In the second part of the Feast or Famine Diet, when went over examples of awesome people using this technique to get ridiculous gains. Now let’s look at the Famine Training workout protocol to help you get the best results possible.
Famine Training Routine (2-4 weeks)
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 goddamned 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 stuff for two reasons-
- this is designed to deplete glycogen during a fast,
- the point of my training style is that it isn't dogmatic and remains fluid. Despite that, I still get people telling me that my own training style "isn't Chaos and Pain," because reading comprehension is sorely 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 pre-workout (which will also burn fat, and I have no idea how or why that isn't obvious).
Strict Military Press- 5 x AMRAP (90%1RM). 2-minute rests between sets
Incline Bench Press- 6 x AMRAP (60%1RM). 2-minute rest.
Machine Shoulder Press- 5 x 10-12 12RM. 90 second rest.
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.
Front Squat / Back Squat- 5 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.
Off / Cardio
Flat Bench Press- 5 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 insanely sore.
Unilateral Concentration Curls (with wrist twist at the bottom)- 5 x 20. 60 second rest
Explosive Bent Over Rows (from the floor)- 6 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 goddamned 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 noise and go nuts. I rarely do fewer than 10 sets on these because they're fun as hell, so do more if you feel like it.
Front Squat / Back Squat- 6 x 4 (6RM). 2-minute rest.
Cable Low Row- 5 x 20. 90 second rest.
Pullups- Same as the dips on Day 3.
Calf Raise- 5 x 25. 90 second rest.
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.
Off / Cardio
Running doesn't seem to be hurting Cross Fitters' gains.
A Word in Regard to Cardio
I've made no bones about the fact that I absolutely 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 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 or Famine 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.
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.
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.