As I sometimes spend time answering questions through my Quora profile, I am compiling some of those questions and corresponding answers here on this page. I will attempt to update it regularly. If you have a specific answer that you would like my input on, or perhaps a suggestion for making a larger post about it, feel free to contact me. You can find the contact form here.


“Can you gain muscle mass while on intermittent fasting (with a caloric surplus)?”

Yes, you can. Although it is likely less effective than if following a “regular” meal pattern, as you potentially miss out on 1–2 bouts of increased muscle protein synthesis rates by having your meals within a smaller time-frame.

How much of a difference is hard to tell.



“Do you think it is possible to get fit with just 3 minutes of exercise per week?”

Depends on your definition of fit, but generally, people shouldn’t underestimate what short, highly-intensive bouts of eg. HIIT sessions can do.

With that said, 3 minutes per week is probably a bit on the low side of things – I doubt it would have any major impact on fitness levels.

But as soon as we get into the 20/30 min per week or 10–15 minutes twice a week, many otherwise sedentary people should expect increased fitness and overall health.



“I just read this yesterday. Is it true that Mediterranean diet will make you live longer and healthier?”

There are many factors that go into play when looking for correlations between nutritional intake and longevity. With that being said, there seems to be both scientific and plenty of anecdotal evidence of the efficiency of the Mediterranean diet.
However, it’s important to remember that for many of the “natural” followers of said diet, life-long manual labor has also been a part of their lives. They have high activity levels, being far less sedentary than so many of the rest of us in the west.


“How did I lose so much weight by not exercising at all and just fasting?”

Even if you don’t exercise, fasting will naturally create a large caloric deficit. How large depends on your basal metabolic rate, but generally, most people will be in excess of a 1500–2000 calorie deficit by fasting an entire day. Add in some activity – working, walking etc, and that deficit increase in size.

Exercising is not a necessary component of a weight loss phase, its just highly recommendable.



“What is a hypertrophy rep range?”

A theoretical range where optimal muscle gains appear. Old-school dogma has the range as somewhere within 8–12 repetitions. New-school science suggests this range is much greater, even surpassing 20–25 repetitions as long as sets are taken to failure.


“What are some common misconceptions about intermittent fasting?”

  1. That you will lose muscle mass.

  2. That you will feel lethargic and out of energy. When adapted to fasting, you will usually see the opposite happen due to several adrenaline up-regulations.

  3. That it will magically shred body-fat. You still must adhere to a caloric deficit if you wish to lose weights.

  4. That it’s superior for muscle growth. It’s likely somewhat inferior to a “regular” eating pattern, as you miss out on 1 or 2 spikes of muscle protein synthesis by having fewer meals.

  5. That eating huge meals rich in carbohydrates late in the day will lead to fat gain.

  6. That it is unhealthy – an extension of the flat out wrong notion that breakfast is the most “important” meal of the day.


“How does a long time cutting from 15-8% body fat take? Is it possible to be in a calorie deficit greater than 500 per day?”

That depends on your current weight, and the daily caloric deficit you create. And yes, it is very much possible to be in a deficit greater than 500 per day. I have regularly followed PSMF style diets where my daily intake have been in the 850–1100 calories range on workout days. My maintenance levels are probably just shy of 3000 calories on a workout day, so as you can imagine, fat loss is quite drastic.

I have written an extensive post on PSMF dieting, but also have to acknowledge that it is not the best course for everybody. More “sane”, moderate diets can also help people achieve lifelong change. Personally, I like the harsh approach, as it quickly enables me to return to maintenance calories or switch to a gaining phase.

In 2016 I lost just north of 60 lbs in 7.5 months – 80 % of the time I followed PSMF principles.



“Are short but moderately intense workout routines good enough for a teenager to gain sufficient muscle mass?”

Yes, people can build muscle mass with a very low volume routine, as long as the sets are close enough to mechanical failure. In fact, some experts on the field suggest that the first proper set of an exercise will account for upwards of 60 % of total muscle growth induced as an effect of that particular workout.

High volume routines (doing many sets) suffer immensely from diminishing returns.


“Is it good for your chest to hurt after a day of workout?”

No, DOMS (the soreness) is not an indicator of hypertrophy (muscle growth).

This is old bodybuilding dogma. You do not have to get sore after a workout.
In fact by usually following high-frequency routines, I rarely ever get sore unless I have introduced a new movement after a long hiatus.


“Why are my abs not showing when my body fat is low?”

Either your body fat levels are not low enough. Most people, even completely untrained, will have visible abs if they are actually lean enough.

If that’s not the case for you, then you’ll need to add muscle tissue to your abdominal area by following a solid ab routine.


“Will crunches give you abs?”

Not necessarily. You can get visible abdominal muscles through diet alone by reaching a low enough body fat percentage.

Crunches can be used to induce hypertrophy in the area and make your abdominal muscles bigger, creating a more dramatic effect.


“Is it possible to build muscle (arms, chest, shoulders) by doing 100 pushups every day?”

It is possible to build muscle tissue by performing push-ups, but beyond beginner gains, it’s going to be tough to progressively grow unless you implement some techniques to built fatigue faster.

I have written a big post on this if interested, which you can find through my profile.

To summarize;

  • Do decline variations, shifting a higher % of your bodyweight forward.

  • Add controlled eccentrics (negatives). Start with 2–3 full seconds.

  • Buy push-up hand stands with raised bars – this will enable a bigger range of motion (ROM).


“What are some specific foods and drinks I should 100% eliminate from my diet in order to burn fat?”

There are NO specific foods nor drinks you should “100 % eliminate” to burn fat. Losing weight is a matter of calories in versus calories out, as per the first law of thermodynamics.

That, of course, doesn’t mean that it isn’t healthy to reduce the intake of heavily processed foods.

For starters, I always advise people to cut down on the sugary drinks and other calorie-heavy beverages. It’s an “easy” way to begin a nutritional change.


“Do ab workouts affect the growth of people under 18?”

No, ab workouts do not affect the growth of people under 18, neither negatively or positively. Nor does other more demanding exercises, such as the squat and dead-lift, if performed with proper technique and initially under supervision.

This is an old myth.


“Are small gyms better than the big and commercial ones?”

It depends on the clientele for these gyms – however, people wanting to enter the world of fitness are in my opinion far too quick at picking big commercial gym chains.

These commercial gyms often have thousands of different people coming in and out every week, as well as being located in huge former or purpose-built warehouses.

If you have a tendency to feel intimidated by this atmosphere, I would suggest visiting some smaller, even “hardcore” gyms. Many people would be surprised by the potential atmosphere in a place where everybody works hard to achieve their goals – even if many visitors are big, bulky tattooed dudes.

As a personal anecdote, switching from a commercial gym to a small local club did wonders for my training, and ultimately my physique, despite less cleanliness, less equipment selection etc.

Hope this helps.


“Does having low body fat increase anxiety?”

No, I don’ t think any study correlates having a low body fat percentage with increased anxiety – However, if you dip into really low levels (5 % for men) (sub 14 % for women), you will likely expect some psychological effects as stuff such as ghrelin, leptin and your sex hormones will take a beating.

On the other spectrum, this study suggests no link between obesity and increased anxiety either, although the sample size is quite low.

Best regards, Alex