Jim Stoppani's 12 Week Shortcut To Size Review

Workout Review: Jim Stoppani’s 12 Week Shortcut To Size

With an opening gambit of ‘Real Science, Unreal Results’, I couldn’t help but be interested in this workout.

After all, a quick search on YouTube for other guru workout programmes reveals myriad hokum, quasi-debilitating looking exercises and gratuitous use of the word ‘bro’.

For example, just have a look at this video detailing Greg Plitt’s ‘MFT 28 Shoulder Shred’ workout.

Now I’m not doubting his physique, but probably 90% of people interested in following Greg’s videos won’t be able to do these particular exercises.

It’s absurd – concussion is far more likely than muscle growth.

Whereas Dr Jim Stoppani PhD has a doctorate in exercise physiology.

I know who I’d go with…

Shortcut to Size overview

Jim Stoppani

Warning: if you plan on following the full 12 week Shortcut to Size programme, then I advise you to start putting aside money for new clothes now.

The upper body gains in particular were Hulk-esque.

If we were to give Shortcut to Size a label, it would be ‘Linear Periodisation’, as each week you perform a different rep range:

Week 1: 12-15
Week 2: 9-11
Week 3: 6-8
Week 4: 3-5

I love the variance.

Very few programmes will include strength work, but this one looks to build size and strength.

You then repeat this for two further four week cycles, by which time you’ll be looking like something carved out of Marble.

(It’ll probably be the statue of the thalidomide woman if you follow Greg Plitt’s workout.)

thalidomide woman statue

Rather than guide you through the programme week by week, just click on the following link which has everything you need, including both instructional videos and a useful PDF:


With this review I’m simply going to give you my personal highlights of the programme.

‘Rest-pause’ saved my life

Perhaps a slightly grandiose statement, but I think this technique is one of the principle contributing factors to the success of this programme.

During weeks 1-2, after the final set of each exercise you rack the weights, rest 15 seconds, then go again to failure.

In weeks 3-4, you do the same but reduce the weight after the last set and go once again to failure.

I had this discussion with a fellow Gymtalk employee: “Why do rest-pause, shouldn’t you just go to failure on the final set?”

It’s a valid argument, and, indeed, Stoppani encourages you to go to failure, but the real benefit of rest-pause is that it allows you to squeeze out a few more reps to failure, but with better technique.

Let’s face it, you can be the best lifter in the world, but when you know you can’t physically lift that barbell off your chest, a primordial instinct takes over and you contort your body in any way possible to get it up (insert phallus joke).

Good technique is, of course, all important in bodybuilding – unless you’re Branch Warren.

Seriously, watch this video from about six minutes onwards.

Sure, it’s a heavy weight, but I’m surprised his lungs don’t collapse:

New exercises

The age-old adage in bodybuilding is that you need to be constantly ‘shocking’ your muscles.

Monotony breeds muscle inertia, but, by the end of Shortcut to Size, I’d done seven exercises I’d never done before in this form:

  • Standing pull-down
  • One arm cable front raise
  • Single leg leg press
  • Behind back cable curl
  • Reverse grip incline dumbbell press
  • One arm smith machine shrug
  • Incline cable curl

How could I help but build muscle?

Confession time

Forgive me Stoppani for I have sinned.

I did not do any of the abdominal work (I’m not that vain) nor did I follow the diet (I simply don’t have the time at work to eat all those meals).

Plus it just looks cuntish when you’re tucking into your fifth meal of the day and the receptionist is surviving on a diet of rice cakes, water and pseudo-flirtatious banter with anyone that’ll give her the time of day.

That said, I knew what I was getting into and still felt the programme was a success


Due to the aforementioned points, I didn’t gain quite the same amount as Stoppani suggests I would in the introduction to Shortcut to Size.

Personally, I see that as a bit of a safety net.

That is, if you haven’t followed Shortcut to Size to the absolute letter then you can’t complain.

However, I improved all strength lifts by around 10-16% and had visibly packed on muscle on all body parts.

carlton dance gif

The overall gain across a three month period was about 4kg.

I have to say a lot of that was back muscle, as my back grew exponentially, to which I can only surmise was due to the single-arm dumbbell rows.

I’m a huge fan of barbell row so very rarely do this singular form.

Suddenly it became the main focus of my back workouts, and my strength set went from 37.5kg in Phase 1 to 45kg in Phase 3.


These will be few, and one is simply the diet.

I think unless you’re unemployed (and therefore probably unable to afford all that gear), or a pro-athlete, you’ll find it nigh on impossible to STRICTLY follow this diet plan.

For instance, I’d be on A45 just passing Wellingborough when I’m supposed to be tucking into a six-egg scrambled egg with cheese and a bowl of oatmeal.

Secondly, I don’t quite feel that the strength week worked with the isolation exercises: lat raises, incline dumbbell curls, cable flies, etc.

There was no evident benefit to going heavy, but that’s just my opinion.


I thoroughly enjoyed and recommend Jim Stoppani’s 12 Week Shortcut to Size to anyone and everyone looking to pack on a serious amount of bulk without pissing around with unrealistic and pointless exercises.

This is a solid workout routine that no-one can question.

It’s easy to follow and, most importantly, leaves you looking forward to the next week the second you finish your session.

Cheers Jim!

Jim Stoppani 12 Week Shortcut To Size

What do you think?

If you’ve tried Shortcut to Size and have an opinion on it, or if you’ve tried any other ‘celebrity workouts’, please let me know in the comments below.

I’d love to hear from you!

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  1. Jim Stoppani is a well known supplement spruiker.

    He does not have a PHD in nutritional biochemistry yet claims to be some kind of supplement nutrition guru, meanwhile his nutrition plan suggest you eat gummy bears.

