15: Special Reader Q&A with Andy Morgan

On this Rippedbody podcast, I answer listener questions. Topics covered include my stance on intermittent fasting, tips for maintaining strength during a cut, and maximizing metabolic rate coming out of a diet phase.

Thanks to all of you that submitted your question via Facebook and Instagram and hope you gain some valuable knowledge from this episode. 

Show notes

  • What are your top five exercises for a complete physique? A vertical and horizontal pull, horizontal push, a hip hinge and a squat variant. There isn’t one exercise that is a must and for everyone. Learn more: Exercise Selection [00:30] 
  • When did your arms get so big? 😉 Lighting, small shirt, and great camera angles. [01:35]
  • What is your stance on Intermittent Fasting? My opinions change through experience and new research. I have updated the Complete Guide to Setting Up Your Diet over the years. Please see the fourth section, ‘Nutrient Timing & Meal Frequency, Calorie & Macro Cycling’ for my most up to date guidelines. [2:00]
  • How successful can someone be without having meat in their diet and using other protein sources? Generally speaking, you are going to need to increase your intake of high-quality plant-based, i.e. pea and soy protein by 20% to be comparable to animal protein in terms amino acid profile quality. For strict vegan diets, consider supplementing with extra essential amino acids. [3:15]
  • Tips for online coaching. I have written a book on it called The Last Shred. In the back, there is a section for tips on online coaching. My biggest tip is to care about the people you work with. [4:15]
  • Tips for maintaining strength during a cut. Choose an appropriate workout program. If you are getting too fatigued, pull back on volume. The article on RippedBody.com is called How to Choose the Most Effective Strength Training Program for YOU. [5:20]
  • The importance of tracking accuracy during an unsuccessful cut. If you aren’t tracking, how do you know you are not being successful? Have you been tracking for a long enough period to see changes? Make sure your tracking is on-point. What you track forms the basis for making adjustments for making the goals you are after. I wrote an article on the site abou this, called The Definitive Guide to Tracking Progress. [6:00]
  • How do you get clients to adhere to nutrition advice? I am fortunate that clients often seek me out personally for advice. People do not like being told what to do. If the client is a good fit for services, I will start to identify the client’s preferences with initial feedback. Sometimes, people don’t know what they want, I will then make decisions based on similar client experiences. [7:30]
  • What are some examples how clients can get enough protein in a day without looking like a “weirdo?” Let’s say you are trying to get in 150 grams of protein. A chicken breast portion might have 25 grams of protein in it, you will need to have 600 grams of meat in a day. This means you will have 300 grams of meat in two meals or 200 grams in three meals. Two large chicken breasts alone might be able to hit this target (approximately). Instead of asking for extra meat at a restaurant, you could add a protein shake in the morning and at night to help reach your protein targets. [9:50]
  • What do you think a gym look like in 10 to 20 years? For Japan, it’s currently crap but we’re going to make it awesome. Quality evidence-based information will push out supplement scammers and quick fix solutions. However, people are going to keep looking for shortcuts. I don’t think there will be any magical pill in the future. [11:20] 
  • How do you determine a person’s ideal body weight? How do you feel are your current body weight? What do you want to change about yourself? It comes down to your goals and preferences. [12:50]
  • What are the signs that someone needs to increase calorie intake for building muscle? Over the last 3-4 weeks, has the scale weight gone up? Have you progressed with your training? If the answer is yes, chances are you are likely to have gained some muscle. If the scale measurement hasn’t changed but your waist measurements have gone down, chances are you have gained muscle and lost fat. For most non-novice trainees, you will need to gain weight by increasing calories in order to gain muscle. The article on RippedBody.com is called How to Bulk. [13:25]
  • Any vegetarian protein-rich breakfast ideas? Nope. [14:55]
  • How much protein do you need when not training? If you are training, you need protein for recovery and growth. When you are in a calorie deficit, you run the risk of losing muscle. Heavy resistance training and protein intake as the best ways to protect yourself from muscle loss while in a calorie deficit. When you are not training, you will be losing muscle. [15:20]
  • How long does it take for muscles to adapt and repair to a given training stimulus? It depends on training adaptations and how hard you slammed yourself. You want to be training progression and not soreness. [16:40]
  • Intermittent Fasting vs. protein taken throughout the day. Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter that much, as is proven by the success with both approaches. You need to take the approach that you can adhere to. The article on RippedBody.com is called The Complete Guide to Setting Up your Diet in the timing section. [17:25]
  • Protein sparing modified fast or Intermittent Fasting, which is the best for body recomposition. This question is confusing two different topics. Intermittent Fasting is a meal timing consideration. Protein sparing modified fast is about having a low-calorie intake with a high proportion of protein, which is relevant to calorie intake and macronutrients. Review The Complete Guide to Setting Up your Diet for additional context to these topics. I do not recommend the protein sparing modified fast because it is not sustainable. [19:50]
  • Would you train women the same as men? For certain reasons, I have elected not to train women, so I cannot give a detailed evidenced-based response to this question. [20:45]
  • The planning of meso, macro and micro cycles for a bodybuilder with the right nutrition for each phase. Check out The Muscle and Strength Pyramid Books because the topic is covered in-depth. [21:30]
  • How to refine macros to subsidize training? The Diet Adjustments Mini Mastery Course covers this question in-depth. [21:50]
  • What to do about having a week of fatigue and low energy. If you have been dieting for a long time, it might be time for a diet break. If there is a sudden load of stress or lack of sleep? If so, consider upping your calorie intake for a little bit and see how you feel. [22:50]
  • Was there a time in your career that you felt you didn’t have the aptitude to be a coach? I am constantly learning and often reflect on whether I am happy with what I am doing. When I feel like what I am doing is not my best, I give myself a kick in the ass. [23:40]
  • Protein pulsing strategies pertaining to BCAAs/EAAs/Leucine. For context, this question is not talking about fasted training, but instead, it is taking about additional supplementation in a fed state throughout the day. There is no evidence that BCAA/EAA supplementation is needed when protein intake is sufficient. [24:50]
  • What modifications do you incorporate for low responders to resistance training? First, try a program and see how it goes. Usually, it comes down to organizing training better. Don’t be afraid to change things up. [26:10]
  • How to avoid binge eating on a cut? Set things up in a way you can sustain and use diet breaks. Don’t be overly strict during the week and have a binge weekend or day, which can result in eating out of yourself out of a calorie deficit. [28:35]
  • How to maximize metabolic rate coming out of a diet into a maintenance phase? You want to find the most you can eat without gaining fat. First, increase your calorie intake based on the rate you have been losing weight. Second, track and don’t panic with an increase in body weight likely caused by water and gut content. Third, have a look at the last few weeks of data and make diet adjustments accordingly as your metabolic rate adjusts coming out of the cut. A great article with more details can be found on RippedBody.com called Finding Calorie Maintenance. [30:00]
  • How do you encourage trainees to keep with a training program when the initial motivation fades? I usually works with people that are really hooked into training. However, for someone new to training and dieting, it is important to remain mindful of the fact that it times, effort and adherence. Realistic weight loss guidelines can be found in The Complete Guide to Setting Up your Diet. Realistic muscle gain guidelines can be found in How to Bulk. [32:30]
  • What is the best philosophy to follow for a healthy body weight in the long-term? This is a tough question because it is highly personal. Do not be too strict with yourself and find balance. Slowly find habits that will keep you in shape. [35:00]
  • Are there ways to improve cardiovascular health while increasing strength? Yes! I recommend trying to incorporate some low-intensity steady state (LISS) cardio. Heart rate around 130-140 bpm at the end of the session. [36:45]
  • How do you plan a nutrition program for strength and power athletes? This topic is covered in-depth in The Muscle and Strength Pyramid Books. For a general overview, see if you are covering the basics with my free post called The Complete Guide to Setting Up your Diet. [39:20]
  • How long before you can expect to see improvements in your physique and in your strength? What to do if you are not making improvements? Wait four weeks before you try to access your progress because of initial fluctuations due to a new diet and/or a new training program. [41:20]
  • Does calorie cycling really have an effect? Total calorie intake for the day and macronutrients are the most important thing to consider. Consider calorie cycling more of the icing on the cake. [43:15]
  • What is the total weight gain tissue for lean bulking? Check out How to Bulk. [44:30]
  • BCAAs vs. Whey before fasted training? Both are fine. Whey might be slightly better. [44:40]
  • Do you have any tips for tracking leafy greens? If this is a challenge, I suggest eating approximately the same amount and don’t track them. Use this amount as a baseline for the other foods you are tracking. [45:50]

Thank you for listening! – Andy 

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About the Author

Andy Morgan

Hi, I'm Andy, co-author of the highly-acclaimed 'Muscle and Strength Pyramid' books and founder of RippedBody.com. This site is my sincere effort to build the best nutrition and training guides on the internet. Some readers hire me to coach them, which I've been doing full-time, online, for the last seven years. If you're interested in individualized, one-on-one coaching to help you crush your physique goals, let's start the conversation. (You can read more about Andy here.)


  1. Daniel says:

    “Any vegetarian protein-rich breakfast ideas?”

    Since I only eat meat 1-2 times per week, I’ve found several meals that fit the bill nicely:

    – An omelette made of 4 whole eggs, veggies (Zucchini or Red Bell Pepper work best for me, but you can choose whatever you prefer) and 100g of low fat feta cheese comes down to roughly 57g of protein and roughly 650 calories. Add 2-4 slices of toast if you want/can to make that about 66g of protein and about 900 calories.

    – A huge serving of greek yoghurt (I typically use 500g), fruits (I mostly use raspberries and an apple, but bananas, blueberries, sour cherries all work) and 30-50g of almonds, either with a little sweetener or a genererous amount of honey. Add a splash of water if it’s too dry to make it more creamy. In total this ends up being about 800cal and 70g of protein.

    1. Andy Morgan says:

      Thanks for sharing, Daniel.

  2. Bridgitte Withers says:

    Andy, loved the Q&A podcast ! Really appreciate you answering my question! I have learned a lot from your podcasts in general! I have SO many questions though !! Would love to work with you, however, I understand you don’t work with women !:( I understand !
    Anyhow, just wanted to say thank you and I’m loving your content ! Be well.

    1. Andy Morgan says:

      Thank you, happy to hear that.

  3. Jon freelove says:

    Just wanted to say think your podcasts are brilliant and the lasted Q&A one was very helpful love the manner and no bull shit repsonse yet effectively brilliant way you answer the questions. Love the work I’m being inspired at 33 to finally giving my passion in learning about health, nutrition, mindset and looking like a beast mo fo a go . Jon

    1. Andy Morgan says:

      Cheers Jon, appreciated! 🙂

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