3 Years

Making Intermediate Fasting Personal

There's a new study out on fasting while exercising and I thought it a good time to reflect on my own fasting practice. I've been Intermediate Fasting for almost 5 years now and personally really can't think of any other way of eating/living. It's so habitual for me and my body is fully acclimated that I just wake up, drink my 16oz of filtered water, and go about my day with better energy than I've seriously ever had in my life. WHAT I WANT YOU TO COME AWAY WITH: There are many roads to fitness performance and as long as you take one that is involving both clean eating and maximizing your hormone regulation that is all I ever recommend. I'm hoping my clarifications in this post help those who are on the precipice better understand so they can apply fasting to their lifestyles successfully on all levels. Modifications can be made depending on circumstance and person, but the main essence remains the same at the core and everyone, yes I mean everyone, CAN practice some form of intermediate fasting that will work wonders for their overall health, energy, and waistline.

SCUTTLEBUTT: There's been a lot of chatter about fasting as of late and I thought I'd run through typically what I do and what my brief thoughts are on the subject.

Here's my take on Intermediate Fasting based upon my experience and research in a nutshell.

HELLO MORNING GLORY: When you wake up in the morning, you're basically in a fasted state as you haven't eaten anything in as long as 8-10 hours. The following also holds true for those who fast, which keeps the immune system efficient, and the individual fitness experience will be optimized results based upon increased recovery hormones being engaged.

When we eat ongoing, especially foods that continually spike our insulin levels such as any grains, sugary, or starchy food- no matter how healthy it may seem- what are you left with?

1) A slower metabolism long-term 2) An ineffective workout energy and recovery wise 3) Fewer calories burned over the course of the day

I don't think that sounds all that beneficial, do you?

EXERCISE AND FASTING: Now on to the other side of the equation....actually fasting prior to exercising benefits us how? Well there are 2 body states where we burn the most calories, fat, and engage glucagon(fat burning hormone) & growth hormone, and keep insulin resistance. One is while exercising and the other is while fasting. Put both of those together and...

What benefits does fasting have on your workout?

1) Stronger & longer workouts 2) So much more energy during the day (This happens because your body gives your digestive system a rest and puts the energy into other processes for you.) 3) More calories burned 4) Higher direct fat loss 5) Improve lean muscle instead of decreasing it 6) Improved recovery

YOUR PERFORMANCE: Where performance is concerned most folks don't want to just perform, but truly desire to perform very well- to the absolute best of their abilities.

There are many roads to fitness performance and as long as you take one that is involving both clean eating and maximizing your hormone regulation that is all I ever recommend. I get both of those with my Intermediate Fasting lifestyle. There are several different fasting protocols which one can introduce into their daily life in order to find which one will be the best one for them and their performance needs.

What I have found to be extremely beneficial is to adapt oneself on progressive fasting protocols in order to achieve the daily water fast. I'm not talking about eating some berries and small fruits here and there, but going as long as you can each day while adapting to the fasting process by drinking a lot of water. Your fasting goal doesn't have to be a full complete no food water fast, but get to the point where you're eating very little during the day and consuming most of your calories in the evening. I'm talking about going about fasting progressions in order to do this the proper way- water fast only with the exception of a post workout recovery meal or smoothie if you exercise during the morning or daytime.

K.I.S.S: Keep things simple and don't over-complicate anything. Water fasting may be the ultimate fasting state for health and fitness performance, but not all bodies are created equal in the regard that everyone should be a water faster. Be patient with yourself. It may take some people several months to a year or longer before progressively adapting intothis lifestyle, but with proper and intelligent progressions of the right food, food timing, food combinations, adequate food volume, proper water intake, etc... it will definitely happen. Keep things simple.

WHAT'S GOIN ON: There is a big difference between water fasting and even eating a small amount during the day if need be, compared to eating regular portioned daytime meals, due to the insulin spike and Parasympathetic Nervous System engaging.

Personally my own workouts, and that of every one of my clients, are very, very intense. Many people have attempted and went away never to return. It is my motto that hard work produces results so with that being said, give everything you've got when you workout so you reap the greatest rewards. Of course with a super high intensity of that nature one can maintain this only a few times a week without over-training so definitely pay attention to your body and listen to it when it needs recovery. Only with this mentality and applied work ethic will one truly achieve their potential.

WE'RE NATURALLY PROGRAMMED FOR FASTING: Daily Intermediate Fasting is a very natural and genetically embedded eating style into all humans naturally. If you have ever previously attempted an intermediate fasting protocol and did not experience optimal results while practicing or feel you currently couldn't then I would almost guarantee you did not give yourself enough time to fully adapt and acclimate to your program. Then again some people, due to various reasons, should probably not be full fasters, but can live a hybrid lifestyle of fasting intermixed with daily clean eating. Most who have "unsuccessfully" attempted fasting, I'm finding, do not clearly understand Intermediate Fasting practices and/or don't follow it properly and then chalk it up to not working. I speak to a lot of people, both online and in person, about I.F. and find that too many people sing the same song.

EVIDENTIALLY: All of the evidence in research is in support of fasting, not undereating. In fact there's been more research on fasting than any other type of diet style. I believe it is the utilization and recycling of one's own tissues and fat stores that makes the biggest difference between eating all day and eating at once. The body can either have constant fuel coming in to use and add to its stores and grow old, or it can constantly be recycled and replaced with new cells comprised of new atoms. Additionally fasting allows one's body to balance the Sympathetic and Parasympathetic Nervous Systems as well.

MYTH BUSTED: I'll lose muscle if I fast won't I? It takes about 72 hours at a complete fast for the body to begin to cannibalize it's muscle tissue. In fact as long as you eat quality natural foods and getting in nutrients the body will be fine. Additionally when the hormones are triggered due to an intermediate fast, such as increased testosterone, growth hormone, and glucagon the body is in a verybeneficial state.

If you constantly eat, your body is changing its acid/alkaline balance constantly, and isn't allowed to return to its natural pH. A proper pH balance everywhere from saliva, to the stomach, to the blood is needed for a strong immune system. For example, if you are too acidic, your body leeches calcium from your bones to bring pH up. Conversely, if blood is too alkaline, calcium deposits may form. A good hi-fat diet, which will produce ketones (acidic) is easily compensated for by increased oxygen levels in the blood unless one is in a state of diabetic keto-acidosis which is an entirely different condition altogether and produces much higher levels of ketones.

QUICK BREAKDOWN: Alternating between high-fat and high-carb days allows the body to negate any ill-effects of one or the other. While a high fat meal is digesting for 10 to 12 hours after your evening eating window, intramuscular triglycerides are constantly being capped off and excess fat is being excreted as ketones. Once this process is over, because the IMTGs are full, the body is in a state of preferring fat-fuel, and will then use your body's own fat stores at a MUCH higher rate than if you put carbs in. You will lose a bit more glycogen without putting fat in again, but this is not severe and is easily compensated with the evening's protein and veggie consumption.

GETTING YOUR FLUSHING FLUIDS: During your fast drink a lot of water and that means all the water you drink is on an empty stomach which is the best time to drink water. You will also clean out your colon much more efficiently and a clean colon is essential for ideal health.

The amount of caffeine most people consume regularly drains their adrenal glands which will do a great number on their overall energy. It most cases it takes a good 6-9 months of being clean from stimulating drugs(caffeine is one of them) before the adrenals are completely replenished. If you began the detox process, through proper nutrition and diet, you will feel the positive effects inside of a few days to a week. Then one could rely on one's own energy stores instead of seeking external unhealthy alternatives such as coffee, power drinks, etc.

FEEL YOUR FOOD: If you ever need to eat during the day as you slowly acclimate your body to an Intermediate Fasting lifestyle you want to do so with very minimal insulin spikes. Honestly there are some days where I too need something during the day too, but most days I go until the evening before eating anything food wise. This is NOT what I recommend the beginning faster to do. Your body will not accept this as it is accustomed to hourly rising blood sugars. So a slower transition is highly recommended for adaptation to the lifestyle fasting habits and benefits.

Regularly eat better absorbing fat that's more alkaline instead of acidic (ex. steer clear of animal fats & dairy foods). I recommend 80% or higher dark chocolate, avocados, raw nuts such as almonds, pecans, and walnuts, a tablespoon of unrefined organic coconut oil at anytime of the day makes you feel A LOT, and I'm talking A LLLLLLLLLLOOOOOOOOOOT, of energy. It's a medium chain fatty acid that acts like a carb when consumed; however never gets stored, but in fact used as energy as well as assists in releasing some stored fat along with it.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON INTERMEDIATE FASTING: Don't do this overnight. Take your time and progress into this lifestyle over a 30-90 day period.  When fasting it's VERY important not to simply eat a meal in a sitting and then just munch a bit. You must truly stagger your meal so you're eating over the course of a 2-4 hour period in the evening. The evening is best so that your body can use your food as fuel rather than fat storage AS LONG AS you are consuming the right sorts of foods.  No matter what time of day you eat crappy foods you are going to having your body react in a negative way (fat storage, low energy, hormones unbalanced, mental alertness suffers, etc) Enjoy your food. Enjoy your meal. That means you don't have to sit down and scarf everything in one sitting, of course you can do that, but I find it better to eat here and there over 2-4 hours. I typically begin eating around 5 or 6 and then keep going throughout the night. BUT remember, I am eating the right foods in the right combinations.  Keep it simple.

Whatever You Focus On You're Gonna Find It

I think that title is very self explanatory, but let's think for a moment what you've been focusing on in your life for the past 3 days, 3 weeks, 3 months, and 3 years. Has your focus promoted success for you or road blocks? "You might be doing everything right, but simply at the wrong times and what do you find... pain." -Tony Robbins  Work hard and do things right at the right times and you will always find rewards. What those rewards are is entirely up to you and your focus.

Your focus might be direct or indirect, but you still always have one. Where is it? Are you working hard and focusing in the wrong areas or do you even know where your focus is right now?  What you seek you will find. Pretty simple concept right? It's 100% true, BUT might not be so simple depending on what you want. You just might have to put in some effort. Huuuuuuuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh?????????  Say whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa???????????  Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Did he just say what I thought he said???  I have to put in.... gulp... some effort? You mean I can't just let the world go on around me and opportunities, good habits, a healthy body, financial success, happiness, and fulfilling rewards fall in my lap?  Huh... you don't say...

YES! Focus on what you want, put in your consistent effort, don't stop, make it a daily habit, and reap your rewards. That's what happens to those who don't make excuses for their inactions and lives and who make action to be who they've always wanted to be. It's called focus and it works every time. Watch the clip below and go away with more than you came...

Learn From My Girevoy Sport Technique Mistakes

This past weekend I had the fun experience of Kettlebell Sport competing at the Mid Michigan Kettlebell Invitational in Livonia, MI. This was only my second official competition with my first being a month prior. I've learned quite a bit of technique in the past couple months of training. You see I've been training with kettlebells for about 3 years now; however moreover in a more fitness style and not sport style training. At the beginning of March, after this year's Arnold Sports Festival where I had a few athletes (my wife one of them), I decided it was time I through myself onto the platform. I've had a lingering lumbar spine disc protrusion for the past 3 years which I've allowed to limit me and I wasn't gonna let that happen any longer. So I jumped into the Girevoy Sport water and decided to swim. It's been a fun past couple months and my technique and strength continue to improve. By exposing myself to these Kettlebell Sport competition experiences I rub shoulders with some of the best lifters the U.S. has to offer. Some of them have been privileged to have training opportunity with top level Russian lifters and coaches. That being said, they have passed some of their invaluable knowledge onto me and exposed both my weaknesses as well as gaps in my technique. By correcting my mistakes, from what I've learned in one weekend experience alone just being around these amazing athletes, it has made me a much better lifter and coach.

In hopes that you too will learn from my own technique mistakes I have included pics of what they look like and what to look/feel for when you are training.

Mistake 1. Use Proper Equipment: Get lifting shoes from the start. Get your own here: Rogue Fitness "Do-Wins"

Mistake 2. Have Proper Body Alignment: Always keep your elbows in front when resting in the rack. Never lean to one side or the other as you see me mistakenly do in the pictures below.

Mistake 3. Proper Lockout: When the bells are locked out overhead count "one one-thousand" before bringing them down. This will ensure a good lockout. My picture directly below is NOT a good lockout and was the last one I performed in my set before setting down my bells. I received a "No Count" for it and rightly so.

Definition of a proper overhead kettlebell lockout: By AKC Coach Mike Stefano The feet are flat on the floor, knees, hips straight and strong. Back is arched, and gaze forward. The lockout arm extends straight up over the head with the bicep near the ear. The elbow is locked and shoulder is seated. The kettlebell hangs off the heal of the hand (hip of the palm) behind the head, wrist is relaxed. Ears, shoulders, hips, and knees line up vertically creating a skeletal stack to accept the majority of the resting load. The palm is angled slightly towards the face, not rotated out where the kettlebell spins out overhead. The kettlebell is completely still or fixated. From the side view the upper arm appears to be perpendicular to the floor as it rises up out of the shoulder joint. The elbow joint is fully extended (not hyperextended) and completely locked. This may result in a gentle backward curve in the arm. Don't confuse this with the elbow being bent. The arm should never be in front of the face from the side view, as this will require much greater muscle contraction to stabilize the shoulder joint. How far back the arm will go depends upon the flexibility of the shoulder joint. Many people have a tight anterior, rounding the shoulders, thus preventing the arm from getting to that parallel-to-ear position while overhead, preventing a stable rest position.

Mistake 4. Fixation: Fixation in a nutshell means being in control of the kettlebell. Fixate the bells overhead prior to lowering them back to the rack in the case of Jerks and Long Cycle or before tossing back into the swing in the case of the Snatch. Fixation means no overhead movement of any kind as well as no unstable footing. To have good fixation both your elbows will be locked, both your knees will be locked, and there will be full bodily control over the bell. You will not have any momentum or movement going anywhere. By ensuring fixation overhead you will have all the stabilizer muscles working and ultimately become stronger. Once you have fixation you are ready to return the bell whence it came whether that was the rack position or to re-snatch it.

These are the things I am working directly on and my encouragement to you is to do the same no matter if you're working with one bell or two in your own training sessions. Even if you have no desire to compete in Kettlebell Sport you are going to benefit from proper overhead lockout, fixation, and focusing on body stability in all of your movements.  Valery Fedorenko told me that fixation in the lockout is the key to kettlebell lifting whether for sport or fitness so that your body becomes strong, stable, and ensures chance of injury is greatly diminished. Having fixation means having control over the kettlebells. If you have control then you are able to better focus and succeed in your kettlebell training goals.

My First Long Cycle Set Using 2x24kgs

So I threw myself to the wolves at this year's Mid Michigan Kettlebell Invitational in Livonia, MI when I decided to give the 24kgs Kettlebells a go. It was only my third time using them outside of a warm-up or single bell work. I don't think my set this time around was the prettiest ever performed and seen on the Girevoy Sport platform, BUT the fact that I got up there and did my best is worth noting. I've only been training specifically for Girevoy Sport, aka Kettlebell Sport, for about 3 months. Yes I've been working with kettlebells for about 3 years, but that has been more fitness oriented and only with one bell. Since this past year's Arnold Sports Festival back in March I got more serious and wanted to Kettlebell Sport train to compete. I had to get up there and throw myself into the water and swim so I know exactly what I am doing right as well as wrong. That is the way I find works best for me to learn. I will only strive to continue improving myself through experience and feedback that I receive by better as well as more weathered lifters.

I have A LOT of work to focus on in tweaking my overall technique such as getting more comfortable and stable with them, better elbow posturing in the rack position, longer and more strict fixations, and lower second hip dips. I know that I will only get better the more I work with them ongoing.

I received some really, really good feedback on my Long Cycle set that I will directly put into practice in my training. Honestly and truly I never ever claim to be the best or do everything right. I've only been practicing kettlebell training for about 3 years and when it comes to G.S., I'm still a baby in this sport with only 2 competitions under my belt and 3 where I've coached athletes in them. With each one I learn more and more.

When I post my videos I know I get feedback. That's the point. I know I'm not perfect and never claimed to be a great Kettlebell lifter. But if I don't jump on the platform and just do it then I'll never experience what I need to in order to learn and grow.

There is two main reasons why I compete- and am extremely glad I can given my lumbar spine condition. The first is for fun. The second is for abrasion. In order to grow we must scrape off that which is unneeded and be guided in the direction of accepted and proper habits. This most recent competition experience has given me tremendous guidance in which I will be abrading myself in order to come back stronger in several regards.

It is because of everyone who comments to me on the video where I posted it on Facebook, Youtube, and my blog here, who attended the event, who I spoke to privately, and who I continue to be mentored from that have truly given me leverage over my abrasive self. I just want to enjoy kettlebell sport... so I got up on the platform and went to work. I didn't expect perfection. In fact my wife reminds me all the time that I am definitely not there yet. But what I did want is the abrading experience that only comes by sucking up the fact that I am not of the highest caliber of G.S. athletes and jumping up there and just doing it.

In Russia, they too must all start somewhere. Typically we only see the videos of the good Russian lifters, BUT there are lifters making the exact same mistakes that I, and everyone else here in the U.S., are making. Each of their own coaches must work with them ongoing to get better and better. That's just the process of the way it goes. As much as we'd like to think all Russians are born born with a Kettlebell in their hand and with an MS branded on their foreheads, they are not. They too have to do exactly as I, and all the other American rookies are doing. We've gotta just get up there and do. In doing we get better... in hopes that one day we might put up a really good set which in turn truly deserves the "good jobs" and "thatta boys/girls". I like hearing that, but know deep down what I need to do in order to get better and better. If there is something that I need to know and work on, well, that comes with experiencing the abrasion. I welcome that.

