Uploaded by Aryan Wadhwani

31minutes' AMA for r leangains

Material from 31minutes’ “Former Berkhan Client. AMA”
are those
Compiled by XBudd for /r/leangains — NOTE: all
of 31minutes’
and do not
represent my
own nor should be taken as medical advice.
h p://www.reddit.com/r/leangains/comments/1jjrci/former_berkhan_client_ama
1. Diet
Counting Calories/Macros
Don’t think in terms of percentages; think in terms of weekly
I eat at maintenance on 3 workout days and want my weekly
caloric intake to be ~4000 calories under maintenance.
A pound of fat on me (I'm 200lb) and a pound of fat on someone
who's 150lbs will take the same weekly caloric deficit to lose.
I'm around -35% to -40% on rest days, 0 on workout days.
But that only matters because that is what I need to get to my
weekly 4,000 cal deficit.
Tracking Calories
Take an hour to make my two diet days then use calorieking.com.
Use the foods you love and make them fit your macros.
After that, it's just a matter of eating exactly the same thing each day.
You won’t mind, because every meal is made up of your favorite foods.
Calculating Calories/Macros
In response to current thoughts on macros: More protein on both
days. Bottom threshold for fats should be higher on workout days,
lower on rest days.
These are the ones I started with and essentially the same as what
Martin recommends to his clients:
Workout Day: 2756 Calories (Maintenance). 313g Protein. 274g Carb.
45g Fat.
Rest Day: 1768 Calories. 259g Protein. 88g Carb. 74g Fat.
That is for somebody at 200lbs.
To figure out your macros, adjust based on your weight. For
example, you weigh 180lbs and want to cut? Multiply my macros by
0.9 to fit your weight.
This will NOT differ significantly based on your daily activity level,
unless you have some ridiculous on-your-feet-all-day type of job
Stressing about the perfect amount of calories is overrated. You start
at a good estimate. This gives you that. From there, you adjust your
intake based on your weekly progress. The adjustment is key.
1 Creating a Meal Plan
Create a Rest Day and Workout Day plan and use same plan always!
7 sticks lean pepperoni (840 cal, 98 pro, 21 carb, 56 fat)
700g egg whites (364 cal, 76 pro, 5 carb, 1 fat)
1 can tuna (90 cal, 20 pro, 0 carb, 1 fat)
10 liver tabs (80 cal, 20 pro, 0 carb, 0 fat)
680g soy milk (160 cal, 16 pro, 8 carb, 8 fat)
40g hershey cocoa (80 cal, 8 pro, 24 carb, 4 fat)
900g zucchini (154 cal, 11 pro, 30 carb, 3 fat)
TOTAL: 1768 Cal, 249 Pro, 88 Carb, 74 Fat
Note: The total for grams of carbs for rest day excluding insoluble
fiber is somewhere around 30g. The number of carbs reported above
(88g) factors in consumed insoluble fiber
1,890g soy milk (450 cal, 45 pro, 23 carb, 23 fat)
1 box kashi golean (980 cal, 91 pro, 140 carb, 7 fat)
1,500g greek yogurt (857 cal, 154 pro, 51 carb, 0 fat)
600g blueberries (290 cal, 3 pro, 60 carb, 4 fat)
10x liver tabs (80 cal, 20 pro, 0 carb, 0 fat)
11g coconut oil (99 cal, 0 pro, 0 carb, 11 fat)
TOTAL: 2756 Cal, 313 Pro, 274 Carb (not counting fiber
this time), 45 Fat
Diet for Bulk
• Use the exact same foods and exact same ratio of macros.
• Rest day was 100 calories over maintenance (~2856 cals).
• Workout day was 450 cal over maintenance (~3206 cal).
That gave me a weekly surplus of 1750 cals. About 0.5 pounds
gained per week.
What To Do After A Cut:
Look at your weight loss average over the last three weeks.
That gives a baseline for what your running deficit is.
For example, if you lost 0.8lb in week 14, 0.7lb in week 15, and 0.5
in week 16, your total weight loss over 3 weeks = 2lb.
1. One pound of fat is ~3500 calories. You lost two pounds over
three weeks, so your deficit was 7000 calories spread over
21 days.
