When Guardians of the Galaxy hit the silver screen in 2014, one unlikely character grabbed the most fanfare: Baby Groot (of the later “I am Groot” meme).
With a bizarrely muscular physique, this mini tree-like species lived in the shadows of the OG Groot, credited with being invincible, courageous, and able to regenerate post-damage.
Are you prepared to unearth your inner-Baby Groot?
Championship bodybuilder John Meadows certainly thinks so! He recently launched this (vaguely) Marvel-themed hypertrophy program for novices unleashing their mass potential.
Get ready for … Baby Groot by Mountain Dog.
About the Author – John Meadows
From the outside perspective, Groot — and his unconventionally adorable son — might just blend in with the other 7,000 or so Stan Lee-inspired comic book characters.
But who’s the genius behind the Baby Groot Novice Hypertrophy Program?
That’d be John Meadows (AKA: Mountain Dog).
At 5’6” and 215 pounds, Meadows joined the exclusive bodybuilding community during its unofficial Golden Era — the 90s. Amidst surviving a life-threatening colon disease, Meadows:
- Took the stage in over five dozen competitions (amateur and professional, combined)
- Reigned victorious in some 18-something bodybuilding competitions
- Secured his CSCS to become a highly-qualified trainer
- Earned a CISSN to highlight his expertise in sports nutrition
- Lectured worldwide (including at the highly-respected SWIS Symposium)
The man affectionately known as “Mountain Dog” may have pursued the natural transition from athlete to coach. But his influence and grasp on the bodybuilding industry haven’t wavered.
Meadows joined the YouTube bandwagon and now releases educational videos to his 470,000+ subscribers striving to learn about sculpting 21” biceps or overhauling their back workouts.
The stage appearances may be in the rearview. But his career is still in its beginning stage.
What is Baby Groot by Mountain Dog?
Surprisingly, it’s a Marvel-inspired training program that completely abandons the Baby Groot concept and references by page four (of 52 total pages) … but we digress.
Baby Groot by Mountain Dog is John Meadows’ first in-depth attempt at penning a novice hypertrophy program — 30+ years after exiting that exhilarating beginner phase himself!
On top of being an anatomy-themed crash-course for true beginner bodybuilders, this 12-week mass-building program is a detailed representation of Meadows’ hands-on industry knowledge.
The Baby Groot workout program is relatively self-explanatory:
- Three full-body workouts a week (1-2 upper/lower workouts a week)
- Odd/even alternating weeks (some weeks are upper-body heavy; others are lower)
- Focusing on building that mystical mind-muscle connection
- Weaving in the progressive overload principle (+5-10 pounds or +1 rep per week)
- Compound and isolation exercises … finally, right?
This John Meadows & Baby Groot duo might be a prime example of your two favorite worlds colliding. But is his first-ever detailed novice program as respectable as the rest?
Hey … that’s why we’re here.
Baby Groot Details & Features
John Meadows’ Baby Groot training program is a pandemic-inspired novice program, and with the always-popular Baby Groot gracing the front cover, why not give it the ‘ol college try?
Well … for starters, impulsively starting (or ending) a routine will forever be a newbie’s mortal foe. Here’s a quick sneak peek into this program to help you decide:
Is it worth it?
And … will it sculpt the mass it promises?
An Introduction to Hypertrophy & Weightlifting
If your mass-building knowledge caps off at proper bench press form and knowing the “big plates” are the 45s, you’d normally be in for a rude awakening.
But if you know next-to-nothing about the gym and muscle growth, you’re in the right place.
This guide begins by answering the questions you’re too afraid to ask your fellow gym-goers. He details basic concepts that all beginners must master to see those sweet gains … and fast.
- The progressive overload basics that make noticeable mass possible
- How to establish that seemingly mystical “mind-muscle connection”
- Why the right technique matters (paired with 7 self-promotional YouTube videos)
- The two most undisputed hypertrophy theories: Size & mechanical loading
John Meadows might be a bodybuilding legend three decades in the making, but he hasn’t forgotten his roots. This uber-concise guide caters to rookies who are literally at square one.
Just like you.
He tosses out some lingo that sounds ultra-complicated, like Henneman’s Size Principle. But then he goes on to explain it in easy-to-decipher layman’s terms as you make sense of it all.
This novice approach’s benefits are two-fold:
- They help you absorb baseline knowledge to understand what has to happen deep inside your biceps or hamstrings to trigger mass explosion.
- They turn you into a student of the craft so that, 12 weeks down the road, you can differentiate a fad program from one revolving around tried-and-true principles.
Don’t feel like cracking open an ebook and dedicating an hour to reading? Lucky for you, every included subsection ends with a “summary of key takeaways so far” if you prefer to skim.
The Program Explained: Duration, Split, & Ideology
There are thousands (hell, probably even millions) of novice hypertrophy routines wedged into the deepest corners of the web. What makes this odd Baby Groot-themed program “the one?”
We have a pretty solid idea.
John Meadows didn’t toss random exercises into a bag and jumble ‘em up. Nor did he settle for the traditional 3×8-12 rep scheme that so many mass routines see as the default.
