The Lyle McDonald Project
by Lyle McDonald...
The Lyle McDonald Project
Table of Contents Chapter 1: Overview of Everything
Training, Diet, Supplements, etc Chapter 2: General Training
Basic Overview of Routine Setups Training Secrets Periodization
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Periodization for Bodybuilders, Part I
Periodization for Bodybuilders, Part II
Periodization for Bodybuilders, Part III
Problems with Linear Periodization
"Dreschler's Reciprocal Mini-Cycle for Squats" Additional Aspects of Training Overtraining Pyramiding
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Fat-Targeting Cardio Chapter 3: Strength Training Basic Principles
Sets, Reps, & Other Stuff
Comments on Korte’s 3x3
Stretch Shortening Cycle
Current Lesbian Powerlifting Training Lyle’s Theoretical Cycle Idea Chapter 4: Hypertrophy Training Sets & Reps
Ideal Rep Range(s) for Hypertrophy Aspects of a Hypertrophy Program
Frequency: 2x/Week vs. 3x/Week Progressive Overload Explanation of RBE
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Effectiveness of Strategic Deconditioning Advanced Techniques
Body Part Specialization
Lyle’s Bulking Routine
FortifiedIron’s Isolation-Free Hypertrophy Program Chapter 5: Diet
General Diet Principles
Excess Calories Needed for Growth
Transitioning Between Bulking and Cutting Supplements and Post-Workout Nutrition
Lyle’s Top Supplements
Protein and Thermogenesis
Thermic Effects of Protein, Carbs, & Fat Carbs, Carbs, Carbs
Comparison of High/Medium/Low Carb Diets Who the Low Carb Bulk Is For Insulin
Carbs and Maintaining Anabolism Nutrient Partitioning
Nutrient Partitioning via Low Carbs vs. Food Combining When Carbs Go to Fat
Low Carbs and Keeping a Moderate Caloric Excess
1. Overview of Everything Training, Diet, Supplements, etc. (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=107080&postcount=4) Here are my general principles for training (and I'm not gonna differentiate between training for mass and training for fat loss because I'm of the mind that training shouldn't change hugely while cutting). Frequency: 2-4 times/week in the gym depending on recovery. For natural lifters, with normal recovery capacity, I simply see no reason to be in the gym more than that. Even Louie Simmons' guys only train 4 days/week, so tell me why a natural bodybuilder needs to train 6 days/week. I also don't like to see more than 2 days in the gym without a day off, because it tends to screw up hormone levels. Again, there are always exceptions, I'm talking about the great majority of lifters out there. Intensity: While I'm not a hardcore 'you MUST go to failure proponent', neither do I think that going easy is a great way to get big (an exception might be Poliquin's 10x10 where you make up for the lack of intensity with a large volume and short rest periods). Failure or a rep or two short on most work sets is about right to me. Volume: I think most people do far too many sets in the gym (this is a function of inadequate intensity for the most part). I personally find anywhere from 4-8/bodypart (depending on a lot of factors that I can't get into here) to be about right for most natural bodybuilders. Some real hardgainers may need towards the end of that range (I seem to do best with 3-4 sets/body part), guys with good recovery can use more if it suits them. With regards to volume, I also think workouts should be about an hour in length, although there are always exceptions. With my partner, with all the BS'ing and making fun of other folks in the gym, we usually take 1.5 hours from start to finish. I've seen folks who started training when I got there with my partner, and *still* be in the middle of their workout 3 hours later after I've trained the 1-2 clients I still have. That's excessive, plain and simple. Overload: While many bodybuilders may disagree with this, in general, if you're not getting stronger (adding weight to the bar), you're probably not growing. Put differently, if you're benching 185 now and you're still benching 185 next year, I can almost guarantee you that your chest won't be any bigger no matter what else you do for it. Put even differently, it's somewhat rare (there are exceptions in pure strength sports where athletes commonly keep weight down deliberately by not eating enough) to see someone who's very strong that's not also very big (I refer you again to power and Olympic lifters). It's very common to see someone using light weights but training for the 'feel' or the 'pump' who's not very big at all (unless they are juiced, where all the rules go out the window). Get stronger and eat enough and you will get bigger.
Diet ----Even though I have occasionally lapsed into silliness myself (I like to call it being openminded, ha ha), diet needn't be complicated either. If your goal is to gain mass, you need to ensure adequate protein and calories for growth, and the rest of your diet will be less important (yeah, you need sufficient dietary fat for optimal testosterone levels and carbs for glycogen replenishment/maintaining training intensity). But in the long run I doubt minor changes (within a reasonable range) in macronutrient percentage intake will make a humongous difference in results. If your goal is fat loss, you still need adequate protein, but you need to create a slight caloric deficit (either by decreasing food intake or increasing activity level, within reason). Carbs and fats will depend on which particular diet philosophy you believe in and which allows you to most easily control your caloric intake, etc (i.e. the diet must fit you psychologically at least as much as it fits you physiologically. If you hate the taste of ketogenic diet foods, then no matter how great or not great the diet is, you won't follow it in the long run). So here are my general diet principles: Mass gains: 1. Set calories: a good starting point is 10-20% above maintenance but this should be adjusted based on body composition changes. The sad fact is that to gain muscle at any kind of appreciable rate typically means that you have to gain some body fat as well. The folks I've known who stay ripped year round generally don't get much bigger either. 2. Set protein: 1 g/lb or thereabouts 3. Set fat intake: I like to see 15-25% of total calories as fat or so, mostly from unsaturated sources. 4. Set carbs: the rest. If you believe in the glycemic index concept, stick with lower GI foods most of the day but higher around training. 5. Eat 4-6 meals/day (women, with lower caloric intakes may have trouble eating 6x/day as each meal ends up so small). 6. Make sure and have a carb/protein drink right after training for recovery/anabolism. For fat loss: 1. Set calories: a good starting point is 10-20% below maintenance but this should be adjusted based on body composition changes. Ideal is 1-1.5 lbs fat loss/week. Of course, this depends on starting body fat. You'll lose more fat if you start out fatter, and have to slow fat loss as you get leaner to prevent muscle loss. 2. Set protein: 1 g/lb. 3. Set fat intake: again, 15-25% of total calories or so, as this tends to be satiating and help decrease hunger. Obviously if you're using a Zone/Isocaloric or keto approach, fat intake will be higher. 4. Set carbs intake: the rest (depending of course, on fat intake). 5. Eat 4-6 meals/day (women, with lower caloric intakes may have trouble eating 6x/day as each meal ends up so small)
So those are basic dieting templates. Yes, there will be some variety. If you are just absolutely sure that you gain better with 1.5 g/lb of protein (but make sure you are eating enough calories from carbs and fats, and that the excess protein isn't just being used as an energy source, before you draw that conclusion), fine. Supplements ----------To make this article complete, I have to say a few words about supplements. Contrary to what many may think, I am not staunchly anti-supplement. However, I am staunchly anti-worrying about supplements before you get your diet and training in order. Let's face it, all the creatine or andro-poppers in the world won't make you gain muscle if you're training 7 days/week for 2 hours/day and only eating 1500 calories/day (at a bodyweight of 160 lbs). In this vein, I'd like to repeat something I wrote on misc.fitness.weights a month or two ago: "If you are not growing from your current diet and training program, no supplement will change that. If you are growing from your current diet and training program, supplements will only add a small amount to that." The problem, as I see it, is that many trainees focus on the supplement end of things before they even figure out how to train or eat (this type of attitude is promoted by the major muscle magazines who tend to promulgate the idea that supplements are a REQUIRED aspect of bodybuilding). I did it years ago, too, so I can understand how it goes. But I've made some of my best gains (at one point this year, 12 lbs of muscle in 6 months, although that came with 12 lbs of fat) just focusing on basic training and lots (in hindsight, too much) good food. Personally, I use a protein powder (for convenience only because I get tired of eating whole food), a multivitamin (generic grocery store brand) and extra Vitamin-C when I'm massing. I'll use ECA and yohimbe when I'm dieting. THAT'S IT. Up until about 2 years ago, I probably tried just about everything out there at least once. Nothing ever worked as well as hard training, progressive overload and eating enough calories for mass gains. So I guess the bottom line in my mind is this: if you have found out, training and diet wise, what you need to grow, and you want to experiment with supplements to see if you can measurably increase the rate or magnitude of those gains, go for it. But if you're still struggling with how to train correctly, or your diet sucks, supplements are simply a waste of money that will have zero benefit.
