T Nation

The Predator Program

I’ve come up with what I have dubbed The Predator Program. I’ll be starting the program soon and wanted to get some feedback on what people thought.

Here’s the quick version… It’s all all meat diet based on gorging one day then fasting two and workouts that consist of 3 sets of balls-to-the-wall breathing sets.

I dabbled with the program on test run for two weeks with great results. Lately I’ve been using the exercise methodology but not the diets. When I do breathing sets of squats I’m usually working with 185 - 225 lbs for 40 - 50 reps. For squats particularly the workout you get from one intense breathing set is insane. I often have to take a 5 - 10 minute break after to recover. I’m left with burning, cramping legs while sucking up air.

Before this becomes a novel too I’ll end it abruptly… So thoughts? Comments? Insults?

EDIT: Pasting discussion below since the link wasn’t allowed.

Intro

While researching diet and nutrition I often look to nature to analyze how animals eat because animals live relatively free from obesity and chronic diseases. Since humans are still an animal I believe natural eating patterns can give us clues about what matters with our diet. A good example is how chimpanzees stuff their face with fruits. Some nutritionists have cautioned against eating too much fruit because of the sugar content; however, if we look to nature we see they can do it without issue. If they can do it why canâ??t we? If you dig into studies on fruit consumption it confirms that fruit consumption actually has an inverse relationship with incidence of diabetes yet contributions of insulin spikes is a big part of why fruit consumption is recommended to be restricted. It is clear evidence that natural sugar consumption shouldnâ??t be demonized or grouped with added sugar consumption.

So if animals eat in healthy ways what animals can we most closely mimic in diet? Contrary to many vegetarian proponents we cannot mimic vegetarian diets very well. Most vegetarians are grazers and literally spend the entire day eating. The pure volume of food they eat and time it takes to eat it is not feasible for a modern diet. Additionally many grazers eat grasses and other foods that the human digestive system cannot break down properly. We actually eat closer to a predatorâ??s diet which is based on large, infrequent meals which is an eating pattern that is possible to accomplish.

I propose that if we mimic activity and diet close to a predatorâ??s activity and diet that there may be some significant health and strength benefits.

Diet

A predator eats meat and only meat. Part of the problem with our current eating habits is when we do eat meat weâ??re eating a small amount usually with a variety of other foods to include carbohydrates. Carbohydrates actually speed up the digestion of the meal by helping push the food out. This is why fiber is associated with decreased cholesterol levels as itâ??s inhibiting fat absorption; however, this is also doing things like inhibiting the uptake of fat soluble vitamins. It is a rarity to find a food in nature that has both significant quantities of fat and carbohydrates. Perhaps these are all indications we shouldnâ??t be consuming fat and carbohydrates together in the same meal?

They also eat it raw and consume everything. Cooking meat helps breakdown fats and connective tissue, but cooking meat makes the protein tougher to digest. While it may be speculated that cooking is what led to our current brain development, this is merely speculation. Ancient tribes focused on consuming the organ meat as the organ meat is nutritionally superior to muscle meat. In fact the Indians used to give the muscle meat (steak) to the dogs. Additionally wild animals have far less fat than the modern cow, so itâ??s not like the prevalence of fat and fatty connective tissue in modern meat is close to what ancient tribes were consuming. I do believe in consuming all the fat with meat though â?? any predator in the wild would not let this go to waste. Fats have a lot of good properties like hormone precursors.

When a lion makes a kill it gorges 2 â?? 3 times eating upwards of 75 lbs of meat each time. It then will not eat for a couple days. I regularly discuss in health forums the impact of 24 hour eating patterns which is a very little impact no matter how you eat. The body stores enough glycogen for up to 3 days and digestion takes 30+ hours. Due to these two facts little will change with different eating patterns over 24 hours; however, if you go on a longer pattern that depletes glycogen levels physiological differences may occur. Predators are on eating patterns that are greater than 24 hours so perhaps there is benefit to eating similarly.

