Gaining Muscle Mass

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I wrote about this topic a little over a year ago, as I was eager to share the results I got while doing Scott Abel’s Metabolic Enhancement Training (MET) while basically eating as many carbs as a I could.  It worked.  It was also totally and completely grueling and left me with some serious aches and feeling pretty burned out.  I knew from the beginning that MET was unrealistic for the vast majority of people.  It is complex, complicated, grueling, and, when performed as Scott Abel directs (75+ minutes 5 days/week), overwhelming and impractical.

Lately we have been discussing pancakes, pizza, ice cream, chips, and other highly palatable foods for raising metabolism.  And I have had dozens of people report very high temps (over 99F), often achieved from the 96’s, in as little as 2 weeks.  I think the Hot Chick’s Club has tripled since January.  But I really wanted to try this out for myself.  I have reservations about advocating overfeeding on these types of foods, for obvious reasons – the least of which is having all the health nerds of the world call me a douchey quack McFatty.  I actually kind of enjoy that part.

But I’ve eaten plenty of those type of foods over the past year and the only thing I’ve noticed is improvements in health – including even stronger, whiter teeth with no tooth sensitivity.  No bleeding gums anymore.  Chest pain has gone.  Pet allergies have improved (spent a couple hours in a house with 8 cats the other day without so much as a sniffle).  And I feel free.

I’ve watched a friend of mine stop having seizures, grow out cracked, mangled fingernails into nice, shiny pearls, and quickly overcome a serious oral infection that she’s sought medical treatment for 10 YEARS (it took only 4 weeks before her docs told her it was all cleared up).  Although she’s far from being in perfect health, these health improvements – enough to baffle the medical doctors treating these conditions, has been achieved on a diet built mostly around French toast, pizza, and Coca Cola.  The calorie was the missing link in this case.  And “health foods” like fruits had to be eaten in moderation to avoid the episodes of frequent urination that coincide with the seizures.  We almost learned this one the hard way.

All that aside, even though I felt a little like Cartman during the whole ordeal, I wanted to try overfeeding specifically on these foods for myself – to satisfy my own curiosities.  I was also interested to see what doing some weight training while overfeeding would do to my body temperature, body composition, and how it would affect the metabolic rehab process.  Here is what I found…

As is well-known and understood, the calorie is the most important dietary factor when it comes to gaining muscle mass.  Eating hard – specifically of highly-palatable “unclean” foods (because it’s MUCH harder to achieve a calorie surplus eating whole foods) and doing some hard weight training (described later in this post), is a pretty unbeatable formula when it comes to strength and muscle development.  Here is a video of mine, plus two others, that speak to the importance of hitting the calories hard for gaining mass.  Screw Lyle McDonald.  If you want to gain mass, you are better off consulting with Ronald McDonald (no offense Lyle, just sacrificing your name for cleverness).

Muscle gain was obviously very rapid, and I gained substantial mass in all regions.  I tend to gain muscle much easier in the lower body than the upper body, but everything grew a lot during the first 6 weeks since I have been overfeeding and weight training.  Strength improvements were dramatic too.  Weights that felt heavy were light by the very next workout.  I’ve never experienced such rapid strength gain, and its actually got me quite enthused about continuing my weight training (unlike MET which, although it made me stronger and fitter, eventually made me contemplate suicide every time I was about to walk into the gym).   My training volume was extremely low by most standards too, and aches and pains that I had starting out have all lessened or gone away completely.

My Mass-Gaining Workouts

I have come to really appreciate simplicity, especially when it comes to dishing out something that a noob can go out and put into practice without being overwhelmed or intimidated with complexity.  So I split a full body routine into 4, 20-minute workouts.

Workout 1:  Squats and calves

Workout 2:  Chest and upper back (pushing and pulling)

Workout 3:  Deadlifts and core

Workout 4:  Shoulders and Lats (press up and pull down)

For each workout, I would perform as many sets of 8-10 repetitions as possible in a 10-minute window.  Each set would be taken close to failure, so a weight I could do for 10 reps in the first set would be too heavy to move by the 5th or 6th set.  In other words, I used lighter and lighter weight each set.  Rest periods were kept to 30-45 seconds or so in between sets.  This is important specifically for muscle growth, because you really don’t want to rest enough for your ATP to be fully replenished in between sets.  That’s great for strength development, but not muscle development which is not the same thing.  As discussed in and old post, low reps with heavy weights and lots of rest in between sets is best for strength gain.  Muscles grow in response to extreme energy and oxygen deprivation, which happens when you are breathing hard and fatigue your muscle until you can hardly move a pencil with it.  Higher reps (8-12+) with less rest in between sets works better for growth.

So, after 10-minutes was up, I would rest for a few minutes and repeat another 10-minute battle with a different body part – never more than two major muscle groups per workout.  Thus, my workouts were basically 2, 10-minute  “drop sets” (sort of) per muscle group.  And I would get through my 4 workouts once every 10 days.  While 10 minutes per muscle group every 10 days may sound like nothing, in hindsight this was actually TOO MUCH.  5 minutes would have been plenty.  We’ll also talk about High Intensity Training and Body By Science next month, which utilize a similar style of training but cut the duration back to less than 2 minutes per week per body part.  For those that wish to exercise and gain muscle during RRARF, this is probably the best type of exercise.  I’m finding MAX interval training as described in Diet Recovery to actually be pretty metabolically-costly in terms of its body temperature lowering effect (according to individual reports).

The Verdict

Anyway, this load of training, as expected, did keep my body temperature a little bit lower.  I had pretty severe muscle soreness all the time in some body part.  My sleep suffered from the workouts as well (which adversely affects body temperature).  I’ve cut way back as I continue to eat as hard as possible until May, doing a more Body By Science-inspired weightlifting routine.

It’s hard to say what effect this exercise had on how much body fat I gained during overfeeding, but I don’t think it prevented much fat gain.  I still gained a pretty substantial amount of fat in addition to the muscle gains.  I do feel pretty damn good and can’t say there’s much of a reason for me to personally fear white flour, white sugar, or highly palatable “junk” like pancakes, pizza, burgers and fries, and ice cream.

For those interested most in body composition, this approach shouldn’t sound unfamiliar.  In fact, this is the STANDARD approach to body composition improvement amongst the bodybuilding elite – body composition improvement defined as a an increased ratio of muscle mass to body fat.  Muscle mass growth is extremely slow if you are not gaining a little body fat.  While gaining body fat, it’s virtually impossible not to gain lean mass, even if you aren’t even exercising.  And for some, a whole foods diet simply will not enable one to eat and metabolize enough calories for efficient growth.  Refined foods work better for that, and their “supranatural” properties probably can be used to our advantage – even with body composition.

And so, as always has been suggested by the smartest people in the fitness industry, if you want to look better – put all the emphasis on gaining muscle and increasing your metabolism first.  Then, as you lose fat, keep your weight training going and you’ll keep most of those muscle gains.  Most importantly, look at an effort to change your body composition as a long-term, cumulative effort.  Really changing your physique in a permanent way is, at minimum, a 1-2 year project (it’s pretty easy too I think, you just have to be patient and do it in the right sequence).  Gaining muscle mass and ramping up your body temperature/metabolism in the 98’s and 99’s (over 37C) is a huge asset – totally worth it in my opinion even if you do gain quite a bit of fat in the first few months.

 

 

157 Comments

  1. First! Great post Matt, and all true. The most rapid gains I ever made in muscle tissue was when I was scarfing down the food, especially carbs. I am now working on all the things you advocate, raising the temps, lowering blood sugar levels, eventually getting leaner. Bulking up is not passe!

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  2. First!

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    • Technically Christian’s comment was first, but got caught up in moderation. You both win!!!

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      • YES!!!!!!!!! Thanks Matt. Being relatively new to the blog (but getting all caught up, TONS to read), I see that Crystal will be stiff competition….:)

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        • Ha, I have to laugh because I didn’t even finish reading the article before typing that comment. Shame on me :)

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          • All cool Crystal, I was being geeky about it myself….:)

  3. K E T T L E B E L L S are all that and a bag of chips!

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    • For what? Certainly not gaining muscle mass.

