Does Fasting Lead To Great Body Composition?

Recently, someone on the interwebz told me they’d started fasting…and had gotten low thyroid/adrenal fatigue…so what should they do??

This video is my response to that… and all the other new health trends:

If you start doing the “new thing to do” but I ask “Why are you doing X?” and you say “I don’t know”… you need to take a step back and look at your GOALS.

If you’re going to fast, being sure that you’re getting enough electrolytes is critical to success. Click here if you want some more information on electrolytes and fasting…  

Full Transcript:

Robb: So Nicki’s going to be really happy that I’m going on a trip here soon. So we were just chatting and Nicki’s like, “We should record this.” Great responses, getting a lot of comments on the stuff that we’ve done, but I’m noticing this threat where people are super confused and you know, should I do fasting? Should I do this, should I do keto? Should I do paleo? And almost uniformly, I ask these folks, “What’s your goal? What are you trying to do?” And they just kind of you know, metaphorically, or actually throw up their hands. They’re like, “I don’t actually know.” Like rarely is it a direct answer of, “I want to lose weight, or I want to do this, or I want to do that.” Often times, people are just flailing the fuck around and have no idea what they’re doing.

And I’m not criticizing them, I get it. Like, there’s a lot of information, there’s a lot of confusion. But if people just spend a little bit of time sitting down and delineated what do I want to do? I want to have great body composition. Okay, great. So does fasting 32 hours straight lead to great body composition? Generally, no. You’re going to lose a bunch of muscle mass in that period of time, comparatively. Now, you could lift weights during that time. There are some mitigating strategies, I know that there are some pretty popular people on the scene that insist that fasting is an anabolic state. It’s kind of bullshit. I’ll just put it out there.

Like, they’ve got their opinion, and I’ve got my opinion. If somebody is really focusing on body composition, at a minimum, if they’re really aggressive about this, I would use something like a protein sparing modified fast where they’re eating a lot of protein on a consistent basis, lifting weights, a full body, global exercise routine every single day. It’s going to suck. It’s going to be absolutely miserable, but it will affect some amazing body composition change. And it’s driving towards that goal. And you can also do a whole variety of other things that are less gnarly of an intervention, you have an adequate protein, probably about a gram of protein per pound of lean body mass per day, you know, basic dietary intervention which could be paleo or keto or however you want to do it. But make sure you get that protein, then introduce some al caloric deficit, and then lift weights multiple times a week.

Like if body composition is really the goal, folks are so wrapped around the axle of like, fasting and they have this sense that it’s a health benefit, and there probably is a health benefit, and if somebody is metabolically broken and they’ve historically been overweight. Probably an argument for doing some amount of fasting. But then at the end of the day, you need to learn how to make real meals and eat real food. This is one of my issues with fasting, is that it doesn’t actually teach people good eating habits. And also, there’s another cross section of people that are training very hard, they’re doing cross fit multiple times a week or something like that. And then they want to throw fasting on top of that, as some sort of a health benefit.

If you’re doing five or six days of week of pretty significant physical activity, you’re already exercising above what is normal for our species. Like this whole hunter/gatherer ancestral health model. Our ancestors were active, but they were not fucking CrossFit games competitors. And once you have that, you are … and I’m not saying that’s necessarily a bad thing, but you’ve already kind of pushed the adaptation window of your body into a very, a tough state. Throwing fasting on top of that with some thought that that’s going to improve something is a mistake. This is losing some context there.

Just the act of exercise enhances autophagy, it mainly happens in the muscles, but it stimulates autophagy globally. In the background, I have a pot of coffee brewing. Coffee stimulates autophagy globally, throughout the whole body. And decaf works better, and as I’ve already needled the hipsters, dark roast works better than like medium roast. So anyway, I know that that was kind of a rambling grab bag of stuff, but I would really encourage people, particularly coaches that are working with people, ask people what their damn goals are. And really hold their feet to the fire to be clear about what the goals are. If you are confused, sit down and write down three or four, you know, perceived goals and then prioritize one of those. And then it really clears up a lot of the confusion. It cuts through a lot of the bullshit that people get hamstrung on when they’re trying to figure out, should I do this versus that.

One final thought, if you’re just going into this with the idea, “I want to see what ketosis is like, I’ve never done it before.” Great, that is a goal in and of itself. Experience is a goal in and of itself. But for the most part, what I’m finding is people are just flailing around and they really don’t have an expectation about what they’re doing, so there’s no way to assess if what they’re doing is actually providing benefit.

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