Want to build muscle and burn off body fat at the same time? If so, you should consider the LeanGains approach. This approach is becoming more and more popular as people see the great results it offers.

The LeanGains protocol was developed by Martin Berkhan, who is one of the top leading experts in the fitness field. After producing such amazing results himselfs, others soon jumped onto the LeanGains bandwagon as well.

So what does a LeanGains diet look like?

The Concept Of LeanGains

The concept of LeanGains is one that mirrors intermittent fasting. Rather than eating throughout the day, you eat during one period and fast during another.

Martin feels that it's best to spend the overnight and early morning fasting, however you can structure it however you feel it will work best for you.

Most people wake up, go about their morning and then break the fast around noon. This allows you to spend the evening hours in a fed state. Not many people like to go to bed hungry - this helps you around that.

He recommends that you try and maintain the same eating and fasting schedule each day as well. Your body is very routine so when each day is the same, it's easier to follow.

The Fasting And Eating Windows

The recommendation with LeanGains is to fast for 16 hours and eat for 8. Women may struggle with this, so they can fast for 14 hours and eat for 10.

Try both variations yourself and see what works best.

During the fast, avoid anything that contains calories. If you like, you can chew zero calorie gum, have diet soda, as well as a cup of coffee. Some people may find it's easier to control hunger if they do this.

The Food Choices

When it comes to what to eat on the LeanGains approach, Martin recommends a high protein intake. This means eating at least 2.5 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. Most will take it up to 3 grams/kg instead. This will help you prevent muscle mass and also help speed recovery between workouts. Additionally, it'll help stop hunger quickly.

On workout days, load up on the carbs immediately after the workout. This is when your body needs them the most. Eat the highest amount in the first two meals after your session. On your off days, go easy on the carbs and add more fat. Not too much as the calories should be low.

Here are some example choices for each meal of the day.


6 egg whites with 1/2 cup oatmeal and 1 cup berries

1 scoop whey protein powder, 1/2 cup oats, 3 egg whites, made into a pancake. Serve with 1 tbsp. natural peanut butter and a banana.

1 cup Greek yogurt with 1/4 cup raw oats (or granola), 1 cup berries, and 10 almonds.


3 oz. grilled chicken with 1 cup brown rice. Steamed vegetables with lemon juice.

1 can of tuna mixed with 2 tbsp. salsa and placed in a whole wheat pita with diced vegetables.

3 oz. turkey breast on 2 slices whole wheat bread with lettuce, onion, and a tomato. An apple on the side.


3 oz. lean steak with 1 sweet potato and steamed asparagus.

3 oz. salmon with 1 cup brown rice and 1 cup steamed broccoli.

3 oz. grilled chicken breast with 1 cup quinoa and 1 cup green beans.

On this approach, you can eat however meals you want. Just be sure they are in your eating 'window'. Some people eat twice during the day, others three or four times. Do whatever works best for you.

For calories, eat 20% above maintenance on workout days. This gives you more to build muscle with. On off days, keep it to 20% below maintenance instead. This way, you'll build muscle and burn fat at once.

So there you have the general concept of the LeanGains diet. Follow this and you'll be on your way to getting leaner.

About the author: Shannon is a fitness trainer and freelance writer who has written for Bodybuilding.com.


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