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Category: Nutrition

So, is bread & milk good or bad?













Below is an email I wrote to a client recently that I wrote to clarify my stance on whether I believe wheat to be harmful or not to our health. I have been on the fence regarding this and with a mountain of contradictory evidence both for and against the idea in terms of science so it was time to add another IENCE to the equation in the form of experience. Both from myself, clients and the online community. My final stance regarding wheat and even lactose is written below;

There is a nutritional movement which is becoming extremely popular called ‘Paleo’. Its basic premise is that our bodies are identical to that of our Paleolithic ancestors. Advances in agriculture on the other hand have changed the foods we eat dramatically over the last 10,000 years from predominantly meat, nuts and vegetables to a diet that is made up of almost only wheat, corn and soy.

One thing that does separate us from our Paleolithic ancestors (besides longer life-spans, better overall health and a lack of cave dwelling neighbours) is a gene mutation that allows most humans to digest Lactose (dairy).

This is why we are the only species to consume milk from another animal.

There are of course those of us today who have an inability to digest wheat (Celiac Disease) and those who are unable to drink milk (Lactose-Intolerant). However what is interesting is that there are those who can eat wheat and dairy but do have a mild intolerance to it. This, most likely, includes all of those ant-wheat advocates who themselves respond better without it. But this doesn’t necessarily mean it can be translated across an entire population of people.

The problem however lies in the fact that due to our diets being so heavy in these ingredients.. (almost every single food in a jar, packet or tub contains some form of wheat,soy or corn) we never give ourselves a chance to experience a period of time without them. Thats where the food intolerance test comes in. By going 2 weeks omitting these foods, you may well start feeling some positive effects from it that can contribute to further progress in body recomposition. The information gained from this period will be so unique to you, no diet book or cookie cutter food program will able to have that info.

So to summarise, bread is neither good nor bad as a blanket statement. I consume bread occasionally, always have and I will continue doing so. Other clients, my girlfriend included, respond better when these foods are reduced or eliminated.

The reason we haven’t delved into this earlier on is merely because if you are looking to gain weight (as you were in the beginning) by trying to eliminate foods and at the same time increase calories it becomes a catch-22 and much more difficult to achieve progress.

During the 2 weeks, I do advise you to try and vary your diet as much as possible, sticking to the list I sent you. Use the time to explore other meals you wouldn’t normally eat. It will be hard in the beginning but the knowledge you’ll gain from it in terms of meal preparation are invaluable as a tool later on when I write up a more personalised plan for you based on your result from this test.

By the way – this was written in one take without looking up any info. Maybe sometime in the future ill write a more extensive piece like my piece on Intermittent Fasting thats fully referenced for the nerds out there like me.


Red Berry and Orange Protein Cheessecake

Being ‘healthy’ all the time is so tiring…

Can’t eat this, can’t eat that…bread is bad, sugar is evil. Anything that a caveman didnt eat should be avoided. Whilst all these points may aid people in their goals, people seem to miss the point. Its all about context.

Going hard for 3 or 4 weeks training or dieting only to revert back to pigging out and excessive drinking in shame is not productive. Nor is training every day or multiple times per day if you are not an elite athlete or are not in tune enough with your own ego to balance the intensities.

In order to continue flying in the face of bro-science and cardio-bunny logic I decided to bake and consume an entire cheesecake and post the recipe and nutritional information online so those who follow my more structured approach to eating can continue veering off the path of healthy/unhealthy and into the realm of ‘Context’.

So without furthur adue I present;

My lady in red


‘Hey, I just met you… and this is crazy



500g Kwark

180g Light Philadelphia Cream Cheese

1 cup stevia/nevella

2 scoops Vanilla Casein

Zest of 2 oranges

10g Gelatine

juice of 2 oranges


1 cup Havermout

50g Butter – Grassfed


Frozen Raspberries/Blueberries


‘Your stare was holdin’,Ripped jeans, skin was showin’


In a pan melt the butter. Turn of heat and add the oats and half the sweetener. Mix thoroughly and press into the bottom of a springform pan lined with a baking sheet. Bake for 5-10 minutes on Gas mark 7 until hard. Then put in freezer while you prepare the filling

In a bowl whisk together cream cheese and Quark, add in the other half of the sweetener and protein powder and whisk for a good 3-4 minutes. Meanwhile in a pan over extremely low heat, add juice of oranges and gelatine and stir vigorously until blended. add gelatine and juice to the filling mixture and stir in the zest. Once all is thoroughly blended, pour the mixture over the biscuit base and leave to set in the fridge. Once set, defrost the frozen berries in a bowl so as to gather the juice of the fruit while they thaw. Pour this over and set cheesecake and serve!



