Jim T’s Journey – Week 11
“This blog shows how far Jim has come as he’s thinking outside the box and has the ability to sort the good from the bad when it comes to the barrage of information that us city dwelling men have to put up. I see the media as the sewer pipe to our idilic ocean as it pumps out gallons of utter shite into our personal space and we have to do all we can to avoid the worst of it and try to find anything of worth within the deluge. Taking the DoDo diet for example, it is based on some well founded truths that we can learn from but in an attempt to become the next “big thing”, like the Atkins, Dukan or South beach diets, it has bastardised itself to please the medias demand to make it more “current” or “sexier”! Media has made it “healthy” to eat chocolate or biscuits for breakfast and have convinced us that its okay to pump a good food with chemicals if they put a skinny girl on the front and call it fat free.
Take Jim’s example and take anything you hear regarding health and fitness with a pinch of salt (actually use the whole pot).
Another great Jim T publication lies below so have a read and soak up the info. Also look at his first few blogs to see how his mindset has changed .”
So I had read about this Dodo Diet, where you fast for 2 days out of 7, in one of the daily free newspapers, and went to the gym full of righteous indignation the next day to discuss the ludicrousness of such a diet with Tim. I have found that I can buy some time between sets if I can engage Tim in some kind of fitness debate. It’s totally transparent and he only lets me get away with it now and again, but it can prove a life-saver between supersets, especially those involving squats or dead lifts!
Anyway, I go have a rant, await confirmation that fasting is stupid, when Tim goes “Actually there’s quite a lot of evidence that it is good for you. I’m actually trying it myself ”… Eh?! ¿Hablas inglés?, Parlez-vous anglais?, Sprechen zie Englisch? I almost spat my fish oil supplement that I washing down with a nice cup of green tea all over the Trap-bar! Surely this diet goes against the very core EoM philosophy, where it’s when and what you eat that makes the difference, and where over-dieting is discouraged as it can eat into lean muscle. Like I said in week 2, this was the only programme where I had been encouraged to eat MORE, not less. But as is often the case there was method in Tim’s madness, (yes I am beginning to think Tim is a bit mental. He told me about an Olympic lifting weekend he went on and you have to be off your rocker to spend 8 hours a day for 2 days doing that), and it seems there are indeed quite a lot of benefits to intermittent fasting, although NONE of these where apparent in the article I read. Now I don’t want to go criticising the opinion of a professional journalist, this isn’t ‘Points of View’, but the gist of the article seemed to attribute the popularity of this diet to the fact that it allowed busy City folk to maintain an ‘unhealthy’ lifestyle.
Don’t get me wrong – this lifestyle is totally understandable. We’ve all done 14 hours on the coalface between early morning starts and client entertaining, but saying you can grab some fried chicken as its one of your ‘off days’ and still ‘drop a dress size’ just doesn’t sound kosher. To clarify, according to this article ‘off days’ are when you only eat 500-600 calories and the rest you can ‘eat what you like’!? I am sure you can see why alarm bells started ringing. But the fact remains that this diet is becoming very popular in the City. I have several friends on it, and it does seem to work. So maybe there is something in it. But is it just a case of calorific restriction? I figured that if your average guy is eating 1800 calories a day, then that’s 12,600 a week and you reduce that to 10,200, then sure your gonna lose a few pounds, but is there anything more to it than that?
A lot of friends have bandied about that’s its “more like when we were cavemen, feast and famine” and it turns out they were right… kind of.
The Science(ish) Part.
Now I freely confess that a lot of this has been cribbed off Tim and some useful sites that he directed me to. If any of it doesn’t make sense or I am too broad stroke then I direct you back to the big guy (that’s Tim not God) for additional information.
There are 3 major factors going on when you fast intermediately:
1. It lowers the level of insulin in the body. Insulin inhibits lipolysis, which is when the body releases body fat as energy. High insulin levels are a by-product of having far too much glucose in our diets, from cereals to Mars bars,
but with no calories to burn from food the body has to turn to its reserves, and in doing so lowers the level of insulin in the body – a result of which is increased insulin sensitivity, which is a key aspect in the early stages of the EoMdiet plan (check blogs week 1 and 2).
2. Growth hormone production in the body is increased, due to it’s fantastic fat burning qualities, with one study showing an increase of 2000% in a male subject after just 24hours of fasting. In week 7 I found out all about growth hormone when I started doing ‘Time-under-tension’ supersets, and the major gains you get in, well, muscle growth!
3. Fasting increases the catecholamines, both adrenaline (epinephrine) and noradrenalin (norepinephrine). Catecholamines increase energy consumption during resting periods, which in a fasting state means fat, which was one of the key benefits of taking of taking Carnitine, which is one of the supplements I have been taking recently
OK I know what your thinking, insulin sensitivity, growth hormone, resting metabolic increase… this is beginning to sound very EoM right?
The Classic Trap
So I’m on board. Done properly (drinking plenty of water, making sure you get plenty of sleep, reducing your carb intake in the first 3 weeks before starting so your body is already used to converting fat into energy) this fasting thing seems like a total winner. I had even started working out a fasting diary so I could get the most out of my new early morning training, and then it hit me: In the last month I have been adding and tweaking and changing little details in my diet, as I have got closer to the finish line, I guess in an attempt to beat my target goals. Inadvertently, I had fallen into that classic trap of trying to find a short cut, and it wasn’t like Tim had recommended or even suggested that I try out this fasting thing, I’d just sort of gone for it. If I have taken one thing from the EoM experience, it is that are no short cuts!
It’s not all bad though, and on one level I think it’s a good thing. Over the last 11 weeks I have grown in confidence. I know the foundation of a good exercise routine – large muscles first, alternate supersets and work down to the small muscles, always fully extend and don’t cheat reps. I’m also much more aware of the impact of food, not just what you eat but when and why, so it’s only natural that I’m gonna start experimenting with exercises and aspects of my diet. Problem with that is there’s a LOT of information out there and a lot of ‘experts’. Even if they agree on core points, you have so many variations that you can end up in some kind of fitness paralysis, not knowing what’s a good idea and what’s not. This is where I have felt the real benefit of working with Tim over the last 11 weeks. Having someone who actually knows what they are talking about, who I trust and who has really helped me understand fitness (as opposed to just getting me fit) has been a really fantastic experience. One of the EoM promises is that you will end up being your own Personal Trainer. I don’t think I quite there yet, but I am a lot bloody closer than I was.