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If you didn’t receive, deleted, or lost any of the emails from my free Diet Adjustment Mastery Course, you can find the content from all seven below. – Andy

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The Diet Adjustment Mastery Mini Course

Step 1: Mastering the Fundamentals of Tracking.

This course covers the fundamentals of how and when to make diet adjustments to keep you progressing. You do me a great honor by joining it, and if there’s one thing I know really well, it’s this.

Course Contents

  1. Mastering the fundamentals of tracking
  2. A letter to the best coaches in the world: Why I get clients to take body measurements (and I think you should too).
  3. Why you should wait before making decisions.
  4. Identifying when to adjust.
  5. How to calculate the adjustment
  6. Client examples to show you how your progress may look.
  7. Getting more information when you need it.

Emails will be sent every 2 days to give you time to read and implement.


Why Adjustments Are Important

Whether you are bulking, cutting or chasing a bodyrecomp (fat loss and muscle gain), adjustments to your energy intake will need to be made at some point to your diet because of initial calculation inaccuracies and energy need changes. (Optional geekier details here).

These adjustments will make or break your physique or strength dreams. Screwing it up can cost you muscle, stop you from gaining it, prevent you from losing fat, or lead you to gain unnecessary amounts of it.


Why We Need To Track

In order to know when to make an adjustment, you need to have data to tell you about your rate of progress. This is obvious, right? But most people don’t bother to pay due attention to this because they feel they are already doing enough work in other places (meal planning, training, etc.) and so don’t spend the extra 10-15 minutes per week it would take to log the data.

Having data and making decisions based on the data, (not feelings, not hunger,) takes all the stress and guesswork out of the equation. It becomes simple grade-school math to nail your physique dreams if you track and use your data.

The sick fact is that most people need to fail a few times before they take this seriously. It’s almost hilariously predictable and is the reason I never give unsolicited advice on the subject. Actually, this is why I made the course an opt-in. (If you’re interested, you are in the smart group, the 30% of people that were offered it and opted in to this course. – I’ll see some of the others later in the year.)

Remember, facts are our friends and data are the facts.

What if taking 10-15 minutes to track data every week unlocked the last piece of the puzzle you’re missing to catapult you towards your physique dreams? No guesswork, no muss, no fuss.

Getting my clients to track their body measurements I feel has been the key to my success as a coach, it’s that important.


The Data I Suggest You Track

This is the data from which you will base your decisions. Logging it will take 10-15 minutes total per week. Do not skip anything here.

  1. Weigh yourself daily, first thing in the morning after going to the toilet. Note the average at the end of the tracking week.
  2. Take body measurements in nine places. Note these once a week:
      1. Chest at nipple height,
      2. Navel,
      3. 2 inches above the navel,
      4. 2 inches below the navel,
      5. Waist,
      6. Arms,
      7. Legs.
  3. Take a photo, front and side, same pose and lighting, once every 2 or 4 weeks.
  4. Rate the following on a scale of 1-5 each week:
      1. Sleep (quality and length),
      2. Stress,
      3. Hunger,
      4. Energy levels.
  5. Rate your diet adherence as a percentage. (100% means perfect to within the boundaries of accuracy you were trying to hit.)
  6. Note the percentage of workouts attended. (100% means all attended.)
  7. Log your workouts (sets, reps, weight lifted).

Helpful Links:

  • Screen grab of how that measurement and weight data could be logged in a spreadsheet.
  • Example of how the workouts could be logged (using a modified powerlifting routine from ‘The Muscle and Strength Training Pyramid’ book).
  • The full explanation of the different body measurement sites, how to pose/tense when taking them, and what type of tape measure I suggest you use.

Why Body Measurements?

If you’ve read ‘The Muscle and Strength Nutrition Pyramid’ you may be wondering why I have the addition of body measurement data here. Well, in short, I think getting clients to track body measurements has been the key to my success as a coach.

After reading through my book on adjustments and discussing them with my co-author Eric Helms, he asked me to introduce the reasons and value I’ve found in taking body measurements to his 3DMJ coaching team, and his friends at The Strength Athlete, so they can consider using them with their clients from now on. I’ll share that email I sent to them with you next.

