Getting ripped without cardio is a great title for my article because that was my goal this summer. Actually it was more than just a goal, it was also my challenge. I am the Spike Diet guy. I have lost over 100lbs with a combination of low calorie days and one amazing “spike day” a week to indulge with a surplus of calories to spike metabolism. The Spike Diet is my dream lifestyle, one where I can have fun and eat the way I want, and still be in great shape.
This summer, I decided I wasn’t satisfied with my physique and I wanted to have a single digit body fat percentage and a real six-pack. So the first thing I did was talk to my bodybuilding friends. Since I wanted to look like a bodybuilder, I thought they would be the ones to talk to.
I was given the same answer by all of them, do lots and lots of cardio! This was just not an acceptable answer for me. I hate cardio...no, I loathe doing cardio. I also knew that if I had to do cardio to get my six-pack, I wouldn’t maintain it, and as soon as I quit doing cardio, I’d lose it. This summer I had a theory of how I could increase fat burning without adding cardio or starving myself.
I feel like metabolism is the key to fat burning. The Spike Diet keeps my metabolism strong while I am losing weight. Another important factor for fat burning is carbohydrates. I love carbs but I also hate them, because while they are beneficial for muscle building, they are also a hindrance for fat burning.
During times when we are not active our body burns both carbohydrates and body fat for basic energy needs. When we exercise our body mainly burns carbohydrates and glycogen for energy. So my idea was if I limited my carbohydrates during the daytime hours, my body would be forced to burn more body fat for energy while my metabolism was at its peak, kind of like doing cardio in the morning on an empty stomach. Then with extra carbohydrates at night I would be able to re-store my glycogen for my exercise the following day, and provide my body with glucose while I fasted for several hours sleeping.
I have been known to go against “mainstream thinking”, but then again the mainstream is nearly 70% overweight in America, so maybe it’s a good thing to try something different. Instead of stopping my carbohydrate consumption at night I did the opposite and had 90% of my daily carbs after 5pm.
During the day hours, which I called my “Fat Burning Window” I snacked on protein snacks like; beef jerky, string cheese, low-carb shakes, and chicken. Then at night I had the majority of my calories and carbohydrates for dinner and a late night snack. I loved it! I was able to enjoy a “normal” dinner with my family while dieting, and it was fantastic.
Spike 84 - 12 Week Diet and Exercise Program
The results were even better, when I combined this diet plan with my “Failure and Burn” workouts I lost 20lbs over 12 weeks. I hit my goal when I got down to 201lbs and my body fat was down to 9%. I maintained my strength, because my glycogen provided great energy for my workouts and I ate plenty of protein to stay anabolic and promote recovery.
This plan works, I know it’s not the only plan that works but this is a great option for both men and women that don’t want to spend hours a day doing intense cardio DVD’s and for those that love to eat. For more information you can check out my blog or my website at www.spike84.com.
Just recently had surgery on my left leg (3 weeks ago) tore 50% of my quad. Cant drive to gym so i got dumb bells to 20lbs and exercise bands i bought. I started out at 186lbs 2 weeks ago i am now 180. I love the spike idea and i will incorporate it starting tomorrow. I am currently on 1200-1500 calories a day. 5 small meals through out. But the your concept i love. Thanks brother. Jeff
Can you please give us some no carb meals other than just egg or grilled chicken?
And at night did you mix simple carbs with fat ??
I admit I'm a pretty boring eater. If you search "no-carb meals" you'll find a lot of options that may be what you're looking for.
A new low carb meal I've been having lately is a burger bowl; lean ground beef with bacon bits, cheese and a bit of ketchup and mustard.
The only carbs are from the ketchup and it's super simple and good.
