Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Leangains vs The 30-Year Old Crisis

Share
Time for another Leangains success story. I have a whole bunch of these lying around. People keep sending me reports of exceptional results after having implemented my methods. That's just awesome. Check out the free guide to the Leangains approach if you haven't already.

This success story is actually from an old client of mine, but I didn't know that until I decided to touch base a few weeks ago.

Marcus got in contact with me in early 2008 and did a month of consulting, but it wasn't until a year later, as his 30th birthday drew close, he decided to get really serious and fully implement the things I taught him. Check out his results and story below.


How to solve the 30-year old crisis

"I've been training most of my life and when I was younger, staying in shape was easy. Since I stayed active and loved training, I never really had to think much about my diet. As I got older, staying reasonably lean was proving more and more difficult - especially in combination with a sedentary office job.

When I realized that simply lifting weights wasn't enough to stay in shape, I tried moderating my diet through a traditional bodybuilding-diet. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to stay consistent. I never felt full or satisfied. I was used to eating what I wanted, when I wanted it. It really didn't fit my personal preferences to eat every 2nd-3rd hour, which is what's always preached in the fitness and health mainstream.

Besides the problem of such frequent interruptions, I really hated having to plan the next meal as soon as I was finished with the first. Having to spend so much mental energy thinking and planning my meals didn't appeal to me. It ended in me not recognizing myself in the mirror any longer. I had become FAT."



Weight: 220 lbs and 15-16% body fat (my estimate). This is how Marcus looked when he decided to get serious in January 2009.


"As a consequence of my physical degeneration, training started to become boring. Since training had been one of my biggest sources of joy, everything started to feel like crap. I seriously considered quitting training and accept that I was fat.

Fortunately, I started reading about intermittent fasting and Leangains, which piqued my interest. Since I wanted to take the guesswork out of the equation, I decided to contact Martin Berkhan. That turned out to be a very good move. Leangains is very easy to follow and much more time-efficient than a a "regular" diet.

The results came very quickly. I noticed early that that doing everything exactly as it was laid out for me was all I needed to do in order to get amazing results. It was perfect. Without much effort, it took me three months to get in much better shape than I had been in years.

Since I now knew how easy it was to actually get in shape I decided to use the same program before my 30th birthday. My goal was to get in the best shape ever. Once again I achieved my objective. Hardly ever felt that I was 'dieting'.

In summary, Leangains turned my development from worse to better and best. Thank you Martin for showing how easy it really is! I never thought I could eat myself FULL on hamburgers several days a week and get these kind of results."

- Marcus L





190 lbs and ~ 7% body fat (my estimate), 12 weeks after the first picture. Looking at his training log, his strength remained fully intact. He even gained strength in some movements, which is awesome considering the 20 lbs weight loss (and the issues with strength retention when dropping to single digit body fat percentage).

Great physique. In particular, awesome biceps and lat development. For some reason I keep thinking "'70s ripped." There's a classic look to this physique, reminiscent to the physiques of the golden era of the '60s and '70s.

Latest word from Marcus is that he's currently working on getting in even better shape in 2010 (Leangains style, of course).

70 comments:

Wilmar said...

pretty impressive physique. leangains shredded + 70's big.

Anonymous said...

Damn awesome transformation and insane back at the end.

Anonymous said...

Could height be added? Thanks

Anonymous said...

Truely awesome. What type of workout (frequency/intensity) did Marcus do?

Rob said...

He had quite of bit of solid mass before starting IF but he looks amazing in the afters. The back shot is insane. He's at his maximum muscular potential right?

I don't agree with the body fat estimate for his before pic, he looks more in the lower teens, maybe 15%.

Either way, cool story.

Simon P said...

Awesome transformation. I do have one quibble though. If the before picture is supposed to be someon who is "FAT" then this guy is a bit crazy. He was BIG, but muscular big. Not fat. And definitely not all caps "FAT." You can see some definition in his abs. That's far from "fat."

Elfling said...

dear god. That's pretty impressive- nice work, both of you.

Anonymous said...

I'll be happy if I can look like his before picture!

Anonymous said...

holy shit...if that first picture is 'FAT'...i might as well break out the sig sauer and clean my ears...

Clement said...

Really good job! I really can't wait to get your book when it comes out. I'm really impressed with all that you have created here. I hope to achieve something like this.