I’ll catch you in a couple of days with those details. Make sure you get started:

– Andy.

PS: It’s a good idea to whitelist this mail address now to ensure that these emails don’t get lost in your spam folder at some point. (Add this address to your address book, or if it went to your Gmail promotions folder, right click Labels and uncheck ‘promotions’.)


Anticipated Questions

1. Can you link me to a tracking spreadsheet?

– I could but I won’t. I don’t want to troubleshoot the people that won’t be able to open any file I link to. Always happens.

2. Can I track using a body-fat measurement device?

– I wouldn’t. There are too many issues with consistency and accuracy for tracking purposes in my opinion. I wouldn’t even include this data as an extra, as random swings can be mentally destructive.


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The Diet Adjustment Mastery Mini Course

Step 2: A letter to the best coaches in the world: Why I get clients to take body measurements (and I think you should too).

 

Here’s your copy of an email discussing client tracking I sent to the 3D Muscle Journey coaching team and TheStrengthAthlete.com coaches back in January.


Start of Email

In short, measurements have been absolutely critical to successful coaching in my eyes. Now, I won’t do without them as I feel blind as a coach.

More Detail:

I get clients to weigh-in every day and note the average at the end of the week. Also, I get people to measure once a week, typically Saturday mornings. In this way the request of measurement taking doesn’t overload them, and the conditions will be consistent. (Assuming their diet periodization and training are on a weekly rotation, not an 8 day cycle or some other odd number.)

I get clients to measure 3 times per body part and calculate an average of the three measurements. I insist they measure to a 0.1cm accuracy. Accuracy will fluctuate but it serves to imprint in their minds the need for precision. This also sets the tone for the accuracy and detail I expect in their updates to me. Half a cm isn’t enough, half an inch definitely isn’t. However, when I look at the data I’ll generally only consider a ~1cm+ change to be significant.

The point here is “what gets measured, gets managed” Peter Drucker, and what we measure, should be measured with accuracy.

If we instill into our clients the importance of measuring their diet, workouts, and body on a regular basis, every decision they make will help them think of their goals and how they want to get better measurements every week. This keeps our clients focused and working hard towards their dreams.

I have everyone buy a Myotape/Orbitape as it makes self-measuring a lot easier, and the fact it consistently auto-tightens with the press of a button limits inaccuracy issues. I insist clients don’t get anyone else to do it for them. Some people will tell you they’ll get their wife or gym partner to measure them ‘for ease’, however, if they are unavailable on the day we need measurements (this will happen at some point) then the data won’t be taken under the same circumstances and won’t serve as an equal comparison.

There are times when the scale shows little change for quite some time but the measurements show things are progressing. This has been exceptionally useful for not only telling me what is going on but keeping people motivated.

One thing that will be useful for you and your stage clients is having them take mid- and lower-stomach measurements. I get people to measure at the navel, 2 inches above, and 2 inches below. (Though it’s actually more practical to suggest people measure two fingers above and below rather than inches.)

For example, as the client goes from 13-10% body fat the majority of the fat comes off the lower abs, and the measurements will typically show more changes in the lower stomach measurement than the rest. The mirror/photos will also show the client this change. Past 10% however and the lower ab fat is mostly gone, but the lower stomach measurement will still come down because the lower back fat is still coming off.

This can be exceptionally motivating for a client that is looking in the mirror and unable to see any changes. When body fat is that low and they are feeling the pinch of the diet (energy levels, mood, etc.) and pressure from a looming competition deadline, a movement in the measurements (such as a lower back-fat reduction), can keep a client going during these of the toughest times in their physique journey.Try it with a handful of clients and test it out. I’m certain you won’t regret it.

Andy

End of Email


The point I’m trying to hammer home to you is this: Yes, taking body measurements is an extra step, and you will have to order a tape and wait for it, but this often neglected practice is the critical piece of the map missing on the journey to achieving physique dreams.

So, DO IT!

