The Mad Scientist of Muscle


Hi folks! Seth Coyne hear from Today I’m interviewing one of the more intriguing and definitely one of the most unorthodox men in the fitness industry. If you’re having trouble moving forward in your health and fitness goals, Nick Nilsson has almost certainly invented at least one training method or exercise that will shock your body and help stimulate progress.

Seth: Tell us a little bit about yourself, your methods and philosophies.

Nick: I’ve been training more than 24 years now and I have two degrees in Physical Education and Psychology.

And in the fitness industry, I’m known as the “Mad Scientist of Muscle.” The reason for that is, quite honestly, I’m a little bit nuts!

A lot of what I do is completely unconventional and goes against the normal way of thinking when it comes to training.  I believe in an experimental approach to fitness…    constantly learning and innovating, discovering the very best methods I can for achieving goals such as rapid fat loss and muscle growth.

And one of the things I MOST believe is that training should be FUN… I think a lot of people miss out on that and end up doing exercises and programs they find boring.  They quite often quit because of that.

I strive to do the opposite… I like to keep it fun, interesting, and above all, results-producing.

Seth: What differences are necessary when exercising for muscle or strength gains versus fat loss?

Nick: The biggest different between those goals is training variety.  When you’re training for fat loss, you NEED a lot of training variety.  You have to keep the body from getting used to any one method and you have to keep inefficient.  Because the more inefficient your body is at something, the more energy it’ll take to do it (think about when you’re learning a new sport or exercise… it’s so much harder and takes so much more effort than when you’re good at it).

Conversely, when training for muscle or strength, you need to use LESS training variety.  You need to work with just a few basic exercises and regularly strive to increase the amount of resistance you’re using in those exercises.  Your body needs to know what it’s supposed to adapt to in this case.

Naturally, there’s more to it than that, but that’s the most basic difference between training for those major goals.

Seth: In strength training what are the most basic, important, fundamental exercises people should be performing?

Nick: Everybody (assuming they physically can!) should be performing deadlifts, squats and some form of press (bench press or overhead press).  These are the three core movements.  You can also include rowing, chinning, and lunging in that group.

Seth: What kind of people need to include strength training in their exercise routines?

Nick: People with a pulse… 🙂

Seriously, though, EVERY person needs to include strength training in their exercise routine.  It’s just that important.  It actually gets even MORE important as you get older… the body needs strength just to function on a daily basis and strength can help immensely with that.

Seth: Are there certain types of exercise that should be included in any exercise program?

Nick: Beyond strength training, I would also include some form of cardiovascular training, and flexibility/mobility training as well.

Even then, the AMOUNT depends on the individual and their goals.  For example, cardio training is obviously more important for a fat-loss program than for a strength program.

Seth: What are some of the major mistakes and pitfalls to avoid when trying to gain muscle mass and strength?

Nick: For mass and strength, generally speaking the biggest issue is not eating enough food.  I often find that people are so concerned about adding a few extra pounds of fat that they don’t consume enough calories to properly fuel the growth process.  There’s no need to eat so much you put on a LOT of fat… just realize that a little extra is going to be easy to lose, but if you don’t eat enough, you’ll never actually GAIN in the first place.

The other big issue (especially with strength) is using too many different exercises and variations.  It may sound strange coming from a guy who comes up with so many different techniques and exercises, but when I train for strength, I narrow my focus down to just a few exercises.  You have to so that your body actually knows what to adapt to.  Muscle confusion is great for fat-loss… not for strength or muscle.

Seth: Compared to exercise what kind of role does diet play in either fat loss or muscle building?

Nick: It plays a very large role.  Some people say 80% or more… I would say more around 60 to70%.  I say this because without the training stimulus, even a perfect diet isn’t going to develop the physique… you also won’t build strength just by eating well.  You’ll likely be stronger than the average person, mind you, but you NEED the training as well.

Bottom line, though, the better your diet and nutrition, the better your results will be.  A certain level of training CAN make up for some level of dietary indiscretion. You don’t need to be perfect with your diet to see great results, as long as you train hard enough.

That being said, if you REALLY want to take your physique to a new level, then you really DO have to dial in your nutrition.  I guess a good way to put it is the more perfect you want your physique to be, the most perfect your nutrition has to be.

Seth: What are some important staple foods in a healthy diet?

Nick: Quality protein (like grass-fed beef, organic eggs, fish, poultry, etc.), plenty of fresh non-gmo produce, healthy grains (personally, I stay away from wheat, corn and soy as much as possible), good fats like hemp oil, olive oil, fish oil, coconut oil, etc.

The simplest thing to do is minimize and, ideally, eliminate processed foods… if your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize it as food, don’t eat it.

Seth: What are your thoughts on dietary supplementation?

Nick: I think it’s extremely important.  You could eat the most perfectly balanced diet of quality foods, but because the soil is so depleted of nutrients, you might still be missing a lot of key nutrients.  As well, you may not even be digesting those foods completely.

