Many ask if it’s legit, if I actually use it, how I use it, what effects it has had on my strength, size, bodyfat, energy levels, etc.
Hopefully this post will answer all of the questions you have, and if not, just drop a question in the comment box below and I’ll try to answer it for you (or you can just read the FAQ section on The Renegade Diet website).
Ok, enough of the cheesy intro. Here are my thoughts:
I started using The Renegade Diet about 10 months ago right after Jason launched it…but I waited a while to post a review like this because I wanted to use the program myself for a long enough period of time for me to be able to figure out the relative pros & cons of the diet and determine if it was even worth writing about to my readers.
I know there are a ton of Renegade Diet reviews like this online (I’m not sure if any of those guys put a face behind their review or know anything about nutrition though)…so I’m going to try to give you the best info possible and you can trust it’s from a real source.
This may or may not come as a surprise to you but most of the health & fitness diet plans out there are severely outdated (from a scientific perspective), and in my opinion, flat out dangerous. Yes, this even includes many of the “custom plans” you can get from the world’s top trainers.
Sure, these types of diet plans can get you ripped fast, and even get you into “show shape” but usually they come with a price…your health.
And if you think I’m kidding, I’m not…
From hormonal imbalances, to metabolic disorders/crashes, extreme fatigue, adrenal fatigue, prolonged menstrual cycle stoppages, malnutrition, and psychological disorders…to bitterness, depression, suicidal thoughts, and emergency room trips – I’ve literally seen it all.
These are the types of REAL PROBLEMS that REAL PEOPLE are having to deal with, caused by REAL DIET PLANS.
These are the stories you rarely hear about (the fitness magazines never talk about them), but they happen all of the time, right under your nose. In fact, I get messages on Facebook just about every day from people just like this who are suffering in silence.
Now, I’m not going to sit here and say that all diets that are designed to get you ripped fast will ruin your health, but the fact is, many of these plans are just flat out unhealthy. They typically involve severe caloric deficits, in many cases drug/supplement use, and the X-Factor, if you will, is that they all seem to hinge on the fact that you will be required to do 1-3 hours of cardio daily if you want the diet to work.
Sure, you’ll look ripped…but look at what you’re sacrificing. You’re weak, miserable, irritable, and your internal organs are likely suffering. Your whole life will revolve around the diet and when you’re going to eat your next meal.
You are forced to prepare meals in advance and take them everywhere you go in Tupperware containers. Your social life suffers…and you feel miserable.
In my opinion, any diet plan that leaves you famished, weak, and mentally unstable is just flat out unhealthy; in fact, it’s nothing but a professionally designed eating disorder cleverly disguised as a meal plan.
Here’s your typical get ripped fast diet plan of hell: (1) eat very little and cut carbs…(2) eat only boring tasteless sodiumless bland foods like baked tilapia, boiled chicken, or egg whites and a nasty green veggie like asparagus or broccoli…(3) torture yourself doing morning and evening cardio several times per week because the fitness model in the magazine said so…(4) pound 1-2 gallons of water each day & constantly have to run to the bathroom and expel nasty asparagus piss…(5) develop irritability and self-esteem issues when you inevitably start to feel sick, tired, and miserable…(6) get tired of it and give up…(7) even if you finish the plan your new ripped body will only last temporarily.
Nobody can stay on a tilapia and asparagus diet forever…and once you get tired of starving and reach for those cookies or chips…BOOM…you can’t stop binge eating and before you know it…you’re FAT, BLOATED, HUGE, and DEPRESSED.
From the magazines (owned by the supplement companies), to the junk supplements (yep same guys), and fitness/bodybuilding shows (sponsored by supplement companies) this industry preys off your weaknesses and inability to reach your goals and creates the illusion that extreme dieting, unhealthy practices, and illegal drug use is somehow ok. All because beautiful fit bodies are glorified in magazines and across social media….
I get it, incredible physiques inspire us all but all that glitters isn’t gold. The fitness industry has a scary dark side, and the people who suffer from it the most are usually the people who get glorified in the mags & websites.
