For any technical support issues please email us on the address in the first FAQ item below.

If you have a question or need clarification on the content of the books you will find your answers among the 800+ on this page.


FAQ

Can you resend my download link for the books? I haven’t received them.

– The links will have been sent to the address you used at checkout with Paypal. Please check that address, including your spam folder. If you have any trouble just shoot us an email and we’ll fix it.

Screen Shot 2015-12-23 at 11.52.49 AM

Where can I leave feedback?

– We value and welcome feedback as that will help us make future editions better. Andy has created a feedback form here.

I’m a little confused with some of the abbreviations at the end of training ebook. What do HH, SL, LP, Wt B Ext, and DL stand for?

– Hip hinge, single leg, leg press, weighted-back extension and deadlift. Make sure to read the full “Sample Training Programs” section starting from page 126, as we explain the notations used in the program tables and cover each exercise.

Why isn’t protein set by lean body mass (LBM), and are the protein intake recommendations appropriate for everyone, including overweight people?

– There is very little research on the effects of protein when set by LBM. Also, most people are poor at estimating their body fat percentage. That said, you can easily convert the recommendations of the guide into g/kg or g/lb of LBM vs total bodyweight: 0.9-1.4g /lbs or 2-3 g/kg of LBM. That said, given these books are targeted at non-overweight individuals, the protein recommendations based on total bodyweight are only appropriate for the non overweight (or obese).

For those who are very high in body fat, use either the low end of the recommendations for total bodyweight, or set protein at the same level as your height in centimeters (i.e. if you are 5’10 that’s around 180cm so eat 180 grams of protein). These two options may give you a slightly different number, but they will work perfectly fine.

Which progression should I use for exercise [X]?

The first thing to understand is that there aren’t any should’s in these books, there are merely suggestions on where to start, along with principles and underlying theory you can use to dial things in for yourself.

In terms of progression speed: Linear progression > linear periodization > double progression > advanced periodization techniques.

For all exercises, choose the one furthest to the left of the continuum that you can actually progress with. This is the way you’ll progress fastest. When you can’t do the one, you move onto the next.

Am I really supposed to keep all my sets at a submaximal RPE? In most of the sample programs the RPE is listed as 9 or lower, so I should never train to failure?

RPE values are for your first set, then try to maintain load and complete all sets and reps without hitting failure. In most cases you’ll need to use the lower end of the provided RPE range to do this, unless you’ve got great strength endurance. The RPE values prescribed are low enough so that subsequent sets don’t result in you missing sets and reps. In some cases you’ll be skirting failure on your final sets, for example the RPE 8 to 9 exercises where you are doing 3-5 sets, in other cases you will stay far from failure, like the single leg work, and this is by design.

This is sort of clarified in the novice progression section, but we will make this more clear in the next update of the books. Read page 141 of the novice progression, you’ll notice it states that the RPE values provided should be for the first set, and the final set shouldn’t be completed any higher than 1 RPE value greater than this.

What is the difference between the Nutrition Pyramid and Andy’s book ‘The Last Shred: How to adjust your diet like a pro to reach single digit body fat?

– The former is about diet set-up. The latter is exclusively about dietary adjustments. It is a book that I wrote for people who want to learn how to self-coach, and for other coaches and professionals in this field. This covers the framework I use to adjust and fine tune a diet once everything has been set, which makes is unique in the fitness book area as far as I can tell. The Nutrition Pyramid book touches on this, but doesn’t go into the same level of detail. Eric has been kind enough to spend time with me on this book also, drawing on his experiences coaching to help me to improve it. If that sounds of interest you can find out more here.

Why did you decide to close the comments?

– In the 4 months since it’s release we’ve answered over 800 questions. As the book becomes more popular and more copies are sold, the questions continue to pile up. This is good, this means we’ve helped a lot of people, but it also has become a huge time and energy draw for us. Fortunately, we feel that at this point we have answered 99.9% of the possible questions that should be answered and simply using the CTRL+F function to search on the page will help you find information on anything related to the content of the books.

For a bit more background, I’ve been doing individual Q&A emails, private messages, direct messages, and videos since 2007 and at this stage I’m just a bit burned out from it. Part of the reason I created the muscle and strength videos was to actually have a tutorial and comprehensive guide to refer people to when they had questions anyway. So, at this point we’ve decided to turn off the comment function on this support page. From here on out, you can use it to search for the answer to the question you have, but no new questions will be posted.

With that said, we will continue to put out content on the website, just like we did with my recent blog posts about supplementation, and the guest blog post from Greg Nuckols. So, content and information will continue to be available. Additionally, for those of you who want further information, we have a education-based, vibrant 3D Muscle Journey YouTube channel that is regularly updated with useful information that I encourage you to subscribe to. Finally, if you need more individual attention, you can apply for coaching with either 3DMJ or with Andy here.

As a final update, if anyone is interested in attending a live seminar with the entire 3DMJ team, myself and Andrea included, we will be doing a 2 day conference in London on the 2nd & 3rd of July shreddedbyscience.com/3dmj. The hands on session on Day 2 is sold out, but if you are interested in attending the Day 1 lectures we have spots available.

Regards,
Eric


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Use Control+F to search the comments.

Note: The comment section is now closed (see last FAQ).

However, we’ve answered 800 questions, you will find your answer if you look.

816 Comments on “Feedback, FAQ and Support”

  1. My question is what if I have to miss a training session due to work on the intermediate progression. Do I just act like I made the planned jump and go the next one or do I do week 2 on week three then deload? Thank you very much!

    1. If possible, adjust the schedule to do it later in the week, or just pretend like it happened and went well and carry on with the progression. A third option is to just do the sessions in order when you have free time and not worry about where they fall in a week.

      Check out the level on adherence. These things happen, but if you have set up a training program that you struggle to regularly follow, that is not the ideal training program for your schedule.

        1. Hi Toby, let me answer this as I’m the man that has more experience with translation work.

          Probably not.
          1. The English level of the German population is relatively high, which cuts the market for it.
          2. The books are exceptionally detailed, and would take a single professional 4-6 months of solid work to do, which will be expensive.
          3. We don’t have a German platform to launch in, nor knowledge of how to market there.

      1. Hi

        Could you please give me some basic guidelines for the final week of my diet before I take my pictures at my best shape ever? aka Peak Week?. I’m currently at around 1750 kcal(P:200, F:45, C:110) at my normal days and two refeeds at around 2450 kcal (P:200, F:70, C:250). What to do with carbs-front/back loading?? Water and salt consumption?
        I probably shouldn’t go over my maintenance kcals when carb loading, right?

        Thank you

  2. Will adding more arm work on the intermediate bb-routine may have a beneficial effect for lagging arms or is it rather counterproductive? I also like training arms so does it hinder me when i add another bicep movement with 3×8-12 reps ? Thank you in advance.

    1. If you actually have lagging arms, rather than simply enjoying arm work, additional bicep work isn’t a bad idea to bring them up. This can be performed in such a way to avoid it hindering back work by placing it at the end of a session on the day before on off day, a push day, or a leg day. Increase your volume in small increments on that body part, say by 10-20% at most at any one time.

  3. In the Nutrition book, it is stated that an intermediate 180 lb lifter has the potential to gain 1-2 lbs of lean muscle per month. Is this independent of the actual age of the lifter (ie: 20 years old vs. 50 years old)?

    1. This is difficult to quantify, but can potentially affect the rate at which you can gain weight without it being predominantly fat. Some individuals this will affect more or less than others, my advice would be at the age of 50 perhaps leaning towards the lower end of the range advised for your training age.

  4. Is there a way to pay without going through PayPal? I have a prepaid Visa card that I would like to use to purchase the books. Perhaps through Google Checkout?

    1. Hi Alex. To answer your question: no, not currently. Paypal is the only way we’re able to do it. We’re setting up an LLC in the US, so that we can get the merchant accounts with other the payment processors. This will take a month or two however.

      To address your issue: Paypal accepts Visa, and we pay the fees. Just click the “pay with credit card” button when you get to checkout.
      Pay with Credit Card

  5. I understand there is not an exact answer to this question as everyone is an individual, but was hoping for some guidelines or “signs” I can go by –
    Where you’re explaining about the fitness fatigue model and how an athlete may need to train momentarily in a state where fatigue out weighs performance/recovery to improve fitness. I was wondering how you will gauge how long someone should training in an overly fatigued state before it negatively impacts performance? This will be whilst trying to strike a balance of letting them trained in a fatigued state long enough to reap the benefits of increasing fitness? Thanks Eric.

    1. Paul, most simply, I would advise using a deload week as described in the book, implemented every 4th week as shown in the sample training programs. This is a simple way to ensure you haven’t missed the signs because as you mentioned, this is very individual. Could you use the book to set up a different and yet still effective paradigm? Certainly 🙂

  6. In the training book most of the examples of progression use the increase weight and drop rep(s) approach. In your experience (or if there is any research on the topic) how effective is using RPE as a weekly/monthly progression instead? (Likely for advanced athletes) Example –

    Week 1 – 3 sets x 120 X 5 reps @ 6 RPE
    Week 2 – 3 sets 122.5 X 5 reps @ 7 RPE
    Week 3 – 3 sets 125 X 5 reps @ 8 RPE
    Week 4 – 3 sets 127.5 X 5 reps @ 9 RPE
    Week 5 – 2 sets 127.5 X 3 reps @ 7 RPE – De load
    Week 6 – 3 sets 122.5 X 5 reps @ 6 RPE
    Week 7 – 3 sets 125 X 5 @ reps 7 RPE
    Etc..

    Thanks 🙂

    1. Remember that RPE is for gauging intensity of effort, not necessarily intensity of load. I would advise using RPE primarily to ensure you are at the appropriate distance from failure, while also ensuring progression of the load at an appropriate pace for your training age.

  7. I would like to know your opinion / thoughts on sugar – is it the devil its made out to be, would you put a limit on the amount you have per day, or do you treat it as a carb and enjoy it how you will?

    1. Hi Oscar. In the nutrition book see the section titles, Implementing The “Inclusive” Vs. “ Exclusive” Mindset. (Page 61 currently.)
      This is the approach you want to take. Once you have included everything you need according to the recommendations (minimizing your risk of running into any deficiency problems), there is no problem with including some sugary foods to help fill the remainder of your carbohydrate target for the day.

      Just bear in mind that sugary foods are generally more palatable but less filling/satiating than starchy ones. Use this to your advantage when in a gaining phase if you struggle to eat all the food required to meet your macro targets; remember this when in a diet phase if hunger is causing you issues. (For example: If you feel hungry when cutting, eat more fibrous and starchy carbs. If you feel too full when bulking, switch to more palatable, less filling carbs – fruit juice is a good option.)

      There is nothing inherently wrong with sugar. The key is to ensure that excessive consumption of it does not spoil the balance of your diet. This can be said of everything. Unfortunately, some people are intent on beating their anti-sugar drum and ignore the weight of the scientific evidence – a simple scapegoat makes for a nice media soundbite and sells a lot of books.

  8. Quick question regarding nutrition, when cooking with olive oil, how much actually attaches to the food? Normally wouldn’t worry but 1 tablespoon is 14g of fat.

    1. Hi Zack. Depends on how you cook it. You can use one of those nutritional calculators recommended in the book (MyFitnessPal for example) to look these things up.

  9. Fantastic books!

    I have a question about the intermediate progression. In the book it says that the wave loading progression is for compound movements and the double progression is for isolation movements. However, in the intermediate sample program, it says that only exercises in the 12-15 rep range are done with double progression and the rest with Wave Loading. There are isolation movements like bicep/tricep work and leg extensions in the 6-8 or 8-12 rep range. Should those be done with the wave loading progression?

    I look forward to your reply and thanks for the awesome books.

    1. Sorry Alex, certainly this is something that needs to be made more clear in the future. Use double progression on the isolation exercises regardless of the repetition range. If you struggle to add reps using as narrow of a repetition range as provided, extend the range by a rep on either side. So for example, 6-8 becomes 5-9, 8-12 becomes 7-13, etc

  10. Hi Eric (Thanks for the other replies)

    So rather then use rep ranges to quantify volume per muscle group, is tracking total KG’s per muscle group / lift similar? If so are there rough guideline ranges of how many Kg’s per session / week? Thanks 🙂

    1. You can track volume load on your own to compare current volume to previous volume, but this is not a way to provide guidelines as it doesn’t take into account relative strength. A world champion female powerlifter in the 52kg class would be doing a lot of volume…for her…however, even at this very high level, she would be doing substantially less than an above average 105kg male lifter. The male lifter might have a deadlift of 250kg, while the female world champion might have a deadlift of 160kg. Obviously despite one being an early stage intermediate and the other being a late stage advanced lifter, the tonnage would be completely different.

  11. Do the recommendations for training volume, intensity & frequency also hold while on a cutting phase, or should they be decreased? If so, what would you recommend here.

    1. Great question. First, remember that the volume guidelines are rough, and they can and should be individualized based on training age, biological age, workload capacity, individual genetics, preference and overall life stress load. With that said, the appropriate volume while dieting probably still should fall in the ranges provided however, they probably will need to be reduced at some point during a diet relative to your offseason. Typically, the early phase (say the first third) of a contest prep diet (for bodybuilding) you can keep volume about the same, and then during the second third, there should probably be a reduction of about 15-25%, and then if necessary another reduction during the final third of a similar magnitude. Additionally, deloads should be kept in at a regular pace and not skipped.

      1. Hello Eric

        I hope you don’t mind if I follow up on Brad’s question here!

        If someone is at a very high body fat percentage (even though training for over a year with decent strength gains, thus qualifying as an intermediate trainee) the recommended fat loss of .5-1.0% of body weight would reduce in a pretty significant deficit. If still adhering to the macro nutrient recommendations (protein either lbm *2-3 or height in cm, carbs ~1g per kg of body weight and fat .5g per kg of body weight), could/should the recommended volume still be kept or cut from the beginning?

        Or to put it differently: would someone with significant amounts of body fat just recover “better” to negate the higher deficit (due to more energy being available (I think you briefly mentioned something like this in one of your “peeling back a layer” episodes))?

        As you stated, the books were written for already fit/lean individuals and I would just like to make sure!

        Also I want to thank you, Andrea and Andy again for these absolutely fantastic books, I’m constantly scrolling through them because there’s so much good stuff in there!

        Best Regards
        Jeff

        1. Hi Jeff, I’ll take this question as Eric is at the 3DMJ conference for the weekend.

          While an obese and a lean person may both be in calorie deficit circumstances, their energy availability is different. Fatter individuals have a larger pantry to dip into when the food on the table isn’t enough, leaner individuals don’t. This blurs the lines of what is possible on a calorie deficit because the energy available for recovery is different.

          Therefore, someone that starts off at a high body-fat percentage probably won’t have any issues increasing training volume throughout their cut for longer.

  12. These questions were originally posted on Andy’s page but he directed me here and thus these questions are more aimed at Andy but I certainly look forward to hearing from all the authors.

    The books seem to advocate a few major departures from the martin style leangains protocol / Andy’s nutritional advice as I follow it..

    1. Are you of the position now that training fasted (bcaa/raised catecholamines) is no longer superior to the small carb/protein/fat pre workout meal advised in the nutrition book? Or is it context specific ?

    2. The nutrition book seems to say there is really no benefit to cycling calories (on day off day style) in terms of growth, uptake etc, (as separate from refeeds and sub 12%ers) Does this mean that (unless you prefer it for adherence) you no longer recommend carb/calorie cycles for on day/off day as your site calculator outputs?

    3. Intermittent fasting is only briefly mentioned in the book (and that you still use it occasionally for some clients), do you still recommend it for all the benefits other than adherence? if you answer this question “yes” and question 1 “yes”, then I imagine that first meal would count towards your 8 hour window, yes?

    Thanks again, these books certainly appear to be debunking a lot of the core assumptions of lean gains… actual glycogen depletion levels, the value (or not) of failure, no calorie/carb cycling, pre workout meals, etc I am excited to get to the bottom of this after having great success with Leangains, the idea of even greater success is awesome.

    1. Hi Matt, thanks for posting here as this will help others.

      1. Yes to both. It’s always context specific as what is most important is using a meal set-up and training plan than you can keep. This has been my opinion for a while. You’ll see it in this article, the section, “Clearing up the nonsense surrounding intermittent fasting”. I thought I had already linked you to that before.

      2. If I believe it will help someone with their adherence (breaking up the monotony perhaps) then I will recommend it. You’ll see in the article (linked above) that I stated that the benefits are marginal and unconfirmed, Eric is of the opinion that it won’t technically provide additional benefits. Eric is more knowledgable than I so I’d go with him on this one. 🙂

      3. It’s always context specific. Square pegs shouldn’t be forced into round holes. This is the reason I moved away from always recommending Martin’s Leangains protocol as I’ve gained experience as a coach. Have a good read of the section I’ve linked to, it’s all covered in detail there.

      To anticipate a possible further question, here’s one I asked Eric a month or so back when we were writing the book:

      Andy: Just to clarify: You’re saying there is no benefit to your training from having the refeed on your training day, if you train in the morning or afternoon. (Carbs are too late.) Is there a benefit to recovery or calorie partitioning (GLUT4 was it?) by having the refeed after the training? Is there just theory for this but no evidence (yet)? Or do the pros of having the carbs refeed happen before the workout outweigh the pros of having it after?

      Eric: Andy, you would definitely preferentially store carbohydrate as glycogen from the depleted muscles that you trained on a training day by having a large bolus of food afterwards. But, I don’t really see the logic of going into a workout depleted, and then saving your carbs for post workout so to get better glycogen resynthesis. You are only getting better glycogen resynthesis post workout because you are depleted in the first place, if this makes sense. So yeah you could make an argument that from a nutrient partitioning standpoint having a high carb day after training in the morning would mean greater glycogen synthesis for the rest of the day, but I would think that would not be as beneficial of an option as going into a workout topped up in glycogen and having less central fatigue and greater work capacity.

      ~~~~~~~~~~~~

      Hope that helps Matt.

      1. 1. I have read that article but I am still very unclear as to your current opinion. I’ll try to be very specific as I understand there are many contexts, but in general I understand adherence benefits but those are not my concern, I am concerned with the benefits other than adherence.

        Is the benefit of jacked up catecholamines from bcaa fasted state superior to the energy supplied by a pre workout meal advised in the book? If you could answer for cutting and bulking that would be appreciated (if it is again contextual)

        2. So carb/cal/cycling is ditched. Thank you.

        3. If intermittent fasting has no major benefit (jacked up catecholamines) other than adherence and stubborn fat oxidation for super lean people, then is any sort of “window” to eating all your calories thrown out the window completely? (assuming good meal spacing) 10am workout 1am finishing food all good?

        Thanks again for the replies, this is by far the reason why I was so quick to purchase your books, this level of support is unheard of.

        1. Matt, thanks for the reply.
          1. Sorry for the lack of clarity. I do not believe it is technically superior, though individual circumstances (schedule/adherence, placebo/belief effect, preference for feeling) can make it so.
          3. All good.

          “Thanks again for the replies, this is by far the reason why I was so quick to purchase your books, this level of support is unheard of.”
          – We’re work addicts. :/ Lyle McDonald has done a great job over the years in his Bodyrecomposition.com forums answering questions for his readers. It’s there, it’s just not common. Happy new year to you and your family Matt.

      2. That article is great.. but I could have learned from the article for free instead of purchasing the book for $30? Some of the numbers don’t align with the numbers in the book though. Have there been revisions to your method since the article or the book were published? I’m not sure which came first.

  13. Hi guys,
    With protein recommendations I’d always previously worked off lean bodyweight as that’s the important stuff that you want to preserve. Your calculations are based however off of actual bodyweight.

    Aren’t people going to be getting a lot more protein than they need by working that way? Especially if they’re higher in bodyfat?

    Always seems to be confusion around this for me and what I read.

    Thanks
    David

    1. There is very little research out on the effects of protein when set by LBM, but you are right in terms of theory. However, the problem is that most people are atrocious at estimating their own body fat percentage, and also don’t have access to good measures of body fat percentage. That said, you can easily convert the recommendations of the guide into g/kg or g/lb of LBM vs total bodyweight: .9-1.4g/lbs or 2-3g/kg of LBM. That said, given these books are primarily targeted at non overweight individuals, I feel very comfortable with the recommendations being based on total bodyweight.

      1. Hi David, great question and one I very nearly asked Eric myself and Andrea myself as I was going through their draft making suggestions. Here’s an article I wrote about the subject of estimating body-fat percentage. You’ll see that I’ve listed up all the methods we have available for calculating it, along with their accuracy levels (SEE):
        A Quick Guide To Estimating Body-fat Percentage

  14. All, a great resource and series … THANK YOU

    A clarification question for you.

    In Andy’s Complete Guide there was reference to building 1lb muscle requiring approximately 2,500 calories and losing fat 3,500 calories. Of course, both are a guideline.

    In the Nutrition book it makes references to building 1lb of muscle requiring 3,500 calories.

    I’m wondering where the difference may be and/or if something has changed.

    As an example, for myself, I’m following the Leangain bulking protocol and going for the 1:0 ratio and am using the 2,500 calories to figure out the surplus calories.

    As always, thanks in advance for your help and insights.

    Jeffrey

    1. Jeffrey, great question! The ~2500 value is likely close, and 1lbs of muscle gain wouldn’t likely take a full 3500 calorie addition to maintenance to achieve. However, the ~2500 value is also a scientific guesstimate at best, and also its important to point out that it is more than likely going to come with at least some fat gain. For these reasons, the 3500 calorie value can be used with reasonable accuracy when going up or down. It’s a heuristic decision as it allows only one number to be memorized and implemented, and the practical differences in setting up a gaining diet will be pretty minute regardless of whether you use 2500 or 3500 if you follow the rate of weight gain values we recommend.

      1. This discrepancy was something that Jeffrey bought to my attention in the email this morning, I asked him to write it here. It made me pause and wonder for a minute but makes perfect sense now that I see we’re accounting for fat gain in the 3500 number. The 2500 was an estimate after discussion with Nuckols. The instructions in the guide Jeffrey is referring to are to multiply that by a factor of expectations of fat gain (1.3-2.0) depending on how slow or fast you wish to take it (or how optimistic you want to be), so we’re in line. 🙂

  15. Didnt see this addressed in book so couple of quick question:

    – During a bulk, at what level of BF% would you recommend transitioning into a mini-cut / cut cycle to shed some bodyfat before resuming the bulk? Put another way, at what level of BF% does the research suggest that additional weight is more likely to be stored as fat rather than lean muscle?

