T Nation

Best Damn Workout, No Ab or Calf Work?


First thanks for a very interesting program. I am trying it out because I have a very hard time putting on muscles. I am 53 1.96 cm and 103 kg. and I need to loose 8kg of fat.

I like that the program. it’s very short. so it gives me time to a proper warm up, 15-20 min. and to add some running or rowing at the end. I only run a mile or row for 500m full speed.

I have a question about the program. Why are the no exercise for core or calfs? should I add them?
Can I add a warm up set before hitting my first 6 reps?


Or forearms…

I actually was wondering this as well. I think this is more designed as an all round mass and general population natty workout. Not really designed for advanced level BBers that need to split their training into bodyparts to get the absolute most growth out of it.

The omitted ab training has got me a bit puzzled though as the general public generally seem to love to train the mid section.

  1. In my whole like I’ve never done a single set of a calves exercise and use some only with one person to the best of my recollection Some of the IFBB pro (and amateur) bodybuilders did add some calves work on their own, and that’s fine be me.

  2. The way I train abs is well documented. It’s blitz cycles of 4-6 weeks in which I train them everyday, then stop training them directly for 3-4 weeks. Abs are likely my best muscle. I NEVER include abs in the program I write on the internet, they are add-ons.

  3. Forearms work is done only on a need to basis. I don’t train the tibialis or serratus directly either


Thanks I will try it out. This is my first week of doing the program for real. Started with two lighter weeks, because I haven’t been training for a while.

I hope this program can put some muscle on my bones (-: Have tried so many program over the years without any real results. The last I did was Y3T. I followed it for 5 months training like a mad dog. I got harder and stronger, but not much to show.

Is 3 sets really enough? if two of them are warmup sets?


Were you eating enough? Was your food quality high enough?


To be 100% honest. Stop right there. You will NOT get any results with that mindset. You haven’t even started the program yet and you are already having doubts. Doubts lead to less motivation, less dedication and less focus. I have NEVER seen someone get results when they doubted what they were doing.

Please don’t do the program.


And please don’t be negativ :slight_smile: I have follow the program for two week just doing 3x10 to get started. Having been training for 3 months.

Today I started with the program as described in your article and it felt really good. Don’t be offended by my question I just really badly want to see some result before I am getting to old. I am 53.

I have used a lot of energy and money on supplement and so far it has been a bad investment.

But I am giving it another shot, giving it all I got with you program for at least 3 month and at the same time trying to eat properly.

2500 kcal a day
2 gr. protein pr. kg
2 gr. carbs pr. kg
and the rest of the calories from fat.

So again thanks for all your article and videos you are a great coach


Martin…just realize youve entered the lions den. Here, advice and suggestions are straight forward and sometimes brutal (think tough love). His response should have solidified your resolve to approach the workout with the intensity you need to get results. If you are questioning whether the workout he has laid out has enough sets, then it’s possible the way you used to workout was too many sets for a natural lifter.
I am geeked to try this routine. Just focus on making sure you choose the right weight for the exercise at hand without sacrificing form and pay strict attention to the rest/pause cycles he pointed out. Eat “right”, get your needed rest and let your body do what your asking it to do…grow. If you need positive reinforcement ask your wife/girlfriend (or both, if thats the case). Just know the advice you receive here is a gift from the gods in the industry.


before buying supplement and think like this you should start with having a good mindset, be positive and feed your muscle ( do your exercises correctly) !

its all in the mind, if your mind can conceive it, you will achieve it :wink:


Here’s the thing… people have a gross misconception about what is achievable result-wise. Because of the way everything training-related is advertised we now believe that we can COMPLETELY change your physique in a few months.

You can’t do that!

Well you can…

  1. If you already have plenty of muscle BUT have a lot of fat so you look like crap. Simply losing all the fat while maintaining most of your muscle can turn you from looking fat to looking jacked. But if you don’t have the muscle to start with, it wont work.

  2. If you once had a very good physique, stopped training for a while and got out of shape then begin to train hard an eat well again. Muscle plasticity is real: regaining lost muscle that you once had doesn’t take that long. For example I used to train a lot of pro hockey players. During the season they would routinely lose 15lbs of muscle (sometimes more) because they only did 2 lifting workouts a week, played and practiced hockey every day, didn’t eat as well, etc, During the first month of their off-season they normally would gain that 15lbs back… so it looked impressive: gaining 15lbs of muscle in 4 weeks. In reality it was just regained muscle. Past the beginner state it is RARE to find someone add more than 10lbs of real muscle in a YEAR.

