When you start a new diet you’ve got a lot to work out. It’s hard. Your body and brain struggle to incorporate change, and the newness of the approach introduces uncertainty and can lead to flail. You’ve got to make loads of decisions all while maintaining control and willpower is critical. You’ve got to figure out:
What to eat — What types of food are allowed? What macronutrients are you shooting for (e.g. grams of protein, carbs, fat)?
When to eat — Are you trying to eat at certain times? Not at other times?
How much to eat — If you eat a lot of food at one meal, how does that impact future meals?
When to workout — Oh right, your diet probably has a workout attached to it. So you gotta figure out when you can get to the gym—and then what exercises to do, how often, and how heavy.
Does the world need another diet book or fitness routine? Check the news and you see obesity levels rising globally, ever more new and weird diets, and a lot of people wanting to improve their health but failing, lacking the tools, gumption, or know-how to do it.
Think about this: we have two popular diets right now that are both, on the face, downright extreme. One is based on eating big ribeye steaks every day with no fruits or vegetables (The Carnivore Diet). Another is based on eating fat and little fruits, veggies, and a little protein to maintain a constant state of ketosis (The Keto Diet).
This isn’t diet innovation, it’s flail. And with flail comes failure. So while we may not need another “new” diet, we do need a method in the madness. A method that works.
Today, August 16, 2018, after nearly a decade of waiting, Martin Berkhan has put to words a system—a method—backed by research, practiced successfully by thousands, and “perfected.” It’s called The Leangains Method: The Art of Getting Ripped ($10, Amazon Affiliate Link).
For the unfamiliar, Berkhan is the Polish-German Swede who originated 16:8 intermittent fasting over ten years ago. He’s deadlifted 700+ lb. (315+ kg) at over 3.5X his bodyweight and is, well, shredded. It’s ridiculous how lean and strong the guy is.
I’ve followed Martin via Leangains.com for years and have come to know him better than most—I even get a shout in the Acknowledgements to the book. Aside from him (now) being a friend, Martin has been my coach and teacher, often in ways that I’m not sure he realizes. Martin’s greatest strength isn’t his deadlift, it’s his focus and no-bullshit attitude. Through it, he’s acquired clarity of mind on how to be strong and lean—and then shared that clarity with us.
Before and after photos may be cheesy, and, well, when they are yours, they make you squirm. A lot. But publishing them is proof: The Leangains Method works. It worked for me first when it was in it’s infancy almost a decade back—after trying and failing at low-carb, Paleo, CrossFit, and more.
The Leangains Method still works for me to this day.
If you’re interested in The Leangains Method and want to know more, well, read on.
Wanted to do a brief update on my progress with Crossfit and diet.
I’ve finished week three of Crossfit and it continues to kick my ass. The good news is that I’m getting closer to proficiency on kipping pull-ups. I sometimes seem to slip into a bit of a butterfly kip, so I wonder if I should try to develop that (as the butterfly is arguably more efficient). Regardless, I’m feeling better about the pull-up, which is important for Crossfit.
In the past week or so, I’ve switched to incorporating Martin Berkhan’s LeanGains 16-hour-fast, 8-hours-fed diet methodology. So I typically won’t eat until lunch, and I’ll Crossfit around 5pm and eat dinner around 7:30 or 8:00 pm. I’ll quit eating after 9pm (or so) until the following day at lunch. Berkhan’s idea is to charge up on energy around lunch, workout and then provide the right macronutrient combo post-workout going into a fast. During the fast, your body has the tools it needs to repair/rebuild/build muscle.
Its a decent combination of fasting and exercise. It just “works” for me as the Crossfit gym here is only open in the afternoon/evenings (prohibiting me from working out fasted in the morning).
I have seen some noticeable improvement in muscle definition, which I mainly attribute to continued reduction in body fat though I’m optimistic that I’ve been able to build some lean muscle mass, as well. The real clincher here will be if I can:
Lean out and achieve a never-before-seen vasculature in my midsection (a.k.a. the “six pack”, but also the lesser-mentioned-but-equally-important pectoral definition)
Put on some weight, which would necessarily be lean tissue (per the requirement in No. 1)
I have taken some steady progress photos that have, as yet, gone unpublished. Assuming I accomplish the above goals, which I now expect will happen soon, I will publish these shots on this site — bashfulness be damned!