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      • Considering they are nothing more than dumbbells on steroids due to the offset center of gravity and ability to train DE-celeration as well, I respectfully disagree. I challenge anyone not to gain muscle mass pressing, pulling, and swinging a kettlebell weighting 16kg or higher – the starting weight recommended for males and the one stronger women obtain skills with after quality instruction. You body only knows that it is being challenged to adapt as per Selye’s GAS and doesn’t know nor care whether that challenege is coming from a barbell, dumbbell, resistance band, your own bodyweight, or a kettlebell. Considering the kettlebells are the most versatile of those listed however, I wouldn’t necessarily disagree with the OP’s comment.

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        • …..forgive the multiple typos, I’m running short on ice cream today!

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        • You can use any weight to do hypertrophy training, but most of the swinging and use of momentum prevents the muscle from reaching the level of exhaustion needed for optimal growth. Controlled repetitions where as little leverage is used as possible, and skill is taken out of movement (skill usually means learning how to incorporate more muscles into the movement, taking pressure off of the main muscle being used). I challenge anyone to win a natural bodybuilding competition training only with kettlebells. Not possible.

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          • There is a joke in there about actually finding a truly natural bodybuilding competition ;) In any event, that is not a realistic goal for over 99% of the population. People just want to be healthy and look good naked. You said yourself that movements that require generating power are most likely to improve physique – nothing illustrates this more than the kettlebell swing. There are countless examples of olympic level weightlifting athletes with physiques anyone would be envious of. There is no crime in momemtum if it is created by the exerciser on the weight as opposed to the other way around – there is a large difference between the two. After all, Type II muscle fibers have a much greater potential for growth. As for the other movements such as squats, rows, overhead presses, and chest presses etc…they wouldn’t be performed much different that one would with a dumbbell or barbell. My point was only that a trainee could easily gain a considerable amount of muscle mass comparable to using any other form of resistance…not that they could win a bodybuilding ‘competition’. For that one would need above average genetics, pharmacuetical assistance, a man-thong, and no tan lines.

          • My point was that bodybuilders don’t use kettlebells to win competitions, because there are better ways of obtaining the results. Kettebells can get some results, just not as good. Mostly because momentum, like that used for the kettlebell swing or snatch, impairs hypertrophy if you don’t combine it with moves that reduce and minimize leverage and momentum.

          • Indeed, steriods and favorable gentics are a tough combo to beat – though categorizing them as ‘better’ would be a matter of opinion…..

          • You are both right… or wrong, whichever you prefer.

            Kettlebells are a great tool for strength and hypertrophy, and you certainly could use just a pair of kettlebells to get a very decent physique but there are some very big drawbacks when it comes to pure absolute strength and hypertrophy. Mainly the fact that you cannot load enough weight to keep stimulating gains and you cannot do bilateral moves the same way you can with a barbell. Yes i am aware that kettlebells go up to 48kg and there are a few that go even higher but a barbell will still win out when it comes to strength and hypertrophy.

            That said, i love kettlebells, i have used them exclusively in the past and got up to using double 32kg bells for ladders up to 5 in the press, was able to snatch them and double swing them for reps, and i can vouch that they certainly can be used for muscle mass and strength. There is just no reason to unless you are a complete minimalist or dont have a gym pass.

          • Thank you for the reply, this is the more balanced view I was looking for. Great to see it coming from someone with extensive experience in actually using them – double 32kg work is impressive no doubt! I agree there are limitations to kettlebells in certain situations, I just don’t feel they become apparent until you are getting to an elite level – which is not the majority of the population. As you mentioned they go up to 48kg which is about 96 pounds, how many people are using 95lb or greater dumbbells properly? As I’ve gotten older and stronger I’ve begun to realize that any appreciable volume with weights heavier than being discussed here on a barbell for upper body work is rough on the elbows, most likely due to not allowing for the natural humeral rotation to occur. I still love barbell squats and deadlifts and will continue to do them in addition to the weighted bodyweight work and kettlebell work that I do. As far as training in a commerical facility, no thanks – and more and more people are gravitating away from them. Small private facilities where everyone gets coaching are the future.

          • I agree that kbells put the joints in a much more natural position and you are able to get a much better ROM through most movements. I think they are superior to just about everything, the only thing a barbell has is maximal loading. I am certainly not a bodybuilder though so i will concede that machines/bbs/dbs could be superior for hypertrophy but then that comes down to experience, supplementation, dedication. For most the population, a barbell, a pullup bar and a few pairs of kettlebells are all you would ever need.

      • When I think of kettlebells I always think of getting in more of a natural shape. It seems obvious to me that if you wanted to bulk up kettlebells wouldn’t be the best option, but if you wanted your body to be strong as a whole and get all those little miniscule fibers (whatever..) strong and work synergistically kettlebells seems pretty legit. Joe Rogan uses kettlebells. =P Not that that means anything =) Kettlebells makes me think of Paul Chek for some reason too…

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        • Now that I would agree with! Let’s talk about what standard kettlebell workouts are. Not what they aren’t.

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          • So… If I’m a woman, not looking to bulk up, but rather for overall toning and strength, with three kids at home, and not likely to make it to the gym… then using a kettlebell (while eating lots of carbs) should be a pretty good idea, right?

            My temps are consistently in the 99s now that I’m eating more and have added grains.

            I want something sustainable to get started, even if a little too simple for the long term. Baby steps, my body (and life) are telling me.

          • I know I’m really late on this, but omfg you did not just bring up the body rock. That chick, dsaklgjhgjfdklgjdaklfdjgjkldajkl;jha woweee weewoooo

          • Umm…I guess I mean the chick that used to do it. I guess I don’t know how it works..=)

          • or… Does the whole carbs + working out only work if you’re bulking up?

          • Absolutely. Kettlebells are perfect for workout out at home, relatively simple learning curve (besides the snatch which the swing is superior) and take up very little space. A KB and your bodyweight can make for a great workout.

            I would recommend MuscledriverUSA.com for kettlebells. One of the best prices on the net and a very solid and well made bell. I would also recommend buying a dvd to learn the basics but you can find tons of info just on youtube. Check out MikeMahler.com and also his youtube channel for great info. DON’T get Jillian Michael’s dvds or bells. She is a con artist masquerading as a personal trainer.

            As for carbs. Yes eat them.

      • one thing I have heard is that if you do more full body exercises it helps your body make more growth hormone, which in turn can help you put on more mass. However, I would rather not look like a body builder. I think I’d rather be strong than look strong.

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        • I think that is probably true. Full body exercise sessions definitely have their own advantages, but some disadvantages too. Like you really can’t exhaust everything in one workout at high intensity without running out of gas long before you get there.

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  4. Definitely going through this one now. I finally got the temps up and got FAAAAATTT in the process. I’m doing my best to roll with it, and I just started Body By Science. At only 2 weeks in, I haven’t seen any significant gains yet. Soreness was pretty significant after week 1, but I’m pretty good to go after week 2. I did StrongLifts at this time last year and gained a good bit of mass (all of which I starved off), but I just got incredibly burnt out on it.

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    • The idea behind Body By Science is really taking your muscle to total exhaustion. But the training I have been doing achieves that much more completely. I suspect it works better, and is still a very small quantity of training that most people can do and continue sustainably for long periods of time – which is what it really takes to bring about a permananent change.

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      • That’s what I’ve liked about BBS so far. It doesn’t feel like a chore.

        There’s no doubt that I’m working hard hard while I’m there, but it doesn’t feel like a chore or like something that’s going to lead to burnout anytime soon.

        Going for 1 hours plus, 3 days a week doing SL was just too damn much, and I couldn’t sustain it. Not to mention that people at my gym were getting pissed that I was spending an hour with the one barbell in the place.

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        • People underestimate how important sustainability really is. Sure, there may be better ways to gain mass in a 2-month period than Body By Science. But show me a program that a person is more likely to follow for 5 years straight without injury or burnout. Not to mention that someone who has never touched a weight in their lives can easily figure out and follow BBS without hiring a bunch of trainers and reading a bunch of books to try to figure out how to even begin.

