T Nation

5/2 Diet...


#1

@TC-

Recently started you 5/2 diet to try and loose a little fluff before summer. I actually noticed almost instant results the first, felt leaner, better, stronger, etc. However, I was just curious what you personally recommend when you say "eat what you normally eat?" I have been slightly dropping carbs weekly (from roughly 300 to 150-200 now). Could you give an example of a day's worth of eating on this plan?

Thank you.


#2

I’m obviously not TC, but I have done the 5/2 before and am currently doing a “6/1” while also carb cycling and can offer my thoughts! I think TC really means to eat what you would normally eat on the 5 “normal” days, whatever your current nutrition plan is. Then, the 2 days will have a great effect that will allow you “stoke the metabolic fire” as it were and continue your progress. I would imagine the only time a 5/2 plan wouldn’t be a good idea is if you’re on a very reduced calorie diet every day, which it sounds like you’re not.

You mentioned you were slightly dropping carbs, did you drop from 300 daily to 150-200 the very next week? That’s a significant difference, especially if you went from 300 to 150, that combined with 2 very low calorie days may stall your progress in the long run. If you were consistently at 300 EVERY day (assuming you mean every day and not just training days), maybe 230/250 would be a good adjustment, in addition to the 5/2?

I’m currently doing a slightly modified version in an effort to cut a bit for summer, and am losing 1.5-2lbs a week since I started 4 weeks ago. I’m maintaining 250 carbs on training days (which is where I was before), on non training days I’m at about 120 carbs or so, as the only thing I adjust is no Plazma/Finibar on those days. Then, Sunday I do a low calorie day, with a solid, low carb breakfast and dinner, with MAG-10 pulses in between. This is very manageable, more so than a pulse fast I think, as you can still bookend your day with solid meals.

Good luck!


#3

Sorry, just saw this…

Robstein’s right, though:

" I think TC really means to eat what you would normally eat on the 5 “normal” days, whatever your current nutrition plan is. Then, the 2 days will have a great effect that will allow you “stoke the metabolic fire” as it were and continue your progress. I would imagine the only time a 5/2 plan wouldn’t be a good idea is if you’re on a very reduced calorie diet every day, which it sounds like you’re not."

In other words, if you’re currently on a diet that’s maintaing your current weight (not making you fatter or leaner), continue to eat that way on your normal days.


#4

Okay thanks a lot guys. That helps a ton. And yeah, dropping carbs has been steady, about 25-30 a week. Will probably stick to 200 per day now.

Also, do you recommend intraworkout carbs on a cut/while doing 5/2? I will be investing in Biotest supps when my budget allows, but for now, does ~40-50g carbs from Gatorade seem like a good idea? I notice I typically perform better with them, but didn’t know if that was recommended while dieting.

*As you can probably tell, this is my first time “dieting,” so I apologize if these seem like ignorant questions.


#5

Gatorade is really not a preferable carb source. As carbs, it’s sucrose, which on digestion becomes half glucose and half fructose.

40-50 g sucrose, if that’s your only source of fructose, is not a harmful amount but there’s really no reason to pay good money for it. If just wanting sugar, I’d buy dextrose at the health food store instead. Or plain sugar at the supermarket if not caring about the difference. Gatorade is just not good value for the money, even aside from not being remotely like the best nutritionally. For bottled Gatorade, you’d be paying about a dollar for a few cents’ worth of sugar and high fructose corn syrup. (Powder would be cheaper but still not nearly as cheap as sugar itself.)

More preferable carb sources would be brown rice, rye berries, quinoa, barley, buckwheat, or slow-cooked oatmeal. Even white rice, pasta, or potatoes would be much better than Gatorade.

If wanting specifically a drink, a quality cyclix dextrin / citrulline malate / leucine / beta-alanine / betaine / electrolytes workout drink product would be only moderately more money than bottled Gatorade. So it’s impossible to be excited about price-performance of bottled Gatorade, or performance of powdered Gatorade.


