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View Full Version : Eat every 3 hours vs IF for fat loss


Mike ODonnell
05-16-2007, 06:49 AM
Ok collective nerd herd...let's hear the good evidence....

We have all heard that eating every 3 hours (with protein) stimulates the metabolism....and that IF can lower the metabolism but also spare muscle and burn fat....Sooooo....if you have someone going on a short term diet to lose those last hard to get lbs....which is going to be the more effective approach and why? The old eat every 3 hours (even if it is just protein and veg) has been around for years...and it works.....now the IF is coming to the front, but also looks to slow down the metabolism (which allows you to eat less).

Again this is just for a short term plan (longevity health aside) and assume the person is willing to do either approach....which should it be? Protein meals every 3 hours or IF? Does one spare more muscle while in a hypocaloric state? Does one have greater T3 levels? Does one have an advantage in the GH response?

Robb Wolf
05-16-2007, 07:09 AM
I think the frequent meals keeps metabolism higher. If one takes in adequate protein and is resistance training I don't think muscle loss will be an issue in either approach. Using the base Zone...possibly stripping out some carbs and replacing them with fat...that is a slam dunk if you can get people to comply.

Jeremy Shepard
05-16-2007, 09:42 AM
If it's a low-carb approach, I don't see it mattering. If it isn't low-carb, I still don't see it making an appreciable difference unless the person is fairly fatass. I'd set them up on a PSMF style diet, which only allows itself to two good pieces of meat/day. So, two meals whenever.

Elliot Royce
05-16-2007, 09:55 AM
I find it easier to eat frequently rather than to fast. That may weigh in depending on your trainee's lifestyle, etc. I can see the problems with a business person who travels having to fast and then eat a lot. Ordering large two sirloin steaks at a hotel in Europe can get expensive really quickly.

Garrett Smith
05-16-2007, 04:34 PM
Why not do frequent meat+veg meals on the 24-hour fast/feed IF? Wouldn't that hit both ends?

"Zone" is definitely the best on 1/2 the carbs and multiple times fat IMO. Not really "Zone", but it works better with the non-starchy carbs in terms of stomach space...

Mike ODonnell
05-16-2007, 05:07 PM
Ordering large two sirloin steaks at a hotel in Europe can get expensive really quickly.

First of all....if you are not putting it on the company CC...then you need a new job...and secondly....nicely done on the rub.."If I want to have 3 filet mignons at Michael Jordans boat while cruising off the coast of Sicily...well I find it hard to do"...Nice...;)

I guess the real question was how much is the factor of the metabolic slow down using an IF approach?? If you want weight loss...you want a high metabolism...but then again with the IF approach even though you may slow down your metabolism you are taking in probably less calories....so is the offset even in far of calorie deficit for fat loss....or does one hold a distinct advantage. Again assuming you have a client that can do either approach and consistency and conformity is not an issue....

Steve Liberati
05-16-2007, 05:43 PM
My first thought was to combine the two as Garrett suggested...IF 2-3 days a week with feed days involving eating every 2.5-3 hrs. But before making that suggestion, more info about the client is needed. Specifically:
1.) What training protocol/program is s/he following?
2.) Is this person a fat or sugar burner?
3.) Body type and bf % ??

To answer your question whether one spares muscle in a hypocaloric state...just take a look at your typical "natural" bobdybuilder prepping for a show. A true natural usually comes in ripped with exceedly low bodyfat packed with slabs of muscle mass. Although bb'ers are not the ideal model to follow when it comes to training (isolated vs compound, mult-joint functional movements) and health...they know what they're doing when it comes to diet. Okay, not entirely...but enough we can learn and borrow some of their techniques if altering one's body shape is the main goal.

Conversely...
...anything "short-term" yields short-term reults. Nothing you don't already know Mike...but worth pointing out so it can be addressed and adjusted accordingly.

Elliot Royce
05-17-2007, 06:41 AM
Mike:

Be careful what you wish for....you'd probably initially turn green if I told you the places I get to visit....and then you'd start to realize that it involves being away from family, getting jet lagged, not being able to exercise consistently, and generally often attending long, somewhat boring meetings. Personally, I sometimes envy those of you with steady schedules!

Robb Wolf
05-17-2007, 08:05 AM
MOD-
The slow-down is just the waste heat frittered away from overeating...I don't see that as being much if any contributor to the fat loss story...have to think about that.

Pierre Auge
05-17-2007, 08:48 AM
Well consider this, three weeks ago I was 150lbs. I am currently around 146lbs and noticeably leaner. I Fast from 1 hour before bed 9:00pm (21:00hrs) usually to 3:00pm (15:00hrs) - 18 hours on average. I then consume between the hours of 15:00 - 21:00 18 zone blocks. If I workout more than once I'll eat ~20 blocks. 3x fat and I'm weighing and measuring.

Little guy - lots of food, lots of free time during the day when not eating I find myself to be very productive and I really like eating and this seems to be the best protocol I've tried, but I'm only a couple of weeks into it.

Fat loss seems to be accelerated in this manner. Also keep in mind I'm kind of lazy and don't really workout that hard so my activity level doesn't really warrant 18-20 blocks.

Craig Cooper
05-17-2007, 09:08 AM
I would think that fastings tendency to increase fat metabolism would definitely offset any slowing of the metabolism that may occur.

