Sunday, January 2, 2011

Client Update


I can't think of a better way to kick off 2011 than with another client update. Perhaps these transformations will provide some inspiration for you in this new year.

As usual, every client used the Leangains intermittent fasting approach, which you can read more about here: "The Leangains Guide."

Without exception, every client either gained strength and/or muscle mass or maintained strength/muscle perfectly despite losing substantial amounts of body fat. You'll also see examples of fat-free weight gain and significant body recomposition over longer periods. I have provided additional details about the strength gains of some clients.

It might be worth noting that no one trained more than two or three times per week. Most clients used a "reverse pyramid training"-routine. No special supplements were used outside of those basics I recommend everyone to take.

In some cases, there were longer breaks in the dieting period due to travelling, work, school or life stresses; i.e. the time-period in between the before and after's was not active dieting and/or training. This is noted as well.

I have included testimonials from a few clients, but not everyone - the post simply got too crowded.

You can see past client updates here. The posts goes back several pages, so you'll have to click "older posts" in the right corner if you want to see them all.

You can also check out some older testimonials and results here.

Success stories are covered here.

Furthermore, you can see my personal transformation here and here: articles and posts related to my progress and diet philosophy.

Finally, for those (new visitors) who still have concerns about short-term fasting as part of a healthy diet that can be used for fat loss, body recomposition and even muscle gain, despite the numerous real-life results displayed on this site, please read this: "Top Ten Fasting Myths Debunked." The article debunks many myths about fasting and diets in general. It has been translated to several languages and you can find the links to the different versions here: "Leangains Goes Global."


Age: 36
Before, Week 1: 196 lbs 
After, Week 12: 182 lbs

They call him Granite Gary.

"What can I say Martin, the last two weeks on the diet have been business as usual. The diet has now run for 12 weeks and I am sitting at 82kg and very happy with the end results of the fat loss protocol. Not to sure what bf% I have dropped to but very happy all the same. I am 1 week away from my holiday and I feel good. Even when I was doing Ironman competitions I was never as lean as this and nowhere near as strong!"

Snippet from an email.


Age: 46
Before, Week 1: 220 lbs
After, Week 26: 185 lbs (Note: Breaks due to travelling.)

Martial arts practitioner Dan Ordoins ( shows that age is not an excuse. 

"Wow Martin what can I say it has been great working with you. With your Leangains intermittent fasting approach you brought me from over 220lbs down to just under 185lbs. I didn't think I needed to loose that much weight. Surprising how much fat you carry around thinking you are lean. In working with you I was able to keep most of my strength/ lean muscle mass and even make some nice gains. It was great seeing the looks and hearing the questions when I am doing chin-ups for reps with 110lbs strapped to my waist."

"I love your no bullshit approach. I think one time you called me on my shit when I said I upped my walking at one point. Hey this is what I needed. You gave me a plan directly tailored to my needs and to what I was trying to achieve. In that sense it made it easy for me."

"I love the fasting and working out fasted. I know in the beginning I questioned it but now I look forward to it.... I feel pumped ready and charged for and during the workouts. Absolutely love it and look forward to each workout. I often wished they came sooner."

"Now that we transitioned from cutting to maintenance and now to what your program is all about 'Lean Gains', I feel I am ready to pack on the muscle and strength without the fat. I know that we are ending our journey together as far as the coaching. I feel you have given me the tools to push forward on my own. During our time together you have changed my ideas and beliefs on diet, nutrition and strength gains. I am ready to move on and see the gains I can make..... and most important the healthy sane way of eating for a lifetime."

"Thanks so much Martin, rest assured I will be following you along your journey as you spread the word. I can't wait for your book to come out, I will be one of the first to get it. Also look forward to me sending you more updated pictures when I make some killer lean gains."

Keep up the great work! You Rock!"

- Dan


Age: 48
Before, Week 1: 214 lbs
After, 10th Month: 176 lbs (Note: prolonged breaks due to travelling and work.)

Serguei is another example of someone achieving great results despite closing in on his 50's.

