Tag Archives: intermittent fasting

What do you do after a feast?

Note: Since I currently can’t afford the time to write detailed science heavy articles, I will be writing multiple short and sharp articles every week. Comments will be closed for the same reason and so, in case of questions or topic suggestions, email is the way to go. If you take the time to email, I will take the time to reply. That said, rest assured that if the article deals with a controversial topic or a topic that will benefit from some healthy debate/discussion, comments will be open. Be sure to subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss out on the many articles to come!

– – – – – x – – – – –

Well… you fast!

We all have nights when we binge. This could be a birthday dinner or a festival or a drunken night or just a night when your spouse/mom decides to make something special for no reason. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it! I mean, whats life without some feasting right?

And interestingly enough, the act of binging or feasting isn’t new to us. From when humans were hunter-gatherers, the unavailability of a constant energy (food) supply, kind of forced them into feasts. Whenever there was a big kill or a serendipitous find of 30 ripe mangoes, they probably ended up feasting possibly till their stomachs couldn’t hold any more food! This was critical for survival and honestly, very natural. Given that storing food wasn’t an option, when food was hard to come by and suddenly a large amount of food was available, the only option was to eat like there was no tomorrow. This way, though food couldn’t be stored, the energy (calories) from the food could be compacted and stored… as fat!

After such a feast the unsurmountable urge to find food no longer existed since the body was utilizing the energy that was stored previously and so folks moved on to living their lives without worrying about finding food or feeding. The case today is pretty much the same. Though there is a constant supply of energy (food), there are times when we feast and the best thing you can do for yourself after such a feast is to fast.

Is this healthy?

As long as you are a generally healthy being, there is absolutely nothing to worry about when fasting. Since the body continues to receive energy (from fat stores), it isn’t, by any stretch of imagination, ‘starving’ and hence will continue to function as well as always.

Many, if not all, cultures and religions worldwide encourage some form of fasting or the other and there is good reason for the same. Fasting has been proven multiple times to be one of the best options for good health and longevity.

Will this help with fat loss?

Well of course. For one, the fasting helps balance out the calorie equation. And in addition to that, when you feast, especially when consuming plenty of carbohydrates, insulin is elevated which stimulates glycogen and fatty acid synthesis and when you fast, glucagon is elevated (which in turn stimulates secretion of adrenalin) which inhibits glycogen and fatty acid synthesis. Since glycogen and fatty acid synthesis is inhibited, this helps mobilize and utilize the stored energy (fat) for energy. In other words, the excess calories that you consumed during the feast, without doubt, was stored as fat and fasting will help mobilize some of the stored fat that can then be used (burned) as energy.

Is this practical?

Here are some options to incorporate this…

  • Skip breakfast the day after your feast or the meal following your feast.
  • Skip breakfast and eat very modest meals of mainly vegetables for the remaining meals if your feast was indescribably epic!
  • As a general health habit, start off by skipping breakfast twice a week. Ensure that you get enough sleep and that your stress levels are low.
  • If skipping breakfast is too hard for whatever reason, stick to super light and simple food options like eating only a few carrots or strawberries or a fresh vegetable salad (without dressing) until lunch.
  • Remember to drink enough water while fasting and don’t hesitate to have a couple of cups of green/black/white tea (without milk and sugar) or black coffee (without milk and sugar).

Peace out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Low fat or high fat? Squat or not? Volume or intensity?

The Devil:

Fruit = Natural vitamins and minerals! Eat as much as you want!

Eating fat will cause heart problems.

Carbs are harmless. Get as much whole grains as you can.

Calorie counting is a must to maintain a healthy weight.

Low carb diets don’t work. They’re a fad!

Vegetables are the most important ingredient.

A lot of centenarians ate only vegetables.

Fasting results in muscle wastage. You should eat 6-8 small meals everyday.

Crossfit sucks!

(Distance) Running is the best exercise there is.

Squatting causes knee problems.

Yoga is just stretching. Lame!

Cardio is the most important part of training.

Never strength train to failure.

Volume training is the only way to get strong and muscular.

The Deep Blue Sea:

Fruit (fructose) is poison. Never ever eat fruit.

Eating mostly fat will save you from everything.

Carbs are the sole cause of heart diseases, obesity and every other disease!

Never count calories! Let hunger dictate how much you eat.

Low carb diets are the only way to stay healthy.

Vegetables are worthless.

A lot of centenarians survived on eggs and fatty meat.

Crossfit is the best training program ever created!

(Distance) Running is detrimental to health.

Squatting can cure cancer. You have to squat 3 days a week!

Fasting is beneficial to health. You should eat only 1-2 times a day.

Yoga is all that is required for anyone to get fit irrespective of his/her goals.

Cardio is unnecessary.

Training to failure is the only way to make strength gains.

Volume training results in joint abuse. Keep the volume low. Intensity FTW.

Somewhere Between:

Fruits are nature’s candy. Eat them in moderation.

Fats are absolutely essential to the body. Eat much but be sure to get enough protein and carbs too.

Carbs are beneficial when consumed based on activity level.

Don’t count calories. Don’t binge eat. Practice portion control.

Overweight? Want to lean out? Try low carb. If it works that’s great, else add in some carbs.

Eat a lot of vegetables but don’t eat only vegetables.

All centenarians ate less, lived active, fasted frequently and did not stress much!

There are things about Crossfit which are exceptional and parts that are plain ridiculous. Choose wisely.

Enjoy running? Go out and run. Hate it? Don’t worry about it.

Can’t squat? Try harder. Still can’t? Hop on the leg press.

