Friday, July 27, 2007

Introduction and updates (31/8)

My name is Martin Berkhan, nutritional counselor, fitness magazine writer and creator of Leangains.

Leangains is a unique approach to strength training and nutrition. The diet involves intermittent fasting and strength training in order to reduce fat mass and increase muscle mass. This is performed by switching between phases of overfeeding and underfeeding, as well as carefully manipulating the macronutrient ratio of the diet. My take on intermittent fasting and strength training will be the topic of an upcoming book project with nutrion guru Lyle McDonald, author of The Ketogenic Diet and The Ultimate Diet 2.0.

Personal Consultations: nutrition and training

For personal consultations at reasonable prices, please contact me at I take a no-bullshit-approach to diet and training: my clients get results.

Updates (July 27th to Aug 31th)

31/8 Update: Michael Novak (from the testimonials section) takes the 16/8 concept of intermittent fasting to the masses - check out the link. Michael is shown in picture number 6.

27/8 Update: Still alive and kicking it, just been very busy lately, therefore the lack of any new updates. I've had a large influx of new clients and it's good to see trainees on various internet forums opening up to the IF approach. Seems like every board got it's own thread on the topic and it oftens spurs some wild arguing between the yay-sayers and the nay-sayers. Somewhere in between you might find some worthwhile discussion. The thread usually goes out of hand when you have the 6-meal-a-day-eat-clean-or-die-nutters on one side and the IF fundamentalists on the other side. Arguing that we should be fasting every day just because our ancestors did it (and even that is up for debate) is almost as moronic as arguing for eating every 2-3rd hour to "stoke the metabolic fire" (hint: it's a myth) or "staying anti-catabolic" (hint: a big meal may take more than 12 hrs to fully digest and will release a constant stream of amino acids during the process).

Keep checking in for the newsletter interview with me and Leigh Peele, should be up this week.

9/8 Update: Did some deadlifting today, 600 lbs x 3 (270 kg)

Note that the innermost plates are 25 kg (55 lbs), which are regular sized plates; that is, they are the same dimensions as standard size 20 kgs (45's) would be.

The other plates are rubber studded plates from Techno Gym, which are not standard size and have a much lower diameter than standard issue 20 kg plates.

Therefore: 20 kg (bar) + 2 x 25 + 6 x 20 + 8 x 10 = 270 kg / ~ 600 lbs

Note the size discrepancy between the 25 kg standard issue weights and the 20 kg Techno Gym weights.

8/8 Update: Added three testimonials that I hope shows the diversity among the people that employ my methods.

Fitness and bodybuilding pro's, to college students and pro gamers; there is an approach for everyone, regardless of training status.

You'll find these in the testimonials section further down the page.

Seth Ronland

The most prominent fitness champion in Sweden has embraced the Leangains approach.

Michael Novak

A college student and strength training enthusiast who has found intermittent fasting to be much more in tune with his natural eating pattern.

Markus Nilsson

A professional gamer, who always struggled to maintain a balance between his sedentary lifestyle and a healthy physique, finally found my approach to be the magic bullet needed to improve his body composition.

6/8 Update: Sorry folks, been very busy and haven't been able to invest as much time in this blog lately. Anyway, im just dropping by to tell you about some upcoming features. This blog will be a part of the website, which will have a closed forum where issues pertaining to the Leangains approach and intermittent fasting will be discussed in detail. It will only be open to

1) people that I deem trustworthy not to reveal any specifics of the approach and

2) people that may provide for an interesting discussion on the issues brought up.

The forum will be open to the public after the book release.

* I will appear in a newsletter interview with nutrition professional Leigh Peele on the topic of my approach to intermittent fasting, nutrition and weight training. I'll post it here as soon as we're done.

* Fasted state workouts: feedbacks and conclusions coming soon.

* More testimonials coming soon.

30/7 Update: Added Questions and Answers section (see below).

28/7 Update: New look on the blog; better? Worse? You be the judge. Please leave me a comment.

What you will find on this blog:

* Testimonials from people I've worked with

* Information about the Leangains approach (June, archive)

* Interviews with me and book excerpts concerning the Leangains approach and Intermittent Fasting (June, archive)

* Post of the day

* My workout videos

* And more.

Keep checking in for daily updates.

Questions and Answers section

The Leangains FAQ didn't come up this week as I had planned. Too much stuff to do. On the other hand, I get a lot of questions sent to me regarding the Leangains approach and Intermittent Fasting, so im going to start posting some of the e-mails, along with my questions, in this section.

Why hasn't anyone discovered this approach before?

Q: Excuse me for being blunt, but if this diet is all that, then why haven't many people discovered it? Why do so many bodybuilding dietitians (almost unanimously) have their clients do your average 6-meals-a-day-3-hours-apart type of diet?

A: The reason for the fitness/bodybuilding community not having "discovered" the approach, I think depends on several factors.

1) being stuck in old ways of thinking with regards to nutrition and, especially, meal frequency.

Many people believe that eating several small meals a day will some how "stoke the metabolic fire" and prevent "starvation mode" etc. You know how it goes. There's also the rather absurd notion that about the body only being able to absorb 30-40 g of protein in a sitting and going longer than 3-4 hrs without eating will get you "catabolic".

These myths and absurd notions gets repeated in eternum by the bodybuilding mags and other bodybuilding gurus/clowns. Noone would dare to go against the grain when the so called "truths" about proper nutrition is so heavily ingrained into the community.

2) The empirical and scientific support for intermittent fasting, it's health benefits and effects on human physiology, has only started to emerge (relatively) recently and is still an unknown concept for the uninitiated fitness enthusiast or layperson.

3) the old approach "works" for sure (6 meals a day etc), so no reason to mess with it. However, it may not be ideal and it may certainly not be ideal for many people with regards to meal frequency.

With regards,


Leangains and athletes

Q: I'm curious about the authors' thoughts on this diet approach for performance athletes. Is this targeted more toward those looking for body recomp?

A: Slight modifications and/or compromises needs to be done with regards to macros and meal timing, but outside of that I see no issues with it - exceptions being, perhaps athletes with very high energy requirements and/or doing more than one training session a day.

With regards,



CarlCrossfit said...

like the logotype mate.

Linda said...

Nice! Hope all is well, Martin :) ~Linda

Hatesong said...

I just love this blog. Can´t get enough.

All your success is well deserved, to say the least.

Look forward to the forum.



P.S. Jag har startat en egen blogg.D.S.

Anonymous said...

I think it would be good to have the titles within the post a different color than white. Otherwise it looks good.

PROPS! said...

Props for keeping this blog alive and telling it like it is! im so sick n tired of all the bullshit surrounding the meal frequency dogma out there! Been doing IF for two weeks now and its the best diet ever--except i dont even feel like im dieting=) which is good ofc lol=p

Chris Torres said...

Are you trying to find which cat will yield the best results on body composition? Keep it up man, can't wait to hear how your recomp went.

Anonymous said...

I've just have to say that you certinly did create a good logotype for your "LeanGains".

Best Regards Seth Ronland

Martin Berkhan said...

Thanks Seth, but credit should also be given to David Höök ( for work on the logo. I suggested a design and David made it happen.

Anonymous said...

Martin: I've approached your leangains diet, and been on it for 2 weeeks now. As a fitness enthusiast and certified "sports dietist" this is all wrong in my book.
However, I've seen your anecdotal resultas on the forum. Quite AWESOME. And after a few days with sceptiscism I actully found myself thinking about "your" concept all the time. So here I am today 2 weeks later with noticable more muscles, more energy and lower bodyfat.
-LeanGains- will be the mark of Martin Berkhan in our world. Hands down, your a great nutritionist!

Seth Ronland

Jeff Johansen said...

Thats pretty damn cool you got some real pros using your method, Martin. I have been reading some of your stuff at various boards and its always a good read. Im incorporating some of your ideas into my own diet and its working great. I wish you the best of luck with your training career ventures and will be buying your book the day it drops, thats for sure. Best wishes - Jeff Johansen

Anonymous said...

extremely strong...good cuts...very inspiring:)

Chris said...


could you post your updates as separate posts rather than expansions of this one? It gets confusing and it would make it easier to see when you update the blog?

Great blog by the way and I am looking forward to you book

Martin Berkhan said...

Thanks for the input, Chris, I'll consider doing that. I think it looks more structured this way, but then again it's good get opinions from a reader's point of view.


Jon (DJTheory9 from lyle's forums) said...

Martin, that deadlifting video has got me so motivated right now. In two weeks i'll be doing my 2nd round of EODs, IF style to hit 10%. Awesome blog and can't wait for the book!

ProSkiller said...

Why aren`t you using a belt on the video?

Martin Berkhan said...

Don't need no belt.

My name is Martin Berkhan and I work as a nutritional consultant, magazine writer and personal trainer.

Welcome to the Internet's leading resource on intermittent fasting and all things related.

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