Intermittent Fasting, Lifting, and Cardio

I will not beat around the bush….Intermittent Fasting is simply the most effective way to shed body fat…period!  I have tried many different eating styles and diet programs.  I have eaten upwards of eight meals a day in the quest of muscle gain and fat loss.  This required shoving food down my throat about every two hours.  It sucked.  More importantly, it was unnecessary and counter productive.  I have tried about every macro-nutrient (macro) break down there is.  High-fat/low-carb, high-carb/low-fat, two grams of protein per pound, Keto, IIFYM, Atkins, Paleo, and others.  Finally, after 33 years of life I have found something I can stick to for the rest of my life.

Think about human evolution and history for a second.  Do you think the caveman woke up and ate a bowl of cereal and a donut when they woke up?  Do you think the Romans or the Greeks ate 5 or 6 meals a day to get jacked for battle?  What about the vikings?  No, they hunted and gathered their food during the day and feasted at night.  Some days they did not eat at all.  Do you think diabetes and obesity where problems in these times? I am not saying that life was better in those days.  In fact, I think we live in the greatest time in history.  But, we can learn from the past, especially when it comes to food.

The Native Americans ate when they were hungry.  Imagine that? Around the time of the pilgrims coming to the New World (America) the three meals per day became common.  This lead to this sort of force feeding that takes place.  I follow the three meals per day on most days, but I am usually awake for 5-7 hours before my first meal.  This allows my body to get hungry and feed off of my fat.  This is what we want.  We all want to be less fat.

If you are constantly eating 5 or more meals per day, how is your body going to get less fat?  In theory, you can eat 5-6 smaller meals per day.  What really happens is you get hungry and you end up eating more and ultimately gain weight.  Let’s do some math.  Say my caloric maintenance level is 2500 calories.  If I eat 5 meals a day I can eat 500 calories each meal.  Great, I can meal portion and all that razzle dazzle.  Except, what happens when I go out to eat?  Good luck finding a tasty restaurant meal for under 500 calories.  If I eat only 3 meals a day I can eat between 800-900 calories per meal.  I can divide them evenly or I can have bigger meals.  This allows me to enjoy dinner at that cool restaurant while not adding to my waistline.

How I do Intermittent Fasting

I typically break my fast around 11:30 a.m. or 12 noon and I stop eating by 7 p.m.  This allows me to avoid food in the morning and near bedtime. I aim for about .9 to 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight.  On lifting days (M, W, F) I eat higher carbs and lower fats.  Around 200-220 grams of carbs and 60-70 grams of fat.  On cardio/off days I eat around 140-160 grams of fat and 100 carbs or less.  These guidelines are rough estimates.  I currently eat around 2300-2600 calories a day according to My Fitness Pal.  Brunch (Meal 1) is usually around 800 calories.  Lunch (Meal 2) is usually around 400-500 calories.  Dinner (Meal 3) is my biggest meal at around 1000-1300 calories, because I am human.

If I am going out for a big dinner I might only eat lunch that day so I have extra room for tastiness.  I have fasted for 24 hours on occasion, and I do this as desired.  I don’t see the need to do it more than once per month.  It is a great way to clean your body out.  It may sound hard, but if you are busy it is not.  I still drink water and black coffee when I do this.  I am not completely insane.

Lifting

Right now, I am only lifting 3 days per week.  This is the least amount of days I have ever trained.  I chose to do so for a few reasons.  First, I wanted to give my joints some additional recovery.  You may not care about your joints when you are in your 20’s, but you will when your older.  Take it from someone who had hip resurfacing surgery at 30.  Your joints matter!  Second, I wanted to make my lifting as efficient as possible.  I work hard to make other aspects of my life as efficient and effective as possible so why not do so with lifting?  I only do the lifts that matter and I have cut out the fluff.  Third, it is winter and it is cold outside before the sun rises.  Getting warmed up in a cold shed kind of how you say…sucks!

Cardio

Cardio is important no matter what your goals.  Unless of course your goal is to be obese and out of shape.  I think cardio should be based on your goals.  However, every human should have a decent baseline of cardiovascular ability.  I personally like walking whether it be outside or on a treadmill.  I live by an area with a waterway and nice sunrises so it is relaxing to go out for an early morning stroll.  Other times I want to walk on the treadmill for the incline or just to do something physical while I watch TV.  Walking 30-60 minutes a day can do wonders for your physique and health.  If you are in the market for a good treadmill for a home gym or business check out this link for the best available Treadmill Reviews

Final Thoughts

I wish I started IF years ago.  I can’t believe I used to eat 6-8 meals per day.  That isn’t Sparta! It is madness!  The benefits are bountiful.  I save money on food, I have more time to be productive, I don’t have to worry about eating all the time, I have more flexibility in my diet (aka I can cheat more), I don’t walk around bloated, and I lose body fat faster than ever before.  I have always struggled to lose fat on the abdomen and lower back and because of IF that has changed.

When I started IF, I did so as an experiment.  I was walking around at a weight of 210-215.  Now, a few months later I am 196-199.  I am just as strong, leaner, and look better than I did four months ago.  The transformation was basically effortless.  In the past when I cut this amount of weight it was painful.  I would eat 5-6 meals a day and cut carbs out at night, then reduce carbs more during the day, until they were very low.  I was always hungry and I suffered from cravings.  By switching to IF and only eating 3 meals per day I don’t have that problem anymore.

What really started my fat burning process is what I call the Fat-Burning Switch.  It is a little bit complicated to write about in this article, but I will do so in a future article.  Essentially, I made some diet changes that forced my body to go from fat-storing mode to fat-burning mode.  This period took three weeks, but completely changed everything.

You don’t have to take my word for the success of Intermittent Fasting.  There are tons of success stories all over the Internet.  There have even been studies that demonstrate the results.  You can read all you want, but the best course of action is to try it.

Skip breakfast, lift weights a few times per week, and walk.  It really is that simple.

 

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