Intermittent Fasting (IF)
I've never really thought of myself as a diet person. With degrees in Exercise Science and Physical Therapy, I have always thought training was more important. Also I came at exercise from the thin side, starting weight training as a teenager, who was 37 lb underweight (105 pounds at 5'6"). So I understand the desire and what it takes to bulk up with bodybuilding and weightlifting, but never so much what it takes to lose weight. But it's truth that time does becomes limited as life's responsibilities grow, and after some injuries prevented me from lifting weight like I would like, I became overweight, and not the muscular kind, and I thought, "OK, I guess this is how it is."
However, reading the research I review below, "Eat Less for More Muscle," it woke me to the health, and still MUSCLE GAINING benefits of Intermittent Fasting. As of now, I have been doing IF continuously since 2015, so I'm pretty good at it, I've tried many variations, I know what to expect, what makes it easier, harder, work and not work. I was doing IF the entire time I was developing Spinal Flow Yoga, including when Spinal Flow evolved from just Spine Rehab, into an AMAZING total body strength and stamina system. As I made Spinal Flow Yoga ever faster and more efficient, culminating in Spinal FLOW-5 (SF5), my 5-minute flow, I had to get my fasting more on point. Incorporating several ideas together, I came up with the idea of Protein Sparing Intermittent Fasting (PSIF). I wanted to see, "what can I ultimately do" muscle and fitness wise, with only 5 minutes of exercise. PSIF, so far, being what I have found to be the best synergy.
From my old physical therapy blog I wrote a fair amount on IF, but three articles stand out and are listed below.
But before going further I think it's worth pointing that I don't think everyone should do IF. If you are already at or near optimal weight, and you are happy with your diet, and it's healthy, congratulations because that that's a hard thing to do these days. And, I'm not comfortable telling you anything that might unbalance what's a finely tuned machine. IF is what works best for me, and I think it's what will work best for a lot of people who have failed at regular dieting, and who want to eat typical American portions and not look like it. However, if you are not one of us 'disordered eaters' I wouldn't worry about it, and would focus on the other components of Spinal Flow, either for neck and back pain relief, with SC5 and SF5, or total body strength, power, and stamina training with just SF5 by itself.
Likewise if one is underweight, SF5 should help gain strength and muscle without any big dietary changes other than maybe increasing calories and protein. I really don't know if IF is good for gaining muscle mass if you are underweight. I know it CAN work, as I have successfully bulked with a 4-hour eating window, just to see if I could. But I don't know that IF would be my first choice for others. I wouldn't say not to either, but if you desire, test and see using the scale, ideal, optimal weight, and SF5 performance as your guides.
I like to think of Spinal Flow Yoga as a modular Gestalt. A system where the whole is certainly better than the sum of its parts, but if some of your parts, like diet are already good to go, there is not a lot to gain by focus on that aspect. On the contrary if you think IF can help you, or you're just curious, the following are my more important blogs (all free) and PSIF (member only content, that's only $20 for a year, with SF5 and SC5 included).
Eat Less for More Muscle
This is the research that opened my eyes. I had heard that caloric restriction was a healthy thing, and made animals live longer, but I always thought that was at the expense of being smaller, thinner, frailer animals, monkeys in this case. This I thought was obvious because in my years as a weightlifter and bodybuilder I had always eaten more to grow bigger and stronger. But it turns out that caloric restriction and fasting appear to work by making each individual cell healthier and age slower, and this includes muscle cells. Such that older monkeys who ate less had substantially more muscle mass as they aged. More...
40 Days of Fasting (Intermittent)
The second is my blog 40 Days of Fasting (Intermittent) where I talk about my experiences after 40 days of IF as taught by Physician Burt Herring in his free book The Fast-5 Diet. I began fasting very soon after writing about the monkeys above, as it was so clear to me that some form of caloric restriction would be beneficial to my life, and IF seemed the easiest, best and most practical way of doing it. More...
Intermittent Fasting Educational Videos
The final Blog, that you don't even have to read is the one where I collected the best youtube videos describing the effects of IF. The the videos were not just educational but motivational, and came at the experience from multiple angles demonstrating the diversity of goals for which fasting helps. With intentions ranging from weight loss, to bodybuilding and from anti-aging to increasing intelligence. More...
Protein Sparing Intermittent Fasting (PSIF)
This is what I would call advanced or aggressive intermittent fasting. With concepts of the above taken up a notch, and integrated with components of "carb cycling" and "protein sparing modified fasting. It was co-developed with SF5. PSIF is not where I would suggest the average person starts, but if you're motivated it does work fast, to the tune of >1/2 pound of fat lost per day when I did it, so I won't keep it a secret. More...
Ideal and Optimal Weight
It seems to me that as many of us have not been given good direction of what to target with our diet and exercise goals. What's interesting is I usually get one of two responses when I share the formulas. Most open and appreciative, and respond, "good to know, that's what I was thinking too, I'll get on that" And sometimes within weeks they are at goal. Some are a bit incredulous, saying, "What, you want me to weight what I did when I was 18?" and I say, "I wasn't around when you were 18, but apparently yes." Anyway, here are the formulas...