Leangains Progression Guide

This is the info from the leaked Leangains documents PDF. This particular piece is where a client of Martin's describes how to track weightloss and progression:

 

When to Adjust Calories

How do you know when to adjust calorie intake in case your fat loss is slowing down or stalling? We’ll look into that below.

1. On the bottom left hand side of the client sheet is a section called Preliminary Prognosis. This is an estimate of the minimum amount of weight you are expected to lose each week with perfect adherence to the caloric and macro-compositional guidelines (noted above under “Workout”, “Rest A” etc). If you are losing less than that, measured over two weeks, you will need to lower calorie intake.

2. Weigh yourself as often as you can, in the morning after having taken a pee/dump, and note the weight for each day. Add these numbers together and divide by the number of occasions. For example, if you weighed yourself 6 days out of 7, add the numbers and divide them by 6.

Example:
Prognosis says -1.2 lbs/week. If the mean is lower than 2.4 lbs/2 weeks, that’s when you adjust calorie intake. However, the first time you’ll compare mean weights will be after three weeks and not two.

Mean weight week 1: 185.5
Mean weight week 2: 183.0

At the end of week 3, compare the mean for week 3 with the mean for week 1. Then look at the prognosis. In this example, the prognosis says -1.2 lbs and your mean weight during week 3 should be at least -3.6 lbs. If it is, then no adjustments should be made. In the future, you’ll compare every other week (week 5 vs week 3, week 7 vs week 5, and so on).

Mean weight week 3: 181.5

Compared with mean weight in week 1 = -4.0 lbs, which is good. Had this number been -3.5 lbs, it would have been time to lower calorie intake.

Mean weight week 4: 180.5
Mean week 5: 179.5

Now let’s assume we’re at the end of week 5. Compared with mean weight in week 3 = scale shows -2.0 lbs. It’s time to lower calorie intake a bit.

 

How to Adjust Caloric Intake

1. Rest days: Lower calorie intake by 6% by reducing carbs and fat.
Example:

If your calorie intake on a rest day is 1800 kcal, lower by 100 kcal. Reduce carbs and fat in a 1:1 ratio, meaning 50 kcal of each or 12-13 g carbs and 5-6 g fat. This is not set in stone. Depending on your personal preferences, you may opt to reduce more or less of the other.

2. Training days: Lower calorie intake by 6% by reducing carbs in the post-workout meal first and foremost.

Example:
If your calorie intake on training days is 2500 kcal, lower by 150 kcal or 37-38 g carbs. Do this by removing the most carb-dense foods in your meal plan (i.e white rice, ice cream), or a specific carb source you feel you can do without.

3. Wait at least two weeks before lowering again.

4. In future adjustments, lower fat intake as well; carbs should not go below 35% on training days.

5. Protein remains constant throughout your diet (more or less – some tag along protein grams will inevitably disappear when you reduce carbs/fat).

 

Body Fat Percentage & Rate of Fat Loss

As you get leaner, you should not attempt to maintain the original “Preliminary Prognosis” of fat loss in your plan. Below are some rough guidelines on what constitutes the maximal amount of fat/weight loss per week for excellent strength retention or gain.

18-19% body fat: -1.7 lb/week
15-17% body fat: -1.5 lb/week
12-14%: -1.3 lb/week
9-11%: -1 lb/week
<8%: 0.7 lb/week or 2 lbs every 3rd week.

If you adhere to these guidelines you should see similar effects on muscle gain and strength to those of my regular Option A-clients - who often gain strength and muscle while getting to single digit body fat. The bodyrecomposition effect so to speak. Is a faster rate of fat loss than the one denoted above possible? Of course, but this would also compromise the results.

 

Transitioning to Maintenance: First Two Weeks

Once you’ve reached your goal, a smooth transition to maintenance is key for maintaining it. This 2 week phase should be given just as much attention as your diet, and you’d do well to treat it as an extension of your fat loss phase for the first two weeks. If you approach the maintenance phase with a “laissez faire” kind of attitude, you only risk binging and losing a portion of your hard earned results. Ironically, the maintenance phase can be mentally more challenging than a more restrictive diet, since the goal is not as clear or purposeful as the latter (i.e “maintain weight” vs “lose weight”).

The first two weeks are critical and you must use the guidelines below to ensure a perfect transitioning.

1. Look at the mean weight loss for the last three weeks. That should give you an estimate for how much of a deficit you have been running.

Example
Mean weight week 10: 172.0
Mean weight week 11: 171.2 (-0.8 vs week 10)
Mean weight week 12: 170.0 (-1.2 vs week 11)
Mean weight loss over two weeks: 0.8 + 1.2/2 = -1 lbs/week

1 lb of fat = 3500 calories, the equivalent of the deficit you’ve been running before your planned transition to maintenance (week 13 in this example). This means that you have 3500 calories to add to your diet in order to be weight stable.

