1. The Leangains Method
  2. Nutrition
  3. Weight Training
  4. Physique
  5. Supplements
  6. Lifestyle
  7. Miscellaneous

The Leangains Method

Questions specifically related to The Leangains Method: The Art of Getting Ripped. Researched, Practiced, Perfected.

What is this?

This is a FAQ for my book, The Leangains Method – The Art of Getting Ripped. Researched, Practiced, Perfected. It will be continuously updated as questions that aren’t answered in the book comes in1.

Where can I buy The Leangains Method? I looked in my local book store and it was nowhere to be found.

You can buy The Leangains Method – The Art of Getting Ripped. Researched, Practiced, Perfected on Amazon. It’s currently available on Kindle.

Do I need a Kindle to read your book?

No. You can read it on your device, mobile or desktop using the free Kindle app. I’ve read it on all platforms and devices. Personally, I think the iPad provides the best reading experience.

When is The Leangains Method coming to print?

31st of August or September 3rd. I’ll have the blueprint for the hard copy on the 31st but it might take a few days before it’s available in the store.

The Kindle edition costs $9.99. How much will the hard copy cost?

I won’t know until I’ve uploaded the file. It’s dependent on length, images, colors and so forth. Since the hard copy contains over 328 pages, according to Amazon’s estimate from the Kindle edition 2, I guess it’ll be $5-10 more.

Don’t worry, I’m not making much of either version. It simply completes my goal. And allows me to say that whether it’s $10 or $20, it’ll be – by far – the best investment you’ve ever made unless you bought Apple stock in the 80’s.

Are there any differences between the print and Kindle version?

Content wise, no, other than some obvious workarounds in regards to hyperlinks and so forth.

Visually, the hard copy is printed in black and white and and that’s one big difference, I suppose. That’s because the book would cost an arm and a leg to print in color due to the numerous pictures, charts and tables included.

Generally speaking, I prefer print and I’d wager most people do. But the benefits of the Kindle version, allowing annotations and and highlights, shouldn’t be understated. That comes in quite handy in a detail oriented book of this caliber.

Concisely, what is The Leangains Method and why should I buy it?

Let me start by telling you what it’s not.

  1. It’s not what you expect.
  2. It’s not about intermittent fasting, although the topic is discussed in depth.
  3. It’s not for dumb people. Can’t count calories? Learn or don’t buy it. Can’t tell good science from bad? Stick to YouTube. Set in your ideas? Save your money.

It’s this.

The Leangains Method is everything you need to know about fat loss, period. If it’s not here, it ain’t important. You will learn how to eat, think, train and the book will teach you things you never paid attention to before. Things no one paid attention to before.

The Leangains Method is a masterclass in the art of getting ripped and it’s researched, practiced, perfected by someone who went from fat to lean and in the process revolutionised the fitness industry and changed the lives of countless people around the world.

Someone who walks the talk every day since and practices what he preaches. In addition to that, someone who can actually write. Ain’t bragging – those are facts.

There’s only one way to put this. You’re a goddamn fool for thinking twice about this purchase.

I’m not humble. I’m honest – just like my book.

Will there be a sequel?

Roughly a third of the book was cut for various reasons. If not a sequel, there’s surely a Special Edition among the scraps. Whether that material will ever see the printed page depends on the impact of this one. You get to vote with your wallets and your reviews3.

I spent 15 months, $30.000 and lost a lot of blood, sweat and tears to get this book to market. Factor in the income loss of 15 months work and you’re well over six digits. Add the shit I had to deal with, and well, let’s just say it’s going to take a lot of sales to recoup the losses, not to mention make a profit. I’m not sure it’s worth it to be honest. Time will tell, I guess.

Didn’t you work on this book for 10 years?

No, I simply put off writing this book for a decade ‘till the day when I was capable finally arrived. ‘Put off’ means procrastinated but it also means two previous versions that I wrote on and threw away before starting fresh on the 1st of May, 2017. You want to hear that story, read the book.

I’m a vegetarian/vegan. Can I use The Leangains Method?

Have nothing against vegans. Most people don’t stand for shit and if anything, I respect vegans for taking one. Those who go about their business without telling the world about it every chance they get especially.

That said, The Leangains Method is a high-protein diet and would be a bitch to set up properly using vegan alternatives. Much less so for vegetarians, but it’s still a factor to consider before your purchase. I welcome attempts and would love to see vegan meal plans if you get it to work. It’s possible and I’ve done it myself, but I’m unsure if the vegan meal plans I made are actually edible.

That said, even without the diet itself, I guarantee you will get your money’s worth from the other lessons within the book. Just don’t expect vegan friendly cuisine.

September 2018 Update


Diet related questions.

When transitioning from a cut to a bulk, should I slowly progress calories to their new total, or simply make the change from “cut calorie requirement” to “bulk requirement” in one day?

Make the change the next day in full. No need to slow roll the adjustment. “Allowing your metabolism to adjust” is an overblown concept and unnecessary to do.

What’s the best way to track calories from cooking oils/butter?

A good question without a great answer, because 15g of butter for cooking doesn’t mean add 15 x 9 = 135 kcal fat to your intake. I’ve used all kinds of ways of tracking this, from counting half to nothing, but these days I just count 15g of fat. Seeing that I only cook once a day, it’s not a big issue. BTW: The above is true for fatty meats as well, and 10% ground beef contains 7.6 g fat according to the Swedish Food Data Base.

What’s your take on the having diet breaks for a week or two, especially for individuals at a leaner state?

Not necessary at all, nor recommended.

In terms of calories, how many does vaping (with nicotine) throughout the day burn?

As a vapor myself, I’ve wondered the same thing. There’s no studies on this as it relates to vaping nicotine as far as I know, but smoking a pack a day increases RMR by 10% which is not insignificant. That said, it’s hard to say what does what in that equation (i.e. how much does the nicotine contribute vs the other shit in cigs).

My body reacts awfully to starchy carbs—do I need these to help my gains?

Not at all! Leangains preaches whole foods to the max extent possible. Some people enjoy placing starchy carbs in their PWO meal, but they’re by no means necessary. As mentioned before, fruits and veggies can make up the entirety of your carb consumption (aside from trace carbs in egg whites, cottage cheese, protein powder, etc)—and probably SHOULD be your only carb source if overweight and needing to lose weight.

Bulks and cuts have both been very successful (by Martin, in case you were curious) with no starchy carbs in the mix. The days of fructose being the enemy have been slayed along with IIFYM.

I’m a vegan—am I screwed?

Absolutely not. Will it be tougher, considering lean protein sources without additional carbs come rarer in a strict vegan diet? Sure. But it’s nowhere near impossible, and plenty of Patrons have had great success using the LG protocol (better than any other program in fact, by their own admission) with their vegan diets. Specifically, foods like tempeh, vegan protein powders, egg whites (if you consume them) from cartons, and beans/lentils were mentioned as top sources.

Do you have any approximate macros for measuring cooked meats, instead of just raw weights?

These numbers aren’t Martin’s per se, but I’ve been using them for years, and have had plenty of tracking success doing so:

  • 4 oz COOKED grilled chicken breast- 180cal / 5g F / 0g C / 35g P
  • 4 oz COOKED fat-trimmed top sirloin- 200cal / 8g F / 0 g C / 33g P

How does leafy greens compare to fat in terms of slowing digestion when eating fast proteins such as meat?

Given current research limitations, the answer is unfortunately impossible to know.

Is there any concern of metabolic down-regulation as a result of being in daily calorie deficit? Or has experience shown that, as outlined in TLM, it can be minimized/prevented…or that it cannot be avoided?

That stuff has become quite overblown, I believe. Martin has done more research on dieting than most people will ever do in their lives on any topic, and based of his recommendations, that seems to be the conclusion: physiologically, your body will hardly burn less calories due to being at a deficit over time– it will only burn less calories because your bodyweight has gone down and thus RMR has decreased a bit (i.e., that’s why he doesn’t recommend weekly or even monthly refeeds).

Psychologically, maybe– but high protein helps fight that battle and keep you long-term satiated.

How much protein should come from powders/shakes? I know meat is optimal, but I’ve been coming up short sometime and using casein and whey shakes to get about 100g of protein.

There’s really no hard set “rule of thumb” except that yes, whole foods are generally preferable, and powder is recommended when you intake so much protein that whole foods all day long would be impractical– which is a bucket a lot of us will fall into on this diet. Satiety would be the biggest factor with 100g from powder, but if you are adhering to the diet, I wouldn’t be too concerned.

Overall, I would ENCOURAGE more whole foods– but purely for the aforementioned eventual satiety reasons.

Do I need to keep protein around 60% if bulking?

No. 2g/kg is more than sufficient if bulking.

How should my macros be adapted when on a lean bulk?

Referencing the Q&A article “Lean Bulking: Myth or Reality”, the recommended surplus is your calculated maintenance + 500 on workout days, and maintenance +100 on rest days, giving you a 2300 calorie surplus (a little over half a lb or 0.3 kg) per week.

Weight Training

Questions related to the fine art of weight training and everything that it entails.

Why does the protocol call for chin ups, and not pull ups?

Mainly has to do with hard-to-mess-up form, but also bicep activation compared to pull ups. You can reference this article for amplifying info.

