The Perfect Muscle Building, Fat Burning Diet Plan?

by Caleb Lee on January 8, 2009

If you’re looking for the perfect muscle building, fat burning, diet plan, then I think you’re going to want to sit up and pay attention because this may be just what you’re looking for!

This will be the first of (hopefully) many posts where I’ll be exploring the “perfect” muscle building diet… and I’ll keep you updated on my results.

What makes for a perfect muscle building diet?

Well instead of thinking of the diet, think of what you want out of it:

  • You want to optimize your sex hormones (less estrogen, more testosterone, etc)…
  • You want to gain lean muscle
  • You want to burn fat, preferrably using it as fuel…
  • You want energy to spare
  • You don’t want to be a “slave” to food (having to eat 6-8x per day)…
  • You want to be able to ENJOY your food

Most experts would tell you it’s impossible… but I think I may have found the perfect solution. You don’t have to starve yourself, you don’t have to eat foods you hate (in fact you can eat EVERYTHING you’re already eating now), and you don’t have to be analytical and count every single calorie you ingest (or WANT to ingest!)

How is this possible? It’s a combination of two very powerful ways of eating:

First: Intermittent fasting (IF)!

Very simply this is alternating times of undereating, or no food, with periods of time of overeating. People do this for various time periods but the type I’m going to focus on here would be the warrior diet of 20 hour fasts and 4 hour feedings (for maintenance and fat burning/losing weight), and the LeanGains’ fast of 16hrs and 4hr feedings (for building muscle while staying super lean!)

I feel this is an easily adapted eating method for most people. You can get up, get out the door, forget about food and focus on work, play, or whatever and never worry about having to eat all day. Then you can go to the gym, get strong, build muscle, burn fat, whatever… then break your fast with a recovery drink and eat a big meal with your family or friends when you get home.

I LOVE this style of eating. Not just for the lifestyle benefits either, the health benefits are second to none:

  • Burns Fat: the hours of going without food force your body to use fat for fuel
  • Muscle Gaining: your body will use the excess calories you eat during the overeating to fuel your muscles (because of your workouts) instead of going to fat gain
  • Detoxifying: the hours of no food helps your body detox itself
  • Reducing insulin resistance: to improve your health and promote a lean body
  • Lifespan extension: there are tons of scientific studies proving a reduced calorie diet extends lifespan
  • Improved Growth Hormone response: during exercise and sleep, helping you build more muscle and burn more fat, and stay younger longer
  • Stomach health: giving your digestive system “rest” during the fast helps a lot
  • Increased brain function: the “fight or flight” hormones are elevated during fasting, which cause clearer more alert brain functioning…
  • Better liver function: during the fast, important for health and fat burning
  • Disease prevention and anti-aging: more benefits like this from the reduced calorie diet/intermittent fasting studies…

“But All The Experts Say I Have To Eat 6-8x Times A Day?”

For more information on why the standard advice of “eat every 3hrs or you’ll get fat and burn muscle for food” is totally and completely wrong, read my article on the 6 meals a day diet myth. Then for more information on the basics of IF go read Mike’s IF 101 article.

Clearly, to design the ultimate muscle building, fat burning, healthiest diet — Intermittent Fasting is a must!

So what about the “nuts and bolts”? I know you’re wondering “what would I actually EAT in those few hours of overeating?” That’s part two to this amazing diet formula…

Second: The Anabolic Diet!

The Anabolic Diet is Dr. Mauro Di Pasquale’s solution to build muscle & lose fat. Here’s the basics:

  • Monday-Friday: High protein, high fat and low Carb…
  • Weekends: High carbs, low protein and low fat…

Fatty red meat is your main protein on this diet because it’s high in cholesterol and saturated fat which increases your good sex hormones (testosterone, growth hormone and helps stabilize insuline)… and eating low carb throughout the week (5 days) forces your body to use fat for energy!

During the week you’re just eating meats and veggies and during the weekend you can eat all the carbs you’ve been craving, so you never have to stop eating the foods you love… you just have to change WHEN you eat them.

Plus, you won’t feel like you’re starving yourself on this diet because you’re eating so much fat and protein which helps stabilize insulin levels and leaves you feeling full (along with the healthy doses of fiber from the veggies).