    His workouts are good but you will get barraged with nutrition bro science, the usual high acidic diet of denatured whey & casein proteins and bogus pre-post workout mumbo jumbo.

    His research references seems to be of the nutrient isolation, reductionist research type which does not lend itself well to nutrition, unless you want to make money flogging supplements and it wouldn’t surprise me if he launches his own line soon.

    Isolated nutrients is pharmachology at best calling it nutrition then you know this guy has commercial bias interest in the information he is providing.

    1. Thanks for your comment John.

      I agree largely with your supposition about commercial bias, I mean just check out this list of recommendations for the programme:


      A quick search of his Facebook page proves he’s actually on step ahead of your ‘own brand’ prediction!


      Whenever I try a new workout, it is a lot more about the workout for me.

      I realise how important diet can be (that mantra is constantly thrusted down our throat by those who have a vested interest in selling supplements) but unless you’re going for a pro-card, you don’t need to follow it to the letter.

      I’d like to think Stoppani has designed this workout then when it’s reached compliance, the shadowy pay masters have dictated what supplements have to be used to make it commercially viable.

      No doubt he knows a bit about nutrition, industry osmosis is bound to occur when you’re surrounded by ‘experts’.

      I think you should design your own diets around convenience, cost and of course suitability.

      Interestingly, do you follow any specific diet plan, John?

      You seem like you know a fair bit more than your average?

    2. Ph balance is bullshit, too. Trying to change your body’s natural Ph balance will kill you.

      I look at his diet and I think it is too much food…unless you’re taking steroids and like the author writes, you have to be unemployed to be able to do this. On the other hand, if you are unemployed you cannot all the supplements…HIS supplements….that he says you need.

      1. I believe the amount of food is something people have to figure out on their own anyway.

        Diets are sort of calculated for… what, exactly?

        Surely an office worker and a construction worker shouldn’t have the same food intake, even if they’re the same size/age.

        So what else do you do, is this workout all you do or do you also have regular training of other sort?

        And what’s your pleasure, a night in with PS4 or weekend hikes/bikes with 8+ hours of walking/cycling?

        At the end of the day you are the one who needs to figure out your own nutrition.

        And meal times.

        As for gummy bears… I took it like this: we all eat shit sometimes.

        So make the “sometimes” into “post workout”.

  2. Very nice summary.

    My thoughts (after completing the program):

    I loved it, saw gains on every exercise.

    I did not feel bored at any point during the 12-weeks.

    I, like you, did *not* follow the diet program, nor the supplementation.

    And while I did do abs, they were probably the one area I may have half-assed a few times.

    Really like Jim Stoppani… except I agree that there might be a bit of a crutch on supplement overload.

    Also did this program with a friend and he also had amazing results.

    Highly recommended, if only for the workouts.

    1. Thanks for you comments, Greg.

      I always appreciate feedback (particularly positive).

      Have you looked at his ‘6 week shortcut to shred’ programme?

      Not sure doing cardio mid workout is for me but, looking at it, can’t help but say that it’s gonna work (although he’s thrusting supplements down our throats again).

  3. The program seems appealing to me and I am thinking about starting it.

    I am just concerned about the meal plan – it just seems like a lot of food to consume.

    Besides strength and muscle gains, were you able to lose a significant amount of body fat?

    I want gain strength but also lose excess body fat.

    1. Hi Chris, first of all, you definitely need to try this programme no matter what your goals.

      In terms of the diet, it is aimed at gaining ‘lean muscle’ so if you follow the programme you should burn fat while building muscle.

      What you could do if you don’t want to gain too much weight or over eat is simply reduce his quantities by 10-15%.

      Personally, I couldn’t follow the diet therefore wasn’t overly concerned about measuring fat loss.

      By the end I’d visibly lost some fat off stomach and back and I think you will too.

      You can always add a light cardio session on 1 – 2 of the rest days.

      Something like 30mins on a bike at 70rpm is an efficient fat burner.

      In summary, I think just by following the workout you’ll burn fat.

      I imagine 95% of people who’ve tried StS didn’t STRICTLY follow the diet – it’s about doing what’s right for you.

      Hope that helps that let me know if there’s anything else I can do.

    2. Actually you’ll notice in his program he often suggests HIIT cardio on the rest days referring to them as “active” rest days.

      So the cardio is built into it.

      Lean gains baby…

  4. Greg, what sort of reps/sets does this workout entail?

    Does it incorporate the tried-and-tested 5×5 approach to building strength?

    Also, Stoppani looks a lot like an extra from Football Factory.

    Wouldn’t want to bump into him in an alley after a Millwall Away game.

    1. Hi Henry, re: reps/sets – if you read the article it’s all included, thicko.

      There is a strength week during each cycle which is unusual (but very welcomed) in a ‘celebrity workout’.

      It’s not quite 5×5 as you do strength lifts on isolation exercises as well, which in my view isn’t very official.

      You wouldn’t have seen Reg Park doing lat raises that’s for sure (he’d probably use at least 35kg).

      As for Stoppani, if he wasn’t so well spoken I’d have assumed he was a front man for a German Heavy Metal Band.

  5. I’ve tried this program twice, I’m considered an Ectomorph by the way and I am now 38 years old.

    Last year I did not finish but in the 7 weeks I did the program I increased weight and mass in 5 – 6 kgs.

    This year I tried it again and I only increased about 2 kgs which I lost almost at the end of the program due to a Stomach Flu.

    Needless to say it did nothing to me on mass and I was following the diet suggested which I think it is full of supplements (whey and casein) and not enough food.

    In fact, I think I cut down bodyfat and I liked the way I looked but that was not my intention.

    The greatest gains I saw was definitely in strength.

    If you’re trying to break some personal records I think this is a great program for that.

