Thursday, January 27, 2011

Leangains Summer Motivation


I have an article coming soon and I can almost guarantee that you will get to learn about something completely new and fascinating. A topic I haven't seen covered anywhere else outside the deepest pits of PubMed.

At least I don't think so. Not from this perspective. But if I'm wrong I'm gonna have to go spank myself.

In the meantime, let me provide some motivation for getting in outrageously good shape this summer. Or spring. Or just about any damn occasion.

Success stories are emailed to me from people all across the globe and everyone has been using the simple but effective intermittent fasting guidelines I've outlined in "The Leangains Guide." 

This is from David Bengtsson in Sweden and here it goes.

Leangains Summer Motivation

"I never believed in the idea that certain types of food or special diets would be the key to getting very lean. I have always kept in mind that the only way to lose weight is by managing energy input and output."

"With this in mind I wanted to show myself and others that you can get lean, and stay lean, without the need of following what the fitness and health mainstream consider 'healthy diets'. You know the need to leave out certain foods, the need to eat birdmeals every third hour and never eating until you're full, and so forth." 

"What I wanted was a simple diet that was flexible, easy to follow, and backed by science. It should also allow me to get the macronutrients, vitamins and minerals that I need everyday. I also wanted something that would sidestep the usual problems with dieting, like the leptin crash, so I thought about using a cyclical diet approach."

"I knew that it wouldn't be easy to find something that covered all this, but after some searching I found Martin Berkhan's website. Since I wanted to know more about the advantages of fasting, I also read “Eat Stop Eat” by Brad Pilon."

"After that I knew I was ready to start the diet using the Leangains approach."

David at 182-185 lbs before Leangains in April 2010.

"Training wise I continued with my regular routine, which consisted of basic compound movements three times a week. Each workout took less than an hour. I prefer to work out fasted with an intake of 10 g EAA before and after the workout."

David at 164-166 lbs in June 2010 after 8 weeks of dieting with Leangains. A jaw-dropping transformation in such a short time.

I lost some strength during the end of the diet, but that's because I rushed things and kept a too big calorie deficit given how lean I was. But now that I felt satisfied with my results, I felt confident that I could stay there and I switched goal to muscle gain. I basically continued my usual basic routine, but changed the set structure to Reverse Pyramid Training."

"After 8 weeks of training, I've gained strength and my conditioning is as good as during the diet, if not better."

Truly exceptional abs.

"Thanks to Leangains, I have found a new lifestyle which makes me able to stay lean 24/7 and I have never felt so great before. Skipping breakfast is the best thing I've done when it comes to diet."

"Leangains also allows me to eat things like pizza, ice cream, cheesecakes, etc, since I don’t have a problem to stay full when I eat my daily intake of calories within a few hours. Another fun thing is to go out to eat with your friends at restaurants that offer 'all you can eat'. Make sure that you have fasted a long time before, trained, and you will be able to eat a whole lot of food."


Score another one for the fact that you should be basing your diet on personal preferences - within reason, of course - and be critical of nonsensical diet advice in the fitness mainstream, like David was before he started dieting.

A few quick comments on some other things:

1. David mentions EAA, which is a supplement consisting of the eight essential amino acids. EAA is somewhat  more popular than BCAA here in Sweden.

The difference between the two is that BCAA-supplements primarily consist of branched-chain amino acids, which are the three aminos most intimately involved in muscle protein metabolism and synthesis.

I'm saying primarily because manufacturers also tend to add some other as well, such as beta-alanine and citrulline malate to Purple Wraath and Xtend, which are the brands I personally use and recommend.

The research on free-form aminos and muscle protein synthesis (MPS) has typically used EAA-mixtures. MPS is maximally stimulated by 10 g EAA in conjunction with fasted state training, which is why I recommend 10 g EAA or BCAA for fasted training.

There are no comparative studies on EAA and BCAA. For now you can simply assume that they are simply interchangeable. I plan on addressing this topic again. But don't worry, there won't be any shocking surprises...I think.

