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May 05, 2021 10 min read
If you’ve been in the fitness social media sphere for any amount of time, you might be familiar with some of Martyn’s stunts. For example, he’s jumped out of a pool while waist-deep.
He’s also tried flipping a car over like Superman, and he’s benched a barbell with a girl holding onto either side. But this bodybuilder’s flashiness doesn’t stop with his stunts—his physical aesthetic is incredibly impressive as well.
Down below we’ve broken down the exact mindset and steps you can incorporate to get a bit closer to a hulking physique like Martyn’s.
Martyn got an early start and began working out when he was 15 years old. He participated in some bodybuilding competitions, but he gained fame from his viral stunts on social media, becoming an influencer. Starting a YouTube channel in 2014, he now has around 3 million subscribers.
He also owns a clothing line and runs a gym: Zoo Culture. The philosophy behind it was to create a more inviting place where people actively help each other get better.
Although these days Martyn is focused on his side hustles and his social media presence, particularly YouTube, he does have a solid history of entering (and winning) bodybuilding competitions. Here are some of his highlights:
Martyn follows a pretty conventional bodybuilding routine. To maximize hypertrophy (muscle growth rather than strength), there’s a lot of isolation exercises on top of compound movements.
The key difference between this and strength training is in the weights and reps: for bodybuilding, you’ll want to be doing light to medium weights but while increasing the volume by ramping up the reps.
Martyn also follows a fairly conventional split, sometimes focusing on one body part per day, five times a week. It can be broken down as such:
But we don’t want to give the impression that this is a strict breakdown in any way. In fact, Martyn has said that other than just including the main compound power lifts of bench press, deadlifts, overhead press, and squats, he will always be switching things up throughout the week.
Those lifts ensure that he’s hitting every major muscle group either way. He may even change the number of times he works a body part through the week, or go as far as to work out less or more depending on how he’s feeling.
While this attitude may seem more laissez-faire than what we’re used to when it comes to guys in peak physical condition, the easy-going nature is a big plus for avoiding burnout and overtraining. Something that did at one point remain consistent in Martyn’s workouts was the arm day.
This was because every day was arm day according to him. This may sound like overkill, but if done properly and at a lower weight, it can be fantastic for developing a muscle. It’s also part of the reason why high rep counts are terrific at cultivating more muscle mass.
Doing something like arms every day (or the same exercise all day, throughout the day), is fantastic for cultivating a mind-muscle connection. If you do each rep by putting your mind “inside” the muscles being worked, and do them with intention and perfect form, those muscles are guaranteed to grow. The added benefit is also that you’ll be increasing the time under tension, eliciting even more development.
As you can probably imagine in that case, it’s difficult to pin down one, set workout in order to emulate Martyn and his physique. For him, it’s entirely about personalizing workouts to the individual; our bodies are all different, so why should our workouts be the same?
This, obviously, comes with experience, and no one should start working out by running into a gym to do whatever they feel like. A fitness trainer can help on this end, or a knowledgeable lifter. But once you’ve established a firm base to work off of—both in terms of physique and knowledge—you’ll be able to better cater your workouts to your overall goals.
Stretching is always, very important. However, another unique aspect of Martyn’s workouts is that he places much less emphasis on the core than usual. In fact, he’s mentioned that core workouts are overhyped—especially if you’re looking to get abs.
And there is an argument to be made here. If actually done properly with the right muscles activated, most compound movements work your core as well in order to stabilize. Keeping these things in mind, here is the Martyn training plan:
Day One: Chest
Day Two: Back
Day Three: Shoulders
Day Four: Legs
Day Five: Arms
To get pipes the size of Martyn’s, it’s a sure thing that he’s eating a lot and he’s eating well. When he was competing in bodybuilding competitions, he would implement intermittent fasting into his meal plan. This gives a shorter window of time throughout the day when you’re able to eat.
A basic intermittent fasting plan would give you 12 hours of eating time and 12 hours of fasting time. As you can probably tell, this is relatively easy to implement—it basically just gets rid of evening snacking, since you’re fasting through the night anyway.
The basic premise of intermittent fasting is that you’re able to cut back the time you’re allowed to eat, and therefore you’re cutting back on the amount of food you’re eating. And if you’re trying to stay lean and shredded, this can be a good way to go about it.
Martyn was going about it at a more advanced level, sometimes fasting up to 16 hours per day. While this may seem like a lot, your body and mind do get used to eating in that time frame. Not to mention the benefits of working out on an empty stomach.
Since your body doesn’t have any carbohydrates to draw on, it has to start breaking down body fat as an energy source. This is a great way to lose fat, but it should also be noted that it’s not a great strategy if you’re looking to pack on muscle.
Once your body starts using fat for fuel, it begins breaking down muscle as well. The key, as with all things, is paying attention to your body and having clear-cut goals to see you through the end.
These days when he’s not competing, Martyn takes a more chilled-out approach to eating. For one, he doesn’t do intermittent fasting anymore. In fact, his diet is pretty standard fare: clean, whole foods. However, he tends to be pretty relaxed about things.
For one, he’s a big believer in giving yourself cheat days. Not only does this provide a mental respite, but it gets your body back into the groove of things. He also doesn’t wince at the thought of eating junk foods.
This might go against some of the other athletes we’ve looked at who swear by consistently sticking to a diet, but Martyn’s got it figured out as well. Whether or not he hits up a fast food place, he also knows what macros he’s consuming and how many macros he should be consuming.
And since he’s been doing this for so long, he can listen to his body to be able to tell if he should be cutting back on the calories or loosening his belt. He’s also brought up the fact that he’s not afraid of eating fat or eating carbs. For one, he likes fatty meats because they keep him more satisfied.
Also, fat is necessary for keeping your body healthy and able to produce the chemicals it needs to develop. He also doesn’t shy away from the carbs—at least when he’s looking to pack on some extra muscle. For example, quinoa is a good source of carbs.
The key is to always be adaptable while keeping your eye on the prize. If you do this for long enough, you’ll know your body to the extent where you can tell what you need to consume to feel (and look) good. One interesting aspect to note is Martyn’s strategy for eating food.
Since he does want to ensure that he stays on track but he also wants to not get bored of eating the same things over and over, he’ll actually switch up his protein and vegetable sources week to week. For example, he’ll cycle through beef, chicken, bison, and salmon over the course of a month.
This helps in always knowing how much protein he’s putting into his body since the meals and portions aren’t new to him. However, this is also a great way to not get stuck in any mental ruts or get completely sick of what you’re eating.
The other option would obviously be to switch things up every day; but going from week to week can save a lot of time, especially if you consider meal planning at the start of every week. As with everything else in the Martyn routine, flexibility is the key to success.
When you’re looking to get as jacked as someone like Martyn, the most important nutrient is going to be protein. Not to disparage the importance of fats and carbs, but proteins are literally the building blocks of your muscles, along with a host of other things.
One of the best ways to get extra protein is to supplement—specifically, with whey protein powder.
Whey makes up 20% of the milk protein, and it appears in the water that sits on top of yogurt when you open up a container.
Although it comes from humble beginnings, whey protein is an extremely high-quality source of essential amino acids. If you’re planning on working out anywhere near as much as Martyn, a good quality whey powder is going to be a game-changer.
Creatine, along with whey, is one of the most popular supplements in the world when it comes to improving performance in the gym. Although some people believe that creatine comes with a lot of health risks, this isn’t supported by any evidence—as long as your creatine comes from a good source.
Creatine is already naturally found in your muscle cells, helping your muscles produce energy during heavy exertion. In this case, heavy exertion means heavy lifting or other high-intensity exercises. This is important because it differs from other sources of energy your body uses.
For example, the cardiovascular system is tapped into when a longer-term energy source is needed. Being similar chemically to amino acids, there are several things that dictate how much creatine you naturally have in your muscle cells.
This includes things such as meat consumption, the amount of muscle mass you already have, how much you exercise, and your testosterone levels. The more you’re working out, the more you can stand to benefit from supplementing with some creatine.
There’s a host of benefits that creatine imparts on your body. The biggest factors when it comes to working out are the boost in workload and improvements in cell signaling which help with new muscle growth.
Furthermore, it can help in reducing muscle breakdown post-workout, while also lowering the levels of a certain protein (myostatin) which can inhibit the growth of new muscle tissue. All in all, creatine is a must-have if you’re looking to get anywhere close to Martyn.
Although proteins are important to build muscle, they come in all different shapes and sizes. There are thousands of different proteins in the human body, but they’re all made up out of 20 different amino acids. Of these 20, eleven can be produced naturally in the human body.
This leaves nine that have to be ingested through diet, and we therefore call them the “essential” amino acids. But we can break things down even further! At least when we’re looking at the amino acids that are the most important for when you’re pumping iron.
Of these nine essential amino acids, three of them are unique in that they’re the only ones that are broken down in the muscles rather than in the liver. These branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are found in most protein-rich foods, especially eggs, meats, and dairy. However, supplementing with them further can have added benefits—especially if you’re hitting the gym hard.
The most significant benefit, and the one we’re all interested in the most, is the ability for BCAAs to increase muscle growth.
One study even showed a 22% increase in muscle synthesis in people who finished a resistance workout, as compared to those who did not take the supplement.
On top of this BCAAs are also useful in decreasing how sore your muscles are post-workout. Soreness occurs because of the tiny tears in your muscle fibers that occur when your lift, but BCAAs can help with decreasing this damage.
On top of these already great benefits, this supplement can also reduce your fatigue when exercising while also preventing your body from breaking down muscle for energy.
Although Martyn sports a giant’s physique, his training program seems counterintuitively relaxed. And this may just be an outsider’s perspective since he obviously puts in a lot of work and effort into his aesthetic and health. However, it is important to note the mindset that got him where he is.
For example, he cites patience as one of the most important factors in getting big. No one is going to stroll into a gym and get massive arms and pecs immediately.
This is especially important in the long run: you’re not working out to look better next month or even next year, but to look and feel good 10 years down the road.
And that’s indicative of one of the most important lessons that Martyn’s process can teach us: you have to love what you’re doing. “If you love what you do, you’ll never have to work a day in your life”: it’s a massive cliché, but when it comes to bodybuilding and Martyn, it rings very true.
But this is where a lot of us fail—you can’t make yourself love something. What’s the next best thing? Doing it in a way you love. If that means taking things easy, being patient, and trusting the process, then that’s what’s going to get you gains.