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The IF/Leangains Mutual Support Thread


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Don't get me wrong, it is obvious that it works. To understand is to gain the ability to manipulate, adjust, and adapt. Keeping a constant high protein for recovery is a concept that I use as well and central to my BMR theory. I fail to see any point in cycling the other 2 macros though unless it has something to do with recovery.

No, it has to do with losing fat and gaining muscle. That's the whole concept of the cycling of the calories and macros.

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Oh, hackey sack. Wow, that's still around.

I feel your pain.  Thanks to my genetics, my body prefers to store fat all over my entire body.  All the time.  Forever.

Your recovery is fucked up and you are obviously stressing in a big way about the changes. Yea, I'd say cortisol is doing what cortisol does. I don't know what you do to blow off steam, but whatever i

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It's my understanding he's asking what it has to do in relation to recovery. I'm just explaining the purpose of the cycling has not to do with recovery, but for over all fat loss and muscle gain.

How?

What purpose does it serve to refill glycogen right after exercise? That would seem to be the absolute worst timing possible to maximize fat burn, hence my logical conclusion that it has to do with recovery. I would think that you'd want to minimize glycogen levels as much as reasonably possible except before working out, as glycogen is superior workout fuel. If it has to do with the window of surplus for muscle building, that is recovery, recover to your previous state and hopefully a little more. But then why carbs in particular? And back full circle to my original point about recovery.

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How?

What purpose does it serve to refill glycogen right after exercise? That would seem to be the absolute worst timing possible to maximize fat burn, hence my logical conclusion that it has to do with recovery. I would think that you'd want to minimize glycogen levels as much as reasonably possible except before working out, as glycogen is superior workout fuel. If it has to do with the window of surplus for muscle building, that is recovery, recover to your previous state and hopefully a little more. But then why carbs in particular? And back full circle to my original point about recovery.

I may not be explaining it properly, but I do have an article (thanks Catspaw) that explains it much better.

Why Lean Gains is So Effective

:)

EDIT:

Also, in regards to calorie partitioning: Calorie Partitioning: Part 1 (also thank you Catspaw)

Edited by Loren Wade
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Loren gives some good results there, but I'll describe the phenomena a little further too. Most of my knowledge is actually based on McDonald's articles/books + my PT textbook.

Recovering absolutly is a long process, which is why, regardless of IF vs not, deficit vs surplus, you must always eventually take a break. Specifically BECAUSE you eat into recovery time, you end up creating excess fatigue and wear/tear day by day, week by week, until either you take a break or something gives.

Your body finds it difficult to send an anabolic signal when glycogen reserves aren't full/filling up. You might even say that the protein is merely anti-catabolic and the carbs are the true anabolic agent. Once you've eaten the carbs and let them sit overnight though, reserves of glycogen should be pretty full. Not only that, but while re-filling glycogen the body tends to shunt ALL available carbs to re-fill and continues to burn fat for fuel even though there is an abundance of carbs.

I guess to simplify things, the whole system is designed to send all protein to muscles, all carbs to fuel real work, and all fats to use during daily activity. Some programs have taken advantage of exactly what you pointed out; The Ultimate Diet 2.0 is designed to stretch out catabolic and anabolic processes to their physiological maximums and rebound them before hormone and metabolic problems can take effect. It's complicated, painful, and you get most of the bang for your buck by simply zig-zagging your calories rest vs work days and restricting calorie intake for some portion of the day.

Nevertheless, I feel like I probably haven't really answered your question. Could you elaborate on exactly what you feel the issues are?

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Your body finds it difficult to send an anabolic signal when glycogen reserves aren't full/filling up. You might even say that the protein is merely anti-catabolic and the carbs are the true anabolic agent.

This right here answered it completely.

Carbs act as the grow-shrink light switch and you want to keep the switch on as much as possible.

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Background I don't eat until around 6-8pm then I eat until I crash at 12am. I tend to eat around the same amount every day though, regardless of working out (okay maybe a little bit more on the days I workout). IF is more convenient and seems to work. I worry that I don't eat enough so I'm going to start tracking calories.... Anyways.

