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Intermittent Fasting and High Intensity Workouts

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  • Intermittent Fasting and High Intensity Workouts

    Hi: I do high intensity Crossfit workouts about 5x week. I am trying to balance my food intake as 3 meals a day is just too much and leaves me full...so I tried the 16 hour leangains fast described in a recent post by Mark. For two days I stopped eating at 9PM and didnt eat till 1PM (16 hour fast, 8 hours to eat). I went to bed full, felt fine ewarly AM, but by 10AM I was RAVAGED...so hungry I had to stop this after 2 days. is my body just adjusting to this "fast" or as I suspect is my body just needing steady food to recover from my intense workouts? I feel lie if I can balance my food intake and onto overeat, I will get better proportions and feel better (I feel too stuffed eating 3x day). Or should I just try to "eat when hungry" (which is hard for me because I have business lunches daily, like my breakfast and hungry by dinner... thanks.

  • #2
    How long have you been eating primal? How many carbs are you consuming? You body may not be adjusted well to burning fat yet and IF may be tough. 5x is a lot, with lean gains and primal I would do 3x a week at most and slightly overeat on workout days and under eat on recovery days.
    SW on 10/1/11: 380lbs.
    CW 12/13/12: 315lbs. (Was under 300#, added some muscle :-) )
    GW: 10% B.F. 250lbs. - 275lbs. (6' 4" tall)

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    • #3
      sounds like it could be a combination of adjusting to fasting and being overworked from crossfit. fasting isn't an easy thing to switch to over night. your body will expect food at certain times if you usually eat on a set schedule, release the hormone grehlin, and make you hungry. you could start getting used to fasting by eating a smaller breakfast a little later in the day, then eventually skipping it entirely.
      on the other side of things, is your body just wanting to refuel after intense workouts. my body will crave food after a couple days of either really high intensity or really long endurance...and those cravings will stick around for a while. i obey my hunger in those times. if you want to cut down on that hunger, cut down on your workouts. 5 days of intense exercise a week is a lot...maybe too much if it's wearing you down. rest and recovery are just as important as any exercise that you are doing. and, all that cortisol could impede fat loss.
      http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread60178.html

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      • #4
        well said primalrob! i was about to type up a reply then saw your post..very well put!
        http://myquest4happiness.blogspot.com/
        http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread48307.html (journal)

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        • #5
          Yeah 5 days a week is a lot! With that schedule you are always in a state of recovery. That is not what exercise is all about.

          It would be tough to IF with that schedule I'm thinking. I do one strength training session a week and that day into the next day I am very hungry making a long IF really tough. So I eat earlier on those days. The other days IF'ing is easy and I don't eat till much later in the day usually.

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          • #6
            As someone who used to Crossfit, over a span of 3 yrs, 5 x p/wk is an insane amount. It's your choice, but just make sure you're making the right one with that.

            However, I used to do IF and X-fit, and I have to say I felt great on it, even when I worked out first thing and didn't eat till 12-1pm. I would never go 5 x p/wk though, but IF I could do every day. That said, low carb + Crossfit 5x p/wk + IF is to me going to be a disaster(low carb with crossfit will pretty much be a disaster anyway, ask Matt Lalonde). If you're doing something as intense as X-fit 5 times a week then ?I don't think IF'ing will benefit you at all, unless you do maybe one per week, maybe 2. At the very least you are giving your body way too much to deal with all in one go. Perhaps you will get used to it over time, but you'll have to be patient. Otherwise there seems very little benefit to what you're doing IMO.

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            • #7
              yeah...I could go a few days a week for a 16 hour fast. I am 4 months in...decent in fat intake (eggs in AM, lots of beef and fishes, but don't eat tons of super high fat foods like pork bacon and coconut oil...dont like the taste). mainly stick to olive oil, salads, proteins and healthy veggies.

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              • #8
                Yeah...when I dont exercise for a day my hunger goes down as well. Ive just got that addicted personality so don't like to take "days off" of anything very often. Trying now to just eat when I am hungry but my 3 meals a day for 40 years routine is a tough one to break. Thinking that may be the best option. Skip breakfast or lunch unless starved...and if starved then eat.

