of "Muscle Matrix"
Book by Ryan Hughes
Now, if you want muscle, you NEED to maximize your testosterone levels...no two ways about it.
If you've seen the new "Muscle Matrix" program from IFBB Fitness Pro, Ryan Hughes, you know it focuses primarily on maximizing testosterone through targeted training and eating.
Here are a couple of pictures of Ryan in competition...obviously, he's in great shape. The question is, will his program work for YOU?
So what I wanted to do for you here today is dig into it and give you my detailed review of the program.
Overall, I think it's an excellent program and absolutely worth checking out...let's get into it.
The structure of the program is very different than what I personally use...working the major muscles just ONCE per week and really hammering them with volume and intensity.
Now normally, I'm not a big fan of this approach as I find it kind of "stutters" the progress you make, forcing your body to have to spend a lot of energy just recovering before it can progress beyond where you were.
I usually utilize a high-frequency approach that hits each muscle anywhere between 2 to 6 times a week, depending on the program.
That being said, though, the specific structure of each workout here is scientifically sound....focusing first on strength (5x5), then moving to hypertrophy (8x8) then to what can best be described as "massive overload" giant sets where your goal is simply to get to a certain number of reps (20), no matter how many "mini-sets" it takes you (this is more along the lines of strength/endurance training via rest-pause).
THAT part actually looks like the most fun to me...appeals to my insanity.
Each of these training methods works extremely well on it's own.
And I do like the idea of combining it into a single workout to overload different aspects of training rather than just randomly throwing sets and exercises at a muscle, which is the way most one-part-per-day programs seem to approach it.
That's why even though I'm not normally a fan of the low-frequency approach, I think Ryan's method does have merit and could be very effective, especially for getting that punch of testosterone.
I love learning new approaches and I'm definitely looking forward to playing around with it to see how it works for me.
The Muscle Matrix program offers 12 weeks of beginner, intermediate and advanced workouts, all very well laid out, with progression built in to keep you moving forward.
You'll know exactly what you need to do in terms of sets, reps and exercises every step of the way.
The only issue I really have with some of the workouts is exercise selection...there are a few exercises he lists that are done on specialized equipment (e.g. Hammer Strength Bench Press). I don't have ANY machines like that...and you may not, either.
In that case, it's a simple matter to just sub in another exercise that hits a similar movement pattern, e.g. barbell or dumbbell bench press.
There is a lot of focus on isolation exercises as well, primarily because the focus of the program is on LOOKING better, not just building random slabs of muscle.
This part I found to be really interesting...Ryan has taken a step back from the whole "high protein is king" idea that is constantly preached in bodybuilding.
He's pulled back on his protein recommendations to about 0.8 grams per pound of bodyweight (his reasoning...your body can only digest and use so much in a day) rather than the usual 1-1.5+ g per pound of bodyweight that you normally see, choosing to make up the difference in carbs and fats.
I don't see anything wrong with this approach...though, personally, I really like to eat protein foods and have no problem eating a lot of them AND all the carbs and fats to go with it to support growth.
However, if you're dealing with a limited appetite (or if you're trying to stay lean while building muscle), he makes a case for getting ENOUGH protein, but not so much that it limits your intake of other important nutrients and calories, which can have a BIGGER impact on your testosterone levels and overall muscle growth than protein.
THAT I agree with.
Me, I stopped counting protein grams YEARS ago, and I never really EVER counted calories at all. I have more of a "sledgehammer" approach to nutrition.
The interesting thing is, Ryan's OVERALL nutrition approach is very similar to what I'm doing right now myself, focusing on eating protein and fats earlier in the day, training in the late afternoon/early evening, then eating protein and carbs (and less fat) towards the evening.
This strategy is ideal for maximizing testosterone levels while keeping fat gain to a minimum (side note: the more fat you gain, the lower your T levels will be overall, and the higher your estrogen levels will be...that's why it's generally better to lean out first, before you try to build muscle).
Ryan gives good nutritional guidelines in the program rather then focusing on set meal plans...which is my preferred method, too. I find meal plans to be too restrictive.
His nutritional approach in the Muscle Matrix program also frees you up to be able to eat socially without compromising your muscle-building goals. This is HUGE as it makes it much easier to actually keep up with the nutritional aspect of a program when it accomodates REAL LIFE like this.
Ryan's approach to supplements is more of a "single ingredient" strategy.
In other words, rather than buying supplements that have proprietary formulas (where you don't know how much of each "active" ingredient you're actually getting), he chooses to focus on specific SINGLE ingredients that give you the most research-proven bang for your buck in terms of T levels and overall results.
A good example from the program is D-Aspartic Acid (a supplement which I wasn't actually familiar with the research on before reading the program).
"D-Aspartic Acid is an amino acid that naturally increases the production of the messenger hormone LH, Luteinizing Hormone. This signals your testes that it’s time to produce more testosterone. Researchers actually found that three grams of D-Aspartic Acid raises testosterone levels by 40%."
THAT, to me, is interesting.
...and it's likely a supplement I'm going to order up and test out for myself here, too.
The supplement section of the Muscle Matrix program has a number of solid, research-driven supplement recommendations like this one (and some are more recongizable than others, e.g. zinc, whey protein, creatine, etc.).
You'll only get recommendations for supplements that have been proven safe and effective.
The Bottom Line...Should You Get It?
In talking with Ryan, he made it clear that his Muscle Matrix program may NOT be the best fit for everybody...
...the only way to know is to test it out for yourself and see if it DOES.
And I TOTALLY agree with that.
Because while he and I don't fully mesh on our training methods, I have to say, it would be an awfully boring world if everybody always DID do the same things.
We both think it's important to test a variety of methods and see what works best for YOU....then being consistent with your training once you DO figure it out.
The program itself is definitely more focused on aesthetics (i.e.. LOOKING better while having more muscle and less fat) rather than strength.
Not to say you won't build strength...just that it's not the major goal of the program.
So if you're looking for a muscle-building program that can help you lose fat at the same time, i.e. body recomposition, this is a program you'll definitely want to consider picking up and using.
His methods are based on good science and years of training experience...and very obvious results, both in himself and his clients.
As well, the program on sale right now just about HALF the price it normally goes for and it has a full 60-day guarantee on it, so you can take it for a good, long test drive to see if you get results you want from this approach.