Intermittent Fasting: The Great Experiment

Courtesy of flickr4jazz

I’ve been all over the intermittent fasting lifestyle for almost 2 years now. After coming from a background where I ate 5-7 meals a day while trying to keep meticulous track of everything, it was a completely new and enlightening way of eating that completely meshed with my natural tendency for dietary hedonism and debauchery.

Recently though, I’ve felt stifled by both my training and eating. I was getting caught up in a rigid mindset regarding both, doing things because I felt that I had to, not necessarily because I enjoyed doing them. Should I train 3 or 4 days a week? Do I need to deadlift? What kind of feeding window should I adhere to? Should I eat higher fat or higher carb? What about muscle loss?

To bring some fun and excitement back into my training, I’ve  overhauled it completely, only doing exercises that I love or LOVE A TON, cutting everything else out of the picture (so pretty much booty, arms and upper back training all the time). Now I’ve decided it’s time to do the same for my nutrition, all for the sake of experimentation.

Gone are strictly timed feeding windows – I’ll eat whenever I want.

Gone are the days of keeping track of my calories and macros – I’ll eat whatever I want.

I love intermittent and how it fits into my life, so I want to do away with any self imposed rules and boundaries I’ve placed on myself, take it to the extreme in order to find out what really matters for my goals and reincorporate it in a less extreme manner once this is all over.

“Obey the principles without being bound by them.” – Bruce Lee

Objective: To fast for 3-4 days out of the week (only eating on training days) for the next 30-60 days without keeping track of calories (using only meal pics). I will also be monitoring the effects on my mood, body composition, strength and general well-being.

Updates will be posted every 2 weeks, including pics of myself, meals, workouts and detailed notes on all the above.

So, what’s the point of all this? Honestly, I just want to try something completely different and see what happens. If I lose a bunch of muscle and strength in the process I won’t be overly concerned since I know I can get it back later (and if I look like a badass despite that I DEFINITELY won’t care). I want to explore the role of true hunger, how I respond to it and the effect it has on me.

As much as I love science and all it has done for the advancement of this field, I feel that at times it can get in the way and make people frightened, myself included, to try different things just for the sake of seeing what will happen, so I’m just using my own body as an experiment to document & learn as much as I can along the way to pass on to you all, my Sexified readers.

Date - 7/11/2012

Weight - 196lbs
Right Arm - 14 inches
Left Arm - 13.5 inches
Left Quad - 24 inches
Right Quad -  24.5 inches
Waist - 33 inches
Booty - 39 inches

Front Squat 1 rep max – 385 lbs
Barbell Push Press 1 rep max – 215 lbs
Trap Bar Deadlift 1 rep max – 495  lbs (not sure if I’ll be including deadlifts in my lifting just yet)

What Do You Want Me To Explore?

If there’s anything you have questions about or want me to cover/look into during this experiment, leave it in the comment section below and I’ll be sure to include it if possible – this is your chance to live vicariously through me!

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Comments

  1. Sean says

    That front squat is pretty beast.

    I’m curious to see what the results will be for this. I know Brad Pilon thinks two 24 hour fasts each week is the cat’s pajamas, but Berardi claimed that he turned to jelly if he did it more than once a week.

    What’s your physique goal for the experiment, in theory? Are you just trying to see if you can maintain what you’ve got, or are you actually hoping for some improvements in body comp?

    • says

      Honestly, I have no idea. I imagine I’ll lose some weight since I’m going to be sticking with mainly whole foods with some treats as well (not going down the dark path of fast food, though), which will make it hard for me to hit my overall calories. I’m really just excited about eating bacon…lots and lots of bacon. Bacon on bacon with bacon on the side.

      I know my body comp will improve because I’ll be training hard, but how much it improves is up in the air.

  2. says

    I think this is a brilliant idea.
    I am interested in this because I too have recently been thinking about experimenting with hunger and also how I would eat if there were no rules, but like you say – I am a bit scared! Therefore its great to read this and maybe I will get some courage to try an experiment of my own :-)
    Will you really be eating ANYTHING you like? Like will you eat ‘junk’ or do you prefer natural whole foods anyway?
    Bridget :-)

    • says

      Muster up the courage to try your own mini experiment for sure! Rarely does the body go from awesome to “OMG WTF?!” in a matter of days, so you’ll always see signs of impending doom if there are any.

      Yep, anything I like! Some junk foods will be included as well, but honestly I’ve lost the appetite for a lot of foods I used to be obsessed with. Best believe there will be much ice cream, bacon, ribs, the occasional Cinnabon and other delicious treats that I want in my belly =)

  3. Real says

    Are you going to use any supplements? like BCAA or somehing on the fast? Or is a balls to the walls fast (just water)? In the training days you will “eat by hunger” alone. Not even some kind of loose calorie volume control.? IS going to be really interesting man. By the way. It would be good to do some labs test, like fasting glucose, triglycerides and stuff like that.

    • says

      Nah, I try to keep it as simple as possible so nothing but water during the fast. Possibly caffeine if I don’t get enough sleep, but I’m going to make sure that I do since I know that’ll be important from my own experience in the past.

      Nope, no volume control or calorie tracking. All I’ll be doing is taking pictures of all my meals and writing down the amount (i.e. 6 eggs, 1.5lb of a certain meat, etc). Trying to get away from that completely.

      Definitely going to get some blood work done since someone else mentioned that as well. When the doctor asks me if I fasted before the test, I’ll look him in the eye with my most serious face and say “I haven’t eaten a meal since 1996.”