                Thanks!

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                • #9
                  Did you ever read the Leangains protocol?

                  I CrossFit 5-6 times a week and follow Leangains and have had zero problems and good results. The training is not supposed to be done entirely fasted, you are supposed to take 10 g BCAA before the workout and eat your largest meal of the day right after the workout. If you don't eat right afterwards you are supposed to continue taking BCAA for the hours after the workout. The suggested schedule is on the Leangains blog.

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                  • #10
                    Do you know how many calories you are eating? I find that the most common problem with people who are taking up fasting is that you say "coalesce your meals into one a day" and they hear "skip meals until you are eating once a day."

                    That not it. People that equate IF with skipping meals wind up making drastic changes in their caloric intake with disastrous results. If you were to roughly distribute your calories evenly across three meals, then skipping one meal represents a 33% decrease in caloric intake. You might argue that nobody eats a breakfast as large as their dinner, so maybe we can assume 20% of calories at breakfast, 30% at lunch, and 50% at dinner ... that still implies a 20% reduction in caloric intake for just skipping breakfast, and a whopping 50% reduction if you skip both breakfast and lunch.

                    Obviously, don't do that. Initially you need to become accustomed to eating just once a day. However, make no mistake about it, this is a big meal. It is your daily caloric intake in one sitting, so if you were eating 3000 calories across 6 meals previously, you are now eating 3000 calories at one go. You do not monkey about with caloric intake initially because you are changing too many parameters.

                    Once you are comfortable with the one meal a day protocol, then you can start modifying other parameters to suit you ... so, maybe experiment with different caloric intakes depending upon your goals and activity levels. Play with macronutrient breakdown and so on.

                    -PK
                    My blog : cogitoergoedo.com

                    Interested in Intermittent Fasting? This might help: part 1, part 2, part 3.

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                    • #11
                      Hey guys,

                      Interesting thread..

                      I just wanted to know your opinions about doing IF along with high intensity training AND one meal a day diet approach!

                      So I'll be fasting alternate days. And When I am not fasting, I will be doing a 20 minutes interval jogging (30 seconds exertion, 1 minute rest and so on) Followed by a big gorgeous meal.

                      Do you think this approach will work?!

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by EggbertHeadleton View Post
                        Did you ever read the Leangains protocol?

                        I CrossFit 5-6 times a week and follow Leangains and have had zero problems and good results. The training is not supposed to be done entirely fasted, you are supposed to take 10 g BCAA before the workout and eat your largest meal of the day right after the workout. If you don't eat right afterwards you are supposed to continue taking BCAA for the hours after the workout. The suggested schedule is on the Leangains blog.
                        I am not sure the Leangains protocol is meant to be done with Crossfit. It is usually for Strength Training.
                        2010 - 5,11 and 101KG

                        2012 - 5,11 and 77KG

                        Train hard, eat well and love life

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                        • #13
                          I do the leangains method and crossfit 5 times a week. And also, I have been skipping breakfast and drinking 2 cups of raw milk for lunch or lighter lunch as I train in the evenings. On the weekends I can train while fasting as I train early then.

                          Fasting works for me because I have been primal for a year now so I don't have any hunger pangs and I eats ton of fat. My news food is pork back fat. Delicious!

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                          • #14
                            I've been fasting - other than coconut oil and butter in morning coffee - from 9PM - 1PM 2-3 days per week and crossfit at noon 3-4 days. It often plays out that I'm working out wo having eaten for 15 hours and it has never been an issue. I was worried that I'd run out of gas but, surprisingly, never could blame lack of nourishment for my dismal wod performances. While I avoid sugar , including fruit, and most grains, I think I get around 35% of my calories from carbs (beer, wine, dark choc, nuts and veggies) so I don't think I'm anywhere near ketosis.

                            Not sure of much, but I know that IF and HIIT are compatible for some, including me.

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