So the diet is going to be consuming raw, untrimmed beef to include organ meat each day. I will eat around at least 3 lbs of beef in each sitting consuming at least 6 lbs of beef each day. I will subsequently fast for 2 days after an eating day.

Exercise

Exercise causes physiological changes as a means of adaption for survival. One of the wonderful things about exercise is the body cannot tell if youâ??re running from a cheetah for survival or on a treadmill for fun â?? it will adapt either way. What happens though if we start signaling to the body that weâ??re physically conditioned enough already? Would it stagnate and no longer try to adapt? What do you think youâ??re signaling to your body if you quit when it gets tough? I believe part of the reasons why animals in the wild are so much stronger than humans is that our bodies have learned they do not need to change to survive. I believe we can change that by implementing a balls-to-the-wall workout strategy that mimics real world survival situations.

In the wild there is no warm up. When a predator has an opportunity for a kill or a prey has to evade a predator there is no stretching, pyramid progression, or other warm up. It is act now, do now, or die. While warm ups are still a common piece of many routines there is little scientific evidence to suggest they have any benefit. Warming up does allow you to perform better, but performance does not necessarily equate to grow or physiological change.

In the wild there arenâ??t multiple sets. If a prey fails to evade a predator itâ??s dead. When a predator goes for a kill if it fails it doesnâ??t try again on the same herd at the same time. One set. One balls-to-the-wall set. Do or die. Besides, if the purpose of lifting weights is to exhaust your muscles there is no better way to do so then an all out set. By only completing sets like this I believe itâ??s also signaling to the body there will be no easy physical demands which could cause greater physiological response.

In the wild there isnâ??t a set routine. Every single time a predator makes a kill the physical exertion will be at least a little different.

The exercise routine is going to consist of singular sets for each group of muscles. Each set will be a breathing set. A breathing set is a technique where you complete as many reps as possible, catch your breath, and repeat until you can no longer perform a single repetition. There will be no warm up, cool down, or supporting work.

Weight Loss

I did a test run of this program for two weeks and had great results although the diet was the toughest diet I have ever done. The hunger I felt after fasting days was the deepest, most intense huger I have ever felt and Iâ??ve done a water fast for a week. I felt like a beast in the gym and had weight loss results that were on par with diets that were around 1,000 calories per day which is about half of the average caloric intake on the diet. In fact the reason why I started this was to test theories on weight loss.

Iâ??ve often discussed nutrient timing and intermittent fasting. Since most implementations have a 24 hour cycle there are no physiological differences in energy usage over 24 hours as glycogen depletion is likely not to occur. The body stores enough glycogen for 3 days and complete digestion takes 30+ hours. Recent research on nutrient timing is showing this concept has less and less scientific credence and I agree.

What this all implies though is that nutrient timing and intermittent fasting on scales larger than 24 hours can have physiological impact. I theorized that if the eating pattern could induce ketosis within a cycle that the pattern can have physiological differences. Additionally on the eating days the intake was large enough that entropy (inefficiency) could increase causing a net reduction in available calories. As a third impact itâ??s possible that my overall BMR will be higher, as compared to a diet creating a consistent caloric deficit, which increases expenditure.

The behavior of BMR in my prior health experiments shows that after gorging my BMR increases the very next day. I also found that whether on a low calorie diet or a fasting diet my BMR was consistently the same which means a consistent low calorie diet wonâ??t have any BMR advantages.

The three of these factors means less efficient energy utilization, less efficient energy absorption, and more energy expended compared to diets with consistent, low calorie intakes. The theory and initial results are in agreement. While this is a very tough eating pattern to maintain I believe it could be the most effective eating pattern for weight loss that still allows high overall nutrient and protein intake.

Putting it all together

Since the first meal is consumed after a kill this means that the first meal will come after exercise. It also means that all exercise will be in a fasted state.

Since in the wild everything is a little different each time, Iâ??m going to vary the weight and stance/grip every time. The weight may cause a decrease in reps, but Iâ??m going to try to do small enough changes that I can still get around the same number of reps. After working on breathing sets I may be able to increase reps even with increases in weights. Even if the same number of repetitions are done the total time and â??chunksâ?? of repetitions will likely be different. By â??chunkâ?? I mean the number of reps between breathing breaks.

