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The Bare Facts: Can You Build Muscle From Scratch on LFRV? No Supplements.

Please pardon me for posting this again. I was not sure whether it should be under "Blog" or "Discussion"... My apologies to Harley & Freelee.

I have gotten tons of emails on this subject. I want to post this for those of you not sure about this diet for acquiring lean tissue mass.

It is entirely possible to build muscle completely from scratch on lfrv. In fact any other method is not healthy. Of course you can build more muscle "size" but you are not really building it when your nitrogen retention from excess (they call it "extra" ) bloats the cells with excess waste. This is what that garbage is-- it is muscle size not actually freshly build muscle fibers. In fact all the cells that you gain weight with from any calories are "puffed" up to an extent just by "forced feeding" over and about what you really need to live a safe, healthy and productive life.

Those individuals who share their "lfrv" expertise on youtube who say that they need to supplement with spirulina or rice powder or other processed stuff "in order to get extra protein" which in turn seems to make them bigger, are not truly building muscle. That is just size, caused by puffing up the mitochondria of the muscle cells, as well as the intracellular fat that is added to as well. 

You can not gain just muscle anyway. You have to gain some fat with it. When you put on ten pounds, three of four pounds are fat. Even if you are training hard and heavy. You have to be extremely sure to consume slightly more and more calories as your training cycle becomes heavier and thus burns more calories. Most people don't realize the large calorie energy demands of true weight training. The process surpasses endurance training, everything else equal, as the acquisition of additional muscle mass increases your metabolism 24 hours per day, unlike demanding endurance activity that will increase it for two or three hours after you have stopped. Building muscle has been said by physiologists to be ten times harder than losing fat, and unless a person has a lot of well proportioned mass plus shorter, better bone leverages to begin with, then the process of acquiring lean tissue is a daunting one, fraught with many pitfalls. Only the truly dedicated can make progress more than those younger trainees in their teens and early twenties who easily build ten or fifteen pounds of "mixed muscle" their first six months of weight training "adventure".

Personally I am able to gain muscle from scratch on lfrv. I lost a lot of total weight when I went raw in 1999. For several years I got hoodwinked by the so-called "woo woo spiritual people" , including some close friends and loved ones. Looking back I could kick myself, for straying from my diet experience, which I had carried out successfully as a cooked vegan since the early eighties! I discovered, even before that, that Americans consume three times more protein than they need, and even though my goal was to "get bigger", being a total nerd and planet-lover as they say, not to mention that I did not enjoy literally stinking from eating animal products, and experiencing lethargy from them compared to plant-based calories, I learned soon enough a very very important thing: You do not need that much extra protein to build muscle! In fact this is nothing new! Physiologists and nutritionists and dietitians have known this fact for before I was born. What is needed is extra carbohydrate calories. When you consume extra carbs you automatically increase your protein sufficiently. It is a no brainer.

But then there is marketing. What a joke that is. I feel sorry for young men, and women who still in the year 2012- buy into these downright lies. Even 30 years ago when I would read "Muscle & Fiction" magazine, my training partners and I would scoff at the ads for "Dynamic Stamina Builder" that were placed next to "articles" that featured some steroid-protein-fed monster and his two hour long "bombing and blitzing" routine that would kill any normal athlete. The same trick is done when pushing protein powders. They call the results "cellular optimization". Fancy words for puffing up the cells!  Ironically, as I matured and met many of these people, some on steroids some not, I also discovered that they never even wrote those articles let alone train that way. I could go on and on about the history of publishing/ supplement conglomerates./. but you get the point.

Few people train with weights diligently let alone properly. Fewer still are totally vegan. So few are vegan and do not take supplements. The tiniest sample.. almost a handful in the entire world... like me.. are not only vegan... not only raw... not only fruitarian and greens... but do not take any supplements let alone eat salt, oil, spices, garlic or onion. I am doing this at age 53 and am right this moment getting into heavy training for my structurally poor lanky frame. But guess what? Even with my glass lower back, I have devised a simple weight training program designed around the tried and true fundamentals that is allowing me to build muscle from scratch better now than when I was 20. I am not kidding.

Calories are calories, people. Basics are basics. We just choose to eat the best way possible for health. Personally I do not have more than 90 minutes to two hours per week to devote to my weight training, yet in my personal experience, and also training with the best (in my estimation) athletes for over 30 years, the best muscle building routines share two major similarities: 1) They involve only the most basic large muscle group exercises, 2) The workouts are as brief as possible and as infrequent as possible to allow complete recuperation, and 3) Calories are calories. I just choose to eat the best, which is fruits and vegetables. Nothing added. Nothing taken away.

