Intermittent Fasting & Leangains – Step by Step Guide

Do you look the same you did six months ago?

Haven’t had the success you thought you would following the advice you read in the magazines? Perhaps you’ve just stumbled upon this without wasting your time on that stuff before. Either way, welcome.

The method described below will help you get ripped, without all the training, meal management, and expensive supplements you probably think you need.

I’m not going to pretend that this is the answer to chasing your physique goals, but I honestly believe it’s the simplest method to go about it for 95% of people – busy people like you. So, are you going to keep spinning your wheels or dare to try something new?

Steps to Success:

  1. Get Motivated
  2. Learn What We’re Going To Do Different
  3. Try the Simple Set-Up
  4. Read my Tips for Success
  5. Get More Detailed

A training or diet method is merely means of achieving your goal. Many people get hung up on a single method at the cost of progress – don’t let this be you.
Be flexible. Be open minded. Be prepared to make a change, to see a change.

1. Get Motivated – Results

Are you thinking you can’t do this? Have a quick look at this results gallery below. For every person you see there are 100 times more scattered throughout the internet. These are regular people that decided they would do something, rather than complain about genetics or something else. There are no more excuses, all the information is right here, right now. Stop reading right now and click. Self belief is important.

2. Learn What We’re Going To Do Different

1. Shift the focus to diet rather than training.

For a lot of people the emphasis on training over diet is what has stopped them seeing the changes they have worked so hard for. 

Body-recomposition is 70% diet, 30% training. We’ll put our efforts in that ratio for results.

This man trains once every 3 days, for less than an hour, with no cardio. He is natural, doesn’t use fancy supplements, and used to be fat and flabby himself. His name is Martin Berkhan and is the founder of the Leangains diet system I introduce in this guide.

2. Purposefully skip breakfast.

Dieting generally isn’t very fun, but by reducing meal frequency so we can eat bigger meals it’s possible to still feel full and satisfied most of the time and yet lose weight. (Sound counter-intuitive? Worried that breakfast is the most important meal of the day? Let me allay your fears here.)

3. Eat more food when your body needs it.

We’ll eat more carbs on the days you weight train for recovery; less on those you rest. On training days you’ll eat more of your calorie intake after training than before.

More info: Quick Introduction: Intermittent Fasting, ‘Leangains’ and the Benefits.

3. Try the Simple Set-Up

Make the smallest changes you can to bring about progress. Stick with this simple set-up first, before adding in unnecessary complication. This guide will get you going.

The Diet

Intermittent Fasting Diet Set Up

  1. Choose an 8 hour ‘feeding window’.
    • This means an 8 hour time frame within which you will consume all your calories for the day.
    • So as not to destroy your social life it’s better for most people to skip breakfast and eat lunch and dinner. Something like 1-9pm. Think about when you usually eat with your family or friends when deciding.
  2. Don’t eat anything for the other 16 hours. (A splash of milk in the coffee/s is fine.)
    • If you have irregular work hours/schedule see this guide.
  3. Getting it right 90% of the time is good enough.
    • Somedays timing will be off. Don’t stress it. Yes, you can still drink on the weekend and not have to worry about your feeding window too much.
  4. Meal frequency doesn’t matter…
    • …but simplicity is your friend. Two meals (at 1pm and 8:30pm for example) or three meals is fine if you prefer.
  5. Weight-train 3 days a week. Rest 4 days a week.
  6. Training days: eat more carbs, less fat.
  7. Rest days: eat less carbs, more fat.
  8. Keep protein high on both days.
    • Leaner cuts of meat/fish for training days.
    • Fattier-cuts of meat/fish on a rest-days.

The Training

Intermittent Fasting - No Cardio - Shredded Abs

Looking ripped or shredded is a function of two things:

Low levels of body fat and sufficient muscle mass. You need both so don’t skimp on it.

  1. Strength-train 3 days a week.
    • I believe barbells are the most effective for building strength and muscle mass so I strongly recommend them. (Reasons: “Why Barbells?“)
    • Do big compound movements and forget about the rest for now. (Squat, Deadlift, Press, Chin-ups, Benchpress, Dips)
    • It’ll take around an hour.
  2. Use correct form so that you build yourself in the fastest, safest way.
    • Read the book ‘Starting Strength‘.
    • Watch Mark Rippetoe’s coaching videos if you are unsure of form. (If you’re going to spend 3 hours in the gym a week, it makes sense to spend an hour or two reading about what you should be doing in there. Very few people do this though.)
    • Hire a trainer if you’re unsure. It can be tell the good trainers from the bad, certificates don’t mean much. My guide on how to decide is here.
  3. Your training times can vary. Some people train fasted, some in the afternoon and others in the evening. You can even vary your training times. The only requirement is that you have at least enough time after you train to eat before going to bed. For a detailed timing guide check out Martin’s ‘Leangains Guide‘.
  4. Can’t get to a gym? Use bodyweight exercises and workout at home, but bear in mind that you are likely to plateau at some point.
    • Here are bodyweight exercise articles by Jason Ferruggia and Mark Sisson.
    • Use Youtube too see how to perform exercises you don’t know.

To get the maximum return on your gym time, basically:

  • New to barbells? Do the Squat/Deadlift/Bench-press every session for the first 2-3 months to maximize gains. You don’t need the recovery time that advanced trainees need because you haven’t learned to push yourself to the point of being sore for days after training yet. Don’t mess around with split routines.
  • Barbell training experience? Consider some form of split routine. Details on how to choose what routine you should be using are in the detailed guide below. All training questions posted as comments will be answered there also.

4. Tips for Success

As I’ve worked with a lot of people I know the mistakes that people often make. Here are my top tips to avoid making them:

  1. Keep to the plan. - It works! Don’t make the classic mistake of trying to fix something that isn’t broken.
  2. Use the guides on the site. Get a pen and paper and figure it out.
  3. Cook your meals for the fastest gains. It’s much easier to know what you are eating that way. – Abs are made in the kitchen.
  4. Eat the same meals frequently and often for ease and success. – This way you only have to count the macros in each of your favorite meals once.
  5. Get support:
    • Read the FAQ. A whole lotta love has gone into that baby.
    • Can’t find an answer? Use the comments on the site. 12,000+ so far.
    • Use the Facebook page. Join the community.
    • Sign-up to log your workouts, compare & get motivated by the awesome supportive community there.
  6. Educate yourself. Many people will tell you that not eating breakfast is bad, or that if you don’t eat for 16 hours your muscles will fall off. Arm yourself with the facts. Martin’s Top Ten Fasting Myths Debunked article is a great place to start.

5. Leangains Guide – Detailed Set-Up Guides

Ok, so have you acted on the simple set-up above?  Time to get a little more detailed then. I’ve put all the diet and training guides in one place. This includes How to Calculate Your Macros, How to Track Your Progress, How to Choose a Training Program… basically everything you need.


The guides on this site have helped thousands of people to achieve their physique goals. However chasing physique goals can become an obsession. If you want to take the guess work out of things I offer personal consultationsI have helped hundreds of busy people get ripped without it taking over their lives.

Thanks for reading and good luck! – Andy.

This entry was posted in Diet & Nutrition, Training and tagged , , , by Andy Morgan. Bookmark the permalink.

About Andy Morgan

I'm an online nutritional coach and trainer. After seeing one too many people get ripped off by supplement and training industry lies I decided to try and do something about it. The site you see here is the result of a lot of Starbucks-fuelled, two-fingered typing. It's had a lot of love poured into it, and I hope you find the guides to the diet and training methods I use on this site useful. When I'm not helping clients you'll likely find me crashing down a mountain on a snowboard, riding a motorbike, or staring at watches I can't afford.

821 thoughts on “Intermittent Fasting & Leangains – Step by Step Guide

  1. Hi Andy, I have been or acting intermittent fasting for over a month now. I am having some serious issues with constipation. I am taking in one oz of water per body lb, psyllium husk, 30+ g of fiber yet still no improvement. Am I ingesting too much protein or is it the intermittent fasting? I’m taking in about 100-120g of protein and my lean body mass is 90lbs. My exercise is great but I’m actually gaining weight because nothing is leaving my system!

  2. Hi Andy, I just wanted to say thanks for putting up the guide for IF. I have been doing it for a while and even though I messed up the formula a bit I am still getting some good results. Thanks again for doing the work.

  3. YOu asked for people to comment if they found typos. In #2, “Learn what we’re going to do different” the sub-headline reads ‘Shift the focus to diet rather then training.’ You are making a comparison, so THAN is the proper word. Cheers.

  4. Hi Andy. I work in construction so I set my bmr multiplier as 1.55 because I’m fairly active. On a weekend for me rest means rest(lounging around very sedentary). Should one adjust Saturday and Sunday to be a 1.2 multiplier in this instance or should it remain constant at 1.55? This was confusing me a little

    • When using a multiplier you’ll want to keep it consistent across your week.
      You could adjust on a per day basis, but that quickly can get complicated and isn’t advised for anyone not already very familiar with things.

  5. Hey mate! just a question, i’ve just started my IF and trying to keep it real simple (no food till 1pm daily, just water and coffee. then my ‘feeding’ window is from say 2pm till 9pm). now my question is if it matters if I eat pre-workout or post workout? should i try to push my workouts to the fasting period or to say mid-feeding zone? what is better? (i workout mon/wed/fri and i’ve stopped doing cardio) cheers!

  6. Pingback: Coaching Lessons 3# - One bite at a time... |

  7. hi andy, thanks for your wonderful work on this website. i’ve been doing leangains for 5 weeks. hitting my macros, eating clean. tracking everything even weighing my food. i’ve lost only 5 lbs. (considering how overweight i am, too slow for my liking).
    when i did a checkpoint, i noticed that I loss inches everywhere (arms, chest, shoulder, hamstring) but my waistline (same), i look terrible and saggy compared to my 7 meals bodybuilding style diet last october. my strengths are constantly going up though (deadlifts, bench, squat and chinups are all up). This is the strongest i’ve ever been.
    question: is this normal progress? will this continue? i dont mind getting smaller but i wish to trim down waist more than anything else.

    • Hi Mark, it’s most likely that you’ve simply measured your chest/back wrong (which is natural, cause it can be easy to get the tape stuck at a funny angle when carrying around a lot of extra weight). Or it could be that you’re particularly bloated on the day you took the measurements – constipation, water, etc.

  8. Hi Andy, thanks so much for all the info you share.
    I have big doubt.
    In one of your posts you say this :

    The longer the time you are without food, the more fat you burn. However the type of fat the body uses changes over time. The body’s ability to mobilize sufficient fatty acids from subcutaneous fat (the fat under the skin that makes you look fat) reaches a limit around the 10-30 hour mark.

    What exactly do you mean by “10-30 hour mark”? sorry it is not very clear to me…

    Is it “OK” to fast for up 30 hours? I am just trying the intermittent fast to make sense to me…

    Look forward to your response and thanks so much again!

  9. Hi Andy,

    Do you have any readings or links you can point me to where I.F. is studied in women? I’ve been reading online that it isn’t the best plan for women (due to hormones, cravings, fasting hours). I also noticed it’s hard to find women’s opinion on the topic online (even in your testimonials, not many women). I wonder if this is something women aren’t interested in or doesn’t work for them?

    I think the 8 hour feeding window would be perfect for my lifestyle (I’m not a huge breakfast person and I basically eat like that anyhow right now, probably a 10 hour feeding window but I can cut to 8 I’m sure, ditch the evening snacks). I’m getting some conflicting information on this topic, don’t really know where to turn

    PS: read through the site and got my macros sorted out. I have experience in weight/barbell training. I’ve always been petite but I think it’s getting harder to maintain as I age (I’m in my 30′s, 5’2″, 118lb, 28% body fat Dexa scan) so I’m looking to cut. I’m not too picky on the “numbers” but the belly ponch has got to go


    • The fact that you’re asking would lead me to guess that you’ve been sold on the idea that women are especially different and they need totally different plans, which is typical of the industry. You don’t. Just start here and work through the nutritional hierarchy of importance. If you skip breakfast and don’t get on well with it, start eating it again. Nothing else needs to change.

      • I’m 49 & a competitive natural bodybuilder.
        I started using ‘if’ last January (2013) with the intention of trying it out for a couple of months. I stuck with it for the year, including the lead up to NPA British Bodybuilding championships, which I won. Over the year I gained muscle mass and reduced body fat. It was my easiest comp diet to date.

  10. Hi Andy,

    Thanks for blog, great information and resource. This may be a simple question, but for the meals do you keep the ratios the same? For example per my calculations I am suppose to eat 140g of protein, 80g of fat, and 230g of carbs. Should each meal be in equal proportion? Also, I workout to Beachbody programs like P90X and Les Mils Combat which they do 6 days a week training, do i need to adjust the diet because of that?



    If im taking a week off of training but not considering this a diet break (as i would be doing it soon after) but i just want tio eat clean should i eat at maintenance or should i stick to whatever calorie deficit/surplus i am currenty doing?


  12. Hey andy awesome site…had a few questions

    1) I work shift work so some shifts are days some afternooons and some nights. So far i stick to eating from 12pm-8pm no matter what my shift are. is this right?

    2) If i eat 10% over on my rest days should i eat 10% less on the other day to hit my calories for the week?

    3) Should i count oil for frying meat into my macros?

    4) I currently train at 10am and wake up pretty much half hour before. lets say i wake up an hr or 2 before training when should i have my bcaas? should i have during training as usual? or should i have it before as well as during training?

    5) When i cook ground beef how much fat is lost? I usually cook it in a wok, covered, and dont drain the fat as it soaks into the beef already, do i just consider that ive eaten the fat calories stated on the label?


    6) Should i eat my last meal @ 8 or before 8 to consider digestion time?
    (sorry OCD question)


    • Hi Sunny.
      1. Your body gets used to the times that you eat. Therefore when in a deficit it can be beneficial to eat at the same times to avoid unnecessary hunger. If it’s not possible to eat at those times due to your shift schedule, preference, or social circumstances then it isn’t going to affect your progress. Have a look at the FAQ on “Irregular schedule” for more.
      2. Please read through the Nutritional Hierarchy of Importance articles.
      3. As above.
      4. As above.
      5. Look it up in an online nutritional calculator.
      6. OCD question, pretty much irrelevant.

      Pretty much everything will be answered if you take the time to read through that series of articles linked to above.

  13. Pingback: Nutritional Hierarchy of Importance – #4 Meal Timing |

  14. Hi Andy,

    Considering this workout and would like your thoughts – advice.
    Appreciate how much dedication you put in here and care about our progress.

    Using RPT ( 2 sets of 5 – 8 repetitions for upper body and 8 – 12 for lower body)

    Workout A Squats – Yates Rows – Dips

    Workout B: Deadlifts – Standing Overhead presses

    Do brisk walking for 30 minutes each morning on empty stomach.

    Best of Success to You ~


      • Thanks for reminding me of what is most important – progress toward goals.

        Since presently work overseas, it’s common to have soybean products (ex. tofu) along with some pork, lamb, and some beef. Do you think it is alright to include soybean products (non-GMO) into my nutrition?

        Will look into the Principles page more – Thanks also for the reminder.

        Best to You, Bill

        • If you like soy Bill then as part of your mixed diet please feel free to eat it. Any anti soy info you’re (not) referring to but have likely read is likely in the context of a vegan diet with a lot of soy.

          • Thank you once again Andy. For you to reply so quickly,and knowledgeably is inspiring. So many trainers would give out bs. Glad to see you truly Walk the Talk.

            Always felt a wide variety (but wholesome) diet is ideal for me.

            • Sure, that’s a good way of putting it Bill. I like the maxim, “Eat mainly foods that your great-grandmother would recognise as food and you’ll do just fine.”

  15. Hi Andy. A quick carb related question. I am trying to cut and adding the carbs to the training day diet is proving harder than I had first anticipated.
    Your guide for ‘Tom’ suggests that 375 grams of rice will deliver his training carbs macro of 275 grams of carbs. However, looking at my pack of rice in front of me, I am only seeing 24 grams of carbs per 100 grams of rice. That would mean that it would take 1150 grams of rice to achieve Tom’s carb macro on his training day.

    Please tell me I am misunderstanding or getting something wrong here because I want to nail this.

    Many thanks.

    • Hi John. Basically the discrepancy comes down to the difference with partially cooked, microwavable rice and raw rice. (The former has a lot of water in it.) Your maths looks correct. If you have trouble eating all those carbs, see the FAQ for more ideas.

  16. i thought its been scientifically proven that protein synthesis lasts 48 hours in naturals, so hitting the muscle more frequent equals greater hypertrophy, and i dont understand calorie cycling recovery and growth isn’t a 1 day thing, so high calories/carbs on only training days, and lower calories on off isn’t really doing anything magical is it? considering if your still recovering on off days, and carbs are protein sparing, and those days you will be short on carbs. i dont know, i def can say most people fail at recomps, but you and martin have clients and your selfs who actually recomped this way so its hard to question you guys, i just dont understand calorie cycling you dont just pack on muscle 1 day and burn fat the next, you grow all week. i know i could be wrong, its just frequency seems to be proven best for hypertrophy now,

    • Hi Ryan, thanks for the comment. I think you’re confusing a couple of concepts here.
      1. Protein synthesis is an ongoing process all day every day regardless of training or not with the destruction and rebirth of cells in the body.
      2. I think it’s more likely that the 48 hour time frame you are referencing came from somewhere mentioning workout recovery and optimal frequency rather then protein and carb timing specifically.

      There is a definite window of opportunity for nutrient partitioning in the post workout window. This is not merely an hour as once thought (see “The effect of protein timing on muscle strength and hypertrophy: a meta-analysis.” Brad Jon Schoenfeld, Alan Albert Aragon and James W Krieger), and while there may be an effect lasting 48 hours that you have read about, this is likely going to be on a sliding scale rather then any set cut off point. Kind of like if I kick you in the nuts, the pain will fade over time.

      Does that make sense? I’ll be covering timing and cycling thoroughly in the Nutritional Hierarchy of Importance Pyramid fourth article which will be out in the next couple of weeks.

      • thanks man, wasn’t tryin’ to go in on ya at all, it just gets hecktic on these fitness streets haha, layne norton says the anabolic effect of protein timing tapers off, so taking all or most of your protein in 1-3 meals is not optimal, more that every 5 hours 1 should dose with protein, not saying meal timing matters, more so protein timing, but i think he also did say if you use bcaas properly you can cover that anyways, i think he has a phd in nutritional science, and did his thesis on protein synthesis, just tryin to dig for what is really optimal, cause results wise you and martin show the best results as far as clients. btw love your site dude.

        • Layne Norton invested a lot of time and effort researching into the effect of BCAAs, and is also a shareholder of the Scivation company that is a popular brand of them. The results of the research he has done so far, in the end, showed that the effect of BCAA dosing between meals was small/negligible.
          If he has said that taking all of your protein in 1-3 meals is not optimal, then he is likely not wrong. Of course, it depends on how one defines optimal. I would define optimal getting a balance between simplicity and complication so that the non-competitor can stick to their nutrition plan long term, but still reap >95%-99% of the benefits without going fully anal about things.

          For a more detailed look at this, here is Alan Aragon in the May 2012 AARR:

          Norton may be on to something with his suggested protocol of dosing a BCAA solution (containing 2-3 g leucine) between mixed meals spaced 4-6 hours apart. But, it’s crucial to realize that the ‘thing’ he may be onto might be miniscule and not worth the effort or expense for non-competitive populations. In repeated personal communication, he has admitted to me that this tactic is done in attempt to clinch a very small edge to win. As a top-level, drug-free competitor, it’s justifiable to exploit all hypothetical nutritional means within reason in order to conjure the last bit of potential.

          When applying these hypothetical principles for optimizing anabolism, I see a continuum of approaches ranging from the conservative to the optimistic (Norton’s protocol being the latter). Both would work, but their differential effects remain unknown. The original question titling this article deals with the conservative side. So, what’s the lower end of meal frequency (technically, protein frequency) that would not compromise maximal rates of muscle gain? I’d speculate that this can be accomplished by two protein-rich meals ingested within roughly two hours of both sides of the training bout, along with a third protein-rich meal consumed elsewhere, whenever it’s convenient or when hunger calls for it. That’s three daily protein feedings.

          Would two protein doses still be able to maximize the rate of muscle gain? No one knows, but it certainly would protect from undue muscle loss given the research evidence showing this can be accomplished with only one meal per day. Nevertheless, I would error on the safe side and go with three protein-rich meals as an ‘optimal minimum frequency’ for anabolism. It strikes a compromise between conservative practicality & exploiting the hypotheticals. If muscle gain is not the primary goal, and the trainee is perfectly happy with maintaining, I don’t see going below 3 meals per day as any sort of threat or compromise. Also, although reaching the leucine threshold with each meal has a reasonably sound basis, I have a hunch that even spacing of meals is less important than Norton holds it to be.

