T Nation

The Getting Lean Thread

We’ve got a thread dedicated to the benefits of staying lean. How about a thread for getting lean?

We will define “Lean” in this thread as a healthy amount of fat NOT contest leanness. So for the sake of argument letâ??s say between 8% and 16% body fat. Little to no love handles, moobs, etc… Can see your abs, but won’t be walking on stage anytime soon. Obviously lean is a relative term so lets no focus on #'s, please.

Let’s also keep in mind this is leanness for those that will likely not step on a stage ever. This is general health leanness here.

So let’s hear strategies, favorite recipes, cardio/exercise plans, etc…Anything you think has helped you get and stay lean.

I think it would be especially good to hear from guy that are professionals like Zraw & Stu as well as regular guys that have leaned out like DoubleDeuce. Also those that have stayed lean while getting bigger and stronger.

I am very interested to hear strategies from the folks who have gotten to visible abs from not (or barely) visible abs and who have retained bench strength.

I know that’s pretty specific, but if anyone is out there, please chime in.

[quote]SteelyD wrote:
I am very interested to hear strategies from the folks who have gotten to visible abs from not (or barely) visible abs and who have retained bench strength.

I know that’s pretty specific, but if anyone is out there, please chime in.[/quote]

My bench strength hasn’t changes all that much. I long paused 365 and did a touch and go with 385 a few days ago.

Compare that to pausing 385 and touch and go with 405 40 pounds heavier.

Most of the time I kept to heavy frequent training with really low volume.

I’ll start:

A few years ago, before I got fat :), I went from 175 to 153. This was when I first started to lift weights and I was deployed to Japan so I had A LOT of free time.

My diet was very straight forward.

Breakfast: chow hall food, almost always an egg omelet & fruit
Snake 1: Clementines EVERY DAY
Lunch: Whatever chow had
Snake 2: Tuna EVERY DAY
Dinner: Chow Hall
Snake 3: 6 inch Turkey sub with oil NOTHING ELSE

Training:

Mon, Wed, Fri: AM Cardio with Squadron or Department (between 3-6 miles)
Mon, Tue, Thur, Fri: Lunch time lifting. Basic body part split
Tue, Thur, Sat: Ran either sprints or a timed mile (around 6 mins) @ night.

After 6 months I was very lean, but I lacked any real muscle so to speak. This plan was also only really possible because of my circumstances. I was also very much a beginner to weight lifting so my training plan was not the best. However, my main goal was to crush the Marine Corps PFT, which I did pretty well on.

^or be third :slight_smile: whatever.

[quote]SteelyD wrote:
I am very interested to hear strategies from the folks who have gotten to visible abs from not (or barely) visible abs and who have retained bench strength.

I know that’s pretty specific, but if anyone is out there, please chime in.[/quote]

X2, except with deadlift.

[quote]DoubleDuce wrote:

[quote]SteelyD wrote:
I am very interested to hear strategies from the folks who have gotten to visible abs from not (or barely) visible abs and who have retained bench strength.

I know that’s pretty specific, but if anyone is out there, please chime in.[/quote]

My bench strength hasn’t changes all that much. I long paused 365 and did a touch and go with 385 a few days ago.

Compare that to pausing 385 and touch and go with 405 40 pounds heavier.

Most of the time I kept to heavy frequent training with really low volume.[/quote]

So DD, what was your strategy to lose those 40lbs? What was your diet like? I think I remember reading you did this over a long period, is that right?

First, do what works not what should work. I’ve learned you have to figure out stuff for yourself, your own preferences, and your own physiology. Listen to everyone, read all you can, learn all you can, keep what works. Principals are more important than specifics. I don’t count calories, I don’t track macros, I really have just developed a style of living. Counting crap every day will always be a temporary diet to me, and I’m not doing that anymore.

From the other thread: "I don’t eat breakfast. eat whenever I get hungry. Make sure to get 200+ grams of protein. Eat limited carbs only peri and post workout (50 to 75). and eat as much fat as I want. During the day I’m eating eggs, sausage, bacon, nuts, cheese, low carb veggies, coconut oil, cream, beef, skin on chicken, est. At night after training it’s full fat yogurt, some fruit, cottage cheese, milk, more meat est.

I also eat organic, grassfed meat and milk, and non GMO as possible. I eat no wheat, refined sugar, or starches.

I lift for an hour most days and play at something else for 30 minutes. Might be a run, stone carries, rucking, bike ride, battle ropes, sled pulling, pump work, complexes, est. Just whatever I feel like. I also stay as active as possible the rest of the day (I now stand at my desk and go on walks and stuff at lunch).

I’m eating 3000-4000 calories a day and still leaning out."

