Intermittent Fasting Experiment: The Update

For the last 2 weeks I’ve been playing around with extended fasting periods (read the first post here). Here is the breakdown of how everything went down.

Fasting Breakdown

Here is my feeding window and below those are the total hours fasted from day to day.

7/11 – Eating window from 5pm – 10pm
7/13 – Eating window from 1pm – 9:30pm
7/14 – Eating window from 7pm – 10pm
7/16 – Eating window from 9am – 8pm
7/18 – Eating window from 1pm to 10pm
7/20 – Eating from 2pm to 9pm
7/22 – Eating from 3pm to 8pm
7/25 – 1 meal at 10am (non training day)
7/26 – Eating from 4pm to 11pm
 
7/11 to 7/13 = 39 hours
7/13 to 7/14 = 22.5 hours
7/14 – 7/16 = 35 hours
7/16 – 7/18 = 41 hours
7/18 to 7/20 = 4o hours
7/20 to 7/22 = 42 hours
7/22 to 7/25 = 62 hours
7/25 to 7/26 = 30 hours
 

Meals

The goal of this first 2 weeks was to just get through it successfully, so I also used it as a time to eat anything that I wanted, in unlimited quantities, for the sake of convenience and making the transition. This lead me to consuming lots of  of meat, some fruit and plenty of ice cream. For the next 6 weeks though, I’ll be moving into something more balanced now that I have everything locked down, which means lots more fruits and veggies.

Below are a large majority of all the meals I ate during this time, many of them ridiculous for the sake of ridiculousness. Not shown are a lot of bananas, a pint or two of ice cream, 4-5 mini tacos and a few pieces of steak that people gave me from a wedding that I went to.

Random Thoughts

Surprisingly, it’s much easier for me to not eat at all than it is to eat a reduced amount of food. When I go into the day knowing that I have to eat less than I want to, it’s a very different mindset entirely versus when I know I’m just not going to be eating at all, and that mental shift helps a lot. It makes everything very simple – I’m either eating or I’m not.

I’ve also become better at differentiating between mental hunger (for a certain type of food) and real “if I don’t get food now I’m gonna eat a chair” hunger. The latter kind of hunger is rare, and I’ve only experienced it during the 62 hour fast, and I suspect it had something to do with only getting 4-5 hours of sleep the second day into it.

This has also caused me to analyze a lot of my ingrained eating habits because I come face to face with them several times a week. Do I want to eat more when I’m stressed? Yes. What about tired? Yup. Bored? Definitely. Having this this “eating or not eating” dichotomy forces me to deal with these issues, and when I successfully come out on the other

Sleep is SUPER IMPORTANT during longer duration fasts. If I get anything less than 7 hours of sleep I find that my hunger is definitely more noticeable when it does pop up, and it also stays around a lot longer as well. Nothing that isn’t manageable, but  something to make note of. If I get 5 hours or less, I turn into a hungry rage monster and a nice dose of caffeine is the only thing that keeps huge hunger spikes from happening.

Controlling hunger during a fast for me is as simple as getting up and moving. If I sit around and think about food, I want food soon after – the body seems to follow the mind in this respect. Drinking a ton of water also helps (you can get freaky and add some sugar free crystal light or Hawaiian Punch to it if you want a sweet taste).

Energy is way up on days that I’m fasting, even during longer one and I find myself being able to focus and lock into tasks much easier. Libido and general all-around happiness is also up as well – high five! On the flip side, the lows are low, and if something manages to get to me during this time it seems to cause a deeper funk than normal and is harder to bounce back from as quickly.

My training is done with 10g of branch chain amino acids and 1-2 scoops of Tier 1 pre-workout powder, so all of my calories are consumed post workout. I’ve felt a noticeable increase in my recovery between sessions as well (at least for for my upper body). Even if I pump up the volume for upper body sessions, I’m good to go by the next time I train, but if I do the same with lower body lifts I’m usually still recovering for a few days later, depending on how much I killed myself.

I’ve managed to hit a PR so far during this phase with a 405 front squat, and I hit an easy 225 on the military press that same day. I’m not saying that the fasting protocol has made me stronger, but I haven’t lost any strength or muscle, and I’m happy with that.

On off days, I either sit around like a sloth or go out for an hour walk in the Massachusetts sun. Nothing else for cardio.

As far as meal composition goes, it ends up being a mix of moderate protein/high fat/low carb or high protein/high fat/high carb, all depending on how I feel that day after training. I estimate that I get anywhere between 160 and 250g of protein per day. Assuming I hit the high end 4 days a week (I don’t), that’s 1,000g per week, 400g less than I would usually be getting if I ate every day.

Social events are easy to navigate as well. If I’m going out to dinner or something, I usually know about it in advance and just adjust my fasting/training accordingly. Worst case scenario, I just go and enjoy the company of the people I’m with – the reason for getting together in the first place – and have a ton of water.