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          • Harumph!

            I’ve never been a consistent exerciser. I always start some program, and I just find it WAY too much of a chore. I feel like I’ve tried it all–running programs, cardio programs, circuits, the whole 9 yards. Linear progressions are especially nasty, since missing 1 workout (because let’s be honest, life happens) makes you feel like you jumped the whole thing off the raise, and then I never want to put it back on the rails. I don’t get that feeling with BBS.

          • I take back my comment about the soreness. It arrived today.

      • Hey Matt,

        Its true the bodybyscience protocol advocates high intensity to failure, (typically 5 compound exercises), but that’s not what makes it unique. The goal is to fatigue all three fiber types, slow, intermediate, and fast twitch fibers and it does this by using a time under load concept for each set in the ranges of 1 1/2 min or so with minimal rest between each single set compound movement.

        Of course if your going to move a weight nice and slow stringing a set out to just under 2 minutes, you need to lighten up on the weight considerably. The skill with the movements needs to be there but I can kink my ass in about twelve minutes total using nice light weight which gets important as we age. I only work out once a week now and have gained muscle and stayed lean since I started it months ago. No gym or silly shite like that just some backyard and garage stuff. I throw in some walking and cutting the grass and good lovin and I set.

        McGruff contends it conditions optimally for aerobic work at the same time.

        Check out the interview on Mercola’s website, its long but you won’t need to by the book.

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        • I have seen Mercola’s interview. I had been casually interested in HIT for a long time, but that interview was so good I couldn’t help but dive in a little further.

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        • Could someone post the link to this interview?

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  5. So no more high intense sprints? :O

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    • I discountinued them for a while for gaining more muscle (minimizing calorie burn), but they are great for getting lean. I just started doing them again. And plan on doing a lot of hiking and other activities this summer. A nice, well-rounded mix of activities.

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  6. Are you saying that you have to eat the refined calories and do the muscle training for a year or two to change the physique? Or, temporarily eat the refined calories to ramp up metabolism and just continue the weight program while eating a healthier diet?

    What do you think of women changing their physique by doing something like Zumba. I personally hate any form of exercise that does not involve dance, hiking in nature, or snorkeling because I get bored out of my mind. Like if I did Zumba with some hand weights which is 1 hour of cardio, and there are squats in there too. I usually have a protein smoothie afterwards because it helps keep the soreness down. I am also going to try having a high carb meal right before working out. I exercise – doing Zumba – because I love it! That’s it! Occasionally I like to do some weight training in a group class, but other than that I don’t.

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    • Sorry, my son must have hit the reply button when I walked a way for a minute. So I know you are taking about bulking up – I don’t want to do that, but I would definitely like to gain some muscle – can that be done with cardio about 2 times per week which incorporates light weights and squats eating more carbs.

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      • bulking up and gaining muscle are the same thing, just stated differently and with different emotional associations. if you want to gain bigger muscles, train for that, its called hypertrophy. if you want to gain strength but limited actual muscle growth, train for that.
        as for cardio… walk up some hills.

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        • actually you can gain muscle density instead of mass which will make you smaller and more metabolically active if you do the right kind of workout. gaining density in the spinal muscles for balance and core can significantly help rebuild the basal metabolic rate. and you can build dense muscles in the limbs by working the entire length of the muscle instead of targeting only the belly of the muscle as in weight lifting. t-tapp is best for this, there are some free moves on the site, or workouts like callanetics, yoga pilates etc that feature full activation of the muscle.

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          • Great comment Callie. Muscle density is a beautiful thing. That’s one thing I definitely lack.

          • thanks Matt:)

          • Callie what do you mean precisely by “muscle density” and “more metabolically active”?:)

            That one can eat more amounts of food daily,without getting fat and without having to look like a female Schwarzenegger?;)
            I thought,was always told,that more muscles burns more? ….and also that women start to lose muscle from age 26,going more rapidly at age 30…..which I guess is probably why most men stay quite lean while being able to eat more than women the older they get?

            Though it’s really a mystery to me how ,for example that Japanese competitive eater girl,stays so lean and she’s also tiny,which is said that the taller you are the more food you need while downing the amounts of food she does? (though it’s not really enjoyable way of eating,so what’s the use of it anyway then)
            Then you have Epic Mealtime on YouTube but that’s only guys,so that’s not really of interest to me….as it seems like most guys can get away with way more and book progress faster than women.

          • Muscle density means more muscle fibers, all packed together tightly. More muscle fibers means more muscle cells, which gives you more mitochondria to boost metabolism.

            Increasing muscle density can be done with most of the exercise methods that don’t totally exhaust muscle fibers like Matt is doing. Matt’s “body-building” type of training causes the muscle fibers to fill up with more fluid, which gives them that big, rounded look. (The kids call it looking ‘swole’)

            If you do heavy lifts in the 3-5 rep range with plenty of rest in between sets, you will get added muscle density plus more strength. After your heavy portion of the workout (which can be kept pretty short) some higher-rep, explosive lifts with plenty of rest in between sets to avoid totally exhausting the muscles will also contribute to muscle density.

            Certain kinds of Yoga and Pilates as mentioned will also strengthen and add some density to the muscles, especially the spinal and “core” muscles.

          • “Matt’s “body-building” type of training causes the muscle fibers to fill up with more fluid, which gives them that big, rounded look. (The kids call it looking ‘swole’)

            If you do heavy lifts in the 3-5 rep range with plenty of rest in between sets, you will get added muscle density plus more strength. ”

            This is the key for being “tone” (tone=residual tension in a muscle at rest). A very Pavel-like statement and give it three thumbs up. Pavel actual advises low total volume (total of 10 reps or less, like 2×5, 3×3, 5×2, etc.) for strength without hypertrophy.

    • The exercise, yes. But the overfeeding is just something to do for a few months every once in a while. It is temporary.

      Zumba is much more likely to change physique than hiking or snorkeling. In short, exercises that require the generation of power and not endurance are most likely to improve physique, especially over the long-term.

      I don’t think you would get bored out of your mind working something like sprints or Body By Science into your activities. It’s hard to get bored in 10 minutes-20 minutes.

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      • So for women, do you recommend body by science? Never heard of it, so I am intrigued. I am looking to feel fit and keep up with my kids in minimal time.

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        • I am going to review the book in a couple of weeks. I do think weight training is ideal for men, and even better for women.

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        • Not Matt, of course, but if I can be allowed to interject. I highly recommend Body By Science for women. Ladies just have to get over any fears of strength training (and they still exist based on things I hear) and go for this kind of brief, but incredibly satisfying strength training. It will not be pleasant at times, but good news is that it has to be done so infrequently. All I do is one workout a week and have now started to add in interval type of training on an elliptical twice a week (same gym), just as Matt talks about in “Diet Recovery”.

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          • Can one do the BBS program at home with free weights, or do you need gym equipment?

          • There is a distinct bias in BBS in favor of machines (they are really high on Nautilus/MedX, amongst others), but their so called Big 5 can certainly be performed with free weights (it is outlined for you in the book). One could easily get a pair of adjustable dumbbells and do it all from home as well.

            If you vist the BBS blog, people are always posting their W.O.W. (Workout of the Week), and you will see the wide variation of workouts being performed, all under the general philosophy of what Dr. McGuff and Mr. Little advocate.

      • So would you say Zumba is an endurance or a power form of exercise? The time I have to exercise is when I can leave the house and go to the gym – it won’t happen at home with a small child or late at night when I am too tired. Would doing 10 minutes of weight training before or after Zumba be an acceptable way to get that training in or is that too much in one day? We are talking an hour plus 10 minutes of weights twice a week. I guess when I think of weight training, I am thinking of the old days and spending a long boring hour of using machines (I use to use the elliptical too and that is not a fond memory) but that doesn’t sound like what you are talking about. I actually have a X-iser if you have ever heard of that, where you can basically do anaerobic exercise (like sprints) for very short bursts. It is like a a little stair stepper but you go really fast…so you can only go 30-60 seconds at a time. I will look into Body By Science. As a future Nutrition Consultant, I have thought about having some private group exercise programs. Also, I have found that no matter what form of exercise I do, even if I am just walking or doing Pilates, I get sore. Doing hardcore exercise has always been beyond what I am capable of, because I just get too sore to the point of needing pain medication. I am hoping that by increasing carbohydrates, that somehow this will be the cure in addition to the protein shake afterward.

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        • The carbohydrates are most important. Having some baking soda in some juice can help to counter the lactic acid as well. Zumba is mostly an endurance type of activity like old-school aerobics, but is vastly superior to just doing an aerobic exercise in one, steady, plane of motion (like a treadmill or bike). Resistance exercise can be as little as about 6 sets, 90 seconds each, once a week. Not exactly an hour doing boring machines.

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        • Tonya – I’ve had the same problem with soreness, and it’s almost always a result of going too hard too soon, getting discouraged, backing way off, then feeling guilty like I should start again and going too hard too soon and so the cycle begins again! I’m seeing good progress starting out with very light weight – 5kg/10lbs (either on a light bar or in the form of two dumbells, so the dumbells would be 5lbs each) for a couple of whole-body strength workouts, and then the next couple of workouts, upping it to 20lbs, and being sure to take a full day of rest in between.

          For someone who used to hit the weights hard and be able to lift really heavy for a woman my size, it’s almost humiliating to start this low and the workouts feel almost like I’m doing nothing while I’m doing them, but I’ve found that after healing from low-carb and being VERY stressed-out and taking 6 months off to just recover my health and strength metabolically, this is where I need to start out. And I’ve made too many mistakes in the past of going hard because that’s what I think I “should” do, only to have myself burn out.

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          • Neesha….maybe your soreness might improve/go away faster if you’ll put some pure magnesium oil on your skin after your workout day? :)
            It relaxes the muscles&nerves,so I’d suggest you put some on,rub it under your feet or on the muscles you suspect to be sore, right before you go to bed (might also make for good sleep…I sometuimes put it on,when I feel really stressed)

  7. Man! It feels almost like this post was directed to me :)

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  8. I am pretty surprised to are sore with that amount of calories and carbs. Since i found what worked for me i have upped my training significantly and DOMS have all but disappeared.

    Although its not going to hurt to try but i dont think lowering your training will be best for muscle gain, maybe if you have time, try splitting workouts into two sessions a day with a nap in between. That with good post workout nutrition should have a huge effect on muscle growth. That is if you have the free time.

    I hope you stick with the hypertrophy/overfeeding for awhile, this is definitely more my area and i will be really interested to see how you do.

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    • I have done lots of workouts without getting sore. I think you are underestimating the kind of muscle obliteration that takes place when doing 6 sets of full-range squats to failure with only 30 seconds rest in between sets. Especially when only doing it once every 10 days. The people at the gym always laughed at me because I had to hold onto the railing to make it down the 3 stairs near the exit.

      I would up my volume to something like what you are talking about to lose fat and retain muscle, but not necessarily to build it. Sure, it can be done if you eat a ton, but isn’t totally necessary. Not for me to gain muscle at least. Or strength. Both my deadlift and squat increased by about 40 pounds in 6 weeks with only 5 workouts each, for example.

      Either way, I’m in a good place. With volume that low I still have a lot more volume I can add to progress. I think that is key too, to start out small and gradually build up. Especially for a beginner or someone with a busy life that doesn’t have that much extra time to dedicate to training of some kind.

      Reply
      • Fair enough, i have never trained the way you are describing, i personally respond to high frequency, pressing and squatting 3-4 times a week will make my quads and shoulders grow much faster then splitting it up to once a week and smashing a bodypart each session. I also feel much more refreshed post work out. I usually keep it to two groups a day, usually a press/pull like clean/push press or a pull/squat and stick to lower reps for those then do two accessory’s for the same and hit higher reps.

        Anywho, do what works for you and i am very interested to see you get swole while hulking out on the “junk” food. I will be doing the same thing. That is every guys dream scenario, is it not?

        Reply
        • I respond well to high frequency too, and may very well have seen superior gains from higher frequency. High frequency is the theme amongst those who really compete doing this stuff, so you can be sure it’s a good way, and probably the very best way. Scott Abel would laugh his ass off at the idea that optimal results are obtained with one set a week. But getting great gains while doing less is a nice feeling. With the protection of metabolism and minimization of stress hormones in mind, I can’t help but be a minimalist.

          Reply
    • Yeah, I’ve watched a few of those guys’s videos. Funny. And their diet sounds kind of like mine, minus the Diet Coke.

      Reply
  9. Sounds like you had some muscle memory going on there haus, or was this au courant? I have muscle memory too but it’s a different kind. I kick butt while I sleep. I have trained my muscles so well that I don’t have to be conscious lay a beat down.

    Reply
    • A little bit was muscle memory, but I am definitely more muscular than I was last year – so some of this is freshly-laid steel.

      Reply
      • Freshly-laid steel! Nice.

        Reply
  10. I’m reading Body by Science right now and am pretty convinced by the ‘dose’ of exercise, particularly the strength training. My question is, what would be the proper ‘dose’ of other movement (for fun, enjoyment) that wouldn’t interfere with the once weekly strength training and that also wouldn’t kick the body back into starvation mode? Can I walk 3 hours a week, do a hike and a day of vertical jumping training (albeit only 5 – 10) minutes? I guess I’ve finally gotten the message about endurance = bad, but now I feel a little stuck. I still want to move, but now I’m afraid if I do ANY I’ll be back to a catabolic state…

    Reply
    • Hi Jessica, I spend some time over at Dr. McGuff’s blog and the common theme is that you just do what feels right at the time. Do not get stuck in any “well I have to do X amount of such” work this week outside of my strength training.

      As corny as this may sound, just go with the flow. Your body will tell you that you are recovering from your weekly session and that you have the energy to do that 3 hour hike and possibly have energy to spare. Or whatever it is that you find enjoyable. Just as Matt tells us to EAT THE FOOD, the BBS people tell you to do what feels right (without going back to any catabolic state!)

      Reply
      • Thanks, Christian, I think I’ll start perusing the BBS blog, that’ll probably help answer a lot of my questions. It seems like there’s a learning curve, but once you figure out how to track things it gives you the feedback you need to gauge your exercise. It just makes so much sense. I burned out trying to get through the New Rules of Lifting for Women. Now I can see why.

        Reply
      • I think as long as you are making progress in strength, you can pretty much do whatever else you want, according to McGuff n’ pals.

        Reply
    • It’s all very person-specific. What one person can handle and recover from differs from another. I think most people can actually withstand quite a bit. Even endurance exercise, so long as it is combined with lots of eating, sleeping, and complementary exercises like strength training.

      Reply
      • The bodybuilding world always talks about, or did at one time anyway, about the fact that failing to recover from training sessions is often a result of undereating, not necessarily overtraining. People end up in these horrible overtrained states (and screwed up metabolisms) because they do too much and/or do not eat enough to support their training. I still do wonder how good extreme endurance exercise is, long term, even if appears that you are handling it well now, ie lots of calories, lots of sleep, minimal stress, all key recovery factors.

        Reply
  11. What’s the core exercise in workout 3?

    Reply
    • My core exercises are usually just an eclectic blend of things. I prefer ab stuff done in the plank position, facing the ground. Like plank holds, knee tucks off of a swiss ball, and exercises like these… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhMhwK1Gl-c

      Reply
      • I have tried this work-out in the past, super hard. I could not do the abs ball one leg step downs. It hurt my lower back.
        Any Idea why I would have keto breath, but not in ketosis? Not loosing weight, so that can not be it. Eating lots of carbs and fasting after 2pm till next morning.

        Reply
        • Fasting from 2pm – morning: your body is probably using ketones during the night. You don’t have to be in “ketosis” to burn ketones.