“I had used several diet systems trying to drop some fat since 2007 – not without success – before I encountered with Leangains. Got rid of 10 kilos fat – but also faced two big problems: (1) the process began to stagnate at 95 kg bodyweight and (2) my training was badly affected. So when I read that Leangains is training oriented – the solution to give it a try was made."

"Now after 10 months using it, I can state:

(1) The Leangains approach works. It brings results without any negative impact. It means that I dropped 20 kilos in 10 month – in linear fashion (well, almost), that it was almost all fat, that my strength was not negatively affected and that my health improved."

(2) Leangains approach is sustainable. During those 10 month seasons changed, I was on vacations, on international workshops, had on-call duty – and managed to keep with Leangains.

(3) Leangains is not just another one Intermittent fasting method. It is a system which includes diet, cardio, weight training – tuned to work its best with each other."

"I would like to thank Martin for his help. Martin brings fascinating service tuning your diet and training for you. But not only this - keep in your mind that the Leangains is not just a calorie-restricted meals-scheduling, but a whole system – so Martin’s consultations is not only a pleasant option, but could be a necessity."

"Needless to say, that I will arrange my future training and nutrition, be it cutting, bulking or maintenance, basing on Leangains.”

- Serguei


Age: 33
Before, Week 1: 195 lbs
After, 4th Month: 170 lbs (Middle picture.)
After, 9th Month: 170 lbs (Same weight vs 4th month but lower body fat and more lean mass.) 

Note: Sean is a work in process.

Sean lost 25 lbs in in the first four months. Since July he has remained at 170 lbs but seen significant strength and muscle gains. In comparison to his body weight in July (170 lbs) vs his body weight (170 lbs) in December, he has made the following strength gains:

Deadlift: 295 lbs x 5 to 330 lbs x 5 (+35 lbs)

Squat: 295 lbs x 10 to 415 lbs x 10 (+120 lbs)

Bench Press: 195 lbs x 7  to 225 lbs x 7 (+30 lbs)

Weighted Chins: Body weight + 30 lbs x 6 to body weight + 52.5 lbs + 6 (+22.5 lbs)

As you can see in the pictures, he looks leaner and more muscular in the third picture compared to the second picture, even though he's 170 lbs in both picture. Overall, Sean has made tremendous strength gains despite losing 25 lbs when he first started my approach in late March. He's still dealing with some loose skin in his lower ab area.


Age: 24
Before, Week 1: 199 lbs
After, Week 10: 193 lbs

I mistakenly added a before-picture for another client here - they had the same surnames, so I got them mixed up. I don't think I have a before-picture for this Kenny, but his results are still quite noteworthy in that he experienced significant body recomposition (i.e. the +60 lbs on deadlifts, whilst losing 6 lbs of body weight, cannot be explained by neural gains as this client has several years of weight training experience). 

"I have been weight training for several years now and have tried many different "diets" which mostly consisted of many smaller meals thru out the day. Many times I would find myself hungry and irritable and staring at the clock for the next time I could break out the tupperware container and eat again. I managed to lose some bodyfat and see some results but not to the point of being satisfied." 

"Then I stumbled upon your website and read many of the articles and thought this was something I could see myself doing. When I first contacted you, I was 199 and wanted to add some lean mass. I followed your program for 10 weeks and ended up with an average weight of 193 even though you had me eating three huge meals a day, I had a hard time adding weight, but found that I was shedding bodyfat and adding strength and muscle."

"My deadlift went from 375 for a set of 5 up to 435 for 4. My weighted chins went up 20 pounds and my bench, which has always been a weak lift, went up 10 pounds over the consultation. This has been far and away the easiest eating plan I have followed. I found myself full and sometimes had to "force" myself to hit the macro count for the day."

"I am finally starting to see the results I have wanted and actually almost felt guilty about how easy the results were being acheived. The training volume was very low compared to what I was use to and you absolutely know what you are doing with your training and your diet consultations." 

"I highly recommend that if you are looking to improve your body composition give this a try for ten weeks and you will be amazed at how easy this is to follow. I just want to thank you again and I plan on sticking to the Leangains intermittent fasting lifestyle for a long time to come. Thanks!"

