Intermittent Fasting & Bulletproof coffee!
So, when I started my group training session with Optimum Performance Dublin, which I mentioned in my last blog, the eating protocol that was suggested for me was Intermittent Fasting #IF . For those who haven't heard about IF before, its basically a prolonged period of fasting followed by a relatively short period of eating.
This was something I had tried before, and to be honest o hated it previously. I was groggy, moody, lacked energy and all I could think about was food - and I didn't previously think it was mentally good to constantly be feeling like this. So with when IF was suggested I was a little bit hesitant initially however - this time there was a difference, and because of this I was willing to give it a go. The difference this time round was that during the fasting periods I could enjoy BulletProof Coffee. This was again something I had heard about previously but thought was a fad, and was a load of rubbish - but being truely dedicated to my training - I said I would give it a go.
BulletProof coffee is essentially a good quality coffee that has, usually, either grass fed unsalted butter OR coconut oil (MCT oil) added. Some places also add cacao however I find this taste too bitter. The first morning I made up the coffee I blended it all up - and I was extremely weary of trying it - I mean seriously c'mon - butter in your coffee ? FFS lads!!! Anyhow - it was a Saturday morning I was feeling a little hungry as it was day one trying IF - so I made the coffee stared at it for a bit in the cup and eventually plucked up the courage to try it.
Well, my oh my folks - it actually tasted grand - almost like a creamy coffee! Afterall there isnt much difference between butter and cream in terms of contents - so blended in with coffee it was very very doable. Very soon after having the coffee the increase in energy was very noticeable and even moreso, the increase in mental alertness was unreal. I wasn't hungry, my brain was getting energy from the BulletProof coffee, and I honestly felt great - no BS, I reallyfelt awesome.
So, for the next three weeks I followed by IF protocol of eating between approx 14:00 - 20:00 and the fasting between, only having the BulletProof coffee / black coffee usually in the mornings. This and training 3 times a week in my group sessions - and in that first three weeks I was down weight, had heaps of energy and..... something i hadn't given much thought to before - but I honestly felt like food didn't bother me so much.
As I was fasting during part of the start / end of each day I wasn't constantly thinking about what to eat next. When it came to lunch then I either got a protein salad box from local shop or brought my own lunch - which was high in fats and protein with veggies too (eg Avocado, chicken, broccoli, hummus etc). Id have a cuppa with a protein bar, and then dinner (meat & greens) again in the evening. Whilst I would be in a calorie deficit I was by NO means starving myself in anyway.
So.... then I went away for a weekend through work - and IF & BulletProof coffee went on hold... I was awake by 5.30 / 6am in the morning and had very long days being on my feet ahead so I broke from IF had brekkie and typical snacks / food throughout the day - and the difference of eating "traditionally" was so noticeable. I was back to having energy slumps, feeling bloated, and again wondering oh what will I have next. It really highlighted to me how much a role food can play (mentally) when we don't have a proper structure. It again reinforced how, for me, Intermittent Fasting was actually proving ideal physically, mentally and logistically day to day.
So - i cam back this week and did go back to IF straight away - it just handy for me to do, I enjoy it and I see results from it. I'm not hugely bother how quickly I shed fat - this isn't a rush - its a long term plan and so long as weight is going in the right direction I'll be happy.
This weekend I am off on Holidays for two weeks in America - and god knows what damage will be done when I'm away - probably end up heavier than i was when I started training 3 weeks ago ! But, that was part of my initial planning i wanted to drop some before hols so that I could enjoy myself a little more. I've paid up for my session for after hols already too, so once I return i'm straight back into training and then a clean run through to end of year and I'm genuinely excited to see what I can achieve in that time. As that will be a proper dedicated, uninterrupted period of training well and eating in a way that supports my goals.
Cheesecake factory, iHOP, Theme Park Grub... I'm coming for ya !!!!
One thing to stress - your eating protocol / nutritional approach should support YOU , YOUR goals and YOUR preferences and abilities in day to day life. Intermittent Fasting seems to fit in with my routine and preferences and thats why I like it. Just because i like it however does not mean I suddenly think everyone should do it - sure maybe give it a go, however don't try to force an eating protocol that is more stress or hassle to you than its worth. Theres numerous different approaches - find the one that fits with you and that supports you not just physically, but also mentally.
Shout out to Bonnie, Ben & Adam at Optimum Performance for their ongoing support, info and advice over the past few weeks also !