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episode #153

Interview with Eugen Loki: Losing Stubborn Body Fat, Body Weight Set Point and Building Muscle!

May 28, 2022 in Podcast


This week I interviewed strength training coach Eugen Loki! We discussed ideal protein intake, losing stubborn body fat, body fat set point theory along with: - Blood Flow Restriction Training - How Many Reps Create the Most Hypertrophy - Training to "task failure" to build muscle and his favorite supplement to get the most muscle gains!

0 (1s): Coming up on the get lean, eat clean podcast, 1 (4s): And contrary to most people believes it's not heavy strength training that causes more fatigue or rather light loads, because it simply takes more time to get to the stimulus that you need because you need too many reps to get there. So if we were to, if I were at least to suggest what is the sweet spot, I would actually lower it down. You said 12, I would say for up to eight is probably the sweetest spot simply because heavier loads will get the similars right away. And you start with no levels of fatigue within it. 1 (45s): Once that if you take a higher rep ranges, it will simply need so many reps to get to the stimulus that you need. And those reps will accumulate more fatigue that you will need to recover from in the following days. 0 (59s): Hello, and welcome to the get lean equally podcast. I'm Brian grin, and I'm here to give you actionable tips to get your body back to what it once was five, 10, even 15 years ago each week. I'll give you an in-depth interview with a health expert from around the world to cut through the fluff and get you long-term sustainable results. This week I interviewed strength training, coach Elgin low-key we discussed ideal protein intake, losing stubborn body fat body fat set point theory along with blood flow restriction training. How many reps create the most hypertrophy training to task failure to build muscle and his favorite supplement to get the most muscle gains. 0 (1m 42s): This interview is packed with a ton of information regarding strength, training, and much, much more. I really enjoyed interviewing him for the second time around. Thanks so much for listening and enjoy the interview. All right. Welcome to the get lean eat clean podcast. My name is Brian grin, and for the second time around, I have Elgin Loki watch. Welcome to the podcast. 1 (2m 4s): Hey Brian, thank you for having me. 0 (2m 6s): Yeah, thanks for coming on. Elgin to coach and I was drawn to him. Like I mentioned, last time we recorded a once before in August of 2021 and he definitely got to check out his Instagram. I'll put a link in the show notes. He has great diagrams and great content that he puts out pretty much. Do you do it every day? 1 (2m 26s): Yeah, pretty much every day. 0 (2m 28s): Is it I'm just curious, is it take you a lot of time to do those posts? 1 (2m 33s): I would say it's literally a job. 0 (2m 36s): Yeah. 1 (2m 37s): A full-time job, I would say. 0 (2m 39s): Cause you're doing the illustrations, correct? 1 (2m 42s): Yeah. Everything that you see on my page is made from scratch from the creative part, from the thinking about the illustrations, that would explain what I'm thinking about to coloring them and then the caption and everything around. So yeah, 0 (3m 1s): That's amazing. And, and, and just the content to write the science 1 (3m 7s): And the research. Obviously every post takes a lot of time, mainly because you kind of want to talk about something that is interesting, that people find interesting. And at the same time has to be on par with the current research. So obviously you want to do your research first, have to read a couple of papers, then try to formulate pretty much like a cohesive post that is not boring, but at the same time, it's concise and like goes to the point. So you have to know what you're talking about. I would say, well enough and yeah, that's, that's pretty much how I've been rolling since 0 (3m 50s): 2017. And have you thought about turning this into like a book would be pretty cool. 1 (3m 55s): Yes. It's coming. 0 (3m 56s): It's coming. I figured. Cause you got all that content it's like in the great illustrations and I love it. He summer you summarize it at the end. So if someone just wants to go right to the point, which I've done, a few had done a few times, so yeah. Well, thanks for coming on for a second time. 1 (4m 14s): Thanks for having me 0 (4m 15s): And yeah. Wanted to discuss, I mean, you have a lot of different posts around, you know, lifting weights and hypertrophy, and I know you had a recent one about protein, so I figured we start there. 1 (4m 28s): Sure. 0 (4m 29s): What I in the post is your best way to calculate your protein requirements? What, what do you recommend for individuals? Because you know, protein is one of these things that continues to come up a lot with a lot of my guests. It's all about prioritizing protein with each meal. And so what do you recommend for individuals when it comes to protein requirement? 1 (4m 49s): So in this specific case, I talked about protein specifically for bodybuilders. So for individuals that will require a higher protein intake, if you will, because the purpose, the purpose of their protein intake is really to maintain or build muscle mass. So they will require more for their specific goal. In this case, there are many ways that we can calculate protein requirements. The classic rule of thumb is 0.8 up to one gram per pound of body weight. And that works fairly well for the majority of people. However, if we are working with the individuals that have a higher body fat percentage, then it would make more sense at least to be more precise, to calculate it off of lean body mass. 1 (5m 39s): So you'll have your total body weight. You subtract the fat mass from the total body weight, and now you have the lean body mass. Once you have the lean body mass, then you calculate that your protein requirements by multiplying that times two grams, and it can go even up to three grams per kilo of body weight, lean body mass, depending on whether or not you're dieting. So the leaner you get, the more protein you will require in order to sustain your current lean body mass, simply because protein becomes more readily available for energy. Once you're in a caloric deficit or losing body weight. 1 (6m 21s): So if you want to preserve as much of it, then it makes sense to increase your protein intake for this reason, but also because it's the most sashaying macronutrient of them all. So it has also the benefit of making you feel fuller when you eat more of it. So yeah, it makes sense simply to eat more protein when you're dieting for there is benefits. 0 (6m 46s): Yeah. I love that. So just summarize because a lot with my clients I'll have them do a DEXA scan. So it'll yeah. So it'll, it'll tell them their lean body mass. And so let's just say it's 180 pound male and he has 140 pounds of lean body mass. You're saying take that. And he's, you know, he's working out, he's active take that 140 times two is that, that would be on the higher end maybe. Right. 