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How Erica Used Thinner Leaner Stronger to Gain 10 Pounds of Muscle

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"I am much more confident, in the gym and outside of it."

Erica's Progress

Progress Image Before
Progress Image 12 Months
Progress Image 12 Months
Progress Image 12 Months
Progress Image 12 Months

How many months’ progress do your pictures represent? What were your stats for each picture?

September 2018 (145 lbs, around 17% body fat)

September 2019 (155 lbs, around 19% body fat)

What has happened so far on the program?

I followed a more flexible “If it fits your macros” diet. My main focus was having at least around 150 grams of protein each day (around one gram per pound of bodyweight to keep things simple). This was a big priority for me since I am a bit of a “hard gainer” and so gaining muscle is harder/ takes longer for me.

My strength progressed like CRAZY on this program! Initially, I benched 45 lbs for around 10 reps, deadlifted 50 lbs for 10, and squatted 50 lbs for 8. I was much too scared to test my one rep max for anything. At the end of a year on the program, my one rep maxes are 160 bench, 185 squat and 225 deadlift. I can’t believe this progress!!

What workout split from the book did you use?

I used the 5 day split, with the two rest days usually falling in the middle of the week and on the weekend. On the rest days, I usually tried to do HIIT on the recumbent bike. As I got further into the program and became more knowledgeable about fitness, I began to tweak the workouts a bit to fit my specific goals, but I used the Thinner Leaner Stronger 5 day split framework!

What, if anything, almost kept you from buying the book or starting the program?

When I first started working out, I did not know about Thinner Leaner Stronger. It was after around a year of copious amounts of misinformation about working out and the fitness industry that my friend Matt (he is also featured as a success story on this blog!) recommended me Thinner Leaner Stronger.

He said that Bigger Leaner Stronger was so informative and comprehensive and debunked so many of the fitness myths that he used to believe so I just had to read it. As soon as I got this recommendation, I ordered the book and began reading it (and I couldn’t be happier that I did).

What do you like most about the program?

This is tough, I love so many things about the program!

I love how the program told me exactly what exercises to do and for how many reps. In the beginning, I really had no idea what I was doing when it came to fitness, but this program was really easy to follow, even for a complete newbie like myself!

I also liked how the book taught me exactly how to do the main lifts, since it helped me nail down good form right from the beginning, which really helped as I moved up in weight.

I also love how the program came with a comprehensive understanding of what I was doing and why. It’s easy to see your favorite fitness influencers on Instagram posting their workouts and blindly follow them.

But with Thinner Leaner Stronger I first built an understanding of hypertrophy and strength and how certain exercises would help me accomplish them via progressive overload. It was only after I understood this that I started the program. I think this is part of what helped me stick to it so well!

And the results. The results absolutely blew me out of the water. I really did not know what to expect when I started this program. I was just a very awkward and lanky girl who wanted some muscle definition. I had no idea what I was capable of. But this program made me realize that I want to be STRONG.

After a year on the program, I have a physique that I would have never thought was possible for me, and this is only after one year! Thinner Leaner Stronger has made me realize what my body is capable of, and has made me fall in love with the fitness journey.

I have a new passion that will stay with me for the rest of my life as I continue to build strength and musculature, and develop an ever expanding knowledge about fitness. It’s not easy to build such an intense passion for something, but Thinner Leaner Stronger really helped me to do this for fitness, which I think is really amazing.

How does this program compare with others you’ve tried?

The only other program that I’ve tried is Jeff Nippard’s Arm Hypertrophy program, and both programs have given me great resutls! I really liked both programs, they were both super easy to follow and gave me a clear understanding of the workouts that I was doing.

Before I tried any programs, I just went to the gym without a plan and used whatever machines were open. I would sometimes stay at the gym for two hours, around six days a week, and had absolutely no gains to show for this. After an entire year, I looked exactly the same, with maybe a bit more ab definition.

Comparing my results from a year of using random machines to a year of Thinner Leaner Stronger I am absolutely blown away. I hope more girls read Thinner Leaner Stronger and realize that lifting heavy will not make you “bulky” or “manly,” but help to get the results that they want!!

How has what you’ve achieved with your body changed other areas of your life?

I am a very different person now than I was just a year ago, before starting this program. I am much more confident, in the gym and outside of it. Before Thinner Leaner Stronger, I wouldn’t even think about going to certain areas of the gym where all of the fit guys lifted. But now, these are basically the only sections of the gym that I go to!

And these guys that I was once so intimidated by actually come up to me at the gym and compliment me on my lifts! I’m also just more confident in everyday life. I used to be quite the introvert, and didn’t really know how to socialize with people that well. But now, I feel comfortable holding a conversation with basically anyone, and would actually consider myself quite extroverted.

Also, I am so much more dedicated now than I used to be. Sticking to a workout program consistently for a whole year has made me better able to stick to the rest of my goals, like finishing my work on time for school and not procrastinating and sticking to a healthy sleep schedule.

I’ve also bonded with so many people who are similarly passionate about fitness. It is a wonderful way to connect with people, and now some of my best friends are people who are similarly involved in fitness and living a healthy lifestyle.

But the effects of this program span beyond just me, amazingly. My friends and family have seen how driven I am to improve myself and get stronger and my results from this program, and have started becoming more involved in fitness themselves! 😀

I think this is what I am most proud of about this whole journey, that I can now inspire others to become healthier and stronger as I have become. I can’t even count the amount of people who have reached out to me and thanked me for inspiring them, or asked me for fitness advice.

Who would you recommend this program to and why?

I would recommend this program to anyone! But specifically, to people who want to have a routine at the gym but don’t know exactly how to go about doing that. To anyone who wants to feel confident and strong and see what their bodies are capable of. And to anyone who wants to live a healthy lifestyle and generally feel good about themselves.

If you’re thinking about getting into fitness at all, please give Bigger Leaner Stronger or Thinner Leaner Stronger a read.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Completing the Thinner Leaner Stronger program was such a big turning point in my life, and one of the best decisions that I have made thus far.

To anyone who is thinking about starting the program, please do! You really won’t regret it. I would say in the beginning, even if you aren’t seeing results right away, just be patient! The results will come 🙂

Also, be gentle with yourself throughout the process. If you have an off day or even an off week, just accept it and keep on going. Also if you miss a few workouts because you’re sick or for any other reasons, just forgive yourself and get back on track the next day. Being kind to yourself is so important in learning to love every step of the journey and truly becoming the best version of yourself!

To everyone who is embarking on their own fitness journeys, I am proud of you and you can definitely do this! All my best!

Did you use any Legion supplements?

No I haven’t, but I’m thinking about buying the Pulse preworkout soon!

Readers' Ratings

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Want to become a success story too? Here's how she did it

The program that made this transformation possible:

The meal plan that makes building muscle and losing fat easy and enjoyable:

Mike Matthews is the founder and CEO of Legion as well as a bestselling fitness author of several books, including Bigger Leaner Stronger, Thinner Leaner Stronger, and The Shredded Chef.

His simple and science-based approach to building muscle, losing fat, and getting healthy has sold over a million books and helped thousands of people build their best bodies ever, and his work has been featured in many popular outlets including Esquire, Men’s Health, Elle, Women’s Health, Muscle & Strength, and more, as well as on FOX and ABC.

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