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If you spend time in gyms or follow fitness influencers, you’ve likely encountered the mindset that more is better when it comes to training volume. 

More sets, more reps, more time in the gym equals faster results. Right?

Not necessarily. As with many areas of fitness and nutrition, the truth is more nuanced.

Enter the concept of “minimum effective dose” training. Instead of constantly pushing the boundaries of training capacity and trying to maximize your progress, this approach focuses on the least amount of volume needed to drive meaningful progress.

To dig into the details of this methodology, I’m joined by Dr. Patroklos “Pak” Androulakis-Korakakis. With a PhD focused on minimum effective training doses for strength gains and years of coaching experience, Dr. Pak has a deep understanding of the science and application of this topic.

Throughout our discussion, you’ll learn . . .

  • What minimum effective dose training is and the major benefits it offers
  • The surprising muscle-building potential of low training volumes
  • How to determine your personal minimum effective doses based on experience level, genetics, and goals
  • The importance of training intensity and progression regardless of overall volume
  • How to add volume gradually over time as you adapt
  • Why most people underestimate the effort needed to build muscle
  • How social media promotes unrealistic training expectations
  • The value of long-term consistency over extreme programs
  • How traveling or busy schedules are no excuse to skip workouts
  • And much more . . .

If you want to maximize training efficiency and results, this episode provides science-backed insights on the least training needed for meaningful gains so you can save time and general “wear and tear” on your body.


0:00 – Please leave a review of the show wherever you listen to podcasts and make sure to subscribe!

4:54 – What is minimum effective dose training?

6:25 – What are the benefits of minimum effective dose training?

18:16 – How to implement minimum dose training

23:57 – How did you interpret those findings?

26:52 – Is 5 sets per week ideal for experienced weight lifters?

31:48 – Our Biggest Sale of the Year! Save 50% during our Black Friday Sale!

34:34 – Optimal volume for maximizing muscle and strength progress

39:13 – Tips for safely increasing training volume

47:28 – Common misconceptions about minimalist training approaches

49:09 – Perceived “bad” training genetics and the role of genetics in training efficiency

56:13 – The crucial impact of nutrition in minimalist training regimens

1:06:51 – Discover more about Dr. Pak and his work and how to connect with him

Mentioned on the Show:

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 Dr. Pak’s Instagram

Dr. Pak’s Website

Dr. Pak’s YouTube

What did you think of this episode? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!


Mike: Hello. Hello. I’m Mike Matthews, and this is muscle for life. Thank you for joining me today for a new episode on the topic of minimum effective dose training. Now, what does that mean? Well, if we think about the amount of training that can produce progress. So in the case of strength training, which is what today’s episode is going to focus on, that’s That’s gaining strength.

That’s gaining muscle. We have a spectrum. So on one end of the spectrum, we have the maximum amount of training that we can recover from and that produces a certain amount of progress or can produce a certain amount of progress. And then on the other end of the spectrum, we have the minimum amount of training needed.

to produce progress. Now it’s not going to be as much progress as the maximum amount of training that we can effectively do and recover from, but it can produce progress. Nonetheless, it is not just a maintenance program is a program that will over time help you get a little bit bigger, a little bit stronger.

And this minimum effective. Dose, concept, I think is under discussed and underrated generally in the fitness space because a lot of what gets attention on social media, which is how a lot of people get their information, get their fitness information, is extremes, extreme amounts of training, extreme intensities, extreme exercises.

And the problem with that is… It misleads many people into thinking that to achieve their goals, which are often pretty modest in the context of social media, that’s for sure, that they need to be far more extreme in their training than they actually need to be. They come to believe, or often come to believe, that they need to spend a lot more time in the gym, and they need to do a lot more volume, and they need to do a lot more fancy training techniques, complex programming, etc.,

etc. Then they actually need to. And that in turn can be very discouraging. It can discourage people from starting because they don’t have the time or the inclination to be that extreme in their training. It can discourage people who have already started because they feel like they’re just going through the motions.

They’re not being extreme enough in their training. They feel guilty about it. Not sure if it’s even worth continuing. And that can lead people ultimately to quitting. And so I wanted to get an episode out there on this topic because the reality is very encouraging, actually. As you will learn in this episode, it takes a lot less training, it takes a lot less extremity than many people think to keep making meaningful progress.

Even if you’re an experienced weightlifter. And you will learn about that in today’s episode and you will learn. How to create a minimum effective dose program. And in this episode, you are mostly going to be learning from my guest, Dr. Pak. And that’s short for, uh, three multi syllabic Greek names that I’ve already forgotten how to pronounce correctly.

So, I’m not going to botch them, but Dr. Pak is an expert on minimum effective dose training because he has spent a lot of time researching it. That was the focus of his PhD, and he also has many years of coaching experience. So that’s given him a deep understanding of both the science, the theory, and the practical application.

Of minimum effective dose training

Dr. Pak. It’s nice to meet you. Thank you for joining me today.

Dr. Pak: Mike. Likewise. Thank you for having me.

Mike: And, uh, I appreciate that. I see PAC and then I, and then I see a middle name that I would butcher and a last name that maybe I could get right. So I appreciate. The, the brevity of PAC. I know that it’s, it’s short for.

Dr. Pak: It’s for short for my name. Cause actually these are both last surnames. So my mother wanted me to keep her surname. So that’s my mother’s surname. And then my dad’s surname and my actual name is Patrick close. So it’s P A K therefore PAC. But, um, yeah, even the last names they’re intimidating, but they’re essentially Andrew Lackis.

That’s the first one. So like the word Andrew and then Lackis and then Cora Kakis, but they’re a bit of a mouthful.

Mike: Yeah, yeah, yeah, easy, easy when you say them, but as an English speaker, some foreign words, my wife is German and I’ve learned a bit of German. So some, uh, I ran to this with German words.

They’re multi syllabic. And when you hear a German speaker say like, oh, yeah, I guess that’s pretty simple. But if you’re trying to muddle it out yourself. You tend to get it wrong more often than right, but thank you for joining me today to talk about minimum dose training, and that’s kind of a term that you specifically like to use.

So why don’t we just start with what you mean by that? What is minimum dose training?

Dr. Pak: Yeah, for sure. So the concept of the minimum dose is a concept. The minimum effective dose rather is a concept that exists in plenty of fields, including fields like medicine. And it essentially revolves around the least amount of work or in our case, the least amount of training stimulus that you need to impose your body.

Uh, you need to impose to your body in order to see a meaningful increase in the outcome that you’re interested in either that being strength. hypertrophy power and so on and so forth. So that is the concept of the minimum dose and a concept that I spent quite a bit of my earlier years studying.

Mike: And so we’re talking about minimum dose to produce progress, then this is not minimum dose to just maintain what you have because those would be two different concepts, right?

Dr. Pak: Yeah, for sure. So you could look at the minimum dose of maintaining performance, fitness, whatever, and the minimum dose to see any sort of change, whether that change is meaningful or not. But I specifically looked at and continue to look to be interested in the minimum effective dose to see increases in strength and hypertrophy.

So somebody like yourself or myself, what’s the least we need to do in order to see progress that we can be happy with? And we can feel like, Oh, this is a meaningful change in my squat strength or my bicep size.

Mike: And what are some of the benefits of training this way? Aside from let’s say you have somebody who they have plenty of time to go to the gym.

They like going to the gym. Why should they maybe consider programming with this kind of M. E. D. Approach versus what we see on social media, which is a lot of yeah. Kind of the opposite end of the spectrum, almost like maximum recoverable capacity, because that makes for cooler videos and it’s more hardcore and it just gets more attention.

Dr. Pak: Yeah. So the concept of the minimum dose is a concept that can be useful to everyone. Now, if you’re somebody. Whose life depends on gaining as much muscle or as much strength as possible. And you’re like a competitive strength or physique athlete, and you do have the time, it does make sense to try and maximize that time by doing more, but still having some experience with the concept of the minimum dose, especially if you’re not at the highest level in the world where you’re like a professional athlete and you’re getting paid to be an athlete, there will come times where life will get in the way.

Uh, there will be times where your recovery resources may be limited. And there may also be times where you’re just not feeling like training or spending hours and hours in the gym, and then being able to revert back to the concept of the minimum effective dose and knowing that you can still get yourself in the gym, do less than you usually would do to maximize performance or muscle growth and still see meaningful gains.

I think that’s a very, very useful concept to have experience with.

Mike: And, you know, I think of almost like how you have, you know, deloads that you’re going to do now and then, but there could be periods of training was training blocks where you are going from redlining to doing a maybe a training block of minimum effective dose, even for the purpose of recovery, just or putting less stress on your joints for a period of time.

Just thinking with long term longevity when you’re 20. Thank you. Yeah, you kind of just train heavy and hard always. Maybe you deload when you get sick once every so often. But, uh, as I am, I’m 39 now and I started training when I was 18. So I’ve lived this and many other people have as well. Whereas you get older, I’ve still been able to maintain a high level of fitness and For me, a high level of performance, but it’s not exactly the same.

I do have to be a bit more prudent about my programming. And I do have to think a bit more about the wear and tear that the high intensity training, certain exercises, uh, high volume puts on my body because I. I, I feel it more than I did when I was 20.

Dr. Pak: Yeah, that’s a really good point. And I guess we could use the analogy that everybody loves when talking, uh, training, which is a car analogy.

So I guess if you have a car that’s, you know, so let’s say you have a car that, that, you know, has a hundred plus thousand miles, the minimum effective training, those would be you running that car at a decent speed, uh, and still getting to your destination, but without necessarily. Pushing it to its limits and getting there faster like you would back in the day, because it could, you know, it could present certain, certain problems.

I’m not sure if the analogy was the best or if it was needed, but hey.

Mike: At least it makes sense. And something else that comes to mind too is, I wonder if working In some of this style of training again, even if somebody is willing to push it and they want to push it, it might even make sense from the mostly push it.

I think that it might also improve the quality of your training when you are doing less of it and you are focused more on execution of. I mean, if we get down to like, what’s the ideal of every workout, right? Is perfect reps. Really? That’s the ideal, like perfect reps. Every rep of every set is perfect.

And then and then if we look at just, um. Yeah. We zoom out a little bit, no junk volume, every set provides a high training stimulus. And again, just thinking back to my own training, if you’re willing to put enough brute force into it, you can make up for some of those mistakes.

Dr. Pak: Yeah, I, I agree there that especially for some people and as a, um, as a coach, I have worked with individuals who will start doing, um, some of the things that you described as volumes, uh, go higher.

So even though they do have the recovery resources and the willingness to spend more time in the gym, you see that quality of work sort of deteriorate as they go into their latter sets in a session, whereas if they knew that all they have to do is. Let’s say five or 10 sets per muscle group per week or per lift per week, or even less.

And they have to give their everything for those sets mentally. Um, I’ve seen that that helps a lot of people get in more quality work and adhere, um, as well as have buy in for a longer period of time versus feeling like they’re wasting their time or, Oh, they missed out on a couple of sets. Um, and then they missed out on another session because they felt bad about missing a couple of sets and so on and so forth.

Additionally, I also think that the concept of the minimum dose can benefit individuals who may still have time to train, uh, from a psychological standpoint. So even if you are somebody who does have the time or the recovery resources, there may come a time where you’re not really, um, enjoying training and knowing that you can revert back to a minimum, to a minimum dose style of training may, uh, be something that will help.

Plus. as a potential baseline where you can build from. So you could use the minimum effective, the concept of the minimum effective dose to have as your sort of starting volume. And because that will still get you meaningful gains, you can start there and start adding from then onwards versus what a lot of people do where they start at the maximum because they’re like, Hey, I, I want to maximize muscle growth and strength.

Therefore I’ll start at the max. They do that for a few weeks. They’ve. Don’t feel good because they haven’t adapted. And because they’ve started too high, they feel like they’re never going to make progress because they’re like, I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing. This is the maximum, but they feel tired or they start missing out on sessions.

And then they end up in, um, you know, almost endless cycle of starting, stopping, starting, stopping.

Mike: Or feel guilty by wanting to even reduce, uh, training volume or do anything differently. So I can think of people just over the years who, uh, they were, they were determined, so they kept at it, but they just digging the hole deeper because they didn’t want to dial anything back because to your point, they thought, well, this is what you should be doing.

If you want to gain muscle and strength as quickly as possible, this is what you should be doing. Anything less than this is, is just not. You’re not really trying, you don’t really want it. So I think those are good points. And the other thing you mentioned, the psychological point of if you’re not enjoying your training, or if you have some other reason why you don’t want to be in the gym as much as maybe you were, I think that’s, that, that’s also something that I just wanted to point out for people listening, because I went from, uh, so for the longest time I was training five days a week, those workouts were probably 70, 80 minutes or so on average.

And for at least the last, well, it’s, there was about a two and a half year, probably almost three year period where I was pushing pretty hard for my body. I’d say probably close ish to about the most that I could do given the other circumstances in my life, given that I’m like an okay sleeper, not great sleeper.

I have kids, there’s other stress. There are things I can only, you know, beat myself up so much in the gym before it. Every the wheels just kind of start to fall off. And then it’s probably about six months ago or so, maybe a little bit less, four months ago, I switched to three days per week because that period of really pushing for progress, it was productive.

And I hit some PRs. I can’t really say I see much of a difference in my physique. I gained a little bit of muscle just. Tracking my body composition, but we’re talking about a few pounds, maybe two or three pounds over the course of a couple of years. And given my genetics, it’s hard to say that I could have trained much harder and actually recovered from it.

And, uh, you know, I was strict with my diet and so forth. So. I’m close to the end of my genetic rope for muscular. I wasn’t meant to be a big and strong guy. Really. I was, I’m kind of like a taller skinny guy played ice hockey, good endurance kind of guy. Right. And so I was like, okay, well that was, that was fun to do that for a while, but now I really just want to maintain what I have.

I’m happy with how I look. My body generally feels good. So long as I don’t push it too hard in the gym and I like training, but there are many other things that I would like to be doing with my time. And so if I can spend less time in the gym, like psychologically, that’s just more appealing right now than more time in the gym.

And so I went to three, I went down to three days per week, just kind of a simple push, pull legs, MED kind of approach. And it’s great. And I, I now like my training on the whole lot more because I don’t have. The voice in my head questioning why I’m still in the gym seven hours a week when I really don’t need to be.

And I don’t love being in the gym just for its own sake. Some workouts are better than others. I generally enjoy training, but I have other things. And so that has been a nice shift for me. And that that’s new. I mean, I haven’t consistently trained three days per week. I actually can’t remember aside from from maybe like I’m on vacation and I’m just going to do a couple workouts or maybe, maybe if I really thought about it, I could think of periods where I was very busy and there were a few weeks here and there where I was just doing a few workouts, but consistently intentionally just training 3 days per week.

This might be the first time ever actually, because when I got into lifting weights, I was 17 and I was 17 or 18. I had nothing but time. So I’d be in the gym five days a week, two hours a day. So sometimes go on Saturdays, you know what I mean?

Dr. Pak: Good times, man. I think that’s where a lot of people, um, fall victims to the somewhat, especially, you know, individuals who are potentially also dabbling in like self improvement sort of, um, communities and just are on social media a lot.

Where you do see this, um, constant idea of like hard work and you gotta grind and wake up at 3 a. m. and this and that and the other all for hard work. Um, but similarly with other areas in your life, the difference between. Optimization and something, the difference between optimal and suboptimal is not 60 versus 100%.

It could be 85 percent versus 100%. And I think that a lot of people have this idea that unless they’re doing the best thing for muscle growth or strength, whereas in other areas in their life, they don’t care. IE finances. Not everybody is out there trying to maximize their investments and reading hours and hours of how to, you know, trade stocks or whatever.

They’re, they’re happy with the. Basic approach and they’re happy that they’re going to make some meaningful dividends down the long, down, down the line. I think that a lot of people are just afraid that they’re missing out. And when we actually surveyed national and international level, power lifters around 32%.

When asked why they haven’t trained with a minimum effective dose approach, uh, they said that they had not thought of it. And 29%, obviously people were able to select multiple, multiple reasons, said that they did not want, um, to experiment and risk potential progress, while also 20 percent said that they did not feel comfortable with doing less than they were currently doing.

So there was a sense of, if what I’m doing now is producing X result, if I do less, I’m probably going to regress. And I’m probably doing a disservice to my hobby, my passion, myself, my physical fitness, when in reality, we see that that’s not the case.

Mike: And let’s get into some details about how this works, how this looks, and you can come at it, um, whichever direction you want to, but for people listening, if they’re thinking, okay, so what might this look like in my.

Training, if I want to continue gaining muscle and strength, okay, I’m not going to gain it as quickly as I possibly could, but I’m okay with that. How would I go about implementing that? And obviously it’s going to look different for beginners and intermediates and advanced and so forth, but I’ll let you parse all that out, however you want.

Dr. Pak: Sure. So just for the, just a bit of context for the listeners, I did my PhD on the minimum effective training dose for power lifters specifically and strength in power lifters. But as part of that project, I had to look at the literature as a whole because there’s not much direct literature on power lifters.

I had to look at resistance trained individuals separately. So just people that lift. And based on the current literature. Uh, for somebody who is a trained individual, so at least like a year of training. And that would, that would also apply to beginners doing a single set of six to 12 reps with around 70 to 85 percent of their one repetition maximum strength.

So, Being in the 6 to 12 rep range and being very close to failure and doing that set 2 to 3 times per week, again, with a high intensity of effort can allow them to make significant strength gains over the course of 8 to 12 weeks. So we’re talking about around 2 to 3 sets per exercise, and that’s for just general strength.

Mike: Can I ask a quick question on just, uh, when you say per exercise, are you also talking about. per muscle group. So do you mean for one muscle group over the course of a week, or is this exercise, would it be done multiple times?

Dr. Pak: Yeah. So we specifically, because this was in the context of powerlifting, we specifically looked at how much is needed for the squat, bench press and deadlift.

But as far as per muscle group per week, the guidelines wouldn’t differ that much. Um, you could be looking at instead of three sets per week, around three to five sets per week would allow you to still make meaningful hypertrophy gains, but Even as low as one to three sets, either per exercise per week or per muscle group per week, which could be one set per exercise per week is enough, give you some growth.

But given that adding another set is not going to take that much time away from you. I mean, it’s, it’s like maybe an extra minute.

Mike: Yeah. If you’re in the gym, you might as well do three sets.

Dr. Pak: Yeah, I might as well do three sets and make, you know, potentially like 20 or 30 percent more gains. So as far as like highly advanced, you know, strength athletes, uh, because we did look at power lifters and we did take power lifters and put them through training sessions around six sets per week.

For the squad and then six sets for the bench and for the deadlift were enough to produce meaningful strength increases. And we defined meaningful by actually asking experienced coaches and athletes, how much strength would you need to gain over a specific time period for you to regard that as meaningful?

But we also did have people that, uh, so we had, we did a study where we had people do as little as one repetition. Her week for some lifts, so the only like for the deadlift, they went in and did their warm ups and then one heavy single called it a day. They did three singles per week for the bench press and two singles per week for the squad.

Those individuals did not have a high probability of making a ton of gains, so they had a 13 percent chance off. Meeting the standards that the coaches and athletes had set as far as what’s meaningful, but they were still able to somewhat increase their strength with just a few, like less than a handful of repetitions per week.

And we’re talking about experienced strength athletes here.

Mike: And it was that was that what 95 percent of 1 RM or?

Dr. Pak: So they were training up to a single at 5.

Mike: Okay, so so heavy, but but still just 1 rep. Yeah.

Dr. Pak: Just 1 rep. And keep in mind that when we added 2 sets of 3. Uh, backoffs to all those singles. So that on paper and in practice is not a lot, but if you actually calculate the percentage change, as far as volume goes, that was 600 percent more volume.

So you go in, you do your single repetition on the bench press, and then you take, they took 80 percent of whatever they hit and did two triples. So not a lot of time committed. Right. And they had a 99 percent probability of exceeding. What the coaches and athletes regarded as a meaningful strength. And if we look at the actual numbers on average, we’re talking about an increase on their powerlifting total, meaning there’s a squat bench and deadlift combined of around 60 to 70 pounds over the course of six weeks.

Obviously terms and conditions apply, you know, potential outliers and so on and so forth, but we also interviewed. A bunch of world champion powerlifters and coaches, um, some of the best in the world when it comes to the athletes and coaches that have worked with multiple, um, world record holders, champions, thousands of people, gen pop, military personnel, and so on and so forth.