On a side note, may I ask how important on a scale from 1 to 10 do you feel that

a) macronutrient intake must be measured?
b) calories must be counted?

Iris said...

That is an impressive change. I am not into this type of training, nor will I likely ever be. However -

For just plain weight control, I am finding the intermittent fasting approach very easy to manage. Most people are at work anyway in the early part of the day, and this way the more social part of the day (even if you start at lunchtime) is during the feeding period.

As a consequence, I'm getting more and more exasperated with the promotion of breakfast by the food industry. I always thought there was something wrong with me - I get up early to be at work before 7 (moderate commute) and when I started doing this, I didn't really feel like eating before I left home anyway. Now I pack 'breakfast' and eat it at lunchtime. And I'm totally tired of hearing how breakfast is so necessary. Maybe I just need to redefine the word?

Anonymous said...

Great job! Also waiting for your book!

-mccarlsson

Simon P said...

@Iris - "breakfast" literally means, to break the fast. You were presumably asleep for about 6 - 8 hours, so the first thing you eat is the meal during which you break your fast. If you happen to be eating at noon or 1pm, functionally that's breakfast. Capitalism dictates that that money must be made at every opportunity. Breakfast has been defined by capitalism as an opportunity to sell you pop tarts, special K, orange juice, egg beaters and processed pork. The fact that they tell you have to eat this stuff at 8am is because they have a whole other slew of products to sell you at noon. When you skip "breakfast" that's money they're not making. Hence, breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

Manveet said...

wow, great physique.

Eduardo said...

I would like to see his food log, that is the hardest thing for me to get right.

Eduardo said...

I would like to see his training and diet log. He is where I want to be.

cervicornis said...

Impressive results, for sure. Clearly, if he lost 20+ lbs. of fat in just 12 weeks, he was dieting pretty hard. To the uninformed, this post would suggest that Martin's IF approach, alone, is responsible for the fat loss. To be fair, it should be said that a significant caloric deficit was responsible for the bulk of the fat loss, with some added benefit due to the IF strategy. Certainly, the average person is not going to lose 20 lbs. of fat in 12 weeks, simply by observing an 8 hour feeding window.

I don't mean to be critical of your IF approach, but with all the wild, unsubstantiated claims that are regularly made in this field, I think it's important to be clear and honest with your readers.

Josh said...

I am just alittle worried about starting IF... this guy like many others on your site have at least some muscle base under their fat... I have very little and i feel like IF would just make me shrivel away to nothing...

So I guess I am asking if IF is right for somone who is skinny fat despite good basic training and nutrition (IE some weights and eating pretty healthy?)

Martin Berkhan said...

Anon,

Height is 181 cm if my memory serves me right.

Rob,

"He's at his maximum muscular potential right?"

I would tend to think so, yes.

Martin Berkhan said...

Simon P,

"If the before picture is supposed to be someon who is "FAT" then this guy is a bit crazy. "

When he first sought my help his body fat was a tad higher, 18-20% or so. I think that quote might be in reference to that.

Also keep in mind that our perception of what is fat and what is lean, is skewed and distorted compared to the usual standards. I'd feel pretty damn fat at 15%. Once you get used to having abs, anything above 10% feels and looks fat.

Martin Berkhan said...

Josh,

You can replace "IF" with just about any diet out there. It's a flexible approach and can be used for a variety of goals. Whether it's good for you or not depends on how well you tolerate the fast and the condensed feeding window.

Anonymous said...

Very impressive. Martin, are you still taking clients?

Anonymous said...

you write about "feeding windows" which i guess presupposes multiple meals, but what do you think about eating just once a day - a heresy?

(considering a person who is around 13 % bf but wants to get to at least 10, and doesn't expect himself to be able to build a lot of muscles)

Moritz said...

nice physique and impressive transformation given the timeframe of just 12 weeks.

i agree with you on marcus' general look aswell, reminds me of the physiques of vince gironda and his pupils...

well done!

Anonymous said...

"(considering a person who is around 13 % bf but wants to get to at least 10, and doesn't expect himself to be able to build a lot of muscles)
"

Does the last part mean, that you want too, but were yet unsuccessful?

ja said...

Martin
Would like to hear your thoughts on the LG plan for more frequent lifting.
My background - LG based IF for about 8 weeks, while also trying to lift relatively heavy (but not to failure) 4x a week, as I have found that training style works best for increasing strength.
Carbing up too much after every workout seems like it'd be too often. Any thoughts? Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Martin,

How do I get in contact with you to get on a program?