2. General Training Basic Overview of Routine Setups (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=107084&postcount=5) As far as the most basic of basic routines, I'd say two times per week, full body Day 1: squat, leg curl or SLDL, a compound push, a compound pull, tinkering Day 2 deadlift or leg press, leg curl or SLDL, a different compound push, a different compound pull, tinkering Reps vary from 2-3x6-8 to 2-3 sets of 5 on everything (not including warm-ups). Then move to 2 sets of 3 and one burnout set of 8 for a better mix of strength and size. BTW, this is pretty much the John Christy routine. You can get big and strong on that. If you wanted to add a third day, you have multiple options. Option 1: 3 full body workouts. Use a Bill Starr type of approach. You can go heavy/light/medium if you want, probably recover better. Option 1a: 3 full body workouts. Make Mon/Fri heavier, make Wed a tinkering workout (pick less intensive exercises) and a little bit lighter. Better gene expression with this one IMO. So hit sets of 5 or 6-8 on Mon/Fri and sets of 10-12 on Wed. Do the heavy compounds on Mon/Fri and stuff like front squat or leg press, shoulder press, and arms on Wed. Option 2: basic upper/lower split. Split your workouts in two and alternate Mon: upper Wed: lower Fri: upper Mon: lower Wed: upper Fri: lower You hit everything once every 5th day or 3 times in 2 weeks.
4 day basic routine becomes Mon/Thu: lower body + abs Tue/Fri: upper body Alternately Mon/Thu: Legs + Back Tue/Fri: Pushing You can make both workouts the same or make each one different. So make Mon a squat emphasis, Thu a deadlift emphasis. Emphasize flat bench and row on Tue, incline bench and chin/pulldown on Fri. That sort of thing.
Training Secrets (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/articles/training/secrets.php) Training secrets for size and strength gains (for naturals) 1. If you are natural, you must get stronger to get bigger. If, over time, you are not adding weight to the bar, you are not growing. 2. Training a body part less than 2x/week will not give you optimal gains. An upper/lower split done Mon/Tue/Thu/Fri is close to optimal for most. Full body twice a week can work very well. Once every 5th day is the least frequently I would ever recommend a natural train. You'll get less sore training more frequently and you'll grow better. Save once/week body part training for pro bodybuilders (read: steroid users) and the genetically elite. 3. When in doubt, do less volume, not more. You don't need a zillion sets to stimulate hypertrophy, the bullshit written in the magazines to the contrary. If you can't get it done in 4-8 hard sets (sometimes less, rarely more) you need to quit training like a pussy in the gym. I had a friend who sold supplements one time who kept asking me to design him a product that would really work. I told him to make a supplement that would make people work hard in the gym and watch their diets. He thought I was joking. 4. Generally, basic compound exercises are best but isolation stuff has its place. Same for the machines versus free weights 'argument': both have their place. Anybody who tells you that you MUST do a certain exercise is arguing from an emotional stance, not a physiological one. 5. If you think you can gain muscle without eating sufficient food or calories, you should quit bodybuilding and take up something easier, like golf. You can't magically make muscle out of nothing, you need calories and protein to grow. If you can't buckle down to eat enough on a consistent basis, you won't grow an ounce of muscle. And spare me the excuses that you're not hungry or your schedule won't allow it. It's about priorities, eat more or stay skinny. 6. Most hardgainers train like idiots and don't eat enough. 7. Diets should be based around whole foods first, supplements second. Remember the hoopla over zinc and testosterone and ZMA from Balco (hi Victor, hope you're enjoying the forced sodomy in jail)? Red meat is a great source of zinc, iron, B12 and protein. Not to mention who knows how many other trace nutrients that are involved in optimal human physiology. Eat it every day. Remember all of that crap about indole 3 carbinole. Guess what, it's found in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower. Every time you hear about a new magic compound, 99 times out of 100 it's found in some whole food that you're probably not eating. Eat whole foods with a shitpile of veggies every day.
8. There is no singular best protein, each one has pros and cons. Generally, I think casein is better for dieting, whey for around workouts, whole proteins the rest of the time. You can't beat milk (and the dairy calcium has benefits on body fat). I think mixing proteins at a given meal is a good idea to eliminate any shortcomings of one. I think food combining (or protein rotation) is a lot of hippy holistic bullshit. Dieting secrets for fat loss: 1. You can't magically lose weight unless you eat less or burn more calories with activity. Not unless you take drugs and those either make you eat less or burn more anyhow. 2. Don't bitch about how much you hate dieting or exercise. You can either change your diet and activity patterns, or you can stay fat. Those are your two options, except for drugs. 3. The key to losing weight and keeping it off is the following A. Change your eating habits: so that you're eating less B. Change your activity patterns: so that you're expending more calories C. Repeat: Keep doing this over a long period of time. D. Forever: Newsflash, you don't EVER get to go back to your old eating habits unless you want to get fat again. To maintain weight loss means maintaining at least part of the changes you made to A and B. 4. All diet books, no matter what line of bullshit they sell you, are working in terms of A-D. Cutting all of the carbs out of your diet will generally make you eat less, so will cutting out all of the fat, so do diets that change your eating habits in one fashion or another. Some books go the activity route. At the end of the day, even if they tell you that you don't have to eat less to lose weight, they will trick you into doing it one way or another. Note: My job, as a diet book author, is to turn A-D into a 300 page book. Most diet books do it with 150 pages of recipes. Everything else that you may come across, including my various gibberings in my books, are just details on the above. But at a fundamental level, until you are dealing with that 1% of 1% of trainees (elite athletes, bodybuilders trying to get to 5% body fat without muscle loss), those secrets are about all you need to know. The equation is this: Ass busting work + consistency + time = results.
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Periodization Periodization for Bodybuilders: Part I (http://www.mindandmuscle.net/content/page-198.html) Problems with Non-Periodized Training • • •
People get bored doing the same thing all the time There are different components that can be trained/manipulated which contribute to maximal size: myofibrillar hypertrophy, sarcoplasmic hypertrophy, capillary density, etc. Physical adaptation – over time, the body seems to adapt to a given training style
Problems with Linear Periodization • •
While you are training one biomotor capacity (i.e. muscular endurance, hypertrophy, maximal strength), the ones not being trained are going to hell Studies done years ago found that athletes moving into low rep ranges (for maximal strength) frequently lost muscle size; adding back even one high rep set (remember this, it's important) frequently prevented the problem
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Periodization for Bodybuilders: Part II (http://www.mindandmuscle.net/content/page-216.html) Strength Training • The goal of pure strength training is to improve the neural components of strength production • Weight should be 85% of 1 repetition maximum or higher • Sets should last 20 seconds or less • Generally 5 reps or less done with a 2-3 second negative • The concentric portion should be done as fast as possible Intensive Bodybuilding Method (or Power Bodybuilding) • The goal of this zone is to increase myofibrillar size and muscle density, and also to increase maximal strength although not to the degree that pure strength training does • Weight should be in the 80-85% of 1 RM range • Set length ranges from 20-30 seconds • A generic approach might be repeat sets of 4-6 reps on a 3-4 second down, 1 up tempo • Rest periods should be about 3 minutes between sets • 2 to 8 sets per body part might be done Extensive Bodybuilding Method • The goal of this zone is a combination of myofibrillar and sarcoplasmic hypertrophy with the lower end of the range (6-8 reps) being more geared towards myofibrillar growth (with some strength gains) and the higher end of the range (10-12 or even 15 reps) geared towards more sarcoplasmic hypertrophy • Weights should be in the 70-80% of 1RM range • Set length ranges from 30-45 (or 60) seconds • Rest periods are generally 1-2 minutes • Anywhere from 6-12 repetitions • 3 down, 2 up tempo • 3-6 sets • This category can be divided into two different ranges, one spanning the 6-8 rep range and the other spanning the 12-15 rep range Really Extensive Bodybuilding Method • The goal of this zone is purely sarcoplasmic hypertrophy, with the emphasis on capillarization and mitochondria more so than on the other components such as glycogen • A good approach to this type of training is to forget about reps and do 1 or 2 timed sets of 1-2 minutes with the goal being continuous movement • Isolation, rather than compound, movements should be used In any given 6-8 week cycle, you would choose to focus on one or two of the above - 12 -
components and simply maintain the others. Type Strength Training Intensive Bodybuilding Extensive Bodybuilding Really Extensive Bodybuilding
Training Load 6-10 sets 2-8 sets 3-6 sets 1-2 sets
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Maintaining load 2-3 sets 1-2 sets 1-2 sets 1 set
Periodization for Bodybuilders: Part III (http://www.mindandmuscle.net/content/page-243.html) Type of Training Strength Training Int. Bodybuilding Ext. Bodybuilding
Reps (%1RM) 1-5 (85%+) 4-6 (80-85%) 6-8 (75-80%)
Rest Tempo 3-5' 2-3' 1-2'
10-15 (70-75%) N/A (60-65%)
Tempo 2-3/0/X 3-4/0/1 3/0/2x1
Set length Exercise 20" or less Compound 20-30" Compound 30-40" Compound or 1-2' 3/0/2 40-60" Isolation 2/0/2 60-120" Isolation
Notes: Tempo reads X/Y/Z where X is the lowering speed, Y is the pause, and Z is the lifting speed. Some coaches add a fourth value for the pause at the top. Rest intervals are in minutes, set length is in seconds. The really extensive zone should be timed for 1 to 2 minutes (up to maybe 3 if you're a masochist) without focusing so much on reps. If you must count reps, 15-30 reps on a 2/0/2 tempo works fine.
