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If you’re familiar with my books, blog, and even my line of supplements, Legion, you know I’m all about the science, baby!
Anecdote and experience are useful, of course, but it can be easy to get fooled. There are too many variables at play, and psychological trickery can wreak havoc without us even realizing it.
That’s where science comes into play. It can give us a more objective look to help us spot real trends and pinpoint mechanisms. And I have a lot of respect for researchers and scientists like Dr. Bill Campbell, who I’m excited to bring onto this episode of the podcast.
In case you’re not familiar with Dr. Campbell, he’s a professor of Exercise Science and the Director of the Performance & Physique Enhancement Laboratory at the University of South Florida, who’s also published more than 150 scientific papers.
In other words, Dr. Campbell is busy running studies that test questions with answers we all want to know.
As the author of several books, including the Sports Nutrition: Enhancing Athletic Performance textbook, he also has an inclination for simplifying complex subjects, which proves particularly practical and useful for “lifestyle bodybuilders” such as myself and many of you listeners.
In this conversation, Bill and I chat about . . .
- Specific areas where the scientific literature is lacking
- How he’s helping athletic people look and feel even better
- His evidence-based tips for getting from lean to leaner
- Why you might want to eat more protein (even if you already eat a lot)
- Diet breaks
- What he’s currently studying in the lab
- And more . . .
So if you want to hear from a real physique scientist lab-dweller who’s truly “in the trenches,” press play and let me know what you think
5:39 – Where do you think the current literature is light?
15:33 – What are the best strategies for getting lean and staying lean?
24:11 – What are the proposed mechanisms for protein intake?
29:13 – Would you have any recommendations for people wanting to try high protein intake?
40:16- Would the advice of eating as much as you comfortably can apply to cutting, maintaining, and lean bulking?
59:42 – What are some of the other questions that are most on your mind? What data you want to get your hands on?
1:04:38 – Where can people find you and your work?
Mentioned on the show:
What did you think of this episode? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!
Mike: Hello, and welcome to another episode of Muscle for Life. I’m Mike Matthews. Thank you for joining me today. And by the way, happy New Year. I realized that I haven’t wished everybody a happy New Year because I had pre-recorded the first several episodes of the year back in the middle of December and wasn’t thinking ahead, and so happy New Year.
Let’s hope that 2021 is much better than 2020 in just. Every way imaginable. How about no global catastrophes? Can we have that? Is that too much to ask? Now that we have entered into the Twilight Zone, you know, I don’t want to jinx us, so I’m not even going to talk about such things. Let’s talk about what today’s episode is about.
Now, if you are familiar with my work, my books, Articles, the podcast Legion and so forth. You know that I like me some science. I like anecdotes. I like personal experience as well, but it is easy to get fooled if you don’t also keep your pulse on the literature. Now, you probably also know that I am not a slave to science.
I have criticized scientism, the over-reliance on science quite a few times, but when understood properly and applied properly, scientific research can be very practical in just about any field that you want to do things in fitness, being one of them. Of course, science can help you get bigger biceps and get better abs and get a healthier and happier.
Faster. And in this episode, I interview a scientist and a professor whose work I’ve followed for a while now and who I have a lot of respect for, and his name is Dr. Bill Campbell. Now, in case you are not familiar with him, he is a professor of Exercise science and the director of the Performance and Physique Enhancement Laboratory at the University of South Florida, and he’s also published more than 150 scientific papers.
In short, Dr. Campbell is one of the relatively small number of people who spend all of their time figuring out how we can get more from our body, more muscle, more performance, more vitality. Function and so forth. And in this interview, bill and I talk about specific areas where the scientific literature is lacking, where he would like to see more research being done, and how he’s helping athletic people look and feel even better.
Specifically, how to take lean people and help them get very lean. And he shares some of his best evidence-based tips for that. He talks about the potential benefits of a very high protein diet, diet breaks and more. Also, if you like what I am doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, definitely check out my sports nutrition company Legion, which thanks to the support of many people like you, is the leading brand of all natural sports supplements in the world.
And we’re on. Because every ingredient and dose in every product is backed by peer-reviewed scientific research. Every formulation is 100% transparent. There are no proprietary blends, for example, and everything is naturally sweetened and flavored. So that means no artificial sweeteners, no artificial food dyes, which may not be as dangerous as some people would have you believe.
But there is good evidence to suggest that having many servings of artificial sweeteners, in particular every day for long periods of time may not be the best for your health. So while you don’t need pills, powders, and potions to get into great shape, and frankly, most of them are virtually useless, there are natural ingredients that can help you lose fat, build muscle, and get healthy faster.
And you will find the best of them in legions products to check out everything we have to offer, including protein powders and protein bars, pre-workout, post-workout supplements, fat burners, multivitamins, joint support, and more. Head over to www.buy legion.com, b y legion.com, and just to show how much I appreciate my podcast peeps, use the coupon code M F L at checkout and you will save 20% on your entire first order.
So again, if you appreciate my work and if you want to see more of it, and if you also want all natural. Evidence-based supplements that work, please do consider supporting Legion so I can keep doing what I love, like producing more podcasts like. Mr. Campbell, thanks for making this work. Thanks for taking some time outta your very busy schedule.
I appreciate that. Cause I know what that’s like where you look at your calendar every week and you’re like, that’s a lot of stuff. So thank you for being here. Yeah, thank you very
Bill: much for the invitation. I’ve been looking forward to this for a few
Mike: weeks. Same. Same. And what I wanted to talk to you about is, well, it’s your wheelhouse.
It is, I could say fitness research, but you know, health and fitness things related to that diet and nutrition and exercise and supplementation. Although you’ll probably get into more specifically the research that you’re involved in. But these are definitely areas of interest and areas of expertise for you and specifically, well, this is almost like a self-serving episode, but I think it’s gonna be interesting for the listeners because I have a few questions for you that I haven’t posed really, I don’t think to any guest or even written or spoken about myself.
And that is the first question for you is, Where do you think that the literature is currently light? And, and I’ll let you kind of take that wherever you want to go. And just to clarify for listeners why I’m asking this, when I got into the. Health and fitness space professionally, so to speak, quote unquote professionally.
back in 2012, and I started previously to that. I started looking into what research was out there on diet and training in particular, resistance training in particular, because at the time, uh, I wanted to know how to get lean and how to stay lean and how to get bigger and stronger. And so that’s where I went.
And what I found at the time was, and pretty quickly I came across energy balance and understood that like the weight of the evidence was so heavy even at that time. And it’s, well, I don’t know if you know if that’s changed that much by now because I mean, that research goes back a century and we have a lot of evidence that shows.
Energy balance is a non-negotiable. If you wanna lose fat, you’re gonna have to be in a calorie deficit one way or another. You can’t get around that. And I did look into the opposing arguments to people who said, no, that’s an outdated theory, or even a, even a debunked theory. And the body’s not simply a combustion engine.
You can’t look at it like that, et cetera, et cetera. But I quickly was able to dismiss all of that, and particularly when I just did it and I was like, okay, here are my doubts of these these counter-arguments. Here’s why I don’t think that I’m with the scientists on this one and let me try it though. And then I got pretty lean for the first time in my life and I was like, okay, that was easy.
And then let me look at also the other people out there in the fitness community, especially the evidence-based fitness community, and oh, they all do this as well, and they all do this with all of their clients and it seems to always work always. And that was kind of the end of that. And then macronutrients also, there was more research, I think, available on that now.
But even back then it was kind of like, okay, so protein is important. High protein dieting is important. There’s no question carbs and fats. Uh, we know more about that now than then, but it seemed to be not as important. All right. Cool. But on the training side of things, it wasn’t as clear to me then as it is now, and I think that the research has advanced.
Quite a bit from then to now in terms of isolating the most important aspects of resistance training. If you’re trying to get bigger and stronger, if that’s why you’re doing it, then progressive overload and volume are really the two big levers that you can pull and frequencies in there. , but it’s mostly just a, a tool of volume is the, my current understanding.
