What's up, IgnyteFit Fam, welcome back. So I have a question: when you think of fitness, what comes to mind? Mental fitness, physical fitness, but have you ever considered metabolic fitness? Do keep in mind that there are many people in the fitness community who are focused on esthetics and not on longevity.
So they have different objectives and different implementations. They might not be using metabolic fitness as a metric for overall health, so this might not be even on their radar. However, if you are a longevity fitness person, then you will be interested in metabolic health, and that includes leveraging the power of fasting as a tool for metabolic fitness.
Someone who is metabolically fit is able to stabilize glucose levels and maintain a healthy range of glucose and minimize those insulin spikes or glucose swings. And so metabolic fitness is inextricably linked to fasting and overall health in general, which is why I've made fasting part of my lifestyle.
So you've probably heard me talk about this before. I practice daily time-restricted feeding. I cycle in and out of a-mad, which is one meal a day. I do regular 20 hour fast, 24 hour fast. I also do three to four day fasts a couple of times a year, once or twice.
Now I know that fasting might sound extreme to some, but it's actually very much well documented in scientific literature and has tremendous health benefits. Now that being said, it's only until fairly recently that fasting has become a little bit more mainstream, dare I say trendy.
That aside, the fitness community has not really caught up with the metabolic health benefits yet. So today we're going to go over some of the fasting fears and why a physically fit individual might have qualms about fasting. All right, let's get into it, you.
So I wanted to make this video because I think that there needs to be more representation of fasting in the fitness community. And one of the reasons I love learning from Dr. Peter – you hear me talk about him a lot on this channel because in addition to being a medical doctor, an M.D. He's also an athlete who practices regular TRF and does water fasts. All right, so are you ready to get into the fears of fasting in the fitness community? Let's go. OK. Number one, it will slow down your metabolism. OK, so do you remember when fitness people, some people would say eat five or six small meals a day to boost your metabolism or eat first thing in the morning to boost your metabolism? Well, contrary to popular belief, eating many small meals throughout the day does not boost your metabolism. Having a lean muscle mass boosts your metabolism, and on the flip side, it's actually easier on your gut to digest food in a small eating window or feeding window like with your breath, and you're less inclined to be metabolically unfit. So if you're constantly eating, you're never giving your gut rest, and your metabolism is not going to speed up with eating more frequently throughout the day or not having an eating window.
Actually eating within a tight feeding window also promotes better gut health and digestion, right? Every time you eat, you have to rev up the engine. Constantly feeding yourself and not sticking to a window never gives your gut time to rest.
Let's say you do time restricted feeding it helps you become more insulin sensitive, and it also helps you become more able to stabilize your glucose so that you don't get these spikes so that you don't feel lethargic during the day and reach for a snack thinking that will boost your energy or you reach for that cup of coffee in the afternoon when you know that it will probably impact your sleep. And then the next day caused you to eat more. We have to be really careful about saying things like fasting disrupts your metabolism. That's unsubstantiated, and it's just it actually does the opposite here at number two.
Your muscles will atrophy. OK? Well, not quite. So first of all, TRF fasting for 16 hours or 20 hours daily and having a window feeding window between four hours and eight hours will not eat away at your muscles.
Exercising in a fasted state is something that I actually like to do, because it's a really great way to burn glycogen, right when we don't use up the glucose converted from the food that we eat for energy, we eat for energy.
It gets stored in our liver and in our muscle. So working out fast, it is a great way to deplete glycogen stores and use glycogen for energy. OK, well, what about prolonged fasts? Will your muscles atrophy then? Not if you continue strength training.
And I made a video about this. We have to use strength training the right way. So slower pace taking breaks, fewer reps. But you can still increase the weight like if you wanted. But again, it really depends on how adaptive you are.
But you will not not experience muscle cannibalism. In fact, when you exercise fasted, you will promote better fasting in that you will be able to burn your subcutaneous and your visceral fat. And if you're interested in learning more about preventing muscle cannibalism.
I've made videos about this and I in the videos, I put links to the research that discusses this. OK, fear number three, it's going to get you off your schedule. OK, so I totally get how mealtimes can help with programing a schedule and help with the perception of time.
I definitely understand this because our meals are a focal point throughout our day, right? But the thing is, is that with TRF, you still have your meals. You just contain it to a feeding window, right? So there's really no qualms there.
You can have all your meals. And even if your snacks, if you choose to have snacks within the time frame of, say, eight hours or six hours of a feeding window. So it really doesn't throw you off schedule, you just reconfigure your schedule, so to speak.
