A Legendary Strength Coach’s Secrets to Build Mass Fast Without Destroying Your Body.

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Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.

Meet Dan John, author of several bestselling books on muscle mass, strength, power and pretty much anything that has to do with making yourself strong like a bull. See that picture below? That's Dan pictured with “Judy,” – his loveable field pack with 150 pounds of rock salt.

Dan John

That is what Dan calls a “Carry” – and it's just one of his underground training methods to get you to be able to build mass and get strong fast.

As you may have read in my article “Exactly How I'm Going To Pack Solid, Strong, Powerful Mass Onto My Skinny Triathlon Body This Winter” or heard in the podcast “Top Workouts To Do This Winter“, I'm actually using a 12 week variation of Dan's short (and simple) mass gain e-book…

…appropriately titled “Mass Made Simple“.

The Mass Made Simple Interview With Dan John

During today's audio podcast with Dan, you'll find out:

-the biggest mistakes people make when trying to build mass…

-the shockingly simple but effective principles behind mass made simple…

-Why Dan preaches heavy weight, high reps for mass when so many other manuals encourage medium weight, medium reps for hypertrophy…

-Why something called a “barbell complex” is so potent and effective for strength, power and mass…

-Why squats are one of the best exercises you could ever do, and why you're probably doing them wrong…

-How a mass gain program could be used by an endurance athlete or triathlete who wants to get stronger or more powerful…

-And much more!


Additional Notes & Resources

Now I have to admit, although I'm doing Dan's entire 6 week program this winter, taking a week to recover, then doing the entire 6 week program one more time, I'm adding a few components so that I stay fit enough to throw down a triathlon at the drop of the hat.

This includes:

-one added, hardcore “power swim” each weekend (40-60 minutes in the water)

-one added, hardcore “Sufferfest” bike each week, along with riding my bike to the gym for each workout

-two short runs, tennis or basketball games each week to maintain running speed.

And of course, my usual biohacks, including things like daily cold thermogenesis, morning Core Foundation routines, and elevation training tricks. I put my entire plan on TrainingPeaks (my software and workout logging weapon of choice) including the nutrition I'll be using, supplements, and each detailed daily workout…

…so if you care to join me on my mass-gain journey based on Dan John's principles, in which myself and everyone who joins me will be posting before/after photos on the BenGreenfieldFitness Facebook page (and getting prizes for the best mass gain results) – then simply…

click here to grab my 100% done-for-you Simple Mass Gain Plan for Triathletes and Skinny Endurance Athletes.

In the meantime, if you have a question, comments or feedback about mass made simple or Dan John? Leave your thoughts below!

Ask Ben a Podcast Question

21 thoughts on “A Legendary Strength Coach’s Secrets to Build Mass Fast Without Destroying Your Body.

  1. Zack Achatz says:

    Hey guys,
    I went through the 6 week program from MMS and liked it a lot, but now that I’m done with it I don’t know what to do next. I enjoyed the organizational platform from the book and would like to find another book to fallow.
    Does anyone have anything suggestions?


  2. Jeff says:

    Hey Ben, great website! I follow you on twitter. I am an endurance athlete and trained hard this winter, looking to build mass back up. I cant find a link to this video?

    1. Is this the muscle building video you are looking for? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9MIdBujNChE

  3. Dan Mc says:

    What kind of weight did you end up doing? I’ve completed my 5th W/O and is taking me roughly 90 seconds to do complex and about the same for my 30 squats on last set! Sound about right?

    1. Yep, that sounds about right. It's been almost a year, so I don't remember my exact weights. I know I'd typically do that complex with 135-155 however…

  4. abe223 says:

    Ben, how'd the MMS program go? Is there somewhere we can find your progress in strength and lean mass gains? I didn't come across anything on your Facebook page.

    Also, what do you think about doing the MMS program following a 16/8 IF protocol with the goal of cutting and retaining/building a bit of muscle? I'm not really looking to bulk right now but I'd like to do the routine since it looks like a challenge. Thanks.

    1. Not doing a lot of logging on this but long story short: I did all 14 workouts in the plan and got hella strong. You can see exactly what I did at: http://goo.gl/pO306h

      However, the parasitic infection I got in Thailand REALLY set me back as I lost nearly 12 pounds over the endeavor. I definitely got tougher/stronger on the program though! In the end only put on 7 pounds. Tempted to go through it again, but we'll see if I have time before jumping into my Spartan plan.

  5. Running_FF says:

    Question about the barbell complexes. What type of clean? Is it dealer's choice or a specific type?

    1. I've been doing Power Cleans. Since Dan isn't all that specific in the book, I am sure "Dealer's Choice" is cool :)

      1. Running_FF says:

        Cool. I've been doing power cleans as well. Thanks!

  6. collinaldous says:

    When doing the 2-3-5 Bench Press as outlined in Mass Made Simple, is the rest between 2 rep, 3 rep, 5 rep happen on the rack, or do you keep the bar in your hands in the up position?

    Also in the Single Arm Overhead Press 2-3-5 as outlined in Mass Made Simple, I read on Dan John's website that you do 2 presses left arm, 2 presses right arm, 3 left arm, 3 right arm, 5 left arm, 5 right arm.
    Is that how you are doing it?

    Also in regard to the Single Arm Overhead Press, I am wondering if you use one dumbbell/kettlebell and switch back and forth between hands (seems awkward) or do you use two dumbbell/kettlebells.

    Thank you for any clarification.

    On a side note, I will give the higher fat diet a go while doing this program and will report back to you.
    I'll track my lifts and body comp throughout.

    My previous experience when tracking body comp is that I tend to lose muscle and gain fat when I don't eat enough carbs.
    Although that was on a high protein, high carb, lower fat diet (all paleo sources of food).

    1. Bench Press: keep the bar in your hands, just lock the elbows and take a couple breaths.
      Overhead Press: 2-3-5 weak arm and then 2-3-5 strong arm with just a simple hand off in between.
      Keep me up to date!

      1. collinaldous says:

        Thank you. I really appreciate it.

  7. Oddwell / Jim Newell says:

    Hey Ben,
    I hope I am not mixing up podcasts, but I believe you and Dan talked about leg shakes when lifting or doing other strength training. If I am not mistaken, you said the stronger person will shake more. If so, why is this? It seems counterintuitive. If not, feel free to block the comment.

    1. Greater muscle fiber activation and more "mass" to shake!

  8. Cesar says:


    Perfect timing for this interview! I am currently working on gaining quality mass for a physique contest next year. My question is, what % of the 1RM are the 30/50 set of squats should be done?

    1. Pretty high percentage. I use about 75% of 1RM. I have to stop and rest every 3-5 reps for a set of 30!

  9. vegpedlr says:

    Good interview. I read the book to see what it's all about, and I'm intrigued. I'm very interested to see how this all works out. Hopefully you'll give some regular updates.

  10. thomascz says:


    AS soon as i can i listen to this program. When you are an ectomorph trying to get mass and muscle, the main adice you hear is : eat eat eat and eat, especially enough meat and lot of carbs. and break your muscle in hadcore workout to make then rebuild two times their initial size.

    I really have problem with the "eat a lot of carbs" part of this advice since we know that carbs mess up the brain, the body. But the question is could we become 1/ massmuscleman 2/ high energy level with the 150 g carbs/day we are adviced in our discussion network? Especially when ectomorph.

    That what i would be looking to hear in that podcast

    1. Take a look at this post https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2012/05/can-y… Eating "a lot of carbs" is not necessary.

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