Ripped Out Program Review

Posted on 14. May, 2012 by in uncategorized

Ripped Out is a program to get you ripped. If you follow it, you will be comfortable taking your shirt off anytime, anywhere. And buying it supports Expat Chronicles.

My friend Craig is a natural bodybuilder. We were best friends in college. We were jock-ish, always playing sports and lifting weights.

Craig Leonard at 240 lbs

For his last years in university, however, Craig had less time for the gym and sports because of his increasingly difficult engineering classes combined with a full-time job.

Craig got fat. I didn’t realize it had gotten that bad, until I saw this picture in his new book (left).

Craig looked at himself in the mirror one day and, realizing how far off-track he’d strayed since his high school track days, decided to make a change.

Craig started on his journey to get “ripped.” He researched and experimented for years.

He found a system that worked and dedicated himself. He transformed his physique into this next pic.

Craig Leonard at 178 lbs

That’s sixty pounds he lost, while staying muscular.

His friends and family noted the transformation and asked advice. He started personal training. He ultimately decided to design an applicable program for anyone to achieve a ripped physique. There are plenty of books and websites with valuable info and science, but Craig wanted to offer an actionable program.

The result was Ripped Out: Guaranteed to Get You Ripped. It’s the only program I’ve seen that spells out everything you need to do to get ripped – in an actionable program with no doubts or questions about what to do or eat.

Craig’s book came at a perfect time for me, given my goal to dunk a basketball. While I stuck to my training, I didn’t lose any fat. My vertical’s gone up, but nowhere near as fast as I had hoped. I think the most important factor at this point  – 6 months later – is to get lighter.

I’ve power cleaned 225 lbs for 3 sets of 3, and I’ve jumped up onto 4 foot walls for 5 reps, but I haven’t lost an ounce of fat. As I said in that article, my dietary discipline is shit. Furthermore, I didn’t have a strict plan. Ripped Out came to fill that void. In Craig’s words:

Nutrition plans like mine require more discipline, but discipline is the difference between getting lean, strong and ripped vs. big, strong and fat!

The latter has been me for much of the last five years. Friends who’ve only seen me in clothes say, “You don’t have any fat to lose.” Yes I do. You can grab a good handful at my waist. Maybe it’s not much, but if you consider most white guys who can dunk look more like Craig than me, you’ll see I have some work to do. This is my Ripped Out “before” pic. I’ll post the “after” later.

Me starting Ripped Out

I’ve never been as lean as Craig in the pic above, largely because appearance isn’t my priority. I like looking good, but I don’t do bodybuilding workouts. My stated reason for training is “to kick ass in sports and the street.” I want to be able to show up to any sport with any group and be a formidable force – and of course to score quick knockouts when needed. But fitness today is largely judged by appearance instead of horsepower. More on this in my upcoming Bodybuilding Rant.

I found that when training for performance, my body will look good enough. Every girl I get in bed is thrilled to be getting it from me. However, this argument of mine is partly a cop-out. A lot of guys say they don’t care how they look because they can’t or haven’t achieved a truly ripped physique. I may be guilty of that.

My abs are visible year-round, but nowhere near as defined as Craig’s. My core is strong as shit, but I eat too many bandeja paisas and drink too much beer.

Although Ripped Out is a bodybuilding program, you can’t take anything away from Craig athletically. He currently plays in a fast-pitch baseball league, and he’s one of the league’s better hitters. In school he often said he should try out for the baseball team, but he never did. Now he’s playing with ex-college ballplayers and dominating. Still, I believe if he shifted the focus of his training from bodybuilding to power and explosiveness, maybe some of his singles would be doubles and some doubles would be home runs.

Here are pros and cons to Ripped Out.


No restricted foods – “Paleo” is the new “low-fat.” Gluten is the new devil. The next phase may be “raw” diets or juice diets. All these diets tell you what you can’t eat. One of my favorite features of Ripped Out is you can eat whatever the fuck you want, as long as it stays inside your calorie restrictions. This adheres to the most basic rule of weight gain (calories consumed > calories burned) and fat loss (calories consumed < calories burned). See Michael Phelps (left), whose daily caloric intake is 12,000 calories and includes chocolate-chip pancakes, French toast, pizza, and more (Michael Phelps diet). Fellow Olympian and fastest man alive, Usain Bolt, eats McDonald’s chicken nuggets. The level of activity in Ripped Out is nowhere near those, so you don’t get to eat as much as Olympians, but it can be 100% Chinese food or hot dogs coated in mayonnaise. However, carbohydrates are limited at specific times.

Strength focus – Ripped Out is a bodybuilding program, but the core tenet of its training portion is strength. Adding weight to the bar on compound movements like squats and deadlifts is paramount to building muscle. Ripped Out will make you stronger.

Methodical approach – Craig is an engineer working in process management. His job is to minimize margin of error, and he’s applied it to this program. In fact, his method of ensuring fat loss while building muscle (something I never attempt because it’s too difficult) is fool-proof and creative.

Tools – Tracking diet and training details are key to a methodical approach in getting ripped. I’ve never tracked either. However, Craig makes it easy with pre-formatted Excel files. They even automatically adjust the weights with strength gains and nutrient needs with fat loss.


Bodybuilding exercises – I haven’t done any exercise with the word “curl” or had an “arm day” since 2007. I don’t use cables, pulleys, or machines. I only do a few of the 17 weightlifting exercises in the program. More on this in my upcoming Bodybuilding Rant, but suffice to say I’d bet Craig would hit more home runs if he added Cleans and Snatches, and nixed Dumbbell Flyes and Preacher Curls.

Training to failure – I’ve done it in the past. I never do it anymore unless it’s on accident, which is consistent with the word “fail.” I’ve read arguments for and against failure reps, and all the proponents are bodybuilding gurus (most notably Arthur Jones) – not performance coaches. I finally busted through strength plateaus when I stopped my sets at the prescribed number of reps, even if I could press or pull another one. Save it for the next set. “Leave one in the tank.” Again, this is a bodybuilding vs. performance issue. You won’t see Olympic weightlifters or pro powerlifters fail on purpose. Jason Ferruggia wrote a four-part series against training to failure (see 1, 2, 3, and 4).

Low frequency – Frequency refers to how often a muscle group is trained. The Ripped Out program is typical of bodybuilding routines in having a low frequency, or one body part a day. I did those for years and made snail’s pace gains. Especially for naturally slim “hardgainers,” I’ve found it necessary to hit each muscle a few times a week or it shrinks before it gets hit again. I do whole-body workouts 3-4 times a week. Bodybuilders say your muscles – especially legs – can’t recover that quick. However, Olympic weightlifters squat every day. And they’re the pound for pound strongest men on the planet. The Ripped Out training emphasizes compound lifts and getting stronger, which is the most important. But I’ve found you get strongest by doing compound lifts often in whole-body workouts, and dumping all isolation exercises.

Even with its 5 day split, the Ripped Out training program still hits muscles more than once a week. If you’re overhead pressing and bench pressing on different days, then you’re working your shoulder, chest, and tricep muscles on both days. In addition to your arm day, you’re working your biceps and forearms on back day when you deadlift and do pullups. And if you’re squatting with no belt on a different day from your abs exercises, your core’s getting worked more than once a week. This program focuses on compound lifts, so it’s not the lowest frequency split out there.

Other Observations on Ripped Out

Steady-state cardio – Years ago I cut out all “running” and medium-intensity, long-duration cardio because I thought it impeded my strength gains and weakened my immune system. Riding a bicycle to get around Bogota, playing pickup basketball, and hill sprints were my only cardio. However, it’s easy to let weeks go by with none of the latter two. A limited (15-25 minutes) run in the morning is an easy, effective way to melt fat. Plus, it builds stamina for sports. However, I’ve definitely noticed slower strength gains since incorporating so much cardio as prescribed in Ripped Out.

Cardio after weight-training – This is probably the easiest way to melt fat. I never do it because I’m destroyed and the last thing I want to do is go running. But again, this book gave me a wake-up call. As with anything, you get used to it.

Rest between sets – Craig limits your rest to 60 seconds. I recently squatted 385 lbs for 5 reps. 60 seconds after a set like that, I’m still dizzy. After cleaning 225 for 3 reps, my whole body is still shaking after 60 seconds. It’s not a factor of muscular recovery, it’s the nervous system. Especially for explosive exercises like Cleans and Snatches, you need significant rest to throw that kind of weight around. In powerlifting and Olympic weightlifting, 3-5 minute rests are the norm. Ripped Out is a bodybuilding program however, and many exercises aren’t as taxing (excluding squats, deadlifts, and lunges). On the other hand, I think I used my nervous system as an excuse to let my rests drag on longer than five minutes. Craig’s standard motivated me to jump into new sets sooner, and allowed me to get more work done in the allotted time.

