Diets, Calories and all that jazz

I’m sure you have heard of the above many times. I’ve been asked about them all more times than I’ve done a bicep curl. Especially this fasting business.


“What do you think of Paleo, Dan?”.

“My colleague is on this 5:2 plan, she’s lost loads of weight, why won’t you let me do this?”

“Dan, why do you only ALLOW Paleo foods in our plans?” (I don’t do this by the way!)

“Weight watchers dinners are great because they are so easy!”



Ok, so no one says the last one to me if they know me well, but you are getting the picture here.


Ok here goes.


The Paleo diet is the lovechild of a Loren Cordain PHD. Check the site out here: Paleo

The idea of it is that in the Paleolithic era before we invented the microwave and all the new fancy ways of processing food, the Primal Man was a lot more healthy, less susceptible  to disease, stronger, fitter, and obesity was non existent.

We caught our food or grew it. That’s it. No slamming loads of chemicals into it, adding a side order of fries and a litre bucket of Coke (which I’ve seen members of my own peer group do by the way!) and anything else that’s negative these days with food.

Well, processed food is indeed generally bad for you. I don’t like it, and I certainly wouldn’t have my clients eat that regularly, as its certainly not optimal for body composition and overall health. From the ground or as natural as you can is the best way to achieve that healthy lifestyle and body you want. Will you die if you eat some? No, you won’t die. Will you instantly get cancer because your beef isn’t grass fed? I very much doubt it. However, as I said, its not optimal.

I don’t buy into the whole Paleo lifestyle, because in truth, we haven’t a frigging (actually amazed that spell check thinks that’s a word) clue what the Primal man’s food habits were. Also, it’s almost impossible to live 100% like that all the time, because in truth, its 2014 and you have to live a little.

However, if you want to get a kickstart in fat loss, eating in a paleo style will get you a good start for most people.

Mmmmm Sweets

 Mmmmmm Sweeties!

Weight Watchers

Can do one, that’s all.

My experience with Intermittent Fasting/5:2/Leangains

Well I have been asked a bajillion times about the 5:2. I’ve not tried it myself, but in essence all it is, is a restricted calorie diet. Simple as that. You eat your normal calories on 5 days of the week, and then on the other 2, you just drink water/coffee/tea until the evening meal, where you consume around 500kcals or something and then return to normal the next day. It’s basically a calorie controlled diet, and I think there are better ways and more reasonable nutritional ideas that can get you to your goal without you feeling hungry for an entire day waiting for your first meal at 9pm.


Leangains. This is a different approach on calorie restriction. Here is the site if you want to know more about it:

The man who champions this is Martin Berkhan, from somewhere in Scandinavia. Berkhan is a bodybuilder and a passionate nutritionist with qualifications in I don’t know what, but obviously more than I could ever dream of. So his opinion and science has merit and is solid.

I decided to try this last year to see how it would affect me with my aim of getting as lean as I possibly could.

The idea of Leangains Intermittent Fasting Protocol, is that you fast for 16 hours, and eat in an 8 hour window, every day. It should look something like the below:

6am – Wake

0630 – Drink black coffee and 1litre of water

0930 – Green Tea

1130 – More water

12 Noon – Train

1300 – Eat your first meal

1700 – Eat your second meal

2000 – Eat your third meal


How did I do on IF Leangains? Good actually to start with.
I started at 17% bf when I introduced this protocol, alongside cutting carbohydrate intake down to improve isnulin sensitivity so that I could process carbs better.

I ended up at 6-7% after being measured around about 8 weeks later. Which was pretty rapid actually.


Rapid fat loss
Strength stayed the same
Increased focus (something Berkhan highlights is a side from this)
Increased sex drive
Could see my abs for the first time in a year, a pretty big deal to most guys I think

Poor sleep towards the end
Negative feelings towards food
Not being able to control myself when eating my first couple of meals, often gorging and eating 2 meals in one go, one time totalling 2500kcals in one sitting!
Terrible mood swings (although those who know me think I’m a bit of a princess anyway)
Freezing cold! Always felt cold and this was in August.
Peed a lot. 15 times a day, but I put that down to increased water, was drinking up to 5l a day.

To sum up, out of all of these I’d only consider again doing Leangains protocol for fat loss.

What I recommend to anyone else, is, control what you eat by eating the best foods you can buy, stay within your macros, and eat as little processed food as possible. Don’t eat junk frequently, look at refeeds depending on how lean you are and if you aren’t doing any form of training, then perhaps look in to it.

You’re only here once, be OPTIMAL!


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