Protein Cheesecake - Ash Allen Training


Ingredients; 2 Egg White 3 Whole eggs 1 cup Oats (Grinded into flour using coffee grinder/blender) 1tsp Baking Powder 2 Banana 2 scoops Vanilla/Banana whey protein 1 tsp Vanilla essence Half Cup Milk Optional extras; Flax/Chia/Sesame Seeds Mixed Nuts & Raisis 1 Banana (Laying in the batter inside dish) Casein protein instead of whey Blend […]


Too many positive points to this beast of a snack. Those following Intermittent Fasting could use this pre-workout. Can also just be used as a tastier way to consume your BCAA supplement. Ingredients; 10g flavoured BCAA (Here is a link to what I use) 10g Gelatine 1 Green Tea bag 500ml Water Method; Heat up […]


Unusual ingredient list but trust me that the end result will be impressive! In a blender add; 150-200g Oats (Grind into flour in a coffee grinder) 200g Cooked Beetroot 6 Egg Whites + 2 Whole Eggs 60g Protein Powder 1 Tablespoon Ground Coffee Add milk till desired consistency Panfry the batter, For the topping; Casein […]


2 Ingredient Nutrition bomb! 400g Sweet Potato 60g Vanilla Whey Protein Wrap sweet potato in tin foil and put in the oven for 1 hour @ Gas Mark 5 Scoop out the flesh of the potato and whizz it in the blender with the protein. Cool in the fridge, serve with cinnamon then put it […]

4 Supplements That Are Worth Your Money


There is a real lack of unbiased information on supplements out there that focus more on fact than fiction. Below is a list of supplements I use or recommend. I’ll gradually add to this list but be sure this is an already extensive list. Unfortunately the supplement industry seems to be quite in its right to make outlandish claims without being able to back them up effectively, much like our food industry unfortunately.

On another note, it should go without saying, that the positive improvements from supplement use should only be expected once you’ve reduced life & training stressors to a bear minimum & are already getting the most from your nutrition. Those of you who are overworked, over trained or under recovered, trying to make up for a poor diet by throwing money at it, should reorganise your priorities first before delving deeper into this rabbit hole. Your wallet will thank you for it.

BCAA – Branched Chain Amino Acids


What are they?
Our bodies run on a supply of Carbohydrates, Fat & Protein. We can offset our body using Protein as fuel (Muscle catabolism) if we supplement with BCAA’s.


The times that muscle catabolism will be at its highest, & therefore the times that the importance of BCAA supplementation is at its highest, are;

-Periods of fasting (>16 hours)
-Periods of low protein intake (24 hours)
-During exercise & continuing up until the first post-workout feed
-Fasted Exercise (most of you should be familiar with this concept, however for those of you who are unaware of fasted training, check out -> Intermittent Fasting)

How do I take it?
10g BCAA every 2 hours, until the body is supplied with food post workout. If executing a fasted strength session, first dosage should be 5-15 minutes before commencing. Before fasted high intensity training it is also recommended however you should be aware, performance will be capped if the duration & intensity of your workout is high. For more info on this please read – Low CHO Availability Training

Which brand should I use?
The brands myself & my clients use, are;

Xtend 2.0
Orange – Tastes great! But its stronger than the others so it needs diluting more than other flavours.
Watermelon – Love it or hate. I think it’s great.
Lemon Lime – The one I tasted was absolutely horrible, avoid at all cost.

Purple Wraath
Lemon – Taste is brilliant & also contains beta-alinine which is a bonus! (Read more on beta-alanine below)

Omega – 3

What is it?
Our diets are notoriously low in omega 3 & high in omega-6. It’s the ratio of the two that we are concerned with. Countless studies have shown positive results by bumping up our omega 3 intake. Omega-3 Is made up of EPA & DHA. Consume 4,000mg of DHA & EPA Combined. This can mean consuming lots of fish oil, so check the bottles in your local health store for one containing as much EPA & DHA as possible & as little of anything else as possible. This will give you the biggest bang for your buck.

Brands don’t really matter here as its the raw ingredient your after. Look for the cheapest brand with the highest amounts of omega-3 possible. Consume this everyday unless eating 250g of salmon or more. Effects include but are not limited to;
Improved cognitive function
Increased fat metabolism

How do I take it?
4,000mg of EPA & DHA combined every day unless consuming enough omega-3 from other sources.

Omega 3 from dietary sources
If you consume Salmon, Mackerel or Herring you can reduce your intake from 4,000mg.

100g of each of the above fish contain roughly 1.5g EPA & DHA.

270g of these oily fish would contain all your omega 3 needs for the day thereby offsetting any need for supplementation for the day.

If looking to replace omega-3 intake with Flax Seeds, be aware that some research has pointed to the body being less able to absorb omega-3 from plant based sources. So do so at your own discretion. Oily cold water fish has been backed by science countless times & although the current trend is to overspend on expensive ‘super’ seeds, don’t be a sheep.

Creatine Monohydrate

What is it?
The most researched, misunderstood supplement on the market. Backed by countless studies demonstrating increases in power & strength, specifically the 1-5 rep range.

Just last week I was told by a colleague that he wasn’t going to ever try Creatine due to its ‘bad side-effects’ yet is willing to supplement with Beta-Alanine. Let’s see why this common thought process needs debunking;

Are there any side effects?
The answer to this is in fact yes, whether the side-effects are positive or negative is down to the individual though. Creatine Monohydrate is Creatine combined with a hydrogen molecule & one of the side-effects of this is water retention in the muscles. Sometimes slightly noticeable, giving the muscles a fuller look yet most of the time it goes unnoticed. When the supplement first reached the market, companies would add Creatine-Monohydrate into their products to make users believe they were getting bigger faster only to lose a kilo or two of ‘bulk’ when stopping its use. Smart & profitable.

After a loading phase the muscles become fully saturated with Creatine & then you should expect a small increase in Bodyweight as you retain the extra water. The supplement washes out after discontinuing its use for 4-8 weeks when you can expect your weight to come back down again.

How should I take it?
Studies support going through a loading period of 5-7 days where you consume 20-30g of Pure Creatine. After this period continue taking 5-10g everyday. Most studies support an increase in the bodies ability to absorb the Creatine by combining it with a small amount of fruit juice such as Grape Juice.

Which brand should I use?
Brands here don’t matter as most brands tend to be supplied by the same sources. Looking for ‘Creapure’ a source coming from Germany has a good reputation & a lot of brands use it. When searching for a brand, I tend to only use pure Creatine without any expensive flavouring systems added. This allows you to know exactly what your ingesting & once again getting the biggest bang for your buck.

Casein & Whey Protein

If you have specific protein requirements & are finding it hard to meet them, it is beneficial to supplement your food intake using either Casein or Whey protein. The major difference between the two, is the time is takes for your body to absorb the protein. Casein protein has an absorption rate of around 4g/hour whereas whey protein is around 25-30g/hour. This makes Casein suitable during periods of fasting I.e intermittent fasting. Whey protein is great immediately following a workout where real food isn’t accessible.

Which brand should I use?
This is really a matter of personal preference however after having tried hundreds of different types & flavours in my lifetime it really boils down to only a few brands which I consistently go for.


Micellar creme really wins with taste & mixability for me. Casein protein is notoriously difficult to blend however somehow Syntrax to bypass that with this product.

If you want to be guaranteed quality with a product, Optimum Nutrition will always deliver highly. Their casein tastes great, although in my opinion not as good as Syntrax’s version. The powder itself acts very much like ‘normal’ casein resembling flour whenever you try and mix it. However for some recipes this is exactly what you want.
(If you want more info on baking with protein, check out Protein Pow the girl is an absolute legend who is pioneering a new era for us of protein baking!


