If you have any questions or subjects you would like me to write about, just drop a question in the comment section below.  I will be active in conversation and be glad to answer your questions.  If I don’t have an answer, I will definitely find one.

Willem - August 28, 2012

Hey JC

Love your website, quick question from my side, I’m on a very busy schedule (we all are haha) and only have time to hit the gym 3 times a week for about an hour each day, I use a full body workout, and my goal atm is to lose some bodyfat, I’m at about 14% atm looking to get down to about 9-10%, back to my question, how important is cardio when atempting to get my BF% into single digits, because by the time I’m finised hitting the weights I’m all spent, the thought of cardio makes me wanna hurl, should I really prioritise some cardio in somewhere, or will I be fine as long as I’m lifting heavy and hittng my macros?

    JC Deen - August 28, 2012

    not important as long as you have your calories in check

John - May 15, 2012


I really enjoy your writing which is becaoming more polished and refined over time. I read on of your most recent articles on “Objectivity”, and you mentioned intermittent fasting, and that you were fond of this method and were spreading the word of its greatness at one point. Nowadays, what is your take on intermittent fasting? I find I can get by on eating lunch and dinner. But I wonder if it is really worth doing the Pilon style 24 hour fasts where I would only eat dinner once or twice a week. our feedback would be appreciated.

    JC Deen - May 15, 2012

    My take is that it’s just a tool – nothing more or less. I don’t fast any more, but that’s just a personal preference.

Toni - May 14, 2012

Hi. I’ve been training with kettlebells for the last month and managed to drop 1% percent body fat so far. I read somewhere that my body fat percentage for my age is considered “underfat” – it’s 19% and according to the article should be 21% or above. Do I need to be concerned? By the way, I feel great and have lots of energy.

    JC Deen - May 14, 2012

    probably not a reason for concern

Ellie - May 13, 2012

Hey there :-)

Just in need of some advice really. I’m a 17 year old girl looking to just get in better shape (lose weight, lose fat, build some muscle and all that) and I’m having a hard time deciding what to do about diet. How many calories do you feel are necessary per day when looking to lose weight/fat and build muscle up at the same time? Also, is 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight really necessary, only I don’t know how I’m going to get in that amount of protein per day… Also, just to say I’m weight training 3 times a week and doing ‘light’ cardio twice a week (if things go to plan and I get to the gym :-P)

I would really appreciate your help on this one, there’s so much conflicting information around! Thanks a bunch! :-) Xxx

    JC Deen - May 13, 2012

    read this and let me know if you have questions:

      Ellie - May 14, 2012

      Ahh thanks mate :-) The only question I have is, in the article you say that to get your maintenance calories you should multiply your weight by 14, but if you look on a BMR calculator to give your maintenance calories it will always come up less than the method of multiplication by 14. Which one is correct/more accurate? Also, it is a worry that eating 2000 calories a day with cause weight gain (or perhaps, more aptly would be to say fat gain.) This is probably a stupid/laughable question, but how can I be sure that it won’t? Thanks again xxx

        JC Deen - May 14, 2012

        It really depends on your activity levels. if you’re sedentary, you might start with multiplying by 12 or 13. I’ve not found many online calculators to be very accurate for most people. Then again, you just have to try it out and see what works. You can’t be sure the 2000 won’t cause fat gain until you try it and see.

NATE - April 30, 2012

JC i have been on the starting strength and madcow routine for some time to increase strength i want to just focus on building muscle now so what muscle building workout routine do you think will be most effective?

James - April 27, 2012

Hey JC, I’ve been working out in the gym for a couple of months now, and haven’t been seeing much gains. I weight 51 kg and 166cm tall. I’m able to handle weights and can do about 20 dips, 12 pull-ups in a row, but I want to get bigger, so how do I go about doing this?

    JC Deen - April 28, 2012

    are you eating?

      James - April 29, 2012

      Yeah, I’m eating roughly about 2000 calories per day.

        JC Deen - April 29, 2012

        if you’re not gaining any weight, then you need to eat more. if you’re not gaining muscle along with the weight gain, you might need to check your training and make sure it’s good for you.

          James - April 30, 2012

          I see, thanks :) btw, I’m only 14, so is it ok for me to lift between the 10-12 reps range?

            JC Deen - April 30, 2012


L.B. - April 11, 2012

I was wondering when your “Official JCDFitness Recomp Manual” is coming out. I am anxiously waiting for it. I’ve been following your advise and routines in “Attention Ladies: Here’s PROOF that Lifting Heavy Weights will NOT make you Big and Bulky” and would like to add some variation to the routines you recommended.

    JC Deen - April 11, 2012

    2 more weeks (lame internet joke)

    But really, I’m working on the final copy right now. Just shot the videos. getting the design for the book layout all finished. very soon.

brianSan - April 10, 2012

Hey JCD,
Great website you got going here. I think it’s great that you’ve been maintaining this website for years now. As a computer programmer, respect.
So I’m 180+ pounds (it fluctuates alot) and I used to workout alot during my upperclassman years of high school. Now I’m a college freshman and the only weight I gain is from late night food runs. I’m just starting to workout again and I’m trying out your Starting Strength workout to begin with and I’m wondering if I should be supplementing this with cardio. My friend is doing a crazy 20 minutes cardio workout and I’m thinking about joining him on my rest days. I’m about 5’10” and my belly has gotten quite out of control so I wanna turn that gut into something even somewhat presentable. What’s your take??

    JC Deen - April 10, 2012

    at 5’10” and 180lbs, I can’t imagine your belly being that out of control… I’d focus on diet to create a small deficit, and focus on getting stronger.

Jeff Britt - April 8, 2012

JC, For the last 3-4 months I’ve been trying to lose fat while IFing. Cutting 3500 calories a week and It goes well til I binge every once in while. Could last 1 day or a week. I’m a classic overeater. Wondering if I should Just stay at maintenance til I can get the bingeing under control so I can have the extra calories. I’m just always hungry. Been Like that my whole life. Your take please. Thanks.

    JC Deen - April 8, 2012

    my advice is to practice something that allows you to get as far away possible from the idea or “need” to binge. then build your diet around that structure.

Rob - April 7, 2012

JC, I discovered your website recently and am really in awe at your high quality work. Maybe you have some advice for me. I weight 360lbs. I want to lose weight. I plan on lifting weights twice a week as I discovered this is ideal for my particular recovery ability.

Is “cardio” work necessary for fat loss purposes? It seems their has been a large anti-cardio campaign in recent years. What are your thoughts on this?

And how many calories should I be eating to consistently lose weight? I am looking for a sensible plan and not a temporary crash diet.

Your advice would be appreciated as I start to consider my health and need to take action for myself and family.


    JC Deen - April 8, 2012

    you don’t need to do cardio, and at that weight, I’d not recommend it due to it being hard on the joints.

    I’d honestly look into the books Rapid Fat Loss Handbook or Guide to Flexible Dieting. both are by Lyle McDonald

    Email me if you need help.

Jon - April 4, 2012

Hi JC, I’m from Norway and have been reading some of your articles plus alot of other articles about health, fitness & nutrition. I’m just wondering about one thing. Last Friday I managed to injure my shoulder while dumbbell bench pressing, and it has been hurting since. I’m 18 and have been weight-training for about 2 years now. My weight is around 190 pounds at 5 foot 8. My bench is at around 300 pounds, my deadlift at around 400 pounds and my squat around 320 pounds. What I am wondering is if there are any ways of training that will prevent further damage to the shoulder and keep my strength form declining in the period of recovering from this injury.

PS. I’m a FFB that decided to take my gains more seriously a couple of years ago, and the article you wrote about this subject kept me laughing through the entire thing (in a good way)!

    JC Deen - April 8, 2012

    Hey man – my advice is to completely remove pressing and the movements that aggravate your shoulder. Accept that you will lose strength and size while you recover and rehab. email me if you have any questions.