So again to all of you I say: THANK YOU. I truly, truly mean that and all of your comments, thoughts, and words never ever fall on deaf ears. I take every one of them to heart and because of my own mistakes every one else can also continue to grow.

Overall the Kettlebell meet was a really fun time with some super great people there to hang with.

Here's a video of my performance:

And here's my quick 3 min. 2x20kg Long Cycle sprint set that was just for fun and also for charity to raise money for the Michigan Soldiers fund.

My First Long Cycle Set Using 2x24kgs

So I threw myself to the wolves at this year's Mid Michigan Kettlebell Invitational in Livonia, MI when I decided to give the 24kgs Kettlebells a go. It was only my third time using them outside of a warm-up or single bell work. I don't think my set this time around was the prettiest ever performed and seen on the Girevoy Sport platform, BUT the fact that I got up there and did my best is worth noting. I've only been training specifically for Girevoy Sport, aka Kettlebell Sport, for about 3 months. Yes I've been working with kettlebells for about 3 years, but that has been more fitness oriented and only with one bell. Since this past year's Arnold Sports Festival back in March I got more serious and wanted to Kettlebell Sport train to compete. I had to get up there and throw myself into the water and swim so I know exactly what I am doing right as well as wrong. That is the way I find works best for me to learn. I will only strive to continue improving myself through experience and feedback that I receive by better as well as more weathered lifters.

I have A LOT of work to focus on in tweaking my overall technique such as getting more comfortable and stable with them, better elbow posturing in the rack position, longer and more strict fixations, and lower second hip dips. I know that I will only get better the more I work with them ongoing.

I received some really, really good feedback on my Long Cycle set that I will directly put into practice in my training. Honestly and truly I never ever claim to be the best or do everything right. I've only been practicing kettlebell training for about 3 years and when it comes to G.S., I'm still a baby in this sport with only 2 competitions under my belt and 3 where I've coached athletes in them. With each one I learn more and more.

When I post my videos I know I get feedback. That's the point. I know I'm not perfect and never claimed to be a great Kettlebell lifter. But if I don't jump on the platform and just do it then I'll never experience what I need to in order to learn and grow.

There is two main reasons why I compete- and am extremely glad I can given my lumbar spine condition. The first is for fun. The second is for abrasion. In order to grow we must scrape off that which is unneeded and be guided in the direction of accepted and proper habits. This most recent competition experience has given me tremendous guidance in which I will be abrading myself in order to come back stronger in several regards.

It is because of everyone who comments to me on the video where I posted it on Facebook, Youtube, and my blog here, who attended the event, who I spoke to privately, and who I continue to be mentored from that have truly given me leverage over my abrasive self. I just want to enjoy kettlebell sport... so I got up on the platform and went to work. I didn't expect perfection. In fact my wife reminds me all the time that I am definitely not there yet. But what I did want is the abrading experience that only comes by sucking up the fact that I am not of the highest caliber of G.S. athletes and jumping up there and just doing it.

In Russia, they too must all start somewhere. Typically we only see the videos of the good Russian lifters, BUT there are lifters making the exact same mistakes that I, and everyone else here in the U.S., are making. Each of their own coaches must work with them ongoing to get better and better. That's just the process of the way it goes. As much as we'd like to think all Russians are born born with a Kettlebell in their hand and with an MS branded on their foreheads, they are not. They too have to do exactly as I, and all the other American rookies are doing. We've gotta just get up there and do. In doing we get better... in hopes that one day we might put up a really good set which in turn truly deserves the "good jobs" and "thatta boys/girls". I like hearing that, but know deep down what I need to do in order to get better and better. If there is something that I need to know and work on, well, that comes with experiencing the abrasion. I welcome that.

So again to all of you I say: THANK YOU. I truly, truly mean that and all of your comments, thoughts, and words never ever fall on deaf ears. I take every one of them to heart and because of my own mistakes every one else can also continue to grow.

Overall the Kettlebell meet was a really fun time with some super great people there to hang with.

Here's a video of my performance:

And here's my quick 3 min. 2x20kg Long Cycle sprint set that was just for fun and also for charity to raise money for the Michigan Soldiers fund.