  3. If you decide to use steroids for the first time. Then yeah, you might gain 20lbs of muscle and get leaner in a few months. Note that I mention “for the first time”. Because after that first cycle, drug using bodybuilders progress at a much slower pace. I worked with an IFBB pro bodybuilder who gained about 5lbs per year and was really happy (he did gain 40lbs of muscle in his first two years then 3-5lbs per year after that).

  4. If you were severely underfed and undertrained (think anorexic model doing tons of cardio) and decide to train hard with weights and eat a ton. You body will be primed for growth and you will have an accelerated rate of progress for 1-2 months.

But except for these situations (and maybe a few exceptions) “normal” individuals do not gain 20 or even 10-15lbs of muscle tissue in a 2-3 months (yes they can gain 20lbs of weight, but not of pure muscle tissue). Dr.Fred Haltfield evaluated the maximum rate of muscle growth to be about 0.25-0.5lbs per week… so AT THE MOST 12-24lbs per year. And I’ll be honest I’ve rarely seen someone gain 24lbs of MUSCLE in a year. A lot of people dilute themselves into believing that they gained 24+lbs of muscle. In reality a lot of it is fat, water and glycogen. Past the beginner state 10lbs of MUSCLE in a year is really good. Might not sound like much but that is 30lbs of muscle in 3 years and it will make you look completely different.

And that rate of gain is when you do everything right training and nutrition-wise and do not have an excess of stress in your life.

At 50+ years of age, if you are not taking performance-enhancing drugs I would personally find a gain of 5-7lbs of MUSCLE in a year, pretty good.

I KNOW it sounds demoralizing. But that is the truth.

I could tell you that you can easily gain 20lbs of muscle while getting shredded. But I’d be lying to you. It would give you false hope and you would end up disappointed and stop training.

Here’s the real secret: if you want to achieve anything worthwhile physique-wise you must focus not on the end/goal, but on the journey. You just fall in love with the process, not with the end result.

Those who focus only on the end results NEVER achieve it. Only those who fall in love with the process… fall in love with the hardship of training, the discipline of dieting and accepting the pain of sacrificing some things you enjoy just so that you can improve your body… only these people will achieve the physique they want (unless they are genetic freaks, which you aren’t otherwise you wouldn’t come here).

Can you build the physique you want at 53?

Maybe. But maybe not.

Can you get better? YES! Definitely. How much better is up to you. How much effort in the gym are you willing to give. How disciplined can you be with your eating?

But at 53 I’ll be honest, the clock is working against you. Physiology evolved with age and it IS a lot harder to build muscle and get leaner as you grow older. I know that at 40 things are MUCH harder for me than when I was 25. I’m still in great shape. Muscular and lean. But I’m smaller than I was at 25 despite doing things even better.

That having been said I have worked with tons of people in their 50s and 60s who were able to improve their physique. But honestly, mostly by becoming leaner and maybe adding a little bit of muscle. I have rarely seen a “natural” (not using hormones) 50+ individual pile on a lot of muscle. And the few that did, had to get a lot fatter in the process (which is not acceptable IMHO).

If you focus on achieving a certain physique, you never will and you will get discouraged.

If you want to achieve significant results you must focus ONLY on the process. What can you do better TODAY versus yesterday. THAT’S IT.

Stop worrying whether you will be able to get the body you want. Only worry about doing things better and be in love with the process.

The way I see it is you must love training so much that you do it even if you COULD NOT improve at all. Personally even if I knew that I could not improve even 0.01% I would still train. And would train just as hard as I’m training now and just as often. Because I love the effort, I love the daily struggle.

I’m reading a really powerful book at the moment “The subtle art of not giving a fuck” and that’s his exact message. And one thing the author mentions is this: do not ask what you want out of life, everybody has roughly the same type of answer… what you really need to ask is what pain are you willing to go through in life. THIS will tell you a lot more about what you will accomplish.

I posted something on my Twitter account a few weeks back… it went something like this: “Tons of people dream about being the best (or having a great physique) but few dream about what they need to do to get there”.

Bottom line. Change your mindset or your will NEVER reach you dreams. I know it sucks to hear but it is the truth.


Then I can promise you that you will fail.

