often be taking out his pent up anger on “smashing” his leg session.
Squat rack not available?
No problem, zero fucks will be shown when he begins to lift the metal frame supporting the gym:
Telltale signs of the Hard Man:
Most likely to be wearing an electronic tag on his ankle and boasting various prison-style tattoos.
Proceed with caution.
#16 – The Slut
Everyone’s favourite girl at the gym (yes, everyone’s favourite).
When she is not featuring in her own softcore porn movie, she’ll often wonder why the vast majority of men are staring at her in her scanty performance top and skin-tight Gymshark leggings.
Aside from every guy unloading a barrel of white gunk into her meat locker, there’s no denying she knows exactly what she’s doing and will have no second thoughts in making you look like a sexually frustrated pervert.
Telltale signs of The Slut:
Performing walking lunges around the gym mixed in with some sumo squats, glute kick backs and hip thrusts all the while seeing if she caught your attention.
#17 – The Hopeless Indian Guy
This bro hasn’t the faintest clue as to what the he’s going to be working on.
No real structure to his workout is immediate as he’ll continually rotate between cable bicep curls, calf raises and shrugs with a shoulder roll.
It gets worse:
Not only does he spend an excess of 15 minutes stretching his legs, he’ll often turn up to the gym in the most inappropriate clothes (usually jeans) and spend the majority of time flexing without doing some actual work.
Telltale signs of the Hopeless Indian Guy:
Fresh off the boat and doing anything besides legs. A complete waste of space.
#18 – The Stalker
You get to the gym early, no one’s around, every equipment is free. Perfect.
That is until the stalker shows up.
He’ll find any any excuse to be right beside you, especially when you are running on the treadmill and there are 10 other open ones around.
But you know what else?
He’ll often be dick gazing you faintly in the distance to see what you’re up to.
Calling it a day and gonna hit the showers?
He’s just clocking out too.
Telltale signs of the Stalker:
Sitting on a unilateral machine admiring your gains from afar without realising his testicles are getting smaller by the second.
A pure beta male.
#19 – The MMA Wannabe
Lifting weights, getting big and being a God among men is not what this guy is after.
As a matter of fact, neither have crossed his mind.
Taking up at least 23 square feet of space skipping in the free weights area mixed in with some horrific shadow boxing in his ‘Venom’ t-shirt is what he’ll spend most of his time doing.
The funniest thing is:
He’s never fought anyone a day in his life and will usually be seen more when a main UFC event is nearing.
He’s a knob who should be banned from ever entering a gym.
Telltale signs of the MMA Wannabe:
Watching nooby tutorials on YouTube for the next round of shitty shadow boxing combinations he’ll perform.
The only time you will see this guy even remotely lift is carrying his bag out of the gym.
He’s mentally claimed several cardio machines just so you weren’t aware of how much cardio he actually does.
He also looks like a complete fag on the rowing machine too.
Telltale signs of the Cardio Freak
The only person in the cardio section who sticks out like a sore thumb.
#21 – The Cheated On Guy
He’s been MIA for a month only to be back for the second time this week pouring his eyes out on the leg press machine.
He was cheated on for not lifting enough and being too much of a pussy to do anything about his girlfriend being sexually aroused by the steroid abuser at the bar buying her a drink.
In any case, it’s highly awkward and he’ll usually be scrolling through his notification-lacking phone.
Telltale signs of the Cheated On Guy:
Will be heard saying things like, “Fuck her bro, I’m gonna be a bodybuilder now”.
#22 – The Shameless Selfie Guy
Not only will this guy have every dumbbell hoarded around him (which he claims to be using), but he’ll also take inappropriate “selfies” between his non-existent sets.
Rather than using the gym mirror to check on his form, he’ll be taking snaps of his deflated tricep and using the hashtag ‘#gains4dayz’ in the name of Instagram likes (the exact reason why the unfollow button was created).
But wait – there’s more:
As we’ve come to expect, people like him have uncanny psychological problems which really didn’t need any research.
Besides, even Jimmy Struthers could tell you that he’s a grade-A bellend.
Avoid wherever possible.
Telltale signs of the Shameless Selfie Guy:
When he’s not taking pictures of his deflated tricep, he’ll often be found with his trousers indecently around his ankles about to defecate on the gym floor for his 10, now 9 Instagram followers.
So there you have it.
22 of the worst gym personalities you’ll ever come across whilst you try to make your gains.
Some outrageous, some stupid and most just plain retarded.
Have you come across any of these gym personalities? Have we missed one off the list?
Joseph is the Founder and Editor in Chief of CheckMeowt.When he is not sat at the computer guzzling down the nearest thing with protein in it, he can be found pulling up the world in the gym. Occasionally, he is best described as socially unreliable and easily distracte.