My IF Experiment
Cross-posted at the CF boards.
Inspired by folks like Gant Grimes and Melissa Byers, I thought I'd tell you folks about my current experiment with Intermittent Fasting, and how it's going.
Goals & Plan
I'm coming off a bulking cycle where I gained about 13 pounds, most of which was fat. I was not happy with this cycle. As a tall skinny guy, I do not gain weight easily - those pounds were a battle. I told myself I'd turn around when my waist hit 34", as I don't like the pudgy feeling I get above that, and as a rock-climber I REALLY dislike hauling any unnecessary weight up the wall. It makes a huge difference.
So the goal: get back down to a 32" waist ASAP, so I can turn around and try the muscle thing again, hopefully more efficiently next time. Not sure what this amounts to in pounds, but I'd guess 10 or so.
The plan: Fast for 16 hours, 5 times a week. 8pm to noon the next day. Shoot for under 2500 kcal/day, eating more than 160g/protein a day (1g per pound LBM), but not more than 150g carbs (100g would be ideal). Make up the difference with fat. On fasting mornings, do a HIIT-style workout (usually burpees in sprint sets) followed by 30 minutes or so of easy cardio. This is in addition to regular CF WODs in the evenings 2-3 times a week, as well as climbing and some compound heavy lifting (ie, deadlifts/squats) to try and maintain muscle.
Week 1 results
Fat: 131g (50%)
Carbs: 100g + 28g fiber (20%)
Protein: 175g (30%)
Weight: 183 (-5 lbs)
Waist: 33.25 (-0.75")
Bodyfat: 13.5% (-1.5%)
Percentage to goal: 38%
Thoughts and Observations
Week 2 sees far less dramatic effects than week 1 (to be expected), but still good news:
What went in (avg. daily):
Fat: 127g (49%)
Carbs: 89g + 21g fiber (18%)
Protein: 167g (30%)
Weight: 181 (-2 lbs, 7lbs total)
Waist: 33 (-0.25", 1" total)
Bodyfat: 13% (-0.5%, 2% total)
Percentage to goal: 50%
Before last week, a quarter-inch off the waist was the most I'd lost in a week, so that was what I projected out. If I can maintain that pace, then I should be at goal in four more weeks.
This week saw more variation than the strict regimen of the first week. My fasts went from 16-20 hours, and I had my first cheat meal (dinner at a fancy restaurant - though I did skip dessert). On average, however, the numbers are very similar to last week.
I continue to feel good on this regimen - even better, in fact. I got a +37 point PR on Fight Gone Bad this weekend while fasted, and in general am feeling lean again (it's amazing how much difference an inch or two on the waist makes). My muscle recovery also feels faster - I generally only feel sore one day after a workout, and didn't feel much soreness at all from FGB.
Interesting posts, nice detail. Keep us updated.
Intermittent Fasting: Week 3
Interesting developments this week:
What went in (avg. daily):
Fat: 133g (49%)
Carbs: 111g + 24g fiber (21%)
Protein: 175g (30%)
Weight: 181 (-0 lbs, 7lbs total)
Waist: 32.75 (-0.25", 1.25" total)
Bodyfat: 12.5% (-0.5%, 2.5% total)
Percentage to goal: 63%
Didn't lose any weight this week, which is fine as long as my waist keeps going down. In fact, I'm a bit puzzled at how I could stay the same weight and lose another quarter inch. Could be just flux within the measurements, could be I'm somehow managing to gain a little muscle along with losing fat, which would be something of a holy grail if true. All other body measurements are essentially the same.
So, the bad news: first, I fell off the carb wagon a little bit. Had both pasta and cheesecake at a friend's birthday party, and >100g a couple other days. Not the end of the world, but off goal a little bit. Second, I sprained my ankle while climbing on Monday, which will have an effect on my workouts for the near future. It'll force me to miss two or three HIIT sessions (I'm going to try one-legged rowing tonight), and it has forced me to drop my daily burpees (not sure if that's good or bad news, actually). Without the HIIT, I would expect the rate of fat loss to diminish, so I may not get my .25" off this week. I may try and lower calories and prolong fasts a little to compensate.
But there is a bright side: I noticed a bit of ab definition reappearing in the mirror this week, which was a pleasant surprise. Still very slight, but I didn't expect to see ANY until 32.25" (the last time I saw it), so not sure what's happening there.
As far as the IF goes, it has become quite easy and habitual. Probably TOO habitual, as my fasting is following a predictable pattern based on my schedule, so I should probably be mixing it up more. It is difficult not to fast when the opportunity arises, as fasting days are easier than non-fasting ones.
Very interesting, looking forward to more. Have you stuck with the 16 hour fast consistently or have you changed it up any in the 3 weeks?
It's usually 16 hours, but I sometimes push it to 17, 18, even as high as 21 once.
Tonight we're going to a party to watch the debates, where there will be pizza & cookies and all sorts of bad junk, so my intention is to get in all my calories beforehand and start my fast early. Tomorrow is FGB3 at my local affiliate, and I probably won't eat before 1 or 2. So that'll be ~20 hours with a Fight Gone Bad at the end of it...I'll be curious to see how that goes.
Just a quick update - 21 hour fast and knocked out a 14-point PR in Fight Gone Bad this morning (while fasted). Never felt bonked (well, no more than usual for a FGB, anyway).
Very cool on the FGB!
What went in (avg. daily):
Fat: 143g (53%)
Carbs: 86g + 23g fiber (17%)
Protein: 167g (29%)
Fasting days: 5/7 (avg. length: 17.6 hours)
Weight: 178 (-3 lbs, 10lbs total)
Waist: 32.5 (-0.25", 1.5" total)
Bodyfat: 12% (-0.5%, 3% total)
Percentage to goal: 75%
Despite some changes in my routine this week, there's not a lot of change in the behavior of the numbers. I sprained my ankle early last week, which prevented me from doing my HIIT workouts on three days, and prevented me from doing ANY running. In an attempt to compensate, I added another fast day and tried to make my fasts a little longer. We got a fancy new scale to replace ol' unreliable, so although it says I lost three pounds in my results, I think I really only lost one, maybe two - the discrepancy is due to changing scales. All other measurements are within normal deviations - although it's notable that my arms appear to have grown a little.
We're now heading into stubborn fat territory - ie, trying to lose fat deposits I've had since...well, forever. The HIIT should become all the more critical for persuading these guys to let go, and I will probably not be able to maintain the 0.25"/week rate of waist-loss.
It was a difficult week for the diet. My interest in food has greatly diminished, and I get full fast (particularly with very large meals breaking my fast). Several times I've had to cram down food on a full stomach at the end of my eating window in order to meet my protein requirements. It is not comfortable, much less enjoyable. I'm torn about what, if anything, to do about this - part of me thinks that a couple days a week of steep caloric deficit (ie, <2k) might help with the last push for fat loss, the other part is worried about muscle and performance loss if my protein numbers go too low. I've ordered a pure, unflavored and unsweetened whey/casein mix from True Protein to hopefully give me an option to boost protein numbers without the sugar/sucralose of traditional protein powders. Hopefully that will help.
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