You are on page 1of 9



theoworkday_diet_article.indd 1

10/9/2013 2:27:12 PM

Fitness industry insider

James Grage went from
lean to shredded by
synching his professional
schedule with his
eating program.
By Mike Carlson

theoworkday_diet_article.indd 2

10/9/2013 2:27:13 PM

In his best-selling business strategy book Good to Great,

author Jim Collins describes on-the-bubble companies like giant
flywheels slowly spinning toward success. It takes a massive effort,
he describes, to get the heavy monoliths to roll faster, but once
they start picking up momentum there is no stopping them. What
was once a slow trudge through the mud suddenly becomes a selfpropelled sprint to the finish line.
This is a pretty good description of the
transformation of James Grage: from lean and
athletic to absolutely chiseled. Grage is co-founder
and vice president of BPI SPORTS, the popular
supplement company that created weight-room
go-to products like 1MR, B4 and BLOX. Grage
has been fit his whole life. He was a successful
amateur bodybuilder in the 90s, and even after
he suffered a near-fatal car accident that broke
almost every major bone in his body, he was able
to rebuild himself and return to competition. He
retired his posing trunks and spent a decade in the
fitness industry before helping create BPI SPORTS
in 2009. Now, BPI is an industry leader and Grage
is emerging from the trenches where he spent five
years helping build the company.
I want to be a better ambassador for the
brand. I spent the last five years growing the
brand, and the last thing I had time for was a

theoworkday_diet_article.indd 3

photo shoot, he says. When we first started the

company, it was OK not to have a face attached
to it. We were a small hardcore company and
that was our image. Now that we are bigger, it is
important that our customers can relate to who we
are, what we represent, and what we believe in.
When the opportunity arose for Grage to enter
the public eye on the cover of Hardcore magazine,
he took it even though he knew the time frame left
him only half as long as he needed to get in coverworthy shape.
I usually average about 8% body fat yearround, but I had lost a little ground over the past
month and had gone up to almost 10%. It was
bad timing since I needed to get down to 6 or 7%
in two weeks, says Grage. It usually takes me a
minimum of four weeks to get in shape, doing it
the way I have always done it.

10/9/2013 2:27:15 PM


Most of my whole-food protein came from either

chicken, fish or eggs. If you season it right, it doesnt
taste like bland diet food.

Protein shakes were

an important part of my
nutrition plan. I prefer a
Whey protein blend that is
low in fat and sugars.

theoworkday_diet_article.indd 4

A transformation like the one
Grage undertook is decidedly more
difficult than the typical one: the
hairy, unwashed, obese guy who
changes into a cleaned-up, tan,
not-quite-obese guy. After all,
when someone never lifts weights
and eats like a billy goat that just
got his medical marijuana card,
improvements come easy. But
when youve spent years eating
several small, high-protein/lowfat meals a day, and youve been
hitting the weight room at least five
days a week, change can be much
harder to initiate.
So Grage decided to try
something new: intermittent
fasting. Intermittent fasting is the
consistent use of 1624-hour
periods of zero caloric intake. Over
the last few years, intermittent
fasting has exploded into the
mainstream fitness consciousness.
A slew of books, websites and
magazine articles have been
praising the effectiveness of the
dietary strategy, which was once
relegated to monastic obscurity.
Adherents of intermittent fasting
report decreases in body-fat
levels, surges in growth-hormone
release, improved markers of
cardiovascular health, decreased
muscle inflammation, and even
a renewed appreciation for the
smell and taste of food. A study
published last year in the journal
Nutrition and Metabolism showed
that subjects who underwent an
intermittent fastingstyle diet
enjoyed significant protection from
coronary heart disease. Intermittent
fasting has become especially
popular with dieters who have been
unsuccessful at losing body fat
by following conventional wisdom,
such as cutting back on calories,
reducing fat and consuming more
whole grains.


Intermittent fasting can be
performed in a number of ways.
Grage put his own spin on a
popular version, which is a daily
16-hour fast in which eating is kept
to a strict eight-hour window. For
Grage, the discipline of foregoing
food wasnt nearly as difficult as
the mental stress he experienced at
not feeding his lean body mass for
16 hours.

was able to
shed fat in
half the time
it normally
takes me.

I thought I might lose lean

muscle mass, says Grage. I am
so used to the bodybuilding-style
dieteating protein every three
hoursI was afraid Id get too thin.
Therein lies the magic of
intermittent fasting. The relatively
short duration of the fast leads
to very little muscle loss and sets
in motion a hormonal chain of
events that not only burns fat, but
also protects and even promotes
muscle mass. Approximately
1624 hours into a fasted state,
the body experiences a massive
surge in growth-hormone release.
Human growth hormone helps
build muscles, accelerate metabolic
rate, speed recovery time, and is
also known to spare muscle tissue
during periods of fasting. A study
presented at the annual scientific
sessions of the American College of
Cardiology in New Orleans showed
that during 24-hour fasting periods,
human growth hormone increased
an average of 1,300% in women,
and nearly 2,000% in men.

10/9/2013 2:27:19 PM

Grage would switch between the

stairmill and the rower (two of the most
grueling cardio machines inexistence).

theoworkday_diet_article.indd 5

Sparing muscle might be

the reason why some people
respond better to intermittent
fasting than conventional caloric
restriction. A study conducted by
the Department of Kinesiology
and Nutrition at the University of
Illinois at Chicago examined the
weight-loss results in subjects
who either underwent daily
caloric restriction, such as in a
traditional diet, and those who
performed intermittent fasting. At
the end of the study, both groups
experienced similar decreases in
body weight and fat mass, but
the intermittent fasting groups
retained more of their muscle.
Grage transitioned into
intermittent fasting the right
way. First of all, he scheduled
his 16-hour fast to best suit
his lifestyle. All fasting periods
will include the eight-hour sleep
cycle, so the variety often boils
down to how long can someone
go in the morning without eating.
(Those who tend to skip breakfast
anyway find that fasting from 8
PM until noon works well.) Grage
is a breakfast eater, and decided
to schedule his fasts from 5 PM to
9 AM. That meant all of his meals
would happen at the BPI SPORTS
office and any noshing at home
was forbidden. This all-or-nothing
line of demarcation eliminated a
couple of Grages dietary demons.
It kept me from poking around
the kitchen and snacking at
night, he says. Besides, Im the
kind of guy who, if I have half of
a cookie, I am going to have 10
The second factor in Grages
favor was that he was already
acclimated to the type of
macronutrient ratio that works
the best with intermittent fasting,
which is a high-protein, low-carb
and moderate-fat diet. Grage
gave himself a bit more leeway on
his carb intake since he tends to
have a large calorie output, and in
the past he has not done well on
ultra-low-carb diets.

I get dumb when I dont have

any carbs, he says. I have to be
able to concentrate at work and
be there for my kids. That is really
hard for me with no carbs. I get
most of my carbohydrates from
vegetables, but I will eat some
oatmeal and a little bit of rice.
During his intermittent fast,
Grage would get out of bed at
5:45 AM to help get his 6-yearold son ready for school. He
would immediately drink 20 oz of
water and take a capsule of BPIs
once-a-day thermogenic, called
B4. Not surprisingly, caffeine and
fasting are a great combination.
One study, published in the
American Journal of Physiology,
showed that the metabolic rates
of fasting subjects are significantly
increased when exposed to
epinephrine, a chemical that
is triggered in the body when
caffeine is ingested.
After dropping his son off at
school, Grage would be at the
BPI gym, the 3,700 square-foot
weight room that is attached to
the BPI offices, by 7:45. At this
point, Grage is almost 15 hours
into this fast, and his body is
starting to flood his system with
natural human growth hormone.
Intermittent fasting adherents
like to hit the weight room at
this point in the fasting cycle to
reap the anabolic benefit of this
hormonal milieu. Grage, however,
has never enjoyed lifting weights
when hes hungry. After several
hours without eating, he feels
that the quality of his liftingthe
loads he moves and the intensity
he bringssuffers too much.
Instead, he opts for 40 minutes
of intense cardio each morning.
He still gets an extra payoff from
his fast. A study by Belgium
researchers found that subjects
who performed cardio in a fasted
state experienced greater levels of
fat oxidation than those who had
eaten a meal prior to exercising.

