60 Days to Fit by James Grage (MuscleAndFitness.com)
Workout program review
After stopping the Stronglift's 5x5 program and completing the obstacle course and half marathon that I was training for, I've decided to try out this 60-day workout plan, recommended by my close friend who had great results with it. Not only he's made significant gains with it but also improved his strength. But little did I know that this program was probably more suitable for people who're more advanced or intermediate at the gym...
- Totally NOT for absolute beginners.
- It's a 12-day per cycle plan with a total of 5 cycles.
- In each and every cycle, there are Shoulder/Traps, Back/Biceps/Forearms, Chest/Triceps and Legs (muscle group) Days, alternating between Heavy and Light (weight) Days, with 4 Active Rest Days in between.
- On Heavy Days, you'll start by performing exercises with the heaviest weights you could manage for 4 reps per set. Rest between 3 to 4 minutes per set.
- On Light Days, it's lighter weight but high volume with some supersets and only 1-minute rest in between each set and exercise.
- On Active Rest Days, cardio is recommended.
- In every new cycle, one rep is increased for every single exercise.
- There's also a balanced diet meal plan in this program.
- For gym beginners like myself, you will learn a lot of new or uncommon exercises (and meal plans) from this program. It just opened up a whole a new world for a gym beginner like myself.
- It is designed in a way that the muscles will get both hypertrophy and strength-improve at the same time while also allowing them to get the right amount of rest they need to recover.
- It's very effective in increasing the weight and volume you lift. If you're stuck doing 8 reps of a certain weight for a certain exercise, this program could help you break that plateau.
- It might also increase your strength one-rep max as the program is designed to help develop muscle mass while pushing you to lift super heavy weights for 8 reps in the final cycle. IT IS FUCKING CHALLENGING in the final cycles.
- It's not easy to get sick of the program because the exercises on Heavy and Light Days are different. Example; on Heavy - Legs Days you'll be doing Back Squat and on Light Days, you'd be doing supersets involving leg machines instead.
- The program also seems rather safer than other programs I've seen. Example; Barbell Bench Press is only on Light - Chest Days and dumbbells are used instead for Bench Press on Heavy Days. I've completed the program without ever needing a spotter.
- I felt my shoulders sore for the first time in a long time (ha-ha!).
Cons, Notes, Mistakes and Learnings
- 12 days per cycle can be quite a problem. You'd never have a fixed day per muscle group (e.g.; it's not going to be Chest Day every Monday or any specific day and if you don't like hitting the gym on weekends, too bad). However, I ignored that and made it 14 days per cycle instead so that each muscle group Day was fixed to a certain day of the week for me. And because I play basketball and futsal every week that time, I had to permanently rearrange the sequence of muscle groups and rest days which defeats the purpose of the program's design. But I didn't have a choice 'cause there was no way I'd be able to do Legs Day on the day before or after playing those sports. Only upper body days were fine to be done before, after or on the day I was going to play futsal. Plus, I needed to rest my muscles after playing those sports for maximum strength on Heavy Days. So in the end, it took me 70 days instead of just 60 to complete the program.
- It is not an easy program to memorise. You'll need to something to list down the exercises and track your performance, especially the weights.
- I totally ignored the meal plan. The foods are not affordable in Malaysia, not easy to find and too time consuming to prepare.
- Exercises such as Bicep Hammer Curls and Shoulder Front Raises aren't in the program, so I added them in until it felt too much in the final two cycles. There's also not any abdominal exercise so I added them to Shoulder or Back Days. Yes, I get that you work your core in most exercises here anyway but it didn't feel enough to tone the four packs that I had.
- The equipment required for certain supersets are far apart at the few gyms I go to. If you go to the gym when it's crowded, good luck staying strict with this program. Even when it was not crowded, I had to be a dick and pre-occupy all the necessary weights and equipment before starting Light Days as it's difficult to rest and put weights and all within the 1-minute rests.
- All the gyms I've been to do not have Seated Calf Raises machine. It was not possible to perform it with dumbbells on my thighs as it takes too long for supersets and on Heavy Days, the non-flat dumbbells are painful for the skin. Not to mention dangerous. So I replaced that exercise with Calf Raises on Leg Press Machine.
- I wasn't familiar with the form for some of the less common exercises and due to that, I wasted a lot of time and probably wasn't engaging the right muscles properly in the first two to three cycles.
- There's almost no way of knowing exactly how much weight you can do for the amount of reps on Light Days. According to the program's FAQ, you should only drop weight on the following set. And because of this, I tend to miss a lot of reps on Light Days.
- On Heavy - Chest/Triceps Day, the first exercise is 2 sets of low volume Pushups with 3 to 4-minutes rest in between. This might have been an error in the program because on Light Day, Pushups is also the first exercise but much higher volume and only 1-minute rest in between.
- I struggled terribly with the high-volume Deadlifts on Light - Legs Days. I totally underestimated how much weight I should should've dropped after the supersets prior to Deadlift. Though, strangely, it felt more like I was out of breath and not out of strength. 1-minute rests on Light - Legs Days with supersets was too crazy for me.
Results & Verdict
BEFORE AFTER Dumbbell Bench Press (8 reps) 28 kg 32 kg (per DB) Clean & Overhead Press (8 reps) (n/a) 50 kg High-bar Squat (8 reps) 85 kg 92.5 kg Pullup (max bodyweight reps) 12 14 1-rep Max
Deadlift (no wraps) 130 kg 140 kg High-bar Squat (with belt) 100 kg 105 kg Barbell Bench Press 85 kg 87.5 kg Overhead Press (with belt) 57.5 kg 60 kg
I've actually completed this program back in December and the results above were before my year-end vacation. Man, this program was fucking tough. I mean, it was definitely not meant for gym beginners like myself. I struggled a lot on Light Days and had to either perform lesser reps for some sets or take longer rests. It is a very, very challenging program in overall and it truly pushed me to the limit, especially in the last two cycles.
However, as you can see in the results, my weights for eight reps have improved quite a bit and very surprisingly, my one-rep max for those four compound exercises have increased as well. Even though I continued my usual three meals a day diet with protein shakes in between, I've managed to gain a few kilograms. I believe my back, triceps and shoulders grown more visibly than others. I probably would've seen better results if I was actually strict with the program but I guess I'll never know because I rearranged its sequence of muscle group Days (for sports every week) and completely ignored its meal plan.
I've learnt so much from it and liked the philosophy of alternating Heavy and Light Days so much that I've incorporated to my own workout plans now. Since then, I've been alternating between Heavy and Light Days every week for main exercises that are plateauing in 5x5 or 6x4 like bench press, squat, deadlift, pullups and shoulder overhead press.
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