The Dark Secret of Occam's Protocol

While we’re all throwing a parade for the fat loss success of slow carb, and we’re lauding the minimum effective dose workouts of Occam’s Protocol, there’s a dark figure lurking in the shadows.. and we’re not all ready for him.

For many readers, fat loss has been inevitable, as you follow the slow carb diet principles, eat your beans, chicken and spinach every day, and not blink as the inches or pounds fade away.

This is a wonderful way to lose fat, however, it does, to some degree, lul us into a false sense of security. All is not well in the world of fat and workouts, when it comes to Occam’s Protocol.

The Workout

This workout series is the most well-defined, and most manageable of all that are explained in the book. Geek to Freak is, quite frankly, an epic gym session, and some of the other workouts look stranger and more confusing than the first time I saw Chuck Norris on a Total Gym. Personally, I got the impression that without a trainer walking me through some of those workouts, they just wouldn’t happen accurately enough to get results.

So Occam’s Protocol is the workout chosen by many slow carbers when they want to build some more muscle – it’s the most favored, most simple, and I will agree, most effective of the workouts. I love that it reduces impact on joints, because it is a very short workout. I also like the gains that I got, both in strength, and muscle mass (and the weight that came along with it).

But what about those diet changes? Ever suspected there was something a little bit funny about them?

The Diet

If your heart just skipped a beat, never fear. It is true, that Occam’s Protocol requires not just workouts, but dietary changes too. Depending on how you read the book, you’ll be adding brown rice, or quinoa, to 2 or 3 meals per day, in addition to your slow carb base. Now this is looking like a fairly carbohydrate-heavy diet.

Of course, the body needs the carbs to have energy, to rebuild, in using protein, and generally we feel more energetic when we’re pumped full of carbs (unless they’re junk like sugar, or white flour). True, the fiber content of the diet still holds up as providing a slower than usual energy spread across the day, especially if you’re eating 4 meals per day.

However, the dark devil is in the detail.

The Detail

Although many people are going from slow carb to Occam’s Protocol, the book doesn’t actually specifically recommend this. In fact, it just so happens that the chapters are close together. Remember, the Four Hour Body is a reference manual, not a novel.

And that devil I mentioned?

The simple fact that Occam’s Protocol is a one-goal programme: it is designed wholly for fast muscle mass gains. That is it’s prime purpose. Want to gain 10lbs in a month? You can do it with Occam’s, just as Neil Strauss did in the book. There’s little proviso though, that not all of this is guaranteed to be muscle.

Occam’s Protocol is Tim’s Minimum Effective Dose (MED) version of the original Geek to Freak workouts he used to get, frankly, huge, in 1 month. The fact that he was regaining previous muscle mass made it easier for him to gain as much as he did, however there are some other differences between these workouts.

For a long time, I was looking at his result, which was around 34lbs gained in 1 months, and assuming that Occam’s was a watered-down version of this, an 80% version – and he even suggests you should get 2.5lbs per week gained, or you need to eat more. One key fact stood out to me – his bodyfat percentage actually went down over that month. So that made me all the more comfortable with getting going on Occam’s. I expect many people had the same thought – Occam’s Protocol = the MED version of Geek to Freak = similar but smaller results.

Well, over the 2 months I followed Occam’s Protocol, I definitely gained a good amount of muscle, however I did also gain back a little of the fat I lost with slow carb. I have since heard of a few people having similar results.

How could this be? I had followed the guidelines strictly, and had even erred on the side of too little food (as shown by a 1 week stall in weight gain).

The Reality

Going back to the book, I re-read the Occam’s Protocol chapters, and found myself staring the cause in the face. As I was so overjoyed with the slow carb regime, and it’s 4-hourly meal schedule, I had maintained this, as suggested in the book, with Occam’s Protocol additions.

On re-reading, I saw the comment “It’s easy to lose a little extra fat later.” This sounds like it’s written by someone who expects there to be some fat gain with this protocol. This is not the programme I thought I’d signed up for!

Worse yet, after a couple of months on Occam’s, I was stalling badly in weight gain, and really was finding a ceiling, in terms of food volume (see my post on eating 25,000 calories in 1 week) and in terms of weight gain. Nothing seemed to tip those scales any heavier, and my concern was growing that the extra food would contribute to unwanted fat gain.

I wonder if you have experienced a similar situation?

Reality was that I was feeling sick from eating so much food, and couldn’t possibly imagine going beyond 3500 calories. I can’t believe Tim Ferriss is able to ingest 6000 calories in whole foods per day, as I couldn’t get near 3500 without using protein shakes.

On re-reading, I noticed a little line that I had previously not paid enough attention to: The choice is yours: eat big or eat often. Fat gain will be slightly more with the former, and inconvenience will be much greater with the latter.

The Dark Horse

And there is the dark horse. Occam’s Protocol is not necessarily a moderated workout and diet regime for the newly-thin slow carber, it is a separate program, unto itself, and one that really is recommended for those who have trouble gaining muscle. Moreso, if you choose the convenience of 4 meals in a day, you are likely to gain a little extra fat with your new muscle.

So where to from here? Do we workout on Occam’s, eat like a starving elephant, and then work on fat loss again afterwards? Many bodybuilders use this bulking-then-cutting philosophy, but I’m not sure I’m totally comfortable with that. At the same time, I want decent gains, because I’m putting in the effort at the gym, and in the kitchen.

Due to my daily routine, eating 8 times per day is quite frankly going to do my head in, and feels like I would need to be running a spreadsheet just to keep track of what was going on. It is, however, a viable option and one that will most likely result in lower fat gains.

The Reassessment

So I looked back at Geek to Freak chapter, seeing it as a pre-cursor to Occam’s Protocol.

What was revealed was telling: when Tim did his incredible 34lbs muscle gain, 3lbs fat loss month, he used supplements. And I’m not talking about just creatine and glutamine, the supermarket stuff. He was using other supplements to control blood sugar, control insulin response, and highten workout performance.

The most ‘borderline’ supplement of the group, is the NO-Xplode he took every morning. I say borderline, because before purchasing a month’s supply on this product, I did some research online, and came up with enough disturbing stories about people feeling like they had taken drugs, were spaced out, dizzy, shaking, etc.. that I opted to stay away. Even Tim comments that “To give my adrenal glands and adrenergic receptors a rest, I didn’t consume NO-Xplode on Sundays.” The thing about NO-Xplode is that it does its job on the body very well, and it is a combination of caffeine and other elements that increase workout abilities. So, it’s favoured by a lot of guys lifting weights. That doesn’t mean it’s safe though.

Having checked other results, there’s quite a lot of proof of great gains, without fat gain, of people taking this supplement, and I wonder if this was one of the key ingredients to Tim’s results. I would love to see the same result created without including this particular supplement. I’m not prepared to test this out myself, so I’ve looked at alternatives to taking a substance that could make me feel like I’ve dropped a cap of speed.

The Conclusion

My conclusion was that taking the supplements in Geek to Freak, minus the NO-Xplode, was a good alternative. So I started on Niacinamide (no Slo-Niacin in Canada), and Chrome Mate, plus Alpha Lipoic Acid. It’s quite the supplement regime, when added to Creatine, and L-Glutamine, plus Cal/Mag, Executive Stress B and Policosanol. To keep things mixed-up for my muscles, I stopped the Occam’s Protocol workouts, and went to the Geek to Freak, epic workouts, for 6 weeks, but that’s a story for another day.

If you’re considering Occam’s Protocol or you are currently working out and eating according to the book, remember that it is designed for large muscle gains, and that a bit of fat loss would be considered incidental to the result. If you’re more focussed on developing more muscle whilst maintaining your fat loss, consider altering the diet to include more protein and fats, and only include the rice or quinoa after a workout, and see if this affects your results. Or of course, you could reprogram your routine and do 8 smaller meals per day. Another alternative is to experiment with the additional supplements in Geek to Freak, and continue the same food and workout program.

The online world is full of suggestions for how to gain muscle without gaining fat, and a lot of them stink of sales pitches, and over-hyped marketing. Recently, I’ve found myself reading up on Hollywood’s action stars, and learning from their training. One thing is common – they tend to go high on protein and greens all week and then go nuts on the weekend. Most of them are training daily too.. I wonder what Tim Ferriss would have to say about that low-carb/high-carb cycle, and what looks like ‘overtraining’ when compared to the recovery days Tim preaches in the book.

What do you think? Is it ‘Occam’s Protocol for weight gain’ or is it ‘choose your own adventure’ when it comes to adding muscle after slow carb fat loss? Leave a comment below!

