In the last post I talked about 10 Awesome Benefits of Intermittent Fasting. My fasting article had a hugely positive response and from the looks of it many kinobody readers have adapted daily fasting into their routines with incredible results thus far. In this article I am going to share with you how I use a special approach to intermittent fasting and nutrition to maximize muscle and minimize fat. My approach is highly influenced by Martin Berkhan of Leangains with a few tweaks of my own to improve results.
Cool Reasons to Fast – credit from Martin Berkhan of Leangains
Here’s a quick primer on the benefits of intermittent fasting for anyone interested in improving their physique and mental state:
• Greater insulin sensitivity, which allows your body to make better use of carbohydrates
• A wide variety of potential health benefits, ranging from cardiovascular health and life extension to neuroprotective mechanisms that may protect against brain diseases such as Alzheimers.
• Mental alertness, boost in metabolism and improved energy levels due to increased levels of norepinephrine.
• Higher levels of growth hormone during the fast, which shifts fuel metabolism to fat burning and spares muscle protein.
• Appetite suppression. Contrary to what people seem to believe, fasting will not make you ravenous. It has a hunger blunting effect, which is invaluable during cutting.
The Intermittent Fasting Protocol
I believe in fasting 16-18 hours per day and having a 6-8 hour feeding window. During the fasting period I consume only zero caloric beverages such as coffee, tea or water. No food or calories whatsoever are to be consumed during the fasting period. There is one exception however and that is 10g of BCAA or 30g of whey taken 10 mins before lifting if you are training fasted. Pre workout protein has several benefits including increased protein synthesis and elevated metabolism. During the 6-8 hour feeding window I will consume 3 meals spaced 3-4 hours apart.
Meal 1 – 2 pm
Meal 2 – 5:30 pm
Meal 3 – 9:00 pm
Basic Leangains Concepts
Martin Berkhans system involves special nutrient requirements to maximize muscle gains and minimize fat. These include:
1. Maintaining high protein intake everyday (1-1.5g per pound of body-weight)
Protein should be kept relatively high every-single day to assist with muscle growth. In addition maintaining high protein intake on your ”low calorie days’ will keep you full and satisfied since protein is the most satiating nutrient.
2. Eating higher calories with high carbs and low fat on training days
By overfeeding on workout days we can maximize muscle growth by providing excess nutrients to the muscles when they are most responsive. This is best accomplished by boosting carb intake. Carbs will serve to replenish and restore glycogen levels and put your body into an anabolic mode ready to pack on muscle.
3. Eating lower calories with low carbs and moderate fat on rest days
By lowering calorie intake on rest days we can efficiently burn fat. Carbs should be reduced to 100-120 grams to maximize fat burning without putting your body into ketosis.
5. Getting 60-100% of calories in the meals following your workout either by having 1 pre workout meal of 20% total calories, having 2 pre workout meals of 20% total calories each or training fasted with 10g of BCAA or 30g of whey
By getting the bulk of your calorie intake in the meals following your workout you can promote muscle growth with fewer calories. If you are bulking this means little to no fat gain. If you are cutting this means no muscle loss. Best case scenario you will build muscle and lose fat.
Fasted Training – Best for people who train earlier in the day
For fasted training you will workout on an empty stomach 1-2 hours before your first meal of the day. It is important to supplement with 30g of whey or 10g of BCAA pre workout to increase protein synthesis and limit protein breakdown. If you train early in the morning several hours before your first meal I recommend having 30g of whey protein after your workout.
One Pre Workout Meal – Best for people who train in the afternoon
For this option you will have your first meal 2-3 hours prior to training. Your first meal should be small (20-25% of daily calories). Best options are lean protein and a couple pieces of fruit.
Two Pre Workout Meals – Best for people training in the evening
For this option you will have 2 meals prior to training. Your first meal should be around 12 or 2pm (whenever you finish your 16-18 hour fast) and your second meal should be 3-4 hours later. Both meals should be around 20% of daily calorie intake. This way you still get 60% of calories in the post workout window.
Kinobody Lean Bulk Protocol
14 calories per pound of body-weight on rest days, 1-1.5g of protein per pound of bodyweight, 100-120g of carbs, rest fat (4x per week)
18 calories per pound of body-weight on training days, 1-1.5g of protein per pound of bodyweight, 50g of fat, rest carbs (3x per week)
Notes – aim for 0.5-1 lbs of weight increase per week. If you are gaining too much cut calories back 10% per day. If you are not gaining weight then increase calories 10% per day. Adjust calories as necessary to stay within the 0.5-1 lbs range.
Kinobody Recomp Protocol
12 calories per pound of body-weight on rest days, 1-1.5g of protein per pound of bodyweight, 100-120g of carbs, rest fat (4x per week)
16 calories per pound of body-weight on training days, 1-1.5g of protein per pound of bodyweight, 50g of fat, rest carbs (3x per week)
Notes – goal is to maintain around your current weight while building muscle and losing fat. Adjust calories as necessary to stay within your given weight. You may find your weight starts to increase even though you are getting leaner. This is a good thing ;)
Kinobody Cut Protocol
10 calories per pound of body-weight on rest days, 1-1.5g of protein per pound of bodyweight, 100-120g of carbs, rest fat (4x per week)
14 calories per pound of body-weight on training days, 1-1.5g of protein per pound of bodyweight, 50g of fat, rest carbs (3x per week)
Notes – aim for 1-1.5 lbs of fat loss per week. If you are losing too much increase calories by 10% per day. If you are not losing weight decrease calories by 10% per day. Adjust as necessary to maintain fat loss range.
Sample Training Day Meal Plan
Potatoes, Yams, Rice or Pasta
Potatoes, rice, pasta or yams
Berries with cottage cheese, greek yogurt or casein protein
Notes – If you are working out in the evening before your last meal I recommend taking the carbs (rice, pasta or potatoes) from meal 1 and adding them to your last meal.
Sample Rest Day Meal Plan
Omelet with 3-4 whole eggs and 1-2 cups of egg whites
Berries with cottage cheese, greek yogurt or casein
Save the largest meal for last!
Martin Berkhan recommends having your biggest meal first on rest days. I prefer to keep my first two meals smaller and have my biggest meal at the end of the day. Not only is this more convenient but I have found I am much more satiated on fewer calories when I save my largest meal for last. In addition by having my largest meal last I am able to sleep much better and I don’t get hungry at all until much later in the day. When I used to have my biggest meal first I would go to sleep hungry and I would be ravenous the next morning. This would make the fast much more challenging.
Add low intensity cardio on rest days for more fat burning
If you want to speed up fat burning I recommend adding 45 minutes of low intensity cardio on rest days. I like to keep my heart rate between 60-70% of my max. This low intensity cardio is most effective for burning fat without driving up your appetite or interfering with your strength workouts.