Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Leangains Guide

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It's about time I compiled a comprehensive guide to my system, so here it is.

Intermittent fasting and Leangains

How does Leangains differentiate itself from some other intermittent fasting based diets? Here's a brief primer.


The basics

In-depth coverage of my approach, and the benefits of intermittent fasting, can be read about here.

A much shorter summary can be found here.


Fasting and feeding

My general position on the fasted phase is that it should last through the night and during the morning hours. Ideally the fast should then be broken at noon or shortly thereafter if you arise at 6-7 AM like most people. Afternoons and evenings are usually spent in the fed state.

However, the fast could also also be broken later in the day depending on your personal preferences and daily routine. I personally tend to break the fast as late as 4-6 PM since I work well into the night and rise later than most people with normal jobs.

The recommendation for fasting through the earlier part of the day, as opposed to the latter part of the day, is for behavioral and social reasons. Most people simply find it easier to fast after awakening and prefer going to bed satiated. Afternoons and evenings are times to unwind and eat. For adherence reasons during dieting, I've also found that placing the feeding phase later in the day is ideal for most people.


The protocols

I work with four different protocols depending on when my clients train. Depending on setup, one, two, or three meals are eaten in the post-workout period.


Fasted training

Training is initiated on an empty stomach and after ingestion of 10 g BCAA or similar amino acid mixture. This "pre-workout" meal is not counted towards the feeding phase. Technically, training is not completely fasted - that would be detrimental. The pre-workout protein intake, with its stimulatory effect on protein synthesis and metabolism, is a crucial compromise to optimize results. The 8-hour feeding phase starts with the post-workout meal.

Sample setup

11.30-12 AM or 5-15 minutes pre-workout: 10 g BCAA
12-1 PM: Training
1 PM: Post-workout meal (largest meal of the day).
4 PM: Second meal.
9 PM: Last meal before the fast.

Calories and carbs are tapered down throughout the day in the example above.


Early morning fasted training

Here's a sample setup for a client that trains early in the morning and prefers the feeding phase at noon or later. Read this for details regarding this protocol.

6 AM: 5-15 minutes pre-workout: 10 g BCAA.
6-7 AM: Training.
8 AM: 10 g BCAA.
10 AM: 10 g BCAA
12-1 PM: The "real" post-workout meal (largest meal of the day). Start of the 8 hour feeding-window.
8-9 PM: Last meal before the fast.

For the sake of conveniency, I recommend getting BCAA in the form of powder and not tabs. Simply mix 30 g of BCAA powder in a shake and drink one third of it every other hour starting 5-15 minutes pre-workout. Tabs are cheaper, but much more of a hassle (you're going to have to pop a lot of tabs). Check my supplements guide for specific brand recommendations.


One pre-workout meal

This is the most common setup for my younger clients that are still in college or have flexible working hours.

Sample setup

12-1 PM or around lunch/noon: Pre-workout meal. Approximately 20-25% of daily total calorie intake.
3-4 PM: Training should happen a few hours after the pre-workout meal.
4-5 PM: Post-workout meal (largest meal).
8-9 PM: Last meal before the fast.


Two pre-workout meals

This is the usual protocol for people with normal working hours.

Sample setup

12-1 PM or around lunch/noon: Meal one. Approximately 20-25% of daily total calorie intake.
4-5 PM: Pre-workout meal. Roughly equal to the first meal.
8-9 PM: Post-workout meal (largest meal).


Key points

* No calories are to be ingested during the fasted phase, though coffee, calorie free sweeteners, diet soda and sugar free gum are ok (even though they might contain trace amount of calories). A tiny splash of milk in your coffee won’t affect anything either (½-1 teaspoon of milk per cup at the most - use sparingly and sensibly if you drink a lot of coffee). Neither will sugar free gum in moderation (~20 g).

* The fast is the perfect time to be productive and get things done. Don’t sit around, get bored and brood about food.

* Meal frequency during the feeding phase is irrelevant. However, most people, including me, prefer three meals.

* The majority of your daily calorie intake is consumed in the post-workout period. Depending on setup, this means that approximately 95-99% (fasted training), 80% (one pre-workout meal) or 60% (two pre-workout meals) of your daily calorie intake is consumed after training.

* The feeding window should be kept somewhat constant due to the hormonal entrainment of meal patterns. We tend to get hungry when we're used to eating and maintaining a regular pattern makes diet adherence easier. If you're used to breaking the fast at 12-2 PM and ending it at 8-10 PM, then try to maintain that pattern every day.

* On rest days, meal one should ideally be the largest meal, as opposed to training days where the post-workout meal is the largest meal. A good rule of thumb is to make meal one on rest days at least 35-40% of your daily calorie intake. This meal should be very high in protein; some of my clients consume more than 100 g of protein in this meal.

* When working with clients I am always open to compromising on the above rule. If your preference is to eat a larger meal in the evening instead of noon, or whenever you break the fast, it's no great harm. Some people prefer to save the largest meal on rest days for dinner with their family instead of having a large lunch and that's fine by me if it makes them enjoy and adhere to their diet better.

* Macronutrients and calorie intakes are always cycled through the week. The specifics depends on the client's ultimate goal: fat loss, muscle gain or bodyrecomposition. The details will be revealed in the book. Generally speaking, carbs and total calorie intake is highest on training days. On rest days, carbs are lower and fat is higher. Protein is kept high on all days.

* Here are the supplements I recommend everyone to take on a daily basis: a multivitamin, fish oil, vitamin D and extra calcium (unless dairy is consumed on a regular and daily basis).

* For fasted training, BCAA or an essential amino acid mixture is highly recommended. However, if this feels like too much micromanaging or simply questionable from an economic standpoint, you could also make due with some whey protein. The importance of protein intake prior to fasted training is outlined in this and this post.

* People sometimes ask me which protocol is best. I tend to look at things from a behavioral perspective first and foremost, so my reply to that is to choose the protocol best suited to your daily routine and training preferences. When dealing with clients I make the choice for them. If you work a 9-5 job and your only option is to train after work, training fasted is generally a bad idea and I always choose the one or two meals pre-workout protocol.

* Even from a physiological perspective, each protocol has it's own strengths and theoretical benefits. With "physiological perspective" I mean in terms of nutrient partitioning, fat loss and muscle growth. This deserves an article on it's own. I have some interesting and compelling arguments that I think are very unique.

Below I'll list some other resources that I think will give you an idea of what Leangains is all about.


Diet methodology

Calories, foods and macronutrient choices play an important role in the optimal diet. The following articles will give you an insight into my philosophy on this topic.

Scorch Through Your Fat Loss Plateau

Maintaining Low Body Fat

Intermittent Fasting, Set-Point and Leptin


Diet psychology

The right mental attitude is a crucial factor for a successful diet and training routine. This is an area that is all too often overlooked. I've explored this subject through many different perspectives.

The Secret Benefit of Being Lean

The Marshmallow Test

How to Look Awesome Every Day

How People Fail Their New Year's Resolutions


Regarding comments

Commentators often ask me if this or that is fine or how they should optimize things. I simply don't have time or energy for that any longer. Understand that a lot of factors need to be taken into consideration when determining calorie intake and macronutrient cycling; body weight, body fat, activity level, training routine, gender, insulin sensitivity and so forth. That's why I have clients - optimizing a diet plan requires time and reflection, and being a perfectionist by nature I simply can't "okay" something without having all the facts in front of me.

552 comments:

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Anonymous said...

Martin,

What kind of calorie breakdown (fat, protein and carbs) do you recommend for training days?

I'm looking at doing two meals per day with a post workout meal around 12pm for my first meal of the day.

Sufian said...

Hei Martin

I work from 1 PM to 7 PM so, the earlie fasting diet is the one for me.

But, could you give me some examples of what i can eat? also should i eat a big meal before training? i eat now 150g oatmeal with milk

Jared said...

1] I have an l5/s1 slipped disc and unfortunately squatting, dead lifting and lifting until failure is out of question. Would it be as efficient to substitute exercises that are more safe for my back such as lunges and exercise ball squats?

2) What kind of ratio (P/C/F) do you recommend for training days and non training days?

3) Would low intensity cardio on non lifting days (say 30-45 min) be considered a training day for diet?

Steven Sashen said...

Jared, I don't know what Martin's answer will be...but my L5 is broken, out of place, and I have practically no disk between L5/S1...