1 (7m 16s): Because the calculation times two slash three rounds is in kilograms. So you would like to convert that into kilograms. So 140 ish pounds would equal to roughly 70 kilos. Okay. Around that. So you multiply 70 kilos times, 2.3 up to 3.1 grams. So that would roughly equal to 150 slash what 200 grams per day, obviously on the higher end. So anything in between will work perfectly fine. 0 (7m 49s): And do you recommend with protein, can you only absorb a certain amount per sitting I've heard, like, you know, for muscle protein synthesis, obviously you must, you know, the, the, ideally actually, if you're really trying to build muscle four times per day, I've heard is like a, sort of like a max meaning like four protein meals per day, for someone that's really trying to put on, on muscle. Is this something that you find as well? 1 (8m 19s): Right. So it makes sense to kind of have multiple meals that are rich in protein. So in this case, sure. It can work very well to have plenty of protein four times a day, but even five or six, it depends like how many, how much protein you have to eat, really. And even if you don't spread it, like email lead in the total amounts of meals, even if you need more like within the meal, it's not a problem. You will simply take more time to digest it. It's not that it goes to waste. So sure. Research supports the idea of spreading it within 30 to 40 grand stage or meal multiple times a day. 1 (9m 1s): But if you eat more than that within a meal and spread it into less meals. So for example, do let's say intermittent fasting or whatever that you don't have too many meals a day and you can eat something more and it's slowly fine, even that way. 0 (9m 16s): Okay. Yeah. Cause like, for me, I'd probably average about two meals a day, right? So it's like, yeah, I got to just eat higher protein intake during those two meals and it still gets spread out. And also on that point, like there used to be this, I would call it a misnomer now that you have to like chug a protein shake right after you work out. But really the, the anabolic window is I've heard up to two days after a workout. 1 (9m 47s): Right. And even then like, as long as you're eating protein, like within the right amounts without necessarily dining it, like whether it's, pre-workout post-workout as long as you're being consistent with your protein intake and making progress at the gym, that's really what matters. Focusing on my new share, like Beatles on a anabolic window or, you know, stuff like this is generally won't make much of a difference to 99.9% of the population. What matters is that really? You stick to your intake progress and that's really, what's going to make the magic happen. 0 (10m 25s): Yeah. Right. Exactly. You don't have to get too caught up in the details. Yeah. And then on that point, one of your other posts I wanted to touch on was losing stubborn body fat. 1 (10m 39s): Wow. 0 (10m 39s): I know that's a big one. And you gave some, you gave some thoughts. I wrote down like four different sort of ideas around that. One was calorie deficit. The other one was low carb. Next one was fasted cardio. And then the last one was being patient. 1 (11m 3s): Right. Exactly. I mean, at the end of the day, it really comes down to just being patient because generally speaking, those stubborn fat areas are really the last ones that you lose. So if you are still quote unquote fat in those areas, it just means that you haven't been dieting enough. Now, if we look at the physiology though of the fat cells, we also can understand why those cells are more stubborn. And that comes down to the ratio of receptors that these fat cells have when they have a higher ratio, alpha two receptors, then they will be less readily available, available for releasing fatty acids into the bloodstream. 1 (11m 48s): So that's one reason why these fat cells will stay stubborn while others on areas where you lose it very easily. It's simply because they have a higher ratio of beta, two receptors, which are more likely to release by the assets in the bloodstream. So that's why there's this difference and this kind of trivia, if you will, for a serious, 0 (12m 15s): I'm sorry, just so there's just to summarize. So there's everyone, you know, just not all fat cells are equal, right? And so if you have the more stubborn ones, what are those called? 1 (12m 27s): Is there simply are the bad cells, but there are receptors to where hormones bind like adrenaline and noradrenaline, or you wouldn't see like hormones as ease where that open up the locks. Okay. Does that make sense? And the receptor is the lock. When they bind to alpha two receptors, there will be no fatty acid release. So when a fat cell has more alpha two receptors, then it will release way less fatty acids. The one containing greater number of beta two receptors. So that's one reason why these are more stubborn. There are many others 0 (13m 8s): Now to unlock those fatty acids into your blood is one of the keys getting insulin down. 1 (13m 15s): Exactly. These cells are also insulin sensitive. As soon as insulin is present, then they will stop losing body acids. So that's one reason why by said cardio or low carb diets can work in this regard simply because they work naturally lower insulin levels and potentially work as a natural way to antagonize alpha two receptors. But of course this doesn't mean that simply being in a caloric deficit long-term will not work. Of course it will, but experimenting with these strategies can be like an option for sure. 1 (13m 56s): And I would speculate that they may work better, but I'm not sure if it's too sure because there's no specific study, like looking into that specifically. 0 (14m 8s): Yeah. And I think there's confusion sometimes because you have sort of two camps with that, right? Like for example, I had Dr. Jason Fung on, right. Who's all about lowering insulin to get into these fat stores and then you'll have other people who say, well, it is, there is some, there is some truth food with calories in calories out, and they maybe somewhat ignore that hormonal benefits of, you know, being in a fasted state and being low carb. Would you say that it's probably a combination of both. 1 (14m 45s): I don't want to say that it's necessarily a combination of both, because if I say that it's not about calories in calories out, I would say it's it's wrong per se, because we cannot expect escape the laws of thermodynamics. So that's, that works as a base. So regardless of whether or not we're in a low carb or a high carb diet, if we're in a colored deficit, we have to take energy from somewhere, right? It, energy cannot be destroyed or created, but it can eat, can be transformed. So that energy laws that we're creating with a diet has to come from somewhere. 1 (15m 27s): And if our protein intake is high enough to prevent muscle loss, then it has to come from fat source. So even then, even in that case, stubborn fat cells will still be forced to release fatty acids, whether or not low carb diets and Pesa cardio work better, or at least better to a high degree, to a significant degree. I'm not sure if it can be an option, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the hiker diet will not work because otherwise it would neglect the laws of thermodynamics, which of course applied to us too. 0 (16m 9s): Right. But you would agree that not all calories are equal. 