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Problems with Linear Periodization (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=125335&postcount=17) (Problems with linear periodization are also addressed in the section “Periodization for Bodybuilders: Part I”) The big issue always brought up with the typical linear periodization scheme is that you move from high volume to high intensity in a more or less straight fashion. Problem being that • •
volume and intensity arguably stimulate different gains when you're training one, you're detraining the other
So you set up a cycle with both to some degree. As I mentioned, Dreschler offers what he calls a 'reciprocal mini-cycle' for squats in his book, with one volume oriented, one intensity and one medium day (front squats) in it. (See next section for “Dreschler's Reciprocal Mini-Cycle for Squats")
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"Dreschler's Reciprocal Mini-Cycle for Squats" (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=125809&postcount=25) Week 1: Tue: Squat 85%x5x3 Thu: Front Squat 90%x3 Saturday: Squat 90%x5 Week 2: Tue: Squat 85%x3x5 Thu: Front Squat 90%x2 Saturday: Squat 90%x5 Week 3: Tue: Squat 85%x5x3 Thu: No Front Squat Sat: 101%x3 or 5 This doesn't include warm-ups but you san see that Tuesday is the volume day, Saturday is the intensity day (90%x5 is an ass kicker) and after a short deload in week 3, you go for a new max.
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Additional Aspects of Training Overtraining (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=173551&postcount=1) So the following is an old set of rules of thumb for overtraining and the weight room. A friend was finally able to recreate it for me but I think it ties in with some of the discussions in other threads. Of course, some recent work (Cytokine Hypothesis of Overtraining) tends to suggest that they may all be part and parcel of the same thing but the below is probably reasonably accurate. I guess the question is how to get the most of out of each style of training without suffering the consequences. The answer is probably rotation of each type of exercise. *** 1) To overtrain the muscles, do heavy eccentric work. 2) To overtrain the nervous system, do high %MVC work (lots of rate coding). 3) To overtrain the endocrine system, do lots of work (all volume included). 4) To overtrain the joints, do lots of heavy (load - volume above some threshold) work.
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Pyramiding (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=170097&postcount=59) For the most part, I think ascending pyramids suck although there are exceptions where I'll use them, usually having to do with motor learning and determining training loads. I suppose you could consider wave loading to be an ascending pyramid of sorts. Why waste energy pyramiding up (ignoring warm-ups here)? Do a low volume warm-up and then jump to your heaviest set. You might wave load (back off and back up) or stay at that weight for multiple reps. You can pyramid down for either hypertrophy (to maintain repetition range) or do a back down set to add volume (3x3 + 1x8) or for strength endurance (all heavy work and then a set of 50).
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Fat-Targeting Cardio (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=4122&postcount=2) Cliner9er (slightly modified as suggested by Lyle): 1. 5-10 minutes balls-to-wall cardio 2. 5 minutes short rest period 3. 30-45 minutes of steady-state cardio (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=4737&postcount=20) "What time of day would you suggest this type of cardio plan?" This is one of those few places where I think first thing in the morning before eating might be ideal. Failing that, at least 3 hours away from a meal.
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3. Strength Training Basic Principles (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=174468&postcount=56) All Rhea basically did was scientifically demonstrate what 8 decades of practical experience had determined: • • •
Beginners should work 3x/week at around 60%. More advanced an average of 2x/week at a mean intensity of 85%. 4 sets/muscle as I recall. The second analysis looked at higher level athletes, still 2x/week, 85% mean intensity, 8 sets/muscle.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------(http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=174567&postcount=82) I laid out the principles describing Rhea's review papers. Shaf has added a couple even though we can debate the specificity vs. variety thing to death. I'd say: • • • • •
Train a muscle/lift at least 2x/week Depending on training age, training intensity can range from 60-100% with 80100% working better; one heavy day and one light day may be superior at higher training/strength levels Reps 1-5 for primary movements, 6+ on supplemental movements Intelligent choice of assistance movements Don't forget to add weight to the bar, moron
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Sets, Reps, & Other Stuff MU Recruitment (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=168773&postcount=64) A motor unit (MU) is the combination of a single motor nerve and all of the muscle fibers that it innervates. (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=172699&postcount=15) Now, as gets mentioned here about once every 3rd week, MU recruitment maxes out around 80-85% of 1RM which is about 5-8RM. (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=168575&postcount=58) Beyond that further increases in force output are accomplished through rate coding (more signals/second). (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=172699&postcount=15) Using heavier loads (85% 1RM and above) won't increase recruitment. It will affect rate coding (and other neural processes), but it will decrease fatigue (shorter sets) at least looking at a single set. (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=172255&postcount=7) For what it's worth, one of the earliest studies on strength concluded that medium reps (in the 4-6 range or so) were better for strength than sets of either 2 or 10. The premise was that sets of 2 were too short and sets of 10 were too light. (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=168166&postcount=31) Likewise, the original Atha review paper concluded that 4-6 sets of 4-6 was optimal for strength gains. It's where Starr got his 5 sets of 5 (he just rounded it for the math impaired). Also, it's fairly well established that higher level lifters require a higher threshold of intensity to make gains compared to lower level lifters. (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=168422&postcount=45) aka23: There was a study along these lines mentioned in the Nerd Shit forum a couple months ago. One group did 4 sets of 6, failing on 1-1.3 of the 24 reps. The other group did 8x3, failing on less than 0.2 of the 24 reps. The length of both sessions was the same, as well as the volume and tension. The 4x6 group had a 103% greater strength gain and a 63% greater power gain than the 8x3 group. (Link for the study: http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=136678&postcount =12)
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(http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=172255&postcount=7) This goes back to the whole 'recruit and fatigue a MU' thing that Zatsiorsky goes on about. (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=172699&postcount=15) Zatsiorsky’s whole premise is that for a motor unit to be trained it must be A. recruited (a function of loading) B. fatigued (which will be a function of rep count although you can probably do the same if you keep rest periods short enough). So compare a 1RM to a 5RM. You don't get any more recruitment with the 1RM (though you get higher rate coding, maybe you get more of an effect on inter/intramuscular coordination, disinhibition of whatever) than with the 5RM. The 5RM generates more fatigue to any given MU. (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=172255&postcount=7) Then again, someone should tell the OL's (who rarely go over 3 reps in the competition movements) that. (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=172373&postcount=10) It may be that a steady diet of 5s with some occasional forays into very low reps gives the best results. You're getting more than pure neural stimulation with sets of 5 (MU fatigue in addition to whatever neural effects are occurring) and almost pure neural factors (inter/intramuscular coordination, etc) with the very low reps.
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Prilepin’s Table (http://elitefitnesssystems.com/documents/importanceofvolume.htm) Percent 70% 80% 90%
# of Reps per Set 3-6 2-4 1-2
Lifts Per Workout 12-24 10-20 4-10
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Optimal Lifts Per Workout 18 15 7
Deloading Lyle’s Deloading Recommendations (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=125981&postcount=28) Deloading needn't be that complicated. You can cut volume (in half or more), or cut frequency (for example, drop out the second two workouts in the week in the generic program) and some like cutting intensity along with it. (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=164580&postcount=4) Some deloading schemes actually increase intensity (load on bar/whatever) as volume comes down although that's usually more for tapering than deloading per se. I'd say cut back to 80% of previous maxes and build back up over 2 weeks, cutting volume in the first week, add some 2nd week, back to full volume the next. Then hammer for 6 weeks and do it again.
Dual Factor Theory and Deloading/Intensity Phase (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=124799&postcount=8) "i.e. 3 weeks loading, 1 week deloading for 4-5 cycles, then 3 weeks deloading?" Yeah, something along those lines. The 3 weeks deloading would generally be the final taper before a major peak.
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Comments on Korte’s 3x3 (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=173715&postcount=21) The problem I have with Korte is that it's too specialized. Over time, it will lead to imbalances. This is true of all overly specialized routines. At the very least, I'd want a dynamic midback exercise like a row to avoid shoulder problems. Also, lots of people said it worked great for their squat/dl and did jack for their bench. Considering that bench volume was roughly 1/2 of squat/dl, I'm not surprised. (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=17247&postcount=4) I'd put a second pressing exercise into the program, or double the bench volume, which necessitates more balancing/pulling work IMO. At which point you might as well set up a normal PL training program. (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=173715&postcount=21) Starr's program is a little bit more varied, at least it can be.
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Stretch Shortening Cycle (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=17947&postcount=18) anoopbal: Reactive shit or strength means potential kinetic energy stored in the negative phase of a movement which is converted to kinetic energy in the concentric phase, much like stretching and releasing an elastic band. SSC means stretch shortening cycle, technical terminology for reactive strength. When you try to make an exercise easy by doing quick, rhythmic and bouncy movement you are in fact using SSC.
