The Bulk Life – Interview with Mitch

I originally met Mitch McDonald when he came into Lifters League for a body composition scan. From here, a couple of scans and some general advice in between, Mitch decided to start coaching with me on the 2nd November 2018.

Mitch had a goal to eventually stand on stage as a natural physique competitor. From his starting condition and for a gentleman of his height (182.5cm), we set the goal to be 95kgs at 10%.

Upon starting with me, Mitch’s body composition was:

  • BW: 80kgs
  • BF: 9.1%
  • LBM: 72.7kgs


When I first met Mitch, he had been training for just over 5 years and was currently doing his own programming and nutrition. In this time, he had completed only one block of a 6 week 3 day full body program before moving into 4 day per week hypertrophy body splits or upper/lower splits. His best total recorded was 140/102.5/195 at a bodyweight of 75kg’s. His predicted total to date (based of current rep Pbs) was 160/105/195 at 80kgs. Based off our grading classification chart, Mitch was a junior.

As for nutrition, Mitch was very consistent in tracking his caloric intake on MFP, following an IIFYM approach. Over the 5 years, Mitch had eaten a range of calories from 2750 to 5000 per day.  He had reported when eating 5000 cals, he was on a “dirty bulk” and suffered with a gut microbiome imbalance due to poor quality of food choices.


Due to his history the following was implemented to create the change needed to enable Mitch to increase his size and muscle mass:


  • strength focused- with the way we classify lifters Mitch was a junior lifter so focusing on building his strength was the easiest path to create maximum change in muscular development
  • full body –  the high frequency training enables neural and muscular stimulation to    occur more frequently per week with the same movements making faster more superior strength gains. Given he had not done much full body training it was like newbie gains all over again.
  • least amount of days needed to train –  we started with 4 days a week, continuing on the same frequency as Mitch had been doing. We quickly changed to 3 days per week to allow more recovery from each session producing better results.


  • quality of food – we focused on picking foods that had did not just fit macros, but were high quality and feed the body what it was needing to train and recover
  • same diet daily – this enable us to measure what was truly happening
  • increased calories – started off originally on 3622 and increased to 4639 over time to adequately support Mitch to recover and grow, and keep intensity in his sessions
  • macros – started off with a split of 29/56/16% (p/c/f) and progressed to 21/47/33% to assist in building Mitch’s performance in training


After working with Mitch for just over 6 months, these were the final results:

Body Composition:

  • BW: 92.1kgs   (+12.1kgs)
  • BF: 11.5%       ( +2.4%)
  • LBM: 81.5kgs (+8.8kgs)

Predicted Total (based off current rep Pbs):

  • Squat 200kgs      (+40kgs)
  • Bench 120kgs     (+15kgs)
  • Deadlift 230kgs  (+35kgs)
  • Total 550kgs        (+90kgs)