Body By Science, Fasting and BFR Training Results (with pics!)


I’ll see how my hunger will vary sometime next week, that’ll be a better comparison. :slight_smile:
It could be just my head playing games, but I do feel a bit stronger.:thinking: I slipped on some ice the other day and I caught myself like a cat…

(Windmill Tilter) #342

One of my goals this year is to build a respectable chest. I know it’s a bit vain and not particularly in line with a health based ethos of resistance training, but I’m a fairly shallow person and I think big pecs look badass. No harm in looking badass while healthy right? A guy’s gotta dream… :yum:

I’ve been trying to hit my chest from different angles than that offered by the bench press, and I wound up injuring myself on the pec fly machine. Now I think I know why. Here is a video from Athlean X that explains why. Jeff advocates against traditional dumbbell flys for a few good reasons. His #1 reason is that extending the should beyond the plane of the chest can cause serious injury through over-extension, which is exactly what I think I did. He actually recommends doing them from the floor for this reason if they are to be done at all. The machine I was working on has a much wider range of motion than 180 degrees.

The exercise he recommends instead allows for full adduction of the chest with less injury risk, and a better aligned resistance curve. I love this guy. His channel is an absolute gold-mine when it comes exercise selection and the finer points of form execution.

As an aside, he’s also the guy that inspired me to give dips a try. All I can say is that his advice was spot on. Leaning into dips the way he recommends takes the weight off off the triceps and places it squarely o the lower and mid pectoral muscles. I have pec soreness in places I never even knew existed after doing them on Sunday. Here is a video where he describes proper technique on dips. The level of detail and form cues he gives for the execution of something as simple as a dip is incredible. Give it a watch:


Oh yeah, I remember him, I watched a few of his videos about a year ago…
I’ll watch some more of his today, I need a good tricep exercise. :slight_smile:

There is nothing wrong with a little vanity, we should all feel good in our skin. :slight_smile:
I gained a little weight in the fall and I’m having a little trouble losing it. I don’t feel confident the way I am now and it really affects me. I think that walking around like a proud peacock is much better than hiding. :wink:

(Eric - The patient needs to be patient!) #344

I think my BBS routines limit definition of some muscles. I would like to be better defined over time and plan to change up some of the routines and/or add other exercises this week slightly.

I’m going to keep my BBS routine with some adjustments and at some point will dramatically change things up. I haven’t figured out the trigger for when to make these changes. I’m thinking I will know when it is right. But maybe I’m going to have to set a date and push for it.

I’d love to be able to do a pull up within the next 12 months but I am so far away from that now.

@Don_Q please keep talking about this and sharing. I’m learning so much.

(Windmill Tilter) #345

I’m in the same boat. :+1:

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love Body by Science exactly as it was written. Dr. McGuff asked the question “What is the absolute minimum you can do to get the maximum benefit”. It makes a massive impact on quality of life in 1 hour a month at the gym! That said, I see it as a starting point and a toolkit rather than final solution.

Don’t get me wrong, I think you could do just the BBS big 5 exactly as prescribed for the rest of your life and be stronger and healthier than 95% of Americans in your whatever your demographic is. That said, since it takes me longer to drive to the gym than it does for me to do my workout, I don’t mind investing another 15 minutes to get money’s worth once I get there. :yum:

That doesn’t mean workouts have to drag on for 30 minutes with a dozen exercises. I think there is also value in just doing the big 5 a little differently every week. There’s no reason to do just the plain old vanilla bench press every week. I like the idea of doing bench press in week 1, incline bench press week 2, decline bench press week 3. It’s not necessary, but it does keep things interesting and it hits the chest in across multiple planes of resistance.

