10 Occam’s Workouts done – Occam’s Protocol Results

With my first gym punch-card full, it’s time to take a look at whether all these gym sessions, and all this food, has been worth it. The 10 workouts have taken around 6 weeks to complete, as I have been increasing rest time (up to 4 days) between workouts, as my muscles and strength develops. If you’re wondering whether the Occam’s Protocol workouts can really get results, and if it’s worth trying them, consider this: my punchcard cost less than $100, and my total gym time so far has been 5 hours – and I dawdle and chat in the weight room – you could probably, literally, get that down to 4 hours.

So first, the facts:

  • I have done 10 workouts, over approximately 5.5 weeks.
  • I have been increasing my rest periods.
  • I believe I under-ate for 2 weeks, after the first 3 weeks – resulting in small gains. (Due to eating same as I was at 149 pounds, when I was 155).
  • I changed initial 1/3 cup (uncooked) of rice to 1/2 cup, changed 1/3 lentils (uncooked) to 1/2 cup lentils.
  • I started at 149 pounds (after a month of slow carb), and now see the scales around 161/162 pounds this week – expecting 163 by end of the week
  • I have been taking creatine – 5gms morning and night, and 10gm before workouts – for this entire period
  • I have been taking PAGG the whole time
  • I am relying on whey protein isolate shakes to add to my food protein intake – now at least 2 per day
  • I included LOMAD (liter of milk a day) 2 weeks ago, and started seeing the scales go up again
  • I have a few extra off-diet meals last week for a friend’s visit – I lost 1/2 pounds due to this (under-eating due to richness/stomach ache the following day)
  • I am now using ‘The Demon’ as I call it, for workouts – 300ml milk, 1 banana, 2 tbsp almond butter, 1 scoop unflav. protein powder.. it’s heavy.

The Method

  • I am following the Occam’s Protocol A and B workouts with free weights (except machine incline leg press)
  • I am using a spotter (crucial to pushing yourself to failure when you have weights about your head/face/privates)
  • I include the myotatic crunch and cat vomit where recommended
  • I include the kettlebell swings where recommended
  • I use a rope, suspended above me, to ensure I don’t go past upright on the crunches
  • Sometimes, if I feel something held me back from achieving total screaming failure, I ran and grab a lower weight, and get back into a 5/5 cadence rep, to go to failure and then hold it as long as I can while my brain screams at me
  • Twice, I haven’t been able to hold my own body weight after leg presses
  • I have gone to dumbell incline bench press due to a limited range of motion using the barbell, and my inability to address this functional/biomechanical problem currently
  • I include brown rice in 2 meals per day
  • I walk once or twice a week
  • I’ve done a couple of tai chi classes during this time, and hit some sweet mountain biking trails, which set back my muscle gains but increased my smile muscles

The Results

  • Weight: Started at 149lbs at approx 13% bodyfat (Skinfold)
  • Weight: This week at 162 pounds = 13 pound gain in 7 weeks and rising – at approx 14% bodyfat (Skinfold)
  • Strength: Leg Press – started at 180lbs – now at 270lbs = 50% increase in strength
  • Strength: Shoulder Press – started at 50lbs (inc bar) – now at 65lbs (inc bar)= 30% increase in strength
  • Strength: Yates Row – started at +90lbs – now at +150lbs = 66% increase in strength
  • Strength: Incline Bench – started at 95lbs (inc bar) – went to 120lbs in 4 weeks (26% strength gain) – now doing dumbells – 55lb each hand (more stabilizing, more shoulder strength required).

