Friday, July 27, 2007
7:23 PM | Posted by Martin Berkhan | Edit Post
Leangains is a unique approach to strength training and nutrition. The diet involves intermittent fasting and strength training in order to reduce fat mass and increase muscle mass. This is performed by switching between phases of overfeeding and underfeeding, as well as carefully manipulating the macronutrient ratio of the diet. My take on intermittent fasting and strength training will be the topic of an upcoming book project with nutrion guru Lyle McDonald, author of The Ketogenic Diet and The Ultimate Diet 2.0.
Personal Consultations: nutrition and training
For personal consultations at reasonable prices, please contact me at email@example.com. I take a no-bullshit-approach to diet and training: my clients get results.
Updates (July 27th to Aug 31th)
31/8 Update: Michael Novak (from the testimonials section) takes the 16/8 concept of intermittent fasting to the masses - check out the link. Michael is shown in picture number 6.
27/8 Update: Still alive and kicking it, just been very busy lately, therefore the lack of any new updates. I've had a large influx of new clients and it's good to see trainees on various internet forums opening up to the IF approach. Seems like every board got it's own thread on the topic and it oftens spurs some wild arguing between the yay-sayers and the nay-sayers. Somewhere in between you might find some worthwhile discussion. The thread usually goes out of hand when you have the 6-meal-a-day-eat-clean-or-die-nutters on one side and the IF fundamentalists on the other side. Arguing that we should be fasting every day just because our ancestors did it (and even that is up for debate) is almost as moronic as arguing for eating every 2-3rd hour to "stoke the metabolic fire" (hint: it's a myth) or "staying anti-catabolic" (hint: a big meal may take more than 12 hrs to fully digest and will release a constant stream of amino acids during the process).
Keep checking in for the newsletter interview with me and Leigh Peele, should be up this week.
9/8 Update: Did some deadlifting today, 600 lbs x 3 (270 kg)
Note that the innermost plates are 25 kg (55 lbs), which are regular sized plates; that is, they are the same dimensions as standard size 20 kgs (45's) would be.
The other plates are rubber studded plates from Techno Gym, which are not standard size and have a much lower diameter than standard issue 20 kg plates.
Therefore: 20 kg (bar) + 2 x 25 + 6 x 20 + 8 x 10 = 270 kg / ~ 600 lbs
Note the size discrepancy between the 25 kg standard issue weights and the 20 kg Techno Gym weights.
8/8 Update: Added three testimonials that I hope shows the diversity among the people that employ my methods.
Fitness and bodybuilding pro's, to college students and pro gamers; there is an approach for everyone, regardless of training status.
You'll find these in the testimonials section further down the page.
The most prominent fitness champion in Sweden has embraced the Leangains approach.
A college student and strength training enthusiast who has found intermittent fasting to be much more in tune with his natural eating pattern.
A professional gamer, who always struggled to maintain a balance between his sedentary lifestyle and a healthy physique, finally found my approach to be the magic bullet needed to improve his body composition.
6/8 Update: Sorry folks, been very busy and haven't been able to invest as much time in this blog lately. Anyway, im just dropping by to tell you about some upcoming features. This blog will be a part of the website leangains.com, which will have a closed forum where issues pertaining to the Leangains approach and intermittent fasting will be discussed in detail. It will only be open to
1) people that I deem trustworthy not to reveal any specifics of the approach and
2) people that may provide for an interesting discussion on the issues brought up.
The forum will be open to the public after the book release.
* I will appear in a newsletter interview with nutrition professional Leigh Peele on the topic of my approach to intermittent fasting, nutrition and weight training. I'll post it here as soon as we're done.
* Fasted state workouts: feedbacks and conclusions coming soon.
* More testimonials coming soon.
30/7 Update: Added Questions and Answers section (see below).
28/7 Update: New look on the blog; better? Worse? You be the judge. Please leave me a comment.
What you will find on this blog:
* Testimonials from people I've worked with
* Information about the Leangains approach (June, archive)
* Interviews with me and book excerpts concerning the Leangains approach and Intermittent Fasting (June, archive)
* Post of the day
* My workout videos
* And more.
Keep checking in for daily updates.
Questions and Answers section
The Leangains FAQ didn't come up this week as I had planned. Too much stuff to do. On the other hand, I get a lot of questions sent to me regarding the Leangains approach and Intermittent Fasting, so im going to start posting some of the e-mails, along with my questions, in this section.
Why hasn't anyone discovered this approach before?
Q: Excuse me for being blunt, but if this diet is all that, then why haven't many people discovered it? Why do so many bodybuilding dietitians (almost unanimously) have their clients do your average 6-meals-a-day-3-hours-apart type of diet?
A: The reason for the fitness/bodybuilding community not having "discovered" the approach, I think depends on several factors.
1) being stuck in old ways of thinking with regards to nutrition and, especially, meal frequency.
Many people believe that eating several small meals a day will some how "stoke the metabolic fire" and prevent "starvation mode" etc. You know how it goes. There's also the rather absurd notion that about the body only being able to absorb 30-40 g of protein in a sitting and going longer than 3-4 hrs without eating will get you "catabolic".
These myths and absurd notions gets repeated in eternum by the bodybuilding mags and other bodybuilding gurus/clowns. Noone would dare to go against the grain when the so called "truths" about proper nutrition is so heavily ingrained into the community.
2) The empirical and scientific support for intermittent fasting, it's health benefits and effects on human physiology, has only started to emerge (relatively) recently and is still an unknown concept for the uninitiated fitness enthusiast or layperson.
3) the old approach "works" for sure (6 meals a day etc), so no reason to mess with it. However, it may not be ideal and it may certainly not be ideal for many people with regards to meal frequency.
Leangains and athletes
Q: I'm curious about the authors' thoughts on this diet approach for performance athletes. Is this targeted more toward those looking for body recomp?
A: Slight modifications and/or compromises needs to be done with regards to macros and meal timing, but outside of that I see no issues with it - exceptions being, perhaps athletes with very high energy requirements and/or doing more than one training session a day.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
7:43 PM | Posted by Martin Berkhan | Edit Post
She also shares her dieting experience in a video: http://www.youtube.com/user/BrainsBeautyBrawn
I will be working closely with Tessa in her quest for abs in the near future.
That's all for tonight, folks.
She also shares her dieting experience in a video: http://www.youtube.com/user/BrainsBeautyBrawn
I will be working closely with Tessa in her quest for abs in the near future.
That's all for tonight, folks.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
4:30 PM | Posted by Martin Berkhan | Edit Post
Matt is an example of how the Leangains way of meal patterning may impact the social and psychological sides of life - for the better. Have a look at it in the testimonials section further down the page (fourth person from the top).
Im also looking to update the blog every day with a "post of the day", from one of the many internet forums I frequent on a regular basis. I will here post on some issues that may involve different aspects of Leangains/Intermittent Fasting.
Post of the day
This one is from beyondlowcarb.org and the post revolves around ADF (Alternate Day Fasting) and how it may affect bodyweight. In my response I talk about calorie intake during the feast being key for bodyweight gain, maintenance or loss, and post some interesting results from a recent study showing changes in bodycomposition (for the better, that is subjects lost fat and gained LBM) in comparison to a standard meal pattern. The results are interesting because the subjects consumed the same amount of calories on both diets.
Poster: I've been doing a lot of IF research. Specifically, I've been reading about the effects of Alternate Day Fasting (ADF) on cancer, cardiac and diabetes risk factors, as well as effects on weight and body composition in both animal and human subjects. The jury is decidedly still out in terms of how ADF affects body weight. Studies are all over the map - some gaining, some losing - dependent on length of study, quality of food, etc. I found an interesting article on IF + high fat diet. More on this after I read it.
My input: Keep in mind that the key for ADF's effects on bodyweight would still be calorie intake. Subjects are often told to eat ad libitum in these studies, thus a large energy deficit (provided by fasting) is easily outdone with a ravenous appetite or the typical energy dense food items that compromise peoples everyday diets. And then again, im not sure ADF would be doable (from a psychological/social standpoint), or even ideal, in the long term.
