How Often Should You Eat For Fat Loss and Hypertrophy?

You’ve probably heard from your local gym bro that you need to eat at least 5 meals a day to optimize fat-burning and muscle gains; but is that actually true? Is there any truth to the old-school thinking of eating 5-6 times a day to “stoke the metabolic fire”? This is what we are going to be discussing today! I’d love to hear your guys’s thoughts on this as well!

The Proposed Mechanism

Let’s first talk about why some people think that eating more times throughout the day leads to greater muscle gains and improved body composition through more fat-burning.

For muscle gains, people feel that more meals is better because you are getting more “protein-feedings” throughout the day which should in theory increase the time in which you’re in an anabolic state, leading to greater gains than less meals.

For fat-burning, the claim is that eating more frequently keeps your body in a more frequent state of heightened metabolism than less meals. This is known as postprandial (after eating) thermogenesis (heat production). The body’s metabolic pathways require energy to work which comes from calories and food. So you should be burning more fat, right?

Not exactly.

I’ll be honest. I followed these tenets myself when I was younger for a few years because they felt intuitive and I thought they made sense. However, as I learned more and looked at the research, I discovered that it doesn’t make much of a difference. Let me explain!

The Research

In 2015, there was an excellent meta-analysis published by Dr. Brad Schoenfeld, James Krieger, and others addressing the questions around meal frequency and its effects on body composition (almost literally the title). What they found may shock you! Kidding, I’m not a click-baiting prick. I hope you know that by now, dear reader.

They defined body composition as the culmination of body mass, fat mass, and lean mass which they measured through each of those criterion with the addition of body fat percent.

To keep this section short and sweet, they basically found that none of these factors are significantly influenced by feeding frequency when calories are equated between experimental and control groups¹, which is the proper way to evaluate whether or not there is an effect.

There was one study out of the 15 that were pooled together that did influence the data to show a favorable outcome for 5+ meals compared to 1-2 meals on fat mass and fat-free mass; however, when this study was taken out of the evaluation for further accuracy purposes (this is known as a sensitivity analysis), there showed no differences as with the other metrics¹.

From this meta-analysis, we can conclude pretty well that meal frequency doesn’t really affect your body composition much with all other variables in check. We’ll talk about the practical application of this in a moment. Let’s finish this section talking about the protein issue.

Onto protein!

Since we already determined that frequency doesn’t really matter, that also lumps in protein feedings as not necessarily significant:

The findings from nitrogen-balance studies have been inconsistent on the topic, with some showing a positive correlation between meal frequency and nitrogen retention and others showing no such relationship”

Nitrogen balance studies reveal the rate of protein metabolism with a positive balance meaning that input of N is greater than losses of N through metabolism and other bodily processes. A positive Nitrogen balance is typically associated with growth because amino acids contain a Nitrogen (amine) group which is part of what classifies it as an amino acid and thus protein; however, as mentioned above, the research is not concise on whether this matters. As of now, we can’t say which is better, so don’t stress yourself out about spacing out your protein to maximize anabolism.

What is going to matter more is total daily protein intake based on your personal needs. So long as you have that in check, you should be okay. The consensus is not yet in on whether or not you should distribute your daily protein evenly across your meals¹. Some studies show greater body composition outcomes with similar-protein meals while others do not¹. We don’t know yet.

Practical Application

Why does any of this matter? I basically just told you that none of this stuff is as important as you may have once thought. Did I shatter your dreams? I’m sorry. But, there is some good news out of this: You can customize these things to whatever fits your lifestyle!

You should revel in the fact that meal frequency isn’t very important! If you’re a 9-5 worker or have other more odd hours for work, it may be hard to get the mystical 5-6 meals/day. Maybe you can only have 2-3 meals each day. Guess what? That’s great! That means they can be bigger than the 5-6 small meals! Sometimes it’s just nice to have a big pile of food (but not go overboard with it).

