The Stronger By Science Podcast


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Bill O'Reilly
 May 30, 2019


Greg Nuckols and Eric Trexler from Stronger By Science share evidence, anecdotes, and incoherent ramblings on training, nutrition, science, and life in general.

Episode Date
Q&A: Hormonal Contraceptives, Rates of Weight Loss/Weight Gain, Timeline of Training Adaptations

Remember: If you want your questions answered on a future episode, submit them using one of the following links:


0:00:41 – USA > The Netherlands

0:03:12 – How do birth control and menstrual cycle hormones affect periodization? Should I program with that in mind?

0:12:02 – If you’re trying to lose fat but maintain performance, what is the “optimal” rate of weight loss?

0:16:49 – Eric is unable to read

0:17:29 – For the folks with anterior pelvic tilt, what are some tips for maintaining a neutral pelvis while squatting and deadlifting?

0:22:08 – When bulking, should you continuously re-calculate your maintenance calorie requirements as you go?

0:26:57 – Do connective tissues display a delayed response to resistance training? If so, what does Greg know about it?

0:39:21 – Related discussion on human growth hormone

0:47:58 – Is there any benefit to manipulating dietary fat distribution throughout the week (in essence, “fat cycling”)?

0:56:32 – Which is better: 10mm or 13mm belt?

1:00:29 – Do you know how intra-abdominal pressure is measured?

1:01:49 – Eric references the disturbing horror film, “The Human Caterpillar”

1:02:29 – When we do resistance exercise, how long does it take for hypertrophy to manifest?

1:14:57 – Greg has previously talked about turning a good hypertrophy program into a good strength program by adding some singles. Practically speaking, how do you implement this strategy?

1:19:41 – How do you help clients that struggle with motivation, emotional decision-making, or taking responsibility for their decisions?

1:29:08 – Does blending your food render it less nutritious?

Jul 18, 2019
Drug Testing, New Supplement Research, Squat Science, and Dr. Eric Helms

Time stamps:

0:00:28 Addressing the ludicrous allegations that we didn’t create the first ever fitness podcast

0:03:05 Addressing the very true allegations that we are mad at Omar Isuf and Eric Helms

0:05:44 Feats of strength; Greg forgets that Brian Shaw is American

0:18:53 A discussion on drug testing in sport

Papers discussed: Cohen et al 2014,
Van Wagoner et al 2017

0:40:10 Research round-up: New studies on protein and overfeeding

Papers discussed: Charidemou et al, Kassis et al, Johannsen et al.

0:55:14 Research round-up: New studies on HMB supplementation

Papers discussed: Tritto et al, Teixeira et al ,

0:55:42 Mark Teixeira’s career MLB stats

0:57:07 Research review: Surprising new study on ecdysterone supplementation

Study reviewed: Isenmann et al. Ecdysteroids as non-conventional anabolic agent: performance enhancement by ecdysterone supplementation in humans.

1:16:03 Which muscle groups are really targeted by the back squat? Greg discusses his new article, which is available here:

1:32:39 To play us out: A gentle reminder that GREG IS NOT A HOST.

1:34:30 Interview with Dr. Eric Helms

1:34:58 Eric Helms’ background

1:39:37 Helms is currently prepping for a bodybuilding competition. Compared to previous competition preps, what is he doing differently this time around?

1:40:51 Doing contest prep without strictly tracking macros

1:48:31 How low do Helms’ calories get during contest prep?

1:54:05 How long is Helms’ current prep going to be?

2:00:12 When you get late into a weight loss phase, do you cut down training volume or intensity?

2:06:37 Are you doing anything to proactively address reductions in non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) during contest prep?

2:07:33 Helms and Trexler bash the regular use of HIIT during contest prep

2:08:02 Does Helms have any strategies or approaches that he likes to use, despite the fact that they aren’t necessarily backed by scientific evidence?

2:10:02 What are a lot of bodybuilders getting wrong these days? (Discussion: Ideal training frequency for bodybuilding)

2:13:54 Training studies are often quite short, and in relatively untrained people. Do the results from these short-term studies translate to long-term differences over a training career?