Mike ODonnell
05-17-2007, 11:12 AM
all great stuff....I wonder if the length of the fast decreases the metabolism exponetially, or if you get enough calories during the feeding your T3 levels will not drop. and IF being the case...is one holding a distinct advantage over others such as 15 hr fast, 18hr fast, 24 hr fast.....I know it depends on the amount of calories needed to be consumed, the person and willingness to eat in larger amounts, realistic schedules...

all this just to help Robb with his book....I hope I at least get into the credits...

and Elliot...if you need someone to step in on a business trip I will be more than willing...although I probably will spend way too much on the company CC, upgrade to first class and sleep through most your meetings....may not be a good career move but the stories I would be able to tell you would be worth it! :D

Larry Lindenman
05-18-2007, 05:26 AM
I have been playing around with IF for the last month, with great results. I am going to shift from a 3-8p eating schedule to a 8a-1p schedule today. I train in the morning and this allows me to get in some post workout nutrition (if it matters) and eat lunch...my new job involves lunch and some breakfast meetings, which made it hard to do an afternoon feeding. I think compliance is the key: more meals = more ability to screw up. Also, IF is more forgiving of nutritional errors. I think people have a tendency to spiral out of control after their first blush with cheating during the every three hours eating plan. So, while eating every 3 hours may increase metabolism, I think IF is more forgiving of errors, easier to stick too, and therefore is more conducive to fat loss. By the way, my wife loves IF and has lost her winter weight gain, within 3 weeks! She looks ripped.

Allen Yeh
05-18-2007, 06:01 AM
Also, IF is more forgiving of nutritional errors. I think people have a tendency to spiral out of control after their first blush with cheating during the every three hours eating plan.

I've noticed this also.

Nick Tirkalas
11-04-2007, 03:06 PM
I guess I wanted to start this thread up again and add my 2 cents. I just started IF and it has been killer for me. Not for compliance but for energy. I am on the zone and I had all the energy in the world. With IF (16-19hr fast, needing 15 blocks for the other 6) I had zero energy. I would break the fast at around 5:30 and eat until 10:30-11pm and then go to sleep. I would be ok if I was on a rest day but on workout days I had nothing in me.

FYI. I stayed in ZONE compliance while in my feeding window.

Any one else experience this?

Also, I feel kinda soft, like I am putting on the weight.

Greg Davis
11-04-2007, 03:42 PM
Personally as a general rule I try not to eat within 3 hours of when I go to sleep at night. Its actually probably the most important principle for me in terms of diet cuz otherwise I feel crappy in the morning.

But I have heard other people say the opposite and don't like to go to bed hungry... shrug

Troy Archie
11-04-2007, 04:19 PM
I am on the zone and I had all the energy in the world. With IF (16-19hr fast, needing 15 blocks for the other 6) I had zero energy.


Were you working out while fasted? Long fasts ended with workouts tend to be big time drainers. Long fasts with a pre-WO meal have been working well for me and my strength goals right now but I don't see how it would differ if my goals were CF. The only thing different I would do would be have a smaller pre-WO meal. Big huge pre-WO salad and a metcon would be a bucket full.

I would break the fast at around 5:30 and eat until 10:30-11pm and then go to sleep. I would be ok if I was on a rest day but on workout days I had nothing in me.

Well then just fast on rest days, thats how I started. As time went by and I became more "adapted" to the fast I started fasting for longer periods and fasting on my training days. It's worked really well for me and others but it did take some tinkering to find out what worked well.

Fasting is a lot like a fitness regimen. What works for some may not work for others. There's no magic pill or perfect program just what works for you.

Steve Liberati
11-04-2007, 05:23 PM
Well then just fast on rest days, thats how I started. As time went by and I became more "adapted" to the fast I started fasting for longer periods and fasting on my training days. It's worked really well for me and others but it did take some tinkering to find out what worked well.

Fasting is a lot like a fitness regimen. What works for some may not work for others. There's no magic pill or perfect program just what works for you.

The advice above is as good as it gets (IMO). I'd venture to say most, if not all, those who are regular IF'ers have experienced this 'transition phase' or adjustment Troy is talking about. Between this board and the CrossFit board, posts abound with beginner IF'ers, Zone'ers or Paleo'ers experiencing wierd side effects in the first few weeks of introduction. Nothing against you Nick (just trying to make a point...bear with me:)).....but we've been doing our bodies wrong for so many years (upward of 20 +), it is really unrealistic for us to expect our bodies to smoothly adjust to this change in a matter of only a few weeks. The whole process of undoing and retuning our body takes time. Some quicker than others. But the negative sides are part of the cleansing process - I think the same principle applies to IF.

Nick Tirkalas
11-05-2007, 07:08 AM
I was thinking of just doing the rest day fast even before I posted. I think for a fe eeks I'll do that.

Scott Kustes
11-05-2007, 11:14 AM
Nick, does your "w" key not work? Or should I say, does your "" key not ork? :D

Anyway, how did you ramp up on IF? Did you just jump straight into the 18-19 hour fast it looks like you were doing? If so, you might try starting with like 12 hours and extending it an hour every week to let your body adapt. I IF ~20 hours/day, probably 5 days per week, but I don't follow the Zone. I'm Paleo with a lower carb amount.

Nick Tirkalas
11-05-2007, 03:43 PM
That's hilarious. I have to check the 'w' tomorrow at work. Didn't even notice.

I did jump in it right away. 18hr fast. I can handle it (hunger pangs not an issue) but the energy was gone. I am going to re-group for a week or so and try and ease in it at 12hrs first ans then add on to it.

Now, where's the spell check?