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Thread: Progress pics from beginner + Leangains and kettlebells? page

  1. #1
    FlyingPig's Avatar
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    Progress pics from beginner + Leangains and kettlebells?

    Primal Fuel
    Hi guys,

    I would like some feedback about my progress on this primal journey. Since pictures say more than words, I'll start with some progress pictures:



    Some stats:

    30 year old male.
    23rd May: waist 42.75", butt 46.50", weight 103kg (227lbs)
    22nd August (3 months later) : waist 36", butt 41", weight 90kg (198lbs)

    All in all, I am quite happy with how things are going. I am getting married end of September so I want to look good, although this change is permanent and I want to go all the way from chubby to "lean" (not necessarily super ripped, although you never know). I started all this after reading Tim Ferris' book on the 4 hour body, but I soon moved onto a paleo/primal lifestyle, which made a lot more sense to me (certainly Mark's book, which I thought much better than Robb Wolf's, whose style of writing somehow irritated me). I've read quite a lot over the last few months (Taubes, Jaminet, Lyle McDonald) and have been keeping track of the MDA, Bulletproof and Leangains websites.

    My diet is pretty much 90% primal, cheats are dark chocolate, red wine and full fat Greek yoghurt with fruit. Initially I had a glass of red wine every other day but I cut out all alcohol for the moment as I seem to have better progress that way (I track every day in Evernote, which helps me a lot). I have kept it pretty low carb most days, though I do enjoy sweet potatoes and sometimes white rice and fruit around work-outs. After 1 month in I started to experiment with intermittent fasting and last month I even did a 4 day "fat fast" (drinking Bulletproof coffee only, with butter and coconut oil), and fasting has really helped me to develop a much healthier relationship with food. I consider myself a recovering refined carb junkie so I know I need to be careful, but I realise carbs in itself are not the enemy and that the topic is quite complex. My diet is pretty high fat (butter, coconut oil, red meat) and I just love it.

    From my reading I've pretty much concluded that the gains I have made were relatively easy gains and that pretty much any approach would probably have worked (as long as you cut out the sugar and grains, not go overboard with calories, and do some form of weight lifting). Primal seems to be the most natural and healthiest way and just makes sense to me, so that's what I will keep doing.

    Now, the reason I am posting all this is this: I would like some feedback from weight-lifters on this forum. Up until 3 months ago, I never lifted a weight all my life (apart from the occasional gym session where I didn't know what I was doing, like most people I suppose, and my dumbbells at home remained unused). I still hate gyms with a passion and right now it is just not practical to go to a gym (too far away, too much of a drive and basically too much of a hassle). So I went the kettlebell route a few months ago and learnt the basics from an RKC instructor. The idea is to learn the tricks of the trade from him and to work out 3 times a week at home (30 mins sessions). I've been doing single (16kg) and double handed (24kg) kettlebell swings and I love it. I am doing goblet squats as well (24kg). Swings and squats are the best way to lose fat apparently, so that's pretty much what I've been doing. Recently I learnt the Turkish get-up (16kg) and the clean, but I have yet to implement this in work-outs. I try to do some sprints every 7-10 days, and recently I've started walking more too (30 mins per day, I just do my shopping every day walking into town and consider it part of my "hunt for food"). I bought a pull-up bar last week and started doing some. I can only manage 5. Not great, but much better than years ago, when I couldn't do a single one. I am still pretty weak but I did get much stronger in my legs because of all the squats (and being overweight for years apparently has one big advantage: stronger leg muscles to carry all that weight!).

    Here are my questions:

    1) Would you say, "just keep going" and see where I end up?
    2) Would a low carb, high fat diet (with occasional carb refeeds) as I've been doing get me lean? It's a way of eating that suits me well at the moment, but I am quite disciplined these days (no cravings for junk any more) so I am open to suggestions. I am intrigued by Martin Berkhan's approach to macros and maybe I should start to experiment with upping the carbs around work-out days (and make the work-outs a bit more intensive without overtraining) and keeping the fat down.
    3) Has anyone got experience with going the Leangains way, but not with traditional weights but using kettlebells? I've read that the resistance of kettlebells may be too low for real visible gains in, say, the arms, but then again I am not really that bothered. I want to be strong and healthy, and to an extent look good in the mirror, but there is no need to be body builder ripped, so my feeling is kettlebells are just fine (I actually prefer the more natural and less bulky look of kettlebell lifters).
    4) I quite like the bulletproof coffee in the morning (one tbsp coconut oil, 20g Irish butter) but I know it is a bit controversial. I only ever use it as a meal replacement and to get the healthy fats in and make sure not to eat too much that day. But would you say it is better to take it easy and not have it every day? It helps me to be energetic and productive in the morning, though plain coffee has that effect too, to a lesser extent though. I am on board with the whole Intermittent fasting, but not sure if there is a benefit leaving out the butter and coconut oil (if anything the MCT would be beneficial from what I have read).
    5) Any other thoughts or suggestions?
    Last edited by FlyingPig; 08-25-2012 at 11:52 PM.

