If it ain’t broken…

Andy MorganUseful Diet Theory110 Comments

Intermittently fasted lamboIntermittently-fasted Lambo

Let’s say your rich uncle dies and leaves you his Gallardo. On your first track-day you get spanked. To make matters worse it’s by guys in cars half the price. They are laughing. Do you get out your spanners and start fiddling with stuff in the hope this will make it faster, or do you learn how to use what you are given?

Same logic doesn’t seem to apply with dieting. Have a look at the following comment:

“Hey, so I’m going to lengthen my fasting window and add in a couple of 24-hour fasts and go all paleo for my carbs. Do you think this is a good idea?”

Is this person looking to experiment with the method out of curiosity to compare results with the ones that have already had, or are such ideas spawned out of frustration with their own lack of results and nutritional understanding? Having patience is not as fun as thinking up wild ideas of course.

Sometimes you may need to deviate from the standard plan. If you’re going to do that though, then you need to have a little wider understanding.

“Can I lengthen my fasting window?” “Can I do fasted training without BCAAs? I’ve heard they spike insulin and are bad for the fast.” Two consistently reoccurring questions. A few points need to be considered.

Can I lengthen my fasting window?

Should you? I mean what is the reason you wish to do so?

Is it because you think it will give better results?

Highly doubtful it will. Recall the hierarchy of nutritional importance. Overall energy intake for the day and then your macros (specific macro-nutritional intake) are far more important than timing. Stop looking for a shortcut. Putting two 24 hour fasts a week on top could well do more damage than good (explanation below).

Is it because you have to do it one day as you haven’t got time for lunch?

Sure, then do it. On the odd occasion, this is not a problem. As long as you keep your feeding times regular 90% of the time then you won’t upset your hormonal pattern and won’t get hungry during the fast. (Leaner guys, see warnings below.)

Is it because you have to have a shorter feeding window for scheduling reasons?

In which case it’s fine, but again keep things regular. If pushed for a figure then I’d say shorten it to a minimum of 5 hours. Less than this and you run into problems. I’d prefer to have a 10-hour feeding window than a 4 hour one. (More help on setting your feeding window with irregular work patterns here.)

Ok, why the 5-10 hour thing? What are the problems?

Firstly, trying to fit all your food into a 4 hour period or less can be tough, even when cutting, almost impossible when bulking. To do it you’ll have to resort to shitty food choices that will be micro-nutritionally poor and won’t keep you very full for long. Even if you are cutting and feel that hunger isn’t an issue, don’t forget – you won’t be cutting forever. Set things up from the start in a way you can continue in the long run.

Secondly, longer fasts lead to a greater likelihood of muscle catabolism (muscle loss). Consider the situation where you’re well into your fast:

      1. The body can use your fat stores or your muscle for energy.
      2. It will break down both fat and muscle into FFAs and amino acids respectively, to be whisked away in the blood stream to fuel different parts of the body.
      3. The body burns fuels in the ratio they are available.

Re-read the third point. For this reason, the risk of muscle loss when fasting is greater in leaner people. So what’s the fasting limit before it’s detrimental? Good question. I would love there to be a controlled, double-blind, clinical study of the chronic effects of fasting for different time periods on subjects with different body-fat levels in experienced weight-trainees to find out the limit, but this simply doesn’t exist and isn’t likely to ever happen.

What we do have though is evidence (consistent results) that people can have a 16-hour fasting window, losing little to no muscle while cutting down to shreds. We also have one case where a morbidly obese person was fasted by their doctors for over a year without losing significant lean body mass.

Practically, if you’re heading under 10% I certainly wouldn’t push the fasting time past the 16-hour mark on a regular basis. Over 10% you have more leeway -the degree to which is unknown.

Can I do fasted training without the BCAAs?

If* you are going to do fasted training and can afford to take BCAAs then take them. While it is true that BCAAs do cause a slight insulin spike, the negatives of this are likely far outweighed by the potential for muscle catabolism if they are not taken. If BCAAs are too expensive then take 25-30g of whey. Yes, I know there are conflicting view points out there (don’t bother posting them in the comments, it will only confuse people) and yes, I have read them. I’m no supplement company fan. Still, this is one area where I would err on the side of caution. Martin Berkhan explains this well here.

