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Motivation & Inspiration
"Why settle for Good when Better is available and BEST is achievable?" - Dr. Samuel Pipim
For your daily dose of motivation, check out my "Motivation" column on WPM Women.
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Welcome to the second edition of the RCS Newsletter! Since, if left to its own devices, my body perpetually recomps, I thought it was only fitting to have a Recomp Edition.
This month in the 'Training' section, the focus is on how to train when your goal is a recomp.
In this month's 'Nutrition' section, I am going to explain briefly what Lean Gains is, my personal experience using my own adaptation of this protocol, and why I believe it is great as a lifestyle nutritional plan.
If there is something that you would like to see in this newsletter, please feel free to contact me to share your thoughts and ideas, and I will be happy to include them in future editions.
It's time to build your physique into the best you possibly can!
Although the success of a recomp is based predominantly on your NUTRITION, how you train is important as well.
For those not familiar with the term "recomp"
(after all, like Lean Gains - discussed in the 'Nutrition' section - a recomp is still a fairly new concept), a recomp is when you achieve one of two things:
- Gain muscle mass with little or no concurrent gains in bodyfat;
- Gain muscle mass with a concurrent loss in bodyfat;
The ratio of muscle gains to bodyfat levels will differ between individuals, and the ratio will always be skewed more towards either muscle or bodyfat - i.e. a higher percentage of muscle growth compared to fat loss, or significant fat loss with small muscle gains, etc.
Tips on how to train for a successful recomp:
- High intensity, high volume training regimes generally work the best for recomp.
- Stick primarily to the compound, multijoint exercises, as they are the most effective for not only building muscle, but also in burning fat, because they recruit more of your body to perform the exercise.
- Ensure a varying rep range of 3-15 reps, reps selected dependent on the body-part being worked and exercise used.
- Recovery should be shorter, ~60 seconds (as short as 30 seconds, but no longer than 90 seconds), to allow for adequate recovery whilst maintaining intensity.
- Keep your resistance training within 30-45 minutes, for 3-4 sessions a week.
- If you are going to do cardio, do high intensity interval training (HIIT), limiting it to no more than 20 minutes a session, performed on days when you are NOT resistance training.
- Make sure that you have 1-2 days a week completely off ALL training, to allow for adequate recovery, since it is during RECOVERY that progress is made.
I had personally never heard of Lean Gains until someone asked me earlier this year, "How is Lean Gains going for you?"
I was like, "Lean Gains? What's that?"
The response was, "Your diet looks like you follow the Lean Gains protocol."
Curious, I asked about Lean Gains and was directed to the thread started by Chris Tucker, titled The Lean Gains / IF Learning and Discussion Log.
At that stage the thread was only 23 pages long (now it has blown up!), but I sat and read through the entire thread.
My response afterwards was: "Got to say that the way I have been eating is similar to LG, without being strictly LG..." (read the rest of my response here).
Lean Gains is an "intermittent fasting" protocol, incorporating fasts of 16 hours, followed by an 8-hour feeding window.
The key points of Lean Gains (taken from founder Martin Berkhan's (2010) explanation of the protocol here) are:
- No calories are to be ingested during the fasted phase, though coffee, calorie free sweeteners, diet soda and sugar free gum are ok (even though they might contain trace amount of calories). A tiny splash of milk in your coffee won't affect anything either (1/2-1 teaspoon of milk per cup at the most - use sparingly and sensibly if you drink a lot of coffee). Neither will sugar free gum in moderation (~20 g).
- The fast is the perfect time to be productive and get things done. Don't sit around, get bored and brood about food.
- Meal frequency during the feeding phase is irrelevant. However, most people, including me, prefer three meals.
- The majority of your daily calorie intake is consumed in the post-workout period. Depending on setup, this means that approximately 95-99% (fasted training), 80% (one pre-workout meal) or 60% (two pre-workout meals) of your daily calorie intake is consumed after training.
- The feeding window should be kept somewhat constant due to the hormonal entrainment of meal patterns. We tend to get hungry when we're used to eating and maintaining a regular pattern makes diet adherence easier. If you're used to breaking the fast at 12-2 PM and ending it at 8-10 PM, then try to maintain that pattern every day.
- On rest days, meal one should ideally be the largest meal, as opposed to training days where the post-workout meal is the largest meal. A good rule of thumb is to make meal one on rest days at least 35-40% of your daily calorie intake. This meal should be very high in protein; some of my clients consume more than 100 g of protein in this meal.
- When working with clients I am always open to compromising on the above rule. If your preference is to eat a larger meal in the evening instead of noon, or whenever you break the fast, it's no great harm. Some people prefer to save the largest meal on rest days for dinner with their family instead of having a large lunch and that's fine by me if it makes them enjoy and adhere to their diet better.
- Macronutrients and calorie intakes are always cycled through the week. The specifics depend on the client's ultimate goal: fat loss, muscle gain or body recomposition. The details will be revealed in the book. Generally speaking, carbs and total calorie intake is highest on training days. On rest days, carbs are lower and fat is higher. Protein is kept high on all days.
- Here are the supplements I recommend everyone to take on a daily basis: a multivitamin, fish oil, vitamin D and extra calcium (unless dairy is consumed on a regular and daily basis).
- For fasted training, BCAA or an essential amino acid mixture is highly recommended. However, if this feels like too much micromanaging or simply questionable from an economic standpoint, you could also make due with some whey protein.
For more information on Lean Gains, check out the links in the text above.
Ultimately, I believe that "LG (or modifications of it) is definitely a lifestyle nutrition plan that can be easily adhered to...it doesn't have to be strictly followed, but can be adapted based on the individual, to get the best possible results for them."