Welcome to Sunday everyone. Cheers (as always) to everyone who got into the gym to train with us in the last week. I am really pleased with the continued progression of the boxing sessions as we continue to add more of the ‘old stuff’ into the ‘new format’. We are still coming up with a brand new session every day, trying to ‘roll’ between barbells, dumbbells and kettlebells and switching up the cardio challenges…the half-bin-runs are slowly coming back, multi-cardio days are coming, sleds shouldn’t be far away…we are ‘getting there’ I guess. As for the strength stuff, well, the programming change of gears has been working well, I love the fact that we ‘metcon’ every day and the ‘short-term’ nature of each training cycle…currently we are in ‘Back Squat’ and ‘Power Clean’ mode, last month was all front squats and bench press…next month? Who knows!
A few years ago I headed off on a strength and conditioning course (a pretty good one as it turned out) and one of the ongoing themes of the weekend was “you have to stress to progress”. I guess the principle is pretty simple – if you do the same thing every day, you are going to get better at ‘that’…but you aren’t really going to get better. In the strength classes, we try to achieve that through our programming AND providing the SugarWOD app to allow people to continue tracking their performance (and increasing their weights). With boxing, we try through changing up the classes every day and ‘encouraging’ everyone to change their cardio EVERY DAY. With the weights used though, to be honest we largely leave that up to you…and depend on continually changing the exercises to create the ‘stress’. BUT – if you started with a pink kettlebell and 6-months later you still have a kettlebell, well, maybe grab an orange one tomorrow.
What got me on this ‘stress to progress’ summary? I’ll tell you – diet questions. And specifically, questions about intermittent fasting. Now, that might seem a weird but the more I have been looking into it and the more I read, the more I think it is the food equivalent of ‘you have to STRESS to PROGRESS’. I guess what I am saying is that if intermittent fasting offers benefits in terms of ‘weight loss’, those benefits come from you creating ‘just a little bit’ of stress over and over again (like, every day) to force your body to make a change.
What does that look like? Well, for most people being just a ‘little bit’ hungry for a ‘little bit of time’ most days would be going without food for 12-13 hours. Now, for those people out there who miss breakfast every day and are saying “Phooey, I don’t eat for 16-18 hours and I feel fine”, well, that isn’t the same. Your metabolism has been TRAINED BY YOU to not expect food for 16-18 hours…so you don’t feel hungry. And the side effect of this is probably that your body is ‘holding’ it’s calories and you are not losing weight despite following what is in essence an intermittent fasting plan…but all of that is another story and a story for another day!
IF (intermittent fasting) for most people would mean having dinner around 6-7pm and breakfast around 8-9am’ish…or creating in your body a ‘little bit’ of hunger – sort of the ‘food’ equivalent of a gym session or a 5km run. If you wanted to ‘SHOCK’ your body with a full-day fast, well, I’m not going to recommend that. That would be like running a marathon – but without training! If you want to do something like that (a full-day fast) then I would strongly suggest you talk to a dietitian to get some help and coaching to ‘build up’ to that (if it is even a good idea in the first place which I can’t find any evidence of).
A 12-13 hour fast should be a pretty manageable approach – and it should be one where your body is getting a ‘little bit’ of stress WITHOUT compromising your mood (grumpy, short-tempered, “hangry”) or your performance in the gym/at work etc. I mean, like your gym sessions, you want any “IF” you attempt to be ‘challenging’, but not so challenging that you are suffering the after effects for a few days – resorting to binge eating or over-eating poorly chosen foods to overcome hunger…which to me is putting you on the path to an eating disorder (of sorts).
Intermittent fast really is a method of reducing calories/controlling calories. Other benefits? Well, there are some studies out there that “HINT” at benefits but nothing concrete I have been able to find. Basically, if you want to do it and find benefits – great…but please follow the ‘stress to progress’ strategy of making it ‘hard – but not TOO hard’. Be a ‘little bit hungry’ each day – rather than STARVING HUNGRY once every couple of weeks. Like a good training programme, you want to challenge the body to adapt SLOWLY over time as part of a consistent training program…you don’t want to do nothing for a week, then try to squat 200kgs the next, then take another week off before running from Gateways to Coogee beach. Slow and steady progress is the secret to long term results.
Me? I’m going to stick with a pretty simple eating plan – breakfast, lunch and dinner with a piece of fruit in between. I’m going to eat pretty liberally when it comes to fresh meat, fish and veggies – and try to take it easy when it comes to bread, pasta and anything that has been ‘produced’…
See you in the gym,
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