*Bear in mind that Leangains doesn’t have to be done with fasted training. Some people seem to be confused about that. Though there are some interesting studies on the acute effects, it is not proven that fasted training is superior to fed training over the long term, or the other way around (as far as I know). Choose whatever training time fits your schedule best. I can’t say I have observed a significant difference between fed and fasted training client groups. Martin will know better.

I’m not against experimentation, but if you don’t have to then don’t try to fix something that isn’t broken. Succeed first and then play around.

It’s easy to procrastinate and kid yourself that you need to understand all the science and minutiae before getting started. That rabbit hole goes deep though. Procrastinate for too long and you’re dead…

Sunday morning. Beautiful sunny day. Your uncle’s car keys drop into your lap. Are you going to go out and buy a book on car mechanics?

Thank you for reading.

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About the Author

Andy Morgan

I'm an online nutritional and training coach living in Tokyo, Japan. After seeing one too many people get ripped off by supplement and training industry lies I decided to try and do something about it. The site you see here is the result of a lot of Starbucks-fuelled, two-fingered typing. It's had a lot of love poured into it, and I hope you find the guides to the diet and training methods I use on this site useful. When I'm not helping clients you'll likely find me crashing down a mountain on a snowboard, racing around Suzuka circuit, or staring at watches I can't afford. (Read more about me →)

110 Comments on “If it ain’t broken…”

  1. Would ingesting some fat, like coconut oil with the bcaa’s or whey help to keep our bodies from converting any of the aminos into glucose? I would deduct the fat from my daily calories.

    1. I.e.: Would the ingestion of fat blunt glucose response? No. But more importantly, you’re worrying about a problem where there isn’t one David.

  2. Hi Andy,
    I was doing CKD for some time and now added IF 16/8 to that. I was always doing fed training in the afternoon but as I now have only 8 hours window to eat I’d prefer to do Big 3 Routine in the morning. I have BCAAs with glutamine which have 2g of carbs in a serving. I’d have to have 3 servings before my first meal. I know your article clearly says to take BCAAs but is it still valid when I’m doing keto? I have to add I’m in a cut right now. Thanks!

    1. Yes. Here’s my thinking: The advice concerning BCAAs is independent of whether you’re fat adapted or not. The question then becomes whether the BCAAs will bring you out of ketosis to a significant degree. Given the quantity of BCAAs is small, though they’ll spike insulin (I believe), I don’t think it’ll be in any sustained way that will make a difference.

      Thanks for the question Maciej.

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  6. I got a question Andy, what should the calorie split be for rest days? Right now my feeding window is from 10AM-6PM and I am also doing the low carb/high fat since it is rest day. Should I eat most of my carbs at night so that way I feel more full then? I also train in the morning usually at 5AM

  7. Hey Andy , I have a problem here !! . I just got excepted in a new job lately and everything concerned with the eating window was messed up . Basically , because of my job rules , I`m not allowed to eat. So the only way I can beak my fast is when I get back home which is only 5 minutes away from work . In that case , I would have fasted for 18 hours .You have stated that longer fasting may cause muscle loss. So I`m afraid that I might lose some muscles here since I`m quite lean (9% body fat) . Do you recommend sipping a 10g BCAA when I reach 16 hours of fasting or 18 hours is ok ?? what do u suggest ??

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  10. Hey Andy, quick question: since more than one pre-workout supplement out there has a small amount of calories and carbs (i.e. NO Xplode etc.), does taking them prior to feeding window for training purposes constitute breaking fasted state? Is it then more advisable if taking pre-workout supps to fit them into feeding window and train within window? I appreciate your thoughts on this

  11. ” Secondly, longer fasts lead to a greater likelihood of muscle catabolism (muscle loss). ”

    Stopped reading right here. Read eat-stop-eat and then re write this.

    1. Well the statement depends on context. Have a think on what context would allow both my statement and Brad’s to be right. Anyone welcome to guess.

      1. I’m a beginner here… and can’t guess it :'(
        I wouldn’t want to fix a non-broken system, but I have to choose one of the two.

        Can you help me out? 🙂

        1. Take the simplest path to bringing about changes that you can. If you have a problem controlling your calorie deficit/food cravings and are fat/obese, consider Eat.Stop.Eat. for it’s simplicity in helping you do that. If you don’t have that problem and are looking for something a little more detailed, start here.

          1. Thanks for your swift reply. Well I’m not good at controlling my intake when I sit at the table, but fasting – even for 24 hours – is no problem for me at all. And it is simple. No counting and all.

            I’m just concerned that my time in the gym is futile, that I’ll lose the muscle again on the fast days. I’m not seeing the strength increase I hoped, and wondered about the reason. And so reading around your site to gain some knowledge 🙂

            So the context which you speak about above (in this short thread)… is it that, if I’m fat and don’t care that much for strength progression, then I should keep doing Eat.Stop.Eat? Otherwise I should reconsider?

            1. Thanks! I’ve read most of your articles now. They’re really great, pragmatic and very readable. I still can’t help to think about timing, but I’ll see if I can get over it 🙂

  12. Hey andy, thanks for the info, this is one is a must-read.  

    I have to be honest though,  I read a lot of your post, but I skipped this one until you send me the link over on twitter yesterday.   You wanna know why?  because of the Title, it just didn’t make me interested,  because I didn’t expect it to be about this.

      If it had the title ” should I fast longer” or benefits fasting longer…. I would have read it, bookmarked it, shared it and read it again 😛 this really is a must-read post, Andy.   Awesome job cleared up a lot. For some reason I also thought that longer fasting would burn fat more,  and I hit a 18 -24 hour fast more often. But I didn’t had a hard time doing it(hittijt my macroa in thia short time spa.

      I did it primarily to get a fasted training ( I hit the gym at 6 pm ) and then I would eat from 19:00 -22.00  and hit my macros man 😛 stuffed like a turkey.

    But since you made clear above that there are no known benefits of a fasted training, and no benefits on longer fasts than 16h/8 , I guess I just have to get used to the 14:00 -22:00 eating window….

      One question though:   If I eat one meal at 14:00 hr (about 650cals ) only protein and little fat (eggs etc)   Can I eat the the rest of my maintaining calories (about 2000-2200cals) after my workout @19:00 hrs?  

    Sow 1 meal at 1400 hours And 1 meal or two meals at 19:00 -22:00   Thanks for your awesome work ( you and martin are a true inspiration and it’s awesome you share all the info for free)    

    1. I would argue that the Lamborghini should be enough for any male to click through regardless of title. Point taken, but to to title it about the fasting window would miss the wider point, which from your question it would seem you have missed.

      1. Hahaha yeah got me there, after I wrote the question, I read your post again and I then already knew the Answer.

        I’m gonna try to do the 16/8 hr fasts instead of irregular 16h + . But I find it harder, because the ‘skinny guy’ who whispers in people’s ears telling to workout 6 day’s a week etc (like you mentioned in another post) whispers something in my ear too… he keeps saying, do longer fasts so you train fasted, come on boy fast, burn fats !

        I would love to see some results of people who explicitly didn’t train fasted, so I can give it a rest.

        I think I read on a post of you that carbs on restdays should be max 100gr? Preferred lower right.

