Intermittent Fasting – Vince Del Monte’s View Point

By Vince Del Monte, WBFF Pro Fitness Model, Certified Fitness Trainer and Nutritionist and author of No Nonsense Muscle Building.

MY DEFINITION OF INTERMITTENT FASTING (IF)

The dietary practice of periodically going for extended periods of time without eating. Since we all fast every single day for 12 hours (if your last meal is at 8pm and your next meal is at 8am). This is known as a 12/12 fast. You eat for 12 hours a day and fast for 12 hours a day. It’s just one technique of thousands of fat loss techniques to contribute towards a caloric deficit – the determining factor of whether you lose fat or not.

IF IS SIMPLY ANOTHER TOOL… 

Just like any other training or diet tool, intermittent fasting is simply another tool in your tool box for building your dream body. Intermittent fasting can be a tremendous addition to certain individuals and completely unnecessary for other individuals.  This article will take an unbiased stance and touch on some of the pros, cons and my own personal experience, which I think you’ll find quite interesting.

Just like My Complete Opinion On Cheat Days and Fat Loss article, I do not have any emotional attachment to intermittent fasting and I’m not attempting to argue for or against the benefits of IF. I admit that it can be a very effective approach for solving a number of health and body composition related problems. However, after reviewing some research, it’s still very spotty and an approach I believe is extremely dependent on the individual. This will make sense shortly… 

For me, it’s very hard to say if  it’s a more superior or inferior method because I’ve experienced exceptional results with intermittent fasting and without intermittent fasting. Take a look at my results….

195 lbs & 5.5% Body Fat – 14 Weeks Of Dieting Without IF 

Not Sure My Stats – 3 Weeks Of Dieting With Fast Days Every 5th Day!

WHEN HISTORY MEETS RESEARCH 
(Borrowed from Dr. John Berardi’s Research on his site). 

Intermittent fasting is nothing new. Humans have fasted for most of their history, whether it’s during the typical overnight period, during more extended periods of food scarcity, or for religious reasons.

What is new is that clinical research on IF’s benefits for health and longevity is beginning to catch up.

Data show that IF, when done properly, might help extend life, regulate blood glucose, control blood lipids, manage body weight, gain (or maintain) lean mass, and more.

Rather than something we’re forced to endure – a result of poor food availability or cultural expectations – IF is becoming something that health and physique-oriented people are seeking out in order to keep their bodies in top shape.

The proposed benefits of IF in animals and humans read like a laundry list of “look better,” “feel better,” “live longer” physiological changes. These include:

REDUCED

  • blood lipids (including decreased triglycerides and LDL cholesterol)
  • blood pressure (perhaps through changes in sympathetic/parasympathetic activity)
  • markers of inflammation (including CRP, IL-6, TNF, BDNF, and more)
  • oxidative stress (using markers of protein, lipid, and DNA damage)
  • risk of cancer (through a host of proposed mechanisms; we’ll save them for another review)

INCREASED

  • cellular turnover and repair (called autophagocytosis)
  • fat burning (increase in fatty acid oxidation later in the fast)
  • growth hormone release later in the fast (hormonally mediated)
  • metabolic rate later in the fast (stimulated by epinephrine and norepinephrine release)

IMPROVED

  • appetite control (perhaps through changes in PPY and ghrelin)
  • blood sugar control (by lowering blood glucose and increasing insulin sensitivity)
  • cardiovascular function (by offering protection against ischemic injury to the heart)
  • effectiveness of chemotherapy (by allowing for higher doses more frequently)
  • neurogenesis and neuronal plasticity (by offering protection against neurotoxins)
However, current research is showing that some of these benefits may only be realized after longer periods of fasting – around 20-24 hours, depending on your activity levels. For example, if you’re fairly sedentary during the fast, you may need the full 20-24 hours without food to realize the benefits. However, if you’re very active, or you exercise purposefully during the fasted state, you may be able to enjoy the same benefits after only 16-20 hours without food.  
Vince’s Note – If you’re really interested in Intermittent Fasting, I enjoyed this comprehensive report on the topic here. 

13 Insights, From Personal Experience, On Intermittent Fast Days…

1.  I found I was using fast days as a band aid to a bigger problem. For example, I would blow my diet and eat like a glutton on Saturday and rationalize my thoughtless decision to pig out by saying, “I’ll just fast on Sunday.” Fasting is a powerful tool that can be used as “damage control” and to prevent “spillage” but if I had just managed my food choices better on Saturday I would not have to fast Sunday.  Thinking you can “fix” a bad food day by slapping a fast day is pretty cool if you do it a few times a year but an extreme approach that can wreck your energy levels and gym performance if done too often. 

2. Not eating for 24 hours is not as bad as you might think. I will admit, after 6-8 hours into my first fast day I thought, “Oh my gosh, I’m gonna die!  This is not healthy.  I’m losing muscle. I’m not going to be able to train. This is so stupid. I need to eat. Oh my gosh, I’m gonna die!” If you have those thoughts, that’s normal.   We’ve been conditioned to believe going extended periods of time will “damage” your metabolism.  If it was possible to “damage” your metabolism, I don’t think I would have achieved 5% body fat in the first picture above because I have done some crazy things with my diet. The coolest thing about not eating for an entire day was to say, “I just fasted for 24 hours and don’t feel too bad!” People looked at me like I was crazy and surprised I had survived the traumatic experience!

3. You wake up 1-2 hours earlier the next day! Your body expands about 70% of your energy each day on digestion.  Imagine not eating for an entire day.  I normally wake up around 7am and after a fast day I will be wide awake around 5 am.  Get ready for a long productive day!

