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The Leangains Encyclopedia

The Complete and Comprehensive Guide to Leangains


by r/Leangains of reddit

Focus on the method, not the governing mechanism. Like


5/3/1 is black magic. Imagine doing 6/3/2! If that thought
frightens you, you are a prisoner of your routine!

Once you embrace the idea they all work for the same reasons -

calorie restriction, progressive overload - you have a great deal

of confidence in your approach. I would never lose sleep over

breaking my leg and missing workouts or getting fat over

Christmas or whatever, because I'd just train it out in a few


weeks once I was able to. Same goes for changing my workout
approach or macros.

If you go sub 10% body fat, you are going to look absolutely tiny

unless all your lifts are at Advanced levels, minimum; preferably


one pushing Elite level. 15% body fat with advanced lifts looks
much better.

Table of Contents
Chapter I The Birth of Leangains................................................................................................... 1
June and July 2006 Cut ................................................................................................................... 2
August to November 2006 Bulk ..................................................................................................... 4
January 2007 ................................................................................................................................... 7
April 2007 ..................................................................................................................................... 15
May 2007 ...................................................................................................................................... 18
June 2007 ...................................................................................................................................... 19
December 2007 ............................................................................................................................. 21
Chapter II Leangains FAQ ........................................................................................................... 25
Diet ............................................................................................................................................... 26
Training ........................................................................................................................................ 39
Cardio & Rest Day Training ........................................................................................................ 45
Chapter III Leangains Progression Guide.................................................................................... 49
Adjusting Calorie Intake............................................................................................................... 50
Rate of Fat Loss/Useful Advice .................................................................................................... 52
Transitioning to Maintenance ...................................................................................................... 54
After 2 Week Transitioning Phase ............................................................................................... 57
Chapter IV Fuckarounditis ........................................................................................................... 60
The Illusion of Complexity........................................................................................................... 62
Progress and Goals........................................................................................................................ 63
Women and Weightlifting ........................................................................................................... 69
Getting Abs to Get Laid .............................................................................................................. 74
Chapter V Successful Macros, Its All About the Calories ........................................................... 78

Example Diets for Men ................................................................................................................ 79


Example Diets for Women ........................................................................................................... 95

Chapter I

The Birth of Leangains


A Collection of Forum Posts

This is the info from the leaked Leangains documents PDF. This particular piece

is where Martin describes his testing phase with Leangains. The information dates
back to 2006, before he published his website. He goes into detail about his

training routine, strength gains and fat loss on his cut/bulk/recomp, as well as what
some of his clients have done. Theres some interesting and useful information
below:

June and July 2006 Cut 185 pounds to 177-179 pounds

My training cycle went like this;


Day 1

Bench Press

Working up to 1 RM or within 5 lbs (if I couldnt get a hold of a


spotter I would not attempt my old 1RM or try to surpass it)
1 set 5 RM

1 set at bodyweight (about 14 reps in June, 17 reps in the end of July)

Triceps work

1 - 2 sets

Day 3

Squat
Chins

Worked up to 1 RM
Bodyweight+100 lbs for 6-8 reps (6 in June, 8 end of July)
Bodyweight chins x max

Day 7

Deadlift

Worked up to 1 RM

Close-grip Chins

Bodyweight (i.e. I would stay away from failure and stop when my
chinning speed decreased)

Thats what I did training wise; very low volume and high intensity. Diet wise I

overfed on all my weight training days. Starting after my workout I would usually

eat about a carton of any cereal I wanted (about 500 gram) and 1.5 litres of low fat
milk. Throughout the rest of the day I would eat low fat and high carbs, moderate

protein. Sometimes I ended up eating some high carb/high fat junk since I was
tired of the old stuff (mostly bread, cereal, low fat ice-cream etc.).

Calorie wise I ended up at around 4500-5500 calories, some days as high as 6000+.
"Off" days Id stay within 1200-1400 calories, maximum of 100 carbs and the rest
lean protein.

Think veggies and lean meat, some cottage cheese thrown in for variety. All in all,

about 2 hours of walking as cardio; some days more than that. Breaking it all down
it would look something like this:
Day 1

4500-5500kcal
Day 2

1200-1400kcal
Day 3

4500-5500kcal
Day 4

1200-1400kcal
Day 5

1200-1400kcal
Day 6

1200-1400kcal
Day 7

4500-5500kcal
Day 8

1200-1400kcal
Overall I found this diet extremely easy to follow. I was never hungry on the off

days (except for maybe Day 6) and my mood was good all way throughout the diet.
August to November 2006 Bulk 182-184 pounds to 200 pounds

Today ends my 12 week Intermittent Fasting run of trying to put on some quality

weight. I started out in the middle of August, after taking 2 weeks on maintenance.

2 weeks of maintenance had me eating three meals of approximately 1000 kcals


(3000 kcals/day).

After doing this, I actually looked better compared to the cut; I went from 177-179

lbs to 182-184lbs with no fat gain whatsoever (or so I would believe). I guess the

increased weight is from normalized glycogen and such, I looked fuller compared
to the end of cut pictures.

Then from mid-August to now, I have been eating 3 meals for a total of 4500 kcals
approximately. The meals where eaten within a 6-8 hour time span and centered

mainly after my workout. Im not sure if this would qualify as IF; however it made
for a good and interesting headline. My fasting period was 16-18 hours though. I
would break the fast with a light meal of 4-500 kcals, go workout and then eat

approximately 4000 kcals before I went to sleep. Macros were high carb/moderate
protein and moderate/low fat.

This is how the strength increases went,


End of cut vs. End of bulk:

Squat: 1x 370, 6 x 275 to 5 x 375 (did not try 1RM)

Deadlift: 1x 505 to 1x 555lbs

Bench Press: 177.5 (BW) x 15 to 235 lbs x 6, 195 (BW) x 15

Lat Pulldown: 225 x 10 to 300 lbs x 4

Q: Three Meals every day, consisting of 4500 kcal accumulated?


On off days I would split them evenly.
Example:

1500/1500/1500
Workout days:

500 pre-workout followed by approximately 4000 kcals post-workout.


Usually I would split those 4000 into two meals.

Q: What was your training like?

Very similar, except the addition of some calf, ab and arm work. Usually 1 set to

failure once every 8th day. Drop sets where used if my top set was heavier than a

6RM.

Q: Any cardio work?

During the maintenance phase Id do one hour of walking most days and during
the bulk phase, no cardio whatsoever.
Q: Andy drawbacks?

Drawbacks with IF, from my point of view, are the intense night sweating from
consuming so many calories before bed. It might not seem like a big issue but it

impaired my sleep some nights. Interestingly, the night sweating became less of a
problem the longer I followed the diet.

The bloating can also be a problem in the beginning, but I gradually learned what
foods that made me bloat the day after and removed those items. While I didnt

really mind the bloat I found that it impaired my performance in some movements
if that makes any sense.

Q: What would the big meal consist of?

For example; one whole box of cereal, about 500 grams, (I have a thing for

Kelloggs Special K) and 1.5 litres of low fat milk. This would put me somewhere
around 2300 kcals. Before this meal Id have veggies and lean meat, pasta, rice or
lentils on the side. All in all about 3000 kcals, but this would vary depending on

what I felt like eating. Some days I went for low fat ice cream and about 1 lbs or

potatoes together with some lean meat or similar concoctions. The one constant
macro in each meal would be high carbs and moderate protein. I would keep fat
intake variable but most of the time low.

Q: Your workout routine is pretty weird. Is it from anywhere?

Its my own design, partly HIT-inspired. I use an 8 day-cycle because this is the
minimum rest required if I want to progress in the squat and deadlift

simultaneously. I focus on progress in the big three and chins (or some pulldown

alternative if chinning is not possible, as it hasnt been lately) to gauge my progress

and do very little accessory work (i.e. arms, calves etc.). Thats basically my training
philosophy summed up.
Lyle McDonald:

I'm assuming this took roughly 5 months since you mentioned starting in

August and I based the calculations on a mid-December BF measurement,


182@6% = 10.9 lbs fat, 171 lbs lean

200@9% = 19 lbs fat, 182 lbs lean & 11 lbs lean gain, 8 lbs fat gain a little
better than 1:1 ratio.

So in 5 months you gained a little more than 2 lbs of muscle and a little less
than 2 lbs of fat/month. Or about .5 lb/week of each, which is about what
I'd expect for any other bulk done non-retardedly.

In terms of adjusting caloric intake, the math shows that you gained about .4
lbs fat/week. Thats 1400 calories worth of fat adjusting calories down by
about 500 kcal/day on the overfeed days should just balance that out be
curious to see what happens.
January 2007

9 weeks after the IF-bulk and Im still holding 200 lbs, give or take. Strength has

stalled since November and Im still doing 390 x 4 squat, 555 x 1 dead and 235 x 6
benchwhich is a bit depressing.

Been eating on maintenance so I guess theres not much in terms of progress to be


had without overeating. Couple years ago I had no problem gaining progressively
while eating on maintenance.

Plan is to start cutting in a week, lose a few lbs, do 2 weeks on maintenance and
then head for another round of IF for mass.

This is a summary of what I have people doing for cutting IF style, with two
important variables to note;
Training

I always stick to low volume/high intensity, others are using their default training

protocol. I emphasise progress in some key lifts (compound movements mainly) as

a means of tracking results (i.e. if you are increasing your lifts, it should be a rough

indicator of LBM gains).


Refeeds

This is highly individual. I ate around 4500 kcal on refeed days, which seems to be
a bit high for some. 3700-3900 kcal is a more appropriate number and people are
seeing faster fat loss.

Low fat is always emphasised. Note that most people are doing this for fat loss and
not recomping per se, which was my goal. You might be able to play around with

4500 kcal+ on refeed days if you got some patience. Fat loss might be slower but
you get to have some fun and, perhaps, better LBM gains in the long run.

On cutting days I recommend a minimum of one hour of brisk walking and 12001400 kcals of mostly lean protein and fibrous vegetables, split into 3-4 meals with
the first meal getting eaten a minimum of 16 hours after the last one.

Note that Im not too fond of formulas for the refeeds. The whole idea with IF is
to not get caught up in numbers like x g CHO*lbm, but to be able to get a break
from neurotic macro counting. I do however set a caloric maximum for refeeds

depending on results and workout progress, but since the rules are low fat/high

carb with a maximum of say 4000 kcal, people end up doing pretty clean refeeds

anyway.

Lyle McDonald:

I have a feeling that something this extreme might work very poorly for

someone fatter b/c of underlying insulin resistance issues for the same reason
that fatter folks do refeeds less frequently/intensively. At the very least, I'd
scale the calories way back (at least initially) on the high calorie days and
only increase if the results were positive

Im with you on this one. I would not have someone doing this at 15%+.
Better option would be straight IF with a more modest deficit, say -800
kcal/day, until you get to the lean range. Sure, whatever other means to

reach the goal would do just as good, but the appetite suppression resulting

from IF makes it an attractive option. The first meal to break the fast could

also be substantial, since the meal frequency is low, which makes the feeling

of deprivation appear less evident when you dont have any scheduled refeeds
planned.

The major benefits of IF as I see it:


1. Potent appetite suppression up until the first meal. This is also the reason

not to space meals evenly; once you start eating, you find yourself hungry for

more.

2. Increased attention and focus 12-16 hours after the last meal. This probably

ties into catecholamines being released after some time in the fasting state. I
usually study in the morning and relax when I get to the eating. Eating

activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which may partly explain the

lessened desire to engage in any cognitive or mentally demanding tasks after


eating (well, for me at least).

3. An easy and simple approach to calorie deficit, allowing substantial meals


(800 kcals+) to make up for the low meal frequency.

4. No need to get neurotic about meal timing, eating every 2-3 hours etc.
5. The partitioning effect. Strategically placing refeeds, or a large part of the

total daily intake after WO (75% of kcal PWO), seems to have a significant

impact on LBM gains. I can now not only speak for myself, but other people
as well.
Pre-workout

10

So what Im doing now, in the context of an IF-cutting protocol, is to have my test


subjects eat 3 potatoes pre-wo; basically 50g starch based carbs (since workout

volume is higher, think 3x8 for 4-5 movements). None has had any problem with

energy and made consistent strength gains. This is also true for workout days that

follows a hypo-caloric day (i.e. the day before was 1200-1400 kcals and 60-90 min
cardio).

Q: What types of foods were you eating, and how long was the period of time,
generally, between end of workout & going to bed?

PWO I always had the same meal: one box of cereal (500g of either Special K,

Cornflakes or something else with a low fat content) and 1.5 litres of skim milk.
Easy to eat and packs about 2300-2350 kcal, 400g carbs and 100-120g protein.
Second meal right before bed, and usually 2-3 hours after the former, was a

variable most days (i.e. id try something different most times) but for example:
1kg bag of potatoes, whole grilled chicken (removed the skin) and ketchup

250g pasta or rice, 3-400g of whatever lean meat and some low fat sauce to spice it

up 1kg of low fat cottage cheese, raisins and some bread

Basically, I lowered the carb content a bit while keeping protein intake at around
100g. Fat intake remained low or very low.

