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Ray's Leangains Journey

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  • Ray's Leangains Journey

    After spending the last 8 or so months reading MDA, I figured I'd start contributing!

    After reading the PB right around the holidays of last year, I more or less removed whole grains and dairy as staples to my diet. Not really realizing I was at least mildly gluten intolerant, it definitely helped improve how I feel. Some weight came off initially as I stayed fairly low carb/high fat but as the summer approached, I got a little sloppy and now need to refocus a little!

    The past week I discovered Martin Berkhan's lean gains program as an alternative to intermittent 24 hour fasts, and the before and after pictures circulating around are incredible! I'm not a morning person at all, so not having to make breakfast is huge for me. And not having to adhere to a complex diet is key, because I get enough complexity at work! So count me signed up.

    Overall, the first week was a lot easier than expected - by adhering to a mostly primal diet, hunger wasn't as big an issue as I expected. My first feed of the day would come at noon (salad with grilled chicken, veggies, olive oil) followed by a small mid-afternoon snack (fruit/nuts) if needed with dinner (meat/fish) in the evening. If exercising, I would divide dinner into a small pre-workout meal followed by a larger PWO meal and up the carbs a little with sweet potatoes or a small amount of rice.

    Finally, here are my stats:

    Age: 34
    Height: 5'6"
    Weight: 145.6 (down 1 lb last week)
    BF % (3-pt Test): 13% (down 0.6%) - note I am not 13% BF - probably more like 15-16% but I'm using this measurement to track weekly progress
    Waist: 31.3" (down 0.2")
    Chest: 38" (nc)
    Arms: 13-13 1/4"

    Goals: Completely superficial -- abs for the first time

    May post before / after pics here later, but otherwise you can find them here.

    I'll end this with one question to anyone currently on the Leangains 16/8 hour fasting protocol. Do you still use cheat days? On those cheat days do you still include the fast, or is it important to mix up the hours eating during the day as well? Would also love to hear about any pitfalls to avoid as well (more generally).
    Last edited by Ray-NJ; 10-22-2011, 06:57 AM. Reason: Changed title of journal
    p90x2 Leangains Journal - Phase II (January - April 2012)

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

  • #2
    I've been doing leangains or a restricted eating window for just about a month. I typically have a 19/5 day (eating window 5pm-10pm). I don't have cheat Days, I might have a cheat meal at the most, usually just an item and I don't break my fast for it (or haven't yet). It's pretty easy, I hate breakfast, the last couple hours was shitty in the beginning but now I'm used to it. It's just my schedule now.

    Today was the first day I broke my fast really early (a normal lunch) as I started working out AND doing Yoga on Saturday mornings last week and didn't like fasting the rest of the day. I'm considering doing a 24 hr fast on Sundays (after Sat dinner to Sun dinner; Sun is a rest day, no workout) but we'll see.

    I get into trouble when I'm just sitting around during my fast. I start to think about food, then ask myself "Are you actually hungry or just bored?" As of now the answer has always been "bored" and I don't give in.

    Good luck!


    • #3
      I used to love my breakfast cereals, but once whole grains went out the window, the process of making eggs in the morning just felt like a nuisance. And there were definitely days where I was eating breakfast just because I was supposed to -- even when I was still satiated from the day before.

      Thanks for the feedback. I'm going to stick with the 16/8 all week in the early going and allow myself still to indulge a little bit on Saturdays and see where it takes me.
      p90x2 Leangains Journal - Phase II (January - April 2012)

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


      • #4
        Nine days in, the 16/8 schedule has proven strangely simple. Today I fought off one momentarily strong pang about 13 hours in, but once I got immersed back in work, it subsided pretty quickly.

        That said, I do feel a little impatience creeping up. Just a little. It's way too soon to see anything, but I am hoping to see my waistline numbers start to move when I check in at the end of this week. The positive is, I don't at all feel like I'm sacrificing anything, but at the same time, I'm hoping this works as well for me as it has for others!
        p90x2 Leangains Journal - Phase II (January - April 2012)

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


        • #5
          Week 2 Update

          Week 2 Progress Update

          Weight: 145.8 (+0.2)
          BF % (3-pt Test): down 0.3%
          Waist: 31.1" (-0.2")
          Stomach & Legs similarly down 0.2"
          Chest & Arms (no change)

          I was initially disappointed to see no weight loss given I've been around 400-500 calories below estimated maintenance (2,200) on non-workout days (though there was a work happy hour thrown in there on Thursday). But seeing small changes in measurements is definitely encouraging. My pants are definitely fitting a little differently, also a hopeful sign.