          Reply
  12. matt- what are your thoughts/opinions about resting from exercise (like taking a week off or the like). i have always been super faithful about exercise, almost always exercising 2-4 times per week since i was in college. but after reading your blog, i realized that rest can be good for the body/metabolism as well. recently i felt like i have been over-doing it, so i decided to take it easy this week (which is unusual for me!).

    so, my question is, do you think it is important to take periods of rest from exercise? if so, how often and how long?

    for the record, i do mostly weight-training exercises, with HIIT cardio mixed in. also, i’m not super faithful about taking my temps, but i seem to be normal (in the 98’s-99’s) when i do take it (although a few years ago when i wasn’t eating enough and doing lots of running, i remember that my temps used to be in 96-97’s regularly!)

    Reply
    • You are fine. I don’t want to scare people away from exercise. Ideally we would all exercise a lot. With adequate food and rest for recovery. One cue that you might need to take a break is if you are not making any progress. Lack of progress is a good cue to rest, and then come back stronger. It’s also good to continually present yourself with new challenges to adapt to, and keep whatever you are doing fresh. Another of course is low body temperature or any signs of overtraining, such as a decrease in strength or muscle size, fitness level, frequent illness, insomnia, loss of sex drive, etc.

      Reply
      • It seems like low motivation, irritability, grumpyness can be indicators of over-training as well?

        Reply
        • Jessica – Shut up! Stop asking me so many damn questions! No I’m not overtraining. I told you that. Why don’t you freakin’ listen! What do you people want from me!

          Yes dear, those could be signs of overtraining and glycogen depletion for sure.

          Reply
  13. Hey Matt!
    If I want to bulk up, but my body temps are 97 to 97.5, would you say to RRARF first to get temps up, then start workouts?
    Thanks!

    Reply
    • That’s one of the questions I was hoping to solve. Obviously a lot of people, males especially, are wanting to get the most muscle gain out of the eating experience as possible. If your temps were 95 I probably would discourage you from doing it, but those are close enough to probably do a little. Just remember, while eating a ton, you really don’t need a whole lot of volume to get gains in strength and mass. So don’t overdo it or you are likely to never see those temps over 98.

      Reply
      • Right on! Thank you!

        Reply
      • By the way, what are your favorite pancakes to be powered by?

        Reply
        • I usually make them with mostly white flour, a little coconut flour, whole milk, whole eggs, a scoop of sour cream, blackstrap molasses, lots of maple syrup

          Reply
          • Matt, have you thought about doing a new 180 Kitchen book with more “junk food” recipes?

          • If I do a revision ya might see that in there. Definitely.

  14. I thought (from reading Diet Recovery) that MAX interval training was supposed to increase your metabolic rate in between workouts. Are you saying that theory doesn’t hold up according to individual accounts?

    Reply
    • Yes, according to individual accounts. I have had several people get their temps up doing RRARF and then they incorporate some interval training and do some serious backsliding, with drops in temps and many low metabolism symptoms coming back. That’s not true for everyone, but it’s not like it’s foolproof.

      Reply
  15. Matt –

    Did you keep to an RBTI type eating plan or did you eat big for dinner as well?

    Reply
    • Dinner was still my lightest meal of the day. I did most of my training between breakfast and lunch. Eating big in the evening is probably fine. I just don’t sleep as well and have more nasal congestion and stuff like that if I pig out at night.

      Reply
  16. I will check this out. I’m burned out on the female body breakthrough. I do it a couple of times, wind up with terrible DOMS and then I quit for a few weeks and then start over. It’s a vicious cycle. Also it takes 90 minutes to get the full workout in and that is just really tough with my schedule. I llike the idea of something I could do over my lunch hour at the gym and still have time to change clothes, shower and get back to work.

    Reply
  17. I’m a huge fan of Body By Science. I’ve been doing it for a couple of years and have been thrilled with the results while lifting only 20 minutes a week.

    Here is BBS info for those not familiar with the book:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-ufSYBcZa0&feature=related

    Reply
  18. woohoo hot chicks club!! tshirt?!!

    Reply
  19. Matt,

    Great – and timely – posting for me. I’ve been hitting the weights the past month, 3x a week CHIEF style (3x a week, no more than 10 minutes a workout). I only have two cheat meals a week, and these are two dinners on days I do my weights…so I workout, then immediately eat. I’ve definitely seen some mass gain, which is good…and I know it takes time. You mentioned you had an issue sleeping…I notice on the days I workout I don’t sleep as well…if I get up at 3am, I can’t go back to sleep or I toss and turn a lot more. Why do you think this is?

    Reply
    • Mad cortisol I would guess. Seems like as my body has adapted the sleep disturbance has gotten to be less and less. It was the opposite when I did MET. I have like 25 cheat meals a week, lol.

      Reply
      • I hope to get to the point where every meal is. :)

        Reply
  20. Okay, so Matt, how would you say Body By Science differs from (or is better than) Slow Burn or Power of 10? They certainly have the “bring muscles to failure in a short period” thing in common.

    p.s. I’m loving having that whole daydreaming-about-exercise thing again! It’s been about a year and a half since I last felt it.

    Reply
    • The main difference between Slow Burn and BBS is that Doug McGuff is kinda cool, and Fred Hahn is like an infected rectal melanoma. And it doesn’t take long to outgrow Slow Burn, whereas in BBS there is a lot more potential for ongoing gains. Power of 10 is basically the same idea, and the use of the timer is much more advanced than Slow Burn. I don’t know if everyone will get that nerdy with it, but my brain tells me it would be a good idea.

      Reply
      • I haven’t heard much about BBS until now, so I looked them up on youtube. It looks like they advocate a low carb diet :( But from what you are saying, they are solid on their ideas of exercise?? Do you recommend their book? Thanks.

        Reply
        • Not Matt, but yeah, book is highly recommended. I would also get the BBS Question and Answer book, as they get into real specifics, ie how you can really tailor a program, how you may have to workout even less frequently, specific answers to bodybuilding issues, sports specific questions, and so on and so on. You really should have both.

          And yes, they are low carb paleoish in their nutrional outlook, we will forgive them for that transgression….:)

          Reply
          • Okay, great! Thanks Christian!

            Haha, yeah I suppose we will have to!

          • Well, in all fairness one is more likely to get away with being low-carb doing 12 minutes of exercise every 10 days than hiking, doing crossfit, and trying to mimic the Tarahumara all before noon in the fasted state.

          • That does seem very likely.

      • Ha haha ha! “Infected rectal melanoma” — there’s an image I didn’t see coming! Thanks for the response, Matt.

        Yeah, the Slow Burn book also has a low-carb bent to it. It’s coauthored by the Drs. Eades. Eww.

        Reply
  21. Hi Matt
    Thanks for this great post, as usual, As I’ve shared before on your site I’ve done Abel Scott program. I actually saw some results myself in leanest and muscle gain, both, following his body hypertrophy program, But not as much muscle gain as I’d like.
    I totally agree with you that Scott, despite his claims, is actually speaking to fitness nerds and people who knows a lot about training, not the average joe, far from it. I had to google pretty much the name of every exercise to find out what they were!
    Then I ordered his diet program and was hugely disappointed. To me it’s like inducing a way of life akin to an eating disorder – depraving yourself for 5 days then pigging out for one or two. It might work but I don’t want to live like that, even fro great aesthetic results. My feedback didn’t phase him a bit, he thinks his program is well designed, practical and all. Shame that he can be so insightful on some common problems and still not put himself into the shoes of the commoner for some others.

    For the past two months I have done intermittent fasting as described on leangain. Got great results in leanness, not so much in muscle gain yet. I do refeed days but maybe not enough. I stick to an 8 hours time frame to feed – from 10AM to 6PM – and then 16 hours without. I feel good on it but I am a bit wary as you’ve put on a slight warning against IF that could crash the metabolism on the long run? I’d really like to stick to it – it gives liberty to eat whatever while still staying lean. What do you think, is there a danger in eating this way? I’ve also added 24 hours of full fast per week but will skip it now to not crash my metabolism.
    So I guess my question is: is it possible to gain muscle and lose fat at the SAME time? I think it works pretty well for Martin Berkhan of leangain; he seems to attribute both his mass gain and ripeness to IF. Same with his clients. What do you think?
    Also I cannot eat grain – so what type of calorie dense food would you recommend then that do not contain grains? Ice cream is getting expensive quickly…I eat a lot of pancakes made with potato starch but not enough to do the trick apparently.
    Thanks a million!

