How I Transformed My Physique in 1 Year with Anabolic Aliens

By
Emily Rudow
October 26, 2020

How I Transformed My Physique in 1 Year with Anabolic Aliens

Here’s a throwback for you – does anybody remember Richard Simmons? You know, the campy version of Bob Ross known for his blinding neon workout gear? If not, I’d encourage you to visit this blast from the past…but strictly to tickle your nostalgia bone rather than to get your sweat on.

Fast forward to the present, and there are so many quality workout videos at your fingertips. Deciding where to start can be a bit overwhelming. It’s hard to sort through all the clutter to find a video or channel that really resonates with you and can be integrated into your workout routine. 

I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to share my fitness journey with you and how I used Anabolic Aliens to completely transform my physique in one year’s time. For a bit of background context, I started my fitness journey back in 2008 while at University.

I started with a 22-interval treadmill workout followed by some strength training here and there. I would read up on fitness and nutrition regularly then apply this newfound information to my training routine and diet. I started to see progress almost immediately, which gave me the drive to keep at it. 

Over the course of the past 12 years, I discovered a passion for running and devoted much of my training efforts to improving my performance, running farther and faster. I did keep up with a strength training routine, but it wasn’t my priority. I would repeat the same exercises with minimal increases in weight. My body composition did have some muscle, but not any sort of notable definition. 

I wanted to look more toned and leaner. Despite having a personal training certificate, I still didn’t know how to attain the body I wanted. In early 2019, I left a long-term relationship which left me with a big ol’ empty void. I decided to refocus my energy on training and working on other important relationships in my life – such as my family and friends.

I desperately wanted a change; a complete overhaul of my diet and current training.

Discovering Anabolic Aliens

It was early February when I started experimenting with my nutrition. I began by doing fasted workouts and experimenting with various macro splits, which helped me lean out. When I started seeing results, I became more open to dabbling in different nutrition strategies; strategies that conflicted with some of my own long-held (and sometimes misguided) health beliefs.

I was developing more of a growth mindset. I was more open to trying new things that seemed to be working for others. I experimented with intermittent fasting and began researching new exercises to incorporate into my routine.

I thought a good place to start would be YouTube. At a whim, I typed something along the lines of “arm workout” into YouTube and came across an at-home forearm workout, which for some reason, piqued my interest. No equipment was required, the video was only five minutes long and I knew zero forearm exercises, so I clicked and pushed play. Despite using no weights whatsoever, the workout BURNED. I absolutely loved it and was eager to find more new exercises from the same channel.

Who would have thought that a forearm workout I found on a whim would be the impetus behind a massive mindset change? I looked at some of the other videos from the Anabolic Aliens (AA) YouTube channel and decided to start incorporating them into my pre-workout routine. My absolute favorite to this day is the Intense 5 Minute Dumbbell Shoulder Workout; a workout that targets every part of your shoulders. One in which I’ve sent to several friends since discovering it.


There’s just something about Mike’s energy. He’s extremely timely in delivering motivation throughout the video – sharing words of encouragement at the right moments when I feel like my arms are going to fall off.

He also inadvertently taught me a lot about progressive overload. One of Mike’s phrases I hear often, which is now programmed into my brain, is “you can always improve. More weight, more reps, less rest." I keep this mantra in my back pocket during every workout.

Incorporating AA into My Training

I noticed the AA channel had hundreds of videos that were highly targeted to specific muscle groups. There were also ones that combined multiple muscle groups in a single video (i.e. shoulders & traps, biceps & back, chest & triceps, etc.).

Once I started seeing the payoff from AA’s workouts, I realized that Mike knew his shit. I adopted all of his advice and routines into my own workouts and have been consistently pleased with how challenging and fun they are. 

Now, let's get into my actual training regimen. Up until the summer of 2019, I broke out my strength training splits as follows: 

Monday - arms/back

Tuesday - core + legs

Wednesday - arms/back

Thursday - core

Friday - arms/back

Saturday - No strength

Sunday - No strength

I would incorporate 2-3 AA videos before going to the gym and lifting heavier weights. After weeks of continuing this split, I naturally started to learn more exercises which I then incorporated into my routine at the gym. 