          I’m on top of my stuff bud I assure you.

            • i think for cutting and recomping martins protocol is hands down the best. but for someone looking to add max amount of muscle in a bulk, hitting the muscle 2x per week has to produce greater gains.. i mean thats been studied that after a work out the muscle hit is in protein synthesis 2 days, then if its hit again, it does the same thing over again, which is building muscle if im not mistaken? so for someone to maximize gains for example there quads, or chest, wouldn’t sparking protein synthesis mean doing squats, and bench more then 1nce every 7 days? this is more of a question to you, not me arguing with you or saying your wrong i respect your answers

            • It’s a recovery issue that varies based on the individual. There is no single one sized fits all program. Nor is there a single program that will work for one person at all times. If you’d like to read more, consider Lyle McDonald’s articles on Beginner Training (don’t let the name fool you) or Rippetoe and Kilgore’s book, Practical Programming for Strength Training (third edition just came out).

          • i deadlift 460 for my 1rm , and 280 bench, and 350 squat, im not going over to SS my noob gains are milked :( lol, i was just after your opinion on hypertrophy being optimal hitting muscle groups twice a week, even Lyle says hitting a muscle group once every 7 days is not something he would advocate for any client, at minimal every 5th day i believe he said, and quick question. a cut for leangains is -10% work out days, -30% rest days correct? or is there always a surplus on workout days no matter what protocol? i think you and martin have me convinced to join the movement. heh. im just going to find it hard hitting the gym 3x a week, as in i really like going.. guess it frees up more time though.

            • Right, so an experienced lifter then eh Ryan? Excellent. Well here’s the deal:

              You’re looking to cut. You’re not going to make any strength or muscle gains, regardless of what you do, so you’re best off simply following the plan guides laid out here and then not mess with them until you get shredded.

              Then when you’ve got there, you’ll have a much better understanding and you’ll be more able to experiment. Here‘s a good video series discussing the different mechanisms of hypertrophy and possible applications to training. (You may have to put your e-mail in a sign-up box.)

            • wow awesome video, thanks bro, ya im a little chubby, lifts are decent, but i want to shred up :D

  17. When doing an IF program, I understand that there is an 8 hour feeding window. Does a fresh juiced vegetable and fruit juice in the morning mess up the feeding window if this is the only thing eaten before 11 or noon. I want my window to start at 11 and end at 7 pm.

    • Hi Corey. Fresh juiced vegetables will have calories, so it is no longer fasting. As for how that interferes with things is a very complex answer, not a black and white one. I’d recommend you try this as per the standard template first, get successful, then experiment.
      If you read through the articles on the site you’ll see what I mean about it not being clear black and white.

  18. Hey Andy,
    Thanks for the reply and the earlier comment regarding if I should eat most of my meals after my workout or not.

    I was wondering, does it make a big difference (in terms of fat loss) whether I train in a fasted state (ie. if my main workout on workout days is in a totally fasted state and all calories consumed in the day is after this training)…OR…if I do what I’m currently doing now which is to eat 2 small meals before I train (approx 50% of total calorie intake)…and the rest (remaining 50% of calories) consumed post workout.

    Since I work 9-5, training in a fasted state is tough for me on weekdays, so I will maybe move both my workout days to the weekend.

    Thanks once again,

  19. Hi Andy,

    Awesome site, I refer people whenever i can. I have a question regarding high intensity sports like Muay Thai. I do 1-2 classes (1 hour long) per week on days I’m not resistance training. They are pretty full on. Should I eat like a regular “off” day (lower calorie/carbs) or should I be consuming calories more inline with my weight training day? I’m doing a recomposition.


  20. Hey Andy, I’ve applied for 4 days and there’s still no response from you, I’ve checked my inbox and junk already. Please help!

    • Just sent again. Look for a mail titled, “Re: Consultation Enquiry” – this is the auto-responder mail I mentioned.

  21. Hey Andy,
    Loving your website as usual. Thanks for all the articles and keep them coming.

    Quick question, I have been on the standard cut for the past 5-6 weeks and have seen some fat loss. The problem is that I don’t get the time to cook much food myself because I go literally go to work, then the gym, and then classes (acting school), and then back to sleep.

    I do monitor what I eat from the nutritional content of foods that I buy (information I can get from their websites, asking in stores, and using MyFitnessPal), eg. if I buy a box of brown rice and chicken from Itsu I know it has 521 cals…and x fat and protein etc.

    Do you think this is an OK way to keep track of my calories and maco-nutrients or do you think i should only eat food that I’ve cooked….do you think this will make a significant difference to my weight loss?

    Thanks a lot,


    • Hi Thiru. If you know the macronutrient content then that’s perfectly fine. Thing is, most healthy things don’t have nutritional labels, hence the general recommendation to cook for yourself.

  22. Hi Andy,

    I understand Martin says you have to take at least 10g of BCAA’s pre and post workout,
    I currently have a WPI with BCAA’s serving of 5g, could I simply take 2 doses before and after my workout? — And also would I have to take these on my rest-days?

    • Eating or drinking anything with calories almost completely negates any effect from BCAAs. BCAAs should only be taken in a fasted state. Otherwise, you’re just wasting your money. That’s what I’ve gathered from Berkhan’s site, anyways.

  23. Hi Andy,

    I’ve been following a somewhat unique type of IF diet for about a month now where I’ve normally kept the feeding window to no more than 4 hours per day eating for the most part what I wanted which often included things like burgers with condiments or steak with barbecue sauce (all meals made at home with one cheat restaurant meal per week) along with a training schedule that included weights about 4-5 days of the week in sporadic order along with 50 crunches every day. Have also been taking fish oil supplements and garcinia cambogia. Also drank a lot of pepsi max during fasting periods. I know it’s not really like any other IF regime out there but it produced good results for the first three weeks or so and I wasn’t about to mess with a winning formula. I dropped two jean sizes in that time and lost a noticeable amount of fat off of my face and always felt great and had lots of energy but my progress has since stalled in a big way. I have been horribly constipated most of the time for the past week, psyllium and castor oil tablets all but completely stopped working and I have felt and looked very bloated all over my body, have felt quite dizzy and light headed at times and may have even lost some muscle mass also. Was wondering if you or anyone you know of has ever had a similar experience while on an IF regime and what can be done to get back on track.

    Best regards

    • Alex, thanks for the comment. Thing is, you have actually been messing with the “winning formula”. Just follow the plan as laid out first. Article on why here.

      Also, make sure you read the bulk of the diet articles in that tab as they should help. The recent Nutritional Hierarchy of Importance posts will give a good grounding.

  24. Hi Andy. Would you work with someone who can’t perform BB Back squats due to the lower back issues? I also use Trap Bar Deadlift instead of conventional one. Thanks

    • Sure that’s fine. Best that you get a sports specialist doctor to tell you the specifics of what exercises you can and can’t do, and anything you can/should do for rehab, if relevant.

  25. Hi Andy,Im Denisse from Argentina, I’ve recently started with IF and fasted training. I do weights 3 times a week and interval training 2 times a week.
    I want to ask you about bcaas, I take 2gr a day, is it enough? ‘couse I’ve read it takes at least 5gr to the body to recognise it.
    Ok hope to hear from you thanks!

  26. Hi Andy,

    I would like to ask, if i were to fast (Muslim fasting w/out even a sip of water ) until 7 pm, but having my workouts in the AM, due to my working hours, would it be detrimental for both fat loss and muscle gain? I have been trying both strength training with weights and bodyweight training but the weight did not budge (on the scale each morning) . thank you

    • Hi Nazrin, thanks for the question.
      I’ve worked with people through ramadan, it can be done, but you’re worrying about something that is coming next summer instead of focusing on the task at hand which is to get on with the guide as laid out. More thoughts here.

      • Hi Andy,
        thanks for the reply.
        the reason being is that, i’m trying to mix IF with ramadan style fasting and working out in the morning, and only get to break my fast with water in the evening, with the hope that it would speed up fat loss. As i am trying to rectify damages done during festive seasons indulgence.
        From my own experiment till now, my weight does not budge, and sometimes i feel very weak to do my daily workouts. Even i tried not to have a rest day, afraid that i would gain fat :/.

        But with this no sign of positive outcome, i started to question whether my approach is correct or totally wrong.

        Thanks for the link above.Really appreciate it.

  27. Andy,

    If we ruin our metabolisms by not eating enough calories for a while, what do you estimate a low RMR could be? Although I know you don’t recommend it, would doing more cardio compensate for a low metabolism? I’m having a hard time losing the weight and I am pretty damn active in addition to working out 3 days a week! At 16% body fat, how many lbs should I expect to lose a week on a cut? I haven’t been loosing any, but just curious what I should be getting if everything is going correctly.

    Thank you, sir.

    • Obviously I am not Andy but more cardio will not do any good to your “ruined” metabolism. With the correct (not too low) caloric deficit in addition to lifting 3 days a week, someone like you could aim for 2 pounds a week (have patience). If you are very active, take that into consideration when counting your macros. Compensate with more carbohydrates to reach the necessary caloric intake. I have personal experience with an acute caloric deficit with tons of exercise and it is NOT going to get you where you want.

      • I greatly appreciate the advice, Mr. Wilder, thanks! My understanding has been that in order to lose body fat glycogen must be depleted by consuming low carbs so that the body has to turn to fat for fuel. If I raise my carbohydrates, wouldn’t that prevent my body from tapping into my fat stores?

        Thanks again for your advice. I’m really frustrated and confused. I’m the type to go too hard, so I’m sure I’m eating too few calories and too few carbs (0-50 g per day), but am worried about adding more carbs because of some of the science that I’ve read and mentioned.

        • “My understanding has been that in order to lose body fat glycogen must be depleted by consuming low carbs so that the body has to turn to fat for fuel.”
          No, a deficit is what is needed.

          • Andy,

            So, if glycogen doesn’t need to be depleted in order to tap into body fat and burn it, what would be a generic number of carb grams, per day, you would suggest (I realize it would be just a rough guess, but it would give me a starting point) for low (rest) and high (training) days? I have been consuming around 25 g of carbs up until now thinking that was “low” so that I could quickly deplete my glycogen levels and, thus, burn body fat.

            Thank you so much! I greatly appreciate you taking the time to advise me! Your advice is highly valued and incredibly helpful, so thank you!

            • Andy,

              Thank you, sir. I did my calculations and it seems that my BMR is 1,942 calories and that my maintenance is close to 3,000 calories (Hiking a few times a week, one game of basketball or soccer, plus 3 days of lifting so I chose a “moderate” activity level).

              Do those numbers seem too high (31, male, 5’11, 192 lb, ~16% bf)? Like I’ve mentioned, I have been consuming low calories with no results (around 1,200 per day [200 g of protein, 50 g of carbs and 30 g of fat]). It seems you are recommending me to severely amp up my carbs, but it just seems counterintuitive to significantly increase calories to burn fat. I guess it’s just a fear I need to get over. Going from 50 g of carbs to 350 g is scary for me.

              Any advice you can give I would truly appreciate, brother. Thank you so much for all you do!

            • You’ll have read that I don’t make specific macro recommendations for individuals in the comments at the end of the “How to Calculate your Macros” guide. So respectfully, I’ve given you all the tools there Dean, and it’s time for you to use them rather than ask me to do it for you.

            • OK, I understand. If I may, I’d like to ask a more generic question. Seeing as though I have been eating far under what the calculator says is my daily caloric intake for maintenance, I assume that for a few weeks (?) I will gain a bit of weight eating at my new caloric levels until my slowed metabolism catches up, right? If so, how long would you guess it would take for my metabolism to catch up and return to where it used to be (according to the calculator) and I, thus, stop gaining weight at the new caloric level?

              I just want to know how many weeks I need to be patient and accept weight gain and how many weeks it might take to know that my metabolism is back. Until then I’ll be eating at maintenance every day until my metabolism rises back to normal.

              Thank you so much, Andy, and happy new year! As always, I really appreciate your time.

            • That will depend on the severity of the deficit and length of it.
              Furthermore, the recovery rate differs for different hormones. Some return to normal levels in a few days, some a week, some over several weeks.

            • Thanks, Andy! So if I’ve severely under-eaten for a few years now, would you estimate (and I realize it’s just a guess so I’m not gonna quote you on it) that eating at maintenance for one month would suffice to return all my hormones and metabolism back to normal (at which point I could then start cutting) or would you recommend I be on the safe side and eat at maintenance for two months or more before cutting?

              Thanks a lot, my man!

            • “…severely under-eaten for a few years…”
              As far as I have read and understand you may need significantly more than that to get your metabolism back to normal.

            • Since you would have no way of being able to guess, how do I find out when my metabolism has finally caught up? Is the answer: Once I consistently stay at the same weight, on the same calories, for 3-4 weeks?

              Is the scale enough of an indicator? Thanks, my man! I really appreciate it!

            • My apologies. Since you would have no way of being able to guess, how do I find out when my metabolism has finally caught up after a long time of under-eating? Is the answer: Once I consistently stay at the same weight, on the same calories, for 3-4 weeks? Is the scale enough of an indicator? Thanks, my man! I really appreciate it!

            • Oh hello Dean. Well this is much more pleasant now that I know who you are.

              “Once I consistently stay at the same weight, on the same calories, for 3-4 weeks?”
              Kind of. One way is to take the standard TDEE calculations and then compare how much you are eating. If you’re eating in that ballpark and are not gaining weight then you are there.
              The important thing to remember is that for those that have been underrating for some time, the calorie intake they can maintain weight on is low so it needs to be built back up.

              I.e. There will be a range of calories that a person can maintain their weight on, the key is to get to the maximum amount with the minimal fat regain.

              Slowly increasing calories seems to be the best way to do this. There will be a relatively large change in scale weight initially which will be mostly from water and glycogen store replenishment and a little from fat.

              Get to the point where weight is constant, then keep pushing the calorie intake up slowly over time with your weight been largely maintained. You’ll get to a point where you start gaining weight and that will be your maximum metabolic capacity for maintenance.

      • Thanks, Andy. They were great reads. Although cortisol contributes to water weight retention, doesn’t consuming carbohydrates as well? Right now I eat about 25-50 g of carbs per day and am afraid that upping my carbs will cause additional water retention.

        Thanks, man.

  28. Hey Andy,

    While I’m quite sure I read the “why’s and how’s” for calorie partitioning between rest and training days, I am unable to find where I read them. Can’t seem to remember whether it was on your site or not and Berkhan’s site can be quite a pain in the ass to navigate. I don’t blindly follow dieting regimens anymore, I’ve gotten better than that. Knowing and understand why I’m doing something is much more comforting and I would love to be able to reference the reasons behind things such as caloric partitioning. If it’s not too much to ask, could you send me a link to the aforementioned page (should it even exist)?


  29. Andy, your site and your knowledge in the comment section is great. Thx for this!
    Would you be so kind to answer, what you think about using MCT-Oil/Coconutoil in the morning-coffee like Kiefer recommands in his CBL. Also good for Leangains or does it stop/interfer the fasting?

    • Hi Max. Good question.
      I’d consider that a good (and not very tasty) way to complicate your daily macro counting, without any particular benefits, and possibly marginal negatives.

  30. Hi Andy

    I’m currently attempting to cut but am experiencing some problem with my calorie intake. My maintenance seems to be about 3100 as when I eat this amount my weight is maintained with no difference week to week. So I lowered my calories to 2500 and changed nothing else yet my weight is still remaining the same week after week to I went back up to 3100 as the way I say see it, if Im maintaining on both intakes obviously I”ll take the one I can eat more on.

    Im not sure what to do and dont want to drop my calories drastically to like 1800 to lose weight as I am a prior binger.

    Any advice or possible explanation?


    • Hi Jake. Though it’s possible to maintain on both intakes, the adaption of your metabolism to a lowered rate won’t happen immediately (refer to this article), so you should have seen changes. It’s likely that the way you are tracking the changes isn’t sufficient. Scale weight is just one part of this, refer to my Diet Tracking Guide.

  31. Andy,

    After over a year of cutting, I plan to cut for two or three more weeks and then start a bulk.

    Could you imagine a 3-day training diet rotation of something like:

    Day 1: Training day, +40% calories
    Day 2: Rest day, +30% calories (carbs higher than typical rest day but not as high as Day 1)
    Day 3: Rest day, -30 or -40% calories

    to be “faster” / potentially more effective to slow-bulk than the slow-bulk plan you outlined (3 training days with surplus with one rest day in between each of them)?

    The net equivalent calorie surplus per three days would be the same as your slow-bulk outline, but I would be getting in less training per week, but have that extra day of rest and calorie surplus following the training day.

    Been wondering about this for a while and curious as to whether it might be preferable (complexity aside – I have a flexible schedule :) ) or whether there is clear reason it would likely be less effective.

    Thanks again.


    • Hi Jon.
      Choose either strength gains or weight gains to prioritise. Adjust your training and recovery (rest plus energy intake) so that you are hitting that goal.
      I don’t see any real world benefit from splitting your calorie intake high high low like that, but feel free to try.

  32. Hey andy,
    Question regarding carbs on rest days.
    If you are supposed to get 100 gr of carbs on rest days, but you take in 115 gr.
    But you take in 31 gr of fiber. Does that equate to 84 gr of total carbs for the day?
    And thus still within your desired macros for rest day?

      • Right, I am not splitting them out. But on my rest days I am supposed to be around 100 gr in carbs, but to finish out my feeding window, and hit my protein macro, I did a Quest bar.
        So it has 21 carbs, 17 of which is fiber.
        So since I came in at 115, I was thinking I was still fine with hitting my macros, since I could take off at least 17 gr due to fiber (plus the fiber with the other foods I ate, came to 31 for the day.)

        • In which case you’re method of counting fibre is not to count it. Which is fine, as long as you are consistent.
          As is counting it, as is counting it as half of gram of regular carbs.
          Consistency my man. :)

  33. if someone was big time over weight, but can lift heavy, on the rest days low card days, could they do some cardio to excel even more fat loss, or would the risk depleted glycogen on your next heavy lift days

    • Hi Ry. Well, yes, but whether you go about things through diet or cardio as well isn’t really the point. You won’t want to exceed a certain rate of fat loss for skin elasticity reasons, so patience will win the day. I wouldn’t recommend going over 2lbs a week unless obese.

      • ya I notice on extreme make over weight loss edition he puts them through way to much cardio and not enough heavy lifting, which by the end of the year theyre skin is destroyed you see some guys where they lost a bunch of weight from obese but in 2-3 years vs 1 and theyre skin snapped back wayyy better then going over board like you mention , another thing is some people say leangains isnt good for obese but i think if it shreds through people at a plateau on there last 10 lbs, then it must shred through obese peoples fat mass, because you still build muscle when obese if your lifting heavy with protein, and carb cycling , your just keeping more muscle for when your threw the obeseity thus looks much better at thee end of a weight loss journey thats just what i would think i could be wrong

        • Ry, thanks for the comment. There’s a few reasons for the reason that people say it doesn’t work well for the obese and it basically comes down to people not making the appropriate adjustments from the standard plan. If I had to guess:
          1. People underestimate their body fat which leads to the energy intake setting being too high.
          2. Plugging the above into a standard “macro calculator” and eating a woefully inappropriate amount of carbs. (Obese individuals will benefit from a lower overall carb intake.)

          Again, it comes down to just a little bit of thought up front, which is why the macros guide has text explanations in it and not just a spreadsheet calculator.

  34. Hey Andy,

    I went through a lot and still little bit confused and have these questions in my mind:

    1) Do I need to exercise in the fasted stage or when is the best time to exercise? Also what type of exercises can I do to get a ripped body like yours? I am not looking to build heavy muscles at this time as I am quite short and been doing some height exercises and have been noticing some height improvements. So I think I would like to achieve my height and then get into best ripped shape possible that time.

    2) Is it compulsory to take any supplements? I cannot take supplements as they are quite expensive in my area and being a student still, it is very difficult for me to afford supplements?

    3) Also as a vegetarian is it fine to eat anything during the eating window or do I need to be careful of what I need to eat. Is there any guide that I can use for diets.


    • Hi Arrjun.
      1. No, anytime that suite your schedule.
      2. No, but as a vegetarian protein powder can be very useful to help you hit your protein numbers for the day.
      3. Mainly, you need to hit your macros. Have a read of this article.

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  36. It says here weight train 3 times a week but I weight train 5 to 6 and let my body rest and have my cheat day on sunday does this means even on cheat day (rest day) I have to tapper down on carbs?

