Home / Workouts & Reviews / Jim Stoppani’s 6 Week Shortcut To Shred Review
Jim Stoppani’s 6 Week Shortcut To Shred Review08/05/2019
If like many,
Your quest for building muscle and shedding a few pounds for your planned boozy stag do to Ibiza has seen you either:
1) Bulk in one phase
2) Cut in another
3) Have a 6 month love affair with the cross-trainer at your gym (including mentally claiming your machine)
And you’re still not getting results?
Then I’ve got news for you:
You need to go back to the drawing board.
A commonly held belief in the fitness community is that it’s damn near impossible to build lean muscle mass and drop body fat concurrently.
Dr Jim Stoppani, who holds a PhD in Exercise Physiology simply begs to differ.
His 6 Week Shortcut to Shred programme is rooted in the labs of science – and in this review – we’re going to be taking a dive into how one can dispel this myth and get phenomenal results.
Let’s get into it:
Similar to Jim’s Shortcut to Size programme, Shortcut to Shred is based on the training principle of periodisation.
Periodisation is where you change your training routine at specific times in order to target your muscles with different levels of intensity (and in turn, reducing the likelihood of plateauing).
This training plan follows two types of periodisation: linear and reverse.
Linear periodisation focuses on increasing resistance and decreasing reps for the main compound exercises, whereas reverse periodisation focuses on decreasing resistance and increasing reps for isolation exercises.
If you are familiar with the Shortcut to Size workout, you’ll know that Jim is an avid proponent of ‘microcycles’ in order to accelerate results.
Where a classic periodisation programme could last months on end, microcycles will have you change your weight/rep ranges every week for a total of 6 weeks.
But wait – there’s more:
Unlike Shortcut to Size where your weight/rep range will change once a week, during Shortcut to Shred, this will change twice a week.
Why I might hear you ask?
This is so that the early half of your week is spent building muscle and strength (linear periodisation), whilst the latter half of your week is spent torching body fat (reverse periodisation).
Do you think Jim was kidding when he said real science, unreal results?
Below is a snapshot of what to expect on this workout plan..
A crucial component of this training plan is what Jim calls ‘cardio acceleration’.
This calls for 1 minute of high intensity interval training (HIIT) after every set which is key to the programme’s fat burning effectiveness.
We’ll cover this in a bit more detail further below.
In the meantime:
We’ve also summarised what your first week will look like to give you an idea of the types of exercises, sets and reps that are expected during this workout.
Shortcut to Shred Workout
Phase 1 – Week 1
Workout 1: Chest, Triceps and Abs (Multi-Joint)
|Incline Dumbbell Press||3||9-11|
|Decline Smith Machine Press||3||9-11|
|Close-Grip Bench Press||4||9-11|
|Smith Machine Hip Thrust||3||9-11|
Workout 2: Shoulders, Legs and Calves (Multi-Joint)
|Barbell Shoulder Press||4||9-11|
|Shoulder Press (Standing)||3||9-11|
|Standing Calf Raise||3||9-11|
|Seated Calf Raise||3||9-11|
Workout 3: Back, Traps and Biceps (Multi-Joint)
|Barbell Bent Over Row||4||9-11|
|Dumbbell Bent Over Row||3||9-11|
|Seated Cable Row||3||9-11|
|Barbell or EZ-Bar Preacher Curl||3||9-11|
|Reverse-Grip Barbell Curl||3||9-11|
|Barbell Wrist Curl||3||9-11|
Workout 4: Chest, Triceps and Abs (Single-Joint)
|Incline Dumbbell Flye||3||12-15|
|Overhead Dumbbell Extension||3||12-15|
|Cable Lying Triceps Extension||3||12-15|
|Standing Oblique Crunch||3||12-15|
Workout 5: Shoulders, Legs and Calves (Single-Joint)
|Dumbbell Lateral Raise||3||12-15|
|Barbell Front Raise||3||12-15|
|Dumbbell Bent Over Lateral Raise||3||12-15|
|Seated Calf Raise||3||12-15||Donkey or Leg Press Calf Raise||3||12-15|
Workout 6: Back, Traps and Biceps (Single-Joint)
|Incline Dumbbell Curl||3||12-15|
|High Cable Curl||3||12-15||Rope Cable Curl||3||12-15||Dumbbell Reverse Wrist Curl||3||12-15|
The above concludes Week 1 of the workout which you then continue for Weeks 2 and 3 to wrap up Phase 1.