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Strength Routines Current Lesbian Powerlifting Training (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=15733&postcount=1) Overview ----------I have the girls working on a fairly typical 4 day/week workout, two lower body days, two upper. Each workout takes about 1.5 hours. Tue: Squat + Assistance Wed: Bench + Assistance Fri: Speed Squat (DL) + Assistance Sat: Speed Bench + Assistance Squat + Assistance ---------------------Squat: loaded according to Prilepin’s table (see section “Prilepin’s Table”). I decided to move to this after finding that grinding out high reps too close to failure was causing the girls to stall. So for the first month, we used 6 sets of 2 in the 80-85% range with a 3-4’ rest period. For the last few weeks, I’ve had them doing 4-6 sets of 1 in the 90%+ range using competition commands. This is an autoregulated sort of thing: if the girl’s are really blowing up the weight with good bar speed and no real sticking point, I’ll let them add 5 lbs although this is usually only done once per workout. If it’s not (i.e. because Pattie, who is doing the bodybuilding show, is tired from cardio), I won’t. Amalia gets pissed at me a lot because I won’t let her up the weight. But if it’s not moving how I want it to, I hold her back until the next week. Basically, I’d rather see them get 6 perfect singles with 90% then run out of steam with the heavier weight. I also use this to gauge sticking points, see where they are slowing down. Assistance: So far, box squats at varying heights (loading described below). This exercise will change every 3-4 weeks (right now they are on a 3 week rotation but that’s more because they had 9 weeks before the meet when I set this up). The first week of a new exercise, I’ll take them to 2-3 medium sets of 5 to get a feel for it. The next week is done for triples, starting 5-10 lbs over their previous 5 rep weight. 3 attempts with the goal of setting a 3RM. So if the first attempt goes up with room to spare, they move up. And again for a maximum of 3 attempts. The final week is done for singles starting at 5 lbs over their previous 3 rep weight, three attempts to set a new 1RM. The first 3 weeks I had them us a below parallel box. In watching their heavy squat (and DL) work, it became apparent that both were coming out of the bottom fine, and stalling in the midrange. So we moved to a slightly above parallel box with pull throughs to bring up that weak point.
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Supplemental work: Pull through: 3x10-15. Narrow stance leg press: 1-2x6-8 Leg curl: 1-2x6-8 Calf raise: 3-4x6-8 Back extension with 2 second pause: 1-2x6-8 Crunch on Swiss ball: 1-2x6-8
Heavy Bench + Assistance ------------------------------Main Lift: Bench Press (loaded as with squats above) Cable Row: 3-4 sets of 6-8 Bench assistance: Loaded as with squats above. First I had them target pecs which meant Hammer incline presses. 1 week of 5s, 1 week of 3s (followed by a back off set of 6-12 to maintain hypertrophy), 1 week of singles (followed by a back off set of 6-12). Since they both have a sticking point about 2-3” off the chest, I have moved them to floor presses. They get funny looks from the doofuses at the gym. I think that’s mainly because my girls can bench more off the floor than these guys can period. Pulldown: 2-3 sets of 6-8 or 2 sets of 10-12 Second pressing exercise: 1-2 sets of 10-12. This was originally shoulder presses. Since I moved the girls to floor presses, I have them do a single set of incline barbell to maintain pec strength/size. Barbell curl: 1-2 sets of 6-8 Decline nose breaker: 1-2 set of 10-12 Rotator cuff: 1-2 sets of 8-12
Thursday: Speed Squat (DL) + Assistance ------------------------------------------------Deadlift: As already mentioned, DLs are currently being worked heavy one week and for speed/technique the other. Usually on the heavy day, I’ll start them with a medium heavy weight and just pyramid up. If the weight goes up easily/quickly, we go up 5-10 lbs. When they get to a heavy enough place for the day, I’ll have them stop there and complete however many reps are left to a maximum of 6. On the speed day, it’s an easy 6x1 at 70% of previous contest max, just switching off with very little rest.
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Speed Squat: Done on a below parallel box. 10-12 sets of 2 loaded just like WSBB. On the heavy DL days, I will often pull this back to 6x2 because the girls nervous systems are just wiped out. No bar speed, no spring so I call it early. Assistance: Usually a combo of leg curls (no glute ham machine) and back extensions. We had tried heavy SLDL but it tended to overwork the girl’s backs. 1-2 sets of 6-8 each. Heavy box squats on the other lower body day also serves as assistance for the DL. Supplemental: Narrow stance leg press: 1-3 sets of 6-8 Calf raise: 3-4 sets of 6-8 Crunches on Swiss Ball: 2 sets of 6-8
Fri: Speed Bench + Assistance -----------------------------------Speed Bench: 8x3 at 60% (just like WSBB) Medium Overgrip Chin: 6x2 loaded the same as squat/bench on the heavy days. If they are moving quickly, they can hang weight. Once it gets reasonably challenging, I keep the weight static and have them get the total number of sets. Amalia is currently using an extra 15 lbs, Pattie 5 lbs. Assistance: Originally barbell incline. Currently, shoulder press to support the floor press. Same loading as other assistance work. 1 week of moderate 5s, 1 week of maximum 3s with a back down set to maintain hypertrophy, 1 week of maximum singles followed by a back down. Then pick a new exercise depending on sticking point. Supplemental: Cable Row: 2-3 sets of 6-8 Barbell Incline: 1 set of 6-12 Decline Nose Breaker: 2-3 sets of 6-8 (Pattie often does a set of weighted dips to replace one of these sets) Barbell Curl: 1-2 sets of 10-12 Rotator Cuff: 1-2 sets of 8-12 (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=21508&postcount=24) Intensity Cycling -------------------I don't have them working at a true max all the time, each exercise has an easy week (sub maximal 5s), harder week (3 triples), and a max out week (singles). Then back to 5s for recovery. As well, they typically do different ME exercises on the different days (i.e. floor press one day, shoulder press the other).
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Contrast that to someone trying to work ME at maximum levels every week.
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Lyle’s Theoretical Cycle Idea (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=137735&postcount=1) Ok, so a while back (couple of months) I mentioned in someone's training log (maybe Jon's) about an idea I had for a training cycle. Had come up within the context of the way that the Metal Militia guys train (balls out for 3-4 weeks, take 1-2 weeks off), I think I also mentioned Smolov and the fact that WSBB isn't a true conjugate system (at least as defined in “Supertraining”). Also commented on the idea of rotating exercises being able to avoid stagnation at 90%+ (though the WSBB guys seem to take roughly 1 week in 4 off from ME exercises). There were other issues contributing to this as well. Anyhow, throwing that all together, my idea (roughly sketched) was this: Monday: Competition Bench + Assistance Competition Style Bench: work up over a number of sets to a max single using your competition style. Keep increasing until you fail. Note where/how you fail. You could conceivably do an assistance exercise here (i.e. a board press or some such) but pick it depending on where you failed during the first exercise. So Off the chest: 2" off the chest: midpoint: lockout:
wide grip/paused bench press 2 board press floor press 3-4 board press or pin presses
Probably work this for doubles and triples or even 5's. A lot of this depends on recovery; working to a max single in the bench may be enough maximal work for the day (see Thu). Additional supplemental work for shoulders, back, triceps: 3-4 sets of 8-10 or whatever. Tuesday: Competition Style Squat + Assistance Squat: same as above, work up to a single until you fail. Note where/how you fail. Possibly an assistance exercise picked based on where you failed. Hole: below parallel box squat or pause squat or bottom position squat or whatever Midpoint: above parallel box, GM or SLDL Lockout: who fails at lockout Work it for doubles or triples, even 5's.
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Some supplemental work for hams, glutes, abs, low back. Thursday: Assistance Bench Day Assistance Bench: instead of competition style bench to a max single, do assistance work to a max single. Picked as above, based on where you failed. Work up to a max single just as per WSBB ME day. I'd say warm up with normal bench pressing for technique. Supplemental work for delts, back, arms. Friday: DL + Assistance Day DL: Work up to a max single DL in competition style. Assistance exercise chosen based on where you fail. Bottom: elevated DL (be very careful) or switch to sumo Midpoint: GM or SLDL again Lockout: band DL or something similar Supplemental work *** Basically it's all ME work with a combo of competition and assistance work. The idea was that you worked to a max single in the competition lift at each workout and used your failure point to determine your selection of an assistance exercise. Alternately, you could progress the loading over the 3-4 weeks. Week 1: work to a 4-5RM Week 2: work to a 3RM Week 3: work to a 2RM Week 4: work to a 1RM The 4-5RM week might be dropped if you can only handle 3 weeks of extreme loading like this. In any event, your choice of assistance work depends on where you fail during the competition movement. As well, conceivably, your choice of assistance would change week to week depending on where you failed that week. The above would be done for 3-4 straight weeks, attempting to break records each workout. After that comes the deload. But rather than the Metal Militia approach to doing nothing, I figured on putting speed work during the deloading. So you're going to do basically nothing but speed work (use standard WSBB recommendations or not) with a lowered
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volume of supplemental work. Do that for 1-2 weeks. One possibility would be to work to a 5RM prior to speed work, to maintain a bit of heavy loading. Then return to heavy loading again. If you wanted, you could move to more intensive means (i.e. chains, bands) in subsequent blocks which is also more in keeping with true conjugate periodization. As above, it's sort of a mix of MM (heavy loading for 3-4 straight weeks), Smolov (do speed work during the LDTE of the heavy work), and WSBB (pick assistance work based on weakness).
