Build Your Very Own Avengers Physique in Six Weeks

Grow muscle, get stronger and lean-up with this complete six week exercise and diet plan from natural bodybuilder and kinesiologist Brad Borland.

By the time you read this, you may have seen the new Avengers movie once or even a few times. By the looks of things (namely the physiques of the heroes in the film) muscle is back on the big screen – real life superheroes replete with well-defined muscle and brutal strength (sans the CGI Hulk of course).

But wouldn’t it be nice to create your very own Avenger? Wouldn’t it be great to build a stronger, leaner and more muscled superhero body? Do you need a kick start training and eating plan to help get you there? Read on. Below are three distinct training programs along with diet plans to build strength and muscle and then progressively getting you leaner and more muscular by the end of six weeks.

The beauty of the program is that it shifts gears every two weeks to keep boredom at bay and to ramp up progress for continued results. Research suggests that periodically changing up a training program is actually a good thing. It keeps the body guessing and progressing!

Three Programs, Three Goals

The first two-week phase jacks up your strength. It uses heavy weight, low reps and long rest periods. It is designed for recovery, growth and strength gains. Mind you, it is not a powerlifting program, but one that will prime your muscles for the extra work ahead.

The second two-week period places greater volume on your body along with some heavy work. It is a transitional phase to prepare you for the next two weeks. Moderate weight along with a medium rep range with shortened rest periods will be on order. This phase combines strength with more volume for lean muscle gains.

The final two weeks are dedicated to a higher rep range with a few techniques thrown in to keep the intensity high. You will also be working faster with supersets as well for time efficiency to really push yourself toward the finish line. This phase is almost entirely hypertrophy-focused. You will build more lean muscle while strength takes a temporary backseat.

Three Phase Diet Plan

Attached to each phase is a diet plan to give you the best results for each goal. The first two weeks are not only all about recovery and growth, but also acts as a break-in period to get you in the habit of eating the right amounts of macronutrients at the correct times. Think of this time as building your discipline.

The second phase builds on that discipline and provides you with a shift to start the lean down process. It picks up where phase one left off by cutting down on carbohydrate and increasing healthy fats.  By the third phase you will be a fat-burning, muscle building machine able to utilize everything you eat for your specific goal.

Give the program below a try for the next six weeks. Feel free to modify it according to your experience level. You can try three different options:

  1. Perform the program as is – six weeks then take a few days off and perform the six weeks all over again.
  2. Perform the six week program twice back-to-back for a total of twelve weeks.
  3. Perform each phase for three weeks instead of two for a total of nine weeks.

The choice is yours depending on your goals, time availability, upcoming events or just want to continue the program.

Create Your Own Avenger Program

Hulk Smash! (Phase 1 Training)

As mentioned earlier phase one is dedicated to strength and discipline building. Muscle and strength is the name of the game for the first two weeks. Perform the workouts over a four day period per week. Take a day off after two days of training. For example: Train Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday with Wednesday and the weekend off.

Day 1 & 3Warm-upsWork setsRest between sets
Incline bench barbell press
2 x 10-15
3 x 4-8
2 min
Flat bench barbell press
3 x 4-8
2 min
Bent-over barbell row
2 x 10-15
3 x 4-8
2 min
Medium grip pull-up
3 x 4-8
2 min
Seated Smith machine military press
1 x 10
3 x 4-8
2 min
Wide-grip upright row
3 x 4-8
2 min
Hanging leg raise
3 x 10-15
1 min
Floor crunch
3 x 10-15
1 min

 

Day 2 & 4Warm-upsWork setsRest between sets
Barbell curl1 x 10-153 x 4-82 min
Close-grip bench press1 x 10-153 x 4-82 min
Barbell squat2 x 10-153 x 6-103 min
Leg press3 x 6-102 min
Barbell Romanian deadlift1 x 10-153 x 6-102 min
Seated calf raise1 x 10-153 x 6-102 min
Incline sit-up3 x 10-151 min

 

Eat like the Hulk (Phase 1 Diet)

Meal 1¾ cup oatmeal combined with 1 tbsp of natural peanut butter, cinnamon and sweeten with Splenda  3 whole eggs scrambled or 1 scoop of whey protein combined with 1 cup of skim milk
Meal 21 cup of Greek yogurt  2 oz. of mixed nuts
Meal 34-6 oz. of turkey or chicken, 2 slices of whole wheat bread or Ezekiel bread, 2 tbsp of low-fat mayo, lettuce and 2 slices of low fat cheese  1 banana
Meal 4(Pre workout) 1 apple  1 scoop of whey protein combined with 1 cup of skim milk
Meal 5(Post workout) 16 oz. of Gatorade or Powerade  1-2 scoops of whey protein combined with 1 cup of skim milk
Meal 66-8 oz. of lean beef, fish, chicken or turkey  1 cup of mixed vegetables or any vegetable of your choice 1 medium sweet potato or 1 cup of rice, cooked

Note: Be sure to drink at least one gallon of water throughout the day.

Approximate totals: Calories – 3000 calories, 190 grams of protein, 400 grams of carbs, 70 grams of fat

Build Muscle Like Captain America and Thor! (Phase 2 Training)


By now you have begun to build a pretty sturdy foundation of strength with a little muscle to boot. Now it’s time to switch gears and turn our attention to packing on some serious muscle by building on our previous two weeks. The next two weeks will be similar in regards to adhering to the four days per week protocol, but now we will add in some volume and higher reps to really get the muscle to react.