Jo - April 2, 2012

I’m really enjoying the website and the incredible information you provide.
I wanted to ask you about the best books/ resources in your opinion to educate ourselves about Nutrition and weight training, is there a specific go to “bible” that has everything you need to know about these topics (nutrition in particular)?
I’m currently reading Girth Control by Alan Aragon….any other resources you recommend?


    JC Deen - April 2, 2012

    Yeah, if you wanna learn nutrition, any of Lyle’s books are great. here are some ideas:

    Lyle McDonald
    Rapid Fat Loss Handbook
    The Protein Book
    Ultimate Diet 2.0

    Jamie Hale
    Knowledge and nonsense

Ann - March 28, 2012


I currently have 20% body fat and I’m wondering if there’s any real difference between 18% (which would be my ideal) and where I am now. I’m middle-aged and in relatively decent shape – 5’6 and 124 lbs. I’m just afraid if I go any lower that I might lose some of my feminine curves. I’ve seen some women at lower body fat percentages and they start to look kind of hard-looking, if that makes sense. It’s not really for aesthetics but rather for health that I’d want to go a bit lower. Was wondering if you’d give your expert opinion…

    JC Deen - March 29, 2012

    Honestly, I don’t think there’s too big a difference between the two. heck, you might actually be at 18% now? you could be at 22%. There’s no way of knowing exactly what your body fat percentage is.

Aivaras - March 2, 2012

Hey JC,

Recently I’ve started Martin approach as I’ve became addicted to 6meals a day too much. But can’t figure out if I should train fasted at 1PM and then break fast at 3PM(it takes 40min. to get home from gym) or just train in the evening between PreWO and PWO meals. So I tried today to workout after 14hours fast with 20g BCAA as preWO and at the end of workout I felt dizzy, I thought I’m gonna faint, so I ended up doing 6 exercises instead of 7. I’ve found interesting site which states:

§ Immediate preworkout protein and/or EAA+CHO increases protein synthesis more than fasted resistance training with those substrates ingested immediately postworkout.

§ It’s possible that a partial fast (as short as 4 hours) before resistance training can negatively impact muscle protein status.

btw, I’m cutting right now, should I keep trying to workout fasted or is it not that beneficial for fat loss at all?

Also one more thing. It is recommend to have very low frequency workouts on IF diet while cutting, but I’m hardcore and I’m used to working out 4-5 time a week with splits(5-9excercises). Should I reduce it to only 3 a week with only main exercises? I have around 5years of experience btw.

I really need pro opinion on this. Thanks.

    JC Deen - March 2, 2012

    I believe Alan has greatly changed his stance since writing that article.

      Rob Brenton - March 4, 2012


      I disagree with you. It tis clear in Alan’s recant that he is still not totally supportive on the concept of IF. It is like he is just appeasing Martin Berkhan. To say he “greatly” changed his stance is false.


        Andrew - March 4, 2012

        He is not just appeasing Martin – both of them agree that IF is a largely understudied area, and that anecdotal evidence predominates. When Martin himself does research reviews on relevant IF studies, he often finds them “interesting, but inconclusive”. Alan is precisely what a good academic should be – skeptical. But both of them agree IF is either neutral or beneficial in its effects.

Henrik - February 26, 2012

Hi JC,

I’ve been cutting since January 30th, starting at 85kg, currently at 80kg with what I’m guessing is 15 % bodyfat (speculating). I’m planning on doing this until the start of May and so far I’ve had no strength loss whatsoever, so that’s good. I cycle my carbs and fat and hit approx 2000 calories on all days w/ 250g protein on all days.

My question is, would there for such a short period of dieting be a need for a refeed?


roo - February 23, 2012

Is there benefits of trowing in an occasion few sets higher reps workout to compliment the regular higher sets lower reps workouts?

For example someone doing a 3 x week 5×5 program with the every other week 2-3×12-15 at lower 1rm%. Or is it just complicating things more then it needs to be?

    JC Deen - February 24, 2012

    I think it’s fine. Honestly, I’d keep the 5×5 and throw the 2×12-15 on top of the 5×5 for a few weeks, back off, then repeat.

Andrew - February 17, 2012

hi JC,

ATG or parallel? for bodyrecomposition only.


    JC Deen - February 17, 2012

    strictly body composition? leg press, bro.

      Rob Brenton - March 4, 2012


      Are you serious on the leg press or tongue in cheek? I like deadlifting and leg preseing in the same workout for an excellent lower body workout. I lost my squat technique and find I am hit or miss. 1 good squat session for every 4 bad ones so I dropped the squat and focus on the more productive exercises for my build which are deads and leg presses.


Sean - February 1, 2012


I’ve been experimenting with carb cycling following the basics that you outlined in your article for lean mass gains. I read the “Beginner’s Guide to Building Muscle” from your newsletter, and noted that you applied some of the principles in that article as well. So far, it seems to be working out very well for me. That said, I do have one question. If I habitually consume a higher amount of protein than the 1.4-1.5 mark, and reduce fats further to compensate (say about 15% of a 3k intake on training days), am I setting myself up for problems?

The additional protein is just a result of the fact that I enjoy protein in my diet, but it has occurred to me that it may not be benefiting my performance very much beyond the 1.5 mark. That doesn’t bother me that much, because I’ve been gaining in strength and size. I am, however, concerned that lowering fat below 20% to continue meeting my overall calorie goals could have adverse health effects. Thoughts or informational articles that you might recommend?

    JC Deen - February 2, 2012

    I think we emailed about this topic before as I recognize your email. I don’t know of any sources suggesting that there’s a lower threshold of fat that you need. As long as you’re diet is not full of junk, I don’t see it being too big of an issue. My only question is compliance.

abdii - January 31, 2012

JC after following you and Martin for a while i found that martin recommends fasted workout most of the time “from what i read this is due to the extra benefits you get from training fasted”. Now you experimented with 1 pre-workout meal and always gave templates with 1 pre-workout meal.

Wouldnt this defeat the purpose of the fast”Train in a depleted state” and fasted training ?

    JC Deen - January 31, 2012

    I guess it does, but I’m not too concerned about it, honestly. I mean, some do well on fasted training and others don’t. I honestly don’t see it being too big of a deal.

Rob - January 24, 2012

Hey JC, purely in terms of science, which raises base meatabolic rate quickest, resistance training or cardiovascular training?

    JC Deen - January 25, 2012

    I think it all depends on how you go about it, really. I’d argue first that building up to wind sprints would be the quickest way. However, you can achieve a similar effect with circuit training.

      Rob - January 25, 2012

      So rapid accrual of lean muscle wouldn’t be faster. You build muscle quickest through resistance training, and muscle is the most metabolically active tissue. So surely the quickest way to raise BMR is to add slabs of meat to frame? Thanks.

abdii - December 31, 2011

JC, Does drinking Pure fiber supplements “Psyllium husk, Acacia gum, arabic gum ” and/or vitamin C break the fast ?

    JC Deen - December 31, 2011

    technically, yes if it has calories. but it’d be minimal impact if you don’t go overboard.

nate - December 29, 2011

JC i’m just curious how tall are you and how much do you weigh? From your photo your ripped bro

    JC Deen - December 29, 2011

    I’m 5’8″ and 192lbs in the picture from this post

Sean - December 23, 2011

Any idea what the shelf life on your cheesecake is after it’s set in the fridge overnight? I’d guess maybe a week, but I thought I’d check just to see. This is assuming proper refrigeration, of course.

    JC Deen - December 23, 2011

    no idea. maybe a few days at most… ?