I’ve been using this product on & off for 10 years & it’s still great. Mixes well, tastes good. Stick with standard flavours such as Vanilla or Chocolate if it’s the first time using it as these tend to taste better for first time whey protein users.

On a final note, I’m not sure how to add references in blog posts on the WordPress iPad app, any tips help me out! & if you have any questions related to the article, leave your answer in the comments below.

Intermittent Fasting For Performance Enhancement


Low CHO-Availability Training

(Intermittent Fasting For Performance Enhancement)

 PDF Version for easier viewing -> Low CHO Availability Training (IF for Performance Enhancement)

Disclaimer I am in no way associated with Trent Stellingwerf or the study mentioned in this article. For further info regarding the study please look to the reference located at the bottom of the article.

Traditionally, elite-level training methodology is held as sacred & rarely shared. Athletes like to keep their methods out of the public eye, away from their competitors & it’s generally only expressed through word of mouth. Trouble is, what happens then, is a form of Chinese whispers. Information takes on different shapes as it transcends from the simple facts and methods into the marketable crap the mass market loves to consume in the form of glossy magazines, supplement advertisements (which generally tend to be the same thing anyway) & Tell-Sell adverts. This mutation of fact into fiction is termed Bro-Science (BS) & your average trainer, local family doctor and your fitness fanatic neighbour all love to spout out   BS unwittingly at your local Globo-Gym faster than last weeks ‘functional’, will BOSU curls fall out of fashion. The problem though isn’t that they spout BS, the problem lies in the source of their information. Large companies all have something to gain. I was therefore excited to come across a tweet pointing my direction towards a scientific case-study compiled from logs on training volume, pace & ratings of perceived exerting (RPE). I was even more excited to see that these athletes used a form of fasting for performance reasons. These methods and results were recently published in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. Compiled by Trent Stellingwerf[i], he coached 3 elite marathon runners. Two of which ran personal bests of 2:11:23 & 2:12:39. The case-study analyses the last 16 weeks of their training.

It must be remembered though that these athletes were not practicing Intermittent Fasting (IF) they merely use a form of it to achieve a certain result. What they practiced is termed Low Carbohydrate (CHO) Availability Training, it isn’t used year round & is advised only for those who are approaching their ‘genetic ceiling’ where an even higher training load will only expose the athlete to a higher risk of injury. However, since some of us already practice IF & already undertake strength sessions & aerobic workouts fasted, this is quite interesting. Therefore I intend to give you a brief overview of the method, as described in the case study & further interviews with Mr Stellingwerf, explain how it may be useful and how it might not, whilst giving some insight into my own self experiments.

Stellingwerf’s Method 1 

Limited Exogenous Skeletal-Muscle CHO Availability

(Morning-Fasted Training)

How: Fasted run in the morning after >8 hours of not eating. Consume only some water & a bit of coffee & head straight for a run and/or workout. The body will start with high levels of muscle glycogen (High availability inside the muscle) however as the session extends beyond one hour there will be limited CHO availability from outside the muscle due to zero consumption of CHO from sports drinks and low liver glycogen (CHO) due to fasting >8 hours. This was applied to the runners 2 – 3 times per week (15-20% of total weekly volume). Pace & quality of their runs increased as they adapted over the weeks. As they approached race-day this method was eliminated.

Stellingwerf’s Method 2

Limited endogenous skeletal-muscle CHO availability

(Reduced-Muscle-Glycogen Training)

How: Wake up, have breakfast and do a hard, high quality mid-morning workout. This high quality workout will drastically decrease available muscle glycogen. Post-workout feeding (3-6 hours later) is limited to protein & healthy fats (Low CHO). 4 to 6 hours later a low-grade tempo run is undertaken in this glycogen depleted state. This is significantly more stressful and is deemed as low muscle glycogen training due to low CHO-Availability from inside muscle. It only made up 10-15% of all low-CHO availability training for the runners.


