12 Weeks: What You Can Expect to Achieve…

…Identifying Where You’re At Now, Setting Realistic Goals, and Your Best Course of Action.

I think one of the toughest parts of helping people diet, whether it be I.F. (Leangains, ‘Eat-Stop-Eat’) CKD, or just general calorie restriction, is keeping people’s expectations in check.

Lofty goals are important but they must be set in the correct time-frame. If you have unrealistic expectations it’ll quickly kill your motivation when the reality doesn’t pan out. Unfortunately when it comes to inflated expectations, Leangains tends to bring out the biggest of them all.

I can certainly understand why. - The results can be striking given the right conditions, and sometimes I see cases where the results simply blow my mind. But I do not want to sell you on the idea of IF by giving you unrealistic expectations.

Intermittent Fasting is not a magic pill, just a particularly effective way of eating that will maximize hard work in the gym, and minimize kitchen time.

To know what a realistic goal is for yourself however you need to know where you are starting from.

Identifying Where You Are Now

There is a saying that,

“The quickest way to look like you have gained 10lbs of muscle is to lose 10lbs of fat.”

and I believe for many people this generally holds true*, however not for those that either have little muscle mass in the first place, or those that have a relatively high body-fat (+20%/+25% for men/women), in which case 10lbs will not be as noticeable.

*Particularly in the summer when everyone is wearing less and thus the new definition is clearly visible.

Acknowledging your current physical condition is the only way to set up realistic expectations and build towards your long-term goals. Be honest with yourself when reading below.

Body Categories

(To make it easier to explain)

Everyone reading this, no matter what their body shape or size is seeking improvement. I don’t see any particular classification as a negative. For sure, you may be a mix of a couple of the categories. We’re all big boys and girls able to handle real-word descriptions right? So I won’t soften things up by giving them politically correct names.

It’s better to read through all categories until you get to the one that describes yourself best as there are things I have not repeated yet are necessary to understand. Once you get to your part feel free to skip down to the last section titled “Finally.”

If there are things that you don’t understand, or more likely, you’re wondering about the macro set-up then don’t panic, I’ve included links at the end for you.

Take a good look, there’s an important lesson here. Click to be taken Leigh Peel’s excellent article on identifying body-fat percentages. The whole site is a gem, I encourage you to explore.

  1. Muscled, few pounds to lose.
  2. Skinny
  3. ‘Skinny-fat’
  4. “Muscled but Fat” vs. “Weak and Fat” 
  5. Obese
  6. Shredded (Clear, defined abs.)

Important Points to Understand:

  • Fat can be burned far quicker than muscle is gained.
  • Gains from strength training, even with excellent programming will become less and less as the years progress.
  • People new to serious strength training will experience the most gains in lean body-mass.
  • Strength gains/losses correlate well with muscle gains/losses.
  • Generally speaking, when cutting if you manage to maintain strength, you have preserved muscle mass.

1. Muscled, few pounds to lose.

Who? – Have a look at the guy above on the left. I’m referring to someone carrying slightly more body-fat or someone with the same low body-fat just wanting to get more ripped.

If you are in this category then you will see the quickest results from using Leangains. That is not to say that the actual fat loss rate will be quickest in this category, it won’t. But small losses in body fat or gains in muscle will be much more visible. It is at this point that the diet becomes really rewarding as results can be seen in the mirror almost weekly.

Action Plan:

Option 1, Body-recomposition Macros.

This may help you to spur on further growth/strength gains in the gym, while burning off the fat. This can happen even your calorie intake is unchanged because you will be putting the right foods into your mouth at the most optimal time. This is key.

Option 2, Cut.

The fat-loss rate will be higher here. Your goal is to maintain strength and thus muscle-mass while cutting off the fat. Do this by lifting hard and heavy. You’re probably not new to strength training but might need to cut back to a minimalistic split-routine 3 days a week during the cut. When you get to the desired level of lean you can re-introduce more calories and grow again. (See the “Ripped” category below.) If you choose this, put your lifting ambitions on hold for a while. Trying to go heavier when on a cut can lead to injuries.

Which option you choose will depend on where you derive the most satisfaction: visual results alone or strength increases also.

2. Skinny

Who? – Have a look at the guy above on the right.

Genetics, laziness, suffering ‘fuckarounditis’ with your training in the gym… whatever the reason it doesn’t matter, you are here now.

I genuinely think this is the most exciting group to be in because finally fixing your training (or starting) and getting your diet right will set you up for the best year of gains in muscle mass of your life.

Action Plan:

Carefully planned ‘slow-bulk’ macros to facilitate growth while keeping fat gain to a minimum. Your body will be hungry for energy due to the new training stimulus; do not starve it! 

I see kids not too dissimilar to the guy on the right thinking that cutting is the way to go to get abs. Wrong. Please look at the two pictures below of Christian Bale.

Christian Bale’s Body – American Psycho vs The Machinist

Though these pictures were taken years apart, Christian Bale is a man who enjoys working out and it’s fair to say he wasn’t in bad physical condition before he starved himself for his role in The Machinist. Clearly starving himself did nothing for his abs.

Hidden or not, unfortunately if you are in this category you don’t have a decent set of abs because you are weak and haven’t trained them by squatting [see page 3, paragraph 4].

Advice: Learn to relish the strength gains you get down the gym knowing that it means your body is changing too. In 12 weeks you’re not going to become batman, but you can set yourself on the right path your journey into fitness and by using the guide on this site to save you from making many of the training and diet mistakes that I did. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

3. “Skinny-fat”

Who? This refers to the skinny guy simply carrying more body fat. Weak*. This was me for many years.

*Use your common sense as to what this means. Struggle to do a full range chin-up? This is weak.

Action Plan:

Well-planned ‘body-recomposition’* macros to facilitate growth while burning body fat. *The exact set-up will be determined by the amount of body-fat you currently have, but trying body-recomp. macros and then tracking progress is a good start.

There is no point stripping off the body fat to reveal a very weak figure. As with the above your body will be hungry for energy due to the new training stimulus, so you must not starve it.

I think as with the ‘skinny’ group this is quite an exciting position to be in. However in terms of managing expectations this is the biggest problem group when working with clients.

People in this group generally underestimate how much of their ‘muscle’ is actually just fat. Please don’t think that big arm size means you’re muscled. Such thinking keeps many people fat as they can’t bear their biceps to become smaller. You can probably think of a couple of guys like this in your gym.

Given that fat burn happens more quickly than muscle growth you will lose weight and perhaps feel skinny, yet in reality be stronger and more muscled. Sometimes cutting can be a harsh reality-check.

Years of sitting on the couch can’t be fixed in a few months of barbell training, but you can get a good start. A long-term focus and attitude is necessary. But then given that your life is a long-term thing don’t use this as an excuse for inaction.

4. “Muscled, but Fat” vs. “Weak and Fat”

*not clients.

As I have stated before, fat can be stripped off more quickly than muscle can be put on. Given this, if in an instant we could remove all the fat obviously the stronger guy would be looking better.

If you are strong but carrying too much body fat you can focus on simply maintaining muscle mass with a simple ‘hard and heavy’ abbreviated training routine and go for a cut.

-> Tracking body-measurements and scale weight is key here.

If you are weak and fat then you are in a similar, exciting position as people in the “skinny” category in terms of muscle growth you can expect during your first year. Given that your body will be hungrier than the “muscled but fat” guy as it adapts to the new training stimulus you won’t be able to have as severe a cut as those guys can go with.

-> Track strength gains here too and remember that your muscle gains will hide some of the true fat-loss figure that the scales can’t show.

5. Obese

Obese people, due to the sheer weight of the extra poundage they have to carry around every day are going to have a more muscled frame than the skinny guy. Fat loss should be your goal. Lifting heavy will help you with this also. Obviously go for a cut.

If this is you then hats off to you for deciding to do something about it. Here, consistent weekly tracking of weight and body measurements, rather than the mirror, are essential to keep you motivated.

You can find a couple of interviews with guys that were obese but used Leangains to get lean by themselves here.

6. Shredded (Sub-10% body-fat)

The “Ripped” category gets a little complicated so unless this is you, feel free to skip it and come back to this article when you get there.

If you’re truly shredded you’re in the perfect position for muscle gains. (Note that these guys have been training for years. Sadaaki on the left for 9 years.)

Why? Being lean you will generally be more insulin sensitive. The more insulin sensitive you are, the more muscle you’ll be able to gain per pound of fat.

Action Plan:

Quite obviously you are going to want to do a bulk.

Option 1, Traditional Bulk.

If you just want to get big and strong and don’t care about the fat gain then you can’t go far wrong Rippetoe’s recommendation of drinking a gallon of fresh, full-fat milk every day in addition to your usual diet. He swears by this approach and I am not in any position to argue with the man’s experience here.

Option 2, Leangains-style Slow-Bulk

If you care about the fat gain and want to stay as lean as possible while gaining muscle then I’d highly recommend a Leangains style slow-bulk.

A typical set-up it would look like Training days +30%kCal Rest days -10%kCal.

Many people ask, “What the purpose is of the “under maintenance-calorie rest-days” when doing a slow-bulk?”

The answer is quite simple, you need to have enough of a calorie deficit on the rest-day to burn off the fat that you laid down on your excess calorie training-day. This happens both from dietary consumption and any conversion of the unused carbs to fat (de novo lipogenesis) over what the liver and muscles can store as glycogen.

Giving the body days where it has less energy coming in than it needs is one of the keys to the Leangains slow-bulk and it’s effectiveness for gaining muscle with minimal fat.

Theoretically in this way it is possible to not gain any fat while bulking. It does happen. What is more likely however is that you will gain a little fat too. In a few months you may find yourself in what I like to call a “one month out” physical state. That is to say that you will still probably have visible but ‘softer’ abs where one month of cutting will bring you back to ripped again (but hopefully more muscled). I feel this is a very small price to pay compared with the traditional bodybuilding bulk-cut systems which sometimes require 3-5 months of cutting to get ripped again after the bulk.

