UPDATE: I forgot it was PR Friday — post training records and updates to the comments. Chime in if you don’t have any; it’s good to hear from you guys. And if you’ve never posted before, don’t be scared. Nobody will bite you…hard.

Dmitry Klokov is my favorite weightlifter. Is it because he is my Facebook friend? Is it because he is my Russian speedo bro? Is it because in his reply to my message he put a smiley face emoticon? No, it’s because he’s intense as fuck AND is jacked. I’ve always had a fascination with strength and musculature, and I appreciate when both are represented seamlessly. This is why Doug Young and Anatoly Pisranko are the co-captains of 70’s Big instead of Paul Anderson.

Enter “SWOLE“, an e-book by my friend Johnny Pain. This book has been out for at least a month, but I wanted to give it my full attention before I reviewed it as I anticipated how much it would help 70’s Big readers. And it doesn’t disappoint.

The theme of this e-book is gaining lean, hard (earmuffs) mass without putting on unnecessary levels of fat (which JP refers to as “getting fat-fucked”). While an excess of calories is needed in order to increase lean body mass, this doesn’t mean it’s necessary to eat pizza and ice cream to do it. It’s never been my intention to get fat nor has it been my recommendation that anyone get fat, yet the early stages of this website put a premium on junk food as a method of accumulating calories to grow (with the secondary message implying that if you get fat, you should modify your diet). Yes, that’s certainly one way of doing it; the easy way. However, it’s possible to steadily but surely increase both strength and musculature without excessive body fat gains to achieve maximum jackage, but it’s the hard way.

“The most common reason that people are unhappy with their body composition, whether in the context of trying to add mass, lose body fat, or attempting to do both at the same time, is that they often lack the kind of accountability for their diet that is necessary to make the changes that they are after. If you want your body to change for the better, you need to be keeping score.”

JP spends the obligatory amount of time explaining how getting bigger without ending up like a doughy mess is not only possible, but regularly done in the bodybuilding world. Did you cringe at the end of that last sentence? It’s because fat guys who lift weights and the functional fitness community would lead you to believe the bodybuilding community is narcissistic, gay, stupid, weird, and so on (failing to point out that any community that is large enough is going to include these types of people). In any case, JP does what I do — applies information from other sources into his method of implementation and programming.

The first few chapters discuss the general concepts of the discipline needed to have a good physique developed from a proper diet with quality food (I particularly like the concept of “single-ingredient food choices” AKA real food). In order to gain muscle without looking like a pile of shit, there needs to be a baseline amount of macronutrients that account for the energy your body will normally consume plus some additional amounts to induce growth. Then, when mass gain slows, you add on predetermined “layers” of calories to garner progress.

“It’s time to get some good information on nutrition and how to build up the body the right way. Be accountable, take responsibility and above all educate yourself about safe sex, because you will be having a lot more of it.”

Then the book shifts into implementation by defining what those layers are and how they can be added or removed. I won’t divulge what constitutes the layers (you’ll have to buy the damn thing), but the real genius in JP’s method is creating a really fucking simple way to gauge amounts of food instead of counting grams and measuring out amounts. Then, each additional layer is an equally simple method of increasing the caloric content…by a small amount.

“If you haven’t gathered by now, the idea of adding things in small increments is one of the most vitally important principles to adding mass without significant body fat accumulation.”

And therein lies the “magic”. Instead of “eat more to recover, pussy,” there is a carefully created system that will allow a trainee to titrate his food up or down based on his results. It really is an impressive way to eradicate all of the problems associated with eating properly when trying to get swole.

Lastly, JP discusses some very basic ways to gauge progress over time; instead of waiting until there’s a giant belly button and love handles, trainees will collect some simple data points to see if the diet is too much, too little, or just right. The easiest and most profound method is to use regular photos of the body to gauge fat increase — the pics don’t lie.

You’ll notice I’ve used words like “basic”, “simple”, and “easy” throughout this review; JP simplifies the concepts to a manageable diet that even the laziest of guys can implement seamlessly. As with most things that are worth a fuck, the concept is very simple, yet having the discipline to do it is hard. I’ve never met anyone that said, “I want to be really strong and a fat piece of shit!” If you’re worried about the latter, then purchase the book and take control of your body weight.

JP is also always available for contact on the forums at StrengthVillain.com.

Having a Herculean physique (or Apollonian for you bodybuilding history terminology nerds) is something that the overwhelming majority of the earth’s population will never experience. It is truly an extraordinary accomplishment, and therefore requires extraordinary measures. If sucking it up and drinking a gallon of milk a day was all that was nutritionally required in order to add loads of muscle, don’t you think there would be a lot more god-like physiques out there walking around?