Over the past 10 years I’ve personally experimented with many of the popular diet plans out there…from the raw diet…to vegetarian…to Paleo…to traditional bodybuilder diets….to fitness show and photo shoot prep diets…the list goes on and on…I’ve literally tried them all.
These diets all have their relative pros & cons but as a whole I believe they are all fundamentally flawed – and that the health risks you put your body through on extreme diet plans like these for long stretches are very real.
Sure, you get quick results, but quick fixes never last forever because nothing extreme can ever give you sustainable results. Many of these types of plans can cause severe damage to your hormones and metabolism…as well as create nutritional deficiencies that could take months or years to correct.
The concept of ‘quick fix’ alone goes against the natural biology of humans in general. You shouldn’t have to ‘battle through’ or ‘fight through’ a healthy diet plan…if a diet sucks that bad there’s a pretty good chance it’s not working for you it’s working AGAINST you.
I know you want to get in better shape, but let’s face it, getting ‘ripped’ has diminishing marginal returns. Especially if you do it the wrong way. The quick way. The get ripped by any means necessary way. The starve yourself and do endless cardio way. Or if you’re trying to build muscle…the eat until you vomit way…
I know that the traditional school of thought says:
Never go more than 3 hours without eating (protein, carbs, and some fat).
Lots of whey protein supplementation (2-4 servings per day; 50-150 grams).
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
I know you have been led to believe over the years that in order to get ripped you have to:
Eat “6 meals a day”, “no carbs at night”, “taper calories throughout the day”, “never miss breakfast”, and “carbs are bad” etc, but the research indicates that these assumptions are all flat out wrong.
Am I saying you can’t get ripped following the typical 6 meals a day, pound protein supplements all day, and restrict carbs to the point where you can’t sleep because you’re starving method?
The traditional methods work quite well to get ripped…in fact I’ve used traditional methods to get ripped myself. All I’m saying is that these methods are just fundamentally flawed when it comes to building a healthy physique that stands the test of time.
Here are the main problems with traditional “get ripped” or “get jacked” diet plans:
1. Too difficult to follow. Cooking and eating 6 meals per day is a huge pain in the ass…and it’s the number one reason most people fall off the wagon and quit. Who has the time or the energy? Plus the carb cutting is usually a deal breaker because it always leaves you tired, hungry, and lethargic. Add 1-2 hours of daily cardio on top of that.
2. You’ll get “ripped” but lose too much muscle. Regardless of what some “gurus” tell you, you’ll typically lose a pound of muscle for every 2-3 pounds of fat you lose while trying to lean out…so you’ll be leaner…but have a lot less muscle. Kind of a waste if you ask me.
3. If you’re trying to build muscle you’ll gain 1-2 pounds of fat for every pound of muscle you gain. So you’re basically just getting fatter. Then you have to do the cardio and “fat loss diet” to get ripped after (see point #2 above)…basically leaving you the same size you started in the first place.
If you’ve followed traditional ‘bodybuilder’ style diet plans in the past you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.
But honestly, there’s more to your meal plan than just getting ripped.
As I said earlier, the traditional way (6 small meals a day, protein shakes, low carb) works very well to get ripped…but it comes at a price. You’re moody…your energy levels are down, you’re hungry and miserable all the time…and it’s generally a huge pain in the ass.
In my opinion, if a meal plan is designed in a healthy manner, you shouldn’t have to suffer while you’re on it…and you should be happy following it.
It should provide you with nourishment, taste good, give you energy, make you stronger, improve your mood, and make you look and feel better overall. It’s not only about getting ‘ripped’…it’s about how you feel and what’s going on inside your body.
One of the big reasons I love The Renegade Diet approach is because the author (Jason Ferruggia) follows a health first, performance second approach. Just like I do.
Health & Fitness isn’t simply about getting temporarily ‘ripped’ from a quick fix 12 week crash diet…only to rebound and gain all that weight back (and more). Health & Fitness is about building towards a lifestyle that places health first, enhances quality of life, and prolongs duration of life — whatever “ripped look” you get from doing that is just the icing on the cake. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you’ll know that’s what it’s all about.
