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Muscle for life

Muscle for Life Success: Daniel V.

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"I have lost about 40 pounds of fat and visibly gotten bigger muscles and more definition."

Daniel's Progress

Progress Image Before
Progress Image 3 Months
Progress Image 7 Months

What has happened so far on the program?

I played basketball pretty seriously up until I was around 19 years old, so I have a background in sports. After the military I started my own company and pretty much didn’t care about anything else.

I partied, ate pretty much whatever, slept poorly and did little-to-no exercise. I just didn´t take care of myself. I figured that at some point in the distant future I would get in to shape.

I have now been cutting for about 7 months. However, during my summer holiday month I really did not care and was not on point with either diet or exercise.

I started out at 246 pounds and around 24% body fat. I finished at 207 pounds and 9-10% body fat.

I have lost about 40 pounds of fat and visibly gotten bigger muscles and more definition.

Squat went from 175 to 285 for 6 reps
Bench went from 130 to 210 for 6 reps
Deadlift went from 175 to 375 for 6 reps
Military Press went from 75 to 145 for 6 reps

What, if anything, almost kept you from buying the book or starting the program?

Funny thing, I was looking for business books to read that entrepreneur´s recommend. I stumbled upon one guy´s blog post and he had listed ten well-known business books and one of them was Bigger Leaner Stronger. I bought all ten books, but ended up reading just BLS!

I was quite skeptical as the book cover seemed all too familiar with promises of an extraordinary body and had a guy (Mike) topless showing his muscles. And of course the before and after pictures.

 

What do you like most about the program?

After three weeks in I saw some real results that helped me continue. After a few months I was convinced that this is how you should go about eating and exercising, and my friends started noticing that I was doing something different.

In the past I was one of those who looked funnily at people who count calories and macros. Now I really don´t know how people can eat properly without knowing their numbers! Before it would have felt like a pain in the ass to start counting your food. Now it is the most natural thing ever.

Following the program was much easier than I thought (having bad experiences from PT´s). It has now become a lifestyle for me. This is something Mike and many others also speak about – it becoming a lifestyle rather than a “diet” or “program”.

Many people still ask me what kind of diet I am on. I just tell them that I eat whatever I like. 😉

How does this program compare with others you’ve tried?

I was on a personal trainer´s program (basic shenanigans) a few years back. I think I did it for four months or so. It was quite high-rep and super-set to exhaustion. I would spend about 1.5 hours in the gym including all the treadmill warm-up and cooling down.

And the trainer just copy-pasted a meal plan that didn’t even count caloric-intake. That didn’t work, surprisingly. But after reading BLS, where Mike really explains how things work, I got informed and very interested in the science-part of training, eating and overall well-being.

I have enjoyed the workouts so much! I train fasted in the mornings before going to work. I have progressed on all my major lifts. Deadlifting is now one of my favorite exercise. Before I thought it was a horrific exercise.

How has what you’ve achieved with your body changed other areas of your life?

The most important thing now is that I know exactly why I do specific exercises and why I eat the way I eat. I know that if I were to get fat again I know exactly how to cut it away and how long it would take.

My energy-levels are constantly high and when I go to bed I fall asleep like a baby. The change in my productivity at work has also changed significantly. I am just mentally sharper and enthusiastic.

When I come home to my family I have energy to play with my kids, cook dinner and do the basic home stuff.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I would definitely recommend the program. I get very enthusiastic when people ask what I do and almost to the point that I am trying to convince them to read BLS/TLS. My colleagues have, perhaps unwillingly, received a summary of BLS.

This has changed my life. I am so happy that I found Mike, his books and blogs while I’m still relatively young. I didn’t picture ever getting back to such shape. And now I am in the best shape of my life!

I would like to add that we have two little kids and they wake up a few times a night. I mention this because I know many people who live the busy times of their lives with kids and work. You can find time. Just commit to this and then figure out how to make it work in the day-to-day.

Make it happen because this is the best thing you can do for your kids. One of my mental goals is that when my kids are grown up and see pictures of their dad they can say, “Damn, father was ripped!” 🙂

I have done this with very little cardio. I got down to about 10 % body fat with 0-1 cardio sessions a week. The past two months I have done zero cardio. But I have constantly lifted 4-5 times a week.