Frank said...

@ja:

Why not plan a refeed every other training? Considering you are trying to lose fat, a refeed 4x a week is over the top. Depending on your % bf, you could do workout 1 & 3 on a medium carb day, workout 2 & 4 on a high carb (refeed) day. To create a negative caloric balance, you probably need to eat low carb the other days.

mamaelvis said...

World Class. Excellent + delicious hamburgers.

I want all the years back that I spent dieting like an obsessed mental patient.

Anonymous said...

Martin
Question about the testimony of some miscellaneous IF users (not necessarily clients):

Some IF'ers say that they occasionally fall short of their baseline protein needs on their training days.

I understand that training causes proteolysis but also primes the body for greater MPS. Training also promotes greater nitrogen retention - the 200g of protein that one eats on an off day will go to more waste than if it were eaten on a training day.

Okay, makes sense. But what about a protein intake that is lacking on a training day? Will the training cause undue proteolysis or will it actually have a nitrogen-retaining effect that would even rival an off day that does meet protein needs? Not that I would keep protein chronically low, but I have had times where I didn't get in my protein post-training for whatever reason.

Thanks!

Dave said...

Awesome physique. Pretty impressive transformation in just 3 months.

ja said...

Frank
Yes, am doing something like that. Most often after training it's a pint of berries or something, occasionally a real carb up. BW # isn't moving much but weights are getting heavier, and clothes feel a little looser. My optimistic interpretation is it's working as slow body recomp. The pessimistic would be that I am just treading water...

Lolaso said...

I already said this, PROTEIN Requirements are OVERRATED,
I ate a few time ago 180grams+ of protein and i had an altered medic exam of high trans-amines.
All the people related to weight training said that its normal to have high that, like ill believe that, then i reduced to 80-120 max protein and miraculously i had normal trans-amines, doing the same workouts and eating pattern.
Now i have perfect blood samples in everything and yes, im gaining muscle at a pretty decent rate without fat with the body-recomposition protocol of eat 50%more of maintenance on workout days and -50% of maintenance on non workout cardio days

Anonymous said...

Clement asked a question that I had been wondering for a while:

"On a side note, may I ask how important on a scale from 1 to 10 do you feel that

a) macronutrient intake must be measured?
b) calories must be counted?"

Anonymous said...

Just out of curiosity Martin, are you explosive by nature (considering your 600Ibs+ deadlift)? For example, how's your sprinting ability? Power clean or snatch PR? (Even though there's tons of technique in those things).

George @ Gain Muscle Now said...

He did look a bit chubby in the first pic...

A couple of commenters are saying that he isn't overweight in the first pic. Although he isn't obese, he is carrying around a bit of extra flab.

That being said...he looks outstanding in the second picture!

Honestly...I have been to the beach several times this summer and he is more defined than anyone I've run across.

Awesome work!

-George D

Anton said...

Hi Martin

I've read your article about the Thermogenic Diet. Is it safe to use that and still keep the 16/8 hours feeding window like the intermittent fasting regime?

Anonymous said...

Martin,
Check your email. Interested in you helping with an unusual program.

Thanks!
D

Anonymous said...

The Thermogenic Diet? Link please?!

Martin Berkhan said...

Lolaso,

"already said this, PROTEIN Requirements are OVERRATED,"

Sure, protein requirements are overrated in terms of the amount needed for muscle growth assuming
energy balance <<<<-----(key word).

There ain't much support for an additional intake beyond 1 g per lb body weight for hypertrophy, but there are other important reasons to maintain a high intake during dieting and low body fat maintenance.

I talked about this here:

http://leangains.blogspot.com/2010/03/maintaining-low-body-fat.html

Martin Berkhan said...

Anon,

"Clement asked a question that I had been wondering for a while:

"On a side note, may I ask how important on a scale from 1 to 10 do you feel that

a) macronutrient intake must be measured?
b) calories must be counted?"

Yeah sure. But it was a stupid question that made my poor brian hurt, which is why I ignored it. It depends on context and what kind of comparison you're making.

Martin Berkhan said...

Anon,

"Just out of curiosity Martin, are you explosive by nature (considering your 600Ibs+ deadlift)?."

Nope. My predicted max's in almost all movements closely match the Brzycki equation, which means I'm very average in all aspects.

Martin Berkhan said...

