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How Erick Used Bigger Leaner Stronger to Lose 12 Pounds and 9% Body Fat

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"I am a lot more confident with my body now than I was before I started the Bigger Leaner Stronger program."

Erick's Progress

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Progress Image 9 Months
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How many months’ progress do your pictures represent? What were your stats for each picture?

9.5 months progress
Start: July 9, 2018 182 lbs 18% body fat
End: April 29, 2019 170 lbs 9% body fat

What has happened so far on the program?

My initial goal when I started cutting was to cut down from 189 lbs to 170 lbs and retain as much muscle as possible. Two months into my cut I had lost 7 lbs putting me at 182 lbs and wasn’t happy with my results, so that is when I started the Bigger Leaner Stronger program.

I then continued to cut until I reached 169 lbs after being on the Bigger Leaner Stronger program for 2 months. During this time, I was lifting fasted and doing HIIT sprints on a treadmill in a fed state.I did still indulge in a small cheat meal every week but nothing like an entire pizza, more like 1 or 2 slices.

Over this cutting phase, I lost 13 pounds, my bench and military press did not increase, and my squat and deadlift both increased by 10 pounds. I will also say that my deadlift and squat form improved tremendously over this time. At the end of my two-month trial period with Bigger Leaner Stronger , I had become a true believer in the Bigger Leaner Stronger program and decided I would stick it out for the rest of the one-year challenge.

Next, I began reverse dieting for the next 2 months and when I finished I was at 172 lbs, my bench, military press, and squat all increased by 10 pounds, and my deadlift increased by 30 pounds (granted I did start using straps when I started reverse dieting).During this time, I increased my calorie intake by ~1000 calories and decreased my cardio from 2 hours of HIIT sprints per week to 1 hour of LISS cycling per week.

When I noticed that I was steadily putting on weight I began a bulking phase, which I decided would end when I hit 195 lbs. After 3 months of bulking I was at 190 lbs but I was feeling very unhappy with my weight and body image so I decided I would cut my bulk short of my original goal and start cutting again.

Over my bulk, my bench increased 15 pounds, deadlift went down 10 pounds (I got stricter about my form and decreased weight because I realized I had been bouncing the weight off the floor), squat and military press both increased by 10 pounds. Next, I set out to cut back down to 170 lbs to compare to my previous 170 and see how much muscle I had gained.

Since I was upset about having to cut my bulk short, I decided that I would go through this cut as quickly as possible and get back to bulking. I immediately increased my cardio back to 2 hours of HIIT cycling per week. My second cut lasted 2.5 months during which I lost 20 pounds.

The difference in this cut from my first cut was that I utilized fasted cardio, supplemented with yohimbine and HMB, and all my cheat meals were compensated for by removing food intake from other parts of my diet. During this timeframe, my squat decreased by 20 lbs, bench decreased by 10 lbs, military decreased by 15 lbs, and deadlift did not change. I was not concerned about the “decrease” in my strength since I had begun training fasted and I was happy with the body I saw in the mirror.

Now, I have begun reverse dieting again, but this time around I am going a lot slower. It has now been almost 4 weeks and I have decreased my cardio back to 1 hour of LISS cycling per week, increased my calories by 600 calories, and I have lost an additional 2 pounds. My plan is to continue adding 200 calories each week until I am gaining 0.5 lbs per week. If I notice I am gaining weight any faster than that, then I will decrease my calories.

What workout split from the book did you use?

5-day split.

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

I was hesitant to start the program because, like I mentioned before, I felt like there was no way doing fewer reps, less cardio, taking shorter rest periods, and taking more rest days would help me lose more weight. The program I had been following was Julian Smith’s Daily Pump. The workouts focus on time under tension combined with short, 30 second rest periods. There were no rest days in the program and rep ranges for the workouts varied anywhere from 4 reps to 50 reps.

What do you like most about the program?

