Hey TeamVH! 

Hope everyone had a great week.  I want to share some info about a HOT topic that a lot of you have asked about. 

Intermittent Fasting.

What is it?  I.F. is where you go an extended period of time without food, usually from your last meal in the evening to around 11am-1pm in the early afternoon. 

The proponents of I.F. say this will help reset your insulin sensitivity every day and by nature of cutting out a meal you are in effect cutting out calories…. Theoretically loosing fat. 

Here’s my I.F Story

I first discovered intermittent fasting back in 2014. I am sure that I had heard of it before, but probably like so many others, I poo-pooed it as hogwash.

Small, frequent meals were the way to go.

And breakfast was almighty; it was a well-known and widely held belief that breakfast was the most important meal of the day. Without breakfast, the Earth would cease to rotate on its axis.

At least that’s what the experts and gurus would have you believe. So, what changed my mind? Truth be told, it was not some quest to find out how to live longer or to have superior health.

Nope, it was a quest to lose body fat.

Let’s look at the 3 Stages of Fat Loss

1. Mobilization– You have to get blood flow to an area in order to get the fat out of the cells. We need to make sure blood sugar is low and catecholamine levels are high. And wouldn’t you know this, both of these things happen in a fasted state and exercise also has this same effect? If you do both, you are getting twice the power! Keeping insulin low will signal glucagon to be released which will activate the hormone; Hormone Sensitive Lipase (HSL). This needs to be elevated for fat burning to occur.

2. Transportation– Will happen if #1 happens.

3. Usage– Lastly, our muscles (mitochondria to be exact) need to training/exercise in order for there to be a need for fat to be used as energy and see step #1, muscle glycogen must be low as well. The only place fat burning occurs is in the muscle. **Cardio only works to the demand for oxygen from the muscular system. The muscular system drives the cardiovascular system, not the other way around. This is a concept we use design our workouts around (which means no more wasting time on useless ellipticals and treadmills).

Back to me…

I tried this for a long time. Over a year.  Thought it was working well.  Unfortunately, what was happening was I was NOT fueling my training.  I was training hard and not eating enough calories.  Eventually over that year I began to feel terrible, inflamed, and hurt. 

By the time I started to realize it was calorie depletion the damage was done.  I took me nearly a year of eating a LOT more and training a LOT less to get my body back on track. 

Here’s what I learned. 

I.F works if you don’t train that hard.  Best to go moderate.  That’s no good because going moderate get you moderate results. 

I.F only works without insulin.  If you cheat and eat a banana in the morning (I cheated a lot) then #1 never happens and no fat loss.

I.F works if you don’t mind being hungry all day.  If you know me, I mind! 

I.F works if you eat the right foods.  If you fast, then binge you back to square one. 

The final verdict.

If you have to lose a lot of weight I.F can work for you.  However, in my opinion its best to stick to a well-rounded diet that fuels your training and your life.  I hate quackery.  I want to eat and feel good all of the time not half of each day. 

Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner with 2 healthy snacks.  Eat low carb in the morning, fuel yourself around your workouts eating carbs before and after.  Then moderate carbs for dinner.  The End!  This you can do forever.

Stay Strong,
Coach Joe

Check the previous post: Flex Friday #12 The ONE Exercise You Need to Get Good At