Intermittent Fasting for Maximum Muscle and Minimum Fat

Intermittent Fasting For Amazing Results

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.

Training Options 

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

Meal #1

Chicken Breast
Potatoes, Yams, Rice or Pasta

Meal 2

Flank Steak
Potatoes, rice, pasta or yams

Meal 3

Flank Steak
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

Meal 1 

Omelet with 3-4 whole eggs and 1-2 cups of egg whites

Meal 2 

Pulled Beef

Meal 3

Pulled Beef
Berries with cottage cheese, greek yogurt or casein

Additional Tips

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.

Additional Resources

My Workout Routine  

Kinobody Facebook Page 

My Youtube Channel 



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About the Author


I'm Greg O'Gallagher the founder of

247 responses to “Intermittent Fasting for Maximum Muscle and Minimum Fat

  1. Hey Greg,
    I’ve been following rusty at fitness black book fora while and that is how I found your site. First off just want to say I love your site it really follows the same types of ideas as rusty but with your own twist. Any how I was just wondering about the bulking phase while working out in the evening. If you eat before you workout does this negate some of the benefits of fasting? I mean like having the elevated hgh or would that mainly come into play in the cutting phase? I was doing the 2day a week 24 hr fasts and just switched to the every day fasts last week because I just thought it might make my body more used to it. Any how I guess I’m a little long winded.

    1. @Joe

      You will still get the maximum benefits of intermittent fasting whether you lift fasted or before your final meal. My advice if your training in the evening is to keep your first two meals smaller in size (20-30% of daily calories each) and have your biggest meal following the workout (40-60% of daily calories).

  2. Just want to get clarification — when calculating calories for the Lean Bulk Protocol should I calculate based on my total weight (180lbs) or my lean muscle mass (151lbs)?


  3. Greg,
    Great article. For the rest day based on the sample menu it looks like the carbs are only fruit and not starchy carbs. You mentioned 100-120g of carbs but your body weight is 180 lbs. For 125lbs body weight do you still recommend 100-120g of carbs or lower? Is it a % of body weight?


  4. Hey Greg

    I’m still waiting for answer to my question. When counting calories for your main source of carbs, do u only count the carbs or do you count the protein content as well?

    1. @Alpha

      I have an app on my iphone called ‘mynetdiary’. I just plug in the food and the amount and it plugs all the nutrient data in. Now a days I try to avoid measuring and counting food intake. I prefer to eye ball it and use common sense.

  5. for carbs does it matter which kind? I have heard drinking v8 fusion within the hour after your workout is recommended for fast carbs. What are your thoughts on that?

    1. @Ted.

      My favorite sources of carbs on training days are rice, potatoes or yams. I avoid liquid carbs because they don’t do much for your satiety. If you have trouble eating enough then liquid carbs are probably fine.

  6. Hey Greg, I’m doing this with 2 pre-workout meals, so when do you recommend I take my BCAA’s? I’m asking because I won’t be going into my workout entirely fasted as Martin says we should.

  7. Sorry for the double post but, what would I eat on meal one while I’m at school? The only thing I could probably eat during school protein wise is Greek Yoghurt and Low fat protein shake(s) (22g protein, 1,4g fat), an apple, some bread and veggies. Would this suffice?

  8. Aren’t the 50g of fat and apples counter productive? I mean, you’re trying to lose fat and not take in a lot of carbs (apples contain a lot of sugar> therefore carbs) on the resting days. Or are these levels of fat and carbs low enough to still be losing fat?

    1. @Randy

      For training days I like to keep fat intake around 50g. Going lower then this makes it very hard to stay full no matter how much protein and carbs you are eating. On the fat loss days it’s important to get in 100-120g of carbs to avoid putting your body into ketosis. Bouncing in and out of ketosis several times per week can be uncomfortable. As well many people don’t function well going under 100g of carbs (I can’t sleep going too low). The reason you are going to be losing fat on this diet is because you will be eating significantly under your calorie maintenance on the ‘low cal’ days. Apples and fruit have fiber that keep your full and plenty of nutrition. In addition the fructose will help refill your liver glycogen which will keep you more anabolic.

  9. why would you want to avoid going into ketosis on rest days. correct me if im wrong but in theory rest days are ment to use the body’s fat stores for energy, and ketosis would help this, no?

    P.s.- great article btw, fully enjoyed your perspective.

    1. @Ryan

      There is nothing magical about being in ketosis. If you are creating a calorie defecit your body will have no choice but to tap into your fat stores (whether you are in ketosis or not). The reason why we want to strictly avoid ketosis on this cyclical diet is because bouncing in and out of ketosis 3-4x per week isn’t fun.

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