Like you, I’m also a fan of Taleb and the concept anti-fragility. I think having multiple ways of hitting a particular muscle group makes sense just in the context of continuity. It’s already come into play for you in I in just the last couple weeks! You might not be able to seated rows, but you can still do kneeling dumbell rows and hit the same muscles. My shoulder is still sore from screwing up on the pec fly machine, but dips hit the same muscles and feel great. Knowing how to do multiple exercises in good form in advance while you’re healthy shortens the learning curve and is safer. Trying to figure out dip form with an injured shoulder isn’t ideal; better to learn that when it’s healthy!

That’s my 2 cents anyway. I have a tendency to overcomplicate things unnecessarily though… :yum:

(Stephen Judd) #346

Do you folks mind if I crash your party? I’ve been following along for a while.

I’m a 55 year-old male - been keto for around 18 months. Started out doing typical high-volume exercise programs, focused on strength and hypertrophy. After noticing that that type of training was keeping my blood glucose a bit elevated, decided to give HIRT a try. Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been doing a full-body, bodyweight, HIRT program every third day (Project Kratos from

I’m now planning on HIRT every fourth day (adjusting as necessary) and incorporating BFR once my bands arrive.

I’ll leave you with this podcast I recently listened to, which has some great nuggets:

(Windmill Tilter) #347

You are way stronger than you are giving yourself credit for. Here is an interesting website you should avail yourself of while you’re doing goal setting. Weightlifters all over the world use it to track their lifts from workout to workout. As a result, they have data on hundreds of thousands of lifts, segmented by gender and age and bodyweight. If you want to know what’s normal, or what’s intermediate, or what’s “elite” for your demographic, this is the place to go.

Let’s say you are a 60 year old, 160 pound man. What’s normal for a beginner on the bicep curl? What’s elite? Let’s take a look:

In order to be considered an intermediate lifter in your demographic you’d need to be able to lift 67lbs for 1 repetition. Bear in mind that less than 10% of people lift weights, so being intermediate in any of these lifts probably puts you in the 95th percentile for people in your demographic. If you want to see what a “normal” person is capable of, look at the “beginner” standard which is 25lbs. I’m guessing you’re already at an intermediate level which is kind of amazing. How do I know this?

The easy way to estimate 1 rep max is to do a set with a manageable weight at a “normie” cadence and count the reps. Plug it into the 1 Rep Max calculator conveniently located on this same website, and Bobs your uncle. You haven’t done that yet, but in this case we can make a pretty good guess. Personally, I can do over 60lbs in the barbell curl with no problem, but I can barely do 10lbs (per hand) in a BFR session. You’re capable of doing 50% more weight than me (15lbs per hand) in a BFR session, so that tells me that you can probably do well over 60lbs for a 1 rep max. If true, that puts you at the intermediate level of strength even relative to hundreds of thousands of weightlifters your age globally. That fricking amazing. Like it or not, you’re a beast when it comes to bicep curls. What’s that got to do with pull-ups? Everything.

The biceps play a pretty significant role in pull-up, which uses an underhand grip. Most people have weak biceps, and it’s a limiting factor for them in doing pull-ups. That’s clearly not the case for you. What’s a more likely culprit? Your lats. You just started doing the lat pulldown in December as I recall, so your back is comparatively weak. How can we check this? Let’s look at the standards:

This tells us that to reach parity with your bicep curl, you need to hit 118lbs on the lat pulldown. If memory serves, because you just started out with this exercise, you’re still working with about half that weight. What does that tell us? You have a significant strength imbalance between your back and your biceps. That’s not bad news, it’s great news. Because you just started that lift, it’s going to be improving the fastest. You know that if you’re going to do extra work, you should be focusing it on the your lats and your back. You’re nowhere near your genetic potential on this lift, so if you push them hard, they will respond with growth.

All of this was pretty long-winded and you probably knew a lot of this allready. My larger point was just that this website offers a pretty interesting way of goal setting, and deciding on what muscle groups to focus on with respect to addressing muscle imbalances across every muscle group in your body. They have standards for easily 100 different lifts from hundreds of thousands of people. I find it helpful.