All breathing sets will be done to the point that I cannot complete a single repetition with a 10 â?? 15 second breathing break.

There will be three different routines.

	Group A		Group B			Group C

Lower Squats Deadlift Clean & Press
Back Pull-ups Horizontal BB Row Reverse DB Flys
Chest/tris Military press Bench press Cable Flys

Squats will be done without racking the weight to box depth or at least parallel. Pull-ups will be done starting with a slightly wider than shoulder width pronated grip moving to a neutral grip when I canâ??t do a chunk of three. Deadlift will be done with a pronated grip moving to a mixed grip if my grip strength starts failing. The BB row will be done with a supinated grip. Cable flys will be done from a decline to neutral position. All other exercises will be done according to standard methods and techniques varying by the prescribed methods.

The diet will start with fasting. On fasting days Iâ??ll be trying to keep activity to a minimum. Only water will be consumed.

I will embark on this program for 90 days.

Prior to this program I have been having a relatively low rate of training (2 hours a week) and consider myself well recovered. I have also been consuming a very nutrient rich, diverse diet and do not consider myself at risk for any nutritional deficiency during this time.

Summary

While the Predator Diet is well backed with scientific evidence that it will help induce weight loss, I acknowledge the Predator Program is not something that I have significant evidence will cause increases in mass and/or strength. Nature has developed in ways we canâ??t always understand, but has produced marvels. It is common for engineering to look to nature to solve problems and I believe this program has the potential to illicit major physiological changes. If you are interested in trying this program with me I would love to hear about it or your end results.

Are you saying you only eat one out of every three days? Because no I don’t think that will allow you to train hard enough and make optimal progress.

I’ll quote from the removed link. I thought it was interesting.

And I’ll be very interested to hear how it works out. I’m with csulli though.

My thoughts:

  • I think you’ll run into issues because of glycogen depletion… although, you’re implying that you can get enough glycogen from eating meat, right? Literally just by consuming the cow’s glycogen.

  • I also think 6lbs of beef on your feeding days won’t be enough to sustain you for 3 days. 12lbs sounds more reasonable to me. Once upon a time, I tried eating 4ish pounds of beef a day, every day for a few days, and it wasn’t enough for me. I was pretty surprised.

  • I’d also expect constipation issues due to insufficient fat. Not the lack of fiber, but rather from just not enough fat, even with fatty cuts of meat.

[quote]So if animals eat in healthy ways what animals can we most closely mimic in diet? Contrary to many vegetarian proponents we cannot mimic vegetarian diets very well. Most vegetarians are grazers and literally spend the entire day eating. The pure volume of food they eat and time it takes to eat it is not feasible for a modern diet. Additionally many grazers eat grasses and other foods that the human digestive system cannot break down properly. We actually eat closer to a predator?s diet which is based on large, infrequent meals which is an eating pattern that is possible to accomplish.

I propose that if we mimic activity and diet close to a predator?s activity and diet that there may be some significant health and strength benefits.

Diet

A predator eats meat and only meat. Part of the problem with our current eating habits is when we do eat meat we?re eating a small amount usually with a variety of other foods to include carbohydrates. Carbohydrates actually speed up the digestion of the meal by helping push the food out. This is why fiber is associated with decreased cholesterol levels as it?s inhibiting fat absorption; however, this is also doing things like inhibiting the uptake of fat soluble vitamins. It is a rarity to find a food in nature that has both significant quantities of fat and carbohydrates. Perhaps these are all indications we shouldn?t be consuming fat and carbohydrates together in the same meal?

