Fat loss diets – everyone that’s tried them has surely felt lost, confused, irritated, frustrated, or all of the above. It’s far from pleasant and easy going on a fat loss diet. Cutting calories and dealing with cravings, on top of psychological angst, can be quite taxing physically and mentally. Fad diets and other diets designed to give you a “follow-to-the-tee” approach can be mad annoying, too. You can’t necessarily follow a cookie cutter diet program and expect to succeed for long!
A proper diet needs to be one based on scientific analysis, as well as tried-and-true principles, not just some shit thrown together that looks good on paper, but not so much in practice. T-Nation.com has a very interesting article called The 5/2 Fat Loss Diet For Lifters, which discusses the fat loss protocols we at Gone Liftin’ are going bonkers over!
What’s So Damn Special?!
Maybe you have heard of Intermittent Fasting (also referred to as IF) – maybe you haven’t… Intermittent Fasting basically involves a roughly 8 hour window where you consume your food, followed by 16 hours of fasting. The IF protocol was taken from the base principles of The Warrior Diet, in which you have one main feast a day, typically at night, and not worry about cooking or preparing food for the day, as your eating is done primarily at night when your day is just about over. IF tweaks these principles, and makes it more suitable for elite athletes to sustain and excel in such a state. “But I’m gonna starve on that kinda eating plan” you might be saying to yourselves. Are you gonna be hungry? Yes. Will there be hunger pangs? Bet your ass there will! To these concerns, we say this – SUCK IT UP!! Diets aren’t suposed to be easy – there is no such thing. You may have been led to believe that diets can be fun and easy and self-maintaining, but we are not here to sell any products or bullshit you to “TRY OUR PROGRAM RISK FREE NOW!!” We want to shed truth, not blow smoke.
Anyway, without getting off topic too much, we would like to direct you to this good write-up on IF. There is tons of good info on the web about IF, but fitness author Nate Miyaki has a pretty decent starting outline about IF on his site, which we just wanted to link here since we really like the dude and his approaches.
But anyways, let’s get back on track and talk about the diet protocol at hand: The 5/2 Diet
5/2 Diet For Optimal Fat Loss
TC Luoma, the editor in chief for T-Nation, chose to discuss this particular dieting method, which he himself implores, and the Gone Liftin’ Team has recently started on the trek as well! The 5/2 Fat Loss Diet For Lifters is a fantastic read, but we decided to break down the main concepts, and make it shorter and simpler for ya…
OK OK, so what the hell is it?!
You eat what you normally eat 5 days a week. For real. But on 2 non-consecutive days, both of which are either off days from lifting or “cardio” days, you’ll eat just two meals, twelve hours apart, for a total of 800 calories each day.
That’s it. This way of eating will allow you to lose about a pound of fat a week while still allowing you to gain muscle and strength. I believe it will also prime you for unprecedented muscle gain, as it’ll reset your insulin sensitivity. Oh yeah, it’ll probably also improve your blood chemistry dramatically, protect your heart, stave off cancer, and make you live longer, should anyone care about stuff like that.
Bing, bang, done! That’s the premise of the diet. To give a slight branch out of this, let’s look at an example to make it real:
MONDAY: training day / normal caloric intake
TUESDAY: training day / normal caloric intake
WEDNESDAY: training day / normal caloric intake
THURSDAY: cardio day / rest day / easy day / 800 calorie day
FRIDAY: training day / normal caloric intake
SATURDAY: training day / normal caloric intake
SUNDAY: off day / 800 calorie day
The above of course is just a very basic example, and manipulation and tweaking of your personal regimes is certainly welcomed and encouraged, just so long as the basic principles are followed. 800 calories is crazy low, we know. Trust us though – it works wonders!! This method is a safe and optimal way of losing fat and preserving muscle.
That it? Nope! What is it that makes this approach safe and effective? Well… Insulin, of course!! What about insulin? Insulin sensitivity is EVERYTHING for body composition. Without getting too in dept about insulin here, allow us to direct you to our Insulin Manifesto articles: Insulin Spike and Insulin Sensitivity, and instruct you to most definitely read up on those thoroughly! Let’s move on…
Here’s my thinking. In the world of body comp, insulin sensitivity is everything. The more sensitive your cells are to insulin, the greater your results in both building muscle and being lean enough for anyone to see that muscle. In fact, manipulating and taking advantage of insulin is at the heart of Biotest’s peri-workout strategies.
Therefore, IF, specifically the 5/2 version, should allow a lifter to steadily get more ripped with each passing week without losing muscle mass. It could also theoretically allow a bodybuilder to undergo a bulking phase while still losing body fat, simply because of enhanced insulin sensitivity that makes them put on muscle more easily while also losing fat.
So the 5/2 protocol is also for gaining weight? Not exactly, but kinda. When doing the 5/2 protocol for short stints, the body gets primed for a perfect muscle building phase, thanks to the increased insulin sensitivity which this dieting method brings to fruition.
I also maintain that doing a relatively short-duration stint on 5/2 for Lifters could prime your body for a subsequent mass-building phase. In other words, if you did two months of 5/2 for Lifters prior to going on a mass phase, you would prime your body to put on muscle mass much more quickly, again thanks to increased insulin sensitivity.
Re-cap and Wrap-up
Step 1: Five days a week you are to eat what you normally eat (this does not mean cheating or eating shit – you are still dieting here, so food choices MUST be kept optimal)
Step 2: 2 days of the week, not in a row, you are to eat 2, 400 calorie meals, roughly 12 hours apart (also, keep food clean and optimal)
Step 3: Admire those abs and striations all over your body!
Well, there we have it folks. This covers the 5/2 Fat Loss Diet in full, but for a more in depth read up, including some animal studies, some Q & A, and some of that cool T-Nation flare, head over to TC’s article.