Tyler Robbins Fitness

B.Sc. Biochemistry, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), Certified CrossFit Trainer (CCFT/CF-L3), USA Weightlifting Level 1

A Diet I Can Count On!

*DISCLAIMER*  - The intention of this blog is not to tell any of you how to live your life or to preach about a diet plan that everyone should follow. I have received several requests about my "new" diet, so I am detailing what I have been doing. This diet plan is not for everyone. Diet plans should be tailored to each individual's needs similar to how different athletes train for different sporting events. No one diet is right for anyone, so you should find a diet plan that works for you, makes you feel good, and is sustainable. Any questions beyond this blog can be commented below, or you can e-mail me and I will either respond to your questions directly or will bring them up in a future blog.

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I will first get right into the nitty-gritty of how I have been eating lately, then I will delve further into the "whys" below. My days are pretty standard, they are pretty much based around whether or not I am using resistance training or not (explanation below). 

Resistance Training Days 

5am - Wakeup, have coffee, no sugar, small amount of milk
5:30am-6:30/7am - Workout (fasted state)
Post-Workout - Chocolate milk with Creatine
Breakfast (usually anywhere between 730-9am - 3 scrambled eggs, Banana
Lunch (usually around noon, varies greatly day by day what I eat. At this point, not entirely relevant what  I eat, I can explain later)
Afternoon Snack (3-4pm) - Double Protein Shake (52g protein) with Apple/other fruit
Dinner (5-6pm) - Like lunch, I vary greatly with what I eat
Snack (7pm) - Peanut Butter - usually 3-4 tablespoons (I LOVE Peanut Butter)
Pre-Bed Snack (9:30pm) - Cottage Cheese mixed with vanilla yogurt

Non-Resistance Training Days 

5am - Wakeup, have coffee, no sugar, small amount of milk
5:30am-6:30/7am - Workout (fasted state)
Post-Workout - Fast
Breakfast - skip
Lunch (usually around 12:30-1pm on these days)
 Afternoon Snack (3-4pm) - Double Protein Shake (52g protein) with Apple/other fruit
Dinner (5-6pm) - Like lunch, I vary greatly with what I eat
Snack (7pm) - Peanut Butter - usually 3-4 tablespoons (I LOVE Peanut Butter)
Pre-Bed Snack (9:30pm) - Cottage Cheese mixed with vanilla yogurt
The main difference here? Unless I am doing a very tough resistance workout, I stay in a fasted state for around 14-15 hours (9:30pm the previous night to lunch that next day). To be honest, this plan can work for whatever your goals are (bulking, cutting, losing weight, etc.) as long as you still stick to your macronutrient goals.

Here is why this plan works for me 

I have been "intermittent fasting" for nearly my whole life (at different times), I just didn't realize that it  had a name. I have never really been a fan of breakfast. I don't really like the options I have been given, such as cereal, eggs and bacon, etc. Oftentimes as a teenager, I would get up and be off to do something  rather than sit down to start my day with a hearty, well-rounded breakfast.

Well, why is it that everyone keeps saying that breakfast is the most important meal of the day? Well, there have been many studies showing that folks who eat a full breakfast can lose weight because the theory is that those who have a nice, full breakfast take in fewer calories throughout the rest of the day. The question is, if so many people are eating breakfast, then why are so many of them also dealing with weight issues?

Well, one explanation to that could be the fact that what  they are eating for breakfast is the problem, not necessarily eating breakfast in general. I get that. I am not here to put all of the blame on breakfast, I just choose to skip it (when I choose to fast) because it works best for me.

On the days that I fast, I am training my body just as I would if I was to train for a marathon. If I wanted to train for a marathon, I would do training runs. Intermittent fasting allows me to train my body to better utilize fat as an energy source. By not eating until lunch, I am forcing my body to utilize fat stores throughout the morning as an energy source.

 But what about your workouts, aren't you catabolizing your muscles?

Short answer, no! Your body is an extremely efficient machine. So much so, that it knows how to store little pockets of energy throughout for times of need. For slower, long-duration events, you have stores of body fat (adipose tissue). For periods of fast, powerful, or strong movements (lifting weights, circuit training, etc.) your body stores sugar in a form called "glycogen" .

There is sufficient stores of glycogen for your body to exert high amounts of energy for well over an hour of hard exercise. If, however, I was to be training for longer periods of time (long endurance run for example) then I would make sure I would take some sort of food with me so that I don't "hit the wall". 

Humans have evolved over time to essentially always have a even just a little bit of glycogen stored in our muscles. Even if you are working extremely hard, you are probably not going to use all  of that stored glycogen. This is due to our early ancestors and their need to flee predators.