  • This data will help keep you objective, which is especially important if you are self-coaching.
  • The data can help show you when fat has been lost but muscle gained.
  • One of the most important benefits is the data can help reveal signs of progress that would otherwise be hidden from you, and keep you from losing your mind with frustration. (When the scale weight hasn’t changed and the guy in the mirror is looking the same to you for example).

In the next email I’ll cover why it’s important to get a few weeks of data before making decisions.

Catch you in a couple of days!

– Andy.


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Step 3: Why you should wait before making decisions.

Pay attention!

Don’t let the title of this email fool you, this is exactly the stuff that separates those who get jacked and shredded from those who don’t.

This stuff is what helps those struggling to get or stay near their peak condition finally achieve the body they’ve worked so hard for by taking the guesswork out.

It doesn’t sound sexy like much of the fitness marketing out there, but here’s the difference. This is real. It’s been tested in the trenches by my clients and me time and time again only to prove itself consistently reliable. The exiting part is, it works, and you can do it.

So far in this course we’ve covered these two fundamental points:

  1. Dietary adjustments are necessary for success as energy needs change as we progress.
  2. Logging data at regular intervals – both subjective measures (mood, hunger, energy levels) and objective measures (weight, body measurements, diet compliance, training compliance) – is essential as decisions on whether an adjustment is needed, and if so by how much, will be based on the logged data.

Here’s the next piece of frustrating news: You need to wait up to four weeks before this data can be meaningfully interpreted. This part of the course will cover why.


Reason 1: Water Weight Will Jump Around Due To Swings In Carb Intake

A change in carbohydrate intake brings with it a change in water balance in the body.

This is because glycogen comes from the carbs we eat. Every 1g of glycogen holds ~3g of water and is stored in the muscles, waiting to be used as energy. Our muscles are made up of 70-80% water. Some of the water comes under the skin, but most of it goes into the muscle.

It’s important to identify when this will likely happen and why, because the scale weight and measurements can show changes at these times which could be mistakenly associated with muscle or fat gains/losses.

If you eat fewer carbs than normal, which you probably will when you start dieting, your body (primarily muscle) will hold less water. The scale weight will plummet giving you the false impression that you’ve lost fat. It is possible in this way to drop weight without being in a caloric deficit.

If you eat more carbs than normal, when you start bulking (or switch from a low carb diet) for example, your body will hold more water and your scale weight will rise.

If your sodium intake is lower than what your body has been used to, which often happens when people make changes to their diet in an effort to be healthier, your body will temporarily lose water. (This corrects itself inside of a week. The opposite is also true.)

If you eat more fiber than normal, which people often do when they try to eat healthier, your gut content will be greater, and you’ll weigh more. (The opposite is also true.)

Due to the glycogen and water fluctuations caused by diet modifications, the changes you will see in your tracking data from the initial measurements and the end of week one will not accurately represent the muscle and fat mass changes we’re trying to track, and should be ignored.

Reason 2: Consistency and Accuracy Take Time To Develop

If you’re new to counting your calorie and macro intake, or have changed up the foods in your diet considerably, it will take you time to become consistent. Nobody is perfect from their first day. Mistakes happen. The important thing is that you’re getting better at hitting your accuracy targets over time, which you will.

Of course, there is a tendency for people to think they are being really accurate from the start, but that’s because they simply don’t know if they’ve screwed up yet. It’s not uncommon for clients to email me around week three saying they’ve just realized they made a mistake with the carb counting for example:

“Oh I didn’t realize this pre-packaged microwavable rice I’ve been mostly using as a starchy carb source was partially cooked and had water in it. I’ve been counting it as raw and thus have been under eating my carbs by half!” – And boom, the reason for their lethargy reported in their first update suddenly becomes clear.

This doesn’t apply to everyone but is an additional reason to be wary of the data in the first few weeks.


