Workout Review: Jim Stoppani's Six-Week Shortcut To Shred

Jim Stoppani’s Six-Week Shortcut To Shred Workout Review

With his gym/kitchen/laboratory hybrid hideaway, Dr Jim is something of a bodybuilding Bond villain.

He holds a doctorate in exercise physiology with a minor in biochemistry from the University of Connecticut.

He also makes a big deal of calculating exact prescriptions of meal macros and workout regimes for a variety of goals, showcased in his ‘Shortcut to…’ series of programmes (for our review of ‘Shortcut to Size’ click here).

Each meal, macro and micronutrient is measured out on his special little scales, he drinks his pre-workout mixtures out of test tubes and cooks his salmon using a Bunsen burner.

Basically, he’s the hardest nerd since Bruce Banner.

Jim Stoppani's Six-Week Shortcut To Shred

There must be something in his science though, as he has helped hone the physiques of a list of celebrities that includes LL Cool J, Dr Dre and even The People’s Champion, The Rock.

But the clincher for me was that Jim counts among his clients one Mario Lopez, better known as Albert Clifford ‘AC’ Slater from 1990s high school documentary series Saved By The Bell.

As a kid, I had the cheeky-chappy charm and snazzy jumpers of a Zack Morris, but in reality I longed to have the sweaty Jheri curls, lycra singlet and physique of Bayside High’s wrestling champion AC Slater.

I had to try one of Jim’s programmes.

I chose Shortcut to Shred for the simple fact that I’d let myself go.

Back in spring, I tore my Achilles playing 5-a-side.

It was a classic ‘his second touch is a tackle’ scenario, and although I did win the ball and nurse it safely back to our keeper, I collapsed in a heap across my own ankle to the tune of my ligament popping.

After a few months away from football and avoiding cardio altogether, when I did manage to drag myself to the gym I was sporting a definite ‘tummy’ and pushing 20% bodyfat.

I decided it was time to sort it out, and found Big Jim’s programme on BodyBuilding.com.

I printed off the e-book, downloaded the app, and made an Asda online order for lots of eggs, grapefruits and Cheesestrings.

Then I sent a message to Henry at Gymtalk offering to write a review of it… and committed myself to six weeks without fried chicken (I moan about food a lot in this review).

Shortcut to Shred overview

Jim Stoppani’s Shortcut To Shred is a six-week programme – basically a crash course – designed to help you “torch fat, drop excess weight, and get lean faster than ever”.

It revolves around a six-workouts-per-week training split, which has you hitting shoulders, traps, chest, back, biceps, triceps and legs two times per week, and abs four times per week.

The weighlifting element is built around microcycles in a periodised scheme, which progresses the sets and reps in order to optimise size and strength development over the six weeks.

Jim incorporates linear periodisation (increasing weight, decreasing reps) for the main compound movements and reverse linear periodisation (decreasing weight, increasing reps) for isolation movements.

Jim Stoppani's Six-Week Shortcut To Shred

The most crucial element of the workouts, however, is what Jim terms “cardio acceleration”, which calls for a minute of high intensity interval training (HIIT) between every set, and is the key to the routine’s fat burning efficacy.

This cardio work can be anything from kettlebell swings and box jumps to tyre flips and picking a fist fight with the gym’s in-house hardman (just ask him what steroids he takes).

The other important element of Shortcut to Shred is, of course, the diet plan.

Alongside a heavy reliance on supplements, Dr Jim prescribes what is essentially a high protein, low carb diet.

Macro tracking is mandatory here, and the stipulation is 1.5g protein and fat per pound of bodyweight per day, and a gradual decrease in carb intake, starting at 1.5g per pound of bodyweight and decreasing to 0.5g over the six week period.

Full details on the workout schedule, along with all the diet and supplement plans, can be found at the link below:

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/jim-stoppani-six-week-shortcut-to-shred.html

Thoughts

There are two things I should warn you about before trying Shortcut to Shred: the breakfasts and the cardio acceleration.

1) The breakfasts are a slog

Waking up to down your supplements half an hour before you prepare six eggs (three whites), a bowl of watery porridge and half a grapefruit is not easy.

However, it gives your metabolism the kickstart it needs for the rest of the day (at least I think it does, I don’t have a PhD like Dr Jim).

2) Cardio acceleration means one thing…

No rest.

At all.

Not even between sets.

airplane surely you can't be serious gif

Nope, you’ve got to do jumping squats, skipping, or fucking burpees (and don’t call me Shirley).

There’s no opportunity to piss about on your phone for three minutes and tell yourself it was only 20 seconds.

Put the bar down, and keep that heartrate up.

I think it’s Jimbodini’s way of sorting the men from the boys.

