In the previous parts 1 & 2 I covered the most popularly used types of IFing, and described the various benefits of doing so. This post is about my own brief commentary on IF and personal input on the subject.
My personal IF routine that isn’t officially made famous as far as I know of – is as follows:
– Very much like the Leangains approach in terms of getting more calories from carbs on days of workouts, and more calories from healthy fats on rest days. I consume on average 2g of protein per kilo of bodyweight. (This amount can vary from person to person, different people have different genetic potential for successful assimilation of protein. Largely dependent on overall gut-related health. If you get gassy or bloated from your protein powder or from eating too much protein in general chances are you’re getting too much)
– Daily feeding gap of 8 hours and fasting period for 16 hours, with the exception of a 2-day fast (usually 48h) from sunday dinner to tuesday dinner, finished by a workout and massive meal. I always consume the majority of my calories post-workout.
– During this 2 day fast I usually consume L-glutamine, and sometimes coconut oil. Not because I can’t manage otherwise, but because they are good for promoting gut health, something I’ve had issues with due to candida. Intense exercise following a 48 hour fast is not something most “gurus” promote, but I have found that this 2 day fast is vastly superior to the normal IF that I did for roughly a year prior to coming up with my own method.
– My morning routine usually consists of L-glutamine, and perhaps coconut oil, followed by coffee or tea as I read/work/go to the gym.
On Leangains & Caffeine
I agree with most things Martin Berkhan says, but not with his positive recommendation of consuming or overconsumption of caffeine as it breaks down magnesium which helps you relax. Caffeine also stimulates the pituitary gland and increases cortisol, and lowers melatonin that you need for sleep and relaxation. Long-term consumption MAY lead to overstimulating your adrenal glands.
As a pointer – don’t drink too much coffee (more than 1-2 cups/day) if your diet is lacking in magnesium. Make sure you’re eating lots of veggies or supplementing with magnesium if you must drink coffee, and take a few days off every month when you don’t consume any caffeine. Also, if you do take magnesium supplements, don’t do so in combination with drinking coffee as it reduces absorption.
However, this example of coffee-drinking is completely arbitrary on a case to case basis. I know for a fact that I myself am very susceptible to the effects of caffeine and should never drink coffee after 2 pm if I want a good night’s sleep. It may be different for other people, and I would think that it is generally fine for people to consume 1-2 cups of coffee daily even during fasting given that they consume enough magnesium, zinc, and other minerals.
Other Reasons for Fasting
There are other reasons than the previously mentioned health and bodybuilding reasons as to why I am very pro-fasting:
– Fasting for longer periods, especially during my weekly two day fast, enables me to reach a deeper state of creativity and focus. This in turn makes it more fun to work on things for a prolonged period of time. When the mind stops being concerned with the stimulation of food, it frees up more mental energy for other stuff – such as deeper levels of thinking. It is not rare that your metacognition temporarily increases from this.
– The leeway of being able to eat huge meals and even getting away with eating unhealthy (though I try not to).
– Removing the mental block of knowing that you have to eat sooner or later. This boosts productivity for me because it destroys the mental excuse that I may not be able to reach a deep state of concentration because I have to discontinue the task soon. Fasting demolishes that excuse, now the only excuse left is whether you force yourself to put in the adequate amount of time.
– The fanatic feeling that you are burning energy instead of storing it. This usually kicks in for me after 16-20 hours of fasting, making me feel somewhat unstifled and energetic, more spontaneous than usual.
On Bulletproof Coffee/Tea
The reason I eat coconut oil and have it in my tea or coffee is because I suffer from a not-so-serious level of candida albicans. Coconut oil and L-glutamine are some of the stuff I have in my diet as a means to an end, not to lose weight.
It is very important to make that distinction – because a lot of uninformed people in the fitness community actually think they will lose weight by increasing their caloric metabolic rate by eating coconut oil or MCT-oil.
If your main goal is to lose weight by doing intermittent fasting, then you should avoid coconut oil/butter/MCT in your coffee as it adds calories. On the other hand if you find it unbearable to skip breakfast etc. (as is common the first 1-3 weeks) and that in turn causes you to eat much food later on, then perhaps the net effects having some butter/coconut oil in your tea/coffee is positive.
You’ll have to experiment for yourself in order to know, the answer is out there for you to find!
Personally I rarely ever get hungry anymore. I eat whenever I want to by my own volition and it feels great. Coffee/tea in the morning is a nice stimulant though, but I usually don’t need it to suppress hunger. Coffee is really addictive though, keep that in mind if you aren’t already an avid drinker.
PLEASE do not be a stupid David Asprey fan guy who mistakes bulletproof coffee or whatever, for a magic pill solution. The fundamentals of calories in and calories out still apply and must be adhered to. As is stated in Eat Stop Eat, by increasing your muscle mass you will increase your basal metabolic rate.
Purchasing all the overpriced products from David Asprey’s, Joseph Mercola’s, or Mark Hyman’s websites will NEVER be a substitute for a sound mind and discipline. If you have all the money in the world and don’t care, then go for it – never buy in completely into a lifestyle or system, use only what is of value to you and then move on.
Coconut oil is a great thing to have in your diet for various reasons, but know why you are consuming it, don’t just do it because some dude on a forum told you to. Don’t be that guy.
If the enlightened guy jumped off a bridge, would you jump off a bridge?
– Jed Mckenna, Spiritual Enlightenment – The Damndest Thing