Eat Better, Exercise Harder

Contrary to the typical advice of well-meaning but misinformed trainers and health organizations, the key to fat loss is  not to simply “eat less, move more”, but to eat better, and exercise harder.

The idea one should eat less and move more to lose fat is based on a few assumptions:

  1. that fat gain and loss are mostly a matter of energy balance
  2. that body fat will be burned for energy when the balance is negative
  3. that exercise burns enough calories to have a significant effect on energy balance

Not quite.

1. While energy balance is a significant factor, fat gain and loss is also strongly affected by your hormonal state which is the result of the type of foods you eat. Regular, excessive carbohydrate consumption results in chronically elevated insulin levels which can promote fat storage and limits your body’s ability to access its fat stores for energy. Other hormones influencing metabolism and appetite like leptin, ghrelin and thyroid can be negatively influenced by regular consumption of grains and legumes, and those foods also contain substances which interfere with mineral absorption and irritate the gut, contributing to the development of auto-immune disorders.

2. Even if you restrict energy intake, if your hormonal state prevents you from efficiently using fat stores when there is a negative energy balance it can break down lean body mass instead and reduce metabolic rate to adapt to the lower energy intake. Foods that negatively effect leptin and ghrelin can directly contribute to a reduction in metabolic rate.

3. No activity burns enough calories to make it worth doing for that reason alone, and demanding physical activity increases appetite often causing people to consume more energy than the little extra they burned. The proper role of exercise in a fat loss program is not to burn calories, but to maintain muscle while fat is lost.

Forget the old mantra to “eat less, move more”. Instead, eat better and exercise harder.

If you eat better food – nutrient dense grass fed meat, wild caught fish, eggs and a variety of vegetables along with some fruits and nuts – and restrict or eliminate intake of grains, legumes and sugar, you will create a hormonal state conducive to fat loss and get your appetite under control, as well as improve many other aspects of health. While meat, fish, and eggs are energy dense, eating them tends to blunt appetite and keep you feeling full longer, and non-starchy vegetables are extremely high in physical volume relative to calories when compared to grains and legumes, and will also fill you up. If you ever do need a quick source of glucose, starchy vegetables like yams, sweet potatoes and beets are a  much healthier option than grains.

Instead of wasting your time doing things for the sake of burning calories, spend a few minutes a few times a week doing hard strength training. While strength training won’t burn a lot of calories either, it will maintain lean body mass while fat is lost, improve glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity, deplete muscle glycogen stores making more room in the muscles for incoming carbohydrate (meaning less of it is likely to be converted to triglyceride and stored as fat) and will raise metabolic rate slightly. When done correctly, even very brief strength training workouts significantly improve cardiovascular and metabolic conditioning and flexibility, making additional “cardio” redundant and unnecessary.

You can use all the time a more efficient exercise program frees up to do things you actually enjoy, instead of wasting it on a treadmill or elliptical machine or in group classes that burn up a lot of your time but not much of your fat.

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70 Responses to Eat Better, Exercise Harder

  1. Dwayne Wimmer August 12, 2011 at 1:53 pm #

    Drew,

    Another GREAT Post!! I send our clients to your site all the time for information, it is good for them to hear similar information coming from another source. Keep the information flowing.

    Dwayne Wimmer

  2. John Beynor August 12, 2011 at 3:17 pm #

    Hi Drew,

    Would the regular potato and corn be better than grains and legumes? What makes the yam/sweet potato better/healthier than plain potatoes?

    Is the pullover exercise something to do once in awhile and not need to be part of your main routine?

    Thanks, John

    • Drew Baye August 13, 2011 at 11:03 am #

      John,

      Corn is a grain, not a vegetable, and while it does not contain gluten like wheat, oats, rye, barley, etc., it is still one of the least nutritious things a person can eat, being mostly sugar and starch.

      Regular potatoes contain harmful alkaloids which yams and sweet potatoes (which are not related to white potatoes despite the name) do not.

      Whether the pullover is something you do once in a while or regularly would depend on the other exercises in your program. The important thing is that you provide effective exercise for all the major muscle groups.