4. After a fast day, you’ll feel mentally tougher and confident to stick to your diet.  My good friend John Romaniello preaches that intermittent fasting helps you distinguish between “head hunger” and the real thing. Awareness of what it really feels like to be hungry is a powerful tool. Knowing the difference will allow you to better manage your appetite, portions and cravings. I couldn’t agree more. When you go an entire day without eating foods you once thought, “I can’t live without…” you build up enormous belief in yourself by feeling victorious.  The feeling of self confidence and achievement about yourself can set the tone for another day of clean eating.  Fasting is a powerful experience makings you mentally tougher to sticking with your diet.  Heck, if you can go 24 hours without eating bad food than why can’t you go a few hours?

5. You discover how much food influences you and your life. I had no idea how much my life revolved around food until I actually made a decision to not eat for 24 hours.  Having fast days identified (stupid) reasons why I ate.  For example, every time I go to the movies I feel compelled to get an extra large bag of buttery popcorn, a big bag of M&M’s and sometimes even New York Fries.  When going to the movies on a fast day I realized that I really didn’t need to eat 2000 plus calories (with over 60 grams of saturated fat) at 10pm at night in one sitting!  I had simply created a bad habit and fast days helped me break that habit.  Every once and awhile I do go crazy at the movies though!

6. Fast days are great to break bad habits.  After returning from a 30 day honeymoon in Europe, I had packed on over 20 pounds of fat from eating too many banana nutella crepes, ice cream, baguettes, pizza and late night multi-course dinners that were always accompanied by a bottle of red wine, sometimes two. When returning to reality, my wife and I needed to find our bodies buried under all this fat and knew once a week fast days for a month would mentally get us back on track.  Once we got dialed into our diets and lifestyle, we dropped the fast days.  They were simply a tool to create some positive momentum in our life and break some bad habits.

7. Fast days will accelerate your fat loss. It’s not rocket science.  Eating 6 days a week instead of 7 days a week will increase your chances of being in a caloric deficit, the primary mechanism behind fat loss. You also burn fat instead of sugar.  When you eat your body burns the sugar first, fat second.  When you fast, your body has little option but to use stored body fat for energy.  The question you must ask is this: “If I can achieve the caloric deficit necessary to lose fat without fasting, why should I fast?!”

8. Fast days are not OPTIMAL for physique athletes. If you hired me to get you ready for a photo shoot or absolutely shredded, there is a 110% chance we will not use intermittent fasting – assuming we have enough time to meet your deadline.  I would prefer to  taper your calories down gradually without any extreme caloric drops that will compromise training intensity, considering you need fuel to maximize performance in your workout.  For myself, during contest prep, I train 10-12 hours over a six day period and take one complete rest day.  My training volume and intensities command a daily and regular intake of carbs, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals or else my performance suffers and when you performance suffers, your physique suffers.

Put it this way: the more you train in a fasted state, the smaller you’ll get over time. If you’re not competing in a show, knock yourself out. Now, I understand there are some really ripped and muscular guys who promote IF (for 36-hour periods every other day!) so I’ve been asked, “What about so and so? He’s still muscular and fasts 36-hours every other day…” I would simply say, “He would be even MORE muscular if he didn’t fast .”   Also, I question anybodies training intensity if they are able to do a 36-hour fast every other day. The more regular you train, the hungrier you become and the greater your calorie and nutrient needs increase.

9. Fasting can help prevent spillage during a bulking program for skinny guys. I prefer not to use IF as a band aid, but many skinny guys tend to pack on more fat than muscle while bulking up and planning a fast day once every month can help manage body fat levels.  Just understand, you would be better off learning how to taper your calories up gradually.

10. My favourite time to fast is from 6pm Sunday night till Tuesday morning. That’s actually 36 hours in total and that’s what I consider a true fast.  Fasting from 6pm Sunday till 6pm Monday is easy.  Anybody can do that. If you’re going to fast I recommend doing the 36 hour version.

11. Fast days are great to schedule on days you’re super busy or travelling. I’ll admit.  I’ve abused the use of fast days by planning one on a busy work day because I’m just too lazy to cook that day.  Don’t get me wrong, you get an enormous amount of work done considering you don’t have to cook, eat or clean! I also like them after a weekend trip where I blew my diet. The day I fly home is a day I’ll fast. John Romaniello refers this as the Feast/Fast and it certainly has a time and place. Just don’t abuse it.

12. Fast days combined with exercise are a deadly weapon for losing fat. If you have more than 25 pounds of fat to lose than this one is for you.  If you’re already lean than I wouldn’t mess around with this, it’s not worth it and not necessary.  My good friend, Joel Marion, employs fast days while training not once, or twice but sometimes even three times a day during a fast day.  Very, very hardcore and he recently did this successfully to drop over 40 pounds of fat in less than 12 weeks!  He told me about this method 1.5 years ago and I took him up on his challenge and fasted every 5th day while training twice a day in a fasted state.  I did that for three weeks before my trip to Punta Cana where I took that 2nd picture above and learned a lot from the experience.

13. The research is still spotty…

The research study I want to see will show the results when calorie-controlled, nutrient-dense, healthy IF diets are compared to calorie-controlled, nutrient-dense, healthy diets that don’t use extended fasts. Only when these studies are done will we really know whether the magic is in the IF – or in improving food amount and food selection.  It’s important to mention two things you won’t find on a pro-IF website. Here are two problems Berardi points out in his report: 

PROBLEM 1: 
MOST OF THE RESEARCH TO DATE HAS BEEN DONE USING ANIMAL MODELS.