And so that’s a, a long preamble, but the reason why I wanted to ask you this question is again, where do you think, and this could be related to diet, and it could be related to diet in the context of body composition or maybe health and longevity, again, wherever you want to take it. Um, on the exercise side of things, it could be resistance training, it could be endurance training, um, it could be kind of hybrid training or maybe in supplementation.
I’m just curious if you, as a scientist, what are the areas, what are your questions where you’re like, God, I really, I really would love to know more about this in particular, I really would love to do this research. Or if it’s not something you would do because it’s not really in your direct line of work, I really wish somebody would do this research and give some more insight into this.
Bill: Yeah. Yeah. I would say I’m doing the work that I want to do, and let me just give a brief overview. So the research that I do, it seeks to help people optimize their physiques within a maintainable lifestyle. So let’s eliminate what that doesn’t mean. I don’t study obese individuals trying to lose weight, although I have done that in the past.
And I don’t necessarily study bodybuilders, competitive bodybuilders on stage, although I love to learn from them because they seem to, they’ve mastered the art of fat loss and maintaining muscle. So I learned from them, but I don’t necessarily study them. So I’m in this middle area,
Mike: which is the gonna be most relevant to most listeners.
Most listeners, they’re not competitive bodybuilders, I’d say a lot of us, maybe we would consider ourselves lifestyle bodybuilders, you know? Yep.
Bill: That’s exactly, yes. The lifestyle client is kind of, Of where my interest is and and where my research is. And to state it another way, yes, you might not step on stage, but a lot of people want to look like they could step on stage without doing the tanning and the traveling and the, you know, the severe dieting.
So essentially I, I’d say what I’m trying to find out is how lean can we get somebody and maintain muscle mass or build muscle mass, but without necessarily ignoring their kids not being obsessive about everything. Like a bodybuilder has to be to get on stage. So that answers two questions that you asked.
It’s, where’s the literature light? Well try to find 20 studies on lean people losing weight. I don’t think you’ll get the 20. And then the second thing, it is my passion, and it’s kind of funny, I think I’m doing what almost every exercise scientist, student and doctoral student who wants to get into this profession, actually wants to do.
But there’s no money in this. There’s no funding for this. Nobody’s gonna fund this. In terms of the government, there’s no NIH funding for lean people losing more fat .
Mike: So for people with abs who want ab veins, , unfortunately there’s not much money in that, is not high on the government’s list of priorities.
Bill: is not, but it happens to be high on mine, and I’m very blessed to be at a university that doesn’t discriminate or tell me I have to study X or Y. No, they would like it if I would go get a 3 million grant to study some different strategy for obesity. So I’m self-admittedly on the vanity side of their profession.
There are plenty of people. In exercise science or public health that are studying health related outcomes. And I will be the first to admit that’s more important than what I do. But I was created to have this interest in physique and over the years I’ve been able to build up a lab that allows me to research it.
And we keep refining our skills as a research team. So that’s gonna be my mark to society when I’m dead. It’s, oh, that Campbell guy, he studied lean females and people who weren’t overweight that wanted to look just a little bit leaner. And I do that with no apologies. I absolutely love it. So did that answer your
Yeah, that’s great. And hey, there will always be, Lean females who want to be a bit leaner. So there are always, I think, will be people to appreciate your work after long after you’re gone. I hope so. ,
Bill: and it’s kind of funny, like you’ve built your supplement company on supplements that you want to take.
Yeah. I’ve built my entire research program on me and my wife’s desire to be lean and muscular.
Mike: that’s. But it also, I mean it speaks to, we were talking about, oh no, sorry, I’m thinking of the last call I was on. I, there was, somebody had mentioned a book, Simon Cenex, start With Why. And one of the key takeaways of the book, of course it’s in the title, but Finding your Why and Sticking to your Why.
And there’s a lot to be said for exactly what you’re saying is that is your why. And if you were to change that and you were to try to go in another direction, sure you could do it. You know, you have the skills to do it. You have the intelligence to do, you’ve proven that you can do it, but it wouldn’t be as fulfilling even if you try to tell yourself that, well, I mean maybe I can have a greater impact.
And I think one of the great aspects of modernity and of free. Capitalism to whatever degree we have that I understand that we don’t have exactly that, but we have some functioning version of that is it allows for hyper specialization based on what you are most passionate about. And so, you know, I love that.
I love, for me it would be writing. That’s the work I like the most. Researching and writing, well, maybe researching is, is a bit pretentious of a term, but studying, learning, reading, writing, that’s the stuff I just, I always get the most, uh, what are you gonna say? I dunno. Spiritual satisfaction from, in a weird way or something.
And so, you know, I, I appreciate that when I come across people who have found the thing where they can say, I want to do this for the rest of my life. I really enjoy this. And there aren’t many things in life you can find that don’t get a lot less interesting. The more you do them. There just aren’t like, what is there, there’s.
Sex work you care about that you’re passionate about. There aren’t many things. You know, there’s something to be said for the deep relationship you have with your children as well, but it’s hard. It’s hard to find one of those things that you can go back to that doesn’t destroy you like many sources of pleasure.
Right. And that also doesn’t diminish in time. So it’s cool. . And so then in your work, what are, well now I have two questions for you actually. So the first one is, cuz I’m sure a lot of the listeners are now interested in hearing some of your best tips that have come out of your work and come out of your research for accomplishing exactly what you’re talking about.
For someone who is lean and wanting to get leaner without losing muscle and without losing their sanity or losing their life and just having to dedicate everything to it. Losing in some cases their rela, like getting into a weird relationship with food. You know, all the things that can go wrong. So that’s my first question is what are, what are some of the key, I’m assuming it’s gonna come down probably mostly to behaviors, but maybe there’s some psychological, some attitudes that.
Are helpful and, and also along the way, if you can share as well, would these also apply to staying lean? Cause that’s another big one for people who, and I would be one of those people who when you get lean, that’s cool and you can get some pictures and stuff. Now obviously if you get too lean, no guy’s gonna be able to maintain 4% body fat naturally without feeling absolutely terrible all the time.
Yeah, we know that. But what about seven or 8%? 9%? What about in that range? There’s getting there and then there’s staying there. And so what are some of the most effective strategies? And again, they can just be simple physical things or psychological or a bit of both. For, for doing that, I have
Bill: what I call my three principles for fat loss.
So I think that will tackle the, how do we get lean mm-hmm. . And then I’ll discuss a few of my thoughts on staying lean. Cool. They’re, they’re gonna be related. And one thing that I refuse to do, Is to try to overcomplicate things. It bothers me and a lot of people in my profession, either on purpose or they’re not smart enough to dumb it down.
But I have an intense focus on trying to keep things simple. I refuse to
Mike: overcomplicate things. So, which is harder to do, it’s harder to simplify than overcomplicate, I guess.
Bill: So, but complexity is the enemy of execution and I agree with that. If you give somebody 28 different tips on a, on a deadlift form, , no, give them one and let ’em do that for a week, then we’ll do number two and they’ll be a much better dead lifter cuz they’ll actually retain that information.
So years ago I wrote a sports nutrition book and these principles manifested themselves to me while writing that book. And since that time I’ve done a few research studies. On weight loss in males and females. And by the way, my lab tends to do more work in females physique enhancement in females than males.
Some of my studies test both, but over the last few years, we’ve really dialed our focus on females.
Mike: Hmm, that’s great because I know that when I was writing the first and the second editions of bigger, leaner, stronger, and thinner, leaner, stronger. There was a lot more research on men than women, and in some cases that maybe doesn’t matter so much if we’re talking basic fundamentals of energy balance or mechanical tension, progressive overload.
Okay, fine. But I remember that being an obstacle, was trying to find studies done specifically with women to answer some questions that aren’t just obvious. Like, again, calorie deficit, okay, fine. A study done with men is gonna apply equally to women if we’re talking about the the basic function of it.
But that’s not the case with other things, especially if we’re trying to get to something that is as sustainable as possible. Yes.