  6. One question… the routine at the first phase stays the same at the phase 2 and 3?

    Or does it changes?

    Because he only posted a vid where he explained the first phase exercises (first month), so I assume it remains the same for the whole time (?)

    1. Hi Nicholas, the rep ranges remain the same throughout the phases, eg week 1 12-15, week 2 9-11, etc.

      But the exercises do change, not drastically, but enough to keep your interest levels up.

      Guess he didn’t fancy making another 8 videos, but here is the paper training guide that will give you all the exercises per week:


      Good luck and let me know how you get on.


  7. So, just finished day 1.

    Not bad so far!!

    I’m gonna stick with the diet, however not the the T.

    I work at a supplement distribution center in sales and think I can top his recommendations on supplements.

    I’m really excited to start this program after doing a little over a month of “things I like to do” in the gym!

    I’ll report back and see what my final take is!

  8. Hi Greg

    Thanks for the wonderful review.

    I am about to start Jim’s workout s2s from today itself.

    Please clarify my one doubt:

    Let’s assume I am doing dumbbell curls and comfortably able to lift a 12.5kg dumbbell for 13-15reps, shall I do the 2nd set with the same dumbbell?

    On a second thought I am sure I will be able to lift 15kg on the next set for 13-15 reps but the 3rd set might get difficult and probably I wont be able to do 35-15 reps.

    So, just to summarize my question, shall I do all the sets with the same dumbbell?

    1. Hi Varun.

      Thanks for the feedback.

      You want to try and do all the sets with the same weight but of course things don’t always work out.

      One thing you could do if you feel the first set is a bit too light is really slow the range of motion down, emphasise the negative part of the rep.

      If you still feel this is too light then treat it as a warm up set then do three working sets with the 15kg.

      In regards to your other point, don’t be afraid to use the rest-pause technique more than once in a set, ideally you just want to use it at the very end but even if it means racking the weight for 5secs you may be able to do the required number.

      Hope this helps, good luck and let me know if you need anything else.


  9. Hey Greg.

    Your workout review is amazing and it got my interest piqued in this program.

    I only have one question.

    I’m a fairly heavy guy with about 25% body fat.

    Do you think this program would help me in losing fat?

    I can’t follow the entire nutrition plan, and just want to go at my gymming without any supplements.


    1. Hi Vibhor, thanks for the comment, appreciate it.

      In a word, absolutely.

      One of the techniques Stoppani preaches is using minimum rest intervals between sets.

      If you have a clock in your gym or your phone then keep it between 45-60 seconds, this will really help you to burn fat, particularly on the higher volume sessions.

      As with the diet, this programme was definitely designed to bulk up but if you ignore the sups and take the meal plan in moderation then you should, in theory, lose body fat and gain some muscle.

      If fat loss is your thing then I suggest you check out Stoppani’s latest programme “Shortcut to Shred”.

      If you need anything else just let me know, good luck!


  10. Hi Greg, first off – props on the review, really good and objective – and needed as I’m about to start his Shortcut to Shred program and I wanted to make sure he wasn’t a fraud of some kind or the other.

    I do have one question though, I’m a relative beginner when it comes to the gym and like you there is no way in hell I’m following this diet to the letter due to monetary and time concerns – especially when it comes to the supplements.

    My question to you more experienced guys is though, what about the “big” three supplements: whey, casein and creatine?

    I can afford them and they seem convenient to use (and they fit my limited gym knowledge that tells me I should be drinking protein shakes of some variety or the other).

    What would your recommendation be on this point?

    Many thanks for any advice you can provide!

    1. Hi Kristoffer.

      Thanks for your comment, glad you liked it.

      If you are a beginner then I would say leave casein alone for now.

      That’s definitely something for more experienced guys who are really counting every gram and looking to maximise every ounce of protein overnight so need to spend extra on that IMO.

      For sure it’s a good supplement but if you’re just starting out then I think a good whey protein and creatine will be enough.

      I’d go for a creatine monohydrate, take 5-10g once or twice a day (preferably pre/post workout) and make sure you drink lots of water, after 8 weeks, take a week off of creatine then start again.

      Same with a good whey protein.

      Take approx 30g once or twice a day pre/post workout (combine with the creatine if that makes it easier).

      If you’re looking at the shred programme then I’d suggest maybe a diet whey, if you look at the supplements section of our site then we have reviewed a couple of diet wheys that will sort you out.

      Hope this helps, check out these articles on supplements by people who know more than me and good luck let me know how you get on!





      1. I’ve done extensive internet research on whey vs casein which eventually led me to an interesting article on Dr Mercola’s website (not written by him).

        The whole article criticizes casein supplements and even compares all of the different “types” in detail.

        In short, the basic idea being communicated is that all casein supplements, with the exception of milk protein concentrate (MPC), are basically garbage.

        Micellar Casein, to my understanding of the article, is a very distant second when considering quality and effectiveness.

        Considering all of that, it is stated a serving of cottage cheese and/or a glass of milk at the end of your day is much preferred.

        Here is the article if you’d like to formulate your own opinion, I’m interested in hearing it:


        Do you trust guys like Dr Mercola and Dr Ori Hofmekler’s (author of both this article and “The Warrior Diet”) nutrition advice?

  11. I have followed Jim’s “6 Weeks to Bigger Arms” (http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/6-weeks-to-sick-arms.html) and saw great results on most body parts and OK results on my arms.

    I’ve been following the program for 8 weeks now and I can say it’s already working.

    I’ve had decent strength in my tris, chest & back but always had problems lifting more than 40lbs in the dumbbell curls.

    By Phase I, week 4 (3-5 reps of heavy weights) I was lifting 50lbs dumbbels 5x with no problem.

