[Case Study] How Cody Built 15 Pounds Of Muscle In 18 Weeks


Andrew Creed. Andrew is a Del Monte Pro Team member.

AGE: 25 | HEIGHT: 5′ 9″ | WEIGHT: 174

L87A9263Del Monte Pro Team Member Cody Callaway lets us in behind enemy lines to discuss how he created a physique of mass destruction using numerous tools and skills in his arsenal that he picked up from Muscle Camps. We also talk about the most powerful weapon to building muscle, the mind! Let’s get to it.

Q. Dude, how did you add 15 pounds of muscle in 18 weeks?!

I decided to commit. Any time there was an option, the choice was easy—I chose whatever was going to help me reach the goal. Every day was an opportunity to grow and I took advantage of each day.

Diet was, of course, critical—you are shooting blindly if you don’t know how many calories you are taking in day to day. I ate 5 meals a day, and my first 3 meals consisted of protein and fats (including a good amount of saturated fats). These meals did not include carbs. My philosophy is that you have to earn your carbs.

With that said, carbs were focused around the workout. My pre-workout meal (meal 4) was protein and slow-digesting carbs for sustained energy going into the workout (I saved the fast-digesting carbs for after the workout). My go-to here was sweet potatoes, diced into small pieces with cinnamon on top for some added benefits and taste (occasionally I added stevia).

My post-workout meal consisted of protein and fast-digesting carbs—this is the time to kill the sweet tooth if you feel you need something a bit sweeter to keep you on track. I might have had frozen yogurt or fruity pebbles once or twice, haha. Normally I stuck with white rice.

Finally, the intra-workout shake was a big piece of the puzzle:

PeptoPro—30 grams
Highly Branched Cyclic Dextrin—50-100 grams (depending on the workout)
BCAAs—10 grams
Betaine HCL—3 grams
Mixed in coconut water

Q. What aspect of training did you change to transform yourself from the skinny guy in the pink tee to the man you are today?

Vince challenged me that day in the pink tee to put on 20 pounds. The question then was, how do I get there? I didn’t realize until I reached out for help that my strength, or lack thereof, was limiting how much progress I was able to make.

Everything I knew about training was about to change. I thought tension was EVERYTHING, which it is to a certain degree. However, the amount of weight you can lift directly limits the amount of tension you can generate.

Strength should be the foundation—look at it as your ceiling. It will affect how much intramuscular tension you can place into the muscle when training for size, as well as how lean you can get and how long these processes take.

These are biggest changes I made in my training:

  • focused on pure strength training
  • added an intra-workout shake (described above)
  • reduced lifting frequency from 5 days per week to 3 days (with ZERO cardio)

Even though total training frequency was cut back to 3 times per week, training frequency for each main movement pattern was actually increased. Each day I trained I did a push and pull for upper body, plus a lower body movement. Given that muscle protein synthesis (MPS) is elevated for about 48 hours after training a particular body part or movement pattern, by training each pattern 3 times per week MPS was stimulated again just as it returned to baseline. This allowed me to create an environment where MPS was elevated for my entire body throughout each week of training!

Here’s one of my workouts:

Order Exercise Sets Reps Tempo Rest
A Front Squats 5 4-6 30X0 3 min
B Bent Over Rows 5 4-6 31X0 3 min
C Standing Barbell Push Press 5 4-6 30X0 3 min

Q. What made you get into training?

I joined the military weighing 143 lbs and watched as people returned from deployments jacked, as well as seeing everyone around base talk about how much muscle this guy gained. On the other hand there were some who didn’t come back looking any different, or worse, came back fatter. Not long after, I received the phone call telling me I was going to deploy.

I was determined to be the guy everyone talked about around base. I had something in my head that I wanted and I was 110% committed. After seeing some results I was hooked and my passion exploded!

Q. What are your current goals and aspirations?

I never want to stop growing, mentally or physically. What happens when you stop growing? You flat line and maintain your current level, or worse you begin to decline/die…

Mentally: I’m going to continue diving into the books and attending seminars to expand my knowledge.

Physically: After personally seeing the results of strength training I want to spend some more time here to access some untapped potential. I’m looking more long term with my physique!


Q. From seeing you in Muscle Camp season 1, you bring a lot of intensity and focus to workouts. What tips can you give the readers to increase their own intensity and focus?

People might mistake me as being an asshole in the gym because I don’t stop to talk. That’s just me in my zone; I know why I’m there. I don’t work out, I train, and there is a huge difference. I would watch videos to see what the exercises are supposed to look like and refresh myself on the cues to isolate the appropriate muscle when I first started in the gym.

Preparation is key: I have a workout journal where everything from the exercise, tempo, rep/set scheme to rest and notes are kept. I also have my watch set to the rest periods prescribed. I keep it honest and set it for 15 seconds short to be sure my set starts at the right time.

Before I get into the gym, I drop all other problems and concerns in my life. I like to get into a groove and for me there is no better way than jamming out to some music before I leave the house. When I finally get to the gym I put in my ear buds and then it’s game time. I walk into the gym listening to music and there’s a few people who will come up and say “hey” real quick, but they know that’s as far as the conversation goes.

Once I’m mentally ready I like to go through some dynamic warm-ups for 20 minutes while I sip on my pre-workout. Now it’s time for business, a few warm up sets to get my muscle fibers firing. I want to feel the muscle through the entire range here. I visualize my body as an anatomy chart and this really helps me! The only thing I’m thinking about during my work sets are the cues and tempo for each and every rep, which in time comes naturally without much thought.

Q. Can you give me any golden nuggets of advice you have learned from attending 4 Muscle Camps?

I currently hold the record for attending the most Muscle Camps, I’m still waiting on my award though… There is a quote I really like and agree with.

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” ― Jim Rohn.

I like to take the chance whenever possible to be around smart, like-minded individuals who can influence me in a positive way. There are planned seminars during the Muscle Camp as well as plenty of time to pick people’s brains with any personal questions. You’ll learn program methodology and important cues to apply to your workouts.


Q. For cardio, do you prefer high-intensity interval training (HIIT) or low-intensity steady state (LISS)?

I prefer HIIT. Why wouldn’t you spend half the time for twice the results? BUT, if you are going to do it, it’s one of those things that’s all or nothing, and going 95% won’t cut it. There’s something about going all out with no gas left in the tank. I’m not saying LISS doesn’t have a time and place, but HIIT has my vote.

Q. As a guy we love Top 5s, so what are your Top 5 Go-To Exercises, Fitness Models, Role Models, and Supplements?

Exercises—Deadlifts, Squats, Bench, Rows and Dips.
Fitness Models—Josef Rakich, Steve Cook, Jason Poston, Jamie Alderton and Sean Sarantos
Role Models—Tony Robbins, Les Brown, Tom Pervis, Bedros Keuilian and Tai Lopez
Supplements—Multivitamin, Protein powder, Fish oil, Greens powder, and Digestive enzymes

Cody is a real ambassador for the Del Monte brand: in the last 8 months he has attended 4 Muscle Camps—Austin, Las Vegas, Tampa and Ohio. The knowledge he has picked up in these has been exceptional and really showed when we trained together in Tampa. Cody is a trainer is his hometown of Kansas City. I would advise seeking him out if you’re in the area!

Here’s what one of his clients was able to accomplish in just 30 days—a 3 inch reduction in waist circumference!

I would advise keeping a close eye on Cody Callaway in 2015 as at this rate he will be a force to take note of.

More from Cody:

Where to connect with Cody:

Cody’s Newsletter: Subscribe Here

Facebook: http://facebook.com/CodyCallawayFitness

Instagram: @CallawayFit (http://instagram.com/CallawayFit)

SnapChat: CallawayFit

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13 thoughts on “[Case Study] How Cody Built 15 Pounds Of Muscle In 18 Weeks

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  6. Great article! I really like how you mentioned to time your rest periods. I see so many guys that just stroll around checking their phones and end up taking 2,3, sometimes even 5 minute rest between their sets!.

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