Why and How I Combined The 40 Day Program and The PLP Program

And there sat the eleventh tip. The coup de gras of the first article I ever wrote for skinny-fat ectomorphs.

11. Every. Damn. Day

I'm going to end on a crapshoot. Some skinny fats are soft because they're babied. From a biological standpoint, having muscle is an artifact of living a lifestyle that demands its creation. So it may be worthwhile to try training every day to provide a signal to the body that being a skinny fat just isn't going to cut it.

Something tells me that running a combination of Waterbury's PLP and Dan John's 40 Day Program could do wonders for anyone.

Zoinks, Scoobs.

The questions poured in. Rightfully so too.

  • How do you carbohydrate cycle when you train daily?
  • Should I lift every day?
  • Should I do the 40 Day Program with more reps?
  • What kind of toilet paper do you use?
  • Should I train in extreme gravity like Goku did?

It’s finally time to answer all of the questions. This is a dive into how and why I combined the 40 Day Program with PLP, and what (I feel) it did for my skinny-fat genetics.

Why I chose the 40 Day Program

It was March 2011. I’d just gotten out of my cast. I walked with a severe limp.

The first month of recovery was all rehab (mainly balance stuff) and upper body training. But squats and deadlifts soon followed.

One day I squatted 315 pounds. Questioning my sanity immediately followed.

There I was. Two months removed from getting my cast off. Six months removed from breaking my foot in practically every place that it coulda’ broke. Yet I was teetering around with over three hundred pounds on my back.

It struck a chord within me.

I stopped caring. Squatting no longer mattered. What mattered was my health.

The deadlift seemed safer. I didn’t have to teeter out of a rack. I didn’t have to move under a load. I could just stand and lift.

But that still didn’t sit well in my stomach either.

I asked myself: “What would be best for my foot?”

My answer: Low load, high exposure.

Just so happens that the 40 Day Program is a low load, high exposure program that works just fine with the deadlift.

The choice was made: I’d train daily.

Why I chose PLP

Waterbury’s PLP article came out when I was a teacher. I read the article in between my classes. It intrigued me. But I still had my cast on at the time.

PLP popped back into my mind when I decided to train daily. It seemed reasonably do-able with The 40 Day Program. I was already gonna' be training daily. And it would increase my muscle gaining potential. The 40 Day Program isn’t really a “mass” program.

Just so happens that the two programs blend perfectly.

  • PLP doesn’t stress the spine and gives volume that The 40 Day Program lacks.
  • The volume on PLP isn’t a concern because The 40 Day Program is low volume. The higher days of PLP (Doing 60+ chin-ups daily) would interfere with most other programs.
  • The 40 Day Program takes care of barbell lifts of interest. PLP takes care of body weight exercises of interest.
  • Both are perfect high frequency programs.

And the blend just “worked” for me. Neither program was “too heavy” or “too much” for my foot.

How I blended them together

The 40 Day Program is 40 days long. (Who saw that one coming?) PLP is 60 days long.

What gives? How did I make it work?

I tailed frequency a tad after the 40 days of the 40 Day Program. I only lifted five days per week on the 20 days after the 40 Day Program.

The 60 days of PLP stayed consistent.

What I ate and how I structured my day

I did this during the summer. I had no obligations—one of the best parts about being a teacher. So I could do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted.

Mornings started with a cup or two of coffee and writing. I was six months into intermittent fasting at this point.

At 11:30AM I did the PLP routine. Only took about ten minutes to finish. Even at day 60.

I ate after that. One pound of ground turkey. Some veggies. Piece of fruit.

Wrote some more for the ol’ blog you’re reading now and watched Curb Your Enthusiasm for a while. Did the 40 Day Program stuff at around 4:00PM.

Took about 45 – 60 minutes most days.

Second meal came after. Usually six eggs and more veggies. One or two days per week I’d throw some starchy carbs into this meal. Nothing to break down the house though.

Relaxed for a bit.

Around 8:00PM I had a bowl of cottage cheese (one cup or so) with psyllium husks and flax seeds. A man’s gotta’ poop with regularity. Right?

The specifics of each program

PLP training was upbeat. I rotated through exercises without much rest. But I never did more than twelve reps per set. I felt that more reps per set would be too stressful and eventually hinder the program. (Just my feelings.)

My 40 Day Program template:

  • Deadlifts 2×5
  • Unilateral Dumbbell Floor Presses 2×5
  • Hip Thrusts 2×20
  • Power Curls 2×10
  • Waiter's Walks 2×20 yards

No. It wasn't “exactly” what Dan John woulda' ordered. But it was what I needed at the time. Hip thrusts gave extra lower body work without loading my foot.

I also ran hills once or twice per week. Nothing scientific. Ten-or-so reps of this steep fifty yard hill that was at my girlfriends apartment. As fast as possible to the top. Walk back down. Catch wind for a minute. Let the heart rate relax. Breath slowly and deeply. Then go again. It wasn't meant to be HIIT.

I also played softball a few times every week. And I played ultimate frisbee on Saturdays when my foot held up.

The results of both programs

These sixty days could have been the most important sixty days of my training life. It taught me something that I can't really explain in words.

The results were surprising.




I consider it the catalyst that took me to the “other side” of skinny-fat syndrome.

But I'll save the results and good stuff for next blog post.


The skinny-fat product update

In other news…

I've been getting bombarded. Questions about my skinny-fat resource continue to pour in. Creating something that I'm proud of is a tough task. I want this thing to be great. I won't settle for anything less.

I have seven documents right now. Two completed interviews. And I'm still working. It's still being edited. Then it'll be designed. And then I gotta' do the juicy stuff to get it up for purchase.

But I have an idea! Ideas are good!

I'm throwing around the idea of a beta launch. The people that jump on the beta offer will help refine and create the end result.

There will be a heavy discount for the beta users. But there's going to be a strong cap on the amount beta users allowed. I'm only one man and I can only sift through so much feedback. This feedback will come from a private support group that will have exclusive access to me and other beta users.

But I've said a bit too much.

More information next blog post.

See you there.

Trying to lose fat, build muscle, and build a body you’re proud of?

Maybe you’re a little lost right now.

Maybe you don’t have much motivation.

Maybe you don’t what program or diet to use.

I don’t know…

But what I do know is this:

Everything you need is inside of you.

You’re capable of more than know.

You just have to open your eyes.

My weekly column can help.

Just a small little honest note from me sent every Sunday.

Unless I’m hungover.

And then it comes Monday.

What I’m trying to say is that it’ll come Monday.

(These weekly columns don’t get posted to the site.)

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Rory O'Keeffe November 2, 2012, 9:07 am

    I’ve always liked the idea of those two programs, though I seem to never think of them when I’m between programs and able to go for it. Could be a good way to train in-season possibly? Or is it too wearing over time?

    Consider me extremely excited for your new book(s), as you know doubt got from twitter.

    • Anthony November 2, 2012, 4:50 pm

      Potentially, depending on what your “inseason” is like. Thanks.

  • zidar November 2, 2012, 9:48 am

    I also like both programs!
    But as a busy person I’ve never decided to try it. I think that the one should have a home gym to do it every day for 40-60 days.
    Moreover, there was no 40 days period in my life that I didn’t travel for at least 2-3 days.
    That is killing my desire to do these programs.

    • Anthony November 2, 2012, 4:50 pm

      Yeah, it’s tough if you have long travel to get to a gym.

  • Daniel Wallen November 2, 2012, 10:51 am

    Holy crap dude. I seriously *just did this.* I’m not going to blab on about my results on this blog (I’ll save that for your actual results post), but I’ll just say the results, for me, were surprising as well on every level you mentioned. I’ve never seen anything like this in the 3 years I’ve been lifting.