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4. Hypertrophy Training Sets & Reps Ideal Rep Range(s) for Hypertrophy (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=53147&postcount=2) anoopbal: The more I ponder about the best hypertrophy program and the more I read Lyle, I feel that the ultimate hypertrophy program will be the ultimate strength routine. To a first approximation, I don't disagree. As I've been saying for years, progressive tension overload is THE SINGULAR MOST IMPORTANT key to growth. The big question is the role of other factors (cf. metabolic). I mean, in premise, you should be able to grow on progressive singles (and some do). But is that optimal compared to using sets of 5 (less tension but more metabolic work) or sets of 8 (about the optimal balance between MU recruitment and metabolic work)? (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=146750&postcount=119) You achieve basically 100% MU recruitment around 80-85% of 1RM which is about 5-8 reps (note, some studies find 80% 1RM for lower body to be a higher rep range which may explain the old empirical saw about legs needing higher reps; then again, a lot of big legs were built with low rep leg work). (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=168166&postcount=31) This explains why the 5-8 rep range gives damn near optimal growth. It maximizes metabolic work (and volume/workout) at a tension sufficient to hit all MU's. Any higher rep range and tension falls off and you're no longer getting 100% MU recruitment. Any lower rep range and you run into CNS fatigue issues. (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=146750&postcount=119) So if you use that loading and do 5-8 reps, you get what would appear to be the optimal mix of tension/recruitment and metabolic work. (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=53457&postcount=13) However, based on some data, a range of repetitions may be necessary for optimal size gains. If you had to pick a single rep range, it'd be 6-8. I made this point years and years ago. That gives you the optimal balance between MU recruitment and metabolic work.
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If I had to pick 2 ranges, I'd pick 4-6 and maybe 10-12 (or 12-15). Obviously, as per the periodization articles, you can subdivide that even further.
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Aspects of a Hypertrophy Program Frequency: 2x/Week vs. 3x/Week (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=53573&postcount=17) "In your opinion, how effective are 2x/week workouts, compared to 3x/week workouts?" I think 2x/week full body can work very well, I have used such before. 3x/week full body might generate better results overall for all the reasons Bryan goes on and on about on the HST forum. How much better than 2x, I can't say. Another option instead of alternating (I'm assuming quad dominant exercise is squat and hip dominant exercise is DLs, and that can be problematic) is to set up a third workout, almost a 'light' workout type of thing. So if you're currently doing back squat/DL for workouts 1/2 respectively, put in front squats or leg press for Wed. Nothing super heavy, just a couple of sets of 6-8 or 10-12 for gene expression/upregulation things. Same for upper body work.
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Progressive Overload (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=172171&postcount=84) Bryan's basic premise is that 'progressive tension overload' (plus some ancillary stuff) stimulates growth. Ergo he set up the program to have a weight increase at every workout. The problem is that, in order to do this, you MUST start very submaximally. It's the only way to guarantee a weight increase at every workout, by starting with pansy ass weights. Now, this gets into a separate debate: is say 50% of your previous best 10RM sufficient to stimulate growth or adaptation? Noting that it's incorrect to look at it on an acute single workout kind of thing, we're looking at the cumulative effect of several workouts in a row. This also ties into the SD thing, with the idea being that 50% is now a tension overload because of the deconditioning. A lot of if's going on in there. You can draw an analogy to endurance training. We basically know that, once your fitness is X, you don't get any impact on anything if you are below some threshold %age of X. You may get active recovery, you may get some type of mild benefit, but you don't get fitness gains. The same should basically hold for mass gains. If the tension threshold to stimulate growth is X, there should be some threshold %age of X below which you don't stimulate jack crap. Hell, even the HG guys never start lower than about 80% of previous bests, ramping up over 2-4 weeks and then trying to set PR's at whatever rep range they are working in. And now I've lost my train of thought on all of this. I guess my point being that I have trouble seeing the value of the very low %age workouts. Until you get to some threshold level of your previous best, I doubt you are doing anything in terms of stimulating growth (going that light may have value from relearning the movement, breaking back in after a layoff, or whatever). I think a lot of it was practicality, knowing the mindset of the typical bodybuilder (who is trying to go all out at every workout) he had to force them to use submaximal weights. Knowing also that all too many bodybuilders never add weight to the bar, he wanted to force a weight increase. Also, knowing that most people will screw it up if you leave them to their own devices, it was a good idea to make it very regimented. Even there, look at the HST board, people insist on finding new and creative ways to muck up a rather simple system. Of course, there were other issues, making sure they could maintain sufficient frequency (every other day) which also means submaximal workouts, etc. - 37 -
Bringing us around to your question because you can implement some of the above principles without using the exact HST methodology. You can readily train full body 3x/week as long as you don't try to go all out at every workout. Look at any 5x5 interpretation or Pendlay's stuff or a lot of approaches to training. I guess the question is whether adding weight at every workout is required for growth? Empirical experience says a resounding hell no. Do you need to add weight at some point? Absolutely. Short of starting with pansy weights, or rank beginners, expecting a weight (or rep) increase at every workout when you're using semi-challenging loads is wholly unrealistic. Secondarily, if needing to add weight at every workout means starting with totally useless loading, are you gaining more from adding weight at each workout than you're losing from starting with useless loading? And, related to that, is the detraining you're going to get from working so submaximally going to hurt you even more? I think if you have someone who has trouble knowing when to increase weight or hold back in the gym (i.e. typical hardhead), HST might be superior only in that it saves them from their own bad habits. If they are required to follow a certain progression on loads and stop at a given rep count, you stop them from going all out at every workout and hampering the frequency issue. If they have enough self control to keep a rep or two in the tank, add weight when it gets easy, I'm not so sure HST would be necessarily superior. As per that other thread, old time bodybuilders trained that way all the time, 3x/week, full body stopping short of failure except once every week or every 2 weeks, they'd go all out and have a PR/record day. Then a lot of submaximal work to a new peak. (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=172235&postcount=85) Adding, I suspect that Bryan may have gotten the idea that loads need to be increased at every workout from looking at the adaptation rate of rats and mice (because the research sure isn't there in humans). As noted, the adaptation rate on vermin is way faster than in humans because of differences in tissue turnover/metabolic rate, etc., being 3-7 times as fast. So a need to increase load in rats that is one day might mean a need to increase every 3-7 days. Translation, I see no problem and it would probably work well to train full body 3x/week at maybe 90% of an RM load (so 90% of 5RM or 90% of 8RM or whatever) and add weight once per week. So add weight on Monday and keep it the same on Wed and Fri. By the time next Monday rolls around, you should be a little bit stronger, add some weight. You're still getting progressive tension overload (just on a slower time scale) but each weekly workout is much closer to the threshold to actually stimulate gains.
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Or be more subjective about it, when you feel like you have that extra rep in the tank (so instead of 1-2 reps extra, you have 3-4) and it feels easier, go up next workout.
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Explanation of RBE (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=141349&postcount=17) RBE = repeated bout effect, it occurs in response to loading and is basically the muscle's way (OK, one of the ways) that it limits further damage. Bryan is of the opinion that RBE ultimately conspires to limit further growth because it becomes so damn hard to further damage the muscle and stimulate gains. Hence the suggestion to strategically decondition (technical way of saying "Take time off", old time bodybuilders referred to this as 'softening up', they'd take a month off of training and felt that they grew better when they came back to heavy training) between cycles. (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=141383&postcount=21) Unfortunately, what I've seen/looked at in terms of RBE tends to use some really silly loading schemes. Like some serious eccentric protocols (10 sets of 10 maximal eccentrics), makes you question the relevance to more sane loading. Not suggesting that the RBE doesn't occur to some degree, but I might debate if it's to that same level.
