Intermittent Fasting, Jack LaLanne & YOUR Health



I recall the moment as if it just happened 5 minutes ago.

I was in my mid 20s and full force in my bodybuilding days.....

I was at the mall, shopping with my girlfriend at the time, now my wife. I had been single for a looong time and I was used to revolving my life around training, eating, sleeping and basically living my life on my own schedule.

Bodybuilding and working out was what I revolved my life around. I had a regimented life and nothing stood in my way when it came to eating and lifting.

Until that ONE day....I recall, this time shopping at the mall with my girlfriend, I was eying my watch non stop and was beginning to freak out on the inside....

I went past my "eat every 3 hours rule" and couldn't stop looking at my watch. I was asking myself, "Where the hell am I gonna get some chicken and potatoes around here?"

My thoughts were running rampant, crazy thoughts, such as:

- "S**t! Are my muscles going to shrink? I haven't eaten in well over 3 hours!"

- "How am I going to live like this? I can't go to the mall unless I pack a cooler with food or only stay at the mall for 2 hours!"

- "Maybe I CAN'T have a girlfriend AND live the bodybuilding lifestyle I love?"

I kid you NOT, those were the CRAZY questions I was asking myself and freaking out about. I thought I would need to get myself a little cooler packed with food and walk around the mall with it. I would look like an idiot I thought to myself!

In the bodybuilding world that lifestyle is the norm and it is acceptable; carrying your cooler around, eating every 3 hours, etc. But, in the REAL world, that doesn't work too well, and, it's NOT necessary either, which I learned down the road.

The Paradigm Shift

Around that time, I began learning about Russian Kettlebells and invested my time heavily with the forum and educational resources located at Dragon, learning from their experts. I had come across a few articles on something called 'The Warrior Diet'.

The Warrior Diet is where I would under eat all day and then "feast" at night, allowing you to get ripped while following a plan that would coincide with a typical social and working life..... busy all day with minimal eating then eating lots at night while socializing, relaxing, having free time, etc.

Sounded GREAT. I bought the book.

I was impressed with the idea of being a "Warrior". I felt connected to the idea spiritually, not just by the physical benefits. I know that sounds crazy but if you know me and my respect for anything dealing with "being tough" you can relate to me.

But, one of the BIGGEST attractions to the Warrior Diet and Intermittent Fasting was I would have FREEDOM. I would be able to be more productive and hustle through my day rather than stop frequently due to my slavery to eating every 3 hours.

I lost weight VERY fast. I must have been in the 222-225 range when I started and in 3 months or so I was down to 202-204 lbs where I hovered for a while (approx. 6 months).

I remember how I felt when the weight came off:

- Running felt great. It didn't kill my knees and ankles like it did at 220+ lbs. I would run 1 mile every day with my Dog, Arnold. Before the weight loss, running was KILLING my knees. That pissed me off because of course I remembered running 4 - 5 miles every other night when I was a high school wrestler.

- Energy was increased. I had greater energy on ALL fronts: work, personal life, morning, night, etc.

- Energy Crashes Were Gone. I used to get VERY tired after my lunch and I remember dragging myself by the last portion of my day at work. Those energy crashes were gone.

Some of the pitfalls that occurred was:

- I got weaker. I got weak on the BIG lifts such as squats, deadlifts, bench press, etc. BUT....

- I got stronger on the bodyweight exercises & calisthenics, so, it was a trade off.

After about 6 months on The Warrior Diet I had a phone conversation with Louie Simmons and we stumbled across talking nutrition. He told me how he and his lifters ate steak and eggs every morning for breakfast.

I began to MISS eating breakfast after 6 months of no breakfast and as a whole, I got tired of waiting until 8 or 9 at night to start eating. My days at that time were longer than most so my eating time started later than most rather than the typical 6 pm over feeding phase, my feasting phase began at 9 PM.

As soon as I stopped following the Warrior Diet I quickly gained back my weight and my metabolism got back to the roller coaster it was on. My body was going through shock, not just from nutrition but also from the high stress and lack of natural foods leading to a lack of detox. My body was holding onto all the crap.

I began eating "normal" according to today's standards when in hindsight, I should have eaten simple and clean. THAT will NEVER change.

Watch this Video by Jack LaLanne on Nutrition.

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Coupled with the high stress I had in my life at the time I had to try and figure out the nutrition all over again. The "eat every 3 hours" didn't work any more. It made me gain weight yet didn't make me feel healthy or energetic. It sucks when you learn the hard way that what USED to work doesn't work anymore.

As I gained greater knowledge through the years it was evident my metabolism had gotten pretty messed up after eating the WRONG foods along with multiple knee surgeries, shoulder and back injuries, poor sleep habits, excess coffee, high stress, etc.

One Summer I began playing with intermittent fasting again, no regularity, just following it on days I wanted to and vice versa. I would lean out a bit, regain that energy but as soon as my schedule became crazy and erratic again I went back to eating breakfast, lunch, dinner along with 1 - 2 protein shakes a day.

At that time, it was more of an emotional eating style rather than eating for performance.

Once I returned to that feeding every 3 hours the energy went down and the weight climbed back up. I didn't understand that my body became more carb sensitive than it was in my younger years. I've found that my body responds much better to high protein, moderate fats and low carbs.

My focus was always about losing weight. That was my main focus. That was the WRONG focus.

The RIGHT focus hit me when last winter I began having shoulder pain that I could not dial in. I was having immense pain in my pec and shoulder blade area when benching or pressing of any sort.

I sent videos and made phone calls to my friends and industry leaders: Mike Robertson, Eric Cressey, Bill Hartman, Kelly Starret....

My injury and pain started to interfere BIG time with ALL facets of my life and after many injuries through my years I began to STOP accepting the fact that I would be injured, sore, tired, etc.

My HEALTH HAD to be # 1 if I was to be of any value to my family and the many men and women around the world I am trying to help via Underground Strength Nation.

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In the fall, Jason Ferruggia and I began discussing these health issues and the evolution we've gone through after so many years of beating our bodies down with heavy lifting and constant eating.

We were BOTH tired of it and Jason had done his due diligence in researching and experimenting how to improve health, lose weight AND keep on the strength. We spoke about our past and we spoke about our family members. The conversation woke me up more than ever because I felt like I wasn't crazy nor was I alone.

Our conversation had me thinking of my Grandfather and how strong he was, how healthy he was, how vibrant he was. My Grandfather NEVER owned a car. He rode his bike and walked everywhere. If it required longer distance, he hopped on a bus and then walked where he had to go.

My Grandfather walked FAST, by the way. I remember him always being a good 20 steps ahead of me, even though he was 50 years older.

His breakfast was always light. Usually some fruit, sometimes a piece of fresh bread with cheese on it, often times veggies sliced up on the side. His lunch was strong food, often times a chicken soup or chicken along with mixed veggies. His dinner was the same, more animal meats and fresh veggies. If he snacked at night it would be a side of sliced veggies and some hummus.

Fresh Fruit & veggies were the norm for my Grandfather as he grew various fruit trees on his property. My Grandmother made fresh orange juice from the oranges, my Grandfather made wine from the grape trees. He also had pomegranate trees, grape fruit trees, lemon trees and more. Everything was FRESH and untampered with. NO chemicals.

My Grandfather served in 3 different military branches (I dedicated my Encyclopedia of Underground Strength to my Grandfather, you can read the dedication in the back of the book) and his energy always blew me away. Now I know better. Now I see why and how it came about and how amazing it was to have a Grandfather who could run around all day and night with his crazy Grandkids (TRUST me, my brothers and I together were NUTS and NOT easy to handle).

We would be gone from early morning and spend all day at the beach swimming, running, playing and my Grandfather did it ALL with us. He didn't rest or lay down for one second! On the way back we would speed walk through town while my Grandfather would shop for fresh foods as he knew every person running each of the stands selling fruits, veggies, etc. I look back and realize just how amazing he was with ALL that energy and strength.

The past few months Jason and I have been talking all things HEALTH related, a far cry from our days of discussing heavy deadlifts and squats. Last week Jason sent me his Renegade Diet Plan and it was damn impressive.

It was more sensible to me than other nutrition plans I've looked at along with a strong focus on helping us performance and strength freaks the opportunity to still sneak in some food during the day with the benefits of resting your digestive system and improving overall health and energy.

I read it in one sitting late at night while I stressed about my daughter's upcoming ear surgery.I told myself I would read up to page 50 and couldn't stop. I was fired up and inspired and ordered my monthly supply of Athletic Greens.

When I wake up and drink my morning glass of Athletic Greens I imagine myself like Jack LaLanne, strong, vibrant and energetic, juicing for his breakfast. It inspires me and it has been AGES since I actually FELT a "supplement" work.

If you're my age you may remember Phosphagen and EAS. Well, I remember freaking out that a supplement actually worked. In my life, these are the only 2 supplements I ever truly felt WORKING. I can't recommend Athletic Greens enough if you're serious about your health. It's LEGIT and you actually FEEL it working.

After reading Jason's book, what struck me most, and what truly strikes me most in ANY training or nutrition program is the fact that certain programs REALLY resonate with me on an emotional and spiritual level. Sorry if that freaks you out but as you can tell from my writings this is what moves me and influences me.

We ALL must get back to the days where the focus is on health & performance, from there, the appearance will come.

But, your health is # 1. Without your health, you have NOTHING. My Grandfather had it RIGHT and there are a few people out there who have it right and are helping us move in a better direction.

I'll be sharing more of my insights on health, as you can tell, this is the direction I am moving in and it's the direction we must focus on if we plan to lead others by example.

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I'm VERY excited to move forward and share all I can with everyone involved with Underground Strength Nation.

I hope you're equally as excited and realize there is MORE to life than a BIG deadlift.

Thanks to Jack LaLanne and all of my friends and family, including YOU.... ALL of you inspire me and push me to become better and in turn help YOU become healthier.

Thanks for reading, watching and listening. Feel free to share this with friends & family if you think they'll enjoy it 🙂

Live The Code 365


Underground Strength Academy

Details HERE

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27 Responses

  1. Great post Zach. I’m interested to know how exactly you ‘feel’ Atheletic Greens working? I’ve seen that product pop up quite a bit lately, but didn’t wan’t to pull the trigger until I heard more real life testimonials. It sounds great though. I’ve been toying with the Warrior Diet a few times a week recently and I love the naturally focused feeling I experience. On days that I workout (4 times a week @5am) I tend to shy away from that style diet because I just need to feed my body and work a pretty laborous job to begin with. I’m excited to see what you have coming up for us next. Also.. i just recently put together some home made sandbags and purchased your sandbag assault ebook.. killer stuff man. My body aches in places I didn’t know existed.

    1. @Tom: the energy I feel is up when I take these greens in the morning.

      I don’t think younger kids would appreciate it as I do, but you can smell how strong and potent athletic greens are and I feel rejuvenated when I drink a glass.

      I NEVER juiced and I always wanted to but I heard the juicers r a big mess so I always shied away.

      It feels great emotionally / psychologically as well as physically also knowing I am putting in so much healthy nutrients in my body.

      I take greens in the AM and also add some to my protein shake post workout

  2. Great story about your grandfather Zach. Mine could still beat me in an arm wrestle 2 weeks before he died. My grandparents always had a garden and chickens or pigeons in the yard. My grandma made everything from scratch, all kinds of fermented pickles, saurkraut, wild cherry sherry (it always kept us warm when we went smelt fishing0. My grandfather always told me if you want strong bones drink bone broth, if you want to keep your eyes strong, fish head soup. Years later I discovered the book Nutrition and physical Degeneration by Weston Price and it reminded me of my grandpa’s advice. Then recently I read a book called Deep Nutrition by Catherine Shanahan and again the same concepts were discussed. Those old timers knew what they were doing. Here’s to finding the same health so we can enjoy our grandkids the same way.

