Is this method legit? (Leangains)

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    Dec 05, 2011 5:44 AM GMT
    http://www.leangains.com/, a blog written by a training consultant. (Got this via metafilter, an awesome website!; here's a discussion about a recent blog entry) I skimmed through the articles and what struck me was his strong advocacy of both

    a) dieting, including fasting

    and

    b) eschewing most cardio activity,

    which seems a little extreme compared to conventional modern training. It's intriguing and he seems to be drawing his conclusions from at least some papers and personal experience, but I am skeptical that that constitutes sufficient proof. Would the more knowledgable people care to critique and compare his approach here?

    That Tyler Durden comparison is pretty tantalizing, I'll admit.

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    Dec 05, 2011 9:13 AM GMT
    I generally think fasting is bad. But if it works for you, then go for it.
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    Dec 05, 2011 5:18 PM GMT
    I know right? Maybe his argument is that it's safe & effective if you fast properly, but I'm wondering if that approach is best left to professional guidance.
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    Dec 05, 2011 5:25 PM GMT
    I know people that have done this and I did this for a while as well. The results are stellar. I had to quit this as it does provide enough energy if you hit the gym in the am and then go play sports or do cardio in the pm. You won't need the cardio, but I enjoyed tennis for fun and cardio for just keeping my heart healthy
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    Dec 05, 2011 5:27 PM GMT
    This guy had phenomenal results

    http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=131057123&page=1
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    Dec 05, 2011 5:29 PM GMT
    smthjock saidThis guy had phenomenal results

    http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=131057123&page=1


    As did this guy:

    http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=137095573&page=1

    And, most famously, this guy:

    http://thesameffect.com/my-experiences-with-intermittent-fasting/

    I typically do intermittent fasting Mon-Fri or Sat, but I do not stop cardio.

    It's really not that extreme an idea that people should fast during most of the day. On the contrary, the notion that one should be constantly feeding is new and radical in the context of human history.

    It's not for everyone though; you have to find what works for you. But IF works for many.
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    Dec 05, 2011 5:42 PM GMT
    Berkhan puts emphasis on calorie counting and not being in a constant energy deficit, especially carb cycling and refeeds. He points out that you need a three day energy deficit to even begin to reduce your resting metabolism. And the diet he advocates is close to paleo but with dairy and potatoes.
    Fasts of more than 10 hours and up to 2-3 days activates something called autophagy which is when your cells go into overdrive on house keeping and breaks down any proteins that look dodgy (the proteins that perform all the functions of your cells, not the protein that you eat). Also as readily available glucose becomes depleted and insulin goes down your cells produce more proteins involved in using fat as an energy source. And you get to have that extra metabolising potential after you eat again.

    With regards to the training I've been trying out Power To The People recently and it is really good. I replaced presses with weighted pull ups and weighted dips so my total number of reps for a workout comes to 35 (I do a warm up set of deads at 50% 5 rep max). I am getting stronger fast and my body still looks really good. I guess you may have to have some kind of workout baggage to get the tension high. PTTP is pretty close to what Berkhan advocates.
  • mikey_101

    Posts: 250

    Jan 09, 2012 8:18 AM GMT
    I'm looking into starting doing Intermitent Fasting to try and take my training to the next level.

    I have been doing some reserach on the Leangains website and a few others and its all realy making sence to me.

    I'm stuck on a plateau and have mixed everything up over the last 6months and seen little to no progress.

    I'm hoping this can kick start my progress and shred the little body fat I have...... then start to slowly add lean mucle over time.

    Does anyone here have first hand experice of IF... both short term and long term - as a way to pack lean muscle? (rather than loose weight!)
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    Jan 10, 2012 4:12 AM GMT
    mikey_101 saidI'm looking into starting doing Intermitent Fasting to try and take my training to the next level.

    I have been doing some reserach on the Leangains website and a few others and its all realy making sence to me.

    I'm stuck on a plateau and have mixed everything up over the last 6months and seen little to no progress.