1 (16m 14s): Sure. But the point is when we say not all calories are equal, it's mainly a way to describe the fact that if we create a color deficit of, let's say 3,500 calories, we should be losing half a pound or a pound of fat loss like every week. Right? Otherwise if that doesn't happen, then is the quote-unquote 3,500 calorie rule. Right? Well, in reality, it actually is because our body weight is not regulated by only fat mass or muscle mass. There are many things that play a role and that can even be stressed levels that can increase or decrease water retention. 1 (17m 0s): It can be the amount of cars that we eat, which can be stored in the muscle. And of course with carbohydrates, we get water. So up to three grams per gram of carbohydrate that we eat, but even sodium and for women, even menstrual cycle can play a role because hormonal differences that happen every week change the way sodium is handled by the body. So there are many ways and reasons why our body weight would fluctuate. But if we keep a consistent calorie deficit of, let's say for example, 3,500 calories, then we would do as body weight in, by looking at the trend. 1 (17m 41s): Maybe it's not going down like precisely, but on the long-term it will. And also one other reason why people like to quote unquote hate on the coloring rules is because if we eat like a piece of something and it says X amount of calories, how do we know that it, it has perfectly that amount of described calories? Well, we, we have no idea, right? We don't have a bomb calorimeter at home to test that. And frankly, it doesn't even matter. At the end of the day, what really matters is to Estimate a calorie deficit, which again is an estimation because that deficit is calculated based on taking in consideration our metabolism, which by itself is made of many different variables. 1 (18m 33s): There's the BMR, there's the RMR, there's the thermic effect of food. There's our daily activity, which can be seen in the form of sports that we play. And even the non-exercise activity thermogenesis and all of these together make up our DBE or total daily energy expenditure. If we were able to quantify it perfectly every single day, and also be able to perfectly quantify the amount of calories that we eat, then it would probably work like clockwork in terms of fat loss, not weight loss, but of course that is not a possibility. So there's obviously going to be a small percentage of error in the way we calculate things, but being consistent and being at least 90%, 95% correct in your calculations will definitely get you there. 1 (19m 26s): And of course this becomes more, it becomes easier by practicing it more over time, like year over year, maybe you, one year you died to X amount of body fat percentage. Then next year you try after a period of both and you get to a leaner body, weight and so on and so forth, you just get better at doing it. 0 (19m 46s): What about if someone's always eating in a calorie restricted state and that can that affect our metabolism, our, our metabolic rate and sort of do cause like for example, oh God, the gentleman who did an M name just escaped me. But you know, the biggest loser experiment where, you know, they, they, they worked out like crazy. They under ate and they lost weight in the short term, but in the long-term they ended up putting on more weight and damage their metabolism. 0 (20m 27s): So what do you, what's your thoughts around that? 1 (20m 30s): That is a great question. And I want to be clear, it's not damaging your metabolism. The metabolism doesn't get damaged, but it simply adapts. So the resting metabolic rate, and there's a recent paper on it is reduced after loss because when you lose fat, there are many things that happen. So number one, that cells are the first are actually the primary producers. So to speak of leptin, which is the hormone that regulates our metabolism when leptin levels are high, our energy expenditure is high and even our hunger levels are lower when we lose fat. 1 (21m 16s): And so as a response, we decrease leptin levels, our hunger increases, but also our energy expenditure decreased. So we further decrease our metabolic rate just as a response to fat loss. And it's inevitable. Like this is something that you quote unquote, do not recover from until you get fatter again. And it's been established like some people like to like to call it quote-unquote set point or body fat set point. And there are studies that look at it and suggest that it develops when you're very young, like at the infant stage. And because they've noticed that even like at a younger kids, when they died and lose body fat, from a certain point, they show a reduction in metabolic rate that seems to continue longterm. 1 (22m 9s): And the same thing happened in the biggest loser study. And it's very normal for people to experience that too, when you lose a lot of weight or when you lose body fat in general, you tend to move less, you tend to eat more or you're more drawn to thinking about food. And it's just something that happens likely for survival reasons because otherwise would lose body fat at a very fast rate and potentially die when there's no more body fat to lose. So there's probably one way of our body to simply prevent that. So it decreases your ability to lose body fat at your desire rate by increasing your hunger and decreasing your energy expenditure. 1 (22m 57s): But even this can, can be bypassed by simply either increasing energy expenditure or decreasing food intake. 0 (23m 5s): Okay. And to summarize that was good though. That was good. So body fat set point is probably set, you know, genetically somewhat when you're, when you were younger, like you mentioned. Yeah. 1 (23m 17s): It's a combination of genetics, but also environment, right? Because genetics in the, in the fact that it has to do with hormonal reasons, but also environmentally, because if you live in a culture where it's, you generally tend to eat a lot or like in a family where you eat a lot, or maybe you have friends that eat a lot or eat out a lot, then you're more likely to regain the lost weight simply because you think about it more. So it's a combination of a set point that comes from genetics and also environmental culture. 