  3. Reading this is a great sigh of relief. It’s a bit of a continuation of the evolution of a strength trainer. Whilst we all love to move stuff, heavy stuff and get carried away with the ideas of moving bigger, heavier stuff further or quicker etc etc we have got to realise the batteries need charged a bit more often!
    My iPhone used to last a couple of days between charges and now it needs juiced up every few hours lol… isn’t this just like ourselves. WE know we get older, everyone does but it just creeps up on us and if we’re unlucky “BAM” it’s too late. We can gets sick, injured, desperate to hold onto our youthful endeavours and the circle of damage continues. In reality addressing the balance of play and recharge has to be adjusted to continue to do what we love. The stuff we move might change from big ass barbells to kettle bells to bodyweight ‘stuff’ and we may need to take a bit longer to recover in which time we get our batteries juiced back up again, but the important thing to know is accepting to change our habits.
    A bit like giving up smoking or drinking booze, it may take a few attempts to change and to realise the more important things in life. We have to try to plan ahead, take stock of our lives, what we’re up to and what we want. It doesn’t mean we just give up, hell there are plenty of new challenges out there, physically demanding but more appropriate for the occasion.
    These past 6 months i’ve battled with the barbell, big back squats and lower back pain, elbow problems and freaking out that my AC will blow out yet again. While I still love to move the bar i’m just not going to kill myself if I don’t make PRs but I’m now totally focused to get my RKC this year and the strength endurance needed for this is mad. I love the attention to detail like in a heavy squat, bench or pull; you’ve got to get everything right.
    My diet too is getting back to basics. A bit like you write, i’m not pulling my hair out if I don’t eat every 3 hours haha. I’m actually getting back to my cycling off season diet of fasted training and eating from around 2 until 9pm when it fits in better with my life and energy sustainability.
    Again, it is great to see how you are learning and sharing your life experiences, keeping it real, natural, healthy and still beating out the training.

    1. @Jamie: HUGE thnx for the comment, yes, it’s an evolution, some enjoy the change as I do, others refuse it and fight it and end up being so unhealthy they can barely tie their shoe laces or play with their kids

      Health is # 1

      Always will be!

  4. Love it! It’s funny, I was researching Jack Lalanne this past weekend and I went out and ordered a juicer. I’m pumped to start incorporating into my diet. I started trying out IF about 5 or 6 month’s ago and it’s helped me out a lot I feel. I’ve never been more focused on my health and not what I’m lifting in the gym. I never really post comments on people blogs, but this one resonated with me because of your story about your grandpa too. I spent the whole weekend writing about my great grandfather and my grandpa who were the most active people I’ve ever met and never stopped. My great grandpa lived until he was 101 and swam every day until he was 98.

    Thanks for the post Zach. I enjoy all of your work.


    1. @robby: thnx, brutha, I respect that inensity in those bodybuilders, I used 2 live in that world….. I just feel bad knowing what their health is like on the inside.

      We all have choices to make

  5. Kevin Salisbury says:

    Jamie said it best “evolution of a strength trainer”.. I was talking about Jack Lalane the other day and how he was still physicaly and mentaly vibrant till he died. He was the measuring stick of true fitness and deserves more credit. Zach this is the best blog I have read of yours. Maybe because we are similiar in age (I’m 39) and grew up reading old bodybuilding mags or are dedicated fathers but your words are similar to my thoughts. Without proper nutrition nothing else is possible. I remember spending $300 bucks a month at max muscle on Metrex(god awful) EAS prducts, fat burner of the month and countless BS that the sailsmen would sell me and I never made great strides in optimal health. Benching 400 was nice but my elbows and shoulders paid the price. Being 5’8 and at an average weight of 230 started getting old. I realized I was doing the same bs eating yo yo and expecting new results. Since October I have gone from 233 to 210. Eat mainly protein, veggies and legumes, I have a juicer and the mess is worth the juice. I do less heavyweight and more total conditioning. I absolutely love flipping tires and doing whatever else seems like an unconditional way to train. You are doing great work and your life is the greatest example that your passion to help us if immense. I will check out the athletic greens online. Keep being you..