It is important to note that the degree of transferability of these methods from the elite level training population to the recreational athlete is likely not very high, especially if the athlete would benefit from significantly more from an increase in relevant training or decrease in other non-training related stresses. Therefore, if the average athlete is looking for a quick fix or magic bullet, this isn’t it. Working smarter & working harder is the answer.  Elite athletes race above 75% VO2 max for >90 mins & therefore are a lot more CHO reliant on race-day. Since a recreational athlete may rely more heavily on fats, the use of these methods are far less profound on this population, but until the above methods more widely known & used we will not know the degree of transferability on a broader scale.

My Own Experiences

My own experiences however have been largely positive, spurring me on to write this article. Increased pace & quality during 8-16 hour fasted workouts ranging on the scale of intensity from Zone 1 (Aerobic) – Zone 3 – (VO2 Max) followed after a period of adaptation. Performance though, has always been capped in the higher intensities after a period of time and this I suspect this is due to a greater demand of carbohydrates which cannot be supplied. One surprising finding however was the effect of a moderate serving of sugar (25-50g) pre & intra workout after adaptation to fasted trainings. The ‘energy boost’ effect experienced is so profound that I use it periodically to obtain a higher power output during certain physical challenges, the last being a monstrous effort of 10,000 Kettlebell swings in 5 days.During this effort, I performed the first 2 days completely fasted, totalling 1-1,500 swings in one session, on the third day despite increasing levels of fatigue and soreness the sugar provided such a boost that I was able to increase my output to achieve over 2,000 swings. Whether or not my ‘normal output’ is capped due to the fasted state (which I believe at that point it wasn’t) I am curious as to whether the athletes experienced a similar boost in energies on race day or whether anyone else has had similar experiences with this.


Firstly, if you are looking to experiment with these methods, I strongly suggest only trying Method 1. Also, based on the experiences of myself & my clients, it will feel that performance is capped during an adaptation phase of roughly 3-6 weeks of 100% fasted sessions (Longer if less than 100%). As I mentioned, I am basing my advise on the experiences of myself & my clients not on scientific fact. Lastly, as described by T.Stellingwerf, your goal should be to increase pace & quality of workouts during the fasted sessions.

Final Note

The take home message from this study is that the body is more than capable of performing well in less that ideal circumstances & since most people overestimate their caloric output & underestimate their nutritional intake, if your weekly training volume is limited to only a few hours training per week, you can put that sports drink down after training because consuming ‘recovery drinks’ & shakes after every session is not doing anything beneficial to your body composition.

This quote sums up my thoughts exactly;

‘For most of the masses who just do 30min runs, an aggressive post-exercise nutritional recovery protocol is probably not needed (they would just needed re-hydrate and ingest a much lower level of protein and carbs, and thus much lower calories). They might be the most recovered athlete in the world, but they also will probably end up with more non-functional body mass than they desire.’

T.Stellingwerf, (2012)

BCAA – Branch Chain Amino Acids on the other hand, tend to come with almost zero calories whilst sparing muscle catabolism (breakdown) during training. If your looking for something beneficial to consume during strength training or >90 minute conditioning sessions, I would recommend using it. In another article at another time, I’ll go over different brands I have experimented with & give my unbiased view on product quality. Look out for that. Also, don’t confuse ‘availability’ with ‘intake’ the athletes were at no point in time consuming low carb diets but instead altered the timing and availability of carbohydrates in their diet around specific training situations.

Additional Info from Case-Study

Athlete training load;

13 training sessions per week average,

Average training volume 182 km/wk

Peak training volume 231 km/wk

74% of training volume was aerobic

11% of training volume was Lactate threshold

15% of training volume was VO2 Max High intensity training

On race day 60gCHO/600ml consumed per hour

I am extremely interested in anyone’s experiences with fasting during workouts or experimenting with these methods & would to hear from you either through email at or through commenting below on this post. Alternatively, hit me up on twitter – @AshAllen11

[i] T.Stellingwerf (2012) Case study: nutrition and training periodization in three elite marathon runners.

