Friday, October 28, 2011

How to Start Intermittent Fasting

Starting Your Own “IF” Lifestyle

The biggest concern I have gotten since starting this blog in 2010, is emphasizing too much on my personal experience. There aren’t two Anna’s in this world!

In fact to effectively use Intermittent Fasting (IF) to achieve goals and maximum results can vary by each person with fat loss, muscle gain, better health, improved performance in your sport of choice and more. With that comes the individuality of what is a person’s insulin resistance, current body composition (body fat %), daily lifestyle, eating habits, type of exercise program, frequency and volume of training and so forth.

It is unlikely to find large groups of people with the exact same set of parameters and responses to an intermittent fasting protocol. My suggestion is to start with a basic intermittent fasting format, and then learn how to monitor results and adjust as you go.

Even down the road things will change as you will improve health, lower insulin resistance or losing weight. So nothing is really ever just one set way (as it shouldn’t have to be). Life is dynamic (always changing and evolving) and so should be the way we see our own journey for health and fitness.

What is Intermittent Fasting (IF)?

If you are new to the term, intermittent fasting is just taking “intermittent” times of fasting (no food) and working them into your lifestyle. This can be either daily or a couple times a week (will get into that more below).

How to Begin Using Intermittent Fasting?

Is there only one set way in which to use intermittent fasting? No, of course not.

There are many different IF protocols based on people’s individualistic needs, lifestyle, exercise, goal, macronutrient ratios, and so forth. I am going to keep it simple and give the 2 most frequent options.

Longer IF 1-2x a week: This is taking a longer fasting period of say for up to 24 hours and repeating 1-2x a week. Note that 24 hours is not skipping a whole day, as stopping to eat on 6pm Tues and then having your next meal at 6pm Wed is 24 hours. I usually don’t talk about anything beyond 30 hours for using IF, as most research is usually based on that fasting window. There is a book called Eat Stop Eat detailing the ‘1-2x a week’ mode of IF.

Shorter More “Daily” IF: This means that it is done more than a couple times a week with a condensed eating window such as eating their calories in a 8-6 hour window more daily (and the fasting does happen around it). There is a book called 2 Meal Solution detailing the ‘daily’ mode of IF.

With those approaches there are still many variables to include such as calories, activity/exercise, recovery needs, food choices, etc. In the end it is still about finding a way that does work for you. Picking the approach you think fits around your lifestyle best is going to lead to better results.

Wrapping it Up

Over the years I have adapted more of the “long” IF approach than the ‘short’ without really planning.

I eat anywhere from 12-24 hours without worrying about food all the time. I focus more on healthy foods and the results come, while still being able to enjoy other splurges when I go out and eat/socialize. I’m not a slave to some mentality of “needing” to eat all day and enjoy the freedom that comes with that.

Heck sometimes on occasion I may work in a 24+/- hour fast just because of my schedule, but there is more flexibility to how I eat now. I listen to my body and know what is right for me. Staying lean and healthy year round is easy once you can do that.

The key part of the IF experience is just starting with it and seeing how it works for you. Knowing how to change things up when they aren’t working. Making a lifestyle solution and not needing anyone to tell you how to eat again. That is how you find that freedom and results that last.

Personally I enjoy reading the The IF Blog which covers everything about intermittent fasting. And the author Mike O'Donnell answers questions promptly.

Intermittent Fasting - How to Start Using IF

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Best Time to Workout

If you want to find out the best time to workout, this article may help.

Good and informative fitness articles are not easy to find. Mike O’Donnell’s blog is one among the rare blogs that contain original content articles. Mike is a professional personal trainer. His articles are insightful and inspirational which I always enjoy reading. Recently I read his article “What is the best time to workout” which I really want to share with you.

I always emphasis the benefits of exercising in a "fasted state" and encourage doing morning exercises. However after reading Mike’s article, I have changed my views about when and how to do workout.

Below are a few highlights from Mike’s article.

By Mike O’Donnell: In the past I have talked about the advantages of working out in a “fasted state”, which can easily be done first thing in the morning. However early in the morning is not the only time, as a “fasted” state (or the lowered insulin levels) can also happen hours after your most recent meal.

So it is possible to still workout later in the day and reap the benefits, assuming you didn’t eat too soon before your workout.

… it’s how your nervous system (and adaptions it makes) that determines your real strength and performance outputs for a workout during the day.

…So the answer to the best time to workout is based on when you feel optimal to do an intense workout. When is your body and nervous system working at peak capacity?

For me, that means later in the day. I feel stronger, flexible (less chance of injury), focused and my workouts are just more intense/productive.

But for another person, that optimal time may be first thing in the morning.

So whatever time of day you feel “optimal” for maximizing your workout efforts, that is probably the best time for you.

Consistency Matters Too
The other major factor to look at is if you will also stay consistent with the workouts. Doing an intense exercise program for 4 weeks a year isn’t going to get the results you are after.

Now doing some simple workouts consistently year round, now we are talking. Simple daily habits that add up for lasting results.

This can depend on your daily schedule (work, personal) and other things you have going on. Some people like getting it out of the way first thing in the morning before work and the day gets too busy, others rather would do it right after work before going home to wind down for the night.

Wrapping Up
So really it is just a simple equation to try and maximize your performance/ strength output while also making sure you stay consistent with your workouts.

Don’t worry about whether you can or can not get a workout first thing in the morning (esp with IF), as for some it may be more effective later on in the day. You can always get that “fasted” state by just having a long period of time (2-3 hours for example) between your workout and the last time you ate.

So just go with what best compliments your daily lifestyle! You can always change it up as you go along…but the goal is to just get started and keep going!

Click here to view the full article: What is The Best Time to Workout

By Anna Fasting: In terms of consistency, I must grant myself a distinction - simple workouts consistently year round plus simple daily habits. Due to office relocation, my lunch-hour swimming may not be possible but I just switch it to before or after work together with some simply calisthenics daily. No matter what, if you are determined to workout everyday for the benefit of your health, I’m sure you can find time to do it.

Back to Mike’s blog, I really appreciate his knowledge and passion in helping others to keep fit. He also answers email promptly. He is certainly one of my most respected figures in the fitness field. If you wish to take a look, here is Mike’s blog.

My simple daily calisthenics ideas come from this book Workout Without Weights.

For your information, Bodyweight Calisthenics are an incredibly effective and versatile form of exercise... You can do them anywhere and anytime, they do not require expensive equipment or costly gym memberships, you can do them in short bursts and you can effectively train the entire body by using only a few movements. For additional information, download this free report: Cardio Intervals

Intermittent Fasting Success - Best Time To Workout