I know for myself it’s much easier to have 2 full meals and then snacks. It makes my life easier and if I have to pivot or make changes because I’ll be especially busy that day, the snacks give me the flexibility to do so.

It’s important to always consider your personal lifestyle and how the decisions you make regarding training or nutrition are going to impact your life. The goal should be to augment and improve your life, not take away from it. How often you eat really should not be a decision that stresses you out. Choose what’s easy and convenient for you and be on your way!

Regarding protein, since we don’t really know the best way to space it out (if there is a best way), don’t worry about it. Just focus on getting the necessary amount of protein for yourself and your needs; however I do have some advice on how to do it to make your life easier:

  • Spacing out protein for me has been effective because it allows me to control my appetite. Protein is the most satiating (helps you feel satisfied) macronutrient, so take advantage of that with each meal or as often as you can!
  • If you’re struggling with eating a lot of protein in food, don’t hesitate to have a shake. Having a shake with each meal may help to curb hunger.
  • Explore different protein options! While I love meat and eat a lot of chicken, I’m always excited to try a new recipe with just eggs or using legumes or even a different type of meat I’ve never had. Lean sources are great because they provide a lot of protein with little fat that can add up quickly.

I hope you found this useful and understand further to not sweat the small stuff. Meal frequency is certainly one of the more over-hyped things that actually doesn’t matter a lot. What frequency works for you and what do you do for your protein? Thanks for reading!


¹Brad Jon Schoenfeld, Alan Albert Aragon, James W. Krieger; Effects of meal frequency on weight loss and body composition: a meta-analysis, Nutrition Reviews, Volume 73, Issue 2, 1 February 2015, Pages 69–82,


Coaching in the Year 3000 with Andres Vargas

This is part dos of our discussion with Andres Vargas! Find part uno and all the other episodes here! Andres is a functional fitness and health coach who I personally believe will be spearheading a movement in fitness coaching towards incorporating the total wellness of an athlete to complement and influence what they do in the gym. We talk about some coaching advice and suggestions from him to new coaches, his story of how he got into sport and exercise and science, and then his unique philosophy and coaching strategy.

I think you’ll get a lot from this one whether you’re an athlete or coach, because we touch on some factors that you may not have considered that may be affecting your training!

You can find Andres Vargas on all social media @TheStrengthCave, his website is, and feel free to email him at

Time Stamps:
0:00 Introduction
3:00 How The Strength Cave started
6:52 How Andres got into sport and exercise science
14:30 How Andres blends the art and science of coaching for his clients
20:20 How to be an “evidence-based” coach
24:30 Does Andres work with a dietitian?
30:50 Andres’s coaching philosophy for athletes
33:00 Andres’s extensive intake process
35:00 The parallels between IIFYMer’s and normal American’s diets
39:20 The benefit of not eating as much hyper-palatable foods from a taste perspective
40:20 Andres’s thoughts on sugar addiction and gut health
47:50 How Andres helps clients stay on track after a binge
51:00 The metrics that Andres measures to ensure client success in and out of the gym
53:05 Why Andres doesn’t track training volume and intensity
55:00 Using session RPE and duration as opposed to lift-specific RPE
1:01:00 The wellness questionnaire to complement training metrics
1:03:50 The impact that wellness factors can have on performance
1:11:40 Wrapping up and where to find Andres.

Thanks for watching!

Which Form of Cardio Is Best For Fat Loss? Comparing HIIT vs. MICT

It’s time we settle this debate. It’s a battle as old as time itself. Is High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) or Moderate Intensity Continuous Training (MICT) better for fat loss? Luckily, there was a recent meta-analysis published that provides some interesting insight on what the answer might be.

In this post, we will uncover what the met-analysis showed, what it means for you if you do cardio, recommendations on which method to do based on different circumstances and situations, and I’ll finish with putting in a case for cardiovascular training that you may have not considered. For the sake of ease, we’re going to lump HIIT and SIT (Sprint-Interval Training) together because they are similar forms of activity.

