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  1. #61
    team ketchup AdamWW's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Mrpb View Post
    Their testosterone levels were similar to that of natural athletes. Do you have any reason to expect why they would be different to natural athletes?



    Nope, I did not say that. Please don't use straw men.
    Then why is the number 15?
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    Originally Posted by AdamWW View Post
    Then why is the number 15?
    It's Menno's recommendation, not mine. If you're interested in the topic I suggest listening to the relevant part of the podcast. It's about 10 minutes.
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    Interesting conversation between Dr. Trexler and Dr. Israetel about the subject:



    Cliff's notes are essentially that the prior conventional wisdom of dropping to a lower bodyfat % before bulking to get a better p-ratio likely isn't supported by the data, but that the practical recommendation is still to do so in order to have enough room for a productive bulk.
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  4. #64
    team ketchup AdamWW's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by blue9steel View Post
    Interesting conversation between Dr. Trexler and Dr. Israetel about the subject:



    Cliff's notes are essentially that the prior conventional wisdom of dropping to a lower bodyfat % before bulking to get a better p-ratio likely isn't supported by the data, but that the practical recommendation is still to do so in order to have enough room for a productive bulk.
    I posted that a few days back =o)

    https://forum.bodybuilding.com/showt...hp?t=179682193
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    Clearly Irrational blue9steel's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by AdamWW View Post
    Ah, I did read through the thread, but didn't follow the link to the other thread. The video happened to be on my mind because I just watched it recently.
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  6. #66
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    Originally Posted by Mrpb View Post
    Not sure if you noticed but I posted Menno's podcast in post #36. He recommends people to bulk between ~10 and ~15% because he says testosterone levels become lower if you bulk higher. Then strawng asked me for a study that shows T levels impact strength.
    I still find it really strange that he can so confidently state that you should only bulk within that range compared to "stay within the 10%-20% range, never go above 20%". A bunch of correlational studies showing a relationship between being fat and various indicators is not sufficient to draw such a strong conclusion to such a degree of precision.

    Also some other thoughts: If this stuff really, really mattered, no powerlifters would be fat. If we apply the arguments in various posts here against bulking, they are just being stupid and should be leaner. That seems like a weird conclusion to me and smells like a reductio ad absurdum, as the strongest people on earth are way above 20% BF. There are probably, at the very least, some benefits of being fat that outweigh the possible costs that Menno focuses on. And there's a study on sumo wrestlers that you probably know that shows that they have higher FFM than bodybuilders. I realize that "FFM" is other things than lean muscle tissue, but it's at least interesting.
    Last edited by EiFit91; 02-05-2021 at 10:54 PM.
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    Originally Posted by EiFit91 View Post
    I still find it really strange that he can so confidently state that you should only bulk within that range compared to "stay within the 10%-20% range, never go above 20%". A bunch of correlational studies showing a relationship between being fat and various indicators is not sufficient to draw such a strong conclusion to such a degree of precision.
    Wouldn't you at least need to know all the studies that he's basing his recommendation on?

    He also makes it quite clear that his recommendation is based on his experience working with hundreds of clients.

    Not that I necessarily agree with his take, personally I recommend people to bulk from ~10-12% to ~18% or so.
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  8. #68
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    Originally Posted by EiFit91 View Post
    Also some other thoughts: If this stuff really, really mattered, no powerlifters would be fat.
    Not necessarily because powerlifters also benefit from having high body mass. And even having more fat mass means less ROM on the bench press.

    And there's a study on sumo wrestlers that you probably know that shows that they have higher FFM than bodybuilders. I realize that "FFM" is other things than lean muscle tissue, but it's at least interesting.
    I've said this in other threads before and Mike also points it out in the video: Sumo wrestlers are probably the worst example of lean bulking. And it's another sport that benefits from having high body mass.

    As you mention FFM =/= muscle. I'd like to see ultra sound measurements on muscle thickness for example and compare that with bodybuilders. I bet we'll be disappointed.
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    Originally Posted by Mrpb View Post
    Wouldn't you at least need to know all the studies that he's basing his recommendation on?

    He also makes it quite clear that his recommendation is based on his experience working with hundreds of clients.

    Not that I necessarily agree with his take, personally I recommend people to bulk from ~10-12% to ~18% or so.
    Not if they all suffer from the same problem (associations not evidence for a causal link), but I agree I should read more about this. It's just more efficient (and admittedly lazy/selfish) to try to extract the relevant information from people who already read a lot of this stuff!

    Other people would make other recommendations based on "experience with working with hundreds of clients", so I am not sure that is a strong argument for his position.
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    Originally Posted by EiFit91 View Post
    Not if they all suffer from the same problem (associations not evidence for a causal link),
    Well the evidence on both sides suffers from that. I did send an email to Menno asking if he could clarify some things. I'll post it here if I get a good answer.
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  11. #71
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    https://www.strongerbyscience.com/p-..._id=1001305230

    New article up by SBS on the topic of P-ratios.
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    That article on SBS is actually by Eric Trexler. It's identical to what he's saying in the podcasts.

    He says "acute changes in muscle protein synthesis and breakdown, which may not correlate particularly well with longitudinal changes in muscle mass."

    Not when you measure it over only 4 hours. If you measure it over longer time frames the correlation is >0.9 as shown by a later study that he doesn't mention.
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    I've finally finished reading the article. Disclaimer: I'm not a scientist, I just have an interest on this very topic since I'm around 18% BF and am currently recomping (or trying to, hopefully). I'm quoting (selectively) some interesting tidbits:

    Further, rates of myofibrillar protein synthesis in obese individuals were virtually identical when comparing their trained leg to their untrained leg. This suggests that resistance training had no impact whatsoever on myofibrillar protein synthesis in obese people, which seems to contradict the findings of the previously mentioned study. Taken together, there is insufficient evidence to definitively conclude that obesity impairs muscle protein balance via the proposed mechanisms (insulin resistance, intramuscular fat accumulation, and inflammation), particularly in participants who are engaged in exercise. Of course, even if this mechanistic relationship was conclusively identified in these acute scenarios, it would take another leap of faith to extrapolate that to long-term body composition changes and hypertrophy over the course of a longitudinal resistance training program.
    In the sport of Sumo, there is some cool research comparing body composition among various levels of competition. If p-ratios had a strong, independent impact on lean mass accretion, one might expect that as Sumo athletes get larger and larger as they ascend to higher levels of competition, fat-free mass gains would become increasingly harder to come by. However, that’s not the case in the cross-sectional data available.

    [...]

    In 1999, Hattori et al published a paper documenting body composition values in Sumo athletes in four different levels of competition, listed in descending order of competitive rank: Sekitori, Maku****a, Sandanme, and Shindeshi. In the Shindeshi league (mean age 18.7 years), Hattori et al reported a mean body mass of 110.7kg, with 27.4% body-fat and a fat-free mass index of 25.0 kg/m2. The Sandanme league (mean age 19.8 years) was similar: 109.3kg, 28.2% body-fat, and a fat-free mass index of 24.3 kg/m2. The highest competitive class measured in the study was the Sekitori (mean age 25.6 years); despite a much higher mean body mass (154.2kg), body-fat percentage was similar (28.6%), and the average fat-free mass index value was quite high (33.6 kg/m2). If any group of athletes were to achieve high enough body-fat levels to markedly impair their p-ratio and blunt future lean mass gains, you’d have to assume that athletes ascending to the higher ranks of Sumo would be the most likely group to demonstrate this effect.

    [...]

    A huge limitation of this Sumo literature is that we are trying to make longitudinal inferences about cross-sectional data, so this evidence should be taken with a grain of salt. Fortunately, we can also find some evidence in longitudinal studies in collegiate American football players.
    In a similar study, Jacobson et al examined longitudinal changes while comparing only two subgroups of athletes (skill versus linemen). The linemen were 22.5% body-fat at baseline, and the skill group athletes were 8.4% body-fat at baseline. In the first year of observation, the skill players gained 6kg of fat-free mass and about 0.1kg of fat mass. In contrast, the linemen gained 6.5kg of fat-free mass and lost around 4kg of fat mass. Once again, the linemen gained more lean mass while losing more fat mass.

    So, we shouldn’t definitely conclude that higher body-fat reliably results in better p-ratios, but these studies cast serious doubt on the idea that high body-fat levels reliably impair p-ratios.
    As reviewed by Dulloo et al, we often see that fat regain is, if anything, prioritized over the regain of lean mass following weight reduction. When people are regaining weight after a successful cut, their p-ratios tend to be the same or worse than before. Unfavorable effects on an individual’s p-ratio during weight regain are more likely if that person has gotten really shredded or lost a ton of weight, but even when these unfavorable p-ratio changes are successfully avoided, we don’t reliably observe improvements in p-ratios following weight loss in the research.
    And from Eric's research, his concluding remarks:

    The results of the linear mixed model indicate that there was a positive, statistically significant slope describing the relationship between baseline body-fat percentage and lean gains (slope = 0.10, p = 0.006). So, we would expect a person with 16% body-fat at baseline to have a better lean gains outcome than a person with 15% at baseline, by about 0.1kg. Our original question was whether or not baseline body-fat influences one’s ability to make lean gains (or, in other words, influences their p-ratio). The commonly held belief is that higher body-fat impairs gains, but the model actually shows a significant effect in the opposite direction, with higher baseline body-fat predicting better lean gains.

    [...]

    These results indicate that people with relatively low and relatively high body-fat can gain fat-free mass to a pretty similar degree in response to resistance training. However, very lean people should accept that fat mass will probably need to increase a little bit to facilitate muscle gain, and they may need to get up to a slightly more comfortable body-fat level before lean mass gains really start to accumulate (for example, every single person under 8% body-fat at baseline had some degree of fat gain, and only one of them gained more than 1kg of fat-free mass). In contrast, people with higher baseline body-fat have a greater capability to “recomp” and are more likely to simultaneously lose a little bit of fat while gaining muscle. It’s important to recognize that these results do not conflict with the laws of thermodynamics or the concept of energy balance dictating weight changes; they simply reflect the fact that the body has both short-term and long-term sensors of energy availability which can influence the regulation of anabolic processes, and that muscle hypertrophy and fat storage are influenced by some distinct regulatory mechanisms.

    [...]

    At this point, you still might not find the argument presented in this article to be sufficiently convincing. Admittedly, there are limitations to each component of the argument. As discussed previously, some of the evidence focuses on differences in muscle protein synthesis, which may not necessarily correlate with eventual differences in lean mass.
    And the conclusion:

    So, here’s the climactic reveal of my model for how lifters should view the relationship between body-fat, p-ratios, and making gains:

    Over a given time period, the amount of weight you gain or lose will be dictated by the magnitude of your caloric surplus or deficit. Your ability to gain lean mass will depend on whether or not your body has high enough energy availability to fuel muscle hypertrophy (which is an energy-intensive process), how effectively your hypertrophy-promoting resistance training program is designed, how readily you gain muscle in response to resistance training (which varies from person to person and throughout a person’s lifting career), and the degree to which you are consuming the nutrients that are required for supporting muscle hypertrophy. Your changes in fat mass will simply be the difference between these two simultaneous processes (changes in body weight and changes in lean mass). It’s simple, straightforward, and seems to fit the evidence quite well, including the unique circumstances at the upper and lower ends of the body-fat spectrum in which shredded people struggle to make super-lean gains and people with higher body-fat are more capable of recomping.

    [...]

