9 Common Intermittent Fasting Mistakes

It should come as no surprise that I’m a proponent of intermittent fasting. In fact, despite trying many other nutrition schemes, I was never able to gain muscle without getting fat before hopping on the intermittent fasting bandwagon.

Given that I’ve been drinking the Kool-Aid for quite some time now, I’m approached by eagar souls looking to dive in to a world of fasting and feasting without boundaries.

But beware: This could be costly. You have to set yourself up with realistic expectations, and avoid common newbie mistakes.

Here are some mistakes you probably are making, followed by some suggestions for improvement.

1. You Still Eat Garbage

garbage

“I struggle with fat loss.” That’s the most common email I get by far.

“Tell me about your nutrition.” That’s always my reply.

“Well…it could be better.” That’s the reply I get back…83.4% (precise estimate) of the time.

Now, I eat like Goku and build muscle without getting fat with Chaos Nutrition principles, but the fact remains: nothing (chaos, intermittent fasting) makes up for crappy nutrition. You have to have a decent idea of what to eat.

You don’t know what to eat. Am I right? What’s good? What’s bad?

It’s legitimately tough to consistently over eat on wholesome foods, and it’s no coincidence that those that complain about body composition often reach for overly processed foods, like chips, candy, cake, and crackers. An even greater faux pas is drinking a ton of calories through sweetened beverages, like sweet teas, soda, and other sugary madness.

If you’re eating pancakes and drinking chocolate milk for breakfast, you have work to do.

The best beginner heuristic: focus on game and ground, each of which in their most unprocessed state. (This might sound “paleo,” but I prefer the least processed game and ground label (albeit a long tongue twister), as the “paleo” mindset tends to neglect the reality of evolutionary biology.)

  • Game being just about any and all meats and fish.
  • Ground being things that pop out of the ground, like vegetables.

That’s not to say you have to eliminate processed stuff completely, or that it will kill you instantly. Fun fact: I ate bread when I first beat skinny-fat syndrome. (And I eat a lot of white rice now.) But the further backwards you work in the chain of food processing, the more chance the food has to become FUBAR. It’s like the old game of telephone. Tell one person who tells the next who tells the next, and by the time the message comes full circle, it doesn’t resemble the original message in the slightest.

Transfer this over to the beverage realm. If you’re drinking anything other than water, unsweetened teas, and unsweetened coffee, you have no business complaining about not being able to lose fat. And you shouldn’t be seeking anything more advanced.

2. You Don’t Keep Busy

bored

What happens when someone tells you to keep a secret? You want to run off and tell a zillion people, right? What do you think happens when you think about not eating food? You want to eat everything in sight.

As I mentioned in How to Start Intermittent Fasting:

The day of my first ever 24+ hour fast went like this: I slept in, golfed, lifted, and then went to batting practice. It was 7:00PM before I even thought about food. A cup of herbal tea went down the hatch, a few episodes of The Office entertained my brain, my head hit the pillow, and food never glitched my radar.

When you’re just diving into fasting, you can’t have idle hands. Schedule something where you simply won’t be around food. If it’s not there, you won’t be tempted. Also, don’t hang out with others eating. Avoid the break room and the free donuts on the table.

3. You Abuse Stimulants

coffee

Intermittent fasters usually drink coffee in place of breakfast. The usual recommendation is to down a cup or two, as it helps fight hunger (and is also said to increase fat metabolism).

In other words, it’s not uncommon to turn the first part of the day into a caffeinated euphoria. A few cups of coffee are fine, but don’t get so hooked onto coffee that it becomes a food in itself. Personally, I think drinking coffee after 12:00PM  is a bad idea for just about everyone. That’s just me though.

Coffee is common enough in the “real world” where people eat garbage, so don’t feel bad if you enjoy the sweet elixir on a regular basis. But don’t abuse it.

4. You Start Too Ambitious

Right now, I eat one meal per day and abide by Chaos Nutrition principles. But it didn’t start like this. It took me a long time to be able to cope with hunger. To be honest, I don’t know if I would have ever gotten into intermittent fasting if I didn’t break my foot and have to survive without a morning meal.

Don’t be too hard on yourself at first, and don’t be too ambitious. Going from frequent eating (especially junk food) to one meal per day is a relatively extreme drop. In fact, I don’t really recommend one meal per day to anyone unless they only want to eat once per day. My progression took years:

  • 6 meals per day – Summer 2006
  • 4 meals per day – Summer 2010
  • 3-4 meals, 2 snacks per day – Fall 2010
  • 2-3 meals per day – Winter 2011 (broken foot)
  • 2 meals per day – Fall 2011
  • 2 meals per day, sometimes 1 meal per day – Winter 2011
  • 1 meal per day – Late 2012

So this has been cultivating for years. And that’s how most of my knowledge blossoms: through years of trials, tribulations, and failures.

If you want to get started, I have two suggestions:

  • Toy around with a Leangains inspired 16/8 scheme, breaking the fast at noon. In other words, “accidentally” set your alarm to intentionally wake up late. And then you can’t cook breakfast.
  • Do one Brain Pilon inspired Eat Stop Eat 24 hour fast per week. It’s a tougher entry, being 24 hours  long (that’s 5PM one day to 5PM the next, for example, so you never really go an entire day without food), but it’s only once per week. In other words, “accidentally” set your alarm to be intentionally wake up late. And then “accidentally” forget to pack a lunch.

5. You’re Perpetually Afraid of Hunger

fear

Hunger is a totally normal and natural part of life. Your muscles won’t waste away. You will not die from fasting for 16-20 hours. You body can survive extreme conditions. Some studies even show that going through stints without food can benefit health.

Short term deprivation doesn’t cause the body to break down muscle and go into “freak out” mode and gobble up muscle tissue. Long term deprivation on the other hand…

I’m more muscular than I’ve ever been in my life, and I only eat once per day. My performance hasn’t dropped one bit (not surprising considering the evidence from Ramadan athletes). I’ve even fasted post workout—foregoing the fabled post workout window—in the name of self experimentation, as mentioned in 7 Senzu Bean Recovery Methods (not that I’d recommend this).

In short, don’t be afraid of casual hunger.

6. You Think That More = Better

Intermittent fasting is cool…why not fast for 48 hours? 72 hours?

Sadly, as Brad Pilon talks about in Eat Stop Eat, most fasting benefits dwindle after 20ish hours.

Rules can change here depending on how big your last meal before a fast actually is, but suffice to say, more isn’t always better. If you find yourself extending fasting beyond 20 hours on a regular basis, you should reconsider your direction. There’s a fine line between fasting and starving.

7. You’re Not Embracing the Chaos

Intermittent fasting is silently predicated on negative feedback loops, as Ori Hofmekler talks about in his wonderful book, Maximum Muscle, Minimum Fat.

Negative feedback loops, for all intents and purposes, are chaos incarnate. By making nutrient intake less predictable, you make nutrient intake more powerful.

In other words, part of its effectiveness comes from short term deprivation. For best results, you have to learn how to embrace this.

How?

Simply by understanding that short term deprivation can be a very good thing…a very powerful thing — just like training. Fasting is a stress that the body must cope with.

8. You’re Obsessing Over the Clock

CLOCK copy

Even more than the clock: embrace a relaxed lifestyle. People get so strung up on things. One of the most popular articles on my site, 9 Things You Should Know Before Intermittent Fasting, depicts the way most people go about intermittent fasting.

They obsess over the clock and think that one minute is going to ruin the totality of their progress.

What’s totally ironic about this: the majority of intermittent fasters hark on the free lifestyle it affords, especially after jumping from the six-meal-per-day ship. Yet they are completely ruled by the clock via fasting windows.

I generally eat once meal most days. This is my “dinner.” Sometimes it comes at 3PM. Other times 8PM. I don’t worry. I eat when I’m ready to eat, and I eat when the time is most convenient. If I’m extremely hungry and it’s not dinner time, I’ll munch on raw vegetables. No stress. No hassle. All freedom. (If I’m in New York, this “dinner” might include a waffle ice cream sundae, or donut ice cream sandwich at 4AM…followed by feelings of euphoria and debauchery.)

9. You’re Focusing on the Sum of the Parts

If there’s one concept I’d wish most people would respect more, it’d be that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts in a complex dynamic system.

No matter how much you try to understand each individual piece, you’ll never understand how those pieces ultimately work when they’re all intertwined.

A lot of people want to focus on the pieces. They want to know whether one tablespoon of cream in their coffee is going to ruin their life. They want to know if 16/8 is going to be better than 16.1/7.9.

Yet, more often than not, there’s always something more pertinent to worry about. A bit of heavy cream in your coffee is the last thing I’d worry about.

  • What about your food selection?
  • What about your training?
  • Are you eating the right amount for your goals?
  • Are you getting enough protein?
  • Enough veggies?
  • Enough fats?

Here’s the sum of intermittent fasting: spend part of your day in an underfed/unfed state, then spend a small part of your day in a fed state. There’s two pieces to this, each of which depends on you.

  • The level of your “fed” state, which depends on your goals. More fed = more muscle. Less fed = less fat.
  • The frequency in which you decide to fast: Daily. Weekly. Whatever.

That’s the sum. Do what you will with the parts. Just know that the more trivial your parts, the less  they probably matter.

MAYBE YOU’RE A SUCKER


You can’t fool me.

I know this isn’t your first rodeo, trying to lose fat, build muscle, and build a body you’re proud of.

But you’re not a quitter, which is why you’re here.

You might be a little lost right now.

Maybe you don’t have much motivation.

Maybe you don’t what program or diet to use.

I don’t know…

But what I do know is this:

Everything you need is inside of you.

You’re capable of more than know.

You just have to open your eyes.

My weekly column can help.

Just a small little honest note from me sent every Sunday.

Unless I’m hungover.

And then it comes Monday.

What I’m trying to say is that it’ll come Monday.

212 comments… add one
  • Such Ch May 22, 2013, 2:11 am

    Not gonna lie, Anthony, you’ve hit the markers on the head. I did intermittent fasting from the beginning of April to now, and it has worked (dropped a little over a pound per week). However, I had to put up with some of these problems again and again. There ain’t a lot for me to do at college except study, workout, and eat, so cutting out some of the eating took a toll. Mind you, I did just as you talked about–I dived right in, no progression or anything. Cut out breakfast, ate 1 meal 2 days a week, everything, and it was difficult. Hopefully, this makes it easier for the rest of us. Thanks.

  • Nate May 22, 2013, 2:14 am

    Another great read. Still in shock that you only eat 1 meal. I did this for a while and it was just too hard to get in all my daily needs. I ended up getting flat-out smaller. So on off days I stick to 2 meals in 4 hours. Gym days = 2 meals +1 snack in 6-8 hours. This is the most muscular I have been and my bf % is officially 12.3%, so I still have some more work to do to get to around 10%. Was wondering, on off days do you recommend cardio? Say an hour or so of medium paced walking still in the fasted state? And I am of course using all Chaos Methods.

    • Anthony May 23, 2013, 2:47 pm

      I don’t do “cardio.” Not saying it can’t be useful depending on your goal though. I think incline treadmill walking is a fine thing to do if you’re looking to lean down.

      • dominika August 27, 2013, 12:25 pm

        How should I eat and train if I don’t want to be muscular?

        • Anthony August 28, 2013, 5:29 pm

          Go talk to someone that shares your same goals. I’m not one of them. I’d say just starve yourself until you rot into nothingness.

  • Yannick Noah May 22, 2013, 2:16 am

    Great post anthony. And the crazy fella in the photos succeeded in reflecting each mistake you highlighted haha. I have a question though. From various angles, IF works best for me. But when i preach this to my friends, they have one common question? “What if i suffer gastric pain?I am easily prone to that”. Would you recommend IF for these kind of people? would their ghrelin eventually adapt to the hours without food? Because when i started IF it was not that easy too but after a week or two i was already okay. I am unsure if this advice would apply to them. Thanks man

    • Anthony May 23, 2013, 2:47 pm

      Define “gastric pain.”

      • Yannick Noah May 24, 2013, 5:27 pm

        Well, usually it involves unbearable stomach pain which they believe to be caused by not eating for long periods of time

        • Anthony May 25, 2013, 2:44 am

          I think they need to distinguish between hunger and pain. But you shouldn’t be in pain. If you are, I always think raw veggies are a good snacking food.

          • Luis July 9, 2013, 11:25 am

            Look, what happens here is that the stomach starts excreting gastric acid every morning since you wake up, so, if you don’t give it food it will start hurting you, and sooner or later it might cause you peptic ulcers. This is the main reason why i’m still not IF. And all this was told to me by my inmunology teacher which is a medicine beast, so, you should belive me and, well, try to take your food as soon as you wake up and then fast (that’s what i’m up to).
            God luck; have fun.

          • Anthony July 11, 2013, 1:43 am

            Interesting theory. Time will tell.

    • Luis July 9, 2013, 11:26 am

      Look, what happens here is that the stomach starts excreting gastric acid every morning since you wake up, so, if you don’t give it food it will start hurting you, and sooner or later it might cause you peptic ulcers. This is the main reason why i’m still not IF. And all this was told to me by my inmunology teacher which is a medicine beast, so, you should belive me and, well, try to take your food as soon as you wake up and then fast (that’s what i’m up to).
      God luck; have fun.

      • James IV August 22, 2013, 4:26 pm

        Your body produces gastric acid in response to food entering the stomach. Its not an anticipatory process.

        • Anthony August 26, 2013, 8:22 pm

          Thanks for chiming in.

        • Nick October 20, 2014, 7:21 am

          No. Small sample size, but study says: “Gastric acid secretion was stimulated by the preparation and anticipation of a self-selected meal in five healthy male subjects” (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7353458). Also, “When you see, smell or imagine delectable food, your nervous system signals your stomach to secrete acid in anticipation of a meal” (http://www.livestrong.com/article/498930-what-stimulates-acid-secretion-in-the-stomach-starches-or-proteins/).

          Digestive chemicals can be released in anticipation of eating. The stimulus can be smell, taste, imagination, or routine eating patterns such that simply being used to eating at 5:00 PM may result in gastric acid and insulin release even in the absence of external cues for food.

          • Anthony October 25, 2014, 3:03 pm

            I remember a study showing something like this in those with Diabetes (I think?) but never healthy. Thanks for sharing.

    • HENRY June 29, 2015, 7:27 pm

      Gastric pain == hunger pangs. Other than mental distress, there should be no concern. If you look up the wikipedia page (and accompanying papers) it is well-accepted that peptic ulcers, the fear of which I’m guessing is the main reason behind your friends’ hesitancy, are most often caused by external factors. These include (above all) the bacteria H. Pylori and NSAIDs. Starvation (which is basically IF, but not intermittent) isn’t even listed. So, TL;DR, tell your friends to (wo)man up and do it.

      • Anthony July 17, 2015, 12:03 am

        I don’t know who you are, but this was written well and intelligently. Thank you mystery man.

  • The Real Will May 22, 2013, 3:48 am

    Very nice and well-timed. This should help keep some people out the ditch, so to speak. #7 was what I was trying to convey in our last conversation. One thing I think people forget is that the “I” in IF stands for “intermittent”. Take the intermittent out of IF and it becomes plain old starvation.

    I have a friend that is a 7th degree black belt and he told me that he used to fast for a week at a time consuming nothing except apple juice (he told me this about 20 years ago). So there I went, young and stupid, I dove in head first, eating my last meal on Monday night and not eating again until Friday morning, only consuming apple juice. What did I get for my trouble? The runs and a sore butt, LOL!!!

    Lots of good info here, all on one page. Thanks Anthony.

    • Anthony May 23, 2013, 2:48 pm

      Hah, what a terrible experience that musta been.

  • Chris S. May 22, 2013, 3:49 am

    I’ve been doing the Leangains approach (16/8) for about 6 weeks now and am really seeing great results. I usually break my fast around 4PM and eat up until midnight. Usually get two meals in during this period with some healthy snacking in between. Most of my diet consists of Nate Miyaki’s “Traditional Japanese Village Diet” which I guess is pretty much paleo with some rice/potatoes thrown in. I think he posted up something yesterday on his website with a lot of great information on it. Anyway, great article as usual and I think one day I might try the one meal a day approach.

    • Anthony May 23, 2013, 2:48 pm

      Nate is a good man.

  • Leanette May 22, 2013, 3:59 am

    I break the fast with a whey shake with some fish oil capsules to prevent an insulin spike. Is that a good idea?

    • Anthony May 23, 2013, 2:49 pm

      You’ll never “prevent” an insulin spike – all food spikes insulin. If it didn’t, you’d die.

      • Cailin Koy May 5, 2014, 6:48 pm

        I’ve only been IFing for two weeks, but I love it. I break my fast with whatever I want, but I always make sure the initial feast includes lettuce, spinach and/or raw vegetables, to utilize the volumetric principle and make myself feel fuller faster, preventing a binge on my fast-breaking meal since that’s usually when I’m hungriest. Not necessarily right for you, but it works for me.

        • Anthony May 9, 2014, 4:54 pm

          Thanks for the reply, I’m sure it will help some as that’s a common issue.

    • Damon July 26, 2014, 5:20 am

      I agree with the idea of being careful about how you break each fast. I’ve heard (and it seems) that the starved body is more eager to convert energy into fat stores so giving it protein and slow burning carbs will slow down this reaction. It also helps control the appetite so it’s easier to moderate further food choices.

      • Anthony July 26, 2014, 10:52 pm

        The other half: a starved body also has likely broken down it’s fat stores. And then the body only stores its leftovers. But fasting itself isn’t a bullet for fat loss by its lonesome. All hours of the day matter, not just fasting.

  • Eleshar May 22, 2013, 5:56 am

    Great post, Anthony!

    I too have been following the leanGains approach for 6 months now. Given the lighting is right and I brace my core hard, I can see a bit of my upper abs! 😀 I thank you and intermittent fasting for finally making some progress.

    I’ve got two questions if you don’t mind giving some feedback;
    1.) I still have quite a bit of lower belly fat. What general tweaks or changes should I now consider to attack it? I’ve decided to not cut calories at all, but progressively try and make my 3 workouts a week more intense. I’m pretty weak, especially upper body, but I am making progress.
    2.) I’m very skinny. Always have been. Would my slight ab definition indicate that it is time to start bulking or should I try and lose the lower belly fat first? I don’t even know how I would bulk. I’m stuffed after dinner :D. Maybe I should stop intermittent fasting on the odd day and have an awesome breakfast/brunch once in a while. :: Shrug ::

    • Anthony May 23, 2013, 2:50 pm

      1) Depends on what “quite a bit means.” If you’re making progress, I wouldn’t change anything.
      2) See any post I made on “the solid base” or “should I cut or bulk.”

  • Craig OC May 22, 2013, 8:59 am

    Good stuff Ant

    • Anthony May 23, 2013, 2:50 pm

      Thanks.

  • Monty May 22, 2013, 11:46 am

    “Just know that the more trivial your parts, the less they probably matter.”
    This is the most insightful thing that I’ve heard in a long time and it applies to SO MUCH that doesn’t relate to diet/exercise/nutrition.
    Thanks, man…

    • Anthony May 23, 2013, 2:51 pm

      Trivial is…trivial.

  • Seth B May 22, 2013, 1:56 pm

    Ok, I was not ready for pic three and literally laughed out loud at work. Way to blow my cover haha. Keep up the great posts man! Each one I learn more and reinforce what I am already doing to improve myself. Thank you.

    • Anthony May 23, 2013, 2:51 pm

      Welcomes, thanks for reading.

  • Mat May 22, 2013, 2:47 pm

    Great post. Anthony, can you please explain how paleo folk (Art Devany, Robb Wolf, Sisson) miss the boat with evolutionary biology or point me in a direction where I can read more about paleo flaws? thanks.

    • Anthony May 23, 2013, 2:53 pm

      Not all paleo folk miss the boat. Some do though.

      First and foremost, training to build muscle and increase performance wasn’t at all on the “paleo” radar, which means there’s an immediate discrepancy. There’s a also a book called “Paleofantasy” which you might want to look into.

  • Traindom May 22, 2013, 3:56 pm

    One meal?! Insane! My stomach would so not be able to take that, haha. Must be fun, though. It’s like a feast every couple of days, haha. I always think “FEAST” and visualize like people eating at a long table, hah.

    I am really guilty of number one. You made a video on this, I believe. I think I’ll watch it since I’d like to know the effect of junk food on body composition. I can see how junk food would hit my health but not my body composition. But now that I think about it, those two should be REALLY related, oops.

    You make a good point about the clock. One can definitely be ruled and bound by it if they don’t keep busy. It was when I kept myself busy that I wasn’t obsessed about it.

    • Anthony May 23, 2013, 2:54 pm

      One day, you and I will have a feast at a long table.

  • Aaron May 22, 2013, 4:04 pm

    Great article, Anthony! Just one question: you said that right now you eat only a meal per day, are all of the nutrients that you should consume condensed into that one meal?

    • Anthony May 23, 2013, 2:55 pm

      Well…if I only eat one meal, what do you think?

      😉

    • Kman May 24, 2013, 2:01 am

      Here’s an honest question to the guys who do IF: Do you naturally just enjoy consuming huge quantities of food in a few sittings? I gave the 16/8 thing a try for about 2 months earlier in the year, and it was one hell of a miserable experience. Not because I was hungry, but because I was so painfully full from trying to digest all the calories I stuffed myself with in that short time window! Even with digestive enzymes and fermented foods (sauerkraut/kimchi), I felt like total sh*t for the entire feeding window, and then some. I did eat clean foods, with one shake (consisting of stuff like nut butter, almond milk, etc).

      I searched for an answer, but it seems that most people are thrilled with the diet and nobody has my problem. It’s like there’s some kind of secret that nobody wants to tell me.

      • Anthony May 25, 2013, 2:42 am

        Everyone is different. Some people don’t like eating, nothing wrong with that.

        But me?

        I like eating.

    • Brad April 12, 2014, 2:17 am

      My stomach feels better after my second week of the 16/8 IF plan. I often had stomach discomfort after lunch, but that seems to have gone away.

      • Anthony April 18, 2014, 4:35 pm

        The body adapts, myes.

  • Riley May 22, 2013, 5:43 pm

    This is a great article Anthony. I’m a big fan of IF as well and will be sure to pass this article on to clients with questions!

    • Anthony May 23, 2013, 2:55 pm

      Why thank you!

  • Jason May 25, 2013, 12:16 am

    What’s your opinion on the newer artificial sweeteners, particularly Splenda? OK to jazz up coffee and/or teas with them while on an IF?

    • Anthony May 25, 2013, 2:45 am

      I don’t use them. I have no opinion of them, partly because I don’t need to have one (because I don’t use them).

    • Cailin Koy May 5, 2014, 6:54 pm

      I read a lot about this because I quite like Splenda. The science has shown that although sucralose does not raise insulin levels, its commercially available format Splenda includes dextrose, which (even in the small Splenda-level quantities) does raise insulin. I don’t consume anything while fasted that raises my insulin levels, because to me, that’s breaking the fast. So I don’t use it.

      • Joaquin March 18, 2015, 3:45 pm

        Very good explanation

        JE

  • Deivid May 25, 2013, 11:49 pm

    Hi, anthony Im doing intermitent fasting leangains style and brad pilon method one day per week, and got great results, i have the same or more strength, better look my six pack is about at 70% complete 😀 but my question is i want to bulk but shred the rest of love handles and lumbar fat and my lower ab to show the adonis belt, its that possible i heard a lot of slow bulking leangains posts… im mesomorph its a good idea to use “clean” weight gainers to surplus calories to bulk using this method?

    • Anthony May 26, 2013, 10:49 am

      If you’re trying to lose stubborn body fat – that last little bit – I wouldn’t recommend simultaneously trying to build muscle. You can gain muscle slowly, but stubborn body fat usually requires a more fat loss oriented approach.

      I don’t use weight gainers, nor would I know what “clean” weight gainers were. Do they have soap in them? Do they kill germs?

      /sarcasm

  • Al June 2, 2013, 3:11 pm

    What would your one meal on a training day usually consist of? Do you also use any supplements with your IF meals? Thanks.

    • Anthony June 5, 2013, 1:45 am

      Rice, chicken, eggs, veggies, fruits…

      You know, real food.

      Supplements, not really. Just whey for convenience. Creatine because it works. That’s all.

      • Mark January 4, 2015, 12:48 am

        How many calories do you consume in that one meal per day?

        • Anthony January 6, 2015, 2:00 am

          As many as needed. 1-4000.

  • Wil June 6, 2013, 1:06 am

    Great post Anthony! Whats your opinion on Bulletproof coffee or its variations during the fast?

    • Anthony June 6, 2013, 5:00 pm

      My feelings that are that I don’t think drinking that coffee enhances your ability to survive being shot by bullets.

  • deez 187 June 10, 2013, 12:01 pm

    Really looking forward to starting IF but I have 1 concern, I will fast 16/8 and my 1st meal will be at noon but the concern I have is that I will only workout at night around 17:00.. will this affect my weight loss and muscle gain?

    • Anthony June 10, 2013, 3:23 pm

      Your fasting/feeding window adjusts to your training schedule. So adjust if needed. Sounds like you’ll be eating one meal post workout. That’s fine if you can get your calories in then.

  • deez 187 June 10, 2013, 5:15 pm

    Thanks for the info but do you advise training in a fasted state or non-fasted. Due to work I can only train in the evenings and I wont be in a fasted state

    • Anthony June 11, 2013, 12:22 pm

      I typically do it fasted. If you can’t you can’t. Just set your day up so that you’re as close to fasted as possible. Become an AM / early PM “grazer.”

  • Daniel Owens June 18, 2013, 2:01 pm

    Hey I love your articles and all your information, I am currently trying to get down to my lean base through the Eat Stop Eat style of fasting, but by weight has stalled at 70kg (5ft 10″, 7mm suprailiac pinch, 30 inch waist measured at the navel). Do you have any advice to restart my fat loss, I eat a lot of wholemeal Carbs should I be cutting those out of my diet?.

    I appreciate any advice.

    • Anthony June 19, 2013, 3:49 pm

      Cutting carbs depends. Some people see good results keeping them around 100g daily. But then again, your stall could just be natural. If you’r eating “normal” 5 days per week, you might just need to cut back as a whole.

  • James July 8, 2013, 6:51 pm

    Anthony! I love this. I think I might print it out and stick it all over my kitchen door! Since starting (and starting to document) LeanGains, articles like this that simplify some of the common pitfalls have been a Godsend.

    Thank you!

    James

    • Anthony July 8, 2013, 10:03 pm

      Hah. Awesome.