Chicken Cajun, Cauliflower Rice Stir-fry


Cut Chicken into strips, coat in Lea & Perrins and then cover with the Cajun seasoning.
Bake @ gas mark 6 for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile Cook Quinoa and cauliflower in 800ml of Chicken stock for 15 minutes & during the last 5 minutes add the lentils. When ready, drain & leave to the side.

In a Wok fry red onions & vegetables until soft before adding chicken, quinoa & rice.

Sprinkle 25g Flax seeds over the top.

Serve & enjoy as a low carb Rest day meal

Whole batch serves 2-4 depending on desired meal size.

This whole batch equals the following;

826 calories
25g Fat
51g Carb
100g Protein

For me, this equaled one serving.

Why It’s Ok To Feel Hungry – Guide to Intermittent Fasting


PDF Version for easier viewing -> Why It’s Ok To Feel Hungry

Why It’s Ok To Feel Hungry
Intermittent Fasting
(An outline of Martin Berkhans LeanGains Protocol)
Original info on via Martin Berkhan
The Fast
Fasting will soon become a buzzword, a hype, just like kettle bells, Crossfit & TRX. But unlike most fads, this one is going to stick around a while like most evidence based methods do. It’s one of humanities oldest practices & it’s regaining media attention around the globe due to its ability to potentially increase lifespan, reduce obesity, control appetite & reduce body fat. I was drawn to the idea of intermittent fasting during my training for the Mont Blanc, seeking a method to lose weight, whilst still preserving the ‘engine’ that I had spent months developing in the gym. I was seeking a larger gas tank with minimal ‘bulk’. The phrase ‘light is right’ is often thrown around mountaineering circles so I hoped it would enable me to reach the summit of Western Europe’s highest mountain a little easier, & little less painfully. Weeks after adopting my new routine, my body tuned in to the new rhythm. I became hungry at the times I desired, I experienced no loss of strength & my concentration during these fasts sharpened.. Not at all what I expected. I had been warned by friends & relatives that I would experience a drop in my ability to concentrate, that my metabolism would slow & I would lack energy due to not eating breakfast, but the opposite happened. I dropped 4 kilos in 4 weeks with no visible loss in muscle mass and I reached the summit on the morning of my 23rd birthday feeling great (As great as one can feel perched 4800 meters above sea level). I returned from France still unsatisfied I had reaped all that I could from this, I hungered for more research behind my chosen method of fasting. Sometimes however, the best method of research is application. so with that view, I readopted the fasting protocol and delved deeper into the research surrounding fasting. I tracked my calories meticulously whilst looking for trends, then later I designed meals that would cause deliberate muscle gaining or fat loss.
Martin Berkhans LeanGains method is my chosen method for intermittent fasting now and its popularity is still steadily growing, even among top cyclists . Its evidence based approach has its followers post meals of epic proportions. They refer to it simply as ‘’FoodPorn’’. However despite all this sounding a tad strange, large meals & less body fat clearly has its appeal. It’s definitely unconventional, but maybe that’s what drew me in.

The Myths
Don’t be mistaken though, this is no easy fix or magic system. The philosophy is built upon the first law of thermodynamics. Meaning; Calories. Matter. period. No amount of ‘low carb’ will override a calorie surplus when weight loss is the ultimate goal. To illustrate the importance of this philosophy we can look to Carson Chow, the MIT- trained Mathematician employed as the man responsible for figuring out why 1 in 3 Americans are obese. He devised a complex mathematical model, capable of predicting what a person will weigh. The message, which he believes the food industry doesn’t want to know and ordinary people do not want to hear, is that ‘there is no magic bullet on this. You simply have to cut calories and be vigilant for the rest of your life’ Dramatic results come with hard work, meticulous attention to detail and a good deal of suffering, indefinitely. But, if it sounds like you can stomach this, then dramatic results are a few cravings away.
Wikipedia defines Fasting as; ‘’the act of willingly abstaining from some or all food, drink, or both, for a period of time’’ and if we know we must consume less to lose weight why do we tend to associate hunger, fasting and missing meals with a breakdown of muscle tissue and even proclaim that we can gain weight like this? Our bodies do tend to lose lean body mass pretty fast when we start losing weight, but is it how much, what or when we eat that determines this? Amidst the sea of contradictions online that threaten to lull us deeper and deeper into the blurry realm I like to call ‘Bro-science’ I decided to look at what scientific research shows.

