T Nation

Intermittent Fast and Cycle Thoughts

#1

Just like the title states. Im curious to hear opinions on the matter. Many famous people are chiming in, Joe Rogan being the biggest speaker on the intermittent fast and keto in my list of people I respect. Im curious what everyone else thinks.

I have a friend all natty doing the fast and keto now hes a week in and his habits are changing for sure. He’s waking up less hungry, eating the right numbers for his daily intake and indeed has lost maybe two pounds of fat. His weights are maintaining and improving in some ways. Now, he did have a long off season and slack routine prior, and now he’s trying to play catch up with me as a gym partner doing my workouts. So big changes are expected without the fast/diet path hes decided. But today we got on the topic of juicing with the fast.

I believe the body won’t react correctly and will demand to much for an eight hour window to provide. And i mentioned to him he is sleeping 8-10 hours(or trying to) and many people believe 6-8 max is needed. I couldn’t imagine a cycle with a fasting and being awake the hours I generally spend awake. Especially on a harder drug like tren where sleep is effected greatly for me.

His belief is that alot of guys who are using the diet and fasting, are on juice on youtube (not even selling products) and they’re adjusted to it and the AAS fully and its working great.

We both agree a vast majority of the youtube people from weight training to calisthenics are lying about cycling and alot of these people are talking about this fast/keto stuff like its the holy grail… are they compensating their use of steroids into the quality of the current trend in the industry or do you think they may actually being doing these diets and sleep cycles and fasts successfully while cycling? Or potentially all natty and looking the way they do? (Past cycles considered gains kepts? Natty presently not gaining? Or are they growing still and burning fat? Dex?) So many factors.

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#2

I’ve been in various shapes repeatedly my entire life and have done a lot of fasting and by various methods so here’s my view.

My current opinion on intermittent fasting is 2 realistic principles:
1, it is a good way to recover from a day of surplus whether the surplus was to recover from a series of exerting workouts or reckless indulgence.
2, it’s a good primer to build the discipline and comfort habit of spacing meals out by a wider time frame and having strict caloric allotments.

For someone that is just losing weight as well as maintaining it that isn’t in the gym fair enough, it works but your physical activity likely isn’t all that high. The same is true of Paleo IMO. You cut out the carbs it insists and good luck burning the fat and protein for energy to perform an explosive workout since neither are good sources of energy for this type of activity.

Fitness celebrities in social media cannot be trusted and those that can live ideal lifestyles where the gym is their job. If you’re in a gym half the hours you’re awake any argument made is unrealistic. It’s a lifestyle making weight management as well as loss very productive and just as likely, incredibly easy.
Couple that with drugs and any means they use to create a caloric deficit will have sensational results.

For those of us “on the chain” my view is use it when applicable but not as a lifestyle. A few days of 16/8 fasting and it’s easy for me to space out 6-8 low calorie meals a day vs diving right into the pattern but too many days of 16/8 fasting coupled with real workouts and I feel like a smear on the floor making general living activity a struggle let alone proper lifting, cardio and endurance training. I end up in a caloric surplus to recover, get in some hard workouts in an attempt to counter the surging surplus and then it’s back to the 16/8 for a couple days to prime for the classic 6-8 small meals a day spaced out by 3-4 hours.
If I run the 16/8 full time I have to be out of the house for extensive lengths of time and ultimately I have bouts that last all day to a few days where I feel like crap.

Just my 2 cents but I don’t think fasting as a 365 lifestyle is suitable for those of us addicted to the gym even if you have 20lbs of fat you want rid of. Maybe 2-3 days a week max?

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#3

I am a strict If follower (and I mean real IF, not IF that says you just skip your early meals - if you eat in a 16:8 or 14:10 regimen, you are not really fasting that much). I am now looking my all time best, but one thing to note is I never wanted to be a mass monster. I am neither skinny. I am like classic physique type of guy and this is what I always wanted - to be lean with reasonable musculature.

I won’t address the most common argument that If helps you not overeat, because I have no such problem on any kind of diet. If isn’t a way for me to restrict calories. But I will address the fact, whether you can build reasonable muscle, while staying lean on this diet. From my experience you can.

I am constantly eating at 4 hours or smaller windows (usually simply before and after the training and I am doing my sessions usually around 5 pm). After I reached my goal of being at around 7% bf, I am at constant small caloric surplus across the week. I am carb cycling and eating healthy + taking all necessary suplements.

Few things I can tell for sure:

  1. I am getting progresively stronger - my logs simply say so
  2. I AM building muscle - I can see it in the mirror, but I also measure myself
  3. I am not putting basically any fat. I mean, of course all scans lie a bit, but I am looking at myself in the mirror, I am estimating myself with calipers… Even if I am in fact putting some fat, it’s not much enough to matter to my physique at all
  4. I have no hunger control problems in my fasting periods - but I guess being active in these hours helps a lot

What I cannot say:

  1. I don’t know if I wouldn’t be putting more muscle on a standard diet. As I said, I am putting it already, but I don’t know if as much as I could

Now the question is - what is your goal? If you want to be in shape (and by shape I mean beach physique, not just being lean) - it works. It doesn’t stop you from making progress, it doesn’t make you loose muscle and in fact allows you to build it. If you want to look good, I’d say go for it. But if you want to go bear mode, then I don’t know why bother. I don’t say you won’t be able to become a huge guy with it - I simply didn’t check on myself. I was never into dirty bulking. But my educated guess based on all available science is you should be able to. I just don’t see a reason.

On training days I eat a big meal 1 hour before training (all kinds of macros except simple carbs), then another big meal after training (once again all macros + simple carbs for recovery) + liquid carbs during training. (5 hours eating period including training in the middle)

On non-training days I eat 2 meals - 1 entirely of protein, then another one hour later (all kinds of macros) to prevent insulin spike. (1,5h - 2h eating period)

I supplement with BCAAs, creatine, fish oil and ashvagandha (cortisol). I train much, but don’t do cardio.

This is my formula, works for me. Will it work for you? Depends on many factors, including your goal, lifestyle and whether you’d be able to sustain it. Just sharing my experience.