Dr Doug McGuff – Why You Should NOT Bulk Up (#161)

Dr Doug McGuff
Dr Doug McGuff courtesy of HITuni.com

Dr Doug McGuff (Instagram / YouTube) is the co-author of Body by Science: A Research Based Program for Strength Training, Body building, and Complete Fitness in 12 Minutes a Week and The Primal Prescription: Surviving The “Sick Care” Sinkhole.

Doug practices full-time emergency medicine with Blue Ridge Emergency Physicians and owns, Ultimate Exercise, where he and his instructors continue to explore the limits of exercise through their personal training of clients. Doug is one of the leading experts in high intensity strength training and provides consultancy services to help you achieve your health and body composition goals, setup a home gym, or start a HIT facility HERE.

Listen to all of my episodes with Doug HERE.

This episode is Doug’s response to Should I Bulk Up (#157). In episode 157, I described how I was feeling insecure about my physique and embarked on a calorie surplus alongside my training regime to attempt to stimulate more muscle growth. In this latest episode (#161), Doug describes precisely why he thinks this is a bad idea.

This is one of the most important episodes I’ve published on the pursuit of optimal muscle gain and strength training over the long term. If you are a hardgainer or been doing HIT for a long time, you will find this enlightening, hilariously honest and very helpful. I am so excited and honoured to be able to bring you this.

“By the time we get to where we are …. I think what you experience is …. stimulus, recovery, nothing. Stimulus, recovery, nothing. Stimulus, recovery, nothing. Stimulus, recovery, nothing. Stimulus, recovery, nothing. Stimulus, recovery … then suddenly something happens.”

~ Dr Doug McGuff

In this episode, we discuss:

  • How gaining body fat can potentially reduce muscle mass
  • How calorie intake for muscle gain should perhaps be organic
  • The truth about Doug’s own genetics and training failures (this will shock you!)
  • How to spot if you’re over training
  • … and much, much more

Enjoy!

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Selected Links from the Episode

People Mentioned

  • Thomas

    Sage advice from the good doctor. It’s hard to go wrong with Dr. McGuff’s counsel here, especially for the hardgainers who tend to have delusions of grandeur at times with regards to their physical potential (like me, with 6.25″ wrists, lol). Also, I get the “are you a runner” thing all of the time, Lol. Continue the grind!

    • http://www.15minutecorporatewarrior.com Lawrence Neal

      Thanks Thomas. I also have similar size wrists. I’ll never forget I was in a meeting, and this women was asking about my blog and podcast and she said, “what are you a marathon runner or something?” It drove me mad!

      • Kamen Stranchevski

        That’s because she had never seen one…in swimming trunks…LOL

      • Andrew May

        I had someone ask if my running was what made me gain upper body muscle mass….

  • Andrew May

    “We are conducting self experiments on the one person in the world that’s easiest to fool and that’s ourselves” This is the most important thing that’s been said on any episode of this podcast.

    • http://www.15minutecorporatewarrior.com Lawrence Neal

      True that sir!

    • enlite

      Very true indeed !

  • Ricky Ryan

    I certainly agree that bulking up that results in fat gain is not worth it. But IMHO, you definitely have a good 5 pounds of muscle you can pack on your frame within 1 year. Start with a simple 250 calories over maintenance. I would make that 250 just protein.

    Start working out once every 3 days (that’s 10 workouts over 30 days), so it’s a little over 2 per week. 7-8 exercises per workout.

    See where that goes, if after 8 weeks you’ve seen no lean gains, increase calories another 250. If you’ve gained 1 pound of muscle, then keep at it.

    You should do it now, your hormone levels are still high, make use of them.

    I’m certain you have 5 pounds of muscle that is within reach within 1-2 years. If you were 40, I would not be as optimistic.

    • http://www.15minutecorporatewarrior.com Lawrence Neal

      Thank you Ricky. I appreciate your support. Not sure I agree though and I’ve decided to continue what I was doing before the “bulk”. And according to my caliper readings, my lean mass was trending up anyway!

  • q

    Great podcast
    @51:58 “appropriately lean”
    Have not been able to find credible references to healthy / appropriate body fat % for older males.
    Seems that in the standard tables everyone over 50 is lumped together in some ultra wide range

    • http://www.15minutecorporatewarrior.com Lawrence Neal

      Don’t know of references either but remember Doug saying that it’s 8-11% for males.

