Intermittent Fasting & Leangains – Step by Step Guide

Stop guessing, start acting.

Despite your best efforts, do you look pretty much the same as you did six months ago?

I used to understand this feeling well.

The problem is not a dearth of high quality information, no, there is simply too much of it, and the conflicting advice out there leads us to distraction.

When it comes to physique change the magic happens when you filter out all the chaff and focus on one way of doing things, and that’s what we’re going to do here.

How does two meals a day, three days a week in the gym sound?

Refreshing I would bet.

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.

Learn from my mistakes.

I said above that I understood that feeling of working my ass off and not making changes.

Wind back to my early-twenties. I’m in Goa, India. I found the courage to chat to a cute girl on the beach, and I invite her out to dinner the next day. Conversation gets a little deeper, we start talking about our interests, “You know, you don’t look like you work out the amount that you do.

There was so much truth in that statement that it hurt like a swift boot to the nuts.

See, I think I was a little nutty at that time, perhaps trying to turn myself into Jason Bourne. I was doing Karate twice, Aikido 5-6 sessions, and cramming three gym sessions into my week around work. Embarrassingly, I was also dropping around $200/month, shipping all kinds of supplements over to Japan from

Sometimes it takes an outsider to point out the obvious. I’m thankful for that comment, it lead me down a path where I started to discover the importance of getting your diet right to support your physique goals, the waste of money that most supplements are, and what quality training is. If you’re new to this, a friend linked you here probably, potentially you’re about to save yourself a lot of time and effort.

Are you going to keep spinning your wheels or dare to try something new?

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.

Get motivated

Check out this client results gallery. For every client you see there are a hundred times more scattered throughout the internet. These are regular people who decided they would focus, rather than complain about genetics or something else. There are no more excuses, all the information is right here, right now.

What we’re going to do different

1. Shift the focus to diet rather than training.

Emphasis on training over diet is what stopped me from seeing the changes I worked so hard for. Many people are like this.

Fat loss is 70% diet, 30% training. If that’s your goal then put your efforts in that ratio for results.

The man in the photo 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.

What we’re going to do different

1. Shift the focus to diet rather than training.

Emphasis on training over diet is what stopped me from seeing the changes I worked so hard for. Many people are like this.

Fat loss is 70% diet, 30% training. If that’s your goal then put your efforts in that ratio for results.

The man in the photo 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.

Try The Simple Set-up ↓

The Diet

Brief Outline

  1. Skip breakfast and just eat lunch and dinner.
    • You can eat bigger, more satisfying meals this day while still dieting.
      This is referred to across the site as an ‘8 hour window’ – time frame within which you will consume all your calories for the day.
    • It doesn’t have to be a perfect 8 hour window, plus or minus 2 hours if that fits your schedule is fine so think about when you usually eat with your family or friends when deciding.
      You don’t have to skip breakfast, but if you wish to try intermittent fasting it’s better socially for most people to do so. Something like 1-9pm.
  2. Don’t eat anything for the other 16 hours. (A splash of milk in your coffee is fine.)
    • If you have irregular work hours/schedule see this guide.
  3. Getting it right 90% of the time is good enough.
    • Some days 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 rest days.

The Training

Clients Scott, Jeff, and Phil (left to right)

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 training.

1. Strength-train 3 days a week.

In the short-term anything will provide a training effect, this is why there is so much BS out there. However I think it’s better to start in the way you mean to go on.

  • I believe barbells are the most effective for building strength and muscle mass. – It’s too easy to cheat yourself out of a good training effect with bodyweight work, and barbells are better for incremental loading than dumbbells. (Justification: ‘Why Barbells?‘)
  • Do big compound movements and forget about the rest for now. (Squat, Deadlift, Press, Chin-ups, Bench press, Dips)
  • It’ll take around an hour.
  • Read this and then start with the ‘Big 3′ routine.
  • If  you’re not new to barbells then check out, Which Routine is for Me?

2. 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 enough time after you train to eat before going to bed. Meal timing examples here.

3. Can’t get to a gym? Use bodyweight exercises and workout at home for now. Example in the FAQ here.

4. Don’t bother with cardio. (Justification: ‘On Cardio for the Physique-Focused Trainee)

A little more detail on the diet side of things…

The hierarchy of importance for success is as follows:

What this means is that you can’t eat just ‘clean foods’ and ignore calories, you can’t supplement your way out of a bad diet, and you can’t use some special timing tricks to enable you to binge eat on the evenings.

