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This was a fun episode for me, because my guest is a fitness “godfather” of sorts who has greatly influenced my own work and career, as well as probably the most-requested guest from listeners.

I’m talking about the inimitable Alan Aragon, who has been at the forefront of the evidence-based fitness movement for over a decade now and has helped countless fitness enthusiasts, professional athletes, and top coaches.

So, it’s a treat to finally get him on the show!

If you’re not familiar with Alan, he’s a nutrition researcher and educator and creator of the first-of-its-kind research review in 2008, called AARR (Alan Aragon’s Research Review). He also has a true talent for translating science into practical application, making it work for normal people with real lives and not just subjects in a lab.

In this episode, I pepper Alan with a smattering of questions that I often receive from my readers, ranging from artificial sweeteners’ effects on weight loss and the gut microbiome, to the benefits of cyclical dieting and refeeds, to protein timing and “hyperfeeding.”

So, if any of those topics interest you, or you just want to hear from one of the fitness industry’s finest educators, tune in!


11:00 – Can artificial sweeteners affect weight loss?

14:19 – What is scaccharine’s effect on the gut microbiota? 

22:09 – Will artificial sweeteners affect somebody that is already healthy and exercising?

25:19 – What are your thoughts on cyclical dieting? 

49:50 – What are your thoughts on carbohydrate and fat intake? 

53:51 – What are your thoughts on protein timing?

1:06:10 – What is your general recommendation for servings of protein a day?

1:10:25 – Where can people find you and your work? 

Mentioned on The Show:

Alan Aragon’s Research Review

Alan Aragon’s Instagram

Shop Legion Supplements Here

What did you think of this episode? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!


Mike: Hey friends, welcome to muscle for life. I’m Mike Matthews. Thank you for checking out this episode, which was a fun one for me, because my guest is a fitness godfather of sorts who has greatly influenced my own work and career. And is probably the most requested guest from my listeners, somebody who I have been trying to get on the podcast for some time.

And here we are, and I’m talking about Alan Aragon, the one and only the guy who has been at the forefront of the evidence based fitness movement for over a decade now, and who has helped countless fitness enthusiasts, professional athletes. And. Coaches get into the best shape of their lives. And so it’s a treat to get Alan on the show and in case you’re not familiar with him and why I’m singing his praises.

Alan is a nutrition researcher and educator, as well as the creator of the first of its kind research review, which he launched in 2008. And it’s called a R Allen Aragon’s research review. And this was the first of its kind. There are a number of these research reviews out there now. And some very good ones like mass, for example, which is the creation of Greg knuckles, Eric Helms, Mike Sotos and Eric Drexler as well as others.

But Alans was the first and he really. Has a talent for translating science, into practical application, making this stuff work for us, normal people with real lives, as opposed to just subjects in a lab. And you’ll really get a sense of that in this episode where I pepper Allen with a smattering of questions that I am receiving from readers and followers ranging from artificial sweeteners effects on weight loss and the gut microbiome to the benefits of cyclical, dieting, and refeeds to protein timing, and hyper feeding and more.

So, if any of those things sound interesting to you, or if you just want to hear from one of the fitness industries, finest educators. This episode’s for you now, before we get to the show, if you like what I’m doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, and if you wanna help me help more people get into the best shape of their lives.

Please do consider supporting my sports, nutrition company, Legion athletics, which produces 100% natural evidence based health and fitness supplements, including protein powders and protein bars pre-workout and post-workout supplements, fat burners, multivitamins, joint support, and more every ingredient.

And dose in every product of mine is backed by peer-reviewed scientific research. Every formulation is 100% transparent, no proprietary blends and everything is naturally sweetened and flavored to check it out, just head over to Legion and just to show how much I appreciate my podcast.

Peeps use the coupon code M FFL at checkout, and you will save 20% on your entire order if it is your first purchase with us. And if it is not your first purchase, then you’ll get double reward points on your entire order, which is essentially getting 10% cash back in rewards points. So again, that URL is Legion

And if you appreciate my work, and if you wanna see more of it, please do consider supporting me so I can keep doing what I love, like producing podcasts like this. A Aragon is on my podcast. This is a cool moment for me. You’re one of the. First people who turned me onto evidence based fitness, your research review, I found it very early on.

And if you search your subscriber base, you won’t find me because it was action. Or the name of someone who works with me. but it’s still there. It’s still active. It’s a company like a company membership. You know what I mean? But no. So I found your work early on and really liked your approach to interpreting research and explaining the research in a way that I can understand because in the beginning, There’s a learning curve to getting into this stuff.

And even if it’s just the terminology alone and spending time, you know, in, I guess not the dictionary per se, but glossaries online and just learning how this space works. And your research review has really helped me a lot, right. In the beginning. And up until now, I’ve been able to get a lot of answers myself.

And I would say in some ways I’ve tried to pattern my own work on yours. So I’m excited to pick your brain on some non Ronna related stuff. I’ve been doing enough Ronna content. Let’s just, let’s do some good old wholesome health and fitness stuff. 

Alan: Awesome, man. Well, thank you so much for inviting me on really happy that my work has benefited you and good to know, man, that you were there since some of the early days.

So really appreciate it. 

Mike: Absolutely. So I have just, it’s kind of just a collection of questions that I get asked fairly often, things that you have written about and have covered in probably, I don’t know, the last year or so, maybe even six, whatever, six, eight months of your research review. And these are things that I’ve touched on here and there maybe written a little bit about or spoken a little bit about, but not had a definitive answer of, Hey, currently.

Here’s what the weight of the evidence says about this. And that would include also you have the scientific evidence, but then also given your experience, having worked with so many people and you continue to work with people, high level athletes that has a lot of value as well, because there is something to be said for the anecdotal side of it and having firsthand experience dealing with people, even if it’s just what works best in the real world, because sometimes, and I’ve spoken and written about this and really want people to understand that sometimes what’s scientifically optimal is not optimal for an individual like the best potential training program.

For example, as far as the science of muscle building goes is not the best for Joe. If Joe doesn’t like it, for example, he just doesn’t enjoy it and he has to struggle to comply. And so I think there. You and I’ve, that’s what I’ve liked also about your work since the beginning is you’re coming at this, not just in an ivory tower, looking at research, but you also are in the trenches.

You’re at the coal face, working with people. And so you know how to translate the research to practical advice that works for people who, in my case, a lot of the people in my orbit are people who have jobs and they have families and they have lives to live and they care about their fitness, but it’s not the only thing, you know, , 

Alan: there’s still a lot of real world practical application missing from the research community, from the ivory tower, lab, coat community.

And thankfully, I got my start. Fitness training and I’ve maintained that. And so, and I’m seeing a lot of finally the guys who’ve been in the trenches, get their formal training, their degrees, and then finally their jobs as researchers. Finally begin to put out studies that reflect what is going on in the trenches and being able to answer some of these questions that we’ve had for many generations.

And so it’s, it is an exciting time for research. We got a little bit derailed as of the past couple months got slightly derailed , but it is an exciting time in research as far as yeah. Yeah. Miss and sports nutrition, even some of the clinical 

Mike: nutrition side as. I agree. I agree. Even on the training side, starting to see better programs used in studies, for example, which is nice because again, it’s more reflective of something that you, as an actual practitioner would recommend to a client.

And as far as the pause goes, I’m via my supplement coming my sports T nutrition company, Legion funding, a study on creatine and DHT. Oh yes. To give an answer, I’m doing it with Tinsley grant Tinsley. Oh yes. Grant. Yep. Yep. And so great guy. It’s gonna be yeah. Yeah. Great guy and you know, good lab and something that it doesn’t have anything to do with my supplement company.

