Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Q&A With Dr. Israetel of Renaissance Periodization

Today, Dr. Israetel and myself cover a myriad of topics including cheat meals, carb backloading, bulking, training for mass, shit that pisses him off, and his upcoming bodybuilding show.  

So without further ado.....

Paul Carter - Mike, the cheat meal has become such a big part of dieting now.  But I've found in the past that I often made more progress in terms of fat loss the longer I went without a cheat.  I get that when you get into single digits and have been dieting for a long time that a refeed has some significant benefits.  But don't you think that the cheat meal has become somewhat abused?  I see people now trying to justify 2 and 3 cheat meals a week because it "fits my macros".   If someone has a long ways to go in terms of fat loss, shouldn't cheat meals be few and far between?

Mike Israetel - Paul, that is a very interesting question. Lots of thoughts on this.
Here's the deal with cheat meals. There are two distinct POSSIBLE uses for them:
1.) Physiological assistance
2.) Psychological assistance
1.) Physiological assistance: hypothetically, cheat meals might be able to do several things physiologically:
a.) Upregulate the metabolism to keep it higher and allow more fat burning to occur later
b.) Re-stock glycogen stores and allow for fatigue reduction and future harder training
There is very good evidence that (b) occurs, but not nearly as much as (a). And both occur from added carbohydrate, not protein and fat. In fact, there is good reason to think that it takes days if not weeks of elevated eating to meaningfully upregulate the metabolic rate or fat loss proclivity, and not much reason to think one cheat meal can do this.
Thus, our tentative conclusion for cheating from a physiological perspective is to keep the cheating higher carb than anything else, and perhaps not include cheat meals so much as periods of diet re-sensitization that take 1-2 weeks (basically, you stop trying to lose weight for 1-2 weeks, then get back to work after that)
2.) Psychological assistance: hypothetically, cheat meals might be able to do several things psychologically:
a.) Reduce the tenacity, boredom, stress, and confinement of dieting by including non-traditional foods
b.) Provide motivation in a long term diet (I only have to make it to this Saturday and then I get my cheat meal...)
As to the effect of both, I'll say that in my experience, it REALLY depends on the individual. Some people LOVE cheat meals, and they really do de-stress them and help with motivation. These people come back after a cheat and hit the diet harder than ever, get another week or two worth of gnarly results, and then are ready to cheat again.
Another group of people have the opposite reaction. A cheat meal throws them off their routine. It's delicious during, but causes them to bloat up. The next day, their cravings are WILD, and they can't stop thinking about cheating again. Some people even get guilt DURING the meal... knowing that every single bite is one step closer to the beginning of the next phase of suffering.
MOST people tend to be a bit more in the second group, so I actually recommend that as a diet gets closer to the end (perhaps the last month or so), cheating should be replaced with just MORE BODYBUILDING FOOD. This food is not that delicious, fills you up, doesn't cause bloating or crazy cravings, and more of it (the carbs, per say) helps you increase glycogen and drop fatigue for better training ahead.

PHEW! Let me know what you think. 

Paul Carter - That's great.  So let's delve into carb backloading.  I know you're aware of it.  What's your thoughts on carb back loading?  The good at the bad.  

Mike Israetel -  Oh boy. Alright, the good first:
1.) Eating most of your carbs after your workout is prob a good idea. It leads to more anabolism and more glycogen repletion than eating them at most other times through the day.
2.) Focusing on more glycemic carbs post-workout is probably also a good idea, as it helps to spike insulin and accomplish the above point slightly more effectively.
The bad:
1.) Eating fats in your post-workout carbs LOWERS their glycemic index, which counteracts eating the delicious "fun" glycemic carbs outright. It also delays digestion massively, which keeps those nutrients you just ate from entering into the bloodstream nearly as rapidly and prevents them from having beneficial effects on the muscles trained during the post-workout window of sensitivity.
2.) Not eating carbs before/during your workout will have a negative effect on your energy levels during training and thus the benefits of your workout.
3.) In some renditions of carb backloading, John Kiefer has advocated that for morning workouts, eating less carbs though the afternoon is still a good idea, and most carbs should still be saved for the evening. This misses the workout window entirely and makes close to no sense. There is NO CONVINCING LITERATURE on circadian eating patterns with respect to body composition... eating carbs in the evening is NOT magic and will likely accomplish nothing special UNLESS you just trained! There is a workout window, not a magic time to eat carbs just cause it's 7pm or something.

