Fasting day

March 4th, 2009  |  Published in OMGBFFA's blog  |  11 Comments

After having my ass kicked by Geoff last night (his choice implements of destruction were front squats, one-handed barbell rows and some wacked out crunches with my core contracted), I have embarked on my first fast of the cycle. Between 10pm last night and 10pm tonight my entire food for the day consists of 3L of water, 1-1/2 servings of Greens+, 15g of BCAAs, 15g fish oil and three multivitamins. Plus six cups of green tea.

The funny thing is that this is more than I have ever had on a fast day.


  1. HalcyonNwar says:

    March 4th, 2009at 10:56 am(#)

    What is the rationale behind the fasting day? I’m really curious! And psyched to hear about your workouts!

  2. OMGBFFA says:

    March 4th, 2009at 12:21 pm(#)

    Well! I’m glad you asked! :)

    Here’s a link that popped up in Google that explains it:

    I’m not entirely sure of John’s rationale behind this particular fast day (I can ask him when I talk to him next; his expertise is why he’s in charge instead of me!). I’m assuming it is to facilitate further caloric restriction (i.e., if I can fast for 24 hours, it’s not a big deal to eat sub-maintenance on most days), improve insulin sensitivity, aid in fat loss and LBM sparing, and reduce my overall caloric intake. He probably has other reasons for it, too.

    On my two fasting days per four-week cycle I am consuming nearly-zero-calorie “meals”, which I assume (based on the contents of these meals) are intended to limit oxidative stress, improve hunger management, and maintain muscle sparing during the fast. All I have ever had during my previous fasts have been doses of water, tea and espresso shots, so this fast is an absolute treat!

    I’ve been doing intermittent fasting for about a year now and it’s done amazing things for my overall health. My doctor tells me that my triglyceride levels are “as good as they could be without drugs”, my insulin sensitivity is better, and my ability to tolerate fasting periods has improved dramatically. I can even train fasted, though my performance in strength-related activities suffers during a fast.

    Fasting is not hard to do once you get used to it. Start small (say, 12 hours) and work your way up. 24h is a pretty long fast. I normally fast for 18-20 hours, but because I’m used to that, another 4-6 hours of fasting is no big deal.

    Krista knows way more about this than I do. Best to let her chime in here. :)

  3. OMGBFFA says:

    March 4th, 2009at 10:13 pm(#)

    24 hours came and went. I had 3 oz of bison stir-fried with asparagus tips and garlic to celebrate. :)

  4. Chris says:

    March 5th, 2009at 11:52 am(#)

    Will you have re-feed days as well? I’ll admit that as a bodybuilder this is completely counter to everything I’ve ever read. If you are eating sub-maintenence calories, will fasting further decrease your metabolism? On the link you posted, caloric intake remains constant though compressed in between fasting periods, which seems different from what you are doing.

    In your case, is this a response to the foreshortened time frome for cutting the weight? I’ll admit, that this is really interesting to me, but like most bodybuilders I’m absolutely paranoid of losing muscle mass, and am hesitant to try it because of that.

    Stay strong, and I’m rooting for you to make weight!

  5. OMGBFFA says:

    March 5th, 2009at 3:17 pm(#)

    I do fasting even when I’m not trying to cut, so it’s not because of the 12-week window. Intermittent fasting (IF) does seem to improve body composition without affecting strength, though.

    In my plan, every Saturday is a re-feed (higher carb, high protein, lower fat), and there’s a lot of variation in the calorie cycling over the space of the month. I have two fasting days per 4-week cycle, both in the first two weeks; the second two weeks have no fasting days at all. The goal here is to keep as much LBM as possible while losing as much fat as possible – in that sense, grapplers are just like bodybuilders. I’m only four days into this particular nutrition plan, but my historical results with a year of IF experience have been remarkable. Krista herself maintains a bodyfat percentage in the mid-teens with significant strength and a reasonable body weight.

    One cool thing about IF is that the intermittent nature of it doesn’t seem to have negative effects for fat retention and muscle loss. I’ve tried both the compressed-window approach and the random IF approach, and I like them both. I haven’t pitted one against the other in a fat loss death match, though. :)

  6. Chris says:

    March 5th, 2009at 3:39 pm(#)

    That is really interesting, and I guess our goals with regard to body composition are indeed similar. The addition of re-feed days makes sense to me in the context of your plan. I tend to cycle both calories and carbs when cutting and may think about adding in IF if I can get past the mental roadblock.

