Lean Gaining- Keep it in Perspective

Posted by Jason Ferruggia on July 31, 2011

Yesterday morning I woke up with the intention of going to Six Man in Manhattan Beach. It’s an annual volleyball tournament that attracts around nineteen hundred billion people and is known as the beach party of the summer. However, I had stayed out late the night before with some friends and really wasn’t feeling it. I didn’t have a sip of alcohol but I felt like I drank a dozen vodkas. That’s the funny thing about staying up late. I end up feeling exactly the same whether I drink or not, even if I get the same amount of sleep (which is why I’m always harping on the importance of getting to bed earlier). At my age crowds that large are kinda tough to deal with anyway.

Since I was at Six Man last year I opted for Plan B and did a search for the best breakfast, pizza and burgers in LA….then I set out to eat each one of them. We started at Toast on 3rd Street around 3pm for meal numero uno. For those keeping track I broke my fast shortly before with some raw grass fed whey.

The Griddle was supposed to the spot to go but the lines were ridiculous so we figured we save that for a week day. Although I am quite looking forward to eating a pancake twice the size of my head.

At Toast I had a scramble with chicken, bacon, tomato, avocado, onion and basil. I followed that up with berry French toast. The whole thing was about an 8. Very good but nothing mind blowing.

After trekking through The Grove and sampling every nut under the sun dipped in dark chocolate it was off to pizza at Vito’s on La Cienga. LA is NOT known for it’s pizza and it’s hard to find a good slice on the left coast. But Vito’s kept coming up number one in the majority of the searches I did so we gave it a shot. While it wasn’t much better than most average pizzerias in small town Jersey it was definitely pretty good. Especially considering the fact that I haven’t had a real slice of pizza in probably a year or so.

Finally we ended up at O Burger on Santa Monica in West Hollywood where they serve organic, grass fed fast food burgers. Does it get any better than that? The burgers and fries were delicious and I contemplated ordering another before Jen reminded me that she had organic, sugar free pumpkin pie waiting for us back at home. It seemed too healthy after that day of eating but it is one of my favorite desserts so I was immediately sold. We headed back home, turned on the Fedor fight and made an 85/15 split on the pumpkin pie.

While laying there in all my bloatedness I started thinking about gaining weight and how trendy it is to “lean bulk” these days. Don’t get me wrong, that is the correct approach and you don’t want to end up a fat slob in your attempt to gain thirty pounds of muscle. The old days of bulking and cutting are definitely dead. The Renegade Diet is all about lean gains and body recomposition. But I do think that some people may be taking it too and that may be holding them back.

If you weigh 150 pounds right now and your goal is to get to 200 that’s probably never going to happen if you don’t allow for at least some fat gain and eat like I did yesterday at least once in a while. You absolutely can NOT keep a shredded six pack year round if you want to gain huge amounts of size. If your goal is to slowly gain ten pounds of muscle, then yes, you can. If your goal is to gain twenty pounds of muscle in your first year of training, then yes, you can do that without gaining an ounce of fat.

But if you want to completely transform and end up looking more like a pro wrestler than a pro tennis player you’re going to have to accept some fat gain. A fairly rapid gain of twenty plus pounds of muscle is going to come with a bare minimum of five pounds of fat. There’s no way around it. The key is to minimize it as best you can with intermittent fasting, proper carb cycling and lots of time running hills, dragging sleds and pushing prowlers.

Lean gaining is definitely the way to go, but keep things in perspective. Take note of where you’re at now and where you want to end up, then be realistic about what it’s going to take to get there. As long as you’re not currently a fat pudsack (in which case you should be leaning down and not worried about gaining size) you might find that you have a few burgers and pizzas in your future. And from time to time that’s not always a bad thing.

I’m off to the Santa Monica Farmers Market to load up on veggies, greens, berries, fertile eggs, sweet potatoes, nut butters, wild salmon and organic, grass fed beef for the week. Then I have a date with the Prowler and tickets to the X-Games. Enjoy the rest of your weekend and I’ll talk to you guys this week.