So a couple of questions:

So first question: MDA put up an article www.marksdailyapple.com/post-workout-fasting/ on post workout fasting. My Google research so far has turned up an average of 2-3 hour wait before you eat after a heavy lifting workout. The idea is that the HGH produced during a workout stays in your body, but as soon as you eat you have an insulin response which shuts off the HGH. I'm assuming it tapers off around the 2-3 hour mark. Apparently marks does not do this every time he lifts. So does anyone know how long I should wait to eat to keep HGH maximized? Also does anyone agree with the doing it occasionally, or should I PWO fast every lifting day if I’m trying to maximize HGH? Is there a benefit to randomly breaking my fast immediately following my workout, while still consistently PWO fasting most times I lift?

Second question: Should I occasionally mix it up and eat "normally" for a day or two randomly. If so anyone know why?

Third question: BCAA. Sounds like I should take them every 2 hours during my fast (10g) any idea on whether shake/tablet is best and recommended brands?

Fourth question: I think I’m going to have to have a go at the calculator. Seems a little high. Doing Starting Strength and I practice parkour on the weekends. I consider myself moderate to high activity. Anyone got any idea of the top of your heads how many calories I should be taking in (5’6†164lbs last I checked) I’d appreciate the help because the calculator is confusing me (haven’t been doing any carbs, all paleo).

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Waldo: close. This is true if all you want to do is gain weight. BUT, and it's a big butt (lol see what I did there?), the same signals that indicate increased protein synthesis tend to promote overall weight gain as well. So, if not balanced, the temporary calorie surplus could easily go into fat stores.

It's more like... keep the shrink switch on until it starts trying to shrink protein instead of fat/carbs and then turn it on to grow for carbs and protein temporarily until it starts trying to grow fat... you keep flipping the switch in order to perform biological arbitrage.

Ryan: first question, insulin has very very very little to do with HGH levels in the body. Insulin is released in response to nutrients present in your stomach in order to stimulate uptake into various energy stores of the body of the nutrients present. Eating will NOT turn HGH production off. HGH itself does much much more than just promote muscle growth... higher levels are what make some kids taller than others, amongst other things. If anything, HGH and insulin are synergistic, activating at similar times.

Second question: Diet breaks are warranted after 6-8 weeks of ANY caloric manipulation cycle, whether cutting or bulking in general. The IF part need not be cycled, and indeed should not. Circadian rhythms dictate that the body models it's hunger signals after recognized eating patterns: if your normal food intake period is between 2 and 10pm, then that's when you'll be hungry. Eating at different times after eating at certain times for an extended period will mess up your natural rhythm. So if you want to IF, go all out.

Third question: Only if you work out fasted and DO NOT eat immediately afterwards. BCAA are anti-catabolic in nature, and basically hold your protein reserves steady until you actually consume your first meal. BCAA shakes taste like s**t, get tablets.

Fourth: Track your activity closely/use a bodybugg or something first, and then figure out what your average multiplier is from those figures. Chances are, if you're moderately active in reality, then tracking these activities and adding them to your RMR would come out to around where your activity level says you are.

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Third question: Only if you work out fasted and DO NOT eat immediately afterwards. BCAA are anti-catabolic in nature, and basically hold your protein reserves steady until you actually consume your first meal. BCAA shakes taste like s**t, get tablets.

What do you mean by this? I've been taking BCAAs immediately after workout but I go right home and eat, assuming that I need to eat immediately post workout. Is this wrong?

Current plan:

0730-0830 Crossfit, immediate BCAA

0900 Get home, make food

0930 Eat largest meal of the day (usually chicken and sweet potato)

1330 Eat again.

1730 Eat again, fast until 0930 next morning.

Edited by Loren Wade
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What do you mean by this? I've been taking BCAAs immediately after workout but I go right home and eat, assuming that I need to eat immediately post workout. Is this wrong?