They also eat it raw and consume everything. Cooking meat helps breakdown fats and connective tissue, but cooking meat makes the protein tougher to digest. While it may be speculated that cooking is what led to our current brain development, this is merely speculation. Ancient tribes focused on consuming the organ meat as the organ meat is nutritionally superior to muscle meat. In fact the Indians used to give the muscle meat (steak) to the dogs. Additionally wild animals have far less fat than the modern cow, so it?s not like the prevalence of fat and fatty connective tissue in modern meat is close to what ancient tribes were consuming. I do believe in consuming all the fat with meat though ? any predator in the wild would not let this go to waste. Fats have a lot of good properties like hormone precursors.

When a lion makes a kill it gorges 2 ? 3 times eating upwards of 75 lbs of meat each time. It then will not eat for a couple days. I regularly discuss in health forums the impact of 24 hour eating patterns which is a very little impact no matter how you eat. The body stores enough glycogen for up to 3 days and digestion takes 30+ hours. Due to these two facts little will change with different eating patterns over 24 hours; however, if you go on a longer pattern that depletes glycogen levels physiological differences may occur. Predators are on eating patterns that are greater than 24 hours so perhaps there is benefit to eating similarly.

So the diet is going to be consuming raw, untrimmed beef to include organ meat each day. I will eat around at least 3 lbs of beef in each sitting consuming at least 6 lbs of beef each day. I will subsequently fast for 2 days after an eating day.[/quote]

@csulli

I train in a fasted state regularly and I don’t have any issues. I’ve only done breathing sets as discussed while fasted for less than 24 hours, but my premise is that the body will adapt if it thinks it needs to for survival. All predators hunt in at least a semi-fasted state.

@LoRez

To tag onto the response above, you’re right 6 lbs may not be enough and the training will probably be in a fasted state rather than a semi-fasted state. It’s still around a 2,000 calorie per day average though and for my body composition 180 lbs and 16% body fat I don’t think it’s necessarily too low.

In one of my prior health experiments I did 4.5 lbs per day of raw, untrimmed beef for 4 weeks and had no constipation issues. I’m anticipating similar effects so I’m not expecting constipation.

In for the results, but I’m not expecting this to go well. What about micro nutrients? Keep in mind that humans in a paleolithic sense were still hunter-gatherers. There are populations that existed almost solely on meat but the key part a lot of people ignore is that they ate all of the animal and wasted nothing. I think you can get around this by eating organ meats, as long as they aren’t trash. Livers and such are a good start, but if it’s from a heavily chemical treated animal who knows what you’d actually be eating.

I tried something similar-ish with a brief stint of the apex predator diet from Jamie Lewis of Chaos and Pain. I leaned up relatively quick but felt lethargic occasionally. The big problem was digestion, I’d either have an explosive urge to take a dump at a terrible moment (imagine trying to drop body armor and a duty belt just in time), or I couldn’t go at all. The protein farts were horrendous too to be honest. My progress stalled so I worked in carb refeeds about once a week and shot for about 400g of carbs or so, these helped. I’m not sure if working a fast in would be productive or not.

Google “evolution of my diet chaos and pain” and read up, Jamie Lewis went through a lot of diets and incorporated fasts before settling on high fat meat and shakes all day with carb refeeds worked in. I’m not linking it because a majority of his blog is NSFW. It’d be a good read because while his methods and ideas are unconventional he does fully cite just about everything he writes about.

@PancakeOfDoom

Yes I am expecting my organ meat consumption to cover micronutrients. As stated I’m going to eat organ meat on every eating day. Admittedly though the only organ meat I eat is liver and kidney, but those are pretty damn good. The meat I buy is some high quality, organic, grass-fed grass-finished, locally processed meat from a ranch in Idaho. As a caveat though I’m purposely making it 90 days just in case.

I’ve got a nutrient rich, ultra clean diet and I expect I’ll be at least good for 90 days. Most nutritional deficiencies take 90+ days even with complete deprivation. I’m curious to see what my Vitamin C levels will be after it though… I’m only going to be getting an average of about 20% of the DRV per day.

I’ve done similar diets so I’m not anticipating any issues. I’ve done extreme diets with starches, fruits, fat based diets, and meat based diets. I’ve found I have the best results with fruit and meat.