Goals/Future

  • I plan to continue Occam’s workouts, with Occam’s feeding for another workouts series (10 workouts – 5/6 weeks)
  • I aim to gain another 12 pounds, to be around 175 pounds.
  • To do this, I will need to increase food consumption again.. this time I will add in more beans 1.5 cups per meal (vs 1 cup)
  • I am currently testing an intense feeding week, with extra protein shakes
  • I plan to test dropping LOMAD, dropping rice and going full slow carb for 1 week to test gains (will need to eat a lot of beans this week – 2 cups per meal – 1 can!)
  • Reaching 175 pounds will be my trigger to hit a month of slow carb, with kettlebell workouts, to drop 5lbs+ of fat

To say that I’m happy with the results so far would be an understatement. To reiterate – this is 5 hours in the gym, total. It’s incredible. Just finding the room for all this food is actually the biggest challenge I’ve faced. The second one is actually believing that eating this much won’t make me a blimp. But I’m over that I think. There is muscle growing, which is reassuring.

If you need a handy reference, Download our Occam’s Protocol Cheat Sheet!

Do you have any results you’d like to share? Or do you have any questions or comments? I’m open to ideas – anything I could be doing differently that could get me more gains, quicker?? Leave me a comment below!

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37 Responses to 10 Occam’s Workouts done – Occam’s Protocol Results

  • Ross says:

    Hi Luke,
    I notice you are sticking with the PAGG supplements during your Occams testing. In the “Geek to Freak” chapter of the 4HB Tim used a slightly different structure, that omits the garlic and green tea but adds in chromium polynicotinate and BodyQUICK. Have you used any of those?
    I tried the NO-Xplode a little while ago and didnt really see any benefit or like taking it so wont be using that when I start this week.
    All the best
    Ross.

    • Luke says:

      Hi Ross, thanks for your comment.
      I am sticking with the PAGG – I re-read the Geek to Freak chapter this week in fact, so I know what you’re talking about. This week, I’m taking a break from PAGG, and I’m taking just ALA before meals. Though I’m sure taking chromium polynicotinate and BodyQUICK have good results, as mentioned in the book, I haven’t started taking either of these. I am considering the Geek to Freak lifestyle, however for now I’m satisfied with the Occam’s regime – it seems simpler and more manageable and works in well with my lifestyle.
      I had wondered about NO-Xplode -had been reading up on it last week, so it’s interesting to hear from you that you didn’t like taking it.
      Out of these 3 supplements, I could see BodyQuick perhaps being the most useful, as it helps with workouts, and more work equals more muscle development.

      All the best getting started with your workouts!
      Luke

  • James says:

    Hey Luke,

    Congratulations, this is a brilliant result.

    I am starting Occam’s as soon as the suppliments arrive next week with a goal to go from 165 pounds and 19% body fat to 180 pounds and 15% bodyfat (Omron device measured).

    I have a question for you, the A and B workout is supposed to last 30 minutes, but if you only do 7 reps of the Yates Row and 7 reps of the Overhead Press, and skip Bosu Ball and Cat Vomit, how can this possibly take 30 minutes? The two exercises should take between 80-120 seconds each, so including the suggested 3 minute break, that’s only 7 minutes in total.

    Even if you added in the other two exercises from workout A it would only total a 20 minute workout, e.g. four exercises at 2 minutes max each with four 3 minute breaks.

    Am I missing something here? Are we supposed to do multiple sets of 7 reps for each exercise?

    Thanks in advance!

    James

    P.S. Where do they sell BodyQuick in the UK?

    • Luke says:

      Hey James, thanks for your comment!

      That’s a great goal you have – I’m sure you will achieve it!

      The workout times, I think, are estimates. I don’t actually time myself, but as you have calculated, using the proper rest time intervals, and proper cadence.. the workouts don’t total 30 mins. I do start with about 5 mins on a cross trainer – moderate – to get the blood flowing, so that increases my time a little.. and I find it hard to get from one exercise to the next as quickly as is suggested. Plus, I need a bit of a rest here and there.

      The workouts definitely don’t call for multiple sets of 7. I will, however, say that there have been a few workouts where I just don’t feel I was able to make the most of the final hold – reaching total failure, and so I drop the weights and do another 2-3 reps normally, to a failure hold of 10 seconds. The feeling is actually quite amazing as you approach that failure zone, I think it must be extra adrenalin being recruited, or extra blood flow at least. There is a different level of strength I can feel around reps 4-6.. then I start feeling the failure. Never had that before!

