Intermittent Fasting: Feast or Famine for Endurance Athletes?
One of the trends among the high fat community is intermittent fasting. If you haven't heard of it, check out this great overview from Precision Nutrition.
Quite a few people have asked me if I use intermittent fasting as a way of improving my fat metabolism. Now, I don't want to debate its effectiveness or whether it should be used—there are countless arguments on both sides, and there are too many individual nuances to make generalizations. However, I'd like to discuss my personal experience and why I'm cautious with fasting in my own training.
- Stop eating at 5pm
- Go to bed at 9pm
- Wake up at 5am
- Run 15 miles fasted at 6am
- Break fast at 8am
To avoid undue stress, I typically break my overnight fast before my morning run on the days I do one. I don't eat a full meal, but I do aim to send a signal to my body saying that calories are not scarce. This usually takes place in the form of drinking my morning coffee or tea along with some combination of coconut milk, heavy whipping cream, Xendurance Xecute and/or 3Fuel, and taking a Vespa Ultra Concentrate. I do use raw honey from time to time, but this is becoming more rare and is heavily dependent on where I am at in my training cycle. All in all, the coffee/tea usually amounts to between 100 and 300 calories (this again depends on the workout time and intensity). During really heavy training blocks, I will also shorten the fast by eating a small snack before bed, or pushing dinner later. These meals are nearly always high fat, moderate protein, and very low carb (unless I happen to have just done a workout beforehand—then a few more carbs may appear in this meal/snack depending on what my next day's workout will look like).