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Leangains and Eating Primal

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  • Leangains and Eating Primal

    I started trying to follow the leangains approach to weight gain about five weeks ago. I am male, 46, 5' 7", 134, and about 6% bodyfat (according to the Omron body fat calculator that I have). My goals are to gain another 16 lbs to reach a bodyweight of 150, maintaining the same BF%, and increase my strength. I have gained 4 lbs since I started.

    Being a hardgainer, I know I have to eat a LOT if I am going to put on weight. (Living primally since last summer has shown me that eating just when I am hungry = no weight gain, even with LHT.) Since Martin advocates counting calories, I rolled the dice and used the Cunningham Equation to determine my daily maintenance calories for lifting and rest days; I found that I need to eat 2800 cals on LHT days and 2600 cals on rest days to achieve my weight gain goal. Rest days/high fat days are easy thanks to coconut oil, ghee, and other tasty treats. Protein-wise I usually eat 175-225 g protein a day. My difficulty is on LHT days when carbs are supposed to be higher: meat and veggies just don't have many carbs. I eat a sweet potato on LHT days, and supplement with whole, big containers of greek yogurt, kefir and cottage cheese to hit my numbers.

    For those of you who have followed leangains, some questions:

    What carb-foods do you eat on LHT days?
    What were/are your daily caloric intakes to reach your goals?
    Did you keep your carb intake to 100-150 g on LHT days, PB-style, or just try to average 100-150 g carbs/week allowing for fluctuation?
    Any opinion on how I determined by daily calories?

    Thank you in advance for any guidance, and let me know if I left out any information that would be helpful to answer my questions.


  • #2
    DAMN Bob, you're already shredded! That's awesome!

    I'm doing the same thing with trying to follow Leangains AND Primal protocols, and it can get really confusing. Obviously, since I'm a female trying to lose weight I have different goals than you .

    I hear you on the confusion about calories. Primal diet says "Eat when you're hungry until you're full". Martin is more like "eat giant plates of measured protein in a sitting". I currently count calories, too, and try and get at least 1 g protein per LBM. I have a suspicion I'll have to "up" that sometime soon.

    As far as refeeds go, I'll just let you know that from reading about a million other Leangains/Primal forums, some people have decided to add rice back into their diets on LHT days. I'm not sure if that would help or hurt your success. You'll just have to see if you're comfortable with it and track your measurements!

    If you haven't already, read this article by Mark on refeeds: This definitely supports the idea that you should be eating WAY MORE than 100 g carbs on the days you choose to refeed.

    Overall, I'm a newbie just trying to feel my way around this too. I think, at the end of the day, it's a lot of trial and error. Sorry I can't be more helpful and good luck!

    "The Way We Do Anything Is the Way We Do Everything"
    ~ Kancho Cameron Shayne

    Blog - The Primal Pantry
    My Leangains/Primal Lifestyle Challenge to begin 2/7/11!
    Check out the Blog for Daily Progress


    • #3
      Thanks for the link, Primalvore; Mark has some seriously helpful info there on refeeds, and his recommendation to limit fat to 50g on refeed days. I am going to try that and see if I notice any change.

      No kidding on the giant plates: my first meal of the day around 11:00 am ends up being 900-1100 calories!

      And most importantly, thanks for sharing your experience so far...helps to know I am not the only one who is a little confused with the program.


      • #4
        Haha I hope I could at least be a little help! Nah, I (and many others on this site) are totally confused on how to marry the two - I've changed my game plan at least 3 or 4 times in the past...3 weeks. Keep me updated on how you're doing !

        "The Way We Do Anything Is the Way We Do Everything"
        ~ Kancho Cameron Shayne

        Blog - The Primal Pantry
        My Leangains/Primal Lifestyle Challenge to begin 2/7/11!
        Check out the Blog for Daily Progress


        • #5

          I also started about 4 weeks using the Leangains approach. So far nothing but good results - the IF and fasted training is really working for! Im 6'5 and about 210lbs about 12-13% bf. I was doing the Primal way of life for about 2 years e.g. functional fitness, no grains, higher fat/moderate carbs etc and really enjoyed it but couldnt get that last bit of bfat down. I used to do heavy weights few years ago but because of my job, just couldnt fit the diet/time in the gym to my lifestyle. so glad i found the leangains site!

          I believe the two are different approaches to a workout/way of life/lifestyle approach. I dont think you can do both - one is a bodybuilding lifestyle (leangains) where as the other (primal) is a homeostasis approach. The best way i see it is to 100% focus on one or the other depending on your goals. I use a leangains approach at the mo but with only primal foods. therefore workout days means v high carbs, v low fat, but only using fruit, sweet potato and some white potato - this is of course my personal preference and what seems to be working out for me (atm anyway )

          as for determining calories, i used the simple forumla martin uses of 13*BW (i have a desk job). and at the mo approx +10% on lifting days and approx -20% rest days (im in fat loss atm). eating large amounts of carbs when using sweet potato and white potato isnt easy, but as i workout morning and breakfast 3/4 hours later my appetite is huge so can pretty much finish it off. i think it works out at 1.5kg (raw weight) of steamed sweet potato mash (approx 250gms carbs) in PWO sitting (with 500g turkey mince and can of tomatos in a chilli type thing). then have two smaller meals later in the day.

          be interested to hear others take on the leangains approach, those who have been doing it longer than me.
          Last edited by howzat117; 02-21-2011, 05:59 AM.


          • #6
            I've been using a 16/8 fasting window for i think almost a year now. At first I tried adding extra calories for workout days from fat (more cream, butter etc.) and I added too much bodyfat. Then I tried adding calories from carbs (winter squash, sweet potato, white potato sometimes) while keeping fat low, but still added some unwanted bodyfat.

            Now I'm being more moderate and keeping my fat intake about the same all days, but adding about 100g of carbs from (sweet/white) potatoes on workout days plus whatever I get from veggies. I never really tracked my calories, so maybe that's where I went wrong. If you're going to count calories anyway, I'd try Martin's recommendation of keeping fat low on workout days. I believe it would've worked for me if I hadn't gone way overboard on calories.


            • #7
              yeah I just started leangains too, but I decided not to do high carb low fat, but "relaxing" a bit on watching my carbs and filling in any extra calories i need after I know I get enough protien with fat, as usual. The only things I took away from leangains is fasting till 2pm and the biggest meal being after your workout, both of which work for me.

              Today is a workout day, so my days gonna look like this

              After workout - 3 chicken breasts cooked in coconut oil (12oz)
              -bag o' salad/veggies/sweet potato wit buttah/ chicken broth
              -avacado, maybe for a snack or with this meal

              -then I got a tub (forgot how many oz, its 120cals for 4 servings) of 4%milkfat cottage cheese for my second meal. I belive he says its best to eat casins before bedtime.

              I also have another avacado which I should eat for the calories, but I might eat two servings of almonds instead.

              But yeah i'm sticking primal and remaining relativly low carb. Just upping em a bit.


              • #8
                I fast 16/8 too, but I can’t say I’m “doing” Leangains because I’m not worried about eating one way or another depending on what day it is, I do tend to eat more carbs on workout days but I’m not too religious about it.

                So, if you’re going to DO leangains…. EAT Leangains. You can’t take Martin’s program and do your own little version of it, this happens all the time and with any program. If you’re not doing the program as laid out you can’t expect the results promised.

                I may fast in a Leangains style, but I certainly don’t eat as massively as Martin and his clients do, and I don’t train in their style, so I’m only taking the fasting because it suits my lifestyle and doing my own thing workout/food wise.

                To the OP: If you can put on 15lbs of muscle and stay at 6%BF make sure to let us know and document your progress!
                I used to seriously post here, now I prefer to troll.