  3. Carlos August 12, 2011 at 11:01 pm #

    Great info..!! Very interesting..I remember Dr.Atkins and his revolutionary concepts while reading this…for me, he was the Arthur Jones of his field, Keep this subject on target, thanks also for the link..! keep HIT alive,

    Carlos

    • Drew Baye August 13, 2011 at 11:09 am #

      Thanks Carlos,

      The important thing here is to not just think in terms of quantity, but quality. The idea that one should simply eat less and do more ignores the quality of what they eat and do, and typical recommendations for exercise in particular are severely lacking in quality.

  4. David August 13, 2011 at 4:15 am #

    Drew,

    I have been a follower of your training philosophy for a good while. I have implemented many of your recommendations with excellent results.

    Though, I don’t agree with your Paleo influenced nutitional beliefs. The Paleo way of eating is speculative at best (how can we possibly know what they ate, and what they ate is no longer available). I do agree that Paleo is a step in the right direction. It’s the infighting within the Paelo community over the frivilous details which turns me off.

    I mean come on people. America has an obscene amount of overweight and obese people. Let’s not fight over potatos vs. rubarbs minutia. The whole point is improving ones baseline from living on manufactured junk food to eating whole foods. Paleo die hards are synonymous with religious zealots, or the infamous HIT Jedis. In short both groups have a good knack for turning off the mainstream crowd.

    It all boils down to calories in vs. calories out, not insulin or carbs. The goal should be eating quality calories. Though we can lose weight eating a Twinkie diet, it is probably not optimal for long term health.

    People would achieve their fat loss goals if they created a calorie deficit eating those foods they enjoy, but smaller portions. I think you would get a larger following ig you dropped the Mark Sisson’s “insulin is everything” lie, and Gary “Cherry Picking” Taubes grossly distorted fictional work.

    You are basically getting your eating philosophy from a handful of folks that have no education in the nutrition field, and ignoring the mountains of evidence to the contrary. You would be much better off passing the senisble nutritional info of Alan Aragon, Tom Venuto, or the legendary Nancy Clark.

    Dave

    • Drew Baye August 13, 2011 at 11:20 am #

      David,

      Although it wasn’t my primary focus, I also studied nutrition in college so I’m not completely ignorant of the science. As for paleolithic diets, as I mentioned in Thoughts on the Paleo/Evolutionary Eating and Exercise Trends what we don’t eat is probably more important than what we do. Our paleolithic ancestors would have had a wide variety of diets depending on the region and season and would have adapted to eating a variety of foods, but not the kind of grains and processed crap that line the shelves grocery stores today.

      As for HIT “Jedi” this was a derogatory term used by an author outside of the high intensity training community that was adopted by some as a joke.

      Also, I’m not concerned with having a larger following. I’m concerned with providing information that is accurate and useful to people in improving their fitness and health. Insulin isn’t everything, but it certainly appears to play a major role and is something people should be concerned with.

  5. Mariana August 13, 2011 at 12:00 pm #

    Hi Drew,

    since I started following your guidelines on nutrition two weeks ago and keeping calorie restriction according to the 30 kcal per pound fat forula (ca. 650 kcal deficit/day), I have been losing weight BUT, I am pretty much concerned that it might be too much what I am loosing.

    I kinda lost almost 6 pounds in two weeks. I know a bunch of it its water, but that I also lost 3 pounds on the second week makes me think that I might be loosing some lean mass? Cos I think the whole water should be gone already??

    I have a bio-impendancy scale and also bought a fat caliper. The scale said half of the weight loss is fat, the other “lean” (wathever water or muscle). As for the caliper, well I just have it since two weeks, and measuring alone is not that easy/accurate. As for circumferences, waist has discrease while bizeps stays the same.

    Am I too worried or what do you think? I dont wanna loose my muscles and discrease my metabolic rate :-(

    Thanks in advance again!

    Mariana

    • Drew Baye August 13, 2011 at 12:09 pm #

      Mariana,

      If you’re strength training properly and getting adequate protein you shouldn’t lose any lean body mass with that calorie deficit. As long as you are maintaining or improving in your workouts you are not losing muscle mass.

  6. Tera August 13, 2011 at 3:31 pm #

    Meat and poultry are definitely not good choices for energy and health. They make carcinogens in the body. The average adult male has 20 pounds of rotting meat in their digestive system. This is a startling and disgusting number.
    However, I’m glad a trainer has realized that it’s not just about calories in vs calories out, and that health relies more on the quality of food, rather than quantity.

    • Drew Baye August 13, 2011 at 4:01 pm #

      Tera,

      Meat and poultry are some of the healthiest things a person can eat, as they provide an abundance of protein and healthy fats (much healthier when grass fed) and other nutrients. While overcooking may increase the presence of heterocyclic amines proper preparation and appropriate cooking temperatures and times minimizes this. Also, it is a myth that meat collects and rots in the digestive system – the proteins and fat in meat are very thoroughly broken down by digestive enzymes, bile salts, lipase, etc. and mostly absorbed, and the little that is not passes out of the body.

      If you’re concerned with the health of your digestive system it’s the gluten grains you should be worried about.

      Stop listening to silly vegan bullshit and go enjoy a nice big steak. You’ll feel better and be healthier for it.

    • Mike February 7, 2012 at 11:03 pm #

      Ex vegan here. While meat does not digest as easily as fruit, I am sure not walking around with 20 pounds of meat in my system. At some point you have to drop the vegan dogma and try new things.

  7. Jay August 14, 2011 at 8:18 am #

    Hi Drew,

    Through trial and error I have found working out once a week HIT style to be perfect for my recovery needs. I perform 3-4 compund exercises in performing my full body workout once a week.

    For leg/hip exercise I switch up every week between squats, deadlifts (regular/trap style), and leg press.

    The problem is I usually have sore/painful knees for a couple of days up to 5-6 days after my HIT workouts. I only feel pain when I squat down on chair/toilet and stand back up (basically the same movement pattern as leg exercises). There is zero pain when walking or tenderness when I press my knees with the fingers, only when mimicing those leg exercises in daily life such as standing up and down.

    Do you have any idea what this knee pain could be or ways to reduce/heal it? Keep in mind that I weigh almost 400lbs… I definitely look forward to your transformation book when it comes out.

    Jay

    • Drew Baye August 14, 2011 at 10:16 am #

      Jay,

      There are a lot of things that can cause knee pain. How you perform your exercises, how you stand, walk, and squat during normal daily activities, your footwear, inflammation caused by diet, some medications, and also your weight. When squatting the lower you go the higher the moment arms the muscles and connective tissue around the knee are working against, which is one reason your knees would bother you when squatting but not walking.

      One of the best things you can do for your knees and your overall health is to reduce your weight, and if inflammation is part of the problem it can be fixed with healthy eating as well.

  8. John August 14, 2011 at 11:06 am #

    Hi Drew,

    I lost 30 pounds in a few months by cutting the carbs/grains and am around 14% body fat. My goal now is to bulk up and add muscle. In about 5 months of lifting I have barley gained any weight (but my muscles do look bigger). As I see it I have to eat more calories but fat and protein fill me up, I have to force myself to eat. I started to eat oatmeal in the mornings now. How important are carbs when trying to bulk up as fast as possible?

    Also is the relationship b/w strength and muscle size mostly based on genetics? Maybe I should focus on increasing my strength instead of worrying about size. If its meant to be, size will follow.. if not..ohh well?

    Thanks Drew
    ps: do you talk about the leg press in Elements of Form and how to determine if a certain machine is safe?

    • Drew Baye August 14, 2011 at 11:17 am #

      John,

      To gain muscle you need to provide more protein and calories, but you should still focus on quality of food rather than just eating more. Take regular measurements of your body weight and skinfolds and adjust your food intake so you provide enough for weight gain but not so much that body fat increases significantly.

      Muscular hypertrophy relative to strength gains is mostly genetic. Some people can increase strength significantly with little hypertrophy, some can gain a lot of muscular size without getting much stronger, and most of us are somewhere in between.

      I believe if a person trains and eats for fitness and health the end result will be the best physique or expression of their genotype possible. If you have the genetics to be very muscular, training to get stronger will express that.

      Equipment comparison is not a major focus of the book but safety considerations and equipment features are discussed.

      • Mike February 7, 2012 at 11:01 pm #

        If he adds more calories across the board he would already get more protein. Simply adding more protein does not build more muscle, training builds muscle.

  9. Joesph August 14, 2011 at 3:35 pm #

    Drew, what’s your opinion on recovery activities, such as yoga, foam rolling, walking? These activities are not workout, but rather to relax.

    • Drew Baye August 14, 2011 at 4:04 pm #

      Joseph,

      While these would not contribute to recovery, if done at low to moderate intensities they won’t interfere with it much either, so if they help you relax go for it.

  10. Joseph August 14, 2011 at 4:42 pm #

    Is foam rolling of any value?

    • Drew Baye August 14, 2011 at 4:49 pm #

      Joseph,

      I don’t know, I haven’t looked into it much. I’m skeptical of it, as most fitness trends are nothing more than silly bullshit meant to drive sales of classes and cheap gadgets, but it may be beneficial to some people under some circumstances. I’ll look into it when I’m done with my current projects.

  11. Patrick August 14, 2011 at 5:21 pm #

    Hi, Drew how often do I need to train my abs to get a ripped abs? Also cant wait until your fat loss ebook comes out. The post made a lot of clear. Thanks Drew

  12. Drew Baye August 19, 2011 at 9:55 am #

    William,

    The ability to perform any athletic event is a combination of skill and conditioning. The conditioning necessary can definitely be accomplished with high intensity training alone, but the skill can not, and since there will be a conditioning effect any time you practice an athletic event you can’t really separate the two. If a person wanted to train specifically for some kind of endurance event the best approach would be a combination of the two. If, however, a person was only interested in the general conditioning and not having the specific skill they could achieve that with a proper high intensity training program alone – in this case, one geared more towards metabolic conditioning.

    Most people don’t get this because most people, endurance athletes included, don’t strength train in the manner I would suggest. I’ve trained a few endurance athletes (cyclists, runners, triathletes) and know a lot of other HIT trainers who have, and they are always surprised at how much more demanding it is on the cardiovascular system than they anticipated, as well as how much it improves their endurance performance.

    While anecdotes don’t count for much, my brother’s experience during a college physical education course isn’t an unusual one for HIT trainees. While attending the University of Oshkosh he took a course where running was supposed to be a mandatory part of the class, but asked the teacher to be excused from it since he was already performing other conditioning activities. What he didn’t tell the teacher was these other conditioning activities consisted of only one high intensity strength training session a week. At the end of the semester the students were tested on a two mile run, and despite not running with the rest of the class he outran all of them except one student who was there on a cross-country scholarship, and he wasn’t very far behind him.

    The same thing occurred during Project Total Conditioning at West Point Military Academy, when the Nautilus trained cadets experienced far greater improvements in the two mile run and every other measure of cardiovascular fitness than their counterparts who were running regularly.

  13. William August 19, 2011 at 12:15 pm #

    Drew,

    Thanks for the quick (and thoughtful) response. My previous post probably indicates my skepticism. But I’m certainly not cynical or close-minded about this. I’m relatively new to HIT in my own training (my results have been very positive) and I continue to read as much as I can. More than anything, I suspect my skepticism reveals the fact that I’m butting up against the conventional wisdom that shapes by understanding of physical conditioning. And, even though he’s been quite successful, already – at the age of 19 – I can see that my nephew is overtraining and that it’s taking a toll on his overall health. I’ll pass along the information about the West Point study with Nautilus-based HIT training. Thanks.

    • Drew Baye August 19, 2011 at 12:24 pm #

      William,

      You’re welcome. I was skeptical when I first learned about this as well, and it’s hard not to be when it directly contradicts much of what is popular, but do it consistently for a few months and you’ll be surprised at the results.

  14. Thomas August 19, 2011 at 1:35 pm #

    Drew-the squat description you gave in your EOF chapter excerpt was interesting. After reading it, I think I probably do my squats a little too quickly. While I don’t free fall or bounce, I’ve always tried to explode out of the bottom position. When the weights get heavy, this plays havoc with my low back, which is definitely my weak link (I have to really concentrate on keeping it tight). If I slow down when rising out of the bottom, maybe I’ll be able to better prepare my low back and protect it? I am positive it will probably also force me to use lighter weights. Do you find that people are able to work back up to previous poundage after changing their form to a slower, more controlled cadence?

    • Drew Baye August 20, 2011 at 8:08 am #

      Thomas,

      Yes. Back the weight down a little and work on improving your form, you’ll get stronger and the weights will go back up but your back will hurt less.

  15. Darren August 20, 2011 at 8:42 am #

    Near the end of a set, when you get stuck in the bottom position, do you end the set or relax the form a bit so you get get a few more reps? I often get stuck (squat, bench, curls, etc) but if I could get past that sticking point, I could easily do more reps. Also, when I get near the end of the set, I can’t keep my face relaxed as you describe in your Workouts ebook. My mouth is usually wide open gasping for air.

