T Nation

Afraid to Get Lean

After reading some posts from people stating that they want to get big but are afraid to have their body fat levels increase, I was wondering if there are any people in the forum that are afraid of getting lean and losing muscle mass and/or strength. I think that I used to be one of those people. I am training for Highland Games competitions which take place during the summer, the prime time to get lean and look good. However, since I need my strength levels to be at their highest, I’m leery of doing too much cardio or dieting so that I can look good in my kilt. I had a good post going between myself, John Berardi, and Midnight, where we (more like John and Midnight) discussed ways to manipulate diet to keep body fat levels as low as possible without lossing a lot of strength. At that time I was about 260 with about 18% bodyfat. Using what was discussed in that post and also using the protein + fat and protein + carb meals the John wrote about, and with a little cardio mixed in, I’m now 250 with about 12% bodyfat. After I did some math that’s a 16 lb fat loss and a 6 lb muscle addition with absolutly no strength losses, if any thing there was strength gains. I’m going to try to get just a little leaner and go show up some fat Highland Gamers later this summer.

If there is a point to this post (besides patting myself on the back), I guess it is that the smaller (leaner) guys that want to get bigger need to understand that they need to add some fat to add some muscle, and that the bigger (fatter) guys need to understand that if done correctly they can get lean and look much better and still have muscle and strength gains.

Any comments?

Harley, that was a good exchange we had a while back and all I can say now is DAMN! Fine work my Highland friend! It’s nice to hear about your results, as many people on this forum have complained about the Massive Eating program (or something similar) without actually trying it. You are another example of how it can work! Congrats and thanks for the update.

I am kinda like you, but i am not that big yet, but kind of want to look good for the beach this summer.

Wow that’s cool HArley!

Since you have succeeded in the massive plan. I hope you can help me. I am more on the leaner side with fat and BAD love handles of course.
First of all, how do you figure out your body fat percentage? Which nutrient ratio did you follow and why ? (Are you insulin sensitive). What test did you do? the glucose tolerance or the fasting insulin level?
Your fat percentage has gone down for about 6%. How long does it take you to do that?
I am currently at 5’6 148lbs (before it was 140lbs, but not sure if the gains are muscle or fat. My strength seems to increase, BUT MY ABS/ LOVE HANDLES don’t seem to get smaller and I DON’T KNOW WHY). I use nandrosol as well. I did not measure, just by looking at the mirror. I just did this 1 week and going into the 2nd week since nandrosol can only be used for 2 weeks. I am planning to continue for 2 more weeks and use Tribex and methoxy

I am just so desperate with just my 1-week result since i don't see my fat around my abs disappear. I hate to waste all my money. Even on the protein and fat meal ( i am in 3500 cals), i have to use 80 grams of Advanced Protein and 2 tbsp of flax seed oil to give me 57 g protein and 25 g of fat for just 1 p+f meal. One can AP will last me about 1 week to 10 days. I even have 8 meals a day. 3 carb/protein and 4 p+f meal. I am with the 30/40/30 ratio. However, i am still waiting for the result of my insulin test. I couldn't do the glucose tolerance test because my pharmacy does not sell the glucose solution. But my fasting blood glucose is about 5.4 mmol/L or about 97 mg/dL. So, this is why i choose the normal insulin sensitivity. Not sure if this is accurate enough.

Any comments?

Good Job Harley!
If it helps any,I don’t like it when guys are super cut, they look kinda stringy and dehydrated, ya know? As long as you have some nice definition, you’ll show those guys up big time!


I’ve been lifting for 12 years and have had my body comp measured many times at various degrees of leanness over the years, so I’m only estimating my BF%. As for testing my insulin sensitivity, again years of different diet protocols (high carb, low carb, high fat, low fat…) has given me an understanding of the way my body works. On higher carb diets like 50-55% carbs I get fat easily even with maintance calorie levels and the same amount of exercise. So I assumed I am fairly insulin UN-sensitive. So I’m eating about 25-30% carbs and about splitting the difference between protein and fat. As for the high expense of Advanced Protein, what I’ve been doing is adding a scoop of less expensive protein to the Advanced Protein. The strong and great flavor of AP helps to mask the shit flavor of the other protein. This has helped stretch my AP dollar. But once the other protein is gone it will be just AP for me. As for seeing results in a week, the only thing that has given me drastic changes in about a week is 20 grams of creatine a day for a week, so give the program more time to work its magic. Also don’t forget that most men will lose fat from everywhere else before losing those love handles. I’m the same way. My arms and legs get lean real quick and easy and then the fat around my waist takes it’s sweet ass time coming off, but it is definitely coming off. Good luck.
Thanks to everyone else for the support.