Do you squat barefoot?

Never tried it, but not a great idea since flat shoes improve stability (However, I do recommend deadlifting barefoot or in socks).

Have you ever used DB bench instead of barbell; and if you were to use it in the RPT routine, how would you do it?

I have, and I won’t ever do it again (Easier to “cheat” yourself on range of motion, and falsely think you’re getting stronger). Additionally, going up in weight becomes an issue. You’d have to at least increase the goal by 1, because jumps will be higher depending on the incremental DBs available.

What is the hierarchy of rowing exercises for RPT?

Seal rows, Pendlay rows, Hammer strength bent-over rows (should suspend your body at around a 45-degree angle) == T bar rows (wide grip).

Should I use a pronated (palms down, like a tricep push down) or supinated (palms forward, as with a curl) grip with rows?

Pronated—but it really shouldn’t matter much.

How young is too young to start lifting?

With right and responsible programming and instruction, I don’t think there’s a minimum age.

For the cutting routine, it calls for 2×10 RPT set of calves—can I do a drop set of 3 instead (as with the RPT Program, except 3 sets vice 5) with an initial goal of 10?

That’s perfectly fine. It was 3 sets originally, drop-setted to >20 total reps/sequence, but since such instructions were too much for people to handle, I simplified it. NOTE: RPT Patreon program explains how to go about this in further detail.

Stiff legged deadlifts will obviously be less than regular deadlifts based on the movement and reps in the program. Is there a % you aim for compared to your standard deadlift, or just experiment and see what you can do?

I think the standard is 85-90% of the regular deadlift among those who train both variations frequently. (I don’t).

If I miss my goal on the lower range for an exercise, what should I lower the weight to in the following session?

You can give the same weight another shot (crappy workouts will happen and are to be expected every once in a while), but if you miss it again, you can use this formula: Reduce load by [2.5% + 2.5% * X (X= number of reps outside range)]

When it comes to seal rows, do you have any preference on how wide to grip the bar?

I use a wide grip, middle finger on rings, but the optimal grip depends on your build/strengths. Most powerlifters use a narrow grip compared to mine, since they’re shorter or have weaker lats, for example. The arm/height setup should be similar to the way your arms are extended at the end of a bench rep (with perhaps a SLIGHT bend in your elbows—shoulders should not be rolled forward at the setup of the rep).

Why is the deadlift the only lift that has lower rep range goals (4-6) compared to others in the program?

With other lifts, 8-10 (ish) reps is the most optimal for instigating a muscle fatigue to enable growth. The deadlift, specifically, is an extremely taxing compound lift, and not worth the risk of injury/overreaching in hitting that same rep range, nor amount of sets. This also explains the longer rest length (>5 minutes) between sets of heavy deadlifts. And also of note, a similar principle applies as to why only 2 sets of RPT deadlifts are prescribed, vice 3.

Deadlifting—touch and go, or full stop?

Full stop. Every rep should be treated almost as a “single”, with a proper setup for each one (watching a video on Martin’s IG will clarify what this means).

I have the classic “butt wink” at the bottom of my squat—is this something I should be concerned about, in terms of injury or performance?

No, I wouldn’t care about that unless you’re an elite powerlifter looking to squat perfectly.

When I do chin ups, should I come to a complete hang between reps, or can I come to a position of just slightly bent elbows?

“Dead hang” would imply you come to a full stop in between reps, which is not needed. However, I encourage fully stretched out arms in the bottom (without pausing) before initiating the concentric (pull) portion.

Do you ever switch up your deadlift alternated grip hands (which one is supinated and which is pronated) between sets?

Nope, always the same. Not worried about an imbalance build-up there, and the risk of injury can be mitigated by keeping the supinated arm grip tight. (Also, from old Leangains article, training the warm ups/lighter sets double-overhanded will help build grip strength and atone for imbalances).

I’m on a cut, and making progress or maintaining on everything except bench and OHP—should I do something different for those?

Bench and OHP (any pressing movement, really) are almost always going to be the stragglers here. As you lose body weight (fat), you decrease your leverage, and in the case of the bench, literally increase the range of motion as your upper back and chest loses circumference. Stick with the program, and don’t be shocked if these two lifts are the frustrating ones. Be happy to maintain there.

What is your favorite accessory exercise for triceps?

Seated overhead extensions with a dumbbell (one dumbbell, two hands holding it behind your head—be sure to have back support– for extension). It’s the only movement I can do reasonably heavy (8-10 reps) that I feel in my triceps. That and calves are the only accessory work I do, period. NOTE: The best triceps exercise for you will be the one that YOU feel most in the muscle, and can move up progressively in.

