View Full Version : IF for Bodybuilding

Matt Wil
12-23-2009, 09:00 PM
Hi All,
Just starting out researching IF and wanted to get some guidance from the more experienced lifters/eaters out there.
My stats currently:
39 yrs old
15% bf (done with calipers over 9 sites)
training history of about 20 years.

I'm envisaging the following training types over a 12 week period, and would like some advice on how to structure the IF type eating:
DC 2 day split (working each bodypart 3 times in 2 week cycles on a mon/wed/fri split)
Tues and Thurs: stair climbing (mixing constant pace with intervals and such)

My goal is to recomposition my body to about 90kgs at 10% or less bf. My base cals typically have been around 3000cals/day consisting of the usual 6-7 meals per day, aobut 600-700grams of meat, 750grams vegies, 200grams rice, 1/2cup oats, 150grams WPI (spread out over the day with 2 scoops pre and post workout). I've also experimented with peri-workout BCAA/Beta Alanine etc and got good results with that.

After reading through Eat Stop Eat, and many other threads, I've determined that i'll be able to do one of two protocols, given my work and training schedule. I train in the evenings about 530pm.

1 - IF of 16hrs daily with an 8 hour feeding window, or
2 - 1 X 24hr fast on a Sunday starting to feed again on Monday.

If anyone could assist with macro breakdowns, nutrient timing etc and any general advice or guidelines for that type of recomp I'd really really appreciate it.

Thanks and Merry Christmas


Mike ODonnell
12-24-2009, 06:25 AM
You may also want to check out Martin's Leangains setup for bodybuilders on his site (leangains.com) or he also did an explanation of it here as well:

In the end, ESE approach can work....leangains approach can work....it will be about getting in enough calories (esp protein) and managing workouts around it.

Matt Wil
12-24-2009, 03:30 PM
Thanks Mike
Thats kinda my question.. to get in 1.5grams protein per pound bodyweight (305grams per day) is a lot of meat and eggs and WPI..in addition getting the required fats and proteins in to make up the BMR caloric requirement of 3000-3200cals, well, thats a whole bunch of food..getting it into 3 meals is goin to mean some pretty big meals, it may still be more practicaly to 'graze' over the 8 hours to ensure all the calories get in by the cutoff.

After some further thought, I'm now seeking input on the following questions:

1 - if my feeding period is midday to 8pm, or 2pm -10pm, and I train in the middle of all that at 5pm, will that have any real effect on fat loss given most recommendations I see are to have the bulk of calories after training? This simply is not practical for me to do given my work schedule.

2 - on the cardio/stair climbing days, should I still follow a pre and post QPI shake protocol, or stick to sipping BCAA/Beta Alanine etc which i'd typically have peri weights workout?

3 - given i'm a late trainer, as in train in the evenings, having post workout starchy carbs in the evenings... is that going to cause me any problems with fat gain or sleep disruption?

Should I just do 1 24 hour fast starting 8am Sunday morning through to 8 am Monday morning and do my 'normal' eating schedule those days.. looking at it the IF of 16/8 gives me more fasted time, given i'd still have to eat on the days I do stair climbin etc so a mid week 24hour fast isn't practical either..

HOpe today is a great one for all your families.


Derek Weaver
12-24-2009, 04:12 PM
1) The biggest effect on fat loss is going to be your caloric deficit (assuming you're getting enough protein). If you set your calories @ maintenance each day, you'll see either no change or the sloooooooowest of recomps that will slow out. Given your training age, I would guess you'd see zero change.
2) It doesn't matter unless you can't maintain the necessary effort.
3) No.

Do what will work in your schedule. If that's a 24 hour fast on Sundays to eliminate ~3000 calories or more from your weekly intake, then do that. If you can swing something like 15/9, 16/8 etc. then do that.

Remember though that you can lose fat faster than you can put on muscle. If you must try and recomp, remember that a) the # on the scale is likely to drop even if you are adding lean mass while cutting fat (unlikely in the first place anyway) and b) you'll take longer to get to your goals than if you just leaned out then made for a slow/lean gain approach.

Nobody can tell you that you should do this one or that one. Do the one that is doable for you.

