Waterbury Diet for Fat Loss

In the spring of 2010 I started experimenting with the Warrior Diet by Ori Hofmekler and it forever changed the way I approach nutrition. Without that diet, and my subsequent experiments with different versions of it, my clients and I wouldn’t be as lean and healthy as we are today. I won’t delve into why I initially tried the Warrior Diet since I covered most of that in this blog.

This installment covers the nutritional strategies I currently recommend for fat loss and gastrointestinal (GI) health. I’ll tell you upfront that I’m not going to explain why the Waterbury Diet ended up the way it did, or else I’d have to write a book. But I don’t want to do that. Why? There are a few reasons.

First, this version of the Waterbury Diet is similar enough to the original Warrior Diet that I don’t feel right charging people money for it. However, my approach is different enough to justify its own version or else I’d tell you to just follow the Warrior Diet. (Although, reading the Warrior Diet is highly recommended.) Second, since there’s not a lot of research on intermittent fasting (IF) – the key component to this diet – it’s unlikely I’ll be able to reference any new studies you haven’t seen from other experts. Third, it was time I outlined what I’ve been doing since I’m late to the game. My buddy Jason Ferruggia has his Renegade Diet, and Dr. John Berardi wrote an excellent piece on this style of eating. Yep, there are many others out there that have their own versions so I thought it was time to outline the approach I use for myself and my clients.

Finally, I must mention that it’s essential for you to consult your physician before embarking on this, or any other, nutrition plan. Now let’s get started.

Gut Health and Intermittent Fasting 
In the early part of the 20th century, Dr. Eli Metchnikoff coined the phrase “Death begins in the gut.” That’s probably the most accurate and important statement you’ll ever hear. Indeed, in 1908 he won a Nobel Prize for his work studying gut bacterial flora. In order to get leaner, stronger, more muscular or healthier, you must improve gut health. This is where intermittent fasting (IF) becomes essential.

In the Warrior Diet, Ori Hofmekler outlines two distinct phases of eating each day. The first phase is the aptly titled “undereating phase” where you consume very few calories. (He also refers to this stage as “controlled fasting.”) The undereating phase lasts 16-20 hours. That’s followed by the “overeating phase” at night where he recommends a specific sequence of foods to get the most benefit. During this 4-8 hour window you’ll consume most of your daily calories.

The effectiveness of this diet stems from the intermittent fasting (IF) stage. When you get it right you’ll burn fat, boost energy and improve overall health by reducing inflammation. Importantly, the terms controlled fasting, undereating phase, and intermittent fasting all refer to the same thing. I’ll be using the term “fasting” to describe this phase.

Waterbury Diet for Fat Loss – Fasting Phase (20 hours)
From the time you wake up, until four hours before bed, consume 0.5 ounce of liquid per pound of lean body mass. Your lean body mass is your body weight minus your fat weight. So if you weigh 200 pounds and have 20% body fat, you have 40 pounds of fat. That leaves you with 160 pounds of lean body mass. You need at least 80 ounces of liquid during the fasting phase, mostly from water. You can have up to 16 ounces of tea (green and white tea are best) as part of this liquid requirement. Coffee addicts are allowed up to 8 ounces of black coffee, although it’s not recommended.

The fasting phase is the toughest part of this whole diet, especially during the first few days. You’ll be hungry, cranky, and your energy will be lower than ever. I recommend starting this diet on a weekend when you don’t have work demands or when you don’t need to be a social butterfly. It’s never fun to go through detox, and that’s exactly what the fasting phase is. However, after a few days your physiology will shift, the hunger pangs will go away, your skin will start to clear up, and your energy levels will be higher than ever.

What can you eat during the fasting phase? This is where I differ from the original Warrior Diet that says you can have any fruits, fruit juices, an egg or two, or some yogurt. I’ve found the best results are achieved with the least amount of food possible. Look, anyone can go without eating much during the day, especially when you know you can eat until you’re completely satisfied at night.

Fasting Phase Rule #1: Don’t eat unless you’re really hungry.
At first you’ll be hungry within a few hours after you wake up, maybe even as soon as you wake up if you’re like I was. After a week or so you might not be hungry until 2pm. In any case, wait until the hunger pangs are too tough to withstand before eating anything.

Fasting Phase Rule #2: When you do eat, eat as little as possible.
Consume calories during the fasting phase from only five sources:

1. A handful of fresh berries. Any berries will work, but many people favor raspberries since the high fiber content controls hunger.
2. One-half of an organic apple. If it’s a relatively small apple, eat the whole thing.
3. A glass of vegetable juice made from any fresh veggies. V-8 is not recommended since it’s not fresh, but there are worse things to drink.
4. Mix 4 ounces of organic cranberry juice with 8 ounces of water. This adds toward your daily liquid requirement. Thanks to John Meadows for turning me on to cranberry juice – it’s excellent to support liver health and stave off hunger.
5. Drink 8 ounces of fresh coconut water. Because of the carb content in coconut water, don’t drink more than one serving per day. You can add a pinch of salt to the coconut water, thus making it “nature’s Gatorade.”