Anton,

"I've read your article about the Thermogenic Diet. Is it safe to use that and still keep the 16/8 hours feeding window like the intermittent fasting regime?"

Yes, that's fine.

Anon,

"The Thermogenic Diet? Link please?!"

Underground hardcore diet I wrote in 2004. Fortunately it's only available in swedish.

Martin Berkhan said...

Anon,

"Okay, makes sense. But what about a protein intake that is lacking on a training day? Will the training cause undue proteolysis or will it actually have a nitrogen-retaining effect that would even rival an off day that does meet protein needs?"

Training does not cause NET proteolysis per se, it's always compensated for when you feed.

If you fall short of protein intake net protein balance will be affected, yes, but the overall effect of weight training is always positive (i.e you won't "train" yourself into a negative protein balance unless your diet is shit).

Anton said...

Great! One last question about the Thermogenic Diet:

How about training during fasting state? You wrote that 50g of carbs should be taken right before and right after training. Is there a solution/compromise there, or is the 50 grams of carbs right before workouts holy?

If so, would I benefit eating at least one meal before workouts with the Thermogenic Diet if I'm using the 16/8 hours feeding-window?

Great blog!

Martin Berkhan said...

Try it sans pre-wo carbs, using the Leangains guidelines for fasted training. Move the pre-wo carbs to pwo. See how you do, I've tried it on clients with no ill effect on performance. But then again it depends on whatever the hell you're doing in the gym.

Jake said...

I've been using your 16/8 IF split now for a few months and I definitely feel like I'm on the right track. I probably cheat a bit too much on weekends, but I'm maintaining and even gaining muscle, while also staying lean. One aspect I would like to improve is my fat loss. I was wondering if 20-30 minutes of easy cardio after my weight workout is an effective means of speeding fat loss?

For example I was thinking of doing 30 minute walks at 3.5 mph and a 5% incline on my treadmill immediately after weight workouts ... in your opinion is this a good idea, or simply a waste of 30 minutes???

Thanks!

Dee said...

Martin,

I am a big confused on your lean gains approach. Is this something you do every day... going to fed and fasted state or is the aproach done only two days a week?

Anonymous said...

@Dee:

http://leangains.blogspot.com/2010/04/leangains-guide.html

Read all the links in the post too.

Martin Berkhan said...

Jake,

"For example I was thinking of doing 30 minute walks at 3.5 mph and a 5% incline on my treadmill immediately after weight workouts ... in your opinion is this a good idea, or simply a waste of 30 minutes???"

Likely a waste of time compared to the results that can be had by modifying your diet. Fat loss is managed by diet first and foremost.

Anonymous said...

Hello Martin!

Alot of books eg. muscle gaining secrets and internet sites are telling us that cardio will help for fatloss and are necessary for getting lean(A most if you want to get lean) (which I don't really belive). Everything who matter for me is the calorie decifit.

Why are there alot of facts telling us that cardio is needed to getting lean? That doesn't make any sense for me. I know cardio is good for health but I can't belive that it trigger fatloss.

Thanks for any thoughts..

Jake said...

Martin,
Relating to Your answer above to my original post, I realize my priority is to clean up my diet, and overall I suspect my diet is already MUCH better than average. I only struggle a bit on weekends during social outings.

That said, I was really more interested on your take of completing 20-30 minutes of cardio after an intense weight workout. I thought I remembered you stating that a simple walk after an intense workout is beneficial for fat loss because the body is set up for fat loss after weight style workouts.

Assuming I improve my diet as recommended, and I'm properly using weight-training, what's your take specifically on post-workout walks ... still not much "bang-for-buck"?

Thanks for your time ... any updates on book release???

dianna said...

not bad for a 30 y/o male. i would be impressed to see a 45+y/o female.

Danne said...

I tried the proteinmuffins today with banana/chocolate whey powder. Well, they didn't taste anything, not gross nor good. Maybe it's because that whey doesn't like to be heated up. Anyway if someone try with chocolate casein powder I would love to here what they taste like. Probably you would need some more chocolate casein powder than 33g or add some cacao to make them more tasty.

The consistency of the muffins were like omelet.

Martin Berkhan said...

Anon,

"Why are there alot of facts telling us that cardio is needed to getting lean?"

No "facts", just shitty trainers & gurus. You obviously don't need cario to get lean.

