Eat Workout Eat?

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Are you conditioned to eat, eat, eat?

There are a few ways to getting lean, and with diligence they all work.

Here are just two methods. The first method we’ll call the POPULAR PLAN. It’s a diet & exercise plan typically recommended by nutritionists, weight-loss experts, personal trainers, diet gurus, internet cowboys, and all of their mothers.

The second method, The Lean Saloon Plan, is the diet & exercise plan I recommend to get lean, which is also similar in dietary style to that recommended by Martin Berkhan over at Lean Gains, or even to the 24-hour flexible intermittent fasting from Brad Pilon over at Eat Stop Eat.

Let’s look at the POPULAR PLAN (which, by the way, I copied and pasted from a random forum).

  • 6 am – wake up and run 4-5 miles
  • 7:30 am – eat 2 eggs with toast, drink some coffee
  • 10 am – eat a fresh fruit bowl or some yogurt with granola
  • 12:30 pm – eat a tuna sandwich and some wheat thins
  • 3 pm – drink a fruit smoothie or snack on some mixed vegetables
  • 5:30 pm – hit the gym for 40 minutes or go for another 4-5 mile run … do at least 20 minutes of core (4 x a week)
  • 7 pm – eat some chicken and rice
  • 9 pm – eat a snack, avoid carbs after dinner.

And here’s The Lean Saloon plan:

  • Wake up.
  • Intermittent fast, go live your day.
  • Exercise 20 to 30 minutes, 2x to 3x/week, or whatever works.
  • Enjoy food thoroughly and to full satisfaction.
  • Get a life.

Like I said, either one works to get you lean. But the second plan, The Lean Saloon Plan, has simplicity and freedom. It’s not full of artificial complications, obsession with eating every few hours, exercising multiple times a day, and it doesn’t suggest that you MUST work this hard and this often in order to get lean.

And how ridiculous it is to eat so meagerly that you’re hungry and thinking about food just 3 hours later. But I digress.

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19 Responses to Eat Workout Eat?

  1. Jordan says:

    Hi Johnny I sent you already 2 comments but I didn’t found any answer. Maybe you were maybe on vacation… I asked you if you can send me by email or make a post about your training, the workout part. Can you give me a look of a bodyweight workout and one with weights because I don’t know with how many sets, reps and exercises go to achieve a body that is similar to this one or the one that male models have. I really want to avoid the bulky look and until now all I learned about diet and training were from the mainstream fitness and bodybuilding industry. The author of Fitness black book, Rusty, recommends to stay in the 1-5 reps range for 5 sets and lift slow with heavy weights to achieve “tone” muscle and not bulkying. What’s your thought on this (avoid muscle fatigue and aim strength)?
    On the other hand I really like bodyweight exercises so can you have an idea of a workout that will help me to put on a litte amount of muscle (in the right places) and maintain it? I think I’ll go for 2 workouts per week one with weights and one with bodyweight and maybe a sprint session.

    Thank you in advance!

    • Johnny says:

      Hi Jordan,

      Thanks for your reminder.

      I really like Coach Steer’s bodyweight workouts.

      As far as strength training, I do (sort of) agree with Rusty’s recommendation of heavy weight training of less than 5 reps per set for toning. This at least will get people away from believing that heavy weight training will make them bulky.

      But in the end, people respond differently with different protocols. Hypertrophy appears to be greatest if two factors are present in a strength-training program: 1. Increased mechanical tension (progressively heavier weight), and 2. local metabolic fatigue.

      In other words, set repetitions do not necessarily determine hypertrophy as much as work per unit time. More work in less time can trigger muscular growth. This means heavier weight moved, or weight moved more often in less time.

      Even with sets of 5 or fewer reps (low-rep sets), you can experience hypertrophy if the frequency is high.

      Having said that, you have to experiment and keep a measure in order to determine what works… and what woks for how long. I wouldn’t put too much into specific reps and sets, as much as mechanical work completed per time unit, and its frequency.

      Hope this helps,

      • Yannick Messaoud says:

        Right now i am a real sucker for the Adonis Workout, or Adonis Index, anyways bought the program and its great. You will work toward building that perfect body but still the diet is based on eating 6meals per day… but i do ESE.