I’ll have to check out the references you mentioned - sounds interesting thanks.

OP,
Interesting reading. Just curious, but, if you have experimented with a type of diet like the one you descibe, how were you energy levels? I guess, I could follow your logic if you were just weight training, had a sedimentary job, and time for plenty of rest.

After all, lions lay up for several days after a large kill, but, if you were training for a fight, or worked a strenuous manuel labor job, or being dropped into a S&R mission, would you have the endurance to do the job? or, is this just a specific diet to cut for a short amount of time?

This screams beginner (or troll) on too much ADD medication.

Anyway, I’m pretty sure that you will not become a badass “predator” doing this. Why not simply stick to what is actually known to work?

[quote]PureNsanity wrote:
I train in a fasted state regularly and I don’t have any issues. I’ve only done breathing sets as discussed while fasted for less than 24 hours, but my premise is that the body will adapt if it thinks it needs to for survival. All predators hunt in at least a semi-fasted state.
[/quote]
Okay but how much weight have you gained and how much strength have you gained training with this sort of diet? That’s what my comment was about. You edited your OP with a lot of additional info which included a caveat at the end saying that this was really just for weight loss.

That’s fine, but honestly if I were only going to eat one out of every three days, I could probably eat nothing but poptarts and still lose a bunch of weight. I mean all you’re really doing is starving yourself right?

Who are you, and why should I care about your thoughts on nutrition and training?

That is a very narrow view of predators and how they eat. My cats are predators and they eat moles, mice, bird, rabbits and various bugs all day. One just sits there on a wall and snags them as they scurry by. She’s a fat cat.

I’ve read your experiments and it seems that you confuse our body’s adaptation to utilize virtually any food products for survival with some evolutionary or physiological loophole.

It does make for interesting reading though, so good luck.

1 Like

[quote]infinite_shore wrote:
This screams beginner (or troll) on too much ADD medication.

Anyway, I’m pretty sure that you will not become a badass “predator” doing this. Why not simply stick to what is actually known to work? [/quote]

Agreed. You aren’t a lion or a wolf or whatever animal you have printed on all the t-shirts tucked away in your mom’s basement.

If your primary goal in life is to become a supreme bad ass, you should probably quit your job and join a branch of the military and apply for special forces. They are 100% more likely to turn you into a “predator” than this plan.

Also, why do you want to be a “predator” anyway? Do you plan on murdering people? Diddling children? Just lift some weights, read some more, and stop living in a fantasy world.

@idaho

My energy levels overall were good. I was trying to eat 7,500 calories in the day of a mixed diet which didn’t pan out too well. After you fast for a couple days it’s hard to work up to consuming this much food. I figured I shoot for at least 6lbs of pure meat this time and will be better. Eating 4.5 lbs of raw beef a day I felt phenomenal. I was working out about 12 hours a week and never recovered better.

It’s a 90 day diet to see what happens. I think the endurance levels will be there because I won’t be spending much time in glycogen depleted states. I’m also predicting the body will adjust somehow. Good example… In studies with alternate day fasting after 3 weeks the participants BMR is the almost the same on fasting days and non-fasting days; however, BMR normally reacts within this timeframe. I think we constrain ourselves way too much to the 24 hour clock. This diet is creating a cycle of 72 hours…

@infinite_shore

I don’t think it’s ADD but it’s definitely a learning disability… I will do crazy things for the sake of science. :slight_smile:

I’m not sticking to programs I know work because although my lifts are decent for an armature and slowly progressing, I haven’t seen results that I’m 100% satisfied with. There are a lot of valid reasons why people can say that is according to current methodologies, but this is something that I’ve stirred on for a bit in my research and I want to experiment on.

@csulli

I’ve seen my strength endurance increase dramatically but my 1RM strength has been slower to move. I went from doing squat breathing sets with 135 lbs to breathing sets with 225 lbs in about 8 months.

The original reason I came up with the diet was for weight loss, but that is not the sole purpose of this run. And this diet is not a starvation diet as it’s over 2,000 calories per day on average. I do intend to cut on this diet though because my usual caloric intake of 4,500 calories a day causes me to carry a bit more fat.