2. Note that David dropped weight very fast. That's risky business for someone already lean - and he paid the price with some strength loss. 

A lot of people get greedy and overzealous when attempting to get the last fat off, and they pay for it with muscle loss, feeling like shit and hating the diet. Post-diet binges are also common if you push yourself too hard during the last weeks.

Just before you know it, you might find yourself back where you first started - starting a new diet, thinking that you'll do it right this time.

Except "this time" doesn't come unless you actively and constantly fight your inborn tendencies. Been there, done that. But I also conquered it.

You need to learn to temper yourself. Much easier said than done. Unfortunately for most people, it usually takes a few rounds of dieting and learning this lesson the hard way before it truly sinks in. Hell, it took me several years. 

That's it for tonight, folks.


Jordan said...

Very impressive! How tall is he?

Karl said...

Great transformation!

Please keep client updates coming as much as you can, Martin. They're all very motivating.

Orinn said...

Hi Martin, I hope your well. So he lost approx 2.5 lbs per week yet he looks like he has gained a lot of muscle. Well done to him. As he was not a client of yours it would be good to understand his macro breakdown etc to see what his take on leangains was and also what protocol he used in regards to what time of day he trained and if he was (which he looked like) a newbie. Thanks again for all you post's and rest assured I am keeping the leangains message alive in London. Orinn

Karl said...

By the way, any hints about the topic of this upcoming article you mentioned at the beginning?

Anonymous said...

Damn good job. Brb its 230 time to break my fast :D

Anonymous said...

Goddamn, that is amazing!
I'm confused tho - he did 8 weeks of leaning out right? And built some muscle in the following time? But it's 8 weeks from April to June... Pictures are from the end of losing weight?

I like Exceed from MyProtein. BCAA+beta-alanine+citrulline+glutamine. About the same price as Xtend.

CG said...

Wow, what a transformation.

I need to get my macros 100% nailed down and hopefully I'll get results like his.

Awesome job!

Anonymous said...


What are your thoughts on fasted low impact steady state cardio? I know you said you'd write an article on it in Sept but I havent' seen anything. Would you suggest taking BCAAs before/after cardio done in a fasted state? Also, what amount of cardio would you suggest for someone doing recomp?

Finally, when should the cardio be performed to least hamper muscle gain? Off days? Immediately folllowing a lifting session?

Thanks for your input.

Anonymous said...

Wow, that's some serious results right there. That's it, I need to buckle down and get this leangain thing right!

Anonymous said...

I do not think David gained muscle - I think being lean like that makes you look more muscular. Plus he obviously got a tan.

Anonymous said...

Martin, any chance on posting up David's calories used for the diet?

Clint said...

Sensational result.
I've set an 8 week challenge via my own blog to see what can be done (am following it myself of course).
Will be interested to see if others can achieve such greatness in small amounts of time.

Orinn said...

ps Martin, Breathing Squats now at 170kg x 20 Thanks to you

Don-PB said...

tjena mannen! mailade dig, när börjar du ta emot nya klienter?mvh

Jake said...

A while back you mentioned you had an article coming out about strength & endurance training, and how to best incorporate the two together. Unless I missed it, is that going to be coming out soon? I think there are quite a few of us that enjoy weight training but are also involved in endurance sports so need to combine both (mountain & road bicycling, running, swimming, etc).

Anonymous said...

I tend to gain much more quickly on my upper body than lower body and am considering abandoning training my upper body completely until my lower body "Catches up". In this scenario, how would I compensate for the lack of upper-body sessions throughout the week? For example, would a lower body HFT programme that uses a low-volume, med/high intensity singles be acceptable?

As always, thank you very much for your input and insight.

gabe said...