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Effectiveness of Strategic Deconditioning (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=141337&postcount=15) I doubt you're going to lose much/if any real LBM during a short deload. You might lose some glycogen/water size though. Most strength gains during this time period are neural losses. As far as SD vs. DL, I think the as of yet semi-unanswered question is whether 7-9 days totally off of training actually has any real impact in terms of the repeated bout effect. (http://www.fitnessbanter.com/q-t_6493-Science-and-Newbie-Gains.html) After all, the whole concept of Bryan's strategic deconditioning (which is just a techifying version of the old concept of letting a muscle 'soften up' from about 50 years ago) is that connective tissue proliferation (this is a typical adaptation to the types of training that induce hypertrophy) prevents one's ability to generate further tension/damage overload and stimulate growth. The idea is that, by deliberately detraining, you lose the CT adaptations and can go back to stimulating growth. I think the wishful thinking part is in hoping that the CT adaptations are lost more quickly than actual muscle mass gains are lost. (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=141337&postcount=15) The couple/few studies I've seen suggest that the RBE hangs around for many weeks approaching months. Hard to believe you decondition your muscles that much in such a short time period. That's along with the other issues. A lot of folks get mentally stressed/antsy from not doing anything for a week. Doing a couple of light high rep workouts gives joints and CNS a break, keeps you sane, etc. We discussed some other issues with regards to this in one of the strength training threads (it was mainly an exchange between FortifiedIron and I). Or do something very different, do a bunch of bodyweight stuff or something that is a very different stressor than you were doing in the weight room. (http://www.fitnessbanter.com/q-t_6493-Science-and-Newbie-Gains.html) To a degree, any periodized program starts the same although the explicit goal is usually different. The transition period isn't so much about deliberately detraining as letting whatever vestiges of fatigue and such dissipate so that you can start a new training cycle and train up to a new peak. Standard linear periodization (such as a Coan routine) is no different really. (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=141337&postcount=15) That said, I took a full week off and did nothing after the last ice season. It's probably the longest time I've gone without doing any training in over a decade (excepting being sick or injured). But I was pretty burnt after that ice season and it really didn't affect me. I also knew it was important in the long-term to let all of the traces of both physical and psychological stress dissipate so I'd be ready for another hard year of training.
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Advanced Techniques Body Part Specialization (http://www.mindandmuscle.net/content/page-243.html) For all but beginner and maybe intermediate bodybuilders, it's usually impossible to bring up all body parts at once. Rather, focusing on one or two upper body muscles and one or two lower body muscles, while maintaining the others, works much much better. So in most of my sample workouts, at most two body parts are emphasized while the others are trained at maintenance levels. On that note, the first body part (or two) that you work in a workout will generally receive the greatest training effect. So if you want to bring up your shoulders (strength or size), train them first in the workout, putting chest second and working it at maintenance levels. Will this hurt your chest poundages? Yes. But it's better than the converse where chest training will limit how much emphasis you can put into your delts. So when you're focusing heavily on chest and back, plan on working delts and arms at maintenance. If you want to focus on delts, work chest and triceps at maintenance. If you want to focus on triceps, work on chest and delts at maintenance. The same goes for pulling exercises. Legs are a little more complicated because the amount of overlap isn't necessarily as great. Hamstrings are certainly worked during compound leg stuff but it's not quite the same as how hard delts or tris are worked during heavy benching. This means that you can use more volume for leg exercises (there are also fewer body parts to worry about: quads, hams/glutes and calves) and the sample workouts will be setup that way. At the same time, my comments on body part emphasis still hold: if you always train quads (squats) first, this will limit how much energy you have left to train hamstrings. I think that's a big part of why so many bodybuilders have terrible hamstrings. Putting hamstrings first and quads at maintenance is a way to avoid this common problem. Another approach (that can also be used for upper body) is to make one leg workout a quad emphasis workout and the other a hamstring emphasis workout with volume set accordingly. For upper body you might make one workout a push emphasis (with light pull meaning back/bis worked at maintenance) and the other a pull emphasis (with light push meaning chest/delts/tris worked at maintenance).
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Block Training (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=185590&postcount=5) The basic gist of block training is that rather than spread out your high intensity days and try to get full (or nearly) full recovery between, or even use hard/easy approach, you put the heavy days back to back to generate a lot of fatigue and then either take full recovery or very light training (Typically in a 1:1 ratio so 2 hard days = 2 days off, 3 heard days = 3 days off) to allow adaptation. Generally speaking it's reserved for more advanced athletes (who need more of a training stimulus to generate adaptation) and would be more likely to be used in the precompetition as opposed to the preparation phase in a periodized scheme. It's traditionally been used in endurance training, I first read about it in Dan Morris' cycling book although Daniels' mentions putting two hard workouts back to back in his running book. A new cycling book "Maximum Performance for Cyclists" by Ross also uses it extensively. So a typical block training week might be Mon: high intensity intervals Tue: high intensity intervals Wed/Thu: off or light aerobic training (Talking HR 120-130) Fri/Sat: more intervals Sun/Mon: day off I ran into problems trying to apply this myself with a 7 day week so I ended up with Mon/Tue: hard Wed/Thu: easy Fri/Sat: hard Sun: easy With a bigger volume reduction on Saturday. Morris actually recommends a 10 day cycle in his book but that doesn't fit most people's schedules. The basic goal would be to maintain intensity across the days of block training but cut the volume on subsequent days. Ross has several different schedules, either 3 days hard/4 days off, 4 days hard/3 days off, 5 days hard/2 days off (which he doesn't widely recommend). Note: block training for cycling would be different than for running because of differences in joint pounding, etc.
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So I figured why not apply it to bodybuilding so that's what I suggested to Sporto. I originally suggested he train specialization body parts two days in a row with decreasing volume (so 8 sets day 1, 4-6 day 2) and then take a couple of days before training them again. Maintenance body parts were put on the rest days. He extended this to a 3 day cycle himself. So he's training the same body parts 3 days in a row (I believe 8-10, 6-8, 4-6 sets respectively) with maintenance work on the intervening days. That’s the basic gist of it anyhow.
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Hypertrophy Routines Lyle's Bulking Routine (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=113403&postcount=1) Monday: Lower Squat: 3-4x6-8/3' (3-4 sets of 6-8 with a 3' rest) SLDL or Leg Curl: 3-4x6-8/3' Leg Press: 2-3x10-12/2' Another Leg Curl: 2-3x10-12/2' Calf Raise: 3-4x6-8/3' Seated Ralf: 2-3x10-12/2' Tuesday: Upper Flat bench: 3-4x6-8/3' Row: 3-4x6-8/3' Incline Bench or Shoulder Press: 2-3x10-12/2' Pulldown/Chin: 2-3x10-12/2' Triceps: 1-2x12-15/1.5' Biceps: 1-2x12-15/1.5' For the Thu/Fri workouts either repeat the first two or make some slight exercise substitutions. Can do deadlift/leg press combo on Thu, switch incline/pulldown to first exercises on upper body day. A lot depends on volume tolerance, if the above is too much, go to 2-3x6-8 and 1-2x10-12
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FortifiedIron’s Isolation-Free Hypertrophy Program (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=137738&postcount=1) By FortifiedIron (slightly modified as suggested by Lyle) This program is great for the upper level beginner and intermediate lifter! Week 1: 3x12 Week 2: 3x10 Week 3: 3x8 Week 4: 4x6 Week 5: 5x5 Week 6: 8x3 (You will do this on ALL lifts) -ORWeek 1: 3x12 Week 2: 3x12 Week 3: 3x10 Week 4: 3x10 Week 5: 3x8 Week 6: 3x8 Week 7: 4x6 Week 8: 4x6 Week 9: 5x5 Week 10: 5x5 Week 11: 8x3 Week 12: 8x3 Lower Upper off Lower Upper off off
Upper Day 1: - Bench Press - Rows - Military Press - Pulldowns
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Lower Day 1: - Conventional Deadlift - Narrow Stance Squat - SLDLs - Barbell Shrugs Upper Day 2: - Incline Bench - Weighted Pull-Ups - DB Bench - Rows Lower Day 2: - Narrow Stance Squat - Goodmorning - Reverse Hyper - Dumbbell Shrugs ** This is the program, DO NOT SUBTRACT any of the exercises! If you don’t know how to do them, learn how to do them! The only reason you should ever pull out any of these during the whole 5 week cycle is if you feel pain doing them. If you don’t know the lift I'd suggest doing an alternate pattern with the movement. Basically rather than progressing with the given rep/set pattern I've showed continue to do: 3x12 3x10 3x8 3x8 3x8 Once you start the cycle over again after the 5th week, you can then continue the same rep/set pattern as the first outline (with the regular lifts) and progress in the lower reps. This will 1) keep you from getting hurt, 2) teach your form, and 3) break the learning chain/curve. It’s key that if you don’t know anything about the movements that you spend as much time working with them and do as many reps as possible with the given movement. This is where motor skills develop and intra-inter neuromuscular coordination develop with the movement. ** Biceps/Abs, Upper days throw in a bicep exercise if you want. On lower days throw in some ab work. This is accessory work, so it’s not that important. Keep the reps around 3x8-4x6 if you want. Be aware that isolation movements are GAY and that people spend too much time training them when they are 150 pounds! ** Keep a journal that I'll have access too. I'll look at how you’re progressing. If you have any before pictures send them to me or save them. Once you’re done with the first meso cycle compare your progress from before you started till then with pics and lift
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achievements. Do the same when you repeat the cycle. This is key in mental motivation, and that is where too many people fail. ** Once you get a whole meso cycle Wave (12 total weeks) you'll take some low volume work to help recovery. It’s key that you don’t take ANY time away from the gym. Too many people just walk away for a week or two weeks, this makes coming back a sore painful mess for at least 2 weeks. Now you've spent 4 weeks without making any progress. This is a typical deloading pattern. By training under your adaptive threshold (i.e. low volume) then you will not adapt, therefore you will recover. This is the fundamental basis of periodization!!