Rob - December 22, 2011

Hi JC,
I stumbled upon your website a week ago and have devoured every article. It’s a complete breath of fresh air compared to so many fitness sites around. Having been an FFB, I dieted and did a lot of cardio to get to 150 pounds at 6 feet and around 14% body fat. The numbers aren’t really important but I’ve decided to take a positive fitness step. After recently being inducted into my school gym (I’m 17) and reading as much as possible I’ve come up with a plan. Diet wise, I understand I need ~180g protein, 75g fat plus carbs and veggies to add up to a ~600 calorie surplus. Reading you’re article on it, Starting Strength seems like the best step to take, but unfortunately, there are no free weights in the gym, just machines. I can do bench press and overhead press and substitute leg press for squats. However, what can I do instead of dead-lifts and bent over rows? The only other equipment is a lat pull down machine and a bicep curl machine. Many thanks and sorry for the long question.

philly - December 22, 2011

This is a brain picker, if you are in the mood sir….WHAT THE FLAGNOG IS WRONG WITH GLUTEN? Suddenly, nutritionists and trainers I sometimes subscribe to, are swearing of it like it causes the plague. I have searched for research done on non celiacs to see if there are any side effects but so far have found nothing substancial. I use gluten powder in some of my cooking ( Diabetic so the protein component ,i find is less insulinogenic ) but the current controversy has me thinking voodoo science as opposed to any real research to back up the claims of Gluten being bad for your health. Any thoughts?

    JC Deen - December 22, 2011

    yeah, here are my thoughts – we’re all trying to find something to demonize. I have no idea why other than most of us just want something to blame for our failures other than ourserlves.

    Personally, I am currently gluten/grain free for hypothyroidism as I’m trying to heal myself naturally. However, if you don’t have an intolerance, it’s a non-issue for it to be in your diet.

      philly - December 24, 2011

      How’s that for timing??’t know you were gluten and grain free atm. how are you finding it? Any discernible differences yet?

        JC Deen - December 24, 2011

        too hard to tell this early on. I like it and the aesthetic effects are nice (just holding less water)

Andrew - December 17, 2011


I lost alot of weight a while ago, and since then, have continued to make significant body composition and strength gains; the problem is, I developed a mass of loose skin since I lost the weight, and despite my efforts it does much to mask definition – especially in the back and abdominal area.

Thus, despite the caliper readings decreasing and the weight increasing, the visible changes are very small.

Anything I can do about this?

    JC Deen - December 18, 2011

    I’m afraid I don’t know of any strategies to help tighten up loose skin.

    philly - December 22, 2011

    I posed this same question to Bariatric Surgeon because of the fears of a potential client. His advice was to give it time as the skin tends to regain some elasticity. I believe he said some of his patients who had undergone surgery were asked to wait at least a year as that was the time frame they used as a marker. In cases where there has been extreme weight loss and the skin is severely stretched they still recommend a wait period, so I would be patient and wait a year.
    On a purely anecdotal note, fella Martin Berkhan posted who lost like 259 lbs had very minimal loose skin and he attributed it to using resistance training as opposed to cardio for his weight loss. Another win for lifting weights, I guess

Jerry - December 15, 2011

Hi JC,

recently started daily max squatting based on jamie lewis’ and matt perryman’s guidelines, but just wanted to know on what day i would be able to throw in a max deadlift?

    JC Deen - December 16, 2011

    I would throw it in once per week on a lighter squat day.

Toni - December 15, 2011

Hi JC,

This isn’t a question but a comment. I’ve been logging my workouts on JP Fitness because I’m doing NROL4W and they have a dedicated section for the book. Anyway, I’ve become friendly with a woman who trains with Alan and we got to talking and she said she knows you. I don’t know what her real name is but she posted a photo of you, Alan and her at some function on her training log. She said you’re the nicest guy and very humble too. I explained that I don’t personally know you; just read your blog and make some comments from time to time. She said to say hello.

Waffle - December 7, 2011

Hey JC, im on lyles bulking routine and ive some questions on the volume. Ive noticed the longer i workout (2+ hours) the lesser gains i get, so is the following setup advocated or should i replace/remove some things?

Upper I
Flat bench 3-4 6-8
Pendlay row 3-4 6-8
Incline fly 2-3 10-12
Overhead press 2-3 10-12
Pullup 2-3 10-12
Close grip bench press 1-2 12-15 [tricep]
ez curl 1-2 12-15 [bicep]

Upper II
Decline bench 3-4 6-8
Cable row 3-4 6-8
lateral raise 2-3 10-12
Incline bench 2-3 10-12
Chinup/pullup 2-3 10-12
Concentration curls 1-2 12-15 [bicep]
Dips 1-2 12-15 [tricep]

Thank you!

    JC Deen - December 8, 2011

    I’d start by doing the program as laid out. seems you’ve added an extra chinning movement on each day? and why do you think it’s taking 2 hours? are you taking long rest periods?

      Waffle - December 8, 2011

      Heya! thanks for the swift reply! I think the chinning was already there the [pulldown/chins] bit. I probably added the lat raises tho… I tried it today and was fatigued during rows already, could not complete the workout successfully =/

        JC Deen - December 8, 2011

        your upper day:
        Upper I
        Flat bench 3-4 6-8
        Pendlay row 3-4 6-8
        Incline fly 2-3 10-12
        Overhead press 2-3 10-12
        Pullup 2-3 10-12
        Close grip bench press 1-2 12-15 [tricep]
        ez curl 1-2 12-15 [bicep]

        Lyle’s as written:
        Tue: Upper
        Flat bench: 3-4X6-8/3′
        Row: 3-4X6-8/3′
        Incline bench or shoulder press: 2-3X10-12/2′
        Pulldown/chin: 2-3X10-12/2′
        Triceps: 1-2X12-15/1.5′
        Biceps: 1-2X12-15/1.5′

        I’d either remove the overhead press or the incline fly.

          Waffle - December 8, 2011

          Okay! Thank you for your help JC! :)

Carolyn - December 3, 2011

Ugh! I need advice. About 3 weeks ago I pulled what feels like a tendon in my right elbow area/biceps curling. I cannot get this thing healed. It feels almost like a sprain. Plus I work in a home improvement retail store where I constantly have to lift. I have reached the conclusion that I can’t use my right arm for awhile. Until it heals. But I want to still go to the gym. What lower body exercises would you reccomend the most for me right now? I was doing lunges, squats, leg press, and dead lifts for lower. My arm cant take any weight at all right. So Im thinking leg press is still a go. Got any ideas?
Thanks, Carolyn

    JC Deen - December 3, 2011

    leg presses, extensions and curls are still doable, methinks.

John Bilby - December 2, 2011


I am a 390 lbs beast. Well, I was exactly a month ago. Now I am a 374 lb beast as of today, a loss of 16 lbs since I started my weight loss journey. My eating routine consists of eating 2-3 meals a day, and keeping calories between 2000-3000, and even lower on the one or 2 days a week I intermittent fast, East Stop Eat style. I train with weights 2 times a week using primarily compound free weights. I have done zero formal cardio.

I work a desk job and am basically a slug the whole week except for my two weekly weight training sessions. While I am satisfied with my weight loss this first month, do you think the loss would have been greater if I added in some cardio? Please advise.


    JC Deen - December 2, 2011

    eh, maybe. but I wouldn’t recommend it simply because of the strain it can put on your joints – so keep at it, give it time, and conquer your weight loss goals. Slow and steady wins the race.

      John Bilby - December 3, 2011

      Thanks JC,

      What about casual walking? Too much for a current 374lb person?


        JC Deen - December 3, 2011

        no, that should be fine. NO RUNNING.

nate - November 30, 2011

what are your thoughts on creatine monohydrate? My nutrition is good but do you think taking creatine is worth it? Do you supplement with creatine?

Toni - November 28, 2011


Is it really necessary to foam roll for mobility along with your warm-up prior to exercising? I don’t foam roll at all and have never had an issue with mobility. Yet everyone I know keeps telling me I should.

    JC Deen - November 28, 2011

    I don’t see it as a must-do if your mobility is good as-is. you can always improve tissue quality, though.

nate - November 28, 2011

Hey JC, i just started the German volume training program for the past three weeks after doing madcow and i recently tried to test my max on the bench ( its 215 ) to see if i was able to maintain strength, turns out i lost strength. My diet is still the same and all but do you think i cause an overload on my CNS? I plateu on the madcow program so i thought switching to something else might give my body a break but i was wrong. Please help!

    JC Deen - November 28, 2011

    lots of volume + high intensity is a recipe for disaster. chances are you need a break and a return to lower volume training.

      nate - November 28, 2011

      Since i lost strength what program do you recommend me to do? Should i perform the starting strength program or what other type of training?

