Women & Intermittent Fasting – Marks Daily Apple

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So, what did Stefani’s research find?

Fasting has different endocrine effects on male and female rats.

In male rats:

No matter the duration or degree of nutritional stress, male rat brain chemistry responds with similar changes. Nocturnal activity and cognition stay fairly stable, regardless of the intensity of the fast. If you push the fast long enough, males will get a little wonky and frantic, but overall they maintain pretty well. It’s like they’re equipped with the ability to handle nutritional stressors.

In female rats:

Any degree of nutritional stress (fasting or mere caloric restriction) causes increased wakefulness (during the day, when they normally sleep), better cognition (for finding food), hyper alertness, and more energy. In short, female rats become better at finding and acquiring food when they fast, as if their bodies aren’t as well-equipped to deal with the stress of going without food. They also become less fertile, while the males actually become hornier and more fertile (probably to account for the females’ plummeting fertility). Ovary size drops (bad for fertility), adrenal gland size increases (which in rats indicates exposure to chronic stress), and menstrual cycles begin to dysregulate in proportion to the degree of caloric restriction.

In humans, the male-female fasting literature is quite scant, but Stefani also found considerable differences beween the sexes, when data was available:

  • One study, which I’ve cited before as evidence of a benefit to fasting, found that while IF improved insulin sensitivity in male subjects, female subjects saw no such improvement. In fact, the glucose tolerance of fasting women actually worsened. Ouch.
  • Another study examined the effect of alternate day fasting on blood lipids. Women’s HDL improved and their triglycerides remained stable; men’s HDL remained stable and their triglycerides decreased. Favorable, albeit sex-specific results.
  • Later, both obese men and women dropped body fat, body weight, blood pressure, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglyercides on a fasting regimen. These people were obese, however, and perimenopausal women were excluded from the study, so the results may not apply to leaner people or women of reproductive age.

I figured I’d look through my other recent fasting posts for data on female (preferably pre-menopausal) responses to fasting. Here’s what I found:

  • In the only heretofore extant human study on fasting and chemotherapy, seven females (including a 44-year old woman who was likely premenopausal, given when menopause usually onsets, though it wasn’t explicitly stated) and three males found that IF improved their tolerance to and recovery from chemotherapy. Takeaway: male and female (mostly middle aged, though that’s the population that generally gets cancer and undergoes chemotherapy) chemotherapy patients appear to benefit equally from IF.
  • Although both men and women displayed greater increases in VO2 max and resting muscle glycogen concentration in response to fasted cycling training, only men showed greater skeletal muscle adaptations when fasted. Women had better muscle adaptations when fed. Takeaway: fasted endurance training, then, may work better for women than fasted weight training.

As it stands right now, I’d be inclined to agree that pre-menopausal (and perhaps peri-menopausal) women are more likely to have poor – or at least different – experiences with intermittent fasting, at least as a weight loss tool. That said, it appears to be a potentially gender-neutral therapeutic tool for chemotherapy, cancer, and age-related neurodegeneration patients.

Men and women have inherent metabolic and hormonal differences, and it’s evident that these differences in part determine how we respond to a stressor like intermittent fasting. Although my recent series on fasting might have thrown some people off, I want to reiterate that I am not a huge IF guy. For myself, I generally fast when it makes sense – if I’m traveling and good food isn’t available, if I’m just not hungry, stuff like that. I periodically do 16/8 or 14/10 (i.e. eating in an 8 or 10 hour window) and find it works great for me because I am fully fat-adapted. But even I don’t hold rigidly to that.

So who should and shouldn’t consider fasting? Have my recommendations changed?

If you haven’t satisfied the usual IF “pre-reqs,” like being fat-adapted, getting good and sufficient sleep, minimizing or mitigating stress, and exercising well (not too much and not too little), you should not fast. The pre-reqs are absolutely crucial and non-negotiable, in my opinion, especially the fat-adaptation. In fact, I suspect that if an IF study was performed on sugar-burning women versus fat-adapted women, you’d see that the fat-burning beasts would perform better and suffer fewer (if any) maladaptations.

I would also caution against the already lean, already calorie-restricted woman jumping headfirst into IF. I mean, fasting is ultimately sending a message of scarcity to your body. That’s a powerful message that can get a powerful response from our bodies. If you’re already lean (which, depending on the degree of leanness, arguably sends a message of scarcity) and restricting calories (which definitely sends a message of scarcity), the response to fasting can be a little too powerful.