So whenever hunger takes over during the fasting phase, choose one of the five options above. You can have any of the above choices up to three times during the 20-hour fasting phase, but mix up your choices each day and spread them out as much as possible.

Fasting Phase Rule #3: Take supplements during the 20-hour phase.
Certain supplements will make the fasting phase much easier to deal with. The following supplements support your metabolism, immune system, and reduce inflammation. I always hesitate to mention supplements because there are so many. It’s inevitable that I’ll get hundreds of questions asking if “supplement x” is ok to take, too. What you see below is what I recommend, but you might want to add other things to the mix. Keep in mind that some supplements should be taken with food so they might not fit in the fasting phase.

1. Multi-vitamin/mineral – my two favorites are the “one daily” versions by MegaFood and Biotest’s Superfood. Take either when you wake up.
2. Curcumin/Turmeric – take 500mg of curcumin when you wake up. I use Biotest’s version.
3. Resveratrol – take a 600mg dose when you wake up. Again, I use Biotest’s Rez-v.
4. Probiotics – I recommend one capsule of MegaFlora by Mega Food when you wake up.
5. Herbs for thyroid support – each afternoon around 2pm, when I’m hours into the fasting phase, I take herbs to support thyroid health. The best out there is Thyrolyn by Defense Nutrition.

The feeding phase is where the real fun begins. Hofmekler recommends that you eat your foods in a certain sequence during his “overeating phase” at night. Even though I like his approach, I don’t think it’s necessary. Your body has been without any sufficient calories for 20 hours so it’s ready to assimilate what you give it. This is where dieting dogma goes out the window: you can eat the majority of your calories at night, even with carbs, and still lose fat. I’ve seen it countless times over the last few years with clients that range from 24 to 70 years old.

What can you eat during the feeding phase? Whatever you want that’s not processed or crap. Honestly, we all know what good foods are, so I don’t want to rehash them here. No, you can’t eat a bag of Doritos, but you can have a baked potato with dinner.

The key point is to get a big, healthy serving of protein with dinner. You haven’t had any protein yet so your body is craving it. That protein can come from chicken, fish, beef, turkey, eggs, shellfish, or any other complete protein source.

How much can you eat? As much as you want until you’re completely satisfied. But don’t gorge yourself with food, try to eat at a normal pace in order to give your gut time to tell your brain that it has had enough. Drink as much liquid as you feel you need.

You can have spaghetti with meatballs and a side of asparagus. You can have fish with rice and a side of broccoli. You can have chicken with a baked potato and a spinach salad. Again, there are countless options, just eat a complete meal with whatever good foods sound best to you. Dessert is fine, too. A square or two of dark chocolate or a bowl of fruit are great choices. Half a carrot cake isn’t smart.

I recommend four supplements with dinner, and two of them again later in the evening:

1. Digestive enzyme and/or HCl – my clients and I take 1 capsule of Digest Gold by Enzymedica at the beginning of dinner. During dinner some of them take 200-600mg of HCl in addition to the Digest Gold. Importantly, don’t take HCl if you’re having any alcohol with dinner. HCl is a tricky supplement, and beyond what I want to cover here, so consult with your doctor before taking it.
2. Vitamin D3 – take 2000 IU with dinner.
3. Fish oil – during dinner take two teaspoons (not tablespoons) of Carlson’s liquid fish oil or two Flameout pills from Biotest.
4. Astaxanthin – this powerful anti-inflammatory supplement is probably going to be the next big thing. Take one 4 or 5mg tablet with dinner.

That covers your first meal during the feeding phase. It’s likely that you’ll have a little hunger by the end of it. What should you do? Eat! Again, you can eat whatever sounds good that wouldn’t be categorized as junk. Maybe you want some leftover dinner, or a handful of mixed nuts, or another piece of fruit.

When you eat again at the end of the feeding phase take another serving of fish oil and astaxanthin like you did during dinner along with another 500mg of curcumin.

Before bed, preferably a few hours after your last food intake, I highly recommend that you take a full spectrum mineral supplement. It’s not easy for your gut to assimilate minerals so they should be chelated. Two versions I like are Biotest’s ElitePro Mineral Support and Mega Multi-Mineral by Solaray.

Training During the Waterbury Diet for Fat Loss
It’s best to train right before your feeding phase. That way, all those calories will shuttle into your muscles for growth and repair. However, some of you might train in the morning or earlier in the afternoon. Regardless of when you train (morning, afternoon, evening) take one scoop of protein powder immediately after your workout. Proventive’s Harmonized Protein is an excellent whey from New Zealand. If your stomach doesn’t like whey, Sun Warrior makes a great vegan protein.

