Diet and Workout Updates from Dr. John Berardi

Did you know that Dr. John Berardi is using fasting to get faster? Did you know that he also trains like an old man, just like I do? You’ll learn all of that and more in this year’s diet and workout update interview with Dr. John Berardi.

Craig Ballantyne:    Hey everybody, this is Craig Ballantyne from  I have a really special call this month.  We have John Berardi from Precision Nutrition.  John, welcome to the call.

John Berardi: Hey, thanks for having me on Craig.  I’m looking forward to sharing some stuff, and having a good chat about everything we’re up to and how we can help people.

Craig Ballantyne: Well, I’m really hoping that you guys learned something in the last year since our last call.  Is that correct to say?

John Berardi: I think that’s probably correct to say.

Craig Ballantyne: Just from reading some of your articles you’ve definitely done a lot of personal experiments that are going to be great to go over.  And also, working with so many people through your site and so many trainers you’re going to have a lot of great insights into how our trainers can get more results and also keep people compliant.  Maybe the second half of our call it might be really, really great information.

But before we get into it, why don’t you walk us through a day in the training life of Dr. John Berardi now?  I know you did a lot of experiments last year, and we’ll get to those in a second.  But now I think you’re kind of back to your normal routine.  So why don’t you tell us how your training—I know you’re training for a special event.  And then what your nutrition might look like on one of those training days.

John Berardi: Yeah, absolutely.  I’m happy to share that.  My situation may be a little bit unique.  I don’t know how many people that will be listening in to this conversation will be competing at the Masters level in track and field, which is what I’m up to right now.  So there might not be a lot of immediate applicability to what I’m up to.  But it might cast a little bit of an interesting insight into how to structure these sorts of things.

For me, I was a track and field athlete when I was younger.  I was a sprinter.  I ran 100-meter, 200-meter.  And sort of late in the game here where I had been competing in bodybuilding and power lifting and strength sports almost predominantly.  I just hit a phase in my life where I was doing track workouts for fun, just as sort of general conditioning stuff.  And I started to get faster.  I started to like doing them more.  It kind of brought me back to when I was younger.

Then I had this sort of confluence of events.  I was back at home in Philadelphia where I grew up.  And I ran into one of the guys that was one my 4×100 meter relay team in high school.  And we had a really good team, and I’m happy to admit I was the worst and slowest member of the team although I ran pretty quickly.  We had a couple national champions on the team.  They were guys who were running like 10.3 in the 100 in high school.  And so that was pretty studly.

So anyway, I ran into this guy.  And he was still in really good shape.  We were talking about our old 4×100 team.  And all the other guys on the team still are training, are still in really good shape.  And we’re all around 40 years old.  So, that’s kind of an impressive thing to see.  A lot of friends that I was in high school with have gone the opposite direction, quite frankly.

So we talked about having our sort of Masters reunion tour.  There was a big event that we raced at called the Penn Relays.  And it’s a big international track meet in Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia.  And so we said, “Hey, wouldn’t it be cool if once we all hit 40 we can in the Masters division in the 4×100?”  This is like 23 years later.  We all started taking our training a little bit more seriously.

So that’s kind of what I’m up to now.  I’m training track and field.  So, three days a week, four days a week I’m on the track.  I have an indoor facility I can train at here in the Canadian winter.  I’m doing sprint training and technique drills and flexibility, and all this stuff that quite frankly needed to be improved.

You don’t really realize how much mobility and flexibility you’re really losing after the age of 30, especially when you just do strength training, until you actually start to challenge it.  So I knew I had a lot of work to do.

In terms of strength training itself, I only do one or two sessions of those a week.  From years of strength training, I’m strong enough for track.  So I don’t need to do anymore of that.  So really it’s just the maintenance on the strength side, and a lot of technical stuff to start recruiting the right muscles that are more relevant for track and a lot of dynamic stuff for power and mobility.

And then yeah, so it’s kind of three days on the track, something like that, one or two days of strength training.  And that’s what my training program looks like.  And it’s all speed and power stuff.

I got back into this as sort of a fun little experiment in getting back to a sport that I really loved when I was younger.  But the benefits are fantastic.  I’m maintaining a body fat between four and five percent.  I know a lot of people will scoff and say, “That’s impossible.”  But I have an ultrasound device, and I use that.  And whether it’s accurate or not, I’m pretty lean.  The mobility that I’m getting, the power that I’m getting out of this.  In the first two months of my training I increased my vertical jump by five inches.  That’s kind of unheard of.  It was kind of sad to begin with.  But nevertheless, that’s a huge increase.

These are all qualities we lose as we get older.  For most people it’s throughout their thirties, and then it really never comes back.  So it’s just one of these things where I feel like not only am I training for fun for this cool sport, I’m actually increasing my ability and a host of qualities that were probably neglected for a long time, and probably would have just kept going downhill.  So that’s the training side of things.

And on the nutrition side of things, I basically use two principles.  As you know, I experimented with intermittent fasting last year, Craig.  And we published a free eBook on that.  We can talk about that later if you like.

So, I’ve kind of continued with some experimented intermittent fasting.  And I just sort of settled into a nice routine where I wake up in the morning, I have a green tea or a coffee, I have a Greens drink and then I get to work.  Then I work for a few hours.  I have my workout around noon or 1:00, and then I eat my fresh meal of the day after that.  I usually eat three meals by the end of the day, by about 10:00 p.m. or something like that.  Then I just start over the next day.

Really my entire schedule is based on calorie and carb cycling.  So three days a week, generally on my track days, I have high carbohydrate days.  So I eat a lot of calories on those days.  I eat pretty high carbs.  So it’s basically meat, veggies and then carbohydrates on top of that.  Then on my other days of the week, so it might be four other days of the week, I just delete all the carbs.   So it’s just meat and veggies, and good fats and things like that.

So, the program’s really, really simple.  Just three days a week eat a lot of meat, a lot of veggies and a lot of carbs.  Then the rest of the days eat a lot of meat and a lot of veggies and no carbs.  And that’s kind of it.

And I just pretty much don’t eat breakfast.  I just eat after training three meals or so.  It’s pretty simple.  It’s pretty straightforward.  It’s working for what I’m doing.

So, that’s kind of what I’m up to nowadays.

All awesome stuff here. So that is all for today folks. Please join us tomorrow where Dr.John Berardi shares with you  his post-workout preparation.

Craig Ballantyne, CTT
Certified Turbulence Trainer