Josh and I regularly do IF (intermittent fasting). I am a big proponent of not eating if you aren’t hungry (which I usually am not until about 11-1pm each day). This means, yes, I train fasted almost every single day. For me- I feel so much lighter and able to do more if I haven’t eaten yet that day prior to training. So, naturally, I “fast” 14-16 hours regularly (I did NOT fast while pregnant with either of my children).
The last few weeks we have been traveling A LOT. Food is our love language so we don’t hold back when it comes to trying new restaurants, tasting menus, drinks (me), etc. That being said- I felt super motivated to do an extended 48 hour fast. It’s Sunday and I stopped eating at 3pm. We just got home from a 4 day work trip to Nashville where we had some incredible food but I can tell my body is sluggish. So I won’t eat again until 3pm on Tuesday.
I will also be weighing myself periodically just for some data points.
As silly as it sounds to some, a lot of people don’t properly understand fasting. I receive daily messages from people asking me if certain things are ok while fasting (usually collagen, protein, fiber, etc). Just because something is a liquid doesn’t mean you can have it while fasting. To complete a true fast, you cannot be consuming anything that will spike your insulin levels (aka food).
Every single person fasts, unless you eat when you sleep. We literally all fast every single day- that’s why breakfast is called BREAK FAST. For me, I am not hungry until about 12-1pm each day and I stop eating at 9pm so my eating window is 8-9 hours long and my fasting window is 15-16 hours long. I don’t believe in eating if you aren’t hungry. This means I also train fasted every single day. I prefer it. I hate working out with a stomach full of food- it makes me feel extremely lethargic and if you are eating too close to the start of your workout, you are pulling blood away from your organs and shuttling it into the muscle so your digestion will be awful.
There are many benefits to IF (interment fasting) aka what I described above as my daily fasting schedule. Josh and I have an extremely in depth podcast on IF that can be found on Spotify and iTunes by searching “The Bowmar Show”. Intermittent fasting may benefit heart health, reduce inflammation, and improve cell repair processes. It may also help burn fat. By shortening your eating window, you are less likely to overeat your calories. I do NOT recommend fasting if you are trying to bulk- it’s almost impossible to properly space your calories and protein in such a condensed feeding window.
IF is very different than an extended fast (anything over 24 hours). Extended fasting can reduce hypertension, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, and asthma (1). It also allows your body to take a break from the energy-consuming process of digestion—giving it time to focus its energy on other tasks, like repairing itself.
This shift can (2):
- Boost weight loss
- Enhance brain function
- Reduce inflammation
- Reduce glucose levels
- Improve digestion
- Reduce blood pressure
- Reduce blood sugar levels
- Improve insulin sensitivity
- Increase human growth hormone
- Slow the aging process
- Boost immunity
- Trigger autophagy
Why (and How)
Obviously all of the benefits are incredible. Fasting has been done since the dawn of time- whether it be for religion or simply because we didn’t always have access to grocery stores. It can be extremely beneficial to long term health and longevity. I personally enjoy extended fasts after I travel to reset my digestion and allow my body to use those calories repairing from within instead of digesting food. The autophagy benefits are also insane to me as well! I personally feel amazing while fasting, lighter, and like I am able to focus easier on tasks when I am not worrying about my next meal. I feel absolutely fantastic during these extended fasts. I recommend a 48 hour fast at least once a quarter.
What Supplements I Use
During my fast, I still use quite a few of our supplements. Some people would say I do a “sloppy” or “dirty” fast because I consume about 30 calories a day between our products that I use. I personally don’t see an issue with it and I have never had any negative side effects (like blood sugar dropping, dizziness, etc). If you do experience these things, stick to black coffee and water.
Fasting Supplement Routine:
- Morning Drink: glutamine, reds and purples, immunity, and MELT
- During the day: replenish
- In the afternoon: MELT
- If needed: SHARP
- Preworkout: PRE and citrapeak
- I also take all of my vitamins (pills) in the morning and at night
How I Stay Hydrated
I still drink at least a gallon of water a day while fasting. I don’t like plain coffee so I don’t drink coffee at all (Josh does when he fasts but it is black coffee). Also, the balancing of electrolytes with our replenish product is key while fasting to avoid any negative side effects!
How to Break a Fast
There are a few schools of thought here but for me- I prefer to break my fasts with a very simple protein: collagen. For example, if I am breaking my fast at 3pm, I will have 2 scoops of collagen and then eating some fats about an hour later. I usually will have about 50% of my regular calories for the day as my eating window is only 6 hours (I really don’t like to eat after 9pm on any day). I will stick to very high protein and high fat foods- it’s just what my body responds to best! Your body may be completely different! Try not to have a huge meal after fasting for 48 hours- you want to give your digestion a minute to catch back up.
Weight loss, while a benefit, is not my goal for a fast. I do enjoy being much tighter and more vascular but the scale literally means nothing to me. It is a way to measure data and that is all. I am fascinated by data so I choose to weigh myself. I also choose to not let the scale define me. I am 5’3- I know people will ask. I also want to make it VERY known that I DID NOT lose 8lbs of fat after 12 hours of fasting. It was mainly water weight.
- Starting weight: 138.9lbs
- After 12 hours: 132.9lbs
- After 24 hours: 130.2lbs
- After 48 hours: 128.1lbs
- After 6 hours of eating after fast has ended: 131.2lbs
- Morning after 6 hours of eating: 130.1lbs
Are There Side Effects?
Besides the obvious- hunger- there can be some negative side effects to prolonged fasting. I recommend starting with a 16 hour, then 24, then 36, then 48 hour fast. If you find yourself extremely dizzy, cannot stand, insomnia, etc- stop fasting. Staying hydrated will help mitigative the negative side effects as well. 48 hour fasts are generally safe for most adults but please note- this is not medical advice.
I would also like to make this very, very clear- I struggled with an eating disorder through high school, college, and a few years after grad school. It took me over half a decade to be in a place, mentally, where I felt safe fasting (for the benefits listed above). I do NOT recommend fasting if you are currently battling an ED. I truly hope you find the peace and help that I did!
Fasting can also be a very spiritual experience, even if you aren’t religious. I encourage you to do your own research in the history of fasting for spirituality.