        And fats under 50gr on trainingdays, but on restdays, no problem with hitting 80gr. If ya about 80kg…

        Sorry for the questions you propably heard 1000 times, but since I’m not englisch I do not understand everything I read a 100% ..
        But thanks for your time and your blog, while I’m typing this I was in the middle of reading some posts of you and on leangains.com …. aaaahhh too much info :S

          1. Thanks Andy that calmed my spirit a bit 😛
            Thanks for replying
            Kind regards from the Netherlands 🙂

      2. I think the title was cultural as well. Being an American when I read “If it aint broken” I knew immediately: “Oh oh “don’t fix it,” which is exactly what I was about to do.
        I’ve been thinking lately why not do Ripped Body and Eat Stop Eat (adding a 24hr in there every week).
        I’m sticking with Ripped Body!
        Right on time: I was going to fast tomorrow :).
        Thanks Andy

  13. Hi Andy, really appreciate the work you’ve put together on this site. I am wondering what the difference between fasting training + no supplement, fasted training + 10g BCAA and fasted training + 30g whey protein would be. I can’t really afford BCAAs just now and I’m wondering if I’m suffering for it, and it what ways. Am I limiting my fat loss? Am I slowing recovery?

  14. Wish i had seen this post 6 moths ago (even though it wasn’t up then haha), i was doing great dropping bodyfat on what seemed like a daily basis all my lifts were improving then i thought to myself wow if i just cut an extra 300-500kcal of my training days and completely fast on rest days i would be doubling if not nearly tippling the rate of my results. This is when it all went down hill VERY quickly, i felt like absolute S**T and then began binging, i then tried to make up for the binges the following days by doing intense HIIT sessions and by fasting. This only made things worse and before i knew it i had undone 2-3 months hard work (18-14%BF) in a matter of 2 weeks.
    I am VERY glad that you have put this post up along with http://rippedbody.com/patience-diet-success-intermittent-fasting-leangains/
    Looking back now 6 months ago if i had just stuck to what i was doing i could be so much better off but instead i have now go to go back to cutting, once again Andy thanks for these posts, i will be referring to them duing this cut to remind myself.

  15. Andy, what’s your opinion on protein/carb mixtures ingested during workouts? I find it helps w DOMS, but I’m not sure if it really fits into leangains type training.

    1. For the recreational, weight trainee there isn’t really a need for that. If you find it helps then there’s no problem doing it if it’s within your feeding window and you make it fit your macros.

  16. Hey Andy, GREAT site. I’ve gone from 15% to 9% BF in 12 weeks and have gotten extremely strong on your plan. Love it.

    I had a question regarding calorie/macro nutrient cycling. During my cut, I performed all aspects of the diet as you described, including the cycling, and it obviously worked very well. My question for you is: how much effectiveness would be lost if one dropped the cycling and instead did a straight macro nutrient goal, the same whether a rest day or training day?

    I totally understand the need for the cycling, overfeeding on training days and creating the deficit on rest days, etc. I want to keep my leanness but found that to be the only part of the diet that was a struggle. More importantly, I had to hear my wife sigh and ask every day, “is this carb day or a fat day?” (because it would usually dictate what she ate as well). I’d love to hear your thoughts on dropping the cycling- I’d still be hitting my macros for the day with (mostly) whole, unprocessed foods, and training hard 4 days a week (now that I’m off my cut) staying with the 16 hour fast, and getting plenty of rest. Thoughts or advice regarding this topic? Thanks so much, Andy, I value your opinion.

    1. Firstly, good to hear and glad it’s been helpful and thanks for the comment JFH.
      Knowing the science then you know it makes sense to cycle. There would be an effect for those attempting to cut but how much is not easily quantifiable. However, as you’re already at that lean point then you have more leeway to play around, obviously. Try tightening up both ranges to please your wife. – It’s made you lean, now let’s work on making your life easier at home while maintaining.

      1. Thanks so much for the response, Andy! Just to be sure I understand: when you say “tightening up both ranges”, I’m assuming you mean slowly inching both the rest and training days macros closer to “the middle” (i.e. reducing some carbs on training days and increasing them on rest days) until (hopefully) they become the same? I’d assume this is also like any other diet change- making small changes every two weeks and continue monitoring strength, weight, measurements and the mirror to see if the changes are affecting anything? And if they don’t…success! Right? Thanks again, Andy.