Of greater interest is the rather recent study by Stote et al (2007) showing improved bodycomposition with a 20 hr fast - in this case the calorie intake was tightly controlled. The study compares regular eating pattern (three evenly spaced meals) with fasting and im posting some interesting tidsbits below:
Results: Subjects who completed the study maintained their body
weight within 2 kg of their initial weight throughout the 6-mo period.
There were no significant effects of meal frequency on heart rate,
body temperature, or most of the blood variables measured. However,
when consuming 1 meal/d, subjects had a significant increase
in hunger; a significant modification of body composition, including
reductions in fat mass; significant increases in blood pressure and in
total, LDL-, and HDL-cholesterol concentrations; and a significant
decrease in concentrations of cortisol.
Conclusions: Normal-weight subjects are able to comply with a 1
meal/d diet. When meal frequency is decreased without a reduction
in overall calorie intake, modest changes occur in body composition,
some cardiovascular disease risk factors, and hematologic variables.
Diurnal variations may affect outcomes. Am J Clin Nutr 2007;
Note the reduction in bodyfat (esp interesting considering calorie intake was not reduced).
Reading from the full text version, there even appears to have been LBM gain, which is quite fascinating. Perhaps fasting affects hormonal output favourably or activates gene expression mediated muscle growth, which is having a mild anabolic effect (speculating, not to be taken as being true). Or, it could be a result of inaccurate methods of measuring bodycomposition on the researchers part.
Monday, July 23, 2007
4:49 PM | Posted by Martin Berkhan | Edit Post
However, The Leangains FAQ should be up this week if I get my ass in gear, so keep checking in for that one. In this FAQ I'll answer the most common questions I get about Intermittent Fasting. For example "will I burn muscle during the fast", "will I go into starvation mode if I don't eat every 3rd hour" and so forth. Sometimes I just wan't to smack people so bad. You guys have no idea.
Anyway, here goes a little something from the gym.
I guess all I needed was chalk. Even had one or two more reps in me.
590 lbs (265 kg) x 3 deadlift
3x bw would be a breeze right now, so new goal is 300 kg (665 lbs) or at least 3xbw for 3 reps. We'll see.
Now for something else.
Fasted State Workouts
Lately I have been doing my workouts in the fasted state, compared to before where I was usually having a pre-workout meal. I have noticed no adverse effects whatsoever. For example, one might assume energy would be affected for the worse, but this has proven not to be the case with me. Granted, my workouts are low volume and high intensity: 2 or 3 sets for compound movements, with a rep range of 3-5 reps, being less demanding in terms of enery expenditure and glycogen depletion than a typical bodybuilding routine (multiple sets of 8-10 reps for example). I find this interesting and I may have to change (or provide alternatives/guidelines for the fasted workout and post workout feeding window) my stance on the default rec pre-workout meal in the Leangains protocol.
I wan't people to send me their experience with fasted state workouts to firstname.lastname@example.org (only if you currently are doing some form of Intermittent Fasting). I only wan't feedback on this topic if your fasting period is at least 14 hours.
Please give information within the right context, i.e
1) how long is your fast (I take it you would have your first meal post-workout)?
2) how does your workout look in terms of volume (total workload in terms of sets and reps)?
3) overall, do you perform better or worse on an empty stomach vs having a pre-workout meal?
Sunday, July 8, 2007
5:55 PM | Posted by Martin Berkhan | Edit Post
This section will be updated continuously.
1st place, 2005 Swedish Athletic Fitness Championship
1st place, 2006 Swedish Athletic Fitness Championship
2nd place, 2007 Swedish Athletic Fitness Championship
I have always been very open in questions concering nutrition and I've tried out almost every approach out there. Still, I haven't been 100% happy with the outcome of anyone of those. I'm a certified sports nutrionist and when I was reading about the intermittent fasting and Leangains on Martin's site, I just couldn't believe this would actually work. It all goes against what I've learned and studied. So I decided to give it a try and was surprised that I didn't feel the burn of hunger in my stomach as I always seemed to have on my previous cutting phases. My mental focus was also better than ever. I know my body very well, as I have had full focus on training and nutrition since I was a teenager and I can honestly say that I haven't been more enthusiastic about any nutritional approach ever before. To wake up in the morning and going to work without that 25 pound bag of food is just a great feeling. It saves time and allows me to get more sleep every night (I don't have to stand in the kitchen all night!).
