Sunday, August 9, 2009


I'll have another Q&A up soon, but I figure I'd drop by real quick and link some worthwhile reading and listening material.

* Ryan Zielonka writes about his experience with my RPT system.

"Intelligent HIT – the kind promulgated by Martin, at least – keeps volume to a minimum. Major movements are trained infrequently. Martin has taken his cues from guys like Arthur Jones and Stuart McRobert, altering the workout week to an extended 8-day schedule and emphasizing progressive overload over volume."

..."For the past four weeks I was in the gym three times every eight days. My bench press improved by 30lbs for five reps. My deadlift improved dramatically, over 80lbs for four reps. Back squat didn’t move as much as I would have liked, from four to six reps with a 15lb increase in weight."

- Ryan

Some pretty solid gains. I've been getting e-mails from people that tried my template from The Minimalist, reporting similar increases - the most notable being +160 lbs deads, +120 lbs squats and +75 lbs bench over 100 days (10 x 10-day cycles).

* In the trenches with Alan Aragon. Alan talks some sense on various issues. There's a brief discussion related to intermittent fasting.

* The Energy Balance Equation

For example, people will point out that replacing carbs with protein leads to greater weight loss although they have the same calories; ergo the equation is wrong. What they fail to realize is that protein has a higher thermogenic effect and this modifies the TEF value of the equation; the energy OUT side of the equation changes if you replace carbs with protein.

- Lyle

Let me talk about that last part for a minute. A new study recently came out where it was shown that increasing protein from 12% to 30% lead to an approximate increase of 75 kcal/day at the same total calorie intake (1). A researcher named Livesey proposed that the impact of 1 gram protein on your metabolism is about 3,25 kcal, and not 4 kcal (2).

Back in 2004, I came across Livesey's findings and created a diet called The Thermogenic Diet (4) - basically, a very high protein, moderate fat, low carb TKD (3). It's not very different from PSMF, but more liberal when it comes intake. I released it as an article on one of the swedish forums, where it became an instant hit, and still is. Among the many people that have used it with great success is natural bodybuilder and client of mine Andreaz Engström

Keep protein high, and you will lose fat at a higher calorie intake than on any other macronutrient combination. What's the point of this rambling? Not much, except serving as a reminder for you to eat your protein when dieting. A lot. Keeping protein high is a given; carb and fat intake is much more dependent on your personal preferences, and should be treated accordingly.

1. Veldhorst, et al. Gluconeogenesis and energy expenditure after a high-protein, carbohydrate-free diet. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Jul 29.

2. Livesey. Metabolizable energy of macronutrients. Am J Clin Nutr. 1995 Nov;62(5 Suppl):1135S-1142S. See this post for more ("Q: Why is protein kept so high on rest days?")

3. TKD - Targeted Ketogenic Diet (except with the Thermogenic Diet you'd not hit ketosis due to protein being so high)

4. There is no english translation available, but maybe I'll look into that if enough people are interested in reading it.


Anonymous said...

I did something very similar to the template featured in your post the minimalist and can attest to it's effectiveness. Only difference was adding some arm work and leg presses instead of squats (can't squat, hip issue). Very pleased with my results...deads 350 to 425 for 5 for example.

Keep up the great work.


Migue said...

What about a fat loss routine? am im doing a split body routine 45-1hour 4 days a week followed with 30min of cardio, you think its fine or im over training ? because i really like to train really hard with really low rest between sets.
Anyway im sleeping really good since i started the IF(Like almost 2 months), with a lot of focus, 0 hunger, anxiety or things that i was experience before when i eat 6 meal per day.

Martin Berkhan said...


each to his own, but I wouldn't have anyone doing weights 4x/week if fat loss was the primary concern. Low rest in between sets? Not a fan of that either. But you may do as you please. There are many ways to skin a cat.

mike said...

thanks for answer, so you really think im over training? so should i change the routine to something like 2 muscles per session or reduce it to just 3 times per week?, to let the muscles to rest more time?
I have to say it, i really like to exercise, so when i dont do nothing i feel like i haven't accomplish my objective of the week.
Sorry to keep asking questions but im just want to perfectionism my actual Routine and IF, to not lead to an over trained person or losing to much time training.
Anyway im really cant wait to get a copy of "The four Horsemen"
good luck there and see ya

Martin Berkhan said...

'thanks for answer, so you really think im over training? so should i change the routine to something like 2 muscles per session or reduce it to just 3 times per week?, to let the muscles to rest more time?'

I can't say if you're overtraining only knowing that you work out 4x/w. However, I don't see the need for most people to do weights more than 3x/w on a diet. Stick to the big movements, avoid the foo-foo shit. And as I told you, you may do as you please. Is your strength holding up while you're losing fat, keep doing what you do.

'I have to say it, i really like to exercise, so when i dont do nothing i feel like i haven't accomplish my objective of the week.'

Understand that this mindset might backfire sooner or later.

Anonymous said...

good blog

Anonymous said...

Martin, what is your opinion on the belive that you need 40-60 reps per muscle group per workout 2 times a week for grow( i read it on lyle forum).
Your routine and of your clients is very low volume compared to that.
Reading your posts I geting curious of tring HIT again.

Martin Berkhan said...

Good question. I believe there are some problems making such a broad statement. Let me expand on this question in the next Q&A, as a quick response here will not do justice to it. Also, note that Lyle does not claim that you "need" it, just that it might be optimal (presumably for intermediate/advanced lifters).

Anonymous said...

Thank's Martin for your aswer.
I do low volume but now cant make more progress. I was thinking about up the volume, but after reading your blog maybe I am overtraining (or under??).
I dont do squats or deads because of hip problem.My routine is:
leg press:2x10; bench press: 3x5; rows: 2x8; overhead press: 2x6; barbell curls: 1x6; triceps extension: 2x7; reverse grip barbell curls: 2x8
leg press:2x10,pull-up 2x5, incline bench 3x5, lateral raises 3x8, dunbell curls 1x5, dips 1x8 and wrist curl 3x15-20. It takes 80 min to do these workouts.

Rickard said...

What is your opinion on omega3 intake during maintenance/bulking? If I remember right, you recommend 10x 1 gram pills during cut?

Looking forward to your book!

Martin Berkhan said...

No, I've never recommended 10 g. 3-6 g daily is quite sufficent.

Kellen said...

Hey Martin. I just wanted to say that I'd love to see a translation of the Thermogenic Diet. Not sure what others think but I think it'd be fascinating. Thanks, love your work.

Fredrik said...

The thermogenic diet is extremely effective! I read it 5 years ago and have used it for summer cutting every time since! If you like cottage cheese like i do its not a hard diet even and it sheds fat like crazy without muscle loss. Translate and become a millionare Martin;) -Fredrik (from "PB")

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

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