    I agree with most here when I say the diet/meal plan is crazy ridiculous; trying to engulf 6 eggs is just insane, I will occasionally eat 2 – 3 hard boiled eggs in the morning but not everyday.

    I did take the BCAAs, Creatine, and CLAs because I previously took them as part of my workout regimen.

    Obviously the whey proteins are essential to working out, if you’re not drinking some type of fast digesting protein for strength/muscle growth you’re pretty much going to the gym for no reason unless you’re eating tons of protein or following a very strict diet.

    Overall, I like the results I’m seeing and will continue to follow this till the end.

    The pros outweigh the cons (which Greg has put very well – only the crazy diet plan).

  12. Thanks for the review!

    I was looking for some results and it seems I can’t find any -_-

    I’m thinking about doing this program but a question:

    I’m an 18 year old girl/woman…

    I’m pretty weak with weights T.T and I’m flabby (did too much cardio so I lost a lot of muscle).

    I wanted to do this program to lose some fat and tone up (mostly tone up).

    Do you think this would be too much for a beginner like me or is it fine?

    I would love to hear from you.


    1. Hi Lia thanks for stopping by, you’re right to question whether this is right for you.

      Shortcut to Size is aimed at people looking to gain a lot of muscle and strength in a short space of time.

      It sounds like you might be better off with Stopanni’s Shortcut to Shred.

      This is designed for people looking to loose fat and tone up, check it out here and let me know how you get on!


  13. Hi,

    I just ordered whey and casein proteins, will start STS as soon as I receive the supplements.

    Further, I’m 28 years old, 6 foot guy and weigh 85kgs.

    Have fat on my stomach but my arms are lean around 13 inches.

    In which week will I feel the difference in my physique?

    Will try to follow the plan exactly.

    Please comment on my queries.



    1. Hi Ahmed, I would warn against judging your physique properly until you reach the end of the 12 week cycle.

      Everyone’s body reacts differently to change so it may well be you experience huge gains within the first month and become complacent or the opposite.

      Even if you don’t think you’re progressing well stick at it and you’ll make alllll kiiiinds of gains, mark my words.

      Good luck!


  14. I have gone through this program twice… and saw results both times, after doing P90x twice (which I got cut up).

    Jim’s program is great.

    Although I don’t use casein or just whey, I used a protein complex… TMG (betaine) and monohydrate, along with Anavite, which was a big plus I believe.

    I am currently doing “Get Swole” by Cory Gregory, and I don’t see as much with this, and I am starting phase 3 tomorrow.

    I think when I do Jim’s again, I will go back to eating clean like I did on P90x, but try and up my quantity.

    I don’t like dairy, and have switched to raw fusion plant based protein… see how that goes this time around?

  15. What can I say about this, he always says supplements are purely optional.

    If you were paying attention, he mentions Diet and Training is key, but supplements will maximize your results.

    It’s really your choice whether or not you follow the supplementation part.

    For the protein part, I don’t consider whey protein to be really just a supplement, for me it’s food.

    Ever read the label on your baby’s formula milk?

    On the diet, the most important part of it hitting your macronutrient requirement.

    You do not have to follow it strictly, work with what you have and within your means.

    What is important is you meet your nutritional requirements with or without the supplements.

    I used to follow my Medical Doctor’s advice on my blood sugar and especially uric acid.

    I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at the age of 20, and never has my Dr’s nutritional advice and medication delivered results.

    I also did programs with zero supplementation before, I could barely deadlift 85lbs earlier this year.

    Worked out following a plan with zero supplementation like ‘Truth about six pack abs’ and after about half a year of following it, I got little results and could not even do 2-3 reps of hang power cleans with 95lbs, blood chem results were flunking, and a lot of the food options were difficult to find in southeast Asia.

    Lost about 4 inches on my waistline in 5 months. LOL.

    Now I followe Jim Stoppani’s programs:

    They are more structured, precise and down right difficult but his methods will make you look like a turd in the gym.

    Yes I got funny looks when I did his workouts at first but when people saw my results and performance in the gym, nay sayers all shut up and the gym veterans now start talking to me and asking me stuff.

    I’ve been performing Jim Stoppani’s programs since July 1, 2013.

    I did his Shortcut to Shred, Superman and Super Shredded 8.

    Currently doing Shortcut to Size performed with 1 min cardio in between sets a.k.a. cardioacceleration as Jim would call it.

    I could easily do 6-7 reps x 8 sets of 100lbs hang power cleans with 10 seconds rest in between sets (READ tabata style) and this is now one of my favorite CARDIO workouts.

    I can now do 275lbs deadlifts for 5-6 reps superset with 80lbs Romanian deadlifts for 25-30 reps, for a total of 4 supersets with no rest in between supersets.

    Sure doesn’t sound much for some but please take note, I have only started working out January 2013.

    Sure he does not have a PhD on nutrition or whatever but his nutritional advice normalized all my blood chem results!

    Blood sugar, cholesterol, liver enzymes, uric acid, etc.

    His programs deliver.

    Not convinced with the “research shows” lines he pulls out?

    Then read the full text of the cited research in his articles and if you have doubts then question the credibility of the authorities he cited.

    I bet almost no one even bothers to read the research papers.

  16. I went through this workout routine 2 times last year.

    I went from 159lbs to 180lbs by the end of the second round, and I followed the meal plan almost to the T.

    I got pretty nauseated with the meal plan, that’s the hardest part of the routine.

    Prior to this routine I worked out for years and never experienced the gains I had like when I was on this program.

    I tore a muscle in my hip 6 months ago from playing football and lost most of my weight.

    I’m now 164lbs and in the second week of the program again.

    Trying to make this meal plan work for me this time around.

    Definitely not consuming even a spoon of courage cheese.

    That did suck big time after 3 weeks of eating it.

