I use fasting techniques with almost every client in some form to help them get results. The reason is fairly simple, modern life trains you to eat too much, too often and this will gradually increase in both dimensions over time if left unchecked. A simple way round this is to use some sort of fasting technique periodically during the year. This may be for just a few days every few months but if done right it is enough to resist the influence of modern life.
While there are a variety of fasts you can do my favourite by far is using the guidelines set by Ramadan. While I am not religious I joined one of my clients in doing Ramadan for the first week back in 2014. This will now be my fifth year doing it. The rules are fairly simple, no food and drink between daylight hours.
That includes no water, tea, or any other beverages. Yesterday, I ate at 1.30am and will not eat or drink anything until 8.34pm this evening. The times adjust a little each day in accordance with the lengthening days. I only do the first week as it does interrupt a little with my training / lifestyle working with clients.
Why Do I Love Doing It?
The reason this is such a great experience is that you have to change your routine and avoid eating at all the usual times and places that you would usually grab some food. It is also great to disconnect from water or beverages so you can see truly what you need vs what you have trained yourself to consume.
While the days itself may not be the best of fun at times, at the end of the period you have changed as a person around food and drink. It tests your beliefs around what you need to do food/drink wise vs what you think you must do and it reconnects you to your natural hunger responses. You also get a new found confidence around food, hunger and what you are capable of doing. I also personally choose a lower food intake amount so I can combine it with a fat loss week.
How Not To Do Ramadan?
While I have mostly only positive things to say about Ramadan, the fasting certainly isn’t the same for everyone. Many people gain weight during the process. You would think this is hard to do but it is not that difficult in reality. Many people dramatically reduce their already low movement during this period while simultaneously increasing food portions. While 17 hours of no food is great, in the remaining 7 hours you have more than enough time to over consume when not moving. I personally keep all movement the same, be that gym, steps or dance training.
The main benefit of the fasting is not about body changes but connections to your food/drink behaviours. While most benefit on this front, long fasting periods can also train you to have huge portions as well as eating late at night. For the average person it is often late night eating which is the source of excessive food consumption. It can also interrupt progress made on fitness fronts in terms of your pattern and routine. As with many things in life it is all down to the details of your apply it.
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