Why is Leangains so effective?

Andy MorganLeangains & Intermittent Fasting314 Comments

Why is leangains so effective

Edit 15th Mar.: Added a link to an article I forgot about by Martin that explains the hormonal advantages of IF further. Glycogen super-compensation point is possibly wrong. 

A couple of Japanese friends came up to me in the gym after seeing the blog post about Scott asking questions. They are into the 6 meals/day, 5 days/week split-training method. They couldn’t read what I had written, but they could understand the figures and they knew what that meant. They were impressed, and it seems like they’re now willing to give the IF principles an ear.

J-Bro 1: “So why did Scott grow then? Advanced trainees are not supposed to grow when dieting.”

Andy: “Yes, it’s rare with your current style of dieting, but it does happen when people switch things up.”

J-Bro 2: “So what’s different with Berkhan Sensei’s Leangains then?”

I explained, but I wasn’t as eloquent as I would have liked in my Japanese, and altogether I felt rather disappointed with myself for not completely nailing this rather obvious and predictable question.

So that’s what this article is about, it’s the case I’ll present to those two Japanese lads. I’ll get it translated professionally, and I’ll memorize it so that next time I’ll blow them away. As this is going to be the base for the translation please bear with me on a few things as I’ve kept it a little simpler than I would like, but I’ve tried to not compromise on the fundamentals. I’ve also reached out a little with a couple of things I’m not entirely sure on which I’ve noted below, so if you know about those things I’d appreciate your thoughts (correction or addition) in the comments. In any case, you’re an English speaker which means I can link you on to sources much better written by those I respect and look up to.

This then, will hopefully serve as a key article in helping me to spread Martin’s Leangains (LG) system in Japan for him

************************************

Why did Scott grow on his cut?

Two fundamental things that Scott changed were his training volume and the switch to using Martin Berkhan’s LG* diet principles.

This basically means he changed from the “6 meals system” with the same overall calories/macros every day regardless of training, to a cyclic-calorie diet (specifically having a calorie-surplus, high-carb training day followed by a low-carb, deficit-calorie rest day) and then combined it with daily Intermittent Fasting.

(*If someone asks you to explain that in a sentence then 1. Breakfast skipping, combined with 2. Calorie and macronutrient cycling, will usually suffice. You’ll soon see if that piques their interest at which point you can explain further.)

Here are what I feel to be the most important things:

  1. Reduced training volume allows for recovery and growth.
  2. Calorie cycling helps counteract the negative hormonal effects that happen when dieting.
  3. Calorie Partitioning* is more efficient (*More of the calories eaten go into muscle tissue, less in the fat cells when overfeeding; more energy comes from fat stores relative to muscle burned when dieting. -a really good thing!) This is due to…
    • Macro/Carb cycling
    • Putting the majority of the day’s calories PWO (leads to a compensatory response.)
    • Fasting in the mornings caused more fat burning throughout the day.
    • Late night eating (due to hormonal modulation).

1. Reduced training volume allows for recovery and growth.

The ability of the body to recover is hampered when dieting as it stresses the central nervous system (CNS). This is especially true when dieting to very low body-fat levels. Training volume was cut back so as not to add greater stress on the already burdened CNS, and to avoid overtraining.

Why is this important?

CNS recovery plays a huge role in how much you gain from your training efforts. The term “overtraining” means cumulative CNS fatigue. If you end up overtraining (or under-recovering) you won’t be able to train as hard, you’re more likely to get sick and miss sessions, and (worst-case) you’ll get weaker.

It is possible that with his previous training plan, at his level of advancement, Scott needed a lower volume training schedule in order to recover sufficiently and grow. Had more fatigue accumulated than his CNS could recover from? This could explain why when he switched to a lower training volume he became stronger. As Martin put it very well on a Reddit forum thread in reference the pitfalls of lots of cardio while cutting recently, “A calorie deficit is a recovery deficit. Avoid deficit spending.”

Further reading: “Overtraining: What it is and what it isn’t.” 

2. Calorie cycling* helps counteract the negative hormonal effects that happen when dieting.

(*Typified by eating above and below maintenance energy requirements everyday, rather than everyday-deficit calories.)