Day 1 & 3Warm-upsWork setsRest between sets
Incline bench dumbbell press2 x 10-154 x 8-1290 sec
Flat bench dumbbell press3 x 8-1290 sec
Wide-grip pull-up1 x 104 x 8-1290 sec
Dumbbell row3 x 8-1290 sec
Standing dumbbell side lateral1 x 10-154 x 8-1290 sec
Seated dumbbell shoulder press3 x 8-1290 sec
Incline crunch3 x 15-2045 sec
Hanging knee-ups3 x 15-2045 sec

 

Day 2 & 4Warm-upsWork setsRest between sets
Dumbbell curl1 x 10-154 x 4-890 sec
Lying barbell ext. (nosebreaker)1 x 10-154 x 4-890 sec
Single leg press2 x 10-153 x 6-1090 sec
Barbell squat3 x 6-102 min
Lying leg curl1 x 10-153 x 6-1090 sec
Standing calf raise1 x 10-153 x 6-1090 sec
Hanging leg raise3 x 15-2045 sec

 

Rip it up like a superhero (Phase 2 Diet)

Meal 1½ cup oatmeal combined with 1 tbsp of natural peanut butter, cinnamon and sweeten with Splenda  3 whole eggs scrambled or 1 scoop of whey protein combined with water
Meal 21 cup of Greek yogurt  2 oz. of mixed nuts
Meal 34-6 oz. of turkey or chicken, 2 slices of whole wheat bread or Ezekiel bread, 2 tbsp of low-fat mayo, lettuce and 2 slices of low fat cheese  1 banana
Meal 4(Pre workout) 1 apple  1 scoop of whey protein combined with 1 cup of skim milk
Meal 5(Post workout) 1-2 scoops of whey protein combined with 1 cup of skim milk
Meal 66-8 oz. of lean beef, fish, chicken or turkey  1 cup of mixed vegetables or any vegetable of your choice ½ medium sweet potato or ½ cup of rice, cooked

Note: Be sure to drink at least one gallon of water throughout the day.

Approximate totals: Calories – 2650 calories, 180 grams of protein, 300 grams of carbs, 65 grams of fat

Time to polish it up! (Phase 3 Training)


Now it is time to put the finishing touches on your new suit of armor! Supersets, reduced rest periods and higher reps are on call for the next two weeks. Get ready to ramp up the intensity and really blow out the muscle – but don’t worry, after all is said and done it will be worth the time, effort and sacrifice for a leaner, more muscular physique.

Note: Movements are paired according to convenience in a busy gym. A superset is when two exercises are performed back to back without rest.

The rest period will be taken after each superset is performed.

Day 1 & 3Warm-upsWork setsRest between sets
Superset: Flat bench dumbbell press with two-arm dumbbell row2 x 10-153 x 10-151 min between supersets
Superset: Incline bench dumbbell fly with close-grip pull-up3 x 10-151 min between supersets
Superset: Incline machine chest press with machine row3 x 10-151 min between supersets
Superset: Dumbbell front raise with dumbbell side lateral1 x 10-153 x 10-151 min between supersets
Superset: Hanging leg raise with incline sit-up4 x 15-2030 sec  between supersets

 

Day 2 & 4Warm-upsWork setsRest between sets
Superset: Incline dumbbell curl with overhead dumbbell triceps extension1 x 10-154 x 10-151 min between supersets
Superset: Smith machine squat with dumbbell Romanian deadlift2 x 10-153 x 10-151 min between supersets
Superset: Leg extension with seated leg curl3 x 10-151 min between supersets
One-leg calf raise1 x 10-153 x 10-1530 sec
Floor crunch4 x 15-2030 sec

 

Look like an Ironman (Phase 3 Diet)

Meal 1¼ cup oatmeal combined with 1 tbsp of natural peanut butter, cinnamon and sweeten with Splenda  3 whole eggs scrambled or 1 scoop of whey protein combined with water
Meal 21 cup of Greek yogurt  2 oz. of mixed nuts
Meal 34-6 oz. of turkey or chicken, 2 slices of whole wheat bread or Ezekiel bread, 2 tbsp of low-fat mayo, lettuce and 2 slices of low fat cheese  Small salad with oil-based dressing
Meal 4(Pre workout) 1 apple  1 scoop of whey protein combined with water
Meal 5(Post workout) 2 scoops of whey protein combined with 1 cup of skim milk
Meal 66-8 oz. of lean beef, fish, chicken or turkey  2 cups of mixed vegetables or any vegetable of your choice

Note: Be sure to drink at least one gallon of water throughout the day.

Approximate totals: Calories – 2200 calories, 180 grams of protein, 220 grams of carbs, 60 grams of fat

*A word about off days and supplements

On off days you will eliminate the post workout meal on all phases of this program. Also, you may want to add in one or two cheat meals (preferably on the same day) on the weekend. Don’t go overboard, just eat enough to be satisfied and stop there. Don’t get off track too much and pig out.

One more thing about off days – it’s not a green light to get lazy. Go out and enjoy other activities: basketball, swimming or anything you just plain enjoy doing actively. This will not only keep your interest up in being active it will also keep your metabolism humming along.

If you want to include other supplements to the program in addition to whey protein, 5 grams of creatine and 2-3 grams of beta-alanine can be added to both the pre and post workout meals.

Characters and images copyright Marvel and/or respective holders.

Brad is the founder of BradBorland.com. He is a consultant, writer, fitness specialist, husband and father. He earned his Master's degree in Kinesiology, is a member of the Air National Guard and is a cancer survivor.