Tyler Robbins Fitness

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

Filtering by Tag: Intermittent Fasting

Is breakfast the most important meal of the day?

Is breakfast the most important meal of the day? You would certainly think so based on what you hear from, well, virtually everyone. I think this one can go in the, "hear it enough times, it must be true" category.

And no, despite what these young folks tell you, your "gas tank" does not go empty overnight...

The purpose of this blog is not to encourage my readers to skip breakfast, but to encourage my readers to seek out dietary plans that work for them. I personally can't remember the last time that I ate breakfast, but I can also appreciate and realize that that scenario is not ideal for everyone.

As a teenager I was never a big fan of eating breakfast. I always felt like it made me feel nauseous in the morning and I would also feel quite sluggish. I never knew that such a thing had a "name" (intermittent fasting) until many years later when I started to read so many benefits about fasting for extended periods of time.

As humans, we all fast, since as far as I can tell people can't safely eat while sleeping. The only difference between what I do and what breakfast-eaters do, is I extend my fasting window, and therefore shrink my eating window. In other words, I usually make sure I am fasting for at least 16 hours - typically eating just before bed around 9-9:30pm and then won't eat again until at least 1-1:30pm the following day.

This may sound extreme and crazy to many of you, but it works for me for a number of reasons that I can elaborate on in a future blog for those interested. But to stay on topic, let's get back to the prime reason of this blog.

A recent review discusses the idea that breakfast may in fact not be as important as most think.

Evaluating the Intervention-Based Evidence Surrounding the Causal Role of Breakfast on Markers of Weight Management, with Specific Focus on Breakfast Composition and Size.


Nutritional strategies are vitally needed to aid in the management of obesity. Cross-sectional and epidemiologic studies consistently demonstrate that breakfast consumption is strongly associated with a healthy body weight. However, the intervention-based long-term evidence supporting a causal role of breakfast consumption is quite limited and appears to be influenced by several key dietary factors, such as dietary protein, fiber, and energy content. This article provides a comprehensive review of the intervention-based literature that examines the effects of breakfast consumption on markers of weight management and daily food intake. In addition, specific focus on the composition and size (i.e., energy content) of the breakfast meal is included. Overall, there is limited evidence supporting (or refuting) the daily consumption of breakfast for body weight management and daily food intake. In terms of whether the type of breakfast influences these outcomes, there is accumulating evidence supporting the consumption of increased dietary protein and fiber content at breakfast, as well as the consumption of more energy during the morning hours. However, the majority of the studies that manipulated breakfast composition and content did not control for habitual breakfast behaviors, nor did these studies include a breakfast-skipping control arm. Thus, it is unclear whether the addition of these types of breakfast plays a causal role in weight management. Future research, including large randomized controlled trials of longer-term (i.e., ≥6 mo) duration with a focus on key dietary factors, is critical to begin to assess whether breakfast recommendations are appropriate for the prevention and/or treatment of obesity.

When it comes to healthy weight management, this review suggests that the inclusion of breakfast is not crucial. It also recommends that if breakfast is to be consumed, then it is generally recommend to enrich said breakfast with protein and fibre - presumably to slow digestion and spikes in insulin.

I am always an advocate for consistency. Each individual should choose a diet plan that is sustainable and healthy for you. If you skip breakfast but then over-indulge, gorging yourself on less-than-healthy foods at lunch, then fasting may not be the best solution for you.

Weekly Newsletter

Hey Everyone

Wow, not sure if it is as cool where you are as it is here in Southern Ontario, but it feels more like September rather than August out there!

How is everyone doing with your health/fitness goals? You know you can reach me at any time with any questions/comments/concerns you may have!

I am personally half-way done the 2nd week of my World's Toughest Mudder training. Things are progressing nicely, as I am making some improvements and eating like a total Beast. I am currently in a mass phase with the goal of trying to put on as much muscle in 4 weeks as possible.

In case you haven't seen, my basement/home gym/mancave is also coming along nicely. I am nearly done drywalling! I will be working out in a finished basement in no time!

This week's topics of interest:

1. A friendly reminder on Beachbody's August promotions: I know it seems early to be thinking about the holiday season, but maybe you should considering there are not one, not two, but THREE Challenge Packs on sale this month! You could buy the Shakeology to keep for yourself and give the workout program away as a gift (if you wish)! With the kind of savings involved here, you don't want to miss these sales. You can get Body Beast ($160)TurboFire ($160), or Focus T25 ($180) for great deals until the end of the month.

2. There are a lot of expenses involved in the lead-up to World's Toughest Mudder, not to mention the event itself. Training costs, gear, travel, lodging, food, etc. All of these expenses can add up, so if you are interested in throwing a few bucks my way to help me pay for this event, it would be greatly appreciated. Also, if the company you work for, or know of a company that would be willing to sponsor me, that would be a great help as well.

This week's blogs:

Weekly Fitness Minute
Pre vs. Post-Workout Creating Supplementation
Shaun T's Focus T25 Beta Speed 2.0
Intermittent Fasting Q&A Follow-Up

And 2 favors that I ask:

1) If you like the hard work I put into writing my blogs and videos, PLEASE help me out by sharing them.  Click the share links below them and share them on FB, Twitter, etc.  It really helps me get more exposure and grow our team!

2) Also, as always, remember that the way I benefit from being your coach is that I earn a commission from any Beachbody products that you purchase, as long as you buy them through my site, tylerrobbinsfitness.com. It helps with the amount of time I spend answering all your questions, writing my blogs, filming my videos, and helping you out. Thank you! I really appreciate it!

Everyone have a great week!


Tyler Robbins
 Independent Team Beachbody Coach
2013 Challenge Group - Team Fitness for Life

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!

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.

june 16 2013.jpg

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! 

What is the best "diet" to follow?

I see so much mis-information and useless debates raging online ALL the time. Myself, personally, since I run a Youtube Channel and a blog, get questions and comments all the time asking (or telling me) what the best diet is to follow. I cannot stress the importance of flexibility to an individual. 

Last week I came across this phenomenal article written by PhD John Berardi. John clearly has far more experience and knowledge than I have, but I am honestly in agreement with 100% of what he discusses in this article and have been meaning to discuss the exact same topic, I just have failed to summarize it in such a perfect and eloquent way John has. Not only that, but I am sure that there are those of you out there who would rather read something like this from a far more qualified individual.

So, head on over and check out John Berardi's Paleo, vegan, intermittent fasting … what’s the best diet?