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Chaos and Pain

  /  tips   /  The Feast or Famine Diet: Famine Training Routine

The Feast or Famine Diet: Famine Training Routine

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-

  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. 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).

Day 1

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

Day 2

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.

Day 3

Off / Cardio

Day 4

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

Day 5

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.

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 Cross Fitters’ gains.

A Word in Regard to

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


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.

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