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Remaining lean when not training

A line in my booklet ‘Leaner living’ says ‘it is better to get your nutrition right and your training wrong than your training right and your nutrition wrong’. This was further proved to me recently when a trainee returned to see me after a 2.5 week lay off from any training due to a viral infection and a 6.5 week lay off from doing any serious leg training due to a knee op. We did his Biosignature which included measuring his body fat, noting his lean body mass and his hormonal profile.

The results proved interesting insofar as he had lost some muscle mass which was to be expected with this much time away from serious training but his body fat % remained pretty much the same at 10.2%. How can this be if it’s all about calories in v calories out or the plethora of training methods you can choose from!?

Well the guy is pretty clued up about nutrition after listening to me waffle on about it for the last year. So realising that, A. he wasn’t able to train properly (knee op) and B. that his immune system needed a break (manflu type illness) he decided that in order to remain lean he would have to make clever food choices to counter the lack of training…even over the Christmas period.


Started each day with a high protein breakfast

Ate regularly throughout the day

lean organic animal protein at every meal

Shed loads of green and vibrant coloured vegetables at every meal

Some citrus fruit

Buckets of filtered water

Immune support drink = Green tea with Glutamine, mixed ascorbates and  local honey

Nuts, some seeds and nut butter butter

Cooked all his food in butter or coconut butter

Organic eggs (or at least free range) used duck eggs mainly

Added some supplements (fishoil, multivitamin,vitamin D3, zinc, magnesium)





Protein shakes as he didn’t deserve them (no training)


Fruit juice


White rice


Pasteurized stuff (milk)

Soya products

…Any rubbish basically (rubbish = processed food, microwave meals, packaged produce, anything that says ‘low fat’ blah blah blah!)

Now that he can start training again he can increase his calorie intake which is very simply done by adding a suitable pre – during and post workout drink to his training day routine. This will enable him to remain lean whilst allowing adequate nutrient replenishment for muscle growth to return after the correct training stimulus.

The macro nutrient ratios of the ‘post workout shake’ will depend on a number of factors like: training volume, lean body mass ( he is lean so can add carbs to the mix if he wants), training protocol i.e. hypertrophy, strength, endurance, skills, speed, sport, next scheduled training / game and so on. All these factors have a different macro nutrient requirement, but believe me it is far from rocket science!

So as you can see the chap remained lean, not by training but instead by clever, yet very simple nutritional planning and discipline.

Nutrition first – training second!!!