When a person starts a diet, within a few days hormonal changes kick in and start telling your body you’re not eating enough. This causes hunger and leads to metabolic slowdown, (leptin decreases, ghrelin increases combined with drops in thyroid -among many others) meaning you have to eat even less to shift the fat. Muscle breakdown also becomes easier due to drops in testosterone, and increases in cortisol.

The body does this as a natural defense mechanism to slow the rate of fat loss and ensure survival. Put simply, the body doesn’t care for you to be looking good on the beach, and it rebels. The end result is that traditional dieting sucks. You’re hungry, and it gets progressively harder to shift the fat costing you increasingly more muscle when you really start dialing it in. Thus it can become necessary to try and correct these negative adaptations if further progress is to be achieved on a diet. Many bodybuilders don’t do this and they end up losing their hard-earned ‘off-season’ muscle gains in the summer.

Enter Diet-Breaks and Cyclical-Dieting

You may have heard of the term “diet-break”. Lyle McDonald postulates that as many of the negative hormonal adaptations after starting a diet take a few days to kick in, single-day, high-carb/low-fat “refeeds” once a week – while great in that they help refill glycogen, stops muscle catabolism and can have an anabolic effect – might not be enough to reverse these hormonal adaptations. Thus after a person has been dieting for extended periods of time he suggests diet-breaks to ‘reset’ the hormones back to normal levels which makes the fat loss come quicker once the diet is resumed. In practical terms this means a person will usually eat at maintenance calories from a period of several days to a couple of weeks.

With LG we have a refeed every other day with interspersed days of dieting. It begs the question: Is cycling calories in this way enough to limit the negative hormonal response despite there still being a weekly overall deficit?

I don’t believe there have been clinical studies on it, but with their experience I’d love to ask Martin, Lyle or Alan Aragon their thoughts*.If the answer is yes then it might explain why the results are so good. -With fewer negative hormonal adaptations the rate of potential fat loss that can be achieved without muscle loss is greater. (Besides the potential for muscle growth to continue). -Quite a contrast to regular, everyday-deficit dieting.

* If you know somewhere that they have talked about it then please share it with us and put a link in the comments below.

Further Reading: “The Full Diet Break” -article by Lyle McDonald “Intermittent Fasting, Set-Point and Leptin” -by Martin Berkhan

3. Calorie partitioning is more efficient.

Ideally all the food we eat would go towards recovery and growth, and all our energy requirements would come from fat stores. Unfortunately this just doesn’t happen. When overfeeding we will always gain some fat with the muscle, and when underfeeding we’ll always burn some muscle with the fat.

The ratio in which the body burns/stores muscle proportionally to fat, known as the p-ratio, is largely genetically determined. -Which explains why there’s always that one grinning idiot in your gym that doesn’t pay any attention to his diet yet is always ripped, and uses this as a qualification to dispense diet advice. (Yes, he’s in my gym too.)

Genetic inheritance aside, we can improve on this ratio by how we eat or train. Lyle speculates that we can swing this ratio about 15-20% in our favour. Does the Leangains system improve on this figure further? Interesting question.

Here are four things that the diet does that helps us improve on our p-ratio – the calorie partitioning effects – which if I lost you a little in the science above means we can maximize the muscle gains/minimize fat gain on surplus days and maximize fat loss/minimize muscle loss on rest days.

(i) Macro/carb cycling, (ii) Timing our meals so that most calories come post-workout, (iii) Fasting in the morning, (iv) Late night eating.

i) Macro/Carb cycling and ii) Putting the majority of the day’s calories Post-workout

Cycling our calories to burn fat one day only to put it back on the next just so that we can “avoid the negative hormonal traps” would be a little pointless. This is where workouts and nutrition timing come in. Here’s the theory:

Workouts cause an increased anabolic sensitivity of muscle to protein feedings that can last up to 24 hours. While this means that we don’t have to rush to our gym bag for a protein shake, it does mean we have a window of opportunity to repair and build muscle that the smart bro will take advantage of.

Part of the reason for this is that the workout causes glycogen depletion, which leads to increased insulin sensitivity, glucose uptake and glycogen synthesis. This helps shuttle more of the carbs into the glycogen stores for muscle building, which is a fancy way of saying that more of our food will find its way into the muscles rather than be stored as body fat.

