Interview: Menno Henselmans (Bayesian Bodybuilding) meets

Interview: Menno Henselmans (Bayesian Bodybuilding) meets

Interview: Menno Henselmans (Bayesian Bodybuilding) meets

3 comments 📅01 June 2015, 09:44
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You probably know today’s interview guest, since he is quite known in the international weightlifting, bodybuilding and fitness community: With his personal page “Bayesian Bodybuilding” Menno Henselmans is doing a great job in educating fellow fitness buffs and health freaks all around the globe in a broad range of exercise related topics. His credo?

“Rational philosophy meets hardcore bodybuilding.”

We’re really happy to have Menno as an interview guest at and he has some exciting news to tell about his latest projects. Find out about “CyberneticFitness”, Menno’s workout and nutrition philosophies and his lifestyle approach.

Interview: Menno Henselmans (Bayesian Bodybuilding) meets

Quick Profile – Menno Henselmans

  • Height: 185 cm (6’1”)Menno Henselmans meets
  • Weight (current): 88 kg (~195 lb)
  • Residence/Point of Origin: Playa del Carmen, Mexico at the moment
  • When did you start training?: Around 12 years ago
  • Website / Online Presence: Homepage Bayesian Bodybuilding & Facebook & Twitter

How did you get started with weightlifting / bodybuilding / fitness?

I’ve been into sports for as long as I can remember. I’ve done Athletics (track and field), swimming, soccer and volleyball in addition to trying tennis and archery. How someone can live without exercise is beyond me. To me it’s a natural drive like eating and sex. Sports turned into me purchasing some weights for a small home gym. I quickly outgrew that and joined a commercial gym.

What do you love the most in the fitness lifestyle? What do you hate the most?

The aspect I love most about bodybuilding is the constant and relentless pursuit of self-improvement. To see this physically manifest itself in your body is an awesome feeling. It’s no longer something you do. It becomes something you are.

There’s nothing I hate about the fitness lifestyle really. If there was something I disliked, I’d change it.

How do you keep yourself motivated?

I don’t really. The drive is just there naturally and going to the gym is so engrained in my lifestyle that I never really think about whether I’m going or not. I just go.

Do you have any (childhood) heroes or idols? If so, how do they inspire you?

In terms of wanting to look like someone else, I remember one of the first times I had that was when I saw a photo of Usher’s sixpack. Yes, the singer guy. Clueless about the fact his photo was almost entirely photoshopped, I thought “I gotta look like that”. So I did and as my body grew, so did my goals. I now chuckle when I look back at the photos that used to inspire me. I’m not concerned anymore how I look compared to others, just how I look now compared to before.

Are you currently working on any interesting projects you’d like finish in the near future?

Menno Henselmans

(Source: Menno Henselmanns & Together with Norwegian strength coaching legend and former engineer Børge Fagerli, we’ve developed artificially intelligent software that will function as a form of cybernetic coaching. We both have more demand for our coaching than we can handle and this web app will solve that problem, allowing us to help not just dozens but up to hundreds of people at any time.

The program’s algorithms tell you exactly what kind of training and diet program to follow but not like the cookie cutter crap we’ve seen before. The software optimizes volume and training intensity with ongoing periodization, it fine-tunes your macros based on your body composition data, it gives you full recipes with pre-calculated serving sizes to fill your macros and many more great things. It’s probably the most revolutionary project I’ve ever worked on, but the complexity has made it very difficult for our programming team to finish everything in time. We’re slowly getting there though. If you’re subscribed to the mailing list (and make sure you add it to your Contacts, since these days email clients throw everything from lists into the spam or promotions folder), you’ll stay up to date on the project.

Looking back at your exercise career: Which training system or routine brought you the best results? And how does your current routine look like?

I’ve tried everything from DoggCrapp to German Volume Training and it took me many years to figure out that all these online one-size-fits-all programs will never approximate the effectiveness of a fully customized training program based on how advanced someone is and the lifestyle factors influencing recovery capacity. My current programs don’t have a name anymore. They’re an ugly but exceedingly effective amalgation of all the individually optimized program parameters someone needs: volume, frequency, periodization, rest intervals, etc.

Many of my clients ask me what their split looks like. It doesn’t have a name anymore. It’s just what comes out after optimizing everything and throwing it together.

Do you listen to music while working out? What does your favourite playlist look like?

IMenno Henselmans showing his sixpack go through phases where I listen to music or not. There aren’t many artists whom I like all their songs of, though I highly respect the ingenuity of bands like Rammstein. I used to listen mostly to hard rock and metal, but now I listen to a lot of heavier hip-hop and electronic music too.

Here are the first 10 tracks from my MP3 player when I clicked on ‘generate random playlist’.