Bill: Yeah. These three principles that, and again, I can cite probably anywhere from three to about eight studies in lean people that would support every one of these principles.
First one is to lose weight slow. Now, when I say weight, what I really mean is fat loss. We’re targeting fat loss, but just in general, when I say weight loss, I mean fat loss, but the general population appreciates it. Weight, fat, whatever. So one of the worst things that can be done is to go on a crash diet and.
Cut your calories by 50% and try to increase your exercise three times more than what it was last week. Yes, you’ll lose weight. Yes, you’ll lose fat. You’ll lose a lot of muscle. Your metabolic rate will be suppressed, and there’s no way you’re developing habits that you can sustain going forward, and you’ve set yourself up for future failure in terms of being able
Mike: to maintain that and you’re gonna suffer, you’re gonna be miserable.
Bill: Now I say all that to get off track for a. My lab’s currently doing a rapid fat loss study. So we’re actually seeing, we’re putting people on a 37 and a half percent, let’s just say a near 40% caloric deficit for two weeks. Just to see, you know, with some of these other principles in place that I’ll talk about, can we maintain muscle, can we
Mike: maintain metabolic rate?
And how lean are the participants starting out, uh, on average just outta uh, mid ranges,
Bill: so they just can’t be overweight. To start, they have to be resistant, trained people. So it’s funny, everybody in my study, according to the scientific literature, is lean. Yeah. In our evidence-based world, you know, the Instagram world, not, they’re not all lean.
Mike: Well, we’re all fat according to Instagram. So ,
Bill: yeah. Yeah. There’s the Instagram lien and then there’s the scientific literature lie. I’ll just give some body fat percentages. The typical male’s gonna be around probably 14 to 16%. So athletically, you know? Yes. Oh yeah, yeah. These are almost all college students, although one of our subjects is my age of mid forties, and she’s leaner than anybody in the study.
And then the females probably range from about, you know, 18 to 22%. So you’re typically somebody who’s clearly not overweight. Do they have a six pack? No, some of them do. So that’s the general population. But again, I’m doing that study for, that study’s actually violating my first principle, but we’re doing it for science.
I’m actually going about this from a different perspective, which I can share later. Second principle is, Don’t decrease protein when dieting another. Again, I can cite multiple studies, multiple meaning a handful, because that’s all that’s ever been done in lean people. But if you are gonna reduce your calories, reduce them from, I would say fat first, carbohydrate second, and then as much as possible, try not to touch protein.
And generally the research that I’ve read from other people, if you start getting below 0.7, five grams per pound, that’s where the literature would suggest you start to not be able to maintain your muscle mass. I like to say, let’s aim for a gram per pound, 2.2 grams per kg. And I can even make an argument for more than that when dieting.
So there’s principle two, so lose weight slowly. Principle number one, don’t decrease protein when
Mike: dieting. Could you quickly comment on that? Higher protein intake? Yeah. Yeah. My understanding is there’s not much research out there on this yet, but there are a couple of interesting studies that I’ve come across, but I think it’ll be interesting to quickly hear your thoughts on the potential benefits of higher than a gram per pound of body weight per day when cutting.
Bill: high. Okay, so there was a, a meta-analysis done a few years ago that suggested that 1.6 grams per kg, which is about 0.75 grams per pound, that’s all you. To maximize muscle mass to maximize muscle gains. And I agree with that. I can’t point to different studies to suggest that more than that is better for
And that would of course be in the context of a calorie surplus or at least maintenance, which obviously you’re never gonna nail it perfectly. So we’re really talking about a maintenance that airs on the side of a small calorie surplus, where you’re in a surplus far more often than a small deficit.
Right? Yes. Yeah, exactly.
Bill: That meta-analysis and the studies that I’m referring to were not in a caloric deficit. They weren’t in a dieting state. So why would I suggest going more than that? Well, one reason is, let’s just go specifically the studies that look at higher protein intake. They look at muscle protein synthesis and we kind of have a threshold where once you reach a certain amount, you don’t get an added benefit on muscle protein synthesis.
But what is not often measured and almost never is muscle protein breakdown. There’s another component to your muscle mass. It’s, and it’s maximizing muscle protein synthesis, and it’s minimizing muscle protein breakdown. You need a natural course of muscle protein breakdown for functional muscle health.
So it’s not like you wanna eliminate it. Yeah, you don’t want it to be out of control. The other evidence that I rely on, I’m aware of about four, I think it’s four different studies every time that protein goes higher than a gram per kg in resistance trained people, there’s a loss of fat. . And if you ask me, well, why is that?
I don’t know. Because when you increase calories, you should gain fat. Sure. But that’s, I have data from my own lab. We published a study in 2018 in resistance trained females. They ate 2.5 grams per kg. They lost a significant amount of fat. They’re calories who actually increased by 300 calories per day.
During this eight week study, Dr. Jose Antonio basically gave enough protein to kill a cow in subjects they didn’t gain fat.
Mike: The, uh, T-Rex Diet. Yeah.
Bill: It was insane. It was nearly 800 calories more all from protein. That’s the other thing here, the studies I’m referring to, the, the caloric surplus every single time was 100% from protein.
It wasn’t just across the board macros. It was protein. And then there’s a study that from Dr. Mike Roberts lab at Auburn University, they increased protein content. There was a loss of fat mass there. and there’s another study I, I don’t remember the name of
Mike: the author. What are the proposed mechanisms for that?
Well, the proposed
Bill: mechanism is a protein has the highest thermic effect. Of food. So it allows you to burn more calories when you eat protein versus the other macronutrients. But that doesn’t explain com. It’s not like you’re burning more calories than what the calories are that you’re injecting.
Mike: Exactly. Yeah. But
Bill: the other part of this, which is very hard to measure in a research setting, is neat. Or the amount of energy that you’re expending just throughout li are you gonna fi, basically, are you fidgeting a lot more?
Mike: Do you become more accurate? Mm-hmm. . Or maybe if it’s not fidgeting, right, it could just be, oh, you took the stairs instead of the escalator, cuz you just felt up to it in the moment and you got up and walked around more throughout the day.
Especially, you know, with a lot of people working at home where if you don’t pay attention to it, you could just sit in your chair for six hours straight. Stuff like that as well, right?
Bill: Yes. And it seems like it almost has to be that again. I
Mike: don’t know cuz I, but it’s interesting that additional protein.
Create that effect. But carbs, which are primarily energetic would not, which also have a fair, the TF is not as high. Right? But it’s a lot higher than dietary fat. And similar to protein, you rarely see the body converting carbs directly into fat via D N L, right? It’s just, yeah, maybe if you ate like a thousand grams of carbs a day for a week, you would start to see that.
But it’s interesting that protein seems to be unique in that regard. It’s, yes, it’s
Bill: very unique. And the other thing is Dr. Gray, who’s a famous obesity researcher, he did a really, uh, a metabolic wards study where they overfed subjects and one of their arms was all protein. And again, this was, I think this, they might not have been overweight, but they’re clearly not resistance training.
They did gain, let’s say eight pounds, but four pounds was lean body mass, four pounds was fat mass. So there’s a situation where I’ve always thought, oh, if you overeat protein doesn’t mean you’re gonna gain muscle. Well, they did. Now, was it functional muscle? Again, they weren’t training. I don’t think it was all water weight.
So I’m not gonna sit here and say that all four pounds was muscle, but I’m not gonna say it was an illusion and that it was all water. So there’s something about higher protein that has a, and I’ll, I’ll say use the word physique. It’s not just about muscle, it’s also about your fat
Mike: mass. Out of curiosity, do you remember if those people were going from a very low protein to now a high protein intake?
I, um, I don’t remember
Bill: the details. I believe it was probably a, just a normal amount. But this was in a metabolic order,
Mike: which is low. I mean, a normal person does not eat very much protein. Yeah. Especially women. I mean, I’ve come across many women over the years just getting into fitness who are pretty surprised to learn that they’re eating like 30 to 50 grams of protein a day, and now they’re supposed to eat 120.