So everyone is up to speed, let’s quickly define the two terms. HIIT is typically a series of quick and intense bouts of training where an exercise is repeated either for reps or a certain amount of time while going all out and pushing near 100% with each interval. After the reps are met or time is up, you rest shortly for usually no more than a minute and then you do it again. Think of Crossfit or Tabata workouts for HIIT inspiration.

MICT, on the other hand, is your typical cardio. When people say the word ‘cardio’ you probably think of treadmills, StairMasters, and ellipticals. That’s MICT for the most part. Another part to it is that you don’t adjust the intensity of the exercise. So you stay on level 6 for 20 minutes, for example, without any significant changes.

Before we move on, I want to preface the discussion with this: Cardio is not necessary for fat loss or weight loss. If you’re doing cardio only for these reasons, you’re going to hate your gym life and make yourself miserable. There are a myriad of athletes who don’t do cardio and cut weight just fine such as powerlifters. Of course, if you’re prepping for a bodybuilding show, cardio is a bit more necessary but it’s a short-term endeavor which is more acceptable. Don’t feel pressured to do cardio to lose weight. Refer to my blog post on calories in, calories out to learn how to learn more how fat loss works and how to establish a caloric deficit to really get on track with your goals.

Okay, now that that’s out of the way, here we go. 

Good news is you can really pick whichever form you’d like, because the meta-analysis showed that both methods are equally effective for fat loss. An important point to note here is that the experiment was matched for energy expenditure. This means that the subjects doing HIIT burned the same amount of calories as the people doing MICT¹ during the experiment. Since each method is equally effective, then choosing which method you want to use could be based on things like the time spent on the activity, desired rigor, and personal preference.

On other important note to consider is the degree to which both methods were effective, which wasn’t a lot. Both HIIT and MICT contributed to a body fat reduction of less than 2% on their own. So yes, these methods can be used to elicit fat loss, but probably should not be used on their own. If you’re just doing cardio but not in a net calorie deficit, you won’t experience weight or fat loss. There may be some other benefits you see like improved mood, for example, but body comp. changes may not be seen. That’s why establishing a calorie deficit is nearly essential while incorporating weight training can increase the rate of loss while improving you health further and the way you look if you’re wanting to add muscle. Basically, you can’t just do cardio and not care about our diet or training and expect to shed pounds of fat. Cardio’s effect isn’t that significant!

Moving on.

For time constraints, HIIT is clearly the better option. You can knock out rigorous bouts of training using a seemingly endless variety of exercises in 5-10 minutes and then you’re done.

In addition, if your goal is to build some muscle, this is also a good method, as it may have some crossover effects. Think about it: you’re still likely lifting weights as part of HIIT, so you’re getting in some volume, although the benefit will be likely be minor, if any.

Another touted benefit of HIIT is potential appetite suppression. The meta-analysis pointed to some studies that showed there is a potential suppression of appetite when doing sprints or other forms of HIIT¹ when compared to MICT; although the research is inconclusive because other studies were cited that showed no change, so it’s still up in the air. For you, this is an excellent chance to experiment and see if that works for you or not!

One important note is that HIIT should be VERY hard. In the study, they define HIIT as “80-100% of peak heart rate or aerobic capacity”¹, meaning, this isn’t a bit of huffing and puffing, and then you’re done. HIIT is meant to very intense, so you should be bent over heaving and gasping for breath and possibly on the floor by the end of whatever you did.

It’s not a walk in the park. It’s more like a sprint in the park because a bear is chasing you and is right on your ass. This is a great transition to talk about the cons of HIIT, because there definitely are some!

HIIT is not for everyone. People who never trained before and overweight and obese individuals are perfectly capable of doing some form of HIIT, but it may not be the best option initially because it can come with an increased susceptibility to injury. For an obese person, the quick movements at near-maximal effort, jumping, etc. can be especially burdensome since they carry around a lot of extra weight, damaging their joints and/or bones. For a newbie, it’s a lot of extremely intense work hat they’re not used to, potentially scaring the person away from any form of exercise if you throw them in the deep end at the beginning.