Can “rest-pause” reps be used to reach an RPT goal and move on, or should I do the same weight until I can get the goal without long pauses in between?

This is all relative based off what you consider a “long pause.” I would say moving on when hitting that goal is fine, with the following caveat: **To be safe, limit RPT sets of movements like deadlift and seal row to no longer than 45-60 seconds**.

Any longer, and you may enter the overreaching territory, where you are severely increasing chance of injury or detrimental fatigue. If you are not yet at the advanced level, you can use rest-pause on AMRAPs a little more liberally (see Q&As 5 and 5.5 for further information).

Do you recommend deloads after extended weeks of doing the RPT cut or bulk?

  • Cut: No deload if you’re dieting. No need.
  • Bulk: Deloads are necessary sooner or later, but due to the complexity of this subject, I’ll say that I’m no fan of deload weeks. Do deload days instead–If your joints hurt and everything feels heavy, reduce the load by 15% for all movements and go for a good pump. Yes, I’m serious.

How clean should the last few reps be when doing an AMRAP in RPT?

When you’re really pushing yourself, you’re eventually going to come to a crossroad of “max effort” vs “maintaining picture perfect form.” While the first many reps of a set should look pretty damn good, there’s naturally going to be a slight degradation when you get to those last, PR-breaking reps. It’s ok to blend the two aforementioned concepts (effort and form) to get the most difficult reps. In fact, I’d argue that if your entire set had “perfect form,” you may have 1-2 left in the tank.

**To note, this is NOT an excuse for “shitty form”. Use reasonable man theory here- If you saw yourself performing these reps at the end of a brutal set, would you think “Wow, this guy/girl needs help” or “Wow, what an effort!”?

And lastly, this does not apply to some exceptions in the program, specifically the lighter, form-focused movements (I.e., the 60% of working set squats, which Martin mentioned “Should be clean as a whistle”).

-5% drops in OHP or bench sets is leaving me getting no more reps, IF even the same amount. Should I take longer rests, or drop it more?

Regardless of lift, you want to find a weight drop that allows you to get +0-2 reps on the ensuing set. If you were seeing 7/7/8 in bench, I would be fine with that drop. However, once it became something like 7/6/7 (or 7/9/12, on the other side of the spectrum), I would adjust in the proper amounts. The 5/10% rules published are good rules of thumb (although OHP has been updated, informally, to -7.5%), but not written in stone. Use what helps you get to those appropriate rep ranges with AMRAPs, and adjust as required (5% of 150 lbs is quite different than 5% of 250 lbs, for example).

Should I barbell curl with the straight bar or EZ curl?

Straight bar, 100%. The EZ bar usage will very likely lead to eventual elbow pain. Also a prime contributor to elbow pain: Triceps heavy pushdowns.

I’m not comfortable on/sure how to do SLDLs—should I just do a third set of regular DLs instead until I get better at them (for the Patreon Bulk)?

So, this is sort of a “tough love” answer, but you’re gonna have to learn the SLDLs eventually– why not focus on learning them sooner than later? That is to say, add them in now (at a reduced weight– most people start the 1×10 at 60-75% of their DL 6RM I believe, but you can start conservative at like 50%, if you’d like. Progress will be quick, early.

The first few weeks of doing them, it can be more about the form than it is the muscle fatigue. That is fine! You’ll find they aren’t TOO much different from deadlifts (basically just, well, stiff legs– as well as the kinesthetic cue of ‘sticking your butt out’– not a fan of the cue, but it fits well).

There are plenty of helpful videos online as well! Favorites from this Patreon–Alan Thrall and Starting Strength YouTube channels–have them. You’ll be surprised how quickly you get comfortable once you dive in and do them!

And for that final part: don’t add any other volume in the meantime. A third RPT set of deadlifts, especially, wouldn’t be a good idea.

I’m having trouble increasing weight and still getting the prescribed rep range—for example, I’ll get a lift for 10 reps on squats, but then after moving up 2.5%, only reach 7 reps on the next workout (instead of 8-10). Same for deadlift. Is this normal? Am I being impatient?

I wouldn’t say it’s the norm, but it’s neither a cause for concern nor you being impatient, either.

The solution would be to lift until you hit a rep above the previous weight’s goal (i.e., lift for a goal of 11 on squats, or 7 on DLs) so that on your ensuing week, you’re at least able to hit the minimum. It seems more logical than missing out on volume on the heavy set, and likely compromising a bit of form in the meantime.

Not sure why it’s happening to you– could be that your last rep is too much of a stretch on your heaviest, goal-setting set (Although I’m no fan of holding back from challenging yourself in fear of that), or it could be just the way your body is wired physically. Either way, the above mentioned fix will help (in terms of cleaning up the last couple reps inherently as you do one more, or in terms of building the strength better before moving up). This isn’t a mandatory change to the routine by any means– just a temporary experiment to see if it works better for you.