I have a question for you. I started a LeanGains approach this Sunday. I am using a 15/9 approach instead of 16/8 due to my schedule. I train in the evening. I have a meal of 8oz chicken, steamed brocoli, and 1/4 cup mix nuts for lunch at noon. At 3pm I have 2 scoops whey/casein blend, with 1 cup blueberries, and fish oil. I know you don't really recommend protein shakes, but I have to rely on them to get my calories/protein in at work. I train at 6:30pm with BCAAs, and then eat at 8:00pm. My goal was to try to get 1500 calories in during this window to hit 2500 calories per day. Problem is I cannot get the night time calories in. I have no appetite and am force feeding myself. I am 6'1 and 190lbs. Any suggestions? Thank you

Sep said...

I'm really confused. He looks like he added a lot more muscle, but he lost 20lb going from the first picture, in which he already looked skinny, to the 2nd picture. How does this make any sense?

Sorry, but I'm just trying to understand this.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, he looks almost the same weight, just a lot more muscle and less fat. But pictures are deceiving. Great job anyway!

LayzieBone085 said...

Another nail in the coffin against broscience!

Gavin said...

no offense but you really can't find a solution to this on your own?

a few ideas off the top of my head
1)just eat the amount you need, even if you don't feel hungry, you'll get used to it.

2)try eating less during the day and working up a bigger appetite and then eat as much as you can before you feel full

3)eat more calorically dense foods that don't fill you up: protein shakes etc, maybe less fat so you aren't as satieted.

Karl said...


Have you tried having another shake if you are full? I don't know about you, but I know that I can always down a shake even if I don't feel like eating food. :)

Anonymous said...

@ Gabe, liquid calories after your meal (aka milk).

Rick said...

That's a great transformation.

Question for anyone trying it, have any of you that workout in the evening (after 5pm)given fasted training sessions a shot?

I just wonder if it makes a huge difference to fat loss? Currently i break the fast between 1-2pm and eat another small meal at 4:30 (one hour pre-workout) as per my consult recommendations, but after over a year following the leangains protocol i am still not near the results lots of others are experiencing, I went from 89kg at 20% bodyfat to 77kg at 11% in 9 months but then stalled for over two months so i lowered calories slightly and the weight loss started again but my strength went out the door big time.

What's basically happened is i am a smaller version of how i looked before but still don't look really good, even though i have lost alot of fat i don't really look anymore ripped than before. My pant sizes are way down etc but i feel no closer to my goal of being ripped.

So i'm wondering if the fasted training will make the difference but based on previous efforts i think i would be too drained to put a good workout in.

Keep up the great work peeps.

Anonymous said...

@Jake: Don't combine strength and endurance training: competing signals at the cellular level--> ampk vs. mtor

Ideally if you have to do 2x/days, seperate them by several hours, best scenario is of course on seperate days

damnthefreshman15 said...

Neat story!

Martin, I have a question. I'm very new (as in 4-days in) to IF. I like it, except for a small hitch...I usually strength train late morning (first meal after breaks the fast). However, I also have low seems like when I do more intense lifts, I start to get lightheaded. I stepped back instead of pushing through, because the last time I ignored it I wound up passing out for a second (after gulping a cold Diet Coke and clenching up!). Also, my main goal right now is fat loss.

Do you think this is something that will go away as my body adjusts to IF? I did not take and BCAAs because I'm in London for the semester and am having a hard time finding any that aren't mad pricey. It is more convenient for me to train in the morning than in the afternoon, and I really dislike the idea of fasting at night.

What are your thoughts? Thanks!

Wazzup said...

I was doubting between getting ridiculous lean or gaining some more strength, but I think I have my answer :)

Anonymous said...

Please tell us what is your abs routine.

I've got visible abs but they're protruding when i don't flex.
And I have the impression that Squating 100 kg x10 created love handles.
Any ideas???

Anonymous said...


Would starting with 400 minus calories on rest days and 200 on workout days be a good way to start leaning out for the summer?

Do you need a significant calorie deficit to lean out in such a short time using the IF principles, like one usually does on more conservative diets? Or is it more powerful due to fasting and therefore theres no need for a deficit as large?

Can't wait for the book man :)

Thank you for all your inspiring work and greetings from Finland!

