Self-described skinny guy and hardgainer Jesse Laico has always struggled to stick to a defined workout program for any great length of time, due to health issues. However, in a new video on the Athlean-X channel, Laico reveals the results he has been able to achieve by finally adhering to a 90-day regime prescribed by Athlean-X founder and trainer Jeff Cavaliere C.S.C.S.
Cavaliere explains that he took a holistic approach to helping Laico build strength and muscle, including resolving historic postural issues. “As my posture got better, it felt like the bar was flying up,” says Laico. “I was more efficient with the lifts themselves.”
Building a basis on which to develop strength also helped Laico improve his performance in the three main compound lifts—bench press, squat, and deadlift—to the point that he is now able to deadlift three times his own bodyweight. “You don’t build anything on a cracked foundation,” says Cavaliere. “When you fix the foundation, the strength itself becomes a hell of a lot easier to build.
In addition to weight training, Laico began using bodyweight exercises as a way to work on his control. “I was trying to command my body in space, and really slowed the movements down so that way I could feel every single muscle working throughout that movement,” he says. He also did hypertrophy training, taking the intensity of his exercises to and through failure by incorporating drop sets and rest-pause reps into his workouts, and switched up his cardio to include more on sprinting and agility drills which complemented his conditioning.
Of course, the workout only accounts for a part of the progress, and so Laico also overhauled his nutrition, including adding more meals to his daily routine to ensure he was taking in enough calories. “Nutrition is not always about getting bad foods out of your diet,” Cavaliere explains. “Nutrition is oftentimes about maximizing the quality of the foods you’re eating, and the quantity of those high-quality foods. You’ve got to make sure you’ve got that right if you want to see the gains you’re capable of.”
And finally, Laico prioritized recovery, and established a consistent sleep schedule over the 90 days in order to allow his body optimal time to rest between training sessions. “Recovery cannot be understated,” says Cavaliere. “If you overlook that, because it doesn’t seem to be one of the more ‘active’ components of your overall game plan, you’re going to cut your gains short.”
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