29 November 2018

Feast, Famine, And Ferocity Diet, Part 2- Welcome To The Suck

Miss the intro to this series?  Yeah, it's been awhile.  Go here for a refresher.

The story of a phoenix rising from the ashes is iconic and timeless.  It's an archetype that transcends time and place and speaks to the indomitability of the human spirit.  Be it humanity's seeming inborn tendency to root for the underdog, or the dominant American/Western appreciation for the rags-to-riches, pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps, polar-opposite-of-Donald-Trump motherfuckers who spit in the face of adversity and dominate the opposition because they simply refuse to fucking lose, these stories dominate the modern zeitgeist.  This is the reason the Rocky series seem to be endless in spite of the fact that Clubber Lang or Ivan Drago would have quite literally killed that little man in the ring and worn his skin to their birthday parties, why the films of the 1980's were so obsessed with horrible rags-to-riches stories like Brewster's Millions and that cinematic nightmare Arthur were popular in spite of their dogshit plots and Dudley Moore, and why tales of redemption and rebirth are some of the oldest and most beloved stories ever recorded.

Did any non-Italians actually root for Rocky in this fucking flick?

Rising from the ashes, digging yourself out of the rubble and emerging from the previous conflagration like V in V for Vendetta is as intrinsically motivational thing as one can accomplish, and the inspiration it provides serves to drive you to even greater heights.  Too often, we become complacent, trapped in a mindset that the status quo is good enough, convinced we have chosen the most prudent, effective, and correct path, adopting a mindset that disallows consideration of alternatives.  Stagnation and plateaus then plague our training and stymie our physique and strength goals, yet we tinker and tweak when what we really need is a firestorm to purify our minds and bodies.  To scorch the fat off our soul.  A cataclysm from which we can be born anew, and from which we can regain our predatory glow.

Rebirth after destruction is the natural order of things- maggots grow into flies eating rotting flesh, new growth forms in the ashes of forest fires, and new nations are formed from the rubble of the old.  Hell, the French even refer to orgasms as "the little death," bring new life, ostensibly, from each load dropped.  Just as Taiwan grew out of the ashes of China's post-monarchic socio-political disaster, the United States Constitution was penned after the dissolution of the Articles of Confederation and a near civil war, Robert Downey Jr's rebirthed career after passing out in his neighbor's kid's bed, and Five Finger Death Punch grew out of the death of a couple (and in the case of Motograter, far better bands), lifters can also destroy and rebuild themselves anew.

What I am proposing isn't as dramatic as self-immolation, though it might seem that way at first.  Nor is it intended as a long-term scheme, though it could be used as one if one so chooses.  Instead, this is a diet that is intended to be used periodically to shock the system, shake things up, and knock the rust off of doing the same fucking thing month in and month out.  If you're a fucking machine who is continually making progress with the same 'ol shit and rocking abs that local Amish women use as a laundry washboard, you can just stick this in your back pocket in case you need something different down the road, because if experience has taught me one thing, it's that nothing works forever in the strength game.  

Strength sports legend Hermann Goerner was one of these poor fuckers not once but twice in his hyper-illustrious career.  Losing weight is hardly the end of the fucking world, and you're no special snowflake, no matter what you say- the weight will pile right back on.

With all of that said, it's time to get into the the details of the Feast or Famine Diet.  The diet begins with a brutal introductory period of a protein-sparing modified fast (PSMF) designed to strip both body fat and muscle glycogen from your body (in addition to burning the proverbial fat off your soul) followed by alternating bouts of overeating and extremely heavy lifting and PSMF and high volume repetition work, respectively.  In this way, we compress the cyclical eating utilized by out historical forbears into shorter "seasons" that will net overall muscle gain and fat loss, profound changes in the look of your physique, and concurrent gains in both your maximum effort and repetition strength.  Yeah, with this motherfucker you can literally have your cake and eat it too.

You just have to starve for it a bit.

Remember this transformation?  Christian Bale went from a lean and muscular 6' 184lbs to damn near dead in the Machinist (dropped to 124lbs), then bulked hard as hell for Batman, getting to a thick 215 and then cutting to 190 so he'd fit into the Batsuit in five months.  Bear in mind he was so goddamned malnourished after the Machinist it took a couple of weeks of stuffing himself before he could even go jogging or lift.