The Renegade Diet breaks the rules and goes against many commonly accepted “truths” and teaches us the science behind why:
1. Breakfast is not the most important meal of the day. I don’t think there is one single “most important meal of the day” actually. They all should work together to help you achieve your goals.
2. You don’t need to eat 6 meals per day to get cut and jacked. You also don’t need to pound a bunch of protein all day either. There’s no research out there that says increased meal frequency results in greater weight/fat loss…and the research doesn’t lie – marketing people who try to sell you expensive diet programs and supplements do. I’ve been eating less frequently on the Renegade Plan and allowing my digestive system to rest & recover. I feel much less tired during the day and stronger in the gym as well.
3. You can eat large meals after 7pm & still get lean. Some trainers & experts advise against eating large meals at night…but research study after research study show that meal timing doesn’t matter (no more traveling with smelly tilapia & Tupperware).
4. Missing meals won’t make you lose muscle. I know many people are afraid to go for long stretches (over 3 hours) without eating because popular bodybuilding and fitness culture has conditioned us to think that “if you miss meals, you’ll enter starvation mode and lose all your muscle”. There is strong scientific evidence out there that suggests this is completely false… and some studies have even shown that metabolic rate can remain constant for up to 90 hours during a fast before declining. The science also tells us that the digestion process requires a ton of energy and is quite stressful on the body, so the more meals you eat each day the more stress you place upon your digestive system each day. This is why it’s a good idea to just give your system a rest and fast for 4-8 hours each day (as taught strategically in The Renegade Diet) to give your body a chance to recover and replenish its enzyme pool.
5. Getting ripped should never be your main priority. Focus on optimizing health first (especially digestive health) and physique second. If your health sucks, you’ll never see legit results. I’ve been obsessed with digestive health ever since I first got sick with intestinal inflammation (“Crohn’s Disease”) over ten years ago – and gut health should be the foundation of every nutrition program.
6) If you want to get ripped, you don’t need to pound protein shakes throughout the day. Supplements are great, but they should only be used to back up what your nutrition plan is already doing. Right now I am using a greens supplement, omega 3 fish oil, bcaa, and whey protein in small amounts.
Look, Health & Fitness about living a long, healthy life – a life where you can enjoy your lean body every second of every day. Forget short-term gains that are wiped out by long-term losses, and medical expenses; we need to think long term health and what is sustainable for the duration of your precious time on earth. I don’t know about you but I want to be healthy and still kicking ass in the gym when I’m 90 years old.
Most fitness models, bodybuilders, and ‘gurus’ never come out and say it but: eating thousands of excess calories to try to gain muscle or depleting yourself to a single-digit body fat level is neither healthy (or sustainable) in the long-term.
Remember, food is fuel. Don’t sacrifice it, or abuse it; use it to your advantage. Never partake in unsafe diet practices (severe caloric deficits/surpluses, drugs, hours of cardio, lack of rest) just to get ripped for a brief moment. You love yourself more than that. Health and fitness is supposed to be fun, enjoy it.
The ultimate goal of The Renegade Diet is to redefine what it means to live a healthy lifestyle when it comes to nutrition, and the approach is going to be completely different than what you’re used to. I can guarantee that when you read through it for the first time you’ll be shocked at how it completely goes against everything you think you know about nutrition. It’s honestly a really good read; I finished the entire thing in about an hour.
As I said earlier, I’ve been following The Renegade Diet plan for about 5 months now. As a disclaimer, I was already lean when I started the plan, but my goal wasn’t to get more ripped, or build more muscle I wanted more energy I wanted to feel better and I wanted to place my health above everything else.
To be quite honest, I went from eating 6-7 meals a day (with 4-5 of those meals including animal protein) and 2-3 protein shakes per day…and have cut back to 5 meals per day, two of which are meals that include animal protein.
I feel strong in the gym, I have more energy, and the tendinitis I’ve had in my elbow & shoulder for years has improved significantly. I feel good, I don’t feel deprived or hungry and moody, and I believe my internal organs, joints, etc are thanking me in return.
Note: if you suffer from ‘belly bloat’ (which can be caused by gut inflammation)…you may find relief (and get flatter, leaner abs) simply by changing your eating style to the method outlined below:
Now, if you’re not familiar with the basic premise of the Renegade Diet, here is a basic rundown: There’s a fasting period that typically lasts from 14-16 hours where you eat nothing from dinner the night before until sometime the following late morning or afternoon. This allows the liver to detox, replenishes your body’s enzyme pool, and reduces much of the stress digestion places upon the human body.
After the fast is up the overfeeding phase begins and it typically lasts for roughly 4-8 hours. This strategy of fasting/under eating during the day and overfeeding at night allows leptin levels to remain in check while boosting glycogen stores at the same time. This has been shown in studies to significantly improve the body’s fat burning and muscle building response. After 10 months of doing this i can honestly tell you that I’m very pleased with the results.
Here’s what a sample day looks like for me on The Renegade Diet:
Meal 1 12pm – 30g protein shake, 1tbsp Athletic Greens, 6g Omega 3 Fish Oil
Meal 2 2pm – 25g egg white omelette w/ spinach, peppers, onions, 1 serving raw cashews
Meal 3 4:30pm – 8oz bison steak, 2 cups jasmine rice, 2 cups steamed bok choy
Meal 4 7pm – 8oz grilled chicken breast, rosemary roasted potatoes, unlimited green veggies, apple cider vinegar
Meal 5 8pm – 1 cup raspberries, 1/2 cup sliced strawberries
Fast – After meal 5 there is a 16 hour fast until around noon the next day. Then there is the 4-8 hour overfeeding period.
Pretty simple stuff, right?
Some days I’ll have organic coffee in the morning a few hours before meal 1…and even throw in a homemade protein bar or healthy snack if I get hungry between meals as well.
As I said earlier, I haven’t lost any weight (I was lean when I started), but my gut/joint inflammation has definitely decreased, my energy levels are up, my concentration and focus are both up…and I’m feeling pretty good.
Note: Many of my readers who are also currently using The Renegade Diet have told me that fasting for breakfast was the toughest part about the program…but that it gets easier after the 2nd or 3rd week. You may have to experiment with different breakfast times to see what your body responds to the best.
I’ve never really been a breakfast person (I used to skip it all the time until I started reading silly nutrition books in college that told me it was unhealthy) so the skipping breakfast part was easy for me. Sometimes I’ll eat breakfast on the weekends though. It all depends.
I know said this earlier…but I just want to reinforce the fact that I’ve cut down on my meat and protein shake intake significantly…and I eat a ton of calories at night. I know this all sounds kind of crazy but I’d like to point out my cheesy ‘selfie’ pic above again and also say that I feel pretty damn good.
Look, we are all different, we have different workout times, different genes, etc so what works for me may not work exactly that way for you. There is more than one way to ‘skin a cat’ so once you start using The Renegade Diet feel free to experiment with various meal times and see what works best for you.
It’s all about testing, testing, testing. Figuring out what works. In order to improve we must all constantly evolve and not get stuck in certain “popular” ways of thinking for long periods of time. Test, learn, evolve, grow, and optimize upon what you’re currently doing. If you continue doing the same thing day in and day out you’ll probably get the same shitty results each and every time — and you’ll have no one to blame but yourself.
Overall, I have to give The Renegade Diet a 4.8 out of 5 star rating. It’s really easy to follow and it won’t force you to eat plain, boring, tasteless foods in small portions — you won’t have to slave in the kitchen prepping countless meals each day and you’ll be able to pound food at night, have cheat meals and you’ll get healthy and lean in the process.
It’s not a fad or quick fix, it’s a way of life, it’s sustainable for the long-term and I will probably eat this way for years to come (or at least until science tells me to change my ways).
I am recommending you try Jason’s Renegade Diet Plan and I have full confidence that it will work very well for you (if you follow it). My challenge to you is to try it out 14 days in a row, and if you’re a gamer, go for 30 days in a row.
Here is another review to get another perspective at the diet.