I'm Ira C. and this is my story
What has happened so far on the program?
I followed the Muscle for Life cutting suggestions and the fat just shredded off me in the 3 months. I started off at 153 pounds and approximately 17% body fat and finished at 137 pounds and approximately 9% body fat
I used a 20% calorie deficit and upped my carbs to 40% to provide workout energy. I lifted heavy 5-6 days a week based on the Bigger Leaner Stronger program (I used to be a 12, 10, 8 guy with lots of supersets and lots of isolation exercises). I trained fasted and used certain Legion supplements (Phoenix, Forge, Pulse, Recharge and Triumph).
I didn’t really gain anything on my big lifts as I was cutting and was in a calorie deficit. With that being said, I didn’t lose any significant strength and my BOD POD analysis confirmed that all weight loss was indeed fat (negligible muscle loss).
I will be transitioning to a bulk shortly. I looking forward to hitting the “big lift targets” and transitioning to the Beyond Bigger Leaner Stronger workouts (got some work to do on the legs, I’m there on shoulders and chest).
What, if anything, almost kept you from buying the book or starting the program?
Once I read Mike’s article on “Clean Bulking” and read a bit of his weightlifting history, I was sold on trying the program – it was like reading my personal history.
For about 15 years, I had focused on “eating clean” and changed up my workout routine quite often based on what I read in articles online and in magazines – always trying the new exercise/program to finally get lean.
After 15 years years in the gym, I looked pretty good, lots of muscle and fairly lean but never had definition in the mid-section and I truly believed that I could never get visible abs due to body-type and genetics.
At the end of the day, two things were holding me back: eating too much “clean food” (not tracking calories) and other nutrition fallacies (such as being afraid of carbs and being afraid of eating in the evening).
What do you like most about the program?
I expected the calorie deficit to be horrid but it wasn’t really that bad and the reason was “flexible dieting”. I have historically been afraid of carbs, especially carbs at night. I love bread and pasta but rarely ever at them, especially guilt free.
My carb intake basically tripled once I started the BLS cut and the fat melted off me. I love carbs and the ability to eat them has simply increased my enjoyment of life.
Now that I am no longer in a calorie deficit and I have some more flexibility in my diet adding the odd “non-clean” food to my diet has been great. I still focus on nutritious foods but am buying in to the flexible dieting principles and it is great to add some tasting alternatives in moderation.
I received results faster than I could possibly imagine. I never figured I could have a defined six pack and, after trying to get one for over a decade, it amazes me that I reached the goal within 3 months of following the BLS cutting recommendations.
How does this program compare with others you’ve tried?
I’ve always concentrated on “eating clean” with a focus on low-carb and low-fat. Mike’s article on “clean binging” and the realization that I was simply eating too much clean food changed everything.
I now track everything I eat on myfitnesspal.com and sticking to certain numbers has been the essential factor in my fat loss.
I now realize that I can basically eat whatever I want as long as I fit it in to certain numbers. Truth be told, I still eat very clean (especially when I was in a cut – clean foods go much farther with a 1650 calorie allowance) but have the ability to add certain foods that I would never eat on a regular basis.
I have tripled my carb intake and that is amazing to me. I am also no longer afraid to eat at night and, in fact, eat the majority of my calories at night – again, life changing.
I had never focused on heavy compound lifting with ample rest in between sets. I am very much looking forward to lifting heavy while in a slight calorie surplus and to find out how much muscle I will be able to put on.
How has what you’ve achieved with your body changed other areas of your life?
Although I have generally been confidant in my appearance over the last decade, it really has gone to another level. I still have a significant amount of work to do but it feels great to know that I am now doing it properly and know the results will come.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I would absolutely recommend this program to others and have done so on numerous occasions previously (and have posted links sporadically in fitness sub-forum of a sports forum I frequent).
My results are proof that the program works and that there are many generally accepted views that are simply not accurate (i.e. a high-carb diet leads to fat gain, food timing is important, etc.).
Not only does the program work, the fact that Michael responds to all article comments and e-mails and puts out a regular podcast is a huge selling point for me.
I just wanted to thank Michael for his website, his articles, his books and his availability. I truly thought I could never get a defined mid-section and all it took was three months of cutting on the BLS program while tracking my calories and nutrients.