I was at a book signing at a Barnes and Noble the other day and was delighted by the delicious turn out. Some people traveled quite a number of miles to see me and buy my book so I did my damnedest to make it worth their excursion.
When I do these signings, or any workshop for that matter, I leave time for a general discussion of sorts—where the good people of The Great Republic can offer me an inquiry and have it responded to.
I restrict nothing; politics or religion, all is fair play. But mostly people want to talk about eating, lifting, and minimalism—not Bernanke’s crass monetary policy or belief in what is palpably unknowable.
“But I thought you were supposed to eat every 2-3 hours to keep your metabolism high?” I got this question twice at my last event. I answered it the first time, and then no sooner than I punctuated my conclusion did come another lady sit down and ask it again. So I repeated my dissertation.
It is plainly and simply a myth, is what I told her, and largely propaganda for the direct financial benefit of food companies. I made it known hardly anybody makes a fortune from fasting but me, but she didn’t get the joke.
There has never once been any conclusive evidence provided towards any benefits to be had from frequent eating, and most studies, to be sure, show the contrary, whereas there is a preponderance of evidence towards the benefits of fasting.
For one (1), a person in a fasted state experiences significantly more growth hormone (both pule and frequency), than does a person in a fed state. Natural growth hormone, as we know, is the closest thing we have to a fountain of youth.
I continued, and mentioned how (2) fasting accelerates the detoxification process, and helps to (3) restore the enzyme pool. She was unfamiliar with the role of enzymes, so I gave her the quick summary, that there are primarily three types: digestive, food, and anti-oxidant—that enzymes are requisite for every chemical reaction that takes place within the body, and without a suffice supply one is quick to experience degeneration, and, ultimately, inevitably, death. Fasting, as well as the occasion controlled fast on raw food, helps to restore and replenish your natural enzyme pool, which is so heavily taxed and depleted by frequent feeding on cooked, dead foods.
Next I had to address the issue of low-energy, headaches, and other such pesky vermin associated with first-time fasters. I said, very plainly, that is what we would call a “healing crisis”, and is often a painful but necessary component of detoxification and a sign that one is at least partially metabolically inflexible (unable to shift between metabolic fuels—fat and protein, namely). As fasting purges the body of toxic build up, there is bound to be some feelings of uneasiness. As well, until you (4) improve your metabolic flexibility (the ability to switch efficiently between fuels), which doubtless fasting will help you to do, then yes, you might experience some fogginess, lethargy, and even the occasional, mild headache. My best advice here is to ease into it, and not do too much too precipitately—otherwise you will be repelled from fasting altogether and at once. But once all of that is squared away, what you will most commonly find is that (5) fasting serves to increase your productivity, alertness, and mental acuity. It’s a natural nootropic of sorts, and I, for one, would never event think to engage in any sort of intellectual work, including my writing, in anything but a fasted state. Fasting, to be sure, is a mild stressor, and it triggers an adrenal response—so it is plain as to how this could augment alertness.
Another interesting point for those of you interested in the brain is that (6) fasting and exercise, both when separated out and combined, significantly improve neurogenesis (the growth of new brain cells). Just something worth pondering.
Of course, in private, a fellow mentioned the bunkum about fasting “killing” all your muscle, and if I saw “that article’. I assured him it was trash, and that the facts blast the notion. The principal argument was that one does not build muscle when training in a fasted state because mTOR is not stimulated. Well, no shit. mTOR is in the insulin pathway, and is suppressed by fasting, exercise, caffeine, etc. What was failed to be recognized, however, is that when mTOR is suppressed it GAINS potential—meaning, when it is activated, it does its job more efficiently. The reverse is also true. Over stimulation of mTOR (through frequent, high-volume feeding) depletes it of potency—just as one might very well severely harm their insulin sensivity. So, in brief, (7) fasted training can actually afford you the potential to gain more lean muscle mass in the long run, is what I told him.
The benefits of fasting are so plain and enormous (and here I didn’t even bring up the most obvious attractor, which is, of course that (8) fasting accelerates fat loss) that I cannot feasible conceive of any reason why a normal, sane, and healthy individual would not attempt to fast in some way at least some of the time.
PS- If you want a little more help with this fasting stuff, here’s a “backdoor” way to get my One Meal a Day program (and at a discount, no less, as I’ve extended the special until Friday). I wrote this for people who want a very simple, very reasonable, fasting AND minimalist exercise plan that is all laid out for you and with no guess work.
Here’s how to get it:
1. CLICK HERE and subscribe to the Inner Circle ($20/month, cancel anytime)
2. After you do that, email me at PatFlynn@ChroniclesOfStrength.com with the subject line of OMAD and I’ll send it your way.