    – So for practical application. If one’s goal is primarily hypertrophy and adding lean muscle, does the research suggest bulking in the 10-15% range and then doing a mini-cut when hitting the high end and continuing this kind of cycle? How sustainable is this course and any other tips/recommendations you would have from practical experience with clients?

    Thanks,
    Cam

    1. Cam, good question. There are problems when body fat gets too high with “nutrient partitioning” or “metabolic health”. As a general rule, males should probably not get over 20% and females ~28%. Ideally, a gaining phase should probably start at the 10-15% body fat range for men, and the 18-23% range for women.

      Critical is following the rate of weight gain guide so that body fat accrual is slow and minimal as you don’t want to be constantly mini cutting if the goal is muscle gain.

      1. Hi Eric, just to follow up on this topic. Your colleague Alberto mentioned in an old 3DMJ video that beginners should not do a mini cut and should focus on gaining. Does this still apply? If so, would 20% for males and 28% for females still be the upper limit for beginners?

        Also, a separate question- I’ve lifted a number of years and based on the current rate of progression with my lifts, I would consider myself intermediate (p35 nutrition). However since I’m usually a small eater, my body weight has not changed much over the years (<60kg). Now that I want to start gaining, am I stuck to the intermediate rate of weight gain, or can I go with the beginner numbers?

        1. That video assumes the person is not over fat.

          And I can’t evaluate your training status in a comment so make your best judgement for rate of Weight gain. If you quickly gain bodyfat using the beginner speed slow down.

  16. Awesome stuff guys.
    Regarding progression, how do you program progression with dumbbells when increasing the weight 5 lbs a week even while lowering reps isn’t really an option.

  17. The books are excellent guys; just wondering though..
    Does the 3,500kcal deficit p/w also apply to setting up a diet for females? Or would this figure change due to the fact females more than often have very different caloric intakes(lower than males).

    1. Joey, this is automatically addressed simply by following the rate of weight loss recommended in the book. You don’t set as large of a deficit for someone who is smaller because the goal might be to lose .5-1% of 130lbs vs 200lbs. 3500kcal is related to the energy content of fat, and has nothing to do with how much fat you have, which is related to the size of the deficit you set.

  18. Salutations! I originally posted this through to Eric through Facebook but it seems all the cool kids are hanging out here and I wanna be in the gang so I’ll just repost here

    “Hi Eric, I have a “thank you and a bit of a question too. I totally appreciate we’ve never met so let me start with the “thank you” =-)

    For quite some time I’ve followed your exploits listening to podcasts and watching youtube videos. I recently bought both pyramid books and I hope you will consider them a triumph, they’ve certainly given me some insight beyond what I’ve had from my training so far. So thanks man, I appreciate your efforts and I’m busy putting something together right now and for the first time I feel pretty secure in the knowledge that what I prescribing for myself is actually going to do the job intended.

    My question is, could you point me in the direction of some resources on exercises that target specific muscles please? In general I want as much “bang for buck” with my exercise selection as possible but my main issue is I want to train my legs as completely as possible but I want to actively de-train my glutes as well and I want to make sure I don’t leave anything out.

    many thanks
    Audie”

    1. Audie, thanks for the message and the kind words and I’m very pleased to hear you are feeling more confidence in your training due to what you’ve learned.

      To answer your question, I would be looking to learn the origin and attachments of the leg muscles so that you can understand what functions they perform. If you know what joints are moved when a muscle contracts, you can get a good idea of what exercises train which muscle groups. There are lots of muscular anatomy sources online. Bret Contreras has a lot of good resources on his blog and other platforms on exercise selection. Also, do me a favor and email Bret Contreras this question and tell him I sent you, having someone contact him about wanting to make their glutes smaller would infuriate him to no end given that he’s an expert in glute hypertrophy and I’d love to hear about his reaction 🙂

      1. Eric, you are indeed a wicked man and I think my respect for you just went up a notch 😉

        The deed however is done, and I’ve messaged Mr Contreras in the hope of tweaking his nose for you. I’ll let you know how it pans out. I hope he’s not going to come over and suplex me “ultimate warrior” style, though if he goes as far as dressing up in the neon tassels and the war paint I think I’d be cool with that =-)

  19. Hi guys. Don’t have a question, but just wanted to give virtual “high-fives” (and a few celebratory burpees!) to the authors of these two cutting edge books! At a quick perusal of both, I was drooling at the vast amount of information that my eyes and brain were about to feast on (no calorie deficit here!). Then, upon a deeper reading of them, it was affirmed that you guys have outdone yourselves! These books are what I have been waiting for. Pertinent information with the science, the experience, AND the expertise to back it up. This will compliment the coaching manual I purchased from Andy, which has helped me a great deal to achieve my goals (currently in a slow bulk, and steadily gaining). I like the fact that everything is organized and laid out in a comprehensible fashion…no BS. THANK YOU and WELL DONE! I will be returning frequently to continue seeking out your wisdom. Keep it coming!
    – Evoryan

  20. Hi Eric,
    Great info and thank you so much.

    Two questions I had were:

    In the intermediate hypertrophy program on the upper body day why is there only one horizontal push excercise leaving the chest with an average of 20 reps for the whole workout? Also, I don’t see lateral raises listed anywhere in this program and was wondering why?

    Thank you

    1. You are welcome Mike. To answer your question, don’t rigidly focus on the 40-70 reps/session. Global volume across the week is more important. Please read the summary of the VIF chapter and take to heart my words on not looking at this in black and white. As you may notice, the weekly volume is ~111 reps on average during the non deload weeks for chest. The upper body day provides progressive overload and strength training, the push day provides volume as a growth stimulus.

      Finally, as far as lateral raises, because there is already plenty of volume for all heads of the delts. If you have an assumption that the lateral head is only trained during a lateral raise, that would be an assumption to reevaluate.

  21. Hello guys,
    I have a question regarding working sets that I didn’t find in the training book. When are straight sets better than ramped up and what’s the advantage of using one or the other? Is there a resource where I can find more clear info?
    Also, if RPE is to be used with ramped sets, would it also be set up in a “ramped” way? Hope that makes sense 🙂
    Thank you.

    1. Cristi, whether or not you use pyramids, reverse pyramids or straight sets doesn’t make a very large difference. That said, however you do it, make sure you can steadily track progress. Straight sets as shown in the sample programs and progression chapters allow for a very straightforward, logical progression, which is why we used them. However, there is not a singular way to train and you could easily set up a program with a reverse pyramid or pyramid style of set organization if you wanted.

  22. Hello Eric, firstly thank you all for the amazing work put into making these books.

    I believe my question is related to Cam’s. As I understand maintenance can be very relative, depending on which weight/body fat you intend to stay at. My difficulty is in selecting that target weight for a lean gaining phase.

    I have been keeping track of my body fat thru caliper measurements with a certified professional, so first my question would be, should I still aim for the 10-15% range base on caliper estimates?
    And the second one, is there a low enough body fat percentage that may harm one’s progress in a lean gain?

    The motivation behind both questions is I get very low values at these estimates (single digits) but I feel like going above it would yield me poor conditioning, visually speaking, and a much higher caloric target.

    1. Anderson,
      Just to clarify as I’m not quite sure what you mean by maintenance being “relative” in the first part of your question, let me just state that what your maintenance is during a lean gaining phase is only important for initially setting up your diet. From that point, you would just simply be adjusting your nutrition up and down in small increments so as to continually fall in the range of gaining 0.5-1.5% of your bodyweight per month (based on training age).

      If you are maintaining your bodyweight, you aren’t in a lean gaining phase…you are just eating at maintenance.

      The best way to find your maintenance is to simply track and determine what it is, as is advised in the book rather than using an estimate.

      And calipers can be inaccurate, highly inaccurate. I would not advise using them for determining body fat percentage, however looking at your raw sum of skinfold total can be useful. Here is a good guide for estimating body fat https://rippedbody.jp/how-calculate-body-fat-percentage/

      And finally, you can be lean enough to where it causes issues with muscle gain. Where this is, is individual. If you can make steady progress while staying lean, then you probably aren’t too lean.

  23. Eric, first off great resource!

    I know you’ve been researching auto-regulation as a part of your masters and the book covers RPE. However I’m interested in learning about and applying principles such as fatigue %/back-off sets rather than going into a training session with a prescribed number of sets. Additionally, using APRE/+ sets to auto-regulate loads across microcycles. Do you have recommendations on these tools and how best to utilize them? Thanks!

    1. I would recommend checking out Michael Tuchscherer’s “Reactive Training Manual” and also his website reactivetrainingsystems.com great stuff there if you are looking for more depth.

  24. And how does one evaluates itself, novice or intermediate or in between, since maybe training, sleep, etc wasn’t adequate? Try a novice template, see if progress happens and if not, move to intermediate? Or is there another way to evaluate?

      1. I just wanted to point-out one confusing thing: you refer to Rippetoe’s description, which has novice progression being workout to workout, intermediate week to week, advanced month to month, but then in the nutrition book it’s listed as beginner week to week, intermediate month to month, and advanced multiple months.

        This is further confusing because your Progressing as a Novice Trainee section is based on session to session improvements, following Rippetoe’s guideline, but then the Progressing as an Intermediate Trainee section is based on monthly gains.

        1. I’m okay with the confusion because there aren’t actually distinct phases, plus Rippetoe uses the workout to workout definition for novices because he has them doing the same rep range on all days. Personally, I think there should be variation in rep range on a day to day basis within a microcycle, so because the novice isn’t repeating the same exact set and rep combination until the following week, the load isn’t increased until following week. This is shown in the sample training program for novices example. Also, see the first bullet point on page 139 the programs are intended for Novice bodybuilders and powerlifters, not necessarily complete novices to the weight room. Thus, I’ve extended out the rate of progressions a bit.

          The definitions are a bit arbitrary, remember that. Most important is understanding the concept that rate of progress slows with training age, and therefore your periodization strategy should adapt to accommodate it.

  25. Great reading guys! I’ve been reading/watching whatever I can from you two and I’m really excited to start following your sage advice. What adjustments, if any, do you recommend to your diet and training plans for an overweight (i’m guessing i’m close 30% BF) male who has some experience with strength training but would be considered a beginner based on your timeline.

    1. Thanks Daniel! First, not much needs to be changed, except I would recommend using the low end of the protein recommendations as your total bodyweight won’t be representative of your LBM until you have lost more body fat.

  26. Hi Andy and Eric

    If I’m dieting at a deficit at 2500 kcal’s and I’ve set my protein at 200g which is roughly 1g/lb of body weight, Does it really make any difference what the split of fat/carbs is?

    You both advise a similar way to asses macronutrients but as long as I’m in a deficit and my protein is high enough I can’t see why it matter. Apart from satiety and adherence. Can you confirm or deny.

    Regards

    Steve.

    1. Steve feel free to re-read the macronutrient chapter and look at the situations and individual cases (insulin sensitivity) in which the ratio of carb to fat can matter. Then, also look at the behavior and lifestyle chapter and note “Tier 2”, and the times which it might not be worth following an exact and specific breakdown of carbs and fat.

      A lean female competitive bodybuilder with PCOS is not a slightly overweight recreational male trainee. A crossfit competitor is not a powerlifter etc etc etc

      Just because you personally might not fit into a category where the carbohydrate and fat breakdown of your diet (outside of extremes) makes a significant difference, doesn’t mean that’s true for all readers.

  27. I didn’t see this addressed in the books, but is there an effective way to ‘measure’ recovery? For progression on lifts there is a flow chart with a decision tree centered on recovery (page 75). It has been my experience that this is an accurate tool for breaking a progress plateau, but how do we assess recovery accurately?

    The second part of my question refers to increasing volume to continue to progress. Is there an optimal way to know just how much more volume should be added to break the stall? I understand that it is individual, but for intermediate/advanced individuals progress is very slow to begin with, so I find it difficult to maintain that fine line of adding enough volume without creating excessive fatigue. Thank you in advance for your answers and thanks for providing this wealth of information for others to benefit from.

    1. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was an easy way to assess recovery? Well, let me say most of the time when you are chronically under recovered, you can “feel” it. As far as a more objective way to determine whether you are recovered and also doing enough volume, is whether or not you are progressing in training.

      Decrements in performance and mental burn out are the two most common signs of overreaching and overtraining. If this happens regularly but after deload you come back and improve in the next mesocycle, that’s absolutely fine. However if you don’t come back and improve your performance after a few months as an advanced lifter, you might be in need of a lower volume or lower intensity approach (in general a lower stress approach).

      However, if you are not feeling mentally burned out, and aren’t progressing, a good rule of thumb is to increase volume on stalled lifts by 10-20%.

  28. I enjoyed the books a lot, easy to read and an invaluable resource!

    With regards to frequency, is it only about volume distribution to mitigate fatigue, or is supercompensation a factor, ei. If you wait too long before your next training session, your newly raised ‘fitness level’ will fall back to baseline, which is why training once a week will most likely not get you stronger/bigger? Or, will the same adaptions take place (assuming the same volume) it’ll just take 3 or 4 times as long?

    Hope that makes sense.

    1. Scott, it’s a little bit of all of the above. Frequency affects frequency of practice, it allows you to better organize your total volume to get a greater total stimulus over a week (if we are talking about weekly frequency), and it avoids effects of detraining…which is less of a concern unless you are going with very low frequency programs, once per week or less.

  29. Your work is great… A question for you: what about Reverse diet or metabolic reset? In the book you speak about refeed And diet break but not about Reverse, I think is a very interesting topic! I would like to have some informations about! Thank you!

    1. Gianluca, after a diet is over, you want to return to maintenance; get out of a deficit. I would cut cardio roughly in half, and increase calories immediately by a substantial amount, enough so that you are no longer losing weight. If you are a bodybuilder at the end of prep and very lean, you would want to get into a small surplus and purposely gain body fat to get healthy again, allow weight room progress and muscle gain to happen, get hormones producing again, get your energy expenditure up to normal and get your hunger to a more manageable level. Delaying this and staying in a deficit by slowly increasing calories (without returning to maintenance) can be problematic for long term muscle gain, bone health for women if they have lost their menstrual cycle, and can cause issues with disordered eating if it prompts people to try to “make up” after each time they slip up and binge during the reverse diet. Keep an eye on the 3DMJ YouTube channel for future videos, we are working on a “Recovery Diet” video that will be released in January on this topic https://www.youtube.com/user/Team3DMJ

  30. Hi guys, thanks for adding this section.
    This is kind of related to Matt K’s questions and Eric’s answer to Andy regarding refeeds on training days:

    For the purpose of retaining lean mass while cutting, is there much difference between these 2 scenarios (and is what I’ve described roughly what actually happens):

    1. Eating close to or slightly above maintenance on training days to try to maximise MPS, and then reducing calories on rest days and hope that the calorie deficit doesn’t reduce MPS too much.

    2. Eating close to or slightly above maintenance on rest days, when MPS shouldn’t be affect too much as there’s no deficit, and then reducing calories on training days and hope that the training-induced rise in MPS overrides/mitigates the deficit-induced reduction in MPS.

    I know it’s not just about MPS but juts looking to clarify.

    Thanks again

    1. Campbell, you’re right, it isn’t all about MPS, and even if it was no one has the MPS data on the scenarios you are describing. And I honestly don’t think the answer needs more clarification, between the convo between myself and Andy that I posted, the section in the book and also the section on “Borrowing” on page 105, you can probably tell that in most cases, this doesn’t matter much.

  31. In terms of lateral deltoid development, I noticed the absence of lateral raises or isolation work for the lateral deltoid in the intermediate bodybuilding sample program. Looking at Alberto Nunez who has continued to include them despite his minimalistic approach, it seems as if he thinks they’re necessary. Do you think that they are necessary for maximising development?

    Thanks,
    David

    1. Please read pages 57-58 you’ll notice i included lateral raises in that sample training split show there. Then please read page 129 “An Important Note On These Sample Programs”

      Hopefully you get the point that you can certainly include lateral raises in a program and have a well setup approach, and that it should be individualized, rather than thinking the sample programs in this book are supposed to be used by everyone.

      When I train for bodybuilding, I include lateral raises, I do them to get more volume on my lateral delts because I have a narrow skeletal frame and every extra effort to look wider is worth trying. However, that doesn’t mean everyone should. Plus it’s also worth mentioning that while the lateral raise does a great job at stimulating the middle deltoid, so do a lot of exercises, both push and pulls, for example a seated row activates the middle deltoid similarily to a lateral raise https://www.jml2012.indexcopernicus.com/fulltxt.php?ICID=1055261

      Oh and Alberto Nunez, I think I’ve heard of that guy 😉 But seriously dude, we should not be wasting this much time discussing lateral raises. I mean come on, they are lateral raises lol. But, just because Berto is teaching how to effectively do a movement and explaining it’s benefits doesn’t mean he is saying it’s “necessary”. Necessary means it must be done in order to build a physique. Of course he doesn’t mean that. But can it be useful? Is it important to understand how to perform it optimally if you are going to use it? Yes on both accounts, that’s the reason for the video, not to say “all bodybuilders should be doing lateral raises”.

    1. Steve all good dude! Main point is that in some cases you are 100% right, the ratio of carb to fat is not relevant and protein and calories is perfectly appropriate to track (say for example an offseason recreational trainee), however in other cases it definitely can matter (say for example a contest prep bodybuilder trying to get very lean who is already skirting near the low end limits of either fat or carbohydrate and who has to make a further adjustment)

  32. Hi, loving the books. Two training questions:

    1) In terms of undulating your training, what’s the pros/cons between having distinct hypertrophy/power/strength days vs beginning each workout with a power exercise (e.g. deadlift), then doing one for strength (e.g. bench) , then for hypertrophy (e.g. squat)?

    Basically, I enjoy beginning each workout with a strength or power exercise, then doing hypertrophy work after, and want to know if I’m shortchanging my results by not splitting the work up in a DUP fashion.

    2) What would be the differences in training effect between using the same weight to do 3×10 vs 6×5?

    1. 1. I think that’s a perfectly fine way to train. Wouldn’t necessarily be better or worse. But do me a favor and don’t call a deadlift a “power exercise” 🙂 power is Force x Velocity, Strength =/= Power
      2. Matt! Come on now buddy, this is exactly the type of question we want you to advance past asking,
      Step one, read point two on page 15
      Step two, feel great shame for asking this question
      Step three, read Chapter 2 on VIF…carefully!

      😉

      Eric

      1. My bad Eric – clearly reading the VIF chapter while watching football over the holidays was not a good idea. I’ve reread it and yeah, dumb questions.

        But I have two questions about progression:

        1) On page 142 there appears to be a typo where it says “if you have to decrease the load TWICE ONCE more, it is now time to move on…” Which is it?

        2) And what do suggest when some lifts stall and others are still progressing? So say I’m following the novice bodybuilding sample program, and my bench and squat are progressing but my DL and OHP have stalled. Is it best to continue with the program as written but switch only the progression scheme for the DL and OHP to intermediate? And maybe add a bit more volume to assist that particular lift? Move to the intermediate program but keep the progression scheme the same for the Squat and Bench until they stall?

        Thanks man

        Matt

        1. No worries man 🙂

          1. Sorry that should read once more.
          2. Once you’re stalling on multiple compound movements using the novice approach, I’d recommend fully switching over to the intermediate progression plan.

          You’re welcome!

  33. Hey Eric, thanks for the great book you’ve written. One question: what do you mean by “Wt B Ext” on day 5, p. 155, chapter “Intermediate Bodybuilding Sample Program”? Is it meant as a horizontal or vertical row?

  34. Dear Eric,

    As a former 3DMJ’er and huge fan of your work! I want to thank you for the contribution in the fitness industry as a whole and especially the Natural Bodybuilding community. Like always an outstanding job.

    My question is according to setting up carbohydrate to fat ratio for female athletes. I’ve read an article ( https://bayesianbodybuilding.com/why-women-should-not-train-like-men/ ) about women needing less carbohydrate and more fat, because of hormonal reasons with estrogen responsible for this.

    Normally, I would set women on the guidelines like men in terms of carb & fat ratios with individual specificity. But it’s pretty confusing, like always! LOL

    What’s your take on this?

    Kind Regards,

    Rico van Huizen

    1. Rico what’s up man! Thank you so much for reading our books, I hope you enjoy them!

      To answer your question, the data on women doing better with higher fat and lower carb diets is not always consistent, and also largely speculative (i.e. very few studies that look at long term outcomes vs short term substrate utilization). That said, the likelihood is higher that a female bodybuilder or strength athlete will perform better with a lower carb, higher fat diet than a male, and this is explained on page 52 of the nutrition book.

      With that said, just because it is more likely that a woman will do better with a lower carb higher fat approach doesn’t mean this should be a default setting. Nothing beats controlled trials of experimenting with the client as is described on page 53.

  35. Hi guys, awesome resource!

    The intermediate Bodybuilding sample program doesn’t include incline pushes. You did state that these could be done instead of the vertical push as long as the incline was not to severe. If my upper chest is a weak point that I want to develop and I chose to include incline bench as oppose to military press, would this be to the detriment of my shoulders? Would I be best to perhaps perform military press on the strength days and incline press on hypertrophy days?

    Cheers.

    1. Thanks Ryan!

      First, please see page 146, they should not be done in place of vertical pushing, but rather in place of horizontal pushing. You wouldn’t replace OHP with incline, you’d replace a flat press with incline.

      Secondly, you may want to reconsider your assumption that an incline press is more effective than a flat press at developing the clavicular head of the pec major https://www.researchgate.net/publication/232217991_Effects_of_Variations_of_the_Bench_Press_Exercise_on_the_EMG_Activity_of_Five_Shoulder_Muscles

  36. Thanks for the quick reply Eric.
    I’ll make sure I read the texts thoroughly before asking questions!
    I did have a question about fat loss phases during an extended gaining phase. If I reach my ceiling weight/BF% and want to strip fat so I can get back to gaining, do I follow the protocols outlined in The Nutrition Pyramid Calculation Aid (0.5% weight loss per week) or use a more aggressive deficit (10kcal/Lb ) as advised in Nunes’ ‘mini cut’ video on youtube.