  37. Hey Andy,

    Brilliant site, been following a plan devised from your site for a few weeks and am seeing decent results. Thanks. Was just wondering, on workout days I sometimes struggle to get enough carbs in, if it fit my macros, would there be a problem with using a high carb and protein shake like total gainer

  38. Hi!

    I started following your guides last week. Quick question. How would I adapt this for myself (female)? Does the no cardio rule also apply.

    • Start with the plan as it and work from there based on progress.
      There is no rule against cardio, but I don’t rate it as a fat loss tool, even in women. More useful yes, but only sometimes.

  39. Pingback: Is Clean Eating a Scam? | JCDeen on IIFYM |

  40. Hi Andy, I don’t get home from gym till 11:30pm, is it o.k to eat a big post workout meal and then go straight to bed, I thought I had read that sleeping on a full stomach did not aid in digestion. My feeding window is from 4pm till midnight but I usually won’t eat till 6:30 when the family sit for dinner, is this o.k, it feels a little out of sync. Thanks Andy.

  41. hai andy, thanks for great guide
    i have one question here, i work on office hours and can only gym at 5-6 pm.
    is it ok to train at feeding window? since my feeding window plan at 12 -8 pm
    are there any difference between train at fasted condition or at feeding condition..

    thx i hope u understand my english, since my english not well enough..

  42. Hi andy.
    I wanna know about 2 simple things in this program

    1. Is it ok if I can’t keep the T-Day & R-Day on a regular time (I mean, this week my T-Days are Monday, Wednesday, & Friday, but next week are maybe Monday, Thursday, & Friday) ?

    2. I’m gonna choose to have 2 meal times, and between it to hit my macro, can I have some snacks or coffe or something else that have enough calories? (*especially for R-day, as you know that most of snacks contain some amounts of carbs)

    Thanks before :)

  43. ,Andrew regarding diet wise,i’m an endomorph and my body have always been “sensitive” to carbs.Do i just follow the macros guide on your site and eat whatever amount of carbs is calculated based on my bmr?

  44. Hi Andy,

    Been eating leangains ‘style’ for almost 5 months now but haven’t really noticed the leaning impact too much. I have started Stronglifts 5×5 and am in my 8th week so I am progressing to lifting heavier. I know I am hitting requirements for protein and fat but possibly on workout days, especially post workout I may be taking in too many carbs- could this be why i am not reaping the lean benefits and therefore should I deceease carbs until I start lifting heavier?

    • Sasa, are you tracking your progress as I advise? You’ll need to measure your body also as the changes can sometimes not be visible to the eye over short time periods. This is especially true with beginners who experience simultaneous muscle gain and fat loss where the limbs stay the same size for a time. This post, How To Track Your Progress When Dieting should help.

  45. Hi Andy,

    I’ve just started on leangains after (after trying keto for some time) as after reading your articles.
    I usually train in the evening whic leaves me havig my last (biggest, carbs-intensive) meal at about 9-10 pm. Based on the macros, I’m looking at the majority of 300g carbs at night. That leaves me bloated and I wake up the next morning unrested with seemingly undigested food in me. I have a day desk job so it’s difficult to change my weekday training timing. Is there any way to tweak my diet/ training to address this problem? Thanks!

    • Hi Marcus.
      If you’ve been doing a true ketogenic diet for a while then you’re going to want to gradually increase your carbs over time while dropping down the fats, rather then just jumping straight from the one to the other. That’s why you’re experiencing the bloating. Keep the calorie target the same per the macros guide though and swap around the fats and carbs to hit that.

  46. Hey, I have a question regarding if I should train big 3 three times a week or do a split because I have been training with weights for several years. However, I haven’t been able to make any significant gains in muscle or strength due to, I assume low Testosterone for which I am being treated for now. I am still only working out with 155 lbs for 3 sets of 6-8 on bench press, 160 squat same rep, just started doing deads again. I weigh 189 and I am 5ft 11 in tall. Thanks for your time!

      • Hi Andy, thanks for your reply. My question is: do you think I would benefit more from doing the deadlift,squat,bench press 3 times a week, or should I do a split doing them each once a week. I am trying to gain muscle with minimal fat. I am just trying to look better. I have been taking testosterone for about a month now, and am in the upper limits of normal now, so not necessarily juicing the stuff. lol Anyway, I am not sure if the 3x a week would benefit me because I have been lifting for at least 5 years…3 years seriously. I am sure I am not over training because right now I am doing the split: one on one off doing dips,bench on day one, chins, shrugs, dumbell curls, and deadlift on day 3, and squats and lunges on day 5 and then repeat. I have made some gains doing this since the testosterone shots, but I still wonder if I would make better gains doing them 3 times a week. I know how to push it hard, but am not very strong…so am I a “beginner” or “intermediate”.

        I hope this made sense. Thanks for your time Andy!

  47. Nice site…just wondering what your thoughts are about combining this strategy with Carb Nite written by John Kiefer. I mean, going ULC (ultra low carb) the whole week, except for the actual carb nite day.

  48. Andy,

    I used to be active in powerlifting but because of a nerve issue in both my hands and feet(its healing but at a very slow rate i cant do this any longer.
    But i still have the desire to loose some of that body fat ad the abdominal area.
    So first question is it possible to get lean without all the weightlifting?
    I am trying now for a week to skip breakfast but i noticed that if i did not eat enough the 8 hours before my IF I cant last the 14 hours i am fasting.
    So what do you recommend me to eat.
    Ad this moment I am fasting from 22:00 to 13:00 so that is 15 hours before have some sandwiches.
    any advice you can give me is welcom


  49. Andy, great site and advice. Just two questions if I may. What (additional) exercises could/should I add for shoulders/arms? I am probably most in need of increasing mass on both. Is the amount I lift in the early weeks important? I can only DL 100kg for 6×4 sets

    • Hi Mark. You can only deadlift 100kg, so you’re a beginner lifter. It’s natural to think that you need to hit your shoulders and arms directly to build them but they get perfectly sufficient stimulation from the big three exercises as you are at the moment. Whether the goal is size, strength or overall athleticism, the foundation is strength and that must be built up first. Consider 1.25x bodyweight for bench, 1.75xBW for squats, and 2xBW for deadlifts your first target before worrying about isolating body parts.

        • First get the 1RM. Then decide whether you should make it a multi-rep max. I’ve just thrown out a general guideline.

      • Andy, you are right I am a beginner. I have ponced about in gyms for 10 years but you can’t tell by looking at me. Too much time wasted doing P90X and other fad routines. Btw, I wasn’t including the weight of the bar within the 100kg, I suppose I should do with it being an olympic bar which I understand weigh 20kg? Anyway, I am now up to 130kg (including the bar) after 1 week. Getting there slowly.

  50. I’m not sure what i’m doing wrong. I followed LeanGains for about 2 months, and wasn’t really making any progress with it, so I decided to re-evaluate where I was, what I was doing and make sure i’m doing things by the book.

    Now, I’ve been doing it again for 5 weeks, and still don’t really see any progress. I calculated out my macros and erred on the sedentary side a little, since I have a desk job. I fast for 16-18 hours every day and haven’t missed a day in the 5 weeks. I always make sure I hit my protein macros and 90% of the time hit my carb/fat macros perfectly too. I weight train heavy with a buddy 4 days a week, and we basically do the Wendler 5 3 1 Boring but Big plan. I am about to hit the 1000lb club, so I am lifting relatively heavy and not doing pointless crap in the gym.

    I don’t understand what i’m doing wrong… I thought I would have made better progress by now, but I don’t seem to be seeing any changes in my body and I do feel like i’m losing a little strength in the exercises as i’m struggling to hit the lifts I was able to do 4 weeks ago. Any advice? Areas I should look at? Thanks!

    • Daniel, thanks.
      I can guess, but first can you tell me your height and weight? From that and your lifting stats given above I’ll have a good idea of your condition.

      • Thanks Andy,

        I’m 6’0, currently 195lbs. I calculated my T/R macros as… [redacted - I don't comment directly on macros]

        • Your energy intake is simply too high most likely. Drop your training down to three days a week – that’s a calorie reduction right there. Then look to drop down your carbs incrementally.

  51. Thanks for this great website and info.

    My question is: Could I do Ketogenic diet with IF (16/8)? Whats your thoughts about ketogenic diet in general?

  52. Hey Andy,

    That’s an awesome post!

    I am 243 pounds (110 kg) with 30% body fat, so I’ve been doing
    IF for the past week but been weight lifting 6 days/week and doing INSANITY (High interval circuit training) 5 days per week.

    INSANITY – 45 mins
    Weight lifting – typically an hour

    I am fasting for 20 hours and eating in 4 hours.

    I eat the same diet everyday. 1,600-1,750 calories
    Protein 50% – Carbs 30% – Fats 20%
    I cross 200+ gm protein everyday.

    Is that the correct way to do it for FAT LOSS only? I don’t care if muscles are lost as long as it is kept minimal.

    Once again thanks for this website and thanks for responding to your audience questions.

    • Mohamed, thanks for the comment and compliment. I think the first thing you’d benefit from reading is this. Then come back to this guide and follow the steps.

  53. hi!! I have a question… what if I do some HIIT on the “rest days”…. is this going to affect the results? still lost about how much I should eat.. so new on this that im lost! I found a IF calculator and it set my goal at 2100 on workouts days… what u think?

  54. Hi Andy,

    new to marcro counting…and your site…and fasting…looking to do the 8 hour window one..skipping bfast

    …still confused as how to work it all out
    also am v petite…and build muscle easily. I want near no muscle building and straight ‘cut’/fatloss

    do I need to alter anything..

    also NO cardio?? I have muscle want NO more.
    HOW many carbs..this is 100% different from any diet/weightloss eating plan I have ever done…

    is suitable for females?


    • Naomi, thans for the comment.
      Basically you just need to keep reading. The training articles answer your question there as well as your fear of getting bulky. The cardio articles answer your questions there.
      I appreciate your comment and enthusiasm, but please read the guides that I’ve created first.

  55. Hi andy!

    I want to start IF diet + Big 3 Routine from next week.

    What about swimming in the morning? I usually swim 2 – 3 x week at 7, just before work. It helps me wake up and gives me energy for whole day. Normally I had bananna + whey protein before and breakfast afterwards.

    When on IF I will have to skip pre-swimming meal and breakfast. Do You think swimming in the morning while on IF is good idea or not really?

    Many thanks!

    • Pawel, thanks for the comment. There isn’t really any need to do then, unless you’re training sprints.
      Do You think swimming in the morning while on IF is good idea or not really?
      I don’t think cardio for fat loss goals is a good idea, but if you’re doing it for fun then perfectly fine.

  56. Great post! I just did 8 weeks of IF with one of my clients and got some great results. We did 5 days of regular, healthy eating, then one “cheat day”, followed immediately by a 24 hour fast.

    Both of us dropped our body fat a few % points and definitely saw some better definition!

  57. Andy,

    I have read the FAQ and I’m still confused about off hours training. I train in the evening and if possible I try to train, then get in post workout meal before 16hr fast. This does not frequently happen, however and I’ll train at the 9-10p (beginning of the fast). Since training is occurring ‘between’ feeding periods I’m not sure if I consider the day leading up to the training that eventing the higher carb day, or if this day should be the following day when a lot of the recovery and muscle rebuilding are occurring.

    Could you help?

      • Excellent. I’ll do it. After 4wks or so re-evaluate. If it’s working, stick with it, if not alter the plan slightly (this is one of the biggest things I’ve learned from following this site and your responses to comments/questions!)

  58. Hi Andy,

    I just started my Leangains and have been eating all the macros as calculated for myself. I am doing 2 meals in the 8 hour window because thats what my schedule allows. The second meal on training days seems like ALOT of carbs. My daily carb intake was calculated to be 316 g of carbs on training days. I make the first meal 30%, and the post-workout meal 70% like Berkhan suggests. Shoveling down roughly 220g (about 1/2 lb) of carbs in the second meal seems like alot and leaves me feeling extremely bloated. Its almost like force-feeding myself. Am I doing this correctly? And should this bloated feeling be expected? Any suggestions?


  59. I am really looking forward to practicing this! While I am (super) grateful to hear that I can enjoy morning coffee…

    I take a serving of Athletic Greens, on an empty stomach, in the morning between coffee and breakfast. Is that still withing the guidelines of IF, or should I wait until my eating period begins?

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  61. Hey Andy,
    I’ve actually followed this protocol for quite some time and while it is very effective I have realized that some things can be improved. I was wondering if you could shed your opinion on some things.

    1. Maybe it is biased thinking but I have realized that the leaner I get the more carbs I need to eat in order to keep losing fat. Before I took the “guide” to mean low carb (paleo) on rest days and decent amount of carbs on WO days. However, experimenting with more carbs on rest days as I get leaner have actually steadied my fat loss. Similarly for energy, if I keep carbs low the leaner I get I feel very tired most of the time.

    2. While I understand you are mainly focusing on cutting/getting ripped I followed this guide religiously to also build muscle. In my opinion volume is one aspect that is seriously undermined for mass gains. Lately I’ve been incorporating more exercises and have definitely noticed a difference. In addition, the rest in between sets has made a difference as well (lower rest). Both of these aspects contribute to mass gains tremendously through greater “work” and muscle exhaustion. Can you comment on this?

    3. Finally, the timing of food. I think Dr. Andro says it best in this article The basic premise is that protein ingestion frequency does make a difference. Not only that, but I don’t think that filling yourself up with nutrients at one specific period in time can be the same as evenly consuming those nutrients over a period of time.

    Your comments will be much appreciated. Please realize that this is just my hypothesis and what I have noticed through experimentation and some additional reading. I still incorporate leangains and I don’t know what I would have done without it (hats off to Martin and you for the introduction).


    • Hi Jorda.
      1. In which case keep doing what you are doing.
      2. Only beginners generally can be successful chasing muscle mass gain when cutting.
      3. No. I imagine this is in reference to Layne Norton et. al’s work and was based on rodent research. The conclusion that Alan Aragon came to was, and I quote, “…it’s crucial to realize that the ‘thing’ he may be onto might be miniscule and not worth the effort or expense for non-competitive populations.” – AARR – May 2012, pg 2-4.

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  63. Hi Andy. I am on 8/16 IF plan, and I got some question. My fasting begins at 8 pm til 12 pm next day. I run about 35 min @ 7mph pace and 50 burpes in the morning (7 am) as my fasting workout. Around 5:30 pm, I do crossfit. My daily intake is around 2000 calories.,

    1. My understanding is that fasting workout should be a weight lifting, but is it okay to substitute weight lifting with running?
    2. Currently, I am not taking any BCAA during my morning workout. Since running reduces the muscle, should I consider taking BCAA?

    Thank you for reading this.

  64. My question is regarding sugar. Specifically, is there any harm with sugar intake on a rest day? I typically take in 35-40g of sugar on training days. About half that on rest days. Am I going to negatively affect my insulin sensitivity by taking in extra grams of sugar on a rest day? From what I’ve gleaned from the my leangains studies, like carbs, sugar intake is reserved primarily for post workout. Any info would be useful. Thanks!

  65. I’m new to the IF concept so please bear with me here. I was wondering as far as for the simplified macro plan how can you get sufficient caloric nutrition if your only eating 100 protein/meal and 140g carbs/ meal? I plan on eating 3 meal/day and it just doesn’t seem like a lot of food. I don’t want to start off with doing all those macro nutrient calculations it rather keep it simple for now.I’m a female and I’m 5’3″ (163cm) and weigh 200lbs (90kg) and at the end of this my goal is to be at 140lbs (63.5kg)Am I understanding this correctly or am I ALL the way off I’m loving the idea of counting macros vs counting calories

      • ok, so I’ve read a little about the eat.stop eat. and this is honestly not something I want to do. 24 hour fasting 2x/wk. 16-8 sounds more feasible for me (no disrespect to your recommendation Andy ;) )
        So again my question remains ;) Should I eat 100g protein/meal and 140g carbs/ meal per my 3 meal to get started with IF OR do I need to do the calculations first? ;)

  66. Hey Andy

    You mention that unless the trainee is obese or very overweight, they should consume slightly above maintenance on workout days.. Now I’ve got some good muscle mass, but am inclined to say my BF% is around 22%. Should I eat over maintenance workout or have a defecit both days?

  67. Hey, Andrew – I’ve decided to take a week break during my birthday, and I want to eat at maintenance – is there a formula or a way to estimate my maintenance now I’ve lost weight if I am losing pretty much exactly 1.15 lb’s a week and I know the exact amount of weekly calories I’m consuming – is it possible to know what my maintenance is from that?


  68. hey Andy,

    ex client of yours. I was on a program with you where I worked out at 9 am (with periodic bcaas till first meal at 1pm) and the more standard 1pm workout with first meal directly after. I’ve recently changed work so my new work out times will be 7am and 5pm.

    I’m guessing that 7am is similar to 9am just that I space the bcaas differently?

    but I’m at a loss about 5pm. do I not eat until after 5?

    looking forward to your guidance again.

    • Right, perhaps an extra 10g of BCAAs needed. For the 17:00 workout, consider putting 1/3 calories at lunch, then perhaps a protein shake a piece of fruit (a snack) after your workout at ~18:00, then the rest of your macros for dinner.

  69. Will shortening the eating window on non-training days to say 5-6 hours while still hitting macros during a cut help or hinder progress? I’ve found that it’s helped to curb hunger issues on non-training days.

  70. Hey Andy, I’m having a hard time choosing between a recomp or a cut followed by a lean bulk. I hate to throw stats at you but I’m 5″10 at about 150 lbs and feel like I shouldn’t be losing anymore weight, even though I want to drop my BF % down as low as I can. I have great upper body definition and lean mass (by this I mean my upper body is near where I want it to be) but my abs are covered by some unwanted belly fat. Do you recommend I still go for the cut and switch to lean bulk when I get the BF % I want or should I go with the recomp, and if so why? Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this man, it is greatly appreciated!

    • See this post.
      Also, if you are an experienced lifted then you may as well cut, re-comping isn’t likely to work. Beginner? Sure go for it. That’s general advice, I haven’t looked at your stats, can’t do that in the comments.

  71. Hey, Andy! I beginning to get a little frustrated here and need some advice from an expert like yourself, please. I have been doing IF for 2 months now in combination with weight lifting 3 days on 1 day off routine weekly (no cardio). I eat 2 good meals with high protein in my 8 hr feeding window with a total of about 2000 calories/day. I am 5″10 and started at 205 lbs and I am at 206 lbs and I am at about 22% BF. My belly fat is still there, I have gained muscle and got a bit of definition around shoulders and chest, but overall I have not seen much fat loss around my waist back and belly. Am I doing something wrong here?

  72. Hey andy, im a bit confused about all the BCAA pre workout stuff.
    I do fasted training and due to a in increse in my $ (yeyy) im able to finaly get back into suplements.

    In all my confusion about bcaa y ended up buying amios… not rly a big deal since it was kinda cheap, but the serving doesent meet up with the 10 g of bcaa (leu+ileu+val)… only 2.2 bcaa per serving.
    Since I guess the other 16 aminos doesent rly count towards the “10g bcaa goal”… im wondering, how much whey protein would be equivalent to those bcaa?

    Should I just aim for 10g of protein pre workout?

    • You brought the wrong stuff. Minor draw back for now. Just get the right stuff next time and consider increasing the dose for now.
      10g protein does not equal 10g BCAAs, so don’t just chug that.

  73. Andy, please answer.

    1. I don’t have BCAAs, but i train a lot in the morning. so which is better, fasted training without BCAA? or use whey for pre-workout?

    2. Does whey intake for pre workout break my fast?

    3. i prefer train 4 days split (chest, back, shoulder, legs), is it worse than 3 days split as in leangains guide?

    thank you so much for answering.

  74. Hello, I just have one question. Do I need to fast on rest days too? I’m going to start this approach and I wouldn’t want to guess what to do. Thanks in advance

  75. Andy,
    I have a question I’ve always wondered about these activity multipliers. As an example, my BMR is around 2100kcal, I have a desk job, and I work out 3 times a week. One way of looking at this (my preferred way) is to go with the 1.2 sedentary modifier (putting me up to a round 2500kcal) and then add in my workouts at roughly 300kcal a pop – giving me a weekly total of (2500×7)+(300×3) – 18,400kcal.

    However, if I was to go for the ‘lightly active’ multiplier (“1-3 days/wk of light exercise”) it’d be 2100*1.375* 7 – 20,212kcal, a pretty big 2000kcal difference. A quick bit of maths helps explain this – at my BMR, changing from activity level 1.2 to 1.375 is a calorie difference of 2600 a week – that’s close to a pound of fat. This is supposedly the difference between a week of no exercise and 1-3 days/wk of ‘light exercise’.

    So, my question is: Do you think this is realistic? Does exercising a few times a week really speed your metabolism to that extent? – Obviously it’s unrealistic, through ‘light exercise’ at least, to burn near that amount purely from exercise, but is this gap because of the ‘afterburn’ which boosts your metabolism for a longer period?

    If not – and you state earlier that people often over-estimate calories burned through – do you think that activity multipliers could be reviewed?

    Interested to hear your opinion.


    • Building muscle is wat increases your BMR and thus TDEE. I think you’re confusing this with calorie burn through activity. Regardless, what you need to do is to pick a number, track it, and then adjust accordingly.

  76. Hi, Andy! I have a question – is it better to be fasting during the active part of the day or not? I was thinking of making my meal plan so that I eat my last meal 1-2 hours before I go to bed (maybe even less). Is it best to eat before bed or should I be in a fasted state while sleeping? I have read that when sleeping all calories go to fat because the body doesnt need calories, but I do not really belive this. So my question is when is the best time for me to have the 16 hours fast and 8 hours feeding window if I intend to sleep from 3AM to 10AM ? Currently I plan to eat from 5PM to 1AM, so I can have my workout at around 3PM.

  77. Hi andy!! I am considering to give IF a try, my eating time would be from 2-10 pm, I usually work out at 7 pm when I am out of work. Do you think it will be better to move my training before the eating period, so I can train in a fasted state and have all my meals afterwards? or it does not matter when I train as long as I respect the IF norms?.

  78. Hi Andy,

    Trying to figure some of these things out on my own. Unfortunately while I can see and measure muscle gains and I’m making progress in all lifts but squats…I don’t seem to be losing much off the midsection (by looking and measuring).

    The question I have relates to counting fat from protein sources. I feel like quite a bit of fat is cooked off and left in the pan. Even still, on training days (lean buffalo and just enough butter to slick the pan for veggies) I don’t add any fat. On rest days (85% lean beef) I figure it’s accounting for about 45-50g of fat. Do you see a problem with this logic?

    Or is the answer just patience? On week 7.


  79. Hi Andy,

    I’ve spend weeks reading about If and learning about it on different websites. I just had my 3 rd child 9 weeks ago via C section. This was my first week on IF and I’m feeling great. It has even help me have a bowel movement each day in the morning!!! I’m usually constipated after I have surgery for weeks. TMI LOL Anyways I have a question, I’m one of the ones that have always thought you needed to do cardio for so many hours. Now that I read so much information it’s making sense to me. But I’m still confuse, what can I do for exercise to burn fat faster. I can’t do any lifting because my body is still healing. In the morning do I do HIIT? LISS? I own 3 kettlebells but don’t want to use them yet because of my surgery. I love doing planks. My doctor said I can start working out but to stay away from any abs workouts. My main goal is to first drop all the lbs. I have gained during my pregnancy and then start gaining muscle.

  80. Hi Andy,
    I have a whole bag of Leucine. Would it be OK to use 10g before a fasted workout instead of BCAAs.

  81. What are your thoughts on 2 (8a.m and 10a.m) whey hydrosolate pulses during the fasting hours with lunch being at 12:30pm and the same shake pre-workout and I train at 4:30pm?

  82. Hi Andy. I am confused with my calorie intake. Since i used weight gainer Iso Mass from Ultimate Nutrition which gives 650 calories, 80 gr carbs, 65 gr protein and 7 gr fat. I count my BMR and it was 1600 calories. So i am on Body Recomposition which is +20% (1925 cal) on training day and -20%(1283 cal) on rest day. Is it ok to get 1300 calories from real food and 600 cal from my Mass Gainer? or i need to get all of my calories from real food. I have been doing leangains since 4 weeks ago and using Isomass aswell. my abs began to visible but i afraid i am still at calorie deficit because i am sure workout 5 days a week will give me more fat from eating calorie surplus 5 days in a row. But what i saw here was visible abs not big belly like it was. Am i wrong or keep going?
    Thanks in advance

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  84. I’m doing the warrior diet. On my workout days I take 10g of BCAAs before training (like Martin suggests) and then nothing until I eat 8-10 hours later. Since I’m not eating a post-workout meal, should I ingest more BCAAs after the workout? Or are BCAAs only necessary pre-workout? Thank you in advance.

  85. Hello Andy,

    Thank you for this greate Site! In This Article you mention that your
    “advice is to keep the diet tight during your cut and then reap the rewards later. It’s not uncommon to be able to eat 2-3x the number of carbs after the diet and still maintain your abs. This is not magic, it’s science.”

    Can you please give me a explanation for this effect or maybe just a source why it is better to cut first? It sounds really interesting for me.

      • Thank you for your reply.
        I have read the article but I realy could not detect why the p-ratio becomes better with a lower body fat percentage. I just read that people that are naturaly very lean tend to gain more muscle and less fat when they overfeed.
        (“naturally lean (but NOT folks who have dieted to lean) individuals tend to gain more muscle and less fat when they overfeed and fatter individuals tend to gain more fat and less muscle when they overfeed.”)

        Maybe I just misinterpreted something wrong?
        I am looking foward to your answer.
        Best Regards

        • Because insulin sensitivity improves, leading to better calorie partitioning. I did tell you those key words in the reply, but I guess expecting you to put that in the search box in Lyle’s site was asking too much?

          Life favours the proactive; dishes out a bad hand to the lazy. Don’t let it form as a habit.

          • Well I read the whole article but I probaply skiped it.
            But sorry for asking you I guess expecting you to explain something was asking too much?
            A good teacher is like a candle – it consumes itself to light the way for others.

            • If you are curious about something, go research it. Help yourself, the information is there.

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  87. Hey, Andy. Thanks for the wealth of information. Using your simplified rules – I’m assuming carbs should always be used to adjust and tweak if a slightly lower deficit is needed, right? Also, when switching from a standard recomp to slow bulking where does the shift in calories, or macros, go? Say our rest day is P160 C50 F55 with training days at P150 C350 F25 would you up Carbs to maybe Rest 75-Training 400?

  88. Hey I have a question about rest days, i usually do low carbs 25-45g and im fine with that, does it matter what sources it comes from on a rest day? eg, would it be ok if it was 35g carbs and 25 of that sugar? i know carbs are carbs but is it more vital on a rest day?

  89. Hey Andy mate, hope you’re well. Stuff going good my end, took a lil break for a while, got back on it now – wanted to ask your opinion on something though, before I get too far into it..

    My current eating window is roughly: 12-6 pm – i assume it was okay, but lately I’ve been reading a lot about eating later in the evening (mainly what I read over @ leangains).

    I know its probably relevant to each person, but I can eat/fast at any times – would 12-6 be fine anyway? or from your experience/your clients experiences would you recommend something where I eat like 3-8 instead?

    Cheers mate.

  90. Hi andy im about to embark on my journey with leangains. Im sick of my 6 meals a day. Ive never tracked macros before just always thought i was eating enough but never seen any gains. Im 150lbs and going to do the clean bulk approach. My carb intake on training days is 340ish i was just wondering what foods you would eat to get to this amount. Thanks man keep up the good work

  91. Hello, Andrew – what a wonderful site you have here, I’ve been following your guidelines a lot lately, one question I have after todays meals though.. I decided to add the Sugar tab on myfitnessspal, and I had 260g carbs today, and 130g of that was sugar (cooking sauces, an energy drink & Almond Milk) – Is this too much? If it is, could you tell me the maximum amount you would personally allow from sugar, IF your macro was 260g carbs on a training day

    thank you very much! :)

  92. Hi Andy,

    1) so how much skim milk in my coffee is ok? I have about 24-32 oz in the morning and then the same amount later, with each cup being 16 oz. The 1/2-1 teaspon splash that Martin mentions “per cup” doesn’t even change the color of a 16oz cup. He said limit it if you drink a lot, but I’m not sure what qualifies as a lot. Doing the math, 1 teaspoon of milk is 90/48 approximately 2 calories.

    2) I have probably 2 2-liter bottles of diet soda during my fast on most days. Are these trace calories adding up enough to screw up my fasted state, or not really?


      • That’s great to know, thanks. So 2-3 2-liter diet sodas (approx 1 cal per bottle, trivial), 48-64 oz of coffee at 2 calories per 8 oz, and 3-4 tablespoons of skim milk at 6 calories per tablespoon adds up to 42 kCAl max, so should be fine.

  93. Hi Andy thanks for the reply yeah no one is perfect just wanted to know but thanks, last question, once calculated macros and my protein is high both days and in 2 meals wud have to hav 200g of protein wudnt it be better in 2-3 meals for how much protein ur body can take in that time? Like example say half 1 and half 7-9 are my meals but say each 1 hav a chicken breast some carbs and veg on training days, so like half 3 and half 5 cud hav just a pure protein shake? So even tho its really like 4 meals do you understand what I mean? Lol Thanks Daniel

    • I don’t understand what you mean, can you re-write that? Please spell properly this time as it doesn’t help things, we’re not in the 90′s/00′s anymore, everything has predictive text.

      • Sorry did not realise, what I meant was on my macros my protein is high for both days 200g but I eat 2 meals and I was meaning to say is it ok to have maybe 2 meals together having 100g of carbs and having 2 other times shakes or 1 time have a shake? Reason I’m asking is because your body only taking so much of that protein in 2-3 hours…so my example is 1st meal at half 1 50g of protein, then say half 4 protein shake and then half 7 50-100g of protein? Or even half 1, half 3, half 5 and half 7 have 50g of protein but only half 3 and 5 being a shake? It that’s more understanding lol thank you Daniel

        • “Reason I’m asking is because your body only taking so much of that protein in 2-3 hours”
          Wrong, that’s a myth. A two or three meal schedule for a recreational trainee is fine.

  94. Hi Andy- I haven’t seen this asked yet, but apologize if it has been already. When further adjustments are needed to lower calories, where is it best to make them? Lower on rest days or training days or both equally? Also, I get the impression that the switch from 3x/week to 2x/week workouts is normally predicated on novice vs advanced lifters, but but do you ever use 2x/week plans for increasing the weekly deficit since working out 2x/week allows for more rest days (and t/f lower weekly cal intake)? Actually, I’d be curious to hear whatever you have to say as to why someone would use 2x vs 3x per week workouts generally…Thanks!

  95. hi andy my 8 hour window is 1-9 and sometimes i eat at like 5-7 in the evening, the next dfay i was at work (having ate at half 5 night before) and i ate my dinner but somehow clock was too far forward and i ate at 11.45 so i had fasted for 18 hours but ate over an hour before my window time started if i carry on as normal and eat 7-9 tonight and then normal again tomorrow does it matter? thanks daniel

  96. The setup is pretty convenient – alternating 3 days training and 4 days rest per week.

    A problem many may face is what to do when they have the occasional training frequency change that is beyond their control. E.g. A weekend football tournament where you might play 2-3 games both Sat and Sun.

    In such a situation, what do people think? Three likely options?
    1. Eat standard training day (overfeed) targets both days and then change your next training day into a rest day.
    2. Keep the same eating plan despite activity change.
    3. Divide the training overfeed and rest underfeed evenly between both days but eat training day macro proportions (low fat, high carb)? E.g. If you were +30%, -10%, you’d eat +10% both days.

    I’m thinking option 1. Would love to hear others experience or thoughts.


    • Or 4, eat a few extra pieces of fruit on this day and don’t worry about it. – Seriously, that’s what I would do. In the long run it will all work out fine.

      • Interesting point, thanks Andy. Am guessing the basis for 4 is that the exercise, despite multiple games, is still of minimal impact on daily calorie requirements.

        • No, mainly it’s to keep things simple. An exact calorie match is not required. Adjustments based on tracking will sort out whether the deficit is left too severe or too little.

  97. Hi Andy :) please, I would like to ask you something.. Martin mentioned taking BCAA prior training.. I don’t have BCAA.. I only have hydrolyzed whey.. I have read that it spikes insulin… Do you think that if I took Hydro whey it would negatively affect my fat loss during workout ?? I mean that insulin.. thank you :)

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  99. Dear Andy

    Thanks for all detail and information about IF :D I had lose 7KG start from November till now and I not take it so serious and work out all time but I still work for me. I normally skip breakfast & lunch and take dinner only. and I have give my self a holiday like 2 week and 3 days not doing IF, keep eating lot and I gain 1 KG then without 2 week I doing like usual skip 2 meal and have the last meal and I lose 2KG, I think I gain muscles that why I sudden lose 2 KG. The most important part is I learn how to control my mind by stop eating . . . . . hahaha because before that I ate lot of junk food every days but now 1 meal per day and green tea for lunch. I feel energy and healthy now my target need to drop till 85KG this year the bad things is I will go holiday again and eat lot fat food for 3 weeks hope I can successful get my body fit.

    Many Thanks,
    Regard Nicholas Koo

  100. Hey Andy. I’ve implemented the ripped body cut method and am on week 5. I seem to be getting slightly skinny fat with a little bit of at noticeable around the ab area. Have you ever seen this happen? After looking at my macros it doesn’t appear as though I’m going over 15-20 g of fat on training day. Is this too low and could it have a negative effect?

      • Thanks for the reply. I will increase fat for now and see what happens. Hopefully I can muster up some cash soon to hire you full time, would be much easier to deal with the expert himself so I don’t have to figure out the issues! :-)

  101. I there just found this site through lifehacker. I usually train with dumbbells as I workout alone and my gym isn’t spotter friendly. Is there much difference from the barbell for things like deadlift and bench?

  102. Hi Andy,

    Is the eating routine followed every day? So 16hrs fast then 8hrs eating window? Some sites say fasting 2 days out of 7 so whats your advice on how many days a week to fast.

    Great site by the way. Thankyou


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  104. Hey Andy,

    First and foremost this is a great site. I’ve been reading up on intermittent fasting from yours and Martin’s websites for the past few weeks and am eager to see how it may work for me. However, I do have one question for you. Forgive me if this has been covered already or has a common sense answer, but would you say that the training regimens covered on here along with intermittent fasting would work well for athletes looking to improve their athleticism? I ask because I’m a basketball player a few years removed from playing college ball and am contemplating trying to play at that high level again and I saw you wrote that people can have the “body of an athlete without all the training an athlete may have to endure.” It seems obvious that a person who loses fat but gains muscle along with strength will also make improvements with their athleticism, but I just wanted your input on how well you think intermittent fasting and these training routines would translate into the physical abilities (leaping, quickness, speed) used in basketball.

    Thanks again,

    • Andrew, thanks for the comment. Think of a car you want to improve for a track: make it lighter, bigger engined and put better suspension on it for handling. As you say, being leaner will make you a better player as you have less weight to shift around. Getting stronger will make you faster, higher jumping and more physically present also. Keep in your coaches mobility drills and you’re gold. Here‘s a good article on the importance of a strong base for athletes. This one also.

      • Thanks for the quick reply, Andy. I’ve started training and I used your self setup guide for calculating my training and rest day macros so I can meet each day’s caloric goals respectively. I do have a question for you though that I’m beginning to get hung up on.

        I weigh 186 pounds and am 24 years old, and with an estimate of my lean body mass I calculated my BMR to be around 1950 calories. I chose to do body recomposition so my training days are around 2300 calories and my rest days around 1600 calories. I’ve had my protein at 200g each day but while I was re-reading some things on your site I saw that you wrote that research suggests there is little benefit to going higher than 2g/kg of lean body mass for protein. So with a body fat percentage at around 14% my lean body mass is 72kg. Do you think I may have set my protein goals for each day a little too high? With that calculation it seems I should have set my protein goals more in the range of 140-150g per day. It’s only been about a week and a half so it may be too soon to ask this question, but I’ve already put on a couple of pounds that I wasn’t expecting and am now at 189lbs so I just wanted to see what you thought. Each training session thus far I’ve been able to increase my weight for each exercise so that’s been encouraging, but I just wanted to see if I’ve made some simple mistakes along the way of calculating my macronutrients.

        Also, I’ve been supplementing creating each day so I’m sure those few pounds could very well just some extra water weight. But based on this little information does it seem like I’ve set my protein goals too high?

      • Andy,

        I’ve been very satisfied with my results and gains I’ve made in my lifts in the short time I’ve been using intermittent fasting and The Big 3 lifting routine. I’m still fresh on it as it’s only been 5 weeks since my start date, but I can tell the the program is working well. However, I’ve come across a snag already because I’ve been experiencing a lot of elbow/arm pain after I do my squats. I looked into it and it looks like I just need to improve on my form and possibly flexibility because that seems to be the cause of the problem (grip too close, back possibly too vertical). Regardless, I’m planning on resting and taking 1 or 2 training days off and getting it checked out by a doctor to see if they can give me any answers to if I injured myself more than I think.

        So my question right now is are there any exercises you might suggest to use in place of squats if my elbows continue to give me problems? I know it’s a crucial exercise and there’s probably not many adequate replacements for it, but it’s been bad enough my past two sessions that after my squats I wasn’t even able to finish my workout due to the pain in my elbows and arms.

        Thanks again for all the info, Andy.


  105. Thanks for the great advice !

    I want to ask sicne i’ll be out of work ” on vacation ” i’ll be in the gym everyday is that ok ?

    • If you had your entire life to dedicate to training and training alone, I still wouldn’t advise that you trained every day. More doesn’t equal better.

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  108. Hi Andy,

    Firstly, just want to say thanks so much for the wonderful site. I have been playing around with IF for a while now with mixed results but have decided to do the leangains method and really focus on it and see how I get on for the next 12 weeks. Just one quick question, I can only work out late in the evening due to work and having a young family which means that I am usually not in from my workout until roughly 9.30 – 10.00 at night and I was wondering what your take is on me having my largest meal of the day (approx 1300 cals of a 2700 total training day allowance). Do you think that this is too late at night to be eating such a large meal bearing in mind that I follow this with a minimum of a 16-18 hour fast the following day?

  109. I’ve been following Leangains since september, started with recomp to get used to the lifestyle and gained shitloads of strenght and lost plenty of fat (been away from the gym for almost two years, only riding mountain bikes). I’ve now been on a -30/+10 cut for 6 weeks and are pretty much at my target weight, not lost any strength in any movement, rather the other way around (3 slit RPT). Forever cured from fuckarounditis, feels god damn good. I know that it’s been said before, but this is so damn easy to adhere to, cutting is delightful! Don’t underestimate the talk about productivity during the fast, I’ve been nailing top grades in every course at Uni this fall and doing 80% of my work between 8am-1pm (masters degree in engineering).

    Now I’m looking to transfer slowly to maintenance then enter slow bulk until summer. For me keeping low bf is more important than massive gains, so I was thinking about doing an even slower bulk, just with greater focus on minimized fat gain. I’m a downhill and enduro mountain bike racer that simply wants to look good, so no bodybuilding aspirations here…

    Would it be “better” to reduce the calories on rest days to a larger deficit, or on training days to a smaller surplus to fight the fat? I was thinking in terms of difference from let say -15/+30 compared to -10/+25 or even -20/+40. Last but not least, thanks Andy for macro counting rules and all around awesome info – a great compliment to Martin’s work and in many cases a lot easier to understand and apply. Thanks!

    • As an athlete clearly you are well in tune with your body. Now that you have a good baseline, when adjusting things upwards or downwards, try both. Note how you feel after your regular training sessions. Use the one that makes you feel and perform best for your sport.

  110. You have made lean gains if very easy to understand ! Thank you ! In my first week now and looking forward to the next six weeks .

  111. Hi Andy, last year I did a three month body re-comp as an online client, achieving okay results. When we parted ways, we decided to switch to a cutting diet, dropping training day carbs from 300g to 200g. After four weeks I evaluated progress, and felt i’d hit a ‘stick point’. I reduced training day carbs down to 150g / rest day 50g.

    My question is this: is it possible to go too low with my carb intake (especially on training days), thus hindering fat loss? I’ve just recalculated my cutting macros, and based on the website rules, I should be eating around 340g of carbs on training day. I’m currently consuming under half of that amount. Could this be detrimental?

    I don’t want to mess things up by reducing calories too much, but at the same time my progress on the old macros seemed to slow right down. Advice would be great, i’m happy to calculate things myself, but could do with your opinion please mate.

    Cheers, Phil

      • Cheers Andy, I’ve read back through that email and that’s given me a good reminder, but why the need for a diet break?

        A bit confused. I had two weeks over Xmas/New Year where i took a break from my usual diet routine, so another break scares me haha!

        I’ve set my own criteria for my cut (3cm’s off stomach, visible lower abs), not there yet. Is it possible my body has decided its had enough of this cutting diet?

        • Sure, it’s more likely though that either:
          1. You didn’t follow the diet break rules well enough and so it didn’t have the desired hormonal effect.
          2. It’s a lack of patience.