      I’m not 100% sure on BodyQuick resellers in the UK. You could try BodyQuick on amazon.com and see if they will ship to you. (This is an affiliate link – we would make around 5% of this sale).

      All the best!
      Luke

      • Joel says:

        hey Luke, Thanks for your posts! I am going all out on slow-carb and Occam’s. I’m in week 3 and I “feel” like i’m stagnating in muscle growth, and gaining a little fat around the waist. (Right now i’ve gained about 3lbs). I’m eating a ton and tracking my calories (except cheat day). I’m doing all the supplements, creatine, etc. I’m averaging about 200g of protein per day. (I’m at 150lbs and ~16%bf). On my 2nd A workout I got 7 reps; the next workout I increased my weight only 5-10 lbs and could only get about 5-6 reps. I noticed you sometimes do a “drop set.” He does NOT recommend this in the book, but it sounds like you are getting results. Wondering if I should try this, also thinking of adding exercises and switching to the “Geek to Freak” plan. What do you think? Thanks!

        • Luke says:

          Hey Joel, you’re welcome, and thanks for your comment!

          There’s a good chance you’re gaining some muscle underneath your fat, and what I’ve found lately is that 10lbs of muscle, for example, doesn’t necessarily look all that different. On some people I’m sure it shows, especially if you start off very lean, however on me it’s not a huge difference. Doing Occam’s and slow-carb, I’m thinking that perhaps your muscles aren’t getting as much as they could use – are you including brown rice or quinoa in 2 meals a day? I found this necessary to continue gains.
          With regards to adding weight, etc.. potentially your body is taking longer to recover, and you might want to try an extra rest day and see if that improves your reps. Have you trained before? If you’re pretty new to weight training, then I would suggest it’ll take some time for your body to get into a really serious muscle building state.
          The other question I’d be interested in knowing about is you slow carb foods, and what you’re eating the most of. It’s possible that there’s some tweaks you could make to see some difference results.
          How is you water intake? Though people talk about it on slow carb for weight loss, water is very important to muscles too.

          Overall, I think your approach is good, however with muscle gains generally come some fat gains too, as the body isn’t great at specifically growing without also storing some fat. There’s two approaches you could take here – if your bodyfat percentage is the most important to you right now, you could switch to more of a kettlebell routine (2-3 times/week), and go with straight slow carb foods, which should see you losing a couple of pounds a week. Alternatively, if muscle gains are the most important thing, focus entirely on how to best add muscle- and that is eat. Tim suggests you should be getting 2.5lbs of weight on each week, and if you aren’t then you’re not eating enough. I have found it difficult to eat enough once I gained 13 lbs over 6 weeks, and so I have taken a week off. I too had gained a little bit of fat, especially due to a week off PAGG. So with a week of slow carb done, I’m expecting to get back into the workouts, and make some gains again. This next phase though, will include more food than I was having, as I have to re-set my expectations and thinking about my baseline weight now as being 162lbs, not 150lbs.

          One challenge is adjusting your eating as you body changes. For example, an extra 5lbs of lean muscle needs extra food, and this muscle can come so fast that you’re still thinking about how much you were eating 3 weeks ago!

          All the best,
          Luke

          • Joel says:

            Luke,
            Thanks for your reply! After reading, I reviewed my diet, etc… you made some great tips. Here is why I think i’ve gotten off to a slow start:
            - I was doing P90x for 7+ months with only a week break.. perhaps my body needed more rest
            - Maybe under-fed by 200-300 cals per day and untile recently was NOT adding the brown rice. Started that this week
            - Not enough water intake.. especially with creatine which I think led to poor absorption
            - Started a little heavy on exercises and didn’t get enough reps or TUT; also I travel 3-4 days a week and have challenge of using several different gyms/different equipment, causing inconsistency. Traveling is also a problem with diet but i eat a lot of: Chili, protein bars/shakes, and eggs.