One way to increase this effect is through entering the post-workout (PWO) window in a more glycogen depleted state. This can be done by,

a) Increasing our training volume Which for CNS recovery issues we’re not going to do. b) Consuming fewer carbs the previous day.

c) Putting the majority of our carbs PWO.

By combining the latter two we can theoretically achieve something called glycogen super-compensation, which means we can fill the muscles with glycogen as the carbs are stored in the muscle at a faster rate. This is awesome because of it’s positive, anabolic calorie-partitioning effects – for short periods we can actually overeat carbs and continue using fat for fuel.

I’ll slip into a conversational style to ease the explanations…

“So we should eat a whole load of food and it will be not only fine but beneficial on this day, right?”

Well unfortunately not. While the chances of the carbs being stored as body fat are low, dietary fat will be readily stored as there are excess calories on this day. So the recommendation is to keep fat intake low, carbs high.

“Ok so how about the training. Can I use my usual body-part machine-training split-routine but cram it into 3 days?”

Glycogen super-compensation can only occur in the muscles trained, so the most optimal thing to do is to train the whole body in a single workout, or as much of it as possible given our recovery capacity. Given that we want to keep volume low this makes the use of compound barbell movements, dips and chin-ups perfectly suited to this. While the Squat, Deadlift and Press might have the superficial look of being leg, back and shoulder exercises, they train the whole body. Don’t make the common mistake that because you can’t conceptualize the other muscles working that they aren’t. This is the reason people spend hours doing crunches when all they actually need to do is squat.

“So in order to maximize “b” and “c” the suggestion is consume no carbs on the rest-day and train fasted?”

Partially correct yes, though it doesn’t have to be as extreme as consuming zero carbs on the rest-day, keeping carbs low can be beneficial for further reasons that I’ll come to in point ‘iii’.

Though it’s an understudied area it seems that fasted training can have a whole bunch of benefits. If your English is up to it I’d highly recommend that you read the article, “Fasted Training for Superior Insulin Sensitivity and Nutrient Partitioning” by Martin. I hope to have a Japanese version of it done for you in the coming months.

In practical terms whether you train fasted or not will depend on your schedule. As most gyms in Japan aren’t open in the early morning this kills the opportunity for the person with a “typical” work schedule, but don’t worry about this. Scott trained fasted for the first half of his cut, and then when his work schedule changed he switched to having a meal before his workout. He still consumed the larger part of his daily calories post-workout (~60%) and it still clearly worked well. This might have something to do with the benefits associated with late night eating, which I will cover in point ‘iv’.

Is the Leangains system enough to produce glycogen super-compensation or am I guilty of just talking too much theory here? Not sure. Recent discussion on a Reddit forum would suggest not. Does it have to be total depletion for there to be any super-compensatory effects though? Or does partial depletion give partial super-compensatory effects? -One to ask the experts.

Further reading: “Fasted Training Boosts Endurance and Muscle Glycogen” – Martin Berkhan. “Calorie Partitioning” – Lyle McDonald

iii) Fasting in the mornings stimulates more fat-burning throughout the day.

One of the most thrilling afternoons of my (clearly) very sad life lately was spent reading a book by Lyle McDonald called “The Stubborn Fat Solution”. It took Lyle a throughly riveting 93 pages to explain, so forgive me if my 3 sentence explanation is lacking.

  • For fat to be burned it needs to be released from the cell into the blood stream. Insulin puts the freeze on fat burning stopping this, so to avoid this a good way to keep insulin low and increase our fat burning window each day is by skipping breakfast in the morning.
  • During fasting catecholamine release (adrenaline and noradrenaline) is high, which stimulates further fat breakdown.
  • Blood flow then needs to be sufficient to carry fat from the cells to be burned around the body.  This is improved during fasting.
  • Finally the fat will float around in the bloodstream until it is taken up and used as energy by the tissues in the body.

“So why low carbs on the rest day?”

I’ll quote Lyle here:

“Fortunately glycogen depletion also increases fat utilization by the muscle, which increases how well your body can use fat for fuel. This is important both from the standpoint off fat loss and protein sparing because, the better your body can use fat for fuel, the less it will need to break down protein for energy.” 

