Nate Green spent 34 days drastically manipulating his body and learning the secrets to rapid weight gain, insanely quick weight loss, and mental toughness.
This book is a crash-course of his journey, with specific tools you can use too.
Then use it all to build yourself a muscular, athletic body and live a bigger life.
But first, read this summary and get all the details on what really went down and why.
Who Are You?
My name is Nate Green and I’m the Program Director of Scrawny To Brawny, a 12-month online coaching program for guys who want to build muscle and live an awesome life.
I’m also a writer, weight-lifter, self-experimenter, and — as my girlfriend recently pointed out — a heavy mouth-breather who moans when he chews food. Though I have no idea what she’s talking about.
What Is This All About?
I tried gaining as much quality mass (mostly muscle, not a lot of fat) as I could in 28 days. Then I tried to lose it all in 5 days. Then I tried to gain it all back in 24 hours.
Why The Hell Did You Want To Do That?
A few reasons.
Reason Number 1
As a former skinny guy I’ve always been interested in gaining muscle. When I was in my late teens I weighed 145 pounds at 5’9”, which to me was way too skinny.
But after a couple years of hard work in the gym — and with help from some influential mentors — I put on over 40 pounds of muscle.
Changing my body gave me more confidence and purpose, which in turn helped me create a rewarding life for myself.
So I wanted to try this experiment to see how quickly I could change my body again, what it would feel like, and if it led to any significant realizations about myself or changed my outlook on the world.
Reason Number 2
As the program director for an online muscle-building coaching program, I wanted to put myself in the position we ask our clients to get in. Namely, to trust their coach and get comfortable being incredibly uncomfortable.
We ask our clients to eat lots of food, work out a few days per week, and adopt 24 new habits to help them gain muscle, become more athletic, and live better. But it’s really an act of faith on our clients’ part to trust that we know what we’re doing.
I wanted to see how difficult — or easy — it was to try something where I wasn’t sure of the outcome but was motivated to give it a shot.
Reason Number 3
As a black belt and as a fan of Mixed Martial Arts I was intrigued and impressed by a fighter’s ability to gain weight to move up a weight class, strategically cut 15 pounds or more to “make weight” before their big fight, and then super-hydrate back up to their original weight the next day before they pummeled their opponent.
That’s pretty bad-ass stuff, and I wanted to see what it’s like. (Except the whole getting-punched-in-the-face part.)
And while the fighters are tested in competition, I’ve never heard of an experiment that has tested fighters during all three of the following phases: a) in peak shape, b) dehydrated and depleted before a fight, and c) rehydrated on fight night.
There were a lot of questions for which no one really seemed to have an answer, like:
- How much strength and power do you lose when cutting weight?
- How much strength and power do really gain back when you super-hydrate?
- Is it possible to gain back every pound lost in time for a fight?
Who Helped You?
Although I consider myself a smart guy, I knew before starting this experiment that I’d need help with my eating plan and workout program. So I decided to hire a coach. Two, actually.
Dr. John Berardi is a world-renowned expert on sport nutrition and is the Chief Science Officer for Precision Nutrition. JB (as I call him) has worked with UFC champion Georges St. Pierre and many other athletes from every major sport. He took care of my nutrition.
Martin Rooney is the CEO of Training For Warriors. A strength coach and bestselling author, he’s worked with hundreds of athletes, most notable for this project, UFC fighters (and brothers) Jim and Dan Miller. He took care of my training program.
What Kind Of Stuff Did You Track?
I had four testing days:
- Day 0 (before the experiment, to get baseline numbers)
- Day 28 (after the rapid weight gain)
- Day 34 (after I super-hydrated back up)
- Day 33 (after the rapid weight loss)
On those days I tested:
- Body fat percentage
- Vertical jump (power test)
- 225-pound bench press for repetitions (strength endurance test)
- Girth measurements
- Max-effort deadlift (strength test)
- V-Max (test to determine maximum oxygen consumption)
- T-Max (endurance test, also done on a treadmill)
I also weighed in on a digital scale at home every morning and kept a daily journal where I recorded whatever occurred to me as insightful, interesting, or so awful I had to write it down before I permanently pushed it out of my mind.
The experiment was a huge success. Over the course of 34 days I:
- Gained 20 pounds in 28 days. (Technically, 20.6 pounds.)
- Lost 20 pounds in 5 days. (Technically, 20.5 pounds.)
- Gained 17 pounds in 24 hours. (Technically, 16.9 pounds.)
Plus a bunch of random cool stuff happened including:
- reducing my body fat in some areas during my rapid weight gain phase
- dramatically increasing my strength
- improving my resilience and becoming more mentally tough
- nearly passing out in the sauna
- nearly passing out in my living room after a hot water immersion bath
- nearly passing out after seeing my grocery bill for the month
|Day 0||Day 28||Day 33||Day 34|
|Body Fat Measurements|
|Body Fat (%)||3.03 (probably ~6)||4.1 (probably ~7)||3.2 (probably ~6)||3.37 (probably ~6)|
|225 lb Bench Press|
|One-Rep Max (lbs)||405||475||N/A||N/A|
What Are The Big “Takeaways”?
I tried to make this book as comprehensive, useful, and entertaining as possible, so I think there are a lot of takeaways. But if I had to get down to four, it’d be these.
#1 This is a crazy-ass experiment that you probably shouldn’t try.
Not only was it uncomfortable and time-consuming, it’s simply not necessary to gain weight — or lose weight — as fast as I did. Probably not entirely healthy either.
Even if you really want to build muscle and change the way your body looks, there’s a healthier, more sustainable way to do it.
I’ve been working out for the past 10 years and put on most of my muscle during the first couple of years. And all our clients in the Scrawny To Brawny Coaching Program add anywhere from 15 to 40 pounds over the course of our year-long program.
That’s how you get the best results: over time, by adopting healthy habits, working within a trusted program, and having the support and help from guys who’ve been there before you.
Still, I don’t want to scare you away, either. There’s a lot here that you can try for yourself to build muscle. In fact, fighters, wrestlers, and others do extreme weight manipulation bouts all the time. Under supervision and with the right coaches, this kind of experiment isn’t that dangerous.
But unless you…
- work from home
- have 5+ years experience in the gym
- can make time to spend upward of five hours every day eating
- have access to Dr. John Berardi and Martin Rooney
…then I just wouldn’t recommend it.
#2 There are principles you must follow to build a muscular, athletic body.
Whether it’s a month-long experiment or a year-long coaching program, the principles of building muscle hold true. Although some of my methods may seem extreme, the principles I followed mirror any successful muscle-building program:
- Eat more calories than you burn.
- Eat 2 to 3 times the amount of protein.
- Eat mostly nutrient-dense whole foods.
- Do compound exercises in the gym.
- Lift heavier weights.
- Get 7+ hours of sleep every night.
- Have protein and carbs after a workout.
- Drink a lot of water.
So while it’s important to realize I went a bit crazy with some stuff (which I share in detail in the book) and tried some new methods (intermittent fasting for building muscle, for instance) it’s equally important to realize I followed proven principles, too. And if I hadn’t followed those principles, nothing worth writing about would have happened.
#3 Cutting weight is one of the hardest, most intense things a body can do.
I have a brand new respect for fighters, wrestlers, and anyone else who has to rapidly drop 15 to 20 pounds in just a few days.
It’s hard as shit.
Between completely eliminating starchy carbohydrates and salt, drastically reducing the amount of water I drank, and going back and forth from the sauna to hot-water immersion baths, I can say it was the most uncomfortable thing I’ve ever done.
I spent hours in the sauna and honestly didn’t know if I’d “make weight.” And all I had riding on it was an idea for a book to write and give away. I can’t imagine what it would be like if I had a six- or seven-figure contract fight on the line and a guaranteed million viewers watching.
Much respect to all the fighters out there. And much respect for you too if you decide to try it.
#4 Having a coach and mentor is absolutely essential.
There’s no way I could have done this without the help of Dr. John Berardi and Martin Rooney. And I don’t mean that in some corny acceptance-speech kind of way.
I mean I literally could not have done this experiment without their help.
They took all the guesswork out of the equation for me and let me focus on what was really important: my daily actions.
They wrote my training programs and my eating plans and made adjustments as needed. I had complete trust in their experience and methods and didn’t have to do a lot of thinking. (I imagine this is what our clients feel like in the S2B Coaching Program.)
I simply followed a variation of Martin’s Training For Warriors program and ate the food JB recommended.
Plus throughout the experiment, Martin would send me random text messages. Like this one:
“You ready kid? This is the week where we see what you’re made of.”
Or this one:
“I don’t care what you have to do. Make that pound!”
Or this one (my favorite):
“Don’t lie. It’s OK to say it was hard as fuck and not much fun. I’m not stupid you know.”