    1. Ryan, no worries. The calculation aid recommends slower rates of loss for leaner people, but if you are just going to use a very short diet to break up an extended gaining phase, ~1% is fine, just keep it to 4 weeks or less.

  37. Hey Guys – thanks again for the reply above about protein consumption based on BW or LBW, makes sense to me.

    I’ve always until now been working with lifestyle based nutrition clients and powerlifters (like me) , and am now moving over into the physique scene with a couple of clients and just have a couple of questions around that:

    1. Is there any recommended reading for Peak Week? I’ve always been under the impression that you shouldn’t need to change much for peak week because you should be lean enough by that point that little trickery is needed. But there are I’m sure certain subtle changes that need to be looked at.

    2. Reading through the training book, I already program and progress in a very similar fashion which is great to see. Rather than program cardio for physique clients, could I program traditional body building templates in the morning and then Occlusion Training in the evening 3 times per week? Controlling the fat loss in the most part with nutrition?

    Or am I way off base here?

    Thanks, David

    1. You’re welcome David.

      Also, congrats on moving onto working with physique competitor clients. It’s a difficult but very rewarding thing to do (if you do it well).

      1. I go very briefly into training for peak week in the training week on page 87 of the training book. However, the nutrition manipulation details are a little more detailed and in depth and I decided not to include them in the nutrition pyramid. The main manipulations I recommend are carbohydrate loading (conservatively) and also acute sodium increases on the day of the comp immediately prior to competing. There are two places I have gone into great depth outlining these processes. One, is in the Unit I teach in the SBS Academy, a year online course for personal trainers who want to coach powerlifters and bodybuilders that myself and Dr. Michael Zourdos collaborated on to produce along with the folks at SBS. Check it out here: https://thesbsacademy.com/

      However, if you aren’t willing to spend a year doing an intense online learning course (although I highly recommend it), another option is to wait until Lyle McDonald has finished his two upcoming book projects that I collaborated with him on. He is writing a guide specifically for women looking to improve their physiques, and also a encyclopedic compendium of everything related to nutrition and exercise. For both, he asked me to step in and write some sections on peaking for physique athletes. The books should be released at some point in 2016 so keep an eye on his website http://www.bodyrecomposition.com

      2. Traditional bodybuilding and occlusion training 3x week is A LOT of volume. You can use weight training in the form of metabolic depletion circuits or very light weight barbell complexes, but you have to be very careful of how it interacts with the main lifting and to keep an eye on recovery. I would personally recommend not taking this approach until you have a lot of experience with how to program it and integrate it with normal training and also until you have experience with the physical and mental stresses competitors experience at the hardest stages of prep. My advice would be to keep cardio to the guidelines outlined on page 31-34 of the nutrition book.

  38. For compound movements with dumbbells, would it be advisable to use a double progression instead of the wave loading when the dumbbell weights go up in 5lb increments (which would be adding 10lbs per week while lowering 1 rep)?

    1. Alex, first start with wave loading, run that as long as you can making those larger jumps, if you stall twice after recycling the load, then move to double progression.

      1. Hi Eric,

        Two stalls in total or two stalls after recycling the load the first time, which would make 3 stalls in total?

        1. Follow the guidelines in the progression chapter and in the chapter on the example programs to determine if you have stalled. Don’t get too hung up on the details. If you can’t make consistent progress using the intermediate approach (and not starting too heavy) then go with the advanced approach.

  39. Morning Eric,

    Thank you very much on point number 2. My biggest concern with that was going to be the overall volume and managing the fatigue aspect. Even though BFR is a lot less weight I’m sure it’s incredibly taxing. Clients will have to suck up the cardio.

    I’ve heard of both projects with Lyle and am waiting to purchase them when they become available, but regardless of that I’m hoping to join enrollment for the SBS Academy on 1st February. Unfortunately living in South Africa our economy and exchange rate is diabolical but I’m trying to make a plan to make it happen.

    Thank you again for the answers, really helps me a lot.

    1. You are very welcome David, and you are right BFR is less taxing, so is depletion work, but you need to carefully consider it in how it fits in with the training plan as it still “counts” and you can’t endlessly add it (not that you can regular cardio either). So yeah, just something to use sparingly like HIIT and to consider how it fits in with the overall plan.

      And I would be honored if you purchased the books we’re working on and of course if you joined the academy as well, but don’t break the bank to do so, make sure you aren’t putting yourself into a tough financial position just for the course.

  40. Hey guys, fantastic books! After watching the videos, I bought the books more to support you guys than thinking about additional value; I felt I owed you the purchase (if not more). I am amazed how much the books help in going from theory to application, and I hope people reading this take my recommendation to purchase the books as they help you actually design your nutrition and training plans.

    I’ve got a couple of questions for you guys and I would appreciate your feedback. I’m 33 and have been lifting weights for about 20 years. I came across Andy’s website a year ago and it completely changed how I train, so I’d say I’ve been training “intelligently” for a year and would consider myself intermediate based on your definitions. Also, I travel for work a few days of the week every other week or so so it is hard to have a consistent training schedule.

    Today I just started the intermediate bodybuilding sample fairly verbatim. I will probably make modifications as I go along as you recommend, but I wanted to start with something that was a solid foundation. With my travel schedule, there are weeks that I will only be in town 2-3 days of the week (which means it may take 2 weeks to complete a 5-day training). Would it be insane to combine the first two days and the second three days to have 2 full-body sessions a week? I know brushing your teeth twice a week for a long time isn’t as good as brushing twice a day, but is this better than dragging out a 5-day program for two weeks or trying to do what I can in a hotel gym (which would make tracking progress really hard)?

    Also, I’ve been doing RPT and never have thought about RPE. Just so I’m clear, there’s several exercises where I am leaving 3-4 reps on the table and leaving at least 1-2 reps on the table for all exercises? I was previously doing RPT with RPE of 9.5 or 10 for the first set and RPE of 9 or 9.5 for the rest. It felt so foreign today leaving the gym on leg day and feeling like I could go for a 5-mile run, so I just want to make sure I didn’t miss something.

    In this vein, for the isolation progression, even if you haven’t completed all of the reps, you should stop before the high end of the range even if you still have a few reps in you? I know you spell it out very clearly, but it felt so odd to me to not push myself to the max in every set.

    Thank you again so much for doing this. For years, I was doing things very wrong, wasting so much time, and this has been incredibly helpful!

    1. Dan, thanks for the kind words, the buy, and I’m really pleased you bought the books as we truly believe they provide a lot of value to even those who who have viewed the vids, so I’m glad you experienced that!

      To answer your questions, it would probably be a better choice to just take longer to complete the workouts in order when you are traveling, or its the holidays etc and you can’t get in the number of sessions per week that are prescribed. You CAN try to combine an upper/lower into a single workout…but that is tough….I’ve done it, and you can certainly try it…it sort of works out since you have more off days, but some lifts definitely suffer on that day.

      Secondly, great question in regards to the RPE values provided. This is sort of clarified in the novice progression section, but we will make this more clear in the next update of the books. Read page 141 of the novice progression, you’ll notice it states that the RPE values provided should be for the first set, and the final set shouldn’t be completed any higher than 1 RPE value than this.

      Essentially, this sort of applies to all the programs. Meaning, the RPE is primarily there for the first set. After that, keep the same load, but don’t hit failure. The RPE values prescribed are low enough so that subsequent sets don’t result in you missing sets and reps. In some cases you’ll be skirting failure on your final sets, for example the RPE 8 to 9 exercises where you are doing 3-5 sets, in other cases you will stay far from failure, like the single leg work, and this is by design. So my apologies that this isn’t that clear, but yeah, the RPE values are for your first set, then try to maintain load and complete all sets and reps without hitting failure. In most cases you’ll need to use the lower end of the provided RPE range to do this, unless you’ve got great strength endurance.

  41. Hi Eric and framily,

    First I wanted to thank you and your team for helping everyone through the content of these books. You brought the research to an easy to understand and apply format that will help a lot of people reach there goals and focus on what really matters.

    Second, I wanted to know what you personally do or recommend to clients or others to deal with the days where motivation and dedication is lacking. I love the feeling that I get from going to the gym so adherence to training is not a problem but sticking to my diet targets or goals sometimes is. Thanks in advance.

    1. What’s up Fram!

      Specifically with dieting, it’s important to break it up. You can use the Diet Break concepts more frequently when you struggle to find the motivation to stick to it. Basically, take a week to maintain, and not track as closely (see Behavior and Lifestyle chapter for minimalist tracking strategies), and then once you are refreshed and ready to get back at it, dive back in.

      Also, you shouldn’t have to spend a long time dieting or a large part of your life. The goal is to get to a healthy bodyweight, then focus on putting on muscle mass, and only dieting when it comes time to get on stage, or to just drop back the body fat a bit to break up extended gaining periods (2-4 weeks every 6 months or so). If that’s not what’s occurring…there is larger underlying problem.

  42. Hi Eric,

    For the intermediate bodybuilding routine is it supposed to be run lower, upper, rest, lower, push, pull, rest and repeat? Or all 5 days in a row and then take two days off and repeat?

    Thank you

    1. Mike, ideally, probably run best as 2 on 1 off 3 on 1 off, BUT, it certainly can be ran 5 in a row with weekends off if that works for you schedule, just might take a few weeks to adapt to the demands of that schedule though

  43. Eric and Andy,

    Happy new year to you both and as to not leave workaholics without their addiction…I have more questions.

    I seem to have butted up against a contradiction/limitation when analyzing the “typical male” from the examples frequently used in the book.

    -Nutrition book states to not go above loosing 1% of body weight per week (200 lb male =2lb)
    -Nutrition book states to not go below .5g/lb on carbs and not to go below .25g/lb for fat
    -When calculating for the typical 200lb male from nutrition book’s recommended calculation techniques, set to loose 2lb, it would put this male below 50g fat and below 100g carbs (with a 1.3 activity multiplier).

    Would this mean that any time calculations are done for cutting that are still within the recommended .5 to 1% body weight loss per week but do not meet the minimum requirements on carbs and fat, that person should default to the closest calories that allow for the minimum carb and fat to be met? If calculations are within 3-7g is this close enough or are these minimums hard, hormonal shattering limits set forth by experts for a damn good reason 😉 ?

    Thanks again guys
    ps…math for typical 200lb male from book loosing 2lb a week.
    ((200×10) x1.3) -1000) =1600kcal ((1600x.25) /9)=44gfat (1600 – (200×1.1 x4) + (1600x.25) ) /4 =80g carbs

    1. Simply put, people with low energy expenditures have to accept slower weight loss. In this case, you’d default to a slower deficit to avoid going below the thresholds….you could of course go slightly lower, as .5g/kg for a 200lbs male is 45g of fat and still technically be in the guidelines 😉

      1. Hi, just recently bought the book, and i just started reading it. I am on the Nutritional Pyramid Calculation Aid, and i choose my activity level, and its asking me to choose between 1.3-1.6. Does 1.3 mean minimal and 1.6 mean maximal in that activity level ?

        1. Hi Paras, thanks for the question.
          Right, you’ll be somewhere in that range. Some people will have an idea whether they are at the lower end or upper end from previous dieting experience. If you don’t, then just choose the middle of the two numbers, 1.45.

  44. Thanks for all the support.

    I was wondering about weak points (for bodybuilding). I know Lyle McDonald recommends specialization cycles to bring up lagging body parts. Is just adding volume over time enough to take care of lagging body parts or would you ever suggest doing something like a specialization cycle where volume for the other body parts is reduced and volume for lagging body part is increased?

    Thank you so much

    1. Both can work, probably something only needed at a very high level to do the full specialization where volume is set to maintenance for all body parts except one major and one minor like Lyle recommends. If you follow the approach of just putting more volume on weak body parts over a career, this sort of takes care of itself. For example I habitually do about twice the volume on my upper body that I do on my lower to keep a more or less symmetrical physique, I haven’t intentionally reduced volume on my lower body, it just doesn’t need as much to progress in my case.

  45. I use barbells at home but my time in the evenings is limited, so in order to avoid long training sessions I’ll usually do some accessory/auxiliary stuff at my office (we have a simple gym) during lunch and then complete my heavier compound lifts in the evening. Ideally these would be the other way around, but just wondering if there were any potential issues with this setup, assuming volume is equal to that of one session. Incidentally I haven’t noticed any fatigue from earlier in the day impeding my main lifts so far.

    Thanks!

    1. This is one of those things where theoretically it might be better to do it in reverse….but you can’t…and it’s been working thus far, so just go with it 🙂

  46. Eric,

    Really appreciate your care with all these responses. Just two more questions for you.

    1. I got a bit confused about the intermediate wave loading progression in the intermediate bodybuilding program and I just needed clarification, for the squat, deadlift, hip hinge, and leg press we would use the larger 10lb jump week to week and for all other excercises 5lbs?

    2. What is your take on weightlifting belts for a recreational bodybuilder with no current powerlifting aspirations? Would it be useful to use one?

    1. 1. Correct!
      2. They allow you to have more stability in your midsection, which allows you to put more of your force applied into the bar and lift heavier (we’re talking 10-13mm powerlifting belts not some velcro thing from a sports equipment store). No real downside, but not necessary, especially for physique related goals in my opinion. If you want to lift more though, just for the sake of lifting more, you could get one.

  47. Guys, not sure if it was in the book, read both in day 🙂

    However, here’s my question. The book details intermediate progression based on assumption that day one and day two for a muscle group are different. IE, bench is done week 1, day 1, week 2, day 1, therefore progression happens weekly.

    If one does a movement on both day 1 and 2 of a given week, should progression be per WO or still weekly, or alternatively, just don’t do this to begin with?
    Also, Eric, that number didn’t work. Got some creepy Lyle guy…:)

    1. Brad, it actually is in the book…and since you made me laugh I’ll give you a pass…normally I’d just say “go back and read the book more thoroughly” lol. No second pass though, one time deal homie!

      Anyway, it’s not based on the assumption you aren’t doing the same muscle group/movement multiple days per week, it IS based on the assumption that you are using different rep ranges across different days (which I recommend and prescribe in some of the sample programs), and directs you to use a distinct progression on each day and only compare that progression to the previous weeks, not the same days in the week. Hopefully that’s clear?

      1. Thanks Eric, I’ll still go back and read it more thoroughly. I’m still 8-12 weeks from my first ever formal building program, so I’ll piece it together slowly and read s l o w e r 🙂

  48. When going into a mini cut would you advise lowering volume, such as excluding exercises like shrugs and rear delt exercises etc… Also when going into a mini cut 4-6 weeks, is it likely for a person to lose much muscle if they are losing weight at around a rate of 1-1.5lb per week?

    Thanks.

    1. Mini cut, no I wouldn’t recommend lowering volume, should be short enough that’s it not an issue…and 6 weeks MAX, I’d prefer 2-4 weeks. And I don’t recommend arbitrary absolute numbers for weight loss like 1-1.5lbs, I recommend .5-1% of your bodyweight per week. For a mini cut use closer to 1%.

  49. Loving the workouts and progression. Just a quick question.

    Is it recommended to split up heavy days and lighter (hypertrophy) days for an intermediate and advanced bodybuilder as opposed to spreading the heavy (1-6 rep) exercises through the week on separate days so you are fresh for them (deadlift, squat, bench OHP, Row)? Does it matter at all?

    Thanks again

  50. When progressing with dumbbells with upper body movements as a novice, do you just add load every other week to avoid adding a 10 lb load every week?

    Do you add 5 lb / 10 lb after completing last weeks volume only if you’re using %1RM based progression? Pick a weight day by day, session by session, to complete the prescribed RPE?

    There may be a slight typo on page 154 on the Novice Bodybuilding Sample Program. “Dl Variant” intead of “DL Variant”. (:

    Thanks

  51. Hi Eric,

    In the chapter on progression, you talked about accumulation blocks/adding sets when discussing advanced lifters. I’m an intermediate lifter, so I know I’m better served using a simpler approach which would yield faster progress. This made me think about how to milk my intermediate gains by making smaller adjustments over time rather than changing programs completely (because I would love to make progress faster than advanced lifters for as long as possible).

    I know that I should do enough volume to progress (but not too much) and then increase volume if I’ve plateaued. So my question is the following:

    For the sake of simplicity let’s say I’m following the wave loading example on page 69, and I’m able to make progress with 3 sets following this progression scheme for 6 months, and then I plateau. (Let’s also assume I’m eating enough to build muscle because I bought the Nutrition book, too.) Rather than jumping to advanced methods, would it make more sense to just reset the weight like a novice and then add a set to the same scheme? (So training session 1 would be 4×8 instead of 3×8, training session 2 is 4×7 instead of 3×7, etc.)

    Also, the books were really helpful and answered a million other questions I had, so thanks!

    1. Angel, that certainly can work, but you’d have to determine whether you’d actually be making faster gains. If you reset the weight like a novice and dropped loads back, it would then likely take two 4 week intermediate cycles to then progress….now you’re looking at an 8 week block of training before you increase loads to new levels….that basically is the length of the sample advanced programs. The only real difference is you aren’t doing an AMRAP or 1RM test at the end.

  52. Is it possible to fit the training concepts for an intermediate in just 3 days a week? Just wanted to know since I try to make a template that would fit my schedule and recovery, but incorporating the amount of frequency, volume and some strength work (like in the examples) is out of my grasp so far.

    I’m shooting for 2x for muscle group and about 50 reps/day. Am I stretching it? Some tips or something would really help.

    Or should I consider at least 4 days and stretch the microcycle on the second week?

    1. Sure this can work. For a powerlifter, you’d probably do a Bench/Squat day, a Deadlift/Accessory day, and then a day doing all three main lifts.

      For a bodybuilder, you’d have a full body day dedicated to low rep, heavy loads, low volume strength, and then an upper and a lower with higher reps and higher volume.

      And focus more on total reps/muscle group per week vs per session. You’ll have a very hard time hitting 50 reps per body part in the full body strength session and you shouldn’t try. Go lower volume on that day since you’ll have more movements, and higher intensity, and go more volume on the upper and lower days.

      1. Thanks. This again confirms my tendency to over complicate things. Reading that made me say “Duh, that’s obvious”…

        From this approach (having a bit of strength and more hypertrophy included) I understand that this would make a training block for hypertrophy which would be followed by a training block focused more on strength (more strength, a bit of hypertrophy). Am I right?

        1. Cristi, just follow the model of the intermediate program, just using the split I suggested. You don’t need to have a block of accumulation and intensification (although you could if you wanted), you can just follow the wave loading progression within each exercise.

          1. I would also like to train 3 times per week with the Intermediate Bodybuilding Template. How would the sets and reps in the upper/lower-days look like to hit the average reps/wk?

            On the full body day I would go with 3×3-5 in the main lifts.

          2. I think with 5 minutes, a calculator, and a little thought and you can get this one yourself Alexander. I’m all for answering questions, but I’m firmly against spoon feeding as it just screws people out of independent thinking ad leaves them in a mess for the future.

  53. Hey Eric

    Thank you for creating such an awesome product. It was not only very informative, but also a fun read!

    In the training book there was one thing I couldn’t figure out:
    When I was comparing the novice powerlifting templates it all added up perfectly, but with the Bodybuilding ones I can’t find a way to add up the numbers to arrive at the same Reps/Wk.

    For example:

    At the bottom of page 135 there is a breakdown of the Novice Bodybuilding Program. There it says:

    UB Push: Chest: Reps/Wk: 90.
    UB Push: Delts: Reps/Wk: 85.

    If I add up all the pushing movements from both Upper days, then add the vertical pulling movements, I get an average of 85. But what movements stimulate the chest and not the delts?

    I ran into the same issue when comparing the intermediate bodybuilding program.

    I know that it doesn’t matter if I would just want to stick to one of the sample programs. The reason I’m asking is that there has to be some kind of overlap I’m not thinking of and/or an assumed overlap that I’m wrong about. So it’s just a mix of being really curious where my thinking is wrong and also making sure that I calculate my volume correctly, when I’m coming up with my own plan.

    I hope the question makes sense and I’m not being stupid.

    Best regards from Switzerland
    Jeff

    1. Jeff, thank you for saying so! And remember, the way I’m tracking volume isn’t the “right” way, it’s just the way I’m doing it. Muscles are activated in all kinds of movements you wouldn’t expect, the bicep can act as a week shoulder flexor in some cases, the adductors as hip extensors, the triceps as shoulder extensors etc etc etc.

      So with that disclaimer, the reason why the volume doesn’t appear to add up, is because I counted Flys only as Chest volume. Does a fly train the anterior delts? Yes, but a lot of movements overlap so you have to draw the line in the sand somewhere.

      Not being stupid at all, just don’t think there is a clear cut right and wrong way okay?

  54. eric perhaps you can help me with this as i cant get a clear answer on it…in terms of artificial sweetners like sucralose understanding this may seem like a lot i tend to use sometimes perhaps about a bottle or so sometimes more roughly for the day of the walden farms syrup in conjuction with my meals throughout the day to add more flavor as the bottles are quite small and consist of only a cup and a half so there not very volumous is it of any health concern such as is this a dangerous amount as the the bottle isnt pure sucralose. i am talking strictly outside the realms of being in a deficit as it greatly helps with adherence making foods taste better.

    1. Artificial sweeteners, to include sucralose, aspartame, acesulfame k, and stevia in moderate amounts are not an issue. The sweetness can stimulate hunger just like normal sugar, so be sure it’s actually helping vs hindering cravings (different for everyone and moderation is king). Only artificial sweetener I’d try to limit more would be saccharin, which when consumed closer to the maximum recommended dose by the USDA can cause some issues related to glucose response and gut microbes. Doesn’t need to be cut out completely, just curtailed. Fortunately saccharin is one of the least common artificial sweeteners, the only diet soda I know of which has it is Tab. Also these are the pink packets of artificial sweetener FYI if you drink coffee or tea.

  55. Hi Mr Helms!! Just purchased your training pyramid book. Just wanna ask something and I hope you can answer me! (dunno if you already did answer this question on Lyle’s group)

    For fat loss am I able to still use the novice bodybuilding sample program? (I will add some rear delt and back width work)

    Thank you in advance. Im taking notes about the book. Will feedback through the forums I’m in and Lyle’s group.