This diet can be used in conjunction with any training program of mine. However, if muscle growth is your primary goal and if you’re on one of my more demanding HFT programs, my next installment might better fit your needs.

Final Words
This version of the Waterbury Diet is for those who need to lose a lot of fat or improve their overall health. I want to be clear that I’m not against a more traditional style of eating with multiple meals per day. This diet isn’t for everyone, especially those who want to have breakfast with their family or power lunches at noon. But if you can make this plan work for at least 6 weeks, I think you’ll look and feel better than ever.

You might think this plan is heavy on the supplements, but honestly, it needs to be. During the fasting phase your body is getting very few calories so the nutrients need to come from somewhere. And during the feeding phase your gut is ready to assimilate whatever you put in it, so make the most of that opportunity with the recommended supplements.

In my next installment I’ll cover the changes I make to this plan for muscle growth with fat loss.

Stay Focused,

References (thanks to Mike T. Nelson)
Gjedsted J, et al. (2007) Effects of a 3-day fast on regional lipid and glucose metabolism in human skeletal muscle and adipose tissue. Acta Physiol 191: 205-216.
Johnstone AM. (2007) Fasting – the ultimate diet? Obesity Reviews 8: 211-222.
Aksungar FB, et al. (2007) Interleukin-6, C-Reactive Protein and Biochemical Parameters during Prolonged Intermittent Fasting. Ann Nutr Metab 51: 88-95.

57 thoughts on “Waterbury Diet for Fat Loss

  1. I like it. Good info. A few new ideas to think about.
    I’ve been wondering for a long time how to apply the warrior diet to my goals.
    Unfortunately that means that I have to wait for the next installment, because muscle gain is my goal right now.
    Looking forward to that post.

  2. Thanks Chad, this looks interesting. I’ve never had a problem with IF protocols so I may give this a shot. However, I’m still confused on the training timeline. I have to lift first thing in the morning, typically around 5AM. If that’s the case, do I have a scope of protein powder immediately after and then start the 20-hr fasting phase?

    CW: Correct.

  3. Good stuff, Chad. I gave this a shot for a week the last time you wrote about it. I’m not sure it’s for me yet, but I did like not worrying about food for most of the day. Currently I fast one day per week with no troubles. Dinner that night tastes fantastic. I might try this again for a longer period.

    I have a question with training on this diet. Suppose my goal was fat loss. Would I still tailor my training for fat loss while on this diet? Or could I just do any old Waterbury program and let this diet take care of fat loss? I’m guessing one could do the latter until all adaptations are made, then do the former. Then the question becomes how long does it take for the body to adapt.

    CW: The primary stimulus for fat loss is your diet, so yes, you can lose fat on any training program with this diet. Once fat loss slows, merge into more fat loss focused training programs (less rest, more reps, etc).

  4. chad- I have traveled a similar path concerning The Warrior Diet. My thoughts were like yours when I first read it (10 years ago). I thought he (Ori) was a bit cracked. But It has worked well with a number of my clients.

  5. Hey Chad,
    Looks really cool, I’ve always been interested in the warrior diet style of eating, here’s my question though: I work shift work on a freelance basis so I don’t have a set daily schedule so for example Mon and Tue could be up at 10 or 11 and working till midnight. I’d train sometime in the afternoon and my work meal break would be around 7, or else I could just eat after work. Then a day or 2 later I’d be up at 6 with an evening training session before my eating period (more ideal)

    I guess the question is if the fasting/eating hours flucuate a bit over the course of the week is that ok?

    CW: It’s ok if the time you eat fluctuates.

  6. Thanks Chad. As someone who can only work out at the crack of dawn and is trying to add about 10 lbs to my upper body, I look forward to your next article!

  7. Great post Chad – can’t wait to try it. With a new baby eating 5-6 times a day is extremely difficult – this is very doable! Question though – when following this do we worry about macro breakdowns at all or daily calorie intake – or just eat til satisfied?

    CW: Eat until satisfied, as mentioned.

  8. Really cool article Chad. I unsuccessfully tried this type of diet about 6 months ago and quickly abandoned it because I had ravenous cravings(I had the hunger pains at 2:00 just as you described as well) by the time the feeding phase came around and I would eat some crap along with some healthy food. Obviously, a lack of results were not the diet’s fault but I figured I just couldn’t do this type of eating schedule.

    Well, I gave it a shot again last week and for some reason it’s now much easier to stick to healthy food. I like the style of eating because I’m rarely ever really hungry in the morning(which is what made me try the diet in the first place). Still, some of the details of the diet are a little hard to grasp so I really appreciate your article. I’ve got several questions from your version of this diet. I’ll do the best I can to keep it short.

