Weight Training to Preserve Muscle on DNP

One of the DNP’s greatest advantages is its protein-sparing effect; that is, it helps to preserve lean muscle while body fat is burned.


This effect is not pure magic, though.  Though perhaps to a lesser extent than other weight-loss tactics, DNP use can still lead to the loss of lean mass if a proper diet and workout routine are not followed.


The dietary component is simple: Eat enough protein.  Athletes who consume at least 3 g/day * bodyweight in kg (1.35 g/day * bodyweight in pounds) of protein are unlikely to lose significant lean mass while on DNP.  For a 200-pound bodybuilder, that’s approximately 270 grams of protein a day.


The best—and worst—workout routines for DNP users may be a bit more surprising.


DO: High reps, low weight BEFORE using DNP

The best way for an athlete to prepare the body for a DNP cycle is glycogen depletion, which shifts metabolism toward lipolysis (fat burning) and away from muscle catabolism.

Glycogen depletion is achieved most effectively by sets of 15 to 25 repetitions, at approximately half of the athlete’s one-rep maximum.  Even better than counting reps, athletes can use time under tension as a guide, performing sets that last 40 to 60 seconds.

To achieve sufficient glycogen depletion, atheles should perform at least 4-6 sets for major muscle groups and 2-3 sets for auxiliary muscle groups.

To avoid the undesirable consequences of high-rep training during a DNP cycle (see below), this type of workout should NOT be performed by athletes who are taking DNP.


DON’T: High reps, low weight while on DNP

This form of weight training, known more formally as “metabolic” weight training, has two primary benefits for athletes: greater calorie burn and glycogen depletion.  For DNP users, the first of these is a non-issue; the extra calorie burn is negligible compared to the effect of DNP.  The second (glycogen depletion) is most useful before DNP supplementation is begun, as discussed above.

Worse yet, this form of weight training may actively cause the loss of muscle.  “Metabolic” exercise signals hormones that lead to catabolism and breakdown of the fibers responsible for muscle size, while preserving the smaller “slow twitch” fibers.  (This is why endurance athletes have thin, sinewy muscles.)


DO: Lower reps, higher weight while on DNP

To preserve muscle when dieting, the best stimulus is the same one that builds muscle on a normal or bulking diet: low to medium reps (6-10 repetitions), at high intensity.

DNP users may find themselves unable to complete workouts of “normal” length, due to fatigue (especially if they are glycogen-depleted as discussed above).  In this case, users should decrease the number of sets, NOT the weight.  Decreasing the weight will lead to the undesirable effects of “metabolic” training as discussed above.

In general, 2-3 sets of 6-10 slow reps, stopping just short of failure, is optimal.  DO NOT perform sets to failure.  If at least 6 repetitions cannot be performed without failure, the weight is too heavy.  (If a set of 10 repetitions is nowhere near failure, the weight is too light.)


Dosing for DNP is discussed here.


Learn about the chemistry and action of DNP here.


Information on stacking DNP with other supplements is here.


Click here to read more about DNP and calorie consumption.


To read more about the effects of DNP on different bodybuilding diets, click here.