Thursday, October 29, 2015

Deadlifting Update and Competition Live Stream


Since the last post I wrote, I’ve acquired a much better understanding of barbells and their impact on lifting performance. For the advanced lifter, the barbell will either make or break your deadlifting experience, as I found out in my case.

About a month ago, my gym obtained two Eleiko barbells; one standard training bar and one competition bar. Both of them stiffer than the Olympic bars I’ve been using up to that point, but more importantly, their knurling is excellent (the competition bar especially). This small detail has virtually eliminated my deadlifting woes - I now have zero grip issues. 

Now using a proper bar, I hope to take my deadlift to the next level. I’ve also changed my training setup for this lift; the flip side of using a competition bar in training, is that the knurling will really mess up your hands beyond 4 reps or so at max effort. Rather than having to terminate a set due to fatigue, you terminate it because of the pain, and it’s not really the calluses near your fingers that take the beating, but more so the inside of your palms.*

* This might have something to do with my gripping technique which is a bit unusual; I dip, grip and enclose the bar with my hands right before I start pulling, which puts the bar in the middle of my palm, and below the "callus area" - if that makes sense. I call it the dip’n’squeeze. Here's a video.

Speaking of good bars, here's me outside the Eleiko headquarters in Halmstad, Sweden, where I was invited to discuss a co-op of sorts. More on that in the future.

Using the Olympic bars with shitty knurling, I was training in the 6-8 rep range, and increasing the load when I hit 8 reps. This was necessary, because I saw a big drop-off in reps whenever I increased the load, reason being the poor knurling, and the resulting grip issues that I discussed in my last post. The scenario now is the opposite; with the competition bar, gripping is a non-issue, but you're limited to low reps if you value the integrity of your skin.

So what I do now, is a warm-up with the competition bar, followed by 4 reps at 85-90% of my estimated 1RM. Heavy enough, but without any real grinders so far, and aiming to increase this by 2.5 kg (5 lbs) ‘till I hit a true 4RM.  Here’s an exact breakdown of my last deadlift session. All numbers are in kilos.

Warm up: 150 x 3, 170 x 2, 220 x 1, 220 x 1.

Set 1: 300 x 4 - mixed grip, chalk, no belt. Easy and fast, relatively speaking. This goes up 2.5 kg next time. I’ll try my damnedest to get 4 reps, and will increase the intra-rep rest to accommodate for it.

10 minutes of rest

Set 2: 210 x 12 - double overhand grip, straps, no belt. I use straps to spare my hands, and a double overhand grip as there's no point in using a mixed grip with straps.

Furthermore, I believe the double overhand grip will serve to smooth out any muscle imbalance that I've acquired by training with a mixed grip all my life, and gotten quite strong doing so. Since I haven’t trained with double overhand before, I’m starting light and high. Pacing myself here is key, as the potential for injury is there, given my strength with a mixed grip. Indeed, pulling with a double overhand grip, I have to be mindful of keeping my left arm “tight” throughout the set. Otherwise, it feels like the damn thing will pop out of the socket.

Yes, so rather than risking to fuck myself by tweaking my left side, which I’ve trained with an underhand grip, I’m allowing for several months of training before I start pushing the limits in a low rep range here. For the second set, I started doing 170 x 12 the first week, 200 x 12 the second week, now 210 x 12, and intend to increase 10 kg per week as long as I don’t lose more than 1 rep per jump (if so, I will decrease it to 5 kg per week).

Prior to this sequence, I did a few weeks of singles for shits and giggles. 300 kg the first week, 310, 320, and finally 325 kg - check ‘em out on Instagram if you want to. When I hit 310 x 4, I might try a round of singles again. 

By the way, the straps I’m using are called Figure of 8 Straps by Giants Pro. Can’t go wrong with something used by Benni Magnusson, arguably the worlds strongest deadlifter. Easy to wrap on and doesn't come off. No fuss, no bullshit.

Alright, enough of that. The take away point of all this is get yourself a proper bar with good knurling, and you won’t be limited by your grip, as long as you use a mixed grip and chalk for your heavy deadlifts. At some point, consider using straps and a double overhand grip for your back-off set(s); however, use straps sparingly, and don’t rely on them to improve your poundages.

RGA Barbell Challenge Live Stream

This Sunday on November 1st, I will be competing in the RGA Barbell Challenge, where you can watch me squat, press, pull and row big weights live via the stream below.

A great way to round off your drunken Halloween night or hangover, depending on where you're located. Can't watch it live? Don't worry, the videos will be up later.

I've gotten stronger since I last competed here six months ago, even though I'll be entering at the same body weight more or less (105 kg), so there's been some recomp action going on. After the competition, I will probably start writing more about how my views and perspectives on diet and training have evolved in recent years. There's also a major update to The Leangains Guide coming in the foreseeable future.

Anyway, wish me luck! :)

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Deadlift Hot Fixes


Long time, no see. I’ve been putting a lot of effort into my training in the last year, trying to make something of it. In most cases, my training had shortcomings that were easily identifiable and fixed. While there’s nothing easy about training hard and consistently, there’s usually a reassurance present throughout the process; what you put in, you get back, and that alone makes it endurable, and sometimes even enjoyable.