Anonymous said...

Advanced lifter and another Finn also really looking forward to the book! After years of bulking up from 72kg to 93kg, I'm looking to shed the 20% or so of bodyfat back down to below 10%.

I've been on Leangains for almost two weeks. I'm mostly interested in the calorie input and macronutrient breakdown for bulking up and cutting down. I haven't reduced calories yet to see what impact Leangains alone has on cutting down, but have upped protein intake and added BCAAs.

gabe said...

No offense taken, I've tried what I can do, coming from 5-6 meals a day and always feeling hungry, to suprisingly, not being hungry.

1) I am force feeding myself dinner as is, almost to the point of feeling sick
2) I thought about eating less during the day, but that is under 1000 calories as is, and I feel like if I didn't eat then, I definitely would not be able to make up for it at night (maybe I can try)
3) My first night I made a baked spaghetti, but only ate half of what I planned on eating. I'll try to think of other calorie dense foods.

@Karl and Anonymous
I am at the point for dinner that I don't even want liquid (water) because I am so full.

Thanks for the responses guys

Anonymous said...

It's amazing how much stronger dude looks despite having LOST strength. Definitely gotta get lean for the summer!

Cindy Lewis said...

Martin, thank you and I love you, in the bestest friend kinda way!! You're a jewel!!

Anonymous said...

Gillar starkt dina artiklar!! vet att du mestadels jobbar med kost men skulle vara intressant om du skrev lite mer träningsartiklar också (tycker jag) :)

truegrit said...

Gabe, if you have trouble eating that much in one meal, you need to space out your feeding window more properly so you can get two meals in after your workout. So break your fast later in the day.

Also, try more calorie-dense foods than pasta. Half a pound of 80% ground beef is 550 calories. Throw in a couple slices of cheese, a roll with garlic mayo, followed up with a bowl of ice cream for dessert, and you're there. That should be a fairly easy meal that'll give you about 75g of protein and is one that most people would kill to eat on a diet. If you want more protein, cut half the ice cream and drink a casein shake and take a spoonful of peanut butter as your last meal, which shouldn't be too hard to do even if you're full. This isn't rocket science. People who have problems getting sufficient calories are usually trying to eat too "clean."

truegrit said...


In addition to passing out and not getting a quality workout, by doing fasted training without amino acids, you're not mitigating the increased catabolism from fasted training. Why don't you:

NOT DO FASTED TRAINING? Doesn't mean you have to fast at night. Just stop eating earlier in the night. For example, eat a pre-workout meal at 10am, train at 11 am, stop eating by 6pm. Or, if you can't finish eating by 6, finish by 7 pm or 8 pm. Is it ideal? Martin has prescribed 14 hour fasting windows for women and if you're not willing to compromise your schedule, why not just try a shorter-than-16 hour window?

Martyn said...

Great Work! Just goes to show how being extremely lean creates the illusion of size. People always over estimate how much I weigh when i'm in competition shape.

Martyn said...

damnthefreshman15 If you want to get the best value BCCA's in London, UK then go here- Its unflavoured but mix it with a bit of juice and it masks the taste nicely.

Steve said...

I don't think fasted training during fat loss is a good idea if you have had a few days with a big deficit prior to training.

I bet you're better off following the protocol with 1 pre-workout meal - which would also make it easier to consume more cals later on as you won't feel as full.

As a side, when you take into account the increase in protein synthesis post workout, say 28 hours before returning to baseline; it seems ESSENTIAL to ensure you eat your largest meal the day after training within that time period to maximise nutrient uptake.

I know Martin does explain this in the guide, but I wonder if this needs highlighting. I bet for the most part people begin pushing the fasts longer and longer once they get used to them.

knoxxelig said...

now you finally sound like a guru :)

Matt said...

@ anon regarding ampk vs. mtor
(or anyone else who can answer really)

I remember Martin wrote something about that a while back but it wasn't very extensive. What I want to know is where does one draw the line between being mindful of these competing signals and turning it into an OCD.