    I'm hoping this can kick start my progress and shred the little body fat I have...... then start to slowly add lean mucle over time.

    Does anyone here have first hand experice of IF... both short term and long term - as a way to pack lean muscle? (rather than loose weight!)


    I don't have first-hand experience yet, but hopefully soon. I just started Leangains myself last week. I'm eating 20% above maintenance (and lots of carbs) on training days and 20% below on off days (lower carbs). I'm not trying to lose weight; I'm doing more of a recomposition thing. At the same time I'm lifting three times a week a` la Rippetoe's Starting Strength program.

    If you decide to do it, let me know how it goes for you. I'd love to hear about your progress.
  • mikey_101

    Posts: 250

    Jan 12, 2012 11:16 AM GMT
    Excellent, we can track our progress!

    I'm only on day 4, but it seems to be going well..... almost ready to break my fast at midday.

    I'm going for recompossition aswell - I'm 150lb roughly and hope that this will give my training the edge to make my body ripped!
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    Jan 12, 2012 4:16 PM GMT
    my partner and I do a form of intermittent fasting at times. There is a fallacy out there that you have to eat 5-7 meals a day. That is not true for everyone. If you are getting all your vitamins, nutrients and proper amount of protein within the day for your own goals it can work. I am glad that the intermittent fasting method is starting to get alot of play on the various bodybuilding and fitness sites.
  • mikey_101

    Posts: 250

    Jan 13, 2012 10:56 AM GMT
    well, it looks like its working jersey!

    You said you do a 'form' of IF - have you tailored it to yourself? Can you give a little background please?


    My first week of this has been something like this:

    16 hour fast till midday monday,
    carb/protein rich lunch,
    work out two hours later, hit my shoulders and back hard
    post workout oats, nuts, seeds, bannana smoothie and raw egg followed by cheese sandwich
    dinner at 7pm - veg chilli with lentils, wholewheat rice and brocolli

    Tuesday - fast till midday,
    low carb high protein lunch,
    snack,
    dinner

    Wednesday - fast till midday
    carb/protein lunch
    work out - chest and triceps
    post work out smoothie as above,
    carb/protein/fat dinner

    Thursday - fast till midday
    low carb high protein lunch
    snack,
    dinner

    Should be breaking my fast soon and was planning on doing my Biceps and Back in the gym.


    Anyone care to comment?
  • mikey_101

    Posts: 250

    Jan 17, 2012 2:41 PM GMT
    Op - have you started doing intermittent fasting yet?

    I'm surprised there are not more replies to this...... either positive or negative, there must be some with experioence of this method.
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    Jan 17, 2012 2:50 PM GMT
    OP Thanks for starting this thread. Looks really interesting. I get so tired of eating like a pig, and preparing large quantities of super healthy food from scratch. When I have fasted in the past (several years ago), I was surprised by how great I felt and how productive I became. And it was so nice not to think about food.
  • mikey_101

    Posts: 250

    Feb 02, 2012 1:47 PM GMT
    Bump... I'm realy surprised this thread has bombed.

    I would have thought there would have been loads of first hand experience with this method.... RJ usualy provolks a good debate on the merits of any subject.


    I'm on roughly week 4 of IF, and am hoping for a radical recompositon over time to go from slim/toned to slim/toned/ripped if that makes any sence!

    I'v been training 3 times a week - chest/tri's, legs/shoulders, back/biceps - with atleast a days rest or two if still sore, and adding in a little abs/core where I can.

    Almost cut out cardio, although been doing slightly longer warm ups.... 10 mins jog/run/walk repeat.

    I do feel leaner, and can see more definition in my core area - although I may be seeing what my mind wants to see...... my gyms scales have been out of action for 2 weeks, so no weight tracking progress.

    One question - to pack on lean muscle as opposed to loose weight should I be training fasted?

    I tried this the first week, but didnt have enough energy...... I reverted to it yesterday as an experiment, but realy felt lacking in energy to push out those last few reps.