    1. @Kevin Salisbury: you’re the man, brutha, which juicer do you have?

      SOOOO true, Jack LaLanne was a BEAST till his last breath, what amazing energy and full of vibrant life, he just inspires me to a whole new level

      Time to remove all these Arnold posters and put up a poster of a man who REALLY got it, in health AND family!!!

    2. @Kevin Salisbury:

      Kevin, I was curious what juicer you as well, we use a Breville and we love it but are thinking about getting a nicer Champion one to see if it does a little better job. Do you usually eat anything with your juice? Just wondering, we often juice in the morning which is awesome for our kids and perfect for me as I am just getting back from training and I love having juice right after a workout.

      @zach what do you think about Athletic greens vs juicing, I haven t tried Athletic Greens because we juice

      1. Kevin Salisbury says:

        @Adam: Hey Adam, I use the champion juicer by Jack Lalane… Has worked very well for me thus far.. I tend to juice in the morning and don’t eat with it but I have at times thrown the juice in a blender with some ice and a scoop of protein powder toi help thicken it up..

  6. Stephanie says:

    I read your blogs daily, but this one really hit it home for me. I’m in my mid-20’s with a few knee injuries and a major back surgery under my belt and I really had to switch my mentality a few years back and re-program the way I trained and ate. Not just to continue to move, lift, run and perform effectively, but to FEEL well. You hit the nail on the head and I’m glad for the re-affirmation. Keep working your craft brother.

    1. @Stephanie: I am psyched this hit home with you. I am looking way more at men like Jack LaLanne for what the ideal is than people like Arnold Schwarzenegger

      It only makes sense….

      And of course, so many of us have / had Grandparents who truly led the way, somewhere, somehow we ALL got lost 🙁

      This is important for all of us to see.


  7. My grandfather never dieted but he ate strong. He w the healthiest guy in the family, even in his 70s and I live by his example.

    Eat strong, be strong, and take no prisoners.

  8. Hey Zach,
    Your grandfather reminds me of my wife’s grandmother.

    I was in my 20’s and in my prime (or so I thought) and my wife’s grandmother was in her late 70’s. I was in Brazil with my wife and her. Quite often we would take long bus rides…the type of busses packed with people, live chickens, etc..

    Anyways we’d get to our destination and her grandma would lift one or two heavy sacks of vegetables (think farmer’s walk)…and she could blow me away with her walking. I was embarrassed. I probably looked good, but I was pathetic compared to her.

    Makes you wonder what real strength and real health is.

  9. Michael W says:

    Hey Zach,

    like everyone else I really identify with your experience and your story – I read your blog often and at times feel your excitement to enthuse folk overwhelms your ability to convey emotion. A heartfelt story like this inspires just as much (I would argue more) than a rev up about manning up. Don’t get me wrong, we all need to grow a set(sorry ladies, figuratively speaking) and be determined and consistent with our training and our nutrition but, there should be a place where inspiration can also be delivered through narrative. Before modern times, information was passed on via story telling and to this day it resonates with me as a primary way in which humans learn. Primal even. A story told with the right emotion will remain in the minds eyes longer than a slogan in bold…but, that just my humble opinion.

    Keep up the great work.

