T Nation

American Sniper Bulk


#1

I'm curious what people think about this: http://www.T-Nation.com/workouts/american-sniper-workout

In light of the debate about bulking/cutting vs gaining slowly while staying lean, plus the fact that it's such a dramatic transformation, I found it very interesting.

Bradley Cooper isn't an athlete or super experienced lifter, but he wasn't a complete novice either, and he managed to gain A LOT of muscle in a pretty short period of time. Obviously he's a movie star, so had a lot of resources most people don't, in terms of time / money, trainers and personal chefs and so on.

And all the supplements listed, plus potentially some that aren't listed. But it seems pretty clear that he undertook a very successful old school bulk here, and packed on a lot of mass with minimal fat gain in a short time period.

Of course, there is the question of how seriously one should take the article. Variety (the movie biz trade magazine) published an interview with Bradley which says he "spent six months working out 4.5 hours a day." That's twice as long as the T-Nation article says it took him (3 months). Also, I personally am highly skeptical that the workouts listed would take 4.5 hours to complete. I've done long (close to 3-hour) workouts in the past, and what's listed in the article doesn't resemble them.

Even in the final weeks when volume has peaked, and you're doing 10 sets of rack pulls, I don't think the first workout would take more than 2 hours, and the second more than 1.5. So not sure where the 4.5 number comes from, unless the T-Nation routine is an incomplete picture.

Anyway, I'm tempted to try the program myself (with a few modifications) and see how much weight I can gain in 12 weeks, as an experiment.


#2

the answer to “how much weight” you can gain should perhaps be changed to “how much muscle can i gain”

in 12 weeks unless a rank beginner, the answer is going to be not that much

of course you can gain as much “weight” as you like in 12 weeks


#3

[quote]TheCB wrote:
he didnt 37lbs of lean mass in 8 or 12 weeks

he looks the same as normal maybe just a bit fatter in the face tbh
[/quote]
That’s what I thought as well. IMO, he looks as good or better leaner, as he looks quite fatter in the face. Sure, he looks bigger, but I don’t see the gains in his arms.


#4

IMHO Cooper did not look impressive at all in fact he looked soft and pudgy. He looked more “ripped” is A-Team.


#5

that wasnt what i imagined when i read the article.


#6

[quote]Gorillakiv83 wrote:
that wasnt what i imagined when i read the article.[/quote]
You actually have read the article? Cooper was playing a stocky Texican killing-machine, not an IFFB pro.


#7

Make no mistakes, Cooper wasn’t setting out to look like a bodybuilder, he was trying to come close to how the individual he was portraying in the film looked, which was somewhat bulky.

I think just the fact that he subjected himself to such intense and frequent training says a lot about his comitment, as well as how he approached things so as not to burn out, get injured, or just not achieve the planned goals.

S


#8

^Lol, this…

Cooper wasn’t training for the Olympia guys. He was training to look like Chris Kyle not Face.


#9

He’s an actor people…


#10

[quote]The Mighty Stu wrote:
Make no mistakes, Cooper wasn’t setting out to look like a bodybuilder, he was trying to come close to how the individual he was portraying in the film looked, which was somewhat bulky.

I think just the fact that he subjected himself to such intense and frequent training says a lot about his comitment, as well as how he approached things so as not to burn out, get injured, or just not achieve the planned goals.

S[/quote]
I think this is a great point. And if that is the look someone is going for, then sure, attempt the workout. But I think it is misleading the articles saying he gained 37 lbs of lean mass. I wouldn’t believe that without a dexa scan.


#11

[quote]Ecchastang wrote:

[quote]The Mighty Stu wrote:
Make no mistakes, Cooper wasn’t setting out to look like a bodybuilder, he was trying to come close to how the individual he was portraying in the film looked, which was somewhat bulky.

I think just the fact that he subjected himself to such intense and frequent training says a lot about his comitment, as well as how he approached things so as not to burn out, get injured, or just not achieve the planned goals.

S[/quote]
I think this is a great point. And if that is the look someone is going for, then sure, attempt the workout. But I think it is misleading the articles saying he gained 37 lbs of lean mass. I wouldn’t believe that without a dexa scan. [/quote]

Not for nothing the article said they used calipers if I remember correctly. Calipers aren’t the most accurate measure, but at least it’s something.