                • #9
                  So what exactly IS martins program other than eat alot of protien, 16/8 fasts, highcarb/highfat days? I can't really make it out from his website he seems to be wating for his book to be released.

                  And really, i don't really want to look like Marty anyway. Not that he looks bad at all, but it'd look bad for me. I'm 5'3 i'd look like a jacked up midget.

                  I'm going for bruce lee style leanness, thats where its at!


                  • #10
                    In a nutshell:

                    - Workout fasted: focus on heavy compound lifting, though he advocates cardio/walking on rest days.
                    - Post workout eat higher carb than fat (a plate of steak and mashed potatoes for instance, sans butter or less butter than usual)
                    - rest/off days eat regular, but watch carbs (primal fits perfectly as it’s higher fat already)

                    Then he’s got supplement recommendations and such. Also, I think its important to note that Martin is NOT a Paleo guy but is versed on the diet. He even had a client success story once that actually bashed Paleo as a method of weight gain, the client had been unsuccessful in putting on weight following a Paleo diet. Martin closes that article saying “I could do it. I’m confident I can eat enough meat, veggies and berries to feed a small village” (paraphrasing) so most of his clients are NOT eating low carb on the regular, so their higher carb days are REALLY high carb and his rest days are just regular carb.

                    Martin does say whole foods are better than processed, but he’s not out to “save” people from processed foods like Paleo bloggers are, and I’m thankful for them, but Martin is refreshing as well.

                    I wasn’t taking a shot at you Milkycereal, but in general many people often think taking just part of a program is “doing” a program, when it’s not.

                    If you’re after a Bruce Lee type physique just be generally more active, still lift heavy and become brutally strong like The Master. Nothing wimpy about his training routine, believe that!
                    I used to seriously post here, now I prefer to troll.


                    • #11
                      ah i gotcha, thnks for clearing tht up.


                      • #12
                        Can I just say how helpful it is mentally hearing from others and their experiences?!?

                        Every time I read through Martin's site, I get confused. Maybe it's the civil engineer in me...I need that linear thinking path to follow. I did email him a while ago to request a consultation, but I am sure I am pretty far down the wait list.

                        Based on everyone's comments and reading Mark's article on refeeding, I decided to limit fat on heavy workout days to as close to 50g as possible, and just going for it with carbs, e.g., sweet potatoes, pumpkin, greek yogurt, berries, and other fruit. On non-heavy workout days, I can easily restrict carbs and pump up the fat. High protein every day. I weigh myself and take a bf% reading on Saturdays, so I look forward to seeing if I make any progress with these modifications.

                        The one thing I still want to nail down is what my daily calories should be. The 2800 cal that I calculated with the Cunningham equation is more than I can fit in my stomach in an 8 hour window!

                        @howzat117: Where did you find the 13*BW calculation for caloric intake on leangains? I have been re-reading trying to find this info, but have not been successful. For me, that would only be 1742/day, which is less than I was eating and just maintaining the same body weight before trying to jump on the leangains bandwagon.


                        • #13
                          hey bob

                          sure! it wasn't on his site, but this pdf i found that he wrote do a search for 13; i chose 13 as i have a desk job.

                          my advice would be to keep things as simple as possible. he says its OK to have low fat deserts but i'd suggest start from a base - even if its a week or two - of just sweet potato, white potato and fruit and as you progress and see what works for you add some things like low fat ice cream. i myself have very little fat, maybe 25gms, some of which is from fish oil and loads of carbs, around 450grams for the day which is all sweet/white potato and a little bit of fruit. i make some homemade fries in the acti fry which are awesome! so far this is definitely working for me. hope that helpls


                          • #14
                            howzat117, THANK YOU! This pdf fills in a lot of the holes for me, and your suggestions make sense.

                            Keep me and anyone else who may be following this thread updated with your progress.


                            • #15
                              no worries mate!