So we eat fewer carbs to keep muscle glycogen lower.

iv) Late night eating

It appears that eating late at night leads to better fat loss and overall health. Alan Aragon (master broscience debunker and author of the leading monthly industry magazine on nutrition/training research in ‘the West’) describes it very well in his December 2011 issue:

There might actually be something slightly magical about the classic night-time carb-heavy gut-bomb. And I’d emphasize “might” because the evidence base for this is still relatively thin & racked with important limitations. However, in controlled studies, the results are strikingly consistent. Martin Berkhan has already done a good job of compiling the research in this area , so I’m not going to recount all of it.

Nevertheless, the most recent study in the saga is truly provocative. In a 6-month trial with a larger-than-typical subject sample, Sofer et al saw greater reductions in total weight, fat mass, and waist circumference in subjects who consumed the majority of their carbs at dinner, as opposed to a more evenly spread consumption throughout the day in the control group. A slightly lesser drop in leptin was seen in the experimental group, which the authors speculate is what led to greater satiety/lower hunger levels. Furthermore, the experimental group had better improvements in measures of glucose control, lipids, insulin sensitivity, and inflammation. If the study went on any longer, you’d think that the subjects in the experimental group would develop superpowers.

Nothing to add to this really except that if your English is up to it, and you like these kind of things you can check out a free issue of Alan’s Research Review here. I really love his stuff and I’d like you to appreciate it too, so I’ll have a Japanese introduction post of him in the coming months for you.

Ready to try something new this year?

So there we have it gentleman, before you start your summer cut and potentially burn off your year of hard work, are you sure you don’t want to give Martin’s Leangains a go this year? – Click for The Guide. -Good luck!

Note to the English readers: While I’ve tried my best, I fully expect there to be some mistakes in the above. I’m kind of hoping that some of you clever people out there will pick me up on them so I don’t embarrass myself in Japan. Either way, it’s been good to thrash out some theories when writing this.

************************************

Odds and Ends

  • For the smaller things, small successes and whatnot I’ve been increasingly using the Rippedbody.jp Facebook Page, so if you want to keep up-to-date please check it out.
  • I’ve updated the Leangains FAQ quite a lot in the last month and will continue working to improve it.
  • Think you can help to spread this in Japan? Please get in touch and we can work on something together. (If not then Twitter “shares” and Facebook “likes” are helpful for the google battle. 🙂

Feel free to leave a comment as always. Thanks! -Andy.

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About the Author

Andy Morgan

I'm an online nutritional coach and trainer. After seeing one too many people get ripped off by supplement and training industry lies I decided to try and do something about it. The site you see here is the result of a lot of Starbucks-fuelled, two-fingered typing. It's had a lot of love poured into it, and I hope you find the guides to the diet and training methods I use on this site useful. When I'm not helping clients you'll likely find me crashing down a mountain on a snowboard, riding a motorbike, or staring at watches I can't afford.

314 Comments on “Why is Leangains so effective?”

  1. Good day Andy, and thank you for writing a wonderful, well phrased and very informative article!

    For the past couple of months I have been reading a lot about Leangains and IF, and decided to give it a go.

    Still, even after reading this article and the other articles here on the subject (and some of Martin’s work on his website), I have a few questions…

    1. Considering sufficient protein intake (~3 g/kg lean mass), would IF increase the risk of loosing muscle, as you aren’t providing the body any protein for long periods of time?
    What is the research stand point on this topic?

    2. Does one have to stick to the 16-8 regimen?
    What is the minimum to get an effect? can 12 or 14 hours work for males? what is the “safe maximum” for such a fast? up to 18 hours? up to 24?

    3. Does IF have to be coupled with the RPT style of training?
    Can IF work with other training systems, for example 4 times a week upper \ lower split?

    4. I mostly train during afternoon and evening hours (having a “normal hours” job), but one of my training days is on a weekend day, in the morning.
    I don’t wish to train fasted \ take supplements (tried training fasted, and it always resulted in bad sessions for me…) .
    How should I schedule my meals on that day?

    5. Last but not least, a question on glycogen.
    How much carbs should one eat to restore muscle glycogen stores to full capacity?
    I read Lyle McDonald’s article on how much carbs we need, and there it states that you need an extra 5g carbs for every 2 sets you do.
    So, would it be correct to conclude that you should eat that amount of carbs 30-60 minutes prior to the workout?
    Does that comply with the “rule” that you should eat as many of your calories as you can after the workout on training days?

