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Intermittent Fasting & Paleo. Need some help!

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created February 09, 2012 at 6:01 PM

I have been a 'clean eater' since 2004, and most recently a Paleo eater for the last couple months. I am 27yrs old, female and very athletic. I usually do 30-60min of cardio 6 x week and weight train (heavy) 4-5 week, with 1 rest day. My workouts change weekly(never keep them the same) Been doing this for years. But, I am eager to take my health and lifestyle to a new level and find the 'IF' very intriguing, as I'm sick of the eat/graze every 3 hrs mentality. I want to begin incorporating it into my routine to reap the health benefits.

Although I 'get' how it works, I'm not sure how to do it with my current work/training schedule. That's where I need the help. I am employed at a gym Monday-Thursday from 10am-7pm, Friday 10am-6pm and Saturday 9am-2pm (it's maily a desk job, no time to exercise on the job) Therefore, unless I do my cardio session in the AM before work, I usually combine it with my weight training in the evening and do sprints or intervals. PM workouts begin anywhere from 7pm-8pm and I usually don't get home from the gym until 9:30pm. I understand working out in 'fasted' state is ideal, and consuming a majority of your calories post-workout is also ideal. BUT HOW DO I MAKE THIS WORK FOR ME? Specically within a 'feeding window'. (Not eating prior to workouts is actually preferable to me and I have been testing this out for the past few weeks) So, do I fast all morning, eat lunch and an afternoon snack, then fast a few housrs before working out, and then eat again when I get home from the gym? What if I do a split workout (cardio in the AM and weights at night) How would that change things?

Lastly, I know some people do the IF daily (by giving themselves a feeding window) while others practice complete fast 1-2xweek. Knowing my routine and goals, which option would be BEST FOR ME?

Finally, because I am working out ALOT, do other Paleo followers suggest I up my carbs (after-workout) to incldue rice, quinoa, sprouted grains, etc? Or is the recommendation to stick with bananas, potatos , etc.... I'm usually famished by the time my workout is done.

If anybody has some suggestions, I would really appreciate it.

My goal is to reduce body fat % (currently between 18-19%) and also continue to build lean muscle and increase performance in the gym. I also just want to be healthier and increase my metabolic functions.

Ccacf7567273244733bc991af4ac42ed

(5198)

on February 09, 2012
at 10:05 PM

Arguably you could do both - Berardi recently settled on combining a restricted eating window with a weekly 24 hour fast I think as most effective and sustainable. The reasoning to eat every day is to help recover with frequent workouts. Personally I think you see a better impact from occasional longer fasts, but it's much easier to get into a habit of a daily eating window so compliance can be better. Like Nance says, eating fewer meals on paleo tends to just come naturally. Making sure you make the most of those and then having a fasting day once a week for the fat loss is worth trying.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on February 09, 2012
at 08:36 PM

My original intent was to do IF a few days a week but it just feels wrong to eat more than 1 or 2 meals per day so it's most days for me.

5e36f73c3f95eb4ea13a009f4936449f

(8280)

on February 09, 2012
at 08:31 PM

That interview's at http://www.leighpeele.com/martin-berkhan-and-intermittent-fasting-interview

5e36f73c3f95eb4ea13a009f4936449f

(8280)

on February 09, 2012
at 08:31 PM

Yes, I agree. The timing's a bit off compared to your schedule, but take a look at the leangains guide at http://www.leangains.com/search/label/Leangains%20Guide and see if there's anything useful for you. Incidentally, saw an interview where he mentions a 16 hour fast is the sweet spot for men, and 14 hours for women.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on February 09, 2012
at 08:19 PM

covered on leangains.com

E58d839e75d4a9a2ceaf40392ba6cfd7

(20)

on February 09, 2012
at 08:07 PM

Thank you....that does help. Still curious if I'm better off doing daily IF or doing 1-2x week complete 24hr fasts for my situation.

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3 Answers

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0
96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on February 09, 2012
at 06:16 PM

I think you can just relax and see how it develops naturally for you.

Basically, at whatever part of your shift you work out hardest, plan to eat well at your next break/lunch period. Think "large portion of fatty meat" plus whatever foods you're hungry for and want to add. I'd wait 2-3 hours after that before working hard, but otherwise you're good to go. The main points of IF are very simple: eat enough that you won't be hungry again for a while, and don't eat again until you are good and hungry--eat at your convenience rather than at the first twinge of hunger.

IF normally involves a 6-8 hour eating window, and I frequently divide what's really one complete meal into several "courses" for convenience. When I do that, though, I always start with the protein/fat; if I eat it all at once, I go fruit-salad-cooked meat/vegs. It all works if you are comfortable with it. You don't have to go full-bore all at once, as I said. Just see how it evolves most happily for you.

best answer

2
Ccacf7567273244733bc991af4ac42ed

on February 09, 2012
at 07:33 PM

I think the most common approach for people trying to maintain your level of activity would indeed be to wait until 1pm before breaking the fast. A lightish meal I guess but The idea isn't to starve yourself. It's called an eating window for a reason. Then you'd eat your main meal after the workout and then get to bed. It doesn't really give the option to workout fully fasted, but you could play with avoiding carbs until the post-workout meal which may give you some of the benefits. It's not a big deal for fat loss though, and with your weight-lifting in the evening you really don't have much choice but to eat before it given how regularly you're exercising.

If you're doing cardio in the AM during the fast, just do it. It's a great way to improve the efficiency of your energy pathways etc. You don't need to eat for cardio, and I'd say it's better not to. But again, if it work out that you're doing it in the evening and you've already eaten, no harm no foul. One of the more valuable things learned from fasting is that my current activity is not and should not be fueled by what's in my stomach. It's great to break that dependency and be able to perform whatever the situation.

E58d839e75d4a9a2ceaf40392ba6cfd7

(20)

on February 09, 2012
at 08:07 PM

Thank you....that does help. Still curious if I'm better off doing daily IF or doing 1-2x week complete 24hr fasts for my situation.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on February 09, 2012
at 08:36 PM

My original intent was to do IF a few days a week but it just feels wrong to eat more than 1 or 2 meals per day so it's most days for me.

Ccacf7567273244733bc991af4ac42ed

(5198)

on February 09, 2012
at 10:05 PM

Arguably you could do both - Berardi recently settled on combining a restricted eating window with a weekly 24 hour fast I think as most effective and sustainable. The reasoning to eat every day is to help recover with frequent workouts. Personally I think you see a better impact from occasional longer fasts, but it's much easier to get into a habit of a daily eating window so compliance can be better. Like Nance says, eating fewer meals on paleo tends to just come naturally. Making sure you make the most of those and then having a fasting day once a week for the fat loss is worth trying.

1
5e5ff249c9161b8cd96d7eff6043bc3a

(4713)

on February 09, 2012
at 06:30 PM

Give this a read: http://chriskresser.com/why-you-may-need-to-exercise-less

Consider cutting out the cardio, or at least doing way less.

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