T Nation

Enormous Gains Claims by Poliquin

I like the articles on this site and some of my favorite are by Poliquin, because his dietary advice and training is definitely top notch. The guy is a beast too and I like his methods a lot.

However I find myself continuously annoyed by the ridiculous over the top claims he makes in his articles.

examples:

“I have a kid from the University of Southern California who was 25% body fat. I got him down to 12% in eight weeks, and he gained 25 pounds of muscle.”

“Not only can you retain muscle while losing fat, but as I talked about in the previous question, you can gain muscle. In fact, you should gain muscle if you know how to train and eat properly!”

"Last time I taught a Biosignature Modulation course in the DR, the students took my body fat Monday morning. I was at 8% and weighed 198 pounds. Anyway, five days later, after eating only Dominican Republic foods, I weighed 209 at 6% body fat. "

“One of the most important supplements to take when on a calorie restricted diet is BCAAs. You need about 50 grams a day.”

Some of this stuff is debatable (like massive megadosing BCAAs and fish oil), but some is just impossible. Poliquin never mentions whether these clients are on steroids, but regardless some dude gaining 25 pounds of muscle while losing 13% bodyfat in 2 months is as close to impossible as it gets.

And in several articles he makes claims like this, in one he states he got an athlete who was stalling to gain 29 pounds of lean mass in a month by supplementing megadoses of fish oil.

Also, to lose bodyfat and gain 12 pounds of lean mass eating fresh food in another country in FIVE DAYS. Seriously?

this is all from one article.

I’m not trying to hate because I really think his articles are some of the best, but a lot of that stuff is just so ridiculous…

-Jeff

He’s sensational, that’s for sure. He sort of reminds me of that character from SNL that twirls her hair and always one-ups everyone else in the room no matter what they say.

I believe he’s extremely knowledgable, but I wouldn’t always take everything he’s says for truth. Prof. X has constantly tried to remind us that these trainers are people too. You must take what they say with a grain of salt. He certainly is experienced and posseses an expertise above most, but I do think he claims some things in pursuit of promoting his way of thinking/products.

Charles Poliquin doesn’t do push-ups, he pushes the Earth down.

Always be cautions of those trying to sell you something.

[quote]Trenchant wrote:
I believe he’s extremely knowledgable, but I wouldn’t always take everything he’s says for truth. Prof. X has constantly tried to remind us that these trainers are people too. You must take what they say with a grain of salt. He certainly is experienced and posseses an expertise above most, but I do think he claims some things in pursuit of promoting his way of thinking/products.[/quote]

One specific example is that Poliquin claims Ben Johnson did an supra-maximal squat hold minutes before running the 9.79 in Seoul. Well Charlie Francis’s (Ben’s coach at the time and former writer for T-Nation) response was that was not true, and that everyone else there would know it wasn’t true because there were no weights on hand!

I think in these cases it is important to realize that the ‘before’ is a fake before. You take someone who was not at optimal, then you make their diet and supplements better than perfect in a setting where they have no in-season stress and have coaching.

Gains of 20 pounds of LBM in two months are not pure muscle, some of it is a shift of water from fat tissue into muscle and glycogen storage increases due to better micronutrient balance and the use of cell volumizing supplements coupled with training and nutrition that support these goals.

Though, with the nutrition testing, blood tests, skinfold analysis, strength and posture assessments, and needs analysis, a much more individually targeted program can instantly be initiated with the support of a team of professionals resulting in what seems to be steroid-like gains. This represents what is attainable if you can face optimal conditions.

As for fat loss, with a perfect diet it is easy as hell. I have had clients who are not even very active lose 10 pounds a month while gaining a couple pounds of muscle without training, save a bit of walking. If you are over 10% and can’t lose a bit of fat while gaining muscle, you are either eating poorly, sick, or already huge in comparison to genetic potential. Not eating enough is the same as eating poorly, just with slightly less health consequences.

Charles personal ‘transformation’ in the DR is probably related to the fact that he was run down when he got there and had time to recover (he has an over-reaching protocol after all).

Regardless, many times large changes represent going from a suboptimal to optimal program instantly. Sure athletes may have been training hard, but they sure weren’t recovering hard. Add that in and the remarkable jumps are not so remarkable.

As for the anthropomorphic measurements, I can shown you how to game these results by up to 10% on the downside to make the ‘before’ look more pathetic. I have seen a person’s subcutaneous water retention change significantly within an hour leading to different skinfold thicknesses that in no way could be attributed to fat loss or gain. With clever lighting, supplements, and posing you could almost replicate a 6-8 week before and after shot within a day.

I agree with what eengrms76 said, and I always take Charles with a grain of salt (the Celtic one he recommends), but over the years some of his writings have exposed me to other authors and concepts that not for him, I would have not come across at the time.

That along with what one can get reading not only between the lines, but within is worth dealing with the hyperbole and marketing. I have always considered it a performance art executed at the highest level. If someone could tell me what that performance is, I would appreciate it because I haven’t the foggiest.

PS: I think the highly dosed fish and BCAA are usually based on 200 pounds LBM, most people would benefit plenty from half that dose normalized to their own LBM; ie: 150lbs LBM would be 0.5 times 50g BCAA times 0.75 (150/200) or 18.75g. 20g of BCAA is not too unreasonable, likewise with the fish oil half the dose would be 11-17g (4-7 Flameout) per day normalized to 150lbs LBM. These are also the lower-mid end of recommended intake by most professionals.

