Bodybuilding Transformation: An Interview With Maddox Johnson (@nutsyfitness)

Image shows the 11 month bodybuilding transformation of Maddox JohnsonPin
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I came across Maddox (@nutsyfitness) while browsing bodybuilding related forums on reddit. He had posted 11 month before and after pics (above) and I was blown away by his transformation. I decided to contact him for an interview so we (Pump Some Iron community) could find out what this guy is doing to make such incredible gains. Maddox seems like an awesome guy with an incredible drive and it was a pleasure to interview him.

Maddox competed in his first bodybuilding show in April of 2023.

You can find Maddox on TikTok @nutsyfitness

Here’s the interview:

Background and Transformation

What’s your age? How long have you been training and what got you into fitness/ bodybuilding?

I am 17 years old and I turn 18 on May 19th. I have been training for 18 months now. My parents first introduced me to lifting at the end of summer 2021 when they transferred our gym membership from a casual rec center to the Gold’s Gym. My parents were huge into bodybuilding in their 20s, so when I decided to follow in their footsteps, they were extremely supportive. My mom was already tracking her food and lifts so picking up those habits myself became extremely easy.

This is Maddox at 15, before he started lifting.

How long did your transformation take?

In the Reddit post I made, it was 11 months between the before and the after. 11 months prior to the “after” picture, I decided to focus more on my training as opposed to volleyball. I began to really dial in my diet and train with intensity.

What was your weight at the start of the transformation and weight after?

I began my fitness journey at 130lb. I began by bulking. (The pictures from the transformation on reddit are both around 170-175lb, just 11 months apart.) My peak weight was 185-190lb which is where I started my prep in February of this year. I got as low as a morning weight of 159lb, stepping on stage somewhere in the high 160s when I filled out and carbed up.

Were you dieting / bulking / recomping during the transformation?

Began with a 15 month bulk followed by a 3 month prep.

What was the transformation like for you? Was it difficult? If you were dieting, were you constantly hungry?

Bulking was extremely hard for me. I had a very difficult time getting the food down as I have always been skinny. Dieting down for a show honestly was not that bad. I made good high volume, low calorie, high protein food selections.


Training Routine:

What’s your training routine like? (Do you follow a specific program, or have you developed your own?)

I have always taken a very low-volume high-intensity approach and I have always done my own programming. I have never had a coach and I take pride in being able to be self-coached.

How many days per week do you train?

3-5 days per week.

What’s your “split”? ( Do you train back and bi’s, chest and tri’s? leg’s and shoulders / Full body / 1 body part per day / etc…)

I tend to follow the “bro split” or 1 body part per day but I have tried out PPL and the Arnold Split before.

How many exercises and how many sets do you do per muscle group per week?

2-4 exercises per muscle group, 1-2 sets per exercise per week. I have previously trained every muscle the same, but I am going to begin prioritizing certain body parts in my next bulk.

Do you keep a logbook and record your lifts?

Yes. I have kept a logbook since day 1 in the gym. I can track my progress up until the day I started.



What’s your diet like?

I eat 6 times a day. I weigh and track everything and I tend to eat the same foods almost every day. My protein sources are chicken, lean ground beef, wild-caught salmon, tuna, and egg whites. My carb sources are rice and potatoes. My fat sources are egg yolks, cashews, olives, and olive oil.

What are your macros? (How many grams of protein, carbs and fats do you eat every day?)

Right now coming out of my show I am eating 240g protein, 300g carbs, and 80g fat.

What’s your pre-workout meal and how soon before training do you eat it? What are the macros on that meal?

My go-to preworkout meal right now is either a smaller serving of lean ground beef netting around 30g of protein with 50-75 grams of carbs of rice or I will put whey into a bowl of rice krispie cereal. I eat this meal about an hour before training. I avoid eating fats before training.

Do you do any intra-workout nutrition?

Not intentionally no. On prep I would have the occasional rice cake if I was feeling dizzy from hunger.

What do you eat post workout and when do you eat it? What are the macros on that?

My post-workout meal is basically the same as all of my other meals, just accounting for the lack of fat and protein in my pre-workout. It would be a larger serving of ground beef netting around 50g of protein, a smaller serving of rice with about 30-40g of carbs, and 20 or so grams of fat from cashews.

Do you have a favorite muscle building meal that you can share?

Definitely not a favorite of mine but more so one that is the most memorable. When I was pushing food in my bulk (around 4000-4200 calories), I was heavily relying on these gutwrenching shakes (I knew very little about how much digestion played a role in appetite). It was around 1000 calories worth of whey, fruit, peanut butter, and oats. I felt sick to my stomach every time I drank one.



What supplements do you use?

Creatine, multivitamin, magnesium, pre-workout, whey protein.

How important do you think supplements are?

They’re really not that important, especially to the average Joe. If you’re considering supplements, it is best to assess everything else first and make sure your diet, training, and recovery are on point. Supplements are not magic.

Are there any supplements you want to try?

I’m interested in Ashwagandha, but I haven’t looked too far into it.

What are your plans for the future?

After competing in my first show, I instantly fell in love. Since my show in April, I will be having a long offseason (minimum of 2 years) before stepping on stage again.

Here’s Maddox at his first bodybuilding show (April 2023) Center stage!

Anything else you want to share?

I have had a lot of obstacles in my fitness journey. I was raised vegetarian and for the first 3-4 months of lifting I was still vegetarian. Up until recently I played year round volleyball for my high-school and for a club, totaling to 10-15 hours of volleyball per week. I am a full time student at an extremely academically strenuous school. The key to my success is stress management and finding balance. Some weeks I knew that with volleyball and homework I may only be able to get 1-2 lifts in. I was fine with this, because I knew that if I made the most of the workouts I could have and kept my diet and sleep strong, it wouldn’t be much worse than my regular training. The biggest thing holding people back from succeeding is their mindset. Everyone has a tough life and everyone is busy. It is up to you to persevere and find time for your goals.

You can find Maddox on TikTok @nutsyfitness


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Hey, I'm Brian, the creator of I've been weightlifting / bodybuilding for 20 years and now I'm ready to share some knowledge. Check out my About Me page to hear my story.

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