Ori Hofmekler: How to Rejuvenate your Muscles (or make them bigger)

intermittent fasting

On the path to big muscles…

Continuing my foray into the world of Ori Hofmekler, I realise that here is a man with some interesting concepts.  And intermittent fasting combined with exercise is interesting in the extreme.

Inevitable Muscle Aging…

Many people today experience muscle aging which starts from their thirties.  This can be due to a sedentary lifestyle, poor diet, substance abuse and the symptoms caused can become more apparent the older you get.

Appearance wise, the muscles lose size, tone, aerobic capacity and strength.  We might just grin and bear it and put it down to natural aging, but is it possible to stop the aging effects?

It is just necessary to know how to trigger the muscle to resist aging, so yes, it is possible.  But there are many elements to this process of reversing the clock, elements such as exercise, rest, food and more.

Although the muscles age under oxidative damage by free radicals, it seems that our bodies are actually designed to thrive in these conditions!  However it is the type of oxidative stress that holds the key to aging, whether it is chronic or acute and they are in opposition to each other.

Chronic Oxidative Stress:

This type of oxidative stress can be due to chronic overtraining, infection or dietary abuse.  This is shown to overwhelm our muscle’s defences the risk of damage to the neuro-motors, muscle fibres and mitochondria can be increased.  This is undoubtedly the type of oxidative stress that can lead to muscle loss and aging.

Acute Oxidative Stress

This type of oxidative stress is beneficial to your muscles.  It is the type of stress associated with periodic fasting and short but intense exercise.  It is good for muscle retention because these short bouts of acute oxidative stress make the muscle resilient.  This is by stimulating glutathione and SOD production in the mitochondria and this in turn helps the muscle to resist fatigue and increases its ability to generate force and energy.

How to build big muscles

It is common belief that in order to gain big muscles, you need to feed it often throughout the day.  It has been said that the minimum protein consumption to promote muscle growth is approximately 1g per lb of body weight.  Double this amount – 2g – is often eaten by bodybuilders each day.  You can compare this to a 300lb bodybuilder eating 300g of protein – or 50 eggs/3 lbs meat each day…

Inferior Muscle Fibre Quality

However there is a downside to this practice: this high intake of calories and protein eaten frequently, combined with intense strength training, appears to promote big muscle gain, but it does have a hefty price:  inferior muscle fibre quality.

  • They may look good but bigger isn’t necessarily better when it comes to muscle.
  • When your muscle succumbs to the aging process, the quality of its fibres decreases and the older it gets, the more dysfunctional it gets.
  • Conventional muscle building will give you the big muscles, but it won’t keep them biologically young.  You will have muscles built with inferior muscle fibres and a body that is prone to premature aging.

Intermittent fasting with short bouts of intense exercise = muscle rejuvenation

Ori shows us 3 options when it comes to intermittent fasting, this is carried out from morning to evening not including a large evening meal that is taken separately:

  • Fasting

This is the option where you can either fast through the day on water or vegetable juice, then exercise and eat a recovery meal straight afterwards and have a main meal in the evening.

  • Undereating

This is less extreme than the previous option, you can under-eat instead of fast.  Just limit yourself to low GI foods such as fruits, whey protein, vegetables or poached eggs every 4-6 hours through the day.  Wait 30 minutes after your last small meal and do your exercise, have a recovery meal straight afterwards and have a main meal in the evening.

Under-eating is less extreme than fasting and it is shown to be your most viable strategy for rejuvenating your brain and muscles.

  • Pulse feeding

This type of fasting is geared towards athletes: it comprises of frequent meals of whey protein concentrate from grass fed cows and raw milk preferably,  without any sugar or artificial sweeteners at all.  Wait 30 minutes after your last small whey protein meal and do your exercise, have a recovery meal straight afterwards and have a main meal in the evening.

In general, make your recovery meals 1-2 whey protein portions after your workout.  Intermittent fasting when carried out by itself is shown to be a proven strategy that can aid the negation of physical and cognitive aging.  When you add exercise to the mix it helps to take the rejuvenative impact of this procedure to a higher plane.

