30th May: “Injury“
19th Jan: “Secondary Exercises“
2nd June “Irregular work hours“
19th April “Strength Losses“
18th April “RPT Top set Weight”
19th April Back-off set weight“
6th April “Calf Training“
27th Mar. “Skipped Sessions“
14th Mar. “Hunger problems“
13th Mar. “Bench Press strength drop“
Questions in the comments welcome. I’ll answer you to the best of my ability.
- Alcohol: Is it banned on this diet?
- How quickly can I expect results?
- Should I cut or slow-bulk?
- Carb sources: Can I eat ‘xxx’ carb source? Is it ok to eat saturated fat vs poly…?
- Hunger fears: Andy, skipping breakfast, that’s xx hours without food! I can’t do it!
- Meal Frequency: Can I eat 4 meals instead of 2 or 3?
- Timing mistakes: I ate lunch a little later today, should I eat dinner later too and adjust the fasting window?
- Trace Carbs: Do I need to count the carbs in [fruit name]/dairy/sauce etc. ?
- Trace Protein: Do I need to factor in the trace amounts of protein in rice/quinoa and the trace amount of carbs in things like cottage cheese?
- Fruit: Do I add that as normal carbs or is it different due to not being ‘starchy’?
- Fish oil: I currently have a bottle of fish oil softgels that measure 1000mg/softgel. Should I be taking a total of 4g of fish oil a day then, or should I opt for a lower dosage? When should I take them?
- Salt: I have some turkey patties in the freezer. Is the high sodium content a concern?
- Too full: I feel very full and I’ve been finding it hard to hit my macro numbers on Training Days. As I am on a cut is it detrimental to eat less?
- Paleo: I follow the Paleo diet. What should I do about carb sources?
- Supplements: What about them?
- Self Belief: I lack it. :'( Can you whisper sweet, motivational things to me?
- Frying: Is cooking with oil ok on Training Days?
- Frozen Veggies: For Green Veggies, I usually go buy the frozen bags at the grocery store and microwave them, Is that cool?
- Weighing food: Do I need to weigh everything?
- Water: How much should I be drinking?
- Protein Shakes: Are they ok to use?
- Water-weight loss: What do you mean by “initial water-weight loss”?
- Sleep: Why is it important?
- Training Day surplus: Why do we do this even if cutting?
- Diet Soda: Can I drink it? What about tea or coffee?
- “Cheat Days“: How do you feel about them?
- Hunger problems: I feel hungry during the fast, why?
- Irregular work hours: How do I set things up?
**** Training Questions follow ****
- No, but as alcohol has calories, it has the potential to screw everything up. Why? Dietary fat can be easily stored if you go over your calorie budget for the day. On the occasions that you are going to drink, some very general rules that will take you a long way:
- Keep dietary fat low on this day.
- Drinking beer? Make it a training day.
- Drinking diet mixers and spirits? Make it a rest day.
I’ve written a guide to drinking alcohol on a diet here with details and reasons for the above. Skip to sections on: “Once a week moderate to ‘hard’ drinking” or “Drinking in moderation a few times a week.”
Do not abuse the guide and use it as an excuse for excessive alcohol consumption or you will just screw up your progress.
– I’ve written about this in detail in the article 12 Weeks: What you can expect to achieve.
– This is a good question. With the exception of those already strikingly lean (in-season bodybuilders/fitness competitors) and athlete clients that have other considerations more important that bf%, you should probably do a cut first, even if your goal is to bulk. This sounds counter-logical but there is a very good reason for this.
By getting lean first, you make yourself more leptin and insulin sensitive. This is great for two reasons. Firstly, it means we can eat more carbs and not get fat, and secondly is makes muscle-building easier as the carbs will be shuttled off into the muscles more efficiently in the post-workout window rather than being stored as fat.
So by getting lean first, we can build more muscle and store less fat when eating a calorie surplus while on this I.F. diet. Want to bulk and still keep your abs to a certain extent? First cut, then do a slow-bulk. If you’re already quite lean this may only take a month.