For squats, I discovered that my reoccurring knee troubles were related to an inadequate warm-up routine, were I would do only two light warm-up sets and ramp up the weight way too fast. Contrary to all other movements, I found out that I needed 3-4 sets with a heavy enough load (50-60% of my first work set) before I was ready to squat heavy; otherwise, I’d get a dull ache in my right knee that would make squatting uncomfortable and impede my progress.

For bench, I concluded that bench pressing once a week wasn’t cutting it, if I was intent on bringing up my weakness, balancing my strength and win a competition here or there. The solution was to bench twice a week and incorporate paused bench pressing. 

Contrary to squats and deadlifts, where I was and still am making good progress on 1-2 work sets a week, I’ve found a much higher volume and frequency to be beneficial for pressing movements. I’d probably generalise that to the entire upper body, as I also train the bench press antagonists twice weekly.

These changes has added an easy 60-70 lbs on my squat and bench, and brought my work sets up to 450 and 315 respectively. But during the time when most this progress was made, my deadlift remained at a relative standstill; I did 585 x 10 in May, and then got stuck at 595 x 6-7 for the longest time. This was vexing to me, because I couldn’t make sense of it at first. Upon closer reflection, I eventually identified the issues, and pulled 605 x 11 a few days ago. 


After I pulled 585 x 10 in May, I wrongfully concluded that my performance was limited by the bar I was using, potentially combined with a weak grip. It was always my grip (left side, underhand) that gave out, not my back, and I blamed it on the worn-out Olympic barbell that I always used. It’s a solid piece of work, but the  knurling has been faded by the tides of time, sweat and chalk. 

It stands to reason that I would benefit from a newer bar with better knurling, I reasoned, and was ecstatic to see my prayers answered when the gym brought in a new set of bars. Even better, these ones seemed to have a clear and sharp kind of knurling that really allowed the bar to dig into your hands.

Many shitty sessions and torn calluses later, I concluded that I was wrong. Not only did this new bar aggravate the underlying issue with my grip giving out, it also tore up my hands to the point that I could only deadlift every other week, because the skin didn’t heal fast enough.

Back the old bar I went. 

Bad bar/good bar.


Clearly, my issues weren’t resolved by switching bars, and I started to look elsewhere. Namely, at chalk. There’s three things you need to know about chalk, both of which I’ve been ignorant of as of recently. 

Firstly, your chalk should be as dry as possible. There seems to be a difference between brands, with some chalk powders being harder and grainier than others, and that’s the ones you want to use. I couldn’t tell you which brands are better than others, but I know the difference when I feel it, and there was a marked difference between the stuff I’m using now, to the stuff I was using back then.

Secondly, bring your own chalk to the gym and keep it in a sealed plastic box or something similar. Minimise exposure to the air and don’t leave the box open longer than necessary. Under hot and humid conditions, such as the summer months, the powder will soak up humidity, turn “wetter” or softer, and gradually deteriorate in effectiveness. We have a chalk bowl at my gym and there’s a night and day difference between it and the one I keep in my box.

Thirdly, don’t overdo it with the chalk. Too much chalk will cover up the creases on your palms and fingers, and have the opposite effect, in my experience. If you ask me, the ideal way to apply chalk, is to rub it all around the part of the bar where you place your hands - all around it, not just on top. Then you apply it on your hands, carefully creating a thin and even film of chalk, reaching in between your fingers and across the whole of your palm. 

When deadlifting in the 8-10 rep range, I usually stop mid-set to re-chalk, and I sometimes do it between every third or fourth rep if needed. What I used to do, was to sloppily jam my hands into the chalk box and/or slather the bar with it - not good. What I do now, is a brief pause to apply it correctly.

This bit about chalk is a true case of the saying that “The devil is in the details.” In this game of diet and fitness, it rarely is, but sometimes, just sometimes, it truly is.


Finally, I wanted to touch on the last piece of the puzzle, which is directly related to the grip, rather than the type of externalities covered before. Having done no grip training whatsoever, it would be easy to presume that it’d be beneficial to add it in. While I don’t dispute that, I’ve seen tremendous benefits from the following mode of gripping the bar.  

It applies exclusively to the underhand grip, which is engaged by your weaker side (left hand for most folks). Hold your arm out and your palm up. Now, relax your arm, and you’ll find that the hand will rotate to the side. Keeping your palm up, requires a conscious effort on your part; it doesn’t just stay that way by itself, so you need to bend it to the left. 

By the same token, I’ve found that “bending” the bar to the left with my underhand grip, really helps keeping the bar in position. I’ve had no grip issues since adopting this mode of gripping, and applying the other “hotfixes” covered earlier.

That's all for now. Talk soon. (Serious)

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Dirty Secrets of Intermittent Fasting Exposed


I don't know about you, but I can't stand the low-rent fitness schlock that keeps clogging up the Internet. What you get is a cheeky headline and a re-hash of yesterday's news, optimized for page views, retweets and an indiscriminate Facebook crowd.