And just in case you’re wondering: YES, you’ve been lied to again — eating a ton of fat and protein is actually good for you, healthy, etc… it’s MUCH better overall than the high carb/low fat and protein garbage that passes for the “American Food Pyramid guide to eating” (there’s a reason obesity is the standard, NOT the exception, in America!)

There is a TON of info on the anabolic diet online, it was the most discussed topic on T-nation ever and Stronglifts has a ton of articles on the anabolic diet.

I’ve been doing intermittent fasting for a while now (over a year)… now I’m going to expand into eating the anabolic way. I just started this past week, and already I’m feeling leaner and more “anabolic” :) I’ll keep my blog updated with my results as time goes by.

In my opinion when you combine the natural fat burning, muscle building, hormon increasing, health giving effects of changing WHEN you eat (with Intermittent Fasting) plus the natural fat burning, muscle building, hormonal and health benefits of eating anabolically (with the Anabolic Diet)… This is a pretty powerful muscle building, fat burning diet plan for success!

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{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

Daniel April 14, 2009 at 2:27 pm

Hello, I have been on IF a couple of times and I love it. Another thing is that i feel much better the lower the carbs and higher the fat gets. Physical/mental energy is up. I always feel dazed and lazy after a ton of spaghetti as an example. I was wondering if you have tried to combine the anabolic diet and IF? Sounds pretty interesting tough.

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Caleb Lee April 14, 2009 at 3:30 pm

@ Daniel: Ummm… yeah buddy… that’s the point of this post — I combine them both and they work REALLY well together :)

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Daniel April 14, 2009 at 7:46 pm

Awsome man, I will try it. Only been eating carbs pre/post workout this week, do you carb up on weekends?

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Caleb Lee April 15, 2009 at 3:15 am

Daniel: I only carb up for one day on the weekends, instead of the two days on the “normal” anabolic diet plan — I find I overeat a bit when given the chance :)

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simonstafford May 15, 2009 at 4:54 pm

i would like to know how to ge big arms shoulders etc and get rid of my flabby stomach please help

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gil June 14, 2009 at 8:12 am

is there somewhere we can see what you look like,after promoting all this? thanks

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gil June 14, 2009 at 8:28 am

oh i just saw a pic on other page,dude no doubt your in better shape and condition than me and can kick my ass due to your m.a. but you have absolutly no muscle.im not trying to hate i just thought double your gains etc. was geared towards muscle building.i know thats not everyones goal some want to be fit with endurance etc and dont like bulky muscle or what have you and thats fine to each his own but i just dont get it with this one.my point is, theres nothing wrong with what you look like but it just doesnt seem to go with part of what you promote namely muscle building,i have a bigger before pic when i was 16.anyway i do enjoy your articles.i do have a ques.i purchased your hyper gain and wanted to know if it is ok to use with a testosterone booster supp?thanks for your time

Reply

Caleb Lee June 15, 2009 at 12:11 pm

@ Simonstafford: get the free ebook I give away if you sign up to my email list — and you’ll get the body you want

@ Gil: I answered your comment here: http://doubleyourgains.com/achieve-goals-that-make-you-happy

Later!

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Josh August 6, 2009 at 7:15 pm

Like your site. Like that you are original. Like the idea of fasting and that’s how I found your site. Never really thought about fasting for building muscle until one of my visitors mentioned it.

Here’s what I don’t like…

Why does everyone act like carbs are so bad? Please tell me. If you stick to the good carbs… they are NOT BAD!!! Damn. Why? Why? Why? Oats, yams, sweet potatoes, brown rice, apples, grapefruit, strawberries, black beans, spinach, broccoli, peppers, whole grains, and on and on. Why does everyone continue to bad mouth carbs? Carbs are the body’s primary source of fuel. That is what the body prefers. Do you really think you’re going to get a great workout and REALLY push yourself without carbs? Because you won’t. Add good carbs to your diet, stop all the low carb BS, and you’ll really be able to push yourself in the gym.

I’m not bad mouthing you or anything. I just get sick of people telling others to eat low carb. You don’t have to eat low carb to burn fat either. Not trying to start anything… just trying to add something useful. Carbs get a bad rap because people eat BAD carbs.