I’ve written in much greater detail in my article, “Identifying Where You Are Now, Setting Realistic Goals, and Your Best Course Of Action.”
- For diet success don’t stress this. Don’t distinguish any further than Carbs*/Fat*/Protein. Brown vs. white rice is a non-issue. Want to eat a cake*? – Please do. Just count it against your daily macronutrient allowance. (*Example of how to do this.)
*There are exceptions, but these are beyond the scope of here. For the carbs, just make sure you get most of them from whole foods (pasta, rice, bread, potatoes etc…) 80% of the time and you’ll be fine. This is to minimize chances of spill-over into fat stores on your workout days. I’ve expanded on this with and included a quote from Lyle McDonald in the comments below. If you wish to get geekier than that then see the glucose vs. sucrose vs. fructose part of this article by Martin Berkhan.
If you wish to simplify things then go by the IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) philosophy, which doesn’t just mean stuff your face with crappy food, but does give you flexibility. There’s a good article summing it up by JCDeen here. Further details in a good video on “Clean eating vs IIFYM” by Layne Norton here.
– Yes you can do it. It’s just a case of your body adjusting. This whole website is littered with comments from people amazed at how they have adjusted and are feeling great. Our ancestors did this and so can you. The only difference so far is the length of time clients take to adjust. Some are fine straight away, for others it takes 1.5 weeks. Typically though it is 4-7 days.
- Yes but why complicate things? This is just due to a fear of hunger, which will not be an issue.
- No. The key here is consistency. Just because you miss one meal time, doesn’t mean you adjust the other. Your hormones get used to when you usually eat, so eat as close as possible to that time. Keep things as regular as possible, but don’t stress the occasional day when timing is off.
- This question is usually asked because I set up clients with simple rules like, “Only count starchy carbs, eat lots of leafy greens and don’t count them.”
Unfortunately there are those that will take any rule you give to help them make things simple and abuse it*. So allow me to make this clear,
If you consume a lot of [dairy/fruit/sauce etc.] then yes please do it. If you’re just talking about small quantities then it’s probably not worth bothering to count. The key is to keep consistent. Everything in reality counts. As long as when I tell you to reduce carbs later, as the diet progresses you don’t then reduce the rice/bread carbs and then up the dairy or [insert other food] intake “Because those carbs don’t count!” as some people, clearly trying to screw the laws of science do, then you’re all good.
*If you would like to read an amusing anecdote about abusing rules, check the comment titled “Apples and Mayonnaise” I’ve written in the comments below.
If we are consistent, we don’t have to factor these things in. If we ignore them from the start, we can ignore them forever, and we can have success in the long-run.
Carbs are carbs are carbs. They have energy. There is no escaping this. [See point 8.] I tell people not to count the green vegetables because it makes life easier. Fruits have carbs, some more than others. Anything you’re going to eat regularly is worth counting. Things you are only going to eat occasionally are probably not worth counting.
I know that some people will now take this to mean, “Ok if I’m only going to eat some fruits occasionally, it’s ok I won’t count them. So I’ll eat 5 bananas on Mondays, a whole watermelon on Tuesdays, a bunch of grapes on Wednesdays… But it’s all OK because I only eat the one kind of fruit occasionally (once a week)!”
…But then these are the kind of people who always look for shortcuts. They might make great accountants hiding your savings away from the tax-man, but there’s no shortcuts in the energy equation. They’re only going to shoot themselves in the foot. Are you?
11. Fish oil: I currently have a bottle of fish oil soft-gels that measure 1000mg/soft-gel. Should I be taking a total of 4g of fish oil a day then, or should I opt for a lower dosage? When should I take them?
It’s not the quantity of the oil (fat) that counts, what matters is meeting the EPA and DHA numbers that the research suggests is beneficial. (2g EPA 1.5g DHA /day) Inferior quality fish oil supplements take advantage of the average consumer’s ignorance of this fact. With such products it may be difficult without taking a whole lot of them, which will then put your fat number up for the day. Buy good quality fish oil. Look for those key ingredients.
Take them with your last meal of the day as fat slows the rate of digestion of a meal and keeps us feeling fuller for longer.