- Kenny


Age: 19
Before, Week 1: 135 lbs
After, Week 8: 122 lbs

"Most of my life I was pretty chubby. Luckily I was never overweight, but many members of my family are obese or very close to it. The only reason weight was never a huge issue for me is because of my constant physical activity. I have always played sports, and when I was 10 I began wrestling. When I got to High school I continued to wrestle and that is the beginning of my story.

From anorexia, to drastic overtraining and everything in between I went from one extreme to the other all throughout High school. The only time I ever looked pretty good was during my senior year when I was doing insane amounts of circuit training with kettle bells and had just begun The Warrior Diet. However, after a year of being on The WD I realized I had gained back a bunch of weight, and my strength had not increased by any significant means. It was time for a change.

I was referred to Martin's site by a very influential person and whose opinion I highly respect. I began to read Martin's blog top to bottom. I began to loosely implement his work and noticed some pretty good results, but I wanted more. I contacted him early on in summer 2010 and took my place in the queue that is Martins waiting list. About a week before I began my freshman year in college I received word from Martin that I had the opportunity to work with him if I so chose. I jumped at the chance. Best decision ever.

Within a week I had my own individualized training routine and nutrition guide. At this point I had been at University for about 2 days and was immediately engulfed with the college atmosphere that is drugs, alcohol, overweight nutrition teachers…you know the usual. I was immediately unhappy with my environment but I found a lot of comfort in Martins program and the results I was having. I was quickly deemed “the kid who eats a ton at the dining hall late at night.” I loved this name...

I can honestly say that Martins help and encouragement were an integral part of me sticking through my first 2 months of school. Not only did he answer any and all of my questions regarding my program in depth, but he clearly showed that he was concerned about my mental and emotional health and well-being and was a great motivator.

My results came clearly and quickly. In 9 weeks I went from 135lbs to a low of 120.8lbs. Not only did I lose a significant amount of weight, but all of my lifts (Bench, DL, Squat, and Weighted Chins) all shot up. All of these gains were made while consistently enjoying pizza, pasta, and burgers. Being a college student is hard enough, but being a college student on an intense fitness/nutrition program puts things on a whole different level, and the flexibility of Martins program really helped out with my sanity. I was able to eat over 1500kcal in one sitting 4 times per week. Haha seriously? I challenge anyone to find me a successful nutrition program which allows that.

All I have to say is thank you Martin! You have helped me in so many ways and clearly opened my eyes to a whole new world of training and nutrition. I can’t wait to work with you again in the near future.

- Jordan S

P.S. As a side note to all college students who use Martins program...try not to let any overweight nutrition teachers get on your nerves. It’s hard, but it’ll help your grade in the end."


Age: 20
Before, Week 1: 199 lbs
After, 8th Month: 156 lbs (Note: Prolonged breaks.)


Age: 19
Before, Week 1: 178
After, Week 16 : 165 lbs  (Note: includes breaks.)


Age: 24
Before, Week 1: 159 lbs
After, Week 4-6: 150 lbs

This client maintains a low body fat at all times but choose to cut some fat before Christmas. First picture shows conditioning shortly after a lean muscle gaining phase and second picture shows conditioning after the cut.

When this client told me that he was "closing in on his goal" of achieving a physique similar to that of Brad Pitt, AKA Tyler Durden in "Fight Club", I told him to gain some fat, start smoking, get into a fight, and stop training his arms and shoulders. (The implication of that being that he had already surpassed his goal.)


Age: 24
Before, Week 1: 159 lbs
After, Week 16: 145 lbs (Note: Breaks included.)


Age: 26
Before, Week 1: 160 lbs
After, Week 12: 169 lbs

Rapid strength and lean mass gain. Shawn made the following gains in the key lifts:

Squats: 175 lbs x 7 to 250 lbs x 7 (+75 lbs)

Deadlifts: 220 lbs x 7 to 295 lbs x 7 (+75 lbs)

Bench press: 120 lbs x 7 to 150 lbs x 7 (+30 lbs)

Weighted Chins: Body weight (160 lbs) + 10 lbs x 6 to body weight (169 lbs) + 50 lbs x 6 (+49 lbs)

According to an electronic scale, Shawn lowered his body fat from 12% to 10% in the process but such scales are notoriously inaccurate. However, looking at his pictures, I think it's safe to say that he didn't gain any fat whilst adding 9 lbs of lean muscle in 12 weeks.