    In summary, there are several good reasons why a lifter would implement fat loss phases in various stages of their lifting career. However, there is insufficient evidence to suggest that losing fat will potentiate hypertrophy or improve one’s p-ratio after a lower body-fat level is achieved. A brand new lifter should not feel obligated to begin their lifting career by cutting to a magical body-fat range in order to gain muscle, and lifters should not worry that they’ll struggle to gain muscle if they cross an arbitrary body-fat threshold. Your choice to bulk or cut depends on your goals, preferences, and what you’re most excited about doing at any given time in your lifting career.

    Also, apparently Menno Henselmans published an article on the very same topic: https://mennohenselmans.com/optimal-...muscle-growth/

    Still have yet to read it though.
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    Interesting... so a few days after I send Menno questions about it he publishes an article.

    I'll give it a read tomorrow.

    https://mennohenselmans.com/optimal-...muscle-growth/
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    Originally Posted by Mrpb View Post
    Interesting... so a few days after I send Menno questions about it he publishes an article.

    I'll give it a read tomorrow.

    https://mennohenselmans.com/optimal-...muscle-growth/
    Jesus that’s a lot of data...

    I don’t think I can read through all that

    Though after some skimming I’m a bit confused at his use of certain studies to support some of the conclusions or suggestions... like the study about BMIs over 18.5 and hormones which used a study that didn’t seem related at all, and also when he said that we shouldn’t dismiss the p-ratio data just because it’s based on sedentary people... I’d argue that exercise does greatly improve nutrient partitioning...

    Also, I saw no specific numbers about bodyfat levels etc... like, what is the recommendation? In one case he’s talking about BMI, and others he references BF%... not the same thing at all especially for lifters..

    I guess I’m just not seeing the specific use of these data points for people who aren’t obese (based on bodyfat) and who are active...

    Where is the evidence that one would be better able to gain muscle staying below 15% vs a range that maxed at 20% for men?
    Last edited by AdamWW; 02-10-2021 at 12:42 PM.
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    In my opinion excellent article by Menno. His critique of Trexler's comments on protein synthesis is spot on. Also his comments on the training studies are strong. I recommend reading the full article.
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    Originally Posted by Mrpb View Post
    In my opinion excellent article by Menno. His critique of Trexler's comments on protein synthesis is spot on. Also his comments on the training studies are strong. I recommend reading the full article.
    It was a great read. Some thoughts:

    In relation to the Hall study, I think the post fails to mention the most important limitation (imo) in extrapolating the findings to recommendations on bulking: Lean individuals may have, perhaps due to genetics, a different response to overfeeding (for any BF%) than individuals who are fat. So if you had taken the "lean individuals" and force-fed them up to the same BF% and then done a study comparing the bulking response at the same BF% you could still get a difference in the fat-free proportion gained during the bulking phase for these groups of individuals. I think you have mentioned before mrpb that we see inter-individual variability in the response to bulking and that may be due to genetics.

    I first thought "wow, this inflammation argument sounds strong", but then I had a look at some of the studies he is referring to. In my opinion, the most compelling evidence is the longtidunal study on postmenopausal women showing both that i) fat mass is associated with increased inflammation markers and ii) fat mass is associated with worse strength gains. But these women were severely obese - their initial BMI was on average 27.5 and their estimated fat percentage a whopping 42.8% (!) That is far outside of the range we are discussing in this thread, and of course everyone would agree that you shouldn't bulk if you are morbidly obese.

    Henselmans keeps quoting studies showing that obesity is associated with worse outcomes on everything, but nobody is disputing that. We are discussing what to do if in the BF% range 12-20% and I don't think the post really addresses that.

    The case for "don't bulk unless you are 12%" still seems weaker than I thought, but I agree on all the points Henselmans makes on the limitations of opposing arguments (I just think he is too eager to extrapolate from the study material he is citing). We need more data, I guess!
    Last edited by EiFit91; 02-11-2021 at 12:24 AM.
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    Originally Posted by AdamWW View Post
    Jesus that’s a lot of data...

    I don’t think I can read through all that

    Though after some skimming I’m a bit confused at his use of certain studies to support some of the conclusions or suggestions... like the study about BMIs over 18.5 and hormones which used a study that didn’t seem related at all, and also when he said that we shouldn’t dismiss the p-ratio data just because it’s based on sedentary people... I’d argue that exercise does greatly improve nutrient partitioning...

    Also, I saw no specific numbers about bodyfat levels etc... like, what is the recommendation? In one case he’s talking about BMI, and others he references BF%... not the same thing at all especially for lifters..

    I guess I’m just not seeing the specific use of these data points for people who aren’t obese (based on bodyfat) and who are active...

    Where is the evidence that one would be better able to gain muscle staying below 15% vs a range that maxed at 20% for men?
    Yeah I also found the mention of that one really weird. I am already fertile enough, so perhaps I should get fatter.
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    What the exact level is at which bulking becomes less optimal I do not know. People seem to be happy to accept that it suddenly starts at 20% but I don't think it works like that. It's probably a graded response where the higher you go the more problematic it becomes. I suspect this effect starts lower than 20% in many people but it will also depend on the individual.

    I'll probably keep recommending ~17-18% as a rough end point for people that want to look good naked. Power lifters who prioritise strength can be more flexible.

    Originally Posted by EiFit91 View Post
    Henselmans keeps quoting studies showing that obesity is associated with worse outcomes on everything, but nobody is disputing that. We are discussing what to do if in the BF% range 12-20% and I don't think the post really addresses that.
    Actually the protein synthesis studies show a suppressed response in overweight, not just obese. And the testosterone studies show higher testosterone at lower than 20% body fat.

    I think better insulin sensitivity that can lead to better carb tolerance is also a nice benefits for lean bulking. I'm not sure at what body fat % insulin sensitivity is optimal. If insulin resistance already occurs in >20% I suspect the most optimal level for insulin sensitivity is also below 20%.

    PS. also keep in mind he's primarily responding to Trexler who, IIRC, quite literally says he thinks it's ok that people bulk to 30% in that last podcast Adam uploaded.
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    Originally Posted by Mrpb View Post
    What the exact level is at which bulking becomes less optimal I do not know. People seem to be happy to accept that it suddenly starts at 20% but I don't think it works like that. It's probably a graded response where the higher you go the more problematic it becomes. I suspect this effect starts lower than 20% in many people but it will also depend on the individual.

    I'll probably keep recommending ~17-18% as a rough end point for people that want to look good naked. Power lifters who prioritise strength can be more flexible.


    Actually the protein synthesis studies show a suppressed response in overweight, not just obese. And the testosterone studies show higher testosterone at lower than 20% body fat.

    I think better insulin sensitivity that can lead to better carb tolerance is also a nice benefits for lean bulking. I'm not sure at what body fat % insulin sensitivity is optimal. If insulin resistance already occurs in >20% I suspect the most optimal level for insulin sensitivity is also below 20%.

    PS. also keep in mind he's primarily responding to Trexler who, IIRC, quite literally says he thinks it's ok that people bulk to 30% in that last podcast Adam uploaded.
    FWIW I think as a general guideline for the average male, the recommendation of not starting a gaining phase if you’re over 15% does make some sense UNLESS you’re newer to lifting or returning to lifting after a long period off weights. Not even just from a health perspective, but just to prolong the length of time you can be in a surplus without getting to or exceeding 20%

    I do think too many people get hellbent on reaching 8-10% before starting a bulk tho. IMO 12% is perfectly reasonable, and 20% would be a good ceiling as a stopping point if things happen to get too generous during the process. And of course if someone feels like starting when they’re 15%, that’s fine too, just means less time spent gaining.
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    Originally Posted by Mrpb View Post
    Interesting... so a few days after I send Menno questions about it he publishes an article.