1 (23m 59s): And yeah. 0 (24m 1s): Okay. So for someone to get their body fat set point down, there's a little bit of like, cause it's not a perfect science, right? There's a little bit of a self-experimentation there where you can try different things. Like you mentioned with fasting or low carb or calorie deficit, sort of find what a w what works for you. 1 (24m 22s): Well, in reality, a set point, or at least until now has been shown to never decrease. So I'm not sure whether or not it can be decreased, obviously with a lot of willpower, you can maintain your current level of body fat levels. If you're, you've been down from a certain point and you can maintain levels of leanness, even long-term, if you really force yourself and like stay consistent with it. But it requires a lot of, as I said, willpower, and that's one reason why most people kind of end up regaining the lost weight and even gain more. 1 (25m 4s): So yeah, to this day, I would say that there's really no way to kind of bring the set point down if it exists. And yeah, it just sucks, but that's how it is. It seems, 0 (25m 23s): Yeah. Sort of doom and gloom here, but is that, is that, is that why just people, so, okay. Yeah. I mean, I guess we could talk to we're blue in the face. There's I think there's a lot of theories around that, depending on who you talk to. I wanted to touch on blood flow restriction training, sort of a different, different animal than we've been talking about, because I've heard about it a bit, but I've never done it recently. And I posted it on, I think I posted it on Instagram, but I would did electro stem a workout where they put you in the suit and you're not lifting weights. You're sorta just doing movements. I did a 12 minute workout and actually I wasn't sure where I'd be sore. 0 (26m 7s): You know, you got them on your abs, you got 'em on your shoulders, your biceps, your, your back, everywhere, your glutes. And the one place I actually was sore for like a while was my glutes. Everything else was okay. And, but anyways, that's, besides the point, I don't know if you've ever done that before. 1 (26m 25s): I haven't, I've played around with blood flow restriction though, because I have a friend that really likes it and he's a big promoter of it, especially the science behind it. And I've worked with them like in creating posts for them and even like helping create illustrations for his scores. So I've definitely played around with blood flow restriction and the research supports the idea for various reasons, whether it's rehab or even simply hypertrophy, it works. So I'm definitely for it. 0 (26m 54s): Okay. That's cool. And, and, and just so people know you have these cuffs around your, around your, your limbs, right? 1 (27m 3s): Exactly. There place, like very approximately so closer to the midline at the, obviously you have to calculate the right pressure and you simply work to failure. So you take sets to test failure. So the point where you can no longer perform any repetition, but the beauty of it is the fact that it works, it simulates heavy weight training, but with very light weight training. So that's beautiful. If you think about the rehab, for example, after you, you have an injury and you are obviously not able to lift heavy loads, but at the same time, you don't want to lose muscle mass in that limb. 1 (27m 46s): So in this case, it works perfectly as a bridge therapy to get you back to have you weightlifting, simply because by using very light loads, but with blood flow restriction, you're able to fatigue the muscles much quicker and stimulate the fibers to stay or potentially even grow bigger, or they use up the cuffs. 0 (28m 5s): I love that because a lot of my clients are 50 plus year old males. And some of them, for example, like they might have issues with their hands, even with their shoulders. And they can't really lift a lot that you got to go sort of super light, but we know that if it's like almost too light, to a sense, it's tough to build muscle with that. 1 (28m 26s): Exactly. 0 (28m 27s): But if you do blood flow restriction, you could do that same weight, right. And, and, and fatigue a lot quicker and create some hypertrophy. Correct. 1 (28m 35s): Exactly. Because if we were to use very light loads without the cups, then we would need to perform so many repetitions to get to a stimulus that we really will not be optimal simply because fatigue would increase so high during the set that we would not be able to create a strong stimulus for the fibers that grow, which are mainly the type two fibers. So the higher threshold motor units they'll go burn that govern these. But as I said, if we take too many repetitions to get there, then our ability to stimulate these fibers creases simply because of fatigue, Right. 1 (29m 16s): Instead if we use the cuffs and decrease the amount of wraps that we need to get here, even though we're using very light loads, simply because of the fact that it tastes less reps to get there, then fatigue will not be so high to the point where we are not able to recruit these. So by definition, we're able to do, to recruit these fibers. And as a result they will grow. 0 (29m 40s): That's pretty cool. Yeah. I've seen Peter Tia talk about it a little bit and I might look into buying some do, do you incorporate it, dude, use it from time to time or 1 (29m 52s): Yes. Sometimes merely to play around with them. Like if I'm doing, I dunno, some very high rep work generally for, I like to use it for the arms, so it can be like for the shoulders or the triceps biceps, or potentially even legwork, for example, I've had an injury at the patellar tendon. I broken it two times. And for a long time, I really struggled to build like my quad. So that was more reason for me to test it out and it worked great. So yeah, I definitely enjoy playing around with them. I think they're very useful. And especially they play a role in mainly as a bridge therapy, as I said. 1 (30m 36s): So for rehab to getting back to heavy lifting, because obviously if you have the possibility to train with heavier loads, then it's simply more efficient for you to train with those. However, 0 (30m 47s): I'm sorry. Could you do heavier loads with the blood flow restriction? If you're, let's say you're a healthy individual and you probably won't be able to get as many reps, but I'm curious, 1 (30m 57s): You can, obviously you want to modulate the amount of pressure that will go in the cuff square, the heavier loads, the lower, the pressure and vice versa. So there's like the load pressure continuum that changes depending on what floor you're using and pressure you're using, but if you're able to use heavy loads, then there's no point in a way to use them because just go for the heavy loads in that case. 0 (31m 22s): Okay. Gotcha. Yeah. I love that. I love that for like, you know, like you said, bridging the gap, if you have an injury or, you know, if you're older and you just don't, you know, putting on those heavy loads might be too much strain for your joints, then the blood flow. Okay. I'm going to look that. Yeah, that's cool. Let's touch on. I know you talk a lot about sort of, let's try to build out a week for someone that's, you know, just like a baseline. And I, and you know, we talk about, you see a lot of this one set the failure. I think we were actually messaging back and forth because this is becoming A hot topic, a hot topic. The one set the failure, Doug McGuff, I believe talks a lot about this. 0 (32m 6s): And I guess what would you say, ideally, like, just, let's just take for me, for example, I typically do splits of upper and lower body. Those are my splits and I've pretty much used resistant bands, variable resistance. I used the X three bar quite a bit. Occasionally I'll do some normal weights. And would you say four times a week, like let's say upper lower arrests, upper lower is, you know, is sufficient for most people. If they're going to do a split like that, 1 (32m 40s): I think upper lower rests, upper lower can work very well, especially because it matches like evidence-based recommendations. Like for example, these suggest like once set to true, true failure, it can work, but at the same time, it's not enough. We have a very recent meta analysis that looks into how many sets can we really accumulate in a week before we start accumulating too much fatigue to the point where more volume starts becoming detrimental? Well, that number is around 12 up to even 20 sets per week. And when I talk about these sets, I mean, set heart sets. 1 (33m 23s): So when I say hard sets, it's really sets they can to that's failure. And obviously we can play around with the fact that what if these people were not able to quantify what failure actually meant. So was that really true failure? Well, there's no way for me to tell in that case. Yeah, but still based on this feature in research and it's a meta analysis, but also through anecdotal evidence, I would say that it's a very good wrench that will work for most people. So if one sets set to failure works well for you, then I would argue that taking that 2, 4, 8, 12, 16 would probably work even better simply because you would be able to accumulate more effective volume for your muscle growth. 1 (34m 18s): And you would simply be able to progress at their rate faster because we can break that down into two sessions. So we take, for example, an upper lower split. So that means we have two oper sessions and two lower sessions. If we break down six sets that are very heavy or at least close to failure to failure on the first day of upper, then we can repeat that or at least stimulate it in a very similar way on the second day, because we have at least 48 hours of recovery between the two. So we have plenty of time to recover from the previous six sets. And we can repeat that and accumulate 12 sets just like that. 1 (34m 60s): And we can take it even further by increasing that, obviously what matters is progress. So I never sacrifice actually adding weight to the bar to simply doing one more set because that's, that is what drives most of the adaptation. But of course at the same time, you want to stay within optimal amounts of training volume because you don't want to underdo it, but neither you want to overdo it. You want to say in the middle, and generally speaking, if you end up wanting to do too much, then chances are, you can get better results by simply the quality of the sets that you are doing. 1 (35m 40s): And at the same time, if you want to do a barren little, I'm pretty sure you can get even more results by simply increasing that a little bit and staying within the middle of these recommendations. 0 (35m 52s): Gotcha. Okay. So, so if someone did four days a week of strength training, upper lower, upper lower with, with rest in between gives them 48, 48 hours of rest and 12 to 20 hard sets per muscle group. So let's just take like front squats. 1 (36m 15s): Yeah. 0 (36m 15s): Okay. Let's just do, cause I do front squats with the X three bar. Cause I, I, I liked the fact that there's less risk for injury than a normal front squat too. Cause you're just dealing with the band and you know, if they're trying to balance because front squats are tricky, but they're great. Right? Like major core, just, just sort of incorporates a lot of different muscles. So if so doing two working sets, let's say, I like to just do warm, warm set. I know. I don't know what your thoughts on war upsets are. I'm sure there's, there's not much behind it. Right. I mean, a lot of people say you can just jump right in, but you know, I'm not 20 years old that 1 (36m 54s): I always suggest like to work your way up to your training loads. So if you're doing squats, you maybe start with the bar or like with one plate on each side and then work your way up to your training center. Obviously I do not count those within the quote unquote, a volume for the week. 0 (37m 13s): Right. 1 (37m 13s): But obviously it's needed, especially if it makes you feel better and you'll feel more ready for the sets. 0 (37m 19s): So if I'm doing two, one warmup, two working sets of just say front squats twice a week, that's really only four sets. 1 (37m 29s): Correct. 0 (37m 33s): Okay. So you're saying an individual, if you're doing two workouts, then, then you would, you needed to be doing six sets 1 (37m 42s): At least. But obviously it doesn't necessarily mean that 0 (37m 45s): Six working six, six working sets each time. 1 (37m 49s): Right. But that doesn't mean you should do that only in the front squats. You can alternate like other exercises. For example, we want to do a leg extension or I don't know, a leg press or another variation of the squats if you don't want to just do a front squat. So it really comes down to how you want to break that down 0 (38m 14s): Because I do do, I do do like single leg work, so that would be incorporated. Okay. Gotcha. So then I, I, because I've been doing an, and I don't know your thoughts, I know you, you have some posts about like, you know, you'll see people put the, the chains on the, on the, on the weights and that sort of gives you a little bit of like a, almost like a variable resistance feel. Right? 1 (38m 38s): Exactly. Exactly. It changes the strength of an exercise and makes it more challenging on points where without them would feel easier. So it's one way another way to basically progress. And you can do the same, like with bands. 0 (38m 52s): Right? Right. And that's why I like sort of, I like that variable resistance because it's the guy it's on that strength curve as you get stronger, it gets more difficult. 1 (39m 1s): Exactly. Correct. Yeah. But again, I wanted to ask you, do you, for example, you said the front squats, is that the only exercise that you do for the legs? No. 0 (39m 13s): So I'll do, I'll do two working sets of front squats, two working sets of dead lifts and two working sets of single leg, Single leg squats, single leg. 1 (39m 29s): So that's already poor because you want to count that into depending obviously on the muscles that you target. And of course the live variations we'll work more muscle, different muscles than the squats that you are doing. But assuming you're doing a very similar knee flection exercise, you want to count that for the quads and also the glutes and potentially even the abductors. So you want to spread those sets and that volume for all the exercises that target similar muscle areas. And then you try to accumulate as much, or at least stay within the 12 to 20 heart sets per week by counting it like that. 0 (40m 8s): So 1 (40m 8s): Some exercises target multiple muscle areas. Then you want to count that for those muscles too. It's not like one small group, depending on the exercise that you do. 0 (40m 17s): So with me doing the front squats twice, we're two working sets, two working sets of the single leg. That's that's for that's two. So that's twice a week, that'd be eight. So I'm four sets away from what you're saying would be ideal. 