Note however that I did gain some fat and I found the second PW meal a bit

excessive. Next time around (end of Feb) Im cutting the caloric surplus from 1500

kcals to 750 kcals (4500 kcal vs 3700-3800 kcals), mainly by reducing kcal intake of

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the last meal. Night sweats also became a problem given the high kcal intake, and I
wish to avoid that as well.

I might alter the protocol depending on priorities (LBM gain or fat loss). To give
you an example, this is regarding one of my clients: Starting weight, Nov 20: 185

lbs Weight, Dec 27: 175 lbs Jan 9: 174 lbs (including several days of breaking from
dieting setlines due to holidays).
IF setup for recomp

A= 1200-1400 kcals, lean protein and veggies, 100 carbs max, 60-90 min cardio

(brisk walking)

B=1400-1600 kcals, same as above except for 50g of carbs added PWO (starch, in
this case 3 potatoes), 60 min cardio

C= 3700-3900 kcals, refeed starts after WO, I urge to max the caloric roof but to
keep it low fat. This guy is a fan of pasta and cereal with skim milk so hes been

sticking to that on refeeds. Protein intake is set to 250g, but this is mostly due to

hunger issues; I actually told him to start with veggies+protein PW as to fill him up
so that he doesnt go aboard on the kcals.
MON- Chest, B

TUE- Legs, C

WED- A

THUR- Shoulders+back, B
FRI- Arms, C

SAT/SUN- A

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Significant strength gains has been made on this protocol


Cardio

When I was recomping in the summer using the (almost) same protocol, Id walk
an hour or so in the morning and get some more walking during the day, putting

me somewhere at 2 hours+ of low intensity cardio/day. On weight days, Id have a


walk in the morning, work out and have my refeed.
Training

Part of why Im not using heavy/light/medium cycling is due to personality factors.


I have a very hard time holding back, and I just end up doing more volume with

the same intensity that I normally use. So thats mainly my basis for low workout
frequency and low volume; Im more likely to over-train on other routines.
Carb-based diets

One of my theories around maintaining low body fat year around, and this was my

priority for many years, is that your diet should be more carb based than fat based

when you get under a certain bf%. This ties into the fact that carbs will benefit you
more than fat, assuming the positive correlation with low body fat and insulin
sensitivity. Add to that the fact that carbs will somewhat resolve leptin issues,
which might be compromised in the lean state depending on heritability.

Then Id also add the argument that carbs gives you a better bang for the buck with
regards to satiety. The last statement may be questionable and subject to

intraindividual variation, but Im making generalizations here. Im also assuming


that the primary carb sources arent white rice and jellybeans. So Im basically

saying what Lyle is, with regards to macros, except Id like to add bf% as a variable

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when considering diet in general. Low body fat= more carbs. This is partly based
on my own experience, partly on the arguments just made.
Lyle McDonald:

For sure there is the relationship with higher body fat = more insulin

resistant however, there is still a genetic component, at the same level of


fatness, insulin sensitivity can vary 10 fold. So it's still conceivable to be

relatively insulin resistant when you're lean as usual, I'd titrate it based on
response. if a high carb/low fat meal makes someone feel shitty shortly
afterwards, even if they are lean, they may not have stunning insulin

sensitivity of course, it can also be argued that the reason they feel bad (low

energy/blood glucose) is because their stunning insulin sensitivity is causing


them to clear glucose too quickly

Q: How would you structure IF so overeating can occur on the weekend?

In the context of a recomp protocol, overeating should always occur after workouts,
which means that you could do something like this:

Saturday: upper body, your usual routine


Sunday: lower body, your usual routine

Wednesday: full body, very low volume, high intensity


1. Start the refeed after workouts, before the workout have around 500 kcals

with an equal mix of protein and carbs, low fat; 50-60 pro/carbs, rest fat is a
good guideline. Include some starch for carbs (potatoes for example).

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2. a+b, I recommend a upper/lower split, and whatever movements you are

comfortable with. Dont go retarded with volume and stick to compound

movements.

3. Wednesday workout should be full body, low volume, and high intensity.
Use the same pre- workout meal as described above, and eat a large meal

after your workout. 70-80g. carbs is plenty and you should keep the kcal

deficit. This should not be viewed as a refeed day, just a day to sustain your
workout. As always, refeeds should on sat/sun should be low fat, high carb

and mod protein. If fat loss is your main priority, I suggest going no higher

than 1000 kcal over maintenance on Saturday and 700 kcal on Sunday. The
lesser kcal load on Sunday is needed in order to prevent spillover.
April 2007

Q: With your bench being lower, just out of curiosity, how big are your arms?

16 1/8 inches. They may appear bigger visually, due to pronounced bicep peaks

combined with slightly underdeveloped triceps. In my avatar, I think theyre barely

15 inches at 180 lbs.


Carb Depletion

My thoughts on carb-depletion in relation to IF basically, the cons outweigh the


pros. My main priority is always to preserve/increase LBM; this is, in my

experience, best achieved by working in the 5-8 rep range on the compound

movements (3 sets) with some assistance movements thrown in (2 sets), and eating
75-85% of the daily kcal intake within 5-6 hours following the workout.

I use strength in the 5-8 rep range as rough indicator of LBM gain. Weekly

increases on key movements is measured against bodyweight lost; is the client

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gaining strength and losing weight = great, or is the client maintaining/losing

strength? If the former, I dont change anything, if the latter I make modifications
(slightly higher kcal intake on off days, remove cardio from off days etc.).

If you throw in depletion work, weight lost may be accelerated while strength in
the 5-8 rep range may be compromised - this is my own experience from 2

consecutive 4 week runs of CKD a couple of years ago. First run I used to deplete
with 3-4 sets of 20, lost strength and started next run with less total volume (no
traditional depletion, conservative workouts) and maintained strength while
getting very lean.

I realise my view of depletion workouts may be biased and faulty, but IMO

whatever calories burnt via depletion can always be achieved by eating less or

dieting longer. Besides, Im quite happy with the results thus far achieved without

depletion and wary of throwing something I have limited experience with into the
mix. Id need to try it out for myself before starting anyone on such a routine
(IF+depletion). I could see the use of a routine starting out with a couple of

traditional sets, and then finishing off with a few sets of 15-20. I will need to
experiment further with this.

I am quite curious on how you structure an IF-cycle with depletion.

Blade: There are individual differences, of course - but so far, clients report of

strength gains even while dieting and doing depletion workouts in between the
heavy days. I have several options here:

1. Full-body 2-3x/weekly, 5x5 split, or an upper/lower split 3x/week and

depletion work at the end of the workout. Don't like this option much, since

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depleting then carbing up afterwards is kind of a waste, but at least you


burn more calories.

2. Same as above, but depletion workout the day after heavy work and carbs.
The best option IME.
Example:

Monday: bench, squat, chins (or rows)

Tuesday: Full body depletion, SS cardio depends

Wednesday: front squat, DL, OHP, power cleans or rows (or


chins)

Thursday: rest or full body depletion, SS cardio depends

Friday: bench or incline bench, squat, chins (or rows)


Saturday: rest

Sunday: rest or full body depletion or intervals

I prefer 2, but sometimes up to 3 depletion workouts per week. I don't go

overboard on volume either, about 2-3 sets of 15-25 reps per muscle group.

I may also stagger carbs during the week, so e.g. 150g pre-/post-workout+up
to 4-5hrs later on day 1,300g on day 2,500g on day 3.

3. Upper/lower split, heavy upper + depletion lower and vice versa. Also not a
preferred alternative since I recommend carbs after heavy work. But if you

prioritize Upper body you may only do carbs 2 days/week on the heavy days.
I should add, though - that I use a PSMF/UD2.0 style diet on depletion

days and on heavy days up to 1hr pre-workout, not a strict fast. Calories can

also be varied to achieve some weekly total deficit, so there is always some

individual adjustment for each client depending on starting point, goals and
progress.
Blade,

17

Im a simple man when it comes to weight training and dieting. Im also a simple

man when it comes to the structure of the week in terms of workouts, kcal intake,

carb intake and refeeds; IMO one benefit IF has, lies in its non-complexity, which
often equals high adherence rates.

You provided a fairly complex routine, and while I do not doubt its effective, it
differs a lot from what I would have anyone do.
May 2007

For the recomp routine Im doing, Im using an EOD carb load of approximately 2
x BW on WO days (next day carbs are kept at 100g max). Works very well for

LBM gains.

For the IF low kcal days (recomp protocol), I use 1200-1500 kcal as an appropriate
range; basically 50% maintenance for most guys. I also recommend a minimum of
60-90 min of low intensity cardio on these days.

Q: Is your program would be okay with weekend refeeds and carbs around
workouts?

Just time the refeeds on Fri-Sun (whichever day youre working out) and do

maintenance +25%, set carbs at BW x 2, low fat and the rest protein. You might
want to play it cool with the refeeds if youre doing them 2 days in a row, since
your goal is primarily fat loss (i.e. Saturday would be +25% maint., Sunday
maintenance + 0-15%, BW x 1.5 carbs).
Blade:

18

I don't really see the need for refeeds per se when you are trying to gain

mass. A caloric surplus doesn't depress leptin. If you just want to do my

schedule with a couple of depletion workouts, small-moderate carb-loading


Monday and Wednesday, then a bigger carb-load Friday+Saturday - sure,
I've experimented with that, and it works well.

Agreed. However, I do think that there are benefits to a large PW kcal intake on
WO-days; refeeds would not be the proper term, but Id like to have a lean

individual eating at maintenance on non- WO days and then "refeeding" at

maintenance+25% WO-days. On an EOD WO-routine this will generate a caloric


surplus of 375 kcal for someone maintaining at 3000 kcal; which I think is plenty
enough for LBM gains.

Besides (maybe) having a partitioning advantage, I also think this system has its

benefits in terms of adherence and avoiding the post diet rebound, especially if the
individual is sub 10% BF.

June 2007 Birth of leangains.blogspot.com

Q: So what with the cheetah? Is it the most ripped animal on the planet or what?
Its the most bro-ish animal on the planet.

Q: Have you ever thought of running an IF with lowered carbs and higher fats?

Thats what Im doing right now on rest days 300g protein 100g fat 50g carb; fat

sources being mainly fattier fish and meat, avocado, olives and peanut butter.

19

Q: Can clients eat protein during the fast to avoid the possibility of any LBM
losses?

I find that I get hungrier once I start eating. if eating does not interfere with

hunger, there might be a point to modify guidelines for those being very lean (i.e.

they might be more susceptible to muscle catabolism) i.e. >12% bf: strict 16 hr fast,
9-11% bf: 90% of calories to be consumed in the 8 hr eating window and so forth
well see

Q: 1. Do you see any advantage to fasted workouts? 2. Have you gotten any
feedback from other people regarding this, or has this simply been an n=1
phenomenon?

1. Benefits would be added flexibility, especially for the folks that work out in
the morning, prolonging the feeding window throughout the day. Other

benefits would, *theoretically*, be better CNS output from catecholamines

resulting in greater strength in low rep ranges. That one I just pulled out my
ass, but I have been thinking about it before. I certainly feel more amped on
fasted workouts. Question remains how performance during more standard

bodybuilding routines would be affected (i.e. higher rep ranges, higher total

volume etc.). Nutrient uptake PWO would be better, but just out of the fact

that you'd be in a larger energy deficit vs having a pre-wo meal.

2. Yes, some people are doing standard bb splits in the fasted state with no

apparent loss in performance. Then again, question remains if they always


have been doing this or if they are comparing the fasted workouts to their
performance in the fed state. Most of the people I have spoken with have
been doing it for such a long time that they can't say for sure.

20

December 2007 194-196 lbs @ 5.5%

Q: Have you always trained how you do now?

No, I've tried every routine under the sun. Low volume approaches i.e. HIT and
5x5 routines all worked well. DC was also ok, but I stagnated fast. Attempts at

high volume all went to shit, especially in combination with 4x/w+ frequency. I
think my failed attempts at higher volume may have something to do with my

temperament and inability to hold back; I basically ended up going to failure for 3-

4 sets per movement, instead of 1-2 sets, back when I tried higher volume routines.
In 2008 I might give them another shot again.

Q: How big of a strength drop-off (if any) have you noticed going from 9% to
now?

I've gained a significant amount of strength throughout the period, but realize that
the drop from 9%, to now, wasn't a linear cut in any way; there were times of
excess calories and weight gain as well. Some notables:
Bench press: 270 lbs x 4 (vs. 235 lbs x 6, dec 2006)

Deadlift: 600 lbs x 3, 640 lbs x 1 (vs. 555 lbs x 1, dec 2006)
However, the last month dropping from 197-199 lbs to 194-196, I've noticed

pressing movements feeling heavier and less controllable than what would normally
be expected at that rep range. If I've lost strength, I'll notice it when I get back to

the lower rep range. Training frequency has been very low lately though, with one

upper/lower wo every 5th or 6th day, which might be another part of any potential
loss. If there is any, it would be minimal and I'm still stronger/leaner than a year
ago.

21

In 2007 I was a lot more conservative than before with regards to calorie intake on

high/low days. If you recall, I was eating 4.5 k for the bulk in Aug-Nov 06 and 1.2
k + pig-out days for the summer cut 06. This time around, calorie discrepancies

between high/low days were no more than +30% maintenance for high days and -

30% for low days (maintenance calculated at BW in kilo x 30, which I suspect was

a bit high in the first place). I've experimented with +-5-30% and there's definitely
a sweet spot.

