Alfonso Moretti FAT LOSS

The Angry Trainer Tries Intermittent Fasting!


 Alfonso Moretti

Yep, that’s right I’m fasting, but not in the way that you’re probably thinking.

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago here on the site I recently came across Experiments In Intermittent Fasting, a free E-Book that chronicles Dr. John Berardi’s 6 month long experience with various fasting plans. For those of you that don’t recognize his name, Dr. Berardi is a well-known and respected nutrition and exercise expert that heads up the team at Precision Nutrition.

For me this is yet another example of how I’m continually evolving in my quest for fitness and health knowledge. If you had brought this type of plan to me in the past, I would have dismissed it and said you’re nuts. Over the years, we’ve all been bombarded with so many eating ‘rules’ – including the idea of eating small meals every 3 hours to speed your metabolism and to prevent muscle loss. With that in mind the idea of an intermittent fasting plan literally flies in the face of everything you’ve heard. So let me explain.

Everyone fasts to some degree. You sleep every night right? Well that’s a fast – hence the name breakfast – break the fast. Intermittent plans simply extend the amount of time that you go between meals. There are many schools of thought for what hours work best, some say a 12 hours of eating / 12 hours fasting plan is best, others opt for a 10 / 14 approach, and some say a once weekly 24 hour fast is the best way to go. I’ve opted for the 16 / 8 approach, meaning I fast for 16 hours, and “feed” for 8. This works best for me because it fits into my day nicely and is extremely manageable. A point I do need to make clear is that this type of plan is not a calorie restrictive or a starvation plan. You simply eat the same food and calorie amounts as you would normally, just in a different window of time.

Truth be told, I started my regime with a 24-hour fast, because I had never done it and wanted to see if I could. That was 9 days ago and I have to tell you it was super easy! I was as shocked as you, trust me. In fact in the 23rd hour I went to the gym and trained chest and arms and hit the revolving stairs and had a phenomenal workout! My energy was great, I actually got a pump in my muscles, my endurance was fantastic, and overall I can honestly say it was one of my best workouts I’ve had in a long time. During each day I’m alert, focused, and have had no issues with lethargy or feeling light headed.

After that first day, I switched to the 16 / 8 plan and again, I workout in the last hour of the fast and then drink a 600 calorie protein drink, with a 60 / 40 mix of sugars and protein. Many of you have asked me if I’m hungry, and the answer is no, not at all. In fact this is one of the easiest plans I’ve ever tried. As for eating, I’m eating the same food I always do – lean meats, complex carbs and fibrous vegetables, fruits and healthy fats, and even the occasional treat. And this past Sunday I splurged a bit and increased my calories by about 25%. But since I have just an 8-hour window to eat within, I only get 4 meals, and sometimes just 3. As I said my workouts have been great, so amazing in fact that I’ve had to set a time limit or I’ll just keep going! So I hit the gym for an hour of weights, plyo’s, calisthenics etc. and when an hour is up, I’m done.

Interestingly this way of eating is very easy to manage. I’m not anxious over finding a healthy meal if I’m out, or worrying if I’m not getting meals every 3 hours. Morning time is easy as I can focus on my day and not about preparing food or eating breakfast. The only supplement I’ve been using is a serving of BSN Amino X BCAA’s (no, I don’t work for them) twice per day, once in the morning, and again 30 minutes before my workout.

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So why am I fasting? Well for one, it interested me. After all, Dr. Berardi is no slouch and even though he was in great shape to begin with, he ended up at 4% bodyfat at the end of his experiment and had vastly improved his blood profiles. Secondly, many of you have asked me some specific questions on the merits of these plans. So truthfully to give you the best answers possible, I felt I had to try it myself. Remember, I’m a fitness guinea pig!

The results are quite remarkable so far – in the first 7 days I’m down 5 pounds and visibly leaner. In all my years of training I’ve never seen such a change in my body in just one week. Here’s the thing, as I said this is not a calorie restrictive plan, but due to the shorter eating window, it’s really hard to overeat. I mean on some days I’ve struggled to hit 2,500 calories! Plus it eliminates snacking at night, and grabbing treats here and there. Of course I’m sure some of it is water weight, but I know I haven’t lost an ounce of muscle. I’ve been very regimented – when the clock says 8pm, I’m done with food till noon the next day.

Now who knows how I’ll feel down the line. In coming weeks my the plan may stop working for me. But I suspect there are some hormonal changes taking place and that I’m burning a lot of fat during my workouts. My plan is to keep at it right up to my birthday on December 19th, and then assess how I look and feel then.

If you’re interested in reading more on Intermittent Fasting plans, check out Dr. Berardi’s E- book , and Martin Berkhan’s Lean Gains website . Martin is absolutely ripped and has some really interesting thoughts of his own.