    Consistency and dedication is definitely the key here.

    1. Fantastic effort on the meal plan.

      First person I’ve come across who managed to follow it, and results definitely speak for themselves.

  17. I wanted to start a new gym programme for the new year, after researching lots, I found this to be the best.

    I also agree Greg Plitt is a tool!

    How can anyone only recommend one meal a day and 6 shakes!!!

    As for diet, I’m sticking with the 3400cals but doing 40/40/20 with myfitnesspal.

    Anyway, I love the workouts, but it seems like they take forever, and given I train at 19:30, I’m definitely having later nights, but throw in any missed exercises on “rest days”.

    I must say I’m really impressed after wk 1.

    I was almost sick on leg day, before I even got to deads… and currently have DOMS that are STILL killing after 3 days!

    I’m interested to see how lean the gains are, and if fat is an issue I’ll just adjust the cals.

    I’ve noticed some fat increase but will hold judgement until it’s tested (I started at 6.2 but am reluctant to go over 10-11, as too long diet will nullify any gains).

    I’ll be honest, I pretty much skipped the supplement section, and in today’s climate, buying gummy bears as a 32 year old might raise eyebrows down the local shops! Lol!

    Am sticking to abs too as I have neglected these over the years.

    Will post back after 12 weeks, then will probably do Shortcut to Shred, if it means I can eat more than usual when dieting down!

    1. Olly, great job, if you’re hitting the diet properly then you probably don’t need too much extra anyway.

      Maybe some creatine for the strength weeks will help you add a few extra lbs and won’t add fat.

      Good luck with the shred as well, hopefully it’s as good as SCTS.

  18. I started the Shortcut to Size and I am 20 years old, 146 pounds, and my goal is to get bigger in size!

    Do you think this is the best program for a 20 year old trying to gain size?

    And also it is very difficult for me to follow his diet!

    For some reason I can hit carbs and fats, and protein, but not calories.

    Thanks, great review

    1. Hi Adrian, thanks for stopping by.

      It’s absolutely the programme for you, no bro science or outlandish claims just good old fashioned hard work based on compound movements.

      The diet is hard if you’re working full time, it’s all about forward planning though.

      If you can make a load of meals at the beginning of the week it’ll help.

      If you’re not already on http://www.myfitnesspal.com then do it.

      You can properly track each calorie and see areas you can improve.

      If you live in the UK then check out MuscleFood, this’ll allow you to buy huge quantities of high quality meat at well below supermarket prices.

      We provide some great discount codes at the following page so you can save yourself some money:


      Stick at this programme, you’ll definitely see gains if you’re strict with yourself.

      Good luck!


  19. Hi Greg,

    Thanks for the detailed review!

    I just finished Kris Gethin’s 12 week program and looking to start S2Shred as the next program.

    Was a bit worried after seeing the long list of supplements (including Yohimbe) he’d suggested and the meal plan.

    I already take Whey, Creatine, Multi-vitamins and fish oil.

    Can you advise which supplements you chose to use?

    1. Hi Raj, it all depends on your goals.

      Sticking to the supplement lists strictly will give you better gains but it will also drain your wallet.

      I think you’ve got your sups pretty spot on, maybe add some BCAAs into the mix and you’ll be set.

  20. Hi Greg,

    Thoroughly enjoyed your review which encouraged me to look into Jim and his training regimes.

    I’m a bit of a novice and just needed some clarification on one of his programmes.

    I’m about to start S2Shred but was curious to know if you can alternate exercises after each minute of cardio.

    So, for example, could I complete 1 set of the BB Bench Press, move to cardio, then move to Smith Machine Hip Thrust, move to cardio and then revert back to BB Bench Press?

    So in essence I’m grouping the exercises and focusing on different areas giving me sufficient time to rest each muscle group.

    Or would this defeat the purpose of the programme?

    1. Hi Andrew

      I’ve not tried this programme but if your goal is lean muscle and shred rather than bulk and strength then I think mixing up your exercises and keeping the intensity high will help you reach your goals.


  21. Great review, thank you.

    I tried Shortcut to Shred, missed 1 training session in 6 weeks and stuck to the nutrition and supplement plan quite diligently.

    Did not lose the weight I was hoping to BUT lost a good percentage of body fat.

    I felt fantastic and looked lean and ripped despite picking up 2kg.

    6 weeks was an achievable time period to keep this discipline up and I just took it 1 week at a time.

    In saying that, I was already training 4-5 days a week.

    Once I completed Shred, I took a 2 week break and moved on to Greg Plitt MTP28.

    The exercise variety was initially exciting but I soon got bored doing the same thing twice a day and wasn’t enjoying the programme as much as Shred.

    Completed it but no great shakes.

    9 weeks ago I started Shortcut to Size.

    By week 4 I had to modify my training to try lean my legs for competition but continued using STS for chest and triceps.

    Being a female I’m not too sure about the size gain, it’s definitely there on the chest and tris but the strength is amazing.

    I am hitting record weights with bench press and loving it.

    I’m not convinced it’s an ideal “female” programme but damn it’s kept me going.

    Highly recommend Shotcut to Shred and Size.

  22. Hi Greg, I have a question for you.

    How much protein, carbs and fats did you consume during the program?

    Did you follow the macros suggested by the program?

    1. Hi John.

      I tend to go for a gram:lb ratio of 1:1:0.5 so if you weigh 200lbs then take on 200g of protein & carbs (predominantly complex) and 100g of fat.

      Hope this helps.


  23. The diet plan is not that crazy.

    Yes it takes disciple and some sacrifice, just like any fitness plan, but it makes a huge difference in how quickly your body heals and how much you gain.

    I also hate being sold stuff, however his personal line, especially the pre-workout, happens to be among the best available and there are plenty of reviews to back it up.