You might be interested in reading these too:

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36 Responses to The Dark Secret of Occam's Protocol

  • Glenn says:

    Hey Luke,

    It’s been a while since I posted on here. I’ve been meaning to share my results with Occam’s Protocol, and received this post via email and figured this was the perfect time to share and give my thoughts.

    First off, my results. I did Occam’s for about 4.5 weeks. I gained 5.355 pounds of muscle, and also gained 3.614 pounds of fat (Stats via BodPod). Went from 181.656lbs to 190.625lbs, with body fat going from 20.5% to 21.4%. I expected significant muscle gain to burn the fat that I had, so I was a little disappointed at the fat gain. I did find success in the fact that I gained 5lbs of muscle; something I’ve never done before. Especially in as little as 4.5 weeks.

    The frequency of eating i followed was a mixture of both eating often and eating big. I was legitimately hungry every couple of hours during this workout. The one caveat though, is that a few days during the Protocol, I did cheat on the diet which can contribute to some of the fat gain. Cheating consisted of going to a barbeque (happened only once), and going out to nightclubs and consuming alcohol and late night meals afterwards (this happened twice during the Protocol). Here is an example of a typical day of eating for me that I pulled from my food log. I consumed no less than 3,900 calories in a day:

    This was from May 22, 2011

    8:00am—-Weight Gainer Protein Shake (Optimum Nutrition’s Mass Gainer, one serving)
    650 cal, 60g Protein, 85g carbs

    10am—3/4 cup egg whites with 2 whole eggs, 1 cup spinach,1 cup black beans, 1/2 cup brown rice
    660 cal, 53g protein, 91g carbs

    12:30pm—–Protein Bar (Power Bar Protein Plus)
    280cal 30g Protein, 23g carbs

    2:30pm—-6oz turkey burger, 1 cup spinach, 1 cup black beans, 1/2 cup brown rice
    665 cal, 54g Protein, 86g carbs

    4:00pm—-Protein Bar
    270 cal, 30g Protein, 26g carbs

    6:45pm—–8oz chicken, 1 cup spinach, 1 cup black beans, 1/2 cup brown rice
    630 cal, 69g Protein, 86g carbs

    8:50pm—-Protein Bar
    270 cal, 30g Protein, 26g carbs

    10:20pm—–Protein Bar
    270 cal, 30g Protein, 26g carbs

    11:20pm—-Weight Gainer Protein Shake 650 cal, 60g Protein, 85g carbs

    Total: 4,345 cal, 416g Protein, 534g Carbs

    The supplements I used was L-Glutamine (did the loading phase, then took it 30 min before my workout and again right after) , Alpha Lipoic Acid (30 min before meals), Super Cissus (30 min before meals), Policosanol (right before bed, but I didn’t start taking it until 2 weeks into the program. it helped relieving bloating with all the food consuption)

    My conclusion on Occam’s Protocol is this. I probably won’t do Occam’s again, but I would do, and will do, something similar to Geek to Freak. What I’m working on now is Shaunt T’s Insanity work out. I’m looking to lean out and cut my body fat in half. I’m on week 2 right now of his workout plan.

    Now once I lean out, I will go on High Intensity Training (HIT), which is the Geek to Freak workout. HIT is basically the technical name for “Geek to Freak”. The man that he mentions in the Geek to Freak section, Arthur Jones, is the creator of HIT. I stumbled upon a book via Men’s Health, called The New High Intensity Training by Ellington Darden. Darden worked directly with Arthur Jones on HIT for YEARS, so the source is credible and he really knows his stuff. In the book, they also mention the Casey Viator experiment. I will be following the workout plans in this book in order to gain the significant muscle mass, with minimal fat gain if any (hopefully), that I’ve been looking to accomplish. My assumption is that the results will be greater with HIT (Geek to Freak) than with Occam’s. Mainly due to the increased number of exercises. Don’t worry, they too stress resting often so there won’t be any overtraining. They stress against overtraining in the book. Check it out. It’s a great book for anyone looking to do something similar to Geek to Freak which covers more details on it.

    Hope this helps


    • Luke says:

      Hey Glenn, brilliant comment!! Thanks so much for sharing.

      I’m sure a lot of people will really appreciate these results being available.
      And with your food regime too – really helpful.