So, yesterday, I did 1-legged bench squats while holding 100 pounds of dumbells. And my next lower body workout will have 1-legged deadlifts (a la http://bretcontreras.com/2011/08/the-rear-le-abducted-single-leg-deadlift/)

Steven said...

Thanks martin this is a very informative post. I have one question though in regards to the protocols i works 9am-5pm daily and i arrive home after work at 5:15pm and workout from 5:30-6:30 approx as i fall somewhere in betwwen the one or two pre-training meal protocols which would be better in your opinion?

stanley said...

What would be a good post workout meal? I usually have a protein shake like Myofusion or something similar. I work out around noon 3-4 times a week. Also is it OK to take a my BCAA's with a prework-out supplement?

doubledean said...

Been doing the leangains protocol for 3 with weeks with goal of fat loss in mind. I'm very pleased with the results I've seen thus far and the lack of muscle loss ive been programmed to experience by going such long periods with out taking in protein. I workout at noon and start my eating window at 1245 to 845 more or less. I take sun warriors' ormus greens in the am before class and my question is about their activated barley product. If you are not familier with the product I'm simply concerned with the calorie content. One serving has about 40 cals of the highest enenergy containing food on the market. I was wondering when you recccomend I take it to not affect my fasting. If I took a serving with my greens in the am would it affect my fasting? Is the energy benifit worth the extra calories? Or is the sympathetic stimulation in the AM all I need for energy and I should save the barley for later In the day? if so when? After workout with first meal?

Anonymous said...

Hi Martin,

I do early morning workouts (around 6-7 am). The worst thing is that I have to eat some real food at about 1 pm, BCAA is not enough for me (I'm VERY hungry!)

Now, I choose to eat some salad with eggs or tuna or chicken + whey protein shake (in total about 60 grams of protein).

Then at 4-5 pm I will eat my carb and protein loaded meal (the biggest meal of the day). I will finish my eating window with high protein meal at 8-9 pm(cottage cheese) and that's it.

How do you think, is this setup ok to get leangains ;) ?

Thanks,

Andrew

Anonymous said...

Martin,

Quick one. I have a sport in the evening (4:30P.M.-7P.M.) better to do the lifting in the early morning (6:30A.M.) or after the sport with a BCAA in between.

Thanks.

DoomBaba said...

Hi Martin,

Thank you for taking the time and effort to set up this highly informative blog. Unfortunately, it has left me more confused than when I began reading it.
I lost 18lbs and 7% bf after 6 weeks of Lyle's RFL and spent a month on maintenance, gaining only 1lb.
I still have a long way to go to achieve my goals. I have been doing SS style workouts 3 days a week and play an hour of squash on off days.
I want to stay at my current bw of 175 lbs (or even gain a few) while shedding bf (currently 20%) to a sub-15% level. I noticed that in the last month of eating at maintenance, most of my SS lifts went up considerably, which is why I think it might be time to ditch RFL and move on to Leangains.
I know you don't set any macro limits but can you give me a ball park estimate of what and how much I should be consuming? The other big problem is that I am vegetarian and relied on whey and casein while on RFL for protein. Can I now partially shift to beans/legumes?

Thanks and apologies for the loooong post.

Karthik

Ben Power said...

Hi Mate,

Great articles. Just a quick question. Under your Two pre-workout meals protocol, when do you suggest training takes place exactly?

Cheers,

Ben.


Sample setup

12-1 PM or around lunch/noon: Meal one. Approximately 20-25% of daily total calorie intake.
4-5 PM: Pre-workout meal. Roughly equal to the first meal.
8-9 PM: Post-workout meal (largest meal).

Anonymous said...

How would this work for someone who trains in evenings? I normally train @ 6-7pm.

TPR said...

Hello Martin,

I'm going two times a week to a gym, and two times to soccer. So what about calory intake on those soccer days? Should it be the same as on gym days (+20%) or lower? My goal is body recomposition.

Watch Entourage Online said...

Martin, how detrimental would it be to have 3-5g of sugar along with my morning coffee in the middle of a fast?

Nathan said...

If i train normally twice a day AM & PM ( 0700 & 1900 ) can i skip the morning post workout meal and stick with BCAAS as described for early morning Training, then begin eating around 1300 and post workout?

hamworld05 said...

How do you combine IF with Grease the Groove?

Daniel said...

Hi! I've been reading a lot about your IF approach and I'm really excited to start it. I've already made some changes, but I still have a question:

What protocol do I follow in swimming days?

Mon/Wen/Fri - Fasted training Approach (workout days at midday)

Tue/Thur - ? (swimming days in the morning)

Thanks!! BRAZIL =)

Huynh Phuong @ Savills said...

Thanks for all of your posts Martin,
I've been following your post for weeks since my a friend gave me your link.
I'm looking forward to starting a new bulking phase next week. I wonder if this method of dieting would be suitable for bulking period.
Thanks and bsrgds,

Anonymous said...

Are you following the exact same meal plan on days when you're not training?

Jess1987 said...

First of all Martin, thanks for a very informative site.

One of the things I haven't seen addressed earlier is the effect this has on cognitive abilities. My occupation places a lot of stress on mental/cognitive abilities during the day and I depend on full concentration at all times.

Currently, this has been giving me some problems as I can’t seem to focus like I used to (before IF) during fasting (I eat between 14-22) and I'm wondering if there are any solutions to this? As you might know, the only fuel your brain has access to is glucose and ketones, due to the blood-brain barrier, and from what I have read mental abilities/cognitive function is highly related to the amount of glucose in your body (see for instance: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0031938401004760). As far as ketones go, is it not believed that they are only produced on a significant level after a longer fasting period or a period eating only low-carb?

Anybody have any thoughts on this? Perhaps adding smaller amounts of glucose during intense concentration periods is possible, or is this alone enough to completely ruin the fasting state?

Midhun said...

how to cook chicken and fish for best result,i.e with out losing any protein

Demian said...

Hi there,
firstly, I'd like to thank you for the great work and for putting all this interesting stuff on-line for free!

I have two questions concerning the Leangains-IF-Approach and hopefully someone will be able to answer me.

I'm trying to apply the Leangains-approach to my life despite the fact that I do not have the money I'd need to buy BCAAs or things like that - in fact, oftentimes I have to eat pasta without anything due to not having money, but that's another story.

I was just wondering about the timing of the fasting, or, in other words, when you start "counting" the hours? For example, let's say one is eating lunch at 8pm, would you say it's appropriate to fast until 12 pm the next day, which would be 16 hours or do you consider the time one needs to digest as a part of the feeding time? I try to eat at about 8pm (well, actually I'm sometimes having a cup of hot chocolate made from soy-drink and xylit as a sweetener later. like 20:30 or something :p) and try to restart eating at round about 1 o' clock the next day (if I am hungry).

Another question would be concerning shifting time-windows, let's say someone is training at one day later than his normal feeding-time-window and gets home at 10pm for example, he would than eat and therefore start fasting at around 11pm (depending on the answer to question number one), would that be a problem and should one re-shift the feeding time the next day and start eating at 3pm instead of 13 o' clock?

Hopefully these question are interesting for a bunch of people, I tried to generalize the questions and hope that they are worth answering despite the fact that you probably have enough to do already =)

Kind regards and thanks in advance, Demian

Warren said...

Just wondering if you could critique this diet for me please Martin. I will add a few tbsps of EVOO to bump up the fat and get cals to around 2000. My TDEE is around 2500.

08.30am - Wake - 10g BCAA's
09.00am - Weight Training
10.00am - 400g chicken 115/0/7/525, 250g brown basmati rice 9/64/5/340 | 124/64/12/865
01.00pm - 175g tuna 29/1/15/254, 45g whey 36/3/1/165, 75g oats 10/40/7/285 | 75/44/23/504
06.00pm - 200g kangaroo 46/2/0/196, 125g brown rice 4/36/5/211 | 50/38/5/407

total 249/146/40/1776

Cheers!

Maca said...

Hi Martin, I've recently email you for some advice and consultation. I'm currently into day 3 of P90X and and trying to get to grips the whole fasting thang. I'm not eating after my dinner and in the mornings only having coffee and coconut oil & BCAA's (myprotein - Exceed). I could really do with a simple meal plan which is quick & easy with a busy family life.....cheers! Been reading thru your stuff, all good, I know i'm in a good place here.... PMc

romutis said...

