"I have more energy and I am definitely a lot more confident."
How many months’ progress do your pictures represent? What were your stats for each picture?
5 months and 1 week. At week 0 I was 196 lb and 25% body fat, and at week 21 I was 158 lb and 10.8% body fat. I weighed in every weekend using the same BIA scales at my gym.
I made sure I was fasted and empty. I also used skinfold calipers to get a “second opinion” on my body fat. The calipers gave me a reading that was 2% lower than the BIA scales and stayed consistently at that through the entire cut.
What has happened so far on the program?
I cut for 5 months and 1 week. The plan was 6 months (just a round number I picked) but by week 21 I had lost 38 lbs and reduced my body fat 14%. The scales were telling me 10%, 9% and even 8% body fat around this time which was amazing. I know the scales aren’t 100% accurate, but I could be sure that they were pretty close.
I was also starting to feel a bit of fatigue from dieting so for the last 3 weeks I took a break and ate at maintenance calories. During the process my strength skyrocketed (relatively), my veins grew bigger and popped out, my abs, chest, shoulders, and arms grew.
I remember one really happy moment when I realized I could see my seratus anterior muscles for the first time, weaving in through my oblique abs. This was pure joy as they are my favorite muscles and I was having doubts that I would never have them.
My strength continues to climb every week. It plateaued for my bench press 187 lb, overhead 110 lb, and deadlift 77 lb but I was able to remedy most of this with deloading as Mike suggests in the book.
The only thing that hasn’t budged much is the overhead press, but this was due to a little shoulder problem I was having from cycling. Here are my starting and current numbers for the 5 big exercises (I count chin-ups as one of these):
Bench 132 lbs x5 – 220 lbs x5
Deadlift 176 lbs x4 – 374 lbs x5
Overhead Press 66 lbs x5 – 121 x4
Squat 176 lbs x4 – 276 lbs x5 (I was squatting 320 lbs but wasn’t reaching depth. I’ve dropped the weight to fix this)
Chin up BWx4 – 55 lbs x4
What workout split from the book did you use?
I use the 5-day split and get some cardio on the rest days. Luckily I absolutely love working out so it isn’t hard for me to get up early and do this while everyone else is in bed.
What, if anything, almost kept you from buying the book or starting the program?
Nothing really deterred me from reading the book. My brother has had way more experience than me and I was thirsty for answers. So if he said read Bigger Leaner Stronger then I’m damn well reading Bigger Leaner Stronger .
I guess I would say it is a little comprehensive. If you cut out all of the scientific studies that Mike cites to back up the points he makes in the book, you would have a much shorter book that is just as effective as a manual for beginner trainees.
This might appeal to people with a little less patience than me. Although it is still important that you know you can trust what the book recommends doing. So I enjoyed reading the studies.
What do you like most about the program?
It was all simpler than I thought. I was used to training for 2+ hours at a time as a martial arts student and I thought this was going to be the same. I didn’t know you could even make a dent in just 45 minutes of training. The best thing about this program is it leaves no mystery unsolved.
When you go to the gym, you know what you are doing and you know why you are doing it. There’s a strategy and it doesn’t involve torturing yourself with long, boring, sweaty cardio sessions.
Week by week you watch your strength increase and your love handles decrease, the numbers on the scale steadily drop. And in no time you have a tapering waist and the silhouette of someone who really takes care of themselves.
Mike is terribly generous in the book and holds nothing back. It gives you everything you need to know about dieting and training from a beginner level and you really do become bigger, leaner, and stronger by following it.
I imagine a lot of Personal Trainers would drip feed you this kind of information for premium so that you are eternally reliant on them.
How does this program compare with others you’ve tried?
I trained a little while I was at University. But I really had no idea what I was doing. I followed some tutorials from the internet (mostly isolation exercises) and I just made the same movements at the same weights every week.
I had no progress, I didn’t even know what progress was, and I think this made it easy for me to quit. I know exactly how to track my progress and, more importantly, how to make progress thanks to Bigger Leaner Stronger .
In terms of diet, I thought if I was to just eat less I would lose fat. And then I thought if I ate more greens I would lose weight. And I tried these changes between May and November 2018 and saw little difference until I read the book and started tracking my calories and macros.
Then there was no mystery in dieting anymore and I knew I was in a calorie deficit and getting enough protein to retain my muscle every day. In a nutshell, Bigger Leaner Stronger helped me to get lean as hell while eating chocolate nearly every day and pizza every weekend. (These obviously weren’t the only things I was eating XD.)
How has what you’ve achieved with your body changed other areas of your life?
I have tons more energy and I am definitely a lot more confident. It’s not really about what other people think of you. If you look in the mirror and hate what you see then no matter how accepting the people around you are, you are not going to be happy.
My physical appearance was causing me distress, and as a result, I was experiencing depression. When I started to see my body shape up I started to respect myself a bit more, and I think other people did, too.
People started to comment on how well I was looking and I even got a ton of people asking me for fitness advice. I realized that all of these people are waking up every morning and looking at themselves in the mirror, not liking what they saw, just like me.
A number of my colleagues and friends have joined my gym to get in on the action as well. Now I feel the work I have done is inspiring other people and I really like this feeling. I want to keep helping other people the way Bigger Leaner Stronger helped me.
Who would you recommend this program to and why?
I already have recommended it to pretty much everyone I have had a fitness conversation with and have successfully recruited a number of people to the program. I can see their progress taking off just as mine did.
I think people struggle with diet and fitness because they lack information just as I did. No one really knows how to diet healthily or train progressively. It isn’t even that complicated and there are no major unsolved mysteries when it comes to fat loss.
Bigger Leaner Stronger teaches you everything you need to transform your body fast without torturing yourself with exercise you hate and food you cant stomach. Those are the two things everyone is afraid of and that’s why I recommend Bigger Leaner Stronger and Thinner Leaner Stronger.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
One thing I have noticed now that I’m looking at myself under a microscope is that hunger is something you are going to experience no matter how much food you are eating. On days where I have eaten tons of food and went way over my calories, I still felt hungry a few hours after those calorific meals.
So I would say that when you are cutting, you will experience hunger and you will worry that if you don’t eat your body will fail. But it doesn’t, it has everything it needs as long as you are cutting responsibly. Just know that extra calories are not going to quench the hunger for very long, so just deal with it, have a glass of water.
Did you use any Legion supplements?
Yea I got some peanut protein bars in the past. They are damn tasty and the macros fit perfectly with the “High Protein, Low Fat” recommendation of Bigger Leaner Stronger. The ingredients list is most definitely far less of a chemical shitstorm than any other protein bar I have tried.
And they are physically big, so you feel like you have eaten something after. With other protein bars, one usually just isn’t enough, and they just make binging more likely to happen. Not a problem with the Legion bars. But I live in Ireland so its way too expensive for me to ship them over all the time.