By Jeremy Brown, Personal Trainer
The Fasted Track
Intermittent Fasting ads and Instagrammers promoting Intermittent Fasting has been blowing up my news feed for the past year. And like all those fitness ads for the latest cardio equipment or diet supplements, the ones promoting Intermittent Fasting were these super jacked, ripped, mythical creatures. These influencers give a skewed sense of reality of the possibilities for the general population. But we see this, and instantly think, “If I try that, can I look just like that?” At least that’s what goes through my head, but I suffer from symptoms of an idealistic personality… moving on. Each day more information on this would intrigue me, so I started to dig deeper on what Intermittent Fasting was really all about. I found things on Pinterest that explained the various fasting windows and charts that broke down what happens in your body at various times of your fasted state. Youtube videos that explained what breaks a fast and the best way to break your fast. All of it was such a new way of thinking and so opposite of everything I had been used to doing for the past six years, and even longer if we go back to when I was born. “Was everything I was taught or practiced all a lie?”… I thought. I needed to be convinced, and what better way than to experiment on myself.
Benefits: Increased HGH/heightened fat burning calorie control increased focus and clarity.
The first thing you need to figure out before you begin on the Fasted Track to fat burning is what window works best for you each day. The most common is a 16 hour fasting window and an 8 hour eating window. There is a 14:10 or a 12:12 concept as well. You can even fast every other day. Basically, there is an option for anyone at any phase of their mental capacity. Sometimes that 16 hour fast every day can pose its challenges to us mentally, so ease into it if you need to. The 16:8 was the window I opted for, as it was the same window as the Instagrammer I started following. I was just going to start on the weekend, as I felt it would be easier to make the 16 hours with sleeping in a little more than I do during the week as a Personal Trainer. Those 4am mornings though?!?! The weekend turned into fasting on Monday as well, and then Tuesday, and the rest of the week, and then six months later. My lifestyle schedule has me eating dinner most nights around 8-8:30pm after I get home from my evening clients, so my first meal happens at 12-1pm. That’s what works best for me. Remember everyone will be different as we all have our own timelines for our lives.
It wasn’t easy those first couple days during the week. I felt defeated. My first workout was rough to say the least (very light-headed). Food, energy drinks, and pre-workouts were how I psyched myself into my long mornings and heavy lifts. I had to find a way to mentally look past all that. Thankfully I started to feel my abdomen tightening up and my bloating was going away after a couple days of practicing Intermittent Fasting. The last time I ever felt that happen was when I would do a cleanse about every six months (cleanse allowed for six small meals a day). Those quick results gave me the motivation I needed to press on. Based on my initial findings, black coffee, americanos, and water were the only things that interested my taste buds to provide feelings of fullness during the fasted state. These do not break your fast as there is not any sugar present to support an insulin response within your body. Prefer tea to coffee? All good. Not for me though, but maybe one day. Like fruit in your water? I’d say lemons or limes okay, but this a gray area. Take a look at this Youtube link for a further breakdown of what will break/keep a fast and some gray areas. https://youtu.be/LftmhASRlEc
When it comes time to actually breaking your fast, make sure it is a sizable meal and balanced. My first meal is generally around 800-1000 calories, based on a 2300 caloric intake per day for myself. Keep in mind everyone’s caloric intake will vary based on body type and goals. I always make sure to have a good balance of protein, complex carbs, healthy fats, fruits, and greens. That’s a lot of quality calories, so it gives such a great feeling of satisfaction and fullness and full of things that will break down properly in your body and turn into the fuel source you need it to be for energy and muscle growth support. Something I came across a while ago said that if you want more fat burning (who doesn’t?), your first meal should include more healthy fats. So my first meal usually includes eggs, avocados, and a Siggi’s icelandic yogurt (my favorite). Find the things you like and remember balance.
Tightness, firmness, and heightened fat burning all sound appealing I’d hope by this point. Certainly the main reasons I jumped on board and am sticking with Intermittent Fasting. A few other things I started to observe along the way that has given further purpose to continuing this lifestyle has been the increased mental capacity, and the huge strength (not size) gains. I’m grabbing weights with ease I never would have thought of touching before. And when I’m in the 12-16 hour fasting window, I have this unparalleled clarity and sharpness in my verbiage and mindset. My thoughts and words flow effortlessly. As I tapped into these senses, I started to read more articles on the web and on Pinterest, and they all clarified exactly what I was going through. Once your body reaches the 8 hour fasting window, HGH levels start to increase and mental clarity gets heightened as well. The further along in the fast you go, the higher these levels increase. Higher HGH means more testosterone, which means more fat burning. Testosterone also being one of those pesky things that lowers as we get older making losing weight and keeping fat off harder and harder. I say anything that can help me reverse the aging process, I’m all for. I’ve provided a couple links I found for further clarity if you’re interested in starting your first fast.
I’m not a licensed nutritionist by any stretch. Just a guy who has kept fitness first for his life and who has tried a few methods of dieting and nutrition along the way. I love food. All the food. I love coffee. I also love anything that will help me maintain my body and my lifestyle. I’m a preacher of lifestyle, and this has fit nicely into mine. I also knew that I could go right back to what I was doing before and maintain similar results if it ultimately didn’t do what I hoped it would. Same goes for anyone who gives this a shot.
Interested in learning more? Contact Jeremy or one of our other great Personal Trainers to figure out your new eating plan.
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