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How Serhad Used Bigger Leaner Stronger to Gain 17 Pounds of Muscle and Lose 3% Body Fat

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"I am way more confident and have great amounts of energy!"

Serhad's Progress

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Progress Image 24 Months
Progress Image 48 Months
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Progress Image 63 Months
Progress Image 64 Months
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How many months’ progress do your pictures represent? What were your stats for each picture?

Pictures show the transformation from September 2013 up to May 2018 (5 years). The numbers marked here match the numbering I used in the next questions.

1. 150lbs – 10-11% Body Fat
2. 128-130lbs – 6-7% Body Fat
3. 157lbs – 9-10% Body Fat
4. 166lbs – 7-8% Body Fat
5. 171lbs – 10% Body Fat
6. 166.6lbs – 8-9% Body Fat
7. 167.2 lbs – 8% Body Fat

What has happened so far on the program?

I started my fitness journey in 2013 with little to no knowledge of nutrition and lifting. Obviously I failed. Not only I lost muscle, but I was also feeling very low weak and had no energy throughout the day. In 2015 I read Bigger Leaner Stronger and educated myself on proper lifting techniques and nutrition. As the photos show, it worked great and I was able to add about 20 lbs of muscle to my bulk in about 2 years.

As I gained more experience and got closer to my weightlifting goals (1.75xBW Squats, 1.75xBW DL, 1.35xBench and 1xBW OH Press – as it is in Beyond Bigger Leaner Stronger) I switched over to Beyond Bigger Leaner Stronger in mid-2017. For about 6 months, I was on Beyond Bigger Leaner Stronger as I made a tremendous amount of gains in strength and size as well as stayed leaned year-round.

I achieved my best form late 2017 early 2018, where I weighed 166 lbs and stood at 7% Body fat. I then started bulking for 3 months and added 14 lbs to my weight. I ended my bulk in April 2018 and switched to a cutting program (Beyond Bigger Leaner Stronger again) for 6 weeks. In May 2018 I stood at 167 lbs and 8-9% body fat. (More details below) After 1 week of reverse dieting, I am at 167.2 lbs at 8% Body Fat.

My pictures represent about 5 years and 4 months of progress. (3 years 4 months of Bigger Leaner StrongerBeyond Bigger Leaner Stronger) The 1st set of photos are taken in late 2013, where I had just graduated High School. I was in different kinds of sports (soccer, basketball, track running) but did not have a weightlifting experience. I looked decent, skinny-athletic type.

I fell in the ecto-m eso category and had a little muscle definition. I should weigh around 150 lbs here at about 11% body fat.
The 2nd set of photos are taken sometime March-April 2015. After about a year and a half of working out it unhappy with my results and the way I looked. I weighed about 128-130 lbs, probably 6-7% body fat.

As Mike experienced these issues himself, I was spending at least 2 hours a day in the gym, grinding my way through high rep exercises (in the 15-20 rep range). A lot of fancy supersets and drop sets. I used to get my programs from bodybuilding.com. On top of my 2 hours/day routine I was also doing about 40-60mins of Moderate Intensity Steady State Cardio (Treadmill).

I had a false impression that feeling sore and beat down after working out is a good sign. I was also not consuming enough calories and had no knowledge about proper nutrition and the importance of macro/micro- nutrients. I don’t have a number for my lifts but they were fairly low.

The 3rd set of photos are taken in early 2017. After about 2 years following Mike’s Bigger Leaner Stronger Program. I weigh around 157 lbs at around 9% body fat. I was skeptical at first, I couldn’t believe that doing less and eating more (more of the good stuff) was going to work. I had no other option than to try it out, because I was feeling very weak and beat down.

After a few weeks into the program, I already felt my energy levels rise again and strength levels are back up. (Squats 1RM: 305, DL 1RM: 365, Bench 1RM: 185, OH Press 1RM: 135) The 4th set of photos are taken in January 2018. This would be about 2.5 years of Bigger Leaner Stronger and 6-7 months of Beyond Bigger Leaner Stronger.

