Bodybuilding & Strength

Strength By Sonny 2014 Physical Transformation Guide (Part III: Prep Mode Training)

How can you experience a physical transformation?

There’s a reason why I am able to get shredded on a whim. I follow the number one rule for bodybuilding success. I know myself. I know exactly what I need to do.

I know what adjustments need to be made. I do them. Simple as that.

In Part I, I explained what I needed to do to get as massive and full as possible. I told you exactly how I trained in the offseason and explained my specific split.

In this part of our physical transformation, I will do the exact same thing.

What changed from the offseason training to prep mode training?

In one word: TIME.

I put more time into my training.

I never told you guys this but back in the spring I had gotten into a pretty bad car accident. My truck was destroyed. As a result, I took a leave of absence from work.

The timing could not have been better. It enabled me to focus on building Strength By Sonny and get in the best shape of my life.

I had time to make all the adjustments I wanted push my physical transformation to the limit.

The biggest adjustment was cardio. Every morning I got up, drove to the gym, and did an hour of cardio on the elliptical. I did this on an empty stomach. This is the best time to do cardio because this is when your body is in its most catabolic state. You can read more about that here. I did this six days a week (would usually take off on Sunday).

The actual lifting was an interesting experience…

In Part I, I mentioned that I actually cut the volume in the offseason training this time around. I didn’t employ as many supersets this time because I really wanted to focus on building as much strength and mass as possible.

This helped out my prep mode training out immensely. It helped because my body was not used to the high volume superset training.

I had used it for years but because I had avoided it for a few months, it really shocked my body. Add in the dieting and cardio and this makes for quite the curve ball for the body to adjust to.

In my experience: High-volume superset training is what builds density and gives the muscle bellies added dimension. It’s a great way to build muscle in the offseason.

However, the best time to employ this type of training is when you are already in fat burning mode or “going on a cut.” This is when all that muscle and striation is going to come out… so why not magnify that by employing the training that will enable that?

Bonus: I’m not going to lie, this type of training sucks by itself. It sucks even more when you are dieting. But this lifestyle is not meant for those who want to remain comfortable. The goal is a physical transformation. Why should it be easy? It’s supposed to be difficult.

Plowing through that difficulty and just attacking it is what builds character. Going to the gym and getting in shape is as much about building character as it is about building muscle.

Unfortunately, that aspect often gets ignored. Check out the video to hear my take on it.

Prep Mode Split and Training Examples

In the offseason, I was on 4 day split and focused only on building muscle. Once the prep mode training began, I knew I had to put more time into this.

I switched to a 5 day split. This enabled me more time to address the 11 body parts to my liking. It enabled me to go all out and hammer them with as much volume as possible. It gave me the opportunity to leave it all behind… Here’s the split.

Monday: Abs, Back, Calves

Tuesday: Shoulders, Traps, Abs

Wednesday: Quads, Hams

Thursday: Abs, Chest

Friday: Triceps, Biceps, Forearms

Saturday: Off

Sunday: Off

A few things to notice.

1) I trained abs three times a week. My prep for 2013 was great. However, I feel like I could have improved my illusion of width this time around. In other words, I knew I could really push it with my v-taper. So I made it a priority to get my waist as tight as possible.

2) This relates to above. I trained shoulders earlier in the week. I’ve been a hardcore “train chest early in the week” guy in the past. This is because my chest had been a weakness for years. That’s no longer the case. So I trained it later in the week. I wanted to have a ridiculous shoulder to waist ratio. So I made it a priority to hammer shoulders and traps at the beginning of the week.

As far as training examples are concerned, I really hammered the volume. I actually used a lot of giant sets this time around.

First Exercise of Chest Workout Example

Flat bench press giant set with Incline dumbbell flies and dumbbell pullovers (4 sets)

*** This basically means I would do a set of bench presses, a set of incline dumbbell flies, and a set of dumbbell pullovers… back to back to back. That would be one set and I would typically do four sets per exercise. That’s a lot of work.

First Exercise of Triceps Workout Example

Rope Extensions giant set with “Sonny Extensions” and skull crushers (4 sets)

*** Same principle as above. I would do a set of rope extensions, a set of “Sonny Extensions”, and a set of skull crushers. That would be one set and I would do four sets per exercise.

That’s how I typically attacked my workouts.

Now I want to warn you guys. This is not for everyone. In fact, if you are just starting off, you will not be able to use this much volume. Instead, the purpose here is for you to learn from the principles explained and just take the little golden nuggets that seem like they would work for you.

But you can be reasonably sure that volume is (and always will be) the answer. Why aren’t you getting the results you want? All signs usually point to a lack of volume.

A word on prep mode “money movements”

In Part, I had mentioned “money movements” or the exercises that are perfect for you at that particular time.

For me, the offseason money movements did not change. The same movements did it for me. The only difference was that I made sure to amp up the volume even more with these. So with these money movements, my goals was 20 reps.

When I look back on my training for this prep, it really was not that difficult. Sure the dieting sucked and the heavy weight/volume took its toll on me. But it was nothing… I knew myself. I knew what had to be done. I pushed myself every day to be a ferocious competitor. I envisioned what I could look like. I didn’t ask questions. I executed

Stay tuned for Part IV where I go over my diet.


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Testosterone Replacement Therapy: Podcast with Jay of Fab Fit Over 40



  1. October 31, 2014 at 5:29 am — Reply

    Hello Sonny. I’m happy to read you again.