2. There are various ways to distribute the 3500 calories among the days in your plan. You can do it the quick and dirty way and simply up calorie intake by 500 on all days, but ideally the distribution should be made with the objective of securing diet adherence for the first two weeks. Think about which day(s) you are more or less hungry. Odds are you experienced more hunger on your rest days during the last week before maintenance; if so, add proportionally more calories to these days.

Example
Before maintenance:
Training days, 3x/week: 2200 kcal
Rest days, 4x/week: 1700 kcal
Maintenance:
Training days: 2500 kcal (+300)
Rest days: 2350 (+650)

Another alternative is to add a more modest amount on weekdays and a larger amount on the weekends. For example, +400 kcal Monday-Friday and then +750 kcal Saturday-Sunday. Either way you go about it, the key point is that you set up your initial 2 weeks of maintenance in such a way that you do not binge. Binging and losing your hard earned results is an all too common phenomenon after your diet. I’ve personally been there and done that, and so have countless others. This might sound counterintuitive, since you are eating more, but the mind works in strange ways.

2. Also distribute the calories among meals with diet adherence in mind.

3. Maintain the macrocomposition of your diet for the first two weeks during the maintenance phase with a minor deviation only (+-5%).

Example
Before maintenance:
Training days, 3x/week: 2200 kcal
45% protein
40% carbs
15% fat
Rest days, 4x/week: 1700 kcal
55% protein
20% carbs
25% fat

Maintenance:
Training days: 2500 kcal (+300)
40-50% protein
35-45% carbs
10-20% fat
Rest days: 2350 (+650)
50-60% protein
15-25% carbs
20-30% fat

This is important. One of the most common mistakes people do when transitioning to maintenance is to add a lot of new foods and change the macrocomposition drastically – lowering protein intake and upping carbs and fat intake. Again, due to the funny workings of the mind, this tends to lead to binges. Suddenly a bunch of new foods and choices presents themselves and this puts diet adherence at risk. Ideally you should eat almost the exact the same foods that you ate during your fat loss phase, just more of them.

4. No funny food experiments. No "celebrating" with cheat days/meals (unless those that can be fitted into your calorie budget and macrocomposition for the day). I can’t stress this enough. Again, the 2 week maintenance phase after your diet should be treated as an extension of your fat loss phase and be followed with the same dedication.

5. Maintain the training routine and the cardio schedule, but cut cardio volume by 1/3. If you’re doing 45 min brisk walks on weekdays, and 60 min brisk walks on weekends, do 30 min and 40 min during your two weeks of maintenance. There is a very important behavioral aspect to this.

 

After the 2 Week Transition Phase

Once you’ve gone through the initial two weeks of maintenance, you can take more liberties with your diet; such as lowering protein intake and incorporating more “cheat”-friendly or “unclean” foods into your diet. How ever you choose to proceed with your diet from here on out, here are some best practices for maintaining leanness in the longer term.

Your habitual diet should be high protein to ensure satiety and protection against weight gain (protein has the highest TEF of all macronutrients). My personal recommendation is 1.25 g per lb body weight or 2.5 g per kilo body weight.

Carb and fat intake should be set according to your personal preferences, but I recommend you cycle them so that rest days are high(er) fat and training days high(er) carb.

Ideally you should also continue cycle calories so that training days are high(er) and rest days low(er).

Ideally your largest meal should be your post-workout meal. Your next largest meal should be your first meal on rest days – however, for practical purposes, you may find it better to make your next largest meal your second or third meal on rest days (if you are working a regular 9-5 job in a public place, it might simply be more enjoyable to eat a large meal at home after work).

 

 

Training Day (TDEE)
  Grams (g) Calories (kcal) Ratio (%)
Carbs      
Fats      
Protein      
       
Rest Day (TDEE-875kcal)
  Grams (g) Calories (kcal) Ratio (%)
Carbs      
Fats      
Protein      
       

Lean Bulk (+450/+100)

Training Day (TDEE+450kcal)
  Grams (g) Calories (kcal) Ratio (%)
Carbs      
Fats      
Protein      
       
Rest Day (TDEE+100kcal)
  Grams (g) Calories (kcal) Ratio (%)
Carbs      
Fats      
Protein      
       

Recomp (+20%/-20%)

Training Day (TDEE+20%)
  Grams (g) Calories (kcal) Ratio (%)
Carbs      
Fats      
Protein      
       
Rest Day (TDEE-20%)
  Grams (g) Calories (kcal) Ratio (%)
Carbs      
Fats      
Protein