Much of how I eat is by feel. I tend to listen to my hunger. The harder I train the hungrier I get and the more I eat. I also almost don’t believe in carbs. I personally do great virtually without them. I’m low to no carb most days and don’t do and “re-feeds”. Eat animals, just make sure they are healthy.

After reading about the volumes and intensities many different athletes go to (strong man, oly lifters, est.) I almost don?t believe in overtraining. Sure you can be stupid and try to do a widow maker squat set daily while cutting weight and not sleeping, but bar doing some really stupid crap, you can adapt to almost anything. And even then, when you are feeling run down, there is plenty of stuff you can do. Eccentric-less sets, really light really high rep sets, light complexes, est. You can pretty much always work harder than you are.

I’m a big advocate of getting out of the gym. The big lifts are important, but they aren’t everything. I even have an old crappy barbell I just leave outside. I love power cages and plates, but my favorite training journal entries have grass stains on the pages (seriously). I don’t care who you are and how determined you are, you will work harder and do more if you enjoy what you are doing. Yesterday I did an hour belt squat workout in the shade of a tree on a bright sunny day, playing fetch with my dogs between sets. I can guarantee you I did at least 2 more high rep finishing sets that I probably wouldn’t have done in a gym because I’d have been bored by that point. Go do something cool and get some dirt in your callouses.

I also don’t do weekly scheduling. I’ve never understood trying to map your training and recover to a week. I have a rotation of workouts and simply do the next one the next time I train. If I’m feeling good I might train 6-8 days in a row, if not I take a day and maybe do some recovery work. Why should the 7 day week change that?

Currently I’m also experimenting with morning lifting. I get up and do my main lift before work, then the afternoons are play time to go have fun doing cool stuff. Training in the morning like this makes me feel like a million bucks the rest of the day. The loose unstructured evenings are great for flexibility with general life. So far, it’s awesome.

Great post DD,

I really like the “be outside” philosophy. As a kids I was ALWASY outside and as an adult I’m rarely outside. Something I really want to change this year. I’m thinking about making some stones and trying to find an old crap bar just to leave outside. I’ve finally got the yard for it.

Thanks for the insight.

When you spend so large a part of your life on diet and training it shouldn’t just be a means to an end. I got tired of training to prepare for life like life was something in the future.

Carb cycling, some form of fasted steady state cardio every day, HIT somedays.

Skip breakfast cause its easier with my schedule and allows me to eat more in my pre and post workout meals :slight_smile:

Food kept simple, protein powder, evening primrose oil, cod liver oil, peanut butter, steamed chicken, tuna, basmati rice and diet soda/water.

Stop spending so much time researching, planning, debating, discussing how to get lean and just consume less then you need for maintenance and stop “rewarding” yourself with drinks/cheat meals.

Im not talking about getting contest shape, but getting visible abs is freaking easy. You already know what you are doing wrong, just stop doing it, you already know what you need to do, just start doing it. Do it consistently for months, not days, not weeks. Stop lying to yourself about muscle loss and strength loss.

[quote]Waittz wrote:
Stop spending so much time researching, planning, debating, discussing how to get lean and just consume less then you need for maintenance and stop “rewarding” yourself with drinks/cheat meals.

Im not talking about getting contest shape, but getting visible abs is freaking easy. You already know what you are doing wrong, just stop doing it, you already know what you need to do, just start doing it. Do it consistently for months, not days, not weeks. Stop lying to yourself about muscle loss and strength loss. [/quote]

That was awesome haha

I think its quite a personal thing. I’ve found that I could never maintain being lean without closely tracking my calories. I eat similar foods from day to day so it literally takes me 5 minutes to log everything on Myfitnesspal.

Low carb doesn’t seem to work for me either. I make sure I get plenty of fats in the form of coconut oil, olive oil, eggs and grassfed butter but I rarely eat less than 200gs of carbs daily. On the flip side I’ve worked with some people who have experienced more energy and greater fat loss from eating nothing but meat, eggs, veggies and the occasional piece of fruit.

[quote]usmccds423 wrote:

[quote]SteelyD wrote:
I am very interested to hear strategies from the folks who have gotten to visible abs from not (or barely) visible abs and who have retained bench strength.

I know that’s pretty specific, but if anyone is out there, please chime in.[/quote]

X2, except with deadlift.[/quote]

I think if you keep lifting heavy, your deadlift shouldn’t drop like your bench does. The last few deadlift PR’s I’ve pulled were when I was dieting (nothing crazy, but 520 at 171ish).

I actually don’t find my bench drops much either, also because I just keep lifting heavy and keep trying to improve it rather than believing it will probably drop. Last time I went from 195-170, bench dropped only from 335 down to 330, now it’s back up to 345. I have noticed that this isn’t necessarily the case with many other people though, but basically my point was with the deadlift, I think it is much less correlated with body weight gains/losses.