      I think the results, as far as fat gain and muscle gain, are interesting ones. Your body obviously had enough protein to build all the muscle it wanted to, and your were getting enough calories, as evidenced by the fat gain, however for whatever reason, there wasn’t more muscle gain (and nothing close to Tim’s 34 pounds!). I don’t mean this as a negative, like you didn’t achieve your goal, but it’s just interesting. I consider your program very ‘real world’ and the fact is that with taking the Super Cissus, the ALA and the Policosanol, I would have expected the results to be a bit different.

      Your info about HIT is really interesting, and I will definitely check out the book you recommended – thanks so much. This kind of training is intriguing, with some well documented, amazing results, but I wonder if it’s one of those things that’s almost impossible to recreate outside of ‘the lab’?

      All the best leaning out, I think the Insanity workouts should do the trick.


    • lepidecko says:

      The bits on the glut4 window should also be interesting. Tim suggests taking a large fast-carb meal right after training. the glut4 window should ensure all cals go to muscle instead of fat. I try to create an additional 2 or 3 sifnificant glut4 windows throughout the week with some high intensity cardio, then use the glut4 windows to increase calories.

      • Luke says:

        Sounds like an interesting approach. Be aware that some kinds of interval training actually change the insulin/hormone profiles temporarily after a workout. You might want to read more Lyle McDonald – he gets right into details. Google ‘Ultimate Diet 2.0′.
        All the best,

  • Glenn says:

    One more thing. I tried NO Xplode a few years ago, and my body couldn’t take it. It made me dizzy and jittery. Some people can handle it, and it works for others. But for me, I was one of those that couldn’t take it due to the effects it had on my body. Something similar to it that I tried, Body Rush, by the creators of Force Factor, worked well for me when I was taking during my P90X workouts. So Body Rush is a good substitute. Get it directly from Force Factor for a good deal if you’re looking to take it.

    • Luke says:

      Once again, thanks for sharing this with readers. This is exactly the kind of thing I read about that put me off taking NO Xplode, however I hadn’t heard about this alternative. I’ll do some more reading now!!


  • Glenn says:

    Thanks for the feedback.

    I expected better results as well. I know that I cheated on the diet a few times, but as you said, the supplements should have provided better results or at least counter-acted the cheating to some degree. I don’t know anyone that has done HIT, but it seems practical. I will definitely keep you posted on HIT when I begin. With Tim I would assume that the fact he completed more exercises on Geek to Freak compared with Occams Protocol, that that’s the reason why he would gain more? But we will see. I will run the same experiment on my body after I lean out. I’m still on Slow Carb by the way, while doing Insanity. Keep up the good work. The blog you guys are doing is great.

    Talk to you soon

    • Luke says:

      Look forward to hearing about your HIT experiences! I think those extra exercises covered more body parts/individual muscles than the compound lifts of Occam’s, hence the extra development. But I also think it had to do with Tim re-adding that muscle that he had previously developed years before. The extra supplements he took definitely would have had an impact too; allowing him to take in a huge amount of calories (perhaps up to 4-5000 per day) without adding too much fat.

      All the best and thanks for reading!

  • Matthew says:

    My problem with Occam’s and GtoF is so far it seems to only get you to around 8% body fat. I am working on tweaking things to get to 5%.

    I worked on Occam’s for 2 months and that got me from 135lbs to 155lbs ( 5.7% to 9% body fat ). I am tweaking the Slow Carb diet, following more of a Paleo ( which got me to 5% ), Slow Carb, and 7 Principals of Fat Burning diet for the last week and doing a workout similar to Geek to Freak.

    My goal is 160-165 at 5-6% body fat. Anyone have advice?

    • Luke says:

      Hey Matthew,

      Interesting observations, and congratulations on your progress so far.

      I think one of the keys here is that neither slow carb nor Occam’s eating methods are aimed to reduce body fat to below 10% (in my opinion). I know I’ve seen people reporting 8% on slow carb.. but it’s pushing it. To push down into those very low numbers, you need to follow a more controlled eating regime, and most likely will be counting calories, and will be eating small meals every 2-3 hours. To build muscle as well as maintain that low % bodyfat, then you really are fine tuning your caloric intake, etc.
      Check out ‘The Last Mile’ chapter in the book, and get some ideas from that.