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Caleb Lee August 10, 2009 at 2:15 pm

@ Josh: If you eat low fat, then yes, carbs are your body’s primary fuel source … however if you eat anabolically (high fat, high protein, low carb) then your body will actually switch to using first, body fat, then second, dietary fat as the primary fuel source. Once your body has made this switch — you can push yourself just as hard — if not harder in the gym/life/everywhere because fats actually a superior fuel source anyways (more calories per gram, etc) …

Thanks for the comments!

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AR October 18, 2009 at 7:06 pm

What if you work out in the morning instead of in the evening? Should you still drink a protein shake?

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Hayden December 16, 2009 at 3:01 am

Hey Caleb i’ve been working out regularly since may of 09. I’m working on getting into the Air Force. When I first went and talked to my recruiter he told me that for my height (5’11) my maximum weight could only be 197 pounds. So that day i weighed myself and i weighed 255 pounds. I am now down to 230 pounds. I’ve been looking around your site for advice on how to loose this last 33 pounds. How would you go about doing this task? I’m trying to leave for boot camp before the summer of 2010.

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Caleb_Lee January 27, 2010 at 8:24 pm

Hayden,

Cut out carbs, and anything white, veggies and meat and strength train. IF you have the energy, cardio on the days off. Best of luck!

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James February 16, 2010 at 4:32 am

hi i think your site is great and im going to start this program tomorrow. What would be some high protein, high fat, low carb foods? How many grams of carbs would classify as "low". And same for High carbs, low protein and low fat.
Thanks alot

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Caleb_Lee February 16, 2010 at 6:34 pm

Try this: Reply

Caleb_Lee February 16, 2010 at 6:34 pm

Try this: Reply

Dylanator351 March 11, 2010 at 6:40 am

hey im trying to lean down to 180, and im now 198 but im still trying to look big… but then again i want to loose my fat and drop the weight. so how do i retain all my uper body but get a riped 6 pack and toned legs? any segestions?

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Caleb_Lee March 11, 2010 at 8:01 pm

Keep strength training, get 70-120 grams of protein each day, while cutting calories as much as possible. Do whatever else you've been doing to lose weight (cardio, tips on this site, etc) and don't worry about it.

That's enough protein each day to keep all your muscle and maybe even build some.

Best

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Sean July 5, 2010 at 8:33 pm

When on the warrior diet, what times would you reccomend eating and working out?

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Caleb_Lee July 7, 2010 at 5:45 pm

Sean, depends on your schedule.

Workout in late afternoon/evening and eat right after works for me.

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Chw84 February 12, 2011 at 5:09 am

Please everyone, the first part of this diet plan is ridiculous! Never fast for 16 or 20 hours, because your body will not burn fat for energy, it will go into a catabolic state in which it burns your muscle because its saving your fat because it believes it is being starved. You will go so far backwards if you ever go almost an entire day without eating.

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Caleb_Lee February 16, 2011 at 5:33 am
Sergio August 2, 2011 at 8:07 pm

Don´t do this then, and keep looking the same… I strongly believe in Caleb´s advice. Thank´s for the info Caleb

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Caleb_Lee August 14, 2011 at 3:51 am

Thanks Sergio!

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Gabe V. May 2, 2011 at 9:46 pm

Chw84, got wrecked..
Anyways, Caleb, I need help understanding your leangains fast. If you fast for 16 hours and have 4 hours of feeding, when should those 4 hours be? all in one meal? or spread out?
And also, is this fasting plan safe for some one like me, who lifts weights every morning and does intensive interval training every afternoon every single day?
I really appreciate your articles and find them extremely useful. props man.

Reply

Caleb_Lee July 9, 2011 at 3:56 pm

leangains.com

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Elida Tobler May 17, 2011 at 2:25 pm

I have been meaning to talk about sth like this on one of my websites and this gave me an idea. TY.

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Jeff July 29, 2011 at 2:53 pm

I am a type 1 diabetic, so I am wondering if this will work for me.

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Caleb_Lee August 14, 2011 at 3:52 am

I'm not a doctor. So I'm not giving advice.

Except … listen to your body … try some things … read a lot.

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jake August 2, 2011 at 2:56 am

dude, just a ques, im suffering from man boobs. by doing this method, will it shed the fat in my chest area. been working our for years but still cant get the chest that i wanted (i think it's due to gyenestica (man boobs). Please Help.. Urgent direction need. anybody, please help!!!

Reply

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