And even they said that, Hey, a handful of sets per week per lift at around one to five reps. You know, using a heavy weight should be enough for, you know, periods up to three months for you to still make really good gains. We will then triangulate that with the hypertrophy data that we have somewhere around five sets per muscle group per week.

Seems to be a really, really solid sweet spot for somebody to make solid gains, probably not maximize, but still make both solid gains in terms of muscle size and strength.

Mike: And when you say the well, how did you interpret those? I’m sure you’re a little bit surprised with those findings. And does that tell you something about how a lot of these people were training before participating in this study?

What you were having them do? I’m assuming. Was quite a bit less than what they normally did or, or no.

Dr. Pak: Yeah. So they were required to not have done something like that before.

Mike: Yeah. And so they were going, they were going from my understanding, they were going from a higher volume, just harder program to a lower volume in a, in some ways, easier program, and then they, they still made meaningful progress, which would probably mean they, they made a much or most of the progress that they.

That they would have made had they just continued the way they were training before because because they’re calibrating their own idea of meaningful progress based on their previous training experience, right?

Dr. Pak: Yeah, potentially it may have been that because the training they did was so for strength specifically, we know that the, we know that specificity is important.

They went from higher volumes of training to doing something that was very, very similar to the test that was used to measure their strength, which in their case was to squat the bench in their deadlift. So it may be that they got really good at handling heavier weights and just doing. Only what they, um, what they were supposed to do when they go tested.

So they got really good at doing heavy singles and then the back of those were still heavy enough. And because volume was so low fatigue, which we only looked at by asking them to rate their soreness and overall their, their soreness was. Super low throughout the duration of the study. It may be that such training allows you to maintain a high level off fitness.

In this case, fitness is strength. Still get some meaningful practice. I’m like really good practicing. And at the same time, you are getting really good at doing whatever you want to get good at doing without having the issue off fatigue building up and you’re able to express that a bit better. Now, keep in mind that if we assume that You know, muscle growth is also important for strength.

It is likely that they would have, after a certain point, they would need a bit more volume to keep the hypertrophy sort of gears, um, grinding. But even so, if we’re still toying with the concept of the minimum effective dose, that would just look, um, on paper, that would just be an addition of a few extra sets here and there.

The nice thing actually with that came off the back end of me being involved in the community was that, um, after our studies were out and the concept was promoted a bit more, a lot of people reached out and said, Oh, I’ve done this in the past and I’ve gone X, Y, Z results, or a lot of people actually took some of the protocols from the studies and ran them.

And that resulted in a bunch of really cool case studies in quotation marks of people saying, Hey, I ran that made great gains. Feel great.

Mike: That’s great. And then, um, so my next question is on this hypertrophy point. So if we’re talking about five sets for, for a muscle group per week, and that’s, that’s for an experienced weightlifter, or who would you say that, that, that could work for work for anyone and everyone that does age come into play here.

Dr. Pak: So I would say if it would work for anyone, uh, and everyone. And I would also say that again, you could go as low as one to three sets per muscle group per week. We do have data showing that single sets are solid at getting you gains. Now I’m recommending five because it’s right, right there in the middle, uh, between, you know, one and 10 absolute math, mathematical genius over here, but no, it’s, it’s slightly above the absolute minimum effective dose and.

Again, the time commitment required is not that great, but yeah, I would say that for beginners 100 percent for intermediate and advanced trainees, I, unless now, if you’re somebody who’s been training for 25 years and you are a competitive bodybuilder and you’ve absolutely done everything under the sun for muscle growth, and you’re also of a certain age, it may be There’s nothing else you can do anyways to make meaningful gains, but you will most certainly maintain your muscle mass and still potentially see some strength gains for anybody who doesn’t fit that category.

Even if, like, let’s take myself. I’ve been training for 12 years. I should be able to make meaningful progress with just 5 sets per muscle group per week, but that meaningful, the definition of meaningfulness changes based on your level, right? A beginner is not going to be like, Oh. I think my bicep looks slightly bigger.

That’s meaningful. A beginner wants to look at themselves in the mirror and see somebody else for you. And I, if you go, Huh, wait a second. I, I’m a bit bigger and you, I don’t know, you measure your biceps and they are indeed slightly bigger. Although, you know, your loved ones are going to be like, bro, you look the same.

You will be like, no, no, that’s meaningful. Cause you know, I have been lifting for X amount of time. As far as beginners and gen pop goes. We had a study where we were essentially given access to data for over 14, 000 participants over seven years from a gym chain in the Netherlands, where their business model is 20 minutes of resistance training per week, six exercises, one set, one set per exercise, four to six reps until absolute failure.

Those people were able to make strength gains. For a year plus, and after that, those strength gains started plateauing. They still had an upward trend, but we’re talking about individuals who are in, you know, their mid, mid forties, early fifties. So the fact that they were still able to slightly increased strength or just maintain it by doing just 20 minutes of lifting.

Per week, that shows you that if let’s say you’re not somebody who cares about maximizing strength or becoming jacked, or even just making meaningful gains as far as possible and strength goes, even as low as that is still able to do something positive and do much more than if you were to do nothing.

Mike: Yeah, that, um, it just highlights. The power of strength training and just, and just how little I’ve, I’ve, I guess you can’t really say tweeted anymore. I’ve X, I’ve posted, I don’t know about this a number of times, just trying to encourage people who, who are new and maybe. Maybe they’re 60 and they’re overweight and get get them to understand just how far a little bit can go, especially when you combine that with some sensible dieting, you don’t have to necessarily counter track calories.

You don’t have to necessarily weigh and measure food. You do have to understand energy balance and you have to know how to make it work. But there are many Think Many ways to do that. And, uh, you give somebody a year of just good enough dieting enough to be perfect. Of course, good enough in 20 minutes of resistance training per week.

And that’s a full transformation. That is a new person.

Dr. Pak: Yeah, I agree. And there was a paper that was published actually a few days ago, uh, that looked at minimalist training and Whether lower dosage or in or lower intensity lifting, whether that is effective at improving just general fitness, and they found that for beginners for the first three months, even one weekly session at.

Um, intensities and by intensities, I mean, load on the bar at loads below 50 percent of their one RM with around three sets for a few multi joint exercise. So just one session a week was enough for them to still improve physical fitness, strength and so on and so forth without even lifting hard, just literally doing some lifting, obviously intensity of effort.

And. Pushing those sets close to failure is, is important obviously after a certain point, but if you’re somebody who hasn’t started yet or is coming after a huge layoff or something, getting back in the gym and literally doing anything for the first few months will still get you some results.

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Now, what are your thoughts about everything that you’ve been talking about, specifically with hypertrophy? And I would say the prevailing position, at least as I understand it, in the evidence based space. And the first time I came across this was from Lyle McDonald’s work many years ago on how much volume is needed to, I guess the context is, is more.