Current plan:

0730-0830 Crossfit, immediate BCAA

0900 Get home, make food

0930 Eat largest meal of the day (usually chicken and sweet potato)

1330 Eat again.

1730 Eat again, fast until 0930 next morning.

I'm not sure if BCAAs are necessary there. I think it's more if you work out first thing in the morning and don't break the fast until the afternoon. I'm planning on giving this a go shortly, and my schedule will look something like this:

0645: 10g BCAA

0700: Workout

0900: 10g BCAA

1100: 10g BCAA

1300: Meal 1

1700: Meal 2

2100: Meal 3 - end of feeding window

See here for more detail.

Edit: It looks like LeanGains recommends 10g BCAA pre-workout on your schedule, but real food is fine after.

Edited by msuroo
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I'm not sure if BCAAs are necessary there. I think it's more if you work out first thing in the morning and don't break the fast until the afternoon. I'm planning on giving this a go shortly, and my schedule will look something like this:

0645: 10g BCAA

0700: Workout

0900: 10g BCAA

1100: 10g BCAA

1300: Meal 1

1700: Meal 2

2100: Meal 3 - end of feeding window

See here for more detail.

Edit: It looks like LeanGains recommends 10g BCAA pre-workout on your schedule, but real food is fine after.

Yeah, I've totally seen that and I know what you're saying. I'm just not sure if I'm losing any benefits by eating right away and if it's better to wait.

Also, I take BCAA after as it's little consequence before, after, or intra. I can't take anything Pre workout or I toss it up. I've always been his way. *shrug* haha.

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Has anyone tried fasted workouts and not eating for several hours? And if so, how has that been going? I've tried 24 hour weekly fasts before and had good success with it, but I only have time to work out in the early mornings, so while I've done Leangains style eating on my rest days where I skip breakfast and eat a bigger lunch and dinner, on workout days I've been eating within an hour of working out because that's what previous reading said promoted the best muscle recovery. (My post workout shake has BCAAs in it, but also other things because they're in protein powder.) I've done fasted workouts and only ate after finishing for a while, but I switched to eating a small breakfast before lifting because I wanted to make sure I had food if I ended up being rushed and not having time to eat afterwards.

Skipping breakfast and eating more later in the day doesn't seem to help with losing inches or weight the way I'm doing it though -- not sure if it's that I'm not eating enough, eating too much, not eating the right things, or if it's just less effective when you eat within a 8 hour window some days and an 15 hour window on others. (If I eat before lifting, my first meal is at six, and then I don't get out of work until six that evening, so even if I eat the second I get home that's still more than 12 hours, and if I am cooking something that isn't fast, I don't get to eat until closer to eight.)

I may experiment though -- going back to lifting 3 days a week will mean that I only have one day where I'd have to leave the house right after the workout, so if I do crash while doing fasted workouts and not eating a full meal right away, I'll have a couple of days to figure that out where it won't be a problem and I can then add more pre/post workout calories back in.

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Has anyone tried fasted workouts and not eating for several hours? And if so, how has that been going? I've tried 24 hour weekly fasts before and had good success with it, but I only have time to work out in the early mornings, so while I've done Leangains style eating on my rest days where I skip breakfast and eat a bigger lunch and dinner, on workout days I've been eating within an hour of working out because that's what previous reading said promoted the best muscle recovery. (My post workout shake has BCAAs in it, but also other things because they're in protein powder.) I've done fasted workouts and only ate after finishing for a while, but I switched to eating a small breakfast before lifting because I wanted to make sure I had food if I ended up being rushed and not having time to eat afterwards.

Skipping breakfast and eating more later in the day doesn't seem to help with losing inches or weight the way I'm doing it though -- not sure if it's that I'm not eating enough, eating too much, not eating the right things, or if it's just less effective when you eat within a 8 hour window some days and an 15 hour window on others. (If I eat before lifting, my first meal is at six, and then I don't get out of work until six that evening, so even if I eat the second I get home that's still more than 12 hours, and if I am cooking something that isn't fast, I don't get to eat until closer to eight.)

I may experiment though -- going back to lifting 3 days a week will mean that I only have one day where I'd have to leave the house right after the workout, so if I do crash while doing fasted workouts and not eating a full meal right away, I'll have a couple of days to figure that out where it won't be a problem and I can then add more pre/post workout calories back in.