Another thing about intermittent fasting is that you easily can control your cravings. I haven't had any troubles at all and I have dieted down for competitions a dozen of times! I'm pretty sure that intermittent fasting will be a very debated issue in a couple of months and I'm also sure that more evidence will come up that this is a great way to improve both health and muscle to fat ratio on our bodies.
- Seth Ronland, Ystad. Sweden.
1st place, Classic Bodybuilding +178 at Loaded Cup -07 (Denmark)
My interest in the concept was sparked after reading about the seventies bodybuilding icon Serge Nubret and his one meal a day approach. It lead me to read some studies and articles about intermittent fasting, but I just couldn't get myself to try it. The old dogmas ("six meals a day", etc.) was simply to well rooted in me.
First after reading some of Martins posts about the topic in various forums it all started to fall into place and make sense, and I decided to give it a try. And after sticking to an IF approach for some time now I'm all in all very satisfied with the concept. The most significant benefits I've experienced so far is higher mental focus and less food cravings during the days, and faster recovery after exercise. Also on a practical day-to-day basis it fits me perfect with less time spent on cooking and eating at daytime and I can focus on making a big dinner instead.
Needless to say, I plan to stick to IF in the future.
- David Höök, Oslo. Norway.
2nd place, Athletic Fitness +178 at Decembercupen -05 (Sweden).
Martin is the go-to guy when it comes to real life nutrition and creative solutions to contest dieting and dieting in general. Theoretical knowledge and practical experience combined makes him a goldmine of valuable information. Up front he will let you know if you´re about to do something stupid or if something can be done better. No holds barred, some may call him blunt but I call him honest, and that is a quality I appreciate in people. I hold him in highest regard and always consult him whenever I have any nutrition, or training related, questions.
- Benjamin Basíc. Malmö, Sweden.
Öivind Bolstad Bang
3rd place, Classic +178, Muscle Tech Grand Prix-07 (Sweden).
I have always been interested in new ways of dieting and training. The thought of everyone walking in the same direction, following the old accepted way of doing things bores me. When I heard about the IF-diet I felt like this was something for me. The diet gives me alot more time during the days to focus on my studies (college student trying to get my masters) which is a very big pro for me. Not having to prepare meals for every other hour of the day is a blessing and when you do eat you get to eat for real. No tiny 30-gram protein meals but a proper meal loaded with musclebuilding cals when you need it the most.
Martin taught me how to manage my macros to get the most out of my training and he has an amazing "no-bullshit" approach to his clients. You get the real thing, no fancy "dietmagic" from the latest Bodybuilding mag. My strength gains has been consistent even though I am cutting, which according to all the "experts" is impossible but thanks to the timing of the IF-diet it´s possible to both cut fat and add mass at the same time.
- Öivind Bolstad Bang. Halmstad, Sweden.
Soccer player and fitness enthusiast
IF initially seemed like a crazy idea to me. In my introduction to health and fitness I was bombarded by the dogma of regular eating, avoiding catabolism, nitrogen balance and improved metabolic functioning that is so prevalent in bodybuilding and health/fitness subcultures. I used these methods to drop 30odd pounds of fat and then add 15lb LBM to my now 75kg frame. I had never tried to be huge, just athletic and lean - very lean - and I quickly had the frequent meals every 2.5-3hrs as the only way to succeed in this lifestyle engrained deeply into my way of life. I obtained a very low BF (ranging from 6-8%) and was maintaining it without too much of a struggle following the aforementioned guidelines. This was all well and good except it was taking over my life.