At night I do mix carbs and fat. I typically make some sort of sandwich fried in coconut oil.
in addition having carbs at night gives you a good sleep,so you can start the next day in a best possible mood
This method is what I have been doing for the past 10+ yrs when I diet. I am unable to sleep at all unless I eat a hefty amount of carbs at bedtime, so low carb diets just don't work for me. Instead, I stay fairly lower carb during the day time, get my workout in the afternoon, have my protein after my workout, then late at night I have my carb binge. I do avoid excess fat and protein at night though. The extra carbs ate stored as glycogen which I end up burning up by morning or the next day, and the following day I am burning fat. This method works better than anything I've ever tried and it's pretty easy to do!
can you suggest some good gluten free choices?
russel I have read your book, the spike diet, in it you mention that we should eat a hight protein and low carb before bed snack, and you don't mention any of the whole carb at night diet thing, I'm fascinated with what I'm reading and I really wanna know how to apply it, and still, if I apply this I can still have my spike day right ? I eat about 1800 a day on my hight calorie days and 1400 on my low ones, even tho I never rich my calorie goal I am starting to have one spike day a week to keep my metabolism hight.
thank you soooo much. THIS ONE works for me. i am FINALLY getting lean n toned!
i usually do aerobics MWF from 6-7am. i hate running.
feasting on my carbs evening time allows me to sleep well and energizes me for early morning workouts.
i snacked on baked chicken drumsticks and water or unsweetened green tea all day and pigged out after 5 on whatever. i instantly began getting ripped despite not eating 'clean' at night(even with icecream and cake!)
i want to go to the next level. please give us a sample of your evening meal, dessert included.
again, thank you so much dude.
this scares me.. But alas I"M IN!!!
Let me start by congratulating you on your massive breakthrough and achievement.
Weight and particularly body fat control is a complicated affair; you've made it look easy and most of all doable. Thanks.
I've read your book "The Spike Diet" 1st edition 2009. I also have come across Spike84 on YouTube and mentioned on here; and I am a bit confused. Are these the same? If not, then what is the difference?
Another point I am not sure about is how in your book nothing is said about eating the carbs in the evenings. Even looking at the book's Food Logs, I can see you advise carbs throughout the whole day not just the evenings.
Does this mean that the article described on this blog is a new development to the Spike Diet, or am I looking at the wrong book?
I have re-read both the book and the 90 odd comments on here, and could do with your help clearing this out.
hello russ,its quit amazing for me but still i did nt understand why celebrites and even famous bodybuilders skip taking carbs at night,i read many's diet plan,but most prefer protein after evening rather thn carbs.pls explain this,is this too good? and u r correct too!!!!
Hey Rus you are definately the medical answer I was seeking!! THANK YOU FOR APPLYING SCIENCE TO THIS AND SHARING IT! You mentioned in the comments above about how you were planning to apply this method for clean bulking, basically the things that change are your postworkout (25 grs carbs plus whey immediately after the workout and 50 grs of carbs plus slow digesting protein an hour later) and of course increasing calories above bmr right? Is there any other change or tip you apply for this clean bulking method? Thank you for your time!!
I am 31 year female, 5 ft 4 inch, 176 lb. I have not lost pregnancy weight even after 10 months. I am lazy for workout. I want to loose 30 lb, by changing food habit. I saw from online calculator, my daily need is some 1750cal, if I take 1500 cal , I can loose approx 2 lb/month. I am planing to make it somewhere between 1200-1500 cal/ day. I want o take protein and fat very small carb during day and night form balanced food. Can you please recommend/suggest approximate amount or percentage of fat , carb and protein intake for me.
It's very misleading to tell everybody to "eat whatever you want." Though this diet may work for building muscle, eating processed food with enriched flour and refined sugars is extremely bad for the human body. I have a high metabolism. I know I can eat anything and turn it into muscle. But noone is immune to diabetes and cancer. Are you?
Put your bacon wrapped cheese stick down for a second and realize that an occasional baguette with your dinner and biscuit with your tea, will not be the thing that causes you diabetes and cancer. Common sense.