#6

Thanks for the input Bill. Yeah, the Gatorade is just some powder I have here at the house that I sip throughout my workout. I had seen in Chobbs’ “get big and lean” thread where Zraw had recommended it, so I thought why not. If this is not optimal, would you suggest just moving those carbs to pre- and/or postworkout? Right now, intraworkout I have ~50g of carbs from oats 45-60 minutes preworkout, Gatorade during, and then another 50 or so grams of rice/potatoes/whatever a little after my workout.

Here’s an entire training day’s worth of eating if you’d like-

Breakfast- 3 whole eggs, 50g carbs from oats or potatoes

Lunch- 10-12 oz chicken breast cooked in VCO, nuts, and veggies

(Pre, during, postworkout carbs mentioned above), plus 1.5 scoops protein preworkout and 10-12 oz chicken/lean beef/turkey post

Cottage cheese, protein powder, or some other fat-free protein and maybe some peanut butter or almonds, enough to fill in macros

This comes out to about 2400 cals, 200c/70f/230p.

Like I said, I’d love to jump on the Plazma or Surge train, however the funds just aren’t there ATM. I’m definitely welcome to any suggestions/critiques, this is all new to me.


#7

As long as you’re keeping the Gatorade intake moderate, as you are (40-50 g) and you have it already, and I assume you’re not taking in much further sucrose or HFCS at other times in the day, then it’s totally reasonable to finish it up. For a workout sugar source after it’s used up and if wanting that, I’d switch to dextrose though, as glucose really is preferable.

There’s nothing at all wrong with the timing of having those simple carbs during the workout.


#8

Sounds good. And correct, that’s really the only sugar I consume throughout the day (honestly don’t even like sweets). I will definitely invest in some dextrose soon though, would that some aminos be a decent “poor man’s” intra-workout drink? I hope it doesn’t seem like I’m majoring in the minors, this is just the one area one of nutrition that has SO many conflicting ideas that’s its difficult to discern what’s really useful.

Thanks for the help so far, I really appreciate it.


#9

Glad to be of any help!

Sure, for a low cost drink, dextrose plus bulk BCAA’s is a very decent choice. Even more cost-effective would be just the dextrose plus leucine, as the other BCAA’s are not of equally much value.

I’d also add some sodium chloride and a potassium source such as potassium citrate (or potassium chloride but it tends to impair taste) to get a good electrolyte balance for your amount of water.

A disadvantage of dextrose or any sugar over for example cyclic dextrin is that with larger amounts, the osmolality (a property that depends on the number of molecules in solution) becomes fairly high, which slows water absorption. Taking in 1.5 or 2 liters of water during the workout is I think in itself quite beneficial, but that much will tend not to be taken in with high osmolality. One might drink it, but have obvious snake-that-just-ate-something-big effect for some time afterwards, indicating non-absorption for some time of a lot of it. However at the 40 or 50 g level that effect should not be too bad. It’s really when going more than that, especially 100 g or so, that that becomes a major issue.


#10

[quote]Bill Roberts wrote:
Glad to be of any help!

Sure, for a low cost drink, dextrose plus bulk BCAA’s is a very decent choice. Even more cost-effective would be just the dextrose plus leucine, as the other BCAA’s are not of equally much value.

I’d also add some sodium chloride and a potassium source such as potassium citrate (or potassium chloride but it tends to impair taste) to get a good electrolyte balance for your amount of water.

A disadvantage of dextrose or any sugar over for example cyclic dextrin is that with larger amounts, the osmolality (a property that depends on the number of molecules in solution) becomes fairly high, which slows water absorption. Taking in 1.5 or 2 liters of water during the workout is I think in itself quite beneficial, but that much will tend not to be taken in with high osmolality. One might drink it, but have obvious snake-that-just-ate-something-big effect for some time afterwards, indicating non-absorption for some time of a lot of it. However at the 40 or 50 g level that effect should not be too bad. It’s really when going more than that, especially 100 g or so, that that becomes a major issue.[/quote]

Bill,

Do you have recommendations for the amount of sodium or potassium to add to a pre workout or peri workout drink? Once my Gatorade powder runs out I was going to switch back to my protein+dextrose mix and was going to add some table salt and potassium to it. Just curious for amounts, I was planning on a “dash” or very light sprinkle. Not incredibly scientific lol.


#11

These days I use Plazma or MAG-10; before those became available I used to use 2 g sodium bicarbonate, 2 g sodium chloride, and 1 g potassium chloride in one liter of water. I mixed then into only one liter, and drank an additional liter (approximately) from the water fountain while working out. These amounts came simply from data from some studies on the effects of sodium and carbonate ion concentrations on water absorption and I tried them with good result, but they are not developed past that. They’re good basic values though I think, although if making 2 liters I expect I would do this amount into 2 liters rather than doubling up the grams.


#12

I am looking to start the 5/2 Diet and I was wondering on the low calorie days if I could substitute them with a pulse fast day as I find those more manageable than eating very little. Could I do it both days or 1 day or not at all?


#13

[quote]smasick502 wrote:
I am looking to start the 5/2 Diet and I was wondering on the low calorie days if I could substitute them with a pulse fast day as I find those more manageable than eating very little. Could I do it both days or 1 day or not at all?[/quote]

I would. 4 pulses (500 calories) is what I would do.

Let us know how it works out.


#14

Hi Rob,

since u seem to be pretty experienced in training alongside a 5/2 diet, I would ask you some question, if u didn’t mind.
I really don’ want to mess up things with regards to losing any LBM or strength.
I’m currently doing the “Athlete lean” program from CT, which has sprints and active covery/abs instead of rest days. SO I was wonderin, what the ideal eating and training times on these "rest"days would be?

Also, I’d suggest I already have a pretty low bodyfat. I read in a thread on the biotest forum, that u wouldn’t suggest a 5/2 diet for guys like me. Why?
And my last questions: When categorizing fat loss numbers regarding the weight lost per week, how much would be ok/ good and how much weight loss per week would def be too much?

Thank you very much. Greetings from Germany


#15

@oVerdoZzZed, Guten Morgen! Happy to help any way I can man.

Regarding the training time, I think whatever works best for your schedule. You definitely do NOT want to do these sessions fasted, so as long as you’ve had at least or meal or two already I think you’re good. If possible, for the sprint days, maybe late morning or early afternoon, so you can get some great fat burning throughout the day, rather than training in the evening.

Regarding meal timing, again as long as you have at least a meal or two in you before the training session you’re good. Have a Mag-10 if possible immediately after training, and then a meal 45-60 min or so after that. Generally if you space your main meals out every 2.5-3 hours you’re good to go.

If I remember correctly, I think I wrote that the 5/2 diet wouldn’t be good for those already on a very low calorie diet, because you won’t really get the metabolic effect of the two low days if you’re not providing sufficient fuel on the other days. I think if you’re already lean, the 5/2 would actually be a great diet to ensure you can train hard, get the proper fuel for your training and growth, and slowly chip away at the remaining fat.

The “gold standard” for efficient fat loss is roughly 1-2lbs a week. When you start a fat loss plan, it’ll probably be closer to 1.5-2lbs a week as you lose water and your body has its initial response phase. As you get leaner and keep dieting, it may be closer to a pound a week or even less, but as long as you’re no more than 2 lbs a week, you should be good. Any more than 2 lbs a week is a good possibility you’re losing LBM as well, and of course the priority for any diet is to keep LBM and lose fat. If you’re already pretty lean, be sure to keep an eye on body composition, and not just scale weight. Take pics if you can weekly and evaluate. If you gain a little muscle and lose a little fat, which is entirely possible, the scale won’t move but you should notice some good physique changes if you’re lean enough.

Hope this helps, keep us posted!


#16

@oVerdoZzZed, for some reason this thread isn’t showing up in the forums, just a quick reply to make sure you can see my reply.