Quick Introduction to Intermittent Fasting, Leangains and the Benefits


What is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent Fasting (I.F.) is a pattern of eating that alternates between periods of fasting and non-fasting. There are a few different popular types (you may have heard of ‘The Warrior Diet’), but for our purposes please think of I.F. as purposefully skipping breakfast. Of course, there is a little more to it that, but for now, please think of it in those terms.


What are the benefits?

  1. Lack of hunger while dieting
    For a person looking to lose weight, this is one of the biggest benefits offered by I.F. as opposed to other dieting systems. Skipping breakfast allows for bigger, more satisfying meals. After a few days of starting the diet, the body’s hormones, notably the hunger hormone, ghrelin, get used to the new eating pattern and adjust accordingly so you no longer feel hungry in the mornings.
    .

    For the dieter, I.F. offers something very unique, in terms of enjoying physically and psychologically satisfying meals while losing weight. The absence of hunger and cravings are also a welcome feature when using I.F. for weight loss. Contrary to popular belief, the fasting phase has a suppressive effect on hunger. Hunger pangs may come, but they disappear quickly, to be replaced by a sense of well being and total absence of hunger.     -Martin Berkhan

  2. Increase in mental focus and concentration
    During the fast, your body releases more of the stimulant hormones, catecholamines. Mental focus is increased, productivity goes up, and you’ll feel more involved in whatever you’re doing. Most people find this particularly pronounced during the last 4 hours of the fast. – Your morning time at work.
    .
  3. More stable energy levels and improved mood
    With fewer meals, your blood sugar levels will be kept more stable, leading to more stable energy levels and less mood swings.. Also, not having to worry about meal timing is a welcome relief from the irritable feeling that is often found by those used to dieting by eating many meals throughout the day.
    .
  4. More stubborn fat burned
    Though by far the most important things for fat loss are the energy intake for the day and macronutrient intake, fasting can help shift stubborn fat and explains why people can get exceptionally lean without cardio work.

A full list of benefits and including links to the relevant clinical studies can be found on Wikipedia.


What is ‘Leangains’?

Leangains is a type of I.F. pioneered by Swedish nutritionist Martin Berkhan. It was put together based on scientific research on fat-loss, muscle building, his own experimentation and the actual experience of working with hundreds of clients over the last 6 years.

While some nutritionists or trainers get stuck in their dogma, or are quick to jump on the latest fad to make sales or exploit our ignorance for profit, when enough solid new research comes along that suggests an improvement can be made with the method, Martin incorporates it and make the amendments necessary. It is this lack of ego and objectivity that has made the Leangains method so spectacularly effective for thousands of people. I would highly recommend you check out his blog, leangains.com.


Want to give it a try?

(Some client results.)

Drawing on my experiences working with clients I’ve written guides on this site to show you how to do it. A lot of love has been poured into the articles and I really hope you can have success on your own like thousands of others already.

Andy - 7 Week Ab comparison

Click for the Intermittent Fasting & Leangains: Step by Step Guide

Questions welcomed in the comments on any page. Thanks for reading and good luck!

260 thoughts on “Quick Introduction to Intermittent Fasting, Leangains and the Benefits

  1. Andy,

    John here (again, sorry to drop so many questions!)

    What’s your genuine opinion on IF, do you personally think it’s a sustainable, long term way of approaching eating, or more a ‘vehicle’ for getting to a leaner destination? I’m probably jumping the gun here, but I have to admit I’m starting to doubt it’s ability to build muscle as quickly as eating in excess (see something like GOMAD with it’s insane calorie/casein intake). I realise patience is key, but for people who’re lacking in mass already, I just don’t see the eat-a-lot-on-training-days as being enough to build muscle, at best it seems to sustain the muscle.

    What do you think? I know it’s not something you do 24/7-365 days a year as you mentioned breakfast in one of your other replies!

    John

    • Hi John. Covered it in the latter half of my article on timing, in the Nutritional Hierarchy of Importance series.
      Anything with “insane excess” will put on more muscle than a controlled approach, but even so there are still limits to how much muscle one can gain and the rest will just be put on as fat. (Refer to the same series, #1 Calories) so it doesn’t make a lot of sense to me unless the idea is to simply not to have to worry about counting things, which I can understand.

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  3. Hi andy,
    Do sports like football soccer,etc reduce our body ability to recover from weight training exercise and will they reduce muscle mass?

    • Hi Kelvin. Yes and no, definitely isn’t black and white:

      The ideal situation is where you will strength train only and all your recovery will be used for growth.

      For non-athletes focused on physique goals the risk of injury threatening long term goals may outweigh the benefits. (More detail in this article.)
      For athletes there is no choice – improvement of their ability to play the sport is the primary goal, the training is used to support that. In such a case a theoretical increase in calorie intake to cover the sport’s energy expenditure is the strategy to use.

      There will be a crossover effect for hypertrophy from the sport itself (sprint cyclists having huge legs is an example). But endurance training does affect strength.

  4. Hi Andy,

    I’m a female, 5’3″, 170lbs and I really want to get fit and lose weight. I have started IF for a week now and I don’t feel hungry at all sometimes. Sometimes after 18 hours of fasting, one apple gets me full and I am not in the mood to eat anything else. I am very scared that I am starving my body this way because sometimes my calories are less than 900 by the time my eating window is closed. Also, what kind of exercise should I do to maximize the weight loss, it’s mostly on my belly? Thank you so much Andy!

    • Hi Marius. Time is limited. Analysis of celebrity diets is not something I’m willing to spend that valuable currency on as I could spend all day long doing so. My thoughts on training are here on the site. Feel free to try them if you wish and ask questions pertaining to anything here. That’s what the comments function is used for here.

  5. Hi Andy-I plan on having an eating window of 12P-8P. Would it be counterproductive to add a tablespoon of coconut oil to my morning coffee at about 6a or should I just stick to black coffee. I have quite a bit of fat to lose due to yrs of alcohol abuse but am ready to give this a go. I have always lifted weights and did some aerobic conditioning and plan to continue this at about 4P each day.

    • Hi Kris.
      “Would it be counterproductive to add a tablespoon of coconut oil to my morning coffee at about 6am?”
      In terms of points 1,2, and 3 it will not be helpful. In terms of 4, it will have a neutral effect, depending on how it fits in with the rest of your calorie intake for the day. In terms of those potential benefits listed in the wikipedia article (many of which still need further study) it’s likely you’ll wipe those out, as it is no longer fasting.

      My recommendation: Don’t bother. Put your focus in the things that matter. Check out the article series on, The Nutritional Hierarchy of Importance.