It’s really just a way to give back something to the based community that I’ve benefited a lot from. And, oh man. So that’s on pause temporarily. Are you 

Alan: allowed to divulge much about that project? Because I’m pretty interested. I get a lot of questions about. Creatine’s effect on DHT and the connection to hair loss, and that is a truly gray area in the literature.

So that’s really exciting to know that you may kind of fill that gap. So we’ll see. 

Mike: Yeah, I mean, it’s, we’re just in the beginning stages, so there’s not much to share on it yet. And I actually haven’t spoken. I was, I, what I would figure is that we get it going and I was gonna get grant on the podcast to, and just let him break it down.

And so I’m actually not sure what he would or wouldn’t want me to say, I didn’t even ask because I was just gonna wait a bit, but it’s a well designed study and we’re spending the money that needs to be spent. I believe it’s about $30,000 that I’m spending to get it done and it should provide, it’s either gonna tend toward replication, right.

Of the rugby study that caused the controversy, or it’s gonna provide a good reputation of it and we’ll see how it goes. But I think it’ll put a lot of. Men at ease one way or another. Right. So if we see it more toward replication, then guys could be like, okay, then I didn’t I guess any guy who’s worried about that male patterned baldness who’s been staying away from creatine can be like, whew, I actually might have made a good decision there.

and if it is more of a reputation, then they can take their creatine monohydrate without worrying. So I think it’s a win-win either way. Sure. 

Alan: And on the other hand, you have. Observation that damn all my most jacked friends are bald. you’ll kind of know that there, there may be something to that with the Cine use.

So, so yeah. You’re right. Yeah. Or is it 

Mike: something else? Right. And especially all the jacked guys on Instagram, all the 40 plus Jack guys are bald. Why is that? Yeah. Yeah. Tine . 

Alan: Yeah. Yeah, really cool. I’m excited about the proceedings of that study. So keep me in the loop, man, if you 

Mike: could. Absolutely. All right, so let’s switch gears here.

And the first question that I want to give to you is something that I get asked fairly often. It’s about artificial sweeteners, and this is an ongoing controversy. I think there are a couple points I like to get your take on. So let’s start with artificial sweeteners and weight loss, because usually when people are asking me, they’re concerned that if they have usually it’s too much, I don’t often hear from someone who’s worried about necessarily like a couple sticks of gum per day, but it’s, if they have a couple diet Cokes maybe, or if they’re using supplements that are officially sweetened, is that going to get in the way of weight loss, whether it’s in a direct or even indirect way by maybe stimulating hunger or cravings for sweet things, for example, 

Alan: That’s a good question.

And the answer to that has not really been very clear until recently the general answer to that is that artificial sweeteners, whether it be products that are artificially sweetened or artificially sweetened beverages, diet, sodas, and such generally speaking, they are not a threat to. Weight gain or fat gain.

You either see neutral to positive effects on weight loss with these products, which is not too surprising since they’re negligible in terms of their calories. But then of course, it’s a legit question to ask, okay, do these things kind of prime you for having a sweet tooth and make you crave the consumption of more sweets?

And that’s a valid question and that’s been investigated enough to the degree that we can say pretty confidently that, okay, well, that concern is not a threat now looking at artificial sweeteners as a singular entity, it’s a mistake and that’s because a recent study that came out within the last year-ish it compared the effects of four different conditions.

And I believe my memory is serving me. Right. Little Superlo ASAM, saccharin. And I’m forgetting the fourth one. The fourth one could have been the control condition being either water or sucrose. Okay. Sucrose is just table sugar, just regular table sugar, tasty, sugar calorie containing table sugar. Yep. So the comparison was done and they actually found saccharin.

To encourage weight gain while the other artificial sweeteners being Superlo and Asper tame, those being the two most commonly used ones. Those guys did not result in weight gain. Whereas the saccharin did it either resulted in slight weight or prevention of weight loss, whereas the other ones resulted in weight loss.

So either way there was some sort of unfavorable effect with saccharin. This was a human study. It was well controlled. I believe it was a crossover type study where all of the subjects got a chance to undergo each of the treatments that they were comparing. So a in quotes within subject design eliminates a lot of the shortcomings of study designs that are just parallel arm.

And then you can kind of think, okay, well there’s, you know, what if we crossed over, but then it’s not possible, but yeah, this one was a crossover design and highly controlled and it hinted to. The possibility that artificial sweeteners are not created equal, especially when you’re looking in particular at saccharin and these results corroborated a previous study that looked at saccharin effect on the gut microbiota, 

Mike: which is one of the other things I wanted to ask you about.

So it’s, you know, it’s a natural segue into it then. Yes. 

Alan: Yes. So they use saccharin out of all the artificial sweeteners they could have chosen, which has limited external validity or the non jargony way of saying that it has limited real world relevance to. Be testing saccharin because who the heck freaking uses saccharin, right?

Mike: Yeah. I was gonna ask you, where would you even? I don’t have any artificial sweeteners. Not because I’m afraid of them, but it’s just not, and it’s just not in my diet, you know, I don’t care about diet sodas and all, maybe have some gum if it’s around in the office or something, but yeah, so that was gonna be my question is, so of course the ones that if I look at some energy drinks, for example, I think it’s usually OSE ASAM or ACE K seem to be the most common.

Alan: Yeah. Those would be the common ones saccharin is present in. Well, it used to be most ubiquitous in a soft drink called tab TA B B. Oh, okay. And that was big in the late seventies, early eighties or something like that, but yeah, tab soda was the. Way back in the day and it is still used in a product called sweet and low.

Oh, sweet and low. Okay. These are the little pink packets at your local greasy spoon. 

Mike: Yeah. I was gonna say it’s like a diner thing, right? Yeah. Yes. 

Alan: Yes. It’s your local IHOP, Dennys, et cetera. Those little pink packets is where you’ll find 

Mike: is it cheaper than Splenda? Is that why 

Alan: not necessarily. It could be that there’s just such a huge stockpile of it.

And there was a bit of a cancer scare regarding saccharin back in the eighties or nineties, there was somewhat of a cancer scare and it got some bad PR. And so people started backing off from saccharin. So my guess is that they still just have a huge. Commercial stockpile of it and they, they still need to unload it.

And there’s enough people out there who have an affinity toward that little pink packet. So, I mean, that’s the 

Mike: power of branding, right? 

Alan: Oh yeah. Yeah, for sure. Sweet and low baby, you know, 

Mike: and you know, a funny little aside is did you come across that company? Brandless? No, 

Alan: I haven’t heard of it. So it 

Mike: was a big direct consumer disruptive one of these types of businesses and they raised a lot of money.

I don’t remember the number, but it was a lot, this was a big deal. I mean, You can imagine even what that cost, right? It’s a seven figure domain. I’m sure. And then the whole thing, and the whole concept of the brand was Brandless. Right. And you paid less, but you don’t, there’s no brand. And so they’re trying to take the counter position to branding and it was a complete failure and people, if you wanna read about, you can go read about it online.

It’s been reported about, and the story’s been broken down, but it’s just a Testament to the power of brand it’s branding. It’s one of those things you look back at, you know, I’m sure the people that look back retrospectively and. Yeah, that was a pretty dumb idea, actually, cuz there’s such an overwhelming amount of evidence that shows how much brand actually matters in people’s perception and how loyal people get to brands.

Even if it’s subconscious. It’s one of those things where it’s almost like trying to create a product that just goes against the dominant trend. Like we’re trying to create a new trend that is right flies in the face of what’s established like good luck. Maybe if you have 500 billion to spend an advertising or something , you know, for over the next 20 years, you can try to shift the predominant paradigm, I guess you could say in consumer’s minds.

But anyway, I, that just makes me think of that, that very well could be why saccharin is still a thing because they become attached to the brand and they want their sweet and low. They don’t want. Sure. 

Alan: They might even prefer the taste of it or the consistency or whatever it might be. Yep. And really who knows about Suez at all?

A few years ago, when they tested saccharin at pretty high doses in rats and humans and saw that it caused some degree of disruption, the gut microbiota that led to impairments in glucose. So that was the issue with saccharin was its effect on the gut, which led to a decreased capability to properly metabolize glucose.

And so this effect was seen, this was a short study. It was like a seven day study, but they saw it in rats and they saw it in humans. And now with this other study that I just mentioned comparing SLO as peram and saccharin, and one other that I’m not remembering at the moment, once again, it was saccharin.

That was kind of the bad guy of the lineup. And I guess we can say pretty confidently that we can’t look at artificial sweeteners as a homogeneous or single. We have to kind of talk about artificial sweeteners individually. And it appears that saccharin is not a good idea. And maybe saccharin is the one that fulfills all the concerns of folks who are anti artificial sweetener.

Whereas the other ones, we have not seen particularly bad stuff with things like St Ullo and Asper came. Right. 

Mike: And, Tevia or Tevia however you pronounce it. That would be different though, right? Because that’s natural. I mean, it’s obtained from a 

Alan: plant. A part of me wants to say Stevia, but I just can’t , you know, it’s like, I’m wired to say Tevia like, some people are wired to say tomato.

I have no idea why, but yeah. Yeah. Tevia is in quotes. More 

Mike: natural. I mean, obviously it’s processed to some degree, but it’s not a chemical that’s created in a lab. Sure. Yeah. Just I just check Google. Google says Tevia so I’ll stick to Steve. You can stick tote though. Nobody can use it’s 

Alan: okay. 

Mike: Got it.

I was like, am I have I been saying this wrong all long, one of those moments, you know? Okay. You might change my behavior now from this point. But yeah, no, that makes sense. And I have heard, and again, this is a topic I haven’t researched much on simply because it’s something that’s been on my list.

It’s not of much personal interest to me because I don’t care. I don’t consume them at all. And so I’ve looked into it lightly. Now I was having a conversation with Curtis Frank from examine, right? So he works. He, oh, former. Exactly. Yeah. So the guy who did a lot of the original work, a lot of the highly technical stuff.

Yeah. Brilliant guy listening. Yeah. He works with me in Legion. He’s been the guy who’s been doing Legion’s formulations since the beginning. Holy crap. Correct. So Legion is essentially, I give him all the credit. Whenever people compliment me or say, oh, your formulations are so well put together. I’m like no, it’s not me.

here’s Curtis. And then also I have to give credit to the other guys who work with him on the scientific advisory board. So that includes James Krieger. It includes meno, Selman, Spencer ALSK, Eric hems, Danny Lennon, Brad Dieter, all those guys know so much more about supplementation than I do. But I was talking with Curtis about artificial sweeteners just recently.

Cause I was curious. What’s your current take on it. And it was a short, just little blurb of a longer conversation. So he didn’t get even into that specific detail. So it might have been the saccharin. That was the issue he had just said that his personal take on it is there’s some evidence in vitro that again, he didn’t specify that some AR artificial sweeteners can harm gut health.

And for context, this was a few months ago and had this conversation. So maybe something has changed since then. What we don’t know is in vivo. So if we just look at the in vitro research, it would indicate, yeah, you have enough of these chemicals. It’s probably not good for your gut, but what if you do that now with a healthy person who actually eats well and they exercise and they have good sleep hygiene, that effect may be irrelevant.

What’s your thought on that? 

Alan: The effects of saccharin that Sue as S U E Z and colleagues saw was in humans? It was. Obviously in vivo it did occur. Pretty quickly over a seven day period, but it still has limitations. 

Mike: Yeah. You know, he actually probably was referring cuz in all the conversations that I’ve had with him about artificial sweeteners, I don’t know if sacin really was part of it, probably because it’s just so rare.

Like usually I’ve asked him if I’m asking him about artificial sweeteners, it’s been about SLOs ACE, K and Asper tame. The ones that you would use in a supplement, for example, or people do drink in their energy drinks or 

Alan: whatever, you know? Yeah. I’ve kept a pretty good eye on those other sweeteners as well.

And there’s no. Tangible health concerns about those 

Mike: things. Okay, good. And that is Curtis’ position is just like, that’s where he’s at on it. And this is something that, again, I wanna put words in his mouth and, but that’s been my understanding of his 

Alan: take on it. Yeah. And saccharin is what I would call almost commercially extinct because the market ki raged against it.

And now it’s relegated to those little pink packets in IHOP. So, and 

Mike: once they run out, that might be it. My, so any saccharin fans out there that it’s days are numbered, you might want to get your own stash, collect it, right? Yeah. Yeah.

Hey, if you like what I am doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, and if you want to help me help more people get into the best shape. Their lives, please do consider supporting my sports nutrition company, Legion athletics, which produces 100% natural evidence based health and fitness supplements, including protein powders and bars pre-workout and postworkout supplements, fat burners, multivitamins, joint support, and more every ingredient.

And every dose in every product is backed by peer review. Scientific research. Every formulation is 100% transparent. There are no proprietary blends and everything is naturally sweetened and flavored to check everything out, just head over to Legion and just to show how much I appreciate my podcast.

Peeps use the coupon code MFL at checkout, and you will save 20% on your entire order if it is your first purchase with us. And if it is not your first purchase with us, you will get double reward points on your entire order. That’s essentially 10% cash back in rewards points. So again, the URL is Legion

And if you appreciate my work and want to see more of it, please do consider supporting me so I can keep doing what I love, like producing podcasts like this. Let’s move on to the next topic, which is cyclical dieting, or refeeding diet breaks. Those are not synonymous, but they all are about the same type of approach to dieting where your calories are changing and your macros are changing on a set schedule.

What are your thoughts about that? Is there good evidence that doing that is good for? Let’s say when you’re cutting, is that gonna help you lose fat, faster retain muscle? And what about when you’re lean bulking? Is it gonna help or could it help you gain more muscle or less fat? 

Alan: So really good questions, cyclical, dieting, or non-linear dieting as I’ve called it.

It mainly benefits those who are like basically two conditions. Okay. So it mainly benefits people who are. In hypo caloric conditions. So, so dieting conditions where you’re eating less than your burning for the purpose of weight loss or fat loss. And within those hypo caloric conditions, the time that nonlinear dieting can benefit most is when you’re pretty severely restricting carbohydrate.

So those are the two conditions dieting. And low carbohydrate intake. And certainly those do combined other conditions such as we’ll take the other end of the spectrum, hyper caloric conditions where you’re consuming more calories than you’re burning. And you’re consuming a large amount of total daily carbohydrate, then cyclical intakes, typically of either total calories or carbohydrate or both has a lot less usefulness.

So if we look at the example of a former example of somebody let’s imagine somebody is allotted a hundred grams of carbohydrate or less per day, let’s say they’re going full keto per day, like 50 grams of carbs or less per day. Over the long term. If this person is on a rigorous training program, something intensive, something progressive, then they will benefit from periodically in quotes, carving up.

