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Intermittent Fasting.  What’s All The Hype About?

Intermittent Fasting. What’s All The Hype About?


Is Intermittent fasting the new fad diet?  Why are so many people talking about it? How do you do it properly?

I should start by telling you, I am not a doctor, nor a nutritionist.  I’m writing strictly about my experiences with fasting and intermittent fasting and including some validation from professional athlete Professor Tom DeBlass.  You should always seek approval from a medical professional before making sudden changes to your diet, especially if you already have health issues like diabetes or any other problems that could be impacted by your food intake.

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Professor DeBlass is a widely known as one of the most popular Jiu jitsu athletes on the planet.  With his massive social media following and genuine love for not only the sport, but his students, practitioners in general, and mankind, it’s no surprise he has a lot of influence.  Professor DeBlass was one of the first in the Jiu jitsu community to not only talk about how he was leveraging intermittent fasting in his day to day life and training, but provide the world with a video instruction on exactly how he is doing it, workouts and all.   His detailed video instructional “Ripped In 12 Weeks Intermittent Fasting & Easy Bodyweight Fitness by Tom DeBlass” can be found by clicking the link.

What exactly is intermittent fasting?  Intermittent fasting is fasting daily, or several times per week for a period of typically twelve to twenty hours.  Professor Deblass talks in his video “Tom DeBlass: Intermittent Fasting” that he typically fasts from 10:00 PM until 12:00PM the following day, making it a 14 hour fast.  

There are a ton of “professionals” on youtube that will argue how long the fast needs to be to be effective, is it 14, 16, 18… or even 20?  In my opinion, you should experiment with this and see how you feel at each interval. Sure, there is research that shows fasting for 14 hours minimum is much more beneficial than fasting for 3 hours, but ultimately the goal is to feel good, and look good, so experiment and see how it goes for you.

Personally, I’ve found success flipping the standard “skip breakfast” model.  What I like to do is have breakfast and lunch, and skip dinner. I’ll typically stop eating at about 1:00 PM and then have breakfast after working out in the morning, around 7:00 AM, making it an 18 hour fast.  I have found a ton of benefits in doing this for my lifestyle. Typically, I will do either strength training, or live training (rolling) in the mornings from 5:30 AM to 6:30AM and attend Jiu jitsu class in the evenings a few nights per week.  What that means is by the time I get to the academy for my evening class I haven’t eaten in about 5 hours, so my body is just starting to wonder when I am going to feed it again, surprise body, I’m not… until tomorrow.

For me personally, attending class shortly after consuming calories is very different than attending class part way through my fast.  I feel more alert, I feel faster not only physically but mentally too. Everything just feels easier. Now I’ve finished my evening training and head home, this is where I typically start to get hungry. There have been times I have eaten after training, and honestly I feel ok, but the reality is, it’s likely around 9:00 PM or later when I get home from training.  I’m going to be going to bed in an hour or two, so why do I need calories? Pushing through that little bit of hunger is always worth it in my opinion.

Part 2 of the benefits I experience.  When I get up at 4:30 AM to get ready to go to the gym, I wake up feeling ready to go, rather than lethargic and in need of an immediate caffeine source.  I get to the gym, at this point I have not eaten in a little over 16 hours. You might this is the recipe for a rough strength training session. It’s not.  

I feel amazing, and honestly, I typically feel stronger when I’m at the gym towards the end of my fast than I do if I were to eat prior to going. There are a lot of studies out there that show you burn exponentially more fat working out in a fasted state than not, again, I’m not a medical professional, but what I can tell you is I feel great, and I have successfully used this method to drop 20 plus pounds over a 3 month period.  

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So what’s right for you?  Is it 14 hours? 18? Somewhere in the middle?  I have a tendency to plan, plan, over plan, and ultimately delay actually starting the task or project.  Don’t be like me in that regard. Who cares what the right amount is, the best thing to do is try it. Try it now.  Right now. If you’re currently eating, start as soon as you’re done. Start right now and set a timer for 14 hours from when you last ate and see how you feel when the timer goes off.  Can you push it another hour or two?