    • Drew Baye August 21, 2011 at 11:49 am #

      Darren,

      I don’t relax the form, especially around the bottom position of the squat. How you perform your reps is more important than how many you do. While loosening up your form might allow you to get a few more reps if you loosen it up too much (and most people’s form is terribly loose to begin with by my standards) you aren’t going to be working the target muscles as effectively and are more likely to be injured.

      When you reach momentary muscular failure, instead of loosening up your form focus on continuing to contract the target muscles as intensely as possible for a few seconds. Occasionally, you will surprise yourself and still get a rep or two moving strictly if you are able to really “dig deep” and contract with a true, all-out effort without sacrificing form to do so.

      As for breathing, just let your jaw “hang” off your skull, and breathe through the mouth, but do not hold your breath, scream, grunt, etc. – just breathe. This is not inconsistent with keeping the head and neck still and the face relaxed.

  16. Ed Mackie August 22, 2011 at 11:08 am #

    Drew,

    Having read your reply that a good diet negates the need to use supplements, are there any specific foods you’d recommend consumption of pre and post workout ?

    Thanks.

    Ed Mac

    • Drew Baye August 22, 2011 at 4:58 pm #

      Hey Ed,

      Nothing special, just lots of meat, fish, eggs, poultry and vegetables. I generally don’t eat a full sized meal less than two hours before a workout, but will occasionally have a small snack with just a little protein and carbs before and another snack or meal afterwards depending on the time of day. I usually don’t eat much until after around noon or 1:00.

  17. Jay August 23, 2011 at 10:27 am #

    Drew

    This post is 100% correct. Four months ago I cut out all grains, vegetable oils, sugar, and any processed food. I now eat meat, seafood, eggs, poultry and lots of vegetables. I buy fresh food and cook it myself. If I’m hungry I eat, if I’m not I don’t. I don’t do calorie restriction. I also started HIT workouts. I do Dr McGuff’s Big-Five workout plus a couple of other exercises for variety. I workout about once a week, one set of each exercise to failure (and I make sure I go to failure, no cheating). I have lost 50lbs and 9 inches off my waist and have steadily gained strength. I am 53 years old and look better and feel better than I have in a long time. What you recommend works.

  18. Angie January 8, 2012 at 12:26 pm #

    I like the perspectives of Chris Kresser, Kurt Harris (archevore.com), Paul Jaminet (Perfect Health Diet), J. Stanton (gnolls.org), and still others who have science and/or medical backgrounds and what they have added to the discussion of the paleo diet. For example, many (if not most) people have digestive problems from eating nutrient-poor conventional food or worse, all those “healthy” whole grains, brown rice, and legumes which wreak havoc on your intestines due to their fiber and proteins. Still others have difficulty with various forms of sugars (FODMAPS). That means some of the “paleo” foods — like yams, sweet potatoes, beets, cruciferous vegetables, fruit, and nuts — are also not well tolerated. White potatoes without the skin and white rice can be safe sources of starch for those who can’t tolerate the typical paleo diet starch. And some people do need to supplement minerals and some vitamins if their digestive systems aren’t completely healthy.

    Just saying, sometimes the diet thing gets oversimplified. Paleo is a good framework, but it often needs individual tweaking.

    • Drew Baye January 11, 2012 at 8:30 pm #

      Angie,

      Like most things, the general principles are a starting point from which people need to make adaptations based on how their body responds. There will occasionally be exceptional cases.

  19. Matt January 11, 2012 at 7:57 pm #

    Hey Drew, In regards to your thoughts on exercising harder I was wondering about your opinion on which type of equipment is better: free weights or machines.

    Here is a comment I recently came across on strength training forum

    “Practically all exercise machines (including Hammer) lock the user into constricted and unnatural paths of motion and loading patterns. They do not produce a training response anywhere near the magnitude of free weights and they are, as they have always been, nothing more than square footage wastage on gym floors. If you have an injury or abnormal physical peculiarity that prohibits you from lifting free weights then they can be used to at least make you feel like you’re not completely wasting your time. Otherwise, they do not belong on any serious gym floor and should be reserved for the injured, elderly or rehabilitation.

    It is not that Hammer or any other machines are inherently useless, it is the fact that they are so far inferior to free weights that in comparison they are a relative waste of time. It would be like digging a hole with a plastic spoon when you could be using a steel shovel. Sure the spoon may possibly get the job done eventually (if you’re lucky enough to be working with very easy terrain), but why would you waste your time using a plastic spoon when there are much better tools available anyway?”

