Sure, adding inches to your arms, loading a couple of extra plates to the barbell, and leaving the gym with shaky muscles are all satisfying experiences when building mass is your goal.
But here’s the thing:
Most workout routines are flat-out boring.
The monotony of doing the same six workouts week in and week out slowly sinks in.
And for the sake of entertainment, you ditch the plan altogether after a few weeks…before you even give it a chance to work its magic and produce results.
The Buff Dudes’ Journey for the Goblet of Gains is a workout program for any guy looking for a mass-building routine with a unique spin to spice things up (Hint: Hope you like video games).
Now, let’s find out what this program is all about!
About the Creators – Brandon and Hudson White
If you turn to YouTube for fitness tips and advice, you’ve probably come across the Buff Dudes (Brandon and Hudson White) once or twice.
So who are they?
The Buff Dudes got their start in the fitness world back when they were only teens.
After watching their father chug protein shakes, hit the gym, and glance over the Golden Era bodybuilding magazine highlighting the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger, inspiration struck.
Thanks to a lot of commitment, a little trial and error, Brandon’s full-time job as a personal trainer, and Hudson’s work as an editor, they became the latest YouTube hits: The B.U.F.F. Dudes.
Better Understanding of Food & Fitness.
The brothers have been uploading funny yet educational fitness videos on YouTube since 2012 and have since amassed nearly 400 million views and over 2 million subscribers.
They now run a clothing line and an online coaching business—in between 45 minutes of daily cardio, intense afternoon weight training sessions, and 20 minutes of HIIT a day, of course.
What is the Buff Dudes’ Journey for the Goblet of Gains?
In true video game fashion, the Goblet of Gains leads you through three challenging “worlds,” where you’ll crush through “levels” that wreak havoc on your skill, might, and patience.
Each “world” is a three-week training phase highlighting a unique mass-building training style (full-body workouts, upper/lower splits, and body part splits).
Each “level” is a week in the program and a time to make minor changes to the week ahead (like adding supplements, introducing supersets, or putting a bigger focus on abs).
By the end of this 9-week program, you won’t rescue the princess from the castle guarded by fire-breathing dragons—you’ll see gains.
Here’s a very brief overview of how the program works:
- World 1 (Weeks 1-3): Three full-body workouts and 3-4 steady cardio sessions a week
- World 2 (Weeks 4-6): Two upper-body workouts, two lower-body workouts, and two HIIT sessions a week
- World 3 (Weeks 7-9): Six workouts a week (chest, back, and legs get a little extra focus with two workouts a week, each)
Goblet of Gains is a “beginner” routine for anyone looking to bulk up and build a modern physique through tried-and-true training methods.
It’s part of Bodybuilding.com’s BodyFit subscription where you get access to a number of workout programs including Jim Stoppani’s Shortcut to Shred and Mike O’Hearn’s Power Bodybuilding.
The Buff Dudes’ Goblet of Gains is a 9-week mass-building workout plan with a little bit of “video game simulation” sprinkled into every corner.
As you’ll discover, this workout definitely has more flavor than some other “plan white rice” programs like in our review of Mike Robertson’s Built by Science.
On the outside, this program sounds captivating, entertaining, and motivating.
Let’s find out if it really is!
If you still have a little bit of “adventurer” left in you, you’ll easily find the Buff Dudes’ “Food List and Sample Day of Eating” tucked away in the World 1 section in the program’s module.
There, you’ll learn about how to fuel your body during this program to trigger max gains.
The nutritional plan starts with some pretty standard advice that’s surprisingly lacking in detail (quite odd considering the first “F” in “BUFF” stands for “food”).
Advice includes concepts like eating “lots of vegetables” and “protein-rich” food, snacking on “fast-digesting carbs” near your workouts, eating “lots” of quality food, and not eating “garbage.”
Hopefully, you know enough about nutrition to figure out what they’re getting at here.
The Buff Dudes then go on to list the foods they recommend if you’re looking to see serious growth over the next nine weeks, like:
- Lean proteins (beef cuts, turkey bacon, salmon)
- Carbs (whole grains, potatoes, oatmeal)
- Fruits & vegetables
- Healthy fats (olives, dairy, walnuts)
The nutritional plan finishes out with a sample eating schedule that begins with a 4:30 AM pre-workout meal and finishes with dinner at 6:30 PM.
The sample meal plan specifies how much you’re supposed to eat (like two rice cakes and 1/2 cup Greek Yogurt) and when.
But it’s worth pointing out that there’s no mention of grams of the macros (protein, carbs, fats) or calorie counts anywhere in the guide.
World 1 (Weeks 1-3)
Like any video game worth playing, Goblet of Gains starts slow and easy.
Just like you’d throw the controller across the room and yell, “This game sucks,” starting too strong on your fitness routine will leave you disappointed and angered.
World 1 is about the basics.
That means three full-body workouts a week (days 1, 3, and 5) focusing on the “Golden Five” exercises that include pull-ups, bench presses, squats, overhead presses, and deadlifts.
This is a pretty big contrast to Back to Fit by Bill Phillips that starts you out with 6 workouts per week.
You’ll stick to a 6×6 scheme, crank out a few grueling sets of planks, and finish off each workout with a 40-minute jog on the treadmill (at a 10% incline).
Weeks 2 and 3 are about taking your newfound strength and cranking it up a few notches.
You’ll close out World 1 lifting at 70-80% of your 1RM and with a few extra plates on the bar for each major exercise.
Only true heroes make it to World 2.
World 2 (Weeks 4-6)
Now that you’re a pro at the Golden Five exercises, World 2 is about ramping up the intensity.
On top of adding supplements to your daily routine (specifically BCAAs, pre-workout, and whey protein), you’ll also be shifting to a new type of split: Upper/lower.