Remember when people actually wrote articles and shared their real thoughts, their own ideas and their actual experiences? That time is long gone. Personally, I don't think anyone should be wasting their time in the fitnessphere. You will not find '7 Surprising Secrets to Fat Burning' or 'Top 13 Back Exercises' in this oozing pit of attention starved bullshittery, so please stop looking, unless you want to be dragged down with the rest of them.

Suffice to say, I'm not really keen on the writing scene around here - but every now and then, I come across something that might be worth your while. Not through the usual channels. Not even on a related subject. But you might be surprised about how much they relate to you when I'm through.

I thought I'd share the pleasure with you today. Here's three a good read that I hope you enjoy, fellas.

P.S. I had to cut it down from three reads to one read, guys. First of all, I think the article in focus today, deserves to have its own post. Second, I had to finish this post in the narrow window of opportunity between recovery from stomach pain (the bad kind), and the unexpected trip to a dying relative...So maybe I'll see you another day with the rest of those reads, eh?

The Effects of Intermittent Fasting on Human and Animal Health

I think Bojan Kostevski understands my dystopic view of science and fitness more than anyone else, given our long nightly talks. You're lucky we met 3 years ago, when I had a more positive and constrained view of how things worked in the scientific field and the fitness industry*. Otherwise, he might not have gotten started on this project in the first place, and that would've been our loss.

*They are more alike than you'd expect, but that's a story for another time.

Kostevski's literature review of intermittent fasting and its potential health effects in human and animals, gives a complete picture of the research up to 2012, when he presented these findings for the first time.

The paper is now freely available for everyone who wants to deepen their knowledge on intermittent fasting. It's been a few years since I looked at it, but it's still a great overview of the subject matter. There's no time to waste, if you've been fiending for some real intermittent fasting science.

The Effects of Intermittent Fasting on Human and Animal Health

As for my involvement, I didn't need do much, aside from a nudge or two in the right direction. He's definitely made it his own thing and I co-sign on pretty much everything. We've had many interesting evenings together, Bojan and I, and he's a straight up guy with a touch of my no-bullshit style, that's for sure.

Let the good times roll...

Monday, March 25, 2013

Another Letter


It was another letter you didn't understand. So let's start at the end, instead of wasting time.

At the end, you just don't give a ---k. But the point got through to everyone.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Leangains Letter


Come closer. I have something to tell you.

The Leangains Letter

I put it in my letter. I think you may want to read it.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Consequence and Clarity


I'm a lot less naive than I was a year ago. I'm still naive enough to believe that I can explain something very few people might be able to understand.

I'm writing and rewriting this article over and over again. Countless forms of the same damn thing. In the end it always ends up being way too long, veering off into several directions.

This is a fool's errand, I realise. I give up. I'm just going to hope that you take it for what it is - an honest account from my side of the fence. After all.  I can't be doing the same thing over and over again, and expect a different result - can I? No. That's the definition of insanity.

Defining Insanity 

Insanity: do the same thing over and over again. Expect a different result. Spin it round and round. Now do it one more time, please. I like it like thatT. This is how the fitness industry machine works. Take a concept, dumb it down, give it the fad diet treatment, and then feed it to the masses. I, for one, knows this better than anyone else.

Unless you've been living under a rock for the last few years, you've probably seen the explosive growth of interest in fasting/intermittent fasting type diets, along with its poorly written Leangains ripoffs. "Ripoff" is the understatement of the century.The 8-Hour Diet is the latest abomination, and it's no doubt the most impressive thus far. Impressive only due to the sheer idiocy and the sizeable marketing engine that drives it. If my advice is worth anything to you, I'd tell you to stay the Hell away from it. Many won't - and that's the problem. Bad PR is good PR in this wretched industry.

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I can't say that I agree. I don't want to be part of this circus. Actually, I think it's downright insulting when people expect me to be excited about it. It suggests that people have an ass backwards understanding of my values, my principles and my character. I can take a lot of shit and still remain unfazed by it. But when I get lumped together with the inferior and the fake, that's when I say 'fuck it.'

Still. The 8-Hour Diet is just a drop in the ocean and it's hardly the cause of any real grief on my part. It takes a lot more than the fad diet treatment of fasting to piss me off. It takes...Well. I guess this is where I run into problems. The 'explaining' part.


Let's see. I'll try to explain, with the understanding that I don't have any hope of succeeding to convey things from my perspective. My perspective seems to be different than anyone else's, that's for damn sure.

But still, you know those artsy fartsy types that talk about "real art"? I can't help but feeling like I might come off like one of those. Sounding hard and overtly pretentious, complaining about some first world problem while sipping Chardonnay. It's my sincerest wish that I don't.

What you'll get from me here is, as usual (´cept not so usual), the no-bullshit perspective - nothing to sell, nobody to convince. Just that good ol' NO-BS Berkhan swag. Might be the last time in a good while, but who the Hell knows with me.

Anyway. Exactly one year ago to the day, I stood before same crossroad that I'm standing before today. I asked myself a question. "Left or right?" - leave or stay.

On January 6th, 2012, I wrote this.