10/9/2013 2:27:19 PM

After a quick shower, he would

begin his workday and his eating
day, which brought its own set
of challenges. Grage had until 5
p.m. to eat all of his daily calories,
which are substantial considering
he trains twice a day.
It is hard to cram all of your
meals of the day into an eighthour window, he says. I have to
rely heavily on protein shakes.
At 2:30 PM, hed head back
into the BPI gym for a strengthtraining session. From 3:15 to 5
PM he would fit in a postworkout
protein shake, a whole food snack
and then dinner. A higher ratio of
protein and fat typically makes the
16-hour fats a little more bearable
since those macronutrients help
boost satiety and keep blood
sugar stable. Since Grage was
on a strict two-week deadline, he
decided not to let his fat intake
get too high.
No amount of protein and
fat is going to keep you satisfied
for 16 hours, so I figured I would
make my last meal of the day
super-clean, says Grage.
No one diets in a vacuum, and
things admittedly got difficult
when other people entered Grages
fasting bubble. There were times
when Annik, Grages wife, would
cook in the evening and the smells
emanating from the kitchen were
face-meltingly tempting. Even the
food his son and his little friends
ate began to acquire a new allure.
The kids had some peanut
butter and jelly sandwiches the
other day that looked very tasty,
he laughs.

theoworkday_diet_article.indd 6

10/9/2013 2:27:21 PM


SEPTEMBER 6th, 2013

SEPTEMBER 20th, 2013







At the end of the two weeks, the
experiment could not be called anything
less than a success. Grage went from
approximately 10% body fat to close
to 7%. He started with a lean and cut
midsection, and two weeks later he
could strike a match off his serratus
muscles. The eating program jived
perfectly with his work commitment as
well. He was able to fuel himself and be
productive during the workweek, rather
than wallowing in hunger-pang-filled
misery or trapped in a mental fog of carb
depletion. The one obstacle Grage found
with intermittent fasting was timing his
food, fasting, training and family.
Next time, Id consider trying a
different window where I could sit
down and have dinner with the family.
But what I like about the 9-to-5 fast
is that it worked with my cardio and
weight-training plan, he says. I dont
like to sacrifice time away from my
family by training in the evening. And
doing my cardio in a fasted state really
accelerated the process. Besides, if I did
cardio in the morning and then had to
wait until noon to eat, I would want to
kill someone.

theoworkday_diet_article.indd 7

One solution he is considering is an

alternative intermittent fasting program,
which follows a 5-1-1 protocol that calls
for eating a very clean diet with slightly
reduced calories for five days a week.
The sixth day is a 24-hour fast, and
the last day is a food free-for-all. The
seventh-day binge helps keep hormones
such as leptin from telling the body
that it is in famine mode and needs to
conserve calories and fat reserves.
Grage plans to keep his 16/8
intermittent fasting plan in his back
pocket, though. While it might not work
perfectly with his multifaceted lifestyle,
he feels it is the perfect short-term
program to tune up for a wedding,
vacation, reunion or the occasional
photo shoot. It is a quick fix that only
works for a physique that is already
very lean. However, maintaining good
so that great is only two weeks away
doesnt seem to be a problem for Grage.
I dont give myself an out and say,
Im almost 40. It is OK to look a little
flabbier. I want to look just as good as I
did when I was 24, he says. I just have
to make some adjustments as to how I
do it. My expectations are just as high
as they have ever been.

BPI has become one of the fastestgrowing sport supplement companies in

the world. From its quiet launch in 2009
the company has experienced exponential
growth. In 2012 they received the Rising
Star of the Year award from GNC. Twelve
months later they captured the coveted
Brand of the Year title. From the outside,
the companys supernova success looks like
it happened overnight, but that is not the
It has been baby steps, mistakes,
adjustments, corrections, well thought-out
decision, and a lot of sweating the small
stuff, says James Grage, Co-Founder and
Vice President of BPI Sports.
Early in their evolution, BPI became know
for their pre-workout supplement 1MR,
which still has a cult-like following. But
unlike so many companies who become
one-SKU wonders, BPI has successfully
diversified their offerings, which now include
testosterone-boosters, anabolic activators,
and a slew of carefully-tailored fat-burners.
Grage and the BPI executive team keep
one thought in the forefront of their minds
when it comes to growing their company:
Produce products that help people. That
mantra has been the star they have
navigated by since their very first days.
Not one for self-congratulations, Grage
admits to swelling with pride when he sees
the members of the BPI team living the
fitness lifestyle their company promotes.
They keep the break room stocked with
supplements and have a 3,700 square
foot training facility right there at BPI
We have hired a lot of people who
have never worked out, says Grage. For
about the first year they stand back and
watch other people train. Then one day you
start seeing them in the gym. Then they
are in the break room making a protein
shake. Pretty soon they are showing up to
work with their own container of chicken
and brown rice. I think that is so cool.
The lifestyle we promote is completely
contagious around here.

