This week we interviewed Eric Helms from, providing some very measured and rational insights on diet & training. If you’re familiar with Matt Ogus, he is one of Eric’s clients. If you missed Propane Podcast Episode 1,  here it is.


– Who is Eric?

Strength & Conditioning coach, researcher, bodybuilder, weightlifter and powerlifter. All the lifting.


Eric says he's recently taken up olympic weightlifting...
Eric says he’s recently taken up olympic weightlifting…

– Approach to nutrition:

Outcome based approach – calibration period with clients rather than relying a calculator for maintenance, to account for individual differences.


– IIFYM, Clean vs Dirty: Does clean eating make a difference? 

‘I don’t like to call it that, as it tends to just generate two camps strawmanning the hell out of each other.

This is exemplified by a meme of a guy holding a poptart saying ‘u mad bro’ compared to only eating the ‘6 bodybuilding approved foods’. 


‘With regard to clean/dirty, I don’t give much credence to these terms. The truth is there is nothing inherently unhealthy about dirty foods, it’s rather that if they dominate your diet, you generate deficiencies as a result. The paleo community has attempted to convince us that we need to avoid entire food groups in order to be like the paleolithic man. In actuality we don’t really know how the paleolithic man ate, and there is nothing to suggest what they were doing was optimal.’


‘I tell my clients that their diets should be inclusive rather than exclusive, meaning that provided you hit your macros, get sufficient fruits, vegetables and fibre, and you have some macros left over, then sure, have your snickers bar. In fact I’d hedge a guess to say that results on the diet will be better this way, as you’re less likely to fall off the wagon.’



Role of hormones in diet:

‘Hormones are the result of diet rather than the cause. A lot of ‘broscience’ I see is actually sound science, but taken out of context. Yes, it is true that insulin causes fat storage, but that has no bearing on your results if you’re eating a deficit. We need to stop worrying about where our insulin is at 6pm, and be more concerned with our weekly average calories.’


‘If you think of insulin as a warehouse worker, if there are no boxes to stack, it doesn’t matter that he’s standing there, there are no boxes to stack!’


Yusef: I sometimes see this as a justification for poor behaviour, taking a single mechanism out of context – e.g. ‘I think I’ve sufficiently translocated GLUT4 tonight so I can eat this tub of ice cream and pizza, putting me well over my calorie allowance for the day.




Dietary Allergens: Gluten/dairy

‘Food intolerances – simple answer, remove it and try reintroducing. The main mistake is people removing several allergens at once, then you don’t know what the dependent variable is.’


RPE-based training (Rate of perceived effort).

Various methods outlined, field research pointing towards this definitely being superior to regular linear periodisation. Examples include Borge Fagerli’s Myoreps, Mike Tuscherer’s Reactive Training Systems.

Eric Helms: INBA Team Nevada - 1st Open Men's Tall Class, 1st Men's Open Overall, PNBA Pro Card Winner
Eric Helms: INBA Team Nevada – 1st Open Men’s Tall Class, 1st Men’s Open Overall, PNBA Pro Card Winner


What do you strive for in life:

‘To make a positive difference. Flame wars of people on opposite ends of the spectrum are often in pursuit of the same goals.’


The Next Step

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8 responses to “PropaneFitness Podcast Episode 2: Interview with Eric Helms

  1. Good article/interview. I like Eric’s approach – i certainly liked it when he said he was ready for a good snatch, who isnt?!

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