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Brad Pilon Interview – 7 Questions With The King Of Intermittent Fasting

23 Comments | Interviews

Below is an interview with Mr. Brad Pilon, who’s best known for his work on intermittent fasting and his super popular book Eat Stop Eat. I’ve been a huge fan of Brad Pilon and his approach to fitness since I found out about him back in 2008 so it’s pretty awesome to interview him on my blog. Hell, without Brad I would still probably be stuck in the “eat every 2-3 hours” mindset.

Brad Pilon Eat Stop Eat

1) So for those unfamiliar with intermittent fasting (IF), can you give us a super quick rundown of IF what your approach, Eat Stop Eat is all about

IF is really nothing more than learning to take periodic, planned breaks from eating. Eat Stop Eat is a system of Intermittent fasting where those breaks are 24 hours long, and are taken once or twice a week…

2) We know intermittent fasting is a great way to lose weight, but what about building muscle? Does fasting benefit muscle building?

I think so.

Calories are permissive to the muscle building process, but not the absolute driving force, especially if you are not 16 years old and undergoing juvenile growth.

This means there is an amount of caloric energy that is needed to grow muscle (I erally have no idea what this amount is), but it is definitely not a driver, meaning you can’t just keep adding more calories and gain more muscle (Otherwise, we wouldn’t have an obesity epidemic, we’d have a bodybuilder epidemic.)

So honestly, we don’t really have an exact number for how many calories you need to build muscle mass.

This is where intermittent fasting can come into play…you can slightly overeat in the name of gaining muscle, while throwing in a 24 hour fast every now and then to help alleviate some of the body fat build up that occurs during most bulking cycles.

3) We all know you’re super flexible with your diet, but what exactly does a sample day of eating look like for you on a non-fasting day?

I’m get up around 7 ish. The kids are out of the house and off to school/preschool by 9am. I’ll have my first coffee between 9:30-10 AM.

If I’m going to workout, it normally happens around 10-11 AM.

Then I’ll have lunch around 12 or 1 pm where I’ll also have coffee #2. I pick the kids up from school at around 3. We’ll usually have a snack around 3-4 PM (Snacks can be whatever is around the house, yogurt,  apple slices, apple sauce…whatever). Dinner is at 5 or 6 PM for the kids…my wife and I may eat with them, or we may eat later at around 7’ish. The kids are in bed by 8 (hopefully) and I’ll have a Guinness, maybe some snacks, then bed by 11 PM. Rinse and repeat.

I really just eating when hungry.

We have ‘date night’ every Thursday so I’ll almost always have steak at my favorite restaurant. And at least once or twice on the weekend, we’ll have bacon and pancakes for breakfast.

I have creatine, protein powder and a pre-workout supplement in my house – I’ll use them when I feel lazy and can’t be bothered to cook for myself, or go grocery shopping.

Realistically I probably have some form of chocolate every day, probably ice-cream once or twice a week, alcohol probably 2-3 times a week. Red meat once or twice a week… It’s really nothing fancy nor outrageous.

After almost 7 years of fasting once or twice a week I know when I’m hungry vs when I want food. I know the amount that is dieting, the amount that is neutral and the amount that is overdoing it. I adjust as needed.

4) What is your take on fasted training, yes or no? And do you think there’s any benefits to taking BCAA pre-workout like so many fitness gurus say?

I used to like fasted training, but now I tend to view my fasts as recovery time. I like training legs on an empty stomach, but not necessarily ‘fasted’.

Actually when I think about it I usually like training on a fairly empty stomach, but I don’t go out of my way to be in a fasted-state when training.

I think the massive benefit of recommending pre-workout BCAA is the money you can make recommending pre-workout BCAAs.

But it’s really not going to hurt your training or your weight loss.

And, I understand the rational, but to me it’s the equivalent to getting up in the middle of the night to drink a protein shake. Sure it makes sense on paper, but really… the chances of 6 grams of BCAA or a 2 AM protein shake are not what’s holding to make or break your progress.

How Much Protein Brad Pilon

5) In your opinion, what is the #1 benefit of Eat Stop Eat opposed to more conventional diets?

Flexibility. Hands down.

People like to look past the flexibility since it’s not a sexy marketing term.

They like to look for complicated hormonal pathways or metabolic ‘loopholes’ to say it’s the major benefit, but in reality, learning to go without food, and being flexible with your eating is the biggest benefit.

6) 2012 has been a big year for intermittent fasting, with the BBC documentary and more major news outlets like Huff Post covering it. But intermittent fasting still hasn’t really hit the mainstream. Do you ever see IF becoming “6 meals per day” popular?

I think it will become Atkins big, but it will suffer the same fate.

People will take it to extremes and become zealots, then it will be labeled it as dangerous by the media. This seems to be the fate of all good ideas in health and fitness.

