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Ray's Leangains Journey

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  • #16
    Saturday's party was a total loss -- got a little banged up on Dude Vodka Sprites and Bud Light Lime Bombs, BBQ fare and it went well into the night. Hard to say, but probably somewhere in the neighbor of 3,000-3,500 calories..yikes!

    Sunday was a lethargic hangover day and without "needing" to have breakfast OR lunch (after all the food Sat.), I still maintained a 16 hour fast. Based on fitday tracking, I came in just over 1,000 calories and came reasonably close to daily fat/protein goals. In the past, I would have feared having such a low calorie day, but if I don't need it, why eat it?

    Today was back to the usual (fitday below) - big salad for lunch with the Dark Choco PB as a snack and a healthy-sized dinner - A Turkey Burger, Chicken, Guac, Asparagus with Chobi Yogurt dressing (mixed with ranch seasoning). With room to spare with the macros, I'm going to have some So Delicious Coconut-Milk based ice cream for dessert! I can't believe i'm on a "diet"!

    p90x2 Leangains Journal - Phase II (January - April 2012)

    Leangains & Starting Strength Journal - Phase I (August - Dec 2011)


    • #17
      Ray, as a fellow Leangains follower, your journal interests me greatly. I'm just starting the 16th week of a lifting program I mostly cribbed from Leangains, and although I haven't measured myself or counted calories, the results have been very good indeed. From the results you're getting after only four weeks, you are on an awesome trajectory. I have a couple of questions if you care to answer...

      What is your lifting schedule? Is it all P90x or do you do barbell work like Martin describes?
      Have you tried Martin's alcohol protocol as described on his site (lots of veggie carbs, very low fat, high booze)?

      As to your questions in your initial posts, I definitely don't do cheat days. It messes with my metabolism and makes life generally difficult. In fact, if I even eat breakfast, I turn into a food vacuum for the rest of the day. But maybe that's just me.

      The main pitfall I discovered is that if you're killing it in the weight room, you need to respect your rest days. I was alternating lifting days with cardio days (being impatient to see results) and I hit a plateau about six weeks in. When I took some unscheduled rest days a month later, I crashed right through the plateau. Now my non-weight days consist of sunbathing, sledgehammering (as a mild traction/recovery exercise), and occasionally a very light jog/walk.


      • #18
        Hey, happy to answer.

        Just p90x for now - I used to do cycles of it but this year and also lately with LG, I've cut the workouts in half and just go a little harder through the first half. So it's not really following LG exactly - I'll see how it goes and if it seems to be holding me back I may have to re-evaluate. Rest isn't really a problem so far, if anything I feel like I'm slacking off a little just doing it 2-3x week. I've also cut out running, replacing it with occasional walks and bike rides.

        With alcohol, both times in the last couple weeks I started out with good intentions but ended up having a lot of sugary and refined carbs. We'll see how this week's weigh in goes after last Sat night... I'm still torn on cheat days - I don't think I'm going to go nuts like Ferriss in the 4 hour body, but I still like the idea of being a little less restrictive once a week (and also making sure a heavier workout falls on that day).

        What are you goals and how are your results so far? Do you stick to 16/8 eating or do you mix up times or even take a break once in awhile?
        p90x2 Leangains Journal - Phase II (January - April 2012)

        Leangains & Starting Strength Journal - Phase I (August - Dec 2011)


        • #19
          Ray, if your performance is improving, then clearly your rest is adequate. I was just a little slow to realize that after six weeks of being unable to increase my deadlift, bench and squat, maybe I was overtraining a wee bit.

          And I know what you mean about feeling like a slacker if you only work out 2-3 times a week. It feels weird to me too. I often feel like if I can walk without pain, I should be getting out there daily... and then I see some fit jogger running by while I'm sitting in my car, and I feel like a total spud. But I can't deny that cutting down the frequency of my workouts has led to major improvements. I guess it all depends on the intensity.

          I also agree that it's good to let down your dietary guard a bit once in a while and eat as much as you like. But I think where people go astray is that rather than just eating large amounts of good things, they eat actual poison like sugar or grain or trans fats. Some people might be able to handle that once in a while, but I don't think it helps.

