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Medium-Term Fast Workouts & Experiences

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  • Medium-Term Fast Workouts & Experiences

    I normally eat once a day in the evening and it works well for me. I've done 48-hour fasts before, but decided to turn an impromptu 48-hour fast into a longer term once. I last ate Monday evening and it's 5PM Friday, so that's about 4 days now. I've been riding my bike 30 minutes each way to work and back and have done two strength training workouts. I'm wondering what the effects of doing a workout and not eating for a day+ after are.

    My experience with the fast has been interesting. Let me start by saying that I'm in good health and I assume fat-adapted. The first day was like any other and the second was too. On day 3, I felt amazing. I felt incredible energy and focus. I was extremely productive all day. I was what I can best describe as "on edge," but in a good way. I felt very alert and ready to spring to action.

    Today (day 4), I feel very different. I don't feel bad, per se. I still feel energy, but it's mixed with a sort of weariness. Yesterday felt sort of "fight or flight-y". Today feels like my body and mind are settling into the long haul. My heart rate is slightly elevated (60 bpm) but it feels like it's 20% to beating out of my chest. Not in a bad way. Interesting.

    I did my reverse hyperextension workout yesterday and set a PR and my dips workout the day before. I do notice that my chest and shoulders are sore which they normally aren't. Too early to see whether my hamstrings and lower back will be sore from yesterday. It's been a little bit harder to fall asleep, but not by much. I normally fall asleep instantly and the last two days, I've spent maybe 20 minutes lying in bed (well, the floor... another recent experiment).

    I'll probably eat tonight. I think I'll have some bone broth when I get home in a few hours and probably a medium big ass salad with some eggs maybe later on with my wife. Considering going for a run first when I get home to see how that feels fasted. I'm enjoying this experiment and I will probably continue to do longer fasts and add a day onto each one until I feel bad. Right now, my body is telling me that I'm good to go for a lot longer, but I've had a long week and I'll save the 5-day fast for a workweek.

    What are your experiences with longer fasts? What happens when you do strength training and don't eat for multiple days following? Atrophy? Some sort of boost once you do eat?

    Edit: Oh, I'm also going to test my blood glucose when I get home. That'll be interesting. It's normally in the 60-70 range if I recall correctly. I was tracking it for a while but got bored.
    Last edited by Artiepoo; 03-17-2017, 03:16 PM.

  • #2
    Wow, that sounds a bit extreme in my ears to fast that many days and be so active... you must carry some extra fat to be able to pull that off without getting dizzy and fatigued? I have only tried it for 24 hours at a time.

    Fasting makes adrenaline rise, so that is probably why you feel more alert and your heart beats faster. What about your metabolism, won't it be lowered after multiple days of fasting?
    Take a walk on the wild side.

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    • #3
      Human Growth Hormone skyrockets with fasting after 24-48 hours (or something like that), upwards of like 2000%. So it's somewhat of well kept secret to workout in that type of a fasted state. The interesting thing though is, upon feeding after an extended fast, Testosterone skyrockets. This tells me that it's best to workout at the end of the fast, then refeed directly after for the best results.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by ToldUzo View Post
        Wow, that sounds a bit extreme in my ears to fast that many days and be so active... you must carry some extra fat to be able to pull that off without getting dizzy and fatigued? I have only tried it for 24 hours at a time.

        Fasting makes adrenaline rise, so that is probably why you feel more alert and your heart beats faster. What about your metabolism, won't it be lowered after multiple days of fasting?
        I'm 6' 160lbs and in great shape. Humans can fast for long, long periods of time. A person like me in good shape should be able to go about a month. The record is a medically-supervised one-year fast. Guy lost like 250lbs sitting in a hospital bed.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Artiepoo View Post

          I'm 6' 160lbs and in great shape. Humans can fast for long, long periods of time. A person like me in good shape should be able to go about a month. The record is a medically-supervised one-year fast. Guy lost like 250lbs sitting in a hospital bed.
          Humans have survived long periods of time without food, but I am pretty sure that it is not optimal for health. I don't know what the dose-response curves for various health markers look like, but I would bet that most of the benefit is achieved within a couple of days.
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          • #6
            Originally posted by sharperhawk View Post

