T Nation

"Pulse Feast" For Busy Lifestyle?


#1

Alright so a little about me… consider myself an advanced athlete. 5ft 11in… 220lbs and 9-10% bf. I have been shredded, I have been massive. I am changing gears and starting medical school this Summer. I am wanting to bring mass down to about 200lbs, probably have to sacrifice some muscle to do so. This is about making a lifestyle change for me.

Goal is to sit effortlessly at 200-207 lean and athletic looking all year, more NORMAL. Think greg plitt look… I get a lot of people commenting on my overall mass and how it might nit appeal as a professional doctor. I get it. Need to have my priorities straight and think I can still look better than 99% of population at a slightly lower mass. Want a look that is more appealing to the general public.

I have always been a follower of intermittent fasting. Usually 16hr fast and 8hr eating window. However, my schedule is about to get significantly busier and I want to find a way to keep lean and healthy while also enjoying life. This will result from training changes as well as nutrition approach… I need some advice on if what I have planned will work and be sustainable for years to come.

Typical day for me will be:

4am: up, stretch, meditate.
5am: Gym (Weights 3x a week; Cardio on off days)
8am-4pm: Lecture/lab
5pm: home
6-9pm: Study
10pm: Bed

Now on to my plan training wise and nutritionally:

TRAINING:
Full Body 3x a week. Based around compound movements (Squat, Dead, Presses; added in hypertrophy work as needed), followed by some HIIT Tabata or similar with bike or sleds, etc.

Off days: LISS cardio

NUTRITION:
What I want to do is follow a modified version of pulse feast. I simply want to maintain the muscle I have put on. I have ZERO desire to add any mass. Simply maintain a lean, athletic looking, physique with the muscle I have or even slightly less if needed.

SO…

BCAA’s during day…

Home at 6pm and have my feast following guidelines CT lays out:

To “maintain”… here about 80% of year to keep a good look:
“When maintaining, you basically just eat what you want during a pre-set period of feasting. I prefer 7 PM to 11 PM. Again, start with your protein and veggies and eat your fill, but then have pasta, grains, or even dessert if you want it.”

When want to lean down just a bit more for vaca or whatever (think 1-2x a year max):
“Start your feast with a focus on animal-derived foods and veggies. In other words, start with protein (meat, fish, eggs etc.), then add in some vegetables, and if you still want to eat after that, have fruit.”

Couple notes:

  • I am on trt from doc to keep my test level at higher end of normal (700ng/dl)
  • Because of this I do not think severe muscle easting will be an issue assuming adequate protein consumption.

Thanks in advance… open to any input!!


#2

You seem well informed and since you are a med school candidate I won’t insult you with talk of adequate calories and meal timing not mattering. I do have 1 big criticism:

Bed 10pm-> Wake 4am. 6 hours if you go to bed on time and fall asleep immediately. So more like 4.5-5 hours realistically.

I worked full time and went to college full time. Then I had a day job and a side business and kids. So I got 4-5 hours of sleep for the better part of the last 9 years.

Lack of sleep makes you worse at absolutely everything you do. Your immunity is compromised, you don’t form memories correctly, it reduces your insulin sensitivity, increases inflammation etc… you can only burn the candle at both ends for so long.

You can lift, got to med school, and be extraordinarily successful. But you won’tbe as great as you could have been with adequate sleep.

When you make it to residency they will steal your sleep from you, might as well get it while you can.


#3

Hi there! I believe that each persons sleep requirements are very individual.

That being said, I do believe a certain number is needed each night to repair function and recover from all we put our bodies through. My sweet spot seems to be 5.5 solid hours of sleep during the week followed by a forced 8+hrs on Saturday and Sunday to “recharge” if you will. Been following this protocol for years. I actually saw a study where 5-6hrs is healthier long term than 8-10. I will see if I can dig it up.


#4

Most start med school at about 23 years old (even with a gap year), so I’m going to assume you’re young. I am a professor (and even the dept. chair) for a the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, so did the whole PhD, postdoc, up through ranks of professor thing. Not the same as med school, but I mention this because you said a driving motivation is that your size might not appeal as a profession doctor. Well, that’s not good reason. I go to the University gym and lift weights and do things that are not common for a tenured professor, and to me this is a good thing. I am not as massive as you, but I can tell you that it won’t matter for you professionally.


#5

Also, if you’re just starting med school in the Fall, it will be years (med school plus residency) before you’re seeing patients. I don’t think you need to start adjusting your diet now for a visual you’re hoping to have in 6-7 years.


#6

Do not get it confused I still plan on staying in remarkable shape but I just want to take on a new look.

I am about changing my lifestyle to something sustainable for years to come. This is a huge turning point in my life. Fiance and I will be getting married and having kids in the next two years. Just changing gears. It doe not ALL have to do with school but some of it does. I do not want to be micromanaging my nutrition and training during this time. Rather just having a routine and tweaking as I go by feel.


#7

Three words: Dr.Brett Osborne

If you dress well and present yourself well, who cares how much muscle you have.


#8

It is not that i do not want to look great and be muscular. What I am now is just not the look I want to take into my professional life personally… I want to be more athletic/fit looking. Not jacked out of my mind. Like I posted in OP think greg plitt size. 6ft 200lbs. I am 220 right now so not too far off.

I was just curious if my take on the “pukse feast” would work. Basically the second method you tried, which you mentioned held muscle but did not allow you to gain mass. I no longer want to gain any more mass… so it seems this would work; just very curious on your input on my specifics, coach.

Thanks!


#9

Paging coach… really interested in your input.

Your second method you had tried "BCAA during day, feast at night. To maintain an aeshetic physique year around while living a busy lifestyle.

Thanks again!


#10

Intermittent fasting will work for some people and there is science to back it up. It did work okay for me but I didn’t have a very stressful life and wasn’t physically active expect for my sessions. I also didn’t need that much brain power, if I lost focus for a few hours it didn’t matter much. I would NEVER recommend if for someone who has a high stress life and requires a lot of energy due to being physically active and mentally stressed.


#11

I know IF works for me as I have been practicing it for years. Just not the “one meal” approach. Did you follow same guidelines for pulse feast when you were experimenting with BCAA’s during day?

I have basically been doing 4hrs a day “feast” but one main meal. The logistics of this meal differ as per goals at that time.

Cutting= meat and veggies with fruit if needed

Maintaining/recomping: Whatever I want but keep it cleanish nutrient dense meals but have dessert if I want.

Sound like an okay approach?

And believe it or not my “brain function” seems to not be effected negatively, almost notice a mental clarity advantage when fasted. I made it to med school all in fasted state and plan to do the same through the whole program :slight_smile:


#12

You, my friend, are about to get seriously humbled.

EyeDentist MD, PhD


#13

I was about to answer something similar.
With wife kids, job, not getting younger and very little sleep, you won’t have a hard time loosing muscle mass and you will notice that maintaining that low body fat is more and more difficult.

Higher muscle mass = higher metabolism
And for some reason something tells me your just a troll looking for attention


#14

Curious why you think this?

I have had an uphill battle my whole life this is nothing new.

I am simply too big now for what I want in life and just want to find a good “lifestyle” balance. Experimenting to find that method.


#15

This is the absolute truth. Never attempt this if you are in SOF, LE, Fire or Medical. There is a reason most American MRE’s are packed with peanut butter, cheese whiz, and cookies.:grinning:


#16

Well if you want to get smaller (I assume most of it from losing fat) why not simply do more energy systems work like loaded carries, sprints, prowler pushing, airdyne/assault bike intervals, steady state cardio and decrease your lifting volume? And diet-wise simply lower carbs, no need to use intermittent fasting (especially since I don’t think it’s appropriate for the lifestyle coming up).


#17

Ok. Let me give you my perspective. I went throughout medical school with 3 kids. Currently in my last year of an orthopedic surgery residency. Will be completing an orthopedic sports medicine fellowship next year. Intermittent fasting, or some version of a pulse feast has been a godsend for me. As a surgical resident, you can go hours and hours without eating. If you can train your body to respond to IF diet, it works very well. Each person is different, and I know my body very well (former professional basketball player). I’ve lifted 4-5 days a week all through medical school and residency, and I’ve managed to stay a fairly lean 220 to 230 at 6’5". I would slowly see how you respond to as the pressure and stress builds.


#18

I’ve never once felt like being “too big” is an issue. If anything, it’s an asset in orthopedics, lol.


#19

That is interesting. I never had any crashes when I used IF BUT I thought that it was because I didn’t have a stressful lifestyle. Thanks for sharing.


#20

I do like the training changes.

I love IF and like I said have been doing it for years but just not 20hr fast. I am going to test it out over next couple months (school starts in July) and see how it treats me.

Training wise I’m going to start taking volume down and conditioning stuff up.