    Are these views misguided or do they have some merit?

    • Drew Baye January 11, 2012 at 8:28 pm #

      Matt,

      The views expressed in that quote are completely unfounded. You can train productively with a variety of tools. If anything, properly designed machines would provide an advantage due to the ability to train more efficiently and more safely.

  20. rob January 12, 2012 at 7:55 am #

    Hi Drew,
    Here in the west, we should be thankful we can screw or nose’s up at the “processed crap” on the selves. In many parts of the world, their not so fortunate, and if it wasn’t for grain’s millions of people would starve to death.
    Also, if it wasn’t for the neolithic revolution, we as a species would not have come as far as we have.

    • Drew Baye January 12, 2012 at 11:39 am #

      Rob,

      While grain is a cheap way to feed those people it is no less unhealthy relative to many other foods. As for the neolithic/agricultural revolution, while I am not an expert in anthropology or agriculture, I suspect our species would have continued to improve technologically over time regardless of grain farming although along a very different path.

  21. Matt January 13, 2012 at 3:31 pm #

    Excellent article Drew, too bad most people have such a hard time letting CW go and give it a try.

    A question, if you don’t mind. I’ve been doin the bbs big 5 since October. I’m thinking of doing kind of a split. W1: pulldown, overhead press, leg press. W2: seated row, chest press, leg press. Maybe salt with some iso like pullover, chest fly. But the question: should I split it so I do vert press/pull and next session do the horizontals or do vert pull/hori press and vice versa?

    • Drew Baye January 13, 2012 at 3:47 pm #

      Matt,

      I prefer to pair opposing movements as this balances the work being done by agonist/antagonist muscle pairs.

  22. Blain January 14, 2012 at 12:32 pm #

    Drew,
    What is your take on intermittent fasting? Have you ever done it regularly and if so, what was the outcome?

    • Drew Baye January 15, 2012 at 4:18 pm #

      Blain,

      It’s an effective approach to fat loss. I’m going to cover this in another article in the future.

  23. Charles February 15, 2012 at 2:40 pm #

    Drew,
    From some of your older writings, I noticed some of the workouts you discussed consisted of roughly 6 exercises per workout and one workout per week. What would be your rationale for doing 6 exercises instead of only 3 for example? It seems you could get better coverage that way on muscles such as calves and triceps. But my experience has been that if I am working hard enough on compound movements, I am typically too tired after that to really get any intensity out of an isolation exercise.

    Or maybe that’s all in my head. For years, being a big fan of compound movements, I’ve always had the habit of finishing my compound movements and then asking myself afterwords is an isolation exercise on top of that is going to make any bit of a difference. It probably isn’t going to make a difference for a skinny guy who wants to gain 10-20 kg. But it might make a difference for a guy who has already fully grown for the most part, has a lagging body part, and/or wants to do a contest.

    • Drew Baye February 15, 2012 at 3:45 pm #

      Charles,

      For most advanced subjects I wouldn’t recommend more than three compound movements per workout, but a few additional simple movements to address other muscles or muscle groups won’t hurt, such as the calves or neck.

      Ultimately, it depends on the individual, their level of skill, conditioning, recovery ability, and other factors.

  24. Charles February 17, 2012 at 7:19 am #

    Drew,
    Thanks. That makes a lot of sense.I tried 3 exercises per workout per week last year and it worked great. It was an experiment with positive results. Although I do admit neck as an example of one body part that surely could have used the extra work.

    I liked your post by the way and it goes along with everything you’ve always written about. The only thing I might add as a positive, is the fact that intermittent fasting allows some wiggle room with what you can eat and still get good results for fat loss. At least that is what my experience is.

    One HIT workout per week, no cardio, simplified and flexible dieting, and I’ve had the best results in my life. I’m the leanest I’ve been in a decade. And I’ve gotten the doctors proof that I am in great shape. My blood pressure is good and I’ve got a low resting heart rate. I can’t complain! It’s great when you have a proven strategy that always works and you know it!

  25. Phil March 28, 2012 at 5:01 pm #

    I have read many articles about low-carb diets where people say they felt terrible mentally and also felt weak physically. I have also read many articles where people say the opposite. Convince me what is the correct way to lose fat….

