Monday, February 16, 2009

Client Update

Haven't done client updates in a while, so here goes. See all client updates and testimonials on this site by clicking here and here.


John lost significant amounts of body fat and gained strength in 12 weeks.

John, before at 202 lbs

John, after 12 weeks at 184 lbs

"Its wierd, it almost looks like I have gotten bigger since doing this diet with you. Also, in the last few weeks, my arms and shoulders are veinier. I started the diet at 202 and I was benching 225 for sets of 6. At 182, I am doing 245 for sets of 5."

- John


Mary is a work in progress, as I'm prepping her for a competition in April. Here's a few teaser pics.

Mary before, at 149 lbs

Mary after three weeks, at 147 lbs

Mary after 4 weeks, at 146 lbs

Mary's doing a back specialization program, to better balance out her upper body with her lower body. She reports noticeable lat growth, which is awesome considering she's also lost fat.


Robert is another work in progress. So far, he's been doing great, showing rapid fat loss of 36 lbs in 10 week, while simultaneously gaining strength (no newbie gains).

Robert, before at 274 lbs

Robert, after 10 weeks at 238 lbs


56-year old Brad Reid, world record holder in the strict curl (242 lb class, 55-59) and the son of strongman legend Jack Reid, is a fan of Leangains and has been using my approach with great success. Brad is, without a doubt, my strongest client ever. He's currently training for a one arm chin.

Brad playing around with 225 lbs military presses.

On the one arm chin, I can't recall what I sent you but you may recall that my father, Jack Reid, was a cable pulling specialist and he held some records in one arm chinning. Robert L. Jones, in an article in 1939 Strength & Health, mentions him chinning with one arm while holding 50 lbs. in his non-chinning hand. He was about 190 to 200 lbs then at age 20.

- Brad, about his father.

I worked with Brad a while ago and recently touched base with him to hear how he's been doing since then.

"Well, I had become an avid reader of your blog and consulted with you for the "particulars" of a diet regimen to help me along. To me, this was money well-spent.

What I have found is that after coming a bit back off my low bodyweight mark and settling in at around mid 230s, that I was able to drop to 228 to 229 lbs. using the IF techniques you recommended over a matter of a few months. The secret for me to dieting is finding a routine where I eliminate the condition of getting "hungry" or famished between meals, and enter a sort of state of being where I just become "empty." Your IF regimen fits this criterion perfectly. Too, it meets the body's apparent requirement to go from states of being fully sated to slightly and temporarily deprived, but managing it in a manner where full satisfaction can be achieved in the eating window.

I enjoy your IF routine and more important, I can live with it permanently. Of what possible value can any strict diet discipline be to anyone if it can't be maintained, or if its side-effect is a feeling of starvation? These sorts of diets lead to failure and I don't want to waste my time on diet or training ideas I can't sustain."

- Brad


Heidi made very good progress in just 4 weeks - check out the radical improvements in the lower back/glute area. Heidi also increased her strength slightly.

Heidi, back, before at 124 lbs

Heidi, back, after 4 weeks at 120 lbs

Heidi, side, before at 124 lbs

Heidi, side, after 4 weeks at 120 lbs

"I think the waist and backside is remarkable better. I like! I think the diet is great. I'm loosing fat almost without being any hungry, and I've got time to do other things then preparing five meals each day. In the beginning I thought it was a bit much food in each meal, but now it's fine! And I'm always looking forward to the dinner on training days. Mm, potatoes..... :) I have also learned to use vegetables as an own carb-source, according to pasta or rice that I always used before. This is something I will keep on doing, also when I'm done dieting. So that's a new and good experience for me! The training is also fine. I like that it's fairly quick training sessions, according to the West-side template I used before which took much more time. I think your services are good. You are giving good and quick feedbacks! :) "

- Heidi


50-year old Randy came to me with Chrons disease, which warranted a special diet setup with a minimum of starchy carb and a low carb intake in general. I put him on a high-fat diet, which turned out to work great, despite glycogen taxing Muay Thai sessions, and strength training on top of that. After 8 weeks with me, he was leaner, stronger and looked a helluva lot younger to boot.

Randy, before at 179 lbs

Randy, after 8 weeks at 167-169 lbs

I touched base with Randy to hear how he's been doing since (we worked together back in October-December).

"As far as diet, I am continuing the Leangains approach. This is actually very simple for me – I almost never have any cravings for food in the morning and I feel much better sleeping on an empty stomach than eating beforehand. I continue to work out hard with both strength training and muay thai and have lots of energy and feel strong."

- Randy


Got word from one of my old clients about his progress recently.

"The last pics I sent you were taken May 10th of last year. In those pics my waistline circumference measured 32 1/2"" (I think Chris was about 176-177 lbs in the above pic).

"In these new pics my waistline circumference is 32" even at a bodyweight of 178 lbs."

So he reduced his waist size while gaining weight, which indicates lean mass gains and fat loss. I was pleased to hear it. I should note Chris goals are more conditioning related, and not muscle gain per se.

"I began the IF "fat loss" protocol on January 1st, following a great deal of holiday gluttony... my waistline on the morning of that day was 33 1/4" (bodyweight 184 lbs). So I lost 6 pounds, an inch and 1/4 off my waistline in 30 days, and significant bodyfat in just 30 days. My LBM was monitored as per constant progression in my training (consistent strength gains in several lifts), training total body 3 days per week. Two of those sessions would be followed up with about 10 minutes of interval training (i.e., jump rope, sprints, etc.)

I'm very happy with the results. I'm taking a bit of a break from diet (as little as possible) since I will be traveling for a couple of days. But I plan to get back at it and continue another 4 week jaunt, hoping for another significant drop in bodyfat and increased conditioning before my 40th birthday hits this spring."

- Chris


While most people want to lose fat primarily, Tom came to me wanting to put on quality muscle, first and foremost. That turned out to be a great plan, and he actually lost body fat in the process.

While his body weight remained unchanged at 148 lbs, he made the following strength gains in only 4 weeks (no newbie gains).

Deadlift: 3 x 245 3 x 260
Incline Bench: 5 x 120 5 x 145
Chin-Ups: 12 x BW + 25 lbs. 8 x BW + 50 lbs.
Squats: 5 x 165 5 x 210
Dips: 12 x BW + 45 lbs. 10 x BW + 55 lbs.
Pendlay Row: 5 x 95 5 x 135
Incline Press: 5 x 80 5 x 105

Tom, before

Tom, after 4 weeks

"The first thing that I noticed about LeanGains was a dramatic increase in strength. I am not a huge guy and I am not necessarily really strong, but after starting the program, adding weight to the bar seemed a lot easier. My strength took off after about a week, and as long as I stayed on the program, I continued. For example, in 4 weeks, I doubled the weight that I was hanging around my waist for chin-ups and pull-ups, and my arms and lats started to grow as a result. I began to notice that my stamina improved, my muscles grew, and my body began leaning out very noticeably. I loved going from a 6 meal a day program to just 3 meals. I thought I would be starving because I ate 6 meals a day for years, but I felt satiated after meals. Meal preparation was simple and I actually enjoyed what I was eating, especially after workouts. During the fasting period, my mind was more focused and I couldn't wait to get into the gym, which kicked my motivation into overdrive. After just 4 weeks of LeanGains, I had someone comment on my physique and said I looked bigger and more ripped. I tried every program under the sun, and never heard that from anyone. I struggled in the gym for the past few years to get into shape and be healthy. After 4 weeks, Martin taught me more about how to feed my body and lift, than all the reading and researching I have done in the past few years. If you are hesitant to try using a nutritionist or another "bodybuilding program", I can assure you that LeanGains is anything but a risk or another "program". Martin has a wealth of knowledge and the program is tailored to each individual, unlike many other programs I tried. No matter what your goals are, LeanGains will get you there. I can not see ever using any other system again. I would recommend LeanGains to anyone who is ready to see results. After 4 weeks, I am sold for life. Thanks Martin!"

- Tom

(no pics available for the following)


"Hi Martin, I just wanted to give you an update, I am not one for poses but here are some raw numbers. Following your diet plan I was able to enter a competition at 166lb and deadlift 418 (2.5xbw). I have lifted more in the distant past but not at that weight.

I also came first equal in my category.

scroll down to Men's Elite. I followed your diet to the letter but tweaked the training for the event.

Thanks again for your help."

- Suleiman


"I've always been active and played a lot of sports, but family, work and a love for food caused me to gain 80 lbs over a four year time span. Been trying different diets throughout the years, but could never maintain them in the long run. With Martin's help I finally have some hope, having dropped 35 lbs in 8 weeks. I sleep better, look better, aint hungry and have plenty of energy. Just a better person overall, plain and simple"

- Jeff (285 to 250 lbs in 8 weeks)


"Martin taught me that carbs aren't evil and that less sometimes can be more. I can feel my clothes getting looser and I'm improving my performance on the benchmark sessions - while training less than I ever recall doing! I love the Leangains diet, and I love not having to force myself to the gym five times a week anymore. Thanks for straightening me out, and showing me a sane way to train and eat, Martin"

- Tanya, devoted CrossFitter.


Anonymous said...

Nice update, man. You clearly know what you're doing.

Al said...


Do you ever recommend PSMF type diets alongside IF to your clients? Or do you see slower fat loss as a more sustainable option?



Martin Berkhan said...


No, I've got a few tricks of my own.

Yes to your second question.

Anonymous said...

Impressive results Martin.

I am very much looking forward to reading about your other ‘tricks’ and how you recommend cycling different phases.
Do you recommend diet breaks (i.e. maintenance) as Lyle does?
One problem I found was that when I increased my training volume, hunger increased.
I can see you shaking your head “why increase the training volume?”
For me, some lifts, the overhead press and the pull-up respond well to high(er) volume. Weight is still heavy, reps low, just more sets. Fortunately, that phase coincided with xmas and more food.

I have found our recommendations for fat loss are very reliable and reproducible.

All the best.


Al said...

Thanks for that Martin,

Suileman, I have the same problem in that some lifts do need higher volume too or they regress - chinups and squats for some reasons being key examples for me.

Other lifts I can barely do any volume and still progress - stange huh?

Martin, one question which you can feel free to share or not. Do you subscribe to Lyle's thoughts of: When on a diet if you set a cal deficit, set protein to activity level (say 1 - 1.5g / lb), and then do not worry whether the rest of your cals come from carbs or fats (obviously wholesome sources)that you will lose weight regardless? I find I tend to favour lower carb during fat loss phases as it helps with hunger, but it can prove difficult energy wise within an IF framework.

I take it this is why you favour calorie and carb cycling?

Martin Berkhan said...


"Do you recommend diet breaks (i.e. maintenance) as Lyle does?"

Yes, but I play it by ear and have no set rules for when to incorporate them. I think Lyle recommends 8 weeks dieting/2 weeks off (?). When fat loss stalls, or when you have to resort to unreasonable strategies to progress further (i.e extremely low calorie intake, lots of cardio), it's time for a break.

"One problem I found was that when I increased my training volume, hunger increased."

Yes, I have noticed this as well, i.e an increase in hunger even when extra energy expenditure of the training is compensated for, and it usually happens on the day after said training session.

Martin Berkhan said...


"Do you subscribe to Lyle's thoughts of: When on a diet if you set a cal deficit, set protein to activity level (say 1 - 1.5g / lb), and then do not worry whether the rest of your cals come from carbs or fats (obviously wholesome sources)that you will lose weight regardless? "

Think it's 1.5 g protein/lb. Yes, I subscribe to the general idea, but I believe there are psychological and physiological benefits of carb and calorie cycling (so that'd be a yes to your last q).

Yavor said...

Very cool results.

Clementine said...

Do women have the same protocol? I believe I read somewhere you said 14 hours fasting worked best. But still, a female will eat in an 8 hour window and then fast for 14 or 16 hours?

I'm willing to give this a try

Martin Berkhan said...

14 hrs by default for women, meaning a 10 hr feeding window.

However, some women, like those in this client update, do fine with a 15-16 hr fast and follow the standard protocol, more or less.

Besides the fasting guidelines, there are some differences in the macronutrient profiles of the diets (men vs women).

Half Navajo said...

hurry and come out with your book!!!


Clementine said...

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

For your consultations, do you setup the diet and the workout together? Also, you have 2 progams available- the 4 weeks and the 1 week... for the one week, will you give your recommentaion for just one particular goal--- like for example, loosing fat...How about clean bulk diet after the loosing of the fat? Will you share that as well? Or is pay 1 week for 1 goal type of thing... thnks

Travis said...

I wish to become a client of yours I'm currently a incoming freshmen to college and wish to get lean I have the products eat stop eat and paleo cookbook.I would like to know if you can help me thanks

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

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