            Humans have survived long periods of time without food, but I am pretty sure that it is not optimal for health. I don't know what the dose-response curves for various health markers look like, but I would bet that most of the benefit is achieved within a couple of days.
            Nope, longer term fasts have massive health benefits. The one I'm most interested in is autophagy.
            I'm also a strong believer in doing uncomfortable things. I go running in 25 degree weather in just shorts for the same reason.

            http://tim.blog/2015/11/03/dominic-dagostino/

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            • #7
              Yes extended fasts have huge health benefits provided you are not undernourished or severely underweight to start out.

              We tend to retain lean mass better during fasts than during hypocaloric dieting. Our metabolism also slightly increases during and after these fasts rather than the slow down one sees with low calorie approach. All in all it's superior.

              When iit comes to exercise though I would probably only do 2 resistance sessions during a 5-7 day fast. Daily movement at a moderate pace would be fine though. Either way you will retain lean mass and lose fat. If you are fat adapted you won't notice any reduction in strength output or loss of endurance. Verifiable in the research FYI.

              On a personal note I've basically done the above with 2 trading days, while working my job, building a sauna, and wrestling my two boys with only positive results. Energy and mental clarity top notch the whole time. Did that about 2 weeks ago. Probably run another round soon. Swimsuit season just around the corner .

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Neckhammer View Post
                Yes extended fasts have huge health benefits provided you are not undernourished or severely underweight to start out.
                Is that an endorsement of fasts lasting anywhere from one month to one year? That is what the OP specifically mentioned with approval.
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                • #9
                  Originally posted by sharperhawk View Post

                  Is that an endorsement of fasts lasting anywhere from one month to one year? That is what the OP specifically mentioned with approval.
                  Well, his title says medium length fast and his reported experience was that of the 4 day variety, so I was talking about that 3-7 day range mostly, but....

                  I tend to define them as such:
                  Intermitent- 24 hrs or less
                  Alternat day fasting-48 hours
                  Medium length- 3-7 days
                  Extended- 7-14 days

                  I like medium length. You hit that immunological reset in the 3-5 day zone and push abnormal and precancerous cells towards apoptosis. You also super sensitize to insulin and naturally increase growth hormone levels. So, for general health and longevity I think a seasonal medium length fast is terrific if one is at or near ideal weight already.

                  In anything over 14 days you do have to have a sufficient plan for supplementation (minerals primarily) Most of the benefits I'm talking about are available in the sub 14 day fasts. If you got a bit of extra adipose a bit more time certainly will help liberate it. For a morbidly obese individual it certainly wouldn't hurt to go a month or more without food, but again a bit of care needs taken and proper supervision may be in order....this would be for weight loss or spiritual purposes though, as I don't think you would see significantly better results in the other areas already discussed.

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                  • #10
                    Neckhammer, OK, I think we're on the same page. I was amazed by Valter Longo's results with a 5-day fast, and perhaps his fast-mimicking diet will reach an even wider audience. The freakishly long fasts are, in my opinion, playing Russian roulette.
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                    • #11
                      Yup...valto longo's experiments and Thomas seyfried's commentary on those medium length fasts are quite compelling.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by sharperhawk View Post
                        Neckhammer, OK, I think we're on the same page. I was amazed by Valter Longo's results with a 5-day fast, and perhaps his fast-mimicking diet will reach an even wider audience. The freakishly long fasts are, in my opinion, playing Russian roulette.
                        Originally posted by sharperhawk View Post
                        Neckhammer, OK, I think we're on the same page. I was amazed by Valter Longo's results with a 5-day fast, and perhaps his fast-mimicking diet will reach an even wider audience. The freakishly long fasts are, in my opinion, playing Russian roulette.
                        How are they playing Russian Roulette? It's not like you'll just die one moment. If you start feeling bad, then stop.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Artiepoo View Post
                          How are they playing Russian Roulette? It's not like you'll just die one moment. If you start feeling bad, then stop.
                          Not eating is eventually fatal. Anyone who reads this forum knows that people do not always stop doing something just because they start feeling bad. Almost certainly people starving themselves will have already pushed through uncomfortable stages, and some of them will try to push through yet again.
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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by sharperhawk View Post

