May muscle mix 2019

Fernando Noronha (Brazil)
Mahmoud Al Durrah (Egypt)
Dennis Reinhold (Germany)
Telemachos Petrou (Cyprus)
Novoa Mendez (Dominican Republic)
Elvin Beqa (Albania)
Arsand Bashir (Iraq)
Thomas Burianek (Austria)
Rafal Czerski (Poland)
Moreno Lisboa Guerra (Brazil)
Jan Kral (Slovakia)
Fred Smalls (USA)
Jan Turek (Czech Republic)
Omar Pellejero (Spain)
Ivan Martinez Roque (Mexico)
Matteo Innocenti (Italy)
 Vitor Lima (Brazil)
Ali Shams Ghamar (Iran)
Max O’Connor (UK)
Dimitris Tripolitsiotis (Greece)
Nicolas Vullioud (Switzerland)
Alexey Kuznetsov (Russia)
Ahmed Ashkanani (Kuwait)
Alexandre Nataf (France)
Salah Sulaymaniyah (Iraq)

The Leangains Study (Oct 25th Update)

After last month’s scientific debacle, there’s finally a good study on intermittent fasting and lifting. This one comes from Italy and also involves Grant Tinsley, but the change in scenery and colleagues must have done wonders for the man, because this is truly a huge bump in quality compared to his last publication.

I’ll remind you that the previous study that involved intermittent fasting and lifting was marred by intolerable food reporting. This study contains none of its predecessors glaring methodological flaws.

Thankfully, Greg Nuckols have already provided a good summary of the results. Since I also agree with most of his points and perspective, I’ll just link it here:

The “Leangains” Intermittent Fasting Study Is Finally Here.

…And that saves me a lot of time in the sense that I can just skip over the boring parts and get right to the meat of things. 


1. In this study, intermittent fasting beats out a normal diet, assuming we count points based on the overall impact on body composition. Over 8 weeks, subjects doing intermittent fasting a la Leangains, lost a lot more fat – and even gained more muscle – than subjects on a normal diet. 
2. True, the muscle gain is non-significant – scientifically speaking – but for someone in the real world, adding 1.4 lbs of muscle over 8 weeks is quite a bit, especially if you’re simultaneously losing fat. 
3. These guys were not beginners either. Starting out with an average bench of 107-110 kg at 84 kg or so, they were well into the intermediate stage. It’s worth noting that the intermittent fasters upped their bench by 3.3 kg, while the other group barely gained anything (0.7 kg). Increasing your bench press while losing weight is a bitch, that’s why it’s worth noting. On the leg press, gains were about equal in both groups (8-10 kg).

One glaring flaw in this study is the lack of seal rows.


All in all, I don’t think I could have asked for better results if I so funded this study myself. It would lie in my best self-interest to make a bigger deal about it all, but I can’t really muster up the same excitement when a good study comes along. I prefer to criticise and point out flaws and this study doesn’t have many. 
Food reporting is a limitation, as always, but since you won’t ever see a study where this potential confounder doesn’t exist, you might as well spare people the redundancy of pointing it out every single time – unless the protocol is truly inadequate (which it was in the previous study, for example). 
Here, there is no major discrepancy between the food intake reported and the actual results. A contributing factor to the much more precise numbers obtained here compared to the previous study, I think, lies in the fact that the subjects had a good amount of weight training experience (5 years) and thus were a lot more likely to know the ins and outs of what they were eating. If you’ve accumulated 5 years of weight training experience, it’s inconceivable that you aren’t aware of what you’re eating – this is in stark contrast to the previous study by Tinsley et al, which featured beginners with no weight training experience, and presumably matching diet experience, which is to say none.
Consequently, these results are as legit as they can be in my eyes. It would be cool to see them replicated, of course, but until that happens, it’s the best study* on intermittent fasting and lifting to date.
* Unless you’re counting my own “studies” of course. I will publish another one soon, but there are no great surprises here, because gaining muscle while losing fat is just business as usual in my book. Unless you’re at the advanced stage, you should be gaining muscle on a diet. I’m not talking pounds or inches, but you can and should see measurable progress on most of your lifts on a monthly basis, as long as the deficit isn’t too steep or the training regimen too dumb. Come to think about it, that’s actually a lot to ask for, so feel free to browse around this site to get a clue if you feel that you need one. 