Calorie Balance > Macros > Micros > Meal Timing > Supplements

  • If you get the macros (protein, carbs and fats) right, then the calorie balance will be right, because counting macros is just a more detailed way of counting calories. See, ‘How to Calculate your Leangains Macros‘.
  • If you eat a fist sized portion of fruit and veg with each meal, and vary your choices each day, you’ll likely have the micros covered.
  • Timing has been taken care of in the general outline.
  • Forget about supplements for now.
5 Mistakes That You Don’t Want To Make

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. Neglecting to track progress.
    Muscle weighs more than fat. If you’re gaining muscle and losing fat you’re changing your body but the scale won’t show it. Stay motivated by tracking your progress, ‘How To Track Your Progress When Dieting‘ Do NOT use a body-fat measurement device. (Reason)
  2. Not keeping to the plan.
    Don’t make the classic mistake of 
    trying to fix something that isn’t broken.
  3. Trying to eat out all the time.
    Cook your meals for the fastest gains. It’s much easier to know what you are eating that way. Eat the same meals frequently and often for ease. – This way you only have to count the macros in each of your favourite meals once.
  4. Not keeping it simple.
    It’s human nature to try and run before we can walk, but don’t make the mistake of making things too complicated initially. Give the simple set-up a good go first before digging deeper.
  5. Not getting support:
    • Read the FAQ. A whole lotta love has gone into that baby and I keep editing and updating it.
    • Use the comments on the site, 6500+ answered so far.
    • ‘Like’ the Facebook page. Join the community and get motivated.
    • 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 Berkhan’s Top Ten Fasting Myths Debunked article is a great place to start.
    • Sign-up to log your workouts, compare & get motivated by the awesome supportive community there.

Dig Deeper

The guides on this site have helped thousands of people to achieve their physique goals.

Now it’s your turn!

You will need to focus and put some effort into reading, but if you do you’ll be rewarded with a deeper understanding that will put you in charge, instead of always second guessing what you’re doing when some new fad comes along.

There are no excuses anymore, it just comes down to you. Do you want it?

909 Comments on “Intermittent Fasting & Leangains – Step by Step Guide”

  1. Matt

    Hi Andy,

    It’s taken the best part of 8 weeks, but I’ve finally read everything that comes up in the new side bar (Diet Guides, Trainig Guides, FAQ, etc), all the the sub-categories, and the vast majority of links that appear in each of those articles (some of the articles on Martin and Lyle’s websites were a bit science heavy and got the skim read treatment, but I took in what I could). I know for sure that I would never have sat down and taken the time to do this if I hadn’t taken the plunge and signed up as a client.

    One of the most enlightening reads was the short article on patience. This could be the most important part of the whole diet! If I’d decided to continue doing things by myself and not invest in a coach, I would have been itching to switch things up after the fourth week. Now I’m happy to just sit back and wait for things to take their course. I’m looking forward to the next 4 weeks running up to Christmas and the ensuing diet break, and then continuing into the New Year.

    Thanks a lot,

    P.S. This also means no more comments for you on typos ;-)

    1. Andy Morgan

      Most appreciate the work you’ve put in Matt in pointing out the typos. Honestly I’m a little embarrassed and surprised that there were so many.

      I will have another read through of the patience article, see if I’m still happy with it, and then probably put it somewhere more prominent. It sounds like a boring article, but people really should read it, I agree.

  2. Demon King

    Hey Andy, I got a barbell set with weights, but it’s not heavy enough yet to stay in a lower rep range with Deadlifts and Squats. I also don’t have a Bench Press nor a Squat Rack (yet). How could I effectively train with Calisthenics and the Weights I have whilst I get more equipment?

    Best Regards.

    1. Andy Morgan

      More sets, more reps. See the article, “The Principle of Progressive Overload”, that has you covered.
      Please use real names when commenting.

  3. Sheila Baldwin

    Hi Andy,
    I started following you and your advice for about 2 months now and I have to say I absolutely love the way I am feeling and what I am seeing! I have now encountered a random travel hurdle though. If I always have a feeding period between 12:30-8:30 pm, what happens when I travel? I understand it would depend on where I travel say… New York vs. Sydney. But if hypothetically I’m coming from the West Coast and will be in New York for around a week, would I keep the feeding window the same my time or adjust for the timezone? I think you may have addressed this in a prior question however I am unable to find it, so sorry if this is redundant.

    1. Andy Morgan

      Hi Sheila. On those occasions, just do whatever is most comfortable for you. Depending on the situation, that might be just skipping breakfast as before but shifting to the new time zone, or it could be eating just breakfast and dinner (so that you free up your days for sightseeing/activities and can take advantage of the free hotel breakfast buffets).

  4. Mike

    I’m new to dieting. I’m not out of shape but I don’t monitor what I eat at all. I read the IF step by step guide, but I literally just don’t know where to start. What do I even buy at the grocery store?

  5. billa1967

    I read that Dr. Mercola noted that it may take some months when starting IF for some peoples bodies to start buring Fat. I have been IF for about 3 months now and the weight loss is slow. I am working on lowering my carbs, any thoughts about the above statement ? Thank you for all your hard work & this site! Bill in the States

    1. Andy Morgan

      Complete nonsense. Dr Joseph Mercola is a charlatan and a fraud. Is it a safe bet that he follows up that statement with a supplement to sell?
      Check out his Wikipedia page, it reads like a comedy, but there is horror when you pause to consider how many people he has influenced and scammed.

      I’m sincerely happy that you find the site helpful Bill and I hope you continue to do so. It’s most likely that you need to make a calorie reduction. Check out the diet tracking and adjustments posts.

  6. Kenny

    Hello Andy,

    Thank you for the wonderful website.

