From Geek to Freak: How I Gained 34 lbs. of Muscle in 4 Weeks


After holding off for nearly two years, I’m posting this because too many people have asked for it. The lasses should read it, too, as the same principles can be applied to bodyfat loss.

I weighed 152 lbs. for four years of high school, and after training in tango in Buenos Aires in 2005, that had withered to 146 lbs. Upon returning to the US, I performed an exhaustive analysis of muscular hypertrophy (growth) research and exercise protocols, ignoring what was popular to examine the hard science. The end result? I gained 34 lbs. of muscle, while losing 3 lbs. of fat, in 28 days.

Before and after measurements, including underwater hydrostatic weighings, were taken by Dr. Peggy Plato at the Human Performance Laboratory at the San Jose State University, and I had blood tests taken on September 30 and October 20. Though this ridiculous experiment might seem unhealthy, I also dropped my total cholesterol count from 222 to 147 without the use of statins. No joke.

Here are a few comparative shots. Oh, and I forgot to mention, all of this was done with two 30-minute workouts per week, for a total of 4 HOURS of gym time:




How did I do it?

First, some select stats on the 4-week change (9/21-10/23):

Bodyfat %- 16.72 to 12.23

Suit Size- 40 short to 44 regular (measured at Brooks Brothers at Santana Row in San Jose by a professional tailor)

Neck- 15.8″ to 18″

Chest- 37.5″ to 43″

Shoulders- 43″ to 52″

Thigh- 21.5″ to 25.5″

Calf- 13.5″ to 14.9″

Upper Arm- 12″ to 14.6

Forearm- 10.8″ to 12″

Waist- 29.5″ to 33.1″

Hips (Ass at widest)- 34″ to 38.23″

Here are the six basic principles that made it happen:

1. Follow Arthur Jones’ general recommendations for one-set-to-failure from the little-known Colorado Experiment, but with lower frequency (maximum of twice per week) and with at least 3 minutes between exercises.

2. Perform every repetition with a 5/5 cadence (5 seconds up, 5 seconds down) to eliminate momentum and ensure constant load.

3. Focus on no more than 4-7 multi-joint exercises (leg press, trap bar deadlift, overhead press, Yates bent row, dips, incline machine benchpress, etc.) and exercise your entire body each workout to elicit a maximal hormonal (testosterone, growth hormone + IGF-1) response.

4. Eat enormous quantities of protein (much like my current fat-loss diet) with low-glycemic index carbohydrates like quinoa, but drop calories by 50% one day per week to prevent protein uptake downregulation.

5. Exercise less frequently as you increase strength and size, as your recovery abilities can only increase 20-30%, while you can often increase fat-free muscle tissue up to 100% before reaching a genetic set-point.

6. Record every workout in detail, including date, time of day, order of exercises, reps, and weight. Remember that this is an experiment, and you need to control the variables to accurately assess progress and make adjustments.

For the ladies not interested in becoming the Hulk, if you follow a “slow-carb” diet and reduce rest periods to 30 seconds between exercises, this exact workout protocol can help you lose 10-20 pounds of fat in the same 28-day time span.

Once again, questioning assumptions leads to the conclusion: less is more. Detox from TV twice a week and put in your 4 hours a month!


If you enjoyed this post, check out my latest book, The 4-Hour Body, #1 New York Times and #1 Amazon bestseller. You will learn: How to lose 20 pounds in 30 days (without exercise), how to triple your testosterone, techniques for producing 15-minute female orgasms, and more.

You can also pick up the Expanded and Updated 4-Hour Workweek, which includes more than 50 new case studies of luxury lifestyle design, business building, reducing hours 80%+, and world travel.

Related and Recommended Posts:

Tim Ferriss interviewed by Derek Sivers

Tim Ferriss articles on Huffington Post

Tim Ferriss interview – common questions on lifestyle design and productivity

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

Leave a Reply

Comment Rules: Remember what Fonzie was like? Cool. That’s how we’re gonna be — cool. Critical is fine, but if you’re rude, we’ll delete your stuff. Please do not put your URL in the comment text and please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name, as the latter comes off like spam. Have fun and thanks for adding to the conversation! (Thanks to Brian Oberkirch for the inspiration.)

1,394 Replies to “From Geek to Freak: How I Gained 34 lbs. of Muscle in 4 Weeks”

  1. I’m more of a volume trainer. I love Arnolds book. Right now I’m following a split routine.

    Day 1 – Chest & Back

    Day 2 – Legs

    Day 3 – Off/Cardio

    Day 4 – Shoulders/Arms

    Day 5 – Off

    Day 6 – Repeat

    Chest & Back I superset like Arnold does.

    Flat Bench / Wide Pull-ups

    Incline BB Bench / Single Arm Rows

    Weighted Dips / Weighted Chin-ups

    Pull-overs Burnout Failure

  2. If you guys want more info on his transformation, check this his article out on the transformation of the month. He goes into greater detail. One thing he mentioned that stuck out to me, is that he didn’t count calories. He gave a list of foods and said to eat as much as you want of them. He also only ate four times a day.

  3. “4. Eat enormous quantities of protein ”

    I have previously tried that, and it does work to a degree. However, I’m surprised you don’t qualify your statement. For some people, “enormous” amounts of protein can cause diarrhea, if they don’t spread intake over the day. And excess protein can cause acne as well.

  4. To Calle has the same question I had:

    “#4 on this page states that you “drop calories by 50% one day per weekâ€?.

    But rule #4 in the post you link to (your current fat-loss diet) stats that you have a “Dieters Gone Wild�-day.

    That means you have 5 regular days, one ultra-slim day and one eat-all-you-can day per week right? Or am I misunderstanding you?”

    Here is Tim’s response:

    “I only cut calories 50% one day a week if I’m principally trying to gain weight. If the primary goal is fat-loss, I will use the one “free” day — I use Saturday — instead. It’s one or the other, but not both”

  5. So hey, this might sound a bit gay… but I’m totally straight.

    Why did you decide to shave you chest? And how do you do it? I’m curious.

  6. Sorry but it is impossible to gain this sort of weight within 4 weeks. Tim, I like your book a lot and think you’re a smart guy but articles such as this make you look slightly stupid UNLESS you know full well that it’s impossible but are relying on creating some chit-chat and traffic to your site. “Never let the facts get in the way of a good story’ etc.

    If that’s the case then you’ve succeeded!

    The workout and diet though is generally a good one but I say that if someobody were to do exactly as indicated they’d still struggle to put on 30 lbs in a year. 20lbs is more likley but even that’s a pretty good result for most people.

    As for Ahmed’s post above. 20 lbs won’t mean you’ll get the girls my friend.

  7. Hello again,

    I posted above saying how I was doing this program. I stopped doing it 2 workouts before the end. I weighed 190lbs at the end.. If anyone wants to see pics let me know, I dont think theres enough of a noticeable difference. I just started arnolds training program from his book..all I gotta say is that it feels good to be sore 🙂

  8. Pchor, which routine of Arnolds? I love his routines, but they just take so freaking long. So many sets and exercises per muscle group.

  9. I am starting the Basic Training Guide Level I in his book: The modern encyclopedia of bodybuilding. I have to agree with the length, monday wasnt too bad at about 1h10min. But today, tuesday, it took me just about 2hrs to get through the whole thing! I am loving it though, cant wait for the massive gains 🙂

    This book is a definite must buy if you are a person who wants to get a lot of wonderful tips from the very beginning all the way to competition level training.

  10. Your doing this routine…

    Monday/Thursday – Chest/Back

    Tuesday/Friday – Shoulders/Arms

    Wednesday/Saturday – Legs

    Sunday – Off

    How many sets/reps do you do per exercise?

  11. Yes, thats the workout plan Im doing. I am following his recommendations in the basic training principles:

    For the amount of sets, he recommends 4 sets with the first being a warmup of 15 reps, then the next a 12 rep, the 3rd a 8-10 rep and the last set is a power set of 6 reps. There are some exercises in the program where he specifically tells you how many sets/reps to do for that exercise, so I follow that as well. This is usually for the power exercises where you do 3 sets of 6/4/2 reps sometimes a bit more. Also for abs in this program, they are done everyday and its 5 sets of 25reps.

  12. High Intensity Training rules! Here’s how to do your cardio properly (this is my running routine, so I’ll be using words like jog, run and sprint, but you can substitute them for cycling or swimming equivalents, though swimming needs some afterthought):

    1. 5-10 minutes warm-up. Sweat is a good sign.

    2. 2-3 minutes dynamic stretching. Dynamic stretching is when you apply pressure to tendons, muscles and joints for just a moment, but repeatedly. For running, stretch (at least) calves, hamstrings and quads.

    3. Do the following 15 times in succession: Sprint for 30 seconds at the maximum speed you can maintain for 30 seconds, then rest for 30 seconds (walk or jog if you can).

    4. 5-10 minutes warm-down. For me, warm up is jogging to the park, so warm-down is jogging back home.

    5. Static stretching. This is the regular kind of stretching where you apply pressure until pain or near pain for 20-30 seconds per posture.

    Now, do this just twice a week, with at least 48 hours in-between, and you’ll be happy ever after. These 15 minutes of active training (as you would do the warm-up, warm-down and stretching parts for any other cardio exercise as well) are superior to at least 45 minutes of regular cardio activity. In addition to getting in better shape, you also burn more fat (in grams) and increase muscle mass. There’s actually a lot of research promoting this since the 80’s, but I’ll just point you to and you can look further from there.

    I train martial arts and I used to run for 45-55 minutes 2-3 times a week, but switching to the HIIT scheme above twice a week, has completely transformed my sparring performance (to the better! And I also beat my old track records!). Try this at home!

  13. If i do this a the age of 15, will it cause damage to my ligaments? As you only exercise twice a week for 30 minute sessions they will have time to repair, but ligaments are different in adults than adolesants. Is it safe for me to try this program? And this is very, very impressive by the way.

  14. Hello Tim,

    I like your book, and would encourage people to consider your precepts. There are some serious obstacles, however, to having a 4-hour work week. They are:

    1. it seems to me that the 4-hour work week is primariy for small business proprietors who alread have a successful small business (such as yours) up and running. Starting up a new small business requires lots of time, as you know. And, as you also know, it takes a significant amount of time and hard work before a small business can achieve the status of a “going concern,” i.e., a healthy business.

    2. 80% to 85% of all new businesses fail within the first five years of doing business–a risky proposition at best.

    Don’t take my comments as naysaying. You have good ideas, but there are some very high hurdles one must clear before structuring his/her business and lifestyle into a 4-hour work week. Your readers deserve to know about these hurdles, and possibly you should give some ideas for clearing them. But that is a subject for another book.

    Keep up the good work, Tim!!!


    Jim Sullivan

  15. A couple of years ago I put on quite a bit muscle doing a very similar program. But it was much simpler. I worked out once a week. I did one set of a pulling movement (weighted pull ups) , a pushing movement (weighted dips) and a leg movement (dead lifts). The one set for each was done just one rep shy of failure. Total work out time was 20 minutes or less a week. The rest of week allowed me to recover. It’s a great protocol for those of us with limited time to work out.

  16. I feel like a freak for liking the before photographs better…but I’m glad you’re eating well. No fruit though? O.o

  17. Mike Mentzer is another proponent of High Intensity Training. I used this system for a number of months and I have to say that for the most part, Tim may have actually been overtraining a little bit too by allowing himself 30 minutes in the gym.

    At it’s truest form, a lot of the super intense workouts can last as little as 13-15 minutes.

    But the results are truly amazing and Tim’s results are something anyone can achieve if they are willing to throw their entire being into the exercises.

  18. Great stuff! I started this week but have a couple of questions on your workouts.

    1) Do you do any cardio? If so, how long and how often?

    2) Do you lift the same muscle groups each time and how often?

    3) What do you mean when you say “drop calories by 50% one day per week to prevent protein uptake downregulation.” Does that mean if I normally eat 3000 calories I need to pick one day per week and only eat 1500?

    Thanks again for the help!!


  19. This workout is definately something I am going to try starting September. Letting everyone know so they can bug me if i dont do it.

    I did the body-for-life program last september for 12 weeks and went from 22% body fat to only 9.5%. I also gained 7 pounds of muscle and lost 22 lbs of fat. That took 6 workouts a week for 12 weeks. long time but worth it.