For instance, I rather enjoy doing a very short HIIT rowing (concept machine) session after my weights (5 minutes only, four intervals - 30 seconds balls to the wall, 45 seconds rest). I also walk to and from the gym (I live 5 minutes away). Weights are my primary concern though.

I lift m/w/f, relying on compounds, 3-4 exercises a session, 3-4 work sets of around 8 reps, high intensity.

Could any of this "cardio" I mentioned have a considerable negative effect on my progress as far as gaining strength/building muscle goes given the competing signals?

Also, I follow a lengains recomp diet, more or less. (5'11, 165 lbs, 10% BF).

D said...


Very inspiring pics. I started a 16/8 IF per your guidelines two weeks ago and just started cutting cals last week. I'm pretty excited as this seems a LOT easier than what I've done in the past (grazing all day). I'm hoping to get leaner than I have ever been. One suggestion for your client updates, it would be easier for us to be able to compare ourselves to them if you listed their heights.

Chris said...

trying to do leangains. Too bad I'm starving for 16 hours a day then ending up eating anything I can find for as long as I can. I suppose it's more of a mental fix. How in the world do people not get hungry during the fasted stage? How bad was the "transition phase" for most people?

Steve said...

From my understanding, unless you need to train for a specific sport, walking briskly is about as good a cardio work out as you'll get. No cortisol issues and almost exclusive fat mobilisation when fasted. Hence why Martin recommends it...

Martin Costa said...

I am following Leangains for about a month now. In the beggining I was hungry during the last hours of the fasted, but it's much better now.

Now I only have hunger issues when I'm not focused into something during work. Most of the days I'm busy, and I feel no hunger at all.

Stick to the program a few more days, you'll feel better.

If you want, you can take some appettte suppressor (EC works wonderfully).

Matt said...


Yeah, I know, Martin mentions brisk walking in almost every single article. What I'm asking is related to cellular adaptations, not fat loss or catabolism.

There's a huge difference between people who spend several hours a week on the treadmill or stationary bike because they think it somehow helps them lose fat but they really hate doing it and a naturally slender guy like me who does extremely short (like 5 minutes 2x a week) and intense cardio because he enjoys it.

I live in the city, don't own a car, I go to college and I walk a lot on weekdays, like several miles in total - that's something I can't avoid. What I asked is this: is there any credible scientific evidence suggesting that giving up the ultra short HIIT session after
my weights would be prudent, based on conflicting signals for endurance vs strength adaptations?

Kujo said...


It took me about two weeks to adjust. I've been doing IF for 14 weeks now, and I still get occasional hunger pangs during the fast when I'm up. Coffee, green tea, or water does the trick.

Very impressive results for 8 weeks.

Karl said...


Martin does stress that you should eat your biggest meal post-workout, as you say. I'm not sure about this, though:

"I don't think fasted training during fat loss is a good idea if you have had a few days with a big deficit prior to training.

I bet you're better off following the protocol with 1 pre-workout meal - which would also make it easier to consume more cals later on as you won't feel as full."

I haven't seen Martin making any qualifications that you can't do fasted training while cutting. He does recommend BCAAs before, as I'm sure you know from the guide.

I must admit to being somewhat leery of statements preceded with "I don't think..." :) We all think many things. Do you have any support for your claim that fasted training is not appropriate while cutting?

Martin Berkhan said...


There's tons of scientific evidence for interference between endurance training and strength training.

Mixing the two is not something I recommend or practice with clients.

It's a topic I'm going to cover in detail in a future article, but here's a little something for you to read:

Now HIIT is a bit different from traditional endurance training due to the anaerobic aspects of it, but there's good reason to use it sparingly or not at all, especially if you're primarily interested in maintaining strength and muscle.

Then again, it's always a matter of compromises and personal goals - perhaps metabolic conditioning is something you need for your sport, or whatever else reason.

More on this some later time.

Martin Berkhan said...

Seems the link is too long to fit in one line, so here it is again:





You need to copypaste that into your browser, it's one long link.

Anonymous said...

Hi Martin

Outstanding site

A question about post workout fasting

I will workout from 7-8am 3xweek fasted from previous nights dinner - then typically continue the fast until 5pm.

Have you had clients do a similar approach and still get positive results - or am I extending the post workout fast too long?


Steve said...

I just re-read the post I made and the bit regarding meals. I was writing specifically about the first meal the day AFTER training.

My consideration is towards reinforcing any importance regarding the duration of increased protein synthesis.

PSynth should still be high if you follow the 16/8; but if like me you have previously pushed the fast to 18-20 hours on off days, you might risk falling outside of that time window, whereby PSynth is almost at baseline when you break the fast.

If this is the case, nutrient partitioning that day will be far less than optimal.

Steve said...


Fair point by the way - leers accepted.

From a personal and ongoing experience, I'm in a fat loss phase and weight training twice weekly doing a 3 day split. Legs+Shoulders; Back and Triceps; Chest and Biceps in that order.

3000kcal on training days, 1000-1300kcal on off days. Strength gradually decreased until I switched to the 1 pre-workout meal and now its going back up. Same kcal breakdowns so big off day deficits...Going for an 8 pack! (might need some ab shadow though)

Matt said...


Thank you very much! I really appreciate the link, I'll definitely research this topic some more. Good to know you have an article planned on it.

John Mitchell said...

Hey Martin,

Very inspiring transformation. Funny how much more muscular he looks in the after pictures despite him not having gained muscle per se. Well I would assume so since he didn't gain any strength and as you usually say strength gain is a good indicator of muscle gain.

Btw a serious suggestion if you don't mind, please consider a Donation button. Me and I'm sure many others would like to contribute a little something in return for all the fantastic information you've been posting for free for years now. I'm not exaggerating when I say it's been truly life changing for me personally. I used to spend so much time doing the whole 'eating by the minute' thing and constantly obsess over that stuff.....Took a serious toll on many aspects of my life I'm not kidding. When I started coming here and reading your blogs it was really a huge eye opener and my training, body and mind has been much better off ever since.

Sorry for the rant!

- John

Anonymous said...

Hey Martin,

Thank you so much for your insights into training and dieting.
Would you be willing to write an article for those of us who have kettlebells and wish to follow the leangains approach?
What kind of exercises should I do? Is one 20 kilo kettlebell enough? I know I should do compound exercises (kettlebell swing etc.) but maybe there are people here -- and obviously you -- who could share their experience?

Anonymous said...

What type of direct abdominal work does lean gains endorse?

Calvin said...

Martin, when is your book coming!?!? Waiting anxiously...

Anonymous said...

Strongly agree with the suggestion for a 'donation' button. I've lost over 20 lbs of fat in 3 months and gained about 3-5 lb of muscle (even while focused primarily on cutting fat) and I have literally read 80%+ of this site. It's a huge help and I'd like to provide a reward for that...

ben said...

Great read and inspiration, thank you very much.

I have 2 quick questions for you.

Do I have to consume 10g of bcaa if i want to train in fasted state? or its only recommended? Does taking 10g of bcaa is just for training fasted or its for training in generally?

what are your thought on
Higher Power BCAA 1000 supplement?
every pill contains:

Will one pill do the job or will I need 10 pills?

Thank you very much

John Cowell said...

@Ben: WIth all due respect, Martin has answered this question many, many times either on his Blog or Facebook, or whatever. Can you train without BCAA? YES. Is it optimal? NO. The recommendation is for 10g of BCAA mix 5-15min prior to training. Does this mean that 1g is okay? Well, I suppose so but then you're doing your IF approach, not his. His approach is based on science and experience; and that's what he suggests. You can manipulate and and all variables to exactly what you desire but you are then doing your programme not his. Make sense?

Martin Berkhan said...


Thanks for jumping in and answering that in a good way. I appreciate it. My time is very limited and I don't have much to for answering questions in comments - and I get demotivated to see questions that I have answered many times before in articles and comments.


10 pills. BCAA in powder form is more convenient (and a bit pricier).

geert said...


Regarding kettlebells:

Check out pavel tsatsouline´s enter the kettlebell before u start doing even 1 swing.

Go to for more info;also google steve cotter.

I wouldnt start w a 20 kg kb;too heavy.

Dan said...

Wow, that is just wow.

Martin, what's your take on deconditioning? Do you employ that when working with customers and if so for how long?

btw, I wanna read the book. How long more do we have to wait?

ben said...

Thank you very much for answering my question.

keep up the good work.


Sandro said...

@Matt ,Steve

I've experimented a lot with brisk walking during my fasting period,and I can tell you,for me it's useless.
first I doesn't burn some many calories,second you put some stress to your body.and third,every time I use it,my body composition become worse!I'm not telling you to do nothing during your fast phase,but if you want lose some fat,eat less..

just my 2 cent

Anonymous said...

Re the question on direct ab work, I think Martin mentions in an article he does no direct ab work.

A question for readers in general re abs:

Does anyone ever get cramps in their abs the day after doing lots of pull ups?

Never had them before and they really suck.

I don't do any direct ab exercises myself but the pull ups are hell on wheels for developing them.

Matt said...

@anon regarding pull ups and abs

Made me lol for real :) My abs are very sore after chins and after deadlifts. I guess it's a good sign - with chins it means I'm using my abs to keep my lower body still and for deads it means I'm keeping my spine safe.

I don't get cramps but I'm definitely painfully aware of my abdominals the next day or two!

And good riddance! I always found leg raises. sit ups and crunches to be more of an exercise in futility than abdominals.

John Cowell said...

I tend to gain much more quickly on my upper body than lower body and am considering abandoning training my upper body completely until my lower body "Catches up". In this scenario, how would I compensate for the lack of upper-body sessions throughout the week? For example, would a lower body HFT programme (eg, Justa) that uses a low-volume, med/high intensity singles be acceptable?

As always, thank you very much for your input and insight.

Camoka said...

I have been following your blog and Nikoley's. Great stuff, and now am off to a fasted training.

what I wonder is it possible to get the 10 grams bcaa from lean meat taken half hour before the training without breaking the fast, but adding the benefit of protein ingestion on the muscle breakdown?

Lino said...


Congrats! great blog with lots of useful and priceless information.

When are you planning to release the book? There is a lot of people waiting for it.

John Cowell said...

@Camoka: If you get 10g of BCAA via lean meat then that is breaking the fast and any subsequent training is therefore not performed in the fasted state. BCAA's in isolation exist in a special category in that they simultaneously allow for intake of pre-workout protein without losing the benefit of training fasted.

Honestly, the simplest part (in my opinion) of Berkhan's IF protocol is the basic nutritional protocol.
For fat loss: >1g/lb of bodyweight of protein, below maintenance calories and 10g of BCAA's 5-15 minutes prior to training after 16 hour fast.
Body Recomposition: the same except for maintenance level of calories
Mass Gain: the same except >maintenance calories

Calories can be adjusted appropriately to deal with any unwanted weight changes.

Again, in my opinion, where things get tricky is how to modify the RP training system to accommodate individual body composition goals.

Xavier said...

Hi Martin. I can see you usually report using BCAA or EAA; but right now im on your IF aproach and using MAP (actually ALRI HumaPro). What do you think about it? did you ever tried it with you or any client?. thanks

David Bengtsson said...

Thanks for all the comments!
I'm 180cm tall and my exercises for abs are heavy deadlifts and squats.

Chris said...

Wow, the most basic of questions STILL bombarding almost every comment thread after an article is posted.

For real people, READ THE ENTIRE SITE. TWICE. Yes, twice, and read EVERYTHING. Twice. So, Read it ALL, top to bottom, left to right. Twice. All of it. I guarantee 99% of your questions will be answered if you just READ. Im just a regular follower of LG, and Im already going crazy with all you noobs who are too lazy to sit down and read.

