Intermittent Fasting Q&A and Follow-Up
This is a follow-up to my "A Diet I Can Count On!" blog that I wrote the other day.
*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.
What is considered as a 'strength training day'?
In my blog, I detailed how I fast on non-strength training days. I consider a strength training day a day in which I am attacking one or a couple of specific muscle groups with multiple sets with muscle failure in mind. These would include my heavy lifting days, the Body Beast 'lifting' days, and even P90X or P90X2 workouts that involve resistance training or push-ups and pull-ups.
This is kind of a vague answer, but everyone will be different. Some days I may choose to fast after a workout like P90X Plyometrics, for example, both other days I may eat immediately afterwards. That is one of the nicest aspects of IF for me, in my opinion, is how flexible it is. If I feel like fasting, a few hours after a workout is not going to make my muscles fall apart, but at the same time, if I am feeling weak or run down, then I will eat!
Why IF on cardio days and not strength days?
Strength training causes muscular breakdown. Also, and potentially more important, is the fact that resistance training causes muscle glycogen stores to be depleted. Research has shown that there is a magic 60 minute window (approximately) following a strenuous resistance routine when the muscles are craving replenishment of sugar and a bit of protein. Having said that, that 'window of opportunity' is not absolutely set in stone, and nobody should be attached to that number.
During cardiovascular exercise, there is some muscle breakdown, but it is generally not as severe, especially if you exercise regularly. As your body becomes more efficient from regular exercise, it also becomes better at meeting more of its energy demands through aerobic respiration. The more your body relies on aerobic respiration, the more it pulls from stored energy stores (fat, or adipose tissue) and less from stored glycogen stores in the muscles.
Do I IF on rest days?
Absolutely I do. In fact, rest days are the best days to IF, in my opinion. A couple things to note, however. If you are 'bulking' or aiming to gain weight, your calorie intake should be the same on recovery days as it is on lifting days. Your body is rebuilding and repairing from the damage done to it during your lifting days, so you still need plenty of calories. The only difference here, is that you will be taking in the same amount of calories, just in a smaller window of eating. Happy eating!
If, on the other hand, you are looking to lose weight, your recovery days should be slightly less than you are used to on your days of exercise, again, with a smaller eating window!