Maximize progress. So it’s a different, a little bit different, but we’re just talking about a spectrum here and the prevailing position is that it’s about 10 to 20 hard sets per week for any given muscle group. And again, for people listening, that would be the argument would be that that’s the range for maximizing progress, where if you go beyond that, it’s just diminishing returns.

If you go beyond 20 sets per week, chance of getting hurt just goes up. It’s just not productive. Does that. Jive you think with the research that you’ve done and your understanding of the literature and not that it’s, it’s not directly contrary to what you just said. It just, it just makes me wonder that is there maybe.

Not is 20 sets per week ever needed in your opinion.

Dr. Pak: Yeah, and I would, I would push back against the narrative of, um, junk volume that we often see where people hear about, you know, uh, like a very hard cap as far as like an upper threshold when it comes to training volume, what people need to also understand is that those ranges.

are not individualized. What the research tells you there is that, Hey, if you’re absolutely trying to maximize muscle growth, staying within 10 to 20 sets and seeing how you’re responding, how you’re recovering is probably your best educated bet at maximizing and absolutely making the most out of your training.

But a lot of people see that and they understand it as. If you don’t do 10 to 20 sets, you’re barely looking at maintaining, you know, but as far as the literature goes, there are studies that have done more than 20, 20 sets. And we recently had a study that was published that the average number of sets in one of the groups was 37.

It was, mind you, that was only for one muscle group and they still continue to see, uh, progress as far as hypertrophy went. Now. I would still, if you’re somebody who’s trying to absolutely make the most out of your time in the gym, and you want your side delts to be as big as humanly possible, even if that’s something you can only see, staying in the 10 to 20 set sort of range makes sense, potentially starting lower and then building up as you are seeing, you know, As you’re recovering.

And if you’re seeing that you can tolerate more, sure. And you can go and go into sort of more crazy in quotation marks, volume, uh, range where it’s 20 to 30 sets. If you’re trying to really bring up a specific muscle group that is lagging. But again, we’re talking about populations here that pay attention to those, those things.

I personally. Don’t care. I’m in somewhere between six to 12 sets per muscle group per week. And for some muscle groups as low as like two to four, because I do not care about absolutely maximizing hypertrophy. I enjoy going to the gym, lifting hard, deadlifting 600 plus pounds, you know, chasing PRS here and there, but I’m not fast about whether my rear delts are directly proportional to my front delts or whether, you know, my lower back could be slightly thicker for my eyes only.

So Yeah, I do think that the 10 to 20 set range is actually based on the current available evidence. But keep in mind, again, we may be talking about 80 percent versus 100 percent or 90 percent versus 100%, not 100 percent versus 30 percent as far as potential gains go.

Mike: And you’ve mentioned this a couple of times.

Now I wanted to follow up on it and that is working your way up to higher amounts of volume. It’s just a common mistake that I see it again, again, probably because of so much of what’s on social media and what gains traction on social media. At least what I’ve seen is, is more extreme type of workouts, especially when.

Big fitness influencers are sometimes sharing their workouts, like, Oh, save this workout. And in, in one workout, you’re supposed to do like 25 sets for chest or something like that. You know what I mean? And, um, so can you help people understand how to go about, okay, so they’re at. Wherever it doesn’t, it doesn’t particularly matter if, if you want to specify, okay, if somebody let’s say that 5 sets per week for a muscle group, or maybe it’s 10 and that is not producing meaningful progress.

Let’s just assume they generally know what they’re doing with their diet and their programming is generally sound. They are just going to need more volume because eventually you do get there. Great. You just have to work harder, like unfortunately, how should they go about or how should at least they think about adding volume to their training?

Definitely do not go from 10 sets per week for your lower body to the 35 sets per week that you saw on social media. That’s a terrible idea, but. What? What is a better approach?

Dr. Pak: Yeah, for sure. So assuming that you’re actually keeping yourself in check with your intensity of effort so that you are actually working very close or two momentary failure because that’s another thing.

Although we have data and that data is even from our lab in a collaboration with other labs where we did do a systematic review of the literature and did see that in lab conditions, people are good at gauging how close they are to failure. Yeah. You know, maybe they were a rep short in their predictions, but as a coach, from my experience and having worked with hundreds of people of all sorts of levels and sporting backgrounds, people often lack the ability to really know how hard they’re working.

Mike: I run into that sometimes still.

Dr. Pak: Same, and that’s why I try to take all my sets to the point where I’m unable to, like, move the bar anymore, obviously, when, where I can do so safely. Right. Um, but let’s say that you’ve checked yourself and you are indeed training pretty hard and all sets are near the point where you’re unable to do any more reps, even if somebody was there offering you tens of thousands of dollars.

Now, adding a couple of sets Or a single set for each muscle group every other week and monitoring things like your recovery or your perceived difficulty of each session by looking at session RPE scores. So rating each session out of 7, 7 being absolutely almost impossible session and 1 being an easy session or using any sort of tool that you want to quantify the difficulty of your training session.

Looking at those numbers, looking at your soreness and looking at how your performance is changing, whether you’re able to add weight to the bar or to the exercise that you’re performing, and whether you’re feeling good and you’re able to actually finish those workouts, then you could potentially start adding more.

So then after a few weeks, you can add a couple more sets and then take it from there until you’ve reached. the point where you can push your training for a couple of months or even more, then you need to take a slight step back and then do that all over again. But at the same time, I would urge caution with people that follow, you know, fitfluencers or other quote unquote authority figures when they tell you, Oh, I did this.

And I saw great gains, seeing gains and seeing muscle growth gain, specifically, especially for people that are no beginners takes a long time. So just because somebody tried something for a couple of months and they feel like they looked a bit better, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should take that as the, um, sort of.

The definitive proof that they wouldn’t have seen better gains had they done less.

Mike: Simply losing body fat can create that illusion.

Dr. Pak: Or having less stress in your life.

Mike: Yeah, I mean, I mean, just even in terms of, okay, so anybody who has gotten fairly lean has, has experienced this where you start out as a guy, let’s say, somewhere in the teens body fat percentage and you diet your way down and.

By the time you’re around maybe 10%, people are starting to comment like, wow, you’ve put on some size. Have you been, you’ve been bulking up? No, it’s literally the opposite. I’m, I’m 15 pounds lighter or whatever. There’s just, there’s just an optical illusion that, that you look bigger, uh, when you, when you look leaner and then you put on a long sleeve shirt and then it’s people asking, dude, dude, what happened?

Did you stop? Did you stop lifting weights? Also something it’s, it’s, it’s, it just needs to be said that just because somebody says that they did a certain workout on social media or that they train a certain way doesn’t necessarily mean that they do, unless you’re seeing every set of that workout and you’re seeing enough of that because it’s stuff at the fringes that gets the most attention people will joke with me that.

For a long time now that my training is, especially now that I’m there three days per week, some people are surprised that as a really as a fitness professional, I’m only doing maybe 8 to 10 hard sets per major muscle group per week. And isn’t that boring or shouldn’t you be working harder and I mean, I don’t care, but if I were trying to get more attention, then.