          • Andy thanks for your quick reply. I’ve got two queries regarding your response, if you could answer these ill be a happy man (and get back to training as opposed to reading/thinking :

            1. The diet break rules – are these explained anywhere, or can you elaborate?
            2. Patience – I agree , this is essential. The reason I question is because I feel I’m very focused & committed (classic OCD character!). Been following the programme for over 6 months, but see people achieving better results in only 2/3 months on the website. This makes me feel I’m doing it wrong?

            Again, serious props for your time, most appreciated mate
            Cheers, Phil

            • 1. Guidelines sent to your inbox.
              2. Do they really? Or are there factors there that you’re missing? (More initial muscle mass, age, sleep etc.) Regardless, focus on yourself and improvements of yourself only.

  112. Hi I would like to ask something about my meal plan. I am currently on something like this :

    13:00 – tuna – cca 150kcal 30 g protein
    15:00-16:30 WO
    17:30 – 300g rice 500g breasts 200g cottage + vegetables….
    20:00 – 250g cottage + nuts

    I have been on this for about 5 months.I have gained some muscles with fat as well.. This meal routine is like 2700-2800kcal (about 300kcal over my maintaince). I have read that if I want LG for fat loss or recomp, it is best to train fasted and according to martin berkh… :D it is best to take some bcaas but I am not about to buy any bcaa, because I don’t have enough money.. I only have a protein and I would like to know, if I can replace bcaa with it.
    so it would look like this :

    13:00 whey protein (2 scoops maybe)+ maybe with some nuts because I would already break my fast with protein, so I would add some nuts… it is only my intuition, correct me if I am wrong..

    15:00-16:30 WO (should I take some protein after my workout or no??)
    17:00-17:30 – the same
    20:00 – the same

    I would like to do recomp – add some muscles and lose some fat.

    what do you think about that ?? do you think that it is ok to replace those bcaa with whey ??
    thank you :)

    • Hi Patrik.
      For your set up please note the comments in red on this page.
      “Do you think that it is ok to replace those bcaa with whey?”
      You don’t need to take BCAA as you aren’t training fasted. Better to have real food than whey for lunch.

  113. Hi, great site.
    What’s your protocol with training early morning 7:30am, the same guidelines as leangains ? Using bcaa pre & post workout?
    What about lglutamine & creatine can these supplements be taken in the fasted state?

    Is it still possible to gain as much muscle with this protocol than the normal fasted workout time?

    • Hi Ryan. 1. I introduce Martin’s work as best I can on this site, so yes please follow his guidelines.
      2. Glutamine – don’t bother.
      3. Creatine – take it or leave it.
      4. Yes.

  114. Hi, Andy. Not having any trouble meeting the Macros prescribed. This way of eating seems quite sustainable. The protein intake is quite a bit higher than I am accustomed to so I am wondering if after the Cut Phase of the program is the protein intake relieved at all in favor of more carbs on training days and/or more fat on rest days during the Slow Bulk or maintenance? Thanks

  115. Hello Andy! first of all congrats and thanks for an amazing blog – its so inspirational just like leangains when I first found it. To keep this short, I have a couple of questions:

    1. I am training fasted in the morning at 7:45. I’m taking 10g glutamine + 3g taurine pre-training, 10g leucine during and 10g glutamine post-training. Also right now I am adding arginine to pre and post. 15-20mins after the post drink I have a 70g recovery drink. Does this make any sense, as it breaks the fast (lunch comes 2hrs later)? Also, would I be better with “real” BCAA instead of glut/leucine/arginine combo?

    2. I did a “half-assed” version of leangains during last year where my macro-cycling and calorie-split were not wide enough (I still did cut 10+ kilos), and I am correcting this now as per your simplified rules. I have a desk job and currently dont do any other activity than walking max 5km total per day and playing some drums, so I chose 1.1 activity multiplier. The calories seem *very* low to me, should I just go with this for say 2-4 weeks and then adjust to 1.2 if needed? I’m going with recomp first to get used to it.

    Stats today 78kg, BF17%, 36yrs.

    Thanks and all the best to fellow IF’ers from Helsinki!

    • Hi Toni. Your first question to me is focussed on supplements. This is a completely ass-backwards way of looking at your nutritional goals. This has been mentioned in several posts, not least the introduction. The fact that you have also asked whether a 70g post-workout recovery drink will break the fast boggles my mind. So much so in fact, that though I have a cracking answer for you on the sups, it’s completely drained me of motivation to write the long response. You “half-assed” your question, forgive my responding in kind.

      • Ok thanks, I realise what you mean and understand that supps are non-significant, but I clearly had overlooked that it also included basic recovery drinks per se. I suppose judging by this I will ditch the PWO drink completely and focus on the macros.

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  118. Andy great blog. Currently my eating window is between 1pm & 9pm. I workout at noon and eat post workout at 1pm. My second & final meal is at 8-8:30 and this has worked well for me.

    I will be leaving the country for a month and I will continue to lift however I will not be able to lift at noon. I will most likely end up working out between 5-7pm. I’m not sure how/if I should adjust my ‘eating window’ (I do like the 1pm to 9pm window & would prefer to stick with that). Should I eat a small meal @ 1pm and move the majority of my food to my last meal of the day? Thanks, J

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  120. Hey, Andrew :) I am posting my questions here as requested, wasn’t sure which part of the site but I assume this part is probably the right place!

    1) I read on your site about cheat meals, what should I be aiming for on a rest day but cheat meal day.. do I hit my macros still? and do I aim for high carb, low fat or high fat low carb (I know its a rest day but i thought an idea of a cheat meal was to get carbs in to feel better psychologically basically once a week i eat with my family/friends and It’d be nice to know how far i can go without torturing myself about it..

    2) Carbs from cooking sauces/energy drinks are sugar as I believe.. do they just count to carbs like normal? or should they be avoided totally?

    3) What kind of macros should I be hitting on a diet break? Should it be low fat/high carb or high fat/low carb – I assume protein always stays at the same as like before.

    3b) Should I be using maintenance calories on rest day AND training days during a diet break? Or still eating more on my training day

    Thank’s so much again mate!

    • Hi Richard.
      1. I don’t support the idea of cheat meals or cheat meal days in the sense of ‘ad-lib’, but I don’t think everyone should hit their macros 100% of the time. It’s not realistic. A little common sense will get you through when eating out.
      2. See FAQ.
      3. Eat to your hunger.

      • Thanks, I read through the FAQ and yeah, ok carbs are carbs are carbs :D – I get that, but I guess the idea of an energy drink for carbs makes me think its just a bad thing? But I guess it is okay?

        And eat to my hunger and ignore macros for 2 weeks but just don’t go ridiculous?


  121. Hi Andy,
    I’m a 20 year old guy, skinny-fat, 5.7 and 150 pounds
    I have been spinning my wheel for months because I have been told that I’m already scrawny and I can’t lose weight as I don’t weight enough and I should bulk instead but since I’m already at 16-17% I’m afraid of what I would look like after a bulk.
    I wonder what do you think of this? Do you think in bbing forums there’s a fear of losing weight and so everyone think gaining weight is the answer when actually losing it is the better move?
    Do you think people underestimate how low your weight can be if you want to be lean?
    I’m paralyzed. I’m afraid to bulk as my face is already fatter than I like even though my arms are as thin as twigs. I’m afraid to cut and lose the small amount of muscle I already have.
    I’m soft, shapeless, small but also plump. Is a body type you’re familiar with and what do you suggest to people like me usually?


      • Thanks Andy
        I read the article and you say skinny-fat people should try recomposition macros but also said that cutting is an harsh reality-check. Does that mean I should recompose but with a focus on losing weight? I mean that the scale should go down?

        • It really depends where you are with your lifting and thus how much potential you have to make linear gains. Based on that I’d choose a deficit, rough maintenance or somewhere in-between. Whether your can achieve concurrent fat loss and muscle gain also depends on how good/badly timed your diet is, how good your training is…
          It’s not a simple question, hence the long article mate. As with most things the unfortunate answer is… it depends.

  122. Hi Andy,
    Thx for putting such a great site.
    Lots of stuff to learn.
    Question. I am 38 and 6″.
    I was pretty lean when I started your diet. My start weigh was 176 but sometimes it would spike to 180 which I assume is normal due to water retention. My lifts slowly go up, but what frustrates me that my belly fat looks the same. I can see 2pack and sometimes 4pack but that’s all. I never can get to that look your clients get where you can see belly veins.
    My macros are 160 protein, 40g fat on training day and 80g on non training.
    Carbs 0 or little on rest day ,240g on training days. I train 3 times a week.
    Stats are: deadlift = 275×8-10
    Incline dumbbell press 65×9
    Squat 135×19 – I don’t go heavy here in favor of deadlift – not a squat type body friendly
    Chin body weight+ 40lbx5
    I have been on your system for 8months and I look exactly same but stronger. I did 1 diet break for 1 week after 4 months, but did not see a difference. Last two months I tried to lower the carbs to 200 and I still did not see any difference. I know how to calculate macros so i definitely eat right calculated amount.
    What change would you recommend if any? Thx in advance If this is something you can answer.

    • That really depends on what the data says. Did you take body measurements? Never go by just the mirror. See my guide on tracking your progress.
      You’ll probably want to make a cut to your macros somewhere and usually the best place to do that is to carbs, for various reasons.

      • thx for reply, I always though that going lower with carbs would not work because I was already on deficit. I will go to 150 for 2 months and adjust from there. Again, thx for your tip. What is your take on leptin.

          • thx man, those were great articles!!! Your site all together with links you provide is a ocean of information.
            Turns out that it is all about finding the right macros by experimenting.
            It is amazing how body works. Last time I ate less carbs and on my rest day I barely could go to sleep and all I was thinking was food, but when I eat a little more carbs on training day I don’t get that sensation on rest day. Is this a good sigh and does it mean I am on bigger deficit and loosing fat?

  123. Hi Andy, I am a vegetarian so getting protein is a bit of a task. I usually use shakes and bars. Any suggestions? Thank you :)

    • Depends what kind of vegetarian you are. Have a look around on google, I’m sure there are hundreds of sites out there that deal with protein recommendations for vegetarians.

  124. Hey Andy, in regards to adjusting ones carbs/calories on training say (while cutting) is there a reccomended amount to drop or increase by (ie: drop 25g if not leaning out. Or increase 25g if getting very lean). Also should the rest of the calories be made up for some how, when reducing the carbs

    • I do have a guide to this, but I save it for clients, not because it’s “a secret” but because it makes a lot more sense after going through the process of how I do things for 12 weeks together. To publish it without that would be confuse rather than educate.

  125. Hi andy just want to know when following this diet how often can you hav a cheat meal, I just recover’d had the flu and cudnt diet for a week, so wana no wt cn I do to lose this excess body fat that I hav picked up, picked up 2kgs in a week, and my body fat was 5% its 9 % again now

  126. Hi Andy,

    How important is eating “clean”? or is it ok to eat whatever (within reason) if you are hitting your macros consistently?

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  128. Andy, after a couple of weeks having problems with sticking to my macro’s, I finally figured out the problem i am having. Fasting is no problem at all. However as soon as i have eaten, and this counts for every meal on every day. I stay hungry for around a half hour. Even after my post workout meal which gives me almost stomach pain because i am that full. However, I stay ‘hungry’ for that half hour.

    When I manage not to eat in that half hour, problems are gone. But sometimes those moments really are a pain in the ass, especially when i am at home chilling, doing nothing, watching television with my girlfriend, i already hit my macro’s and she is eating crap haha. I obviously cant tell my girlfriend not to eat it. ;)

    Any thoughts on this?

    • It takes your body time to recognise that you are full. Same for everyone. If it’s truly that much of a “pain in the ass” as you put it then eat more slowly. You’ve probably heard the old advice of chewing your food 20x before swallowing right? That’s where it comes from.

  129. is diet for a while I just don’t know how to structure it to my day to day life.

    I work from 7pm to 7 am. I work 3 days per week with every other weekend. I also pick my son up from school everyday at 11am. I then come.back and sleep some more if I have to work that night.

    I have calculated my macros already. BTW I am 6 feet 238lbs and trying to get to 195-200 then slow bulk to 215-220.

    I am not sure how to set up my fasting and feeding periods.

    I plan on working out on mwf at around 11:30am or noon. I just don’t know if I could workout, eat my pwo meal and then go to sleep for a bit if I have to work a night that I have a workout scheduled for.

    I will be doing stronglifts or starting strength so I can gain some strength back. I have gotten very weak which I new would happen going from over 300lbs in February to my current weight of 238. I just don’t want to lose any more strength.

    How would you do this?is diet for a while I just don’t know how to structure it to my day to day life.

    I work from 7pm to 7 am. I work 3 days per week with every other weekend. I also pick my son up from school everyday at 11am. I then come.back and sleep some more if I have to work that night.

    I have calculated my macros already. BTW I am 6 feet 238lbs and trying to get to 195-200 then slow bulk to 215-220.

    I am not sure how to set up my fasting and feeding periods.

    I plan on working out on mwf at around 11:30am or noon. I just don’t know if I could workout, eat my pwo meal and then go to sleep for a bit if I have to work a night that I have a workout scheduled for.

    I will be doing stronglifts or starting strength so I can gain some strength back. I have gotten very weak which I new would happen going from over 300lbs in February to my current weight of 238. I just don’t want to lose any more strength.

    How would you do this?

  130. hi andy,

    a quick question that i’d be grateful for an answer to.

    on rest days, is it detrimental to consume BCAA powder before the feeding window? i have a feeling you’re going o say it’s unnecessary, but i suppose there’s something psychological in me that wants to “top up” in the mornings…

    thanks for reading.

    • It causes an insulin spike which you don’t want. It’s a necessary evil on balance on the training days, and just pissing in the wind on rest days. In the medium term it’s most likely it will make little difference to body composition, but you’re just wasting money.

      • aha. i knew there had to be a a good reason. cheers. i’ll stop trying to find ways around it all and stick to the guides.

        thanks mate

  131. Andy, I know you say the number of meals is irrelevant but does that really include one meal a day? On many of my rest days, one meal is actually most convenient (so yes, I end up fasting more like 18-20 hours sometimes before the next day’s meal. But is this less than ideal or is it close enough?

    And do quality whole-grain carbs mattter on training days if I’m getting enough veggies? What if I want to get most of my carbs from veggies and low-fat froyo?

  132. Hoping for a reply on here. Stats are 5’11″ (71in) 169lbs. I am in the military and consider myself fairly active. I always use 1.3 for my activity level to avoid over estimating. I have been using IF/LG for about a month now and I have dropped a few % of BF and went from ~180 to my current weight of 169. At ~10% looking to get down to 4-6% BF before I start to slow bulk. I workout 3x a week and focus on Deadlifts, Chins, Squats and BenchPress. My question is about my Macros. This is what I am currently using.

    Macro Split – Workout Day
    Caloric Goal 2200
    Protein(g) 170
    Fat(g) 30
    Carbohydrates(g) 313

    Macro Split – Rest Day
    Caloric Goal 1600
    Protein(g) 170
    Fat(g) 60
    Carbohydrates(g) 96

    That puts me at an average of 1900 cal a day. I calculate my maintenance calories to be 2337 which means i am at a decent deficit. Results have been slowing which is understandable but how should I tweak my macros to finish up the last few % of BF? Should I go even higher on workout days and lower on rest days? Workout days are usually 2 meals and rest days are usually 1 with a shake to hit my protein for the day. Any critic would be wonderful!

  133. Dear Andy,

    I see that the feeding window should be no more than an hour after my workout. However, I typically lift in the evenings. After my workout, I usually shower at the gym, change and have a 45 min commute home. So in my case, it ends up being about 2 (sometimes even 3) hours afterwards. Is this still an acceptable time to take in my post workout meal? Or do I have to stick to the window of no more than an hour after a workout session?

    Thank you so much, and I hope you’re enjoying your time in Japan!

    • Some info might be helpful;

      20 yrs old, 83 kg, 6 ft 1.
      Used to be 120 kg but just counted calories to get to where I am now.

      I just can decide whether I’m skinny fat or just fat (pretty normal weight for my height but I’m flabby).. Also, my lifts are pretty weak even though I’ve been training for 6+ months.

      Once again, thank you.

  134. Hey Andy, I really enjoy how detailed this program is and it does make sense. I am sure this has been mentioned in a previous post however, I do my lifting in the morning and my feeding-window will be from 1pm to 9pm. I am sure that will not be a problem, my only concern is lifting on an empty stomach. I assume this will just take some getting used to? Have energy levels been sustained?

  135. Hey Andy,

    I workout 5 days a week (going to the gym has become an addiction). However I just started IF (2pm-10pm) and I am wondering if become of the amount of time I spend in the gym it could cause muscle loss.

    Thanks in advance! I have told many of my friends about this site, hopefully they will believe me when I get these last sets of packs ;)

    • Keep reading buddy, you’ll come across my thoughts on training. Follow the links there also and you’ll have your answer. – When you have one tell me what it is in a reply.

  136. Hi Andy,

    I have small question about BW workout
    I have constructed my routine

    Monday: Pull-ups (weighted) ; leg rises; calv rises each 4 sets up to 10 rep
    Wednesday: Bridges; Head Stand; push-ups;
    Friday: Dips (weighted); Squats; 4 sets up to 10 rep
    I do not feel huge soreness after my workouts, I can finish them in 35-45 minutes

    Basically my question is about is that enough to support carb cycling or, should I add more exercises to my routine??

    Thank you in advance. I really appreciate your opinion.

    • Depending on how this is executed then is could well be yes. I won’t say a blanket “yes” as that’ll just give people the green light to use it and screw around.

  137. Hey, great post.
    I usually train 5pm-6pm sometimes 5.30-6.30

    I have been fasting 3 days now, does the below plan sound good (recently purchased the Renegade diet)
    12:00 Eat 3 eggs, greens, vit tab
    17:00 Train – 10g bcaa 15 mins pre workout, post 25 gram whey shake
    19:00 Eat Main Meal
    20:00-9:00 Smaller meal (on higher carb days)

    thanks for your share

    • Keep reading Yoda. All the information is here. I can’t yay or nay a meal plan without looking at the picture as a whole. Furthermore, If you’re doing another diet plan then you had better follow the rules of that diet plan.

  138. Hey Andy, great info here and I’ve enjoyed this site. I work graveyards x3 a week straight and tend to stay up all day for the first and last day. Seems hard to fast those days any ideas? Also, I’m finding it hard to eat the required calories for a re-comp and have been eating higher fat to get there…… should I do a cut first? I have a slight skinny fat type body with 12-15% bf.


  139. Very nice andy! i’d like to ask is it ok to use my pre work out supplements during fast period? and take whey and such for my post work out period? im kinda confuse as starter! im not new to working out but yes fasting is so new i dont even know where to start lol .. plsss advice ! many thanks!!

    • If you are training fasted then try and keep any pre-workout supplement under 50kCal and take your BCAAs. Refer to Martin’s “Leangains Guide” if you are looking to do early morning fasted training as you will not want to take a shake PWO. If you are not, then it isn’t necessary. Keep reading buddy.

  140. Hi Andy I am new to IMF but it makes sense. How many weeks should it be done? I barbell train 3 times a week but really need to fix my diet to lose fat. Thanks

  141. First of all thank you for all the simplified information. Martin says about 90% of your macros will come post workout if you follow the 1-9pm feeding (workout @ 12 pm). Their has to be an error in that? This diet forces you in a lot of ways outside your box and what we consider normal and the results page shows that this is valid. According to my macros that would be 198g protein, 301 g carbs and about 28 g fat at 1 meal!! Unless I read his pages on leangains wrong. I know its necessary tapering down carbs and other macros but do you have a recomendation on percents? Like 50% total from your macros post workout, 25% second meal and 25% at your last meal before fast starts. I hope its not even more complicated like 70% carbs and only 30% protein post workout, etc….

      • I am a Endomorph. The Macros for my workout days are 335g carbs, 30 g fat and 220g protein. My activity level i placed at a 1 doing calculations even though i am doing the workouts already that you suggested, 3 days a week, thats pretty much as active as i get. Your thoughts on doing the meal structure as follows
        1pm-167g carbs,15g fat, 110g protein (50% of total calories)
        4pm-83g carbs, 7.5g fat 55g protein 7.5g fat (25% total calories)
        8:30pm-83 g carbs, 7.5g fat 55g protein 7.5g fat (25% total calories)

  142. Hi need help im on around 1400 calories doing lifting tht you reccomend, but havent lost any weight in 1st too weeks dnt no wht im doing wrong.having my window 12-8 getting bulk calories postwork out which is6.45pm. Eating really well no rubbish.just need some help as what im doing wrong. Thnks

    • If you’ve been dieting for an extended period then the reason you’re not losing weight could be due to metabolic slowdown. Or, it could be that you are growing muscle at the same rate that you are losing fat if you are a beginner. Measure your stomach.

