A pretentious introduction will not set the tone for 2012, so to hell with that, Happy New Year and cheers to all.

I’ll kick off 2012 with another client update, talk some shit, and we’ll see where it ends up. I accidentally deleted half the post without saving, including a bunch of interesting and not-so-interesting stuff, so it can’t really get worse than this anyway.

It’s Friday and I’ve already spent too much time on fiddling with this stuff, really just want to get it done and hit publish. So I’ll have a drink and do whatever editing is needed later on. Might add stuff – forgot some details and data.

IMPORTANT: I don’t want your money and there’s nothing to buy, as noted at the end. On vacation. Read for informative purpose and inspiration only, or to see realistic “optimal” real-world progress/results/data – 100% BS free.*

^^ I had to add this, because some people got the idea that I was offering or asking for something.

* Meaning no funny stuff, steroids, whatever – realistic “optimal” results, ranging from intermediate to highly advanced. That should be interesting to most, I hope, and if not – wrong place, move on.


Added stuff, took away some. New after-picture of Brandon at 191-192 or so. Looks pretty damn good.

Thought I’d drop a line to say that I might be leaving. So maybe sometime in the future means just that, like I wrote, but then people keep asking anyway. Might be in a good while or it might never be at all. So that’s that.

The reasons are mainly in terms of the limits I see in this field and how everything operates around it. I like the practical get-it-done-stuff, process, what I do with clients, etc, nothing else. Well, besides the science and research, but in talking about tangible things. If you like that, you’re stranded on a tiny island in an ocean of shit.

Cool story, bro. Anyway, that’s not the most likely thing that’ll happen, and I’ll stick around for some time still. It’s not like I’m taking a vacation-vacation either, because there’s still clients to be maintained, stuff written, etc. But I’ll try to read a few books, chill, or whatever else rare opportunity I find to…

Don’t screw around too much with this fitness shit. Let the good times roll, bro, and tell ’em Old Berkhan sent ‘ya.


I picked an assortment of clients, went for some diversity. Choose most clients based on some point/nugget I wanted to share. Probably forgot a few good ones (sorry). There’s a few more on an external HD from my old comp.

I’ll summarize the important stuff and have included some testimonials. Not from everyone, since this would be way too long. Actually, you know what, I’ll just copy-paste some stuff from emails and call that testimonials. How about that.

You can see past client updates here. The posts goes back several pages, so you’ll have to click “older posts” in the right corner if you want to see them all. You can also check out some older testimonials and results here.
I could talk about some clients of notoriety and fame, but I can’t or won’t, whether it’s for the sake of discretion, or because I don’t think the time is right. They include people who are fairly well-known and successful in their respective niche, business, or area of expertise, but they won’t be included here. I mentioned poker pro Phil Galfond and social media profile/author Julien Smith in this article, but there’s a few other names I could drop if I wanted to wow and impress. Perhaps later this year.


1a. I get predictable results – fat loss and concomitant strength/muscle gain is the norm. Fat loss with full strength/muscle retention is worst case. Every client lost fat and saw an overall strength/muscle increase compared to start (stats from before-picture). Variance is low, there’s no second-guessing, same overall result with everyone. Only the magnitude varies depending on weeks spent on program, compliance and genetics, etc.

This is not the norm anywhere else – how and why here? For exceptional results to become standard, you refine what works, polish and build upon what’s successful – and nothing else. A methodical process, better each round, and finally perfected.

1b. I’ve been in this game much too long to screw up. When clients don’t do exactly what I tell them to do, when they get a brilliant idea of their own, they suffer for it, and don’t get the typical results. Fortunately, it doesn’t happen very often, because they know it upsets me.

2. What you get after all this tinkering, are baseline values, variables, and formulas with a very high likelihood to work in a specific context, the context being for this client, his or her goals, limitations, and stats. It’s math and statistics, with a slew of your good sense and intuition thrown in to make it tick. And then of course, there’s some stuff you can’t quantify – like the right words to the right client, to set him or her on the right path.

3a. Doesn’t everyone tell you that their stuff is better, special, will add mounds of muscle and burn fat like crazy? Of course, it’s a god damn cliché, and words don’t really mean shit unless you have enough sense to evaluate them.

3b. Start by drawing a distinction between Internet marketers, NewsLetter Gurus, and that third category of people who work in the trenches, who actually knows their shit. If you can’t make, it’s your loss. Just some friendly advice, I don’t give a shit what you do with it.

Will add a little something good. You’ll see. Later tonight, or weekend.

Forgot some details below, age, etc, I’ll fix later.


Before: 226 lbs
After, Week 10: 211 lbs

November: 213-215 lbs.

