This project was started when I decided I was too small at 166  pounds. I had done a previous Food Project where I lost a bunch of weight.  When I was younger, I had been at a fit 200 pounds for a short time, but I decided it was too expensive and too difficult to eat enough to stay that big. But, through my experiments with the past food projects I came up with some easy ways to eat large amounts of calories in short periods of time.

And in a previous fitness project, I created a workout schedule which was optimized by science. Then I tinkered with it to improve it over time. Here is the basic outline of my workout routine:

  • Don’t count reps. Count seconds under tension.
  • Rep max length: 30 seconds
  • Workout 3 days per week for 30 minutes to 70 minutes
  • Each of the 3 workout days is different. No exercises are repeated on different days.
  • Full body workout each day: because muscle protein synthesis is heightened for up to 48 hours after a workout. But only in the muscles which were used. So it is better to have a heightened state in my whole body for a larger portion of the week.
  • 8 weeks on, 1 week off
  • During first four weeks, if I don’t hit 30 seconds on a set, I start the next week’s set at one notch lower. Example: I lift 80 pounds for 30 seconds, then 90 pounds for 20 seconds.  The next week I will start at 80 pounds again, then the second set I go up to 90 pounds.
  • After the first four weeks, I don’t increase any weights. I stay at whatever weight level I am at for the remaining 4 weeks. The weight level is whatever the highest weight I can do one or two sets of 30 seconds on.
  • First 4 weeks of cycle: 300 seconds to 120 seconds of rest between reps
  • Next 4 weeks of cycle: 120 seconds to 60 seconds of rest between reps
  • Notes: For the first 4 weeks of a cycle I am trying to increase my lifts and find a stable number for the weight I am lifting. Then, for the second 4 weeks I am focused on maintaining that increased number while messing with my food and decreasing my rest between reps.

And here is my current food setup that matches with the workout cycle

  • The first 4 weeks, I eat 3500 to 4000 calories per day
  • The first 4 weeks, there are no other rules except try to get good fuel into body to recuperate
  • At week 5 cut my calories down to my maintenance calories and maintain that level or below for remainder of weeks
  • Try to eat the majority of calories in a 6 hour time period
  • On my week off, go back to eating normal, calories around 3500
  • Supplements: Vitamin D

After my first cycle through this, I made good gains in my lifts as I was in the first 4 weeks of the second cycle. However, it will require a few cycles to see how well it works.


