T Nation

Berardi Does Intermittent Fasting


Wow. This is impressive. If you are considering incorporated any form of fasting, you need to read this.

John Berardi experimented on himself over 6 months with various fasting protocols. Everything from full 1 or 2 day per week fasts to Martins Lean Gains style 16/8 fasting. I haven't read all the chapters yet, but the biggest take-away should be how he really encourages people to use "outcome-based decision" making. That is, make a change, follow it consistently for 2-4 weeks, make another change based on how you're responding to the first. This is what a lot of experienced guys on this site have been telling people who want a simple formula for success for a while.

Chapter 7 - Wrap-up & results (amazing transformation pics)


Full book contents:



I got this in an email and I was very surprised also.


I have a lot of respect for the way Berardi let "outcome-based decision making" allow his previous beliefs to be challenged. Many coaches do not have the balls to give merit to any ideas that fall outside the methods that they have adopted and pushed for years. I look forward to following his future endeavors.


stealing my thunder bro, stealing my thunder...

but yeah, very good read.


Doesn't it seem like everytime there is a thread/post about IF..there are like a bunch of other ones at the same time?


yes, and I was just thinking that, lol.


I totally agree. much respect for Berardi


I was recently at a lecture of his at a Crossfit and if I remember correctly, because a bunch of peeps asked about IF, he said he got results, he would publish them, but he would probably never do it long run/again. I havet read it yet as its sitting in my inbox so I dont know what he concluded on paper. When I asked Poliquin at a recent cert he said he doesnt really recommend it because its a great way to lose muscle.


Wish Berardi still wrote for T-Nation.

Seems we've lost Jonny Bowden too...


At least we have what they wrote.

I'm extremely grateful for the vast amount of information available here for free.



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Judging from his Facebook page, he's currently doing 16/8 on training days.


Yeah I donts know guys this is just what I remember them saying. I think Berardi was referring to long term fasting or long fasts (24 fasts) when he said he would never do them again.

AS for Poliquin, I think the dude who asked him didnt really explain it correctly or what it was. He said it can be done correctly but he sees a lot of people doing it wrong. Im actually pretty sure someone asked him about leangains and he said he hadnt heard of it but he would look into it.


Go to the wrap-up part of the book. Berardi states in the book that two fasting methods he really liked and could do indefinitely if he wanted to (and will continue to use sparingly), was 1) the eat regularly for Mon-Fri, eat whatever he wants on Saturday, and do a full fast on Sunday; and 2) the LeanGains approach.


Hang on, not so fast. I've read Berardi's guidebook last night, and I think it's great and really really well-written. It also seems to outline all the drawbacks of IF (albeit slightly subtly), particularly Berkhan's Leangains method that seems to ALWAYS get glossed over by certain fanboys.

Let me say again that I have no issue with the IF program itself - but it is NOT a silver bullet catch-all program. Definitely not. It sure has its place, but IMHO - its only for a) people who are already big as a temporary measure to get lean, b) people who definitely don't want to get big, c) definitely not for newbs (especially skinny ones).

Notice that from Berardi's own results:

a) He was already relatively well-developed (before pics)

b) His training throughout the IF program was LIGHT. 1 45-min upper body strength session, 1 lower body strength session, 1 30 min upper body circuit session and 10 min of sprinting. With 2 rest days (practically 4 rest days if we discount the sprinting as light fasted cardio). That's not really a lot of volume there.

c) On his training days when he had to intake 3,200 cals - he himself stated the slight difficulty in getting that volume of food down in 8 hours.

d) He barely gained any appreciable weight on 4 weeks on leangains. 4 pounds, most of it water and the rebound effect off a severe 2-day-a-week-fasted diet.

Here's my take on it - if you're already an advanced lifter, you can get shredded on it and you can maintain that shredded look much easier than on one of those crazy contest prep diets. No argument for me, its probably wonderful.

But its hard to bulk on it and its ABSOLUTELY not for newbies. Berardi can get away with 2 45-min strength sessions and 1 circuit training a week because he was already advanced and had a relatively good base level of strength. Skinny newbies who struggle to lift a 30lb dumbell will never progress on this program (IMO of course).


I don't pay enough attention to emails from PN anymore so your link in that other thread was my first exposure to that great ebook/resource.

So mucho thanks for that brother.


Just wanted to note that when he was doing the 16/8 daily fast LeanGains style, he was actually gaining too much weight for track and was going beyond 175 lbs (as he noted, he speculated this was due to an increase in lean mass, i.e. topped off glycogen and water stores). This is when he added in the full day fast on Sunday, in addition to the 16/8 fasting, to get himself back into the track weight of 170-175 lbs.


PBAndy, you can't discount the fact that he was rebounding from an extreme diet of 2 completely fasted days a week that threw his metabolism and body systems into havoc.

Plus even he admitted that most of the weight gain was water and glycogen, not muscle. My guess was if he continued doing the 16/8 method he would eventually reach a plateau where he would be able to maintain the weight but not gain.

Can people gain on LeanGains? Maybe. Is it optimal? I'm guessing not.


The only thing I disagree with you is that you say 'maybe'. Of course it's possible to gain on LeanGains, in the end it comes down to calories. As to whether it's optimal or not... that depends entirely on the person. BugAD said it best in another thread...

"As long as you can eat enough calories, you can gain weight/muscle/strength while IFing leangains style (seen it with myself and other I know). There seems to come a point (though you are no where near this) that I've seen with some bigger, more advanced guys I know, where they simply cannot eat enough calories in that 8 hour window to gain weight (over 5000/day)."

Even Michael Keck, a big ass, ripped ass powerlifter dude, wrote up an article for EliteFTS called the Modified Warrior Diet.



TBH, I have some skepticism believing you can put the actual requisite lean mass without the fat gain. Even while recomping, you usually gain some fat (albeit less than traditional bulking) for a reduced gain in lean mass.

Why not do this the smart way and do a traditional "clean" bulk and use IF to cut down the fat in 4-8 weeks? That way, not only do you optimize your muscle gain but you also use IF in the purpose it's intended. Makes sense to me.

Btw, Michael Keck was already huge long before he went on IF.