1

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Intermittent fasting and timing

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 23, 2012 at 8:07 AM

I'm trying to compare the advantages and disadvantages, as well as efficacy (fat burning and muscle sparing/gains) for various timing/scheduling scenarios for fasting. I'd love to be enlightened by real experiences from the forum.

I'm eating meat, fat, and green veggies only, about 2.2-3g protein/kg bodyweight, 70/30 fat/protein. I was eating three calorically equal meals a day at 9am/3pm/9pm, dropping meal #2 on Sat and Sun, being in a "fast" for 12 hours or so, and eating a calorically double meal in the evening.

I'd like to go to two meals a day everyday. Im wondering if I should eat: -9am/9pm -9am/5pm -1pm/9pm

The idea of going without food until 1pm seems daunting; like to eat when I wake up. But the idea of eating my last meal at 5pm, when I go to bed at 12pm (I sleep 12-8ish) seems scary; going to bed hungry makes me wake up hungry in the middle of the night. Its easier for me to go the 12hrs during the day without food.

I work 1-9pm. I workout with heavy weights sometime in the 10am-12pm range. Working out fasted is possible, but Leangains recommendation of taking BCAA seems not so paleo, costly, and not really fasting.

I currently take alot of raw lamb and fish oil for my first meal, and it digests easily, so my workouts feel good, and I never feel the need for a post workout meal as the amino acids are still trickling into my bloodstream for hours after that meal.

My goals have been mass gain. I gained some muscle, but fat too. So now I want to maintain muscle and lean out. Have been at 2500calories of fat/protein (I dont count the calories from the green veggies) per day to gain mass, but may begin to taper that back.

Ive also considered just skipping either breakfast, or dinner, to achieve a 24hr fast, perhaps once or twice per week. Wondering whether to double my calories for the fast-breaking meal, or to eat as normal and realize the calorie deficit. Also wondering about gorging myself occasionally for re-feeds.

Criticisms, ideas, and experiences appreciated.

Medium avatar

(2417)

on April 26, 2012
at 10:06 AM

I tried a sweet potato post workout. Had already been keto adapted for months. Bad idea. I felt horrible. Hormonal hunger signals got all screwed up. NO WAY I could fast AND eat carbs. Lately, I dont even feel like eating my green veggies. My body is asking for meat and fat.

Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on April 25, 2012
at 01:54 PM

I must admit I only follow LG in terms of training fasted and eating about 40% of my calories post-workout at 13:00 which includes sweet-potato. Maybe you can try running through the safe starches to see which one works (potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, taro, sago, plantains, tapioca, white rice). Really depends though, if you feel you have enough carbs without then go for it.

Medium avatar

(2417)

on April 25, 2012
at 02:30 AM

According to folks, you cant really do Leangains without starchy carbs. I eat only meat and greens. So I'm wondering if leangains would even work for me. I tried to add starch post work out, and my body didn't tolerate that; hunger signals went haywire!

Cf358f6462d62d9de8f3c373bc6d3357

(125)

on April 24, 2012
at 03:51 PM

Read the leangains guide. Clients IF only on workout days. I IF everyday and so does Martin, but it's not necessary. Animaleater, eating more carbs on workout days is optimal, but I don't think it's a deal breaker.

Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on April 24, 2012
at 09:41 AM

What do you mean you are struggling with the carb aspect?

Medium avatar

(2417)

on April 24, 2012
at 07:54 AM

wonder how much one enters into autophagy with just a 12hr fast? i could try fasting 22:00 to 14:00, possibly. right now im strugging with the carb aspect of LG (i dont eat them), and my body basically revolting against fasting.

Medium avatar

(2417)

on April 24, 2012
at 05:20 AM

as i mentioned above, i simply cannot tolerate carbs. so should i simply abandon trying to follow any sort of LG approach? perhaps i could at least try the fasted/bcaa approach before workouts. why is macro/calorie cycling so important in the approach? i could do the calorie cycling maybe, but i cant add carbs.

Medium avatar

(2417)

on April 24, 2012
at 05:17 AM

yeah, i was wondering if i could do LG, if i'd be effective, on low/zero carb. i tried to start, but carbs made my hunger signals go off the chart! not sure what i can utilize on the LG regimine beint keto-only.

Medium avatar

(2417)

on April 24, 2012
at 05:14 AM

ive found when im stress free (not at work), i can have breakfast and go all day without eating. i hit the gym, then rock climb later, and feel powerful. but in my mind, i know that evening im going to an all you can eat beef bbq and FEED!

