How many months’ progress do your pictures represent? What were your stats for each picture?
The first picture was taken around early January, which is when I started using the principles of The Shredded Chef that align with Bigger Leaner Stronger. In that picture, I weighed 149 lbs with about 20% body fat. My 2nd picture was taken on July 7th and is what I weigh now, which is 136 lbs. I am at around 10% body fat based on measurements.
My weight got down to 136 lbs about mid-April. I started Bigger Leaner Stronger the 2nd week of March and after I hit 136 lbs in weight in mid-April, I started the maintenance process. It took me about 4 months of a small calorie deficit (150-180) calories less than maintenance to reach my goal body fat % in mid-April with the help of The Shredded Chef and about a month on Bigger Leaner Stronger.
What has happened so far on the program?
Using The Shredded Chef principles and the Bigger Leaner Stronger workouts, I went on a cut for about 4 months and I lost about 12 pounds along with 8% body fat. After that, I kept a maintenance diet using Legion’s macronutrient calculator, which is the most accurate one that I have ever come across. I have been in a maintenance diet eating about 2,300 calories along with 170-180g of protein, 40-48g of fat and 220-230g of carbs.
I just started bulking the week of July 12th since I hit my goal body fat % and I feel like I have hit a small plateau on some of the exercises. I have never done a clean bulk before and I would like to do so since I have gotten a little too skinny. My strength has increased to numbers that I never thought possible using Bigger Leaner Stronger and I feel way stronger now than I did in high school. In March, before Bigger Leaner Stronger, I was benching about 155 lbs x 5-6 reps on the smith machine.
Now, in July, I can bench 195 lbs x 3-4 reps with the barbell bench press (no more smith machine lol). The switch from the smith machine was awkward at first, but it was so worth it. My chest has gotten a lot bigger and more muscular and shaped the way I want. I went up 40 lbs on the bench press. Squats have been an incredible leap as well. In March, before Bigger Leaner Stronger, I was squatting 185 lbs x 5 on the smith machine.
When I started Bigger Leaner Stronger, I moved to the squat rack and took time with my form so I went back to around 135 lbs with the weight to make sure my form was correct. Last week, I did 205 lbs x 4 twice with the squat exercise. In late June, I did 210 lbs x 3 so I have definitely increased weight in that area. The squat has also made other areas take a leap as well. My leg press for 6-8 reps has increased by 70 lbs.
At the beginning of Bigger Leaner Stronger, it was difficult to complete 6-8 lunges on each leg using a 20lb dumbbell. Last week (week of July 6th), I did reverse dumbbell lunges for 7-8 lunges on each leg with a 16kg kettlebell (about 35 lbs). Lastly, my favorite exercise ever is the deadlift exercise where I have made the most growth than any other exercise. I see what you mean in your podcast when you said that the deadlift made your back much stronger in other exercises like the lat pulldowns.
In early March (having never done deadlifts before), I did 150 lbs x 5 once I got the form down. This past week I deadlifted about 100 lbs more than my bodyweight. I deadlifted 235 lbs x 5 reps. I have received tons of compliments about my back and I get looks at the gym all the time when I deadlift because of how small I look. I get even more looks when I complete lat pulldowns.
In March, I was lifting 140 lbs x 6-7 reps on the lat pulldowns. Yesterday (July 13th), I did 165 lbs on lat pulldowns for 8 reps. My back exercises have increased greatly ever since I started deadlifting and I have you to thank.
What workout split from the book did you use?
I used the 5-day split. I actually bought the one-year challenge journal book that went along with the Bigger Leaner Stronger program. I did a 5 day split with a deload week thrown in there.
What, if anything, almost kept you from buying the book or starting the program?
I was not very hesitant about the program after listening to your podcast, “Muscle for Life.” You used research, evidence-based answers and that made me trust you even more. I felt like what I was doing with the Bigger Leaner Stronger program was worth it because it was proven through a various number of studies, which you use in the book. Also, you calling out the fitness and health industry early on in the book really spoke to me.
I had not realized that I had fallen for so many of their lies myself. I bought too many supplements and paid the price for listening to a lot of the ideas that they push on us through magazines and social media. I am always a sucker for programs and I have been disappointed at times in the past because when the program or challenge was over; I would revert back to my old eating habits.