    I made a few minor edits as well. The Big One: I found strength progress slowing in the third week, so to fix this, I threw in a weekly “metabolic day.” Did the same lifts, but backed off 20-30 lbs, eliminated rest periods, just hustled to get through it as fast as possible. Gave me a breather from the heavy weights and like a charm, I’d start increasing weight again the next day.

    Also, since I was starting at one pull-up, I just did all of my PLP while I was already at the gym for my weight-training session.

    I started at a giant ONE pull-up as I could only do 7 when I started (felt like a loser at first) — and was skeptical because it took a long-ass time to even get that far — but it worked as advertised. I owe Chad Waterbury big time for getting me through my tragic pull-up woes.

    Made an edit to that too, though: I was broke at the time of starting and didn’t want to buy a pull-up bar, so I had to find sneaky ways to “hide” reps in my workout so they wouldn’t harm my ability to bring it on the heavy lifts.

    I’d spread it all out — do a few reps of PLP before starting each new exercise — and then, whatever was left over at the workout conclusion, I would perform as singles until I hit the daily total.

    Stoked to see your results, Anthony.

    • Anthony November 2, 2012, 4:51 pm

      Thanks Dan. But the 40 Day Program shouldn’t really be “heavy.” 40-60% 1RM.

  • Brian Martin November 2, 2012, 3:53 pm

    How does one sign up for the beta?

    • Anthony November 2, 2012, 4:52 pm

      Details soon 🙂

  • Harry Clarke November 2, 2012, 4:10 pm

    Never heard of those programs will keep them in mind for the future. Right now I am using the programs from Muscle Gaining Secrets by Jason Ferruggia. Thanks again for the information always like to find new workouts for future lifting.

    • Anthony November 2, 2012, 4:52 pm

      Thanks for the reply, Harry.

  • Jason November 2, 2012, 7:45 pm

    This is ballin’. I’ve been watching the Easy Strength videos lately and just got to the 40 Day Program. How much did your lifts go up? Also, did you gain much size on PLP?

    • Jason November 2, 2012, 7:46 pm

      Haha I’m asking now because I’m impatient for the blog post.

    • Anthony November 2, 2012, 11:06 pm

      You must be patient!

  • Siddharta November 2, 2012, 9:08 pm

    Can you give us more details regarding your nutrition? I’m on intermittent fasting, recomp, switching from maintaince calories + 500 on workout days (and lots of carbs) to maintainance calories – 500 on non workout days (and low carbs). What did you do or what do you recommend when training every day in terms of maintainance and carbs? Thanks for your posts. I’m becoming a fan, and would love to be a beta tester. Looking forward to the details.

    • Anthony November 2, 2012, 11:07 pm


      Next blog post…


  • Rajat Desikan November 2, 2012, 9:27 pm

    Hey Anthony…
    It is cruel to leave us hanging about your results from this program :)…interesting blogpost though. Food for thought…
    I am interested in your skinny fat resource, but I do not want to start it right away. I am on the Northwood program for another 8 months or so, and i wouldn’t want to deviate from it until I get my military press up to 185 lbs and front squat upto 300 lbs. So I WILL invest in it, but for the nutrition…:) no distractions 🙂
    I do want to combine PLP with northwood though. Many days I just sit in my lab and get stiff. I think PLP is a nice way to keep me limber…and bring up a few muscles…

    • Anthony November 2, 2012, 11:07 pm

      PLP and Northwood would go well together.

  • Helder November 4, 2012, 5:27 pm

    What kind of toilet paper do you use?
    Should I train in extreme gravity like Goku did?

    LOL i had to stop reading for a minute while laughing, in a funny way you were right on the spot, people care too much about too many details and they don’t focus on the most important things.

    • Anthony November 5, 2012, 4:47 pm

      It’s normal. I was just having some fun


  • Marlon November 5, 2012, 4:29 pm

    what was your warm up like on the PLP workouts and on the 40 day program workouts? How long?