Thought I'd drop a line to say that I might be leaving. So maybe sometime in the future means just that, like I wrote, but then people keep asking anyway. Might be in a good while or it might never be at all. So that's that.
The reasons are mainly in terms of the limits I see in this field and how everything operates around it. I like the practical get-it-done-stuff, process, what I do with clients, etc, nothing else. Well, besides the science and research, but in talking about tangible things. If you like that, you're stranded on a tiny island in an ocean of shit.
Cool story, bro. Anyway, that's not the most likely thing that'll happen, and I'll stick around for some time still. It's not like I'm taking a vacation-vacation either, because there's still clients to be maintained, stuff written, etc. But I'll try to read a few books, chill, or whatever else rare opportunity I find to...

Don't screw around too much with this fitness shit. Let the good times roll, bro, and tell 'em Old Berkhan sent 'ya.
I stayed around - just not in the way you think. I watched. And I fucked around a little bit.

What you saw was half a handful of fairly forgettable articles, relative to what I withheld. That was my mistake. I took the middle road - more so in the mind, than in the actions you saw.

Note the middle paragraph:

The reasons are mainly in terms of the limits I see in this field and how everything operates around it. I like the practical get-it-done-stuff, process, what I do with clients, etc, nothing else. Well, besides the science and research, but in talking about tangible things. If you like that, you're stranded on a tiny island in an ocean of shit.

Let me clarify what I meant by that. The limits I'm talking about, are the limits imposed on the collective ability to evaluate and appreciate scientific research and judge the value of an opinion. This has been made very clear to me in the year that passed - through several very specific examples, equally well represented by characters from the scientific community, and the new breed of broscientists who spout nonsense and lies with scientific pretences.

One standout example amidst many travesties this year came in the form of "Eat, Fast and Live Longer" by BBC Horizon, and the abrasively stupid and absurd nonsense spouted by one of the scientists (Longo). Another travesty was my witnessing of how well-received it was. I kept my mouth shut, because I wanted to see if and who could actually spot the horseshit for what it was - no one did. That was very discouraging to see - but hardly not surpsising. Let's call it a wake-up call. Several such wake-up calls presented themselves to me throughout the year.

I won't be more specific - for now.

The gist of it all is this. I find little joy in discussing/using scientific research in an environment that seems to be doing exactly the same thing as I'm doing, but they only make it sound good. The incompetent use of science stretches way beyond TV shows, way beyond the fitness community, way beyond the mainstream, and well into the scientific journals.

Science is an illusion. It preys on the fact that people can't tell who's right or wrong when the lingo gets complicated enough.

It is not the fad diet books that are the greatest problems as I see it. It's the sophisticated lie that masquerades under scientific pretensions, and comes clad in the very best of intentions.

Another problem presents in weasely characters who copy every little thing I write. They turn it into their own little profit machine - in inferior form. Needless to say, I'm not motivated to write anything truly original. Remember: I had no problem with that before. What a shame. There's so much I'd like to show you. (Seriously. I'm not being facetious - it's just demotivating to know that every original thing gets copied these days:/)

This is not an ocean of shit, my friends. This is a wasteland of the mind, and this site will always be an outpost of enlightenment. But I'm taking a break for now. I'm going right - I'm not taking the middle road this time.

Listen, I'm not really happy in the role as "the intermittent fasting guy", and can't I fool myself into thinking that I'm compatible with the existing understanding thereof (i.e. my opinion differs from the rest). Least of all, I can't pretend that I'm compatible with bullshit, bandwagon-hoping, and the disingenuine characters that drives it forth.

But my discontentment stretches way beyond that which appears to be the most obvious and simplest items of disgruntlement to most people. That's my curse, that's a riddle that I may have to leave hanging in the air for now.

I found an old newspaper clip. It's about the contest that kicked off my modelling career in the late 90's. That's me to the right, winner of the male category, along with the winning female contestant (a well-known TV reality show celebrity). In many ways, the modelling business reminds me of the fitness industry. I quit in the middle of a good career. I had it made. Why did I quit? Smiling never felt natural to me, and I was bored to tears. I could care less about money and fame over integrity and authenticity. Same reason I'm backing off this time. 

Defining Integrity

Here's a concept that is - and always - will remain of fundamental importance to me. To me. Not to others. To me, it's very important. To most people in this business, it means absolutely nothing.

It's called integrity.

Integrity is a concept of consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations, and outcomes. In ethics, integrity is regarded as the honesty and truthfulnessor accuracy of one's actions. Integrity can be regarded as the opposite of hypocrisy,[1] in that integrity regards internal consistency as a virtue, and suggests that parties holding apparently conflicting values should account for the discrepancy or alter their beliefs.
The word "integrity" stems from the Latin adjective integer (whole, complete).[2] In this context, integrity is the inner sense of "wholeness" deriving from qualities such as honesty and consistency of character. As such, one may judge that others "have integrity" to the extent that they act according to the values, beliefs and principles they claim to hold.
value system's abstraction depth and range of applicable interaction may also function as significant factors in identifying integrity due to their congruence or lack of congruence with observation. A value system may evolve over time[3] while retaining integrity if those who espouse the values account for and resolve inconsistencies.[4]

Integrity means that I've been doing this for 7 years now. Integrity means that I don't change my ideas just to hop on a bandwagon. Integrity means that I refine what works, and don't have 67 ways of doing the same damn thing.