I would be forced to prepare meals everytime I left the house. I couldn't eat out with friends for fear of upsetting my delicate calore/macro balance. My productivity in study and work was hugely affected by contstantly stopping to either prepare or eat my several meals. Sure I was lean but I wasn't much fun to be around nor was I able to actually enjoy being lean, which afterall is the absolute goal right? What good is being 6% with the body most dream of if your buried in the kitchen the whole time?!
Then I discovered IF. As mentioned this protocol went against everything I'd ever known and had success with. I was already super lean and was very reluctant to change my ways - if it ain't broke, don't fix it right? I was very itnrigued by Martin's results which i read about on internet forums and went about doing my research on the information available concerning IF and calorie restriction. This info balanced with the real world results of Martin and others in and otuside of his tutorage was almost enough to convince me to try it. However, these results coupled with the dietary freedom those practising IF were attesting to really spike dmy curiosity. Eating incredible amounts of food, indulging on foods that would give the 'clean eating' crowd heart attacks and being able to eat freely when out with friends whilst adhering to a diet and achieving impressive results seemed too good to be true. I would have to try this.
Once I was past the fear of catabolism and other voodoo my biggest concerns were with regard to hunger and how fasting would be. I didn't really buy into the whole appetite suppression that fasting supposedly created but was pleasantly surprised to find that, indeed, hunger was not an issue at all. In fact on busy days I would have to remind myself it was time to start eating! I also found that mood was not a concern and I experienced no irritability or loss of attention which would have been detrimental to work or study. Mentally I was alert and would often experiences bouts of euphoria where I was extremely sociable and motivated which was wonderful in a service industry and also in general social situations.
In terms of bodycomposition, my goal was to maintain sub 8% bodyfat which I had been doing with traditional dieting methods but at the expense of quality of life. With IF I have been able to go dinner frequently with friends with out freaking out abotu nutrition, save time from not having to prepare a bunch of meals before leaving the house which lead to increased productivity and more leisure time, I have been eating an incredible array of foods which I'd never have gotten away with before and have been successfully holding and even lowering BF% whilst doing it. I keep waiting for a negative to this approach to show itself but my lifts have been consistently increasing, my athletic performance has been steadily improving and my life is so much easier and enjoyable than before.
I can honestly say that IF is the best dietary approach I have ever utilised. Sure other methods also produced great results but none achieved what IF has with such ease with regard to set up, adherence and fitting it into a busy lifestyle. IF is certainly a sustainable approach to healthy living and I highly recommend you try it and see if it is applicable to your lifestyle. It really has made my life easier.
- Matthew S, Sydney, Australia.
Student and fitness enthusiast
Photo: Ralf Gyllenvråk
Training combined with a large interest in nutrition has always been a part of my life. My studies in biomedicine together with frequent reading of scientific reports keeps me updated in the training and nutrition area. At the moment I’m mostly focused on strength with competing in AF (athletic fitness) as a future goal.
For many years I was “stuck” to the bodybuilding concept with eating 6 or more meals per day, thus my days mostly contained eating and preparing meals for the next day which unfortunately made me focus more on nutrition details than on my training. During a medical research regarding stem cells that I participated in I came across the IF-concept that literally turned my lifestyle upside down. At first I was very suspicious, is this IF-concept with at least 16h of fasting every day really something for an active person like me? I thought fasting only worked for inactive people sitting in the couch all day, not for athletes training intensively every day of the week. However, I was wrong. The IF-concept really works for me! Larger mental focus during fasting (which is really good for my studies), shorter recovery periods, gained fat-free body mass together with less time spent on eating and thus more time over for other activities are a few benefits of the IF-concept that I’ve experienced.
I can also vouch for Martin's expertise when it comes to training. Using a fairly low volume approach, my gains after 8 weeks are as follows:
Squat: 200 lbs x 5 at start, to 290 lbs x 5 current.
Deadlift: 315 lbs x 5 at start, to 400 lbs x 5 current.
Bench press: 200 lbs x 2 at start, to 225 lbs x 6 current.