    I'll give it a read tomorrow.

    https://mennohenselmans.com/optimal-...muscle-growth/
    https://www.strongerbyscience.com/p-ratios-rebuttal/

    And here's the rebuttal to the rebuttal!

    Super long read...for the weekend.
    "Get up, and don't ever give up".
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    Originally Posted by xuerebx View Post
    https://www.strongerbyscience.com/p-ratios-rebuttal/

    And here's the rebuttal to the rebuttal!

    Super long read...for the weekend.
    The fight is still going, here's the rebuttal to the rebuttal to the rebuttal! Technically, I think it should be "the rebuttal to the rebuttal to the rebuttal to the rebuttal"...

    https://www.strongerbyscience.com/p-ratios-rebuttal-2/
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    And now there's a debate on Jeff Nippard's podcast
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QACn...NippardPodcast

    In case you were looking for something to listen to during your next session
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    Originally Posted by astrocoyote View Post
    And now there's a debate on Jeff Nippard's podcast
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QACn...NippardPodcast

    In case you were looking for something to listen to during your next session
    Haha 2 hours. Should be good.

    Mike Israetel, Menno Henselmans VS Greg Nuckols, Eric Trexler

    0:00​ Defining P Ratio & Important Background Info
    4:11​ – Mike Israetel Opening Statement (Practical Bulk Guidelines)
    27:25​ – Eric Trexler Opening Statement (P Ratio & Bodyfat)
    42:10​ – Menno Henselmans Rebuttal (Why Cut First)
    57:29​ – Greg Nuckols Rebuttal (Issues with Menno’s stance)
    1:13:23​ – Within-Individual vs inter-individual lean gain potential
    1:18:00​ – Menno & Trexler/Nuckols debate the meta-analysis
    1:26:46​ – Can I (Jeff) gain muscle just as well at 10%, 15%, 20%, etc?
    1:37:23​ – Clarifying stances and have any minds changed?
    1:46:54​ – Client recommendations & concluding remarks
    Last edited by Mrpb; 04-02-2021 at 07:54 AM.
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    Originally Posted by Mrpb View Post
    Haha 2 hours. Should be good.
    Yup, more than enough for a leg day!
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    Originally Posted by Mrpb View Post
    Haha 2 hours. Should be good.
    Listened to it last night ;-)
    The power of carbs compels me!
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    Originally Posted by SuffolkPunch View Post
    My simple advice for most people would be this:
    - if fat and unhealthy - lose weight fairly rapidly at first and start exercising until a more healthy state is reached.
    - everyone else - move nice and steadily towards a (realistic) target weight. Fatties can recomp along the way, skinnies may gain some fat but it can be kept under control.
    Just listened to it. I still think the above... Mennos arguments support the first point

    I suppose the only thing that might derail this is either
    - people want definition even at the cost of looking a bit skinny
    - or if research shows that lean people need to be in a surplus to get hypertrophy - especially when more advanced - this would affect the final stages on your strategy
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    It started to get intersting after one hour.. Imo it perfectly showed how biased Menno is (when he said that Eric and Greg meta looking at % body fat and muscle gain is weak evidence for p ratio lol).
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    Originally Posted by astrocoyote View Post
    Yup, more than enough for a leg day!
    lol... yeah that'll get you pumped up for the heavy set
    The power of carbs compels me!
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    Originally Posted by SuffolkPunch View Post
    - or if research shows that lean people need to be in a surplus to get hypertrophy - especially when more advanced - this would affect the final stages on your strategy
    IME, there's 100% a point of leanness where I need to gain weight & a small amount of fat to gain muscle. When and where that is is probably hard to pin down. Certainly anywhere under 10% as an advanced, natural trainee is going to require some weight gain to gain muscle. I think there should be a lot more research on this topic though. It seems like it couldn't be much more relevant for natty BBers, who do of course need to gain fat/weight after being competition lean.
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