258 – Ad Ligtvoet – The State of Healthcare, Training and Diet Experiments, and Lessons from Mike Mentzer

Ad Ligtvoet was inspired by Mike Mentzer
Ad Ligtvoet

This podcast was recorded on the 25th March. The content will show you how fast things have moved on regarding COVID-19 since that day.

Ad Ligtvoet is a training instructor and former MedX therapist for Keiser Training in Aachen, Germany. He also runs his own business, Ad Ligtvoet Training Therapy Nutrition, which focuses on helping people restore metabolic health through an efficient and practical application concerning muscle training and nutrition. The exercise program takes place at Ad’s private facility and his nutrition counselling is based on the Bodymed system.

In this episode, Ad Ligtvoet shares his thoughts on the COVID-19 crisis, lessons learnt from Mike Mentzer, updates on his workout and diet, muscle mass optimisation, tips for bodyweight training, and much more.

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Show Notes

  • 2:47 – COVID-19 situation in Netherlands
  • 7:23 – Benefits of a healthy lifestyle on healthcare system
  • 13:50 – Economic and political impact of COVID-19
  • 27:54 – Biggest takeaways from Mike Mentzer 
  • 38:27 – Ad’s workout routine and protein intake 
  • 47:48 – Maximizing muscle mass, diet and meal frequency 
  • 56:32 – Workout tips and lower body exercises

Selected Links from the Episode

People Mentioned

Comments 20

  • Good interview

    The people that I’ve seen that are the longest lived and active and seem strong are those that are wiry, not bulky. They have muscle, but are lean as well.

    Best of luck Ad in your quest for mass. I’m 6’1″ and around 200lbs I’ve done about every strength program out there and I will say I don’t think I’ve gained any more or less muscle on any of them. I tend to do HIT just because it’s efficient.

  • Hi Ryan,
    Regarding the strong old agers that is what I said too. Strength not extra aquired (working out) but as a personal trait seems to be relevant in this aspect. However, strength in this context is something that “just”allows one to stay active. Measuring this is namely also related to internal facts (leverage). On the other hand, my grandmother and her sister lived to 102 years with the last 8 years just sitting due to a hip fracture. So, remembering her I would say she was strong in a general sense but other genetic traits play a factor too. My quest for more mass , as I said, is more for a greated protein account. Any extra strength is welcome.
    JUst HIT? Well that is a too wide generalistion, knowing what all hides under the HIT umbrella. What I often see however are clients that train at HIT facilities yet don’t look in the slightest way if they workout. Once a week a few exercises to so called failure will not do it. Sad that such program is sold as something for maximal results in minimum time.Some have built big facilities (franchise) with such nonsense. Not all btw.
    At one point, one has to enjoy working out and thus some more time investment is wisely invested . Ofcourse we all have our own reasons , motivation and dedication. I hope to axplain more on a podcast in the near future. Stay strong.

  • Yes, HIT is broad. I would say HIT as practiced by Drew Baye or Dr. McGuff is the style of HIT i do. Generally a full body workout a couple of times a week, but I tend to alternate about 3 weeks of that with a week sometimes two of lower reps, heavier weight, no to failure. I respond to both types of training.

    To me it seems like one can treat exercise like a dosage of medicine. I would consider HIT when done as Drew or Dr. McGuff advocate to be a big infrequent dose of medicine. You can also take frequent smaller does which I would consider the more volume less intense protocols to be.

    In my experience both will work as long you counterbalance the work you accomplish in a workout with enough recovery before you work out again.

    I’m 50 and have worked out since 14 on a wide variety of programs. Probably everything but the really high volume body part a day stuff. I never really liked to break the body up that much. Never really liked more than 3 or 4 sessions a week. I have had results from all of them.

    I was always more about strength than the look. These days though I’m letting safety and minimizing wear and tear guide me as much as anything else. I am strong enough that if I go for low reps, I can stress my joints too much. 50 year old joints are not forgiving like the 25 year old joints I used to have were 🙂 So these days it’s about keeping the feeling in the muscle and doing whatever I can to reduce any feeling in the joints.

    Stay safe

  • Ryan,
    Sames we have a lot in common regarding exercise. The more frequent and regular increased resistance are way different from my stated opinions about a growing HIT method. Further do I think that exercise is just one part of the puzzle and that nutrition and enhancement of recovery methods are part of my recent experiment. That besides a different mindset.
    Good point in your comment.

  • Great podcast Ad, very interesting to hear your experiments. For me too, it’s all about mixing things up from time to time, the results can be quite unexpected. For example, I totally bought into the theory (and studies) showing that bodyweight training to failure is all you need. I was following Ted Naiman’s approach (not every day training but every other day though) which made perfect sense to me. I thought I had it all figured out. Then, I lost motivation to train and realised I was not improving. As soon as I got back onto the home weights and back into progressive overload with relatively heavier weights, the improvements started coming again – and I realised how much strength I had lost doing calisthenics. Makes no sense – I would prefer that bodyweight worked for me due to lower risk of injury, no need for equipment, etc but there you go.. The most effective for building mass for me seems to be Martin Berkhan’s ‘Reverse Pyramid Training’ which is very similar to HIT (ie train each muscle group to complete failure once per week, except you split out the muscle groups over 3 training days per week, with 3 hard and heavy sets for each muscle group). It really works for me (30 mins per session, 3 times per week), but the weights do seem to keep going up almost week on week which has pluses and negatives! I have found though, probably the most important element of this is the recovery – my muscles seem to need at least 1 week to recover after being taken to failure.