  143. Hi andy
    Im currently following a leangains diet using simplified rules because I dont have the time to count calories and macros.
    By this I mean I just aim to eat low fat high carb foods on training days and high fat low carb on rest days.

    I’m just wondering on a rest (high fat low carbs day) could you give me any general advice on the amount of carbs I can consume? Is it strictly as little as possible (e.g <50g) or I am able to consume more than this as long as its not too much? I dont mean can I go and eat pasta on rest days or anything I just find a lot of the high protein recipes I see in leangains and other sources are carby, and to get this protein its seems I have to get the carbs along with this.

    Also whats the maximum amount of time you recommend staying in the fasted state? Sometimes its more convenient for me to fast for 18-20 hours, am I burning muscle by this stage?

    Any advice would be great, thank you in advance

    • Hi Ben, one or two pieces of fruit and plenty of veggies as a general guide.
      The latter answer is much more complicated. If you don’t have a good reason then don’t screw around with the feeding window. Don’t go less than 4 hours.

  144. Andy, is it better to train fasting or after I’ve broke my fast, which is more beneficial. Also, I can train at 6:30 am on an empty stomach or a at 8:00 pm after breaking fast. I’m not sure which to do

    • There isn’t conclusive evidence for either as yet, so I would try both a few times and see which gives you better performance in the gym. The caveat is that you can eat a sufficient number of your daily calories before bed without sleep being interrupted. -Some sleep like a baby on a full stomach, some can’t get off.

  145. Hi Andy,

    If my training time is 9.30-10.30 am and my first meal of the day is 1.00pm, does it affect my diet in any way? I saw somewhere on to drink 10g BCAA at 2 hour intervals till breaking fast. Is that a necessity?
    Also, if on a rest day I decided to do some light exercise (rugby for example for 30 mins) how would it affect my rest day diet? (if it does, what about 1 hour)

  146. Hi Andy,

    I’m a little confused. Does this mean that We fast everyday or 2 times a week. And in the 8 hour window do we consume all the calories we usually eat for a day or a reduced amount.

    My apologies for being thick

  147. hi,great articles really intresting but still but confused. with my work schedule i cant train till late like 530 or 630 would i have my biggest meal straight after. im around 66kg and struggling with how many calories i should female do i have a longer window to eat or stay with 8 hour.many thanks

    • Presuming you go to bed before midnight, have lunch at a usual time then have a bigger dinner. Follow those descriptions, as long as you’re within your macro budget for the day then the exact split isn’t such an issue.

  148. Hi Andy:

    I found this website by accident yesterday and it pretty much kept me up way past my bed time reading all the articles. :P

    I’ve been on a pretty strict workout/diet regimen w/ supplements for the past 8 weeks and although I have seen some growth in my upper body, I feel like the results have come to kind of a stand-still in the last few weeks. My workout buddies swear by cardio for the fat-loss in the midsection I want, but they also say things like “abs are made in the kitchen” and this seems like a bit of a contradiction. My diet has been good for the most part — lean meats, whole grains, healthy fats, 5-6 meals a day. I average between 1,200 – 1,800 calories on any given day. Even though I have lost weight (from being inactive to pretty active will do that on its own, I’m sure) I feel like after 8 weeks I should have seen better results by now. So I’ve decided to try out I.F.

    I’m 28, 5’6ish, and around 160lbs and after following the formula you outlined, I determined on my training days I should be taking in around 2,400 calories and on rest days around 1,500… Is this right?? 2,400 calories to CUT weight? It seems nearly impossible to ingest that many healthy calories in an 8 hour time span and I (forgive me if I overlooked it) wanted to ask personally if this was normal? Because my calorie intake from my current diet is WAY below that and I’m not seeing crazy good results like you have pictured on here.

    Also — do protein shakes need to be taken within the 8 hour span or can these be taken at other times?

    Thanks in advance for any insight, and I look forward to trying out I.F.

      • Thanks for your response, Andy. I did. If I calculated it right, they look like this:
        Training Days: 180P/ 30F/ 350C
        Rest Days: 180P/ 60F/ 120C

        The rest days are pretty easy but I’m having a hard time meeting my carb quota on training days. Either way, thanks again for this awesome site. I’ve been I.F. for 3 days now and it’s really not that tough at all.

        One more quick question: My food window is 12-8. Because of my occupation, my sleep schedule is wildly erratic. One day I went to bed at 10 and woke up at 6. Yesterday I went to bed at 4am and woke up at 12pm. Should I stay on the 12-8 food window no matter what, or should I push it back an hour or two when I wake up late?

        Thanks so much buddy.

  149. Hi Andy,

    I am 26 years old, never worked seriously on weight or sports training in and i just want to do something with my life – most importantly to improve my health, strength and well-being. I am really interested in the whole IF approach, and i think i understand the principles pretty well. But i have a peculiar situation in my hands. I live in a small town where here is no….ummm…gym….
    In the whole “i wanna change my body/health” approach, i have just bought a pair of adjustable dumbbells 15kg/33lbs each (in a total of 30kg/66lbs) and i also have a simple chinup bar – no handle variations. But that’s about it as far as equipment goes. (I don have the money to invest on a n olympic barbell setup, or more dumbbells – for the time being)

    Could you suggest a training programm that can be combined with Martin’s IF with my equipment limitations?

    I am also thinking of skipping dinner (much easier for me than skipping breakfast) and working in the morning (8-9am) instead of 12-1 am that Martin suggests.

    What are your thoughts on this?

    Thank you for your time,

    (PS sorry if i made any spelling mistakes)

  150. Hi Andy i have just found your site and keen to have a go at IF. I was 120kgs 5yrs ago and managed with low GI eating and walking lost 30kgs ,but now have hit that wall !
    What to do and where to go from here ? Over the last 18mths I have tried a number of methods to change my body comp ie Paul Chek
    Poliquin but to no real gain ,had a DEXA scan &
    still have 23% Body fat.. Hope you can advice on my next move..
    Cheers Russ

  151. So I started my training day, ate my macros for lunch….come evening a work emergency held me at the office – so I skipped the gym.
    -What would you do for the second meal? Just stick to the macros?
    -What would you do the next day? Lower the carbs?


  152. Hey Andy, first of all thanks for the loads of info on the site, you make it much clearer than Martin’s site. Here is the thing, i have been doing LG for several months now, but my progress is very slow (to the point where i sometimes believe i have no progress at all). I dont do the compound exercises recommended, but am doing gymnastics training on rings 3 times a week, which include dips, pull-ups, core and generally whole-body exercises. My macro’s are about 10% Tdays/-30% Rdays. I get around 200g pro, 270g carbs, and 20g fat on training days, and 200g pro, 60g carbs, and 30g fat on rest days. My body fat is around 15-17%, so from the testimonials of some of your clients, i should in reality have lost much more fat than i have. What am i doing wrong?

  153. Hi Andy, this is Ex- client Ben a quick question for you,I am sure other people would have experienced this but maybe not wanted to post about it, Is there anything that can be done about the amount of “gas” that is produced on a high protein diet from you rear end!! My wife is on the brink of divorce :) lol!!

    Any suggestions welcome, “oops there I go again, Ben!!)

  154. Hi.

    I work from 8 to 15-17 and i can do a workout as soon as i get home. Is it ok if my feeding window will be shorter than 8 hours? For example: fasted workout at 17.00, meal nr 1 after workout about 18, meal nr 2 about 21.00, going to bed about 23.00. Is it ok to eat a meal at late evening? The goal is to loose fat. Thanks :)

  155. I am completely confused on this diet? Is this right? chose an 8 hour window for eating? so you only eat 2x a day? a full meal 2x a day?

  156. Hi there, long time lurker of the site, so helpful to have all the info condensed and easily accessed.

    One question, would it be a problem if I was to have only one big meal a day post workout?

      • Hi Andy,

        Did you answer it in this thread? I could imagine it may not be optimal (although I’m unsure why), but your words of “it’s not a good idea” seem to read a little more strong than just ‘not optimal’?

        • If I give the man a soft answer with no explanation then he will ignore me and it will not benefit him, so I worded it more strongly. If you have read a more detailed version above then instead of “nit-picking” on my choice of words, do the man a favour and link him to the information.

  157. What’s your take on martial arts vs lifting as a hobby and for improving physique? If you could only do one, which would it be (along with IF)?

  158. Out of the blue, a friend of mine from way back just let me know he is in town tonight and offered to meet up for a few beers. It’s a rest day for me and I’ve already had my first of two meals. If this diet is going to work it needs to be able to work around these rare occurrences right? What do I do to minimize the damage? Hope you can answer this soon but I know you are very busy. Thanks Andy.

    • Andy, I just saw this:

      “Just continue as normal. One night out is not going to screw you up in the long-term. (If you were a weight-division athlete or bodybuilder with something coming up it would be different.)”

      Makes sense to me. Thanks bud.

  159. Hey Andy,

    When is the best time to measure Body Fat? While fasting and dehydrated? After a meal? Before a meal? Ensure that I am not dehydrated? Currently, I’m doing a 3-point caliper measurement, and it’s telling me i have 7% body fat, which I think is bogus.

  160. really quick question…. im a 27 yr old male. 185lbs(92k) 78k lean body mass. just figured out my calculations to be:
    BMR= 3,543 (im very active crossfitter lifts heavy, some hiit, occassional multi day sessions)
    a) If I am trying to get as lean as possible without compromising too much strength, is body recomp best? or cut then slow bulk?

    b) i figured my macros to be (if on recomp +20tday/-20rday)
    P=200g F=25-50g C=795g (training day)
    P=200g F=50-100g C=373g (rest day)

    is this wayyyyy too many carbohydrates???

    C) should i go to a cut then slow bulk with a +20tday/-40rday?

    please help me figure this out as there is a lot of stuff on these posts and i cant figure out which is best for me. were my calculations off?? or am i really supposed to ingest that much Carb on both rest and training days?

    please please help. thanks


    • Hi Robert.
      a) A cut done right will not lose you strength in your top sets overall, with the exception of the bench. Further sets may be harder, but then it depends on your priority. You could always start with a recomp and then adjust downwards if your strength is fine.
      b) Eat that on your next training day and you will have a very clear answer.
      c) See answer to “a”. For the calculations then use my macros guide.

  161. Hey Andy,

    After a 2 week diet break I cut for 8 weeks. I lost 0.75cm from my stomach and 1kg in weight. Also lost strength and hunger was an issue, so I was wary about cutting macros. As you recommended initially, I added some macros to switch to a recomp about 4 weeks ago. I’m still quite hungry (not during the fast though, only after feeding), but my strength loses have halted and some lifts have slight increases. However, the 0.75cm from my stomach has also come back, although my weight has remained stable.

    So have I just hit a limit, where to get any leaner I’ll just need to accept the hunger and strength losses and perhaps add some cardio? Or is there something else I should try first?


    • Hold on a minute Chris, you were hungry during the diet break? Because if so then you didn’t do it right, you won’t have had the “hormonal reset” and that could explain the other problems.

      • No sorry for not being clear. The diet break was fine and I felt fine during those two weeks. However, then I switched to cutting macros and within a few weeks hunger become an issue. From the cutting macros I went straight into recomp macros with no diet break.

        So I’ve done a 2 week diet break, 8 weeks cut, and then 4 weeks recomp.

        • So you fixed the problem of hunger by recomping, correct? Presuming your weight is stable then you’re recomping in a classic sense, and you shouldn’t be hungry if food choices are optimal. Have a look at the FAQ on hunger Chris and see if that applies to you.

          • Well I wouldn’t say 100% corrected – but it’s much better than when on cutting macros. What is really bothering me though, is that after 8 weeks cutting and 4 weeks recomping, I haven’t lost anything from my stomach. I feel a little stuck, because cutting macros made me hungrier, I lost strength, and really struggled with workouts, all without any objective progress. So have I hit a limit? Or do I just have to suck it up and get more aggressive with cutting macros and accept the strength losses and increased hunger to progress?

            • Could possibly be because you slightly over-did it on the diet break and the didn’t “cut” for a week or two to compensate. Might be good to cut for a few weeks.
              As for the hunger, try putting more fats into your days. As a rough guide sacrifice 2g of carbs for every 1g of fats you add in.

  162. Hey, do I have to do squat/deadlift/bench 3 days a week or can I just do other high volume routines eg arms/traps/abs, back/curls, chest/abs, legs/abs? or will it really be better if I do exercises stated above? my routines are really intense, after doing these 3 i always felt like I could do more so I switched it.

    • There is nothing in this world that you have to do. However you would be wise to look at your goals, look at the available methods of achieving your goals (studying may be necessary to find that out), and then choose the most effective method.
      Feeling exhausted after a workout may make you feel good, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting bigger. Focus on getting stronger in the main compound lifts and you will change your body for the better.

      • Thank you very much for your response, I really appreciate it;) Anyways I’ve been using your method for few months now and so far I lost 14,5 kg. However for like 2/3 weeks i stopped to lose weight. I’ve stopped at 70kg. And right now I’m not quite sure what to do, I train hard, I count my macros. Should I stay and train another few weeks and wait for results (should i bother about weight?) or should i try to change something right now? I’m quite confused because ive never had 6pack in my entire life, and im really trying hard to get it. Thank you for your great blog and motivation :)

          • Thank you very much, I will do right as it says. I’ll stick to my training routine for few more weeks and take photos every 2 weeks. If it still doesnt work I’ll change routine to big 3 in 1 day (right now my routines are different, however I’m doing these exercises with many more, if it doesnt work ill go minimalistic). Thanks for your help ;)

            • eh I think after few months of dieting i have to do 2 week break. I stopped to lose weight and also measuring is not showing any drop, dont know why, because i think i do everythink as i should, counting macro properly and training… oh well, thats my luck

  163. Pingback: Intermittent Fasting -The BBC Horizon Documentary |

  164. I’ve done a fair amount of reading of and google bought me here and i’m so glad I found this site. I am fairly new to bodybuilding/weightlifting and I’m completely unsure if this approach is right for a beginner? Most of the guys on the images/results page look pretty muscular before they lean out, revealing abs etc which makes me wonder If I have to get muscular and fatter (high caloric intake needed?) before I can go about doing IF.

  165. I’ve been searching through your site but haven’t found the answer so I thought I’d just ask. I am curious what bf% is a good goal for a guy like me: 6ft1, 36yo, 222lbs, 22.%bf. I want to be lean and strong and I’m doing the RPT split as I have been lifting pretty much since high school (love the program btw). I am doing a cut but can you provide me with a reasonable goal for a bf% that I should be aiming for – something that is reasonable to maintain. I see other sites have numbers but I don’t trust them to be using the most current info. Thanks Andy.

  166. Andy-

    I can’t find where you wrote about this anywhere on the site if you did, or if you answered this.

    I’ll keep it short. If you are on the heavier side and cutting, how often do you need to recalculate your macros?


  167. Hey man I want to try this diet (LG/IF) but there are certain things I’m not clear about.
    #1 I’m a martial artist so I usually workout 2 times/day at least 5days a but I do lift weights 3 times per week though. will this work for me?
    #2 What if I decide to put my feeding window right after getting up in the morning from 6am to 2pm?
    #3 Since I rest just one or two times per week would you recommend carb cycling only on rest days?

    • Hi Jesus.
      1. This will be fine. Only count the barbell training as your workout days. Consider adding in extra carbs on the Martial Arts days.
      2. Fine, but kills all social life.
      3. See above.

  168. Thanks, in that case, what is the minimum I can get away with on rest days? I don’t do too well with fats.

  169. Hi Andy!

    Thanks for all the great info! I was wondering if I can go low-fat high carb on my rest days too as long as I keep my calories at the same deficit. Why are fats recommended for rest days? Is it just a question of satiety or can I just as well use carbs if I far prefer them? Thank you so much!

  170. Andy,

    Is it fair to say the main difference between Cut, Recomp, or Lean Bulk is really just about the calories?

    I mean, the basic foods stay the same, there is still surplus on the Training Days, still higher-carb, lower-carb days, all I can see is the food *quantity* changes in what you have already been eating.

  171. Andy,

    Great site! A real complement to Martin’s original. Some questions.

    1. I train 2 days a week (a full body workout centered on three compound moves each day, not unlike Scott). The ordinary format calls for 3 training days at +20% calories and then -20% on the rest days. Would you suggest I simply add another (a third) +20% calories day given that I train only twice weekly?

    2. What are your views on where, when, and if to include the following:

    • Oatmeal (I usually have some with lots of almonds and milk).
    • Milk (I do drink some with an evening Protein Shake but am flexible in losing it).

    3. Did my first fasted training session today (deadlift day) and was pleased I didn’t black out. I rested long enough between sets to help manage this transition. Have you or anyone here really seen a difference in Fat Loss when using fasted Strength Training (with only the BCAAs prior) vs. having one or more normal meals prior to training?


    • 1. No, make your workout days’ intake proportionately bigger, or more ideally taper the calories accordingly.
      2. IIFYM then it’s fine.
      3. I haven’t. But I haven’t been doing proper controlled research with it.

      • Thanks, Andy. I understand your suggestion to do ++ calories on my two training days only. By more ideally “taper” the calories” what do you mean and what days are you referring to?

        Also, do you experience bloating on these + calorie days? If so, what do you do about it if anything. I have always bloated a bit after the first (large) meal on all the days (with any protocol), be it the first meal of the rest day, or the first (larger) meal of training day. Thanks.

        Thanks again for a great site.

        • Taper the calories. – High, medium and low day if you’re doing 2 days training only a week. -Just one way of doing it.

          Bloating comes with lots of carbs and water. Don’t let it phase you.

  172. Hi Andy…
    Great website and what looks to be a great program…
    I break my fas at 11.30am with 25% of my daily calories I already take 10g of BCAA’S pre workout about 4pm and another 10g during my workout
    My question is instead of coffee ( which i would need sugar or milk in ) could I sip on BCAA’S between getting up and 11.30am?

    Thanks in advance for your reply


    • 1. Why would you sip on the BCAAs instead of coffee? If you don’t drink coffee then just stick to water.
      2. Yes and no. The BCAAs of roughly 4x the equivalent weight in protein are there, which is good, but the calories aren’t.

  173. I know most fitness experts are very anti-drinking, but at 26 I enjoy going out and having a few drinks with the guys. Nothing crazy these days, just a couple bourbons. I don’t do beer or mixed fruity drinks, usually whiskey on the rocks, so basically no carbs and few calories.

    My question is, how will this work with my feeding window? Martin recommends keeping the same window every day, but my bar hopping hours are typically 10:00 PM – 2:00 PM every few weeks, while my feeding window is 1:00 PM – 9 :00 PM. Should I change my daily feeding window to, say, 4:00 PM – 12:00 AM? Or just allow 1 day every few weeks to have a drink during my fast? (No food.)

    I understand and appreciate that many are anti-alcohol, but please spare me the speeches and just let me know your recommendations.

    • At the end of the day mate, you’re going to drink regardless of the window you set, so don’t worry about it.
      The point of keeping your window is to have regular meal times, so that your body gets used to those times and doesn’t feel hungry during the fast.

      I haven’t experienced any negatives in terms of hunger (ghrelin entrainment being upset) when drinking late, regularly on weekends. Whether this is due to the alcohol being more of a “drip feed” of energy rather than a shotgun full of calories, who knows?

      Read the alcohol guide though as it will screw you up if not careful because of the energy balance.

  174. Hi Andy,

    got a couple of questions myself if you got the time!

    - Do I take my postworkout meal RIGHT after my workout? Or do I wait a couple of hours before eating?
    Some people believe waiting will cause the body to burn more fat thus working out earlier in the day. Broscience on youtube: /watch?v=zmXLqmqBzeU
    - Right now I fast 16 hours on workout days (eating window 15:00 – 21:00) and 18 hours on resting days (ew 17:00 – 21:00)
    So I maximize the fatburning hours (read eatstopeat) however can the window shifting between workout and resting days do me more bad then good?

    Love your website, keep the knowledge sharing going!


    • 1. 2 hours is fine if you’ve had a meal pre-workout or took BCAA’s and some after.
      2. Better to keep the same times. -Ghrelin entrainment. (You will get hungry otherwise.)

      • 1. Well I wouldn’t mind working out earlier and waiting another couple of hours before I eat but does it have any benefits? Martin recommends eating RIGHT after you workout.
        2. Same here, no benefits in fasting longer on resting days?

