Zach Even-Esh

Nate Miyaki Intermittent FEAST QnA – Part II

“”Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.”

– Arnold

Z: I know coaches like Waterbury and Ferruggia recommend a similar eating approach.  So the need to cut calories and carbs at night is a myth?

Nate: Yeah, Jay and I have discussed this several times and are on the same page.  And I know Chad recommends a similar approach.  What’s the commonality amongst us as coaches?  We all work with clients in the real world.  Any diet plan can look good on paper my friend.  But few function well when it comes to real life application.

Something gets lost in the translation = namely, practicality!

Trying to cut calories at night goes completely against our evolutionary instincts, natural desires, and social patterns.  That’s why it rarely works as a baseline diet plan in the real world.

Starving on lettuce leaves and low-carb shakes at night, and somehow pretending you’re cool with that, is a miserable way to diet.  Sure, a small percentage of athletes can make this work as their standard, everyday plan.

Even then, a lot of them can only make it work during their in-season, go crazy during off-season binges, and rebound/yo-yo.

Here’s the truth:

Eating at night doesn’t make you fat.  Eating too much/too many calories makes you fat.

If you’ve eaten large and/or frequent meals throughout the day, and then eat another large dinner on top of that, chances are you will overshoot your daily calorie needs and gain fat.  It’s the total food intake not the distribution that is the problem.

If you eat lighter during the day and are active, chances are you enter dinner in a relatively large calorie deficit with depleted energy reserves, and even a large meal with a significant amount of carbohydrates will be used to restore energy reserves first, before spilling over into fat stores.

You’re going to eat big at night anyways, so why not account for that when designing your diet?

Following the hunt and feast structure is an easier plan to stick to for most people, because it goes with our natural instincts, social patterns, and even business obligations. Thus, what I’ve found is that adherence and success rates have increased dramatically amongst a wide variety of demographics — from athletes to busy professionals — when switching them over to this structure.

But its more than just theory, in case you’re starting to think this is some bullsh*t fad diet.  There is science behind the approach

A. Da Physiology

This structure controls insulin and blood sugar levels, and maximizes fat burning hormones and cellular factors during the day.  This ensures that you are optimally burning fat for a large portion of the day.  It also improves energy and cognitive function.

The nightly feast maximizes muscle building hormones and cellular factors.  And with depleted energy reserves and damaged muscles from training, you’ll certainly be ready for a chow down, throw down.

Think of it as two distinct nutritional periods.

– During the day hours you are in a fat burning, energy production mode.

– During the evening hours you trigger a hyper- anabolic, muscle building, nutrient-storing mode.  You recover from the demands of the current day, and fill up the tank to prepare for the demands of the next day.

B. Da Psychology

Our brains work on a sacrifice/reward pattern.

Most people find it relatively easy to cut calories and make better food choices during the day, as long as they know they can eat a larger meal at night, and get to end the day satiated and satisfied (at least in the kitchen, the bedroom is your own responsibility).

This is way more effective than large lunches that lead to rebound hypoglycemia and energy crashes, and tiny dinners that lead to starvation-induced, junk food binges.

Da Result?

A plan that’s much easier to consistently stick to, and more efficient fat loss with better retention, or even gains, in lean muscle mass.  In non-nerd terminology — get your bikini or board shorts or European man-thong ready!  I don’t know how you guys do it over at the Jersey Shore, but out here in California, we let it all hang out like Borat.

Z: Ha Ha – You never know what you’ll see at some of these beaches! So, good food choices are step #1.  A more natural diet structure is step #2.  What’s the final step?

Nate: Well, I think those first two steps alone will take most people the majority of the way.  The final step is really for more advanced athletes.

Step #3Hit Targeted #’s For Higher-Level Physique or Performance Goals.

Some strength coaches proclaim as long as you eat the right foods, or cut a certain macronutrient to zero, or whatever, you don’t need to worry about anything else.  I humbly disagree if you’re talking about more advanced goals.

That may be fine going from out of shape to decent shape, or for the genetically elite or drug-enhanced, but the average natural dude is not going to get jacked or ripped to shreds with that haphazard approach.

Elite goals require more precision.

While good food choices optimize the health aspects of a diet, and diet structure can improve upon the practicality of your plan, targeted calories and macronutrients will always have the biggest impact on achieving any body composition goal, especially advanced ones.

You need to be in a calorie surplus to gain mass, a calorie deficit to slash fat, with adequate protein intake to optimize the support of lean muscle mass in either situation, and with the right distribution of carbs and fats based on the type and amount of training, metabolic factors, and physique goals.

Now, I don’t think you need to get down to obsessive compulsive, decimal point precision, but you should have a good ballpark idea of what your ranges are.  Otherwise, how can you make refinements to continue progressing?

But I got all kinds of shortcuts for you.

Take protein for example.  You don’t need to protect your digital scales like you’re Nino Brown in New Jack City.  Simply buy meat by the pound (16oz) and cut up according to your individual needs (2 pieces if you need 8oz servings, 4 pieces if you need 4oz servings, etc.).

If you’re out at a restaurant, just eyeball the portion size — 4oz is about the size of a deck of cards.
When you’re at home, use a measuring cup with a handle as a serving utensil for starches instead of a spoon or spatchula.

If you’re out a restaurant, 1 cup = about the size of a fist, unless you’re Brock Lesnar, then maybe half a fist.

Knowing your ballpark numbers is not as backbreaking as most people think.


Stay tuned for our Final QnA with Nate Miyaki on how you can dial in Intermittent FEASTing for muscle gain, fat loss and / or improved athletic performance.

Drop any comments or questions you have for Nate below, he’ll answer!

Also, check out his Course on The Intermittent FEAST – Underground Approved & AWESOME!

Category: Articles, muscle building, Nutrition, Q & A, Videos Tags: , , , , , , , , , .

20 Responses to Nate Miyaki Intermittent FEAST QnA – Part II

  1. Dustin M. says:


    It’s damn good to see that you’re in the Underground helping us folks out. Your name has been quite the buzz lately and you’re certainly living up to the hype. I got a question for you. But first, I gotta warn ya–I’m not the average dude when it comes to food.

    First, I lost 120 lbs of fat. Then rebounded 20-30. D’oh! Secondly, i can gain fat at a very rapid pace. Think 20lbs a week. Can eat 10,000 calories in a day without trying. I’ve put on 12lbs of “weight” in a day. Lost most of the weight going paleo. Third, I lift an absurb abount of weights during the day. I work in a steel mill, then i come home to do more training. Lately, I been training in the morning, then work at the steel mill, then come home and lift some more. I’e been getting much stronger, but I am still battling with fat gain.

    1) Is it still recommended for someone of my stature to fast throughout the day and then feast at night? And when you say, “feast at night” does that mean one big feast? Dude, I know I’ll eat twice! Do you recommend your peeps to have like a high protein snack at lunch or something? Or perhaps Subway, the restaurant of training athletes everywhere. :-)
    Based on my rapid weight gain, mainly from carbs–for that elite level of Ooomph, how do i approach carbs? Eating rice and potatoes sounds very doable. My wife is Italian..She makes all kinds of pasta. That cool? Paleo keeps me lean, but everybody says carbs is what keeps the body anabolic.
    Third, I normally find it VERY comforting eating right before bed time. When you say “Eating at night will not make you fat”, but what about eating right before bed time?

    Again, thanks for your time!

    • admin says:

      Damn!!! We called Dustin DW the VW – that is some serious food skillz!!! ha ha

      Nate is the man, he is putting SERIOUS time and energy into helping us bruthas OUT!!! MUCH respect!

      • Nate Miyaki says:

        Its my pleasure man. You seem to have a very cool crew over here in Da Underground.

        And I can throw down some food with you Dustin. My last muscle gaining phase, an average dinner was 16oz of animal protein and 8-9 cups of rice for dinner. They used to call me Da Baby Sumo…

      • Dustin Maynard says:

        Twice, dude!

        I believe DW is the VW! But I ain’t DW, I’m Dustin M(aynard), the f’ing tugboat. The keg throwing, steel-bending maniac.
        “Get Comfortable being Uncomfortable”

        And hell yes! Many thanks to Nate for his time and energy!

    • Nate Miyaki says:

      I appreciate the compliment brother. Let me see if I can give you some pointers:

      1. First off, congrats on that weight loss man. that’s a serious accomplishment you should be proud of.

      2. Yes I generally do recommend people eat something during the day, at lunch. What I recommend is a Paleo-style lunch, so source of protein with some non-starchy veggies, maybe a piece of fruit or some whole food fats. But I do keep the starches low at this point to keep blood sugar/insulin under control, keep even energy, and optimize the body’s ability to burn fat.

      3. I like Paleo as a base, but I don’t think it is completely aligned with all of the anaerobic activity you are doing. So I add back in some starches to support those unique demands. I would favor rice and potatoes over pasta.

      4. Dude, what most people forget about is calories. If you are in a calorie deficit (which you should be to drop fat), you can still include some carbs in your diet for muscle maintenance and continue to lose body fat. That’s why knowing your #’s is important. I prefer calorie deficits with moderate carbs for strength trainers.

      We go into more details of this topic in Part III, so stay tuned for that. cool brother?

      • Dustin M. says:

        Da Baby Sumo…Haha! I like it! You certainly earned youself some chowing props! :-)

        Thanks for getting back to me, Nate. I appreciate it. I am getting a very strong sense of what you’re saying. I’m still in the process of creating a diet suitable to my needs. I agree with the rice and potatoes for the source of carbs. I have no problem chowing down protein either. As a matter of fact, I routinely drink 12-18 eggs raw on a daily basis (throughout the day) then after I train I normally pair a lean protein with carbs, while taking fat out of the equation. When I commit to this style, it does wonders. But including too many carbs throughout the day is a quick ticket to fat gain. BTW, I’m currently 215lbs. LBM probably around 180.

