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EyeDentist, How Do You Train?


Gotcha. Since leaning out and conditioning are your primary goals, carb timing is probably less important than if you were doing traditional BBing-type training. Instead of carb timing, I would concentrate on calorie control. Now, it so happens the easiest way for me to control calories is to keep carbs low. Like most people, I find fats and protein more filling/satiating, and (like some, but not all, people) I find carb intake makes me hungrier. For me, carb intake tends to beget more carb intake.

If you don’t want to go full-on low-carb (and who could blame you–it kind of sucks), one technique that has worked for me in the past–and that I think I might employ if I were in your situation–is called The One Hour Window. Per this approach, you would eat low-carb all day (including before and after your two conditioning workouts). However, at dinnertime, you’re allowed to eat carbs, the rule being that you complete your carb intake over the course of one hour. This technique minimizes insulin release, but still allows you to indulge your ‘carb tooth.’ Note that the one-hour window should not turn into 60 unbroken minutes of nonstop carb-gorging. Rather, eat a normal meal’s worth of carbs; just make sure you’re done eating them within an hour. This rule would apply to off-days as well. So long as you keep total calories in check, this technique will allow you to lean out nicely.

Anyway, consider giving it a try. Whatever you decide, please give us an update at some point and let us know how it’s going. And thank you for your service.


ED, thanks, I appreciate the feedback and your support.

I will definitely give the One Hour Window a go…it seems very reasonable, and not too hard to remain disciplined with.

Earlier in the post (around 2014) you mentioned that you eat about 15 kcal / lb for maintenance. Would you suggest around 12 or 13 kcal/lb for leaning out? I’m assuming I need to stick with 1 gm / lb of protein.

Also, I was thinking about starting around 100 g carbs on work days (no or incidental carbs on rest days)…and reduce as needed until I find a sweet spot. What are your thoughts on that?

Everything else makes sense to me and seems easy enough to execute. Again, I appreciate your help.



12-13 cal/lb is a good starting point. And yes, 1g/lb is a good rule of thumb for protein intake.

If you’re doing the 1 Hr Window, you don’t necessarily have to count carbs so long as your intake is reasonable as discussed above. But if you’re wanting to count them in order to accurately track cals, 100 g/d (which is just over two cups of cooked rice) is a reasonable place to start. Cutting out all but incidental carbs on non-workout days is fine too.


I love seeing how different we all are. I prefer carbs and protein to feel satiated. I cut up potatoes and grill them in a foil bag or bake them on a cookie sheet. They are my favorite side dish because they’re so low in calories. I can eat 3-4 medium sized potatoes and it’s only 300-400 calories but actually a large portion of food.

That being said, I try to keep carb consumption limited to the first two - thirds of the day so I try not to have potatoes at dinner.


Well, I have to say you were 100% correct on that one. I’ve been slamming my HBCD/protein cocktail on my way to the gym, and the difference is night and day. That light headed feeling is gone. Plus, I’ve been able to skip the pre-workout peanut butter sandwich.


Awesome! Glad I was right (for once). Just goes to show, even a blind squirrel can find a nut now and then.



Been a while since we’ve seen an update. Can you enlighten us on your current training and diet approaches? I for one greatly appreciate this thread, probably one of the best on the entire site.

Also, can you share your thoughts now on the concept of training upper body push/pull on non-consecutive days? I know you do for some time and I believe you are doing something different now, but what are your general thoughts - yes or nay? I’m considering the following and think you could provide some insight (if willing!) because of your training history:

MWF - Upper body, rotating push/pull
TT - Lower body, more conditioning focused
Weekends - Rest (Family, work, etc.)

Basically, what do you think about the frequency of upper body albeit rotating push/pull?

Thanks in advance for any feedback you can provide.



Hey Derek, thanks for the kind words. As I mentioned upthread, I’ve been struggling with my metabolism, which seems to have slowed dramatically over the past year, and was worsened by my stubborn attempts to flog my weight into submission via crazy amounts of LISS.

Anyway, I decided I needed some help, so I turned to the online trainer who prepped me for my Physique show a few years ago. At his behest, I have ‘turned my brain off’ and am trusting him to manipulate my intake and workouts as he sees fit. This hasn’t been easy–on his plan I gained 15 pounds, quickly, before my weight stabilized. (One of my elderly, no-filter patients whom I hadn’t seen in 6 months sat down in the exam chair, looked at me and said “Dr ED, you got fat.” Ouch.) My metabolism is still not good–my current BMR is a little under 10 cals/lb/d. But I’m committed to trusting the process.