2:19:31 Is bodybuilding unhealthy? Should it be encouraged?

2:28:11 Helms plugs his “podcast” with Omar Isuf
(Note: after a thorough review, it does not meet the Stronger By Science criteria for formal identification as a “fitness podcast,” and therefore is not the first fitness podcast ever)

2:30:50 How can people get in touch with Helms?

Jul 11, 2019
Q&A: CBD, Junk Volume, Eccentric Training, and Building a Following in Fitness

Remember: If you want your questions answered on a future episode, submit them using one of the following links: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

3:31 “What is your opinion on CBD?”

10:07 “Does volume or intensity drive strength gains?”

20:10 “Is ‘junk volume’ a real thing?”

23:53 “If we say that metabolite accumulation may play a causative role in hypertrophy, shouldn’t that mean that supplements designed to enhance the pump actually increase hypertrophy?”

39:14 “I’ve read that having a lower body fat percentage is more conducive to building muscle/strength. Is there truth to this, or is the change in body function/hormones negligible between high and low body fat percentage?”

48:19 “How possible is it that eccentric overload causes preferential hypertrophy of titin, meaning that people who only perform conventional training get a percentage of the available gains? What study designs/tools (blood markers, biopsies) would you use to test? If true, what kind of difference do you feel it would amount to?”

57:16 “In regards to re-feeds and/or diet breaks, from what I understand at least 2 consecutive days of re-feeding is needed to have any impact on the metabolic adaptations of a prolonged calorie deficit (3 days is probably better). That being said, how much of an effect does it really have, and is the cost to benefit ratio really worth it?

1:06:18 “How did you (Greg) build a following in the fitness industry?”

Jul 04, 2019
Caffeine and Health, Sex-Based Caffeine Differences, and IPF World Champion Natalie Hanson

Time stamps:

1:01 Fitness podcasters: you’re on notice

3:01 Feats of strength

15:38 Research Review. “25 cups of coffee per day is not unhealthy”- any truth to this?

Study abstract

19:43 Who the hell is drinking 25 cups of coffee a day?

21:09 What happens when you turn a continuous variable into a grouped variable?

33:43 Is caffeine bad for heart health?

35:18 What’s the highest daily caffeine dose that seems to be okay?

37:52 What factors affect caffeine metabolism and the relationship between caffeine and health? (Genes, diet, hormones, etc.)

40:05 Why do lifters like caffeine so much?

42:19 Eric realizes he needs to diversify his friend network to incorporate some non-lifters

46:53 Relationship between caffeine, theacrine, and sleep issues

52:04 Research review. Do men and women experience the same performance effects from caffeine?

Study link

52:59 The gap between male research and female research in exercise science

55:37 Study design, methods, and results

1:00:06 Why this study is so important

1:07:16 Interview with Natalie Hanson

1:07:43 Recap of IPF World Bench Press Championships

1:15:20 How often does Natalie miss reps or reach failure while training?

1:16:21 Natalie formally receives permission to cuss on the podcast

1:20:23 Raw vs. equipped lifting: How much of a boost does Natalie get from her equipment?

1:21:32 How hard is it to transition from raw to equipped powerlifting? How long does it take to learn to use the equipment effectively and refine your technique?

1:26:06 Experimentation, deviating from popularized training advice, and the influence of social media

1:30:12 As a multiple-time world champion, what is Natalie’s favorite moment in powerlifting so far?

1:36:49 Why are single-ply bench press records increasing so rapidly?

1:41:39 Moving forward, does Natalie plan to compete raw, equipped, or both?

1:42:56 What is Natalie up to at Corvus Strength Co.?

1:48:37 What are some unique challenges or social pressures that women experience in strength sports?

1:54:46 The balance between body image, body weight, and strength goals

1:59:32 What are some steps that people can take to help shift attitudes and help women feel more comfortable in strength sports and other fitness communities?