  6. Andy, I was wondering my training days are M W F I usually have class on monday and cant train til 5 and wednesday and friday I usually train at 10am so can I still train fastened on wednesday and friday but not fasten monday due to class? Or would there be a better protocol to follow?

    • Hi Al. Training fasted isn’t a requirement, so don’t worry about that. Approximately half of the clients you see on the results wall trained fasted, the rest had other schedules. Your training can be at different times, so to days fasted training and one not is fine.

      • Thank you andy, also one last question I recently bought bcaa purple wrathh am I suppose just take 10g before fasten training or is iy 30g? I break my fast at 12 til 8pm and train? I train around 10 or 11am so not sure if I wasted $80 on the bcaa thank you in advance.

        • Hi Al. How much BCAA you take depends on when you train and how long after you eat. See Martin’s recommendations on that here.
          Purple Wraath is a product with a mix of ingredients. If it had BCAAs in there then you can consider them counting towards your need. If you fall short then you’ll need to supplement.

  7. Andy, I play tennis and frankly, enjoy it more than lifting weights. I usually play in the mornings and find myself sluggish on the court if I don’t eat anything. Can I pursue both? Can I eat something before rigorous exercise? I think the 8pm to noon fast works best with the other parts of my life. I am having trouble finding a balance, believe the program can work but have scrapped the program when I just got too tired. Any suggestions? Tim

    • Tim, thanks for the comment. Sure, yes please enjoy your sport. You say that you feel sluggish on the court in the mornings without eating anything, have you given yourself the full week to ten days that I suggest to adapt to the new meal timing though?

      • Yes, but didn’t pay much attention to the macro balance. I was just trying to adjust to the feeding window/fasting window first. I think I could benefit from building/maintaining muscle mass for my sport and as I age. (I am an older guy 53). It feels a bit like I have conflicting goals, so I am wondering if I can make a small modification to get me through my mornings match. Thanks, Tim

        • Ah, I see Tim. The matches will require energy. There isn’t physiologically a need to have that energy immediately before or during a tennis match, your glycogen stored will be fine to fuel you (the exception being endurance events >2 hours).
          Psychologically there may be some kind of placebo effect going on, as you always have eaten before, and thus you feel that you can’t perform, so therefore you don’t. This also could be because you haven’t given it a good week as suggested to adjust to the new meal timing.

          Three solutions then:
          1. Eat something before or during your morning match. (This will address the energy balance, may help psychologically, won’t help physiologically.
          2. Eat something a few hours before the morning match so that it’s digested at least partially and you can use the energy. (If you have time to wake up early enough.)
          3. Eat something extra the night before the morning matches, eat nothing on the actual morning of. (This strikes me as possibly the most practical.)

          Take the extra energy from carbs. Be aware of the tendency for all to overestimate the calorie burn from exercise. Choose the most simple and sustainable method.

  8. Hi Andy,
    love your site, but could you please take my money and write the damn book finally!
    I would love to have the whole advice of this site laid out in a book to follow through
    Chris

      • Andy, can you recommend the best “executive version” book for IF? I don’t have time to read a War and Peace IF book but need the basics w/o all the fluff and extensive explanations. I’m already have a general, novice knowledge of health, fitness and nutrition as I’ve been in training for decades. Thanks!

  9. Hello Andy, may I have a question please? I am a bit confused with all this articles on web. So, I am 32yo woman, looking for loosing a fat. Which protocol , do you think, is the best one for me?
    A) 7-8am work out
    10-am-3pm feeding window
    B) 8am-1pm feeding window
    7-8pm workout (post workout protein)
    C) 7-8am workout
    12-6pm feeding window

    Thanks a lot for your reply.

    • Hi Petra. Assuming the calorie/macro intake is the same in all situations there will not be any significant difference between results. So whichever fits your schedule and social/family life best will work best.

  10. Hey Andy,

    A really well written article about IF. This is one area in which I got interested recently as a couple of friends lost a lot of weight using IF approaches, so I also decided to research more and get some questions answered before I begin IF.

    There are 2-3 questions that I wanted to know actually which I hope will help some other people as well:

    1) I am 23 year old, male and I got this huge belly. I do not drink but this belly is due to sitting and eating at home. I used to be obese until last year but I bought myself down to a normal state by doing interval running but I have not been able to get rid of my belly. My weight also has been the same and I want the weight to go down but it wouldn’t go down, so using IF, can I get rid of the belly and also reduce the last few pounds to reach where I want to?

    2) Since I don’t have access to gym and I can only exercise in the evening, do you think its better to do interval running for 3-4 days in a week on fasted state? I am planning to be feeding myself from 11 am to 7 pm and then fast for the remaining 16 hours. I can only go for running around 8:30 or 9 pm. So do you think its fine to do this?

    3) Apart from loosing weight and getting rid of my belly fat, will I be able to improve my digestion system by doing IF i.e getting rid of acidity problems, gastric problems and so forth, which are related to digestion of the food? [ I know I am too young and facing these problems but I need to get rid of these problems :(]

    I am waiting for your reply as soon as possible.

    Cheers

    • Arjun, thanks for the questions.
      1. Yes. That’s the whole point of the site. Just keep reading bud. Or click the results tab, I’ve put over one hundred photo testimonials on there so you’ll definitely find someone you can relate to.
      2. Interval running is not a substitute for, or equivalent full body effect as heavy resistance training in any way. Invest in your long-term health, get access to a gym.
      3. That sounds like a personal issue and is likely something to do with the foods you are eating rather than meal timing.

      Keep reading and good luck.

      • Hey Andy,

        Thanks for your reply. I just wanted to know that since I don’t have any good gyms in my area, is there any form of resistance training that I can do at home?

        The thing is I am not looking to build muscles or abs, I just want to become skinny.

        Yea I agree with the last point but actually what I meant was that once I get a flat belly, does the digestion system tend to improve as from what I know is that belly fat is increased due to digestion system not being able to properly digest the food and thus leading to other problems..

        I also wanted to know that if I am fasting for 16 hours and eating for 8 hours, what should I be basically eating during those 8 hours? Can I eat anything home made?

        Cheers

        • The thing is I am not looking to build muscles or abs, I just want to become skinny.
          A sustained energy deficit, any way you do it will achieve that. There is no point in complicating things with the information on this site. I think you’re going down the wrong path though. Muscle mass is important not just for looks but health.
          Will post a bodyweight workout guide to the FAQ soon.

          • Thanks for the reply. I will be waiting for the workout guide in the FAQ section.

            I actually looking to build a body like yours in the picture above. So can you share a workout that can help me to get something like that?.

            Its not too much muscles and looks ripped at the same time.

