LeanGains, Intro + Approach
This is part one of a three-part post series on LeanGains/Intermittent Fasting. The posts will explore the different approaches to LeanGains, what to expect when starting LeanGains, and and some tips & tricks (along with a before and after pic) I’ve learned over the last year of following the LeanGains eating style.
***UPATE – JULY 3rd 2015 – 3 YEARS LATER RESULTS AND UPDATE HERE***
As many of you already know, I live the LeanGains lifestyle which is a form of Intermittent Fasting. I DO NOT DIET OR COUNT CALORIES when maintaining weight, I actually do quite the opposite. From 3pm to 9pm 5 to 6 days a week I eat almost anything and everything I want. There are 1 to 2 days a week I eat only once that day and EAT EVERYTHING and ANYTHING I WANT.
A Typical 3 pm – 9 pm Eating Day (3,000 – 4,000 calories) Might Include:
Lunch at 3pm
- 2-3 Chicken Breasts
- A serving of pasta (with a teaspoon of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese)
- An Oh Yeah Protein Bar (caramel chocolate or fudge brownie)
Dinner at 6:30 pm
- 3-4 Pieces of Tilapia
- 1-2 cups of Red Potatoes (with olive oil + herbs)
- A ½ cup of Kalamata Olives
- A glass of wine
Dessert or Snack at 8 pm
- 2 Eggo Waffles with butter,
- A Cup of Mayfield Vanilla Ice Cream,
- 2-4 tablespoons of Syrup
- 1 to 2 Cups of Whole Milk,
- 1/2 – 1 Box of Cereal (if I eat Fruity Pebbles or Captain Crunch I’ll eat the whole box).
A Typical One-Time Eating Day (3,500 – 4,800 calories) Might Include:
Main Meal (Jim N’ Nick’s Example):
- Drink; 3-4 Glasses of Coke
- Appetizer; 6-10 Cheddar Cheese Muffins
- Dinner; 4-5 Chicken Fingers (with honey + honey mustard), Mashed Potatoes, French Fries
Dessert (Doughnuts from QuickTrip…love those thangs)
- 2 Original Glazed Donuts
- 1 Sour Cream Doughnut
- French Vanilla Cappuccino
- 1 to 2 Cups of Whole Milk
- 1/2 Box of Cereal
LeanGains And Weight Management
I have been eating/living like this for over a year now and I can honestly say I have not fluctuated more than 4 lbs. in either direction. As a matter of fact, when LeanGains is kicking on all cylinders I find myself controlling my weight via the amount of exercise I do instead of the amount of food I intake – in other words, I cannot physically eat enough food to not lose weight so I have to cut back on exercise.
It is important to note that I workout 6 days a week and for 5-6 days a week I eat pretty healthy foods while 1-2 days a week, the days I eat only one meal, I throw caution to the wind.
LEANGAINS – CALORIE, CARBS, AND FAT CYCLING
LeanGains itself is a type of Intermittent Fasting – meaning you will not be eating for part of the day. On top of having designated fast/feed states, the LeanGains approach also cycles the daily amount of calories, carbs, and fats while maintaining protein intake high everyday.
This pretty much means that;
- On days you workout you should be consuming more calories than on rest days and keeping your carbohydrates intake higher than fats.
- On rest days you should be consuming less calories than on workout days and keeping your fat intake higher than carbs.
- You should keep your protein intake at a high level everyday
I’d suggest trying to eat about 120-200 grams of protein everyday. If you’re pretty fit and working out you should try to eat at least your body weight in grams of protein.
Workout Day = Higher Calories, High Proteins, High Carbs, Low Fats
Rest Days = Lower Calories, High Proteins, Low Carbs, High Fats
For a complete list of “Key Points” for following the LeanGains eating plan check out The Man’s website.
LEANGAINS – THE DIFFERENT APPROACHES
LeanGains has a number of different approaches to fit most everyone’s lifestyle.
The 12/12 Approach
If you’re just starting LeanGains I’d suggest doing the 12/12 approach first. The 12/12 approach means that for 12 hours of the day you will not be eating anything and for the other 12 hours of the day you will be consuming your daily caloric intake. I think this plan is best to start with because, for most people, this means just skipping breakfast…
…WHAT!!! SKIPPING “THE MOST IMPORTANT MEAL OF THE DAY?”
Yes, this means “just” skipping breakfast. Skipping breakfast was a HUGE deal for me. Breakfast was by far my favorite meal of the day (and it actually still is). But, not only is it my favorite meal of the day, I also thought it was “the most important meal of the day.”
Well, it turned out to not be that big of a deal. I started skipping breakfast and the end of the world did not occur…nor did I gain a single pound as a result. As a matter of fact I started losing even more weight and now the days I eat breakfast for lunch, or even dinner, are the best breakfasts I’ve ever had!
IF YOU DO HAVE TO HAVE BREAKFAST then simply adjust the 12/12 to fit breakfast into your fed state. For example, say you like to eat breakfast at 7 am, simply stop eating by 7 pm at night and voilà – the 12/12 approach with breakfast included.
After trying out the 12/12 approach for only about a week I realized I could step up the game to the 14/10 approach by simply eating my last snack by 10 pm.
The 14/10 Approach
With the 14/10 Approach to LeanGains I would fast from 10pm until 12pm the next day (14 hours fasted) and then eat from 12pm – 10pm (10 hours fed). I followed the 14/10 Approach for about 3 days before I stepped it up to the next level.
The 16/8 Approach
“What…you mean the 16/8 Diet right? The diet Hugh Jackman used to prepare for “The Wolverine”?”
No, I mean the most common LeanGains approach to Intermittent Fasting – the 16/8. The 12/12 or 14/10 will help get you on your way but the 16/8 (16 hour fast with 8 hour fed state) is the sweet spot for weight/fat loss.
It is actually clinically proven that after 12 hours of being in a fasted state the body starts burning fat at an elevated rate…and we’re talking not hundreds of times more but thousands of times more fat burn – YES THOUSANDS!
So, if you can ride past that 12 hour mark then every extra hour, up until about 24 hours, of fasting will be burning that much more fat calories…and that is why I worked myself up to the 18/6 Approach – to be in the fat burning sweet spot.
The 18/6 Approach
This LeanGains approach has you fasting 18 hours a day and feeding 6 hours a day. This is where I have lived for almost a year now. It took about 2 months to get to the 18/6 Approach and, I must say, IT WASN’T that easy. But just know that after about a month in the 18/6 approach it does eventually become “normal.” ‘Normal’ in the sense that my body got used to it and I could do it no problem…but I was still hungry around lunch time.
Just so you guys don’t get discouraged when attempting this approach, it took me about 6 months of following the 18/6 approach before I could go the full 18 hours without feeling hungry…and now I can go a full 24 hours, but I’ve been doing this for a year now.
BUT, IF YOU FEEL HUNGRY THAN JUST THINK OF IT AS A GOOD THING BECAUSE IF YOUR BODY IS TRULY IN NEED OF ENERGY THAN THAT MEANS IT’S ABOUT TO START GETTING INTO YOUR CARB AND FAT RESERVES….AND THAT’S THE WHOLE GOAL OF INTERMITTENT FASTIN – TO EAT WHAT YOU WANT WHILE GIVING YOUR BODY TIME TO USE WHAT YOU EAT!