Someone asked me today about how I got so lean. The short answer was, it was pretty damn difficult. In all seriousness though, it prompted me to actually chronicle my journey from healthy weight but not lean to where I am now.
Picture 1 (left) is before I ever started overfeeding. I had been fasting, doing lazy keto and just generally not tracking. I had looked this way for about 10 years. My weight was always between 210 and 215lbs. I had been doing crossfit at this point for about 8 years as well as running various races from 5k to half marathons. Picture 2 (right) is after a year of over feeding cycles and never skipping a single meal. The weight was a hard fought 201lbs.
You can see I was lean. 6 pack and visible striations in muscles. I still had a flap of skin around my waist. After 10 years of having these love handles and skin I decided to get them removed.
You can see the before and after in the next series of pics. It was a long recovery and I lost some muscle mass after the surgery as I couldn’t train for about 4 months.
The next series of photos is 4 months post surgery. I had lost some lean mass and was sitting between 187lbs and 195lbs. I then started eating like a bodybuilder. 5-6 meals a day with 25g of protein each meal and also adding carbs before and after training. I gained weight but didn’t gain much if any fat. I got to 212lbs then reduced carbs and started to drop weight. I kept pre workout carbs but lost all other carbs. Maintained 5 meals a day. Dropped to 205lbs.
The final picture is after 2 months of only pre workout carbs (100g) and still doing 4 meals a day of 25g of protein each meal. I have been able to drop out of ketosis before the workout and be back in 2 hours post and remain there for the rest of the day. This has allowed me to maintain all lean mass despite the level of intensity I train with. 2 hours a day and 7 days a week with a mix of cardio, high rep lifting and very heavy olympic lifting. The current weight is 200lbs and it seems to stick there.
So you can see that it was not a simple journey. I didn’t simply eat to satiety or when hungry. I didn’t just eat one set of macros and presto. There was a lot of adjustment and trial and error to get things dialed in and there was a bunch of surgery to get rid of the loose skin. I was lean before the surgery. I didn’t get the surgery to become lean. I did that through diet manipulation. The surgery was just to remove the damaged and stretched out skin I had left from my weight gain and loss.
The skin that was removed was 38 inches long and 8 inches wide and only weighed just over 2lbs. There was little to no fat removed. Just skin.
This is why I get so riled up sometimes when people say things like “I have been at this for 8 weeks and I am not seeing the results” or “Fasting eats up your loose skin.” None of this is true or even logical. I fasted for a year and made no progress in weight or skin removal. I did lose weight fasting but over the course of a year it all came back. Every time I would fast I would lose and then when I would eat I would just gain it back. Just like any other calorie restricted diet.
I hope this gives some insight into what it takes to get very lean. If you want help to achieve this, minus the surgery of course, then you can use the link below to sign up for coaching or you can ask any question you like using the contact form.