T Nation

Intermittent Fasting - Thoughts?


These days a lot of the people in my circle are into caloric restriction or intermittent fasting. Roughly, like this guy, Patri Friedman. http://patrissimo.livejournal.com/1364233.html

I'm starting to wonder... is this a good idea? Could I lose weight that way? Is it sustainable? Does it make you sleepy?

Also, it's starting to get kind of stressful to be around & influenced by people who are always bragging about how little they eat and how much weight they've lost. It makes me feel awful in comparison, frankly. Fucks with my head. I don't know if that's a sign that I should man up and follow my friends' example, or if I should man up and accept that I'm different from them.

I'm not a competitive athlete. I like being reasonably fit, and I want to be pretty.


If those are your pics you do not need to lose fat to be attractive.

That dude in your link looks horrible.


that guy in the link looks like sad ass skinny fat MF .your friends may lose weight and along with it a lot of muscle let them get on with it . keep doin what youre doin and what works for you and keeps you feeling good .if your interested in IF'ing check out martin birkinheads site .


That dude, who admits he had a whopping 17 workouts in six months, is a terrible example. Martin Berkhan and Brad Pilon have written a bunch about the concept. I'm pretty certain that John Romaniello has also incorporated fasting days into his cutting plans.

Thibaudeau also designed the Pulse Feast, which is a variation of the fasting concept:

But what can they deadlift? :wink: Seriously, screw them. Don't get wrapped up in your head too much.

I think you'd be surprised at how many other T-Nation members that actually describes. :slight_smile:

Big thread about IF:

Smaller threads about IF-style eating:


Thanks for the links!

I'm starting to get the impression that it's not necessarily bad for you (nobody has been reporting that it's exhausting or incompatible with exercise. I also was recommended not to try it until I've been low-carbing for a while longer (something about ketosis making it less unpleasant.) At any rate, I haven't eaten today, and I feel decent.

Also, thanks, everyone, for the encouragement.

Patri (who's a friend of a friend) is 105 lbs and I haven't been that small since middle school. Or even seriously thought about getting there. Which is... one more thing that can ruin my day, I guess.


Why are you worried about what they say? And I hate to tell you if you're a female who lifts weights you're already different. You're going to weigh more than your non-lifting friends of a similar build.

Patri seems like a self-appointed guru...who's pretty delusional...imo


Does that guy really weigh 105 lbs?


I looked into intermittent fasting because I saw some anecdotal evidence of it being beneficial for diabetics. I adopted the Lean Gains (MB) approach for almost a month and I'm working well with it, look leaner in the mirror, I train 2 days on, 1 day off mostly and my diet comprises of 3 meals in an 8 (sometimes 9) hour window and is low on carbs (around 100g including vegetable). I drink tea (green, herbal) and black coffee outside of these times. I try to fit all the 3000+ calories in that 8/9 hour window, with a 10+ hour workday that last meal involves a lot of protein and perseverance to finish (eggs, chicken, whey isolate, fish) :slight_smile: Took me about 2 weeks to get used to it and I only felt hungry in the beginning I had no issues with brain fog/stress etc - I felt I was fine.

I've only looked at IF for blood glucose management and to look even more defined in the mirror (not to be skinny, slim or whatever). I weigh 105kgs @ 6ft.

IIRC I thought I read an old post indicating DebraD was doing Lean Gains approach as well but I'm not sure and her physique is sensational. If the T-Vixen posts are anything to go by you have the last sentence of your post FULLY covered.


Kind of a thread jack so I apologize - I come from a family with four generations of professional Jockeys. 105 pounds on a man, even a very short guy is nearly impossible. It generally means not eating, flipping what you do eat, taking diuretics, and getting in the hot box to dehydrate yourself. There has to be a serious financial incentive to want to do that to yourself. My brother once stopped riding then decided to reduce his weight. He went from a lean 5'5" 135 to 110 in a couple of months. How did he do it? He laid on the couch and ate next to nothing for two months so he could catabolize his muscle. It wasn't pretty.


How bout this as a plan:

workout in the morning (generally weights + sprints)

no breakfast, no lunch, big dinner, of the meat/cheese/veggies variety.

working out in the morning makes me less likely to miss workouts, have more uninterrupted time in the evening for work, and gets me energized for the day instead of wired before bedtime.

I won't be hungry for breakfast if I work out first.

I can save money on breakfast food (I am TERRIBLE about spending too much money on food.)

