Ask The Trainer #37 – The Right Program


Hi Chad,

I saw your video, it’s extremely motivational. I’m a 29 year old guy with basically no shape. I am not overweight – 5″8 – 158 lbs. There were times when I was 189 lbs and I was in gym for 2-3 months and i was back to 160 however, I never really gained muscle mass.

I feel unmotivated after a few months. I am trying to find a program which has a specific diet and workout regime. There are tons of them on the web. Can you help me choose?

thanks a lot!



Hey brother, thank you so much for the positive feedback on the video, I sincerely appreciate it!

I can understand where you’re coming from. Too many so-called ‘experts’ make the endeavor of building muscle much more confusing than it needs to be. Building muscle does require hard work. BUT… it doesn’t need to be so darn confusing!

If you want your muscles to grow progressively larger and stronger, something within your workout must progressively increase as well. That something is Intensity.

Second, is the amount of recovery time you implement between your intense workouts to compensate for the ever-increasing stress on your physiology. This is where most people get confused.

People make the mistake of thinking that as they grow stronger, they should also increase the duration of their workouts to make further progress. This rarely works because the body has a very limited supply of biochemical resources to allow for recovery and growth.


Those who practice this strategy inevitably end up overtraining. Consequently, their progress comes to a complete stop or they actually regress in their progress.

At this point, changing up exercises or routines won’t help very much. Your body will still be overtrained, and not yet regain the valuable biochemical resources required for growth to occur.

Chad ShawWhen you decide on a workout to follow, be especially careful NOT to overtrain. It’s much easier to do than you think. In fact, this is the #1 mistake I see natural bodybuilders and athletes making.

To avoid overtraining, limit the duration of your workouts to no more than 45 minutes per session. But, keep the intensity level high! I suggest beginning a weight training plan where you hit all of your muscle groups over the course of 3 nonconsecutive days during the week.

As an example, you could train Back & Chest on Monday, Legs on Wednesday, then Arms and Shoulders on Friday. That would be a reasonable split.

To build a good foundation of mass, try to use mostly free weights since they require more muscle to balance and control the weights. Machines are still good; they just provide guided resistance in only one plane or direction.

In my opinion, the best free-weight, mass building exercises are: Deadlifts, Squats, Bench Presses, Standing Shoulder Presses, Dips, Chin-ups, and Barbell Rows. These exercises should be the foundation of your training to build a good base of mass.

Machines and cables have their place in a good training routine. But, they shouldn’t be used exclusively if you want maximum results. Lat Pull-down Machines, Leg Press Machines, Calf Raise Machines, and Triceps Cable Press Downs are all good exercises to include.

Just remember to use good form, and do your exercises in a slow, controlled manner. It should take you about 3 seconds to complete the positive portion of the exercise and 4 seconds to perform the negative portion.

Most of all, DO NOT worry so much about the amount of weight you’re using! It is the overall stress on the muscle that stimulates growth, not momentum!

Diet Is Key

There are a few other things you’ll want to focus on to gain quality mass, such as your diet.

Please don’t gorge yourself. But, be prepared to eat frequently so you can push yourself hard in the gym and properly recover.

Get your protein from red meat, poultry, and fish to build muscle effectively. Eating whole eggs, cottage cheese, and Greek yogurt can add significantly to your muscle bulk and building power. Tuna fish is also a great protein source that’s quick and convenient.

Whole grain bread, cereals, and muffins work well for your carbohydrate and fiber sources. Also, potatoes, rice, and pasta are the most stable and popular sources of carbs. They burn clean, and with very intense training, they’re not as likely to store as body fat.

As for vegetables, variety here is very good. These foods are abundant with complex carbs, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and healthy phytochemicals which aid in many important metabolic processes.


I’ve also found that supplementing with Kre-Alkalyn, Karbolyn, and BCAA have really improved my ability to recover and build more muscle.

I hope this information helps answer your question! I wish you all the best in achieving your goals!

Prove ‘Em Wrong,
Chad Shaw

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