This Nashville Personal Trainer Says
Getting Old Sucks...So He Stopped.
Are you feeling older and slower?
Chances are if you are under the age of 35, you will answer this with and astounding “no.”
BUT, truth be told, if you are over the age of 28, the odds are your body is starting to look older and mover slower than it should. And if you are over the age of 40!?!? Fuhgeddaboudit!
It doesn't matter where you are in the age spectrum; the nutrition advice we receive on almost a daily basis is like a fist the size of a Kardashian ass punching us right in the face while Kanye holds our arms behind our backs.
Take, for example, the all too trendy cleanses and detoxes.
You’ve probably heard of them. Most likely from that lady friend in your office who is always trying the latest fad “diet” every other month.
These cleanse and detox programs are supposed to help you lose weight, improve bodily function, and reduce aging by ridding the body of all the toxins that have built up over the years.
Do they work?
Well, by the amount of money that companies are raking in off of them in the last few years, I’d say that their marketing and advertising certainly does.
Can you tell that I’m not a huge fan?
If you have read any of my stuff over the years, you know that I don’t like “quick fixes” or lifestyle changes that aren’t sustainable. You just end up wasting your time and money, as these plans often fail to produce a result. And when they do produce a result, it’s short-lived because as soon as you return to your old habits, everything “positive” that you feel you’ve experienced will disappear.
If you want to know what it takes to really “cleanse,” look up the word “autophagy.” In short, it’s your body’s ability to regenerate and become better. Autophagy helps us repair injuries, makes our brain function a little better, helps with muscle growth and fat loss….and it happens on a cellular level.
Why is autophagy important? When this function stops, we age faster. We suffer from chronic disease. We lose our hair. We get fat. (Ahhh...back to the subject of this post!)
What Causes Autophagy to Stop?
In one word…hormones. Specifically our lack of growth hormone as we age, which limits the natural process of autophagy. With each passing year, our GH levels continue to drop and, with it, our tissue continues to degenerate. It’s the cornerstone of why we:
•experience more aches and pains, •seem to put on fat weight easier, •see our muscle and strength start to diminish, no matter how hard we workout.
So instead of treating the symptoms, we should be looking to treat the cause.
Enter Intermittent Fasting
When fasting became trendy a few years back, I was pretty adamantly opposed to it. At least to the way that it was being prescribed (more on that in a bit). During this time of adamant opposition, I was younger, had less grey hair, had less aches and pains, and could burn fat much easier than I do today.
But hey...I’m open to change. And I have since changed my mind...to a point. More and more studies seem to show that a certain amount of fasting has tremendous benefits, one of them being the best way to naturally increase our GH (outside of getting a good amount of quality sleep). These two actually go hand-in-hand, as you will understand in just a second.
It appears that the more time we spend eating (as in actual hours during the day), the less time we spend in the autophagic process. So, utilizing a form of daily “fasting” would allow our body more time in this valuable process, which in turn, would help us to slow down the aging process.
The only reason I connected these dots is because in recent years it had become a big concern for me, so I researched it. It's not "glamorous" enough for the magazines and websites to give it mass coverage and supplement companies can't make money off of it, so it goes virtually un-talked about.
Lucky for you...you have me ;)
Connecting the Dots
Now let's get back to sleep and the daily fasting process. For what I consider to be a quality fast, one would go without any food from anywhere between 8 and 12 hours straight. This breaks down to:
A Quality Night’s Sleep (the recommended 8 hours) + No Eating for 2 hours Before Bed and/or 2 hours After Waking (depending on one’s goals).
When I looked into my work lifestyle - - up at 3:30 AM for work, first appointment at 5 AM, 6-8 straight appointments, maybe a nap in the middle of the day, some nights 3-4 more appointments, most nights working out, not getting to bed until after 10 or 11 - - I was not getting enough quality sleep which, in turn, made it a very rare occasion that I would go 8 hours straight without food.
This combination of lack of quality sleep and eating too often in my waking hours was catching up to me. And I felt it. So the first thing I did after compiling the research was to start adding a longer period each day of non-eating (a fast). My work schedule was set, so getting more sleep was tough to fit in. But I could make myself go without food for a bit. So instead of eating before my first appointment, I would wait 10 hours from my last meal of the previous night before I would put anything beside water or black coffee down my gullet.
And after a few weeks, I really noticed a difference. I had more energy, less cravings, my aches and pains started to disappear, and it was way easier to keep a leaner bodyweight.
My life has recently changed quite a bite. I can now factor in getting that quality sleep. And in less than a couple of weeks, I can feel an even greater impact. I can honestly say that I haven't felt this good in 7-8 years.
So going forward, my "Staying Young, Strong, Lean, and Muscular Formula" is pretty simple:
1.Get a quality 6-7 hours of sleep each night (YES…for me, this is a major improvement), 2.Have a block of time each day where I FAST for at least 8 hours straight, most often pushing it to 10 hours (usually between 8:30 PM and 6:30 AM),
3.During my waking hours, I eat every 2-3 hours (roughly 5-6 feedings that are made up of 1-2 protein shakes, 1-2 high protein snacks, and 2-3 full sit-down type of meals). All meals are built around high quality protein, healthy fats, and fiber with some quality carbs thrown in around my workouts.
I still take issue with some Intermittent Fasting protocols. Many have you fasting up to 16 hours or more, but I'm not sold on this. Unless you are one that sleeps 10-12 hours, that is a lot of waking time where you are asking your body to run on fumes. This is a recipe for killing nitrogen levels, eating away muscle tissue, and ultimately decreasing the metabolism. For those that like to eat a bigger meal later in the day, it may work fine. But I still see the vast amount of benefits coming from eating more frequently, as the body will digest and assimilate the nutrients better. I like to think of what I’m putting into my body calorically and nutrient-wise in 2-3 hour blocks…not 24 hours.
Just like anything in fitness, there is no “one size fits all” protocol. But there are some general guidelines that make sense. Sometimes it just takes dissecting the different variables to see the real value in something.
If you feel like age is catching up to you, you want to transform your body, and you want to start feeling younger again, try applying my 3 rules above. You'll notice fat deposits disappearing, hideous cellulite vanishing, pain going away, and enough energy to last you through your entire day.
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