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How Chris Used Bigger Leaner Stronger to Lose 40 Pounds and 10% Body Fat

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"I have more confidence now and my body has never looked better!"

Chris's Progress

Progress Image Before
Progress Image 5 Months

How many months’ progress do your pictures represent? What were your stats for each picture?

In May 2017, when I started the program, I was 225 lb and around 20 percent body fat.

By the end of September 2017, I was 185 lb, 9 percent body fat, and had lost zero strength! I even increased my strength on certain lifts.

What has happened so far on the program?

I went on a cut from May of 2017 to September of 2017 and I lost 40 pounds, roughly 11 to 12% body fat, and surprisingly didn’t lose any strength!

My bench stayed pretty much the same throughout my cut but my squat and deadlift increased. After reaching the single digit body fat range I decided to reverse diet into a bulk as I still wanted my pecs to look bigger (don’t we all haha).

I have been on a bulking plan for about 2 months now and already have noticeably bigger looking pecs. My bench is slowly increasing and I still have the lean look that I had been trying to obtain during my cut.

What workout split from the book did you use?

The 5-day split. I recently added incline dumbbell to my shoulder day to increase the strength in my upper chest, which is doing wonders!

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

To answer this question, I will need to give you a background and discuss the challenges that I have faced which lead me to Bigger Leaner Stronger.

I was always very athletic but extremely skinny my whole life. All the way through college I was 6’3″ and weighed 145 lb. I basically convinced myself that I had a fast metabolism and couldn’t put on any muscle size, which obviously wasn’t true.

In 2012, at the age of 25, I decided to really start getting into bodybuilding. I was reading all of the bro science articles and forums on bodybuilding websites. I was eating as much as humanly possible (I literally did the GOMAD diet, which is embarrassing to think about now). I was doing workout splits that the Mr. Olympia competitors were doing, which lead to overtraining since I’m a non-steroid user.

Needless to say, I was still able to make some noobie gains. I felt pretty good about myself. After a while, though, I began to plateau after my noobie gains and I was gaining more fat and not really any strength. I weighed about 225 to 230 lb at my peak and was only benching about 235 for 5 reps.

After being stuck there for a year, someone at my gym turned me onto Bigger Leaner Stronger. At first I was terrified about changing my diet, even though deep down I knew it was necessary. So at first, I kept my then current (and terrible) diet and just switched to the workout split in the book.

Before, I had been working out 6 days a week for about 2 hours per session where I was doing 6 to 7 different exercises per day all in the 8 to 10 rep range. I then switched to your plan where I worked out 5 days a week for about 45 minutes to an hour per day and only did 3 t0 4 different exercises in the 4 to 6 rep range.

I immediately overcame my multiple year plateau–I started to gain confidence in the program. I increased my bench press to 275 for 6 reps within a matter of weeks. I am not sure exactly what my body fat was at this point, but I knew it wasn’t great–most likely somewhere in the 20 percent range.

I finally convinced myself to take a look at your cutting diet. I went to the blog and utilized your macro calculator and I was terrified at what I saw. At the time I was eating close to 5,000 calories per day and not keeping track of my macros at all.

The calculator said to cut my calories down to 2,300. At first I wanted nothing to do with cutting because in my head I pictured myself getting super skinny again and I did not want to go back to that. I also thought it was 100 percent inevitable that I would lose all the strength that I worked so hard to acquire over the years (I wasn’t even that strong for weighing 225 lb, but I didn’t realize that at the time).

I went out on a limb and decided I would give the cutting diet a try. My initial thought process was that if I began to lose strength, I would immediately stop. So I started the cut and balanced out my macros to the recommended 40/40/20 ratios. Every week I would go to the gym expecting to lose strength and thinking I would quit the program.

To my amazement, I never lost anything! I even somehow went up in strength on certain lifts, which I didn’t think was physically possible. I saw improvements every single week in my physique and I got down to 185 lb and about 8 t0 9% body fat while still maintaining my strength.

I was still benching in the upper 200s and I couldn’t believe it! I was getting compliments almost on a daily basis. At the end of the cut, I loved the way my arms and abs looked, but I was still not satisfied with my chest. I thought it was too small and not full enough.

That is when I decided to look into your bulking program. Once again I calculated my macros and was terrified at what I saw. It said to jump up to 3,300 calories, drop protein, and increase carbs up to 500 grams!

I had flashbacks of high body fat and was scared to start the bulk. I wrote on your blog about my concern and you turned me onto reverse dieting which lead me to slowly increasing my daily calorie intake. I had increased my calories by about 150 every week and didn’t notice any fat gain whatsoever!

What do you like most about the program?

This program is amazing. Every since I started working out I always thought that I had to eat 10,000 calories a day and workout every single day in the gym for 2 hours. Then, when that wasn’t working, I thought I had to eat perfectly clean with a very low fat, low carb, and ridiculously high protein diet.

Bigger Leaner Stronger allowed me to understand the science behind exercising and muscle growth. It also taught me how to diet without being miserable and showed me that I can still eat the foods I enjoy. I was so hesitant to jump into the program, but once I did, the results that I wanted came within months.

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

There’s no comparison at all. I have tried so many “bodybuilding” programs in the past and this is the only one that has worked for me.

I related to Mike’s story because, like me, he was naturally skinny and had tried all of these “eat big, lift big” programs that never work for anyone. I listened to what he had to say and it paid off.

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

I now have more confidence in every aspect of my life, whether it’s presenting to clients at work, or just walking around the city everyday. When you look good, you feel good. Because of Bigger Leaner Stronger, how I look now is by far the best I have ever looked.

Who would you recommend this program to and why?

I always look around at the gym and see these guys who are older than I am lifting the same way I used to before I read Bigger Leaner Stronger. These are the guys who do 8 different chest exercises on chest day for 10 to 12 reps.

They have huge arms along with big guts. You can’t even differentiate between the muscle and fat on their bodies. I laugh because I was like that and I feel that I would still be in their shoes had I never read the book.

These are also the guys who are eating 5000 calories a day without tracking what they are eating. They think if they eat any less than that they will be weak. Those are the exact people who need to get this program!

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I think it’s important for everyone to know that yes, to achieve your fitness goals, there is a lot of work involved. But having your idea of a perfect body does not need to take over your entire life like many people think.

I have a full-time job that has me working late hours and traveling often. Working out for 45 minutes a day, 5 days a week is all it took for me to achieve the look that I had been wanting.

As far as eating goes, I set up my macros and I still have plenty of room to eat food that I want to eat. Bigger Leaner Stronger showed me that it is much easier to achieve my goals than I had thought. Also, Mike was ALWAYS available every step of the way to answer any questions that I had and to address my concerns.

I always read his blog posts and commented with my questions to which he replied to within a matter of days. Without these replies, I think my concerns would have taken a toll on my decisions and I would have never started the program in the first place.

I’m basically at the point where every step of this program has been so effective for me that if Mike told me that the next step to getting super jacked was to jump off a bridge, I would probably trust it haha.

Did you use any Legion supplements?

I did not, but I have every intention of ordering them once I run out of my current supplements.

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Want to become a success story too? Here's how he did it

The program that made this transformation possible:

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Mike Matthews is the founder and CEO of Legion as well as a bestselling fitness author of several books, including Bigger Leaner Stronger, Thinner Leaner Stronger, and The Shredded Chef.

His simple and science-based approach to building muscle, losing fat, and getting healthy has sold over a million books and helped thousands of people build their best bodies ever, and his work has been featured in many popular outlets including Esquire, Men’s Health, Elle, Women’s Health, Muscle & Strength, and more, as well as on FOX and ABC.

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