If you haven’t realized already: The SHJ Army utilizes intermittent fasting.
We’ve talked about it numerous times before, and now I’m here to expand on it.
Hopefully you’re here too and I’m not just talking to myself…
Some other articles that intermittent fasting has shown up in:
- Terry Crews and his intermittent fasting/workout
- Hugh Jackman and intermittent fasting
- Intermittent Fasting tutorial and infographic
- SuperHuman Fuel (coffee/tea) to make intermittent fasting easier
And, of course, more places than just that – but these are the best and main places to view it (aside from this article obviously…).
We know there are tons of different options for fasting, and mainly I just cover the specific format we like to utilize here at Superhero Jacked.
In this article, however, I think it’s important to cover all the bases and talk about all different formats of intermittent fasting.
That’s right people, we’re even going to talk about the unthinkable for some of you: fasting for a full day or longer!
But wait…What the HECK is Intermittent Fasting?
Seriously… What is intermittent fasting?
That’s probably a good place to start.
Let’s break it down a bit first before we get ahead of ourselves.
The definition Google gives us for intermittent is:
occurring at irregular intervals; not continuous or steady.
And the definition Lord Google gives us for fast is:
abstain from all or some kinds of food or drink, especially as a religious observance.
Leaving us with what Wikipedia tells us intermittent fasting is:
is an umbrella term for various diets that cycle between a period of fasting and non-fasting.
Alright, c’mon that was a pretty sweet jab, jab, hook…eh?
A nice Google, Google, Wiki, combo?
Whatever, I’m sure Coach Derek would think so.
But let me sum it up for you even more:
Intermittent fasting is when we make a conscious effort to stop eating for a specific period of time, starting and stopping between our eating and non-eating windows in order to manipulate our dieting cycle. This leaves us with health benefits and other factors that prove to be great for our overall physique as well.
Did you just have an ah ha moment?
Because that would be awesome if I made that happen…
The Different Formats of Intermittent Fasting
There are some simple different variations of intermittent fasting that are all being utilized to great success.
The differences between them are what make certain people choose one over the other, though.
Lets take a look:
- The type of “short-term” fasting we normally utilize at Superhero Jacked:
- These fasts normally last between the 16-18 hour range, with a 6-8 hour eating window.
- This is what we’ve seen guys like Hugh Jackman and Terry Crews utilize.
- We have an infographic made of my actual fasting period/schedule here.
- The “one large meal” fasts (slightly longer):
- These fast periods generally last 20+ hours and revolve around one large meal per day.
- The fasting window is large (like I said 20+ hours) and the eating window is very small; generally 1-4 hours.
- The full day fasts:
- These fasts are for a full 24+ hour time span.
- Generally people do this once, or sometimes even twice a week, and they last 24+ hours.
These have all proven to be effective methods, but have their own specific drawbacks as well. Through my own experimentation I find that I can easily use the first and second method, but the third (full day fast) generally isn’t sustainable for me.
And we know sustainability is absolutely crucial! Without sustainability is it really a diet? And, is it really going to get you to your goal? Maybe, but it won’t last!
That’s one of the reasons I stick to teaching and utilizing the first method for SHJ. I don’t expect everyone to be able to fast for longer than a 16-18 hour range. I even like to get some people started with 14-15 hour range marks sometimes as well. And, of course, we also have our SuperHuman Fuel which is an amazing kicker and starting point!
What can I eat and drink during my fast?
Ah, yes, I’m sure this is the first question you have.
Before what it actually does to your body, right? Maybe not, but lets go through it anyway.
What you CAN and CANNOT eat/drink during your fast is pretty simple.
What you CAN eat/drink:
- Black coffee
- Zero calorie drinks
- Club soda and other zero calorie carbonated drinks
What you CANNOT eat/drink:
- Everything else…
- Anything with calories
- This includes:
Special Exception is an Intermittent KETO Fast:
You CAN have butter/coconut oil during this period. This is great for beginners, and it will help satiate you.
This is the method we utilize when we drink our SuperHuman Fuel. We also saw/heard Terry Crews utilize coconut oil during some of his fasting periods as well.
Keto fasting is still the same type of guidelines as a basic intermittent fast, but it revolves around your body going in and out of ketosis. We also are able to utilize other forms of dieting methods we’ve talked about in the past, like cyclical ketosis.
FUN FACT: We also know that Hugh Jackman got his diet from Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and follows intermittent fasting the same way we do – using it to bulk up while staying lean for Wolverine!
**Skip to about 1:45 of this video**
How does intermittent fasting work – and what does it do?
In order to explain how intermittent fasting works, we’re first going to have to explain how our body utilizes energy.
When you eat food, regardless of what it is, your body is going to try use that as a source of energy. Everything you ingest is fuel for your body, just some things effect it differently.
Okay here’s where it gets fun though….
Pay attention, because this part is important:
If you eat too many unused calories, your body stores the extra as fat.
Similarly, if you don’t have enough calories, but you need energy, your body uses the excess fat storage as energy.
So, when we’re eating all day long as opposed to an intermittent fast, we’re apparently giving our body the fuel it needs to get the job done. But, if we are fasting all day, our body needs to find a way to react and find energy elsewhere. That’s why intermittent fasting is great for fat burning. Our body will look to our excess fat storage as a way to find the energy we need to get us through our fasts.
This is another reason we’re able to utilize intermittent keto fasting at SHJ. Ketosis is another diet that allows us to focus on fat loss, so it’s great for beginners to get started on fasting and increased fat burning! I lost over 50 lbs using it!
But now I’m sure you want to know what else intermittent fasting does for you, right?
Good, because it gets better.
Here’s what Precision Nutrition tells us about the other benefits of intermittent fasting:
- blood lipids (including decreased triglycerides and LDL cholesterol)
- blood pressure (perhaps through changes in sympathetic/parasympathetic activity)
- markers of inflammation (including CRP<, IL-6, TNF, BDNF, and more)
- oxidative stress (using markers of protein, lipid, and DNA damage)
- risk of cancer (through a host of proposed mechanisms; we’ll save them for another review)
- cellular turnover and repair (called autophagocytosis)
- fat burning (increase in fatty acid oxidation later in the fast)
- growth hormone release later in the fast (hormonally mediated)
- metabolic rate later in the fast (stimulated by epinephrine and norepinephrine release)
- appetite control (perhaps through changes in PPY and ghrelin)
- blood sugar control (by lowering blood glucose and increasing insulin sensitivity)
- cardiovascular function (by offering protection against ischemic injury to the heart>
- effectiveness of chemotherapy (by allowing for higher doses more frequently)
- neurogenesis and neuronal plasticity (by offering protection against neurotoxins)
Let’s just pull some of that out: Increased fat burning, growth hormone release and metabolic rate while also improving my appetite and blood sugar control, and cardiovascular function.
Uh, yes please!
I’ll take it all, but if just that sentence alone didn’t sell you I’m not sure what will!
Can I use intermittent fasting to lose fat, AND gain muscle? What about keep fat off while gaining weight and muscle?
Oh hell to the yes!
That means hell yes by the way.
This is the awesome part about intermittent fasting. It works so well because the biggest portion of it is its inherent focus on FAT LOSS. The stuff we want to lose most!
That’s exactly why Hugh Jackman used it so well in order to get in shape for Wolverine.
He was able to eat 4000-5000 calories a day, within his un-fasted window, in order to BULK, while still cutting off that unwanted fat.
Yes, that means you could use this to lose weight, gain weight, lose fat, tone, or just about any other awesomeness you need in your SuperHuman transformation.
We already talked about how it works, but I wanted to point out this fact anyways.
The great thing about this entire subject is that we’re also able to manipulate what we eat within our un-fasted window. This gives us the ability to choose a diet that works for mass gain, weight loss, or any other goal that we have outside of the actual intermittent fasting.