I wouldn’t be honest about my workouts, I might still do what I’m doing, but I would simply lie. I would make up that. Oh, yeah. Well, here’s today’s workout. And there are people, there are people who do that, unfortunately.

Dr. Pak: Yeah, for sure. A lot of it is done for the algorithm. Um, but additionally, people also discount the fact that.

It’s not impressive for somebody to do 20 sets per muscle group per week for three, six months, whatever, but rather, at least in my opinion, you, a businessman, family man, person that is doing other things is still working out with a high intensity of effort and still hitting. Volume thresholds that are beyond the minimum effective dose for years and years and years nonstop.

So for me personally, if it’s much more impressive for somebody to be in the gym for 20 years nonstop versus what we often see where people have this, um, sort of spark for the gym. For a couple of years and they kind of fall back for like a few months. They don’t work out, get back in, get back out. And then they end up semi maintaining what they built back in their twenties for the rest of their lives by doing a few periods in the gym, then taking some months off.

So. People should not discount the effectiveness off a plan that doesn’t look exciting on paper and doesn’t look super fancy or complicated that plan if you’re able to be consistent with it and be in and out the gym day in or not day and week in week out and still, you know, add a few kilos to the bar or pounds to the bar over years, even if that plan looks boring AF, you are going to be doing much better than the person was trying to do the most every time.

And then they fail on the start again, or they get injured. We And so on and so forth.

Mike: I’ve joked about that, that effective, efficient training is, is, is boring on paper. It doesn’t mean that you’re all of your workouts are going to be boring, but it is pretty much, you have a, you have a handful of, of these great exercises or a few handfuls of these great exercises.

And you just do that, uh, at least a few times a. A week and you push close to failure and maybe you train in a variety of rep ranges, but you’re still just doing the same kind of couple handful of exercising and you just do that until you die. And that’s the plan.

Dr. Pak: And that’s awesome. I don’t know, in my head, it’s, but it’s the same as like other, other areas in life where like, It’s basic and boring on paper, but it’s not easy to be pushing like again, we’re not talking about people that are professional athletes.

It’s not easy, at least for most people to have a family, a full time job, traveling, other stressors and still be on top of their nutrition and training for the rest of their lives and maintain like not above average. Like way above average level of fitness because we’re not talking like your muscularity and your strength, even without knowing you just by looking at you when you, when compared to the average person is just like, it’s not even a discussion there and you’re able to do so while doing everything else in your life.

And I think that’s most of the people that are listening here that have, you know, other things going on.

Mike: Yeah, absolutely. That’s a, that’s been really the crowd that I’ve, that I’ve wanted to reach from. From the beginning is the everyday person fitness is, is not their life. It’s important to them. It’s something that they want to, they want to be able to do for the rest of their life, but it does have to fit in and, uh, it has to.

Take it’s not, it’s not number one on the list of, of priorities and obligations. And so how do you help somebody get really fit with just a few hours per week? And, um, I wanted to, I wanted to also ask if there are any kind of common misunderstandings or misconceptions about this minimum effective approach that you haven’t already addressed that you think we should address.

Dr. Pak: Yeah, so a lot of people, um, somewhat discount the word effective and they assume it’s like a maintenance thing, where in reality, again, we’re looking at what’s the least you need to do in order to make meaningful increases in strength. Um, a misconception, I guess, would be that it’s only for beginners when in reality we have data in power lifters, i.

e. People that were, you know, squatting and deadlifting over 440 pounds. Um, and, and benching, I don’t know, near 315 or somewhere close to that. Um, as far as misconceptions also go is that you potentially couldn’t do that for the rest of your life. Sure. If you’re trying to maximize gains, yeah, probably not.

best way to go about it. But I would argue for a lot of listeners here, even if you stayed at like five heart sets per muscle group per week, and you did that for the rest of your life, potentially switching things up when, you know, your workouts get a bit monotonous. I don’t see why you cannot do that and still make solid gains and reap the health benefits of resistance training that based on the literature, we see like 60 minutes of resistance training is where.

The maximum risk reduction for all cause mortality occurs. So you’re, you’re taking a lot of boxes with that. So it’s not a maintenance thing. It’s not just for beginners and it’s not like a tool or like a, it is a tool, but it’s not like a method just for like a few weeks when you’re busy or you don’t have a time to train.

Sure. It can be used like that as well, but it’s not just that.

Mike: And what about genetics? I know that. That has to be a part of the discussion where people are saying, well, yeah, if you’re genetically gifted or a few, um, if you tend to gain muscle and strength easily, maybe you only need to do five sets for a muscle group per week.

But, you know, speaking as somebody, I don’t have good muscle building genetics, which is a real thing. I mean, for people listening, yes, genetics is a factor. Everyone can gain muscle and strength period, but some people are going to gain it faster and they’re going to be able to gain more. And that is a reality.

How does that kind of map with, with what you’ve explained?

Dr. Pak: Yeah. So if we look at the literature, it’s not that the literature was on genetically gifted individuals who was on a bunch of individuals. Some may have been, some may have been non responders. Some may have been, you know, high responders. So.

That addresses that, but I would argue that a lot of people that think like you may have bad genetics and it may be that for you to grow your calves or your biceps, you do need to do more than five sets per week, but still the minimum effective dose guidelines will be able. Assuming that you’re also doing what you’re supposed to do on the nutrition side of things, because that’s really something that, that people often forget.

And I doubt that a lot of people that do say they have bad genetics have consistently tried to, you know, train with a very high intensity of effort and make sure that they’re supporting that nutritionally by periods of like conservative weight gain, but like for long periods of time. So I do feel like a lot of people get discouraged that in the first few years of their training, They’re not turning heads on the beach, but it’s, it’s, it’s likely that they also have, um, a sort of a wrong idea of what an average body will look like after you’re lifting for a bunch of time.

Cause we do live in a highlight reel, man. And I see 700 pound deadlifts now, and I don’t get impressed because I’m used to on the social, on my social media feed, just by following the people that I follow. It’s just normal to see that every day. And like it does. Get in your head. If it’s somebody I know, I’ll be like, well, wow, nice, nice for them.

But I don’t look at a bodybuilding physique and feel any sort of, um, like there’s no wow effect anymore. It’s literally like, Oh, some bodybuilder.

Mike: Yeah. It has to be absolutely fast to be. It seems like the combination of freaky size and young age seems to that catches people’s eye these days.

Dr. Pak: Sam Shulek.

Mike: I just, it’s funny you said, I didn’t even know who that was three or four days ago. And, um, somebody asked me like, Oh, what do you think about this guy? Who’s that? And then went and found him. That’s exactly what I was thinking. I was like, Oh, I see. So the duty, I don’t know how old he is. He looks like he’s 20 or 21?

Dr. Pak: 20, 20 something.

