Waterbury Diet for Muscle Growth

In my first installment of the Waterbury Diet I covered the approach I recommend for fat loss and gut health. Basically, you’ll eat very little during the day, take supplements, and then eat the majority of your calories at night during a 4-hour period. This is essentially what Ori Hofmekler’s Warrior Diet is, and that was the impetus for the Waterbury Diet.

If you haven’t read my first installment, please check it out because it contains the overview of this diet. Without that information, very little of the following will make sense. You can check out the first installment at this link.

The ultimate goal of the Waterbury Diet is simple: improve gut health so your body can use what you put into it. For years, naturopathic doctors and gastroenterologists have been telling us that it’s not what we put in our body that matters: what matters is what our body can assimilate. Proper digestion and absorption are absolutely critical for growth, repair and health.

You will never gain muscle or recover quickly if your gut is unhealthy. I guarantee that 99% of you fall under the category of an “unhealthy gut” or “a gut that’s not as healthy as it should be.” And I’m talking about myself here, too. I always considered myself healthy, but it wasn’t until I started eating this way that I realized just how messed up my GI health really was.

So this brings me to my approach for muscle growth on this diet. One of the primary reasons why most of us hard-training guys and gals have gut problems is because most of the supplements that promise muscle growth are destroying our GI tract. That’s why the system I use for muscle growth builds on the original Waterbury Diet for Fat Loss.

Waterbury Diet for Muscle Growth
There are two primary changes that should be made when fast muscle growth is your goal. First, consume an easily digestible protein source every 3 hours during the fasting phase three days per week to flood your body with muscle-building amino acids. Second, add carbs to your post-workout meal and Feeding Phase.

1. Consume more protein: you already know how important protein is for muscle growth, but you can’t cram crappy protein powders or supermarket beef into your body every few hours and expect your gut to respond well. Frequent meals and high assimilation rates don’t go hand-in-hand. However, our gut can cope with a few, high-quality protein sources.

Which protein sources to use:
1. Whey protein from cattle that were raised without hormones. I prefer grass-fed whey.
2. Vegan protein powders for those who don’t tolerate whey. Sun Warrior’s Raw Vegan protein powder is fine choice.
3. Foods that contain milk proteins such as greek yogurt and cottage cheese. I’m only mentioning these because some people get tired of protein powders. However, if you have abdominal distention, or experience any allergy symptoms after consuming milk proteins, remove them from your diet because they’re doing more harm than good.

When to use the protein:
You’ll consume around 20 grams of protein from any of the above sources every three hours, three days per week. Why not every day? Because stuffing protein in your body every day will reduce your assimilation rate and it won’t give your body the fasting phases it needs throughout the week to keep your gut health in check.

Ideally, you’ll consume the protein feedings on the days you lift weights. So if you lift on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, those should be the days you take in extra protein. Just make sure you don’t have the protein feedings two days in a row, even if you lift weights two days in a row.

2. Consume more carbs: it’s extremely difficult to add muscle without a healthy dose of carbs because they release insulin, an important muscle building hormone. This is especially true immediately after your workouts when your muscles are starving for glycogen replenishment. The amount of carbs you need post-workout depends on how much muscle you have. A 250-pound powerlifter needs more carbs than a 150-pound woman.

However, you don’t need a lot of carbs post-workout – just enough to generate an insulin response so the carbs will be shuttled into your muscles. These carbs should be consumed with around 20 grams of protein powder. Here are the recommendations based on your body weight.

150 pounds: 30-35 grams of carbs with 20 grams protein post-workout
200 pounds: 45-55 grams of carbs with 20 grams protein post-workout
250 pounds: 55-65 grams of carbs with 20 grams protein post-workout

Which carb sources to use post-workout:
1. Organic cherry juice. Research by the British Journal of Sports Medicine shows that consuming cherry juice post workout reduces soreness. As an added bonus, cherry juice contains a healthy dose of melatonin so you’ll sleep better.
2. Organic raisins. Raisins are an alkaline food so they help offset acidification from training. Also, they have a high glycemic load so the carbs can be quickly shuttled into your muscles.
3. Fresh pineapple. Pineapple is great post-workout because it contains bromelain, an enzyme that helps your body assimilate protein and reduce inflammation.

To gain muscle, I also recommend that you get plenty of carbs during the Feeding Phase. Your muscles can take a lot more carbs than you gave them post-workout because they haven’t had any for almost a day.

The ideal sources for carbs in your first meal of the Feeding Phase are: rice, potatoes or pasta. Eat as much of those carbs as you want, with protein, until you’re completely satisfied. If you get hungry a few hours after dinner, and if it’s still within the 4-hour Feeding Phase, eat again. At this time mixed nuts, natural cheese or almond butter are good options.

Overview of the Waterbury Diet
As mentioned, there are differences between eating for fat loss and eating for muscle growth. You should read both installments to understand the whole plan. However, the following gives a brief description that shows the difference between the two.

For fat loss: eat very little during the day, consume protein post-workout on the days you lift weights, eat until you’re satisfied during the 4-hour Feeding Phase at night.

For muscle growth (3 days per week): consume protein every 3 hours during the “fasting” phase, consume protein with carbs post-workout, eat until you’re satisfied and include plenty of carbs during first part of the 4-hour Feeding Phase at night.

For muscle growth (4 days per week): eat very little during the day, consume protein with carbs post-workout on the days you lift weights, eat until you’re satisfied during the 4-hour Feeding Phase at night.

Stay Focused,

59 thoughts on “Waterbury Diet for Muscle Growth

  1. hey chad,

    what about the daily recommendations of grams of protein/carbs/and fat for muscle growth? i ask since you cant get 150-200 grams of protein in one feeding phase(if you are 200lbs plus), or should you? do we abandon that ideal all together? what about pre workout carbs?

    CW: Eat protein twice during four hour period. 75g at each serving.

  2. If I were to do cardio on the days i dont lift, would i lose fat? I’m not just talking jogging, I’m talking sprints and other types of cardio all in the mix to fire up my metabolism. I have about 20 percent body fat (stubborn fat) and just wondered if doing this would help lose fat while gaining muscle at the same time.

    CW: Yes it will help with fat loss.

  3. Chad,
    Would training 6 times a week be overtraining? 3 days heavy lifting for muscle growth and the other three cardio to drop a few pounds. I just want to make sure I get the results i want.


    CW: That’s not overtraining if you can recover and consistently increase your lifts. Go with the plans in Huge in a Hurry.

  4. hi chad,
    great article, i’ve been using the warrior fat loss plan a few month ago while using the body of fire and the plp and i was able to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time. now, after being injure, i need put on some muscle mass on while regaining my shape back (playing rugby). and this eating plan looks perfect. just one question : while doing HFT, you recommended in one of you’re t-nation article to drink a juice (with carrots …) every 3 hours. should i still drink this juice on this diet ? and also, after the calft workout (of your hft) on the fasting days, should i have post-workout ?

    CW: I juiced veggies at first, but you don’t need to do that. Read the version for fat loss for food recommendations during the fasting phase.

  5. Hello Chad. I admire and appreciate the wonderful knowledge you share. I find your work exceptional.

    My question involves the Waterbury Diet for Muscle Growth. As I see it, it is possible to lose a significant about of fat while following this approach (Muscle Growth) as it would be following the Fat Loss version. Am I off on that conclusion? Is the Waterbury Diet for Fat Loss more for a guaranteed success at gut health?? I love both versions.

    Thank you,

    CW: Both versions improve gut health. The muscle growth version is just, as expected, designed more for those with mass gain in mind.

  6. Great! You are the best!
    Why not consume protein every 3 hrs on the 4x/wk for Muscle Growth? Could you elaborate a little more for me? Could I do a 3x/wk for Muscle Growth protocol and simply add a Day following the Fat Loss parameters? My inner nerd seeks clarity. Thanks!

    CW: You can do that for 4 days each week. That’s one of many variations I use. I couldn’t cover all my variations in the blog, but I will in my upcoming book.

  7. If i needed @ 150 grams protein/day and used 5 grams of BCAA’s X 3 instead of 20grams of whey, yogurt or cottage cheese X 3, would I still have to take in 135 grams vs only needing 90 grams if I used the whey or do the BCAA’s count for more than just their 5 grams. Also could i use a mixture i already have of equal parts BCAAs, EAAs and glutamine?

    CW: You will need more protein if you’re only using BCAAs during the day. So yes, it’s better to use whey during the day if you want to eat less protein at night. Whey contains many other aminos that your body needs that you don’t get with BCAAS.

  8. I’m following the muscle growth diet. On the fasting days would I benefit from taking bcaas or any other type of aminos or supplements just feel I’m not doing enough.


    CW: If you need more protein, double your protein powder intake (2 scoops per serving instead of 1) during the day.

  9. I know you’ve hit on this a couple of times already… Have you noticed a difference between those that workout early morning that wait ’till evening to eat and those that workout in the evening, then eat?

    CW: You can still get results with morning workouts (have a scoop of protein right after). But it works better to train before the feeding phase at night.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.