Pics/Stats

Weight – 189 lbs (down 7lbs)
Right Arm - 14 inches
Left Arm - 13.5 inches
Left Quad - 24 inches
Right Quad -  24.5 inches
Waist - 32.5 inches (down .5 inches)
Booty - 39.5  inches (up .5 inches

I’m going to continue this for the full 60 days because I like it so much. For the next 2 weeks I’ll continue keeping things super loose and not tracking my calories/intake other than with pictures, but for the final 30 days I’ll track macros just for the sake of comparison.

Any questions?

Anything you’d like to see me keep track of better in future updates?

Lemme know in the comment section below!

Never Miss A Post Again…

Sign up for one of the best fitness newsletters, ever. I'll send you nothing but practical and actionable content.

Comments

  1. Edward says

    So with the fasting its best not to do high intense cardio say sprints or running I would assume from the fact that you only did an hour of walking?

    I know you have said this before but why do people recommend sprints for blasting fat over walking like you suggest?

    You are doing great man keep up the good work. Another question, how in the heck do you measure booty lol?

    • says

      I would say running is fine up until a point (as is sprints, but less so because of the high intensity nature of them). If you do sprints, it’s best not to do them on a fasting day, especially if you’re already training your legs a few times a week. Save them for their own day or reduce your lower body training to compensate for the added sprints.

      As to why people recommend sprints over general activity for fat loss, that’s a question deserving of it’s own post! There are some benefits to sprinting, but sprinting in itself is a skill that most people don’t have and can sometimes do more harm than good vs simply walking and increasing your calorie burn that way.

      LOL, I measure booty by going from the widest point of da ass with a tape measure.

  2. Nancy C. says

    Questions:
    How many distinct meals are you eating during the feeding windows or are you grazing?
    Do you have a lot of hunger during the feeding window or does it seem pretty normal (ie. if you weren’t fasting)?
    When you do eat, do you feel too full or bloated from the large quantity of food eaten during the window?

    This is fasinating and I’m eager to hear more.

    • says

      Hey Nancy,

      Nah, no grazing over here since I like to stuff myself silly. Usually it’s 2 meals but sometimes 3-4 depending on how close to bed I start eating.

      When I get sleep, the hunger is rare, honestly, and when it does pop up it fades within 15-30 minute (much faster if I slam some water).

      Nope, no bloat! I’ve actually found that I’m able to consume much larger quantities of food without feeling stuffed because of all the fasting. 2.5lbs in one sitting is my personal record.

  3. Yu Jin says

    Hi,
    Does it means that you only consume coffee and water during non-training days and eat only post workout on training days?

    • says

      Hey Yu,

      Yep, caffeine if I need it but water always.

      I personally enjoy getting all my calories in PWO, but if I end having to eat some pre-workout because of energy issues or timing, it’s no big deal to me at all. Just preference.

  4. Steven Musumeche says

    Thanks for the update and experimentation. I like that your lifts went up even with the extended fasting, which should indicate that no muscle is being lost. I’d love to hear more about our mental and emotional state at different points in the fast and now you deal with the lows.

  5. Ross says

    Awesome work! So does this blow holes in the ol’ “gotta eat at least 1g of protein per lb. of BW or your muscles will fall off” commandment? Because I’d like to lower my cals a bit while dieting, but I try to keep my protein high.

    Thanks for keeping us posted, and good luck with the next phase of the experiment.

    • says

      I’m not quite sure yet. I think you need less protein then some of the more extreme people recommend – and it also all depends on how deep of a deficit you’re in . My thoughts so far is that the cyclical nature of my calories (huge on training day, non-existent on off days), is also playing a role in lean mass maintenance as well.

  6. Dexter Morgan says

    Very cool, thanks for sharing. So just to get this right: you basically only ate after training and didn’t track calories? With these extended fasts and seeing your weight loss I’d imagine your overall intake was pretty low, any idea on how many calories you were roughly eating during your feeding windows?
    I’m experimenting myself at the moment with a PSMF/rapid fat loss protocol, basically only eating protein and veggies. But like you said, maybe fasting is easier than eating a little bit (and makes it possible to eat more when you do eat). Thoughts on this?

    • says

      Yep, you’ve got it right.

      Sadly I don’t have any data on how many calories I’m taking in, but if I had to guess I’d say anywhere between 2800 and 3500. I started tracking my intake this week just to see where I’m at (not letting it influence my eating either way, though.

      I think a PSMF + fasting combination would be great, you would just have to be smart about your overall protein intake.

  7. says

    This is pretty interesting. I’ve read about it a bit from a couple of other sources and tried spending a couple of days with an 8 hour eating window, which is very easy. I guess I could also try reducing the eating window a few days to see what happens. I find fasting alters my mood one way or another, even if I don’t feel hungry. Thanks for sharing!

    • says

      Thanks for stopping by, Daniel!

      I think the feeding window should be constructed based on 3 factors:

      Lifestyle
      Personal preferences
      Calorie needs

      Having a small eating window is cool if you’re taking in relatively few calories, allowing you to have bigger, more satisfying meals. On the other hand, if you’re trying to get in a ton of calories, eating so much in a short time span can be more stressful than it needs to be.