    • Drew Baye April 12, 2012 at 12:08 pm #

      Phil,

      This is normal for someone whose body is used to higher carbohydrates when they first reduce them and usually passes within a few weeks after which they feel better than they did previously.

      Also, consider that the carb intake in a “low carb” diet is only low relative to the grossly high amount consumed by people eating modern diets filled with grain and sugar. It is not low relative to what our pre-agricultural ancestors consumed on average, or what a person could consume today if they replaced the grains and processed, sugary foods in their diet with an equal or greater volume of vegetables and fruit.

  26. Richard May 6, 2012 at 6:01 pm #

    Hey Drew, what are the required daily macronutrient amounts needed for maximum muscle hypertrophy? I am aware of 1-1.5g of protein per pound of bodyweight, but what about carbs, fats and overlall calorie requirements???

    • Drew Baye May 7, 2012 at 7:43 am #

      Richard,

      The optimum intake of carbs, fats and overall calories would vary between individuals depending on activity levels and other factors. This has always been something I’ve worked out with people on an experimental basis, making adjustments as we go based on individual response. Have to go train now, but will address this in the blog.

  27. Jon May 16, 2012 at 9:23 pm #

    Hey Drew,
    one thing that concerns me is the loss of B vitamins when not eating grains. What vegetables or fruits can fill the void for theis loss? It would be interesting to see a grain free food pyramid!?
    Jon

    • Drew Baye May 16, 2012 at 9:52 pm #

      Jon,

      Simple. Eat plenty of meat.

  28. Mario August 5, 2012 at 3:47 am #

    Drew, thank you for your work and all the great information on your site.
    I was wondering if you have any comment about when to eat after a workout.
    Wait till I get hungry or is it best to eat as soon as possible?

    • Drew Baye August 9, 2012 at 6:23 pm #

      Mario,

      Depending on your goals and overall diet and the time you workout you might want to have a small snack or a full meal within about thirty minutes to an hour of your workout. I’ll cover this in more detail in a Q&A post.

  29. Sylvester Jijingi August 24, 2012 at 1:23 am #

    Hi Drew
    I have been on your program for 2 years with good results low bp, low resting heart rate and looking younger. My problem is my abs. Have used intermittent fasts 2/ week. I am 54. No grains except 1 or 2 slices of zero sugar bread. Any ideas on how to trim my middle?
    Sly

    • Drew Baye August 25, 2012 at 9:08 am #

      Sylvester,

      The above guidelines should do it if you’re consistent with them and keeping overall calorie intake below maintenance. I will be covering this in more detail in another article soon.

  30. Stuart September 27, 2012 at 5:09 am #

    Hi Drew,

    I listened to you talk on the daygame podcast and found it fascinating. I think it’s amazing that this information is not more widely known and I’d like to say thanks for sharing. I’m trying to change my eating habits to cut out carbs.

    Breakfast is no problem. I’ve replaced toast, cereal and fruit juice with coffee, sausages, eggs and bacon.

    Dinner is also no problem, I’ve replaced pizzas and pastas with steak, pork, chicken and vegetables.

    I’m having trouble with lunch though. At work, a sandwich and a packet of crisps are just so convenient to eat. Do you have any suggestions for what to switch my sandwiches for?

    • Drew Baye September 27, 2012 at 9:22 am #

      Stuart,

      It isn’t necessary to cut out carbs, but I recommend replacing the grains, legumes and refined sugars in your diet with vegetables, fruit and nuts.

      You can replace sandwiches with lettuce wraps filled with steak, chicken or pork and replace the chips with nuts.

  31. Mike Chambers November 29, 2012 at 3:50 pm #

    Hi Drew,

    This is a great post! Just started HIT and your diet regimen last week and my energy is great and HIT is harder than anything I have done before. I was wondering is okay just to go with the leaner cuts of meat, as grass fed is very expensive? Also, 70% of my fruit intake is blueberries, but I also eat apples and grapes, are they okay? Thanks and keep up the good work!

    • Drew Baye November 29, 2012 at 4:13 pm #

      Mike,

      If you aren’t eating grass fed meat you’re getting less nutritional value and a much worse ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acids. If you’re eating a variety of vegetables and fruits you should still be fine, but you might want an additional source of omega 3. Blueberries, apples, and grapes are fine.

      You’re very welcome, and I’m glad you’re getting something useful from the site.