Q: Do you think it's easier for guys to be that lean as opposed to the equivalent for
women? And to stay in that condition did you just eat at maintenance level or try
to stay in a deficit most of the time?

If we're talking relatives (i.e. my 5% would be ~10% for a woman), I think it's

noticeably harder for women, yes. For example, I get have no negative physical

symptoms from my condition; a woman at 10% would probably lose her period and

run into other physical and mental issues as well.

With regards to staying this way, my weekly calorie breakdown is close to

maintenance. I don't eat a set diet right now, some days are higher than others due
to natural circumstances and so forth (when wrapped up in work, I usually do 2
meals instead of 3, next day I compensate etc.). I just jot down my estimated

calorie intake for the day and divide by 7, most cases it turns out at 2600-2900

kcal, which is what I maintain on (low activity). It is very non-stressful way to eat,

and live, once you reach your goals (and I consider myself satisfied for the moment
being). That being said, I end up eating mostly the same stuff everyday anyway.

When I have a specific goal in mind, like when I ran the IF cycles, my calories are

more controlled and macros are specific for whatever experiment I'm trying out for
that cycle.

22

Q: Do you eat higher fat/lower carb? Or do you even consider macros?

Rest days are higher fat for the most part. Not anal about macros, but fat would
probably be in the 20-30% range, protein 40-50% and whatever's left, carbs.

23

Chapter II
Leangains FAQ

FAQ Answered by Martin Berkhan

Below are some common questions on your diet, training and cardio. Make sure
you read all of them.

Note: Perhaps you have received a special document outlining your progression for
weight training if you choose muscle gain as your priority. If so, the weight

training related questions here might not apply. They are instead covered in full in
your progression guide. However, you should read the Training section in this

FAQ anyway, as there are other training related questions that apply to everyone.
For fat loss, the weight training guidelines are covered on your Training Principles
sheet in your Excel file, and all the weight training related questions in this FAQ
apply.
Diet

Q: I dont like (insert random food item here), what can I eat instead?

Everything in the plan is exchangeable and can be replaced with something else
with similar caloric/macronutrient values. Chicken breast may be replaced by
another type of lean meat, and broccoli may be replaced by another fibrous

vegetable, for example. Or something else entirely (i.e. veggies can be replaced with

lentils/pasta/potatoes, meats with any other protein item, liquid or whole etc.).

Volume/quantity of the food need not be the same, but the meals should match
calorie/macronutrient wise.

If you have a look at the Diet Guidelines sheet, there is a collection of


recommended protein, fat and carbohydrate foods for different days

26

(Recommended food choices for). Look here for ideas. Key point is that you
stay close to the calorie/macronutrient intakes given for each respective day.

Use common sense when trading foods in your sample meal plan. You do not trade
veggies and fruit for white bread, for example. Go with filling foods, first and

foremost. You want to maximize satiety throughout your diet, and I have set up

your diet with this in mind. But if you find yourself stuffed and bloated/not feeling
well eating that much, go for more calorie dense food exchanges (i.e. protein

shakes instead of whole food protein, rice instead of lentils, fruit or starch instead
of veggies, and so forth).

Q: You only included sample menus for Monday and Tuesday?

That's right. One sample meal plan for training days, one for rest days. Sometimes,

a third sample meal plan for Rest Day B/C. I have shown you how to set up a meal

plan in order to meet the calorie and macronutrient intake for those days. You
hardly need a meal plan for each single day of the week, as you only have two

different calorie/macronutrient setups to follow. It is up to you to vary it and swap


foods that are more in line to your personal preferences.

*there may be more in your meal plan depending on complexity/calorie cycling. Check the
hyperlinks on Client sheet.

Q: What supplements should I be taking?

Each day, take a multivitamin, 500 mg calcium* and 3 g fish oil with either of your
meals. No particular brands recommended. Generic is often just as good as pricier
alternatives. Also, consider taking 2000 IU of Vitamin D3 (the more common
form of Vitamin D, other one is called D2 and is far less potent). This is not

27

essential by any means, but may have benefits for general health and
bonemetabolism.

For additional/optional supplements (fat loss, performance etc.), see this post:

http://www.leangains.com/2010/01/supplements-you-might-actually-find_09.html
Q: Can I have protein shakes?

You can substitute some of the whole food proteins with protein shakes, but this is
generally not something I would recommend doing on a diet. Liquid calories

should be minimized as they provide little satiety in comparison to whole foods,

and protein shakes are no different in this regard. This is especially important for
clients with a low maintenance intake; theres more leeway for protein shakes

for the 225 lbs male client, than for the 135 lbs female client, for example. Go with
whole food protein first hand.

Include shakes only if you a) have a problem eating the amount of protein from
whole foods in your sample meal plan, or b) its needed for practical reasons.
Q: Can I have a whey shake instead of (whole food protein) in meal 3?

For the last meal of the day, you need a slowly absorbing protein to provide you

with amino acids for a prolonged time period. Protein from casein and other whole

food sources, like egg protein, is absorbed slowly, with rates ranging from 2-5 g per
hour. This is desirable for the fast. With whey, absorption is very rapid (10 g/hr),

which is far from ideal when you wont be eating for 16 hrs. Therefore, stick with

cottage cheese, egg protein or meat and veggies for meal 3. If you have to consume
whey protein, use it during meal 1 or 2.

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Q: What kind of protein supplement do you recommend? I'm about to order and
need some input.

Milk protein isolate (consists of 20-25% whey/ 75-80% casein) is the hands down

best all-round choice. It works as a meal replacement. Is more satiating than whey,
and some might argue more satiating than casein. It's thicker and mixes well with
water - you can make a great protein pudding out of it for that reason.

Although I don't think that shakes, or supplemental protein like BCAA, is

necessary if you had a pre-workout meal, it works well enough as a post-workout


shake.

It works very well as a bed time protein, due to the relatively high amounts of
casein. So if you want to buy just one type of protein, make it a milk protein

isolate. I'm not too familiar with international brands, as I personally use a local

brand (Eiselt, DoublePro). I know True Protein has some cheap and good tasting
powders, so you might want to look into that, or browse some forums to see what

other people would recommend. For whey and casein, see the recommendations in
the blog post linked earlier.
Q: Why is protein so high?

Protein is kept high for three reasons.

1. Highest TEF* of all macronutrients; 20-25% of the energy gets wasted as

heat, making the true metabolic impact closer to 3.25 kcal/g** (carbs and fat
have a TEF around 2-4%, making the effect negligible).
= Thermic Effect of Feeding.

** = Livesey. Metabolizable energy of macronutrients. Am J Clin Nutr. 1995


Nov;62(5 Suppl):1135S-1142S

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2. Greatest effect on satiety.

3. Spares muscle protein stores. While, 1 g/lb may be adequate assuming

energy balance, it is not so during dieting conditions. In a calorie deficit, de


novo gluconeogenesis, which is the conversion of dietary protein or muscle
protein to carbs, is greatly accelerated. Having an ample supply of protein

available from the diet, ample in this case being much more than enough (>1
g/lb), prevents amino acids from muscle being used in the DNL process.
A high protein intake will therefore result in faster fat loss, greater satiety and
muscle preservation. Its a key component of an effective diet.
Q: I am having problems with gas, any suggestions?

If youre eating according to the sample meal plans, odds are that the intake of

fiber, via fibrous veggies, is a lot higher than what you are used to. This gets a lot

better over time, as does adjusting to the protein intake. If the problem persists,

and you find it unbearable, the best course of action is simply to reduce vegetable
intake a bit. Replace with more protein and carbs.

For example, if youd like to cut broccoli intake in half, say to 300 g, that yields 60

kcal (9 g protein, 6 g carbs) that you should add to your diet in place of the veggies.
You could do that by adding 50 g lean meat (10 g protein, 1-2 g fat) to one of your
meals, for example. Or add half an apple (12 g carbs).

Gradually bump veggie intake back up when digestion catches up to speed. If

you're coming off a low carb diet, this is quite common - especially if veggie intake
was kept on the low side for a longer time period.

30

Q: There is no way I can eat this much protein. I don't feel hungry. I will go for the
protein shakes. As I don't feel hungry, I will be buying whey. Milk proteins are
very rare here and the one I found was extremely expensive, same with casein.
Good. If you're not feeling hungry, fat loss will be a breeze. That's one of the
secrets behind the success I've had with so many clients.

Remember, you don't need to eat meat and its ok to substitute meat for protein

shakes. No need to force- feed, and it's even ok to skimp a little bit on the protein

grams until you get used to it. However, I suggest you eat the protein first hand
and try to cut down on carbs and fat if you feel too stuffed.

Now, as for protein substitutions, whey is ok, but for the last meal of the day, try to
get some slow digesting protein in - cottage cheese, egg protein or meat with some
vegetables (to slow down protein digestion, since meat is considered a fast protein
when eaten on its own). Whey absorption is rapid about 10 g/hour, and youll

want something slower that will prevent protein catabolism during the 16 hour fast

that follows the last meal. You could still add some whey to the last meal, but make
sure you add something to slow absorption (i.e. veggies). Thats important.

Below are some examples of protein absorption of a few common protein sources.
This has been measured on an empty stomach. When you have foods digesting

from other meals, like you would have during meal 3, absorption is slowed. Same
when you eat the protein source with other foods.

Protein Absorption Rate (g/hour) Cooked Egg Protein 2.9


Pea Protein 3.5

Milk Protein 3.5

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Soy Protein Isolate 3.9


Casein Isolate * 6.1
Whey Isolate 8-10

Meat ** 10.0

*Casein isolate = shake, not cottage cheese. Absorption of cottage cheese is a lot slower.
** Meat is tricky, since they used a liquid solution in the studies. And thats obviously not

how people consume meat. Absorption would depend on how well you chew the meat and
whether you eat it with veggies or not. Since people normally eat meat with veggies or
other foods, I think absorption would be in the 3-4 g/hr range (studies on whole meals
and amino acid appearance in the blood suggests this).

Q: I LOATHE cottage cheese. This is the first time I've ever eaten it, and

honestly, it's disgusting to my palette. However, I've spent a lot of time trying to

find nutritionally equivalent foods, and after some analysis, I can see what makes
cottage cheese so healthy. Unable to choke it down for much longer, I need an
alternative.

Of course, meat and veggies is an alternative. Meat is generally a fast protein but

the added fiber from veggies slows it down. Egg protein is really slow and perfect it's actually way slower than casein. So any other whole food or casein based

protein source is basically fine. I use cottage cheese by default since most people
like it. You can always add some calorie free sweetener or berries to it. It goes
down a lot easier that way.

Q: Im having trouble at some of the meals to eat everything, especially the post
workout meal. 500 g of potatoes is on the edge of being too much. How to
proceed? I have no hunger problems at all.

32

You'll get used to it. You can replace the carb source with something with higher
carb density rice or pasta, for example.

Q: What are your thoughts on maltodextrin/protein shakes post-workout? I

usually have 40g protein and 100 g of carbs (maltodextrin) in my post-workout

shake. Can I still have this?

Like protein shakes, maltodextrin is unnecessary, and in the end counterproductive


during dieting. Maltodextrin is far worse than protein shakes. The only benefit

maltodextrin has in comparison to a lower GI whole food carbohydrate (potatoes,


pasta, rice etc.) is in the form of faster glycogen replenishment, when muscle

glycogen is measured at the 8-12th hour mark. And this is completely irrelevant

unless you plan on training the same muscle group in the morning, which you

wont. Doesn't enhance muscle growth or improve recovery, it just shuttles carbs

for storage a little bit faster. Its Relevant for elite athletes doing multiple sessions a
day, completely useless for someone working out 3-4x/week.

In the end maltodextrin is just a shitty high GI carb that tastes like shit and won't
fill you up for shit. Stay the hell away from it if you want to get lean and stay full
and satisfied during the diet. Why would you want to gulf down such a perverse

amount of calories when they can be eaten instead? That being said, yes, you can
have it. Just like it says in the plan, you may swap foods in whatever fashion you

like, as long as you stick to the calorie and macrocomposition guidelines for the day
(and stick fairly close to the ones given for the meals).

Q: What are your thoughts on using creatine during dieting?

Creatine is one of the few supplements that actually works and provides a

noticeable boost in performance (for most people - 10% are non-responders).

33

However, some people will retain water on it - how much depends, but enough to
mask fat loss during dieting if you're unlucky. This might be frustrating and mess
with your head. For this reason, it might be unwise to start creatine

supplementation during a dieting phase - or at least be aware of the fact that water

retention may occur, and not freak out because of it.

I should note that for most people, water retention isn't a big deal, and usually

results in an initial weight spike after which body weight starts dropping again if
you're dieting.

If youre already taking it, I would advise continuing usage and see how, and if, it
affects weight loss on the scale and mirror. It will likely not have a great impact,

but if it does, and you feel it is discouraging, consider discontinuing usage (and be
aware that some strength loss usually occurs when you stop taking it).

Q: When I log the foods in the sample meal plan into FitDay, I get slightly
different values than the ones you have. What should I do?

