FASTING: IS IT HEALTHY?

Random friend: You wanna get some breakfast?
Me
: Nah, I don’t really eat in the mornings.
Random: What?!
Me: Yeah. I pretty much just fast.
Random: Isn’t that a little unhealthy?
Me:   …   (big smile on my face)

—-

Even though fasting (and more specifically, intermittent fasting) has been on a meteoric rise for a few years now, the virtue of it is not as common as I thought.

So here is a short post to answer the question, “Is it healthy to go without food?”

In short, the studies say yes, my own experience and energy say yes, and the current science and the evolutionary perspective say yes as well.

At the root of these “Yeses” lies the why: It gives our digestive system a rest.

Less energy for digestion = more energy for other processes

If we can give our digestive tract a break, it not only gets to work on cleaning and repairing itself, but the whole body  is “cleaned” as well. This often entails improved skin complexion, better tissue repair, and enhanced mental clarity.

And when we do eat something, we will break it down faster and more efficiently (good poops is a good life).

Like anything, though, to really understand the benefits, one has to do it.

So how do we  fast?

Let’s not make this rocket science.

  • Go once a week for 24 hrs.
  • Or go every other day for 18 – 20 hrs.
  • Go 5 days a week at 14- 16 hrs.

Note: The fast is the length between meals. Most people wake up rocking a 10 hr fast already. Go without solid food to noon or 1 pm and you’ll be there.

In the end, do what is natural. It may feel totally unnatural in the beginning, but that is simply because you are running on different instructions (your current software). To change any habit (code), will require work.

For this, let the caveman of our past be your inspiration: Wake up. Hunt / gather  = Move. And then relax and eat in the afternoon.

That is, get busy. Do what is most important. If you must, drink a coffee concoction like I do. Then when the work is complete, eat and/or nap.

Remember: Your health is your energy.

If you become mentally fuzzy, physically fatigued, and your libido dies, than fasting may not be healthy for you. Often, however, we just have to adjust some variables (like a shorter fast or more sleep) to make it be.

COCONUT OIL, COFFEE, AND THE BEST MORNING EVER

young slim girl drinking green coffee

It goes without saying, how we start our day sets us up for the rest of it. A good morning leads to a good evening, but a bad morning… well, look out!

So what entails a good morning?

  1. A full night of sleep
  2. Great nutrition
  3. Love, positivity, laughter, and sunshine

Let’s focus on #2.

What we eat (or don’t eat) in the morning is crucial. Failure to eat the right energy-sustaining foods in the morning could cause us to eat rather draining foods later on (chinese food for lunch? otay). On the same token, having a big meal in the morning can weigh us down (literally).

So it is my belief (and this jives with the evolutionary perspective) that we were meant to go light or fast in the morning.

Before I get the “I must have my  8 eggs and 2 slices of toast to start my day” rant, let me state this:

WE ARE CONTINUALLY REAFFIRMING OUR CURRENT PROGRAMMING OR IN THE PROCESS OF REPROGRAMMING OURSELVES.

So the more we eat in the morning, the more we build the habit and the cravings. It doesn’t mean this is the best way to eat or how we should eat, it just means this is how we programmed ourself to eat. To know if this is the best way, we must experiment with other techniques.

Note: Building a new eating habit takes work but it’s the only way to know, really, how great your diet is.

THE GREAT MORNING

THE GREAT MORNING

So the first thing we should do after we wake up (and go to the bathroom), is drink a lot of water. We just went 8 hrs without liquids and we are more than dehydrated.

Next, start making your “breakfast”.

This consists of 2 parts.

Part 1: If you plan on exercising or have a manual labor job, I recommend coffee. If you are more sedentary, I advise weaker coffee or going the hot coco route. Personally, I tend to make a hot little mixture over the stove of some coffee, some baking coco, stevia for sweetener , and half and half for flavor.

Why caffeine?

Because it gets us going! Caffeine is meant for movement – both for legs and for our bowels. It also breaks down our body fat so we can use it for fuel. On top of that, it can be great for focus and helping us face the to-do list.

Part 2: To your beverage, add 30 grams of the following: Coconut oil and/or pure MCT oil. I buy my coconut oil from Vitacost and the MCTS from Swanson Vitamins.

Why coconut oil?

Not only is this probably the safest/healthiest oil,  but it is also over half MCTS. These MCTS (or medium chained triglycerides) are special in the fact that they do not need enzymes or bile to digest. They can be used for energy almost right away and unlike carbohydrates (which can get stored as fat if we don’t use them), MCTS are almost impossible to store.

So with part 1, we provide a source of energy by unlocking our own fat to use as fuel. But because we can go through this rather quickly, we add in another healthy fat source to keep us energized longer.

It’s light, we don’t have to cook, and because MCTS are so nice to our body, it’s pretty much a liquid fast.

I first learned of this coffee + coconut oil trick from Dave Asprey of Bullet Proof Exec (dot com).  I usually drink 2-3 cups of this mixture in the morning and stop around noon. He suggests making 2 pm your cut off point.