To have integrity, you must have expertise. True expertise results from the drive to fix yourself - your flaw, and your obsession with it. You become an expert on fixing yourself. The itch drives expertise. The itch drives curiosity. The itch drives learning and doing. This is what makes an expert - not an "expert" in the sense that everyone's an expert these days. The itch drives mastery. 

I've come a long way. I've paid the price. I get to call myself competent. Integrity comes with competence. Integrity comes with the knowledge of your competence - and the incompetence of others. It stings my eyes. And it's everywhere.

The hate of incompetence was what drove me in my crusade against the dietary dogma of the mid-2000's. The hate of incompetence is also what drove me to make this site and put countless hours into scientific research when everyone else seemed to care for easy answers and sheepish repetitions of mantras that proved to be untrue.

Knowing that you're good at something, can be a double-edged sword. You become acutely aware of how useless everyone else is - not everyone, but a Hell of a lot more than you'd ever expected. If you let it get to you - and I will, for better or worse - it leads to a lot of anger and frustration. What kind of nerve do these people have, calling themselves "experts", or using their PhDs, as a means to scam and deceive people of their money? Why 

I know I'm pretty damn good at getting people lean. I also got a knack for the scientific research and possess a rather deep understanding thereof, within the broad context of nutrition and physiology. Whatever art there is to getting lean and staying lean, I consider myself cream of the crop. I talk it, walk it, teach it, and write it. That's it. I'll claim this title with a straight face, but I would never claim to be - for example - a strength and conditioning specialist, or an athletics coach.

I wouldn't write a book about abs, if I'd never have abs myself. I wouldn't make up an ab routine out of thin air, like some people do. I don't even write about such things. I wouldn't give advice or recommendations that I didn't have any experience of, or true belief in, just to make a quick buck - yet I see tons of so-called experts doing just that.

I think everyone would be a lot better off if we'd all stick to this rule - be honest and stick to what you know. Don't trample on unknown territory. Don't bullshit people.

Anyway. The hate of incompetence is also what makes me take a step back. Away from the circus. Away from the childish illusions I previously maintained.

Consequence and Clarity

With numerous Leangains fans across the globe, I feel a responsibility to let you know where I stand - to give you clear answers.

1. Please don't ask when - or if - the book is coming. Don't expect anything. I sincerely apologise for any promises made, and I hope that you can appreciate the informative material that I've given you for free on this site. That said, you shouldn't be surprised if something appears either. What's important to me, is to rid myself of the burden of expectations and provide an answer to those who keep asking about a book.

2. I'm going back to personal training (online mostly). I am perfectly happy to assume this role: trainer. This is what I do. Not writing. Not adding fuel to bandwagons. There is nothing more demotivating than the blatant stealing, improper use of science, and the weasely paper mach├ęt characters characters that defile this business, and make a profit of what I give for free - delivered in vastly inferior form, of course. Donations doesn't pay the rent, unfortunately (though they are very much appreciated - there's a button on the bottom of this site).

Dan Ordoins is an old client of mine. I remember him very well, and I value the personal experiences we shared together - the learning process, and the the long-lasting impact it would prove to have. He's just of many names and stories that I've come to treasure throughout the years, just like I've come to learn that I treasure the personal stories behind the many success stories I've created with my writing.

Oh, BTW. In 2013, keep your eyes peeled for at least two names on the big screen, giving a thumbs up to Leangains in one way or the other...

3. Thanks for all the success stories. I will finally get to read them, and I hope to publish many on this site - to keep the site alive, but most importantly to act as inspiration to others.

4. I will still be around, but my focus will be elsewhere - it will not be on new articles for this site (but as mentioned above, I will still post). Please understand that I put a lot of time and effort into my writing. My articles are original, well-researched, free of charge, and often stolen by those who seek to make a profit of it. This sucks the joy and passion out of writing.

5. Lastly, I'd like to say that there is a story - or a few stories - behind all this. I'd hope to share it with you in the future. I think this post would make more sense with that in the back of your mind.

6. Leangains is very much alive now, and forever. But for you and me both, it's important that I detach myself from the ongoing bullshit (much of which happens behind the scenes).

Below follows a few points of interest that I want to clarify, correct or explain.

Making Good

This concerns a few articles posted here in the year that passed.

I promised an "expert's review" of Brad Pilon's Eat Stop Eat Expanded 5th Edition.

My plan was to dissect, comment, and critique the book from a unique perspective, going far beyond a lay readers understanding. But expert to me doesn't mean expert in the lingo that people have grown used to.

I didn't follow through. Through the lens of an expert ("expert" from the Berkhan Thesaurus), the book contains a few strange conclusions, and at times, a lacking understanding of physiological mechanisms, and questionable use of scientific research. The review would have come off as harsh, and I didn't think Pilon really deserved that.

Trust me. To this day, Brad Pilon's book is still the best book you can buy on the topic of intermittent fasting as subject of interest. Don't even bother with the rest. 