Depending on factors like brand name, food database and cooking/preparation,

values will be slightly different. This is also true for basic foods like lentils, beans,
meats, fruit and vegetables; broccoli, for example, is 20-30 kcal/100 g depending
on where you look. This has never been an issue. Stay close to the calorie intake

and macronutrient amounts Ive given in the sample meal plan and youll be fine.
Q: I have been playing around with different foods for variety's sake when I

noticed something. Somehow the numbers don't add up. I think I'm correct to
understand that (4*grams of protein) + (4*grams of carbs) + (9*grams of fats) =

34

total meal calories? Somehow this numbers don't add up in the diet. One example
is my post workout meal
Pro: 78.7 grams

Cho: 148.6 grams


Fat: 13.1

kCal: 1075

If I crunch the numbers correctly it adds up to 314.8+594.4+117,9=1027.1. Which


is a deficit of 47.1 compared to what it says in the Excel. What am I missing?

The total calories per 100 grams rarely add up on nutritional labels due to

rounding. Let me give you an example,

Ice cream sorbet 100 gram = 28 g carbs = listed as 122 kcal, but should be 112
gram if you count the macros as listed. However, sorbet often contains sugar

alcohols which in most cases is not listed as a macronutrient on the label, yet
provides 2 kcal/1 g to the total.

Another factor: protein can be listed as "trace" or "zero" on the label, due to

rounding, while in reality sorbet might contain 0.5 g per 100 g. So that adds up to
another 5 kcal from protein for a 250 g container.

So these small things add up, thus macronutrients can "disappear" from the

equation i.e. 250 g sorbet should be 270 kcal but becomes 305 kcal on the sheet.

You can go down to the supermarket and look at any random nutritional label and
you'll see the same thing there especially on processed foods etc.

Q: I couldnt eat my last meal until 11 pm yesterday, even though my feeding


window is set to 1-9 pm. Does this mean I should fast until 3 pm tomorrow?

35

No, you stick to 1-9 pm as usual. Sometimes life happens and your feeding

window will be longer, your fast shorter, or whatever. This is to be expected and

you shouldnt stress or think too much about it. Do not be rigid or neurotic about
keeping an 8 hr feeding window and 16 hr fast every single day.

Key point is you stick to your calorie/macros for the day and break the fast at 1 pm
as usual the next day. You do not move the feeding window just because you had a
meal outside your feeding window.

Q: Im going to dinner with a few friends in the weekend. Any advice on how to
handle social situations like this without breaking the diet?

If at all possible, try to keep it similar to what you normally would be eating. Go
for lots of lean meat/protein and filling stuff like veggies, potatoes, and so forth.

No, it won't be exact with regards to what you should be eating on your diet, but
that's how you have to do it to keep your sanity and not alienate yourself just
because youre on a diet.

Key point is you dont use the dinner as an excuse to pig out. You know what

constitutes good dieting foods, and you know what you should be eating. Adhere
to that as well as circumstances allow.

One strategy to use on days with social eating during dieting is to create a buffer

for fat and carbs. Depending on how many meals you eat this day, make all meals
that are under your influence (i.e. the ones before and after the social meal), high
protein, low everything else. This way you create a buffer for the other
macros/calories during the dinner. Think,

36

Meal 1: veggies and lean meat


Meal 2: Dinner

Meal 3: veggies and lean meat or lean protein like cottage cheese etc.
For occasions involving alcohol, use the approach described here if possible:

http://www.leangains.com/2010/07/truth-about-alcohol-fat-loss-and-muscle.html
Of course, you can also use a more moderate approach. If you have a glass of wine
or a beer, just account for it calorically, as usual. Log the calories as carbs.

Q: Do I need to worry about fructose/sucrose in the post-workout meal and is


there an upper limit for the amount allowed?

No. This is not an issue unless your whole post-workout meal consists of refined

shit you shouldnt be eating in the first place. I would actually encourage a sugary

treat post-workout, in moderation, and have probably included a little something


in your sample meal plan. The post-workout period is a good time to have some

off limit foods, as it serves as a good psychological motivator (and contributes to


glycogen replenishment).

Q: My weight has increased 4 lbs. This is probably a product of being trained

down to a very low 156 lbs prior to this plan. With more carbs, my muscles seem
fuller. Does this make sense to you?

I anticipate that the weight gain will level off to a more gradual amount of weight

gain. Switching from a low carb diet to higher carbs will almost instantly put a few
pounds on you, as muscle glycogen stores become fuller. So yes, it makes a lot of

sense that you're now a bit heavier, but your body weight will move up at a much
slower pace now (or go down, had fat loss been your priority).

37

Q: When and how should I weigh myself?

Weigh yourself first thing in the morning, after emptying your bladder/bowels (if

you have the need). Do this, as often as you can. Add the numbers together, divide
by occasions, and you get the mean weight. This is the number Im interested in.
Q: a) I havent lost any weight this week. Is it time to drop calories?
or

b) I have gained 1 lbs this week and Im really freaking out! How can I gain weight
when Im dieting?

There are some cases where you might find yourself not losing weight linearly or

even gaining, in spite of dieting. I see this all the time, but just because the weight
isnt moving down on the scale, it doesnt mean that youre not losing fat.

This is more common the leaner you are, and the longer youve been dieting. For
example, while having initially lost on average 1 lbs per week the first five weeks,

you might lose zero lbs week 6, but 2 lbs week 7; which is why I am not too quick

to change things, and only revamp plans when body weight is unchanged across a
2-week span.

Basically, some weeks might look like this (let's assume the prognosis is set to 1
lbs/week)

Week 5: 185 lbs

Week 6: 185.2 lbs

Week 7: 183 lbs ("catch up" weight loss occurs, also referred to as the
"whoosh"-effect)

38

With women, I have seen this effect extend to three weeks; for example, stalling at
135 lbs week 4-6, then dropping 3 lbs overnight in week 7.

Lyle McDonald has written about this phenomenon, though no one knows for
sure why it occurs.

Whats going on? Back during my college days, one of my professors threw
out the idea that after fat cells had been emptied of stored triglyceride, they
would temporarily refill with water (glycerol attracts water, which might be
part of the mechanism). So there would be no immediate change in size,

body weight or appearance. Then, after some time frame, the water would

get dropped, the fat cells would shrink. A weird way of looking at it might

be that the fat loss suddenly becomes apparent. That is, the fat was emptied

and burned off days or weeks ago but until the water is dropped, nothing
appears to have happened.

For nearly 20 years I looked for research to support this, I was never sure if it
was based on something from the 50s or he just pulled it out of thin air as
an explanation. Recently, one paper did suggest that visceral fat can fill up
with water after massive weight loss but thats about it.

More here: http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/fat-loss/of-whooshes-andsquishy-fat.html

Training

39

Q: Im not sure what weights I should use for the various rep ranges in the plan.
Any ideas?

The rep ranges arent crucial for the first sessions; key point is you do the

movements with good intensity from the start. Then you can increase weights each
week until you reach the rep interval noted for the movement in your plan. Dont
go this was lightoops already 8 reps, gotta stop!

For example, if your plan has Bench Press (2 x 6-8), and youre unsure what weight
to use, rather start too light and do a few extra reps, than too heavy (i.e. a weight

you can only get 5 with). Then you can increase the weight gradually for the next
sessions and lean into the noted rep range in your plan. For example,
Bench Press (2 x 6-8)
Week 1

200 x 10
180 x 11
Week 2
210 x 9

190 x 10
Week 3

220 x 7 (you found the right weight; now dont up this until you get 8)
200 x 8 (up this by 5 lbs for next session)
Week 4

220 x 8 (up this by 5 lbs for next session)


205 x 7 (dont up this until you get 8)

Q: A confusion that I have after reading all the documents is about the intensity:
should the sets be done to failure, or should I leave one rep in the tank?

40

This is covered in the sheet called Training Principles. Unless stated otherwise,

this applies - "...you should apply maximum effort, while not compromising form."

That's basically a nice way of saying go to failure but don't do something stupid. In
this case failure meaning that you think you will fail on your next rep if you

attempt it.

Q: With only 1-3 sets, sometimes i dont feel i got the most out of it. For example,
I didnt feel muscle contact or stuff like that and it worries me. Any thoughts to
cheer me up?

Muscle contact" is just part of the pump-and-tone-bodybuilder mythology. Have

you gotten strong focusing on "muscle contact" for the last five years? No. Look at
the results me and my clients have gotten: 90% used similar routines and all got

stronger and leaner. Do you believe you are a special little flower to which the rules
of progressive overload do not apply?

Do you believe that you will get better results focusing on muscle contact than if

you focus on deadlifting triple body weight for reps or benching 1.5 x BW for reps?
Strength is what matters. Get stronger and your muscles will grow. I haven't

wasted a thought on muscle contact for the last ten years and I have gained muscle
just fine.

Q: Why are rep intervals for some movements larger than others? (Women only)

When you up the weight in certain movements, youre likely to lose a few reps

depending on the movement and the % increase. Lets use barbell curls (1 x 6-10)

as an example. A female might do barbell curls with a 45 lb barbell. In order to

progress, she needs to up the weight when shes able to complete 10 reps with 45

lbs. considering that 5 lbs (2 x 2.5 lbs plates) would be the minimum increase, that

41

is still more than +10% weight on the bar. Assuming strength is unchanged, she

will lose 1 rep per 2.5-3% weight increase. Such a large increase would therefore

cause her to drop several reps with the new weight, even if strength has increased
since the last session. Example,
Week 1
45 x 10

Week 2

50 x 6 (+5 lbs, -4 reps)

Week 3
50 x 7

Week 4
50 x 8

Therefore, I usually list most upper body movements for women in a wider rep
interval (x 6-10, x 8-

12). Some movements, like the deadlift, leg press and the squat are listed in tighter
rep intervals (x 4-

6, x 6-8), since the % increase would not be as large (5 lbs jumps for 150 lbs squats

= +3%).

Q: What grip should I use for deadlifts?

I recommend a mixed grip. If youre right handed, use an overhand grip with your
right hand and an underhand grip with your left hand (and vice versa). I also

highly recommend that you use chalk to improve your grip if your gym allows it.

That will enable you to use a heavier load, as you are not limited by your gripping
strength (which is often the weak link in training deadlifts).

42

Q: What is a Pendlay Row?

Here is an excellent demonstration of the lift:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=44LJqZX5aIY
And here is a thorough tutorial, along with another video demonstration:

http://stronglifts.com/how-to-perform-the-pendlay-row-with-correct-technique/
Q: The Pushdowns. Are they done with V bar or straight bar?

Whichever you feel is more comfortable and/or works the triceps better.
Personally, I use a straight bar. Try and see which feels better.

Q: The Seated tricep extensions. Are they done with one dumbbell held vertically
or with a barbell?

One dumbbell (held with both hands). Like this:

http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/Triceps/DBTriExt.html
Make sure you have proper back support when doing these.
Q: Do I need to warm up for every movement?

Its recommended for compound movements, and necessary for movements youre
unfamiliar with or havent trained in a while. There are specific guidelines for

warm ups in Training Principles, but you may use whatever warm up you feel is
necessary to go all out in the sets that call for it. The way your workouts are

structured, youll be properly warmed up for the rest of the workout if you warm up
on the first 1-2 movements in your plan.

43

Q: Can I do these workouts as a circuit, or should I do each exercise and rest the 2
(or 5 min) between sets?

Absolutely not. Doing them in a circuit training fashion, with minimal rest in

between movements, would be a very poor idea as most sets calls for maximum

effort (exception of 3 x 4, 3 x 5, 4 x 6, and others if noted). You should be fresh

and rested before attempting the next set. Rest and proceed according to what it
says in the plan.

Q: My gym has dumbbells with 1kg increments (e.g. 16 kg 17 kg 18 kg etc.) Do

you recommend dumbbells over barbell because of support muscles getting more
involved with ROM?

I mainly recommend dumbbells over barbell due to the lesser jump when

increasing weight. 16 to 17 kg is still +6.5% increase in load, whereas the ideal


jump is on the order of 2.5-5% (i.e. 100 kg barbell to 102.5 or 105 kg).

Q: If I have to miss a training session for some reason, should I continue with the

rest of my routine, or should I shift the schedule by one day and accommodate the
missed session the next day (which would have been a rest day otherwise)? (This
pertains to a setup with deadlifts on A and squats on C)

You can train the next day if you can get two full rest days in between A and C
sessions.

Tue-A (shifted)
Wed-B

Fri-C is ok

Mon-A
Wed-B

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Sat-C is not ok (since you have deadlifts 2 days after squats = only one rest day)
In the above example, I'd suggest switching to a Tue-Thu-Sat setup ideally to
allow for two full rest days, so you would continue:
Tue-A (shifted)
Thu-B
Sat-C

OR (less ideal, but can be done if you would prefer to keep weekends off)
Tue-A

Wed-B

Fri-C then back to your regular Mon-Wed-Fri setup (but 6 days in between dl
sessions is tempting faith)

Cardio/rest day activity

Q: When should the brisk walk be performed?

At any time of your choosing; fasted, or between meal 1-3. Do it outside, or on the
treadmill at the gym.

Q: I hate walking, can I do HIIT instead?