      1. Thank You Eric. I guess I’ll keep doing just the back “width” work you did quote. Direct work isn’t workin’ anyway.

        The real question was, what’s better during a cut, follow de powerlifting program or follow the bodybuilding program? With the little knownledge I have, I know I can’t build muscle in a calorie deficit but I can build up strength.

        So… That’s it. My english is not the best, sorry xD. Sometimes ir hard for me to explain.

        1. I quoted the back width portion, because you don’t really train for width or thickness, you train the muscles of your back by doing their joint actions with enough stress to stimulate the muscles that do those joint actions. The lats grow from rows and pulldowns, the mid traps are trained in rows, the rear delts are trained with when any shoulder abduction happens etc etc etc. It will serve you to learn the actual functions of muscles to determine exercise selection rather than thinking of them in terms of “which exercises are for which muscles” if that makes sense.

          And a cut doesn’t change the principle of specificity. If your goal is strength, train for strength. If your goal is size, train for size, regardless of your nutritional status. Also please read the section “metabolic magic” in the nutrition book, a caloric deficit does not automatically mean you cannot build muscle.

          And no need to apologize 🙂

          1. Thanks for your answer Eric!

            As my last question…

            Are the guidelines listed the same for woman? I tried ctrl + F on the PDF and it says “no results” haha (for “woman”)

  56. Thanks a lot Eric i know it may seem like much to be having 1-2 bottles used but based on your response id assume its ok in terms of health that I’m taking in this amount. its something that i feel helps greatly with adherence and making things taste better while controlling cravings and as long as the health effects are not something of concern (i.e health longevity.etc) as theirs so much mixed reviews on non caloric sweeteners just wanted to get a clarification.

  57. Hey Eric, I’ve a question about running the bodybuilding vs powerlifting templates. Your recommendations address those who compete, but what about those of us who are just recreational lifters, with no competitions to base our training cycles around, but nonetheless are interested in both strength and aesthetics? Is there an order or method you suggest to choosing between the styles of lifting? (e.g. bodybuilding when bulking/powerlifting when cutting; bodybuilding till you stall, powerlifting till you stall, and back n forth; etc.) Or does running a powerlifting program not even really offer any additional benefits if you’re not going to compete?

    Also, as a related question, would either be easier to run, or more conducive, when eating a calorie deficit?

    1. Check out the section in the training book on those who compete in both powerlifting and bodybuilding, I know you aren’t a competitor, but take a look at the suggested options, figure out what your primary goal is, and determine which of the options fits it best. Consider you will get bigger following the powerlifting program, and you will get stronger following the bodybuilding program. If you really want to improve the big 3, use a powerlifitng approach, if you want general strength and size, probably follow the bodybuilding approach.

      As to your related question please see this answer https://muscleandstrengthpyramids.com/support/?replytocom=168#respond

  58. Hello,

    I am very eager to buy the books, but given the fact that I am on a tight budget (I come from a country with low purchase power) I am planning on buying them sepparately. After owning them both, will I qualify for the updates or do I have to buy the whole pack at once, because I could wait for two months to raise the money, but I would also like to get my hands on one of them sooner.

    Thank you!

    1. Silviu, I would advise you to save the money and buy the bundle after you have raised the money, this will be less expensive for you, and considering this is a significant financial contribution you would want to pay a lesser amount. Don’t let impatience lead you to making a poor financial decision. 2 months is a very short period of time.

  59. Hey, Eric. Great informative book. Unfortunately I’ve lost my portable drive which I had the book saved to. Is it possible for my download link to be sent again? It’s saying I can’t download the books again

  60. Can you give an example of the deload for the intermediate wave loading progression deload with an squat dead alternated on the same day? Do you just take the deload wherever you are in the cycle since it will take twice as long to complete it with alternated lifts. Sorry if I missed this in the book but I couldn’t find it. Thank you!

    1. Lots of ways to do it, little harder to conceptualize but still doable. Here is one way:

      Day 1 / Day 3 (Day 2 and 4 could be upper body days in this example)
      Wk 1 Squat 3x8x70% / Dead 3x5x77.5%
      wk 2 Dead 3x4x82.5% / Squat 3x7x72.5%
      wk 3 Squat 3x6x75% / Dead 3x3x87.5%
      wk 4 Dead 2x3x77.5% / Squat 2x6x70%
      wk 5 Squat 3x8x72.5% / Dead 3x5x80%
      wk 6 Dead 3x4x85% / Squat 3x7x75%
      wk 7 Squat 3x6x77.5% / Dead 3x3x90%
      wk 8 Dead 2x3x80% Squat 2x6x72.5%

      1. Thank you for the reply. I meant how do you do the intermediate progression deload if you are alternating squat and dead lift on the same day but only doing one per day.
        Week 1 day 1 squat
        Week 2 day 1 dead lift.

        Sorry for the bad question. Thanks!

        1. Honestly Jack, that’s probably not a very ideal frequency (once every two weeks) for such important movements. Not a bad question, but perhaps not the best way to set up training in the first place.

  61. Please forgive me is this has already been answered but I did not find the answer in the training book or this section of the website.

    I know you recommend cutting cardio in half for diet breaks, do you recommend cutting cardio on deload weeks as an intermediate/advanced trainee or does it stay constant?

    Thanks in advance 🙂

  62. Hi all,

    I don’t really have any questions at the moment, but I just wanted to say thank you to all of you that worked on these books and giving us this opportunity for feedback, questions, and etc.

    Signed up for 3DMJ Skype one-on-one consultation after reading these books.

    Oh, but I do have one question though. I didn’t read finish reading all the questions and answers yet, but I saw a post from Don and him wondering if there was an accurate way of measuring recovery. I heard of Bioforce HRV a tool to help measure recovering or a method is to measure resting heart rate first thing in the morning, if the heart rate is above average resting heart rate by a significant amount you need more rest. I’m not sure if that is true or not, or if it even applies to bodybuilders and power lifter. But just a thought.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to say so! You’re going to get a lot out of the consultation, we look forward to helping you achieve your goals!

      And as far as HRV, I don’t personally think we have enough data on that metric to effectively use it to autoregulate training for lifters just yet.

  63. Hey Eric,

    I have a question regarding choosing between fat loss or muscle gains program. Because u made it clear in the
    book that our efforts should be best aimed at doing either fat loss or muscle growth, 2 questions arise from this:

    1) how do i know which prog to choose? I have this dilemma because i am skinny fat (i.e. My weight is where i want it to be with very moderate muscle cuts and a very stubbornly fat belly) and i am afraid that if i choose muscle gaiins i will end up with more belly fat and increase my weight due to higher cal intake; and
    2) once i know which program to follow, how long or short should i stay in that program? How do i know if its time to change?

    Thanks

    1. 1. I would stick to a muscle gain plan unless you are actually overweight. Skinny fat can be cured by gaining more muscle and also losing fat, but constantly being in a deficit will make it really hard to put on muscle. So put the muscle on first, then in a few years once you have a solid base, do a cut. Remember to follow the guidelines for rate of muscle gain. I don’t advise fast gains so if you set up your training program well and put forth consistent efforts you will gain very little body fat.
      2. This is actually something that is very clearly outlined in the progression and sample programs sections. It discusses how to progress at each training age and when to go to the next level.

  64. Eric,

    Just wondering if you’ve given any thought to including a sample tracking log that specifically suits the layout of the prescribed work outs/progression. I like paper based tracking and having something that I can see weeks at a glance would be nice. My current printed log shows each day, so flipping back and forth is a lot of, well, flipping back and forth 🙂 Thought maybe 3DMJ might use a standard formatted template for weekly progression that can be printed and kept in a binder.

    1. Brad, hadn’t considered it honestly in this day and age. Also, you could just do this on excel in a few minutes, and print that out pretty quickly, might even be a more individualized option for you 🙂

      1. Thanks Eric. I can probably throw something together, just thought you might have something that was specifically suited to the progression schemes provided that would be sort of “week at a glance” type format.

        1. I do have lots of excel sheets that I give to clients that are built around tracking very similar training programs to what are in the book, however, they aren’t exactly ebook friendly as they are full of formulas and other stuff

          1. What I have is a small (5x7ish) 3 ring binder that I take to the gym and use pen/paper to track WOs. I probablt erroneously said week at a glance, when I should have said month, where you can see each week’s progression on one sheet. I’ll have to give this some thought on how to best design. Currently I have each WO on it’s own sheet, and flip back and forth. I just thought there might be something easier 🙂

          2. The excel sheets I set up for clients show the exercise on the left, the day on the top, and then going horizontally next to the exercise, is setsxrepsxload, on days when the exercise isn’t performed, I black out the cell. Then going down vertically is each subsequent week. Normally my clients just have the excel sheet open on their smart phone while training or print out the week to take to the gym. Not sure if that helps?

  65. Hi guys,

    Thanks for the fantastic wealth of information you’ve shared!

    I have a couple of questions based on volume when cutting (I did read your responses above but didn’t get answers to the below):

    1. You say when cutting the volume should still fall within the recommendations but on the lower side. So keeping in mind the recommendations are 2-3x per week for each movement/muscle group with 40-70 reps each session, that would mean the lower side is 2x a week for frequency, with 40reps each session. Does this mean you recommend when cutting people still squat/deadlift/bench twice a week? So maybe upper/lower split over 4 days with 40reps per session? Isn’t 4 days in the gym too much during cutting?

    2. You’ve mentioned that going to failure isn’t necessary for hypertrophy, and you can do sets to RPE 8 and still gain mass. But what about lean mass retention during a cut? Should you be taking all sets to RPE 9-10? Perhaps a middle ground of doing ‘higher risk’ exercises (Big 3 for example) to RPE 8 and taking all the ‘lower risk’ accessories to failure?

    1. Hi Lee, thanks for the questions.
      Isn’t 4 days in the gym too much during cutting?
      – That would depend on the context. If someone is used to only 3 days of training, and a training day was added with a concurrent bump in volume (1/3+), then yes it could well be.

      1. The 40-70 reps, 2-3x per week is a guideline, it can be better to think of weekly volume instead (so, 80-210 reps). The number of workouts performed (and thus the frequency with which each body part/lift is trained) is a result of organizing that volume around your preferred workout schedule, not something to set in and of itself. Volume will often need to be decreased as a cut progresses, which can bring scope for reducing the number of days someone trains.

      2. Maintaining sufficient workout volume appears to be the most important factor. Training to failure can hamper how much volume we can perform, and so shouldn’t be a goal in and of itself. More on this in the progression chapter.

      See also Eric’s comment reply time stamped: 01.01.2016 AT 4:42 AM

      1. Thanks Andy. Another question specifically for you:

        The routines for cutting listed on your website all seem to be way under 40reps per body part per week (RPT 3 Day split, 5×5). Have you perhaps changed your views since then and plan on updating these recommendations? Or can you comment why your views are different?

        Thanks mate!

        Lee

        1. Hi Lee. Yes, the routines on my site are long due an update. It’s not like they suddenly won’t work, but what you read in this book is far more in depth and will work better when applied properly.

      2. And just to be a bit more clear on this….still keep a periodized routine while cutting or does it make sense to stick with the same something like the intensity phase only and increase weights where you can?

  66. Hi,
    Great book , i just wanted to clear one point i didn’t see addressed neither in the book nor here,
    During a cut do you want to still progress (weights) or keep the same weight during the period you are in a calorie deficit

  67. Great book. Quick question I have been lifting for 20 years and prefer full body workouts just due to adherence with my career and family life. That way if I miss a day nothing gets neglected. With my 20 years of lifting expierence…using full body routines for 3 days a week should I use the 40 reps per session guideline per muscle group or the 70 reps per session guidelines. Considering my trainng expierence your book says use the upper end (closer 70 reps per muscle group)…but given my age (late 30s) and basically only 1 day of rest between training sessions with full body workout …which rep guideline should I try to stick to to stay as close to optimal as possible? Thanks

    1. Hi Michael, thanks for the question.

      The only way to find optional is to experiment with what works best for you. I’d say that if you’ve been training for 20 years though, training the full body every other day probably isn’t going to be optimal for recovery and progression.

      The guidelines in the book are 40-70 reps, per body part/lift, 2-3x times per week, that’s over those guidelines at 3.5x per week. Consider splitting up your work into a four day week (perhaps basing this on one of the four day sample templates in the back of the book), see how you progress, and then adjust overall volume from there.

      1. Andy,

        Thank you for your reply.

        If I want to stay with Full Body Routines 3 days a week due to adherence… (even though its not optimal as you advised in your early post). What total rep range per muscle group should I use from the book. 40 total reps over 3 times a week or keep pushing it higher all the way up to 70 per muscle group 3 times a week. Given I have been training 20+ years. I am not trying to body build…I am more interested in staying as healthy and strong as possible (think playing sports with the family and etc). Thanks

        1. You mean you have only three days to give per week to the gym, right? Not that you necessarily want to stick to doing a full body routine each day.

          The key is the get in the right amount of volume and yet still be able to recover. You’re an experienced trainee so there’s no need to make guesses here. Whatever you are currently doing, if it’s helping you to maintain, do that plus a fraction more.

          You may need to do split your routine into a form of A/B split (alternating upper/lower for example, so that one week you have A/B/A, then the next B/A/B) so that you can perform at a high enough intensity and still recover; you may find that the reduced body part frequency that an A/B split has prevents you from being able to get in enough volume for each body part per week, as the workouts would just go on for too long otherwise.

          After 20 years of serious training, it’s highly likely that both of these approaches will fail to be however, as you’ll simply need to add another day of work to your week to get in enough volume to drive further adaptations and progressing. If you don’t have the time in your schedule to do that then maintenance of your adaptations may well just be the most suitable goal in and of itself currently.

          1. Actually I meant I wanted to stay with Full Body Workouts.

            Thank you for your time!

          2. Yes, I get that. But my point is that what you want to do, what you can do, and what you need to do, might not be in alignment.

  68. Hi guys,

    Great work leading to this books, congratulations. I have a question, and would be glad if you could answer it:
    I’m adopting the wave undulating progression scheme for an intermediate, and on my current training I am using sets of 8 @ RPE 9 (assume 100lbs for instance). Next week will be a Deload. For compounds, and wanting to use 8-12 rep range, if I work the progression scheme backwards, to derive the weights for the following cycle, I am almost sure that with 5bs increments I will not be able to complete the reps on week 1 (12 reps with 95lbs) and week 2 (10 reps with 100lbs). Can it be because of currently using an RPE of 9 in my 8 rep sets? If this is the case, is it advisable using higher decrements, guaranteeing that the next cycle’s week 3 would be a 5lbs increment from previous cycle’s week 3? (for instance, week 1 would be 12 reps with 85lbs, week 2 would be 10 reps with 95 lbs, and week 3 would be 8 reps with 105lbs)

    Thanks a lot for your time.
    Regards.

    1. Hi Nuno. I think the issue is that you’re starting off with a weight in the first session too high for you to continue to progress with. Go with a lower RPE.

  69. Hi guys,

    When bulking (counting calories consitently etc.), sometimes I’ll find that weight gain stagnates for 3-4 weeks. But after increasing calories, weight tends to increase rapidly for 2-3 weeks (Usually by a whopping 2kg) before going slow or stagnating again. Assuming activity levels aren’t changing and calories are counted correctly, is there an explanation for this phenomenon?

    1. Sure, that’ll be from water and glycogen increases due to the bump in carb intake. If you’d like something more detailed then see here:
      Why Do Sudden Changes In Weight Happen?
      If you’d like something even more detailed then put your mail address in the box on the right as my email course covers this in two of the five lessons on the mistakes that people usually make when they start dieting.

      1. Thanks Andy. I knew about glycogen already and even the 3g of water per 1g of carb. For some reason though, I couldn’t objectively look at the data and tell myself that. Thanks for clearing up my paranoia. Isn’t it funny when you try to coach your self that despite best efforts, bias always creeps in and clouds your judgement. I know you’ve written about this extensively.

        Anyway, thanks for taking the time Andy. It means a lot.

  70. Home gym training questions…

    1. Does a reverse hyper machine qualify as a hip hinge variant? (and what are your thoughts on these machines?)

    2 . Are there any leg press variants that don’t require a machine?

    3. Are there any horizontal row variants that don’t require a cable machine?

    Thank you endlessly
    Matt

    1. Hi Matt, thanks for the questions.
      1. It’s a different action. Just do it with a dumbbell if you don’t have a barbell. I’m sure Bret Contreras has more thoughts on this on his site it you’re interested in the theory as he’s the hip man.
      2. A leg press variant refers to machines that work the legs in a pressing action. But if that’s not possible, then you can use an alternative exercise that mimics the action.
      3. Seal rows, one arm barbell rows on a bench.

      If there’s something that isn’t clear in the book then feel free to ask, but otherwise I think the questions this time brush against the “fair use” policy ceiling in the comments given how highly personal they are. Plenty of resources out there for you to find out about these things.

  71. Hello everyone!

    Just a quick question if any of the available coaches can chip in on this!

    Do you happen to have a ‘written write-up’ example of the accumulation, intensification, realization setup as discussed in the training book? Maybe just for myself and the other readers to get a grasp on how to set up a training protocol based on that!

    If also the coaches are familiar with juggernaut 2.0, how does your method of Accumulation, intensification, realization differ from theirs?

    Thanks!

    -Mark

    1. Hi Mark, thanks for the questions.
      1. Not currently. This is something we could include in a future edition or resource somewhere on the website (as it’d span so many pages if in PDF version). Thank you for the suggestion.
      2. I’m not, but I imagine the broad principles will be the same.

  72. Sorry for the unclear question, it wasn’t my intention to get spoon feed with a cookiecutter answer. In fact, I set up a template with 3 days, but wasn’t sure, if the volume/week would be sufficient.

  73. Thank you for the response! It would be awesome to see a PDF post in an updated edition with rough guidelines for setting up your own accumulation, intensification, realization block…

    Andy, while you’re the main poster here and Eric is on break. If I may ask you a quick question regarding your Ebook for diet adjustments… Why do you prefer to have clients consume less than 100g carbs on off days? I was under the assumption that in the nutrition template, keep calories constant throughout the week!

    Any input is greatly appreciated. Thanks!

    1. I typically get clients to cycle their calorie intake across the week, with a lower calorie intake on their rest days. In combination with this, I’ll usually have people have more carbs on their training days and keep fats loser. The result is a low carb intake on the rest days out of necessity. This isn’t for everyone (those that are new to counting, or can’t cope with the complication), but many like the variety it brings.

  74. The question I have is about maintenance calories. I did the two week weigh-in method and ended up losing .4 lbs. Can you please give me an example of how to caculate a loss? The book only gave an example of how to calculate weight gain. Thank you in advance! Great books btw! Really broadened my perspective on bodybuilding.

  75. In regards to caculating maintenance calories, Eric recommended using the two week weigh-in method where you weigh yourself for 14 days in a row consuming the same amount of calories each day. Then average each week and multiply the difference by 3500 (depending on desired rate of fat loss). The book gave an example of a gain of .2 lbs from week 1 to week 2, which was then multiplied by 3500 to get the caloric surplus.
    Now, I lost .4 lbs from week 1 to week 2 suggesting I was consuming less than my maintenance calories. How can I figure out how much of a deficit I was in for those 2 weeks? Sorry for the long winded question..

    1. Hi Louis, the 3500 number is a good approximation for a deficit also, so the math is the same.

      You lost 0.4lbs – that’s an approximate 1400kcal deficit, assuming no water, glycogen or gut content fluctuations. Consider leaving it for another week to get more of a trend as you can’t rule out those things just yet.

      1. Hi Andy, Ive been in a cutting phase for a month now and at 2035 calories, i lost 1.6lbs between those 2 weeks. i also did cardio as well (low intensity) for about 1050kcals in total. so does that mean my deficit was 1.6×3500= 5600 with cardio and 4550kcals without cardio? and my maintainance being 2035+650 without cardio?

  76. Just wondering this, maybe I was a bit too tired last night, but can you clarify that method that Louis mentioned? I read that within the Nutritional Pyramid as well, but when I averaged my weigh ins, I just ended up with a bodyweight number and of course that multiplied by 3500 was a ridiculously large number. What was the basic formula for it? (im doing this on excel on my laptop)

    Or if you dont want to give out too much info on that, could you direct me to the page # so I can read that section again when I’m home from work!

    Thanks a million 😀 😀

    -Mark

    (also any future forums for users?! would be awesome to see)

    1. Calculating and Adjusting For Weight Gain or Loss

      a ridiculously large number
      – Ignore the changes to your diet in the first week of dieting as there will be large swings in weight due to change in carbohydrate intake, and thus water balance and glycogen levels. You’ll now need to wait a few weeks to see your trend in weight change before making adjustments. I’d suggest you wait till the 4th week point. My guide to tracking here.

  77. Amazing stuff! Is there any affiliate opportunities?

  78. His Eric, hope your okay, I’ve recently bought both of your books and must say they are fantastic. Something on overdue in the community. However I was wondering if I could trouble you for two questions I have,

    1) do deloads have to concur at the same week, for example: I trained a movement progression into the 4th cycle, but done it within two weeks as I should have set it up and trained it once per week and done a different exercise on a different day and trained a different rep scheme as progression through another exercise. So I’m potentially on my 4th time training this movement should I Deload? Even if all other lifts are not at the Deload point? I hope that makes sense dude.

    2) I’ve dropped a fair bit of volume to stop non functional overreaching as you call it. To get. A bit more functional objective volume in, my question is my chest doesn’t seem to be as ‘pumped’ forgive the bro terminology I’m not refering to when I weight train I mean in general in the morning ect compared to how it used to be, could this be less glycogen storage due to less volume ect? (I’m not in a deficit of your wondering) my question is, is this reduction in size a sign that I need more volume? , is it a negative I need to worry about of course I’ll sacrifice the look of it now in order to increase size in the future.

    Hope the war questions make sense dude, an thanks ever so much for reading/replying look forward to all the content you real ease in the future and can’t thank you enough for the books. Especially the section on how to help other people you clearly have a humble, and kind personality that is certainly to be desired.

    -Billy.

    1. 1) I’m not entirely clear on what you are asking. I read the question a couple times but don’t understand. That said, a deload should provide systemic recovery, so however you set up your training, if/when you do a deload, it should provide that.
      2) I think it would be best to stick to more objective ways of tracking progress, perhaps strength and measurements and pictures over the long term.

