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Eric Jones
10-21-2007, 09:25 PM
After trying many variants and ways of cooking (haha pun) different dietary approaches to gaining mass, I am going to go with a new method.

First, i tried the Zone (18 blocks, I'm was about 160lb, 13%BF), got way too lean too fast, then went up to 26 blocks 3x fat, went up t0 165/10% and stalled, then tried Paleo/IF - 16fast/8eat and got up to my current 170 ~9-10%bf. Now I'm stalled again. I train hard mixing CF, slow and O lifts, Air Force PT, and now Jiu-Jitsu. The training will remain mostly consistent, but I am willing to drop some CF metcon for more O-Lift work.

As much as I hate to say it, I think I will need to stop IFing. I've been doing it since early summer and love it. I still put on muscle and lots of strength while on it and have never felt healthier. Recently I just haven't been able to put much more muscle on. I believe it is because I just can't fit enough calories into that narrow of a window and without lunch and breakfast.

I was thinking along the lines of a seat of the pants Paleo with post W/O carb up with yams and raisins Mon-Fri and a free for all on the weekends. I just dont know at this stage.

Any thoughts?

Allen Yeh
10-22-2007, 04:07 AM
After trying many variants and ways of cooking (haha pun) different dietary approaches to gaining mass, I am going to go with a new method.

First, i tried the Zone (18 blocks, I'm was about 160lb, 13%BF), got way too lean too fast, then went up to 26 blocks 3x fat, went up t0 165/10% and stalled, then tried Paleo/IF - 16fast/8eat and got up to my current 170 ~9-10%bf. Now I'm stalled again. I train hard mixing CF, slow and O lifts, Air Force PT, and now Jiu-Jitsu. The training will remain mostly consistent, but I am willing to drop some CF metcon for more O-Lift work.

As much as I hate to say it, I think I will need to stop IFing. I've been doing it since early summer and love it. I still put on muscle and lots of strength while on it and have never felt healthier. Recently I just haven't been able to put much more muscle on. I believe it is because I just can't fit enough calories into that narrow of a window and without lunch and breakfast.

I was thinking along the lines of a seat of the pants Paleo with post W/O carb up with yams and raisins Mon-Fri and a free for all on the weekends. I just dont know at this stage.

Any thoughts?

How many calories are you shooting for in your eating window?

Possibly feast days and fasting days? Like what Chris Forbis did. I think one day was a 5000 cal day and the next day was a 3500 cal day?

Adding a Coconut milk shake in is a easy way to get a lot in.

Mike ODonnell
10-22-2007, 06:57 AM
IF is too hard a window to fill yourself up with calories.....but it can be done. Focus on PROTEIN....more so 1-1.5x your bodyweight. You will be amazed how as you find the "magic" protein number you will see muscle start to pile back on. Fun trick, every meal....suck down another 30-40grams Whey mixed in water...milk....half milk/water....do that 3 times a day and you are going to see results. Of course the only 2 ways to put on weight is less exercise (metcon stuff) and more food (primarily protein). While pwo stuff is good for recovery, I still think it is over rated for muscle growth....as your muscles grow all day long and take a long time to rebuild. Also training wise add in some hypertrophy sets of 10-12 reps on some exercises after you do your more strength training.

John Alston
10-22-2007, 07:45 AM
IF is too hard a window to fill yourself up with calories.....but it can be done. Focus on PROTEIN....more so 1-1.5x your bodyweight. You will be amazed how as you find the "magic" protein number you will see muscle start to pile back on. Fun trick, every meal....suck down another 30-40grams Whey mixed in water...milk....half milk/water....do that 3 times a day and you are going to see results. Of course the only 2 ways to put on weight is less exercise (metcon stuff) and more food (primarily protein). While pwo stuff is good for recovery, I still think it is over rated for muscle growth....as your muscles grow all day long and take a long time to rebuild. Also training wise add in some hypertrophy sets of 10-12 reps on some exercises after you do your more strength training.

I tell ya, I am looking into this IF malarky after my meet this weekend. An 8 hour window is short enough to get the benefits? I might be looking at a 1-9pm to start, which would mean the end of my breakfast log posts. Sigh...

Mike ODonnell
10-22-2007, 07:54 AM
I tell ya, I am looking into this IF malarky after my meet this weekend. An 8 hour window is short enough to get the benefits? I might be looking at a 1-9pm to start, which would mean the end of my breakfast log posts. Sigh...

As far as the IF benefits to gaining mass....you can find that:
- fasting has muscle saving mechanisms...so you are not going to waste away like people probably fear
- fasting (low protein) combined with high protein (eating) windows should help to increase protein utilization....so I imagine using 95% of the protein you eat to building muscle vs 75% is a pretty good thing for muscle building

and so forth....it's not a bodybuilding type approach to gaining mass but it certainly can be done. I am sure periods of cycling carbohydrates (like high protein/low carbs weekdays and high carbs/low protein weekends) will also benefit to increasing muscle glycogen and therefore more the muscle size associated with a hypertrophy style of training.

For me it came down to feeling better and having a life. As if I do the typical 6-7 meals a day, I felt more sluggish and really lost my mind worrying about food all the time. Not to say you can not get great results that way, it just wasn't something I wanted to focus on all day. That and I tend to feel so much better on an IF type of routine and do not want to count calories...just shove in as much protein as I can and keep the fat and carbs reasonable. Seemed more enjoyable lifestyle to me even if I never get "huge"...as I had an image complex long ago in college and never want to get back into that self defeating and never ending battle with myself.

It still comes down to calories and activity level.....one has to go up and the other probably has to come down. Anyone that tells you any differently is taking hormone or anti-cortisol "supplements". Otherwise we would of had a nation of huge muscle people running around by now with all the 5x a week workout programs detailed in magazines for the last 30 years.

John Alston
10-22-2007, 08:08 AM
As far as the IF benefits to gaining mass....you can find that:
- fasting has muscle saving mechanisms...so you are not going to waste away like people probably fear
- fasting (low protein) combined with high protein (eating) windows should help to increase protein utilization....so I imagine using 95% of the protein you eat to building muscle vs 75% is a pretty good thing for muscle building

and so forth....it's not a bodybuilding type approach to gaining mass but it certainly can be done. I am sure periods of cycling carbohydrates (like high protein/low carbs weekdays and high carbs/low protein weekends) will also benefit to increasing muscle glycogen and therefore more the muscle size associated with a hypertrophy style of training.

It still comes down to calories and activity level.....one has to go up and the other probably has to come down. Anyone that tells you any differently is taking hormone or anti-cortisol "supplements".

I'm not looking to body build, I'm looking to C&J more and snatch more, those are the priorities. Increasing this ability while keeping lean would be the way to go. As it stands, I have about 5kg of room to the top of my current class (85kg) but I also know I could lose a few kg of body fat, too.
I guess the ideal situation would be finding myself closer to the 85 limit with a lower bf% and if this IF thing will help, so be it.
As it stands, I've been making PRs of late, both in the classical lifts and supplementary ones (back squat) without much increase (occasional decrease) on the weigh in scale. I think that might come from the unintentional cycling in of lower protein weekends from "social" pressure.

Mike ODonnell
10-22-2007, 08:30 AM
I think that might come from the unintentional cycling in of lower protein weekends from "social" pressure.

Funny....mine are completely intentional...nothing like a week of low carbs/high protein and then going out on the weekend....eating some pizza...wings.....and "beer" load with friends watching football....and then noticing you are leaner and heavier on Monday.....of course all eating within reason but I noticed a positive difference in my body composition while still able to keep my sanity not needing to bring a tupperware bowl of chicken and brocolli to the bar and sipping diet coke.

That and I'm not sure I could trust anyone that didn't drink beer! Ha....

I'm no expert but I wonder with more explosive CNS intensive lifting such as OLY, that if fasting does provide periods of rest for the nervous system (without digestion as your stomach has the most amount of nerve endings), if it does in fact give an adaptive increase in your ability to become CNS explosive through those periods of rest. Of course all guessing at that point.....but I do notice better performance in working out or sports on a completely empty stomach and with caffeine.

John Alston
10-22-2007, 08:50 AM
Funny....mine are completely intentional...nothing like a week of low carbs/high protein and then going out on the weekend....eating some pizza...wings.....and "beer" load with friends watching football....and then noticing you are leaner and heavier on Monday.....of course all eating within reason but I noticed a positive difference in my body composition while still able to keep my sanity not needing to bring a tupperware bowl of chicken and brocolli to the bar and sipping diet coke.

That and I'm not sure I could trust anyone that didn't drink beer! Ha....

I'm no expert but I wonder with more explosive CNS intensive lifting such as OLY, that if fasting does provide periods of rest for the nervous system (without digestion as your stomach has the most amount of nerve endings), if it does in fact give an adaptive increase in your ability to become CNS explosive through those periods of rest. Of course all guessing at that point.....but I do notice better performance in working out or sports on a completely empty stomach and with caffeine.

Hmm. My schedule only allows me to O-lift from about 6 to 8pm during the week, which would be right in the middle of my eating window. Problematic?

The heavy protein week and carb up weekend is the core of the anabolic diet, too. So maybe going soft core on both IF and the anabolic diet is kind of what you're doing, "holistically" finding a neat medium of the two, to good results.

Mike ODonnell
10-22-2007, 09:37 AM
Hmm. My schedule only allows me to O-lift from about 6 to 8pm during the week, which would be right in the middle of my eating window. Problematic?

The heavy protein week and carb up weekend is the core of the anabolic diet, too. So maybe going soft core on both IF and the anabolic diet is kind of what you're doing, "holistically" finding a neat medium of the two, to good results.

You can toy with the whole eating window things...plus IF doesn't have to be every day or even the same every day...maybe you eat 10am-4pm on lifting days....12-6pm others....play around and you will see what does and does not work.

Yeah there is the Anabolic Diet...MD diet....Body Opus Diet....etc...all this stuff been around before....but definitely there are anabolic advantages to cycles of low/high protein and carbs. Depending on your training will depend on even if you need carb ups that often or how much is really needed. If you do more glycolitic in a carb fasted state all week....then your muscle will definitely suck up all those carbs on the weekend and give that full muscle pump. Again....all depends on your goals. Cycling is definitely the way to go for results and health. I know some people are more fat adapted...not me...but although carbs are low still weekdays...but I definitely feel better after some on the weekends. Plus I mentally still could not handle being 170-175lbs (6-7% bf) even if I know I am lean and mean.....I need to at least be 185-195lbs (10% bf) to keep my level of a positive self image, happiness and sanity....just the way I am. Ironically I also feel healthier around 10% Bf...and notice once I start dipping too low I feel sicker, more allergies, less energy, etc....so hence no motivation to get that skinny.

John Alston
10-22-2007, 09:41 AM
Awesome man. Thanks for the ideas on this. I'll definitely be checking into after the meet this weekend. Don't want to play around with anything too much this close to competition.

Troy Archie
10-22-2007, 11:15 AM
All I can post is what's been working for me as of late. I agree with everything that Mike says, especially about the having a life part. Not having to tote around a ton of food like a maniac is grand.

I fast about 18-20hours a day, sans Sunday. The fast ends pre-workout, in which I have a huge protein/fat/veggie meal about an hour before my workout. Lift hard, lift heavy and then have a PWO carb/protein meal with something like squash or yams as my carb source and a bunch of veggies.

My plan is set around trying to get all of my calories and have a workout within the same time frame, usually 4 hours. Seems to be working so far. I've been finding I need less food doing this, my recovery is up, the bar keeps getting heavier and my BF% isn't going thru the roof. I'm doing Starting Strength 5x3 template 3 days a week and nothing else except the odd wall climb.

Off the top Eric, the only thing that I can say is stop doing so much. IF does have a factor in it but I think your activity level has more to do with it. I also think there comes a time when you have to look at your goals and address them one at a time not mixing them into a big pot and hoping for the best. Right now my goals are strength, size, power and nothing but. I'm willing to but some kg's on and let my BF% increase a bit because I know in the long run it'll be for the best health, performance, longevity and quality of life wise. Another CF'er asked me, "is being 5'-11" and 150-155lbs healthy?"