            NEW PLAN: I’m SWITCHING TO A MODIFIED “G2F”
            Like you, I would like to get to around 170-175; also my MAIN goal (for now) is to gain muscle mass, then lose some fat after about 2 mo. of bulking. I feel like Occam’s is “good” but G2F might be “better” and deliver faster/bigger gains.
            - Today would have been my 4th “A” workout, day 21 (7th workout total).
            - I chose 8 exercises for a “full body” workout similar to G2F. Included bench press and lat pulls.
            - The workout felt great! My whole body was shaking and i had some good gains in reps/weights for the excercises I repeated from the A/B workouts.
            - I’m currently at 152lbs and approx 17%bf; I started Occam’s at 147. So, 5 lbs in 3 weeks isn’t bad; i noticed you had a slow start also. So, i’m starting to feel like the results will come with Occam’s but I feel like I’m ready to try G2F.

            Question: How many days would you rest before attempting another full body (G2F) workout? This isn’t really explained in the book, except that he ended a 4-month bulking cycle with “12 days between identical workouts.” I was thinking I would try 5-6 days at this point.

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  • Ross says:

    James, I’m in the uk too and had to order from bodybuilding.com if you do pay up for delivery I didn’t and it took about a month to arrive.

    • Luke says:

      Ouch nice tip Ross. I know I’ve waited extraordinarily long times for some things to get to me in Canada also.. so sometimes that extra shipping is worth it.

  • Sarah says:

    I’ve been doing the Slow-Carb diet, but I am a long distance runner and I’m not sure if I will get the same results with running so much each week. 6-7 days of 5-7 miles. Do you have any suggestions? Am I exercising too much to get results? I also do the kettle bell swings.

    • Luke says:

      Hi Sarah,

      You’ve raised a very good point. A lot of people are having good success with the slow carb diet, even not exercising at all. This brings the question, does it work with a lot of exercise. We have had some people write in when they’ve stalled, and it’s been due to their taking up a more intense exercise regime. It does seem that the human body is best ready to lose some fat when it’s not under intense physical demands every day. Some people have cut their workouts down to 2 or 3 times a week and are having good results, plus feeling more energy. I understand if you’re committed to a training schedule and have goals for that training, and I won’t try and suggest that one goal is more important than the other. It may be more difficult to achieve fat loss goals at the same time as running as often as you do though, so I think it’s good to factor that in, as you build your expectations.
      All the best,
      Luke

      • Adam says:

        guys, when i started the slow carb diet back in february, i was already in pretty fantastic shape. 172lb and probably no more than 9% bodyfat. I’m the guy that was trying to get to 6% bodyfat. Still maintaining a 6days/wk workout regimen that is VERY high intensity, and includes both cardio and light weight training…nothing heavy.

        on 1/21/2011 i weighed in at 172lbs and my total inches measured in at about 128 (my own ‘total inches’ calculation is much larger, as it includes various other parts of my body that i wanted to track changed on…like chest, neck, calves, etc…but that’s besides the point), and on 2/27/2011 (the next time i randomely remembered to do measurements…) i weighed in at 173 (insignificant change…could’ve been 171 and wouldn’t have meant anything) and my total inches measured in at about 137! That’s huge!!! I didn’t do an official body fat % measurement pre diet…but i’m quite sure i was around 8-10%. Now i’m sitting on 6-7% easy.

        Just goes to show that you CAN maintain a VERY high intensity training regimen (i box for 45min m/w/f at 6am, among other workouts,…and i walk out dripping sweat) on a regular basis…and still add significant muscle. but like everyone knows…results are NOT typical. Every human body is different.

        Best of luck!

        Adam

        • Luke says:

          Hey Adam,

          Thanks for sharing your results and training! That’s some really amazing progress you’ve made, and clearly are in excellent shape. Its very interesting as an example of high intensity, many-sessions of training exercise, that’s still allowed you to add muscle and lose fat.