      You’re welcome!

      Eric

  79. Hi guys, thanks for the truly excellent books. Probably dumb RPE question: above it says, “RPE values are for your first set, then try to maintain load and complete all sets and reps without hitting failure.” But since it’s your first set, how do you know what the right load is to achieve a certain RPE that day? Also, the book prescribes progressing weight each week (for intermediate)… does RPE override that, ie, you don’t progress unless you are feeling up to it? Thanks…

    1. Hi Rich. Most trainees will be able to feel this out by the warm-up, and have a good idea what load will be appropriate from previous experience. If the exercise is new to you then go with the beginner progression, or just pick up a weight and see how you feel based on your warm up, then adjust based on how you do in that workout in the next workout.

      Also, the book prescribes progressing weight each week (for intermediate)… does RPE override that, ie, you don’t progress unless you are feeling up to it?
      – There’s no black and white answer to this one. Some days you’ll feel stronger than others, but it’s important to push for progression where possible, and the progression will bring up the load you can use with the same RPE over each cycle. Now, it’s ok to overreach past the RPE guidelines a little to do this, but if you are chronically finding that you are over then you need to adjust one or more of the VIF elements (reducing load would be the simplest first step).

      Critical thinking is essential to your success, so never follow a program blindly. Hope this helps.

  80. Hey Andy and Eric, do you guys have much knowledge and/or experience with sleep disturbances as they might relate to training?

    The reason I ask is because (I think) I’m getting toward the end of my beginner linear periodization, running a modified 5×5 program, and recently I’ve been having issues where I wake up throughout the night. I fall back asleep and still get ~7-8 hours a night, but I worry if the quality of my sleep is a concern.

    Aside from sleep, everything else is great – I’m eating in a slight surplus, general stress levels are minimal, I’m still progressing in the gym (though my workouts are getting pretty tough to get through), my mood and energy levels are great, my body feels good.

    Do you guys have any experience with or insight into the connections between training and sleep? Are sleep issues an indicator of something that I should be aware of?

    1. Matt, not our area of expertise, but sleep is important yes. Ideally you want to get an appropriate quantity and quality of sleep to help you adapt to the demands of training. If this is a continuing issue I’d advise seeing a specialist.

  81. Hi guys, loving the books! I had a question regarding some of the content in the Training book. I didn’t see anything about Occlusion Training (BFR) though there seems to be quite a bit of data showing it’s benefits to producing similar results to higher intensity loads in terms of hypertrophy. Any chance that you guys will be adding a section about BFR in a future version of the books? Thanks again for the awesome books!

    1. I considered including it, and may include something about in a future version, but as you said, BFR can provide similar hypertrophy to non occluded training, but it isn’t above and beyond the benefits of normal training nor is it known to be complementary (ie adding it to an already well set up plan likely wouldn’t be any better than normal traiing that was added). That said, it can be very useful in situations where the absolute mechanical load on the joint or soft tissue can’t be high (due to injury) and when you still want to stimulate hypertrophy. I’ve successfully used occlusion training when joint injuries effect my lifters, and it results in a much faster return to previous strength performance levels in powerlifters, and can be used just like any other type of training to stimulate growth, just with lower loads. Also…I don’t recommend it straight out of the gate just because it’s painful and easy to do incorrectly. For good info on this stuff check out anything by Dr Jeremy Loenneke this is his area of research and he’s also a competitive natural bodybuilder and powerlifter.

      1. Thanks for the reply! Yes, Dr. Loenneke’s was what I had been referring to as I have been utilizing BFR to come back from a SLAP repair in the my left shoulder, definitely a useful tool.

  82. Hi guys, i have to thank you once again for the awesome content. I already asked a question but there’s another one concerning the deloads. I’m running the intermediate program and it’s going pretty well. Next week is my first planned deload week ever in my 3 years of lifting and i wanted to ask you if i just keep my calories at the same level or may decrease them a little bit. I considered that the caloric expenditure from 5 days of lower training volume and intensity eventually decreases NEAT and doesn’t have a great muscle growth stimulus anyway. Of course i know about supercompensation but does the body need as much calories for it to occur? Just being curious, thanks in advance. 🙂

    1. The difference in caloric expenditure for the entire day on a deload compared to a normal week is 1% of next to nothing 🙂

      And adaptation is a continual not an acute process, so keep your calories as you would normally.

  83. Hi Eric,

    I hope you will find the time to read and respond to this short message.
    In your latest book you say that ‘pure strengths athletes 50-75% of your volume should come from the specific movements …’

    Do you mean volume as sets/reps or load/sets/reps?

    Cheers and I appreciate your response

  84. Hello!

    I’ve been a previous commenter, but this question is for Mr.Helms

    While DUP is a popular means of training currently, By any chance, will you incorporate any future PDFs of maybe a DUP program you’ve written out for an athlete? It would be nice to have a bit more ‘generic protocol’ as to how A DUP training cycle may look like in the long term picture!

    Thanks a ton!

    -Mark

    1. Mark, all of the programs in the Training Pyramid book have elements of daily undulating periodization in them and could be considered “DUP”, the nature of your question tells me you don’t fully understand what DUP is and I’d highly recommend reading Chapter 3 Progression, and also the Sample Training Programs chapters again to help you fully grasp the concept.

  85. Hi!

    Is the training program also effective for people who are on PED’s? i’t is a frequently asked question i get..

    Wick

    1. Theoretically, the same mechanisms which make a drug free lifter grow optimally, would make an enhanced lifter grow, the PEDs should just make the process faster and more effective. That said, all I have is theory since I have no experience working with lifters on PEDs.

  86. Will do! this is a very thorough read and I have to admit some chapters may need to be read a few times to fully grasp the concepts at hand!
    Will read again!

    Thank you Mr. Helms!

  87. WOW !! What an amazing masterpiece you guys have put together !! This is gonna last me a life time. One question though, after leaning down to desired bodyfat. How would you reverse diet to maintenance calories, then into a bulk ?

  88. Great reading.

    In the example routine of training Lv 2: p.56: “majority of the work is in the 6 rep and lower range, …” However the example routine in p.55, i notice that this only entails all the leg & press movements. The pulling movements are actually >6 reps. This means that “majority” actually means out of all the muscles combined, and not majority of each muscle group. It looks like the upper pulling movement is getting all hypertrophy treatment while legs & upper pushing gets strength. Is there a reason why certain muscles get a higher/lower rep range, and certain ones get higher/lower intensity? For some reason i thought it should be more spread out evenly, each group having high/low rep as well as intensity. Thanks.

    1. Remember, this is just a sample split, if you want to see the actual sample programs, check out the end of the book. Also, the reason is because most people have a very difficult time keeping form on heavy pulling movements. It’s very easy to use body english, so it can be useful to keep the loads a little lighter. So long as you are progressing you’ll be getting enough of a strength stimulus. Rows 6-8 is also there.

  89. Great books guys!really usefull info!
    I have lerned almost everything i expected, i only have some questions on how to plan my individual trainning program.
    1. When u say 1-2 compound exercises for each major muscle group(you include biceps or triceps?) , and 1-3 for isolation, you mean per sesion or per week(training split)?

    Ex. I want to choose my chest exercises for a 5day split(upper/lower/push/pull/leg), so ill have 2compound+3iso to split along the upper/push days, or on upper day choose 1-2 compound+1-3iso and for push the same?
    2.For weak points what % of volume ull increase?
    Your books explain almost everything, but just cant find that clear info on how to set an individual program.
    Great job guys! Wanna thank all the effort you make for people to learn!

    1. Carlos you’re skirting pretty close to some rule violations here, specifically 3 (individual programming) and 4 (you can use google to find out the definition of a compound movement and isolation movement).

      Also hit Ctrl F and search for weak points and also volume so you can see what has been discussed on increasing volume and weak points already.

      Regards, Eric

  90. I was wondering if you could elaborate on the 35-40% recommendation for fat with regards to family history of diabetes? This value is mentioned in the online nutrition calculator and also briefly touched on in the nutrition book. My father has been a diabetic for most of his life and as well as his father who is no longer alive. I am in very good health physically with no abnormal blood work (tracking macros consistently for 1 yr+ along with weight lifting 3-4x/week for about 2 years consistently) but am curious as to how such a recommendation would apply or benefit me? Traditionally, my fat macros have been set at about 20-25%, would I notice some type of health (diabetes-specific or otherwise), training benefit or favorable body composition (currently about 12-13% body fat if I estimate modestly) increasing it to 35-40%? Would this affect fat gain/deposition at all as I am currently in a lean gain phase?

    1. Chris, just because you have a family history of diabetes doesn’t automatically mean that you are going to benefit from a higher fat intake. It just means that you may be at a higher risk (not guaranteed) of being more insulin resistant. If your family members aren’t active, don’t have the best diets and developed diabetes later in life, that is very different from being relatively active, or at least not sedentary, and eating a more or less normal diet and getting diabetes. The latter would more likely indicate a strong genetic component if that makes sense. More than likely, you being lean, active, and watching your diet has a huge protective effect against you getting diabetes, and so long as you keep this lifestyle you won’t have anything to worry about. However, it is possible that due to the potential (not guaranteed) underlying genetics that you may benefit from a lower carbohydrate intake due to a degree of insulin resistance. Only way to tell would be trying out a higher fat intake and lower carb intake and tracking data, and doing this a couple times as recommended in the book and comparing. And/Or getting some metabolic testing done. This is getting a bit outside of my scope though, so if you are truly concerned about your risk of diabetes or have concerns about your metabolic health, talk to your doc. As to the rationale, technically the goal isn’t higher fat, rather it’s lower carbohydrate, higher fat just makes you consume less carbohydrate with the way the book recommends setting up your diet because when you increase fat, carbs go down because you have a set number of calories with protein relative to body-weight. Someone who is insulin resistant will have a more difficult time “handling” a higher carbohydrate load while keeping blood sugar levels in normal ranges and insulin levels in normal ranges. But again, not saying for sure that you are insulin resistant to any degree, the book just states things that might make that more probable of being the case.

      1. Would there be any benefit (or negative effects) on body composition at higher levels of fat while keeping it isocaloric between both models? For example, am I more likely to store my lean bulk “surplus” as adipose tissue compared to muscle with an overall larger daily contribution from fat?

        Wouldn’t increasing fat (thus decreasing carbs) affect my gym performance?

        Is this a situation where nutrient timing of carbohydrates to certain periods of time (aside from around a workout) would become more beneficial over another method for overall health/insulin sensitivity/body composition?

        Also is there any literature to suggest higher carbohydrate load is handled any different (with regards to digestion/insulin sensitivity) if consumed prior to bed? As I often eat a decently sized meal when I get home from work late but am forced to go to bed very soon in order to wake up for work again in 6 hours.

        1. Chris, I think you are missing my point. There may be a benefit of a different carb/fat ratio depending on if a person happens to be insulin resistant, in the book I pointed out potential markers that could make this potential more likely. To determine if that is the case you have to test this over time to find out if that is the case.

          And please see the nutrient timing section for you last question. Remember, what I wrote about in the books is what matters, I didn’t haphazardly leave out things that are critical, I included everything that is relevant and important based on my experience and interpretation of the literature.

  91. Sorry man, i didnt pretend to violate any rules. My example wasnt to try to ask my individual situation, i only asked how someone should proceed when choosing their individual goals.
    I mean,choosing 1-2comp + 1-3iso for each session or per week(split) isnt an indivudual question.

    Again sorry,didnt wanted to ofend, im spanish, and im not sure if my english is on point so i cant express myself well.

    1. All good Carlos no worries, and I think I initially misunderstood. Please see the sample programs as they show examples of what is appropriate for how many exercises to select for each bodypart.

      And for weak points, only something to deal with once you are advanced in 95% of cases, and if you are at that point, increasing volume on weak points by 20-30% while decreasing volume on the rest by 10-20% is a decent way to go.

      🙂

  92. For machines with bigger jumps in plates, such as cable rows (7.5lb increase on both sides for +15lb total), would Double Progression be more suitable?

    1. Hi Ross, thanks for the question.

      “…would Double Progression be more suitable?”
      – Yes, it’s a good way to keep progressing (when that stalls) given the incremental increase is so high.

  93. Hi guys, another question, this time regarding nutrition. Seeing that carb & fat intake are flexible (within a range), and total calorie & protein count are the dominant factors, is there merit in keeping the carb & fat intake be consistent from day to day? Can fat vary from the min recommended range to the max in the day to day? Speaking purely for the recreational lifter & lay public crowd. Thanks again.

    1. Hi Bert. I’d say yes, absolutely. Just be aware that the additional freedom there, while intended to improve adherence, could backfire for some folks as it gives them too much leeway, they miscount without realizing it and they screw themselves up. Some consistency with the meals for those not experienced with counting (perhaps having the same 6-10 meals on rotation at the start) is not a bad idea.

  94. Hi there

    I purchased the muscle and strength pyramid

    Just finished within few days

    Overall, wanted to give 5 stars towards this book.

    hopefully, looking forward to change my entire fitness goals and methods

    However, one quick question about the nutrition, there wasn’t specific information about training fasted. I usually train before my workout, so usually grab something fast digestion carbs and straight heads to gym. Should I include protein source before my workout?

    Thanks

    1. Hi Kevin, thank you, glad you enjoyed the books!

      Should I include protein source before my workout?
      -It would be prudent to do so to prevent any muscle catabolism. Two options:
      ~10g of BCAAs 10 minutes before or a 25g whey shake around an hour before will do the trick. Neither technically fasted but the same feeling.

  95. Hi Eric/Andy, Bert here again. Can you clear something up for me? On p. 142 under Intermediate Progression, the progression rules state to use Wave Loading progression on all lifts except isolation movements. I understand that these are primarily addressing the main 3 lifts.

    RDL, FSQ and any Horiz/Vert push/pull are accessory lifts. Curls, tricep & leg extensions are isolation lifts. Should accessory & isolation lifts take part in any progression while the main lifts are going through the Wave progression? Do you recommend holding them constant just to maintain a baseline volume (for work capacity?), or maybe move on to the less aggressive double progression model? This is in consideration of the fact that pushing to progress these lifts may be detriment to recovery for the main lifts.

    Guys, these books have been tremendously edumacational. I feel very equipped with tools after reading them. Ive done alot of flipping back & forth across different chapters to make sure I understand all the concepts, but I promise to read both books again for the 2nd time. Thanks so much for being thorough.

    *electronic fist pound*

    1. In the intermediate powerlifting program you use wave loading on everything, in the intermediate bodybuilding you use it on everything, except the exercises in the 12-15 rep range in which case you use double progression.

      *fist pound back at you*

  96. Thank you very much for the information in the training book (have yet to read the nutrition one, but sure it will be just as awesome).

    I had a few queries, if you have the time to answer them, I would certainly appreciate it:

    1- when I was watching the original videos there was mention of body part overlap when putting together a programme. I bought the book hoping that there would be more information about this. I found that there was not a whole lot about this. Is that because is it something not worth over complicating? (e.g. I do BP & OHP therefore all of the reps for those will count towards chest/tris/delts) Or can this get too complex e.g a third of bench volume will count to triceps volume or a fifth of OHP volume will count as chest volume because upper chest is involved?

    2- In the final level of the pyramid I noticed no mention of myoreps/cluster sets. Is this a form of training you may include in future versions? I thought there was some evidence to support these techniques? (As an aside the inclusion of BFR in future versions would be appreciated)

    3- You mention overload eccentrics in the text and say that slow eccentrics logically aren’t an equivalent (an opinion that Inhave always held too). Any suggestions on how to include these in programmes?

    4- In some of the 3DMJ video material there is mention of flexible workout schedules (e.g. Having a weekly volume to “tick off” as you do items) and abbreviated (e.g. CEO) workouts. I was hoping to see mention of these in the first level of the pyramid. Any guidelines for doing these? In regards to flexible programmes – Let’s say you are using an amalgamation of the entire intermediate program over a week – any absolute nonos? (Eg. Doing all the deadlifting on the same day -as an extreme and obvious example?)

    1. 1. I went into it as much as I think is appropriate and there is no way to know, for everyone (because we don’t all have the same length arms for example), what proportion of the reps from bench or ohp contribute to triceps. Plus, movements train more muscle groups than we often acknowledge, which I point out in a few spots, also see this response https://muscleandstrengthpyramids.com/support/#comment-157
      2. They can certainly be used. If you understand how clusters and myoreps work and integrate into VIF you can integrate them. Check out Borge Fagerli’s work for more info on myoreps. The only downside to them is they are difficult to quantify in terms of volume compared to traditional training because there are more effective reps in some cases. Also for info on BFR see these comments
      https://muscleandstrengthpyramids.com/support/#comment-118

      https://muscleandstrengthpyramids.com/support/#comment-311
      3. Overloaded eccentrics are very easy to do wrong, and carry a pretty high risk, and have a very specific time period when I think they should be included, so not something I think is appropriate for the books which are broader in nature.
      4. This is useful once you’re at the advanced level, use percentage 1RM with regular AMRAP/1RM testing for main lift progression, and then for accessories use double progression and wave loading and slot in accessories based on your schedule and time. But make sure you have some logic and common sense with which accessories and when you do them relative to your main lifts and each other see this comment
      https://muscleandstrengthpyramids.com/support/#comment-393

  97. Hi guys, as im putting together a good program that contains flexibility for availability, the following question arises. In the case of a Wave Progression, ideally you have A B C routines for 3 days of the week. Workout A1-A4 is the wave progression for routine A from week 1 to 4, and occurs in the same day week to week. However, is it ok to have the flexibility such they don’t recur in the same order in the following week? For example: week 1 is A1 B1 C1, but week 2 is B2 A2 C2. Notice the order of workout A and B has switched in the 2nd week.

    This is helpful in cases where certain equipments are not available on the day that you had intended to do them. For example I show up pumped & ready to do squats, only to find that the one rack in the whole gym has been occupied indefinitely by a dude doing a dozen sets with 5min rest intervals. In the case of most commercial gyms, squat racks & bench press are usually under stocked- so this is not an unlikely occurrence. If I were able to do a switcheroo with a session that has Deadlifts instead, and save my Squat led session to a different day, that would help tons. When you look at the weekly work performed, all the intended workouts are still completed. What do you think? Could this order change sabotage the progression somehow?

    Thanks.

    1. This can work, you are basically describing flexible non linear periodization and studies on this have shown it to be at least as effective as having a set day for each training session. There are scenarios where this wouldn’t be a good idea, like back to back deadlift days or something like that, but a little logic and common sense along with the flexible approach and you’re golden

  98. Hi Guys,

    First of all awesome books, best investment i made in fitness to date!

    I had a question when reviewing content for Cardio in the book, i am currently do a 5 day split similar to your Intermediate Bodybuilding Template, and i want to incorporate 2 LISS Cardio or 1 LISS and 1 HIIT Cardio as i am currently in a deficit.

    I wanted to know in terms of recovery would i be able to put those cardio session on my 2 off days during the week or would it be better to have 1 of them after a weightlifting session and have 1 full rest day.

    Sorry i had posted this earlier but seems it was deleted somehow

    Thanks!

    1. Ashkan, thank you!
      The LISS isn’t likely to affect your workouts wherever you put them. The HIIT is a trickier one and there’s no real “best” way to schedule it – the important thing is that it doesn’t affect your strength training sessions, so make a decision, try it for a couple of weeks and see how you feel.

  99. Hey guys,

    I ended up buying the nutrition book on my iphone instead of the computer (so I can read when I’m at work) I wanted to access the calculation spread sheet but it does not work quite as well being on a little screen. I was wondering if there is a possibility that I can access it on my computer instead of buying another copy. I hope I am being clear enough and not confusing. Thanks in advance, you guys are truly great dudes and I am looking forward to reading this!

    1. Hi Josh, theres probably a way to share the file download from your phone with your mac. – Google that and see. If not, just download it again using the download link in the original email and save it to your computer. If that’s expired, as we warned, shoot us an email to the address at the top of the page and we’ll send you another one. If you could try those first two steps first though that would be appreciated.

      1. Hey Andy,

        I ended up just downloading it from my e-mail. I realized that as soon as I sent the message, sorry about that. Thanks for the response!

  100. Despite understanding the low priority placement of Supplementation in the nutrition pyramid, I still want to ask this question just out of curiosity. I understand there is no research that gives evidence for this, but in your opinion, is there any reason to believe that digestion of BCAA supplementation is superior to Whey, SPECIFICALLY for the release of leucine, and SPECIFICALLY in relation for fasted weight training or post workout sup? Its a very specific question, and I just wanted your opinion.

    I remember a 3DMJ video of Eric describing the daily state of our bodies as constantly going from anabolic to catabolic throughout the day. Catabolic during a workout, anabolic during a meal. Then there is the overhyped and unsupported marketing ploy of describing leucine as the “anabolic trigger.” Would a BCAA sup post training provide faster release of leucine compared to a meal or whey, consequently increasing the area under the curve on the anabolic side? (albeit probably very slightly?)

    1. Hi Bert. Before one of us go down the rabbit hole of high theory put potential irrelevancy in answering your question:
      1. What is it specifically that you are doing?
      2. What is it that you want to achieve or avoid?

      1. Andy, regarding the BCAA question. Currently i do use BCAA prior to training fasted (train first thing in AM purely for time convenience sake). Im wondering if immediately taking BCAA post training has any additional benefits over just eating a meal, and how significant would it be, if at all?

  101. Hello,

    I’m currently running the intermediate BB program and have lagging lateral delts. I was wondering if lateral raises would be considered a vertical push. If so, would you advise doing it on the upper day (4s 5-7r), push day (3s 6-8r) or in addition to those two exercises. Also, if adding these additional sets, what set/rep scheme would be appropriate to prevent fatigue from adding too many sets?

    Thank you!

    1. Careful you’re skirting the edges of rule 3 🙂

      But, you could consider them a vertical push, but I would probably put them at the end of an upper and/or push day and use a double progression approach with 8-15 reps

  102. Hi guys, I’m interested in buying the books and wanted to know if they would also be ideal for someone whose main goal is powerlifting and hypertrophy work secondary. Thanks in advance!

  103. hey guys I have a question regarding the nutrition book:

    on page 131 there’s table (the breakdown of novice powerlifting program).

    1) why are there three columns of reps/wk?