    1) Are there guidelines for the amount of calories, protein, carbs etc. we should eat?
    2) Regarding the vegetable juice option during the fast period, does it need to be vegetable juice or can we just blend vegetables and drink the pulp as well?
    3) Should we still avoid mixing too much fat and carbs in these meals? For example, if I have sirloin, potatoes and brussel sprouts, should I avoid cashews or almond butter(just picking those as examples of fatty foods)?
    4) How much time should pass between our post-wkt protein shake until our first meal?

    Ok, that’s probably too many questions as it is. Chad, thanks again for all the great info.

    CW: 1) No guidelines. Follow the advice in the post.
    2) Blend any veggies in any way and drink them.
    3) No, carbs won’t be a problem.
    4) As little time as possible.

  9. Chad,
    I’ve seen in your books and, now in this article, that coffee isn’t recommended or limited to 8 oz or less. Can you say what the negative effects are related to fat loss and/or muscle growth?


    CW: Coffee is very acidic and hard on your GI tract, that’s why it’s not recommended. But one cup per day shouldn’t hurt too much.

  10. Very intriguing plan, Chad. Thanks for sharing it. I noticed you did not include vitamin D as one of the suggested supplements. Are you not on the vitamin D train? Do you suggest limiting coffee because of the cortisol raising properties it carries, or for another reason? Thanks again.

    CW: It’s in there now. I neglected to add that in the original post. Coffee is hard on the gut, that’s why I don’t recommend it.

  11. Chad you recommend spagetti but what about gluten? The paleo community and many others are realizing gluten is a huge irritant to gut health. Thanks.

    CW: I agree that avoiding gluten will only help. If you have problems with gluten, avoid it.

  12. Going to start B.O.F. in about two weeks (rehabbing shoulder) along w/ 3 to 4 , bjj classes per week. Currently I’m following the nutrition guide from your E- book should I continue or switch to this diet?

    CW: Both will work. Use whichever version best suits your schedule.

  13. Thanks for the reply above Chad, I’m definitely going to give it a go. I think for me the eating phase will be 7 pm – 11 pm that should be doable with most of my shifts. I have a few overnights that go from 8 pm to 6 am. Can I keep my fast/eat period the same 7-11? I’ll be sleeping late so my eating period will end up in the middle of the 24 hour cycle. Or for those days should I start eating at 1 am to 5 am?

    CW: Yes, you can keep the 7-11pm feeding phase going throughout the week if that’s easiest for you.

  14. Chad, I like the article and have read Ori Hofmekler’s WD book . However I have limited funds and can not afford the supplements , would I be able to do the waterbury Diet with only a multi vitamin and a whey protien?

    I am currently doing the HIAH get big phase for my workouts.


    CW: Yes, this or any diet can be followed without supplements. You can still get results.

  15. Chad

    This plan will have me eating really 2 meals a day, the biggest one being dinner, its like fasting in ramadan but i can take water. Is it really important to hit the 16 hour mark or could i have 2 scrambled eggs at 9am and then open by fast at 8pm for dinner…i workout at 5 or 6 pm.

    CW: Yes, the best research for this style of eating comes from Ramadan studies since it’s basically the same thing. I suggest you skip the morning eggs if fat loss is your primary goal. For muscle growth, that will work as I’ll discuss soon.

  16. Chad how do you stand with BCAA’s and fasting, i know a lot of other coaches who recommend them during it. Would you recommend the same servings as in body of fire?

    CW: I think BCAAs are ok during the WD for the fasting phase, but honestly I haven’t seen much to warrant its necessity. For muscle growth BCAAs become more important as I’ll discuss soon.

  17. Chad great article I have used IF before and had great success on days I dont train and days I train only in the evening. However right now I train Monday Wednesday Friday strength from 1030-1130 am and mma 6-8 pm. Tuesday Thursday Sunday I eat warrior style and Saturday I have an all day juice fast. The past 4 weeks I have been using the following meal plan on these days.
    8 am peanut butter banana whey almond milk shake.
    10 am prework supps
    12 pm surge recovery
    2 pm Half a hamburger no bun 1/2 cup broccoli
    5 pm 2 corn tortilla lean beef tacos/ pre workout supps
    830 pm surge recovery fish oil zma
    Is there anyway I could effectively use IF on these days without compromising my performance. I am stuck at about 180 looking to get below 170 for competition in a few weeks. Thank you for these articles they are very helpful and practical.

    CW: To get those last 10 pounds off you need to minimize your calories during the day. Your performance won’t suffer if you train on a relatively empty stomach – once you get past the first few workouts. In fact, my clients and always train on an empty stomach these days because it feels great once your body adapts. Take 3-6 grams of BCAAs and 2 grams of l-carnitine before your workouts to keep your energy up. Then once the workouts are finished, start your feeding phase.