    My schedule means its hard for me to train fasted..... but if its going to make a real diffrence, I will change my schedule.

    Trying to overeat on training days with added carbs..... eating a little over maintenance on rest days with good fats, proteimns and limiting carbs.

    Anyone care to comment?





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    Feb 02, 2012 2:07 PM GMT
    I could never do anything that limits cardio. Aside from the massive health benefits, its just too much fun.
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    Feb 02, 2012 2:17 PM GMT
    I will look more into this later, but for now I'm wondering how this fares for an ectomorph with a small appetite. I wonder if fasting would just break my body down. The past month I've increased my weights/decreased reps and increased protein intake but majorly lacking energy even though I'm getting stronger. Back in my days of endurance training I actually got a lift from exercise, but now I'm dead tired all day and need double the recovery days.
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    Feb 02, 2012 2:43 PM GMT
    Most of his stuff is fine for guys who are into fitness or who want to compete in bodybuilding, but for the average person ont he street (especially here in obese-land Tennessee (#2 inth nation for it and #6 among kids) it is totally impractical. People need a diet taht is doable, and one that can be run for long term, and they need to exercise including some cardio
  • mikey_101

    Posts: 250

    Feb 02, 2012 3:54 PM GMT
    MuscledHorse saidMost of his stuff is fine for guys who are into fitness or who want to compete in bodybuilding, but for the average person ont he street (especially here in obese-land Tennessee (#2 inth nation for it and #6 among kids) it is totally impractical. People need a diet taht is doable, and one that can be run for long term, and they need to exercise including some cardio


    I dont think its that radical an idea to think you can go with out food for 16 out of 24 hours!
    You sleep for 8 of them, so its 4 hours before and after bed before eating.

    I would think its ideal for the average Tennesseean.

    The only cardio I have stopped is the gym cardio..... I still walk 10k a week social and atleast 15k with work aswell as physicaly active job.

    I guess its not for everyone, but looking at the example above its ideal for the obese - eat less, lift weights, do a little cardio.
  • mikey_101

    Posts: 250

    Feb 02, 2012 3:56 PM GMT
    uoft23 saidI could never do anything that limits cardio. Aside from the massive health benefits, its just too much fun.


    Dont get me wrong I do love cardio.

    But if you have been unable to increase muscle mass in a year, and burn off all your gains, its a simple way to switch things up.
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    Feb 02, 2012 7:03 PM GMT
    mikey_101 said
    uoft23 saidI could never do anything that limits cardio. Aside from the massive health benefits, its just too much fun.


    Dont get me wrong I do love cardio.

    But if you have been unable to increase muscle mass in a year, and burn off all your gains, its a simple way to switch things up.


    I don't buy into that whole cardio vs muscle gain. I do over 2 hours a day of cardio 5 days a week, usually 6 - or did until ice finally managed to stay on the ground a couple weeks ago, and have put on a lot of muscle weight despite that. And in a couple weeks I'll be back at it again. I've also read many studies that have shown the whole cardio vs muscle thing is nonsense.

    It also doesn't make any sense biologically - that our bodies are incapable of balancing competing demands and that it will destroy our muscular gains (which it believes are necessary for survival - it doesn't know we're just weight training) because we need a temporary increase in energy.

    Now, I'm not saying for this particular method of working out, that no cardio may not benefit muscle gain because I really haven't read the whole thing - it just doesn't fit into what I believe is healthy. But I don't believe the cardio is negating your muscle gains as you stated over the past year. If that were the case you just need to eat more or eat properly or train properly or all of them. You're also tall and lean which means youre likely an ectomorph and that will make it difficult to put on muscle period. Thats your metabolism, not cardio.

    Even though I want to put on a lot of muscle, i also take issue with the way bodybuilding seems to prize muscle gain above general health. High salt foods for the sake of protein, totally ignoring cardio etc. I work out to feel good and be healthy - not just look good and look healthy.

    edit: and my idol - robert forstemann - if cardio cannibalizes muscle his muscles must be made of something inedible cause they're popping lol. People erroneously associate lean people with cardio and think that's the way it has to be. Really its just that often in endurance sports muscle size and weight is a liability and so not sought after like in long distance cycling or running. Where as someone like Forstemann that relies on burst potential for short sprints over endurance, yet still trains hours a day, can develop the type of muscle he needs and wants.
  • tuffguyndc

    Posts: 4437

    Feb 02, 2012 7:25 PM GMT
    Actually, it is a great idea. one of my clients used it. he is a bodybuilder and uses it when he is trying to lean out. i used it too and got lean as well. there are different variations on this topic. i do not consider this a real fast because you actually get to eat later in the day. plus, if you workout you get to take a protein shake
  • mikey_101

    Posts: 250

    Feb 06, 2012 3:31 PM GMT
    Cheers for the reply - I have put a few resaponses in italics


    uoft23 said
    mikey_101 said
    uoft23 saidI could never do anything that limits cardio. Aside from the massive health benefits, its just too much fun.


    Dont get me wrong I do love cardio.

    But if you have been unable to increase muscle mass in a year, and burn off all your gains, its a simple way to switch things up.


    I don't buy into that whole cardio vs muscle gain. I do over 2 hours a day of cardio 5 days a week, usually 6 - or did until ice finally managed to stay on the ground a couple weeks ago, and have put on a lot of muscle weight despite that. And in a couple weeks I'll be back at it again. I've also read many studies that have shown the whole cardio vs muscle thing is nonsense.

    I appreciate you know how your body works, but its not a one size fits all solution.

    It also doesn't make any sense biologically - that our bodies are incapable of balancing competing demands and that it will destroy our muscular gains (which it believes are necessary for survival - it doesn't know we're just weight training) because we need a temporary increase in energy.

    Now, I'm not saying for this particular method of working out, that no cardio may not benefit muscle gain because I really haven't read the whole thing - it just doesn't fit into what I believe is healthy.
    I walk 15-20k a week, have an active job and run/walk/jog for almost 40mins a week.... its hardly 'no cardio'
    But I don't believe the cardio is negating your muscle gains as you stated over the past year. If that were the case you just need to eat more or eat properly or train properly or all of them. You're also tall and lean which means youre likely an ectomorph and that will make it difficult to put on muscle period. Thats your metabolism, not cardio.

    which comes first - the chicken or the egg?
    Yes, my metabolism is my enemy.... but if I overdo cardio then it increases my metabolic rate?


    After spending two years weight training and getting an understanding for my body, please believe me that if I do intense cardio at the same time as trying to gain lean muscle, my weight plateaus...... this may not be the case for everyone, but it is definatly the case for myself.


    Even though I want to put on a lot of muscle, i also take issue with the way bodybuilding seems to prize muscle gain above general health. High salt foods for the sake of protein, totally ignoring cardio etc. I work out to feel good and be healthy - not just look good and look healthy.

    I completely agree - most bodybuilding diets are extremely unhealthy and not long term ways of life. I am very strict on my diet - vegetarian, prep from scracth, zero additives, zero processed, high protein+carbs with healthy fats

    edit: and my idol - robert forstemann - if cardio cannibalizes muscle his muscles must be made of something inedible cause they're popping lol. People erroneously associate lean people with cardio and think that's the way it has to be. Really its just that often in endurance sports muscle size and weight is a liability and so not sought after like in long distance cycling or running. Where as someone like Forstemann that relies on burst potential for short sprints over endurance, yet still trains hours a day, can develop the type of muscle he needs and wants.



    I do appreciate the reply, its cool to get a diffring point of view.

    I have sopent 2 years weight training and have managed to add almost 2 stones over this time, but lost half again aswell, most notably when I upped my cardio!

    After spending all this time in the gym - totaly focused, increasing weights, analysing diet and doing everything I can..... I would likdof have expected to be lean - muscles popping, toned and ripped.

    Alas, no.

    I'm now tring Intermittent Fasting as it seams to have worked for lots of others.