10 Updates of Bayesian Bodybuilding

It’s been a busy, not to say hectic, past several months for me without much time to update everyone on what has been going on, so here’s an update dump.


1. Contest prep

It started with me dropping 400 pounds of steel on my foot.

Then I contacted idiopathic angioedema, for which I still don’t have a diagnosis beyond it being an allergy of sorts.

Then due to some bureaucratic crap from the IFBB I couldn’t compete in the show I planned for.

That resulted in me being in this condition over 4 months out.

Throughout this period, circumstances also had me move 8 times.

And it ended with a car crash.

But I still competed in the end with the WBFF (placed shared 4th/5th) and the whole period has been an absolutely amazing life experience.


In this interview on Sigma Nutrition Radio I discuss the whole prep with Danny Lennon, including how I managed to do it without tracking my macros most of this period.



Here’s a shot of my conditioning about 2 weeks out.


Menno Henselmans beach most muscular


Unfortunately I don’t have any good stage photos. No photos show me hitting a pose at the right moment and the tan-lighting-photo combination made all competitors just look like a ball of glowing bronze without any definition in most shots. Stage photos rarely do the competitors justice though, as all competitors like to bemoan, so here’s what I have.


Menno Henselmans WBFF Men's Fitness Model line-up


Menno Henselmans WBFF Men's Fitness Model side line-up


2. Paleo f(x)

My presentation about metabolic damage at Paleo f(x) went very well and the whole event was awesome just like last year, though being around free tasty paleo food samples all day during contest prep was torturous, ha.


For those that missed it, before the event I wrote a 2-part series on bodybuilding myths for the Paleo f(x) blog. You can read it here.


 Menno Henselmans Paleo fx lecture 2016


3. Miami seminar

In this same period I held a seminar in Miami. It was great to see people came all the way from Mexico and Peru to attend.


Bayesian Bodybuilding Miami seminar 2016

4. New study publication

Two years ago I published my review paper on the optimal rest interval for muscle growth with Brad Schoenfeld. It’s still one of the most popular papers in the most prestigious journal in exercise science. Now, we co-authored an experimental study on short vs. long rest periods for bodybuilding. You can read the study abstract here. As I’ve been saying since the beginning, the idea of ‘short rest for bodybuilding; long rest for strength’ is a myth.


Some people, in the true nihilist culture of the current fitness industry, have taken our papers to mean that your rest period doesn’t matter at all and you can rest however long you want, whether it’s 5 minutes or 5 seconds. That’s not the case. Your rest intervals have a significant impact on your results, as our above study demonstrates. Not because of the old idea that you need metabolic stress for maximum muscle growth, but mainly because your rest periods affect your training volume. And training volume is arguably the most important variable to optimize in any training program.


5. Keto Summit

I’ll be speaking at the online Keto Summit on 25 September. You can find more information here. Attendees will receive a free copy of the Bayesian Bodybuilding PT Course section on ketogenic dieting for bodybuilding and strength trainees.


Speaking of ketogenic dieting, here’s a new study on the effect of ketosis on energy expenditure and fat loss.


6. Masters of Muscle seminar

I’m also greatly looking forward to the Masters of Muscle seminar on 23 July in Vienna, Austria. The guys from Intelligent Strength are great and I look forward to meeting my co-speaker Mike Tuchscherer in person as well as training in the new Intelligent Strength gym.

Not convinced you should go yet? Watch this short video.


Menno Henselmans Intelligent Strength chains


7. Upcoming research publications

The Bayesian Bodybuilding research team has several research publications up and running, so in 2017 I hope we’ll be able to publish several papers. Live around Cambridge University and want to help out? You’ll receive a lot of advanced information about your body, including muscle quality and your accurate body fat percentage, in addition to receiving free protein powder and customized diet design. You’ll need to be able to stick to our diet for 3 weeks though. See our flyer below for more information and how to contact Anastasia from the research team.


Protein study recruitment


8. I’m on Instagram

After many requests I made the plunge into Instagram. Click here to follow my updates. I’ll be posting more photos of my recent contest prep and photo shoots there.


By the way, if anyone knows a good way to use Instagram on a Windows 10 PC, please post it in the comments below! I hate using my phone for anything other than phone calls.


9. Cybernetic Fitness

Still in development… about 2 years after their original deadline, we concluded that our original team of website designers simply wasn’t up to our standards. So we hired a team of software engineers that’s now rewriting all the code. If you’re subscribed to the Bayesian Bodybuilding newsletter, you’ll receive an email when Cybernetic Fitness opens for registrations again.