Guidelines For How Long To Wait Before Looking To Analyze Your Tracking Data To See If You Need To Make An Adjustment

  • If your initial macro set up was based on prior calorie intake data and scale weight change, wait 2 weeks minimum.(1)
  • If you used a formula for calculating your initial energy needs then wait 4 weeks minimum.
  • Ladies need to wait 4 weeks regardless, due to the water weight you carry will vary across your menstrual cycle and it’s essential to compare the same time intervals. (Week 1 can only be compared with week 5, week 2 can only be compared with week 6, etc.)(2)

This won’t be rushed.

Do not make decisions prior to these guidelines, I don’t do so for clients. Try your best to remove any emotional attachment from data movements until this time.

Commit to it and learn the principals that will give you control over your body. Two to four weeks of patience now can save you months of wasted time over the course of your life.

In the next email of the series I’ll cover how to identify when you need to make an adjustment. This is set to send in two days.

– Andy


(1) If you have a copy of ‘The Muscle and Strength Nutrition Pyramid’ this was the method outlined on page 27: Finding Maintenance By Tracking Weight & Food Intake Over Two Weeks – My Preferred Method.”

(2) This was one of the key reasons I decided to switch to coaching men exclusively. Men have it much easier. “I’m fairly confident that based on x, y, and z, this is just water retention, and we just need to wait,” was an answer that went unappreciated too often.


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The Diet Adjustment Mastery Mini Course

Step 4: Identifying When To Adjust.

The foundations have been set. You’re tracking correctly, you’ve waited the length of time I suggested, and you’ve reached the point where you determine whether you need to make an adjustment to your calorie intake or not.


How To SCREW UP Adjusting Your Diet

Before we get into my adjustment decision trees, we need to lay some final groundwork on how the majority of people get themselves into trouble:

  • They adjust when they can’t see any changes in the mirror or photographs.
  • They adjust when the scale weight doesn’t change from one week to the next.
  • They adjust when they feel hungry, lethargic, or have a bad workout.
  • They adjust when they get a comment about their physical appearance.

Don’t.

We’re looking for minimum confirmation that we’re progressing, not any single point in the data that suggests we aren’t.

It is human nature to do the opposite – to take any single sign of non-progress as a reason for adjustment – because we worry that our efforts aren’t working and we second guess ourselves. Resist this temptation. It will lead you to make adjustments prematurely, which makes it harder to identify trends in the data, and can cause you to lose or gain weight at an inappropriate rate. This has consequences.

Unless you’re behind on meeting a deadline, you should not be rushing your cut.

Doing so can cost you hard-earned muscle mass and strength, which will threaten any stage or platform appearance. Your diet will also be harder:

  • Your energy levels will drop further,
  • You’ll be hungrier and more irritable,
  • Your libido will suffer,
  • As a result you’ll have a harder time sustaining it.

Furthermore, it will also be harder to bring yourself back up to caloric maintenance in a controlled way at the end of your cut without unnecessary fat regain.

You cannot rush your bulk either. You will just get fat.

Muscle mass takes time to develop, and if you’re gaining weight considerably more quickly than you can reasonably expect then unless you are a genetic freak the difference will just be fat accumulation. Don’t make the mistake of dream-bulking like so many do in the off season.

For detailed guidelines on how to adjust your diet when bulking I’ve got an 8000 word mega-guide available on the site for free here. The rest of this course will primarily cover adjustment guidelines when cutting.


Identifying When To Adjust

Look to see if you need to adjust your diet at roughly the end of the fourth week, and then every two weeks after that. The first four weeks gives you time to refine your initial calculations. Then, assessing the data every two weeks lets the data tell you when you need to make an adjustment to keep you progressing to your goal.

Success does not come in a straight line. Success is often an upward progression towards your goals with lots of minor course corrections along the way.

The same is true of fat loss.

The two-week data assessments are the minor course corrections keeping you consistently moving towards your dream physique.

The principles for cutting and bulking are the same.

  1. Take a look at your data. At the same time take a look at your subjective notes on hunger, lethargy, irritability, sleep quality, stress levels, training adherence and macro adherence.
  2. I want to give you a copy of the decision trees from my book, The Last Shred. These flow charts map the decision making process I go through with my clients. They will help you take the guesswork out of what you need to do next in your journey towards your goals.