Here’s what I have learned about fasting.  It’s all mental. Especially intermittent fasting.  You body does not need food during that period. However, for the last few decades we have been feeding it the “3 squares a day” diet that we all learned in 6th grade health class most likely (more on diet later in this article) and we created a habit.  

Now when our brain realizes it’s been a few hours since we have eaten it sends a signal saying “Hey, feed me, we are going to die”.  In fact, you are not actually going to die. Push through the cravings and you will realize they are almost all time bound. For me, I always get the cravings right around the same time every night when I would normally be eating dinner.  The cravings last for about an hour and after that I feel perfectly fine, not hungry at all, and even more mentally alert.

Now, fasting is great and all, but all of the benefits of fasting can be offset if your diet primarily consists of eating like a 12 year old kid turned loose in a candy store with your dad’s credit card.  Let me break this down in the simplest terms possible, understand this is as much a reminder for me as I write this, as it is for you reading this. SUGAR = BAD. There, I said it. Let’s face it, You don’t see Garry Tonon out there fight prepping with cookies and pizza.  There’s a reason for that. Sugar is addictive, it causes us to store fat, and gain more fat cells in the process, and it shuts our brain down. For me, when I do splurge and eat some junk food, I ALWAYS regret it about 3 minutes after finishing it. I basically die. It’s a terrible feeling that I’m certain we all have experienced.  The roller coaster of blood sugar levels and insulin response is not a fun ride.

So, if pizza and cookies are not the right answer, what is?  Well, there are a lot of thoughts around this. Low carb, Keto, Paelo, Vegan, (insert new fad diet here).  What I’m saying is the list is a mile long. New “professionals” are coming out with diet plans daily. Here is what I have found works best for me for not only weight loss, but overall general health.  I tend to lean towards a lower carb diet. I don’t feel well when I consume carbs. Not all carbs are created equally. There is a very big difference between eating a slice of white bread and eating a sweet potato.  I find myself eating very close to a keto diet, with some healthy carbs added in on occasion. Most days I am around 20 carbs a day or less. I like to keep things simple so my go to meals are egg omelets with bacon or sausage, if I’ve been going hard training, I’ll add half of an avocado as well.  And for lunch, either a repeat of breakfast, or a salad with lots of spinach and either chicken or steak with avocado oil or olive oil in place of the dressing. I have found that doing this is what makes me feel like I am performing at optimal levels, not only physically, but mentally too. Let me also note, just for clarification, when I say performing at optimal levels, I simply mean I am maximizing my potential.  Eating low carb and doing intermittent fasting is not going to magically make you a world class grappler like Professor DeBlass, but it can certainly put you in the right physical and mental condition to train your hardest and maintain a healthy body weight.

What I hope you take away from this information is first of all, there is not a cookie cutter plan in my opinion, experiment and find out what works for you.  Secondly, we have to accept the truth that sugar is bad, and our brain will play tricks on us, telling us that we are hungry when in reality, we are not. Finally, start today.  A good place to start is with Ripped in 12 weeks Intermittent fasting & easy bodyweight fitness by Tom DeBlass. Start with this plan, and make adjustments as needed after a few weeks of following the roadmap Professor DeBlass lays out for us.  There is no disputing what he is doing is working. At 35 years old he is in the best shape of his life and able to compete at the highest levels in our sport, all while training with the new, younger generation of savage grapplers, being a dad, giving back to the community and living his day to day life.  Is intermittent fasting the secret to unlocking your ability to do it all?

If you want a simple, easy to follow approach to diet and conditioning, take advantage of ADCC and UFC veteran Tom DeBlass' expertise that he shares in this 12 Weeks to Ripped program.  You are literally 3 months away from being in the best shape of your life!  Get your copy here at BJJ Fanatics!




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