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5. Diet General Diet Principles Basic Guidelines (http://www.thinkmuscle.com/articles/mcdonald/baseline-diet-02.htm) 1. Meal frequency: 4 meals per day should be considered the bare minimum, 6 per day is probably closer to ideal 2. Total caloric intake: for mass gains, a rule of thumb starting place is 16-18 cal/lb., for fat loss 12 cal/lb. 3. Water intake: high, 6-8 8 oz. glasses per day* 4. Protein intake: 0.8-1 gram/lb. from high quality sources 5. Carbohydrate intake: 45-55% of total calories from a mix of starchy and fibrous carbohydrate sources, high GI carbs right after training 6. Fat intake: 15-25% of total calories, with most coming from unsaturated fats (http://www.wannabebig.com/article.php?articleid=163) *Probably the best rule of thumb I've seen for water intake is this: You should strive to have 5 clear urinations per day, with at least two of those coming after a workout. That takes into account individual variance in water requirements. A high intake of vitamin supplements will make this method fairly useless.
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Excess Calories Needed for Growth (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=24350&postcount=29) It takes somewhere between 1200-2400 cal to synthesize a pound of muscle (in addition to the caloric content of that muscle). If 100% of extra calories were going to muscle (a doubtful assumption I think), that's 170-350 extra per day or so to gain one pound a week. If you assume only 50% of extra calories are going to muscle (just general inefficiency), that's 350-700 cal/day extra. That's also assuming you're gaining one pound of muscle per week. Which can happen but only when the moons align. Assuming 1/2 lb muscle per week and you're down to ~80-170 cal/day extra at 100% efficiency and double that if you're at 50%. Of course, that's a really simplistic analysis, some people do seem to burn off extra calories as heat more effectively than others, leaving less for storage. Those folks often need to take calories really high.
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Transitioning Between Bulking and Cutting (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=6290&postcount=4) I am of the current opinion that 2 weeks of eating 'normally' (= at maintenance calories and at least non-ketogenic levels of carbs) between bulking and dieting cycles is the best approach. The basic logic: A. Coming out of dieting, your body is basically prepped to store fat at an accelerated rate (1), jacking up calories to a high level right away will put the fat on quickly. 2 weeks at maintenance calories will help to normalize some of these problems (they won't be eliminated completely). B. Coming out of bulking, I have a vague hunch (it gets complicated, involves techie molecular biology shit dealing with the stabilization of proteins) that going straight into hard dieting might be bad from a muscular point of view. Spending a couple of weeks 'consolidating' the changes (which, unfortunately, means as much attention to diet as when you were dieting or bulking) from the previous bulk or diet cycle just seems like a good idea to me. 1. Note that I have seen, and experienced, any number of times that the first 4-7 days off of an extended diet, as people eat more, they just keep getting leaner. I don't know if it's some kind of metabolic dieting momentum, if it's something hormonal (i.e. leptin and metabolic rate come up faster than the body can go back into fat storing mode) or what. But I've seen it enough times to know something is going on. Into the second week or so, you just get fat again.
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Supplements and Post-Workout Nutrition Lyle’s Top Supplements (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=135259&postcount=5) General use: • protein powder, if that counts • fish oils • basic multivitamin/mineral • vitamin C (1-4 grams of vitamin C per day may help to keep cortisol under control – http://www.wannabebig.com/article.php?articleid=188) • calcium • maybe a basic anti-oxidant (torn on this considering the recent data) Specifically for Dieting • EC • yohimbe • lots of people seem to like green tea Specifically for Strength/Size • creatine For Endurance Weenies • glutamine (immune function) • citrulline probably • some type of lactate buffer (I miss PhosFuel) (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=135274&postcount=7) Specifically for Joint Health • MSM, chondroitin, etc.
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Post-Workout Nutrition (http://www.thinkmuscle.com/articles/mcdonald/baseline-diet-01.htm) Typical recommendations for post-workout are 1-1.5 g/kg of carbs and about 1/3rd as much protein. (http://www.wannabebig.com/article.php?articleid=188) Probably the best way to control cortisol during a workout is to sip a diluted carb drink. By maintaining blood glucose and insulin at a higher level, cortisol levels shouldn't increase as much. The gut can only handle between 30-60 grams of carbohydrate per hour and that should be mixed in about 32 oz of fluid to get the optimal concentrations.
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Thermogenesis Protein and Thermogenesis (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=24437&postcount=42) Excessive protein burns off calories for heat, increases protein degrading enzymes (meaning that if you don't take in that much protein all the time, your body breaks it down that much faster). I remember Duchaine suggesting that high carb/high protein was causing the body to burn off calories too well thermogenically that mass gains were inhibited (calories wasted as heat can't go to synthesis of tissues), why he suggested moving to isocaloric ratios: using fat as a metabolic 'damper' (essentially) on top of every other reason to eat more fat. I guess what we're trying to find is that optimal combination of both protein intake and caloric intake to optimize mass gains while minimizing fat gains. Preferably with the smallest deficit possible. That is, you may be able to/need more calories on low-fat, high protein/high-carb because of increased metabolism from thermogenesis. You might need less of a surplus with a lower carb higher fat approach because less calories are being wasted as heat.
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Thermic Effects of Protein, Carbs, & Fat (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=28082&postcount=52) The main difference in varying protein/carb ratios is that the thermic effect of food from the higher protein will mean a lower effective caloric intake. (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=24441&postcount=45) The thermic effect of carbs vs. fat is fairly minimal (3 vs. 6%). Protein clocks in at 2025% thermic effect meaning the body is using a lot of calories in processing. So take someone from a 50% protein, 25% carb, 25% fat to 25% protein and you're reducing caloric wastage by quite a bit. (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=28082&postcount=52) For example: 300 g protein = 1200 calories * .2 = 240 300 g carbs = 1200 calories * 0.06 = 72 fat: whatever, it's miniscule Total = 312 calories vs. 150 g protein = 600 calories * .2 = 120 calories 450 g carbs = 1800 calories * .06 = 108 calories. Total = 228 calories. About 100 calories/day difference in effective caloric intake. Beyond that, it shouldn’t make a difference, research shows that protein above what is needed is just oxidized in the liver. Once you've maxed out what your body needs to support protein synthesis and growth, the rest is just an expensive fuel. (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=24441&postcount=45) Shuffling around carbs and fats has a much smaller effect, amounting to 3-4% at the end of the day (yes, DNL wastes like 23% but is still fairly minimal quantitatively except under extreme circumstances).
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Carbs, Carbs, Carbs Comparison of High/Medium/Low Carb Diets (http://www.thinkmuscle.com/articles/mcdonald/baseline-diet-02.htm) Diet HC/LF MC/MF LC/HF – Standard LC/HF – Targeted LC/HF - Cyclical
Activity High Medium Low High High
Insulin Sensitivity High Low-Moderate Low Low Low
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Carb choices Low GI Medium GI N/A N/A N/A
Carb addict No Maybe Yes Yes Yes
Stubborn fat No Maybe Yes Yes Yes
Who the Low Carb Bulk Is For (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=21068&postcount=8) Low carb bulking diets are a matter of compromises and nothing more. Carb intolerant individuals, for whatever reason, tend to get fat on high carbs. So you modulate carbs. Will that impact anabolism? Very possibly. It's a compromise you have to deal with. Life, she is full of them. It might very well be that increasing carbs will increase muscular anabolism to some proportion (meaning you'll gain muscle at a faster rate) but you also increase fat storage. Alternately, it might be that increasing carbs results in no more muscle gain. The diets are equally anabolic (in muscle) but the higher carb approach leads to greater fat gain. (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=22092&postcount=14) This particular approach isn't something I'm recommending across the board. Someone with superior muscular insulin sensitivity/muscular partitioning in the first place is going to get better results on higher carbs/less fat. This is for someone with mediocre to poor muscular insulin sensitivity (meaning that high carb diets tend to result in poor results), an attempt to improve partitioning within that context. (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=14406&postcount=16) In other words, it is for folks who find that they do poorly in terms of muscle vs. LBM gains with a standard carb-based diet. I don't consider it an absolutely superior approach, just under those circumstances.