I’d also say that daily fasts, a la 16/8 or even 14/10, run the risk of becoming chronic stressors and should be approached with caution by women. Same goes for ultra-long fasts, like a 36 (or even 24) hour marathon. Most of all, though, I’d simply suggest that women interested in fasting be cautious, be self-aware, and only do so if it comes naturally. It shouldn’t be a struggle (for anyone, really). It shouldn’t stop your cycle or make it harder for you to get pregnant. It should improve your life, not make it worse. If you find that fasting has those negative effects, stop doing it. It should happen WHEN (When Hunger Ensues Naturally), if it happens at all.

I’m not going to say that women should or shouldn’t fast. I’ll just echo Stefani’s advice “to look at options, to be honest about priorities, and to listen to one’s body with awareness and love.” Frankly, everyone should be doing that, but with regards to fasting, it looks like women should probably hew a little closer to her words.


Read more: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/women-and-intermittent-fasting/#ixzz3G940bNNO

Case Study: Malan Darras

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My workout split dropped from 6 days per week to 3. I stopped doing cardio and went on 30 minutes walks while listening to podcasts on the weekend instead.

Instead of screwing around in the gym fine-tuning a physique that didn’t exist yet.

  • I focused only on the major compound lifts. (Squats, deadlifts, bench press, barbell rows, overhead press)
  • I was in and out of the gym in 45 mins to 1 hour
  • I made a spreadsheet and added weight each week and got stronger and stronger.

I stopped food prepping and begin Intermittent Fasting. Meaning I ate all my food during an 8 hour window of time (12pm-8pm) and fasted for the rest of the day.

Intermittent Fasting opened my eyes to eating more types of foods  .

  • Ice cream sandwiches and bowls of ice cream
  • Frozen yogurt
  • Greek yogurt
  • Cottage cheese
  • Chipotle burritos
  • Waffles
  • Cheese
  • Whole Eggs

There were all foods I hadn’t eaten for years. I counted it all made it fit my macros and fit in my eating window. I did find keeping it to at least 80% whole foods and 20% fun foods was best for me. Most of the time more like 90/10.

After another 2 weeks of Intermittent Fasting and working out:

My stomach – (which is the hardest place for guys to lose fat) went concave. And for the first time ever I had popped out my chest and shoulders a little without a personal trainer.

My biceps got bigger and a huge vein popped out on each – which was odd because I stopped doing “arm days” completely, focusing instead on weighted chinups and two sets of heavy barbell curls for 5-6 reps, once per week.

My shoulders striated, my abs started carving out out and veins popped up everywhere. Each day I got tighter. No cheat days – none needed. Intermittent fasting seemed to solve that problem because I was eating fun foods regularly.

Example Workout Day Window:

  • 6:00am: Wake up, drink a lot of water and coffee
  • 8:30am: 10g BCAAs (branch chain amino acids)
  • 9:00am: Preworkout
  • 9:30am: Go to gym
  • 11:00am: 5g BCAAs
  • 12:00pm: Meal 1 (largest meal)
  • 4:00pm: Meal 2
  • 7:00pm: Meal 3

Example Rest Day Window:

  • 6:00am: Wake up, drink a lot of water and coffee
  • 9:30am: Drink Monster Zero Ultra
  • 10:00: 20-60 minute walk/hike with music or a podcast
  • 12:00pm: Meal 1 (largest meal)
  • 4:00pm: Meal 2
  • 7:00pm: Meal 3

Diet:

I eat a lot of protein every day. Most days I eat more than 1g of protein per pound of body weight, some days as much as 2g per lb.

I think the general recommendation is at least .08g of protein per pound. You might do some research on your own to see what the right amount is for your goal. I tend to error on the side of more.

These days I rarely use protein powders and instead get my protein from eating real, whole foods. I probably use 1 scoop of powder per day – normally in a protein pancake.