Based on my understanding of the approach, it's a little bit of each of the things that you mention here. In order for it to work as well as possible the following are recommended:

- consistent meal timing and consistent length of fast

- eating the right macros (not too much or too little) and at the right times

- calorie partitioning

The ideal leangains configuration involves fasted training in the early morning, followed by a bit more fasting that's supported by BCAAs a couple of times before the first meal arrives. I'm doing in the other way, where you eat pre-workout meals that are smaller and follow your sessions with a big feast.

If you do some experimenting, just make sure that you only change one thing at a time so you can be sure about what makes the difference for you.

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I'm just shy of a week in to my protocol, and things are going pretty well. I'm down 3lbs or so of water, and I'm starting to get used to how things work overall. I'm cooking my meat in batches to save time, and generally enjoying the process or learning more about the content of the foods that I eat.

A few observations:

- I don't have any problems with the fast. I'm pretty hungry by 2pm, but not unmanageably so.

- I like workout days. Lot's of food and there's room for some treats.

- I'm ravenous all day on my rest days, which is weird because this doesn't translate to the next morning's portion of the fast (see bullet #1)

- I'm still adjusting to eating good foods again (I want to eat ALL the cookies)

- I feel pretty awesome: high energy, positive attitude, clear thinking

How's everyone else doing?

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Yeah, I've totally seen that and I know what you're saying. I'm just not sure if I'm losing any benefits by eating right away and if it's better to wait.

Also, I take BCAA after as it's little consequence before, after, or intra. I can't take anything Pre workout or I toss it up. I've always been his way. *shrug* haha.

Yup yup yup you guys got it. Berkhan recommends the BCAA supplementation while fasting after a morning work-out in order to prevent catabolism until your first meal. If you eat immediately after (like withint 30 minutes or so) then the BCAA's may be un-necessary, but still a good supplement to take WHILE fasting. Personally I go semi-fasted through the day, taking in casein protein throughout.

I'm just shy of a week in to my protocol, and things are going pretty well. I'm down 3lbs or so of water, and I'm starting to get used to how things work overall. I'm cooking my meat in batches to save time, and generally enjoying the process or learning more about the content of the foods that I eat.

A few observations:

- I don't have any problems with the fast. I'm pretty hungry by 2pm, but not unmanageably so.

- I like workout days. Lot's of food and there's room for some treats.

- I'm ravenous all day on my rest days, which is weird because this doesn't translate to the next morning's portion of the fast (see bullet #1)

- I'm still adjusting to eating good foods again (I want to eat ALL the cookies)

- I feel pretty awesome: high energy, positive attitude, clear thinking

How's everyone else doing?

So much this. So very few of us understand what REAL hunger is. These pangs will disappear as your body re-regulates itself to get hungry at the accostumed feeding times.

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Yup yup yup you guys got it. Berkhan recommends the BCAA supplementation while fasting after a morning work-out in order to prevent catabolism until your first meal. If you eat immediately after (like withint 30 minutes or so) then the BCAA's may be un-necessary, but still a good supplement to take WHILE fasting. Personally I go semi-fasted through the day, taking in casein protein throughout.

So much this. So very few of us understand what REAL hunger is. These pangs will disappear as your body re-regulates itself to get hungry at the accostumed feeding times.

Yup, totally. I'm hardly ever hungry.

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So far, I'm a couple days into doing this properly. Trying to ease my way into getting more protein into my system - the last time I went for broke, my body wasn't ready for it and I ended up with some minor yet embarrassing GI issues.

It's like... the paint peeled off the walls, man. That was how bad it was.

So, I'm still dialing it in somewhat. Since I'm not taking the full amount of protein yet, the non-dominant macro has been filling up the space. But, I am making sure that the dominant macro is cycled properly on the day that I'm working or resting, and I'm hitting pretty close to the amount of calories I need on a given day. So, there's that.

Question, by the way: suppose you have a day when you're working out, but it's not strength training. Would that be considered a workout day for the purposes of the protocol?

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Question, by the way: suppose you have a day when you're working out, but it's not strength training. Would that be considered a workout day for the purposes of the protocol?

That would be considered a rest day. (Though if you're burning a lot of calories, may want to up your rest day calories that day.)

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