One of the things I liked the most about the Bigger Leaner Stronger program was how easy it was to adjust the program to fit my personal needs. If there was ever a week when I knew I wouldn’t be able to make it to the gym for all five days, then I could easily program in a deload week or pull a week of workouts out of the three- or four-day programs.

Another thing that I liked was the results of course. While the results I wanted took an entire year to reach, I made enough progress through each phase of the program to keep myself interested. By the end of the program I was able to look at the progress I made through each phase and see how far I had come in just one year.

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

I never followed a specific diet as part of a training program before Bigger Leaner Stronger , but I will say that the diet in this program did not differ much from my diet before starting. I always focused on a high protein, moderate carb, adequate fat kind of diet. The big difference between my diet before and after was the use of cheat meals.

Before Bigger Leaner Stronger I typically included one cheat meal a week of about 1,500 calories and I did not account for the added calories by removing calories from the rest of my daily allowance. Once I started Bigger Leaner Stronger however I started accounting for the calories and it made a huge difference. I was finally able to enjoy the foods I liked under control without repeatedly undoing a large portion of the progress I made.

One of the big things I noticed was that I didn’t have to eat in such a large deficit for the entire week because I wasn’t full out binging one day a week. This made it a lot easier to stick to my diet since I was constantly starving. I have already spoken on how the Bigger Leaner Stronger program differed from the Daily Pump program I was following directly beforehand so I am not going to ramble on about that again.

However, I found that the Bigger Leaner Stronger program was quite similar to the old football workouts I had to do during high school (emphasis on compound movements) which really got me wondering how much progress I could have made back then if I had my diet in order instead of chowing down on whatever junk was in the pantry when I got home from school.

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

I am a lot more confident with my body now than I was before I started the Bigger Leaner Stronger program. I was always a fat kid growing up, so the insults really did some damage to my self-confidence. Because of this, I always dreaming of having abs and while my abs now aren’t as cut as I want them to be one day, I think it is so cool to finally see myself with abs!

As an exceptional student, I have always been pretty hard-working and productive, but the tips and tricks I have picked up from listening to your podcasts and reading Bigger Leaner Stronger have really helped me push myself to the next level and taught me that there is always more to be accomplished. I think I am more productive in all aspects of my life thanks to this program.

Who would you recommend this program to and why?

I would absolutely recommend this program to anybody looking to improve their health, physique, or anything related. I would say that I have already recommended reading Bigger Leaner Stronger or Thinner Leaner Stronger to almost 50 people because people have noticed the progress I have made and they have asked me “How did you do it?”, and I simply fill them in on your work.

Most of the people that have come to me have tried losing weight by following a keto diet or some other restrictive diet and they have failed because of how hard it is to stick to the program, so I tell them to read the book, follow the program laid out in the book, and just be patient because I can guarantee the results will come if you follow the program.

The program itself is easy to follow, and if there are any issues that come up during your journey there are a billion articles between MFL and Legion to ease your mind.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

My only advice for everybody is to be patient and remain consistent. Nothing comes overnight. You don’t spontaneously get a six-pack and massive biceps overnight. At the same time, you won’t gain 10 pounds of fat overnight so, if you slip up or have an off day during the holidays, don’t be ashamed and mope about it.

Just move on with your life because if you stay consistent, you will get the results you want.

Did you use any Legion supplements?

I did not use Legion supplements for most of the program because I didn’t think it was the best decision for myself to spend the money on the top-shelf supplements that Legion offers. I did, however, take some of the major ingredients included in some Legion supplements, like yohimbine and HMB.

If I had the money, I would definitely go for Phoenix and Forge though. I recently started using Pulse and plan to continue using it as my go-to pre-workout.

Readers' Ratings

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Want to become a success story too? Here's how he 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 a bestselling fitness author of Bigger Leaner Stronger, Thinner Leaner Stronger, and The Shredded Chef, as well the founder of Legion Athletics.

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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