"I feel like I am more focused and determined in many areas of my life now."
How many months’ progress do your pictures represent? What were your stats for each picture?
About 3 years progress between the side view picture to the final 2. The first couple pictures were 225 pounds and likely 28-30% body fat. The final pictures are 178 and about 12%.
What has happened so far on the program?
My progress is split up into two separate instances of following Bigger Leaner Stronger. Each time with its own noticeable progress. My first round went from September 2015 through the end of 2016. The second round started in June 2018 and is ongoing.
In 2015, I hit a point where I realized that I needed to do something dramatic to get myself into shape once and for all. Fortunately, I have a family member who has been into fitness for quite a while. He told me about a book called “Bigger, Leaner, Stronger” and put me through a few of the workouts he learned from the book. They were very straightforward (but certainly not easy) and the gym sessions were short but very effective. After those few workouts, I decided to order the book and dove right into the content.
The layout of the book is almost perfect in my opinion. Not only do you learn what you need to do, but how and WHY. You learn why you’re doing the exercises, why you’re working in a certain rep range, why you work certain muscles on certain days, etc. Since I felt like I had quite an uphill battle ahead of me to get into decent shape I decided to do the 5-day split and follow a cut diet.
The first few weeks in the gym were spent getting a baseline for my lifts and getting used to lifting weights again. The combination of regular exercise and consistently eating in a caloric deficit helped me immediately shed a surprising amount of weight. After the initial couple weeks of accelerated weight loss, I consistently lost between 0.5-2.0 per week for many weeks in a row. From September 2015 until about December 2016 I went from 225 pounds to 180.
The next 12-18 months were a lull in my fitness journey, but I maintained a weight of about 190-195 the entire time. In June 2018 I decided to start back up with a starting weight of just under 200. Over the last 5 months I’ve lost 25 pounds, gotten into the best shape of my life, set new PRs for my Bigger Leaner Stronger workouts and got lean enough to start a bulk.
Overall I’ve gone from 225 pounds and likely near 30% body fat down to 176 and around 11-12% and saw abs for the first time ever. My squat went from 185 to 275, bench went from 165 to 235 and Deadlifts from 255 to 345. I know as I keep working these numbers will continue to improve.
What workout split from the book did you use?
I’ve been following the 5-day split. And my favorite part is that cardio isn’t necessary!
What, if anything, almost kept you from buying the book or starting the program?
Fortunately, I was able to get a preview of the workouts before buying the book. I was able to see that the structure just seemed to make sense and I felt like I would enjoy them. I’ve had some success with other programs, but nothing that is as dramatic and sustainable as this.
What do you like most about the program?
It just makes sense. Each day I know what lifts I need to do, what I need to eat, and how to track my lifts and diet so I can monitor my progress. Once I saw the progress in the mirror, on the scale, and in the way I felt – it was very motivating and somewhat addictive to keep going and keep seeking more and more progress.
I’m hesitant to say the progress was quick. When I started out, I knew it was going to take a while to get to where I’d be truly happy with my results. I was not looking for a quick fix so I just wanted to see consistent progress week in and week out – which I did see. Of course, some weeks were a bit slower than others, but as the weeks passed the results really added up. Looking at the progress each and every week was more than enough encouragement to keep me going.
How does this program compare with others you’ve tried?
There really is no comparison. I had tried a few other programs and had minimal success, but most of them were designed to either help with short term progress or were something to mix things up and take a break from your normal lifts.
Bigger Leaner Stronger is a lifestyle change and Mike equips you with all of the knowledge, diet plans, and exercise routines you need in order to make dramatic body changes. It really does take hard work and dedication to get there, but all of the tools are provided in this book and on his website.
How has what you’ve achieved with your body changed other areas of your life?
My confidence and energy have improved so much. I read an article on the Legion blog recently that says the average American male has around 28% body fat.
It isn’t something I really noticed when I fell into that group. Once I got below 15% it was noticeable how much different I looked and felt and how many people commented on the changes I had made.
This has taught me that there are no shortcuts or cheats to get into shape – just hard work and dedication. The hard work, dedication, and goal setting in the gym have also carried over into other areas of my life. I feel like I am more focused and determined in many areas of my life now.
Who would you recommend this program to and why?
Anyone who is serious about building the body they’ve always wanted. I have recommended this and Thinner Leaner Stronger (without having read it – just based on what is in Bigger Leaner Stronger) to just about anyone who has asked me for fitness advice. I tell them that literally, everything you need to build the body you want is in the book.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
One of the most beneficial things I have done is to track EVERYTHING. Take progress pics, body measurements, daily weight, weight used for each set, if the required effort was out of the ordinary, if you felt better or worse than normal in the gym that day, etc.
You don’t really notice any major changes on a day to day basis, but it’s amazing to see exactly how much progress you’ve made in 3 months, 6 months, or a year. The more information you track the more you can see just how far you’ve come!
Did you use any Legion supplements?
I consistently use Fortify, Whey+ and Recharge. When I’m cutting I will take Phoenix. The Dutch Chocolate Whey+ flavor and Strawberry Lemonade Recharge both taste great and of course, help my diet and recovery. The best part about these is the transparency of the ingredients and dosages.