            Cheers

  11. Hi. Firstly great write up. My only dilemma is. I IF and my feeding window is 1pm-6pm. But I can only work out – lift weights- at 9pm-10.30pm. Do I still consume a protein shake outside the feeding window? Is it essential that I have my post work out shake!!?

    I am looking to tone up and don’t want to loose muscle

    Many thanks in advance

  12. Hi Andy. Are there any days which you break the eight hour protocol? I find it hard on weekends. I’m also doing stronglifts 5×5 program. Do you think this is a good training routine to follow. Thanks.

    • Hi Decian.
      Timing is the least important thing here. Consistency with meal times is merely a way controlling and limiting hunger. Have a look at note on the Nutritional Hierarchy of Importance in the FAQ.
      To answer your question:
      Every day I go out to drink.
      Sundays when I am at home with family (because mum likes the roast to be served at 3pm) rather than 1pm when I usually have lunch.
      When my schedule doesn’t allow it.

      Basically, don’t stress it if you can’t be on point sometimes, it isn’t going to affect your results if the other things are in place.

  13. Hey Andy, Great article. i’ve been using Intermittent Fasting for a year now and I love it. I feel like I’ve kind of been freed as a slave of food. Thanks for the good info.

  14. Hey Andy,
    I have a question, wanting to know your thoughts on this.

    After coming off my fast and having done my workout.
    I go get something to eat…
    So today, it was 1 and 1/2 cup of egg whites, with tomatoes, onions, green peppers, spinach, a little cheese, and some pesto….made into an omelet.
    I also had about 1 and 1/2 cup to 2 cups of white steam rice (asian style, my wife is filipino)…

    But I finish that, and within 30 min, I feel like I could eat more……it is like nothing was dropped in my stomach.

    Have you ever noticed this, or ever happened to you or your clients?

    Thanks,
    Seth

    • You ate, and you still feel hungry afterwards. Yes, sure this happens hen dieting and is likely your mind playing tricks on you. If this is a constant thing though then you’re likely off with things.

  15. Andy hows it going quick question for you. I recently finished a cut after a two week stall scale weight and measurements I chose to take a diet break for two weeks since ive been dieting since april. Yesterday was day four on the break and this morning i noticed i was looking leaner, so i decied to take measurements and hop on the scale and both were down. My question is, Is this common and should i continue the break. Or is it possible i was just on a long stall that broke and should i go back to the diet.
    Thanks.

  16. How does early morning training work with IF? I typically get to gym around 6 am and want the feeding window to be the normal 1-9 pm. Is this possibly or will I have to workout in the evening?

  17. Hi Andy, not sure if my post stuck last time so will post it again here –

    I’m just getting over a chest infection and haven’t been exercising which is killing me, can you suggest anything that I could do as I feel I’m putting weight on and losing any muscle mass I have.

    Thanks

    Nick

  18. Hi Andy

    This is my first time commenting on the web, but this time I could not help myself. I love your site!!!

    Thank you for all the information and teaching me a different approach to fitness that I did not know is possible.
    Since school up until University I have been sporty, did athletics, karate and dragonboating at national level. After University I got a job and did not have the same amount of time I had while at University, where I would train on the track instead of going to class :)After Uni I stopped all my sports and started going to the gym the first time. Over the years my weight has crept up on me and eventually I was 17 kg over weight. I put my running shoes on and literally ran my butt off and left the gym. I have not seen any results in my body since the 17 kg weight loss. I use to run 10km (3-4x) a week. Since running, I have been trying to get ripped again like I was back in University but to no avail. Curently I am 1, 67m and weigh 66 kg.

    Now I am on week two of IF and taking your advise to get into shape before the end of this year. once I have success with your advice I shall send you pics.
    Keep up the great work!!!

    Regards from Cape Town South Africa

    Carlee

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  20. Thanks for the reply Andy much appreciated I take it then as long as we are depleting glycogen stores it will work as partitioning will be improved!?? Or am I missing something?

  21. Dillema- can only train heavy big 3 once a week when I can get to a gym, any recommendation what I could do at home for other 2 workouts? Have set of weights 50kg non olympic set and pull up bar any suggestions? Cheers Adam

  22. I am a 64 year old male and am 5’9″ tall and weigh 155 lbs. I am a vegan and in pretty good shape and good health. Body fat tested at 12%. I don’t want to loose weight and am happy with all markers for health (cholesterol, BP, HbA1c etc). Will a 10-11 hour daily fast be of any benefit to me.(what I do now). ? Or where is the threshold in fasting time. Can’t seem to find any literature on that.

    • Possibly for 1,2 and 3. 4 will depend on macro composition. Blood markers we don’t know, but you could try. Life extension? (See wiki article link) – Still unknown. Seems like you’re in a very good position at the moment anyway Nicholas.

  23. Hey Andy, im not sure if someone has asked this or not but here goes. I work 11 pm to 7am, workout at 730 and go to bed at 9 am. My eating window right now is 6pm to 2am. Unfortunately, the only time i can workout is in the morning after work. I don’t want to break the fast, but i don’t want to workout and eat nothing after. would a scoop of whey protein ruin the fast?

  24. Hi Andy, nice work with this blog, very very clear and useful!
    Just a question about a doubt it’s growing in me: when to start counting hours of fasting? to the last bite of last meal or to the feeling of empty stomach? Sometimes when i had a big dinner, I wake up with half full stomach.. how about that? Have I had 8 hours of fasting or not?

  25. Hello Andy!
    I’m actually one of you clients and my first check in was two weeks ago. Earlier this week I was training and separated my AC joint. :( Very upsetting. Minor injury, but I have to wear a sling for a while (at least the next two weeks, possibly more) and I’m not able to have anything pull down on my shoulder or reach straight overhead. I was wondering if I should just continue my diet as “rest days” macros while I heal since I can’t do any heavy lifting? Or are there any exercises you can suggest that I can do for my workout days while my shoulder heals? One arm kettle bell swings? Body weight squats? Thanks in advance!

    • Hi Leslie, sorry to hear that. There are guidelines for the diet in the macros mail, in the FAQ at the end. – The exception to that advice is if your doctor explicitly says you need to be at maintenance for recovery. If that’s the case then eat to your hunger.
      Also, please see the addition to the FAQ last week on the site regarding training approach when injured.
      Please mail me when you are good to continue.

      • Thank you, Andy! I’ll keep eating my “average” macros daily. I’ve just started exercises for my shoulder range of motion and rehabilitation so hopefully I should be back to 100% sooner than later. I’ll email you as soon as I can start lifting heavy again. A minor setback, but I’ll keep up with my diet and remain optimistic.