In short, not unless you are a bodybuilder with a competition in a few days.
More detail for those interested:
Sodium does not matter. Only relative changes in sodium will increase your water retention, not overall consumption. So if you suddenly increase your sodium intake you will bloat; if you suddenly decrease your sodium intake you will lose water. The body adjusts to a set-point after time. (A few days I believe.)
So bodybuilders, whom need to look extra lean on one particular day cutting, sodium 2 weeks before a competition to lose water is a bad strategy, because their body will have re-adjusted to a set-point by the 2 week mark and nothing will have changed overall. Cutting sodium 2/3 days out will get them looking leaner for competition day. But in the long-run, this is not a weight loss strategy – the human body out-smarts our diet-tricks in the end.
Firstly, everyone feels like this when they start. Typically your stomach will adjust to the large quantity of food within 2 weeks. In the meantime eating some yummy cereal is a good way to hit your macros (as long as it is low-fat cereal with low-fat milk), and don’t worry about the sugar content.
Presuming you have calculated your macros correctly, if you eat less you will not have the energy needs to recover from your workout and you will probably lack energy for your workout in a couple of days, hampering progress.
Right now I am on a bulk so my carb requirements are much higher. To hit this number I eat a box of cereal after every workout for desert*. Yes, I am still ripped. (*Lowish sugar content. I’ve stopped the ‘Choco-Flakes’ and switched to ‘Bran-Flakes’ after I realized they were 95% sugar and can potentially lead to spill-over into fat stores more easily.) If you can eat all that rice however then please feel free to go for it. For satiety reasons I do not recommend this as a long-term strategy for those on a cut.
I have Paleo clients. Through Twitter and blogs I know there are many people out there that are Paleo and have success with Leangains. I am not an expert in this, however if you would like to read a useful discussion about it, please see the comments on Jayson’s interview page.
What are dense carb sources on a Paleo diet? Here’s a link to an article Marc suggested in the comments.
Indeed. I’m sorry if I have spooked you by not trying to sell you any. The truth is if you said to me that I were never allowed to take another supplement again it would not bother me. Nor should it bother you. To have success on this diet you do not need supplements. “You are what you eat.” There’s no magic in supplements.
Now, taking BCAAs may be optimal if you are to train fasted, and taking protein powder is sometimes convenient when the fridge is empty, but that doesn’t mean that you need them.
The supplement industry has us all convinced that we need things we don’t. I’ve written an article about this here. Don’t just take my word for it though, how about this interesting article by Tommy Boone, PhD, MPH, MA, FASEP, EPC.
I include a simple and optional list for clients of supplements they may find useful. However this article by Martin Berkhan does a good job by itself.
No. Man up. If your great-grandfather were here to see the comparative ‘life of plenty’ that you are living right now, what do you think he would say about this? More in this article.
Just use a small spoon each time rather than pouring it directly into the pan and you can control the portion size easily. No need to weigh it and count. This is what I do.
18: Frozen Veggies: For Green Veggies, I usually buy the frozen bags at the grocery store and microwave them, Is that cool?
That will work fine.
19: Weighing food: Do I need to weigh everything?
Certainly not. However you do need to weigh some things, especially at the start. As a general guide, weigh your un-cooked meats and carbs and eyeball everything else. I weigh my rice, pasta, potatoes and meats, and just look on the packets for the macronutrient information for others. Get a small electronic kitchen scale. I never weigh vegetables.
Simply, if your urine is yellow then drink more. Of all the reason’s for this, the one you care about most is that it will help with fat burning. The liver plays an important role in fat metabolism. If I have understood correctly, if you don’t drink enough water then the kidneys can’t function at full capacity and thus the liver has to work to help them, decreasing the rate which fat can be metabolized.
You’ll definitely want to drink a good few cups to re-hydrate in the morning.
Yes but there is a time and a place for them. Real food is digested and absorbed more slowly thus getting your protein from meat is better than shakes because you’ll feel full for longer.