Bojan impressed me with his consistency, burning enthusiasm, and drive for excellence. He started out strong, with an amazing first 10 weeks of progress.

In Summer, he told me that he decided to enter a bodybuilding competition. Then, in August, a Powerlifting meet. Finally, I heard from him again a few weeks ago – and he’s still going strong, staying lean at 213-215 lbs.

Still doing leangains, still loving it, maintain low bodyfat has never been this easy.

….Just did a PL meet last weekend. Placed 1st at 100 kilos! Go LeanGains!

…You need to be featured on Oprah or something, man.

I don’t know what his body weight was for the contest, or how big and important that powerlifting meet really was, because that’s not relevant to the point here. Consistently striving for improvement, maintaining that drive and burning enthusiasm, that’s the point.


Before: 121 lbs
After: 113 lbs

Started with Carrie in early 2011, forgot all about her for a bit, and then saw her awesome new look a months later. I was very pleased.

Here’s a girl who does not shy away from heavy lifting, squats, and Grey Goose. Real training. Not the useless foo-foo bullshit many women call “training”.

I just noticed I actually have a video of me deadlifting 205 lbs x 4 back in July (bodyweight 114-115lbs.. and after a night of drinking.. haha).

Oh my! Better watch out there now, wouldn’t want to get too big and bulky. A nice +30 lbs gain on deadlifts compared to starting stats. (Added alternative back shot…to show the negative effects of 2 x body weight deadlifts on gluteus maximus, AKA butt. Clearly too tight. I promise to tone next time. Forgive me, Carrie.)

We talked a bit about her progress, and she told me she followed my exact program for a few months, changed it slightly to fit her personal diet preferences and lifestyle, kept the training as prescribed.

I would think there may be others who would like to reach this point of adopting a lifestyle where they don’t have to track or fret over every morsel of food that goes into their mouth. Your protocol can definitely help people achieve this.

…Thank you for all your knowledge and help! It’s honestly changed my life (which I’m sure you year all the time)! 🙂


Age: 45

Before: 190-192 lbs

After, Week 12: 172 lbs

After 8 Weeks:

…This was best test I’ve had in 4-5 years! My cholesterol dropped from 218 to 150, hdl went from 54 to 47, ldl went from 142 to 92, triglycerides went from 108 to 55!

My strength has increased in almost every exercise that you perscribed. Like all of your previous success stories, I tell everyone, that this plan was about as easy as it gets, once you adjust to it and is something that I will follow for life! …My results so far have been nothing short of spectacular.

…All of our friends were like WTF have you been doing? And they knew me during my P90x days!


Before: 185 lbs
After, Week 12: 177 lbs


Before: 63 kg
After, Week 14: 58 kg

KS was the best kind of client – well-worded and intelligent, 100% compliant and an astute observer that took note of his results and prior experiences. I asked him for a testimonial, because I knew it would be good and thorough. It follows below.

Martin, I can’t thank you enough for the coaching. The results are incredible – I have never been leaner or stronger. Surprising, given the relatively small change in weight. You actually turned the word “recomp” into reality – something I often heard of but never believed. I was a believer and a follower before you started coaching me, but actually having the opportunity to work with you really made all the pieces fit together.

It was incredible how easily the results came after that – fat loss while gaining strength, maintenance with continued gains, and strength and hypertrophy without adding fat – despite taking frequent time off for business trips.

Like we discussed, I am even more surprised by the mental benefits of the system – the lack of binge-type bounce backs after dieting down to extremely low body fat and the ability to relax and not be stressed out around food are even greater benefits of your system than the ability to take body composition for granted. It is funny to start thinking of 9% or 10% BF as “not lean”, but that is the magic of your system – easy to stay leaner than that even on your worst days.

I really enjoy your coaching style and I am extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with you – best decision ever. Followed directions, got results, doesn’t get any simpler than that. Looking forward to continued leangains in the next few weeks and months.

Can’t wait for the book to come out – it is going to shake things up. In the mean time, you’ve got a dedicated follower and supporter. Your methods of eating and training are the most comfortable that I’ve ever come across and I can honestly say that this is a lifestyle that isn’t going to change.

Some UD2 pics are attached.

Body weight at the time was ~57 – 58kg, depending on the day and time measured. If you compare these pics to the ones I sent you last week, the difference in the way I look is pretty obvious: UD2 = skinny-lean, LG=muscular lean at the same weight.

Coincidentally, the pictures are almost exactly 1 year apart. Date code on the UD2 pics shows June 27, 2010. The other difference, of course, is that on UD2 I had to eat bird food most of the week.


Age: 22
Before: 89 kg
After, Week 12: 77 kg
After, Week 18: 75-77, give or take a few, not sure. Took it nice and slow after W12, with the holiday’s and all.

