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OMAD: An Hourly Breakdown of One Meal a Day Fasting


What the hell is OMAD? Wait, you really only eat one meal a day? Are you insane? 

This is one of many typical questions people ask once they find out I only eat once a day. Here are a few more you’ll likely hear.

  • “Don’t you get hungry?” 
  • “How do you have any energy?”
  • “Why would you do that to yourself?”
Joker intermittent fasting meme
He’s not wrong

Frankly, I’m equally surprised how someone can have an opinion about something they’ve never experienced firsthand. Especially when it comes down to dieting. 

No, I don’t get hungry. I have a shit ton of clear-headed, focused energy. And I do it because it’s awesome, cheap, convenient and satiating. Oh yeah, and it gets you jacked without much effort. 

Mystery solved. In a nutshell at least.

In all seriousness, there are very real, very clear benefits of OMAD intermittent fasting. Yet, for some reason, this doesn’t provide enough motivation for people to give the diet protocol a try. 

If you’re one of those folks who doesn’t know how you could possibly get by eating only once a day, this article is for you.

What is OMAD? 

First, let’s define OMAD. 

One meal a day eating is one of the many common intermittent fasting protocols. Yes, I said protocol and not dieting. 

This is because OMAD or intermittent fasting is an eating schedule, not a diet. Now, if you shovel spoonfuls of sugary shit in your face and don’t count your calories, macros, or nutrition, you’ll probably still get fat. One meal a day or not. 

Ben Stiller fat fasting meme
Be aware of overconsumption

In that case, I can’t help you.

Need help figuring out your macros? I like the free If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM) calculator.

Many people new to intermittent fasting will start on a standard 16/8 schedule. Meaning they fast for 16 hours, followed by an 8-hour eating “window”. Once accustomed to this new lifestyle, intermittent fasting practitioners will then graduate to a 20/4 routine, then ultimately to OMAD. 

My OMAD protocol

I usually classify my OMAD protocol as 23/1. However, depending on the meal, it often takes me longer than a single hour to enjoy my well-deserved feast.

Also, I drink copious amounts of caffeine throughout the day. Assuming I’m not already slamming ephedrine for accelerated fat loss

Tyrone Biggums fasting gif
Disclaimer: I do not condone the use of crack for weight loss

You’re probably aware of the whole “does it break my fast?” online debate. As a general rule, if it contains calories or has the potential to spike your insulin, you’re probably breaking your fast. 

As your body adapts to the protocol, you can probably lighten up a bit. Eventually, you’ll learn to just eat when you’re hungry. Which for me almost always happens to fall into your fasting window. However, I’ve been doing this thing for a few years now, so your results may vary. 

Additionally, I may or may not take my homemade pre-workout supplements or even a single scoop of protein powder to kickstart a grueling workout. 

In the end, it probably doesn’t make much of a difference. Give it a try, dial in the details and stick with what works best for you. 

What is OMAD intermittent fasting like? 

Here is an hour-by-hour timeline of what it’s like to go nearly 24 hours without eating.  

Angry fat man breaks Xbox funny gif
I guess that counts as exercise…

For the sake of this post, fasting starts immediately after finishing my last bite of food. This usually occurs later in the evening, immediately following a weightlifting session.

Yes, some fasting fanatics will argue that you’re still fed as long as you’re digesting food and I wouldn’t disagree. For now, let’s keep things simple and focus on what you’re really here for.

Full After Eating One Meal a Day

Hour 0

I finally put down the fork after chowing down a day’s worth of nourishment in a single sitting. My gut is stretched to the max. 

With so much volume in my belly, I feel like my semi-digested dinner is going to force its way out. One end or another. 

Harry Dumb and Dumber on toilet funny gif
Operation Porcelain Plaster commence

Typically I have to take a massive shit immediately after eating as the backpressure in my system forces me to blast out my bowels. 

OMAD and Digestion

Hour 2

The brick in my stomach is finally dissipating and the full day’s worth of food is finally making its way down to the line. I feel like I can breathe again. 

Since my meal is almost always post-workout and truly OMAD (no supplements, pre-workout or protein), I’m now coming down from the insulin spike. 

Fat orangutan laying down funny
Looks like how I feel post-meal

If I’m still shy calorically and have a sweet tooth, I may nibble on a Quest bar or sip some diet soda. 

But usually, a single meat-based meal will leave me satiated until the next night. Being physically exhausted and fully fed, it’s time to start winding down and getting ready for bed.

Yes, I know diet soda is terrible for you. But it’s definitely a well-deserved treat at the end of a day well done. Plus, the carbonation will further fill your belly making you feel fuller faster. 

OMAD at Night 

Hour 4

Time to go through my pre-sleep routine, take whatever supplements I might be on and get ready for a post-feast, hibernation-like slumber. 

Kid sleeping on toilet funny OMAD
Try to at least make it to your bedroom

You might find yourself still having to piss and shit on occasion, but you’ll get used to it. 

With my body beat to hell from the weights and primed with a day’s worth of nutrients consumed in a single sitting, it’s muscle-building and hormone-secreting time!

OMAD and Sleeping

Hours 5 – 11

This is the easiest part of the fast since I’m sleeping. Depending on my level of calorie restriction or stimulant consumption throughout the day, I might wake up in the middle of the night. 

Patrick Spongebob Squarepants insomnia funny
You’ll adapt eventually

Last night I woke up in the middle of the night as part of my caffeine comedown since I drank my last coffee later in the day. 

However, I usually fall asleep within 5 minutes of my head hitting the pillow. And remain completely unconscious. 

That is until the sun peeks over the horizon and decides to wake me up naturally. Bastard.

Warning: You may feel well-rested and reinvigorated every single morning. Proceed with caution. 

Skipping Breakfast on OMAD

Hour 12

I wake up with a stable, yet high enough energy level that I can spring out of bed and get on with my morning. If I woke up mid-sleep cycle and feel a bit groggy, I might grab a coffee.

Will Ferrell coffee OMAD
Good coffee indeed

But note, while fasted, coffee might have a different effect than normal. For me, caffeine consumption actually levels me up while ramping up my focus.

The feeling is akin to Adderall. For free.

This is the time most people would eat breakfast. I’ve never been a big breakfast or carb fan. Fortunately, I don’t suffer the carbohydrate hangover or hunger pains from skipping this non-essential meal.

If you simply can’t see yourself giving up breakfast foods, you can always make a mountain of bacon and eggs for dinner. Just saying.

OMAD and Hunger

Hour 16

If I have hunger pains, this is where they occur. Right during the damn lunch window. I assume this is due to years of mid-day munching, subsequent insulin spike, and dreaded afternoon crash.

Hunger Games funny OMAD meme
Don’t worry, you’ll make it out alive

It also doesn’t help that you’ll likely be surrounded by co-workers heating up all sorts of non-nutritious shit in the break room. Tempting you even more.

My solution? Crack a no-calorie caffeinated beverage such as black coffee or tea.

I’ll also make sure I have work scheduled during this hour so I’m too busy to pay attention to hunger. Once you make it over this hump, the hunger will go away and be replaced by intense focus.

The further you get into a fast, the less hungry you’ll likely be. Just stay busy and enjoy the mental clarity. You’ll ride out this rough period just fine.

Pre-workout and OMAD

Hour 18

Start preparing for workout. I do most of my workouts fasted, but I’ll often still supp up to prevent catabolism.

On a rare occasion, I’ll consume a small snack of no more than 50 carbs and 25 grams protein (2:1 ratio) prior to lifting. This gives me just the spark I need to fuel an intense workout without feeling weak or full as fuck.

Skinny kid flexing Little Giants gif
Gotta start somewhere

If fasted training scares you, don’t let it. You wouldn’t exist today if your caveman ancestors couldn’t survive an afternoon without a Snickers. You’ll be fine.

Personally, I hate working out full as it limits my range of movement and gives me a bit of brain fog. Fasted focus is real.

Use it to your advantage in the gym for an increased mind-muscle connection.

Grocery Shopping for OMAD

Hour 20

Leave the gym, head to the grocery store.

Since I eat one meal a day, there’s no reason to have snacks or other shit laying around my house.

You’ll likely be a bit hungry after fasted training, so you might be tempted to binge if you have a surplus of food at your disposal. To remedy this, only purchase fresh food.

Supermarket Sweep funny gif
Use precaution shopping while hangry

Buy exactly what you need for today’s meal. Nothing more.

– Scott Leslie

Don’t pay attention to the “eating healthy is expensive” excuses or any other diet lies. Unless you’re a lazy ass or illiterate, eating one meal a day shouldn’t cost more than $5-10.

Look at your local ads. I don’t care what kind of diet you practice, but if you want to be lean and muscular, all meals should be meat-based.

That’s not saying you can’t have vegetables. But, you’re going to get full fast once you get the hang of OMAD. Nutrient density will eventually become your friend here.

You get all the nutrition you need from animal protein. Cut out the bullshit and learn to use spices and healthy homemade sauces.

OMAD for Superior Fat Loss

Hour 21

Step 1. Spritz off my gym stank and sticky sack sweat.

Step 2. Saunter on over to my stovetop, stainless steel grill, cast iron, or electric skillet and get to cooking!

Remember how I said fasting is efficient?

Lisa Simpson smart
Or just smart

Most of my meals are super simple and fit my macros perfectly. You may need to track at first with apps like MyFitnessPal to get the portion sizes down.

With experience, you’ll know exactly what you need without food scales or nutritional labels.

In fact, you’ll likely be able to determine an item’s nutritional/macro breakdown by sight, weighing a portion in the palm of your hand or simply on how it feels.

Eating After OMAD

Hour 23

You’ve gone almost a full day and are now a human growth hormone, fat-burning, super-focused machine. Time to refuel!

Sit down, cut out the distractions and enjoy your meal. Bite by bite. You’re not eating again for another day. Enjoy it.

Emma Stone OMAD funny gif
Enjoy! You deserve it

Close your eyes and focus on the nourishing nature of what you’re putting down your throat. Chew and swallow slowly. With a likely shrunken stomach, you’re going to fill up fast.

And there you have it! A full day into the life of one meal a day intermittent fasting.

Fast. Train. Eat. Sleep. 

Don’t underestimate the fat-burning and muscle-building power of sleep. There’s nothing more satisfying than ending a day full of ass-kicking by feeding your body the proper fuel to actually allowing it to repair itself.

OMAD before and after transformation
Yours truly, before and after OMAD

So go ahead and give it a try. As with anything in life, it might not be for you. But, it never hurts to experiment.

Remember, staying fit really comes down to consistency. Figure out what works for your routine, schedule, and budget. With any diet, adherence is key.

For me, OMAD is quite literally the perfect recipe for getting (and staying) lean and mean.

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