  2. Jordan says:

    Sorry for posting another comment but my diet will look like this: An eating window from 12-1 pm to 8-9 pm with 2 meals (lunch and dinner) and fast the rest of the time (still drinking coffee, water…). My meals will be paleo-ish (without grains…) so meats/egg/fish with vegetables and fruit and some nuts and I’ll have a “cheat meal” (non-paleo, junk food…) once or twice (at most) a week. What are you toughts? Will this lifestyle (I prefer this term on the “diet” one) help me to achieve the male model look? (If I don’t ask for the health it’s because I will be without any question healthier). Finally, I was thinking about if those dietary habits work so great I’ll be losing weight perpetually and finally get too skinny? Or this will help me (paleo+IF) to reach my ideal weight and stay at it? I ask since I was thinking what to do when I’ll be there, how you do to maintain your ideal shape and not continuing losing…?

    Thank you one more time!

    • Johnny says:

      Hi again , Jordan.

      Once your body reduces in size and weight to meet your caloric intake, no more weight would be lost.

      This is why one shouldn’t necessarily worry if too much muscles are built. Back off on the lifting and the calories, and the body will lose the muscular size it won’t need.


  3. KevinT says:

    I like the Lean Saloon style! 🙂

    Perfect for those of us that always hoped in the back of our minds that it’s supposed to be simple and natural … not a constant, sweaty, disappointing struggle driven by drill sergeant fitness trainers with a bad case of protein farts and chicken, brown rice, & broccoli filled biceps.

  4. Jordan says:

    Thanks for your reply!
    So if I understood clear for the training part, keeping the reps under 5 and move the weights slowly them with longer rest between, so I’ll avoid “more work in less time”, will help a lot for tone? Also I’ll be lifting weights in this style just once a week. I’ll do a bodyweight workout but I’ll like to keep the movements simple, “natural” (dips, pushups, pullups, chinups, planks) and it will be really nice if you could give me a sample of a bodyweight workout (sets, reps? circuit style?). Always with the goal of building and maintain a little amount of mass and achieve a lean and natural look. I really appreciate what Erwan Le Core from Movnat is doing (you posted a video of him once) and he really have a great look. But I can’t really do at home what he is doing in a jungle or forest so I chose to go with simple bodyweight exercises instead.

    PS: Did you look at the “diet” I posted before? What is your thought (is the “eating window” ok even if it’s not like yours 4pm to 11-12pm?…)? Also, if I understood well, I should keep the same dietary habits (IF and Paleo) when I’ll get at my ideal weight and body fat? It will maintain naturally, I’ll don’t get “too” low in weight, muscle size (if I keep some resistance training) and BF…?

    I really appreciate what you are doing and your help, thanks!

    (I think that Lean Couture is also your blog, keep posting at it because I really liked it and the idea of the blog. Fashion and becoming all the things I like!)

    • Danny says:

      My advice: Stop OBSESSING. Stop over-thinking things. Don’t make this lifestyle more complex than it is or needs to be. The whole point of it is to let go of the constant focus on food and exercise.
      Johnny already gave you an example of Coach Steer’s bodyweight workouts… please don’t expect him or any professional (unless you sign up as a paying client) to critique your diet and design your exercise plan for you. Do your own research, and experiment on yourself to see what works.
      Growing “too big” or bulky is more a direct result of calories in and out than anything else. If you’re intake isn’t excessive, you aren’t going to get fat. Please keep it simple. Stop analyzing and just do it.

    • Johnny says:

      Hi Jordan,

      Do a search on youtube for body-weight exercises. They can be done separately, or in a circuit. There are great combinations for circuit style. I’m sure you can be inventive.

      If you want to avoid building muscle (as if that’s easy), then modulate the frequency of heavy lifting. You can gauge your body’s response with a mirror.

      Really, keep it simple. There’s no secret formula.


  5. lolo says:

    If i want to retain my sanity, -i JUST HAVE TO- eat first, then fast @ sleep. if not i go crazy. (i can do it in the summer, lets say my mind is elsewhere XP)

    LOLOs plan (lol)

    1) sleep> 10 / 12 hrs

    2) wake up > 30 minutes exercise

    3) eat > 1 or 2 hrs till full

    4) fast > the rest of the day

    5) sleep >fasted

    depending on my mood / stamina / eating / sleeping usually i fast for 23 / 27 hrs

    btw, jordan, you dont have to train that much in order to look like that kid, ( unless you are fat, in that case just concentrate on lowering your calories)
    Now im “training” every single day, Sometimes with no added weight, so just chin ups one day, Dumbbell squats other day, push ups the next day, -Dumbbell Deadlift-hamstrings- next, maybe biceps shoulders if im really lazy, im sleeping a lot lately working at home so, i just need to move my ass a bit each day. i must admit a did lost a bit of muscle but im still lean / muscular…. (also ice cream every day, ups)

    • Al says:

      Lolo, I like the way you schedule things but I have two questions:

      1) How does your schedule effect the one or two possible times when you go out with friends later in the day to eat when you choose to eat only in the mornings?

      2) You say that you eat ice cream everyday but in a previous post you commented on how you heat really clean (meat veggies etc,). Could you explain further as to what you eat everyday? Thanks!

      • lolo says:

        @ Al, im kind like a vampire, so in my case i eat ” at night” and rest during the day (dont ask) but answering your particular question, i just dont care, im not a flexible person, So i just keep it simple.( Also im lazy) NO matter what happens around me, i just Wake up, train, then eat ( im not going to wait to eat, or eat later if i dont want to, even if it is i dont know, my fathers birthday) if later i go out, and my friends @family are eating, well good for them i guess, dont care! , i just talk my ass off ( if im thirsty ill drink water) dissent? that might be challenging, ( usually my friends have shitty taste so that’s not a problem) but i also make sure to include some kind of poison for my self so i really don’t feel deprived. eating to me is like… brushing my teeths, i just do it and then im done.

        btw, i don’t touch veggies, the ice cream… lets say i got tired of eating all that cheese so now i have a lil spare room Xp

  6. mommy1.618 says:

    Hi Johnny,

    Aw, shucks. That’s a no-brainer. Gimme the Lean Saloon plan any day! I wish I’d discovered it sooner–like five years ago. I started Brad Pilon’s EatStopEat two months ago and I’m finally getting disciplined and having a life. No more worrying about calories; no more dreading if I missed a day’s workout; no more minging about my clothes feeling tight; no more bitching to my husband about being fat; no more being depressed when shopping for clothes. In short, just being in the moment with my husband and our daughter. I want to impart to her a healthy way of eating and living, and the Lean Saloon enables me to do that.
    Doing my fasts from 7 PM to 7 PM 2x/week and working out in the privacy of my office 2-3x/week allows me to spend quality time with my family. My husband now understands my IF’ing. Heck, he can get cut so very easily and quickly, so he doesn’t worry about being fit as much as I do. I’ve said it before: It’s simple, but difficult. But liberating, too.
    On another tack, have you thought about marketing a “diet” based on eating only with chopsticks? It’s just so funny, b/c whenever my family and I go out to a Thai or Chinese or Japanese or Asian-fusion restaurant, we always ask for chopsticks. Our daughter’s gotten quite handy with them. And when I prepare soba noodles or other Japanese fare at home, chopsticks are de rigueur. Anyway, Johnny, I really do like your Lean Couture posts, too; just like Jordan. I miss them–the last on was from March 7th! Anyway that’s how I found you out b/c Rick Mayo gave you a shout out on his blog.
    Thank you for your pithy and incisive blog, and for treating your readers as intelligent people, too.

  7. Greg Linster says:

    Your plan is excellent and so simple at the core. There is no need to fret over all the minutia of timing your meals or complicating your workouts. It amazes me how people can be duped into thinking there is some magical and universal amount of reps and sets to achieve a certain physique.

    Live, eat, sleep… it’s really that simple.


  8. lexie says:

    for the last 5 years i have been stuck in the main stream style of diet and weight loss. doing everything that i either learned from research of my own, or was taught by some one. and i must mention i was only succsesfull 2 times in reaching my goals. the rest of my time i watched the scale grow up ward to 25 lbs, more than my starting weight.

    to make a long story short the past 3 months i satrted to mess around with Ifing once or twice a week and noticed that i allways felt so much better on those days. so on aug 1st i decided to take it on full time and i am so happy to say that it has changed my life. im no longer a slave to food and freaking out that im going to miss a meal. oh and the best part ive lost 9 lbs tis month!!! hell yeah…. thank you so much for all the information, keep up the great work.
    IFing for life, to get my life back=),

  9. Mike says:

    I’ve never heard of IF until someone referred me to this site.