Last con is that cardio is not weight training, and so precautions should be taken if you are weight training to ensure that your HIIT is not interfering with your lifting performance. Some people get very sore from HIIT, which could hinder their lifts. Plan accordingly and give yourself enough time to recover from HIIT if you also plan on lifting weights.

This is not to say no obese person or newbie should never start with HIIT. Some people enjoy the challenge and feeling the burn in their lungs from the get-go and can do it safely; others need to ease into it. Either one is fine, the safety is what’s ultimately important, so you don’t bust your ass trying to do a kettlebell swing.

We can quickly breeze over MICT because it’s bascially warranted whenever HIIT isn’t appropriate as mentioned in the previous paragraphs above.

MICT is the better option if you simply enjoy it more and don’t have time contraints. If you don’t like feeling like you’re about to die (exaggeration) from your cardio, then HIIT probably isn’t up your alley, not to say you can’t work up to getting better a tolerating it.

MICT is also better if you’re dealing with some type of injury. If you have a back injury that prevents you from bending over or causes pain with rotating your torso, MICT has plenty of ways where you can still do cardio without those problems arising.

If you’re overweight, obese, or are new to the gym/cardio, I recommend MICT because it’s a great way to ease into exercise without overloading to dangerous levels of work.

I don’t recommend MICT-or any form of cardio for that matter-if you think that it’s the only way to lose weight, by running on a treadmill for hours. As mentioned before, cardio is not necessary for fat loss. All these reasons for cardio should be supported by the fact you enjoy the training, not because you think cardio is the only way to lose weight.

In short, HIIT and MICT have both been equally shown to influence fat and weight loss (to a small degree). Cardio-however you do it-is simply another tool in your fitness tool belt. You can decide to use it or not. HIIT is good for time constraints, augmenting your lifting, and possibly for appetite suppression. MICT is effective for beginners or overweight and obese people, those concerned that HIIT may interfere with their weight-training sessions, and those who just enjoy getting in some movement without feeling like death.

Have some thoughts on cardio? Comment below and tell me what you think!


¹Keating, S. E., Johnson, N. A., Mielke, G. I., and Coombes, J. S. (2017A systematic review and meta‐analysis of interval training versus moderate‐intensity continuous training on body adiposityObesity Reviews18: 943–964. doi: 10.1111/obr.12536.

The Mind Muscle Connection and Force Velocity Training with Rachel Larson PhD(c)

You can find the podcast on your favorite platform here. Support the cause by leaving a rate, subscription, and review! Thanks for watching/listening!

Rachel Larson is a PhD candidate at Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions and a professor at Arizona State. She is working to publish multiple studies related to the mind muscle connection. Learn what it is and how to apply it to your training here! We cover the mind muscle connection study she worked on, force velocity training, and so much more!

2:32 Actual intro (just some BSing at the beginning)
3:44 Rachel’s intro
5:20 Rachel’s education specifics
7:45 Shift to hypertrophy focus in Rachel’s research
8:50 Defining attentional focus and its importance for hypertrophy
10:45 The mind-muscle connection study design
12:40 External vs. internal focus groups in the study
13:40 Different methods of measuring hypertrophy in research
15:40 When to use external and internal focus/cuing for athletes
16:45 The mechanism of overthinking in sports and why athletes “choke”
19:15 Potential for information overload with athletes
20:30 Is it appropriate to use mind-muscle connection when teaching athletes lifts that require skills?
21:15 Does touching an athlete help establish the mind-muscle connection?
23:08 Would there be different results if trained athletes were used for the study?
24:45 The trouble with using trained athletes for attentional focus studies
26:11 Why is it important to measure dietary adherence?
27:46 Rachel’s pet peeves for research participants (Listen!)
28:42 Rachel’s new study exploring attentional focus for strength gains
32:43 Does internal cuing even with equated volume lead to increased hypertrophy over external cues?
34:40 Force velocity training as a new area for research
37:50 Rachel’s ability to identify biomechanics issues in everyday situations
40:36 Rachel’s pet peeves she sees in the gym
42:50 How do you train people to jump higher?
46:40 Can force velocity profiling help with strength/power athletes?
48:30 Can someone without the exercise science background benefit from using force velocity apps?
54:30 Rachel’s approach coaching Rugby athletes and the need for female research participants
59:25 How does Rachel balance evidence-based with practical experience?
1:03:00 Does using the concepts in research always prove to be effective?
1:05:00 Defining French Contrast Training
1:07:00 Rachel’s totals and her favorite lift
1:10:30 Contrast training for athletic performance
1:13:10 Contacting Rachel
1:14:20 What is one thing you want everyone to know about your field?
1:15:30 Resources for becoming a better coach
Thanks for watching!

Bro Science: 1 Science: 0.5 (The Mind Muscle Connection)

It’s been a long thought among the bodybuilding community that, in order to maximize GAINZZZZ (aka hypertrophy), you need to establish a “mind-muscle connection”. What that means is the person who is performing the exercise is actively “thinking” about contracting the muscle as opposed to simply going through the motions. Now, in 2018, there is empirical evidence to support this idea.

The concept has long been touted by bodybuilders such as Kai Greene and Arnold Schwarzenegger (pictured here) that it’s essential to eek out those small, fine details of building muscle. Interestingly, last year at the International Society of Sports Nutrition Conference that was held in Phoenix, Arizona was the first time I heard about this study. Brad Schoenfeld, the lead researcher and OG of muscle science, talked for a short time about the findings of the study; however, since research takes a long time to publish, it was only recently made publicly available. So here we are! Let’s see what the study said!

To begin, let’s talk about where this idea fits in the scope of science. The broader term for this concept of mind-muscle connection is known as “Attentional Focus”¹. This is simply what floats through people’s minds while performing a task. It’s broken down further into an External and Internal focus¹. In a hypertrophy and bodybuilding context, an internal focus is what we consider the mind-muscle connection. It’s thinking about squeezing the working muscle and contracting it as hard as you can to “maximize gainz”. An external focus, the way I see it, is more motivational/supportive in that either yourself or someone else is keeping you focused on the outcome of the exercise¹. In this study, external focus was enforced by a trainer instructing the lifter to “Get the weight up!”, so you can see that it’s more focused on finishing the lift and completing the exercise as opposed to the muscle contraction¹.

“Okay, but how did they do it?”

Great question! The researchers took 30 males who were untrained (meaning they don’t normally exercise) and put them through 3 day/week training sessions for 8 weeks straight of barbell bicep curls and leg extensions (these exercises are easy to measure and isolate the muscles being studied)¹. As mentioned earlier, both internal and external groups were given different cues by the trainers depending on which group they were in (“squeeze the muscle!”) vs. (“get the weight up you weenie!”[no participants were called weenies during this study])¹.

Biceps and quadriceps muscles were tested to by an ultrasound machine for muscle thickness (MT)¹. MT is an indicator of muscle growth.

Side note: Could you imagine only doing curls and leg extensions 3 times a week for 8 weeks straight? I personally would get so bored! Applause to these guys who did it, because that sounds boring to me.

“So they made them do this boring routine..what happened?”

What happened next may shock you! (Are you tired of those headlines like I am?)

After the trial, the participants saw some interesting results. In the biceps, the internal focus group saw greater increases in hypertrophy over the external focus group¹ via increased MT. The study also found what was called a large effect size favoring the internal group for the biceps muscles¹. A large effect size basically reinforces that the cause of the increase in hypertrophy is actually because of the internal focus rather than something else.

The quadriceps muscles observed did not differ greatly in hypertrophy between both groups¹.

“But WTF does any of this mean?”

It means that the bodybuilders were right! However, this is only one study that has tested the mind-muscle connection theory in this manner with the machines and methods that they did. Nevertheless, this is exciting to see that the concept of actively thinking about contracting and “squeezing” your muscles may have some validity to it! Next time you’re in the gym doing some curls, benching, or leg curls, stop listening to your music and have that voice in your head (I know I’m not the only one) tell you to SQUEEZE!!! Try it for yourself! You may get more gainzzz that way.

A word of warning though: from my own experiences playing with this, I have had to use a lighter weight because the concentration does make the exercise feel harder, so you may want to try with a lighter weight than you normally do.

As for why there were no differences in the groups for the quadriceps muscles, the researchers offered a potential explanation for this phenomenon: Lower-limb muscles are not used for small, meticulous, and fine movements like muscles in the upper limbs are (think careful movements with your fingers and how precise you can be with the muscles and actions of them)¹.

We don’t have that precise control over our leg muscles like we do the muscles in our upper-limbs, so it may be more difficult to actually “squeeze” the muscles harder than you already do. Not to say that it’s impossible! Another reason might be because the subjects were untrained and had not a lot of experience exercising and learning how to “squeeze” the muscles like an experienced bodybuilder may have¹. I believe we would see a different picture if bodybuilders could be tested.


  • The mind-muscle connection has long been a theory among bodybuilders about thinking about the muscle you’re training to make it work harder and therefore, get more gainzzz.
  • This study supports the idea for upper-limb muscles only because that was the only area where internal focus (aka mind-muscle connection) appeared to make a difference.
  • Lower-limb hypertrophy may be greater if an internal focus is taken if the subjects are trained, but this study can’t say that. More research must be conducted first.
  • Consider trying it for yourself!

As always, thanks for reading!


¹Differential effects of attentional focus strategies during long-term resistance training

Flexing muscle with blue background graphic Created by Dooder –


Diet Types & Which Work For Weight Loss? Part 2

Welcome back. I missed you. We’re here to finish our discussion on the different types of diets that are out there and to determine which work for weight loss. If you haven’t read part one, we go over what each diet entails and what makes it different from the others. Read it here before reading this so you don’t get lost. Got your favorite reading food ready? Good! Let’s begin.

Low Energy and Very Low Energy Diets

Often, this is the approach many will take when trying to lose weight. They think cutting calories drastically will lead to weight loss. Don’t get me wrong, it absolutely will; however, not all that weight lost will be fat. Up to 25% of the weight lost on these diets can be from muscle aka lean mass1. While many think muscles are only important for bodybuilders, they’re essential for everyone. They help us live our lives injury-free and perform the basic movements that we do without a second thought. Love your muscles. Say thank you by not starving them.

Interestingly, LED & VLED have been able to preserve lean mass on untrained subjects. The research participants were put on a resistance training program and were able to either maintain or increase lean mass2. Keep in mind, these people were untrained and would likely have preserved or built muscle regardless of what happened to them. While interesting, It’s certainly not a reason to try these diets. Being in a chronic (persistent) severe caloric restriction such as LED or VLED can lead to issues arising from low protein intake. Although your calories may consist of mostly protein on these diets, the total amount relative to your body weight matters. On these diets, it’s difficult to acquire that much protein in your diet while staying at such a low amount of calories

Really, one of the only reasons you should be on this diet is if you’re severely obese and you need to drop weight ASAP. Care professionals will often start the patients on a LED or VLED for the first few weeks to begin the loss process. Research shows that this initial restriction actually improves long-term weight loss success3. Over time, however, the drop in calories becomes less aggressive so the patient can slowly increase their metabolism while still dropping weight. They don’t want the patient to be maintaining on the very low calories they started with when they can have them be just as better off on more calories.