In fact, Brad Pilon's book is quite possibly the best ebook across the board when it comes to metabolic/physiological theory, i.e. he covers these quite well and doesn't make shit up.

My apologies, Brad. There are countless others that deserves a harsher treatment than this. Surely you understand how peculiar your answer appears. That's OK. Personally, I have a few drinks and let my mouth run loose on Twitter every now and then. 

Eat Stop Eat Expanded 5th Edition is still a good book, heavily referenced, and remains a rarity in an industry where the standard is shit. My standards seems to be different, but this is still one of the few books I can recommend with a straight face. I would never recommend a product or compromise my integrity by promoting something that I considered to be of poor quality.

Why Does Breakfast Make Me Hungry? This article should have been written in a more neutral language. I should have been more critical of my conclusions, rather than producing an advanced scientific theory of physiology and hormonal interaction to support my personal experiences and anecdotes of others. I will revise the article to better fit this criteria. My apologies. I have always prided myself on being fully transparent, competent, and completely honest in my use of science and its place within a practical application. Perhaps this came off as preaching to the choir, i.e. vilifying breakfast, and that was certainly not my intention.

Intermittent Fasting: A Catalyst For Change

Intermittent fasting was very important as a concept, for it played a groundbreaking role as a catalyst for facts that changed the mindscape within the community. When I first started talking about it in 2006, everyone agreed on how things should be done. Always eat breakfast, always eat small meals, frequently, don't eat in the evening, etc. Turned out it was all bullshit, of course.

Top Ten Fasting Myths Debunked

There was suddenly a whole new world of options to experiment with. This lead to countless new success stories all across the world - people who now finally could eat in a way that made them leaner, happier, and better in many other ways.

But it's very important to understand this:

A good decision is a decision that creates success. A good decision is your diet, and the numerous good decisions that make it work. However, to make a good decision - the best decision - you need to have options. How can you make a good decision for yourself, if you believe that there is only one good option and one good decision to make?

For example, how can you make the best decision if you believe that breakfast in the morning, six meals a day, and no carbs after 6 PM, are superior decisions - unquestionably the best ways to do things?

You can't, of course. Until I introduced intermittent fasting and debunked all the bullshit dogma of the times, countless people didn't have enough options. They didn't have the knowledge or the information required to make the best decisions, nor did I - and it always leads to failure in the long-term. The best decisions are often relative - and they should be made from the standpoint of your personal preferences, not from the standpoint of subjecting yourself to nonsensical rules.

Remember that. Be careful of people who have the best decisions for everybody. History repeats itself.

Did I overplay the intermittent fasting card? I don't think so. I was never dishonest about something and I went to great lengths to talk about how personal preferences are of far greater importance - i.e. whatever works for you in the long-term, that's the main thing.

The scientific research surrounding the topic remains an area of interest, so it still has my attention. But intermittent fasting as a point in itself is completely meaningless to me. I'm a pragmatist, I'll use whatever I deem to be best for the goal at hand.

It just so happened that intermittent fasting was the missing piece of the puzzle in many ways, for me, and it also happened to work very well within the context of the Leangains approach, which I summarised in The Leangains Guide.

Leangains Vs Intermittent Fasting

It's very important to understand this:

Leangains drove the popularity of intermittent fasting, not the other way around. An "intermittent fasting diet" is just an easy way to characterise an approach that includes several other distinct characteristics that make Leangains into what it is.

Leangains is also an approach formed by the correct use of scientific research, based on context specific human studies of acceptable validity, with the understanding that the practical application, and the outcome thereof, remains theoretical - e.g. we cannot say for certain how much of a difference intermittent fasting really does.

In fact, I couldn't care less about intermittent fasting if it wasn't for the fact that it's the superior decision for diet compliance. For me, it happened to be the magic bullet, just like it's been proven to be for many others.

The Leangains story is perhaps best summarized by Sam Fuller. Fundamentally, Leangains is just another strategy that allowed me to have the cake, and eat it - and so it happened to be for many others.

But to cling to intermittent fasting, or to hop on the  fasting bandwagon and fast for 16+ hours with the naive expectation of a magic trick - to willingly fast for fasting in itself, even if it's not really for you - is very foolish.

Remember. That's what people did in the mid-2000's - what we all did. We subjected us to rules that proved to be incompatible with long-term success, balance in life, and peace of mind. The role I played was in opening up your eyes to the alternative - to give you more options, and improve your decision making skills on dietary aspects that are of critical importance (i.e. the choice of meal frequency).

Back then, we ate every 2-3rd hour for the sake of eating every 2-3rd hours, we ate breakfast for the sake of eating breakfast, and we didn't eat much in the evening. But now, I see this might be happening again - in reverse.

See, now everyone's riding the fasting bandwagon. Perhaps best exemplified by the "The 8-Hour Diet", this the result of a marketing engine fueled by false promises, bullshittery and the disingenous make believe-science that impresses the lay man, pleases the crowds, and disgusts the one who sees right through it.