10. The Bayesian PT Course

The 5th round of the Bayesian PT Course Certification Program just ended. With the help of my research team, the course is reaching new heights every iteration now. Combined with the Norwegian and the Dutch versions of the course and my upcoming partnership with SQUATS Academy in India, soon there will be over a thousand Bayesian PTs all across the world. The next course round is tentatively set to start at the end of this year or early 2017, so keep an eye out if you want to enroll.


Here’s one of many awesome reviews we received from this round.

“Menno’s course is the best money you can spend in your life and not just if you want to become a PT. He will educate you not only about training and nutrition but also psychology. Menno is always available to answer all your questions. He is passionate about this and he gives you 10 times value more than what you pay for. I am currently recommending this to all my friends!”

– Dr. Alessandro Ferrari, PhD in biochemistry, PT and author at www.TheBroScientist.com





  1. Aleks says:

    Hey Menno,
    What if I have exactly, say, 60min to workout and wanna make the best out of them?
    Should I take short resting intervals so I can pump out more sets for more volume or should I focus on longer resting intervals as research suggest longer resting intervals enchance hyperthrophy?
    Maybe focus on lighter weight to do more volume with it?
    How do you strike the best balance between the 2 when you’re time constrained?

    Also, are you planning on realeasing a book on bodybuilding in the near future? Would definitely buy it. Cheers

    • I’d have to see your full training program to be exact, but most likely, you can indeed benefit from shortening your rest intervals. The key is to do it gradually so that you build up work capacity and you can fit more volume into those 60 mins (assuming that’s needed). There’s virtually no detrimental effect that way on your program.

      If I’ll release a book within the next year, it will be a specific one, e.g. about ad libitum dieting or managing traveling.

  2. Great read, Menno. Nice to hear from you again. You shared some fiiiine insights during the interview on Sigma Nutrition. ;) Small plates for the win! Definitely going to look into attending your PT course in 2017.

    I can sympathize with your remark on using your phone for Instagram, haha! For all I know, Instagram can only be operated using a phone. Even social media planning tools like Hootsuite merely have a ‘reminding’ feature to let you know when to grab your phone to upload a photo. Iconosquare is a great analytics tool for Instagram, by the way. And that CAN be used on a windows 10.

    Small question to finish up; do you see any potential in using mean muscle EMG to standardize the measurement of training volume per muscle (e.g. Time Under Tension x mean%MVC)?

    • Thanks for the insight about Instagram, Stijn!

      As for your question about EMG, I’d be wary of that. What you’re referring to is iEMG: the integral of EMG over time. It is not necessarily well correlated with neuromuscular fatigue or muscle stimulation due to various methodological limitations of EMG. You can, for example, reach high mean EMG values in the lateral delt during the bench press, but since there’s little ROM, I wouldn’t count that as a lot of effective training volume.

  3. Darren says:

    Menno, you got yourself into awesome shape there! Did you have to go keto to achieve that level of bf% or could it be achieved with moderate carb intake?

    Also, wrt rest intervals, you mention volume as most important. Do you feel myo reps are comparable to longer rests if someone can do equal/more volume?

  4. James says:

    Congrats on pushing past and around the obstacles you encountered to make it to the stage — especially given your turbulent travel schedule. Which brings me to the most interesting part of your Sigma Nutrition interview: towards the end you talked about investment and consumption days which really hit home with me since I studied Economics in uni (undergrad at Nottingham Uni, I know you went to Warwick for your MSc — love its campus) but never made the jump to applying the principles to everyday life.

    I would absolutely love for you to do an article/interview about how to apply bayesian rationality to your everyday life outside of fitness. For example, you touched on your decision to stay mobile and live a life of a nomad because you’ve prioritised experiences — what research/thought process led you to this decision? I’m guessing Kahneman’s research?

    • Thanks, James. There’s a lot of psychological research showing experiences have more impact generally than material goods on wellbeing. More importantly for me, I can’t think of anything material that I really care about. All my personal possessions fit into 2 suitcases, literally. On the other hand, experiencing new cultures, food, beautiful nature, etc. all meaningfully impact my life.

  5. Alex says:

    Hey man,

    great to see you doing so well. Congratulations to your achievements and thank you for sharing a lot of great articles and tons of good knowledge.
    I was in Orlando for your show this year. I am Alex, WBFF Pro Muscle Model. not sure if you remember but I talked to you guys and expedited all the you guys Backstage.
    It was a super small show and everyone looked great. And yes, your condition is not really shown in those pictures. Everyone was much more conditioned and the light wasn’t the greatest but it is what it is and in the end it comes down to presentation.
    Anyways, keep doing what your doing and much success with what you do..

    Best Regards,

    Alex Witthoeft

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