The first three weeks are gonna be fucking rough- you'll be hungry, angry, lonely, and tired, but to hell with that HALT shit- stimulants are going to become your best friend.  When I PSMF, I combine either Red Sky, Bronk-Aid, and an aspirin, or Cannibal Inferno and Bronk-Aid three times a day for energy (which you will seriously need) and vastly increased fat metabolism, or do one of those two stacks twice a day and then Cannibal Ferox and Bronk-Aid the third.  Though ECA and ECY stacks offer make dieting a far less miserable and lengthy experience and provide ample energy for training, Chaos and Pain LLC does not endorse such a stack, as such advice would be imprudent, immoral, and illegal, so bear in mind that is my personal recommendation, lest anyone with a JD and a penchant for ambulance chasing out there get any stupid fucking ideas.  In any event, you will likely feel as though you've been exsanguinated by Chaos chiurgeons should you attempt to train without stims, so get acquainted with them and learn to love them if you don't already.

I've basically been reading naught but Warhammer novels for three months, so buckle up for some 40k references.

The Famine (2-4 weeks)
  • 4-6 protein shakes per day, evenly spaced, in water, totaling 1 gram/lb of bodyweight a day.  No meal replacements- keep your carbs as close to zero as possible.
  • 2 weeks if lean / leanish, 4 weeks if chubby / fat
  • Stimulant-based thermogenic (containing caffeine and yohimbine HCl if possible, like Cannibal Inferno).  You can also go old school and combine caffeine, yohimbine HCL, aspirin and ephedrine yourself.  I don't get too crazy dosing it out- when I do that I just take a couple No Doz with a Bronk Aid, 5mg of Yohimbine HCL, and an aspirin- do the research yourself and see what you tolerate, because those stims hit people differently.
  • A thyroid-based fatburner will obviously help as well.  You can either go all in and get T3 and albuterol on a peptides site online, or if you want to avoid the internet stigma of "eat clen, tren hard," you can grab some Cannibal Claw, which is about 75% as effective as the aforementioned stack.  The thyroid stuff is less important than the stimulants, though, because you need the energy, so if it is a one-or-the-other proposition, go with stims.
  • Nutrition repartitioning agents / blood sugar management supplements.  I've tried everything from Cannibal Claw to Predator to handfuls of cinnamon and vanadyl sulfate caps, and they seem to help speed fat loss, but they're not 100% essential like the stims are.
The amount of protein is based on your bodyweight- you're going to consume one gram of protein per pound of your weight.  Thus, you should be getting roughly eight or nine calories per pound of bodyweight due to the trace carbs and fat in your protein shakes.  These shakes are not intended to fuel your workouts or daily life- you're essentially fasting.  Instead, they're to ensure you lose as little muscle as possible while undergoing a fortnight-long fast.

If you're Russian or a communist and reading this, stop short of your natural inclination when fasting... and try to avoid a Cannibal Island type situation.  There's nothing wrong with cannibalism, but if it's starvation induced, you've taken the diet a bit too far.

The idea of starting with a famine period is simple- if you're considering a recomposition diet, you're likely not seeing much in the way of definition or abs.  And if you're both small and chubby, stripping off some fat will mean your will put on less fat in your bulking period, because studies have shown that the less body fat you hold, the less you will gain while bulking. And ladies, this is why you put on more fat during a dirty bulk than your boyfriend/husband/training partner/coach/fuckbuddy/etc- it's one of the many ways the gods have issued your gender a hearty "fuck you,"
"Overfeeding: In experiments of at least 3-weeks' duration, the weight gain of thin people comprises 60-70% lean tissues, whereas in the obese it is 30-40%. Underfeeding: In humans, there is an inverse curvilinear relationship between initial body fat content and the proportion of weight loss consisting of lean tissue" (Forbes).
I, for one, tend to appreciate females' higher bodyfat percentages.

As chicks hold higher body fat percentages naturally, the probability they'll gain a greater amount of fat while bulking than a guy is pretty high.  So again, dropping some fat before starting the bulk makes sense.  The second sentence in that study is also important, because it essentially states that people carrying more body fat will lose less fat when dieting than leaner people.  As Metallica said, it's sad but true, 

so if you're a bit on the fatter side, you might want to extend the initial famine period to a month to put you on a better footing when you start bulking.  It'll suck harder than an amateur porn star trying to pay her kid's private college tuition for a month, but it'll be worth it from a metabolic and an aesthetic standpoint.

With that said, you have the single most effective dieting strategy on your side, because the protein sparing modified fast is just as effective in losing visceral fat as bariatric surgery, and it preserves the muscle you have while you're burning fat cells like they're bodies in a death camp (Ravasia).

This bad little motherfucker trained his ass off in a British military prison after slapping the shit out of a British officer while in the RAF and survived the Bengali famine before winning Mr. Universe in 1951.  A bit of privation does a body good.

Famine Training Routine (2-4 weeks)
The logic behind the training routine, then, is fairly simple- just as many of the more warlike (and coincidentally more muscular people in history had an on and an off season dietv(the campaign season and winter), they had an on and off season physical regime.  Whereas the non-campaign months were generally reserved for more sedentary activities and the heavy lifting that would go into building ships, dragging logs, the feats of strength to be performed at festivals, and the like, the campaign seasons were devoted to shit like rowing and fighting.  In short, exercise that would build far more muscular endurance than strength.  Famine training will follow that lead and focus far more on the endurance/pump aspects of lifting than training for pure strength, and the diet will somewhat (at least calorically) mimic the often meager rations that would employ.

Having trained in this kind of caloric deficit quite a bit, I can tell you firsthand that you will likely not be putting up PRs during this period.  You will likely feel drained, lethargic, shaky, and weak, and that is not the state in which most of us put up record numbers.  Though that sucks, remember you are not a fucking slave to your stomach.  Your mind controls your body, not the other way around.  That said, training with your usual poundages likely isn't going to happen, but keeping your training weights close to what they usually would be if you were stuffing your face and increasing your volume will put you in prime position to crush weights when you start eating like you're at an old school Roman bacchanalian feast.  

The following is what I recommend, but it isn't set in stone.  Protocol training can just as easily lead to training as success, because what works like a charm for one person might end in catastrophe for another.  As such, I encourage you to forge your own path.  Having made that disclaimer, I've found that training 4-5 days a week with your sessions consisting of a single heavy compound lift followed by a bunch of repetition work that focuses on the pump and burning up muscle glycogen seems to do the trick.  This is different than the old Chaos and Pain shit for two reasons- 
  1. this is designed to deplete glycogen during a fast, 
  2. the point of my training style is that it isn't dogmatic and remains fluid.  In spite of that shit, I still get people telling me that my own training style "isn't Chaos and Pain," because reading comprehension is fucking lacking in schools these days, apparently.  
* As I mentioned above, I recommend either an extra cap of your chosen fat burner (or two), plus whatever you might want to stack it with, prior to hitting the gym.  That or a stim heavy preworkout (which will also burn fat, and I have no idea how or why that isn't obvious).

Day 1
Strict Military Press- 4 x AMRAP (90%1RM).  2 minute rests between sets
Incline Bench Press- 6 x AMRAP (60%1RM).  2 minute rest. 
Machine Shoulder Press- 6 x 10-12 12RM. 90 second rest.  Triple drop sets on the last two sets.
15 Minutes of bi/tri supersets- 8-12 reps per set.  15 seconds between each superset to shake out arms.  Use cables if possible to keep constant tension on your arms.  

Day 2
Front Squat / Back Squat- 4 x 3 (5RM).  3 minute rests between sets
Front Squat / Back Squat Death Set- use 50% of your work weight for a single AMRAP set 
Machine Row / Super strict Bent Over Row- 6 x 20. 90 second rest. 
Leg Extensions- 3 x 25.  90 second rest.
Leg Curl- 3 x 25.  90 second rest.
Calf Raise- 5 x 5.  90 second rest.

Day 3
Off / Cardio

Day 4
Flat Bench Press- 4 x AMRAP (90%1RM).  2 minute rests between sets
Strict Military Press- 6 x AMRAP (60%1RM).  2 minute rest. 
20 Minutes of Dips.  Whatever your max number of consecutive reps, chop it in half, then do sets of that number with 15-60 second rests between them for 20 minutes.  Prepare to be fucking sore.
Unilateral Concentration Curls (with wrist twist at the bottom)- 5 x 20.  60 second rest

Day 5
Explosive Bent Over Rows (from the floor)- 4 x AMRAP (90%1RM).  2 minute rests between sets.  Call them Pendlay rows if you want, but tards on the internet do them like they're attending a fucking tea party.  Rip the bar off the floor and slam it into your solar plexus, then let it crash to the floor.  Try not to use too much body english, but don't make this something form Nazis can masturbate to.  Make some fucking noise and go nuts.  I rarely do fewer than 10 sets on these because they're more fun than a free handjob in a lube factory from a Vivid porn star, so do more if you feel like it.
Front Squat / Back Squat- 6 x 4 (6RM).  2 minute rest.  
Cable Low Row- 6 x 20. 90 second rest.  Triple drop sets on the last two sets. 
Pullups- Same as the dips on Day 3.
Calf Raise- 5 x 25.  90 second rest.

Day 6
Dealer's Choice.  Train whatever you want for up to 90 minutes.  Literally whatever you feel like training- I've been known to do shrugs for over an hour straight.  Just enjoy yourself.

Day 7
Off / Cardio

Running doesn't seem to be hurting CrossFitters' gains.

A Word in Regards to Cardio

I've made no bones about the fact that I fucking despise cardio.  I don't think it's entirely necessary for getting super lean or for general fitness, but it isn't going to hurt to do some.  Weighted steady state cardio is an excellent choice if you feel like doing some extra training and want to drop fat faster, as are sprints.  Honestly, any extra training you do is going to speed fat loss, so feel free to throw it in. 

By the way, there is some evidence out there that the aerobic exercise will induce hypertrophy (Konopka), which actually supports a theory I have regarding the use of a couple of specific exercises to develop maximal strength (which is the basis of a book I'm in the process of writing).  As such, you would probably do well to include some cardio in your routine.

So there you have the Famine part of the Feast, Famine, and Ferocity Diet.  Coming up next, I'll detail the fun part- the Feast, and the program that goes with turning you into a musclebound warlord of the weight room.  Also in the hopper are articles about another 1950s era bodybuilder, a good, old fashioned Chaos and Pain rant, and part twoof the Berserker or Zen Monk series (about which I had completely forgotten).  Like I said, I've got a ton of new shit to drop on you people. 

Forbes GB.  Body fat content influences the body composition response to nutrition and exercise.  Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2000 May;904:359-65.

Konopka AR, Harber MP.  Skeletal Muscle Hypertrophy after Aerobic Exercise Training.  Exerc Sport Sci Rev. 2014 Apr; 42(2): 53–61.

Jebb SA, Prentice AM, Goldberg GR, Murgatroyd PR, Black AE, Coward WA.  Changes in macronutrient balance during over- and underfeeding assessed by 12-d continuous whole-body calorimetry.  Am J Clin Nutr. 1996 Sep;64(3):259-66.

Longland TM, Oikawa SY, Mitchell CJ, Devries MC, Phillips SM.  Higher compared with lower dietary protein during an energy deficit combined with intense exercise promotes greater lean mass gain and fat mass loss: a randomized trial.  Am J Clin Nutr. 2016 Mar;103(3):738-46.

Ravasia D, Ravasia K, Sabowitz B.  Protein Sparing Modified Fast Favors Loss of DXA-VAT and Preservation of Lean Body Mass. J Clin Dens. 2014 Jul;17(3):399


  1. Lol, that russian famine pic is brutal.

    1. The Russians don't do anything horrible by halves- the more horrible it is, the more effort they apply.

  2. I'm familiar with the ABCDE diet. I've never tried it but my doctor recommended to me a few years back to raise my testosterone naturally. It's been shown to do that.

    I'm going to try that weighted steady cardio vest shopping. Maybe you could be a doll and add a few new recipes to the next installment. Anyways thanks Jamie and welcome back.

    1. Hahaha. You are really dying for some recipes, eh? Lemme see if I have anything partially written I can pop up in a hurry.

