Let’s face it.
The only “shortcuts” to bulking up and shredding fat are unsafe, unsustainable, or flat-out illegal.
So when Jim Stoppani—a health consultant to the stars with a doctorate in exercise physiology to his name—began flaunting a program called “6-Week Shortcut to Shred”…
That was a bit of a head-scratcher.
But we’re going to give him the benefit of the doubt.
After all, he does have a solid reputation in the fitness community, and this 6-week program is quite grueling, to say the least.
So let’s jump right in and find out more about this program.
Who is Jim Stoppani? (And is He Legit)
Anyone can make a workout program, upload it to an obscure bodybuilding forum on the internet, and use it as their “claim to fame.”
Not Jim Stoppani.
Jim Stoppani is about as qualified as they come in the bodybuilding and fitness communities.
On top of a Doctorate in Exercise Physiology and a Minor in Biochemistry from UConn, Stoppani has spent time performing post-doctoral research at the Ivy League phenomenon Yale.
Translation: He probably knows more about exercise than everyone you know, combined.
With his impressive accolades filling up his resume, Stoppani has since:
- Earned the Gatorade Beginning Investigator in Exercise Science Award (2002)
- Founded a sports nutrition company, JYM Supplement Science (2013)
- Built a wide-ranging product line, including pre- and post-workout formulas, fat burners, testosterone boosters, and multivitamins
- Authored thousands of articles (and a few books) in the fields of exercise and nutrition—including his own “Encyclopedia of Muscle & Strength”
- Worked as a health consultant for stars like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson & Mario Lopez
Stoppani is also one of the most famous coaches on the BodyFit platform. He currently boasts a handful of tailor-made routines highlighting strength, muscle-building, and fat-burning goals.
There’s a glaring emphasis on “shortcuts” and seeing results in 4-12 weeks.
What is Jim Stoppani’s 6-Week Shortcut To Shred?
Here’s a quick run-down.
Jim Stoppani’s 6-Week Shortcut To Shred has four clear goals:
- Muscle growth
- The development of a lean and muscular build
But you can’t get from point A to point B without crushing through the grueling workouts first.
With Shortcut to Shred, you’ll be in the gym six days per week, bounce rapidly between lifting at 75% of your 1RM and performing fast-paced cardio exercises, and skip rest periods entirely.
By the end of the six weeks, the results should be visible.
Some users report losing more than 10 pounds and 6% body fat by the end of the six-week program.
A guy with a Ph.D. in exercise physiology and experience working with elites like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and LL Cool J heads to the drawing board to create a 6-week shred routine.
What does he come up with?
Well, let’s get into the fine details of Jim Stoppani’s 6-Week Shortcut To Shred.
The Schedule & Layout of the Program
The Shortcut To Shred program is time-consuming in every sense of the word. On top of workouts lasting 45-60 minutes on a good day, you’ll also be in the gym six straight days.
So hopefully, you have six free hours to kill a week.
Take a look at what the weekly schedule looks like (and then we’ll go over what it all means).
- Chest, Triceps, Abs
- Shoulders, Legs, Calves
- Back, Traps, Biceps
- Chest, Triceps, Abs
- Shoulders, Legs, Calves
- Back, Traps, Biceps
It looks pretty basic, right?
Well, it’s not exactly what it seems.
Instead of doing the same chest, triceps, and abs workout on days 1 and 4, you’ll have a bit of a different focus at the beginning of the week, as compared to the end.
Workout 1 is about compound exercises, so think barbell and dumbbell bench presses (in the case of chest day).
Workout 2 is for isolation exercises, meaning exercises like dumbbell flys and cable crossovers will eat up a good chunk of your training instead.
What the Workouts Are Like
Stoppani (and anybody who’s tried this program) will tell you: It’s not easy.
But what’s excellent about Shortcut to Shred is that you’re doing the same six workouts for six straight weeks—the only difference being changes in rep ranges.
Now, before we cut to the chase…the bad news.
Given this is a “shred” program, the primary goal is to ramp up your metabolism and burn calories. So you’re going to give up your 60-90-second rest periods between sets—bear with me—to crank out 60-straight seconds of cardio or lightweight reps.
Wash, rinse, repeat!
This is something Jim Stoppani calls “cardio acceleration” and is what will leave you desperately needing a midday nap on those days you hit the gym.
Here’s what you need to know about these workouts:
After a brief warm-up, your workout may look a little something like this.
Microcycle 1: Barbell Bench Press (9-11 reps) & Step-Ups (1 minute) — 4 sets
Microcycle 2: Incline Dumbbell Bench Press (9-11 reps) & Dumbbell Cleans — 4 sets
You’ll crank out eight microcycles (similar to those above) with 2-3 exercises per muscle group in focus and 3-4 sets per cycle. Then, you’ll call it a day and get some rest!
Now, here’s a look at how rep ranges vary from week to week (format: workout one, workout two):
- Week 1: 9-11 reps, 12-15 reps
- Week 2: 6-8 reps, 16-20 reps
- Week 3: 2-5 reps, 21-30 reps
By week four, you’ll run right back to the beginning.
But this time, you’ll be adding an extra 5-10 pounds to each workout since you should be building some pretty decent strength by now.
And if you’re feeling daring, you can take it a step further.
Week four gives you the option to add in cardio accelerated rest-pause drop sets. So on the last sets of each exercise, you can train to failure, rock out 15-20 seconds of jogging in place, do another set until failure, drop the weight by 20%, and then—yes, again—do another set to failure.
Though, a “must” if you want to shred more fat.
The Nutritional Plan & Diet Recipes
With a goal like “getting shredded” in your mind, there’s no way you can eat garbage, hit the gym hard, and expect it to reflect when you step on the scale.
Or look in the mirror.
Stoppani knows how vital good nutrition is.
So to make this workout program just a little more legit, Stoppani relies purely on nutritional research and tests each recommendation himself before recommending it to you.
AKA: It works.
Now, let’s get to the nutritional guidelines of this program.
All three macronutrients are essential (though Stoppani doubts the real need for carbs), and how you fuel your body will determine how your physique adapts.
As such, this nutritional plan focuses on:
- High protein for building muscle and strength
- Low carbs, specifically low-glycemic foods to prevent blood sugar spikes, for energy
- Average fats for keeping testosterone levels thriving (just not trans fats)
There are three phases to this program in terms of diet. By stage three (weeks 4-6), you’ll actually be eating more on rest days to keep your leptin levels and metabolism stable.
Protein-wise (because I know that’s what you’re wondering about), you should be eating 1.5g of protein per pound of bodyweight while on this program. And you’ll also drop down from 1.5g/lb to 0.5g/lb in terms of carbs from week 1 to week 6.
Now, the burning question: What are you going to be eating?
On an average day, you’ll be eating three meals, three snacks, and a post-workout meal (which looks to be a load of supplements). You’ll also take a mass-amount of supplements three times a day.
The foods Stoppani recommends are generally healthy―that can’t be disputed.
You’ll eat foods like:
- Whole wheat bread
- String cheese
- Sweet potatoes
- Greek yogurt
On the supplement end, things get a little…obscure.
You’ll have protein shakes about three times per day, but Stoppani also recommends 600-900mg of caffeine, betaine, Acetyl L-Carnitine, and…14 Pixy Sticks.
Swolverine Whey Protein Isolate
This is one of our top recommended whey protein powders because of it’s high protein content per serving, extreme deliciousness, and the fact that all Swolverine products are sourced from GMP-certified facilities
The nutritional guide follows with a list of alternative foods and ingredients you can swap in to spice up your meals or consider foods you have to avoid.
Before and After: What Results Can You Expect?
Shortcut to Shred has a pretty aggressive approach to simultaneous muscle-building and fat-burning.
You’ll find yourself lifting heavy weights one moment and then busting out a quick cardio set the next.
So what are some realistic results for beginners?
When it comes to building muscle, noobs have it easy! According to writer and researcher Lyle McDonald, beginners can expect to gain 20-25lb of muscle in the first year.
We’re talking about the absolute genetic limits here and not even the fanciest shmanciest workout routine can change that.
What about fat loss?
Well, your personal rate of fat loss will ultimately depend on your current bodyweight and how strictly you follow the diet recommended by Dr. Stoppani.
It’s not uncommon to lose 4-10lb in the first week, BUT… the majority of this is going to be water.
True fat loss ranges from 1-3lb per week, but you can lose more faster at the beginning if you weigh more to start with.
3 Pros of Jim Stoppani’s 6-Week Shortcut To Shred
Standard Exercises You Know & Love
The worst thing about trying a new program is that many creators try to reinvent the wheel.
You may find that you’re asked to do obscure exercises, or you’re required to use equipment that the standard gym doesn’t have.
This routine keeps it simple.
You’ll do basic exercises—likely those you’ve already been doing for years by this point—and, aside from battle ropes and maybe kettlebells, your gym certainly has the right gear.
Every Week Is the Same Yet Also Very Different
Doing the same workouts week in and week out has its pros and cons.
The consistency is fantastic, and you know what to expect every training session. But it’s boring, and your risk of falling into a plateau where gains stall is a serious possibility.
Each workout on this program is the same as the week before, with the only real difference being the number of reps you’re doing.
Some weeks are about power, others about strength, and a few about endurance.
Translation: It never gets dull.
Clearly Based On Science & Research
Some workout routines look great on paper but fall flat when it comes to logic.
Thankfully, Jim Stoppani has clearly based the bulk of this routine around science and research.
He prioritizes scientifically-proven concepts like hitting each muscle group twice a week (proven to trigger greater hypertrophy) and infusing high-intensity cardio into each workout (ramps up your metabolism for fat loss).
It’s also worth pointing out that Stoppani designed the entire nutrition plan around the research.
So you can be confident that this program is 100% legit.
2 Negatives of Shortcut To Shred
The Daily Caffeine & Supplement Recommendations
There are two glaring problems with this routine in this area.
First, there’s the sheer amount of supplements.
Taking supplements three times a day and loading up on eight or so different supplements can be extremely costly for the average person.
And since Stoppani has his own signature line of supplements (Jym), we see right through the conflict of interest here.
But in the spirit of irony, here’s an affiliate link to one of OUR favorite supplements.
MuscleTech Platinum Creatine Monohydrate Powder
This MuscleTech supplement is 80 servings of pure creatine to speed up recovery and increase your gains in the gym. Mixes easily in any beverage and is completely free of any questionable or banned substances.
Then, there’s the safety aspect.
It looks like you’re supposed to be taking 600-900mg of caffeine a day.
While this does have its benefits in energy and focus, health guidelines suggest staying within 400mg a day—say “hello” to no sleep and loads of anxiety if you follow this plan to a T.
And 14 Pixy Stix after a workout? The reasoning makes sense, but it’s a tad odd.
A Beginner Routine? Maybe Not.
This routine can work if you have the tools, time, and motivation to stick through it from start to finish. The problem is that Stoppani suggests it’s a great option regardless of your skill level.
If you’re coming off of years away from the gym and jumping into 16 rough sets and replacing every rest period with 60 seconds of high-intensity cardio…good luck.
You’re probably going to realize this workout is far too intense by the second or third workout.
Sure, you can cut down on time spent doing cardio from 60 seconds to 30, but you’re also risking the potential outcome of this routine.
Does Shortcut to Shred Work?
Jim Stoppani’s 6-Week Shortcut To Shred is brutal and like nothing you’ve ever attempted before.
Results-wise, it’s clear this program works for most guys—potentially chopping down on 6% of total body fat in six weeks is incredible.
You’ll also be doing the exercises you know and love, slightly vary each workout from one week to the next, and can be entirely sure the program is backed by science and research.
But is it sustainable and realistic for the average person? Likely not.
Not only is it a bit unusual (and perhaps dangerous) to load up on 14 Pixy Sticks and 600mg or more of caffeine a day, but the cardio acceleration format makes this program well out of the “norm” for a beginner to the gym.
Overall, it’s a decent program if you have six hours to spare, significant funding for supplements, and an unlimited supply of motivation. But we’re going to give this one a 6.5 out of 10 because it can produce decent results (assuming you have the tools in place to ensure that).
Rating: 6.5 out of 10