1 (40m 33s): Right? 0 (40m 34s): Empathetically 1 (40m 36s): Eight is good. 0 (40m 37s): Yeah. I was going to say, cause I've been, I had been building muscle, which so, but you're but there could, there could be some room for maybe a little bit more potentially. 1 (40m 47s): Definitely, definitely. Sure. 0 (40m 49s): I will say what I thought, what I thought I started doing it during the quarantine and I've changed my splits and I've messed around a little bit, you know, not all, you know, for the last two and a half years I've kept the same exact thing, but it's been very similar. I used to just do, I used to just do legs once a week and even just doing it twice a week. I think I found that I, I, I know I've put, you know, my legs have gotten that much bigger and also I've increased protein. Those two things have made a big difference, 1 (41m 18s): Heavy lifting and protein is where the magic happens. It's really, really that. 0 (41m 24s): Yeah. And, and I know we talk about reps. So now we talked about sets right? 12 to 20. When you talk about reps, you know, is, is a, probably depends what you're looking for. Right? Hypertrophy, would you say the sweet spots around 12? 1 (41m 44s): So here we are late, we touched on it. Even earlier. We know that hypertrophy can be achieved across a variety of loading zones, but also red zones, because if we can achieve similar approaches by using blood per restriction, which is very high rep because we use very light loads and it works similarly to have loads in terms of results. Then we can see that if we really try, we can achieve muscle growth across pretty much all loading zones. However, when it comes to creating a purchase fee or at least a plan that is, that makes sense, then that is efficient and effective. You want to take fatigue into consideration. 1 (42m 27s): And that means trying to minimize the Teague and maximize the amount of the stimulus that you create within the muscle fibers that will grow as a response to strength, training, and contrary to most people believes it's not heavy strength training that causes more fatigue or rather light loads, because it simply takes more time to get to the stimulus that you need because you need too many reps to get there. So if we were to, if I were at least to suggest what is the sweet spot, I would actually lower it down. You said 12, I would say for up to eight is probably the sweetest spot simply because I've been to loads, we'll get to the similars right away. 1 (43m 15s): And you start with no levels of fatigue within it. Once that if you take a higher rep ranges, it will simply need so many reps to get to the stimulus that you need. And those reps will accumulate more fatigue that you will need to recover from in the following days. So, 0 (43m 33s): So forth. So you would say, I mean four to eight reps, 1 (43m 37s): Right? And sometimes even though both kind of attributed to more strength ish set, or a rep ranges, I will lower it even to three because I like to program like threes, which have the goal to become poorest and then fives. So you kind of try to add one more rep every time. So, and obviously as we know, hypertrophy happens across our bridges and loading zones. So it doesn't necessarily mean that lower rep ranges does not cause hypertrophy because it does. So yeah, three, four up to eight is probably the sweetest spot in my opinion. 0 (44m 18s): Okay. And, 1 (44m 22s): And by the way, this sets just to add like one more caveat sets are intended at sets to failure. So the four range for eight rep range, it means that the eighth rep is the last one of the set. It's not like a set where I do eight reps and you don't feel any sort of effort in the set you, that means that you cap it at eight, meaning that you could have not gotten any more with that load. 0 (44m 50s): And then what about, just to add more to the, what about the, how, I guess how fast you're moving the weight. I know you touched on this on a post versus, you know, you hear a lot about this, you know, cause a lot of the proponents of the, with the one set the failure is they're really focusing on it on the time under tension. And you know, they're counting to five to eight seconds on concentric and on the east centric, the back down, they're really focusing on that as well. W what do you, what do you recommend on that? Or is that just something that you mix up? 1 (45m 26s): Right. So personally I think that a self-selected tempo is really your best bet, as long as you control the eccentric part of the movement. So the part in which muscles lengthen underload, and, but the concentric can be explosive. And the reason why I don't really focus much on tempo is because we know that if we count volume as sets of failure, regardless of we get of whether or not we get to failure by increasing dut. So time under tension or not, we get to the S very similar results, if not the same, but how can we get to the same results if there are different types of volume, because if we increase them under tension, the amount of volume that we accumulate is slower simply because we get to Baylor faster, right? 1 (46m 22s): If within the set of bench press, for example, you try to lower the weight and push up the weight as slow as possible. It will be very quick for you to get to failure. You don't accumulate too many reps, right? On the other hand, if you try to move, let's say you control the eccentric, but you go very fast on the concentrate. You will likely do more, 0 (46m 44s): More reps 1 (46m 46s): In the interset yet they get to, to the same results. So it's not really about the time under tension, but rather getting to failure that matters. So as long as you select a template that works for you, and you try to stay within the right rep range, that accumulates the lowest amount of fatigue. So you want to train with heavy loads and you get very close to failure. That is what matters the most when it comes to hypertrophy. And the reason why is because when we get close to failure or even to failure, fibers experienced the most amount of tension. So if we zoom in, in the muscle fibers and look at what actually contracts, so the mice finance had the pole into the actin filaments. 1 (47m 34s): When we approach failure within a set, our rep speed becomes fairly slow. It becomes very hard to push the weight, regardless of whether or not our effort is maximum. Like if we cannot try to lift it slow, it moves slow. Even if you try to push it past. So there's a combination of full motoring recruitment because you're trying to push it as fast as possible. Your effort is maximum. And at the same time, a slow rep speed that forces every mice in had to attach to act in and create the most amount of tension possible, which will trigger the whole cascade of events that will lead to a purchase. 1 (48m 18s): So to summarize self-selected tempo works, try to work within a lower ish, low to medium rep range and work in proximity to failure because that's what matters the most. 0 (48m 32s): Gotcha. Okay. Yeah. Cause I do notice sometimes when you really focus on slowing down the east centric part of the lift, I mean, yeah. It's just very difficult. 