The best way to get attention is to rally against something that gets too popular. See powerlifting, CrossFit, Paleo, and bodybuilding,   as examples 🙂

7) This has been awesome. Thank you for taking the time to do this, Brad. Last question – what’s next for Brad Pilon, do you have anything exciting on the horizon?

More updates to my books Eat Stop Eat, How Much Protein and possible rewrite of Anabolic Again. My goal is to keep these as cutting edge as possible.

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For more info on Brad Pilon:

Brad Pilon’s blog: BradPilon.com

Brad Pilon’s books: Eat Stop Eat (my review), How Much Protein, Anabolic Again

jaka
July 6, 2016

keith if you read his interview you can actually see hes using a daily fasting method called leangains by martin berkhan…he is not eating by his eat stop eat method

Reply
    Keith
    July 6, 2016

    I have no idea. At the time of this interview (over 3 years ago) he was using ESE.

    Reply
Maris
June 5, 2016

Interview makes sens.

Just finished my second 24 fast. First went fine. Glucose levels where 4.7 mmol/L after first one. Cortisol levels (stress hormone) where record low for me. My video recording from the fast (in Latvian): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5bF0cQaGCn8

Doing 16-8 on regular basis. Definitely no muscle loss, but I’m struggling to get good progress in bench-press for few weeks now.

Reply
    Keith
    June 5, 2016

    Good as in no strength? If you’re in a deficit, strength gains shouldn’t come easy.

    Reply
IG
February 12, 2016

I love IF …
Can I fast more then 2 times a week? Let’s say, 2 days of eating followed by 1 day of fasting. So it’s twice on sone weeks and three on overs
Thanks

Reply
Mike Bashanak
December 15, 2015

This guy, Pilon, is a total fraud. Calories are a CONCEPT. Energy is NOT a thing. Does length turn into a ruler? It is physicslly impossible for a PROPERTY to put fat matter on a human body.

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Alex
February 4, 2015

Say you are following the Ryan Gossling workout, which two days would you recommend fasting? Youd workout mon,wed,fri so I guess fasting any of those days would be stupid? Or does it not matter? Im asking cuz ive hit the gym without eating before and that sucked. Had 0 energy.

Thanks in advance.

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    Alex
    February 4, 2015

    Also, would you recommend fasting if you are following the henry cavill workout? My ultimate goal is just to be lean with average muscle physique.

    Reply
Mark
October 20, 2014

is Brad at the ideal “Golden ratio” mesuarements on waist/shoulders?

Is that what it looks like? Quite broad at the shoulders.

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    Keith
    October 20, 2014

    Yup or he’s pretty damn close.. Or look at guys like Henry Cavill or ryan reynolds as examples too.

    Reply
den
November 3, 2013

Hello keith, i want to ask, i dont get it. so we can eat everything but not overexceeded calories everyday and do the 24hours fasting once or twice in a week?

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    Keith
    November 3, 2013

    It depends what you eat on your non-fast days. You can’t just binge 5 days per week and offset if with 2 fasts, that won’t work.

    Reply
    Keith
    November 3, 2013

    It depends what you eat on your non-fast days. You can’t just binge 5 days per week and offset if with 2 fasts, that won’t work.

    Reply
John
May 8, 2013

Started my 24 hour fast last night 7pm and scheduled to eat tonight at 7 but had 3 bites of a carrot and walnut cake in the morning and a mini chocolate bar at lunch. Will the effects of fasting still work on my body despite my light snacks?

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    Keith
    May 8, 2013

    Um no, that’s why it’s called fasting. You’re not suppose to consume any calories but as long as you didn’t eat too much you should be okay.

    Reply
Ashley
November 12, 2012

Do you still get the same benefits if you only fast once or twice a month instead of once or twice a week?

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    Keith
    November 12, 2012

    if you mean in terms of weight loss then that still depends on your overall calorie intake but in terms of overall health, then yes there are some benefits to fasting once per month.

    Reply
Austin
October 30, 2012

Great interview, I’m a huge fan of Brad. He’s one of the few, true diet experts.

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Sarah
October 26, 2012

Great interview, love Brad!

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Cone Nueve Once
October 10, 2012

Awesome interview!
Another person that Brad saved from the 6 meals a day hell here.

Thanx for question #4!!

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Paul
October 10, 2012

I can honestly say Brad has changed my life and body forever! I have been following ESE for about 1 year now. It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to lose weight or gain mass fasting is great for either.

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Ron
October 9, 2012

This is an interesting interview. I particularly liked seeing Brad’s everyday diet. It is very flexible and relaxed, not like the usual calorie counting portion control and what food you can and can’t eat you normally hear about. Very refreshing.

Reply
    Keith
    October 9, 2012

    yup that’s one of the reasons why I’m a big fan of him.

    Reply

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