How long you can continue to gain muscle before getting to this point will depend on your skill and diligence in manipulating your macronutrient intake. Martin Berkhan actually wrote that he himself did a couple of cuts after his slow-bulk to his current shredded condition back in 2007 and 2008.

-> Track progress by working toward progressive poundage increases in the gym or body measurements. Remember, if your strength is going up then you’ve probably gained lean body mass.

Finally

Everyone is different, everyone’s results will be different. I.F./ Leangains isn’t for everyone, but it works for many people.

At the minimum, if you’re used to the ‘many small meals’ method you’ll probably be feeling more focused and energetic in the mornings, won’t become sleepy mid-afternoon, and have much less kitchen stress.

This is part of a detailed guide I’ve written. I’ve tried to give you everything so that you can have success by yourself, so please give it a go and don’t think that you have to hire me.

The purpose of the english-language side of the site is primarily to help me get my thoughts together before translating into Japanese. I’m just really happy to see that people have been finding it useful, and the kind responses I’ve had. I’ll write more about the plan for Japan soon, and thank Martin for his support.

Thanks to the kind folks that made suggestions on what I should include here. I hope it wasn’t too painfully detailed. Further suggestions for improvement most welcome!

Useful Links:

This entry was posted in Diet & Nutrition, Training and tagged , , , , by Andy Morgan. Bookmark the permalink.

About Andy Morgan

I'm an online nutritional coach and trainer. After seeing one too many people get ripped off by supplement and training industry lies I decided to try and do something about it. The site you see here is the result of a lot of Starbucks-fuelled, two-fingered typing. It's had a lot of love poured into it, and I hope you find the guides to the diet and training methods I use on this site useful. When I'm not helping clients you'll likely find me crashing down a mountain on a snowboard, riding a motorbike, or staring at watches I can't afford.

269 thoughts on “12 Weeks: What You Can Expect to Achieve…

  1. Dear Andy,

    I am somewhat conflicted in if I should concentrate more on gaining muscle or losing fat (I feel weak, but also don’t like the fat I can grab on the stomach). I think I’m somewhat between categories listed here, so perhaps you could give your opinion based on my current stats: (lifts are reps for current top working set using RPT).

    5’10”, 158lbs, squat – 230lbs x 3, bench – 185lbs x 3, deadlift – 295lbs x 5.

    Thanks for you time.

  2. Andy,

    Quick question: I’m in the “muscled but fat” category. (5’7″, 225lbs, probably around 36% bodyfat. My max deadlift is 470lbs.) I’m obviously going to do a cut, and I’m eager to lean out as quickly as possible. I remember reading that fat guys can keep a deficit both rest days and training days, but what is the max deficit you would recommend?

    For instance, to lose 2lbs per week, it looks like I would have to do -50% on rest days and -30% on training days… but this seems like it might be excessive… then again, I am pretty fat… Could you suggest a rough max limit for how much one can cut on rest days and workout days without screwing up the diet? I want to lean out as quickly as possible – but I know more isn’t always better.

    By the way, this is an AMAZINGLY helpful website. Thank you!

    -ML

  3. Hey Andy,
    What kind of results can I expect in two years? Also do you think I should start a clean bulk or cut down a little more? I’m starting to look reaaaally small. I’m 18 years old, 5’11″ and am now a very small 140 lbs at around 13% bf, I started to lose weight around december from 180 lbs at 26% bf and although I have lost 40lbs, at least 10 of those were muscle. I’m starting a clean bulk with a barbell training routine. I’ve tried weight training in the past but I never got the results I wanted because I was doing everything wrong, but now I’m following your instructions and I’m determined to stick with it!

  4. Hi Andy,
    Amazing site man, big fan of IF
    Got 1 question:
    I just finished a cutting phase, got great results, im finally ripped XD.
    How do i transition from that to a slow bulk phase without gaining fat (screwing up my results)?
    Greetings
    Eddie

  5. Hi Andy,
    Two questions about exercise physiology. Sorry if they’ve been asked and answered before:
    1) Does *reducing* the frequency of compound weight training at a caloric deficit actually increase the possibility of muscle catabolism? In other words, is the body more easily “fooled” into preserving muscle if it doesn’t have more than a two-day rest period?
    2) What are your thoughts on BCAA before or after yohimbine HCL. I am currently having my BCAA half an hour before taking the yohimbine and an hour before the workout, under the assumption that the insulin spike from the BCAA will have passed in half an hour. Is this the right way to go?
    Many thanks,
    F

    • Hi Farid.
      Does *reducing* the frequency of compound weight training at a caloric deficit actually increase the possibility of muscle catabolism?
      1. Training is important for maintaining lean muscle mass. Training too infrequently when in a deficit and you will risk muscle catabolism. Training too frequently when in a deficit and you can risk failing to recover, which can have compounding effects on your workouts and strength training which can risk muscle catabolism.

      The balance can be a fine one if there is a lot of other factors involved that can screw with things (sleep, stress, other training commitments for a sport – applicable to athletes). For the average person though there is a fair amount of leeway. As a general rule, train enough to maintain your strength and you’ll be fine.
      2. I can’t see one affecting the other to any significant degree. Then again, I’ve used it so few times with clients (I can count on one hand) I can’t say that I have enough clear evidence either way.

  6. Hey Andy,
    I am exactly the muscled fat type. I train regularly. Do you coach via email. I have a few unique circumstances. Let me know if it’s possible to set up a consult and I can give more detail. Thanks man.

  7. I have a few months of lifting experience doing leangain style lifting and IF-ing (but did not do the calorie and carb cycling). So at present, I’m fairly weak. I’d say I’m mostly in the skinny-fat category. I’m 5’10 155lbs at probably around 14-15% BF.

    I just started doing a starting strength program and am about to calorie/carb cycling after the holidays. I currently do about:
    BP 130 3×5
    Squat 165 3×5
    DL 265 x5

    Should I do a body recomp or cut do you think? I was leaning towards a recomp, though I can gain fat fairly easily. I’m also curious. If during a recomp, you are trying to gain muscle and lose fat, but muscle takes fewer calories to gain, why do you do +20% and -20% calories on training and rest days respectively and not like +10% and -20%

    • Hi Steve, as you said, yoU’re still a relative beginner, especially with the bench and squat. Try the recomp first and see how you go. There is no rush.

      • Thanks for the response Andy. I’m still curious if you can answer the last question I had about the logic of the +20 -20 recomp when with the +20 you are trying to gain muscle, and muscle takes fewer calories. That makes me wonder if it should be +10 -20. Thanks.

        • Recomp seems to have a few different definitions.
          The most broad is “the simultaneous gaining of muscle and loss of fat”. I like this definition.
          Now, above you find a range of calorie intake settings that have been labeled cut, slow-bulk, recomp, which serve as general guidelines for people. The ‘recomp’ category mentioned above is where, technically, the person maintains their weight, hence the calorie balance across both days.

          In reality there are situations where a recomp effect (read: simultaneous fat loss and muscle gain) will take place in all of those calorie settings.

  8. I am confused.
    Now I think i fit in right into the skinny-fat category. Ive lost 8 kg in the last 16 weeks with a negative caloryblance of -500/day. From 88 to 80kg, I guess that my bodyfat % is around 20%. I have been going to the gym 3-4 times a week, alternating between bodyweight exersises and weights. I have not been doing squats, groundlifts or benchpress – but after reading your guides i am going to put all focus on that.

    The confusing part: in the skinny-fat part above you mention both body-recomp and cut. After reading comments i notice that you tend to recommend cut for most people with skinny-fat, how come?

    I would not say that I am weak, i am not strong either,i am on my way – somewhere in between. Would you say body-recomp or cut on someone like me, generally speaking.

    Also, thank you for great guides, this is most definetly going to take me to a whole new level!

    • That’s mainly because those new to barbells can experience simultaneous fat loss as well as muscle gains. Go with the recomp macros first. Adjust downwards is the fat loss isn’t coming. Make sure you start taking body measurements though rather then just relying on scale weight for obvious reasons. Guide you may find useful, How To Track Your Progress When Dieting.

  9. Sup Andy,

    I’m a 175lb guy with 25% bf at 5ft8in who can lift…
    DL 275×5
    OHP 105×8
    Bench 180×8
    Chins +35×5
    Squats 195×8 (High bar, not enough flexibility for low bar at the moment..)

    I’ve been lean before, but at only 140 lbs I’m tiny (similar lifting numbers back then, a bit lower).
    Main concern is that if I start a SS like bulk later it may not be as beneficial if I were to do so now.
    However, I could get down to 6-7% in about 6 months if done slow, maybe 4 if done fast like last time (no strength loss at 1.5g/lbm protein and a 2.5-3 lb loss/week)

    So yeah, I was wondering if I could get your input on whether to bulk already (never have), or cut slow/fast then bulk, would be awesome man.

    P.s. Only asking because I’ve been training for ~1.5 yrs with the big 3 and never bulked.

    • John, thanks for the comment.
      You’re around 25% body fat and you’ve been lifting for a while so beginner newbie gains won’t happen. You should cut first before bulking, or you’ll put on too much fat with a bulk and possibly run into health issues.

  10. My mind is blown how you got shredded in just 7 weeks! I’ve been doing leangains for a year and a half. I’ve tracked calories and macros, but I haven’t lost much body fat or built much muscle. Do I have the most stubborn body or what?

