I recently attended a personal trainer workshop with Chad Waterbury, trainer of UFC fighters and long-time contributor to T-Nation, a website devoted to many types of weight training and diet. On Saturday we were given the opportunity to learn about the “Waterbury Diet“, which is a variation of “The Warrior Diet”. This diet is based on intermittent fasting or periods of low and high calorie consumption to stimulate the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system. These are known generically as (respectively) “Flight or Fight” and “Rest and Digest” systems. The theory is that if you tweak them just the right way, you’ll take advantage of the fat loss properties of the sympathetic, and the muscle building properties of the parasympathetic.
See update at bottom – 10 Apr 2014
The bottom line is to essentially fast, or consume few calories, for a period of between 12 and 20 hours (give or take a little), followed by a period of relatively “normal” eating for the remainder of the day. Since most people sleep between 6 to 10 hours every day, that’s considered your free fast – easy to not eat while sleeping. The page on Chad’s blog I linked to above is primarily directed for fat loss, but at the workshop Chad also presented a variation based on having a goal priority of gaining muscle. He briefly touched on variations used by his “elite endurance athletes” or fighters. I asked him to discuss that further, and based on the answers to my questions, I modified it slightly to better suit my needs.
Since I do normally train for 3 or more hours in 2 or 3 split segments, I have to consider myself an elite endurance athlete. As well, while listening to Chad lecture, I realized that I had evolved into my own version of the plan, though a bit heavier on protein (I’ll have another article on that based on Chad’s muscle growth plan) and with more eating periods over the day (this was two years ago during my Elbrus Race training during which I lost 25 lb of fat and first hit < 14% bodyfat while gaining 5 lb of muscle).
I figured it wouldn’t be too bad to make the minor adjustments and test this theory, and for the past three days I’ve given it my best shot at disproving it. The photo above represents the fasting period, which ends at my PM workout, chronologically from left to right.
After my sleep (normally waking at 4:00 AM) I first take 15 ml of l-carnitine with CLA, ALA and CoQ10. I get my shoes on and check my email for emergencies, then consume a half-bottle of Labrada Supercharge and begin my training. In the morning I typically do only cardio or light bodyweight exercises. I sip the rest of the Supercharge, and at my break between machines I mix up BSN Cellmass and finish that over the rest of my training. This training period is normally about 90 – 120 minutes long, but could be as short as 72 on easy days or 180 on very hard days.
As soon as possible after my training (generally about 7:30 AM) I blend up 1 overflowing scoop BSN Syntha-6 protein (overflowing so I get closer to 30gm protein – my favorite in this blend is strawberry or vanilla) with 5 mg creatine, 5 mg l-glutamine, 5 mg BCAA powder, and 1/2 tsp cinnamon (shown in the glass measuring cup).
A couple hours (about 10:00 AM) later I have a scoop of Amazing Grass GreenSuperfood Lemon Lime Energy in a shaker bottle. In preparation for my noonish skating session, I have 8 Labrada EFA Lean (fish oil) and another ALA. For skating I combine a half scoop each of Supercharge and Cellmass combined in a shaker bottle. Immediately after I finish skating I have another large scoop of Syntha-6 (prefer chocolate or chocolate mint for “lunch”). About 2:00 I have a scoop of Amazing Grass GreenSuperfood Berry in a shaker bottle. Then at home after work (about 4:30 PM) I have a handful of craisins for the insulin spike, since the evening workout is more intense for being shorter.
That about covers my 20-ish hours of the fasting period. I have also had a couple shaker bottles of various herbal teas brewed, then poured into a shaker bottle with added water to fill. I’ll post an article about part 2 – the feeding phase in a day or two. I might put up a shopping list for those a little more OCD about it. I myself just squeezed Chad’s plan into my template and already had everything I needed.
It’s been too short a period (only 3 days) for me to offer any solid advice, or make any statements regarding the effectiveness or perhaps most importantly the sustainability of this program. I’ll try it out for a while. I suspect that with my intensity and duration of workouts I will have to add in a bit more protein over the day, but I’m watching the scales and my fat level and will make that adjustment if it becomes obvious to me that I need to.
More later …
Update 10 Apr 2014
After a few weeks I noticed that I was too week to train with such a strict regimen, and Chad himself had mentioned that his MMA clients regularly trained for several hours a day and with splits that did not work for them inside a strict Intermittent Fasting Program. He presented some ideas for modifications that he recommended to his clients.
HERE is an article at EliteFTS about a few modifications to the plan they advocate, just for balance. From my own perspective, here’s how I have ended up usually eating, in a nutshell:
- 90 minutes previous to training 200 calorie low carb protein shake
- 30 minutes after training 200 calorie low carb protein shake
- If I’m doing a split then that’s it until 30 minutes after my PM workout
- Mid afternoon (or 30 minutes after PM workout) 200 calorie low carb protein shake
- Late afternoon 3 eggs
- Early Evening toast, almond butter, salmon, beans, rice, salsa, pasta, cheese, yogurt
- Before bed 200 calorie low carb protein shake
That has been my staple now for a few years. It works. I love it. I’m training in calorie depleted state, and since I’m primarily and endurance athlete that simulates the effects of doing a marathon on just a handful of gu packets.
If you want more tips like this check out my Lose Weight Gain Muscle Free Weekly Newsletter [HERE] and get on board to start making real progress.