So essentially he discovered carb backloading. Nice.
Hi Russ, I want to lose my belly fat really badly and I am unable to do cardio due to my lung condition. Did you do no cardio what so ever?
Russ, do you know your metabolic type? How much cardio do you do?
Love this strategy. A question for you though: I typically work out at lunch. So, should I forego my usual post-workout carbs, since I'm carbing up at night now? Or just severely limit them?
What would you recommend having for breakfast??
Hi Russ- I have a pretty specific question. I gained 70 lbs in college mostly from eating/overeating out of stress mixed with late night munchies. I really want to lose this weight by following your Spike diet, but I work about 13 hours each day with a total commute time of 4 hours (insane, I know). I obviously don't have time to workout morning or night Mon-Friday and on the weekends I'm so exhausted I want to sleep in or just bum around. I'm a female...and if possible I'd love for you to give me a sample day of eating if I want to lose weight with Spike. I'm 5'4' and 220 lbs. I also would like to know what you'd recommend for working out since realistically I can only do so Saturdays and Sundays. I'd really appreciate any feedback! Thank you! :)
I HAVE A QUESTION RUSS..I GO TO THE GYM AT 7 PM ..AS OF NOW IM DIETING TO SHRED DOWN ...BUY MY CONCERN IS IF I COULD EAT CARBS PRE WORKOUT ND POST WORKOUT BECAUSE OF THE TIME I GETB OUT OF THE GYM WITCH IS AROUND 10 PM..???..THANKS
Hey Russ, would the morning & mid-afternoon be the time to also include fats into the picture then cut them out after 5pm or is ok to have some after 5 as well with the carbs? Also, is having a mixture of good fats & saturated fats ok or is it best to stick with the healthier fats?.. Thanks!
This is a very interesting diet though i'm just wondering if it's a good diet for a person who has a slow metabolism? Thanks
Hi Russ, I'm curious to where workouts fit in for this carbs after 5 program.
Everyone tells me protein and carbs 1 hour after the workout is essential. So to me this means that workout before your 5pm carb meals is most ideal or even between carb meals after 5pm.
However, I prefer doing my workouts during the day because I find I get really lazy at night. Not to mention doing my workout during the day means I'm burning more calories during the day so that means it's better for fat loss? If I do my workout during the day that means I'm not getting any carbs post workout where it's supposedly most needed.
so i can eat sweet potato at dinner? how to lose 30 lbs i am 200 lbs wanna be 170 and so lean at this.. guys help me please i am dying to lose fat
so i can lose weight eating sweet potato at dinner not breakfast? how to eat for fat loss i am 200 lbs wanna be 170 lbs guys please help me thanks alot
What about dairy for breakfast/lunch?
See,the situation to be understood in this way: we have glycogen in our muscles and liver,also we have that fats indifferent sites of the body.if you need to lose fats ,then your muscles and liver should be out of glycogen.so if you are feeding your muscles with glycogen every day and at the same time you make use of that glycogen with the same day ,then you will neve burn those fats.You have to let your body consume all that glycogen first by decreasing the crabs intake too much and depending on fats and protein,then your body will shift to burn the stored fats as long as your are in a negative calories.when you reach your goal then you can take the carbs in quantity which you can burn within the same day,may be 100 gm or even 50 gm or 200 gm,it depends on each different person,activities and type.
Sorry for rehashing an old post, but I do have a question. I planned to try using this approach to eating and putting moving my workouts from the mornings to the evenings just before dinner. Was wondering if a full on recovery shake post-workout with simple carbs would be best, then followed by the big meal or if that shake should just be all protein leaving the meal to replace any glycogen stores? Any reply would be appreciated.
I was wondering about using this approach with Jim Wendler's 5/3/1 training program. Can I still put on strength while using this carbs at night deal.
For instance lets say I train at 10:30am or 11:00am...after my workout (around 12-1pm) I would have protein & basically no carbs. I also do IF (intermittent fasting) so my window is until 7-8pm.
