Interview with menno henselmans on Improving muscle imbalance

In todays podcast I interviewed Menno Henselman.

Menno is an online physique coach,  fitness model and a scientific author. He is one of the leaders of the evidence based movement.

So I wrote some of the main topic menno and I discussed.



  1. How did it all began ( 1:25-2:45)
  2. Doubts and insecurities when building your own brand ( 2:45-6:10)
  3. What does it take to make a living from online consulting (6:10-8:45)
  4. Overcoming overeating and food addiction and switching your mind into a “deficit mode” (8:45-13:30)
  5. Managing cortisol levels ( 13:30-17:50)
  6. The effect of stress on building muscle (17:50-18:25)
  7. Overcoming muscle imbalance ( 18:25-21:57)
  8. Using different techniques such as super sets, drop sets, into your program( 21:57-24:31)
  9. Reaching our maximum muscle potential (24:31-28:00)
  10. Overcoming unnecessary weight gain while bulking (28:00-30:17)
  11. The effect of changing your exercise selection (30:17-32:19)
  12. Intermittent fasting and fasting in terms of losing fat/gaining muscle (32:19-40:16)
  13. Do you really need supplements? ( 40:16-44:41)
  14. The legacy of menno henselman (44:41)


Lidor: tell us a lil bit about your personal story and how your fitness journey began.

Menno: I started as a business consultant but it was not my real passion which was fitness and exercise and nutrition science. So I started by myself and over time I developed the

So today I do a lot of coaching, practically full time.


Lidor: when you just began, there was any doubts in your mind? Like ” is it good? Am I going to make it?”

Menno: oh yeah! In the beginning I did a lot of research about what makes people happy and a lot of that comes down to this: ” if you were on your death bad, will you have any regrets?” and that was a very strong sentence for me because if I would still keep doing what I did so when I retire I would not be satisfied with my life.

So I started writing some articles for T-nation, did some personal training so I was very busy at that time so after that I quit my job and basically now im travelling around the world and still working no matter where I am because online coaching is something you can do wherever you are. All you need is a laptop and a wifi.


Lidor: a lot of people dislike online coaching, and they are very skeptical. What does it take to make a good living from online consulting?

Menno:  there are some people that are not fit for that and do need somebody physically. So I work with guys through mails, skype calls and always make sure im up to date with the data.


Lidor: How can you overcome unnecessary food addictions, overeating, because for many people it really difficult at the beginning and they over eat. So how can you switch your mind knowing that you are going to eat less?

Menno: there are a lot of scientific research on psychology and behavior changes. How you can make people act in certain way.

One thing  I like as an overall mindset is I think dieting is an exchanging food for leanness and as I progress with my diet the leaner I get, the more food I exchange and the leaner I can

You should always think about how you can keep it up not just for a month but for life because most people are interested looking leaner year round. So it has to be something that is sustainable.


Lidor: How can you control cortisol in a natural way?

Menno: there are some type of stress like psychological stress that can cut your recovery in half. So it takes you twice to recover.

One of the big things in stress is that you want to attack your problems and not avoiding them so it might sound very easy to do but for many people it’s really hard to apply but what you need to do is solve your problems.

Another thing is that the effect of cortisol is beneficial because cortisol makes you active and mobilize in erase fat oxidation and mobilize fuel so it’s not something that should make you fat. It only when cortisol becomes chronically elevated that it become detrimental.


Lidor: Does stress effect you when you are trying to gain more muscle?

Menno: Yes, some research show it can impair muscle grow and that you can’t have the same workouts.


Lidor: When talking about muscle imbalance, is it a genetic thing or you can overcome it and gain more muscle in those area?

Menno: There is a genetic component but it does not mean you have nothing to do about it.

When it comes to muscle imbalance, first thing you want to do is you want to objectively assess if it really is muscle imbalance or it’s just a client perception.

For example, most guys think their arms are small. If your arms is a lot more smaller than your calves then yes you will have to develop more arms( if you are a guy). Another muscle that most people struggle with is their calves and it’s basically because most people are only doing it at the end of the workout.

There is the thinking that you have to start with compounding movement when you are starting your workout but if you are trying to get your weaker body part bigger then you can start working on them.


Lidor: What do you think on super sets, drop sets and all of those techniques? Does it has any place in a good program? 

Menno: super sets main benefit is that it can save you time. The problem with that is that your work capacity suffers.

You can alter between exercises but you don’t wanna do them back to back. The only exception I do recommend super sets are antagonist super sets because this are actually beneficiall to increase work capacity. For example bench press and barbell rows ( chest-back) you will increase muscle activation and increase repletion performance doing the rows because the antagonist don’t limit the performance of the antagonist much.


Lidor: How can we really know that we reached our maximum muscle potential and that I can no longer gain more muscle? Is it possible to stop gaining any more muscle?

Menno: There is a site called:

And you can use that as a tool to understand what’s your muscle building potential.

I can say for myself that I was tracking everything for about 2 years in a row and I concluded that over a year I gained 1 pound of muscle mass.

I expected zero basically because I thought I reached my full muscle potential. The only way to find out is to try and not over think about it because it can get you unmotivated.


Lidor: If after a cut I screw things up and I gained 2-3 pound a week, do I need to do a cut again and then again switch from deficit to a surplus?

Menno: I would suggest to continue with your program like nothing happened. Yes you cam make some adjustments but I like that people will just go back to their routines and keep progressing.


Lidor: Is it ok to change exercise selection every once in a while so you won’t get bored?

Menno: You can switch things up but I see no reason to switch things up if the person is progressing and enjoying the exercises that he is doing.


Lidor: What is your take on intermittent fasting? Does fasting has any benefit? In term of gaining muscle and losing body fat.

Menno: I think intermittent fasting has no real benefit. It’s just a tool basically for some people like compulsive people who prefer big meal frequency.

Im also not a fan of fasting training at all and research show you can’t maximize protein balance if you train completely fasted.

Most people do use some sort of intermittent fasting already, some people stop eating before bad around 12 o’clock and their next meal is only at 12 lunch time the next day.


Lidor: How many hours you need to fat in order to be in that “fasting zone”?

Menno: It depends on your last meal that you are because that will determine how long you still have fatty acid in your blood, elevated blood glucose.

General rule is 2 hours after a meal you are in a fasting zone but in most cases it would be 6 hours after a meal.


Lidor: There are so many supplements in the fitness industry. How can you really know if you need any and what do you need to take?

Menno: There is no supplement you need to take. Supplements are useful in certain situation but there are benefit for some like vitamin D, certain people have deficiency on it and if you have deficient on vitamin D it can decrease your strength.  

Magnesium can increase testosterone levels, zinc has also been found to have significant effect on energy expenditure if you are deficient with it.

If your diet is good enough and you eat good amount of nutrients and micro nutrients then you don’t need any supplements.

Creatine mono has been proven to also being very effective.

Caffeine is also something that if you use you want to use it strategically but it is not that effective like most people think. It’s more psychological so it seems more effective than it really is.

Fish oils also can be a good supply according to the omega 3 on your diet. So you need to find a good one because most brands use low amount of omega’s 3.


Lidor: What would be the legacy that you would like to leave long after you won’t be here?

Menno: The first thing to think about would be children but I don’t have one now.

So for now I would go with

And making a big company that will function more after im gone.


You can also check Menno site at:

and on social media:





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