Aside from satiety reasons, we want protein to be absorbed slowly so that our blood is still swimming with aminos during the fast, preventing muscle catabolism. In terms of rates of digestion, real food is slowest (best for us), then casein protein (5-7 hrs) then whey protein (2-3hrs). If we drink a protein shake as part of a meal then the digestion will be slowed significantly and could conceivably be double this (though there have been no studies that I know of that measure rates of digestion with mixed food meals).
In practical terms what this means is if you can’t eat meat, are too lazy to cook it or are feeling too full to hit your protein numbers: 1) Casein goes with the last meal of the day. 2) Whey with the other meals. 3) It’s better to not drink them alone.
- Because we’ll be cycling carbs, and putting protein high, you’ll most likely be consuming less carbohydrate overall than you currently are.
- 1g of carbs digested takes with it 3-4g of water into the body. Thus, if we reduce carbs, “water weight” is lost in the beginning. This really varies on the individual though but it’ll usually happen all within the first week.
- Unscrupulous diet coaches or advertising do not mention this fact to people though and let them believe they had an incredible week.
- To take full advantage of the super-compensatory effect of the increased insulin sensitivity (increased uptake of carbs into muscles rather than fat) after workouts. (This effect also appears to be heightened by fasted training, and I’d like to see more research into this.)
- It acts to help combat some of the “negative” hormonal changes that take place when dieting.
Whether this actually works out to be technically a surplus of not in practice depends on the individuals circumstances and is quite complicated. Very generally fatter people need less on their training days. Explaining further than this is more complicated than I’m willing to get into detail with in the blog, though I’ll probably come back and add to the hormonal thing later. (Remember, I like brevity.)
Yes you can drink diet soda and it will not affect your diet despite what the Youtube videos say.
“I personally could not find any research showing a causal relationship between artificially sweetened soft drinks and weight gain, let alone research indicating a thyroid-mediated mechanism for this phenomenon. Among the research that does exist, the majority of studies lasting beyond the acute phase have demonstrated the superior effectiveness of artificially sweetened beverages to sugar-sweetened ones for weight loss. Therefore, the claim that diet soft drinks cause weight gain is nothing but a false alarm.” - Alan Aragon, from his brilliant monthly Research Review.
Tea and coffee contain no calories so they are fine. A splash of milk in your coffee(s) in the mornings is fine too, but don’t put sugar in there. Try and keep the total calories under 50kCal.
Let’s be clear, “cheat-day” is an abused term and has become something completely different from the original meaning: A very high-carb, low-fat day, usually used after several days or a week of dieting with very low carbs. This is also known as a “refeed” and is used to replenish glycogen. (You can read more about this in the this post.) Technically we have a refeed/cheat day every training day with the LG.
Unfortunately the mainstream meaning of cheat day is rapidly becoming a “food free-for-all” where people stuff their faces for the entire day. Most people are well-meaning when they use the term, but it leads those that don’t realise the true meaning into trouble.
So what do I think about the “food free-for-all” version that is cheat days? Cheat days in the sense that many use it may as well be called a “diet fuck up” day. Make sure you say those words to yourself before you decide to do one. Psychologically they are beneficial, if not essential, for the average joe’s sanity after a long period of dieting (can be incorporated as normal sized “free meals”, or had as part of a regular and planned diet break), however physiologically there is no need with the LG set-up.
Presuming that you are eating at the same times and keeping the feeding window the same and thus the hunger hormones have regulated, the most common culprit for hunger is bad food choices, particularly for the last meal before the fast.
Tips in order they should be tried and implemented:
- Always eat real food for the last meal.
- Put your fish oil supplementation with this last meal. (Fats slow absorption.)
- Eat a slow-digesting protein like eggs or cottage cheese, or eat meat with plenty fibrous green vegetables.
- Switch from refined carbohydrates to foods like potatoes or whole grain bread for your carb sources.
“What do I do if my work schedule doesn’t allow for a consistent feeding window?”
We do the best we can. First it’s important to understand a few fundamental points:
1. The reason that we try to keep the meal timing consistent is that the body regulates to our usual feeding times and tells us to eat (by dumping the hunger hormone, ghrelin, into our system) at these times. This means that we can skip breakfast everyday and experience no hunger in the morning. This doesn’t just have to be breakfast. Practically this is useful because it means we can eat just 2 (or 3) meals in a shorter space of time and thus feel satisfied despite dieting.
2. When we eat at different times the body doesn’t get the chance to regulate to this, meaning that we’ll get hungry at more random times. – The penalty is hunger, nothing more. This is an important point when considering your set-up.
3. There is nothing magic about having a 16 hour fasting window. I see people eat dinner an hour later than then had scheduled, panic, and this shift their lunch the next day an hour later so as not to “break the 16 hour rule”. -Bullshit. Totally backwards. In fact by doing this you upset the ghrelin rhythm if anything. – In that situation you’re best to not adjust anything the next day.
4. Training can be at any time as long as you can have one meal after, before starting the fast.
5. The feeding window can be longer some days and shorter on others, but they must always overlap.
So when we put this together for the person that has a varied schedule, what have we got?
- If possible, then keep at least one meal at the same time every day and let the other be flexible.
- If thats’s not possible then just keep the meals in the same rough time of day. i.e. The Lunch/Dinner timeframe. – Definitely don’t have your feeding window early morning to lunch one day and then lunch to evening the next.
- If you train at different times then adjust your meal sizes so that you can have at least 60% of your calories for the day in the post-workout/pre-bed window. Examples are included in Martin’s Leangains guide.
For the injury you need to seek your doctor’s advice.
Make sure it is a specialist sports doctor/physiotherapist that knows what they are doing. You need to ask about a plan of recovery and rehabilitation if necessary, in the context of your overall training plan. You need to get specifics on what you can and can’t do. I’m not a rehab specialist, nor doctor, and I can’t give advice online effectively even if I was.
It’s all too easy to just train around the pain and think it will be ok while not addressing the underlying issue. Two things that need to be considered other that the above moving forward:
- Was it a form issue that caused the injury? or,
- Was it a previous injury that just came up to bite you in the ass this time.
For the former, when you are healthy again get someone to have a look at your form and see if they can see any issue. If no-one is available then video yourself and compare with the form used in the instructional videos I have linked to on the homepage (right sidebar, at the bottom).
The body is a complicated machine. If there is one thing I have learned over the years through injuring myself doing silly things it’s that the pain you feel is only an issue with that area half of the time. Recent examples of my own to highlight this:
Knee pain – tight foot arches. – Stretch
Elbow pain – grip being over-trained. – Cut down on grip work.
Shoulder pain – scapula movement problem. – Retrain to move correctly. Very complicated.
Lower-right back pain – long-term anterior pelvic tilt & left ribs tilting upward. – Retrain breathing & posture, paying special attention when training. Training program revamped by Eric Cressey and Tony Gentilcore. Very complicated.
The take home point it this folks – don’t guess, see a pro.
- Training: Do I have to?
- Frequency: I’m doing well with 3 days at the gym, surely 6 will double my results?
- Skipped Sessions: I will only train 1 day this week, does this mean I should eat only 1 ‘Training Macros’ diet day plan?
- Cardio: Will it speed things up? When should I do it?
- Muscle Loss/Gain: I’m on a cut, and my strength gains have stopped progressing/ my strength is decreasing in the big 3 lifts, does this mean I have lost muscle?
- Timing change: I have to change the time of my training to the morning/evening. How should I split the meals/calories split for the day?
- Abdominal work: Why do you not recommend abdominal work?
- The Devil: My gym has a Smith Machine. Can I use that?
- Warming-Up: What style should I do with RPT?
- Consecutive Days Training: Is it ok to train two/three days in a row?
- Ladies training: What should I do?
- Bad Training Session: Strength Drop! What should I do?
- Soreness: I don’t feel sore the next day, should I do more sets and exercises?
- Endurance Training: I was thinking about training for a marathon in September, how would this affect my cut?
- Bench Press strength drop: Why? What should I do?
- Calf Training: Should I?
- RPT: How do I adjust the top-set weight?
- Back-off Sets: How do I adjust them? Always 15% off the top-set?