Here’s what your weekly schedule looks:
You’ll leave that 6×6 scheme back in World 1 where it belongs and opt for a more intense 4×8 program focusing almost entirely on isolation exercises (not those Golden Five exercises!).
Instead of the standard bench press, deadlift, or squat, you’ll be doing exercises like push-presses, EZ bar skull crushers, and lying leg curls.
When you make it to week 5, you’ll stick to the same routine as week 4, just adding a little weight now that you’re stronger and “buffer.”
By week 6, you’re more than halfway through the routine and finally getting into what separates the men and the boys.
You’ll still be sticking to the same workout routine from the last two weeks of World 2, but you’ll be cutting out rest periods and instead pair two exercises, rapidly bouncing between them.
Here’s the bad news.
Every third day, you’ll have something on your schedule that’s probably your worst nightmare—15 rounds of HIIT.
20 seconds of sprinting, 60 seconds of jogging, 15 minutes of hell.
If you can make it through week 6, you’re just three weeks away from the Goblet of Gains.
World 3 (Weeks 7-9)
World 3 takes on a brand new approach, which probably isn’t surprising given the lack of monotony up until this point.
The goal this time? Mobility and range of motion (the Buff Dudes insist this will be all it takes to maximize your strength and muscle gains).
Keeping in the groove you were in at the end of World 2, you’ll begin week 7 with supersets, with the only difference being that you’re using a 4×10 scheme this time.
Your weekly schedule will look something like this:
- Back & Chest
- Shoulders & Traps
- Triceps & Biceps
- Back & Chest
The glaring difference between this World and the previous two is that you’ll be taking on more of a specific focus with each coming week.
Week 8 puts more of an emphasis on building a strong core, so you’ll be doing more sets of exercises like Otis-ups and Russian twists.
Week 9 is where you’ll see the biggest change: Doing more obscure exercises instead of the Golden Five or standard isolation exercises (the Buff Dudes call this “evolution”).
Instead of deadlifts, you’ll do axle deadlifts.
Instead of squats, you’ll do Zercher squats.
And thanks to BodyFit’s database of over 1,000 alternative exercises, you can easily find a unique exercise as a replacement in your last week.
3 Cool Benefits of the Goblet of Gains
1. It’s an Interesting Take on Fitness
For some people, a well-laid-out exercise plan and a constant eye on the “prize” (AKA: Gains) is all they need to keep them locked into a routine.
But that’s not the case for everyone.
While you may find the video game infusion into this routine to be tacky or corny, you can’t deny that it makes things far more interesting than usual.
Worlds, levels, power-ups, a goblet at the end of the quest—what’s not to love?
And adding the video game references along the way doesn’t take away from the fitness principles this entire routine is based around.
2. You Ease Into the Program (& Straight Toward Gains)
If you’re coming off an inconsistent training schedule or no gym experience at all, the biggest mistake you can make is doing too much too soon.
Your risk of giving up after realizing it’s too tough goes through the roof.
One of the best features of this Buff Dudes’ program is that you start nice and easy with a 6×6 routine and three full-body workouts a week.
You get used to it for three weeks and then opt for a slightly more advanced upper/lower split. Then, you move onto a body part split.
Not only is the workout portion of this program laid out to ensure gains (even through all of the different training styles), but you also get to experiment with the type of split you like most.
When you close out the Goblet of Gains, you know which type to try next.
3. Variety…and Lots of It
Boring routines are running rampant out there, and there’s nothing worse than cycling through the same few workouts week after week.
This routine has none of that!
There’s no shortage of variety across the board, including in rep ranges (6×6, 4×8, 4×10), exercises (compound, isolation, evolution), and styles (like supersets).
Each world (and sometimes each level) adds something new that’ll keep things exciting, your muscles guessing, and your gains coming.
So if you don’t like 6×6, you only have to put up with it for three weeks.
2 Negatives of the Program
1. May Be Too Cardio-Heavy For Your Liking
The Buff Dudes love resistance training, but they also happen to be cardio “buffs.”
Through most of this routine, you’ll be doing 30+ minutes of cardio a day, sometimes grueling sprint/jog HIIT sessions.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with cardio. In fact, cardio is good for your heart and the functioning of nearly every organ system in your body.
But this excess cardio will leave you in the gym for an extra few hours a week (on top of being in the gym six days a week), and you may not have any energy left over to push out 40 minutes on the treadmill at a 10% incline.
2. The Eating Plan Isn’t Great
The eating plan is the biggest head scratcher on this one.
For a routine that’s supposedly tailored toward beginners, the nutritional aspect is quite vague, assumes you know a good amount about dieting, and ignores what you do know about it.
The dietary plan lacks macronutrients and calorie breakdowns. Instead, it uses general terms like “protein-rich,” “lots of vegetables,” and “don’t eat garbage.”
Do you know exactly what any of those mean?
While the list of foods that you should be eating to enhance gains is probably enough to help you plan your meals through the next nine weeks, the Buff Dudes dropped the ball on the diet plan.
Wrapping Up This Goblet of Gains Review
The Goblet of Gains (courtesy of YouTube stars “The Buff Dudes”) is an interesting take on the standard mass-building routine.
You probably won’t find a routine with such a creative basis (video game references), gradual ease into the tough stuff, and variety from World to World to pique your interest.
Principle-wise? This routine can trigger gains, just like the Buff Dudes explain.
But there are a few downsides within this routine that make it a questionable choice.
Not only will you be doing tons of cardio during the program, but it’s also expected that you know a good amount about diet and nutrition to understand the vague eating plan.
Overall, this routine can work, produce results, and keep you interested for nine weeks. Yet, it may not be a good routine if you’re a true beginner.