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Leangains Questions


Hey guys, I just found out about the Leangains approach and am going to give it a shot. Martin talks alot about how grehlin is a hormone that tells your body when to feel hungry, based on your prior eating patterns. My problem is that I had a problem with nocturnal eating (lack of self-control, I know, I know), and am hungriest when I wake up at night. During the day, not so much. My question is how long it took people who have done Leangains for their bodies to adapt to the new eating schedule (for their grehlin to reprogram?)?


bout 3-4 days.

so you go to sleep, and are awakened by hunger some hours later? i normally go to bed with a full stomach with this approach, but i work out about 7pm.


thanks for the quick response. Today was my first day on Leangains; I was just describing to you what had been my normal hunger pattern beforehand. I struggled with compulsive eating, which I hope Leangains will help me deal with. Similarly, I structured my 16/8 fast/feast schedule so i also train in the evening and go to bed full. 3-4 days is way quicker than I expected; definitely doable.


leangains FTW!


Leangains is a GREAT way to lose weight. Very easy. When I was doing it, I modified the program a bit. I 'pulsed' with EAA's during my 'fasting' period. They kept me satisfied and have no calories, so I enjoyed it. Either way, it's a solid plan to shed some poundage


It's not bad. If your goal is fat loss, drink some coffee or something during the day and you will quickly forget about hunger. I've found that if my big meal is very close to bed time, upon waking I am very hungry. I also feel hunger after a heavy leg day. However these feelings quickly subside with some water, coffee or another calorie free beverage.

It's kinda funny to me that its called lean gains however, most people use it for fat loss, lol.


You guys using it makes me think there is something specific to use. when I look for macronutrient percentages or even kcal recommendations, I find nothing. Where do you find it out? Nearly everyone on here is bigging it up, but I feel like I've not been given the details. Are you all keeping secrets? Or is it that you're all sticking to old macro and cal recommendations, but merely eating them in an 8 hour period?


@ Dolce: Thanks for all the advice. And it is kind of a misnomer now that I think about it.

@ alin: I already know what macros I need, but no, I didn't see any material on that specifically on Martin's website. He gives a vague recommendation for higher fat on non-training days and higher carbs for training days, which is basic carb cycling, of course. The virtue of leangains for me is just to do all my calorie intake in an 8 hour period, giving me a structure for my eating. Previously, it was previously haphazard, which led to compulsive eating and unwanted fat gain.


You can eat what you normally eat...just now it's in an 8 hour feeding window after a 16 hour fast (sleep included). The site does have recommendations as to what kcals and macros should be on training and non-training days and it basically goes something like this: (this is basically what I follow)

Training: 20% over maintenance cals. Approx Macros - High Carb, Moderate Protein, Low Fat
Non-training: 20% under maintenance cals. Approx Macros - High Protein, Moderate-Lower Fat, Low Carb.

Some do not cut cals that much on non-training..For me I eat around 2200-2400kcal on training days and around 1600-1800kcal on non-training days. I train four days a week..so at the end of the week..I have more higher carb days than lower carb days.. This is supposedly more of a recomp. approach and you could tweak the numbers by either increasing cals more on training days or decreasing cals less on non-training to make it more geared toward muscle growth only. The opposite for more fatloss etc.


It took me about a week to get adjusted to the IF schedule before my hunger pains changed. I still get hunger pains, but they are in the late morning close to when I break the fast so it's tolerable.


Ok, sounds good, thanks ethanwest.

Follow-up question: do you guys cut out cardio like Martin advises? I have a sedentary job and lifestyle other than going to the gym, and think I should keep up with incline walking/running 4-5 times a week. Thoughts?


I have an active job that I work four days a week..unload a truck..stock shelves etc.. I still do moderate paced running 3-4 days a week. Approx. 2-3 miles on those days.. These sessions can fall on either my weight training days or my non training days.. And they are done fasted.

I think there is benefit to incline walking each morning..and I think there is benefit to running..plus I just like it. Many on here would disagree with me, though.


