Diet Troubles From The Beginning
Over the years, I was always confused about the dietary side of fitness. I did not know what was good for me in terms of calories, carbs, fats, sugars, protein and whatnot. With me playing sports, all I ever knew was to just eat a lot of protein and moderate carbs and fats. I would always look up some articles and forums and take it from there, but did not know that some people on the forums were not natural lifters. I would just switch it up every other week not knowing what was good. I only knew that Chicken and Rice and lots of it will fix my problem with body fat levels. Unfortunately, that did not help me because like a normal human being, I would then eat Pork Chops or a Burger the next day because I would get tired of eating it. I tried meal prepping and even eating every other hour to ensure I was “my protein in” and I would just end up gaining more weight because I was not training enough and not “getting enough cardio.” It was clear that I knew nothing of what benefited me and what works for me and my lifestyle.
I was frustrated because I ended up with absolutely no results all of the time and spending a lot of time in and out of the gym focused on what I am eating, when I am going in next for that workout. I also ended up hurt too in the long run with going to the gym every other day without proper diet and sleep. Although I had a decent level of muscle mass growing up with me, it plummeted to extra fat weight when I was inactive for months due to injury because I did not know what I was doing in my diet. In fact, my ego at that point was “checked” big time because of not knowing dieting. It was then I needed to find some sort of program to follow. With me working two jobs running my business and working for a company in Cleveland, I did not think I could take the time to research. I needed direction and I eventually found a program online that fit my current lifestyle.
A Different Way of Dieting
I’ve stated before that I actually started a program in the wrong order and it was a serious reality check for me. I eventually got on the right track and found the right direction for me and where my body needed to go. The programs were same, but the end goal was a bit different. I needed to lose fat and maintain what muscle I had in my body. I did that for a year and found great success. But with every program comes with a nutrition protocol and a catch of losing fat and maintaining muscle. First because my focus was losing fat and maintaining muscle, I needed to be in an aggressive caloric deficit. Your body weight needs a specific amount of calories to retain weight. If you go a specific amount of calories below that number aggressive or not, you will burn fat and potentially gain muscle if you are in more of a moderate deficit. There had to be an added essence to this diet, because that all sounds like something my Health class teacher would tell me. What is the catch here?
Enter Intermittent Fasting. Skip breakfast, have one meal, wait four-six hours and then have the next. Before I even started that, or even finished a sentence as to what I do, I would get “oh, that’s goofy, you do not know what you’re talking about” or “it’s not going to make more of a difference.” My favorite one was “so you’re not going to eat for an entire day?” Well, lets slow down there, I am simply just skipping breakfast and eating a small lunch and a massive dinner.
I just do not eat breakfast. That follows with the argument that you need breakfast to function and that it is essential to the day. Is breakfast essential and a must? No, it is not and science and history backs this up. We used to wait upon waking to eat a massive meal. Can you eat breakfast and still get lean? Yes you can, in fact as long as you stay in a caloric deficit or eat the right meals while bulking, you will get or continue to remain lean.
Breakfast is heavily marketed by major companies to make you think that it is essential to have and that you will live a healthy life eating these extra carbs and fats in the morning right after you wake up. In my opinion and my experience dealing with the both in my diet, I believe intermittent fasting challenges this basis and in fact, creates a more relaxed and enjoyable way to burn fat and gain muscle. It is also proven that intermittent fasting boosts fat loss and muscle gain. You get to eat bigger meals and you get a few more added benefits.
Some benefits to name a few (Based on Web Searches of Accredited Health Websites):
- Your growth hormone levels skyrocket which is a very huge benefit to losing fat and gaining muscle.
- Insulin Sensitivity improves and your level of insulin drops dramatically.
- Cellular Repair. Autophagy occurs which cells digest and remove dysfunctional proteins that build up inside cells.
- Genes change in terms of longevity and prevention of disease.
- It has been said that you have more protection of Alzheimer’s Disease.
- Some animal studies have proven it may prevent Cancer.
- Less Inflammation and Anti Aging Benefits.
- It makes weight loss easier without having to restrict calories as much.
- Breathing conditions are improved. (I can be a testimony of this!)
- Focus. Your focus is more increased in the morning because your body is not more relaxed.
There is no secret there is a lot of benefits for Intermittent Fasting. I have benefited from Intermittent Fasting with my breathing conditions improved and for a year, I hardly ever did any High Intense Cardio Training. I’ve noticed I focused much better in the mornings because I am not in the relaxed state right after you normally eat. I got a lot more work done in the mornings than I did in the afternoon with intermittent fasting being put in place in my diet.
The way I do it is simple, skip breakfast. I drink Black Coffee to blunt my appetite for the morning. Eat between 4-6 hours after waking, I usually just hit 6 hours every day as my body is well adapted to Intermittent Fasting. Sometimes I even go to the gym and do fasted workouts and then eat a huge meal for lunch. I then after the first meal, just wait (naturally) for the next meal which is about 4-6 hours later. I will then eat dinner and most of the time it is always 1.5lbs of meats that are lean. I will then eat three hours later if I have enough room with my calories and call it a night.
Intermittent Fasting has benefited me in huge margins with my diet and with the way I work mentally. I do not think it is the only way to diet and I do not think it is the cure to cancer, but I do think it is the most enjoyable way of losing fat. I think it has made fat loss, muscle gain and fitness much easier for me.
Just to be clear, there is no wrong way of what you are doing. If you are doing something different than “IF” and you are successful, then you are doing something right on how you are moderating your calories and training. Intermittent Fasting is not the only way to lose fat and gain muscle, but in my opinion and with my experience, I feel like it has been the easiest as I am unsure how I would moderate my current cut with meal prepping and eating every couple of hours and training more with my current lifestyle right now. Live your truth and be happy with what you do. If it works for you, I am happy for you.