Beginners and intermediates have it good. At the advanced stage, some muscle loss is inevitable without drugs. I miss the days were I could increase my lifts while simultaneously dropping weight.

Update (Oct 25th)

Greg Nuckols rightfully mentions that several anabolic hormones decreased in the TRF-group but speculated that the decrease might not be explainable by the caloric deficit alone, which is something I don’t entirely agree with.

Subsequently, he brought up an interesting point in a private conversation.

Greg Nuckols: “I was thinking about the drop in testosterone in the IF group in that study. Since testosterone levels can fluctuate 25-50%+ over the course of a day, it may just be that daily IF shifts the diurnal rhythm of testosterone secretion. That seems like a more likely explanation to me than the VERY slight calorie deficit, since it generally takes a much larger deficit to have that sort of effect on testosterone levels. I wish they took several blood draws throughout the day to compare 24-hr AUC, because it’s well-known that eating patterns can shift the diurnal rhythm of other hormones.”

I told him it was a great point and that he should add it to his article. He replied that I could add it to mine if I want to, as he generally avoids talking about hormonal stuff, since it usually doesn’t play that big of a role in the grand scheme of things (in the physiological range). I can’t help but agree.

What NOT To Do In The Gym

Proper gym etiquette is important.

We’re all there to get in a good workout and it’s no fun when someone violates the unspoken gym rules.

Maybe they’re new and don’t know any better.

Or maybe no one has ever pointed these rules out to them.

Either way, team ALLMAX athletes Steve and Amanda Kuclo are ready to shed some light on these rules to make the gym a better place for everyone.

1. Respect

Being in the fitness industry for half of their lives, Steve and Amanda have trained all around the world. One of Amanda’s biggest pet peeves is improper spotting.

She states that it is usually done by a trainer who wants to get with a girl.

Spotting can be an important part of training. But if you’re not seriously helping out the person you’re spotting, you shouldn’t spot them at all.

2. Hygiene

If you’re using equipment that everyone else uses as well, you’ve got to clean up after yourself.

Too often, people finish working out on a machine and don’t wipe it down.

No one wants to use a sweaty machine. Clean up after yourself!

3. Grunting

Grunting when you’re lifting heavy weight is fine, but excessive grunting is annoying.

Usually, excessive grunting isn’t even necessary.

The person doing it just wants to call attention to themselves.

It’s distracting, so if you don’t need to grunt, then you shouldn’t.

4. Sharing Machines

There are going to be times when you have to share a machine with someone.

If you’re using a machine and someone asks you to work in, let them.

If you’re the person asking to work in, don’t be disrespectful by completely changing out the equipment or taking excessive selfies during each set.

What NOT To Do In The Gym
A few weeks ago we traveled to Dallas, TX to visit Steve & Amanda Kuclo. In this video, the athletes share a few tips to understanding proper gym etiquette.
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Client Update

Happy Holidays everyone! I’ve started taking clients again and figured that it was time for another client update. Feel free to contact me if you’re interested in my help. Bear in mind that I have a waiting list.

In many cases, the pictures are too small to do the clients justice, so give them a click to see a fullscreen version.

Kane B

This guy went from looking like a Microsoft employee to someone from Gains Inc!

From Kane’s Facebook:

Motherf****n Monday Motivation  

💪Cat’s out the bag. I wasn’t going to post this just yet, but it’s already been uploaded to Facebook by my gym.
12 weeks ago on the left to now about a 1-2 weeks ago.
Starting weight- 73kg
Now- 67kg A massive change in body composition, at least I think so ha. More muscle, more abs what more can you ask for.Strength is through the roof… 5rm Max deadlift increased from 90kg to 150kg (60 in 12 weeks )  

Anyone who knows me, knows I have changed a LOT in the past 3 months. It’s not just the physical, but it has had an irreversible change mentally aswell. More centered and happy than ever. Strength is for everyone. There is something this kind of hard work gives you, you can’t get though any other method. 