My Main Protein Sources:

  • Chicken breast
  • Egg Whites
  • Plain Greek Yogurt
  • Kashi Golean Original Cereal
  • Cottage Cheese

My Main Carb Sources:

  • Kashi Golean Original Cereal
  • Skinny Cow Ice Cream Sandwiches
  • Whole Grain Waffles
  • Whole Grain Bread
  • Low-Cal Ice Cream
  • Brown Rice

My Main Fat Sources:

  • Almonds
  • Natural Peanut Butter
  • Cheese
  • Whole eggs (with yolks)

Macronutrients (Macros) and Calorie Cycling

I eat differently depending on whether I workout or not. All days are high protein. Workout days are high carb/low fat. Rest days are high fat/low carb. I also cycle calories – even if I’m not cutting or bulking.

For example: If my goal is to stay my current weight, here’s what I’d do:

Workout days I’d eat approximately 300 calories over maintenance. Rest days I’d eat 300 calories under maintenance. At the end of the week my +/- net calories are still 0. I’m just eating more when I need it. Less when I don’t.

I have seen drastic physical changes doing this unlike anything I tried previously. It works amazingly well for me.

Workout Day Macros:

  • High protein
  • High Carbs
  • Low Fats

Rest Day Macros:

  • High protein
  • Low Carbs
  • High Fats

Example Intermittent Fasting Meal Plan (Workout Day)

Sample Workout Day of Eating (from MyFitnessPal.com)

Example Intermittent Fasting Meal Plan (Rest Day)

Sample Rest Day of Eating (from MyFitnessPal.com)

http://www.malandarras.com/intermittent-fasting-and-leangains-transformation-with-photos

Intermittent Fasting – Q&A – Women, 8 Exercise Training, Post-Workout, Cycle Diet

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Intermittent fasting and women

Q: I’m a bit confused. Some people say I should do 16 hours of fasting, while others say that you now recommend 14 hours for women?

A: Females do 14 hrs fasting by default. The fast typically lasts 16 hrs, and is usually initiated in the evening. So in practical terms you might have your last meal some time between 8 and 10 pm in the evening and break the fast around noon on the next day.

But for women my default approach is to actually start off with 14 hrs and see how they do on that before eventually moving them to 16 hrs. When you look at the studies on gender and fasting, you tend to see that women may have slightly more adverse reactions to fasting than men, such as some degree of irritability and increased attention to food cues. 16 hrs is hardly prolonged fasting, but I like to play it safe, so that’s why I have female clients fasting for a shorter time at the beginning.

Intermittent fasting and regular meal patterns: mixing it up

Q: What’s peoples experience with intermittent fasting on the week days and a “regular” diet on the weekend or something like that? I think that would fit my schedule perfectly, especially since i am much more active on the weekend and play sports/do cardio sometimes multiple times and very spread out.

A: Eating on regular intervals each day has it’s benefits. Breaking the pattern may screw a bit with the ghrelin pulse. Ghrelin is a hunger hormone which rise in anticipation of a meal and is in tune with your day-to-day meal pattern. This is also part of why you can go for 16 hrs without getting hungry once you get used to it.

Practically, this might mean that it could be a bit harder to get back to fasting when you break the pattern (weekends). On the other hand, I’ve done it personally many times and I haven’t experienced any problems at all. Fasting is still very easy after a day of more regularily spaced eating. It might take several days of a new meal pattern before a new ghrelin pulse pattern develops, so go ahead and try it.

http://www.leangains.com/2009/11/questions-answers_23.html


As a general rule of thumb, if you drink something with less than 50 calories, then your body will remain in the fasted state. So, your coffee with a splash of milk or cream is just fine. Tea should be no problem either.


I believe in strength training and compound movements. I think 99% of the population could get in the best shape of their life with only eight exercises: snatch, clean and jerk, squat, bench press, deadlift, pushups, pullups, and sprints. If you did those exercises and did them well, then that’s all you would ever need.

Here’s what I’m doing right now…

I train three days per week and I pick one exercise that is my primary goal for each workout. For example, tomorrow will be squat. My only goal is to have the 5 sets of 5 reps be the best form with the best weight I can do for that day. Anything else that I do after that is just bonus time. This gives me flexibility if my schedule is tight (it often is) and leeway to add something in if I have extra energy. For example, I might add some pullups onto the end of tomorrow’s squat workout.

When it comes to training volume and intermittent fasting, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind. First, when fasting it’s very possible that you can get better results by exercising less. This can either mean less frequently or less intensity. Most people will be on a calorie deficit while intermittent fasting, so it’s usually a good idea to exercise less rather than more.