    You should try to hold back on the criticism of the meal plan and supplements, since this is a review and you admit that you didn’t follow the meal plan.

    1. Hi Bowaz.

      Looking at this from an objective perspective I’d say the diet plan is pretty crazy for a programme not specifically aimed at experienced lifters.

      You don’t need 6 meals a day to make decent gains.

      For one your average person cannot afford all that food – particularly if you want good quality food.

      For me, the crazy diet plans are a bulwark against any potential criticism about people not hitting their desired goals.

      If you didn’t follow the diet *exactly* you can’t complain.

      However I take your point that I cannot say whether it would help you or not.

      Job constraints would not allow me to follow it to a t.

  24. I am 51 and weigh 181.

    My cals per day are at 1800 with about 160 grams of protein consumed.

    I am trying to lose weight and am currently in week two of STS.

    Before this I did LL Cool J’s Platinum workout for 18 weeks and gained quite a bit of mass and lost 4 lbs.

    STS calls for a basic diet of 3100 calories, 265 G protein, 260 G Carbs & 110 G fat.

    I have a slow weight loss now, while still gaining mass, at 1800 cals a day. 3100 cals, and being 51, would make me a blimp.

  25. Hey Greg!

    Love the review it helped a lot to determine whether I actually wanted to start this or not and now I know that I do.

    I’m curious though, say in microcycle 1 phase one I’m curling 35 pounds, when microcycle phase 2 comes around I’ll clearly be stronger.

    Should I be curling 35 again or should I be jumping up weight for those 12-15 reps?

    Also, I’m 5’6 around 140, with VERY LITTLE body fat.

    I do want to stay lean and defined but I also want to gain a bunch of muscle, do you believe this program will do it for me without supplements and the diet?


    1. Hi Tyler.

      Thanks for stopping by.

      As a general rule you should never sacrifice good form for extra weight.

      When you enter cycle 2 do your first set with the weight you finished the last one on (except for your main, compound lifts).

      If you can comfortably rep 12-15 with that weight then wack some more weight on the bar.

      Unfortunately there’s no real way of gaining heaps of muscle without eating a fair amount.

      The given diet will help you gain a lot of muscle but also a bit of fat.

      Just take everything in moderation and keeping looking at how you’re developing.

      If you’re putting on more fat than you’d like then lower your fat & carb intake or switch to a leaner meat (turkey, venison, kangaroo etc).

      A good whey protein will also help and they are generally low fat, low calorie – check out our supplement review section for advice.

      Hope this helps.

      Good luck and let me know how you get on.


      1. Another quick question before starting this program as I’m confused yet again.

        Say you’re doing the 3 or 4 sets of whatever exercise it is you’re scheduled to do; you’re obviously going to be able to pound out the first 13-15 reps for the first set with much less muscle fatigue than in the second, so my confusion is:

        For the first couple sets it seems to me like the lifter is restricted to lifting only 12-15 reps because in the last couple sets or set, they will have a harder time lifting the 12-15 times.

        So, I guess an example would be – you’re curling, first set for the 13-15 you’re curling 35 pounds but it’s easy so you end up restricting yourself to the 15 reps whereas in the last set, you’re just barely putting the 35 pounds up for that 15th rep.

        My question is, should the weight remain the same through out the exercise or should the weight decrease from the first set in order for each set to be difficult to hit the min/max set requirement?


  26. Haha this is a sweet workout.

    I was really outta shape and overweight.

    I dropped 9kgs fat on my first run though with ‘somewhat’ proper food, like more proteins and balanced diets.

    Now at 14% body fat from near 25%.

    Really amazed not gonna lie.

    Gonna start the 2nd run though soon and get fully ripped 😀

    1. Textbook stuff Sam!

  27. Greg, thanks for the real review!

    I’m wondering if you think the program will work for females?

    Like you, I’m not going to follow the diet plan.

    Just make sure I eat enough protein from whole sources and also add a protein shake.

    I want to be able to lift more weight, but I would also like to bring my body fat percentage down by about 3%

    Looking forward to your input!

    1. Hi Alyssa.

      I see no reason why it wouldn’t work for you, you have the same goal as most men when starting out.

      As long as you add more clean calories to your diet and eat 1.5 – 2g of protein per kg of bodyweight you’ll build muscle and strength for sure.

      Also the intensity of the workouts can help burn/maintain body fat levels.

      I’ve probably not told you anything you don’t know here but I wish you good luck – let me know if you have anymore questions.


  28. Ive been thru 1 x 12 week session of this.

    I had one faux paus in the final 12th week in which I went a bit heavy and lifted a dumbell from ground to knees to do bench press and tore my distal bicep tendon in my right arm.

    I had to take 9 weeks off for it to heal properly.

    It’s amazing how many exercises you get shut out on when it’s extremely painful to use your arm.

    I didnt follow supplements or diet plan though I religiously use protein supplements NCI whey protein from NGN twice a day.

    I was a little chunky and wasn’t trying to diet but went from 192 to 180-181 which is a good weight for me.

    The metabolism roars now and I maintain that weight regardless of how well or poorly I eat.

    I even maintained it during my 9 weeks.

    In the first session I looked better and felt better but I didn’t have any stellar gains.

    I did get a lot strong though.

    For example, week 1 I struggled with a little doing 35lb dumbbell bench press 15 reps.

    Week 12 I was doing 75lb for 6 reps.

    Of course this is also the exercise I tore the distal but it wasn’t from the bench it was a bad angle and position moved the weight from floor to knee.

    Anyway I am in week 2 of my 2nd run of this 12 week course.

    I decided to run it again after the 9 weeks off.

    I am changing it up a bit.

    I like the exercise mix but I am not really increasing the weight that much and I am doing more reps.