At Superhero Jacked we talk about other diets like Paleo, Nordic, Mediterranean, Vegan/Vegetarian, and Calorie Counting. These are all great to combine with intermittent fasting in order to further take our diets to the next level, and help achieve our goals.
Can I workout fasted?
I workout fasted every single day. I’ve even experimented with working out after 24+ hour fasting periods and I’ve had more success and energy training than I did during a regular eating schedule workout.
Don’t believe me?
Tim Ferriss did a podcast interview titled “Dom D’Agostino on Fasting, Ketosis, and the End of Cancer” in which Dom talks about his training fasted experiments.
“Dr. Dominic “Dom” D’Agostino (@DominicDAgosti2) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology at the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine, and a Senior Research Scientist at the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC).
And, Ferriss tells us that he (Dr. Dom): “has also deadlifted 500 pounds for 10 reps after a seven-day fast.”
I mean, c’mon people! Now it’s not just me spitting out some random words at you. This is some real deal fasting and training basassery…
In a guest article we had by Kyle Hoffman he explains:
Well, now there’s evidence that training fasted increases an important muscle growth indicator called p70s6 kinase. In fact, in this study, participants who trained immediately after sleeping (without any breakfast) had 2x the normal amount of this indicator than those who trained on a full stomach.
Fasted training wins again!
This evidence isn’t that of a long 24+ hour fast, but more-so to show you guys that training fasted is not only possible, but also proven to give amazing results.
Does intermittent fasting effect men and women differently?
You guys are really good at asking questions….
Fasting effects both men and women differently, and for that reason it is smart to incorporate different methods for each.
Precision Nutrition does a good job at explaining the differences. The difference is really what happens with hormones. Here’s one quote that stood out to me:
Even short-term fasting (say, three days) alters hormonal pulses in some women.
There’s even some evidence that missing a single regular meal (while of course not constituting an emergency by itself) can start to put us on alert, perking up our antennae so our bodies are ready to quickly respond to the change in energy intake if it continues.
Maybe this is why certain women do just fine with IF while others run into problems.
I also like the way they say “short-term” as a three day fast….
Well, our 16-18 hour fast must be freakin’ nothing!
But, even if this is true, there are still ways that we can help women who feel that intermittent fasting may be effecting their hormones…or if you just want to play it safe!
Intermittent Fasting Techniques for Women
We’re going to shoot for the same results we’ve talked about, but we want to find them by using a slightly different method. This will allow us to bypass the hormone problem that intermittent fasting can have in some women.
Bulletproof Nutrition (Bulletproof Coffee is what we base SuperHuman Fuel off of) tells us some pretty awesome hacks for women, and we’re going to steal some, but also manipulate them into our own as well.
- Split up the fasting days
- Fast for 3-4 days a week instead of 5-7. I fast for 6-7 days and I’m completely fine, but I suggest 3-4 days for women.
- For example: fast one day, eat breakfast the next, fast the next, eat the next, etc.
- Use SuperHuman Fuel
- SuperHuman Fuel is an awesome way to break into intermittent fasting. Not only that, but it’s also a way to give your body calories to start your day, while still getting the benefits of a fast.
- Add protein to your breakfast the days you’re not fasting
- If you’re going to be splitting up your fasting days, a great way to keep up your dieting goals is to add protein to your mornings. You can do this by simply adding a scoop or two of whey protein to your SuperHuman Fuel, or by merely having a protein shake in its place on your non-fasted days (off days, lets call them).
Utilizing these techniques will help you to avoid any hormonal imbalances that some women can run into when intermittent fasting. Not all women have this issue, but it’s better to be safe than sorry, right?
What are the negatives of intermittent fasting?
There are some negatives of intermittent fasting.
For example, we just talked about the hormonal imbalance that some women can experience. There are ways to avoid that, but it’s only fair if we discuss the other issues as well!