  2. #2
    Coach Palfrey's Avatar
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    My advice would generally be to keep going but also add in some oh pressing and row movements with your kb - this should balance things out a little. Sounds like your head is in the right place though so keep it up.

  3. #3
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    Great work. Your profile is almost identical to mine! I think I am probably a few months ahead but I eat primal, follow leangains and also eat primal and use Kettlebells primarily to workout.

    I have really leaned out over the past year or so of following a similar routine to yours. I do more variations with my Kettlebell though and like to mix up workouts. Some times I do Tabata and sometimes I just do max reps. There are loads of things you can do with KBs.

    I chuck in a couple of full day fasts a month which helps me personally to stay on top of things. Like you Im not bothered about being ripped and I couldn't bring myself to eat as much as those guys do. I am in it for the health reasons and to not sorry about my weight.

    I would say you are well on your way to being lean.

    I don't buy into this bulletproof coffee thing and I am not sure of the benefits but it will surely slow your progress down.

    Just my two pennys worth anyway.

    talking of stats I went from a 40 inc waist to 32/3 inch waist following a similar routine.

  4. #4
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    @ Coah Palfrey

    Thanks, I'm just a beginner so I'm sure I'll be able to add a bit more variety soon.

    @ Adam

    Interesting to hear from somebody with a similar background. From 40 inch to 32 inch is pretty impressive, well done! I agree there are loads of things you can do with kettlebells and it's a whole new world for me. I'm still in the "noob gains" phase I guess so I'm not worrying too much about it now, plenty of routines to experiment with anyway, and as long as I work out 3 times a week intensively I am bound to see progress.
    I'd be interested to hear how you reconcile leangains, primal eating and kettlebell exercise, as this is exactly what I think I may end up doing (last two I already do, but may have to look into leangains at some point). How strict are you with your macros? Did you do all those calculations in the beginning and are you able to just guess it these days? Isn't that way of eating very restrictive?

    I've never calculated any macros in my life but I was bored today so I had a quick go at this, see below:

    How to Calculate your Leangains Macros | RippedBody.jp
    Men: BMR = 66+ ( 13.7 x weight in kilos ) + ( 5 x height in cm ) – ( 6.8 x age in years )

    Me: BMR = 66+ ( 13.7 x 90) + ( 5 x 184 cm ) – ( 6.8 x 30 ) = 1299 + 920 - 204 = 2015

    +20%kCal and -20%kCal rule for T-Days and R-Days (body recomposition)
    +10%/-30~35%kCal (cutting)


    Training day: 2400 kcal (Body recomposition)
    Resting day: 1600 kcal (Body recomposition)

    Training day: 2200 kcal (Cutting)
    Resting day: 1400 kcal (Cutting)

    Lean Body Mass estimate: 77kg x 2.5 = 192, say 200.

    Training Day Macros:

    Calories from Carbs = [T-Day Target calories] – [Protein calories] – [Fat calories]
    = 2400 – (200 x 4) – (30 x 9) = 2400 – 800 – 270 = 1330 (kCal)
    Carbs in grams = 1330 / 4 = 332.5


    Rest Day Macros

    P = 200g, F = 60g, C = 55g
    Calories from Carbs = [R-Day Target calories] – [Protein calories] – [Fat calories]
    = 1600 – (200 x 4) – (60 x 9) = 1600 – 800 – 540
    = 260 (kCal)
    Carbs in grams = 220 / 4 = 65


    And using this spreadsheet, which estimates less LBM (probably more accurate), I arrive at:
    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/...k3RkE&hl=en_US
    YOUR MACROS
    Protein 180.00 180.00
    Fat 60.00 30.00
    Carbs 77.93 417.45
    (rest and training days)

    Does this make sense? Either way this seems like a hell of a lot of carbs on training day. How on earth are you supposed to reach that on a primal diet? Not sure if I can handle such low fat...
    Anyway, I would be very interested to hear your experience. As I said I've been pretty successful keeping carbs low so upping them so much would be quite a change (I'll probably try it out after my wedding, don't want to "expand" the waist by accident now :-) ).

  5. #5
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    I don't follow the macros tightly but I naturally tend to eat more food and carbs on workout days anyway. I cannot be bothered measuring everything and thinking about it too much. I would get obsessive and I have better things to do with my time.

    I don't eat until 12.30 anyday and finish eating at about 6.30/7.

    For carbs I usually eat Sweet potatoes and veg but I will sometimes have white potatoes and sometimes rice. I don't personally see is an issue either way as long as its clean and usually after I train.

    The protein recommended is far too high for me. I haven't tracked it but I doubt I get above 120 on any given day.

    In summary I use the fasting element of leangains, try to eat primal where possible (I do the sprints as well) and love working out with KBs.

    This has seen some significant progress for me (looks like you have as well) so don't see why I would change it.

    As a side issue, I have tried most workouts and weights and I reckon KBs are easily the best for burning fat. It literally drops off!

  6. #6
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    Listen to Coach, There are lots of things you can do with KB,

    Chest/shoulders ( Floor press, Over Head press, Lying tricep extention, Turkish Press ( one hand on the ground sitting yourself up and pressing the KB over head, kind of like a balanced incline press) You can also get on a bench or something that gets you off the ground and use them in a traditional bench fashion

    Back/bicep ( Rows, curls of all variation)

    Legs ( clean and press, push press, swing, OH squat, Lunges, Stiff legged deadlifts)

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    Dude come on would a pair of basketball shorts kill you when you are taking these pics?

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    FlyingPig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Return of Dado View Post
    Dude come on would a pair of basketball shorts kill you when you are taking these pics?
    I suppose, but that way you don't see much difference in profile view. Anyway, I guess I probably shouldn't have bothered given that this is a public forum, but I can see your point. I edited the most recent ones. Sorry for spoiling your breakfast.

  9. #9
    FlyingPig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AdamC29 View Post
    I don't follow the macros tightly but I naturally tend to eat more food and carbs on workout days anyway. I cannot be bothered measuring everything and thinking about it too much. I would get obsessive and I have better things to do with my time.

    I don't eat until 12.30 anyday and finish eating at about 6.30/7.

    For carbs I usually eat Sweet potatoes and veg but I will sometimes have white potatoes and sometimes rice. I don't personally see is an issue either way as long as its clean and usually after I train.

    The protein recommended is far too high for me. I haven't tracked it but I doubt I get above 120 on any given day.

    In summary I use the fasting element of leangains, try to eat primal where possible (I do the sprints as well) and love working out with KBs.

    This has seen some significant progress for me (looks like you have as well) so don't see why I would change it.

    As a side issue, I have tried most workouts and weights and I reckon KBs are easily the best for burning fat. It literally drops off!
    Thanks, interesting information. I tried it a few days ago: did a pretty heavy work-out mainly doing get-ups (and walking around for 10 second when upright), and lots of squats. Kept fat very low that day and piled down a sweet potato a few hours beforehand and rice afterwards. I think I'll try this for a bit and see how it goes.
    I think protein would be too high for me too and from what I can see for health reasons it's likely best not to go overboard with it and to focus on healthy fats instead. Which actually leads me to a question for you: how do you deal with those? Just as normal on off days (fairly high fat) and low on training days when you slightly overeat?
    I'm not going to overthink it too much and start micromanaging as that would drive me crazy. Eating low fat that day was a strange experience but I guess a few times a week should be doable and could actually make the diet a bit more varied (I added some pinto beans to my carrots/onion/tomato concoction, which was a very bad idea, lesson learnt).

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    Quote Originally Posted by FlyingPig View Post
    I suppose, but that way you don't see much difference in profile view. Anyway, I guess I probably shouldn't have bothered given that this is a public forum, but I can see your point. I edited the most recent ones. Sorry for spoiling your breakfast.
    I can't open your photos. There again if you are in skimpy undies don't think I want to!!!!! I think skimpy underwear arent nice on men of any size. You are doing brilliant by the way, I would say while you are still making progress carry on the way you are. The main thing is to enjoy the lifestyle and it will be easy to maintain.
    Good luck with your wedding.

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