Iron Culture was started by Eric Helms and Omar Isuf as a means of exploring the world of physical culture and attempting to distill a unified philosophy of lifting and to help listeners find greater meaning from the iron. The lifting community has become fractured over the last ~70 years and this Podcast will attempt to explore the fundamental threads that unite these different tribes. The Podcast focuses on dispensing practical, useful information to the listener, bouncing from history, to philosophy, to contemporary lifting culture issues, to science. This can range from teaching the audience about lifting, programming, nutrition, supplements/PEDs and the history of lifting culture. The format includes casual conversations between the two hosts on a variety of topics, discussions with a panel of experts and interviews with authoritative figures in the lifting community.
Why Research Won’t Help Your Training (Especially On A Tuesday)
For many, research is taken to represent a framework for understanding concepts that can then be applied to their own training.
This can be taken too far when some hope to divine exact details that apply specifically to their own journey. Research isn’t meant to tell you (dear listener) how to train on a Tuesday.
What is the best way to properly utilize the current literature to better our own lifting journeys? Two hunks set out to explore this very topic.
00:00 Introducing another MONSTER episode (and reviewing reviews and continuing the feud with the macrofactor podcast)
06:56 How training to failure research is really conducted
Warneke 2022 Influence of Long-Lasting Static Stretching on Maximal Strength, Muscle Thickness and Flexibility https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9174468/
Iron Culture Ep. 197: Training To Failure: A Comprehensive Overview https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oa8Z-fUuiNU
Halperin 2021 Accuracy in Predicting Repetitions to Task Failure in Resistance Exercise: A Scoping Review and Exploratory Meta-analysis https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34542869/
34:00 The death of the “expert” (and Mr Train-to-failure)
44:01 Study designs: disconfirming hypotheses vs proving something to be true
Iron Culture Ep. 196- How Much Training Do Powerlifters Actually Need To Get Stronger (Ft. Dr. Pak) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2EJ0Qp6spGQ
Bell 2022 “You can't shoot another bullet until you've reloaded the gun” https://sportrxiv.org/index.php/server/preprint/view/208
1:01:52 Barriers to research and the mistrust of science
Monaghan 2001 Challenging medicine? Bodybuilding, drugs and risk https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/1467-9566.00180
Li 2022 Self-Reported Training and Supplementation Practices Between Performance-Enhancing Drug-User Bodybuilders Compared with Natural Bodybuilders https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36165879/
1:21:00 Appeal to swoleness: researchers in sport science and the application of findings
1:32:40 How science can change practice: the BCAA example
Hackett 2013 Training practices and ergogenic aids used by male bodybuilders https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22990567/
Iron Culture Ep. 182 - How to call out B.S. and Pseudoscience https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckzuycwnRH8
1:45:42 Concluding thoughts
Training To Failure: A Comprehensive Overview
In this episode we are excited to revisit an ever-controversial topic in bodybuilding, training to failure! Yes, we’ve discussed this before on Iron Culture, and yes, people have surprisingly (but maybe not so much when you dissect it…) strong feelings about training to failure. You may remember that one of the biggest limitations in the literature we previously discussed in our last episode was that there are different ways of defining failure. Should we be lumping together studies that use “momentary muscular failure” with studies that used “repetition maximums” or “voluntary failure”? Probably not. But great news, Martin Refalo a Ph.D. candidate at Deakin University specifically studying the effect of failure on hypertrophy joins us in this episode. Martin recently published a scoping review and a subsequent meta-analysis that specifically identified these differences in failure types and analyzed the literature based on these distinctions, as well as looking at velocity loss thresholds to provide new and important insights on this topic! Tune in to learn more!
How Much Training Do Powerlifters Actually Need To Get Stronger (Feat Dr. Pak)
We are delighted to have Dr Patroklos Androulakis-Korakakis on Iron Culture! “Dr. Pak” is a researcher and lecturer at Solent University, coach at stronger by science, and finally, a lifting enthusiast himself. He did his PhD on powerlifting. Specifically, he conducted research to answer the question: “how much training do powerlifters need to do, to make meaningful increases in strength?” This question led him to conduct interviews and surveys with the best powerlifters and powerlifting coaches in the world to first understand what they consider “meaningful” strength gains to be, and then he conducted some of the very few longitudinal training studies on competing powerlifters to determine just how much work they need to do to get better. Join us in this fascinating look at the inner workings of his research, as well as some of the more recent research he’s currently involved with, bridging the gaps in terminology and application between science and practice.