Absolutely not. Cardio should be steady state, low intensity, on rest days. There is
a reason for this. If you dont like walking, you may substitute it with the same

amount of stationary cycling, treadmill, step up or elliptical trainer*. No rowing.

45

*For elliptical, look at the display and go for the same amount of calories the walking is

expected to expend + 20%. This is noted on the right side of additional expenditure on
the client sheet (A29, A44). If the number is 250 for 45 min brisk walking, you go for

250 + 20% = 300 calories burned on the display of the elliptical machine. Adding 20% is
necessary, as that is the approximate amount that these machines overestimate energy

expenditure by.

Q: What heart rate should I be aiming for during brisk walking?

Irrelevant. Walking should be brisk, but it shouldnt be exhaustive. Thats all the
guidelines you need for that part of your program.

Q: Im really itching for some higher intensity cardio. Any way we can add that to
the plan? (Women only)

In my experience though, higher intensity and/or exhaustive cardio affects the


appetite of women negatively in the sense that there is a disproportionate

compensatory effect on hunger. Studies on men and women support this. When
exercise is added to their daily routine (aerobic exercise and resistance training

alike) men always lose fat without changing their diet. The compensatory effect on

appetite is absent and if anything men seem to get a hunger blunting effect from it.
Unfortunately this does not apply to women. Females get the opposite effect and it
seems appetite regulating hormones in women are very sensitive to energy deficits
created by activity.

My experience shows that this is minimized with less strenuous exercise such as

brisk walking instead of running or intervals. But this has to be weighed against
the enjoyment you get from the routine.

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So if you're truly itching for it, you can replace one of the 45 min walking sessions

with steady state 20 min jogging or 45 min cycling (moderate/low intensity) and/or
one of the 60 min walking sessions with 30 min jogging or 45 min cycling
(moderate/low intensity)
(Option B only)

Q: What happens after my one-week consultation is over?

During the consultation week we will deal with all your questions about the plans.

You will also be able to test the diet during the week and let me know if its a good
fit for you. If it isnt, I will make changes based on your feedback. After that you
are on your own.

By using the Progression Guidelines you will know how to proceed when you face

a plateau without my help. I will expect progress pics from you at the 8-12th week
mark. If your pics are good enough for me to add to my client updates on the site,

you will be entitled to a secret gift.

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Chapter III

Leangains Progression Guide

How to Adjust Calories and Break Through Plateaus

Adjusting Calorie Intake: When?

How do you know when to adjust calorie intake in case your fat loss is slowing
down or stalling? Well look into that below.

1. On the bottom left hand side of the client sheet is a section called

Preliminary Prognosis. This is an estimate of the minimum amount of

weight you are expected to lose each week with perfect adherence to the

caloric and macro-compositional guidelines (noted above under Workout,

Rest A etc.). If you are losing less than that, measured over two weeks, you
will need to lower calorie intake.

2. Weigh yourself as often as you can, in the morning after having taken a

pee/dump, and note the weight for each day. Add these numbers together

and divide by the number of occasions. For example, if you weighed yourself
6 days out of 7, add the numbers and divide them by 6.
Example:

Prognosis says -1.2 lbs/week. If the mean is lower than 2.4 lbs/2 weeks, thats
when you adjust calorie intake. However, the first time youll compare mean
weights will be after three weeks and not two.
Mean weight week 1: 185.5
Mean weight week 2: 183.0
At the end of week 3, compare the mean for week 3 with the mean for week 1.

Then look at the prognosis. In this example, the prognosis says -1.2 lbs and your

mean weight during week 3 should be at least -3.6 lbs. If it is, then no adjustments

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should be made. In the future, youll compare every other week (week 5 vs week 3,
week 7 vs week 5 and so on).
Mean weight week 3: 181.5
Compared with mean weight in week 1 = -4.0 lbs, which is good. Had this number
been -3.5 lbs, it would have been time to lower calorie intake.
Mean weight week 4: 180.5
Mean week 5: 179.5

Now lets assume were at the end of week 5. Compared with mean weight in week
3 = scale shows -2.0 lbs. Its time to lower calorie intake a bit.
Adjusting Calorie Intake: How?

1. Rest days: Lower calorie intake by 6% by reducing carbs and fat.


Example:

If your calorie intake on a rest day is 1800 kcal, lower by 100 kcal.

Reduce carbs and fat in a 1:1 ratio, meaning 50 kcal of each or 12-13
g carbs and 5-6 g fat. This is not set in stone. Depending on your

personal preferences, you may opt to reduce more or less of the other.

2. Training days: Lower calorie intake by 6% by reducing carbs in the postworkout meal first and foremost.
Example:

If your calorie intake on training days is 2500 kcal, lower by 150 kcal
or 37-38 g carbs. Do this by removing the most carb-dense foods in

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your meal plan (i.e. white rice, ice cream), or a specific carb source you
feel you can do without.

3. Wait at least two weeks before lowering again.

4. In future adjustments, lower fat intake as well; carbs should not go below
35% on training days.

5. Protein remains constant throughout your diet (more or less some tag

along protein grams will inevitably disappear when you reduce carbs/fat).

Body Fat Percentage and Rate of Fat Loss

As you get leaner, you should not attempt to maintain the original Preliminary
Prognosis of fat loss in your plan. Below are some rough guidelines on what

constitutes the maximal amount of fat/weight loss per week for excellent strength
retention or gain.

18-19% body fat: -1.7 lb/week

15-17% body fat: -1.5 lb/week

12-14%: -1.3 lb/week


9-11%: -1 lb/week

<8%: 0.7 lb/week or 2 lbs every 3rd week

If you adhere to these guidelines you should see similar effects on muscle gain and
strength to those of my regular Option A-clients - who often gain strength and

muscle while getting to single digit body fat. The body recomposition-effect, so to
speak. Is a faster rate of fat loss than the one denoted above possible? Of course,
but this would also compromise the results.

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Some Useful Advice

Weight loss on the scale might not tell the whole truth, as you might be gaining

some muscle mass that skews the numbers. Therefore you may opt to not adhere

strictly to the rules of thumb noted for calorie adjustments in the guidelines I have
just provided. If you are happy with results, i.e. getting visually leaner each week
while gaining strength, but not hitting the exact number in the Preliminary
Prognosis, you should consider NOT changing anything in your diet.

Do not attempt to speed things up by cutting calories more than what my


guidelines have denoted. Thats how people screw up.

Do not attempt to change or tinker with your training routine. Do not add
or remove sets and do not deload.

If you fall out of the prescribed rep range for sets, lower weight by 5% in
your next session.
Example:

(Bench Press 2 x 6-8)

100 x 5 lower this to 95 next session


Finally, I would be very happy if you got back to me once your goal is reached and
told me how everything went. If you send me your after-pictures, and if I find

them good enough to put up on my site as part of a client update, you will receive a
secret gift.

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Transitioning to Maintenance: first two weeks

Once youve reached your goal, a smooth transition to maintenance is key for

maintaining it. This 2 week phase should be given just as much attention as your

diet, and youd do well to treat it as an extension of your fat loss phase for the first
two weeks. If you approach the maintenance phase with a laissez faire kind of
attitude, you only risk binging and losing a portion of your hard earned results.

Ironically, the maintenance phase can be mentally more challenging than a more
restrictive diet, since the goal is not as clear or purposeful as the latter (i.e.
maintain weight vs lose weight).

The first two weeks are critical and you must use the guidelines below to ensure a
perfect transitioning.

1. Look at the mean weight loss for the last three weeks. That should give you
an estimate for how much of a deficit you have been running.
Example:

Mean weight week 10: 172.0

Mean weight week 11: 171.2 (-0.8 vs week 10)

Mean weight week 12: 170.0 (-1.2 vs week 11)

Mean weight loss over two weeks: 0.8 + 1.2/2 = -1 lbs/week

2. 1 lb of fat = 3500 calories, the equivalent of the deficit youve been running
before your planned transition to maintenance (week 13 in this example).
This means that you have 3500 calories to add to your diet in order to be
weight stable.

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3. There are various ways to distribute the 3500 calories among the days in

your plan. You can do it the quick and dirty way and simply up calorie intake
by 500 on all days, but ideally the distribution should be made with the

objective of securing diet adherence for the first two weeks. Think about

which day(s) you are more or less hungry. Odds are you experienced more

hunger on your rest days during the last week before maintenance; if so, add
proportionally more calories to these days.
Example:

Before maintenance:

Training days, 3x/week: 2200 kcal


Rest days, 4x/week: 1700 kcal
Maintenance:

Training days: 2500 kcal (+300)


Rest days: 2350 (+650)

Another alternative is to add a more modest amount on weekdays and a

largeramount on the weekends. For example, +400 kcal Monday-Friday and

then +750 kcal Saturday-Sunday. Either way you go about it, the key point

is that you set up your initial 2 weeks of maintenance in such a way that you
do not binge. Binging and losing your hard earned results is an all too

common phenomenon after your diet. Ive personally been there and done

that, and so have countless others. This might sound counterintuitive, since
you are eating more, but the mind works in strange ways.

Also distribute the calories among meals with diet adherence in mind.

Maintain the macrocomposition of your diet for the first two weeks during
the maintenance phase with a minor deviation only (+-5%).
Example:

Before maintenance:

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Training days, 3x/week: 2200 kcal


45% protein
40% carbs
15% fat

Rest days, 4x/week: 1700 kcal


55% protein
20% carbs
25% fat

Maintenance:

Training days: 2500 kcal (+300)


40-50% protein

35-45% carbs
10-20% fat

Rest days: 2350 (+650)


50-60% protein

15-25% carbs
20-30% fat

This is important. One of the most common mistakes people do when

transitioning to maintenance is to add a lot of new foods and change the

macro composition drastically lowering protein intake and upping carbs

and fat intake. Again, due to the funny workings of the mind, this tends to
lead to binges. Suddenly a bunch of new foods and choices presents

themselves and this puts diet adherence at risk. Ideally you should eat almost

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the exact the same foods that you ate during your fat loss phase, just more of
them.

4. No funny food experiments. No "celebrating" with cheat days/meals (unless


those that can be fitted into your calorie budget and macro composition for
the day). I cant stress this enough. Again, the 2 week maintenance phase

after your diet should be treated as an extension of your fat loss phase and be
followed with the same dedication.

5. Maintain the training routine and the cardio schedule, but cut cardio volume
by 1/3. If youre doing 45 min brisk walks on weekdays and 60 min brisk
walks on weekends, do 30 min and 40 min during your two weeks of

maintenance. There is a very important behavioral aspect to this.


After the 2 Week Transition Phase

Once youve gone through the initial two weeks of maintenance, you can take more
liberties with your diet; such as lowering protein intake and incorporating more

cheat-friendly or unclean foods into your diet. However you choose to proceed
with your diet from here on out, here are some best practices for maintaining
leanness in the longer term.

Your habitual diet should be high protein to ensure satiety and protection

against weight gain (protein has the highest TEF of all macronutrients). My

personal recommendation is 1.25 g per lb body weight or 2.5 g per kilo body

weight.

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Carb and fat intake should be set according to your personal preferences, but
I recommend you cycle them so that rest days are high(er) fat and training
days high(er) carb.

Ideally you should also continue cycle calories so that training days are
high(er) and rest days low(er).

Ideally your largest meal should be your post-workout meal. Your next

largest meal should be your first meal on rest days however, for practical

purposes, you may find it better to make your next largest meal your second
or third meal on rest days (if you are working a regular 9-5 job in a public
place, it might simply be more enjoyable to eat a large meal at home after
work).

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Chapter IV
Fuckarounditise

Wise Words on Weight Training

Dear readers, it is with troublesome news I break my three months of silence. The
statistics all point towards the same conclusion: we have a global outbreak of

fuckarounditis. Fuckarounditis is a behavioral disorder characterized by a mediocre


physique and complete lack of progress, despite significant amounts of time spent

in the gym.

Fuckarounditis most commonly manifests itself as an intense preoccupation


with crunches, curls, cable movements, belts, gloves, balance boards, Swiss
Balls and Tyler Durden. Fear of squats and deadlifts is another

distinguishing trait. Physical exertion is either completely lacking or

misapplied (towards questionable or unproductive training practices).


Despite an alarming increase of fuckarounditis in recent years, prevalence
may vary greatly depending on location. However, in most commercial

gyms, it has been estimated that 90-100% of individuals are afflicted to

varying degrees.

Environment and social networks are crucial factors for triggering the
disease. It has been proposed that the roots of the disease stems from

misinformation and counterproductive training advice found in popular


media ("fitness magazines") and information hubs on the Internet.
Human nature and the so-called "laziness", "magic bullet" and

"complacency" genes play a permissive role for allowing the disease to take

hold.

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The disease spreads rapidly, as carriers of the disease communicate with


other individuals in locker rooms, Internet discussion forums and other

arenas of interaction and information exchange in real life or otherwise.

The onset of symptoms typically occurs in young adulthood and may go

undiagnosed for a lifetime. Diagnosis is set by a professional and based on


observed behaviors and physique progress.

Symptoms, preventative measures and intervention strategies are reviewed


and discussed.

The Illusion of Complexity

When it comes to strength training, the right choices are limited and

uncomplicated. There are right and wrong ways to do things, not "it depends", not
alternative theories based on new science that we need to investigate or try; basic
do's and donts that never change. Unfortunately, these fundamental training

principles are lost to many, and stumbling over them is like finding a needle in a
haystack.