          I’m sure our readers would love to learn the other side of the equation: your average food intake/food types/calories per day? Do you have anything you can share on this? Though results may not be typical, understanding the how of your results could really help some people with their goals and their own personal experiments with training and food.

          Cheers and thanks for sharing!
          Luke

  • paul says:

    hey, this is a fantastic site, very motivating and informative for me. my question is, how have your body measurements increased? do you take measurements? if so, can you post them?

    • Luke says:

      Hi Paul,

      Thanks for your comment. My measurements have increased, I will post about them soon! If you’re subscribed to our email updates, you’ll be reading about them in the coming weeks.

      All the best,
      Luke

  • Warren says:

    Hi Luke

    I like your site. You and your partner seem to be doing well.

    Quick question. With the Occams Protocol. Ferris says to increase rest days when one or more exercise has stalled? What does this mean? When you are no longer can make your 7 reps? Or when you are no longer putting weights on?

    Im sure its something simple.

    Thanks
    Warren

    • Luke says:

      Hey Warren, thanks for your comment – glad you like our site!

      With regards to ‘stalling’ – This generally means that you are unable to add more weights to your lift. That would be because you are unable to achieve the goal number of reps for that exercise. So in effect, it’s both. If you can reach the goal number of reps, then you add weight the next session, that means progress. If you have 2 sessions where you haven’t hit your goal number of reps, then you have stalled.

      Hope that helps, all the best!

      Luke

  • Jeff says:

    Hey Luke, really enjoy the site. I am military and physical training is apart of our daily regime. I really want to try this program but afraid the results won’t work out as designed because of the lack of rest periods and the cardio that is added to the mix. What are your thoughts and how much is your grocery bill to follow your meal plan?
    Thanks,
    Jeff

    • Luke says:

      Hey Jeff, really glad you like our site! Thanks for your comment.

      If you are committed to daily physical training, I think this can still work for you, but there’s no obvious prescription of food to start with – there’ll be some testing.
      Firstly, although many other diet advocates (such as some Paleo and others) recommend going off gluten completely (anything made with wheat, barley, and others), for military, its recommended that you include things made with wheat once a week, so that you maintain a tolerance for it, if you’re in the position of not being able to always choose what you eat.
      With your physical training, it depends a little on whether it’s cardio or weights.. they work quite differently on the body. Both need extra protein for muscle recovery. I would suggest, if its possible, that with such a schedule, certain supplements could be very helpful to you. Have a look a Glutamine especially as it aides with muscle recovery. Also, creatine has great effects for weight training, and there’s more research coming out that it’s beneficial in other ways.
      As far as the grocery bill goes.. it depends a little on where you shop. For example, we were buying beans from one grocery store for almost $2 a can.. so that’s around $1 per meal for me (but you would likely need to have more than that due to your physical training), however recently we’ve found them for 0.88c per can. That’s a huge difference as you can imagine, for me we buy 9 cans of beans per week. Other than that, its vegetables and meat. Ground beef in family size packs is very cheap. I can’t really give you total dollar amounts, because it will vary a lot from one place to the next. But a lot of people in the US at least have commented on the diet being cheaper than their previous grocery bills. In other countries, sometimes due to the cost of meat and vegetables it doesn’t work out cheaper.

      All the best! If you have any more questions please let us know!
      Luke

      • Jeff says:

        Thanks for getting back with me! Sorry I didnt specify, but my goal is to put on muscle. I am 72″ tall and have been between 165-175lbs for the last couple of years. I will look into the Glutamine and read up on some creatine. Take care!
        Jeff

  • Swaroop says:

    I was wondering how long the occam’s protocol workout takes. If it’s a single set to failure, does that mean we do only one set and take rest? Sounds like the Entire workout A takes less than 10 minutes.