Although animals (like rats and monkeys) are convenient test subjects, they’re not perfect models for predicting human response patterns. So, all the animal data suggesting strong benefits with IF aren’t necessarily helpful in predicting what will happen when humans try it.

When we look to the human data, we find – disappointingly – that experiments using IF are very limited. Also, those experiments that have been done often use poor experimental control groups. This makes their descriptive and predictive power limited.

I know this is annoying. I wish science were done perfectly every time, too. But right now, based on the available research, we’re left with far more questions about IF than answers. Nothing is definitive.

As a side note, none of this is surprising. Human subjects are notoriously hard to recruit for research projects, unless they’re well-paid, especially for projects that seem inconvenient or uncomfortable.

With IF, you’ve got a double-whammy. First, IF studies don’t sound all that attractive. (“Come to our lab so we can starve you for a day.”) Second, there aren’t many big-dollar companies lining up to fund studies that support not eating.

PROBLEM 2
IF IS OFTEN COMPARED WITH “NORMAL” EATING.

Whether that’s standard rat-chow (in the case of our furry little friends) or the North American diet (for our slightly larger friends), neither diet is best for health, body composition, or performance. In comparing study participants using IF strategies to those using suboptimal dietary intakes without fasting, we are actually “stacking the deck” in favour of IF.

How so? To start, the standard North American diet is often hyper-energetic – we eat more than we burn – which leads to weight gain over time. Since IF protocols often lead to a negative energy balance – burning more than we eat – the comparison isn’t exactly fasting vs. non-fasting. It’s more like a comparison between under-eating and over-eating. And that limits what such studies can actually tell us about intermittent fasting.

You see, almost all controlled calorie studies – not just the IF ones – show improvements in a wide spectrum of health and body composition markers, especially when body weight and body fat are lost in the process.

So maybe it’s not the IF protocol that’s leading to all the benefits described above. Maybe it’s just burning more than we eat that makes all the difference.

MY FINAL ADVICE ON IF 

As I always preach, “Body transformation is not only a science but an art.” By the time the research arrives on the validity of IF, it’ll be too late to test it out during your golden years. There’s no reason to wait for the research to start experimenting with IF and living better.

However, if you have not mastered the essentials of nutrition, I don’t suggest jumping on the IF bandwagon until you build a strong foundation of nutritional habits to optimize body composition, performance and health.  Without the foundation, IF is just another “magic shiny object” and once you stop, you’ll be screwed.

If you’re intrigued by IF and want a step-by-step program, I recommend you check out John Romaniello’s Fat Loss Forever System being released tomorrow. It’s the most comprehensive IF system that I’ve reviewed and it will give you a chance to explore some of the IF protocols and conduct some self-experimentation on yourself!

WHY SHOULD YOU SELF EXPERIMENT? 

Over the last few weeks I’ve been reading as much as I can on what type of IF fasting protocol is best for different goals – whether it’s bodybuilding, fat loss, longevity or disease prevention.  Essentially, everyone is just guessing and sharing their own experiences (as I have above) on themselves and with their clients and I see nothing wrong with that ASSUMING you’re not making your opinion on IF based on what you read, but rather what you tried. Before you make your final opinion on IF, as with everything, ensure you include some self-experimentation. 

And as they great saying goes, “The cream always rises to the top” and I believe, in time, the best IF protocols will show themselves but until then, forget what research hasn’t yet proven.  Establish the essential nutrition practices first, then add an IF protocol to your diet and wait until you have an experience to form some data.  After that, tweak away!

If you want to get started with your own IF experiment, check out John Romaniello’s Fat Loss Forever System dedicated to IF.

Comments or Questions or Experiences with Intermittent Fasting?  Share your winning protocol below!

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Comments

88 thoughts on “Intermittent Fasting – Vince Del Monte’s View Point

  1. Dear
    can you please resend “10 facts of fatburners”
    Something alike, could not gone through,
    Regards

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  2. Just a line to say that, even though it’s for religious purposes, I find my monthly fast (22 to 24 hours, no food or drink) has helped me do two things:
    1. Improve my mental strength; and
    2. Makes my body (seemingly) run more efficiently on the foods I do use.

    After reading your article, I think what I’ll try doing is running another fasting day, with water, and some electrolytes, during my month, and see how that works for me.

    Disco Duck

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  3. Hi Vince,

    I heard about IF over a year ago and the first time I tried it, I gave up on it too quickly. Then I tried it again a year later and I saw some really good results. Of course I had “Haters” but I didn’t let it phase me in any way. The question I had was after a fast day, would it be wise to have a shake day to gradually introduce myself back into foods or do I just continue as normal?

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  4. Hi Vince, what do you always eat before fast day. Like u fast for 36 hours from 6pm Sunday till Tuesday morning. so what did you eat on Sunday before 6 ^^

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  5. hi Vince,another great article,for the 24 hour fast i read you are meant to take bcaa supplements to avoid muscle loss,but i remember you said that you will not lose muscle until about 6-8%,i am confused as to take the supplements or not.( i would not be doing any exercise on my fast day)will just staying well hydrated on the fast day be ok.

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    • First off, technically, you’re no longer “fasting” if you consume BCAA but I understand this is a recommendation.

      Taking BCAA’s during a fast certainly will not hinder your progress but I believe you need a significant dosage. Close to 40-50g for a 200 lb individual.

      BCAA will provide you energy and offer an anti-catabolic benefit – especially if you’re training in conjunction. If you’re training on your fast days – a small dosage of 5-10g is useless.

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  6. I would personally not recommend fasting for individuals under 10% body fat and especially for ones under 8%. I’ve had a lot of success getting down to 4% by fasting, but by limiting exercise to short intense workout sessions and not creating a massive deficit. If you try doing 2 workouts on a fasting day while under 8% body fat, you have a high chance of muscle loss. If you are above 10 % and especially above 12%,fasting is probably the best thing you can do to get rid of the fat.

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    • Hi Ddz

      I appreciate your adding context to your points.

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  7. hi vince
    what about the water
    fasting without water?
    fasting for 36 hours no problem
    but also without water????

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    • It would probably be a bad idea to fast without drinking water. Not only does drinking water slightly increase your metabolic rate, helping you to burn more calories (and fat), which is your goal during a fast, but your body is primarily made up of water, and it is more dangerous to go long periods without water than without food-especially if you are working out on the fast day. Plus, pure water has no calories.

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  8. Thanks Vince, great honest no hype post. I very much appreciate it. Keep it coming.

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  9. Hey Vince,
    Interesting article. But I wanted to comment on something you said maybe a year or so ago. You mentioned that Bodybuilders are usually only in shape about 2-3 months a year. And you were talking about a program that has you look good 12 months out of the year. I have taken some of that advice and WOW! I have seen results and would like MORE info on that program, if you know what I am referring to! Thanks and God bless!

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    • Hi John… no idea what program you’re referring to….

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  10. Great article. I’ve had tremendous success with IF for six months now. I fast twice a week:17 hours on Tues. and twelve hours on saturday. I’m a chef and around food all the time with out a problem. You are confused with fat gain/loss. Calorie deficit does not drive fat loss. It’s hormonal NOT caloric. Always has been, always will be. Calories in vs calories out is a simplistic and archaic paradigm. Exercise increases energy input and food restriction deceases energy out put.

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    • Cool news Paul.

      I understand that calories in vs out is a simplistic approach (especially when it comes to extreme physique transformation) but realize that hormonal environment dictates fat gain/loss only to a degree and don’t forget nutrient-dense calories DICTATE hormone levels.

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      • Hi Vince,During my IF day can I drink a black coffee? I’m doing the IF from 10pm-10pm 24hrs every 5th day so my next IF would be Sunday,So am wondering what I should eat when the IF is finished should I go back to one of the 5-6 of my diet meals. ?

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        • Depends what your goal is for the fast…. if it’s to detox, skip out on the coffee.

          If it’s to lose fat, coffee is fine. Just factor in more water than your base intake as coffee has diuretic effects.

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          • Thanks Vince,My goal is to lose fat as i like bodybuilding, how about when the IF is finised what best to eat ? or just go straight back to the diet ?

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  11. Good article man!
    PS – I just watched Stage Shredded Status… I loved the part where you took us through your daily food routine!

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  12. You make some interesting points on IF. I’ve been doing a weekly fast of about 22 hours for a few months now and I like it. I have had no negative effects, and my diet was pretty good before IF. I’m currently doing 16 hours each day, plus the 22 hours once per week as an aid to fat loss.

    The ‘leangains’ approach of 16 hour daily fasts seems to work well for either building muscle without fat, or shedding fat whilst at least maintaining muscle, depending on your calorie consumption (and other activity) when you do eat.

    I started mostly for the health benefits, and I do think it is a very useful addition to your arsenal. I have done 36+ hour fasts in the past, but would not do them now. 24 hours gives great benefits.

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    • Cool David.

      I’ve never experimented with the 16/8 protocol Martin endorses but I can point out one practical reason I’m skeptical when it comes to muscle growth:

      To build muscle, I need around 4000 calories a day and there is no way I’m interested in consuming all those in a 8 hour window. Absorption and digestion would be compromised and I can’t see myself eating 40 oz of protein in three different sitting. I would rather eat 40 oz of protein spread out over 5 meals or 6 meals.

      As you might know, I train twice a day and both workouts require a tremendous amount of intensity and I prefer to spike my testosterone levels twice in a day and optimize growth hormone by not eating carbs right before I train but rather 2-4 hours.

      Building muscle is HARD enough – why make the challenge even harder by restricting calories?

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    • Hola David;
      I have been doing IF with excelent results last summer. I got really shredded and with good strenght. However, when I intended to get back to muscle gain my resukts were either too slow or poor. I was good in strenght gain but basically i reached a plateu on weight gain. I think that this is beacuse of my current lifestyle. Right now I cannot have a big postworkout meal as the IF protocol requires. I plan to use it to loose fat or get shredded now.
      Un saludo,

      J.D.

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  13. Hi Vince, have you come across Martin Burkham’s site? It’s a great resource for IF. Here is an article of his that is a review of human studies done of IF: http://www.leangains.com/2011/03/intermittent-fasting-for-weight-loss.html
    Also, I thought it fruitful to point out that Berardi had excellent results in getting from 10% to 4% using IF, and you will see the same following of success stories in not just getting lean but getting shredded if doing IF right. Intermittent Fasting is said to be more muscle-sparing at the expense of fat VS. regular daily caloric restriction. And regarding your #8 comment, “getting smaller” on IF training is not what real life results from IFers are showing. And, bringing up the question someone asked you about “so-and-so fasting for 36 hours” that you posted is somewhat of a misrepresentation / red herring to the topic of IF, because you don’t go without food for that long with IF, as far as I know. Also, regarding training on a Fasted state, Martin has several articles regarding the scientific benefits for training with IF for muscle growth, perhaps check them out if interested in IF.