  18. Hi Chad, I remember when you first recommended me this diet on T-Nation, I find it hard to explain how thankful I am.
    Using this aproach plus the veggie diet once a month, I went from 200 lbs and 30% body fat, at the beggining of jun, to 165 lbs and 15% body fat currently (I am 5″7 tall). The best is that my strenght remained the same, I still capable of deadlifting 385lbs and clean&push-pressing 170lbs.
    However, most of the fat loss happended during the 9 weeks of summer vacations, I have been stuck at 165lbs, since mid august, I really thing that it has to do with lack of sleep and constant stress because of school, it also makes harder to train daily. Sadly I think that my goal of having visible abs (first tim ever) before turning 20 on january is not going to happen.
    By the way, lately I think of you during the physiology class, we are dealing with topics related to neurophisiology and endocrinology, let me tell you that having read some of your articles about the nervous system, also helped me a lot.
    In short, thank you very much Chad

    PD: Just one question, reagarding water intake, how do you recomend dividing it through the day? I mean how much water to drink at once, and how often.

    CW: Thanks for the kind words, Leonardo. To help with your stress and training, I suggest taking 7 capsules of Biotest’s ElitePro Mineral support each night before bed. For water, there’s no normal limit to how much you can drink at once. I prefer to do it in 18-24 ounce doses. The key is to drink the water room temperature because it’s easier on the gut.

  19. Hey Chad, your writings have very much turned me on to try IF. My problem is that whenever I try a fast of any sort or very low calorie meal plan, I immediately within a few hours suffer from migraine or headache which worsens if I try to will through it. Is it a common problem for those new to fasting or does it indicates some blood sugar fluctuations, what do you suggest? Thanks for all the awesome info.

    CW: You should check with your doctor first. However, in my experience those headaches come from your body craving sugar, so detoxing your body from it is a good thing, even if it’s not pleasant. Also be sure to stay very hydrated. Sometimes green tea can help with the headaches if it’s from caffeine withdrawal.

  20. Very cool stuff Chad! Thanks for the shout out too, and always happy to help.

    Do you think that most have goofed up digestion, thus minimizing the amount of food is important to allow the gut to repair itself? Could you get a similar effect with more food if it is good for your system?

    I too think astaxanthin will be a big deal and I am surprised it is not already bigger. I find that HCL can be very helpful, but should be used with caution.

    I’ve used IF for about 2.5 years now and I am a big fan. I tend to have people work up to a full 24 hour fast about once per week. The main benefit I like is that pushes insulin to very low levels and thus allows your body to burn more bodyfat (and upregulate everything involved in that process). You are more metabolically flexible to use fat as a fuel source.

    I’m looking forward to the next parts too.
    Rock on
    Mike T Nelson PhD(c)

    CW: Mike, I think an unhealthy GI tract is the number one problem in this country. Fix it and everything from fat burning to muscle growth will become easier.

  21. Chad,

    A few questions for you.

    I just completed your Get Big program (with great results, btw) and am enjoying my week off. I’m 6′ and weigh 195lbs with 18% body fat. I’ve been slow bulking (about 300 cal over maint) for almost a year and I’d like to lean up now. 1) How do you feel about combining this diet with your Get Lean program? 2) Also, Curcumin/Turmeric wreak havoc on my digestive system… any alternatives? 3) Lastly, should I be concerned about being in a catabolic state for 20 hours with no protein intake… will I see significant muscle loss?

    Thank you very much!

    CW: 1) Yes, follow this diet. 2) Don’t use it. 3) You won’t lose any muscle. As you burn fat you’ll look more muscular than ever.

  22. Hi Chad,

    Would you recommend eating this way for one day a week to start with? Would there be any gut related benefits of doing so?


    CW: One day per week is better than none, but you need a few days for your physiology to shift over to fat burning.

  23. Hi Chad,

    I’ve been following the LeanGains IF approach for the last couple of months with good results. Hunger hasn’t been a problem for me, I’m a lot leaner while maintaining muscle, my workouts are still strong and the IF eating schedule fits in well with my days at work being too busy to eat every 3 hours like conventional diets.

    I’m intrigued by your approach though and would like to give it a try.

    A question… I normally train after work at around 5:30-6:00pm and finish my feeding phase at 10:00pm. With your approach, would you advise to have something before my workout (e.g. whey and a piece of fruit) or to train in the fasted state and simply wait until after my workout at around 7:00pm to start eating?

    CW: Train in a fasted state. You could take 3-5g of BCAA right before a workout as another option.

  24. Chad, I’m pretty good at complete fasting all day. So I gather that this is actually preferable to “nickel and diming” throughout the day? I actually find that eating anything at all activates hunger rather than satiates it. Once the seal is broken, then it’s on!

    Also, how do you feel about taking a caffeine pill each day, since you disapprove of coffee. I find caffeine greatly helps me stay sharp both for workouts, and for concentration.