  1. Black Sabbath – The Dark-Zero The Hero
  2. Shermanology & GRX – Can’t You See
  3. Devildriver – Cry For Me Sky (Eulogy Of The Scorned)
  4. Public Enemy vs Benny Benassi – Bring The Noise Remix (Pump-kin Remix)
  5. Disturbed – Down With the Sickness
  6. Rick Ross – 100 Black Coffins
  7. Dope – Debonaire
  8. Flo Rida – Low
  9. Eminem – Superman (Nero dubstep remix)
  10. Justice – Genesis

Do you prefer traditional cardio training or HIIT when dieting?

My best results have consistently come from not doing any cardio whatsoever. In my article The Cardio Comedown I elaborate on why I think this is the best approach for most people. Virtually the only clients I have perform cardio are female Bikini and BodyFitness competitors with a sedentary lifestyle, because their metabolism isn’t always high enough to do without any cardio.

If you had to pick only 3 exercises, what would they be and why?

Let me be a party pooper here and answer that with a quote from the Coen Brothers: “I do not entertain hypotheticals. The world as it is, is vexing enough.”

If you could start your training career all over: What would you do different this time?       

Absolutely nothing. The joy is in the journey and the destination always remains on the horizon: you never actually get there.

Let’s talk about niche nutrition systems like Carb Backloading, Intermittent Fasting and Paleo. What’s your opinion on such concepts? Are they useful or maybe misguided?

Menno HenselmansThe Cliff’s notes of the Cliff’s notes would be:

What is your diet like?

My diet varies greatly depending on where I live. I generally eat a lot of local food because it’s so much better than imported stuff. Some people say it’s all the same. To that I say, try a pineapple from Belize, fresh off the tree, and pineapple will never taste the same again. It literally barely tastes like the same fruit as what you get in a European supermarket.

My most recent diet was a ketogenic diet. I think that’s a highly underrated tool for bodybuilding and health, but it’s only suitable for a minority of people.

Do you take supplements? If so, how does your current supplementation look like?

I’ve only met a handful of people who didn’t, ha, but I don’t consume many supplements. Here in Mexico mail delivery is highly unreliable and local supplements are ridiculously expensive anyway. I just take caffeine, melatonin (I’m an insomniac) and a bunch of nootropics I got for free at my last speaking engagements.

The most useless and/or overhyped supplement is…? Why do you think that way?

BCAAs. See my 3-part miniseries on Facebook about how BCAAs are generally useless and extremely expensive as a protein source.

Finish this sentence: A reasonable post workout nutrition is…?

…one that maximally elevates protein balance during recovery from the workout. Many people get fixated on the myth of the peri-workout window around your training, while it’s much more important to look at protein balance throughout the entire recovery phase.

Bayesian Bodybuilding - Rational philosophy meets hardcore bodybuilding

You own your own website and it’s called Bayesian Bodybuilding. Tell our readers something about this project. How did it get started?

Bayesian Bodybuilding is the name for my overall philosophy to bodybuilding. It originated from my studies in economics and statistics where I came into contact with Bayesian philosophy, named after the statistician Thomas Bayes. It’s a rational way to form beliefs based on the available data. In bodybuilding, where broscience, dogma and the biggest guy in the gym often dominate the ‘intellectual landscape’, this method of reason seemed to me like what the industry needed.

Is there some achievement in your life of which you’re proud of? What was your biggest accomplishment?

It’s probably going to be when that launches. It has the potential to truly revolutionize online personal training for both trainees and trainers alike.

Do you have a mantra or do you act on a specific maxim/ lifestyle philosophy?

“Rational philosophy meets hardcore bodybuilding.” is my site’s tagline.

Do you have a favourite quote?

“Tolerance is the virtue of a man without convictions.”

What was the single best decision in or thing that brought you the most in life? What advice would you like give to our readers?

Giving up my job as a business consultant to become a physique coach and entrepreneur. Always follow your passion, not the money. It’s a cliché, but that’s because it’s true.

Thanks you, Menno and good luck with your current project “CyberneticFitness”!

My pleasure!

Do you have additional questions for Menno? Ask via our comment section.

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Picture sources: Copyright by Menno Henselmans & Bayesian Bodybuilding &


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  1. Built by Science
    02 June 2015, 14:07 Built by Science

    “My most recent diet was a ketogenic diet. I think that’s a highly underrated tool for bodybuilding and health, but it’s only suitable for a minority of people.”

    Würde ich 1 zu 1 unterschreiben, wobei GERADE DANN das von ihm als sinnlos betitelte Supp “BCAA” richtig spannend wird. BCAA werden sehr häufig bei Epilepsiepatienten eingesetzt, um die Ketose zu verstärken bzw. den Zustand der Ketose rascher zu erreichen.

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