The diet and training is amazing and easy to stick to. I think I’m just starting to hit my stride with reverse pyramid training and proper diet adherence. It’s only going to get better from here.

12 Week Results
Squat: 70 kg -> 90 kg
Deadlift: 90 kg -> 130 kg
Bench press: 63 kg -> 80 kg
Chins: 12.5 kg -> 32 kg

The cut has been a breeze; no effort at all. I really enjoyed the RPT training. The diet is easily the best part of this. Clear guidelines which lets you work in the foods that you want to eat and still get great results. I’ve eaten pizza, ice cream and cookies – something which I couldn’t do when I tried to lose fat doing a paleo diet. The best thing is that I feel healthier.

Leangains is the way to go. You’re a sucker if you’re not doing it.


Before: 227 lbs
After, Week 16: 198 lbs

I know I’m still fat but I’m not done yet and actually I feel like I’m hitting another pretty good stride right now. Workouts have been going great and I’ve not only maintained strength, but actually gotten stronger.

….I snapped these this morning at a bodyweight of 197.8. Lot’s of work left to do but I’m still going. I think the before and afters are pretty dramatic. My face is so much leaner. I’ve had to buy all new clothes to wear to work which was both cool, and a huge pain in the ass.


Before/After: 9-week gain from 75 kg to 78 kg, followed by 2-week cut to 77 kg

Here’s a good example of the nice-and-slow-approach: the original “lean gains” approach. Nowadays, Leangains and the Leangains protocols are commonly used for fat loss, and naturally so because it’s what most people want and need. It’s also the logical evolution of the concept itself, as it has proved itself extremely effective for fat loss specifically, and remains relatively untested for lean muscle gain.

The nice-and-slow-approach is the only reasonable alternative for the natural trainer at Advanced and above, who wants to stay lean during the bulk.

Since the gains will be slow, and differences are subtle, these pictures with shifting poses and varying lighting conditions are useless to showcase the change per se, though other data is always interesting.

Right upper pic 75 kg –> bottom right 78 kg —> left pic 77 kg, looking just as lean as 75 kg, or leaner.

Thanks to you to, since i started Leangains and your training regime i have been making gains like i did the first year of training.

What’s funny is that I have always trained my arms and shoulders a lot, but they have not grown any. Now that I don´t focus on these muscles they grow.

Net strength gain:

Week 1-12

Deadlift (BW 75 kg) 180kg x 5 reps vs (BW 77 kg) 197,5kg x 5 reps deadlift (+2 kg bw, +17.5 kg dl)

Squat: (BW 75 kg) 125kg x 6 reps vs (BW 77 kg) 150kg x 6 reps squat (+2 kg bw, + 25 kg sw)

Chin-ups BW + 20kg x 6 reps vs (BW 77 kg) bodyweight + 40kg x 6 reps chins (+22 kg 6RM)

Excellent results using the standards-ratio for BW:strength for LBM gains.



I have had a few weeks off here and there…BIG weekends involving shitloads of booze and bad food! However, I am happy with my results so far.

You’re a fucking legend.

Matt took the shittiest pictures, drank a lot of booze, but got good results that deserve some recognition here. He made the most progress the first 10-12 weeks. This picture I got, the only one half-decent is fairly representative of his 10-12 week progress, but better still.

Reading his emails gives me a headache right now, pisses me off. Think he started out 75 kg dropped to ~73 kg after 8 weeks, clearly much leaner and with a decent amount of muscle gained. The before-picture here would be ~70 kg or some such. I’ll need to ask him, because I refuse to read his shitty reports right now.

In any case, he looks a hell of a lot better in the after-picture, even though his body weight didn’t change much.


Before: 75 kg
After: 65 kg

This is me after leangains its been 12 weeks since I started. Got to admit it wasn’t that hard and I enjoyed every minute, will keep it up.

Strength has gone up also.

Bench – 75kg x 5 —> 85kg x 6

Deadlift – 120kg x 4 —> 135kg x 5

Chins – BW + 25kg x 4 —->BW + 37.5kg x 5.

Martin, I’ve got to say your knowledge has been a blessing for me. I found it pretty easy, and never did I go to sleep feeling hungry, actually I went to bed with a full stomach all the time.


Before: 90 kg / ~ 200 lbs
After, Week 12: 81-82 kg / ~180 lbs
Added 40-50 lbs to squats and deads.

…Thank you again for your help – after nearly 8 years of trying to get in shape i have made the best gains i ever have in the last 3 months, and am confident that if i continue this plan for another 3 months, i can achieve a good single figure body fat percentage, and then begin to build.