2:04:42 Deciding when to bump up or down a weight class

2:09:53 Continuing the conversation with women in strength sports moving forward

2:22:15 How to stay in touch with Natalie: Corvus Strength Co. and Instagram

Jun 27, 2019
Q&A: Dropping Weight, Building Strength to Promote Hypertrophy, and Training Around Pain

Remember: If you want your questions answered on a future episode, submit them using one of the following links: Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

0:57 “Is there any carry over or need to develop strength in the 1-5 rep range in order for that strength to be carried over into the 8-12 rep range for hypertrophy promotion?”

Meta-analysis of high load vs. low-load training; similar hypertrophy in spite of different strength gains. Also worth noting that the theory behind reverse linear periodization (starting with low volume/high intensity and progressing to high volume/lower intensity) is that early strength gains will help lead to more hypertrophy, but that’s never panned out in the research (one example here).

14:33 “When in a caloric deficit, should you reduce training volume, or training intensity?”

Localized depletion of stored glycogen.

27:11 “How should you train for explosive activities, such as parkour?”

Individualized programming for people with force vs. velocity deficits.

37:30 “Does pineapple belong on pizza?”

41:32 “Which is best: chicken wing, chicken thigh, or chicken breast?”

47:51 “What’s the best way to cut weight for powerlifting, in terms of performance?

54:30 “When you have pain during a certain exercise, how do you decide whether it’s worth rehabbing that movement vs. picking a different exercise?”

58:29 “What things have contributed most to your success in powerlifting/bodybuilding?”

1:15:03 How to get YOUR questions answered on the show

Jun 20, 2019
Supplement Regulation, Steroids, and Rick Collins, Esq.

To keep up with Rick Collins and all of his work in the realm of steroid and supplement law, check him out on Facebook, Instagram, his website, or his regular column in Muscular Development magazine.


0:36 Eric is sick of being called “The Next Bo Jackson”

5:50 Greg shares some feats of strength

27:39 Eric defends himself against baseless accusations of methamphetamine use

30:08 How exactly are dietary supplements regulated by the government?

Note: For more information on this topic, be sure to check out the Stronger By Science article on dietary supplement regulation

34:45 History of prohormones on the supplement market

36:20 Review of a paper showing that prohormones remained on the supplement market after they were recalled by the FDA

38:16 What exactly counts as a “dietary supplement,” according to the law? How do new ingredients find their way onto the market?

42:23 What is “self-affirmed generally recognized as safe?”

45:52 Review of a paper showing that banned stimulants remained on the supplement market after they were recalled by the FDA.

51:05 Is CBD oil actually a supplement, legally speaking?

56:16 How can consumers make safe, informed decisions about which supplements to take?

1:02:51 To play us out: just because something is on PubMed, doesn’t mean it automatically counts as rigorous evidence. Greg and Eric share two examples that they recently found

1:13:45 Interview with Rick Collins, Esq, CSCS begins

1:16:36 How did Rick carve out a niche as the top lawyer in the world of steroids and dietary supplements?

1:21:33 Rick explains how the government regulates dietary supplements in detail

1:29:08 What are “current good manufacturing practices?”

1:34:39 Do new supplement ingredients require “approval” from the government?

1:39:36 Rick explains the “self-affirmed generally recognized as safe” exemption for new supplement ingredients

1:43:54 The history of non-supplement ingredients being sold as supplements (pro-hormones, stimulants, etc.)

1:49:10 Selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs)

1:54:34 Are “designer stimulants” still prevalent on the supplement market?

1:58:38 People often blame failed drug tests on tainted supplements. Are they being truthful, or is that just a convenient excuse?

2:09:10 Do we need more laws to help regulate the supplement industry?

2:11:00 Rick weighs in on the legal status of CBD oil supplement products

2:15:15 How to stay in touch with Rick Collins

Jun 13, 2019
Q&A: Beltless Training, Leucine, and the Health Benefits of Strength

Stronger By Science will now be releasing an episode every single week. Every other episode will be a “Question & Answer” (Q&A) episode, in which Eric and Greg answer questions submitted by listeners. If you want your questions answered on a future episode, please submit them using any of the following links:

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1:30 Should you change the way you train as you approach the age of 40 (and beyond)? How and why do performance and recovery change as we age?