    And yes, I support you in introducing the whey protein – if you buy pure un-denatured, unflavoured whey protein isolate (very cheap from Bulk Powders online) I see this as a food product not a supplement. Whey has a ton of benefits, everything from helping blood sugar, blood pressure, even anti-carninogenic effects, so I try to take it every day to break my 16:8 fast at midday (together with glycine).

    • Thanks Rob! Hope you and your family are doing OK during this weird time. When you say you lost strength, did you not just lose skill for exercises you weren’t doing? Interesting findings though!

      • Hi Lawrence, sorry for the delay replying: I’ve been rather caught up of late finishing my professional diploma in Nutrition & Lifestyle Coaching (via the Institute of Health Sciences, based in Ireland and London). I’m now in the process of setting up my practice so exciting times ahead! In terms of your question, I find it difficult to understand how 1 month out I could just lose skill – but of course that is possible. It took me 2 months to get back to where I was – I had to go back to less than half of what I was lifting before! My view now is each to his own – find a style of resistance training that you find enjoyable. for me, I just get a real buzz out of those ‘reverse pyramid’ sets of 3 to 5 a la Martin Berkhan (weights) or Ted Naiman (bodyweight). I also enjoy the variety of splitting my workouts across 3 different sessions each week. But whatever floats your boat I guess “just lift”!

        • I meant 3-5 sets, not reps by the way! (I’m not a powerlifter..) Currently, I like to start out quite heavy, say around 5 or 6 reps to failure on the first set, then work down progressively lighter weights with higher reps to failure for another 3 or 4 sets. Doing it this way feels much more enjoyable to me for some reason, as well as pushing myself harder overall..

  • Hi Rob, Thank you.
    Regarding BW exercises I Always ask myself at what point it isn’t a BW exercise anymore. There is often some form of equipment involved for execution and adding resistance. So I personal don’t see some magic in them an more as a solution for a situation when no regular equipment is available. Equipment by itself isn’t of some magic neither. Find the right tension is my name of the game.
    The application science shows that there are many ways to Rome and that makes the art of BB so intersting yet confusing too (if one doesn ‘t see the common).
    Individualism is the core, just as in life.
    The fact that you get stronger by the week tells that there is improvement but what is the improvement if this happens by the week. Hypertrophy itself happens fast but to get a decent amount takes time. Certainly to account for strength improvement by the week. How about you?
    Failure by itself isn’t magic (although I lived by that for a LONG time), it can help or it can contract gains.Besides, I doubt that many on a once a week coockie cutter routine truly reach a momentary muscular failure (different from not being able to move a resistance).
    I too have too find out again how long it takes to recover from my workouts but I can tell you that I do not have that ROBAT fatigue anymore.

    • Ad,
      As you experiment with new training approaches, which of Brian Johnston’s concepts are you finding most valuable?
      Thank you.

  • Fleischman,
    Still experimenting with zone reps. Till now satisfied. A few weeks ago ended the first Blitz period. Very good managable. I’m finding my specific feel for most exercises now in accordance with rep speed and resistance level per muscle group..
    Most important though is individualism, and that entails goals, time and joy of working out. Yes joy. Mind you, I like the HIT idea very much and it is still my core but somethings have become, or rather I accepted, to “clean and strict ” , to much wanting to be “the rational ‘way. I see people wanting a membership to show the world they are rational. Like status. But that is apart from the work outs change for me. Hope I tell more any time soon in a followup podcast.

  • Hi Ad, in a comment above you mentioned “Besides, I doubt that many on a once a week coockie cutter routine truly reach a momentary muscular failure (different from not being able to move a resistance).“
    Could you expand on this and give an example momentary muscular failure.

  • Stevie,
    I’ll try. I have seen numerous people following said routines and witnessed that tehy actually stopped contracting despite claiming they couldn’t do more. Well, their whole body expressions and breathing etc told otherwise.It has less to do with the routines but with the sort of people these routines mostly or prefential attracks for whatever reason. And that also can be seen from results of many years of working out that way……..very little to show for……but that can be a legal individual goal. I know from experioence that often bringing these people to a higher level if not maximal level of effort.will not be appreciated, not by then nor as a result by the business owners. Customers pay the bills!!!!. What do you mean by a example of momentary failure. I suppose that the listeners of this podcast know that. Or??

    • Ad,

      Thank you for taking the time to respond to everyones questions in-depth. It’s very much appreciated. Let’s talk again soon!

    • I’m one of those that can be and loves to be pushed. I can inroad like crazy. Sometimes too far I think. But you are right. A lot of people would simply quit before allowing a trainer to push them that hard.

      Having a trainee that understands they are paying for long term results, not a short term feeling is key.

      I’m glad I train only myself and no one else.

  • I like the idea of muscle tissue as an amino acid reservoir. I recall reading a study conducted on a group of apes (can’t remember the particular species) living in an area with highly variable food supply. They would fatten up and gain muscle during one portion of the year, and then burn fat and lean tissue when food was scarce. So it was a survival mechanism.

    With regard to maintaining an amino acid reservior in old age: maybe too much obsession with getting lean doesn’t make sense past a certain age, because acheiving really low body fat level will typically come at the expense of strength and muscle mass.

    • Greg, Makes sense and I agree. We can look bigger with single digit BF % but at the cost of what we want for looking bigger…… musclemass. Keeping BF at a healthy level is however a goal too.

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