        JC Deen - November 28, 2011

        just go back to Madcow

Andrew - November 8, 2011

Hey JC,

quick one here: what’s the correct form for a chin up?

-shoulder width grip? wider? narrower?
-dead hang? no dead hang?


Fatima - October 25, 2011

Hi JC,
You’re doing a wonderful job here and I love your straightforward and honest approach. Being a female with pear shaped body, I want to know whether exercising according to body type holds any truth? If so what sort of exercises would you recommend and which ones to avoid?


    JC Deen - October 25, 2011

    thanks for the compliments, Fatima.

    Never heard of what you’re referring to. can you elaborate?

      Fatima - October 26, 2011

      The above article is a typical example of what I am talking about. All of them say that lower body resistance training should be kept to a minimum, no squats etc., etc.. However this article says the complete opposite.:

      I’m confused…

        JC Deen - October 26, 2011

        right, and this is why mainstream sources are not the best to take advice from. is hit and miss. While I have an article on there, there’s a ton of bad information being put out all the time.

        I would stick with sites like mine, Nia Shanks, Alan Aragon, Lyle McDonald, Leangains, Matt Perryman etc.

Toni - October 23, 2011

Hey JC,

I was wondering if you’d ever consider doing a post on ‘what men really think about women in the weight room’. Whenever I’ve ventured into the mostly male domain, it’s been an extremely anxiety-ridden experience b/c the guys I’ve found in there were basically lewd, rude and crude (in that order). I would love to hear the male perspective on what they really think when a (non-bodybuilding) woman walks in there to lift some serious weight.

    JC Deen - October 24, 2011

    I think it’s a good idea – but really hard to get their thoughts (doubt many wanna tell how they really feel).

    Teddy - October 24, 2011

    Personally I find it attractive and also good to see that she can move away from the usual thoughts of what it means to work out as a woman

Teddy - October 23, 2011

Ive read that Chin Ups (Particularly with added weight) are great for bicep development, more so than any isolation exercise. Is there an exercise that has the same effect for the Triceps or are they better isolated? Dips maybe? Close grip bench?

    JC Deen - October 23, 2011

    hard to say really as some people tend to develop differently based on the movements, etc. Like some people can build big triceps just benching and dipping. others need some extra work. I like cable pushdowns or skull crushers.

      Teddy - October 24, 2011

      Sounds good. What about some overhead pulling movements to hit different heads of the tricep? Or is that being too nitpicky?

        JC Deen - October 24, 2011


Tanya Bartlett - October 21, 2011

Thanks for the great website JC, and all the no BS info. I was just wondering what your take on Crossfit is for getting that lean strong body. I have heard many opinions and have heard it be called a “cult”. I am thinking about giving it a try. It looks like a butt kicking workout!

    JC Deen - October 21, 2011

    I am NOT an advocate of Crossfit for attaining aesthetic or even strength-related goals.

    The main reason is because there is no real focus on anything – it’s more of a culmination of strength, speed, endurance – too many goals. So what happens? hardly anyone gets good at anything. You can’t work all these different goals at once and expect to become proficient in any of them.

    So if your goal is to be strong, train for strength. if you want to run long distances, do a lot of long-distance running. You want speed and explosive power? Train like a track athlete.

    I’ve found Crossfit to be good for those who’ve already built a very solid base and for those who have experience lifting and training (former athletes, etc) and just want to maintain their physique.

    Some will disagree with me, and that’s fine. I’d never recommend Crossfit for getting big, strong and lean. But that’s just my opinion.

      Tanya Bartlett - October 21, 2011

      Thanks for the info. As your free ebook says I just want to look great naked and of course be healthy! You just answered a question for me on Nia’s strength training routine so I’ll stick with that for now. Do you think this would be a good program for a guy to? My boyfriend wants to train with me.

        JC Deen - October 21, 2011

        totally. guys and girls training programs should not vary in the grand scheme.

      Nicole - October 21, 2011

      I train Olympic Weightlifting and I’ve found that a lot of people who are looking at Crossfit are actually looking for something like Oly lifting — it’s all about speed, strength, power and explosiveness. Sure, Crossfitters like to snatch and clean & jerk too — but in ridiculous ways, like snatching 40 kilos x 100 reps at the Crossfit games or something. Looks hardcore, but there are 16 year old 62kg girls at my gym who warm up with 40 kilo snatches who have been lifting less than a year!

        JC Deen - October 21, 2011

        ridiculous is right. Olympic lifts are highly technical and using them for endurance-related activities is ludicrous.

Markus - October 18, 2011

Hi JC,
I have a question regarding squats and dips. I usually train at my home gym a.k.a. garage :-). But over the winter months it’s too cool and I then go to my local gym. The problem is they only have a normal squat rack, no power rack with adjustable safety pins. I’m tall, about 6’2″. So the fixed safety bars in the squat rack are way too low for me. Do you know a safe way to squat with that problem or should I instead use the leg press machine. I seriously love squats, but I also don’t want to get crushed under the bar :-). My second question is about dips for chest. I always go to the point where my upper arm is in a 90 degree angle. The problem now is how do I control depth? Would a bench underneath work as a marker for depth? Thanks in advance! And keep up the good work!

    JC Deen - October 18, 2011

    You can still squat, just pay extra attention to your form, and if you’re afraid of failure, don’t train in the low rep ranges (1-5). Leg press is a viable option, too.

    Not sure what you mean on “how to control depth” if you’re already certain you’re hitting the 90 degree angle…

Carolyn - October 17, 2011

I left a comment under the article titled, “Listen Up Ladies, etc.” What I wanted to know was if there are any substitutions for the farmer lift, and waiter lift. Due to the fact that the gym I am working out in is too small for those, and they wont let me take the weights outside.

    JJ - October 18, 2011

    What I’ve done in the past in situations like this is grab the dumbbells like you would normally in a farmers walk, but stand in place and do calf raises instead. Not only are you getting a little extra calf work in, but the up and down motion can simulate the impact of walking around with the weight, and will destroy your forearms/traps in no time. Just make sure to use heavy enough weight. I generally go for at least 15 reps on something like this.

Toni - October 16, 2011

I have a question about trying to gain weight.

1. I’ve been trying (somewhat desperately) to gain some weight the past month or so. I’m currently almost done with Stage one of the NROL4W. I’ve definitely made strides from overall strength to improvements in certain areas of my body, etc., etc. BUT I’ve only gained one pound. Is this normal for a female to only gain one pound over the course of say 4-5 weeks? I workout 3x/week and do very little cardio as I’m already very lean to begin with. My focus is to gain some much-needed muscle. I also cycle my calories – eating roughly 1750 on non-workout days and 2100 on workout days. I’m also a pretty extreme ectomorph. Is my progress pretty typical given my gender and body type? My *dream* would be to weigh around 125 lbs. with my current body fat of 17-18%. Yet I’d settle for around 122ish with my current body fat. My current weight is 118 lbs. and I’m 5’6″. What do you think?

    JC Deen - October 16, 2011

    try eating more carbs on your training days. Doesn’t get much more simple than that. 😉

      Toni - October 17, 2011

      Yeah, but how much more? I feel like I all I do is eat – seriously. Should I be eating carbs as in fruits/vegetables or things like oatmeal, bread, rice and pasta? Or doesn’t it matter? And another question: should I expect weight gain every week or just look at the month overall? Everyone around me keeps telling me to just go and gorge myself on a couple of Big Mac’s and call it a day but gaining fat (and losing my ab definition) is NOT what I want; gaining muscle is and to not look/feel like such a weakling anymore…

Teddy - October 13, 2011

I have a two part question.

1) When people talk about carb cycling they talk about alternating low and high carb days. What classifies high or low carb? Is it all relative to the persons normal intake or is there a guideline like over/under 100grams like Ive read in some articles?

2) Since the main factor in weight loss/gain is calories in vs calories out, what are the added benefits of having low carb days as far as fat loss is concerned if a calorie is a calorie in the end?