I’ve also had some good success recently losing fat by eating the Massive Eating diet ratios. In fact, I dropped about ten pounds of fat in a little under 6 weeks eating maintenance level Massive Eating calories and using MD6.

I am considering trying the massive eating diet but I am a little concerned. It seem sif I take in anywheres over 200 cals a day it packs on in the line of fat. I am older and not like most of the younger guys who can lose fat easily. If you were my age (44)(do not tell anyone) and wanted to use this program what would be some of the things you would adjust?seems like some of you guys have used it so I figure it does work. I need tro cut some fat out of my body for pictures in the next 8 weeks and I don’t want to do the keto thing anymore if I can help it.

Guys, John Berardi has been a great help to me in this area, too. I’ve been running a bodyweight in the 210-215 range for a few months, with a bf in the 10-12% area. With good advice from John, I’ve been consuming more food and supps in my post-workout hours (I finish training about 7:00 p.m. and eat three times before bed) and a bit less during the day. I’m actually eating more often, but less each time (every two hours, about 25-30 grams protein and 50 grams carbs each time, or 25-30 grams protein and fat, no carbs). John’s advice to eat protein/fat and protein/carbs is most excellent, and really helps me manage insulin spikes. I’m in that older age group, too (46) and have pretty lengthy experience with ketogenic diets and hate 'em and probably will never go back. Too much lean tissue loss, and too much strength loss.

Eating this way, mixing in intense cardio (two hours of tough mountain biking last night on a group ride, for example), I'm slowly leaning out while not losing bodyweight. I've been 210-211# for weeks now but my waist is down about an inch. Still have the lovehandles, though! Damn them.

Hey Harley-good job on the dieting-doing some highland games this summer -which ones?I compete in the NorthEast(do about 10-13 games this year)and I’m not one of those fat guys either 228lbs at 6-0(was one of the smaller guys competing last year)my buddy did a strongman in Feb(the NorthEast Strongman challenge) and in the program was a comp, Harley Davidson-is that you??(by the way my buddy is probably one of those fat guys you are talking about-5-10 7/8 331 lbs-great guy but to heavy!)Good luck in your future endeavors.

Greetings All!! Harley, great to hear from you! On more than one occasion, I’ve wondered how things were working out for you. Great job!! Best of luck to you this summer. PENETRATE AND DOMINATE!!!

For everyone else, the thread Harley, John and myself are referring to is entitled “Carb Roundtable” I just did a search and it’s accessible. The dates of the thread run from Dec 9, 2000 to Dec 19, 2000. If you haven’t read it, you are missing out. John gives information in that thread that IMO is at least, if not more powerful, than the Massive Eating and Postworkout articles!


No I’m not the Harley from the Strongman comp. I compete mostly in Colorado even though I live in Wyoming considering that Wyoming has no competitions. This is okay though, I competed in my first games last year at Estes Park in the novice division and won 5 out of 7 events. I came back on the last day of the Pro comp and got to see some of those monsters in action. The furthest east I’ll be going this summer is the Kansas City games in June, this will be my first games this year and I hope to compete in the B class.

P.S. We also share another website message board, the NASGA message board. It’s good to see a Highland Gamer besides myself taking in the info provided by T-Mag.

Hello Midnight,

How are things going? My weight training has been going great since our last posts. Give me another week and I’ll let you know how my throwing is doing. It’s been a long cold winter in Wyoming and it pretty much just stopped today, so I hope to get out and throw throw throw very soon.

Thanks Harley for answering my post-I guess we are the only two highland games athletes on the T board.I went back and read some of your posts and exchanges with JB very interesting stuff.As a trainer and athlete I’ve found that the biggest doesn’t always win-strong quick and explosive will win the games(body mass helps to a degree )My training partner can’t get it thru his thick skull this fact he is 332 at 5-10 1/2 with a huge gut (result of too many alcohol libations,P&B sandwichs,and a total lack of self control for diet)this year his #'s are way down when he moves- any event where he stands still-wob/hammers he is getting stronger-not more athletic.I really need all the help I need to force as much force and power out of my frame so I look to this board for training as well as supplement ideas and practices.Thanks for the post and good luck this season-Powewrdrive before the games and Throw HIGH,FAR,and LOUD

Hey Harley and dwood! There’s a great article on canthrow.com about building throwing strength entitled “Insights about the Louie Simmon’s Style of Training” Here’s the link http://www.canthrow.com/articles/caster-simmons.shtml#dc6