I will be posting more pics, and details shortly. This is my favorite project, as I come from a very "intellectual" background and life, and I take great pleasure in the simple pleasure of seeing what can be done with my body with almost the worst possible genetics (no this is not just my opinion, but what has been confirmed by professionals throughout my life as well, which actually makes me a good coach since I am one of the few dedicated individuals who gains because of what I do not in spite of it like so many others. Champions are born not made. This is an unfortunate fact of life. But… with proper diet… proper training…. and the proper mindset and patience… you can literally transform yourself.. and when you do, you will appreciate what you have achieved 1000 times more than those who have it handed to them on a silver platter!)

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Your first step is this: Get your barbell squat or dead lift up to 100% of your bodyweight for at least 10 reps, preferably 20. 

This is not your top goal but a good start. Please proceed slowly. Too many people rush the process wanting great results too fast and injure themselves.

Remember the Chinese language. The same word for opportunity is danger.

If you are under 30 years old then you will have absolutely no problem reaching this first goal.

Sets and reps? Relatively meaningless.

Let's see what happens if you simply use common sense to set up your sets and reps with this protocol as your mindset: Do as much as is needed but never more. You never ever want to exhaust yourself.  Obviously you will be sore the first few times .. so.. knowing this.. go deliberately slower (less sets less reps less weight)... until your body craves it... you will feel when it is time.. and you will see exactly how many sets and reps to do.

There is nothing magical about sets and reps. Anyone can write a program of sets and reps- it means nothing. You decide based on your body-type, leverages and constitution how to do this, when to do it, and how many sets and reps. I will give you hint: Add weight each time even if it is only a half kilo. Of course, after several weeks, you will be able to add up to 2 kilos for big exercises such as the S & DL, but be careful never ever to sacrifice picture perfect robot form. And nooo bouncing. It should take you at least two seconds to perform each direction of the movement. Or more. Just watch videos that others have posted and you will see how fast they perform their reps. Not smart. Momentum and inertia is not only dangerous force accelerated, but it also does nothing to strengthen muscles. 'Nuff said.

The goal is your focus not sets and reps.

As you can see there is a lot to this. But at the same time it is dead on simple. Bit by bit.....

Go to it!

Thanx :) in terms of getting stronger to get faster i know they use 1-3 or 5 reps for athletes :) in terms of deadlift and squats :)

YW :)

FYI... low reps for dead lifts and squats are the most dangerous combination. They are only to be used if you are actually training to enter professional competitive power lifting meets.

It is far far better and safer for any athlete to train dead lifts and squats with higher reps (this by no measn light weights per se, only relatively). 

Most college level coaches - and I am not alone on this - are regretably under the impression that moving weights fast will increase an athlete's speed. It will only increase his or her speed in actually performing that movement. The risks are high unless you are specifically training for Olympic Lifting which is a highly specialized athletic movement.

While I do have knowledge of training athletes for strength, cardiovascular, as well as flexibility, my area of interest and thus specialization has been body composition. And of course the best overall fitness. Focusing on evening out the strength of the body which in term allows the greatest performance and safety in all sports. Not to mention a nice "vehicle to drive the brain around in"...

If speed is what YOU want, then I must humbly suggest that you do not exploit low reps, especially with momentum!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is a big mistake. You will regret it.

Train the proper and time proven, most productive and safest way by far: use at least ten reps, preferably fifteen to twenty as your normal rep number for squats and dead lifts.


If speed is what you want DO YOUR SPORT FASTER. Train it faster, not the weights! There is a huge misconception still floating around. You can still see remnants - usually some old weekend warriors swinging weighted collar baseball bats, or hooking up their tennis rackets to pulley machines in the gym to try to "add resistance to the movement"... this is so wrong, and only God knows where this myth began! Please, if you see anyone lifting weights like an injured bird, do us all a favor and find a way to make them stop... it is for their own good.

To clarify: When I said "Never do more than you can fully recuperate from and allow you to continue your weight increase progression" (Well maybe those weren't my exact words but this is better), I did not clarify. 

You can not over-tax yourself from one or even two sets, even if a set is 15 reps (everything else equal; ie sleep and food).