And if all else fails…just remember that maintenance of strength while slowly losing weight is still an impressive feat as well!

I am not the best squatter but I am advancing– however my bench is going too well… Like I can bench more than I can squat, which kinda makes me a bit ashamed of myself. Is this a concern, or should I keep going with the presumption it’s too early and things will iron out?

That is indeed a strange oddity– but not unheard of. This could be more of just a lacking in your squat than it is supernatural bench strength. You’re correct that it’s early, and that by continuing with the scheduled squatting protocol, as well as heavy deadlifting, your lower body strength will assuredly “catch up” to where it should be relative to bench.

You may just have a strong chest from genetics, working it out often in the past, etc. Could be anything. But nothing to be concerned about now if you’re still advancing— chances are it’ll take care of itself.

While deadlifting, I feel my grip starts to loosen and my hand tends to open up– I guess I’m lacking strength in my forearms. Do you recommend straps? I’m not lifting tons of weight (today I deadlifted 265 for 6 reps, I weigh 160), but I got the feeling I could’ve done more if it weren’t for my grip. I know you say not to use straps, but if my grip is limiting the weight I can deadlift, should I?

Not on the first set – try the second. Let me know how many reps you get there and then we’ll see what’s needed. Or just add a set of static bar-holds after your workout B and C.

How-To: Load up the bar and set the timer to 30 sec. If you can last 30 sec or beyond, increase the load next time. Don’t puss out after 30 sec, hold it ‘till you drop it or have to put it down and log your sets as load x secs.

Stiff Legged Deadlift help: I find the 1 set of SLDLs in the Patreon Bulk Routine challenging. I have tight hammies, so the barbell only goes down to knee-height before I have to come back up. Should I be increasing weight on this lift each week? Right now, my SLDLs are about 1/3 the weight of my normal deadlifts. Not sure if I’m supposed to be aiming for better ROM instead…

The main “rule of thumb” I’d say for SLDLs would be to lower the bar until it touches the ground– this, of course, assuming you’re using the standard 45-sized plates. If your set is < 135 lbs, you could use bumper plates (if your gym has them), or even stack plates on the ground touch point to replicate the proper ROM.

Now, this will create some slightly different ROMs for extremely long-legged people vs short-legged; but so does deadlift in a sense– I guess that’s one of those things we just sort of accept in weight lifting. It shouldn’t be a huge show-stopper for you unless you had no-joke like NBA-sized leg lengths (6’10 +).

If you’re unable to get the bar that far down, I’d definitely keep the weight static and work on ROM until you’re able to touch the ground. Remember that touching the ground can be a critical part of the movement as well, if you desire a proper set up on each one like normal deadlifts, vs “touch and go” type reps (Martin has mentioned that either are ok in SLDLs– whichever you prefer!)

In the RPT Patreon Program, how much rest should I use between sets of the 60% squats, 85% OHP, and the multiple sets of 9RM bench?

>3 minutes. When in doubt, or unless specified (calf drop-sets, or the >5 min between heavy squats and deadlifts), assume >3 minutes.

How does the RPT cutting program change for women?

Same exact protocol, except add +2 reps to all the “goal” ranges (i.e., 8-10 becomes 10-12, etc).

When transitioning to the RPT Patreon bulk routine, you recommend: “Starting weights: Goal – 5%. If you believe you’re good for 100 x 6 if 6 is Goal, start at 95.” Should I also do this when transitioning from a bulk to a cut?

No, you can leave the loads the same in this case (with reduced sets, obviously).

For a beginner looking to use your RPT program to lose weight, should I begin with Starting Strength to learn technique, or can I jump right into RPT?

If you already know the movements, use RPT. If it’s your first time in a gym/doing the movements, do SS for a month, then RPT.

What’s the purpose of alternating rowing/triceps exercises during the week on the bulking routine?

Variations of a movement appear to tax the body less than if said movement was trained twice. Common in powerlifting. (It should be noted that this is theory, not science).

I’m looking at doing a competition—should I continue using RPT, and how should I prepare the week prior?

RPT, as a program, works perfectly fine for training for the comp. The week before: train light, e.g. 85% of loads for the same number of reps and sets. So, if you can 100 x 8 RPT, you do 85 x 8 that week.

Do you recommend weighted dips as a suitable replacement for bench (In the past you have said this was ok, but cautioned that the dips could be dangerous in an RPT format)?

I’ve cautioned against going past parallel with weighted dips, and said that there seems to be at least as many injuries resulting from weighted dips as bench press. That stance hasn’t changed.

In the Patreon bulk program, if I surpass my current 9RM on Day A’s bench session, should I use my “new” 9RM for the AMSAP on Day C’s bench exercise; or not adjust that until the following week?

Treat the Day C AMSAP 9RM as a fluid number—if your Day A performance creates a “new” 9RM, then have your Day C load reflect that new number.

For the RPT Patreon Program, any reason why you add +2 reps to the range of rows on Day D vs Day B?

Purely for variety of rep ranges, which will lead to better results.

How often do you do recomps or eat at maintenance?

Never, these days. For me, it’s always bulking or cutting (usually cycling back and forth from 10-12%). Maintenance is a waste of time.

In the RPT Bulk Patreon, I’m having trouble hitting 10 reps for 3 sets of 85% of my OHP RPT working set. Should I lower the weight, or stick with 85% and settle for results like 10/9/7 reps?

Lower the weight (try around 80% of your working set) until you are able to get 10/10/10, and progress from there.

Are glute hamstring raises and reverse hyperextensions beneficial to the program, or another case of fuckarounditis?

GHR and Reverse Hypers are powerlifting staples (assistance). Hardly fuckarounditis. Nor are front squats, trap bar deads, or clean and jerks. But the mentality of “It’s there, should I use it?” – that’s fuckarounditis. And that’s your answer.

Can I do my workout arranged so that ______ ?

  1. 2 full days (which can be 2 rest days, or one a non DL/Squat training day, and one a rest) in between deadlift and squat sessions;

and you have

  1. A full week between deadlift sessions (it’s been previously published that merely 6 days between deadlift workouts, due to a flexing Day A, can be tempting fate…), you should be good to go on any arrangement you’d like.

If I have finished with a cut, is Rippetoe’s “Starting Strength” still a viable alternative to RPT?

If you are beyond the “beginner level”, I’d go for the Patreon Bulk. SS has you squatting heavy 3 days a week, and deadlifting the same or 1-2x a week depending on what part of the program you’re in. If you have the basic lifts down and are at least at the “Intermediate” level (Fuckarounditis article has the numbers to reference there), then SS will likely be too much volume.

I did SS when beyond intermediate, ate about 3500 calories a day, and put on a lot of body fat. Put on some strength– but, again, put on a LOT of body fat. Did I do the program perfectly? Probably not, I’m sure it wasn’t pinpoint perfection. But I used the same dedication on a bulk prescribed by Martin and put on similar levels of strength with FAR less body fat gain. Needless to say…you have my answer.

I’ve been on a cut for several months and happy with my progress. However, about a month ago it seems like I hit a “wall” and haven’t been able to add weight to any of my movements. From what I’ve gathered reading through these threads, it is normal and expected to eventually hit this “wall” during a cut and to simply maintain strength while continuing to lose body fat is still a victory. Is that an accurate statement?

That is absolutely correct! If you are maintaining lifts and dropping body weight, then you are losing body fat and accomplishing the goal at hand.

Gaining strength while losing body fat is a bonus, and awesome while it lasts, but damn near impossible once you get to certain strength/leanness levels. What you are experiencing is quite normal (even the bench/press tapering off a bit while pulls/legs continue to increase, although you’d obviously want to limit the former as much as possible).

But nice job, you’re doing it right and keep it up! The simultaneous gains are fun while they last!

Is there a way to solve muscle imbalances? I feel like my right hamstring/arm/quad is much stronger than my left…

No- simply train and hope things grow evenly. Often times they do so without affecting appearance. You will, however, always be stronger and feel a greater muscle-mind connection in your dominant side.


Genetics, body fat, physique standards and related concerns.

What’s a good rule of thumb for a “ripped physique” at various heights?

(Your height in cm – 105 ) = Your body weight (in KG) at <10% body fat, assuming your strength is around the assigned “intermediate” level numbers (In FAQ). As a minimum, you will start looking too thin around (height in cm – 110). For women? (height – 115 or 113) is a good ripped ROT.

Will lifting for strength also give me size, or are the two concepts different?

Absolutely it will. People often think they are separate, but the bottom line is that if you are getting stronger, relative to bodyweight, the muscle will come along with it. People are often fooled by getting “bigger” in traditional bulks, whereas they’re really just getting fatter and filling clothes more that way (but subsequently looking soft/puffy when they take their shirt off). In truth, bulking should be a lot slower than most people take it (recommended Macros are in previous Patreon article posts), but strength gained in proportion to body weight is the best measure of a successful bulk, above and beyond overall body weight at the beginning and end. Also of note: Maintaining the same lifts while losing weight is another strength indicator, and will make you look bigger (through muscular definition) even though you are losing weight.