    You mention that it is ‘random’ or in your case, 2 of the first 14 days of a 28 day cycle. How do you decide when to include an IF day? Is it intuitive? Are the benefits as pronounced when it’s not a regular occurance in your regime?

    Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions!

    PS…are you guys going to manipulate water/sodium in order to make weight as well? Do grapplers do this? I imagine that you might be able to make a significant dent in your goal with such a protocol.

  7. OMGBFFA says:

    March 5th, 2009at 9:52 pm(#)

    We’re kind of going beyond my area of expertise here. :) I’m following a plan that John did for me, and the diet fits together with my strength, skills, cardio and conditioning training to maximize fat loss and development in all of those areas. How fasting fits into this program, I’m not sure yet. I’m going to find out the next time I get a chance. :)

    Before everything got all official, what worked for me with IF was starting with one fasting day a week. Once I could do that, I sometimes tried two (and very rarely three) days a week. I also tried the eating-everything-in-a-small-window, but I didn’t compare them in a controlled fashion and I don’t know which one was better for me. With all of those fasting variations, what I can tell you is that my body composition improved, as did some indicators of health (blood pressure, fasting glucose and insulin, triglycerides).

    To be fair, this is the first fast I’ve done as part of this program, so I don’t even know yet how it’s going to work. This is really just the beginning, and it will be cool to see what unfolds.

    I’m sure we’ll cut water weight at the end. It certainly makes the time frame more reasonable. I know John has whole strategies for cutting, but I want to get as lean as I can before we decide to do that. As of right now I have to lose 22 lbs in 11-1/2 weeks – a little less than 2 lbs a week, which is not impossible.

  8. Chris says:

    March 6th, 2009at 10:01 am(#)

    You know, given what I can see by your work ethic (as evidenced by your meteoric rise in BJJ) and the fact that you’ve clearly assmebled a great team, I don’t think the weight cut will be a major issue barring anything unforseen. That’s not intended to minimize the difficulty of the task, merely to point out that it would seem attainable.

    I think your major strength, other than your fortitude, is that you seem exteremly honest with yourself, at least in your blog posts and the rant you posted. In my experience, that goes a long way toward success.

    Thank you for your timely and thoughtful answers to my pestering questions, I really appreciate them.

    Are you running any thermos or other such things? I don’t know about your trainer’s plan, but I’ve found even replacing the gallon-gallon and 1/2 of water a day with green tea can be a little bit of a boost in fat loss.

    Again, great work and good luck!

  9. OMGBFFA says:

    March 6th, 2009at 10:18 am(#)

    Thanks very much!

    And yeah, like you say, the biggest obstacle for me–and probably for most people–was delusion and dishonesty. :) If I can’t be totally honest with my trainers and myself, I’m never going to get where I want to be. It’s hard to know how to tweak a nutrition plan when you’re sneaking off and eating a bag of Doritos (god forbid) every night!

    Right now I’m drinking 3-4L of water a day, plus four to six cups of green tea. I’d be interested to hear about your experience – can you tell me more?

  10. Chris says:

    March 6th, 2009at 3:21 pm(#)

    As i get leaner, I switch all liquid to green tea. If you brew itthe night beofore and put it in the fridge it’s not that bad (i personally don’t like the taste). A gallon a day or so can add a little edge in natural, stimulant free, thermogenisis. Not a miracle by any stretch of the imagination, but another tool in the tool-box so to speak.

    It’s also an anti-oxidant and just generally really good for you as well. I also tend to have a black coffee in the morning as well but some folk are adverse to taking caffeine (even though a recent study pointed toward it’s ability to keep skin cancer at bay!)

    Another thing I add is, oddly enough, metamucil. Extra fibre supplementation is a proven fat fighter and most people I know are sadly lacking in fibre. The first few days of it’s addition can be a little rough, but after that I guarantee you’ll feel better and lighter.

    Other than those tips, it sounds like you and your trainers are doing everything I do (other than the fasting thing, which I haven’t done). Make sure to run it by your people before and get their ok, but I can’t see them objecting to green tea and fibre as they are both calorie neutral.

    ps…between you and MK, my partner is getting interested in BJJ. That’s all I need. Soon, I’ll be tapping out and agreeing to all manner of houshold chores! Lol. Seriously, you are both very inspirational. Cheers.

  11. Mistress Krista says:

    March 6th, 2009at 5:08 pm(#)

    For information on fasting relevant to folks interested in body recomposition goals I recommend reading

    It would also work for tailoring fasting to athletic performance, to some degree, as it organizes nutrition around activity (ie postworkout nutrition is very important).

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