    3 months ago, I was 79KG with 26% BF.
    3 months later (NOW), I am 71.2KG with 14.5% BF

    I don’t take any fancy supplements. All I take are whey protein and BCAA. THATS ALL!!! =)
    Would like to aim for 65KG to be able to see my packs, Also, what is the BF% that I have to hit in order to see my 4 packs? LOL
    I can see 2 pack clearly, but not 4 packs…

    Thanks again Andy. gratitude and appreciates! :)

    1. Andy Morgan

      Kenny, thanks for the comment. Glad to read of your success. As you read through the site you’ll probably notice these things, but I’ll tell you ring here to help: Ignore bf% as we can’t measure it with any degree of accuracy due to flaws in all methods of measurement. Especially the machine that you likely used to get those numbers. Two articles for you:
      1. ‘Is It Better To Forget About Body Fat Percentage?
      2. ‘here

  7. Rod

    Can this apply to bodyweight training? I’m really passionate about it and I’m not interested in lifting weights. I could add weight with a belt or backpack though.

  8. Dipankar

    Hi Andy,

    First off, thanks for the superbly informative content.

    Secondly, got a quick question: I like to drink tea with milk in the morning (gets me more awake). Is that OK with intermittent fasting?

    All my best,


  9. Jariullah

    Hei Andy,

    I have got a little disability on my right hand because of which I am unable to make a grip on dumbbells or barbells with that hand as compared to the other hand (left one). The difference in the strength of grip is just slight when I am working out I can feel the difference slightly between parts of muscles effected by each arm/hand during workout. I would like to know how to encounter this problem I mean how can I maintain a balance between my muscles during workout? as it will going to effect my look more and more as I continue to workout.

    1. Andy Morgan

      Hi Jariullah. I would imagine that this is a case of making your best use of straps and potentially training that side a little more to bring it up where necessary. Imbalances are my field though so you’re best to see a professional regarding your specific condition.

  10. Stephen Caserta

    Is it possible to still get under 10% LBM without switching up the calories and macros on rest day/training days? Would it still be as effective to have constant calories and macros on both all days according to your advice for a cut?

  11. EricB

    Hello Andy,

    Quick question upon pondering my own calorie adjustment experiments:

    When a trainee on a “Leangains” cut needs to make a deeper caloric deficit, have you noticed any change in effectiveness between taking the cut solely out of rest days (making the overall difference between training and rest days higher) or evenly between the two? Does increasing this caloric difference between training and rest days tend to help or hinder the cut, or is it better to keep the body on more of an even keel (ignoring psychological factors)?


    1. Andy Morgan

      Google “The Birth of Leangains pdf“. You can read Martin’s own experiments there.
      tl;dr: Extreme differences in calorie intake between rest and training days work, but wasn’t optimal. Which makes sense if you think about the recovery implications. from an adherence stand point it works better being somewhere in the middle also.

      1. EricB

        Thanks for that gem, interesting to see his progression. His initial split was pretty extreme it seems (4.5kcal/1.2kcal).

        If one finds that they’d prefer a higher split for a cut and it helps with adherence, would you advise against it?

        Also, do you have any experience with BCAAs during rest days? I experimented with them while doing longer “fasts” and found a 10g drink to be very satiating and is making my current ~1100-1300 kcal rest days much more pleasant (drinking BCAAs when I’d normally start eating around noon, then putting off my first meal till hunger returned a few hours later).

        1. Andy Morgan

          Thanks for the follow up questions Eric.

          “If one finds that they’d prefer a higher split for a cut and it helps with adherence, would you advise against it?”
          If it doesn’t hinder adherence and they still progress as planned.

          “Also, do you have any experience with BCAAs during rest days?”
          No, as it’s just a waste of money to do so. The satiating effect will be a mental one, which you are fine to continue if you wish, but it’s an expensive habit to be in long term.

  12. Brendan

    Hi Andy, I have been looking through this sight for a few days now but have by no means read every single article in depth, so I apologize if you have already covered this question somewhere. I was wondering, is it possible to do the Leangains diet, particularly while bulking, while being vegan? Have you ever had clients who were successful while being vegan? What special considerations should I take if I am training 3 days a week on an IF diet while also being vegan?



    1. Andy Morgan

      The vegan diet is critically deficient in B12, so make sure you are supplement with that.
      It’s extremely difficult to get close to optimal protein intake so I choose not to work with vegans, as well as because these folks tend to come with extra psychological baggage.

  13. Shady

    Hello Andy ,
    love the website and appreciate your efforts
    I got a quick question here for you , I used to train before with an online PT were he introduced iifym to me for the first time and together I was able to see some amazing results the macro calculations were a bit different were I had to eat 200 gms of protein a day …. Then for some personal reasons I stopped training and dieting for 3 months and now I’m back to doing it alone with your blogs and calculations , I jumped right in on my calorie and macro requirements to lose fat and it’s been 1.5 month now and yes I have a little bit of mirror changes but scale weight seems to be stuck , it ranges 1kg down 1week then goes back up the week after , so what am I doing wrong ? Should i reduce my calories a bit more ? I’ve already dropped 500 calories of my maintenance overall calories bringing me down to 2130 . I track my intake using my fitness pal and water intake is at 4 to 5 ltrs per day fruits and veggies are all in place daily and fibers are from 35 to 45 . What do you think ?