11:42 Considering the result of this 2014 study, would you see similar long-term results from eating a normal amount of a whole protein source, or a smaller protein dose that is supplemented with extra leucine?

Article on dietary amino acid balance and hyperphagia.

19:53 What’s your take on long-term effects of heavy lifting on spine and joint health?

31:47 Any recommendations for lifters with spinal loading issues?

43:27 For an advanced lifter, is beltless training useless?

49:02 At what point do you see diminished returns when it comes to the health benefits of getting stronger?

56:40 What would happen if Terry Tao started studying exercise science? What kind of progress would the field make?

1:07:47 A few scientific fields have recently identified issues with replication, reproducibility, and transparency in research. How prevalent are these issues in exercise science?

Jun 06, 2019
Sex Differences in Fatigue and Recovery, and Dr. Jason Cholewa


00:02:09 Introducing Master Greg Nuckols

00:06:06 Eric was confused at The Avengers: Endgame

00:09:44 Feats of Strength: John Haack, Marianna Gasparyan

00:16:35 Background and rationale for Greg’s study (fatigue and recovery differences between men and women)

00:32:26 Study design and methods for Greg’s study

00:42:18 A summary of the results of the study

00:46:38 How do Greg’s results apply to “real world” training?

00:52:33 To Play Us Out: Advice for pursuing a degree in Exercise Science

01:06:34 Interview with Dr. Jason Cholewa (Associate Professor, Coastal Carolina University)

01:07:57 Jason’s background

01:10:04 Jason’s research on how betaine supplementation affects body composition and strength performance

01:20:52 Multi-ingredient pre-workout supplement formulas

01:31:17 The state of research in exercise science and sports nutrition

01:43:00 The state of higher education

01:55:43 Non-evidence-based strategies: does pre-competition cryotherapy help for bodybuilding/physique athletes?

Get one-on-one coaching from the Stronger By Science team: . All coaching packages are discounted until June 6.

May 30, 2019
Creatine, Genetics, and Dr. Peter Fitschen

Outline and Timestamps

0:00:00 Preview of today’s topics

0:01:15 Introductions

0:02:38 Format of the podcast and (low) expectations

0:10:59 Discussion on the link between creatine and hair loss

0:17:48 Summary of study linking creatine to hair loss

0:24:16 Does an increase in DHT necessarily mean more rapid hair loss? And how does this relate to anabolic steroids and hair loss?

0:26:28 Interesting theories from the hair loss literature

0:31:40 The interaction between caffeine and creatine, and gastrointestinal discomfort associated with creatine supplementation

0:38:45 How do combinations of dietary supplements work when consumed together?

0:42:55 How do your genes, and even just knowing about your genes, affect your performance and physiology?

0:49:18 Which makes a bigger difference: your actual genes, or your perception of your genetic predisposition? Is direct-to-consumer genetic testing a good idea for determining your athletic potential?

0:57:26 How strong do people get when they think they’re on steroids, but actually aren’t?

1:06:06 In the first (and final) installment of “Eric’s Seder Stories,” we discuss how gems and crystals relate to exercise science

1:16:17 Interview with Dr. Peter Fitschen begins. Peter shares his background in research and bodybuilding

1:18:52 Peter gets reprimanded for shamelessly shilling his new book

1:19:50 Peter’s research on HMB supplementation

1:26:01 Peter’s research on blood flow restricted training

1:35:20 Peter’s research on bodybuilding contest preparation

1:38:17 “Peak week” approaches for bodybuilding

1:47:55 Making weight for strength sports

1:55:04 Peter’s new book on training and nutrition for bodybuilding


Eric's article: Not Another Boring Creatine Guide: Answers to FAQs and Lesser-Known Benefits

Greg's article: Genetics-Based Expectations Affect Your Physiology

Peter's book: Bodybuilding: The Complete Contest Preparation Handbook

May 09, 2019