And that’s a bit of an adjustment, you know? Yes. But
Bill: that change alone, Changes physiques if they do nothing. Well, that’s been my anecdotal experience. We actually just started a study looking at this. Cool. That exact question in resistance train. Actually, no non-resistance trained females or beginners with resistance training.
We just started a study to increase protein. So we’re gonna, we’re gonna titrate it to high levels and then just naturally can we just encourage you to eat more protein. And then that last principle was resistance train when dieting. So again, we’re, we’re trying not, we’re not just concerned about just losing weight, we’re trying to lose fat, maintain or gain muscle.
And I look at a caloric deficit as being a, it’s a catabolic stimulus to the body, completely catabolic. The more that we can introduce an some type of anabolic stimulus, the better. And we can do that with higher protein intakes. And the obvious one is resistance exercise. Resistance exercise gives the body an anabolic stimulus.
When dieting that you then feed with the protein. So we’re all of these three principles, lose weight slowly. Don’t decrease protein and resistance train. They all converge on two goals. Maintain your muscle mass when dieting and maintain your metabolic rate. Cuz if your metabolic rate gets suppressed, you’re setting yourself up for likely failure to maintain that weight loss.
So that’s kind of my philosophy succinctly
Mike: described, and it’s gonna be familiar to most everyone listening because it’s what I’ve been saying for a long time. And it’s simple, it’s straightforward, it’s unsexy, but it works and it works consistently and there’s no reason to try and reinvent this wheel, which was one of the early conclusions I came to when looking into the literature that was available on dieting and particularly what we’re talking about here in the context of body composition as opposed to obesity or maybe dealing with health conditions, but more where I was at at the time where I was like, people in the study you’re doing, I was probably, I don’t know, 15, 16, 17% body fat.
I’d been into working out for a while. I had a a bit of muscle and just didn’t understand what to do to cut my body fat in half, for example, and without cutting my, my lean mass in half and just getting back quickly to this high protein intake. So would you have any recommendations for people wanting to try higher protein intake?
And understandably, it sounds like there are more questions than answers at this point, but maybe in the context of cutting and. Maintaining and lean bulking ideally. Do you have any thoughts as to just, again, based on your understanding of the existing research and just your experience, like if it were you, for example, would you, when cutting, maybe go as high as one and a half grams per pound per day, two grams higher than that?
Not as high as that. I’m just curious. And then if you’re maintaining, if you’re lean bulking, I would say
Bill: as high as comfortably possible. Now, what I’ve learned is the population that I deal with, let’s contrast them with bodybuilders. There’s a lot of female bikini competitors, physique athletes, even, you know, male bodybuilders who have no problem eating two grams per day.
Protein per pound of body weight. Just
Mike: insane. I mean, especially with protein powders, when you can just drink down 40, 50 grams of protein without running into any GI issues. Some people will, but some people that’s okay because of the powders. You know, they, they’re just digested so quickly, eh, you know, makes it pretty easy.
You do that a few times a day, uh, two, three times a day and eat a couple big meals and you’re there. Yes. Yep.
Bill: So for some people, and I’ll just say, I don’t know how, I don’t know how you would do it without protein supplements and protein bars, at least in my own life, I rely on them to get me to my one gram per pound of
Mike: body weight every day.
Remember Ronnie Coleman, uh, what was it in his, oh, I forget the name. It’s the famous Yeah, buddy document. Remember his huge Tupperware of like nine chicken breasts, .
Bill: Yeah, he’s operating on a different level in
Mike: multiple ways. Yeah, that’s, yeah, that’s what you had to do. And, and here’s, who knows, he’s probably eating 600 grams of protein today,
Bill: But working with the population who aren’t bodybuilders, a lot of them struggle getting to what I would say is an optimal level. So what I do, just from a practical standpoint, is, okay, you’re currently eating 60 grams. I think you should be at one 20. Let’s move you to 80 grams. Mm-hmm. , can you take a scoop of this protein?
Can you, you know, have a can of tuna on your salad? Or whatever it is. So when working with individual clients, increasing is better than nothing. But ideally we get you to a higher. and the study that that we’re doing and actually got put on hold because
Mike: of covid, that’s a different conversation. We have
Bill: three groups of females and I’d love to hear your thoughts on this one group.
We’re saying, don’t change anything about your diet. Just lift in my lab for eight weeks, three times per week. So that’s their control group. We have another group. We’re saying, you’re gonna track your macros. And I have a whole research staff that teaches them how to do this. Every subject has a personalized nutrition coach, so they have a lot of support.
And we said you have to eat one gram per pound of body weight throughout these eight weeks. And I would like to thank Legion Athletics for sending me some protein bars, by the way, to help some of these subjects
Mike: with that. Happy to do it, happy to do it.
Bill: And the other group were saying, Hey, we don’t want you to track.
We want you to live your normal life, although you’re gonna start lifting in my lab, so everybody’s lifting in my lab. But alls we’re asking you to do is just double your protein intake on the three or four things that you would normally eat anyway that are high protein. So if you normally have two eggs for breakfast, we want you to have four.
If you have a chicken salad for dinner, we would ask you to get double the chicken on that. If you have a glass of milk before bed, have two glasses of milk before bed. So basically our question there is, and I also wanna shout out, uh, Gianna Masini is my research coordinator. She’s coordinating this study.
She has done a fabulous job with this. What we’re saying is maybe tracking your macros is a little severe for a lot of people, and in this case it’s females. But we might not have to do that as an early step. Maybe it’s just being aware of protein foods or, you know, high protein foods. Just being conscious of getting more of.
So that’s that study design.
Mike: Yeah. Yeah. That’s an interesting design. And it is very practical again, for it’s, it’s that on-ramp and that’s particularly kind of the, oh, I don’t know, Headspace I’ve been in because I’ve been working on this book for the 40 plus crowd, which is gonna be my most newbie friendly book, and I’m not gonna be asking them to weigh and measure food.
And, uh, so instead it’s gonna be more portion based and using your fist as a reference point in terms of understanding. Okay. So a fist of this comes out to a all, let’s say, these types of protein, right? And try to be as embracive as possible, comes out to these types of macros. And so there is a bit of meal planning in there, but I don’t want them to have to get into Excel.
I don’t want them to have to get out the scale, not because it’s hard. Per se, but it can be intimidating and it just, it adds probably unnecessary friction considering where many of these people are starting where it would be a lot easier for them to, like, in this case, instead of teaching them how to track their macros, be a lot easier for them to start with where you could tell them, okay, so what are you currently eating for protein?
Or, or if you just know, uh, that, and again, and this would be my experience, that the average person eats a, by our standards, a low protein diet and probably could go if they doubled their protein intake, would go from a low protein diet to maybe an. Okay. In the context of, of body composition, like a, a moderate protein, probably not high, but moderate.
And you know, those types of winds are big because they’re so easy and if they produce immediate results, then people find that very motivating and then they’re more willing to do more. And eventually maybe they will get to where they’re tracking their macros, if that’s appropriate for, for their goals, you know?
Bill: Yeah. And I mean, while it’s not obsessive to me, I can appreciate that a lot of people. You’re tracking every gram that you eat that’s obsessive. So I can appreciate that to some people it is, it’s just what I do. And of course it’s what I need to do in my research so I can validate the data that we’re generating.
Mike: Yeah. And you know, I don’t agree with that just as a blanket statement, cuz then by that logic is tracking every workout obsessive. And I obsessive because I, I have an Excel spreadsheet where I put my numbers in so I can program my training and make progress. Like, what do you mean, ? Yeah.
Bill: It or your, maybe your gas gauge in your car.
Is it obsessive to look at
Mike: that? Yeah. You look at that every time you drive. Oh, that’s obsessive . . You know, it’s a strange, a strange way of looking at it. Now. I, I understand. Okay. Then people will be like, Oh, well point taken. There is a point where it can become a bit maybe even neurotic. And yes, there are examples out there of disordered eating and, but that’s not, in my experience, that’s rare, at least with the people I’ve worked with.