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  27. Hi Andy;
    I have started 4 weeks ago and my results are great, Weight down from 70 to 63Kg, 1.76cm, My navel was 86cm and now 74cm! Neck arms and etc are the same.
    I´m from Brazil and moving from São Paulo to Porto Alegre, whn I have all my newhome put together , I will hire you for my 2 weeks training.
    Thanks mate.
    P.S. – Sorry about the lame english.

    • Some of your weight loss will be water, some will be fat. That rate of fat loss is high. If it continues at the same rate for another week then consider upping calories to avoid loose skin issues and hormonal ones too.

  28. I was wondering what your thoughts on having 1/2 days fast a week as in Eat Stop Eat? I started LG about 5 weeks ago because I’m doing a 5/3/1 program and thought it would be better for strength. I’m still trying to lose fat though and I’m just not at the moment. Completely stalled. I feel that when I was doing ESE my fat loss was better. It could be that now I’m leaner it’s slowed down but was considering trying ESE again WITH leangains. If you think this is a good idea how would you implement it? If not, why not?

  29. Hi mate

    I’ve been doing great for 2 weeks now on a very slow cut (due to being prone to binging on too low kcals) and I went out for a piss up with friends.

    The day after my diet was a complete write off, I snacked on crisps, cookies and ice cream. I’m wondering, should I cut down the calories the following week to compensate or just carry on as normal. Is a day of snacking able to completely write off a week of progress? I’m worried the scale won’t have moved and the week has just been pointless in terms of progress!

    Thanks Andy.!

  30. Is it wrong to have a cup of coffee in the am. I am using the 16 hours off and 12 – 8 hours eating. 5 hour enegry..is that wrong? Just some ideas of what to eat. HELP!

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  32. Hey Andy, I am now noticing that my energy levels are kind of down. My macros and everything has not changed and I am still seeing results in my cut. However, I fear that as I go lower in body fat, I would get more hungry and have less energy. I am 5’9 and weigh 153 pounds. Macros for training days are 175p/310c/45f. Rest days are 180p/70c/65f. Do the macros seem okay to you? Also, I notice I’ve been up later nowadays but I still make to get around 7-8 hours. Should I keep macros the same or readjust them? I am fearing that my leptin levels are down.

      • Brian on your rest days you have an extremely low amount of carbs. Try to go 40-40-20 for your prot/carb/fat percentages on rest day and on your workout day keep it around 55-25-20. The reason for the fat amount on the workout day is not having enough fat may be harmful to your body by reducing your body’s hormones causing a lower sex drive and what not. Once your rest day is set you’ll be fine. Also, make sure your eating a calorific deficit on both days by eating 200-300 less calories then your calorific maintenance.

  33. Hi Andy!

    Thanks for creating this website. I’ve been using your strategy and I’ve got to say “Hell yea!”

    It’s been 2.5 months now and I’ve gone from 180 at 19-20%bf to 169lbs 13-14%bf while even gaining lean mass.

    I’ll send pictures in when I’m down to 7% bodyfat.

    Thanks again!

  34. Andy, one thing that still has me stumped is the fact you recommend eating ABOVE maintenance on workout days – even when cutting?

    If I were to do hat it seems I wouldnt have a large enough defecit to make good fat loss gains from week to week. Is it really necessary?

  35. I’ve heard that diet sodas can trigger an insulin response. To my understanding, this means that your body thinks it’s eating, thereby ending your fast.

  36. Hey, I’ve currently lost a lot of weight but I seem to be stuck at the same weight now for a few weeks, I’ve lowered my calories slightly but I was wondering – the Sugar Free red bulls, can they be affecting weight loss? About 5 calories per can, but is having these negative to my fat loss (with any of the ingredients/too much caffeine?) Thanks!

  37. Whaaaaaaat you live in Japan!? Me too!

    Anyways, trying to gain a lot of info on here! Thank you for all these informative articles!! Ganbatte ne!

  38. ANdy what is your opinion on losing fat fast (2+ lb a week) vs losing fat at a steadier rate (around 1lb a week). i know there is plenty of stigma in bodybuilding in terms of losing weight too fast and risking losing muscle mass and strength.

    Thing is I am about 5’10 and 155lb lean, currently 180lb, yet I dont want to risk losing weight too quickly due to losing the already somewhat sparse LBM i do have.

    Thanks a bunch mate!

  39. Hey Andy, I would like to know what advice would you give to a guy who’s dealing with binge eating? I’ve been having problems with binging for quite some time now, even on leangains. The binges occur not from hunger but more from boredom or just plain emotional eating. It’s impossible for me to finish my cut due to my binges. If you have any advice you can give me, I would really appreciate it.

  40. I’m ready to try something new to achieve the results I want. From what I understand, if I’m starting this diet I should cut out all cardio and just lift and follow the diet plan?

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  42. Andy, not sure if this is the right place to post this but here goes… have you ever come across clients or anyone following LG getting something like a knot or bump in their throat during the feeding window? I have recently been having this happen to me and I’m not sure what it’s related to. It doesn’t happen during the fasting window but during the feeding window it will show up and basically makes me think I’m hungry even though I don’t really feel hungry. Thanks for any insight.

    • I haven’t. Remember, there is nothing particularly different about food intake with IF other than skipping breakfast and eating a few more carbs on the days you train and less on those that you don’t. It may be that you’ve developed a food allergy. Could be something more medically serious. See a doctor Michael. Hope all is well.

  43. Hi Andy,
    Something troubled me when listening to a podcast with David Lee Roth. He spoke about living in Japan and the Sumo wrestler’s “secret” to gaining weight.
    He said the secret was skipping breakfast. By skipping breakfast, their metabolism eventually slows down, allowing them to gain weight. Here is another example: http://alittlenutrition.wordpress.com/2012/05/15/diet-secrets-of-a-sumo-wrestler-steps-to-gaining-weight/
    I wonder if there is something to this, since Sumo wrestling is an ancient tradition. Also, since you live in Japan, you might have some insight to this.

    Thanks,
    Ken

  44. OK, you got me. I started IF 4 days ago and I feel great. I’ll send you my results in 12 or 16 weeks. BTW I’m obese (BMI 30). Let’s see what can I achieve.

  45. Hey Andy,

    I have a couple questions about this. I am just researching it and very interested in it.

    1) I train at 5am everyday, after training do I take a protein shake or do I wait for my 6-8hr eating period to get all my macros in?

    2) If I do the 16 hr fast and it starts after dinner, I am guessing that I will be eating all my food between 1pm-7pm? And do I just eat two big meals?

    And 3) Will this really help with fat loss and lean muscle gains?

    Thanks man!

    • Tyler, thanks for the comment. Basically you just need to read more of the site. For now though I’ll be kind:
      1. See here.
      2. Right.
      3. No, it’s all a lie. As are the results, and all the comments. I made it all up to scam money from you. Be careful! :p

      • Thanks man. After I posted the first comment, I stumbled upon a lot of the answers I was looking for. Appreciate all the help. I started, so I am excited about the results to come!

