Not too long ago, on a long drive to Arizona, my then-girlfriend Danielle said she was going to try Intermittent Fasting (I.F.)
What? A hippie-dippy fast for an athletic girl who lifts weights?
A minor argument ensued.
I'd already read about I.F. and dismissed it. I was an eat-six-times-a-day, weight-training musclehead. The very idea of not having a mouthful of chicken or tuna at any time during the day was just nuts.
But I thought about it and thought about it. I researched. I began to see the potential benefits. I started thinking about ways to improve upon the old idea with modern science and supplementation. Then I tried it, tweaked it, and tried it again, and again, and dozens more times.
I talked to Tim Patterson about it and mentioned it to Christian Thibaudeau (who was already doing a version of it.) We called Dr. Tim Ziegenfuss and he dug into the scientific research for us. The experiments continued. Christian used it on professional bodybuilders; I introduced the idea to Figure competitors in my gym.
The idea eventually became the Pulse Fast, and today the Pulse Fast is spreading through the body transformation community like wildfire... but first I had to get annoyed by my future wife trying a "silly" thing like Intermittent Fasting.
It seems to be the natural human response: "I already know what I think. Don't make me think about it again! Don't make me change!"
I think I've had that kneejerk reaction to every good idea I've ever heard. There's an innate bias toward keeping things the same, an internal stubbornness to maintain any type of homeostasis.
Tell me that a certain leg exercise is better for me than the one I prefer? I'm going to resist. Automatically.
Tell me that I should be eating a certain food that I don't currently eat? Tell me that I shouldn't be eating a food that I like to eat? Either way, my natural instinct is to push you away.
Even if what you say makes sense. Even if you're clearly right and I'm clearly wrong. The new idea may be obviously better... but I'm going to fight you on it at first.
Oh stop it. I'm just saying that maybe you should lower your carb intake a little.
I do it. You do it. We all do it.
But maybe we shouldn't.
I've learned to expect that shield to go up when I'm presented with a new idea. I feel that natural resistance occurring, I embrace it, then I make myself open up to the new idea. That doesn't mean I blindly accept the idea; it means I resist the urge to push it away and instead accept it so I can examine it more closely.
The V-Diet came about by resisting then exploring the idea of protein-sparing modified fasts. The Pulse Fast came about by opening myself up to the idea of Intermittent Fasting. The 100 Gram Carb Cure was born from my experiments with both high and low-carb diets and finding the perfect balance.
All of these things have improved my life. There are things out there right now that can improve your life, improve you -- your body, your physical health, your mental health, maybe even your soul. If you learn to resist the resistance.
And Danielle, if you have any more "silly" ideas, I'm all ears.
Join date: Dec 2006
Location: California, USA
I've been doing Leangains style IF for the past several weeks and love it. When I originally heard about it I was immediately suspicious. Especially when I read about fasted workouts. Now, I love it. I take 10 g BCAA right before I workout. I've been in a 500 - 750 kcal deficit on average for the past four weeks, and all of my lifts have either slightly gone up or have stayed the same.
It just goes to show that a little experimentation can really pay off. The diet might not be for everyone, but I for one can say it is much more enjoyable not obsessing about eating 6 meals/day that are all the same calorie wise. I was constantly hungry when I did this, and struggled to do so for more than a couple of weeks. I have a feeling I will most likely eat like this for the rest of my life.
Also, Martin's newest article is very interesting. It is about the psychology behind why fitness professionals have such a hard time sticking to a diet, and taking their own advice. I know I probably can't link to a competitor's site so I won't, but the article is right up your alley Chris.
You and Martin are probably my favorite online fitness authors. I think you have some great motivational pieces, and he has several no-BS articles that really make you think.
Join date: Feb 2003
Location: Colorado, USA
Great article again Chris. IF works perfectly for me. When I was under the 6 meal a day hypnotism, I was hungry all the time. It sucked, all I could think about was food. Now I don't actually eat any food until late afternoon or dinner time. I train at noon and drink Surge Recovery, Superfood, Leucine and Creatine (all Biotest btw) right before and during training. I am getting leaner than shit (my tread desk helps I am assuming) and I am not hungry. I still get in about 2800-3000 calories per day, just in a 4 hour window at night (less the training drink).
I am trying to get both of my parents (type II diabetes, Mom is on statins) to try it, but the dogma associated with anything other than the USDA food guidelines is considered whacky - much like the hippie thing you adamantly fought with Danielle about. If something new comes along, THAT MAKES SENSE, I will probably try that too, just to see what it's all about.
I gotta say though, between eating paleo'ish, IF and training properly, I really can't see a better way for me.
Join date: Oct 2009
Location: Montana, USA
I love the IF-ing, gives me such freedom from the bother of food. Now don't get me wrong I like to eat, love to cook but I dont want it to consume my every waking moment either ~ which as was already stated is how I was. What time is it? Oh crap I got get some food!!! Yea that was me, I was that gal - now it is easy peasy and I hardly ever hungry other than when I am supposed to be :)
Join date: Feb 2003
Location: Florida, USA
Intermittent fasting seemed to help reset my body and hunger response cues. I remember never actually being hungry, just eating when I felt like it or on a schedule. I never got that growling in my stomach that indicates the hormonal signals, like ghrelin secretion, were working properly. Now I do feel those things and respond to them appropriately.
Join date: Sep 2008
Location: California, USA
I am working my way toward trying IF. Mainly through self experimentaion. I more so just reduce my caloric intake dramatically for a day to one meal.
I felt the 6-a-day lifestyle was getting to obsessive for me. Good on you for being open minded, and more so for spreading the word. Combine this with your interview with Matt and it's quite the mental day, so to speak.
Barachiel and N8tive: That's probably one of the best practical benefits of what Pulse Fasting/Feasting teaching you: you don't have to be in a panic all the time about food. It. Will. Be. Okay. And that's a relief.
Even if I'm not doing a full 36-hour Pulse Fast, I just play it by ear. Wake and want to eat? Fine, eat. Wake and just not feel hunger for hours? Also fine. I'll mix Superfood into a MAG-10 Pulse and eat a few hours later.
I notice my daughter, age 12, does this instinctively. Eats dinner, goes to bed, wakes up and eats at noon to 1PM when she's hungry... an Intermittent Fast by any other name, promoted by the "paleo" crowd and others, only she just calls this life and has a dad that doesn't shove breakfast at her as soon as her eyes open (though I used to.)