A Pilot guest post: Bodybuilding.com workout plans

Hey, everyone – pilot here. I hope you’re all doing well. We’re getting ready to welcome the new little lady to the world, so life’s getting pretty busy over here. With everything going on, Gina asked if I could help out with a blog post about the workout plans I’ve been using since they’re fairly different from anything I’ve done in the past.
After quite a bit of searching, I decided to keep it simple (and inexpensive) and used the free fitness plans at bodybuilding.com.  The site offered a variety of challenging plans that appealed to me, so I dove right in. Inspiration for a more intense weight training program struck after our 21-day cleanse/detox/whatever you want to call it. Prior to that, I felt okay about my fitness level. I exercised and ate relatively alright, and had no problems exceeding the fitness standards at work, but I knew that unless I made a change now, I would just keep the status quo for the rest of my life. So, I made a conscious effort to do better that “just getting by,” and I’m the beginnings stages of that now (I’m starting into the 6th month this week). Besides, I want to make sure I have a nice, firm hand-shake my daughters’ potential, future boyfriends. God help me…

Pilot working out 
The Plans:

The first one I went after was “Jim Stoppani’s  Shortcut to Size.” I wasn’t interested in quickly getting bigger with a “shortcut,” but I liked the plan. It was 12-weeks with the first week of each month being high reps/low weight, and progressively moving towards lower reps/higher weight. The end of the month was tough, but then the first week of the new month started back at high reps/lower weights (although, I did increase these “lower” weights as I got stronger). The variety was incredibly engaging. Just when I felt like the high rep week was getting mundane, the weight increase started to up the challenge. When the heavy weights wore me out, we started back.
I’m currently on month (phase) 3 of 5 of Cory Gregory’s “Get Swole” plan. Conversely to my first one, this one builds constantly towards the end state instead of resetting each month. Holy Sh*t, it’s challenging, and unlike anything I’ve ever done. The entire plan is higher reps than I’m used to doing, but with several different exercises. My arms feel like they’re going to fall off sometimes. There are a lot of supersets and other proven techniques. Here’s an excerpt from the Phase 2 Arms workout:
Larry Scott Giant Set
 Dumbbell Preacher Curl: 5 sets of 10 reps: 5 full reps, 5 half reps            
 Straight Bar Preacher Curl: 5 sets of 10 reps: 5 full reps, 5 half reps            
 Reverse Preacher Curl: 5 sets of 10 reps: 5 full, 5 half reps            
 Biceps Curl Machine: 5 sets of 30 reps            
 Close-Grip Barbell Bench Press: 5 sets of 5 reps            
 Triceps Pushdown – Rope Attachment: 4 sets of 40 reps: 20 full, 20 partial
 Bench Dips: 5 sets to failure            
 Triceps Push-Down: 4 sets of 40 reps: 20 full, 20 partial
I find myself cussing in my head a lot during the workout.
So, what about the results? Obviously, I’m feeling stronger as I progress through the programs. I assume I’m developing more muscle, but it’s a weird thing to assess over time since I see myself every day. The biggest difference is the motivation. If I’m on a plan that has a finite amount of tasks to complete, I feel compelled to complete them (then, I simply start on the next one). It provides awesome focus for each day vs. just working out continuously without any structure until I die?
What’s been the secret to your fitness success? Has it been a program or working to a certain distance or body type? Let me know if you guys have experienced anything similar! 

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  1. angie on July 29, 2015 at 3:56 pm

    Whoop Whoop 1st comment!!

    HI PILOT!! Fellow AF NCO here 😀 While I am not on a plan from bodybuilding.com (I have in the past). Since I have to lose all this baby weight for my PT test (soon) I am doing Beachbodys Body Beast program. I love it. Although Sagi (the trainer) annoys me, he reminds me of Tony Horton but ruder. LOL. Anyway its a good program. I am only on week 2. Thankfully I can do it in the comfort of my own home. With a 17 year old, 8 year old and now a 10 month old, plus I work swings…I HAVE to be able to get my workout done at home.

    For meals I am doing a really great Carb Cycling plan. Its the only plan that has been working for me. I tried the “bro diet” but it didn’t help. Thankfully this plan has an abundance of food.

    Keep up the good work! It is noticeable in the pic above. You definitely look “swole” LOL
    What is your end goal physique wise?

  2. angie on July 29, 2015 at 4:28 pm

    Also…have you checked out that new base fitness center..I think its on North Island?? I cant wait to move home and try it. I love 24 hour fitness though.

    • The Pilot on July 30, 2015 at 11:35 am


      Great to hear from you, and good on you for still crushing the workouts with kids and work! I find myself pinched for time with just Liv running around. My physique goals aren’t too crazy. I’m pretty much an ectomorph body-type, so I know I’ll likely never be giant, but I wouldn’t mind a little more mass. If I could take a pill to magically look like Ryan Reynolds or someone like that, I wouldn’t hate it, though. Oh well, I’m happy with the rate I’m improving.