I'll have more time to work in what would have been my lunch break.

I would probably consume fewer calories on one meal a day, but then I can feel free about eating a bunch during that one meal.

I wouldn't be eating post-workout. But then again, I never have.

I have to work instead of taking a lunch break. :frowning:


A lot of people do IF and have great success both in losing weight and in general health. A lot of people have had success eating 6+ meals per day. The bottom line is you'll look your best eating in a way that fits YOUR psychological profile.

I personally love eating occasionally all day long. Some people prefer to not eat for 20 hours then feast. It's all about what you prefer.


if youre only interested in weight loss and dont care about losing muscle ( lots of it ) this plan is perfect .
if you are concerned about retaining muscle while dieting you must supplement pre and pwo and the time between pwo and your evening meal with bcaa's at the very least.


Also, if you're lifting weights... you may actually be heavier than some of your friends while holding a lower bf% (leaner and meaner). I think I can speak for 99% of guys when I say I'd rather see a lean 120lbs than a soft 105.



IF works great for me. I love training on an empty stomach too, i do it almost everyday i train, 5-7x per week.


I tried IF for a bit but it didnt work out well for me. I didnt really loose much weight and it made me want to binge on quick foods as soon as I got home coz I was starving. I also dont like to eat big meals so often days I didnt eat enough.

I feel better with a big breakfast and smaller meals throughout the day.

Its individual I think.

Good luck if you decide to try it out :slight_smile: I have seen great results on others who have done it...


IF makes the rounds every 10 years or so. It 'kicks up some dust' and gets a fan base of mostly fitness/recreational lifters that have been unsuccesful at getting bigger and stronger. It is 'radical' enough to get people to think they are doing something special or difficult. Soon after starting IF, they begin to say things like "I really do not want to be a big bodybuilder or strong powerlifter" followed by a 10K race registration. The best of this group transistion into becoming runners, the others just stop working out. The malnourished look in never pretty!!


Far from reality. Proportionally, just as many recreational/fitness types get on board with the 6-8 meals/day and fizzle out. Your argument has zero relevance to the validity of IF.

Michael Keck and Marc Bartley, both sponsored by EFS and bigger and stronger than 99.9% of the people on this website follow the Warrior Diet. Obviously, neither of them are really into being big and strong anymore.

If you look at Martin Berkhan's website, there are top european natural bodybuilders using the leangains approach with huge amounts of success, maintaining seriously low levels of bodyfat year round and carrying as much, if not more, muscle as this site's resident pro natural bodybuilder, Stu.

Personally, I have been slowly dropping bodyfat and kicking untold amounts of ass in the gym using loosely applied leangains principles. I usually eat two meals per day, both in the afternoon and evening. I eat what I want for the most part and don't worry about going over 400 calories per meal like someone carrying a cooler around with them and eating like a bird all day long. Mentally, it's far easier and allows me to be far more flexible since I'm not tied down to eating x amount of whatever food every 3 hours. This translates to increased productivity and decreased stress in the rest of my life, without sacrificing progress in the gym.

In the end, the amount and macronutrient composition of food is infinitely more important than HOW you eat it.

Alisa, definitely check out Martin's stuff. I think his is the best application of intermittent fasting to individuals that are seriously interested in weight training and boyd composition.


a couple replies:

@scj119: yeah, I'll always be heavier than what people think of as "normal weight for a girl' because I carry some muscle. I'm 138 now. Don't know what the ideal would be, but it's probably not going to be tiny.

@lia: if I lose strength I'll notice.

@Stronghold, I'll be sure to check it out.

I only had one meal today, which involved salmon, chicken, cheese, parsnips, cauliflower, and avocado. I was hungry as hell, but I didn't have any problems exercising or getting work done, and I didn't feel sick. I could get used to this, probably.


Remember that, since you are basically getting all of your calories for the day in one feeding, you should include at least some carbs. Maintaining muscle and liver glycogen will go a long way towards maintaining and building strength. This also means you can get away with a slice of pizza, a burrito, or even some sweet stuff.

I drink a ton of water during the first part of the day and I find this helps with hunger. As your body adjusts, you will find that you simply don't get hungry until much later in the day. Makes you wonder how much of people's hunger, "low blood sugar", and absolute need to eat every 3-4 hours is either entirely mental or a product of the fluctuating blood sugar and small feedings associated with the "normal" way of eating for bodybuilders and strength athletes.