  1. Hit 200 pounds of fairly lean muscle from a starting point of 166 lbs

Desired Results

  1. Feel good
  2. Don’t feel overly constrained by diet
  3. Get stronger quickly at the gym


  • Dec 15, 2017 – Ended first cycle at 177 pounds, started it 8 weeks before at 166 pounds. Didn’t get into keto.
    • Max lifts during first cycle.
      • Deadlift: 225x30s, 30s, 30s (means 3 sets of 30 seconds
      • Pec Dec: 205x30s, 30s, 25s
      • Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 50x30s, 30s, 28s
      • Calf Raise: 135x30s, 30s, 30s
      • Unweighted Dips: 30s, 30s, 30s
      • Barbell Bench: 80x30s, 30s, 30s
      • Incline Dumbbell Bench: 70x30s, 30s, 30s
      • Seated Rear Lateral Raise: 25x30s, 30s, 30s
      • Wide Grip Pull Down: 70x30s, 30s, 26s
      • Concentration Curl: 35x30s, 30s, 17s
      • Leg Press: 450x30s,30s, 27s
      • Ab Curl Machine: 60x30s, 30s, 30s
      • Squat: 185x30s, 30s, 30s
      • Barbell Shrugs: 185x30s, 30s, 30s
      • Incline Raise Back: 20x30s, 30s, 30s
      • Barbell Curl: 70x30s, 30s, 30s
      • Side Twists: 170x30s, 30s
  • Dec 27, 2017 – Started second cycle at 183 pounds. There was a 12 day gap because of the weekends (4 days) plus Christmas.
  • Jan 12, 2018 – Started eating vegetarian. Mostly because I was bored of cooking and it was easier. Plus.. for fun.
  • Jan 17, 2018 – Pulled a muscle in my upper back a week or two ago. I have found that sleeping on my back with pillows (plural) behind my upper back and head help. It makes it feel way better the next morning. Since I went vegetarian, my complexion seems to be more clear. And I have still been eating grains and even some junk food. It will be interesting to see if that continues. Today is the end of Week 3. I am thinking of switching to ketogenic today. This would mean 4 weeks of non-keto (1 week off + first 3 weeks). Then 5 weeks of ketogenic. Week 5: 3600 cals – 180s rest, Week 6: 3000 cals – 120s rest, Week 7: 2700 cals – 90s rest, Week 8: 2100 cals – 60s rest, Week 9: 2100 cals – 60s rest.
  • Jan 23, 2018 – My heart rate has increased by a couple beats per minute since I went keto. I did some reading about this and it appears that this is normal. I injured something in my shoulder so I took a day off and had a partial day. Tomorrow I will be going back. I also ordered wrist straps so I can lift more with my dead lift. I lowered my calories to 3000 yesterday.
  • Jan 24, 2018 – As I am going through this ketogenic diet (and napping the past couple days), I am thinking this is a bad idea. I don’t want to go through this feeling on an ongoing basis.  So, this isn’t sustainable. I like the idea of varying my calories a bit. But realistically, I don’t want to do this diet. It makes me tired, dull, and tired.  And I was looking through my old notes from a previous experiment and it doesn’t look like it was that successful the last time I did it.  So, keto is dropped. I may do calorie cycling during second 4 weeks of my cycle.  45:35:20 ratio is an option – carbs, protein, fat. Or 40-40-20.
  • Feb 26, 2018 – I just took a week off. I was only 6 weeks into my 8 week cycle. But it took me 8 weeks to get to that point. I was off a bit because of injuries. Also, I am not going down to 60 second rest between sets any more during an 8 week cycle. I am going to keep increasing my lifts on an 8 week cycle until I peak.
    • Max lifts during second cycle. Weight at end of first cycle (7 days ago: 191 pounds)
          • Deadlift: 315x30s, 30s, 30s (means 3 sets of 30 seconds)
          • Pec Dec: 250x30s, 30s, 22s
          • Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 60x30s, 30s, 27s
          • Calf Raise: 180x30s, 30s, 30s
          • Arm Extension Dual: 70x28s,30s,23s
          • Reverse Leg Curl 90x30s,30s,30s
          • Barbell Bench: 90x30s, 30s, 30s
          • Incline Dumbbell Bench: 80x30s, 30s, 30s
          • Seated Rear Lateral Raise: 40x30s, 30s, 30s
          • Wide Grip Pull Down: 80x30s, 30s, 30s
          • Concentration Curl: 35x30s, 30s, 30s
          • Leg Press: 540x30s, 630x30s, 30s
          • Ab Curl Machine: 80x30s, 30s, 22s
          • Squat: 275x30s, 30s, 30s
          • Barbell Shrugs: 225x30s, 30s, 30s
          • Incline Raise Back: 30x30s, 30s, 30s
          • Barbell Curl: 90x30s, 30s, 27s
          • Side Twists: 170x30s, 30s
          • Wide mid-back exercises 42.5x30s, 30s, 30s (doing low numbers)
          • Cable row close 50/100x30s,30s,30s (doing low numbers)
          • Seated row underhand 60x30s, 70x30s, 30s (doing low numbers)
    • Simplifying things for the next cycle. Going to essentially break workout up into two cycles. Go as heavy and as hard as possible during 8 weeks. Remember! It is an experiment!
      • 8 Week Cycle 1
        • Day 1: Deadlift, Pec Deck, Arm extension Dual
        • Day 2: Incline Dumbbell Bench, Barbell Shrugs, Concentration Curl
        • Day 3: Squat, Incline raise back, Ab curl, Wide mid-back exercises
      • 8 week Cycle 2
        • Flat Bench Barbell, Leg Press, Wide grip pull down
        • Arm Curl, Reverse Leg curl, Seated rear lateral raise
        • Dumbbell Shoulder Press, Side Twists, Cable row close, Calf Raise
  • March 7, 2018 – I am thinking that if I can reach my lift goals in four weeks, I may switch over to the next 8 week cycle and try to do it in four weeks. That way, I go up in all my lifts in 8 weeks.
  • April 28, 2018 – Took the full 8 weeks to reach my goals.  Was doing 8 week cycle 1. Weight was 203 lbs at end.
    • Deadlift: 365x30s, 30s, 28s
    • Squat: 315x30s, 30s, 30s
    • Incline Dumbbell: 100x30s, 30s, 30s
    • Incline raise back: 40x30s, 30s, 30s
    • Ab Curl: 90x30s, 30s, 30s
    • Wide mid back: 80x30s, 30s, 39s
    • Barbell Shrugs: 365x25s, 315x30s, 30s
    • Concentration curl: 45x30s, 30s, 30s
  • May 6, 2018 – Switched to plant based eating about 5 days ago during my week break. I am eating a minimum of 175 g of protein and aiming to keep my fats under 100 g. And I just started taking creatine (2.5 g per day) since I won’t be eating meat. Starting 8 week cycle 2. I would like to continue on with my squats and deadlifts, but I have decided to switch it up so I don’t get stuck.