Posts Tagged ‘fasting’

The holidays have come and gone.  Overall, they provided a little bit of rest and a lot of food.  And with lots of food comes the extra “holiday weight” that we all can relate to.  Truth be told, this is actually the first year that I have added some extra weight without it disappearing a few days after cleaning my diet up.  Yep, this stuff isn’t just water retention, it’s the real deal.  It needs to go.

In the past, I would have taken care of this problem with the Carb Cycling protocol I laid out in my earlier series on the subject.  I know it well, it is easy to follow and I have had success with this strategy each time I used it.  But the prospect of doing it again seems boring to me and I felt like I needed to try something new in order to add a layer of excitement to the pursuit of my goals.

Enter Kevin Catlin (huh?).  Last week he asked me if I had ever written anything about intermittent fasting (IF).  He mentioned he might try it to prepare for a GORUCK challenge he hopes to do in the near future.  I said that I hadn’t because I have never tried it.  To me, it always sounded like some crazy strategy people like Scott Boggs used in order to justify his insect consumption.  Furthermore, I had always read that not eating for extended periods of time eventually leads to muscle and strength loss.  It seemed blasphemous to me to not eat throughout the day, especially before and after training.

Admittedly, I knew very little about IF so I decided to do some research.  The more I read, the more IF started to appeal to me.  From the literature, it appeared as if IF would allow me to drop fat and maintain or even add to my strength and muscle mass which is obviously the holy grail of training.  Along with this, IF proponents claim it allows you have a clearer, more productive mind throughout the entire day with no mid-day “mind fog”.  For those interested in the details of IF and how it works, here are the links I read:

T-Nation – Berardi’s Fasting Experiment

Leangains interview

IF general overview

It should be no surprise (especially by the name of the blog) that I am going to give this a shot for 2 months to see how it works.  I figure it will be a fun test for the efficacy of IF as well as provide some nice content for the blog.  Two birds, right?  In the end the goal is to provide a detailed log our members can reference if they want to give IF a shot.

The Plan

I have decided to do the most popular version of IF for athletes which is 16 hours of no food followed by 8 hours of feeding.  I considered making my feeding window from 7:30 AM – 3:30 PM because I normally train at 5:30 AM and wanted to start my window with a post-workout meal.  But after reading some different strategies, specifically one for morning lifters, I decided that I will keep my feeding window from 12 – 8 which is the more common approach.  Apparently, many IFers skip breakfast rather than dinner.  Also, this should work better for me socially as I am more likely to go out for dinner than I am breakfast.

One of the more attractive parts of IF is that the goal is to eat the same amount of calories you normally do but the difference is that you do it in a much smaller window.  I will be following the recommendations on the Leangains website where I will eat a surplus of calories on training days and less on days I don’t train.  I already eat this way and have been for some time so this will be nothing new except for the new 8 hour window restriction.  Initially, I plan to just cut one meal out on non-training days but I will adjust if necessary.  So, 4 meals on training days and 3 meals on non-training days.

For my dietary choices, I am going to continue to eat the same things I do now, just in a more condensed 8-hour window.  Lots of lean proteins, nuts, fruits, and some veggies.  This may horrify some of you but I will eat things like potatoes and oatmeal for post workout replenishment as well as to refuel after a hard training day.  I intend to include oatmeal or a potato in my first meal PWO which, as mentioned before, will occur around noon.  Once per week, I may eat out for dinner on a weekend night but I will let my results dictate if I do that or not.  I am not going to get too caught up on exact calorie tracking to start because everything I have read says this is not necessary but may possibly do this if results aren’t as expected.

Since I am training around 5:30 AM each day, this will leave significant time between the end of my training and my first meal.  This is completely foreign to me and something I am sure I will have a hard time accepting mentally because I have known only one way for so long.  But I will do it to test the plan at full compliance.  In order to prevent muscle loss on fasted training, it is recommended to take 10g of BCAAs before/during training and 10g of BCAAs an hour after training so this is what I will do.  I currently use BCAAs as a part of my regular training supplementation but will be interested to see how they work in this capacity.

My goals are pretty straightforward.  I would like to reduce my weight and body fat to around where I was pre-holidays and maybe even lower.  Currently, I weigh somewhere around 187 and would like to get that down to 180.  While doing this, I also hope to gain strength and get back to my pre-injury weights and maybe even set some new PRs.  From what I read it is possible so we will see how it goes.

To keep myself honest and give you all some hard data to reference, I will be updating this weekly with these categories:

Weight: I will weigh myself every Thursday morning.

Body Fat: I will have Jamie take my body fat measurements every Thursday morning as well to monitor changes

Training: Here, I will report my week of training and how this went.  I will also comment on energy levels and how I feel during those training sessions compared to pre IF training. I will still be almost exclusively weightlifting so it should be interesting to see if I will drop body fat on a very small amount of cardio.

Diet: I will report generally how I ate the whole week and if I included any meals out or cheat meals.

How I Feel: This is where I will document how I feel each week (duh).  I will try to focus on how I am tolerating the fasting on both a physical and mental level.  I usually have no problem staying mentally strong on any sort of diet so I don’t expect this to be too much of a problem.  It is the physical part I am most concerned about.

So that’s the whole plan.  Let me know if you guys have any questions, would like more information about IF or want me to add any categories to the data I will be tracking.  If you like what you read on this blog and want updates every time something new is posted, you can subscribe by clicking the button on the left side.

Thanks and wish me luck!