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Old 08-03-2006, 10:17 AM   #1
Jeremy Jones
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Come on all you intermittent fasters (IFers). I know it has some drawbacks. Let's put 'em down here.


I started IF doing it 3 times a week last year. I was going for about 14hr fasts. I wanted to be careful because of my super busy schedule, and erratic sleep. No problems here.

A few months ago I went to IF almost every day, fasting 14 - 20 hrs depending on my schedule. I didn't loose body weight (stayed around 195), didn't loose any noticeable strength, but I started to feel very run down and had a lack of motivation. I have also been having strong cravings for bad foods, and binging more often than I'd like.

I think my fault has been not getting enough total calories. Being somewhat picky about what I eat, and super busy (working two jobs and being gone from the home 19hrs a day a few times a week), I had a hard time getting 'good' food (Good food being somewhat paleo and in zone proportions).

I am going to attempt to increase my 'good' calorie intake and tone back the IF back to a few times a week (at most). At least until my energy comes back up.

Right now, I am getting ready to go into a weight gaining phase and see how much lean muscle I can put on while cycling between vanilla crossfit WODs and CF max effort training (an idea I got from Barry).
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Old 08-03-2006, 11:04 AM   #2
Gorm Laursen
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First time I started IF, I just dived in, and experienced the same problems as you describe. So I dropped it. Later on I started easing into it real slowly: The way I did it was simply to eat when I felt hungry. The time when hunger sat in came later and later and after 4 months time approx. I could easily go 20 hrs. with no side effects. I don't do it fanatically though. It's approx. 1 week of IF, 1 week of more normal eating patterns. Getting calories enough I think is nearly impossible on IF, but then I take an eat-a-lot-all-day-day once or twice a week or I eat a lot of fat in the 4 hrs. 'window' of eating.

It's like giving birth: Don't think you can take control, you got to let the body set the pace.

Remember to have some dried fruit or nuts on you, so if you get the cravings, you can easily take the top of with a little snack.
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Old 08-03-2006, 12:04 PM   #3
Erik Reckdenwald
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Personally, I haven't have many drawback to IF. I usually do 15 hr daily fasts (sometimes towards 20 hrs) and a 24 hour one once or twice a month.

With my busy schedule, IF style eating is easier. It's not always possible to eat 3 or 4 meals while at work, so I can have my remaining meals between getting home and going to sleep. I've learned that it's VERY important to maintain daily calorie intake while doing IF (excluding periodic 24 hr fasts).

This is the busiest part of my year and I have been able to stay lean without excercising as much as I would like to. I would attribute this, in no small part, to eating zone/paleo with IF.
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Old 08-03-2006, 12:32 PM   #4
Frank M Needham
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Somebody set me straight on this if needed but it seems to me that IF = poor eating habits = being run down = subpar training, etc. It seems to fly in the face of all that one knows is needed to have, and hold onto, physical fitness. How can one's body, if you're eating one time per day, get enough at one sitting to manage? For me personally, there is no way I could feel good on this type of program. Fatigue and poor attitude set in awfully quick when I don't eat regularly, and well.
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Old 08-03-2006, 01:33 PM   #5
Scott Kustes
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I have had no drawbacks...in fact, I've only had benefits. I eat when I can find time...don't have to worry about eating every 3 hours or finding a way to fit in 3 meals and 2 snacks a day. Some days I eat once, most days 2-3 times, and a few days 4 times. I've leaned out and my times and strength numbers have improved. During my fasts, my mental clarity seems to be better and I am just all around more energetic. Sometimes I have to tell myself "go eat".

Frank, check out the back issues of The Performance Menu. I think issues 6 and 16 have good info on IF. There's also good stuff on PubMed if you go do a search there and it's been discussed multiple times here.
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Old 08-03-2006, 04:55 PM   #6
Steve Liberati
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I second what Scott said above. I've noticied an improvement in every category across the board. Its quite scary to be honest with you.
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Old 08-04-2006, 10:48 AM   #7
Chris Forbis
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Add me to the list of those who have had no drawbacks.
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Old 08-08-2006, 11:41 AM   #8
Erik Reckdenwald
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Frank,
It takes a little getting used to, both fasting and eating multiple meals at once, but after that period, I have found it much easier all around.
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Old 08-08-2006, 12:08 PM   #9
John Vernon
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No real drawbacks here either. I tweaked mine a tad. Eat ~14 Blocks with a reduced carb intake of about roughly 1 block per meal for all meals between 10am-330pm. (have to have a good 2 hour break before BJJ & evening CF @ 530pm). ~2 Block snack no later than 9pm w/ full 2 blocks of carbohydrates from green source (brocolli, spinach, etc.).

So I am definitely not as hardcore as other IF enthusiasts and some might say that it isn't IF at all but at the end of the day after evening training, (in the words of Chris Farley the Gap Girl): "LAY OFF ME, I'M STARVING!! My 11 hour fasts work for me.

Oh yeah, I definitely feel WAY better and perform better since hopping on the IF train.

(Message edited by john_vernon on August 08, 2006)
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Old 08-08-2006, 02:30 PM   #10
Parker Gates
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I work out in the AM before I go to work and every time I've tried a fast my workout is really sucky. Light headed, gassed quickly, etc. I may not be in tune enough with my body yet but I know that I feel much better when eating a little bit before a workout than not. I've seen posts where people say it takes some getting used to but I hate to sacrifice workouts to find out if this will benefit me.
Maybe I'm too shortsighted.
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