    JC Deen - October 13, 2011

    1) all relative to size, previous diet and intake. For me, low carb is 50g and high carb can be upwards of 600. Just depends on activity and other factors.

    2) for some, improved insulin sensitivity (see also fasting). Some people don’t do well with carbs period, effects energy levels. but overall, it’s a calorie deficit that works the magic.

Marvin - October 13, 2011

Hi JC,

Just read your article (on GetJacked I think it was) that you mentioned in your last newsletter. You talked about myoReps before I think, and while I’m very happy with my upper/lower split (a la Lyle’s generic bulking routine) I was just wondering why I should ‘waste’ time doing something like 3-4×6-8 reps or 3×10 when these myoReps seem to take less time to achieve the same training effect? As these myoReps aren’t a ‘routine’ by themselves, would it be preferable or recommended to do something like Lyle’s generic routine WITH myoreps (not inc squats/deadlifts)?

    JC Deen - October 13, 2011

    you’re not really wasting time, it’s just an alternate way of training. So yes, you could utilize this training with the routine, sans squats and deads.

Toni - October 12, 2011


Would you ever consider doing a post on Bruce Lee? I just saw the biopic with Lauren Holly as his wife, Linda for the umpteenth time and that’s what prompted me to ask. He was a visionary IMO and I love his philosphies about health and wellness in general. I don’t know…I just find him so inspiring.

    JC Deen - October 12, 2011

    I sure would – any specific resources, you’d recommend for my research? from what little I know of him, I appreciate his general take on things.

      Eric - October 12, 2011

      There’s actually a book, its usually been at every book store, the Art of Expressing the Human body. As far as weight training goes, it is pretty dated, I’m sure his view on it would have changed. He was a constantly learning and he did seem to experiment quite a bit. His workout was in the mid range but with real short rests and it was circuit type, if memory serves correctly.

      Toni - October 12, 2011

      I’d start with the book Eric suggested – I’ve seen it in every Barnes and Noble. I’m just really into his whole sort of zen-like, Eastern philosphy about life as a whole. Plus, I grew up watching numerous re-runs of him in “The Green Hornet” (yeah, I’m old) – the guy was fascinating IMO. He was definitely a man ahead of his time.

hisham - October 12, 2011

JCD hey 1st I got to congratulate you your no BS pdf was simply awesome! matrin and you are the only people i’ll ever take advice on bodybuilding from now!
i got a question for you when you practice IF should the fast include the sleeping period? can’t i fast from 2pm to 6am ? would it affect the fast??

    JC Deen - October 12, 2011

    the fast does include the sleeping period. 8 hours sleeping + 8 hours awake + 8 hour feeding window.

Toni - October 10, 2011

Another quest.on (sorry!)

What can you do to tighten up some loose skin on your tummy? I have about a two-inch strip of it underneath my bellybutton that drives me nuts. You can’t see it unless I’m bent over, standing up my stomach looks normal and flat. I lost some bodyfat over the summer and I suspect this is an unwanted by-product. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    JC Deen - October 10, 2011

    hard to say, really. skin is elastic, but over time the elasticity can lessen – it’s why former obese folks have tons of loose skin upon losing a lot of weight – all the skin has lost it’s elasticity…

    Toni - October 11, 2011

    So, I’m gathering that if I was younger, maybe the skin would bounce back then? JC, you’re supposed to totally lie to me here! 😉 Make an “old lady” feel better – geesh. (just kidding)

Toni - October 10, 2011

I have two questions:

1. Do you think Jillian Michaels is someone women should look to as a role model in the fitness world?
2. What do you think of using liquid protein shots as opposed to protein powders post-workout?

Thanks in advance, JC.

    JC Deen - October 10, 2011

    1. no.
    2. doesn’t really matter in my opinion as long as the total protein requirements are met for the day.

      Toni - October 11, 2011

      You think she’s full of bullcrap? Every woman I know in ‘that’ age group, thinks she’s God’s gift to the fitness world. I don’t really see what the big deal about her is – I mean, she’s in shape but so what? I know plenty of women who are in shape too.

        JC Deen - October 12, 2011

        I just don’t care for her approach.

Jon - October 10, 2011


So I’m currently in football season right now, and over the summer/fall we were weight training to gain strength and weight. I only gained about 10 pounds (i’m 5’8 156lbs) but I would like to drop around 5 pounds or so because I have track season coming up soon and I was wondering how I can do this while still lifting weights and running etc.

    JC Deen - October 10, 2011

    I don’t think losing weight is ideal in this situation. you’re going to be really active as it is training for track season. you need to eat and fuel your workouts.

      Jon - October 10, 2011

      Ok. Is there something I can do for lifting but not get bulkier?

        JC Deen - October 10, 2011

        I’d follow what your strength coaches are having you do – most of it is likely going to be explosive, power movements anyhow. why do you feel you need to be a certain size for track?

          Jon - October 10, 2011

          You’re right, I don’t need to be a certain size for track. I guess I asked this because I want to start running more distance and eventually marathons, and I was thinking about how most marathon runners are skinnier than I am and have more lean muscle, sorry I’m making this so long but I guess i’m just confused on if there are different types of workouts (I know a lot has to do with diet and genetics) to get “toned” or to get “bulky”.

            JC Deen - October 12, 2011

            body composition is largely diet-related. If you’re going to be training for marathons, I wouldn’t worry too much about getting bulky as that type of training will definitely keep you small and weak.

Teddy - October 9, 2011

I used to be a religious T- Nation follower, but have since moved more onto sites such as yours, Martin Berkhan’s, Alan Aragon’s etc. Do you have any sites/blogs that you frequently follow or could recommend for quality info?

    JC Deen - October 9, 2011

    yeah – look at the bottom right of my site in the resources section…

Sol - October 3, 2011

I’ve got a question perhaps you can answer for me. I’m on my way to meeting my goal of doing a double body weight backsquat. I’m going to be traveling during much of November. Is there a way that I can minimize or eliminate the backsliding of not back squatting for much of that month? I’ll be in various hotels and motels where I may not have access to a gym and for 10 days of the month I’ll be in London, working hard and not having transportation to get to a gym. So, it’s got to be either body weight exercises, elastic bands, inflatable
dumbbells or something really portable that I can haul in my luggage (i.e. not dumb bells or kettlebells.) I could get lucky and be in a hotel with a gym in London but I don’t get to control the hotel choice.

I’m back squatting 120 kilos and my goal is 140 kilos. So, I need to maintain my ability to squat the 120 in the middle of nowhere with minimal equipment.




    JC Deen - October 4, 2011

    I wish it were this easy as doing some body weight movements but I’m afraid it’s not. Explosive squat jumps, sprinting, etc is going to help, but not going to be a substitue for heavy squatting. if you’re not doing something with heavy resistance, you will detrain. However, since you’re already this strong, it shouldn’t take but a few weeks to get back to where you are currently.

      Sol - October 4, 2011

      Thanks, JC.

Bradley - October 2, 2011


What are you views, and your bros’ views on Dr. Oz? Quack or someday to pay attention to?


    JC Deen - October 2, 2011

    I haven’t seen enough of him to make any decisions. was there anything specific you are referring to? I haven’t heard many good things about him from the fitness circle, anyhow.

      Bradley - October 3, 2011

      Nothing specific, dude. Actually I don’t even watch him. Heck I don’t even watch much tv, and I don’t think I missing much. The reason why I ask is because I can’t go one week without someone from work mentioning something Dr. Oz said and believing it like it’s the gosspel. People at work fawn over Dr. Oz like he is some kind of messiah and holds all the answers.

        JC Deen - October 3, 2011

        hmm, sounds typical. many people know of Jillian Michaels and other similar figures as experts – mainly because they are in the public eye, in magazines, on advertisements/commercials, etc.

          Brad - October 6, 2011

          Totall agree with you, man. I have come to realize that main stream tv is nothing more than a circus, and we are all being taken for a ride into the halls of delusion. I really dig independent blogs like yours. You are doing a great service. May all your dreams come true.


