Lean For Life : Lean Gains Mastery

By Aadam | February 9, 2015

‘I’m not going to take advice from Brad Pitt on how to pick up girls’ – James Altucher

I heard that the other day and it made me chuckle, because it’s the sad (and true) state of the fitness industry.
A lot of the *quote, unquote* advice that’s being dished out to people these days is from drug taking ‘models’ who haven’t got a clue as to what they’re talking about.
Guys who haven’t had to lose a huge amount of weight (naturally) will not understand the struggles that a former fat boy goes through to try and maintain a lean and healthy physique.
If you want advice on how to stay lean and maintain low bf% without wanting to kill yourself, then would it not make sense to take that advice from someone who’s been there and lives that lifestyle now?
Exacta mundo.
In this post I’m going to outline strategies I use when going into a gaining phase without turning back into fatass.
However, before I get into the actual strategies.  We need to talk about the biggest key to your success, if staying lean and keeping the fat off is your goal.


I know. Not the sexiest thing but perhaps the most important. Before you think about what programme, or fancy nutrition regimen you are going to employ, you need to get yo’ mind right. If you don’t ; you’re going to end up like every other guy who diets down, gets lean -> rebounds, gets fat and then upon realising he’s gotten fat, decides he needs to cut again. And thus, the insidious circle of no gains ensues where you bounce from one end to the other making no progress.
Here’s a few things you need to understand before going into your gaining phase.

  • Focus On Strength Goals And Progression

This is the biggest challenge for the majority of people : not having a deadline or goal after finishing the diet which tends to lead to most falling off. The key is to now switch goals from trying to get to a single digit bodyfat percentage, to increasing muscle and strength. This was the biggest change I made this year that helped me have a successful ‘gaining’ phase.
In the past I would end a dieting phase, stick to my ‘diet’ and goal of gaining size, for a month or two but eventually lose motivation and just fall off.
This time I Focussed on gaining strength in all movements, especially the big three (squat, bench and deadlift). This gave me a tangible goal to work towards. It kept me focussed and on track with my training and nutrition so that I hit the strength goals I had set.

Do This :

Aim to gain as much weight as is suitable for you (refer to previous article for this) and the rest of the time, focus on your performance in the weight room and adding weight or increasing reps over a period of time.

  • Understand That The Scale Will Go Up

Being a former fat boy, I know the struggle of finally achieving your chiselled physique and then the mindfuck of going from your former lean, greek god self to a softer, lesser greek god self.
Most important thing is to understand that this is part of the process, and isn’t all fat gain as long as you approach your gaining phase sensibly.

Do This :

Gain as much or as little as you can while staying sane. Even if that means going with a rate of gain lower than what I outlined.

The most important thing is to do what suits you and can keep you progressing in the long run, not what’s *optimal* on paper.

  • There Will Be Some Fat Gain

As you’ll know by now, having read the previous posts in the series, Inevitably, if you are trying to grow muscle there has to be some fat gain.
The amount of fat you gain will depend on your genetics and how consistent you are with your diet.
I wish there was some ‘hack’ or special trick I could tell you to help you overcome this ; there isn’t. It’s something you will have to live with for a short period of time if you are wanting to gain muscle.

  • Think Long term, Not short term

Focussing on the long term will help you stay on track with your gain. If you are constantly worrying about getting a bit ‘fluffy’ then you won’t be successful with trying to add muscle, get bigger and stronger.
Focus on the small victories every day both with your training and nutrition. Focussing on the small, daily tasks will help keep you focussed on your goal and not getting sidetracked.

Do This :

Set weekly, monthly and yearly targets for both weight and strength.

As an example ~

  • A weekly goal may be to gain 0.5lbs and beating your lifts from the previous week.
  • A monthly goal may be to add 2lbs in bodyweight and have added X amount of weight to your lifts.
  • A yearly goal may be to have added 10lbs in bodyweight, and have hit a certain lift for a certain amount of weight and/or reps.

These small goals keep you proactive and working on what you need to do to achieve your long term physique goals. Having clear goals will also work as your ‘GPS’, and help you reassess when you hit stalls or plateaus. 

The Lean Gain Strategies

1. Be Aware Of Your Caloric Intake

This is probably the most important aspect of being able to maintain low bf year ‘round.
When a former fat boy drops a lot of weight, their ‘instinctual’ hunger is still at the same level of their previous heavier self. If you don’t continue paying attention to how much you’re eating, it’s extremely easy to eat your way back to your prior body fatness.
How strict you want to be will ultimately come down to your personality and what you can adhere to.

How ?

For the most part during a gaining phase I like to take a more relaxed approach by prioritising tracking protein intake and then staying within my total caloric total for the day.

Example :

If my daily calorie intake is 2500 and my daily protein intake is 170g. I’ll aim to hit the 170g and then remain within the total of 2500.
I find this to be the sweet spot between being uber neurotic with food intake and totally not giving a f*.


Hey, internet human. I know you were all up in the article enjoying it and what not. Well, this article has been turned into a complete book and you can download a copy for absolutely free, by clicking the image below.

Now, let’s be clear. by downloading the book you will be added to my email list.
HOWEVER. this isn’t one of those lame email lists where you’re emailed every day being pitched things you don’t even need because that’s lame.
No. This is one of those awesome email lists where you look forward to opening and reading because you learn something new.

Don’t take my word for it. Here’s what my subscribers are saying.

I asked my email list how they would describe me (and my emails) to a friend. Here’s what a handful said.


“Bro, you’re killing these posts and articles man! Keep doing what you do. You don’t understand how much I look forward to these emails I see in my inbox on a new article or round-up.” – Raj Rajakumar

Aadam’s writing is entertaining enough you don’t need to find nutrition and fitness entertaining to be entertained…plus he breaks the information down so you don’t need an effin’ degree to benefit from his articles. 
To be honest, I think I actually described you this way to my hubby: ‘Dude knows his shit, is entertaining as hell, super helpful, and not a d-bag. Bonus points: has an accent’” – Shauna Emery

“Finally, someone who keeps his fucking feet on the ground (not big-headed I mean)” – Greg

“Physiqonomics (Aadam) is awesome! Straight forward! Doesn’t beat around the bush like most, and give it to you straight! Love reading his emails, quite comical at times, worth the read!” – Rich

“I don’t think I’ve ever consistently kept up with a blogger until I stumbled upon Physiqonomics. The quality is FIRE.” – RJ

“Smart, thorough, funny, and informative!” – Tamara Christie

“Aadam not only talks the talk by producing well-written, science-backed articles that debunk bullshit but he also walks the walk by using himself to experiment with different methods – keto for one. He also makes for a very interesting guest on podcasts” – Rachel H

“Simply put, you’ll absolutely want to sign up for this email list, Aadam brings perspective to situations that will regularly make you say “Aha”. Constantly gives you material that all the industry guys charge for and no marketing filler. I would pay for what he sends out for free” – Hamza 

“The best thing about Aadam is that he makes me think and question things while also making me laugh” – Lindsay F

“Physiqonomics is one of the best sites for free, up-to-date, no-nonsense, information on nutrition and training packaged in clever  wit. Also, Aadam is one sexy beast” – Mickey N

“Aadam is seriously one of the most interesting and engaging writers out there who you can’t help but learn something from. The guy is simply awesome at what he does”  John Flynn

“Aadam is extremely well read & it shows in his writing. He explains complex things in simple terms often with diagrams (lol). His articles are like the cliff notes for all those books I’ll never read.
Thanks so much for the obvious time and dedication you put into every article. You really are gifted in your ability to teach concepts easily through your writing style. So, thank you for what you do. It’s appreciated!” – Ruth S

“I just wanted to say that Aadam is where it is at for health and fitness right now. He is at the top of his game. I have just implemented information I have seen on his site with fantastic results. I can’t imagine the results I would get working with him! He is also phenomenal at answering any and all questions that you may have” – Rob M
So, here’s the link again for your book. And I’ll see you on the flipside.