                            Not eating is eventually fatal. Anyone who reads this forum knows that people do not always stop doing something just because they start feeling bad. Almost certainly people starving themselves will have already pushed through uncomfortable stages, and some of them will try to push through yet again.
                            Originally posted by sharperhawk View Post

                            Not eating is eventually fatal. Anyone who reads this forum knows that people do not always stop doing something just because they start feeling bad. Almost certainly people starving themselves will have already pushed through uncomfortable stages, and some of them will try to push through yet again.
                            Iím still not sure what your concern is. Assuming somebody is mentally sound and not trying to inflict harm on themselves, I would assume one would think to eat or seek medical help long before one of their organs gives out from starvation. I felt great on my 4-day fast. Iíve decided Iím going to keep adding 1 day to my longer fasts to see at what point it starts to become uncomfortable. But I imagine that one would feel terrible for a long time before actually dying or having any permanent damage.

                            For even a 15 day fast to kill somebody, they would need to be already severely malnourished. Humans are extremely resilient and I think you might be doing yourself a disservice by coddling yourself. And if you force yourself to endure discomfort, you can reap serious mental and physical benefits. You can freeze to death too. You can die of dehydration. Should you avoid cold and heat exposure?

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                            • #15
                              A History of Modern Research into Fasting, Starvation, and Inanition

                              p. 10
                              The therapeutic potential of fasting as a possible treatment for obesity as initially described by Folin and Denis (1915) was later reemphasized (Bloom 1959; Drenick et al. 1964; Duncan et al. 1965). This treatment includes total starvation, intermittent fast, and semi-starvation. However, as early as 1965, Cubberly et al. reported one death that was attributed to lactic acidosis. Spencer (1968) also reported the deaths of two patients due to heart failure while they were undergoing therapeutic starvation at 3 and 8 weeks of total starvation, respectively. During the treatment of seven grossly obese patients with long-term fasting, a young woman was reported to have died on the 7th day of refeeding following a 30 week fast (Garnett et al. 1969). Autopsy revealed fragmentation of the cardiac myofibrils. These observed deaths occurred despite patients having huge fat stores at the time of their deaths. Although prolonged therapeutic starvation was still believed to be a safe and efficient procedure at the end of the 1960s (Runcie and Thomson 1970), several side effects and complications were observed during starvation. These include breakdown in electrolyte homoeostasis (Runcie and Thomson 1970), cardiac arrhythmias (Duncan et al. 1965), and severe orthostatic hypotension, as well as severe normocytic, normochromic anemia, and gouty arthritis (Drenick et al. 1964).
                              p.11
                              It was demonstrated that the causes of these deaths were not due to an inability to spare overall body protein (fasting obese patients have a lower protein utilisation than nonobese persons) (Forbes and Drenick 1979; Van Itallie and Yang 1984), but could rather be attributed to a different ability in protein conservation of the various muscles (see Bauchinger and McWilliams, Chap. 12). This is seen with the myocardial mass that is not spared as illustrated in deaths occurring during the prolonged liquid protein diet, despite the improved overall nitrogen balance in this diet.
                              Ethics limits the extent of human research on the subject so we won't see randomized control trials with death or organ damage as endpoints. However, people who voluntarily engage in prolonged fasting should understand that dangers exist. If you are fasting for 60 days, how do you know whether your cardiac muscle is wasting? Can you really rely on how you feel? I am pretty sure you can't. One well-documented danger happens after the fast stops and refeeding begins. Ideally you would be highly disciplined in breaking your fast, but after weeks of nothing but water, your judgment might not be at its best.
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