Easy does it…

Short intense exercise promotes rejuvenation, by turning on the mechanism that takes the muscle satellite cells and turns them into new muscle fibres.  Along with fasting it is a powerful combination; as the small meals promote muscle breakdown so old and damaged proteins are recycled.

Don’t skip this part…

After exercise, your muscles will be in a catabolic state so you now need to trigger recovery.  Feed the muscles straight after exercise with some good quality whey protein – you might like to choose a very high quality whey such as Ori’s own Warrior Whey from Defence Nutrition (UK buyers can find it on Amazon this is Warrior Whey’s formula repackaged by Pink Sun).

It is vital to feed yourself with fast assimilated protein within 30 minutes after exercise.  This is because we must take advantage of the 2 hour window of opportunity after exercise. This is when the muscles are most receptive to protein and nutrients towards growth and recovery.  Whey protein is the protein of choice as poultry, fish and meat take too long to digest and aren’t suitable for post exercise recovery.  Failure to eat the recovery meal can result in muscle wastage and even damage.


Ori is very emphatic in that there although you will gain tremendous results if the program is carried out correctly, there is a high chance that you will damage yourself if you don’t follow his advice to the letter.

With the intermittent fasting technique, the body will be placed into a powerful catabolic state.  All the damaged and injured muscle and brain cells are being eaten up and destroyed by the body itself.  Exercise accelerates this process rapidly and it is this synergy between fasting and exercise that will allow the brain and muscle cells to rejuvenate themselves.

It seems the most important factor here is THE RECOVERY MEAL.  Unless you rescue your body from its catabolic state and provide it with the essential nutrients that it requires to feed itself and stimulate repair, there is a strong possibility that you may hurt yourself.

It is absolutely vital that you eat this meal straight after exercise.

Ori reiterates that we are playing with fire, unless we feed ourselves with fast assimilating proteins within 30 minutes after exercise.

The consequences of skipping this meal are big, we may damage our muscle tissues, the very tissue we seek to build.

Other benefits from this program:

These include:

  • Growth Hormone Increase:  short intense exercise increases muscle IGF-1 expression.  This then mediates the repair and growth to the muscle by the growth hormone.
  • Boosting testosterone:  intermittent fasting is shown to promote healthy testosterone actions, increases libido and prevents age-related testosterone decline.  Whey protein is a powerful satiety food known to increase CCK and GLP-1 activities.  Hunger hormones cause the opposite effect on your testosterone and libido.
  • Body Compostion: this combination of exercise and intermittent fasting is shown to improve body composition, by increasing metabolic rate, increase lean muscle mass, reduce fat and improve insulin sensitivity.
  • Preventing depression and boosting cognitive function: exercising while fasting enables the cognitive boosting, neuro-protective and anti-depressant effects to be induced through the expression of brain derived neuro-factor (BDNF).

Can Pulse Feeding Help You Build Big Muscles?

Bodybuilding requirements can be accomodated with pulse feeding; Ori recommends 6 small whey protein meals throughout the day, every 2 hours.  With a large healthy dinner in the evening, this can prove maximum protein utilisation within the muscle, but the drawback is that you WILL lose the rejuvenation benefit.

For gaining big muscles, this type of pulse feeding has a successful record, both for its nutritional regimen and for muscle growth.

Ori explains:

20g is the maximum net protein we need to grant complete protein utilisation from each small whey protein feeding.  Combine the total of 6 small meals and you get the a  of 100-120g net protein utilisation before even thinking about dinner time.

He states that we tend to waste about 60% of the protein we eat from “normal” food, leaving only 40% of utilisation efficiency.  Which brings us back to the 50 eggs and 3 lbs of meat analogy…

So we have a choice, muscle growth or muscle rejuvenation?  It seems we can’t have both 😥

  • To increase the muscle size: a small whey protein meal every 2 hours
  • For muscle rejuvenation – a small meal every 4-6 hours

You can read Ori’s full article about intermittent fasting and exercise: “The Exercise Mistake Which Makes You Age Faster” on Dr Mercola’s website and read more on How to build muscle with whey protein and the right exercise here ===>>>

Post Author: Max

Massimo (Max) Vencato holds a doctorate (PhD) in Sports and Exercise Psychology and a Degree in Sports Sciences (first class with honours). He works today as a cardiac rehabilitation trainer, personal trainer (specialising in weight loss) and lecturer in Sports and Exercise Psychology at Brunel University London.

