T Nation

Cheating-related Q. for Joel

Just had a thought. I was intrigued by your article and all the subsequent, ah, bruhaha on the follow-up thread(s). I like your idea, but with bulking season fast approaching I doubt that I will be dieting down for the next few months. Still, I was wondering if something like a reverse application would be effective. I.e., on a bulking diet, would planned interspersed days of underfeeding help to limit fat gain in the same way that planned interspersed days of overfeeding help to take it off during a cutting phase?

I’m no expert on the effects of leptin and haven’t really thought this through yet, so it may be a silly question. But I thought I’d throw it out for discussion while I had it in mind. Comments, anyone?

Char - I like the idea. Fred Hatfield has touched upon this with his zig zag diet approach. Personally, I think the idea has a lot of merit, but how freqent? Don’t really now. Maybe just running one day a week in a severely hypocaloric state would be enough and that is where I would start. By eating high cals and exercising at higher intensities, your metabolic rate should be quite high and it takes more than one day of hypocaloric intake to kill progress. Maybe it is something that several of us should try during bulking season (it’s one of the few reasons I actually like winter).

But I would only try this if after a few weeks, I started to notice fat gain (keep an eye on ab skinfold) as I don't think it really offers many other productive benefits aside from limiting fat gain.

Char I experimented with a plan exactly like you describe several years ago. I decided I was tired of eating clean so I decided to go on just a massive high calorie diet complete with the old Weider Mega Mass 2000 and everything else. Actually I was kind’ve using the plan as an excuse to eat everything in sight for a short period of time. What I did was pretty much the same approach Hatfield recommends…5 days high calorie/high carb (4000 + calories per day) with 2 days low calorie (1700 cal/day) along with the use of ephedrine on the low calorie days. It worked quite well and I found the low calorie days were enough to shed any fat and most water I had accumulated. Actually it wasn’t really dieting at all as usually on these low calorie days I was so stuffed from the previous 5 days overfeeding that food was the last thing on my mind. I think this plan would probably only work though if you are around or above your bodyfat setpoint. If you maintain 10-12% quite easily and try to do something like this while maintaining a 5-7% bodyfat I would imagine you’ll still gain more fat then you could lose in that short of a time frame.

You could also check the iron dog article in issue 209 I believe. Don Alessi I believe says exactly that. But check it out and make sure.

If you were on an androgen, such as Mag-10, while bulking, I think you could do it. This is what I would experiment with:

Intake bulking calories Mon-Fri and conduct all your weight training Mon-Thurs. Then on Saturday and Sunday drop calories 1500-2000 below maintenance. Since leptin levels are high, the environment is optimal to use fat for energy; high leptin levels basically say "ok, go right ahead." I would also do a bunch of cardio on the weekend as well. Since your on an androgen, LBM loss shouldn't be an issue; however, I'm not really sure if or how much of an effect the cardio and calorie restrictions will have on recent LBM gains. It's something you'll have to experiment with to see if it is negitivly effecting recent LBM gains. I would speculate that you could lose around a pound of fat over the weekend; if that seems like it's worth it to you, then give it a try.

I would give an emphatic "hell no" to this approach if you weren't on an androgen, however.


As one with a tendency to put on fat, this is INDEED an intriguing idea. Like you, I’m still studying all the concepts and theories on Leptin and the like, so I don’t know all the specifics either.

It should be interesting to see what Joel thinks…

I’m doing this right now; the started with massive eating protocol but went to “Pound a week” diet. I do hypocaloric weekends. Pretty much eating anything with protein, but trying to eat clean along with eating sh*t: nuts, beans, lean meat, vegetables, along with pizza, hambugers, beer. It’s been relatively sucessful. Not using any supplements besides power drive and vitamins; went from lean 160 (at 160 and 6’2", “ripped” doesn’t sound right) to noticiably stronger 190. I have almost no appetite, so the weekends give me a very needed break from forcefeeding. I’ve gained some bodyfat.

Thanks for the comments, everyone. Such quality feedback! I think that almost all of the people whose knowledge I most respect posted!

After thinking about the idea a little more I was actually a bit concerned that I had posted something really stupid, but you all seem to have a better opinion of the idea than I would have had without reading your comments. Anyway, I may very well give this approach a try this winter. (And I will go back and check that Alessi article out - thanks for the ref., Bronx.) I recently came into several free bottles of 4-AD and am wanting to try them out, so this seems like a good opportunity.

To Joel: I don’t know about training four days straight, even on androgens. At 40 I find that I get injuries far more easily than when I was younger, and it takes a hell of a lot longer to heal them up. What do you think about a plan where I would work out MT-ThF, with W and weekends off? Still eat big M-F or would you change things up? (I guess I could use a three-say split, training something like M-T-Th, but that seems like kind of a waste if you’re trying to gain…)

I hear you; the only reason I suggested that was for recovery issues from the Friday workout. Give it a try with the MTRF split. If you can, train earlier in the day on Friday and be sure to consume a lot of calories after the session. Let me know if you try it; should be interesting as I never really thought about this until you asked the question.

Jeremy Nelms and I were chatting about this exact idea a few days ago. One thing we considered would be the application of some long duration, low intensity cardio on the lower calorie days also. Whether that means you go on a nice long bike ride or hang out on a treadmill all day, I’m not sure, but it would be an interesting addition to the mix. Any thoughts?

As a side note, I will be using this style of eating on my next full blown bulking phase. That's not for a while, but I'll definately post the results.

 Sure....uh when the dogs come home. it's funny how u have no idea how little sence ur 'idea'there makes. when u underfeed u slow down ur metabolism. when ur done with ur couple of low calory mals, and u go back to  ur high calorie regimen guess what happns? That's right! *gasps* u put on more weight than u would otherwise, which includes more fat. u bump up ur calories on your cheat meal during fat loss to increase ur metabolism which will hve ur body burning more calories than it otherwise would, therefore causing it to lose more body fat. if u slow it down momentarily just to bump it up immediately afterwards ur going to do the opposite wich is cause ur bdy to put on weight more easily. Thats just my two bits.

I’ve got to disagree. One day of underfeeding is not going to significantly impact your metabolic rate. It takes several days at lower cals for our body to adjust. Therefore, our metabolic rates should be near max and thus a day of underfeeding should cause significant fat utilization with minimal changes to metabolic rate. Personally, I would go no longer than one day of underfeeding in a row on a bulking diet. I’ll start with one day a week and progress from there.

Y’know, I think I AM going to gve this a try. The more I think about it, the better it sounds.

Here’s my plan of action; feel free to critique:

Starting in November, I’m going to do the second phase of Growth Surge. I tried it last year (with Androsol/Nandrosol) and had excellent results - I put on nine pounds of muscle with almost no fat (which I have subsequently lost, alas). So doing the routine again with 4-AD should yield similar results. I’ll probably stay on for ten days, as this seems to be how long my body takes to adapt to the program and stop experiencing gains.

Then I’m going to spend two weeks off 4-AD (but on Tribex and M) doing a strength program, probably 1-6. After that, I’ll go back on 4-AD and switch to EDT. The 4-AD will last for another two weeks, but I’ll be using EDT to take me into the New Year.

While I’ll be on max cals for the first phase, after that I’ll drop them a to maintenance for the two-week 1-6 phase, then up them again to about 500 over maintenance (but interspersed with the low-cal days discussed above) for the last 5-6 weeks of the year.

Hey, I’m getting pretty excited about this!