I had some great response to the Fasting post and lots of eager comments for part 2… here it is. Just to recap, we came to the conclusion in Part 1 that moderate fasting (when done appropriately) can be extremely beneficial to the body, mind, performance, and overall health. There are many types and styles of fasting ranging from the Hollywood, drink this gross green gunk for 10 days, version to eat nothing for 10 days. As I mentioned earlier, moderation and appropriateness is what we are striving for. Our Paleolithic ancestors did not plan fasts; instead they happened naturally in times of food scarcity. In our high tech age we have the luxury of planning but we want to plan smart and closely mimic koru ancestors. Many performance sites and research studies have been particularly interested in Intermittent Fasting, and for valid reason, it works.
Fasting is mentally and physically demanding, you have to be smart and aware of how your body is responding to the fast and tweak as necessary If you have never fasted before then I suggest starting slow (1-2 days a week) and then go from there based on how you feel and what your goals are. Also, before starting a fast it is important that you have proper management of your insulin levels meaning that you are not carb loading and eating pasta and pizza and OD’ing on breads. Transition is very important so that you do not shock your system. Start by eliminating grains for a few weeks and then add in the fasting.
Here are the key components of IF for performance that seems to work.
- Fasts last from 14-16hours, for example last meal of the day is 8-10pm and next meal does not happen until noon the next day. After about 12 hours of fasting the body begins to release fat burning hormones, 2/3 of the energy being burned comes from fat.
- Eat high quality foods, preferably in a Paleo fashion.
- Break the fast with a low glycemic balanced meal (2/3 carb from veggies, 1/3 protein).
- Drink plenty of water
- Get adequate sleep. Fasting without sleep is not beneficial and can have reverse effects than intended for.
. Remember it takes about 3 weeks to reprogram our bodies to use fat (instead of carbs) for fuel, this process can be grueling but stick with it and you will feel great! When you begin intermittent fasting you will first feel unfocused and tired and find yourself daydreaming about food. After a couple of weeks your body will have adjusted and the benefits will begin to reveal themselves. You may experience some of these side effects: Weight loss, increased performance, increased energy, mental focus, and possible disease regression, please do not be concerned as these are normal symptoms of living a healthy and happy lifestyle.
As always, do not take my word for it, try it out yourself and see how you feel. I plan to start my IF schedule in January and will keep you posted on how it goes.
Here are some great resources for more info on intermittent fasting: