So todays blog had taken me quite some time to write, honestly I must have written the thing a thousand times in my head and a few times on paper scratching it each and every time. Why? Well really this topic can go into so much detail that honestly I feel that I would be doing you an injustice if I didn’t cover all my bases and provide you with as much knowledge to allow you to have an educated opinion.
Now I’m just going to scratch the surface to peak your interest, I’ll save the really cool info for later blogs because honestly I could do a MAJOR rant on this.
To Eat or not to Eat… that is MY question.
Over the past several years some knowledge has been slowly leaking out about intermittent fasting (IF). For a more clear explanation IF is a pattern of eating that alternates between specified periods of fasting (consumption of water only) and periods of non-fasting (also sometimes called feasting).
Now growing up in the bodybuilder methodology is that we need to be eating every three hours a culmination of protein, veggies and complex carbs, not to mention protein shakes. This concept of not eating seemed like total fitness heresy to me. I was like “WTF… who the hell are these jokers that tell me NOT to eat!?” So I contentiously tossed it to the side as more BS mumbo jumbo from other so called “professionals”.
As time went on I began getting questions from other fitness professionals and clients on what I know about IF, well hell now that I’m getting so many questions I want to at least read up and learn about this before I formed my real opinion on how stupid this really must be. (I think that I had some growing up that I needed to do lol)
You see over the years instead of taking the approach from Muscle and Fiction and other forms of ‘bro-science’ I really wanted to find the source of these so called trends and reasons in the fitness industry so I did what I use to do back in my college days at UNT… read (bet you though I was going to say ‘drink beer!’ I won’t lie that happened quite a bit back then too).
Side Note: I am a muscle nerd I’m reading ALL THE TIME I put more $ back into books and my education that anything. I have personally found that this has allowed me to stay on top of what goes on in the industry.
Honestly I was use to learning and reading about fads and trends so that I knew from a logical stand point were they legit or not. So I began to read and research about IF looking for the reasons that I can support to my clients and coworkers on how much crap this must be.
I’ll say this… I was wrong
Its not too often that I read about something that really rocks my foundation of fitness and health but when I do I become obsessed with it. Within a few months I read probably read close to nearly 100 journals, articles, books, interviews, the list goes on about this topic.
Now to the fitness industry and majority of the population the concept of not eating is completely foreign and crazy enough to warrant being labeled as a… (Insert your derogatory noun HERE). So needless to say it took a lot of peer reviewed, credited scientific studies to get my attention and make me rethink a lot of my concepts of health and fitness.
In fact I came up with a list of concerns that I, as a trainer and a seasoned gym goer, would say why not to fast and I was going to see if I couldn’t find evidence and proof to contrary. Over the course of my reading and researching I found answers that just made sense.
If I had to sum it up IF is just as simple as taking a break from food. Just don’t eat for a short period (i.e. 24hrs)
Simple… that’s it.
Several of the most common IF protocols that you may hear or read about
- Fasting for 24+hrs (brought more to life to the masses by Brad Pilion in Eat Stop Eat)
- Warrior Diet (20hr fast then 4 hour feeding window)
- Leangains (18hr fast followed by 6 hour feeding window)
I know that there is a number of other protocols that I have not mentioned but all have the same principles behind them.
Over the course of months I gave each one a shot and I piloted this with a few of my clients and let’s just say that wow I felt my eyes were open to a whole new world. I felt healthier, no longer as puffy, leaner, had more energy and some great workouts! I’ll give further examples of my experiences on fasting in a later blog including comebacks to the most common excuses that you may hear others say and you yourself may even think on why fasting is bad.
In the mean time if you don’t want to wait I would recommend reading Brad Pilion’s Book Eat Stop Eat because he does a pretty good job really brining to life how fasting really works and what it does to the body on more of a physiological level.
In Health and Fitness
Travis Merritt, BS, CPT is the owner of Fitness Revolution in Rowlett, TX.
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