Online physique coach, fitness model, and scientific author - Menno Henselmans - helps serious trainees attain their ideal physique using his Bayesian Bodybuilding methods. Once a former business consultant specialized in advanced statistical data analysis, he traded in his company car to do what he’s truly passionate about: helping ambitious doers attain their ideal physique. Menno has an MSC with distinction from the University of Warwick, is a published scientific author, international public speaker, and ISSA certified personal trainer. We totally recommend that you check him out on his Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. And make sure to read some of his highly-informative articles on Bayesian Bodybuilding when you get a chance.
We were honored when Menno agreed to participate in a Joovv AMA. So without further ado, here are his answers to your questions…
What is the one fitness activity you hate doing the most, but yields the best results?
Bulgarian split squats. Try them and you'll see what I mean. People say back squats are brutal, but split squats are actually far more demanding in my experience.
If I opened up your fridge right now, what would I see?
A bunch of Tupperware containers with meals prepped in bulk, 4 kg of quark, 3 kg of strawberries, and some miscellaneous stuff.
You travel quite a bit to speak at various seminars throughout the world. What are 2-3 of your favorite travel hacks to stay in shape while on the road?
Managing your diet while traveling can be tricky. The key to success often lies in your planning. The quote, “Failing to plan is planning to fail”, is very applicable here.
Even without a fridge or any cooking tools, you can still have a good diet. The following foods are generally very convenient to bring with you.
Smoked meat (or dried if it has to stay outside of the fridge for over a day or in high temperatures), fish, or poultry.
Cheeses. White cheeses tend to be lowest in calories.
Protein powder. To prevent the powder from going rancid, put it in a shaker without liquid and add water on the spot.
Fruit(!) is great for satiety.
A personal favorite of mine is bringing avocados and a plastic knife and wrapping pieces of the avocado in smoked turkey. Combinations of fruit and smoked poultry or fish (most smoked red meat is not advisable to consume regularly due to being carcinogenic) in general are very convenient meals. If you have a fridge, dairy is generally a very convenient food choice.
If you also have a microwave, you can bring your own food and use it to steam vegetables. When cooking tools are available, you really don’t have any excuse left.
Other than planning, your mindset is very important. Don’t get stuck with the idea that you have to eat. You can always just fast and eat again when you get back home. Even a 24-hour fast won’t kill you, and it’s generally infinitely better for your diet than eating junk food.
Have you ever used red light therapy (photobiomodulation)? If so, what type of results did you experience?
Yeah, I use it whenever I can if I'm not in a sunny part of the world (which I do try to be as much as possible!). When I lived in the Netherlands and the UK, I had a wake-up light with an artificial dawn simulation and a 10k lux light intensity. I also put this artificial sun next to my laptop during the day. It's not a night-and-day difference (no pun intended), but I do find that it helps me become productive earlier in the morning and I do tend to have more energy during the day, and most importantly fall asleep easier at night (since I’m an insomniac).
What 3 supplements can you not afford to live without?
I could live without any supplements just fine! But, I do love my melatonin though. It helps me sleep, because my body doesn't seem to produce enough of it on its own, even with careful management of my circadian rhythm. Other than that, I mostly use stims, depending on how I feel, and some micros depending on my diet and local food choices. I may use nicotine gum (good for monotonous work), caffeine (pre-workout), albuterol (available in some third world countries), and ephedrine (limited availability).
You've had the opportunity to train and coach a lot of people through your popular Bayesian PT Course. For those that aren't familiar with Bayesian Bodybuilding methodology, can you give us a brief "elevator pitch"?
I'm a terrible sales person and prefer to let my articles and results speak for themselves, but in short, 'Bayesian' thinking is forming the most reasonable beliefs based on the available data. We dig into the scientific literature to find all there is to know about any topic, and then combine this with our practical experience in the field, to create optimal methods for fat loss, strength development, and muscle growth.
What is something you enjoy that most people would be surprised to learn?
I play some video games occasionally. Most people, after hearing this are like, "Oh, strategy games I'm guessing?" Nah, I prefer shooters and hack-and-slash games with an absolute minimum of story. The perfect game for me is a distraction between work bouts, so I can't get right into the action and be bored within 20 minutes. Warhammer: Space Marine was the perfect game for me. No one can be productive for 12 hours straight without doing drugs or stressing, so sometimes you just have to mash yourself through a swarm of “Orks” with a chainsaw and an assault rifle to clear your mind. It's like a meditation.
If I want to level-up my all-around game, what are the top 2-3 things I should do right now?
If you want to go over level 9000, you'll have to do some things you don't want to hear.
1. Get rid of everything you own that you did not use in the past 2 weeks. You don't own this stuff. It owns you.
2. Get a pet or make an effort to travel more.
3. Stop following the news. It doesn't concern you.
4. Stop following sports, unless you play the sport. Otherwise, go play it instead of watching others do it. You voyeur.
5. Spend more money on experiences and knowledge, less on material goods.
6. Read more.
7. Get rid of your TV, especially if you used it in the past 2 weeks. This machine sends abysmal waves that slowly drain your soul. I'd rather use heroin. At least that's truly enjoyable (or so I hear).
8. Envision yourself on your deathbed after the life you're now set to live. What do you regret?
9. Get jacked. Make your body a work of art.
What person(s) of influence are you closely following right now?
Donald Trump. Just kidding. They're all authors in exercise science and nutrition:
Probably forgetting some here, but these come to mind first.
If you could put a billboard anywhere, what would it say and where would you put it?
I'd find the biggest billboard in the priciest location in the world and leave it completely blank.
Thanks again to Menno Henselmans for being a part of the Joovv AMA family! Also, don't forget to check out his blog when you get a chance. It comes highly recommended!