  17. Andy,
    I have been following your blog since I discovered the Leangains method, 2 months ago. Thank you for so many interesting posts, they are all awesome!
    I know it sounds exagerated, but skiping breakfast has changed my life. As a working mother of two little kids, I felt always depleted and therefore, angry. I kept on eating 5-6 times a day as I read everywhere and did not work at all. I tried IF because I had nothing to loose, and discovered a lot of benefits in my mood and overall strength.
    I was doing also a lot (well, when my stamina would let me) of cardio an pilates, so decided to put aside the running and started with deadlifts, squats, pushups and calf rises (I have to do my workout at home).
    Well, in 2 months I feel like I have increased a lot my stamina, but I do not appreciate any changes in my BF (I am around 18%), and I feel that the problem is hormonal, as every month I loose back all my progress just after my period, even If I keep with the diet. I do not want to loose weight, I just want more muscle and less fat. Do you make any corrections to the protocol on women?

    1. Two things to bear in mind and I will let you make the inferences/conclusions/action decisions yourself.
      1. Your weight will fluctuate with your period so you always need to compare data points 4 weeks apart.
      2. Increases in strength correlate with increases in muscle mass. Muscle weighs more than fat. Take body measurements. See the picture of the lady at different weights on the flickr account. (Right sidebar on the main page.)

      1. I too enjoy this blog; great work Andy.

        Note that increases with strength do not necessarily correlate with increases in muscle; strength can, and often does, increase or decline for reasons other than amount of muscle.

        Note that, a pound of muscle weighs the same as a pound of fat (as does a pound of feathers or stones). But a pound of fat takes up a more volume than a pound of muscle, were you to see them laid side by side. So, if you formed two equal *volumes* (rectangles, say) of each, *then* the denser muscle would weigh more.

        Note too that it takes time to build metabolically expensive muscle, though fat can often be lost more easily than muscle can be gained—depending upon individual, genetics, program compliance, etc. As a strength trainer, I’ve seen many clients stay around the same scale weight and yet look different, fit their clothes better, and of course, get stronger.

        Regarding bodyfat % measurement, there are a few tools that might approach measuring this accurately (the most reliable tools are generally unavailable to most trainees), but there are many poor tools that claim to measure BF. No matter how it is measured, the comparative conditions should indeed be kept the same.

        1. “Note that increases with strength do not necessarily correlate with increases in muscle; strength can, and often does, increase or decline for reasons other than amount of muscle.”
          – Correct but, as a beginner that is beside the point for now Paloma. Focus on gaining strength.

  18. Great post Andy! I think the point about not getting lost in the science is a key one, especially due to the amount of contradictory information that can be found on the internet. I joke that there’s three things I refuse to discuss in-depth: politics, religion, and fitness. But when I do talk about fitness stuff, I usually link people to an article and say: “Here, try this and see if it makes sense for you.”

    On the note of typos, this sentence sounds a bit weird: “I’d prefer have a 10 hour feeding window than a 4 hour one.” I think it’d sound better as “I’d prefer to have…” or “I’d prefer having a 10 hour feeding window to…”

  19. Hey Andy just been reading through your site again it’s been nearly a month on your program so looking forward to sending my results over on Monday. I’m hoping they are on track I can definitely see changes although iv had bugs and colds which has been a pain with training! But for only 4 weeks in I’m hoping to really go for it harder for the next 2 months and hit my goals! Keep up the great work and ill catch up with you at the weekend !

  20. For those of you who haven’t done a Leangains protocol, do it exactly like people such as Andy Morgan and Martin Berkham say. Not only have they done it personally, but they have effectively applied and modified it in their clients. They know what works for you more than you do. Just accept that and commit for 12 weeks of their guidance. As soon as your start screwing with your program midway, you are not doing Leangains/IF. You are doing some unsanctioned something and it probably won’t be as effective as your expert prescribed program. Don’t invent problems and invite failure.

    If, after a solid, successful Leangains program, you are curious about some tweak you conjured up or read about, give it a shot and compare it to what you have proven to be effective. At this point, it’s not stupid…it’s science. Well, not really, but at least you started off ripped.

    1. Good call, Ted. When I stick to LG 100%, I get much better results. It’s only when I tinker that my results stall. Then I spend the next few weeks wondering why the f— I would ever do that.

      1. I wonder if Andy has a target next to his computer that says “Beat Head Here.” If not, we should get him one.

        Martin Berkham came up with Leangains because his method of losing body fat was terrible for him. The point of Andy’s article is that Leagnains/IF works as prescribed. Just freaking do it already and quit coming up with distractions to try and make up for a lack of patience, focus, or effort.

  21. Excellent post as usual Andy. We all try to make things more complicated than they need to be, instead of being patient and consistent. Looking forward to more posts!

  22. Great post mate, everytime you post I think its the best one. Lol keep up the priceless work

  23. Hi Andy – Per your request at the bottom, here’s a typo I spotted: “loosing little to no muscle.” Thanks for the article.

  24. Sorry to be the grammar nazi, but you specifically asked for corrections… It’s losing not loosing when you spoke about losing muscle. That one always sneaks through spellcheck.

  25. I’m not convinced of the risk of a 24 hour fast, though I can’t say I’m willing to gamble my hard-earned muscle either :-). In his article “Top Ten Fasting Myths Debunked”, Martin Berkhan suggests that aminos will remain in the bloodstream up to 24 hours after consuming a 100g protein meal; thus mitigating muscle catabolism associated with extended fasting. Along those same lines, even with a 16 hour fasting window, training in a fully fasted state (i.e. no BCAAs or Whey pre-workout) shouldn’t do any damage – again because you should have aminos available from your ginormous LG meal the night before.

    But, like you said Andy, there are little to no relevant studies for us to rely on. If I ever get a degree, I’ll do that study. 🙂

    1. The bottleneck will always come from the “experienced trainee” and “chronic study”. It would need to be weeks long and controlled and thus is pretty much impossible due to the expenses involved. Plus, who’d benefit in paying that kind of money for it? A BCAA company perhaps, but then they are doing just fine by talking other BS reasons for the use of them.

  26. Thanks. This will change things for me. I started at >20% BF, and I’m down to around 10%. I was doing two 24-hour fasts on my weekday rest days. I would eat “normal” rest day timing on the weekends. I thought this would help speed the fat loss to get me to the final, “shredded” state. Plus, I did LISS towards the end of the 24-hour weekday fasts.

    I began to notice my deads and pull-ups (done Monday) were getting significantly stronger – pullups in the elite category, while my bench (done Wednesday after one of the fasts ) was rapidly declining (from 245×7 to 230×6).

    I’ve made the appropriate change and will be lunching on all rest days from now on. How dumb to think that IF it was optimal to fast for 24-hours on rest days, you WOULDN’T tell us. Sometimes we humans are illogical.

    Thanks for all the work.

    1. 🙂
      Have a look at the FAQ regarding your bench concerns. That’s most likely due to mechanical disadvantage rather than losing strength per se.

      1. Perhaps. I considered that. But if I use a 1RM calculator, it seems rather significant – from around 300# to around 270#, depending on the calculator used. A 10% loss. Which pissed me off, obviously.

        It may be that, as you stated, I was getting towards the leaner end of things, and catabolism was taking place due to the muscle being more readily available. This makes perfect sense. I’m going to keep kcals the same, but spread out the window to get ~100g protein at lunch on rest days.

        And it may be totally placebo, but this was my first week tinkering and my bench went up a rep from last week. Bench to 230×7. That may seem insignificant, but it’s the first time my bench has gone up in any way, shape, or form in about 2-3 months.

        And again, thanks for all the work.

        1. There’s only shame in presuming and acting like you know everything. Never feel shame for something you didn’t know. Learn every day, for that’s what living is.

          1. For sure. I don’t think I have ever been so happy about learning something new. Losing 5kg off 5RM bench and I may have even got stronger – mindblown! 🙂

  27. All your articles are great. But now I in doubt. It’s bad to have a 6 hours feeding windows? Even if the food intake are not a problem? This will give me 18 hours of fasting but I never was worried about that because if you stop eating at 20:00 probably at 00:00 you will not be in a fasting state and probably you will only be at fasting state in the morning. But like I said, now I in doubt if could be a 6 hours feeding windows bad. By the way sorry about my english 🙂

    1. José sorry if some of this got lost in translation. 6 hours is fine, your English is good, don’t worry in either regard. Where are you from by the way?