  175. Hey Andy, I am not a body builder I played college basketball and have always been lean but now that im older and dont play as much basketball or have as much time to workout, my leaness is starting to go away. And i think this exactly what i need, but i know im going to sound silly but I dont get the macrosnutrient training plan for instance when you estimate this number for a training day P210/F30/C320. This means 210 Grams of protein, 30 Grams of Fat, and 320 Grams of carbs and thats for the whole day within your 8 hour feeding window? and lets say my window is 1-9 and I eat at 1 but, I only eat a third of my amount needed for the day; can i eat again at 4 and again at 9 to finish required amount I need for the day? or should I should I just eat 2 times for the day? and just one more question. Like alot of people stated already I workout in the morning and my fasting would end at 1 Is it detremental if I dont take the BCAA shake after and just wait til 1 to eat and just drink some water to hydrate myself? Because I would like to stay away from any supplements if possible.
    I look forward to hearing your response

  176. Hey Andy I got a question. I would really like to try this routine but I play High School soccer and I have to run everyday for practice. I know you say cardio is unnecessary but if should I just eat more from the calories I’ve lost or what? Thank you.

  177. Hi Andy, great guide.

    Just wandered if it matters when the feeding window is in relation to training. For example, I can only weight train early in the morning but want to have my feeding window from 1-9 to fit around my social life. Will this mean that muscle stores following my workout wont be properly replenished or will it be ok to wait a few hours before I eat?

  178. Andy, i just finished the book you recommended: Beyond Brawn.
    First of all thank you. This is the best book I have ever read in regards to body building.
    What hit me the most was the recovery component and its importance.
    You said it many times, but sometimes it takes years to get it!!!
    I also found this very intriguing:

    Your body has a minimum “set point” as far as your bodyfat is
    concerned. To try to get lower than that is extremely difficult to
    achieve. You may have to accept a bodyfat level a little higher than
    your ideal, because the price to pay for getting a lower bodyfat
    level may be extreme measures, loss of muscular bodyweight, and
    a negatively altered metabolism.

    Could this mean that I hit that point and i cannot get lower and I will never be able to get ripped, even with Lean Gains approach?


    • What Stuart refers to is an unskilled, unknowledgable individual using a general calorie restriction method and suffering at the end of a diet. With the information on this site any man should be able to reveal their abs. There will always be a point where it’s hard to get leaner but that point depends on your skill. Or you can use that as an excuse to settle for mediocracy for the rest of your life and to shit on all the hard work of clients, non-clients, and everyone that has tried to improve themselves if you like. But judging by the 50 or so comments you’ve put on the site in the last year I’m guessing you will work at it.

      • Thanks for the comment, of course i am not giving up.
        I have seen too much success on your site to give up!!!

        I switched to 2 times a week training , still RTP style to see if I might need more recovery. I also wonder if stuff like playing basketball 2 times a week for an hour and swimming half a mile two times a week could any affects my results.

  179. Hey, I’m wondering if 300g/carbs on t-days is too much for me. Im 175cm(5’9) and 71 kg(156lb) male 18year old. 1percentedge ifcalculator gave me something like macros of 180prot, 300carbs, 50gfat for t days. Im doing Push/pull prog with 2 days of strenght (4-6reps) and 2 days of h.trophy(8-15reps depends on movement). I also run like 20-30km a week.

  180. Hey Andy I’m about to start this diet was just curious to know, during the 16 hour fast can you consume liquids? Juice or water or tea?

  181. Another question, Andy.
    I really dislike exercising my legs and would prefer upper body only. Can I skip squats?
    Thanks again,

  182. Andy,
    I have been doing IF for a few months now with a variable success as I wasn’t aware of the proper macro ratio (until I found your website – many many thanks!) I was way too low on my carb intake which often led me to binge in the evening.
    I have somewhat of a different question:
    What do you think about fasting for more than 24 hrs – both as calorie control and overall health? Sometimes I get into “the zone” and can go for 40 hrs on just diet drinks (and maybe occational milk in the coffee). As I am righting this, I am finishing 48 hrs and consider going for another 24. I feel totally fine although I am a bit weak.
    I do exercise daily, nevertheless, although don’t go too heavy – 30 min bike, pull-ups, push-ups, leg-raises.
    Do you think I will lose muscle mass? I am about 10% body fat.
    Love all the info on your site – I haven’t been this excited since I saw! But you provide all of the practical info!

    Thanks a million!

  183. Hey Captain,
    On my second week of recomp, the only issue I have run into is recovery of my hamstrings and some hunger issues. The hammies are tight and screaming although my deadlift has gone up. Keep in mind I am deadlifting 3 times a week and my overall thigh measurement has gone up. Any recommendations on hammy recovery? Regarding the hunger, I eat more green leaf veggies. I know better than to increase eating, since I can’t see my abs fully.

      • I think I’m doing too many reps on my first 3 work sets. After all, after warmup sets, my first work set is 10 reps, second is 8 reps and third is 6 reps. What are your thoughts on dropping down to 5 reps a work set? I’d hate to drop a day of them, since I think I can really squeeze more out of them. My back is always roaring to go. I am going to do some stretching and add some foam roller work to get those hammies ready. Of these don’t work then perhaps getting rid of the middle day deads?

  184. Hey Andy,

    I just had a quick question. I am currently doing insanity (halfway through and just started IF (literally today), but I perform my insanity workout early morning (7am) and then sometimes weight lift (2-3 days a week) after work around 7pm. I was wondering what feeding window would be better for me. Currently, my feeding window is from 2-10pm, so that I can get in a good amount of macros after weight lifting. My main concern is that I am not getting in any food after my high intensity cardio workout at 7am. Should I be worried about this as far as muscle gains go? In case it matters I am 205lbs and currently around 25% BF (5’7″). Thanks!

      • Hey Andy,

        Thanks for the top tip. However, I am unable to do so for now (I am also training for a 3mile obstacle course, so I will need the conditioning), but I will definitely drop the cardio down to just a little bit per week for some health benefits and concentrate on the lifting again. Really appreciate the site, lots of great info here man.

  185. Been doing alot of research on IF and currently workout about 5 times a week and rest 2. I know you and Leangaines both state that you’ll only need to work out 3 times. My question is:
    If I dont change my calories on the days I rest and lift, but add one day of a full 24 hour fast, then would that equal the same caloric intake if I worked out 3 times a week and rested two?

  186. Hey Andy – top stuff – must admit I started IF then fell off the wagon but looking to get back on the IF lifestyle.

    Question do you see merit in combining the IF styles of Leangains, Warrior diet, Full fast days with full cheat days over the course of a week?

    Cheers bro

    • No. This is like people that keep trying to make the perfect training program out of several instead of sticking to one that works. They all work.
      Secondly, this will just make things complicated and that in itself leads to a high failure rate.
      Thirdly, you’ll upset the ghrelin entrainment potentially.
      Fourthly, yo… just no Jono.

  187. Hi,

    Somebody told me about This website, and im reading it with great interest!
    My question/ comment is: how can i use This program in my work. I work full shifts (day/evening/night) for à average of 4 days à week.


    Greetings Tom Graaf from holland

  188. Hi Andy,

    I love your site. The tone is especially inviting and so are you. Hope you don’t mind a bit of a read. I’m obese and I used to lead a *very* sedentary lifestyle. Five weeks ago I decided to do something about my body and began using the My Fitness Pal app to count my calories. At the time I weighed 129kg; I’m 182cm tall.

    Around 3 weeks in I had lost 10kg by sticking as close to my calorie goals as I could(couch potato fat, I guess). I would also commute-walk 20-40 mins a day and take the stairs whenever I can.

    I’ve recently become interested in IF and have been fasting for about a week now. I did not exercise since I wanted to take it one step at a time(get my mind used to fasting). Yesterday, I did my first bodyweight workout (squats, push-ups, lunges). I figure I’d do bodyweights for a couple of weeks and then hit the gym and get stuck into the lifts.

    My Fitness Pal has me at 1880 cals a day, which I’m sticking to pretty well(some days I can barely manage 1200). But, I’m wondering if this needs to be adjusted since I’m doing bodyweight exercises. Should I be changing my calorie consumption for workout/rest days? Or is it better for faster fat loss if I keep a deficit everyday? I also plan on paying a lot more attention to my macros.

    Sorry, if this has been addressed before, I haven’t been able to find very much information on IF/LG for obese people.

  189. Hi Andy!

    Love your work! I consider to book you, but I’m a student, and my $$$$ i short, so I’ll just go for a couple questions here, an reconsider after the summer is over.

    Sorry for my bad english, but I’ll do my best. Have som questions, hope you’ll answer me :)
    Tried to eat 2000kcal a day for abt 2 months now, no cycle with carbs etc, but Trained RPT. Every day was about 200ish prots, 100 carbs 80 fat. Found about your style/LG now. Has this held my “transformation”/results back?

    And I eat between 13-21.. But i have a problem with sleep. I don’t fal lasleep before 2-3 on school-days and 4-5 when i have day off or vacation (like now). I do my training 17:00 ish, try to eat breakfast 12, small PWO-meal 18ish and the biggest meal 21, because i know i won’t fall asleep before laaaaate, so i hate that starving-feeling.. Does also the sleep-part ruin this? Or should i just eat like that and continue my thing?

    - Tony

      • Thnx for the link! good read. And yessir, ill hold it concise. :)
        I probably mail you for booking after summers. cheers mate!

        About my english.. haters gonna hate :D

  190. PS. I should have also stated that when I do start my first meal at 930 am that is because i ended my previous days fast much earlier than 730 pm.

  191. Great site Andy, thanks for this and I’ll thank Martin as well…’s my question.

    I know it’s beneficial to try to keep to the same fast/feeding schedule daily but would it be that bad if my fast/feed schedule is altered about 2 hours a day?
    Example…some days my first meals is 1130 am and last meal about 730 pm.

    Other days my first meal is 930 am. and last meal is 530 pm.

    Would such a difference be a negative factor in a leangains approach???



    • I think it would be fine, the negative would be hunger, but only for a couple of hours. If this were to become a problem then the simple solution would be to try and keep it in a tighter range.

  192. if i workout in the mornings, and have my 8 hr feeding window 1-9pm, do i take a protein shake after i workout, or would working out inside of my window be better? Thanks

  193. Hey, Andy i just want to ask you that I’m a bit confuse on my training because I’m a newbie.

    When it comes to Squat,deadlift and benchpress how heavy and how many reps for each set?

    i don’t know when to change the weights and when to increase or deacrese my reps. Thanks, Andy!
    i’m 5’6 and 175lbs.

  194. Really good resource here Andy, thanks for the work. I’m 185cm/66kg presently. I’ve been VLC/ZC paleo meat, fat, and greens only for 6 months. I’m already 16/8 IF’ing. Suits my rock climbing and I feel great, and look pretty good, but I cannot break through my fat loss plateau; working a great ’4-pack’ here. Carbs are really gonna make me feel sick after being ketosis-adapted for so long, but I want to give leangains a shot. So, being carb averse:

    What’s the minimum amount of carb g/% I can get away with on rest days; 0% possible/advisable?

    What’s the maximum amount of fat g/% I can get away with on training days?

    Do you recommend a particular carb/fat/resting/training split in this case?

    I’m a thin, small muscled, ectomorph kinda guy, and whenever I’ve tried to bulk up, no matter the diet ratios, no matter the training (deadlifts 3x/week anyone?), I gain fat and very little muscle mass. This winter I tried with 3.0g/protein/kg and I got fat. Now I’m feeling good on 2.0g/protein/kg.

    I want to get shredded first, see if it works, then TRY to add mass later.

    Any ideas?

    Thanks a bunch. BTW, I’m in Tokyo :)

    • Beau if you’re 66kg at 185cm (6ft1) and not shredded then you must be very weak. Look in the mirror and ask yourself if you got those last 2 abs to come through, would you look good overall? You’d probably be best focussing on strength gains. As a rough guide to start get your squats up to 250-300lbs, and deadlift to 300-350lbs and adjust your diet to allow you to deliver that. -I’d bet that it’s trying to do too many things at once previously that has lead you here.

        • I understand how it seems. I dont actually look that weak in person. My body seems to prefer a set point of light weight. Has always been that way. I’ve been doing deads/chins/pullups/kettlebells/dips Pavel Tsatsouline style training for 10 years. I do deads for a few cycles then stop, as they interfere with my hiking/climbing. I just finished two 6 week Pavel modified DeLorme deadlift cycles doing HIGH volume 5 rep sets at 80% 1RM, eating 2700 calories a day, 2x per week Yakiniku tabehodai 1-2 kilo beef gorge fests…….gained only 3 kilos, half fat. My dead 1RM has remained at around 100kilos forever. I’m not built for heavy weight training. But, I can kettlebell like crazy, do sets of pullups all day, lead rock climb for 9 hours, cycle up 2000 vertical meters in under 3 hrs, and hike up kitadake and return in 6 hrs. My body likes endurance, and RESPONDS to that kind of training. Winters I focus ONLY on weights, no cardio (and I quit biking a year ago). 2x bodyweight deads are a dream far away. Won’t happen. Doing 5x5x80 kilos feels good, rounded off with 9 sets of 5 pullups and dips focusing on slow tension.

          Anyway, your site and advice are appreciated. I’m going to try the leangains -30/+10 cut. But since I prefer no carbs, on rest days, I’d like to eat none. So, what’s the min carbs on rest days, max fat on training days I can get away with? My body likes meat and fat. Carbs make me sick (insulin resistant/metabolic syndrome as theorized), but I’m gonna try.


  195. Hi Andy,

    I’m new to leangains and would like some advice as to what plan to use.

    Here are my stats, I’m 6’2″ and 172lbs. My goal is to get a shredded look similar to yours, basically a lean, cut look with nice arms and definition. I definitely don’t want a huge look. More of a Hollywood fit look, if you know what I mean. I’m not sure whether to start with lean gains or recomp. I definitely want to get a lower body fat, but also need to bulk up. I have time, I’m in it for the long run, but I just want to know what is the best action plan. Should I get cut first, even if that means losing weight and looking a little scrawny for a bit and then bulk up? Let me know what you think is the best course of action for my goal. Thank you for your time and advice.


  196. Hey, so I just have a few questions. I’m fifteen and have been doing three day split for a while and am currently bulking, but it’s hard for me to eat enough, and my abs are visible but I’ve put on some fat, so my question: Is it ok for someone my age to do IF, cuz i know there is some like activity exception or something for teenagers cuz we burn calories faster or whatever. My calculated macros according to your method is: T-Day Macros: P-310, C-421, F-30
    R-Day Macros: P-310. C-88, F-60. Calories on t-day are 3195, on r-days are 2131, do these seem correct? thanks for reading.

    • Anthony you’re 15. Buy Starting Strength, follow the book to the letter. Eat. Don’t complicate things further. -Learn to push yourself hard in the gym. It will hurt. Learn to love the pain of squatting and you will be rewarded.

  197. Hi Andy,

    Thank you very much for such an easy to follow guide. I have been on Leangains for 4 month but have limited success because I was not watching my Macros at all.

    I really like and enjoy your site vs LG by Martin because of the simple layout and straight forwardness. You put all the important information toghether!

    Thanks again for the inspiration and such a good job on the site.

  198. Andy,
    I have a question regarding how much fat the human body can burn when on deficit.
    Not sure, but I think Martin wrote something about it somewhere, but I cannot find any reference.
    For example lets say the individual has BMR of 2000 calories a day.
    During that day individual eats 1200 calories so it creates deficit of 800.
    How much of that 800 will utilize fat for the energy?
    How much muscles will be lost?

    What I am trying to say here, that the one can get to the point where macros are calculated in such a way, that too much muscles is wasted and only little fat is utilized.
    I am talking about scenario where you are already lean and want to get leaner.

    I say that because if one tries to be on huge deficit for long time while working out there is no way to get ripped (at least this is what i noticed from my own experiments) so the macros must be at optimal spot for the best fat loos?

    It feels like we need be at the spot when we burn max fat and sacrifice a little muscle at the same time meaning we must be always on deficit during the cut?

    What do you think?
    Does above make sense?

    • Yes it makes sense as the leaner you are the less FFA’s are available to the body. There has been some research on this, but it’s limited and I can’t remember the source. Lyle McDonald has also hypothesized about there being a limit. Practically though it’s fine to stick to the general rule -take it slower the leaner you get.

  199. Dear Andy
    (sorry for my english, I am not a native speaker)
    I would like some suggestions about this new way of eating and training.
    I am Italian. Up to now I followed a zone diet, now I shift on a paleo zone (it means that before I eat 11 blocks composed of 77gr of proteins, 99 gr of carbs, 33 gr of fats, now I eat 77 gr of proteins, only 4 blocks of carbs (just fruit and vegetables) substituting 1 block of carb with one block of fat (extravirgin olive oil, almonds, avocados, coconut, coca more than 85%).
    It is enough? I am 61 kg.
    I did gym (3 days a week I folow a course (GAG) in which for half an hour we did exercise sometimes with weights, other times with steps and we did squats and the other half an hour we did abdominals, leg and bottom exercizes). I tried to include also a weight training on tuesday and thursday, but the instructors just assign me tapis roulant and some legs exercizes and bottom excerzises with 10-15 kilos). Can I continue my GAG course? Eventually, I have to add the weight exercize in the same day or in a different day? which exercise I have to prefer? (I would not wast time and I would like too devote to the gym excercize not more than 1 hour).
    My phisic is a typical mediterranean physic, I am lean in the up side of my body (but I need to tone my lower abdomen) and I have heavy tights (almost my fat is situated there and I have also cellulite). Can I do something for this and change my body like that one of the Japanesse girl in the results section? I ordered the McRobert book
    Thanks for your help
    Best regards
    Stefania Veltri

    • Stefania thank you for the comment. I’m looking at the above and I’m not really sure about the blocks you refer to, nor the “GAG” style training. -You’re better off on another forum for specifics on your Paleo Zone diet and that. If you’d like me to put it quite simply, lift heavy barbells till it hurts, and you’re fine. If GAG is that, then good.

      The best way to change your body is the same as it is for everyone -we simply cannot choose where the fat is deposited or burned. The ladies on the results page all squatted.
      You will love the book.

      • Dear Andy
        thanks for Your answer.
        I was describing my diet in order to find a way to follow this regime under a paleo (perhaps could be highten up my carbos and lower my fats in the training day and do the opposite in the rest day.
        There questions about diet:
        1) when you talk about carbs you mean just vegetables and fruit?
        2) when you talk about fats you mean monoinsatured ones (extravirgine olive oil, avocados, almond etc)?
        3) in calculating my BMR Have I to refer to my bodyweight in kilos (or lbs)? If I calculate it in this way I could just eat less than 800 calories. In the zone diet the minimum amount is 1100 calories (divided in blocks composed of 40% carbs, 30% proteins, 30% fats, this was what I mean with blocks).
        As regards the exercises, I konw that I cannot change the shape of my body but the photos are really amazing, I recognize to belong to the skinny-fat people and Iit would be wonderful if I can transform myself just with eating and training. Two questions:
        1) when You said all girls squatted, do you mean squats with weights?
        2) GAG means legs (gambe in italian language), abdominals (addominali) and bottom (glutei) in other word we do squat, split squat abds etc but without weights. If I want to continue this corse, it is better to train in the gym with weights in the same day or in another one? (the gym is the same)
        3) with my weight (61 kilos) and my height (1,60 centimeters) How much kilos can/have I to pull up? I have difficulties with chin exercize, I cannot elevate me over the bar
        thanks for your attention

        • 1. No.
          2. No.
          3. Depends on the formula you use.
          1. Yes of course.
          2. You’ve never worked out with weights, so you’ll be weak. Train everything on the same day. See the training guide.
          3. Use an elastic band to assist you.

          It’s quite clear that you are asking questions without having bothered to look through the blog and read the posts I have put on the subjects of macros and training. No more questions.

  200. I am a female hoping to slim down. I enjoy running, but lifting…not so much. Will this guide help me slim down and get tone if I do sprints and running vs. weights? I have been doing IF and calorie restriction, but don’t seem to be losing any weight, so I’m a bit nervous to increase my cals, but maybe that will stimulate some progress?

      • Andy,
        Thank you for posting the article “Women: Running into Trouble.” As a runner I have been struggling with the “skinny fat”/jiggly thighs and thought that with additional running it would go away. This article has really opened my eyes and sheds a whole new light on things. I’ll be cutting back on the running and increasing the weights from now on.
        A question though – I do love running. How can I still do it but increase and maintain muscle mass? Do I just cut down the amount per week or do I need to stop altogether?
        Thank you!

  201. hey andy,
    on my 4th week now doing the 2 pre-workout meals since i train at around 6pm then fast from 9pm-1pm. first meal is at 1pm then at 4pm then at 9pm. few questions: do i still need to take BCAAs before the i train? will a heavy cheat day throw me off bigtime?


