IFPA Pro Bodybuilder Doug “The Machine” Miller Talks With Simplyshredded.com [Updated – 2011]

How did you get started with bodybuilding?

I grew up in Huntingdon Valley, PA, a small town near Philadelphia. Throughout my childhood I was extremely active in sports including soccer, swimming, and baseball. In high school, I earned 11 varsity letters in these sports and was an all-regional athlete. I was recruited by a number of smaller, Division-1AA colleges but always lacked the size to earn a scholarship at a Division-1 school. When I graduated high school, I was 135 pounds soaking wet! Deciding to pursue academics over athletics in college, I chose to attend Penn State University’s Scheyer Honors Program. I graduated as valedictorian with degrees in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Economics. Although I was extremely focused on academics, there was something missing. I missed the training involved with athletics so as a freshman one of my roommates introduced me to the weight room. I was instantly hooked. Although I lived on cold cereal, by the time I graduated I had a well-built, 175-pound frame and had learned a lot about proper training.

After I graduated, my Biochemistry background allowed me to perform my own research and investigation into proper nutrition and supplementation, which really helped me make gains. In 2002, a year after I graduated, I was encouraged by a bodybuilder at my gym to compete. I won the overall novice division at my first show and was instantly hooked once again.

Where does your motivation come from?

To be honest, I’m not really sure. I just am an extremely type AAA person and a perfectionist (almost to a fault). Not matter what I do, I always try to do the absolute best with what God has given me and will push as hard as I can until I get there.

I was a skinny kid and have always been extremely competitive so when I started lifting weights it was natural for me to want to push myself to my limits.

What is your training like?

I find that higher volume workouts work for me personally. I use different splits, for myself and my clients, but I find that almost anything works if you go all-out with maximum intensity. Pick a basic exercise for the bodypart you are training and build your workout around that. If you are doing legs, make basic barbell squats the centerpiece of your workout and add other things around that. The sets and reps depend on the individual. I might work up to a set of 20, but other people might be better off with sets of 8. Find out what works for you.

Right now I’m currently doing my favorite split:

  • Sunday: Quads/Calves
  • Monday: Chest
  • Tuesday: Back/Traps
  • Wednesday: Arms/Forearms
  • Thursday: Hamstrings/Glutes/Calves
  • Friday: Shoulders/Traps
  • Saturday: Cardio

In your opinion what is the best way to train for hypertrophy/size?

I don’t have any secrets when it comes to rep ranges and frequency. The standard 6-12 reps per sets, hitting bodyparts once per week, is fine for most people. However, I generally mix it up a lot more for my clients to see if they respond to something different; you just have to experiment a little. Personally, I find that my body responds better to higher volume (and higher rep ranges). That may not work for everyone, but it gives me better gains.

I will occasionally do some powerlifting-type workouts in the very lower rep range, but mostly I train in the higher rep range of 10 – 20 reps, sometimes higher. I set a PR not long ago on deadlifts with 405×30. That’s not something I recommend for everyone but it’s a good way to challenge yourself and add variety to your program.

I also leave enough time for recovery. One split I like involves training 6 days a week. That is a lot, but I still only hit each bodypart (except calves) once per week (I split legs into separate workouts for quads and hamstrings/glutes.) When using this split I make sure to really “crush” each bodypart because I know I will have a full week to recover. Although occasionally I will do forced reps, generally I just go to all out failure on each work set. I also like to throw in stretches where I’m training each bodypart more frequently but with less volume. In this scenario I sometimes hit bodyparts two, even three times per week.

When hitting bodyparts this often, my volume is obviously much lower and although I’m using maximum intensity, the number of work sets where I go to absolute failure is significantly less.

One of the keys is maximum intensity. Another key to hypertrophy is finding out how YOUR body responds best. I have found the “hypertrophy spectrum” to be quite different for different people.

During growth plateaus what are the major factors in getting past these?

Variety, variety, variety. You need to change things up. On the other hand, be patient. You don’t grow every week (at least not naturally). Several studies indicate that growth occurs in spurts. So don’t freak out if you go a few weeks without making progress. To maintain variety in my workouts I use every variation there is: supersets, drop sets, giant sets, partial reps, different grip on the bar, different foot position, etc. Change the order of your exercises; try new things! I’ve been training for over a dozen years, yet I just incorporated a new exercise this year – deficit deadlifts (do them standing on a riser so the bar is just barely above your toes when the plates are on the floor). I stopped doing assisted reps a while ago because I didn’t like the idea of training my body to “expect” help.

I also don’t use chains or bands because they are inconvenient, but if you find them useful for variety, go for it. Basically, if you are stagnating in gains you are probably just going through the motions in your workouts. Mix it  up and you will see results.

How do you deal with overtraining?

Sleep more, eat more. I like the old bodybuilder adage, “There is no overtraining, only under-eating.” And I would add, under-sleeping. The body is highly adaptable. It can deal with almost anything you throw at it… provided you give it enough energy (food) and recovery time (sleep). I get 8 hours of sleep per night, and I’m very strict about that.

I’m also very strict about my meals. I train extremely hard, but I also eat hard and sleep hard.

Doug Miller – 405×12 Deep Squats

What is your Diet like

Strict. I don’t really cheat at all. That sounds challenging, but you get used to it. My wife and I will go out for frozen yogurt once in a while during the off-season and go out to get a steak or sushi occasionally. That is how we treat ourselves; no fried food, no high sugar and trans fat desserts! Otherwise, I stick to my 7-9 meals per day, every day (all clean foods of course).

Off Season Diet


  • 4 Core FLEX
  • 3 Core TEST
  • 1 USP Labs Anabolic Pump
  • 3 USP Labs Prime
  • Multivamins
  • 5000IU Vit D3
  • 5 Fish oil
  • 1 cup egg whites
  • 1 scoop whey protein
  • 1 cup old fashion oats
  • 1/2 cup blueberries


  • 6 oz 96% lean ground beef
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1-2 cup vegetables (broccoli)


  •  3 USP Labs Prime
  • 6 oz chicken
  • 1 cup brown rice (depends on training day)
  • 1-2 cup vegetables (mixed veggies)


  • 6 oz 99% lean ground turkey
  • 1-2 cup vegetables (asparagus)
  • 1/2-1 oz almonds


  • 4 USP Labs Yok3d


  • 1 USP Labs Anabolic Pump
  • 3 USP Labs Prime
  • 5 g creatine
  • 3 scoops Core MRP
  • 1 cup old fashion oats


  • 2 USP Labs PowerFull
  • 2 scoops Core ABC
  • 4 Core ZAP


  • (Train) 2 scoops Core ABC


  • 1 USP Labs Anabolic Pump
    3 scoops Core PWO


  • 4 oz 99% lean ground turkey
  • 1/2 – 2/3 cup brown rice


  • 1/2 cup egg whites
  • 1 scoop protein blend
  • 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter
  • 4 Core FLEX
  • 3 Core TEST
  • 5 Fish oil


  • 3 USP Labs PowerFull

Throughout day: 2 gallons of water and 5-8 scoops Core ABC in one of those gallons.

When trying to cut down do you prefer to use HIIT or just normal cardio?

I personally like low intensity steady state walking on an incline first thing in the morning after a scoop of whey and some Core ABC. I generally don’t do much HIIT but it is very effective for many people. I save my intensity for the weights!

Favorite Quote?

There is no offseason!

Bodyspace: http://bodyspace.bodybuilding.com/dam225/
Book: Biology for Bodybuilding – Written By Doug Miller