One of the most hotly-contested topics in the locker room is the ongoing debate between old-school training styles and cutting edge training advancements.
You can have one, or you can have the other…but you can’t have both.
And definitely not at the same time!
Well, that may not be true anymore, especially if you consider the potentially groundbreaking program that is the Athlean-X Monster Maker Workout Program.
So is this program the best of both worlds? Or is it a total sham?
It’s time to find out.
Before We Get Started, You Should Know This…
Hey, it’s Kyle.
If you don’t know who I am, I’m the founder of Noob Gains. Nice to meet you!
I just wanted to tell you before you dig into this review, our opinion on this program has changed since we first put it on our website.
Don’t get me wrong, Monster Maker by Athlean-X is still a great workout program.
However, I think there’s a better option if you’re trying to build an impressive-looking body with the least amount of effort.
It’s a program called Superhero X12 and it was created by an excellent fitness coach named Keith Lai (aka the “Fit Mole”).
You probably haven’t heard of it because it’s one of the best kept secrets in the online fitness world.
But I’ve tried it, reviewed it, and now I’m a huge fan of it.
So here’s why I think Monster Maker falls short in comparison to SX12.
First, Monster Maker is an absolutely brutal workout for average guys to tackle.
I get it. The programs created by Athlean-X are meant to change your body so you resemble an athlete… by training like an athlete.
This is why Monster Maker is constantly telling you to “train to failure” with 400 rep challenges and multiple sets that make you want to hurl your lunch on the gym floor.
Funny enough, the research on training to failure shows that you really don’t get any significant benefit besides feeling like total garbage when your workout is done.
Wouldn’t you rather follow a program that let’s you get great results with less effort?
Well, Superhero X12 shows you how to get a great body with the least amount of effort.
This program uses the 80/20 principle to hone in on the most effective methods with the least psychological resistance to build a bigger, more muscular body that meshes easily with your current daily routine.
You don’t have to push your body to its total breaking point to make gains. You just have to push it enough to make progress and SX12 shows you how to do that.
Second, as with other Athlean-X programs, there are diet rules in Monster Maker that I don’t agree with.
For one, you can’t eat sugar.
Yep, if you like ice cream, cake, and donuts, say “bye Felicia” because you’re not allowed to have ’em.
Also, you’re supposed to eat every 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
That means if you don’t like cleaning dirty tupperware containers and prepping 35+ meals for the week, you’re going to have a bad time.
On the other hand, Superhero X12 let’s you eat as many meals as you want, and you get to include your favorite foods every day.
Real people are getting great results on this program because it’s easy to follow over the long term.
You don’t have to force down, bland, tasteless meals 5 times per day. Have a piece of cake if you want.
Finally, Athlean-X doesn’t allow refunds.
Now I know this doesn’t really comment on the quality of the workout plan, but it’s something to consider.
If you sign up and you don’t like the program, you’re stuck.
Instead, the Athlean-X guarantee is they promise to help you push through the obstacles in the program so it works better for you.
But still, you can’t get your money back. #SorryNotSorry
Alternatively, Superhero X12 is an awesome program that’s helped guys of different ages, experience levels, and backgrounds build lasting muscle…
…but if for ANY REASON you don’t like it, Superhero X12 can be fully refunded.
No questions asked.
I cover a lot of these details in my full review of Superhero X12 and this is why I recommend it instead of Monster Maker.
- You can use the least amount of effort to build an awesome body because the program adapts to your lifestyle
- You can keep eating your favorite foods every day at your own frequency
- And Keith Lai (the creator), offers a REAL guarantee that you’ll love the program or you get your money back without question
But hey, you don’t have to trust me.
I’m just a random guy on the internet.
Why don’t you check out Superhero X12 for yourself and see what you think?
OK, let’s move on to the review…
About the Creator – Athlean-X (Jeff Cavaliere)
Just like P90X and Insanity took the at-home fitness world by storm in the mid-2000s, Athlean-X has assumed similar star power at near-record speed.
So what is the Athlean-X brand? And who the heck is Jeff Cavaliere?
Here’s what you need to know.
Jeff Cavaliere isn’t your run-of-the-mill gym rat or an “influencer” like everyone else in 2020.
No, Cavaliere is the real deal—a physical therapist and a strength coach with degrees, certificates, and letters (MSPT & CSCS) to his name!
Cavaliere’s training background adds credibility to his name.
On top of training the ‘06-’08 Mets and producing YouTube videos with free fitness advice and routines, Cavaliere is also the brainpower behind the fitness company Athlean-X.
The purpose of Athlean-X is clear:
To bring science back to strength training for optimal gains while preventing injuries.