      • enlite

        Athletes usually are in the range of 8-16 % for males depending on the particular sport & 15-20 % for average males and 25-30 % for females .

  • ad ligtvoet

    From knowledge to wisdom. Comes with aging/experience if……….one knows what to look for and what ones life is all about.
    Good luck in deciding .

  • Rob H

    FANTASTIC interview – Doug, listening to this gave me the same feeling I had when I first read BBS: you nailed it sir. Not only spot on, but very eloquently communicated too. I have never heard anyone put it quite like this before, but you had me nodding all the way through.. What really struck me was how easily distracted we are by short-term inconsequential details – we need to keep pulling ourselves back to the big picture and thinking about everything in the context of the long-term – ie YEARS as opposed to weeks..I am now much more aware of trying to minimise any joint/ ligament damage – got to keep in the game for the long term.. Also, I loved the way you focussed on year-round ‘leannes’: this seems to be a poor-cousin to ‘bulking’ in most body building circles, yet I agree with you that it is probably the most important thing to achieve. In terms of optimum health, I would venture that a lean physique with some good muscle on top is as much as we need. And yes, most people would call us ‘too thin’ but I am used to that now. But as we all know, this sh*t is addicitve: once we start down this path, we end up wanting more and more. Being able to appreciate when we have ‘enough’ is key – but as Doug says still continuing to enjoy the process and take the gains as they come – but not to crave/ depend on them – see them as an added ‘free bonus’ that will be given to us from time to time!

    • http://www.15minutecorporatewarrior.com Lawrence Neal

      Thank you Rob.

  • Rob H

    Oh and one more comment to the ‘are carbs needed to bulk?’ question (which seems a bit irrelevant now after Doug has kicked us all into touch..)

    According to Dr Keith Baar, the answer is no. See the link below to his STEMtalk podcast, but in summary the reason why people believe carbs are beneficial around resistance training is because they raise insulin, which is a growth factor-related switch for the nutrient sensor M-TOR, which has been shown to increase muscle protein synthesis. However, Dr Baar’s research shows that it’s effect is identical to that of mechanical exercise itself, so the carbs are not relevant in this circumstance. Amino acids on the other hand, especially leucine and the other Essential Aminos, increase M-TOR and muscle protein synthesis in a complementary way though, so they are definitley beneficial. Carbs therefore only needed if one needs to replenish glycogen stores within hours. Not something that too many of us HIT-ites will be doing I guess.. Personally, I’d advise adjusting your calories with protein instead, since there is no downside to higher protein %s. Unless you ask Dr Valter Longo of course, but I can’t help feeling he is following his own agenda on this one, the consensus of research seems to indicate that high protein is the way to go..

    https://www.ihmc.us/stemtalk/episode-62/

    • Thomas

      Yeah, but why use your protein for energy? What’s a good reason not to eat carbohydrates in your diet?

      • Rob H

        Sorry, I didn’t mean that you should necessarily use protein for energy (not that it would matter if you did though, since the body can synthesise the exact amount of glucose it requires for energy from protein via ‘gluconeogenesis’ which has been shown to be very precise demand-driven process as opposed to a simple supply-driven process. Only exception being where you are engaging in power sports and need to generate force/energy quickly – gluconeogenesis is a slower process than burning exogenous glucose.) Many people (me included) have very low carb/ ketogenic style diets and for example I powered through my HIT routine yesterday (hitting some PBs) at the back of a 20 hour fast, having consumed only whey + collagen 40 minutes beforehand, ie no carbs at all. I did consume some carbs (fruit) in my post workout meal though when breaking the fast (and had taken a couple of teaspoons of coconut oil during the fast to avoid hunger).

        I feel the best way to approach this is the ‘Leangains’ protocol, ie to firstly aim to get around 2g – 4g protein per kilo of bodyweight, then to back-fill the remainder of your calorie requirement (if you are trying to lose fat that is, maybe specific calorie goals not so relevant once you have reached a stable level of body fat) with wholefood sources of carbs or fat to suit your personal preference. Maybe more carbs/ less fat on workout days (to replete glycogen stores) and vice-versa on non-workout days, but again really just personal preference – I’m pretty much low-carb most days now.

