T Nation

Intermittent Fasting: Martin Berkhan

I came across this article at elitefts.com
http://articles.elitefts.com/articles/interviews/intermittent-fasting—to-feast-or-not-to-feast-an-interview-with-martin-berkhan/

To summarize: he advocates eating 3 big meals, mostly post workout, in an 8 hour window. Which means, a 16 hour fast during the rest of the day. A lot of what he mentions directly goes against conventional wisdom (ex. eating a huge breakfast).

Anyone tried this before? I’m skeptical, but I always keep an open mind, somehow I am kind of reluctant to jump on this diet.

–Mond

I did that. All through high school and college. Of course it didn’t have a fancy name like “intermittent fasting”; it was called skipping meals. Not Good. I was hypoglycemic by my senior year.

i’m going to try this after my deload next week to cut. gonna give it a go for about 6 weeks. i got 2 boxes of FINiBARs and some MAG-10 and ANACONDA that I haven’t used yet.

i’ll iron out the details before i start but i have the basics down…

-lift 3 days a week, M-W-F
*not sure how I want to set this up but maybe 5/3/1 and cycle through 4 different workouts (2 upper, 2 lower)

-fasted low intensity morning cardio 6 days a week (elliptical, brisk walking)

-1st meal of the day at lunch time around 12 or 1 PM. 2nd meal (pre workout) 4-5. 3rd and final meal at 8

On workout days 1st meal will be lean protein, vegetables, and a piece of fruit. 2nd meal I’ll be eating 2 FINiBARs preworkout, and taking 2 or 3 scoops ANACONDA, 2 scoops MAG-10 peri workout. Last meal will be lean protein, starchy carbs (sweet potato, brown rice, quinoa, cous cous, ww spaghetti)

On nonworkout days, 1st meal will be the biggest and will consist of protein, vegetables, healthy fat, small portion of carbs. 2nd meal, protein, vegetables, healthy fat. 3rd meal protein, vegetables, healthy fat.

I’ll probably keep a log on here or on my own personal blog. It should be interesting. I’m excited to try this diet out and see how it works for me. I prefer bigger meals, and the eating every 3 hours thing is really life consuming. When you’re cutting down, and meals are comparatively small, your whole day is occupied by thinking about your next meal and if its time to eat. I work 9-5 and its just not practical to eat out of tubawear 4-5 times throughout the day. I’ve always been one to not be able to get anything done after eating, which is a problem too so I’m interested in seeing how this works.

I think this diet will work quite well for fat loss. Bulking however is a different story. In my opinion this diet will not work for ectomorphs who have a hard time putting on weight. It also would be hard for someone who is fairly big to follow this diet and bulk because of the amount of calories it would take to exceed maintenance. I’m only 205-210 pounds so this diet should work well for cutting. I also lean more towards the side of mesomorph- endomorph and don’t have too much trouble losing fat.

Dolce,

Cant wait to see your log! You’ve mentioned you cant get anything done after eating, is this especially after consuming large amounts of carbs? Because my food prof mentioned something about how usually trytophan is stored in the muscle, but in the presence of carbs, the insulin actually stores this amino acid in the brain. It happens to be the precursor for serotonin, a feel good neurotransmitter that also lowers your sex drive and make you drowsy.

I tried it for about 2 weeks, not long enough to see the results, but long enough to get a test run.

Firstly, there seemed to be little to no difference with this eating style and a regular one given the same amount of calories and protein (I was low-carbing at the time for full disclosure).

Mentally, it was actually quite easy to do this style of fasting (I chose to do afternoon fasting, as I work out in the morning), which surprised me. Also, it is very nice for relatively low(er) calorie body recompositions, as even though you are consuming less calories, the meals are HUGE. This is a great mental relief when you wake up to a dozen eggs with coconut oil, yet you are still losing fat at a good speed.

I’m glad this thread came up, because as of late I’ve been reading up on this and yesterday was my first day dabbling in IF (Intermittent Fasting). I know you can’t judge any dietary plan based on the first day, but let me tell you, I felt great! My mood was better, I had more energy, and I wasn’t even hungry. I basically ate because I knew I had to. And I didn’t even gradually ease into it. I went straight for a 16 hour fast. It was awesome.

I also know I have some digestive problems (I can get gas when on an empty stomach), but I didn’t have that trouble yesterday. I think breakfast stimulates my hunger and does bad things to my digestive system. Either way, I plan on doing this for a bit and see how it works out. It seems like something I want to do for the rest of my life.

Oh and btw, there have been individuals successful in bulking on an IF plan. I’m not saying its for everybody, but I plan on using it when I slim down a bit more.

I tried it last year. Eating from pre-workout 3pm to bed time at 10pm. I felt good for the first few weeks. But i started to lose energy and focus in my workouts. Looking back, it was probably just because my cals were a little low. But at the time i went back to eating every 3-4 hours. I will try this diet again someday for sure.

The best part is the flexibility. I was making whole plates of ground beef spaghetti and huge beef, been and cheese burritos all while losing weight. I Just had a set macro goal every day and fit everything into that within the 8 hours.

It would be very hard to gain on this diet. I was bloated and gassy from a cutting diet. I can’t imagine adding another 1k per day. But it would be fun to try :smiley:

[quote]Mondy wrote:
Dolce,

Cant wait to see your log! You’ve mentioned you cant get anything done after eating, is this especially after consuming large amounts of carbs? Because my food prof mentioned something about how usually trytophan is stored in the muscle, but in the presence of carbs, the insulin actually stores this amino acid in the brain. It happens to be the precursor for serotonin, a feel good neurotransmitter that also lowers your sex drive and make you drowsy.

[/quote]

big carbohydrate meals definitely make me sleepy. i’m actually fasted right now and won’t eat for another hour or so, but i’m not starting the diet til after next week.

i’ll post a link in this thread when i start.

[quote]forbes wrote:
I’m glad this thread came up, because as of late I’ve been reading up on this and yesterday was my first day dabbling in IF (Intermittent Fasting). I know you can’t judge any dietary plan based on the first day, but let me tell you, I felt great! My mood was better, I had more energy, and I wasn’t even hungry. I basically ate because I knew I had to. And I didn’t even gradually ease into it. I went straight for a 16 hour fast. It was awesome.

I also know I have some digestive problems (I can get gas when on an empty stomach), but I didn’t have that trouble yesterday. I think breakfast stimulates my hunger and does bad things to my digestive system. Either way, I plan on doing this for a bit and see how it works out. It seems like something I want to do for the rest of my life.[/quote]

I just started it this week and this about sums it up for me also. Eating 6 smaller meals a day seemed to keep me hungry and moody all day long. Cramming all my cals into 3 meals and an 8 hour window make it so I am never hungry. I will give it more time but for now I am sold.

[quote]Rocky101 wrote:

[quote]forbes wrote:
I’m glad this thread came up, because as of late I’ve been reading up on this and yesterday was my first day dabbling in IF (Intermittent Fasting). I know you can’t judge any dietary plan based on the first day, but let me tell you, I felt great! My mood was better, I had more energy, and I wasn’t even hungry. I basically ate because I knew I had to. And I didn’t even gradually ease into it. I went straight for a 16 hour fast. It was awesome.

I also know I have some digestive problems (I can get gas when on an empty stomach), but I didn’t have that trouble yesterday. I think breakfast stimulates my hunger and does bad things to my digestive system. Either way, I plan on doing this for a bit and see how it works out. It seems like something I want to do for the rest of my life.[/quote]

I just started it this week and this about sums it up for me also. Eating 6 smaller meals a day seemed to keep me hungry and moody all day long. Cramming all my cals into 3 meals and an 8 hour window make it so I am never hungry. I will give it more time but for now I am sold.[/quote]

Do you break your fast immediately post workout like recommended, or do you wait a few hours after your workout to eat?

following along here…

I fast on my off days from the gym during the week…(tues&thurs) normally a 18-20hr fast…trying to push it to 24…

I don’t make a point to eat a ton once I break the fast.

[quote]forbes wrote:

[quote]Rocky101 wrote:

[quote]forbes wrote:
I’m glad this thread came up, because as of late I’ve been reading up on this and yesterday was my first day dabbling in IF (Intermittent Fasting). I know you can’t judge any dietary plan based on the first day, but let me tell you, I felt great! My mood was better, I had more energy, and I wasn’t even hungry. I basically ate because I knew I had to. And I didn’t even gradually ease into it. I went straight for a 16 hour fast. It was awesome.

I also know I have some digestive problems (I can get gas when on an empty stomach), but I didn’t have that trouble yesterday. I think breakfast stimulates my hunger and does bad things to my digestive system. Either way, I plan on doing this for a bit and see how it works out. It seems like something I want to do for the rest of my life.[/quote]

I just started it this week and this about sums it up for me also. Eating 6 smaller meals a day seemed to keep me hungry and moody all day long. Cramming all my cals into 3 meals and an 8 hour window make it so I am never hungry. I will give it more time but for now I am sold.[/quote]

Do you break your fast immediately post workout like recommended, or do you wait a few hours after your workout to eat?[/quote]

Yeah, I take a scoop of whey before my workout then break the fast post workout.

[quote]Rocky101 wrote:

[quote]forbes wrote:

[quote]Rocky101 wrote:

[quote]forbes wrote:
I’m glad this thread came up, because as of late I’ve been reading up on this and yesterday was my first day dabbling in IF (Intermittent Fasting). I know you can’t judge any dietary plan based on the first day, but let me tell you, I felt great! My mood was better, I had more energy, and I wasn’t even hungry. I basically ate because I knew I had to. And I didn’t even gradually ease into it. I went straight for a 16 hour fast. It was awesome.

I also know I have some digestive problems (I can get gas when on an empty stomach), but I didn’t have that trouble yesterday. I think breakfast stimulates my hunger and does bad things to my digestive system. Either way, I plan on doing this for a bit and see how it works out. It seems like something I want to do for the rest of my life.[/quote]

I just started it this week and this about sums it up for me also. Eating 6 smaller meals a day seemed to keep me hungry and moody all day long. Cramming all my cals into 3 meals and an 8 hour window make it so I am never hungry. I will give it more time but for now I am sold.[/quote]

Do you break your fast immediately post workout like recommended, or do you wait a few hours after your workout to eat?[/quote]

Yeah, I take a scoop of whey before my workout then break the fast post workout. [/quote]

See I don’t know 100% what I should do. I workout in the morning well in advance before work because my job can be physically demanding, so I want some time to recover between my workout and work. This creates a problem because para workout nutrition would end up having me break my fast too soon.

I need a way to prevent muscle breakdown without breaking my fast.

Any ideas?

^BCAAS perhaps??

[quote]forbes wrote:

[quote]Rocky101 wrote:

[quote]forbes wrote:

[quote]Rocky101 wrote:

[quote]forbes wrote:
I’m glad this thread came up, because as of late I’ve been reading up on this and yesterday was my first day dabbling in IF (Intermittent Fasting). I know you can’t judge any dietary plan based on the first day, but let me tell you, I felt great! My mood was better, I had more energy, and I wasn’t even hungry. I basically ate because I knew I had to. And I didn’t even gradually ease into it. I went straight for a 16 hour fast. It was awesome.

I also know I have some digestive problems (I can get gas when on an empty stomach), but I didn’t have that trouble yesterday. I think breakfast stimulates my hunger and does bad things to my digestive system. Either way, I plan on doing this for a bit and see how it works out. It seems like something I want to do for the rest of my life.[/quote]

I just started it this week and this about sums it up for me also. Eating 6 smaller meals a day seemed to keep me hungry and moody all day long. Cramming all my cals into 3 meals and an 8 hour window make it so I am never hungry. I will give it more time but for now I am sold.[/quote]

Do you break your fast immediately post workout like recommended, or do you wait a few hours after your workout to eat?[/quote]

Yeah, I take a scoop of whey before my workout then break the fast post workout. [/quote]

See I don’t know 100% what I should do. I workout in the morning well in advance before work because my job can be physically demanding, so I want some time to recover between my workout and work. This creates a problem because para workout nutrition would end up having me break my fast too soon.

I need a way to prevent muscle breakdown without breaking my fast.

Any ideas?[/quote]

Actually if you follow leangains blog he is supposed to address this issue soon. I am waiting on it also.

[quote]forbes wrote:

[quote]Rocky101 wrote:

[quote]forbes wrote:

[quote]Rocky101 wrote:

[quote]forbes wrote:
I’m glad this thread came up, because as of late I’ve been reading up on this and yesterday was my first day dabbling in IF (Intermittent Fasting). I know you can’t judge any dietary plan based on the first day, but let me tell you, I felt great! My mood was better, I had more energy, and I wasn’t even hungry. I basically ate because I knew I had to. And I didn’t even gradually ease into it. I went straight for a 16 hour fast. It was awesome.

I also know I have some digestive problems (I can get gas when on an empty stomach), but I didn’t have that trouble yesterday. I think breakfast stimulates my hunger and does bad things to my digestive system. Either way, I plan on doing this for a bit and see how it works out. It seems like something I want to do for the rest of my life.[/quote]

I just started it this week and this about sums it up for me also. Eating 6 smaller meals a day seemed to keep me hungry and moody all day long. Cramming all my cals into 3 meals and an 8 hour window make it so I am never hungry. I will give it more time but for now I am sold.[/quote]

Do you break your fast immediately post workout like recommended, or do you wait a few hours after your workout to eat?[/quote]

Yeah, I take a scoop of whey before my workout then break the fast post workout. [/quote]

See I don’t know 100% what I should do. I workout in the morning well in advance before work because my job can be physically demanding, so I want some time to recover between my workout and work. This creates a problem because para workout nutrition would end up having me break my fast too soon.

I need a way to prevent muscle breakdown without breaking my fast.

Any ideas?[/quote]

start your fast earlier in the prior day and go to sleep earlier. i don’t think 16-8 is set in stone. you could probably push it to 14-10 if you had to and still see results. at the end of the day, its still calories in, calories out. the post workout window is a lot longer than people think. personally, i would be worried about getting carbs in my body pre/ peri workout.

i just calculated some of my numbers, and it looks like its gonna be real fun packing these 3 meals in.

workout days- 2820 calories
1st meal- 125g carb, 75g protein
2nd meal (pre/ peri workout)- 76g carb, 66g protein, 18.8 fat (2 FINiBARs, 2 MAG-10, 2 Anaconda)
3rd meal (postworkout)-250g carb!!, 50g protein

nonworkout days- 2500 calories- 125g carb, 312g protein, 83.3 fat
not sure what my meal breakdown will be. my first meal will be the biggest however. additionally, i may bump the carbs down a bit, and raise the fat.

What do you guys think of this? By the way, i’m about 205 pounds, estimated to be around 16% bodyfat.

[quote]Rocky101 wrote:

[quote]forbes wrote:

[quote]Rocky101 wrote:

[quote]forbes wrote:

[quote]Rocky101 wrote:

[quote]forbes wrote:
I’m glad this thread came up, because as of late I’ve been reading up on this and yesterday was my first day dabbling in IF (Intermittent Fasting). I know you can’t judge any dietary plan based on the first day, but let me tell you, I felt great! My mood was better, I had more energy, and I wasn’t even hungry. I basically ate because I knew I had to. And I didn’t even gradually ease into it. I went straight for a 16 hour fast. It was awesome.

I also know I have some digestive problems (I can get gas when on an empty stomach), but I didn’t have that trouble yesterday. I think breakfast stimulates my hunger and does bad things to my digestive system. Either way, I plan on doing this for a bit and see how it works out. It seems like something I want to do for the rest of my life.[/quote]

I just started it this week and this about sums it up for me also. Eating 6 smaller meals a day seemed to keep me hungry and moody all day long. Cramming all my cals into 3 meals and an 8 hour window make it so I am never hungry. I will give it more time but for now I am sold.[/quote]

Do you break your fast immediately post workout like recommended, or do you wait a few hours after your workout to eat?[/quote]

Yeah, I take a scoop of whey before my workout then break the fast post workout. [/quote]

See I don’t know 100% what I should do. I workout in the morning well in advance before work because my job can be physically demanding, so I want some time to recover between my workout and work. This creates a problem because para workout nutrition would end up having me break my fast too soon.

I need a way to prevent muscle breakdown without breaking my fast.

Any ideas?[/quote]

Actually if you follow leangains blog he is supposed to address this issue soon. I am waiting on it also.[/quote]

Ya I went to read his blog and he said he will cover it in a bit. I’m hoping its soon.

@MiMD, he did also suggest BCAA’s, so I’ll shop around and try to find a good brand to take some.

I always found BCAA’s to be expensive but considering I would only be taking them on workout days things should be fine.

I was just wondering if half a scoop of protein powder before and after workouts would be sufficient in the mean time. I asked this question in another thread, but I’ll bring it up here too. Obviously its not a lot of protein, but there’s 26 grams per scoop, so thats 13 grams of protein per half scoop. My workout sessions are low volume (at max I do 15 sets total, and they are mostly submaximal except for the last set). I do 15 minutes of SS cardio after. I would assume that should suffice to offset catabolism, however, I’m not an expert in this area so I would rather get the input from more experienced individuals.

[quote]mom-in-MD wrote:
following along here…

I fast on my off days from the gym during the week…(tues&thurs) normally a 18-20hr fast…trying to push it to 24…

I don’t make a point to eat a ton once I break the fast.[/quote]

Assuming you didn’t start that when you read to OP’s article, what’s the reasoning behind this?

you assume correct!

its just another form of fasting…I got introduced to fasting a couple years ago when I was part of the Lean eating program for PN…one of the lessons was on fasting.

I’ve have Brad Pilons eat stop eat e-book on hand for awhile if anyone is interested!