Isn't it the same with nutrition? Do we have diet-related fuckarounditis? Sure

enough, there's diet-related fuckarounditis; people who live in the fear of insulin

faeries, avoid carbs like the plague for a few days and then binge the hell out of a
few boxes of cereal, and never manage to get lean, for example.

However, in contrast to training-related fuckarounditis, rates of diet-related

fuckarounditis have remained fairly stable. The lipophobes have merely been

replaced by carbophobes. On the whole, I might even venture to say that people

62

have been getting a bit smarter with regards to nutrition. Not so with training
practices, unfortunately.

How can you tell if you are suffering from the fuckarounditis? Ultimately, it boils
down to your results and whether your progress is reasonable relative to the time
you put in.

Let's be concrete and talk numbers. After all, there needs to be some overarching
and objective way of judging whether you are afflicted or not.
Progress and Goals

For someone interested in aesthetics, which I assume most my readers are, relative
strength is the single best measure of progress and the quality of your physique.

Before seeing a picture of a client, I can easily get a very good idea of his or hers
body composition by simply knowing three stats: weight, height and strength.
Relative strength is therefore the parameter that will be used to determine

reasonable rates of progress, which will then tell you whether you might be
suffering of fuckarounditis or not.

Within two years of consistent training on a decent routine, the average male
should be able to progress to the following levels of strength (1RM):
Strength Goals: Intermediate

Bench press: body weight x 1.2

Chin-ups or pull-ups: body weight x 1.2 or 8 reps with body weight.

Squat: body weight x 1.6

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Deadlift: body weight x 2


These numbers are for a raw (no straps, belt or knee wraps) single repetition.
The progress towards the intermediate strength goals should be fairly linear,
meaning that there should be no plateaus that cannot be solved in an

uncomplicated manner. By "consistent" training I do not mean never missing a


training day, nor do I consider taking 2-3 months off from training consistent.

By "decent training routine", I mean "not doing blatantly stupid shit" (training 5-6
days/week, 20-25 sets for chest and arms, etc.). I do not mean optimal and
flawless.

Under the exact same conditions as the previous example, 3 out of 4 of the

following goals should be reached within five years, along with all of the strength
goals listed under "intermediate":
Strength Goals: Advanced

Bench press: body weight x 1.5

Chin-ups or pull-ups: body weight x 1.5 or 15 reps with body weight.


Squat: body weight x 2

Deadlift: body weight x 2.5


Under the exact same conditions, all of the following goals should be reached

within ten years. Alternatively, 3 out of 4 should be reached, and one should be
"Elite":

Strength Goals: Highly Advanced

Bench press: body weight x 1.5, or x 1.8 (elite)

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Chin-ups or pull-ups: body weight x 1.5 or 15 reps with body weight, or x


1.8 / 20 reps (elite)

Squat: body weight x 2, or x 2.4 (elite)

Deadlift: body weight x 2.5, or x 3 (elite)


"Elite" denotes one lift that is often ahead of the others. For example, people who

are natural pullers (long arms) may very well hit a 3 x body weight deadlift before a
1.5 x body weight bench, and vice versa for the presser (short arms, stocky and

barrel-chested) benching 1.8 x body weight but not being able to pull 2.5 x body
weight in the deadlift.

If you're not grimacing, grunting, or experiencing some sort of discomfort, you're


not training hard enough. One good set where you have to fight for the reps is
better than a week of half-ass sets.

The highly advanced strength goals falls in line with what could be considered the
pinnacle of physique and strength development for most average and natural
trainers. At this point, progress is very slow.

A 185-lb male that has been training consistently for 5-10 years should therefore
be expected to:

Bench press: 275-280 lbs.

Do a chin-up with 90-95 lbs hanging from his waist.


Squat: 370 lbs.

Deadlift: 460-465 lbs.

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Respective goals for women:


For women in the 115-155-lb range, the corresponding advanced strength goals

are 0.9 x body weight bench, 1.1 x body weight chin-up, 1.5 x body weight squat
and 1.8 x body weight deadlift. Relative to men, women have much less muscle

mass around the chest area and shoulder girdle (men have much higher androgen-

receptor density in this particular area), but the lower body is comparatively strong
to the upper body.

A 135-lb woman that has been training consistently for 5-10 years should then be
expected to:

Bench press: 120-125 lbs.

Do 4-5 chin-ups with body weight or do one with an extra 10-15 lbs
hanging from her waist.
Squat: 200-205 lbs.

Deadlift: 225-230 lbs.

So where do you fall in regards to these goals? If you've met them, you've received
a reasonable return on the time you've invested in your training and it's safe to say
that you do not suffer from fuckarounditis - even if you have some of the

symptoms, remember that it's not fucking around if what you're doing is working
for you.

If you have not met them, then something is amiss. And if you can't do 8 good

chin-ups or struggle with being able to bench press your body weight after a decade
of working out....something is horribly amiss.

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Become Methodical

The only thing that should be changing from week to week is the load on the bar
or the reps with the same load you used last time. If you're doing it right, these

should be increasing. Everything else stays the same; the movements and the order
you did them in, the sets and the rest periods in between sets. You don't add in
new stuff.

This is the only way you can fairly evaluate your progress and see if you're headed
in the right direction. It might sound tedious to keep doing the same movements
every week and the appeal of "mixing it up" can seem strong.

However, the tediousness will soon be replaced by the much stronger joy you get
from seeing your lifts go up on a weekly basis. Don't fall for "muscle confusion"
bullshit. The only ones confused are the people who keep talking about such
nonsense.

Plan Your Progress

Never choose training weights at random. You look at what you used last session
and make the choice based solely on that. Not on your ego. Not because you feel
like trying higher or lower reps for shits and giggles.

There many good progression models but I will recommend two common models
that I use depending on the situation.

Beginners and people who need a "reboot", i.e. they may have training experience
but have been fucking around so much they're essentially at the beginner stage
(e.g., I used a slightly modified SS routine for Julien), Starting Strength is an

67

excellent model. This is a very simple 3x/week-program with frequent training and
practice of the Big Three (bench, squat and deadlift), starting at 1-3 sets of 5.

Example:

Squat: 200 x 5 x 3.

When you can complete 3 sets of 5 reps with 200 lbs, resting 5 minutes between

each set, increase the weight next session. The training load starts at your 7-8RM,
which means that you do not go to failure initially.

For experienced trainers, I recommend the double progression model of reverse

pyramid training. This is what built most of my physique and it's also by far the
most common approach I use with clients.
Example:

Squat: 200 x 6-8 x 2.

Set 1: 200 x 8

Rest 3-5 mins.

Reduce the load by 10% for the second set.

Set 2: 180 x 8 (however many reps you can get)

When the highest number in the interval (6-8) is reached ("8" in this case),
increase the weight by 2.5% or 5 lbs the next session.

Thus in the above example, you would use 205 and 185 lbs for your sets the next
time. All sets are to be performed with maximal effort and movements are only

done once a week (3x/week training frequency). "Double progression" means that
you progress both in reps and load; first you hit the reps you need, then you
increase the load.

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RPT is very time-efficient. It's also far superior to anything else I've tried for

strength/muscle retention/muscle gain during a diet.


Simplicity is the Ultimate Sophistication

Be a minimalist, like me. I built my physique with these movements primarily:

squats, deadlifts, bench presses, chin-ups, triceps extensions and calf raises. These
have remained staples throughout the years. I have flirted with other movements,

but these were brief periods.

On the whole, that's one movement per muscle group, with the exception of abs

and biceps, which I never really trained except for early in my training career, and
then very sporadically every once in a while. The point is that most people are

doing too much shit. This dilutes the focus and effort that they are able to put into
that which really delivers.

If you're not grimacing, grunting, or experiencing some sort of discomfort, you're


not training hard enough. One good set where you have to fight for the reps is
better than a week of half-ass sets.

Women and Weightlifting

Women, you need to put down those pink dumbbells, throw that Shape Magazine
in the trash can and stop with this nonsense. You seem to believe that the modest
amount of strain will cause you to wake up looking like a bodybuilder in the

morning. Horseshit. You're not using enough drugs to ever come close to looking

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muscle bound. With the training intensity I see most women apply in the gym,
they might as well skip weight training altogether and stay on the treadmill.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ia-IdX3DIDg

Jenn has actually gotten stronger since she shot that video; she's now up to 27.5 lbs
added weight. That's more than 99% of the guys at my gym...and I bet it's more
than many male readers of this site as well. Her routine?
Day 1 (Monday)

5-min walk for warm-up.

Deadlift 2-3 sets of 4-5 reps reverse pyramid style.

Rest 5-10 mins.

Leg extensions - Same setup as deadlifts, but reps a bit higher (6-8).

Rest 5-10 mins.

Chins - Same as deads.

Day 3 (Wednesday)

5-min walk for warm-up.

Bench press 2-3 sets of 5-7 reps reverse pyramid style.


Rest 5-10 mins

Pull-ups 2-3 sets with body weight.


Rest 5-10 mins
Day 5 (Friday)

Squats 2-3 sets of 5-7 reps reverse pyramid style.


Rest 5-10 mins.

Walking lunges 2-3 sets same as squats.

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Rest 5-10 mins.

Overhead Press 2-3 sets of 5-7 reps reverse pyramid style.


Rest 5-10 mins

That's the routine Jenn was doing when she sent me the video and the one she

gained all that strength on. This is a solid routine, regardless of gender, and it's

vastly superior to what you're doing if you're in the fuckarounditis camp. Why not
try it and see for yourself? Throw in a set or two of curls, triceps and calves if you
want but don't mess with it beyond that.
Dont Use Belts & Wraps as a Crutch

What is your reason exactly? Don't use equipment as a crutch.


Warm-Ups

A warm-up is a warm-up. Treat it as such. It should be light, just enough to get

the blood flowing and prepare the nervous system for the real stuff. It should never
cause fatigue or interfere with your performance in the work sets. All the time, I
see people doing sets of 10-15 reps before they get to something that remotely

resembles their real set; which is completely retarded because you will be fatigued
and glycogen-depleted, and your performance in the work sets will be limited for
metabolic reasons, and not limited by your actual strength.

The only standing recommendation I have regarding warm-ups is for compound

movements: 1-3 sets of 4-6 reps of 40%-80% of target weight for the first work set.

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Warm-ups for assistance movements is whatever you feel is needed. Personally, I


only warm up for squats, deadlift, bench press and chins. If you do these at the
start of your workout, which you should, you'll find that they usually get your

whole body warmed up, which makes warm-ups redundant or entirely unnecessary
for the rest of the workout.

Let's see some fucking effort next time. Don't take up precious space here when
you can get a better workout from walking your dog through the park outside.

You can be doing everything perfectly, but you will not go anywhere if you're not

willing to experience discomfort on a regular basis. If you're in the gym 5-6 days a
week, lack of effort might actually be the explanation for your lack of progress. If

you were actually in there training hard, most people wouldn't be coming back for

more 5-6 days a week.


Proper Form

Learn good form early, so you don't have to pay for it with injuries and shitty

results later down the road. Don't let your ego screw you and don't slap on weight
indiscriminately. Be methodical and patient.

No need to be a form Nazi either. People who "practice" form in all eternity are

sometimes just afraid to train hard. Striving for picture perfect form on your final
reps can be counterproductive when taken to the extreme.
Shitty Spotters

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Tell him to keep his fingers off the damn bar and assist you as little as possible and

only when it's truly needed; meaning only if you are about to fail on the very last

rep in the set. Don't be one of those clowns slapping on twice of what they could
lift by themselves to stroke their ego. It looks pathetic and it will make it
impossible for you to properly evaluate your progress.

And for me, an unwanted spotter can make it hard to evaluate the progress of the
client, like I had to explain to this actor/client:

I am your trainer; the guy who follows you around is only there to make sure
your form is not completely retarded. His function right now should be

redundant. I assume you know how to perform most movements well by

now. If he interferes with your sets, he is counterproductive to the outcome.


You're my only client right now with a personal trainer on top of the help

you receive from me. I imagine he is eager to "correct" your form and tinker
with your training in any way he can in order to not feel useless. Make sure

he stays out of it beyond spotting you on some sets where it's warranted (i.e.
when and if you are about to fail). Some PTs can't even get that part right
and goes way overboard with the helping part.

This is another danger of having him around, as it gets impossible for me to


measure your progress (strength gains) accurately (i.e. did you gain strength
since the last session or did he just help you more this time?). Make it very
clear to him when and how he should help (last rep you can't complete by
yourself).

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Lagging Biceps?

First of all, you're weak and fat. Second of all, body part specialization has its place,
but it's always the ones least qualified that are doing it. Worry about body part

specialization after you achieve the major goalposts involving the muscle group that
lags behind. Until then, body part specialization is a distraction that will interfere
with your development as a whole.

Let's see if your chest and your shoulders are lagging once you can bench 1.5 x
body weight or overhead press your body weight and if your legs and back are

lagging with a 2 x body weight squat and 2.5 x body weight deadlift. Keep doing
targeted work for muscle groups like triceps, hams and calves.

Yes, you can keep a few sets of curls in there, but 2-3 sets are enough for now. Do

you really think your guns will be lagging once you're doing chin-ups with 100 lbs
hanging from your waist? My clients have told me they saw more biceps growth

from the increased focus on weighted chin-ups than any amount of curls they did
in the past. I never spent any time on curls and they grew just fine from all those

chin-ups. I can say for damn sure you'll put on a good deal of size on your arms if
you add 50 lbs to whatever you can chin-up right now.

Ask Paul Wilson and his 8 reps with 110 lbs of solid chin-up mastery:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qhaJWPTJU5A
Getting Abs to Get Laid

74

I hate to bust your bubble lil' buddy, but women don't give a shit beyond a guy
looking reasonably fit. Lower than 10-12% body fat won't make an ounce of a

difference. If women are your main motivation for dieting, don't bother getting
shredded. Women have similar delusions in terms of thinking men like them
super-skinny.

Training to be liked by others is a very poor motivational factor in itself. You need
internal motivation, not external. No one that ends up making something out of
his or hers physique, something impressive and head-turning, gets there by

training to get liked by others. It might have started out as such, but it changes. I
think this quote sums up why and how we make it:

You have to discipline yourself, and through this discipline will come some level of
achievement, and from this achievement will come your pride.
- David Lee Roth

And then there's the fact that nothing beats the feeling you get from breaking a

new personal record. Some of the happiest moments I remember are from walking
home after a new 20-rep squat record way back in the days. Walking up stairs was

like being repeatedly stabbed with a blunt and rusty butter knife. But it was still
pure bliss.

Excuses for NOT Squatting and Deadlifting

You get your leg training from playing soccer, you're afraid you might hurt your
back, you read somewhere that single-leg training is better, you talk about rear-

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foot elevated split squats with a 45-degree twist during the concentric being the

future of leg training, etc. Horseshit, all of it.

Listen carefully. Squats and deadlifts are undisputedly the two best full body

movements in the god damn Universe and that's reason enough to be doing them.

But that's not the whole story. Their true greatness lies in the mental fortitude they
foster if you train them hard and consistently. This will benefit your training as a
whole and leave echoes in your life outside the gym.

Did I miss something? Well, I actually left a few signs and symptoms out because

this article was getting way too long for my own good and it feels like my eyes are
bleeding right now. I thought I'd leave it up to you to finish it.

76

Chapter V

Successful Macros, Its All About the Calories


A Brief Look at Diet Examples from Users

u/YunYue

Stats: 55 @ ~130 lbs.

http://www.reddit.com/r/leangains/comments/137thw/4_month_recomp_progress
_pics_inside_thank_you/

I counted calories pretty meticulously for a few weeks or so when I started, but

after that I mostly eyeballed food and estimated. I tried to get around 2200 calories
on workout days and 1500 on rest days, +- 50-100. I still weigh food I'm not really
sure about (unless I'm outside). I kept protein to about .82 g/lb bodyweight. I
replaced the missing protein (according to IFcalc) with carbs.

I didn't really worry about macros that much; I made sure I was eating enough

protein and then just focused on eating a lot more carbs on workout days and a lot

more fats on rest days. I didn't worry about hitting 300g carbs/70g fat/etc. (though
I was pretty close to those targets on most days).

I eat 2 meals a day on most days, sometimes 1 on rest days. I consume ~60% of my
calories post workout. I have a sweet tooth and eat a lot of snacks - cookies,

cupcakes, piroulines, CHEESECAKE, etc. I made sure I ate a lot of vegetables

and drank a lot of water every day (~128 oz.). I recently started eating more fruits,
but didn't really eat much for the first 4 months.
Training Day:

C: ~350g (2.70 x BW)


F: ~40g (0.31 x BW)

P: ~110g (0.84 x BW)

79

~2,300 2,500 (17.69 19.23 x BW)


Rest Day:

C: ~50g (0.38 x BW)


F: ~80g (0.62 x BW)

P: ~140g (1.08 x BW)

~1,400 1,600 (10.77 12.31 x BW)


u/joeeeeee_

Stats: 58 @149 lbs.

http://www.reddit.com/r/leangains/comments/2b028q/progress_post_with_dexa_r
esults/

Q. Did you eat the same foods or did you mix it up?

I tend to go in streaks...so I start eating a lot of the same things each day, and
eventually I run out of those items and replace them with something else. So

basically when the fridge starts getting low... I head to Costco and pick up a new
load of delicious items. But Im definitely that weirdo you may see in the isles
grabbing items, and flipping them over and studying the nutritional facts.

Q. What was your sugar consumption like? How often did you indulge in junky
sweets?

Sugar, haha dude I actually bought a 1 lbs bag of pure white sugar and throw

teaspoons of it on top of ice cream, or in oatmeal... all over the place. I follow
IIFYMs and if you saw my diet plan you would probably call bullshit. I am

obsessed with anything red velvet...so my go-to has been this guy right here

80

(http://i.imgur.com/Jot8FD5.jpg). If you are curious on my diet, I post everything


on MFP (http://www.myfitnesspal.com/dont_tap_my_aces).
Training Day:

C: 388g (2.70 x BW)


F: 102g (0.68 x BW)

P: 150g (1.00 x BW)


3,075 (20.64 x BW)
Rest Day:

C: 206g (1.38 x BW)

F: 119g (0.80 x BW)

P: 150g (1.00 x BW)


2,500 (16.78 x BW)
u/beckham_34

Stats: 511 @170 lbs.

http://www.reddit.com/r/leangains/comments/xrh8x/thank_you_leangains_ama/
Fat doesn't make you fat; eating too many calories makes you fat.
Q. You obviously have a really impressive physique; how much of it is owed to LG,
and how much of it is owed to the fact that you're a competitive soccer player?

First, thank you. 90% is owed to Leangains: simply put, they always say 80% is

done in the kitchen (or however it goes), but I really think it's closer to 90%. My

diet was very clean, specific and always matched my goals. Calories always counted,

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servings calculated, and fasting was ALWAYS 16-18hrs (or 36 hrs after my cheat
day/drink day). I only owe my starting lower body strength to being a soccer

player, my upper body was very weak and I had to build a lot of muscle/strength

overall (even though I had played soccer all my life but I had never really
lifted/trained seriously apart from going to practices or running)

High fat, high protein and low carbs was what worked for me on rest days.

Although I love carbs, I feel like doing it this way is what has helped me cut the
most body fat possible.

Q. What would you consider high fat to be? 100g?

Protein @ 200-250g, Carbs less than 75g, and the rest is fat according to calories

needed. Right now, I'm taking in 100g even on rest days. Fat doesn't make you fat;

eating too many calories makes you fat. Don't be scared of fat, especially peanut
butter....

Q. Also you mentioned rest day carbs; I'm assuming you take in lots of veggies in
that 75g. Do you make a distinction between carbs from fiber and regular carbs?

Just veggies on that day, so 75g of carbs worth!

Q. Wow you fasted for 36 hours after a cheat day? That must have been pretty
tough!

Not really. I am rarely hungry when I'm hungover or if I ate 4000-6000 calories. A
lot of green tea/coffee helps too.

Q. What would you say is your average daily caffeine intake?


Build up to 600mg in 8 weeks, 1 week no stimulants, repeat.

82

Q. Can you give more details on the 24h cheat day? Did you do that for all +/-

splits? How quickly were you losing weight during your cut? How much do you
lift?

24 hour cheat day, my last one: * 1pm post workout: 150g protein, 50g carbs from

veggies, 1 cup oatmeal + whey, 10-15g fat from fish oil/food source. * after soccer:

90g protein, 45g carbs from veggies, 10g fat from fish oil/food source * until 1pm
next day: Booze (until Im drunk usually), Pizza (after the bar), oatmeal (If Im

feeling really hungry or if I am hungry in the morning and get up before 1 lol).

I didnt always cheat, had very clean months and not so clean months. I just really
made sure 80-90% of the time it was pretty much perfect. On cuts, cheat less I
guess...

Losing around 1-1.5 lbs average on my cut, sometimes more (I would refeed if I

was feeling weak or without energy).


Lifts:

Bench: 275
Squat: 365

Deadlift: 425 for 2


Q. Examples of meals and workout? Maybe a link to your MyFitnessPal (if you

have one)?

Same meals EVERY DAY.... hah it sounds boring, but I love my meals. This is
what I'm eating as of late (+10/-35).

83

Training day fasted: after workout (60%): 2 cups oatmeal, 1.5 scoops

protein, 2 bananas, 1/3 cup raspberries, 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt, 8 egg

white+salsa+onions+spinach+peppers scramble, 1/2 cup baked beans on


toast.

2nd meal: (40%): Stir fry (2 chicken breast, 50g carbs from veggies, 1/2 cup
quinoa, salsa, mayo), 1 cup oatmeal, 2/3 scoop protein

Training day: pre workout (?): Chicken breast, 10g veggies, 5g fat from fish

oil, after workout (60%) SAME AS ABOVE, 2nd meal (40%-pre workout)

SAME AS ABOVE. *Rest day: first meal (40%) 16 egg whites + 4 whole

eggs + spinach + peppers + onions + salsa, 1/4 cup almonds, 3/4 cup Greek
yogurt.

2nd meal: (60%) 200g lean ground beef + 8oz pork + 45g carbs from veggies
+ salsa + mayo.

Workout: Upper/lower split right now, ABxCDxE

A: Quad dominant

B: Chest/back/shoulders
C: Hamstring dominant

D: Shoulders/Back/Chest

E: Arms/Abs/lags OR compound circuits OR nothing.


I write down how many Protein/Carbs/Fats I need on a piece of paper for a
given meal (60% meal: 143.5g/268g/30g, subtract what macros are for a
given food, do that until I have no macros left. After a while, I just

84

remember what I need to eat and make it without needing to write down or
calculate anything. Quite simple actually).

Q. Would you say that I should adjust my activity level from the IF calculator to
moderately active?

(Moderately Active: moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/week, x1.55)


Coming from lightly active??

(Lightly Active: light exercise/sports 1-3 days/week, x1.375)


Go to moderate, but play with it.

Example:

I'm currently eating 3200 calories on training days at +10, but depending on the

demands from training or how I feel, I may eat +300 or -300 calories on any given

day. Gives you an idea of how you can play around with it, they're not set numbers
remember that. The best indicator is your mood, your body and your
performances.

Training Day:

P: 200 250g (1.18 1.47 x BW)

2,900 3,500 (17.05 20.59 x BW)


Rest Day:

C: <75 100g

P: 200 250g (1.18 1.47 x BW)


u/spicymelon

85

Stats: 510 @165 lbs.

http://www.reddit.com/r/Fitness/comments/191ms6/14_month_transformation_f
ormer_fatty/

When it comes to diet I have took bits and pieces from Leangains and Anabolic
Diet and then arranged it so it would work for me and my schedule.

Diet consisted mainly of proteins and fats. I tried to consume as little carbs as
possible. Here's a screenshot of my usual, weekday diet (I've ate slightly more
chicken, because Sainsbury's were running an offer).

Q. Unreal progress, congrats! Were you strict on macros for the fat>protein or did
you just concentrate on minimal carbs?
Cheers brother,

I tried to consume as little carbohydrates as possible, particularly in the evening. In


the beginning it was pretty hard, but then my body got used to it. Now,

throughout the day I try to get all of my calories from proteins and fats. (broscience disclaimer)

My reasoning is that by consuming a lot of proteins throughout the day I will

provide my body with all of the required building materials which will not only
prevent catabolic effects, but will also support the recovery of my muscles after
working out.

My reasoning behind eating a lot of fats is that fat molecules are much more

complex then carbohydrate molecules (nutritionists help me out here!) and it takes

86

longer for your body to break down fat molecules to release energy. By consuming
a lot fats throughout the day I provide my body with a stable source of energy,
whereas with carbohydrates you only cause short insulin spikes and your
metabolism runs like a rollercoaster. (bro-science)
Q. I still can't get rid of that stubborn belly fat!

Over the past couple of weeks I started doing step-ups on stairs first thing in the
morning, on an empty stock.

Probably, another bit of bro-science that I believe in, but my reasoning is that after
eight hours of sleep my glycogen stores get depleted and if I will increase the

demands for energy early in the morning my body will have to start looking for

alternative sources of energy - fats. Obviously there is a chance that you will lose
some lean muscle mass, but it worked for me.

Q. I am 79kg, but, similar height but much more fat. How long would it take me
to get to that?

Ignore BS found on the web.

Focus on proven and tested eating and training principles.


Take baby steps and move one step at a time.

Q. Wow, awesome transformation! What kind of regimen did you follow?


I used generic bulking routine: http://www.jcdfitness.com/2009/01/lyle-

mcdonalds-bulking-routine/ and used some principles from Leangains and


Anabolic Diet to "build" an eating plan that worked for me.

87

Q. And you were on a cut, right? Didn't you have any problems with so much
volume on a deficit?

Initially it was slightly difficult to adjust, but then I got used to it. I figured out my
BMR, increased that number by around 200~300 calories and then made sure that

most of my daily calories came from proteins and fats. If we were to look at my diet
I was in caloric surplus, but with the help of training I have created a small caloric
deficit that was maintained throughout the whole process.

Sometimes I would just say fuck it and eat as much as I wanted to, but I still made

sure that I ate "clean" foods. I know that this is probably bro-science, but it worked
for me.

Q. How did you accurately measure the small caloric deficit that you created?

I don't know whether there is a way to accurately measure caloric deficit, I simply
used online calculators to figure out my BMR. I added a few hundred calories on
top of that, because I knew that sticking to BMR alone will lead to loss of lean
muscle mass (bro-science) if I will train hard.

Once I have figured out how many calories I am going to consume throughout the
day, I then did some research about how many calories are burned while lifting

weights and doing cardio. By doing so I learned that if I will stick to my BMR +

300 kcals per day and if I will train hard at least four times per week, then I should
always be in a small caloric deficit, even if my diet provides my body with more
energy than it needs.
Training/Rest Day:

C: 22g (0.13 x BW)

88

F: 111g (0.67 x BW)

P: 309g (1.87 x BW)

1,726 2,289 (10.46 13.87 x BW)


u/ethanwest (t-nation)

Stats: N/A

http://tnation.t-

nation.com/free_online_forum/pictures_pics_photo_body_image_performance/8_
week_cut

Q. Damn! Looks like you got pretty ripped! Mind sharing how you did it?

Thanks man. I cycled calories: high protein and high carbs on workout days; high
protein, moderate fat and lower carbs on rest days. Lots of vegetables, lean meats,
potatoes, and some fruit for the most part. I trained three days per week.
Monday: Deadlift and back assistance

Wednesday: Bench and assistance

Friday: Squats and leg assistance

The training was low volume and heavy weight in the 6-8 rep range for most

exercises (except deadlifts which was 4-5). On the rest days I walked for 45 - 60
minutes.

Q. That's interesting... do you tend to stay lean year round?

89

Not really, I am already back on the Texas Method working on strength again and
eating tons of food. I don't really care about being lean to be honest. I just wanted

to see what I looked like without a layer of fat covering the muscle.
Q. Shredded brah, you looking to clean bulk now?

I suppose so. I'm not terribly concerned about keeping the leanness. After this cut I
learned how to do it and I know I can do it again if I want to. For now I just want

to get my numbers up and put on a few pounds of muscle. I don't want to get fat as
fuck, but I'm not gonna obsess about keeping the food clean.
Training/Rest Day:
N/A

u/veritasius

Stats: 59 @174 lbs.

http://www.reddit.com/r/leangains/comments/2ioml2/3_years_doing_leangains/
I've never counted calories or macros and just settled into a pattern of eating fewer
carbs on rest days. On heavy lifting days (M, W, F) I gorge during the feed

window and eat anything I want which includes beer and oatmeal cookies. Fasted

training is only done on Fridays. I'm 55 now and have gained about 8 or 9 pounds
in the three years on LG, but I've been able to keep body fat at a consistently low

level year round. I still can't dead lift 3x body weight, but I'm working on it.

I read Martin Berkhan's 'Fuckarounditis' three years ago and was amazed at how

lean he kept himself year round and decided then and there that I would do the

same. If you follow r/leangains then you know the specifics, but to summarize for

90

me, I don't always train fasted and intermittent fast about 5 days per week. On

days when I eat in the morning I may only have a few eggs. I always drink coffee
with MCT oil every morning.
Training:

Monday: Heavy squats/ light db press

Wednesday: Heavy deads, chins, rows, shrugs


Friday: Light squats/heavy db press, dips

Saturdays: some sled drags, hang cleans, speed deads, farmer's walks

While I don't measure macros, I mostly eat real food, not much refined junk and I

think I've settled into a pattern that probably aligns pretty close to Berkhan's macro
recommendations.

Q. How do you gauge when to stop eating, do you have any cues you can pass on?
So I eat twice a day. Moderate size lunch, with more carbs if I'm planning on

working out later that day. Very few carbs on a day when I'm resting. Dinner is

pretty big all days. Because there are only two meals, I never think "Oh, I better
stop now". It just doesn't matter. Remember, most days my first meal is in the

afternoon, so it's fairly challenging to eat too many calories in only two meals. I've
found that Kiefer's Carb Backloading approach, where you eat most of your carbs
later in the day, to be effective also. With this approach, you just don't get those
wild swings in blood sugar and hunger. Starting the day with carbs, especially
refined junk, and midmorning snacks etc. screws with leptin and ghrelin and
makes you hungry and not satisfied for long.
Q. Have you ever been fat/chubby?

91

Never been chubby


Q. Can you share an example of rest/workout day food and how many meals on
average?

Today for lunch on heavy back day I had an almond butter sandwich on Ezekiel
bread with olive oil spread on the inside, bowl of plain yogurt with strawberries,
couple squares of dark chocolate, three eggs cooked in Keri gold butter, can of

sardines, hand full of pistachios, V8 juice. Dinner was three pork chops cooked in

carrots, celery, leeks, onions and potatoes, big bowl of Brussels sprouts slathered in

butter, whey shake, big oatmeal cookie (wife makes the best with almond flour,

butter), Guinness. Tomorrow on rest day I'll have a similar dinner, but for lunch

I'll only have half an almond butter sandwich, some cottage cheese instead of the
yogurt and fruit and no chocolate. I always have the eggs and sardines.

Q. Do you take any supplements that would make you unnatural? I only ask
because your physique at 55 is better than most 20 year olds...

No drugs. They're too expensive and even if I found someone who really knew his
shit and could walk me through it, I'm not convinced they're without risk. I use

creatine and sip a BCAA drink during workouts. I really want to get that 3x body
weight dead lift and I'm sure drugs could help, but if I can't do it natural, then so
be it.

Q. How do you eat your eggs and sardines? I'm convinced of their value, I'm just
searching for a good way to eat them.

Eggs over easy with some salt. Sardines right out of the can. While I enjoy eating
tasty stuff in restaurants I'm equally capable of just eating something for its
nutritional value.

92

Q. Out of curiosity, are you drinking your coffee with the MCT oil to as part of

the bulletproof coffee fad or do you like the taste (or perhaps another reason I'm
not considering)?

I was seriously into the bulletproof coffee for a long time, but it just got too pricey.
Whether or not you buy the mycotoxin thing or not, it is good coffee. I now buy

organic coffee locally and hit it with a splash of MCT oil. The oil does enhance the
flavor to me. While I'm not on a ketogenic diet, I do feel there is some decent

evidence that not starting your day with a bunch of carbs is a good way to go. You

just don't start that roller coaster of hunger pangs and snacking.

Q. I agree with you on the carb-hunger link, as I've felt it myself (from nearly

anything but sweet potatoes - presumably because of the refinement of the other

sources), but unless your hunger pangs from a carb-heavy meal [in the afternoon
during your feeding window], where would they come from in the morning?

For years I started the day with multiple bowls of cereal and a big glass of orange
juice. I had to have a mid-morning snack and I always woke up ravenous. Since

intermittent fasting and having my last intake of food around 8 pm, I don't wake
up super hungry because I've become more efficient at burning fat for energy.

Q. To be clear though, youre not consuming more than ~10-30 calories in the

morning (besides the occasional eggs you mentioned) right? I don't know about
the oil you put in your coffee, which is why I ask.

On days when I'm not doing the intermittent fasting thing and I do eat breakfast, I
generally don't have any carbs. Like today, I'm visiting my son at college and we

ate out and I don't want to be a dick and sit there watching everyone else eat, so I
had three eggs and a couple pieces of bacon.

93

The oil in the coffee isn't protein or carb which would stimulate an insulin

response and because it is MCT oil, it bypasses normal digestion and goes straight
to the liver and stimulates ketone bodies for energy. This helps you become a fat
burning machine because you're not using glucose for energy. I think Berkhan

states that any protein or carbs, even in small amounts will 'kill' the fat burning
effects of the fast.

Q. Could you talk a little about your routine? What plan are you following in the

gym, also any cardio outside of the lifting?

Same basic stuff that everyone else does with a focus on front squats and dead lifts.
Early on I made the mistake of changing my routines too often based on whatever
cool new idea was promoted on TNation. I still follow that site every day because
there are some very informative dudes who post there. They're especially good at
helping you prevent injury or recovering from one. My shoulders aren't great, so

I'm very careful to avoid movements that cause pain. I do push-ups and dumbbell
bench presses with elbows in, neutral grip and I can do limited range dips, but

that's about it for pressing/pushing movements.

I thought I might try age group powerlifting, but because I can't bench, I ditched
that idea. Plus, going for heavy singles and triples pisses off an older body. So I'll
do hypertrophy type stuff for a while, which is more volume with reps 8-12 and

then when I've plateaued I'll transition to a 5x5 program for several months and

then, if my body isn't too sore, I'll do a peak like I'm prepping for a contest. I'll do
low volume triples and singles for a month just to see where I'm at. I did a 315

front squat a few months back and a sumo 420. Then, because I'm usually sore and

94

mentally tired, I'll drop weight and go back into a hypertrophy mode for a while.
Rinse and repeat.

Monday is heavy front squat day. I do glute-ham raises also. Fridays is a lighter leg

day and I'll also do some single leg Bulgarian splits and high rep goblet squats with
a weighted vest. Wednesday is back day starting with dead lifts and finishing with
chins, and some rows (grip starting to fatigue now). I finish with a shrug/farmer's

walk movement where I'm holding a trap bar and I shrug for 10-15 reps and then

walk around for 30 seconds; its killer and I do it three times. By then my grip is
gone, and I use these grip hooks to hold the bar.

Aside from some sled drags on Saturday, I don't do any cardio now. I sometimes

walk with my wife for about 5 miles and there is a long hill on the route where I'll
do some hill sprints if I'm in the mood. On Fridays, when I'm doing lighter leg
stuff, I try not to rest too much between sets so I'm huffing and puffing.
Training/Rest Day:
N/A

Women
u/Sportyj (Female)

Stats: 55 @130 lbs.

http://www.reddit.com/r/leangains/comments/16thqw/leangains_friday/c7zbjex

95

**Edited to update my press, just finished a fasted lift and upped my press by 5 lb.
so close to that 100 lb. #STOKED

Female here finishing first week of LG:


1RM

Squat: 190

Deadlift: 250
Press: 95

I haven't had a chance to retest maxes since starting. I have wavered between a

recomp and cutting but went with the cut since I feel I have body fat to lose and
the calories seemed quite high for the recomp.
Training Day:

C: 155g (1.19 x BW)


F: 69g (0.53 x BW)

P: 175g (1.35 x BW)


1,941 (14.93 x BW)
Rest Day:

C: 98g (0.75 x BW)


F: 44g (0.34 x BW)

P: 177g (1.36 x BW)


1,509 (11.61 x BW)

u/snowandbaggypants (Female)

Stats: 5'8" 156 lbs.

96

http://www.reddit.com/r/leangains/comments/1gb1j6/a_few_months_progress_be
cause_i_dont_see_enough/

Stronglifts is really good for making consistent progress. I only lift 3x a week but I
do a lot of accessory work next to Stronglifts, and then I typically run 2x a week

and climb a few days as well. During my lift days I just do like a 2-3 min warmup
on the bike and then stretching to get my hips loose. I also recently started doing
glute-activating exercises to make sure my glutes/hammies are working in my
squat.

I eat around 150g of protein a day, so pretty much I aim for 1g/lb body weight.
I do workout by myself, but I watched a TON of videos before I tried and I started
with light weights to make sure my form could develop.

I'm somewhat of a snacker, so I'd say I probably only eat one real meal a day and
then the rest is just random foods.

For my one bigger meal, I usually eat something like 8oz of chicken and then 4

servings (~125 calories) of broccoli. I also have been using chicken with Costco stir
fry veggies and a homemade sort of teriyaki sauce (soy sauce + smashed garlic +

touch brown sugar). It's delicious. I also sometimes replace the broccoli with sweet
potato or have both.

My other common foods are whey shakes with almond milk and Greek yogurt,

Greek yogurt + Mio and some oats or raspberries, deli turkey breast with mustard

97

(mustard fiend), protein fluff (look up how to make this), almonds, Kashi go-lean
high protein cereal, eggs, and QUEST BARS! Mmm.

On rest days when I'm trying to get some more fat, Chipotle salads with just steak

and guacamole and salsa are literally a life saver and the macros are fabulous. I also
have some sausage, cheese, and hardboiled eggs for these days.

Because I have issues with satiety and willpower, I usually don't eat until 2-5pm.

Then I end my eating window around 10-11pm. I'll typically have a snack when I

first start eating, then an hour later have my meal, then keep snacking through the

night. It works for me decently but may not work best for everyone (if you're not a
snacker).

For tips, I'd say go easy on the carbs on workout days. I think us women who don't
have a lot to use benefit more from staying a bit lower carb. That's just kind of a

guess though, and I just in general try to not eat a lot of straight carbs unless it's

oatmeal. Also, cram full of veggies. I am obsessed with cauliflower and make it in a
ton of different recipes. I fill myself up on veggies before I eat anything else

usually. And if you don't have a crockpot (I just got one, new obsession) you

should get one! Being able to throw meat in there and come home to dinner is
awesome.

Training/Rest Day:

P: 150g (0.96 x BW)

1,300 1,700 (8.33 10.90 x BW)

98

If you would like to add some information to this document, please see
the following link:

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