The Secret to Becoming a Breakfast Skipper (My Fasting Approach)
Last week’s article on Intermittent Fasting (IF) was super popular. With popularity comes tons of questions to my inbox. I couldn’t answer everyone’s questions, but luckily, I’m writing this blog post to make up for it. Think of it as an early Christmas present (yes, I know it’s February).
What to do/expect in Morning
The morning is yours. You wake up, and do what you have to do. Since you are skipping breakfast, this is the best time to be productive. I love to take advantage of the focus that skipping breakfast provides.
Beware: it’s difficult to be productive at first. Why? Transition. If you’re used to eating breakfast, your body will naturally crave a breakfast meal (and that’ll be the only thing you can think of. Try to take your mind off of it). Give your body 2 to 4 weeks to adjust and you’ll feel like you’re on Adderall (but without the weird sexual side effects).
I’ve also received emails from a few people saying that they felt tired or kind of funny in the morning since their blood sugar was low. I remember feeling this way when I first started. Believe it or not, this will go away after the transition period.
Once your body transitions, expect to feel cold until you eat your first meal. This is a minor inconvenience that can easily be fixed by wearing a sweater. I first remember reading about this in Berardi’s Experiments with Intermittent Fasting, and thinking, “holy crap, so that’s why I’ve been freezing every morning”. No research suggests why this happens, but when you’re cold, brown adipose tissue seems to be “activated” and generates fat burning in the body.
I usually break my fast between 2pm and 5pm. It’s different each day because I like to eat my first meal immediately after finishing class for the day. It’s just easier for me.
During my eating window, I usually have 2-3 large meals. Since the meals are so big, I never feel hungry during the eating window. This not only allows me to be more compliant with my food choices, but it allows me to be more productive as a large part of my day isn’t dedicated towards eating and preparing food.
A lot of people have been asking me about eating 6 small meals in the eating window to keep their metabolism running. New research suggests that increasing the number of meals per day does not increase your metabolism. Sorry.
You know what directly affects metabolism? Caloric intake. Lowering your caloric intake can make your digestive system more efficient (this means that your metabolism will get slow), but I digress.
I usually eat my last meal around midnight.
On non-workout days, the only carbs I eat are non-starch vegetables and an apple or two. Sometimes, I will really go nuts and eat a couple handfuls of berries as well. But let’s not get too out of hand. Easy Tiger.
Every meal I eat on non-workout days contains meat, veggies, and some kind of healthy fat. I get about 100g of protein with each meal.
On workout days, I prefer to train fasted. During the workout, I sip on 0.2 grams per pound of bodyweight of BCAA’s. This translates to approximately 40g of BCAA’s for me, and 36g of BCAA’s for a 180lb male. Research has shown BCAA’s to increase growth hormone during training. Add this to the amounts of growth hormone that fasting and deep sleep provides, and your body will be making large amounts of a hormone that celebrities and bodybuilders pay big money for.
If possible, I like to put my workout within the last hour or two of my fast. This further induces growth hormone production, and makes workouts super fun.
As for food, you’re going to want to eat the same as as on non-workout days, but you’ll want to add a serving or two of starchy carbohydrates to each of your three meals.
This may all seem a bit overwhelming. Yet, you have to remember, I already have my nutrition dialed in, and down to a routine. That is my suggestion to you: master my nutrition advice given in the article Eat to Win, but don’t worry about meal timing.
Another awesome trick is to push breakfast back half an hour each day. Once your eating window is only 8 hours, then you stick to it for AT LEAST 2 WEEKS. The first 2 weeks are always the hardest, but once you get through them, everything is a breeze. You’re tough, I know you can do it!
The thing that makes fasting easy for me is that I get to sleep in an extra half hour every day, I get tons of work done while fasting, and I save time by not constantly eating throughout the day. As an added bonus, I’m not stressed out when I miss a meal. In fact, I don’t even care if I miss a meal, I’ll just eat later. Because of fasting, instead of looking at daily caloric intake, I look at overall weekly caloric intake. This works best, because some days, I won’t eat at all (24 hour fast; we’ll save that for another article).
I hope that this eases your fasting experience. If you need anything, let me know in the comments below. For more info on the subject, check out Berardi’s Experiments With Intermittent Fasting, and Martin Berkhan’s Lean Gains site.
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