Teddy - September 30, 2011

So what are your new views on carbs/calories during deload weeks?

    JC Deen - September 30, 2011

    what exactly are you referring to? something I said in a comment or article somewhere?

    Clemens - October 1, 2011

    I have a question about lyles generic bulking routine. It is somewhat answered in the FAQ, but I am still a little on unclear on it. Are all of the exercises in the workout suppose to be done sets across (same weight used for each set and rep), or is the sets across only for the first 2 primary exercises e.g. (bench + rows), and the rest of the exercises would be done with RPT? I have been doing the entire workout sets across for each exercise is it ok to do it this way because I am not sure what lyle is recommending in this case.

      JC Deen - October 1, 2011

      sets across. where did you get RPT from?

        Clemens - October 1, 2011

        I was just a little confused when a read the FAQ, and particulary an article lyle wrote about the 5×5 program were he mentions sets across are only used for a handful of exercises per workout otherwise it can make the workout last too long, and daily volume ends up being too high.

        However, I am glad to here it is ok/preferred to do the entire program sets across since that is what I have been doing, but one more question I have is if you are doing say 4×6 for squats sets across how close to your 6 rep max should you be when using the same weight for all 4 sets of 6?


          JC Deen - October 1, 2011


TYLER - September 30, 2011

if you could fight anyone, who would you fight?

    JC Deen - September 30, 2011

    I’d fight my boss, prob’ly

seth - September 28, 2011

Im having problems over- eating on non- workout days, and not being hungry and under eating on training days. Any way to get around this? Do I need a surplus to build muscle? Being at about 10% body fat, just wondering if I meet just my protein needs on workout days and not calorie surplus, could that work?

    JC Deen - September 28, 2011

    yes, you need a surplus to build muscle…

Teddy - September 27, 2011

When it comes to working out the chest for size gains, do you feel it is better to hit it from all three angles or does it not really make too much of a difference? Some things Ive read say its beneficial to do so while others talk about the “all or nothing” principle where as long as you are doing the movement in general it doesn’t matter whether or not you are doing incline flat or decline.

    JC Deen - September 27, 2011

    I like to pick 1 to 2 movements to focus on and then swap them out for another angle after 6-10 weeks or whenever I stall out. The main thing is to get stronger with whatever movement you’re doing. All angles work, though.

Carolyn - September 25, 2011

Hi, I would like your opinion on the older generation. I just turned 50, have been working out off and on with weights for years. Currently I’m back in the gym, and what I have noticed is a large increase in senior citizens attempting to get in shape/or just get healthier. Most seem really confused on where to start and end up wandering around the gym, trying a few things, but not knowing what to do and becoming frustrated. I am seriously interested in becoming certified as a trainer, and working with this elder group. Where would you recommend I start? What is a good training program for me to start? And what do you think about weights and the baby boomer generation?

    JC Deen - September 25, 2011

    hey Carolyn, I don’t have an immediate answer for you, but I know of someone who might be able to help us out.

      Carolyn - September 25, 2011

      Cool, I will be interested in what you find. Dang, you sure respond fast. Awesome. I have also been self-teaching myself wordpress. I now have a site. Do you have any articles on learning word press, or how to build a site? Or anything like that?

        JC Deen - September 25, 2011

        no problem – I was sitting here working when you submitted that question.

        I don’t have any articles on the subject. perhaps if you send me an email, I could learn more about what you’re trying to do and point you in the right direction…

          Carolyn - September 25, 2011

          Well I’m just plugging along with the site. ha ha get it……pluging? I have been learning widgets, plugins, etc. Didn’t even know what url meant. Currently I am showing I have 10 updates. I’m not sure if I should. I guess I am afraid that if I update, all the stuff I have been working on will disappear, or get messed up. Do you think it will? Other than that, I am just having fun with it.
          Thanks, many people don’t respond to questions. I really appreciate the fact that you did. Shows you are real.

            JC Deen - September 25, 2011

            having fun is good. I have been using wordpress for 3 years now and it’s the only CMS I use for myself and for web dev clients. email me if you have any questions.

Sean - September 23, 2011


I’ve got one more inquiry to throw into the mix regarding carb cycling for lean mass gains. As I mentioned, I do full body training 3-4 times a week. I’ve been hitting four more and more consistently lately, and cutting it down to three days if I’m sick, have a lower level of motivation, or just have too many life demands in a particular week. Recovery has been just fine as far as I can tell.

I am wondering how, if at all, you would adjust food intake to this kind of training schedule? Would you still advise maintenance on off days and +500 calories on training days? Obviously, this would end up resulting in a larger surplus over the course of the week. It occurred to me that the increase may be warranted due to the increased volume of training, but I also considered that maintaining the overall weekly average might be the more important factor. I apologize for not mentioning this earlier, but I honestly just thought of it after re-reading your carb cycling articles in light of your previous responses.

    JC Deen - September 23, 2011

    my views have changed a bit since those articles I believe. I’ll email you.

      Teddy - September 23, 2011

      Id love to know the answer to that question as well

Roo - September 21, 2011

A question or two about nutritional timing. If someone is hitting their micros by the end, how important is it to religiously following the pre-work out / post work out sacramental protocols? Is it required to assure the muscles of a god-like deity to appear ( or effect progress enough that one should work hard to have a strict adherence to the practice when possible)?

    JC Deen - September 21, 2011

    no, I’ve talked to Alan Aragon multiple times about this and basically, we’ve come to the conclusion that as long as you hit your macros by the end of the day, meal timing is not too big of an issue.

Sean - September 20, 2011


Would I be eliminating the benefits of IF for lean mass gains if I didn’t adhere strictly to the carb cycling protocol? I’m a skinny guy looking to put on mass after losing a dramatic amount of weight from having a broken jaw, and I’ve actually found that the IF style of eating has helped to increase my appetite as opposed eating smaller meals throughout the day, which suppresses it.

I’ve mostly been following a general calorie cycling diet at this point, which is to say that I do eat more on lifting days than I do on rest days. Protein remains constant, with more carbs on lifting days and less carbs on off days. However, I have also been eating more fat on lifting days and less on off days. Overall macro percentage still averages out to predominately protein/fat on rest days, and protein/carb on lifting days. I’m a big fan of pb and banana sandwiches, and they have been a big part of my diet on lifting days.

That said, I have recently started to add things like a scoop of ice cream, a slice of pizza, etc. on workout days in moderate amounts like you’ve talked about here in your blog. I find that the higher calorie allotment for workout days makes it easier to fit these things in (sandwich included), but the fact is that the smaller amounts of fat from my protein sources, combined with the other sources of dietary fat that I mentioned, (peanut butter, ice cream, and so forth) tend to raise my fat intake on lifting days as well. Does this essentially defeat the point of intermittent fasting and calorie cycling, or does it simply make its effects less potent?

Thanks in advance for your help. This blog is completely changing my outlook on training, and it feels great.

    Teddy - September 20, 2011

    Great question I have been wondering the same thing for a while now. I agree with the last part of your comment true

    JC Deen - September 20, 2011

    its hard to say whether or not it makes it less potent. your question is pretty hard to answer but you’re not losing any benefits of IF as long as you’re still following the eating window.

      Sean - September 21, 2011

      Thanks JC. As you may have guessed, I have a history of stressing the minute details, but I’m trying to let go of that in favor of a more controlled bigger picture approach. If there’s nothing compelling to suggest that I’m sabotaging myself, I’ll keep experimenting and just tweak as I go. It’s also good to know that IF will still be working for me. I’d been unwittingly following a Leangains-style eating pattern for most of my life before I even got into fitness, and that is absolutely the way I prefer to eat. Knowing that there are little fringe benefits to doing so just makes me feel that much better. Thanks again!