Prefer big meals? Eat 1-3 times a day. Prefer small meals? Eat 4-6 times a day.

Yoga is great and is one of the many tools that need to be a part of your fitness toolkit. Practice it often.

Eat clean. Strength train. Do cardio that doesn’t affect recovery.

Work with sub-maximal loads during most phases of the year. Plan your workouts such that you go to failure once every few weeks.

High volume works. Low volume works. Try both. Find what works for you. Train smart.

For the most part, I seem to happily hover around somewhere between the devil and the deep blue sea.  Where do you want to chill?

Get your mind right people! Find what works for you. Self-experimentation is what it all comes down to!

Enjoy the weekend!

Peace out.

7 Week Results

Before I start this post, a big thank you to Lyle McDonald, Mark Sisson, Robb Wolf and Martin Berkhan. I have learnt so much from these guys I have to literally pay them tuition!

On the 12th of July I wrote a blog post titled ‘Time To Walk The Talk’. This is a follow up post to that. If you haven’t read that post already please do so before reading this post.

So for the last 6-7 weeks I have been trying to lean out. I generally don’t like focussing on aesthetics and prefer going by how I feel in general, sleep at night and perform during the day. But this time was a little different. Here’s why.

I went on a strength gain cycle for 5-6 weeks. All was well and I was gaining strength as expected until June 16th happened. I had a stupid fall while doing box jumps as a part of a conditioning workout and I ended up fracturing my left elbow and straining my left wrist pretty badly. This put me in a bad spot because I had to rest my arm on a sling for 2-3 weeks and couldn’t do any proper/intense workouts. I realized I was starting to  losing the strength I had just gained and the fat I gained along with the strength ain’t going nowhere! Well.. now I was just a fat guy who didn’t work out! Painful flashback!

The injury kept me from working out for about a week and then I was back on. I did exercises I could do without hurting the fractured arm. Thanks to solid nutrition and swigs of fish oil I recovered a lot quicker than I (or the doctor) expected. In like 3 weeks I was able do pull-ups again though it took me close to 5 weeks to do comfortable pushups.

What did I do for these 7 weeks?

Diet:

  • I ate a super clean diet filled with real foods. 95% Grade A foods. Click here for more information.
  • I had cheat meals every 2 weeks. I planned them, worked towards them and destroyed them when the time came. FYI – I had 3 huge cheat days and one all out 3-day vacation in Hawaii during these 6 weeks.
  • I did not count calories but I’m pretty sure I was somewhere in the 1500-1800 calorie range with ~ 40-60 gms of carbs and 150 gms protein per day. Rest of the calories coming from fat (and yes… lots of saturated fat too!)
  • I ate 2 meals a day. My first meal was lunch. Yep I ate no breakfast. Why? Intermittent Fasting Leangains approach. Martin Berkhan is dope and here is all the information you need.
  • Everyday Supplements: 1 Multi-vitamin, 3-4 gms EPA/DHA (fish oil), Whey Protein (as required)
  • Liquids: 2-4 liters of water depending on thirst, black coffee pretty much everyday

Training:

  • 3 days of lifting per week (squats, deadlifts, presses, weighted pull-ups, dumbbell rows)
  • 1-2 days of high intensity metabolic conditioning < 20 min duration (sprints, jumps, crossfit metcons, tabata protocol workouts etc.)
  • 1 day of ‘not for time’ workouts ~40 mins in duration.
  • 45-60 mins walking everyday (morning walk/stretch, lunch break walk, evening walk, dog walk and post dinner walk)

Results:

  • I felt awesome throughout the 6 week period. No hunger pangs or drop in blood sugar. High energy throughout the day. Very deep sleep at night. Great focus during the day.
  • Strength losses occurred. I would say most of the strength loss was due to the injury (and inactivity therefore) and some of it was due to the drop in calories.
  • Awesome endurance gains! Basal Heart Rate dropped from 62-4bpm to 46-48bpm. Metcons had a 30% improvement with respect to time. 400m sprint times also improved.
  • I don’t have blood work done yet, but will update you guys when I have it done which will be very soon.
  • Weight loss: 10 lbs in 6 weeks. Mostly fat loss. Body composition improved. Starting weight – 158 lbs. Current weight 148 lbs.
  • Photo evidence below.

PS: I generally run leaner in the morning and so the first picture (left) was taken first thing in the AM. Basically I tried everything to look less gross in the before picture (left). Didn’t help too much I guess. The second picture was clicked this evening.

Conclusion:

  • Like I had promised – I loved every single meal I ate and never compromised taste for health or health for taste. Cheat/carb-load days were even more special!
  • I did not let this leaning out cycle stop me from going on a vacation (which was nothing short of fantastic!)
  • I will continue this for another 4 weeks or so but, now that my elbow has recovered, I will focus primarily on performance.
  • I will get back to not worrying too much about aesthetics and focus on how I feel and function. (I like the my level of leanness right now because this body fat level generally helps me perform strength, endurance and yoga workouts comfortably. Any lower and I feel like dog poop all day… any higher and I look pudgy. No choice but to work with the genetic cards that we’re dealt!)
  • Considering the injury and the 2-3 week time off after the strength (and fat) gain cycle, this wasn’t a bad leaning out cycle. I lost about 1.5 lbs per week consistently. I’m not thrilled about the strength losses but it is what it is. Like I said in the July 12th post – “I will realize that my elbow has not completely healed and choose exercises and/or scale loads accordingly”.

Remember… it’s not enough that you train hard… you’ve got to train smart!

I will update you guys once again in about 4 weeks.

Adios.

%d bloggers like this: