Reverse Dieting & Metabolic Whiplash

Reverse dieting is possibly the single most important thing for permanent leanness. With my history of yo-yo dieting it really did change my life, and it’s now one of the key concepts in my whole approach to physical development.

But it’s not well-studied, so using it is a matter of experimentation. My own testing has shown a possible unpleasant surprise—a sort of metabolic whiplash if you will. In the following I’ll explain what it is and how to deal with it to avoid setbacks.

Joseph Westrupp after reverse dieting

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The Dark Side of Staying Super Lean

Being ultra-lean is fun. Even beyond appearance, it means that a lot of planning and effort paid off, and you’ve achieved something extraordinary. However, staying super lean is rare, and it’s very common for all that work to be lost in a post-diet fat rebound.

It happened to me many times so I experimented with ways to keep body fat low. I found it can be achieved, but also that if you push it too far for too long there’s a price to pay.

Joseph Westrupp—staying super lean

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Bench Press for Chest Growth

It’s chest day, and that means it’s time to the bench press. You walk into the gym ready to produce so much power that you shift the planet’s orbit—there’ll be no choice for your stubborn chest but to grow.

But afterwards you hobble out, shoulder joints stinging, deltoids and triceps aching, and chest feeling annoyingly fresh. Not exactly what you had in mind, so what went wrong?

Bench press for chest growth: muscle anatomy drawing

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Best Weekly Training Frequency?

It seems like a simple question. But if you ask what the best weekly training frequency is you’ll find yourself in the middle of a war of ideas. One camp swears by training no more than once a week, and the other by multiple times a day. The approaches are confusingly different.

So who’s right? How many times per week should we train for the fastest gains in muscle and strength?

The best weekly training frequency graph

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Squatting Every Day

Squats are hard. They can cause the type of fatigue that requires days to recover from, and that’s why it’s commonly advised to train them no more than once per week.

It’s reasonable advice …that I totally ignored. Instead I opted for the if a little is good a lot must be better line of thought (which rarely has any merit. Unless you’re talking about chocolate), and decided to try squatting every day.

Squatting every day

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Lifting and Joint Health

If you lift weights you’ll eventually be forced to give some thought to joint health. Well, unless your name is Ronnie Coleman and you have bomb-proof joints. But even Ronnie Coleman succumbed to injuries and required corrective surgery.

Thankfully for the rest of us, lifting and joint health aren’t mutually exclusive.

Old anatomy picture of knee joints

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Ronnie Coleman Backstage

The first professional bodybuilder I saw in person was a New Zealand champion. Even though he was well below the level of the top Americans, it was an amazing experience and I’d never seen anything like it. It’s incredible how much muscle the body can carry.

But Ronnie was on a different level.

Ronnie Coleman, 8-time Mr Olympia, most muscular pose

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