        Teddy - September 21, 2011

        Sean I am pretty much the same way. If you find anything along the way in regards to ur macro split and how its effecting your fasting and body comp I’d like to know since I’m doing something similar..if it isn’t too much trouble

Teddy - September 19, 2011

While a lot of material Ive read from a few different people say that separation of fats and carbs isn’t necessary in your meals when it comes to concerns about the calories being more likely stored as fat but what about in cases of overfeeding for mass gains where they say that it may be a good idea to keep carbs high and fat low on the days you overfeed due to the fact that fat calories are more easily stored than carb cals since carbs need to be first broken down and transformed while fats can be stored as is? Is there any truth or benefit to this or does it really not matter for leaner gains?

    JC Deen - September 19, 2011

    no, there is truth to this. it’s why people doing intermittent fasting, alternating high carb (training days) and lower carb (off days) intake have done so well putting on size with minimal fat gain.

    I use a similar approach with clients regardless of their goals (fat loss or muscle gain).

    it’s also why the recommendations for massive refeeds suggest to keep fat intake very minimal (less than 50g) to ensure the excess kcals are used for LBM accrual and stored as glycogen.

      Teddy - September 19, 2011

      Very good to know

Teddy - September 17, 2011

Hey JC love the site. I was wondering about carb-cycling or just low carbing in general. Is carb cycling necessary for the best type of fat loss or getting rid of that last stubborn body fat or could one do just as well doing so on a diet where none of their macros are kept in check just as long as they are maintaining a slight caloric deficit over time? (as well as assuring adequate protein intake)

    JC Deen - September 17, 2011

    hey Teddy, thanks.

    Is it necessary? hard to say, really. I do it for multiple reasons – one being that I like to have enough calories around training for recovery purposes. it also helps with diet adherence so you’re not constantly nibbling at your arm. Another reason I do it with clients is for the bump in leptin that comes from a higher carb intake (refeeds, etc). I’ve also used some of the protocols in the Stubborn Fat Solution by Lyle McDonald which includes certain training protocols and diet strategies.

    I think you can lose body fat via many means and they’re all effective. Carb cycling is just my method of choice. Not sure if that’s much for an answer, but I hope it helps steer you in the right direction.



Jess - September 2, 2011

Hey JC,

One more question. What is your experience/opinion on aromatherapy for weight/fat loss? I went to a private aromatherapy demonstration where one of the elixirs is supposed to work for weight loss. Do you think it is worth trying out?


    JC Deen - September 2, 2011

    don’t know anything about it – but sounds like complete BS. Aromatherapy can in no way directly cause weight loss… Sounds like snake oil to me…

Ariana - September 1, 2011

Just read your article on calorie counting. Is there a specific formula you would use to determine what percentage of your calories/day should be protein, carbs, and fat? I have heard that eating a gram of protein/lb of weight is a good start, but what about carbs and fat? I’m a woman (don’t know if this makes a difference or not).


    JC Deen - September 1, 2011

    protein = 1g/lb
    fat = .3gxbw in lbs
    carbs = fill in the rest of your intake.

seth - September 1, 2011

Quick question, im taking a few weeks off from weight training for a little r&r and was wondering if I go under maintenance calories at this time, could I risk losing strength and muscle? Should I eat at maintenance at this time or is it not really going to matter in the 2 weeks of rest?

    JC Deen - September 1, 2011

    I would eat at maintenance to reap the full benefits of an extended break. you will likely lose a little bit of strength, but not too much.

Jess - August 31, 2011


I have a tough question. Not sure if you have ever encountered this issue with one of your clients.

I am a 30 year old female who is 5’6, 200lbs, and who has large muscular calves. I did several years of track and field (sprints, short distance runs mainly) in middle school and high school. Perhaps that is a theory of why my calves are really huge and muscular. I don’t like them this big even if they are muscular, and I would like to reduce the size of my calves significantly to be in proportion to the rest of my body.

Do you have any suggestions on how I can reduce my calve size? They have been large for a long long time. Am I forever doomed to large calves? My parents are of normal weight, height, and do not have the same problem I do.

Your advise would really be appreciated.


    JC Deen - August 31, 2011

    I would love to swap calf size with you.

    Getting to a healthy weight would likely help but it’s no guarantee.

    Even then, you’re still walking and standing, so unless they naturally atrophy as you lose weight, I’m not sure I have a great answer for you.

Rippletits - August 30, 2011

Nice website! I enjoyed reading it.

Just wondering, what’s your squat, bench, and deadlift 1RMs? Or estimated 1RMs if you haven’t taken a true max?

    JC Deen - August 30, 2011

    I don’t really know. I am not an anomaly if that’s what you’re expecting.

    best bench I’ve ever done was 5×3 for 275
    best squat was 455 at one point
    best deadlift is unknown considering I don’t do conventional. I pulled from a rack a few weeks ago after having not done any serious deadlifting (outside of RDL’s) in about a year and got 405 for 2 reps.

James - August 22, 2011

yeah thats what i thought, cheers robin. Sorry for asking but who are you? friend of JC’s?

    Robin - August 24, 2011

    Great to hear, James.

    I am an extrodinarily average man who is facing the same challenges, victories, and defeats the average person faces. Above all, I am the seeker of truth and reason.

    I am a follower of JC, one of his disciples you can say.
    JC is a voice of reason and truth in the bogged down world of fitness misinformation, lies, and deceit. I have been conned many times just other young men have by the muscle and fiction mags and “bomb and blitz” programs which delivered nothing but lack of results, aggravation, and a thinner wallet. Over the past couple of years I have been avoiding the fitness mainstream and mainstream news in general.

    It is the independent bloggers like JCD Fitness that have captured my attention and keeps me coming back for more of the truth.


Kuhny - August 22, 2011

Hey JC, recently started a leangains appraoch to my diet. Im a full time student and so have differing class times through out the week. I was wondering if it matters if im training at different times each day? therefor changing between martin’s meal ‘protocols’.


    Robin - August 22, 2011


    Just workout when you can; what matters most is that you are providing the stimulus through resistance training. Don’t sweat the minutia.

    There is much flexibility in Martin’s lifestyle, and it is clearly written in his lean gains guide, found at no charge on his website. Search under “most popular” categories to find the details you seek.


Rodney - August 14, 2011

Is taking whey protein or other supplements necessary to build muscle, or is it possible without them? If so, what are the best proteins and supplements to use?

    JC Deen - August 14, 2011

    technically, it’s not necessary, but if you fail to get your protein requirements from whole food sources in your daily meals, whey powder (or any other protein powder) is certainly helpful.

    So no, you don’t have to take protein supplements – it merely makes getting enough protein easier if you require a large intake or are on a budget.

      Robin - August 16, 2011


      Unless you are living below the poverty line you don’t need protein supplements. And if one was living below the poverty line, getting bigger muscles would probably be the least of their priorities.

      One doesn’t need as much protein as the supplement companies and muscle mags (same entitiy) proclaims. I like many other misguided individuals bought into the fasle need for extra protein. Well, after 2 years of giving up protein supplements I am still achieving the same results as before taking them. In short protein supplementation did nothing for results.

      Protein supplements are good for 2 things: passing a lot of gas and pissing money down the toilet.

        JC Deen - August 16, 2011

        have you read anything on this site?

        I’ve never pushed a supplement or anything of the likes – ever. I merely made a statement – that being if you fail to meet your protein requirements through whole food alone, whey is a good alternative. it’s a way to fill in the gaps.

        If you’re like me, and eating actually becomes a chore due to long work days, then a protein supplement comes in handy when you’re aiming for 200+ grams of protein daily.

        I’m also a firm believer in Lyle’s recommendations he gives in The Protein Book. Check it out sometime.

          Robin - August 16, 2011

          Yes, I have read your site very thoroughly. I have not seen you explicitly push a supplement on your site, and I am in no way implying you have.

          However, you are indirectly suggesting extra protein in the form of a supplement when you mentioned the discount received at the protein store you are affiliated with. You are also suggesting extra protein in the form of a supplement throughout at least a few of your articles which erroneously calls for 1 gram of protein per lb of bodyweight.

          You are implicitly stating that suplemental protein is needed because you are pushing the fallicy for persons to “need” a gram of protein per lb of body weight. This is based on an erroneous belief that is not grounded in the real world, only a couple of studies supported by supplement companies or other highly biased organizations.


            JC Deen - August 17, 2011

            erroneous beliefs? Have you seen how thick and well-researched the protein book is?

            Plus, there’s no harm in a protein intake of 1-1.5g per pound of body weight. Regardless, I’d rather err on the higher side and not risk a drop in performance or loss in muscle mass by not eating enough protein.

              Robin - August 18, 2011

              I haven’t seen the “protein” book. Protein supplementation is a very lucrative business. Lyle probably has a good interest in pushing the protein as he is also associated with True Protein.

              As stated before, unless a person is living below the poverty line or perhaps a vegan they may need additional protein through supplements.

              I am highly skeptical of requiring more than 150 grams of protein a day, regardless of bodyweight/lean muscle mass.

              I suggest you read some sensible advice from the likes of Mike Mentzer, Drew Baye, and Arthur Jones. These folks did not need a bunch of studies in trying to prove a point. They used good sense, measured their results, and adjusted accordingly. In essence they were the study.

              There are very few supplements worth touching. And protein powder is certainly one supplement that is not necessary.

              Experiement on yourself eating a whole food diet without protein sups. Don’t even try to reach an arbitray number of protein grams per day. I am sure your results will be the same but your wallet will be a little heavier.

                JC Deen - August 18, 2011

                who cares if he’s associated with TrueProtein or not? He has a discount code – many people do because their protein is great. I’ve gotten a ton of free protein from them in the past for referring new clients, but I frankly could care less. I’d recommend it regardless.

                  Robin - August 18, 2011

                  Lyle is the pusher of supplemental protein. Hence the “protein book” he wrote. Don’t believe this charlatan. He is stick and bones. A man (Lyle Mcdonald) who spreads such malarky should be able to at least look like they workout…

                    JC Deen - August 19, 2011

                    so now it’s clear you’re just trolling.

                    That’s the weakest argument anyone can make – maybe Lyle has no interest in training like a strength athlete or a bodybuilder? Perhaps his interest lies in finding what works for athletes and fitness enthusiasts alike.

                    Please take your rambling elsewhere.

            JJ - August 17, 2011


            If I may ask, what lens are you looking at protein requirements through? I ask because from a performance and physique-focused stance, protein requirements are significantly higher than what is recommended for “general health”.

            JC’s recommendations are right in line with the athletic/physique world as a whole.

              Robin - August 18, 2011


              The truth is excessive protein is overated because we get enough protein in our daily diets. Save your money and healthy bowel functions. Skip the protein and eat a large juicy steak instead. Don’t feed the dishonest supplement industry.


                JC Deen - August 18, 2011

                not everyone gets enough in their daily diets, Robin.

                JJ - August 18, 2011


                You stated that the “truth is [that] excessive protein is overrated”. What quantifies excessive protein consumption? Again, I ask, through what lens are you looking at protein requirements? Are you an athlete yourself? What kind of strength benchmarks have you achieved? Aside from those purely anecdotal qualifications, it would also be great if you could provide some research or at least some other third party commentary supporting your views.

                Your advice is to eat a big, juicy steak rather than consuming supplementary protein (such as in the form of whey, for example). What if I’m in a pinch for time after a workout? Wolfing down a steak or a couple of chicken breasts is going to take me a lot more time and effort than slamming down a shake. I don’t think JC or anyone else reputable has ever suggested completely replacing “normal” dietary proteins entirely with supplementary protein sources.

                Another consideration to take in is the caloric differences. There are plenty of good protein supplements out there that taste great and are low fat/low carb. This allows one to add carbs/fats in accordance with their dietary needs/performance goals without being “stuck” with superfluous fat/carb calories. Supplementary protein is great for upping the amount of protein one is getting in during the day without shooting caloric intake through the roof. Could one accomplish the same thing with very lean meats such as chicken breasts and tuna? Of course they could. However, I’d personally much rather drink a delicious, chocolatey protein shake post workout than try to horse down a couple of cans of plain tuna or a chicken breast. I’m usually fairly dehydrated after training as well, making the water content of a shake all the more appealing.

                Supplementary protein has its place. As far as the ‘evil’ supplement industry is concerned, that’s an entirely different can of worms.

                Just my $.02.

Lars - August 11, 2011

Hey there JC. I must say I think it’s really great that you take the time and effort to answer all our (silly) questions. You are a great resource of free no- BS information, on the contrary to many other internet fitness gurus.

My question is:
Would it be OK to do a leangains bulk (without being too obsessive about counting calories) for about 3 weeks, then 1 week of PSMF then repeat that cycle. Or would this be inefficient compared to just doing one or the other? My goal would be to lean out a tiny bit while getting stronger.


    JC Deen - August 14, 2011

    I personally wouldn’t advocate this because the time frames are too short. I tell all clients to pick one goal and stick with it for at least 6-8 weeks before switching gears.

K - August 8, 2011

I have been doing Crossfit for a year and half and am considering making a change. I question whether doing all this CF is necessary to reach my goals. My goal for strength training is to stay fit, avoid being a “fat skinny person”, and keep a “young” body for as long as possible (I’m only 30, but thinking long term). Also, I like training for marathons once or twice a year, and Crossfit definitely clashes with that. With all the running I do, I’d love to get my strength training days down to two per week.

My question is, what kind of strength training will help me reach my goals? I’m guessing you are against body pump style classes, but would something like that be sufficient for what I am trying to achieve? Or should I be lifting heavy weights?

    JC Deen - August 8, 2011

    It may be hard to gain a ton of strength if you’re doing a lot of running. Cutting it back to two full-body sessions per week (3×5 or 5×5) would probably be sufficient.

James - August 8, 2011

Hi JC, great site.

Will keep it short. Do you feel that IF is one of the best ways to get into single digit bf% and then maintain that year round?

Im currently around 12% bf ( DEXA scan) and have learnt alot from yourself, Alan, Martin and Lyle this year but still struggle with not worrying to much about food choices. So i am really intriuged and keen to know your opinion on IF.


Phil - August 7, 2011

Hey JC,

I’ve recently started doing parkour. A lot of the guys there swear on bodyweight exercises for strength training. I’ve seen a lot on gaining strength through weightlifting, but very little on bodyweight strength training. I’m curious, what are your thoughts on bodyweight strength training?

Lance - August 5, 2011

Mister JC,

I weigh roughly 400lbs and am looking for a sensible, non-drastic plan to start dropping the weight. I want to keep my resistance training program up, but am concerned about other cardio type of activities due to excessive stress on my joints (fitness cordinator at my gym wants me to do 5 days of cardio on a ski climbing machine, but to painful for me). My plan:
– Two resistance sesssions a week
– Walking at least 2 hours a week
– Reduced calorie diet, portion control (as opposed to weird diet fads)
– 24hr fast 1-2 times a week

In your opinion and experience is the above plan enough to start consistently dropping some weight? Any additional pointers you will give would be very welcomed. My life is in your advice.


    JC Deen - August 5, 2011

    I think those are fine guidelines. to get things really going, I’d highly recommend the Rapid Fat Loss Handbook by Lyle McDonald to serve as your guide. lots of great info in there and no guesswork.

      Lance - August 5, 2011

      I researched Lyle Mcdonald’s Rapid Fat Loss Handbook. Seems really fascinating and I do not doubt it would produce quick and dramatical results. Knowing myself though I wouldn’t be able to fit this protocol in my life style. I have given very low carb diets an honest try before, and I couldn’t sustain it although I was eating all the fat and protein I wanted. I actually dreaded eating flesh foods after awhile. Looking at the RFL book summary, the diet is basically all protein.

      Although I am 400lbs I have zero health problems and bloodwork stats are excellent (good genes I guess)- I am not in a rush to lose the weight- but I want to lose the weight because being fat sucks and I seek an improved quality of life.

      With that in mind, is intermittent fasting workable for people my size? Any other advice?

        JC Deen - August 5, 2011

        yes, it’s doable. I’d just eat 250g protein, 3000 calories of carbs/fats daily and do some weights and walking now and again.