That said, some people will want to train a lot and are still looking for ways to get lean and shed some fat. If this is the case, then you need to eat a lot (and I mean a lot) during your feeding window. For a brief period, I did intermittent fasting while training on an Olympic weightlifting team and I can tell you that I had to be very committed to eating to make it work. If you don’t eat a lot then your body is going to struggle to recover from intense training.

In my experience, I have never had trouble when doing strength training while fasting. As long as you’re getting good nutrition within the 24 hours before and after training, you probably have nothing to worry about when it comes to training fasted.


I workout before work at 6:30am and I’m looking to do a 16/8 fast. My last pre–training meal is at 8pm and my first meal after training is at about 1pm. Could this work or should my post–workout meal come sooner after working out?
—Neville K.

I try to eat my biggest meal of the day post–workout. Usually this meal comes within an hour or two of working out. In my experience, this is what has worked best for me.

That said, Neville’s situation is a good lesson on choosing your goals. If fat loss is the most important thing for you, then I would probably stick with the 1pm meal. The primary benefits of fasting come around 12 to 16 hours after your last meal.

If training heavy, bulking up, and gaining muscle is at the top of the list, then I would probably scrap the intermittent fasting and get a big meal right after working out. In other words, it comes down to your priorities.

If you are in Neville’s situation and your post–workout meal comes in the middle of the workday, then it can be easy to find yourself caught up in the day’s affairs and running to the nearest Subway at the last minute. It’s probably a worthwhile investment of your time to plan out your meals in advance so that you can be sure that you can refuel with high quality nutrition after your workout.

http://jamesclear.com/reader-mailbag-intermittent-fasting


  • For best results, cycle what you eat.

Intermittent fasting works, but I didn’t start cutting fat at a significant rate until I added in calorie cycling and carb cycling to my diet. Here’s how it works…

I cycle calories by eating a lot on the days that I workout and less on the days that I rest. This means I have a calorie surplus on the days I train and a calorie deficit on the days that I rest. The idea behind this is that you can build muscle on the days you train and burn fat on the days you rest. And by the end of the week, you should have done both.

Additionally, I cycle carbs by eating a lot of carbohydrates on the days that I train and few carbohydrates on the days that I rest. This is done to stimulate fat loss. I eat high protein all the time and moderate to low fat on most days. Cycling carbohydrates has also led to additional fat loss.

For me, this is when the intermittent fasting seemed to pay off the most — when I coupled it with calorie cycling and carb cycling.

  • Losing fat and gaining muscle can both be done, just not together.

If you’re looking to lose fat and build muscle mass, then the combination of intermittent fasting, calorie cycling, and carb cycling that I have mentioned here is one of the best solutions you’ll find.

You see, it’s basically impossible to gain muscle and lose fat at the same time. To lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you take in. You need to have a net calorie deficit.

To build muscle, you need to eat more calories than you burn. You need to have a net calorie surplus.

It should be fairly obvious that you can’t have a net surplus and a net deficit at the same time. For example, you can either eat more than 2,000 calories or you can eat less than 2,000 calories … but you can’t do both at the same time. This is why it’s basically impossible to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time.

However, if we get away from the small timeframes and start thinking about our diet over the course of a week or a month, then we start to have more options. For example, let’s say that you workout 3 days per week. You could organize your eating routine to have a calorie surplus on the days you train (i.e. gain muscle) and then a calorie deficit on the days you rest (i.e. lose fat). That way, by the end of the week, it’s possible for you to have spent 3 days gaining muscle and 4 days losing fat.

  • When fasting, I have made more gains by training less.

I’ve recently began testing a new hypothesis for strength training, which I call “Do The Most Important Thing First.”

It’s as simple as it sounds. I pick one goal for the workout and do the most important exercise first. Everything else is secondary. For example, right now I’m working out Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I do two sessions each day. Upper body in the morning. Lower body in the evening. But I’m only doing one exercise each time (pushups in the morning) and squat or deadlift in the evening. If I feel like it, I’ll finish my evening workout with kettlebell work or bodyweight stuff (handstands, front levers, and so on).

The results have been very good. I’ve seen improvement each and every week over the last three months. It’s worked so well that I’m starting to think that it has very little to do with fasting, but instead is just a better way of training. I’ll write more about this in the future, but I wanted to note it here because when I compare it to the previous way I trained while fasting (snatch and clean and jerk three days per week, plus squat or deadlift), I seem to be making more progress.

http://jamesclear.com/the-beginners-guide-to-intermittent-fasting

Bulletproof – Intermittent fasting

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Bulletproof Intermittent Fasting: Mental Performance Protocol

Goal: Improve and/or sustain mental performance while getting more benefits than plain intermittent fasting.

Step 1: Finish dinner by 8 pm

No snacking after dinner – go to bed whenever you want.

Step 2: Drink Bulletproof Coffee in the morning

Bulletproof Coffee is a mix of brewed Upgraded Coffee Beansgrass-fed butter, and pharmaceutical grade MCT oil. You can find the complete recipe here. Don’t mess around with cheap coffee, which will sabotage your efforts since 91.7% of green coffee has mycotoxins in it.

Drink as much Bulletproof Coffee as you like in the morning. You can have another cup before 2:00 PM if you get hungry. No coffee after 2:00 PM or you won’t sleep.

Step 2.5 (optional) – Work out

This is not necessary to gain muscle and lose fat, but it helps. If you’re going to work out, lift something heavy right before you break the fast in step 3. I’d suggest high intensity weight training. Shorter and harder is better than longer exercise. You will need to sleep more if you exercise.

Step 3: Do not eat until 2pm

This means you’ve not had anything to eat except Bulletproof Coffee for 18 hours.  This should occur from the time you wake, through the morning, and into the afternoon. If 18 hours is too long, start with a shorter fast and increase from there.

Step 4: Eat as much Bulletproof food as you like for 6 hours (until 8 pm)

The number of meals you eat during this time is irrelevant, as is the amount of calories.

Here is a sample day of Bulletproof Intermittent Fasting:

8:00 AM: Drink Bulletproof Coffee.
2:00 PM: Break fast with foods from the Bulletproof Diet.
8:00 PM: Eat your last meal before beginning the fast.

Bulletproof Intermittent Fasting extends your life, improves brain function, and makes you more resilient on all levels. Even if you just start drinking Bulletproof Coffee for breakfast in place of the watery bags of sugar we call fruit, you can take advantage of some of these benefits. Once you start Bulletproof Intermittent Fasting, you will have gained an unfair advantage on your peers in health, longevity, and performance.

https://www.bulletproofexec.com/bulletproof-fasting/


Optional:

https://www.bulletproofexec.com/rapid-fat-loss-protocol/

intermittent fasting

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Since the 1930’s, animal studies have been telling us that restricting calories improves health and longevity. For many decades, most believed that it was necessary to “starve yourself” to reap the benefits. Recent science has shown us, however, that you can actually trim your waistline, improve your biomarkers of health, and increase your longevity without the pain, suffering, and hunger that comes along with restriction. Intermittent Fasting works, too.

Fasting and feasting keeps us lean largely because it forces the body to metabolize fat for energy more efficiently. And by limiting spikes in blood sugar because there’s no incoming food to digest, your insulin sensitivity can improve dramatically. Another benefit of fasting and feasting: by eating less often, it gives the opportunity for our bodies to repair themselves, without being distracted by needing to digest food. The result is less inflammation, more muscle growth, and of course, more fat mobilization. Studies support that fasting then feasting, or having less frequent meals, doesn’t decrease your metabolism. And eating every few hours, including breakfast, doesn’t increase your metabolism, either. Hunter-gatherer meal patterns, with large dinners and little to eat during the day, seem more natural. That’s why skipping breakfast often comes so easily.

Some studies also show that breakfast boosts hunger throughout the day. I can vouch for that. I tend not to get hungry until I start eating. They’ve found that cortisol is the main culprit. It’s highest in the morning as a normal process of getting you to wake up and prepare you for the day ahead. Often called “circadian cortisol,” the urge to eat in the morning can actually be a response to cortisol flooding our system and not because we are actually hungry. Simply, when you have high levels of cortisol and eat, you’re likely to experience an insulin spike and a decrease in insulin sensitivity. That’s why you might be starving a mere 1-2 hours after breakfast

http://fatburningman.com/the-meal-frequency-fallacy/

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