There was a certain time during my life that I was a huge boxing fan. I made an effort to watch all the big fights and didn't care what time of night I went to bed. The sport of boxing has seen better days and my days as a fight fan have been slowly diminishing. Last weekend I got an invite to watch the Floyd Mayweather v. Manny Pacquiao fight and decided to give this fight a shot. I knew the food choices would be sub-par and that my sleep cycle would be compromised so a thought occurred to me...Why not use this night to experiment with intermittent fasting?
Now, I had no intention of becoming this guy, but I did want to learn a little bit more about fasting and its effects on the body. I love eating, and often times overeating, so spending over 16 hours not eating was something I wasn't too excited about. Considering this was my first attempt, I set a goal of 16 hours for the fast. I ate dinner at 8 pm, then went to watch the fight. got home after 1 a.m., and decided to sleep in as late as possible. More time in bed = less time fighting temptation. I woke up and got moving around at 8:30, drank tons of water and black coffee and began doing yard work (apparently black coffee helps satiate appetite). Once the clock 12:30, it was time for a miniature feast. I realized that the cravings would be minimal and will continue to experiment with different fasting strategies. Next step: consumer all calories over a 6-10 hour window. In essence, you will have a mini-fast each and every day.
So why even fast in the first place? I've come across many articles written from individuals much brighter then myself who believe it could used a positive tool for healthy living. Dr. Mercola outlined three areas that I felt I personally needed help with:
What about the six meal a day strategy?
Ahhh yes, the grazing strategy. Outside of babies, I do not think human beings should be eating like this (for the record, I have been eating this way for a very long time and it will be incredibly tough to break this habit). Babies eat this way because they are constantly synthesizing new tissue and growing at an incredible rate. They are also hungry all the time. The average adult is not. We tend to constantly be in feast mode and, as a result, we consume too many calories throughout the day and our body composition does not improve. Another issue with this strategy is that our bodies burn those foods that are constantly consumed as energy. The result? Fat is not used as a fuel source. When you choose to famine, your body will eventually use fat as your main fuel source and you will see a decrease in sugar cravings which I know a lot of us suffer from!
This fasting stuff may not be for everyone. But I will say this, nutrition is integral to your success. If you eat potato chips or cheesy poofs everyday, you are not a victim of your diet. You are the perpetrator! Oreos just don’t jump down your mouth without your help. We need to take responsibility for our actions, especially when it comes to eating. There is no tractor beam pulling you to the fast food restaurant drive thru. Most of the time, it is our own eating habits and choices that determine how much we weigh, how we feel, and how we perform. The fitness legend Jack Lalanne once said, “Exercise is king, Nutrition is queen. Put them together and you have a happy kingdom.” Lets live our lives in a happy kingdom...and not by eating happy meals!
Chris is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist and member of the National Strength & Conditioning Association. He has recently served as a high school football and wrestling coach. Chris loves swinging kettlebells around, watching football and reading books!