In taste and in energy, coconut oil will only add to your coffee (or coco) experience.

Have a great morning.

BECOME STRONGER NOW (BY REMOVING THESE)

A large focus of this website is on how to accomplish our goals when we are WITHOUT stuff. It’s also about purposely going without this stuff to become stronger (both mentally and physically).

So first up, we have our gloves and shoes. We don’t need them.

More importantly, if we ditch them, we can become stronger.

 

WHY GLOVES SUCK

Strength is largely determined by our ability to generate tension in a muscle. The harder we can contract a muscle the better strength we can demonstrate in that muscle.

Related to this is the Principle of Irradiation:

We can contract a muscle much harder if we also contract the muscles surrounding it.

Gloves mess this up by making our grip weaker/ less tense. This has a domino effect which then makes the surrounding muscles (biceps, chest, core) less tense as well.

Weaker grip = weaker everything else.

My suggestion:  I understand some people (mostly women) will want to use gloves to prevent calluses. This is cool with me, but please don’t disrespect the Iron lord. When you go for maximal lifts, take them off so you don’t have to leave tonnage on the floor. And if your grip is sweaty and slipping, use chalk instead.

 

WHY SHOES SUCK

The average tennis shoe causes our foot to slope forward, putting us on our toes. This can lead to bad posture as it becomes easy for our knees to slide forward. If we are deadlifting, squatting, and overhead pressing, we need to be able to sit back. For this, we need to be on our heals.

On top of that, most shoes have a squishy sole. Strength loves hard, dense matter. Things that are not “hard”, however, tend to dissipate force. So just like we could jump higher on concrete rather than in a sand pit, we lift more weight when we remove our shoes (because there is less stuff in the way to dissipate the force).

My suggestion: If you have to wear shoes, buy ones that don’t have such a thick sole and that much material such as Chuck Taylors, wrestling shoes, Nike Frees and Vibrams. Also, if you train at home, lift in your kitchen and not your carpeted living room (it dissipates your awesomeness).

If you follow these recommendations, it won’t just be some small barely noticeable increase in numbers. No, you’ll probably set a personal record. Many times I’ve had clients go up 30 lbs in deadlift in one session by removing their shoes. And many more have set records by removing their gloves.

It makes a phenomenal difference.

Try it out.

THE STORY OF WAG (AND WHY YOU’RE HERE)

[ SHIT HAPPENS ]

We go broke. We get sick. We get hurt. We move. We get depressed. We go on vacation. We have kids. We get sick again. We move again (this time to a town that doesn’t have a gym). We lose the motivation (for the hundredth time)….

In short, life throws some wicked curveballs.

If you’ve never been taught how to hit these, relying on gyms to reach your goals and stay in shape will be futile (remember: shit happens). Along the same token, the same will be true of depending on doctors, physios, nutritionists, and a host of other wellness professionals to ensure we are healthy.

With this blog, we are going to show you how to take the power back.

Your brain, your body, your responsibility – let’s do this.

 

WHAT WAG IS ALL ABOUT

 

Hey, what’s up? I’m Levi Clampitt, the founder of Without A Gym, and if you ever asked yourself:

  • “How can I motivate myself to workout?”
  • “How can I lose fat, build muscle, and get stronger without a gym?”
  • “How can I easily set up my own diet that I can follow pretty much forever?”
  • “How can I create the habit, get it to stick, and actually like exercising (or any other activity)?”
  • “How can I learn how to fix my own pain and injuries (without spending a fortune)?”
  • “How can I build my own home gym without it taking up a ton of space?”

…then you’re in the RIGHT place!

 

 HOW WAG WILL HELP YOU

(When Others Can’t)

Let’s be honest.

Many of our problems we face today are not real. Lack of money, time, energy, knowledge — it’s all in our heads. In fact, the only real problem we may have is of lack of belief.

We believe less in our own strength and creativeness yet more into the ideas that we need certain things to be successful. No where is this truer than with exercise and fitness. Because of assumptions like “I must workout 5 hours a week” or “I need a gym to be in shape”,  many of us never get started in the first place.

It doesn’t matter if these are factually right or wrong statements, what matters is what we believe.

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.”- Henry Ford

WAG is not here not to add to the confusion, but to get you to challenge your current beliefs.

Our posts are short for a reason: To fuel your action.

What we need is not more mind, but less.

It’s time we thought with our body.

 

ABOUT LEVI CLAMPITT

Without A Gym was founded by Levi Clampitt while working nearly endless days and hours in the Bakkan oil field.

After many years of personal training, he finally had a dose of what his client’s go through ( lack of time, energy, gym, etc.). With this new insight, he is now able to deliver practical advice and some key psychological techniques on how to overcome these obstacles.

You’ll find that his approach to fitness is effective. Having developed it over the past decade, it has helped him build a few wildly popular communities (including The Funk and WAG Nation).

More specifically, he believes in hacking our own innate desires and surrounding environment so that we are able to do the things we must (like exercise).

If you want to learn some of the tactics he uses, all you have to do is enter your email below and click “subscribe!”