Paul Carter - So fundamentally, it's flawed because the idea isn't always based around the workout window entirely, but the time of day.

Mike Israetel - Absolutely. And there just isn't the evidence to say any one time is better.

Paul Carter - Let's move on to some other shit.  Mike, there seems to be an inordinate amount of studies going on now in regards to exercise science.  I'm not a big fan, honestly.  I'm not saying some of then aren't interesting or helpful at all, but I just feel like too many people put too much stock in a study without real life application to it.  In other words, what we see in studies sometimes isn't always what we see in real life.  Not only that, but they often get interpreted incorrectly at times, and then misinformation gets spread around.  How do you feel about all of this?

Mike Israetel - I love this kind of stuff. Ok here we go. Studies are ALWAYS limited in their applicability. There are several distinct limitations that must always be considered when looking at study and trying to apply it to real world training and eating. I’m actually going to be going more into detail in an article Trevor Kashey and I are co-authoring.  Here are some of the most important delineating factors to consider:
1.) Internal Validity
The internal validity of a study is mostly a question of the controls imposed on the variables. That is, is the study designed and controlled well enough so that the conclusions proposed can actually be justified? For example, some high rep training studies do not equate for volume. One group did 3x10, the other group did 3x20 and grew more muscle, so the researchers conclude that the higher reps are the cause. Problem is, the 3x20 group did more work... And we've known higher workloads cause greater growth for DECADES. So what does the study actually conclude? We can't be sure until we at least equate the volumes.
So before any study is to be transferred into application, it needs to be screened for internal validity... And some published studies do NOT make the cut.
2.) ONE study means ALMOST nothing (error).
Once a study is deemed internally valid, its conclusions have a higher chance of being correct. However, most statistical tests have error rates of at least 5%, and for a host of other statistical reasons, JUST ONE study is a SUGGESTION for further RESEARCH, not application (just yet). When a new particle is discovered in physics, guess what their next step is? That's right, they conduct more studies. One study is only a suggestion for a direction of future research, not an end-all source of knowledge to take to the squat rack right away. The sum of ALL studies on a subject, if there are 10 or more, and now we have something to work with in application. So any one study... GIANT grain of salt.
3.) Population 
So now we have 25 well controlled studies on rep ranges and growth, let's say. But who are they on? Almost ALL studies in exercise science are on undergrads who either don't train or barely train. That means if you want meaningful results on training info, you'll have to dig deeper and find the studies on people who have been training for while! Brad Schoenfeld and others put them out all the time, but that means you have to find them. It's a very bad idea to assume you will respond to training like a newbie would... There are dozens of reasons this is not the case.
4.) Ecological Validity
Ok, so we have all the well-controlled studies on squatting reps and growth that have been done on trained individuals (not beginners). Another question is: do the studies have good ecological validity? That is, did they take bodybuilders and change their leg workouts and nothing else, or. Did they have them only train legs for 8 weeks? If it’s the latter, then the conclusions are suspect, as recovery is much helped if you only train one bodypart, and NO ONE DOES THIS IN THE REAL WORLD. It's like a mini smolov- can work great if you do nothing but squat, total disaster if you do anything else. So the best studies are the ones in which conditions close to real life are replicated.
5.) Attention to all variables
Lastly (for this quick chat, not for the subject as a whole), all the measured variables of a study must be considered if we want to know the whole story. I have good data that shows lean body mass has a minimal effect on strength in volleyball players. Problem is, the taller players have the biggest LBMs and the worst leverages for strength output. Once we ratio LBM to height, the prediction on strength is phenomenal... so if we have concluded that muscle mass does not make you much stronger... we ignored some very important variables.
A perfect example of this is Brad Schoenfeld's recent study on this very topic. You could draw any number of conclusions from his study, all of which are correct:
A.) You can grow the same from low or high reps, so long as volume is equated.
B.) Low rep, high weight, moderate volume training beats the crap out of you.
C.) High rep, moderate weight training is just as effective in growing muscle but is FAR MORE time efficient and less fatiguing too.
If you leave out part of the story, you can generate the wrong conclusion and say that low rep high weight, moderate volume training should be done by bodybuilders, but you'll really just leave a ton of hurt or overreached people in your wake. The correct conclusion, which is brilliant and can ONLY BE DRAWN LOOKING AT THE BIG PICTURE is that volume IS the single biggest determinant of growth (past a minimum intensity), but that sustainable and efficient hypertrophy training should probably be done with moderate loads and higher reps, not super heavy loads, low reps and tons of sets. And no surprise... bodybuilders (most, anyway) and weightlifters and powerlifters have suspected this for decades.
Thus, even when you have a good study (internally valid), there is much work left to do in interpretation before we should all alter our training plans.