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  47. Hi! Great blog! Congrats from Mexico.
    Maybe I’m retarded or I skipped the paragraph, so, I skip breakfast and eat at 2:00 and 10:00 p.m., when is the optimum time for the training?

  48. Hi Andy, great website i’ve been doing some research on leangains for quite some time now and I’m getting the impression that this method is for someone trying to lose the last couple of pounds to get to their overall bf percentage not someone like myself who’s sitting at 260 lbs and 28 percent bf. . Am I wrong?

  49. Hi Andy,

    I have a law enforcement physical assessment test coming up on a rest day, its at 8am and i have to run a mile and a half and do some other things. But my feeding window is from 1pm-10. I was hoping you could give me some advice on what to do. Would i adjust the time i eat, or would i take BCAA’s before and after until 1? I appreciate any help. Thanks

    • Nothing needed for that distance, unless you personally have trouble running fasted. If you’ve been training like that then change nothing, not worth the risk of doing worse right? If you have time though then you can experiment.

      • Thanks you, yeah I have no problem training fasted, I actually prefer it now that I’ve started doing it. Just wasn’t too sure with the gap between running and eating. Thanks for the help!

  50. Hi Andy,

    Great Website! I’ve read all the posts but i didn’t find anything about water/ fluid drinking during IF .should this be minimised as well or IF only does refer to food consumption?thanks

  51. Hi Andy, I really appreciate your advice and web site!

    I have a few queries,

    I have followed your tips and have my macros nailed!

    I work in an office and finish at 5, I manage to get in the gym at 6 so my fasting period is 9pm till 1am. So where would you advise my meals to be placed? I’m training mon/wed/fri.

    With the above mentioned I feel wrong for eating later on at night (probably due to the fact I have always cut most foods at 6pm as I don’t want it to sit on me while sleeping) PLEASE HELP!

    I also play squash which happens to be on a Tuesday and Thursday (ment to be my rest days I know) if you was me would u change my macros on rest day if I wish to continue to play squash?

    Thanks in advance!

    Steve

    • Steve, thanks for the comment.
      1. You’ve misunderstood. Fasted training is not compulsory at all. Eat lunch and then dinner after you train. Make it a 40/60 ratio split.
      2. Whether I would add in extra calories on a squash training day really depends on a few things. In some cases I don’t make any changes. If cutting, above 15%bf and not losing more than 1.5lbs a week perhaps. – That’s not a set rule, just something I plucked off the top of my head to try and help.

      • Thanks Andy,

        My thoughts were with the meal after my workout really. Given the time of day I train it makes sense to fast at the times chosen would you not agree?

        Reason : So I can obtain vital post workout nutrition.

        I feared from playin squash on a rest day my glycogen stores would be effected?

        This is my usual training day

        Coffee and water to get me through the morning,

        1pm first meal chicken & rice green beans

        3pm protein shake

        5:15 pm apple banana orange (Pre workout sugars)

        Train at 6

        7pm Post work out meal fish and rice

        8.45 casine protein shake

        9pm-1pm fast

        Stats:
        height 5ft 11″
        Weight 94kg
        Bf 24%

        Macros obtained
        Protein. 180grams
        Fat 25grams
        Carbs. 250grams

        Does the above look correct to you?

        Cheers Andy,

        Regards Steve

        • “fasting period is 9pm till 1am”
          You just wrote this wrong, I presumed you meant “feeding window” but actually you should have written 1pm so we’re on the same page. I stand by my suggestion for two meals. You’re not an athlete with multiple training sessions a day, don’t complicate things for yourself by eating 5 times.

  52. Hello Andy,
    my parents wants follow LG protocol too, what do you think? is possible? they are 63 mom and 68 dad.
    Thank you.

  53. Hello Andy,

    First of all, thank you very much for all your posts on this site – it has been invaluable in piecing together my IF diet. I have a question regarding sleeping + IF. On weekends and on break days, I tend to eat my last meal at 9PM, go to bed around 2-3AM, and wake up around 1-2PM. By the time I wake up, 16 hours have passed by since my last meal.

    My question is whether or not it is okay to eat immediately after getting up in this case (on a rest day). I suspect that I would still incur the CAR that Martin mentions. Is there any benefit to waking up at say 8AM, staying in a fasted till 1PM and then eating, vs. what I mentioned above?

    Thanks again for your excellent guide.

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  56. Hi Andy – really interesting analysis you’ve done here. I’ve had success with paleo diet and crossfit for cutting in the past, i’m looking to integrate more of the leangains principles to move some stubborn fat and re-set my fat level as i gain fat quickly when miss training for a short time.

    I’d appreciate your comments on my regime and how best fits to IF / leangains:

    - get up early (6am)
    - pre workout: whey protein shake (0 carbs) 30g protein
    - train crossfit (7-8am) mwf (sometimes saturday also)

    Is it possible to work leangains IF into this program? Should i then eat breakfast after the workout, then fast until evening, or wait until 12pm to break the fast……then eat 12-8pm..?

    Also – do you think cross fit is suitable for the leangains program?

    Appreciate your advice,

    • Very familiar questions. Often repeated. YoU’re basically best to just continue reading but I will give a quick answer.
      1. Yes fine, see Martin’s “Early Morning Fasted Training”
      2. Leangains is a method of strategically timing your nutrition with your workouts. There are any number of workout styles it will work with. That does not mean that your crossfit routine is necessarily the most optimal for your goals.

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  58. Hey Andy.
    What do you think about IF for women? Would it give similiar results?
    I really want to try it, but I do not have access to a gym whatsoever, is there another way I could still lift?

    Your site and transformation is awesome, thanks!

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  60. hey andy,

    I must have missed out on a key page or paragraph because I thought I was cutting, when really I’ve been eating at maintenance every day. if I understand the term correctly, then I am eating the same protein every day while cycling my carbs and fat between work outs.

    if I have got it wrong, then the interesting thing is that I have still cut A LOT in 3 months. I had a few spare tyres in July and now abs are starting to show.

    if you can direct me to where the clearest definitions for the difference between cutting, slow bulk and recomp macro calculations are, I’d appreciate it. I have tried looking, but I think my brain is too old school for blog formats.

    thanks mate

    • A cut is when you lose weight overall. A bulk is where you gain weight overall. A recomp is where you lose fat and gain muscle. This latter one doesn’t necessarily mean that you will stay the same weight.

      Training status and level will determine how well a person can achieve a recomp and what calories that will need for that. Advanced trainees are better off choosing either a cut or bulk.