    I am foregoing the strength increases and just trying to add size with no so heavy weight and increased reps.

    The goal is to not only ensure my arm has healed properly but also its not worth further injury.

    I still feel the burn and today in fact was day 1 for me and my triceps felt like they wanted to explode the were so tight after each exercise.

    To me that is a big plus.


  29. Jim’s concept works!

    I implemented this into my MMA and boxing training, in between sets, working techniques related to each art.

    I eliminated roadwork.

    And even though I was not working 5 or 3 minute rounds of drills when I sparred boxing or grappled my cardio was fine.

    The short, intense cardio burts inbetween sets keep me cardio ready to go the 3 or 5 minutes.

    Also, I now only train 3 days weekly and do active rest the other 3 working yoga.

    It’s a great program!

  30. Greg,

    How does the Stoppani size as well as shred workouts compare to Body Beast?

    Is there a Stoppani 3 day full body routine that uses cardio inbetween sets of weights?

  31. Greg,

    I’ve been really intrigued by this program, and love the split they offer.

    There’s one problem though – I don’t have access to a gym to do the workouts, and I workout at home.

    I’m 140 lbs, 5’11”, 27 years old.

    I have a pullup bar, adjustable bench and PowerBlocks that go to 90 lbs each.

    Do you think I could do this program at home and still reap its benefits?

    What exercise substitutions would you recommend for the barbell and machine exercises in Shortcut to Size?



    1. Hi Ben.

      Honestly, I don’t think you can follow this workout in its fullest form with your home gym set-up.

      Sure you can do barbell rows instead of dumbbell or stiff leg deadlifts instead of hamstring curls but you simply won’t be doing the same programme, not even close.

      Shortcut to Size is successful because it incorporates so many different movements across different rep ranges – to achieve this you need a well equipped gym for sure.

      Homes gyms are great if you just want to squat, deadlift, bench, do pull ups, but if you’re serious about doing this programme then you’ll have to get yourself to the gym I’m afraid.

      We’ve covered a range of other workouts such as Stronglifts 5×5 which your could do in your home gym but possibly you’ll need more weight.

      Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but I’d hate to lie to you!

      Good luck with whatever you decide to pursue.


      1. When you said after 3 months you only gain 4kg…

        You mean 4kg of muscle mass right?

        Or you’re saying 4kg already included body fat etc?

  32. One quick question guys:

    I’ve been following this program for 2 months now.

    I’m entering phase 3 today.

    I’ve noticed amazing gains in mass and strength without following the supplementation or nutritional guides to the dot.

    I actually only started using supplements mid way in phase 2.

    Is it possible to start this program all over again once I’m done?

    My goal is to add mass and strength till reaching my goal weight before dipping into the Shortcut to Shred program.

    Your help will be highly appreciated!

    1. Hi Zaki.

      No problem with starting the programme over again, hopefully you’ll be able to lift heavier weights next time around.

      Also, now you’re experienced you can think about adapting any aspects of the workout you didn’t feel were beneficial.

      Keep up the good work!


  33. When you said after 3 months you only gain 4kg…

    You mean 4kg of muscle mass right?

    Or you’re saying 4kg already included body fat etc?

    1. Hi Mahesa.

      I’d say 3kg muscle at least of that 4, but then that’s really down to how clean your diet will be.


  34. Hi Greg and everybody else.

    I got a few questions.

    I have been lifting for quite some time and I think I kind of slowed on getting size.

    Would this program fix my problem and give me a boost?

    Secondly, only one chest or one leg day, isn’t it not enough?

    In my previous programs I used to do at least two days of chest for example and once I did it four or five times a week.

    So is this one area once at one week enough?

    And lastly I’m not a fan of supplements so I’m thinking about using whey protein, creatine and maybe one more thing but definitely not all those things written in the supplement section.

    I believe that is unhealthy.

    So what should I do about supplements?

    Any suggestions on nutrition too?

    Thank you very much.

  35. To be completely honest I don’t know whether Jim Stopani is a pHD or not.

    But what I know is that being an Ectomorph I had a very Bad genes for muscle gains, and his diet and workout plan not only helped me gain an ENORMOUS amount of strength but I also packed on some serious muscle mass!

    I never used to eat so much so maybe that’s why I gained about 14.7Kg of weight but yet again it was a hell of a lot of muscle for me to ever see on myself!



    1. Did the diet and workout plan also help you gain caps lock letter size?

      Not sure anyone on this thread has questioned the programme, far from it.

      I think I took umbrage with the timings and quantities of food, when trying to work in a high pressure environment, it’s just not doable.

      As mentioned, I knew what I was getting into.

      Congrats with your gains, if that number is in fact true.


  36. Hi Greg,

    Excellent reviews, very helpful.

    I agree with the optimists: the programme really works and, though I’m not able to follow the diet programme to the dot, everything else I have done religiously.

    Am two-thirds of the way but tore a muscle in my right arm and need to let it heal.

    What do you suggest I do in the meantime with regards to diet and exercising to stay in shape before I begin phase 3?



    1. Hi Ervs.

      Glad you liked the review, sorry to hear about the injury.

      In terms of exercise, I’d stay away from weights altogether, you always get tempted to try something before the arm has properly healed, so maybe spinning or an intense hill climb will be best to keep a level of intensity in your life once your arm has healed.

      In terms of diet, I’d cut the calories and macros by about 25%.

      You still want to be eating enough to not lose too much muscle.

      But if you’re taking in too much fat and protein without exercising as you were during phases 1 & 2 then it’s just gonna be converted into fat.

      Good luck with the rest of the programme.


      1. Awesome!

        Thanks a lot for the quick reply.


  37. I have followed “6 Weeks to Shred” to the letter and the results were unbelievable.

    I don’t follow his diet plan whatsoever, but I do my own diet plan.