Anonymous said...

says that david took 10g EAA after his workout also. anybody know if this is more effective for whatever reason than a whey protein isolate shake with 24g PWO? or unnecessary?

P.S. trying to gain lean mass

Intendente said...

Hey Martin,

My goal is to accelerate fat loss so Ive changed my training from a traditional 3 days spill 1 day rest
to complete core exercises:

Bench, Squats, Dips, deadlift, pull ups, military press

1day on 1day off to really stimulate a greater metabolic response and get leaner. I am getting leaner but It seems I may be losing some strength and even muscle because I'm not paying as much intense attention to some muscle as I would in my traditional routine. (note I lift as heavy as possible 8-12 reps x3)
Just wanted to know your thoughts of whether I should continue with the core or revert to traditional?

Cherry Collections said...

can i have a burger ,pizza or another cheatmeal on eating window??

Benwin21 said...

"Cherry..." you can eat whatever you want on your feeding window,the only thing that you need to be concerned about is that it will fit your macros/calorie intake unless you want to gain weight

Ed Joe said...

I have troubles understanding this loose fat, he must be on a deficit....yet it looks like he gained muscle that the same is this possible?

Benwin21 said...

I'm not 100% sure if this is what he did, but I'll say he ate
20% above maintenance on training days, and 20% below maintenance on non training days, and maybe carb cycling too.

Anonymous said...

Hi David

Please could you provide some indication of what your height is as well as what sort of calorie deficit you worked on.

Madarch said...

Hi all, perhaps someone other than Martin could answer this question, since I know he has limited time. I am fair new to strength training and could use some very basic help. I have been following the 16hr fast for the last week, with the exception of taking a protein shake in the morning. My question is, is this likely to ruin the effect of the fast? I ask this, because after a week of fasting, other than this morning shake, and doing 3 days of strength training following core exercises outlined by Martin, I have only lost 1/2 a kg.

On off days I have been roughly eating the following;

1st meal: 1/2 avacado with whole 2-4 whole wheat crackers (vitawheats), with ham (c.4 slices), 6 almonds or so, and some spinach.

2nd meal: An apple and a yogurt
3rd meal: 2 eggs + ham + slice of cheese.

I take a teaspoon of BCAAs prior to training, another after training, as well as a protein shake.

Having been a slack bastard since reaching early adult years I have tended to going to flab, although I find I have decent strength in arms and back. I am 33 yrs old, 185cm tall, and currently weigh 93.2kgs. I want to get down towards the 80 mark and then build up some.

Any suggestions or tips would be grand.

DS said...

Madarch. Come on! You're not fasting if your drinking a protein shake in the morning. The idea behind IF is to give your body more time to tap in and use your stored energy (fat) during the fast. I don't know what's in your protein shake, but if you're generating an insulin response, your body's going to stop accessing that stored fat for energy. Why don't you spend some more time and actually READ the leangains guide under Martins most popular links?! To quote: "No calories are to be ingested during the fasted phase, though coffee, calorie free sweeteners, diet soda and sugar free gum are ok"

Madarch said...

Thanks for the feedback, you have confirmed I was being an idiot. It was not an issue of a lack of was a lack of follow through and stupidity on my part. I have corrected this Hopefully have better weight loss by end of this week.

Madarch said...

A quick follow up question someone might be able to help me with.

I have been working on a 20% calorie deficit five days a week, while working out fasted 3 of those days. Now that I am not taking a protein shake in the morning....I am losing weight quite quickly. Martin talks about a 2-3 day re-feed period....but I cannot find specifics on how many calories I should be consuming during this period.

Do I continue the fast during this period? And do I continue the 20% deficit? OR do I re-feed on the weekend with a 20% surplus? OR consume maintenance calories to let the body restock?

Apologize in advance is this has been covered, but I have not found answers to these questions in my reading of the site to date.


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

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