  10. Nice article.
    Love that video´s of Jack Lalane. Hearing him speaking about nutrition and exercise is awesome.
    I also am looking to get better in my nutrition and i already learned which things really don´t work for me. (for excample simple sugars really kill me)
    When i was young i was eating mostly something sweet in the morning and then went to school had some snacks there, was at home sometimes at 19:00 i was eating my “lunch”, learned something and then went to bed.
    When i was starting work it was nearly the same.. besides i went to a gym.
    Since two years now i´m working on my nutrition. Getting rid of the simple carbs and so on. My energy level got much better, no energy chrashes anymore.
    At the beginning i still had some breakfast with roll and jam.. that killed me one or two hours later, so i stopped doing that.
    When you get your eating habbits to be better and than fall back you realize what shit you where doing befor where you fellt that this is normal.
    Normal people don´t get this part.
    But there is always something adjust and getting better with.
    I´m still working on nutrition and there is lots of work left for me.
    Looking forward to implement some of your ideas.

    All the best Thomas

  11. Hey Zach

    I have been reading your stuff for years man and have been a disciple of Jason Ferruggia’s for just as long.

    You always speak the truth man and motivate me to be better and become more awesome.

    Thanks man


  12. Zach,

    Breakfast is probably the meal I struggle with the most. I usually have 2-3 eggs with some back or maybe an english muffin. For the most part, I am trying to maintain, however I’ll never pass up an opportunity to get stronger along the way. Anyway, what else are you having for breakfast besides the Athletic Greens? Also, do you still tinker with Intermittent Fasting, or did you give that up totally. I have been reading a lot of John Berardi’s work and have been thinking about trying it.


  13. sorry that is supposed to be bacon not back

  14. Great post Zach as usual, I cant wait to get my hands on renegade diet –
    Health is number 1, you can’t train if your out of the game. I’ve had the same up and down battles – eating 2-3 hours and feeling tired and shitty after, not to mention hungrier and counting the minutes till the next meal.
    Freedom is a huge benefit to this style of eating — eating big is another one. Not to mention that getting under the bar, getting in the gym does put stress on your body – however digestion is happening ALL the time, way to help bring this to light — keep posting brother

  15. “I went past my “eat every 3 hours rule” and couldn’t stop looking at my watch. I was asking myself, “Where the hell am I gonna get some chicken and potatoes around here?”

    Elliot, did you ever think that perhaps the problem with your more regimented diet is stress??? I’ve noticed that a lot of the super holistic Guru’s often look a lot worse than people who just eat sensibly and enjoy their diets. I put the blame smack dab on stress. No matter how good your diet is in theory if you stress out about it then any potential benefit is far outweighed by all the damage the stress is doing to your body.

    I think that perhaps the real secret to your grandfathers diet wasn’t what he ate but that he truly enjoyed it. I’m sure he enjoyed gardening and enjoyed eating the fruits of his labor. I doubt he ever once stressed out about when to eat and what to eat.

    1. @George: absolutely, brutha. But nutrition is key, no 2 ways about it.

      The food was NOT tampered with, he ate nothing in a box or a bag and didn’t touch what I call “red light” foods

  16. “I think that perhaps the real secret to your grandfathers diet wasn’t what he ate but that he truly enjoyed it. I’m sure he enjoyed gardening and enjoyed eating the fruits of his labor. I doubt he ever once stressed out about when to eat and what to eat”

    Great comment!!!

  17. Zach, one thing I see about our fathers(my dad is 77) or grandfathers generation, is that of course work and family were central, but they were not beating themselves up everyday with grueling workouts. I think its much easier to maintain energy levels if you are eating and sleeping well, and not crushing your joints, muscles and nervous system daily with maximal intensity workouts. Its a trade off, as a 36 yo dad, I recently made the decision to quit training hard, to put all of my focus, time, money and intensity into goals that have eluded me for 10 years. I wanted to have no excuses, and be able to truly focus on the major goals in my life, that have nothing to do with fitness. Of course still staying healthy with calisthenics/KBs/occasional lifting/running and nutrition, there in lies the challenge, how do you as a type A person create a moderate lifestyle without chasing athletic goals, but keeps you in moderate shape? Getting back to the grandad analogy, depending on what your goals are, I think anyone seriously training at any age needs to make the distinction between training like an athlete for competition with the obvious health and life sacrifices, or living a lifestyle to have excellent health related to daily vitality and longevity through diet & exercise.

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