          My goals (besides getting a ripped six-pack; that goes without saying) are to maximize my strength in five moves: deadlift, chinup, bench, dip, and squat. I feel like those are a pretty good cross-section of full-body strength. This will take years, so I have a few tiers:

          1) Eat-Move-Improve Level 1 competency (all completed except for squat, which is almost done)
          2) Parity with Richard Nikoley (closing in fast)
          3) Eat-Move-Improve Level 2 competency (far off for the most part, but I am within a whisker of the dip goal and should be there tomorrow)
          4) Eat-Move-Improve Level 3 competency (a distant goal that I hope to achieve in this lifetime)
          5) Martin Berkhan's criteria for a "highly advanced" lifter (similar to #4)

          Here are links to those numbers:

          Skill Guidelines for Building Strong, Useful, Adaptable Athletes | Eat. Move. Improve.
          Leangains: Martin Berkhan’s Workout Approach | Free The Animal
          10 Random Thoughts On Weight Training: Part Two | Intermittent fasting diet for fat loss, muscle gain and health

          I stick to 16/8 eating on lifting days, but on rest days it's usually 22/2 (single meal at dinner). I like to go for a 36-hour fast once every couple of weeks, which gives me crazy strength when I lift at the end of that window. Fasting this much doesn't feel like a hardship because I really put away the calories when I do eat. Prior to Leangains I was doing 22/2 pretty much daily.


          • #20
            Wow! So you're well into IF in general. When I started, a 24 hour fast seemed unthinkable but now I know I could make it work, though I haven't tried it out just yet. If I have a "pig out" kind of day one of these Saturday, I may try to counter with a 24 hour fast to Sunday evening to balance it out. The amazing thing is I just don't miss breakfast. The biggest change for me was putting away the Raisin Bran Crunch in January - making eggs in the morning is a PITA and I don't miss it.

            Great links, thanks for posting! I think once I get my BF down to lower levels, I may start to get into more "authentic" LG workouts and try to build more muscle. Hopefully by then Martin's book will be out too. Great to have goals outside the purely superficial (the latter is only what I have at the moment.. haha).

            Diet wise, the week's gone well so far and I think I should net out ok for Saturday's update. Today I got in a quick walk around lunch time and put together a p90x Chest, Back & Legs workout since I haven't done anything since Saturday. Hoping to get a few bike rides in this weekend with cool, sunny weather ahead! And no boozing this weekend!
            p90x2 Leangains Journal - Phase II (January - April 2012)

            Leangains & Starting Strength Journal - Phase I (August - Dec 2011)


            • #21
              Week 5 Progress Update

              Weight: 142.1 (-1.6, -4.5 overall)
              BF % (3-pt Test): down 0.6% (-2.4% overall)
              Waist: 30.3" (-0.2", -0.9" overall)
              Stomach: 30.3" (-0.3", -1.3" overall)

              Progress photos at my site.

              5 weeks in without breakfast! Fasts ranged from 15.5 hours to 17.5 this week.

              Despite boozing pretty hard last Saturday and not getting much LISS cardio in (only a 1/2 hour walk), I actually exceeded last week's weight loss and continue to see my BF % steadily creep down. Must be doing something right! I really credit Fitday tracking, hitting daily macros and the elimination of fruits & nuts as in between meal snacks. I still do fruit on workout days but otherwise, nope, and that keeps me under 100 g of carbs easily.

              Intermittent fasting and leangains clearly is playing a role of course, but it seems that by tracking daily intake, successes are starting to come faster!
              p90x2 Leangains Journal - Phase II (January - April 2012)

              Leangains & Starting Strength Journal - Phase I (August - Dec 2011)


              • #22
                Kind of felt like a cheat day yesterday so had a few of my favorite non-primal foods:

                A couple tacos, a spicy chicken sandwich from Wendy's and a big bowl of ice cream... Probably ended up around 20-25% above maintenance and still hit protein goals. Actually dusted off my bench yesterday for the first time in a couple years as I wasn't in the mood to deal with Tony Horton yesterday.

                Back in action today with 1,508 calories, 70 g of fat, 77 g of carbs, 141 g of protein and a quick bike ride. Now that I'm finally on a little bit of a roll, I'm getting more and more excited about what's to come.
                p90x2 Leangains Journal - Phase II (January - April 2012)

                Leangains & Starting Strength Journal - Phase I (August - Dec 2011)


                • #23
                  Ray, great work! Your progress photos show excellent results since last month. Scalloping of abs due to reduced visceral fat and stronger triceps are quite visible. Your caloric discipline is paying the bills. Keep it coming, I am inspired!


                  • #24
                    Thanks man! Definitely floundered a little at first but since managing intake things seem to be moving faster (had to battle a little impatience early on, especially when you see some of the crazy LG transformations out there). Hoping the next month's progress is even better!

                    Cals a touch low the past two days, barely exceeding 1,400 yesterday and brushing 1,500 today. I was a little lethargic, but more from fighting stress and a possible cold. With a custom p90x workout tomorrow, I'm going to try and bump up to closer to 1,700 and carbs around 125-150.

