In episode 26 of The Muscle Engineer Podcast I’m joined by dr. Mike Israetel for a conversation about performance enhancing drugs and various circumstances where their usage may or may not be appropriate.

Topics discussed with time stamps:

4:30 Basic overview of what performance enhancing drugs (PED’s) are

9:06 Mike’s thoughts on teenagers taking PED’s within a couple weeks or months of training

22:45 A discussion about trying to impress women by taking PED’s and the type of physique that is appealing to most women

30:24 Mike’s thoughts on people being frustrated with not seeing results after 1-3 years of training because they don’t know how to train and eat properly and taking gear as a “shortcut” to achieve a physique perfectly achievably naturally

44:40 Young “trainers” using PED’s and using their physique as a justification that they know what they are doing and a general discussion about what to look for when you’re looking for a coach

54:07 Impostor syndrome and the value of taking care of your own physique as a coach

58:39 Unethical practices some trainers do

1:00:57 Coaches who work with enhanced posting their results and insinuating that other coaches who don’t produce similar results are doing something wrong

1:09:40 My main take-aways from the episode

The Iron Culture podcast episode Mike was on:

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Episode 19 of The Muscle Engineer Podcast is a roundtable discussion dissecting the topic of deloading, which was originally released as episode 99 of Abel Csabai’s Sustainable Self Development podcast.

In this episode Abel, Vincent Sparagna and myself pretty much beat to death deloading in an episode that’s – in my obviously biased opinion – the most in-depth yet practical discussion on the matter.

Topics addressed with time stamps:

5:24 – What is deloading and what’s the purpose behind it?

9:54 –  Are deloads necessary or could you get away with not taking them?

12:20 – Is there a need to pre-schedule deloads?

20:36 – “Reactive” deloads; pros and cons

36:00 – The psychological impact of deloads

44:28 – Building up volume over the weeks up to your MRV, overreaching and then deloading

53:38 – Issues with purposeful overreaching and hitting your MRV

1:01:06 – How each of us likes to use deloads in practice

1:13:22 – Cardio during deloads

1:15:53 – How should you manipulate your food intake during a deload?

1:20:30 – The summary of what we discussed and my practical suggestions  / take-aways

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Episode 18 of The Muscle Engineer Podcast marks my first appearance as a podcast guest, having been featured on episode 98 of Abel Csabai’s Sustainable Self Development podcast, where we discussed progressive overload and different methods of progressing your training.

Topics discussed with time stamps:

2:41 My background

8:35 – What should we know about progressive overload

14:41 – The advantages and disadvantages of progressing in weight

21:48 – What to do when you can’t keep adding weight

25:17 – Progressing by adding reps

39:28 – The utility of down-sets (dropping the weight in subsequent sets)

42:34 – Adding sets over weeks (progressing in volume)

49:16 – Issues with adding sets

57:35 – My final recommendations for easy and practical progression

1:01:35 – Where can you find more about me?

1:03:50 My top 3 take-aways from this episode

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In episode 14 of The Muscle Engineer Podcast I’m joined by Dr. Scott Stevenson for the second part of our conversation about muscle hypertrophy and the best ways to grow muscle. If you haven’t listened to the first part, make sure to check out episode 13 too!

Topics discussed with time stamps:

1:44 Which is the most important factor for hypertrophy, volume or intensity, taking into account variability in response to training between different people?

18:18 Should you take all sets to failure or leave a couple of reps in reserve, to accumulate more overall volume (work)?

27:10 Switching a mental switch before each training session and using mental imagery to improve your workouts

30:32 Putting things into the perspective of long term sustainability and remaining injury free

35:10 The evolutionary value of being dissatisfied with where you are and using that to move you forward

41:54 Where to find Scott online and closing thoughts

44:54 My top 3 key messages from this episode

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In episode 13 of The Muscle Engineer Podcast I’m joined by Dr. Scott W. Stevenson, an applied exercise physiologist (PhD from University of Georgia, ACSM and NSCA-certified), licensed acupuncturist (State of Florida) and competitive bodybuilder (four overall titles, including the 2009 NPC Mr. Arizona, and four top 5 national level showings). Scott has over 35 years in the gym and two decades of experience personal training and coaching online.

Scott believes in keeping an open “beginner’s minded” approach to finding what works, while blending his experience, Western science and Eastern medicine. He coaches from the perspective of educator, hoping his clients will eventually move beyond his guidance.  He’s a former college professor (Cal Poly Pomona), academic dean and instructor (ASAOM), columnist for EliteFTS™, and adjunct professor at University of Tampa.  Scott has published in the peer-reviewed scientific literature and his lay bodybuilding articles have appeared in Musclemag and Flex magazine.