    I have something not clear. When you say:
    “I follow the number one rule for bodybuilding success. I know myself. I know exactly what I need to do.”

    Yes. This is important. I don’t know if you have read that book, “The Art of War”, but it says it on the first page. Also is the advice that the Oracle gives to Neo in Matrix.

    Well, the thing is that I don’t know myself. All my life I have weighted less than what I should (I am too tall for this weight). I am very thin. The last 5 years or so I have always weighted 55 kg, I am 1.75m tall, and 22 years old. My weight practically never changed. It didn’t matter if I trained or not, eat or not (I was training some martial arts).
    This year, in March, I have really started going to the gym. I eat more, and I see changes in my muscles, but my weight remains the same.
    The problem with this is that I get sick easily, sometimes twice a year. I’d like to gain some weight and I’m sure I’ll become more healthy.

    So the question is: How can I know myself? How can I discover what works for me to gain weight?

    Aside from bodybuilding, I’d like to know more about myself.
    How can I learn my strengths and weakness? I’d like to know my real limits. That would be so useful to know what can I do and what I can’t.

    Thanks for your help, you really gave me insight in life. The best things I learned from you were about how asocial we are in this age of technology, how to become a social person, and greasing the wheels. That was extremely useful.

    • November 2, 2014 at 2:10 am — Reply

      great question…. You learn yourself by constantly trying and adjusting trying and adjusting.

      Everything (while you are young) is experimentation… always trying to find what works. This goes for everything in life.

      With the gym… you always want to be making adjustments.

      That’s what separates the movers from the stagnant people. The movers are constantly searching for what works for them… they find what works. they implement that. that stops wrking and they search for another solution. They just continue that process.

  2. XAvi
    November 4, 2014 at 6:13 pm — Reply

    In college who was your crew, the guys you hung out with most. And where did younmeet them in college outside college. And what were their characteristics (race,masculinity,age)?

    • November 5, 2014 at 6:00 am — Reply

      In college most of my friends with jacked white guys covered in tats and some black guys on the football team. I also was friends with some frat boys.

      They were mostly a year or 2 older than me. All very masculine/juiced out of their minds.

  3. Natural lifter
    November 14, 2014 at 3:18 am — Reply

    Hey Sonny,
    I definitely agree with the part where you say that the most important part of bodybuilding is knowing yourself. I feel like i know myself well enough in the weight room (built decent shoulders and now they are actually a stronger part of my physique) but i feel like i dont know myself in the kitchen. I tried every way of losing fat but it doesn’t seem to work. I have a slight 6 pack at 149 lbs 5 4 but i cant get to the point where i am legit shredded. I have tried lowering carbs while lowering calories, going on a caloric deficit, and even dropping carbs to around 10 for 5 days and then raising carbs back to 50 for a day (i lost 5 lbs and it worked somewhat but now i hit a plateau).

    I don’t know what i should do. I feel like it could be that i don’t have enough muscle mass since I am only 149 lbs at the moment but i want to cut down properly before i bulk again.

    • November 15, 2014 at 2:45 am — Reply

      You won’t get to the point of being legit shredded for a decent amount of time. Sounds like you are new. At your level of experience you need to be building that base of muscle density/maturity.

      Don’t go crazy over carb manipulation just yet. You need to keep focusing on base building… putting on dense muscle and developing you strength.

  4. John
    November 16, 2014 at 1:55 am — Reply

    Hey, Sonny, what are your lifts in the gym? How strong are you?
    Also, any tips to hep gain muscular Bodyweight would be greatly appreciated(eating wise) because I don’t have a big appetite.

    • November 17, 2014 at 4:13 pm — Reply

      I’m pretty strong. I’ve squatted 6 and a quarter plates for reps and have hit 500 on bench. I don’t try to max out too often.

      the way you put on dense muscle is by hammering your body with volume training.

      • John
        November 18, 2014 at 12:38 am — Reply

        How are you so strong for being a natural lifter? For example, I don’t believe Victor Pride could move those weights and he’s been lifting for 8 years and has used some prohormones (not a lot, but regardless). And maybe Chris from GLL could do hat when he was longer on juice, but that is insane what you can do. How I that possible for a natural dude? I’m not calling you a liar, but it’s an answer I would like to know.

        • November 18, 2014 at 4:17 am — Reply

          I’ve been lifting for 8 years.

          Also I have a very natural mesomorphic build and was an athlete growing up. Before I ever touched a weight I was already pretty jacked and people would make steroid accusations when I was 16.

          As a kid I developed a lot of natural upper body strength from doing dips and pullups.

          • hackleech
            December 6, 2014 at 6:38 am

            holy shit dude I didn’t know you were that strong, I’m sure you were on a serious bulk to hit those numbers but still most highly dedicated natural lifters won’t hit 500 bench or 600+ proper squat in their entire life, very impressive.

          • December 8, 2014 at 1:52 am

            Yes. Those numbers are when I am at my absolute biggest and strongest.

            Right now since I’m in slump mode… I’m nowhere near that. Can barely get 405 now.

            Strength will be coming back probably around January/February.

  5. […] out this awesome podcast I did with Sonny from Strength by Sonny. discussing the upcoming […]

  6. April 8, 2015 at 10:11 pm — Reply

    […] We met at the gym last summer. I was going to the gym twice a day because I was in the middle of my 2014 prep. […]

  7. August 2, 2015 at 8:38 pm — Reply


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