    2) I don’t understand the exercise column here, UB push are all main compound exercise and UB pull are supposed to be all accessories? (I know I definitely read it wrong, please correct me)

    3) why the first column of reps/wk for LOWER is 68 whilst others seem to be the above two numbers added together?

    4) LOWER intensity is 100% ? what does that mean (I’m guessing it’s UB PUSH + UB PULL but why??)

    please help me to solve the mystery, thank you!

    1. I believe you mean the training book.

      To answer your questions

      1) why are there three columns of reps/wk?
      To represent the three titles of those columns (read the cell to the left of each reps/wk column) reps per week organized by Muscle Group, by Exercise, by Intensity

      2) I don’t understand the exercise column here, UB push are all main compound exercise and UB pull are supposed to be all accessories? (I know I definitely read it wrong, please correct me)
      UB Push=Upper Body Push, exercises where you are pushing with the upper body, UB Pull=Upper Body Pull, exercises where you are pulling with your upper body (this includes deadlift volume in addition to rows, chins etc)

      3) why the first column of reps/wk for LOWER is 68 whilst others seem to be the above two numbers added together?
      Notice the 3 different colors. Each is a distinct set columns and 3 rows. If you read the title of each row in the first column of each set, which is to the left of the number, you will see that the third row title in the second and third column sets are the Total, so the total of anything based on a percentage, is 100%. However the first set is discussing the number of reps for each body part, “Lower” refers to Lower body, the number 68 is the number of repetitions performed in lower body movements.
      4) LOWER intensity is 100% ? what does that mean (I’m guessing it’s UB PUSH + UB PULL but why??)
      Lower only refers to it’s column, not the other columns, notice how they are color coded with different shades of blue. Only the first two columns have anything to do with UB Push, UB Pull, and Lower. The other colored columns have their own titles: Main and Accessory in the second set of 2 columns, and >6RM and <6RM in the third set of 2 columns.

  104. I am having the same issue with the table on page 131. I still don’t comprehend what is happening in it. The first column that has Reps/Wk and says 67 means what? I don’t get what those reps/week are supposed to be saying when the other two rows are sowing 110 reps/week

    1. Joseph, just imagine there is a pace between the 3 sets of different shaded blue columns, so you have Rep/wk divided by body parts (upper body push, upper body pull), exercise (main or accessory), and intensity (6RM or lower and higher than 6RM). When it’s shown as a number, it’s the actual number of working reps performed, when it’s shown as a percentage, it’s the proportion of the total reps.

  105. I bought and read the books, gained a lot of knowledge from the books and I really liked it, thank you!

    One thing that wasn’t written in the book of nutrition and i don’t fully understand is:

    if my maintenance calories are 2600, to gain weight i add 200 calories that is 2800 calories,
    after 2 weeks i gain for example 0.5kg and after 2 more weeks my weight stayed the same, how many calories i need to add again? the question is when and how much calories i need to add to keep gaining weight?

    1. Andy actually does a great job in talking about how to adjust the diet once you’ve set it up in his book on this topic https://rippedbody.jp/adjustments-manual/ I recommend this book highly if you want to really dive in. For a very basic answer to your question, the relationship between energy and bodyweight still holds true, so for example, for every .5lbs off of your target weight loss (.5-1% per week) that you are, decrease calories by 250 (or increase them if you are losing too fast). I would wait 2 weeks before adjusting (based on a 7 day average) if things were going smoothly last week as it could just be water masking the loss. Andy goes into how to do measurements so you can see if you are still losing fat during these periods where weight doesn’t tell the whole story in his book.

      1. Hey Eric, thanks for the answer, I’ve checked the book and it looks like the topic is around “Cutting” period, and my question was regarding bulking period “keep gaining weight” 🙂

        1. So yeah, still the same answer, excect you increase calories per week a whole let less than the amount you’d decrease them because you aren’t looking to gain .5-1% per week (the rate at which you want to lose), you’re looking to gain .5-1.5% of your bodyweight per MONTH. So I’d recommend more like 50-100kcal bumps to your weekly intake.

          1. Thanks, one more question:
            I work out at the gym three years, but till this day i did basic workouts like push pull, with no specific weights and without progressive overload.

            My body weight is 156lbs with around 12% bf

            1RM for squat is 286lbs,
            1RM FOR bench is 242lbs

            i think the numbers are very low for some one after 3 years, right?
            The question is where i should put myself, novice or intermediate?

            Thanks.

          2. One more question on progression, for example I’m using intermediate compound movement progression & double progression.

            I should use this for every exercise that i do ? or i should pick only a few exercises to progress?

            Thank you!

          3. And one more question on nutrition book, I’m very sick right now, so i took off the whole week from training.
            I’m doing lean gain with 2800 calories right now, should i keep eating 2800 calories while sick and not training?

            Thanks.

  106. Andy, regarding the BCAA question. Currently i do use BCAA prior to training fasted (train first thing in AM purely for time convenience sake). Im wondering if immediately taking BCAA post training has any additional benefits over just eating a meal, and how significant would it be, if at all?

  107. Firstly wanted to thank all of you for producing such a high quality product. Having read a wide variety of training resources, your work is definitely strikes the perfect balance between science and practical application. I got to the templates, then started re-reading various chapters to really understand how it all fits in together, rather than just jumping on another programme I now have a template that I can manage and adjust properly with the resources you have provided.
    I am currently running the intermediate powerlifting programme and had a couple of questions.
    1) I have a varied schedule so my training days are not consistent during the week, so there are times where the 2 strength days may fall back to back (do try to avoid this). Would you recommend doing them as written or swapping the deadlift and bench around for more of an upper/lower approach to get the work in?
    2) For deloading, am thinking of using the deload week to test single rep maxes with all other volume being fairly low for the week. Do you think this would work or am I missing the point of the deload?
    Kind regards
    Raj

    1. You’re welcome!
      1. That could certainly be a solution when you can’t avoid back to back sessions. Give it a shot see if its better.
      2. That can work, and you may find you feel fresh after a week such as this, however, you may also find you aren’t very strong after doing multiple 1RM or AMRAP tests. You’ll recover from lower volume, but you’ll potentially have reduced force production capacity. This can certainly work however, if you follow that week up with a higher volume (relative to your training) at lower RPEs so you aren’t having to push near your normal maximal strength capacity. I actually do this in training quite often, I’ll have 3 weeks of pushing, a deload, then 3 weeks of pushing followed by a 1 week taper that ends in a 1RM test, then the next week it’ll be higher reps with moderate loads so even if the athlete isn’t as strong as normal, they can still complete all prescribed loads…however if they are still limping a bit after testing, I’ll just chuck another deload week at them with low intensity.

  108. I have a question about volume as it pertains to the addition of BFR. When you incorporate BFR using the protocols that Jeremy Loenneke outlines(35 reps+15 reps+15 reps+15 reps), it increase the total volume for a body part pretty severely. So if I occlude for say triceps, one day a week, the total weekly volume for triceps would be pretty high given that it has overlap for a lot of other exercises such as presses and dips. So in meeting total volume goals for the week, is BFR volume counted in the same way as other movements, especially in light of the lower intensity. If so, what would be the best way to manage that in a program?

    1. First, I LOVE that BFR can be used when a joint is injured to keep a training stimulus without loading the joint, but I don’t necessarily like it as a regular training stimulus because it’s very difficult to keep the same level of cuff tightness, which affects how quickly you fatigue, how much pain you experience, and thus ultimately the load you can use and the reps you can do. So progress gets harder to track. Its also important to point out that BFR is not superior to regular training, so if you are using it just because…you aren’t getting an additional benefit.

  109. Fantastic Books!!
    The two best I’ve ever read on bodybuilding to be honest

    2 Nutrition Questions for now

    QUESTION 1: Can an argument be made that re-feed days make a fat loss diet HARDER to adhere to? I’ve founding that balancing my calories out more throughout the week (more on training days/ evening training) and less on off days allows me to not be quite as hungry and perform better in the gym. From my understanding, Re-feeds days are more psychological (as a diet break) than physiological ?

    QUESTION 2: Is it OK to stay in a caloric deficit and continue cardio on a De-Load week when dieting for Fat Loss? Could the combination of low training stimulus and low calories result in accelerated muscle loss?

    Question 3: For advanced trainees, looking for lean gains; might it be superior to use all of your monthly caloric surplus over the 3 weeks of harder training and bringing the calories to maintenance during the De-Load in week 4 where the objective is simply to drop fatigue?

    1. Thanks glad to hear it!
      1. Please read the section on refeeds, the leaner you are, the more they become not just psychologically but physiologically beneficial. BUT, if you personally find they detract for adherence, then don’t do them, that’s base of the pyramid stuff. This isn’t the norm for most people, but it might be true for you.
      2. Yes. No it won’t, but running yourself into the ground because you don’t follow basic principles of training might 🙂
      3. No I don’t think so, adaptation is not only an acute process and deloads are as much an intro into the next block of training as they are a break from the last, and you want to be prepared, full of glycogen, recovered and “supercompensated” (as much as I don’t like that word).

  110. Thank you for all the great info in your books.

    I have a few questions.

    1 – in order to improve adherence (level 1) some of your material on YouTube mentions flexible training schedules. Any guidelines / major things to avoid when doing this? (E.g. Not doing all deadlifting and squats for week on 1 day, not training only one marathon session per week – probably both obvious examples)

    2 – in regards exercise selection and body part overlap, is it just as simple as considering the overlap and reducing volume for other exercises or are there more precise guidelines? (E.g. Doing 3×8 bench contributes 8 reps to tricep volume)

    3 – would you recommend including overload eccentrics which you mention in the book? If so, at what advancement level and how/where?

    4 – in regards to improving adherence as well as in regards to rest timing do you guys advise myoreps/cluster sets?

    1. You’re welcome!
      1. Guidelines for everyone, don’t just train 1-2x/week, get in at least three to avoid marathon sessions….2x CAN work, but after the novice stage make that rare as they will be long, hard, and brutal fullbody sessions.
      If your goal is strength: have a list of accessory movements (not your main lifts or big compounds) to get through by the end of the week, place them as they fit in terms of your time schedule. Try not to train deadlifts or squats on back to back days. Do that you’ll be alright.
      If your goal is hypertrophy: don’t train squats and deads on consecutive days.
      2. Upper body pushing exercises in the horizontal (including incline and decline) plane count for delts, chest tris, vertical is delts and tris, upper body pulling counts for back, rear delts, and bis, squat patterns is the entire lower body, deadlift patterns is the same, but a lot less quads and a lot more lower back. Consider that when organizing
      3. No I wouldn’t actually, while theoretically useful and while it is possible to do them right, it’s also very easy to do them wrong. You need a spotter you trust A LOT and very good control in terms of form. Maybe something to try at the advanced level only.
      4. You can certainly use clusters to get in you volume, given you get adequate rest.

      1. Eric, in the intermediate powerlifting sample program tables p154-155, there is either a deadlift or a squat, or both on each training day. The tables show a 4 training day week out of 7 days. When you say “don’t train deadlifts or squats back to back” in the comment above, is this possible given the frequency shown? Or am I misunderstanding something? Also, does back to back mean same day DL & Squat is fine?

        -Bert

  111. Hi,

    I’ve just finished both these books – which are invaluable as a coach and I was just wondering what other trusted resources (books or otherwise) you would recommend?

    Thanks 🙂

    1. Great question.
      Practical Programming by Mark Rippetoe
      The Guide to Flexible Dieting by Lyle McDonald
      The Lean Muscle Diet by Alan Aragon and Lou Schuler
      Both the Art and Science of Lifting by Greg Nuckols and Omar Isuf
      Diet Coaching and Adjustments Manual by Andy Morgan (name soon to change but will be on his website rippedbody.jp)
      If you are coaching bodybuilders, Beyond the Build by Andrea Valdez

      If you want to get really geeky
      Supertraining by Mel Siff
      The Science and Practice of Strength Training by Zatsiorsky and Kraemer
      all the rest of Lyle McDonalds books

  112. Hi,

    I have a question about deloads. If I have to reduce weights for an exercise ,for example Military press,cause I stall on progress, will I have to deload for all the exercises? Or I can deloads only Military and continuing progression for other exercises?
    Thank you !

    1. Yes you can deload one movement if you progressing fine everywhere else. However, ALL of the principles related to the useful of regular deloads still applies.

  113. I’ll try to make this as clear and concise as possible:

    -Currently in a lean gain phase (2800 kcal currently since 1 week ago, previously was at 2700 kcal for over 2 months)
    -Does it make sense to continually, yet slowly, gain weight at the same caloric intake and not plateau for over 2 months?

    With regard to cycling calories to prepare for a higher day like Super Bowl Sunday, I would like to cut no more than 10% under maintenance (which I assume is 2700?) on Wednesday and Thursday (both 13 hour work days and no gym) which would give me about 400 kcal per day and ~800 kcal extra for Sunday.
    -My question is how can cycling like this can affect muscle gain/fat gain in a lean gain phase?
    -More specifically if I workout on Tuesday (2800 kcal), but then the following two days (no workouts on these days) are 2400 kcal to save up 800 kcal for Sunday.
    -Does this mean I won’t provide enough nutrients to maintain a surplus on the low days and subsequently lose weight (muscle?) and then be more prone to gain weight (more fat vs muscle?) on the high day Sunday (3600 kcal)?
    -How does the timing of workouts and the (24-48 hour?) post workout potential for growth come into play here with regards to caloric cycling?
    -Is there a point of diminishing return where if after a certain period (>48 hours?) you would need to workout again to induce more anabolism/muscle growth? Surely stimulating MPS via appropriate meals would not be enough to build muscle if there was no catalyst for growth like resistance training?

    1. I would recommend gaining at .5-1.5% of bodyweight per month, relative to your training age. Do so until bodyfat gets too high. For men, probably don’t let yourself get to the point where bodyfat starts with a 2.
      To answer the rest of your questions, simply use the borrowing guidelines in the nutrition book, if I thought they would hinder anything, I wouldn’t recommend them. A 10% reduction or a 20% increase on a single day in your whole training career (unless you are planning on stopping lifting the week of the super bowl haha) will have the same effect on your training gains that a fly’s fart will have on a tornado.

      Reorganize your training week to fit it in around the event so that you still accomplish your volume within the week, and use the borrowing guidelines.

  114. For many, maintaining quality time with family & friends is definitely a factor for adherance to training. In many instances it involves something active, and therefore can be considered a moderate or maybe even intense cardio session. For example playing basketball with your son on the weekends, or hiking trip with the buddies. My question is, what is the best way to arrange your workouts to minimize interference to your progress at the gym? Place leg training days as far away before, or after the date of activity? Train regularly with less intensity that week in anticipation of the activity? I wonder how do you guys, Andy & Eric, juggle out of gym activites with your training- but still maintaim progress. Also, do you incorporate extra calories for that day/week with this activity?

    1. Personally, I just do them and don’t worry about it at all. That said, maybe your out of gym activities are more intense than most people? If that is the case, probably putting leg days somewhere 48 hours after these activities or more would help to ensure you are recovered before you hit the gym.

  115. How do I transition from cutting diet to a diet break, and how long should i stay there for. Thank you for creating this book, although I am far from where I would like to be, I have made progress over the past 2 months that I am proud of. It is comforting to trust in a process and just concentrate on putting in the hard work.

    Best Wishes
    Zack Kaplan

      1. Can you continue to do re-feeds when on maintenance/lean gain? I openly admit, come Friday and Saturday I tend to go out with friends and drink. Calorie reduction during the week allows for the extra calories consumed Friday and Saturday.

  116. HI guys,
    First of all I want to thank you on the great job you did in those 2 books. Really informative and enjoyable read.
    One question though that I can not find an answer for in the books is regarding adjust the diet between dieting for fat loss and the transitioning for ‘slow bulk’. I know that I should except a rapid weight gain immediately when I bump my calories as a result of glycogen and water replenishment. But my question is how much weight is Reasonable to gain in this post dieting phase and how much is too much in case too quick fat gain is unwanted (unlike a bodybuilder post contest prep for example).

    1. Unless you actually get as lean as a bodybuilder and experience intense, unrelenting, physiological hunger that will not be satiating regardless of caloric intake, and unless you decide to partake in the ritual binging that occurs immediately post show…you dont’ have to worry about what bodybuilders experience. For a reasonable cut to a more or less sustainable body fat level, simply just go to the appropriate caloric intake to result in the .5-1.5% per month weight gain as advised based on training age in the book, don’t count the first week’s weight gain as it might be more rapid due to food volume, water and glycogen.

  117. I’m in the process of designing my own program based on the principles in the book and the sample programs. How exactly do you calculate and distribute volume totals for smaller muscle groups that are involved in compound movements? For example the volume for delts when combined with all forms of pressing and pulling, and same for quads and hams during compound movements.
    Thank you

    1. The way they are calculated in the book is that triceps are counted in all pressing movements as are front delts, and biceps and rear delts in rowing and pulldown/pullup movements. Lateral delts based on EMG studies (which I posted somewhere in this FAQ (use CTRL+F) are activated in most pulling and pushing movements. Squat and single leg patterns train quads, hams and glutes, deadlift and related patterns train glutes and hamstrings. That is not “the way” to track volume, but it is how I do it in the book. If you find a body part lags behind using this movement, you can always add some additional volume via single joint isolation exercises (something else to CTRL+F)

  118. Two questions about training:

    1) Just to confirm, you guys are fine with heavy squatting and heavy conventional deadlifting on the same day (per the intermediate bodybuilding program)? Or is that DL meant to be an assistance DL variation? I ask since I often see warnings against doing both heavy on the same day when past the beginner stage.

    2) How do you guys suggest adjusting training when (non-major) injuries pop up? Do you suggest not changing the program aside from ceasing the exercises that are problematic? Or do you suggest replacing those with exercises for other bodyparts, thus keeping the overall program volume similar but shifting volume/emphasis to other bodyparts?

    If that doesn’t make sense, I ask because I have issues with my right shoulder and right knee that crop up every now and then, and I wonder if when this happens whether I should use that time to emphasize the areas that aren’t affected, which for me would mean shifting volume from lower pushing and chest exercises to posterior chain and shoulders.

    1. 1. Confirmed.
      2. First, if it hurts don’t do it, train around it, replace it with something pain free. In the case of some (mainly single joint) movements, BFR can be used (use CTRL+F if you don’t know what I’m referring to) and most importantly, if you can’t easily work around it and the pain isn’t gone in a matter of weeks, I would see a specialist.

  119. Thank you to you both (and Andrea) for providing two really incredible resources, as well as being so informative I personally found them to be utterly empowering. Sincerely, thank you.

    Just one thing to clarify for me:

    If you’re neither gaining or losing scale weight – Lets say, maintenance calories (and assuming correct macronutrient consumption). Is it possible to be reducing BF and gaining muscle at the same time?

    Or is it the case that there has to be an overload or deficit to move one way or the other only?

  120. Hi guys,

    I’m having issues ordering the ebooks. I’m from Canada, and it says my credit card is invalid. I checked to make sure my billing information is correct, just to be sure. I’m really eager to order these, so anything you guys can do to help me out would be great!

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Chris, this is something you’ll have to get sorted on the Paypal end. We don’t have any control there I’m afraid. Call them, they are usually very helpful.

  121. just one question if you dont mind since i cant find a answer within the nutrition ebook…

    I train 4+ days a week and for 2hours or longer at times, i took some bad advice from a friend and was on 1700-2000 calories for a few months as a cut without any knowledge of my maintenance calories. i think it maybe damaged my metabolism because the caloric deficit made me weaker, i lost muscle and i barely got out of each workout without insane DOMS. After watching Eric Helms videos on youtube i realized my mistake and gradually increased my calories to 3000 where i have yet to see any change in weight to GAIN (since the 1700 calorie change). After further calculations in ‘lean gains’ i am currently at 3355 calories and for the first time i have started to LOSE weight? i have lost one pound in just a few days at this amount of calories. i am truly confused. Am i in a deficit? i want to gain muscle. i apologize for the length of this question but as you can see i have nowhere to go. Again i want to thank those responsible for the writing of this magnificent piece of work, truly an answer to 99% of questions i have ever had.

    1. Hi Moe. Your metabolism isn’t damaged, you just mistook a random weight fluctuation for a change in calorie balance circumstances.

      If you are losing weight, you are in a calorie deficit. However, it’s essential to gauge this over a period of several weeks, with weight taken as averages described to establish trends. A big shit or slight dehydration, can cause a drop in weight signaling falsely that you’re in a deficit otherwise; some constipation and/or water bloat and/or a spike can falsely signal you’re in a calorie surplus otherwise.

      More on tracking in my article here:
      How To Track Your Progress Like A Pro, To Ensure Body Composition Goal Success

      1. Thank you Andy for replying! i saw that my weight fluctuated often throughout this last week by
        1-2lbs even. i took your advice and averaged my weigh-ins while at 3000 cals and found them to be 190.64 and then kept weigh-ins for my first week at 3355 cals and the total weekly average weigh-in came out to 190.82. According to what i have understood in the nutrition book…calculating this .2lbs increase, does that mean i gained .2(3500cals) = 700cal surplus for the week? does that mean im only in a 100cal surplus every day, so that my actual more accurate maintenance is ~3250 calories? i really would appreciate sorting me out of this slight confusion about my maintenance calories, although really happy with a final gain in weight even if only .2 lbs!

        1. “According to what i have understood in the nutrition book…calculating this .2lbs increase, does that mean i gained .2(3500cals) = 700cal surplus for the week?”
          You can’t tell anything based on a single week of data. That could be a difference in gut content, water weight, glycogen levels. Track across multiple weeks, establish a trend, and only then should you adjust.

  122. Hi,

    As an addition to Gianlucas question about deloading, if you do the exercise a couple of days a week like in the powerlift program. Should you, if you stall deload the exercise for the whole next week or just the same day for the next week?
    Thanks!

  123. Hi guys,
    I’ve recently come across some studies showing that muscle damage caused by eccentric training leads to transient insulin resistance. If this is the case, would that have practical implications regarding macro timing / selection during the period of insulin resistance?
    Thanks.

    1. Campbell try to find studies where the measured outcome is body composition or strength, that’d be what you base changes to your plan on. Not data that is one step removed. Plus muscle damage should not be excessive if you are training appropriately after the initial stages of a change to training.

  124. Hey Eric

    I recently purchased both of the ebooks and so far they have brought a great deal of knowledge to me and I am just about to hit the gym with my first session of the intermediate bodybuilder programme that you have given as an example.

    However, I am quite confused as to how I am supposed to progress on this programme? Every other programme that you have included in the book has rough estimations on load or reps increased while the intermediate bodybuilder one, doesn’t.

    I would really appreciate it if you could clarify.

  125. Hi,

    I bought the books and love them so far. I’m at roughly 28% body fat at 259.4lbs as of this morning. If I follow the protein recommendations I’m nearing 300 grams of protein. Not really ideal to eat that much, I believe. Is the cm to height you mentioned okay to use? I’m going to try 20% fat and fill the rest with carbs. I want to cut all kinds of weight by the summer.

    Does this sound like a good plan?

  126. Hi Team,

    I am currently reading through your muscle and strength training book and am loving it!
    I am towards the very end and just had a question as I couldn’t see anything about it in the book.

    What are your thoughts on 2 sessions a day training? My friend tells me he enjoys it and it works for him at the time being but I try to tell him that it isn’t more effective than training once a day and it is quite unsustainable.

    He likes to do chest in the morning and then back in the evening.

    What are your thoughts? is there a way to make it beneficial, if time is not an issue!

    Regards

    1. Hi Jayden, when you’ve finished reading your way through you’ll have your answer. Let me know in a reply here if you wish to confirm understanding.

  127. Hi Guys,

    First of all awesome books, one of the bests investment i made in fitness to date! (along with Lyle’s books)

    I have a pair of questions about the Novice Bodybuilding routine and a suggestion for the next update, there I go:

    1- Wouldn’t you add some reverse flies, face pulls or Y prone lift? Maybe 2×15 the 2 day, using APS with flies. Just to promote shoulder health.

    2- I don’t understand a little thing about the novice progression:

    “If you can’t complete all sets and reps as assigned with the same load (ideally within the RPE range), do not increase load on the same day the next week, attempt the same weight again”

    How do you do it?
    For instance, (I’ll take the 3×15 flies as a example) I start the first set of flies within the low range of RPE (7), next set I hit a 8 of RPE and the last one would be 8’5 or 9. What should I do?
    – Stop the reps as soon as I hit the high range of the RPE allowed (8) and finish the workout with these sets of flies: 1×15, 1×15, 1×13 – Mantaining weight next week and trying to finish all the reps within the RPE range.
    – Finish all the sets and reps – Mantaining weight next week and trying to finish all sets within a lower RPE.
    If I don’t hit the RPE range allowed the second week? Would this be what you call a “stall”?

    3- Suggestion: I would like you to link a little both books, that is to say: What possible changes to do in the training when mantaining, or if I’m bulking and start to transition to def. do I mantain the same volume?
    I know it’s been answered in this FAQ, but it would be nice to be added in the books.

    PD: Sorry for my english

    1. Hi Pau, thanks for the questions.
      1. You could do that You’ve read they are good for shoulder health, but it would be a mistake to take that to assume that are necessary for everyone. Look at the reason they have been recommended and then consider how you would apply that to the individual. Same can be said of a ton of “corrective” or “preventative” exercises.
      2. The RPE range is a guideline for where the intensity of the first set in the progression should fall, it doesn’t relate to the following sets.
      3. Thank you. We’ll be considering all these questions when updating the books. 🙂

      1. Thanks for the kind answer.

        So if I did the flies (7-8 RPE) and I can finish all the sets and reps but in a 10 RPE the last one (hitting failure)… Do I keep with the progression and increase load?

        The single leg press for instance, have a low RPE (6-7), If I kept progressing that way, wouldn’t I (at some point during the progression) start the first set in a higher RPE?

        Sorry, I don’t understand this bit… :/

  128. Hi Eric and Andy,

    I have looked through this page to no avail so apologies if this question has already been answered. As a female looking to build up her glutes, how would you recommend programming these targeted exercises in? Could I include instead of calf exercises on lower days for example? Or would you recommend having less volume on upper body and spread out program into 3 lower body days and 2 upper?

    1. Hi Abi. Add in some extra glute targeting exercises two days a week perhaps. Isolation work on these are generally fairly easy to recover from, just work your way up in intensity so you don’t cripple yourself with DOMS initially and the impact to the rest of your training will be minimal and you can probably get away with not changing (or swapping out) other exercises.

  129. So I just read the books and they are absolutely amazing! Thank you for this information. I had a question about the Refeed days. So I do track my Macros and the book did mention that you have to lower your calories if you want a Refeed day. But then it said leave Protein and Fats the same just raise your Carbs to maintenance level. So did I read this wrong or is that the correct way, just raise my carbs and leave everything else the same on a Refeed day?

    1. Hi Chris, thanks for the question. You’ve confused a couple of things. The way you do the refeed is described correctly: Increase your carb intake, leave the other macros alone. However you need to account for the increase in caloric intake on that day by subtracting from the rest of the days in the week to ensure the calorie balance is maintained for the week.

      1. So could I just drop my protein and fat and raise my carbs on my Refeed day to keep calorie balance instead of dropping them for the week to maintain? Would this also work?

        1. You could, but I wouldn’t unless this is a deal-breaker in terms of your adherence. Protein is important for reasons covered in the macros chapter.

  130. Hi, im Santiago from Venezuela, i read and view the nutritional videos and now I’m doing as you said, but I’m confused in the Macronutrients case of the pyramid, if i have to eat in a meal 120grs of Protein and 140grs of Carbs, that means that i have to serve me 120 grs of chicken or meat and 140 grs of rice? or i have to follow the nutritional facts of the chicken and rice that for example said that 170grs of rice have 45gr of carbs, so i will have to serve me 528grs of rice to eat 140 grs of Carbs???

    Hoping your comments.

    Santiago Nannini Velutini

  131. If i was to aim to lose 1.5% of my body weight/week, by using the single day refeeds, would i ever plateau is losing weight ? and if i do what kind adjustments do i make ? would i have to re calculate my maintenance and and start from there again ?
    THANKS ALOT GUYS I REALLY LOVE THIS BOOK

  132. Hi,

    So I consider myself an “intermediate” currently with my weight training. I’ve been following a “Lower/Push/Pull/Off/Lower/Push/Pull/Off” (keeps repeating), which is similar to the layout you included in the book for an intermediate bodybuilding program and I typically end up lifting 5 times a week. Would you recommend I follow the 5 day split you lay out, or stick with my current LPP split? I have found great progress hitting each muscle about twice per week. Also, should the workouts stay the same for each LPP workout, or should I do like LPP “A” and then LPP “B” workouts?

    Also, how would you recommend going about adding “strength” exercises into the training? I have seen people who rotate strength workouts with their A and B days (performing only the compound movements as their strength exercises, isolation done in the “hypertrophy” range). Just looking for some feedback, thank you!

  133. Hi,

    As someone who has been training for almost 3 years but has an extremely poor bench (under 225lb) would I be considered a novice and should I aim to progress using a lower rep linear based approach (5×5) or would I consider myself an intermediate and progress in a DUP fashion. Thanks!

    1. Hi Jack. See the chapter on progression, note that the Novice, Intermediate and Advanced categories are not about how much you lift, but how well you recover. You’ll see guidelines there for you.

  134. Hi guys, I have been in a deficit for 2 months now, and i want to figure out my maintenance, will the 2 week method still work ?(assuming i use the same caloric intake for 2 weeks)

  135. Ok so another question. Vitamin D3 was a suggested supplement to take. All of the D3 products that I have found have olive oil in them and they don’t say how much it contains in each pill. Now do we have to include that in with our fat Macros? And if so how do we go about this if it doesn’t give the value? Or is it so small that it doesn’t matter? Thanks!

  136. One disconnect in the strength community that I see is that many claim that volume must go up over time to progress. I understand that “weight” is a contributor to volume but if strength stalls, the answer is typically to “do more work” which means sets/reps, assuming that one can recover from it.

    However, other respected coaches and athletes says that as an athlete gets stronger, they typically need less sets because of a prolonged SRA (Strength/Recovery/Adaptation) curve and their ability to do more volume with fewer sets because of how strong they are.

    Both make sense to me in certain ways yet they both contradict one another. What are your thoughts on this matter? What am I missing?

  137. Hi, i recently purchased the ebooks and was wondering how to find the special page on the website with the spreadsheet calculation aid ?? Can’t find it anywhere.

      1. Hi Andy, just FYI, I’ve tried multiple times to get the spreadsheet to work in Google Chrome but it fails every time (the spreadsheet loads but some of the calculations don’t work and it’s a struggle to work many of the drop-down boxes).

        It works fine for me with Internet Explorer, though under Level 2 (Macros), it shows a breakdown for “Normal Days” and then below it there is nothing where it looks as if there’s space for something else, which is weird. Dunno if that’s how it’s suppose to be or not (i.e. is there is an alternative to “Normal Days”, whatever that means?)

        1. Matt, thanks for letting me know. As soon as it was created I knew it would prove difficult for some people using some software, we’ve taken it as far as we could without scrapping it completely. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how few people have had issues and sorry you’re one of those affected.

          As for the “normal days” this refers to any day that isn’t a refeed. If you’ve chosen the “lean gain” option then this will be the only option and there won’t be any refeed days present in the form. Likewise for those choosing a “cutting phase” but opting out of having refeed days.

  138. Hello. I am an intermediate with physique/bodybuilding goals. Could I run the intermediate Lower/Upper/Lower/push/pull as Lower A/push A/pull A/Lower B/push B/pull B/off instead of using the strength days? I would just be repeating the Lower/push/pull layout provided with different exercises on A and B days but still following the same rep/set scheme provided. Reason for this is that I have a condition that prevents me from lifting heavy in the low rep ranges with squats and deadlifts.

    Thanks and great work!

  139. When losing weight at what point should I use the new to determine maintenance and intake calories. I’m about 15lbs down in 2 months, going on a diet break for 2 weeks. Just don’t want to think my maintenance calories are higher than they should be.
    Thank you
    Zack

    1. Hi Zack. To find maintenance calories for the diet break just add back in your weekly average weight loss in pounds multiplied by 500 each day.

      So, if you’ve been losing 0.5 lbs per week, then add in 250 kcal each day to bring yourself to maintenance. Technically, this will bring you to something I’d call “diet condition maintenance”, not regular metabolic maintenance, but that’s what you need to do for now, until you’re looking to end your diet. When you are, you can read more about coming up to maintenance and the differences I mentioned here:
      How Do I Find Maintenance Calorie Intake After Dieting?

  140. Maybe I missed this but what’s the reasoning behind decreasing volume over your programs’ mesocycles, followed by a deload, then back to it’s highest volume, vs other programs that start with a lower load and add volume, by say doing more sets for example, over the course of the cycle then deloading?

    I take it that there’s an important rationale for why you place the highest volume week after the deload rather than vice versa, but I’m not sure I understand why that’s preferred.

    1. Hi Matt. The one is a novice linear progression (page 66), the latter is an intermediate linear periodization (page 68). They both have their places depending on the recovery capacity/advancement of the trainee, so both are covered. The deload is recommended every four weeks regardless. This is all covered in the progression chapter, just give it a re-read and skip the advanced part for now.

  141. Hey, i just bought your books on my computer! I also downloaded them to my phone with the link in the mail, but the files won’t open… Thank you!

    1. Hi Johannes. Two possibilities I can think of:
      1. It could be a difficulty downloading PDF files on your phone (clicking the link will just trigger the PDF download), in which case your best bet is to search around for support articles about PDF downloads for your particular device.
      2. The download link expired. The link is set to expire after a few days and a certain number of downloads attempts. If you’ve ruled out the former, just mail us on the address above and we’ll send you a fresh download link.

  142. Hey,
    Can I use Double Progression on my compound movements as well on the intermediate bodybuilding program or am I going to run into problems if i decide do to so? Im asking because I enjoy double progression more than wave loading periodization.
    And should I really deload every 4th week even if I use double progression for my compound movements because Im 16 years old and usually my energy levels are very high and I really like lifting heavy every day.
    Thanks for your answer and time.

    1. Hi Const, thanks for the questions.
      1. The latter is better suited but you can try that if you would like.
      2. Yes, always deload. The idea is to let residual fatigue dissipate before it becomes a problem, therefore you won’t generally feel you need one.

  143. Guys, question relating to cardio. As I approach my bulking phase, I want to continue doing at least 3 days worth of cardio. My nutrition strategy is to add ~200 cal over maintenance, and top up, averaged across the week, additional cals from the cardio.

    You reference a table with cals burned per 10′ blocks (I think 10), although this in no way correlates to what my Garmin states I burn. I know this isn’t a real number, but I usually use about 80% of what it outputs in my calculations. This is still a good number off from the values given in the book.

    So, other than try it and see, do you feel these are very real numbers for the average trainee? Or, as with all things, simply a good base to launch the “try it and see” from?

    I have also factored in the cals I spent being alive for the duration of the cardio session, but the numbers are still a fair ways off.

    P.S. Please stop linking to other books in here, I’m going broke 🙂

    1. Hi Brad, thanks for the questions.

      Due to the inaccuracies in their measurement methods, and then the fixation it brings people using them on adjusting calorie intake on a day by day basis, I personally think that using activity trackers is asking for trouble. (The others may feel different, they are free to chime in.)

      That said, people go bat shit for gadgets in the $100-200 range, especially when they can justify the splurge to themselves as it’s for their health goals. For this reason, the sale will not cease any time soon, nor will the marketing hype surrounding how accurate they claim to be.

      Im my opinion you’re better off binning the device (or auctioning it), and fixing your calorie expenditure based on the recommendations in the book. They will likely give closer estimate, and though they may be inaccurate, it will be consistently so, which is important. Don’t fall for the sunk cost fallacy and continue using it to your own potential detriment.

      PS: No more books for the foreseeable future from me. I’m all typed out after last year, and they covered the topics I wanted to cover. If I have additions I will just update them. YOUR WALLET IS SAFE! 😀

      1. Thanks Andy. I don’t don’t have the Garmin to track cals specifically, I’m a runner and use it for tracking distance, pace, etc. So well worth the cost for me for the functions I use. And I get it at cost, so… 🙂
        But my newest version has a reasonable accurate HR meter built in (compared to an oximeter I have) and I get cal output with my data regardless.
        I just wondered how those numbers were so far off the book numbers. I’ll go with the book for calorie compensation, and adjust as needed.

        And thanks for slowing down the book flow, getting overwhelmed 🙂

        1. Ah, as regards to how much or how far, I really don’t know.
          I believe that a further issue is the inconsistencies, rather then just the inaccuracies with some models. Kind of the same issue with body-fat measurement devices.

          Anyway, good luck!

  144. Eric, in terms of protein intake when dieting/gaining say if ones in a deficit and is hitting at least 1 gram per lb lbm protein and at the 10% bf mark if they are cutting on a higher carb intake and tend to be getting a majority of their protein from carb sources say oatmeal/rice/vegetable and roughly half from whole sources is this an issue as not much “complete proteins” are being consumed even though total protein intake consistently being met?

    1. Carbs don’t typically go up on a diet as someone gets leaner and this intake is below my cutting recommendation in the book but it would still be very unlikely that anymore than 20 to 30g of protein would be coming from carb sources per day unless an extremely high carb intake was used.

  145. Hey Matt, I have a question concerning volume. After reading the eBook for training, I was wondering how would one go about changing volume of their current program (in my case is about 220+ per session) to the recommended/beneficial range, in the book the beneficial and recommended rep range per muscle group was 40-70 per session, currently I am doing a P/P/L and some session I do up to 220+ reps per muscle group, for example on a pull day I would do 220+ reps for back muscles.

    1. Hi Kevin, thanks for the question. The recommendation is 40-70 reps per muscle group, 2-3 times per week. So, that’s 80-210 reps across a week. If you’re just doing your back the once then you’re actually just outside of those guidelines, which are just approximations anyway. Thus, if you’re progressing, then don’t worry about it.

  146. Hi, just some questions about block periodization. Specifically the accumulation block, for powerlifting purposes.

    1.In the book there’s a mention of going from 100 reps to 195 reps over the course of the 6 weeks.

    2. If volume is successfully increased over the course of the training block, however intensity does not change, would this still be a successful training cycle? Or must volume increase be accompanied by intensity increases. I imagine both would be the best case scenario, however intensity increases would be minimal at best since the increasing volume would induce large amounts of fatigue right?

    3. Would it make sense to run multiple accumulation blocks for a skinny lifter lacking muscle mass? E.g. 2-3 runs of 6 week blocks, before transitioning into 4 weeks of intensification and 2 weeks of peaking.

    4. The book recommends 2/3rds of volume coming from 4-6 rep range for strength. For a lifter lacking muscle mass aiming to maximize strength, would it be superior to utilize 6-12 rep ranges for the purpose of accumulating more volume for hypertrophy, which in turn would improve strength?

    5. Is undulation on a frequent basis necessary in block periodized training? Let’s say I only did sets of 8 during my accumulation block, but the next block (accumulation) i do sets of 10, and the block after (intensification) sets of 4 etc. Basically undulating each block rather than undulating in a daily/weekly fashion. Would either one be acceptable, or is one superior to the other (even in the slightest)?

    Thanks so much

    1. Michael, thanks for the questions.

      1. Yes, successful.
      2. Right.
      3. Theoretically, yes. But a skinny lifter lacking muscle mass won’t need to worry about accumulation blocks and the like yet. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that if they have been concerning themselves with such things and not growing, it’s probably a case of “too much theory, not enough effort” that’s been holding them back. Really common. Causes people to jump from novice progressions to intermediate and advanced progressions too soon, and in vain.
      4. Well, we could chase our tails in theory loops on this one. For those looking to focus on strength, go with the recommendations for that in the book.
      5. I believe DUP or WUP would be superior to changing it up over blocks.

  147. Hi,
    I’m a little bit confused about the advice on increasing volume on page 37 in the block before the last one.
    It says that you should only increase volume when progress has plateaued. At the end you are reminded that a heavier load leeds to a higher volume when sets and reps stay the same. So you should not higher the load unless you hit a plateau. But how do you even know if your progress has plateaued when you should not do more reps, sets or a heavier load?

  148. Hey, thanks for your answer!
    Well youve said that a wave periodization is better suited for intermediate bodybuilders but before I bought the book i was and am still able to increase in a given rep range (For example 3 sets of 3-5 Bench press) by at least 1-2 reps per week and increase weight like maybe every 1- 1.5 months on a double progression plan (Didnt even know it was called like that before buying your book so I did it unintentionally). Wouldnt it be more beneficial to keep the double progression plan until I hit a plateau? Because i mean on wave periodization you have to wait 4 weeks after youve progressed in weights or reps until you have the chance to try and progress again in the same rep and set range as far as ive understood.

    1. Hi Const. If you’re progressing with what you are doing, consider carefully before changing it. If you’d like test it, split test two lifts you’re currently progressing equally well with and see how you go.

  149. Hi,

    I have a question regarding the fat loss recommendations in the book. I am confused about the cardio prescription aspect outlined in the book as well as the nutrition calculator you have provided as a free tool. It says 2000 calorie deficit from food. So say I did 2 400 calorie cardio sessions per week, would I add back those calories to my intake and spread it across a few days, add it to the day I do the cardio, or not add any calories back at all? It told me my low days should be 1400 and refeed days (3 per week) should be 1850. How do I go about factoring in calories burned through excess cardio? Thank you in advance.

      1. Thanks for clearing that up, I appreciate it! Great books by the way. The amount of lives you three have touched/are touching through the knowledge provided in these books is truly life changing. Thank you so much for everything you all have provided. I literally utilize these each and every day of my training & nutrition.

          1. Hi, Another question…

            -Opinions on carb cycling/low carb? Do they actually prove effective, or only cause a drop in weight due to less water?

            -Also, I have been cutting now for around 4 months, just took a diet break last week to which I increased my cals to 2000 a day (mainly from carbs). I had been cutting on around 1700 cals + 4 400 cal cardio sessions a week. I used the nutrition calculator aid from the resource section and it recommends me to cut on 3 refeeds per week (1900 cals) and 4 “low days” at around 1300 (more like 1600 due to cardio offsetting calories from the cardio I do that day). Should I stick with my numbers I used before the diet break, or just go with the numbers recommended from the resource nutrition aid calculator?

            -Instead of the intermediate progression laid out in the book, can we instead progress using straight sets? So instead of increasing load each week, keep the same load but try and do more reps each week totaling your goal rep range. For example, bench press: 100 lbs x 8 reps goal (within the 6-8 range), and THEN increase by 5 lbs once you hit your rep goal consecutively for 4 sets. So the following week you increase weight, but aim for 6 reps?

            Thanks! Sorry these questions develop as I reread and think more in depth

          2. 1. Covered in the book.
            2. Work from the numbers you already have if you have them. This is covered in the calorie setting section of the nutrition book.
            3. Sure.

  150. I’ve a couple questions, one regarding overtraining and the other regarding your programs.

    1) About overtraining, I see it covered in the book but I don’t see anything specific how to come back/recover from it. After (I guess) trying to push my linear progression too hard, I’m returning from a bout of overtraining (or maybe nonfunctional overreaching) in which I’ve struggled with sleep disturbances, niggling pain, fatigue and mood changes, as well as pretty big performance drop offs. I’m better now but sleep still isn’t back to normal and fitness still is less than it was.

    I’m getting ready to transition to one of your programs but I’m not sure how to do so. Do I pick a program and just start off really light? Do I start with something in a higher rep range (I’m coming from doing mostly 3×5; 5×5 work)? Do I wait until I’m 100% feeling full of awesomeness again and then jump right in? I’m itching to train again but I’m also fearful of overdoing it and setting me back again (which has happened before).

    2) About the programs, I think I fall somewhere between beginner and intermediate. I’m in my mid thirties with 5+ years of lifting behind me but I’ve only been focusing on the “big” lifts for ~3 years now. On one hand my lift numbers feel really low at 6’1″and 175 lbs (Squat 215×5; Bench 190×5; DL 330×5) but on the other I’ve really struggled pushing beyond those when going back to a linear program (e.g. 5×5). When I get back at it full strength, should I jump into the intermediate bodybuilding program (as written or maybe with less volume) or try to eke out some gains with the novice linear program?