The Facts
Science has proven long ago that meal frequency is not nearly as important as total calories. How much & what, matters. Fact. The next fact is a harder pill for people to swallow. Every single one of you reading this has heard skipping breakfast is bad, & every doctor, family member, and friend preaches this as fact. But a study quoted by the New York Times a couple of years ago actually showed that lower meal frequency improves appetite control , So why is breakfast still held with such high importance? Doctor Bojan Kostevski exclaims, those that go through med school actually spend a very small amount of their time learning proper nutrition related to weight management & we should be glad! Their job covers an immense range of skills and I know I hope that if I have a serious condition, I want my doctor to have spent his time catching up on new research related to his field, not the science behind a six-pack. But unfortunately the 6 meals a day theory is still preached to the mass market as the Holy Grail, despite a lack of evidence supporting its superiority . Even more significant, is the famous epidemiological study often quoted by the breakfast cereal companies that breakfast skippers tend to have a higher BMI (body mass index). But again, the results were flawed. These kinds of studies track trends & as one of the researchers pointed out, the breakfast skipping group tended to represent busy people on the run that weren’t health conscious. These people are not skipping breakfast as a means to lose fat and are definitely not intermittent fasting but more than likely sedentary. No wonder they tended to be heavier. In fact I’m sure we all know at least one of these breakfast skippers ourselves. Those who have little time & few options would be better off instead forgoing one meal (including snacks) and going hungry for a short while saving time & money. Interesting though, is the footnote at the end of the study stating that ‘Funding for the study was provided by the Kellogg Company’’ . Draw your own conclusions.
Data from the food and drug administration shows consumption of different food groups over the last 3 decades. Obesity has risen 10% since 1970, flour & cereal products have seen an increase of 4% whilst lean meat has seen a decrease in consumption of 4% over the same time period. As we know, protein increases metabolism more so than cereal products and keeps us feeling fuller for longer, so again, I’ll leave you to come up with your own conclusions.
For those of you worried about lacking energy by skipping breakfast, you should know that digestion of a meal generally takes around 6-7 hours depending on the size of the meal. So chances are if you’re reading this in the morning before work, last night’s dinner is still providing you with energy for that important meeting. Proteins from your meal are absorbed in a relatively slow steady state. (1.3-10g per hour depending on meal composition ) so the constant reminder to eat every few hours is once again shown to be flawed. This was demonstrated recently to an extreme by the same Swedish doctor Bojan Kostevski, who just last week, ran a crazy experiment he dubbed ILCD (Insanely Low Calorie Diet) where he condensed 4 weeks of dieting into one week, eating only 650-750 calories a day, 2000 less than he needed. He studied the effects on himself and published his log afterwards. I built on this experiment & created recreated a 7 day semi-fast program that includes strength training. Our result was a loss of 3-6 kg in 7 days… And I assure you, our muscles didn’t fall off. In fact I hit a Personal Records on my Deadlift by pulling 190kg when I weighed a mere 69kg. The results of me and my peers have inspired a number of others to contact me to recreate our experiment and the results continue to impress.
What can we take away from this? Eating less, works for fat loss & Feeling hungry is ok.
In an age where excess and gluttony runs rampant, lets enjoy these excesses in fewer frequencies and greater quantities. All it costs is spending a little more time feeling hungry. If a doctor spent a week without food in a busy hospital; I’m sure you can go 16 hours, with half of that asleep.