    So if this program can do triple that (muscle) in 4 weeks. It will change my life. 1 hour a week!!! thats incredible.

    Let you know when im done!

  20. Interesting concept. I’m 35 and have added a little around the midsection. May try this for my new workout. Thanks!

  21. Reminds me of The Slow Burn Fitness Revolution by Fredrick Hahn and Michael Eades, M.D. That emphasizes a “one set to failure” mode, maybe as much weight per exercise as will cause failure at 6 to 8 reps. The whole workout is 30 minutes, doing once every 5 days. Twice a week?

    A pound of muscle growth in a week is pretty good; that’s an increase of 48 lbs. in a year, which is maybe what a football player could do, going from high school to college.

    34 lbs in 24 days seems rather, ummm, illusory.

  22. Hey Tim,

    I´m kind of new at hypertrophy, I´ve been working out for 3 months now. I´ve seen some muscle growth, but, I was wondering if you could give me tips on exercises or how many times I should be working out during the week. I appreciate the help.


  23. Hey, in the article on, it says Tim used a lot of supplements. This isn’t said above and could make quite a difference.

  24. any chance you might give us a little more detail on the workout routine/principle? I went to the colorado experiment link but they give a bunch of stats on the results, not what working out to the point of failure means or what routine they used, etc…

  25. So the only thing I havn’t caught onto yet is if this a single set per workout or the classic 3. This seems like a very interesting workout, one I will surely try.

  26. The workout is “1” set per exercise til complete failure. You pick the rep range you want to lift in. Be it 6-8 reps or 10-12. Once you can reach 8 reps, or 12 reps in good form, next workout up the weight by 5 lbs. You grow when you rest, not when your in the gym.

    I personally like 2 sets over 1. I’m not saying 1 doesn’t work, I just feel better doing 2 sets per exercise with around 2 minutes of rest between sets. For instance.

    This workout can be done 2-3 times a week. I like 5 sessions every 2 weeks. Week 1 M-W-F, Week 2 M-Th. The rest of the days are for resting/eating and cardio if you want.

    1-3 sets per exercise. You pick.

    1) Full squats, 15 to 20 reps

    2) Pullovers, 10 reps

    3) Standing Press, 10 reps

    4) Chins, 10 reps

    5) Weighted Dips, 12 reps

    6) Barbell Curls, 10 reps

    7) Shrugs, 15 reps

    8) Stiff-Legged Deadlifts, 15 reps

    “If you could get to the point where you’re squatting 400 pounds for 20 reps, stiff-legged deadlifting 400 pounds for 15 reps, curling 200 pounds for 10 reps, pressing 200 pounds for 10 reps, doing 10 dips with 300 pounds around your waist, and chinning with 100 pounds around your waist, don’t you think you would be big – I mean awfully big? And strong?”

  27. Bjorn:

    Its an interesting workout that you put together. But I have to say that I did follow two different high intensity programs over the years and I think yours might actually lead to overtraining rather quickly if you train to total muscular failure.

    I do like the exercises you picked, but I would suggest breaking up the body and only working out 2-3s a week, so that you don’t overtrain.

    The other thing that I might suggest is that you cut down on your reps just a touch, shoot for the 6-8 rep range. Once you get too far past 8 reps, you start to tax your body a tad too much.

  28. You mention that you train elite powerlifters a dehydration technique. What is it? and also how often can you do it? Is there a lot of muscle loss?

  29. i am very interested in this workout i would just like to know whats the workout rotine? and best work out for my inner chest?

  30. Thanks for a great book! BUT this article about gaining 34 lbs. of Muscle in 4 weeks is misleading. First I was very excited but after consulting one of the best fitness instructors in Denmark I now understand that this is only possible for people with a generic error. Yes, that’s right, for most of us its impossible to gain that much muscle. 6-7 Lbs. in 3 months is the realistic. But some people (only very few) has a generic error that means you can gain extremely much muscle in a very short time. It looks like Tim Ferries is one of them.

    I hope Tim reads this and will make a note to his article so people won’t get the wrong idea that they can copy his experiment.

    J. Christian Andersen

  31. He gave you a routine. Just pick a handful of compound exercises and lift them heavy with strict form.

    For instance.

    Monday and Thursday..all other days are Rest days.

    Full Squats 1 x 15-20 Reps Slow

    Bench Press or Dips 1-2 x 6-8 Reps

    Reverse Grip Yates Rows or Chin-ups 1-2 x 6-8 Reps

    Standing Military Press 1-2 x 6-8 Reps

    Stiff Legged Deadlift 1 x 6-8 Reps

    Calves 1-2 x 15-20 Reps

    Abs 2-3 x 12-30 Reps

    If you did just these exercises, you would grow ALL over your entire body. Isolation exercises aren’t going to make you bigger. Get your foundation/strength down, then you can add in isolation exercises once you have all the mass you want.

  32. Hi Tim,

    Great article! Its also fantastic you take your time to answer questions on this blog. Just an idea for you to consider: Is there a way to sort the comments so that viewers can easily see the postings you make yourself?

    Currently then a user has to search through all of the postings and it is difficult to find the ones posted by yourself.

    Since you are already answering all of the good questions then being able to easily read your postings and yours alone would be a big time saver.


    Jeremiah Thompson


    Hi Jeremiah!

    Thanks for the kind words. I don’t catch all of the good questions, but I try to answer when I can. The easiest way to find my comments is to hit Ctrl + F and search for “###” which I use before all of my replies.

    Thanks for reading!


  33. This is very much like the routines we have been using in our

    studios across the country for over ten years, and it is a really

    effective way to workout.


  34. Hi Tim. Great article. I was motivated by your blog to try it out for myself. Although I didn’t do any specific before and after tests, I am definitely getting results after being stuck in a rut for so long. Thanks.

  35. I just finished a variation of this workout program.

    After 2 workouts a week for 28 days, I gained approximately 20 pounds. However I was not taking any supplements (except protein powder) and was only eating about 3,000-4,000 calories a day.

    I also would work out for an hour instead of 30 minutes, because 30 minutes did not feel adequate enough to train the whole body.

  36. The article “sounds good”, the reality is different. No one will bulk up from an hour a week of working out. Unless they are taking sport enhancement supplements. Even then it will be a hard task. 30minutes just isn’t enough time to make gains IMO. I would hate someone who wants muscle to believe that an hour a week is all you need. Experts say 30 minutes a day will keep you healthy. However, if you need to develop a shape then more work and time will be needed. One thing that is sad is that we buy whatever dream someone is selling. It would break my heart for you to buy into an 1hour a week. If you want to buy a fantasy buy into what I am telling you.

    Good Luck.

  37. can the anonymous poster who i would say 90% hasnt tried this work out provide biological proof that what he/she is saying is true, that this can not be acheived. i was taught this workout at the age of 16 by a 55 yr old yoga instructor and i swear by it. as far as i know you cant prove anything biologically or scientifically when it comes to workingout. and besides do you really feel an obligation to the people on this website? because it seems the person who created this website and put their time into making it good has more of a vested interest in being right, where as i think you are just trying to boost your ego by “making them wrong” don’t be a hater unless you are 100% certain. i will be awaiting your scientific data. Remember this site is what someone did and suceeded at. NOBODY IS TELLING YOU that this is the “right” way to do it, just that they did it. take it easy

  38. It’s a great idea, but I can’t help but wonder what workout you actually used. I mean, was this run-of-the-mill squats/bench press sort of material, or did you use specific exercises?

    I hate working out, but I need to do it. I’d like to do it in the least possible time. I’d definately try this for myself, so could you put up a little more guidelines?

  39. What you naysayers don’t understand is that the workouts themselves are just the tip of the iceberg. If you are able to eat 5,000 calories a day (if you weigh about 150-160 lbs at the beginning), you will gain 20-30 lbs easily.

    You can do the workouts in your sleep. What really matters is calories and diet.

  40. Pingback: Richard Kolodziej
  41. Two new studies show why some people are more attractive for members of the opposite sex than others.

    The University of Florida, Florida State University found that physically attractive people almost instantly attract the attention of the interlocutor, sobesednitsy with them, literally, it is difficult to make eye. This conclusion was reached by a series of psychological experiments, which were determined by the people who believe in sending the first seconds after the acquaintance. Here, a curious feature: single, unmarried experimental preferred to look at the guys, beauty opposite sex, and family, people most often by representatives of their sex.