    1. Andy Morgan

      Hi Shady, thank you for the comment. Glad you’ve been finding the site useful.

      The three articles that you need to read are as follows:
      1. How to Track your Progress When Dieting.
      2. Why You Need To Make Adjustments as You Diet
      3. When & How To Adjust Your Macros.

      I won’t try and second guess what your trainer suggested to you (reasons). If you trust them then you should stick to the advice give as there may be a good reason.

  14. chris

    I really enjoy this website and the guides you posted. I am currently deployed while in the military and I have been doing IF for about 1.5 months which makes it much more easier to hit macros and less stress. I also started with leangains website. I had a few questions after reading your guides/tips.

    You said to calculate water weight and i was wondering how to calculate this.

    I can’t use barbells or free weights because we have machines. I take about 30 second breaks between reps. I do 2 sets of 6-8 at about 80-85% max of bench, curl, chest fly, triceps/dip, shoulder press, abs, back, and row/rear deltoids machines 2 days a week. I do Leg curl, leg extension, hip adduction, hip abduction, and calves another 2 days a week. I know you don’t recommend cardio but i need do about 15-20 minutes of cardio 4-5 days a week to stay in shape for our PT test. I also do a 30 minute abs session each day i work out. With all of this would i still fall under light exercise and would you consider this “training.”

    I may have missed it when i read about using the measuring tape but how do you calculate body fat percentage without using a caliper?

    Also I was very surprised as others were when i noticed 430+g of carbs is recommended for training days but only because I was misinformed about not eating simple carbs.

    I have a buddy who is going to be working out hard by running miles a day and cutting his calorie intake by nearly 50%. I am trying to convince him otherwise and then i found your site. I will be referring him to it. Thank you.

    1. Andy Morgan

      Hi Chris, thanks for the questions.

      1. “You said to calculate water weight and i was wondering how to calculate this.”
      I’m not sure that you’re referring to by this. Can you clarify?

      2. “With all of this would i still fall under light exercise and would you consider this “training.””
      Any effective training program will follow the The Principle Of Progressive Overload. Judge your workout by viewing it through that lens.

      3. “I may have missed it when i read about using the measuring tape but how do you calculate body fat percentage without using a calliper?”
      Make a guess to calculate BMR and don’t worry too much about accuracy, adjust calorie intake upwards or downwards from there according to how you progress. it is better to forget about body fat percentage after that stage.

      Good luck to your friend and thank you for the recommendation. Don’t worry too much if they don’t listen, you did him a solid by linking him but as they way, “you can lead a horse to water but not make it drink.” – Most people find this site after they mess things up a few times and are fed up of failing. People will seek shortcuts until they realise there aren’t any and often that’s learned the hard way.

  15. Asai Adame

    For anyone that has doubts about Andy Morgan’s Website and the Leangains approach, DONT!!!!!!!!!

    2 Months ago I was that guy who would eat 5 times a day, workout once in the morning at 5 and then I would run/swim after work.
    Obviously I was over training and not recovering properly, but worst of all I looked more or less the same and was not getting the results I wanted.
    Then I discovered Leangains, I have probably gone through each article at least twice and now I workout 3 times a week in the morning, 2 maybe 3 exercises per session, no breakfast even after the fasted weight training(BCAAs), and I have a total of 14 meals per week. Yep only 14 meals, two a day. One at 11:30 AM and then again at 7:00 PM to close the window by 7:30PM.
    Since I started Leangains my energy is up, I don’t have to worry about what im going to eat for breakfast & the coolest thing of all is that all of my lifts have gone up considerably even though I am losing weight, you explain to me how that can happen? I got the answer, Leangains!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I am 5’11” and was 167 when I started Leangains. I am now 160 pounds and I can deadlift 405 pounds that is up from 325 which is where I was at when I started. I am not writing all of this to brag but to let everyone know that this system works and the best thing about it is that it’s completely sustainable which is the only thing you want out of a program.
    All you just have to do is forget about everything that the health industry has been feeding your brain with for past 50 years and trust in the program. I don’t see myself ever going back to my old ways again, unless of course if i get tired of lifting heavy weight, looking awesome and want to go back to wasting my time on the treadmills.

    Oh and between you and I, that will not happen. :D

    Thanks for everything Andy! You are the man!

  16. Solomon

    Hey Andy

    I’m at the point where I want to take my health seriously and get fit. I’m 20, 6’1 and probably weigh around 85-90kg. I would class myself as being skinnyfat (man boobs, rolls, etc). What I would love to do is to lose the excess fat once and for all and begin a clean bulk for a long period. From your experience, what would be the best and recommended strategy to accomplish this? If you could point me in the right direction so I could finally make this change to my life, I’d be very grateful!