And that would. Be because of a couple reasons. First of all, there is a psychological benefit to knowing that there are breaks throughout the course of your diet. And if there are breaks throughout the course of seven days, Hey, you can make it. Anybody can diet for two to three days at a time. Two to three to four days at a time.

I mean, that’s, anybody can do that, but if you’re going to put like a three month period in front of someone and say, okay, you’re basically going to be killing yourself for three months straight, ready, set, go. There is a psychological disadvantage there because you can reach a degree of diet fatigue, or psychological fatigue of keeping carbohydrate low and close to nonexistent.

And just maintaining that. It can be done, but most people break at somewhere between the four to six week point where they’re just, God, I’m sick of this, where subconsciously they’ll start increasing it, the intake, or even consciously they’ll binge. And then they won’t tell you as their trainer or their coach.

So. Cyclical dieting with periodic increases in carbohydrate intake under low carb conditions. And under HypoChlor conditions is an effective way to make sure that there’s adherence. So it’s mainly a psychological benefit. There’s not enough evidence for us to say yes, when you carve up, it elevates these metabolic rate regulatory hormones that encourage or push the fat loss process forward.

There’s not enough evidence for us to say that, but there’s enough evidence for us to. At least hypothesize that the main benefit of cyclical dieting is behavioral is adherence based. Yeah, that 

Mike: makes sense. When I first came across refeeds and this was years ago and the argument that was being made at the time, and there was some research to suggest that maybe the case is that by carbing up even just one day per week, you could raise leptin levels enough to, if nothing else make you feel better for a few days.

But then as more research came out, that doesn’t seem to be the case necessarily. Right. And that’s correct. There is something to be said though, for diet breaks, even in that regard. Right. So let’s say, we’re saying, and you can correct me if I’m wrong. Sure. But so what if we’re talking about a five to seven day period where you’re bringing your calories back up to somewhere around maintenance, maybe you go a little bit beneath your predicted maintenance, because if you’ve.

Lost a bit of weight. Maybe you’re burning a little bit less than certain formulas would suggest, but you know, more or less bringing it back up to maintenance. And you’re doing that mostly with carbs and you’re doing it for several days, probably a minimum of three days maximum of maybe seven days.

What are your thoughts on that? And let’s say, well, I’d be curious, your thoughts in a low carb and then low-ish carb, but normal like 40, 40, 20, or maybe 40, 30, 30, just a more balanced kind of standard body building, cutting 

Alan: diet. , it’s a gray area. I’ll start off with saying that because when you bring calories back up to pre dieting levels, and certainly when you bring carbs up to pre dieting levels, thyroid is gonna go up.

Leptin is gonna go up, resting metabolic rate will go up. But the fact of the matter is the increase in calories is always going to offset these increases in hormone mediated energy expenditure. Oh, yeah. 

Mike: Yeah, no that, okay. I didn’t even know that’s being claimed. I’m not saying that it’s gonna, that somehow you’re gonna be able to continue losing fat while eating at maintenance.

I just mean that you’re just gonna feel better and you’re gonna feel like your batteries are kind of recharged to go back into a deficit and be able to sustain it ultimately, and be able to comply better. You know, then let’s, and I’ll talk about with people where let’s say they have a lot of weight to lose, and I know that it’s gonna take this guy or this gal six months, let’s say to get to where they want to be.

My recommendation is not to just, yeah, let’s just go six months straight. No, let’s break this up. Maybe let’s go a couple months then let’s take a break. There’s the psychological component. But then is my understanding is there’s a bit of a physiological component too. If we do take a long enough break that doesn’t not so long where they’re kind of off the rails now, but just long enough to allow some of these positive adaptations to curve.

So they can go back into the deficit and not feel too run down after many months, you know, 

Alan: Yeah, definitely. Totally agreed with you on that. And interesting in practice when you’re helping somebody diet down, I’ve found that one week’s worth of a diet break that I would define as a lifting off of the diet and gas pedal where you don’t just cast caution to the wind.

You don’t just Yolo it and binge for a week, but you lift off some of the, or actually most of the restrictions that you’re normally putting yourself through during a diet and you’re eating close or at maintenance at pre dieting levels for. A week, this in and of itself, just not dieting for a week has a very beneficial effect psychologically because you know, it’s within the plan, you know, you’re gonna gain one or two pounds, you know, it’s no big deal because most of it is going to be actually lean body mass.

And at most you might gain a pound of fat, big deal and you’d have to 

Mike: work for that pound of fat. I mean that’s yeah. Again if somebody does a good job at just regulating, like you say, where in, in practice, like what I’ve done personally is I would add usually just, I would take a meal of my meal plan and I would just beef it up, you know, I’d add, sometimes it would be eating more of the stuff that I’m already eating, which I like anyway, or it would just be adding like, okay, let’s say an afternoon snack.

When I’m cutting would be a protein shake. Just simple, take some of my way mix with water, drink it down. I might now have a protein shake plus an English muffin with some nut butter on something it’s just. Tasty, right. Just adding a couple hundred calories three to 500 depending, and just do that every day and keep it real simple.

And so if somebody does that, then they shouldn’t expect any fat gain. Sure. Your weight’s gonna go up a little bit for the reasons you gave, but for anybody listening, just know that, you know, you have to overeat by at least probably 3,500 ish calories to even gain that pound of fat. So that’s a big swing of calorie intake when you’re in a deficit and then you go into that much of a surplus, like sure.

You might enjoy it, but you certainly are gonna know it. That doesn’t just happen accidentally. Yeah. 

Alan: Yeah. And as long as it’s within the plan, as long as the person on the diet knows, okay, we’ve got a diet break coming up somewhere between the fourth to the eighth week of this diet. And we can auto-regulate that depending on how you’re progressing and how you’re.

I’ve found that to be very effective for people who are in contest prep, or for people who are prepping for a photo shoot. If we’ve got 16 weeks, there’s gonna be one to two diet breaks in there, depending on how they’re feeling. And during that diet break, it’s a chance for them to get a mental break from dieting, but also kind of for them to feel the rush again of.

A spike in, or at least a return to high level training performance. And so, in, in essence, you could sort of flux upward for a period of time training wise and you would get lesser doses of that during weekly carbu or biweekly carb. So there’s also a training performance element there for refeeds and in quotes or non-linear hiding, or carbu, there’s also a performance element that you can take advantage of for certain people, for whom that’s their goal.

So it’s not necessarily just a psychological or adherence benefit, but you can actually time these car up to fuel training bouts that are of particularly high volume or high 

Mike: effort. Yeah. That makes sense. I would probably prefer it during a higher volume training block, cuz that’s always more taxing than, you know, even if it’s a heavier weight, if it’s a lower volume, I find those workouts less grueling than, you know, the sets of 10 reps squats, for example.


Alan: right. And yeah. And it’s something that in practice you can say immediately that for diet. If you were to make a choice, let’s take like an example of if you were to hold a contest with a million dollar prize at the end of the contest, and the goal was to improve body composition as much as possible.

So you get points for muscle gain and retention, as well as points for fat loss. You undoubtedly you would do some sort of cyclical scheme because you’re getting the best of both worlds there. Anybody can. Not eat for a year, just not eat and take multivitamin, get doctor supervision, make sure you’re hydrated.

You know, some people might actually die through that, but in theory and it’s been, , they’re 

Mike: gonna die or they’re gonna get rich, you know, 

Alan: get rich or die. Trium right. There’s an optimal way to improve body composition. And there’s just various ways to get there. And so I’ve found in practice cyclical dieting to be the way because it improves adherence.

It can bolster performance in certain circumstances. And when you take diet breaks, people kind of overestimate the damage that can be done with a proper diet break. When in fact, like you mentioned, you really have to try. In order to just really sabotage the progress that you’ve made over a number of weeks, there was a study it’s by O T and colleagues.

And this was a 2018 study where they fed the subjects a thousand calories a day above and beyond their maintenance requirements. Okay. So just imagine what you’re eating right now to maintain, and then stacking on top of it. A thousand calories and these thousand calories were not body building type calories.

They weren’t ideal macro calories. They were high fat dairy calories. They were whipping cream calories. Okay. So totally ideal thousand calorie surplus for seven days resulted in one pound of fat gain and one pound of lean mass gain. okay. So. Two pound gain in a week of pounding the whipping cream, a thousand calories above and beyond maintenance requirements.

So, and were 

Mike: they also working out or were these just said no. So just sitting 

Alan: there, just sitting around, so people who are afraid of a seven day diet break, they’re unaware of research like this, whereas you and I were to put client on a seven day diet break, it would be much more ideal. And as you mentioned, you can even avoid significant fat gain or avoid fat gain even together.

So, yeah. Interesting stuff in the research kind of backing up. Some of these 

Mike: ideas. Yeah. Yeah. It’s probably worth mentioning also overfeeding research on protein in which there was some recent research that suggests that you can dramatically overfeed on protein. It seems like without gaining any fat yeah.

Or very little fat, at least not nothing. Like what you’d think if you just looked at the pure calories of it, and then you have a similar effect with carbohydrates and that’s been shown in studies as well, right. That you have to really go to town on carbs. If you’re keeping your fat relatively low before Denovo epigenesis even becomes a thing like before you really start contributing to fat gain, that’s particularly true.

If you’re working out right, 

Alan: right. On the carb front I’ll touch upon the carb thing. then the protein thing. And if I forget about the protein thing, then please remind me, cuz I find it really interesting. So after you’ve depleted your glycogen levels, so that would be done by. Just running a low carb or a ketogenic or near ketogenic diet plus training for a few days.

And then you can actually deplete glycogen in the quads with an exercise about lasting well, roughly 90 minutes if it’s intense enough and then you can really kind of ring out the last bits of glycogen in the quads, if you trained for two hours. 

Mike: And is that in a low carb condition or just a higher carb that’s after 

Alan: you just take somebody at baseline.

With normal glycogen levels, you can deplete glycogen in large muscle groups with a continuous 90 to 120 

Mike: minutes of work. Yep. Yeah, that was my, actually I mentioned that in a, I’m working on updating an existing book for, I have for intermediate in advanced and talking a bit about glycogen, but I just wanna make sure like that I was on the same page there.

Alan: Yep. Yeah. You can just take anyone. They don’t have to necessarily have been on a low carb diet. 

Mike: Yeah. Which a 90 minute workout. I mean, if you’re an intermediate lifter, maybe that’s a bit excessive if you’re new, but for an intermediate 60 to 90 minutes is probably what you need to get enough volume in.

I mean, that’s what I train five days a week. Normally and it’s not a crazy high volume. I’m probably doing 15 to 16. Maybe let’s say 15 to 18 hard sets per major muscle group per week. And that’s what it takes. I mean, it takes 60 to 90 minutes. 

Alan: Yep. So let’s imagine you depleted glycogen under those conditions.

It would take, this was a study done in like 1988 ish or so. I’m forgetting the name of the author, but it could be robs potentially, but it took right around 500 grams of carbohydrate a day for about four days before they started seeing significant levels of Denovo lipogenesis or the generation of or the synthesis of fatty acids.

If you can imagine, you know, 500 grams of carbs a day is a lot of freaking carbs. And if your glycogen depleted, then you can actually nail a hell of a lot of carbs. And it’ll take a few days for you to even begin to start putting on fat. That’s the carbohydrate side of things. If you’re glycogen depleted, and then on the protein side, things which you mentioned Antonio and colleagues within the pretty recent years, he’s done a slew of protein overfeeding studies.

So this is Joey Antonio at Nova university. He fed subjects 800 calories above maintenance requirements. And those 800 calories were in the form of protein. Very interestingly, this surplus protein calorie hit that was ran for eight weeks. I. It seemingly disappeared. It’s just such an interesting thing.

Cause it obviously didn’t disappear but there was some sort of ramp up in energy expenditure that neutralized those 800 calories in from protein. Now the super interesting thing about this study was that the subjects were trained. They were resistance trained and they were already consuming relatively high amount of protein.

So what happened was their baseline protein intake was already optimized, so they didn’t gain a significant amount of lean body mass or muscle. And they also didn’t gain a significant amount of fat tissue. So their body composition was just literally just static at the end of eight weeks of overfeeding protein to the tune of 800 calories.

And so the big head scratcher is how the heck did that happen? You know? And so the speculation behind how that happened was maybe at. Three or four reasons. Okay. Reason number one, protein is the most satiating macronutrient. So as these individuals slam down the protein to the tune of like four grams per kilo, a day, like 4.4 grams per kilo a day.

So roughly like two grams of protein per pound of body weight a day. I’ve done 

Mike: that back before I knew what I was doing. I thought that was, I read a magazine somewhere. That’s what you had. That’s what the body builders do down baby. Yeah. And I could attest. That’s not fun. that’s not fun when you’re drinking.

Several 60 gram, like protein shakes with 60 grams of protein, you know, triple scoop protein shake several a day. Ugh. Well, that’s what 

Alan: the subject said. It’s 

Mike: not fun. What comes out of your 

Alan: ass either? yeah. The energy out part, right? That’s certain type of energy out, but yeah, I’ve spoken Joey, maybe that’s where it goes.

Yeah, no. And you’re actually ahead of me on that. I spoke to Joey about this Stu Joey Antonio, the principal investigator of this study, and he said that there was a lot of complaining amongst the participants about the protein intake. They definitely didn’t enjoy trying to eat two plus grams of of protein per pounded, body weight.

It was difficult. And so it’s possible that their satiety levels were driven up to the point where they subconsciously decreased the amount of other macronutrient intake. So other than the protein stuff could have subconsciously. Went down, they kept 

Mike: a log. I’m assuming of what they 

Alan: were eating. Yeah.

Yeah. They kept a log but that’s not 

Mike: foolproof, of 

Alan: course. True. True. And here’s the interesting thing with protein and with the amount of protein that they were taken in, it’s entirely possible that they unintentionally. Over reported their protein intake in order to avoid the shame of not following the instructions of the assignment.

And that is a real thing amongst subjects and with different food types, refined carbohydrate foods tend to get under reported . So, whereas it’s the opposite with this protein assignment, you know, it’s totally possible that they over reported their protein intake in order to please the research staff.

So that’s a possibility. So you’ve got satiety, increased satiety, driving down the consumption of the other macronutrients you’ve got over reporting in order to. Avoid the shame of disappointing the research staff. You’ve got increased excretion in that department energy out, and there could also be some odd things with decreased de Novo lipogenesis, but that sort of thing wasn’t directly measured.