I would love to be able to put 25lbs lean mass on, while increasing my squat/presses and at the same time keep my metabolic conditioning up but it just isn't going to happen for me and probably +95% of the population out there.

Neill Smith
10-22-2007, 11:50 AM
Great thread guys.

I'm also working with a paleo/IF/CLC hybrid:

CA WOD shifted so that rest days are Tuesday and Friday
BJJ 2-3x per week
18-hour fast on Monday and Thursday
Paleo low-carb six days/week (including fasting days)
Mostly paleo carb-up on either Saturday or Sunday

I've only been doing this for a couple of weeks now. I'd love to hear what people think of the design.

Mike ODonnell
10-22-2007, 01:00 PM
I've been finding I need less food doing this, my recovery is up, the bar keeps getting heavier and my BF% isn't going thru the roof.

I know it's been said before but what Troy mentioned is another key reason why I love IF.....less food needed to maintain or build muscle....more consistent energy....and less oxidative damage through digestion which has been linked to the ageing process (see all those CR studies). So why not build or maintain on less food, stronger immune system and more stable energy? Seems like a win win to me....of course there is always a limit as I am not doing 3-4 hours of exercise a day...so of course results and recovery needs will vary.

I would love to be able to put 25lbs lean mass on, while increasing my squat/presses and at the same time keep my metabolic conditioning up but it just isn't going to happen for me and probably +95% of the population out there.
Naturally....no probably not...but then again 10lbs is alot of muscle to put on in a year....and still keep lean....you don't need 25lbs to "look" like you put on 25....the leaner you are...the more an extra 5-10lbs of muscle will be amplified because of the way it stands out with such a low bf%.

Mike ODonnell
10-22-2007, 01:03 PM
Great thread guys.

I'm also working with a paleo/IF/CLC hybrid:

CA WOD shifted so that rest days are Tuesday and Friday
BJJ 2-3x per week
18-hour fast on Monday and Thursday
Paleo low-carb six days/week (including fasting days)
Mostly paleo carb-up on either Saturday or Sunday

I've only been doing this for a couple of weeks now. I'd love to hear what people think of the design.

Well I'd ask first...how do you feel and how is your strength and body composition changing? If you give all positive feedback then I would say "looks like it is working great!". Of course the first sign of overtraining or under-recovery will be decreased performance. I am sure you can adjust the fat calories during the week to sustain the energy levels needed. Then weekends you can test how much carbs are needed to replenish....or just enjoy the day off but keep a look out to make sure the bf% isn't creeping up too fast...if it is then cut back on the carbs or spread them out more evenly...fat gain like that is the "spillover" affect...and everyone's point is individualistic due to varying insulin resistance and the likes.

Scotty Hagnas
10-23-2007, 12:02 PM
I'm doing the CA WODs, also. I do the Paleo/IF low carb as well - but I'm not looking to put on weight right now. I average 17 blocks protein, ~7 blocks of carbs (almost all veggies), and around 125 g fat. (I hate using the blocks for fat) I use yams or squash for PWO carbs, but only if there is a decent volume of metcon work.

Energy/recovery has been good - sleep good, no illnesses in a long time. Bringing the fat up a bit would cause some mass gain - I may do this again later in the winter. It is suprising how little you need to eat to gain muscle while consistently IFing.

Though I have mentioned it before, I have a 30 day food log w/mealtimes on my blog (http://www.crossfitportland.com/scott/). (today will be the last entry) A few simple recipes are within the log. You can see that I IF most days of the week, but with only 1 or 2 longer fasts of 20-22 hrs.

Eric Jones
10-23-2007, 12:02 PM
Awesome stuff guys! Definitely alot to think about. This really came out of the observation that I was Paleo/IF during the week and high-ish carb (read, beer and going out with friends) on the weekends. I am in college lol. The thing is that I was feeling and performing better just as you said.

I will open the IF window progressively the next couple weeks and increase the KCALs see what happens...

Troy Archie
10-23-2007, 12:31 PM
You can see that I IF most days of the week, but with only 1 or 2 longer fasts of 20-22 hrs.

Is this because your WO session are while you're fasted?

Scotty Hagnas
10-23-2007, 08:04 PM
I do almost always work out fasted - and often wait to eat a few hours after that. This plan seems to work best for me - energy good, and little hunger - and it goes with the varying schedule that I have each day.

John Alston
10-24-2007, 08:45 AM
I'll admit I'll skeptical about working out till 8 and not eating until the next afternoon. Maybe it's habit. I'll have to see how things pan out when I try it all out next week.

Troy Archie
10-24-2007, 10:57 AM
I'll admit I'll skeptical about working out till 8 and not eating until the next afternoon. Maybe it's habit. I'll have to see how things pan out when I try it all out next week.

Do what works for you man. Here's my schedual:
Start fast about 9pm.
Fast untill about 4:30pm the following day (19-20h fast).
Workout at 6-6:30pm.
Eat about 7:30-8:30 post-workout.
Start fast about 9pm.
Fast untill about 4:30pm the following day (19-20h fast).

I've been trying to get all my calories within the same time frame as my workouts. My mindset has been that the calories I'm taking in will go specifically towards my workout and recovery. Good results so far.

I've also been thinking that a short fast, say 15h ended with a workout is equivalent to longer fast, say 20h. Meanwhile long fasts, say 20h ended with a workout can be too much and are something to perhaps be avoided. Instead, a pre-workout meal would be best with amounts of food according to your goals.

I say this under the notion that with the drop in body temp, mental fogginess and so forth could bring a slight drop in performance, sub-par sessions and problems with "getting into it". Personally I've found it hard as hell to warm-up in a cold gym when you're already freezing cold from a long fast.

Just some of my thoughts and observations. So who's finally going to compile all these thoughts and make millions out of them?

Scotty Hagnas
10-25-2007, 08:24 AM
I've also been thinking that a short fast, say 15h ended with a workout is equivalent to longer fast, say 20h. Meanwhile long fasts, say 20h ended with a workout can be too much and are something to perhaps be avoided. Instead, a pre-workout meal would be best with amounts of food according to your goals.

I say this under the notion that with the drop in body temp, mental fogginess and so forth could bring a slight drop in performance, sub-par sessions and problems with "getting into it". Personally I've found it hard as hell to warm-up in a cold gym when you're already freezing cold from a long fast.


Interesting observation. I'd agree - good energy to workout at 15-18 hrs for me; wait longer and it gets hard. I haven't tried a long fast/pre-workout meal yet, but I'll give it a go soon.

John Alston
10-29-2007, 08:11 AM
So anyway, I had talked up the IF idea last week and mentioned I might be thinking about it today, as it's after my meet. But I didn't.
Reasons? Well, I'm not sure it's the best time right now to try to IF regularly. I might throw a day in here or there, but am just not feeling it right now... Call me a puss, it's true. Or foolish. Or a bastardo.

Troy Archie
10-30-2007, 04:30 PM
Well, I'm not sure it's the best time right now to try to IF regularly. I might throw a day in here or there

That's the whole great thing about IF, you can throw it in a day here or there. Doesn't need to be an everyday thing. I started 2 times a week and moved up from there.

I'll admit I'll skeptical about working out till 8 and not eating until the next afternoon. Maybe it's habit. I'll have to see how things pan out when I try it all out next week.

And so you should be skeptical because that's not a good plan as far as I'm concerned. PWO food is crucial I think.

John Alston
12-26-2007, 07:08 AM
An old thread

But here it is, the day after xmas, and I'm not eating until noon, giving me a 15hr fast.

More thoughts and reasons... post Thanksgiving and during my Amsterdam trip I somehow managed to lean out a little, despite erratic exercise. While traveling I wasn't eating as often, even though I ate well, and I think this all was part of it. Whether this has affected my strength, who can say, as missing max oly lifts after just a couple workouts back into it doesn't really say much, but I'm drinking more of Art's Kool Aid, or something like that.

So we'll continue to see. I weighed in at 78kg last meet, down about 3kg. Performance is still the main goal, and I'd still like to be a lean 83-85kg someday, but we'll just keep lifting.
MIght have to give up my (fat) bastardo title, though...