      1. I’m from Brazil. Your article about patience are awesome. I always tried to get ripped but always made mistakes and did not know how to get there. Your LG guide gave me a direction but I wanted quick results. So your last article came at the right time and helped me a lot. Your are helping a lot of people.

  28. Great article and good timing. I’m currently on a cut and have had a few days where I think “I’m not as lean as ………..so and so on the website, maybe I should throw in a 24 hour fast etc. Patience is def key, but it’s so easy to get tempted by the latest article telling you to do this, try that. I’ll try to remain objective and stick to the basics- complicating things doesn’t help. I have just bought a copy of The Renegade Diet though!!

    Cheers Andy

    1. I found its best to stop reading regular fitness websites and magazines. Total waste of time – this is coming from someone who spent so much time doing so! This last year of IF (started Jan 2012) has taught me way more about my body than I learned in years spinning wheels and reading men’s health etc!

      1. I’m not sure why I bought the Renegade Diet. I guess the feeling of ‘maybe I’m not doing things right’ took hold. Been using IF/Leangains for about 4 months. My body has certainly changed, but I sometimes think its taking longer than predicted to reach my goals. Maybe my expectations are not realistic. My progress seems very slow, but I’m enjoying the ride.

        1. Slow and steady wins the race!

          I have been through the same thing and there are no shortcuts. Stick it out – in a few weeks you will be glad you did. 🙂

  29. A lot of wisdom there. I screwed myself up so many time by trying to have a narrower feeding window just because of the “benefits” of fasting. There was a time when there were benefits to eating six meals a day. It all changes. Stick to what works.

  30. Hi Andy!

    Andy’s guidance is great! I would say Andy is rather a magician. I can’t believe I can still lose weight following the diet plan (with plenty ,Yes, I mean PLENTY of meat, some of them not really lean, with rice on training days, with some cheat days) prescribed by Andy. Previously, I used to avoid rice at all to lose weight. But now, I can eat the food I like.

    With Andy’s guidance on the website and with his personal plan, I started LG in 01 Sept 12, I have lost 12kg of weight. Started with Andy end of oct 12 and have lost nearly 4kg. NO CARDIO. NO CARDIO. NO RUNNING AT ALL. For 2.5 months with LG, I have lost a total of 11kg. Strength is up! No more snorings at night!

    Andy knows his stuff well! Andy’s advice gonna sharpen your saw.

    Andy, keep up the good works! I just lost another 1.5 kg today after a week of training and the diet and 3-4 cans of light coke!

    And for others, you wont die for skipping breakfast!! I have been skipping it for 3 months so far! I am still alive and kicking!!

    1. Ah, Steven I appreciate the comment. Certainly not a magician though, though I could name a few people I think to be magicians. – You know who.

  31. I have a slightly different situation. Because of work sometimes I can workout in the morning (at 7) which I do fasted with BCAA and then I break the fast during lunch time (that gets me to approx 16 hours).

    My two questions regarding this:
    1. Should I keep taking BCAA as per Martin between the workout and lunch?
    2. We have lunch at the office and therefore it leaves me kind of dependent on what the menu is in terms if I can get to my required protein intake. In this case is it ok to supplement with a protein shake (I take them with Milk as with water they taste crap 😉

    Other days I cannot workout in the morning and then I break my fast at lunch, workout after work and have dinner after.

    Another issue is that approx 2 / 3 hours after lunch I get hungry and work is filled with crappy sugary stuff which is just plain unhealthy. Anybody got any good suggestions on how to deal with this mid afternoon energy drought……?


    1. 1. !? I cannot for the life of me figure out why you have asked this question given the topic of the post.
      2. Shakes are absolutely fine.
      3. Take your own lunch, or be lazy and try taking your fish oils with a milky casein shake at your lunch. The mix of fat and slow digesting protein could tide you over.