      All the best,

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    • tim says:

      Ah another load of posts written with people with too much time one their hands, just wanting to shoot a great writer down because they can’t get their own works published so resort to dissin other peoples. Probably written by a fat geek, who eats blended chocolate bars because they have their teeth wired shut to prevent them overeating!!

      get a life mate, and leave TF alone, he’s a great guy and this works. I’m living proof that it does..

      • Luke says:

        Hi Tim, thanks so much for taking the time to read our blog.
        I’m not sure of the chip you have on your shoulder, but I’m also walking, living, real proof that Tim’s workouts do what they are intended to do.
        Clearly my aim here is to alert people to the fact that Occam’s Protocol, as a program, is not designed to minimize fat gain (although with tweaks you can gain mass and not too much fat), but it’s designed as a fast track to muscle gains, perhaps with some fat along for the ride. It will depend a lot on what you predisposition is to the effects of insulin and carbohydrates on whether the extra carbs go as energy usage, muscle building, or fat storage.
        Congrats on your progress, I’m sure our readers would love to hear more about your results, and what 4HB programs you used.

        All the best,

  • Chad says:

    Thanks for the detailed post Luke. I’ve been reading and re-reading the book to catch all the hidden details for Occam’s Protocol. I found your post because I was searching for answers. Two weeks into the protocol I had gained 2.7 lbs of muscle, but also 1.8 lbs of fat. It is all very confusing because if anything I was not hitting the recommended amount of carbs/calories. My conclusion was you can’t half-ass a program like this. You have to go all in and give it a fair test. You have to be willing to eat the required amount of protein calories and be willing to pack on a few lbs of fat.

    One of my biggest concerns is what happens after you hit your target lean muscle goal. What kind of protein/calorie consumption is required there? It is a real concern for me because I hate eating this much – it really makes me kind of miserable – and if I have to continue eating like this to maintain the newfound lean weight it is probably not worth it to me.

    By the way, after one week I switched to the alternate routine that Tim slips into a single paragraph late in (I think) Occam’s Protocol part 2: 1 day of pushing upper-body exercise, 1 day of pulling upper body exercises and 1 day of leg exercises. I’m not sure if this is meant to get the same kind of results as OP exercises, but it seemed like a good compromise between OP and Freak-to-Geek.

    I’m still on the fence whether I should commit to something like Occam’s and be willing to endure a little (or more) fat gain or focus on Slow-Carb first and lose the weight. Ultimately I would like to gain about 20lbs in muscle (I know it will take some time) and lose about 40 lbs in fat. Any advice on what is the most logical sequence?

    • Luke says:

      Hi Chad, thanks for your comments.
      I’m really glad you came across this article – I think lots of people are trying Occam’s, with a view to gaining muscle, but the fat gain part is not necessarily detailed much at all. For some people, adding in that much starch or sugar (in the case of brown rice/quinoa or milk with GOMAD) just sends people back into fat-gaining mode. This is due to the fact that slow carb is boring on a low carb diet, technically, with ‘net’ carbs being around 100-120, depending on how many beans you eat per day. This is the functional level, almost exactly, at which, or just below, most people’s body will become adapted to burning fat for energy, not glucose. Adding the starches or sugars means you’re most likely out of this range. However, this is why Occam’s Protocol can yield such muscle gains. So therein lies the challenge.
      Once you have hit your muscle goal, in theory you will work to reduce fat to where you’d like it to be. Following slow carb should provide fat loss without muscle loss, for the most part, as can other very low carb diets, like Atkins, and The Last Mile. However both of those require an adaptation phase which may not be altogether fun (see my article on The Last Mile).

      With your goals of fat loss, and muscle gain, I’d recommend following the slow carb diet for a while and establishing a good basis of fat loss – you’ll get to know your body, and the amounts of food to eat, and from there, once you’ve lost quite a bit, you can add to that baseline diet to gain more muscle. Plus, you’re body will feel much healthier, and you’ll be able to work out more easily. The slow carb diet is excellent at preserving muscle, so you won’t need to worry about losing muscle while you’re losing fat. Keep your workouts to moderate, the program you’re following is great – but don’t be tempted to add in too much extra in terms of workouts – it’s easy to go over the threshold, and start stressing your body.

      All the best Chad,


  • David says:

    Hi Luke,

    I am going to try the Occams protocol and thinking I should add 1/2 a cup of brown rice to my four meals.