    Thank you for you time and advice,
    Michael

    1. Michael, thanks or the questions. You’ll find all of them covered in my Complete Nutrition Set Up Guide. The last one is mentioned just briefly, but trust me, it’s irrelevant outside of the context of endurance training (2+ hours) or special training circumstances (purposeful glycogen depleting workouts, like with Lyle’s UD2.0).

      Don’t stuff yourself up trying to piece together the “greatest hits” from multiple different methods, you’ll only stuff things up for yourself. I see this a lot.

  2. Hey,

    I have already posted a question on a different article, however I have just read about IF.

    After going through your diet guide, I calculated that to I need to eat 40% Carbs and Protein and 20% fat. I will follow your training guides also, but can I integrate the Intermittent fasting aspect of fasting for 16 hours and eating all my calories in an 8 hour window?

    As I work night shifts, this was my initial plan. I sleep at 6am and wake at 2pm. I would have a first meal around 3pm and train from 5-6pm. I have my biggest meal post workout, and whatever is remaining of my calories, I will have it at 10pm to close my 8 hour window? Do you think this is a good idea?

  3. Hi Andy,

    Great site, thanks for all the helpful information.

    I’m starting IF, looking to cut (+10%/-30%), train 4 days, rest 3 days and have calculated my Macros however my average calorie deficit comes out at only 200 kcal below my Total Daily Energy Expenditure.

    Does that seem a bit low to see fat loss?

    1. Hi Hamish.
      A calorie deficit is needed for fat loss, so no it doesn’t seem unusual, and yes, I’m taking into account the fact that you probably meant to say BMR there rather than TDEE. You can confirm everything using the newer guide linked at the top of the article.

  4. Andy,

    Similar question as Kieran but the difference is I do not have a trainer. I have been tracking my workouts (work volume) in adaptifier and recently dropped my calories in attempt to shed some body fat. In doing so I’ve also dropped my volume by a little more than half of what I was doing during the time I was consuming far more calories.

    I can assume there is no “magic” amount of volume and each person is different so I have been monitoring the following: amount of weight loss per week (keeping it at 1-2 lbs) and trying to maintain my strength.

    I do feel a little guilty after a workout. Not used to it being so short but it beats trying to keep my volume the same during lower calories which ALWAYS got me sick/injured and/or burned out.

    I’ll let you know how it goes. Can’t wait until you start taking clients again.

  5. Pingback: Por que o sistema Leangains (LG) é tão eficiente?Dieta & Malhação

  6. I’m not sure if I’ve missed this somewhere, but how long specifically is the PWO? I ask this because during a slow bulk for instance where I am going to be getting almost 4000 calories on a lifting day, while I understand that “most” of my calories should be post workout, I may not be able to shovel in 3000 calories. Can I break it into 2 meals? Example: workout at 5pm, post workout meal 2000 calories immediately after, then 1000 calories meal before bed? Would both of these meals be effective or have I lost the partitioning benefit for the meal before bed say around 8-10pm?

  7. Pingback: A Hierarquia de importância nutricionalDieta & Malhação

  8. Hi Andy,
    This is a great article, so I’ll be sharing it with others. For myself, since starting the diet my strength levels have remained fairly consistent. Today I squatted 100kg for 5 sets of 5 and it wasn’t any more difficult than when I was bulking (i.e. eating everything I could from morning until night!) back in the summer, plus I was 7kg heavier back then. I should be able to at least equal my previous 1RM of 110kg in the next week or so, despite being in a caloric deficit and being leaner, which is fantastic.
    Thanks a lot,
    Matt.

  9. early morning fasted training

    hi andy,

    I train early in the morning fasted w/ the 30g bcaa protocol as mentioned in martin’s guide here
    http://www.leangains.com/2010/05/early-morning-fasted-training.html

    anyways, i just wanted to make sure about the “30g of BCAA pre/post workout”.

    I currently use Scivation XTEND

    On the bottle it says “7g BCAA per serving”, and 1 serving = 14g of the powder (1 spoonful)
    So i just take 2 spoonfuls + a bit extra, pour 300ml of water and drink it pre/post workout 100ml each time.
    But technically, this is only 14+g BCAA, right?
    In Martin’s website it read “Simply mix 30 g of BCAA POWDER in a shake and drink one third of it every other hour”
    so I assumed this was ok.