[quote]usmccds423 wrote:

[quote]DoubleDuce wrote:

[quote]SteelyD wrote:
I am very interested to hear strategies from the folks who have gotten to visible abs from not (or barely) visible abs and who have retained bench strength.

I know that’s pretty specific, but if anyone is out there, please chime in.[/quote]

My bench strength hasn’t changes all that much. I long paused 365 and did a touch and go with 385 a few days ago.

Compare that to pausing 385 and touch and go with 405 40 pounds heavier.

Most of the time I kept to heavy frequent training with really low volume.[/quote]

So DD, what was your strategy to lose those 40lbs? What was your diet like? I think I remember reading you did this over a long period, is that right? [/quote]

about 50 pounds all together through a year-ish of leaning out (+ some steady state time)

[quote]DoubleDuce wrote:

[quote]usmccds423 wrote:

[quote]DoubleDuce wrote:

[quote]SteelyD wrote:
I am very interested to hear strategies from the folks who have gotten to visible abs from not (or barely) visible abs and who have retained bench strength.

I know that’s pretty specific, but if anyone is out there, please chime in.[/quote]

My bench strength hasn’t changes all that much. I long paused 365 and did a touch and go with 385 a few days ago.

Compare that to pausing 385 and touch and go with 405 40 pounds heavier.

Most of the time I kept to heavy frequent training with really low volume.[/quote]

So DD, what was your strategy to lose those 40lbs? What was your diet like? I think I remember reading you did this over a long period, is that right? [/quote]

about 50 pounds all together through a year-ish of leaning out (+ some steady state time)[/quote]

how tall are you?

are you the guy who had the terrible bench spotters in your training log?

[quote]yolo84 wrote:

[quote]DoubleDuce wrote:

[quote]usmccds423 wrote:

[quote]DoubleDuce wrote:

[quote]SteelyD wrote:
I am very interested to hear strategies from the folks who have gotten to visible abs from not (or barely) visible abs and who have retained bench strength.

I know that’s pretty specific, but if anyone is out there, please chime in.[/quote]

My bench strength hasn’t changes all that much. I long paused 365 and did a touch and go with 385 a few days ago.

Compare that to pausing 385 and touch and go with 405 40 pounds heavier.

Most of the time I kept to heavy frequent training with really low volume.[/quote]

So DD, what was your strategy to lose those 40lbs? What was your diet like? I think I remember reading you did this over a long period, is that right? [/quote]

about 50 pounds all together through a year-ish of leaning out (+ some steady state time)[/quote]

how tall are you?

are you the guy who had the terrible bench spotters in your training log?
[/quote]
5 10
And I’m not sure, could have been.

[quote]DoubleDuce wrote:

[quote]yolo84 wrote:

[quote]DoubleDuce wrote:

[quote]usmccds423 wrote:

[quote]DoubleDuce wrote:

[quote]SteelyD wrote:
I am very interested to hear strategies from the folks who have gotten to visible abs from not (or barely) visible abs and who have retained bench strength.

I know that’s pretty specific, but if anyone is out there, please chime in.[/quote]

My bench strength hasn’t changes all that much. I long paused 365 and did a touch and go with 385 a few days ago.

Compare that to pausing 385 and touch and go with 405 40 pounds heavier.

Most of the time I kept to heavy frequent training with really low volume.[/quote]

So DD, what was your strategy to lose those 40lbs? What was your diet like? I think I remember reading you did this over a long period, is that right? [/quote]

about 50 pounds all together through a year-ish of leaning out (+ some steady state time)[/quote]

how tall are you?

are you the guy who had the terrible bench spotters in your training log?
[/quote]
5 10
And I’m not sure, could have been.[/quote]

I have a felling he is talking about DixiesFinest

[quote]Maiden3.16 wrote:

[quote]DoubleDuce wrote:

[quote]yolo84 wrote:

[quote]DoubleDuce wrote:

[quote]usmccds423 wrote:

[quote]DoubleDuce wrote:

[quote]SteelyD wrote:
I am very interested to hear strategies from the folks who have gotten to visible abs from not (or barely) visible abs and who have retained bench strength.

I know that’s pretty specific, but if anyone is out there, please chime in.[/quote]

My bench strength hasn’t changes all that much. I long paused 365 and did a touch and go with 385 a few days ago.

Compare that to pausing 385 and touch and go with 405 40 pounds heavier.

Most of the time I kept to heavy frequent training with really low volume.[/quote]

So DD, what was your strategy to lose those 40lbs? What was your diet like? I think I remember reading you did this over a long period, is that right? [/quote]

about 50 pounds all together through a year-ish of leaning out (+ some steady state time)[/quote]

how tall are you?

are you the guy who had the terrible bench spotters in your training log?
[/quote]
5 10
And I’m not sure, could have been.[/quote]

I have a felling he is talking about DixiesFinest[/quote]

yeah i think i am actually