FB’s MI40 Review of Ben Pakulski’s Muscle Program Reveals Pros and Cons

As I approached the end of a multi-phase workout program, I was on the lookout for a new program. Usually I design my own workouts, but this time I decided to give Ben Pakulski’s MI40 a shot.

MI40 Review Summary:

This program is not for you if you’re not serious about building muscle. The workouts are intense (but short at 40 to 45 minutes). The cardio is HIIT. The nutrition guide fairly stringent, but highly detailed.  You will learn a lot (I did).

MI40 Review Table of Contents

MI40 Features – What Do You Get?

I’ve yet to buy a workout program as comprehensive as Ben Pakulski’s MI40.

The MI stands for “Mass Intentions” training. The 40 refers to 40 days, 40 second sets, 40 second rest periods, 40 minute workouts and 40 exercises.

What do you get with the MI40 program?

Main Product Package:

  • The 40 Day MASS Intelligence Training Manual (PDF): sets out the theory, concepts and principles behind MI40 workouts.
  • 40 Day MASS Consumption Nutrition Manual (PDF): Theory and principles behind MI40 nutrition for optimal muscle gain (without getting fat).
  • 19 Videos Covering 40 exercises (MP4): Ben shows proper lifting form for the exercises.
  • Ab Video (MP4): Ben takes you through 5 ab exercises explaining proper technique and discusses common mistakes people make that hinder ab development.
  • Printable workout sheets (PDF – color and B&W): This workout doesn’t follow a 7 day week. Instead, each week is different. These sheets are invaluable because you just follow along for 40 days.
  • Supplement Guide (PDF): Gets fairly technical. I’m not buying all the recommended supplements. It’s a long list of stuff. Somewhat helpful.
  • 21 Days to bigger arms (PDF): Somewhat helpful. I wish this was a second cycle of new workouts turning MI40 into a 12 or 18 week program. It just covers arms.

Upgrades (aaargh)?

As with many digital products these days, after purchase you’re asked whether you want to purchase optional additional features and packages.  Ben offers the same with 3 upgrade options.  This usually surprises and angers buyers.  Therefore, this MI40 review includes a detailed review of the first 2 upgrades and whether they’re worth buying.

Optional Upgrade #1: More Nutrition Info includes:

  • Detailed meal plans for different daily caloric intakes. Get this if you have trouble coming up with proper diet plans. The main nutrition guide that’s included with initial purchase tells you all you need to know. The optional meal plans are icing on the cake.
  • 7 Day Detox: Nothing to write home about here. If you really want to start from scratch and clean up your system, then get this.
  • 7 Day Primer Workout: It’s a 7 day workout to prime you for MI40. Definitely not for veterans. A good resource for people new to weight lifting.
  • Home Made Muscle Shakes: Ben lists 12 shake recipes using protein powder to make better-tasting shakes. It’s actually my favorite resource in the optional upgrade #1. I get tired of protein powder and water.
  • Alkalinizing Green Drinks (PDF): I’m a believer in the power of greens (my yoga interests got me into eating more greens). These recipes are fancy fruit and veggie smoothies/drinks. It’s pretty good.

Optional Upgrade #2: Fat Burning Module

  • 2 weeks to Shredded workouts (MP4): It’s okay. Not necessary though.
  • Burn Fat, Not Muscle (MP4): It’s about interval training. Not really necessary.
  • One-on-one email consultation with Ben: I’m waiting a few weeks to put together my questions. It appears you get one e-mail so you better make it good. He seems to be a bit of a stickler about this stating answers are short and questions covered in the materials won’t be answered.

And yet another purchase gives you access to Vince Del Monte’s TV shows.  I didn’t bother so I can’t comment on this upgrade.

What’s the concept behind MI40?

The concept is simple: Maximum tension across the maximum range of motion. That’s Ben’s philosophy. Every workout element of MI40 is dedicated toward this principle.

bodybuilder doing MI40 workout programPros – what I really like

Ben is a straight up guy.

He doesn’t deny he’s used steroids as a pro. Okay, good. I’m not misled into thinking I’m going to look like him in 40 days. Actually, I don’t want to look like Ben. I’m all about solid lean mass. I’m not a pro.  I don’t want to be a pro.

What I want when I buy a program is something that works. Period.


Some programs focus on nutrition.  Some focus on the workouts.  MI40 is truly comprehensive giving a thorough account of how you should work out and how to structure your diet.  The level of detail is second-to-none.  My only beef is it’s a lot of information to take in.

Excellent workout exercise instruction

Ben leaves nothing to chance.  He assumes you know zip.  He includes 19 videos covering all 40 exercises.  There’s a separate ab video where each ab exercise is demonstrated.  He also explains how to go about targeting your abs better.  Ben really shows off his education in kinesiology and knowledge of the musculoskeletal system here and throughout the program.