  11. Hello Andy

    Currently in need of “deciphering” the way of the body recomp protocol.
    I’m currenty interested in gaining muscle / muscle growth with a low fat gain – i’m far from lean (perhaps 17-18%) – but not interested in doing a cut again, because my interest is to gain some muscle at this moment….but wouldn’t really slow bulk all way, because of the likelihood of gaining too much fat…
    Been doing 2 weeks of maintenance calories (IIFYM style), basically a diet break, in order to “guess-estimate” my TDEE….
    ——my questions are—–
    Could i gain muscle in a +20% / -20% recomp protocol, 3 days training of course / week – even if the total weekly outcome is a mini low deficit ?
    Should i tweak the percentages and get on a slight surplus? Like +20% / – 10% (that already a lean gaining protocol…)

    Any advice is welcome, thanks very much, Andy

    • Hi Alex.
      Could i gain muscle in a +20% / -20% recomp protocol, 3 days training of course / week – even if the total weekly outcome is a mini low deficit ?
      Depends on training status. Unless you’re a beginner then you’re best off choosing a cut or bulk as recomps rarely work.
      Should i tweak the percentages and get on a slight surplus? Like +20% / – 10% (that already a lean gaining protocol…)
      You could try, but I’d take a more direct approach as I mentioned in the answer to the first question.

  12. Hello Andy, i am about to start my cut, leangains style. I am coming off a bulk right now and i actually put on quite a lot of fat. I am pretty sure i am about 20% body fat or maybe more. Would it be detrimental for me to have a surplus on the training days since i am not lean or should i just be on a slight deficit with one refeed day per week until i am lean enough?

  13. Hi Andy,
    I did the 2 week diet break as you suggested at the end of our consultation. It felt great. However I only put on ~4lbs. I went back to your diet plan and the first two weeks were good and lifts were up. However this week (the 3rd week) felt rough. On Fridays workout I lost some reps on the first and second set and called it quits as I couldn’t continue.

    Measured myself today and I’m definitely leaner compared to pre-diet break but not quite where we were aiming for.

    You suggested a diet break 6-12 weeks (more frequent for the leaner). However in my case would doing a 2 week diet break again after 3 weeks be ok? or would you suggest a carb load every 3-4 days at this stage?

    Thanks
    Adrian

    • Hi Adrian.
      On Fridays workout I lost some reps on the first and second set and called it quits as I couldn’t continue.
      Bad workouts happen, talked about how it’s important to anticipate these and not let is shake you in the FAQ.
      However in my case would doing a 2 week diet break again after 3 weeks be ok?
      That would be excessive.
      or would you suggest a carb load every 3-4 days at this stage?
      No, that’s not something I have talked about or advised on. Trust me, patience is all you need with the guidelines I’ve give you.

  14. Pingback: When is Cardio a Valid Tool for Fat Loss with Intermittent Fasting? | RippedBody.jp

  15. Pingback: Is it better to forget about body fat percentage? | RippedBody.jp

  16. Hi again Andy, I will make this short as possible :D
    1. When during the cut my lifts stop progressing for lets say 4 weeks, would going back to 80% of the weight I lift and then adding 2.5kg to each lift each week break that plateau?

    2. Is it possible for someone who’s not really a gym newbie to gain muscle and lose fat doing -20% +20% recomp (3 workouts per week) considering that would leave me with a weekly 20% deficit and according to for example Lyle Mcdonald its impossible to gain muscles on deficit (but in this case its calorie cycling so technically surplus on workout days considering fasting effects on insulin could affect in muscle growth due to partitioning am I right?)

    I know, you’ve done a recomp with some of your clients, would you recommend it for someone with about 12% bodyfat not really week (can do 6 full chin ups with 10kg added weight) or would it be more optimal to stick with cut and bulk only?

    Thanks mate

    • 1. Don’t de-load like that when cutting.
      2. That really depends on a lot of different factors. If you’re not in a rush then why not try it?
      3. I make recommendations based on the whole picture, not just snippets. This is why I don’t/can’t give tailored advice in the comments It had to be general, unless a very specific quetion is asked.

      • Thanks Andy,
        1. Is there any optimal de-load I could try if for example I would start +20% -20% from tomorrow? Like maybe instead of lowering weight, I would do less reps on second and third sets?

        2. I am not in a rush, and most probably I would try it from tomorrow, but as my lifts stalled already while being on +10% / -30% I am worried that switching to +20% / -20% will still keep me stalled. I am about 10-12% bodyfat now but I don’t have a lot of muscles tho, this was just like you said in the article, massive psychological shock as I though I had much more muscles when I was about 25% :D Would love to add some LBM while shredding the last bits of fat and maybe enter single digits but I am worried that I will end up looking like concentration camp victim hence I am stuck between starting recomp from tomorrow, or 2 weeks at maintenance from tomorrow then lean gains bulk.

        • If doing the recomp, then that’s different. You could try a classical de-load. There are a lot of ways to do things, some are more suitable than others depending on the individual. There aren’t a set of rules for that, so just get on with trying something.

  17. Hi Andy. Just wondering if IF in general will work with other workout routines or must it be lifting hard and heavy during all workout days

  18. Hi again Andy, I am very close to my 2 weeks diet break at maintenance, I want to eat at maintenance for 2 weeks to stabilize hormones etc, however, on one site I’ve read that in order to bring hormones back to normal you have to eat at maintenance every day, on the other site I’ve read that what really matters is that you hit WEEKLY maintenance so if you go -200kCal on day, you just add this 200kCal on the other next day in order to meet weekly maintenance. What in your opinion really matters in order to get leptin and other hormones back to normal, is it daily maintenance or just making sure the maintenance will be met each week?

    Thanks

  19. Andy….. According to the diet plan given by you, I supposed to eat 180g rice on workout day, 3 days a week. No rice on rest day. In an attempt to lose fat faster, I skipped rice on 1 work out day and only ate 90g rice on workout day (2 days a week), 1 meal instead of 2 meals on any single day. Could this be the reason which is causing the few months stall on my weight?

    Your advice is much appreciated.

    • Hi Steven, good to hear from you.
      Not technically, but that’s a long and complicated answer. Practical steps:
      Take a two week diet break. Go back to the original plan. Track and adjust based on progress how I taught you and make changes only in the way I guided you. Your lack of patience and insistence in fiddling things, indirectly, may well be the cause.

  20. Hey mate, I’m loving your site and it has helped me heaps. We love IIFYM here in Melbourne.
    Quick question, I’ve cut down from 65kg to 60kg and currently pretty lean except for fat on my hips (really annoying). Should I continue cutting or try lean bulk up?

  21. Hey Andy, is it necessary to do 2 weeks maintenance while switching from cut to recomposition? I know its good to do it when switching from cut to bulk as it will set up the metabolism, however, on recomposition I would still be weekly under about 400kCal, so should I jump straight from cut to recomp? Also, what is your opinion on recomposition? Is it worth it? Martin doesn’t suggest it too much, I know the results will be slower, but theoretically its impossible to cut fat and build muscles at the same time, so would it work for someone with 15% BF? Or is it better idea to continue cut until someone is leaner (like 8% body fat) then do slow bulk? Cheers

    • It’s good to take a diet break. I don’t suggest a recalculation of your macros though. Make gradual increases over the weeks and this way you can stay leaner.

      • Thanks a lot for reply Andy. By diet break did u mean like eat whatever for a while? or LG macros but in maintenance calorie intake? Also, as gradual increases, I understand to gradually increasing calories from cut to until they meet calories required for recomp, am I right? Thanks again! :)

  22. Hey Andy,
    Hope you are enjoying your time in the U.S! As you know our 12 week consultation is over. I can’t believe how fast 12 weeks goes by, especially when you are seeing results. You start to look at weekly instead of day by day and it is a great thing. I just wanted to say I really enjoyed working with you. Even though we never worked in person I felt as if you knew me from the initial consultation and that really helped me stay on track. At the same time, you didn’t hold my hand and baby me so I now know and am confident that I can be successful on my own. The lessons and things you taught me are priceless and I know will last a lifetime. Thank you for that. My diet break is over and am back to resuming my cut until desired leanness is achieved then I will check in with you and hopefully I can get a spot up on the clients hall of fame wall :).

    A question about resuming the cut. You mention that it is important to keep a large calorie difference between training and non training days. During our 12 weeks together my calorie difference between training days was around 600ish and I did fine with that. But when I return to cutting I plan to cut my carbs 50-75g on training days as you mentioned. However when doing that my training day calories will drop between 200 and 300. This will make my training day and non training day calorie difference only 300 to 400, is this too little of a difference and how would it affect the cut? What do you recommend I do? Just cut training day carbs and keep rest day the same? Cheers

    Marc

    • Marc, thanks for sharing the initial comments here also. Appreciated.
      Don’t worry about keeping a ‘large’ deficit. That is naturally going to dwindle during the latter stages of a cut when carbs come down on the training days and fats are kept high on rest days for hormonal balance. Just progress in the way mentioned.

  23. Hi Andy,
    Iv been following the guide from this article for 14 weeks now and results have been amazing 212lbs-183lbs using cutting percentages (+10%-35%)
    My question is how long should a cut last? Can I just keep going indefinitely on these macros?
    Or in your experience will I eventually plateau?

  24. I believe I fit between the ‘skinny’ & ‘skinny fat’ phase. I am 19, weigh 64-70kg, and am 5Ft.11inch. Last time I checked (via scales) my bodyfat was 14%. What would you recommend? Body recomposition? If so, what diet would I be looking at to go about this. Obviously I don’t expect you to write me a diet plan, but a form of % of carbs to fat to protein. I’m also a little confused as to if I intermittent fast as well? Do you recommend all these categories intermittent fast? How would my basic day of dieting look.

    Many thanks
    Mitch

  25. Hey Andy!
    I recently Started Starting strength back in January and I’ve had some pretty remarkable gains. I started of about 73kg, now Im around 82kg guessing anywhere from 17-19% body fat. Along with the strength increase of course if had some pretty decent fat gains as well. I want to continue strength training/linear gains but would like to minimize/burn the fat if possible. Ive read a lot about leangains but Im still not sure where to start; cut, recomp or slow bulk. If I did a recomp would I have continual strength gain or would I plateau? Any advice in this area would be more the helpful!!
    Cheers!

