17 Pounds in 14 Workouts

30-10-30: Metabolic Challenges for Building Muscle

We Built an Athlete Over Christmas Break

"If we can pull it off, we'll have a huge story," I heard over the phone. Tim Patterson of Biotest was calling me about a special project he had in mind to promote my 30-10-30 workout plan.

My 18-year old son Tyler was coming home for Christmas break. Tim noticed we had just enough time to put him through the entire four-week 30-10-30 program before heading back to college at Florida State University.

"If we can get Tyler to agree to do it, I bet we can build elite-level fitness while adding 15 pounds of muscle to his body," was the next thing out of Tim's mouth.

I thought, "That's a big challenge, especially during the holidays," but it's the kind I like. So we quickly grabbed a calendar and carved out the days. Tim was right; we could squeeze in 14 workouts, plus a finishing week, and some time at the start and end for tests and measurements.

We pulled it off. Tyler performed all the workouts as planned, and he got in top-level condition cutting his workout times in half — but he didn't gain 15 pounds of muscle...

He gained 17 pounds of muscle in 14 workouts while unintentionally losing 2.4 pounds of fat.

Here's the rest of Tyler's story.

At 6-feet 2-inches tall, Tyler entered my garage gym for his first workout weighing 197 pounds at 9.8 percent fat.

Thirty-five days later, after 14 workouts, Tyler finished the program weighing 211.5 pounds. The scale showed a net gain of 14.5 pounds, but body composition analysis revealed he also lost 2.4 pounds of fat.

Again, that's 17 pounds of muscle mass from 14 workouts.

It's important to back up and look closely at the fifth week — the finisher week — at how those gains accumulated on his body. Notice the weight fluctuations Monday through Thursday, and the 6.5-pound gain over Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Gains Over the Last 8 Days

Day Activity Weight Progress
Sun 30-10-30 Workout 204.5
Mon Rest, Posing 206.5 +2 lbs
Tue 10-30 Workout 205.5 -1 lb
Wed Rest, Posing 208.5 +3 lbs
Thu 10 Workout 205 -3.5 lbs
Fri Rest, Posing
Sat Rest, Posing 209.5 +4.5 lbs
Sun Gains Day 211.5 +2 lbs

Obviously, the rest days are gains days, and the reason we used the fifth week as a gains week. We wanted an entire week devoted to realizing those hard-earned pounds of muscle. We backed off the intensity and included finisher methods to facilitate recovery.

Even though Tyler's finisher week was planned, watching the muscle weight accumulate was not only interesting, it made me realize the mistakes of my past and what it cost me... I've left some of my best results on the table by not allowing for a few extras days of growth.

Everything in weeks one through four of the 30-10-30 plan set Tyler up for a winning fifth week. And it can work for you too.

The exercises that made up his 14 workouts are listed in the 30-10-30 plan. Each workout required Tyler to move quickly between exercises — usually in 20 seconds or less.

We pushed the workout pace hard enough for true metabolic conditioning, while building muscle. The average time per workout was 12:32 minutes.

Although no performance tests were administered, I've trained enough athletes who were tested to know that Tyler's muscular and cardiorespiratory systems are in top condition.

Tyler packed an average of 1 inch on each arm, almost 5 inches on his chest, 2 inches on each thigh, and 0.75 inch on each calf. That's a huge transformation that fellow students noticed immediately after seeing Tyler return from Christmas break.

Measurements Before After Increase
Upper Arms 14" 15" +1"
Chest 41" 45.75" +4.75"
Thighs 24" 26" +2"
Calves 16" 16.75" +0.75"

As a proud father, I say... Good job, Tyler!

The major contributing factor in Tyler's success is the exercise methods and techniques of 30-10-30. In this plan, getting well-conditioned and getting big are equal goals, as one drives the other.

The 30-10-30 plan is going to open the doors of your mind and body. You're going to learn new information that will produce a development level that you couldn't otherwise attain.

You're going to have training days, gains days, and even a gains week.

You're going to use posing to teach muscle how to contract efficiently, harden the body, and pump nutrients into muscle.

You're going to experience Metabolic Challenge training and understand the power of its 12.5-minute pace.

Your hard work will pay off.

Dr Darden was director of research of Nautilus Sports/Medical Industries for 20 years. He is the author of a number of best-selling books, including The Nautilus Book, The Nautilus Diet, A Flat Stomach ASAP, and The New High Intensity Training. Dr. Darden was also recognized by the President's Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition as one of the top ten health leaders in the United States.

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