What is the Monster Maker Workout Program?
The Athlean-X Monster Maker Workout Program is a mash-up of nearly every popular training style—old school powerlifting for strength, explosive training for a shredded physique, and bodybuilding concepts for serious muscle growth.
If you follow the workout and dietary plans of this program to a T, you’ll be able to:
- Build muscle mass and target growth in weaker muscles of your choice
- See results in as little as 12 weeks (the length of this program)
- Avoid counting calories and macros thanks to a made-for-you diet plan
- Improve your physique, athleticism, and overall health
It’s also worth noting that this program isn’t for any particular experience level.
As long as you’re using weights and a rep range appropriate for your skill and strength, you should reap similar benefits as somebody on the opposite end of the spectrum using this beast workout.
Well, all of that is as long as this program is legit.
Program Details & Features
Now that we’ve given somewhat of an overview of the Athlean-X Monster Maker Workout Program, it’s time to dive a little deeper.
Here’s what you absolutely need to know about this program.
Choosing an Area of Focus (Your Monster Maker)
The first thing you’ll do when you access the portal is to choose a muscle group you want to pay a little extra attention to.
So if your bench press has been falling behind or your hamstrings aren’t up to par with your quads, choose the right muscles.
The program will then tailor some workouts to stimulate growth and strength in these areas.
For reference, your choices are essentially every muscle except the calves or abs.
The Types of Workouts
This Monster Maker program is broken into three different 4-week phases.
Each week will consist of five absolutely grueling workouts and two rest days to get your body back into working shape.
And since Jeff Cavaliere has put the safeguards in place to prevent us from sneaking a peek at anything past phase one, we’re going to focus on the workout types in the intro phase.
Repetition Days (Anterior & Posterior)
The first three weeks of phase one will start with two “repetition days,” one highlighting the anterior muscles and the other the posterior.
This style of Athlean-X workout is about circuits.
You’ll cycle through three rounds of several push exercises during the anterior day, including vertical, horizontal, and leg exercises.
After a brief 90-second rest period, you’ll do two new circuits.
This is also where your Monster Maker muscle choice will come into play.
If you choose your chest, an anterior muscle, you’ll finish out your anterior repetition day with a given chest exercise for 80 total reps in sets of no more than 15.
Dynamic days typically happen in the middle of the week and shift your goal toward greater athleticism, power, speed, and explosiveness.
You’ll be doing a larger number of sets, usually six, and a few reps, typically three.
Some examples of exercises on lower-body dynamic days include box jumps, high knees, cable pull-throughs, and 10-yard sprints.
Each workout will end with your choice of ab exercise.
Max Effort / Friday the 13th
This is the workout each week where you’ll get to put all of your energy and effort into building strength and mass in your chosen “Monster Maker.”
This workout will start with a grueling max effort lift.
You’ll crush through eight warm-up sets on a major lift for your muscle, like the bench press for chest, and finish strong with a 3-5 rep max test to see where you stand.
Then, the workout gets even more challenging, as now you’ll do “Purgatory Sets.”
This extra exercise also targets your Monster Maker, but more in a descending ladder fashion. You’ll do sets of 13, 12, 11, 10, and 9 until your muscles are practically drained by the last rep.
Finish out with a few accessory exercises to failure and then call it a day.
Remnant Days are for the muscles that aren’t your Monster Makers but still deserve attention for brute strength gains over the 12-week program.
So if you chose your chest as your Monster Maker, this workout would get you doing exercises like deadlifts, rows, and barbell curls for 8+ reps until near-failure.
This workout is brief but demanding.
During the last week of each phase, you’ll push through rep challenges.
In phase one, you’ll do two 400-rep challenges—one for the anterior muscles, the other for the posterior muscles. This is a timed workout that can be completed in any order.
You’ll crank out 100-200 reps per given exercise, record how long it takes to complete, and see where you fare on the leaderboards when compared to other Monster Maker users.
The last workout of the phase is known as the “Max Effort Challenge.”
Through tough rest-pause sets, you’ll hit one exercise for each of the major muscle groups (six in total). You’ll perform 13 reps at your 5-rep max for each exercise, recording your time.
This workout will be repeated once more during weeks 8 and 12 to see if and how much you’ve improved since phase one.
Athlean-X isn’t just a workout plan—you’ll also get a nutrition or diet plan with your purchase to keep your gains on track with the program’s expectations and promises.
You’ll get a complete meal plan for each day of the program, including breakfast, lunch, dinner, and three snacks spread throughout the day.
But you have a few options pre-planned for you!
The three major meals of the day will automatically be “standard meals,” but you have the choice to opt for a “shred swap” or a “size swap” instead.
