QWhat should I eat when training?
AIf you’re newer to training, the most important factor is simply getting enough protein, says Dr. Mike Israetel of Renaissance Periodization (RP). About a gram per pound of bodyweight is a good rule of thumb, and spread evenly throughout the day. If, on the other hand, you’re a more advanced trainee or you want to better fuel your training, you will likely want to pay closer attention to calories and macronutrients, as well, in order to optimize your results.
To that end, we’ve paired up with RP, a leader in nutrition programs for a variety of clients, to give you the tools you’ll need in the kitchen, too. The RP Bigness Plan was written specifically for fitness enthusiasts going through The Bigness Project.
Note: The plan is written as a maintenance plan that will help you maintain your current body weight while better fueling your training with more ideal nutrient timing and food ratios to support hypertrophy as a goal. If you follow it as written, you will likely see your body “recomp” — that is, gain muscle and lose fat at the same time, while maintaining your current body weight.
If that doesn’t suit you, the plan can very easily be modified to fit your specific physique goals, meaning you can titrate the plan either upward or downward if you have a more specific goal of gaining muscle more rapidly, or losing body fat. (All of this is explained in more detail in the RP Bigness Plan User Manual.)
The plan very simply lays out what to eat and how much in an easy-to-follow format. RP has done an excellent job at creating a unique system that makes staying on a nutrition plan sustainable and sane. Each plan has two options — one with a more balanced nutrient content and one that is low-carb. Within each option you also have the choice to split your day up into three or four meals depending on your lifestyle. RP also gives you a list of recommended foods and comprehensive details on how to put your meals together so there’s no guess work in meal planning.
All that said, your exact nutritional needs will depend on you. If you’d like additional guidance, we recommend seeking the counsel of a trusted nutrition coach. (RP does private coaching, as do many other coaches and companies. That answered my question, I want to join The Project.
QWhat if I become bulky as I put on more muscle?
AThere are tricky dynamics at play when women put on muscle — one of the words commonly used is “bulky,” often said with disdain. We think it’s necessary to reframe the term, and perhaps even more importantly, to reframe what it means to be a muscular woman (or man!). Bottom line — you’ll add muscle mass, but it’s up to you to determine how you view it. Any sort of muscular development takes loads of work, so when it comes to getting bulky, I recommend trying your best on this program. Where you will end up 14 weeks from now, chances are, is exactly where you want to be: with more visible muscle definition to your frame.
If you are still concerned, rest assured you will not accidentally become Ms. or Mr. Olympia. Unless you’re in the top echelon of that gene pool and you train for three to five hours every day for the next five years, it simply won’t happen. Moreover, this program isn’t intended to prepare you for a bodybuilding competition (the sport of bodybuilding involves more training that’s geared toward the specific aesthetic preferences of its various governing bodies). That answered my question, I want to join The Project.
QWon’t I lose my strength gains as I go into a hypertrophy cycle?
AIn short (and in the short-term), you may lose some strength in certain big lifts. First, it depends on your training background. If you’ve been doing bootcamp-style training, it’s likely you’ll get even stronger! If you’re coming from a powerlifting background or the like, you may temporarily lose some ground on your big three.
But, that doesn’t give you the whole picture. Cycling in a hypertrophy program will help you build more muscle, which you can then put to work turning into even stronger muscles when you go back to heavier programming. Physically more muscle (as in a greater cross-sectional size of the fibers) means that you have the potential to reach and activate more muscle when you start training for strength again. (Plus, this can be a great reset for your body. If you’re feeling beaten up from the really heavy stuff, this will feel like a dream, and you’ll get more jacked, to boot. That answered my question, I want to join The Project.
QDo I need a gym to do these workouts?
AYou’ll to need a wide range of dumbbells, a barbell setup (including a squat rack), an adjustable bench (or a way to create an incline), various bands (mini- and full-length), a pull-up bar, and a stability ball or Valslides. You’ll also want some accessories like a kettlebell and slam ball. If you have all of those things in your home gym, you can absolutely complete the program at home.
If you cannot check off all of those boxes, you'll need to head to the gym to get the most from this program. There is also a benefit in doing the program in a fully loaded gym in that you can take advantage of various machines throughout the program that you wouldn’t have access to at home, such as a leg press.
All that said, if you have most but not all of the equipment, there are ways of getting creative. That answered my question, I want to join The Project.
QI’ve heard hypertrophy is boring — how is this program different?
ARep after rep can get boring, but what we’ve found is that this program has a way of drawing us inward and into our muscles — which put us into a highly focused, nearly meditative state. (No, really!) The mind-muscle connection that we teach you helps you hone in on how your body is moving, which is naturally a more mindful approach to moving and boots boring right out the window.
In short, keep your focus dialed in and you won’t be bored. That answered my question, I want to join The Project.
QThere’s only one option to choose — is this program better for beginners or advanced gym goers?
ABoth! Starting with hypertrophy or cycling it into your existing program are both great ways to add Bigness to your routine. We give you step-by-step instructions on how to perform each movement safely and effectively if you’re just starting out, and the ability to scale each movement makes sure you have options if you need them.
For those who are more experienced, going into a hypertrophy cycle will give you a different stimulus and help you continue on to (or return to) that sweet muscle-building zone. That answered my question, I want to join The Project.
QIs the nutrition plan necessary to see results?
AThe training program is written so that you will build muscle mass even without following a specific nutrition plan.
That said, the nutrition program is highly complementary to the training program, and will accelerate your results (you’ll get the added benefit of ensuring you’re getting enough protein for your muscles to recover). That answered my question, I want to join The Project.
QIs The Bigness Project for men and women, or both?
AHypertrophy does not discriminate. While there are invariably differences in training from person to person, and even between genders in some regards (generally speaking, women do better with higher volume than men), the training principles in the Bigness Project apply to everyone.
As far as physical results to expect go, your look will very likely change. Some people may call it “getting ripped” while others might say “toned,” but we’re talking about the same thing: adding muscle mass and improving posture and coordination. That answered my question, I want to join The Project.
QAm I too old for this program?
AAbsolutely not. That answered my question, I want to join The Project.
QI’m in—how will the program be shipped to me?
AShipping is so ’90s. Everything is a completely digital, downloadable series of PDFs that you get instant access to as soon as you purchase. What’s more, you can download and access the entire system on any device that can read a PDF — which, these days, is nearly anything. You can read it on your computer, your tablet, or even your phone. Or, print it out, if you prefer. That answered my question, I want to join The Project.
QWhat is the structure of the training program? How many days of lifting per week will I be doing? And about how long are my gym sessions going to be?
AThe Bigness Project training program is broken into what’s commonly referred to as body-part-split training. In the beginning, for the first 7 weeks of the program, you’ll be hitting the gym 4 days per week. The last 7 weeks, your training days will increase to 5 per week. This does not include any additional cardiovascular workouts. The days must be completed in order, but how you complete them throughout the week (ie: where you take your rest days and/or do your cardio) is flexible.
For those first 7 weeks, you can expect your workout to take somewhere between 45 and 60 minutes. And for the second 7 weeks, you can expect workouts to increase to somewhere between 1 hour and 90 minutes. Of course, this all depends on how quickly you move and assumes you don't have to wait for equipment. That answered my question, I want to join The Project.
QI don’t see the nutrition plan on the package options. When can I add that to my purchase?
AThe RP Bigness Plan can be added to your cart after you select and purchase either The Bigness Project Silver or Gold Package. On that page, we’ll walk you through everything offered with the RP Bigness Plan so you know if it’s the right option for you and want you want to acheive. That answered my question, I want to join The Project.