Back to the pull-up goal. My completely unqualified advice to you would be to tweak your lat pulldown from being an underhand grip to being an overhand grip. Why? Because doing an underhand grip places more emphasis on the biceps. Yours are already the strongest link in the chain. By adjusting to an overhand grip you’re going to deload the biceps and place additional work on the lats, teres major, and traps. Try it once and you will feel the difference instantly. Those are the muscles that are holding you back and that you want to force to grow. Easy peasy.

Here is an an additional exercise that I add in each workout to make sure my lats are getting hit fully. It’s made a huge difference for me. My lats got stronger at an amazing rate after I added this one in, and lats are the most important muscle group in a chin-up. I perform this after the lat pulldown. Predictably, it’s from Jeff Cavalier (I really do love that guy…). You don’t need the fancy machine he’s using, you can do it with a normal lat pulldown machine. I do it two arms at a time for efficiency, but if you really want to make rapid progress on your lats, doing it one arm at a time, and using the unloaded arm to assist in the final reps for “forced negatives” will get the job done. It will also hurt like hell… :yum:

I’m hardly an expert on any of this obviously, but this is how I think about my own training goals. It’s a learning process for sure!

(Stephen Judd) #348

Awesome points! Just one note - a pull-up is typically an overhand grip. The chin-up is the one with the underhand grip. Chin-ups are typically a bit easier, because of the involvement of the biceps.

(Windmill Tilter) #349

Ha! Good point. :woman_facepalming:

Oh well. I guess the larger point of using standards to pinpoint muscle imbalances, and set goals remains. The advice to switch from an underhand to an overhand grip on the lat pulldown in order to focus on the upper back and lats is still good. :blush:

(Stephen Judd) #350

Agreed. When I started out, I couldn’t do a single one of either. Put a pull-up bar in the living room (my wife’s a saint) and started using an assistance band. Over time (18 months), I’ve gotten to where I can do 10 chin-ups or 6-7 pull-ups. When walking through the doorway, I’ll crank out a few if it’s not a HIRT day or the day before.

(Windmill Tilter) #351

The more the merrier! None of us really know what we’re doing as you can tell; it’s really more a question of taking turns making mistakes and keeping each other apprised of what not to do… :yum:

(Stephen Judd) #352

Excellent, thanks! Happy to be a know-nothing and share my n=1 experiences.

(Windmill Tilter) #353

Nice. I keep thinking about buying one of those removable doorway ones. My wife is less saintly than yours, so the ability to put it up when she’s not looking and hide it behind the couch seems promising… :yum:

(Stephen Judd) #354

My living room has become half gym, as I prefer working out at home around 5 a.m. I’m not sure how she tolerates it, but I’m thankful!


Another day, another arm day… :slight_smile:
I watched some of athlean-x arm videos, but there were soooooo many clips, it was too overwhelming.

Since I’ve been alternating arm and leg days every other day, I think I will switch it up a little with arms. Triceps are my weak point and I need to focus more on them. So one day I will do biceps and the next time triceps with other exercises.
Today I had a 30 min FB arm warm-up and on went the bands.
Biceps, 2 kg - 27/10/5/6
lateral raises, 1kg - 30/15/15/15 - next time I can definitely go up to 2kg weights
10 countertop pushups and 10 countertop tricep pushups.

My workout was a bit weaker today, my heart just wasn’t in it today. :frowning:
My arms felt a little heavy for about an hour, shower and hair drying ware fun. :wink:

(Eric - The patient needs to be patient!) #356

@Don_Q You are a wealth of information. I will have to study the site and really think about this.

@Stephen_Judd Yes, It’s likely I’ll do chin-ups first.

