Good Morning Followers:
Many Body Designs’ clients have recently asked me about Intermittent Fasting (IF) as an approach to achieving their fitness goals.
Well, my answer in a minute. But first, for those of you who are unfamiliar IF dieting, it is basically a meal plan schedule that alternates between FASTing and FEASTing during a defined period of time over a specific time period. Below is a brief description of the five most popular versions.
The Leangains approach is said to be for gym-goers who want to lose body fat and build muscle. Here, men fast for 16 hours a day and women fast for 14, and then feast for the remaining eight to 10 hours. During the fast, the participant is allowed to consume black coffee, calorie-free sweeteners, diet soda and sugar-free gum. Uh, yum?
The Eat Stop method is a 24 hour fast performed once or twice per week. Calorie-free beverages are the only items that permitted to be consumed during the fast. Please…Stop!
The Warrior Diet is for those who fast for 20 hours every day and eat one large meal every night. Did they mean Worrier?
Fat Loss Forever involves a combination of the three methods listed above AND a cheat day each week. Then followed by a 36 hour fast. Really? How confusing?!?!
Lastly, UpDayDownDay (aka The Alternate-Day Diet), actually popular among bodybuilders (except me), is when a dieter eats what they should (based on their Basal Metabolic Rate – which is usually between 2000 and 2500 calories) on the Up Day and about 80 percent less (so 400 to 500 total calories) on the Down Day. Yeesh!! I think I need to lay down!
It doesn’t take a fitness expert to see some of the inherent flaws in each of the above scenarios; especially since most people (not you though) don’t really know how many calories they consume per meal, let alone per day!
So, what works? Exercising in the morning – on an empty stomach, whether I am doing cardio OR training with weights, followed by a regular “diet” of healthy foods in their appropriate proportions and carefully measured portions, has been most successful for me. Why? The answer is three-fold:
- When exercising the body in a fasted state, the body becomes more insulin sensitive and that makes it easier to lose fat (especially around the belly) and improves blood flow to the muscles which jump starts the recovery process.
- A fast (along with regular resistance training and sleep) is a great way to elicit muscle gain as a result of the body’s increased secretion of growth hormone which not only makes new muscle, but also burns fat and improves bone density and longevity.
- The one-two punch of exercising while fasting also produces higher levels of testosterone. Which helps build muscle, of course. Which helps burn fat, of course.
But remember, the fast here is only before a workout. So if you are an AM trainee, skip breakfast. If you train at night, make lunch your last meal before you do. However, whether you are doing cardio or weights, it is imperative to eat a proper post-workout meal within the first 60 to 90 minutes of completing your training session. Following that, continue to eat well-balanced healthy meals at regular intervals (every 4 – 6 hours).
I apologize for the length of this installment. However, since fasting seems to be a hot and TIMELY topic, I thought it important to be thorough. Hot? For sure! IF is IN. Timely? Yes, Tuesday is Mardi Gras (French for Fat Tuesday) which is the Feast at the beginning of Lent (a forty day “fast”), when Catholics and SOME other Christian denominations honor the one Jesus endured (Matthew 4) just prior to the start of His ministry on earth.
Also known as Shrove Tuesday, when priests hear Confession of congregants who, a day later (Ash Wednesday), darn burnt ashes of blessed palms from the preceding year’s Palm Sunday on their forehead commemorating the death and resurrection of The Savior.
Finally, this annual festival is sometimes simply called Pancake Tuesday. Because this is a day where many around the world (religious or not) Feast on pancakes whether they choose to Fast afterwards or not.
Now, before I get to today’s recipe, a quick shout-out to my Mom who comes to town tomorrow to celebrate her birthday this coming Friday. I won’t tell her age, but I will say that she is entering a new decade where both digits in this number are made up of “0s”.
And today’s food item…you guessed it, Pancakes. But, not À Vôtre Santé Pancakes. Not John O’Groat’s Pancakes. They’re Tracy’s Heavenly Healthy Pancakes. With a caveat. The ingredients are: oats, blueberries, coconut oil and eggs. That’s it folks. I am not at liberty to divulge any more. If you are interested in the rest of their preparation, feel free to ask her when you see her. I can’t guarantee she’ll tell you. She hasn’t told me!
So, TTFN. I will “speak” to you again when I enter the next decade of my life. As of today, I am 50 from 50. Yup, 50 days from today I will be 50 years-old!