Paul Carter - And I think the study you mention there is the one that drove me nuts.  One group did 3x10 and the other did 7x3, and hypertrophy results were the same.  And this is where misinformation gets spread.  Someone will inevitably conclude from that study, that low reps build muscle just as efficiently as high reps.  But that's simply flat out not the case.  The group that did 3 sets of 10 were done in 17 minutes, and wanted to do more.  The group that did 7 sets of 3, it took them 70 minutes to finish, and were exhausted after.  So the fact is, it's not the same.  If someone told you that you could graduate in a quarter of the time, with the same education, and the same amount of knowledge, would you think that's more efficient?  It's like people use these studies to say "A and B both got you to C", then leave out the fact that the destination wasn't the only factor.  Efficiency in training is of SUPREME importance.

Mike Israetel - Paul some people just wanna go heavy all the time and are the ones commenting on videos of sets of 5+ with 'lol cardio.' Those people will take anything out of context so they can keep doing high school-style lifting by going heavy all the time. 

Paul Carter - That leads into another discussion.  What's with so many guys now not understanding the value of rep training?  I see so many guys now that won't venture outside of the 3 rep range.  Why do you think there is such a gap right now in how most powerlifters train, in comparison to how powerlifters trained years and years ago, when most of them did a ton of bodybuilding style work?

Mike Israetel - Hmmm. You know I think it's two things. 
1.) A remnant of equipped lifting. Since a lot of guys used to train in gear or take advice from those who did, they still train more like geared lifters, which usually means lower rep.
2.) Guys just want to go heavy all the time... That temptation seems constant across the years.

Paul Carter - So lay me out how you'd have a guy train in the offseason to obtain as much lean mass as possible.

Mike Israetel
For powerlifting, I'd make sure to do a couple of things:
1.) Train each muscle group about 2x per week.
2.) Stick with sets of 5-10 for most movements... the average being about sets of 8.
3.) Make sure to move up in sets over the course of each mesocycle, so you start out doing set numbers you can easily recover from, and then each week you add some sets. This means you might start out the month doing 3x8 in the squat, and finish the month doing 5x8.
4.) The exercises need to be derivatives of the powerlifts like close grip benches, shoulder presses, dumbbell work, front squats, stiff legged deadlifts, and so on.
So you get to high training volumes with multiple moderate-heavy sets (of 8 reps or so), and you eat a hypercaloric diet, and viola, you get bigger!

Paul Carter - So Mike, even for powerlifting, guys are going to need to incorporate more than just the big three in order to get complete development right?  I mean Dan Green talked about when he needed to bring his quads up, he went to hacks and front squats.  The squat itself did not bring his quads up to where they needed to be.  He did need to grab some "bodybuilding" in order to help the squat.  I don't think the big three are enough to offer complete development for the competitive powerlifter.  Would you agree?
Mike Israetel - I think the big three will take you very far, but they will fall short of providing you with COMPLETE development. Assistance exercises allow for two benefits:
1.) Focus on a specific muscle or muscles
2.) Variation
1.) By allowing more focus on a specific muscle, assistance moves can allow you to fill the gap in a lift or address a weak point. For example, squatting definitely grows and strengthens the quads, but the quads can take a lot more volume (and benefit from it) than your lower back and knees can handle from heavy squats. Thus, it pays to leg press, front squat, and hack squat at certain times to really focus maximally on the quads, while allowing you to still keep your lower back and other more fragile structures intact. Same goes for dumbbell work and flyes for the bench, hamstring work for deadlifts, and so on down the line.

2.) Variation is important in training because if you do the exact same moves all the time, progress on them can slow and even stall completely. When doing only the big 3 lifts, your motor units are firing in the same way each time, the same areas of joints and muscles are getting stressed each time, and so on. After a while (months), the stimulus from these moves is so similar, that progress is just very unlikely. So, to get some growth and strength, it's good to move away from these basics by replacing them with other moves for the same muscle groups. This allows great progress in growth and strength right at that time, and allows the main moves to "refresh" and give you more gains later when you re-introduce them. Because the offseason is a perfect time to get away from the main lifts AND attempt to grow muscle, bodybuilding-type moves are a great choice to incorporate here.