          The fast itself remains really easy. Whereas last week I had issues with fatigue, this week energy levels were back to normal. Digestion still isn't ideal, and I have to admit that a little processed white bread once a week seems to do my system some good (though whole grains does not).

          Generally, my diet goes something like this (I'm no cook, and not a fan of becoming one, so it... well is what it is!):

          Morning: Coffee (with stevia) with a splash of unsweetened Almond Milk
          Lunch: Salad with grilled chicken, roasted red peppers, green peppers, cucumbers and olive oil on top
          2-3 squares of 86% dark chocolate
          Piece of Fruit

          Mid-afternoon: 200 cal bag of mixed nuts

          Dinner: Often varies. Salmon, Turkey Burger or Bison Burger for protein, the latter two may be topped with guacamole. Usually frozen Green Giant vegetables on the side. If eating out, it's usually Chipotle during the week (burrito bowl, stick to meat, mild salsa, fajitas and guac. - rice only if for PWO). Depending on if/when I'm working out, I'll also have some whey protein either an hour before or after the main meal and will also up the carbs a little with sweet potatoes on workout days.

          Usually I'll also throw in a scoop of almond butter somewhere to make sure I'm fully satiated going into the next fast window.

          All in all, progress is slow, but it's there.
          p90x2 Leangains Journal - Phase II (January - April 2012)

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


          • #6

            Holed up thanks to Irene, diet was not exactly on point this past weekend, partly because of a big ol' party size bag of peanut M & M's. Usually I do a cheat-esque day on Saturdays, but that extended into Sunday to some degree as carbs were up a little more than usual with no exercise to help burn them off.

            What was strange was that I looked about the most lean as I have in some time on Sunday evening into Monday. I was like, finally, here we go! But what's even more strange is as soon as I got the diet back in order the past two days as well as back into a caloric deficit (1700-1800 cals), the new lean looks like it was short lived!

            I also happened to extend my fast to 18 hours yesterday, just out of convenience to my schedule. Surprisingly not difficult at all!
            p90x2 Leangains Journal - Phase II (January - April 2012)

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


            • #7
              If fat loss is what you're after I'd cut back on dark chocolate, fruit and nuts. I'm no expert tho, but this may help.


              • #8
                Thanks, and agreed, all three have been my downfall since moving towards Primal eating earlier this year. I figured cutting back on the grains and dairy would be enough!

                With fruit, I keep hearing conflicting info -- eat, don't eat, eat only on workout days -- they do contain a lot of sugar, but I just stick with one of a banana or apple each day... seems reasonable enough..?
                p90x2 Leangains Journal - Phase II (January - April 2012)

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


                • #9
                  I hear ya, you don't want to be too restrictive or that can lead to binging and etc. I would stick to lower sugar fruits like berries for fat loss.


                  • #10
                    I've skipped the mixed nuts and dark chocolate the past few days in favor of... Dark Chocolate Dreams "all natural" PB! Less carbs, sugar, cals for 2 tbsp of it vs. the usual alternative. It is unreal!

                    Weigh-in and measurements tomorrow and hoping for continued, steady progress though the mirror does not suggest anything dramatic. It also seems that in the last few days, my system seems to FINALLY be adjusting to not eating breakfast.
                    p90x2 Leangains Journal - Phase II (January - April 2012)

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


                    • #11
                      Week 3 Progress Update

                      Weight: 145.2 (-0.6, -1.4 overall)
                      BF % (3-pt Test): down 0.3% (-1.2% overall)
                      Waist: 30.9" (-0.2")
                      Stomach: 31.1" (-0.4") !
                      Legs, Chest & Arms (no change)

                      Workouts this week included 1/2 p90x routines "Chest & Back" and "Legs & Back" with two LISS sessions - a walk on Wednesday and biking to/from the beach yesterday.

                      Diet was not at its best with Irene throwing off my Sunday, a slice of carrot cake on Wednesday (however, easily half the size of the slices my coworkers were mowing down!), and bar food (asian steak wrap and sweet potato fries) washed down with a Coors Light last night. All things considered, still showing slow, but steady progress anyway! My stomach suddenly deflating was also pretty sweet.