  17. docpearce

    Hi Andy. I’ve been following you and Martin for a couple of years. I choose to prioritize basketball over lifting and play 3 x’s per week and lift 2x’s with a split of (bench, inc bench, squats) and (military press, weighted pullups, rows, deadlifts). I’ve been happy with the strength progress over the last 9 months especially.

    My question is in regards to the 4-5 hours of basketball per week. I’m older (39) and my stamina just is not there most of the time. I’ve had this problem for many years, but there used to be days where the energy levels were through the roof and I felt like I could sprint the whole time and never even breath hard. I could never figure out what lead to these good days. Was it hydration? What I ate the day before? Sleep? A lot of beer the night before (which does seem to add 4-6 inches to my vertical). I haven’t had one of those days for quite a while. Any insights to this?

    Also, I follow the carb cycling so I am calorie deficient on basketball days and often fasted as well, and I lift on days I don’t play. Are there any changes to the normal leangains diet that you’d recommend to improve my energy/stamina on basketball days while still working towards my goal of 6-8% percent body fat and adding a few pounds of muscle (typically ranges in the 10-12 range at 5’10 165-170).


        I don’t know if it’s that simple. I’ve been on varying diet over the years some caloric deficit, some large surpluses and it never really seemed to change the energy levels much. Seems random. I’ve also tried manipulating my feeding window so that my fast ends 2 hours before basketball so I can have a small meal. No change noticed.

        Do you recommend any alterations to the typical diet when you’re consulting your athletes?

        1. Andy Morgan

          Of course, but it’s about making the best guess and then trial and error. Hydration is not likely the issue – you mentioned it so you’ll have already tried that. Sleep is a very real possibility. If your sleep quality was good then and poor now, then that’s your answer. Combine that with a calorie deficit then the lack of sleep causes causes issues with appetite control -> more lethargy.

          My suggestion would be to work on improving sleep and seeing if that helps. – If you look at the coaching page you’ll see that’s one of the requirements for any clients before working together.

  18. Pory Jackman

    Hi Andy,

    Does day-by-day carb cycling have benefits over than calorie cycling or is it a facility that keeps calorie cycling easier?

  19. Ark

    Hi Andy,

    I have started your RPT program this week. I asked you some training question in RPT section last week. Thank you for answering that!

    I am counting my macros using your simplified approach for the cut purpose (calorie deficit and macros cycling).

    Can you please answer a couple diet questions?

    1. I’d like to keep the breakfast, just make it small. I am using 12g BCAA before 5:30AM lifting session and following up with the light breakfast. Would you comment on that please?

    2. Any changes in your program(s) to adjust it for guys after 40?

    Appreciate your answers,

      1. Ark

        Hi Andy,

        Thank you for the reply. I’ve just re-read the articles you mentioned as a great consulting thing. I appreciate your writings.


  20. Robyn White

    Hi Andy, i am a 25 year old female 128lbs and 23% bodyfat. I have been trying everything to get to 17%bf for two years. Clean eating, low carb, paleo, weight training six days a week i always get to 120lbs 19% bf then plateu and slowly gain back. Ive damaged my hormones by eating 100% clean, under 35 net carbs every day, and weight training heavy six days a week all combined to try and reach my goal and still fail, ive tried to use the formula on this site to get my precise macros because my body is so stubborn i need them to be exact, can you please help me figure them out?!?!

  21. Cody

    Hi Andy,

    Does it matter whether or not I eat carbs or calories near the end of my 8 hour feed window on my training day? Should I more earlier and eat less later?

    Example: 1200 calories, 200g carbs, 100g protein at midnight at the end of a 4-12pm window

  22. Pingback: Empty stomach cardio vs Empty stomach weight lifting

  23. Dave

    Hi Andy

    Thank you for your reply. I just have one more quick question if you would be so kind to answer. I apologize if this has already been addressed but I can’t find it.

    Is there anything wrong with going extremely low carb on rest days? I’m 31 so testosterone is naturally dropping so I like to get a lot of fats in on these days…I will eat less than 15 grams of carbs on these days. Or is there a hormonal advantage for having more carbs on rest days? Maybe somewhere in the figure of 50-100?

    I’m just afraid of insulin on rest days. I have been eating this way since March in an attempt to lose weight and it worked great so it’s not hard for me to continue to eat less than 15 carbs a day…however I don’t want that to hinder any progress. My training days are the complete opposite…60 fat 400 carbs 140 protein

    Thank you for your time

    1. Andy Morgan

      Sure, welcome Dave. Let me try and hit this one out of the ball park for you:
      You can go low carb but there is not necessarily a need, and carbs are good for recovery and to maintain training intensity. (See carb section here.)

      1. Insulin is not something to be afraid of. Low carb by itself doesn’t give a metabolic advantage (if that was a concern due to reading some misinterpretation of a recent study).

      2. Testosterone and libido will drop as a natural consequence when dieting. You just don’t want to exacerbate it by having an imbalanced diet…

      3. Fat intake is simply permissive, i.e. above a certain threshold increased intake doesn’t correlate to increased testosterone. If you hit the guidelines I say, you’re doing what you can. Saturated:unsaturated fat intake ratio can also benefit testosterone – again, not more is necessarily better, but more saturated fats than un’ is about right. (Can’t recall right now the specifics, but Brad Schoenfeld mentioned it in a lecture.)

