T Nation

Leangains Question: Calories and Carbs?


I'm interested in starting Martin Berkham's program. My primary goal is fat loss. I've looked through his site, and I understand the basics. But I'm having a hard time nailing down some of the specifics (it seems that he is holding back the specifics until his book comes out... but the date keeps getting pushed back...).

Here are my questions:

If I'm using IF for fat loss, should I still count calories to make sure I'm creating a calorie deficit? I know I should eat more on workout days, and less on rest days - but I'd like some details on how much more and how much less. Can I just use something like Lyle MacDonalds calorie recommendations and apply them to IF?

Also, about carbohydrates, I know he recommends a fewer carbs on rest days, and carbing up a couple times a week after workouts - but again, how many carbs on rest days does he recommend for fat loss? Is it just meat and green vegggies on rest days (like under 20 grams of carbs), or is it more moderate amount on rest days, like under 100 grams?

If anyone has any ideas about the specifics of the Leangains approach for fat loss, I be very grateful. Thanks!


Do not fear the search function. It is your friend.


You could try the calorie recommendations Romaniello makes in his article on nutrition.

Personally as I don't have a good way of measuring body-fat handy I'm going to start at 11 calories per lb bodyweight -300 calories on off days. A 300 calorie workout drink will be added on training days.

BCAA's throughout the fast as I have a busy job.

Once fat loss stalls I'll add in some fasted morning walks (with weighted vest if it stalls further). Following that I'll add a thermo supp. Finally if things stall further I will recalculate calories or simply drop by 100-200 each day. Could perhaps look into swapping the carbs in the workout drink for straight protein.

The trick from what I can tell is to always have something to expand into.

As for my solid meals... I'll be eating meat, eggs, nuts, green veggies and maybe something like tomatoes/olives/whatever.

Supps will be fish oil, multivitamin and thats pretty much it.

Well thats my plan anyway!


Calories ALWAYS matter. Anyone who tells you otherwise is either stupid, a charlatan, or both.

From another post:


why i do you have the fat so low on workout days? i looked at this over on the older IF thread and wondered. thanks


keeping the fat low on workout days and relatively higher on off days is just an example of carb cycling. this allows you to eat more carbs and take advantage of the effects of insulin, without overeating calories.

some people prefer this, some people prefer a more balanced ratio of the macros. gotta find what works best for you given your goals and body.


Because carbs are set much higher on training days and the calories have to come from somewhere.


I found that you can do a fairly clean bulk eating crazy amounts and types of food. I've been bulking on this kind of diet using 5500-6000 cals on a normal day at a body weight of about 180lb, 5'7.

To lose fat and get cut, I've really had to watch the calories and the types of food I eat, paying strict attention to food choices. You won't magically get shredded eating lots of shit despite being in a fasted state for so log. Just my observations.


Yes you will, assuming you do account for calories and assuming protein is right. The problem is and the reason why you use the term "shit food", is that there are certain foods which are much easier to overconsume in regards to calories. Therefore, you end up eating more cals than if you ate "good" food...Basically, it's not something special so much in cap'n crunch that makes it that much shittier than oatmeal (from a purely physique perspective, we aren't talking health here)...other than the fact that for most it's easier to overeat cap'n crunch due to various reasons. For me, it's not as satiating and filling as oatmeal..I'll tend to eat more of it. From a physique perspective, I think the difference would be negligable between whether I ate 150kcal of oatmeal or 150kcal of cap'n crunch..assuming overall calories are the same each day and that I eat approximately the same number of macros.