…I want to give massive credit to Martin Berkhan of, he is the reason for such a massive change in a short period of time. Lesson learned for everyone, find a teacher, and just trust the process.
Followed a protocol of intermittent fasting and pure heavy lifting, no fluff.
This guy I have followed for years, and I got the chance to work with him. He slapped me firmly out of my fuckarounditis.
You can either have results or excuses. Not both

Chad H

When Chad decided that it was time to level up from Fatty McFats to Studs McGains, he came to the right person. While losing 20 lbs+ of blubber, he gained 100 lbs on his squat and deadlift and 45 lbs on his bench, in the 18 weeks that I worked with him. Looking at the radical difference in the pictures, I’ve no doubt that he added a good bit of muscle, obviously, because the math certainly doesn’t make sense otherwise.

Incredible. Talk about a body recomp! It’s also worth mentioning that Chad went on vacation twice during this time period, which makes it even more impressive – and also a testament to his discipline. (Hell, I gained 5 lbs last time I went on vacation and that was only one week…😂)

All I can say is LeanGains is amazing. I’ve lost 5″ – yes five inches – off my stomach since being on the program.

Matt B

From drugs and booze to sobriety, lifting and boxing. Matt’s transformation is truly inspirational and not merely superficial, and I feel equally blessed and proud to have been part of the process. In fact, Matt made his Instagram name in my honour – coachsaidso. (Must-follow-account for Leangains practitioners; great food and lifting.)

Here’s an article about Matt: Warrnambool boxing duo find boxing to be a catalyst for change

Before at 105 kg (February) vs after at 85 kg (November). It’s worth mentioning that Matt’s primary objective is boxing and that his lifting now supplements the boxing, not the other way around. And when I say boxing, I mean punching people in the head in a ring, not that boxercise shit.

…Whatever the cost of the Martin’s consultation is, it’s the best money I’ve spent. I’m still using my original fat loss program as the framework for my current training and diet almost 12 months later. 

Dieting and training goes a lot further than just lifting weights and cooking meals. Finding a method you believe in and having someone that is honest and trustworthy to teach it to you is the first step for anyone trying to change. The moment I got my consultation was the first time I stopped googling things like “when is the best time to eat carbs” or “when should I eat before I train”. I was constantly hearing different things from different people and it just confused me. I had complete faith in Martin and I take everything he has taught me to do as gospel. 

I could not be more thankful for Martin’s work, knowledge and the time he has given me to help me improve myself. I have friends who have paid for programs from other online coaches and I couldn’t believe the lack of support and information that they received compared to what I got from Martin’s consultation, hence why I’m lingering around 6-7% BF all the time and they’re looking for the next new gimmick for fat loss. 

In my opinion, I believe Martin is one of, if not the world’s leading nutritionist for strength training and intermittent fasting. Also, you feel very cool when you tell people that your personal trainer is from Sweden. Makes you look kind of serious.

Ilian H

This guy’s a champ. 👏

In the 16 weeks of following the program under Martin’s supervision, I lost over 17 kilos, at the same time gained a good deal of muscle and increased all my lifts by over 25%. Half-way on the program I broke into the 1000lbs on the three big lifts and toped 200kg on both squat and DL. To put it simply – I now warm-up with my 1RMs a year ago..
The greatest parts of working with Martin/Leangains:
– The accountability: I was genuinely afraid of “what would Martin say” and that is a great driver. Even now, months after off Martin, I still think of it when I am about to do a food choice.

– The advice: Martin has a (solid) answer to almost every question but is not afraid to say “I don’t know” either – while others will always give opinions even if no idea on a subject. The time it would take to experiment (especially for a busy person like me) worths much more than having a real expert who will give you a true and tested advice. 

– The diet: IF aside (which once you get used to, don’t even notice), the diet is a revelation. You can eat pretty much everything, IIFYM-style, and after spending over 2 years of munching on just chicken breasts and egg-whites, getting to eat bread and potatoes made it into a constant banquet! Word of caution though – you will get odd looks if you order your main meal of the day in a restaurant and both waiters and friends will try to convince you not too eat so much, as it is “bad for you”. Don’t try to explain, nobody gets it… 

– The workouts: RPT is fantastic and I now do everything RPT-style. Together with Martin we did some modifications to the training and added additional sets and the progress has been constant across all moves. I couldn’t imagine going back to 5×5 or any type of typical 5 day splits. 

– Longevity: it is a sustainable lifestyle. Once you get used to it, counting the calories and doing the workouts becomes second nature. I know I can always compensate, even if I go overboard on an occasion, I feel strong and when I start doing deadlifts, squats or rows, the curl bros drop their dumbbells and stare in awe (and yes, as shallow as it sounds, it feels good). 

Overall, I couldn’t be happier from working with Martin and I hope many others will have equal success on Leangains! Highly recommended to anyone who wants a smart and effective approach to transforming their body and gaining strength in the process.

Matthew L

43-year old Matt got pretty shredded. From 219 lbs (left) to 195 lbs (right).

By the way, check him out on Instagram and give his supplements a closer look if you’re on the hunt for a fat burner. Matt sent me a few samples and there was one that I found quite effective – it’s called “Miami Lean” and contained yohimbine among other things. *

* Apparently, “Miami Lean” has been discontinued and replaced with “Rio Lean.”

I have been in this game a long time and have tried a ton of training methods, supplements, diets,ect. I learned about lean gains and intermittent fasting about 4-5 years ago but it wasn’t until I hired martin to personalize my plan via his lean gains approach that my results took off. Yes, I was on the waiting list for a good year or more and did experiment with IF via the programs on his site but didn’t nail it until I got the consultation and then it all came together.

At first I was skeptical about the very brief training schedule even though I was a mentzer/yates HIT proponent. But I have to say it was the best change I made. It cut through the smoke and mirrors and was a solid plan that would be the corner stone of my training plan to this day.

Whether your goal is getting lean or doing a lean bulk I encourage you to reach out to martin with an open mind. Set your self up for progress not failure. The things you will learn will set you up for life and can also be personalized to fit any schedule or life situation.

Put the knife to the OCD lifestyle and the 6 meal a day system and start living and enjoying both your training and nutrition again.

Arthur S

12 weeks, 11 lbs lost, but strength gained. What more can you ask for?

Final weight (averaged): 155.3 (11 pounds lost since start of consult… amazing!). I think I’ve reached my goal … for the time being. Pretty damned ecstatic with the results. Thank you so much for everything. It’s been pretty life changing for me.

Luke A

What a physique! 12 weeks, 9 lbs lost…and yes, you guessed it, strength gained.

I could not be happier with the results and how I feel, including zero elbow/tennis elbow issues of the past. And I just kept getting stronger. Amazing! 

Thanks again for everything it was a pleasure to work with you !! I plan to continue to improve with Leangains and I will keep you posted.

Theis D

11 weeks, 6 kg lost. Not bad seeing that the poor guy was in a car crash and had to take one week off – but that clearly didn’t faze him and he still came out leaner and stronger at the end.

It is like I grow and slim down at the same time like what you told in last status email – body recomposition?

Hell yes, son!

Tony J

45 year-old Tony lost 10 lbs in 12 weeks and got stronger in the process. Not bad for a veteran of the iron game. Age is no excuse, folks!

 I have really noticed that my love handles on my sides are almost completely gone, and my abs haven’t looked this good in two decades. The best part is I feel I’m at or close to my strongest ever. I was also glad to see some better defined muscles in my back, and pleasantly surprised at the definition in the front of my legs (separation in the Quadriceps muscles). All of this at almost 45 yrs old. Not too shabby.  

Martin, your expertise is worth every penny spent. Thank you.

Heather J

Former athlete Heather lost 10 lbs in 12 weeks. But here’s the crazy part: using a specialized chin-up routine that I developed, she went from being able to complete a single chin-up to 14 (!) chin-ups at the end of the 12-week period. 💪

And yes, that’s 14 chin-ups in a row, which is more than what 90% of the males reading this are able to do.