10/9/2013 2:27:23 PM

The Nutrition Plan

Eight Hours of Eating

How do you fit 24 hours of calories into a single workday? It takes dedication and a lot of Tupperware, says James Grage. One
missed meal can make a 16-hour Intermittent Fast unbearable, not to mention wreak havoc on a bodys anabolic environment. Except
for his sushi lunch, Grage would bring all his own food to the BPI office, ensuring he had a steady supply of clean calories. The daily
preparation was daunting, but Grage was fortunate enough to have some help in that way. Having a supportive spouse on board
definitely makes things a lot easier, he says.
5:45 AM
9:30-10:00 PM

Approximately 35 minutes
before bed
1 serving Nite-Burn (nonstimulant fat-loss supplement
that promotes relaxation
and enhances overnight
metabolism performance)
20 ounces of water

1 capsule of B4 (once-a-day
thermogenic that regulates adipose
20 ounces of water

7:45 AM

40 minutes of intense
cardio intervals

5 PM

Dinner (last meal of the day)

1 grilled chicken breast or 6 ounces tilapia
1 cup mixed vegetables
1 serving Keto XT (non-stimulant weight-loss
formula for evening-time fat-burning)

9:00 AM

Breakfast (immediately
after cardio)
30 grams of whey protein
4 egg whites with 2
whole eggs
1 scoop BLOX (amino
acid formula designed to
boost strength, recovery,
and muscle mass)
1 scoop Gluta Alkaline
(promotes muscle
recovery and endurance)
1 scoop Beta Alkaline
(encourages muscles
fullness and pump)


3:30 PM

Post-workout (20 minutes

after workout)
30 g of whey protein mixed
with 1 packet of Kashi
1 scoop of BLOX
3-4 capsules Creatine
Alkaline (bolsters muscle size
and strength)
1 scoop of Beta Alkaline
1-2 scoops Gluta Alkaline

2:30 PM

Pre-workout Supplements
(30 minutes before training)
1 scoop BLOX
1 scoop Beta Alkaline
1 scoop Leucine Agma pH
(promote anabolic activity
and nitric oxide synthase)
1 capsule of B4

theoworkday_diet_article.indd 8

10:30 AM

Mid-Morning Snack
Protein Pancakes (
scoop of protein, cup
oatmeal, 3 egg whites,1
whole egg, cinnamon)
1 scoop BLOX mixed with
my water

1:30-2:00 PM

Afternoon Snack
grilled chicken breast
sliced avocado

12:00 PM

6 pieces tuna sashimi
1 avocado roll

10/9/2013 2:27:26 PM

The Training Plan

Intermittent Workouts
During the two weeks
of his Intermittent Fasting
experiment, James Grage did
double gym sessions Monday
through Friday and then a
bout of cardio each day of the
weekend. Its probably safe
to say that his post-workout
showers added up to more
time than most people spend
in the gym every week.
It wasnt just the frequency
of his workouts that helped
Grage get cover-model lean; it
was his intensity. In fact, each
training session was only about
40 minutes long. But for those
40 minutes Grage worked like
an animal.
For example, his morning
cardio wasnt a half hour on
the recumbent bike while he
watched Matt Lauer. Grage
would switch between the
stairmill and the rower (two
of the most grueling cardio
machines inexistence) and
sprinkle in the elliptical as well.
Suffering from self-diagnosed
exercise ADD he would move
between machines every 10 to

15 minutes, keeping his pace

and attention-level high.
His afternoon weight training
followed a traditional body
part split (Monday: chest/
abs; Tuesday: back/traps;
Wednesday: legs; Thurs:
shoulders/calves/abs; Friday:
biceps/triceps.) His goal was
to maintain muscle mass and
burn fat, so his reps never
dipped below 10 per set and
his rest periods were very
short. Often he would employ
a form of active rest and jump
rope between sets or sneak
in some added abdominal
Just like pennies in a piggy
bank add up to a fortune,
Grage would fit in short bouts
of activity wherever he could.
Twice a week hed do an extra
15 minutes of ab work, and on
the weekend hed knock off
some sets of push-ups, sit-ups
and medicine ball exercises.
When the weather cooperated
hed leave his car in the garage
and take his road bike on the
24-mile round trip to work.

Just like pennies in a piggy

bank add up to a fortune, Grage
would fit in short bouts of
activity wherever he could.

theoworkday_diet_article.indd 9

10/9/2013 2:27:27 PM