Best Approach to Going 3 Days Without Food

G’Day guys,

Long time reader, but probably one of the stranger first posts you have read in a while.

A little about me. I joined the infantry in the Australian Army in 2009 at age 18 and 60kg. This time last year I weighed 68kg and just started lifting outside of work. I now weigh 77kg. I have always been around 15% BF.

Anyway, in about 10 days I will be required to go 3 days without food or sleep. I have been trying to figure out what approach to tackling this would be better. Tapering my intake in the lead up to the 72 hours or just stuffing my face as much as possible.

Also would loading up on creatine or any other supplements be beneficial? I was also wondering if one method would be better for performance and the other better for maintaining muscle mass?

The only thing that will go in my mouth will be water and perhaps an apple shared amongst 10 people. There is a fair amount of physical activity during the 72 hours.

I will post any weight loss and performance data etc. afterwards if anyone is interested.

I look forward to any advice from you all and I hope my ludicrous first post does not upset anyone!


Im not an expert on 3 starvation diets, but I would stuff myself as much as possible before that. “carbloading” and the morning when I have to not eat anymore, id eat steak or some very energy dense food

I would personally load up on food leading up to the 3 day fast, if you are aloud, green tea/coffee should help with hunger.

If you are aloud supplement (i doubt this) then EAAs would probably be a big help.

Its going to be a miserable experience either way. fasting 3 days isnt a huge deal if you arnt under stress, but for you im sure that isnt the case.

Good luck

“3 days without food or sleep”

What is this for? Sounds interesting.

I would stuff my face as much as possible. I also don’t really think there is a way to really prepare yourself for this other then to just mentally embrace the fact that its going to suck ass. Good luck I don’t envy you at all.

It is not as bad as people are making it sound, just wait and you’ll see for yourself. If anyone read Alpha’s log, he would do things like this all the time. The sleep part will be difficult.

I suggest eating normally. You could “carb load,” but stuffing your face as much as possible is a bad idea. You won’t feel good, and you’ll acutely raise your metabolism which is not what you want going into a fast.

Hey guys, thanks for all your input. I look forward to all the food I’ll be eating!

The activity is a part of what is called a junior leadership course which is basically a promotion course for private to lance corporal. Our rank system is quite different to the US Army and you are generally a private for 3-6 years before being promoted.

Anyone who has gone that long without sleep will know some people react to it differently. I have done 72 to 96 hours without sleep three times and its terrible every time. I hallucinate VERY badly. I have never taken any drugs before but I imagine thats what some of them are like. Ultra realistic. But as bad as it is I am 99.99% sure that the food component will be harder. Remember it is not just sitting on the lounge there is a lot of physical activity and decision making etc.

I am sure that there are people out there that would breeze through this but I would say they are rare and I do not know any of them!

Thanks again for the advice.

I’ve done 40+ hours no sleep, at the end my typing was all over the place. Words in wrong places (eg. A typical like this sentence would be written ), wrong words, poor spelling. Similar with little food (carbs especially), so not envying you, good luck!

[quote]bdocksaints75 wrote:
I also don’t really think there is a way to really prepare yourself for this other then to just mentally embrace the fact that its going to suck ass.[/quote]
This. Understand that it’s not really a test of your physical abilities, it’s about your mental endurance and ability to say “Yes, I’m tired, and yes, I’m hungry, but fuck it, there’s a job to be done.”

I’d suggest giving these a read:

Your stomach will grumble, especially if you guys do get to split that apple, and you may get a caffeine withdrawal headache, but those are tolerable. You’re “lucky” that you already do know what to expect from the lack of sleep. So do whatever you can to get your head right, and in a place to expect, and accept, that that’s most likely going to happen again.

Even though it seems to be the popular opinion, I probably wouldn’t overstuff myself beforehand. As Dave said, it could set you up for a more extreme crash/rebound effect. I’d probably stick to your current eating schedule, maybe have an extra snack at the last minute, but I wouldn’t feast like you’re headed to the electric chair.

[quote]Sammy302 wrote:
But as bad as it is I am 99.99% sure that the food component will be harder. Remember it is not just sitting on the lounge there is a lot of physical activity and decision making etc.[/quote]
What makes you so sure if you’ve never done it? I wouldn’t give advice on a topic that I didn’t have experience with. It’s all mental my man!

Sorry mate I didn’t think I had said that.

Chris, those links are great and if anyone hasn’t read them then I would recommend it.

Again I find myself agreeing with you all. I think it will be all mental and its going to suck. A lot. I was just interested in what you all thought about it with regards to nutrition and performance etc.

For anyone still interested…

I went with the eating maximum good food during the lead up to the activity. My last meal was on Wednesday 1200 which was potatoes, rice and chicken (as much as I could fit on the small plates at the mess) and a bowl of pasta salad.

I felt very good for essentially the entire activity except for a about 0300 to 0600 where I constantly fell asleep while walking. I also fell asleep while swimming which was interesting.

Over the three days we constantly did stands which were either mental or physical but usually some combination of both. We also did long PT sessions as well.

I was very surprised at how not hungry I felt. I didn’t feel gassed like I would if I went to the gym and I missed lunch. It was very different.

One of the people on the course is a crossfit fanatic and lives by Paleo and eats virtually no carbs and strangely they performed just as well as anyone else so I think you’re all correct it just comes down to the mental side of things. It did suck and the main thing that got me going was seeing other people hurting more than me.

Oh and we got one dirty sweet potato each at the halfway point which was the best vegetable I have ever had in my life.

Thanks for all the advice guys, here are some stats:
time awake: 72 hours
time fasted: 60 hours (sweet potato not included)
starting weight: 78.5kg
finishing weight: 71.6kg (after first meal not empty stomach!)
weight 3 days after: 74.8kg
total distance covered: 48-50km (with 25kg of gear)

The most I’ve ever done was 2 days without food and was told from the on set that it was all mental.

You will loose weight, you might get a headache (caffeine withdrawal), you will be a little weaker and your stomach might make some noise. Don;t fight it, just go with the flow.

I thought that I might eat a xlarge pizza with the works after, but I ate a chicken salad instead…

Glad you had “fun”.