Shred swaps will reduce the calories and fat (like replacing whole milk with 2% milk).
Size swaps will boost the calories and macronutrients in the meal (like adding in extra oils).
It’ll automatically swap foods in and out to meet your needs, so you can realistically eat for gains, eat for fat loss, or eat for both!
4 Benefits of the Monster Maker Program
1. Unique Diet Plan For Your Goals
As if it’s not enough of a hassle to prepare 3-6 meals a day, an excellent dietary plan requires a lot of research to ensure you’re getting the calories and macros you need to meet your goals.
With this Monster Maker program, Athlean-X does the leg work for you.
You’ll have three meals and six snacks laid out clearly for each day of the program, down to every minor individual ingredient that goes into each.
Swap in shred or size meals if you want to center your efforts on mass or fat loss.
Focus on your workouts and skip the calorie and macro counting for the next 12 weeks!
2. Prioritize Muscles Of Your Choice
A workout program that gives equal attention to every muscle group is ideal for the average person. But what happens when your chest, quads, or biceps are stubborn growers?
Fortunately, this Monster Maker program allows you to prioritize your Monster Maker.
You’ll choose a muscle that you want to hit a bit more directly a few extra times per week to ensure maximal growth and optimal strength.
Bring your squat, deadlift, or even your bicep curl up to par with the gains elsewhere.
3. The Concept of Competition
Some of us like to work out in our own homes and see subtle growth over a period of 12 or more weeks.
Others enjoy the feeling of competition.
When you hit a “challenge day” with this Athlean-X program, you’ll be able to record the time it took you to complete the challenge.
Onto the leaderboard, you go!
Now, you can see that you’re making progress in terms of size and strength, but also gain a little confidence when you’re in the top 10, 100, or even 1,000 Athlean-X users for this program.
Do better than last month and do better than everyone else.
4. Well-Planned Rest Days
As cool as it would be to hit the gym every day, your body and muscles need adequate rest to repair and return to full strength.
The rest days are another crucial speaking point of this program.
The rest days are strategically spaced out so that you’re hitting each muscle group at least twice throughout the week, but with at least 2-3 days of rest in between workouts.
The better your muscles recover, the more intensely you can pump iron during your next workout. That leads to even better growth and gains later on.
Hitting each muscle group twice a week is often touted as the “gold standard” for hypertrophy.
2 Negatives of this Program
1. No Refund Policy
Athlean-X is a reputable company and has gained traction in the fitness community. Yet, there’s always the chance that this program isn’t for you, and you may not realize until you buy it.
Well, considering all programs with Athlean-X are delivered digitally, there’s no refund policy available—even if the program is too difficult for you or you don’t have the right equipment.
If anything, customer service will guide you to new exercises to replace those that you can’t do or that you’re having trouble with.
Not a fix, but a start!
2. Training to Failure, 400-Rep Challenges, and Minimal Rest
The concept of training to failure will always be a hot topic in the fitness community, with some swearing by this training style and others shunning it forever.
Scientists seem to think that training to failure during resistance training workouts doesn’t necessarily lead to more significant gains than if you didn’t.
And if there are more gains, they aren’t notable.
So the majority of the Athlean-X Monster Maker workouts—many of which have you training to failure, performing rest-pause sets, or using just 13 second rest periods—include wasted reps.
You’re putting in a lot more effort with not much extra gain.
Wrapping Up This Athlean-X Monster Maker Review
The Athlean-X Monster Maker Workout Program is the real deal and is likely as intense as they come if you’re looking to see gains and cut fat.
So is this program worth giving a go?
For most guys serious about their physique, the answer is a resounding “yes.”
You can choose to focus more on muscles you want to trigger the most growth in, follow a diet plan that’s 100% laid out for you, compete against other users, and see maximal growth.
This program doesn’t come with its pitfalls, however.
You won’t get your money back if you’re dissatisfied with the program, and you may be putting in far too many reps without seeing substantially more tremendous growth.
Overall, this is a reliable program for most guys.
But There’s Still a Better Option
Like I said at the beginning (Kyle here again), I think Superhero X12 is a better option for guys who want to build muscle.
Superhero X12 allows you to put in the minimum effort to see real muscle-building results without completely draining you and making you hate your life.
The program also let’s you eat your favorite meals every day and doesn’t restrict what you can eat or make you force down food every 3 hours.
Finally, SX12 has a real no questions asked, money-back guarantee if for some reason you don’t find the program totally awesome (slim chance).
So if you want to gain muscle and build an impressive physique using a program designed for beginners (without disrupting your life), then check out Superhero X12.