Words have power. And the way you are expressing yourself tells me that you do not, at the moment, have the right mindset to succeed.

You are focusing on the END while you need to focus on the journey, fall in love with the process. 3 months… 3 FU**ING MONTHS!!! dude if you want to achieve anything worthwhile it has to become part of your life in the long run… 3 months is not enough to make the type of changes you want… heck 3 months is barely enough to maybe fall in love with the process which is JUST THE FIRST STEP.

And what’s this about TRYING? If you think in terms of TRYING before you even get started what will happen when things REALLY get tough? You will fail. If you don’t change your mindset you will fail and will make me look stupid because you will have failed using my program (against my better advice).

And GIVING IT ANOTHER SHOT… that is the typical phrasing of someone who is preparing himself for failure. And you only say that you gonna give it all you got to feel better about yourself or it is a mechanism to help you cope with your deep rooted psychological belief that you will fail.

Dude, sorry to tell you this. I’ve been working with more than a thousand clients and I can spot someone who will fail from a mile away. You sir will fail unless you have an honest and profound discussion with yourself and change your mindset. And not a “make believe” change of mindset, a real one. Fuck the END embrace the pain of the journey. Crave the journey, not the results.


Wisdom from the best coach of the world.


Quit it. You’re to young to be a sage already :wink:


First thanks for giving a shit. (:
Taking the time and effort to write such a long, emotional and also very honest answer really tells me that you are a no BS guy and I dont mind a wake up call.

Let’s make one thing clear. I am not going to train only for 3 months, I am going to use your program for 3 month and if it’s working for me I will continue with it or try something else.

I have been thinking about my goals and I know what I want. Lose 16-20 pounds of fat and gain 10 pounds of muscles. I am 196cm and 104kg

I think I need to give you my fitness CV. A little background wouldn’t hurt.

Born 1964. Big baby.

Was growing like weed and was very skinny like most kids. I started living with my grandmother when I was 8.
She was a lovey person but she was feeding me with so much food, cakes and candy that I got very fat.
Today I gain weight very easy.

Around the age of 15 I started to go to karate and volleyball. Then I replaced karate with strength training.

At 16 I joined the danish army as a professional soldier, do I need to say that after half a year my fat was gone (-:

From 18 to 26 I trained Bodybuilding 4-6 times a week with a very good friend of mine. I got strong but not very big, but I was in excellent shape but not ripped.
In the years after I trained in periods sometimes for a couple of years other times only for months. In my late 30 I started to have severe backpain and at 46 I hade one of my disks removed.

Except for a 2 months break I have been training for two years straight. I train to keep my back muscles strong and to compensate for a desk job.
Another reason for me to train is that it help stabilise my mood swings. I am an Asperger and sometime I disappear in a black hole, but training always drag me out of there.

I ride my bike everyday and like to walk a lot.

Right now I am looking for a coach that will help me with my weight loose. It’s like my body had settled for my current weight.

Sorry for my messy writing, but I have dyslexia.


Hi Martin
I have trained the program for the last 7 weeks and must say that this is the best program i have trained for the last decade.
I REALLY enjoy the short workouts and I think this will be my type of training for a very long time,.
It has also given me the best gains in years and gains dont come easy to me btw never has.
( fellow dane, 196 cm 107 kg 50 years)


Hi where do yo train?


still the wrong mindset. Trust the process. The program is called Best Damn Workout for a reason. It WILL work. You’ve essentially already planned to move on from it in 90 days. How, exactly, are you going to judge whether or not the program is working? What metrics will you be working from to assess this? If you literally see NO changes in strength or body composition following this program, then I could see you wanting to change, but honestly, if that’s the case, nothing will work for you. I can’t imagine going into any program with the mindset of contemplating at what point I will eventually stop running the program, UNLESS it’s part of a larger picture, in which I am planning strength phases vs hypertrophy phases vs competition prep in a given year. That’s not how you’re describing yourself, so that should not be how you look at this. Don’t even THINK about an exit strategy from the program at this point. Don’t set a timeframe. Just forget about ALL of that for now.

CT is definitely a no nonsense dude. He’s giving you good advice. Take it.


I Skanderborg


“If you want to achieve anything worthwhile physique-wise you must focus not on the end/goal, but on the journey. You just fall in love with the process, not with the end result.”

Tattoo this phrase across your chest and live it. : )


This is by far the best thing I’ve ever read on the internet. Thanks Christian (BIG fan here)