This is probably the best I have ever looked at. (Not the strongest because I still do Beyond Bigger Leaner Stronger and am getting stronger 😉 ). I weigh 166 lbs and I am at 7-8% body fat. Very happy with the progress I have made but still not satisfied since I clearly have lagging body parts, such as my traps and shoulders.

This pushed me to contact MFL and sign up for a personal coaching program where I could work with a certified trainer and target these lagging muscle parts to achieve a more proportional body. However, due to a collar bone injury (skipping deload/rest weeks) I was unable to work towards my goals.

I was able to work out my legs, arms, and back but chest and shoulders were out of the equation. I was already pretty lean and did not want to get any leaner, thus I chose this time frame to add a bit of bulk to my body in order to speed up recovery as well as get stronger. After 3 months, I gained about 14 lbs. I ended my bulk at 180 lbs and body fat 12%.

In the first week of April 2018, I decided to cut for 6 weeks till May 14 and lose as much weight as the time allows so I could start my lean bulk with my MFL personal trainer Harry Barnes. (Squats 1RM: 355, DL 1RM: 415, Bench 1RM: 225, OH Press 1RM: 155)
The 5th set of photos are taken 4 weeks into my cut on April 28, 2018. I weigh 171lbs and am at around 10% Body fat.

I lost 9lbs in the first 4 weeks following the Beyond Bigger Leaner Strongerprotocol of lifting heavy 5 days a week with an additional day of weak body part training as well as 4 times HIIT Cardio on the recumbent bike for 30min sessions. For the entire duration of the cut, I never felt low on energy or craved any kind of foods.

I think it was mainly because the cut was short and I was using Phoenix. (Squats 1RM: 365, DL 1RM: 445, Bench 1RM: 245, OH Press 1RM: 165) The 6th set of photos are taken on the last day of my cut on May 13, 2018. I weigh 166.6 lbs and stand around high 8-9% body fat. Leaner than before but certainly not the best I can be (compared to my status in January).

However, I am stronger in terms of lifts. These photos clearly show that my shoulders and traps need a lot of extra effort and my calves and obliques could use some additional work as well. This is exactly what we are going to target for the next 8 weeks with Harry. I started a reverse-diet on May 14, 2018. I will update Lifts once I am done with MFL Personal Coaching.

Finally, the 7th Set of photos is taken 1 week after the end of my cut on 5/20/2018 following a reverse diet. I am at 167.2 lbs at 8% BF. Feeling leaner and definitely Stronger than how I felt at the end of my cut.

What workout split from the book did you use?

During Bigger Leaner Stronger, I did 5-day split + 1 day extra (usually chest or legs) just because I liked going to the gym. During Beyond Bigger Leaner Stronger, I did 5-day split + 1-day target weak muscle groups (calves and shoulders). Currently with MFL Personal Coaching, 5-day split + 1-day target weak body parts (shoulders, traps, and calves).

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

To be honest nothing. I was looking for a cure to my extreme and stupid workout routines that destroyed my body instead of building it. I think I saw Bigger Leaner Stronger first through an Ad (not sure, however. I can’t remember exactly) and when I read the demo version of the book and saw it was very cheap I was directly attracted!

The content was super educated. The language is very common (this is a compliment) and easily understood (No fancy words). The explanations are to the point with no additional jargon. And most important, it WORKED!

In my case, it was actually easier but nonetheless challenging. It was also very enjoyable. The reason I say this is because I always thought that hard, grueling and intense workouts that last 2-3 hours are more productive. I was used to being beat every day. With Bigger Leaner Stronger I was always felt fresh and strong, had high energy levels and was more confident.

Every other program I had tried whether from bodybuilding.com or from my own, have been disappointing. The only program that I rank highest among others is a 5×5 program which I followed for some time (which makes sense, because it’s closest to Bigger Leaner Stronger). However, I was doing too much cardio and additional work that made even the 5×5 not work.

What do you like most about the program?

It’s simple and effective. No fancy super-sets or drop-sets. Everything is clearly explained and illustrated (even warm-up!). The program makes you your own personal coach and have you evaluate yourself based on your numbers. It explains the science behind every chosen workout and how it affects muscle growth.

It also gives you the option to choose between workout splits instead of telling you to do 1 set workout routine for the entire time. For example, you can choose between 5/4/3 even 2-day splits. It also gives you a database of exercises to choose from for your sarcoplasmic/myofibrillar sets instead of picking 1 exercise and telling you to do that over and over again.

Yes! The Program was easier because the one I was following prior to Bigger Leaner Stronger was extremely hard and ridiculous. Not because it was an expert level. Not at all. But because it was terribly designed and involved a lot of high rep workouts and super-sets with no purpose. Results from Bigger Leaner Stronger were amazing and way better than expected.

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

Less time at the gym with more resting time between sets. Focus is on one exercise at a time instead of a poorly designed super-set of 3 different exercises. This helps you get better one exercise at a time. It also keeps you more focused on the lift you’re aiming at.

I did not follow any meal plans or meal planning services. Why? Because the book did such a good job in educating me on macros/micros, the importance of a high protein diet, the importance of carbs to fuel your workouts, the importance of meal planning and how meal frequency is not a big deal. The worthlessness of some supplements and the importance of others.

Most importantly Energy Balance! Therefore, I was able to plan and cook my own meals and fit my macros to my personalized meal plan that worked great with my schedule.

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

Changing my body greatly changed other areas of my life too. By spending less time at the gym I was able to be more productive throughout the day and had more time outside the gym to do other activities. I clearly saw how the way people looked at me changed as they noticed my transformation.

I started getting a lot of compliments and people asking how I did it. It felt great to be called “jacked, ripped” even “big” sometimes when I’m only 5’7”! When they asked what’s your secret I always said no secret – just Bigger Leaner Stronger. Then I immediately
took their contact numbers and shared the book through iBooks.

I am way more confident and have great amounts of energy. I am also way more productive since my workouts are short and effective, don’t take an entire day and don’t beat me up. I am more focused throughout the day on my work and other activities.

Who would you recommend this program to and why?

Anyone who wants to have a better body and feel better. From beginner to expert. If you’re trying to compete for bodybuilding or a powerlifting show, I would recommend to start with Bigger Leaner Stronger and then switch over to a more targeted program.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Bigger Leaner Stronger greatly changed my life and the way I look at working out and lifting weights. I was nearly at a point where I was hating my workouts and even myself! Bigger Leaner Stronger brought me my confidence back!

The internet is full of lies and marketing myths. Make sure you get your hands on legit, research-based and science-backed knowledge. Bigger Leaner Stronger or Thinner Leaner Stronger!

Did you use any Legion supplements?

Yes.

Throughout my journey I have used (Depending on goal): Whey+ (All flavors), Recharge (fruit punch and unflavored), Pulse (fruit punch), Genesis (original), Forge, Phoenix, Triumph, Fortify, Triton, Atlas, Thrive, and Lunar.

I have used almost all of Legion Supplements and they are all clinically dosed and scientifically proven. I really like how they are all naturally sweetened and flavored and have no artificial nonsense.

If I want to use a supplement every day I really don’t want it to have artificial flavors, colors or sweeteners. Supplements, in general, produce different effects depending on the person as it was my case. For example, I did not respond well to Forge while I was cutting due to the yohimbine but responded very well to Phoenix.

The Legion Crew was super helpful in refunding me for Forge and providing a replacement for it. On the other hand however, I was super responsive to Recharge and saw immediate results. I am also very caffeine sensitive (I like to keep it that way so I could feel the pre-workout’s effects) and thus Pulse worked perfectly!

I alternated the use – 1 day on 1 day off. Lunar was a bit of hit and miss as it sometimes worked and other times didn’t so I wasn’t sure haha. Whey+ and Genesis are both present in my diet yearlong. I am weird and I really like the original flavor of Genesis. I top veggies and even oatmeal with raw Genesis powder!

Yes, I do! Favorite Whey+ flavor is strawberry banana. I use Fortify for 2 months and then take 1 month off. However, I always use it if I am cutting (I feel my joints get weaker when I cut). Triton is a great fish oil and very high quality with high EPA/DHA content.

Finally, I really want to give Ascend a shot soon!

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 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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