This book is essentially about bodybuilding, which is a particular form of weight training. Bodybuilders concentrate on building big muscles to look good and often for competition purposes. Serious bodybuilders don't leave much to chance. They concentrate on reaching very low body fat levels -- under 6% for men and under 10% for women, some even lower. All major muscle groups and many smaller individual muscles get the bodybuilding treatment.
Nick Nilsson, an experienced bodybuilder, has developed a training program that includes nutritional and training approaches. The book aims to help you build muscle quickly.
The Muscle Explosion Program
The first section of the book explains what the Muscle Explosion Program is and why it works. Nilsson calls it "metabolic acceleration" and "tissue remodeling." The nutritional basis is a carbohydrate-restricted diet for a few days followed by a rapid replacement of carbohydrates, much like endurance runners and marathoners used to do. The premise is that the body learns to overcompensate with glycogen and the insulin rush you get with this replacement creates an anabolic (muscle building) environment. Add the appropriate exercises and you can maximize your muscle gains.
I've not been a big fan of low-carb cycling in the past, and even endurance runners have just about given up on the idea of wholesale reduction of carbs in the depletion phase. Too many of them felt it made them feel poorly. Even so, two days of low-carb eating is not the end of the world. More than this may affect glycogen utilization as I have explained.
You can see the workout charts here:
Muscle Explosion Training Techniques
The six training techniques in the program are:
- Metabolic Acceleration - fat loss circuit/interval training
- Tissue Remodeling - high-rep partial training for connective tissue; lactic acid training
- Interval Training - high-intensity training
- 5-Day Structural Attack - one exercise for five workout days in a row, avoid training to failure
- Stretch-Pause Training - full-range exercise -> rest 20seconds -> stretch exercise -> rest 20 seconds -> partial/top-range exercise.
- The Core Combo - abs and lower back
Nilsson explains each technique in detail. He writes well and the book is nicely edited.
Nilsson's overall approach to building muscle by losing some initial fat, overeating to build muscle, and then cutting to get down to low body fat levels is sound, as is his approach to post-exercise nutrition. He uses what he calls the "slingshot effect," which requires low-carb and low-calorie eating for the first five days and then a rapid increase in carbohydrates and calories to stimulate muscle growth.
I am not a big fan of unusual eating schemes like this, which also includes one day of protein only, and one day of fruit only. Nevertheless, I've never tried it and I can't see anything too unhealthy in such a short-term approach.
I only recommend a small range of proven supplements, which you can see in my review.
Some useful references and the full day by day nutrition and training program is included in the appendices.
Overall, this book presents us with a radical but interesting approach to bodybuilding and muscle building. The program certainly advocates a lot of work, and the nutrition side of things looks workable. You should build good muscle on this program.