This is what corrodes this industry. This is what keeps people confused. This is what obfuscates success, and makes you forget the critical importance of personal preferences - not slavery under rules that doesn't really make sense for you.

This is the real reason...The Industry, man. They just want you to conform, and use you for their profit schemes. Fuck them, I'm staying real.

All of the above is just a little something that I want you to remember in a world of cheap gimmicks, make-believe experts, and the progressive abuse of scientific research by those you least expect (not to mention those you do expect it from).

I've always been a friend of the common guy (and girl) - anyone with a curious mind and a yearning for truth and honesty, will find a treasure trove in this site. I've spent countless hours on writing the many articles that people have come to appreciate throughout the years. I've provided them willingly - and freely - without compromising my integrity. I've done all this while maintaining a rather exclusive clientele, and I've done it with the understanding that I've been trading money for the joy of writing.

To discover that I'm often being lumped together with those who have the audacity to call themselves "fitness experts" and "trainers", yet are nothing more than internet marketers, is very frustrating, discouraging, and downright offensive. Adding to that, there is the greater and more complex problem with those who use their titles and so-called science to wilfully deceive or horseshit their way to fame and fortune. It seems like the good guys just can't win in this crazy world.

Take care.

P.S. For Swedish Leangains aficionados - I was the distinguished shit talker/guest in the 100th podcast episode of BODY Radio. Check it out. After years of nagging, I finally gave in. Glad to see that the show was very well received, broke the downloads PR, and boosted the show to top 40 on iTunes.

Bonus #1: Conversation With a Friend 

This post was heavily edited and shortened. I realised that it was so specific to my personal perspective, and quite hard to convey properly without all the details. Eventually, I gave up and just published what you got to read above. Still, there's some bonus material that I figured might be interesting to those who seek a deeper understanding.

I've added the first (and possibly only) bonus below. I'll decide on the rest in the days to come.


[E-mail exchange, October 1st, 2012.]

[Background: Just a conversation with a friend. That's all.]


....Am I making any sense, Phil? The frustration and anger is quite hard to convey, since it's so very specific to my work and my subjective experience of the events surrounding it, so I can imagine all this might sound a bit overdramatic and crazy to you.

Phil: Sorry for the delay, Martin. I said I'd write properly in my next mail, and wanted to find the time to do so. Also to try and respond in an equally heartfelt manner, which I greatly appreciated

My father was a vet. Animals can't talk. Which means you better be one hell of a diagnostician. Which also means you can do whatever the fuck you want. If the vet pronounces its verdict in a doctoral tone, the pet owner will kneel. 90% of the time, Nature will take care of the healing, and a visit to the vet is more or less psychological support. 

If the injury or disease is too bad, and if you're incompetent, just declare there's nothing to do and suavely talk your way to euthanasia. (and that's the best option, I won't get into the details of vets properly killing animals or throwing them into unbearable lengths of agony by prescribing astonishingly irrelevant and most of the time unnecessary medications to pets who'd have healed in a natural manner. Because in the end, all these crooks care about is their Christmas envelope from BigPharma, and a prescription makes the owner happy. Win-win right?)

All my father's misery came from being too good at what he did, and not suave enough. Through sweat and tears he elevated hismelf to expert status in bone surgery, gave and went to seminars multiple times a year. Meanwhile, 95% of his so-called colleagues never attended one in their entire life after they bagged their diploma but were more than thriving in mastering the craft of being obsequious storekeepers.

Oh yes, my father is bitter. Never become a vet he told me. So I became a designer. And surprise, it's the same opaque shit I get to paddle in. will tell you more about our special condition, though I think you already had an idea.

But my father's case is probably closer to yours. Because, (even if the design world is also plagued with it, the consequences are less significant) it has to do with usurpation.

I often hear people say that our society has "inverted values". That it's got its head upside down. But I think it's actually not exactly so.

Yesterday we got out with my girlfriend and got relatively plastered. This morning she texted me from work to state how not so good she felt. She texted: "I also wore my panties backwards". I answered: "I hope it isn't a thong." She said: "actually it is. But not backwards this way. More like inside-out". Me: "makes me think of our society". Her: "what a jolly fellow you make".

As much as egalitarism, horizontality and the inherent illusion of a debate (too much noise) are the high price we pay for the empowerment of the masses, we can't do without it. Without the masses, no movement.  

The problem might be more insidious. It's not the total moron, nor most of the people (I can't bring myself to hate the masses), it's the evergrowing fraction of people with an art diploma who should have been plumbers. In french I call them les demi-habiles. The semi-skillful. Half-skillful. Journalists, debaters, psychology consultants, etc... The niches they created for themselves are legion, they sure know how to sail their little boats. So yes, usurpation, not an inversion, just a nasty little twist

And the consequence of that sudden increase in number of "experts" is unaccountabilty and impunity. 
Impunity also certainly has to do with christianism-read-wrong and the debilitating empathy of our visually driven world, but I suspect it's mainly due to sheer numbers, the crazy numbers of "experts" and the rate at which information is spouted. I can't bring myself to really blame the layman. Even if it doesn't mean I don't expect some degree of accountabilty,integrity and lucidity from him. But only some degree, I've learned to lower my hopes, sadly. Or maybe hopefully, I don't really know anymore.