"Before I contacted Martin, I had tried fighting my innate difficulty gaining weight with just shoving food into my body. Sure enough, my weight went up, but the sad reality was that I was just getting fat--as a friend tactfully disclosed one day. I was able to cut the weight, but that got me where I had started: really skinny. Only now, I was afraid that putting on any muscle meant getting fat: something I was uncomfortable with."

"I approached Martin with some skepticism, but it ended up being a great decision. He laid out a comprehensive diet and training plan that fit my daily schedule and food preferences."

"Life happens and I couldn’t always follow the diet perfectly; social events came up and I wanted to go out and drink with my friends once-in-a-while. In the end, my compliance was probably about 85% or so. Except for days where I chose to go off my diet in the name of fun, I never had any difficulty sticking to it. Martin taught me how to minimize the impact of what lapses I had, and there was never a point that I felt like my diet controlled my life--or guilty that I was indulging on occasion. Indeed, given my results after 12 weeks, I think the best thing I can say about Martin’s program is that I was able to get fantastic results DESPITE my lapses."

"As for training, I enjoyed the routine Martin designed for me. I quickly adapted and I saw some pretty big strength gains across the board. People noticed a difference. Friends who had no idea I was training would say, 'Wow, have you been working out? Your arms look a lot bigger.' You can imagine that this made me feel VERY good about my progress in the gym."

"I found Martin easy to work with. I’m still making gains on the program Martin designed for me, and I’ll be sticking to it for the foreseeable future. Hopefully, I’ll have an even better set of pictures in another 3 months!"

- Shawn


Age: 30
Before, Week 1: 245 lbs
After, Week 30: 200 lbs


Age: 18
Before, Week 1: 157 lbs
After, Week 7: 150 lbs

A good deal of strength and muscle gained in the process.


Age: 20
Before, Week 1: 172 lbs
After, Week 16 : 150 lbs  (Note: Breaks included.)


Age: 22
Before, Week 1: 159 lbs
After, Week 9: 154 lbs 

The improvement in appearance and strength for a modest 5 lbs of weight loss on the scale indicates significant body recomposition.


49-year old Richard Nikoley from "Free the Animal" made great progress on a Paleo-based version of my approach. You can find a thorough breakdown of his progress, as well as interviews with me, on his site.

"Martin Berkhan Means It."

"Martin Berkhan's Workout Approach." (For results.)

"Leangains: The Dietary Approach."


I recently covered the progress of a few of my fitness and bodybuilding competitors. You can view the pictures here: "Maximum Muscular Potential of Drug-Free Athletes." The before- and after-pictures in that article shows differences before and after 8 weeks of dieting, which is standard for everyone.

In comparison to other competitors those who follow the Leangains approach stay lean at all times during the year. You can read how here: "Maintaining Low Body Fat."

Who says you have to eat 6 meals a day to get great results as a bodybuilder?

Regarding Consultations

I should note that I am currently not actively taking new clients, as I need to catch up on some other important projects of mine. People that have emailed me in regards to consultations on October 1st or later will remain in the waiting list/request queue. When I start taking new clients again, you will receive an email from me.

If you are interested in a personal consultation some time in the future, you can email me and I will place you in the queue.


Sandro of the family Sabene said...

Hi Martin that's increble!good works man.


Anonymous said...

Great job Martin! and great job to all of your clients!

Dr. G said...

Martin, great results.

In the case of Sean, how you deal with that loose skin in the low abs area?

You need medical intervention or at some point the skin will accomodate with that

Great results again

MountainDew said...

I'm a bit surprised at Sean's loose skin since his loss was only 15 lbs. Still, his, and everyone elses, results are amazing.

Mike said...

