Friday, October 30, 2009

What can you expect during a fast? A 60-hour breakdown.

I'm often asked what it feels like during a 24-hour fast.  Misconceptions and myths permeate beliefs regarding fasting.

Aren't you starving?  Doesn't your energy drop?  I could never do that...I'd starve.  There's no way I could workout with no food in my system.  Aren't you worried about muscle loss?  What about low blood sugar?

These are just a few of the questions that I receive on a weekly basis when discussing my intermittent fasting lifestyle.  The guys over at fitness spotlight like to call it intermittent feeding; I like that term.  For more answers about IF, check out Eat Stop Eat by Brad Pilon.  Brad is regarded as an expert in the health and fitness field, specifically IF. 

With that said, I thought I'd document a recent 60-hour fast.  Before that I'll note a few tidbits and observations.  I don't make it a routine to initiate such a long fast, but I think it's beneficial (for many reasons) every once in a while.  There are numerous studies and anecdotal 'research' that bunk the myths that are commonly associated with fasting.  Take a look at Martin Berkhan's website, Lean Gains.  He posted a great IF Q & A this past Thursday.

When deciding to start a 24-hour fast, I'd suggest eating your final pre-fast meal at night; a 7PM meal always seems to work well.  By 7AM, you are already through the first 12 hours.  Mix in work, the busyness of life, a workout and 24 hours will fly by.  Additionally, if you are just starting to try IF, be realistic; you'll likely be hungry.  You can thank 'social programming' and the hormone ghrelin for that hunger.  Your body must re-train itself and its habits.  Each fast thereafter will get easier.

My 60-hour fast:
  • Tuesday, 10/27, 11PM: Final pre-fast meal mixed with some 'junk' food (thus prompting a fast).  If you overindulge or simply indulge, a fast is a great way to balance your indulgence and you'll keep your weekly calorie intake in check.
  • Wednesday, 10/28, 6AM (7 hrs): Not hungry at all.  I have a couple of waters throughout the day.  I even skip my morning Americano coffee for some odd reason.
  • Wednesday, 10/28, 12PM (13 hrs): Lunch-time for millions.  My fast is only 13 hours in.  Still not hungry at all.
  • Wednesday, 10/28, 5PM (18 hrs):  All of the kids are home from school and I'm home from work.  A tinge of hunger, but not really.  When you don't plan to eat and have no intentions of eating, it's amazingly easy for your mind to 'rest' from the thought of food.  Plus the added benefit of burning body fat for energy especially from the 16-hr point and beyond.  Americano for me.  A famous Sterbucks latte for my wife (Sterling -- Sterbucks, not Starbucks...get it?)
  • Wednesday, 10/28, 6:30PM (19.5 hrs): P90X shoulders & arms workout with my 7 year-old (don't worry, he's not lifting weights and if he is they are 3 lbers).  I heavy up the weight, quicken the pace with no rest, and cut the workout in half.  Done in 35 minutes.  I do have a pre-workout BCAA (Purple Wraath) drink but it contains no calories, thus leaving me in a fasted state.  A minimal increase in insulin due to the amino acids, but still fasted.
  • Wednesday, 10/28, 8PM (21 hrs): A little 2-on-2 FIFA 2010 Xbox 360 soccer with my 3 youngest.  No food thoughts here.  I want to WIN!  My little girl & I dominate...well, half the games anyway.  I also drink a fair amount of water and take my daily Omega-3s and Mulit-vitamins.
  • Wednesday, 10/28, 11PM (24 hrs): After catching up on work email, blog email, daily health and fitness reading, and my college football call-in show fix it's off to bed.  I'm not really hungry at all, but I'm starting to pee a alot.  Hmmm...sign of some junk food the night before?  My insulin levels have dropped and my body is thanking me; more than normal urination is a sign of your body and muscles releasing water that increased carbohydrate consumption prompted your body to hold onto.
  • Thursday, 10/29, 5:50 AM (31 hrs): I didn't forego my Americano.  Double-shot and a little water.
  • Thursday, 10/29, 10AM (35 hrs): As I'm working, I see some people who should probably think about fasting.  Just a thought.
  • Thursday, 10/29, 1:15 (38.25 hrs): Black coffee from a local coffee house (PJ's).  Remarkably, I'm not that hungry.  I know I'm doing my body good so it's made easier knowing the facts about IF.  A cardio session of sorts this afternoon; I'm not sure what I'll do.  I've decided I'll break my fast around noon tomorrow (61 hrs) with a Whole Foods' ribeye steak and a pile of veggies.
  • Thursday, 10/29, 8PM (45 hrs): I decided on 30 minutes of moderately high-intensity cardio followed by 30 minutes of low-intensity cardio on my stationary bike.  My body relies on body fat and ketones for energy.  The 6PM workout was not too terribly hard, but I'm starting to feel a bit of hunger.  However, I'm extremely clear-minded and I've worked on several blog posts and material for a future e-book.  The workout was followed by a nice, long shower and some Thursday night college football.
  • Friday, 10/30, 4:30AM (51.5 hrs): As is common in fasts beyond 48 hrs, I awoke at 4:30 and could not sleep.  My mind was racing and clear so I worked again on additional blog material.  I'm waiting for my 15-year old to get up to enjoy a cup of coffee with him.  The thought of that steak is really, really starting to sound good; I can already smell it cooking on the grill.  My agenda today: coffee, 15-year old off to school, 12-year old to school, 7 & 9-year old to school, work, meal @ noonish - fast is broken, back to work, welcome weekend.
  • Friday, 10/30, 5:45AM (52.75 hrs): Coffee with my 15-year old.  Always fun to visit.
  • Friday, 10/30, 12PM (61 hrs): Time to break the fast.  Ribeye, veggies, and bacon.  I'm pretty dang hungry.  The meal was superb.  I put some spices on both the steak and veggies.  You'll see two pats of butter on the veggies -- butter and salt really bring out a full taste of the veggies.  Medium rare is how I like my ribeye.

So there's my 60-hour fast; a rare activity for me.  I'll eat a normal meal around 7 and it's back to my normal routine tomorrow.  Eating normally after a fast is important, especially after a 24-hour fast.  If you break a 24-hour fast with a huge meal you've just consumed the calories that you were avoiding in the first place.  You'll still benefit from the hormonal 'reset', but one of the key roles of IF is to 'free you up' on other days.  I had a normal meal even after a 60-hour fast and I'm full & satisfied.

It's back to work for me.  Please feel free to ask questions or comment on your own fasting experience.

Until next time...   

Thursday, October 29, 2009

PaleoKit: Real Food For Real Athletes

This is my new favorite product to support a primal lifestyle.  As I've talked about before, I eat primally about 80% of the time; sometimes as high as 100% over a given time period, especially when I'm leaning down.  But at any time, this convenient, healthy snack is an awesome treat.  You can only buy a PaleoKit over the internet.  I've provided a PaleoKit button on the right-side of my blog.

You can choose from 4 different sizes -- small, medium, large, and x-large.  Small - 227 calories, Medium - 318 calories, Large - 373 calories, X-Large - 464 calories.  Each packet comes with a mix of Free-Range Beef Jerky, Macadamia Nuts, Raw Pecans, Raw Almonds, Dried Cranberries, and Dried Strawberries.  Each packet comes vacuum packed with a 'slit' on each side of the packet for easy opening.  The macronutrient profile is also broken down for you: 40% protein, 20% carbohydrate, and 70% fat -- a perfect primal meal. 

I use the PaleoKit as a snack or sometimes it will be my meal on the run; a much healthier option than some convenience store garbage, fast food trash, or a snickers.  I will admit that when I received my first shipment it did not look that appetizing, but it is very, very good.  I recently took a PaleoKit to a football game for a halftime snack.  My non-primal buddy was like 'what the hell is that'!  After sharing the packet with him, he was impressed with the taste and quality.  'Dude, that was awesome...but it sure did look gross at first' was his response.

Here is the best part.  Not only are you getting a great primal snack, but ALL proceeds for PaleoKit packets go to Steve's Club.  Steve's Club is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization offering young athletes (and non-athletes) of Camden, NJ world-class coaching, community and training techniques used by elite and professional athletes worldwide to help strengthen the foundation of our future.  Need I say more?  What a great cause from a group of men who are showing compassion for at-risk kids and doing something about it.  And that, my friends, is a great reason to buy some PaleoKits.  Figure in the added benefit of a quality primal snack and it's a win-win for everybody.

So do yourself a favor.  Support a great cause with a nutritious, healthy, primal option -- The PaleoKit.

Until next time...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Vomit Sunday: Legs & HIIT

I'm about to vomit right now.  Why?  Keep reading.

I decided to change up my leg routine today.  Normally I do some variation of the P90X legs & back workout.  But today I decided to mix some leg work with some HIIT in the form of sprints.  Sprinting 'works' the body on so many different levels and it is an excellent, efficient way to burn body fat, increase HGH, and improve insulin sensitivity.   I created this workout on the fly and initially wanted to complete 5 rounds of 3 exercises, but my body made an adjustment about halfway through the workout.  Without further ado...

Legs & HIIT (total workout time:28 minutes):

5 minute warm-up and stretch: light jog, jumping jacks, and light legs stretches

Repeat below 3 times
  1. 50 lunges (50 yards)
  2. 20 jump-squats (25 yards)
  3. Walk 25 yards followed by 30 second rest
  4. 100 yard sprint
  5. 100 yard walk-back
Repeat below 2 times
  1. 100 yard sprint
  2. 100 yard walk-back
  1. 50 yard sprint
  2. 50 yard walk
  3. 100 yard walk
That's it.  It should take you about 28 minutes to complete this workout and YOU WILL FEEL IT.  If you've gone all out, then you'll feel like throwing up and your legs will thank you by quivering for a good bit after you're done.

(Want a more intense workout?  Add a weighted vest to the mix.)

Give it a try at some point this week and shoot me back a comment in the comments section.  You'll thank me or curse me or perhaps you'll do both.
Until next time..

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Video Interview - Mark Sisson Book Tour

I don't normally post on Saturdays, but I thought you'd enjoy this video interview with Mark Sisson.  It's short and sweet, but it sums up The Primal Blueprint in about 3 minutes.

Mark Sisson Interview

Until next time...

Friday, October 23, 2009

Killer Friday Workout

Do you want to change up your boring routine?  Here was my Friday workout.  It's effective and it's tough IF you bring it!  Give it all you have.  Don't quit!  Watch the video that I posted yesterday (Thursday, October 22) to charge you up before you commence.

Will you work hard enough to feel like this little guy when you're done?

Here's the workout:
10 Jump-Spin Burpees
10 Bodyweight Squats
10 Pull-ups (standard chin-up with palms facing you)

Repeat this as many times as you can in 15 minutes (Trust me -- it's hard!)
  • Jump-Spin Burpee - This is a burpee (enbedded below) with a jump-spin.  From a standing position, drop and throw your legs out to a push-up position, perform a standard push-up, jump your legs back to your hands, come to your feet, jump (bringing your knees as high as possible) and spin 180 degree (when you land you will be facing the opposite direction that your were facing for your first push-up).  Repeat 10 times.

  • Bodyweight Squat - stand with your legs about shoulder-width apart with your feet facing a tad outward, hold your arms out in front of your body with your palms facing down, perform full squat all the way down and up.  Keep weight on your heels.  Repeat 10 times.

  • Pull-Up - Standard chin-up with palms facing you. Start from a hanging position and pull-yourself up with your chin over the bar.  Repeat 10 times. (Use full range of motion pull-ups going all the way up and all the way down.  Right before you pull-up, compact your shoulder as if you are squeezing them together towards your chest.)

Work hard.  Expect Success. 

Until next time...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Operation Motivation: Don't Quit!

I ran across this video today and it was very motivating.  There is not a doubt in my mind that it will freaking pump you up!!  If you fail to get the 1st pull-up or that 40th pull-up -- keep trying.  If you fail to get that x number of push-ups, just keep pushing through and don't quit.  It's about the process.  It's about the journey.  Enjoy it.  Embrace it.

Don't stop, failure is not an option. 

It may take time, but you will get where you want to be if you just 'bring it' consistently and intensely. 

In fact, after already having an intense workout this morning this video motivated me to throw together an intense, sweat dripping, heart pounding workout this evening.  It's brought to you by Vic Magary over at Gym Junkies.  My man knows how to bring it!  Enjoy.

Until next time...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Get Your Sleep

You are working out, eating right, and doing everything you can to eat less and move more.  But are you hurting your progress if you aren't sleeping enough?  Yes, yes, and yes!

Monday, October 19, 2009

'The Primal Blueprint': Review and Random Thoughts

Last week, I posted a two-part interview with fitness expert and author Mark Sisson.  Mark's most recent endeavor is his book The Primal Blueprint. It details his ideas and opinions regarding a primal lifestyle & the importance of controlling insulin levels as a base for effortless weight loss and fitness utopia.  Within that context, it's obvious that our ancestral friend, the caveman, ate much differently than we do today.  His diet consisted mostly of plants, animals, veggies & fruits. 

Yesterday I was interviewed by Roy Wallack for an article he is writing for Muscle & Fitness magazine; it's due to come out in January or February.  The article's focus is the primal lifestyle and the momentum that is developing in mainstream America, in large part, due to Mark's book.  Believe it or disregard it; love it or hate it; the primal way of thinking and the battle against conventional wisdom is stirring the pot in the world of health & fitness, fat loss, and overall well-being.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Part II: October Interview - Mark Sisson

Mark Sisson joins us today for Part II of our interview.  Read for endless hours about every topic imagineable over at Mark's website, MDA.

What are your top 5 foods for effortless weight loss?

This is always changing, but I always come back to foods that are satisfying and delicious. In no particular order:

1. Big Ass Salad – just about everything you’d ever need to thrive and survive, all in a single (big-ass) serving

2. Grilled, grass-fed ribeye – a huge serving of protein and healthy fat (just don’t trim it off!) that will fill you up

3. Butter – makes everything better, and it’s a good way to maximize nutrient absorption (either by getting people to eat their vegetables or by increasing bioavailability of vegetable nutrients)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

October Interview: Mark Sisson - Part I

Mark Sisson joins us today.  Mark is a recognized expert in the field of sports nutrition, fat loss, and a primal lifestyle.  You can read Mark's daily advice over at Mark's Daily Apple (MDA). 

Mark, tell us about your background in athletics?

My father’s past as a top track and field athlete was hugely formative for me, especially in my early years. I was always testing my athletic limits: climbing, running, leaping, and getting hurt in various interesting ways. I’d always been active as a kid growing up in New England, but I was too scrawny to play basketball or football, so I opted for cross-country running in school. I seemed to have a knack for it, eventually moving on to marathons – which I ran competitively for years, even making the Olympic trials one year. Injuries forced me to reconsider my plans. I figured maybe it was all the running, so I moved onto triathlons to “spread the damage around.” Maybe the running wouldn’t be so bad if I could swim and bike for most of the race, you know? I placed fourth in one of the first Hawaii Ironman competitions, but the health issues didn’t get much better. Around 1988, I officially retired from competition.

When did you start helping others with their health and fitness?

Monday, October 12, 2009

P90X: What's all the fuss about?

By now you've seen P90X everywhere. You've seen it on TV at all times of day. You've seen it plastered on web page after web page. You've seen it on QVC. And certainly you've heard of it by word of mouth. Chances are that you know someone that is an active P90Xer, has tried P90X, is about to try P90X, or at the very've had someone ask you, "Have you heard about this P90X? What is it?" So you get the point. P90X has reached tipping point levels.  So what's all the fuss about?

Friday, October 9, 2009

Tom Venuto - Guest Post: No Pain No Gain: Fitness Myth or Ultimate Fitness Truth?

Sterling Advice Intro:

About once a week, I'll try to provide guest posts from fitness experts.  My good friend, Tom Venuto, has provided today's post.  Tom is a lifetime natural (steroid-free) bodybuilder and expert fat loss coach.  Thanks Tom!

No Pain No Gain: Fitness Myth or Ultimate Fitness Truth?

By Tom Venuto

No Pain, No Gain. Is this aphorism just a fitness myth and downright bad advice? A lot of people seem to think so. As a bodybuilder with 25 years of training experience and more than two dozen trophies on my shelf, I have another perspective to offer you. Success with your body and in every area of your life is all about stepping outside of your comfort zone and that means embracing pain.

To reach high levels of physical and personal success you must approach your training, and your entire life, as an endeavor in constant growth. The ultimate truth is, you are either moving forward or moving backward; growing or dying. There’s no such thing as comfortably maintaining.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Football Saturdays & Alcohol

My alcohol consumption has decreased significantly during the past 2 years. In fact, I limit myself to a glass of red wine or Crown Royal on the rocks on occasion. Why, you ask? Alcohol represents calories -- empty calories, at best. But sometimes you've just 'gotta live' without worrying about its consequences on your fitness goals and progress. So, will alcohol impede your progress and sabotage your fat loss goals?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Where To Start?

So you've decided that it's time to make a change.  You want to eat better.  You want to feel better.  You want to look better.  You want to improve your life.  So where do you start?  Let's look at 5 key things to help change your health and fitness future.

#1: Change Your Mindset

This is absolutely crucial.  You have to look at everything in a different way.  Food, exercise, weightlifting, cardio, priorities; anything that has set you back in the past -- change your thinking about it.  Don't think about food as a crutch or something to do while bored.  Food is fuel; look at that way.  Everything you eat will do one of two things: hurt you or help you. 

Friday, October 2, 2009

Accelerate Fat Loss: Intermittent Fasting (IF)

Intermittent fasting? Fat Loss? Oh, you mean muscle loss Sterling. This is the first response that many people have when the topic of fasting comes up. Many people believe, wrongly, that intermittent fasting (IF) is a sure way to loss muscle mass; this could not be further from the truth. As a matter of fact, IF is one of the most useful tools when trying to rid body fat while maintaining muscle mass.

In a recent study, IF was shown to promote amd maximize the oxidation of stored fat during and following exercise sessions. But what about your metabolism Sterling?  Aren't you slowing down your metabolism and sabotaging your body's ability to burn fat?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Eat Less, Move More

Welcome to my blog. That would be me sporting the 70's threads and eating my brothers huge lollipop. Ahh...those were the days. You may know me from several other sites that I frequent (among many): or I'm a former fat, out-of-shape, know...typical, American guy.

In 2007, I decided that I didn't want to be that guy and wanted to change my life.

And now I want to get the word out that if people will simply eat less and move more, then they can change their life. Even eating less will enable people to achieve their fat loss goals, but adding exercise will take it to another level.