Intermittent Fasting and Leangains

Malan Darras - Intermittent Fasting

Over the last few months I’ve been focusing on health, fitness and nutrition.

I sit in front of the computer 8-14 hours a day and if I’m not working out and eating right I can get soft pretty fast.

One morning I looked in the mirror and it was clear that not going to the personal trainer and working my own, crappy routine in my apartment building’s mini-gym wasn’t working – and I needed to get back on track.

I started experimenting with multiple workout and nutrition programs testing to see what works best (for me) that I could stick with long term.

At first I went back to basics and followed standard bodybuilding / fitness protocol which meant:

  • A 5-6 day gym split
  • Meal-prepping 6-8 small meals per day
  • Eating every 3-4 hours
  • Intense cardio 3+ days a week

I joined a local gym. I ate clean 90% of the time and once a week I had a cheat day and ate whatever I wanted. I tracked all of my food using MyFitnessPal and good things started happening.

Note: If you want to lose weight and don’t know how –  MyFitnessPal is going to change your life. You can thank me later.

The above system worked for me. It works for a lot of people… but it’s a lot of work. Lots of tupperware, cooking, cleanup and time at the gym are involved. I actually got pretty good at it and I love being in the gym but I knew this wasn’t something that I could keep up long term.

Intermittent Fasting + LeanGains

Then I came across Intermittent Fasting and LeanGains pioneered by Martin Berkhan, a Swedish nutritional consultant and personal trainer.

Intermittent Fasting is a system of eating all of your calories in an 8 hour window and fasting the remaining 16 hours of the day (including time asleep). LeanGains is a 3x per week, low rep, strength training gym routine with little to no cardio.

  • So I eat from 12pm noon to 8pm
  • I fast from 8pm to noon the next day
  • Go to Gym Monday, Wednesday and Friday
  • I eat more on workout days and less on rest days
  • Light Cardio is optional

Getting Twice The Results with Half The Work?

Although the process seems counter productive in almost every regard (less workouts, less meals per day, less cardio) the results speak for themselves.

  • I workout less and get in better shape
  • I do less cardio and get leaner
  • I lose body fat and my lifts go up at the gym
  • I get to eat a mountain of carbs

That’s really all the evidence I need.

I’ll be posting on this topic from time to time as it has become one of the things I focus on the most. In fact, I f*cking love it.

Leangains and Intermittent Fasting Transformation

Click here to read an extensive post about my Leangains and Intermittent Fasting experience.

Resources: – The original – IF/Leangains practitioner and personal trainer – tons of Q&A and personal testimonials – Pick a weight loss goal, track your food, lose weight
  • Zingali

    Interesting findings. I dig the intermittent fasting concept. I’ve been eating Paleo for a few months now and while that has definitely helped, trying this seems like a good idea. I hit the ROM Machine at Quick Gym 3 times a week and walk to a Farmers Market on Saturdays. Drinking more water (my achilles) and maybe changing up the diet might get better results. Definitely worth a shot. Thanks for the posts lately. These are inspiring/helpful/motivational

    • Malan Darras

      Zingali – Paleo is cool, I’m probably 80% paleo. The biggest game changer for me was:

      A. Determining how many calories i need per day to stay the exact weight I am right now

      B. Tracking the food I eat to ensure that I hit my daily/weekly calorie goals (loss or gain)

      If you eat more than you need, you gain weight (regardless of food type)
      If you eat less than you need, you lose weight (also regardless of food type)

      If you workout, you get even better results

      If you keep doing what you’re doing and add in calorie tracking using – you’ll get shocking results.

  • scott wright

    Is there a limit or requirement of carbs or calories during the daily 8 hour period? Basically, is every day a cheat day or do you watch what you eat daily?

    • Malan Darras

      Scott – here’s a calculator to get your Calorie requirements based on your goals (weight loss vs weight gain).

      Every day is definitely NOT a cheat day haha. I keep it about 80/20 good/bad every day so that I don’t really ever need to “cheat”.

      My main staples are chicken, greek yogurt, egg whites, peanut butter, vegetables, cottage cheese. But I DEFINITELY throw in junk here and there – frozen yogurt, Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches and stuff like that.

  • phil

    hey i just want to know if you are obligated to cycle carbs/fat for a kind of recomp. if i use the 16/8 protocol with 3 balanced meal every day can it yield a recomp (will surely eat less on non workout day though and eat a bit more on workout days in the same proportion but mostly carbs fat

    • Malan Darras

      Phil – my first question would be why are you asking the question?

      Are you worried that cycling carbs/fat will be too hard? Have you tried it? The cycling is no big deal for me and it makes sense that you give your body more carbs when it can use them and less when it can’t.

      My advice would be to start with the recommended program for a week or two. Then adjust if needed. But don’t question it before you’ve even tried it.

      Nothing is mandatory though. You can do whatever suits you best and gives you results. There are plenty of IFers that don’t cycle.

  • marco

    do you workout on in empty stomach, or do you eat right before working out. On your fasting schedule when is the best time to workout.