Hi Martin,

Great job! Thanks a lot for Your guide. I have a question: can I adopt Your diet to my workouts schedule and "early bird" lifestyle? I have 3 weight-lifting workouts on Mo-We-Fr: I wake up at 5:30, eat my breakfast at 6:00 and go to gym at 7:00. I finish my workout at 8:30.
Also I have 3 interval cardio-workouts (bicycle or stationary cycling) on Tu-Th-Sa: I wake up at 5:30 and cycle for about 1 hour before breakfast. Then I eat my breakfast at 7:00.

My bedtime is about 10PM, so, I don't like late dinner and I eat about 7PM.
I'm ok to use BCAA, could You give me a point about BCAA and meals in weight-lifting and cardio days?

Thanks a lot!

Angel said...

Dear MArtin, hi I know this is a newbie question but how do I eat on non workout days....?
I read I have a big first meal?
Thanks

Anonymous said...

hi martin

i train at 6am what size meal would the post workout meal look like i would i have this at 12 and another two meals at 4 and 9 is this correct ? and i take 10 bcca at 5am 10 at 7 and 10g at 10 is this right ?

thanks andy

julia. said...

Hi

Thanks for all the info. Why exactly is it ok to sue no-cal sweeteners? From what I know those are terrible chemicals. But it would make it easier to have my coffee :) Just curious what your take is on them.

Thanks

Danny SOul said...

Martin,
What are your thoughts on this routine below? There are some questions here as well! Thanks for the help!

TRAINING IN THE PM (NOT ENOUGH FOOD?)
6 PM: Training
7 PM: Post-workout meal, (Whey+High Protein+sweet pot and veggies)
10 PM: Last meal before fast, (eggs+Fat)

TRAINING MID DAY
12-1 PM: Training
1 PM: Post-workout meal, (Whey+High Protein+sweet pot and veggies)
4 PM: Second meal. (High Protein+Veg+Fat)
9 PM: Last meal before the fast. (eggs+Fat)

TRAINING IN THE AM
6-7 AM: Training
8 AM: 10 g BCAA
10 AM: 10 g BCAA
12PM: The "real" post-workout meal (largest meal of the day)
4 PM: Second meal. (High Protein+Veg+Fat)
8 PM: Last meal before the fast. (eggs+Fat)

REST DAYS
1 PM: First meal. (Whey+High Protein+Veg)
4 PM: Second meal. (High Protein+Veg+Fat)
9 PM: Last meal before the fast. (Eggs+Fat)

- Cheat Meals/Days?
- Amount of protein to take in?
- Caloric intake?
- Not enough meals on option 1?

Danny SOul said...

What are your thoughts on this routine? There are some questions below if you get a chance!!
Thanks in advance!

TRAINING IN THE PM (NOT ENOUGH FOOD?)
6 PM: Training
7 PM: Post-workout meal, (Whey+High Protein+sweet pot and veggies)
10 PM: Last meal before fast, (eggs+Fat)

TRAINING MID DAY
12-1 PM: Training
1 PM: Post-workout meal, (Whey+High Protein+sweet pot and veggies)
4 PM: Second meal. (High Protein+Veg+Fat)
9 PM: Last meal before the fast. (eggs+Fat)

TRAINING IN THE AM
6-7 AM: Training
8 AM: 10 g BCAA
10 AM: 10 g BCAA
12PM: The "real" post-workout meal (largest meal of the day)
4 PM: Second meal. (High Protein+Veg+Fat)
8 PM: Last meal before the fast. (eggs+Fat)

REST DAYS
1 PM: First meal. (Whey+High Protein+Veg)
4 PM: Second meal. (High Protein+Veg+Fat)
9 PM: Last meal before the fast. (Eggs+Fat)

- Cheat Meals/Days?
- Amount of protein to take in?
- Caloric intake?
- Not enough meals on option 1?

datguyjoel said...

Martin, I was wondering what effects your leangains would have on athletic performance? Can an athlete follow this regiman while still doing their performance based workouts?

Anonymous said...

I dont know if this will get read, bit in anycase lets see.

Very new to applying a leangains principal. I have been weight (strength) training for 2yrs now with reasonable gains, has not gone the way I thought it would but I have to admit diet! In the last 3wks I have started to eat less during the day (pre work out banana) and have 1 large meal. My fav meal of all time.....DINNER!

I train around midday for an hour, 2 days a week weights (5/3/1) and 3 days conditioning cardio, not very strict. Other than my morning black coffee and pwo banana, I am not eating after my wo I am waiting until dinner time. IS this ok? or am I missing something?

Apologies for the rant size post...

mark said...

Hey great protocol, was curious if any other clients have issues getting all there calories in on any given day. i started this two weeks ago and cannot for the life of me eat 2300 calories in 8 hours (i know that sounds easy) but i have a huge love of veggies and like to eat them with every meal and have never counted them towards daily macros.

greg h. said...

Hi Martin, unfortunately can't get that lean and not sure what am doing wrong.
I started IF in September last year but for any reason did not perfectly sick to all rules i.e.i was fasting for at least 16hours but changed eating window almost every day (cause am working shifts so one day it was better for me to eat 1-9pm and next day 5 pm -1 am)

got changed it from January so now my rating period is set 4/5pm-12/1am.have to say it doesn't help that much cause my fat stays at 12% and really can't get any leaner even when am doing cardio &/or HIIT 3 times a week plus 4 times a week weights

i stick to low and hi carb and can't really see any changes

have to say since i started IF i really like it and don't want to resign from it but at the moment am getting a little bit frustrated and thinking what am doing wrong-

-is it about calories on non training days (1500-2000 kcal) or do i still exceed amount of carbs on these days (don't count them properly but i assume its less than 200gr)

looking for any help
thx
Gregg

greg h. said...

Hi Martin, unfortunately can't get that lean and not sure what am doing wrong.
I started IF in September last year but for any reason did not perfectly sick to all rules i.e.i was fasting for at least 16hours but changed eating window almost every day (cause am working shifts so one day it was better for me to eat 1-9pm and next day 5 pm -1 am)

got changed it from January so now my eating period is set 4/5pm-12/1am.have to say it doesn't help that much cause my fat stays at 12% and really can't get any leaner even when am doing cardio &/or HIIT 3 times a week plus 4 times a week weights

i stick to low and hi carb and can't really see any changes

have to say since i started IF i really like it and don't want to resign from it but at the moment am getting a little bit frustrated and thinking what am doing wrong-

-is it about calories on non training days (1500-2000 kcal) or do i still exceed amount of carbs on these days (don't count them properly but i assume its less than 200gr)

looking for any help
thx
Gregg

greg h. said...

Hi Martin, unfortunately can't get that lean and not sure what am doing wrong.
I started IF in September last year but for any reason did not perfectly sick to all rules i.e.i was fasting for at least 16hours but changed eating window almost every day (cause am working shifts so one day it was better for me to eat 1-9pm and next day 5 pm -1 am)

got changed it from January so now my eating period is set 4/5pm-12/1am.have to say it doesn't help that much cause my fat stays at 12% and really can't get any leaner even when am doing cardio &/or HIIT 3 times a week plus 4 times a week weights

i stick to low and hi carb and can't really see any changes

have to say since i started IF i really like it and don't want to resign from it but at the moment am getting a little bit frustrated and thinking what am doing wrong-

-is it about calories on non training days (1500-2000 kcal) or do i still exceed amount of carbs on these days (don't count them properly but i assume its less than 200gr)

looking for any help
thx
Gregg

Anonymous said...

Love the site! Just a couple of weeks into if & rpt and am now focused on manipulating macros to get in line with lg.

Instead of posting extremely specific questions that are prefaced with every last gram of food you eat, every pound you lift, and every moment you are awake--I would like to encourage people to use this site for what it is: a guide.

You have to do some research and make it work for you. There are tons of bmr calculators out there as well as food databases that offer macro profiles.

Good luck to us all! :)

featherstone said...

Is it possible to do a diet protocol in which you eat breakfast (I am a breakfast person and find it difficult to go without eating within one hour of waking), then fast for several hours again until meal 2 (pre-workout), and following your post-workout meal at night, fast again? So, approx breakdown would be: Start fast at 11:00 p.m., breakfast at 8:00 p.m., fast until 7 p.m., eat, workout, eat again around 10:00 p.m., then start fasting again. ? :-)

Natacha said...

Martin, I am used to train 4 days/week. Basically, my off days are wednesdays, saturdays and sundays (Which means I eat more carbs 2 days in a row). Since the fat loss is more effective when we consume fewer carbs the day before training, will the process be slowed down? I mean, is the concept based on the fact that we should train 3 days/week (meaning we should not eat lots of carbs more than this)? In other words, should I eat higher carbs 3 times/week no matter how often I train?