So now with a water fast, if this is something you choose to do, that can last anywhere from 3457 days, depending on how you structure that. So I can see how a water fast might throw you for a loop in terms of your scheduling, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.
As someone who spends a lot of time prepping food, doing groceries, figuring out recipes, figuring out what to make, doing a water fast once or twice a year pleasantly surprises me every time in that it's a perfect time to be extra ultra productive.
And so, to be honest, it's actually something I look forward to because it's a time where I can really just focus on what I'm doing as opposed to, like, have to do other stuff and chores around food such as grocery shopping.
Even if you do your groceries online, you still have to put in the time to do that. So I think of it as like a mini vacation from those kinds of chores. And don't get me wrong, I love I love food, I love eating.
I love doing the prep. But there are times where I'm like, This is taking up so much time and other stuff that I want to do. And so it's really about that balance on a day to day. But with a water fast, it's a nice opportunity to just not have to walk into the kitchen and think about what do I make now or what groceries should we get? Or is this food? This food has been sitting in the fridge for a week. Is it still safe to eat kind of thing, right? So we don't have that kind of task during that time.
So it's a nice reset, so to speak. If you're no for it will make them want to binge after. OK, well, here's the thing about fasting. It's not deprivation. It's not like being on a caloric restriction diet or somewhere where you're drastically cutting and drastically decreasing your energy intake.
It's not that at all. It can be if you do a certain type of fasting. But that's not the fasting that we're talking about here. Fasting we're talking about here is time restricted feeding where you contain all of your meals, all your snacks, everything you eat into a smaller feeding window; i.e., six hours, eight hours. Definitely a popular one where you get the 16 hours of fasting, eight hours of eating window that is not restrictive at all. It really isn't, and I've been doing it for years, and it's actually really nice to know that within those eight hours, I'm going to be having my food and the 16 hours part of which includes your sleeping, you're going to be fasting. And so it's not restrictive at all what you're restricting and the reason there's restrictive or restricted in the phrase time restricted eating, you're restricting the time.
So that's a really important distinction there. You're not depriving yourself separately with a water fast, OK? You might be depriving yourself of food, but you shouldn't think of it as deprivation or depriving yourself, because what you're actually doing is allowing your body to undergo many different healing processes cellular cleansing, regeneration of cells, gut resetting that need to take place that we never let our bodies do if we're constantly feeding it and never take. A break from food, that's something to consider there, but anyway, in the fitness community, in parts of the fitness community, there is this fear that if they fast, they are going to then want to binge like the idea of being hungry will make them want to eat more the next time they sit down to eat. From experience, that doesn't happen. And it's not a situation where you feel hungry so much that you have to overeat and overindulge and marathon eat or binge eat.
It doesn't quite work that way, partly because when you're fasting, because you have now figured out how to fast and you know what foods are going to help sustain you in terms of not feeling hungry and not spiking glucose and not getting those energy slumps, you're going to gravitate towards foods that keep you sated.
So imagine how satiating having eggs and avocado is. That's not that much food, if you think about it, even if you had a full avocado and let's say two or three eggs, let's say you've made a meal out of that.
That is going to be highly satisfying and it's going to help regulate your blood sugar. Keep those glucose levels stable to the point where you're not going to feel deprived or that you're hungry or you need to eat an hour or two later.
Contrast that with maybe starting your day with a bowl of oatmeal that will typically make you feel hungry in an hour or two. It certainly has made me feel hungry an hour or two after eating it, and it doesn't give me that satisfying feeling the way I would get from eating something like eggs and avocado.
So you also have to be mindful of what you are eating during your eating window that allows you to feel full and not feel like you need to eat something every few hours. So I really encourage you instead of thinking like, Oh well, if I fast, I'm going to deprive myself and I'm going to have to binge.
It's not quite like that, particularly if you are very attuned to what foods are going to keep you sated for certain durations of time. So that's something to really be mindful of and before you throw shade at people fasting or the idea of fasting.
It's important to do the research right. I will also say that after a water fasts, you don't feel like you want to binge your stomach. Can't handle that right? So going three days without water, for days without sorry, without eating three days without eating, you are carefully reintroducing food to your digestive system, right?
Your digestive tract, still trying to figure out how to digest this food that you're putting back into it after that break. So I made a video about how to safely and the best way to break your water fast.
I highly recommend you check it out right here, because if it provides light onto how to break your fast, well and in a way that's going to again be satiating and not want you to binge or do something that your brain might feel like it wants, or you might see like something that you really want to eat but it might not be the best thing for your digestion, and going a few days without food will definitely. If you put that in your system after that food break, so to speak, then your stomach is going to be upset.
It just is not going to be happy about that. That's the thing, right? Also, when you are eating, let's say, all of your energy in one or two meals and you're containing them into a small food when feeding window, you're actually again, you're not depriving yourself.
So let's say someone consumes 2200 calories over two hours in two meals and another person consumes 2200 calories over ten hours. The person who consumed 2200 calories within a smaller feeding window will be more metabolically fit than the person who drew out all of their eating throughout ten hours, twelve hours because they all have more time to deplete their glycogen stores and give their digestive tract a rest. And in this case, it could even result in this individual losing weight if their weight was associated with metabolic issues such as insulin resistance, which would cause an inability to access and burn fat.
So part of the issue is that sometimes people. We're not metabolically fit, will not be able to access their fat stores, so they might be walking around with excess weight. But the issue is that they cannot access that fat to burn.
And so if you train your body to become more metabolically fit, you will be able to. You will be in a better position to burn the fat stores that you have, which we all have. So that you can essentially make a meal out of your own fat.
I know it sounds kind of gross, but that is essentially what goes on when when you hear people say, eating your own fat, so it's being able to pull from access, the fact that you have stored your glycogen stores and being able to tap into that fat, access it and burn it for fuel.
And that's a beautiful thing. Also, irrespective of weight loss, when you contain your food to a smaller feeding window. You're doing a great service, huge favor. And if you want to try this or even something like this, like, oh man, one meal a day, the way that you're going to stay full is if you eat satiating foods that don't spike your insulin. So think proteins, healthy fats, fiber. And if you're not fat adapted, it might take time to get your mind and your body used to it. But let me tell you, once you become fat adapted, you'll be able to eat one meal or have a small feeding window and not be hungry throughout the day. So you might be thinking if I eat all my calories within one or two meals in a small feeding window, aren't I going to be absolutely bloated and stuffed? Well, not necessarily, right. Think about it this way.
If you have four eggs, one avocado and two tablespoons of olive oil, maybe some butter or that will not make you feel bloated, right? Because the amount of food is not that huge. However, it is still filling in your stomach, right?
Or if you feel like eating a ton of vegetables again, you might feel full at the time like it'll take space. But after a few, maybe an hour or two, you're not going to feel the same way that you would if you had gotten full off of pizza or cake or bowls of pasta.
So that's a different and interesting calculus as well. What are you getting full off of? So there's a way to do it for you to feel sated and not feel like you need to eat again until the next time you actually sit down for mealtime.
All right, ready for fear number five? Here it is. They're going to miss out on important nutrition. Well, not quite, because you can get all the nutrients you need during the time that you're eating. So however long a feeding window, you choose to have these eight hours or three hours.
You can still properly fuel by getting the proper nutrition that your body needs, right? Constantly feeding yourself is not going to give you a better opportunity to get more nutrients in your body than eating within an eight hour period.
So, in other words, with daily time restricted eating, you're not missing out on any nutrition provided that your nutrition is on point, right? So if someone eats a healthy and balanced nutrients diet, they're going to get the nutrients that their body needs, be it in one meal, two meals, five meals.
Again, you don't have to eat all day to achieve this. OK, so now in terms of fasting, well, that again only lasts a few days. And this is not something that you do multiple times a year. This is done just a few times a year if this is somebody who is a healthy individual.
So I really encourage you to think about what other types of fitness you might be wanting to incorporate, right? Not just the physical fitness where we keep our body healthy or the mental fitness where we keep our mind and headspace healthy, but also our metabolism.
Thinking about what you can be doing, how you can eat and when you can eat so that you can optimize your metabolic fitness and allow your body to function more optimally. Don't think of it as a way to lose weight or to get fit, or don't try to make the association with looks so much as the processes like your metabolism, which is something very, very complicated and thinking about how your body can run better in terms of what you fuel it with and at what points you fuel your body, right? Constantly feeding it versus sitting down for structured meals, be it one, two or three within a window that is appropriate, right?
So maybe doing something like fasting for 16 hours and eating for eight hours? So that is something that might be of interest if you feel like your physical fitness at some point, your mental fitness is on point or maybe works in progress, but you want to now think about ways of improving your metabolic fitness.
The other thing I'll say is esthetics are temporary, and longevity is for your entire life. So you don't necessarily have to train for esthetics to reap the benefits because the esthetic component will develop naturally as a byproduct. And instead, if you make your fitness and your training about fitness for longevity and overall health in general at any age, then you might find that you're much happier mentally and physically as well. So that's it for me today. Have any of these fasting fears crossed your mind before? Share your thoughts with me on the Ignite Fit community, and I can't wait to hear what you have to say, and I'll see you in the next IgnyteFit.
Ciao for now!