Mike: Okay. Yeah. He looks, he looks early twenties and absolutely massive for his age. And. Unfortunately, the trend is that you just need to. You need more and more extreme physiques or extreme feats of strength to get a lot of attention on social media. And that’s what social media is rewarding indirectly. I mean, it’s almost like kind of the collective unconscious is maybe more responsible for it than algorithms per se.

But that just seems to be where things are at.

Dr. Pak: Yeah, and it’s like in our echo chambers and. You see people that are like, you cannot say that they’re not muscular. They’re like, if you measure their body comp, they are muscular. They may not be mass monsters or insanely shredded, but like you’ll have people say things like, do you even lift or, Oh, this guy looks skinny.

But if you then go out in the real world. And, or if you think of muscularity in terms of, uh, where he puts you as, as far as the percentiles go, or if you go to a mall or just in your town and just actually focus and be like, okay, let me see how many fit people, not, not muscular, like big bodybuilding looking guys, how many fit individuals, including both men and women, can I spot, you’ll see that.

Even just going to the gym a few times per week and, you know, having some muscle on you and being relatively at a healthy body composition already places you above the average by quite a bit. And for the majority of people, if they saw you without a T shirt, they’d say, Oh, you look like you take care of yourself and that you’re physically able to do things.

Mike: It’s a good point. In the real world, you can be in the 99. percentile, the 99th percentile, but on social media. Yeah, you’re skinny. You’re weak. Do you even lift? The best shape I’ve ever gotten in getting really lean for, for photo shoots. I haven’t, I haven’t competed. I never, I never cared to compete, but you know, I’ve gotten to ab veins lean for photo shoots.

That’s about as lean as I’ve gotten. So seven ish percent or whatever. And that’s, that’s. The best ish that my body can look realistically given my genetics and not that I care, but the general consensus was he looks good for a natural weightlifter. So it wasn’t, it was, does he even lift? You know, they said, all right, all right, fine.

Uh, he looks good for, for a natty.

Dr. Pak: I wasn’t even taking it there. I was taking it to the opposite side. So I bet you’ve gone to like social events where you were the guy. Here comes, here comes, here comes the mass monster. Like I, every time I go to like the Christmas party of my partner’s company, these are people that don’t lift or are not fitness oriented.

So it’s like, whoa, Eddie Hall just walked in.

Mike: Yeah. Yeah. You’re, you’re an actual superhero. Like you just stepped out of the big screen.

Dr. Pak: Same, same. Yeah, same, same for you. Like you walk up there with a t shirt and maybe not like a winter jacket on and just, just looking at the shape of your arms. People will be like, wow, like this is, this is intense.

And you see that with, um, how they admire certain characters in movies. Like Bane and Batman. I’m just going on a completely weird tangent here. But like, if you look at Tom Hardy’s physique in, uh, portraying Bane, well, it wasn’t anything insane. He had big traps. Well, that was, you know, he was just like a guy that looked like he worked out.

Mike: And I think he was maybe shrugging a lot also to get the, to get the traps out a little bit.

Dr. Pak: Yes. You thought darkness was your ally. But yeah, but people still perceived it as, Whoa, here comes Bane. You know, that’s a huge guy.

Mike: I think of, um, who’s, who’s Chris Hemsworth as Thor. I remember I was in the theater maybe for the first one and he takes his shirt off.

And I mean, he, he looked, he looked good. But that that’s that physique is is achievable for for most people, most guys, if they’re willing to work long enough, regardless of what he may or may not have used to prepare for the movie, but that’s still an achievable physique. And I think 80 percent of the women in the theater all like side at the same time when his shirt came off.

Dr. Pak: Yeah, yeah, exactly.

Mike: And then 1 final thing you mentioned nutrition and that that is a great point, particularly, I mean. It just starts with calories. I mean, I know you know this, but for many people listening, if you’re not consistently in a slight calorie surplus, no reason to go above 10 percent of your daily energy expenditure, probably closer to 5 percent is a better idea.

If you can make that work, that means you’re going to have to diet on a lean bulk with the same mentality, at least that you would diet on a cut, not go way Overboard or not pay attention and accidentally under eat, which, you know, I’ve heard from many people over the years who are surprised when they lean bulk for the first time that after the first couple of weeks, it’s not it’s not fun anymore.

You just you’re always full and. After a couple of months, you’re you’re force feeding yourself unless you have a large appetite, but if you have a normal appetite or even a lower than normal appetite, it just as the desire for food and the hunger and cravings that can occur when you’re cutting or annoying, you kind of have the opposite that is annoying where you just don’t want to eat anymore when you’re lean bulking.

And and so that point of being willing to do that and not just do it for A couple of weeks, not just do it for a month, like, no, try to do it for start relatively lean and try to do it for six months consistently in a surplus training with an effective amount of volume training with that intensity is there are just many, many people who don’t want to do that or have not done that.

But then who, like you said, will think that, and in some cases they actually think that it’s, it’s their genetics that is the problem, or they think it’s their training that is the problem. They think that they need. More volume or they need to do a more extreme program when no, they, they just need to eat more.

I mean, I, I, I’ve, I’ve experienced that simply because I kind of like being lean and at least I, I know it, but I, I’ve accepted that at this point, if I wanted to gain any significant amount of muscle, which is not going to be that much, but if I wanted to try to gain, let’s say somehow gain another 10 pounds of muscle, work really hard over a course of a couple of years, I’d have to, I’d have to generally.

Be at a, at a, at a higher body fat level, and I don’t care enough. I kind of just like the way that I look where I’m at and I like how I feel. And that works for me.

Dr. Pak: Jing and yang over here. I’m the, I’m the opposite, but, uh, the opposite as in I’m comfortable at higher body fat percentages.

Mike: Well, you’re also though performance focused.

I mean, it sounds like you like to be strong. You like to, you like to.

Dr. Pak: Yeah, naturally I was never like, I am between 20 and 24 percent body fat based on like DEXA, BODBOD and BIA at 510 and at around 235 pounds. But I make sure to measure my waist circumference daily and make sure that that’s. That’s in check.

So that is half of my height in centimeters in centimeters and circumference. Make sure my visceral fat is low. So that’s measured by DEXA. Obviously I ensure that my steps, so I’ve been averaging 12, 000 steps for like the past seven, eight years and lift, but I just enjoy eating food. I’m naturally inclined to be a sort of these body fat percentages.

Um, and at the same time, I like how I look, uh, with clothes and Hey, but all that, which was unrelated to, to what you mentioned is that as far as gaining muscle goes, you know, it’s cool to look at like 12 week transformations and stuff. And sure you can do great, especially like from a weight loss perspective in 12 weeks, you could look like a different person.

But as far as actual muscle growth goes, if you’re not a beginner, you need. In order for you to actually see like solid gains that needs time commitment, a conservative surplus. You know, although we have data showing that even maintenance calories can allow you to build muscle if you want to make sure, and especially if you feel like you may not be an extreme responder to lifting.