Workout-wise, he feels like I was doing way too much, and the subsequent chronically high cortisol levels contributed to my metabolic issues. He has me lifting 4x/week, working each bodypart once per week (#brosplit). Additionally, I end each workout with a 12-round session of HIIT. (Ugh.) Off days are just that–off. No more LISS. (For now? Forever? I have no idea.) We’ll see how it goes.

To be clear: When you say ‘Push’ and ‘Pull,’ are you using these terms in the traditional sense (Push = Chest/Shoulders/Triceps; Pull = Back/Biceps)? Or are you using it in the nontraditional way I did way upthread (Push = any movement involving the triceps; Pull = any movement involving the biceps)?

Put another way: Are you wanting to train your entire upper body (except bis and tris) on all three upper-body days?


Thanks for the reply ED, specifically sharing your current situation. I imagine even with the extra few pounds, you still have a better physique than most guys in the gym.

Regarding my question, if possible I’d actually like both viewpoints! I’m wresting with this type of training versus just trusting an upper/lower split. My brain says upper body three times a week, albeit splitting it based on push/pull, still gives me more work on upper body as it’s three times vs two times. I’m curious if the extra effort makes a difference, especially considering recovery. I know that individual differences (we are all n=1) but you seemed to have run this for a while. Would you recommend it? You advocated at one point but we all grow wiser through experience and I’d love your take on it.


What are your short- and long-term physique and/or fitness goals?


So I know, maybe assuming too much, that you are a huge fan of the mountain dog training style. However, many propose or feel that MD is for only the advanced bodybuilder. My question becomes then how would you “attack” the challenge of programming for a beginner and intermediate bodybuilder? Would you still use mountain dog principles, would it be just your average bro-split with the typical heavy compound followed by moderate rep/weight work? Would you even use mountain dog for a beginner bodybuilder and intermediate alike. So with someone whose goals is to become a bodybuilder or men’s physique competitor, given your training philosophy, would you program according to the MD principles and how? Could prompt a fun discussion. As always, I love all the info in this thread, very informative.


Short-term goals - increase upper body muscle mass and definition. I’m not a bodybuilder nor even a physique guy. I’m a husband, father, and mental health professional. I want to look strong and be strong. I want to take care of my family and I’m very active in self defense, which does have potential application at work. I want to be healthy and be fit, albeit this focus on training is geared to the first goal mentioned. Might as well look good for the wife too. Lower body goals are just keep hips healthy. Strong legs but don’t need tree trunks. Not sure if this helps. Maybe I’m too vague. But that’s my picture. I want to do things right so I seek help on here because you guys obviously know what you’re doing.

Long-term - maintain the short-term goal.

Please let me know if this helps you help me!


You assume correctly.

I wouldn’t train a true beginner MD style, for multiple reasons (eg, not necessary to garner noob gains; beginners don’t have the movements dialed in well enough to safely do them near muscular failure; the excruciating DOMS would likely turn them off from lifting). But once a person has reached intermediate status, I don’t see why they shouldn’t start MDing.

Yup, particularly with regard to intra-workout programming, as well as the judicious, intelligent application of intensification techniques.


It does. Are you a BJJ guy? How often do you train self-defense, what does it entail, and how intense (in terms of exercise effort) is it?


Negative, I have some experience with BJJ, but most of my training now is boxing/MT. I also train with firearms and have begun some karambit training, but neither of those are physically taxing. I hit the bag/pads once or twice a week, TT evenings. My strength training has to be in the morning before work. I’ve been thinking more about this as I have been posting. Ideally I just want my upper body to look like I’m strong, particularly with a shirt on. My upper body does not elude this right now. I am just s typical looking guy, minus a gut. I’m currently 6’, 183 lbs. Never been overweight, but also never been jacked or ripped. Most people, if they ask if I participate in anything, go with soccer or mountain biking. Apparently my legs look athletic although I don’t have any real long term athletic experiences (college athlete) or anything of that nature. Again, not sure if this helps or if I’m rambling!


I had to google karambit. Scary.

If I were advising you (which I guess I am?), I’d suggest making delts the primary focus of your upper-body days. You want to train 3 days/week; conveniently, the delts have three heads. Thus, you can give each delt head its own day of emphasis (cross-stimulation is inevitable, and not a problem), and build the rest of your workout around the delt work. For example:

Monday–Lateral delts
Exercise 1: DB laterals. 5 sets (not including warm-ups). Weight should allow you to work in the 12-20 rep range. Rest ~60-s between sets.
Exercise 2: Wide-grip upright rows (or snatch-grip high pulls). The rows can be performed with a bar, DBs, or cable. (SGHPs pretty much require a barbell.) Feeler sets as needed, then 5 sets of 8-12 reps, reverse-pyramid fashion. Rest 2 minutes between sets. On the last set, employ some form of intensification technique (drop set; rest-pause).

Throw in 4-6 working sets of the lat exercise(s) of your choice.

Wednesday–Front delts
Exercise 1: Shoulder presses. Can be done with BB, DBs, machine, bands, what have you. Seated or standing. Lots of warm-up/feeler sets, then 5 hard sets in the 8-12 rep range, resting 2-3 minutes between sets.
Exercise 2: Incline chest press. Gotta fill out that space beneath the clavicles. DBs or BB, your choice. Can also consider doing them hex press style: https://www.t-nation.com/training/tip-build-pecs-with-the-hex-press
Same parameters as shoulder press (5 hard sets in the 8-12 rep range, resting 2-3 minutes between sets)

Throw in 4-6 working sets of the triceps exercise(s) of your choice.

Friday–Rear Delts
Exercise 1: Face pulls. Can be done with cable or bands. 5 sets (not including warm-ups). Resistance that allows you to work in the 12-20 rep range. Rest ~60-s between sets.
Exercise 2: Behind-the-back upright rows. These are best done on a Smith machine, but can be done with a free BB, DBs, or bands. Feeler sets, then 5 sets of 8-12 reps, reverse-pyramid. Two minutes between sets. On the last set, employ an intensification technique.

Throw in 4-6 working sets of the biceps exercise(s) of your choice.

Note that the days are Pull/Push/Pull; by grouping exercises in this manner, we lower the risk of an overuse injury to the triceps and/or biceps (voice of experience speaking here).

When children run away in fear at the sight of your cannonball delts and freaky traps, don’t come crying to me!


Not likely to apply to me, but just out of sheer curiosity, do you have a video of this?

I’m having a hard time imagining how one would do behind-the-back-upright-rows…


Thanks for all of the help in this ED. Going back to my original question, I presume you still support the idea of working upper body theee times with focus on push/pull. Never thought of doing such with the emphasis on shoulders. I will start this Monday.

And don’t be afraid of the karambit. Statistically, more people are killed in the US with hammers. But hammers aren’t as cool looking, and my wife’s family is Filipino so my brother in law sold me on it. Thanks again for your help. I’ll give it a couple of months and see what happens.


As for supporting three days of alternating Push/Pull work, it depends. If care is taken to group exercises so that they are truly Push and truly Pull (the way I did it above), I don’t have a problem with it. However, if ‘Push’ is simply a euphemism for ‘Chest/Shoulders/Triceps’ and ‘Pull’ for ‘Back/Biceps,’ I’m not nearly so big a fan. This is because less-than-careful exercise selection could result in excess stress on the biceps and/or triceps (specifically, their tendons). Consider: If ‘Push’ simply means ‘Chest,’ there no reason one couldn’t include heavy flies (a biceps-straining exercise) on the so-called Push day. If you then turn and around and do a Pull workout (rows/pulldowns; biceps) two days later, and then another flys-involving Chest workout two days after that, you are in effect doing heavy Biceps 3x/week–too much, in my opinion.

So far as I’m concerned, if someone wants to give high-frequency training a go, I see nothing wrong with working Chest, Back and Shoulders 3x/week (so long as the volume and intensity are kept in check). But for long-term tendon health, IMO such a program has to be devised in a way that recognizes the relative vulnerability of the biceps and triceps tendons to overuse injury.

IMO, big delts/traps, coupled with your already-tight waist, is key to looking jacked in a shirt. Further, I’m inferring that you have limited time (you’re a dad who has to w/o in the AM), and other physical demands–your lower-body conditioning, plus your various hop-and-chop interests. Thus, IMO your limited time and energy should be directed where it will do the most good vis a vis reaching your goals. #getyoked


Good post! And good timing for me as I’m currently putting some additional focus into my lagging delts for a bit. I’ll definitely be stealing some of these ideas, thanks!