If you can understand these three phases (Famine/Feast/Cruise), you have enough knowledge to succeed.
Here it is then, from a 10,000-foot level.
Preparatory: Duration: 7 Days
Objective: It is suggested to take a full week off from training before beginning the Blueprint. During this week, you’re taking your waking heart rate, carefully establishing the objective measure we’ll use to guide you through the famine phase. A daily average over 7 days is ideal, although as few as 3 will do the job.
Famine Phase: Duration: 5 Days
Purposely overtrain and under eat, with calories at no more than bodyweight x 8 and protein at 30 g/day or below.
Objective: Activate your body’s alarm signal and stress all 3 energy systems including ATP-PC, Glycotic and Endurance. We’re also trying to accelerate the rate of protein turnover in the body and activate anti-catabolic machinery that lays dormant during homeostasis. Training should be high frequency, high volume with a focus on increasing density through shortening rest periods between sets. Diet should be low calorie, very low protein. Finally, rest should be anywhere from adequate to suboptimal, meaning an hour or two less than what you’re normally accustomed to.
You can continue to take your waking heart rate here, and you should see it increasing in response to the stress we’re imposing. The goal is to elevate it to the point where it’s at least 8 beats per minute over the established baseline.
NOTE: If you’re not able to reach that figure, don’t stress. Other things you should be experiencing are the loss of about 1 lb/per day, cursing my name or being hungry most of the time.
They all curse me during Famine, but you’ll love me once Feast gets underway. 🙂
Feast Phase: Duration: 30–42 Days
Begin overfeeding (bodyweight x 20 calories/day) and lifting a LOT heavier vs Famine, with long rest periods between sets.
Objective: The objective is to enter the adaptation/growth zone and reap the BIG rewards that await. We’re looking to accelerate anabolism (already primed) and retard catabolism. If taking advantage of Primal Strength, Synthagen or Progenadrex/other forms of supplementation, this is the time to apply it. Training is characterized by lower frequency, lower volume and higher intensity weight lifting sessions. Long rest periods between sets are likewise recommended. The diet is higher calorie, higher protein with a focus on alkalizing the system. Rest should be at its maximum, with a minimum of 8 hours recommended.
Cruising Phase: Duration: 14–21 Days
Cut calories back to maintenance (about bodyweight x 15/day) and transition to a 5 sets of 5 routine. Do not attempt to work with weights above 90% of your new 1 Rep Max.
Objective: Solidify your new gains by establishing a new homeostatic state, balance anabolism/catabolism and give yourself a physical and psychological break. Training should be characterized by moderating intensity, volume and frequency. Likewise, the diet should return to maintenance levels of calories and protein. Rest should be kept high, with 8+ hours recommended, if possible. Expect to gain a few more quality pounds during this phase, a nice side benefit we’ve found in many trainees using the Blueprint.
Rotation: Make sure to repeat your Famine, Feast and Maintenance/Cruising phases as prescribed. The key is in rotating the phases frequently and not staying in one place too long.
Notes: An extensive “menu” of diets, workout routines and corresponding supplement ideas has been provided here. The more arrows in your quiver, the better. These are the best of the best, but I don’t lay claim to knowing what may work best for YOU.
Toward that end, the suggested periods for each phase are just that, suggestions. I have seen some people use a slightly less radical famine phase (more calories, less frequent/intense training) for up to 14 days. However, the trial data showed that the alarm signal was not as pronounced, lasting muscle tissue loss was greater and the corresponding positive rebound in the feast phase was less spectacular. Besides, who wants to suffer (even if it’s less suffering) for a longer period of time, especially when the upside isn’t as great?
Do it right and get it over with
Finally, some individuals will do well with an extended cruise phase for up to 4 weeks. While circumstances can sometimes dictate such, I’d caution you to not get too lazy. Be practical but also honest with yourself.
Remember, the fulcrum of The Blueprint’s success is predicated upon not staying in one phase too long. It is the timing and flexibility of these phase shifts that makes The Blueprint unique. Trust me. Once you “nail it” from a timing perspective, you’ll know. More importantly, you’ll have the knowledge to recreate those great gains over and over.
Like many things in life, success boils down to timing. The Blueprint allows you to find that perfect timing in short order.
Bottom line: Try the program as described the first time out of the gate. You’ll be most pleasantly surprised. The recommendations are no accident and have proven most successful for the highest percentage of people new to The Blueprint. That goes for weekend warriors right up to advanced pro-athletes.