Tag Archives: IF

LEARNING ABOUT IF

Coach Adam Steer, who teaches an incredible brand of exercise/fitness (called Circular Strength Training) was kind enough to ask me to share my thoughts on Intermittent Fasting with the readers of his blog.
You can get the post by clicking this link.

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NOT MAY, BUT MUST: THE MAY CHALLENGE!

While we have been grinding through our lives, four months of the year have rolled out silently under our feet, and many of us are still nowhere in the path of progress we had chosen during the last New Year resolution.
I can’t make you rich or help you get laid, but I can help with fat loss.
I am taking up a May Challenge from tomorrow: Lose 10 pounds of fat in May! This is inspired by Vic of Gym Junkies who has really got ripped in a few weeks with his diet and training. Of course, Vic is a martial artist, and is leagues ahead of most of us in fitness. Believe me, this doesn’t make it easier for him. On the other hand, beginners have it easier in the fat loss fight. The leaner you get, the more difficult it is to shed of those last remaining ounces and pounds.
How am I going to lose 10 pounds of fat in May?
I will try to take in a caloric intake of around 11 per pound of body weight. For me, that comes to around 1850 calories. I am sure that even if I eat clean, as I usually do, I will exceed 2000 calories, going up to 2300. I won’t scrooge on that.
Here is when IF will be handy: I will use my three IF days of the week to restrict my calories. I assume that if I eat five hours on my IF days I will not exceed 1500 calories. So, a 300 calorie deficit over my allowance will compensate for my exceeding it on the other ‘eating’ days.
While we are still at nutrition, I will ensure that my protein intake will be around 1 gram/lb body weight on at least my eating days, while it would not be less than half that on my fasting days (around 75-80 grams/day). With resistance training, I don’t expect any lean mass losses.
Three days a week (on my IF days), I will go low carb (around 50 grams per day), while I will hit it up on the other four days. I will not spare myself too many mangoes, I can tell you!
I have also determined that I will take my training to a higher level this May. Some numbers:
1. I will try to exceed my Deadlift by 25 percent. I am currently lifting 1.5 times my body weight, and I will try to go up. At the least, I will raise up the reps at my current weight (a little uncertainty there in my mind).
2. I will increase my pull-ups and push-ups by 50 percent this month: the reason is I don’t do too many as it is. I have jacked up the number of pull ups to around 100 or maybe 200 per week. I will now do 250 pull ups every week. Push ups: 150 to 200 a week (I know it is not much).
3. I will do Power Cleans and exceed my best by 10-15 percent. I currently lift around a measly 110 lbs. I will try to go to 125 lbs.
4. I will sprint even harder than I do at present: I will not spare myself during my (twice weekly) sprint sessions. ‘Kill It’ will be my motto!
5. I will increase my Bench Press by 25 percent.
If I find myself unable to achieve the specific numbers, it will not be because of want of trying. I will readjust my targets if necessary and increase the intensity and volume at optimal loads.
What about me, I don’t do all this shit?!” you say?
Well, for starters, start increasing your activities and systematically charge up your workout. Make it work!
Here is how:
1. Stop taking your car to where you normally do. Walk it some way, at least. Stop taking the car to nearby places, though many of you may not be living in places that are walker-friendly.
2. Stop taking the lift. I climb six stories up and down on a routine basis, as that is the level I live in. If you can run up and down, even better. Try it, at least!
3. Stop finding excuses. Period. Just do it!
4. Concentrate on your eating: that is THE thing that will make it happen. Remember to take in a max 11 calories per pound of body weight, and stick to it. Eating clean means eating natural foods only. No sugars, processed foods, or food products at all. I would strongly suggest laying off grains and potatoes as well.
5. Kill cravings: keep your cupboard and fridge clean, and visualise yourself at the end of the 10 lb fat loss. If that doesn’t help you control your cravings, what will?
6. This month, don’t let go. Be merciless!
7. If you don’t belong to a gym, or you have never lifted, try the following exercises/activities:
* stair-climbing
* sprinting (20 seconds on, rest 10 secs, repeat till you fail- a maximum of 8 reps).
* do burpees: 10 at a time. Doesn’t matter if your form is bad, and you feel like dropping. Just do it as well as you can, and do 10. Repeat three times.
* Choose four different exercises like squats, push-ups, lunges, burpees, mountain climbers, bear walks and planks, and do 30 seconds of each without taking ANY rest. Repeat three times with a couple of minutes rest.
8. Try to incorporate more activities in your daily routine. This Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) will help burn up a few hundred calories daily. I can’t stress this enough!
9. Don’t allow yourself to fail: use any resource you can to help you from failing: try me if you want, by all means!
10. Blog about it, and make your commitment to fat loss public. This ensures accountability, something I learnt from Tom Venuto. I challenge my blog friends to post on this challenge and take it up. If you think 10 pounds is too much, take a 5 lb challenge- but take it up. This is one chance you shouldn’t let go: fat loss as a group activity is great!
Let me know what you are going to do this May!
As for me, I ‘m gonna kill it: with my six packs so close to visualisation, I am not taking failure as an option!

Postscript: If you are thinking, “Oh, I can’t do all this, Doc is being impractical”, then you gotta stay fat. Fat loss ain’t comin’ to you without commitment, short of bariatric surgery, AIDS or cancer!
Use my links (both within this post and in my blogroll) to learn more.

BALANCING CALORIC INTAKE

Yesterday, I started off my day with a solid Kickboxing workout (it burns around 750 calories in an hour). I had my post workout meal of casein, fruits and my protein shake.
After that, the rest of the day was a nutritional disaster of sorts.
Sunday lunch was a buffet at Mainland China (one of my perennial favorite restaurants). I normally don’t eat buffets, preferring to order from the a la carté menu. However, buffet it was yesterday, and it was big. It is hard to escape the instinct to eat more and maximise the price for the meal. On top of that, you eat more than one dessert, which you normally would not.
Dinner was at a neighbor’s wedding party. It was one of those ‘Big Fat Indian Weddings’ with 257 dishes, and 45 different juices. Literally. It was insane, the amount of food available, and the number of waiters serving them.
This abundance of food, especially attractive and delicious dishes, made me lose my reserve once more, and I ate more than I should have.
Have a look:
picture-2

The worst (or was it the best?) thing was my lack of remorse at the binge. I rationally examined the chart above, and I saw that I had exercised portion control even while eating processed grains (fried breads like parathas and kachoris/luchis). When I had binged, I had chosen relatively healthier options like sandesh (cottage cheese/casein dumplings). As a result, I had done not too well, but it could have been worse.
After dinner, I went on a fast. A mini-fast, really. Monday is a day I fast for 24 hours, but because I had a lot of carbohydrates yesterday, hunger bothered me today (carbs create cravings, unlike proteins and fats). I decided to break my fast at 18 hours. Good enough.
My meals were good, filling, and even included a couple of Hyderabadi cookies that I had with some macadamia nuts.
I satisfy my sweet craving by eating grapes with nuts. I was a little low on proteins, but I will make up for it tomorrow.
Have a look:
picture-3
This simple example from my journal (courtesy Fitday) underlines this simple lesson:
Eating primal along with intermittent fasting can balance your single day binge. ‘Eating primal’ means not eating processed foods, eating natural foods of all sorts, not eating grains and sugars. Of course, I do take in a sweet or two every now and then, but this helps to keep me grounded to my lifestyle. A small defeat should not prevent you from winning the bigger war: the war to live healthier and slimmer.

UNDERSTANDING HUNGER

As many of my readers are discovering, trying to bring in some semblance of control and balance in eating brings with it a sense of strain, a sense of doing something stressful and abnormal.
One of the reasons is the fact that we are largely culturally attuned to eating at regular hours and any change in that brings forth mental stress. Does that mean we are condemned to eating more and staying fat?
Hunger is a feeling that needs no definition. It is of two types: somatic hunger (the deep-rooted need for food felt when one is famished) and limbic hunger (the cravings for specific foods or an emotional food craving that occurs without starving).

the-hunger-hormone-is-it-really-that-easy-to-control-obesity-or-anorexia-2

If we recognize these two types, we can learn to pay heed to the former and ignore or downgrade the latter. In other words, recognize only true hunger, and ignore and crush those cravings which stem from some emotional disturbance or other.
Only when one does this can one eat sensibly and lose fat. Knowing when not to eat helps us to eat those treats we really cherish. If we ignore that temptation to eat a couple of slices of that cake going stale, and stay focussed on other things in life, we could actually eat a scoop of butterscotch icecream or have a Lindor truffle. We may be taking in 200 calories, but we saved ourselves more a few hours back. How? By downgrading one craving, and giving primacy to a superior one.
Once you start fasting, you begin to recognize the true signals of your body vis a vis hunger. Often, a glass of (lemon) water and a cup of liquor tea quells a hunger pang for a couple of hours. Even a chewing gum in the mouth keeps hunger at bay for some time, though sometimes it may momentarily exacerbate the hollow feeling in the belly. When the hunger pang becomes severe, it is wise not to ignore it. We are not trying to tear the mind apart in an exercise of self control. We are merely training the mind and body to behave the way we were evolutionarily designed to.
In medicine, a number of drugs have been tried to kill hunger and appetite. These anorexogenic drugs include sibutramine and the newer cannabinoid receptor blockers like rimonabant. These drugs bring a 5-10 percent fat loss but cause a lot of side effects, including suicidal ideations, clearly underlining the relationship between hunger and emotions.
Various hormones in the body act to drive hunger (and are called oroxogenic agents), chief among them being ghrelin, a hormone secreted from the stomach. Removing a large portion of the stomach in the operation called sleeve gastrectomy causes loss of appetite and major fat loss. This is one of the hottest bariatric procedures being done worldwide.
Insulin, the hormone that controls blood glucose levels, is also responsible for hunger. A large carbohydrate intake (following a meal that contains rice and potatoes, or pasta and pizza, for example) leads to an insulin surge. This brings down the blood glucose (which is largely stored in and as fat and glycogen), leading to the brain, which preferentially consumes glucose, thinking, “Oh, where is the glucose? I am starving!” This leads to a fresh pang of hunger, leading to more caloric intake. It is for this reason that cutting carbs may be the best way out in a fat loss program for a lot of people. However, for those people who are insulin sensitive, this may not be true.
Other hormones that play a role include leptin, Peptide YY, incretins, obestatin, amongst many others.
On a later date, I will outline how this may be of benefit in clinical fat loss programs.

THE 7-DAY CHALLENGE: MID WEEK REVIEW

Thanks to you, dear readers, the 7-Day Challenge is becoming part of the internet history (yeah, modesty is one of my many virtues), with even people in elite fitness groups like Crossfit following it. And so many others, in so many different backgrounds.
I have been reviled in some quarters for pushing something “temporary”, a “shortcut”, “unscientific” diet that you will be better off without.
Well, this (allegation and reason for not taking the Challenge) is better than many excuses for not living a healthier lifestyle, and this blog will deal with all such issues regularly.
I am feeling great, let me tell you.
My average billing (like my doctor’s fees) has been very moderate. I had around 1500 calories on every day. This is one of the great things about Intermittent Fasting: it allows you to eat a lot of good foods (which even health-conscious people NOT on diets don’t indulge), and you still find that you have not eaten too many calories. The steady caloric deficit leads to fat loss, but remember not to skip (and I am not talking about ropes) on your resistance exercises. Forget your treadmills, I am talking of squats, push-ups, and the kind. Even better if you can pull some serious iron.
IF has become such a desirable and easy lifestyle for me that I have started doing this thrice every week (without realising it), one each of 24 hours, 22 hours and 18 hours. I enjoy the mental and physical training and learning it involves. You don’t have to follow me, but a fast lasting 15 to 18 hours is a breeze, especially when you are asleep for half the time!
So, mid-week of the 7-Day Challenge, I am down by, I kid you not, 2 kgs. Yes, I know it must have been because I had a good BM before stepping on the weighing scale, or because I must have lost a lot of body fluids after my periods, and all that, but we shall find out by Monday! I don’t want you to feel bad if you do less, and it would be absolutely fine if you didn’t weigh yourself at all, but I did tell you I would lead the way, didn’t I?
I leave you with a couple of my favorite foods that are so healthy, full of nutrition, and a treat I savor every day (just to show you I can write bad English, as well). What are your favorite eats this week? Do comment, and remember to enjoy yourself. This challenge is only about changing what you enjoy, and making yourself healthier and stronger in the bargain.
Bloggers, let’s hear you!


(pics show fried ham and eggs with salad, chicken steak, and mixed fruits and nuts with casein (“Chhana” in Indian terms))