You’ll then move onto Phase 2 of the programme completing Weeks 4, 5 and 6.
As mentioned previously, the first half of your week will be focused on building strength and mass whilst the second half of your week emphasises burning fat.
You’ll need to bare in mind the switch in weight/reps to get maximum results.
Thus, you’ll be working towards the following:
· Week 2 – Monday to Wednesday: 6-8 reps, Thursday to Saturday: 16-20 reps
· Week 3 – Monday to Wednesday: 2-5 reps, Thursday to Saturday: 21-30 reps
· Week 4 – Monday to Wednesday: 9-11 reps, Thursday to Saturday: 12-15 reps
· Week 5 – Monday to Wednesday: 6-8 reps, Thursday to Saturday: 16-20 reps
· Week 6 – Monday to Wednesday: 2-5 reps, Thursday to Saturday: 21-30 reps
For more information, make sure you check out the full Shortcut to Shred PDF below:
This programme does a great job of targeting each muscle group twice a week which is an optimal way to train to build some lean muscle.
Not only this:
With the first half of your week spent on building strength and the latter half of the week spent building endurance and dropping body fat, it’s almost impossible to plateau on this routine.
Each workout varies every day so your muscles won’t have a clue what is going on which means more gains.
If you’re new to lifting, the variance might be a little confusing especially if you don’t know how to perform each exercise correctly.
I’d recommend following a basic bodybuilding routine for a few months first (a year minimum is even better) such as Stronglifts 5×5, 20 Rep Squats or Arnold’s Golden Six before diving into this training plan so you are working from a solid foundation.
This workout routine also calls for a high level of stamina so those who perform cardio routinely will find the cardio acceleration aspect a breeze.
If like me and cardio (is that Spanish?) isn’t your strong suit… I’d also recommend clocking in at least 1 HIIT session a week to allow your body to work at a higher intensity and improve your working and resting heart rate.
The sage advice in the fitness and bodybuilding community is that you need to continually shock your muscles in order to grow.
Over the next 6 weeks, and in spite of your experience level…
The mix of perdiodisation training, microcycles, cardio acceleration and just sheer effort to complete each workout will leave your body and nervous system so confused, you’re ‘almost’ guaranteed results.
I say ‘almost’ rather loosely because of course, there are no guarantees…
But with thousands of people raving about their results online, the odds are really in your favour if you put in the work.
Stoppani recommends training 6 times a week (Monday – Saturday) with one rest day on Sunday.
· Monday – Chest, Triceps and Abs
· Tuesday – Shoulders, Legs and Calves
· Wednesday – Back, Traps and Biceps
· Thursday – Chest, Triceps and Abs
· Friday – Shoulders, Legs and Calves
· Saturday – Back, Traps and Biceps
· Sunday – Rest
Each body part is trained by a split twice a week on a 6 week cycle.
Whilst it may seem like you’re stepping into ‘over-training’ territory with one rest day during the week, the programme has been designed to give a trained muscle group 2 days of active rest before being targeted again.
Your chest, triceps and abs will not be targeted until Thursday if you trained them on Monday.
This should give any trained muscle group ample time to recover before being attacked again.
Cardio acceleration is used as a way of burning more fat in between sets of resistance training.
After you have completed one set of bench press, you’ll immediately re-rack the barbell and perform 1 minute of non-stop cardio until your next set.
If you’re a noob and find 1 minute too long or too challenging, do it for 30 seconds or reduce the pace.
You can then increase this gradually once you’ve built up enough endurance to be able to handle it.
Your choice of cardio acceleration exercise can be as simple as running on the spot – but whatever you decide to do, it’s important to not give your body a minute’s rest.
A few options could be, but not limited to:
· Kettlebell Swing
· Goblet Squat
· Box Jump Squat
· Dumbbell/Barbell Step Up
· Sledge Push
· Running In Place
· Skipping In Place
· Medicine Ball Slam
· Sledgehammer Swing
· Tire Flips
· Shadow Boxing/Pad Work
· Step Up With Knee Raise
· Jumping Jacks
· Knee Tuck Jumps
And so on…
The idea is to keep intensity levels high and ensure your body is always moving.
Or, to separate the men from the boys.
By keeping your body guessing this way, you’ll start to copiously sweat like Josef Fritzl on an episode of Grand Designs.
So be sure to hit those showers right after your session.
With rest periods effectively eliminated from the equation, each workout should last no longer than 45 – 60 minutes depending on your level of fitness.
As already stated:
6 workouts will be performed each week on a 6 week cycle.
The simple truth is,
You’ll soon to start embrace (but not love) cardio acceleration as part of the process usually around Week 3.
For the first 2 weeks, I was pretty much questioning whether cardio acceleration was a new form of torture equivalent to having pins stuck in between my eyelids whilst watching the Jeremy Kyle show.
But if you hang in there, you’ll start getting results.
Like Shortcut to Size,
It’s important to pick a weight which will challenge you every week to grow some muscle, build strength and drop body fat.
All whilst maintaining good form and posture.
Below is an example of how much you should be lifting in each linear periodisation microcycle.
· Week 1 – Linear Periodisation (65% of 1 Rep Max)
· Week 2 – Linear Periodisation (70% of 1 Rep Max)
· Week 3 – Linear Periodisation (75% of 1 Rep Max)
· Week 4 – Linear Periodisation (80% of 1 Rep Max)
· Week 5 – Linear Periodisation (85% of 1 Rep Max)
· Week 6 – Linear Periodisation (90% of 1 Rep Max)
Having your weight selection set up this way will ensure you’re progressively overloading your muscles for maximum hypertrophy.
During the reverse linear periodisation microcycles…
As the focus will be more on muscular endurance, avoid dropping the weights too low because all you’ll be doing is telling your body to get smaller.
Which we obviously don’t want.
Aim for the following weight selection to keep your progress in check:
· Week 1 and 4 – Reverse Linear Periodisation (60% of 1 Rep Max)
· Week 2 and 5 – Reverse Linear Periodisation (55% of 1 Rep Max)
· Week 3 and 6 – Reverse Linear Periodisation (50% of 1 Rep Max)
With everything said,
It’s important to find and lift the weight that’s right for you.
And the only way for you to do that is to get stuck in and get a feel for each exercise.
Shortcut to Shred is predicated on 3 nutritional phases.
During each phase, you’ll be gradually dropping your carbohydrate intake which will decrease your overall calorie consumption and ensure you’re in a calorie deficit to get lean and cut.
Whilst your carbs will be dropping as you progress during the training plan, your protein and fat intake will remain the same throughout.
Below is a quick breakdown of what this looks like:
· Phase 1 – 3: 1.5g of protein per pound of body weight
· Phase 1 – 3: 0.5g of fat per pound of body weight
· Phase 1 – Week 1: 1.5g of carbs per pound of body weight
· Phase 2 – Week 2 – 3: 1g of carbs per pound of body weight
· Phase 3 – Week 3 – 6: 0.5g of carbs per pound of body weight
Jim mentions that during Phase 1 and 2, your calorie intake will differ on training days and rest days due to a pre- and post-workout meal not being devoured when you’re resting.
In Phase 1 (Week 1), Jim recommends you get at least 3,000 calories a day and in Phase 2 (Week 2 and 3), you get at least 2,600 calories.
During Phase 3 (Week 3 – 6), you’ll be eating more calories on your rest days than on your training days.
Why is this so?
According to Stoppani, when you reduce your carbs to about 0.5g of body weight, your leptin levels will likely drop too if you’re not getting in enough calories.
Leptin is a hormone secreted from your body’s fat cells which is responsible for regulating your appetite levels and your storage of fat.
In other words,
It is a key component for maintaining your metabolic rate – so if your leptin levels drop too low, so to will your metabolic rate.
Having a high carb day on rest days will ensure you keep your leptin levels in check which will help you continue to burn more fat and get through the diet.
During your high carb day, you’ll be getting around 2g of carbs for every pound of body weight and should be eating at least 3,000 calories.
Check out the below video of Jim breaking down the full nutritional requirements of the diet.
For more information on the type of meals you should be eating, make sure you download a copy of the worksheet.
When it comes to supplements, it’s clear Stoppani is a big proponent of covering all bases to optimise performance.
He does, of course, own a personally branded supplement line and would have a vested interest to flog this out.
Rather than have a traditional pre-workout of creatine mixed in with some caffeine, he advises:
- Caffeine: 200-300 mg
- Green Tea Extract: 500-1,000 mg
- Carnitine: 1.5-2 g
- BCAAs: 5 g
- Creatine: 1 serving
- Beta-Alanine: 1.5-3 g
Also, he recommends to take the following first thing in the morning:
- Whey Protein: 1 scoop
- Fish Oil: 2-3 g
- Caffeine: 200 mg
- Green Tea Extract: 500-1000 mg
- Carnitine: 1.5-2 g
- CLA: 2-3 g
Whilst Jim likes to keep everything grounded in science, for me, simplicity is king.
I would much rather rely on whole based foods and the bare necessities of supplements to keep my physique in an anabolic state, rather than rely on a myriad of pseudo-supplements with dubious claims which will most likely be pissed out in 5 minutes.
There’s only so much white powder you can take.
With 400mg of caffeine deemed as a ‘safe’ amount to consume within 24 hours, on Shortcut to Shred you’ll be taking in roughly 600mg which is above the recommended intake for a normal adult.
Just to put that in perspective,
600mg of caffeine is the equivalent of drinking 10 x 500ml bottles of regular or diet coke a day.
But what do I know?
Jim is the expert here, and it’s his plan after all.
If you’d like a detailed explanation as to why he’s put together such a regimented approach to supplements on this programme, check out the video below:
Shortcut to Shred is a great plan to follow if you’ve got a lot of time to kill and a decent amount of cash to spend.
If you’re an average 9 – 5 slave on a budget, this training plan may be slightly cumbersome.
The meal and supplement frequency can be an absolute ball ache, especially if you’re continually strapped for time and find yourself always on the go.
Not to mention:
The meals themselves are an absolute slog.
As you can imagine, having to wharf down a tuna salad for lunch 6 times a week did start to get slightly political in an office environment.
With a juicy 8oz sirloin steak, sweet potato and some fibrous vegetables for dinner, it was slightly bearable.
Jim does, of course, provide a list of alternative foods to eat but I’m quite lazy when it comes to meal prep and prefer simple, boring meals.
I must admit:
I would often have a few cheat meals on Sunday as I felt like the calorie deficit I was on really heightened my cravings.
Pizza, burgers, booze, ice cream you name it, it was gone in a heartbeat.
Yes, I’d go over my calorie intake… but knowing that 6 brutal training days were coming up where I would return to being in deficit had little to no impact provided things didn’t get out of hand.
Cause you know, balance right?
It just goes to show that 6 weeks to hit your fitness goal(s) is really an immediate ‘crash course’ which can have a negative impact on your well-being and hormones if you don’t find the right balance of foods.
On the flip side:
The workout is absolutely spot on.
After a week of of high reps, low weights and a shit tonne of skipping, I could feel the fat stores physically melting away.
Not only was the workout energising, but I quickly started looking forward to the next day as the cardio acceleration was just the shock my body needed to shred more effectively.
As with most things, the battle is always more mental than physical.
You know you can perform this workout mentally, but can you physically bring yourself to do it 6 times per week for 6 weeks straight?
The first week was tough for sure, but as the weeks go by – the workouts get more difficult, the food gets less appetising – but if you stick with it, the results come in thick and fast.
I’m quite a regimented person myself, but this plan was certainly one of the toughest I’ve had to endure.
The real win was definitely in the way I felt.
The exhaustive plan really contributed to better sleep at night. Not only this, the aesthetic results were completely unreal as I was on my way to becoming the leanest I’ve been in a few years.
Jimbo’s 6 week programme is a sound plan designed to enhance your results using proven scientific methods.
It would ideally suit someone who can commit the time, energy and resources to follow everything to the letter.
In other words,
Someone who is unemployed, lives in the gym or kitchen.
The level of discipline and hard work required will most likely suit a competition bodybuilder, but even if you’re not looking to compete, the plan should be used as a way to shock your system in a way it isn’t used to.
The results you can expect are very impressive and I was certainly happy with the level of muscle, strength and leanness I was able to develop in a matter of weeks.
What do you think?
Have you tried the Shortcut to Shred plan?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below!
Joseph is the Founder and Editor in Chief of CheckMeowt. When he is not sat at the computer guzzling down the nearest thing with protein in it, he can be found pulling up the world in the gym. Occasionally, he is best described as socially unreliable and easily distracte.