Overreaching, Deloads & Tapers: Nutrition Considerations
"Should I cut my calories back during deloads?” This incredibly common question pops up all the time online, and there are a few things to consider when answering it. First, the purpose of a deload, technically, is to recover after an overreaching phase. What do we expect after an overreaching phase? Are these expectations compatible with a reduction in calories? Secondly, we need to consider the differences in total energy expenditure between a deload week, and the preceding training, which again, consisted of an overreaching phase. Finally, in this episode, we discuss other cases, for example “deloads” that don’t occur after overreaching, deloads following strength/intensity-based overreaching, tapers, and intro weeks. While the question is simple, the answer has a bit of nuance, so join us to learn these details!
00:00 Intro: addressing the “alliance” with Stronger ByScience
12:07 Eric’s damage control apology and appeal to the Iron Culture HR department
17:05 The effects of deloads on muscle hypertrophy: should you cut calories on a deload?
Bjørnsen 2018 Delayed myonuclear addition, myofiber hypertrophy, and increases in strength with high-frequency low-load blood flow restricted training to volitional failurehttps://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30543499/
Vann 2022 Effects of High-Volume Versus High-Load Resistance Training on Skeletal Muscle Growth and Molecular Adaptationshttps://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35360253/
39:22 The differences between deloading and tapering for competition and
Damas 2019 Myofibrillar protein synthesis and muscle hypertrophy individualized responses to systematically changing resistance training variables in trained young menhttps://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31268828/
Travis 2020 Preparing for a National Weightlifting Championship: A Case Serieshttps://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31373973/
53:55 Change in energy expenditure during deloads
Lytle 2019 Predicting Energy Expenditure of an Acute Resistance Exercise Bout in Men and Womenhttps://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30768553/
Iron Culture Ep. 66- Cardio for Lifters: Everything that Matters https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpjZCp6lX24
107:58 Closing out
Getting Shredded…But Not Competing
Mr Dr. Ben House is back on Iron Culture, but this time, he’s fully indoctrinated. That’s right, Ben is making a push to experience what it’s like to get into bodybuilding stage condition. He’s been collaborating with Eric in the process, learning to pose, reincorporating tracking after a long time away, and getting leaner than lean. When is he competing you ask? Believe it or not, he’s probably not going to! Ben decided to do this for a few reasons, first to support a friend who is a competitor, second to get the experience of what it’s like so he can be a better coach and also make more accurate representations in his content, and finally, he’s scientifically interested in exploring how to find one’s lower intervention point. Ben wants to know just how sustainable or unsustainable being in such a position is. Learn about not only his experience in this episode, and what he’s learned, but also how we integrate concepts like energy availability and body fat regulation in terms of practical application.
00:00 (Re)introducing Dr Ben House and how this episode came to be
9:26 Ben’s dieting journey
Iron Culture Ep. 192- He's Not Just A Bodybuilder (ft. Mr. Universe Alberto Nunez) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kseqS8jFgbg
20:10 Ben’s experience of getting shredded
37:20 Getting to the summit and how it could affect your life
Towards a Sustainable Nutrition Paradigm in Physique Sport: A Narrative Review https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31315180/
49:00 🚨❗️ Officially entering monster episode territory❗️🚨
52:46 The physiological effects of getting lean
Trexler 2017 Physiological Changes Following Competition in Male and Female Physique Athletes: A Pilot Study https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28422530/
Longstrom 2020 Physiological, Psychological and Performance-Related Changes Following Physique Competition: A Case-Series https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33467243/
Iron Culture Ep. 14- Why Lifters Lose Motivation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ErMpLl106Vw
1:03:33 Framing energy availability and what is “healthy”?
Can You Stay Shredded? https://www.strongerbyscience.com/stay-shredded/
Iron Culture Ep. 146- What The Fitness Industry Gets Wrong About The Obesity Epidemic https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xfAbKeiAuII
1:10:41 Individual differences in metabolic adaptation and the ability to live in low energy availability
1:23:30 Is Omar getting shredded!?
