Fasting, without the fast…
Intermittent fasting is a hot topic these days, with a lot of research coming out that shows benefits in almost every area of study-from ageing to MS to weight loss… cancer, you name it. Very basically, the term intermittent fasting defines a manner of eating and fasting in cycles. It could be one day of eating followed by one day of fasting, for example, but most people keep the cycle to a 24 hour period.
We all do this to some degree, when we sleep, which is the time when the body regenerates, heals, and detoxifies. It makes total sense, then, that extending the break from eating beyond our sleeping hours could enhance these processes even more. That appears to be exactly the case, judging by the results coming in from the scientific community.
Fasting in this way gives the body the experience of a fast or cleanse, while at the same time maintaining an adequate caloric intake. Severely restricted calorie programs are not sustainable, and are ultimately very harmful to the body and the psyche. Problems that arise from this include increased stress levels, a damaged metabolic system, and loss of muscle mass.
Bear in mind that the odd cleanse or fast can be very healing and at times necessary- but that is very different from prolonged severe caloric restriction.
Lose fat, keep the muscle
Intermittent fasting is one of many dietary approaches used by people who are looking to transform their bodies, like actors preparing for a role, bodybuilders, or fitness models. It’s become such a favorite because it’s so easily do-able, and it really does encourage the body to drop the fat while putting on more muscle.
In case any of you ladies out there are thinking you don’t want more muscle- think again! Muscle gives your body a more beautiful, toned shape than being skinny, in addition to benefiting your overall health in too many ways to even start mentioning in this article! You’ll have to read up on it in one of my other blurbs, or take my word for it.
How I do it
I like to have about an eight hour window every day when I consume all my meals. The most recent information I’ve come across recommends having your eating time be later on in the day, to really get the best benefits in terms of fat loss/muscle gains. I’ve always naturally eaten my biggest meal late-8 or 9 or even later, and I’m rarely inclined to eat in the mornings, so this fits in with my body perfectly.
When I’m really sticking to it, I notice my digestion is way better, I never miss a morning poop, and my belly is less prone to being bloated. I’ve also always become leaner and the times when I’ve done body composition scans I’ve also put on muscle mass. The last time I did this, I was doing a 14-17 hour fast daily, and in three weeks I put on one pound of muscle while taking off just over one pound of fat.
I will have a coffee in the morning after drinking water, and won’t eat until noon or 12:30 at the earliest. My last meal will be around 8, and is usually the biggest of the day. In between those two meals I’ll have one or two other meals, depending on the day. This schedule satisfies my natural craving to eat a bigger meal at night, when most of the hard work of the day is done, and I’m in relax mode. I also find that eating in the mornings can make me feel sluggish and tired, and can disturb my stomach as well.
You’ve got nothing to lose by giving this a shot! If you find that you feel awful-just stop. What works magic for one person might be totally wrong for you, so be aware and be flexible-not just with this but in everything you try.
There’s a great app called Zero, which is totally free and has a ton of great information for you. It also shows you what’s going on in the body during your hours of fasting.
I’ll put a link here which takes you to a video discussing time restricted eating and some of the effects seen by researchers:
I’m sure now that I’ve whet your appetite you will find loads more information about this! After revisiting the idea of it I know that I’m totally inspired to get back on my program and find out just how great my body can look and feel after a few months of putting in a good honest effort.
Drop me a line and let me know what’s working for you these days, in terms of your health and fitness! I’m always open to learning new stuff. To your happiness, Lynda
Strength training- training with weights- is undeniably the most effective method available for anyone to lose weight and reduce fat. Study after study has proven this, and anyone who has employed resistance training in their weight loss programs will tell you the same thing. Why then, do so many people, women especially, shy away from lifting when they are looking to shape up?
The answer is simple-lack of knowledge. Not knowing the facts and therefore having the wrong idea is what is holding these people, and maybe even you!- back from the changes you are wanting to make. I am here to walk you through the truth about weight loss and lifting weights, so you can get your mind in the right place and get to where you want to be.
The basic issue I see with most people who aren’t open to lifting weights to get lean is this- they don’t equate muscle gain with a smaller body. People who want to lose weight want to get smaller, not bigger! This of course is their primary goal- get smaller, drop sizes, decrease- and so of course without a change in perception, nobody’s going to willingly do anything to gain, get bigger, grow!! It makes sense.
Except it doesn’t make sense, when you know the difference between weight loss and fat reduction, between muscle mass and body mass. Let’s get this cleared up for you, for once and for all, so you can really start to take advantage of the gym and not just waste your time doing hours of cardio. And no, ladies! You’re not going to get “too big”!! It takes years of lifting and lifting heavy to build muscle mass- look at me. I’ve been at it for three years now. Do I look too big?
First things first- size: If you are overweight, you are carrying too much fat on your body. Plain and simple. There’s not a soul alive who is “overweight” due to having too much muscle mass! Start thinking about fat as fat, not weight. Fat takes up more space than muscle does. A pound of fat has more than twice the volume, more than twice the size, of a pound of muscle! You are not just wanting to lose weight, you are wanting to lose fat! Would you really care what the number on the scale said if you dropped three jeans sizes and felt great in your tank tops? Probably not.
Secondly- shape: There’s a big difference between a woman who weighs 140 pounds with very little muscle mass, and the same woman who has gained five or ten pounds of muscle and now carries it on her 140 pound body. Let’s face it- nobody really just wants to lose weight/reduce fat- you want to look fantastic, tight, shapely too! That’s what muscles do for you. They give you the shape you’re looking for. And the beautiful thing is that you can pick and choose what kind of shape you build!
Third-ease: Increasing your muscle mass increases your resting metabolic rate. This means that the more muscle you have, the more fuel your body uses all day every day just to be alive. This fuel comes from the calories you consume in food and drink, and also from your fat stores. (In certain circumstances your body will start to use muscle for fuel, but at this stage of the game, you don’t need to worry about that!) Because your body is burning more fuel, you don’t need to cut calories drastically in order to lose fat. This alone is huge. Most people fail in their weight loss efforts not because they don’t exercise, but because of the diet. How much easier is it going to be for you to sustain your program when you actually get to satisfy your need for proper food?
Finally, losing weight means burning calories, and lifting weights does that just as well as cardio, even better in some ways! Because you are doing bursts of intense activity, and then resting, your body burns more calories than if you were doing steady activity. You may have heard of HIIT, or high intensity interval training. That’s exactly the same thing. You can tailor your workouts to be faster with less rest, lift heavier for greater intensity, or lighter for longer periods in order to get the best fat burning for your mood and ability on any given day. Also, lifting heavy keeps your body in fat burning mode for a longer time frame after your workout than straight cardio does.
Now that you know the science behind it, let’s look at how this will change your mind-set so you can train for results and get them. Let’s say you are a typical person who didn’t know what I just taught you, wanting to slim down, and you are following some plan that a trainer has set out for you, and you’re on the leg curl machine doing your reps. You might be doing the motions, but somewhere in your mind is sitting this idea-“I don’t want to get too big! How is this going to make my legs any smaller?” Even if you’re not thinking that exactly, you probably aren’t trying your absolute hardest to squeeze every last rep out and go to failure until your muscles burn so that they grow, because you are all about smaller, not bigger, correct?
With the knowledge you have now you can see that the more you work your muscles and the heavier you lift, the bigger your muscles get and the leaner you get. Start doing your workouts with the approach that you are trading fat out for muscle! In this way, you can see that the actions you are taking really are in alignment with the results you want, and you know exactly why you are lifting weights, and not just running on the treadmill. This all leads to you wanting to do the exercises correctly, with proper form to get the most out of them, because you see the correlation between whatever particular exercise you are doing and the shape that your body is taking on. It’s pretty magical, actually!
Getting your mind in the right place makes or breaks whatever it is you have set out to do. It is a critical component in your success. Feel the difference in these two scenarios: An overweight person decides that for once and for all they are going to workout and diet and get fit. They hit up the gym feeling fat and ugly and just want to get rid of this unwanted stuff! A lot of people are in this boat and bring an energy and feeling to their workouts that is more like it is some kind of punishment, or a chore. Now imagine the person who is not just running off those extra pounds, but consciously building the body they have always wanted to live in, and that is the main focus of their workouts. Easy to see who is going to have more fun and reach their goals, isn’t it?
Working out with an improvement mindset is healthy, supportive, beneficial. Training with weights makes it easy to measure your improvements, and this gives you even more motivation to reach your goals. Now you know! get into the gym and start lifting some weights! You’ll thank me for it sooner than you think!!
To help you along I’m giving you a one month training plan that will get you started using the gym to your best benefit. I made this plan with absolute beginners in mind, so it’s easy to follow and gives you a really great idea of how to use the gym for maximum results. I’ve taken the guesswork out of what to train and when, so that you can just download it and go from there.
That’s a pretty lofty claim to make, yet here I am advertising it out to the world and ready to stand behind it 100%. And no, that’s not just some gimmick headline designed to grab your attention and entice you to buy some hand weights or a gym membership! I truly believe this because I have lived it, me, personally. I also know that I’m not the only one! Let me explain…
I have been a fairly active person for most of my life. Like a lot of us, I certainly did fall by the wayside a few times and get way too heavy and out of shape, but generally speaking I’ve pretty much always been athletic and capable of doing the things I wanted to. For the majority of my life I can say that I considered myself to be a fit and healthy person.
Running seemed to be the “thing” in my family. or town, or group of friends. So that’s what I did. I went out for a run, and that was my focus on exercise for the day. Don’t get me wrong here, I loved that time spent running! I still do, if I decide I want to go out for a run. I love the feeling, and the clarity it cultivates in my mind, and everything about it.
But I’m talking about business, financial gain, feeling empowered, changing your life kind of stuff right now. And I can honestly say that hitting the gym, training with weights, looking for that constant gain and getting it, has done more for me in this regard than any amount of running, cardio, or DVD class. Ever. Hands down.
I can tell you that at the time that I finally started lifting three years ago, my family was in a crisis. I was struggling to put decent food on the table, oftentimes choosing between gas in the car or a salad for dinner. I was stuck, and down, and couldn’t see a way out. I certainly didn’t feel like I was making any progress towards what I had thought my life was going to be like, let alone just getting out of this mess, and I sure wasn’t walking around feeling accomplished and strong on a daily basis. As a matter of fact most of what I could see about my life situation was that I was failing!
I went to the gym at first reluctantly, at my daughters’ request, doing mostly cardio and biceps curls because I didn’t know what else to do! Through her interest in the sport of bodybuilding I was exposed to the idea of shaping my body. Not just getting skinny, or losing weight, but actually creating a form and proportions that I wanted.
I watched Youtube videos, checked out websites, learned from magazines. It was all the same idea: do this, like this, and you will eventually look like this. I watched how it worked exactly like that for all these other people. Women with bodies that I honestly thought a person had to be born with, all made in the gym. This was foolproof! If you did it, and you did it right, you got the results. EVERYBODY got the results. I had never before felt so confident in my ability to succeed in anything, so inspired, so motivated, until that realization.
So I did it. I jumped right in and did what the people who had bodies and levels of fitness like I was aspiring to have did. I don’t think I need to tell you that it worked! I saw definition in my arms like never before. The weight I couldn’t lift a week ago I could suddenly do three sets of ten with. I was aware of my muscles, and began noticing how much stronger I was just doing everyday things. I went to bed at night thinking about hamstring exercises, and couldn’t wait to get out of bed and make my training plan for the day!
This empowered me like pretty much nothing I had ever experienced in my life before. It was a tangible feeling of “I did this!”. Not just one flukey win, or a one time victory, but something that I had focused my efforts on and realized. And continued to do. I felt strong. Hell! I was strong! Stronger than ever before in my whole life, and this carried over into everything.
I began to recognize that I was following a plan of action, and in so doing, I was getting to where I wanted to be. I didn’t even consciously think about applying this to the rest of my life, it just happened.
Yes, people’s lives do change when they get fitter, stick to any new and supportive habit, do whatever it is they told themselves they were going to start doing. And that does spill over into the rest of life. But like I said before, no new habit or physical regime has ever impacted my life in terms of success, business and finance the way my time in the gym has, and here’s why:
First off, training with weights is so measurable, so quantifiable. You see your improvement with every gym session, right there in front of you as the numbers on the bar or dumbbells increase. Or you see your progress and hear it when you’re counting out your reps, and you do fifteen with a ten pound weight when last week you could only squeak out eight.
The way your progress shows in your body is another big factor. Lifting weights with a proper training plan and using proper form increases muscle mass and decreases body fat. This is obvious, I know, but it bears repeating and understanding! Just going out for a run, or hitting the elliptical will burn calories, and you will probably lose fat, but your body composition doesn’t change like it does when you train with weights. It is undeniable that when you are moving through your day in a body that you made, that is strong and capable, and powerful, your confidence soars.
The amount of positive responses that you can receive from the brain is increased with weight training because you are improving upon so many things, seeing so many different little successes. Whenever you accomplish a task that you feel good about, and then think about it and recognize it, your brain releases dopamine. Happy stuff. So when you are training with weights, you have so many more opportunities to get those little chemical responses.Shoulders more defined, quads can push twenty pounds more than last week, you discover a new way to work triceps- that kind thing.
There is also no denying the fact that other successful people, truly successful people, recognize the discipline and hard work that went into you changing your body, and they respect that. They will look at you as a success in this way, and be more apt to spend time with you, or mentor you. Associating with people who have created successful lives gets you there that much faster. Sure there will be people who are jealous, or petty, or negative about your progress, but those people are not truly successful people, no matter how rich they are.
Since I started training with weights, and consciously building my body to my specifications, every aspect of my life has changed and improved. There is a saying that goes like this-as you do one thing, so you do all things. Training with weights, constantly striving to lift more, with better form, for maximum results, has instilled in me a mind set that carries through automatically to my financial story, what I do for a livelihood, the business I am building.
It is because I took actions and got the results that I wanted, consistently, that I am now in this place of success. Gone are the days of feeling stuck, spinning my wheels and getting nowhere, being broke. I have changed a lot of things since I picked up that first weight, learned tonnes, developed great habits, embarked on a much bigger journey than the one I was living.
If you want to change your life, then you have to change yourself. And if you changing your body is your focus right now, then why not give yourself the absolute best possibility for success, and get to the gym!