Fasting FAQ’s

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So since posting PART I and PART II on IF, I’ve been getting a ton of email and FACEBOOK questions.

A lot of them are fairly similar, so I thought I would answer them all here in one place for you…

Q. Isn’t fasting dangerous? I will starve!

A. No you won’t. In our times of evolution, we had to adapt to periods of fasting. There was no Maccy Dee’s or 7/11 on the corner! Lowering metabolic rate during a fast helped us to live longer.

Starvation means starvation – it does not mean skipping 1 or 2 meals for 16 hours!

I read a lot of studies, and the earliest evidence for a decrease in metabolic rate during a fast occurred after 60 HOURS (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3661473)

Other studies show it’s more like 72 or more hours. I could bore you with more studies, but there’s no point in that. Email me if you would like to see more. There is NO danger in fasting; I believe it is however a shift in mindset. Remember – I was a sceptic before starting IF, and I think subconsciously I was hoping it didn’t work so I could be a IF hater!

 

There is NO way I could go that long without eating!

A. How do you know? Most people have a closed mind to the idea.

And seriously, how do you know if you don’t try? Expect some transition period – like you would expect with any dietary changes – that may take 2-5 days. Start with a 12 hour fast, then go to 14, and eventually to 16 or even 18. Remember studies show benefits from as little as 14 hours.

 

Q. I can’t not eat breakfast. What should I do?

A. I get it. If for whatever reason you think you can’t eat breakfast, do what’s best for you. BTW I do feel it is in most people head about breakfast.

Nate Miyaki agrees with me, “I think that’s mostly placebo effect and being tied to tradition.” If however you are going to eat breakfast, skip the cereal aisle and keep it low carb. I always recommend the MEAT AND NUTS breakfast that Poliquin is a big proponent of. Have your carb’s at night to take advantage of the deeper sleep and hormonal response.

 

Q. Why the change? I’ve been following your diet for the past 1 /5 / 9 years and you are the one who told me to eat breakfast in the first place!?

A. I was wrong. There, I said it.

I believe a major problem in the fitness industry is we believe “experts” blindly – we rarely ask WHY they make recommendations, or do our own research into the studies performed. So after trialling IF personally, and with a handful of friends and training clients, I honestly believe in the benefits.

 

Q. Can I drink tea or coffee whilst fasting?

A. Yes! I’m a coffee addict, and couldn’t get through the morning without a double espresso or two.

You can have coffee and tea during the fast, but like I always recommend, have it sugar/sweetener free and skip the milk (Or have a macchiato if you must have milk, and choose un pasteurized)

 

Q. Won’t I lose strength and muscle if I train fasted? What about my energy levels?

A. No and no. One of the pioneers of IF, Martin Berkhan, has answered this question better. He looked at a lot of studies performed on athletes during Ramadan, and on athletes following IF, and there was NO decrease in either aerobic or anaerobic activities.

Here’s my protocol for training fasted:

Pre training: black coffee or green tea, plus 10-20g BCAA’s

During training: 10-20g BCAA’s

Post training: either eat, or if continuing to fast, have 10-20g BCAA’s

 

I think I will always be testing, tweaking and researching new ways to increase my strength and health as time goes on. All fitness experts should be.

However for now, I’m happy with where I’m at thanks to IF.

Any questions, drop them in the comments below and I’ll get back to you

  • Techinically when you break it down it is not that bad, say my last meal is 7:30pm, then bed at 9pm, rise between 5 and 6am (I love my 8-10hrs sleep, carbs help me sleep deeply and totally replenish). Train at 6, 630am…a 16hr IF brings me to 11:30am…I am ready to try this myself, afterall who am I to judge if I haven’t given it a fair go?! Here’s to my IF trial!

  • pete

    Yes Hayds, spot on. After 4-6 days your body will totally adjust.

    IF FTW!