Does working out in the fasted state have an advantage over training in the fed state, and which would be preferable in a bulk?

A momentary and physiological benefit for fat loss, absolutely. The opposite for muscle gain. Whether either state results in a meaningful difference from the same state fed is unknown. As for which is better—completely up to your preference. Don’t feel the need to rearrange your entire schedule to do one over the other. Embrace being flexible.

I would like some advice on arm development. I consider myself an ectomorph, my arms are long, I have a small bone structure, and don’t have very good biceps genetics (i.e. muscle insertions, muscle belly, etc.–as opposed to Martin’s) 🙂 With that said, I would love some advice on arm development, as I don’t want to screw things up in training volume/recovery and jeopardize other body parts.

You’re gonna hate this answer…but it’s so much related to your genetics. The good news is that the program WILL take care of the development though! Martin has often joked and taken pride in being part of the “no-curls club”, while still owning some killer bicep definition/size– and I mean while he prescribes curls in the RPT cut, it’s probably the least necessary part of it all, and he seems to refrain from them himself often. Bicep size will become a byproduct of strong chins, rows, and deadlifts, too.

Your body type (long arms especially) probably doesn’t help the visual illusion of smaller biceps compared to some 5’7 guy (like myself…hah) who has shorter arms which can make muscles appear bigger… but I can assure you that the piper will be paid as you get stronger and leaner– taller, longer-limbed dudes tend to have bigger muscular structure once you fill out through gaining strength.

So, long story short, nothing specific extra to be done for arm development. Building strength + being lean will make your biceps big and vascular AF.


Good health means more than just eating right and lifting heavy. Here we’ll delve into what that means specifically.

What do you think about changing my window to (Insert anything).

I have preached 16/8 for a reason—it’s the optimal window. However, if you were to adjust, I wouldn’t shorten the window on a bulk. And I also wouldn’t freak out about these minor differences if you must make an adjustment for your life—the important thing is that it works for you, and you keep it as consistent as possible (strictly for diet adherence purposes).

I have a lot of business travel often with 3-4 18 hour workdays. During that time, recovery and sleep are utter shit so training would be counterproductive and absolutely exhausting. Now I just had such a trip and that meant I missed out on workout day 3. Since we are not supposed to have less than 1 full day between DL and squats, I now am faced with the question: if I leave out Day 3 and start the week with Day 1 tomorrow, or start with Day 3 and thus a forever changed weekly order. Recommendation?

Luckily, your issue is one with an easy solution! Definitely don’t skip workout C– don’t want to miss out on squats– and simply use an altered schedule, or as you referred to it, a forever changed one. Because given the complexities of your sked, sounds like it may change again and often anyway. The M-W-F is a nice rule of thumb because it feels structured which makes us feel good, and works for 95% of work schedules.

However, it’s by no means the only way to get it done– with unique work lives like yours, a bit of flexibility is required for functionality and sanity. You may be on an 8, 9, or even 10 day rotation sometimes– and that’s fine! Don’t worry about redistributing calories over that span– it won’t matter much with a 7.5% cycling scheme– just continue to eat workout style on workout days, and rest on rest. It’s always uncomfortable to be straying from the cookie cutter path (deadlifts on Thursdays? Insanity!), but it’ll be necessary in your case, and serve you much better to do so.

How much sleep do you get, and recommend we aim for?

I sleep for 7-8 hours on average (when I’m not too busy), and research shows 7-7.5 is golden, because benefits stop after, and cons take over >9.


While most of them are useless, the questions keep coming, so here you go.

I know casein is recommended (and I eat a lot of cottage cheese and Greek yogurt) but in terms of protein supplements should one go with pure casein or is there any additional benefit to a blend like JYM (1 scoop= 7.5g Whey Protein Isolate + 7g Micellar Casein + 7g Milk Protein Isolate + 2.5g Egg White Protein)?

That’s a good Q, because I’ve been using those blends for years now without even thinking about it– but you got me curious, so I dug up some stuff from the book. Good news (from the “Sample Meal Plans” food tips portion):

  • “Meat is a ‘fast’ protein, just like whey…eating meal alone isn’t ideal….will cause it to be absorbed too quickly. Eating meat with veggies slows down absorption and solves the problem”.
  • “If you only want to buy one protein powder, make sure it’s casein, or a milk protein isolate (80 % casein and 20% whey).”

So I would take “A” as an indication that you can use your remainder whey guilt-free if combining it with a slower protein as well (i.e., mix what you have left with the GY or Cottage Cheese–tastes incredible), and I would take “B” as a ticket to go ahead and use those hybrid blends. Obviously the ratios/percentages might be a bit off– but that is so far down the line in crucial components of the program (and again, I’ve been using those JYM blend-types for years– cuts and bulks have both gone completely fine)

What benefit does casein have over whey protein?