  • golden July 10, 2013, 2:43 pm

    Thank you for the helpful article. I’m female and new to IF. I’ve been doing 14/10–as this is what my trainer recommends for women. Do you have any opinion regarding IF for women vs. men?

    • Anthony July 12, 2013, 2:14 am

      Yeah, there are differences. I’m not so sure that women need to be as strict with the fasting and whatnot. Some females thrive on IF like men. other females, not so much.

  • Baz July 11, 2013, 7:27 am

    Hey Anthony.

    Care to share what would your once-a-day meals are? Interested to know how you pack all calories and nutrients required a day.

    Hope you can share your typical weekly diet

    • Anthony July 12, 2013, 2:17 am

      Erhmmm, I don’t think I eat a lot, but I gain muscle. Fancy that. I mean, I eat enough, but it’s probably no more than 3000kcals on training days. Some rest days 1000-2000 kcals i’d guess. As for what I eat, a giant bowl of vegetables, lots of chicken, lots of rice on training days, lots of eggs and cheese on rest days.

  • Heyward August 2, 2013, 1:17 am

    Dude! I fast from 6pm to 10am. When I have that first meal at 10am, I suddenly want to pass out. Tired for 1-2 hours, and then crap out the (steak chipotle) meal I had the night before, and then feel much better. WHat’s up with the wave of sleepy time?

    Maybe it’s meal selection….for instance, I’ve been breaking it with scoop of vega shake, 2 slices of bread, banana, glass of grass fed milk, 50gs of grass fed whey protein.

    New break-fast suggestions?

    • Anthony August 6, 2013, 12:09 am

      If you break the fast with a big meal, you’ll likely be sleepy.

  • hether August 6, 2013, 11:59 am

    I’ve been trying to do the 16/8 fast and is working great for me. It’s really easy for me to skip breakfast. But I do nutrition education and try to get kids to eat more veggies, so I’m often eating vegetables in the morning. I’m curious if this might negate my efforts.

    • Anthony August 6, 2013, 6:28 pm

      Let your body tell you the answer to this question.

  • Shatia August 7, 2013, 7:58 pm

    The clock man…seriously! I’m a time slave 🙂 but down to 2 meals in my 16/8 isn’t bad. Great read.

    • Anthony August 8, 2013, 6:54 pm

      Hah, thanks.

  • Pars August 9, 2013, 2:14 am

    I’m currently doing IF for a week, I typically fast from 9pm-5pm because of my work I don’t get time to train any earlier than 3:30pm. I eat minimal carbs as possible my diet is basically only meat and vegetables with supplements. Will I be able to bulk up with this diet and also I plan on fasting everyday. Do I have to eat carbs to build muscle. I also drink a pre workout drink containing very few carbs and aminos and during my workout I take my bcaas will this have any negative effect on my fast. Thank you very much it was a great article!

    • Anthony August 12, 2013, 11:14 pm

      Most people I come to talk to need some carbs to build muscle. Insulin is a powerful hormone for this end. Usually you don’t want to take carbs in pre-workout if your end is fasting.

      Also keep in mind that some don’t eat carbs and build muscle. My answer depends on your genetics. Figure it out with experimentation.

  • Lori August 31, 2013, 1:35 pm

    Just wanted to throw in here that Garcinia Cambogia helps immensely as an appetite suppressant. Make sure it’s the good stuff 65% HCA and it says Garcinia Cambogia on the bottle..not just Garcinia. I get it on Amazon and it’s by Just Potent. I take 2 with water before bed and two upon awakening. I have to actually remind myself to eat after my fasting time or I can go until all day without the urge to eat, which is not good.

    • Anthony September 2, 2013, 4:08 pm

      I don’t do supplements, but maybe someone else will find this of interest –

  • Brodie September 4, 2013, 9:58 pm

    Fantastic article! You definitely struck a chord with me. I think I’ve ticked every one of these boxes at some point. Now I’m in the groove of things with the intermittent fasting though. The thing I love the most is the freedom from obsessing about what you’re eating all the time. It feels so much more natural!

    • Anthony September 10, 2013, 4:00 pm

      Yeah, but as I mention, if you’re following a clock work eating schedule, you aren’t really all that “free” or “natural.”

  • Nate September 8, 2013, 5:45 am

    I’ve been doing leangains for a year and a half. I haven’t lost much body fat or built much muscle. Is it not for everyone or do I have the most stubborn body?

    • Anthony September 10, 2013, 3:53 pm

      Considering I have no idea what you look like, I can’t really answer this. And considering I don’t know what you’re eating, I can’t answer this even further.

      Perhaps you can buy me a crystal ball.

      • Nate September 11, 2013, 4:24 am

        haha, im about 12.5% bf and I eat lots of meat and eggs, I cycle carbs. Yams, quinoa, etc. High fats on non lift days…

        • Anthony September 17, 2013, 1:08 am

          Alright, well if you’re eating lots, I’m sorry to say that it’s obvious as to why you don’t lose weight.

  • angie September 8, 2013, 1:57 pm

    i am on IF for two weeks consuming around 600 cal a day even on non fasting days so far lost 7 lbs . i think it is very important to limit calories

    • Anthony September 10, 2013, 3:54 pm

      600 calories a day is severely low. You’ll hit a wall soon, I’d imagine. The body will settle into a rather disturbing set point, and things will spiral in the wrong direction.

    • Michele Deckard August 4, 2014, 4:38 pm

      Because your STARVING;(

      • Anthony August 6, 2014, 9:58 pm

        Yeah.

  • Angela Ursery September 13, 2013, 6:11 am

    I’ve been doing LeanGains IF since the middle of August (and eat paleo-based game and ground 98% of the time), but am having several problems–none having to do with fasting or training fasted (both of which I enjoy).
    My problems are:
    1. Massive stomach cramps when I break the fast on training days. I’ve tried a couple of solutions, none of which solved the problem: follow the standard advice (eat the largest meal post-workout once the fast is over); eat a smaller protein and carb meal post-workout and post-fast, and then a larger meal; and extend the eating window. I still get pretty bad cramps.
    Here’s the type of food I eat on my workout days: baked plaintains and salmon or tuna; baked sweet potatoes with stew beef or ground beef; beef broth with shrimp or lamb chunks; beef “stew” with meat chunks, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions. I ate this food for months before doing LeanGains, so that isn’t the problem.
    Problem #2: I never eat all of my macronutrients. I’m a woman doing body recomp @ 178 lbs, 63 inches, and age 58. My macros (calculated here: http://www.1percentedge.com/ifcalc/) are: (protein/carbs/fat/cals):
    Resting: 115/83/111/1,795
    Training: 115/418/62/2,693

    I track the macros of every meal, and have difficulty consuming the desired level of calories, and protein. (I think getting in the fat is easier as I came to LeanGains from a cyclical keto plan). I usually do two meals daily, but stretch the training meals to three (which is a problem with an 8-hour eating window).

    I’m not sure what to do, but this isn’t working well for me. Any and all suggestions would be appreciated.

    • Anthony September 17, 2013, 1:21 am

      No clue with the cramps. Never experienced it. Sounds like you just need to stop doing Leangains. If you can’t get enough of what you need, you need to change.

      I personally do the warrior diet + carb cycling, which I call chaos. You have less potential to eat on this, so I wouldn’t recommend it. Again, I’d just ditch the IF or realize that it will take time to build your appetite.

  • Tahli October 3, 2013, 2:38 pm

    Hey Anthony, been on the warrior diet for about 7 days now. Not shifting any weight… Help a n!gga :))

    female, in my 30s, weigh 60kgs, 5’7 height, workout 4 times a week 15min cardio preceded by weight training. Evening feasts consist of rice, vegetables, meat – fish chicken beef…

    I wanna see those abs man, wassup?! Thanks in advance.

    • Anthony October 4, 2013, 2:41 pm

      You’re eating too much?

      And females tend to respond to fasting differently, so that’s something you might want to look into. You might be a candidate for snacking on veggies throughout the day.

      • Tahli October 4, 2013, 3:59 pm

        I only eat one meal during my feasts… I don’t eat throughout the feeding window like it is suggested. Could I still be over-eating even on a single sitting? I may reach up to 1500 calories at least but no more than that. Normally I feel full all evening which is why I don’t eat 3 meals in the 6 hour window.

        Aight, imma try the veggies throughout the day for a week and see what’s up! Just grazing though. Hopefully see those abs in a few months. I am determined!

        • Anthony October 7, 2013, 3:12 pm

          You might still be overeating, perhaps. Calorie counts aren’t always exact, nor do I focus on calories as the only answer. Hormone issues can often trump calorie concerns if you’re on the brink of calorie balance, and that might be the case.

  • The Real Will October 4, 2013, 4:27 pm

    Hi Tahli,

    I hate butting into someone elses conversation, but I’m going to anyway. 🙂

    It’s been a long time since I read, and did, the Warrior Diet, but I believe that, even though Ori recommends a 4 hour eating window, I seem to recall that he also recommended undereating and overeating. Actually, I just cracked the book open and he recommends a 16-18 hour ‘fast’ where you can “consume some ‘live’, raw, fresh fruits and vegetables, and some protein.” A lot of people hear about the Warrior Diet and immediately think total fast during the day. Just saying that there are some recommendations that are part of the Warrior Diet that most people don’t follow. On some other forums that I used to frequent, some of the guys on there would talk about preferring fasting during the day versus under-eating because they were actually hungrier if they ate a little instead of fasting. I think that hunger is a sign that the metabolism is still high (just my opinion).

    Also, in addition to what Anthony said about women and fasting, keep in mind that in LeanGains, Martin Berkhan recommends an 8 hour feeding window for men but a 10 hour window for women because, through trial and error I guess, he found that women don’t typically do well on an 8 hour fast so he had to extend it to 10 hours. Hope this helps (and sorry for butting in!).

    • Tahli October 4, 2013, 7:54 pm

      Hi Will, you are apologizing for butting in with such amazing advice? Don’t let me come find you and smack you hard 😉

      Thanks so much for that. I will definitely extend my feeding window. Interesting about the fast. I also prefer to eat nothing at all until my protein shake before my workout early evening… If I graze, I then want to eat more food. I will definitely take this on board and play around with some ideas until I find what works best for me. I am desperate for a cut!!!!!

      • The Real Will October 4, 2013, 8:31 pm

        Why do the girls always want to smack me around…I don’t get it, LOL! 🙂

        • Tahli October 5, 2013, 12:45 am

          LOL! Trying to tell us something you shouldn’t Will?

          • The Real Will October 5, 2013, 4:40 pm

            I guess that’s what happens when you butt into other people conversations. 🙂

    • Anthony October 7, 2013, 3:12 pm

      Yeah – good reply. This is why I suggested the veggies.

      • Tahli October 9, 2013, 2:20 pm

        Thanks guys for those wonderful tips. I have decided to see this through no matter how tough it is. Since Sunday, I have been fasting all day but have a protein shake for my workouts early evening then have my one meal about an hour or two after that.

        I am eating just one meal at the moment as I stay full for the rest of the evening. I only eat sufficient amounts (chicken and veggies, no carbs nor large meals). The weight is stubborn but I can feel it, by the end of the week I will start seeing some changes. I am training super hard too… My abs just hurt constantly… Even in my sleep LOL!

        Quote: “I have a p*ssy. But I don’t eat or train like one! Girls can lift weights too” 🙂

        Just gonna let that marinate a bit. Let it sink in… Listening Real Will? haha! 😉

        • Anthony October 9, 2013, 2:52 pm

          Make sure you’re eating fats. Maybe not a boat load, but make sure you’re getting some somewhere.

          • Tahli October 9, 2013, 6:24 pm

            Hi Ant, whilst preparing my feast, I eat a bunch of nuts man. I love em. Will that give me enough supply for my fat? Ta

          • Anthony October 10, 2013, 4:48 pm

            a BUNCH of nuts? Probably NOT good, as they are very calorie dense. Some. Not, bunch.

        • James IV October 9, 2013, 3:51 pm

          I would suggest you add carbs back in, or do very high carb refeeds at LEAST once a week. I’ve seen too many people cripple their metabolism going low carb while training intensely. As long as you are eating appropriate calories (too little is just as harmful as too much) the fat will come off. The slower you lose fat, the more likely it is to stay off. Slow and steady.

          • Tahli October 9, 2013, 6:27 pm

            Hi James, thanks man. I eat a bunch of mixed nuts, sweet potatoes, butternut squash and other starchy veggies for my carb supply. Isn’t this enough just for now?
            Truly appreciate all this help.

          • Anthony October 10, 2013, 4:49 pm

            Your replies are puzzling. You mentioned this: I only eat sufficient amounts (chicken and veggies, no carbs nor large meals).

            Yet now you say you’re eating carbs (potatoes, squash).

          • Tahli October 10, 2013, 8:26 pm

            I guess what I was trying to say before when I was referring to “carb free” I was simply talking about rice, pasta, bread etc… And by saying only meat and veg I meant including all vegetables… Sorry about the confusion. Still tryna learn all this “diet speak” nshit lol

            So are nuts and sweet potatoes enough for my carb intake and fat? Or do I need to add rice & oils?

          • Anthony October 11, 2013, 12:10 am

            No, potatoes are ALL carbs. Maybe you need to get more familiar with this stuff yourself, as based on this conversation, it seems you aren’t quite sure what’s what and you might not have as tight of a control over things as you may seem.

          • Anthony October 10, 2013, 4:47 pm

            Carbs sometime is good.

        • The Real Will October 11, 2013, 4:39 am

          Tahli…you scare me. 🙂

          Seriously, keep in mind that the human body is an adaptive creature. If you are changing 20 different variables at once, you are going to have no idea what is working, what isn’t. As you adapt to these new variables you have to keep in mind “what’s my next progression”. As an example, say that someone wants to get in shape and they decide to run an hour a day, do intermittent fasting with an 8 hour feeding window and cut their calories to 1000 per day. Their body is going adapt at some point…they aren’t going to continue to lose weight indefinitely until they weigh like 12 pounds. When they adapt and plateau, what’s their next progression? Are they going to need to run 2 hours a day…cut their feeding window to 4 hours…cut their calories to 500? Of course this is an extreme example to illustrate a point, but as James said, take it slower, observe what each variable does, milk each one for what it’s worth and then move on to the next progression. But that is just my opinion. Most people want faster results and some people need faster results or they lose interest/motivation. I started seriously thinking about leaning down almost 2 years ago, and while the first few months I didn’t really know what direction I wanted to take, I stuck with that mindset, started out with almost a 40 inch waist and am down to around 35 now with bumps for abs. If I didn’t deadlift, my waist size would probably be smaller, something that I have noted from observing my variables, so that isn’t a number that I get too worked up about. I’m not ripped, but I’m not “dieting” either. I make one lifestyle change at a time, and if it works, I keep it. Then after awhile, it’s on to the next one. But that’s just me and my own personal opinion. Good luck!

          • Tahli October 11, 2013, 6:23 am

            LOL! Ant, how patronizing? 🙂 guess I’ll be an expect someday too huh? We all gotta start somewhere!!! Which is why I’m here, obviously! I’ll figure it out. Thanks anyway.

            Hi Will, you have a point. It’s been a journey for me. I used to be real fat. Over the last few years decided to cut the crap and join a gym, eat sensibly without any extreme/fad diets! I lost over 20kgs, I am now a comfortable size8. But Now, I have been wanting to cut body fat and build strong lean muscle. I stumbled upon the warrior diet and my old trainer said that might work to help me eat clean after the 6 week challenge. So my goal is to do this fasting for 6 weeks as recommended then go onto “clean eating” with high and low carb days depending on my weigh training and such… I have started lifting heavier weights ofcos and so my body is already changing! Someone complimented me on my shoulders recently 😉 … result!!!!

            So I guess what I’m tryna do is achieve a lean body mass with less body fat… Already lost tons of weight over the last few years just by exercising like a girl. You know how we are… I am trying to shy away from how we (women) work, diet, approach fitness & going about doing things etc. It is a slow learning curve ball and I’ve done most of the research on nutrition and training all by myself so far. It has worked. I have a fabulous fat stomach but, I just wanna achieve more.

            I am sorry if I come across all dumb and shit. If I was sure about my stuff, I wouldn’t be here… Thanks for y’all’s patience anyway. I know how annoying it can be helping girls out! We are all over the show… We are just built to think and act differently! So I am doing my best to have a different mindset and framework when it comes to food/training! I won’t bother y’all so much nemore… I’ll just read comments and other peoples experience nshit!
            Do my frigging research and do what works for me. I realise that, not everything works for everybody! It is all about trial and errors right?

            Peace Out! 🙂

          • Anthony October 11, 2013, 12:02 pm

            Nah, it’s great that you’re posting and stuff, and I don’t want to sound mean — I think you’re on the right track, finding out what means what and doing your own experiments and such. This will help more than anything you read. Keep at it, as none of us are smart as this stuff from the get-go. We all make the same mistakes, and I’m just telling you where you might want to look if things don’t work the way you expect them to.

  • Tahli October 11, 2013, 6:28 am

    Correction: I meant flat stomach not fat… SMDH!

  • Tahli October 11, 2013, 2:27 pm

    Thanks Anthony. I truly appreciate every help I can get. I am taking everything said on here on board and eliminating some bad things I may be doing… Fasting is going surprisingly well and I am starting to shift some weight. I am finding my workouts refreshing and for some reason, I am able to lift heavier too… So who knows?! It is a slow progress and I am not expecting quick fixes… I will post my before and after photos when I reach my goals! In the meantime I am exploring your website 🙂 Quiet useful! Good work…

    • Anthony October 15, 2013, 3:21 pm

      Thanks. Appreciate it.

  • HAS October 18, 2013, 11:10 pm

    Hey. Firstly. Excellent article. I have a question. I’ve started IF and one thing I need to know … My feeding window is 12noon-6pm . But I don’t train till 9pm . Do I really need a “protein shake” after my work out? As that would be outside my feeding window . I can’t train any other time due to work. Thanks in advance

    • Anthony October 22, 2013, 2:46 pm

      No, but I think it’s best to have something post training within a reasonable time period. You might want to go with some berries and some sort of protein. Something light enough to do the job, but not heavy enough to interfere with much.

    • Tahli October 23, 2013, 1:24 pm

      There’s no reason why you can’t move your feeding window to a later time. I train/gym late sometimes too and tend to adjust my feeding times to maybe say 5pm-11pm.

      Start with a small meal before gym which is an hour or two prior, then have my largest meal soon after my training. Only have a small snack around 10/11pm.

      You need to try different methods. Takes a bit of getting used to what works for you. Good luck!

  • Teres October 21, 2013, 8:48 am

    Hi Anthony,

    I would like to ask you about Leangains early morning fasted training, for this protocol, should I take high GI carb for post workout meal? As i knew, muscle window only open for 2 hours after workout, I’m confused whether is muscle window still opening after 6 hours of workout?
    Thanks,

    • Anthony October 22, 2013, 2:41 pm

      Muscle windows are not open for only two hours, so that’s your first mistake.

      Leangains generally goes with starchy carbs on your first PWO meal, but that isn’t always directly PWO. He recommends BCAAs if you’re early AM and sustaining until 12PM.

      • Teres October 23, 2013, 2:21 pm

        Thanks Anthony. I will be looking for your post again.

  • HUS October 21, 2013, 9:41 am

    Hey excellent write up! For some one who trains at night (9-10.30pm) 3 nights a week – can you follow this regime? I only ask because my eating window is between 1-5pm – there for I’m in ale to get in a post work out meal/shake if I follow the IF

    • Anthony October 22, 2013, 2:42 pm

      I think I just replied to you. In general, IF isn’t friendly to the noctural training folk in the way its commonly thrown around. You might even want to consider moving your feeding window to breakfast.

    • Tahli October 23, 2013, 1:29 pm

      Also see above reply. I know some people who feed mostly in the evenings due to late training. It is doable. Your fasting times will not change and you will still get the benefits. Just move them up a bit to fit your schedule… It’s best if your largest meal is after a training session… At least that’s what I’ve read. Good luck!

      • HAS October 24, 2013, 8:01 am

        Thanks for your reply. I’ll give this a go. My trainer mentioned carb back loading… But to me it sounds insane – my main target is to loose stuborn fat

        • Anthony October 26, 2013, 6:47 pm

          Carb backloading isn’t tremendously insane. In my opinion, if you replace the slop with decent food, you’d probably see good stuff.

      • Anthony October 26, 2013, 6:45 pm

        I would say AFTER, but it wouldn’t HAVE to be IMMEDIATELY after. Just throwing that out there.

  • TM November 12, 2013, 10:40 am

    So, I have no interest in losing weight, or reducing calories, or building muscles, or any of that junk. I just want to cut down on food expenditure. Is there some risk to regular 48-hour fasts broken by a large meal? Is it safe to do, or can health problems come up?

    • Anthony November 13, 2013, 6:43 pm

      Most humans can live without food for 48 hours, unless you have some sort of medical problem.

      Although limiting food intake and then eating a “large” meal doesn’t make much sense if your only concern is to eat less.

  • Cha Cha November 24, 2013, 5:52 am

    I just broke a “3 day” water fast and can’t stop eating. Granted – all I am eating are fruits and veggies and lentils. But my God I am an eating machine. I’ve done a 3 day juice cleanse, no problem. Could do that for a week. I have GI issues and a nutritionist recommended a water fast. I got through 2 days before I said screw it. I made myself a juice to take the hunger pains away. I carried the fast for 3 days but I botched it with the juice. And since 6pm today, I have been eating like a fool. >_<

    • Anthony November 25, 2013, 5:13 pm

      Yeah that’s why I don’t recommend fasting for three days.

  • Cha Cha November 26, 2013, 1:33 am

    I was shooting for 5 days but didn’t find this post till I failed. I’m hoping to eventually make it to 10 days.

    • Anthony December 3, 2013, 1:31 am

      Well if you’re planning on doing it for a while, take your time and ease into it.

  • Big Sarge November 26, 2013, 1:52 pm

    Not listening to this fucking faggot Anthony. Lets get out of here Silent Bob.

    • Anthony December 3, 2013, 1:31 am

      Alright, Jay.

  • Tanya January 5, 2014, 8:25 pm

    Hi there

    I’m wondering if you can help

    I am not able to train durning my lunch break at work, my fast starts at 8/9pm and ends at 12/1 pm the following day and I generally like to train early mornings, should I train anyway early mornings and only break my fast later on would this have a negative effect?

    I am not overweight and I good shape but would like to know if this would be a problem? I can understand my results will not be the same but would I see any? I am a 27year old female.

    Thank you

    • Anthony January 7, 2014, 12:40 am

      Training early and eating at lunch is fine.

      Females, however, sometimes respond differently to IF, so consider all angles.

  • Max February 10, 2014, 3:42 pm

    Hi Anthony my friend,

    I was googling for “stomach ache on Intermittent fastting” and found your page. I’ve been on IF since dec 2013. I have eating discipline issues, that’s the initial reason I’m on it because I LOVE eating, and I can eat alot. Plus HodgeTwins are on in. I have been doing the common newbie mistake from dec til mid jan 2014.

    My routine generally involves 40 minutes insanity training at 7.40-8.20am 2-3 times a week alternating the days with 40 mins body pump 7.40-8.20am 1-2 times a week. High reps weight training around 7.30-8.45pm with 1-2 bodyparts 3-5 times a week. Now I’m cutting down on the high reps weight training and replacing with 30 mins of cardio and the remaing time with high reps weight and abs 7.30-8.45pm. I fast from 6pm-12.30pm. I have low carb ( 30-80g carbs), about 40-60g protein, about 30-50g fat. I don’t have any more meals after that maybe some snacks not exceeding 300 cals till 6pm or sometimes earlier. After my pm weight lifting, I down 40g whey protein. Then no more food. I drink plain coffee before morning exercise and sometimes before evening exercise too.

    Question: I’m experiencing extreme bloatness/ stomach ache/ feeling uncomfortable after my break fast. It subsides throughout the day until I drink the whey and the feeling come back. It’s been my only issue with IF so far and it’s hindering my progress as I can’t sleep at night due to the pain, affecting my recovery. Please advise.

    • Anthony February 11, 2014, 5:46 pm

      maybe intermittent fasting isn’t right for you.

      then again, your reply is confusing and i’ve read it about six times with little understanding of when you train when you eat and what the problem is and when it happens.

      on top of that, i don’t do cardio or insanity or any of that nonsense.

  • Peter February 17, 2014, 1:41 pm

    Hi. Just a quick question. Is it okay to have a yogurt protein shake immediately after workout or should I wait for the full 16 hours? Thanks!

    • Anthony February 18, 2014, 2:22 am

      Considering you never told me when you train and when you fast and everything else in between: I have no clue.

  • Jacob February 26, 2014, 9:31 pm

    Is it okay to take whey protein during an IF. I’m doing this for weight loss. What I do is to take a vegetable soup in the evening at around 8pm. When I did this type of fasting last time, I felt that my muscles were being compromised with the weight loss. I do some jogging on alternate days for some exercise. Last time I lost about 5 kilos. I’m expecting to lose weight without losing muscles. So, coming back to my question. Do you think it is okay to take whey protein during this type of fasting.

    • Anthony February 28, 2014, 12:53 am

      It depends on the context of everything else and what you’re trying to do. I don’t use fasting for running, so you’re off in space to me.

  • Carlos February 27, 2014, 7:27 pm

    Hey, I have been IF’ing for 3 months now (16/8), have seen great results, this last month I kept a food log, I used an IF calculator and set it to extreme fat loss (currently 99 Kgs – goal is 90 Kgs), so according to the calculator I have to eat on Non Training days 1818 Calories total, and 3030 on workout days. It is hard as hell to get to 3030 calories in one day, I try to hit the macros (Prot, Carbs and Fat) but still its hard,the most I have gotten is 2100 calories on workout days (eating well not crap), btw I train at noon every day 4 days a week. My question is how important is to get to my daily calories? Can I keep it like this until see results or can I tweak it by effectively eating my 3030/1818 calories? Is ok to eat McD just to get to my calories like a last resort?
    thanks

    • Anthony February 28, 2014, 12:57 am

      I don’t count calories. Sorry. Your body determines needs, not some fanciful calculator out in internet space that’s almost always inaccurate.

      • Carlos Linares February 28, 2014, 12:17 pm

        Do you hit your macros then?

        • Anthony March 3, 2014, 7:40 pm

          I don’t count macros. I know round about what I need for protein. From there, it all depends on the day.

  • matt March 1, 2014, 9:23 pm

    How on Earth do you take in enough calories in one meal? Based on your size and activity levels, looks to me like you need, what, about 2700 calories for maintenance?

