This guest blog comes from Brian St. Pierre, a Cressey Performance staff member who specializes in nutrition. Keep an eye out for more great things from Brian; he's got a lot of excellent ideas and is very well-read.
Intermittent Fasting (IF) seems to be newest dietary fad. IF followers will choose a day or two each week, and on those days, they simply won’t eat for 24 hours. It seems simple, and a lot of people like the idea of giving your body and digestive system a break.
It also stands to reason that eating this way will help you eat less calories and make it easier to maintain a healthy body weight. Seems logical, right? Since IF usually leads to decreased calorie consumption it is often compared to Caloric Restriction (CR).
CR has been shown in a plethora of animal studies to lead to significant improvements in many markers of health and an increase in life span. Extrapolating that data, it would seem that if humans cut their calorie intake by 30-40% we would lead longer, healthier lives. Here arises the problem. In the animal studies with rats, researches observed signs of depression and irritability. With primates, it was even worse (researchers quantified the amount of monkey poo thrown for statistical analyses...okay, not really, but it's an amusing concept for future reference). If they did not consume enough cholesterol, they became violent.
So, angry monkeys aside, if you are willing to be cold, irritable, and prone to depression and flashes of violence, then caloric restriction is for you!
This is supposedly where IF comes in. More animal studies have shown that when animals were forced to fast every other day, but consume all they wanted on the off days, they were able to maintain their body weight, while also sustaining all the life prolonging benefits of CR. They had better glucose tolerance, insulin sensitivity and blood pressure to name a few. It was the best of both worlds!
After these initial animal studies, human researches jumped on the IF bandwagon. People were expecting big things. Unfortunately, they were very disappointed with the results. Research started showing that people following IF, or even purposefully skipping a few meals per day were developing insulin resistance, decreased glucose tolerance, and increased blood pressure. These problems were not tremendous problems and some might argue that in real world IF, where people don’t fast every other day (only once or twice a week), the studied health problems wouldn’t occur.
Even if this is so, there is another problem with which we have to contend. The largest problem is a decrease in thermogenesis. Essentially saying that these people, even though they purposefully consumed as many total calories on IF as the control group, had drastically suppressed their metabolisms. This is why so many people have found such little real world fat loss from IF. In most real world applications - especially because people were eating diets in a significant caloric deficit - the body downregulated its thermogenesis to such an immense degree as to not allow for almost any weight loss. This to me is the final blow.
So, I guess if fasting is your thing, and it's not causing you any negative health effects, then have it. As for me, I prefer to stick to my low carb diet, eat whenever I feel like it, and receive all the benefits that IF proposes to give - except mine are real, not imaginary or hypothetical.
Note from EC: You can find a rebuttal to this post HERE.
Ryan Longwell, my kicker for this week, didn't play until Monday night. Truth be told, though, I really didn't need him, as I was already up 99-80 over Shoooooooooomannnnnn at the end of the day Sunday (113-80 was the final). So, I decided to kick some field goals myself.
How awesome is my job? It's goooooooooooood.
Speaking of good, I actually got four points from my tight end this week. Sadly, that's a season-high. Fortunately, I got some great points out of Reggie Wayne, Steve Slaton, Joseph Addai, Greg Jennings, and Kurt "no fumbles for the first time ever" Warner.
Yes, this was a short fantasy football recap. But, at the very least, it reminds everyone of my fantasy football awesomeness and foam-roller-field-goal prowess.
Next week, it's a clash of the titans with Brian St. Pierre. Speaking of Brian, we've got a guest blog from him tomorrow; I think you'll like it.
PS - For those of you who don't give a hoot about fantasy football, just check out today's newsletter instead for some good content (particularly with respect to knee pain). Or just quit complaining and deal with it!
Q: I do intervals as part of hockey training, which is basically year-round – but especially now in pre-season. In Maximum Strength, you use a pattern of high-medium-very.high-low training stress for weeks 1-4. Would the interference with intervals that you talk about decrease if I do interval work mainly during the medium and low intensity weeks? What is your experience?
A: I certainly wouldn't increase the volume of the intervals during the medium and low-intensity weeks. If you do, you simply negate the effects of the deloading period; it’s still stress on your body.
Instead, I'd just keep the interval work constant and make all your training stress fluctuations occur within your weight training.
That said, interval training isn’t necessary year-round if you are a hockey player. Check out my Ultimate Off-Season Training Manual for more information on that front.
1. I took Thursday off from blogging. I typically do HIB (high-intensity-blogging), so sometimes it wipes out my CNS and I need 48 hours between blogging sessions. While the "blog deload" was not featured in my Art of the Deload e-book, it is an important consideration in any blogging athlete's program.
2. Truth be told, things were really hectic in the life of EC with the introduction of the new e-book.
Additionally, it was an overall busy day at Cressey Performance. For those of you who aren't familiar with CP, it's the facility I co-founded to fulfill my lifelong dream of having my name on a t-shirt.
3. I just confirmed that I'll be presenting at the Major League Strength Coaches Performance Clinic in West Islip, NY on November 8-9. If you train or rehabilitation baseball players, you definitely need to check this event out. For more information, CLICK HERE.
4. The good thing about being busy is that I don't actually have time to contemplate how hopelessly mind-numbing PETA's actions are at times. Seriously, they actually wrote Ben & Jerry's a letter insisting that they switch to breast milk for their ice cream. Once they get some confidence, I'm pretty sure they'll make a pitch to have cookies 'n cream and Reese's Pieces surgically inserted into the providing mothers' fun-bags. I haven't had ice cream since high school, and while I do crave it at times, the thought of munching on frozen ta-ta juice just doesn't make me want to revert to my old ways.
5. My grandparents celebrated the 60th anniversary of their engagement on Wednesday. Unlike putting breast milk in ice cream, this is an awesome accomplishment, folks. Talk about the two ends of the human emotion continuum...
6. In the quote of the week, Danny (CP client on Warp Speed Fat Loss) checks in with: "I find myself watching Bear Grylls - the guy on 'Man vs. Wild' - and instead of merely being fascinated with his ability to stomach eating a raw sheep's heart that he just cut out (or skunk loins he seared) - I am kind of wondering how it tastes and how it would fit into my meal plan. This is ridiculous." Incidentally, if you ask me, they both sound tastier than breast milk ice cream.
7. Check out this great post from Tony Gentilcore on the women of Cressey Performance. Tony will continue to live vicariously through each of them until he gets his first 135-pound bench.
8. Mike Robertson is in town this weekend to do some scheming, lift some heavy stuff, and check out a seminar up in Andover with me.
9. I have some video clips to upload, but I've got a bunch of stuff to do, you'll just have to settle for the greatest sportscaster of all time. BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE!