Muscle Gaining Secrets, by Jason Ferruggia, is not designed for the professional bodybuilder eager to achieve the very pinnacle of success. Rather, it is targeted toward the average “skinny guy” who wants to pack on lean slabs of muscle.
Once you purchase this book you get a lifetime subscription to Jason’s Members Only area on his website – private forums, access to Jason and his “world renowned” colleagues, and so on.
As with any quality muscle-building manual, Jason starts out by explaining the basics – which exercises to select and why, what the correct training volume (number of sets) is (which is only two!), the number of reps to use for each exercise and why, rep speed (he disabuses you of the notion that exercises should be done in slow motion), training session length, and number of training sessions per week.
He devotes an entire chapter to training intensity and training to failure, and he gives the best explanation of what training to failure should really mean, then devotes chapters to the various muscle groups and describes the best exercises for each. You’ll gain a thorough knowledge of just enough exercises so you can add a variety to your workout, without learning so many that you’ll never use.
Finally, he provides a beginners workout, one for intermediates, and one for advanced lifters. (Amusingly, he does call these workout plans, although he states in the beginning of the book that he himself does not “work out.” He trains!)
One thing Ferruggia emphasizes, which I have seen in no other book, is the type of footwear to use to ensure the best grip on the floor and prevent accidents. He suggests you train barefoot, for a variety of reasons. Another aspect he emphasizes is stretching out the muscles really well as y our finale to each exercise. He also puts in a few pages explaining how women can modify his training programs to suit their own needs.
Jason has a very extensive chapter on cardio. Typically, most bodybuilders pack on as much weight as possible – then, after ten weeks or so, they start taking off the fat by using cardio to melt the weight off. Jason prefers that you add the muscle and obtain the definition at the same time, using proper cardio techniques, which he describes here in detail. (This chapter alone makes him a renegade in the bodybuilding field!).
Jason devotes two chapters to nutrition and diet. As with most body-building regimes, he follows the same line, the only line – in order to build muscle you’ve got to eat, every two-to-three hours, and feed those muscles. He gives you a seven day meal plan as well, as well as diagrams for a low-carb days and high-carb days. He busts the myth that you need a high protein diet to gain muscle, as well as the myth that the vegetarian diet is an antithesis to building muscle.
He also doesn’t bother providing formulas so you can figure out how much calories you have to eat each day, and so on. (Just multiply your bodyweight by 19. The resulting number tells you how many calories to consume each day. If you’re not gaining weight, the solution is simple. Just add on another 250 calories to your diet.) If you’re gaining fat instead of muscle, reduce calories by 250.
Jason dismisses most supplements out of hand as scams (as indeed most of them are), and points out that many body building magazines are owned by companies that produce supplements, so you know you aren’t getting the full story on supplements in their pages. He goes into great detail so you understand exactly why he dismisses them. There are certain supplements that do accomplish what they advertise, and Jason discusses these as well.
There are a few bonuses with this program…not as many as you get with others, though. Every bodybuilding program worth its salt with have an online database where you can check out each exercise you want to do and learn how to perform it, and tips on how to get the most out of each rep.
There’s also software called Composition Tracker 5000 which allows you to track your body-fat and lean muscle levels.
Since so few people have time to cook these days, with their busy schedules, you’ll really love the Quick Meals for Fast Muscle Recipe Guide. It features dozens of meals and shakes that can be prepared in 10 minutes or less.
I don’t really see the need for “non-conventional” training, but if you want to see what guys are getting up to in an effort to expand their training repertoires, you can upgrade to the “secret deluxe edition” and thus receive Advanced Kettlebell Training: Non Conventional Training for Strength & Power, which contains “never before seen exercises” that will completely blow your mind and add slabs of powerful, ripped muscle to your body.”
And then there’s Freak Strength, which is “not for the weak of heart but will make a man of you in no time. It will also help you build rugged, manly size and strength that women love, while using a ton of exercises you have never seen or used before.”
Jason Ferruggia knows whereof he speaks and, in addition to this ebook, you can see his writing in a variety of magazines. One of the nicest things about this book is how well it’s written – many great programs are marred by substandard writing, with “rah rah” cheering substituting for facts and information.
I have no real complaints except for ease of use – would be nice if the chapter headings would be hot-linked to the chapter, but that’s a flaw most ebooks have. No biggie.
Jason is the chief training advisor for Men’s Fitness, and according to his website he’s spent the llast 15 years training over 700 athletes from over 90 different NCAA, NFL, NHL and MLB organizations, and has worked extensively with firefighters, police officers and military personnel as well as countless weekend warriors, Hollywood stars and entertainers.
Whenever you are ready to shell out lots of money for a body-building book to which you are going to trust your muscles and your health, its best to know that the author of the book knows what he’s talking about, and Jason does.