1 (48m 44s): Yeah, it is. And there are like ways so even overload the eccentric bar because during eccentric contractions were much stronger than on concentric ones. And therefore in most cases, if we do, if we perform, for example, normal, certain training. So we use the same amount of floats for both the eccentric and concentric contraction. Like you see most people do. We're actually not doing everything that we could to load the eccentric part of the contraction because we're stronger up to 25% during that portion of the lift. So there are even ways to overload the eccentric portion of the lift simply to get the most out of it. 1 (49m 26s): So like eccentric overloading. And the reason why we're stronger is because during eccentric contractions, even the passive components of the muscle fibers contribute to, to generate force by simply resisting the formation under load. So like there's Titan that causes that. And because of that, we could load the bar even heavier simply to stimulate the fibers more during this part of the lift. 0 (49m 56s): Okay. And, and just to summarize that, so that would be like, what a lot of people call it like negative lifts, right? Where if they put on a load that they, they can't really push concentrically, but they have a spotter that helps them with just say for bench, press get direct to the top and then go really slow on the way down. Maybe count to what like 10 seconds give or take until, and then they help you get it off your chest. You do it again. I guess I could sort of do that. Would you say I could do that as, as maybe something I do? I don't know once a where, 1 (50m 28s): Right. It's not something that you want to overdo it because eccentric contractions cause more muscle damage than concentric ones. And when there's muscle damage, then you have to recover. And because it causes a fatigue in the central nervous system, which doesn't allow you to record high threshold motor units. So obviously it's something that you don't want to overdue, or if you want to focus on that, then you want to kind of change the whole structure of the program to make room for that. So once a month, for sure can be done. It's something even fun, something new that people can try. Obviously it requires a spotter or, or a way for you to kind of try and overload the eccentric part, but yeah, can be done. 0 (51m 16s): Can you do it without a spot spotter? Because I don't have a spotter in my basement unless I get my wife, but she's not gonna spot me, but she'll just drop it on me. No, but like, let's just say if I use the S3 and I go a little bit more like heavier than I normally do, I can, maybe I can do it. Concentrically but I can somewhat, you know, then slow it on the way back down. I dunno. I guess, I guess if you're saying, if you can do it in the concentric motion, then you're 1 (51m 52s): Not eccentric overload. 0 (51m 53s): Okay. Gotcha. Okay. 1 (51m 55s): Yeah, because keep in mind that on the eccentric 120% of your one RM on the eccentric would feel like an 80%, but instead, obviously on the concentric, you wouldn't be able to. 0 (52m 12s): Okay. Gotcha. Yeah. Wow. This is good stuff. 1 (52m 18s): Actually, no, it's a hundred percent would feel like an 80% of the 175, the same thing. 0 (52m 24s): So if you're going to do east centric like negative, make sure you get a spotter, right? Yeah, for sure. Wow. This was good. Is there anything, any new science, anything that you've come across recently that you think would, would help people listen? And if they wanna, you know, get results, build muscle, lose body fat. 1 (52m 44s): I think we've pretty much covered it all. Like a lot of people like to glamorize like different training styles, but as long as you stick to the basics, work within manageable training volumes train within a very low proximity to failure. So one to two reps and reserve, if that makes sense for the people. 0 (53m 7s): Let's say that again. I'm sorry. Say that again. 1 (53m 10s): One to two reps are reserves. So reserves are pretty much like the reps that you're, that you need to reach before you would get to task failure. So that's a fair proximity. Obviously you can train to zero as well, so reach simply failure, but you want to make sure that you're still training within recoverable training volumes. So that means 12 up to 20, but I would cut it even lower, like 12 up to 15, 16 sets per week card sets. That's going to do wonders for most people. So do not try to make it like excessively difficult in terms of training styles. 1 (53m 53s): And, you know, obviously you can throw in some things for fun. Like it can be my reps drop sets, whatever. As long as you're training within these recommendations, you will progress, prioritize, prioritize, getting stronger on a week to week basis, as much as 0 (54m 13s): One more. One other thing that I just was thinking about rest between, you know, let's say you do a set, you, you do a set of four reps of something. W what do you recommend as far as resting between 1 (54m 29s): Obviously that depends on your, how much time you have. Like, if you're in a rush, chances are, you will not be able to rest as much, but anywhere from 2, 3, 5 minutes between sets, as long as you need, as much as you need for you to recover, to complete the following set, that is really what it comes down to. If you don't have time, obviously you want to make sure, so one and a half up to two minutes, but what really matters is that you're able to complete the set the following side. 0 (55m 1s): So the two to five minutes is, is, is there so you can come back and hit it and be just as almost strong as you do the last time per se. 1 (55m 11s): Yes. Ish. You can also work within a loading zone. So for example, if your first set was the heaviest and you was, let's say a set of five, and it was your true 85, 80 7% ish, chances are, you have accumulated some level of fatigue where you will not be able to hit it for five again, in the following set. So you can decrease it a little bit, 0 (55m 36s): Decrease the weight just a little bit 1 (55m 38s): And do it for the desired amount of preps. So you want to work within a loading zone, surely a specific weight, but it can be like, let's say your 75 ish to your 85 ish percent. And then you make, you try to make the 75 77, 79 or 80, and you want to pro you basically want to progress in all directions, right? If it, if this is your loading zone, you try to get stronger here. And then eventually you become stronger here and then here and then here and so on and so forth. 0 (56m 13s): So, so you're saying, let's say you do five reps of 200 pounds. Let's just say that. And that was pretty much to failure. The next set. It's probably going to be difficult to do that same thing, right? So you could either decrease the weight a little bit and stay in that rep range of five, or do maybe the same weight and maybe do three or four reps. 1 (56m 40s): Right. 0 (56m 42s): Okay. Right. So adjust, adjust the load or adjust, adjust the rep range. 