I’ll cover how to make the adjustments in the next email. Stay tuned.

– Andy


Note

I’ve omitted 10 pages of additional guidelines and caveats directly relating to the decision trees linked in the PDF above. This is due to the necessity for brevity. This bugs me but it’s simply not possible to cover them all in this course. I hope they are self-explanatory and exceptionally useful for you as they have been for so many others.


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Step 5: How To Calculate The Adjustment

If you’ve gone through my decision trees and come to the conclusion that you need to make an adjustment to your diet, this email will tell you how to do so.

(If you haven’t read that yet, do it! These are some of the best and most useful parts of my book, for free. Here’s the link to my decision trees again.)


Calculating The Initial Adjustment

It is likely that the first adjustment will be the largest one you have to make.

Take a look at your scale weight tracking data for the first four weeks. To calculate how much change we need to make to the calorie balance follow these steps:

  • Ignore the change between your starting weight and the first week of data as you will probably have a big jump (for reasons previously discussed).
  • Note the average rate of change over the following three weeks.
  • Subtract that number from your target weight loss.
  • Multiply this by 500 if you work in pounds, or by 1100 if you work in kilos. (The caloric deficit required each day to lose one pound or one kilo of fat respectively in a week.)
  • Adjust your daily calorie intake by this amount.

Make this reduction by removing carbs and fats from your diet. A 50-50 ratio is fine, but you can skew it in either direction based on your personal preferences. However, try not to go below roughly 0.4 g/lb (0.9 g/kg) of your lean body mass in grams of fat intake per day on average across your week. If you don’t have a good estimation of it, you can estimate your body-fat percentage here.

Let’s solidify your comprehension with examples. Feel free to take the quiz or just read along.


Bonus Quiz

Q1.) You weigh 200 lbs. Your target rate of weight loss is 0.5% of body weight each week. Your data looks as follows. Do you need to make an adjustment?

A1.) No. Your target rate of weight loss is 1 lb per week (200*0.005). The starting week and first week of change is ignored. You have had 1.2, 0.8 and 1.0 pounds of weight loss over the following three weeks, which is 1 lb on average. You are on target, stay as you are.

Q2.) Same weight and target rate of loss, different data. Do you need to make an adjustment?

A2.) Yes. Again, ignoring the first week of data, the change across the following three weeks is 0.2, 0.8 and 0.2 respectively, which means you are losing 0.4 lbs on average per week, which is under your target rate of weight loss.

You need to adjust your calorie intake by -300 kcal daily to speed things up.

Here’s the math on that:

[(Average rate of change – target rate of loss) * 500]

[(0.4-1)*500] = -300

1g of fat = 9 kcal, and 1g of carbohydrate = 4 kcal.

You could opt to reduce your macros by 15g of fats and 40g of carbs for a total 295 kcal reduction, which is close enough to the 300 kcal reduction target. This will mean the calorie reduction comes from approximately 50% carbs and 50% fats.

Q3.) Same weight and target rate of loss, different data. Do you need to make an adjustment?


A3.) Yes. The change across the latter three weeks is 2.2, 1.8 and 1.0 respectively, which means you are losing 1.66 lbs on average per week, which is over your target rate of weight loss.

It would be best to increase your calorie intake by approximately 330 kcal daily to slow things down.

Here’s the math on that:

[(Average rate of change – target rate of loss) * 500]

[(1.66-1)*500] = 333

You could opt to increase your macros by 20g of fats and 40g of carbs for a total 340 kcal increase, which is close enough. This will mean the calorie increase comes from approximately 50% carbs and 50% fats.


 

Making further adjustments at subsequent points during your diet:

Adjustments after this will usually be small fine tune adjustments to get you back on track as your energy needs drop. While you are welcome to calculate these based on the prior four weeks of data as per the method above every two weeks, there usually is no need to do so.

If your target rate of weight loss starts to fall short then dropping calorie intake by 5-8% works well as a guideline when changes are needed. For most people this is a 100-200 kcal reduction, which can be as simple as making a 25g reduction to carb intake, and/or a 10g reduction to fat intake.