    I’m a 40 year old runner who has put on a few lbs in the last few years. Up until 35 yrs of age, I was still my high school/college weight. I’m not sure if it’s age, but I seem to be packing on some additional pounds, running the same mileage I’ve run for years. No weight training.

    I have two questions. I never though of it as fasting, but I don’t eat breakfast or lunch (and almost never desire it or feel hungry). I have a dinner with my family and then I usually end up “snacking” (sometimes fruit, sometimes not so healthy things) until bed time and go to sleep feeling full.

    I’ve wanted to eliminate this snacking and only eat from 4 to 7/8pm (including dinner) and not eat the last 3-4 hours I’m awake. I find this difficult because I’m always hungry at night. It feels like once I eat dinner, it’s hard to stop eating until I go to sleep. In the morning I don’t feel hungry at all.

    My other issue is that I run in the mornings, usually around 6am.

    My friends/family all tell me I am doing everything wrong: my body is going into starvation mode and I need to eat a sensible breakfast and lunch and I need to eat after my runs to promote recovery.

    The last couple weeks I have been experimenting with eating an apple when I return from run and nothing else. I suppose it screws up my 20 hour fast, but it doesn’t seem to change how I feel later that day or the next morning.

    I find this IF interesting because I feel I am very close to doing this now. If I can eliminate some additional late night snacking, I think I would have a nice 18-20 hour fast every day.

    Any advice?

    • Johnny says:

      Hi Mike,

      I wouldn’t worry about eating after your morning run. If you’re not doing another run within several hours, then your body will recover like normal. The primary reason one should eat after their exercise would be if they have to train later that day or within several hours. There’s evidence that a post workout meal doesn’t improve recovery rate over that eaten later in the day. So, eat if you want, don’t if you don’t feel like it.

      During your feed window of 4 to 6 hours, take note of what kind of food you’re eating — at the meal time and during late snacking. Even with a short feeding window, we can still blow our calorie ceiling. Food dense in calories (nuts, ice cream, processed food, etc.) can quickly send us over this calorie limit.

      Processed food that’s high in starches, sugar, and fat is not only dense in calories, but also is easy to eat fast, slow to induce satiety, low in overall satiety, and likely to induce hunger.

      During my feeding window, instead of snack, I just eat a second or even a third meal (though rarely), even if they’re smaller ones. I find whole meals more psychologically satisfying and they have greater gustatory significance than random snacks do.

      If it’s indeed a case of poor food choices and over-accumulation of calories from your snack, then try to change your snacking habit. This would be a step you’ll have to make to achieve the positive effect of intermittent fasting.

      Hope that helps,

  10. Yannick Messaoud says:

    Well most people are still very hooked into Number 1, go onto many popular forum and the old mentality is still there eating 6 times per day and 1g of protein per pound of body weight, and the worst after training PWO, Brad said it right a good PWO adding 700 calories how pathetic is that.

    My question Johnny is that is it possible to fast when you have light anemia, i got some blood test and they found that out, i was drinking lots of green tea at the time and lots of energy drinks and taking fat burners, meaning lots of caffeine. I still want to continue fasting because i really like that. I started eating a bit more spinach, natural soy milk (no sugar unsweetened), some horse meat (only to bring my iron back up), and some lean read meat.

    At some point i was not even eating 50g of protein a day, i sort of changed that a bit too and trying to get my 120g, i am 204 pounds so on the bigger side.

    I stopped drinking caffeine, my sport doctor got me off that completely, i do feel so much better now, guess i was also allergic to it.

    Also are there actual research about fasting and cancer, sadly my father died in 2006 of colon cancer, and that was my main reason for drinking green tea that much.

    • Yannick Messaoud says:

      Sorry for long post but i am using fasting for a lot more then just losing weight, i read a lot of health benefits from low calorie and IF and i really want to stick with this plan for life.

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