The Lean Gains Game
Recently I had a break from training owing to a minor operation I needed on an old injury from my rugby days.
With what has been a high workload with Storm I had been chained to my desk and I had more or less become the shape of it.
I wanted to put on some muscle and get back to feeling strong.
From my now poor posture I was experiencing a lot of neck pain, headaches and posterior shoulder pain.
3 Week Progress Shot
I knew that with my current movement patterns at that time I would struggle to handle the volume of weight training necessary to make a difference to my physique and to be honest I wanted to be accountable.
Different to many of the clients we work with I already knew how many calories I was eating and how much protein, fat and carbohydrate I was having.
I made only slight changes to my intake.
I increased my protein by the equivalent of ¾ of a chicken breast.
I Increased fat by the equivalent of two tablespoons of olive oil.
The most significant increase was in my carbohydrate, which I increased by the equivalent of 220g of rice per day (a large plate of rice).
My intake could probably be described best by the bar third from the left in this chart.
I could have kept my intake slightly lower and gained no body fat.
Similarly I could have increased my intake and gained more mass but there comes a point where if you push your intake high enough, that you achieve no further benefit in terms of gaining muscle and you gain exponentially more body fat.
You may not lose body fat but does that matter?
Having seen hundreds of clients over the years I can tell you that there is a grey area around 10-15% body fat for men and 20-25% body fat for women where your physique can appear leaner when you add more muscle.
My total body fat actually didn’t change but I increased my muscle mass so my percentage body fat decreased.
One thing that gets underplayed is the health benefits of having muscle mass. Here’s more on that if you are training for health;
Sometimes it’s easy to get the impression that your health will be better if you are leaner. Whilst this is true to a point for metabolic health, if you have a low body fat percentage but low muscle mass, even your health would be improved by adding some muscle mass.
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