Conversely, if your rate of weight loss turns out a little higher than you targeted, then increasing by this small amount will work fine.

It’s as simple as that.

In the next email I’ll show you an example of client data. Catch you in a couple of days.

– Andy


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The Diet Adjustment Mastery Mini Course

Step 6: Client examples to show you how your progress may look.

I’ll keep this email short. I have two examples for you here.

1. Cutting to shreds.

In the video below I take you through the tracking data and my coaching decision making process for my former client Scott’s cut to shreds. I’d estimate he got down to 8% body fat, he didn’t need to go any lower as we weren’t headed for the stage.

Scott - Data Analysis & Coaching Decision Explanation

(Here’s a direct link to the video incase the link in the image above doesn’t work in your email viewer.)

 

2. Coming back to maintenance before bulking.

Using photos of former client Adrian this article explains how to return to maintenance calorie intake. You can see the visual differences in muscle belly fullness and water under the skin that you can expect when you end your diet, come back up to maintenance and start a controlled bulk.

I hope these are exceptionally helpful. Catch you in a couple of days.

– Andy


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The Diet Adjustment Mastery Mini Course

The Last Step: Getting More Information When You Need It

Alright, now before you scroll down, rest assured that no pink sheep were harmed in the making of the video. 🙂

This is the end of the email course. Here’s a quick recap on what you’ve learned:

  1. You now know how to track your progress thoroughly so you have the data you need to make objective decisions off of,
  2. You now know how to identify when to make an adjustment,
  3. You now know how to make adjustments,
  4. and I’ve given you examples of how this all may look using real client data.

This is where I’m going to pitch you my book and video package.

My pitch is simple: You know that I know my stuff. You know that it’s good. If you’ve taken what you need from this course already then don’t buy it. However, for the sake of the cost of a pot of whey protein are you going to risk missing out on something important? Wouldn’t you prefer to have it all laid out for you, step by step so you can’t screw things up?

I wouldn’t risk it if I were you.

In fact, you don’t have to risk anything. There’s a 100% risk-free money back guarantee. So if you buy it and don’t like it, just email me within 30 days and it’s yours for free. You probably won’t though, the return rate is less than 3% which is shocking low, and if you do I lose nothing.

You can buy it here.

Oh, and I’m offering free updates forever if you get it now.

These are the keys to your independence, if you want them.

If you’d like to take a closer look inside first, I put together this quick video sample taking you through the second edition:

The Last Shred - A Peek Inside

(Here’s the link to the video if clicking the image above doesn’t work.)

So there you have it. I hope this has been exceptionally helpful to you, and I wish you success on your journey to shreds and beyond. 🙂

– Andy

PS: If you missed any of the emails, I’ve uploaded their content here.

PPS: After a year off to focus on writing I’m taking on online coaching clients again. Spaces are limited and there is a waiting list, but if you are interested you can find out more about my coaching services here.


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The Diet Adjustment Mastery Mini Course

Quick question…

Hey, it’s Andy.

Thanks again for taking my ‘Diet Adjustments Mastery’ course.

I’m always looking to improve my work based on reader feedback, that’s why I offer lifetime free updates on my books.

Has it been helpful?

If you could reply and let me know what you liked about it, and if you felt anything was missing I’d really appreciate it.

– Andy


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Answering your questions

I’ve been completely blown away by the feedback and insightful questions regarding the course.

Here’s my pick of the best questions with answers that I thought you might find useful:

(If you’d still like to leave feedback then please feel free to hit reply. I answer all emails.)


If target weight loss is 1lb/week and one is losing 2lbs/week, shouldn’t that be a good thing – given that strength numbers are going up?

It really depends. Recall that the two main reasons for keeping to our weight loss targets and not exceeding them is:

  1. To keep the diet manageable from an adherence perspective (the faster a diet is taken, the more the body fights back with hunger pangs, cravings, and lethargy).
  2. To lower the risk of muscle mass losses.

