View Full Version : Another Fasting Experiement

Gordon Richmond
02-19-2007, 09:35 PM
After reading so many favorable accounts of fasting here and on the Crossfit board, I thought I'd give it a shot. In the space of five days and nights last week I fasted five times, ranging from 12 to 20 hours in length. I planned pretty meticulously and the only time I broke with the plan was when they happened to have free pizza at work.

My pre-fast worries were:
-Intense cravings
-Low energy level
-Trouble working out/problems with not eating immediately after a workout

My observations (after only five days):
-It was exponentially easier than I thought.
-During the fasting periods I was able to further accentuate the difference in feeling from when my palate is hungry and when my body is actually hungry. (No superfluous snacking.)
-Not eating immediately after workouts actually feels better.
-I took fewer sh**s. (I typically go a LOT, my porcelain time dropped a great deal.)

Now, since this was only a five day experiment, I donít feel as if I can accurately judge a difference in performance in such a short period, but the simplicity of the fasts have inspired me to try this again. This time, I am planning for intermittent fasts over a period of three weeks. Unlike this past week, I wonít cut the fasts at the weekend to go boozing.

Over the next three weeks, fasts will be of fairly random lengths, but I will plan for none to be less than 12 hours. Other specifics:
-Green tea/coffee (with a shot of splenda) allowed during fast
-Dairy and protein power will be consumed roughly once per day
-Obviously no grains, processed stuff
-Workouts do not necessitate a post-workout meal
-No alcohol

As a college student, the last point will be especially hard, but the end of this three-week period coincides with the beginning of spring break, wherein much alcohol and Mexican food will be consumed. Meals over the five-day period were lean protein comparable to the size of my palm (zone eyeball) plus a little bit more, then as many vegetables as I wanted until I was full. I really only ate three (four max) times per day, which is certainly less than ďnormalĒ eating days. I'll stick with the same sort of system, adjusting depending on how I feel.

Iím going to try to record as much as I can as far as food, sleep, performance, and general feeling over the three weeks as I can. Honestly, Iím pretty excited to see how my body adapts to this.


Robb Wolf
02-20-2007, 12:43 PM
Great first post! Gotta love being able to work bowel movement frequency into a nutrition post!

Keep us posted on how things go. looks good thus far.

Neal Winkler
02-20-2007, 04:03 PM
Haha. I had the same effect when I started paleo.

Scotty Hagnas
02-24-2007, 06:58 PM
Gordon! Good to see you here, and glad you are still at it! Still at George Washington?

IF is legit - don't worry about muscle loss or lack of energy. I've gained 15 lbs since starting IF. Once you adapt, you'll have more energy while fasting.

Scotty Hagnas
CrossFit Portland

Gordon Richmond
02-25-2007, 04:49 PM
Hey Scott! Still at GW, have another year before I graduate and commission.

This week was a tough one to try to implement this. There was an onslaught of tests, quizzes, and papers so sleep was usually around 5 hours per night and most of my waking hours were spent at the library or at work.

With this as my lame excuse, I did not keep the diet clean. I ate a good amount of junk because of the proximity of starbucks (in the lobby of the library). However, I was able to keep fasting at more than 14 hours for three of the days and actually restrict calories for the intervals when I had intended to fast. I drank a whole lot of iced coffee and green tea but zero alcohol over the course of the week.

Performance results still inconclusive. I had a field exercise for ROTC and ate very little there (MREs are about as processed as you can get) and I had no drop in energy. My weight is no different, but I could swear that I appear slightly leaner. But the green tea is probably making me crazy.

The best for last: On the days I ate processed sorts of carbs (ex: one day I had a roast beef sandwich and a gyro from whoever will deliver at 2:00am) restroom use was noticeably more frequent on the day of and early on the day after.

Goal for the next seven days: More of the same. Increasing food quality should not be too much of a problem, thouch I think that I am going to have to accept one dose of bread or beans (Chipotle burrito salad) or the like a day. I have the schedule down, even to the point where I will look at the clock and realize that it has been 14 hours and I have scheduled myself to end the fast then, but I will want to keep going to "see what happens" if I puch it another hour. Just like before, it is really surprising how you just do not get that hungry during the course of a prolonged fast.

Gordon Richmond
03-03-2007, 09:10 AM
I'm still chugging along with this. I decided not to be too anal about completely avoiding grains, and I haven't ended up eating them that often. Sleep has been very poor and I am now getting sick (as is everyone else at work). I could swear that I actually look leaner, but it could be that the fasting is making me crazy. Finally, the most interesting thing that I've noticed is that I'm just not hungry as often as a few weeks ago and I seem to naturally fall into my IF pattern. What I mean by this is that I rarely feel "ready" to eat before 11:00am or so, even if I trained in the morning, while if I trained the night before and did not eat afterwards I'm much hungrier in the morning.

Food for thought...