Thank you for the excellent guidance and thorough information, it has been greatly appreciated and extremely valuable in making this change in my life.

Fred C

Have you seen how an extra 5 lbs of muscle looks on a body? Well, now you have, and when I say “5” I’m probably undershooting that figure, because I actually think Frederik looks leaner in the after-picture. What kind of advanced drug cocktail do you need to make that happen? None whatsoever. What you need is 4 months, good diet and a solid training program, split into roughly equal parts bulking and cutting.

I have been working with Martin for a little over a year now, and I have nothing but good things to say about my experience. Without his help, I’d likely still be caught up in all of the nonsense we seem to live by these days. There is no secret sauce, just a fair amount of dedication and advice on where to apply it. 

To my surprise, within a month of beginning my bulk with him, my TDEE (calories burned daily) shot up dramatically and my bulking calories had then become my maintenance calories. While it was great being able to incorporate some more chocolate chips into my pancakes, it also had a much larger benefit. My increase in TDEE meant that my cutting calories were significantly higher. When Martin said that I should be averaging 2,000 calories per day if I wanted to lose a pound per week, I was a bit skeptical. However, I figured that I would give it a shot. 

Sure enough, I was shedding weight even faster than he had projected. For reference, I was 5’11 and around 155lbs at the time, so being able to lose weight at those calories made cutting a breeze. 

If you want a no-nonsense approach to your fitness goals, this is the place to go. You will not be disappointed.

Paul A

Look at this crazy guy. I have no doubt that he added 10 lbs of muscle over 7 months on my program. Paul started out at 132 (left), lost a few pounds on a 4-week cut (middle), and spent the next 6 months bulking. He was 140 (right) last time I spoke with him and still leaner than when we started working together. Naturally, his strength gains are through the roof as well.

You can hear all this from Paul himself as he hosts his own YouTube-channel with practical advice for the Leangains diet. Check it out! (And hit that subscribe button to keep him motivated. I honestly think his content is pretty good.)

Honestly, I could not realistically be happier with my progress.  You’re a fucking genius.  Short story…I was at the playground with my kids and they were playing on the monkey bars.  I tried doing a pull-up instead of a chin-up, just for fun.  I could not do more than 1 pullup 4 months ago.  I think I did 10 with ease and felt like I could have done 20.  I wish I would have found your website years ago.  I already told you about the distance I have added to my golf drives and that is not bullshit, it absolutely amazes me.  Thank you!

Jason L

Not everyone is a genius in the weight room and not everyone has the genes to become the next Mr Olympia. In fact, most people don’t even have their priorities straight, before I have a talk with them. All these things applied to the formerly overweight 5’4 marathon runner Jason, who underwent a complete physical and mental change during the time we spent together.

It wasn’t easy for us both, but I’m really proud of the end result. So far, Jason has added 12 lbs of muscle to his frame, and I’m confident that he will add another 12 in the year to come. As for his lifting, he’s up 40 lbs on his bench and 150 lbs on his deadlift so far.

I had the opportunity to consult with Martin Berkhan twice now. Once earlier in the year during an extended“cutting” period, followed by again for a “bulking period.” The reason I reached out to Martin was simple. I had followed the advice and programs of his copycats for too long, and it was about time I modeled the work from the “master” of LeanGains himself.  

Sorting through the abundance of “good advice,” BS, and “bro science” that makes up the strength-training industry, I decided my path to improvement required better focus. I found my time with Martin to be exceptional. A challenge I had previously faced was that most of the information in the industry is geared toward the “average” man, typically around 5’10. At a much shorter height, it was incredibly valuable to have a program designed (lifting and diet) specific to me. Having seen commentary of his services on places online like Reddit, I was pleased to see the program shared with me was specific to my goals and not the exact same programming he had given others.  

In this time, I’ve successfully cut fat while gaining around twelve pounds of muscle mass in this calendar year. Martin was there to support my efforts encouraging me along the way, correct my form, make recommendations and adjustments, as well as provide the appropriate “bitch-slap of reality” when I was displaying signs of Fuckarounditis. 

