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Review - Optimum Anabolics by Jeff Anderson

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Optimum Anabolics
By Jeff Anderson - Review

Review by Rahul Alvares

Jeff Anderson has been making quite some news these days; his new book "Optimum Anabolics" has been written about and advertised so often lately, I just had to get myself a copy. Anderson was virtually unknown to me some months ago, but I know he's not a newcomer.

I read an article by Lewis Wolk sometime ago about Jeff locking himself in a dark room with his computer for six months till he had finished writing Unleashed (a book on boosting testosterone levels). Lewis is still singing praises about that book, and I've joined the band giving him backing vocals! (By the way that book is for free download, so make sure you get a copy before that Muscle Nerd changes his mind and puts a price tag on it).

Coming back to "Optimum Anabolics" I must tell you that this is one of the best books on bodybuilding I have ever read. Exceptionally controversial, Anderson attacks the very foundation of bodybuilding.

To give you an example; "Optimum Anabolics", in one of its training cycles, uses severe protein deprivation as an anabolic trigger to boost testosterone and growth hormone levels producing as a result huge gains in muscle mass.

And Oh No…this is not a one day protein deprivation period, if that's what you are thinking. It's a full cycle lasting weeks!

Optimum Anabolics is so full of information, this review would have to be the size of a booklet to cover all aspects. I don't think it necessary, however, to do so. I am sure you will love this book. So instead I am just going to list a few points to give you an idea of what the book is like.

Some of the aspects dealt with in this book include (in no particular order):

  • Isolation v/s Compound Exercises -which are the best exercises for each body part and why.
  • Pre Exhaust training and Super Sets -how these amazing training techniques can be exploited to their full potential.
  • Cardio and HIT training - the best strategies for fat loss.
  • Diet Charts - there is some excellent information in this section on food to eat, supplements, timings, GI ratings etc.
  • Calculations - mostly calculations for muscle gain, fat loss, different metabolisms, carbs, proteins etc.
  • Exercise description encyclopedia - descriptions on all the exercises, with notes on how to perform the best ones (averaging twelve for each body part)

Anderson lays a lot of stress on performing the exercise with correct form, the pump effect, body weight exercises and training to failure.

Anderson has left no stone unturned in writing this book. The training techniques taught in the book make sure also that you stimulate both the fast twitch and slow twitch muscle fibers. This kind of training will ensure that the muscle is exercised in a holistic way for its optimum growth and development.

I don't think I need to say anything more. As far as drawbacks are concerned I can't think of any. Like most books on bodybuilding however this is largely targeted at the male trainees. Female trainees will also benefit a lot from reading "Optimum Anabolics" - though with the amount of testosterone dripping all over it they might find it a little too thick and musky to get through!

Jeff Anderson has a very humorous style of writing. This, coupled with his very practical mind makes "Optimum Anabolics" truly enjoyable to read.

Optimum Anabolics is a must have for every bodybuilder.

Learn more about "Optimum Anabolics"

Review - Optimum Anabolics by Jeff Anderson


Rating Scale Very poor/avoidable
  O.K. read
  Excellent /must have


Optimum Anabolics
Second Opinion


If your primary goal is to build muscle mass but you've had a hard time actually ACHIEVING that goal, this is a review I think you're going to enjoy.

Because "Optimum Anabolics" is a program put together by Jeff Anderson, a.k.a. the Muscle Nerd, specifically designed to elicit muscle growth in stubborn cases just like yours.

Let's get right into it...

The first thing you'll notice about this book is Jeff's writing style...very informal yet very informative. It's not jammed packed with science lessons - it's easy to read and understand, which is always a plus.

The rationale behind the structure of the program rests on 8 "Anabolic Factors," as Jeff refers to them as. I'll briefly go through each one here with regards to how it impacts the effectiveness of the program.

Factor 1 - Hyper-Adaptive Cycling

This section is right on the money - if you're familiar with overtraining and deloading of the body, you're already familiar with the concept. Basically, the idea is to stress the body until you hit that point near or at overtraining, then back off and let the body recuperate and rebuild.

This is a powerful concept and Jeff uses it very effectively in his program, not only with the training program but also by applying this to the dietary considerations of the program (more than in Factor 8 - THAT is probably the most controversial aspect of the whole program).


Factor 2 – Body Part Training Frequency

This section is where we'll disagree on. Jeff suggests not training a bodypart more than once a week, in order to allow for full recovery before training it directly again. He does provide a rationale for his argument but experience suggests this once-a-week loading schedule is not a "set in stone" rule.

You CAN and should train your bodyparts more frequently, especially if you're using exercises that overlap, e.g. deadlifts and squats both stress similar muscle groups yet you could work deadlifts on a "back" day and squats on a "leg" day and still call it working a bodypart once per week.

This is definitely not a make-or-break thing with the program, though. It's not necessarily wrong to train a bodypart just once a week.

Factor 3 – Training Session Length

We're totally in agreement in session length - excessively long training sessions tend to be counterproductive.


Factor 4 – Exercise Selection And Form

Jeff's program focuses on compound exercises over isolation exercises, which is definitely on par with what we recommend. He has a quote that I really like with regards to the system muscle-building effects of compound vs isolation exercises...

“Think of it this way…If your local 9-1-1 OPERATOR received a call about an ISOLATED FIGHT happening in a park and a call about a RIOT happening downtown, which incident do you think she would dispatch assistance to first? Get the picture?”


Factor 5 – Number Of Repetitions And Weight

Rep ranges and weight selection is also section we're a bit in disagreement on, though too crazy. Higher rep ranges do have their purpose, though we're more inclined to hit lower rep ranges than what Jeff recommends. Again, it's not necessarily wrong, just different and may actually be more effective for you.


Factor 6 – Repetition Speed

Nothing controversial here - good solid recommendations. Again, we're a bit different in this department, believing that instead of specifying a tempo for each rep, you should move the weight as quickly as possible on the concentric portion, without resorting to poor form.


Factor 7 – Rest Cycles

Jeff has planned out all the rest periods in the training program and included a good amount of info on recovery outside the gym. By decreasing your rest periods while increasing your workload, you're going to force that hyper-adaptation we metioned earlier.


Factor 8 - Diet

HERE is where it gets a bit more controversial.

The diet in the "Optimum Anabolics" program is based on periods of eating very low amounts of protein, setting up a rebound similar to when you carb-restrict then carb load. His contention is that by depriving the body of protein, your body is put into an emergency state where testosterone and growth hormone are released by your body in an effort to deal with this situation.

Training and not eating much protein definitely WILL cause a reaction in your body! Jeff has mentioned that he has uncovered research supporting the effectiveness of this protein deprivation cycle.

Could it be effective? There is some logic behind it and it could be worth trying out, to see if it's something that works for you. It might be just what you need to get past a muscle-size plateau.

The rest of the dietary program is solidly put together with more conventional recommendations. Good info there. The section on supplements is also nicely done - nothing crazy and the supplements are solid selections.



Overall, this is a well-thought-out program that definitely has the potential build some excellent muscle mass. We don't fully agree on every point, but there's nothing in the actual training program that should stop you from trying it out. The general mechanism of action is very effective and well-proven.

The dietary portion of the program might throw you off a little bit as it may be tough to wrap your head around the protein-deprivation concept. But definitely read through it and see if it makes sense to you. It could be the shot you need to get your muscle growth moving in the right direction.



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