    Good stuff, CW!

    CW: You’re right, it’s easier to stay fasted. It’s better, anyway. Caffeine is fine and good – that’s not the problem with coffee. Stick to green tea, though. Caffeine pills are ok.

  25. Chad, I swear this is my last question (at least for now). I’m using your Get Strong program, just finished the first phase. And I’ve been having Surge Recovery as my post workout shake. If following the Waterbury Diet would I be better off with just protein post workout? And maybe have the Surge when my training will come right before the eating phase?
    Thanks again!

    CW: If fat loss is your primary goal, stick to just protein.

  26. What’s Up Chad!

    I was following this eating plan as per your last article, but one day during the 2nd week, I was only a few hours into the under-eating phase, and I experienced a bout of what I believe was hypoglycemia. Since then I tried the diet once more but was unable to complete the fasting phase for the same reason.

    Would a possible strategy be to slowly reduce my under-eating phase caloric intake, until I can get by on the amounts of food you recommend in the article?

    I would really like to be able to use the Waterbury Diet to get leaner, but I can’t afford to pass out at work, that would look pretty bad… what strategies do you recommend?

    FYI I am 240lbs, at about 15% Body Fat, and train 7 days/week at 1 pm

    CW: That’s odd to hear and it might be from dehydration. The supplements I recommended will help. But yes, ease into the plan and slowly build up your fasting period. Your body will adapt over time.

  27. Thank you for this information, Chad. I see one of the studies you have listed deals with C-reactive protein, so I take it this has actually been shown to reduce inflammation? That’s great. What are some of the mechanisms involved?

    CW: Yep, it reduces inflammation – one of the best advantages of this style of eating.

  28. Thank you very much for the guidance Chad. I have a little concern about fasted training, it appears without anything in stomach my performance and stamina takes a hit. Would it be okay if I extend the feeding phase a couple hours while accommodating my training and a pre workout meal within that period or would it be too much of the deviation and could hamper the fatloss?

    CW: I felt the same way as you at first. Yes, your first few workouts will suck but once your body adapts you’ll feel better than ever when training fasted. Now my performance suffers when I have anything in my stomach.

  29. Hello Chad, I am going to start this diet immediately however I have a few questions I would like you to look at and possibly answer for me.
    1) Wont it be hard to get sufficient protein intake over the four hours without making that four hours one long protein fest?
    2) I work shifts and during my 3.00pm till 11.00pm I usually eat around 7.00pm. I then dont eat again till I arrive home at 11.30pm. Is it OK to have the feeding phase split up like this?
    3) My current routine is a circuit of three exercises done five to six days a week. Today’s for example is Front Squats, Incline Bench and Bent Rows each done for 6-8 reps and for a total of 8 sets with no rest between exercises and 2 minutes rest between cycles. Is this a good protocol to follow with the diet?
    As you can see from the routine the primary motive is fat loss and conditioning but I would like to preserve the muscle I have built in the past.
    Best regards.

    CW: 1) It’s all about assimilation. Your body will assimilate more protein than ever during that feeding phase. You won’t lose muscle.
    2) Do your best to get your feeding phase down to 4 hours.
    3) That workout is fine. Check out Huge in a Hurry on Amazon if you don’t have it. All those programs are ideal.

  30. Hi Chad good article, something i was wondering about for a long time, thanks for the info.

    I was wondering if you’d tried the “carb nite” or carb back loading diet/strategies? And if so what do you think of them? The author (kiefer?) seems to back up alot of his crazy ideas with scientific studies. If you haven’t read about them, thats cool too, haha. Thanks Again for all the awesome free info you provide on your site and facebook page.

    CW: I’m not familiar with what you mentioned. If you’re referring to eating carbs at night, I think it’s a great approach if you fast earlier in the day.

  31. hi mr. waterbury. i have a question. is it ok for me to take the pre-workout supplement jack3d? im only 15 and im not sure.

    CW: It’s not my choice for a pre-workout supplement. Stick to beta-alanine by itself, and maybe some caffeine from black or green tea.

  32. Lately, I have been using this as an experiment to heal my IBS & leaky gut, along with an auto-immune/anti-fungal paleo diet. it’s working to mitigate my symptoms (which is not the same thing as curing the core issue), but i’m still experimenting with the timing. i find that eating my meal at the end of the day causes me to wake up a bit during the night, as well as effectively ending my day. i do wake up feeling rested but i can’t manage to stay awake for a few more hours before going to sleep as i would like to. this way of eating is also causing a small bit of constipation, but i know those issues are directly related to my condition and i’m playing with drinking more magnesium during the day.
    my next step is to see what happens if i place the 4 hour eating window in the morning or afternoon…
    i am hoping that this experiment will not only help me to heal the IBS/leaky gut but also increase my free testosterone and thyroid output.
    i am also taking tons of supplements, so there’s that.

    CW: Assuming you’re already taking the mineral formula I recommend before bed, give Biotest’s Z12 a try – one pill before bed. It helps a lot of people sleep better.

  33. Chad, great article. I am a big believer in the 20-hour fast and I have found no impact to my strength training, following the Wendler 5-3-1 program and have hit PRs in all four basic lifts (bench, squat, OH press and deadlift) since beginning the fasting routine and lost 20 lbs of fat.

    I have read that 2-3g of glutamine on an empty stomach promotes the release of growth hormone. Reading your supplement recommendations, I was wondering if you are a believer in glutamine as a GH promoter? I take 2-3 g first thing in the morning with water (after which I do my daily 20 min. bodyweight workout) and then the same dosage again about an hour before my lunchtime workouts (after which I take 30-50g of whey protein).


    CW: Glutamine is an interesting supplement. The problem is that the gut doesn’t assimilate it well so you often need a lot (10g or more) to get a response. However, 2-3g certainly won’t hurt and it can help gut health so stick with it if you like it.

  34. Chad, what amount of fat a person should burn weekly with this approach? I am doing a full body workout 3 times a week: 1) push ups, pull ups on rings, goblet squats, 2) squat, inverted rows, kettlebell press, 3) kroc rows, swings, dips. Right now I’m 170 lbs and about 15% bodyfat. How much time to get that fat% to a low level?

    CW: It’s difficult to determine how much fat you’ll lose each week. The first week results in the most fat loss. Rest assured, your body will be burning fat as fast as it can on this plan. Do it until you can see your abs, then switch things up if you feel the need.

  35. Hi chad!
    Been going with this style of eating for about half a year now, suits very well for my schedules! 🙂
    How many meals should I eat during the feeding phase? So far I’ve eaten only one huge meal at late evening, just wondering if I should start eating more?

    Also bit off-topic: you’ve been promoting iron cross training in some of your articles, but what do you think about training other gymnastics fundamental static positions (front/back lever, planche, L-sit)?

    CW: One or two meals during the feeding phase. Basically, if you’re hungry a few hours after your big meal you should eat. If not, don’t sweat it.
    Yes, I use all those gymnastics exercises with my clients. Those three are awesome.

  36. Re: detox

    I would recommend anyone who has never done this – or any form of fasting or VLC – ease into eat, rather than jumping in whole hog. For example, restrict feeding window to 12 hrs first day, 11 hrs second day, etc. This will give the toxins released from the fat cells along with the fatty acids time to be flushed out along the body’s natural detoxification pathways, rather than dumping it into the bloodstream all at once.

    CW: Thanks Jeffrey. Yes, some people like to ease into the plan over time, while others prefer to jump right in. As long as a person consumes one of the recommended “foods” whenever they’re hungry, I think they can get away with more than 12 hours the first day – but starting there and building up is certainly fine.

  37. Is exercise required on this diet plan? or can one see results w/o exercise if following this plan.

    CW: Exercise is recommended on any diet. It should be a part of everyone’s life. But you don’t have to exercise in order to eat this way.

  38. Chad,

    I know you said vegetable juice during the fasting phase.

    Is it possible to eat raw vegetables instead? I got addicted to that from your 7-day fat loss diet plan and I don’t have the means to juice during the day at work.


    CW: Raw veggies can be tough on your GI tract when the goal is detox, but it’s not a bad option.

  39. I like the program and am giving it a whirl now. Here’s a few questions I had about the program.
    1: I’m working through Wendler’s 5/3/1 program and am making great gains. I train in the mornings and am afraid of losing momentum with the program if I switch fully to this diet. Think it would be alright to add some simple carbs and/or BCAAs here?
    2: In reference to the article, did you mean for the fasting cycle to limit ourselves to 3 of a particular emphasis (like three organic apples but we could still have three different times for cranberry mix) daily or three of those choices for the course of the day (strictly three choices for that day like an organic apple, cranberry mix, vegetable drink)?
    3: Would it be alright to use a protein supplement like Syntha6 (MRP) or purely a whey protein mix?

    1) Use coconut water or cranberry juice as your carb. BCAAs are fine.
    2) Three separate choices throughout the day. No reason to eat 3 apples in a day.
    3) I suggest pure whey from cattles without hormones.

  40. Thanks Chad for the reply. I have a copy of HIAH which I am about half way through reading ( I prefer to read the book fully before embarking on the routines ). I know from it that you are a big fan of short circuits Squat/ Deadlift Variation coupled with an Upper Push and an Upper Pull movement. As you can see from my last post I am following this but doing far more reps and sets than you seem to advocate. I am doing eight reps for eight sets. Now although I am using this as a fatloss routine I have read that Vince Gironda thought it an effective mass builder. Thing is though, when I do this routine I feel it more in my heart and lungs than my muscles. Surely muscle cant be built if your tiring your lungs and heart out more than the target muscle? Or have I missed something?
    Best Regards.