And again, these are everyday people who care about their fitness and they certainly give it time, but it’s not their primary focus. And they have three to six hours a week to train and they’re willing to pay attention to what they eat. A lot of them probably are tracking their calories at least, roughly, at least.
You know, a lot of people, they get used to the calories and macros of the foods they like, and so they have a pretty good idea of how to eat. And so again, in my experience, I don’t know if I’ve come across one example of someone who has gone from just a normal person who’s outta shape to an eating disorder by doing the stuff we’re talking about.
It almost, to me, it would seem like the disordered eating or the tendency comes before any of what we’re talking about. But that I’m not too sure about. I haven’t looked too much into that. Yeah,
Bill: that’s not my area either, but I’ve been told by some of my former research staff who have successfully overcome.
Just in their conversations, it’s always, whether it’s an eating disorder in some, it’s something psychological that just happens to manifest itself with food control. For some people it’s alcohol. For other people it’s drugs. For some people it’s food manipulation. Again, I don’t know if that’s true that’s, that was just conversations I’ve had with my.
Some of my former
Mike: students. Yeah. Yeah. I’ve had conversations with people who have looked into the research. Curtis actually, who most people listening probably know Curtis, but he heads up all of the research for legion’s formulations, and we were having conversation and he was just telling me, based on his reading of the literature, it, it seems like the, the problem.
Is comes first. And yes, it’s psychological issue and it can manifest via food, but it can manifest in other ways. And it’s rare, or I don’t wanna put words in his mouth, but minimally, it’s rare apparently, from research perspective for it to go the other way where somebody isn’t prone to have these issues, that you have a totally normal relationship with food and they don’t have any issues with alcohol or drugs.
So you just have a normal person. And then let’s say they start calorie borrowing, which you’ll see with disordered eating, right? Where people, they get really into manipulating meals and quote unquote saving calories. And it goes in with the binging and the purging. Apparently it’s very rare for someone to go from normal.
To use calorie borrowing judiciously. Let’s say they’re gonna go out to dinner. It’s a Friday night, and they don’t want to end the day in a thousand calorie surplus, so they’re like, eh, you know, I’ll just eat my protein. I’m gonna leave out some of the carbs and some of the other stuff so I can have a calorie buffer tonight.
That person is very, very unlikely to develop an eating disorder by doing that once a week, you know? Mm-hmm. .
Bill: Well, I hope not cause I do
Mike: that. Yeah. I mean I do it sometimes as well. I don’t see any reason not to. Uh, so long as, and you know, this is something I’ve talked a lot and written a lot, talked a lot about, and written a lot about, is that we don’t have to be perfect with any of this, even as far as nutrition goes.
So long as we are good enough most of the time and we’re doing the right things right, most of the time we can afford to strategically go off the plan. And this would be an example of that where I normally wouldn’t leave out my couple servings of fruit that I have in the day and my serving of whole grains.
So I can eat a bunch of dessert, for example. But with Rona, I haven’t done it much at all, but. Previously, you know, maybe I, my wife and I will go out to dinner every other week or something and I’ll do it here and there where, yeah, okay, I’m gonna leave out some of these nutritious calories for what’s not gonna be very nutritious.
But there’s no reason to be concerned about that because I know that I’ve built up good habits and I’ve built up a lot of momentum from a physiological standpoint that my body has, has a large buffer to work with. And even if I were to do that probably a week straight, I probably wouldn’t notice much.
Maybe, maybe by the end of the week I might notice, like I don’t feel quite as good as I normally do, but I think it might even take longer than that. Yes. So on this high protein intake, and I’m sorry that I’m, I’m harping on this, but I just know that a lot of people listening are already thinking with, Hey, I’ll try that.
Why not? Because a lot of the people don’t have a problem eating, let’s say a gram per pound of body weight per day. I’m gonna venture to say many of the people listening, that’s kind of their default. So, If, if they wanted to just do an N one experiment just for fun, see how their body responds. Would the advice of eating as much as you comfortably can apply to cutting, maintaining, and lean bulking?
Whew. Let me think
Bill: about that for a moment. So to make it as easy as possible, I start the conversation with, don’t decrease it when dieting. Sure. But if you can increase it, it’s all the better. When dieting, I would say lean, bulking, caloric maintenance, I don’t think you’re going to gain more muscle by increasing protein.
What I think will happen is you’ll lose more fat. And again, I’m basing that on a handful of studies that are published and in a handful of people that I’ve personally worked with in the past where I’ve, where I’ve seen this, my wife being
Mike: one of them. And do you think then that, so let’s take lean bulking that it’s possible that you might gain.
A bit less fat over the course. So let’s say someone’s lining up a four month or maybe even a six month. I’d say minimally, I always recommend at least three months of lean bulking if you’re gonna do it. I mean, I guess bare minimum two months. But let’s just say they’re, they’re, they’re gonna get ready for an extended lean bulking phase.
Do you think it’s possible by eating one and a half grams or maybe even two grams of protein per day for a couple of months and still just maintaining, let’s say a 10% surplus. So that was their plan, and they’re like, okay, I guess I’ll, I’ll drop my fat intake a little bit and I’ll drop my carbon intake a little bit and I’m gonna eat some more protein.
So still maintain that 10% surplus. Do you think that it’s possible that if they do that they will gain as much muscle as they would’ve otherwise, but less fat in
Bill: that scenario there? I don’t think they would gain any fat if you just increase your calories from protein and your resistance training. I’m not aware of any studies to suggest that you would gain fat from that.
And let me say, I can be wrong. But I’ll phrase it another way. If you’re gonna overeat either overeat on protein, it’s very hard to gain fat from excess protein. Now, I say this, I can produce a few studies. Some of the coaches, some of the best potting coaches in the world that, that are in my network, they disagree with me.
So I, I don’t wanna, you know, discard them. They’re like, oh, that’s, and you know, I play the science card. I’m like, well, show me one study where protein overfeeding in resistance trained people has caused fat gain. I’m not aware of it. Maybe it exists, but I haven’t found it yet.
Mike: And so then theoretically you could get the, the muscle building benefits of not just the protein, but more importantly, the calorie surplus, potentially without the downside of, of the fat gain or minimally, you would mitigate fat gain to a notable degree, I believe so.
Interesting. Now, I think that as actually, if I remember correctly, one of the premises in Martin Burk’s Lean Gaines book, which is he recommends a very high protein intake. And I remember that some of the claims seemed a little bit of a stretch to me. Like I, I didn’t. See the evidence in the same light as, as he did.
But that is one of the things he talked about is the benefits of very high protein intake, and particularly when cutting and lean bulking, I mean, maintenance is not as important in the scheme of things because, you know, the goal is, is a bit different when, when you’re really striving to lose fat or really striving to gain muscle.
That’s just a different mindset than I’m pretty happy and I’ll, I’ll eat a bit more. Some days eat a bit less, some days, and maintenance is usually just to kind of loosen up a little bit. . Yeah,
Bill: and let me give just a little bit of the genesis of my thinking on this. When Dr. Antonio published his study where they gave, I think it was up to 4.4 grams of protein per kg, so two grams per.
it was nearly 800 calories more per day. And their subjects, they didn’t lose fat, but they didn’t gain any fat. And I was like, I don’t believe that. And, and I had issues with his design. Like they didn’t supervise the workouts, they didn’t have any restrictions on aerobic exercise. Mm-hmm. . So methodologically there were issues and I’m like, uh, all right.
You know, that’s what it claims. But you know, did they really lift the, all that much? How do we know that they weren’t, that the one group wasn’t doing a lot of cardio? Then we ran a high versus low protein study in my lab where every workout was supervised. Everybody had a nutrition coach. The females that were assigned to the high protein diet, and I’m just gonna give round numbers, but they went from about 1600 calories per day to about 1,850.
So they increased by 250 calories. And remember this, they tracked every gram of every macronutrient every day for eight weeks. And they had to check in. They came to my lap. So we knew these subjects that couldn’t have been more supervised, they lost over two pounds of fat mass, which was outside. You know, there’s, there’s something called your minimal detectable difference in your method.
Used to measure fat. It was outside of that ranch. So it was a real change. of fat mass. So I went from thinking from Dr. Antonio’s study. Yeah, that’s, and then I have my data in my lab in subjects that I, you know, that we actually watched workout. We know that they didn’t miss workouts. We know that they at least tracked their macros.
What did I do with this? Like, that’s now two studies. And then of course, now my eyes are open to this, and then I found three, and then I found the fourth. And then I start piecing that together with, oh, okay, well, when I was dating my wife, we did this and that happened. So there’s people that disagree with me on this, but , but I have the data
Mike: yeah, yeah, yeah. I’m remembering now an interview I did with Alan Aragon where he was talking about this as well, this effect. And even in individual meals, like if I remember correctly, he was talking about, I believe it was. Lean bulking having some very high protein days. And he joked about, I remember his joke about getting the meat sweats when you eat so much meat that yes, I no, that, that, that happens
And he was saying something very similar to what you were saying where he couldn’t quite explain it, but there did seem to be something to this very high protein intake approach. And if I remember correctly, he was talking about it as opposed to just a sustained high level, just having some very high protein intake days.
But anybody listening, if you want to hear exactly what Alan said, because it was several months ago, so I, I may be getting little details wrong, but that was the gist. You can just go back in the feed and search for Aragon, a r a g o n and you’ll find it. It was posted several months ago, but it was a good interview.
Bill: You work with a lot of people, you help them. Do you think there’s something to this in your own experience or do you think, well it’s, maybe these are anomalies? You know,
Mike: it’s a good question. It’s something I don’t have much experience with first. Personally, I used to eat 400 plus grams of protein per day, but I didn’t know what I was doing.
I, I didn’t, at that time, I didn’t even know about energy balance. I don’t know where I got the idea to eat that much protein. It was probably in a body building magazine, or maybe it was an internet forum or there was a time when I was pretty ignorant and I knew that I was ignorant. So at least that worked in my favor.
Like I didn’t think I knew more than I did. I just didn’t take it seriously enough to really educate myself and learn what to do according to credible experts and according to scientific research, it was more just Jim lore and whatever I could find. As quickly and, and as easily as possible because at that time I just liked working out as something I did with my friends.
And then, um, but you know, anyway, so I can’t speak to that period. And since then I’ve actually never gone back to a consistently probably anything over 1.2 to 1.3 grams per pound per day. And that would’ve been when cutting. And I can say though that I have noticed a difference between about 0.8 grams and one to 1.3 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day when cutting.
And how I’ve noticed it is in muscle soreness and, and just postworkout recovery. I have noticed that, especially even recently actually, where I was just curious. So I took out, it was about only 30 grams of protein. Per day and maybe 30 ish, let’s, let’s say, it might have been as much as 50 and to get into the 0.8 grams per pound of body weight per day range.
And it, this was in the context of I would say maintenance, but like I had mentioned earlier, maintenance, it’s a moving target. It’s not like I am able to eat exactly the calories and eat every day. And because I lost about eight or nine pounds of, well, I didn’t lose any muscle to speak of, so it’s gonna be mostly fat.
I mean, there’ll be some water and glycogen, but I got pretty lean over the course of the RONA because I wasn’t driving to the office or driving to work. And I was like, okay, I have a little bit of extra time in the morning. I’m gonna hop on my upright bike and I like to read first thing in the morning.
And so I just continue reading on the bike and just do some moderate intensity cardio. Just burn a couple hundred calories, you know, 30 minutes or so. And speaking to your, Cutting. I hadn’t, or, well, when you say slow, you mean not egregiously fast. But what was also kind of interesting is I hadn’t slow cut in a while where that’s the only change I made.
I was like, eh, I’ll just keep eating the way I eat. I’m not gonna increase my calories to make up for the couple hundred, uh, calories that I’ll burn on the, uh, in my cardio. And I think that’s an appropriate deficit as well. Considering my body composition and my training experience, I don’t think I really, there’s not too much more to gain going above if I want to preserve muscle as effectively as possible, going above probably three or 400 calories in terms of a deficit.
And so I lost for amount of fat doing that and got pretty lean. And I’m pretty lean now. And so, In my maintenance. I want to err on the side of staying lean because I like it and let’s face, it’s good for my work. It makes for good pictures for Instagram and we’re gonna do some YouTube stuff. It makes for good video and that’s kind of silly, but I’ve noticed from a marketing perspective, there is a difference between being 11 or 12% and like eight or 9%.
It, there just is, it gets a lot more attention and it’s kind of silly, but it is what it is. And so my point with saying that is my maintenance, I’ll bet you if I could know for certain that I’m in a, a slight deficit more often than I’m in a slight surplus. Cause I’m gonna air on the side of trying to not overeat.
And so when I reduce my protein intake, I notice cause then I’m doing cardio as well. And there’s, you know, it’s moderate cardio. It’s not, I’m not doing sprints, it’s not much in the. Volume or intensity. But in the beginning at least, it was a new stimulus for my legs. And where I noticed it was particularly in my legs.
And I would just, my squatting and my lower body training just took a, a heavier toll on my lower body with let’s just cut it in the middle and say 40 grams of fewer grams of protein per day. And I did that for a couple of months and it persisted. The issue persisted. And I would also have little, they weren’t pains, they were like persistent sorenesses spots, in particularly on my legs and my hamstrings that never really seemed to fully recover.
And then by putting protein back in, by putting that protein back in that I took out within like 10 days that was gone and I noticeably, I was, the little sore spots were gone. And I felt it in the gym where I felt more recovered in between my deadlifting and my squatting, for example. And. I don’t have any other great explanation for that.
I mean, the only other change really was I started taking a supplement that Allegion supplement, a gut supplement that has some enzymes that help with protein digestion. And I did notice that I had less gas, especially after sometimes I get gassy after having like 50 grams of protein with powder. And that was kind of a new thing in the past that that hadn’t happened.
And then since I started taking this gut supplement, that went away completely. Also, I would notice that with dinner, cause my dinner would be a big vegetable dish and so I ha I wasn’t a very gassy, it wasn’t like over the top, but it was went from like a little bit of gassiness, especially with the higher protein meals to none at all.
But you know, so maybe there’s something with protein absorption there, but I don’t think that. I’m not saying that as a benefit of the supplement, I would probably, I would just attribute it more to the increase in protein. So outside of that rambling anecdote, I don’t have much experience with very high protein intake.
A lot of the people I’ve worked with, you know, firsthand virtually over the years went from basically low protein dieting to good, it’s like quote unquote high, but good by our standards, you know, around one gram per pound of body weight per day. But I haven’t had many interactions with, it would be more hardcore bodybuilder types who want to eat two grams of protein per pound per day just to see what happens, you know?
Bill: And to be clear, when you’re eating 1.2 or we’re saying 1.2 grams per pound, or 1.3, I would call that very high. Yeah. Again, bodybuilder. They wouldn’t, but for my population, the average male, the average female who wants to look better, who lifts weights, that’s
Mike: a lot of protein. Yeah. No, it’s so much that, again, when for most people, when they go from their normal diet and they’re new to this and then they see that number and then they start translating that into actual food, there’s like, you know, shell shock, how am I gonna do that?
canna tuna, or four . Yeah, exactly. I mean, that’s, and, and it just, it’s just, they figure it out. Especially when they see like, oh, okay, a scoop of protein is like 20, 25 grams and I can make a little smoothie. I can, you know, get in maybe some fruit and vegetables, put in some spinach in there, and they figure it out.
But in the beginning it can be disconcerting almost, because, you know, the idea of eating that much protein is so foreign to. But okay, good. So that’s great. That’s useful information for people listening. Then if you want to try with, uh, play around with very high protein intake seems to be most relevant to lean bulking and to cutting.
But I guess one thing you did mention, bill, that I should repeat is, and this is something Alan also spoke about, if you want to eat a bit more food and like, for example, let’s say you’re cutting and you wanna take a bit of a diet break or maybe you’re maintaining and you just feel the need. I, I run into this sometimes if I stay pretty lean for long periods of time where it seems like once every four to six weeks, it’s almost like my body just wants more food.