Natacha said...

Martin, I am used to train 4 days/week. Basically, my off days are wednesdays, saturdays and sundays (Which means I eat more carbs 2 days in a row). Since the fat loss is more effective when we consume fewer carbs the day before training, will the process be slowed down? I mean, is the concept based on the fact that we should train 3 days/week (meaning we should not eat lots of carbs more than this)? In other words, should I eat higher carbs 3 times/week no matter how often I train?

Aivaras said...

Hi Martin, I feel that your website is going to change my life, I just came up with two questions:
So I tried today to workout after 14hours fast with 20g BCAA as preWO and at the end of workout I felt dizzy, I thought I'm gonna faint, so I ended up doing 6 exercises instead of 7. Also I read that fasted training can negatively impact muscle protein status. I want to loose fat, but not to loose muscle at all. Should I keep training fasted or try to train during feeding widow? Thanks.
Also is it possible to do 4 days split during IF dieting? It will be high frequency, but I increase calories by 500(around 100carbs) during workout days.
Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

Do I do the lean gains IF on nontraining days the same as I would on training days?

Toni-Jo said...

Hi. I am a 24 year old female. I am 23% body fat and weigh 56kgs (121 lbs). I don't want to be very 'muscley', I like curves but I want to be leaner, reduce cellulite (very important as mine is horrendous) and I'm aiming for 48 kgs (which sounds light but is definitely my optimal look having been this weight previously)and hope to be 18% body fat at the most. I am getting married in 6 months but have a wedding dress fitting in 3 weeks and am 3 kgs heavier than I was when the dress fitter first measured me before starting on my dress! I need fast results, but for them to be sustainable and not too limiting as I love to cook. I eat a hell of a lot of veggies and my diet is pretty healthy... my biggest failure is sugar. I love sweets, cakes, choc etc. I go to the gym 3 times a week. I am a size 10 but need to get back to an 8 to fit into most of my wardrobe but I've been failing for almost 2 years now! Most of the site seems to be aimed towards big muscle gain and men... any suggestions for me? Daily calorie intake recommended on the 16/8 fast/feed regime to reach my goal? Exercise recommendations? I need to lose 3 kgs in 3 weeks and then a further 5 ongoing. I carry most of my weight on my thighs and hips (pear shaped... suggestions on how to lose fat on these areas in particular?)I would really appreciate your insight! Thank you. P.S. Your site was recommended to me today at Sporty's on the Gold Coast whilst I was being pro-active buying new trainers and gym-wear and whey protein Isolate. (Also, how should I consume this WPI whilst on your recommended plan?)

Unknown said...

Curious if you are taking clients and how we would contact you?

al_luluuu said...

Couldn't find any info on this: Could someone point me in the direction? Is this approach to IF meant to be continuous/cycled or is for cutting purposes only?

terence said...

hello i am just about to start using your diet, but I'm really confused, my weight is 5f8" and my weight is 161, I'm looking to get really cut, I've lost weight through low carb hight protein and high natural fats,

my question is how do i work out how much cals i need to eat on a training day and on a non training day,

i can figure the rest out, it would be really good if it was put in a very simple form, so its easy to understand,

also i have bcaa but it has maltodextrin in, is this ok, or am i looking for a drink with just bcaa in?

thanks

Jonny said...

do you recomend 1.5 grams of protein per lbs of bodyweight?

Michel said...

Martin. I am a competitive exerciser (crossfitter) and Sometimes I train 2x per day. How can I work this in with a 8-5 work schedule and fasting from 9-10pm to 1-2pm the following day. Training times are 6am and 6pm or 12pm and 6pm. Would I have my biggest meal after my first training session on the days I train 2x.

Frecklesofwar said...

Hey, Martin,

What are your thoughts on implementing IF with p90x or Insanity.

I've been lean enough for past 3 years, but I've found doing p90x continuously after desired results causes gradual muscle loss.

Real challenge is staying lean.

Also, particular "work" requires a
certain cardiovascular level.

Currently: 6'1, 180 lbs, 4-6 % BF, and I haven't benched in years but level of strength in pull-ups: 42-45 body weight.

YABOY said...

can wheat/oatmeal be eaten in IF?
give me an example schedule
.

my foods are (fruits veggies,no grains, whey protein, a lot of meat, eggs, nuts, natural pb)

and what do I do AND when (time) on rest days?

LAST, when I reach my goal, what do I do to stay 6% bf (my goal) and getting more muscular.

YABOY said...

WHEAT GRAINS and Oatmeal are those carbs sources in IF?

my foods are...fruits veggies,no grains, whey protein, a lot of meat, eggs, nuts, natural pb..

and what do I do on rest days AND what time do i eat?

LAST, when I reach my goal, what do I do to stay 6% bf (my goal) and getting more muscular.

Harry said...

Great site, lots of info.

Just one short question: how do I define how much calories I should take in? if I am aiming at losing fat

1. without workout (4-6x per month) and

2.with workout (3-4x per week).

or the other way around: how many calories should i subtract from my daily calorie consumption?

thanks alot!!

m4ttiz said...

Hi Martin!

Just a simple question:

Does both of these programs work just as good?

13:00: 40% of daily intake
19:00: Training
20:30: 60% of daily intake

or

13:00: 20% of daily intake
16:00: 20% of daily intake
19:00 Training
20:30 60% of daily intake

The reason I'm asking is because I rather use the "1 big meal" before working out due to my working-schedule.

Greeding Matthew

Thomas Fogh Damgaard said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Thomas Fogh Damgaard said...

I train in the evening usually 8-10 pm and have a normal work day 8am-4pm. How should I plan my fasting/feeding phases? Thanks!

Todd said...

You may have to bold, encircle the paragraph in flames or put "boobs" in order to get people to read the last paragraph ha ha.

Thanks for all the good info, Martin. All the info on this blog has been enough to get me started on the Leangains system. Can't wait for the book.

Mitzi Young said...

hi, I have been recommened to try this. Im lost ..maybe Im thinking to on depth. All I need to know is if 1 need 200 grams of protein a day do I divide it? and i read about preworkout aftwer fast before training, i scoop whey with bcaas?
thx

Andrew Schwartz said...

Mark, the way I see it, the one meal pre-workout plan would work best for me though I feel like it's contradictory. Wouldn't breaking a fast (just 3 hours) before a workout be against what we're going for: fasted training?
Just a thought. If so should I then fast from the night before (20:00) until post workout (16:30ish).

Anonymous said...

when training at 630am, taking bcaa's pre and intra workout, should i have a decent post workout meal/shake even though my feed shouldnt start until 12pm?

so train at 6:30am, 7:30am, have a protein and carb shake, then not eat again until 12, feed until 8 then fast again?

Anonymous said...

Just trying to clarify. In the two pre-workout meal situation, is the second meal too close to the workout? I would think I would not be in a fasted state if I only hit the gym 2 hours after my previous meal.

Jeremy said...

Martin,

I'm an intermediate level crossfitter who stumbled across your IF program and would like to start incorporating it into my routine, as even with a strict paleo diet, i'm not seeing the results I want in body composition. I'm having a little trouble adapting your schedules though, since I often go to the gym twice a day. Is something like this consistent with your philosophy?

5:45 AM: Pre Workout BCAAs
8:00 AM: Post workout BCAA Supp
10:00 AM: Post workout BCAA Supp
12:00 PM: Midday Meal 25%-35%
5:20 PM: Pre Workout BCAAs
7:00 PM: Post workout Meal 65%-75%

Please offer your own recommendation for doubles days if you feel this isn't in line with leangains. As a bit of an ancillary question, I have always taken the usual whey protein shake after a workout. Should I continue to do this and just not count it as a meal?

Thanks for your help!

-Jeremy

Rachel said...

Been follow for 4 days and feel great! However, how does one figure out how many calories they need & how much (%-wise) should be devoted to protein, carbs, fat, etc?

Anonymous said...

Can someone help me? I have just discovered this Leangains site but cannot find just what the 'guide' is in a simple summary. I am piecing things together by reading dozens of very long posts and seem to have established that Martin recommends a daily 16/8 fast/feed cycle, as opposed to Eat Stop Eat's once/twice-a-week 24-hour cycle.

But what about the workouts? How often, what weights, reps, etc?

Martin makes reference to a forthcoming 'book' but I can't find it - did he ever write it?

Keen to follow the advice but finding that advice in a concise form is proving impossible. Am I missing something? Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Hey Martin,

First of all thanks for the excellent work with Leangains.
Im currently following the guide for the 4th month now, and biggest problem is i have a fair amount of stubborn fat around my waist, but the progress is very slow. My meals in the feeding window is 2 meals, big one post-workout, and a smaller towards the end. Im currently only taking calcium and omega-3 supplements. So my question is, does alphaburn or yohimbine make a big difference in the aid of reducing stubborn body fat, or anything else for that matter?

Anonymous said...

Martin,

I have fully embraced IF into my training. I have also noted that my sleep requirement has diminished (but I do not feel tired during day)

Any thoughts/comments regarding IF's relationship to sleep hygiene?

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12748412

Anonymous said...

I love this Blog, I have been following this diet for a while but under different training circumstances.

I train 3 hard High Intensity cardio & body weight sessions per week, which tend to be my High Carb days. I follow the same rules and fast for 16 hours every day.

But i have a question, I am now wanting to add lean muscle, and I have upped my training programme to include 3 weights sessions per week also. These three weights sessions come on the days where i dont eat carbs.

Although my weights sessions are low intensity I'm wondering if my diet is really geared to how i'm training, and if you could advise me on what changes i should make?

I have los 40lbs of body fat and am around abouts my target weight, my main focus now is building lean muscle but i also enjoy the high intensity sessions.

Would it be worth my while to turn my carb cycle on its head and eat BIG on my weights days? COuld I get away with not eating carbs on my high intensity days?

Thanks

Anonymous said...

What's your recommended schedule if i workout at around 5:00 pm and my last meal is 9:00 pm

Laci said...

Hello Martin, i have one question if i work at 09:00 to 10:30 with 10g BCAA before (BSN amino X)and my next meal is protein and post workout meal at 12:00, i need another 10g bcaas after training ? BCAAs is too expensive for me....thx a lot for answer

SLNH said...

I just wanted to thank you, Martin, for having all of this information so readily available (and free) to the public. Not another sham blog or get-rich-quick scheme. Really appreciate all the knowledge / scientifically backed information as well as all of the step-by-step guides.

I simply cut calories for the last few months, dropped from 200 to 180. Got a lot thinner but still don't have the shape/size/build I want. So, I came across your site, and now I'm going to start on the fasted training regiment of your leangains guide.

I'm excited to see how it all works out. Goodluck to everyone. And thanks, again, Martin. Best blog I've ever come across. Hands down.

Keith said...

Would I be able to drink about 12g of casein before bed still or do I have to cut this too? I am going to try this out because I am a skeptic, but I always like to keep an open mind, but didn't know if I could keep my before bed protein or not. Please let me know and I will start.

Keith said...

Can I keep my before bed casein shake with just water and 12g casein? I wanted to give this a try as an open-minded skeptic, but want to see if I could keep my bedtime shake before I start.

ajgod said...

Hello guys!
I have a question on how to split macros and what time should I eat.
Training six days a week:
Mon-Wed-Fri -> Kickboxing 20h->22h
Tue-Thur-Sat -> Calisthenics 18h->20h

Can you help me?

Anonymous said...

if i dont have BCAAs, how much whey should i take pre-workout? Thanks

TomH said...

Hi,

How long does one stay on the 16/8 fast? Do you cycle off and back into non fasted eating every so often?
I cant' seem to locate any info addressing that issue.

Thanks,

Wednesday said...

ok i may be dumb.... but during IF can you drink water in the fasting period ? or not allowed?

Sam said...

Hey could this work for IF
Wake up 10:30
Pre workout shake: BCAA, Instant Coffee, Green Tea, and Yohimbine.
Train from 11:30-12:30
12:30 Post workout Shake: which includes
(Whey Protein, Casein Protein, BCAA and 25g of Dextrose) and some puffed rice or rice cakes and dates and/or banana so that will be my first thing I eat to break my fast then hour- two hours 2:00pm later Ill have a Full meal with High Protein, COmplex Carbs Pasta, WG Bread little fats)
6:00pm have a snack
then Last meal of day
8:20 have alittle bigger meal (Lunch at work) usually 4 PCs of Whole grain Bread Lean Turkey Deli meat and some fruit and veggies and some casein or cottage cheese.

My main question is, is it good to break my fast with the protein, dextrose and bcaa right after my training and wait about an hour after that to have my HUGE meal of the day? I believe in having my shake right after i workout. since i will still be fasting for 16 hours and eating for 8 should be a good deal right. thanks

Anonymous said...

Hey i was just wondering if you could help me with a set up.. I wake up at 630am monday-friday, and start work at 7, and end at 6. I work out at around 9 or 10 due to the fact that it takes me awhile to get home from work and get cleaned up (construction job). What would be the best intermittent fasting time peiod be for me???

Thanks!

zhejr said...

Hello, I am thinking of trying fasting, particularly your approach.
I didnt look up all the comments,so mby u already answered this ...But I have a problem...I weight about 200lbs,which is 3000 calories(give or take) to maintain and to build muscle/lose fat...
The problem I have is 3 meals...I'do with 1 preworkout meal 20-25% of daily cal which is 600-750cal,the post workout meal is largest..make that one 50%daily cal..and last meal 30-25% d.cal...so my post workout meal is 1500 cal? And I guess u wont advise me to eat pizza :) ...how do I accomplish that?

iPodknowsbest said...

my regular times for eating is...
i start eating at 8:00am
and end the day at eating at 9Pm

if i cut this time
from 10:30am and end it at 8pm

will it make a difference?

hmackenzie93 said...

Hi martin,
I'm currently a fairly lean 81 kg's and would like to get to around 86 without gaining bodyfat. Could these types of results be attainable following this type of diet?

thanks

Anonymous said...

good stuff. Just no mention of a protocol covering those who workout late in the evening (say at 22:00 and finish at 23:00).

So let me post mine:
- Break 16hr fast around 16:00 with big meal lots of protein little carbs

- Big dinner around 19:00 protein and starches.

- Workout at 22:00 followed by a protein shake (6 types of protein mixed with milk)

NOTE: if I get hungry before the fast I take BCAA.

Brian said...

Martin,

Is there any significant difference between breaking your fast just before, during, or after your workout?

I often bring a homemade electrolyte replenishing solution or coconut water to sip on in between sets.

Anonymous said...

I am interested in trying this diet but have some questions.

1. On rest days do you keep everything the same. caloric intake, macros, fasting/feeding time frame?

2. I work in retail currently with different hours. sometimes morning and sometimes mid shifts. What can I do about the consistency of my fasting/feeding time frames?

3. For carbs do you count green veggies as part of your macros for carbs? or just count starches for carbs (rice, oats, whole grains...)?

brennan said...

hey i am doing the early morning fast and im a littel confused all i have is whey protein do i use that a a bcaa

DiDeD said...

Hey Martin :) , i want to ask about the post workout shake, can i take like 2 scoops whey with some carbs and then eat the big meal after 1 hour like any regular diet , or do i skip that post workout shake and just eat that big meal ??

Anonymous said...

hi, this quote is interesting

"Training is initiated on an empty stomach and after ingestion of 10 g BCAA or similar amino acid mixture. This "pre-workout" meal is not counted towards the feeding phase. Technically, training is not completely fasted - that would be detrimental. The pre-workout protein intake, with its stimulatory effect on protein synthesis and metabolism, is a crucial compromise to optimize results. The 8-hour feeding phase starts with the post-workout meal."

I would like to point out that there are no studies done on human beings that show that working out on a empty stomach is going to do anything in terms of "burning muscle" or "unoptemizing" your gains.

What determines the body composition is the diet, and to say something else would be to speak against natures law of thermal dynamics.

OrganicShadow said...

Msrtin,

Your recent article on cortisol release and traditional breakfast reeled me in. I have been told about IF before but never looked into it. I have some similar educational creditials: B.S. in Medical Laboratory Sciences (specialty in biochemistry and hematology) working on Masters in Health Sciences. Between that and personal training certifications I've learned what makes quality diet science and fad B.S.

I'm looking to give this a go and pretty excited about it. Between work, class, and training this whole every 2-3 hours thing is just getting crazy nor do I find it all that necessary. Cheers and a job well done. I'll be around.

Gatzos said...

Can the calories from Jack3d brake the fasting? My eating time is from 13.00-21.00 and im working out early in he morning.

Gatzos said...

Can the calories from Jack3d brake the fasting? My eating time is from 13.00-21.00 and im working out early in the morning.

Anonymous said...

Hey Martin,

You are doing great work!

One question:

I train mostly at 10.30-11.30 AM and like to follow your fasted workout routine:

10.00-10.15 AM or 5-15 minutes pre-workout: 10 g BCAA
10.30-11.30 AM: Training
12 PM: Post-workout meal (largest meal of the day).
4 PM: Second meal.
8 PM: Last meal before the fast.

The fact is that I'm not able to eat directly after training. Is it an idea to take 10g BCAA after the training and break the fast at 13.00 PM and start fasting at 20.00 PM (shorter 7 hours feeding window on trainingdays)?

Hope to hear from you!

Jens said...

Am i allowed to take a whey protein with milk before my workout? I don't have bcaa's just like that, they're in my whey.
Also, do you recommand fish oil?

thanks

Frank Jensen said...

Hello Martin.
I have one question to you; Can i replace the 10 grams of BCAA with a scoop of protein-powder mixed with 400 ml milk, after training before the biggest meal of the day?

Thank you.

biao said...

I am just wondering whether I can take some protein supplement during fasting hours? thanks mate.

Kayla Maya said...

Hi Martin,

I'm fifteen years old and have been seeking to lose weight and drop my body fat percentage. I'm not sure if intermittent fasting is right for someone of my age though... my friends think I'm starving myself... If you read this comment I'd really like to get your input- thanks

YABOY said...

I'm 10% body fat and been struggling to get to 6-7%. My muscles gains are perfect but need to reach 6% so can anyone tell me HOW DO I START?
I lift 5x a week Mon-Fri
Rest Sat-Sun
I do eat clean food but don't know how to apply it to IF

Anonymous said...

Hi there martin, I'm glad to check over your blog and its just amazing, keep up the good work, your inspiring the WORLD.

I actually have a few questions about IF, because I searched over your blog and havent found some straight answers..

First, about IF, I'm a muslim and in about 10 days we are having 'Ramadan' if you heared of it, we fast from around 5 AM in the morning till 7 PM the next day (from sunset to sunrise fast) we dont drink water or anything, so lets say im cutting at 2,000 calories on training days and 1500 on non-training days, so this is how it will work:

Non-workout days: at sunset I will eat 600-800 calories, then I will eat a 200 calorie treat later at 10 or 11 PM, then before I start fasting and go to bed, I will eat the rest 500-600 calories of my cut?

And on WORKOUT-days: I will eat 600 calories, then 800 after workout, and then another meal of 600 calories before bed..

How does this sound? Also can I just eat 2 large meals of 1,000 calories it would be much better because those 2 times where we eat we are all together, family, etc..

Ofcorse I will keep my CARBS more on work-out days compared to FATS, and on non-workout days, its more FATS compared to CARBS, and on workout/nonworkout protein will stay the same at 150-180g a day

I'm 170 LBS 5'9 17% BF.

Also on the coming 10 days, I want to try IF, will I do exactly the same? I will fast once I wake up until lunch? (so I will fast for around 7-8 hours from when I wake up, and then workout before lunch and eat that big meal?

or have a smaller meal first before my workout?

Thank you so much for reading!

gareth corner said...

hi -

just a quick question - I am starting the early morning morning fasted training but also do a very physical job - in this case would any extra BCAA or a small meal be required before 12:00?

Regards G.

Beau Barnett said...

Hey Martin, Good stuff, I am going to try leangains out here in Afghanistan. As a contractor working with the Marines at Camp Leatherneck, there might be a few challenges (food choices are one) but I think it can be done. Thanks for the great guide.

Anonymous said...

hey hey,

I just have 2 questions

... first one: can I also use a pre workout booster instead of the 10 gramms bcaa? for example dymatize xtreme pump? it only has 10 calories per serving!

and the second question: does a post workout shake harms the results of IF? I´m fasting for 16-17 hours then I train 20 mins after the training I have my PWS (whey and dextrose) and 1 hour later I have my big post workout meal ..
I´m doing IF for fat loss

Nelly Forde said...

Hello, thank you for your insight on IF. I am a 34yo woman work regular 8-4 job and exercise at leas 4 days a week sometimes more (afternoons 1-1 1/2 hrs). I have successfully been able to lose 40lbs from strict diet and exercise but I have the usual plateau problem where I sometimes gain back sometimes up to 5lbs which is seriously frustrating. I am currently 240lbs and trying to feverishly to attain my goal of losing at least 70 more lbs. Given that I am what would be called obese and the amt I wish to lose, could IF be the right choice for me to complement my exercise in order to achieve better results? Thank you again for your insight.
JF

Anonymous said...

Hi Martin,
Very cool article, one question I have is in your sample plans, is there no way to have all caloric intake before workout? do I have to have a meal post workout?
I usually workout from 9-10, and would like to go sleep afterwards, but with IF I have to fit in a huge meal before that. anyway around that?

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Hi Martin. Where can I buy Leangains clothing?

Anonymous said...

Hi Martin, is a periodic fast of 24 hours per week also beneficial?

Anonymous said...

Hi,

What is the recommended state of training during IF: Fasted? or Non-fasted?

Anonymous said...

Hey Martin,

I have been looking on your site, but haven't been able to find the answer to my question - I hope I didn't miss it.

My Question is, if I am training twice a day (Strength/Oly Lifting am - Metabolic training pm), is breakfast crucial and should I possibly not even bother with IF? I have been doing IF the last three weeks. The first week I felt groggy, second week I felt amazing, and now I'm back to groggy.

I've been advised my one of my coaches to not do IF due to the volume, but I'm still able to pack in all of my calories (easily) in my 6-8 hour eating window. If you have time I'd love to hear what your take is.

Thanks in advance,

Drew

Slosse said...

Hi Martin, I'm an early bird, and right now I'm following your early morning fasted training.

My question is: on rest days, i wake up at 6 to 7 am and break the fast at 12pm -1 pm. DO i still have to ingest 10g of BCAA or 30g of Whey as in the pre-workout nutrition? Thanks.

Humair Idrees said...

I am trying to Use this IF program and wondering is 50-25-25 good macro meaning 50 carbs 25 protein and 25 fats while eating at 500 calorie diff
Its very hard for me to eat low carb
I appreciate this website and will appreciate your answer sir!

james lowrie said...

hay martin i need some help i know you get a lot of these but it would be ggo to get the answer from your self. i train at 06.30 in the morning and the usually finnish and home by 8 am my question is that in doing this should i wait till 12 to eat and have bcca like purple wrath and the have a small meal at 12 and a large meal at 6 pm when work is finished and i can relax what do you think. also i like to run in the morning before the gym is this ok.

suley said...

Hello Martin,

I have had a few issues in gaining muscle using your method and if you could give me any insight I would be very grateful.

I have tried your method since late december 2011.

Firstly, for the first 3 months I was losing weight and gaining muscle which was great and I was very happy. Then the muscle gains basically stopped but weight loss was still relatively easy. I would estimate I got to about a 12% Body fat level. I wanted to drop further but I felt way too small in size and decided its time to switch to an IF bulk(I thought I could always get down to lower BF level once i felt I had enough muscle on me).

So first I started eating at maintenance for about 2-3 weeks and then gradually started eating over maintenance thereafter. However to my surprise I was making no gains in the gym even though I was slowly gaining weight. I did this for about 2-3 months with virtually no gains in the gym even though I had gained 1kg.
I was very frustrated so I started thinking maybe I wasnt eating enough overall so started eating a little more and Ive done that for the past 2 months and have gained another 2kg. I have made very minimal gains since. I mean I have literally moved up by about an extra 2 repetitions on the same weight in my workouts.

What am I doing wrong? I try to follow your plan just as you state it and count my calories really well. I weight 160 pounds and eat about 160-200g protein per day. Perhaps the only thing I do different is I dont eat as many carbs(around 150-180g on workout days).

I wonder if the 16-8 split is ideal for everyone? might a 14-10 or 12-12 split be more ideal for some people. I read somewhere(and please correct me if im wrong cause I aint no expert) that during the interim period where your body is switching into fat burn mode that it does in fact use a little amino acids for enery.

Anyways any ideas would be greatly appreciated. I might add that I have always been very skinny since childhood and this is my second stint in training. The first time I did it I was using the traditional eat every 3 hours method and got alot bigger but also got to a body fat level of around 20% which I wasnt very happy with either so just stopped.