        • Thomas

          Got it. Yeah, some just prefer a lower carb/keto diet because of the way it makes them feel (not to mention people who do it for medical reasons) and/or to control hunger. That’s totally respectable (for whatever reason, many HIT folks (but not just) bought into the carb-insulin-obesity hypothesis hook line and sinker (me too) which was interesting since they prided themselves on being evidence based and skeptical). I do like paleo as a framework for a a healthy diet. It still provides a lot of wiggle room for variation.

      • Rob H

        Oh and as regards your second question – absolutely nothing wrong with ‘wholefood’ carbs (ie fruits, whole starchy veggies) in the context of a high protein diet and within the context of your calorie goals. For me, low-carb is purely down to personal preference – I feel more clear-headed and energetic with when minimising carbs. Also, it has been noted that those following a higher-carb approach to leaning down may well experience more food cravings/ hunger etc and find the whole process of leaning down much more challenging than a low-carb approach. But as ever, it depends on the individual response!

        • Thomas

          I agree.

        • http://www.15minutecorporatewarrior.com Lawrence Neal

          Nicely put. I eat white potatoes in the evening because they are more nutrient dense than white rice, and just taste really good :D. And I can still get and stay lean with 2-300g carbs a day. Calorie balance right? 😉

          • ad ligtvoet

            300 gr carbs?? How many meals? In combi with protein intake? How much fat? Do you calculate this stuff? Is THAT how to deal with nutrition?
            Anyway as long as it works, but you too grow older!!

          • enlite

            Indeed !

      • enlite

        Exactly !

    • Shameer Mulji

      “Carbs spare protein in ways that fat can’t”

      I recommend watching this

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uk0F6WK6-KM

      • Rob H

        Great link Shameer, thanks for posting that – I follow Chris Masterjohn’s podcasts but I hadn’t seen this video. In the last 3 minutes he talks about the fact that whilst carbs spare protein more than fat – taking in sufficient (ie higher) protein is an alternative strategy.

      • enlite

        Great video and this is something that many people don’t realize and yet another reason why carbs are important .

    • http://www.15minutecorporatewarrior.com Lawrence Neal

      Thank you Rob. Really appreciate you taking the time to write this. I haven’t seen too much of Longo’s work but it seems that a lot of it is based on epidemiology, and most of us know the limitations of those studies: self-reporting, health user bias, confounders, overstating absolute risk, etc. Unless the relative risk is in the hundreds of % it’s relatively meaningless and can only generate a hypothesis. Moreover, Dr Ben Bickman describes how in the context of a low-carb diet, high protein does not elevate insulin much due to the secretion of glucagon (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z3fO5aTD6JU&vl=en) so I think the cancer fears are a little unfounded and taken out of context. And lastly, Longo has a fair amount of skin in the fasting game with all his products.

      • Kamen Stranchevski

        Cancer, digestive problems or not is really not clear! But the high protein diet is a load on the Wallet for sure and in the context of the interview, realising that the realistic muscle gains are marginal after a certain point, the weight of this particular nutrient should be diminishing in the overall equation IMO.

        • enlite

          Exactly ! In my observation & experience swallowing all those protein shakes didn’t do jack to increase my muscle mass . LMAO !

          • Kamen Stranchevski

            You probably very well know that enlite, but for the rest…Mike Mentzer addressed the subject of protein in one’s diet, even more specific the Heavy Duty diet in greatest detail and explained a lot of things…some 40 years ago. Same goes for carb inatake etc. It is strange how people forget and is strange how people decide whom to listen to. Surely Mike was not your typical HIT guru, who does only the talk…

          • enlite

            I agree that Mr Mentzer doesn’t get enough credit for his vast contributions to the field of exercise & nutrition .

          • Kamen Stranchevski

            I know that you likewise do not buy the popular 1,6/kg formula, but am curious if you have your own. Mine seems to be, that a gram per kg of lean mass is plentiful. For leaning out as well. So instead of aiming for protein intake based on desired bodyweight, better to aim at desired lean mass weight, with the account of desired fat percentage. Of course in this case also people could go unrealistically crazy and in the end the good old RDA seems to be the most universal approach. What’s your take on these matters?

          • enlite

            I agree with your assessment . Approximately half your body weight in grams is more than sufficient in terms of protein intake and probably even less than that would be okay .