Medium avatar

(2417)

on April 24, 2012
at 05:12 AM

when im traveling for long periods, i use the right brain approach too and i feel fine. in a work/regimented lifestyle though, i feel i need to know exactly what im doing to analyze where to tweak for results. if i eat when im hungry, id be eating all the time. seriously. my hunger signals are screwed up and almost always on. keto adaptation has helped. if i TOUCH carbs, those signals become air raid warnings! if i lower my daily calories by a significant amount, watch out, my hormonal hunger signals make me think im dying and sick. it sucks. going 44hrs w/o eating, id pass out dizzy.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on April 23, 2012
at 10:18 PM

I don't know where you get off-day breakfasts are allowed, but it's not LG. You're supposed to have the same feeding window every day due to hormonal conditioning. And BCAAs are not the "most important thing", IF and macro/calorie cycling are.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on April 23, 2012
at 10:15 PM

LG is not meant for zero/low carbers, I at least haven't heard anyone do it. Carb cycling and its benefits are a fundamental part of the protocol. I workout around 5-6pm, break fast at 7pm, feeding window closes at 2am. I don't take any potions or shakes, except for pre- and post workout BCAA. rippedbody.jp has more accessible articles, and the examiner.com FAQ is good as well.

4ec0fe4b4aab327f7efa2dfb06b032ff

(5145)

on April 23, 2012
at 06:33 PM

I find the leangains website a little scatter brained too.

Medium avatar

(2417)

on April 23, 2012
at 09:15 AM

Well, I wont be cycling my macros because I don't eat carbs....make me feel like crap. Cycling calories may be doable. I wish he'd write a darn book or something; there's just soooo much info spread around the leangains website. What about circadian rhythms and eating so late? Im not trying to be dogmatic, but just dont wanna take any potions/shakes, and also, BCAA cost too much. Maybe some egg whites. But still, sorta seems to defeat the purpose of fasting. Why not eat a meal? Whats your workout time?

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4 Answers

2
96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on April 23, 2012
at 06:30 PM

This is fascinating to me because you're all planning with your left brain hemisphere and I follow a right-brain approach. I think either can work just fine and it's a matter of preference or (possibly) genetics or adaptation?

I eat what I'm hungry for and I eat until I'm full; no specific mix or portion sizes other than what tastes best. I don't eat again until I have powerful hunger signals from my long-empty gut--usually between 24-44 hours.

"Intermittent" by my definition means variable and I let my gut determine the intervals. If anything, my physical performance is better fasted so I've never purposely eaten before or after exercise (inlcuding 15-mile hikes or 75-mile bike rides when I was younger.) The only issue I've ever had was excessive hunger on a diet of processed foods.

I know it may be radical thinking, but speaking only for myself I don't believe there has to be direct association between meal times and exercise--I do what I want/need to do and I eat intermittently based on gut hunger and convenience.

I really like Ned Knock's article about the natural human pattern.

Medium avatar

(2417)

on April 24, 2012
at 05:14 AM

ive found when im stress free (not at work), i can have breakfast and go all day without eating. i hit the gym, then rock climb later, and feel powerful. but in my mind, i know that evening im going to an all you can eat beef bbq and FEED!

Medium avatar

(2417)

on April 24, 2012
at 05:12 AM

when im traveling for long periods, i use the right brain approach too and i feel fine. in a work/regimented lifestyle though, i feel i need to know exactly what im doing to analyze where to tweak for results. if i eat when im hungry, id be eating all the time. seriously. my hunger signals are screwed up and almost always on. keto adaptation has helped. if i TOUCH carbs, those signals become air raid warnings! if i lower my daily calories by a significant amount, watch out, my hormonal hunger signals make me think im dying and sick. it sucks. going 44hrs w/o eating, id pass out dizzy.

1
Cf358f6462d62d9de8f3c373bc6d3357

on April 23, 2012
at 06:19 PM

The standard leangains protocol, which I follow, and which I think would work for you is to just

  1. skip breakfast (it'll get much easier after the first week).
  2. Take 10g of BCAA before you hit the gym at lunch time (about 12:00)
  3. Workout
  4. Eat 50% of your daily calories - lots of protein and carbs, less fat.
  5. Eat another meal around 5.
  6. Eat your last meal around 9.

If you want to work out at 10, just make sure your last meal the night before is at 7.

On non-workout days you can eat breakfast, and you want to stay lower carb, higher protein and fat. I fast until 1 every day, though, so my body is 100% used to not eating breakfast (less cravings).

Also of note, Martin Berkhan (the guy behind the lean gains approach) has said that after your fast, meal frequency/timing isn't really all that important. Thus, if you want to make dinner your biggest meal go for it. If you want to have 5 small meals, fine. The most important thing is that you work out in a fasted state with some BCAA in your system, and then get a good amount of protein directly afterwards.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on April 23, 2012
at 10:18 PM

I don't know where you get off-day breakfasts are allowed, but it's not LG. You're supposed to have the same feeding window every day due to hormonal conditioning. And BCAAs are not the "most important thing", IF and macro/calorie cycling are.

Cf358f6462d62d9de8f3c373bc6d3357

(125)

on April 24, 2012
at 03:51 PM

Read the leangains guide. Clients IF only on workout days. I IF everyday and so does Martin, but it's not necessary. Animaleater, eating more carbs on workout days is optimal, but I don't think it's a deal breaker.

Medium avatar

(2417)

on April 24, 2012
at 05:20 AM

as i mentioned above, i simply cannot tolerate carbs. so should i simply abandon trying to follow any sort of LG approach? perhaps i could at least try the fasted/bcaa approach before workouts. why is macro/calorie cycling so important in the approach? i could do the calorie cycling maybe, but i cant add carbs.

1
9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on April 23, 2012
at 08:51 AM

I've only tried IF with LG-type setup of 16/8, been on full-blown LG recomp since September with great results (lost 22kg in 62 weeks). I've done IF for well over a year and love it. My feeding window is from 6pm to 2am, sometimes an hour or even two shorter.

BCAAs are there to minimize muscle loss when training in a fasted state. It is a compromise, but a useful one on a cut. Since you are bulking, it might not be such a big issue. If you're worried about dogmatic paleo, you could eat some fast-burning protein before exercise.

I haven't bulked, yet, on LG, but note that you should cycle your macros and calories on training and off-days if you follow the protocol.

4ec0fe4b4aab327f7efa2dfb06b032ff

(5145)

on April 23, 2012
at 06:33 PM

I find the leangains website a little scatter brained too.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on April 23, 2012
at 10:15 PM

LG is not meant for zero/low carbers, I at least haven't heard anyone do it. Carb cycling and its benefits are a fundamental part of the protocol. I workout around 5-6pm, break fast at 7pm, feeding window closes at 2am. I don't take any potions or shakes, except for pre- and post workout BCAA. rippedbody.jp has more accessible articles, and the examiner.com FAQ is good as well.

Medium avatar

(2417)

on April 23, 2012
at 09:15 AM

Well, I wont be cycling my macros because I don't eat carbs....make me feel like crap. Cycling calories may be doable. I wish he'd write a darn book or something; there's just soooo much info spread around the leangains website. What about circadian rhythms and eating so late? Im not trying to be dogmatic, but just dont wanna take any potions/shakes, and also, BCAA cost too much. Maybe some egg whites. But still, sorta seems to defeat the purpose of fasting. Why not eat a meal? Whats your workout time?

Medium avatar

(2417)

on April 24, 2012
at 05:17 AM

yeah, i was wondering if i could do LG, if i'd be effective, on low/zero carb. i tried to start, but carbs made my hunger signals go off the chart! not sure what i can utilize on the LG regimine beint keto-only.

0
Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on April 23, 2012
at 10:09 AM

You could have a look at http://rippedbody.jp which is just as ugly a site, but potentially easier to read. Basically he has tweaked the Leangains stuff.

Can you not just fast 21:00 to 13:00?

My last meal of the day is around 21:00/22:00 and then do fasted training 3 days a week from about 07:00 - 08:00. I am pretty slim (82kg) and feel better taking BCAA pre-workout, and post-workout. I do not think of myself being in autophagy on BCAAs after hearing something from Mat Lalonde, so I try and do another 12 hour fast twice a month without. The fasted training is then just for body-recomposition and BCAAs aid not losing muscle mass. Or this is what I am lead to believe.

Did a quick Google to see if I could find Mat mention of BCAAs and fasting and found this: http://bit.ly/Ijefb7

Medium avatar

(2417)

on April 24, 2012
at 07:54 AM

wonder how much one enters into autophagy with just a 12hr fast? i could try fasting 22:00 to 14:00, possibly. right now im strugging with the carb aspect of LG (i dont eat them), and my body basically revolting against fasting.

Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on April 24, 2012
at 09:41 AM

What do you mean you are struggling with the carb aspect?

Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on April 25, 2012
at 01:54 PM

I must admit I only follow LG in terms of training fasted and eating about 40% of my calories post-workout at 13:00 which includes sweet-potato. Maybe you can try running through the safe starches to see which one works (potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, taro, sago, plantains, tapioca, white rice). Really depends though, if you feel you have enough carbs without then go for it.

Medium avatar

(2417)

on April 25, 2012
at 02:30 AM

According to folks, you cant really do Leangains without starchy carbs. I eat only meat and greens. So I'm wondering if leangains would even work for me. I tried to add starch post work out, and my body didn't tolerate that; hunger signals went haywire!

Medium avatar

(2417)

on April 26, 2012
at 10:06 AM

I tried a sweet potato post workout. Had already been keto adapted for months. Bad idea. I felt horrible. Hormonal hunger signals got all screwed up. NO WAY I could fast AND eat carbs. Lately, I dont even feel like eating my green veggies. My body is asking for meat and fat.

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