    • Whether that is possible or not depends on how much you cut back calories as well as your personal recovery capacity and lifting status. Start by cutting back carbs and see how you go. Remember though that you can’t have your cake and eat it forever.

  26. Hi Andy,
    I am a little more than halfway through my diet break. I have gained a bit of scale weight (mostly because of the increase in carbs). I have probably put on three pounds in a week and a half. How much damage is typical? I have been eating whatever I want and not counting but also not just gorging indiscriminately. Also strength has been through the roof. Also some lifts that had been stuck sudden broke through (20 pounds added to bench in last two weeks from an already high starting point).

    -M

  27. Hi Andy! Very helpful article. However I got a question.
    What would be the best (fastest way) to reach my goal in about 12 weeks time? My goal is to get abs out then bulk up a bit until half of June, I am about 10-15% of BF, and got some muscles there (been lifting for nearly a year with bulking/cutting diets, finally I’ve started IF). I was considering body recomposition but as you’ve mentioned it would take longer, and I wouldn’t probably rich my goal until half of June, on the other hand, I could get on a -30% +10% cut for about 8 weeks, try to maintain my muscles, and then get 4 weeks of slow bulk? I am 5’6 about 170lbs and my top bench press is 154lbs x6. In general my question is, which of these two options would have better results of reaching the goal of aesthetic body (low bf, visible abs, some muscle) in 12 weeks time?

  28. Hey Andy, I’m a little confused about my fat intake. In your article you gave a general intake amount if 20g-50g “for most people”, so I was wondering how you got these numbers?

    Thanks for the reply

    • 40-60/60-90 for most men are the numbers I have more recently been using for clients. I got them through seeing what works best with people and noting it down. Over time patterns emerge.

      • Hey Andy, would you say 40-60/60-90 works well for women as well?

        I’d like to point some female friends to your write ups on this but it’s very difficult for me to convince them that fats are not the devil, even when they’ve opened their minds to considering intermittent fasting as a whole.

        Friends in question range from “normal” but not fit, to obese.

        For those who are agonizing over fats as well,the easiest to note change I’d seen since my solo run at IF last year vs this year w/ Andy’s guidance has been raising my fats and cutting my training day carbs considerably (along with lowering training volume via RPT and using Andy’s simplified rules).

        The results have been more progress in 2 months than I saw in 3 months on my own, better workouts, and WAY more peace of mind and flexibility when it comes to eating (I was deathly afraid of fats on training days last year).

  29. If I have stuck to my macros and experienced a “woosh” a few weeks back. Assuming I have never even been close to overeating, is there an “unwoosh”? I am looking noticeably leaner and for a while scaleweight had been going down and then stabilized. Changes in measurements have been more or less flat. Over the last week I look noticeabley “drier” but curiously I’m up 3 pounds on the scale. I’m probably holding water but if it was in the skin I shouldn’t look drier and if it was in teh muscles measurement should be up. Just curious.

    • Not really. There may be a gain in weight from a carb up and a flattening of the abs for a day but nothing like the whoosh. The whoosh is when the fat cells that have filled up with water suddenly decide to let go and empty. – That’s Lyle’s theory on it anyway.

  30. I love this site and always have it up on my browser! This has lots of great info. So I have a question pertaining to fat intake. On training days, I generally have a hard time keeping low fat intake, around 55-65g. On rest days I have a hard time keeping high fat intake, around 25-35g. Both days I keep my protein high, 1.25g-1.5g/lb, so 176-212. So my question is, is it ok to be doing this, low fat on rest day and high fat on training days? Also, do you have any input on how doing this will affect results?

    Thanks!

    • Adrian,
      I am not Andy, but I believe the info is on the site. You have to be careful with high fat on training days because when you are near or above maintenance all excess dietary fat will be stored. However, this is not a case with fat on rest days because you are in a deficit so the dietary fat will simply be burned off. Looks like you have the fat macros backwards mate. Hope this helps.

  31. Hey Andy I was reading about diet breaks on Lyles’ site and saw you mentioned it a few times.. If my maintenance calories is 2000 – does this mean on a diet break eat around 2000 calories a day?

    Secondly, how do I hit my macros? or do I not worry about macros for this 2 weeks and just hit 2000 calories anyway I want to? (like is the importance of getting 160g protein still vital?)

    thx!

      • I don’t think I understand what you mean?

        Is it important to hit the protein/fat/carb macro for this two weeks?

        And, if I was to count, if my maintenance is 2000, what should I be aiming for (I like to count as it doesn’t take any toll on my mental ability due to myfitnesspal

        Sorry that I didn’t understand, would just like to get this right :-)

          • But how are you supposed to hit those macros if you’re not recording what you eat then, I’m not sure if we’ve confused stuff here, or maybe just me.. I’ve read that diet break article about thirty times, and I’m still confused..

            So far this week I’ve eaten whenever I am hungry, mainly carbs, not counted anything, but I’m sure i’m under protein and under fat, but I’ve eaten a lot of calories in carbs, is this what I’m supposed to be doing? And if not.. the question still stands, if i’m not supposed to be recording, how am I supposed to hit my macros

            • It seems to me that you are looking for a complicated answer instead of listening to the one being given. There are no macros, it is a diet break.

            • Richard, a wise man once said, “There are times when what people want to know and what they need to hear are different. This is the difference between a coach, and Google.” This is exactly what a diet break is for…so you can get out of your head and stop worrying about this macro and that macro…it’s as much a psychological break as it is a diet break….so enjoy the foods you love, eat until satisfied, but just don’t go bingeing yourself until you’re sick.

  32. Pingback: Weight to bulk up to? Also advice on the cutting stage?

  33. hi andy this is brian again, how often should i check my current weight? every week or every 2 weeks? It only says here to take a photo every 2 weeks but not about the measurements. Also, if i do not see any weight go down, should i reduce some calories from my workout days? I am almost at three weeks into the diet. I do feel like i am losing some fat but some days i look kind of chubbier than other days and some days i looked like i just lost 4 percent body fat overnight. Please let me know what you think or if you can, advise me on an article on your site that can help me. thanks

  34. Hi Andy
    Great article very informative . Iv been lifting for several years and on leangains for the past two months.

    I’d have to say L.G has been the most effective cutting tool iv used to date however the first week I lost 6 pounds, week 2 I lost 5 5 pounds and week three was a gain of 2 pounds.

    This is very frustrating as I havnt changed my macros or calorie intake.
    I’m still at 2 to 3000 deficit for the week.
    Any advice would be greatly appreciated

  35. Your opinion on repeated binge eating habits?? Do you think it would be wise to take a break even though I am in the middle of the program? Get my eating squared away first then resume a cut??

      • Okay, shall I email you to discuss the break? We just had a re-assessment so I am unsure how to go about this. And calculating maintenance macros as well. I feel to have any further success I need to get the normal eating down first….

      • What do you do for clients that have one day where they overeat on a rest day (lets say 1000 cals over), would you have them readjust the rest of the week, or just get back on track and continue diet as normal?

        • That is not a strategy that I have clients do. If they do, and they are not a competitor on a deadline then I suggest they ignore it and continue as before as if it didn’t happen.

          • Oh yea I definitely understand that it is not a strategy you have clients do, I just wanted to know because of the question that Vince asked, and if a client does happen to have a “binge” where they go over macros by quite a lot. So, still unless competitor with a deadline it is continue as if it didn’t happen?

  36. Hey Andy,
    You recommended over a month ago that I do a Body Recomp. I’ve seen strength gains across the board. I’ve noticed vascularity in my upper chest and shoulder regions, even though I’ve gained a pound or two. My body measurements have remained the same (+/- an 1/8th of an inch). Do you think I’ve been successful so far with my macro values?

    Thanks for the help,
    -Andrew

      • I can actually answer that question now that I looked at the photo comparison from 5 weeks ago to a few days ago. There are definitely changes. I mean, the fact that my lifting stats have been going up is a good indicator. I just wasn’t expecting to gain a little weight. haha. Thanks for the input.

        -Andrew

  37. Hey, this guide looks really helpful. I’ve been trying to figure out all my macros and calorie requirements for a while. Seems pretty difficult though. What part of Japan are you in? I’m in saitama. :)

  38. Hi Andy, I recently took a look at your articles and they turned out to be quite informative. I’m currently a 195 lb guy sitting at 25% bf trying to lose weight and make some muscle by PSMF, but my upper body strength is beyond pathetic. Any suggestions on what to continue? I’ve roughly 149 lbm, and it’s probably all from my legs carrying around my fat throughout the years.

  39. Andy,
    Do your macros change at all between different plans? I.e. are carbs lower on cutting vs recomp or slow bulk? Or do the macros stay the same and calories just change. Thanks. Keep it up!

    • How can one change calories without changing macros? Unless you mean ratios? In which case the answer is yes, I do. The way I change them depends on the individual, though there are some general principles to it, beyond the scope of this comment box. Future article perhaps.

  40. Hey Andy!

    Hope you had a great christmas!

    I have been on a slow bulk and gained a little over the christmas feats :P I think I now fall into the “one month out” category, and I am thinking that a 2 week cut will get me back to my desired level of leanness (with a 1 week recomp either side as to slowly lower and increase the calories). I have done this once before and it worked great after a couple of months bulking, I tend to find that 1 week cut will make up for 1 month of bulking.

    And as far as I understand, Lyle recommends a diet break after long periods of dieting as to stabilise hormones..

    Anyway, my question is… Would a diet break after the cut be needed if the cut is for such a small amount of time?? or would increasing the calories over a week or two do the trick?

    Hope you can help me clear this up, as I want to get the cut over and done with so I can get back to the bulk asap! :)

    Thanks mate :)

  41. Hey Andy, you look great! Amazing transformation. I discovered your site recently and will use your advice to turn my skinny fat body into a weight-loving machine (just bought Starting Strength, tired of the cardio!). I’m a 5’5 124# gal, and I am 31. I switched to paleo-ish this summer and have played a bit with random IF (following Mark Sisson’s eating WHEN Method). Working on switching to an LG plan. Will keep u posted.
    By the way, typo below, should be “not too dissimilar”
    “I see kids not to dissimilar to the guy on the right…”
    Cheers and thanks for what you do and share here!