So, oh, and then a fourth factor, interestingly, the subjects and this isn’t on the record, but this is something that Joan Antonio told me in personal communication was that the subjects actually reported. Sleep sweats. So sweating while sleeping. Interesting. So the phenomenon, like if you’ve ever eaten at Brazilian barbecue and you took down like two pounds of meat, then you know, the phenomenon called meat sweats.

yep. You and I know in you’re a bro, so I would bet money that you know all about meat, sweat. I’ve 

Mike: been there. I’ve been there. when you say it, it was the last time I can remember that immediately. Like the flash bulb memory is a Brazilian. where I just ate meat until I, my Stu it’s always in pain. I was like, I gotta stop 

Alan: now.

that’s it. I gotta stop. So me dude. Oh God. Yeah. Good times, man. Hey, everybody should experience that, but there is an interesting phenomenon. When you over consume protein. Your body can ramp up thermogenesis in that way. And there could also the other potential reason why that extra protein disappeared in quotes is a potential increase in non-exercise activity, thermogenesis or neat that can either be conscious, but it’s mostly subconscious.

So an increase in subconscious movement and energy expenditure somehow as a result of increasing that protein. So I thought that was interesting, man. And I think that in practice it corroborated what I’ve tried with clients. So while the normal paradigm is. Carbohydrate refeeds I used to do what I called protein hyper feeds.

There was just some really cool results that I’ve seen in clients who twice a week, instead of doing this massive carb binge, you basically do a massive protein binge where you double and triple your protein intake two days out of the week. And we actually saw reamp happen in more than one client. And so reamp being a, an increase in muscle tissue or lean body mass and a decrease in fat mess.

And I couldn’t explain it. But I was not going to argue with it because I was liking the results I was seeing in 

Mike: clients. And this was during a cut. 

Alan: I’m assuming it was during a, like a maintaining maintenance type of thing. Okay. 

Mike: Which, I mean, really what that comes down to then right. Is some days you’re in a slight, Def some days it’s a slight surplus cuz you never, your actual maintenance calories are always a moving target, right?

Yes. That’s a fun little kind of N onerous personal experiment, anybody listening, if they wanna try it and they don’t mind eating an amount of protein that is slightly disturbing 

Alan: well this is the way you do it. Like if you normally consume a gram of protein per pound of body weight, or slightly less than that, cause it’s even a pain in the butt for some people to consume that much protein, you know, let’s say you consume like a gram of protein per pound of lean mass, even, you know, so it’s slightly less than a gram per pound of total body weight on two days a week.

Just double that. And see what happens. And you’ll probably experience what I just described in Jo Antonio’s work. You’ll probably experience a spike in satiety that day, where you’re just not motivated to eat the rest of what’s in your diet you’ll experience meat sweats to a degree, hopefully you won’t experience running to the toilet, but there’s some interesting applications to that for dieters, because some dieters would actually prefer to pound a lot of protein.

A couple days a week, then they would just slamming the bagels in the pasta. And when you do the protein pounding thing or what I would call the protein hyper feeds, you’ll have a lot greater resistance to gaining fat as a result of those. So it is super. Interesting. And it’s good to know that many years later, I was able to see that tactic in a way indirectly supported by research.

Mike: What are your thoughts on carbohydrate and fat intake on those days? So let’s say somebody listening, like, yeah, I’m gonna do that. Say they’re lean bulking or kind of, you know, maintaining or really just doing a standard is trying to, they’re not going in intentionally into a surplus at all, but it’s interesting.

This is almost like the other side of the refeed coin, right? Where when you’re cutting the standard refeed protocol is, Hey, just raise your carbs for a day or two, which we already talked about. So this is the other side of that coin. So if somebody’s gonna do it, what would you recommend in terms of carbs and fat?

Because I know people are gonna be thinking and they’re gonna be like, I love Ribba steak. Should I eat like four Ribba steaks? Or , 

Alan: there’s a careful way to tiptoe with that. And then there’s a little. More relaxed way. So the careful way to tiptoe around it is there may, might be even three tiers to doing this.

So, so the super anal retentive way would be to consume a lot of lean protein that day. And that’s the majority of what you consume. And so what, 

Mike: you may be fat intake beneath 70 or 80 grams for the day or even lower, or 

Alan: yeah, fat intake would be at least no added stuff or just minimal carbs would be kept down to a minimum as.

And then you can just basically go off on your protein and then maybe the next tier down from that in terms of relaxedness and doability would be to eat the protein first, whether it’s at yeah. At H meal, get the protein in first. And if you have room for the rest of the stuff, then do it. And that way it can be a little bit more autoregulated according to how satiated and motivated you are to eat the rest of your stuff after you’ve pounded the protein and you can do that, like do the protein first, and then by the end of the day, if you’re still hungry, then you can get in some of the other stuff.

And then there’s the third tier of relaxedness, which would be just add the protein. On top of your existing diet, but make sure you prioritize eating it and see what happens. 

Mike: and practically speaking, it’s probably in the middle where a lot of people fall the second option, right. Where they’re like, cool, I’m gonna try to eat my normal diet, but then when they get into it and they eat their protein first, the rest of the food is not nearly as appetizing.

Exactly, dude. Exactly. And I think it probably should be said, though, right. In terms of fat intake, don’t go for the fattiest. Like you probably do want to generally stick to leaner, lower fat. Doesn’t have to be 0% F yogurt all day, but probably wanna stick to leaner 

Alan: protein. I’m assuming I would agree with that.

And that’s what I would 

Mike: like. I might be a little bit counterproductive if you end your day in a significant. Calorie surplus due to protein, but you also had like 200 grams of fat or something. Yeah. Like a 

Alan: crapload fat, right? Right. Just from a, from the standpoint of making sure the results happen, the way that you really want them to happen, especially if it’s a pain client and a lot is on the line, I would stick to the lean stuff.

And in fact, that’s what they did in Antonio at all. It was 800 calories. Lean protein sources. Yeah. I’m talking protein powder and lean meats. You know, they didn’t do the 800 calories of just really fatty protein stuff, you know? Yeah. Sausage or something. Right, exactly. So, yes, I’m with you on that one.

Mike: And do you remember approximately what the carbohydrate and fat intake looked like in that study? Just for anybody wondering like the, you had the over feeding on the protein, but otherwise was their diet kind of your standard. It 

Alan: was very standard, 

Mike: dude. It was moderate car, moderate ish fat type of thing.

Yep. Yeah. 

Alan: Their baseline protein intake was about 1.8 ish grams per kilogram, close to two grams per kilo. So close to a gram per pound that was through protein intake. Their carbon fat intake was pretty. Standard. I don’t remember the exact on it, but I do remember thinking, okay, this is standard, moderate carb standard.

Mike: Moderate. Yep. Yeah, same. I remember when I saw it. That was, that’s the idea that stuck in my head was like, yeah, that’s actually a pretty standard diet. That’s interesting. Yeah. Awesome. That’s great. And the next question I wanna ask you is regarding protein intake. So we’ll just go right into that. Now, what are your thoughts on protein timing?

So spreading your protein intake throughout the day and probably worth. Talking about that in the context of cutting and lean bulking, any general recommendations there, any benefits or drawbacks to eating. And I get asked this often from people who are doing intermittent fasting, I’ll get asked, I’m getting asked more about one meal a day, so I’m gonna produce some content on that.

That’s something that it’s been around for a while, but I dunno if it’s having resurgence or something, but it’s, I’m getting asked it more and more consistently, but that’s usually the context, but then there also are people who just, maybe they’re not doing an intermittent fasting diet, but they wonder, for example, maybe they don’t particularly like eating breakfast type proteins.

Right. And so they would prefer fair up to them having a carbohydrate and maybe more fat, rich breakfast, and then maybe just getting their protein in a lunch and a dinner. What are your thoughts 

Alan: on all of that? It can be broken down pretty simply big picture is. If your goal is to lose fat, your tends are you’re gonna be hypo caloric, right?