12 thoughts on “Ori Hofmekler: How to Rejuvenate your Muscles (or make them bigger)


    (June 15, 2012 - 4:48 pm)

    Hey I’m 19 and preparing for my next college track season. Will fasting until training and eating a recovery meal and evening meal help or hurt my performance? I’m very disciplined when it comes to sticking to a style of eating and wanted to know if this would improve my performance. I’m a sprinter in the 100m and 200m if that has any significance. Thank u!


      (June 28, 2012 - 10:39 am)

      Thanks for your enquiry. For power athletes such as yourself we recommend a recovery meal (which can be supplement based) and an evening meal (both with adequate protein, and carbohydrate for glycogen replenishment). You should be able to train well on an overnight fast – i.e., with no breakfast (we have obtained good results with bodybuilders doing this). Try this in the first instance, it may feel more strenuous initially. If that doesn’t feel as if it’s working to your advantage then consider taking a protein-based snack approximately 3 hours before your workout (or sooner if you get up less than 3 hours before training). We have some fresh reports/material coming onto the site in the next 4-8 weeks which will touch on the subject of intermittent fasting so keep checking. In any case, check with your physician before undertaking any kind of fasting over 12 hours- there are certain contrindications, diabetes etc. Good luck and keep us posted!


    (March 22, 2012 - 3:22 am)

    Thanks for the reply max!! What constitutes a whey meal? Just the protein shake or a shake plus a low glycemic fruit?


      (March 22, 2012 - 6:20 pm)

      Hi Adam! I tend to go for just the whey protein shake during the day, having fruit only in the mornings.


        (March 28, 2012 - 1:38 am)

        I used to follow the Warrior Diet, so after my recovery meals, I go back to undereating like the normal Warrior Diet?


          (April 1, 2012 - 9:48 pm)

          Hi there, without knowing more about your schedule and plans, see what works for you as you must have your own goals. Whether they are to build muscle density or size or even to lose weight. Let me know if you need any help. Max.


    (March 14, 2012 - 5:07 pm)

    Hello Max!!!
    What kind of results have you seen on this kind of plan? I also wonder, Can you alternate days of rejuvenating and building? If so would I do the building on the days I exercise or the rejuvenation?

    Thank you, Adam


      (March 17, 2012 - 7:12 pm)

      I use the rejuvenation technique myself, along with cardio strength training. You need to prioritise your main goal, for me it would always be the rejuvenation, simply because large muscles tend not to promote overall health eg: increased blood pressure. However doing some weight training and feeding yourself immediately afterwards with a whey meal is important to allow the fast repair of the muscle fibres. For instance I have a whey meal in the morning, then I train, I then have another whey meal. After 4-6 hours I then have lunch. Then if I need to train again (teach a class) I will have another whey meal, then have dinner about 4 hours afterwards.


    (March 10, 2012 - 3:20 pm)

    Hello Max,
    Can you gain any muscle on the muscle rejuvenation?


      (March 17, 2012 - 7:05 pm)

      Yes you can, but it will be minimal, expect to see more muscle definition rather than bulk.

    James Whitworth

    (November 8, 2011 - 5:37 pm)

    I do all day fasting and eat in the evening. My cardio workout is usually in the morning is it ok to wait until evening to eat? My doctor said as long as I was just doing cardio it was ok to wait until the evening meal. Do I need a recovery meal withing two hours if only doing cardio.? This is my concern. I really enjoy the feeling I have when not eating all day and the weight stays off.

    Thank you for your time~




      (November 23, 2011 - 8:02 pm)

      Hi James

      Sorry for the late reply, I’ve been away on holiday 🙂 In my opinion if you are fasting all day, make sure you are drinking enough water and vegetable juice to help keep your energy levels up. I would take a recovery meal after your workout even if it is just cardio to help your body recover quickly and prevent possible muscle damage. I hope this helps, but please feel free to get in touch if you need any more advice.

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