                    The big 'discovery' the past few days has been Protein Fluff! ON Cookies & Cream Casein, 1/2 c Almond Milk and use a hand mixer for about 10 min and wow! Great great stuff especially if you refrigerate it for a little first. Nice way to top off a day.
                    p90x2 Leangains Journal - Phase II (January - April 2012)

                    Leangains & Starting Strength Journal - Phase I (August - Dec 2011)


                    • #25
                      Week 6 Progress Update

                      Weight: 141.8 (-0.3, -4.8 overall)
                      BF % (3-pt Test): down 0.3% (-2.7% overall)
                      Waist: 30" (-0.3", -1.2" overall)
                      Stomach: 30" (-0.3", -1.5" overall)

                      6 weeks in, no major issues with IF aside from "cold hands". Weight loss I suppose is "disappointing" but I think I'm a BM away from that 0.3 ticking up a little, and all three body fat monitor checks came in down 0.3, 0.3 and 0.4% from last week. Not too bad. Diet was in check most of the week and last Saturday's cheat was pretty tame in comparison to the prior two. Kept calories around 1,400-1,500 on rest days and bumped up to 1,700 on Wednesday's workout day. The only unknown was Friday due to a work event, which had a plethora of bad food to choose from.

                      No LISS cardio aside from a 25 min bike ride Sunday and got in weights workouts last Saturday and Wednesday. I think I've taken the "not working out too much" almost to the other extreme! With nothing but rain this past week and upcoming this weekend, I may have to start layering in an INSANITY workout or two (perhaps as morning fasted cardio) or something to get me moving. I could also opt for p90x's tamer "Kenpo X" or "Cardio X" as well..

                      Besides just generically wanting a six pack, the big motivating force behind this journey is I have a Carribean vacation scheduled just after Christmas with a big group of friends and I want to be in the best shape of my life for it!! I figure I have three months to shave off about 10-12 lbs (assuming no LBM losses) and probably at least another 4-6% BF. Based on current progress that would seem to be within reach!!

                      Progress photos from last week at my site.
                      p90x2 Leangains Journal - Phase II (January - April 2012)

                      Leangains & Starting Strength Journal - Phase I (August - Dec 2011)


                      • #26
                        Week 7 Progress Update

                        Weight: 141.1 (-0.7, -5.5 overall)
                        BF % (3-pt Test): down 0.6% (-3.3% overall)
                        Waist: 29.8" (-0.2", -1.4" overall)
                        Stomach: 29.8" (-0.2", -1.7" overall)

                        Got my first 20 hour fast in on Thursday - I wanted to see if I could push to the full 24 but had a scavenger hunt as part of a work retreat (really) and didn't want to risk zonking out in front of coworkers. Since I figured the dinner that followed would be a disaster, I had decided in advance to skip lunch. In the end, options were decent so I just piled my plate with lobster and chicken and downed with a couple glasses of wine. Felt like I ate like a king and probably still came in around 1,500 calories for the day!

                        A little more cardio this week - a lot of walking during said scavenger hunt and did an INSANITY workout on Sunday to get the heart rate up. Swapped the usual p90x for p90x+ workouts this week... not a huge fan of the +. Too much movement, a lot less focus compared to the regular workouts.

                        With the waistline creeping down, I'm now ready to retire 1 pair of work pants and seem to now be able to dust off a couple of pairs that haven't fit in years!


                        I haven't really spent as much time talking about my daily diet, but here is what it has settled down to be on weekdays, in the last 3 weeks especially:

                        Lunch (12 pm):
                        "Big ass salad" - Romaine lettuce, grilled chicken, roasted red peppers, green peppers, broccoli, cauliflower
                        Newman's Own Sesame Ginger Dressing
                        Olive Oil (1.5 tbsp) - rest days only
                        Peanut Butter Co. - Dark Chocolate Dreams (2.5 tbsp)
                        Banana - weights day

                        Dinner (7 pm) - Rest Days
                        Whey Protein Shake with So Delicious Coconut Milk, Green Vibrance, ON Whey, Cayenne Pepper, Cinnamon
                        Turkey Burger(s), Lean Chicken Breasts or Occasionally Salmon
                        Green Giant Vegetables
                        Protein Fluff (ON Casein Cookies & Cream or ON Casein Chocolate PB)
                        1/2 cup of So Delicious Vanilla Bean "Ice Cream" (No Sugar Added) - depends on macros

                        Dinner (7 pm) - Weights Days (some of this is eating pre-workout, some of it post)
                        Whey Protein Shake with Almond Milk, Frozen Mixed Berries, Green Vibrance, ON Whey, Cayenne Pepper, Cinnamon
                        Turkey Burger(s) or Lean Chicken Breasts
                        Green Giant Vegetables
                        Harvest Sweet Potato Patty
                        So Delicious Ice Cream - Standard

                        Saturdays I eat a little more crap (lately Ben & Jerry's) and Sundays I usually still try to track via fitday (even though I end up with one meal out with family/friends) and ensure I hit my rest day macros.

