Protein Sparing Intermittent Fasting
Protein Sparing Intermittent Fasting (psIF) is a short term intermittent fasting (IF) modification. Synergized with Spinal Flow Resistance-5 (R5), my 5-minute daily workout. The combination is what got my strength, stamina, and body fat percent the best they have been in decades, in some ways better than ever, and as I write this I’m 47 years old! The trick being on hard fast days, while calories are minimal, you are still taking in what both research, and my logbook, suggests is an optimal amount of high quality protein for muscle gains, and…
A) makes you hate the fast less
B) doesn’t seem to inhibit fat loss at all, so that if you do it right, you will see substantial results (pounds) on the scale, every day you do it
C) maintains, even allows you to gain, strength and muscle when otherwise fasting aggressively, preventing the loss of muscle which disproportionately lowers your metabolism, and resultant yo-yoing.
D) Seamlessly transitions in and out of regular IF (which is a lifestyle you do forever), again preventing yo-yoing
HIPF its most effective form is done every-other-day (two days on, and one day at most) alternated with regular IF. So far I’ve maintained this level for two years now as I continue to optimize F5. I’ll use psIF, intermittently as needed, as a clean up after a large social gathering, which does happen more often then I would like to admit. But for the most part I think of psIF a short term strategy to hit a weight/body-fat-percentage goal quickly, within the greater framework of IF, should IF not be cutting it, or not cutting fat fast enough. It’s the best way I know of flying as close to the dieting sun as possible, without melting your wings, resulting in a crash, burn, and binge. And also the best way I know fix things if you do binge. A better man might never need psIF, but that man isn’t me. As such, I expect psIF is ideal for those wanting to cut loose Dionysian style on the occasional weekend, yet still appear Apollonian come Monday. A yin to balance the yang, and a way to have your cake and eat it too, minus the bulimia.
Most of what I research and test on myself, I do with a view on its applicability for others, so besides getting ripped and atoning for debauchery, I think psIF is ideal for those looking to get their dieting over with and reach their optimal weight ASAP, so they can:
A) stay motivated
B) stop worrying about it
C) be at a healthy weight sooner rather than never
All while minimizing the chance of freaking out in such a way as to undo so much hard work. In fact I think this lessens diet anxiety because it’s such a powerful tool, knowing you can quickly mitigating damage if you do freak out. As it’s a rare loss of control that a single psIF and at worst (so far) a double can’t fix.
When I refer to IF
I’m generally referring to the time restricted feeding variety with an eating window of 5 hours or less. This is how I first started fasting in 2015. At this point it’s normal, in fact preferable, for me is to eat just one meal a day, usually within an hour and almost always after 5 pm. I think the popular 8/16 IF schedule (8 hours eating and 16 hours of fasting) is good if you are working out longer, or your foods are long on roughage, and short on calories. But with F5 being only 5 minutes of exercise per day, combined with a standard American appetite, an 8 hour eating window is likely too slack. Besides, with an 8 hour window, you have to eat lunch, which only makes you tired. Anyone finding this talk about IF, eating and fasting windows confusing, here’s my blog, intermittent fasting types and terminology.
There are a lot of IFers who exercise hard with weights and look awesome. I like weights; lifting them is effective, resistance levels can be modified to work for virtually everyone, they’re great! In fact the bulk of the wisdoms, principles, and methods I incorporate in Spinal Flow I learned in the weight room. Weights have been extremely good to me. However, not everyone has time for, nor access to a gym, and with F5 I’ve discovered time or not, the gym isn’t necessary unless you are trying to gain bodybuilder type mass, and most people aren’t.
My original challenge with Spinal Flow was to see if I could create a home program for neck and back pain, that doubled for total body fitness. One that rivaled my gym based physical therapy routine utilizing free weights and weight machines. It took a couple years of research and testing, but Spinal Flow worked out exceptionally well. Most remarkable was the more I shortened it, the more liked it, the more I wanted to do it, and the better it worked. This worked, all the way down to 5 minutes of exercise per day, and that’s all I do, and teach, now.
The Spinal Flow Yoga sequences are described elsewhere, and not the subject of this page, but I wanted to set the context in which psIF was developed. I wanted a diet that was effective, simple, inexpensive, and worked, even if you are only exercising for 5 minutes. Above all I wanted a diet that doesn’t end when you reach your weight goal, but rather evolves smoothly into a lifestyle where you live your goal, rather than bouncing off of it. Because that’s what I have to do if I don’t want to shame myself in my instructional videos. By working on psIF and F5 simultaneously they became synergistic, one helping the other, with the combination being greater than the sums. F5 building/maintaining muscle and metabolism, while psIF burned fat, providing enough high quality protein to keep getting stronger and keep the metabolism high. For me weight loss averaged 0.68 pounds PER DAY, whereas the protein on what would otherwise be a hard fasting day prevented my body from having to catabolize its own protein (aka my muscle) so I fast myself muscular, not scrawny. The latter of which in hindsight did happen when I tried some of my longer fasts in my early IF adventures of the past 6 years (see pic-3 below).
How it went for me…
2: Another, fat.
This is how the belly looked when I didn’t know anyone was watching. Not terrible but with my bad shoulder, I was starting to think “this is how it is.” I was still smart, still blogging, still knew my research. I think I was 5’10” 200 lb, “mostly muscle” whatever that means, cancer risk about doubled and high blood pressure my new norm.
5: Legs too
L3 Lunges, LoBrids, SideOuts and BalCas for hip and leg strength. Some F5 exercises are old standards, others I created or modified, but I think my unique approach to each, and the creation of the system as a whole, is how I’m making bodyweight so effective.
Anyway, the proof is in the pudding.
6: More than cosmetic
No more high blood pressure! The very unexpected, and unprecedented, benefit. From what I think is a combination of the weight loss, and cardio benefits of my hybrid yoga sequence is an exceptional cardiovascular profile, with a resting heart rate close one beat above Lance Armstrong’s best.
I was going to put a FAQ in here explaining all the whys, but it’s currently over 10 pages, I still have a long way to go on it, and other things need completion first. So while the deeper why’s of psIF get long winded the what and how are fairly straight forward. And people have been asking, so I’m putting how-to of psIF in the member locker for anyone who wants to try it out. If anyone has questions or ideas they can put them in the comments section at the bottom of the page, answers for which I may add to the future FAQ. Also freely available is the blog on my experiences with IF, written when I first started fasting in 2015. About 80% of that blog I still endorse. Additional thoughts on the 20% I have changed my mind on, I’ll plan to add in the FAQ.
How psIF is Done…