  • Dan John November 7, 2012, 9:43 pm

    I applaud the fact that you thought through this and then did it. Everything works, but you have to have the courage to follow an idea through the whole program. Few, you know, do this. It is so simple, but few do it.

    Great post. I feel smarter.

    • Anthony November 8, 2012, 2:28 am

      Dan —

      Thanks for the reply. Hugely humbled. I really don’t know what else to say other than I’ll sleep happy tonight in light of this.

      Appreciate it.

  • Sounds like an interesting idea. I need to read more about the PLP program and the 40 day program to really understand what you did with it. Glad to hear it worked for you.

    • Anthony November 9, 2012, 10:45 pm

      Thanks for the reply! Look into them.

  • Mike December 30, 2012, 6:39 am

    I have been using your Intermediate Program from the solutions for skinny fat part 3. I am on day 30 of PLP and have been hitting a wall. In your opinion is this too much volume?

    • Anthony December 31, 2012, 3:10 am

      Hitting a wall how? How have you been doing your PLP — sets/reps? How have you been training on the program? Do you hit failure?

      A lot of questions need answered here.

      Also, are you eating for weight loss or gain?

      • Mike December 31, 2012, 4:52 am

        I have been making consistant gains wth your “Intermediate program” over the past year, but as I reach the halfway point of the PLP, strength gains have stalled (especially on the chin-ups). I do my “Intermediate program” workouts (fasted state / 10g BCAAs) first thing in the morning (4 days a week).
        PLP (Late afternoons)… I usually use reps in the 7 to 10 range on all 3 exercises depending on how I feel. Do a set, wait 1/2 hour do another set, etc. I try not to go to failure, but they get more difficult on the 4 workout days.
        My main focus is on muscle gain. My story is allot like yours. Skinny fat ectomorph that tried the bulk/cut thing over the years. I’ve been doing IF for over a year with great success. Currently 6′-7″ / 205 lbs @ 8% BF… “slow cooking” gains is the way to go for me.
        In your opinion should I just continue PLP to day 60, or should I tailor my program based on recovery?
        Thanks for all the great articles!

  • Jonathan July 1, 2013, 4:44 pm

    Anthony, back to a good old post: apart of the 40 day program structure, I’m considering add daily waiters walks for health of shoulders. I really enjoy doing the thing. Do you remember the weight you use in the training? I think there should be a minimum for that in some way, since 2 x 20 is very little to walk.
    (Ps: Chaos bulk is good stuff, definitely)

    • Anthony July 2, 2013, 2:48 pm

      Thanks. I didn’t use a lot. Maybe 40-50 pounds? I can’t remember. I didn’t focus much on the weight. I didn’t want to struggle. I just knew that there was a certain weight that made my shoulder feel amazing, and that’s what I was going for.

  • Greig October 22, 2013, 10:05 pm

    I just wanted to say thanks for this post. I’ve just completed this combined set of programs and have to say that it has been the most rewarding, physical transforming, mental and will power challenging program that I have been through. I couldn’t recommend this more highly for skinny fats as I now look and feel significantly different. A completely unexpected benefit is that I managed to add 18kg to my max deadlift and almost completely get rid of all pain in my lower back (herniated disc).
    Thanks for the idea Anthony.

    • Anthony October 23, 2013, 12:35 am

      If you send me an email with pictures, I’ll throw it up on my testimonials page whenever I get around to making it.

  • edwin November 12, 2013, 8:47 pm

    So did you increase the reps, or weight?

    • Anthony November 13, 2013, 6:45 pm

      I trained. Every day. That’s what went down. Specifics of each program are within the series.

  • Mike March 4, 2014, 3:09 pm

    Dude from one human to another you saved my life bro! You made the big difference in my body in six years of training was blind and now I see better late than never. You are the best

    • Anthony March 7, 2014, 1:08 am

      Thanks man I appreciate it.