1 (56m 48s): Exactly. And eventually, if you did the second set within three to four reps, your goal should be to try and get to five. So that's one way of progressively overloading that set. And once you're able to perform five reps on the second set, then chances are, you can work on your third set where you will do three to four reps again, and then bring that weight that up again, so that you're able to accumulate more reps and sets within that intensity. 0 (57m 19s): And do you normally start, once you do a warm up set, let's just say, do a warm set, your first set. Do you normally try to have that one to be like the premier one per se and then adjust after that? 1 (57m 30s): It depends. Like I like to either do that. It happens quite often, but sometimes I work in pyramid up. So instead of doing a reverse pyramid where your first set is the heaviest you work the other way around, so you build it up and maybe it's your third set. That is the heaviest generally. I don't like to go much longer than that simply because you still accumulate some fatigue as you perform training sets. Right. So if you try and do your six set, your heaviest chances are, you would not be as strong as you would have been on earlier sets. So you want to take that in consideration as well. 1 (58m 11s): So it can be your first set because they are the most fresh, but you also want to kind of be warmed up enough for that to be your first set. 0 (58m 21s): Okay. And then for me, maybe what I'll try to do just to mix it up, instead of doing two working sets, do three, and then I'll be at six working sets on like a Monday. And then my next workout let's just say, would be on a Thursday or whatever will be another six. And that's 12 sets right there for the week. 1 (58m 40s): I think that would work great. Yes. 0 (58m 41s): I'll see how bad I just did a DEXA scan. So I know where I'm at. So we'll see. We'll see if, if I can continually increase increased muscle that way. Well, this was what's that 1 (58m 56s): Give me a bit, 0 (58m 57s): Yeah, I'll keep you updated. I, I, I, yeah. I mean, I, I love your posts. We could keep talking. I was gonna mention one other thing and then we'll, we'll close it out, but creatine monohydrate I noticed you posted on that, and this is becoming probably one of the most researched supplements out there. And 1 (59m 18s): For a while, 0 (59m 19s): For a while, right. I think there was a misnomer around it that it would like be, you know, bad for the liver. 1 (59m 27s): Right, right. But fortunately research shows that for healthy individuals, they're really nothing to worry about. Even when it comes to hair loss. A lot of people like are scared to use it because they fear hair loss. And there's one, literally one study that looked into that. And it may so keep in mind, it may make expanded the process. Basically like if you're predisposed to that, genetically, it may expand it the process, but it does not cause hair loss. And it does not cause any problems to deliver. If you're a healthy individual who simply trains and eats enough protein and calories to sustain his activity is one of the most, if not the most supplement research. 1 (1h 0m 18s): And it's likely the, one of the few ones that actually work. So I recommend using it. It's not a drug, so people can totally fine using it. Yeah. 0 (1h 0m 30s): You get it from like you mentioned fish and meat and you actually produce it. You produce it yourself as well. I think maybe a gram or something a day, I believe. 1 (1h 0m 39s): Right. And it's produced by the liver pancreas and the kidneys, but also it can be found in meats. It can be fish or just cuts of meat, however, you would need it in higher quantities. So that's the reason why you want to supplement, compliment and creating on top of what you eat simply because you want to reap its benefits. So if you're performing sports wear that require high intensity or, or very fast burst of energy expenditure, then you want to use creating. And it's not necessarily just for lifting. It can be for sports like soccer, I dunno, a box or anything that requires like very fast movements, changes of direction and so on. 1 (1h 1m 27s): And so forth three to five grams is really the, those that would cover 99% of the people you take it every day. You don't want to stress about whether or not you want to take it pre or post-workout just make sure you eat it. And that's really it. You mix it with water, I'm super into it. And that's it 0 (1h 1m 48s): Is there, is there a brand that you like? 1 (1h 1m 51s): So I personally like to look for the cheapest ones and that's what I recommend. So the, my protein creatine is what I've been using since forever. And that's what I recommend. 0 (1h 2m 4s): Okay. All right. Well, this was a, hopefully people got a lot of value from this and definitely check out Elgin his posts, his Instagram handle, which I'll put a Lincoln is physique. And you have an eight week body power building program, right? 1 (1h 2m 25s): Yes. So currently I'm actually, I have written, but I'm going to be launching in the following weeks, a 12 week power billing program, as well as an e-book on squats bench and deadlift. Like I put up, I put together like the drawings covering those topics and with a great format. And it's beautiful to look at, and it also contains a lot of the science that I talk about. So I'm going to launch them very soon. So keep an eye for those and that's it. 0 (1h 2m 56s): Excellent. Well, I appreciate you coming on and I mean, this was a, this was great knowledge, not only for, you know, just general public, but you, you you're helping me with my workouts. So I'll, I'll report back and let you know, I'll make some tweaks and see and see if I can keep building, but I appreciate you coming on the podcast. I know it's an almost in the middle of the night where you're in, where are your, where are you located again? 1 (1h 3m 22s): I'm in Italy. 0 (1h 3m 24s): Okay. 1 (1h 3m 25s): Beautiful. But yeah, thank you for having me. I think there's a lot of value in what we talked about. Then if people really carefully listened to it, they can really make a lot of progress in their training. So for sure, I enjoyed it. And again, thanks for having me. 0 (1h 3m 42s): Thanks for coming on. Thanks for listening to the get lean, eat clean podcast. I understand there are millions of other podcasts out there and you've chosen to listen to mine. And I appreciate that. Check out the show notes@briangrin.com for everything that was mentioned in this episode, feel free to subscribe to the podcast and share it with a friend or family member. That's looking to get their body back to what it once was. Thanks again, and have a great day.

Eugen Loki

This week I interviewed strength training coach Eugen Loki! We discussed ideal protein intake, losing stubborn body fat, body fat set point theory along with: - Blood Flow Restriction Training - How Many Reps Create the Most Hypertrophy - Training to "task failure" to build muscle and his favorite supplement to get the most muscle gains!


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