Doing too many sets WILL tax you thougth, even if it is five reps.

Remember to keep your eye on the goal which is to progress in weight.

Of course that means EVEN if your goal is to "get faster on the field". Muscle can only do one of two things: 1) Get stronger 2) Get weaker.

A faster athlete is always a stronger athlete. Speed not endurance. 

Thanx a ton Chris. When i talk about performing the squat and deadlift i of course talk about performing them without momentus and in a safe matter. Why does so many people use the olympic training like 1-5 reps for the squats and deadlift to get their athletes stronger wich equals faster? Higher reps will lead to more endurance power/strenght then lower? and ofc in the 6-12 rep range you build more hypertrophy wich means more size ? You have to train running and all that plyo and stuff aswell but for gaining the strenght they all do 1-5 reps training.


If you just take a look at a olympic lifter doing squat etc ofc they are fat and stuff but can lift ALOT 1 max rep on squats and they are super quick/fast. If you take a bodybuilder or the likes that does 8-12 reps or even 10-20 reps as many do for legs as you say aswell they will be very very slow in comperason even tho none of them train any running. 

Don't compare athletes and bodybuilders on steroids and other drugs who perform unsafe training practices unless you want to emulate these unfortunate people...

You seem to be confused in what you want to do.... 

I would suggest that you just either take my advice on THE FIRST STEP or do it your way.

Good luck!!! Peace!

Thanx a ton.


Sure alot does steroids but alot of them doesnt aswell. But that doesnt mean that the theories or methods doesnt apply.


For a guy that wants to be as fast as he can, will lifting 1-5 reps be better or worse then doing 20 reps. There are alot of crap out there for sure, but the trend seem to be that those who want to get bigger do more reps then those who want to get stronger in terms of faster :) 


Could you just explain why say 20 reps is better for getting faster then 1-5 reps? not talking about safety just in terms of performance :) 

For sure you get stronger aswell when you lift 20 reps but isnt it the amount of weight you can lift that determens how strong you are?


I just notice when i do lift 20 reps i get lactic acid like crazy and cant walk almost but when i do 1-5 reps i feel much more explosive and strong in my legs. 

I do not understand. No disrespect but you have to do this for at least a few months first to get some experience!

Do 15 then.

Five reps becomes a very very short lived framework for anything other than what I stated before-- training specifically for power lifting... 

Plus, if you just want to get faster (at what? you do not state what you are trying to achieve.,, again.. you need to crystalize your goals ....then you do THAT sport. I already mentioned that using weights to get "faster" is not practical. Not a time proven or safe method by any means...

I am sorry but your sources are not flesh and blood people I gather? People that are professional and/or that you have Observed In The Flesh for several years? Again Superhuman, no offense meant.. but you need to put less effort into the googling and more effort into some simple training.. just read my first answer to you and do it... or not.. it is entirely up to you.. But I will tell you this: What I told you is extremely valuable and useful.. But only if you do it.

great thoughts, Chris.  Your sharing is appreciated as always.

I'll understand if this is intended to fill a future article, but what are some additional multi-joint moves you prefer to fill your minimal time workouts and what rep ranges do you recommend for them?


Oh i ment faster in terms of running, sorry for not saying that. Esp 0-40 meters beeing most important.


But all powerlifters etc or do that type of training are super quick at 0-40 meters compared to lifters that do other type of lifting. Because as you said stronger means faster.


I have trained for many years but of course it was only the last year i came up on this weight lifting for gaining speed in running.


I can give you links to people or camps that trains NFL athletes and all other athletes.





http://www.defrancostraining.com (they got the most i think)



If you want real advice, don't listen to someone like Chris that's getting results, go to bodybuilding.com on the forums and listen to all the 19 year old's that started lifting last month and have avatars of Arnold Schwarzenegger or Jay Cutler.  That's where the real expert advice comes from. Those are also the biggest proponents of lifting a certain amount of reps to get a certain body type as if there were "laws" scribed down by the ancient fathers of weight lifting.......... 

Ok, I'm full of BS, but one thing that Chris kind of mentioned that is of paramount wisdom is to take heed who you are getting your advice from.  Chris isn't the only good source of training wisdom in the world, but his advice seemed pretty good to me. 

i have love Chris and i trust him 100% and i apreciate him taking the time to answear me, but when world athletes in running and sport that require running speed are doing 1-5 reps of heavy squat and deadlift i need some more then just Chris says. I need Why etc etc



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