Let me know what you think and if you’re interested in trying Intermittent Fasting in your own life…


18 comments on “The Angry Trainer Tries Intermittent Fasting!

  1. I was first introduced to intermittent fasting by Brad Pilon (Eat Stop Eat). But his was a bit more flexible, and I can’t handle that (I’m a creature of habit). I’ve been doing the 8 hour window, and I’ve seen great results.

    I counted calories (actually, I just logged it in to see if I could get my RDI per cronometer, but it also counted calories for me), and I do get approximately the same calories as if I were counting calories. My meals are a bit bigger than if I were to go by strict portion controls eating 3 meals + mid afternoon snack, but I LIKE feeling full. I’ve fasted for religious purposes, so I know what hunger feels like. You’re not really hungry other than when you’re transitioning. If you’re eating protein and fats (I have walnuts and dates for desserts), then hunger really shouldn’t hit until your window opens.

    I think that this is a great plan for the lazy (I only have to cook once a day, then eat leftovers for lunch, sweet), those who do a lot in the morning, and for those who like feeling stuffed. Problem is that it has the potential for abuse. Many anorexics will eat only 300 calories a day, and could use intermittent fasting as an excuse.

    As you pointed out, you also have to give up the notion of portion control and counting calories. If you do this, you’ll be hungry in about a week and give up. Instead, portion proportions (see Berardi’s version of My Plate) are what you think about. Also, if you stick with that, again, the hunger really won’t hit you until your window opens.

    I still cheat once a week on intermittent fasting, though. On the weekends, I just really want a hashbrown. *shrug*

  2. I’ve been thinking about this for a few months now. I read about it on a paleo website (The Daily Apple) and now you’ve mentioned it. I’ve found that I don’t get that hungry throughout the day, and I was thinking that this might be an interesting experiment to try, especially because my college life is pretty busy and eating would be one less thing to worry about constantly (timing, food on the go, etc.)

    Just curious, what time of day did you fast and what time of day did you set up for eating?

  3. Thanks for this, Alfonso! Question, though, if your workout times are varied, do you think it’d be problematic? For instance, I workout on Mondays and Thursdays at 5 a.m., do evening workouts Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, and do afternoon workouts on Sunday. I do cardio and weights. The early morning workouts are full cardio (spin class). The others are more circuity type workouts and running.

    I guess the question is – is it OK to have a workout in the middle of the 16-hour fasting period, assuming I followed your 8 p.m.-noon fast schedule?

    And just to clarify, during the fasting period, can you have water, coffee, or any other beverages?

  4. I dont know the difference between leangains and eat stop eat but I plan on switching from IF and doing eat stop eat with only 1 week fast. Does anyone know with Eat Stop Eat if it followes the same guidelines as IF in the sense that on your eating days you should still have an eating window?

  5. I tried Fast 5 before, that mean I eat for 5 hours a day, it’s was great for such a lazy cooker like me. Sometimes I really hungry but I adjusted to it later. The question is how can I workout with this eating schedule? I interval training almost everyday, workout hard. I think that I couldn’t be able to interval training with an empty stomach even someone said you don’t need to eat before and after workout. My workout schedule is not consistent, 3 days in afternoon, 3 days in evening so I’m not sure it’s bad that set my window eating alternately like 3 days in morning, 3 days in evening. So do you have any suggestion in this case? Thanks!

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  7. Alfonso, could you give an update on your fasting diet to see how it went I was thinking about trying it and wanted to no how you felt at the end of the program?

    • Hey Bobby. Well suffice to say I Love IF! It really fits nicely into my day and it seems to be very realistic for most to sustain long term. It’s not really anything radical, just eating in a different window of time. And whereas breakfast was once my go to meal, it now makes me nauseous if I try to eat it! So in all I’m really happy with the results and am still on it!

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  9. Intermittent Fasting is the ONLY way I was ever able to get into a size 4. At 150lbs, I was solid muscle, and smaller than I was at my peak on swim team in high school. Everyone has always told me that im “starving myself” and “thats not healthy” and “you’re just gonna gain MORE weight that way.” But not true at all. Im happy to see this is a documented, accepted way to stay healthy and in shape.

  10. I was introduced to nutritional cleansing by Isagenix and being a long time follower of Dr. Michael Colgan’s decided to give it a try. Doing 1 or 2 day nutritional cleanses have proved very beneficial for body fat reduction and increasing muscle mass.

    I have also tried the warrior diet by Ori Hoffmekler with very good success. Looks like the research might be right when protein is restricted the body becomes much more efficient at recycling proteins and then when it is re-introduced better absorbed and utilized by the body.

  11. I have a bit of possibly a stupid question, but … what’s the difference between intermittent fasting and the much-maligned “skipping breakfast”? Or, is it really kind of the same thing, but just not so horrible for you as people always say?

    I’ve been interested in trying this, but I haven’t yet seen this addressed and was curious.

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