The title is worded correctly. The attempt I made to clarify the way I view proper nutrition in my recent blog post seemed to cause more questions than answers. In continuation to that post, I will better explain the nutritional discipline I use. The long periods of starvation combined with short periods of monstrous binging have made me dub the term “Intermittent Feasting”. DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor or medical professional. Extreme changes to your normal eating habits can be both uncomfortable and dangerous. You must know your body and ease yourself into things.
A normal day. The principle basis of intermittent fasting is having cycle that includes a period of fasting followed by a period of feasting. In a typical day, I will fast for 16 hours and eat for 8. The sixteen hours of fasting are not supplemented with snacks and sugary drinks. It is a 100% fast. No food… just water. I start my fast at night where I will stop my feasting phase at 10 P.M. This allows me to fall into an insulin induced coma (this is a joke…kind of) and sleep like a baby all night long. I will then wake up and be on my way not having to stop for breakfast. I will work all day until roughly noon where I will begin my workout. For this principle to be successful, you must workout at the very end of your fast. Finally, after about a two-hour workout I will be depleted and ready to refuel. Now the fun part…eating. I will then binge from roughly 2 P.M. to 10 P.M. When I say binge, I mean eat an unrealistic amount of food, including hitting all of my macronutrients, from the beginning to the very end of my eating period. Although I do have cheat days, I am not consuming ice cream and fat snacks for the entire 8 hours. Newcomers to this principle will try that and find out very quickly how painful it becomes. At the end of my eating period, I drink some water to aid in digestion (your body utilizes a lot of water to process this amount of food), and then fall into a nice long slumber where the cycle starts all over again.
Your body. Intermittent fasting works based on the primal principle of biological design. Despite the fact that you can drive a car and operate a computer, you are still an animal. By that, I mean that your ancestors did not have the luxury of a grocery store to have a continuous supply of food. Therefore, the human body evolved and adapted to its surroundings the best way it could. The biological mechanisms put in place by our body are now seen as detriments. Excess fat stores, cholesterol, and insulin insensitivity (diabetes) are just some examples. In the most basic sense, our lifestyle has evolved beyond or body’s design.
Your body wants you to live. Your body only wants what’s best for you and will do anything it takes to keep you alive. Therefore, your body will never turn away free energy. Energy is the most precious commodity in our universe (it’s not money…even your body knows that) and will store as much of it as it can as fat. Our ancestors would need these fat stores to provide energy over an unknown period until the next meal. In the modern day, your body barely has enough time to process the previous meal before it is receiving the next batch of energy. We are in a constant state of energy surplus causing excess fat stores and an overexposure of insulin. Insulin is a peptide hormone that regulates metabolism of carbohydrates, fat, and protein. Essentially, insulin the chemical precursor that tells our body to process the food you eat. When constantly eating, your body is flooded with insulin and becomes insensitive to this hormone. This insensitivity is more commonly referred to as diabetes. Much like the most overprotective family member you have ever had, your body will do everything it can to protect you by continuously processing storing food even if it is to your own detriment.
The fix. Simple, intermittent fasting. By using your body the way it is meant to be used, it will respond the way you want it to. The benefits are endless but here are a few. The fast causes your body to reach survival mode daily. Survival mode forces your body to utilize excess fat stores as energy. The utilization of these fat stores is what keeps your body at a natural equilibrium allowing you to look both strong and healthy. Additionally, your mind and body operates at a much higher capacity on an empty stomach. Insulin is the direct enemy of key health hormones such as testosterone and human growth hormone. During a fast, your body will flood your system with these beneficial hormones. From its perspective, you have to be bigger, faster, and stronger to find that next meal. From your perspective, you see increased muscle growth and performance in every area of life. Finally, your mind operates at a much higher capacity when fasted. The studies on this phenomenon are still in the work. However, the most obvious finding is that blood in your body is limited (mind blown). When you are digesting food, blood is diverted to your stomach and intestines to aid in this process. When fasted, you have additional blood that can be diverted to your brain to improve cognitive ability.
Try it out, you might like it. I hope that this cleared up some of the questions that arose from the previous post. If you are contemplating trying intermittent fasting, I would advise easing into it. Start with 12 hours fasting and 12 hours feasting then work your way up. The Guru who introduced me to this system (SHOT OUT JOESEPH PATTERSON), would fast for up to 72 hours with a 24-hour eating period. That extreme level of fasting is not advised for the average person with average fitness goals, but does provide an example of the possibilities of this program. On a personal note, fasting has improved every area of my life by allowing me more time to focus on my goals. With only 8 hours devoted to eating, I had 16 hours straight that I could devote my uninterrupted attention to the gym, the military, and school allowing me to excel in all three. In terms of school, I noticed a direct correlation between a fast and performance. I thought much more clearly and had a nearly photographic memory. Know your body, understand your body, and be smarter than your body. Once you get this, your body will work for you rather than you working for it.