Mike: Or let me just interject, and this is this is something that I do it intentionally, but I’ve heard from many people over the years who didn’t realize that they thought that they were eating maintenance calories like that’s how they thought of it. Right? But of course, they’re not eating exactly the amount of calories that they’re burning every day.

Some days are over some days they’re under and because they were You Averse to gaining body fat like they wanted to keep their abs if it’s a guy or or or if it’s if it’s a woman, of course, then maintenance when you want to stay lean means erring on the side of under eating rather than over eating.

That’s just how it goes. If you look at. I’m like on a weekly basis, there are probably going to be more deficit days, slight deficit days than surplus days. And just the, the, the kind of average lifestyle you’d have weekdays are probably on average deficit days. And then they kind of just make up for that deficit on the weekend.

They go out to restaurants and they loosen up a little bit and that allows them to maintain their, their body fat levels. And so they think of that as maintenance, but. Well, that’s five days a week in a slight deficit. And those are your training days. And then you have two days a week of a moderate surplus.

Let’s call it those two days. Can’t make up for the detriment of the five days.

Dr. Pak: That’s a good point. Cause a lot of people will go, yeah, yeah, I’ve, uh, I’ve been balking and, uh, nothing happened. And. And you’re asking, you know, how much weight did you really gain? Were you actually measuring? Was it that you saw the scale go up because you ate more carbs and your weight sort of bumped up the first few weeks and then you just maintained it?

How has training been? Are you training intensely? But it’s important to make sure that nutrition is in check. Obviously eating, you know, plenty of whole foods and stuff for your health and getting enough fiber in and avoiding eating too many ultra processed foods.

Mike: Eat plants. As well, just just deserving of the plants are not trying to kill you.

You need to eat vegetables. Yes, they’re good.

Dr. Pak: There you go. But yeah, anyways, it’s it’s it’s important to make sure before you call it a day and say, Yep, I’m doomed. I have bad genetics. It’s unlikely that if you do. You know, if you train hard and you’re eating and you give yourself enough time with my mindset, also that supports that if you go into thinking, ah, what’s the point it’s likely you’re going to have acid.

So, you know, make sure you’re doing all these things and I’m sure you’re going to respond to this fine.

Mike: And one final thing I’ll say that has worked for me, it requires a bit more work on the meal planning side. So some people wouldn’t want to bother with it. However, it’s flipping the, so we have the mistake of a slight deficit five days a week and then a slight moderate surplus two days a week.

Now that’s fine. If you just, if you just want to maintain your body comp, that’s totally fine. But if you’re trying to make progress and you’re an experienced weightlifter. That’s just not going to work. However, I have had success with the opposite. So intentionally being in a slight surplus five days a week, and then a moderate, not extreme, but just moderate deficit on the weekends is what I was, what I would do.

And that allowed me to, to make progress as measured in strength gains. And also I was taking body measurements. So I was clearly progressing and I did over the course of probably four or five or six months, I did gain a little bit of body fat, but it was less than I would have gained if I would have just maintained a steady surplus.

And it’s not necessary to do that. I just thought it would be interesting. I was curious how well could I keep my abs and actually make some progress in the gym over the course of four to six months.

Dr. Pak: Yeah. That sounds, that sounds like a solid strategy as well.

Mike: But it doesn’t work well for a lot of people who I mean, even just social events and lifestyle on the weekends, for example, like, if you’re going to eat for me, there’s maybe 22, 2300 calories.

I also wasn’t lifting on the weekends. So I was less active on the weekends. Maybe it’s a little bit more than that. But anyway, I understand it’s not a very workable. It’s not very practical, but if people listen, you want to try it. There’s a good chance that It’ll also work for them. Uh, well, those are all the questions, uh, that I had.

Is there anything else before we wrap up? That’s, that’s kind of bouncing around in your head that I should have asked about, or you want to say before we wrap up?

Dr. Pak: Um, not really, uh, I think we’ve covered everything. I guess the one main takeaway is that, Hey, if you’re doing a ton at the moment, no, that you could also do less and still see.

So don’t be afraid when life gets in the way or you’re not feeling like lifting instead of saying, you know what, I can’t do my X amount of sets for a week or 20 sets, 15 sets, 10 sets, might as well not do anything. If you’ve listened to this, you know that you could do much less and still make some progress, if not quite a bit of progress.

Mike: Yep. And this is, this is great for people who have to travel a lot. I’ve heard from many people over the years for work, and it can be impossible to even follow a consistent routine because you just don’t know exactly which days you’re going to be able to get in the gym. You don’t know what the gym is going to be like.

And so this is a great approach for just taking what you have when you can get it and doing the exercises that you have available. Even I mean, even if it’s just a An under equipped hotel gym, and you can get at least a few sets in a few times per week for the major muscle groups. And you could maintain your physique indefinitely just doing that.

Dr. Pak: I would say for sure maintain, if not make some gains as well. I have traveled. I’ve flown over 20 times the past, like three, four months, over six countries, and I haven’t stopped training at all. Uh, even hitting as high as like six, six training sessions per week. Some of those sessions, 20 minutes long, get in, chin ups, push ups, a few lateral raises, get out, other sessions longer, but I’m constantly just telling myself, Hey, Just get something in, even if it’s a hotel gym and I end up doing three exercises with lightweights till the point of failure that still counts.

And it, it, it adds up over time.

Mike: Yep. That’s a great tip. I do that even when traveling on vacation, I don’t make it a priority, but on average, I’ll do one or two workouts per week and just in the hotel gym. And usually I’ll just do an upper body workout and a lower body workout. I come back and I’m able to.

Pick up right where I left off. All right. Well, uh, thanks again, pack for taking the time. Let’s let’s just wrap up with where people can find you if they want to know more about your work and if there’s anything in particular that you want people to know about.

Dr. Pak: So, um, I am on Instagram at. Dr. Pack. Dr.

Double underscore P a K. Um, I have a YouTube channel, which is also called doctor. Dot. Pac. Dr. Dot. P a K. And my personal website, uh, dr. Pac. Dot. Com. So yeah, that’s it. Everything is there. Links to my research links to, uh, videos and so on and so forth. And yeah, thanks so much for having me on.

Mike: Yeah. It was a great discussion.

I enjoyed it.

Dr. Pak: Awesome. I appreciate you.

Mike: Well, I hope you liked this episode. I hope you found it helpful. And if you did subscribe to the show because it makes sure that you don’t miss new episodes. And it also helps me because it increases the rankings of the show a little bit, which of course then makes it a little bit more easily found by other people who may like it just as much as you.

And if you didn’t like something about this episode or about the show in general, or if you have. Uh, ideas or suggestions or just feedback to share? Shoot me an email, [email protected], muscle FOR and let me know what I could do better or just, uh, what your thoughts are about maybe what you’d like to see me do in the future.

I read everything myself. I’m always looking for new ideas and constructive feedback. So thanks again for listening to this episode, and I hope to hear from you soon.

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