Tag Archives: Lean Gains


Big ups to RD… lean gains is everything I had no idea it would be. I just wonder where it’s been all my life!

Today starts week number three and already, I am seeing more results that I have on zone, strict paleo, Tim Ferris’ PAGG stack, AdvoCare, and well, pretty much anything else.

This morning, my weight was 214 even. I don’t think I have been that little since about 2008. I do know that my heaviest weight since Brenna was born was about 228, so I’m down around 14 pounds.

I am, frankly, amazed at how well this is working and wanted to share some of the things that I have learned so far in an effort to maybe help anyone that might also be stuck in my position.

For the past few days, I have been using FitDay to track everything I eat. It has been eye opening for a few reasons which I will get into shortly. First, though, I wanted to say a word about “calorie counting”.

I hate calorie counting. Always have. In fact, I hate counting ANYTHING food-wise.

People pushing the paleo mentality (which I still whole heartedly agree with, by the way) usually don’t talk much about calories, nor do they encourage people to count them. Look, if you are really off the path, severely overweight, lots of health problems, etc, “going paleo” with almost literally ANY proportion of macronutrients is going to be beneficial for you. You will see results. That’s almost a guarantee. The problem comes in where you are like me. You’ve been “watching your diet” for the past 2-3 years, you work out 3-5x/week, etc and you still are flabby and fatty. WTH!

I still don’t really want to promote calories/macronutrient counting on a regular basis because I, like some others, view it as a form of neurosis if done ALL the time and in EVERY situation. Picture that guy who’s counting his almonds at dinner. Sigh. I am, however, starting to see that it IS a wonderful diagnostic tool over a short period of time for someone like me who has historically had enormous problems getting weight to come off. It’s interesting to think that I have been doing it wrong for almost my entire life. I think that I was a skinny thing up until about 1st grade and it was all downhill from there. Maybe I just never knew how much was right FOR ME! Unfortunately, tracking food is the only way to figure that out (unless you’re super rich and can just have someone tell you what to do, putting food in front of you at every meal so you don’t have to think about it).

In my last blog, I wrote about some things that I have learned over that past week. From then to now, I have been able to refine my information a bit further. It seems that my “ball parking” was slightly off and while I thought I was getting “enough” protein, I am actually NOT! I thought I ate a TON yesterday, but according FitDay, not so much:


As of this morning, my bodyweight was 214.0, so if I want 1g of protein/pound of bodyweight, I’d have to get, you guessed it, 214g! Looks yesterday, I got close to 1g, but not quite (.86g/pound). What I found really interesting here is that, in looking at my numbers above, I am starting to do this cost/benefit analysis with protein sources. For example, the beef tenderloin was 45g of protein for 321 calories. A little further down, notice that the turkey breast is about the same amount of protein for less calories. I assume this is due to that whole “calories from fat” thing. At this point, I am trying to hit my caloric markers (without being terribly neurotic about it, again, just sort of in the ballpark) while trying to get the most “bang for my buck” so to speak, protein-wise. I can say though, that when I get a high amount of protein or “enough”, I can feel it. I can feel my body cranking like a furnace. It’s a great feeling.

For all of you zone folks out there, I have basically upped my protein blocks and lowered my fat blocks, I guess.

If you are a regular reader here, you, no doubt, are sick of my bitching. It’s funny how you can be SO close to being right but not see any results whatsoever. It seems that all I needed to tweak was the AMOUNT I was eating and the macronutrient that is providing the majority of my caloric intake. Boom. Done.

One more thing, with regard to calories. Lean gains requires that you find your BMR. In true engineer style, I’ve made a spreadsheet to calculate this for me as my bodyweight and body fat percentages will change. Here’s what it looks like:

bmr calc

So, in the event that you eating an un-weighed, unmeasured paleo diet and feel that you’ve stagnated, you might want to start getting really specific about and how much of it you are eating. People have told me in the past “just do it for a week and you will be all set” and I was SO reluctant to listen. Turns out, with a food scale and FitDay, it’s not hard at all. There’s still stuff that I’m trying to figure out and things to tweak, but right now, SOMETHING appears to be working and it makes me really happy.