    The authors believe that this feature developed a behavior as a result of the evolution: a man trying to find a decent pair to acquire offspring. If this is resolved, he wondered potential rivals. Detailed information about this magazine will be published Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

    In turn, a joint study of the Rockefeller University, Rockefeller University and Duke University, Duke University in North Carolina revealed that women are perceived differently by men smell. During experiments studied the perception of women one of the ingredients of male pheromone-androstenona smell, which is contained in urine or sweat.

    The results were startling: women are part of this repugnant odor, and the other part is very attractive, resembling the smell of vanilla, and the third group have not felt any smell. The authors argue that the reason is that the differences in the receptor responsible for the olfactory system, from different people are different.

    It has long been proven that mammals (including human) odor is one way of attracting the attention of representatives of the opposite sex. A detailed article about the journal Nature will publish.

  42. Before and after shots are notoriously deceptive.

    As far as before and after shots go these are pretty decent.

    However…a few points to take into consideration.

    Why is scale different between before and after shots? This is uneccessarily misleading.

    Tan, or skin pigment, makes a huge difference in perceived definition. Hence a pasty white caucasian would look less “cut” or “ripped” than a dark skinned african american with the same body fat percentage.

    It is possible to lose fat (note, not weight, but actual fat) much faster and to build real world strength much faster.

    Training only twice a week is great for bulkin up and arbitrary muscle gain, but not the most effective way to build actual strength.

    And no, size, or even muscle weight, and practical strength are not neccessarily the same thing.

    Criticism aside, they are good results and definitely achievable for anyone.

    Looks like Tim actually worked on his legs too which is good to see!

    Too many body builders beef up their “showboat” muscles only, IE – pecs and biceps…but then have these scrawny little chicken legs!

    It’s hilarious.

    But Tim looks balanced and in good shape. Well done!

    By the way, if it is real world strength and actual health versus mere “fitness” you are after, search for something called THE SPARTAN REGIME by ANTHONY BOVA

    or a book on diet called THE PALEO DIET by LOREN CORDAIN

    No, I do not profit in any way from anyone ourchasing these books. Just some awesome books I read that changed my life.


    Sorry for the long post! Haha!

  43. P.S. Tim will not like this but….my advice is to stay away from training supplements. Effects are minimal. Price is huge.

    Supplements are 99% marketing and 1% results. Maybe good for selling and making cash, but not worth it for buying and getting worthwhile results.

    You’ll get much, much more just from eating a good diet.

    That’s my 2cents. Done.

    I’ll wait for the abuse….

  44. Hamish,

    I do in the main agree with you on supplements. There marketing does in the most part and specifically attempt to trigger the men desire to be “bigger”, without much in the way of science behind them.

    To his credit I believe Tim doesnt push his brand of supplements (bodyquick,brainquick) and more to the point avoids direct association due to its potential to muddy the waters. Also Tim does make a long and frequent points in other blogs about consuming a Low GI, nutrient rich, vegetable rich diet. Lean proteins, low glycemic carbs, fresh vegetables….hard to disagree with basing your diet on such advise.

    I don’t pretend to be an expert so just 2 observations:

    Firstly if you are building up muscle/strength rather than stasis you will need plenty of “stuff to make muscles”: amino acids, ideally consumed in the form of proteins (which are of course digested broken down to amino-acids). Of course, egg whites, tuna and chicken breasts are excellent but if you think about it there is a reasonable case to be made that some protein supplements (powders/drinks) could be used with equal effects. Not only that but the protein supplement could be targeted/tailored to provide the specific right combinations/ratios amino acids needed by your body to build muscle mass.

    Secondarily Creatine is used in your muscles as a vital link for the (ATP) energy metabolism. In general case enough may be enough (ie from a healthy diet) yet as a supplement creatine seems to have lots of science behind it in helping even quackwatch doesnt discount it as being helpful

    So as a start Creatine and Amino-acid/Protein supplementation could and in all likely hood be beneficial in helping build muscle mass. The main point of course of supplementing is in additional to a natural, low-gi, low-fat, high nutrient diet as recommended by Tim (and countless others). Few could imagine a large scale consumption KFC, McD’s with the addition of supplements being the ideal road to build strength and muscle mass.

