We are excited to announce Legion is funding a collaboration between myself, Dr. Eric Helms, a research fellow at the Sports Performance Research Institute New Zealand at the Auckland University of Technology and James Krieger of Weightology LLC and Dr. Brad Dieter of Macros Inc and Washington State University. The study addresses the question of how large a calorie surplus should be to optimize muscle gain and minimize fat gain during a period of overeating and strength training (“bulking”). 

Currently, only a handful of studies exist to inform the nutritional habits of those interested in maximizing muscular hypertrophy while also minimizing fat gain. 

Prior research, while critical in coming to this stage, lacked generalizability to the common gymgoer, statistical power, or adequate methodological controls to provide recommendations with confidence. 

In the study we’re conducting, individuals with at least a year of resistance training experience who meet a certain strength standard are randomized into three groups: 

  1. A slow weight gain/ small surplus group
  2. A faster weight gain/larger surplus group
  3. An energy balance group 
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This will help us see whether the optimal ratio of muscle to fat gain while bulking (and gains in bench press and back squat one-rep max) occur when gaining weight quickly, slowly, or attempting to “recomposition” at roughly maintenance calories. 

This study will last eight weeks, and the training involves a full-body strength and hypertrophy program supervised by trained exercise professionals at AUT who are blinded to the nutritional intervention of each participant.

The study will be carried out by an experienced team including Dr. Brad Dieter and a registered dietitian with experience working with physique competitors, fitness models and general population trainees seeking to improve their body composition.

If this sounds interesting, you can get involved, too. 

We’re currently looking for participants who . . . 

  • Live in the greater Auckland, New Zealand area.
  • Is an adult male who’s healthy and free of musculoskeletal injuries.
  • Wants to gain muscle.
  • Has been lifting weights consistently for at least a year and can bench press their body weight and back squat (to full depth) at least one and a half times their body weight.

If you meet those criteria, you’re probably eligible to participate in our study. 

Not only is this a great way to build muscle under the supervision of trained professionals, the results of this study will help strength and conditioning coaches, personal trainers, and athletes of all stripes improve their performance and body composition. 

If you live in Auckland and you’d like to participate, contact the research team via email: [email protected]