  4. Nancy C. says

    I’d be interested in hearing what strategies you use for handling hunger during the fasts. Or whether hunger is even a problem at all.

  5. says

    Rog, you are a crazy beast. Have fun with this- can’t wait to see the results and progress of how it goes for you. I do think you’re crazy. :)

  6. Justin says

    I’m really excited to see your results. I’ve fasted 1-2 days a week in the past when I’ve been very busy with little time to eat/no appetite and experienced no noticeable negative effects. You’re taking it a step further than me which peaks my interest.

    What always concerned me was my protein intake when fasting entire days. I was always worried I wouldn’t be getting in enough protein if I didn’t eat for 36+ hours. Are you worried about this at all? When only eating 3-4 days a week will you have any idea how much protein you’d be consuming in a 7 day period? Any guesses to how much?

    Those arm measurements, are they measured flexed?

    • says

      Thanks, Justin!

      I’ve been toying around with this for a month or so and I haven’t experienced any negatives either. In fact my strength has shot up nicely. The human body is the most adaptable machine on the planet and we’re not nearly a fragile as we’ve been lead to believe.

      I’m not really worried about the protein levels. I train hard so I hope my body knows what the hell to do with what I give it haha. I don’t have any idea as to how much protein I’m getting in, but I usually eat meat by the pound so I’ll take notes on that and will estimate how much protein I was taking in when all is said in done. If I had to take a guess…I’d say anywhere between 750 and 1000g of protein total for the week, 400g shy of my usual 1400g.

      Those are unflexed measurements – I’d be mad if my arms measured like that flexed after all the work I’ve put in!

      • Justin says

        Thanks for the info Rog.

        On the arm measurements…mine are only 14″ flexed. Haha. You make me feel like less of a man :P.

  7. Steven Musumeche says

    Good luck Rog, I don’t have the mental fortitude to fast for 3-4 days a week like that. Although on workout days your meals should be pretty epic. I look forward to seeing your results.

  8. says

    Please include info on whether your sleep is affected OR vice versa. If I have crap sleep the night before a planned fast day, I always waver on whether I should fast as planned.

    PS: “Bacon on bacon with bacon on the side.” = why we love you.

  9. says

    So zero calories on non-workout days, and then a massive influx of calories in the 24 hours after workouts?

    Awesome, really looking forward to the results.

  10. Mike B. says

    Man, that sounds rough! Curious if you will supplement with BCAA’s and/or any other supplements on fasting days to see if it minimizes muscle loss. Also interested in energy levels throughout the week, motivation to train, and effects on the strength of your main lifts.

    As someone who has gone from a somewhat skinny-fat 165lbs to 195lbs in 1 1/2 years of lifting, I would be concerned with losing “all kiiiinds of muscle” lol. Mad props to you for doing this though and challenging traditional dogma : )

    • says

      Thanks, Mike!

      Yeah, I’ll be taking BCAAs prior to training along with a pre-workout supplement called Tier 1 from Citadel Nutrition (I do most if not all my training fasted).

  11. Brandon says

    I would like to see the effects on your cholesterol, resting heart rate, and blood pressure.

    • says

      Good point Brandon – I’ll try and get something set up either tomorrow or next week to get it done. My cholesterol has historically been very high, so it’ll be interesting to see what it is now and 30-60 days later.

  12. Mark says

    Hey Rog,

    I can see you really struggling With not eating on non training days. Sounds a bit extreme. By week 3 you will be training 7 days a week just to eat lol

    But seriously I will be very interested in the updates, stay awesome ;-)

    • says

      Haha! One of the goal is to find my nice happy zen place with this – stare down hunger, call it out and drop kick it in the face. After doing something like this, returning to less extreme eating will be easy as pie…delicious pie.

  13. Dexter Morgan says

    Rog, awesome man. I just wanted to say I like your style. I agree too that the body can do so much more than most people think. I feel energized as f*ck when fasted but never did more than one 36 hour fast a week. I’m actually looking to recomp significantly at the moment (gained too much bulking fat) so might try something similar. Lift heavy, eat, rest, fast, repeat!? Good luck man, looking forward to updates.

  14. Aubrey says

    Hey Rog, I’m really excited to see how this goes for you. I’d be most concerned about things like social events on off days, especially things like a friends comes in town unexpectedly, etc. Do you plan to allow wiggle room for life like that, or the experiment is the experiment and no cals on off days?

    • says

      Hey Aubrey,

      I’m excited to see what’ll happen too! Week 1 is almost done and it’s going great.

      Yeah I definitely have planned in some wiggle room. For instance, I usually train on Tue, Thur & Saturday, but I had a wedding dinner to go to and a wedding the following day, so I just trained on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday this week and got my eat on.

      Social events don’t usually pop up on me unexpectedly, but if they do I’m fine with not eating since the reason I’m going is for the people anyway. Worst case scenario I’ll eat something and just have that be my only meal for the day – no biggies.

  15. ForeverHis0518 says

    waaait, so you fast on off-days ( days you dont workout )? im trying to lean down, as a female, to get my muscles showing since im struggeling with food in general, a lot. i wanted to do a from 2pm – 8pm eating window, but everyday, working out or not. what do you think, will i get results? it would mean a lot if someone would respond to me, guys!

    • says

      Hey Dani,

      A 2pm – 8pm eating window is perfectly fine. The most important thing, however, is to make sure that the total calories you’re eating each day is bringing you closer to your goal. Before you get too heavily into fasting, I would make sure that you have a firm grasp on any eating issue that you may have.

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