How do you go without food for that  long? 

Well, intermittent fasting (IF) is not the easiest of things to practice, especially if you aren't use to it. As I said, I have been dabbling with IF for years, just not realizing that that  was the name for it!

I have always been one to eat before bed. When I was younger, I struggled to keep weight on, so I developed a habit of eating every  night before bed. My pre-bed snacking has not always been the healthiest, but regardless, I ate before bed.

If one was to aim for a 15-16 hour window of fasting, for me personally, before bed would not fit into that window, so naturally, I like to continue my fast right after I wake. It is not all bad either, as I drink coffee (essentially zero-calorie) and water throughout the morning to help quench my hunger pangs! Practice definitely helps though.

If you can't make it all  morning on your first couple of tries fasting, don't sweat it. Maybe aim to skip breakfast, then have a small snack a few hours later. Over time, you will become better and better at resisting the urge to eat, and can hold out for longer and longer. I personally find that 15-16 hours is a perfect window for me, but some day I may try to hold out for even longer .

IF Pros 

Here are a few things that I really enjoy about fasting: 

  After a few months of IF

 After a few months of IF

1. I actually find I have more  energy and mental clarity throughout the morning! How many of you sit down to a big meal and afterwards feel slow, groggy, sluggish, bloated, etc. show of hands...exactly! Despite what you may think, going without food is good for you, and as I explained earlier, can make your body more efficient at using the energy stores that it has. I also find that for whatever reason, right around the 13 hour mark (approximately) I hit this point of mental clarity. Like a switch suddenly gets flipped and I can think so clearly!

2. I prove to myself how much self control I have every day I choose to fast. Whether I am making my son some breakfast, or I am out of the house and smell a delicious restaurant as I pass by, I keep reminding myself that I am not eating for another 2, 3, or even 4 hours. It is incredibly exhilarating to win those mental battles and just know that you are in complete control of what you eat. This can also carry over to those days when people around you are eating junk, and all you have is a piece of salmon and some steamed vegetables.

3. Related to #2, when you do eventually get to eat, man oh man is it delicious! I am not a big fan of eggs, I will fully admit. I have never been a big fan, but I have grown to appreciate their nutritional importance. Well, on those days when I am fasting and I decide to have some scrambled eggs with peppers for lunch (actually my "break"fast) it is like the tastiest thing I have ever eaten! 

4. Your eating window has just shrunk! Probably one of the biggest pros for many of you out there! Let's say you are trying to lose weight, so you have allotted yourself 2000 calories/day. Now, let's say you eat breakfast (first meal of the day) at 7am, and dinner (last meal of the day) at 6pm. That is an 11-hour window to take in 2000 calories. Now, instead, imagine you skip breakfast, and don't start eating until 1pm (first meal). You now have a 5-hour window to eat 2000 calories. That means larger meals/snacks, making you feel more full (satiated). All of this nonsense about eating 6 small meals throughout the day? I don't like it and don't buy it for a second. If and when I eat, I like to EAT! When I have some small, little, piddly snack, I just end up more  hungry than I was before!

Cons with IF 

1. This takes time, patience, and a true understanding of your body.  Don't expect to be able to just pick up and start skipping breakfast if you have been eating breakfast your entire life. Your body is used to that fuel to start your day.

2. Don't let your brain make poor decisions. It is very common for people to come out of a fast and grab whatever is closest to them to eat, or in a lot of cases, the most convenient. When fasting, your body's blood sugar levels drop as your body uses up free-floating sugar in your bloodstream. This can cause your brain to trick you into thinking you are hungry for sugar. Not necessarily the case. You are probably hungry, yes, but you are hungry in general, and grabbing a glazed doughnut is not the answer. When I come out of a fast and eat lunch, I usually have some scrambled eggs, sometimes with some chopped peppers thrown in, and then my Shakeology . Easy on the stomach and chalk-full of the macro and micro nutrients that my body is craving!

3. People will think you're crazy. Trust me. "But breakfast is the most important meal of the day!" Why? "Because that's what they  say!" Yeah, well, they  also say that "fat free" is healthy for you, and if you have been following my blog long enough, you should know that that is certainly not the case. Remember, there are a lot of "normal" people out there, doing "normal" things, leading "normal" lives, the majority of whom are unhealthy, out of shape, and overweight. So tell me, what exactly is "normal" about that?

I will close this blog with how I started. Intermittent Fasting is not for everyone. I am not trying to convince any of you to make such a (drastic) lifestyle change, all I am doing is sharing my experience with IF and how it has helped me. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to e-mail me, or comment below!