Intermittent Fasting and Stress
I know some members of the SHJ Army are worried about intermittent fasting stressing the body. Which is a warranted worry, of course.
That being said, I want to destress your worries about stress.
I really wanted to say that.
Along with nine other “Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting”, Authority Nutrition tells us that intermittent fasting can actually be good for oxidative stress and inflammation in the body.
Lets steal a quick passage from them:
It involves unstable molecules called free radicals, which react with other important molecules (like protein and DNA) and damage them (15).
The nine others, if you’d like to know before heading over there are:
- Intermittent Fasting Changes The Function of Cells, Genes and Hormones
- Intermittent Fasting Can Help You Lose Weight and Belly Fat
- Intermittent Fasting Can Reduce Insulin Resistance, Lowering Your Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
- Intermittent Fasting May be Beneficial For Heart Health
- Intermittent Fasting Induces Various Cellular Repair Processes
- Intermittent Fasting May Help Prevent Cancer
- Intermittent Fasting is Good For Your Brain
- Intermittent Fasting May Help Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease
- Intermittent Fasting May Extend Your Lifespan, Helping You Live Longer
And they link to the studies to support every single one of these!
That’s what I like to hear.
Before I move on though, I’d like to just point out that through all my research I generally find that fasting for 16-72 hours are considered short-term fasts. For example, we saw Precision Nutrition refer to a 3 day fast as short-term. That being said, it’s when we go LONGER than this that we begin to see the stress levels rise. Thankfully, with the type of intermittent fasting we utilize at Superhero Jacked, we’re not even going to get close to this type of fast that might eventually effect our stress levels to the point where they outweigh the benefits we receive (or even something we need to worry about).
It won’t just automatically do exactly what you want…
Wait a second, what!?
Yes. The next two negatives go hand-in-hand with each-other.
Intermittent fasting will not just automatically make you bulk up, or lose weight. You still have to manipulate the food you ingest to reach your specific goal. That being said, intermittent fasting will “automatically” help you keep the fat off of whichever goal you decide to pursue.
Which leads us to the next point…
You can’t just eat whatever you want because your intermittent fasting…
Awe, you know what!? Boo freakin’ hooo, people!
Nobody said this was just an automatic “let me eat like Jabba the Hutt” diet…
I’ll tell you what, you can eat “whatever you want” as long as you count your caloric intake and macros, but other than that you’re going to need to eat to feed your specific goal.
In The Superhero Academy for example, we have everyone choose their diet, and their workout routine to be specific to their goals. There’s not just a one size fits all diet, because we all have different bodies and goals.
Like I said before, intermittent fasting is great to mix with other diets we’ve talked about at Superhero Jacked.
Final Thoughts and Tips for Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is something that I find extremely sustainable.
Not only that, but intermittent fasting is something that can be very adjustable. I fast every single day 18+ hours and that’s just what works for me. Other people in the Academy utilize 16 hour fasts to great success, while others use SuperHuman Fuel, and even others do 20+ hour fasts.
It’s about finding what type of fasting works for you.
Sometimes the thought of fasting can be scary…
When I first tell some people about the diet they’re immediately a bit confused. They don’t realize that the majority of these hours are going to take place before, and during sleep.
Look at it this way:
You shouldn’t be eating too close to bed anyways, so that’ll give us 3-4 hours.
Then we should be sleeping 7-9 hours, so that leaves us with lets just say 10-12 hours (ish).
Now tack on only 4-6 more and you’re already doing an intermittent fast that leaves you with all the great benefits we discussed.
Easy as that!
For beginners I recommend starting with SuperHuman Fuel and intermittent keto fasting for 14 hours to start for women, and 16 hours to start for men. From there you can work yourself off of needing the coffee/tea, and also to longer fasts if you find they are suited to your needs.
The Superhero Academy utilizes intermittent fasting along with other diets that are broken down into 5+ nutritional classes: Hunter Gatherers, Vikings, Samurais and Monks, Spartans, Minimalists (and more).