Monday, April 26, 2010

Leangains-Inspired Bodyrecomposition

It's time for another success story.

Success stories are body transformations that are sent to me by people that have used the Leangains system with exceptional results. This remarkable success story was sent to me by Neto Bertalia.

Here's Neto, 16 years old and 375 lbs, on April 16th 2008.

At 375 lbs Neto was in dire need of substantial fat loss. This was not about getting ripped for the beach, but a real health issue. So he decided to get things done and lost 190 lbs in about 18 months with a low carb diet, cardio, strength training and intermittent fasting. Yes, you heard that right: 190 lbs. A net loss of more than 10 lbs per month consistently for 18 months. That's a mind-boggling effort.

After his tremendous accomplishment he switched gears to strength training in order to improve his body composition further.

The left picture is Neto at 190-200 lbs and 28% body fat shortly after finishing his diet six months ago. The right picture is a recent picture of Neto at 210 lbs and 18-19% body fat after having used the principles I advocate and have summarized in the Leangains guide.

If 18-19% seems low, keep in mind that excess skin, which Neto has, often gives an appearance of higher body fat when judging solely from upper body pictures.

Net change fat mass (left vs right picture): - 16 lbs

Net change lean body mass: +26 lbs

For the calculations I have assumed: 200 lbs at 28% body fat and 210 lbs at 19% body fat.

Reaping the rewards from getting it right

This is definitely one of the most impressive examples of bodyrecomposition I've seen. There's a margin of error here, of course, but you can clearly see the difference in the pictures. His upper body has gained an appreciable amount of muscle mass. Chest and shoulders has filled out nicely.

It should be noted that even while Neto was no strength training newbie in the left picture, he trained in an inefficient manner. Think "pump and tone". Think curling in the squat rack and rinky-dink movements like triceps kickbacks and pinky ring curls.

In combination with his substantial daily caloric deficit during the fat loss diet, it's no wonder that his results were lacking. Real results came once he researched strength training, focused on big movements and progressive overloading, and increased his calorie intake. Along with his muscle mass, his strength skyrocketed; for example, his bench went from 135 lbs x 12 to 250 lbs x 8.

Some of Neto's increase in lean body mass and strength could be attributed to newbie gains. Not newbie gains in the true sense of the word, but gains that comes once you go from training like an idiot to training with a purpose and a goal. I had a similar experience when I first discovered HIT over a decade ago. Even though I wasn't a beginner in the true sense of the word, once I started focusing on the things that mattered I gained tons of strength and plenty of muscle mass.

For some of my ideas about strength training you may find the following articles useful.

10 Random Thoughts on Weight Training

Reverse Pyramid Training Revisited


I hope you found this amazing success story inspiring. I will be in touch with Neto and update you on his progress in the future.


Raidho said...

Jesus Christ, what a transformation!! >10 lbs/month for 18 months straight, that's just rediculously awesome!
And he's only 17 years old... talk about strenghtening ones character for the future!
Congratulations Neto, way to go!

Nilla said...

Well done Neto! Amazing

Frank Dobner said...

That is an impressive transformation. I can't help noting how significant this change is for an individual and really appreciate what you are doing for people.

Nice work

Seve' said...

Congrats to Neto and you, Martin-man! That is an incredulous feat in such a short period.

Would him being the tender age of 16 help this transformation?

Could you take on similar challenge of mid 40's male, and get the same result?

Would you say, doing HIT with cardio would expedite fat loss? If so, what would you recommend for weekly HIT workout? The book BBS doesn't recommend it.
Plus, when the caloric defecit is too great, does it have negative effect on diet and body or strength?

Thanks as always.

neto said...

Thanks Martin, and thanks to everyone who's read this. :)

My journey was long, draining and quite tortuous and took every bit of willpower and discipline I had in me for sure. However, as extreme of a life-changing experience as it was, it is also very humbling in the same sense - I know where I came from, and if it wasn't for the support of my family and (rather unfortunately) very few others, I wouldn't stand where I am today... I feel honored that some people feel inspired by my work, I sincerely hope that you achieve what you want and more. If anyone has any questions, feel free to ask and I'll try to answer to the best of my abilities.

Cheers, Neto

mamaelvis said...

Nice. Really nice job. I bet you feel a million times better. Keep it up !

Anonymous said...

Why doesn't the after pictures show Neto's face?? I would like to see how his weight loss affected his face.

mamaelvis said...

Hi Neto*

Could you tell me what your height is? I am trying to figure out some height to weight ratio from your stats.

Anonymous said...

great job neto!!

Haley said...

Neto, CONGRATULATIONS!!! That is awesome! Your story will definitely be an inspiration to others! Way to go!

Chino said...

Well done Neto, outstanding work! Martin, once again you've influenced my way of training. The further I read into your posts the more I realise I've been training like an idiot. My weights training regimen is now officially WIP for a change.

Blue said...

Yes very inspiring, Awesome Neto!

neto said...

mamaelvis: I am 6'1", or 186 centimeters.

And as for my face, I have some pretty horrendous pictures of my fat face but for now I think these will do:

Before -
After -

Feel free to post them on the OP too. It's actually the part I'm the most excited about. :P

Anonymous said...

Damn nice effect of all that fat loss from your went from Fatty McFats to Mr Handsome (no homo)

Manveet said...

Well done Neto.

Truly inspirational.

Anonymous said...

Great job!

Anonymous said...

Really inspiring, way to go, both of you!/Mathilda

Anonymous said...

Very good Neto. You could try Gotu kola, it seems is very good to remove the excess of skin layer.
Poliquin recomended it. In cream way it seems to be better.
It is cheap and you not loss a lot to try.


Anonymous said...

This was awesome.

Got me so pumped for training, I hadto jump out of my chair and shadow box

Abi said...

wow.. so wat happens to the excess skin? is there any strategy for that?

Anonymous said...

Neto...amazing! I hope you're very proud of yourself!

Aaron Curl said...

That is one truly awesome individual! The will power he has is inspirational....he is going to be a force to reckon with as he gets older. Congratulations Neto!

Fredrik Gyllensten said...

That was really good neto :-)

Anonymous said...

Awesome results!!!! Congrats to you Neto. Very Inspiring.

Any examples/clients for women that were significantly overweight (50lbs+)?

Martin Berkhan said...

I have a few female clients that have lost impressive amounts of weight. But they haven't been too keen to let me put up their before-afters. I'll see if I can change their minds.

Anonymous said...

Woah what a metamorphosis! Great work Neto, YOU ROCK!

Tom said...

Well done bro. This is some mindblowing stuff.

Jon Fernandes said...

This is awesome! Good work Neto.

Clement said...

Hi Neto, congratulations on your progress. I can understand why Martin prescribed cardio for you as you needed to drop weight quickly. I'm also aiming to lose a substantial amount of fat in a very short time while gaining muscle mass. This is an inspiration to how much you can lose!

Martin, how many calories exactly did Neto eat per day in accordance to his maintenance? 30% below maintenance, how example?

Anonymous said...


Martin said...

crazy awesome! Any update pics?

Thomas S. Barnes said...

I have a quick question. I am 6ft. 2in. and weigh about 300lbs (lots of fat). Do you recommend a different approach for bigger guys in getting the weight down and then shifting to a focused strength training approach? Or does the same protocols work regardless of goals?

Kind Regards,

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

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