Needless to say, I'm amazed with the gains so far, especially since my bodyfat hasn't increased at all (I like to keep a low bodyfat and dont do "traditional" bulking). I had a screwed perspective on training before, training at least 5-6 days a week (no doubt I was overtraining), but Martin taught me how to get real results with a much smarter approach.
IF is a really interesting diet method which has improved my training as well as my mental focus. And the best about IF is that it’s not just “something that works for me”, it has a lot of scientific backup to improve its benefits!
- Daniel Berglind, Stockholm, Sweden.
Personal trainer and strength training enthusiast
As a brief background, I have been lifting weights for approximately 9 years, and am presently 27 years old. In that time, I've gradually adopted progressively smarter exercise and eating habits. My eating habits before I discovered intermittent fasting were more bodybuilding-ish, eating ~5 times a day, worrying about eating every few hours and such regardless of where I was.
I actually discovered IF through some of the "paleo" people, the idea being that one could help/restore insulin sensitivity through intermittent periods of fasting. There were also reported health benefits which appealed to me, as I had a blood panel done in the summer of 2006 which revealed high cholesterol.
Thus, in addition to adopting better sources of food in general, I began practicing IF in March of 2007. This seemed to rapidly recomposition me given a "normal" amount of food in the eating window, and I was surprised at just how well it worked. Around the same time I was experimenting with this protocol, Martin Berkhan was posting about his results on another message board. Amongst the ideas he shared were observing a 2:1 fasting to eating ratio, approximately 16 hours of fasting to 8 hours of eating. Additionally, he described certain macronutrient ratios depending on day (rest days and workout days). In this manner, one could attempt to actively lose fat, gain muscle with less fat than "conventional" bulking approaches, or slowly recomposition with an average calorie intake nearer to maintenance.
I incorporated some of these ideas into my own program, which was actually quite similar already, and using this protocol for fat loss managed to achieve a level of leanness that had never occurred before.
By the end of the diet, I appeared to be in single digit bodyfat while eating daily what, to me, felt like more than ample food, without ever strongly restricting carbohydrate in order to cut water. This is a HUGE change from previous summers, and dieting was never, ever this easy. I got to enjoy food throughout the entirety of the experience.
Using IF has helped shatter some of the preconceptions I had concerning "proper" eating, particularly the relevance of "catabolism" by not eating for a handful of hours and the necessity of shoving food down your throat around the clock. As I said above, I have dieted down many times before, and my effort was never, ever this easy. In fact, I normally rely on ephedra/caffeine to help achieve peak leanness, and this time around did not rely on thermogenics of any kind.
Also, and best of all to me, I had another lipid panel performed after partaking in this diet. The results showed a large and welcome improvement - LDL and triglycerides down with HDL up. Thus, I couldn't be happier with this approach, and will rely on it indefinitely in any case where I am attempting to get or stay lean.
- Michael Novak, Chicago, Illinois. USA.
Athletic Development and Performance Trainer
I am someone who has been "playing the game" for many years now, and quite set in my ways at that. Traditionally, six meals daily was the stagnant norm - but over time I found myself slipping up often and beginning to "let myself go". When I heard and read about Intermittent Fasting, my interest was piqued and I was inspired to contact Martin. The approach seemed amazingly simple and I was pleased to find that it fit well into my lifestyle. My appearance in the mirror improved drastically as my body composition changed rapidly and favorably. I've been very happy with the "diet" (for lack of a better term, as it's not temporary for me by any means) ever since. The beauty of it all is the ease of manipulation in order to suit whatever aesthetic goals I choose.
- Chris M. Portland, Oregon, USA.
Student, writer for bodybuilding.com
I've always had blood sugar issues in the past and it seemed as though whatever diet approach I was on, it left me feeling not quite right. Add to that, that I was growing increasingly tired of having to plan out and prepare so many meals a day - it left me ready for a change.
When I first heard about the IF concept it interested me but I wasn't sure if I would ever be able to do something like that. After talking to Martin more about it I started on a slightly modified version that worked with my body and schedule. Martin was really great in helping me determine the best way to go about meeting my needs and was very good with answering any question I had regarding the concept.
Since then I have been making slight changes as time goes on, slowly approaching closer and closer to the true IF schedule. I'm finding that hunger is no longer an issue and I feel the best I've felt in years on this diet. On top of that, I am getting so much more accomplished in my day now that I do not need to stop and take eating breaks every so often. Caffeine stimulation has also gone up, which is always a nice added benefit. On the training side, I have seen nothing but improvements. I've added a few pounds so far after being on the plan for about three weeks and I would say (judging by mirror appearance only) that I am looking leaner. I'm recovering really well between workouts and no longer find I feel fatigued later on in the day (I workout in the morning). I am loving this approach and plan to stick with it, whether the specified version or a slightly modified one, for the long term.
If you are the type of person who would rather eat large meals that you truly enjoy a few times a day than eating smaller meals that leave you wanting more and are also looking for a great way to add lean muscle while losing body fat, or simply maintain your muscle while really leaning down, I would highly recommend giving this approach a try.
- Shannon Clark. Edmonton, Canada.
IF has been perhaps the best diet change I have done in my life. I no longer worry/think about meals, and I am never hungry. My energy levels and mental clarity have never been better. My lifts have gone up, weight has gone up, and despite being at a low BF % at the start, my body fat % has gone down.
- Elliott. Colorado, USA.
For several years I have been into weight training, trying to learn as much as possible and develop my physique. I got stuck in a pattern where I in periods had a very good, but very time consuming, routine with food and exercise. This involved 6 meals a day and workout sessions for at least 90 minutes 5 times a week. The other periods I just did not have the motivation to keep a good diet and to work out properly. Needless to say these on and off periods really hindered my progress.
I have never had problem with hunger and focus while not eating, and as I was reading Martins theories that he presented on various forums I really felt that this sounded like something for me. Could you really get by with 3 meals per day and not turn ‘catabolic and other terrible things’?
I contacted Martin and he took a good look at my lifestyle, diet and workout routines and we could pretty much agree that I had a tendency to become very obsessive from time to time.
What Martin presented was to me an amazing alternate lifestyle. 3 meals a day and just 3 quick workouts a week gave me better results than my former way of life, I also noticed that during the fast I felt more focused and energetic than during my 6 meals a day routine. In 3 months I actually lost 8 kilos while I increased my strength and it did not feel like dieting at all.
Working with Martin and seeing the great results really helped me tone down my food and exercise obsession. Martin gave me the tools I needed to keep a good exercise and diet routine all year around, and for this I am very grateful!
- Albert Kuller, Jönköping, Sweden.
As a professional gamer and somewhat regular "gym rat", I've always struggled to find a good balance between my sedentary lifestyle, proper nutrition and training goals. While I do have some muscle, most of it has remained obscured under a layer off fat. I couldn't really understand why, since I did everything right after all: I ate six small meals a day (pretty healthy meals mind you!), worked out three times a week and was careful to limit the crappy foods and soft drinks my friends were drinking to fuel our all night gaming sessions. I knew I needed to change something in my diet or training, but I didn't know where to start or what to do.
I then started reading some posts from Martin Berkhan on a swedish message board and thought "wow, this guy knows his stuff". His methods seemed strange in the beginning because it seemed to contradict everything that had previously been said about bodybuilding nutrition (fasting and bodybuilding didn't seem to go hand in hand from what I knew). Anyway, seeing that Martin enjoyed much respect on the board and was generally seen as the "go to guy" when it came to this stuff, I decided to pay for a consultation.
All I can say is WOW! During the last 6 weeks I have lost about 20 lbs of bodyfat (210 to 190 lbs) and lowered my bodyfat down to 12-13% (from maybe 20%) with the greatest of ease - I haven't even been feeling like im dieting at all, which is amazing. I was alot hungrier when I was eating 3000 calories a day and just sitting in front of the computer for a whole day. It's strange how the body works some times. Im getting stronger and starting to see my abs for the first time in my life and that is a great feeling. While im still not fully satisfied with my body, my goal is to get "ripped" and post my pictures on this site along with before pictures.