      • Andrew May

        I’m going to try a (DIY) Prolon in the next month or two, will let you know how I get on. I figure if it’s not costing me anything and I can throw the towel in if I want then it “can’t hurt”. I’ve plenty of experience with VLC dieting/fasting and have not experienced any noticeable LBM loss. I’m also aware that I’m neither a mouse nor a dot on a curve!

      • Rob H

        Wow – that Ben Bikman video from Low Carb Breck 2018 is incredible. You already know that I am a keen advocate of Berkhan’s ‘Leangains’ approach (at least as far as body composition is concerned anyway) – but even in his Leangains book, Berkhan never got into the ‘nuts and bolts’ of the mechanisms enough (at least not for me anyway) and this video really explains the underlying mechanisms beautifully.

        A couple of standout points for me though that I hadn’t given enough consideration to before:

        – Taking pure fat during a fast (eg coconut oil) will increase glucagon without boosting insulin, therefore augmenting the beneficial effects of fasting (autophagy etc). I feel justified in taking my teaspoons of coconut oil to get rid of my hunger during intermittent fasting now! But yes, I am sure that if you over-did it with several tablespoons of the stuff, then the caloric effects would have a negative impact on fasting – due to the entirely separate mechanisms associated with calorie sensing.
        – If Bikman’s research is to be believed, then if you are fasted or low carb, adding pure protein to that will have an anabolic effect on muscle tissue (since they have no glucagon receptors) but will at the same time have a net catabolic effect on body fat and the liver, due to the large effect of glucagon in a fasted state. If you then add in resistance training on top of that to provide the stimulus, then you have created a very good metabolic environment in my opinion..
        – Bikman also seems to be saying that for a generally low-carb individual, adding not only protein but also carbs provides an anabolic effect in muscle tissue. So, I can now see why Berkhan advises to eat higher carb/ lower fat in the post-workout recovery period. It all kind of makes sense now..

        Keep posting anything else you uncover like this Lawrence, I find the whole process of gluconeogenesis/ insulin vs glucagon really interesting..

        • Rob H

          One other observation: whilst Berkhan is at pains to say in his Leangains book that his high protein/ moderate fat/ moderate carb Leangains diet is definitely NOT ketogenic, Dr Bikman appears to be saying here that by following this same approach, ie by boosting your % of protein, you are actually increasing ketogenesis… Maybe this is what underpins the similar high-protein philosophy of the ‘keto-gains’ website… Very interesting..

  • Kamen Stranchevski

    Awesome! This one is really one of the best on the blog. Congratulations Lawrence. That should have provided you with a relief after all the bombardment you’ve received from us all, after publishing the”Should I bulk up” episode :))) Very very nice indeed.
    Just for the record and as a Tribute to a man who got mentioned in the conversation – Mike Mentzer… The two “phenomenons”, that Doug talks about, namely the delayed growth spurts after even several months of “training and no gaining” and the unpleasant cycle of bulking, cutting and eventually leaving with less muscle mass than from the start, are both well described in Mike Mentzer’s books.

    • http://www.15minutecorporatewarrior.com Lawrence Neal

      Thank you Kamen. I strongly believe that this is healthy listening for everyone in this game. I hope that it will get shared far and wide! And yes it did provide me with some relief, and I’ve since had some great conversations with people that have really helped me to appreciate my accomplishment and get back to eating for healthspan and enjoying the training process.

      • Kamen Stranchevski

        Awesome!

    • enlite

      Very true !

  • Tom Field

    Doug raised an interesting point about the average leaness of WWII recruits. One confounding factor in those years may be the widespread use of tobacco. Otherwise as usual Doug is spot on. Its a process, not a destination.

    • q

      I suspect that average height was also shorter than the current generation

      • Kamen Stranchevski

        True that!

    • http://www.15minutecorporatewarrior.com Lawrence Neal

      Valid point!

  • Eric

    Great podcast. I’ve tried slow bulking and bulking and the results are the same. I get fat. Volume or low volume. That’s the general response I get from people on the web when I ask about their routine “You’ve got to eat more”. Eating a lot is not a problem. I can do it. But the result is always the same, I gain fat and almost no muscle to show for it.

    I did a slowish bulk for a while but decided to lean down and I’m getting ALL of the remarks you guys are talking about in the podcast. Especially the one’s Doug mentioned at the end.

    I’m 5’7.5 and I weigh 149, waist is sitting at 30in.

    Now that I’m leaner I’ll try and eat at around maintenance instead. Get enough calories but not so much that I’m gaining weight. If I get hungry I’ll eat more.

    • http://www.15minutecorporatewarrior.com Lawrence Neal

      Thank you Eric. Appreciate the comment. This is very helpful.

  • Kamen Stranchevski

    The funniest and perhaps most sincere part was in the beginning….we are all saying we do it for the health benefits … etc… that is crap…
    What a cool guy!

    • Eric

      I actually DID start it for the health benefits. My health was pretty bad. I took care of that but after a while of lifting and eating right I kind of started wondering why the heck I didn’t look like I worked out! I come for the health benefits, I stayed for the muscles…even if they don’t come.

      • http://www.15minutecorporatewarrior.com Lawrence Neal

        Wise 😉

    • http://www.15minutecorporatewarrior.com Lawrence Neal

      Hahahah when I listen back my laughter doesn’t sound legit but I promise you all I was in hysterics, especially when Doug mentioned about being called a runner when he’s in his best shape. I’ve had that ALOT!

  • marcrph

    I agree with almost everything Dr. McGuff said.
    Don’t do it! Lawrence.
    The average weight of American WW2 soldiers was somewhat surprising.
    Not much new information though!

    Dr. McGuff is wrong on the scheduling of anabolic steroids.
    They fall into schedule 3 …not Schedule 1!

    https://www.dea.gov/drug-scheduling

    I feel cheated that Dr. McGuff did not comment on Dr. Winett’s cardiovascular training.

    “But when I switched my cardiovascular training to short distances and sprinting, I’m really got quite good. Indeed, casting modesty to the winds, I’m spectacular doing sprints. I could have been an excellent 200-meter or 400-meter runner. I never would have discovered that if I had not tried a very different style of training with very different goals.”

    An ethical healthcare provider has no other choice but to administer therapy in a way that reasonable persons can benefit. That is a huge can of worms!

    Marc

    • http://www.15minutecorporatewarrior.com Lawrence Neal

      Thanks for the advice Marc. You’ll be pleased to know that I stopped the experiment short. I actually did another caliper test this morning, and based on caliper readings my body fat has jumped to over 13%! From 8-9%. Take with a pinch of salt since using calipers but I always use the same tool for consistency.

      Regarding your note about cardiovascular training, this was not focused on during this episode. I might schedule another ep with Doug in the future on this topic specifically.

      • marcrph

        I use an Omron body composition analyzer. To be honest I think a waist hip ratio would be a poor man solution. It is hard to fool the eye.
        A tape measure is also a good inexpensive
        A

        Dr Shawn Baker world records on the Concept 2 rower was inspirational. Clarence Bass also likes the C2 rower as does Dr Winett.

        Dr McGuff has lots of explaining for his flawed Global Metabolic Conditioning hypothesis. His hypothesis on cardiac conditioning is not shared by the majority of experts either

        • enlite

          CONSENSUS doesn’t make for truth .

          • marcrph

            neither does your ramblings

          • enlite

            Ramblings ?! I made a perfectly logical & sensible statement but to someone such as yourself it would seem like ramblings .

          • marcrph

            “I made a perfectly logical & sensible statement”

            Where?

            You seem to put faith in every word certain people write.

            The facts are:

            Resistance training is a poor CV conditional method.

            Global metabolic conditioning is obviously a false hypothesis since the above is certainly true.

            The weight of the evidence is clear that resistance training is also inferior to CV training as regards cardiac function.

            Lung function is best trained by CV methods also.

            Resistance training is good for strength and muscle hypertrophy.

            I fully do not expect you to agree with the above, so go hide with your cultish RT therapy groups.

          • enlite

            First of all i don’t put faith in anything anyone says . Second of all logic/reason dictates my views and conclusions i make on whatever subject matter . Third of all you come across as an arrogant & pompous fool who doesn’t understand that CARDIO/AEROBICS are terms not an exercise modality !

          • marcrph

            I ask for facts or logic.

            What is given?

            Name calling!

            “Arrogant & pompous fool”

            Name calling is an effort to distract because the person has no logic or facts to refute an opponent

          • enlite

            I’m responding to you in kind Marc . You make comments to me such as ” go hide with my cultish RT therapy groups ” and such insults ! It seems to me that this blog and most who post here are HIT oriented trainers and i enjoy coming here and chopping it up with everyone , except you . Why you may ask ? Because you insult & degrade not just me but others as well . You’re constantly hitting everyone over the head with you’re ” CARDIO/AEROBICS ” arguments/facts/figures but as i said this blog is or at least in a very significant part HIT oriented . I disagree with some who post here but i’ve always done so with tact/respect and refrain from calling people idiots/stupid/cultish . You’re very rude disrespectful and abrasive Marc and i for one am tired of it ! Everyone who doesn’t agree with you’re stance on CARDIO is ignorant /uninformed/uneducated/stupid/cultish and such . You fail to grasp simple logical truths about the human body such as , you’re heart and lungs can’t tell the difference between a hard set of leg presses or a sprint . How one chooses to exercise is their business but please refrain from trying to tell me that a treadmill , stationary bike , stair stepper is going to do something magical to my heart & lungs that very intense strength training will not !

          • marcrph

            I read your emotional rant with laughter. You drew 1st blood. Your custodial stance toward posters who share divergent views as being unwelcome is sad. Divergent views and healthy debate make everyone better. Having differering views is not rude or disrespectful. I have asked you to stick to facts and logic yet you continue with other tactics. Blame yourself. I care not how you exercise, but I will challenge anyone that “very intense strength training” is all one needs for their heart and lungs. Prove it!

          • enlite

            Once again you put your ignorance on display for all to see . The manner in which you address people is the problem not your views . Your admonishment ” prove it ” is absurd as i can’t prove anything to you nor am i interested in doing so . What’s hilarious is that you’ve never ” proven ” a thing . If you were grounded in logic as you claim then you would understand simple logical truths which you don’t otherwise there would be no need to constantly argue about CARDIO . I don’t get emotional about strangers on a blog .

          • enlite

            Who appointed you as the official guardian/policeman on this blog ?! I think i’ll call you CARDIOMAN ! If anyone dares to question/challenge traditional concepts of cardio CARDIOMAN will always be there ! LMAO !

          • http://www.15minutecorporatewarrior.com Lawrence Neal

            Ok guys please play nice. This is turning the comments toxic. Spirited debate is fine but this is just turning into immaturity.

          • enlite

            Sorry Lawrence i’m certainly not here to cause problems at all but Marc is very rude & disrespectful not just to me but others as well . I enjoy chopping it up on your blog with everyone but Marc needs to be put in check . Perhaps it’s better i just ignore him from now on .

          • http://www.15minutecorporatewarrior.com Lawrence Neal

            Yes, if the discussion devolves into personal attacks, I will have no choice but to ban certain members. Typically, there is really productive discussion on this blog. And that’s exactly the kind of thing I want to cultivate. So yes, please refrain from any personal beef.

          • enlite

            I have no personal beefs with anyone here as i don’t know anyone personally however Marc as you’ve pointed out yourself previously , has crossed the line with me more than once . Perhaps you should address him and let him know that you will not tolerate his snide remarks & insults .

          • http://www.15minutecorporatewarrior.com Lawrence Neal

            Thanks Enlite. I have addressed it with Marc, and will be reviewing comments (there’s a lot), to decide on future action.

          • http://www.15minutecorporatewarrior.com Lawrence Neal

            Thanks Enlite.

          • Kamen Stranchevski

            Lung function is just so vague of an area…

          • enlite

            True !

          • marcrph

            “Vague”

            Please review lung function tests

            I have a spirometer of which I collect lung function data
            One loses 40% of lung capacity by age 50
            No one lift weights to improve lung function successfully

          • Kamen Stranchevski

            Yes Mark, I said it’s vague, because of few facts, like the normal functions of the lungs actually requres avery small percentage of their “capacity”, so the connection capacity – function is vague. I have a swimming background from a kid till teenage. I believe that swimming is something that people do for lungs right? In all honesty there are people, recordsmen, worldwide known too, from my country, my home town, marathon distance swimmers, who passed at old age due to lungs problems. Not one person too! Could be biased, but as I see it it is very hard to draw straight line between improved lungs capacity-health etc.

          • enlite

            Exactly ! I’m afraid that Marc isn’t the type that can be reasoned with though and your attempts will fall on deaf ears .

          • marcrph

            Fear comes from uncertainty
            Knowledge is power

          • enlite

            Truth is an event and only through experience can the veracity of a truth be verified .

          • marcrph

            Perhaps a review of:

            Framingham Heart Study with Dr William B Kannel and Helen Hubert.

            2000 Dr Holger Schunemann

            a critical medical review will eliminate any vagueness

            The “breath of life”

          • Kamen Stranchevski

            True that!

        • enlite

          Did it ever occur to you that all the so called experts your referring to may in fact be wrong ?

  • Shameer Mulji

    I think you should pack on as much muscle as your genetics will allow. Here’s Simeon Panda, a top-level bodybuilder. He’s not in competition form in this tweet but he’s anything but fat & looks great.

    https://twitter.com/SimeonPanda/status/1045038069286498305

    • Andrew May

      If he’s natural then he’s one of the biggest genetic freaks that has ever lived. Hardly speaking to the message of this episode.

      • enlite

        And that’s a very big if ! LMAO !

    • http://www.15minutecorporatewarrior.com Lawrence Neal

      Thanks Shameer, but as per Andrew’s comment, Simeon is a genetic freak. I think I’ll stick with what I was doing before this silly bulking! 😉

  • Greg P.

    Good episode, with some very good advice. I’ll offer a few comments, based on my own experience and reading:

    I love to strength train, I enjoy food, and I gain weight easily. As a result, I have occasionally done accidental or unintentional bulks. There have been stretches where I was lifting heavy and seeing my weight go up, because I was eating to appetite and not trying hard enough to control my weight. During some of those stretches, I did get stronger, felt more robust, and appeared to be gaining some muscle as well as fat. But inevitably, I’ve had to cut the fat for health reasons. And inevitably, by the time I got back to a more appropriate degree of leaness, I didn’t end up with any net gain in muscle or strength. I can’t say that I felt like I was worse off than before, just there was no net gain from a bulk and cut cycle.

    Why is bulking popular? Aside from the fact that it is enjoyable to eat, I think there are two factors:

    1). I believe that within some limited range (8% to 20% body fat) being fatter does make it easier for some people to carry more muscle. But it doesn’t take much to get to the point of diminishing returns. And typically, those gains in muscle cannot be preserved when cutting. At least that was my experience. I think this is also evident in the experience of body builders who are leaning out for a contest. I think it is pretty common, when trying to get very lean (<8% body fat) for those guys to see considerable losses of strength and muscle mass. Absent great genetics and drugs, it is almost impossible to be big and lean.

    2). Add to the above the existence of misleading anecdotes: I think you can find some genetically gifted folks who are undermuscled because they don’t strength train, or they are hyperactive, or they do a lot of cardio or other endurance based sports, or they are underfed from trying to be really lean. Put those people on a lifting program and a calorie surplus, they will blow up like an inflatable Schwartzenegger doll. They become the “proof” that you can eat big and get jacked. But what works for the genetically gifted isn’t really very instructive for the rest of us.

    Doug’s suggestion to find your optimal body fat percentage, and then just be patient and consistent is excellent. I’m not sure I believe that everyone will add 1.5 lbs/years with that regime. That probably shows a lot of individual variation.

    Doug’s comments about how the training cycle changes with experienced trainees lines up nicely with conventional thinking in the barbell world. A beginner is considered someone who can add weight to the bar after every training session. When those beginner gains are exhausted, you are supposed to think about making progress on a weekly to monthly basis. (This is for folks doing 3-4 sessions per week).

    Regarding Richard Winnett’s article: my take away was that he felt he had an upper limit of about 140 lbs of lean body weight, and the only thing that had really caused his weight to vary was the amount of body fat that he carried. I don’t get the impression that he would offer himself up as an example of someone who gained 1.5 lbs lean body mass per year for an extended time.

    I agree 100% with Doug that we have very misleading perceptions of what normal weight human beings should look like, for the reasons he cites. The data I’ve seen suggests that recruits into the Union Army (US Civil War) averaged about 5’8” and 143 lbs. (British recruits in WW1 were perhaps a little shorter and lighter than this, more like 5’7” and 130 lbs) By WWII the average size of US soliders hadn’t changed much, still about 5’8” and the 140’s. After WW2, average heights and weights started to increase, probably a combination of better food availability, consumption of more meat and dairy, better medical care, less exposure to infectious diseases, etc.

    • http://www.15minutecorporatewarrior.com Lawrence Neal

      Thank you Greg. Great comment. Worthy of a blog post all by it’s self! I agree completely. I remember Skyler Tanner once talking about a rare individual who preferably partitioned excess substrate into muscle tissue. There is a huge amount of individual variability, and I believe that eating a daily calculated calorie surplus is, for most of us, pushing with a rope. Interesting research on recruits! Puts results in perspective!

  • Matt A

    Great episode 👍

    Personally the bodybuilder physique has never appealed to me. Your physique should be the gold standard to most people I believe Lawrence.

    Just look at most middleweight boxers they aren’t huge but they look great. Unfortunately most people aspire to look like Anthony Joshua instead which results in them getting fat and/or using steroids.

    Brad Pitts physique in fight club is seen as amazing by most people and I believe he was only 150 pounds and 6ft in it. Also think most women prefer this kind of physique.

    Steroids and performance enhancing drugs are so widely used now that it has set the bar unrealistically high for most natural trainers.

    • http://www.15minutecorporatewarrior.com Lawrence Neal

      I agree completely Matt. Thank you for your kind words. I feel embarrassed about getting so distracted.

  • Matt Ely

    Wow, listened to that one THREE times! I feel just as excited as I did after initially reading Body by Science. Doug’s comments on psychologically owning what it means to be average are so helpful to those of us who are more average. Maybe we should start a 7 inch wrist club!
    I think there’s some profound truths here and the ideas apply to any long term endeavor: understand the long term rate of progress, stick to it, repeat, enjoy, and let go of the angst.

    • http://www.15minutecorporatewarrior.com Lawrence Neal

      Well said Matt. I have also listened to it 3 or 4 times. I wouldn’t qualify for that club. My wrists are 6.4 inches LOL.

  • Malcolm

    Another fantastic interview Lawrence! Definitely one you need to listen to a couple of times to be able to absorb everything.

    • http://www.15minutecorporatewarrior.com Lawrence Neal

      Thank you sir. Likewise, I have listened back like 5 times now.

  • enlite

    Just finished listening to the podcast and i must say one of the best i’ve listened to ! The most profound point to me was the fact that our concept of what big/muscular actually is has been totally perverted by performance enhancing drugs & the bodybuilding/fitness field .

    • Kamen Stranchevski

      Absolutely! And the fact that the use of such substances (all sorts of them) is so widespread, beyond belief, is a big part of the reason for existing flawed training programs design and training and diet approach in general. It’s simply unnatural and unreal.

      • enlite

        Very true !

  • Brian Schamber

    Lawrence:

    My Deep Thoughts:

    Once puberty has run it course and hard exercise has been performed for several years muscle gain is “about a pound a year” for the average Joe past the age of 20. Fat is easy to gain, but this ain’t Sumo. If you want to look bigger (temporarily), do the pictures post workout after carb loading for a day, get a tan (10 minutes at a tanning booth should cover it), and shave the body hair, and spray water on the skin right before the photo 🙂 By the time you are 40 you might be at 165. This is a great accomplishment, and only compare yourself to…yourself. I have been up and down the get big game and you are lucky to be able to stay lean. Of topic, I am working on my HitUni MPT, how are you coming along on yours?

    • http://www.15minutecorporatewarrior.com Lawrence Neal

      Thanks Brian. I appreciate the photo tips :D. I’ve become much more content in myself since having this conversation with Doug. I should be very pleased with my achievements as should many of us. But I am now more motivated than ever to play it smart over a life time.

      My HITuni MPT is about 70% done, but because I don’t do any formal personal training, I have prioritised my membership service (helping new and existing HIT businesses grow (http://corporatewarrior.co/membership-sales) and the podcast. However, I will complete my PT course, probably this year, in line with kicking off my own HIT business, and using that experience to fuel the membership, as currently I’m the curator for the HIT Business experts like Luke Carlson and his team at Discover Strength. How are you getting on with your course?

      • Brian Schamber

        I am about 80% complete on it. I can’t go full time in the business right now, but hope to get going part time by 2/1/19. I think that a combinations of the Hit AIO, body-weight, and free weights in a 400 square foot home studio might be the way for me. Quonset Huts are not that expensive 🙂

        • http://www.15minutecorporatewarrior.com Lawrence Neal

          Nice work. That sounds great. I think it’s smart to transition over like that to be honest. Not everyone wants to be a personal trainer either, and I think it pays to “taste” it first. I never want to be a full-time PT. Ideally, I’d do it as a part-time gig alongside running the membership and podcast.