I really don’t feel like it’s too much of a psychological thing because I don’t care that much about food. I can eat really good food and like it, I can eat the same stuff every meal, every day and like that. So, but I will feel the need for more calories where my body, it’s almost like, can we please just get a bit more food?
Can we please get something more than, you know, the 2,700 or whatever a day we’ve been getting? And those scenarios, whether it’s a diet break or just want to eat more food or maybe going to a restaurant if you can enjoy eating a bunch of protein as far as that’s the most forgiving, I guess we could say on the, on your body composition.
Like let’s say you’re going out to a restaurant and you really like meat. You know, go to town have, have a huge steak, which can also come with a bunch of fat, but depending on what you want. But anyway, on where you’re going and how you’re ordering it, eat a bunch of meat and that, as far as your body composition goes, will have less of an effect than, or less of a negative effect than maybe the massive mac and cheese.
I don’t know. The massive bowl of pasta or something. Yeah.
Bill: Yeah. I agree. It appears as though you do less damage if the excess calories are coming from protein. Yeah. The body
Mike: fat accumulation. Right. As far as a practical note on that, that can be also something that is in, in the context of one meal I general.
Would tell people, don’t worry about it. Like that’s genuine. What I say, just enjoy yourself and try not to eat yourself into a coma. But don’t, if you don’t wanna order the, the prime rib and you want the big bowl of pasta, get the big bowl of pasta. Come on. Just enjoy yourself. But if you are lean bulking where you’re gonna be consistently in a surplus, or let’s say you’re maintaining and you want to eat larger amounts of food, or you need to eat larger amounts of food, fairly often.
Going high protein if you can. I mean, I would say if you hate it, maybe it’s just not for you, but if you don’t mind it, then it is gonna be again, more forgiving than the high protein or high fat. Yeah.
Bill: And, and you mentioned lean bulking and that’s where I was like, man, I wish there were some actual research and resistance trained people on that.
I know. And you guys are doing it. Yeah. You’re, you’re partnered with Dr. Helms and I just wanna applaud you cuz as you know, cause your, your foot’s in that arena. It’s so much work to do those studies. And I just, I really appreciate the fact that your company’s doing that kind of research.
Mike: Yeah, yeah. I’m excited to see the outcome of that.
Cause that is one of those questions. I mean, there’s a discussion that I had with Eric some time ago before that started, and that’s one of those questions that’s just out there. It’s just there are theories based on existing research, but I mean, one study obviously is not gonna, it’s not gonna settle the matter, but that.
Give us the most insight that we have had on the matter, because up until now there are some interesting theories based on research that doesn’t tell us one way or another, but it suggests things. So I’m excited to see where that research goes and, and just in general, I’m excited to be involved in research that just benefits the body composition space.
Like, uh, we’re doing a study with Grant Tinsley on creatine and D H T to give some, some ballast, some counter balance to that rugby study that scared off a lot of guys from taking creatine because they thought it might cause them to lose their hair, especially guys with male pattern baldness. We’re also, yes, we’re involved in research that Menno Hanselman’s and Andy Galpin are doing on intermittent fasting.
Muscle growth in particular. So I just see it as, I mean, I’m just interested, so there’s that, but also I think it’s a nice way to give back to a community that I’ve benefited from a lot because I’m not a scientist, I don’t pretend to be one. I benefit from people like you and the work you do, and I just try to represent it honestly and correctly and get it out there and make it popular, you know?
Bill: Yeah. Well, like I said, that’s when that study, when it can be finished. I know it’s difficult with the pandemic, but man, that’s gonna be awesome. That’s the data that I love, what people are actually doing in the questions that people actually have in our space.
If you like what I’m doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, definitely check out my sports nutrition company Legion, which thanks to the support of many people like you, is the leading brand of all natural sports supplements in the world. I have one last question for you and then we can just quickly wrap up.
So what are some of the, what are some of the other, uh, I mean at this point it’s probably nooks and crannies and niches and things that are most relevant to people like us. Maybe not very relevant to just the everyday person who really just needs to learn what energy balance means and eat some protein and, and move around a bit.
What are some of the, it might even be, these might even be studies that you have planned or would like to conduct, but what are some of the other questions that are most on your mind, the data that you really wanna get your hands on?
Bill: So, we recently finished a diet break study in resistance trained females and just to define the way that we’re using the word diet.
And I’m going to wear what I’m gonna do next. So I just, I just need a little background. So the A diet break is your diet for a few weeks. You take a week off. Sometimes studies will have you take two weeks off and you go back to maintenance calorie levels. In theory, or what has been shown in some of the obese population literature is by taking this break.
You don’t do any damage. It’s not like you gain weight during one week time off, but it actually kind of resets your metabolism such that your metabolism isn’t suppressed as it would be if you never took a break from your diet and coming back from a diet break. So you take a week off the next week that you go back on your diet, you’re a little more efficient with the fat loss that you’re going to be able to initiate.
So it’s not all of the literature is supportive. It’s always no change, no benefit, or in some cases there’s a benefit. So what I’m looking to do with our rapid fat loss study is it’s stick to this philosophy of don’t diet for a long period of time, take a break, lose weight slowly when you are on a diet.
But I think the question that’s gonna be driving my research program for the next few years is what’s the most amount of fat we can take off of the human body? In a short period of time, but yet maintain muscle mass and metabolic rate. So where is that threshold? How aggressive can we be? Because if you haven’t been dieting for let’s say a couple months, you’re probably gonna be really motivated in that first week and hopefully that second week where maybe we can be aggressive, more aggressive than what I would thought that we could have been in the past, but not so aggressive that were causing quote, unquote damage.
That’s kind of where I
Mike: see, um, yeah, that’s an interesting strategy that where, where you could start out. more aggressively and then ease off the gas as you get deeper into the cut. And then I guess you could combine that with diet breaks. That’d be interesting too. Could you take five days off? Uh, there’s also, there’s something to be said, right?
Just for the psychological break. It’s just nice to eat a, a little bit more food when you’ve been in a deficit for a bit, but you take your five days off, let’s call it, or seven days off, and can you come back to it a bit more aggressively than you normally would? Like even take a 30 or 35% deficit, you know, I’ve generally just recommended the 20 to 25%.
Of course, if you are very overweight, you can get away with, with a larger deficit and lose plenty of fat and not lose muscle and feel okay. But for fit people, let’s just say 25% is probably the ceiling that that’s the highest I’ve ever recommended. And then I’ve explained that if you’re a guy at 10% wanting to get to 7%, it’s gonna have to be a bit smaller than that and given the female equivalent, but that would be an interesting.
Approach, actually, like you’re saying, is can you start a bit more aggressively and then come down to something that’s less aggressive? Take a diet break, can you restart aggressively and then come back down to, you know, let’s say, let’s just call it 20%. Because if you could do that, that actually, that could help you get to your goal quite a bit faster.
Bill: Yeah, and I’m exactly where you’re at if you’re going to do a traditional diet, it, we’ve looked at 25% consistently over the years in several of our studies, and that seems to be a, a really good place now and keeping protein at about 1.8 grams per kg or 0.8 grams per pound, that seems to be a very good place to be able to main, to cause fat loss and to maintain muscle mass and to maintain metabolic rate.
So yeah, I agree. I 25% I think is, it’s probably the best approach and I’m just as a scientist now saying, all right, well, let’s push the envelope to see what we can do with resistance exercise, with high protein intake. If we do push it more for a short period of time, I can already tell. If you get more severe than that for more than a week or two, you can’t eat enough protein and you can’t lift enough weights to prevent muscle loss and metabolic rate
Yeah. Yeah. That’s interesting. Definitely keep me posted on that research and that outcome. No, absolutely. All right, man, well, this was, this was a great discussion. I, I’m really glad that we could connect up and do this. I’m looking forward to the next one. We’ll have to, again, I know that with your schedule, it might not be for a month or two, but I think we should definitely figure out something, something else to talk about, because I’m sure that this discussion is gonna be well received and we’re able to talk about some.
