If your searching for anabolic fasting this you probably follow Cory Gregory like I do. I drank the kool-aide, here is my experience.
As I write this, I have been on an anabolic fasting plan for about 3 weeks. In that time, I’ve gone from 13.2% bodyfat (bf) at 204 lbs (measured on Feb 11) to 12.7% at 204lbs (measured on Mar 2).
For those doing the math at home that is a switch of a pound of fat for a pound of muscle, while only eating from noon to 8 everyday and eating more or less whatever I want on the weekend.
I’ve increased my strength, have consistent energy throughout the day and have more time in my day. The anabolic fasting program is simply a combination of the anabolic diet and intermittent fasting all rolled into one glorious plan. Not rocket science, but repeatable science.
Free Bonus: I created an Intermittent Fasting Quick Start Guide with a few tips to get the most out of your fast. It’s a quick 2 page doc you can save and reference later as you try this yourself. Click Here to get the free tips.
I was on the anabolic diet since the beginning of January and was just starting to get into the groove of it. It’s a paradigm shift quieting the public voices saying fat is the enemy and saturated fat, like the fat in ground beef, causes heart disease and a whole host of other health problems. I know I tolerate fat better than carbs so I figured what the hell. Sorry heart, we had a good run.
Before I started the anabolic diet I came in at 13.7% bf at 200lbs. Yes, I fell off the diet wagon multiple times during the holidays. I’m human.
Four weeks later I came in at 13.2% bf and 204lbs. Although I was getting stronger, my bf was not dropping like I had hoped. Probably because of the massive quantity of food I was consuming (~3000-3500 calories a day). I had done a lot of research on intermittent fasting since it came onto my radar a couple months ago.
I always thought it was crazy talk by people with no gainz. Obviously this was not my cup of tea. I am an athlete that needs to eat every 2-3 hours to maintain my gainz or my muscles would devour themselves and sabotage my hard work. All the research I saw said to keep a consistent flow of protein to the muscles or they would become catabolic (muscle breakdown). Apparently my eating prejudice made me blind to other ways of thinking. I had dabbled a little in the intermittent fasting world and like just about everyone else I thought long term fasting:
I would have no energy while fasting (Complete opposite)
I would die. Going from 6-7 meals a day to 2-3. (Thankfully I didn’t)
My workouts would suffer (They didn’t)
I would lose muscle (I gained)
I would miss my anabolic window after my workout (Bro-science)
MY EXPERIMENT WITH ANABOLIC FASTING
I WOULD HAVE NO ENERGY WHILE FASTING
This was a major concern for me since I am a morning person and work a day job as well as bringing you super terrific blog posts. I didn’t want my self experimentation to get in the way of my day job. Currently, the day job keeps the lights on. So throwing caution to the wind, I decided to jump into intermittent fasting. The result?
Consistent energy throughout the day.
Who saw that coming? Instead of going through the ebb and flow of the blood sugar cycle through out the day marked with levels of energy and the 3pm crash, I stayed consistent throughout the day. Even after my lunch meal which is usually around 1000 calories (I’ll get into my meal plan later) I had the same consistent energy as I did 2 hours before. The normal 3pm crash where everyone runs for a coffee or a vending machine snack was gone too. I was still digesting my lunch which provided me a consistent stream of energy until dinner when I was hungry again.
Before I started anabolic fasting, I would be exhausted around 10am and again at 3pm. These were the times were my and everyone else’s blood sugar dropped. I can safely say, this is no more.
I WOULD DIE
Turns out I survived. For as long as I can remember, going to the gym and eating small meals throughout the day was the norm. It seemed like my life was planned around meal times. And if I missed one or was late, God help you.
If I was late for a meal, I would get cranky and it would feel like I couldn’t concentrate or think. Those Snickers commercials are the truth. People at work would joke about how often I eat. “Is this meal 4 of 6 already?” Yes, fatty has to eat, get over it.
Thankfully I didn’t die and 2-3 larger meals is all I need.
This self imposed prison was how I thought people should eat.