‘The Abridged Jim Stoppani’s Six Week Shortcut to Shred For The Average Bloke’

At this point you may have noticed that it looks like I’m already making excuses for myself, but there’s a perfectly good explanation for that: I fucking well am making excuses for myself.

Shortcut to Shred would be difficult for someone who lives in a gym and has a personal chef, so for your average 9-5 wage slave who is happy when he makes it to the gym three times a week, this regime is nigh-on impossible.

That’s why I’m not reviewing Jim Stoppani’s Six Week Shortcut to Shred, I’m reviewing ‘The Abridged Jim Stoppani’s Six Week Shortcut to Shred for the Average Bloke’.

This programme requires six strenuous workouts a week and a lot of intermittent snacking, not to mention the politics of cracking open tins of tuna in an open office kitchen.

Therefore I made some alterations to the plan to suit my timetable, and you shouldn’t judge me for it because you will struggle too.

I managed five workouts a week, and did whatever the hell I wanted for my cheat day: the plan dictated that my ‘cheat day’ involve a more relaxed and carby diet, but a restricted diet nonetheless.

I did that my own way – for example, Dr Jim said I could have an individual pizza on the seventh day, but I made a habit of wolfing down the meatiest Asda create-your-own that I could dream up.

This wasn’t because I wasn’t dedicated, rather a psychological coping mechanism that allowed me to endure the programme.

It’s a tough plan, and I’m only human.

A pot-bellied human limiting his chances of becoming less pot-bellied, but a human nonetheless.

Supplements

Another thing I ‘altered’ was the supplement intake, but this is something I didn’t feel guilty about.

Jim Stoppani has his own brand of supplements, and many are included in this plan (funny that), including a few with some fairly dubious backing, such as CLA and Acetyl L-carnitine.

fuck all that reservoir dogs gif

Far be it from me, a pot-bellied AC Slater fetishist with no PhD, to question the necessity of these supplements, I just don’t usually put that much white powder in my body during the week (that’s a joke, mum).

I still included plenty, mind.

I took the full quota of creatine, fish oils, green tea and of course protein powder, and concluded that was plenty.

Overall, the diet is tolerable, but with all the grapefruits, apples, bits of bread and pineapples, I felt like I was in a fucking chimpanzee enclosure.

At times I wanted to take a leaf out of their book and start launching my own shit at Chef Stoppani.

The workouts

In the first week, I loved the workouts, even the cardio acceleration.

The lower weights and higher reps, combined with a fuckload of skipping, were energising.

After each workout I felt good.

brad pitt burn after reading good mood gif

I left absolutely everything in the gym, including gallons of sweat.

I’ve been on bulking programmes before, with weights I can barely handle and reps I can count with one hand, and this was completely different, obviously.

After my workouts in the first week, I felt like I’d run a marathon with my upper body.

Although I have no idea what running a marathon feels like: I’m shredding, not a mentalist.

This felt good, I had earned my third protein shake of the day.

Banana, if you’re asking, though that didn’t help me shift the chimpanzee feeling.

To suit my lifestyle, which involves a 9-5 job and an hour commute each way, I varied my workout times.

Jimbo said I could do this in the comments section of the website, before you go off grassing.

Usually, I prefer working out in the morning because I can get more time in.

Getting decent session time is essential with the Shortcut to Shred, because workouts can take a couple of hours, which is not dinner hour-friendly.

Sometimes I’d sneak to the gym in the middle of the day when my boss was out of the office (creative licence Stephen, honestly), as I felt it suited the plan better to work out between midday(ish) supps and lunch, but most of the time I had to compromise.

Diet

Speaking of lunch, BORING.

A tin of tuna, a slither of fake mayo, and some wholemeal bread (in the first week).

Oh yeah, and the other half of that fucking grapefruit.

Not a Cheesestring in sight.

The lunches made me question whether I was a shredder at all.

I was praying to the ghosts of the Mitchell brothers for dirty gains and a dad bod.

give me pizza meme

The meals change as the plan progresses, and you do get to eat more carbs later in the programme, but you don’t need me to list the menu like a waiter.

Just know that you get to have steak and sweet, sweet potatoes for tea.

Everything else in this meal plan gets boring.

I think it was Samuel Johnson who said, “when a man is tired of steak, he is tired of life”, or some shit.

Olive oil, salt, pepper, paprika, sit at room temperature, hot-as-fuck griddle pan, rare.

Always rare.

Excuse me, I need a minute.

Right, wank over, I didn’t need the testosterone anyway.

Results

At the end of the first week I felt completely changed, in a good way.

In terms of my mental stamina, this was crucial.

I needed quick results, and I got them.

I might have quit if I didn’t believe it was worth it.

I felt stronger and, crucially, less bloated and fat.

