Couple of years back, eating more was the key to building muscle. It was expected that to gain muscle, building mass was important and eating foods rich in fats was the only way to do that. But in 2015, this scenario has completely changed and a new concept called lean gains is becoming popular among celebrities to gain muscle and not fat. Read on to know exactly what lean gains is and what all is involved in this weight loss program.
So what is Lean Gains?
Lean Gains is a term that means that you eat and exercise enough to gain muscle and at the same time avoid fat. It helps in targeting the body parts where you want to build muscle. Carbohydrates and intermittent fasting are a part of this power bodybuilding concept.
But can that happen? How is it possible to build muscle mass without gaining body fat? It is one of the best ways to get the desired body within just a few months. Instead of eating 6 meals a day that most diets recommend, lean gains involves eating two to three meals and fasting for 14-18 hours a day.
The Lean Gains Diet
While aiming to lose weight, the main thing is achieving a level where you burn more calories than you consume. This is called a calorie deficit. If this level is achieved, you are on the right track.
The initial goal is to achieve a calorie deficit of about 15-20% per week. This means you end up burning around 2500-6000 calories than you consume in a week and this again depends on age, weight, height, gender and many other factors. The said percentage will help in weight loss and at the same time, also not make one feel starved.
The fat and protein intake remains almost constant in the lean gains program. The main thing is to eat more carbohydrates on the training days and restrict these on rest days.
So this means that when you are working out, you maintain a calorie deficit of around 5-10% and on rest days, the calorie deficit percentage goes up to 20-25%. This again comes to an average of 15% on a weekly basis.
The Lean Gains Workout
One of the main things in the lean gains program is heavy, compound resistance training. This needs to be done at least 3 times a week and each session should not be less than 45 minutes.
It is important to remember that when calorie intake is cut and the body starts becoming lean, high intensity training becomes difficult. If you continue high-intensity training at this point, then you end up feeling overtrained, exhausted and low on energy.
The Lean Gains exercises consists of –
The deadlift is one of the best exercises for bodybuilding and it targets the maximum body parts including lower back, forearms, quads, hamstrings, and gluteal muscles.
When targeting the hips and legs, the best way to stay in shape is by doing squats and leg press. In fact, squat is the best exercise to build leg muscles.
For building the chest muscles and for shaping the arms, the bench press / dumbbell press is the best exercise.
The shoulder press / military press is a compound exercise that helps in targeting the deltoid muscles in the shoulders and also builds the triceps.
An effective strength training exercise, chin-ups are done for the upper body conditioning that target the biceps, lats, middle back and forearms.
For building the middle back, there is no alternative to the rows strength training exercise. It also works lats, shoulders and biceps.
Rest Days Diet
During the lean gains program, there would be two or three days in a week when you won’t be exercising. For such days, it is essential to consume only two high protein and vegetable meals. Olive oil or coconut oil can be used to cook the meals as these contain carbohydrates and the same is also there in vegetables. Try and avoid carbohydrates that are rich in starch on the rest days.
Is Lean Gains For All?
The answer is no. It is not for everyone. Those who are skinny or ectomorphs should stay away from this program as intermittent fasting is definitely not for them. It is only for those who are already bulky or have excessive fat in the body as dieting will not harm them. The best thing is to consult a trainer so that you can get it right.
The main point of lean gains or any other weight loss program is to make exercising a stress-free experience.