  3. That's great, gonna try that but...what about ABS?

    1. I don't program abs. They're abs, lol. It gets no easier than than training them.

  4. Fabius Bile is one bad motherfucker. Good to see you back at the helm Jamie.

  5. I found that the deficit and surpluses of the original Akerfeldt ABCDE approach to be too extreme and just ended up spinning my wheels - and I remember very few had any great success with it. Google "ABCDE results" and you will see what I mean. I also didn’t have any particularly great success with Lyle McD’s UD2.0, which was a similar approach (3.5 days of PSMF, carbload for 36hrs, then maintenance/surplus for the remaining 2 days of the full cycle).

    And I think the reason is that here is a theoretical limit (although this will obviously vary if you use stimulants, and also initial bf% as you mention here) of how fast you can mobilize fat, estimated in research at 30kcals per lbs of available bodyfat (minus essential fat of 3%) so a guy at 200lbs with 13% bodyfat should be doing a (200*0,10*30)=600kcals/day deficit.

    Gaining muscle is also harder as you get more advanced, so that could be the reason why only the guys with high bodyfat levels and intermediate lifter status responded well to it - they were actually able to lose fat and not muscle during the deficit, and then gain muscle without as much fat gain during the surplus.

    But hey, there’s a masochist in all of us, so some PSMF+depletion work can be fun here and there.

    Looking forward to see the Feast part :)

    1. Interesting. My issue with Akerfeldt's method is that his recommendation for the low cal section weren't PSMF (obviously) and that his bulking period was too short. As such, there was no time to adjust your training to make gains.

      As to the theoretical limit on fat loss, supplements are my method for circumventing that. Basically, I am all for using every method at your disposal. Additionally, the old adage is 2lbs of bodyfat a week, which you can ramp up a bit with supplements, and so if you're working hard and dieting correctly you should maintain your muscle mass and lose fat, then gain muscle and fat in the following cycle. As such, your net bf% will drop even if your total poundage of fat remains the same as when you started. Get where I'm going? All you have to do is maintain your total fat poundage from day one through six weeks and you will lower your bodyfat percentage because of the muscle you've gained.

    2. Yeah, and the value is obviously theoretical, derived from this study:

      Full paper: http://sci-hub.tw/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtbi.2004.08.029

      Tons of research and also practical evidence shows that obese can lose more bodyfat at a large deficit while sparing muscle mass, whereas a leaner, advanced BB - without using stimulants, thermogenics and anabolics - needs to be careful with their deficit to avoid muscle loss.

      Using everything at your disposal to ramp up fat mobilization and oxidation, and retaining muscle obviously throws these numbers out the window. It was quite the norm here in Europe for BB to diet down on PSMF’ish diets with tons of anabolics and thermos. They would refer to American BBs as "fatties" lol

  6. Looks fun. I'll give this a try in January with some bodyweight training so I can avoid the New Years Crowd.

  7. Make sure you get enough sleep whwn attemtping this. I'm reading "why we sleep" by matthew walker and came across this:

    let’s say that you choose to go on a strict, low-calorie diet for two weeks in the hopes of losing fat and looking more trim and toned as a consequence. That’s precisely what researchers did to a group of overweight men and women who stayed in a medical center for an entire fortnight. However, one group of individuals were given just five and a half hours’ time in bed, while the other group were offered eight and a half hours’ time in bed. Although weight loss occurred under both conditions, the type of weight loss came from very different sources. When given just five and a half hours of sleep opportunity, more than 70 percent of the pounds lost came from lean body mass—muscle, not fat. Switch to the group offered eight and a half hours’ time in bed each night and a far more desirable outcome was observed, with well over 50 percent of weight loss coming from fat while preserving muscle.

  8. Hey Jamie, if someone looking for a fat burner/stimulant wouldn't have access to ephedrine but had access to pretty much anything that could be bought in a pharmacy or for animals, with or without prescriptions, is there anything that you'd recomend them to look for? You know, not as a recomendation, of course, but only for research purposes!

    1. Clenbuterol, albuterol, and cytomel (T3). Those are the bodybuilding standbys. You could also add equipoise to retain more muscle in the famine periods and gain more in the feast, which would end up with lower overall bodyfat %.

    2. Thanks a lot! Most other advice I've received was going the (meth)amphetamine way or DNP, neither which sound worth the hassle

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  10. No deadlifts in the sample program?