Today is December 31st, 2018 and it has been quite an experimental year for me!
Back on January 1st, 2018, I was reading up on how to refine my journey even more when I came upon intermittent fasting. It grabbed my interest because of the healing benefits of fasting without reducing my calorie intake. For me, one of my goals is to continue to put the muscle mass back on that I had lost during this journey so I did not want to apply something that was going to make me lose even more weight than I had to this point.
I decided to try and use this method of eating to maintain/gain weight which is the exact opposite of what most people suggest it be used for. My reasoning was that if I could get the benefits of intermittent fasting, i.e., lower insulin levels, higher HGH and serotonin/melatonin production, higher testosterone levels, deeper sleep, faster recovery from workouts/injuries AND figure out a way to increase my muscle mass through caloric intake then I would have the best of both worlds.
I have added a link here to a Beginners Guide to Intermittent Fasting and once you get there, it you scroll down to the caption “How It Affects Your Cells and Hormones” you will see further evidence concerning what happens to the body with this method.
Basically, there are a few ways to eat that constitute intermittent fasting.
1) The 16/8 Method: Fast for 16 hours each day. …
2) The 5:2 Diet: Fast for 2 days per week. …
3) Eat-Stop-Eat: Do a 24-hour fast, once or twice a week. …
4) Alternate-Day Fasting: Fast every other day. …
5) The Warrior Diet: Fast during the day, eat one huge meal at night.
Since I had previous experience with methods 2,3 and 4 during this journey and had close to 5 years for my body to adapt to eating only raw food I decided on using the most drastic method, number 5 on the list. This method is the most extreme but the fastest to get results. So I ate one meal per day of approximately 1250 calories immediately after my workouts. I did it this way because the evidence is there to prove that eating immediately after a workout gave me the highest production of the hormone benefit I spoke to above.
I gave this method a 6 month tryout and the health benefits were fantastic! However, I lost weight, mostly bodyfat but I was getting too ripped for an “every day Joe” to sustain. My bodyfat levels were hovering around 5-6 percent and I was feeling like my body was running too lean. The other issue I found in my case (trying to gain muscle) is that eating a huge meal once a day was becoming painful! Imagine not eating all day long and then having to stuff a large amount of calories into your body. It was like trying to down a huge Thanksgiving Dinner …. every day!
I felt that 6 months of that was a good enough measuring stick to decide to alter the method. So I decided to do a variation of method #1 above. The difference was that I shortened the eating window to 19/5 and used 2 meals with the same amount of combined calories as the first method I tried. That meant that I would go 19 hours without food and eat 2 meals withing the remaining 5 hour window.
This was the ticket for me! I started to gain muscle mass again plus I didn’t have to stuff all the food into one meal but rather two meals. This felt much more comfortable for me plus I was still getting all the healing and recovery as I did with the one meal method.
I have done this method now for 6 months and it is now a year total of my intermittent fasting experiment. I have decided to continue with it and me being me, I will be tinkering with the process to refine it even more!