    Unless I completely misunderstood :)

    • Luke says:

      Hey, you’re spot on. If you do a 3 min warmup (cardio machine), then do the lifts, with 1-3 mins rest between (use the same amount each time), doing 1 set to failure doesn’t take long at all (around 80-120 seconds for each lift). If you add in the ab exercises, or kettlebell swings your whole session is probably around 15 mins.
      Some people do a few warmup reps with a light weight, using the same cadence, which might add around 45 seconds to each lift. But of course, it’s still a short amount of time in the gym. This gives you ’80% of the results’ in much less time than a regular workout.

      Enjoy!
      Luke

  • Kate says:

    Hey, does anyone know if Occam’s Protocol will work for women? I tried slow-carb, but it didn’t work well for me, so I’m going to go to low-carb (I did it before about 10 years ago and it worked well) and also see if I can get some more muscle mass to bring down my weight – I’ve got about 50 lbs to lose.

    • Luke says:

      Hey Kate,

      It does! Weight training is great for women and men.
      Going low carb however means you are less likely to gain muscle (but fat loss might be easier). I suggest using the New Atkins low carb method. Stick with working out and low carb for a while, and then in the future when your weight is where you’d like it, you might want to include a cheat day once a week, and do a gym workout around that time to gain more muscle (but this might delay your fat loss at the moment).
      All the best,
      Luke

  • Charlie George says:

    Took a break from occams for a week and a half. Just wanted to know if i have to do the glutamine loading again when i start? Great site keep up the good work guys.

    Charlie

    • Luke says:

      Hey Charlie, I’ll add the same reply here too:
      I wouldn’t worry about the loading. For Glutamine, the loading period is suggested mainly to help clear up any damaged gastro-intestinal problems. The Glutamine itself has an effect in time close to your workouts.
      All the best!
      Luke

  • will says:

    Hi,

    I don’t know if you have already talked about this but here is my question.
    What do you do once you have reached your objectives with Occam’s protocol and you want to stabilize you lean mass and body fat % ?

    Thanks a lot for your great help.
    Will

    • Luke says:

      Hey Will,

      This is a classic question, and the answer can be as short or as long as I have time to write. I say that because you have lots of options.

      My recommendation is this:
      - adopt a slow-carb based eating method, that include some extra carbs around workouts
      - Continue challenging yourself at the gym – perhaps with different workouts you find online, or with the ‘forgotten 3rd option workout’ from the book
      - include 1 or 2 interval training sessions (20 mins) per week, to keep in good shape and keep fat to a minimum.

      All the best,
      Luke

  • Alan Whitton says:

    How often are you supposed to do the workouts, I read the cheat sheet an still failed to understand!
    Is it A once a week and B once a week or is it A twice per week and B twice per week?

    Thanks!!

    • Luke says:

      Hey Alan,

      A once, and B once, per week. Then extend rest periods as you get stronger, so that there may be a workout every 4th or even every 5th day! If you’re pushing to absolute failure, you need time to recover.

      Cheers,
      Luke

  • Jason says:

    I’ve just bought Tim’s 4 hour body book and intend to start the Occams Protocol very soon. It looks like its just what I’ve been looking for due to my busy schedule. My question is. Can I look like a Bodybuilder with this routine. I am aware that Mime Mentzer advocated the one set to failure routine and trained some BodyBuilders using this method. Occams Protocol looks like a variation of this but appears more scientific in principle and the results obtained are amazing. I am not looking at entering any competitions or anything, I would just like to pack on as much muscle as I can, but in the right places.

    • Luke Starbuck says:

      Hey Jason,
      So the quick answer is probably not, but you’ll get really close.
      Some areas where the workout is deficient are leg exercises and shrug-type exercises. Other than that, you do get a reasonably well rounded exercise.
      The method of one set to failure is usable for bodybuilding, but you’d want to use more moves – check out the ‘forgotten third option’ workout on this site for a more well rounded option that still doesn’t take too long.
      In general terms, use a 3 month window of intense weights and eating more than you feel like, and then bring it back to slow carb and Occam’s to lose some fat and starting looking really great.

      All the best,
      Luke

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