Paul Carter - And that comes back to another question.  How much "bigger" should one aim to get in the offseason?  I've made this point for a while and John Meadows made it a while back.  In terms of bodyfat, what's the upper limit of where a guy should be in the offseason when he's trying to pack on more mass?  I see lots of guys that are in forever bulk mode and they just get fatter and fatter.  So what's the baseline there?

Mike Israetel - 10-15% is my sort of average figure
if you're below 10%, you either maintain or mass
if you're about 15% you either maintain or cut
for powerlifters, massing above 15% and cutting below 10% is pretty stupid as one costs muscle and the other costs formula.

Paul Carter - Well not only that, but once someone breaches 15% or so, the body tends to accumulate fat at a much faster rate.  Correct?

Mike Israetel - That seems to be the case, yes, so you start just getting much fatter and chasing a very diminishing return on muscle size and thus strength.

Paul Carter - And eventually when you take the fat off, it takes longer, and the longer it takes, generally speaking, the more lean tissue there will be lost in the process.

Mike Israetel - Indeed, and time is only one of the factors. Any time you have MORE fat to lose, you risk muscle loss more. So there is a good middle ground there… trying to stay super lean all the time, and you stagnate. Swing in bodyweight wildly, and you stagnate. Planned moderate masses, maintenance phases and cuts, and you get slow and steady muscle growth.

Paul Carter - I think so too.  I know a few guys that try to stay super lean all the time, and sure enough their lifts have been stagnant for a long period of time.

Mike Israetel - Yep.

Paul Carter - Which leads us into my next point.  We talked about this before, but one thing I've noticed is that most of the guys in powerlifting who are at the very top level, I mean 5% type guys, carry a LOT of muscle mass and are relatively lean.  That can't be a coincidence.

Mike Israetel - It's really VERY simple and I think some people get carried away with a lot of other stuff and tend to forget this.
1.) Muscle produces force. More muscle is almost always a good thing, so long as your leverages are not negatively affected on the net balance.
2.) Fat needs to be lifted yet does not produce force. Less fat is almost always a good thing, so long as the dieting to get there does not hurt your ability to train for strength or keep your muscle size on the net balance.
THUS, the best lifters in every class (save perhaps the supers) will gravitate towards being 10% or lower in bodyfat and be as heavy (and thus muscular) as they can for their class.
SO, if you're a 220 with a spare tire and you're trying to "Chase Jay Nera” or “chase Dan Green," your first realization must be that they might literally have 20lbs MORE MUSCLE than you and 20lbs less fat!  They have that much more muscle with which to produce force, and that much less useless fat to lift along with the bar. If you think you'll catch up with guys like that by playing with your foot position in the sumo dead or getting your low bar setup just right, you've got another thing coming.  One of your BIGGEST priorities as a powerlifter must be to add muscle and cut fat over the long term.  If you just want to eat and lift weights and not have to worry about appearance, that's cool. But don't worry about being as good as you can be, either.

Paul Carter - Jay Nera told me "look strong, and be stronger than you look."  That's basically my mentality as well.  Your training and diet should produce a "form" that is fitting with someone that is strong.  The issue is, "strong" gets determined by a single rep in powerlifting.  So you have guys still doing low reps all off season and not venturing into that "muscle building" zone in that time.  

Ok so let's give you some room to vent.  What is going on in the dieting and fitness industry that is most upsetting to you right now?

Mike Israetel - Yep. Gotta look at the big picture in powerlifting periodization. Build muscle, get stronger, peak for a meet, repeat.  Seems like some guys just do the last phase all the time, and they are seriously missing out.

As for the venting... you know, Paul, I'm at the end of a contest diet right now, and to be honest there is not a lot of stuff that DOESN'T piss me off.

Paul Carter - Go on....

Mike Israetel - Ugh let's see, how controversial can we get?

Paul Carter
Well it is me.......

Mike Israetel - Hahaha ok let's do some training irks...

Mike Israetel - 
1.) Pause squats. I think they have their place but are highly overrated. They are not loaded high enough to causes as much strength increase as they could if not paused. I think they allow you to still keep squatting after you're too beat up to hit bottom fast... and that's about their advantage, other than just variation.

I think the "pause" part does pretty close to jack shit for raw PLing, as you had better not pause at the bottom of your actual squat.

2.) Low reps with short breaks in between. People do sets of 3 with 1 min rest in between. I'm not sure why. You could get more volume training with higher reps and it would be more sustainable. If you're doing sets of 3 then you're training for strength... so why keep the weight so light by not resting enough?

3.) Taking the entire week before a powerlifting meet OFF. Tapering with lower volume/intensities has been consistently shown to work better than total rest.
Go in on the Tuesday/Wednesday before the meet and do sets of 3-5 (just a couple sets) with 135lbs on each main lift. This will actually recover fatigue better, keep you more limber, and have you performing better on Saturday.
If you accumulate fatigue doing 20% of your max for a couple sets of 3-5, you're so jacked up it will take you months to recover anyway.

Paul Carter - hahahahahaha

Mike Israetel - If I take a week OFF of the main lifts, I don't even know what a squat looks like anymore.  My technique is all off, and Paul, you've got guys coming to meets and this happens to them all the time! They looked great all month, then they are wobbly on meet day... duh, you haven't practiced the moves in like forever!

Paul Carter - What you're talking about is keeping the motor cortex fresh, for a lack of a better term.  Essentially it's not about the weight, it's about movement pattern.

Mike Israetel - That's right and that counts big time with limit weights, you better not move that bar a smidge out of the right track, cause that's a lost lift right there.

Paul Carter - But you still need a longer period of rest before a meet because you've just spent 6, 8, 10, etc weeks overreaching.  For supercompensation to kick in there has to be an upward recovery curve to be allowed at some point near the end.  So a guy shouldn't be taking his heaviest deadlift 7 days out either.

Mike Israetel - Abosolutely.
VOLUME must be dropped, starting 3-4 weeks out and intensity should be dropped (weight on bar) 2-3 weeks out for REALLY JACKED PEOPLE, deadlifts can be heaviest 3 weeks out, squats 2 weeks out, benches 1.5 weeks out

Paul Carter = You're implying to overreach early and then essentially start a deload process 2-3 weeks out?

Mike Israetel - Yep, tapering is the precise term.  For most people, DL, SQ and BP would be heaviest 2, 1.5 and 1 week out

Paul Carter - And then come in 3-4 days out from the meet, and do a very light workout for the big three.

Mike Israetel - Yep
I program some more advanced tapers, but that's the gist of it:
1.) 2-3 weeks out: Heavy weight and LOTS OF SETS to get super beat up
2.) 1-2 weeks out: Super heavy weight but VERY FEW SETS
3.) 0-1 weeks out: super light weight AND very few sets (with low reps for that whole period by the way)
That's the general outline for your average 198er. Those times dilate with increasing strength and contract with decreasing strength, thus a female 97er could do a whole overreach and taper all within 2 weeks while a SHW totalling 2000lbs raw prob needs to start his overreaching phase 4 weeks out.

Paul Carter - Well that's because the recovery rate for a stronger athlete tends to be on a much longer curve.  Some dude squatting 405 doesn't need the same recovery curve that a dude squatting 700 needs.

Mike Israetel - That's right but I always talk to guys at meets that squat 365 and pulled heavy squats out 3 weeks ago like Andrey Malanichev.

Remember paul, the way to be great is to simply copy what the great do. That's it... no thought required.
I had a guy ask me exactly what time I take a supplement during the day. I told him that scientifically it didn't matter. He said he still wanted to know, cause he wanted to be as jacked as me.
Let that roll around in your head for a while, Paul.

Paul Carter - I had a guy ask me the other night what exercises he should do to eliminate his belly fat.  I thought I was being trolled. I win.

Mike Israetel - Hahahah. You know if you're in this sport and field for long enough, you tend to forget that new people enter all the time, with the same misconceptions you used to have. And you think the sport is evolving, but that happens very slowly, and new people without even a basic understanding come through all the time.

Paul Carter - Which is why we so often have to repeat the basics so much.  I wish I knew how many times I read the same shit I espouse now as being "very productive" that I thought was far too simple a decade ago.

Mike Israetel - Oh, for sure.