The question should be ‘what’s the single benefit whey provides that other protein sources don’t?’ And in that case, the answer is none in the fed state– but if you’re training fasted, whey will quickly increase blood levels of certain aminos, and your muscles will be able to make use of those for MPS.

SIDE NOTE: If you think you’re going to notice a difference from switching protein powders, you’re wrong.

Do you still recommend the same early morning training BCAA schedule that was listed on the site years back?

Not exactly—Use EAAs now, and with a higher dose (15g). See book for more info.

Do zero calorie BCAAs (like Scivation) count as protein macros?

There are NO SUCH THING as “zero calorie” BCAAs. There is some loophole in the FDA that allows BCAAs to be marked as 0 cal; however, they are proteins (expensive proteins, at that) and should be counted as such—i.e., 10g BCAA would be 40 calories. This goes for net fiber loopholes as well—count the entire carbohydrate content, not what the nutrition label counts as “net carbs” or the erroneous calorie content on the back/nutrition label (Quest and other protein bars are notorious for this).

Do you still recommend 2g EPA and 1.5g DHA of fish oils?

NO- the potential benefits (if they’re even valid) are not worth the bother.

So, are BCAAs completely useless? Was there new scientific research to prove this, or are EAAs just supposed to be better?

BCAAs aren’t completely useless, just almost. They always were and always will be and I’ve never recommended them for any purpose but fasted state training for which my reasoning has been detailed on this site.

That said, EAAs are likely the superior alternative during fasted state training, and therefore displaces BCAAs in all instances were I’ve previously recommended them. Reason being, I’ve found Wolfe’s arguments convincing enough and would rather err on the side of caution than hinge my bets on the theoretical benefits previously discussed.

Is it better to have a big drinking night on a workout day or rest day?

This article has lots of nuggets on this very topic.

However, for a direct answer, a slight buzz only (3 or less drinks) will have minimal effect on testosterone and should be fine on either. If you’re looking to do a real bender? “I’d recommend scheduling it so that the next day is on off day.” And be sure drink lots of water, to help fight the dehydration.


Anything and everything that didn’t fit the other categories.

When I do my rest day LISS cardio (walking), does it matter if I do it fasted or fed?

Nope—completely up to personal preference.

I’m approaching 40—what is likely to be the bigger problem with my age/testosterone decreases; cutting or bulking?

Age is nothing. The only thing holding you back as you get 40 or older is injuries and non-training issues (family/work life getting in the way). The testosterone dropping concept is completely overblown—the T levels of a 40-year old are hardly lower than that of a 20. Most people just get fat and comfortable at 40 and THAT’S why their testosterone drops—NOT age.

I got a bad sunburn and my weight went up on the scale—is this normal?

Yes, the inflammation will lead to increased water retention in the case of a sunburn. Also, summer causes retention more than any season due to warm weather, some of it an inflammatory reaction like you experienced, but most of it the combination of heat (which affects aldosterone) and slight dehydration.

I’m having trouble falling asleep…is this RPT related?

Unfortunately, insomnia could be driven by a number of factors, but there have been a few complaints of it in the Q&As. There is the standard sleep advice (keep your room at a temp of 70 degrees F or lower, have a blacked out room, use ambient background noise), and the LG specific stuff (Having your last meal closer to bedtime can assist in falling asleep). If these aren’t doing the trick, you can also try a supplement like melatonin (which occurs naturally in the body, for anybody leery of sleep aids), recommended in a 5-10 mg dosage, not to be used every night.

What type of commercial certifications do you have/recommend getting, for marketing purposes?

The only certification I have is from a course I attended a few years ago, in order to accompany my girlfriend who back then wanted to try the PT thing, and was led by an eccentric type who knew interesting things. The cert doesn’t count for much if you’re trying to get a foot into one of the bigger commercial chains.

The ones that DO count are a shit show from what I’ve heard and that’s my general opinion on certifications in general. You’ll need one if you can’t carry yourself, I guess, and frankly, most people can’t.

Can I do any bodyweight exercises, such as for calisthenics goals?

My general advice is: do them first, and not after weights.

  1. The Leangains Method contains a FAQ but there’s bound to be unforeseen questions not covered there. In future editions of the book, the relevant ones here will be merged with those in the book.
  2. Which might or might not be correct. Regardless, the print will be longer still due to the snazzy interior layout design.
  3. I’d LOVE to read your review whether good or bad. Seriously. Email martinberkhan at gmail dot com or @ me the link/review on social media. If it’s a well-written review, I’ll share it (if you don’t mind).