    My main question is after the Occams protocol I want to continue on with my regular weight training routine which is 4 x 45 min workouts per week. The workouts are quite intense. Should I keep the 4 x 1/2 cups of brown rice in my diet when I revert back to this regular routine of mine?


    • Luke says:

      Hey David, thanks for your question.

      I think this is a great thing to test out – If your workouts are designed to gain muscle, then you will need the extra carbohydrates, and the calories that the brown rice offers. If your workouts are endurance, or cardio-based, then you might not need the extra starch, as workouts don’t burn that many calories, compared to a total calorie intake for the day. I would experiment with both slow carb, and including the brown rice, 4 weeks each, and see which result you like better.

      All the best,

  • Morgan says:

    Hey Luke,
    very interesting article/blog. i have been experimenting with occam’s protocol and slowcarb/PAGG for about 3 months now and had some interesting results. First off, i started off with about a month and a half of occams (which in hindsight, i wish i did as the later..) I wasn’t convinced with the 2 workout a week thing so i decided to modify it slightly which i will explain later. I experienced dramatic results in the first 2-3 weeks bringing my weight up from 185 to 203 with what seemed to be almost no fat gain if not minimal (around 4 lbs max..) i was very surprised at the massive changes that took place almost overnight… quite literally.. i remember jumping on the scale after the first week and thinking it was broken when it read nearly 192. Granted, i did not track my results nearly how i should have, with only a few measurements with the tape measure and a scale at the gym. If i were to do it again i will definitely hit the bod-pod.. My modified program was as follows:

    Monday- Chest/tricep
    -3 min rowing machine warm up
    -bench- warm up set (80% weight) -8 reps
    – 7 reps until failure
    -tricep pull down, same routine as bench

    Wednesday- Legs
    -WArm up on stationary bike
    -Hanging cleans (50%weight of clean)
    -7 reps until failure
    -Deadlift, same warm up and reps

    Friday- Back Bi
    -yates row and pulldown, same warm ups and reps as other days

    For the record, i am 17. I’m sure that plays in quite a bit.. i am also 6’1 and was at 14% body fat at end of occams.

    My eating schedule was more along the lines of eating big meals often. the quantity just came naturally to me as i was used to consuming mass quantities of protein and carbs from other programs i had been trying.
    Now that my success story is over with, i’ll share with you the after effects. Literally as soon as i stopped the program/eating, my weight dropped 10lbs. i hadn’t quit the program completely, or stopped eating a fair amount either. i simply turned down my “Turbo eating” schedule and didn’t follow the weights quite as strictly-tracking progress and maxes etc. this was quite the bummer to say the least. as quickly as the size came, it vanished. i would have jumped back on the occam’s wagon and gave it another shot, but unfortunately i had a job interview in a month with a modeling/acting agency that required me slimming down a bit for..
    so i switched to slow carb with PAGG. have been doing everything by the book since, googling almost everything i consume to make sure its slow carb certified, and i have lost around 12 lbs. in the past month. In addition to the pagg, i have been taking a protein shake before workouts and calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D supplements with a cup of green tea a day and extra garlic in most of my meals. I am quite happy with the effects this diet is having, but i truely miss eating and building.. despite my efforts to combine my previous workout program with the diet, i have seen little to no muscle mass increases. I would really love to find an option that involves packing on a few extra pounds of that elusive muscle while continuing to try to perfect my newly found 6 pack. has anyone had any luck with this? I have found many articles claiming all you need to do is add some brown rice after my workouts in addition to slow carb, but i am skeptical. Luke, as you said earlier, in order for slow carb to work you need around 100-120 net carbs a day. wouldn’t this mean that you would be transferring over into the occam’s zone where, if you’re lucky, you can maintain the same body fat percentage? I would really appreciate any feedback someone may have!!!

    Thanks a ton,

    • Luke says:

      Hey Morgan,
      Thanks for sharing your experiences! Really appreciate the detail you’ve offered.
      Your goal is a great one -add more muscle while maintaining low bodyfat percentage. It sounds like where you are right now is a comfortable bodyfat level, but probably you’d like some more muscle bulk.
      Due to the fact that you’re 17 I have a simple recommendation – train adequately, and eat plenty. Worry less about bodyfat percentage, especially when it’s not beach weather, and really focus on training and getting the most out of it. Right now you have an (unfair ;) advantage over anyone else who’s 20 or over, as well as an advantage over yourself when you’re older – you have a lot of growth hormone running around your body, and your body will respond well to training and adequate nutrition. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be smart about things, but realistically, any attempt to maintain a really cut six pack, and add muscle, will mean you’re not getting your full muscle development you could.
      One suggestion I have is to look at doing workouts in the evening, and then having a pretty serious low fat, carb-heavy meal, every day you workout. I’d drop the ‘cheat day’ entirely. Other days/meals I would suggest starting in the morning without beans/lentils, and then around lunch add in some beans/lentils, then dinners of non training days, a regular (large) slow carb meal). Training days though, aim for plenty of protein all day, think about a high GI food 1.5 hours before workout (banana for example) and then go with a carb meal, low fat, the evening after a workout. This will spike your insulin those nights, shuttle plenty of nutrients into your muscles, and then allow any gained fat from that evening to burn off over night, and through the next morning.
      Give this a shot for 8 weeks, and let me know what your results are!


  • vlad says:

    hello luke,
    i’ve been reading your blog for quite a while and i really love it.
    i was doing the slow carb diet since around june, which got me to around 65 kg at a height of 180cm. all in all i dropped around 3-4kg while switching to the slow carb life style. as you can see, i’ve never been huge and now i’m ridiculously thin. :) i never did muscle training either, only inline skating, swimming and walking.
    after several delays i’m now jumping on the occam’s train, with a goal to get at 73-75kg.
    i get it, that the calory intake is important, what i didn’t find in the book is the required amount of protein and fast carbs. from reading your blog, i’d guess, the protein intake should be around 180-200g daily. but how important are fast carbs and how much and when do i have to eat them? also tim is not very detailed about the protein intake during the training in the book. in both eating plans it’s only mentioned briefly without specifying the amount.
    i know the importance of eating for the success of the whole plan, so i hope you can help me to avoid unnecessary mistakes. also, on a side note, do i have to stick to a eating regime or can i alternate between them? for example two days with four meals a day the next couple of days with more meals but smaller portions.

    thanks for your help

    • Luke says:

      Hey Vlad,

      You’re right about protein – it’s not really specified but it is important. 180-200g would be about right for you at the moment. Make sure you increase once you’ve gained 5kg. You can switch meals around a little more when trying to gain muscle, but the key is eating enough – this can be tricky. It means actually eating more than you feel like eating at times. I found it hard, but it’s worth doing, to gain muscle. As far as fast carbs – you don’t need to eat a lot. At first at least, you can include some brown rice with 2 or 3 meals and you’ll do fine. Then you might want to add some milk to your protein shakes too. After that, see how you’re doing maybe 8-12 weeks after you started, and see where you are, then re-plan a new method based on your new weight.

      All the best!

  • Ruby Lin says:

    Hi Luke!
    I’ve been following your website for quite some time now after reading TIm Ferris’ 4hr Body and I must say it’s a great resource and provides awesome insight!

    I’m planning to start the slow carb next week and add in occams. my question would be if I don’t want to mass-muscle gain (I’m 5’5″, 125 lbs, 21 BF%, 22 year old female) –rather I want to drop bf % down to 14% should I still do occams and follow the regular slow carb or…would you recommend another work out?
    I’ve looked into paleo for eating–and I’ll eventually transition into that for 6 days a week and I’ve done 1.5 months of p90x (But that was just too time consuming). I’m looking for something quick & dirty with max results and fat loss. What would you suggest?

    Thanks for your help!

    • Luke says:

      Hi Ruby, thanks for your comments! Glad you’ve been finding the website useful :)

      Good on your for getting started! I would definitely recommend Occam’s if you’re interested in weight loss. At your height and weight, it will be very much to your advantage to gain some muscle while you lose fat. You’ll be amazed at the results as compared to just losing fat. It’ll also be easier to stay in shape. If you’re not convinced, check out the photos in this article:

      Finally, as you’ve just got started, I think you’ll get a lot out of the free videos on my other website – – they’ll give you a start that’ll set you up for a much easier time of switching around workouts and food plans. I created them so that if a friend asked, I could give them some videos to explain the foundations of how weight loss works. Let me know what you think!

      All the best Ruby!

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