This is the final post of a three-part series on LeanGains/Intermittent Fasting. The posts will explore the different approaches to LeanGains, what to expect when starting LeanGains, and some tips & tricks I’ve learned over the last year of following the LeanGains eating style. I have shared only a few pros, cons, tips, and tricks on this post but feel free to ask for more or ask any questions you guys my have concerning LeanGains or Intermittent Fasting.
PROS + CONS
Time Stress Saver
There is no doubt about it, if you have less meals a day you will not have to plan as much. A normal, “good for you” breakfast, takes at least 5-10 minutes to prep plus another 5-10 minutes to eat – you just got an extra 20 minutes in your day! And, on the days that you are fasting for a full day, say from dinner to dinner, not only do you save breakfast prep time but also lunch prep – boom, another 10 minutes! I can’t tell you how many times I would be late for work and think, “Oh crap, I forgot to make my lunch,” and then, “Oh well, guess I’ll be fasting today.” It really is liberating.
No Calorie Counting – Once in Maintenance Mode
Once you have reached your desired weight YOU’LL NEVER HAVE TO CALORIE COUNT AGAIN!
Huge Money Saver
This is probably the most underrated pro of following the LeanGains or Intermittent Fasting eating plans.
LEANGAINS AND INTERMITTENT FASTING ARE BY FAR THE CHEAPEAST EATING PLANS OUT THERE.
I mean it makes sense right?
Think about it, if you are skipping breakfast there is at least $3-$5 a day in your pocket. And, on top of saving money on one or two less meals a day, you’ll also be eating your normal foods so no having to go to the grocery to buy expensive ingredients for some new diet plan. Even if you are already buying expensive foods, the point is you will not be spending any more money at the grocery just becaue you have a new diet.
Remember, LeanGains is all about adjusting your own eating plan not creating a new diet.
This was most evident after shopping a few times for the P90X meal plan. Don’t get me wrong, the P90X meal plan works, the food is really quite good, and your never really hungry but it is pretty expensive.
LeanGains Intermittent Fasting approach is bar none the best fat burning eating plan out there. For more information on how LeanGains helps you scorch fat check out this post.
You Can Eat Carbs
Because of how LeanGains works (keeping your body constantly burning energy for fuel) you can actually eat carbs! This was a huge selling point for me because previously I had only lost weight on low-carb diets such as the Atkins and South Beach. But, when I found myself no longer losing weight on any low-carb diet, I had to turn to something new and that eventually led me to LeanGains.
To break my year-long weight loss plateau I initially started with the P90X meal plan, which allows a certain amount of carbs per day, but when I switched to LeanGains I could have my personal fill of carbs and still be inside my targeted macronutrients goal (see the bottom of Part 2 of this series to calculate your macronutrients).
I am not going to lie, when first starting LeanGains or Intermittent Fasting you will most likely experience mood swings…due to hunger. This happened, and still happens on occasions, to me.
At first I had no idea why I was feeling agitated, but by about the fourth time it happened for what seemed like no reason at all I realized I was just pretty hungry, had a slight headache, and was probably not staying as hydrated as I should have been. Nonetheless, this agitated state does still occur from time to time but now I know what the deal is and can quickly set my mood right.
The trick to fight the mood swing is to acknowledge the issue, know why it’s happening, and tell yourself, “Cool, I’m hungry but I’m burning fat! And I’m about to eat in a bit”…and it never hurts to drink your water, you amino acids drink, or a small cup of coffee.
Non-Stop Weight Loss
This sounds AMAZING right?
Well, it might sound amazing but it’s not amazing…in the least to be honest. Once your body gets into true LeanGains fat burning mode it won’t be easy to stop. This happened to me right as I was starting P90X2 for the first time. I was losing about ½ to 1 lbs. a week. I become so worried my continued weight loss that I actually called my doctor about it…the doctor said I just needed to eat more or workout less.
My first attempt was to eat more but I couldn’t physically down enough calories, with healthy and non-healthy foods, to stop the weight loss. About two weeks into P90X2 I found myself at 163 lbs. and looking a bit to thin for my liking. So, when I realized I couldn’t eat enough to stop the weight loss I turned to tweaking my workout.
Stopping weight training was out of the question so I STOPPED RUNNING FOR ALMOST TWO FULL WEEKS WHILE EATING AS MUCH FOOD, HEALTHY OR NOT, AS I COULD JUST TO STOP LOSING WEIGHT.
Once the weight loss stopped I went back to running a few days a week and by the end of P90X2 I had gained about 4 lbs. of lean mass back onto my frame…but it really was not easy!
SELF-CONTROL, Feeding Your Kids or Prepping Meals
Want to test your self-control?
Try feeding your kids or prepping your favorite brunch meal knowing you won’t be able to eat for at least another 4 hours! Once you can successfully either cook your favorite meal or literally spoon it into your kid’s mouth without taking a bite you will be able to say that YOU HAVE SUCCESSFULLY CHANGED YOUR LIFESTYLE!
ONE TIP FOR CURVING TEMPTATIONS – AS RIDICULOUS AS THIS SOUNDS, IT WORKS FOR ME….JUST SMELL THE FOOD. SERIOUSLY, TAKE A BUNCH OF FULL WHIFFS OF WHAT YOUR CRAVING AND IT WILL HELP FIGHT THE CRAVING…as long as you aren’t craving something like M&M’s which really have no smell.
TIPS + TICKS
STAY HYDRATED, DRINK CAFFEINE, + STAY BUSY
As many of us know now-a-days, sometimes thirst can be mistaken for hunger…so stay hydrated and “drink your water people.”
Now, as any LeanGainer or IF’er would tell you, “no, I am not thirsty! I am hungry because I haven’t eaten anything all day!” And the fact is that, YES, you will be hungry…and yes, water alone will not be able to curve that hunger completely.
