While researching diet and nutrition I often look to nature to analyze how animals eat because animals live relatively free from obesity and chronic diseases. Since humans are still an animal I believe natural eating patterns can give us clues about what matters with our diet. A good example is how chimpanzees stuff their face with fruits. Some nutritionists have cautioned against eating too much fruit because of the sugar content; however, if we look to nature we see they can do it without issue. If they can do it why can’t we? If you dig into studies on fruit consumption it confirms that fruit consumption actually has an inverse relationship with incidence of diabetes yet contributions of insulin spikes is a big part of why fruit consumption is recommended to be restricted. It is clear evidence that natural sugar consumption shouldn’t be demonized or grouped with added sugar consumption.
So if animals eat in healthy ways what animals can we most closely mimic in diet? Contrary to many vegetarian proponents we cannot mimic vegetarian diets very well. Most vegetarians are grazers and literally spend the entire day eating. The pure volume of food they eat and time it takes to eat it is not feasible for a modern diet. Additionally many grazers eat grasses and other foods that the human digestive system cannot break down properly. We actually eat closer to a predator’s diet which is based on large, infrequent meals which is an eating pattern that is possible to accomplish.
I propose that if we mimic activity and diet close to a predator’s activity and diet that there may be some significant health and strength benefits.
Most predators are carnivores so they eat meat and only meat. Part of the problem with our current eating habits is when we do eat meat we’re eating a small amount usually with a variety of other foods to include carbohydrates. Carbohydrates actually speed up the digestion of the meal by helping push the food out. This is why fiber is associated with decreased cholesterol levels as it’s inhibiting fat absorption; however, this is also doing things like inhibiting the uptake of fat soluble vitamins. It is a rarity to find a food in nature that has both significant quantities of fat and carbohydrates. Perhaps these are all indications we shouldn’t be consuming fat and carbohydrates together in the same meal?
They also eat it raw and consume everything. Cooking meat helps breakdown fats and connective tissue, but cooking meat makes the protein tougher to digest. While it may be speculated that cooking is what led to our current brain development, this is merely speculation. Ancient tribes focused on consuming the organ meat as the organ meat is nutritionally superior to muscle meat. In fact the Indians used to give the muscle meat (steak) to the dogs. Additionally wild animals have far less fat than the modern cow, so it’s not like the prevalence of fat and fatty connective tissue in modern meat is close to what ancient tribes were consuming. I do believe in consuming all the fat with meat though – any predator in the wild would not let this go to waste. Fats have a lot of good properties like hormone precursors.
When a lion makes a kill it gorges 2 – 3 times eating upwards of 75 lbs of meat each time. It then will not eat for a couple days. I regularly discuss in health forums the impact of 24 hour eating patterns which is a very little impact no matter how you eat. The body stores enough glycogen for up to 3 days and digestion takes 30+ hours. Due to these two facts little will change with different eating patterns over 24 hours; however, if you go on a longer pattern that depletes glycogen levels physiological differences may occur. Predators are on eating patterns that are greater than 24 hours so perhaps there is benefit to eating similarly.
So the diet is going to be consuming raw, untrimmed beef to include organ meat each day. I will eat around at least 3 lbs of beef in each sitting consuming at least 6 lbs of beef each day. I will subsequently fast for 2 days after an eating day.
Exercise causes physiological changes as a means of adaption for survival. One of the wonderful things about exercise is the body cannot tell if you’re running from a cheetah for survival or on a treadmill for fun – it will adapt either way. What happens though if we start signaling to the body that we’re physically conditioned enough already? Would it stagnate and no longer try to adapt? What do you think you’re signaling to your body if you quit when it gets tough? I believe part of the reasons why animals in the wild are so much stronger than humans is that our bodies have learned they do not need to change to survive. I believe we can change that by implementing a balls-to-the-wall workout strategy that mimics real world survival situations.
In the wild there is no warm up. When a predator has an opportunity for a kill or a prey has to evade a predator there is no stretching, pyramid progression, or other warm up. It is act now, do now, or die. While warm ups are still a common piece of many routines there is little scientific evidence to suggest they have any benefit. Warming up does allow you to perform better, but performance does not necessarily equate to grow or physiological change.
