"I have gained about 30 pounds of body weight, and built a great deal of strength!"
What has happened so far on the program?
I started lifting seriously in 2011. Before starting BLS in 2013, I had already gained about 25 lbs of muscle from by doing what most would consider typical bodybuilding workouts. I was hovering around 155lbs, but my gains stalled out, and I made very little progress for 6 – 9 months before I decided it was time to look for something new. I read Alwyn Cosgrove, Mark Ripptoe, Louie Simmons, and other coaches that were respected in the online community, and came across Mike Matthews.
With his programming and easy to follow diet advice, I have gained about 30 pounds of bodyweight, and built a great deal of strength. Looking at my workout journal here are some numbers: My squat went from 135×8 to 235×6. My bench went from 115×10 to 205×6. My shoulder press went from 40×8 to 70×4. Deadlift went from 175×5 to 315×5.
What, if anything, almost kept you from buying the book or starting the program?
I was skeptical at first, as the volume seemed a lot lower than other programs I had tried before. Typically, I was doing 12 – 15 sets per bodypart per week, in the 8 – 12 rep range. Doing only 9 sets per week in the 4 – 6 rep range seemed like a lot less volume in terms of pounds moved per week. I always thought more volume = more growth, which is why the big guys always did so many sets per gym session. Turns out that is not always the case.
What do you like most about the program?
Interestingly, my body did not quickly respond to the new program. It took a month or so before I started really finding my groove. Once my body and joints adjusted to the lower volume, I liked that every workout was a little better than the one before. I add reps every week, and am able to add weights on my various exercises with frequency. This feeling of constantly advancing gives me the drive to continue pushing in the gym. A lot of guys ask me now how long I’ve been lifting. This makes me feel great as I know that what they’re really wanting to say is “how did you get so damn strong???”
How does this program compare with others you’ve tried?
I have been a vegetarian for most of my life, and have been chastised regularly by fitness “experts” who told me that I would need to eat meat in order to build muscle. Mike’s simple IIFYM style dieting was new to me, as I usually thought that in order to be fit, one needed to deprive themselves of all delicious food, and instead eat bland ass food all the time.Not only have I been successful at building muscle, but I have been able to enjoy my favorite foods, like cheesecake, fried tofu, and Reese’s PB Cups. Of course, the majority of my diet is composed of eggs, tempeh, seitan, vegetables, quinoa, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, and various healthy oils, but I have come to enjoy them.
In terms of the workouts, they are certainly shorter than I was used to. It is not uncommon for me to start my lifting session after other guys, and finish up before them. Many people have noticed the big change in my physique and are confused because I spend less time in the gym than I did before. In fact, one of the trainers at the gym where I workout came up to me recently and wanted to know what my secret was. She had a few clients that were jealous of the fact that I’m in and out quicker than they are, and am making great gains. I gave her a copy of BLS and told her to get reading.
How has what you’ve achieved with your body changed other areas of your life?
I definitely am more confident in my body, and notice that I get a lot more attention from females than ever before. Mind you, I have been in a committed relationship for a couple of years, but I find that girls are far more interested in talking to me, asking me what my sign is, what I do for a living, am I single, all that stuff. Those questions super boost my ego and indicate to me that for sure my effort in the gym is paying off.
Over the summer, I went to a pool party and saw one of my high school exes. It was incredibly satisfying rolling in, looking like a completely different dude, all buff and tan. First thing I did was take my shirt off and hop in the pool. Good stuff.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I would just say to people who are getting started that they should stick with it. That’s all it takes. Stick with the program and it will work.