  8. says

    Roger, thanks for the update. I also find my energy levels feel like their through the roof when I’m on a fast. This seems to a common bonus with other’s on similar IF programs.

  9. Danny says

    Did you only ingest water on off days or did you take a supplement of any kind? Just curious bc Id like to.give this a go.

  10. Lori says

    Hey Rog, Do you think you might find that fasting could have an impact on blasting out areas that are weight-loss resistant?

  11. ma3ia says

    Roger, first of all i really like the way you aproach fitness ,nutrition and all that . I love IF too and im just want to know how many days are you training in the week and for how long?

    • says

      Hey Maria,

      Thanks for stopping by, and I appreciate the worlds of awesomeness =)

      I’m training 4x a week now (to avoid having to do a 2 day in a row fast again) and they last anywhere from 30 minutes to 75 min.

  12. Keith J says

    Whats up Rog!
    LOL… A man after my own heart… train more to eat more! I am currently doing something similar (although not as much fasting as you’re doing) and really enjoying it! I had just read Eat Stop Eat and had been toying with the idea of combing Lean Gains method with ESE… fast forward a few days and I read your post and it was like a sign from the IF Gods! I have been going strong for a little over 2 weeks now. Anyway, quick question for you man, so do you still keep at least one day in between your training days and do you find/or think that eating on that extra training day during the week (given the epicness of your meals) will slow any progress for you?

    Keep up the awesomness Rog!

    • says

      Yo Keith!

      Glad to see you around here =)

      Yep, I -usually- do a Mon/Wed/Fri/Sat training schedule but will adjust it based on my needs.

      Now here’s the thing: eating an extra day may slow down my progress if my goal was fat loss, but I don’t actually have any goals so it’s hard to say as I don’t really have a measuring stick. I’m just doing everything for the sake of doing it and seeing what will happen.

      • Keith J says

        Cool beans… thanks Rog! I don’t comment often but I read pretty much everything you and JC put out there! I am especially interested in following this experiment becasue of the amount of flexibility it allows. I have been doing something similar (most days) and pretty much just eating dinner on days I don’t work out. Keep it up man, I’m looking forward to some more updates!!

  13. Patrick says

    Very cool. Id like to see what your training program consist of. 225 oh press is impressive.

  14. Sean says

    Have you noticed any foods in particular that set you off the rails during your feedings? I know that if I had some BnJ’s I’d turn into a bottomless pit.

    Also what’s your split looking like? RPT?

  15. Sean says

    I can’t remember for sure, but did you say you were going to get some blood labs done at some point during this experiment to see how it was affecting you on that front? I’d be interested to hear about any health effects that prolonged periods of fasting might have (positive or negative).

    • says

      Hey Sean,

      I did get initial blood work done, but to get follow up work done before my next annual physical I’d have to pay the $500 deductible and I don’t want to do that right now. I’ll most likely be following some sort of fasting schedule like this (with a lot more flexibility) for the foreseeable future so it’ll be interesting to see what everything looks like in a year.

      • Sean says

        Boo! Yeah, I wouldn’t pay that either. I’ll try to remember to ask in about a year, but my memory is garbage. :P

        I assume your lifts have held up on this protocol then. I can’t imagine you’d stick with it that long otherwise. Did you end up keeping the deadlift in the rotation, or did you decide to try ditching it after all?

        • says

          Yep! All my lifts have either stayed the same or gone up. I hit 405 on the front squat and 595 on the trap bar (all for singles). I didn’t really keep the deadlift in the rotation, just back squats, front squats and a lot of glute work.

  16. Keith J says

    Hey Rog,
    Any updates on The Great Fast?!?! I’m anxious to see more pics and here your thoughts/experience on this.

  17. Danny Gordon says

    I have been trying this IF out myself with my feeding window being 1PM-9PM. I have found that I do not have cravings and hunger as much as I did when I would eat breakfast at 6AM and I am able to focus on my work more during the fasted morning period.

  18. Dean Phillips says

    Looking awesome man

    I’m digging the site a lot

    I’m Guessing the 14 inches was un-flexed, in the picture they look way bigger than that (meant as some complimentary love).

    Hows the whole fasting process going now?

    • says

      Haha at first I had to think if they were unflexed or flexed.

      Thanks for stopping by, Dean. It’s still going well – gonna be starting a new phase on Monday so I’ll be sure to post about it (fat loss).

  19. JB says

    Rog,

    Cool stuff. I’ve been doing 16/8 IF for about 6 months based 90% off Andy’s site. I have hit another plateu that I think I could fix by just adjusting down macros, but instead have decided to try a 3 week experiment based off what you’ve done here.

    I’ve read through the entire post multiple times, and the comments as well. One thing I don’t see addressed is your view on supplementation during the fast. For me specifically this would only be creatine and fish oil. Take them or skip them?

    Big thanks to you, Andy, and JC for all the great info you make publicly available.

Trackbacks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>