    Thanks so much you guys for these books! I feel like I’ll be referring to both for a long time!

    1. Max, this is a wall of text, it’s unfair to us and others trying to read. Please tighten it up and write in another comment and I’ll delete this one.

      1. Sorry. My first question was about overtraining. It’s discussed briefly in the book but there’s no mention of what to do if you think your situation is that bad (e.g. how to recover, when to return to training and what that training should look like).

        My second question was about choosing between intermediate and novice programs when you suspect your linear gains are behind you but not 100% sure.

        Sorry for the text. Thought it was important to provide context. Apologies.

        1. Sure no worries.
          1. Implement a deload week. Reduce volume across the exercises where your are chronically overworked/sore/failing to recovery. If you think it’s really bad, take a full week off of training before that – won’t hurt.

          2. Try the linear progression and see how you do, you can always change it, that’d the point of the book – implement, test, tweak, test, tweak, etc.

  151. I couldn’t find the answer in the book, but what should someone do when target weight gain stalls during a gaining period? How many calories should be added and which macros should they be distributed to?

    Thanks 🙂

  152. Hi, i work 3 rotating shifts in one week. It is not possible for me to have 7 weighins in the same conditions, in best case i could have 4. What can i do to have a representive average?

  153. I have tried to purchase both books multiple times and the website tells me that the Card I am trying to use does not work for this type of purchase. I’ve tried with multiple cards, both credit and debit. And I have tried multiple days. Still will not accept my payment. What should I do?

  154. Hi Eric and Andy,
    I bought book few days ago and really love all material so far and just finished nutrition book, im just confused about one thing in “nutrition book and its about “CARDIO”..
    For example: This morning i used bike on level 2 and its say that I will be using 40 kcal in 10 min and i did session for total 400kcal burned-low intensity(bike display showed) but i had my Polar heart monitor on and it said that i used total 180 kcal total(all the time i seen like 85 heart beats on polar display even lover), So different calculations polar and bike. .
    My question: should we trust, use polar and count cardio intensity by heart beats or trust display on mashines?
    Can I get little bit more explanation about cardio if there is any chance.
    Looking forward hearing back from you guys.

    Thanks a lot in advance and keep good work. Definetelly following.
    Cheers
    Sincerely,
    Tarik

  155. Hey guys. First of all, congratulations on putting out two high quality books. Yet to go through the diet book but I’ve finished the training one and have a few questions.

    1) In the Intermediate Bodybuilding Program, I understand that you use wave loading progression on the compound lifts and double progression on the isolation lifts. A bit confused as to what progression method applies to SL Variant, Wt B Ext and Face Pull. Seems like they could be candidates for double progression given how regularly increasing load may not be possible on them. Am I right?

    2) I believe we increase the load 10lbs only on Squat, DL, LP and HH. What about SL Sq Variant? Also 10lbs (if indeed it’s supposed to be progressed via wave loading)?

    3) Dumbbells go up in increments of 2.5kg either side so that’s an 11lb increase effectively for something like dumbbell lunges if I choose it as the SL Variant. Also, similar issues with DB rowing movements, minimum weight increment would be 11lb. Is that too much for wave loading on these movements? If yes, would double progression make more sense as a workaround?

    4) Weight increments for rowing machines is 15lb. Again, seems infeasible for wave loading so again, would double progression be a better option?

    5) This is probably the most important question. HH variant is recommended to bring up the glutes mainly, I presume. If I have overdeveloped glutes already compared to hamstrings and the rest of my lower body, would it make sense to sub out HH for say, a RDL or Stiff Legged Deadlift? If HH is still recommended, what other movements besides Hip Thrusts and Glute Bridges are advised? Can a Glute Ham Raise suffice?

    6) If I don’t have access to a Seated Calf Machine, is it ok to just do Standing Calf Raises instead?

    Thanks again for the brilliant work!

    1. Hi Jarri,
      1. Right.
      2. When performing exercises using less of the overall musculature in the body, you’ll lift less and the increases will be less.
      3. Yes.
      4. Right.
      5. Sure.
      6. Right.

      Trust your instincts. You have the critical thinking skills to answer these yourself as you already had.

      1. So in a novice bodybuilding routine.

        If the Day 4 -Upper I decided to do the compounds with dumbbells (Dumbbells go up in increments of 2.5kg either side so that’s a 5kg increase effectively), What progression would you recommend? A linear progression, a double progression or mantaining the same weight (with a better RPE).

        Same question with other isolation exercises like leg press, if the machine/dumbbells allow a progression of 5kg, what progression should be used?

        Thanks!

        1. Sure, so this is pretty much the same question, you’re just missing the broader principle.

          In terms of progression speed: Linear progression > linear periodization > double progression.

          For all exercises, choose the one furthest to the left of the continuum that you can actually progress with. This is the way you’ll progress fastest. When you can’t do the one, you move onto the next.

      2. Thanks a lot, Andy!

        I do need to trust my instincts more. 🙂 I just have this urge to do things the right way and sometimes need the approval of someone more experienced than I to know that I’m doing them right!

  156. Thanks for the reply Andy! Concerning my approx. if 220 reps for my back muscle in a single session, I actually have two back days because I run a L/P/P/L/P/P/OFF, so I was wondering how would I go about fixing these rep ranges if my body was adapted to these high volumes weekly? If I can progress on these high volumes and fully recover, is it okay to continue or am I doing too much volume for the same results I can obtain with lowered volume? Thanks in advance, and the eBooks are truly amazing and helpful!

  157. Okay so i wanted to tell you where i am coming from so it will better help you answer my question.I am 19 years old..I have been working with coaches for the last year and a half….i have been training very very seriously for the last year and a half, weighing every single thing i eat and drink, literally doing everything to a T…i am literally addicted to this lifestyle and it pretty much rules my life in what i do every single day…i am in college studying exercise science and nutrition currently and hope to have a bachelors degree by the end of next school year…i will then most likely go on to get my masters…my question is would getting these books help me out with my journey,
    1. would having a good coach still be beneficial even after reading these books, if i want to literally get and obtain the most optimal results possible the fastest way?
    2. I seem like in my thought process i need a coach to tell me how to critique my diet and training to get the results because i don’t want to make a mistake that could cause me to get to my results in the quickest way

    I have been thinking on buying these books for a while because of Matt Ogus

    so what are your thoughts on my questions i appreciate it
    any other answers that you think would be beneficial to know about what these books will help me out with and what i can change after buying them is greatly appreciated as well…looking forward to the reply

    Thanks

    1. Hi Harley.
      I think these are two of the best books available in the industry. They will compliment any coaching you have, and give you a broader understanding of what they are doing with you, assuming they are competent. The books may give you the confidence to go on your own without a coach, they may make you want to receive coaching more. I can’t answer that. You’re spending hundreds of dollars on coaching anyway, these books are a no brainer for the value they offer.

  158. Sorry for beating this topic in so many angles, but can you widen the rep range on a wave loading run?

    Ex. 3-5 becomes 2-6

    Just started Intermediate Bodybuilding and still trying to work around dumbbells.

    Many thanks.

  159. Hi guys i have a question regarding the Intermediate BB Program.
    I currently do weighted back extensions with 45lbs and there are no bigger plates available in my gym.
    Also, i have an anterior pelvic tilt so it may be conterproductive either way to train my lower back specifically.
    Do you have a recommendation which exercise could replace it? The pull workout seems to be very short when i just cut out the weighted back extension.
    I would 1. either add a set or two on every back movement 2. add another back movement or 3. keep doing 3x12x45 every training session. What’s your suggestion? Thanks!!

    1. James, first and foremost get the APT checked out before potentially exacerbating an already existing issue. Another back exercise may not be what you need right now. Eric Cressey, Tony Gentilcore and Dean Somerset’s websites are excellent for this stuff. You may need to change up your programming considerably, but the broad principles in the books will still hold.

  160. Hi, firstly thank you for the amazing book! Just have a couple questions (:

    1) For antagonistic pairing sets, the book suggest push exercise 1, rest 2 minutes, pull exercise 2, rest 2minutes, repeat. Wouldn’t that be around 4.5 minutes between each push exercise? Isn’t that a tad bit too long for an optimal rest period?

    2) For the third and fourth upper body exercise if i don’t do antagonistic pairing sets, the book recommended at least 2.5 minutes of rest between the compound exercises. Is the focus for these secondary compound exercises here metabolic fatigue, or still progressive tension overload. if it’s the former, would a shorter rest period be more beneficial?

    1. Please reread the section on rest periods it seems you are under the impression that short rest periods can aid hypertrophy when this is not the case.

  161. Hey guys, great books!

    My question is about workload while cutting. When my strength starts dropping on an exercises where I used to do e.g. 3 sets of 8-12 reps with a certain weight and now I have to lower the weight, would it be a smart move to use the lower weight but instead do 4 sets of the exercise to keep the weekly workload around the same? I understand that this is contrary to the idea to cut workout volume during the diet due to the worse recovery from less food but wouldn’t a consistent workload during the cut ensure muscle retention better than lowering the volume (if I am still able to recover from it of course)?

    And also, is it acceptable to take longer rest breaks between the exercises when dieting, if that ensures that I am strong enough to use the same weights that were used the previous week? The equal volume should be, according to the pyramid, more important than the potential metabolic fatigue of the shorter rest time that I am then missing out on.

    Best regards from Germany and thanks in advance

    Marvin

    1. Hi Marvin, thanks for the questions.
      Not that these are the only answers, but you’re my opinion so here we go:
      1. I’d aim to keep the load on the bar and reduce sets rather than vice versa.
      2. I’d keep them the same so that you’re comparing like for like.

  162. Hi, i noticed that there also is the macro calculator that comes with these books as well…that is awesome….one ? i had was that for a little over a year i have had a really high protein intake and a moderate carb intake…when switching to what is suggested on the calculator which puts me at 2.5g/kg of protein that drops me about 100 grams of protein then what i have been taking for a long time and ups my carbs by a ton…will this be bad to switch to right away and cause a negative affect to my physique since my current coaches have had me on that kind of macro split which is different than what yo guys recommend..thanks for adding in this book that is not even mentioned when paying for the package ….i love it already..so much info, i dont even know which book to read first haha…

    once i finish my next 8 weeks with the coach i am currently with now, i am not gonna get another coach and instead going to try and do things myself with the knowledge i will learn from these book

  163. Hi,

    I tried finding an answer for this but couldn’t.
    Why does your team prefer a wave loading progression as compared to double progression for the main compound lifts? What are the pros and cons of both?
    Thank you!

    1. I would say that’s not an accurate translation. Double progression is slower and thus is used on isolation exercises where you make smaller jumps in load. Faster progression via wave loading is used on compounds where larger increases in load are still a small percentage of your absolute strength.

  164. Hi Eric . Thanks a lot for getting back to me really appreciate it. Just one more quick question: what are numbers from where low cardio starts and where ends? Same for medium intensity? How to know that? Heart beat percentage?
    I feel like my cortisol levels are very high right now so im trying to do as much low intensity cardio and not medium and hit because im sure they causing much more stress on body. Trying to get back my hormone level get to normal. Thats why im very curious about numbers for cardio effort.

    Thanks a lot

    1. Tarik this is in the book. If you want to use cardio keep it to the limits for total cardio per week and for high intensity cardio which causes the most stress. You also don’t have any idea what your cortisol levels are and you never need to worry about managing your hormones, just your recovery.

  165. One thing i noticed as reading through the books is that my coach has me on a really really high volume workout…my question is that after my scheduled time with him is over in about a month, will switching to the amount of volume that you describe in your books which is a little lower than what my coach is having me train at now affect my gains( in the idea of adaptation and my body now being adapted to the higher amount of volume, and then switching to yours at a lower volume) will i still make gains?

    1. Harley a lot of your questions are the same “I was doing this before, now I’m going to change is that okay?”

      You’ll never get anywhere without experimentation and you aren’t going to be lifting for 6 months but hopefully the rest of your life. Give it a shot see what happens and no more fear based questions! 🙂

      1. Haha, i appreciate it and yes you are correct, i always tend to over think things… i have realized now that i just have to experiment…i am sticking to my current diet now during my deload then once this deload week is finished which is at the end of my cut i am going to be implementing all the new techniques i have learned from the book to start a lean gain of roughly 1.5 lbs a month as i read the nutrition book in just 3 days..now onto the training one…i cant wait to change my diet and training with research based knowledge and really learn how my body works and works the most efficiently on…….love the depth that you cover with these books thanks once again man i love reading them.

        Thank you, i think this really changed my life and makes everything so much easier! It’s awesome

  166. I noticed in the nutrition book it mentions that on a gaining phase you should have around 0.2g/lb of protein before and post workout and cutting you should have protein and carbs pre and post WO…..

    my question is that when gaining should your meals also contain carbs10-20% and if so during gaining or cutting does it matter if the post workout carbs are fast or slow digesting carbs ……and should fat be excluded from post workout since it slows digestion

    sorry for all the questions but i am trying to make sure i understand everything completely

    1. We didn’t leave anything out. The recommendations are correct as written for both cutting and gaining. And if we didn’t mention GI its because it doesn’t matter.

  167. I just wanted to thank you guys for the training book. Using the templates and guidance I have gained new excitement in my training and feel that I have the tools to make my own specific programme. Thank you so much, mission accomplished!

  168. Hope all is well,

    I currently find myself in the same rut as passed training experiences. I am attempting to increase weight via the two intermediate strategies “wave loading compound/double progression isolation”. However, I believe I am misinterpreting the definition of failure and thus am progressing with weight while form is suffering and ultimately mentally and physically burning out. Should I judge failure as an inability to no longer complete a rep with a continuous fluid motion, or when form breaks down. I realize the two often coincide. My goal is hypertrophy and I honestly struggle with understanding when to increase weight. Should I remain at a certain weight when my RPE for the given set/rep has decreased? I believe understanding this point and checking my ego will hopefully get me back on track. Again thank you for your time and effort.

    Best Wishes
    Zack

    1. Zack I think an easy way to think of it is that if you have to change the form to do an exercise you’re no longer doing the same exercise. As far as the RPE question it’s already been answered. But yes check your ego and focus on following the progression plan.

  169. Question: Is it available for Kindle? I’ve looked in the Amazon store and I couldn’t find it. Thank you

  170. Hi guys, thanks again for all the feedback. A few quick questions:

    1) Andy, on your site you’ve advised against doing dips but I see they are prescribed in the Intermediate bodybuilding template. What’s changed?

    2) For someone feeling a bit beat up from heavy lifting, what do you think about running a month or two with your templates but in a slightly higher rep range (instead of 3-5s, do 6-8s on “heavy” days; and 8-12 and 12-15s on lighter days). Especially if hypertrophy is the primary goal, this sound like a good idea? Should number of sets be decreased?

    3) When moving to the Intermediate program, based on the premise that we should only be lifting as much volume as necessary to make progress, would it not make sense to add a couple sets to the 4-day Novice bodybuilding template before adding in an entire whole new day of lifting?

    1. Hi Matt, thanks for the questions:
      1. Sure, my opinion hasn’t changed, but the book was a joint effort, not mine alone. Personally, I think they pose an unnecessary risk so I don’t program them for clients for the most part. Up to you. This is where critical thinking comes in Matt.
      2. You could, but that’s avoiding the underlying issue of built up fatigue. Recall the fitness-fatigue model starting on page 32. Take a week off. Start taking the monthly deloads recommended. If you still feel beat up then cut back volume. That should do it. Then, if you still have issues, try lighter weights in the higher loads. Unless you have genuine joint issues though that should be unnecessary.
      3. Absolutely! 🙂

  171. Andy, i realized when using your calculator to set up my macros that it gave me an option to have my rest days with a slightly lower calorie count and it also gave me a macro count that i could keep the same for everyday of the week….if im working out 5 days a week which it says you can use either one….i read somewhere in the book that you could be robbing yourself if you cut calories down too much on rest days..any explanation to this
    thanks

    1. “I read somewhere in the book that you could be robbing yourself if you cut calories down too much on rest days”
      The bolding is key.

      You’re young and very new to this information. You’re reading these books and trying to follow them as a guide, while also having downloaded a free guide on my own site with slightly different nuances. The issue is that you don’t currently have enough experience to see these as “nuances”, they just look like conflicts. On top of this you have a coach who will probably be telling you other things. Do yourself a favor, put my book down, stick with these, follow it solidly for a year or two, then you’ll start to see the shades of gray instead of just black and white.

      No more questions. I’m cutting you off for your own good, cause you’re just writing without thinking things through fully at any point that things pop into your head. 6 in a week is more than fair, plus it’s overwhelming for us authors to answer.

      Read, digest, put it into practice, and you’ll do well. Good luck Harley.

      1. okay..thank you, i totally respect that…im going put everything to trial and make things happen.

        in a way i appreciate you cutting me off haha…now it is time to make gains!

  172. Thank you for the answer. I forgot to ask, what are the file format of the books? pdf? Thank you

  173. Hello team M&SP,

    First of all, I want to congratulate and THANK YOU for such an awesome piece of work for us bodybuilders, powerlifters, powerbuilders, trainers, and everyone in between. It’s life-changing.

    I just wanted to point out a possible typo on the %1RM for “Week 2, day 6 – Upper” in the sample “Advanced Bodybuilding Intensification Block.” Reviewing the other sample routines, and Lower body progression of the same routine, I think it was supposed to be an 85% for that week, instead of that 87.5%1RM.

    Maybe it was already pointed out by someone else… it not, I hope this clears some possible confusion for the readers.

    Maybe someone else already pointed it out, but it not

  174. So with the intermediate powerlifting program example it is a 4 days a week schedule. Would you complete these as 2 on 1 off 2 on 2 off? So Monday/Tuesday/Thursday/Friday ?

  175. Great job with the books, absolutely love it – thanks! Searched the FAQ (ctrl+F) and didn’t see these posted above (apologize in advance if they were!), so thought I’d go ahead and ask:

    1. How will updates to the book be handled? Will emails be sent to the users who bought the bundle informing them an update is available? Or will there be a page on your site somewhere that shows what the current version of the book is?

    2. The nutrition pyramid had great resources in terms of tools to help pick and choose a meal plan using the framework provided in the book – which was great! The training pyramid discusses the importance of form and proper technique on exercises, but I didn’t see a resource that I could use to validate if I’m doing it right. Does that mean the only alternative is to hire a professional? Is there a site/book you’d recommend to ensure we’re doing the compound lifts correctly – especially seeing how important proper form would be?

    Cheers,
    Prasanna

    1. 1. We’ll be sending out an email once a second edition is written
      2. A book isn’t the best tool for teaching proper form. Google is a good tool to find form videos, however in person instruction by a trained professional would be ideal. Find someone who is a CSCS or certified personal trainer who is also a competitive raw powerlifter to teach you the compound barbell lifts.

  176. For people using kg instead of lbs. Beware that the calculation based on the 3500 rule on page 39 does not work if you use kg in the equation. You have to convert your weight to lbs and then use the 3500 formula to calculate your calories above maintenance. It took me like 10min to figure this out cause i kept getting completely different results when i did the equation with the 82kg intermediate instead of using 180lbs.

    You should definitely make people aware of this in the book.

      1. I’ve read it 2 times through and it doesn’t say anywhere explicitly that in the equation you should use lbs and not kg…

        Anyway, even though the training pyramid book spends a great deal on progression and what to do in many cases, the nutrition book does not at all i feel like. There is literaly 2 sentences that take on the topic what you should do when you do not gain or lose weight and those refer to the 3500 calorie rule.

        What do you do when you don’t gain weight? What do you do when you don’t lose weight? What do you do when you’re gaining to much fat? How do you adjust your macro in the case that you are gaining weight but to much fat? What if you are losing fat but to much muscle in the process? Protein is best calculated by body weight, but what if you dont gain any weight, do you simply adjust fats and carbs and leave protein as it is? What if you are allready consuming the highest protein recommendation for your bodyweight, do you bring up protein even more? I can ask a dozen questions like that and i feel like the book tells me nothing about what to do.

        It clearly explains that anything above a certain amount of monthly bodyweight gain will likely by fat, but it doesn’t tell you what you should or can do if you are actually gaining to much fat. It also doesn’t touch the subject of differences between peoples metabolism, wich have a huge impact on how much calories someone may need. Those aimed caloric surplusses in the book for example will make an ectomorph guy like my cry like a baby.

        I’ve got a great deal out of the training book, but the nutrition book didn’t tell me much i didn’t know yet except confusing me a ton with that 3500 calorie rule and it leaves me with alot of questions regarding progression. That subject isnt even mentioned.

        1. Dennis, I’m always happy to take critique, but not if it’s just innacurate:

          Page 28 “1 lb (~0.5 kg) of adipose tissue contains ~3500 calories”

          Page 29 “Hypothetically, if you gained 1 lb (~0.5 kg) of fat in a week, you would be, on average, consuming ~500 calories more than your maintenance per day, as 7 days x 500 calories = 3500.”

          page 31 “As previously discussed, 3500 calories roughly equates to 1 lb (~0.5 kg) of adipose tissue”

          page 32 “a 3500 kcal deficit per week and I would be able to lose a pound weekly”

          page 36 “Combining this fact and the metabolic cost of creating muscle tissue, the “3500 calorie rule” actually holds up decently well for setting up your diet for weight gain as well as weight loss [14]. This is not to say that a pound (~0.5 kg) of muscle mass has 3500 calories in it, but rather, that you may have to increase your calories more than expected to gain muscle because of the energetic cost of synthesizing this muscle. ”

          page 37 “3500 kcals is the value of 1 lb (~0.5 kg) of adipose tissue, ”

          page 49 “using the ‘3500 calorie rule’ of losing approximately a pound per week (~0.5 kg),”

          page 73 “For example, if you want to lose 1.5 lbs (~0.7 kg) per week, you need to produce a 5250 kcal deficit per week (3500 x 1.5).”

          NOW, with that out of the way, Dennis I do agree that the book is light on adjustments to keep progress going. And this is something the second edition will have more of, and anyone who bought the bundle will get a free update. To help you out in the interim, keeping protein static and adjusting calories up and down (and cardio if you are cutting) to stay in the target rate of weight gain/loss is the way to go. When you aren’t losing or gaining an easy rule of thumb is to either increase or decrease calories by 100kcal/day and then see how you fair in the next week or two.