I guess I would just eat a bunch of good carbs around that time and because it's a few hours before bed right. I would most like have sweet potatoes haha
Hope to get a reply, this article is amazing.
Great article, someone else mentioned this to me eating carbs at night will help with reducing body fat.
been injured for over a year gain around 20pounds. Hit the gym now for a couple of months. lost over 21 pounds. 35-40 mins of intensive cardio, bike or incline walking. in 40 mins could easily burn around 600cal.
then hit heavy weights in the eve doing the 5x5 workout and finish off with another 40 mins intensive cardio. so another 600 cal. plus cal burnt from weights. high protein prob 30g of carbs from oats in the morning thats all.
obv i was motivated and had the time and stamina. so thats stage one done for me.
5ft9 male was 201 pounds. now 180pounds.
thighs 27.5 24
waist navel 41 36.5
hips 40 37
chest 42 39
neck 16 15.5
biceps 16 14
i may have lost some muscle but i have dropped my body fat from around 30% down to 19%.
i have given myself a few weeks of eating whatever and curting down my cardio session.
and eating 6 small meals per day.
i have seen huge changes in my body. i still have a belly but its reducing.
im wondering should i increase my calorie intake to 2500-3000 or leave it at around 1500-1800? high protein prob only 50-70g carbs max.
should i increase my carbs to 100g?
i have so much energy it crazy. i dont want to over train. as im hitting the weights harder i will need to rest more and cut down my cardio session to may b 4 per week from 10 per week.
whats the best advice u can give me ??
thanks in advance.
So what if I lift in the morning and do other stuff in the evening like running/playing etc.? Should I still not eat carbs after my weight lifting earlier in the day?
if some1 is still there to answer my question...about this spike diet..should i only do this once a week and have a low carb diet on the other days? or do i do this on my workout days? is this bad if i do it everyday?...pls. if any1 can reply pls. answer my question....thank u!!
Hey Russ, i'm trying to lose weight and get toned. Would this work for me? i've been eating very healthy 30g of carbs 35 the most for 6 weeks now and i've been eating a lot of protein. So if i try this would this work for me by the way i'm on diet pills to LIPO 6 Black i can only take them for 2 months and i have 2 weeks left before i have to stop taking them. Also another quick question what is more important to watch when trying to loose weight fat or carbs?
I usually eat 375g of carbohydrates a day. Is it a good idea to eat the majority of my carbohydrates after at night (5pm). My workout usually finishes at 5pm. Will only eating carbohydrates at night restrict my muscle gains in anyway? Also do i need to eat carbohydrates pre-workout?
Hi russ, i was wondering how i can get down to 8%BF im currently at 11-12%BF, i do HIIT twice a day 5-6 days a week, i generally eat 1800-2000 calories daily but eat around 3000 on mondays since it is a recovery day, im weigh around 195
Thanks for this amazing article. I have 2 questions for you.
1.What about fat? every person needs fat in their diet. Does it mean according to ur diet plan we should eat fat and protein in the morning/ carbohydrates in the night?
2.An average normal men should take 2500 calories a day so he should take 80grams fat, 375 grams carbohydrates and 80 grams protein. How do you distribute this diet (fat,protein and carbohydrates) on the basis of ur plan?
I'm just curious. Why is it that we have to replace our glycogen storage? Why can't we just eliminate them entirely from the diet or minimize it to the point where I don't have to eat starchy carbohydrates and only limit ourselves to fibrous carbohydrates at night? Are meats, vegetables, nuts, and fruits not enough to to maintain cognitive function while also assisting in optimal fat burning levels?
I've been told that carbohydrates whether simple or complex causes our pancreas to secrete insulin. Insulin causes our body to store fat. Since carbohydrates are essentially converted to sugars and sugars are stored as fats, our body stores the carbohydrates as fat. Also, since our metabolism is slower during the evening, wouldn't it mean we are more likely to burn less fat?