      • Mike Chambers November 29, 2012 at 6:01 pm #

        Thanks Drew! I will try and incorporate grass fed meat. For veggies, I just stick with broccoli, kale and green peppers, they taste the best!!

  32. Khristaf February 17, 2013 at 12:41 pm #

    Hi Drew!
    First of all, thank you for all the great posts and helpful information. I really enjoy reading them. I saw you for the first time on the 21 convention video. I’ve been a follower ever after.
    I started bulking 2.5 month ago. Before that, I was just keeping the maintenance level. I have a great progress and I’ve put on 7 pounds so far. One big issue that I have is the protein consumption. When I was on maintenance, I got away with one protein shake per day to meet my requirements. In bulking, I need a little more (I aim for 1.2g per pound of body weight). So, I had to add more powder to my daily intake. Now I take 2 scoops a day, that’s approximately 25% of my daily protein intake. I noticed that I’ve started to get a lot of stomach discomfort from increased powder consumption (I use whey concentrate ON 100% Gold). Do you have any tips for that? Maybe some of your clients had the same issues. I am actually lactose intolerant; don’t know if that’s the reason, because I didn’t have issues with just 1 scoop a day. I just can’t physically eat so much meet and eggs every day, to meet my protein level without powder supplement.
    Thanks in advance!
    Khristaf

    • Drew Baye February 21, 2013 at 6:23 pm #

      Khristaf,

      Although a little more doesn’t hurt, an average of one gram of protein per pound of lean body mass should be enough provided you are consuming adequate calories and getting adequate overall nutrient intake. Because of the effect on appetite it can be difficult for some people to eat enough meat or eggs to get this much protein, but this can be made easier by breaking it into smaller meals and consuming it before other foods.

  33. Kelly Harris March 4, 2013 at 11:10 pm #

    Drew,

    I listened to Mike Mentzer recommend a macronutrients ratio of 60% carbs, 25% pro, and 15% fats, all from the four basic food groups. From one of your blogs, I’m figuring a macronutrient ratio of about 40% pro, 20-30% fats, and the rest carbs. I’m just wondering why you don’t recommend Mentzer’s ratio, or do you. And if not, why?

    Thanks,
    Kelly

    • Drew Baye March 6, 2013 at 12:34 pm #

      Kelly,

      I recommend estimating calorie and macronutrient intakes based on individual needs and goals rather than following arbitrary ratios. No one ratio is appropriate for everyone or even for the same individual when working towards different goals.

      • Kelly Harris March 6, 2013 at 11:06 pm #

        Thanks. I was just curious why one would need 60% carbs on a daily basis if you’re only performing high intense training every 5 to 10 days, or even twice a week while doing lite activity or recovering the other days. Seems a higher fat lower carb ratio would be best on days of little to no anaerobic activity. Or does it even matter as long as your consuming adequate protein? Thanks again.

        • Drew Baye March 7, 2013 at 2:43 pm #

          Kelly,

          It matters, but like most things the proper amount depends a lot on the individual.

  34. Paul August 17, 2013 at 9:12 pm #

    Drew just out of curiosity what is your pre and post workout meal? And also i have read alot not to consume food 1 hour before or after a workout for growth hormone benefits which are shut down when insulin is raised by food, would you think fasted you cant perform as well at the gym? Thanks.

    • Drew Baye August 18, 2013 at 2:53 pm #

      Paul,

      I usually have a moderate amount of protein and carbohydrate about an hour to half an hour before working out and again shortly after. I’ve worked out fasted on occasion simply because of my schedule or the timing of the workout, and I don’t perform as well when I do, and I have noticed the same in clients and don’t recommend it.

  35. Paul August 25, 2013 at 12:27 am #

    Drew, in regards to HGH human growth hormone, i hear that raising insulin with foods before a workout shuts down the HGH mechanism, and thats why alot of people recomend working out fasted but im not sure whether i should risk poor performance at the gym for more HGH, do you perhaps know better methods of increasing HGH?

    • Drew Baye August 25, 2013 at 11:59 am #

      Paul,

      I don’t recommend working out fasted. If you haven’t had a meal within two to three hours of your workout you should have a small snack with a moderate amount of protein and carbs about a half hour to an hour before your workout. Any effect on HGH is going to be transient and not have as much of an effect on your long term progress as your ability to train intensely, which the snack can help with if you haven’t eaten for more than a few hours.

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