Subscribe & Save 10%
Free Shipping & Returns

How Abel Used Bigger Leaner Stronger to Gain 39 Pounds of Muscle


"I feel strong, I'm not as fragile and breakable as I used to feel!"

Abel's Progress

Progress Image Before
Progress Image Before
Progress Image After
Progress Image After

How many months’ progress do your pictures represent? What were your stats for each picture?

These pictures represent my first and last week of The Year One Challenge. I started at 143 pounds at 12% body fat and finished some 15 months later at 181.5 pounds at 14% body fat.

What has happened so far on the program?

As you can see from my before picture, I was skin and bones so I pretty much bulked from day one until the very last day of the program. What I like about my progress is that this was straight-up muscle building.

I had a hard time doing the bench press warm-up because the bar was already my heavy set so I had to grab the dumbbells for that. So yeah, I started from zero.

I gained almost 40 pounds of body weight and kept my body fat almost the same. This is by far the best case scenario I could ever expect to get from this program. To be honest, even when I was planing, I only expected to gain 20 pounds so it was an amazing surprise to have to move my target halfway through. Oh, these newbie gains are so nice!

Here’s a breakdown of my main lifts:

Deadlift: 3 sets X 6 reps, 90 pounds –> 3 sets X 4 reps, 260 pounds
Military press: 3 sets X 4 reps, 40 pounds –> 3 sets X 6 reps, 80 pounds (I had to treat a shoulder impingement for a few months)
Bench Press: 3 sets X 6 reps, 45 pounds –>3 sets X 6 reps, 135 pounds
Squat: 3 sets X 6 reps, 85 pounds –> 3 sets X 4 reps, 240 pounds

What workout split from the book did you use?

I did the 5 day split. It was a nice secondary challenge to get to the gym that many times a week. Before the end of Phase 1 (2 months in) it was second nature already. I would wake up Tuesday feeling like it’s deadlift day. 🙂

What, if anything, almost kept you from buying the book or starting the program?

During the last 10 years, I made two attempts of going to the gym. First one I was living in Italy so eating a lot became very easy but I had no structure or real objective/measuring system so both times it only lasted for 5 or 6 months and then back to square one.

It became such a pointless effort that I completely gave up. Being skinny wasn’t a real problem for me so I just accepted it as that’s what life is. Oh man, all that muscle confusion and being a “hard-gainer” really put me off.

I came across Bigger Leaner Stronger because an ex-girlfriend’s brother, who is taller than me (and almost as skinny) gained so much muscle I thought I should at least read the book. It was just great to see that this is so much simpler then they try to make it.

I guess it’s only because if people find out how simple it is then you can’t make as much money of it. So I’m so happy that Mike was like “this is all bull-crap, let me show you how effective simple can be”. (In my imagination, of course haha!)

Did it change my life for the better? You bet! So much so I have at least 6 other friends in the program now and I preach this book to anyone half interested in starting to work out.

What do you like most about the program?

It was so great to read that I don’t need to confuse my muscles and live on supplements. It was as good to read an honest opinion on how long it takes to achieve the body I always dreamed of.

Mike isn’t telling you that you’ll be ripped in 2 weeks but I know for a fact that if you eat right and do the exercises you are bound to get there (and it’s quick too! Just not magic).

Another great thing was how easy it is to see if you are making progress at the gym. Once you reach 3 sets of 6, add just 2.5 pounds next week and start again. Depending on the exercise you will add even more, especially at the very beginning which is great to keep the motivation going.

If you are stuck, check nutrition, check rest, maybe rest a few days more, and back to the gym. Again, simple. This is just great.

How does this program compare with others you’ve tried?

Straight forward, simple, and effective. Everything anyone needs to start this journey and stay in it for the long run.

How has what you’ve achieved with your body changed other areas of your life?

Ten years ago I discovered I had ventricular tachycardia, which is a non-life-threatening condition where the heart just misses a beat one in a while. It’s nothing much and it didn’t bother me (too much) but with time it became worse and worse to the point that I used to have one a minute to the point the I would have a couple of good beats a minute.

So I was naturally worried that this looked like it was going to a point where an intervention would be needed. I would get dizzy walking to work and would spend too many nights awake counting those damn beats. An evil downward spiral because stress makes it worse so you get the point.

I finally decided to do the surgery (called an ablation) after doing every single test possible to make sure my condition was still non-life-threatening. (I’m being specific here in case any reader has this and is lost in internet forums as I was)

During the surgery after the doctor found and burned the problematic area in the heart, it was like flipping a switch off. (You have to be awake during the procedure,. It’s totally fine and less scary than it sounds).

Long story short, my doctor asked me what I was looking forward to do and I said “I wanna hit the gym!”
That’s what I did. Armed with Bigger Leaner Stronger, The Year One Challenge, and Meal Plan!

Every day I feel like I’m strong, that I’m not as fragile and breakable as I used to feel. I’m happy to see that even not doing crazy weights I’m not outsourcing my health to the system. I’m responsible for my well being and that includes keeping the body in shape, eating nutritious foods, and resting properly.

I’m just so glad I had this chance encounter with Bigger Leaner Stronger and that knowledge allied with my dedication and perseverance turned me the best version of myself. Still, so much more work to do and I’m happy to get it done.

Who would you recommend this program to and why?

Everyone, every age, body type or level of experience can learn something from this.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Just a few quick things to keep in mind.

1. Form overweight. What I improved the most during this time wasn’t the weight I’m pulling, it’s how I’m pulling. Don’t challenge yourself to beat some imaginary gym nemesis. Nobody cares and if you injure yourself the fun is over.

2. Everyone in the gym has their own path. So spend your time focusing on yourself. That guy doing a half rep might be ill-informed or coming from a rip replacement procedure so be humble and do your thing.

3. Eat nutritious food. Once you get your head around macros and get used to it, start thinking of micronutrients. McDonald’s carbs are not the same as whole food carbs.

4. I’m vegan and have achieved these results with this diet. Does it matter? Not really. Why am I mentioning this? I have been to professional nutritionists and one of them (an expensive fellow who would only take people form the 1%) said that if I didn’t eat meat I wouldn’t produce testosterone and would became a feminized impotent man.

He was happy to take my money though, so good for him! So to all you vegans out there, if my progress isn’t the proof that plants also have protein, nothing will. Also, I didn’t grow boobs or became impotent so go eat your veggies and hit the gym! I do drink a lot of vegan protein shakes to keep my carbs quota in check, so you’ll need a couple of those a day for sure.

5. Recently I’ve done 4 weeks of cutting to get back to 10-11% body fat. Much respect for everyone who has to cut for months on end.

That is all! If you are reading this and have been told you are a hard gainer, fear not. Bigger Leaner Stronger is here to help.

Did you use any Legion supplements?

I did use Recharge for as long as the 3 pack I bought lasted. I’m in Canada and can’t wait to be able to buy locally and not pay the shipping costs. That will make the price on par with the others I buy.

Readers' Ratings

5/5 (2)

Your Rating?

Want to become a success story too? Here's how he did it

The program that made this transformation possible:

The meal plan that makes building muscle and losing fat easy and enjoyable:

If you enjoyed this article, get weekly updates. It's free.

100% Privacy. We don't rent or share our email lists.

You May Also Like

Our Most Popular Evidence-Based Articles

Our 100% "It’s-On-Us" Money-Back Guarantee

No matter what you decide to buy, you're always protected by our ironclad, 100% money-back guarantee that works like this:

If you don't absolutely love our stuff for whatever reason, you get a prompt and courteous refund. No forms to fill out or hoops to jump through.

That means you can say "yes" now and decide later. You really have nothing to lose.

Free Worldwide Shipping & Returns

Many companies use shipping and handling fees to increase their profit margins, but here at Legion, we hate profits so our shipping is 100% free!

Okay, we do dig on profits, but we also go in for happy customers, and free shipping works like gangbusters.

So, if you live in the United States, your order ships free regardless of order size, and if you live anywhere else, your order ships free when it’s over $199.

Why the restriction on international orders? Unfortunately, shipping abroad is very expensive, and if we didn’t require a minimum order size, we’d lose a lot of money.

That said, as most international customers spend about $200 with us each time they shop, this setup is a win-win.

And no matter what you decide to buy, you’re always protected by our ironclad, 100% money-back guarantee that works like this:

If you don’t absolutely love our stuff for whatever reason, you get a prompt and courteous refund. No forms to fill out or hoops to jump through.

That means you can say “yes” now and decide later. You really have nothing to lose.

Clinically Effective Doses

Great ingredients aren't enough to make a great product—you also need correct doses.

That’s why we use the exact doses of every ingredient that have safely produced the desired benefits in peer-reviewed studies.

Made in USA

Where your supplements are made matters, because rules and regulations regarding quality and purity differ from country to country.

And if you want to ensure the supplements you’re swallowing every day are safe and effective, you want products produced in the USA.

That’s why all of our supplements are made in America in NSF-certified and FDA-inspected facilities that operate in accordance with the Current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) regulations.

We pay a premium to work with the best manufacturers in the country, but it’s the only way we can also produce the best all-natural sports supplements.

Lab Tested

Did you know that studies have shown that many supplements contain dangerously high levels of toxins like lead, arsenic, and cadmium?

Not ours.

Every ingredient of every supplement we produce is tested for heavy metals, microbes, allergens, and other contaminants to ensure they meet the strict purity standards set by the FDA.

Naturally Sweetened & Flavored

While artificial sweeteners may not be as dangerous as some people claim, studies suggest that regular consumption of these chemicals may indeed be harmful to our health and that more research is needed.

That’s why all of our supplements are naturally sweetened and flavored and contain no artificial food dyes, fillers, or other unnecessary junk.

Science-Backed Ingredients & Doses

Unlike some supplement companies, we don’t sell dubious white labeled or off-the-shelf formulations.

Instead, our custom and unique formulations are the result of extensive reviews of the scientific literature to discover the most effective ingredients for each.

Buy now, pay later.

Split your entire online purchase into 4 interest-free payments, over 6 weeks with no impact to your credit.

payment break down 25% today, 25% 2 weeks, 25% 4 weeks, 25% 6 weeks


2 weeks

4 weeks

6 weeks

Here's how to Sezzle

Step 1 - shop the store


Shop and add items to your cart as normal!

Step 2 - checkout at the store


Choose Sezzle at Checkout! You’ll be redirected to Sezzle to Sign Up or Log In to complete your order.

Step 3 - Select Sezzle and Sezzleit

Sezzle it

Your order will be shipped out right away* and your payments will be split up over 6 weeks.

*shipping times subject to merchant shipping policy

Download the App

Shop directory. Reschedule payments. Plus more!

Meal Plan Waiver

In consideration of being allowed to participate in the activities and programs offered by Legion Athletics, Inc. and to use its nutrition programs and supplement and training advice, in addition to the payment of any fee or charge, I do hereby waive, release and forever discharge and hold harmless Legion Athletics, Inc. and its consultants, officers, agents, and employees from any and all responsibility, liability, cost and expenses, including injuries or damages, resulting from my participation in any activities, or my use of any programs designed by Legion Athletics, Inc. I do also hereby release Legion Athletics, Inc. its consultants, officers, agents and employees from any responsibility or liability for any injury, damage or disorder (physical, metabolic, or otherwise) to myself, or in any way arising out of or connected with my participation in any activities with Legion Athletics, Inc.

I understand that Legion Athletics, Inc. and its consultants, officers, agents, and employees are not healthcare professionals. The services I have received from Legion Athletics, Inc do not provide or offer and are not a replacement for professional medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis, or treatment (“medical advice”). While Legion Athletics, Inc. believes that the information provided through our services and the site is current and reliable, Legion Athletics, Inc. cannot and does not make any such guarantee or warranty.

I hereby agree that before using our services, you will consult your physician or other health care provider for medical advice, particularly if you are at risk for problems arising from changes in your diet or lifestyle. The services provided by Legion Athletics, Inc. are not intended to be used by minors or individuals with health conditions that makes the kind of changes to diet or lifestyle suggested by our services unsafe or inappropriate. Furthermore, I hereby understand that Legion Athletics, Inc. shall have no obligation or responsibility to monitor my health status or health condition or to contact or alert any medical or emergency professional.

I understand and am aware that strength, flexibility, and aerobic exercise, including the use of equipment are a potentially hazardous activity. I also understand that fitness activities involve a risk of injury and even death, and that I am voluntarily participating in these activities and using equipment and machinery with knowledge of the dangers involved. I hereby agree to expressly assume and accept any and all risks of injury or death related to said fitness activities. In addition, I certify that I am 18 years of age or older.

I do hereby further declare myself to be physically sound and suffering from no condition, impairment, disease, infirmity or other illness that would affect nutrient metabolism or prevent my participation or use of equipment or machinery except as hereinafter stated. I do hereby acknowledge that Legion Athletics, Inc. has recommended to me that I obtain a physician’s approval for my participation in an exercise/fitness activity or in the use of exercise equipment and machinery. I also acknowledge that Legion Athletics, Inc. has recommended that I have a yearly or more frequent physical examination and consultation with my physician as to physical activity, exercise and use of exercise and training equipment so that I might have his/her recommendations concerning these fitness activities and equipment use. I acknowledge that I have either had a physical examination and been given my physician’s permission to participate, or that I have decided to participate in activity and use of equipment, machinery, and programs designed by Legion Athletics, Inc. without the approval of my physician and do hereby assume all responsibility for my participation and activities, and utilization of equipment and machinery in my activities.

I understand that all diet and training programs, nutrition and supplementation advice, and any and all other forms of information obtained from Legion Athletics, Inc. are not meant to treat or manage any health condition. I understand the need to consult with a healthcare provider prior to adjusting current lifestyle or eating habits or beginning any new diet and/or training plan.

In addition, I hereby represent and warrant that I am currently covered by an accident and health insurance policy. With my purchase of products or services from Legion Athletics, Inc., I understand that results of any sort are not guaranteed and agree not to hold Legion Athletics, Inc. staff liable for any outcomes or a lack thereof. With my purchase of any Legion Athletics, Inc. products or services, I understand that they are only guaranteed to work in software designed for a PC computer such as Microsoft Excel. I understand that I am purchasing having known that beforehand and understand that using any other application besides Microsoft Excel might result in the products not working with 100% functionality.


Security Check

Please click the checkbox below. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Fact Checked

Our scientific review board of nutritionists, dietitians, molecular biologists, doctors, and other accredited experts is responsible for reviewing every article, podcast, and video we produce to ensure they’re evidence based, accurate, trustworthy, and current.

Thanks to their connections, credentials, and academic experience, this team of MDs, PhDs, and other professionals has access to a wealth of research published in the largest and most prestigious journals in the world.

This allows them to not only review individual studies but also analyze the overall weight of the evidence on any and all topics related to diet, exercise, supplementation, and more.

If you feel that any of our content is inaccurate, misleading, out-of-date, or anything less than factual, please let us know in the comments section of the article in question.

Evidence Based

We follow a detailed, rigorous, multi-step process to create content that meets the highest standards of clarity, practicality, and scientific integrity.

First, our research associates provide our editorial team with accurate, up-to-date, proven scientific evidence.

Then, our editorial team uses this research to draft articles and outlines for podcasts and videos.

Finally, our scientific review board reviews the content to ensure all key information and claims are backed by high-quality scientific research and explained simply and precisely.

If you feel that any of our content is inaccurate, misleading, out-of-date, or anything less than factual, please let us know in the comments section of the article in question.