So, a few weeks ago while I was in Sin City, Las Vegas for a top secret meeting with a bunch of kick-ass fitness pro’s, I had a chance to hang out with the very cool and SMART John Romaniello.
We had a great time as we got to hang out a bit while I was there. One night we went out to dinner at a kick-ass restaurant called, MIX which sit’s atop of THEhotel at Mandalay Bay.
While I was there I got to grill Roman on some of the main key ideas and strategies to focus on within Intermittent Fasting (IF).
If you’re new to IF, this is something that’s building up some serious interest within the fitness industry and while it’s nothing new, it’s quickly gaining ground and will soon be in the mainstream. Why? Well, I’ll let Roman do most of the talking below (since he’s really good at that). The main thing is, IF is coming and if you’re interested in getting LEANER, STRONGER, and not having to worry about “DIETING” ever again, this is it!
Read up a very info-packed Q and A Roman and I did and check out his intelligent answers below.
Just beware, if you don’t know Roman, he’s a freaking SMART (and funny) dude!
In fact, waaaaay smarter then me so just be ready for his nerdiness…
Here we go!
TS: So, how might one get into IF if they’re a complete newbie to it?
Roman: Ah, you started me off with the easy one! That’s simple. A lot of people learn by “doing,” while others learn by researching. You, I know, are more of a “doer,” whereas I’ve always been a read-then-do person.
So, for someone like you, the best thing is to just understand the bullet points:
- Don’t eat for X number of hours
- When fasting, do not eat; drink only water and calorie free beverages.
- Train before the fast ends
- Eat as you normally would till bed
Knowing that, you could just get right in and give it a go, see how you feel. It may not be that important to know why everything works, or all the hormonal benefits of it in order to see those benefits. It’s about action.
Someone like me would probably approach things somewhat more academically: read, read, read. Then interpret. Then do. That’s how I was when I was first exposed to intermittent fasting – I read everything that I could, then read the studies that were cited, then read more.
From there, I picked out the best parts of various methods to see which fit with my lifestyle the most. As someone who needs to understand things before taking action, that helped me a lot.
That’s what I’d recommend: read as much as you can. A good place to start is my blog, because I’ve tried to make the information as instantly accessible as possible.
TS: That’s true, I am more of a go-getter then a “sit around and research first” kind of guy. I do stuff based off of what I found to work best and what I’ve personally tested on myself and athletes, but I do my fair share of reading and research as well 😉
So, what’s your take on IF in regards to MUSCLE and STRENGTH GAIN? Is it possible and why? Would a serious lifter looking to build strength and more muscle be ok going on an IF program? Why?
Roman: Well, yes, it’s certainly possible. At it’s core, muscle gain really only requires two things: stimulus and fuel. You create stimulus in the gym, you fuel it when you eat.
So, if you’re training hard and getting enough nutrients and overall energy, you’ll gain muscle.
The more advanced mechanism behind hypertrophy—like hormones, for example—will only be helped by intermittent fasting, making it easier.
The only “drawback” to IF is that you need to get all of those calories in a shortened time frame.
For example, if you need 2500 calories to gain mass, and you’re only getting them in three meals over 8 hours, then you’re looking at roughly 830 calories per meal, which each meal being eaten every 2-3 hours. Or, two meals of 1250 calories each every four hours. For me, it’s easy; however, some people really struggle getting all that food in over that length of time.
For those people, I would recommend starting out with getting more liquid calories, and seeing how they do.
TS: Great points! I’ve pointed out many times that you can TRAIN in anyway you like, but the kitchen, where you get in your NUTRITION is where you determine the true outcome. You want to get BIGGER? Eat a ton more… You want to get LEANER? EAT RIGHT… Now, since we hit on training, would IF be good for a person who trains pretty intense? I mean like crazy intense. Almost to the point of insanity?
Roman: Of course. How you train doesn’t make a tremendous difference, as long as that training is intelligent and effective.
People who train hard will probably see the same thing they normally do: they get better results.
TS: Of course! You’ve got to train H.A.M. ALL DAY, EVERY DAY! NO EXCUSES there! So, since we got the training part down, let’s talk nutrition a bit more in depth. What foods are best to eat when on IF program?
Roman: Actually—and this is pretty cool—the thing here is that anything goes. SORT OF.
The thing to understand is that intermittent fasting isn’t really a diet, and therefore doesn’t necessarily come with an pre-written rules about what is and isn’t okay. It’s more of a theoretically structure, which you can overlay onto your already existing dietary regulations.
Meaning, that if you if you Eat Paleo, you can just eat Paleo and follow an IF structure. Same with low carb, or gluten free, or vegan.
No food is off limits with IF itself; merely the times you eat them.
TS: That’s pretty sweet! I would still recommend eating pretty lean and clean most of the time. 80/20 rule 😉 Now, are there any specific supplement’s you would recommend taking while on a IF program?
Roman: That really depends on you, and what you feel you need. As I mentioned earlier, a lot of guys might have a hard time getting in the calories in a short period of time; for those guys, I would say a good pre-made post workout drink is a great supplement—you can double dose and get 600-800 calories in liquid right after your workout. Makes it easier.
Other good supplements would be stuff like creatine, vitamins, a greens supplement. All the basics.
Finally, BCAAs are a good addition during fasting periods, so I’d recommend those as well.
No supplement is necessary, but they can help.
TS: OK Roman, Since I’m more of a do’er and go-getter, I want to know what to expect from IF. What are the major BENEFITS of IF? Benefits that a serious trainee can expect?
Roman: Well, Firstly, as we’ve established thus far, people who practice IF eat less frequently. In addition to feeling hungry less often, and more full when they do eat, these people benefit in terms of practicality and logistics.
After all, eating fewer meals means fewer meals and/or buying fewer meals. In addition to saving you time (and, probably, money), this also means that you exposed to flavors less often, and are therefore less likely to get bored and eat something you shouldn’t.
Keep in mind that eating less frequently tends to result in eating fewer calories overall, but that’s a pretty important point so it bears repeating: eating less frequently tends to result in eating fewer calories overall.
And speaking of caloric restriction: that brings us to another benefit. IF plans that require full day fasting drastically reduce your calorie intake, so if you are using a style of IF which requires you to fast for 24 hours twice per week, you’re reducing your food intake by about 30%. It’s not hard to see how that would lead to weight loss.
Going a little further, by restricting calories, you’re forcing the body to look elsewhere than the gut for energy, which can encourage cellular repair. That is, a cell will turn to its own damaged proteins for energy. While that cycle would be bad in the long term, keep in mind you’re only fasting for “brief” periods; when you eat again the cell will use the new cell-stuff replace the old cell-stuff that’s been consumed. All told, this phenomenon—which, again, stems from caloric restriction—can generally help prevent both disease and age.
For something more specific: one study out of the University of Utah showed that people who fasted just one day per month were 40% less likely to suffer from clogged arteries.
While there’s certainly a lot to be said for caloric restriction, it’s important to keep in mind that intermittent fasting isn’t just about eating fewer calories—there are also hormonal benefits that lead to improved body composition.
For starters, there’s the improved insulin sensitivity that comes with fasting, especially when paired with exercises, as we’ve covered; however, fasting has other hormonal benefits, including (but not limited to) an increase in the secretion of growth hormone (GH).
Growth Hormone has a myriad benefits—a discussion of which in full is beyond the scope of this interview—but for our purposes it’s enough to say that the more GH your produce, the faster you can lose fat and gain muscle mass. Additionally, GH tends to offset the effects of cortisol, which is (in part) related to belly fat storage; so it seems likely that fasting can help you lost belly fat, at least indirectly.
TS: OK, that’s awesome stuff right there! I know that for a long time I never knew that FASTING could actually help me increase my GH levels NATURALLY. That’s POWERFUL info! Now, give us a few “cool” secrets people may not know about IF?
Roman: The secret is no secret—it’s all in the hormones. I’ve alluded to this already, but the main thing here is hormonal optimization. The better hormonal environment you create, the better off you’ll be in every part of your life. Increased testosterone, for example, will lead to more muscle and less fat, of course; however, there’s also an increase in confidence, sex drive, and even sexual desirability (women find guys with high T more attractive).
Since intermittent fasting helps to create the optimal hormonal environments, these things are indirect benefits – and while that isn’t talked about much, I think it should.
TS: Alright JR, I figured I would end things right and ask the man himself, just how damn cool is John Romaniello and why?
Roman: Ha! That depends on your definition of cool, I guess. Growing up, I was never cool; I’m a nerdy guy…but somehow, I’ve managed to create a cool life for myself. I work with pro-athletes, live in a sweet apartment that has a high tech, James Bond feel, right in NYC. I get to travel, hang out with my friends, and write about the stuff that changed my life—but the only “cool” part, really, is that I get to help people. No matter what, that’s the key to awesomeness.
And there you have it! Straight from the one of the world’s most knowledgeable (and most kick-ass) IF dude’s around, John Romaniello.
Look forward to more great stuff from John as on Feb 7th, he’ll be releasing a new program that will give you the exact program that will utilize intermittent fasting to it’s highest potential to help get you and keep you LEAN and MEAN 4 ever!
If you haven’t done so yet, make sure to grab his FREE report HERE and find out the 5 different “RULES” you must break to lose fat forever…
Live Aggressive and Get Strong!
PS – If you have questions or comments, post them up below!