Training progression can be a signal that muscle mass has been maintained or gained, but not in all cases. If someone was under-lifting before, has come back from a layoff from lifting, or has had a big switch in training routine, then you can expect someone to make training progressions regardless. As another example, think of the person that recently received a kick in the arse to believe in themselves more (perhaps they switched from a shitty chain gym to a big boys gym, and the new environment means the weights they were previously lifting don’t seem so hard anymore).

Here’s something to think about: If you’re going to cut until you’re ripped or shredded, with the intention to either maintain your condition for the summer, a show (or series of them) or to bulk up after, why compromise the gains in muscle mass you could potentially make while cutting by rushing things?

Yup, I know some people will make an argument that dieting hard and fast to “get it over and done with” is the best way for them, and I won’t argue against any single experienced individual’s preferences being right for them, but I’d bet my left nut that the number of long-term successful people in the “controlled and steady” vs “hard and fast” diet approach camps is significantly higher in the former.

Balance is key and at the end of the day. There are always exceptions to the rules. But we set the initial target rates of fat loss for good reasons so I feel most people are best served sticking to them if possible.


One thing that i feel wasn’t really covered very much in either of The Muscle and Strength Pyramid books was how to make a transition from a cut to a bulk. Any advice?

Certainly. Coming to maintenance is covered in The Last Shred in the penultimate chapter, but I have a article covering the topic also on my site here. As for bulking, I have a 8000 word article covering that here. When we come to making edits for the second edition of The Muscle and Strength Pyramids we’ll be sure to include details on adjustments like that. Not a full book’s worth of course but a similar level of detail to what you have found in this course. I think Eric’s letting me take the lead on that but I’m sure it’ll turn out a team effort.


Have you thought about writing more courses?

Thank you for the compliment, and yes. The next one will be about the benefits and implementation of RPE in training programs with Eric. Given that he’s doing his doctorate in it I think it’s fair to say he’s qualified. We hope that will get a lot of people interested in the subject, and it should lead to wider interest in the The Muscle and Strength Pyramid books also.

As for the future. I really don’t know. I enjoy writing courses. I’m teamed up with two very talented people in Eric Helms, Andrea Valdez (and the 3DMJ coaching team as a whole). After writing the second editions of the Pyramid books we may look to do something more substantial with courses. It’s just in the ideas phase at the moment though.


The only thing that I’d say would be missing is the nuances that come about when working with women particularly because of menstruation. As you know the variations in menstrual cycles length and intensity can impact their weight, water retention, hormones, and even strength.

I didn’t cover guidance for women purposefully in either the course or The Last Shred just because I don’t have much experience working with women (I switched to specializing in men after my first 18 months doing this job) and I wanted the book to be written from a point of theory combined with coaching experience. Also, given that the “client examples” chapter is all male clients, I didn’t feel that it would be fair to market it in that way, despite it cutting potential buyers in half. Do you think I should change that?

I’m not quite sure how more I have to say on it other than, “Make sure you compare the same points in your menstrual cycle each month due to water fluctuations across your cycle.” Anything else would be just what I read elsewhere and not based on any personal experience. Lyle McDonald will have a book out covering dieting for women. You can bet it will be thorough. No definite release date that I know of yet.


You may be familiar with the quote, “do as little as is necessary, not as much as is possible” . Lifting heavy weights with regards the deadlift, squat, bench press, military press, bench pulls, weighted pullups etc. will invariably lead to injury without a “minimalist schedule”. But what is that schedule for each individual?

I don’t have a single answer as of how to avoid getting injured but I think if people follow these points of advice it’ll go along way to minimizing the risks:

  • Maintain the deload schedule, even when you feel you don’t need it. That’s the point of it – to let residual fatigue subside before it becomes a problem.
  • Stick to the RPE recommendations.
  • Use the progression rules. Switch from the novice to the intermediate progression pattern when necessary, not arbitrarily.
  • Always use good form. Sounds obvious, but most injuries occur when people get greedy and cheat.

Thanks to everyone for the positive feedback and thank you for participating in this course. It’s meant a lot.

One last thing…

Can you click the link to let me know where in the world you live? I find it fascinating.

Thank you!

– Andy


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