You’re going to be, you’re gonna be dieting. sure there are some folks who are trying to recom. They’re trying to do it. All right. They’re trying to gain muscle and lose fat at the same time, but let’s just look at the separate goals of. Either fat loss or muscle gain. Okay. So the fat loss goal is going to by and large involve hypocaloric conditions.

The main goal of gaining muscle is gonna involve a caloric surplus or hyper caloric conditions sustained. So for hypocaloric conditions and the main goal of fat loss meal, frequency or protein distribution, number of protein feedings in the day doesn’t have much impact 

Mike: Mike. And that makes sense, right?

Because you’re not gonna gain unless you’re new, you’re not gonna be gaining any muscle to speak of anyway, right? Yes. 

Alan: Yes. There are differences with different populations. If you’re more advanced and closer to your potential, you are not going to gain much anyway, right. For the goal of retaining muscle during a cut meal frequency, basically doesn’t matter, bro.

You, you can go one to two meals or you can go three to six meals. Well, you know what interesting. So one, let me back up. Let me back that a little bit. Okay. 

Mike: Cause I haven’t read much on the one meal day approach in some time and what I had taken away years ago, when I looked into some of the research on it was like, yeah, you guess you could do it, but it’s probably not optimal.

Like it’s not something I’d recommend. Unless for some reason someone is like, that’s the only way I can live. 

Alan: Okay. Back pedal a little bit. There’s no research specifically comparing, let’s say one to two meals a day versus three to six meals a day in resistance training. Subjects who weren’t total Nubes straight off the couch, you know, but I would hypothesize that.

And this is based on interestingly, on Tinsleys recent studies on the time restricted feeding and its effects on resistance trainees. And so his time restricted feeding model is similar to the Martin Buron lean gains 16, eight things. So within an eight hour feeding window, he just restricts the food intake.

And that was compared with, I believe like a 12 hour feeding window. There was no disadvantage to maintaining lean mass in the time restricted feeding versus the conventional 

Mike: distribution. And how many servings of protein in the time restriction? Was it? 

Alan: Oh boy, two or three. It was I believe it was three S scrunched together versus three spread out, but functionally it’s the same principle of either.

Higher meal frequency, you know, a more greater spread out versus a greater concentration. So in principle, it’s the same thing as comparing, like let’s say four or five meals with two to three meals, you know? So that gives rise to the possibility and it actually strengthens the idea that, you know, in resistance trainees, whose goal is to lose body fat meal frequency or protein feeding distribution might not have a significant impact on retention of muscle tissue during HypoChlor conditions.

So if somebody wants to eat two meals a day, well, then they better get their total protein in. By the end of the day, let’s say they’ve got a two, 200 gram target for protein intake for the day and they want to eat a hundred gram and they’re as what my kids would call they’re an absolute Madla okay.

They wanna have a hundred grams of protein at each meal, two meals, a. I would question whether somebody who has 50 grams of protein at four meals spread out through the course of the day, I can honestly say, I don’t know, in trained subjects on a proper resistance training program, I’m not sure whether the more ideal 50, 50, 50, 50 at four spread out points in the day would have an advantage over the two, 100 gram Madla protein meals in dieting conditions with the goal of retaining muscle.

I’m not sure the Madla 

Mike: diet. Maybe we have, you have a brand yoga. You better go register that domain. 

Alan: for the Madla diet. Now here’s where things get a little freaky let’s imagine that the goal is. Specifically fat loss and retaining muscle. Let’s flip the goal to gaining muscle as quickly as possible.

I would actually put my bets on the 50 gram dose at four points in the day outperforming the a hundred gram dose at two points in the day for just the rate of muscle hypertrophy over time. 

Mike: And do you wanna quickly explain why that is? Why would you put your money on, let’s say that’s red instead of black 

Alan: Yes.

Yes. It’s because well, Tinsleys work had quite, quite a little bit of influence on the other side of it, about the retention side, as far as the growth side. I can’t point to any specific research, actually looking at muscle hypertrophy over time in those conditions, resistance training, trained subjects.

However, there is short term research, comparing muscle protein synthesis. This was done by researcher named ATA. This is beginning to be a few years ago. He compared a total dose of 80 grams. So, okay. There’s limitations to research. There’s always gonna be limitations and it was just protein. It wasn’t mixed meals, but he compared.

Two 40 gram doses with four 20 gram doses with eight, 10 gram doses. And the four 20 gram doses caused a greater net amount of muscle protein synthesis than the two big doses, the two 40 gram doses or the eight, 10 gram doses. So that kind of gave us a hint to how we can distribute protein through the day to maximize muscle protein synthesis.

So now obviously there’s the question of, okay. Then why would the body be better at retaining muscle in Unal protein distributions? Why would it not matter in HypoChlor conditions, but why would it matter in HypoChlor Condit? The answers to that are just purely speculative. But I would guess that muscle gains gaining muscle, being a more energetically expensive process.

I think you just have to be a bit more careful. About how you allocate things, because it’s a different game. Gaining muscle is a different game than retaining muscle under dieting conditions. And you have to pull a little bit more strings in order to push muscle gain. It’s a harder fought battle, especially in train stuff.


Mike: Especially when you’re in, you’re an intermediate or beyond weightlifter, right? Yeah. I mean, again, I’m wrapping up this second edition of a book I have, for me, it’s an advanced and one of the key takeaways of the whole training section. And when I’m explaining the theory behind the program is you gotta work a lot harder for a lot less like, that’s what it comes down to.

And so that. Mentality. You also need to apply with your diet as well, where you just can’t afford to be as Yolo with your diet as when you were new, where maybe you didn’t pay too much attention to your calorie intake and your protein intake and how often, maybe one day it was two meals of protein. The next day it was four.

And maybe you were in a deficit a little bit, and then a surplus low. You can get away with that in the beginning, but once those newbie gains are gone, it becomes a lot harder to continue to convince your body’s muscle building machinery, to keep doing what you want. 

Alan: No doubt about it. No doubt about it, man.

And anybody who has worked with clients, the range of newbies fresh off the couch, all the way to professional athletes, you can see that difference. You have to pull a lot more strings with the pros and the elites, whereas shoot with the newbies. You throw anything at the wall and most of it will stick, but yet on the topic.

Protein distribution and frequency and body composition. I actually did a, an Instagram post where I sum all of that up. And if anybody wants to go to it, it’s the post I did on December 27th, 2019. I listed all that stuff there. And I think you would be appreciative of the work that went into this Instagram post, which is just horribly violating the rules of Instagram, where I use like just tiny font.

And you just have to, you have to, 

Mike: can you pinch zoom on Instagram? I don’t even know if you can, but may sounds like you need to, you can. Okay. So then that’s what it 

Alan: requires you would massively need to for this post, but I crammed everything on there. For anyone interested on my take on protein feeding frequency through the day, because for that question, the population and the goal is always neglected.

You’ll always have to discuss, okay. What population advanced guys or newbies and for what goal are we talking? Muscle gain or are we talking muscle retention? There’s different protocols for those populations and goals makes 

Mike: sense. And just to summarize then if I heard you correctly, so if you are new and really, regardless of whether you are focusing on fat gain, which really is gonna be recom, if you’re new, if you’re doing anything even remotely right in the gym, right.

But if that’s your focus, then you can eat again. Maybe not one serving of protein, but who wants to do that? If you let’s say you needed to eat a hundred, even if it’s just 150 grams in one meal, that’s not enjoyable. So 

Alan: yeah. There’s practical limitations. That’s why the pro body builders, you see them eating six to eight times a day because these guys are fricking.

230 to 280 pounds, and they’re trying to get down six, 7,000 calories in the off season. There’s no way in hell. They’re going to eat their protein over two to three meals a day and not wanna kill themselves. 

Mike: You know, we all remember the footage of Ronnie Coleman eating as Tupperware, full of chicken breasts.

Just micro in the car, baby. Yeah. In the car. with the barbecue sauce. 

Alan: What is it? Road to redemption or cost of redemption. Yes. Cost of redemption and the unbelievable. Yeah. Yeah, 

Mike: exactly. Yep. Yep. And so if you’re new, anywhere from probably what you say on two to whatever you want, whatever, if it’s just twice a day, if that works for you, then that’s totally fine.

Alan: Right. 

Mike: Whether you’re trying to yeah. Whether you’re trying to lose fat or maybe you’re just a skinny guy or gals just starting out and you actually are not interested in losing any fat, you just wanna focus on muscle gain again in the beginning. It’s not particularly important. Probably whether it’s two meals a day with protein or four or five.

And if you’re not new, let’s say if you have a. Probably a good solid, I don’t know, a year or so of proper training under your belt. Your newbie gains are certainly exhausted by then. 

Alan: Yeah. Then you gotta start pulling some 

Mike: strings. Yeah. Then it was worth me paying attention. So if you’re cutting, you could do two.

If you’d like to do that, just do two servings of protein per day and you can be fairly sure that you’re not gonna run into any muscle attention issues. And if you’re lean bulking though, then that’s where it makes sense to what’s your general recommendation with your client? Is it three to five or is it like four to five servings of protein per day?

Kind of a gray 

Alan: area there, Mike, in a recent paper I did with Brad Shaunfeld we advocated for four servings of protein dosed at somewhere between 0.4 to 0.6 grams per kilo of body weight. Okay. 

Mike: Okay. Which is for most guys, at least that’s gonna be whatever, 40 to 50 grams, 40 ish grams, right? Yeah, 

Alan: exactly.

Yeah. Yeah. And we advocated for that dose for advanced. Folks, however, there’s not enough research out there for us to be super confident and say that if you wanted to ratchet that down to three and you don’t wanna bother with that, like four protein feedings in the day you’ll get the same results that we just don’t have enough data to, to know.

Yeah. So that’s why we kind of played it safe and said, Hey, you know, we know there’s limits to muscle protein synthesis per dose of protein. So if you wanted to pull out all the hypothetical stops towards muscle growth, then you would do four servings and up as a more advanced 

Mike: training. And the idea there, right.

Is to use the analogy again, to keep your bodies, muscle building machinery, working as much throughout the day as 

Alan: possible. Yes. Just maximize. These micro anabolic events. Yep. Right. That would hopefully over time, over the longer term accumulate into greater gains in 

Mike: muscle mass. And that would be the same theory behind having a serving of protein before you go to bed, right.

Would be the same thing, whether how big of a difference it makes. I know it’s unclear, but theoretically, it’d be better. If your body’s muscle building machinery, you could work while you sleep. As opposed to maybe you stop eating protein at six. And by the time you’re in bed, you’re not gonna lose muscle, but your body doesn’t have the raw materials to continue repairing and rebuilding tissue.

So it’s gonna have to wait until the next serving of protein. 

Alan: Yeah. That’s exactly right. And then we have to kind of take a step back and say, okay, for what population does this matter? You know, somebody who has casual goals. Maybe not somebody who’s pushing the envelope. Well then yeah, that this is something that you would wanna look into.

Mike: It’s, there are a lot of those little things where if you isolated them individually, right. You’d be like, oh, it’s not the effects size is small. And yeah, that’s fine. But when you’re a natural weightlifter and maybe you’re not even a competitive athlete, you’re not a bodybuilder or physique guy. You’re just someone who is training hard and you are playing the game of trying to get the most outta your genetics.

Then you are looking for those little advantages, right? Because if you can find five of them that only make a two or 3% difference, Hey, well, that’s a 10 or 15% difference now. And if you play that out over the course of a couple years, let’s say your final couple of years of progress until it becomes so negligible you’re in the permanent you’ve entered.

The realm of permanent maintenance, it can make a slight difference and help you get there a little bit faster. And if you don’t mind it, then you might as well do these things. And I think that’s ex for example, where supplementation can come into play. I mean, something like tine for example, is I think it just probably makes sense for anybody into lifting to take it, but that would be another good example of something that gives you a little edge.

That in and of itself is not some huge thing, but Hey, if you do that, plus three or four other things, you might be making a bit more progress, that’s actually in an appreciable amount. So. Yep. Agreed. Awesome, man. Well, this was super informative. You did not just, we covered like half 

Alan: the things that we were going to, so we 

Mike: actually got, we got through all, but one which we can save for the next, just to tease that it was regarding fat intake.

I left it for last cuz that’s I get asked the least about it, but fat intake during cutting, but we can save that and for the next conversation and I’ll come up with some more questions, be happy to tackle ’em man. Yeah, man. We’d love to have you back on, let’s just wrap up with where people can find you and your work and your research review, which I highly recommend your review.

That was the first research review that I ever actually came across and I’ve been a long time reader and fan of it. And I also very much like what Eric Helms and Greg hols are doing in the research review front. So both of your guys’ reviews are kind of like my go-tos James Krieger does good work there as well.

So give a shout out to those guys, but yeah, well, let’s wrap up with where people can find you and your work, and if you have anything new and interesting on the horizon that you want people to know about, you can let ’em know about that too, if you want. Cool. Thanks 

Alan: man. You can find [email protected] and my research review is something I’ve been doing since 2008.

It’s a monthly. Synthesis of everything going on, research wise in the fitness world, sports, nutrition, world, and training as well. My research view started the trend of people who have been following my work from like over a decade back. And it’s great to see some of the most brilliant mind. Most of them, my students emulating the research, the OG mentor.

Sure. Yeah. And doing a great job. So I feel great about having pioneered that within the industry, my research review, it’s my baby. I’m super proud of it. I’m super happy to hear Mike that you are enjoying it and benefiting from it. So you can find it just by going to a and the research review costs basically pennies.

My whole intention is to make. Affordable to everyone from professionals all the way to starving students. That’s my approach, 

Mike: man. Awesome. And to find you on 

Alan: Instagram. Yeah. Instagram my Instagram handle is the Allen Aragon. So, I didn’t do that out of ego. There’s somebody who’s 

Mike: taken I’ll say maybe add the 

Alan: real thankfully I didn’t have to go that far, but yeah, the Allen Aragon on his 

Mike: and you get your blue check mark, and then 

Alan: you’ve made it, man.

Yes. Yeah. I’ve I can retire now. Got the blue check mark. 

Mike: cash it in. All right, man. Well, this was great again, thank you for taking the time and I look forward to the next one. Thanks right back, Mike. All right. Well, that’s it for today’s episode. I hope you found it interesting and helpful. And if you did, and you don’t mind doing me a favor, could you please leave a quick review for the podcast on iTunes or wherever you are listening from?

Because those reviews not only convince people that they should check out the show, they also increase the search. Visibil. And help more people find their way to me and to the podcast and learn how to build their best body ever as well. And of course, if you wanna be notified, when the next episode goes live, then simply subscribe to the podcast and whatever app you’re using to listen.

And you will not miss out on any of the new stuff that I have coming. And last, if you didn’t like something about the show, then definitely shoot me an email at Mike muscle for and share your thoughts. Let me know how you think I could do this better. I read every email myself and I’m always looking for constructive feedback.

All right, thanks again for listening to this episode. And I hope to hear from you soon.

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