2. That means your daily deficit averaged 333 calories.
2 3. Now, you know that you can add a total of 2333 calories
(333cals*7days) to your week to switch to maintenance and
keep your weight stable.
4. Martin's recommendation: "Think about the days you are
more hungry and distribute calories appropriately." Stick to
the same macro composition as before, but give yourself a
5% leeway to make adding foods easier. “
5% leeway in the percentage intake, NOT the calories!
For example, if your diet was 45% protein on your training
days before, make sure it's within 40-50% now that
you're maintaining.
5. No food experiments, no changing the types of food you ate
for two weeks. Martin: "Ideally, you should eat the exact
same foods you ate during your fat loss phase, just more of
Justification for High Protein
Q: "Does 300g of protein do anything special compared with 200g?"
A: Probably. Makes you think about your food choices more. Makes it
harder to cheat on crappy foods. It's a lot more satisfying than carbs.
In terms of body composition. not in the way you hope.
It has a higher TEF so you get slightly less calories at the end of the
day. But it's not drastic. 100 extra grams of protein (comparing 200g
with 300g) might save you 80cals/day compared to 100 grams of
carbs or the equivalent in calories of fat.
It doesn't do anything like make you stronger, leaner, or whatever
bullshit people hope for. It's not magic. In the end, it's just a choice
based on the foods I enjoy.
Q: So what's the level beyond where more protein is useless for
muscle gain/preservation?"
A: On a cut, get 40-55% of your calories from protein.
On a bulk, get around 40% of your calories from protein.
You can probably make do with 1g/lb of BW, but I like to stay high for
the reasons I listed above. When I bulked to my current weight, I had
some days where I ate over 500g of protein. Did I gain more muscle
because of it? No. But did I enjoy my diet a lot more? You bet.
3 Remember, the best diet is the one you can stick to. Eating like this, at
a deficit, I don't even feel like I'm cutting. Even though I went from
208lb around July 14th to 199lb this morning.
No refeeds. Refeeds are stupid, because most people can't handle
them properly. Everyone uses them as an excuse to gorge themselves
for an hour or two. I know. I used to do this.
My training day calories are at maintenance. Hence, I don't even need
*Note: While this is one take on how to consume alcohol while minimizing
damage to your progress, many have found great success following
Berkhan’s extensive guide found online here:
Please be sure to read his guide first before adhering to the following advice.
“Alcohol is fine. No problem.
On days you drink, reduce total cals from carbs/fat (in a
1:1 ratio) by about 500.
I can drink however much I want and wake up the next morning
looking leaner (from dehydration). And alcoholic calories don't really
work in the same way to hinder weight loss. So even if I have more
than 500 cals of alcohol, I'm still good to go for the week, always.”
Weight Loss / Stalls
Everybody's weight loss will stall week-to-week. That is why you
compare your averages over two weeks' time.
For example, say your prognosis is to lose 1lb a week. Week 1 you lost
1lb. Week 2 you lost 0.5lb. Do you panic now, and adjust calories? No.
Wait for the end of Week 3. Usually fat loss catches up, like so:
Wk 1: -1lb
Wk 2: -0.5lb
Wk 3: -1.5lb
You only make adjustments when weight loss stalls over a
two-week period. The best way to do this is to calculate
your weekly loss every second Sunday and see where
you're at.
4 If you compare Week 1 with Week 3 above, you'll see that by the end
of Week 3 you're two pounds lighter. Exactly on track with what you
However, if that number were something like -1.7lb, it'd be time to
adjust calories. How? By decreasing your calories by 5-6% on both
The range (5-6%) is just there to make the adjustment round up or
down. Say you're basing it on the diet I listed here for myself. My
workout days are at 2756 calories. I can adjust my calories by 137 to
165 calories when fat loss stalls. I'd probably go for reducing it by 156
calories, just so that I have a solid, even 2600 calories new total.
Same thing for rest days. Adjust by 5-6%.
Remove calories from carbs and fat in a 1:1 ratio on
workout days, and remove from fat on rest days.
Chance are, if you keep in mind the fat loss progression I posted
above, you won't need to do this more than once on your entire cut.