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    • Hey Marvin

      Thanks for the link. I have no idea how fasting can be more muscle-sparing than regular daily caloric restriction…. (unless those restricted calories came from potato chips!)

      I did check out those articles you suggested and the problem is that they are not long term studies.

      I don’t doubt you can’t get lean or even shredded with IF protocols, I simply question if it’s OPTIMAL.

      It’s hard enough to cut your fats alone in the final weeks of going from 8% to 4% ! If anything, as you get leaner, you want to INCREASE your calories to increase thyroid.

      I will say – there ARE many ways to “skin a cat” and to arrive at a certain destination. IF is certainly a route you can take. Fasting my way to 4% body fat sounds like a really bumpy ride. I would rather fly first class to my end destination and “coax” the fat off.

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      • I was pointing out that IF is said to be muscle sparing at the expense of fat and actually does help with training (as paradoxical as that sounds) and muscle growth, which leads to the case that this is Optimal. Also, regarding your “get smaller when training with IF” comment, as you quoted from Berardi’s IF article, it should be pointed out too that as he went from 10% to 4% BF he said this “Since [my energy] saw only small decreases, I didn’t suffer any testosterone or thyroid related problems, and I ended up preserving most of my muscle mass and strength while getting extremely lean. I’d say these drops aren’t anything to worry about.” Which also lends credence to IF being muscle sparing. As to the mechanism of IF that makes it optimal for training and muscle growth, I refer you to Martin’s website where he has a couple of articles about this under the “research” category (you just have to browse through them by clicking on “older posts”). Also, it sounds like you have this idea that IF is about not eating the entire day, but that is not true. Here is a sample of a standard IF training on Martin’s page:

        6am-Wake up
        11:30-12 AM or 5-15 minutes pre-workout: 10 g BCAA
        12-1 PM: Training
        1 PM: Post-workout meal (largest meal of the day).
        4 PM: Second meal.
        9 PM: Last meal before the fast.

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  14. Just to dispel the myth of not eating fats with carbs as it may help some people:
    (Sourced from Annette Nay , Ph.D)

    THE GOLDEN KEY TO BE RID OF UNWANTED FAT

    A moderate amount of carbs, pro, fat helps keep blood sugar balanced. Fat slows down the absorption and digestion of the carbs, providing a steady, ongoing supply of glucose which keeps the fat storage hormone insulin low. Protein in a meal stimulates the release of the fat-burning hormone, glucagon, thereby maximizing your ability to burn stored body fat for energy.

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    • Sorry, but the combination of fat and carbs increases insulin output in almost every instance.

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  15. How well would this work for guys that you would refer to as “not skinny”, but closer to overweight? Would this work for that body type as well?

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    • well jon u will have to decide for yourself i am morbidly obese and after Atkins and the HCG deal,IF is a fukkin cinch,at least for me,i started at 345-ibs after 5 mos i am now 245 ibs,i gotta lot more to go,and IF is loving all this blubber i’m feeding it.however i don’t think u would have to,or should stay on it for as long as i have,unless u are morbidly obese.

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  16. this is very interesting stuff at least you are keeping it real instead of adding another fad diet like others to make money. But i find if i fast i get some serious headaches so fasting is not for me but i find the pounds roll off when you do that.

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  17. Hey Vince

    In regards to not having fats with carbs for breakfast again, is that only for when you’re cutting down or even when you’re trying to build lean muscle? So you never have full eggs with oats or bread?
    Because I just watched this video by Kyle Leon and he says to have full eggs with oats.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1A1QPw2n5F8

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  18. Basically Deplete glycogen stores faster, faster fat loss, if you go low carb for the week and fast twice a week, i can then have that cheat day on sunday. Monday: fast, tuesday low carb, wednesday low carb, thursday fast, friday low carb , saturday low carb, sunday CHeat Day.@Vince -

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    • Your body only stores 400-600 grams of glycogen at a time… It does not take that long to “deplete” your stores. I guarantee you’re over doing it.

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  19. Hey Vince,
    Dude I love ya! Long story short, I’ve done Joel’s extreme fat loss diet and yes, there is something so mental about fast days. I am married with two young kids so I still cooked for my family – ya talk about hard. I’ve told my husband he can NEVER say that I don’t have self discipline!
    I have learned and grown so much from your blogs, articles, and LL episodes! I feel like I’ve been set free to experiment with what things will work, whether it’s with diet or workouts. In all the info that’s out there that I’ve read or heard over the last 20 yrs, it was only recently reading and watching your stff that I learned what to eat and not eat before and after workouts. That is GOLD my friend and it chokes me that so many “fitness experts” fail to educate people about this! I’m convinced that nutrition is SO key and yet most people I know have totally neglected this or simply don’t know what to do. So thank you, thank you, thank you. I truely appreciate the info you share and how you encourage others to not panic about trying every new thing they find. I’ve been sticking to programs, watching my nutrition, and experimenting. And best of all, seeing results! btw I think Flavia is pretty awesome too! Continued success to you both!
    God bless

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    • Thanks Catherine. Kind words. You “get it.” Keep at it girl!

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  20. @Rob- lol…you hit a plateau so by eating more calories you gained muscle mass???? No way!! That’s a genius idea…I gotta try that next time.

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  21. Hey if u got any tips for me or even any questions just send me a reply, i am very knowledgeable about nutrition and supplementation and always eager to learn more. I plan on going to college for exersize science too. its not just a hobby, its a lifestyle, and i love it!

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  22. @Jodie – I totally agree, much better results with good fats added to all meals except pre and post workout. It keeps your insulin lower and u wont get hungry as quick. Also, if i couldnt add fats to any meals with carbs then i would only be able to eat fats at my last meal!
    I recently wrote out my diet for gaining lean mass this summer before i cut for my competition in november and it is 3000 calories/day, 30% fat, 40% carbs, 30% protein. This is a big change for me bc with my normal diet before i was only getting about 15% fat! But i had plateaued in my gains so something needed to change, it u always do what u have always done u will always get what u always got. Anyways, a natural IFPA pro bodybuilder at my gym said to add calories with olive oil and/or other healthy oils and i had heard that a diet that is 30% fat is optimal for anabolic hormone levels, so i decided to give it a try and i am glad i did! I have gained at least 2lbs in the past 2 weeks and am just as lean as before (havent measured body fat %, but definately under 10% and have pretty ripped abs) i always eat clean though, my current diet’s carb sources are oats, brown rice, sweet potato, and banana/ rice cakes/ honey post-workout, thats it! I havent had any “real” junk food like cookies or pizza since i was 15 (i am 20 now) i havent even eaten a slice of bread in over a year, so i guess my results aren’t typical.

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  23. @Mary
    Honestly, I thought the same thing….

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  24. Hi Vince,

    can you please advise do you drink water while you are fasting ?
    Or can you please describe for us how do you fasting ?

    one more, what about Muslims Ramadan for 30 days fasting roughly 16 hours no eating ? does it have same effect like your fast days ?

    Thanks in advance for your kind feedback
    Greetings from Turkey

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  25. Good stuff.. This purticuliar type of dieting seems to be tabboo in most circles but you didn’t hessitate to tackle it.. I’ve done some studies on fasting and most of them talked alot about cleaning toxins out of your system that had accumalated over the years or in another words bringing your body back to the clean state it was when you were a kid and before all the toxins from the enviroment, chemicals and foods that have so many peservatives and such were accumalted over time in your body.

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  26. Vince- Great post.

    You know, ‘Del Monte Diet’ DOES have a nice ring to it. Thanks for keeping it real with your ‘balanced eating’ approach, instead of creating some $79.99 diet product that, in the end, could be summarized by:

    “eat less than you burn”

    Thanks,

    Ian

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  27. I’ve been thinking the same, he looks like shit at the minute & looks like he doesn’t have an ounce of muscle on his arms, especially next to Roman who seems to be in the vids @Mary -

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  28. I guess it depends on what your willing to do to lose fat. You do what you gotta do to lose fat.

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  29. He looks better in the first one though because he has more muscle on his body. I’m guessin he would look the same if he had the same LBM and did the fasts maybe for another week or two. Either way he looks like a boss in both photos! Great article Vince.

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  30. Hi Shazia. I also fast for religious reasons, from 1/2 a day to 5 days at times. After breaking a fast it is recommended to eat something light, something your system can break down quick and absorb. If you eat what ever your body will get twice as tired, because it was without foood for 15 hours, and now has to work to break doown what you just ate. There is a power and energy, gone with the extra process. @Shazia -

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  31. If fasting, would you recommend taking BCAAs every few hours during the fast as a barrier to any potential muscle loss? Thanks.

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    • Hi Jim. A number of fitness authors employ this technique with valid research to support it.

      It’s your call.

      They certainly will NOT hurt your results. I’ve fasted with high doses of BCAA and none at all. Test both methods over a few weeks and see if you notice a difference.

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  32. This was a very interesting topic,Vince.I use to do this in my younger days and believe that it was definitely for me more of a mind strength result than physical.You can also bring a starve/ binge scenario problem if you aren’t totally commited and if you are anyway in a vunerable state: ie stressed depressed etc. Thanks this was excellent

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  33. Vince,

    During fast days we should drink only water or any juices are allowed.Pls let me how frequently fast days should be adopted.I am already overweight with 20% body fat.

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  34. Hi Vince,
    I am surprised how many people can’t get their head around this part of your blog:
    “Note: I’m not a “science guy” and have found that the more science I attempt to read, the more I get confused.”
    and the following explanation you provided seemed to slip under the radar too.
    This was always gonna be tough for you because we have all been duped into thinking that science is purely objective and replicable and will always take us to the ultimate “truth”, which we can somehow plug in to and get magical results.
    The reality is that science provides us answers based on the questions we ask. The questions have a trillion different variables, like prior knowledge, who does the research, who paid for the research, current social discourses, blah, blah blah.
    Body building comps take place on a stage not in a laboratory. It’s as much ART as SCIENCE.
    Get used to the ambiguity folks. If an artist shares their secrets you will only find out the techniques they used to create their art.
    Use the principles to create your own.

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  35. vince, you said that if you’re already lean, then you shouldn’t mess around with fasting…..but you said you used the fasting method to drop down your body fat levels in that 2nd photo, and i’m guessing you were already lean at that time? so why did you fast?

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  36. Vince. Regarding eating fat and carbs…….You state that insulin is a storage hormone. True. You state that you don’t want fat floating around your bloodstream when your insulin is high. Insulin is a storage hormone for ONLY carbs. The fat doesnt affect anything. Insulin latches onto the bloodsugar (carb) and takes it to be stored in the muscle in the form of glycogen OR as bodyfat. Eating fat with a carb does not affect how the insulin balances the blood sugar, it DOES however affect how much insulin is released after consuming a meal. A good carb plus a lean protein plus GOOD fat = less insulin release. I think it is misleading to tell people to not eat a fat and a carb and NOT back it up with REAL science.

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    • @Jodie. This is a “No Nonsense” website. Not a website for academic debate.

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  37. Excellent article and points you made … I sort of came to the same conclusions but only after a couple of years of messing around with the different diets.
    I did get on the fasting bandwagon too much but after awhile I realised it helps every now and then ..besides I love eating SO much!
    Anyhow thanks for keeping it real!
    Raymond

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    • @Raymond. Basically you figured out you were a unique individual!

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  38. Thanks for the great info Vince!

    My only problem with fast days is went I have to consume about 100 pills of BCAAs! I stopped taking them in pill form and now I consume them in liquid form which now gives me diarreaha all day haha!

    In my next cycles I am planning to have half scope of protein powder or a couple of carrots before bed so I dont wake up at 2am in the morning disturbing my sleep !

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  39. Hi Vince,

    First, congrats again on getting your Pro Card! Well Done!

    Like you mentioned at the beginning of the article “another tool”. I like your staright-forwardness and coming from the heart.

    Take care and best wishes in future competitions.

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  40. I think you look better in the “no” fast days picture. But I do believe in the cheating days. I found out that for “my” body it actually help me burn fat faster.

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  41. I tried last year Joel’s XFLD program and for the first time in my life I got six pack. I am not sure on my stats just lost over a stone of fat and definitely put on muscle as well because I got stronger.

    I loved the program. Having a cheat day every fifth day just made the whole thing achievable and as Vince says fast days make you mentally tough. It broke bad habits for me and to be honest I kept myself busy and drank lots of water and never once felt hunger at all.

    Vince looks more ripped without fast days, but personally for me 25 days of XFLD gets you cut so quick and you come out of it not only more lean and stronger but actually fitter as well because you train flat out.

    Great articles Vince

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  42. Charles Mclaughlin May 20, 2011 at 10:41 am - Reply

    Hi Vince,
    Fasting is extremely hard core. I have only done it once and I did a full body workout that day. I have to say I felt a sudden rush of power throughout my body and it felt great. I never felt so strong in my life. I thought I would feel weak but the more I trained the better I felt. How did you feel the first time you fasted and trained on the same day? Have you ever cheated on your diet and fasted and repeat for period of time? I wonder what type of results someone might achieve with low body fat levels such as yours.

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  43. Hi Vince

    Yet a another great article you are on top form this week :)
    I am using intermittent fasting at the moment to lean out for the summer and results are good so far. I like your fundamental principals and rules of eating which should be followed by everybody who wants to get ripped then just use tactics such as short fasts, carb cycling or cheat days to ramp up the results. I come across so many people who want the magic formula but who are not even prepared to do the basics right. By the way I am six weeks in without having one drop of alcohol and feel great. This is not a long term view but it has been a great experience for breaking all my bad habits with alcohol. I am not a big drinker but it has been a real eye opener about how much influence alcohol had in my life. Keep the great content coming.

    Cheers

    Howard

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    • @Howard. You’ll never regret not drinking alcohol. A lot of people are more interested in buying a magic set of golf clubs than mastering a fundamental swing.

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  44. Can fast days be taking during a low carb week, ie:

    monday : Low carb
    tuesday : low carb
    wednesday: Fast
    thursday: Low cacrb
    friday low carb… etc.

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    • @Dyla. What is your logic behind a fast day if you’re already doing low carb? Explain to me what you’re thinking.

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  45. @Ben

    Personally, I think the ‘don’t combine this with this’ is either for keeping calories down or for individual reasons like IBS. I eat oats with 1 egg and egg whites plus a tablespoon of peanut butter almost everyday and have no trouble dropping fat. I find if I don’t eat fat with a carb I am hungry an hour later.

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  46. Great blogs Vince. I just recently finished Joel Marion’s Xtreme diet as a way to reduce my bodyfat, which seemed to stay at 24% while my weight fluctuated over the last few years. I managed to drop to 15% in those 25 days and was 90% compliant with the workout routines (fast days I could only work out twice due to work). You are absolutely right about our minds being conditioned to think we need food to function-the 2nd cycle was torture, but it got easier and easier and there was that feeling of victory knowing i COULD do this.

    As both Joel and you say, fasting is not for everyone. Ive become mentally tougher in my workouts and my eating, and Ive never felt better. Like you said, sometimes you have to just take action for yourself and see if it works for you–if it doesnt, you keep finding what does. Excellent Vince

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    • @Darren. Good job grasshopper.

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  47. Vince, what do you mean with that?
    “9. Fasting can help prevent spillage during a bulking program for skinny guys. Again, we’re using fasting as a band aid but many skinny guys tend to pack on more fat than muscle while bulking up and having a planned fast day once every month or two times a month can help prevent the fat going too high.”

    i’ve never heard thet skinny guys tend to pack on more fat than muscle during e bulking phase.

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  48. Hello Vince, great post! I’ve recently started using Eat stop Eat with great results. It took some convincing for me to try it. Like many people, I believed I would lose hard earned muscle mass. After listening to Brad Pilon’s Eat stop Eat audio files and watching many of his You-tube videos on intermittent fasting, I decided to have faith in what Brad was saying and give it a go. I have dropped from 99kg to 91kg in just under a month. I agree with you that people will not be any the wiser if they don’t give it a go. I am very glad I did!

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    • @David. True learning = BEHAVIOUR CHANGE. If your behaviour did not change, you did not learn anything. You gained an “insight” or piece of “head knowledge” but that’s not real learning. Good stuff Dave

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  49. @Andreas

    Andreas,

    Just an FYI – Vince said,

    1. Never eat fat before a workout or after a workout.

    I didn’t see the word “fat” at first either and it threw me off just the same.