  61. Thank you for posting this guide. I am wondering about my caloric intake. My maintenance is 1800 and I am currently eating 1300. When I do cardio or strength training should I eat more? So say I burn 200 calories in cardio, I eat 1500 calories instead of 1300. Is this correct? Should I eat 1300 Net calories. Or should I just eat 1300 calories regardless of my daily activity? Thank you.

    • Check out this post George. But generally, just keep on reading, as I can tell from you haven’t read the “Guide to doing it yourself” linked to at the bottom of this post. I never recommend dieting without strength training unless a person is obese (minimal risk of muscle catabolism) and they can’t for some reason.

  62. Hey Andy

    I train fasted for every workout with ingestion of 10g BCAA. Thing is, I was just looking at this study saying that BCAA is very Insulinogenic. If thats the case, HGH declines and insulin rises and puts a hinder on fat burning. I’m not sure how significant the raise in insulin is or if it even matters, but the muscle protein breakdown from completly fasted training is so minuimul and out weighs BCAA fasted training for the cost of increase insulin.

    I’d like to know your take on Fasted+BCAA training and completly fasted training and your experience.

    http://www.gulfcoastpersonaltrainingllc.com/why-supplementing-with-branched-chain-amino-acids-bcaa-pre-workout-will-be-detrimental-to-fasted-training/

    I love training fasted with BCAA’s, but I do also training with out them only a caffeine pill or black coffee. Sometimes my recovery is better with the BCAA, and without them, I feel no difference somtimes.

    Love your website Andy, helped me a ton.

    Any feed back is greatly appreciated.

    Jason

  63. hi andy,first id like to thanku for all the help u offer regarding i.f.ive been doin if for 4 weeks n my 1st meal is at 12pm of veggies n meat,second meal at 4pm meat and little complex carbs and i workout at 7-7.30pm and last meal is 8.30pm….my question is that do i need bcaas preworkout as ders only 3 hours between my second meal n workout?and are 3 hours enough to get u in a fasted state?

    • No, your previous meal is perfectly sufficient. Definitely not, timing would really depend on what technical definition you put on “fasted state” but the take-home point is, if you have a good, mixed, real-food meal with plenty of protein as your last meal of the day then you’re fine till the next day.

      • thanxs andy,one more thing as my schedule given above doesnt alow me to tranin fasted shud i change my schedule and train fasted and break my fast postworkout?wud dis be better for fat loss as im currently on cut or continue with my current routine……thanxs

  64. i need to clarify something….

    1. if i’m doing slowbulk, am i suppose to gain weight or lose weight?
    2. \Because i lost 1lb and my %fat has been the same. Does that mean i lost muscle?
    *i know the accuracy to measure body fat has high percent error, but to measure progress, it is pretty accurate.

  65. Hi Andy,

    let me know your thoughts on what i am about to suggest. if it will compromise my results then i wont change anything. I want what you think is best.
    either way i am happy with the change/strength my body is going through so far :)

    would it be a problem to change my eating window from 2pm-10pm. having my last meal (dinner) at 9pm. i would workout from 12:30pm-1:30pm?
    or is it to late to do so since am already well into the program and working out fasted might compromise my results and strength this far without my 15% preworkout meal; since my body has already adapted to it?
    if we go with the time change, would i be needing BCAA’s an hour before working out or can i do without them?

    The reason am asking is because am thinking of changing my work /break schedule.

    Thank you Andy,
    have a lovely weekend,

    Noor

    • That would work fine, but only change if it’s better for your schedule or simpler to execute. There is unlikely to be a measurable difference in results generated.
      If you go with it then a 2 meal, 50/50 split with 10g of BCAAs before your workout will be fine. – Very simple thus arguably better.

  66. Hi Andy,

    I’m just wondering, could you apply any diet to I.F? For example, I eat pretty healthy, but sometimes I would throw in ice creams, chips and all those junk foods once and a while. Would applying that type of diet with I.F still give me results/that ripped-muscular body?

    Cheers,

    Adam.

    • You can skip breakfast and still get some of the fasting benefits, yes. Overall energy intake is the most important thing though and you won’t get ripped with a decent amount of muscle mass without watching your macros for 90% of the time. Watch this.

  67. Andy, because of my schedule, it would be easier for me to eat during a 6 hour window and fast for 18 hours. Would this make much of a difference? My main goal is fat loss. Also, does the number of meals matter much if I’m hitting my macro targets?

    • Sorry I am not Andy..It is does not matter how many meals you eat within the eating window. Hence it is called eating window. Also 18 hours doesn’t matter make sure within the eating window you hit your macros. Also make sure calories come before macros. So first hit the calories and try your best to meet the macros. It works…..I have been the best shape of my life while eating what I want :)….this is amazing. I have been kicking my ass really hard for 2 months before….and started 1 month back with the IF. So totally I have working out for like 3 months….I have gone from 19% body fat to 10% within that time period while gaining muscles. More to go.

  68. Andy, I have a question I have not seen asked or answered.

    On my 3 training days (M/W/F) I can be consistent with each days my meal timing, eating my first meal at 2 after the gym, but on rest days (the other 4) I can only eat beginning at 5-6. Would this cause a huge problem?

    Eating 2-8 MWF and 6-10 rest days?

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  70. Hey Andy I’m hearing conflicting reports on when to eat PWO. Some people say you need to eat immediately to replenish your body but others say you should wait a few hours and let your body burn off more fat first. Which one is it?

  71. Hey there i have been looking at sum of the progress and want to no how i can join this diet programe and more info ,for the people not do informed on deiting and exercise as i wannt to do a 12week chalang my self

  72. Hello Andy,

    I have a question regarding my energy levels. I have no other option then to have an eating window from 3 pm. – 11 pm. because of my night training (10 pm.) I train at monday and friday. I am feeling very fuzzy / low energy during the day and had this feeling before when I sometimes skipped eating in the morning after i have woken up. My calories are @ 2100 kcal (500 – 700 under maintenance) and I weigh 82 kg’s atm after already losing 5 kg of fat on a keto and following IF for 1 full week now (total 7 weeks of dieting).

    What do you suggest me to do? Is it an option to only have this 3 pm. – 11 pm. eating window on my training days and eat from 11 pm – 7 pm. on rest days? This way I will have two days of 12 hours fast and 2 days of 20h, will this be a problem? I realy want to have my energy levels up, because this just isn’t working for me.

    Thanks in advance!

      • Apologies, didn’t see the link only the question before. After reading the article, and all the articles it links to, and considering the results you see from people using BCAAs with their fasted training and those that don’t, on balance what are your thoughts?

        • i think that for muscle building might be better to take bcaas before fasted training but for general health it might not be the best strategy…i am not very much into supplements anyway….