    Just wanted to make sure in case I am wrong to assume that and I actually need to intake 30g of bcaa on its own (so 4+ servings of the bcaa POWDER).

    Thank you in advance.

    1. Hi Dmz. “30g of BCAA powder” should be corrected to the more precise phrasing, “30g of BCAAs”, as manufacturers will put other shit in there sometimes.
      Welcome to ask further questions at any time, but please post using your name.

      1. Hi Andy

        I’m sorry, I did not know about posting using an alias. My name is Ken, I will post using my name in the future.
        About your response, I’m a bit confused.
        So, is 2 scoops (30g of “powder” containing 14g of bcaa according to bottle) good enough? (Sorry, English is not my 1st language)

        Thank you !

          1. OHHH! So I was not taking enough! (Since I was consuming 14g of bcaa split in 3 occasions, so 4.6~ per time instead of 10g)

            So to follow the protocol I guess I need to drink 1.5 scoops 3 times (4.5 scoops in total) pre/post workout, right?

            Thank you so much!

            1. Andy, sorry to bother you, but please confirm:

              I’m correct to assume the above, right? (1.5 scoops on 6AM, 8AM, and 10AM, total of 4.5 scoops)
              Just making sure b/c these things are expensive & I don’t wanna be using too much for no reason!!

              sorry for asking many times, thanks always for ur articles!

  10. Hi Andy,

    I am currently following 2 meals eating plan. Can i eat my second meal (last meal) before my workout ? This is because if I eat after my workout than it will go over my 8hrs eating windows . My eating window is between 1pm-9pm. I come back home from work pretty late around 8pm.

    Cheers,

  11. Andy- if your following leangains- and counting your macros correctly, will you still see improvement without heavy lifting? Example- you still workout 3x per week with weights- perhaps you push your self still very hard but with more repetitions. Is it lift heavy or nothing??

    Thanks.

  12. Hi Andy, I train full body 3 times a week which I use to take in my ‘training day’s macros. But I actually train in swimming/rock climbing/Judo on rest days (somtimes 2 on the same day) Also as part of a career choice. Shall stick to rest day macros on these days or add in say Extra kcals in carbs to compensure the expenditure and recovery? Thanks

  13. That’s great that it is possible to even gain muscle when cutting!

    But, if my goal is to not lose nor gain any muscles at all, just lose bodyfat. Is there anything I can do to make this easier, like less protein, less carbs or whatever combination of thngs to do. I feel like I working against my goal a little bit if I gain muscle weight when all I want to do is lose bodyfat.

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Lejon, thank you for the question, a common one, but totally irrelevant – it’s simply a function of an underestimation of body fat. When you buy a Porsche, and someone offers you an upgrade to a Ferrari, the wise may takes the Ferrari.

      Martin Berkhan summed this up well on twitter recently:

      ‘I work out, but I dont wanna get too big’, is not a genuine concern. It’s hubris. But guess what? You ain’t that awesome.

      Though I know you probably feel your question is different, it isn’t. See here.

      1. Well, I think you and Martin are looking from another perspective than me. It feels like you are thinking of how you look in the mirror while I’m thinking of how I can perform in fighting/martial arts. I do not need excess fat that do me no good just slows me down and I do not want to gain muscle but go as low as I can in weight with my muscles I have now and not packing on me more.

        Ok, let’s ask you like this insted:
        Why did Scott grow on his cut?
        I do not want to grow on a cut…maintain yes but not grow.
        If I do not want to grow on a cut as Scott did then what can I not do that Scott did and vise versa.
        Scott was on a cut right, so it seems like being in a deficit is not enough.

        Hope you understand me, I mean that is to often I read of client results that lose a lot of body fat but have not lost much weight, that I do not want to do…I want to lose body fat and not gaining muscle.

        Thanks for replying, much appreciated!

        While I was sitting here and reading through what I just wrote I thought I might have the answer my self.
        Maybe I can adjust how much muscle gain I want through how heavy I lift, If I do not want gains I just keep the same numbers on every exercise, if I want to lose muscle I lower the numbers and if I want to gain then I raise the numbers…simple as that…or is it?

        Anyhow…thanks Andy!

        1. Lejon, please re-read what I have said just above before reading below.

          “I do not want to grow on a cut…maintain yes but not grow.”
          You will get smaller. Muscle weighs more than fat. Growth refers to muscle mass. This will be very little as in the case of Scott as he already had a solid lifting career behind him, more with others.

          Now for the juicy bit:

          Fear that muscle will slow you down for your martial arts, provided you have the appropriate level of body fat (very lean), and do not start taking AAS (steroids), is complete nonsense.

          I say this not just as a physique coach, but as someone that’s worked with competitive fighters, as someone that came to Japan initially out of fascination with the martial arts (more here), as someone with fighter friends all around, and as a fan of MMA myself.

          Keep up your training and you will remain quick and become more powerful. GSP is pretty much the peak of what a naturally built* martial artist can expect to look like. He is not slow.

          (*in all likelihood given his recent step down due to the UFC drugs testing policy)

  14. Pingback: Nutritional Hierarchy of Importance – #4 Meal Timing | RippedBody.jp

  15. This is really a great post you did…..I remember when I first started LG, I read this, but it didn’t click. After having been doing LG for >2 months now, I started having questions, and was looking for answers. Someone just mentioned this article, and I re-read it. It does help to answer the questions and things begin clicking.
    Really a good read for those who are starting LG and then rereading it about 2 months in.

    1. Yeah I agree I’m 4weeks in and this web page is so helpfull very we’ll explained ..thank you very much for putting every thing so simple for us.

  16. This is SUCH a great post my dude! I have read read and reread Martin’s stuff for YEARS, but only just recently started to adopt and implement. Pending my BCAA’s I’ve been doing Ori’s 24hr fasts and reducing my training volume to 3x a week using RPT. I’m stoked to see what kind of results this way of life will yield for a fat guy 😉
    You’re a great man- I can tell from your posts. Keep us motivated and continue to make good choices down the right paths. Your friend in Christ-
    Kizer

  17. 4-5AM: 10g BCAA, then workout
    6AM: 10g BCAA
    8AM: 10g BCAA
    10AM: Big ass breakfast or lunch
    5PM: Dinner with family

    is it okay to wait 5 hours after training before I have my first meal after fasting? Will this hamper results? This is the only schedule I can do for lean gains without sacrificing my job or family.

    1. I haven’t experienced different results with people that do fasted early morning training so don’t worry Peter.

      1. So not eating before training and not eating after training for 5 hours is not counter productive?

        1. Well now you are phrasing it differently. To clarify:
          Using the BCAA protocol you described it will not be counter productive.
          Training fasted and then no food or BCAAs may be counter productive, don’t do it.
          Martin’s got you covered on theory here.

  18. Hi Andy, I’m just wondering how much volume you recommend during a cut. I’ve seen a few articles on here that recommends scaling back volume but I’m not sure how much. I’m only a few months in to training so still a beginner and like the volume from a practice viewpoint. Currently being coached at a powerlifting gym and have been put on Wendler’s 531 3 days a week (one big movement a day) which I actually really like but this has assistance work – 2 exercises at 5 sets of 10 each. So this is 100 reps at 40% after my heavy work.

    I’ve started to notice a drop in strength and longer recovery times. This is worrying as I’m only new to this so I would expect decent increases in strength even on a cut. I’m guessing this is far too much volume but how much do you think I should scale it back? Would 3×10 be more appropriate or is this still too much?

    Or is it a case of try it and see?

    1. Discuss that you’re cutting with the person giving you the programming at your gym. They may have specific suggestions for you. If not tell me.

      1. I actually have already done this and I got a big round of laughs from him and the other lifters. They’re all great guys but I’m 5’10 and skinny fat so they just didn’t get it. I have tried the recomp for a while and lost the initial fat, which is great, but I think it would be nice to see some abs and I know that I’ll be able to handle carbs better when I get leaner. Kinda in stalemate at the moment.

        Basically he just told me to stick with the program and focus on building muscle (and eat more)

        1. So then it comes down to this: Do you trust them? If so then listen to their advice as they may well be right. One of the hardest things to explain is to people that have very little muscle the need to not cut.

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