Cutting Rate
Martin says that you can lose this much and still retain excellent
strength/potentially gain some:
• 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
Bulking Rate
Now, direct advice for your bulk: Take it slow. Learn from me.
0.7-1.5lbs per month is a pretty achievable rate of muscle gains for
the majority of lifters. That assumes a halfway decent diet, good, solid
training routine, and regular progression in weights lifted or reps used.
0.5lbs per week is the absolute maximum you should aim for when
calculating your bulking calories. Any more than that will turn into fat.
I know because I've done DEXA scans before/after bulks. But even if
your lifting and diet is perfect, some of those gains might spill over
into fat. It can't be helped. It just depends on how your body reacts to
training. And you'll only know if you get DEXA'ed.
So, the takeaway is this: aim for +0.5lb/week, but don't be surprised
if, over one month, only 0.7lb to 1.5lbs of what you gained comes in
the form of muscle.
5 Tip: Get DEXA scanned so you can keep track. It's easy to mistake fat
for muscle. Everybody does it everywhere.
Thoughts on Recomps
Recomposition is a joke. Nobody should be doing it except maybe
those who are already very lean (7% or lower).
If you're above 16%, cut.
Start at 10% for your bulk. But don't bulk like you see people on
bodybuilding.com recommend. Aim for 0.7-1lb per MONTH. That is
the max amount of muscle you're going to build.
I've done predominantly high frequency training before working with
Martin. 5 days a week, usually 6. Burning myself out with 90-120
minute workouts each time.
As soon as I switched to RPT training 3x a week, everything became
so much better. I had way more time. My lifts, which were stalled for
years, started going up. And I had fantastic enthusiasm for the gym
My biggest fear before I started was "not working out enough." I
thought I'd shrink and melt. Nothing could be further at the truth.
6 2. Workout Routine
Tip: Check out the Spreadsheet Version created by eur0pa here:
Rk5vYW1JS3hualE#gid=0 Note: RPT with 2 (NOT 3) sets -- justification after Back Day
Deads - 2x3-5
OHP - 2x6-8
Chins - 2x4-6
Back-supported rows - 2x6-8
Close Grip Chins - 1x6-10
Chest Day
BP - 2x6-8
Inc DB Bench - 2x6-8
Barbell Curls - 2x6-8
Tri Ext - 2x6-8
Leg Day
Squat/Leg Press - 2x6-8
Hamstring curl machine - 2x6-8
Leg extensions - 2x6-8
Calves (any exercise) - 1x12-16
Two Sets > Three Sets:
2 sets are what Martin gave me. I find them much better for RPT
training than 3 sets.
Here's why: You only focus on lifting ONE SET to your MAX POTENTIAL
for each exercise. And if you know you only get 2 exercises per muscle
group per week (give or take), you know you better give it your allout. That is why the 5-minute breaks are so helpful.
There is a structure for RPT:
The first set is always within the rep range described (unless you're
just starting the routine and went too light. Don't go "oops, it says to
do 6-8 reps, must stop at 8" if you can do more. If you can do more,
do them for that workout, but adjust upward appropriately next week).
7 The second set, without fail, is 0.9x weight, +1 rep. Do not do more
than 1 extra rep!! Even if you feel like you can.
Holding back like that is key to proper growth. You go all-out on the
first set. All the way to failure. (What is failure? If you think you will
drop the weight on your next rep, stop before doing it). And on the
second set, you drop the weight 10%, and do one more rep. Not two.
Not three. Just one. It has to be one, in order for you to recover and
push more on the first set next week.
3 sets just defeats the purpose. If you go -10% again, and do another
1 rep, the weight you're using is already so light compared to your top
set that all it does is drain your CNS for the remainder of your
workout. Stick with 2 sets. Works much better in the long run.
Chin ups à Weighted Chin Ups
If you're just starting out, I'd work up to 15 reps on a single set with
BW before you move on to adding lb's.
As soon as you add pounds, switch down to 4-6 reps. The leeway
between rep ranges makes it so that when you add weight, you won't
feel like a pussy by holding a five lb dumbbell between your legs. You
should be able to manage 20-30lb, at least.