    CW: You can build muscle with short rest periods, but it’s better for fat loss. Try alternating weeks of shorter or longer rest periods to take advantage of fat loss and muscle/strength gains.

  41. Great post Chad. Question, during fasting phase #2, what vegetables are you using for the glass of vegetable juice?

    CW: Any veggies are fine. I like cucumber, celery, carrot, beet, and a pinch of salt.

  42. Chad,

    Is this IF thing a lifestyle? Something you do for a short period of time?


    CW: It can be either. Many people feel so much better after adding IF into their life that they don’t want to stop. But you can once you get as lean/healthy as you want.

  43. Hi Chad,

    very interesting take on the Warrior Diet – there are so many variations on this now, but i love reading them all.

    Is it possible to combine your recommendations with The Renegade Diet layout which is 16 hours total fasting (like Leangains), then 4 hours Undereating followed by Overeating in the evening (like Warrior Diet)?

    Personally, i follow Ori’s advice on the Undereating phase and allow myself a bit more stuff than what you suggest, but not much:

    1.30pm (Post Workout) =

    Small protein shake with one scoop of pea / rice protein (about 25g protein), a desertspoon of ground seeds (flax, pumpkin, sesame), and a half tsp cinnamon

    a small apple, and a satsuma, and a few grapes or raisins.

    a small salad consisting of handful of raw spinach / watercress/ rocket leaves mixed with a few raw string beans, with a squirt of lemon or lime juice

    3.30pm =

    Small protein shake with one scoop hemp protein + desertspoon de-bittered brewers yeast (about 25g protein total ), 1 tsp (negligible calorie) greens powder with mint, a sprinkle of stevia, blended with half a cup of mix berries (incl a few cherries).

    Handful of raw nuts

    5.30pm =
    1 cup of unpasteurised dark miso soup + sea veg (made with paste not powder)

    Overeating begins around 7.30pm

    CW: As you mentioned, there are many modifications you can make. If the above plan is what you prefer, go for it.

  44. Chad,

    Great article, and I also like the one you just posted on muscle-gain. Quick question — for fat loss, is it acceptable to have some raw vegetables during the underfeeding period of the fat-loss plan or do they have to be juiced?


    CW: It’s better to juice them since it’s easier on the gut.

  45. Chad, just wanted to say thank you for giving us a great guide to IF for fat loss. After a couple weeks I’ve dropped another 5lbs(was kinda stuck for a couple weeks). Still have a ways to go but the great thing about this kind of eating style is that I can see myself doing it for a long time with no problems sticking to it. Well, except for when friends/family want to have lunch. One thing that I’ve noticed that’s kinda annoying is that my hands are freezing in the mornings(not my feet so much though). Not sure if it’s a side effect of the diet but it seems to be. Not a concern just kinda annoying.

    CW: Cold hands is a sign of low thyroid output. You need to correct it with a natural, herbal thyroid support formula that contains iodine.

  46. Hi Chad,
    Another great instalment, your articles are always very concise.
    I have two questions though, you mention that it’s best to train just before the eating phase. When you say train, does that indicate only strength or hypertrophy training or does it include high intensity cardio as well?
    And if I do HIIT in the morning should I be taking the recommended scoop of protein powder immediately after?

    Thanks in advance.

    CW: Either type of training is best before the feeding phase. If you train in the morning have a scoop of protein post workout.

  47. Can you replace the big meal to be at lunchtime instead of dinner? Fasting after lunch for 24 hours till next day lunch? just curious.

    CW: I get this question a lot, and honestly, I’ve never done it with myself or clients so it’s difficult to say if it will work as well. In theory it will work but the problem is sleep – if you go to bed hungry it can negatively affect your sleep. But for you that might not be the case. Be sure to take minerals before bed to help you sleep well.

  48. Starting this tomorrow…I’ll try to get some ‘before’ metrics tomorrow morning when I hit the gym. One question…would you prefer a scoop of Surge Recovery after a weight training session, or would you stick to the vegan protein? I have Surge and Isopure available at the moment, so not sure how much it matters. Thanks for the info as always, Chad!

    CW: During the “fasting” phase, stick to pure protein. If you train at the end of the day, right before your feeding phase, Surge will help add muscle.

  49. Chad, regarding your response in post #46, would the mediherb supp you mentioned in this article be sufficient to correct my thyroid? Btw, my tsh series was 1.96 in a blood panel I recently had done so I thought I was fine as far as my thyroid went. I knew the tsh test isn’t perfect but I felt I ok with it being below 2.0.

    Thanks again for the great info.

    CW: If you’re hypothyroid, the supplement will help. I also like this formula: http://regallife.net/supplements/Raw-Thyroid.html

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