      1. Andy Morgan

        So what I’m trying to say is, just stick to how the plan is laid out and you’ll be fine bud. :)

        Ah and also, if you go down to the 15g of carbs you mentioned, you’ll likely have trouble going to the toilet. (See my fibre guidelines.)

  24. Joe

    Hi Andy,

    Got a question for ya

    Been doing a modified LG IF for 7 months now and its works great for me. As a competitive Weightlifter (olympic), Ive felt increased energy (I fly thru my workouts) and as long as my macros are cool and my weight is maintained, my strength is good too. I look and feel 4 years younger. Hell, even my CNS and brain seem to work more efficiently. I’m fast and I’m still getting PRs periodically. This all took place with doing 5-6 workouts per week (everyday I get my carbs in but I don’t eat breakfast).

    I am efficient compared to squat strength, basically making lifts that most people make while squatting 20kgs less than them.

    Recently, Im switching to a 2x per day workout and I’m afraid it may start hurting my performance/strength. The AM workout is only 80% squats 3×3 for now, which is pretty easy but its more about increasing weekly workload and leg strength. Basically Ill be training 4-5 days a week 2x, and 1 time on saturday.

    My coach doesn’t like it that I’m not eating breakfast and I can see his point. My question to you is, have you had any experience with clients who train for performance/strength to the levels of training multiple times a day? Should I reconsider morning fasts? I know its not a usual case..

    (BTW I do get my BCAAs in the morning up until lunch)

    1. Andy Morgan

      Joe, thanks for taking the time to hear that. Excellent.
      As for your question, I don’t have experience coaching anyone with 2-a-days. My gut would tell me that as long as you’re taking those BCAAs in the morning and the rest of the day’s macros are right then it won’t matter. (Endurance athletes other sports people a different matter, where speed of glycogen replenishment may be a concern.)
      If it’s working for you, then don’t change it. If at some point when you’re bulking you have trouble getting in enough food then consider widening the feeding window or having breakfast.

  25. Dave

    Andy…first off excellent site…thank you for taking the time to help us all out…I love this way of eating/living.

    Amazing results in 7 weeks…it seems you had a good base to work with (above average amount of muscle)

    Did you do a cut or a recomp to achieve those results in 7 weeks?

    I believe there is never a perfect recomp because nobody can ever perfectly get their tdee exactly correct so it ends up being more of a recomp leaning towards either a cut or slow bulk…depending on if they over or underestimate their tdee.

    I hope I’m not asking too many questions but knowledge is power. you recommend accessory work on top of the RPT training? Example bench press (rpt) dips (rpt) and then close grip bench?

    1. Andy Morgan

      Hi Dave. Glad you’ve been finding the site useful.

      A recomp can be defined two ways:
      – no change in weight, pure muscle gain replacing fat.
      – muscle gain while there’s fat loss.

      I was an experienced trainee so there was no muscle gain while cutting, so you can consider it a cut.
      Agreed, TDEE can’t be calculated with precision. In quite a few articles over the last year I’ve been trying to hammer home the point about tracking and adjustments being more valuable than calculations.

      The FAQ covers your latter question.

  26. Martin Butler

    Hi andy,

    Firstly great website, packed full of info and tips, really hoping I.F works for me.

    Maybe I’ll need a consultation with you but ill put this here hoping your see it .

    I find it easier to drink protein shakes to fill my protein requirements each day, is this a problem? It fits my life whole lot easier too

    I’m 5’8, 28 yr, 185 lbs, been training few years but bad diet has taken its toll.

    Quick breakdown

    12 am – tuna on brown, 25g pistachio, 48 g protein shake, Banana

    4pm – 48g protein shake, apple

    6:30 train

    7:30 3 egg ommlette, Green veg, jacket or oats,48g protein shake

    8pm begin fast

    “Non workout”

    Same but only 2 egg in evening and no carbs with dinner

    I’m over 200 grams protein under 1800 kcal non workout days and about 2200 on workout days

    I may have this wrong so please advise, if I could actually finally show my abs I think I might actually cry with joy :)

    Can email at martboy21@… please and see what’s what and where I’m going wrong. Been like this for little over two weeks, and wondering if I’m all wrong.

    Thanks bud looking forward to your reply !!

    1. Andy Morgan

      Hi Martin, firstly, glad you’ve been finding the site useful.
      If you have a specific question about the article you’re posting on, you’re welcome to ask, but critiquing whole plans is not the function of the comment sections.
      I’ve poured my heart and soul into this website over the last three years writing guides so that people can help themselves do this, so just keep reading or and fire away with something more specific if you can’t figure it out.

      [I’ve deleted your mail address. This is a popular page – 337,655 clicks – so you don’t want it out in public for bots to crawl and put in their spam archives.]

  27. miketsakire

    Hi Andy,

    Recently got back into training off a long hiatus. 21, 6’2 and 85.5kg looking to cut to get lean for insulin affect and then bulk again so I can hit my goal weight.