Lastly, the [name omitted] video response to "officialy not you" struck me. I've watched other videos from him, and nearly all of them are in a way or another about his haters. You know how even on 9GAG we chronically come across a quote from a famous scientist whose powerful invention was at first ridiculed. And that fact is true. Problem is when shit art is now called "misunderstood", and when semi-skillfull project themselves as misunderstood geniuses standing tall against the storm. Not inverted values, these are usurpated values.

Sorry for this blabber Martin. I could just have said that your authenticity is scary in a world that tolerates fakeness. That I understand ho so well. It went longer than expected and I hope the personal aspect of all this will be of some added value. [It was.]

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Train Like A Man, Look Like A Goddess


Almost a year ago to the day, I wrote:
Women, you need to put down those pink dumbbells, throw that Shape Magazine in the trash can and stop with this nonsense. You seem to believe that the modest amount of strain will cause you to wake up looking like a bodybuilder in the morning. Horseshit.
...What you need to do is slap yourself and start training for real.

Fuckarounditis. (#10.)

Truth to be told not a lot has changed since then. It never will, because if you have insight and knowledge of how this machine works, well, you can forget about change within.

What you can do is simple, because I did it too when no one believed in intermittent fasting.

You show them that good things will come to those who dare to break a way from the norm a little bit.

I wrote this post for little more than a month ago once Facebook and people quite liked it. Then I suddenly started added things, making it all seem so obscure and serious, like some sociology paper on women's fitness, societal norms, Special K and

Woah there what the hell was that, anyway...

...Well, let's just say that women need role models, community and sensible get-it-done type rules on lifting.

Now, Isa has been putting up with so much shit from my side about the industry (behind-the-scenes-stuff) that I'm afraid I might have drained her energy for the competition she's at today, and you need to give her a lift.

I want you to leave her a message, ok?

At Barbella's Universe

By the way, I'm really sorry in messsing up this post. Will fix.

Strong Women

I made this album to make yet another point about women and weight training. Isa competes in strongman, took two gold medals in the recent European Powerlifting Championsship, and squats, deadlifts, presses, throws tires and runs around with some heavy shit I don't even know the name of.

Not an ounce of bulky muscle or a iota of freakishness to her. In spite of doing the complete opposite of what most are told on how to train - in the media, womens mags, by friends, but also within communities that should know better (i.e. physique competitors). The result is a good and healthy look. Leaner than most, and most definitely stronger. No cardio, just heavy weights 3x/week and no soy cracker and tofu style diet.

Decent muscularity for a female with her training background (a year or so), but a far cry for the fantasyland make-believe look of bulky muscles supposed to result from such training. Thats because it's all horseshit, of course.

Point being, train heavy, eat well and I guarantee that you will get hotter with each 10 lbs extra you put on the bar. As long as you stay away from the roids, because that's where the myth of freakish muscles on women comes from. The masculinizing effects of steroids on woman are profound and devastating, aestethically (subjective sure, but still) and socially. Be aware of it - and don't worry about the BS you hear and read about how women should train.

Regrettably, you're bound to hear BS and opinions about your training almost every damn day, if you're going against the grain and doing the unexpected - grunting females, lifting heavier weights than most men, are frowned upon by the mediocre and weak majority that makes up both of the genders - in our society.

Throw away the pink dumbbells, stay away from the treadmill, start lifting some real weight. If that means quitting your gym, because people look at you funny (an issue that really holds women back) when you grunt or sweat, do it. 

Pro tip, girls. ***bonus***

If hard training means joining a CrossFit class, do it. One thing CrossFit does right is providing the right environment, friendship, encouragement and attitude for girls who want to train hard without being stared at. That is worth far far more than an "optimal" weight training routine in a shitty commercial gym where people are clueless, mediocre and easily intimidated, almost offended, by hard training females.

I'm not a fan of CrossFit the way it's generally used, the marketing, or its use by people with vague objectives. However, for women specifically, it can really make all the difference.

...Another great thing you can do is encourage Isa to start her blog, so she can get her thumbs out the ass, and start serving as the good role model for weight training women that I think she is (my opinion, not hers).

Her attitude and looks is a statement and a point that needs to be made many times over. It ain't exactly like it's raining hot and feminine looking female strongman competitors these days. It's a sport plagued by an unfortunate stereotype, which unfortunately is true to a large extent. To Hell with that though, because the butch look is a consequence of steroids, girls, and you need not concern yourself with it.

Concern yourself with 250-300 lbs deadlifts and 200-250 lbs squats, avoid starvation diets, and enjoy the ride. You'll be much happier with the outcome of that, than say crackers and yoghurt, 2 hr daily cardio sessions and those mickey mouse curls you read about in Cosmo.

Eat like a man, train like a man, and look like a goddess. Would be a fairly accurate and true quote, if it wasn't for the fact that most men train like retards.

Anyway, here's a few resources that you should read, regardless of gender, but very relevant to the topic:

My name is Martin Berkhan and I work as a nutritional consultant, magazine writer and personal trainer.

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