The Method
The fasted state lasts 16 hours & should run through the night and into the morning, finishing just after your workout. During this time you can drink unlimited black coffee (which works as a mild fat burner & appetite suppressant), Diet Coke or Coke Zero (anything zero calorie) but nothing else. The exception to this is just before training. 10grams BCAA’s with water before every strength training session will offset the negative effect of a net loss of protein during training . 10g BCAA is preferable over whey protein as this will have a lower calorie content keeping truer to the fast while helping offset muscle catabolism, whilst still getting all the benefits described above. However if you miss it once or twice, your muscles still won’t fall off. I promise.
Women are advised to start with a 10 hour feeding window and gradually work their way to 8 hours. This is due to different hormonal patterns as it can be more difficult to adjust to the schedule. Your first meal on rest days should be you’re largest. However this can be tweaked if looking forward to a large dinner with your family will improve adherence. Strength training should also be fasted, although if you must eat before, try to plan your meal with only 20-25% of your total calories and leave the biggest meal post-workout. Other workouts can be executed fasted upon a trial & error bases. Long endurance workouts & HIIT is advised to executed in a non-fasted state.
The fundamentals must be in place for this program to guarantee success meaning creating a caloric deficit if losing body fat or a caloric surplus if gaining muscle. 13-20 x bodyweight in pounds will give a very rough estimate on maintenance level calories. Leangains also uses a form of nutritional periodisation, meaning cyclical carbohydrate intake through the week. This is for a various number of reasons namely nutrient partitioning and adherence & uses heavy strength training as its exercise prescription (yes, you too ladies). Cardio is used sparingly, unless you have performance related goals, allowing you to recover optimally on a calorie deficit which should be seen as a recovery deficit also. Strength training is kept to 3-4 times per week with relatively high carb, low fat and 2-3g of protein per kg of bodyweight on training days and low carb, high fat on rest days. Protein is kept constant throughout the whole week.
The Application
Once finishing your workout, you will ideally start the feeding period with your largest meal of that day (65% total calories). Again, don’t dwell on this too much. If you can’t have your biggest meal after training but still stick with the fundamentals you will still be making progress. The above points just optimise nutrient partitioning, meaning – encouraging the body not to store those extra calories as body fat and make sure enough of them go to building and repairing muscle. Continue eating right up until you go to sleep & finish your day with at least 30g of slow digesting protein. (200-400g Cottage Cheese or 30-50g Casein protein will suffice) This will slow the rate of protein absorption lasting into the night, and well into the next day .

Intermittent Fasting set-up
• 13:00 Take 10g BCAA’s or 30g Whey Protein

• 13:00-14:00 Train

14:30 – Break the fast with your largest meal
(at least 65% total calories) including a high amount of starchy carbs (rice, pasta, potatoes). The reason for this, are starchy carbohydrates contain higher amounts of glucose in the post-workout fasted state. Glycogen is depleted, so most of the carbs can go to replenishing glycogen stores and less will be converted to fat. Include at least 30g protein in this meal as well. Your body will absorb every gram of protein you eat at 1.3-10g per hour so you don’t have to limit your servings of protein to only 30g . I regularly hit 100g Protein in my meals)

• 14:30-22:30 – Continue eating meals from your food schedule. The last one around 22:00 should have some of the slow digesting protein. I.e Casein Protein powder, Cottage Cheese

This is based on a 14:00 till 22:00 set-up as evenings seem to work best however any 8-hour window will work. All it depends on is how it fits your lifestyle. You can start or finish 30 minutes before or after your set times but the basic idea is to keep the times the same everyday as this will enhance the initial adaptation process resulting in predictable hunger patterns that will start to match your set schedule. The goal of the first 3-6 weeks is hormonal entrainment, meaning training the body to get hungry at your set times. For this reason, don’t mess around with your set-up too much.
Following the set up outlined above everyday with no attention payed to the type of food consumed may still produce desirable goals. I.e muscle gaining or fat loss. However results aren’t guaranteed. By following the above set up whilst tracking daily calories either through a calorie tracker (I use MyNetDiary) or through hiring a coach to write up a food schedule for you, results are 100% guaranteed & can be quite dramatic.
Adapting to this style of feeding will be hard initially. The first few sessions you may feel dizzy while training. After about 6 weeks, these effects will subside however consult a doctor before starting any food program & if it doesn’t suit you, just stop. The end result will be hunger at your desired time, more strength in the gym & better focus during work and study and best of all, you may actually start to enjoy it. The only thing you will have to deal with is people telling you off for skipping breakfast and enjoying big-ass meals late into the evening!

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Ash Allen