#12

[quote]Ecchastang wrote:

[quote]The Mighty Stu wrote:
Make no mistakes, Cooper wasn’t setting out to look like a bodybuilder, he was trying to come close to how the individual he was portraying in the film looked, which was somewhat bulky.

I think just the fact that he subjected himself to such intense and frequent training says a lot about his comitment, as well as how he approached things so as not to burn out, get injured, or just not achieve the planned goals.

S[/quote]
I think this is a great point. And if that is the look someone is going for, then sure, attempt the workout. But I think it is misleading the articles saying he gained 37 lbs of lean mass. I wouldn’t believe that without a dexa scan. [/quote]

Exactly. The article claims he gained 37 pounds of lean mass while keeping his bodyfat basically the same. That’s clearly not the case. He just looks like he got chubby.


#13

[quote]Gorillakiv83 wrote:
that wasnt what i imagined when i read the article.[/quote]

he literally looks untrained in this pic

lol at “hes not a pro BB guys”

big claims were made all over the internet and he looks like shit


#14

[quote]xXSeraphimXx wrote:
IMHO Cooper did not look impressive at all in fact he looked soft and pudgy. He looked more “ripped” is A-Team.[/quote]
Left pic from the A-team where he played the suave lady’s man spy guy. Mandatory on screen: Abs and a bright smile. Right pic from American Sniper where he played a pro bronco rider/ranchhand/legit cowboy turned Navy SEAL. Mandatory on screen: Looking imposing in full gear and like he could handle some shit.

[quote]usmccds423 wrote:
He’s an actor people…[/quote]
Exactly. Same kind of people who call a 45-year old, 6’3" actor/singer/dancer (Hugh Jackman) who deadlifts in the mid-400s “weak” or who wanted Brock Lesnar to get cast as Thor.


#15

He also trained with Seals for the part. I doubt he gained that much body fat with all the shit he was doing.

Also, lol at he looks like shit. He looks fine.


#16

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:

[quote]xXSeraphimXx wrote:
IMHO Cooper did not look impressive at all in fact he looked soft and pudgy. He looked more “ripped” is A-Team.[/quote]
Left pic from the A-team where he played the suave lady’s man spy guy. Mandatory on screen: Abs and a bright smile. Right pic from American Sniper where he played a pro bronco rider/ranchhand/legit cowboy turned Navy SEAL. Mandatory on screen: Looking imposing in full gear and like he could handle some shit.

[quote]usmccds423 wrote:
He’s an actor people…[/quote]
Exactly. Same kind of people who call a 45-year old, 6’3" actor/singer/dancer (Hugh Jackman) who deadlifts in the mid-400s “weak” or who wanted Brock Lesnar to get cast as Thor.[/quote]

erm, no.

what is being disputed is:

  1. he gained 37lbs of “lean mass”

  2. he looks good i.e. well built/ muscular/ the-kind-of-build-one-would-aspire-to

with regards to 1. in no way does he look to have gained 37lbs at all never mind 37lbs of “lean mass”

point 2: there is loads of omg look how buff he got in the media, in the majority of the pics he just looks a bit/a lot fatter

why this must be “hating” or something i dont know, it seems like a pretty accurate critique to me


#17

[quote]TheCB wrote:

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:

[quote]xXSeraphimXx wrote:
IMHO Cooper did not look impressive at all in fact he looked soft and pudgy. He looked more “ripped” is A-Team.[/quote]
Left pic from the A-team where he played the suave lady’s man spy guy. Mandatory on screen: Abs and a bright smile. Right pic from American Sniper where he played a pro bronco rider/ranchhand/legit cowboy turned Navy SEAL. Mandatory on screen: Looking imposing in full gear and like he could handle some shit.