But staying hydrated while fasting is more about your physical well-being and a lot less about your psychological appetite (though it will help curve your appetite a bit too).
When you do start fasting you will notice, at least I did anyways, that you will urinate a lot more frequently…I mean at least double if not more. So, you have to stay hydrated to help fight off dehydration, headaches, and the occasional light-headedness you’ll feel the first few days or even weeks.
Another side effect of staying hydrated will be that you’ll at least feel a bit more full.
Enough to not feel hungry?
But add some caffeine to the mix and you’ll be able to fight off the hunger a bit more easily.
Drink A Bit of Caffeine
Now, by a “bit” that is exactly what I mean. For a number of health reasons DO NOT OVER DO THE CAFFEINE .
Because caffeine is clinically proven to curve your hunger/appetite and help relieve headaches I strongly suggest a small amount of caffeine if you are just starting LeanGains.
Feel free to enjoy a cup or two of black coffee, or blackish coffee with a dab (less than 10 calories) of creame, and NO CALORIE sweetener…it can help keep you on track.
Most BCAA Amino Acid drinks have some amount of green tea extract and/or caffeine to help “wake you up.”. Well, take it from my personal experience, if taken as recommended on the label YOU WILL GET A LITTLE MORE PICK ME UP THAN EXPECTED. When I first started LeanGains, I mean the very first few days, I would take the Amino Acids as prescribed on the label…and by the end of day two I knew something was up.
I felt a bit on edge with a noticeably elevated heart rate and I even felt a bit of a tingle in my face…not cool.
On top of that, by day three of Intermittent Fasting I was not really hungry at the end of my fast…and that was not a good thing!!!!
A lot of you might be like – “awesome, no hunger!” But that is more like – “scary, why am I not hungry?! I mean my body should be screaming for, AND NEEDS, fuel!”
I had experienced this non-hunger sensation once before in my life and I quickly realized what was causing it this time around – too much caffeine!
A number of years ago I started to take a supplement known as Ripped Fuel to help…well, get ripped. I was taking the prescribed 6 pills a day. Within 4 days I realized one day that I had skipped lunch and wasn’t really that hungry for my birthday dinner. I remember thinking something was up because I would normally eat about 16 ounces of my mom’s grilled steak, 3 pieces of Texas Toast, one large baked potato, and about 3 pieces of my wife’s ice cream cookie cake…I mean this was my favorite meal of the year and I just skipped it because I wasn’t hungry!
This my friends is not a good thing at all SO DO NOT attempt to make this the case for you. I cut back the caffeine-loaded Ripped Fuel intake to 1/6th the recommended intake and my appetite came back within a few day.
The point here is to make sure your caffeine intake is moderate and at a healthy level. Healthy being whatever amount allows you to feel normal – not tingly, nor on edge, nor with a loss of appetite.
This may sound a bit gimmicking but it works – Stay Busy! Think about it, how many times have you worked through lunch due to meeting a deadline. Yeah, I personally still get hungry, but it is noticeably less noticeable if I am busy.
Please, do not get me wrong, I mean I’ll be in meetings while fasting and notice that I am hungry, but I’m a lot less hungry than if I were at my desk bored just thinking about how hungry I am.
So, if you can – stay busy.
THE RIGHT STATE OF MIND
When you’re Intermittent Fasting, especially the first few weeks, and maybe months, it will be hard to be around food during your fasted state…and, as mentioned above, it will be even harder to feed or prep your kids’ food during these hours.
BUT, learn to put yourself in the right state of mind and your self-control will fall into place.
Yes, you will most likely be hungry during that lunch meeting, but always keep your goal in mind.
Be it lean mass gain or weight loss, the point is that if you are truly committed to getting results or, more importantly, truly committed to changing your lifestyle, you will have that in the back of your mind and you will be in the right state of mind to fight temptation.
Just remember that once you get to your maintenance weight you’ll be able to eat whatever you want during your fed state – and that my friends is worth the initial hunger pains of the first few weeks.
I tip to fighting of temptation is to have a drink handy. I make sure to have my amino acid drink with me at all times because drinking it has helped me fight temptation EVERY SINGLE TIME over the past year. Anytime I feel weak I just take a few sips and the feeling passes. TO BE HONEST, ABOUT THREE MONTHS INTO LEANGAINS OR INTERMITTENT FASTING YOU WILL REALIZE THAT YOU DON’T GET REALLY HUNGRY UNTIL ABOUT AN HOUR BEFORE YOUR FED STATE BEGINS. SO MUSCLE THROUGH THE FIRST FEW WEEKS AND THE HUNGER PAINS WILL GO AWAY BECAUSE ONE DAY YOUR BODY WILL GET USED TO IT…IT WILL BECOME YOUR NEW “NATURAL”!
DO NOT OVER EAT WHEN BREAKING A FAST
When breaking a fast try not to over eat – ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE TRYING TO LOSE WEIGHT!
A very good tip/trick to help not over eat is to eat a lot of the same thing.
So, when it’s time to chow down pick three different foods and eat as much as you can of those three foods.
For example, lets say you pick steak, potatoes, and green beans. Well, eat as much steak, potatoes, and green beans as you’d like!
Why Does This Work?
Eating a lot of the same food works because your body will tend to get a bit bored with that food…I mean there is only so much steak you can eat…it just so happens to be about 18 oz. for me…but nonetheless it’ll help keep me from over eating.
So, there you have it – a number of pros, cons, tips, and tricks to get you started on LeanGains or any other form of Intermittent Fasting.
Please be sure to shoot us any questions you may have concerning Intermittent Fasting.
By Rolando Rodriguez