Paul Carter - Ok before me move on, you're wrong about pause squats, but that's ok.  You can't be right about everything.  You didn't get into what upsets you in the diet industry right now.  What concepts really get under your skin?

Mike Israetel - Lol, can't win em all.
Hmmm let's see. Care for another bacon chat?

Actually, I'll give you a short rant on EXACTLY what pisses me off about diet (more so) and training (somewhat)
It's an attitude that some people have. The best way I can explain that attitude is "duh." There is a group of people that really get into fads, to the point where they seem CONVINCED that this fad is the only way to do things, or is 100% correct. And OBVIOUSLY it's true, so anyone that does not practice it is either wrong, stupid, or both. DUH. Perfect example, DUH, EVERYONE KNOWS that saturated fat is actually good for you and its negative effects are a myth. I mean, you'd have to be living under a rock or something to not have gotten the memo that Bacon and whole eggs (farm fresh, of course, we want to include the naturalistic fallacy) are amazing health foods. /sarcasm

And these people that say this crap (or repeat it, rather) have close to no understanding of the issues. So when I reply with THIS ONE LINK:

....nobody ever has ANYTHING to say

Paul Carter - You mean that bacon is a total shit food?  Who knew?

Mike Israetel - Yes. And I'll say this... before you claim that it's obvious that saturated fats are good for you, perhaps you should have noticed that out of 11 total lit reviews on the ENTIRE SUBJECT, 9 found that they are indeed bad.

Paul Carter - Bacon, Mike.  Bacon.

Mike Israetel - Saturated fat.
Butt wink (remember that one)
Mobility work
Concurrent training (cardio and weights)
Bench and lats

Paul Carter - I'm literally laughing out loud right now.


Paul Carter - Someone made a comment a while back that I ruminated on for a while.  And they wrote "if your diet has a name in front of it, it probably sucks."  I couldn't find a lot of fault with that.

Mike Israetel - I'll tell you this.... If  Shelby Starnes, John Meadows, Brad Schoenfeld, Trevor Kashey, Alex Viada and others answer "I'm not sure" or "it depends" or "we've still yet to find out." Maybe you can take your 165lb beard-having hipster self and try to make fewer "duh" definitive statements.

Paul Carter
That is going on?

Mike Israetel - LOL
And it's not the opinions that kill me… the opinions are FINE!!! It's the life and death certainty of fads

Paul Carter - Explain.

Mike Israetel - I mean that people will pick a fad they like, read articles about it by people they really like, and the fad fits the lifestyle they really like (eating bacon all the time, for example), and they will defend to the death this fad that they have not the slightest scientific or practical info about.

Paul Carter - Sort of like how people live a certain social lifestyle then pick parts out of the Bible to support that social construct, rather than the other way around.

Mike Israetel - Hahah, for sure. People just wanna do what they like and some people have trouble with accepting tradeoffs.
"I like eating fast food, but I know it's not very healthy, so I do it as often as I’m comfortable with." 
That's OK to say!!!  Just know the tradeoff.  Not everything you do has to fit ONE purpose.

Paul Carter - If you search long enough and hard enough, you'll find affirmation in your beliefs.

Mike Israetel - Indeed. And be deluded about the real state of things.

Paul Carter - So let's plug you a bit.  You have a bodybuilding show coming up.  When and where is it?

Mike Israetel - I don't wanna talk about it. I'm joking. 
NPC Muscle Mayhem in Overland Park, KS.  June 7th.  I'm looking to come in either at the top of the HW class or in the low supers right around 220-230lbs, depending on how water and carb manipulation works out.

Mike's wheels he uses to walk the walk, and not just cite studies.

Paul Carter - For those that don't follow bodybuilding, the HW class is over 198, and super heavy is 225 and above.

Mike Israetel - Yeah that's right. And I'm 5'6, so I make a funny looking bodybuilder... sort of a block or box look haha.   My conditioning will be MUCH better than my last show, but still not to my liking, but I'll tell you this... I'd like to meet the guy that out-muscles me.

Paul Carter - Didn't Jay Cutler win a bunch of Olympia's with that boxy look?

Mike Israetel - Jay was 5'9 at 265ish, so much bigger, and even more boxy!!
Gotta do what your genes set you up for... I wasn't gonna have pretty muscles (or face... eeeek), but by the time I'm done competing in BBing, if everything goes well, I'll be a very muscular.  