        Looking forward to part three!! Thanks, man!

        • Nate Miyaki says:

          18 raw eggs, holy sh*t dude you’re like a mad combination of Vince Gironda and Rocky Balboa.

          So yeah with what you said, that’s exactly why I set up my diet approach a certain way. You need carbs to support training, but throwing back too many all day is a ticket to fat gain. That’s why I recommend people keep da starchy carbs lower during the day. You have a good stretch of time where glucose and insulin levels are kept in check and the body optimally burns fat as its primary energy nutrient. Then you hit the carbs at night to restock glycogen reserves to provide adequate fuel for training, and to stimulate muscle growth.

          Its a bada$$ plan if I do say so myself, hahaha

  2. Nick M. says:

    I’m curious to know what type of plan Waterbury recommends. Is it this fast/feast approach. I’d like to know more about it.

  3. Steven says:

    Most people find it relatively easy to cut calories and make better food choices during the day, as long as they know they can eat a larger meal at night, and get to end the day satiated and satisfied.

    So, true ! Like I tell all my friends, coworkers and family members, “Before my dinner feast, I will move a mountain for you, after dinner I become that mountain”. Not size wise, but I ain’t movin !

    Thanks for the great article.

    • admin says:

      Yep, especially when you’re an adult working full time, etc.

      This is how it works best for me, I don’t sit down much till dinner or late night

      That is when I chow down and crush the food! ha ha

      I weigh 206, lightest I’ve been in 10 years!

      • steven says:

        I do a lot during the day as well, but I look forward to that big feast after all the work is done. Works for me as well.

        • Nate Miyaki says:

          Yeah guys, I’m with you both, and I really think this dietary approach works so well because it is aligned with our natural instincts and evolutionary history. I know that’s kind of cheesy, but its a good lesson. Despite technological evolution, we’re all just hunter/gatherers. Instead of hunting for food, we’re out there hunting for business deals or athletic accomplishments or women, hahaha. But we’re meant to be out there kicking a$$ and in energy production mode during the day, then finishing the day with the reward of a feast. I tell people man, its the easiest plan to follow. Glad you guys have had the same experience. We’ll get people straightened out.

  4. steven says:

    Thanks for the quick follow up. Shows that you care and are passionate.

  5. jack says:

    hey nate, i’m a little late to the qna party, but it took me a while to formulate my questions. i’d be thrilled if you had time to answer these!

    firstly, love all your saying. totally logical and simple. none of that over-complicated fitness-as-a-business crap. just good honest science. and i love your flexible approach.

    so here are my questions. i love to work out first thing in the day. it charges me up, plus then it’s done and i can concentrate on work. if i work out at say 10 am, after getting up at 8 am but am not planning on feasting until 5 pm is that too long? i’ve always heard your muscles need their glycogen stores replenished in a certain amount of time? what are your thoughts?

    secondly, besides strength work i have a few endurance based sports that i enjoy: long hikes and epic bike touring. espescially on longer bike tours (30-70 miles a day) i’ll “bonk” if i don’t have a source of glycogen building carbs throughout the day. can your intermittent feast plan be adapted to occasional enduranced based work? and how would you recommend going about that?

    thanks so much for all the time you’ve taken and your hard work!


  6. Steve Reed says:

    Hi Nate

    Just bought and read the book on Kindle, a great read. Also enjoyed your chat with Robb Wolf, a lot of laughs and some excellent info too.

    I’m a personal trainer over here in the UK, and have had a lot of success with paleo style diets, although people are still so stuck in the old dogmas, it’s sad.

    But back to me. I’ve had some really good results following a periodized bodyweight training protocol, but am slightly unsure where to pitch myself fore the carb numbers.

    I’m currently playing with Keifer’s Carb Nite, and losing some body fat (I’m around 13% or so), but did a ‘pull workout’ today (sounds kinda kinky), and I really suffered. 3 exercises, in a Tabata format. I just felt really drained early on. Got through it, but it made me think that even BW stuff can be quite depleting.

    I’m thinking of pitching it at 150 grms CHO per day, 180 grms protein (I weight 180), and remainder fat to take me to 2000 cals per day.

    I’m 45 years old, 188 cm tall, and in pretty ok shape. I do HIIT once a week, sometimes twice.

    Do you reckon it’s best just to pick a number, run with it for a couple of weeks and see how the recomp looks?

    Cheers for the excellent work


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Zach Even-Esh is an Author, Founder of The Underground Strength Gym & Creator of The Underground Strength Coach Certification.

Zach's inspiration in training comes from the Golden Era of Bodybuilding & Days of Old School Strength. His mission is to help You kick ass & take names in Life AND Lifting without the hype, fancy fads or gimmicks. Zach's Commitment To Your Success Is Unmatched. He Knows What It's Like To Go From A Weakling To An Unstoppable BEAST In Charge Of His Life, Business & Destiny. Zach Made It Happen Through The Iron and Now it's Your Turn!

Zach Even-Esh