My Complete Opinion On Fast Days & Fat Loss…

My Complete Opinion On Fast Days & Fat Loss…
By Vince Del Monte

Just like any other training or diet tool, fast days are simply another tool in your tool box for building your house.

Are fast days necessary to lose fat and “shape” your home?

It depends.

Note: My definition of a fast day is when you do not consume food for a 24 hour period.  You only consume water.

Fast days can be a tremendous addition to a fat loss program for certain individuals and  completely unnecessary for others.

Just like My Complete Opinion On Cheat Days and Fat Loss article, I have zero interest in trying to influence you towards fast days and could care less if you employ the technique.  It’s just one technique of thousands of fat loss techniques to contribute towards a caloric deficit – the determining factor of whether you lose fat or not.

Just like cheat days, I’ve used intermittent fasting (the cool way to say fast days) to  get under 6% body fat and just recently I did not use fast days to get under 5% body fat.

Interesting, once again, eh?

195 lbs & 5.5% Body Fat – 14 Weeks Of Dieting With No Fast Days

Not Sure My Stats – 3 Weeks Of Dieting With Fast Days Every 5th Day!

In five years I’ve never come out with a specific “diet program” per say.  All of my fitness programs simply include meal plans but none of them are tied to a specific style of eating.  I consider my meal plans balanced eating, if you wanted to give it a name.

First off, I have nothing against anyone who has authored a specific style of eating.  In my opinion, it’s often brilliant marketing and at the end of the day, the better the marketing, the more people you can impact (if that person takes action).

My only problem is when people believe a certain style of eating is the “right” way to eat when most of the latest diets are just fads and brilliant marketing exploiting your fears.  The majority of diets are simply sexed up and disguised versions of the simplest fat loss advice – eat less than you burn!

Every latest and greatest diet claims to have found the “magical set of foods” to never eat and the “magical set of foods” to always eat.

Again, I have no emotional attachment to any style diet whether it be a fasting diet, cheat day diet, raw food diet, paleo diet, blood type diet, zero carb diet, vegetarian diet and so forth.  To me, these are all tools to be used to construct my house and depending on what kind of house I’m trying to build and how fast I want to build it, I’ll select the appropriate tool.

I feel sorry for people who have reached the point where they say, “I don’t talk about religion, politics…. or diets!”  People have found their identity in what they eat and don’t eat to the point it has become an emotional topic.  My good friend John Barban put it this way:

“In most cases these diets quickly become like a cult with all of the ugly consequences like becoming socially isolated from other people who are not part of the cult, the development of an elitist attitude about the given way of eating above any other form of eating and a general smugness of it’s followers as they assume they have become ‘enlightened’ to the one and only way to eat.” - John Barban of AdonixIndex.com

The reason I’ll probably never come out with “The Del Monte Diet” (although it has a nice ring to it, eh?) is because I do not rely on one “style” of eating.  I focus on fundamental principles and rules to get results.  Things like:

1. Never eat fat before a workout or after a workout.

2. Never combine fats and carbs.

3. Rely on pre dominantly whole foods and not food products.

4. Rotate your protein and carb sources.

5. Establish a regular meal cadence.

Nothing really sexy to make a best selling diet book, eh?  Fortunately, I’ve discovered it’s the non sexy info that gets you a sexy body!

Note: I’m not a “science guy” and have found that the more science I attempt to read, the more I get confused.

Why? Because Science Guy #1 is actually quite convincing!  He has this study and that study and that study to support his theory.

Then Science Guy #2 comes along and completely disagrees with Science Guy #1 by showing this study and that study and that study to support his theory, which appears equally interesting and convincing!

Before you know it, Science Guy #3 comes along and disagrees with Science Guy #1 and Science Guy #2 and his theory is just as exciting and he has the studies to back it up!

So where does that leave me and you?

In a deep, dark whole!

That’s why I avoid the academic debates and go to the guys who are getting results in the REAL WORLD.

Understand that no person can prove every theory to you beyond a shadow of a doubt.  At some point you need to put your faith in the research and take action and become a believer or non believer based on DOING & EXPERIENCE, not reading about it.

Intermittent fasting is another topic that you can read about until you’re more dazed than confused and you’ll have little intelligence on the method until you actually test it. If you’re interested in learning about the science behind intermittent fasting be sure to pick up Brad Pilon’s book Eat Stop Eat, which dives deep into the science.

The insights you’re about to read were things I learned without knowing much of the science behind the strategy.

12 Insights, From Personal Experience, On Intermittent Fast Days…

1.  I found I was using fast days as a band aid to a bigger problem. For example, I would blow my diet and eat like a glutton on Saturday and rationalize my thoughtless decision to pig out by saying, “I’ll just fast on Sunday.” Fasting is a powerful tool that can be used as “damage control” and to prevent “spillage” but if I had just managed my food choices better on Saturday I would not have to fast all day Sunday.  Thinking you can “fix” a bad food day by slapping a fast day is pretty cool if you do it a few times a year but not a smart or fun habit to do on a regular basis.

2. Not eating for 24 hours is not as bad as you might think. I will admit, after 6-8 hours into my first fast day I thought, “Oh my gosh, I’m gonna die!  This is not healthy.  I’m losing muscle. I’m not going to be able to train. This is so stupid. I need to eat. Oh my gosh, I’m gonna die!” If you have those thoughts, that’s normal.   We’ve been conditioned to believe going extended periods of time will “damage” your metabolism.  If it was possible to “damage” your metabolism, I don’t think I would have achieved 5% body fat in the first picture above because I have done some crazy things with my diet. The coolest thing about not eating for an entire day was to say, “I just fasted for 24 hours!” People looked at me like I was crazy and surprised I had survived the traumatic experience!

3. You wake up 1-2 hours earlier the next day! Your body expands about 70% of your energy each day on digestion.  Imagine not eating for an entire day.  I normally wake up around 7am and after a fast day I will be wide awake around 5 am.  Get ready for a long productive day!

4. After a fast day, you’ll feel mentally tougher and confident to stick to your diet.  When you go an entire day without eating foods you once thought, “I can’t live without…” you build up enormous belief in yourself by feeling victorious.  The feeling of self confidence and achievement about yourself can set the tone for another day of clean eating.  Fasting is a powerful experience makings you mentally tougher to sticking with your diet.  Heck, if you can go 24 hours without eating bad food than why can’t you go a few hours?

5. You discover how much food influences you and your life. I had no idea how much my life revolved around food until I actually made a decision not to eat for 24 hours.  Having fast days identified (stupid) reasons why I ate.  For example, every time I go to the movies I feel compelled to get an extra large bag of buttery popcorn, a big bag of M&M’s and sometimes even New York Fries.  When going to the movies on a fast day I realized that I really didn’t need to eat 2000 plus calories (with over 60 grams of saturated fat) at 10pm at night in one sitting!  I had simply created a bad habit and fast days helped me break that habit.  Every once and awhile I do go crazy at the movies though!

6. Fast days are great to break bad habits.  After returning from a 30 day honeymoon in Europe, I had packed on over 20 pounds of fat from eating too many banana nutella crepes, ice cream, baguettes, pizza and late night multi-course dinners that were always accompanied by a bottle of red wine, sometimes two. When returning to reality, my wife and I needed to find our bodies buried under all this fat and knew once a week fast days for a month would mentally get us back on track.  Once we got dialed into our diets and lifestyle, we dropped the fast days.  They were simply a tool to create some positive momentum in our life and break some bad habits.

7. Fast days will accelerate your fat loss. It’s not rocket science.  Eating 6 days a week instead of 7 days a week will increase your chances of being in a caloric deficit, the primary mechanism behind fat loss. You also burn fat instead of sugar.  When you eat your body burns the sugar first, fat second.  When you fast, your body has little option but to use stored body fat for energy.

8. Fast days are not ideal for physique athletes. If you hired me to get you ready for a photo shoot or absolutely shredded, there is a 90% chance we will not use fast days during your prep.  My guess is that you’ll probably never see bodybuilders or fitness models employing this technique either.  I would prefer to see you manage your calories without any extreme swings in the week.  Plus, physique athletes are often times doing body part training and there is no body part (even my strong ones) that I would want to train in a fasted state.  Plus, I’m training over 14 hours a week and I only take 1 rest day – Sunday.  How in the world will my muscles and other systems recover without eating anything on the day I’m supposed to recover?

9. Fasting can help prevent spillage during a bulking program for skinny guys. Again, we’re using fasting as a band aid but many skinny guys tend to pack on more fat than muscle while bulking up and having a planned fast day once every month or two times a month can help prevent the fat going too high.

10. My favourite time to fast is from 6pm Sunday night till Tuesday morning. That’s actually 36 hours in total and that’s what I consider a true fast.  Fasting from 6pm Sunday till 6pm Monday is easy.  Anybody can do that. If you’re going to fast I recommend doing the 36 hour version.

11. Fast days are great to schedule on days you’re super busy. I’ll admit.  I’ve abused the use of fast days by planning one on a busy work day because I’m just too lazy to cook that day.  Don’t get me wrong, you get an enormous amount of work done considering you don’t have to cook, eat or clean!

12. Fast days combined with exercise are a deadly weapon for losing fat. If you have more than 25 pounds of fat to lose than this one is for you.  If you’re already lean than I wouldn’t mess around with this, it’s not worth it and not necessary.  My good friend, Joel Marion, employs fast days while training not once, or twice but sometimes even three times a day during a fast day.  Very, very hardcore and he recently did this successfully to drop over 40 pounds of fat in less than 12 weeks!  He told me about this method 1.5 years ago and I took him up on his challenge and fasted every 5th day while training twice a day in a fasted state.  I did that for three weeks before my trip to Punta Cana where I took that 2nd picture above and learned a lot from the experience.

Conclusion

You can never put one method of fat loss under a microscope without looking at the context it’s being applied. As you can see above, every time I warranted fast days, there was a different goal or unique situation behind it’s usage.  That’s how you should make your decisions.  Does it make sense for my goals and for right now?

And as always, make your opinions based on ACTION and EXPERIENCE.  Not what you might think will happen or what someone else told you should happen.  Your a human being and allowed to make your own decisions, even when it comes to diet and training.  How refreshing, eh?

Understand what the tool can or should be used for and if that tool makes sense in helping you build your house, hammer away.  If not, pick up a different tool.

Comments or Questions or Experiences with Fast Days?  Share your voice below!


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