Workouts are 40 to 45 minutes long

I love this aspect of the program. I like short and intense. My experience is like Ben’s in that 2 to 3 hour workouts are counter-productive.

There is no focus on how much weight you’re lifting

Actually, how much weight you lift is downplayed.  Ben is all about results, not ego.

The amount of weight you lift race is a joke. Too much weight results in poor form. MI40 is all about increasing tension over the maximum range of motion. In many cases this means lifting less weight, but focusing on lifting with the targeted muscle. I completely agree with Ben and MI40 on this principle.

The workout schedule (i.e. muscles targeted) are not the same every week

MI40 has a more-complex-than-usual training schedule. Most workout programs operate on the 7 day week. Not MI40. It operates in 3 week cycles, which is pretty cool. This concept can definitely be applied to future workout programs.

The nutrition plan is designed to build muscle and lose fat

Most bodybuilders and people looking to pack on some mass don’t want to do it and gain fat. Me included. MI40’s nutrition system is called 3-PN (3 basic phases over a 24 hour period). The 3 phases are during your workout, before/after workout and the final phase is all other times throughout the day.

More to the point – the diet information is incredibly detailed. You’re told what and when to eat throughout each phase.

You get all the formulas you need for calculating your caloric needs and macronutrient mix

MI40 sets out how to calculate your daily caloric needs, including number of grams of protein, carbs and fats. It’s interesting to note that your macronutrient requirements are different between training and non-training days.

Precise supplement needs

I’ve studied and experimented a ton with supplements. I know quite a bit, but Ben taught me a few things about supps.  I’m not going to go out and buy every supplement on his list.  But he explains the reasoning behind each supplement quite well.

Specific Meal plans for different daily calorie needs (with optional upgrade #1)

For example, for the 3,500 daily calorie meal plan, MI40 offers 3 meal plans.

Cons – what I don’t like

It’s only a 40 day plan.

I realize Ben likes the “40” concept, but I wish he left it alone for the program’s duration. I wish it included a second phase. I learned a ton and like the workouts, but it should provide at least 12 weeks worth of workouts for the money. Note, the diet info is great for the long term.

That said, there are several concepts and techniques you can apply to future workouts. They are:

  • Techniques for creating maximum tension to your muscles (tempo and set structure);
  • Use 3 week split cycling instead of the 7 day week;
  • The diet can easily work for you indefinitely (suggested as long term diet for building muscle).

All you really need to change up are the exercises and retain the main elements of MI40.

Splitting up workouts

For days where you work out 2 muscles, he suggests doing 2 workouts five to six hours apart. He says you can combine it and it will work, but says splitting them up is better.

Here’s the deal. I’m not a pro whose main job in life is to build muscle. Most days I don’t have time to go to the gym twice. I’m not alone. I work, have a young son and wife … dedicating time to get to the gym twice in one day isn’t going to happen. I think this is the case for most people.

Too little ab info

Although the ab video is good, I wish Ben included ab workout placement in the workout schedule.  One of my questions for Ben for my e-mail consult (an optional upgrade) will be how often to workout my abs.


Will I gain tons of fat while piling on the mass?

No. Ben’s MI40’s diet plan is set up so that you build muscle and burn fat.

What if I want a leaner muscle build and not Ben’s hulking size? Is MI40 for me?

This is always a funny question because it presumes that adding the kind of size and bulk guys like Ben have is an accident. Ben’s been training like a maniac for more than a decade. Moreover, the guy is educated to the hilt with degrees in kinesiology and training programs. His size is not an accident.

In all seriousness, if you want to add on some slabs of solid lean muscle, MI40 will do it. Muscle is muscle. This is build muscle, burn fat program. If you get the second upgrade, you’ll get some excellent fat burning information as well.

Does Ben show how to actually do the workouts?

This is where MI40 exceeds a lot of other workout programs you can buy. You get access to 19 videos of Ben in the gym showing you how to do the 40 exercises forming MI40. These are pictures with written instructions. These are videos of Ben. Pretty cool. It’s like having your own personal trainer for a dozen sessions for a fraction of the cost.

Are ab exercises and techniques included?

Yeah. There’s an ab exercises video. It’s not bad. Note that this isn’t an ab-focused product … but abs are covered.

Is MI40 for beginners?

According to Ben it is. It’s intense, but beginners can do it. You just won’t lift as much weight as a veteran. It’s a good idea to get the second upgrade that includes a 7-day primer workout which is a warm-up workout for the 40 day MI40.

Can veteran “big-guys” use MI40?

Yes.  If you’re bigger and more ripped than Ben, then you probably don’t need this.  I suspect you’re not because Ben is one of the best bodybuilders on the planet.

I’ve been lifting for 15 plus years and learned quite a bit with MI40.  I don’t regret a nickel I put into Ben’s pockets.

What do I do when I’m done the 40 day workout program?