  42. Andy,
    Love the work, you are catchimg up to the godfather Martin with all the success!
    I was at my peak 3 years ago at 6’2″ 215 and 8% but took 3 years off to pursue a cycling career and lost a lot of mass getting down to 190 then got injured and took 6 months off from any exercise and gained up to 227. I am now back in the gym and stength is coming along: squat 315×5, bench 245×5, deadlift 315×5 but i the size is not back. I am now 222 at 15% and noy happy with how I look. Do you think I should do a cut first to get down to 10% quick and then do a slow bulk or recomp? Or should I do a body recomp right away? Also on rest day is it okay to have 60% of cals on first meal and then 40% on second? Thanks a lot!
    Marc

  43. Quick question: Couldn’t you theoretically do something like a +30/-50 for a recomp/cut kind of plan? Or would most of the w-day excess go to fat instead of muscle (my lifts are intermediate to advanced based on martin’s site, and exrx strength standards)?

  44. HI Andy-

    So I’ve been following this program for about 9 weeks now, and I feel like I’m doing something wrong. For the first 5 weeks, I lost about 3lbs and a good amount of inches off of my stomach, while keeping the muscle in my arms and legs. However, from weeks 6-present, I’ve gained all the weight back in my stomach. My diet has been the same, with the exception of me going a little over my macros (4-10g more for protein and carbs, 5g more for fat) every few days. Am I doing something wrong? I’m 5’3 and 117lbs, and I’m eating 140g protein, 80g carbs, 55g fat on rest days and 190g protein, 202g carbs, and 60g fat on training days.

    The only positive note is that my deadlift, squat, and bench PR have gone up a lot.

    Thank you.
    Ariana

  45. Hello Andy,

    I hope I have written on the right section of the site as I am pretty new to navigating it. I have been dieting, training now for 2 weeks and I’m pretty confused right now since my weight initially went down the first week but this week I gained 2lbs but some measurements went down/are the same.

    Is this muscle gain(2lbs in a week is impossible right?) or am I doing something wrong and gaining fat as I believe our goal was losing 1-1.5lbs a week which hasn’t happened.

    Thanks.

    - Nick

  46. Pingback: Patience: A Key Tool for Diet Success | RippedBody.jp

  47. Hello Andy,

    In reviewing my progress, I noticed that I’ve lost almost a full inch on each arm. While I realize weight will come off from all parts of my body, my arms were not an area where I held fat and
    for the most part they were fairly lean. Is there anything I can do to either maintain the current size of my arms (e.g. direct work like curls, tricep push-downs, etc) and/or add back on some of the lost size? Additionally, is this amount of loss something I should be concerned with?

    Thanks in advance.

    • Nick, good question. Something that people often forget is how much fat they carry on other parts of their body than just the stomach. For the rest of this explanation please consider an experienced trainee – a non-beginner, non-steroid user – i.e. No simultaneous growth and fat loss:

      For anyone reading (as Nick is leaner now so this won’t make as much sense) go ahead and pinch the fat on your back under your armpit at chest level. The fact that your chest measurement goes down when dieting is to be expected. Fat is burned off of everywhere. Same is true for the arms to a lesser extent too. People’s legs often don’t change much simply due to there being less fat generally carried there, and that many people when starting this haven’t been giving their lower body as dedicated attention as they do their upper.

      Can we build your arms while cutting? That generally depends on the experience of the trainee. Might be a fruitless endeavour.

  48. Hello Andy

    I’m commenting in regards to a recomp. For someone who has been training for 2-3 years (on and off) with little to show (could bench 200lb for 2 reps at peak of my strength), what would be roughly reasonable expectations if one were to go on a recomp for 6 months?

  49. Hey Andy,

    My name is Kaz and I was shown this website yesturday by a co-worker; her and I are into fitness and she thought this would be very interesting for me to read.

    I am new to this concept but I am open minded and I have done some cursory reading on this website and http://www.leangains.com and I am genuinely interested.

    My situation is this: I’m 148.5 Lbs (67-68 Kg?) and I used to weigh 178Lbs, shredded and ripped.
    In 2010, I had an unfortunate bout of dysentary which concluded with a loss of around 40lbs over a 2 week period. I’v been trying to get back to at least 170Lbs but to no avail.

    I am extremely interested in trying this program out but before I continue my research, I would like to make sure that I’m hearing you out:

    1) I only have to work out 3 days a week, less than a hour.

    2) I don’t have to eat breakfeast, ever, and I’m able to eat 2-3 meals a day after 13:00-21:00

    3) The use of Barbells and the “Big 3″ are the supporting pillars to this workout.

    4)Even though I fall in the “skinny” category, by acheiving something known as a “slow bulk”, I can gain muscle mass whilst fasting.

    *Where can I find more information on the slwobulk?

    I’m looking forward to your reply,

    Cheers!

    Kaz

    *Extra info: -Deadlift: Havn’t tried in years…
    -Squat Max: 190Lbs, 6 reps
    -Bench Max: 180Lbs, 4 reps

    • Hi Kaz.
      1. Yes.
      2. Yes.
      3. Yes.
      4. Yes.
      I’m not sure why you have made me confirm what is quite clear in plain text buddy. If you’re looking for some kind of trick or scam then you won’t find one. It’s all genuine. Just keep reading.

      • Hey Andy,

        I was skeptical and thought that there was some underlying caveat to all of this, hardt not so.

        I’m on my second day of fasting and will be going to the gym tommorow.

        I’m hopeful that positve results will result from this regimin and I’m looking forward to spreading this information to the Japanese-Canadian communtiy around Vancouver if all gioes well.

        Cheers.

  50. Thanks, great articel, made many conclusions out of it.
    Sadly i can find myself in any of the above categories, so i am confused what step i should take next, loose some weight or try first to gain muscle.
    I am kind of desperated and caught up ending myself changing my workouts and diet to much while switching between cutting/thinking my bf is too high or bulking/thinking of first putting on some weight since i think the most impressive pictures on your site are the guys who already had a big amount of muscle/impresive lifting stats.(i know that switching things up to much is a big no no)
    I know that you recomend on your site doing a cut first and than bulk from there,so i wanted to hear your oppinion.
    I know you can recommened/getting into detail to much but for any advice i would be thankful.
    http://tinypic.com/view.php?pic=rb0683&s=6

  51. Hey Andy,

    I’ve been on a recomp for about 2 weeks now. I calculated my maintenance at 2,400 calories so I’m eating a slight surplus of 2,500 calories on workout days (4/7 days) and 1,900 calories on non workout days (3/7 days). Not to sound cocky but I go pretty hard in the gym so is it a possibility my TDEE is higher than 2,400 calories?

    My question is this: Am I losing weight too fast? I was 84.8 kg only 2 days ago and today I was 83 kg. Funny thing is my strength is going up from last weeks workouts…

    What’s your take? Think I should increase calories or stick with it as is for a little longer? I like this quote of yours: “Given that fat burn happens more quickly than muscle growth you will lose weight and perhaps feel skinny, yet in reality be stronger and more muscled. Sometimes cutting can be a harsh reality-check.”

    For future reference, how do you know when to make a change to your calories? Is the best way to track via the mirror and strength in the gym?

    Thanks so much in advance,
    Gavin

    • Hi Gavin, firstly let’s forget about all talk of calories. Your question is, “Am I losing weight too fast?”
      What you have failed to realise is that with a carb cyclic diet like this one there will be fluctuations in water weight. So it’s impossible to tell unless you weigh yourself under the exact same conditions every time. Give it a couple of weeks and see.
      My advice: Training day morning (following single rest day), post-morning toilet visit, before consumption of any liquids.

  52. I made the drinking mistake last year. It slowed down my progress. The once a week drinking thing that most of trainers in the LG circle prescribe minimizes the damage and allows for more consistent fat burning throughout the rest of the week.

  53. Ok – so I am 2 weeks into this thing. I have not lost a pound!! In fact, I am up a pound. Basically, I keep gaining and losing the same 2-3 lbs. This has been going on for months. No change since starting this protocol. :-( I have been pretty good about macros – protein is spot on. I do struggle a little with keeping fat that low on training days and keeping carbs that low on rest days. It’s in the range I think, but always a little over. My training has been consistent – 3 days strength training + no more than 2 days running for no more than 30 minutes. I also have been having a glass or two of wine each night, but trying to consider this in my macros.

    So my question is — is this normal for it to take more than 2 weeks to see changes? Or do I need to get even tighter with my diet and cut out the wine completely? I am trying to NOT obsess about the macros and counting because 1. you don’t recommend it and 2. because it makes me nutso OCD. And I really enjoy wine….. maybe I will have to cut down to only weekends or something? What do you think?

    • You keep gaining and losing the same 2-3 pounds due to water fluctuations with carb intake. 2 weeks is not enough to make a judgement, and you shouldn’t only be relying on the scale.

  54. Hey Andy,

    Great article. Much appreciated your effort.

    I just have a question though, I have been cutting on IF for a month and a half now. Below is pic of me. I am not so sure about what kind of body type I have. I am thinking of Lean Bulk at the end of this month. Would be great if I can get an opinion?

    http://tinypic.com/r/3329c9k/6

    Thanks a lot

    B

    • To answer this question properly I would have to know lifting stats, lifting status (and thus potential for growth), your height and weight, and the equipment you have available. You could answer that and then I could make a suggestion. I want to. But then I know a lot of others would ask the same and I simply don’t have time. I’m sorry. I do hope the article above is/has been helpful though.

  55. Hoping someone who’s already gone through this can comment. Going into week 10 now and not really seeing any changes and that’s after a decrease in macros for a few weeks. Hunger has stabilized and since reestablishing multivitamins, the worn out feeling has gone down a tad. Even if I don’t consider the weight gain and strength plateau, I’m just not looking much different in the mirror.

      • Yea I’ve pondered those numbers. The measurements have gone up slightly, but not to their starting values, whereas weight has. Strength has stayed the same, so I don’t think it’s muscle gain. I guess I just expected something visible to be showing by now. If it’s just water, that might explain the current situation.

  56. Hey Andy. Fantastic source of great info!

    I’m currently at a stage where I’m unsure what category I’d class myself at, and which route to pursue next. If I attach a picture, I hope you’d be able to find the time to let me know you opinion.

    Stats

    5’10, 180lb
    Dips BW + 30kg x 5
    Chin ups BW + 15kg x 7

    (havent trained legs in a while, but have just joined a gym finally!)

    Heres the pic

    http://tinypic.com/view.php?pic=idfark&s=6

    THanks Andy

      • Sorry Jase, I can’t answer suchg questions without giving sufficient detail/reasons, it would open the floodgates and I don’t have the time. That’s what this article is for.

        • Could you not even state what you would do in my position, without reason? Just simple cut, recomp, etc?

          I understand what you’re saying though, I imagine it would be alot to explain.

          Thanks!

            • Hey Jase, you and I are about the same stats and I was reading hoping Andy would give you and answer. But in my heart I knew he wouldn’t as it would just lead to a barrage of similar questions. I did the cut but found I wanted more muscle so I’m doing an old fashioned bulk and not worrying about getting a bit fat. Then I’ll do the cut again. The main thing I think we all need to do is decide what you want then adjust accordingly. Eg will you be happy with your size once lean, and can you wait to buld on a lean bulk. All the best in your progress and remember its not a quick fix your on this for life so you have the time to play with it until you get what’s right for you

            • hi Mark

              Thanks for giving me your 2c, it’s a great helping seeing people in similar situations. I think I’m going to go on a nice slow cut, as I’m not that strong so hope I can gain some strength/mass on the way. Again, thanks for taking the time to give me your input, it really helps. Also, I think I need to remember what you said about its not a quick fix. I’m very impatient, but know if I knuckle down, results will come!

              All the best

  57. Hi Andy,

    I love the site, it has a lot of great info.

    I’m wondering, for non-training days is it as important to watch Macros? You said extra protein is okay if one likes to eat, and more fat is allowed on non-training days due to having a calorie deficit. So is it as important to worry about the non-workout day ratios?

    • Yes. Lower protein and you risk muscle loss. Lower fat and you may suffer hormonal imbalance. Eat more of anything than is necessary and you eat into your deficit and thus reduce the amount of fat loss.

  58. Hi Andy,

    I need your advice whether to cut or slow bulk given my stats:

    Age: 26
    Weight: 143 lbs
    Height: 5’8″
    BF%: ~13% (based on Jackson Pollock 3 point caliper method)

    I am fairly lean but the problem is that I have ~22mm of fat when measured beside my belly button and have yet to see defined abs (my goal). Some folks say to just bulk since they consider me skinny (~11mm chest and ~10mm leg caliper measurements) and my my abs will come out when I get bigger.

    Your thoughts on this?

    Thanks!

  59. Hi Andy!

    I’m currently 180lb at 5’10 and about 160 lean so quite overweight. I have been cutting 3 weeks but am now joining university as of tomorrow and plan on going out more often with friends as well as join sports clubs. I was wondering if you think my weight and bf is too high to go on a recomp? I’m 19 years of age and not that strong. (can do 6 chin ups with 17kg and 6 dips with 35kg for a vague idea)

    I look forward to your reply Andy, you and this site has become my bible. Great stuff.

    Thanks in advance

    Aaron

  60. Is strength the biggest indicator in a recomp? If my weight is remaining roughly the same each week but I am progressively gaining strength, would this mean I am on the right tracks with a recomp?

    Thanks Andy

  61. At 18% bf am I right in saying the slower I cut fat, the better chance I have of gaining some strength?

    Aiming to lose 1-1.5lb a week.

    • Depends on how advanced you are with your lifting. If highly advanced then it pays to cut in the quickest way that you can without losing strength, as strength will not be gained anyway.

      • I have been lifting roughly 2 and a half years but progress has been slow and somewhat stagnant for 6 or so months.

        Would I be classes as advanced? I’m not very strong at all. The max I ever benched was 200lb

        • Advanced in terms of programming is a matter of recovery. If I could do the big 3, three days a week I would. If you’re just looking to compare then see Martin’s “fuckarounditis” article for strength numbers. -Comparing yourself to power lifter standards will just get you depressed.

    • “But my doubts come from these research that say that when you are +15% body fat, the workout day calories surplus is more likely to turn into fat then muscle, as opposed to when you are at 10-12% body fat. Is there any truth to this? If so, could I just end up not adding any muscle and losing very minimal fat?”

      If you are doing intermittent fasting and adding more calories post workout then calorie partitioning is already in your favour. Maybe if you were slightly lower then calorie partitioning would be slightly better, but you want to do a recomposition protocol, so you have to start where you are. Buy some body fat callipers if you haven’t already and measure body composition every month to evaluate where you are and what you should do next.

  62. Hi Andy,

    I’m currently in between what the article calls “Skinny Fat” and “Muscled but Fat”. I say this because my body fat is around 16-19% and I can definitely do more than a body weight chin up (I can do 10 at the moment), but even though I do look more muscular than the guy in the “Skinny Fat” picture, I certainly have don’t have as much muscle mass as the guy in the “Muscled but Fat” picture, since some areas like my chest and back are really underdeveloped in terms of size. So I’m really confused about going on a cut or recomp. What do you think?

        • Hi Xavier. Lyle Mcdonald recommends bulking and cutting between 10-15% body fat so it think getting into this range by cutting is a good idea because at a lower body fat calories are partitioned more favourably. I would recommend cutting with IF because it will be better to maintain or even gain muscle. Use the protocol on this site-be on a deficit on rest days and do a small refeed on training days, but make sure you have an overall weekly deficit.

          • I have heard about that too, for +15% body fat a cut is recommended. But wouldn’t I still be cutting on a recomp. (+20/-20)? Slowly of course, but there is still a small weekly deficit if you add it up. Also, if I cut with the lack of muscle mass I have, I’m afraid I will look skinny fat or too skinny, so what would be the point of cutting to show basically nothing underneath the fat? Thanks.

            • If you are convinced that you will look too skinny at the end of a cut maybe a recomp would be better. It would be a fair bit slower than a straight cut, but it is a decision you have to make.

            • Thanks. That’s my case HM, and the reason why I consider a recomp. more “logical” in my case. But my doubts come from these research that say that when you are +15% body fat, the workout day calories surplus is more likely to turn into fat then muscle, as opposed to when you are at 10-12% body fat. Is there any truth to this? If so, could I just end up not adding any muscle and losing very minimal fat?

  63. Trying not to freak out here. Just ended week 4 and tabulated stats – I had a 1.4 pound drop in a week. Every week up to this point was a steady drop of about half a pound. Nothing has been out of the ordinary, except I’m a bit hungry this morning (psychosomatic?). I lift tonight – here’s to hoping my muscles didn’t fall off.

  64. hi Andy
    I have a look at the guy above on the left, (82kg) and I want go up to 90-95kg,
    wchich way is best to do it
    Traditional Bulk or Leangains-Style Slow-Bulk (+30%kCal Rest days -10%kCal)?

    if its Traditional Bulk, whats you mean by ”usual diet” , what about calories on TD & RD?

    btw great job and website!
    I can\’t wait to start from monday!

  65. Thanks for the amazingly detailed yet perfectly concise article. Just a few quick questions (it was probably answered in part up in your article but I might’ve just missed it):
    1. i’m a female lifting heavy – definitely not one of the ones scared of the weight room, i know i won’t become a man. haha. anyway, i’m just trying to lean out my body (i used to be a gymnast, so i have those thick thighs big muscle but gained fat after a surgery) with strength being a (very close) second priority. should i go on a cut? how exactly would that work?

    (basic information: i’m 5’2″, 115 lbs, slightly muscled but with few pounds to loose. right now i’m following this for meals: REST – p:115g f:42g c: 95g WORKOUT – p:115g f:61g c: 137g. i’ve been doing stronglifts for about a month with some biking and swimming as i’m in the mood)

    2. does swimming and biking (just because i enjoy it) speed up the process of leaning out or does it do harm to the weight lifting? i read somewhere (or maybe it was here?) that cardio and weight lifting require opposite feeding patterns and you can only do one at a time. i would love to see some noticeable results in two months (as i might be putting a hold on my workouts since i’m moving so it might take some time to find a nearby gym, etc.)

    i know that was a huge chunk of information. i didn’t want to leave anything out – i assume you’re a busy man so i don’t want to harass you with, “oh wait i forgot this…and this!” anyway, thanks a ton!!! :)

    • 1. The article was written to try and answer that question for you. If you still have the muscle then the answer seems clear to me.

      2. Harms the weight lifting if done at anything but a leisurely pace (for you). More complicated answer here.

      • err, still a little confused. what do you mean by “if you still have the muscle then the answer seems clear to me” – i’ve got the muscle, but from gymnastics – so i’m still pretty new to weight lifting. is RPT not recommended to those new to weights? if so, what should i do instead? thanks.

        • If you have the muscle mass then go for a cut. Do starting strength and see where it takes you. If you stall due to too much volume after a while then switch to big 3 RPT and then from there assess again.

  66. I think I messed up the diet by miscalculating the amount of carbs I was eating from blueberries. I had been eating about 30g of extra carbs every day or so for the past ten days. Should I cut the carb down for the next few days or just go back to the regular amount?

  67. Hi Andy,

    You are a legend and currently following your steps as well.

    I have one question about training in the morning then eating my calories spread out over the 8 hours, I don’t eat 2 massive but split them up, is this still okay?