@ facko: I will keep up with the low-intensity cardio and see how things progress. How has leangains worked for you? how fast can I expect the fat to come off? the latter one is probably a tough one to answer accurately, but I'm just wondering. Thanks again for your help




low intensity cardio will help speed up fat loss for sure, but some prefer to add this in when fat loss slows. it all depends on how fast you want the weight to come off, and the possible risk losing excessive strength/ muscle mass. i find its always good to have a few "tricks" to add in when fat loss seems to stall, i.e. supplements, cardio, macro manipulation.

i'd say since you are fairly sedentary other than in the gym, cardio will be good. fasted morning cardio is very effective at reducing stubborn body fat. i like to keep my heart rate below 130 but above 110.

how fast can you expect the fat to come off? that really depends on how much fat you carry right now. the more fat mass you have, the faster it will come off. try to maintain consistency for a good 8 weeks. go all in and you will be pleased with your results no matter how heavy you are starting out.

i use a fasting approach and strictly stick to very clean calories but every week I have a SERIOUS cheat meal after training on Friday night normally consisting of 2 five guys burgers and fries or 2 chipotle burritos, chips and guac, or some type of American or Chinese buffet. this approach has kept my morale high throughout my entire diet and I have not fallen off the boat.

like i believe facko mentioned in a previous post, i also like extending the fast a bit longer on non training days. today i actually fasted for about 22 hours and had a very satiating meal of about 2000 calories, lol.

the last bit of advice i will mention is that I like using a glucose disposal agent of some sort when i'm eating a big meal of carbs. this doesn't have to be an expensive supplement. A couple tablespoons of apple cider vinegar or some cinnamon powder about 10 minutes before I eat.

have fun fasting! i don't miss eating small meals at all.


Honestly, adjust the macro nutrients how you want. There isn't a "one program works best for everyone" out there. For example, I can lose body fat and still keep carb's very high on training days, 300-400 grams at a body weight of about 200. Others may not be able to do that and still lose weight. Some might like a balanced 33/33/33 between macros. Some might even like a ketogenic diet...

Intermittant fasting simply allows you bigger, more satisfying meals by extending a "non feeding" period you would experience when you sleep regardles.


thanks Dolce, you and Facko have been awesome. I'll keep you updated on my progress. I'm pretty sure Leangains is something I'm going to keep up with for life. Before I didn't know when to eat and ended up with self-destructive habits, but Leangains has not been a problem to adhere to so far.


Let me just say this about leangains: If you had told me a year ago that I could "diet" and eat things like ice cream or cotton candy at night after a workout and still start to see my abs (which I've never seen) I would have thought you were crazy. Martin makes sense and supports his claims with science.

My quick approach to the 16/8 IF

1) I keep protein high every day (1 to 1.5 g/lb)

2) I monitor calories - cycle them higher on training days, lower on non-training days.
Restdays: Lunch and dinner split about 50/50 or 60/40 in terms of overall calories.
Training days: Lunch, pre workout shake (typically Metabolic Drive), dinner. Calorie split is about 35 % pre workout, 65% post workout. Post workout is usually lean protein, starchy carbs, sugary carbs, sometimes ice-cream (depends on if I have to get my son from soccer). I've been using maintanence + 20 % on training days and - 20% on rest days for total calories. If you're over 15% BF, you may want to adjust lower on high days. Depends on your recovery ability and how hard you're training too.

3) Training was upper lower 3 times a week. Ramping each exercise to 3 RM for the day. I'm switching to Legs/Push/Pull after my vacation next week. I use squats, military press, incline press, bench press, weighted chins and dead lifts.

4) During the fast: Coffee and I've started taking Yohimbe (~9mg alkaloids per capsule). I sit at a desk most of the day so I take: Yohimbe 9mg at 8 AM, 9 AM and 10 AM. At 10:30 AM I go for a 30 minute walk around the office complex. I do this daily and have started to see an effect on lower stomach fat. Read Martins page on targeting stubborn fat for background and advice on when to start this protocol. If you're above 15% BF, don't worry about it yet.


On the non-training days I walk for 45 minutes in the morning before work, and 45 minutes after work. I don't do any cardio other than that. So far I've been "cutting" for 6 weeks and have lost about 5 lbs, but look a lot learner, and hit a new PR in the process. For some reason when I start running on a calorie deficit my strength goes down the drain.


Thanks for the input, DS1973 and ethanwest. My approach is very similar to yours, DS1973, but unfortunately it will be a while until I have to worry about the "stubborn" fat deposits. I've never seen my abs before, and the thought of them being visible definitely seems too good to be true at this point. I'll look into getting some yohimbe.

@ethanwest: I hate running, so this is good news to me. I'm doing Leangains primarily for fat loss, but if I get stronger int he process, I'll gladly take it. I'm having trouble getting all my calories in during the 8 hour feast window, but I know I have to be patient and let my body and hunger patterns re-adjust.