    I do beginner kickboxing on my off days (Tuesday Thursday), and BIG 3 lifts on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Im wondering for the off days I do kickboxing if it is advisable to eat same amount of calories as I would on weight training days, or I should eat calories of 30% less of my total calorie intake?

    Thank Man love what you do and God bless xx

  28. Dany


    I wonder if I should go on a cut. (I obviesly need to with ~24% fat) but dont know if it is better to get stronger first-
    My weight 78 kg

    My lifts for the first set (reverse pyramid)- Deadlift- 150 kg/ Backsquat- 100 kg/ Bench- 75 kg/ Chin-up- 102 kg (total).

    Thank you.

    1. Andy Morgan

      If you can do that without gaining weight then go ahead. If it’s necessary to increase calorie intake to push for further strength gains at this point then I would advise cutting first, as you’ll just end up gaining too much fat due to poor calorie partitioning.

  29. Pattie

    Hi Andy!

    I have a sleep question. I am used to eating/snacking before bed (& then sleep like the dead). My feeding window is 7 am -5 pm (I am a girl) – skipping breakfast is out of the question for me. Past 3 days I’ve had interupted sleep (tossing & turning as well) due to hunger. Will I get used to not eating before bed & things will settle down? Also how long can I go on interupted sleep before things get really bad? Thanks, pattie

  30. aziatik

    Morning Andy, I’m a week into an intermittent fasting experiment but I find I cannot skip having pineapple in the morning to get me going. How counterproductive is this if I have some fruit and coffee, a bit of whey before training at noon, a bit of whey after training at 2 then my meals at around 4 and 9? I train 5x per week using the Outlaw Way and am currently sitting at 20% body fat, looking to get down to about 15%. Next week I will be subbing out the whey for BCAA’s and possibly dropping the coffee.

    1. Andy Morgan

      Aziatik, thanks for the first time comment.
      I think I have my thoughts on this covered in the post “If it ain’t broken…”, so if you could give that a read first so that I know you know my thoughts on a more fundamental point, that’d be appreciated and probably helpful to you.
      Then, to answer your question, basically it depends on how doing such things affect calorie balance, then macros, then micros. Timing considerations are fourth on the list of importance. More background on that in the post, “The Nutritional Hierarchy of Importance”.

      If you have any questions, let me know.

  31. Alex

    Great update Andy! Thanks for all your effort, which is truly awesome.

    Question: I’m on my cut and I love fruits, eat them a lot (4-5 apples a day,1-2 bananas), but fat burning got slower. Should i consider decreasing fruit intake to minimize insulin spiking, or it’s ok while it hits daily macros?


  32. jahan

    Hi Andy,

    Thanks for the great knowledge you have provided and made it simple for an average joe. i like to know if there is any scientific reason for the no. 16 (16 hr fast), can fasting state hours be any less?
    and does the fat burning occurs during the fasted state or because of exercising during fasted state?



  33. Miguel

    Hello Andy,
    Amazing site! Thanks to your information I have gain in lean mass. Now however I am about to undergo my cutting phase program. I have a question about how I should calculate a rough amount for my calorie intake to base my cutting diet off. My weight is currently 77kg while my lean mass is 60kg, I do weight training 3x a week. I want my weight to be in the 67-72kg range in september. My question is do I calculate a rough number of calories based on my lean mass or my weight? I think I’ve read it somewhere in your site but I’ve forgotten to bookmark it. If its not too much trouble for you to answer I’d really appreciate it thank you.

  34. Drew

    Hi Andy,

    Thank you so much for this site. I do have a question, though I may just need to rework my brain. I ENJOY working out (mostly heavy-lifting but Cross-fit with my friends is a blast) and I LOVE running (I’ve run everything from 5ks to 50ks). When I see the recommendation to only workout 3 times a week, I see myself getting bored. Is there a way to adapt IFing diet to a training plan that is more along the lines of 4-5 days of training (read heavy-lifting) and 3-4 days of running? My runs are mostly for enjoyment so they would mostly fall in the category of moderate cardio although I have been known to do sprint intervals from time to time. I’m currently an unemployed single father, so I do a lot of my own cooking, I sleep 8-9 hours a night, and rest is fairly easy to come by.

    Thank you, and sorry if I missed my answer already on your site.

  35. B. Lejon

    Hi Andy!

    I wonder what you suggest to do when all the calorie/macro numbers is ok, training is going ok, weightloss is going ok and then around 10-12% bf something changes, energy is gone and weightloss very slow or nonexistent.

    I guess this is the leptin level that has crashed but how do you raise leptin when already have 3 “high” carb days? Raise carbs even more? Ad refeed days on non training day(s)? What do you do Andy?

    Can’t seem to find info on this your site…dieting under 10% that is or you and you clients don’t have this problem? Down to around 10-12% bf is childsplay really, it’s not until then it becomes dieting if you ask me. It doesn’t really mather if I just came of a diet break, my body wont go under 10% without making a lot of problems that I need to learn to work around somehow.

    Would like to know your view on this if that’s ok.

    Thanks Andy!