  73. Hi Andy,

    I am on Leangains while following Wendler’s 5/3/1 Training Program. I am cutting for 4 weeks now with surprisingly now strength loss.

    As I have to go on an international business trip (USA to China) in the next weeks, I was wondering how you would handle training and meal times taking in consideration the 12 hours time difference.

    Thank you in advance.

    Angelo

    • I’d just pretend that you didn’t change your watch and keep eating lunch and dinner at “China time”, otherwise it’d be too difficult.
      As for the strength loss, that could be any number of things. Deficit too severe? Bad workout? Lack of sleep? Stress? Routine too intense? Too much volume? (Things for you to think about.)

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  75. Hey again, Andy.

    I had a quick question. I have been on the leangains/IF protocol for a couple of weeks now and there has been a lingering question on my mind.

    I have successfully shaken a lot of the nutritional and fitness ‘mythos’ that have been perpetuated throughout the recent years, but I wanted to ask:
    I work out and break my fast first thing in the morning (I work night shift, so my ‘morning’ is 4pm). I eat my last meal at midnight. Sometimes, I don’t get to bed until about 8am. So that’s 8 hours after my last ‘meal’. The one thing I’m wondering is… well, I admit to being one of those guys that did the casein shakes before they slept. I don’t now, for obvious reasons.

    But after an 8 hour fast, is my body still going to ‘build/repair/gain’ muscle in my sleep? Do I still have amino acids and the necessary nutrients present if I’m not getting to bed until about 8 hours into my fast? The earliest I could get to bed would be, say, 6am (6 hours into the fast). I’m just wondering if I might be sabotaging myself with the fasting schedule I’ve set for myself. Even though it works perfectly with my current schedule. Thank you, Andy!
    -Nathan

      • Thanks, Andy. Wasn’t positive because most of Martin’s examples were breaking fast sometime in the afternoon as opposed to morning or earlier (upon waking). Though I did read that this was mostly due to social and diet adherence reasons.

        Appreciate it.

        -Nathan

  76. Hi, I follow IF and someone asked me how are the extra cals in my 1000 cal meal not getting stored as fat. I know it’s not because I look more ripped than ever but can’t answer the question. Any good links to point me to to prove this?

    • It’s about the overall energy balance at the end of the day. Free fatty acids are constantly shuttling in and out of your fat stores into the bloodstream all day. While the dietary fat may be stored initially, it will be burned up at the end of the day.
      The there’s the issue of the beneficial calorie partitioning effects of the correct IF set-up. I’ve covered that in detail here.

  77. Thank you for this information, please answer the following when you have a chance. In the morning, between the 10 – 16 hour mark, can I drink water and coffee, obviously no sugar, but a little milk? Or does that stop the fast. I am a female and worked out if I eat dinner at 7 then 14 hours later is 9am, so should I break my fast then, or will I continue to burn fat if I fast a couple more hours?

    • I’ve heard of people having trouble sleeping when eating a huge meal before bed. It happens in a few cases and the solution (so far) is to try either, 1. Eat less carbs in that meal, or 2. Put the meal a few hours earlier. -Try that first and see. Test them out one by one of course.

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  106. How do you manage the 16 hour window if you train at different times on different days?

    Sunday – BCAA / Train 10am / BCAA / Break Fast 12 – 8pm
    Tuesday – Training is at 9pm
    Thursday – BCAA / Train 5.30am / BCAA / Break Fast 12 – 8pm

    How do I handle the Tuesday when I have to train in the evening as opposed to the morning like Sunday and Thursday ?

      • Sorry, I’m not much of a Computer/internet expert, somehow a random blog I tried to make ages ago has become my name. Something to do with WordPress.. I changed the display name, but it doesnt seem to have updated. My name is Terry Homen.

        I had a thought on my issue, if I eat 800 Calories after my workout at 10.30pm but then dont eat till 2.30pm the next day, but still finnishing that day at 8pm, that would work well ?

        • The simpler thing would be to shift your feeding window later to accommodate for a large PWO meal on that one late training day. Or just eat later on that one day and keep the window the same for the others. I doubt your body will get ‘confused’ if you eat one out of 14/21 meals at a slightly later time.

  107. I was thinking of combining Eat Stop Eat (ESE) with Lean Gains (LG). I know Lean Gains already incorporates Eat Stop Eat to an extent, however I thought I may experiment. Assuming early morning training:

    On rest days, I could extend the fast having only 1 meal (evening meal). Training days would of course remain the same (BCAA, PWO meal, Meal #1).

    Training day: 12:00 PWO Meal, 19:00 Meal 1
    Rest day: 19:00 Meal 1

    This would provide a 24 hour fast the starts at the end of a workout day and ends at the end of a rest day. I should think the main concern would be diet adherence? Possibly, but I want to experiment with it. My aim is to maintain a higher calorie deficit on rest days?

    Basically, off the back of one hangover, I ate crap fro nearly 2 weeks. I have however continued my 3 T-Days a week, BCAAs and fasted. However during the ‘bad’ period, rest days were high carb, high fat, and t-days were high carb, high fat, with an astonishing number of calories. Anyway, I was thinking a spell of maybe 3 weeks, using ESE to provide a high calorie deficit, or at least, get me out of the cycle of eating junk.

  108. Hi there,
    Dumb question, if I eat white rice do I measure the cup cooked or uncooked?
    I just tried to eat 2 cups as part of my pwo meal and couldn’t quite get through it. I measured 2 cups uncooked rice and cooked it in a rice cooker. Of course when finished it was a lot of rice. Two cups of cooked rice is no problem to consume.

    Please clarify this for me, I appreciate it.

    Many thanks,
    Trevor

  109. Hey Andy I have a question about the frequency of carb-refeeds for preventing leptin drops.

    In my 5th week of IF I had a week away from training and so only ate my ‘rest day’ macros for the week and was without more than 25g of carbs for about 5 days. I did do 2 or 3 bodyweight sessions of chin ups , squats and push ups but my activity for the week was mostly walking.

    I noticed a marked improvement in leanness but when I returned to training and a few carb refeeds I noticed myself becoming much softer, more than I would attribute/ notice from water retention normally. I was wondering if in some individuals it would be beneficial to stay low carb for a bit longer then refeed? And how would one organise this around training.?

    • All you’re experiencing there Alex is natural cycles in water retention (manifested in hardness and softness in abs and weight fluctuations) and is nothing to worry about. I’m current sat here with a full, fat stomach and I look relatively shit in the mirror. But I don’t care as I know I’ll be relatively hard again tomorrow.

