Over the weekend I did a fast. In total it lasted about 3 days.
Fasting is something I’ve been doing on and off for years. Recently, though I haven’t done all that much.
I got started fasting after reading Paul Bragg’s The Miracle of Fasting several years ago. Still a great book, though my ideas on fasting have changed somewhat since that time.
If you’re unfamiliar with fasting the basics of it are to go completely without food for a period of time. This can be as short as 24 hours (anything less I wouldn’t call a real fast). Or it can go on for longer than a month (this is generally not recommended for most people).
The Benefits of Fasting
There are several reasons why you’d want to fast. It gives the body a break. Did you know that digestion is one of the most energy intensive processes in the human body? Especially when you eat, eat, and eat never giving it a break it has no time to play catch-up.
But with a fast, and the digestion freed up, the body can begin to fortify itself. It can use the extra time and energy to detox the body. Especially in this day and age, even with the healthiest diet (and how many people really are on all the time?) you still need to detox.
Fasting is also a great way to build willpower as you will at times be hungry. The funny thing is after a period of time, the hunger goes away. As I write this food doesn’t even sound all that appetizing to me. I wouldn’t even be thinking about it except that I’m writing about it.
Want to lose weight? Regularly fasting, for instance one day per week, can certainly help. I’ve dropped down to below 180 now. Of course, I know that my weight will come back fast as I begin eating again, and then some.
I also believe that fasting could help you gain weight, done on a limited basis. It sounds counter-intuitive but fasting can better prepare your body to eat and assimilate food when you are eating, which you’ll also likely do more of. I haven’t fully tested this yet, but may at some point in the future.
What does this all have to do with strength and performance? I believe that the better you body runs, the cleaner it is, the better it will allow you to build and express your strength.
While Paul Bragg was a big advocate of water fasting, and that is what I always use to do, I took a different approach this time.
That is a Nutritional Fast.
A nutritional fast involves taking in nutrition while fasting. But that doesn’t make sense…I just said you can’t eat while fasting. To put it in a broad idea, macronutrients are not nutrition. Yes you need them and certain kinds are way better then others.
However, nutrition is pretty much all in the micronutrients. That is vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, enzymes, probiotics, herbs and the like. You could also stick some fats and amino acids here. These are not only necessary for your body to function, but necessary to make it thrive. The key difference is most macronutrients are used for fuel, while micronutrients are used for everything else.
When you take these in while fasting you do a number of things.
1. You make the fast easier. With nutrition coming in (often what your body is actually craving when it signals you for food) you don’t get as hungry. In fact, this time I’ve loaded up so much that I sometimes feel the sense of fullness. Having tea throughout the day certainly helps. Load that tea up with tonic herbs, even better.
2. You give the body what it needs to do its job better. I mentioned detoxing and freeing up the body’s energies. By providing nutrition your body can better do the job. If vitamins and minerals are necessary pieces in cleansing the body, through various enzymatic functions and what not, then you can basically accelerate your fast by doing so.
3. It may be a little healthier to do so. Unless you get consistent blood work done you don’t necessarily know of things you could be chronically deficient in. While having some form of nutrition, you better mitigate the risks of fasting not to say there is much risk in fasting, especially shorter versions, but it is not the right choice in all cases. Just ask Bernarr McFadden whose intense fasting protocols may have hastened his death!
I wanted to give you some ideas about fasting. For more, fasting is listed as several of the points in 101 Simple Steps to Radiant Health (with different ideas about fasting in each point).
Here’s a recent review I got in for the book:
“First of all I want to say that your 101 Simple Steps to Radiant Health! is a SICK book (In a good way!).
“The simplicity of it makes it a Awesome book about health, without all the scientific BS of MOST health books these days. Just straight to the point no fluff, NO BS, legit stuff! I consulted it & keep on consulting it day by day as a reminder of how IMPORTANT health is to strength & vice versa!
“I also started incorporating Almost ALL of the Steps that you mentioned in the book & have been noticing some amazing effects, especially with sleeping WITHOUT a pillow, which is a blessing to say the least. I never had any neck cramps or pain in the first place ( I Train my Neck like you do, with Wrestler Bridge/Front Bridge etc.). But still it made me fall in sleep faster & easier & it also improved my quality of sleep! so thanks for that bro! That one tip changed the way I sleep forever! Never going to go back to those damn pillows EVER again!
“I could go on & on & on about How much I like the book & how much I’ve learned from it, But I think you get the point!
“Bottom Line: It’s a Awesome Straight-to-the-point book Which every Health fanatic should have!”
Matti Marzel – The Netherlands
If you haven’t already I suggest you check out the book today.
And then if you’re new to it, try fasting. Just go from dinner to dinner the following day and see how it feels.
But if you do have experience fasting, nutritional, water, even without food and water, tell me about it below.