- Strength Losses: What can be the cause of this? Is it normal?
- Secondary Exercises: At what stage do they become detrimental?
Dieting without training is very likely to set you up for a rebound. You’re also likely to only become a skinny-fat version of your current self as you will lose muscle mass as well as the fat. This diet is designed to be used in combination with training to prevent that.
– I’ve written why in a detailed guide to minimalistic effective training, which can be found here.
– No. If you are ready to go again the next day, you didn’t train hard enough and you may as well have stayed at home. Hit it hard, eat, sleep, repeat. This is the success formula.
– If it’s just the one skipped session then you can just eat your rest day macros. If you’re missing 2 or 3, then it’s probably worth eating your “average macros” (meaning the average of the two days’ numbers) as otherwise the weekly deficit may work out to be a little too high*. (*It was for this reason that I previously advised that people continue cycling their macros as normal despite skipping a session.)
In the context of fat loss in the vast majority of cases the answer is no. If you throw in a lot of cardio at the start, how will you be able to measure the results of the diet itself? You won’t know how effective the diet is.
I want you to look great forever, not just in 12 weeks. In the future you’re not going to have time to do cardio every day so learn to set up your training minimally now, so that you know how little you can get away with when the busy times do come.
- I’ve written how inefficient cardio is for fat burning here.
- See my article “When is Cardio a Valid Tool for Fat Loss with Intermittent Fasting?“
Not necessarily. A quick recap:
For those with training experience, strength increases or decreases indicate gain in or loss of muscle mass respectively. When cutting, preserving muscle mass is the main goal, any gain in strength should be taken as a nice bonus, rather then taken for granted.
So given the above it would seem fair to say that a decrease from say, 100kg x 8reps in the bench press, to 100kg x 4reps in the bench press indicates a loss of muscle mass, correct? – Wrong. It is very important to take into account the decreased mechanical advantage getting leaner gives us in the big 3 lifts.
It is easiest to visualize with the bench press. As we get leaner our chest/back circumference decreases (loss of fat) meaning the distance the bar has to travel to do one complete rep increases & thus the ‘work done’ to perform the a rep increases. Thus it requires more strength to do the same number of reps when you are leaner.
If you can do the same number of reps after your cut as you could at the start of your cut, you are almost certainly stronger.
Martin Berkhan has written a good guide on this here.
Squatting is abdominal work. Here’s an excellent article on abs by Mark Rippetoe.
8. The Devil: My gym has a Smith Machine. Can I use that?
Taken from the excellent StartingStrength.com website:
“No, no, no, no, no. NO!
Smith Machines are the devil.
For one thing they completely remove the stabilization aspect of the squat. But go ahead, get up to 300 on a smith machine and then try it with a barbell and see how long you can keep from falling on your ass.
For another thing it restricts the natural range of motion. See each of us has our own biomechanics (the mechanisms that distinctly tie our individual bones and muscles together) and hence we have an individual movement pattern (range of motion) when doing the squat, or anything else for that matter. For example a guy with a long torso and stocky legs will not squat remotely close to how guy with a short torso and long legs does. The smith machine has only one range of motion for either of these individuals because the bar runs on rails in a fixed path (straight up and down or a slight diagonal). Every individual must conform to no matter their distinct movement pattern. This can be devastating to your skeletal system over time.”
“Squatting” in a Smith machine is an oxymoron. A squat cannot be performed on a Smith machine, as should be obvious from all previous discussion. Sorry. There is a gigantic difference between a machine that makes the bar path vertical, and a squat that is executed correctly enough to have a vertical bar path. Muscle and skeleton should do the job of keeping the bar path vertical, not grease fittings and floor bolts.– Mark Rippetoe
If you are waiting to be convinced of the benefits of a full depth squat please read this article by Rippetoe. [Strong Language]
The main thing is that it should get you warm and the mind-muscle connection going, without tiring you and impacting the top-set. If these requirements are met then it’s fine. I’ve written how I personally prefer to warm-up here.
In the context of dieting (calorie deficit) and for those using the big compound movements (barbell training) three days a week it is a good idea to have a day of rest between sessions at least. This is very important for recovery, so as to not over-burden the already taxed central nervous system. In terms of the effectiveness of this combined with the Leangains diet set-up, rest-day(s) in-between training will make the diet work more effectively.
For those that must put two training days back to back, if you are using a split routine then keep your Squat and Deadlift sessions as far apart as possible. I.e.: Put your Bench-press day next to one of your other workout days.
Example: Monday, Deadlift day. Thursday, Bench-press day. Friday, Squat day.
The simple answer is exactly the same as men, despite all the shit you’ve read in magazines. I’ll leave you with a couple of good articles and a quote my Mark Rippetoe:
“Women get the best results when they train for performance. Even though there are differences between men’s and women’s response to training, there is no difference in the quality of the exercise needed to produce the stress that causes adaptation.
Ignore the silly bullshit. Women’s collegiate and professional athletics and its participants have for many years held the answers to the questions most women ask about exercise, answers that have gone fastidiously ignored by the figure salon industry. The fact is that aesthetics are best obtained from training for performance. In both architecture and human beauty, form follows function. Always and everywhere, the human body has a certain appearance when it performs at a high level. But the fitness industry continues to sell aesthetics first, as though it is independent of performance.
Muscles cannot get “longer” without some rather radical orthopedic surgery. Muscles don’t get leaner—you do. There is no such thing as “firming and toning.” There is only stronger and weaker.
The vast majority of women cannot get large, masculine muscles from barbell training. There is such a profound difference in male and female testosterone levels that the strength differences between men and women are almost entirely accounted for by hormone level.
As Cross-Fit (barbell training) grows and it becomes harder to ignore the results of honest work done at high intensities, the media are taking notice. You pretty much get out of an effort what you put into it. Effective exercise is more like training for athletics and less like lying around on the floor.”
- “I Don’t Want To Get Big and Bulky: Marketing and it’s Effects on Women” -JC Deen
- “Strength Training For Women: Not so Different After all” -Mark’s Daily Apple
- “Fierce. Fit. Fearless.” Over 1000 women on this Facebook Group.
- “Girls Gone Strong” – Another Facebook group for normal women that lift to get hot.
Probably nothing. Dan John, one of the most experienced and knowledgable strength training coaches in the world, says that you should expect 20% of your workouts to be “duds”. Off days. Days where your strength just “isn’t right”. Start a training program with this in mind and don’t let it rattle you when it happens because it’s normal. Go home, eat, rest and sleep well, and come back the next time with a determined attitude.
I’ve written about this in a comment here.
I am not against anyone wanting to enter a marathon or challenging themselves in an endurance event. I would love to do one myself one day. Training like this however will severely hinder your strength (and thus muscle) gains. Whether you decide to do this then will depend on your main goal.
- Strength/ muscle gain? – You don’t want to be doing it for reasons explained very well here.
- Get a good marathon time? – Do it.
- Fat loss? Pros and cons. All the running will burn extra calories for sure, even if it isn’t a very efficient way of doing so. However if you’re overweight and weak then it won’t be doing you any long-term favors.
This is a very common. Don’t panic. Firstly, have you lost body fat? As fat is lost the relative distance the bar has to travel gets greater. Recall your high school physics class, Work = force x distance
If you are leaner, the same resistance for the same number of reps will be a greater amount of total work done. Thus a small decrease in the weight on the bar is not necessarily indicative of a drop in strength, rather, if strength were to stay the same, all things being equal, your bench would drop on a cut.
That’s really up to you. See this comment here for my thoughts.
I’ve written about this here.
I’ve written about this here.
Aside from the comment on the bench in Q15, I’ve written more about this in a comment here.
The point where they steal essential recovery capacity from the main lifts to the extent that training does not progress as it should. When dieting: For experienced lifters this will be a regression of your top lifts; for new trainees a lack of progression in strength.
Got more questions? Leave a comment and I’ll get back to you.
I hope you found this useful. I’ll continue working to improve it.
Did you read my step-by-step guide to setting your diet and training up by yourself?