    Reply
    • Martin still knows that muscle gain and fat loss don’t typically occur in large quantity together. A person is usually in one state or the other. It probably still pays to do a bulk up – possible on Martin’s approach but still difficult to eat enough. And then worry about the fat loss later – and yes, leangains probably is one of the best established methods for getting lean. But it’s not without peril. I sure wouldn’t want to be coming from a low metabolism state into the program. The lower the metabolism and the weaker the adrenals the more frequently a person needs to eat, at least that’s been my observation. And you’re sure you cannot eat grain? Not even rice?

      Reply
      • Yes I’m sure, unfortunately. I’ve became grain intolerant after my vegetarian/vegan/raw whatever years. Last year I had a teaspoon of soy sauce with rice extract in it – in bed for two days with violent fever. This year I’ve fermented sorghum flour for 5 days before I put it in potato flour pancakes – ended up with skin rashes and a violent stomach ache.
        I REALLY want to go back to grain, at least rice, and I have been good for years – avoiding them, probiotics, nutritional program designed by Dr Kaayla Daniel based on hair testing, bone broth every week for 5 years…But still reacting. Seem to be a strong flare up of candida- type of symptoms and I am dealing with heavy metal toxicity, high level of mercury and leads, takes time to chelate. As I understand as long as you have the metal you might keep the candida too.
        I know my adrenals are not on top, lovely purple circles under my eyes and seasonal allergies…I feel great on Martin’s program – well actually not easy to not eat before 10pm but early dinner is easy and love being lean so it’s a dilemma! I’m not skinny but getting ripped and loving the feeling so…

        So yes back to square one can’t do grains so what to bulk up on? Potatoes and potatoes starch I eat a LOT of them already…

        Thanks!

        Reply
        • Taters, milk/ice cream, juice, and meat. That’s all one would really need to pack it on.

          Reply
      • This is just FWIW, I did intermittent fasting a year ago, with an eating window of 11-5, and liked it until I started feeling cold to my bones, so I stopped.

        Recently I decided to try it again, only eating from 7-1 (or 8-2), and so far it’s working much better for me, I’m quite toasty. I think the time shift helped, and also additional carbs (pancakes with my protein, does it get any better?).

        I’m mostly interested in how IF may help with autoimmune and other health issues. We’ll see.

        Reply
        • Hi Steph
          Thanks for the feedback. I also think IF can have some benefits – giving the body a rest and being in line with the way our ancestors ate, not having access to food 24/7 (without wanting to go further in Paleo). I feel quite warm on it. But 7-1 seems like a very short timeframe – Martin recommend eating over 8 hours so you only do it on 6 hours yourself? Couldn’t do such a short one myself…

          Reply
          • Yes, it’s tight. I’m open to making it a bigger window if I need to, but so far, so good.

            I read a kinda odd book (for me) called Fasting: 18 Hours for your God-Given Body. The author discusses the weight loss aspects of fasting, but moreover the (supposed) general health benefits. I’m going to track down some of her references as I have time, as I’m dealing with some autoimmune issues, and some “middle age” developments that are less than ideal. She insists that the eating window has to begin in the morning, which is different from other IF protocols I’ve looked at.

            As the title suggests, she also as a Biblical focus. She makes the case that God calls us to fast, though she does not make a Biblical case for the six hour window.

        • I imagine the IF will have a positive short-term effect on symptoms. But when I think autoimmune disease I think fried adrenals, and when I think fried adrenals I think high meal frequency… taking in carbs at least 10 times a day.

          Reply
          • Ah, thanks for this input! Short term, things feel good right now, but I’d not considered adrenals, as I don’t understand them. I tend to ignore what confuses me. It’s very convenient!

  22. Hey Matt, it’s the “Brophy Trophy” haha

    I have had much success following a plan similar to what you’ve laid out- though I hesitate even to call it a “plan”… as it has basically been crushing the food as I desire. Though there is a fair amount of planning and consideration in my actual lifting routine.

    When I started out on Martin’s Leangains, I thought I’d finally discovered my health-lifestyle panacea. But I crashed- I crashed HARD. Even packing in 2 lbs sweet potatoes, bagels and tortillas on my WO days 2-3x/week, I was heading in a miserable direction. It really messed me up. I was so irritable and emotionally unstable at times, and developed a serious caffeine addiction. I never really seemed to improve my body comp all that much either, and I scoured that website and followed everything exactly as he laid out.

    However, Martin’s wisdom on training and exercise science is astounding; I learned so much from his site that has stuck with me and excelled my training to previously unimagined levels. I highly recommend anyone and everyone to read and really try to comprehend “Fuckarounditis”, and “The Minimalist”. I have made amazing gains and body comp improvements through relatively infrequent and short duration, heavy, intense workouts, with calculated progressions from session to session. I train twice a week- one day revolved around squats, one day around deadlifts. But I do much better not following the dietary regimen- I eat much carbohydrate every day and don’t fast 16/8. I do still train fasted AM though (just not necessarily 16hrs), and feel my performance is enhanced.

    Eating tons of carb – for me (in no particular order), white flour tortillas (w/ only 3 ingredients), lots of very ripe bananas and organic oranges, oatmeal and kamut porridge, REAL sourdough bread, sweet potatoes, Snyder’s pretzels, local pizza and burrito joints… makes me look and feel amazing. And yes, I too am a former low-carb-paleo-dogma-zealot.

    Keep up the good work!

    Reply
    • Thanks for sharing your story! I can relate to that.

      Maybe there is a strong relation between coffein addiction and metabolism. Does anyone know of a low-metabolism person who isn’t coffein addict? Me neither…

      Reply
      • I always hated coffee, tea, and all hot drinks until I starved myself. Then I would drink up to 10 cups a day and eat 1/2 pound of dark chocolate. That’s the difference metabolism makes when it comes to caffeine addiction proneness.

        Reply
    • I was starting to feel like the IF was catching up to me as well, even doing the buffet thing and having 2500 calorie feasts. I’ve since just gone to eating whatever, whenever, in the 4000-5000 calorie per day range if I had to guess.

      Reply
      • It is all making so much sense. When I was trying to IF while being ‘Primal/ Paleo’, my Paleo doctor was baffled at why my Cortisol levels were so high. I knew that years of Yo-Yo dieting with low-fat, super low calories (starting with college, where breakfast was TONS of coffee and lunch was MAYBE a V-8) had crashed my metabolism, but I was trying to ‘fix’ it by going low-carb with IF thrown in. Ugggh! I was doing a DISSERVICE to my poor adrenals!

        BTW, I FINALLY bought a thermometer. I woke up to 97.6, ate oatmeal and brown rice bread with butter & honey: 97.8, at rice bread with almond butter and raw honey, with rice noodles, zucchini, chicken bone broth & ground buffalo: 97.9 and just now, I ate an ice-cream sandwich: 98.1. Mrs. Fields FTW! Also, I am guessing that basal metabolic temp rises throughout the day anyway, right?

        I need to go to Trader Joe’s and invest in large amounts of ice cream. That stuff usually makes me sweat! I need to see about potatoes though. I do not currently notice an increase in temp, although I have not tested myself after eating them.

        Reply
  23. Good post. I think people need to understand the different types of “training” that can be done with our bodies. What you were doing would be along the lines of “pure muscle building” by breaking down the muscle tissue as much as possible. I did about 3 months of something similar, but differently executed. I did true 4 second negatives, with an “explosive” positive portion for 4-6 sets per movement. It was REALLY nice to use less weight and focus exclusively on the muscles. They get sore, but the stress on the CNS is much less in this type of training. This training style tends to “pump up” the muscles via sarcoplasmic hypertrophy. This is useful, but it’s only about 30% of the overall picture, IMO.

    Then there is “explosive” training, which is more skill based and taxes the CNS much more heavily. Things like clean & press, push-press, jumping, sprinting and lifting heavy weight for 3-5 reps fall into this (somewhat broad) category. I love to train like this, but it has to be done carefully to manage fatigue and recovery. This kind of training helps to build strength and create more actual muscle fibers, which can then be “pumped up” with a couple months of pure muscle building.

    Using explosive movements with moderately high reps (12-15 max) is also a very useful training style that can give muscles more endurance and develop explosive power. Imagine a moderately heavy push-press done for 14 reps. The body really has to fire the CNS and muscle fibers efficiently to complete sets like that.

    One thing I haven’t tried yet is the “super slow” methods which I think BBS falls under. (Please correct me if I’m wrong.) Using weights light enough to do 10 second positive & negative reps sounds like it would be GREAT for going easy on joints, connective tissue and not over-stressing the CNS. I will have to do a 1-2 month experiment with that training style eventually.

    There’s so much fun to be had in the weight room, if only people understood better how to manipulate the variables.

    Reply
    • Absolutely Cameron. 30% at most. That’s why I really appreciate the work of Scott Abel, because he has found ways to integrate so many different pieces of the pie together on the same plate. Only problem is – it’s daunting for newbies, and really hard.

      Reply
    • Cameron, do you think there would be any use in alternating these types of training? I.e. Week one, one workout BBS style, Week 2, one workout ‘explosive’ type training? and filler days just whatever fun stuff you like to do (hiking, yoga, frisbee, walking, biking, etc.) As long as you’re keeping track and seeing strength gains? Or would they interfere with each other?

      Reply
  24. We should give a less offensive name to this method. “Dirty bulk” is rude, we should call it “fairy bulk” or something sweet. lol

    Reply
  25. What would you recommend if I am not necessarily interested in muscle mass but in strength WITH endurance and perhaps speed, for practical application such as climbing, throwing, lifting or moving heavy things repeatedly, etc. I can see how the strength focus would apply, but what about the endurance and speed? When I look at world-class free climbers for instance, they are slim and toned but with incredible pulling strength and endurance. Examples: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HrX0ohmu1zw

    Also, what do you make of the higher number of smaller meals which a lot of bodybuilders promote? Does it work if you just eat 3 big meals?

    Reply
    • I think gaining muscle mass is one of the more difficult physiological feats. Doing a blend of interval training, really hard circuit training, and some low-rep strength training while NOT overeating will give you all that you seek with minimal muscle mass increase.

      Eating more frequently does promote enhanced growth and more efficient use of ingested energy. For adding mass it is definitely helpful. But you can do it eating 3 meals per day or even less if you are really an eating pro.

      Reply
      • Hey Matt,
        I do follow your advice and tips regularly, lately I’ve upped my eating, tapered off cardio and increased sleep. My temps today – 99.2 but I don’t feel active :-( Is it a female thing that temps go up during menstruation? or am I in the hot chicks club finally.

        If I want to focus on weight loss should I now move to more unrefined foods and start on the BBS exercise? At this point I’m not sure if I need more aerobic in the form of zumba/ swimming or more weight lifting…Help…I have paralysis by analysis.

        Reply
        • Hot chicks club, hot chicks club… Actually, temps typically fall during menstruation. I wouldn’t consciously go for some big weight loss attempt just yet. I would maintain those great temps for months and see where it leads. If you want to start exercising I think you should lean more towards strength training, with maybe something like Zumba if you like it for agility, flexibility, and fitness.

          Reply
          • Cool !!! I so happy. I’m warm enough that I feel I have a fever…weird, the temps do vary over the day but still stay around 98.6 to 99. So, like you say I’ll stay here a while and enjoy the scenery :-) start strength training. And do things I enjoy…even though I’m dying to get this weight off and the old mind set of more exercise and less food is begging to kick in.
            I do know that I’ve always been slim when I’m in a happy/good frame of mind so by hanging out with people I like, reading inspirational stuff and dance I feel mentally uplifted and that helps.
            Thanks again Matt!

  26. The low frequency reminds me of Casey Viator and the Colorado Experiment, and its modern cousin Tim Ferris and The 4 Hour Body. Except much slower and more long term focused, and less carbophobia than Tim.

    Given the difficulty most people have gaining beyond 10% of so of their body weight above set-point without exercise, do you think the benefit of the training is nudging the setpoint higher, and maybe specifically the lean mass set point higher? Otherwise, how to explain folks like you, Matt, who successfully gain mass and keep it even after long breaks in training ?

    Reply
    • The “Colorado Experiment”…. What a scam! Tim Ferris makes me sick, the moldy little turd that he is.

      Reply
      • Haha- I know. It might have been you and me that had that exchange some time ago.

        Mainly though my comparison was based on the use of a relatively small number of minutes training could be sufficient for muscle growth.

        Reply
    • Casey Viator had built that muscle before. Tim had lost a lot of muscle doing el Tango. So they both gained muscle really quickly doing that type of training. I’ve seen a formely thick guy go from 140 to 195 in 5 weeks, with a 3″ increase on his biceps or something crazy like that. Normal folks shouldn’t expect more than a few pounds of muscle per year unless they are overfeeding.

      I do lose some muscle when I don’t train for a while. Less if I’m eating a lot.

      Reply
  27. Hey Matt
    Well I will be careful with IF and monitor how I feel then, and maybe shift to eating earlier during the day…Still think it somehow makes sense as we didn’t develop while having access to convenience food 24/7 before the second half of the 20th century? But don’t want to think “too much” paleo-style and fit beliefs over facts in my thinking. But it would be logical to think that we are made for IF, but maybe not on a daily basis?
    Anyway if you think you could still tell me what you think I could eat to pig out more besides ice cream and tons of potatoes as I am grain-free by necessity? Sorry to come back to it but I trust your wisdom. You created South Park after all (didn’t you?!.

    Reply
  28. As a KB Instructor focused on helping wrecked bodies come back to sound movement, I can attest to what Matt is saying. Our men get a little bigger in the shoulders, traps and arms from the kb presses and pullups but it’s dense tissue and doesn’t crop up overnight, and not near the size of those focused on hypertrophy.

    One of our members had some massage therapy done and the therapist said “I’ve never seen such dense tissue in the mid back.”

    Tension is the currency of the muscle and if you want it to grow, destroy the hell out of it. Although we’re actually now starting to tack on some hypertrophy work here and there.

    But a trainee should consider their goals and what they’re giving up with each path. Every choice has consequences. For choosing the fastest path to hypertrophy you’re giving up things.. Which is fine as long as one knows those up front. Dan John speaks a lot about “Managing Options” on his blog and in his book Easy Strength.

    Personally I just would feel embarrassed having a huge frame without being able to do pull ups and pushups. I loved the old time strong men who had a blend of both functional and aesthetic strength, used a combination of tension and strength building and athletic movement.

    For a healthy person that wants to be confident, entertained, strong, healthy, with decent size, I’d cycle the main goal every 6 weeks: Hypertrophy, Strength, Bodyweight, hybrid, athletic etc. Most of us are way too weak for our own good to the point it’s flat out dangerous. Strength gives as much or more confidence than nice muscle development. Not to mention the JACKED up posture that most of us have and lack of motor skill. Building in some dedication to improving strength and movement quality, skill, has to be part of anyone’s program who sits a lot. Or you’ll be stacking nice muscles on a poor frame, poorly functioning body.

    So each of us is free to pursue the set of qualities that are most important us. But in the same way that fixing your metabolism and gaining some fat may be the fastest way to get lean in a sustainable way, such is true with body building.

    The reality is that many of us may need to step back and correct posture dysfunctions and other obvious movement dysfunctions before diving headlong into bodybuilding…

    If you can’t reach over your head, perform a hip hinge, squat to the floor, do a set of 20 perfect pushups, do perfect pullups, I would bet your body building efforts will be met with a hard stop.

    Movement. Reps. Load

    Reply
    • very helpful comment! there’s no best form of exercise, just the most suitable form for our goals. I’m female, and am not looking to pile on muscle mass, but I want to be strong and lean, and at the same time, have the stamina and endurance for, i don’t know, when I need to run away from bad guys or sth.

      I used to be pretty obsessed about HIIT, did a workout everyday (coincidentally from the website matt posted in one of the comments i.e. bodyrock), yup somehow I hardly suffered muscle aches and had quick recovery, but I’ve stopped that all. been trying to up my carbs and decrease my exercise to get my temps up, and ultimately, just to be healthy (and hopefully clear my acne).

      recently, been starting to do a lot of yoga, because it feels good and calm, yet is exercise. and I find myself gaining flexibility (hey I think this is one thing many bodybuilders overlook), and core strength. what do you all here think about JUST doing yoga?? i know it seems ‘easy’ but I’m talking about power yoga and more advanced poses that require lots of arm strength and core balances. I see yoga teachers and they seem to have the body (and also emotional and mental clarity and peace) that I strive to achieve.

      Reply
      • Shu-

        I have done power and hot yoga for the past 15 years, and I have to say, it has kept me lean and strong. I love trying new workouts, but I always come back to yoga and make sure I do a full few sessions per week, and then some lighter sessions after other workouts the rest of the time. I think it can help keep you slim and lean!

        Reply
  29. SORRY just saw your comment about juice, milk, meat etc. for some reason didn’t see it before. Many thanks!

    Reply
  30. No mention of the greatest piece of exercise equipment ever created. The moon bounce.

    Reply
  31. Has anyone here tried taking cream of tartar for potassium while working out? It can really cut down on soreness. I have had trouble since I was a kid with getting sore muscles and now I can do a 45 min workout and not get sore (but I don’t work out very much as it causes other problems for me). I told a friend of mine who runs marathons and he said it made a huge difference in how sore he was the day after a marathon. I put it in lemonade and drink it whenever I know I’m going to be doing anything very physical.

    Reply
  32. I feel like a complete idiot because I just don’t get exactly what you did each day, and then you said something about completing something in 10 days? Yie!

    I don’t lift weights, so maybe that’s the problem, and I haven’t had time to read the comments. I never know what to do when lifting weights, so I don’t do them, but I’d sure love to get some muscle tone.

    Reply
  33. I have a hypothyriod since I am 27 (now I am 46 with 5 kids). About 5 years ago I decided that muscle mass is key to maintaining a good metabolism. I have been doing weight training consistently since then. Firstly it completely recomposed my body. Secondly, I am sure that it helps my insulin resistance. I am now experimenting on Matt’s diet recovery for the past week. I am doing a full month of rest, my body temps are usually around 97 – 97.5 and my pulse is really low – its really hard for me to work up a sweat at the gym. My resting heart rate is about 49, and 60 during passive activity. I have been eating low carb lunches since my first pregnancy because I get really drained if I have carbs for lunch… I have been making myself have a potato+butter+cheese for lunch on the experiment for the last week or so – and feel I just want to pass out after lunch! I am at full rest now, no exercise this month.

    Do you think the body can build up its tolerance for carbs? In my case it wasn’t induced from randomly deciding on a low carb diet – I just realized that my body couldn’t take carbs for lunch without going into an energy drain. Is it really possible to build up a tolerance for carbs or is the intolerance connected to the hypothyroid or body type? My options are 1) Continue the experiment of eating carbs for lunch or 2) Eat carbs for breakfast and dinner and have a low carb lunch: question is if this will be as effective… 3) I do not seem to have the same problem with fruit or dairy… maybe I should have milk/yogurt for lunch? My goal is to increase my body temps. I feel I am coldest at bed time -my feet get super chilly, in the mornings I am much warmer. Love to hear everyone’s insight on this…

    Reply
    • You want to feel totally exhausted. That is the objective. That is your adrenal glands powering down, and you entering into your restful, healing state. We do most of our bodily damage when feeling great, and do most of our healing work when feeling tired, drained, and exhausted.

      You can and will overcome this carb problem if you keep at it.

      If you are colder at night, you may be drinking too many fluids during the day. I would certainly recommend eating more and drinking less at the times of day where you feel coldest and are urinating most frequently.

      Reply
      • I never connected the frequent urination before and I have it a lot…and I do drink a lot of tea. OK, so I guess I am going to be a walking post-lunch zombie for the next few weeks…So what happens to pulse rate and body temp immediately after a meal like that?

        Reply
        • Pulse rate and body temp and blood pressure all should go up after a big meal. If any of that sounds scary, just remember that the low point of those 3 factors takes place in the wee hours of the night and early morning – when people are the most likely to DIE of stuff like heart disease. Those peak at 6-8 pm in a normal person, when people normally feel their absolute best – in terms of mood, athletic capacity, flexibility, etc.

          Reply
      • Healing when exhausted and feeling like total crap. That is so true, Matt. I’ve watched my daughter heal from severe rheumatoid arthritis this past year which we treated as caused by total adrenal failure – had her eat lots of raw milk, egg yolks, raw liver, raw meat, fish. She avoided sugar, refined grains, and veggie oils, but continued to eat properly prepared whole grains, nightshades. She has taken no medications.

        When her health first collapsed, she had razor sharp pains in all her joints and needed to sleep 18 hours/day. Very, very gradually the pain started easing, and she has needed less sleep. Every two months she would need one less hour of sleep/day. After almost 1-1/2 years, she is living her life again and can now function well with no pain on 10 hours sleep/night.

        Reply
        • Yes, impatience is the biggest barrier between most people and improving their health, body composition, etc. Most people want to feel great and have a 6-pack 10 minutes ago. They don’t want to hear, after feeling tired and fat for years, that they now need to spend time feeling EVEN MORE TIRED and EVEN MORE FAT.

          Reply
  34. I have that exhausted feeling after lunch usually…..siesta time! Am doing some weights and muscle toning exercises in the morning and am feeling the benefits. For most people, how long do you figure this “healing” phase will last?

    Reply
  35. There’s a 60 Minutes segment on the “toxicity” of sugar tonight. Hope everyone will watch and be ready to shred what I imagine will be a pretty shallow and misleading perspective on the subject!

    Reply
    • I know the Lustig schpiel already. It all sounds very intellectually compelling. It makes sense. I avoided sugar of all kinds, including fruit, for years. But had immediate health improvements when I added sugar back in that I could not deny.

      Reply
    • Hey! that’s my name! I will switch to Pizzaholic!

      Reply
  36. Ditto on that, which is interesting considering Im a type 1 diabetic. Best of all for me, though, is that Im so much happier and more pleasant to be around when I include a pretty good amount of sweets in my diet.

    Reply
  37. FWIW, fresh juiced lemon water helps my muscle soreness. It’s also a great prevenative measure. D3 helps too.

    Reply
  38. I trained for about a year in powerlifting on low carb. Smdh. “coach , I’m not recovering very well…” No shit Sherlock hahahahah

    Reply
  39. OMG this guy is nuts.Take it from me the bulk phase is for steroid users.I bulked for yrs and gained flab all over everytime.When I dieted it was horrific to lose the weight again and depressing so much that its crazy life from there on in.Steroids on the other hand hold onto mass like crazy and burn fat like crazy so the bulk phase is highly credited.

    What is with this 98deg body he pushes?Just means the body is trying to burn fat since obesity is not good.98 98 98 98 98 98 98 98 98 98 is what he pushes and people just gobble it up and become true believers because they basically want to eat ice cream and pizza like crazy and become lean,knowing in the hearts they will become flabby.Doesn’t make sense to me.Lower body temps are associated with longevity and high metabolisms are associated with rapid aging.So why not eat just above the low body temp or in between.Why race your body tryingto rev it up when you can eat less and live long while remaining lean.

    IF YOU WANT TO BULK UP THEN GO FOR IT!!! :)

    Reply
    • Why do trolls have poor grammar and sound like they just got back from auditioning for “The Jersey Shore”?

      Reply
  40. Great advices. I have never been an athlete, but what helped me reach my peak performance was high intensity training enhanced by nutritional supplements. I’ve tried Military Grade Nutritionals’ preworkouts and they really hit the spot. They deliver pretty much energy and focus, making me capable of doing much more. Besides, I love natural compounds – Siberian Ginseng, Ginko Biloba. Now I am taking maximum of my workouts and gaining the best shape ever.

    Reply

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