I would really recommend giving Martin's approach a try and hiring him for a personal consultation (after seeing my results, my mom even contacted him for a personal consultation..). I guarantee you won't be disappointed.
- Markus Nilsson, Stockholm, Sweden.
Using the basics of IF on work out days I recomped successfully and easily. In fifteen weeks my abdominal skin fold went down from 23mm to 13mm while my weight only dropped five pounds. I was able to add strength to all my focus lifts and rarely suffered from hunger, lethargy or the mental haze that comes with other forms of dieting. I would highly recommend this style of eating to anyone sick of the obsessive eat-by-the-clock and enjoys meals of substantial size. It is a system that is now in place in all my diets be it bulking, maintaining or weight loss oriented.
- Alex D, Vancouver, Canada.
I’ve been intermittent fasting for about a year now, and I see it as something I could do indefinitely. I like eating big meals and intermittent fasting allows me to do this on a regular basis. I function just fine in the fasting period and rather enjoy it, in fact. I work a very physically demanding construction job, but have been able to perform just fine completely fasted. I have even been gaining strength in the gym, maintaining muscle mass and a low body fat percentage (as these are my goals) and notice increased mental clarity in the fasted state.
- John Jaquish, Pittsburgh PA, USA.
Around last December Martin began posting his experiences with his IF approach on the www.bodyrecomposition.com message boards. At the time many people on the board seemed skeptic of it. The results seemed very good though – increased strength/size while losing body fat. Not only that, Martin also set up the IF protocol to include some junk and other foods which are taboo to most dieters. I personally wanted to try the IF approach mainly for two reasons. The first was the results which Martin claimed both he and his clients achieved. The second reason was because it allows you to make a glutton out of yourself in about 2 meals after your workout. I had a bout with binge eating for about a year of my life. I was used to eating like crazy one day and almost starving myself days after to make up for it. The IF protocol allowed me to control the binging because it worked in context to the diet. Although probably not the smartest way to get over binge eating, it did help and when I did a maintenance diet for about a month I had no problems with binge eating. I contribute that to IF because it allowed me to develop a better relationship with food – using it as fuel to sustain activity and recovery/growth.
During my IF run all of my lifts went up. I focused mainly on compound lifts. For the bench, squat, and deadlift I followed a 5x5 program and was able to increase the weight 5 lbs each week. My strength also increased in overhead presses, rowing, and weighted chin-ups. I went from 160 at about 16% bf in December to 162 7.5% bf now in mid June. My bench press and squat were in the low 100s for 5 reps and now my bench is at 180 for 5 reps and my squat is at 190 for 8 reps. I definitely recommend the IF approach for a myriad of reasons – but most importantly for the simple fact that it works.
- Chris Torres, Queens, NYC, USA.
After staying sedentary for a long while because of a disease, I had put on quite a bit of fat. Eventually I started dieting, things were going alright, but having a high bodyfat percentage setpoint, it didn't take me long to get sick of staying hungry and unsatisfied, both physihologically and mentally. Then I came across the IF eating pattern, I thought I should give it a try, and I have to say I was highly impressed. The most important advantage of dieting with IF is that it doesn't feel like dieting at all, because it gives you the privilege of eating in a much more liberal way when it comes to food choices. I also have experienced an alert feeling throughout the day and the comfort of not thinking about what to eat for breakfast or lunch - staying hungry has never been a problem for me as long as I knew I was going to be rewarded with a huge meal in the evening.
Long story short, I have cut down an important amount of bodyfat without even getting into the "dieting" mentality, while either maintaining or increasing the weights in the gym. Currently I'm in a diet break where I'm not tracking calories but I am definitely eating an important amount (trust me when I say this, because I'm a big eater), and I'm still having all my daily food in a 4-6 hour period in the evening/night, and I'm not gaining any fat. I can say that for me, this has easily become a lifestyle approach through which I can lower/maintain my bodyfat with much less effort than before. Sincere thanks to Martin for introducing me to such an amazing dietary concept.
- Cem Kantarci, Brussels, Belgium.
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