I'm guessing you already know all of this. Nothing wrong in asking the questions and/or looking for affirmation of an idea, but in the end you make the decision. Not anyone else.

Matt Wil
12-24-2009, 04:23 PM
Thanks Derek for those replies..

Ok so I would need to drop to 2500-2750 (from carbs probably) or so to see noticeable fat loss.. I know my scale weight is going to drop, that's all ok, I have to drop a few to get to my 'recomp' weight anyway, even if I drop a few kgs below that to 88kgs or something, if its at a sub 10%bodyfat given I'm a shortass that'll still look solid. The primary goal is getting sub 10% bodyfat first at as close to 90kgs as I can get. Cut then grow is probably the most realistic method here..

I also enjoy functional strength so being able to still deadlift 200kgs and such is going to be important for me to maintain. I may even sub the DC rest pause style of training for a low volume/phil hernon type program which ahs worked well for me in the past.

You're right Derek it's all up to me, always has been, but it is good as a long time 6 meal a day eater and trainer to gain affirmation and guidance on my thinking in what is a very new way of viewing things.


George Mounce
12-24-2009, 07:29 PM
I was listening to Robb Wolf the other day via one of his Podcasts, and the thing I had to agree with him most is....

Until you have everything else dialed in, IF should be the last thing you do for health and wellness.

You want to bodybuild to get big. So you need to eat like a freaking hippo. Except do it the Paleo way (get rid of that rice stuff!). Then every once in a while on a rest day, skip breakfast and lunch then gorge your dinner like an ancient man just killing his meal for the day.

To lift big you gotta be big, and not eating is not going to make you big.

Matt Wil
12-24-2009, 10:10 PM
Thanks George, yes you're right, my goal is ultimately to get bigger than what I am currently, however my first goal is to get as lean as I can, see what it looks like and then decide where to from there.. Even at currenty bodyweight I'll be sizeable if I maintain or gain a few lean kilos in the process..

So for now, its lean up, then lean gain.

George Mounce
12-25-2009, 05:43 AM
Thanks George, yes you're right, my goal is ultimately to get bigger than what I am currently, however my first goal is to get as lean as I can, see what it looks like and then decide where to from there.. Even at currenty bodyweight I'll be sizeable if I maintain or gain a few lean kilos in the process..

So for now, its lean up, then lean gain.

To get lean, I suggest you drop the grains and dairy, pump up the lean meats, fats from avocados, olive oil, and coconut oil. No fruit beyond berries and a ton of veggies (keeping away from starches - sweet potatoes are an exception as a post workout favorite of mine living in Mississippi). Stay away from nuts.

You do that I bet you'll not only be lean, but feel really good about being lean.

Derek Weaver
12-25-2009, 01:45 PM
See this thread. (http://performancemenu.com/forum/showthread.php?t=4857&page=2) Most of it's broken down there.
I'm admittedly in the minority around here with regards to setting up a diet approach.

Matt Wil
12-25-2009, 04:22 PM
Thanks George/Derek,
I've toyed around with some macros and my daily totals are looking like this so far, its still a work in progress but feel free to comment:

600 grams meat (beef or chicken)
150grams almonds
160grams WPI (on weight training days only for now)
500-600 grams vegetables/salad (cucumber, capsicum/avocado/mushroom/celery in olive oil dressing)
125 grams brown rice on workout days only.

my IF will be from 8pm to midday following day, feeding from midday to 8pm.
I work 8am to 5pm and train at about 530pm

8am - noon I'll be sipping on BCAAs/Beta Alanine in water and drinking black coffee.

Pre and post workout are 60grams WPI in water
Peri workout will be more BCAAs/Beta Alanine, and am considering a waxy maize carb drink as well, not sure on that yet. This will be for weights workouts only for now. During stair climbs it'll be BCAA/Beta Alanine only for now.

Training is:
Mon/Wed/Fri: DC or low volume style strength program
Tue/Thurs: stair climbing mixing 'normal' running with intervals.

From memory the macro breakdown is P: 43%/F 35%/CHO 21% VERY roughly...
I think it was 1100 cals from PRO, 1100 from Fat, and aout 550 from CHO to aim for a daily totaly of 2750 which is 250 below my 3000 maintenance cals.

Ok, so there's my start point. Feel free to comment.

Thanks everyone for your input so far, very valuable and much appreciated. Enjoying learning about something new!

George Mounce
12-25-2009, 08:10 PM
I really suggest you go to www.robbwolf.com and listen to his podcasts. I have to agree with Robb that until you have every single part of your life dialed in...IF is a no no.

Matt Wil
12-26-2009, 12:36 AM
I take your point and yes I'd agree that unless othe areas of life are as good as they could be then something like IF may not be appropriate. For me personally, I believe I'm in a good place to do it. I know my motivations and reasons for, and where I'm going after so to speak. But thanks for the link also, good to get all aspects of this lifestyle from as many sources as possible.

Steve Shafley
12-26-2009, 05:27 AM
Martin, from Leangains, is the premier practitioner of IF for physique enhancement in the world right now. He's had success with a broad range of people, and drug free.

I don't agree with his training philosophies, which are very HITcentric, but his IF templates and his training does work for his clients.

At the very least, you should read up on his approach, which isn't all that complex.

Mike ODonnell
12-26-2009, 09:22 AM
Until you have everything else dialed in, IF should be the last thing you do for health and wellness.

IF added into a person who is sleep deprived, eating crap and stressed out will be a complete disaster-crash and burn scenario. No doubt about that.

People still need to know how to eat the rest of the time, as IF is just a "tool" not a "diet" plan.

There is no real super magic in using IF more often other than just a condensed eating window to control calories. Used too often it can also backfire on someone especially if they are not eating enough (or their lifestyle is a mess, which is a HUGE factor in recovery terms).

When you talk about bodycomp goals then things like carb cycling and timing will matter, and not using IF to just binge on a big meal thinking it all goes into the muscle (esp carbs)...which it won't.

You can get many health benefits (the biggest 2 being low fasting insulin/lowered inflammation) just from eating real foods and exercise alone without needing IF....IF just makes it easier for some. If you really want the true health/longevity benefits of a IF approach when compared to CR studies, then we are talking more about the longer fasts and reduced calories on IF days...which is most likely not in tune with a person who is very active and wants to gain muscle.

Matt Wil
12-26-2009, 04:00 PM
Thanks for the replies. I've seen Martins' blog and have emailed him for further information so we'll see how that one goes.

Mike - so are you saying that I shouldn't consider IF as a viable option ?

Mike ODonnell
12-27-2009, 08:57 AM
Thanks for the replies. I've seen Martins' blog and have emailed him for further information so we'll see how that one goes.

Mike - so are you saying that I shouldn't consider IF as a viable option ?

He's probably busy and gets a ton of emails, so wouldn't necessarily expect a reply. The info on what he uses is out there (I think I gave the link to an article that explains it earlier) but it is simple approach:
- Eat 8 hours a day
- Mostly protein/fats/veggies/fruits etc
- Use PWO timeframe to eat more starchy carbs (and lower protein/fat)

As far as the workout and food, he suggests (as do I) that for weight training add in some basic BCAAs pre-workout. I like the "fasted"state to prime you for the anabolic response of the pwo window, but still for muscle building purposes you want some additional Amino Acids in the bloodstream. For cardio types of workouts it doesn't matter as much.

So you see even on that approach, quality of foods is stressed (aka eat Paleo-like) and you have more "leeway" in the PWO window. You will know if you are doing sloppy glycoen reloads PWO because you will see more fat (esp around the stubborn areas).

Or you could just eat all day long however you like and throw in 1-2 longer fasts (such as an Eat-Stop-Eat style) on your non-workout days.

I wouldn't suggest combining both, just pick a way that sounds good and see what happens. If it ain't working....change it up. Biggest factors will be getting enough calories, enough protein and not using sloppy carb reloads.

Matt Wil
12-27-2009, 04:05 PM
Thanks Mike, I've actually heard back from Martin just yesterday which was great :)

Ok, thanks for that info and yes you're correct there is a lot out there which I'm making my way through daily.

My issue will be that I work out later in the day, after work, and my work days are typically 8am-5pm, so I'd be working out 'mid' feeding window so my calories will be probably weighted more evenly around the workout rather than the bulk afterwards.