There’s something you won’t realize until page 12 — spoiler alert — as he describes everything from frequency to RPE, Meadows is detailing this program’s scientific basis.
By the time you reach the workouts themselves, you won’t question:
- Why am I resting more than I’m lifting?
- What’s the point of leaving 48 hours between workouts?
- Why are we limiting our lifts to 85% of 1RM?
Once you thumb over to page 17 of the ebook, you’ll catch a glimpse of the road ahead. Without getting ahead of ourselves or revealing too much, this program’s foundation includes:
- 36+ hours of rest between workouts (snugly in the “sweet spot”)
- RPEs of 8-8.5 (with 2-3 reps leftover, brace yourself for the burn)
- +1 rep or +5-10 pounds per week (closing with a 30+ higher PR and 6 extra reps)
- 10-20 reps per set (just breeching endurance territory, but still within the gains realm)
- 1-3 minutes of rest between sets (again, within the hypertrophy bullseye)
Every digital page you flip might have you second-guessing what you thought you knew. For example, deloading after 12 weeks and never straying from these six repeated workouts?
If it makes you say, “hmm,” Meadows (thoroughly) demystifies that confusion!
Working the Program the Right Way
If you think buying this Baby Groot program and committing three workouts a week to it is enough to build Swiss Alp biceps or coconut-esque deltoids, we have some bad news.
No mass-building routine on its own can undo a lifetime of bad health habits.
Maximum growth means adopting that “all-in” mindset. In the dozen or so pages leading up to the odd-numbered week plan, Meadows discusses how to nurture this transformation by:
- Fueling your body with BCAAs and carbs during your lifting sessions
- Snagging restful sleep to amplify the growth hormone flooding your bloodstream
- Not making cardio and lifting an either-or scenario (yes, there’s a compromise!)
- Balancing your diet to pack on muscle without layering on fat
- Fending off those plateau-inducing stressors
A protein-fuelled diet can lure you to 1-2 pounds of mass per month and feel fully-energized during workouts. Of course … that’s as long as you’re fueling your body properly.
Thankfully, Meadows’ nutritional accolades finally make their grand entrance on page 27.
This Groot nutrient section touches on things like the distinct needs for lean vs. muscular goals and how to calculate your body’s ideal nutritional intake.
While this section is already ten steps further than many guides dare to venture, Meadows stops a few inches short of providing actionable advice toward choosing the right foods.
You can assume that Big Macs and frappuccinos are no-gos.
But if you were craving healthy wrap recipes or fruit and steamed veggie recommendations, you’ll walk out empty-handed (collective groaning).
What Are the Workouts Like?: A Quick Glance
These workouts are far from rocket science, weaving into the novice theme quite seamlessly. Unlike some of the dizzying programs we’ve seen, Meadows’ is incredibly easy to follow.
By that, we mean …
- A full description beneath each exercise detailing grip or form recommendations, why warm-up sets are (or aren’t) necessary, and an occasional motivational nudge
- An example of warm-up, feeder, and working sets
- Your target RPE for that particular exercise
- How much rest to squeeze in between sets
- A linked YouTube video (usually a helpful exercise index or how-to video explaining the exercise, but sometimes it’s a rogue YouTube video that’s only slightly related)
As innovative as this routine might be for beginners eyeing mass, it’s also old-school enough to require bringing a notebook to the gym … there are zero charts to record your weekly progress.
Deal-breaker? Likely not.
But it’s undoubtedly a pain in the ass to lug a notebook, pen, and print-out ebook (or the smartphone version) from the bench press to the pulley lat pulldown machine and back again.
Remember: These are all technically full-body workouts, emphasizing either the upper or lower body muscle groups. But you may recognize a few oddities along the way, like:
- Bizarro (or just unconventional) exercises like dumbbell side lateral Y-raises
- The lower-body muscles hardly get attention on upper-body days (& vice versa)
- Feeder sets — Meadows’ “code word” for light post-warm-up sets
- Nothing but a video link for uncommon exercises (hello, video views)
- Little emphasis on isolated exercises (not for the bicep, tricep, and calf exercise lover!)
Aside from the occasional “What the hell is that exercise?” or decoding why some muscles only get sporadic TLC, the workout breakdown is relatively to-the-point.
Perfect though? Not by a longshot!
4 Benefits of Baby Groot
1. Easing Into Those PRs & Gains
The biggest mistake that fitness newbies make is jumping in headfirst without testing the water’s temperature or depth. Do too much too soon, and you’ll fall off the wagon by next Friday!
The Baby Groot program follows the ‘ol “slow and steady wins the race” trope.
Three workouts a week, 36-48 hours of rest in-between, an RPE of 8 (or so), and 3-4 sets per exercise are all within the beginner and hypertrophy “sweet spots.”
Follow this program precisely, and you might add 60 pounds to your bench press in 12 weeks.
2. The Full Scope Behind Gains (A Complete Health Overhaul)
Free online workout programs are notoriously bland and vague. There’s certainly no shortage of hype (“I gained 20 pounds with this program”), but they’re nothing more than a workout.