(Eric - The patient needs to be patient!) #357

BBS Update

  • 6 day recovery
  • arms BFR two days ago


  • always improve
  • gauge BFR impact
  • lower wt on pull down 65 -> 55 to get better form
  • lower wt on chest press 130 -> 120 to get better form
  • change out seated pull with one arm overhead cable to eliminate stress on left ankle


  • pull down (curl) 65 lbs, 6 reps, 53s -> 55 lb, 9 reps, 73s and full range of motion for 90% of the reps success
  • overhead press 60 lb, 14 reps, 64s -> 60 lb, 17 reps, 90s success
  • seated chest press 130 lb, 7 reps, 50s -> 120 lb, 6 reps, 52s weaker
  • one arm cable pull down - great range of motion 37.5 lbs (seated pull was 150 lbs) 12/11 reps (left/rt), 98s/78s success but 37.5 is way less than half of 150 lbs
  • leg extension 145 lb, 11 reps, 52s, 145 lb, 12 reps, 55 lbs progress
  • leg curl 155 lb, 11 reps, 62s -> 150 lb, 18 reps, 109s
    • I was trying to see if I needed to get better form, going back to 155 lbs
  • wrist curl 35 lb, 16/15 reps, 51s/51s -> 35 lb ,21/20 reps, 50s/48s massive improvement

Clearly my wrists benefited from BFR

I noticed a slight micro shake in my upper half of my upper body for about 10 mins. I think I worked hard this time. Some leg shake on leg exercises and post for a min or less

Chest Press

I’m guessing I suffered from the better pull down and overhead press performance. Maybe I should do the chest press 1st for a few weeks?


  • 3 eggs sunny side up (butter in pan)
  • 6 oz ground beef
  • 6 oz homemade chicken bone broth with ~16 g collagen
  • handful pork rinds and a few green olives
  • still a little hungry


It seems my wrists got better and maybe overhead press. I’m going to not do BFR for the next two weeks. I’m going to get in an extended fast each of the next two weeks. 3rd week out I give vials of blood for my annual physical. So I will fatty feast two days before and then time blood draws to be ~13 hours fasted. Not drinking coffee anymore so I don’t have to adjust coffee.


Your suggestions are always welcome.

(Windmill Tilter) #358

The chest press you did may well have been a stronger performance:

  • Stricter form typically requires lower weight, because it requires more strength. When I started using stricter form on my leg press, I dropped from ~550lbs down to 400lbs! I had formerly been bottoming out a 90 degree knee bend and 550lbs was a comfortable weight. When I dropped the weight and started going “ass to grass” 400lbs felt unbelievably heavy, and it wasn’t because I was weaker. If you got to total muscle failure safely, you got stronger. Only strict form makes this possible in the long term. :+1:

  • If these exercises were listed in the order that you performed them, and you were doing OH Press and C Press back-to-back, the rest between exercises will be the primary determinant of performance. The chest press and the overhead press use 80% of the same muscles, just in a different plane of motion. If during the 1st workout you had to wait 3 minutes for someone else to finish on the chest press machine, and on 2nd workout you went straight to work 40 seconds after the OH press, there is no meaningful way of comparing the two workouts. I’m not suggesting that you start timing your rests, but putting some time separation between these two very similar exercises could be helpful so that you’re always recovered enough by the time you hit the 2nd press. The easiest way to do this is to put a “pull” exercise or better yet a leg exercise in between them.

It’s apples to oranges though so the weight is meaningless. Even moving from one seated row machine to one made by a different manufacturer can change the weight by a huge amount. When you do get back to your old machine, you’ll get a real measure of your progress. I’m guessing the TUT/weight goes up significantly.


I like your dilligent note-taking, I will definitely copy your way once I head to the gym. :slight_smile:

(Eric - The patient needs to be patient!) #360

You are correct so maybe not as poor as my initial assessment.

Yes, they are in the order I performed them. I will move chest press to after the leg exercises and see what happens.

Yes, I think so. Plus some muscles that I used differently likely.

@Don_Q Do you know a good chart or another doc so I can learn the basic muscle groups and what exercises work which ones?