Ever thought about what it would be like to be trained by one of the bodybuilding legends? Well, Evan Centopani is one of those legends, and with his Iron Intelligence plan, he’s going to try to help you build insane amounts of mass in 12 weeks.
Does this bodybuilding style of training apply to you? Let’s see.
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About the Creator – Evan Centopani
Evan Centopani is one of the bodybuilding legends of the world, weighing a staggering 260lbs and shredded to the bone. This alone would lead you to believe he’d make a good trainer.
Evan started competing in bodybuilding at age 23 and surprisingly won both his first shows. He then went on to become an IFBB Pro bodybuilder and competed from 2005 until his retirement in 2022.
While Evan has never won a Mr. Olympia title, he’s still won the respect of millions across the world. Evan is known for being calm and collected and focuses on using science and evidence to improve his training, nutrition, and career.
Evan is also famous for his sponsorship of the supplement brand Animal. Animal is a company that’s focused on bodybuilding supplements and has sponsored Evan for more than 16 years.
He’s been a prominent figure on YouTube, breaking down the complex science of bodybuilding for the average human being. But is the Iron Intelligence Program good enough to form part of this information?…
Iron Intelligence Program Overview
The overarching idea of the Iron Intelligence plan is to take what professional bodybuilders do and make it more appropriate for gen pop. It’s mentioned that you’ll be spending time building strength and mass and then switch to a conditioning phase – to get shredded.
- Fitness level: Advanced
- Duration: 12 weeks
- Workouts per week: 4 workouts per week
- Average workout duration: 60 minutes
- Equipment needed: Full gym
- Goal: Build muscle
This is the point you should realize this is a pure bodybuilding program and about on par with Neil Hill’s Y3T Program as far as the end goal goes. There won’t be a single burpee. Every ounce of rice will be eaten, and you sure as hell will be using a lot of weight.
Iron Intelligence Program Details
As I already mentioned, the program is split into different phases. This is because when you’re as specific as bodybuilders are, you need to give each part of the journey the time and effort it deserves.
Phase 1: Strength
Strength is defined as moving a certain amount of weight for a certain amount of reps.
Strength can be increased by either increasing the amount of load (weight) or the number of reps. This is the base of progressive overload and something Evan wants you to focus on.
The reason why progressive overload is so important is not only because we know it to be the best way of improving strength but also because your volume in the first phase is quite low. In fact, the first session is only 17 sets for legs.
This may seem very low to some, but that’s actually the amount of volume most pro bodybuilders use. Instagram has made us think the “4 x 15” is the way to go when the biggest and strongest people on earth rarely do that.
The reason the volume is so low is that you’ll take the sets to absolute failure, something very few people can actually do. That means a spotter will be necessary on certain more-dangerous movements – such as the squat.
On rest days, it’s advised to do 30 minutes of low-intensity cardio. This is to aid in recovery, as blood flow could help you recover faster and grow a bit better.
Phase 2: Size
The size phase is the phase in which you’ll begin to incorporate typical bodybuilding training. Your weekly sessions will shift from 3 per week to 4, granting you the ability to be more specific with your muscles being trained.
This doesn’t mean you’ll only be doing isolation movements. In fact, you’ll still use the good “ol squat, bench, deadlift, barbell row, and overhead press as the base for your workouts. That said, there are more “other” movements – compared to phase 1.
Because you’ve spent the last 4 weeks training for failure, you should be well-versed in knowing how to apply “stopping 1 – 2 reps shy of failure” – which is the objective in phase 2. With slightly higher acute and cumulative volume, you’ll not be training to failure.
This adds up because as your volume increases, you can’t be training to failure due to the CNS fatigue becoming too much.
Phase 3: Conditioning
The conditioning phase brings upon two big changes compared to the other phases:
- You’ll be doing cardio every day instead of doing cardio every other day.
- Your training will have far higher volume and include intensifiers – such as drop and compound sets.
This is all in the pursuit of burning calories to cause you to lose fat. Training will no longer be intense due to the load but rather due to the volume and little rest time. Evan believes you shouldn’t only rely on cardio and diet to lose a few pounds.
As the last few weeks of Iron Intelligence progress, your training will reflect an increase in volume and intensity. This is because Evan wants you to peak at 12 weeks exactly.
Eating Like a Bodybuilder
The myth of chicken breast and rice accompanied by a mountain of broccoli is 100% completely correct. Evan is one of the strictest dieters amongst pro bodybuilders, and he wants you to follow this ideology as well.
This means eating the calculated macros and calories every single day, every 3 hours. A minimum of four meals per day is the recommendation, and Evan encourages you to make use of Tupperware, etc, to stay on track.
That said, Evan is also a big fan of two cheat meals per week on training days (unlike the ridiculously strict 4Weeks2Shred by Kris Gethin). He gives some recommendations and reasonings to make the whole plan ever-so-slightly more manageable for most.
There are also (as you would expect) quite a few Animal supplements that you “should” be taking to get the best results possible. Whether this is true or not will wildly depend on your dedication and nutrition.
2 Iron Intelligence Pros
- It’s a good plan: Seems like a pretty weird “pro,” right? Well, a lot of the plans on Bodybuilding.com are either too intense, too short, or just too time intensive for working adults to use. This plan makes you work hard (enough) for a short time and then get out – as it should be.
- Progression: Evan mentions that you should be aiming to progressively overload as time goes on, which is something not many coaches will ever mention. This is a delightful surprise compared to other BodyFit workouts.
2 Iron Intelligence Cons
- It’s a very small niche: The number of people that actually follow this plan to a T is very, very few. Most people cannot sacrifice this much in regard to nutrition or training. Hell, most people don’t even know what training for failure looks like. This makes the plan inaccessible to most.
- It’s not flashy: Again, not a perfect “con,” but some people need that “edge.” That idea that this plan is revolutionary and will change their lives. This plan won’t because you simply have to do the work, and most people don’t – that’s why few people can relate to bodybuilders. If you like the idea of sacrifice, this plan is great for you.
Evan Centopani’s Iron Intelligence Program – Final Thoughts
The problem here comes as the plan is that good of a plan. Hear me out – most people don’t know how monotonous the lifestyle of a bodybuilder is. Same food, same workout, same routine, over and over again.
If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, the fish will feel stupid. This plan is not for everyone, and you have to deduct some points for that. This plan is a carbon copy of what a real bodybuilder would do.
This means it’ll only be the bodybuilder-type of people who would benefit from this. Other than that, the plan is virtually perfect:
- Distinct phases where the goal is singular
- A good nutrition guide, be it a bit “bland”
- Videos of Evan talking through the movements and decisions he’s made to create the plan
As a young bodybuilder, Evan Centopani’s Iron Intelligence Program has the potential to help you infinitely.
For everyone else… not so much. There’s Mastercard or something.
Rating: 4.0 out of 5