3-1 Diet Structure for Jacked 31 Training Protocol

Hi CT,
Quick question on 3-1 structure for Jacked 31 type training protocol. I follow the same structure for my diet, 3 weeks big surplus & 1 ‘control’ week at maintenance or deficit as you kindly recommended.


  1. If I use the deficit, roughy 500 calories below maintenance, can you still build muscle when doing the ‘bodybuilding’ work for that 1 week in a deficit? Still be effective for hypertrophy?

FYI, I bump up protein by around 25g for the control week, while bringing down carbs/fat. Plus, I would normally do specialisation type training for the ‘bodybuilding’ week of training.

Thanks for the help, appreciate it.
Mike P

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In scientific litterature, body recomposition is more the norm than the exception. Yeah you can lose fat and build muscle. But how much will depend on your training age/experience: the more advanced, muscular you are, the harder it will be; and your bodyfat level: the more fat you are, the easier it will be.
So if you’ve trained for 2 years and are 25%: very easy to do both. If you’ve trained for 12 years and are 13%: most likely won’t happen.

You could check out Iron Culture podcast ep 85 with Eric Helms and Christopher Barakat for info on the subject


If protein is sufficient, absolutely.


Then you shouldn’t have a problem. Of course, understand that you can’t build that much muscle in one week, deficit or not.

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Thats great news, makes it reassuring for myself & my training, which does dramatically effects my mentality.

Just one more thing,

  1. When doing specialisation training / ‘bodybuilding’ week, does it make a difference if you do intensity (1 Working Set failure + intense techniques) vs Volume work? Or is it best to do what fits you personally, do what you prefer?

For me personally, I prefer intensity work but ok with doing volume work if it is better for this type of training. What would be better?

Thanks again for the help,
Mike P

It doesn’t really matter. If one is high and the other is low, the overall training stress will be similar. Especially for only one week.

Go with what motivates you at the moment.

If you are using a spec approach you can even alternate during the week (e.g. one volume workout, one intensive workout, etc.)

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Just one final thing.

For me arms are still a weak point and my plan (which is the body I visualise building), will use the Jacked 31 protocol. I will go between Performance Mass training (Built for Battle) and Bodybuilding work (arm specialisation) as my structure.


  1. Im just coming off 3 weeks specialising arms and now going into ‘Built for Battle’. In terms of arm isolation exercises, should I drop to 1x or 2x a week during Built for Battle?

Thanks for the help,
Mike P

I would go 2x per week on weeks 1 & 2 of each phase, 1x on the 3rd week (week before the spec week)

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Just going over your Jacked 31 write up again and was interested in the bodybuilding strategy when it came to the hypertrophy week.

Why does a traditional ‘bodybuilding’ split work as you outline while in the ‘Best Damn’ program you push a different idea for a hypertrophy split? Does it just come down to personal preference?

Also, can the hypertrophy/gap work be replicated while using the ‘Built for Battle’ program with its assistance work, where the intensification increases over 3 blocks for a total of 12 weeks?

For example-
3 weeks Built for Battle- Assistance (3 sets, last set failure)
1 week Hypertrophy (3 sets, last set failure)
3 weeks Built for Battle- Assistance (3 sets, last 2 to failure, last set rest pause)
1 week Hypertrophy (3 sets, last 2 to failure, last set rest pause)
3 weeks Built for Battle- Assistance (3 sets, last 2 to failure, last set rest pause + 50% drop)
1 week Hypertrophy (3 sets, last 2 to failure, last set rest pause + 50% drop)
*Assistance exercises are biceps + triceps {weeks 1-2, 2x & week 3, 1x}, quads + lateral shoulders 1x week)
*Hypertrophy week is Arm Specialisation

Thanks for the help with this,
Mike P

PS - loved the first week of Built for Battle, over did for my 3RM squat on first day, but corrected quickly for the rest of the week while all other lifts felt awesome and got stronger throughout the week. Can’t wait for week 2.