The strength of a good coach is the ability to arm their student with the skills necessary to build their own independence, rather than a dependence on the coaching process. I now feel armed to continue this journey on my own. Thank you!

Cameron S

Here’s another great example of body recomposition if you ask me. During the 8 weeks we worked together, Cameron only lost 4 lbs – but as you can see, there’s a remarkable difference in appearance for such a modest amount of weight loss.

Tony L

Despite a lot of barbecues and drinks during our 12-week period together, Tony made quite stellar progress. Take a look at the numbers yourself:

Week 1 I was 174.7 lbs and in my attached pics this week I was 168 lbs.I lost about a half pound a week on average. Not amazing, but I like the number when I look at my strength progress, I was able to progress 10-15% or so in every major lift

1RM (lbs..the stupid US imperial system sucks)
Deadlift – 408 -> 443
Bench – 229 -> 259
Squat – 344 -> 409

Here’s what I wrote him back:

…Even though you only lost 6.7 lbs, the impact on your physique is quite radical. You actually lost more fat than half a pound a week, because you also grew muscle in the process, which changes the weight equation a good bit.  There’s no way in Hell you’re adding 30-65 lbs to your lifts by sheer willpower, so I’d say great job on this body recomp. 🙂

Haddoum S

Middleweight boxer went to super welterweight (-2.7 kg) with significant strength gains during our 12 weeks, which included vacation.

I enjoyed the process. Simple, effective. No bullshit, I just followed the macros to a T, or as close as possible in spite of some travels within my family because life happens 🙂

I would like to thank you for having showed me that 3 compounds movements per workout, 3 times per week with a proper diet are far more effective than killing yourself in the gym 4/5 times per week with 1h and a half workouts / endless cardio leaving you tired as fuck… It really changed my perspective about working out. Thanks again for that.

Matt G

I know these aren’t the greatest pictures in the world, but he sure got leaner* and added 20 lbs+ to all the major lifts during the 12 weeks we worked together.

* According to a dunk tank test, Matt went from 9.75% to 6.3% body fat. (I don’t find the dunk test very reliable, but -3.45% sounds reasonable, even if the absolute numbers don’t.)

John S

This is a 53-year old recomp project in the making. 217 (left) and 213 (right) following 6 weeks of dieting and 6 weeks of gains.

Michael M

Under perfect conditions, these results could have been accomplished in 8 weeks, but Michael has to deal with travelling and hotel gyms, and the many compromises that entails in terms of training,  nutrition and sleep (due to his job). Taking that into consideration, his results are quite good. The weight difference is only 3.8 kg, but he is a lot leaner and seemingly more muscular in the after-pics. His back, in particular, shows marked improvements. Despite the weight loss, Michael also gained strength (=muscle) during this period.

Jonny S

I’m proud to say that I helped Jonny “The Thunder from Down Under” Souter achieve his impressive 3 x BW deadlift and win his class at his second powerlifting meet. Check him out on Instagram!

P.S. If you’re interested in some serious deadlift action, you should also follow me on Instagram

Brazilian bodybuilding super star – IFBB Pro Rafael Brandao (PART 1)

Rafael Brandao was born (in 1993) and raised in Garcia, a small town of Brazil. This young man is one of the most famous bodybuilders in his country and with his aesthetic physique he’s also among the rising stars in the international bodybuilding scene. He won his IFBB Pro Card in 2016 and has the potential (muscle mass and symmetry) for a successful bodybuilding career. 

Rafael made his professional debut at the IFBB San Marino Pro 2017 where he took the 8th place but he has improved his performance through competitions. Rafael Brandao was a young man who was fed up with being skinny (he suffered some kind of bullying) so he decided to join a gym to get big. It wasn’t easy for him to gain muscle mass due to his fast metabolism despite the amount of food he used to eat but with hard work he achieved this goal thanks to his very good genetics. He started weightlifting as a 55kg/120lb teenager and today he’s the incredible muscle beast we see and admire as big muscle maniacs we are!

Country: Brazil
Birthdate: 1993
Height: 180cm/5’11”
Off season weight: 116kg/256lb
Competition weight: 111kg/245lb