Updated: Nov 14, 2018
I released a blog yesterday that discussed the impact of intermittent fasting over appetite. If you’re late to the party, you can read it here. A number of people contacted me with questions, and I wanted to answer them publicly. When the prize is complete and utter domination over your appetite for the rest of your life, I think it’s worth approaching this thing from every conceivable angle.
Question 1 – Roxanne:
Roxanne, can I start by saying that you don’t have to put on your red light? Furthermore, you don’t have to sell your body to the night.
Your question is fair. We’ve all been raised to the tune of “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” It gets the metabolic party started, and if we skip it, and eat much later, our metabolism will slow down, and turn us all into a bunch of slimy slothy slugs? This is the party line.
Personally, I have not found this to be the case. Breaking my fast around midday hasn’t caused any noticeable changes to my body. Actually, that’s not true. I would say I’m a tiny bit leaner than I was. Please don’t think that skipping breakfast has sped my metabolism up – I doubt that’s true either. I think the slight leaning out would be a result of the fact that I fast for 17-18 hours a day, and I morning run on an empty stomach. It’s the perfect tonic for keeping me lean and lithe, like the proverbial whippet’s finger.
Could an early breakfast boost the metabolism? Possibly. BUT… the results I forego by choosing not to boost are amply made up by the results I get from intermittent fasting.
Question2 – Fidan – and I can’t screenshot it because she sent me the following voice note:
“Morning Phil, can I just take the opportunity to let you know how radiantly beautiful you are. Never have I looked upon a man who appears quite clearly to be the visible personification of absolute perfection. You’re a like a hybrid of Pitt, Clooney, Gere and Cruise, but with better skin. I often picture you in the shower, and weep. I also have a question… If you do a strength-based workout in the morning, do you think it’s fine to have a later breakfast, or do you need immediate protein to build muscle?”
Another solid observation, and the question was OK as well. If a bodybuilder caught wind of the advice I am about to give, they would hail me a heretic and wet their tiny orange knickers. To them, a pint of protein, downed, and a flock of hens, inhaled, are critical pieces of the post workout process. I wouldn’t argue with them either. Not because they are bronzed and bulging, but because their argument makes sense. Weights break down muscle tissue, and protein repairs it. If you want to get uber technical, complex carbs will also give you muscles a replenishing hit of glycogen. So yes, it would appear as though a good protein-carb feed at the completion of the last set is the way to go.
BUT – let’s face it, it would be no fun without the but – in my personal experiments, I have not seen a reduction in size or shape when I skip food immediately after a strength-based workout. I might very well make larger gains if I take protein immediately, but I accept these possible losses, as I feel that the benefits I get from not eating outweigh them.
I will repeat… The spoils are not a goldfish in a bag, we’re talking about ruling your appetite with an iron fist for the rest of your days. Maybe, just maybe, it’s worth it.
The answers to Fidan and Roxanne’s questions are similar. “Conventional logic says A, so why suggest B?” To both, I simply reply that while that may be true, I have not personally found either to cause significant enough obstruction to stop me from intermittent fasting. The positives I have tangibly experienced, far outweigh any potential negatives I have not.
I am being non-committal because every human being’s unfathomably complex. We are all different ages, races, genetics, constitutions, exercise history, lifestyles etc. So your experience of something may be the antithesis of mine. Blended daily vegetables may give me gut motility and surging energy, you, a raging headache and violent diarrhoea. I am simply telling you what happened to me, and advising you to get out there and explore for yourself – this is ultimately how you will reveal the truth.
Question 3: Layla Lemonade
For me, I can eat at 5pm, and then train at 7pm, go home and sleep. But for Layla, and I’m guessing many others, this is not an option. A 5pm meal and CF would result in vom vom on the dance floor when the burpees come out to play. Whad-a Ya Ganna-Dooo?
Adjust your fasting hours so that you eat later. I eat from midday to 6pm and fast outside those hours, but Terry Crews – the “fittest man in Hollywood” – eats between 2pm and 10pm, and he’s not looking too bad on it either. (He speaks in depth about it here.)
“Are you off your farking rocker?? There’s no way I’m ever going to last until 2pm in the bloody afternoon!!!” I would simply refer you to our Muslim friends who fast during Ramadan. They will tell you “the first week’s tough, and after that it’s easy.” I experienced the same. The first week was tough, but my body adapted like a rocket. Now a midday breakfast is no issue for me. Within a very short period of time, you’ll be sauntering through till 2pm, and when you get there, you’ll be eating because you want to, and no longer because you have to.