      I’ve been meaning to get out to NASNI’s gym, but I don’t want to brave their COB traffic heading. I hear it’s great, though!

  3. Christina on July 29, 2015 at 4:38 pm

    love the guest post! i agree, i find if i don’t follow a plan i am not as motivated to do my workouts.. thats why i love the winter & summer shape ups because i feel like i have to follow them and complete all the workouts!

    • Fitnessista on July 30, 2015 at 12:11 pm


  4. mary on July 29, 2015 at 4:42 pm

    Well, you look great from here, fwiw!

    Have you read the book, The New Rules of Lifting? I probably read it ten years ago (and have read many more since) but I still consider it a bible. So from their perspective, I’m wincing at the idea of 150 bicep curls!

    • The Pilot on July 30, 2015 at 11:38 am

      Hey, Mary. I haven’t read it, but Gina’s pretty smart on the science. She doesn’t love the idea of all the reps for long-term health reasons. I’m willing to give it a try for this program, since the author seems to have done a good bit of research into it. If I’m going to maintain this pace, I should probably do a little research myself!

      • Fitnessista on July 30, 2015 at 12:00 pm

        every time he tells me about a workout, i’m like, “watch out for your tendons”

  5. Beth A. on July 29, 2015 at 5:08 pm

    i would like to join the FB challenge group! I’m 15 weeks preg with #3 and bought Piyo a month ago. Unfortunately, I got in a car accident right as I was ready to start it:( I’m feeling better and better though and think I’ll be ready to start in the next week.

    • Fitnessista on July 30, 2015 at 12:11 pm

      just sent you an invite!

  6. masala girl on July 29, 2015 at 7:39 pm

    i love bodybuilding.com actually! their site is super helpful and informative.
    1 question though- how long do the workouts generally take? and are they (for ex, the arm workout above) completed circuit style or 5 reps of each exercise before moving on?

    and i love loosely following the plans here 😀 its motivating to have a structured plan, but still sub in different workouts occasionally!

    • The Pilot on July 30, 2015 at 11:41 am

      Hey, I found that the workouts take about an hour on average. The 3rd Phase is about 10 to 15 minutes longer, depending on the day. After I read your questions, I started to wonder if they were designed for circuit rather than sequential. I scanned over the info on the program, and I didn’t see anything conclusive. I just crush each workout complete, but going to the next which is probably due to my methodical, checklist-type attitude towards it. The circuit method definitely sounds appealing, though.

      • Fitnessista on July 30, 2015 at 11:58 am

        i think circuits would be smart for a higher calorie burn, but would be difficult to do at a gym since there are so many exercises. at a gym, it’s nice to “claim your space,” crank out your sets and move onto the next exercise

      • masala girl on July 30, 2015 at 3:03 pm

        thanks so much!! when i read workouts like this, i realize how long it’s been since i’ve done non supersets or circuit style workouts, and am not used to planned down time or wait time during a set, haha. i guess it’s just a different mentality when you have to do 5 sets of the same exercise- to rest in between each one because you’re working the same muscle!

      • masala girl on July 30, 2015 at 3:04 pm

        if that makes sense haha

  7. katelyn on July 29, 2015 at 9:47 pm

    Or girlfriend…. 🙂

    • Fitnessista on July 30, 2015 at 12:09 pm

      that is true

  8. Erin @ Her Heartland Soul on July 29, 2015 at 9:54 pm

    Way to go on your workout plans! I love that you want to have a firm handshake for your girls future boyfriends! haha

    • Fitnessista on July 30, 2015 at 12:09 pm

      that made me laugh, too

  9. Ashley @ A Lady Goes West on July 30, 2015 at 6:00 am

    Hi Pilot! Love that you’ve guest posted over here. As far as plans, sadly, I haven’t been on one for a while, but when I was – I really enjoyed it. These days, I just try to fit in at least one workout for myself outside of the workouts I do teaching Les Mills classes. And I must say, working on your firm handshake? Hilarious! Oh and I love that you took Gina’s BODYPUMP class. In many years of being together, I’ve only had my hubs in a handful of my classes. He prefers to do his own thing. Have a fabulous day and keep up the good work on the fitness front!

  10. Julia@yogawinehappiness.com on July 30, 2015 at 7:12 am

    I will definitely share this with my husband! He is looking for something different to do with a more set plan than just going to the gym and seeing what happens 🙂

  11. Annie B on July 30, 2015 at 8:32 pm

    I read a bunch of this aloud to my husband since he is a big fan of the Bodybuilding website and its plans. Right now he is doing J-Dawg’s 5 Day Split from the site, and it loving it so far. I love that he invests the time in learning how to use these plans, because he makes a great trainer when we hit the gym together! 😉

  12. Akshay on October 15, 2017 at 3:49 am

    Thanks for the post. The other good programs are kris gethins transformation 12 week trainer and his 12 week muscle builder. Would like to know your thoughts..I completed both.

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