    I am trying Tim’s plan now, although I am hardly the “naturally muscled athlete” body type of Tim, I am 10 years older and started with less (atrophy). So far (3 training days) I have picked up 2KG in body mass, I am lifting heavier weights and feel stronger without my waist line increasing. So far so good. However I have to state I don’t think it is likely I will see the same results as Tim. Maybe naysayers will state I wont get the results of Tim because I am not taking all the supplements he did.

  45. Tim and everybody else,

    Thanks for the exercise plan. Just an update,

    I have always been a wiry little runt and have never been able to gain weight(muscle or fat). After several attempts at weight training and then running I only ever gained 5-10 lbs over 2 years. I have been following the 1 set to failure plan for 6 weeks now and have gone from 127 to 139 lbs! That is a consistent 2 lbs a week of solid muscle and probably more due to overall muscle density increasing. The heaviest I have ever been is 131, so this is mostly new growth, not muscle memory.

    Also, my strength has easily doubled with every exercise since I started. I have noticed the largest gains in my legs, leg press has gone from 160 – 320Lbs and my pants are finally filling out. And all muscle groups are filling out and much more defined. I notice a new muscle everyday!

    My excercises,


    Leg Press – Mostly Negative, superset

    Leg Curls

    Leg Extension

    Calf Raise


    Bench Press, superset

    Weighted dips – Negative only

    Military press (Shoulder press)



    Weighted Pullups – Negative only

    Bent Row

    Also, sometimes I will throw in an Ab exercise.

    I try to put much more emphasis on negative reps. This actually stresses the muscles more and improves flexibility. All exercises except dips and pullups are on machines. Leg Press are 3 up/ 10 down cadence. Pullups (10 down),dips (5 down) All other Exercises are 5/5 cadence. All sets to failure, (I mean gut wrenching, grunting, shaking, feeling ready to puke, I couldn’t get another rep with a gun to my head failure!) Remember you are trying to trigger your body’s natural hormonal survival response, so push it! With this kind of intensity, I have been only able to exercise once a week, due to being sore.

    If anybody is more interested in the Colorado Experiment, there is a detailed book and exercise plan written by Ellington Darden “The New HIT” who worked for many years with Authur Jones.

    One last note. I was drinking whey protein Powder for 4 weeks, thinking that it was the magic potion. But after puking it up one night, I quit taking it and the gains are still consistent. So as others have said, supplements may actually have very little benefit. I just make sure that I eat 4 meals (Breakfast, lunch, dinner, before bed). I eat a lot of pasta, rice, veggies, lean meats and cottage cheese.

    So HIT is working for me and I always thought I could never gain weight! My milestones are 150Lbs by Jan 15 and 160 lbs by March 1st

    Kudos and keep it INTENSE,


  46. similary story, i gained 50 lbs of muscle in about 4 months… went from 155 to 205.. i thought that was insane but 30 lbs in 1 month.. funny thing is i didnt really work out at all i just ate all day and did pushups and bicep curls occasionaly. idk im young tho only 20 i had a growth spurt coming anyways i was the same size all the way through highschool at about 5 10 to 511. just a lil bit under 6 feet now in my second year at college

  47. Hi,

    the results sound really impressive. However, irrespective of training protocol & diet, I just don’t believe those results are realistically obtainable in the given time frame.

    The workout advice ie shorter, focused workouts, limited compound exercises and sets to failure with adequate rest for recuperation – all good…BUT 34lb muscle in 4 weeks!!

    I’ve been a personal trainer for a long time and this just doesn’t sound right!!

    However, for anyone reading, the general advice is good…take it as you wish!!

  48. 1 set til failure full body workouts is exactly what Don Lemmon advocates. go to his site and get his books “The Know How”. He made Eric Carlson gain 30lbs in 6 weeks doing 15-20 minute workouts 2-3 times a week 1 set til complete failure.

  49. I am close to 400 lbs and was thinking about picking up this workout and eating plan. Any ideas on how it would work, or if I should follow it?