I had a poor relationship with food and most of the programs gave me meal plans or advice without telling me how to calculate my calories. I would receive this meal plan and it was hard to live up to because it was either expensive or required a lot of cooking. I would only last a few weeks to a month and I had no idea what to do when friends invited me out to eat or if I went away for a weekend because I did not know my calorie intake.
Your book changed my relationship with food entirely. I used to eat good all week only to eat terrible on the weekend because I felt like I deserved it. I pretty much ate “healthy” during the week to eat whatever I wanted on the weekend and I was not making any gains or progress overall. My relationship with food was not good and I would often overeat when I went out or stopped by gas stations.
I used to have to pick up a large coke and a snickers bar every time I went through a gas station because “I ate good for lunch.” Your book helped me to remain disciplined when it came to eating and you have pushed me to eat the right kind of foods and not just the foods that help me maintain a cut. I used to never eat fruits and vegetables, but now I eat them consistently throughout the week.
Lastly, I was surprised at how easy the program actually was. Overall, I was amazed by how much I had been overcomplicating everything when it came to eating healthy and working out. I was at the gym for way too long and I was eating foods that weren’t even enjoyable.
What do you like most about the program?
The program was much easier than I expected it to be. I am thankful that you give us a bonus report of the workouts on Google Sheets and even offer up a book for those that want to keep track of their progress on paper (which is easier for me). The workouts are simple and easy to follow. I am glad that you give us meal plan options in the Bigger Leaner Stronger book and a list of the right foods without pressuring us to eat exactly on that meal plan.
You do a good job of showing us how to accurately count our calories and why it is beneficial to keep up with what we eat. The results were definitely a lot faster. I have always been pretty good at losing weight and my dad is the same way. However, I never thought my arms would look this big and that I would finally get abs this fast. I never thought abs were possible and to get them in less than 6 months of the program was incredible.
How does this program compare with others you’ve tried?
The diet is way better because you offer ways to save money and you give us a list of foods that we can eat at a good price. Other programs will hand out healthy meals without telling you how many calories it is but will label it as “healthy” so you assume it is good. I love the examples you gave of food tracking for men at 200 lbs cutting and men at 150 lbs that are bulking. I appreciated those examples and it gave me a lot of ideas.
I feel like the diet isn’t overwhelming like the other programs are where they pretty much restrict what you eat and sell all of their supplements with it. The workouts are so much better. With other programs, I was in the gym for 2 hours and would only leave if I felt exhausted or worn out. I love how you mention that soreness and leaving the gym exhausted isn’t always a good thing and it doesn’t mean that you had a better workout than the person that didn’t leave the gym like that.
I was at the gym for way too long to not see the progress that I wanted to see. I was also doing a lot of the machines because I could lift more weight. You make it clear that it is okay and necessary to put the ego aside to get the body you want by completing the exercises you need. I am so glad that I rediscovered the power of dumbbells and free weights.
I feel like a lot of programs just want you to feel good and sweat a lot. You make sure we hit the right muscles and gain strength, which will ultimately lead us to feeling good because we will look good.
How has what you’ve achieved with your body changed other areas of your life?
I am way more confident in who I am and in the clothes that I wear. There were shirts that I was insecure about wearing because it made me look small or showed my belly fat a little more than I wanted. I have much more confidence in myself and the clothes that I wear.
I never have thought that I would have worn tanks at the gym. I do have more energy and I am way more productive because calorie counting requires a lot of discipline that infiltrates in other areas of my life. I am now more discipline when it comes to getting enough sleep, rest, and with my work.
Who would you recommend this program to and why?
I would 100% recommend this program to anyone out there that needs something that WILL ACTUALLY WORK. I have told my dad about this program (he’s in his 60’s), I have told about 4-5 guys about it at the gym because I believe in it. This program can be completed by anyone that needs a life change. The program is not overwhelming at all.
In fact, it may feel underwhelming when you learn there is no secret sauce or supplement that can get you there. It is just the basic exercises and diet principles that we have neglected for so long due to believing what the health and fitness industry has taught us for too long.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
If anyone is reading this, I want you to know that my life changed for the better because of this program. It is worth completing. You will not regret following the way of Bigger Leaner Stronger. I promise you will experience gains, growth, discipline, and a love for exercise that you did not think you would ever grasp.
It is the best program that every nutrition company (besides Legion of course), trainer, and fitness meathead “expert” does not want you to know about.
Did you use any Legion supplements?
I did not use any Legion supplements. I wanted to, but I have a teacher’s salary and sometimes supplements can be expensive. I appreciate your 20% off codes though.