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  111. Andy,

    Hope this note finds you well. I recently read Jason Ferruggia’s nutrition guide and noticed that he has a few different philosophies. While there’s definitely some overlap, a few of his ideas directly contradict Martin’s leangains.com approach. I’ll list the few that stuck out below. Was hoping perhaps you could reconcile the conflicting ideas here…

    1. BIG BREAKFAST. Jason recommends eating a massive breakfast, and then every six hours. He seems to feel that the body will revert to a catabolic state every three hours. Pretty sure Martin’s articles/research shows this as false. Is Jason just wrong?
    2. EXTENDED CARB RESTRICTION FOR FAT LOSS. Jason seems to advocate carb restriction for 3-5 consecutive days before loading back up. From my experience with you, it seemed cycling daily (with 2 wknd days) was more optimal. Any thoughts on pros and cons of each? (I prefer your method, for the record.)
    3. AGAINST EATING TWICE/DAY. Jason says that eating a big me a twice a day to meet caloric requirements “is a horrible option. Let’s say you need 3,000 calories per day to grow. You are now going to split that up into two 1,500 calorie meals. That is way too much for anyone to be able to properly digest in one meal and will lead to tremendous fat gain.” Is Jason basing this on old data or something? Martin’s articles directly contradict this!

    Thanks, Andy! You’re doing some fantastic stuff with this site! Amazing to see the progress w/ your great articles and growing fan base.

    Best,

    Adam

    Overlap in

      • For someone who wrote this article I would have expected a more indept reply than this, anyway, to answer your questions;
        1. Yes, Jason is wrong, If you were to eat a big breakfast that would comprise of protein, carbs and fats your body would be still digesting the meal 3 hours later, how can you be catabolic while still digesting nutrients??.. Ontop of that catabolism is a lot harder to reach than most people think. I have seen several controlled scientific studies that show there is no differance from eating 5 meals a day than there is 1 meal, from the research it actually suggests a slight advantage to eating the 1 meal a day vs the 5 meals.
        2. Not my field.
        3. Your body can absorb as much food as it is given, if you eat a larger meal ie 1500 cals for example it will take longer to digest than eating 500 cals but it will digest all the same. Think about the cave man days, they would eat one very large meal and then sometimes not eat for another day or two, this is the way our bodies are made, people just don’t understand this because of all the media fad diets that say you must eat every 2-3 hrs etc. It’s all bullsh*t. I can link plenty of studies to back all this up, if need be.
        Cheers.

        • You’re right, I should have answered more thoroughly but I was trying to help Adam by simplifying the decision for him. i.e. Just make a start on something rather than worrying about the science. -Too many people study themselves into hole and never take action. All the answers are written or linked to on this site, but thanks for taking the time to write that out.

  112. Hey there. First off, great website. A lot like Martin’s but slightly more practical (you give more application advice whereas Martin’s left a little mystery).

    I was just wondering about my 2 meal/day scenario. I’m going for a meal at 1 PM and another at 8:30 PM.

    The 8:30 PM meal will be my only post-workout meal (thus, 50-60% of my calories for that day minimum).

    On the “sure-fire fat loss” article, Martin said,

    “On workout days, break the fast with meat, veggies and a fruit. If you’re planning to train shortly after this meal, add a few carbs in the form of a starch source – potatoes or whole grain bread, for example. Make it a medium sized meal and don’t stuff yourself. Train within 3 hrs of having eaten this meal”

    My schedule constrains me to work out at 7 PM so I don’t get that workout in until 6 hours after the 1 PM meal.

    Do I have anything to worry about or can I stick with this plan where I am having meal 1 at 1 PM and then working out at 7 PM?

    Thanks so much

    • Firstly thanks. Please also make sure you’ve thanked Martin. He’s obviously said that for a reason, he must have found the 3 hours to be the most optimal, but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try a two meal approach if this is what fits your schedule best. Make sure you include green vegetables in that meal also.

  113. You forgot to say about increased lifespan, it will add 20%-30% to your life.

    Intermittent fasting is a great way to do this since it triggers a process called “recycling”.

    Your body will recycle sick cells, tumors, and over-used fibers to build new tissues. This process will not only keep you young, it will keep you much stronger and leaner. Really lean and strong people have excellent muscle composition that is much better than people that eat non-stop and look bulky.

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  116. Hi Andy,

    I didn’t know quite where to put this, but I’ll move it if you hint to a better comment wall.

    If you’ve no objections, I’m going to add creatine to my supplements. I’d like to go straight into a maintenance phase, and just prepare myself for slower results – can’t be arsed with the loading/maintenance cycle. My question is – should I take it every day, or is it enough that I take it on workout days? I was thinking I’d add 4g a day to my pre-workout BCAA-shake and leave it at that, if workout days only is enough.

    Cheers!

    Brage

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  119. Andy–

    Two questions:
    1) Let’s say I’m traveling all day and can’t get all my macros in within the feeding hours (8:00pm). However, I get back to the house at 10pm and can eat then. What’s best? Getting the macros in even if you’re late or skipping the meal altogether?

    2) I’m expected at a wedding. To accommodate, I’m making this a work-out day and just going w/ basically one big meal. However, for obvious reasons, I can’t go straight from the workout to the big meal.

    What’s better?

    a) a small PWO meal, w/ large PWO 6-7 hours after work-out?

    b) continuing to drink BCAAs for 6-7 hours until the big PWO meal.

    Thanks,

    Adam

    • Hi Adam,
      1) Absolutely worth getting in all your macros. Two hours late is not a big deal, just keep your other meal times constant. If you don’t eat your macros, especially on a training day this will negatively impact your recovery and you’ll might find yourself struggling for energy for a couple of days till your next PWO meal.

      2) The day before, switch your meals so that the last one is biggest. Make it real food, with lots of veggies to slow down absorption of aminos into the blood stream.

      Both options are good, I’m not sure where the scientific research is on which is better. 6-7 hours till the PWO meal is what many people do anyway if they opt for 6am training. The only difference will be the extended fasting window beforehand. Do what you think will work best for you.

      • Andy,

        Great to see so much flexibility in this program. I will be reading your entire blog for the next month! So much information. 1 month in the program so far and it seems to be the answer for me. Feeling Great! Thanks for your dedication.

        Greg

      • I have changed my training routine to fit in with an IF diet. I now eat nothing throughout the day, train roughly 6pm-8pm (including cardio, weights and sometimes quick sauna) then my eating window is 8pm-10pm, then nothing again until after next days training session. I have found caffeine suppresses hunger although am careful not to overload on this. I am seeing rapid changes in tone especially around the abs area. I am getting a lot more energy throughout the day and am genuinely feeling like I am burning entirely stored fat in my gym sessions. IF is proving fantastic for cutting!!

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