This is always a tough question with purchased workout programs. In fact, this is my biggest criticism of MI40. You pay good money, but it’s only good for 40 days. I like guidelines for long-term workout plans.

That said, the principle of maximum tension for the most range of motion can be applied to every workout you do in the future.  It’s the principles and concepts of MI40 that are good … not just the set of 40 exercises.  After all, if you’ve read a couple issues of Men’s Health or Muscle and Fitness, you can come up with 40 decent exercises.

The key to MI40 is in the conceptual details that can be applied to most workouts.  Moreover, the nutrition info is pretty awesome.

Who is Ben Pakulski and why should I pay him money for workout information?

Ben isn’t your average gym rat. He’s a pro bodybuilder.  He’s huge and ripped (credibility builder #1). He’s also educated to the nines on this muscle, diet and fitness stuff. He knows the science behind building muscle. He fashions himself an “intelligent” lifter who studies the science of it and applies it. That’s his shtick and that’s what he teaches.  He has a degree in kinesiology and ton of other letters.  More to the point, he demonstrates that he knows his stuff in his materials and appearance.

Science and learning aside, the dude clearly knows what he’s doing because he’s absolutely huge and ripped to the nines.

Are the optional upgrades necessary?

Yes and no.

I like optional upgrade 1 (nutritional upgrade) because it provides detailed meal plans for different daily calorie intakes. The meal plans are for calorie intakes of:

  • 2,500 daily calories
  • 2,750 daily calories
  • 3,000 daily calories
  • 3,250 daily calories
  • 3,500 daily calories
  • 4,000 daily calories
  • 4,500 daily calories
  • 5,000 daily calories
Each daily caloric intake guide includes 3 meal plans.  Just follow along.

The original nutrition guide (not an upgrade) sets out all the formulas you need to calculate how many calories you need to consume each day. The optional upgrade simply provides detailed menu plans for your caloric intake.

If you’re looking for a 7 day detox plan, you might find this helpful. I actually do detoxification programs once in a while so I liked it. The 7-Day Workout Primer isn’t anything to write home about … but it’s probably good for people new to weight lifting.

Short answer: You don’t need the nutrition upgrade to follow MI40 and enjoy the benefits.

Optional upgrade number 2 is not necessary. The information is limited. Probably the best part is your chance to send Ben an e-mail with your questions.

I don’t know about the third upgrade (Del Monte TV) because I didn’t buy it. I wanted to focus on Ben’s stuff so I opted to save my money on the Del Monte TV access.

How does MI40 differ from other workout/diet programs?

Generally, most workout programs you can buy work. In fact, you can create a phenomenal body by buying a new workout from knowledgeable guys every 8 to 12 weeks. It’s not a bad cost given you don’t need a personal trainer. I buy quite a few programs because I love doing new workouts and I always learn something.  I also hire a trainer now and then for form feedback.

Ben’s MI40 differs from any product I’ve purchased or read because it’s based on 2 concepts:

Maximum tension applied to muscle throughout maximum range of motion.  It’s not about amount of weight lifting.  It’s quality over quantity.  In order to achieve this, MI40 sets out various techniques that I’ve not read about elsewhere.

Ben’s MI40 is thorough with respect to workout details, video instruction and diet info. It’s a complete product that will teach you something and help with your physique. Frankly, I wish it provided workout solutions for longer than 40 days … but that’s my only real critique. In the materials Ben harps on “quality over quantity” and I can’t argue with that. Yet, at the end of 40 days we’re left hanging (albeit I learned quite a bit that I can apply to my training).

How does the MI40 program increase tension?

2 techniques are taught:

I obviously can’t reveal the details because it’s integral to the MI40 program. I’ll say this though … it has to do with rep tempo (a.k.a. cadence) combined with a technique that seriously increases the amount of time your muscle is under maximal tension.

Who is MI40 for?

Anyone serious about building muscle. I mean serious. You have to be willing to knock your muscles out. The set configuration is nuts. The nutrition program is intense.

I’m able to follow it about 85%, which is working for me. I’m not a pro; I don’t have unlimited time for this stuff. But, I get the workouts in and I’m able to follow the diet about 80%. This isn’t bad. It’s not perfect, but it’s good.

If I had to choose 1 upgrade, which one would I buy?

Definitely the first upgrade – the nutrition upgrade. The second upgrade isn’t all that great. I don’t know about the third. If you bought access to Del Monte’s TV programs … please leave a comment with feedback.

MI40 Program Review Conclusion – Do I Recommend MI40?

Yes, more than any other workout program I’ve ever bought. I give a rating of 97 out of 100 (highest score yet). In fact, you’ll learn stuff you can apply for years. The diet info is top-notch that you can benefit from for years (not just 40 days). The overall lifting principles can be applied to any workout/exercises.

>>Click here to learn more about MI40