Low Fat and Very Low Fat Diets

Low fat diets were all the rage a couple decades ago; but do they actually help with weight loss? Unfortunately, there is little research on VLFD, and none of which cover body composition. These diets are successful in promoting weight loss when intake of fat is reduced from the diet4. Duh. This goes back to what I said in part one. A caloric deficit will usually lead to weight loss.

Although little research has been done on VLFD, there has been some studies that show this diet strategy is difficult to adhere to. When told to consume at most 20% of total calories from fat, subjects were actually consuming around 26-28%, suggesting that it is difficult to stick this diet for varying reasons5. One reason could be that food containing fat is tasty, so people will eat more. Also, lots of foods contain fat, which may make it difficult to reach other macronutrient targets without going over their fat allotment. From this viewpoint, VLFD may not be the best option since you will likely have to go over anyways to satisfy protein and carb intake.

Low Carb and Very Low Carb Diets

There was a recent meta-analysis conducted that did show that LCD diets, especially VLCD, resulted in more fat loss than a normal-level carbohydrate diet6. The findings from this meta-analysis may not be able to be extrapolated (applied to) the general public, as the subjects were obese, and so fat loss was likely regardless of the diet if their calories were being monitored. Still, LCD are very popular and many seem to be able to stick to and enjoy them. I would just say make sure you’re getting in your daily requirement for fiber and fruits and vegetables for the vitamins and minerals if you decide to go low carb. Carbs are still important!

Ketogenic Diets

Here we go. A lot of people think that KD is magic and better than other diets because the decreased level of insulin activity. Carbohydrates are the major trigger for insulin to be secreted. For those who don’t know, insulin acts as a “gatekeeper” between your body’s cells and glucose. Once insulin is secreted, it allows for cells to uptake glucose and provide energy to your body. People think that since carbs are not being consumed as much, that less energy and fat is being stored, hence, relying on body fat for energy; however, when put to the test in the lab, this did not hold to be true.

Research shows that, while a KD can induce weight loss, the net amount is not superior to a normal high-carb, energy-restricted diet7. Does this mean that KD doesn’t work? Absolutely not. It simply means that one is not better than the other. This is good news because it allows people flexibility to select what they want and be confident that if they stick to the diet’s protocols, they should see results!

One interesting advantage of a KD is that it may be appetite suppressing. When subjects were allowed to eat as much as they wanted, unrestricted, the KD group had an average decrease of 294 calories consumed per day8. The reason as to why there was a drop in calories is still unknown. Perhaps because more protein was consumed. Protein helps will fullness, and so may have led to the participants getting full quicker.

High Protein Diets

High protein diets have consistently been shown to be beneficial for weight loss. Protein is the most satiating macronutrient. It helps you feel full, and so you (should) eat less than normal, prompting weight loss. But what constitutes a high protein diet and when is it too much? Some work has shown that consuming about two times the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) is optimal for preserving lean mass while simultaneously reducing fat mass9,10. Anything higher has not shown any benefits for this purpose11. Double the RDA amount is roughly 1.6 grams/kilogram bodyweight (0.7 grams/pound bodyweight).

In Summary

All of these diet strategies can work for losing weight. It is up to you to decide which one you like and what you will stick to. Remember, it’s not the diet that’s going to trigger weight loss, it’s the caloric deficit. That is what matters when we’re concerned with losing weight. Personally, I would not go with LED, VLED, or VLFD. These diets are going to be difficult to stick to, and/or you may not acquire all the necessary nutrients that you need in the proper amounts. I do not have an issue with the other strategies as long as they are being adhered to and you are enjoying the process. Once again, dieting should not be a hellish process if you’re simply trying to lose some weight for an upcoming event or you’re starting a journey to improve your health.

Adopt a healthy, happy relationship with food, and you’ll find that losing weight can be enjoyable and your life does not have to be centered around food! Still have questions? Let me know in the comments below! Thanks for reading! Share this with others who think there are magical diets!