  68. Hello Andy!

    I am currently following your guide and I think it is incredible, thanks for putting it online, I do, however, have a question.

    I am a student and well when I study I get really hungry, but like REALLY hungry, what would be the consequence of breaking the fast habit for a week? Normally I only have time to study at night so I (most of the time) brake the fast during the night.

    Thanks!

    • Nothing except for hunger in the mornings when you switch back. But from your comment I’m guessing you didn’t wait for the initial week-10 days for your hormones to regulate and make morning hunger a non-issue.

  69. Hi Andy,
    This is Dean. I have been following the training/ diet plan you set up pretty closely for 2 weeks. My strength is definitely going up; but it seems like I am gaining fat at the same time ( I am on a recomp; and weight is up 2-3 lbs within 2 weeks.). Before leangains, I was in a low carb diet but now I am taking tons of carbs on my training day, will this be the reason towards my weight gain?

    Our next catch-up will be around 2 weeks from now; I am getting a little frustrated. Should I stick with current macro? add cardio maybe?

    Thanks a lot Andy! Definitely enjoy eating with LG and seeing the strength goes up!

    Dean

  70. Hello Andy,
    I’ve been on the program going on my third week, and I seem to be gaining weight. Is this normal? I have switched to the split routine in my workouts, the deadlift is phenomenal, but I’m a bit concerned at the gain in weight albeit its only 6 pounds. As far as the diet goes I’m on a cut. On my non training days I play hockey. Am I doing something wrong?

  71. Unsure as to where I am. I would consider myself skinny fat, and need to cut. So I have been cutting for a little while.
    Here are my stats.

    6’2, 80kgs. Unsure of body fat percentage, Can see top two abs, but not very defined.
    8 x x BW chins.
    110kg deadlift x 5
    100kg squat x 5
    70kg bench x 3-4.

    Any suggestions? Cheers.

    • Yes, but you won’t need to eat above your maintenance calories at the start, as you have plenty of fuel available anyway Jay. (Your body burns fuel in the ratio in which it is available. Thus even with sub-maintenance calories everyday you’ll be unlikely to burn much lean body-mass proportionately.

  72. Hey Andy,

    Do you have any experience with yohimbine – either for yourself or your clients? I think I still have plenty of work to do before adding this in (to paraphrase Lyle, it probably won’t have a visible effect on a woman until she’s ~15% bf or so). But was wondering what you have to say about it. I know one should never have it with food since insulin will totally blunt the effect, but have you found that to be the case w/ someone who takes yohimbine and coffee with a spoonful or two of milk in it? (Am I overthinking it?)

    Thanks a lot Andy!

  73. Hey Andy,

    Thanks a lot for all the work you’ve put into the website, I’ve learned a lot. I was wondering if I could get your opinion on my program.

    Here is my current picture.
    http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/713/photoon5812at1244am.jpg/

    I would say I’m skinny fat, although I’ve recently injured my foot, so I haven’t been exercising for around 3 weeks. I’ve done nothing but eat a Keto, Paleo, and IF, diet and have already lost 15 lbs. I usually eat 1 meal a day around 5pm, high protein/fat with a bunch of veggies and a couple pieces of fruit. My weight loss has slowed, but with the introduction of exercise I think it will help take me to the next level.

    So anyway, I was thinking of doing a recomp, if you think otherwise let me know. Here is my plan.

    Stats:
    6’3”
    180lbs

    Diet:
    BMR-2000 cal

    Training Day- 2400 cal
    Pro-170g
    Fat-40g
    Carbs- 350g
    Meal 1- 1pm: 30% cal
    Meal 2- 7:30pm: 70% cal

    Rest Day-1600 cal
    Pro-170
    Fat- 80g
    Carbs- 40g
    Meal 1- 6:00pm: 100% cal

    Training:

    Push day(DB bench, Weighted Dips, shoulder Press, Plyometric pushups) 5×6
    Rest
    Pull Day(Weighted Pull-ups, Dead Lifts, Rows, BB curls)5×6
    Rest
    Leg Day(Squats, Hamstring Dead Lifts, Calf Press, weighted lunges)5×6
    Rest
    Core/rock climbing/hiking etc

    If you can tell me what you think, I would appreciate it. And I also have one more question.

    Do you think it would be ok for me to lower the carbs and calories on training days? I have a hard time digesting carbs, no matter how tasty, and my body holds onto a lot of water when I eat them.

    Thanks in advance!

  74. I finished up a 12 week cut with Andy and then headed back to the US (from Japan) for an extended vacation with my family. We had booked a Caribbean cruise for a good portion of the time. Although the ship did have a gym, I was too busy getting off at the different ports of call or recovering from the previous night’s festivities to get more than one decent workout in. Then there was the food…this place was a binger’s dream come true. Since we paid a lot for the meals I wasn’t going to miss out. My macros went out the window. The only practice I maintained was to skip the morning meal, but I wasn’t able to keep a consistent 16 hour window between feedings.

    After close to 4 weeks of being off the diet and out of the gym – eating without care for the macros, drinking beer and sugary Caribbean cocktails almost every day – I was certain that I would regret the pummeling I had given my system on my return. When I got back to the gym in Japan and finally stepped on a scale for the first time in a month I was shocked to see that I had only tacked on 0.5kg…after all that! Andy’s workout routines and diet had conditioned my system beyond what I thought possible. If I had done the same without that conditioning I know from experience that I would have put on several kilos and inches around my middle. I was happy to see that I’d only gained a few millimeters on my belly and waist. Those will soon be gone though!

    Thanks Andy!

    • Bill, awesome to hear. Thanks for the update. I think that will have served well as a diet break tool too, so you might find that the fat comes off a little quicker now that you’re resuming the diet after your holiday. Looking forward to seeing the final product “Bill 2.0″. :)

  75. Andy,
    I’m having a hard time with the new macro guide you gave me after my first 4 weeks. The scale is still not moving and I’m way too hungry on my off days. I’m not really sure what to do and I’m starting to get frustrated with the lack of results. I’m not really sure what to do now and I don’t want to keep wasting time.
    Rob

    • Stalls happen Rob, please refer to that first mail I sent you about them. There’s probably stuff happening that you’re just not noticing, especially given that you’re hungry. Hang in there until the reassessment, we’ll taker a look at things then when I have the full picture.
      In the mean time please check out this point in the FAQ about hunger issues, changing a few simple things might help mate.

  76. Wow, this article was a reality check for me. I am still unsure and quite scared. I know you won’t be able to give me an accurate response without a picture but being skinny fat at 154lbs with around 12-14% bf and being 6 ft 1, don’t you think if I lost more weight overall I would look like a twig?! Even with body recomp? I checked the BMI calc and the lowest weight I should be at 18.5 (normal- lowest end) is 140lbs. This article has really got me thinking as I wanted to slow bulk as I feel skinny right now. Would you still suggest the body recomp and then slow bulk later on (as a long term plan)? Or for me to slow bulk right now and then use more of a body recomp/cut later? Thanks.

    • Doing a body-recomp will help you psychologically as you start to see the changes which are more apparent with that than the slow-bulk. Then later you could switch to the slow-bulk after a month or two.

  77. It’s pretty cool that you respond to comments Andy. Just from your responses, I have learned a lot. I have quite a bit of muscle, it however is covered with affair amount of fat though too. Obviously, I would want to do a cut. What are your thoughts on training at say, a 10% deficit? Would that accelerate my results? And I’m not looking for a quick fix or something like that. From my previous 12 weeks of doing Stronglifts and eating at a deficit nearly everyday, recovery doesn’t seem to be a problem for me and I seem to have trouble reaching my macros as it is. Thoughts? Like I said, the deficit hasn’t been a problem for me so far, my strength gains have been steady and so has the weight loss. I will however be switching to a three day split for my training

  78. 3 days in now. Not left the house without breakfast 1 day of my life but am finding it quite easy at the moment! Great guide thank you.

    My only issue maybe timing my last meal on a non workout day at 1900 then not eating again till after my workout at 1400! Too long a fast?

    Big meal at 1400, then 2 smaller meals at 1900 and 2200 on workout days.

    Can I have some guidance on diet when I play football(soccer) on a Saturday however as i will have to change the timing. Play football at 1430 then not able to eat till around 1800. I could have a recovery shake(30g protein 60g carbs) should I do this, maybe have a small meal before football as well?

    • Before even reading the last paragraph there, an alarm bell went off in my head when you said “3rd day”. Which essentially means, wait for your body to adjust before looking any further.

  79. Hi Andy, great article! Totally sums up LG quickly (:

    I was wondering if you knew more about where/when to place your macros during the 8 hour feeding window.
    e.g. my feeding window is from 11:30am – 7:30pm
    Total protein intake per day: 150g (I weigh about 120lbs)
    Training day
    1st meal: 11:30- around 20% of calories
    2nd meal: Post workout: 3pm – 60% of calories
    Last meal: 7 – 7:30: 20% of calories
    When should I take my protein? 25g for the first, 25g for the last, and 100g post workout? Something like that? NOT AT ALL like that? Also, the same question for carbs and fats.

    Your help is much appreciated! (:

  80. Hi Andy,

    This is a great article for setting expectations on LG – thanks for writing it up.

    How about for women? Would you say that women in these various categories can expect the same results, or have you found that it’s different? What differs?

    Thanks again.

    • The fat patterning differs. The butt/thigh fat is the last to shift and cardio can be needed to shift it. Women tend to do better on relatively fewer carbs. Refer to Lyle’s “The Stubborn Fat Solution” for more.

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  82. Hi Andy,

    I just found your site and I have to say, great stuff! I had previously read through (almost) all of Martin’s site, but he doesn’t really spell out what to do anywhere.