  50. Great Man, I m just Looking for such kind of process Fast and durable.

    Even now, I ‘m not believing that you gain 34 lb of muscles and without steriods.

    If it s true. This is great. but i gona give it a try.

  51. It’s a great idea, i want to know the details exercise plan Layout. I hope you will Submit the another Post about what plan and schedule you have choose such that you gain such muscles.

    I need to do it. I’d like to do it in the least possible time. I’d definately try this for myself,

  52. Hi Tim.

    I read your book and it has improved my business to an awesome degree.

    I was checking out your site when I noticed your training.

    good on you– you made some awesome gains.

    I train high intensity myself and just one the World Natural bodybuilding championships.

    The best gains of my life came training HIT fashion.

    I am one of the best PT trainers in the country and when I embark on a Transformation program with a client–its the all body HIT workouts I choose to work with.

    Once again your book was life changeing thank you.

    Keep up that working out and-Well Done.


  53. “Exercise less frequently as you increase strength and size, as your recovery abilities can only increase 20-30%, while you can often increase fat-free muscle tissue up to 100% before reaching a genetic set-point.”

    Great tip right there. People often under-estimate the importance of rest and they often over train too. Great gains as well, keep up the good work.

    All the best 😉

  54. Hey Tim,

    I weeded through most of the comments, but I didn’t see anyone ask if you could achieve similar gains in endurance training by somehow condensing your training and maximizing efficiency. I know the heart system operates differently than the skeletal muscles, but I’m not educated enough about the science to manufacture an experiment myself.

    Endurance training is about well, endurance, and training that requires a large time commitment depending on the race distance. Experimenting with a way to cut down training time while maintaining gains would be a major breakthrough.

    A future experiment perhaps??

    I’d help

  55. It’s great to see something on weight GAIN! So thanks for the refreshing info. I tried this out with minimal increases…check my blog if you want more info on it.

    I know exactly why I got such small increases but I’m not sure how to fix it. I’d like to get your input on how to eat enough to gain this type of weight on a busy schedule?

    It’s very difficult to get this kind of food anywhere other than a grocery store and it’s also difficult to find time to eat four big meals a day (especially since I work 6-8 hours of semi physical work and I can’t stop for a 30 min meal twice during my day). Luckily, I don’t work everyday so my off days I can eat accordingly.

    So I guess my simple question is…How can I gain significant weight if I have a busy schedule and I’m on the go?

  56. Hi Tim, thank you for an awsome book, awesome blog and your great example of braveness.

    They say that the highest form of adoration is imitation – so hopefully you will feel a sense of being honored when another copycat asks how to replicate your stuff.

    In the movie Batman Begins they say that fear is not outside of us, but inside – what we really fear is our own power, our power to do marvelous or terrible things. So in order to harness true power we should love resistance. experience the force through embracing feelings of fear instead of pushing them away, trying even to enjoy them as pleasure. This will force us into our inner battle of life and death and will give us a emotional sense of purpose, personal mythology and destiny.

    Interesting principle – the greatest people in history did this, they got their position historical mystery through doing marvelous and terrible things.. and they all offered some sort of new life experience with their words…

    well, enough philosophy – I’m planning on doing the “geek to freak”-experiment so I’ve contacted one of the top bodybulding experts/personal trainers in Stockholm (were I live in Sweden) and we have studied and compared both the Colorado-experiment (which he knew about before) and your geek/freak-experiment..

    Anders (the bodybuilder-trainer) has some questions:

    1. What exercises did you use? Machines or free weights?

    2. Did you prepare your muscles by warming up before your one-set failure, or did you do it directly?

    3. The 5/5-candence in your version of the experiment, could you explain more about that? Is there any

    “hard science” behind it?

    4. You said that the project would SEEM unhealthy, could it BE unhealthy aswell?

    5. Why the 3 minute rest between sets in your version of the experiment.

    It would be great with some enlightenment on this. We want our “Stockholm”-experiment to be as successfull

    as possible.

    Thanks man!

    (my website is under construction)


    Hi David!

    Please search my name on — there is a more complete explanation of my workout and diet there.

    Good luck and keep us all posted on progress — don’t forget to take before-after photos 🙂