[quote]usmccds423 wrote:
He’s an actor people…[/quote]
Exactly. Same kind of people who call a 45-year old, 6’3" actor/singer/dancer (Hugh Jackman) who deadlifts in the mid-400s “weak” or who wanted Brock Lesnar to get cast as Thor.[/quote]

erm, no.

what is being disputed is:

  1. he gained 37lbs of “lean mass”

  2. he looks good i.e. well built/ muscular/ the-kind-of-build-one-would-aspire-to

with regards to 1. in no way does he look to have gained 37lbs at all never mind 37lbs of “lean mass”

point 2: there is loads of omg look how buff he got in the media, in the majority of the pics he just looks a bit/a lot fatter

why this must be “hating” or something i dont know, it seems like a pretty accurate critique to me
[/quote]

Where did anyone say he looks “ell built/ muscular/ the-kind-of-build-one-would-aspire-to?” It’s not in the article.

Calipers were used to determine the 37lbs number. Is it that accurate, probably not. Dexa would of been better, but then again its not like Cooper gives a shit since his goal was to look like Chris Kyle not Amit Sapir…

[quote]TheCB wrote:
lol at “hes not a pro BB guys”

big claims were made all over the internet and he looks like shit[/quote]

37 lbs is not a huge claim for an untrained person and saying he looks like shit is just plain silly.


#18

[quote]usmccds423 wrote:

37 lbs is not a huge claim for an untrained person and saying he looks like shit is just plain silly. [/quote]

actually 37lbs is a huge claim wtf are you talking about lol. that is a monstrous amount of lean mass to gain in 12 weeks.

in the first pic posted in this thread he does look like shit: fat and untrained.

by continuing to mention people like amit sapir shows you are completely and utterly missing the point.


#19

[quote]theCB wrote:
in no way does he look to have gained 37lbs at all[/quote]
You have trouble believing there’s a 40ish pound difference between the pics I posted? Ha, okay, you’re high.

Seems like a pretty biased critique to me. As I said, among lifters, his progress and “finished product” is one thing. If an Average Joe-Newbie Lifter posted those pics in the Rate My Physique forum, he’d get a certain response. But in the context of what his exercise history/non-history is, what his specific goals were, and what he ended up with, it’s another.

[quote]craze9 wrote:
…I don’t think the first workout would take more than 2 hours, and the second more than 1.5. So not sure where the 4.5 number comes from, unless the T-Nation routine is an incomplete picture. [/quote]
In the Variety article, Cooper said “In the actual gym? Probably 4.5 hours a day.” Is he rounding up? Including post-workout massage time? Simply misremembering? Who knows. I also read one article where a producer said Cooper ate “every 55 minutes.” Some comments are just not worth overfocusing on.

[quote]usmccds423 wrote:
37 lbs is not a huge claim for an untrained person[/quote]
Pretty much. I’d actually still say that is on the high end for the timeframe we’re talking about here… but… for example, it’s not at all unheard of for people to gain 25-35 pounds of muscular size in 2-3 months on Starting Strength. That’s three workouts a week and a usually-less-than-scientific nutrition/supplement plan. (GOMAD isn’t rocket science.) The old school Super Squats/20-rep squats plan is another one. Lifting 3 days a week for 4-6 weeks, not uncommon to see 25+ pound bodyweight gains. And we know if someone starts a bulking phase relatively-lean, they’re less prone to bodyfat gains.

But we’re going to hesitate when a guy, whose literal job is to get bigger, has a personal trainer leading him through two-a-day lifting sessions, can afford a personal chef, and has a customized nutrition/supplement plan directly from one of the biggest companies in the industry, says he gained that much in that time? Okee doke.


#20

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:
for example, it’s not at all unheard of for people to gain 25-35 pounds of muscular size in 2-3 months on Starting Strength.
[/quote]

This was a great response, CC, just chiming in because I am sure that at least one person is going to look at this number and contrast it with the amount of dry muscle that one can add in a timeframe. So let’s put in a caveat that there is a difference between “muscular size” and everyone’s favorite dumbass term “lean muscle” here. I certainly agree that…

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:
But we’re going to hesitate when a guy, whose literal job is to get bigger, has a personal trainer leading him through two-a-day lifting sessions, can afford a personal chef, and has a customized nutrition/supplement plan directly from one of the biggest companies in the industry, says he gained that much in that time? Okee doke.[/quote]

…it is not hard for someone to gain 37 pounds in three months. We’re not talking about 37 pounds of stage weight. Not at all hard to believe that he packed in the calories and filled out to a bit of a full-house-ish look.