Thank you in advance.

suley said...

sorry if this is a double post not sure if my previous message went through as I was asked to sign in.

Hello Martin,

I have had a few issues in gaining muscle using your method and if you could give me any insight I would be very grateful.

I have tried your method since late december 2011.

Firstly, for the first 3 months I was losing weight and gaining muscle which was great and I was very happy. Then the muscle gains basically stopped but weight loss was still relatively easy. I would estimate I got to about a 12% Body fat level. I wanted to drop further but I felt way too small in size and decided its time to switch to an IF bulk(I thought I could always get down to lower BF level once i felt I had enough muscle on me).

So first I started eating at maintenance for about 2-3 weeks and then gradually started eating over maintenance thereafter. However to my surprise I was making no gains in the gym even though I was slowly gaining weight. I did this for about 2-3 months with virtually no gains in the gym even though I had gained 1kg.
I was very frustrated so I started thinking maybe I wasnt eating enough overall so started eating a little more and Ive done that for the past 2 months and have gained another 2kg. I have made very minimal gains since. I mean I have literally moved up by about an extra 2 repetitions on the same weight in my workouts.

What am I doing wrong? I try to follow your plan just as you state it and count my calories really well. I weight 160 pounds and eat about 160-200g protein per day. Perhaps the only thing I do different is I dont eat as many carbs(around 150-180g on workout days).

I wonder if the 16-8 split is ideal for everyone? might a 14-10 or 12-12 split be more ideal for some people. I read somewhere(and please correct me if im wrong cause I aint no expert) that during the interim period where your body is switching into fat burn mode that it does in fact use a little amino acids for enery.

Anyways any ideas would be greatly appreciated. I might add that I have always been very skinny since childhood and this is my second stint in training. The first time I did it I was using the traditional eat every 3 hours method and got alot bigger but also got to a body fat level of around 20% which I wasnt very happy with either so just stopped.

Thank you in advance.

Anonymous said...

Hi i train early in the morning and ive seen the advice of how to train then take bcaa and eat later but i want to know if i can do my fast from 2pm - 6am then start my feeding? will this also work?

Thanks
John

Fleshgrinder said...

Question,
I ride my bike from 6am-7:30am but i workout at 5:30pm. So what time should i start my Fastin?

ZeAfonso said...

Hello, I’m 22 years old and I’m a very active person, however last week I had a surgery at my knee and now I’ve to face 2 months of physiotherapy and no exercise because I have to do a well recovery. Before the surgery, during 2 weeks I tried Leangains (while training) and I was liking it, but now I don’t know if I will stick to this approach. But because I can’t exercise I think this can be a good method to achieve my objectives (lower my body fat that is around the 14 or 15%) or at least no increase my body fat. I would like to know your opinion because I think it’s possible but I have my doubts.
Now that I’m in holydays and in postoperative period I wake up at 12h and I’ve lunch at 1 pm (I eat meat or fish, lots of vegetables and this is the meal that I tried to put some carbs like rice, pasta or potatoes, but never much amounts), then around 5 pm I eat my afternoon snack (natural yoghurt with some peanuts or almonds or nuts), and by 8 pm it’s dinner time (it’s similar to the lunch - I eat meat or fish, lots of vegetables, but in this meal I try not to eat carbs like rice, pasta or potatoes).
Note: I calculated my BMR in this situation (no activity) and it’s was 2127,36, and then I calculated my Leangains Macros, and it was P144/F60/C66,70 (I only write here the macros for rest day because I won’t do exercise in the next two months because of my knee surgery, only physiotherapy)
I’m sorry for annoying you with this questions but I need some help/orientations.

DavidHill76 said...

I have lost 20 lbs since following your guide and increased my strength so much.

I usually eat healthy as possible, but I was wondering if you would ever post an article about what you eat on the regular? what kinds of foods you eat etc...

justin said...

heym great article, im starting lean gains.
just wondering what the best feeding time would be for me. i work overnight shifts so I sleep from 7am-2pm. then i train at 8pm then start work at 10pm with a meal break at 1am.

J_The_Man said...

Hi Martin we have the same last name! Maybe we are related haha! Anyway i was wondering. I workout 6 days a week. 4 days liftind and 2 days cardio. Should i be working out everyday? Or is this a good set up?

Pascal said...

Hi Martin,

I have several question in hope that you can help me out, in order to start with the intermittent fasting.

With the "Early Training method", how do I eat at off days of training? Is it the same procedure the whole time?

I'm 178cm, 70kg and I have an intake of about 1900-2000 Calories a day. Should I keep the amount of calories at this point with the intermittent fasting? So that I have a calory intake of about 800-900 at both big meals?
Or should I reduce my calory intake even more?

Best,
Pascal

Saira said...

Hey martin

Was just referred to this site by a trainer. I've read everything & really appreciate that you go deep into the actual research and look not just at results, but at experimental methodology, etc.

One thing that's frustrating is that you've said in interviews on other sites, and on here, that women have different hormone profiles & metabolism than men, and that this changes the macro breakdown women should use, but you keep saying all that will be covered in the book. I'd really appreciate it if you'd throw a bone, even, to my half of the population and give us some guidelines, even if not very detailed, for a default macronutrient breakdown.

Pardip said...

Hi Martin

I'm very keen to start your IF protocol. I work from 8pm till 4pm and start training at about 4.30-45pm. If I break the fast at 12pm do you think I should eat a second meal before my workout or do you think it would be best to wait until after my workout?

What about having some Whey protein that contain BCAA's before the session or do you think a second small meal would be more beneficial? Is ok to consume some Whey protein post workout and then have my large meal?

Finally, with your clients have you seen the same level of results in terms of fat loss and lean gains in terms of someone training in the morning in a 'fasted' state compared with someone who trains in the afternoon after having consumed 1 or 2 small meals before their workout?

Would really appreciate the reply.

Pardip

Anonymous said...

Hey im not sure if this question has been asked but.. Am i allowed to have my multivitamin and fish oils in the fasted hours or not? thanks!

K-Fancy said...

Hey there! I was just wondering if you would recommend leangains for a collegiate gymnast who trains 3-5 days out of the week for 2-3 hours a time starting at 5 pm. Being extremely lean is critical in my sport and I've never been able to get lower than around 10% (visible 6-pack, but stubborn lower stomach fat). If so, when do you think my low and high carb days should be? For reference, I am 5'10", 19 years old and 168 lbs at around 10% BF.

Alexandre said...

Hello Martin,

I have been reading your posts and have to say they have inspired me to start my own bit of research on Nutrition. Thank you for sharing your findings.

Can we have your take on this article?

http://www.drmcdougall.com/video/low-carb_plant-based_diet.htm

Dr. McDougall promotes a starch-based diet.

Best,

Alexandre

Helder said...

Hello Martin, how are you?

I'm from Portugal, and I am interested in start doing this regim ( i don't call it diet cauze its not, i will eat the same foods and the same macro %, but in the 16 / 8 time period. First i will read all the information I can here. Martin i i don't know if u see this : http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Pfna7nV7WaM, it's a documentary by BBC talking about fasting and longevity. They say basically, that restrictive calories intake decrease IGF - 1. But it's not just deacresing calories, protein intake must be reduced too, in order to get the decrease in the IGF-1.

They say that large protein intake, and large calories makes the body in proliferation mode, they call it '' gogo''mode in the documentary. And when restricting calories and consume less protein, the body reduce IFG-1 and enter in '' repare mode ' and that is one of the biggest reason that low calories can make us live longer. But is not just low calories and protein, the say that fasting can have the same result too.

He, the bbc' s reporter, try 3protocols : or 1 experience 2 protocols.

1- he fast for 3 days
2- he fast for 2 day following by 5 day feeding.
3-he goes in to 24/24 fast-feed protocol.

And the tests say that he decreases IFG-1 by half. And reduce the risk of ages deaseas.

What is your opinion? They say in order to get low IGF-1 low calories and low protein must be taken. But when they talk about fasting, they don't make any reference to protein intake. And make the idea that when I am fasting I don't need to cut protein as for the low calories diet day by day. It's true?

Although in Leangains protocol don't fast for more than 16 hours, compared to BBC documentary 's protocols can have the same results in lowering IGF-1?

Hope u help me with this questions, and sorry for my poor English.

Helder

Terry Giovannetti said...

what type of cardio, if any.. would one recommend for the 16-8 approach. I currently do 2-3 sessions of max effort wind sprints for 20-30 min a week. i am just worried about muscle loss and over trainning. my goal is just to maintain my muscle mass but drop the fat. what do you guys think?