                        I also usually do 1 takeout day during the week, which is always a Chipotle Salad - no rice, no beans, just fajita vegetables, chicken or steak, mild salsa and guacamole. So good.
                        Last edited by Ray-NJ; 10-01-2011, 01:05 PM.
                        p90x2 Leangains Journal - Phase II (January - April 2012)

                        Leangains & Starting Strength Journal - Phase I (August - Dec 2011)


                        • #27
                          Even though I've been doing this quite comfortably for seven weeks, I'm still looking for ways to make things "better". And in some ways, by better, I mean more compliant both to primal living and the leangains protocol.

                          I've been using p90x as my workout regiment for 3 years now, mainly because it's convenient and I can do from the confines of my own bedroom with a pull-up bar and select tech dumbbells. But what it does is kind of go against everything that Martin preaches on LG as well as what Mark recommends here at MDA. p90x, with frequent movement and limited weights, really ends up being more of an aerobic routine.

                          Plus, in looking over thread after thread of LG success stories at Martin's site and, nearly all successes come from those who lift heavy, stay away from chronic cardio (as I have done) and keep it simple. Therefore, I think I'm going to move toward a Starting Strength routine 2-3 times a week consisting of simple, compound movements with the goal of adding weight to my lifts each week and getting stronger in addition to getting leaner.

                          I think what this means is I'll finally, officially, be doing Leangains!
                          Last edited by Ray-NJ; 10-02-2011, 11:13 AM.
                          p90x2 Leangains Journal - Phase II (January - April 2012)

                          Leangains & Starting Strength Journal - Phase I (August - Dec 2011)


                          • #28
                            Ray, I think that's a good call! Moderate weights done with prolonged intensity can get results, but attacking the super-heavy compound lifts will shift your body composition like nothing else. I think you will be very pleased. Hope you let us know what you think of Starting Strength.


                            • #29
                              That's what I'm hoping! I've never been a squats/deadlifts guy and have had both knee and lower back issues so I'm going to be attacking both slowly. Bench is going to be modest up front but I have much less trepidation there.
                              p90x2 Leangains Journal - Phase II (January - April 2012)

                              Leangains & Starting Strength Journal - Phase I (August - Dec 2011)


                              • #30
                                Week 8 Progress Update

                                Weight: 139.9 (-1.1, -6.6 overall)
                                BF % (3-pt Test): down 0.3% (-3.6% overall)
                                Waist: 29.5" (-0.3", -1.7" overall)
                                Stomach: 29.4" (-0.4", -2.1" overall)

                                Complete fitday tracking from Sunday-Friday, first time I've been able to say that in a few weeks, without some annoying work outings to deal with! Real happy to be back in the 130s for the first time since mid-2004, but I have a higher muscle mass base this time around. While BF is down marginally in the 3-pt test, my body fat scale showed no change as did my hand-held Omron, which actually showed a +0.3% increase. Not good, but not worried.. yet.

                                Got in two starting strength workouts on Saturday and again on Wednesday. My lifts are pathetic with squads/deads less than bench but I have to be careful. Wednesday's squats mildly re-aggravated my ITBS (iliotibial band syndrome), which I've largely managed recently (even before reducing running) after a terrible 2010. As an aside, always make sure you buy the right shoes! After a change in shoe size a couple years ago, I decided to change brands/models and it was a disaster that I've paid for ever since!

                                Overall, I'm still pretty excited. With IIFYM and SS, I'm now weaving in a little B&J's very non primal ice cream PWO on my lower fat, higher carb days. I'm also not going too high fat as I did in the early days of primal, looking back I think I must have been ending up around 100 g for the day with all the nuts and coconut oil and olive oil (now I'm between 65-75 g on rest days regularly). Also, this is the first time I've ever really focused on weight loss during the Fall. Year after year after year, it has always started in January just following a damaging holiday season and prompted by new year's resolutions. I feel like I'm so far ahead of the game going into 2012 and have put myself in a position for real success!
                                Last edited by Ray-NJ; 10-08-2011, 07:53 AM.
                                p90x2 Leangains Journal - Phase II (January - April 2012)

                                Leangains & Starting Strength Journal - Phase I (August - Dec 2011)