Of the nuances, maybe of body composition, but certainly things that I haven’t beaten to death in already on the blog and podcast, which is always what I’m looking for. So thanks again for taking the time to do this, and let’s just wrap up with where people can find you and your work, and if there’s anything, any project in particular that you want them to know about, if you’re working on a new book or anything like that, let’s just let them know.
Bill: So I’m on Instagram. That’s the only place that I’m on social media. My username is at Bill Campbell PhD. I’m very active on that. I, I put a lot of. Questions. True, false, multiple choice type of stuff on there centered around physique enhancement sports, nutrition. It’s exactly what you would think a professor would post about
Mike: So it’s great. It’s a great resource for just learning things and that’s why most people still listening are still listening , because they wanna learn. They wanna learn stuff. So your Instagram is the type of Instagram that they would appreci. Yes.
Bill: Yeah. And I’m fortunate in the sense that I’m a professor.
I don’t, you know, I’m not, um, I’m not trying to sell you one of my products or anything like that. So it, it is 100% no
Mike: detox. Tease . .
Bill: Well, not yet . No. Fortunately you haven’t had to go there yet. I don’t think that will, will be in my future. I do get asked for a lot of things though. Things that I’m like, eh, yeah.
I don’t use this in my, um, my own life. It’s funny, I, I love what you do on your podcast. If I ever did a podcast, I’d be like, you know, I’m here to, I’m gonna promote myself and what I actually do, So I, I always appreciate that when I listen to your podcast. It’s, yeah,
Mike: I mean, that’s, that just made the most sense to me.
The podcast is fairly popular, so if I wanted to sell ads, I’ve been told that, you know, it could be maybe in the range of 40 or $50,000 a month in revenue, but they’re just, I mean, I’m not gonna find stuff to promote that I’m gonna wanna promote more than my own. Right. And so it just made the most sense to me to be like, you know, If you like what I’m doing, here are the things that I have and if any of them are interesting to you, check ’em out.
If they’re not, that’s okay. You see, I think
Bill: my wife would argue with me if I could potentially generate 40 or 15,000 . I think she might tell you, are you sure we can’t promote a a basket or,
Mike: yeah. Isn’t there something, I mean, and that is a fair point. That is a fair point, but you, you know, you only have so much inventory, right?
You can’t just fill your, your episodes with promotions and we we’re able to track some of the ROI that comes off of the podcast and there’s of course a fair amount of revenue that’s generated that is untrackable. It’s hard to say exactly what is it making in me when it comes down to it, and it’s probably, if we’re talking about my own personal income, it’s almost certainly not.
Making me that much money, but that’s okay. It makes more strategic sense to just, I would rather have people hear about Legion more often, even if they’re not gonna buy anything. Ultimately, I think it makes more sense strategically for me, again, just focus on my stuff and build the, the ecosystem, so to speak, and build the overall value of that versus the short-term gratification of maybe more personal income.
Um, but, You know, I’m not getting the potential long-term value of having podcast episodes that, you know, I’ll have episodes that I recorded years ago that still get a fair amount of plays every month. And so it almost, I mean, it’s not a great analogy, but it’s almost like a network effect of sorts in that, or self-reinforcing feedback loop or something where the more podcasts I produce where I have some quick pitch for something of mine or a blurb on on my books or whatever, the more valuable it becomes.
Because again, you know, who knows, I could be recording episodes five years from now and people are still listening to this one. And so the more episodes I have out there that just mention my stuff, the better I think given the bigger picture that I’m working. . Well,
Bill: it makes sense. And I think I told you earlier, I’m starting on 2016 of your podcast, so , that’s four or five years ago.
So I’m, I’m one of those
Mike: people. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, hey, that’s a perfect example. And hopefully I was saying reasonable things back then. I think for the most part I was though . Oh, it’s amazing
Bill: how you and I come to the same conclusion I think on about everything. And Lyle McDonald did some, I just listened to that one recently.
Um, I’ve never met Lyle. I don’t know. But everything he says I agree with, like, it seems like all, I mean, I
Mike: just, he’s a smart guy and I, and I think because of his personality and I’ve had no issues with him, he’s always been, I mean, what you hear on the podcast is that’s been my, all of my interactions with him have been like that friendly and fun.
But that’s not the case for a lot of people who have clashed with him. Right. So he, he has, and, and rightfully I’d say he’s earned a, a bit of a, an outsider kind. Reputation, and in some cases he’ll be pretty inflammatory. And I don’t take personal offense. It, it’s not been, it hasn’t been to me. But even if it were, I don’t take, like, I don’t take that stuff personally.
But that aside, so if we take kind of maybe some of the quirkier or unpalatable aspects of his personality aside, I think if you judge him by his work, and especially if you go back to things that he has been talking about for a long time, he’s been pretty prescient actually. He’s been like with volume, he’s been saying for a long time, 10 to 20 hard sets per major mouse group per week.
He hasn’t used the term hard set, but that’s what he’s, that’s like Greg Knuckles term, but that’s what he’s talking about. And 10, you know, if you’re new. , you don’t really need to be doing more than 10, and you can, I’m also talking about direct plus indirect volume. You have to be reasonable with that. But if you are, you know, doing some barbell rows like that is volume for your biceps too, and maybe as high as 20.
If you’re an advanced weightlifter and you’re really trying to squeeze out those last bits of strength and muscle. Even that is probably not necessary. And if you go beyond that, will you gain more muscle and strength? Who knows? Because you’re gonna get hurt. There you go. He’s been saying that for a long time.
And I remember he, that’s an example of something that he was attacked over, um, especially as a, a couple of years ago when there was some research and there was a discussion that would suggest that, well, there’s like a direct linear relationship between volume and muscle growth. And so if you can do 40 hard sets per major muscle group per week, do it.
But now as the research has advanced, it’s coming back around to what Lyle’s been saying for a long time. And here’s one of the first guys that came across in the evidence-based space where, I also was like, Hmm, I think this guy really act, knows what he’s talking about. Uh, not that I would just blindly accept anything that he says, but he was one of the, it was him.
And on the training side of things, I came across Reto and starting strength early on, and that was very helpful. Alan Aragon’s work was very helpful. Martin Berkhan’s work was helpful. Uh, I feel like I’m probably forgetting a few people who should also get credit, but anyways, I just want to stick up for Lyle because.
I’ve always enjoyed my discussions with him and I’ve learned a lot from his work. Yeah.
Bill: Well that’s the only thing I’m basing in. You know, I said, cause I’ve never met him or talked to him, but everything. I’ve listened to him on your podcast and I’ve read a few things over the years. I agree. It’s like, wow.
Now again, I don’t wanna say, well he’s right cuz that’s what I think. I’m just saying, I find myself agreeing with him and, and learning from him. His knowledge on the females is, it’s awesome. It’s what I aspire
Mike: to. Have you checked out his book for women? I haven’t
Bill: done that yet.
Mike: Only . I I You would like it.
Yeah. You would like it. I mean, it’s, it’s what you’d expect from him and it is a lot of detail and it is far more information than the average. Person or even woman probably who just wants to get into shape, needs or wants. But for someone like you, I think that you’ll really appreciate the attention to detail and the, the rigor that he applies to his books.
Yes. Yeah. Cool man. Well, okay, so Instagram, bill Campbell, PhD, and thanks again for taking the time to do this. We should definitely set up another one.
Bill: Yeah, let’s maybe when as my studies start getting published, we’re gonna have a few coming out, hopefully in the over early 2021 and we can, I can give you kind of an exclusive, Hey, here’s, you know, just got published.
Let’s discuss ‘
Mike: em. Yeah, that’d be great. I’m in. Cool. All right. Well, that’s it for this episode. I hope you enjoyed it and found it interesting and helpful. And if you did and you don’t mind doing me a favor, please do leave a quick review on iTunes or wherever you’re listening to me from in whichever app you’re listening to me in.
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