    • 1. No. You’ll have plenty of BCAAs flowing through your veins with the two meals still digesting from before.
      2. Depends how heavy really. But most of the weight you put on will be water -which will make you panic the next day when you jump on the scale, but will be gone a few days later. God knows how many people have quit their diets after one cheat day without realizing this simple fact.

  202. Hi – I’ve just started Leangains and have a quick question. I train in the mornings, so I’m fasting from 8.30pm to 12:30am. I train around 7am in the morning, so took Martin’s advice and purchased Xtend BCAA. I was aiming to take his 30g on each training day, untill I read this;

    I realise they are talking about taking it on rest days (I only take on training days) but this honestly scared the sh*t out of me.

    Could you please comment/advise?


    • To quote the thread monkey. “30g of BCAAs? You want to overdose and die?”
      I didn’t read any further. This is what as scared you? BCAAs are simply broken down protein. -They were mocking the guy that asked.

      When reading things on the internet you’re going to have to learn to exercise your critical thinking skills because it’s filled with shit. The science of what BCAAs are aside, your decision to ignore the fact that tens of thousands of people use the fasted training BCAA protocol and haven’t dropped dead yet is simply baffling.

  203. Hi Andy,

    If I need to switch to evening workouts (6pm), and fast throughout the day, will I need something more than BCAA before working out? If I do break the fast with a more substantial pre-workout meal, I have two questions:

    1. What is best to eat, carbs or protein?
    2. What is the purpose of this meal? (e.g. to provide enough energy to work out)


  204. Hi Andy,

    I used to workout a lot and then I got some fat on my stomach when I stopped. I now look like the skinny-muscle-fat guy with the fat really only on the stomach.

    I do work a 8-5 job and I usually go workout at 5pm. Since I just started, my meals are at 12 and 8pm. I do take a protein shake when I wake up, but I was wondering if that is wrong.

    I have a buddy on this and he lifts when he fasting.

    So I am confused about when to workout, if it is ok to take a protein shake when waking up, and if I am doing this correctly

    • A protein shake has calories. Calories will break the fast and thus is not ideal.
      Training completely fasted is not optimal either hence the suggestion to take 10g of BCAAs 10 minutes before training. -One scoop of whey protein (~25g) 45 minutes before training is another, but less theoretically effective, option. More information can be found here.

  205. Hey Andy, just wanted to stop by and say that over the last couple of weeks I have seen an impressive impact on my physique, making steady gains on that stubborn body fat. I’m still a little soft just below the belly button but man these abs are showing well! My strength and mass are going up, and I’ve found that on the occasions where I’ll do some really intense lifting or some crazy CrossFit workout that my numbers and times are still steadily improving. I’m really glad that my performance hasn’t suffered for the sake of my physique as that was one thing that horrified me to consider.

    I was curious though, on days where you’re tasked to perform in a different way than our normal 3x/week lifting (i.e. CrossFit events, martial arts seminars, adventure races, Tough Mudders) where the exercise/training is intense and all day and where your physical performance must be peak for the sake of competition, do you temporarily forgo the IF life to fuel yourself properly to perform? While my numbers have improved, those were in short, sprint-like anaerobic exercises. When I’ve got 3 days of morning-to-evening tasking on my body, do I fuel myself differently and then just get back on the wagon after? Is the readjustment phase lengthy, or is this time period damaging to my results?

    Thanks again for everything!

  206. Is there a way to do this with no or low carbs? I have tried your guide several times and every time I do it the training days just turn into binge eating sessions. I have since done the program and have eliminated the problem, but I still want to lose bodyfat. What would you say about having a sweet potato or extra fruit on training days and raising the fat allitle? Constantly shifting from no carbs to no fats doesn’t work for me.


  207. Andy!

    Thank you SO much for doing what you’ve done here. I have been reading, researching, and eye-ing over Martin Berkhan’s Leangains for weeks now, just jumping at the bit to start it. However, I just did not understand how to partition my Macros. It’s simple, now, when you think about it. But your guides, articles, and links were just… everything I was looking for and needed to know. If Leangains is the best blog I have ever stumbled across, then is EASILY a close second. You helped me set up my diet and eating window and I’m finally ready to start. Thanks for what you did here. I hope you and your clients continue to thrive.

    As for me, I cut calories these last few months to drop from 200 to 180lbs. Got ab definition, but still didn’t have the build / shape I wanted. So, as of two days ago, I have started the IF training protocol. Leangains to give Martin his due credit. Couldn’t have done it without you. Thanks. I’m excited to see the results.

  208. Hey, great site, great info, really admire the time and dedication you’ve put into it.But i have a question regarding the fasting/feeding phase..Is it ok to put my feeding window from morning ’till late afternoon and fast through the evening and night ? Example : 9:00 am – 5:00 pm feeding phase / 5:00 pm – 9:00 am – fasting ?

      • Nah, not for me :} I don’t have any trouble at all concerning social aspect..I just wanted to know if the diet would work that way.You answered my question, so thank you :]

  209. Hi Andy,

    I found your site on a dutch fitness forum and I like it! So I want to start with the diet but I’ve got a few questions..

    My “feeding window” is between 12 and 8 pm.
    1. On a trainingday I’m eating on 12 pm, 4 pm (only some fruit) and at 7:30 pm (post work out). is it oke to eat direct after the training or 30 min later?
    2. Do I need to eat at the same times on a restday as on a trainingday? Or is it oke to change the “feeding window” to 10 am till 6 pm?

    Thank you for youre respons.

    Best regards,

  210. I can’t tell you how grateful I am for such great information and an open-minded way of exercising. Your time and generosity with this presentation is VERY much appreciated. I need a little advice, though, if you would be so kind. Hopefully someone else has a similar issue and will find your answer helpful. I couldn’t find my question anywhere else, though I tried!

    I fast from 1am – 5pm. I have a somewhat involuntary workout schedule, as I practice martial arts several hours a night 2-5 times a week, at the whim of my instructor. These arts are krav maga, kung fu san soo, and Eskrima/Kali/Arnis, some small kickboxing as well. We are scheduled Tuesdays and Thursdays, 7pm-10pm (gym close). That is fine considering I don’t lift those evenings per this protocol, but I do get some good cardio and some bodyweight strength training. I can usually break my fast prior to training on these evenings.
    However, much of the time I must also practice MWF before or after I weight train. That means that some of these evenings I can’t break my fast until 10 or 11pm! If I weight train first, I suppose I can sneak in a post-workout recovery type of drink prior to my martial arts training, but often the timing is not up to me. On those evenings where I weight train after martial arts I only get 2-3 hours to feast and often am training in a very depleted state.

    I guess my question is: Is this an acceptable routine, or am I damaging my efforts with this schedule? Is LeanGains even right for me? If I were to use a post-workout drink to break my fast (solid food may be too difficult if I have to jump straight into martial arts training) on those evenings I must weight train and combat train, what would you recommend? Any general advise or protips you can offer to guide me?

    I’m an avid reader and loyal to this system, but I’m having trouble making it work! Thank you again for reading!

    • It’s not optimal to train weights, and then do a two hour martial arts class. I did this for a couple of years, and the results were shit. However at that time I didn’t know anything about nutrition. Your best bet would be to throw down some calorie dense but easily digestible carbs between the two. A gel pack or a sports drink. -Again, it’s not optimal but doesn’t mean LG isn’t for you.

      • Appreciate the response. I know it isn’t optimal, but at least on the weight training nights the martial arts practice is more form and freestyle, not so much cardio or strength training. Those are more of our refining nights with a core group of students. It’s just the time burden that becomes an issue.

        My go-to intra- or post-workout drink in this case would be Gaspari’s Size-On, it has a lot of carbs, whey hydrosylate, creatine and other replenishing additives. To this I would add another 10g of BCAAs (the other 10g being prior to my weight training). Awesome Andy, thanks again for the response. I’ll keep in touch with how this schedule works out for my gains.

  211. Pingback: So I just had 400 grams of rice | Mark's Daily Apple Health and Fitness Forum page

  212. Hi Andy,

    Great Site for IF!

    Quick question: I am running my numbers, i have an accurate bf% of 14% at 157 pounds. So I used the LBM TDEE calculation method and did 1.5 as activity multiplier to be “safe”.
    That gives me 2539 calories as TDEE, so for a cut down to 8-9% before i slow bulk am i understanding this correctly?
    1. 20% reduction of TDEE then an ADDITIONAL +10% T-day and -35% R-day calculation for my macros, or is it TDEE then +10% T-day and -35% R-day, because number wise-that makes much more sense, i would be negative carb on rest day with first example.
    2. Would you recommend the cut approach or recomp for a month then switch to cut? I have been “cutting” for 17 weeks from 179-157 pounds with weight training on a 4 day split and 4 cardio sessions a week. (cutting out the cardio now!)
    3.Thank you!!

    • Dub thanks for the comment but I don’t comment on macros and I’m not running a calculation for you mate.
      1. If the 20% reduction you’re referring to is regarding my guideline that says that using my simplified rules leads to a 20% overestimation in macros then yes you’re going to want to take that off. So use a 1.3 multiplier. -See the macros guide for more.
      2. Diet break then back to the cut as it’s been so long.
      3. No worries.

  213. hi Martin, 2 years ago i was FAT with 82kg, then i got skinny fat and after a year of fooling in the gym i just got a little bit of muscles, now im 15 with 68kg. I was dieting with mark methods and in a month i lost 2kg and got stronger, but in the other i stagnated in weight and strenght… 172cm, 68kg, 1350/2300 rest/working days. What can be happening? my weight change too much in the morning, get lower, than higher again, all the weeks…

  214. That’s true bro but sometimes you hear so much stuff that you don’t know what to believe. THE biggest step for me personally was trying something i never did before. 16 Hours fasting and working out less and hard. It works and you get so much back from it. The key is patient and consistency. I dropped 1% bodyfat in One week (now on 11%) and besides off that i see big diffrence in the mirror. My advice for everyone is do what works for you and believe what makes senses for you.

  215. Hahah first of all i am NOBODY’s rat or rabbit and i think you were joking there right :P
    Second I know that Andy does his best and it was unfair against him to giving him a feeling that he don’t answer comments/questions etc.
    Third thanks man I am studying those other pages.

    • Of course I was joking man. It’s all positive energy here (Y) Trust me, when you search for something, you’ll find it. When your training for something, you’ll reach it.

  216. Hey,,

    First of all, I want to thank you and Martin Berkhan for sharing what ya’ll know, really. Your saving so many frustration for people and I know it is challenging to go against to rules of fitness-guru’s but you did it! And I did it too. First i read about intermittent fasting on a forum and I really liked the results. Then I read the book eat-stop-eat and I understood the logic of it. I ate about 4 to 5 meals before. I trained 5 times a week. I did some cardio after my workouts and sometimes on my off days. I had results yes. But were they stunning? NO! I’m now in day 5 of intermittent fasting and my upper abs and the form is really coming, yup that quick! I did bench press and gave my fullest on wednesday and today is friday and that means SQUATDAY. I’m really looking out for it. Ofcourse as everyone I do have some questions and I’ll be happy if you could answer them. I tried to contact you via the comment bellow but it looked like everytime i added a comment is was gone? weird right.. So I try it this way. Also Im from holland and not that good at writing in english :P Hope you understand. Well bro here are the questions.


    -I follow the pyramid reverse protocol (deadlift day, bench day, squat day train HARD)

    and don’t do any cardio. I dont have an really active life actually (most of the times working with a computer) what is my activity level? I don’t think moderation.

    -I dont have a band to put weights on by chinups. Im also not that good at chin ups. Is there any subtitute excercise that i can do to make it as effective. I mean I will start doing them but if I could manage the repst that are on the pyrimad protocol and I have to add weights, cant i just change that excercise or is it smart to buy a belt?

    -My english is not that superior. Can you send me the steps to calculate my macros with explaining what the steps are and a suggestion. I really want to hear what you would do and i know you couldnt just give me numbers. Some opinions dont hurt right ;)


    -I follow the pyramid reverse protocol (deadlift day, bench day, squat day)

    and don’t do any cardio. I dont have an active life actually (most of the times working with a computer) what is my activation level.

    -You say count your macros not the calories. Im a little bit confused about that. Because let say on a workoutday i consumed my macros correctly and i consumed 2000 calories, but on a surplus i had to be on 3000 calories with the same macros? What then?

    -Can I do one day a week an hour of cardio (fasted before feeding) to speed up the cutting progress (on a heartbeat of around 130)?

    -Does diet coke/ red bull light (anything that has no calories) hinder my progress (with aspartam)?

    -We have raisin bread in holland and its a bit sugary (not the best choice) will it hinder my progress if I consume them PWO and count them in my macros ?

    -How much of my food should be whole foods and healthy and how much can be (un)healty foods like cereal, sugarbread pure chocolate?

    -How do you suggest me to eat on a cut? Eat clean and whole foods and enjoy the reward foods after it or??

    -I take CLA, L-carnitine and a multivitamin in my first meal and fishoil on my last meal. I also use creatine on my first meal when resting and after my workout on workoutdays. Any tips?

    These are my stats. I didn’t really use a calculator for my macros but i DO see results this way.

    But i am also affraid off losing my muscle. Can you help me?

    1.88 m

    87 kilograms

    12% bodyfat

    Rest day

    285 protein

    50 carbs

    100 fat

    Workout days

    285 protein

    150 carbs

    50 fat

    The reason why mine carbs are that low is because the site of I dont know if your familliar with it but he did intermittent fasting to. He says that you shouldn’t play with carbs in a cut because if you eat it this way(low) you would get ripped quick without trial and error. 50 cabrs on off days sounds right but im concerned about the amount off carbs on workout days. I really dont have any clue if I should UP them or not. Im a little bit confused about it.

    The reason why i am confused about carbs is also because in the past I didn’t ate dairy(skimmed milk, cottage cheese or quark because of the lactose) and I didn’t ate wholewheat Bread/tortilla or pasta(gluten). Reason why? The fitness industry did me believe that you can’t consume these if you want to be ripped.

    Heck! I’m not even intolerant to it and dont had any side effects now i consume them and I get leaner.

    my BIGGEST concern is my macros and how it works along with calories.

    Man.. if you could help me with this you really give me the idea that i’m doing well.

    • I have previously answered your two questions earlier today here, and now you come back to me with this essay that:
      1. Ignores my comment that I don’t help people in the comments with their macros, and
      2. Clearly shows that you haven’t bothered to read any of the articles that I have written here, let alone the FAQ.

      And you haven’t even had the courtesy to write your name.
      Why do I feel like you’ve walked your dog up my driveway to my front door, let it do a big steaming shit, and now standing there grinning, waiting for me to come to the door and approve? Please don’t comment here again.

      • Wow.. Didn’t expect that to be true. I am really sorry that i came out like that to you and now you think that off me i feel really bad. The truth is that i read ALL your articles, maybe twice. I am really new to commenting on websites and stuff. I really looked at your comments to Find mine and i couldnt. Maybe i was wrong there and i did had to search better. I am sorry for that. I made à twitter account so i Can follow you, i made your site my favorite and it really bothers me Now you got that kind off impression off me from The bottom off my heart i mean that. Its okay i guess if i cant comment no more. But i Will checkingYour website daily because you helped me Bigtime. Once more, Im sorry About The misunderstood. And oh yeah the real name is Can ;)

        • As a religious subscriber on this site…Awww that’s cute…LOL! Give him another chance Andy :P Maybe he could be your next lab rat? haha. In all seriousness, Can go on the consultations page if you need a million and 1 questions answering from Andy and he will eventually get back to you. Andy does his best to answer every question but you need to search elsewhere too…lifedestiny lean gains and many other IF sites are great sources too. Put all these sites including Andy’s together and your complete mentally…all to do then is put it in practice (Y)

        • Apology accepted, no worries Can. I can see that you are sincere. When I read your other comment I thought you were taking liberties and being disrespectful. All forgotten.

  217. andy:
    have you personally experienced a period in your training (or had a client mention) that they are hungrier on rest days? I’m not sure why, but i’m not able to eat nearly as many calories on training days as i am on rest days. does this issue self-correct, or do I need to force the +/-% calories?

    • You’re hungrier on rest days because you’re eating less. Unless you mean during the fast, in which case you’re going to want to try this first. And yes, if you calculated correctly then eat all your food. A good option can be this, but if you’re still within the first two weeks then your stomach is simply adjusting.

      • thank you for the quick response. to clarify a little bit, i believe my calculated macros are relatively accurate (without access to a DEXA). what was happening was, my PWO meal was on point, but I couldn’t get hungry enough to have as a big of a dinner as i should, i.e. not getting enough calories on training days. to this point, your post on feeling to full has come in handy.

        however, while fasting is no problem, as soon as my feeding window opens on rest days, i’m hungrier and can put back more food than training days, i.e. possibly getting too many calories on rest days. to be safe for now, i keep the protein intake on point, keeping carbs and fat on their required macros. i was thinking this was my body’s way of telling me i’m not getting eating enough calories in on training days, in which case, i hope is a problem that self-corrects. I just don’t want to be destroying any progress on a cut.

  218. Hey andy how’s it going. if I want to add a cardio day or two doing a run or intervals for my own pleasure. would I need to adjust my caloric intake? I would only add cardio on rest days and stick to the 8 hour feeding window still.

  219. Is it a good % for the training days: 45% CH, 35%Pr, 25%Fat? (Being the PostWorkOut meal high CH, Pr and low fat how the guide shows.)

    Thanks Andy

  220. Pingback: #127-133: Momentum « Transcendence

  221. Hey Andy!
    First I want to say thank you for this great site, and all the information you are sharing with us!
    Your guide already helped me losing quite some weight (going on a cut, with actually -40%/-20%), but right now I get the feel I somehow stagnated (after 3 months of doing IF).
    So I re-read most of the stuff here, and I got the idea that maybe this is due to that hormon reactions you outlined a bit.
    So just the short question, do you think it would be beneficial to switch to something like body recomposition (something like -20%/+20%, though I would more go like -30%/+/-0%, since my main goal is still (a lot of) fat loss) to counter those reactions, or should I just continue like I did before, and see what will happen?
    Hope I am not asking too much from you, and thanks anyway!

    • Really depends Dominik. Is it a stall because you’ve been dieting too long, or is it a stall because the calories aren’t low enough? Google “Diet Break Lyle McDonald” and have a read.

  222. Hey Andy,

    3rd week in and I’ve gained a pound this week, although my belly measurement has come down by 1cm. Is this likely to be a water retention issue? Other body measurements are fairly similar to last week.

    I did have a massive alcohol binge on Saturday last week (probably around 30 units consumed in the day), which won’t have helped my fat loss…


  223. I just want to start off and say I love this site. It has so much info. I am 4 days into my IF and love it. I’m trying to IF lean bulk/gain with a bit of body recomp as on rest days I go abit under maintenance. What I wanted to ask was on training days I am supposed to eat 3000kcals as the IFcalc website stated to me on a body recomp/lean mass…after my fasted workout I consumer around…1500 cals and am stuffed. As i’ve read here and other places and on lean gains…at least 65% to 90% should come after this workout! Thing is though, I could add some fats like udos essential or olive oil to sneak in kcal’s but I’m sure the main ethos is to carb overload after this workout day? What do you suggest are clean bulky foods I can eat after a workout and even on rest days? Preferably calorie dense! I’m finding it hard to even eat unto 2500 on rest days…maybe its mental/psychological…any thoughts? Thanks dude.

    • Variety over the same old thing can help. I go for non-sugary cereal blended along with some low-fat milk and perhaps a scoop of protein when I feel stuffed. -Bear in mind two things though:
      1. I’m on a slow-bulk and can only be bothered to cook 2 meals a day so they are truly huge meals.
      2. You have been doing this 4 days, the meals are probably much bigger and your stomach is probably not used to it yet. Usual adjustment time is around 2 weeks.

  224. Hey bro, thanks for the info, most helpful started my IF yesterday 8 pm, wondered if you can mail me a inv/code to fitocrazy? Thanks

  225. I’ve been a fan of Marks for a while and just found you which just reinforces the path I’m currently on so thank you & Mark (both of them LG & SS) Lowest weight 150 @ 5’11″ avg was 155 while running marathons. Foot stress fracture put me back under the + IF so my weight wouldn’t return to pre-running levels (195). I’m really interested in joining Fitocracy. Do you have any invites left? Thank you for your time & efforts here!

    Best Regards,

    • Please refer to this at the end of the macros article:

      If you have any questions I will be happy to answer them in the comments, as long as it is not, “Here’s my stats… what macros should I use?” or “I calculated [macro numbers] for myself, what do you think?” I will not do that. It takes time, is a little more complicated then the above and it’s just not professional.