Now before I start a mutiny, small meals throughout the day can be beneficial.
Some people can’t eat a lot at one time. Other people have a fast metabolism and need to eat frequently. I am neither. I’ve gained muscle and leaned down using small meals throughout the day.
Experiment for yourself and find what works for you.
MY WORKOUTS WOULD SUFFER
I have been thinking about this one for a while. The food I eat right before the gym isn’t digested before I start working out. I would typically eat breakfast around 3:45am and be working out by 5am. In an hour and 15 minutes the food isn’t even out of my stomach yet, not to mention digestion slows down when you are working out.
It takes 6-8 hours for the food to leave the stomach and hit your small intestine which it is broken down to fats, carbs and protein.
That’s when the energy kicks in. Hell it takes 30-45 minutes for caffeine to hit you and there is no need to extract it from solid food. So if you workout in the morning, like I do, what you eat at night fuels your workout. Since I’m eating until 8, I’m aces. That’s 9 hours of digestion before I start working out. Plenty of time to get the energy I need. There is no insulin spike as a result of eating breakfast so there is no fogginess or crash after. My workouts haven’t suffered at all.
I’ve actually performed better than before.
I still take my preworkout (Hyde right now) on an empty stomach and I’m ready to go. As a bonus the caffeine in my preworkout hits me faster because there is no food to disrupt the digestion process.
I WOULD LOSE MUSCLE
Going hours – especially after my workout – I thought would be the death of my muscles. All the strength and size I put on would have been a colossal waste of time. This was the hardest thing for me to come to terms with. This is why I measured my bf after 3 weeks (I couldn’t wait for one more week). If I had lost a little muscle this nonsense was done.
The 3rd week was tough because it hit in a much needed deload week. I am still dealing with a slight shoulder impingement and I had pulled a tendon in my forearm a few weeks prior. I was just overall tired and needed to slow down. On the Monday, just about all my lifts went down (true sign of needing a break) and I figured this was it, this intermittent fasting crap is killing my muscle. So I immediately scheduled a bf measurement. Thankfully, I was just in need of rest and my hard work was not in vain. A pound of muscle increase when I wasn’t even at my best.
Lesson learned, the total amount of protein you get during the day means more than spacing it out equally over 6-7 meals.
If it’s easier to digest 30g of protein spaced over 6 meals for you rather than 90g in 2 then do that. As long as you get your required amount in the day you’re good.
I WOULD MISS MY ANABOLIC WINDOW AFTER MY WORKOUT
Ahh the infamous anabolic window (aka window of gainz). This is the “window” 30 minutes post workout where you are supposed to consume a large meal or a protein shake so your muscles don’t go catabolic and waste all the gainz you just worked so hard for. The idea is that right after training muscles begin to breakdown and repair after the damage you just inflicted on them. While I agree with this and there is evidence, I would get too sleepy right after the post workout meal (10am crash). This is not good for performance at work.
Side Note: The window of gainz is actually 195 min after working out. So you have time. This is when you have the muscle protein and breakdown is at its greatest.
Franco Columbu used to skip the post workout meal. He turned out alright.
THE FIRST WEEK
No lie, the first week sucked ass. The hunger pains were the worst, or I could be just a drama queen. Obviously switching what you have been doing for 10+ years is tough. I asked people on twitter what they used and I got the same 3 answers.
- Drink more water
- Keep busy
- Tough it out
Yes, these were the best answers. So, like a scientist, I observed and experimented. This is what I found:
Water alone does jack.
Keeping busy only works if you’re stomach is not yelling at you.
Caffeine stimulates your appetite.
Post workout stimulates the appetite.
Super sweet stimulates appetite.
Warm drinks (decaf black coffee and decaf tea) suppresses appetite.
Around 8-9am my workout high would go away the hunger pains would start. I tried water, no relief. Keeping busy was a was a waste. Then, one day I tried decaf black coffee and the hunger went away. The same worked for decaf tea. Once I hammered this out the rest was smooth sailing.