For my lifestyle, which is typically a busy one as I'm a single Dad as well, I think what may work well for me is fasting 16hrs from 8pm to midday the following day: Feeding window midday to 8pm. If things aren't moving there's opportunity to do a 24 hour fast noon sunday till noon Monday.

I've already toyed with the eating window this last few days, although during this period the foods haven't been ideal, I more wanted to see how my mental accuity and ability to function reacted and so far, not a blip on the radar. I start training again today (light bedding in for the following week's REAL beginnings) so it'll be interesting to see how that goes.

Thanks Mike, appreciate your input.

Matt Wil
12-27-2009, 06:28 PM
Found this post, sourced from bodybuildingforyou.com..and was sourced from another thread (unknown address)... what are people's thoughts on this?

Start quote:
Originally Posted by Kelly Baggett
Now for the really interesting part, the diet! The diet is divided up into 2 separate phases, the low calorie low/carbohydrate portion and the high calorie/high carb portion. Here are the guidelines:

Low calorie/low carb portion

Duration - All day on weight training off days and day on weight training days.
Caloric intake - 10-12 x bodyweight
Macronutrient ratio - 50% protein 30% fat and 20% carbohydrate
High calorie/high carb portion

Duration - on weight training days only. From the beginning of the weight training session until bedtime.
Caloric intake - The same amount as you would take in during a normal low calorie day but these calories are to be consumed in a time span of 6-8 hours. ( 10-12 x bw or 1600-1900 calories for a 160 lb individual)
Macronutrient ratio - 20% protein 5% fat and 75% carbohydrate
Maintenance calorie/carb portion

Duration - weekends
Caloric intake - 15 x bodyweight
Macronutrient ratio - 50% protein 30% fat and 20% carbohydrate
Daily Schedule

The weight training and preceding dieting phase not only burns fat but also puts the body into a glycogen depleted state which heightens insulin sensitivity so the body is ready to suck up on all the nutrients delivered during the short-term carbohydrate overfeed. In addition to increasing cellular hydration, which is important for protein synthesis, the body responds to this overfeeding by increasing levels of the anabolic hormone insulin.

Having high insulin levels ALL the time could be a bad thing and lead to fat gain, but for such a short period of time after an intense workout we're able to maximize the anabolic power of insulin for anabolism and muscle building with little danger of spillover into fat storage. Studies have shown that carbohydrates consumed during massive short-term carbohydrate overfeeding have a very small effect on de novo lipogenesis, or conversion to fat from carbohydate.

Also, during this time and after, the body will respond to this short-term overfeed with larger amounts of the hormones testosterone, thyroid, and leptin. Leptin is the hormone which normally drops during a diet and causes our fat loss efforts to reach a stand-still and causes our body to begin cannibalizing muscle tissue. By boosting leptin through over-feeding, we also ensure that our fat loss efforts continue unhindered throughout the plan while all the other hormones are optimized for muscle gain. Regular cardio is done earlier in the day not only to burn more calories and fat but, more importantly, to give a big metabolic stimulus throughout the day. Diet is optimized to allow fat burning during these times.

Likewise, the timing of the weight training sessions coincides with the time when the body would normally begin to go from an anabolic to a catabolic state. By doing our weight training and HIT in the afternoon/early evening we are able to boost anabolic hormones and sensitivity to these hormones at a time when they naturally begin to decline while also stimulating the metabolism at a time when it begins to slow down. Following the weight-training workout with a high carbohydrate overfeed gives solid, round the clock hormonal and dietary management of both muscle gain and fat loss

End Quote.

Mike ODonnell
12-27-2009, 06:38 PM
Don't get paralysis by analysis. Everything you quoted has already been said in some shape or form in this thread. Turn off the computer, pick a plan and stick it out for at least 6-12 weeks.

Matt Wil
12-28-2009, 12:57 AM
Thanks Mike.

One thing i've noticed on 'day one' with the high carb meal after training is a considerable elevation in bodytemp.. metabolism is cranking along!

Matt Wil
12-28-2009, 11:09 PM
Hmmm.. I'm noting that in the morning phase of the fast, say between 9am and noon when feeding begins... that I'm hotter in body temp. I'm sipping BCAAs and having black coffee during that time.. but i'm sweating like a Nike shop worker in Malaysia!