Squatting vs Leg Press
(Especially if you are tall)
No squats because leg press hits the legs so much better. Your back
and core have nothing to do with hitting high weights and getting your
leg muscles to push heavy weight when you leg press.
Using RPT even when Bulking
Are you lifting 2.5x your bodyweight in deads for 5 reps? 1.5x your
bodyweight in bench for 5 reps? 1x BW for OHP for 5 reps?
No? Then keep doing RPT. When you're on a bulk, you recover better.
This does not mean that you need more volume. It means that the
weights you do from week-to-week can go up faster. But if you
mistake your improved recovery with a need to do more volume, you'll
find yourself stuttering and making little progress.
In essence, it comes down to this: people don't push themselves hard
enough on RPT while bulking. I take 5 minute breaks between every
set, at a minimum. During those 5 minutes, my heart's going crazy,
8 I'm breathing heavily, and I feel exhausted. That's the type of
intensity you need to progress. Anything less is a waste of time.
When you stall: switch to lower volume. Not higher. It will give your
body more time to recover. Focus on the 5-7 core lifts. Anything else
hinders recovery (if you're on a cut) and you don't need the accessory
work at your stage of development.
Cardio on Rest Days
I do cardio on off days. Only as a way to get some physical activity.
And only to improve compliance with my diet.
On workout days, I break the fast after my workout. I spend literally
no time thinking about food before the gym. If I sit around at home on
rest days, I don't have that psychological barrier, and it becomes
much easier to justify eating earlier. But if I know that I can only eat
after I walk for 45-60min, or play some light soccer, basketball, street
hockey, whatever, it has the same effect as a workout.
Key is to keep cardio low intensity and light. Don't use it to burn extra
calories--although that's obviously a nice side effect. Use it to help
dietary compliance.
Martin's suggestion:
• 45 minutes on the two rest days that are sandwiched between
workouts (Tues/Thus)
• 60 minutes on the two rest days that come together (Sat/Sun)
9 3. Supplements
Fish Oil - 3,750mg EPA, 1,250DHA (obvious benefits)
BCAA - 10g before training (ditto above)
Alpha Lipoic Acid - 600mg (potentially better insulin sensitivity)
Bacopa Monnieri - 500mg (potential cognitive enhancer)
Bromelain - 1,440GDU
Turmeric - 1500mg (no idea, don't remember)
Ginger Root - 4g (supposedly increases TEF of food. One study
shows this)
Vitamin D3 - 5,000 IU (obvious benefit)
Rhodiola Rosea - 500mg (decreases cravings and binging habits.
My binging disappeared entirely after 2 weeks of taking it. I've
stopped it since, and they haven't come back. This shit works
magic, yo.)
Spirulina - 1,500mg with 6% Phycocyanin conent (phycocyanin
is the important bit)
Vitamin C - 2,000mg
Dessicated Liver Tabs - 10x/day (gives me iron, which I don't
get in my food)
Resveratol - 1,000mg (no idea what this does)
Melatonin - 0.75mg every night (drastically reduces the time it
takes to fall asleep and makes my sleep way better. Don’t go
higher or you risk a slight dependency)
True Nutrition's Joint Support Formula - 4 tabs a day (each tab
has 1,500mg Glucosamine HCL, 1,200mg Chondroitin Sulfate,
200mg CIssus QUadrangularis, and 200mg MSM)
Green Tea – 3,000mg (>50% EGCG)
ALCAR – 1,500 to 2,000mg
Andrographis Paniculata 1200mg/day, for 5 days (when I feel
like I'm coming down with a cold or someone in my family is.
The only supplement proven to help with the common cold.)
EC Stack: On a cut, I also take EC. 600mg C, 72mg E per day. It's
been shown to increase metabolic rate by ~200 calories per day in
obese people. I figure it's worth a try. An extra 1400 calories burned
per week gives me a best-case scenario of 0.4lb extra lost, each week.
TIP: If you're looking into supplements, I'd recommend doing the
same thing I did. Browse Examine.com for a week or so. Pick the ones
you find interesting. Decide the proper dose, start taking them, and
forget about it. The ones I listed above give a good base.