There are so many factors that I think you really SHOULD be addressing those basic needs through supplementation.

Seth: What other kinds of lifestyle factors are important?

Nick: Minimizing exposure to pollutants is huge… through the air as well as what you eat, drink and put on your skin.  Smoking is also a major factor. Alcohol, in moderate quantities, would be just fine… it’s when you start overdoing that it becomes an issue.

Seth: Why do so many people fail in their efforts to get healthy and either lose fat or build muscle?

Nick: Not having the support of friends and loved ones is a big problem… especially when they seem to be actively sabotaging your efforts.  This is more the case for fat loss… seeing you succeed can make other people feel bad about themselves.  They sabotage YOU in an effort to bring you back down to their level.

Longstanding habits can be tough to break… and quite often when stress hits, the healthy “new” habits are the first ones to go.

When it comes to building muscle, the rate of failure has a lot to do with knowledge.  At first, it’s easy.  Anything you do seems to build muscle.  But as you get a little more experienced, you have to really develop your training knowledge… your body doesn’t WANT to build muscle.  It’s metabolically costly.  You have to know what to do to force the issue.

That’s where insane trainers like me come in!

Seth: What would be the biggest priorities in a plan for someone who wants to get healthy and lose, say, 20-30 pounds?

Nick: The first priority would be getting their nutrition sorted out.  What you eat WILL have the biggest impact on how much fat you’re carrying.  Cleaning that up will make a difference right away.  Then it’s important to get that training program started… doesn’t have to be anything crazy.  Even just something as simple as walking will be much better than being sedentary.

Resistance training, however, is key for fat-loss… even beyond cardio training.

Seth: What would be the biggest priorities in a plan for someone who wants to get healthy and gain, roughly, 20-30 pounds?

Nick: First, it’s making sure the person is getting enough calories and enough protein.  Near equal in importance is making the sure their training is actually stimulating a growth response in the muscles.  You can eat a ton but if your training isn’t cutting it, you won’t gain muscle.

Sleep is also a major priority.  Muscle grows when the body is resting… not enough sleep can stop growth in its tracks.

Seth: One more question that will surely interest many of your longtime fans like me: do you have a method, process or procedure for inventing exercises or training methods, or do they all just come by coincidence?

Nick: There is a method to my madness… just as there is a madness to my method.

I actually have a variety of ways that I come up with new exercises and training techniques.

1. By accident. Sometimes it just happens… something will spark an idea or it’ll just come to me out of the blue.

2. By design.  There are times when I have an idea of what I want an exercise or technique to accomplish (physiologically) and I’ll experiment until I find something that fits.

3. By force. There are also times when I’m limited in the equipment I have available to me, or I’ll purposefully limit the equipment I’ll allow myself to use for a workout.  Then I’ll come up with exercises and techniques that fit.

4. By evolution.  Over the years, I’ve come up with a LOT of stuff.  And over the years, I find myself always refining my ideas… honing them and making them better.  This is always an ongoing process as I adjust things based on what I learn.

I think the most important thing is that I’m always trying to improve and always trying to learn.  I’m in better shape now than I was 20 years ago (just turned 40) and I don’t intend to go quietly into the sunset…

Seth: Nick, thanks so much for being here today. I think we learned a lot.

For anyone interested in exercising like everyone else with countless hours of useless boredom, then you definitely don’t want to listen to Nick. If you want to fit in nicely with the two thirds of Americans who are overweight (not a few of which exercise, but without any desirable results) then you definitely don’t want to listen to Nick.

If on the other hand you’re hoping to finally shed unwanted body fat and keep it off, without turning into a scrawny twig without an ounce of muscle, then you’re in luck. Nick Nilsson, who just happens to be one of the most knowledgeable, successful and creative people in the fitness industry is currently offering his e-book Metabolic Surge for a whopping 30% off. If you’re interested in dropping 10-15 pounds of pure body fat in the next 36 days, then this is definitely what you’ve been waiting for!


If you’re interested in being informed when I post other interviews with experts like Nick then visit this page to sign-up. If you do I’ll also throw in a free copy of my e-book The Three Pillars of Health.


Flying in the face of conventional wisdom, he’s known around the world as the “Mad Scientist of Muscle” for a reason.  Nine-time published author and fitness expert Nick Nilsson enters his lab every day with one obsession – to experiment with and deliver something better – the kind of mind-blowing, extraordinary weight training exercises that get results – FAST.  An expert in kinesiology, physiology and anatomy, Nick gets a special charge out of helping people create the body they want, especially when nothing else seems to do the trick.  To join thousands of others in Nick’s Training Asylum, go to, or

Seth Coyne is a Certified Sports Nutritionist and a Certified Personal Trainer. He is the founder of He is the author of the report “The 3 Pillars of Health” which is available for FREE DOWNLOAD.

Seth Coyne
Seth Coyne is a Certified Sports Nutritionist and a Certified Personal Trainer. He is the founder of He is the author of the report “The 3 Pillars of Health” which is available for FREE DOWNLOAD.