                      Maybe things would be moving faster without these slip-ups, but overall I can't say I'm not pleased!
                      p90x2 Leangains Journal - Phase II (January - April 2012)

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


                      • #12
                        Ran straight into a dietary brick wall in the firm of a labor day BBQ. Had a few too many drinks, chips and a couple of cupcakes! But I'm not stressing about it, since I ate a little less the day before (purposely) and don't intend on bad eating spilling into today.

                        I usually allot myself a cheat day anyway, and while I'm seeing less of a need for one, it's probably not bad to throw my body off it's game every now and then. Or maybe I'm just rationalizing!
                        p90x2 Leangains Journal - Phase II (January - April 2012)

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


                        • #13
                          Figured I'd post a snapshot of my intake today, since I've been pretty vague about it so far --

                          Everything's out of order, but basically you're seeing a big salad with chicken for lunch and a crab cake + broccoli for dinner, with whey and PB filling in the rest. Usually I estimate I'm around 1,700-1,800, but minus the fruit and mixed nuts (which I just didn't need today) I actually struggled to bump things up towards the end of the day. With all that fat, I'm pretty full, so I threw down a second glass of whey to get me over 1,400 and get the protein up a bit more.

                          I may try and stay a little lower on non-weights days this week since I'll be going out both Fri and Sat nights... I think I can offset Friday night's damage easily during the day, but I think Saturday I'm just going to plan to be a write off.
                          p90x2 Leangains Journal - Phase II (January - April 2012)

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


                          • #14
                            Can't believe I'm saying this, but I am enjoying tracking on fitday again. With a fairly set diet during the week, so far I find myself thinking less about what I'm going to eat, whether I am over or under estimating intake, etc. It also reduces impulses so I don't have to record it.

                            In general, kicking out the daily fruit, dark chocolate and nuts has definitely helped kick mid-afternoon cravings. Now I eat big at lunch and dinner and feel fully satisfied.

                            A little anxious to see the scale this Saturday - I feel like there's gotta be some movement!
                            p90x2 Leangains Journal - Phase II (January - April 2012)

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


                            • #15
                              Week 4 Progress Update

                              Weight: 143.7 (-1.5, -2.9 overall)
                              BF % (3-pt Test): down 0.6% (-1.8% overall)
                              Waist: 30.5" (-0.1", -0.7" overall) - *recalibrated
                              Stomach: 30.6" (-0.1", -1" overall) - *recalibrated
                              Legs, Chest & Arms (no change)

                              *I bought Myotape this week and found I've been over-estimating most of my measurements by as much as 1/2"! Obviously it's not real progress that my waistline is suddenly a half inch smaller but it still feels like I'm now that much closer to goal!

                              Workouts this week included 1/2 p90x routines "Chest & Back" and "Shoulders & Arms" with some walking and a lot of recreational biking over Labor Day weekend. It was a washout during the week, so I didn't get any cardio in. I admit I miss running a little right now!

                              Food intake was better after the holiday weekend ended - in the last 10 days or so I've started eating fruit only on workout days and phased out mid-afternoon snacks by replacing mixed nuts and dark chocolate with 2 tbsp of Dark Chocolate Dreams Peanut Butter immediately following lunch. I've also become more conscious of "If it fits your macros," trying to ensure at least 1 g of protein per LBM and ~0.5 g of fat per pound on rest days while upping the carbs to around 150 g and lowering the fat on workout days.

                              Friday, I got trapped in a "forced" pot luck lunch at work with an abundance of remarkably bad options! I minimized damage during the day and then proteined-up for dinner and think I netted out ok!

                              Gotta say, happy to finally see both my weight and body fat move, with my biggest 1 week weight loss of the 4 weeks. While I'm sure there's error in the BF measurements, the trend shows 100% fat loss with no LBM loss whatsoever! My body fat numbers through the skin caliper test are laughably low, so I also picked up an Omron fat loss monitor which pegs me at, even more ridiculous, 10.5%. But I'll be using that to track weekly progress as well.

                              In any event, based on on-and-off tracking over 8 years, I'm also now at my lowest weight and BF since 2006!!
                              Last edited by Ray-NJ; 09-10-2011, 05:56 AM.
                              p90x2 Leangains Journal - Phase II (January - April 2012)

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