1Saris W. Very-low-calorie diets and sustained weight loss. Obes Res. 2001;9 Suppl 4:295S–301S.

2Bryner R, Ullrich I, Sauers J, Donley D, Hornsby G, Kolar M, et al. Effects of resistance vs. aerobic training combined with an 800 calorie liquid diet on lean body mass and resting metabolic rate. J Am Coll Nutr. 1999;18(2):115–21.

3Nackers L, Ross K, Perri M. The association between rate of initial weight loss and long-term success in obesity treatment: does slow and steady win the race? Int J Behav Med. 2010;17(3):161–7.

4Hooper LAA, Bunn D, Brown T, Summerbell CD, Skeaff CM. Effects of total fat intake on body weight. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015;7(8):CD011834.

5De Souza R, Bray G, Carey V, Hall K, LeBoff M, Loria C, et al. Effects of 4 weight-loss diets differing in fat, protein, and carbohydrate on fat mass, lean mass, visceral adipose tissue, and hepatic fat: results from the POUNDS LOST trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2012;95(3):614–25.

6Hashimoto Y, Fukuda T, Oyabu C, Tanaka M, Asano M, Yamazaki M, et al. Impact of low-carbohydrate diet on body composition: meta-analysis of randomized controlled studies. Obes Rev. 2016;17(6):499–509.

7Hall K, Chen K, Guo J, Lam Y, Leibel R, Mayer L, et al. Energy expenditure and body composition changes after an isocaloric ketogenic diet in overweight and obese men. Am J Clin Nutr. 2016;104(2):324–33.

8Johnstone A, Horgan G, Murison S, Bremner D, Lobley G. Effects of a high-protein ketogenic diet on hunger, appetite, and weight loss in obese men feeding ad libitum. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008;87(1):44–55.

9Layman D, Evans E, Erickson D, Seyler J, Weber J, Bagshaw D, et al. A moderate-protein diet produces sustained weight loss and long-term changes in body composition and blood lipids in obese adults. J Nutr. 2009;139(3):514–21.

10Layman D, Evans E, Baum J, Seyler J, Erickson D, Boileau R. Dietary protein and exercise have additive effects on body composition during weight loss in adult women. J Nutr. 2005;135(8):1903–10.

11Pasiakos S, Cao J, Margolis L, Sauter E, Whigham L, McClung J, et al. Effects of high-protein diets on fat-free mass and muscle protein synthesis following weight loss: a randomized controlled trial. FASEB J. 2013;27(9):3837–47.

The 2017 ISSN Conference (Upcoming Blogs!)


This year, I had the opportunity to attend the 2017 International Society of Sports Nutrition Conference in Phoenix. The leading minds in the fields of sports nutrition and exercise science came together to share their research, observations, and best practices for athletic performance, building muscle, and weight loss, among other topics. I was like a sponge, attending as many of the lectures as I could and frantically typing as much as I could into a Google Doc. I also met a few of my favorite researchers and figures in these fields (see below). I am confident that some of them will make an appearance on the podcast. Super excited!

I came out with 7 pages of notes that I am really looking forward to share with all of you. Some of the lectures were tough to follow as I’m still learning myself, but I’m going to post about as much as I can while making sure you get some good information out of it that you can use in your own life. So get excited! Here is the list of topics that I’m going to be covering that were inspired by attending the conference:

  • Different diets and how to utilize them effectively to reach your goals.
  • What should I use to track my weight loss and fitness progress?
  • Want to build muscle? Caloric surplus is the answer.
  • Which diet works?
  • Most diets are effective
  • How much protein should I consume as an athlete? All of it.
  • Focus on a long-term approach to dieting rather than the short-term for success and health
  • Losing weight isn’t the problem in the US
  • Rep Ranges…What’s the best approach?

I am very excited to roll out these posts and information for everyone to learn and get better. Be on the lookout for more posts and podcasts from The Agora and check out some of the amazing people I met at the conference below!


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