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Old 12-05-2007, 07:41 PM   #1
Elliot Fuller
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Default Intro / Critique my IF plan and goals

Hey all, I've been trolling around for a little while on here, but have mostly been active over on the crossfit boards. I thought I'd both introduce myself, and see if I could get some pointers, after mostly just reading what other people have written in other threads.

Sorry if this gets a little long... I tend to type a lot. Feel free to skip ahead if you're not an avid reader. I'll bold the things that are important

I'm 23/m/5'9"/145#

I never cared much for nutrition up until this year. I went through 4 years of college eating at least 1 fast food meal a day. Sometimes 2. Sometimes 3, God help me. I turned the "Freshman 15" into the "Freshman 45" basically.

Late 2006 I went vegetarian (don't start yelling at me yet!) due to morals and all of that good stuff. I ended up losing 30# by just dropping meat (and thereby most fast foods) from my diet. Finally I was starting to at least LOOK somewhat healthy.

I took the next step in early 2007 by starting training with CrossFit. I'm still doing scaled workouts to this day, but I've noticed incredible changes. I've lost additional weight (I weighed 195# before I became vegetarian), have toned up significantly, and have increased my endurance and performance.

Most recently - within the last month - I've decided to reintroduce meat into my diet, purchased from "humane" suppliers, and grass-fed only. I have noticed higher energy levels and a general greater feeling of well-being since doing so.

Which brings me to today, and why I'm here.

My interest isn't in being able to lift a car over my head. My general interest is in a general, overall state of health. I want to lower my risk of disease, cancer, etc. I want to increase my lifespan. I want to feel good. I want to BE HEALTHY. I've come to the personal conclusion that being FIT is not always the same as being HEALTHY. e.g. I could put on 75# of LBM, lose all of my fat, and still not be the perfect image of overall health.

What I want is to perform well, and be healthy. I gather that these two things tend to come in the same package.

With that in mind, I went on a pretty strict Zone diet (16 blocks - about 80% paleo, with occasional dairy and green beans ... they're so cheap!) for about 3 weeks to see how things went. I did notice increased energy, set a few PR's in some CrossFit wods, and generally had fun measuring out and planning my meals, under the impression that I was doing something that was truly and legitimately good for me.

Unfortunately all of the measuring became a little tiresome, and after spending some weeks reading about IF, I decided maybe there was a better and even healthier alternative.

Now my impression, from what I've read in books (namely, Mastering the Zone, by Dr. Barry Sears), is that the Zone is healthy because it balances all of the macronutrients very well and controls insulin -- it doesn't get rid of insulin all together, but rather controls the quantity. Supposedly this has wide-ranging health benefits from lowered risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and a load of other chronic ailments. But I realize there is more to healthy eating than insulin - vitamins, other nutrients, etc.

With that said, I'm trying to gain a better understanding of how IF fits into that equation. As I said, I'm not just trying to perfect my shape, but trying to perfect my being as a whole.

Here are my ultimate goals, in easy-to-read list form:
  • Drop 5-10 more pounds of fat - I'd like to be 8% BF - approx 135 pounds
  • Begin increasing my LBM - My goal weight is 185-190 of functional mass - not sure if that's realistic or healthy for my height and age
  • Maintain healthy eating that will control insulin, and incorporate all of the wide-ranging health benefits that the Zone boasts
  • Have increased energy throughout the day
  • Increase performance on both lifts and metcons

Nothing too complex, really. But I'm just not sure what route to take.
Having tried Zone for several weeks, I've decided that it likely won't be something that I'll want to keep up indefinitely. The constant eyballing, measuring, and second-guessing takes its toll on both me and my family/gf/friends.

Strict Paleo eating interests me, however I would prefer to have more structure to my diet, rather than just "Eat paleo when hungry." I'd like to know that I'm eating the right amounts of the right things at the right times, to benefit both my performance gain, weight loss/increase, and feeling of well-being.

After 3 weeks of Zone, I've decided to try IF. Today was my first day. I've decided to jump in, having pretty good self-discipline, to a Fast-5 Plan.

Due to my schedule, my feeding window is 6pm-11pm, and I hit the hay around 1am or 2am pretty consistently. My workout generally falls between the 9pm and 11pm area.

I guess I'm kind of wondering if I need to incorporate Zone amounts into my IF feedings. I'm already keeping them about 80% Paleo, as I was before. But should I be really concerned about ratios still, while doing IF? I've read that carbs should still be low - even though on Zone they're supposed to be 40%, compared to 30% P, 30% F, which I never understood, nor achieved (I always ended up with significantly more fat, and roughly even C/P)

I found this thread, and a post by Robb Wolf:


The zone fits into intermittent fasting if one wants to bring in some additional precision but is by no means necessary.
I understand that much. But is that assuming one is just trying to lose weight? Or just gain weight? Or be healthy as a whole? Or are all of these one in the same?

I've seen/read a lot about insulin resistance while doing IF. I'm not entirely sure what it means, to be honest. It has seemed counter-intuitive to me, to on the one hand argue (Dr. Sears) that insulin spikes are what cause badness in us, and on the other hand, have IF'ers gorging themselves after a long fast, no doubt causing at least some kind of significant insulin spike.

I also found this thread:


Which taught me a bit.

I guess if you're still reading this, you may actually have something to say... so thank you if you're still here. If you skipped to the bottom, shame on you!

So, here's the takeaway; the final real question -- I guess you can consider everything above to be a very long, convoluted, and probably unnecessary introduction

Based off of my first day of IF:

I'm fasting from 11pm-6pm. Came home, and first meal was:
- 6oz lean beef, 2 cups turkey soup with assorted veggies, 12 almonds

I'll continue eating until my workout between 9pm and 11pm. Should this eating be mostly low carb, if I'm still trying to drop a few pounds?

Then I'll work out. Post-workout I'll have a protein shake and probably some eggs and egg whites, along with some fruit - an apple and an orange maybe.

Then I'll snack some more until my window's closed. Rinse and repeat tomorrow.

Can anyone make any recommendations based on my stats (waaaayyy up above), my goals, and my first day of IF?

I apologize for sounding so novice and needy. My original intent was to just Black Box it for a couple of weeks, as I did with the Zone, and see what happens. But I figure if there's something obvious that could be improved, it would save me time to just ask first.

I've enjoyed reading all of the posts and the various blogs of the associated posters, particularly Robb Wolf's. I've perused Art DeVany's site for about an hour or so, and was just dumbstruck with how much information there was, and how ultimately difficult it became to process and grasp even half of it.

Thanks for your advice, or at least for reading this far, and I'm happy to finally count myself as a poster here

- Elliot
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Old 12-05-2007, 08:13 PM   #2
Elliot Fuller
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Thought I'd add that I'm also going to try to keep track of what I eat on FitDay. As soon as my window's closed, I'll post my full first day's feast in the order that I ate it, and maybe that will help anyone looking to give criticisms or suggestions.
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Old 12-05-2007, 09:54 PM   #3
Mike ODonnell
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Welcome...and I think you may have just won the award for the longest first post ever!! Ha....ok tired so really didn't absorb it all but I'll just go over the simple things....follow this and you probably get 90% of the way there...

- Eat as much Protein and Health Fat as you want...you won't put on fat and will probably lose fat. Get about 0.8grams of protein/lb bodyweight.
- IF windows vary....I wouldn't do the 5 hour one as I can not get enough food in...plus that diet is based on people eating like crap and whatever they want....completely different than clean eating
- Start with Paleo eating first....that will get you lots of good things as far as health and performance is concerned
- Add in IF slowly....try it once a week...once every 3 days....otherwise if not done with the right calories you may lose muscle and make yourself overtrained and sick
- Play with carb levels...everyone is different. Try cycling such as 5 low/2 high aka the metabolic diet.
- and most importantly monitor performance and body composition every few weeks....if any are going in the negative direction you need to change something up. The biggest mistake is people keep with something that doesnt work and expect different results......
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Old 12-06-2007, 12:22 AM   #4
Elliot Fuller
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haha, thanks mike. That's about as good a response as I could have hoped for, given my Homeric epic of an introduction

Having now finished my first day, including workout and post workout meal, here are my thoughts/responses... I'll try to keep them a bit shorter

- 5 hours was pretty slim, indeed. Unfortunately I'm not sure if my schedule would allow me to expand it at this point. I don't think 6pm-12am/1am would be the best idea. What do you think of the hours that my window takes place in currently? Is there anything wrong with having it from 6pm-11pm, and sleep around 2am (I get ~7-8 hours), with a workout around 10pm followed by a post workout meal?

- I ended up with around 1900 calories according to FitDay, so that's in reality anywhere from probably 1500-2200 calories. I believe this is roughly what I was getting for the 3 weeks while I was Zoning as well. It was pretty tough finding foods to eat in such a short window.

- Regarding carbs pre/post workout. From my understanding it's best to have low GI carbs (if any) before the workout, and then most of your other carbs post workout? That's mostly what I tried for today, with beef, eggs, almonds and a few tomatoes pre-workout, and eggs, apples, pears post. I feel completely stuffed and pretty good.

- Regarding my actual workout. I didn't feel much different, but then again it's only my first day. I ate one big meal to break the fast - high protein/fat, low carb - then snacked on nuts, cottage cheese, some yogurt, small tomatoes, and a protein shake before I hit the workout roughly 3.5 hours after I broke the fast.

I got a little bit queasy during my warmup (CFWU), but felt fine doing some heavy'ish front squats for my workout afterwards. Not sure how to combat the queasy feeling except maybe to try working out in the morning and just dealing with not having a post workout meal -- not sure how important that really is.

All in all, I didn't feel any major hunger pangs during the day. Any that I did have, I pretty easily kicked to the curb with some good ol fashioned H2O.

For anyone who's interested or maybe has more to add or critique, here's my FitDay log:


Ended up around 43% Fat, 32% Protein, 24% Carbs, at 148g protein -- remember, I weigh around 145#.

Almost half of my fat came from my beef and eggs. Beef was grassfed, if that counts for anything. Had 2 hard boiled eggs earlier on, then 3 scrambled with 2 egg whites later. Is this too much bad fat? I feel like if I see another almond, I might turn in to one.

Anyways, I appreciate the feedback immensely. thanks again mike
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Old 12-06-2007, 06:13 AM   #5
Allen Yeh
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I vote longest 1st and longest reply! In all seriousness. I have a few points to address your epic posts.

1. Workouts - I personally can't workout close to a big meal, especially not metcon workouts. I'd think about possibly shifting your workouts to the morning? For a few weeks I was doing metcons in the morning with no meals until 5-7 hours afterward and had no problems. But you will have to experiment and see what works best for you.

2. Length of fasts/timing- I personally don't do the 5 hour thing because I just can't cram 3000+ calories into that time period. I typically do 8-10 hours of eating depending on work/home life. If you find that you need to extend your eating window until midnight to cram some calories in, don't worry about it. There is no magic hour at which point when you eat it turns into fat or something. (I only bring this up because popular diets say not to eat after certain times...etc)

3. pre/post workout - You have the right idea however recently I was told that fructose goes towards liver glycogen not towards muscle glycogen which is what you are trying to replenish post-workout. You may be better off just waiting an hour for the GH spike and having a whole food meal.

4. Macros - While the percentage of fats seems high you'll be fine and fat adapted in no time. If you are going to make eggs a staple I'd look into the Omega-3 enriched eggs to balance the O-6's. Looking at your fitday journal I'd def add some more O-3's into your diet.

Have you read this thread? It's REALLY long but a ton of good information when looking into health/longevity:

Best of luck.
"And for crying out loud. Don't go into the pain cave. I can't stress this enough. Your Totem Animal won't be in there to help you. You'll be on your own. The Pain Cave is for cowards.
Pain is your companion, don't go hide from it."
-Kelly Starrett
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Old 12-06-2007, 09:08 AM   #6
Mike ODonnell
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Originally Posted by Allen Yeh View Post
4. Macros - While the percentage of fats seems high you'll be fine and fat adapted in no time. If you are going to make eggs a staple I'd look into the Omega-3 enriched eggs to balance the O-6's. Looking at your fitday journal I'd def add some more O-3's into your diet.
I agree with Allen about adding in some fish oil....which is the #1 neccessary supplement for 99% of everyone out there....as it saves muscle, lowers cortisol, etc....get the majority of your fats from good sat fat sources (grass fed butter, coconut oil) and Monounsat (Olive Oil, avacodo, etc)...Keep your Omega 6s or Polyunsaturated fats less as you are probably getting enough Omega 6s from unknown sources (meats, cooking oils) and it will only lead to inflammation issues. That and excessive PUFAs is not good for long term health....more Sat and MUFAs with Fish Oil supplementation.
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Old 12-06-2007, 10:22 AM   #7
Elliot Fuller
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Awesome, thanks a lot guys.