Scott is also a founding member / supermoderator at and the author of the bodybuilding training system e-book “Fortitude Training™.”  He is also the former training partner and long-time advisor to IFBB Pro David Henry, and a regular guest / co-host of the Muscle Minds Radio podcast.

Topics discussed with time stamps:

5:15 Scott’s formal education background, training history and a discussion around bodybuilding, self image issues and genetic variation in response to training

17:59 The value of having both scientific AND practical knowledge

26:25 DC training - what it is and what it isn’t; common misconceptions about it and how has it influenced Scott’s training

44:18 Fortitude Training - general outline and philosophies

46:15 Loaded stretching, muscle hypertrophy and muscle hyperplasia – does the latter happen in humans?

1:03:44 What are widow maker sets and how do they differ from muscle rounds, and their benefits for improving mental fortitude

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In episode 10 of The Muscle Engineer Podcast I’m joined by Trevor Johnson, a personal trainer and fitness consultant and overall super smart evidence-based guy to talk about how he overcame alcohol addiction, the diet strategies he used to lose 50 lbs and mistakes people make with high intensity training.

We also touch on other controversial topics, such as sugar addiction and whether it exists or not, how much control do we really have on how much we eat, and much much more.

Topics discussed with time stamps:

2:56 Background on Trevor’s fitness journey and his alcohol abuse issues and how that impaired his phyiscal progress

8:29 How should we think about balancing fitness with alchohol consumption and where is the line between recreational consumption and addiction?

11:00 Why the “just have one every day” advice doesn’t work for some people when it comes to alcohol and food intake

15:05 What Trevor thinks about “sugar addiction” and it being compared to something like alcohol addiction

19:55 The impact of food advertising messages such as Halo Top’s “Save the bowl. You’re going to want the whole pint. “ or “Stop when you hit the bottom. “ on mindful eating and healthy eating behaviours

23:56 Sugar vs food addiction, the impact of different food combinations and advertisements on how much we eat

30:06 Mental conditioning and the importance of reinforcing new behaviours when you want to make a change in your life

37:14 What made Trevor start the fat loss phase he did last year, during which he lost 50 lbs

39:44 What made Trevor decide to follow a super high protein intake and what were the lessons he took from it

49:35 Low volume / HIT training – why does Trevor like it and who has influenced him into adopting this style of training?

50:51 The value of logbooks and tracking your workouts

55:20 Do people run themselves into the ground by constantly trying to beat their past performance?

59:02 Issues around the definition of “low volume training” and the dose response relationship between volume and muscle growth

1:08:52 Trevor’s definition of success

1:10:21 My closing thoughts and main take-aways from the episode

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In this episode I’m joined by Dr. Aaron Horschig, a physical therapist, strength & conditioning coach, speaker, writer and the founder of Squat University, who now works at Boost Physical Therapy & Sport Performance in Kansas City Missouri.

Aaron’s background includes being involved in the sport of olympic weightlifting as an athlete and coach for over the past decade.

During our conversation we discuss a variety of topics related to squatting for phyisque development, including the influence of bar position, stance width and depth on muscle recruitment, the impact of anatomy on how your squats will look, the importance of ankle mobility for an efficisent squat and a very in-depth biomechanical breakdown of knee vs hip dominant squats and why categorizing certain squat variations as either one of those might be misguided. Plus much, much more.

If you’re interested in having bigger, stronger legs, then this episode is a must-listen! Stick around till the end to hear some of my take-aways and a bit of nuance around some points that I didn't fully agree on with Aaron

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Aaron’s ankle mobility screening tool

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In this episode I'm joined by Eric Trexler to discuss the origins of the Fat Free Mass Index (FFMI) and some of the issues with the Kouri et al paper, the common belief that a 25 FFMI is the highest you can achieve naturally, the results of Eric’s FFMI paper and how you can use your own FFMI to determine how should you approach your muscle gain periods, plus much, much more.

Eric is a PhD student at UNC Chapel Hill, under Dr. Abbie Smith-Ryan, with a research focus on how exercise and nutrition affect metabolism, performance, and body composition. Eric comes from a background in natural bodybuilding, powerlifting, and strength coaching, and currently holds certifications in sports nutrition (CISSN) and strength and conditioning (CSCS).

Greg Nuckols’s FFMI article

Greg Nuckols’s article on assessing your muscular potential

Eric’s FFMI paper

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