Alright, I wasn’t Brad Pitt (topical – you’re welcome, GymTalk SEO department) in Fight Club, but I was definitely already heading in that direction.

It got harder though; the first week soon felt like a breeze in retrospect.

You really don’t get to rest.

I’ve always been told that well-timed rests can be just as important as the workouts, but that doesn’t seem to be the case with Shortcut to Shred – it’s non-fucking-stop.

As with most of these things, the battle is more psychological than physical.

You can do it, sure, but can you actually bring yourself to?

The workouts get more difficult, the food gets less appealing, but the results keep coming.

Big commitment, big reward.

I was really happy with the aesthetic results I was getting but the real victory was the way I felt.

I was sleeping easier, waking easier, concentrating more at work, all that Woman’s Weekly shit.

The other day, after finishing the course, I ate the biggest plate of the greasiest fried chicken I dared to make.

It was heaven, but soon went straight through me as the squits the other end.

I overshare because I think it illustrates the negative effects of crash courses like Shortcut to Shred versus a balanced lifestyle.

As much of a slog as it was, six weeks is a very short amount of time for any goal.

If you’re used to treating yourself to the odd burger or bucket of chicken – which I’d say is fine – the Shortcut to Shred diet is a shock to the system, and an even bigger shock when you go back.

Just a heads up – for the sixth week I would recommend adding toilet roll to the turkey, avocado and brown rice on your shopping list.

You’ll notice the recently scalped toilet roll in my ‘after’ photo.

Jim Stoppani's Six-Week Shortcut To Shred transformation

Summary

To summarise, if you’re not an unemployed person who lives in a gym, kitchen, or zoo, Shortcut to Shred might not be for you.

The full course, with the levels of dedication and discipline required, would probably be perfect for a competition bodybuilder.

But if your timetable is as bang average as mine, I’d definitely give my patented Abridged Jim Stoppani’s Shortcut to Shred For Average Blokes a recommendation, as the results, in such a short timeframe, were still impressive.

I get married next year, and I think I might do this again a couple of months before saying ‘I do’.

Have you tried Shortcut to Shred or any other Jim Stoppani routines?

Thinking of giving it a go?

I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below!

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  1. Yeah as a stay at home dad who lives in the gym and kitchen, I do think we may give it a go, though I may have to add in more shakes and a little less on the solids.

    1. Sounds like you are well placed.

      I would recommend it, but there are a lot of shakes involved; the solids kind of feel like a break.

      The cheese strings were the highlight of my day.

      1. Sort of started it today, in my own abridged version, though I will begin in earnest Monday, I most notably added in cardio acceleration in the form of a lot of light weight kettlebell swings, goblet squats, and body weight squats, as well as cleans.

        Light light weight, mind, only 10 kg, but after 100s of them, that is enough!

        I want to thank you for this review, I knew how to bulk all too well, but was clueless how to really cut.

        I really appreciate this as it was not only timely, but honestly answered a lot of my own questions.

  2. Great read man!

    I’ll be looking into this and seeing if I can’t take some concepts from it adapt it for my purposes.

    1. Thanks mate!

      I’d definitely recommend it as an adaptable programme.

      Very difficult to complete the whole thing, and some food just tastes too good to cut out – life’s all about balance!

  3. Cracking read – have been looking to lose a bit of weight, and this looks great

  4. Hey, this article is brilliant.

    I am 18 and I am slightly overweight but I want to lose this weight while gaining muscle.

    With this being said, I wanted to ask if you think I should do this programme or Shortcut to Size or an entirely different programme?

    As I am a student, I would not be following the diet or supplement plan, with that being said I would not eat unhealthy either and would have shakes.

    1. Hi, thanks mate!

      I haven’t done the Shortcut to Size but I think the Shred program that I did could be right up your street.

      But as I said in my review, the program is definitely open to adaptation – you could have frozen white fish instead of expensive steaks every night, for example.

      Try to stick to the food plan in principle: eating times, macros etc.

      You won’t build muscle if not.

      Cheers for reading!

    2. Hey there.

      I am a student too.

      So I would recommend you to go and shred first.

      Then go to shortcut to size to bulk.

      First cut and then shred to make it easier for you to look aesthetically pleasing if that’s what you want.

      And yeah just eat healthy mainly, I would say main foods that are good are cottage cheese, greek yogurt, tuna, sardines, frozen chicken.

      These are all quite cheap from some places.

      Goodluck

  5. Haha!!

    Really great website, I will adopt some of the things from it.

    Really motivating post

  6. Hey Hi,

    It’s really meaningful, and I am full time employed person and yes I should not follow the shortcut.

    So I’ll follow some your tips.