    Chop

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  50. Hi Vince,

    First of all many thanks for your article, very informative and well put.

    As already mentioned above, as Muslims we fast for up to 30 days (sunset to sunrise) during Ramadan, which this year is likely to start on the 2nd or 3rd of August, depending on the sighting of the new moon.

    What I would like to know is during the hours where we can eat, do you recommend to consuming the number of calories to maintain muscle mass? They only reason I’m asking is because we’ll only have about 5-8 hours to consume say 2500 cals….. plus, would it matter if one had a Protein, Carb and Fat meal before bed, since you’re going to be fasting for at least 15 hours?

    Would really like your thoughts please.

    Cheers,

    Mounir, London, UK

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    • @Mounir. If you’re only awake for 8 hours during Ramadan, I would eat four meals, one every 2 hours and you’ll be fine.

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  51. Great post Vince. I also think fasting can be used as a tool if you over indulge on cheat days but I rarely fast.
    In regards to your principles for eating, so you never have any fats with carbs? You wouldn’t have oatmeal with maybe 1 egg and 3 or 4 extra whites for breakfast? I tend to have quinoa or oatmeal porridge with 1 whole egg and 3 or 4 extra whites, depending on whether I had a protein shake upon waking up. I also train 2 to 2.5 hours after that so I guess my pre-workout meal has fat. Is that not a good idea?

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    • @Ben. Carbs can spike your insulin. Insulin is a storage hormone so I don’t want fat floating in my blood stream while my insulin is high. If you’re eating low glycemic carbs, you’ll be okay but true to avoid pure fats with pure carbs.

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  52. Hey Vince. As always, GREAT blog and GREAT info!!
    - Is it just for fat loss when you say “never combine fats and carbs” and “never eat before a workout or after a workout”? Because in LiveLarge you say that not eating before a workout is one of the biggest mistakes you can make? And of course, post workout is one of the most important times to eat right? :)

    Thanks champ! This is really gold to me!

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  53. GREAT post Vince, I agree with Nader Issa, these two have been really good. Thanks for taking the time to share this with us…

    On another point… “he recently did this successfully to drop over 40 pounds of fat in less than 12 weeks!”.. really? he did? so he was even fatter than he looks in the vids right now? I like Joel’s stuff but I was just wondering how he can promote a fat loss program being so ‘Xtremely” out of shape (at least that how he looks).

    Anyway, thanks again, this info is very valuable.

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  54. The headaches are usually either due to dehydration or deprivation of caffiene if you normally drink coffee then fast that. You should drink a lot of water when you fast.
    @Natalie -

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  55. Hi Vince,

    What I want to know is as a Muslim I fast but it’s about a 15 hours fast.
    However during this fast I do not eat or drink at all!
    Once it is opened I consume what ever I want!
    So why don’t I lose any weight or have any energy
    to exercise?
    I also do feel very hungry throughout!

    Thankyou

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  56. I have also enjoyed these last two blog posts which make so much sense! You’re right about all the so-called “experts” each coming up with their own versions which sometimes directly contradict each other. It’s horribly confusing and frustrating to the average person who is trying to drop unwanted body fat and does not know which way to turn! I’m sure that’s why so many people just end up giving up!

    It’s definately best to take an intelligent approach like yours and try the various tools out to see if it works for you. I have tried Joel’s program with the fasting every few days, and also some intermittent fasting….I’m not sure whether I’m convinced that it really worked to my expectations, and whether it’s really worth it to me – the jury’s still out on that one:-)

    Is it normal to experience fairly severe headaches when fasting, Vince? Also, what is your opinion on partial fasts in order to control calorie intake? For example, if one delays eating – only eats the first meal at 12 midday every day, and then you proceed to eat clean, small portions as you would normally, or you only eat 3 small, clean meals up until 1pm, then nothing until the next day? Any value in that in controlling your calorie intake in your opinion? Or is it best, if you’re going to eat, to eat the 6 small meals per day which has somehow been drilled into my head?

    Your opinion here would be appreciated!

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    • Hi Natalie. It’s hard to predict how your body will respond when not eating. A repeated experience would be something to pay attention to rather than it just happening on a rare occassion. I personally do NOT feel severe headaches. I’m wondering if you’r dehydrated. Measure out your water that day, strive for 4 liters and you’ll be fine.

      You can eat as few or as many meals as possible. I prefer establishing a regular meal cadence to give my day a framework for eating.

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  57. This is a really good post. I personally think Vince look way better in the “without fasting” pictures though.

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  58. Wow Vince… This is GOLD!
    When I was in my 20′s I went through a period where I did a few extended fasts (3 to 4 weeks) for religious reasons. It was disastrous for my metabolism and I went from ecto to endo soon after! The only advantage is that you learn that a 36 hour fast is really nothing and your body will not experience any dramatic negative consequences. BTW, extended fasts aren’t that hard either. Most of the hunger pains subside after 3 days. If anyone was going to fast more than a day or two they should certainly consult a doctor and get up to speed with what to expect before they make that decision.
    Thanks for this post.

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  59. These last 2 blog posts are extremely well done. I love the way you approach previous techniques that you once swore by and actually talk about them from a handful of angles, rather than saying “this is the only way, I promise.” The flexibility in it all is refreshing. Because some of us don’t like being told exactly what we should do all the time. It’s all about what works for you!

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  60. Why is there always one hater out there? You are certainly entitled to your opinion, but don’t knock the system until you’ve tried it. Are you the “IF police?” If you’re not interested in what he has to say, then don’t bother reading it.

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