Since I came out of my little ~1 year vegetarianism stint, I vowed to only eat "humanely raised" grassfed beef and chicken. I may factor pork in here at some point. At least from what I've read, grassfed beef is somewhere close in omega 3's to a steak of salmon? Not sure how true that is, but anyways, I get pretty lean beef, and some Omega 3's from that.

I also do buy omega 3 eggs and take 8 gelcaps of ~300mg DHA/EPA fish oil capsules a day -- 1,000mg total fish oil. I space them out throughout the day, so hopefully this doesn't count as "not fasting." I've heard from some people that this isn't enough (I was taking 16 at one point ...) and from others that it's just fine. 2.4mg DHA/EPA daily and 8g fish oil. I do feel much better taking this stuff though.

I don't want to start another "egg thread" here, having read more than a healthy man should, over on the CrossFit boards. But if I'm eating omega 3 eggs, is it a correct assumption that most of the goods are in the yolk? I try to limit my yolks to maybe 3 or 4 a day, as my family has a history of high cholesterol and I don't want to do anything to increase my own. (I know there are a lot of people who adamantly argue that eating cholesterol has no effect)

I'd also like to limit the yolks because of the unhealthy fats -- let me know if that's unfounded, and I'll start piling those mothers in! I love me some eggies.

Anyways, that's about all I've got for now. I'm keeping track of how my body's doing, and if I start to notice energy or performance issues, I'll tone back on the IF. But as Day 1 went really well, and Day 2 has started off with a bang, I think i'll keep going until my body tells me I shouldn't.

Thanks for taking a look at my log. I think I'll try to open up my window a bit more today to break 2000 calories!
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Old 12-06-2007, 01:59 PM   #8
Nathan Stanley
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By no means being an expert, or veteran, I thought I'd add one or two thoughts.

In regards to feeding window, I get home from practice around 6 most nights. I usually only get an hour or two to eat, but I haven't had any issues w/ low performance. I can eat a lot, so I just try to just cook two or three servings of whatever I'd normally eat, and go at it. I think it does depend on how much you eat, etc. and is different for everyone.

In regards to the timing on your workouts, I workout between 1:30 and 2:30 everyday and don't break my fast until 6:00 at the earliest. At first I thought this would be an issue, but I found I always feel fine during the workout, and feel better after my workout.

Finally, I do it mainly because it reduceds stress in my life. I find, measuring, and trying to eat 3-6 meals, etc just gets me to obsess about food which is my biggest problem. I eat when its time. If I need to eat earlier because I'll be busy until 8, I don't have a problem. Also, I've been doing the metabolic diet thing w/ eating higher carbs on the weekend, and lower during the week. Its effective to keep you from being bored, but on track w/ eating healthy.
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Old 12-10-2007, 10:24 AM   #9
Elliot Fuller
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Thanks for the tips, again, everyone. It's getting remarkably easier. I've increased my healthy fats (after a devastating weekend of complete falling off the wagon) to boost my calories.

I recall reading somewhere that the body can only synthesize about 10g of protein at a time (I guess the benchmark I read was 10g/hour). Does this have any impact on IF and progress or muscle gain? If I'm cramming 120-130g protein into a 5 hour window, is all of it really getting absorbed and used, or is half of it just getting spit back out?

I also have another question that I'm guessing is answered somewhere on the boards -- just haven't searched for it yet, but thought I'd ask while I'm already typing.

The whole point of eating healthy, from what I've gathered, is to lower the body's insulin response. With Zone there is portion control to keep it in check. With IF, what prevents the gigantic insulin spike from consuming all of that food in such a short window? Does the fasting for the rest of the day cause the body to build resistance to it?
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Old 12-10-2007, 06:14 PM   #10
Eva Claire Synkowski
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Originally Posted by Elliot Fuller View Post
The whole point of eating healthy, from what I've gathered, is to lower the body's insulin response. With Zone there is portion control to keep it in check. With IF, what prevents the gigantic insulin spike from consuming all of that food in such a short window? Does the fasting for the rest of the day cause the body to build resistance to it?
check out this thread:
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