Anonymous said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE this way of living, and I just wanted to thank you. I only started the program on 8/26 and already lost 2-3 pounds. I was on a serious stall since February. I have 10-15 pounds I want to lose. Thank you so much!

Anonymous said...

hi martin was wondering if i should take bcaas pre workout before i workout, not fasted training.

midhun said...

thanks man,im gonna start fasting.im in trouble,i dnt hav mass in my shoulder n i hav fat in stomach,im gonna try this

nithya menon said...

thanks

rad39 said...

hey i started fasting 16 hours and have a 8 hour window to eat but since i train in the morning before school after i wait about 3 hours to 4 hours after which is still in my 16 hour fast but since im in school i cant have my biggest meal only at home so if i get all my macros before i fast again will it be enough thanks

Domenick said...

So, is a post workout shake recommended for this diet or go to the gym and then come home and have your postworkout meal right away? Usually i have my post workout shake when i come home (scoop of whey with 2 cups of skim milk, for some carbs and adds more protein) and have my post workout meal an hour after.

Jose Vera said...

Martin,

I am a week into IF, so far I really like it. But I do have a question and hope you can help me. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Friday I train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu from 12-1 p.m. I do this fasted, the only thing I will have before working out is some BCAAs & a pre-workout supplement for a little extra boost. After I have some more BCAAs, then I do strength & conditioning at 5:30 p.m. Before my S&C, I have the BCAAs & PWO, after the workout I have my first meal. I felt very tired and worn out by the end of the day, I only consumed 1 meal then pretty much crashed after that. I have been thinking of adding a pre workout meal for after my BJJ training and before my S&C training. My question is what would you recommend I eat during that time, could you give me some ideas on what would be best to eat, thank you.

Jose Vera said...

Hello my name is Jose and I just finished my first week of IF, I wanted to know if you could maybe give some advice and tips. I train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu on Mon, Wed & Friday from 12 to 1 and I do this fasted. Then I do S&C from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. also fasted. The only PWO meal I have is some BCAAs and a PWO supplement. I have to be honest I felt like crap at the end of my day, I had my big post workout meal after my S&C session, but after that I crashed from being tired and I was no longer hungry. Would you recommend that I have a real PWO meal in between bjj and s&c? If so what do you recommend that I eat? Thank you for your time and help.

Derek said...

Question if anyone can answer it for me....
Is it okay to consume a post workout supplement, or would it be detrimental to not simply get it from food

In other words would it be fast acting enough to increase my muscle mass to wait till im home to eat my first meal (about 30min after workout) since technically the supplement would be my first calories and therefore not my largest meal of the day

Living_the_dream said...

Hi Martin, sorry of I am asking a question in the wrong spot. I am quite keen to hear your view on calorie intake In the meals during the eating window. I am 79kg. About 8% BF and wanting to get to around 5% whilst maintaining as much muscle as possible and if at all possible at muscle. I am just not sure how many calories I should be aiming for in that eating window for someone of my weight. Would be great to get your advice on this?

Thanks
Nick
Ps I have been spreading your word on my YouTube channel

Kliment Paskalev said...

Hi, i wanted to ask if the fasting im going to start is effective and correct.

12am meal
4 pm meal
7;30-9pm workout
9;30 final meal
10pm-12am fast

Kliment Paskalev said...

Hi, I wanted to ask if this is healthy and beneficial:

12am meal
4pm meal
7;30-9pm workout
10pm last meal
10;30pm-12am fast

Anonymous said...

Doesn't look like Martin is answering any more questions :(

simon said...

Hi martin thanks for all the work you've put into this site i've been reading it over and am going to give it a try now in the few days.but I was wondering if you could repost the link to the more in depth guide to the lean gains because the link that's here takes me to a website that says what i'm looking for isn't there any help with this would be greatly appreciated

Simon said...

Can you repost the In depth guide to your lean gains programme the link above appears to not be working it leads to a website saying why I'm looking for isn't there.i you could do this or even e-mail me it woul be much appreciated

Nivisan said...

Hi martin,
I am really intersseted by Intermittent fasting an I'm going to use it for muscle gain. It's great stuff.
I have two question about this method:
1.Can i just have one meal per day:
-Before Training (17h00): BCAA(10g)
-Training(18h-20h)
-Meal at 21h :single meal bringing all the calories of the day (very rich in proteins and carbohydrates)
2.For my diet i think i need in trainig day 2500kcal for rest day should i reduce my calorie intake? Or take more fat and less carbs? Or take the same as training day?
Thanks again.

Steve Wolfe said...

Been a while since any comments where left, so I hope this isn't a dead thread.

Reference to consuming BCAA's... I plan on the early morning fast, breaking it at noon. I understand on workout days consuming 30g of BCAA's before the fast is broken, however is that the same protocol for NON-workout days? Apologies if this has already been answered, but I've read & read a lot and can't find the answer. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Hi There,

First of all a big thank you for the info on this site!

I've been battling with my weight for the last 5 years.

Implementing this fasting plan with my training has given me amazing results in just a few weeks!

Thanks again dude!

E

Anonymous said...

Martin Please come out with the book already :)

Paul K said...

Hey Martin,
Your post was very informative and I really want to try IF but I couldn't find the right scenario in your post for me. I'm a late riser and I train MMA for about 2-4 hours a day around 4pm-8pm and lift weights around 11pm-12am.. How do you recommend I do the fasting phase & feeding phase. I don't even know what my meals should look like?

Mario said...

Hey Martin, thank you for the most awesome diet. I've wrote a full review about it on my blog and posted a sample diet there.

You can all check it out at http://shockingfit.com/leangains-guide-review-sample-meal-plan/

Greg said...

Hey Martin,
Don't know if you will respond to this, but for those of us who are early working lifters and do not want to go the route of BCAA, could the fast work from lunch (last meal before 12:30pm) to breakfast the next day (first meal after 6:30am?)

eric said...

simple question: do i have to workout fasted (no calories taken before hand)?
or can i set up like this:
break fast 1hour prior to workout eating meal 1, workout (as iw orkout with gf i stay longer after workout in the spa area and such)

then 1hour prior to working out eat meal 2 and 1hour later eat meal 3?


can i do this? or does it skip the whole idea od if? im looking to boost my hgh and also lose some weight! but i can't fit fasted training into my meal plan.

my main question would be do i still get teh increase in hgh if i train during my eating window?

!r0n^|-|!De said...

Hi Martin,

I need ur help here as I'm new to this whole IF, Can u please chk if this will do for me?

*Im gonna take Whey protein instead of BCAA (5-15 min) prior to workout.

Training Days: (very high protein, low fat, high carb)

2.30 PM: Pre-workout meal. Approx 20% of daily total calorie intake.
5.00 PM: Workout
7.00 PM: Post-workout meal (largest meal ).
10.30 PM: Last meal before the fast. (Low carb meal with slow digesting protein)

Rest Days: (very high protein, high fat, low carb)

2.30 PM: Meal 1. Approx 40% of daily total calorie intake.
6.00 PM: Meal 2. Approx 30% of daily total calorie intake.
9.30 PM: Meal 3. Approx 30% of daily total calorie intake.

Also I'm 5'10" and weight 81 kgs currently. How much calories should I consume daily? Help me on this one please because I tried calculating it but I'm still not sure about it. Help me get started. Looking forward for ur reply. Thanks in advance.

Anonymous said...

can you still loose weight if you just do the 8 hours on and 16 hour fast...i can excersise 3 x a week only

Ben Stark said...

I've been doing lean gains for about 1.5 weeks now. On weekdays I eat quite clean and on weekends I play around a little bit. None the less when I started Int Fasting I lost weight quite rapidly, now a week later I seem to be gaining weight on a daily basis with little to no change in my diet....

Tom said...

Hi Martin,

I'm a student and would like to start IF. I would like to use IF to help me try and lose weight and then build muscle.

What protool would you recommend most for this, if you had to choose one for me. Would training fasting be the best for weight loss? Or can all of them make me reach by weight loss goals given the same time and effort?

Thanks in advance!

Anonymous said...

I fast from 8pm till 12 noon, then have lunch (12-12.30) and weight-train directly after work, say 5-6pm. Would it be beneficial not to have a meal before training (so training is more or less fasted) but just take 10g BCAA so that the training or do you recommend to have a pre workout meal?

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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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