    What are you eating that you can cram that much into you, and feel good, in just one meal?

    • Anthony March 3, 2014, 7:45 pm

      I put the food in my mouth, chew it up, and then swallow it. I think that’s how it works.

  • Micky March 5, 2014, 4:51 pm

    I’m female – 24
    I desperately want to do fasted exercise but I exercise at 5pm, how the hell am I supposed to fit in a 8 hour (or 4 hour) feeding window from 5pm??
    By then I will already be in bed if not asleep.
    What I’m doing at the moment is, eat chicken stir fry at 1pm, exercise at 5pm, eat a big meal with protein, carbs an fat at 8pm. But now my workouts aren’t fasted!!

    What to do???

    • Anthony March 7, 2014, 1:09 am

      Realize that fasted training isn’t for you and find something that is.

  • caroline March 11, 2014, 8:22 am

    Hi,
    I’m new to IF, generally trying the 16:8 method with maybe a longer fast on rest days…I have a question re protein shakes .. I ‘m ok with eating in the time window of 12-8 pm but I like to train at least 4 times a week from 7 -8 a.m, on these days when I train I find that I need a whey protein shake max of an hr after exercise (this has about 120 calories) …am I compromising IF , should I try live without it? I’m a 30 yr old female. I know leangains mentions BCAAs but i thought it sounded a bit over the top for me…

    • Anthony March 13, 2014, 7:54 pm

      you’d have to define “need.” i mean, if you’re actually going to keel over and die then maybe you should drink it, otherwise you’ll be dead amirite?

      for some, IF isn’t 100% ideal and you need to make adjustments. you’re only compromising your own growth by not experimenting on your own terms on your results either way. my 2 c.

  • Kevin March 12, 2014, 1:24 am

    Just started 16/8 fasting at around 2,100 calories a day . Too early to tell if weight loss is water , fat or muscle . Been lifting intermediate heavy weights 3x a week .

    I notice that my waist increased in size about 6 hrs after last meal , then 18 hrs later it is a bit smaller .

    Making me wonder if Im just storing the food as fat and burning it off over the 18 hrs .

    • Anthony March 13, 2014, 7:51 pm

      obviously your waist shrinks and expands with the amount of food within you; you don’t really “get fat” in the span of a few hours.

  • Justin March 18, 2014, 4:48 pm

    Hi! I just started IF, just wanted to get your opinion on how I spread my meal throughout the day. I start eating at 2pm and have my typical lunch. For snacks, I have around 2 boiled eggs and some almonds that I spread till 6pm then I workout at 830pm to around 930-10pm. After my workout I take my post workout drink/whey for my last meal for the day. Do you think it would be better if have a heavier meal for my post workout and just eat some snacks early in my eating window? I just don’t want to sleep with a full stomach. Thanks!

    • Anthony March 19, 2014, 3:59 pm

      if you don’t want to sleep on a full stomach, then why are you asking me about better/worse/whatever? if you don’t want to do it, don’t do it and see how it goes.

  • Ali March 30, 2014, 10:20 pm

    Hi, so i’m starting my intermittent fasting tomorrow (Monday 31st March) and will hopefully do a basic 16 Hour Fast and 8 Hour Eating Window for the first week (Then 18/6 the 2nd week and 20/4 the 3rd and 4th week). My eating window will be between the hours of 10 am to 6 pm for the first week and i will only eat up to 2300 calories each day for that first week. My Questions are:

    1. When should i workout? (after 6 pm or during the eating window)

    2. Should i lower the amount of calories i intake a day or is 2300 good? I calculated that 2900 is the average for a 16 year old (me) so i took away 500 from it, seeing as i should limit my self and set a realistic target.

    3. Should i eat foods which are mainly carbohydrates or proteins? and how much of them should i eat each day? (i know low carb diets help lose fat faster and thats what im aiming to go for)

    4. Should i lose weight first, then gain muscle or try to do both at the same time? (I heard you gain muscle anyway when losing weight, is this true?)

    5. How often should a 24 hour fast be done? Once a week, Month, Year? (i’m thinking of doing it once a week when i start my 5th week of fasting)

    Sorry for asking a lot of questions, i just want to see great results and make the most out of intermittent fasting. Thanks in advance and have a great day!

    Also if you could answer in list order and also go in depth on each question it’d mean a lot, thanks! 🙂

    • Anthony April 1, 2014, 12:47 am

      1. The question is when CAN you workout?
      2. I don’t count calories, so I don’t know.
      3. Depends on what you want to do. This isn’t a black and white question. Low carbs don’t always = fat loss.
      4. See any post I have on clean bulking or the solid base.
      5. They don’t have to be done at all if you don’t want to use them.

      You’re asking questions more suited to some kind of personal coaching. I like to help, but these are all rabbit holes.

  • Matt April 16, 2014, 3:54 am

    What are your thoughts on doing (2) 24 hr fasts per week and the rest of the days of the week a 16 hr fast with 8 hour feeding window? So for an example Monday and Thursday are 24 hr fasts and the rest the 16:8 scenario. Thanks for your time.

    • Anthony April 18, 2014, 4:31 pm

      It’s fine, but considering you didn’t tell me what you’re trying to accomplish, my answer is about as effective as something not very effective.

  • mohammad May 1, 2014, 8:59 am

    I was just wondering should I workout while I’m in the fasting stage or the feeding stage or does it not matter?

    • Anthony May 1, 2014, 11:13 pm

      Most recommend training faster or in an underfed state. I recommend either to topple nutrition stress atop training stress.

  • Tor May 7, 2014, 10:27 am

    I am 50 years old(man). I started IF (16/8) two weeks ago. I really like it. I am trying to loose 0.6 kg a week, and I am on schedule. I train weights Monday to Friday and do walking during weekends. I am 180 cm high. I am now 79.2 kg and try to reach 74 kg within two months. I eat 3 meals a day. My waist has gone from 93cm to 90cm (I will try to reach 84cm). I am eating omelets, chicken filets,vegetables and some bread with cheese or ham. I want to be more defined and build muscles and get leaner. Looks like I am on track. What do you think ? What can I improve ?

    • Anthony May 9, 2014, 4:51 pm

      Keep doing what you’re doing. When it comes time to be more about muscle building, then adjust your training and diet.

  • Abrahama May 14, 2014, 11:45 pm

    Hello Anthony how you doing? I just started fasting “IF” i used to be a fat fuck but now I’m at 186lb am 5″7 and eat around 1,700 I am doing 18/6wake up around 6am workout at my house around 11:30 only got dumbbells so heavy weight is very limited. I do plyometric cardio for about 10min after my workout and eat around 2pm-8pm. Is the calorie intake good enough to get muscle gains/ripped? or should i lift more heavy weight and take in more calories? I would really appreciate your response so please get back to me…

    • Anthony May 21, 2014, 3:12 pm

      No. Likely too low to do anything for worthwhile muscle gains. Doesn’t seem like your program is set up for big muscle, either.

  • Brent May 20, 2014, 6:50 pm

    Great article. I have been doing some form of IF for several years and am now down to 1 paleo type meal per day(less a protein shake post-workout) Monday through Friday. I enjoy a 24 hour carb up from midday Saturday to midday sunday then back to paleo with my sunday dinner. I’m seeing great progress but still have a ways to go to acheive 6% body fat. Sitting right at 10 now at about 200#. Just wanted to know if there is a point at which there will be no furhter progress. I spent years striving for the right diet so I do realize that there is a lot of healing that needs to occur. But will the stubborn fat pockets ever go away and will the skin ever tighten back up?

    • Anthony May 21, 2014, 3:06 pm

      If you’re at 10% body fat, you’ll have little-no stubborn fat.

      Getting to 6% doesn’t require fasting, but rather insane dedication and detail and training.

  • Noah May 29, 2014, 4:26 pm

    Hi,

    I am starting a new program where I will work out in the morning. Can I have a protein shake after this workout and then continue my normal fast? Thanks.

    • Anthony June 5, 2014, 10:53 pm

      You can do whatever you want, but that’s not the same thing as doing what I’d do.

  • omar May 29, 2014, 7:37 pm

    Dear Ant ,
    First let me record my great admiration of your neat , honest work i really like it and i have been committed to IF and following your instructions and it is paying off ,
    I just have a tiny question please :
    how to have a cheat day in IF model where i fast for 18-19 Hours , from 9:00 Pm till 5:pm Next day ?

    and if i eat at 5:00 Pm then work out would that be a problem ?

    • Anthony June 5, 2014, 10:53 pm

      I don’t understand the question.

  • Holger Maiväli May 30, 2014, 5:27 pm

    Man, that was a great read. All points very valid, glad to see someone sees the bigger picture. As you said yourself, people tend to miss the forest for the trees. If you want to have a healthy, sustainable lifestyle, you cannot rip one aspect out of context and then obsess about it. Learn how it fits into the whole picture and adjust accordingly.

    I’ve been using Intermittent Fasting for years now (mostly 16:8, but also some Brad Pilon methods) and I must say that you are absolutely correct in that, it can take time to adjust. It’s hard to go cold turky on the more traditional eating patterns. You can try, but changes are you’ll be less shell shocked if you gradually teach your body to accept and even enjoy fasting.

    Personally I love to be in the fasted state. So clear of mind. Energetic, focused. And yet, getting fed feels awesome too – because as you know, fasting improves insulin sensitivity and various other health and hormonal markers. That is why it probably elevates the pleasure of the fast breaking meals.

    And again, you are right about being able to build and retain muscle. I’m a competing IFBB athlete and I have zero issues with muscle growth or retention. Lift properly, eat enough nutrients and fasting isn’t an issue.

    I’ve actually started a blog about my journey to truly show everyone how it can be done. Getting into contest shape using IF, feeling good, looking good and being healthy. Feel free to check it out guys!

    http://www.hungerfitness.com

    • Anthony June 5, 2014, 10:55 pm

      Thanks for the reply.

  • Pat June 3, 2014, 12:32 pm

    Hey,
    I’ve just started on a fasting diet and was wondering how many days a week I should fast? If I fasted Monday can I fast Wednesday?

    • Anthony June 5, 2014, 10:59 pm

      Some people IF sporadically. Others do it daily. Depends on how long you want to fast for and how much you know about fasting.

  • anuj July 7, 2014, 4:06 pm

    And one thing Anthony..! You look really Cute 🙂

    • Anthony July 9, 2014, 4:27 pm

      Why thank you.

  • Victor March 15, 2015, 9:54 pm

    hey anthony
    just found out about IF and i am incredibly fascinated by it. i started immediately today, where i will do 16/8 with 2 meals a day. i believe its an ideal goal for me and i can achieve the not so radical results i need. but i do have one question: does having saturday and sunday (weekends) as cheat days, where i can eat a little more normally (not exaggerating, of course) and even go out for some drinks, effect the general outcomes of the process?

    thanks a lot! great article!!

    • Anthony April 25, 2015, 2:13 pm

      Of course it effects the outcome.

  • Matthew Cocking March 31, 2015, 3:13 pm

    Hi Anthony, I have a question.. Is it okay to train at different times while intermittent fasting? For example if I plump for a 16:8 fast with a 2-10pm eating window, can i train at 6pm-7:30pm in weeknights and 9:30am at weekends and still see the same results as long and there is no movement in my eating window?

    • Anthony April 25, 2015, 2:36 pm

      Sure.

  • Marah April 19, 2015, 2:31 am

    Great article! I have just started this because the 6 -8 meals per day is simply horrible, I wasn’t able to stick with it for more than a week at most and I was always hungry and never able to focus on anything but the clock waiting for my next meal and sleeping early to avoid binging late at night. I dived in cold turkey to 16+ fasting hours because Ive been fasting Ramadan every year since I have bren 7 years old, and the last Ramadan in Germany was 19 hours of no food and drink, and it was fine for me. Now I have much more freedom and more flexibility and focus when training because I don’t have my gut working all the time. Today I had an amazing workout, that I’m sure I would have puked all over if I had eaten anywere near my training hours! Thanks for the article, hopefully I wont get clock obsessive again!

  • Carol May 10, 2015, 1:53 am

    Hi..I am female And just looking to lose 5 pounds..I’ve just started the IF diet four days ago..I know it’s way to early to tell but I have a question…I’ve read so many ppl are doing bulking up with weight training for this diet and I was just wondering if running on the treadmill for an hour and 20 minutes is ok …I’m not into the weight lifting..just the running …..I run 6.2 mph (slight incline) I break for a minute every 15 minutes ..I was wondering if this workout is beneficial for this diet…Or is this diet just for the hard core weight lifters?.

    • Anthony May 19, 2015, 6:26 pm

      I’m not into the running, just the weightlifting.

  • Jacob Crim May 20, 2015, 2:54 pm

    Good morning. I’ve recently started the IF and I am three days in so far. But i’m wondering the closer I get to the weekend if its OK to move my feeding window. Basically because I am with my girlfriend on the weekend and I wouldnt think it fair to make her wait until noon for her first meal. I am currently doing a Noon-8PM fast. Thanks for any help!

    • Anthony May 20, 2015, 11:05 pm

      You can do whatever you want in life, my man. That doesn’t mean it’s according to any plan or program in the world. Is it OK to move the window? Some might say no. Others might say yes. But here’s what I say: don’t ask for permission. Let your body tell you what to do. TRY IT OUT. Evaluate the results. Boom. Done.

  • Patrick May 21, 2015, 5:49 pm

    Hey Anthony,

    Quick question that I haven’t really been able to find a definitive answer to, although I’m sure one is out there. I usually do an 18/6 fast ( I work 2 jobs from 7am-9pm 5 days a week) I usually break my fast around noon and have my last meal around 5-6pm and then workout around 10pm. Is this a long enough time to be in the fasted state (4-5 hours after a meal) or should I adjust my feeding window to a little earlier in the day?

    Thanks a ton.

    • Anthony July 16, 2015, 11:25 pm

      If you workout at 10PM, I don’t think IF is right for you.

  • Samantha Soon June 16, 2015, 1:04 am

    Hi Anthony,
    I recently started (1 week) to try IF after reading LeanGains and your blog and it is surprisingly easier than other fad diets or strict dieting regimes. I’m not trying to get ripped or anything, just wanting to shed off some really stubborn fat around my waistline.
    I got a question though. The morning coffee during the fasting window, is it okay if I have 50ml of low fat milk in it? I can’t drink plain black coffee (blerrgghhh) and didn’t want to add sugar in it. What are your thoughts on this?

    Thanks and cheers!

    • Anthony July 16, 2015, 11:45 pm

      Don’t ask for permission. Try it, see how it works. I don’t use it. I don’t want people to use it. I don’t recommend people to use it.

      But I’m not God.

  • Jake July 1, 2015, 12:15 pm

    I just started the 16/8 intermittent fasting, but I have a very busy job and 3 young kids, so its hard to work out consistently. If I just fast and dont train, will I lose weight? Im 5’10, 240 lbs, so right now I care about dropping lbs more than perfecting my beach body.

    • Anthony July 17, 2015, 12:01 am

      You can lock yourself in a prison camp and surely lose weight, yes. Not saying it’s a good thing to do, but…

      Problem is “fasting” as in IF isn’t going to help you if you eat like junk when you do eat.

  • Anthony July 6, 2015, 1:12 am

    Why have I gained weight after a week of 18 hour fast and 6 hour eating with low calorie intake?

    • Anthony July 16, 2015, 11:57 pm

      Not enough details for me to guess.

  • Claire July 7, 2015, 10:15 am

    I’ve previously used IM very successfully.
    Post 2 babies in 20 months, I am now trying to use it again to lose the final few pounds. However, I’ve now been using IM for the last 6 weeks and have gained about 7 pounds!
    I’m still breastfeeding twice a day, but watch what I eat and drink and gym two to four times a week for at least an hour.
    Any advice would be much appreciated.

    • Anthony July 16, 2015, 11:56 pm

      I don’t know what IM is.

  • Zach B July 8, 2015, 7:59 pm

    I’m loving my IF. Nothing but water and black coffee before I leave to train around 11:00 AM. I usually break it around 1:30-2:00 PM after strength training with a smaller meal like a couple of whole eggs with 2-3 egg whites and some grilled veggies. Occasionally I”ll add 1-2 slices of cinnamon raisin ezekiel bread on the days when I have kickboxing/kettlebell class in the evening. I will snack on a cup of greek yogurt with an apple a few hours later. Then I have a big dinner around 8:30 PM of a couple of bunless burgers (turkey,chicken, or ground sirloin) with tomato and avocado with sweet potato fries and grilled veggies. If I’m still hungry (rarely) I’ll have a hand full of nuts. It’s strange but I find myself getting satiated easier while doing IF. Not sure why. I also find that I am much more focused and less lazy. Eating breakfast used to make me want to do nothing but watch TV or go back to sleep. Not sure why this is…

    • Anthony July 17, 2015, 12:20 am

      Thanks for the reply.

  • Stephanie January 11, 2016, 5:38 pm

    What do you recommend for someone who has to lose 60 pounds in 4 months, but can’t afford a gym membership? Today is my third day of not eating, simply because lately, the thought, smell, and sight of food makes me nauseous, but I am considering turning these three days into a month-long program with weekly weight tracking, and a small meal every 4 days, the first being a lemon, than 4 days later, there being a cup of sliced cooked cabbage, and MAYBE a half of a boneless, seasoned, cut up chicken breast. I do not like eating, but when I was going through a deep depression, I binged a lot, and made it up to 200 pounds. Yesterday I weighed myself, to see I had already lost 2 pounds, so I wonder where I’ll be on the 15th when I weigh myself again. [: Do you have faith in this plan?

    • Anthony February 7, 2016, 1:27 pm

      Starving yourself will end you in a bad place, so change that trend. Your metabolism will tank. You will see lots of progress NOW…but it’ll come to a crashing halt and make further weight loss really difficult.

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