Age: 36
Before: 171 lbs
After: 145 lbs

Michael started in July, finished in early December. It wasn’t smooth sailing all the way, since the process was interrupted by weeks of travel, illness and holidays. But he kept at it, settling for maintenance when progress wasn’t possible – which is much harder than it sounds.

The majority of casuals, has a hard time just sticking it though, when they can’t train or eat a certain way, and more often than not they’ll go on a binge, and flush weeks or months of progress down the drain.

Michael reaped the rewards of his sensible habits and excellent consistency. 5 months later he looks like a new man.

I’m 145 pounds in that picture, was 171 when I started the diet, for a total loss of 26 pounds. Strength has gone up, I’m stronger now then when I started.

Everything worked out great, I’m very happy with my progress. Although I’m not at 5% yet and still have awhile to go before I achieve that, I now believe that it’s within my reach and that I can do it anytime I choose to – you’ve given me the tools, the confidence and the piece of mind. If you’re ever in NYC area, I owe you a drink!


Before: 158-160
After, Week 8: 150-152

Great results in a short period of time. The rug might not quite do the results justice, but I am not the type to tell a man to shave. The before/after-picture on back shows a much improved V-taper.

Just wanted to update you and let you know all my lifts are up across the board. This is by far the easiest time (and most successful) I’ve ever had dieting.

All lifts are higher. I’ve lost a total of 8lbs.

Bench Press: 195×5 —-> 205 x 8
Squat: 205×10 —-> 235 x 8
Deadlift: 315×5 —-> 355 x 5
Chins: BW+25 x 10 —-> BW+72.5×5

I think I’ve found the first problem with doing leangains… this morning while doing curls I ran into a bit of an issue. The bars in the gym that are allocated for curls only go up to 100, which I can easily rep for 10+ reps. So now I’m forced to curl in the squat rack. Yep, I’m THAT guy now. This is no doubt related to doing weighted chins with BW + 80 for reps. Thanks, jerk.

In all seriousness, I’ve put on about 4lbs in the last month with what seems like no increase in body fat. I found what you said in the article about ‘The Secret Benefit of Having Low Body Fat’ to be intensely true; I have a TON of spare time now. Thanks again for everything and I look forward to reading your book.


Age: 27
Before: 195 lbs
After, Week 8: 179 lbs

Work in progress, but note the radical change in such a short time-period. Good stuff.

I have maintained my strength and gotten stronger on some lifts (especially weighted chins, where I’m increasing the weight by about 2.5lbs/week still).

I’m definitely happy with the progress so far and think that I probably still have about 10lbs to go before reaching my goal.


Before: ~275 lbs
After, Week 8: ~265 lbs

Here’s a work in progress, included as an example of bodyrecomposition in the overweight – perhaps an inspiring example, as some of my readers face other challenges before thinking about a six-pack.

Note the modest weight loss in 8 weeks, 10 lbs is nothing at this level. But check the back development: a decent chunk of muscle added.

The challenge is not only in diet, but also with the insecurity and doubt that some feel, as rapid muscle gain during the honeymoon phase can “outrace” a significant part of the weight loss as seen on the scale. That was was the case here, as the client clearly lost more than 10 lbs of fat, gained muscle, therefore skewing the numbers.

Mike G

Before: 182 lbs
After, Week 12: 166 lbs

Good results, but a work in progress. Some muscle on those bones and it’ll look just right. Strength gains overall.



Re: consultations. I’m on vacation. Taking a break.

Once and if I take clients again, know that the request queue is very long. The method is unconventional, and not for everyone. I can save us both time by telling you about it. Quote from an unpublished interview, adequate summary.

Most trainers cajole their clients, shower them with undeserved compliments, always ready to negotiate and compromise everything. This is partly because they play the nicety game. They have the “the-client-is-always-right”-mindset. I have the “the-client-is-usually-wrong-and-does-not-know-what’s-good-for-him” mindset.

You see, people have all kinds of wild ideas and beliefs. Like a brain tumor, these ideas takes root in their head, poison the mind, and cause counterproductive behaviors. I’m a surgeon, so it’s my duty to remove these ideas. I grab people by the neck and show them my scalpel. ‘This might hurt for a little bit, but you will thank me later.’, I say. The procedure is unconventional and violent, but it’s very effective.

This is how it must be done and how it’s always been done. Everyone prospers in the end. But if you have a sensitive side, or want the usual and the familiar, or maybe pep talk and motivational words, there are tons more suitable and accessible alternatives available – go there, instead.

Interested to work with me sometime in the future: shoot me an email, you’ll be added to the list. When it’s up for consideration, I’ll get back to you, and that will take some time.

I might try something, an experiment, to accommodate people faster, without compromising my standards. That will make everything faster. I’ll let you know about it, if and when it happens.

Ok, that’s it. Edits later.