I don't see the logic behind this diet. I believe the only reason people are losing weight in this diet is because they are eating less carbohydrates during the day which makes them crave less carbohydrates or sugars in general. Also, because you do a few workouts during the even, this also causes an increase in your metabolic rating making it burn more calories during the evening compared to a regular person.
Reading everyone's comments- majority being men.
What about us girls? We store more body fat and have been brainwashed
That carbs are the devil- when logically they clearly are not.
But muscles aside- simple fat burning. What would you suggest?
Could you also include morning workouts - still good to eat carbs at night?
By night do you mean a few hours before bed?
Thanks for your advice seem to be giving alot of people a brand new successful
Perspective on diet and lifestyle.
I'm sure alot of people could thankyou for sleeping sound with these new ideas.
Hi mates, how is all, and what you desire to say on the topic of this paragraph,
in my view its really awesome for me.
Hi Russ, I have a couple of questions.
1. What is a spike day? Does this mean that you eat a lot of carbs on that day?
2. When you say carbs at night, do you mean complex carbs?
3. Does your spike diet subscription plan include suggestions of what to eat?
4. Can I still do cardio with this meal plan? I know that the whole idea is to not have to do cardio but how does it affect me if I want to do cardio during the day? Will this mean that I wont have energy to do the cardio?
5. Is it possible to set up a one hour session with you over the phone to discuss some of this? And if so, what would that cost?
I stumbled on this carbs at night secret all by myself a few months ago.
I ate eggs for breakfast (only 7gms of wheat bread with it), salad with chicken for lunch, nuts/berries (not much) or protein shake for a snack ... then dinner would be pasta and vegetables. LOTS of pasta. I'd run every morning feeling great! (Muscles glycogen full! Keeping off the carbs during the day helped me not binge on carbs during the day - and then eating carbs at night (healthy ones) set me up for a great workout the next am. He's right - this works, but you have to give up the old way of thinking.
I have a question for you, Russ. How is your water weight gain with this plan? Better than spreading out the carbs or typical weight gain for a day or two because of the low-carb effect? --Thanks a bunch.
It's kind of backwards, for example my lowest weight of the day is usually in the PM before dinner and when I wake up in the morning I will be up 1-2lbs. I believe this is simply from my body storing some glycogen after my PM meals.
Then with Spike Day, I typically gain 3-5lbs because I am able to restore a high amount of glycogen. My weight stays up for 1-3 days, then by day 4 I start dropping and when I get to the next Spike Day I lose 2-3lbs overall.
So my water weight does fluctuate quite a bit.
I'm lovin this idea, Russ. I'm coming off of a crash diet, ready to start a more normal type of diet, but my workouts suffer so, in the a.m. The only time I felt good was when I had a cheat meal the night before one of my workouts. The other workout I did a refeed in the a.m. and felt like crap, eventhough the carbs were centering around the workout. I think you're onto something here. I love cardio so I guess that will produce even better results? Those would be done during the "fat burning window" also. I like this. I like this. --Thanks a bunch.
Happy new year Russ!
I've got a question, you mentioned earlier that you were planning on bulking up 15 lbs for the winter with this kind of diet. Is there a way of gaining mass while still maintaining this diet and losing fat?
To be honest with you it is extremely hard and close to impossible to really gain muscle mass while losing weight. I used to believe that I could as long as I had my protein intake high and trained hard. The problem is water and glycogen are a large part of what muscle really is. I see it happen to myself every week when I'm cutting. During my Spike Day when I'm overeating my muscles actually start to feel fuller and I even get a mini-pump with my veins popping without lifting a single pound. The following day I am a few pounds heavier but I physically look bigger, and in the gym my strength is amazing. Then when I have a calorie deficit for 6 days I am dropping weight but also my strength decreases with it. While my muscle tone is great, the actual size of my muscles appear a bit smaller. Now over time my strength will continue to rise when I compare the same days. For example I'm at my weakest point the day before my Spike Day, and strongest the day after. While I do progressively become stronger when I'm cutting, it's at a slower pace.
When I decided to "bulk" this past year, I increased my calorie goals everyday by 500-1000(I had more carbs early but only about 50g, and still ate 75% of my calories after 5pm) but I focused on clean foods for 6 days and had my junk on my Spike Day. My weight went up, I built muscle, and my strength significantly increased. I did this for two months and I gained 10lbs.
For my next "bulk" I tried something new, and I loved it.
Basically I have 3 workouts a week. So to maximize the effects of Spike Day's I followed a schedule of
Day 1- Spike Day(rest)-
2-Low cal/High Protein (workout)-
4-Low cal/High Protein (workout)-
6-Low cal/High Protein (workout)-
7-Maintenance calories (rest)
3 Spike Days, 3 Low cal days, and one "normal" day.
This made each one of my workouts awesome, and I gained another 15lbs over about 3 months, with very little fat gain.
Over my total "bulk" I gained about 25lbs and my pants fit the same but I was busting out of my t-shirts.
ugh, so confusing. So what would you recommend here - been at a stall for about a month and looking to switch things up a little...In advance, thank you for reading and if you get the time to answer, I would totally appreciate it and writing this just makes me sad that I can’t trust a doctor to give me sound nutritional advice or a certified trainer to give me fitness advice (unless I do my homework when I look for the latter).
My "diet" is pretty much ketogenic and I have to remind myself to take in a huge amount of carbs (usually from potatoes) every 2 weeks or so to kick out of ketosis, which I can switch back into the next day on as much as 60 grams of carbs. I don't eat any grains as I am celiac and they make me sick - this drastically reduces carb intake. I also eat a 100% clean diet with no processed food 90% of the time (a couple times a month I indulge in dark choc. melted with crushed nuts, or almond butter, sadly by the spoon full)but that and dairy are the only processed foods I take in. I can only work out first thing in the am (btwn 5am to 7am weekdays or 10am if on weekends), and have always done this in a fasted state. The couple times I have tried to get my workouts in after work were an epic fail, zero motivation and energy, despite having eaten, thought I totally wasted my gym time.
So early am, fasted it is. (plus it works, lifestyle wise)
Workouts currently go like so:
5 days a week, 20-30 minutes HIIT on an elliptical type of machine, plus 2-3 days I run sprints after the above thorough "warm-up"
followed by strength training, with very heavy weights, for another 1/2 hour to 45 minutes depending. I generally do the following twice a week (spread out through the week) pushups, pull-ups, dips, inverted rows (or any kind of row cause I love them), overhead press, squats, dead-lifts, lunges, box jumps, & good mornings.
Once a week, I do some core strengthening work, and usually consists of renegade rows till I am crying, windshield wipers, reverse thrusts, planks and crunches off the edge of a bench.
I occasionally throw in some leg presses, lat pull downs, tricep cable pulldowns, skull crushers, and bicep curls just to see where I am at strength wise.
So this has worked AWESOME for me till now, when I am down to really the last ten pounds for maintenance weight (about 15-17 pounds of fat gone would have me in competition shape), and have lost 100 pounds myself following my own thing. But it’s been a month, and I haven’t seen any changes. I am open to the idea of taking in some more carbs, and I have a pretty good idea of where to get them (was thinking of making strawberry banana smoothies – sounds like dessert after my regular WOE), but how much? What time? What other real food options do I reach for? And mostly, what can I do differently during my time at the gym to maximize fat loss (I am currently happy with my muscles – just wanna see them pop a little better – but this could change once the 10 lbs is done obstructing my view of them). I try real hard to get about a gram of protein per pound – not easy sticking to real food.
So yeah, just wrote you a book – Looking forward to a reply - THANKS