Also I have been quite flexible with my diet. Many times a week I have eaten lunch at restaurants and I have attended more than a few parties where I have drank to the late-night hours. I just make sure to drink dry or sparkling wine. I probably would have gotten results faster if I avoided these, but it has worked for me and now I am not obsessing with every spoonful I put in my mouth.

While cutting I use Pulse and Forge before training. Afterwards I take Phoenix, Recharge and fish oil with my post-workout meal of bananas, porridge and some Whey+. It has become a routine. The guys at Legion are legit – and funny!

Of course you do not need supplements to make results – they are just a way to perhaps speed up progress and Whey+ is convenient and fills up your protein intake without adding fats. If you decide taking supplements I highly recommend these guys.

Want to become a success story too? Here's how he did it

The program that made this transformation possible:

The meal plan that makes building muscle and losing fat easy and enjoyable:

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I'm Mike and I'm the creator of Muscle for Life and Legion Athletics, and I believe that EVERYONE can achieve the body of their dreams.

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13 Comments
  • Well done dude – looking good. I often watch my wife eating whatever whenever, her EYES are constantly hungry if you know what I mean. Then she complains she can’t fit into her favorite dress anymore, she’s a funny one.

    When I first started counting macros a few months back it would actually annoy her. Now she don’t care anymore, accepts it a little more-I think.

    • Tomas Valkama

      Thank, Aaron! It´s all about habits. Do something enough and it becomes a part of your routine. I´ve been lucky that my wife has been a great support through out the process.

      When other people complain about that sort of things (which should not affect you) it´s probably a case of envy and defense mecanisms for something they don´t understand. It´s all about knowledge.

      Keep up the counting!

      • Very true Thomas.

        Well when she hits her 40s and starts stackin on the pounds, she might find herself starting to count the cals 😉

        • TD

          Not necessarily true. I’m in my 40’s, and leaner than I was when younger (for reference, my avatar photo is me). Mike talks a lot about how age shouldn’t be a factor, and I agree with him. 🙂

          • That’s good but for myself I found in my early 20s it was piss easy to stay lean without really having to think about it. But in my mid forties now its taken a lot more thought/counting calories etc to get there.

  • TD

    That’s great progress all-around.

  • Marek F.

    This is one of the best transformations here. An exemplary one.
    Not only great results but also a compelling story. I love the reference to his kids. I don’t think they will say “Damn, father was ripped”. They will wonder why so many other people are obese, instead 😉

    • He did a great job. Yeah, they’ll probably bring that up too. 🙂

  • Joe Bohn

    Great article. Tomas mentions cutting for 7 months (losing roughly 1.4 pounds weekly). This brings up a question I have: What is the criteria for determining the length of time for a cut? (i.e. when to stop?)
    Per BLS, Beyond BLS & Cardio Sucks — I was under the impression that cutting for too long could slow down your metabolism too much, causing “metabolic damage” and chronic fatigue, thereby diminishing strength gains. I’ve been cutting for 3 months and lost 15 pounds (roughly 1.2 pounds weekly). I’m having to eat less than my BMR. Otherwise, I start gaining again. I have not lost any muscle. In fact, I’ve gotten stronger, but the gains have been very slow, since I’ve been on the cut.

    • Hey Joe! Good question. You can cut as long as you’re above BMR and still able to lose 1-2 pounds a week. Once you’re at BMR and aren’t getting results, it’s time to RD:

      http://www.muscleforlife.com/reverse-diet/

      In your case then, you should RD.

      Thoughts?

      • Joe Bohn

        I was afraid you’d say that. You suggest using the Katch-McArdle formula which has me at a BMR of 1843, given my weight of 176.6 lbs,15% body fat (I think) and 1.35 activity multiplier. In contrast, the Mifflin St. Jeor formula has me with a BMR of 1671, given my 5’10.5″ height and same weight. If I go with the Katch-McArdle formula, I’m currently undereating and I should RD. If I go with the Mifflin St. Jeor formula, I’m not undereating and I should continue cutting.

        If I’m eating below my BMR, per Katch-McArdle, doing less HIIT, could that not leave me with the same “energy balance” as if I was eating at or above my BMR, doing more cardio? Putting it in mathematical terms, if I were to eat a 330 calorie Atkins meal and then do a 330 HIIT session, would that not essentially be the same as if I had done neither — which is what I’m currently doing?

        • Ah I see. Well we can continue a bit longer but you don’t really have any room to further reduce calories.

          Physical activity doesn’t affect BMR. It affects TDEE.

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