The progress I saw up until this point was remarkable and I found myself consuming an increased amount of content on fitness/nutrition. As expected, there were conflicting opinions on training splits, nutrition, etc. My own personal ethos in life is that there is no ‘one size fits all’ diet and training plan; it’s our responsibility to take the information we learn and experiment to see what works best for us. I’ve tried the 16:8 IF protocol. Spoiler alert, it didn’t work for me.

I’ve tried doing a 30-day vegan challenge…I lasted 20 days. I’ve tried going to the gym and lifting only 4-6 reps with long rests. I hated it. My advice to anyone who wants to either begin training or move the needle in their body composition is to be open to testing new strategies so you can find a routine and diet that works for you. 

This does prompt a quick caveat. I see a lot of sales pitches that promise better bodies, coated in an unhealthy dose of MLM. In Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness’ article “7 Ways To Detect B.S. When Reading Pop Science And Self-Help”, they provide some steps on how to sift through all the crap out there and focus on implementing only the good stuff.

Their B.S detector includes,“Non-stop complexification, the writer is selling something or trying to develop a specific brand, precise and narrow interventions with massive impacts, the story is the main driver, there is no works-cited, attempting to create an artificial “us versus them” mentality, and Guru syndrome.” In sum, it’s important to understand if the advice is sound before implementing before testing it out for yourself.”

A frequent topic I’ve read about is the pull/push training split. This concept was relatively new to me, so I’ll provide a brief description of each. A push workout is where your muscles contract when weight is pushed away from your body. These muscle groups include chest, shoulders, triceps, quads, and calves. A pull workout is where your muscles contract when weight is pulled towards your body. These muscle groups include your traps, back, biceps, hams, obliques.

I decided to incorporate the push/pull split with my upper body only. Just for context, I think it’s important to mention that I’m an avid runner. In fact, as I write this, I’m on my 1,070th day of consecutive running (averaging 10 kilometers per day). I’m not telling you this as a humble brag, but rather, as a precursor for why I don’t follow the push/pull for legs. From experience, doing a heavy leg session can really throw off my running for days. For me, keeping my consecutive running streak rolling is much more important than having chiseled legs.

With that being said, below is the exact training split that I’m doing this week. For each muscle group, I choose five exercises, aim for the 8-15 rep range and repeat the exercise 3 times.

Monday: 

Tuesday:

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday 

  • No strength
  • Run +7 miles (long, steady state)

The Results

Not only did I see transformative changes in my physique, but I also felt physically stronger. My posture improved and my running got faster. I would be remiss without mentioning that I didn't see improvements week-over-week, which was sometimes discouraging. However, I noticed I could lift more and the feeling of improved strength, kept me motivated. Consistently showing up and completing each workout, whether I felt liked it or not, was the true catalyst to change.

Now on to everyone’s favorite part of the post...the before and after shots. 

Winter 2018  

The starting point: 135 lbs - less definition.


Spring 2019

I started experimenting with IF and began incorporating AA into my training.


April/May 2020 

One year later, I weigh around 140 lbs and have gained around five pounds of lean muscle mass.


Conclusion

Conventionally these types of posts wind down with some sort of call-to-action to buy a product or a coaching plan. No worries, this isn't an undercover marketing scheme - just an honest review with tangible results. I wanted to share my love for the Anabolic Alien YouTube Channel and how it's been a huge catalyst in changing and upgrading my workout routines.

By watching these videos, you can absorb all you need to know about training. Incorporating this information into your own fitness routine to really move the mark with strength and performance improvements. 

Lastly, a huge thanks to Mike and the Anabolic Aliens team for creating some game-changing content. Check out for more articles by me at https://emilyrudow.com/

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Emily Rudow
Fitness Blogger

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