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October 2009 – November 14, 2009. Intermittent Fasting, Fast Twitch Muscle Training.

November 14, 2009

I like to think the last 6 weeks is where I’ve made my biggest gains.  Although not in total weight, but in actually what I’ve learned and applied to myself in weightloss theory and strength building.

At the start of October I was 70kgs and around 13-14% body fat.  I had been quite strict on my diet during September, cutting out nearly all refined carbohydrates from my diet again.  However I was not making any considerable body fat losses.

Enter intermittent fasting (IF) and fast twitch muscle training through Hight Intensity Interval Training.

In 6 weeks I went from 70kgs to today, being 64.5kgs and about 10% body fat.

It’s not just the fat loss I’m impressed with, its the massive increase in functional strength I’m noticing too.  And to top it off, I’m only doing 1 workout at the gym for 30 minutes a week,   How’s that for minimal investment and massive results!

So what’s Intermittent Fasting?  I first hear about this through the blog of Dr Michael Eades (one of my regular blogs to read).  The idea behind IF is that caloric restricted humans and animals all tend to live longer than those that eat a lot.  Humans have evolved over millions of years to be caloric restricted.  After all there were no 7/11’s or fast food restaurants in the paleolithic age.  Hunter Gatherers would find an animal to kill when they got hungry so typically they may only eat once a day and snack on whatever they could gather in between.

Besides promoting fat loss, IF is also very healthy for your body.  It gives your organs time to repair and heal (they need a break too!), your insulin sensitivity improves and it promotes the growth of new cells in the brain.

There’s a few different theories on the best way to do IF.  Dr Eades way was to have your last meal at 6pm, then fast the next day until 6pm where you would have your first meal.  His system is pretty cool because it means you’re still eating every day, just at different times.  Other low-carb bloggers do anything between 18-36 hour fasts one or more times a week.  For me my system has been an 18 / 6.   18 hours fasting, 6 hours eating.  I think you can probably do the system any way you want with whatever fits in with your lifestyle.

My last meal finishes by 6pm and I fast until around 12pm the next day or later, depending on whether or not I feel hungry.  It’s pretty amazing, some of things I’ve noticed (besides the ease of fat loss) is:

  • For the first few days it took my body a while to get used to not eating after 6pm and I did get some hunger pangs, but willpower got me through.
  • By about 10pm, my body is telling its time to sleep.  I’m feeling more tired around the times I should be sleeping, and my sleep has been far deeper than usual.
  • It has been simply amazing just how fast I fall asleep now, its usually in under 5 minutes.
  • I’m not hungry in the morning, in fact I feel extremely energetic and jump straight out of bed (most days anyway!).

It’s really important to eat 2 big meals during my 6 hours.  If I just graze all afternoon, I fine I’m pretty hungry at night and the next morning, but if I eat 2 huge meals, with a small snack in between (usually a berrie, goats milk smoothie) then I feel really full.  It’s kind of interesting during the last half an hour before 6pm the mad rush to stuff as much food into me as possible!  This gorging is about as close to copying a paleolithic lifestyle as I can get without ditching my clothes and moving into a cave.

Strength Training focussing on Fast Twitch Muscle Fibres

The second part of my 6 week program has been getting back into the gym.   I finally found a gym nearby my house which has a proper squat rack, and my workouts are typically once a week and consist of

  • Warmup – Dynamic stretching
  • Squats
  • Deadlifts
  • Overhead Press
  • Body weight Pullups
  • Body weight Dips
  • Warmdown – Dynamic stretching

I want to make my workouts as high intensity as possible, so my fast twitch fibres are activated.  Typically I get through a workout in around 30 minutes.  I do 3 sets of each excercise with a 10-20 second break in between so that your muscles are only using fast-twitch muscle fibres and not endurance fibres.

The weighted excercises I do 3 sets of:

  1. 15 reps at 50% of max weight (fast speed)
  2. 8 reps at 75% of max weight
  3. 3-6 reps at 100% max weight

This follows the system devised by Arthur De Vany, who is someone who is well worth doing some research on.  At 71 years old, he is super fit and healthy and takes an extremely scientific approach to health and fitness.  He looks amazing for his age.

As of today, I’m 64.5 kgs, ~10% body fat.  I’m the strongest and fittest I’ve ever been.   Over the next month my goals are to get down to about 8% body fat and increase the weights I’m lifting at the gym as I think I can improve vastly on my functional strength.

One Comment leave one →
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