The program itself is straightforward. For the first four weeks, you’ll lift heavier weights with compound movements. Nothing fancy. The last two days of your training week will be split up into lower and upper days to accumulate more volume without over-stressing any one body part. During Phase 2, you’ll still hit compound movements but for higher reps. You’ll also notice that exercises are done as a superset, triset, or quadset. This is to jack up your heart rate and burn more calories. So you can kiss traditional, boring cardio goodbye. The final two days follow a HIIT (high-intensity interval training) protocol. You’ll perform more body-weight moves like lunge jumps and explosive stepups, which stem from Gaines’ athletic past and challenge you in ways a barbell never could.
GAINS BY GAINES
JOHN GAINES JR. BREAKS DOWN THE DETAILS OF HIS EIGHT-WEEK PROGRAM.
- Prime Time: “You’re going to be building up your strength for the first four weeks. Then I incorporate more explosive movements in the last four weeks to burn more fat.”
- Heavy Weight: “For Phase 1, you’ll be using heavier weight and lifting it for fewer reps, down to four. I’d say you should probably work up to between 80 and 90% of your one-rep max for your last set.”
- Universal Leg Day: “I know everyone loves to do chest on Monday—well, I love legs on Monday. It’s a lot of fun—I throw in box jumps, lots of body-weight movements. Then you can hit chest on Tuesday.”
- The Power of Four: “I usually don’t go under four reps. Then people have to worry about having a spotter. You can still manage four reps alone.”
- Up the Ante: “Record your weights on your main lifts and then try to progress each week, even if it’s just up five pounds, and hit that same rep range. So if one week you hit 225 pounds on the bench for 10 reps, then next week you’re going to try for 230 at least.”
- On Diet: “I eat semi-clean, still living life. That said, I eat a lot of bro meals—chicken, rice and sweet potatoes, broccoli—and I follow intermittent fasting. I’m up at 4 a.m. and don’t eat until 12 p.m. Then I stop eating at 8 p.m. I’ve found that intermittent fasting helped me because I can eat two to three big meals as opposed to five or six small ones. That never really worked for me. I cheat on Sundays. I eat a whole pizza, and then leg day is gonna be good.”