Okay, some recommend a particular protein or pre-workout powder.
Bulking up and building intimidatingly-strong muscles requires a complete lifestyle overhaul. This program does just that — sleep, diet, exercise, stress, and even cardio advice.
Where other programs fall flat, Baby Groot picks up the slack.
3. How-To Videos, Tips, Key-Takeaways, & Written Explanations
If you’ve never stepped foot in the gym or hypertrophy sounds more like a prescription medication, this Baby Groot program guide will bring the classroom to you!
The whys, hows, and whens will swirl through your brain uncontrollably, but this John Meadows guide will greet you at the door in every which way possible:
- How-to videos demonstrating challenging exercises
- Tips for everything from how long to nap to how to do cardio without forfeiting gains
- Key-takeaways to simplify the confusing topics in just a few bullet points
- Explanations for why you’re doing exercises (and how to do ‘em right)
Unless you’re being willfully ignorant, any question you come across will have an answer somewhere in this program.
4. Very Few Head-Scratchers
One thought you’ll have as you scroll through this program is, “hmm, makes sense!” Aside from the excessively-pasted hyperlinks and odd organization, nothing misses the mark by a mile.
Meadows backs up most questionable concepts by referencing a study or research, though he doesn’t include a link. He also disputes common myths believed by beginners, like:
- Time under tension being the end-all-be-all (hint: it’s not)
- Isolation exercises being useless for beginners
- How much time your muscles really need to recover
Meadows doesn’t just say so-and-so is or isn’t true. He details why and how well enough that even the most skeptical people will establish trust.
5 Negatives of This Workout
1. Where Is Groot?!
John Meadows calls this novice program “Baby Groot” and mentions Groot’s most admirable qualities in the introduction, insisting you can be Baby Groot 2.0 (if that’s what you’re into).
Hell, he even crafted his usual Mountain Dog logo to mimic that of Marvel.
So … given all of that, where is Groot?
The introduction is the last time you hear about everyone’s favorite character and, by page 5, you forget about the Guardians of the Galaxy reference entirely.
If you’re dropping the cash specifically because you’re a comic book fan expecting continual Groot references or media, you’re going to be highly disappointed.
2. The Detailed Layout Has Its Flaws
The workout section (starting on page 31 of 52) travels the educational route. The glaring issue: The wordy clutter and lack of organizational tables totally defeat any remaining convenience.
Reverse curls don’t receive the basic 4×10 label. The set and rep goal becomes tucked into the exercise description and lead-up to it, reading, “Let’s do 4 sets of 10 here.”
Don’t get me wrong … everything you need is there.
But having to actively search for these details while having nowhere to record your weight, reps, and sets per workout is a bummer. Oddly enough, the rest and RPE follow a consistent pattern.
3. Full-Body Workouts? Only a Little
The full-body program territory undoubtedly gets a little wonky when you’re alternating between upper and lower-body focuses. Some of the exercise choices seem a tad random or unusual.
For example, workout #4 — lower-body day — is leg-heavy with four exercises (and rightfully so). But the infused upper-body exercises target the chest, back, and triceps … yet no biceps?
During workout #5, there simply is no lower-body TLC.
There’s no unwritten rule that you must hit every body part three times a week. But there’s no sense in calling them all full-body workouts if that doesn’t accurately describe them!
4. Nutritional Guide is a Little Blasé
John Meadows was so close to making this a full beginners guide to beefing up and earning respect in the gym. The nutritional section was 1-2 pages shy of what could’ve been a killer.
You will learn about your caloric, protein, fat, and carbohydrate needs to match your current weight and goals. But you won’t find any advice for what to eat to make those a reality.
Or … you can buy Meadows’ supplemental meal plan for another fee, which guides us right into our fifth and final Baby Groot con:
5. (What Seems Like) Everything Is an Ad
Meadows has a wealth of knowledge, thanks to his fitness industry (and educational) experience. The biggest deal-breaker: The ebook is one massive self-promotion stunt.
Yes, the videos demonstrating how to do walking lunges or authentic sit-ups are helpful for first-time lifters. But then he goes a little overboard on the YouTube hyperlinks.
Case in point: There’s a brief warm-up section in the book. However, if you want to learn about Meadows’ top two warm-up strategies, you have to watch one of his eight-minute videos.
Aside from wanting to rack up YouTube viewership, why not just explain it?
Wrapping Up This Baby Groot Hypertrophy Program Review
The Baby Groot Hypertrophy Program (by John Meadows) is one of the better novice programs, thanks to its multi-angle approach and easy-to-understand explanations.
It‘s well-within a beginner’s potential, slowly eases into the gains you’re chasing, and answers most of your questions before you even turn the page.
But the hype somewhat surpasses what’s stuffed inside this digital copy.
Groot is nowhere to be found, the formatting requires you to bring a notebook to the gym, the full-body workouts are awkwardly arranged, and the nutritional guide is mildly disappointing.
If you’re a beginner looking to uncover your potential, Baby Groot is a great kick-off program. But just know that your diet is almost entirely on you … and it might need some revamping.