Training duration – The most common error I see is training for too long. For hormonal reasons, you want to finish in 45 minutes. At the one hour point, I force myself to leave. Craig and I were guilty of this in college. We’d talk shit and laugh for several minutes at a time between sets. I don’t doubt some “rests” lasted 10 minutes, and we’d be in the gym for up to two hours. This is counterproductive. I agree in Craig’s rule to finish in 45 minutes, 1 hour MAX.

Complete proteins – I’d come across this concept before, but apparently forgotten all about it. A complete protein is one that contains all the essential amino acids, those not created by the body. In a nutshell, complete proteins are animal products.  Animal flesh (meat), whey, milk, cheese, and eggs are complete proteins. Soybeans are the only non-animal based complete protein. However, for athletes I only recommend the natural form of soybeans served before sushi because soy has been shown to elevate estrogen levels (estrogen = main antagonist of muscle-building testosterone). I believe soybeans in their natural form won’t do any hormonal damage, in part because to eat 40 g of protein you’d have to eat 3 cups. However, steer clear of the concentrated forms such as tofu and soy burgers. Vegetarian diets are great on a temporary basis if you’re not eating a ton of grains. But think of the vegetarians you know. 99% are frail, fat, or worst case, “skinny fat.” None are muscular. It’s rarely a healthy diet. Humans evolved by hunting and eating animals. It built muscle to make us faster, stronger, better hunters. Animal fats boost testosterone, which is why eating meat is considered “manly.” Anyway, the Ripped Out diet only allows you to count complete proteins for your nutrient requirements. I’d been counting the protein from beans and nuts for years. Big mistake, but I’m back on track.

Genetics – Craig always says he’s of average genetics, and I always call bullshit. He competed at the state level in track. For someone to (A) be the top sprinter at a 2000+ student high school and (B) qualify for state competition in a state with two major cities and a significant percentage of black people, you have to have athletic genes. Regardless, the Ripped Out program will get any dedicated person “ripped.”

Ripped Out dedication – Craig spends considerable time explaining the dedication you’ll need to get ripped out. This is no casual program. This is a dedicated lifestyle. To be honest, I’m getting into it slowly like a woman into a super-cold pool. I’m used to the training, but the difficult part for me is the diet. There are no restricted foods, but your nutrient intake needs to be exact. You will live on Nutrition Facts labels and the USDA nutrient database. You will weigh your food. A lot of research and creativity went into designing this program, so it’s not free. But the price is justified given the dedication required. Paying for this program will be the easiest step in getting “ripped out.” If you want to cut any corners, this is not the program for you. But as Craig says, that’s what it takes to have a body that turns heads.

Ripped Out is a program to get you ripped. If you follow it, you will be comfortable taking your shirt off anytime, anywhere. And buying it supports Expat Chronicles.

The best testimony in my opinion is from Craig’s old man. Look at his results at 52 years old!

Jim Leonard ripped out at 52


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6 Responses to “Ripped Out Program Review”

  1. Brad

    14. May, 2012

    “Every girl I get in bed is thrilled to be getting it from me.” Ha ha, nice line man!

  2. Michael

    14. May, 2012

    sick article, I’m in the process of dieting as we speak, but I’ve fucked up so bad…I lost too much muscle just by NOT knowing how to properly diet. Good luck man, looks like you’re about to get shrreedddedddd haha, and I’ll be waiting for your bodybuilding article

  3. Rawley

    15. May, 2012

    Dieting sucks…any of us that played a competitive sport you never really look to closely at diet because you are just burning so many calories and it just doesn’t matter (as much) as when you get a little older and more time is spent, studying, then working then, then eating and socializing after work…and this is the worst trap. Now, starting in the mid-late 20’s you really have to watch what you eat esp if you’re an office jockey.

  4. jesse

    17. May, 2012

    how are you defining a dunk?

    is dunking off the bounce or oop a dunk?

    also helps to be able to palm a ball

  5. Colin

    21. May, 2012

    Jesse – anything that I’d be proud to publish on YouTube, with a men’s basketball on a ten foot rim.

  6. Nomadic Samuel

    31. May, 2012

    Two things really appeal to me about this program. Firstly, the no restriction rule. I think people fail at diets/fitness regimes largely due to these kinds of limitations. Secondly, I like the body building aspect. As opposed to just losing fat you’re adding lean muscle.

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