  7. Eyup mate are you the bloke who wrote the blog on Shortcut to Shred?

    I’m thinking about doing it now because I’ve got a week off from gym and tbh I paid a personal trainer about hundred quid and all I’ve got to show for it are man tits and a deflated ego.

    You said you adapted the shred to 5 days, can you tell us how?

    I don’t fancy that much of my time in a gym if I’m honest with my last few weeks of uni coming up and basically wanna trim off the love handles so I don’t look like a total sack of wet dogshit when we go on holiday in a few months.

    Ta if you get a chance to respond and the blog made me laugh too.

  8. Just started working full-time and definitely feeling the effects of long work hours on my overall fitness (read “growth of man boobs and love handles”).

    Yesterday I came back from a ‘lads trip’ and although I enjoyed it I felt like shit afterwards.

    I felt that enough is enough and after searching the web I came across J. Stoppani’s workout and gave the first day a go.

    Needless to say, it slapped me sideways.

    My problem with it is the 6 days.

    I am also thinking of cutting it to 5 days (although even 5 days seems tough since there are certain work days where I would have no energy at all to workout after a day at work as sometimes I work later than 9-5).

    I am thinking of dropping the second leg, calves and shoulders day?

    Any thoughts on this?

    Or would you try to mix and match different days to combine them into 1?

  9. 3pm cheese strings were the highlight!

    I loved those.

    I was hoping for a good regimen after this… hopefully with pizza, crown, and burgers.

  10. I was at the end of week 4 when I decided to see what others thought of the programme – mainly for inspiration and motivation to get through the last two weeks.

    I have been lifting weights for 2-3 years and struggled to find the perfect scenario of building muscle whilst dropping body fat at the same time – a very confusing paradox.

    Shortcut to Shred ticks all the boxes by covering the workout, diet and supplementation – it is the holy grail of programmes.

    People say it is a marathon, not a sprint, but Shortcut to Shred seems to break all the rules.

    I, like you, saw and felt results after 7-10 days and with 2 weeks left to go my commitment has earned me ‘Member of the Month’ at the gym – even though I look like a complete idiot running on the spot and jumping up and down – a small price to pay for all the gainz!

    I didn’t take the supplementation too seriously, I threw a handful of tablets at my face and whatever went in my mouth I swallowed.

    If I couldn’t make a workout I just rolled it over to the following day, or Monday if it fell on a weekend.

    If I was knackered one particular day I would just run on the spot for cardio or jumped on the X-trainer.

    Enjoyed the review, a good balance of facts, insight and comedy.

    Have you considered a career as a professional blogger or journalist?!

    Good to see others have found the programme good and looking at the progress photos you achieved a lot.

    Interested to know how you got on with the wedding?

  11. I just started this work out yesterday I’m trying to stick to the diet but I’m not doing very good at it.

    But the workouts are super intense and I love every bit of it so far plus I’m in the army so I’m doing regular pt on top of that.

    Loved the article it was a great read.

  12. Great results.

    Why not just have 1.5 grams of protein/lb, appropriate amount of carbs/lb, and .5g fat /lb and then eat whatever you want to fit the macros?

    That way it’s not so damn boring.

    There’s no magic to those specific meals – they’re just examples.

    How was the rebound?

  13. How long were the workouts?

    Shortcut To Size ended up on average lasting 2 hours!

    Even with only 1 min rests.

    I work up to my lifting weight which takes time to get a good workout.

    I already work 10-12 hours a day I don’t have time to do 120 mins to workout

  14. Anyone know how can i recover my password to get back on track?

    Thanks

  15. I have a question regarding the diet when you go from a 1.5 carbs per pound to 1 to 0.5 do you calculate that before starting the program or before each phase.

    I weigh 165 so before starting it would be 247.5 Protein, 82.5 Fats, 247 Carbs, 2nd phase 165, 3rd phase 82.5?

    Thanks

  16. I tried the Six-Week Shortcut To Shred, but felt after just 4 or 5 days I was overtraining.

    I was tired/run down constantly, and taking naps in the day.

    I felt achy and sore, weak and sluggish most days.

    The workout regiment to me was much more brutal than the eating portion, and I have been exercising for years.

    I consider myself in good shape.

    After 3 weeks, and no change in the way I was feeling physically, I gave up on the workout.

    I kept the eating plan, following it strictly, but it has been a little over 4 weeks and I do not see myself getting more cut in the mirror.

    I am leaning out, and have gained about 6lbs.

    I am hoping to see a six pack by the time it is all over with.

  17. Hi, I’m looking at the ebook online and it says Phase I 1.5 grams of protein per pound.

    Does this mean I multiply my body weight of 153 lbs times 1.5 to arrive at 229.5 grams, and do I apply this only to rest days?

    1. That is correct – hit this target every day.

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