@RATTLEHEAD

I’m a health and nutrition experimenter, author, and expert dieter - I can do any diet for any length of time. In my initial experiments I went 6 months in a row without any salt, sugar, or seasonings without a single cheat.

I can’t tell you why you should listen to me, but here’s why I’m talking about it… I’m not satisfied with most health studies. Our current paradigms have produced nothing but inconclusive conflicting results. I’m looking for theories that can be backed up with experimental, observational, and clinical results that don’t have exceptions or holes. If you want to investigate theories on why health sciences are the way they are or just enjoy researching it then I think it’s real interesting material.

[quote]SkyzykS wrote:
I’ve read your experiments and it seems that you confuse our body’s adaptation to utilize virtually any food products for survival with some evolutionary or physiological loophole.

It does make for interesting reading though, so good luck.
[/quote]

Both adaptation and evolution have overlap through epigenetics. I can appreciate your point, but I personally don’t think we can discern the two.

Thanks!

[quote]Goldie4545 wrote:
If your primary goal in life is to become a supreme bad ass, you should probably quit your job and join a branch of the military and apply for special forces. They are 100% more likely to turn you into a “predator” than this plan.
[/quote]

I was Air Force for 5 years and was proud to serve but it wasn’t for me… That’s not my primary goal… My ultimate body composition goal is 190 lbs at single digit body fat. My 1RM lifting goals are 300/400/500 bench/squat/deadlift.

If I really wanted to turn this into an official experiment I would have to baseline the results against several other methodologies and diets. I might do that later, but right now this is more or less a fun run and I’m just interested to hear everyone’s thoughts.

With this proposed program the ultimate goal is just to learn to see if there are any indications of physiological differences in response over other diets and programs I’ve done.

[quote]PureNsanity wrote:

[quote]SkyzykS wrote:
I’ve read your experiments and it seems that you confuse our body’s adaptation to utilize virtually any food products for survival with some evolutionary or physiological loophole.

It does make for interesting reading though, so good luck.
[/quote]

Both adaptation and evolution have overlap through epigenetics. I can appreciate your point, but I personally don’t think we can discern the two.

Thanks!
[/quote]

Why would you edit out the part about a very narrow view of predators eating habits?

The red tailed hawks do the same thing too. Just relaxing and riding thermals till they see a tasty snack scurrying along, then gide down and snatch it up.

And sharks! They’re eating machines. Cruising along in a virtual stasis then Chomp!

Not a single predator I can think of does breathing squats.

[quote]SkyzykS wrote:
Why would you edit out the part about a very narrow view of predators eating habits?
[/quote]

Because I normally edit out parts of the quotes I’m not specifically addressing. If you really want me to address that part I’d say in general I’d agree, but I don’t think a house cat diet is necessarily a good reflection on predators as a whole.

Sharks and birds aren’t nearly as close to us anatomically as other mammals.

Yes predators don’t do breathing squats, but the point is balls-to-the-wall exertion which they do. Breathing squats are just one way to do it…

[quote]PureNsanity wrote:

My ultimate body composition goal is 190 lbs at single digit body fat. My 1RM lifting goals are 300/400/500 bench/squat/deadlift.

[/quote]

Many people have achieved these goals with much more pedestrian methods.

[quote]PureNsanity wrote:

[quote]SkyzykS wrote:
Why would you edit out the part about a very narrow view of predators eating habits?
[/quote]

Because I normally edit out parts of the quotes I’m not specifically addressing. If you really want me to address that part I’d say in general I’d agree, but I don’t think a house cat diet is necessarily a good reflection on predators as a whole.

Sharks and birds aren’t nearly as close to us anatomically as other mammals.

Yes predators don’t do breathing squats, but the point is balls-to-the-wall exertion which they do. Breathing squats are just one way to do it…[/quote]

Thats a good point. Anatomically we are a lot more similar to the great apes. But they’re omnivores, aren’t they?