Good luck!

My Thumb Hurts

I couldn’t think of a better title. Sorry. I think it hurts because I was really forcing the hook grip last night and I think I might have mashed it a little too hard. Anyway… it was another long night with some awesome programming, great PR’s, and lot’s of hard work by some good friends. Here’s mine:

  • 50 GHDs
  • 50 GHBEs (35#)
  • 3 minute KB complex (1.5 pood)

Then, we did the the following protocol for dead lift, clean & jerk, and front squats:

  • 5 @ 60%
  • 3 @ 70%
  • 2 @ 80%
  • 1 @ 90%
  • 1 @ Current 1RM
  • 1 @ Current 1RM + 2-5%
5@60% 3@70% 2@80% 1@90% 1@RM 1@RM+





















A few notes on the fails… my grip totally went away on my dead lift. I think it was actually due to the again faster grip things. I was able to hold on to 465# just fine with just chalk. For the C & J, my hook grip psyches me out. It still feels really weak, so I’ll start to pull, then just drop it because it feel like the barbell is going to fly out of my hands. For the front squat, I really just don’t know my 1RM, so after doing 265#, which felt easy, I decided to jump up. A little too much, I think.


  • 1 set of max reps dips: 16 reps

In other news, little Miss Brenna has actually slept really well during the past 2 nights which has been absolutely phenomenal. The different in how I feel when I get sleep is completely night and day and affects almost everything about my daily life. I can handle things so much better. I am sure that this is true for everyone to some degree, but I do know some people that can operate just fine on 4-5 hours. I am not one of those people. Never have been.

At the suggestion of my good friend Ryon, I am experimenting with the lean gains protocol (http://www.leangains.com) and actually seeing some results. This is very exciting and after the first week of following it, I am compelled to continue on to see what it does for me. I can see (again, in just 1 week) difference both in the mirror and on the scale, which has not really budged for quite a while.

There are some things about this that are not “paleo”, like the use of supplemental protein, but I have always been OK with self experimentation as long as I see good results from it. Hell, I was skeptical about “the paleo diet” a few years ago and decided to give it a shot. If I were stubborn about trying that, I don’t know where I’d be right now.

At any rate, I have learned a few things about my particular eating situation over the past week that I think are really simple tweaks that might work for other people that aren’t seeing results on “paleo” aside from the 16 hour fast/8 hour eat window:

  1. I am eating just too much from a caloric standpoint. Robb Wolf talks about “not being a hoover”. As in, it doesn’t matter what eating diet/protocol you follow, if you are a normal size person that has a normal level of activity (i.e. NOT Michael Phelps @ 12,000 cals/day), eating 5000 cals/day of all paleo foods isn’t going to help you drop LBs. Lean gains requires that you count calories to some degree. While I am not neurotic about it, looking at how many calories are in certain things, especially fats/oils has been eye opening. I still use the same cooking oils, I’m just not as liberal with them. Which leads me to point #2.
  2. I was not getting nearly enough protein. Both Robb Wolf and Martin from lean gains talk about getting 1-2g/# of bodyweight of protein per day. For dude like, me, that’s A LOT. While I typically don’t like to supplement with whey and things like that, getting at least 200g of protein per day results in A LOT of meat and eggs, so I’ve started adding some whey in on workout days. The right tool for the right job, right?
  3. Timing of meals totally matters (for me, anyway). Lean gains is a protocol of timing your eating, not so much WHAT you eat. I suppose it’s not technically “paleo” although it can totally be. It sounds really complicated at first but after a week of working on it, it’s really not that bad. It’s really split in 2 columns:
Workout Days Non-workout Days
  • Eat a bit more from a caloric standpoint*.
  • Eat a bit higher carb.
  • Eat your largest meal of the day AFTER your workout.
  • Eat a bit less from a caloric standpoint*.
  • Keep the carbohydrate intake low.
  • Eat your largest meal as your breakfast.

*This requires finding your BMR and knowing approx. how many calories are in what you eat. I have pretty much ball parked it up until this point, but am slowly figuring stuff out.