  32. Andy,

    I sometimes condense my window to 4-5 hours fasting for around 20 hours but only on a non training day. I go this for hunger reasons as my macros are pretty low and I would rather fast for longer to feel fuller when I’ve eaten ( hope that makes sense ). I’m very lean now just struggling with lower abdominal area – do you think it is down to hormones from irregular feeding times ?

    Good post.



  33. Nice and focused post Andy. There may be some or occasional merit but it’s hard to see eating properly for the day in much less than an 8 hour window. Like you suggest, keep it simple, consistent and be patient.

    1. Congrats on the marathon Ed. How was the time? Interested to compare your times with before and after implementing squats, as long as the other cardio training was roughly the same as previously. I’d imagine an improvement given how much more muscled you are now.

  34. Another solid article.

    Consistency and patience required to get lean – I finally got into single digit bf (9% or so) after a while hovering at 10-11%.

    I used to switch up all the time before IF and was spinning wheels constantly.


  35. Nice article Andy.
    As the energetic sum is what counts, in days that I can not I train a bit more fast (16-18 hours), because:
    1 – I can eat all kcals in less time.
    2 – On the day I spent more ingested kcals (3g each kg) and more protein then I can count on the flow of amino acids in blood plasma large following with reasonable stocks of glycogen in non-workout days. This logic comes to energy demand is the same?

    1. See folks, a little science can be a dangerous thing.
      Edu, what is the more obvious reason why you don’t want to change your feeding times?

  36. So what the difference observed between fed and fasted training? I use the fasted training protocol with BCAA, so my workout begin at 17:00 hours , my first meal at 18:00 and stop at 00:00. So my fed window is like 6 hours, but I don’t think this can be a problem.

  37. Andy,

    Great article, and good timing! I was considering adding 1-2 22-24 hour fasts (on non-training days) per week based on believing it would increase my rate of fat loss but while not experiencing any muscle loss (while on a cut diet). It sounds like I’ll stick to the daily 16 hour fasts, and maybe throw in a 24 hour fast every couple weeks (just because I enjoy the occasional longer fast).

    What are your thoughts on a planned 24 hour fast on a second consecutive non-training day every couple weeks while on a cut diet? Are there any special provisions that should be taken immediately before or after the fast? Thanks!

    1. The science is above, my thoughts are quite clear I believe George.
      A full, mixed food meal with plenty of protein. Fats and carbs of course. No powders.

  38. BRO THIS IS SUCH A GREAT POST! I’ve had some of these questions for awhile now (as I’m sure a lot of your Rippedbody.jp followers do as well). I hear so much advice on YouTube about shortening your fasting window or throwing in 2 Eat Stop Eat fasts a week to accelerate results! Great post Andy! You’re the man

    1. Just an opinion, I do a “paleo”(though i dont like to really call it that) version of leangains and there really isn’t anything significantly different about it. Paleo really comes down to food quality, It’s not necessarily low carb, or high fat, High protein, etc. Its just about eating high quality food that your body can assimilate well. Avoiding processed foods is just smart in regards to overall health, but not necessary for aesthetics. Eat the highest quality foods you can afford and avoid foods that mess with your digestion or cause potential problems , this is highly individual and varies a great deal on individual genetics, performance and recovery needs. For me the only thing I really don’t eat is wheat, only because I have experienced problems with my health and I have read enough scientific literature to feel that it is sub par nutritionally and not worth the potential risks. Just my two cents, hope that helps.

      1. Absolutely. I’m not Paleo bashing, it’s just people see it as a solution to a problem when in actuality, unlucky 3% of the population aside, it just works through calorie restriction. It’s like thinking IF is a magic bullet and not understanding the underlying mechanisms. Or that idiot that told me about the apple and beer diet:
        “So, eat as many apples as you like, nothing else, for 5 days and then for 2 days eat what you want. Oh and you can drink as much beer as you want at any time too! It really works!!”

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