SCHOOL OF HARD BODIES (AND SOFTER MINDS)

[ CLASS OF 2014 ]

WAG. U  is now in session.

We are currently accepting applicants (teams of 3 people or more) to join the WAG roster and add to our diversity.

More specifically:

  • One group of intermediate to advanced guys
  • One group of ladies in the 20 – 30 (ish) age range
  • One group of ladies in the 40 – 60 age range
  • And one co-ed group such as a husband and wife team

Course length

12 weeks

Admission

$19.99/wk

Our objective

Simply, we want to teach you how to dominate your fitness goals without a gym (and without many other conventional things we’ve been taught we need).

Course outline

You will learn how to:

  1. Nail any habit (including exercise and healthy eating).
  2. Find which exercises and foods are best for YOU (and which ones aren’t).
  3. Set up a sustainable program for your goal.
  4. Hack your environment so that you are able to do the things you must (even when you don’t want to).
  5. Get the most bang for your buck (i.e. high results, low investment) and learn what you should invest in when that time comes.
  6. Troubleshoot injuries and pain (without a doctor) and how to work through them if you must.
  7. And much more…

WHAT CHANGE LOOKS LIKE

For the past 5 or so years, a large interest of mine has become human psychology. More specifically, the psychology of persuasion.

The questions I find myself asking over and over are:

  1.  How can I persuade myself to stick to behaviors I “know” I should do?
  2. And how can I persuade other people to do the same?

Now, I am not a talker. Nor am I an in-your-face preacher. And if I think YOU should do something a different way, I am probably not going to tell you about it (unless you show me you are open to critique).

I am like this because 1) I don’t have all the pieces so I could be wrong and 2)  it doesn’t work.

The fact is, we don’t like to be told what to do.

It seems like we forget this, however, when we want to influence and help out others. We think if we just tell them how to do it or tell them why they should do it, than they will logically choose to do it.

If only…  (we weren’t so emotional)

Even when it is good advice and we know it, we still want to rebel against it. When people tell us what to do (without us asking), following their direction leaves us feeling like we have less control/power over our own lives.

In short, it leaves us feeling like children.

So please, don’t tell people what to do (Mom and Dad).

And if you are trying to influence someone (including yourself), do some homework.

Here is what’s worked for me.

WHAT WORKS

What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

You want to help someone change?

Show them what change looks like. Show them what a healthy diet can do. Show them what exercise can do. Show them what dedication and commitment can do.

If and when they inquire, keep it simple. Assure them what you are doing/have done is nothing extreme (it’s all pretty basic anyways) and is something that every one of us can do with proper planning and training (ie, so pretty much don’t scare them away).

Show them love, support, and positivity.

In the end, we want people thinking, “If he/she achieved it, then so can I!” and not have them making justifications for our achievements ( “They are obviously privileged…“)

Note: You can’t influence everyone directly. Still, there will be people who will not able to relate to your change experience due to differences in age, sex, and background. Thankfully, however, you can [in a non intrusive way] lead these people to the experiences and people they will be able to relate to.

She is going to be able to influence way more grandmas than I will ever be able to.

You want to help yourself change?

At the root of this inability to change is, most-often, fear (regardless what the surface manifestation is). To help ease this fear, we look towards others who have done what we want to do.

We want people who had the same tools of us (or less) and already achieved what our goal is.

Yes, we want to know how they did it, but really, we are looking for support for the belief that what we want to achieve is possible.

The more belief we can get, the more we feel inspired to pursue.

The reason this is, is because a large chunk of our fears is wrapped up in “wasting time“. Because we are going to die, the life we have left is extremely valuable. Makes sense then that we want to spend it doing things that are pleasurable and fruitful.

For the average person, this means staying away from things that have a low success rate and/or painful.

So the key to change is really reversing this.

To influence ourselves, find ways to make our desired behavior fun and the end outcome more plausible.

This starts with finding the right “inspirational” people.

Note: These people will not eliminate fear (only action will), but they will take away some of the sting.

This “looking to others for inspiration” idea above is based on the SEE – FEEL – CHANGE model.

Basically it equates to this:

See something which accidentally or intentionally provokes an emotion, feel the emotion intensely, and as a result change an opinion or behavior.

When we see a recent picture of ourselves and we see how out of shape we have become, we are utilizing this.

This works.

Counter to this, is the ANALYZE – THINK – CHANGE model that is all head and no heart, and often fails to motivate people to recognize the importance of a given problem. Because it doesn’t feel real, it’s too easily forgotten or ignored.

Here, check out this fact sheet on obesity or the cost of (insert whatever). Pretty shocking, right?”

Not really.

What would be shocking is seeing that exact same amount of money piled up.  Then it becomes real. And with that, comes remembrance.

Inspirational quotes and photos? Both suffer from the same problem. Words alone will rarely get the people going and photos only work if they are relatable.

In the end, we need to see it.

If we want to quit a behavior or adopt one, a great place to start is through finding others who have done the same.

Let’s find out what it LOOKED like.

ps – this idea is from the book Switch: How To Change Things When Change Is Hard. Possible homework?  :)