All inspiring stories and pictures, but just wondering about Gary and Dan at the top, how come both of their tattoo's are on different arms in the after photo's - is it just me??

rob said...

Re the tattoos, one photo was the reverse of the other ... due to one being a slide and the other a photo? Would need a shutterbug to answer it but the tats are all there, just reversed.

/kept a darkroom when I was 13
//that was during the jurassic period

Joseph said...


They were different because the other picture was taken in front of the mirror

Jane G. said...

Martin! You need some representation from the chicks! I'll be sending you some impressive pics very soon!

Karl said...

Thanks for the update, Martin! It's always motivating to see other people's good results on the program.

By the way, on Petter's update you wrote:

"Height: 177 lbs"

cm, not lbs, I assume? :)

I agree that he looks better than Brad Pitt did in Fight Club.

Anonymous said...

Pure inspirational awesomeness! Good work.


fitto said...

Wow! Excellent results here Martin, no one could argue with that.

First two Gary and Dan are especially crazy. Insanely lean there. Any of them have blogs? Are they maintaining this state?

Jarrett H. said...

To echo MountainDew's comments, I'm also wondering about the loose skin, although I doubt this is an area you have much expertise in since it's more a cosmetic issue. But as someone with a gut but losing weight, I wonder about such things. I am about 6 years younger than he is so maybe that will help me out.

Maja said...

Great results for all of them.
Any woman clients?

Anonymous said...

Wow these are amazing. I should really, really try IF one day lol. Your testimonials make it seem like magic :P

Maybe when you finally release the book...

Chris said...

Awesome results, you really know this stuff. Would be great to see the results also in terms of measures. Before measures and after on chest, shoulders, arms, legs, hips etc.

Anonymous said...

Martin can you please tell me with your clients do you have phases of mass building and fat losing or are all these done in a single phase of gaining muscle and losing fat at the same time?

Anonymous said...

Hey Martin, can you answer this please:

"The above picture is the result of the bulk, which lasted approximately 3 months and added 20 lbs to my frame; I went from 180 lbs @ 6% bf to 200 lbs @ 9% bf. Some fat gain followed, but overall I was very pleased with my results."

According to this you gained 6kg of LBM in 3 months. Isn't this double the maximum gain for beginners? And you weren't even a beginner? Could you clarify that please? Thanks!

Mike G said...

That's real dissapointing that you aren't accepting any new clients, but understandable. I was really hoping to hear back from you and to get on the program soon.

Anonymous said...

Ok, stupid question:

Where is your contact info?


Anonymous said...

Great, timely update as I get ready to restart my diet this next week.

The Tyler Durden guy looks better than Pitt did. What were his stats in that picture? Was he lean before that, or was that cutting down from what he was? It would be great if you had a before pic.

Fredrik Gyllensten said...

VERY impressive, Martin, en everyone in the pictures!

I'm really looking forward to getting your guidance (I'm on the waiting list..) :-)

Jesus S. G. said...

Very nice results Martin!
Do you think it is ok to use caffeine+yohimbine during fasted training?


dianna said...

I like this post BUT, where are the WOMEN and of course the OLDER WOMEN. That is the real challenge of your program. Come on girls I know you're out there. REPRESENT

Martin Berkhan said...

Thanks guys.


It's much harder to get pics from women in general. That is, even if they make great progress, they might not feel comfortable with sharing. And that's fine, I won't hassle people for pics. That and the fact that most my clients are male makes females rather underrepresented in the client updates.


"I'm a bit surprised at Sean's loose skin since his loss was only 15 lbs. Still, his, and everyone elses, results are amazing."

His loss was 25 lbs but net fat loss was more than 25 lbs of fat as he has gained muscle as well - which you can clearly see from the vast difference between the first and third picture. (E.g. 40 lbs fat loss and 15 lbs muscle gained will result in a 25 lbs loss on the scale.)

As for the skin issue and what to do about it I can speak from my own experience in that it tends to go away after some time if you remain lean for longer periods.

I had skin issues after my first cut (though not as pronounced) and never got my lower abs really dialed in even if I was at a very low bf% (modelling years).

Years later, at about the same bf %, the skin had tightened up significantly.

However, given that the skin issue can be more or less of a problem, I'm guessing for some people it might take a very long time before it goes away completely. Requires surgery in some cases.

Tom Crown said...

Great work everyone!

This question is directed at Jordan/Martin. I'm a college student too, and I'm following the leangains approach. My problem is that it's very difficult for me to estimate macros & calories for the dining hall food. What should I do? Should I just estimate how much oil they grill the chicken in, etc?

..or should I just suck it up and cook my own food?

Now I'm not OCD about counting calories, but guessing how much of each ingredient they use can make each large leangains meal deviate like ±500 calories from what you want. Also, as Richard Nikolay mentions in the interview, "You have to count calories."

Anybody else with inputs please feel free to help out!

Looking forward to the book,

Tom Crown

Anonymous said...


Starting the leangains protocol tomorrow and i'm very excited:) 5-6 meals isn't working for me at all...

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Hey Martin, can you answer this please:

"The above picture is the result of the bulk, which lasted approximately 3 months and added 20 lbs to my frame; I went from 180 lbs @ 6% bf to 200 lbs @ 9% bf. Some fat gain followed, but overall I was very pleased with my results."

According to this you gained 6kg of LBM in 3 months. Isn't this double the maximum gain for beginners? And you weren't even a beginner? Could you clarify that please? Thanks!"

I am also curious about this. Would love to hear your response.

Dan said...

I track calories on an app on my iphone.... pretty easy (well my wife my differ)for me as I can add it in on the spot. I found after while you get pretty good at estimating and doing it in your head.... You kind of learn what is in most everything after logging it in so many times. You may be off here and there but if your cutting just try to over-estimate as most tend to under-estimate and end up eating extra calories. Sense you are weighing yourself you will get a feel if your off on your estimations after a week or two....

I look at it as part of the game and make it fun in getting lean.

Hope this helps...

Mike @ Papa Star Health said...

Wow! this is pretty impressive stuff. Especially Gary. Thanks for all the free content and great information Martin.

Dr. G1 said...

Martin, when your book will be ready?

Anonymous said...

Dan's result are really really impressive, at 46 yo! Would it be possible to have a general layout of trainig/diet/supps? I'm 46 yo too and i've decided to start LG and i'd like to do it "the right way", but the book is still far from us...


Mark said...

The inspirational testimonials - perfect advertisement for the book...? Definite purchase here...

Orinn said...

Hi Martin, what percentage of these clients or indeed all or your clients did the early morning protocol followed by two lots of BCAA's and break fast at 12pm? Just interested to understand if one protocol is more beneficial than another. I myself have to do the above due to my work. Thanks as always, Orinn

Christine said...

Incredible transformations! Great job as always, Martin.

DoubleE said...

I always wish to see a woman...

Jordan said...

@ Tom Crown
Dining hall food is shit and your right it is difficult to estimate the calories. Personally i found the best time to go to the dining hall was post-workout where i didn't really need to worry about counting calories (as much). Otherwise, cooking my own food and limiting options in the dining hall helped me out a lot. While I am by no means paleo, I severely limit how much processed junk i eat, and the dining hall food usually bloats me/makes me feel like shit regardless. I prefer going out to local eateries instead of the dining hall in general.

Wazzup said...


> other important projects

Will the book be out anytime soon ? :)

Ebby said...

Your awesome, thanks for all the info you give to us.

Drama Queen said...

where are the ladies?

grass fed momma said...

I second Dianna, girls, show your stuff!
If I want to see men in tight undies however, this is my go to site :)
Thanks Martin!

Unknown said...

whats up!!!!??? Where are the girls!? thats what i want to see!!!

Anonymous said...

Impressed with the pics. I have just started and have been going for about 2 weeks. How long til I see goo results? I have a wedding in a few months u see

Jason Robinett said...


I am really interested in working with you this year. Cost insn't an issue. Please let me know the best way to get in touch with you.

I sent you an email, but never heard anything.

Jason Robinett said...


I would really like to work with you this year. Cost isn't an issue.

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

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