1:31:35 Closing out and where to find Mr Dr Ben House
Deconstruct Nutrition: https://www.deconstructnutrition.com/
Your Maximum Muscular Potential: Are Gains Always Diminishing? (Q&A)
We’re back with another Q&A episode! Our first question is about the utility, if there is any, of doing singles at a low RPE. Basically, if singles are a specificity tool, why do them light? Great question, and often, the premise of a question needs to be addressed to get a more useful answer. Then, we address the question of whether gains are linear, especially in advanced lifters. Just what the heck is going on when we see an advanced lifter seemingly make a slew of progress after a long plateau (and no we aren’t talking about them jumping on gear)?
00:00 Intro: reviewing reviews and the obligatory banter
10:48 Giving everyone the boot: an update on Eric’s calf training
Iron Culture Ep. 189 Stretching & Range of Motion for Strength and Hypertrophy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFrO2UQoIBg
Warneke 2022 Influence of Long-Lasting Static Stretching on Maximal Strength, Muscle Thickness and Flexibility https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphys.2022.878955/full
17:50 Q&A #1 The function and utility of performing low(er) RPE singles
Iron Culture Ep. 143 Everything You Need To Know About Velocity Based Training https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HFLZz2k11D0&t=1983s
38:40 Q&A #2 Are gains linear or do they come in spurts in the advanced lifter?
Bjørnsen 2018 Delayed myonuclear addition, myofiber hypertrophy, and increases in strength with high-frequency low-load blood flow restricted training to volitional failure https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30543499/
Bjørnsen 2019 Type 1 Muscle Fiber Hypertrophy after Blood Flow-restricted Training in Powerlifters https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30188363/
MASS Research Review https://www.strongerbyscience.com/mass/
Iron Culture Ep. 109 Empiricism vs Rationalism: What Do We Really Know When It Comes To Fitness? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qT3KPnTgO7M&t=492s
1:20:01 Q&A #3 How do you know if you have actually plateaued?
1:29:44 Closing out with some Blueberry Bis
Iron Brolture is the punk rock of evidence based fitness content
Eight o clock Monday night and I’m waiting
To finally listen to a lifter a little cooler than me
His name is Eric
He’s a doctor and he’s hunky
He’s got a milo tattoo, but I’m not quite sure what that means
But when he talks
All the gym bro and the swole kings sing
“Gotta get me some hypertrophy”
Cause he’s watchin’ Omar jerk
Creamin’ over jorts ‘n thighs
Listenin’ to the research
Huge pr’s in his eyes
It’s like that hereditary movie
If you were me then you’d be
Screaming “light weight baby”
As I fail miserably
Pinned by the bar listenin’ to the Iron Cult Pod!
Funny and Informative
I am a new lifter, I am a Software Engineer, and I have never been athletic. I started lifting 9 months ago to improve my health and better myself. Needless to say, I fell in love with lifting and it has changed my life. I look completely different, and I have put on all kinds of gains. It was not easy, the fitness community is very deceptive and profit based. I struggled with buying programs, hiring personal trainers, and almost constantly overreaching. It wasn’t until I found Mike Izraetel and RP when I found all kinds of FREE content that was evidence based, and it helped me understand so much. In one of the RP videos Mike Izraetel recommended a book called “The Muscle and Strength Pyramid: Training/Nutrition” by Eric Helms. After I read the first book, I looked up this Eric Helms guy and found this podcast. From there my life changed, I went from being a loner with no one to talk to about fitness or science based approaches to training. To being part of a community of lifters, anytime I want to nerd out on some training talk I can tune into this podcast. It really has confirmed a lot of the things I have been reading and learning about, helping me become a better lifter. All I can say is thank you Omar and Eric, I have no one in my life who lifts weights and it is so nice to listen to experience lifters talk and banter. I am still catching up on episodes but could you do an episode if you have not already on beginners and how to get through the information overload in the fitness industry. When I first started there was just so much info and misinformation out there. For someone like myself without someone I know to ask about fitness, I had turned to influencers and personal trainers. From here everything was monetized and most of the information not good for beginners. Thanks again and anyone who listens to this podcast, welcome to the cult.
It would be funny if you did a whole episode where you just called him “Derick”