    Supplement wise, I only take protien, BCAA and glut.

    The strength you gain from doing cardio in between each set is mind-blowing.

    I am 32 years of age and I have never done that intensive workout before, nevertheless, this program was doable.

    I recommend it to anyone who wants to see big results.

    In my humble opinion, when it comes to diet plan, I’d rather see someone face to face to tell him my budget and also talk about alternatives.

  38. So it would appear I’m about 3 years late to the party but I’m a student and that’s probably the third way this diet is possible, because I’ve got the time to eat all this food (but sadly its destroying my bank account).

    I’ll be honest, I’m not used to eating this much and I tend to spend the morning feeling a bit sick but it can’t be helped.

    I’m doing my best to follow the program strictly even taking CLA cause I had some knocking around in the cupboard but I’m not taking the BCAAs since I’m not made of money and I’m going through the most absurd amount of protein as it is.

    I only started recently but I completely agree that you look forward to the next week or next workout, feel like a different person already, now I just have to wait for it to show!

  39. Sir, I am following Jim’s “Shortcut to Size”.

    I have a doubt whether we can do each workouts with same weights?

    For example, whole workout 1 with same weight and increase the weights in workout 2 like that?

  40. Hi Greg.

    Amazing review.

    I really got motivated when I read your review.

    OK so I started this program last week and I am loving it already.

    Only concern is this week I was supposed to increase weights by 5-10 pounds but I struggled in increasing weight and keeping reps to 9-11 in some exercises like incline dumbbell and lats.

    So was wondering if I should extend the microcycle 2 of phase 1 to another week?

    I have been working out for 10 months now, also have been taking proteins, and preworkout.

    Not following Mr Stoppani’s diet plan as it’s unaffordable for me.


  41. Hi,

    Thanks so much for this review and the comments above.

    I have started the programme this week and quite closely following the diet although I haven’t got all the supps he recommends, but I am using whey, casein and BCAAS and on occasions creatine.

    I am 152lbs (68kg) female, 30 years and 28% body fat.

    I really want to get my body fat to 20%.

    Is this the plan for me?

    One of the questions I have is… I am starting to feel really full and bit concerned that I will quickly gain weight?

    I already do weights and do HIIT a number of times a week.

    So far I am enjoying the exercises Jim recommends but feel I could push myself to failure.

    I struggle to motivate myself unless someone or me gives me a number to do!

    Any advice is greatly appreciated!

  42. Hi, the review is amazing.

    I wanted to start this programme but had a few questions which you can hopefully answer for me.

    I am 18 and I am slightly overweight but I want to lose this weight while gaining muscle, will this programme allow me to do that?

    I really want to start this programme but wanted to know if I can still do this programme without following the diet or supplement plan at all.

    (Obviously I wouldn’t eat out and eat unhealthy things but I also wouldn’t be following the diet).

    So in essence I would just be doing the workouts and having a shake.

    Do you think this should be okay and which protein shake would you recommend?

    And would I NEED to take a supplement?

    Thank you!

  43. I know this is an old thread but it came up in a Google search and I thought I’d add my 2 cents.

    I’m on my third time with this program.

    I first did it Summer 2015 and gained around 10 pounds very quickly, and bulked up from a skinny 135-145.

    I did it a second time and gained a few more pounds.

    I stopped working out for around 9 months, but I am doing this for the third time now.

    I’m almost up to 150.

    The program does work, you will get stronger.

    I only used the Pre/Post Jym and Pro Jym Protein.

    Yes it costs a lot but does seem to work.

    The thing I am lacking is the calories.

    I am now counting my macros so I can get beyond 150 which is tough for me.

    Even you see my before/after even after the first time I did this the change is huge.

    I think I am going to do the Strong Lifts 5×5 after this just to switch it up.

    Anyway, you can follow whatever program you want to gain size, but you really need to get the calories to see the results beyond just getting a little cut.

  44. I’m just about to start this program next week as I just finished up with the Shortcut 2 Shred 6 week program which was great!

    I’m a 38 year old female looking to change it up and add some more muscle.

    I wouldn’t say I’m a beginner, more of a fitness buff than anything.

    Been an avid runner for about 9 years along with trying many different programs from Beachbody.

    Tired of the running injuries, I’m looking to ease back on the racing and bulk up on the muscle.

    Question for this program though, does it include the cardio acceleration rest time between each set?

    CA was introduced to me with the S2Shred program and I loved getting the cardio done along with the workout.

    By doing CA with S2Size, would that be OK or hurt your growth?


  45. Aside from his supplement sales, Jim Stoppani is very well educated in muscle physiology.

    I have just completed the program and I have made strength gains as well as appearing more defined due to fat loss.

    My squat weight went from 180lbs to 215lbs.

    My bench press went from 135lbs to 160lbs.

    My total weight loss was 10lbs but as I was performing cardio and eating low carb high protein, I can’t tell how much fat weight I’ve lost.

    I have definitely leaned down from before.

    This program did work for me (no, I did not follow his diet plan – I ate low carb/high protein).

    I took 5g of creatine and 60g of protein powder daily and ate boringly (chicken, turkey, lots of fresh veggies).

    I would recommend it to others but the meal plan is difficult/impossible to follow

  46. This program is very good, I am almost done with it and I had tremendous gains.

    You don’t ‘have’ to follow the nutrition plan 100%, trust me.

    I only used protein shakes in a moderate amounts (50g)/workout day , along with my normal meals (I did track my intake however using Lifesum app).

    The workout program can fit a variety of people and hardgainers, it gave me a very good shortcut to know how and what to do in the gym to get the best results in a safe way.

  47. Hi.

    Great review.

    My question is how do you determine what size weights to start with?

    Thanks again.