WHAT I ATE
The normal day looks like this:
Before gym: Preworkout
At gym: 1 scoop of BCAAs
After gym: 1 scoop of BCAAs
Noon: 10oz of 80% lean ground beef, 2 cups of vegetables (whatever is in the freezer), 1 tablespoon of coconut oil on the veggies
3pm: 2 oz of almonds, 2 scoops of a protein blend (Whey digests too quickly. The blend digests for hours.)
Dinner: 8-10oz of chicken, 2 cups of veggies, whole avocado or a cup of egg whites with 2 whole eggs and 4-5 strips of low sodium bacon
Outside of the meat, I don’t measure anything. The 2 cups of veggies is a best estimate.
The weekends look the same with the exception of a cheat meal on Saturday night. Anything goes for the cheat meal.
HOW I MESSED UP ON WEEKENDS
Originally on the anabolic diet, the weekends are used to carb up (60% of your calories should come from carbs). Up until last week (Feb 27) I did this and every week I blew up like a tick. I wasn’t even eating crap. Not a great idea if you are trying to lose fat. This is why my fat loss has been slow and my muscle gains, as the kids say, on fleek.
An added benefit, which I didn’t intend, is it feels like I got my life back. I’m not longer planning my day around every 2-3 hours of feedings. Not to mention preparing all that food for those 6-7 meals a day.
Between cooking, cleaning, eating and prepping for the next day I’ve gotten back 2 hours of my day.
I can read more in the morning and get more work done after I get home from my day job. Yes, this is what I chose to spend my extra time on. More time, more muscle, more fat loss.
Anabolic Fasting is a beast of a program. I give Cory Gregory credit for educating me on this. Check out his website corygfitness.com. I’m a member, this guy is legit. He goes into more detail and a how to on his site for maximal fat loss and gainz.
UPDATE: I continued this experiment until April 28, making it 11 weeks on the diet. In mid March I switched to a leaner ground beef (~90%) and adding in chicken and adding more coconut oil to make up for the fats. There was no noticeable difference in my strength and I felt good.
Plus, I didn’t have to shove down 10-12 oz of 80% lean ground beef every friggin day. All the fat is taxing everyday on my body. After the switch everything seemed alright, then I noticed that I couldn’t finish my meals. Because I was fasting for 16 hours, my stomach shrunk I’m guessing.
Meals would take me an hour to finish, if I finished at all.
Doing the math, being 200 lbs, I would have to consume roughly 100 g of protein in 2 meals or slightly less and have a smaller meal in between lunch and dinner. There were days I would have to shove my lunch down and I wouldn’t be hungry for dinner 6 hours later. Some days my calories consumed would be around 1600.
My workouts and strength suffered and I wasn’t losing weight anymore.
Was it because I lowered my fat.
But all I know is I am not made to eat very large heavy fat meals. My body doesn’t digest it well. At first it was fun but after a while it became a chore. Now I am back carb cycling and only fasting for 12 hours so I can rock the banana hammock this year. Let that sink in a little.
Looking back, I think I made an error in switching to a leaner ground beef and chicken. I also cut down on avocados.
The basic premise of the anabolic diet and anabolic fasting is to keep the cholesterol high because it is a prequsor for testosterone.
Upping testosterone ups fat loss and muscle gain. Swing and a miss on that one by me.
My advice, stick to how Cory lays it out.
Fatty meats and veggies. Don’t worry about heart disease. If you are training properly (aka putting effort in and not going through the motions) you’ll be fine. The body will use the saturated fats for energy and testosterone production.
A diet high in saturated fat and high in carbs will lead to heart disease amongst other crappy habits. I’ll give it another go with anabolic fasting next winter when I try to add more weight and strength but right now I want to lean out and work on my flexibility. I suggest you try it out, it might work for you, it might not. For me, I know I can get stronger and not get fat while on it so I’ll use it in the winter. In the spring and summer I will carb cycle so I can rock my pasty white ass on the beach.
Seriously, I make Casper look tan.