In the wild there aren’t multiple sets. If a prey fails to evade a predator it’s dead. When a predator goes for a kill if it fails it doesn’t try again on the same herd at the same time. One set. One balls-to-the-wall set. Do or die. Besides, if the purpose of lifting weights is to exhaust your muscles there is no better way to do so then an all out set. By only completing sets like this I believe it’s also signaling to the body there will be no easy physical demands which could cause greater physiological response.
In the wild there isn’t a set routine. Every single time a predator makes a kill the physical exertion will be at least a little different.
The exercise routine is going to consist of singular sets for each group of muscles. Each set will be a breathing set. A breathing set is a technique where you complete as many reps as possible, catch your breath, and repeat until you can no longer perform a single repetition. There will be no warm up, cool down, or supporting work.
I did a test run of this program for two weeks and had great results although the diet was the toughest diet I have ever done. The hunger I felt after fasting days was the deepest, most intense huger I have ever felt and I’ve done a water fast for a week. I felt like a beast in the gym and had weight loss results that were on par with diets that were around 1,000 calories per day which is about half of the average caloric intake on the diet. In fact the reason why I started this was to test theories on weight loss.
I’ve often discussed nutrient timing and intermittent fasting. Since most implementations have a 24 hour cycle there are no physiological differences in energy usage over 24 hours as glycogen depletion is likely not to occur. The body stores enough glycogen for 3 days and complete digestion takes 30+ hours. Recent research on nutrient timing is showing this concept has less and less scientific credence and I agree.
What this all implies though is that nutrient timing and intermittent fasting on scales larger than 24 hours can have physiological impact. I theorized that if the eating pattern could induce ketosis within a cycle that the pattern can have physiological differences. Additionally on the eating days the intake was large enough that entropy (inefficiency) could increase causing a net reduction in available calories. As a third impact it’s possible that my overall BMR will be higher, as compared to a diet creating a consistent caloric deficit, which increases expenditure.
The behavior of BMR in my prior health experiments shows that after gorging my BMR increases the very next day. I also found that whether on a low calorie diet or a fasting diet my BMR was consistently the same which means a consistent low calorie diet won’t have any BMR advantages.
The three of these factors means less efficient energy utilization, less efficient energy absorption, and more energy expended compared to diets with consistent, low calorie intakes. The theory and initial results are in agreement. While this is a very tough eating pattern to maintain I believe it could be the most effective eating pattern for weight loss that still allows high overall nutrient and protein intake.
Putting it all together
Since the first meal is consumed after a kill this means that the first meal will come after exercise. It also means that all exercise will be in a fasted state.
Since in the wild everything is a little different each time, I’m going to vary the weight and stance/grip every time. The weight may cause a decrease in reps, but I’m going to try to do small enough changes that I can still get around the same number of reps. After working on breathing sets I may be able to increase reps even with increases in weights. Even if the same number of repetitions are done the total time and “chunks” of repetitions will likely be different. By “chunk” I mean the number of reps between breathing breaks.
All breathing sets will be done to the point that I cannot complete a single repetition with a 10 – 15 second breathing break.
There will be three different routines.
|Group A||Group B||Group C|
|Lower||Squats||Deadlift||Clean & Press|
|Back||Pull-ups||Horizontal BB Row||Reverse DB Flys|
|Chest/tris||Military press||Bench press||Cable Flys|
Squats will be done without racking the weight to box depth or at least parallel. Pull-ups will be done starting with a slightly wider than shoulder width pronated grip moving to a neutral grip when I can’t do a chunk of three. Deadlift will be done with a pronated grip moving to a mixed grip if my grip strength starts failing. The BB row will be done with a supinated grip. Cable flys will be done from a decline to neutral position. All other exercises will be done according to standard methods and techniques varying by the prescribed methods.
The diet will start with fasting. On fasting days I’ll be trying to keep activity to a minimum. Only water will be consumed.
I will embark on this program for 90 days.
Prior to this program I have been having a relatively low rate of training (2 hours a week) and consider myself well recovered. I have also been consuming a very nutrient rich, diverse diet and do not consider myself at risk for any nutritional deficiency during this time.
While the Predator Diet is well backed with scientific evidence that it will help induce weight loss, I acknowledge the Predator Program is not something that I have significant evidence will cause increases in mass and/or strength. Nature has developed in ways we can’t always understand, but has produced marvels. It is common for engineering to look to nature to solve problems and I believe this program has the potential to illicit major physiological changes. If you are interested in trying this program with me I would love to hear about it or your end results. Please feel free to contact me at email@example.com.
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