Jake,

"Assuming I improve my diet as recommended, and I'm properly using weight-training, what's your take specifically on post-workout walks ... still not much "bang-for-buck"?"

Pwo walks are fine and I integrate that into come clients plans.

Martin Berkhan said...

Dianna,

"not bad for a 30 y/o male. i would be impressed to see a 45+y/o female."

Then you need to have a look at Jennifer in the latest client update.

Danne,

"Maybe it's because that whey doesn't like to be heated up."

Correct.

Personal Trainer fro Hell said...

Hi. Martin,
I'm Curious about one thing. I'm a follower of the lean gains aproach and a firm believer of intermitent fasting. I'm 36 years old and i don't think i'll get this lean without Growth Hormone use. Can you guarantee tha this man didn't use it? I mean, physiologicaly, after 30 years old you almost don't produce and release growth hormone. It's called somatopause and i don't see people touching this subject. Could you please clarify?
Thank you.

Martin Berkhan said...

Yes, I can guarantee it.

Keep thinking that you can't get lean without any assistance. Having self-limiting beliefs is a sure-fire recipes for failure.

36 is not old enough for you to start worrying about this stuff.

Martin Berkhan said...

Ah, you're from Brazil. That explains your interest in GH.

Brazil is the most roided up nation in the world and brazilians can't seem to take a shit without injecting something beforehand.

Nico Brutaro said...

Yes, maybe that's true, but it's because supplements here are very expensive so people prefer taking roids. Take Superpump as an example. It's sold here for 200 hundred dollars.
Personally i think that roids are detrimental to our health, but Gh isn't, since it's not a roid, it's a peptide hormone, but you already know that.
Martin, i'm not a bonehead. Actually i'm a very informed man and i know that you can get ripped with only 2iu/day of GH without much effort. I've seen this happen to friends and that's the reason i asked you. I read that book that Lyle wrote about Bromocriptine and i think that this drug sucks. You get letargic all the time (this effect doesn't go away) and that is detrimental to training and health. GH is used to retard aging with very good results and no bad collateral effects if taken wisely so that was i bad answer from you. I didn't get pissed because i am a cool man, but i didin't expect this kind of answer.

Thanks anyway

Anonymous said...

hey martin, I like you, but your opinion about brazilians wasn't cool. Altought I understand why you think like that.
Of course there are some idiots who fill their ass with steroids and ADE and them post a retarded video on youtube but that doesn't mean we are all like that.
The bodybuilding comunity here hate that stuff!

Martin Berkhan said...

Sorry about that. There are idiots in every culture and I didn't mean to sound derogatory towards Brazilians.

Anonymous said...

why in the first photo he cuts off his face, but in the later photos it shows his face? Almost seems like the first photo wasn't him.

Martin Berkhan said...

That has to be the worst attempt at trolling on this site so far.

Anonymous said...

Keep posting stuff like this i really like it

Alex Cox said...

This before situation is almost exactly the same as my current situation. How do I become a client?

brandon said...

Lol, Martin you crack me up with your one liners and your brutal honesty, but I have a question since I am 15 and I so badly want to get lean, what would you recommend me do, I am 5'5'' around 125 pounds and at around 13% bodyfat. My goal is to reach 9% bodyfat by the end of july or sooner, and since I am younger, would there be any specific things I would have to do or just follow you diet? And I am a newbie at the gym.

Pandaman said...

Awesome results!

My big thing right now is that I have lost close to 100 pounds so far, and due to my schedule, I have to workout late at night starting around 9-10ish. Then get home, PWO meal, shower and sleep to wake up early the next morning. I don't really have time to eat after b/c then i'm cutting into my 8 hours of sleep. How does this work into the IF schedule? I'm really interested in trying but anxious to start it for these reasons in particular.

Anonymous said...

Ok i want to hire you how much do you charge? email me bencalleja@hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

Nice.

Just wondering, what were his lifts like at the time of this?




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

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


FeedBurner FeedCount

Google Friend Connect

Join Me on Twitter

Facebook

Follow Me on Facebook

Recommended Reading

Lame Title, Good Book

Recommended Reading

Intermittent Fasting for Fat Loss

Recommended Reading

Covers All Bases

Recommended Reading

Awesome Recipes for The Paleo Diet
Recipes for the Paleo Diet - Two Cookbooks - 120 Recipes Each!>

Recommended Reading

Fat Loss Made Easy

Great Interval Timer

+1 If You Think Leangains is Awesome