Fasted weight training – My personal approach

Written by: Brad Pilon

I’m going to try something a little different today. Instead of diet advice or reviewing research, today I’d like to share with you what I’m currently trying on myself, and give you some of the rational behind my personal approach.

As usual, I’m experimenting. It’s still Eat Stop Eat, but I’m also going to tell you what I’m doing on the days I’m not fasting.

Firstly, I do two fasts per week. My fasts are usually 20-24 hours long, depending on how I feel and time commitments.

At the end of each fast I do my main weight training sessions. So twice a week I weight train for about 1 hour, consisting of about 50-70 reps divided between 2 to 4 exercises per muscle group.

During my first workout I train my legs and my shoulders, then during my second workout I train my chest back and arms.

Once I’m done my workout I view the next 2-3 days as ‘muscle growth support’ so I eat to support the muscle repairing process.

This means eating 20-30 grams of protein every 4-6 hours, while keeping my calorie intake at roughly 14 times my current body weight (roughly 2,500 calories). Since about 500 of those calories come from my protein intake, the other 2,000 come from carbs fat and alcohol. I really don’t track any of these number as I only really care about ‘protein in’ and ‘calories in’.

I continue this process until it’s time to fast again. I view my fasts as a reset, my workout as the ‘start’, the next 2-3 days as the eating to support that workout, then I repeat.

I also rock climb twice a week, and do some gymnastics training whenever I feel the urge, but my weight training workouts are currently limited to these two times.

The other thing you need to know is how I tweak calories. I’m normally able to maintain my weight by eating about 2,500 calories on the days I’m not fasting, but if I want to bring my weight down a bit, here’s what I do:

I start with my ideal waist (Height x 0.447 = my ideal waist) <— that number only applies to men, women should use 0.382

I measure my waist at my belly button (women would be above belly button at narrowest point of your ’true waist’). For every 1 inch I am over my ideal, I subtract 1 from 14

So if my ideal waist is roughly 31.5 and I have a 33 inch waist then my daily calories are roughly my current weight multiplied by (14 – 1.5) or current weight x 12.5

**Since I never let my waist circumference reach over half my height (35 inches) this is never more than a 300 or 400 calorie reduction per day.

No matter what happens with calories, protein stays the same, roughly 4-5 protein meals per day, 4-6 hours apart, 20-30 grams with each meal.

And that’s it, that’s my entire approach. Simple, uncomplicated, and hopefully effective. Yes I eat breakfast most days, and no I don’t know how many grams of carbs or fats I eat, but I can tell you I eat them both 😉

Really, other than the eating, this approach takes up two 24 hour periods of my life, not a big deal to me, and fits perfectly with my schedule.

The only real differences between this and what I normally do is the lowered frequency of workouts and their timing.

This new low training frequency is new to me, I’ve trained as much as two times per day, and usually train around 5 times a week, but I want to experiment with doing less…

The timing is based off my work with inflammation and muscle growth, and a guess that in the long run training at or near the end of a fast may help.

Over the next couple months I’ll let you know how it is going, so if you’re interested in following along, you can save this post as a reference.


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