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Insulin (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=24438&postcount=43) Insulin is one of several important hormones. It is anti-catabolic, maybe anabolic, and is a storage hormone. I don't think it needs to be super high for optimal effects (protein synthesis is stimulated at fairly low levels of insulin, higher levels do seem to affect catabolism more) but I don't think minimizing it completely (ketogenic/very low carbs) is optimal either. (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=14406&postcount=16) "Why is more insulin not better?" If someone has wonderful muscular insulin sensitivity and all of that, it probably is. Then again, it only takes basal levels of insulin to pretty much maximally stimulate protein synthesis. Insulin's main role is anti-catabolic and more *may* have a greater effect. But insulin should be high (and stable enough) at 100 g/day + pre/post workout carbs IMO. You can jack insulin all the time and that's certainly anabolic (technically: anti-catabolic) to muscle but, without stunning muscular insulin sensitivity, you get fat. (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=24438&postcount=43) Which is the whole point behind isocaloric/what I'm suggesting types of approaches: trying to find a happy medium for all of this stuff.
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Carbs and Maintaining Anabolism (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=6576&postcount=13) To be optimally anabolic, you need a few things (and there are assuredly more than this): A. Proper hormone levels (meaning sufficient insulin but more isn't necessarily better, low cortisol, etc, etc) B. Sufficient protein C. Sufficient cellular energy to support protein synthesis (this ties into E) D. You want to maintain liver glycogen E. You want to at least maintain muscle glycogen (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3210&postcount=4) Muscle glycogen isn't going to really affect hormones to a huge degree, that's going to be more of a diet issue. And this is really my 'problem' with keto diets for mass gains, even at high calories, ketosis simply isn't an ideal hormonal state for growth. (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=6576&postcount=13) I guess the question comes down to how many carbs are necessary to achieve those goals. From the standpoint of say A and D, the answer is not much. Just avoiding ketosis (100 g/day or thereabouts) should do it. E would depend on how much volume you're doing in the gym and it would probably be best to set carbs relative to that. As per the keto book, you need *roughly* 5 grams of carbs for every 2 sets you do. So a 24 set workout requires around 60 grams of carbs to refill muscle glycogen (24/2 = 12 * 5 = 60). Which really isn't very much. (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3210&postcount=4) I think that setting total daily carbs at 100 g/day on low carb days and adding 25-50 grams of additional carbs around training (that's a TOTAL of 125-150 grams of carbs/day, hardly high) is a better approach than just about any form of CKD for mass gains. (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3262&postcount=6) So across 6 meals, that's 17 grams of carbs or so. A glass and a half of milk, 2 slices of lowcarb bread, a small baked potato. To that, add 25-50 grams around training with whey protein. So figure 50 grams split into 25 grams before training and 25 after with 15-20 grams of whey protein each time. On non-training days, stick with the 100 grams total. Obviously lots of veggie intake (don't worry about the carbs in the veggies. Protein at 1 g/lb LBM or higher, the rest fat with the majority from monounsaturated sources, some saturated fats, fish oils.). (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=6576&postcount=13) Once you've met those requirements, I'm not sure that pumping more carbs into the system necessarily does much beyond simply providing energy. Said energy can be
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provided just as easily by fat calories. (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=24353&postcount=31) "What Lyle is proposing is supplying just enough carbs to keep glycogen stores full, thus sustaining the anabolic milieu (gotta love that word)." - Blade Correct. First you fulfill basic carb needs for brain, etc with the 100 g; also keeps hormones in a better place IMO. Then you add carbs around training to fuel/replenish glycogen from training (rather than a flat 50 g, I should work out how many carbs to take for a given volume of training). Bump protein, rest of your cals from fat. Slight surplus of calories. Hopefully you get better partitioning towards muscle.
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Nutrient Partitioning (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=21887&postcount=12) Basically, there are two issues (ok, more) at stake here which are A. the number of calories going into the system (set by diet) B. where they are going: partitioning, which is set by hormones/genetics, drugs, and training (and hopefully diet which is the whole point of this). Now this gets even more complicated because the number of calories that go into one pound of muscle is different than what goes into one pound of fat (it's roughly 1200-2400 cal/lb for muscle vs. 3500 cal/lb for fat). So assume a 10,000 calorie surplus over some time period. If you get 100% muscle gain (let's use 2400 cal/lb), you gain just over 4 lbs of muscle, zero fat. If you get 100% fat gain, you gain 2.85 lbs of fat (note, total body mass change is different, caloric value of that body mass change is not). If you gained 50/50, you get 2 lbs of muscle (5000 calories) and 1.42 lbs of fat (5000 calories). (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=14561&postcount=24) Since most people will gain some proportion of each, how much total mass they gain will be in between those two extremes. "Doesn't this contradict the kcals in vs. kcals out argument??" No. What's changing, hopefully anyhow, is where those calories are going. That is, for a given number of excess calories, you will gain a given amount of body mass. Note that this isn't even absolute because the number of calories that go into one pound of muscle isn't the same as what goes into one pound of fat. (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=21887&postcount=12) So the real issue is what's determining where the calories are going, into muscle, fat or some combination of the two. That's the partitioning issue. Much of which is out of our control being due to genetics and hormones. What we can control is training and diet (I guess add supps/drugs to that) to hopefully shift the ratios of what's gained or not. Diet is only one factor in nutrient partitioning, there is the interaction of diet with training and genetics which was the whole point of this approach: an attempt to get better partitioning of calories towards muscle cells, which means less going to fat cells. Lowering carbs to increase blood FFA levels (and reduce glucose availability for TG synthesis) is an attempt to limit caloric storage in fat cells. Add to that weight training (which locally improves nutrient uptake/partitioning) and you hopefully get more calories going towards muscle cells.
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Nutrient Partitioning via Low Carbs vs. Food Combining (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=14838&postcount=26) "Makes perfect sense but how is this any different to Berardi's P+F and P+C meal combos, which you said was voodoo nutrition?? Have you changed your opinion on that??" Nope. I consider food combining voodoo bullshit. But the scheme I'm describing is fundamentally different, each meal will contain carbs, protein and fat. I'm also not just worried about insulin dynamics, I'm as concerned with other hormones and overall 24 hour nutrient balance. By reducing carbs to a minimum (100 g/day), you shift the body's metabolism (except the brain) away from carbs and towards fat. You then add carbs pre and post-workout to support the workout and keep glycogen replenished. By not reducing carbs to zero, you also keep insulin higher than it would be (which improves the overall hormonal situation in terms of many hormones). You avoid ketosis and all that entails. This does a few things one of which is to increase blood fatty acid levels chronically. This has the end effect of causing systemic insulin resistance, including at the fat cell. High blood FFA levels also inhibit alpha-2 receptors. Both of these should make it more difficult to store fat (i.e. you get calorie partitioning away from fat cells which is the adaptive benefit of insulin resistance in evolutionary terms). Weight training will increase local insulin sensitivity and nutrient storage. So we have a situation where nutrient storage in fat cells is made more difficult and you're using training to locally improve insulin sensitivity/nutrient uptake and storage at the muscle. End result: calorie partitioning, hopefully away from fat cells and towards muscle cells (with training and proper pre-/post-workout nutrition). This won't happen if your overall daily carb intake is high (as it will be in Berardi's scheme).
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When Carbs Go to Fat (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=24351&postcount=30) Up to a point the body will just increase glycogen stores when carbs are increased. It simply can increase it more (200% of normal) with depletion + activity. At the same time, fat oxidation is dropping like a stone. Ok, now what, you've jacked up glycogen over a couple of days without depletion. Glycogen is full, whole body fuel metabolism is almost 100% glucose. If you're still eating super high carbs (above maintenance), and muscle is full, they've got nowhere to go but to fat (and Acheson showed that this is one of the times that DNL does become relevant, multiple days of super high carb intakes). It's usually argued that, because carbs are filling (eh?), folks aren't going to be consuming that many carbs on a day to day basis and that is probably true if you stick your head up your ass (i.e. you're a nutrition researcher who has no clue about real world eating habits) and ignore all of the absurdly high carbohydrate, calorie dense foods that people eat in the real world and pretend, instead, that they are eating the types of unrefined carbs you're giving them in the lab.
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Low Carbs and Keeping a Moderate Caloric Excess (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums/showpost.php?p=28235&postcount=60) "I think it will make a difference in that you are limited to 100g of carbs, where carbs are a hunger trigger this will most likely lead to a more modest caloric surplus." Yes. And maybe that's just the key to making a 'high-carb' bulk work, keep the surplus modest. I mean, from a numerical standpoint, it doesn't take that many calories above maintenance to (theoretically anyhow) support muscle growth. At 1 lb/week muscle gain, and 1200-2400 cal/lb muscle to synthesize, that's a tiny caloric surplus. A few assumptions going into that (most of which are wrong) but even if only 50% of the excess go to muscle, that requires 2400-4800 cal/week over maintenance. 350-700 above maintenance. Cut that to 1/2 lb muscle/week and you're down to 175-350 cal/day over maintenance. A pittance.
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