      1. B. Lejon

        As I wrote in my question “It doesn’t really mather if I just came of a diet break, my body wont go under 10% without making a lot of problems”

        What happens is that my energy levels dies, my weightloss stops and a brutal hunger sets in.

        So what I usually do is going on a diet break, put on a couple of pounds and go back at it.

        What then happens is that at the same weight, same bf% the same problems comes back again, it’s like I’m walking in circles.

        Am I really going to have another diet break and hoping to get a different result next time?

        Thanks for sharing your knowledge Andy!

          1. B. Lejon

            Yes, I also thought that maybe I had a too big deficit but the thing is…

            Before this “stahl” I lose around a pound a week and everything goes quite smooth almost without a hint of hunger until I reach a nice lean state at around 10-12% bf, as I wrote before, this is childsplay and not hard at all, no hunger, full of energy for weeks without any problems. If my calories was ok before then, how can my calorie demand raise when my body weigh less without any change in my training. This is the problem I’ve been facing for quite a while now.

            Well, my bet on this is “leptin control”, I need to up my refeeds with carbs a bit and raise my leptin level to boost my metabolism and give “green light” for further fatburning insted of dieting in starvation mode that I go in to with low leptin levels cirulating in body. I think my current refeeds are not powerfull enough to raise my leptin level.

            I will try bigger refeeds…raise my carbs a bit.

            Again, thanks Andy for sharing your knowledge!

            I will read your new post now :)

            1. Andy Morgan

              “If my calories was ok before then, how can my calorie demand raise when my body weigh less without any change in my training.”
              It hasn’t. Your body is just pissed off at you for dieting and is ramping up hunger in retaliation. Given what you’ve said, if you’re hungry a lot and sure you’re in a slight deficit, and have taken diet breaks, and the fat isn’t coming off (weight isn’t changing), then it’s probably the whoosh effect waiting to happen.

              I really would not worry about the hormonal mechanics of the situation until you have the practical implementation nailed.

            2. B. Lejon

              I’m not hungry a lot/often.

              It’s like this:
              My deficit is ok for weeks/months, lose around a pound a week or about 5 pounds a month, training is going well, everything is well.

              Then when I get down to a lean state somethings just happens.

              First, (before any hunger comes), my energy levels start to fall and don’t stop to decrease unitl completely gone. Then, when my power is gone both mental and physical the hunger comes and this hunger is unstoppable no mather how much I eat and how full my stomach is. I do not think the hunger is not coming from a low deficit, I’m pretty sure the hunger is coming from LOW LEVELS OF LEPTIN in my body because when I have lower bodyfat the leptin is low in my body and this start all of these problems I always face when getting down to low bf%.

              What I do then is eat (sometimes more and sometimes less) and often rest from training to get back on track, a complete break from training and dieting. Then a week or two later sometimes longer I start again and this goes around and around. These problems never comes until I’m lean but I do not want to be only lean, I want to be ripped to the bones at 5-6% bf so I need to work around this sticking point I have.

              I’m now going to try to control my leptin level with extra carbs on top of my “main calories”and see if this method keeps me from stalling and keeping me energized.

              I guess all I can say now is that give me a couple of months and let me try this and then I will come back and let you know if I for the first time can come under 10% and stay there without these energy drops and the mental hunger that comes with it.

              This is only my own experience I’m talking about. I’m not a coach, I do not have clients, I just go from my own body and how I feel. Give me a couple of months and I will let you know how it went.

              So before I try anything else I need to try this because controling leptin to me makes more sense than anything else right now, It’s like it’s calling for me no, let me refrase that it’s TELLING me to do it, NOW.

              Thanks Andy! I never heard of the whoosh effect, gonna check it out, I have little faith that it will change my mind though ;)

              I’ll be back in a couple of months…


            3. Watson

              You have already convinced yourself of the answer, and aren’t listening to anything he says. Why bother?

  36. lavinad

    HI there. Really good web page by the way. I just want your view on morning training. I train between 6.30am and 7.30am. If I eat my meals between 1pm and 9pm does that mean I should not take a protein shake after training? Thanks

  37. G1S1

    Hi Andy,

    i have a quick question. I want to know if it is possible to use IF when i play rugby and go to gym. My weeks will look like this: Mo->Gym, TU->Rugby, WE->Gym, THU->Rugby,FR->Gym,SA->FREE, SU->Free. And if yes should there be a carb deficit only on Saturday and Sunday or is it also possible to make a little deficit on the rugby days?

    Thank you very much for this nice page.

  38. Susan

    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!

  39. Kalin Stoev

    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.

  40. Shawn

    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.

  41. Ryan

    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

    1. Andy Morgan

      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.

  42. iggy

    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!

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

  44. mark

    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.

    1. Andy Morgan

      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.

  45. Tesi

    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!

  46. Jasmin

    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


    1. Andy Morgan

      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.

      1. Carol Streeter

        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.

  47. Huy

    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?


  48. Sunny


    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?


      1. Ark

        “Basically, you just need to spend some time reading the site bud.”

        That is exactly right! I find plenty of answers for myself just by re-reading the articles for 2nd and 3rd time:)

        Thank you for keep updating it, Andy!


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