Paul Carter - You already are, Mike.  I'm the little guy here.

Mike Israetel - Ah yes, you're the smallest 265lb guy ever, Paul. What are you, like 6'8?

Paul Carter - You'll be asking my shirt size next.

Mike Israetel - Hahaha

Paul Carter - You're working with some top crossfit women now.  Tell me about how you structure their diets differently than say, a bodybuilder or powerlifter.

Mike Israetel - No idea, Nick and Jen work with all of them!

Paul Carter - Well fuck you then.

Mike Israetel – On a serious note, their fundamental approach (Paleo) is actually quite good, but the strategic addition of some carbs around workout times really helps a lot. Nick Shaw and Dr. Jen Case would be able to go into more depth on the details as they work with most of our Crossfit clients. RP is getting too big, Paul. I think Nick needs to be assassinated.

Paul Carter - He'll probably read this.

Mike Israetel - Hahahah. Good. Fair warning.

Paul Carter - Mike is there anything you wanna say before you close on an assassination note?

Mike Israetel - Hahhaha
Nick will probably actually kill me for suggesting the assassination.
I'd like to thank you for the interview, Paul. Always a pleasure to speak with you in depth.

Paul Carter - Oh the pleasure is all yours.

Mike ISraetel - And I'd like to remind those who read this to keep doing the basics, learning the science behind them, and staying measured and consistent in their diet and training.

Paul Carter - Mike, thanks a ton for taking time out from your professor duties to do this.

Mike Israetel - Hahhah my pleasure!

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  1. So what do you think of Rippetoe's Starting Strength workouts for novice lifters and the Texas Method for intermediates that basically never go above or below 5 reps on bench, squat, press, deadlift, etc. and use only a few assistance lifts?

    1. I think it's good for beginners but obviously not something for advanced guys.

    2. Why do weightlifters train their squats and front squats almost exclusively with low reps?

  2. It's not a cheat meal if it fits your macros. Guys get shredded to the bone eating poptarts every day. It's only cheating if you go over your caloric allowance.

    1. John MEadows and Shelby Starnes and Mike and about 1000 other dudes that train bodybuilders for competitions are going to tell're wrong. Dudes are not getting shredded daily eating poptarts.

    2. Dammit Tag. Don't tell Paul about the Poptart Shred diet 2.0

    3. Why would you want to get shredded on Poptarts? They taste like shit... all stale-ass crust. You gotta switch to Pilsbury Toaster Strudel Son. hee-hee!

  3. Pausing at the bottom of your squats take too long and apparently felatio man simply does not have time for that shit. There are a vast array of monster cocked super villains that must be subdued in order to keep our world safe. On top of that the responsibilities of providing his RP clients with exceptional service as well as his highly scientific research smart person Dr. shit. He has no choice but to operate through his busy schedule at maximum efficiency.

  4. Another knockout post. The blog is really hitting on all cylinders these days. Thanks for all of it.

  5. Good interview!

    Mike says that you should train esch muscle group twice a week. Would that be something you also would suggest? To my knowledge you tend to more suggest once a week frequency.

    1. I am also curious about this

    2. Actually I do something in between. Most of my training is a rotation of pressing twice one week, then once the next week. Then I do legs twice one week, and once the next. So they get hit 3 times over a two weeks span instead of twice (the once a week way). I have found I can recover from this and make steady progress. Esp using base building.

  6. This was good as hell.

    I like paleo. I think sat fat is fine, in the right context. But especiallyeempty carbs e to remember that most of these diets are built for regular jackoffs.

    For a good part of the year, people like us are trying to get big and strong. You know what gets you big and strong? Carbs. However paleo recommends that you keep carbs around 100 grams and calls 300+ carbs "insidious weight gain". Although I bet that's what a lot of us are eating in the off season when we're trying to get more jacked

    So you have to think like a bodybuilder first, and an advocate of the (whatever) diet second. Should you be eating that 8 whole egg omelet with a quarter lbs of bacon with two massive baked potatoes? Probably not. Could you maybe get away with that meal sans ppotatoes when you are dieting and keeping your carbs 100g/day or less? Yes as long as you're still watching your overall cal intake.

    The basics of paleo are good (quality and variety meats, lots of veggies, no shit foods especially empty carbs, sunshine, exercise, and sleep) but at the end of the day make sure you are using a diet to meet your goals and your goals to match a diet