[quote]eengrms76 wrote:
He’s sensational, that’s for sure. He sort of reminds me of that character from SNL that twirls her hair and always one-ups everyone else in the room no matter what they say.[/quote]

Hahaha, that’s good. She turns out to be telling the truth though!

Did I mention I’m in love with Kristen Wiig?

[quote]Wimpy wrote:
Always be cautions of those trying to sell you something. [/quote]

Oh man, that means we all gotta be cautious of this entire website!

First of all Poliquin is amazing as has been said. Also, he has trained a ton of athletes. You won’t hear him talk about the people he’s trained and have gotten injured or not much stronger. He’s usually going to mention the top 1% of the people he trains. Not saying there isn’t some exaggeration in there, though. I’m just saying I can believe a story or two from a trainer like that, but I keep an open mind for reasons why what they say would be kinda bloated. If he said those were the results he got with every athlete I wouldn’t believe him.

Is gaining muscle while losing fat that unbelievable actually? I originally bought into thinking that because if you think somebody is going to gain 20 pounds of bodyweight and not gain any fat, that’s a little ridiculous. However, if somebody new to training starts getting stronger but isn’t gaining weight, wouldn’t that mean he was gaining muscle and losing fat? When I was younger and got active for sports I noticed that my clothes were getting looser and my stomach didn’t stick out as much. My coach said he guaranteed I was losing weight, but when I stepped on the scale I hadn’t lost any weight.

A few of my own thoughts. First, I respect the man a lot, I’ve read stuff by countless ‘trainers’ over the years, and Charles definitely comes across as intelligent, and even willing to admit mistakes and revise his theories as time goes on. I have his most recent edition of the Poliquin principles, and his old german volume training book was one of the smartest, original theories I’ve heard in a long time. I liken him to Mike Mentzer though. I think Mentzer had some amazing theories, and if applied correctly will yield worthwhile results.

BUT, a lot of Mentzers theories worked because his trainees were so beaten down from subpar training/nutrition before starting to work with him. I’m sure this factored into their amazing results. Another factor that must be realized, is the use of anabolics. I have a very close friend who works in the strength training field, and worked with one of Poliquin’s top guys at his facility for a while. According to this guy, (and this by NO MEANS takes anything away from his training knowledge or theories) Charles is juiced out of his mind, as are a lot of his clients. Again, this doesn’t affect his knowledge at all, but it does make some of the unbelievable claims a little more realistic.

S

[quote]The Mighty Stu wrote:
BUT, a lot of Mentzers theories worked because his trainees were so beaten down from subpar training/nutrition before starting to work with him. I’m sure this factored into their amazing results. Another factor that must be realized, is the use of anabolics. I have a very close friend who works in the strength training field, and worked with one of Poliquin’s top guys at his facility for a while. According to this guy, (and this by NO MEANS takes anything away from his training knowledge or theories) Charles is juiced out of his mind, as are a lot of his clients. Again, this doesn’t affect his knowledge at all, but it does make some of the unbelievable claims a little more realistic.

S[/quote]

When did you hear that. Because I read an article saying that he saliva tests his clients before even working with them for anabolics. Especially since the positive test by David Boston was bad. Of course he’s not going to say to a magazine “Oh yeah we use tons and tons of steroids!”

[quote]esk221 wrote:
Charles Poliquin doesn’t do push-ups, he pushes the Earth down.[/quote]

Charles Poliquin can divide by zero.

[quote]Peter Orban wrote:

As for fat loss, with a perfect diet it is easy as hell. I have had clients who are not even very active lose 10 pounds a month while gaining a couple pounds of muscle without training, save a bit of walking. If you are over 10% and can’t lose a bit of fat while gaining muscle, you are either eating poorly, sick, or already huge in comparison to genetic potential. Not eating enough is the same as eating poorly, just with slightly less health consequences.
[/quote]

sorry, just getting to this thread now, but i dont agree with that. When i gain muscle i gain body fat very easily even when at around 13+% bf.
I do HIIT on off days and do progressive hard workouts with a near perfect diet but i still cant seem to not gain significant amounts of fat when adding muscle

I’ve meet someone who mentored under CP.

He said he was an arrogant and root bastard. I like some of his stuff but no coach in the world has the best of everything for everyone figured out.

Unless, your talking about Jones and Darden…

CP is WAY over the top with MOST of his stuff.

[quote]sumgai wrote:
Wimpy wrote:
Always be cautions of those trying to sell you something.

Oh man, that means we all gotta be cautious of this entire website![/quote]

and you should be…

Poliquin is a unique individual that provides great info on a bevy of topics. but so do many others. I think if you obey the principles he seems to follow, it’s great info. however he clearly overstates things, mostly volume (numbers) for supplementation, lifts, basically everything.

still, im a big fan, i’ve learned a lot from him, and I love reading his articles.

[quote]S
Especially since the positive test by David Boston was bad.[/quote]

What do you mean the test was “bad”? As in false positive? Or a bad result for Poliquin?

[quote]mwyatt wrote:
esk221 wrote:
Charles Poliquin doesn’t do push-ups, he pushes the Earth down.

Charles Poliquin can divide by zero.[/quote]

Charles Poliquin can slam a revolving door.

If at first you don’t succeed- you’re obviously not Charles Poliquin.