    Anyway, over the last two months, I’ve been using a combo of leangains and Lyle McDonald’s Rapid Fat Loss, i.e. 800 cals, 90% from protein, but eaten in a 6-8 hour window post-workout. I’ve droppedabout 25lbs of fat and go from ~25% to 12.5%, which I think this puts me somewhere between “Muscled and fat” and “Muscled, few pounds to lose.” I was hoping to get to single digits and then switch to a leangains-style recomp, but fat loss seems to be stalling out for me and I’m just kinda sick of cutting.

    The question in there is what do you think of Lyle’s diet break idea and do you think that a leangains recomp could fill that role? Do you have a general rule on when to switch from a cut to a recomp and/or bulk?

    Thanks!
    Jesse

    • It’s always case by case, so no general rule i’m afraid. A +20/-20 recomp would probably do the job of the diet break physiologically (hormonal adjustments back to ‘normal’) however it’s supposed to be a psychological break from things also, and going counting things again will not give you that break. Consider it.

      • Andy,

        Thanks for getting back to me! Given what you said, I’m thinking that I will do the recomp, but do it loosely and without counting. Basically, I’m planning to continue IF, since I quite enjoy not having to eat breakfast, and eat what I want within reason. I’m going to let hunger be my guide as far as how much to eat, with somewhat higher carbs on workout days than off days.

        I’m hoping that this will give me the benefits of the break, while preventing too much weight gain. After two weeks I’ll be going back to cutting, either one more round of Rapid Fat Loss or a leangains cut.

        -Jesse

  83. Hi Andy,

    I read this article for the first time 5 weeks ago. I went on a lg cut straight away. Iv got a similar type body comp as yourself (before pic). I just want to thank you for explaining the lg way in more detail. I have been reading Martin’s site for about a year and wanted to try it but didn’t know how.

    I have lost 14 pounds and have a 4 pack and I’m finding the way of eating a breeze. I have had a drink every week and planned it into my life so it doesn’t sabotage my cut. I’m 40 on Wednesday and will be looking the best I ever have.

    So again thanks for explaing the inner details of the lean gains ways keep up
    The good work and all the best with the site. I’ll send you some pics when I’m ready and you can add them to the site.

    Cheers Mark

  84. I like IF 16/8 because I find it easy to skip breakfast, but let’s be honest here guys, it’s caloric restriction at work. Why are you thinking it’s some magic ratio of carbs to protein 3 days a week vs other days etc. In the end caloric restriction is the only way to cut fat and weight training is basically the “only” way to build muscle.

    If IF makes it easier to stick to nutrient dense caloric restricted meals then great, say it’s magic. I believe many studies have shown reduced athletic performance in the fasted state.

    • It’s about the favorable caloric partitioning effects. I’ll have an article on that soon.

      As for the latter, fasting is not suited to all athletic pursuits, very handy for body-recomposition though. This article is a great read by Martin. If you’re interested in the studies then Alan Aragon’s Research Review is excellent and unbiased.

      Thanks for the comment.

  85. Hi Andy,

    I have dabbled in IF for a while, but been pretty consistent over the last 2 months. That being said, I am not seeing the progress I was hoping for and I KNOW it’s because my macros are all over the place because I just don’t know where I should focus. I am wondering if you have any initial advice…I’m a 29 year old female. About 5’11″ and 160lbs. I have been doing Stronglifts 5×5 for the last two months and thinking about adjusting to an RPT program. Currently DLs are 135lb, Squat 100lbs, Bench 75lb, OHP 65, Barbell Rows 100lbs. I just feel soft and pudgy all over, but know I’ve got some hot muscles somewhere in there…What the hell should I be doing?!

  86. Very helpful article, Andy, thank you. Your and Martin’s articles have been invaluable in my progress to date. According to a recent DEXA scan, I’m 25% body fat at 165cm tall (5’5″ I think). 46kg lean mass, 15.4kg fat, 61.4kg total. I don’t look very fat with a shirt on but it’s obvious without a shirt (i.e. the definition of skinny fat). 25% body fat is quite high and obviously I shouldn’t slow-bulk at this point. However, I also don’t have much lean mass either (the DEXA scan report suggested 55kg of lean mass to be acceptable/excellent for my height – not sure how accurate that is).

    Would you suggest that I cut first, at least to 12-15%, or a recomp? I’ve never lifted weights on a calorie surplus/maintenance and while I have gotten stronger than I used to be, I feel like I’ve been spinning my wheels. I’m currently considering doing a quick PSMF as a category 2 from Lyle McDonald’s RFL handbook just to get the body fat down as quickly as possible.

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts,

    Sam.

    • Sam, muscle can be built slower than fat can be lost. With less calories available, muscle gains will be slower. Thus it depends on you and what you want to look like in the short, and medium term. The long-term we all end up in the same place.

  87. Andy,
    What is your opinion regarding carbs from fruits on a +40/-10 “lean bulk”. I can eat 2lbs of strawberries in 1 sitting but don’t like eating similar quantity of rice or potatoes. Does carb source (fructose since it is stored in liver) matter compared to starchy carbs (muscle glycogen) or I should not bother if it is within my calories and macros (P/F/C)?

    • Over 24 hours as long as you meet total carb requirements the research suggests that the types of carbs do not matter as much. If you were an athlete training twice a day then this would matter a great deal, but I’m guessing you’re not.

      Here’s a couple of choice sentences taken from Lyle McDonald’s brilliant The Ultimate Diet 2.0 (buy it):

      “…people sometimes do notice subjective differences in carb-load quality depending on the types of carbs eaten. Generally, carb-loads based around large amounts of fructose or sucrose (which is half fructose) give inferior results. Fructose is used preferentially by the liver and tends not to be as good at refilling muscle glycogen.

      At the same time, small amounts of fructose (perhaps 50 grams over a 24 hour period) or sucrose (100 grams over a 24 hour period) seem to improve the carb-load. I have personally had my best (qualitatively) carb-loads eating primarily starches (bagels, milk, pasta) with small amounts of sucrose (usually some type of sherbet or high sugar cereal). The key is to keep starches dominant with small to moderate amounts of fructose or sucrose. This should let you satisfy any nagging cravings you have without ruining the quality of your carb-load.”

      • I’m wondering about carb source on a rest day. Currently at 25g of carbs on a rest day and I find that I am craving sweets. So i go for peanut butter, nutella or sometimes a few cookies. Does that mean i should count that agains the 25g and forgo fruit for the day? This seems to be my only downfall thus far. Seeing results almost on a daily basis!

  88. Heah Andy,
    thanks for posting all this great information, have been following your guide lines for 4 weeks and the differene is amazing, with body fat levels dropping and abs starting to show. I had been following guide lines for leangains on Reddit but with not much sucess, so thanks again for the great information on Marcos and training .

  89. Reading this article and want to ask you:
    from photo I sent you could you roughly tell in what of those 6 type of body category I fit in and what type of body fat I have?Just rough assumption.

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  94. Hey Andy!
    Thank you for this wonderful blog. It actually is more understandable to me than Martin’s articles on the topic.

    I hope you still answer comments, because I could really use your help :)
    I am 24 yo, 187cm, 77Kg/170lbs, ~15% bf (with a 85cm waist).
    Here is a picture: http://imageshack.us/f/593/beforejl.jpg/

    What I want to do: Getting much stronger as fast as possible without becoming fat.
    I am a fan of Mark Rippetoe and his Starting Strength program and would like to do that but his advise on skinny people to eat for 5-6k kcal seems just inappropiate for me because I already have 15% and with this much kcal I will be >20%bf in no time.
    My TDEE seems to be somewhere between 2800 and 3200 kcal!
    Would it be advisable to go on a slow-medium bulk like +10%/+20%?
    I would be fine with 60/40 or 50/50 muslce/fat increase, I just feat the fatexplosion that could happen on a 5000-6000kcal diet.

    What would you do in my stead with my goals in mind?
    Your help is much appreciated, thank you :)

    • Mate if you go with a positive on both days, you’ll just get fat. The key is to have a under-maintenance calorie rest day so that you can burn off dietary fat from the training day.
      If you’re new to LG then just the IF and putting the right foods at the right times will take you a long way, so I think you’ll probably get leaner and bigger. Go with something like a -20/+20 to start with. Do that for 6 weeks along with your Starting Strength and take it from there.

      All the best.

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  97. Andy, thanks for the article.
    Your site is a Pandora box !!!

    What do you think is my category:
    http://tinyurl.com/7j4m677

    Currently I am doing Cut, but I always wondered if I have enough muscles.
    I am doing 3 days splits (I love this routine, it is short but I always feel sore after it) plus some extra abs workouts for better abs. I was always skeptical to abs workout as all big lifts work them pretty well, but i think you can redefine your abs a little by extra work.
    I mostly do hanging leg rises and , Renegade Rows and planks. (it helped me a lot to make my abs look tighter and more defined) I stay away from crunches as I know this is the worst exercise ever.

    What do you think?

    For those who don’t speak Japaneses (I don’t) the two check boxes are:
    新しいコメントがついたらメールで通知 – Email me new comments arrive
    新しい投稿をメールで受け取る -Receive new posts by email

  98. I like the well thought out articles Andy. You clearly spend time to put them together. I agree with you about expectations and try to keep them in check each week. The scale has not been moving and for some reason neither are measurements. I am feeling stronger each week and wondering why I can’t seem to get the numbers to move despite following instructions. Maybe I am gaining muscle??

    • Sounds like you are making progress, but the fat loss and muscle gain are cancelling each other out. You should be seeing decreases in the waist though, if not now then soon. You might get a ‘whoosh!’

      • Ok I hope so…trying to be patient. I guess when we connect this week you will be able to make some recommendations. Thanks for the input.

  99. Nice article Andy. I’m currently in the “skinny fat” category and I’m currently a week or so into cutting with macros and such taken from your other article. Would you recommend me to switch to body recomp, as you suggest in this article, or should I continue with cutting.

    I was thinking cutting until I’ve lost my lovehandles and my stomach fat and starting a bulk then but which would be a smarter thing to do for quicker results, that or body recomp from start?

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