“You look great, but what’s the science behind this stuff?”
This dude at the gym wanted to get into a debate with me about why I skipped breakfast. I honestly couldn’t debate him because I still don’t fully understand the science. All I know is that the results don’t lie with this system. I love intermittent fasting because I can drink coffee all morning, cheat a little, and still look great.
Are you sick and tired of these boring nutritional plans that you just can’t follow because you have a life? Do you want to eat well without the typical 6-8 meals plan that nobody follows?
I hate typical fitness rules about eating. Who the hell wants to eat 8 meals a day? How do you find time for this when you actually have a life?
Full disclosure: I don’t track my calories, I don’t keep a training log, I enjoy pizza, I don’t eat 6-8 meals per day, and I certainly don’t miss out on a chance for some vodka shots with friends. I know that I should change this eventually, but I would rather be realistic with you in this article.
The good news is that I want to introduce you to the Brute Eating Blueprint to look better, be more productive, and not have to stress about food again.
You’ve likely heard of it and have seen mention of it. It’s slowly gaining popularity. Intermittent fasting has exploded in the fitness world. I’m certainly not an expert on the topic, but I’ve been a devout follower since June of 2012. In the last year or so, I finally got serious about the details.
How exactly does this intermittent fasting stuff work?
Instead of pretending to be smart, I went straight to the source/originator of this type of eating style.
Here’s how intermittent fasting works, straight from Martin Berkhan from Lean Gains:
“The Leangains protocol consists of two phases; 16 hours of fasting, followed by 8 hours of feeding. During this period, three meals are usually eaten. Depending on the day, the composition of those meals varies; on workout days, carbs are prioritized before fat, while on rest days fat intake is higher. Protein remains fairly high on all days.”
Pretty simple, huh?
You don’t eat for 16 hours and then you eat for 8 hours.
That’s all there is it to it when you break it down to its core. I honestly just love the simplicity. I’m horrible at tracking calories and planning my meals out.
Does this really make sense? Why even bother with Intermittent Fasting?
Everyone always love to hear about the science along with the anecdotal advice. So I searched for complicated scientific explanations of what’s going on here. According to this piece on Dynamic Duo training:
“This structure controls insulin and blood sugar levels, and maximizes fat burning hormones and cellular factors (GH, cAMP) during the day. This ensures that you are optimally burning fat for a large portion of the day. It also improves energy and cognitive function.
The nightly feast maximizes muscle building hormones and cellular factors (cGMP, mTOR). And with depleted energy reserves and damaged muscles from training, you’ll certainly be ready for a chow down, throw down.”
Not sure what that exactly means, but it seems like intermittent fasting is good for you despite all of the stories about how you should eat every couple of hours. You don’t have to stress about losing muscle or not getting the proper gains with intermittent fasting. You can also ignore your annoying relatives who are going to stress to you the importance of breakfast while they munch on their Fruit Loops cereal.
To be a true brute, you need to get on this system because it’s simple and makes you feel amazing 24/7!
How can you get started with fasting?
There are different types of fasts and fasting strategies. I skip breakfast and then depending on the day I decide how long my fast will last.
There are essentially three types of fasting styles:
- Intermittent fasting. You fast for 16 hours. Ideally you eat between 12-8pm. You can change this depending on your schedule. It’s supposed to be 100% flexible. Don’t message me going off if you work nights. The goal of this system is to be flexible.
- Warrior Diet. This is where you’re under-eating/fasting for 20 hours and then eat for four hours. a bit tougher because you have to wait longer to eat. This is what I’ve been doing lately. I only eat from 2-6pm or so.
- 24-hour fast. This is where you create a caloric deficit by not eating for a 24-hour period once during the week. Brad Pilon advocates for this in his book Eat Stop Eat. I attempt a 24-hour fast once in a while. I heavily rely on coffee and my BCAAs for this.
What’s the best way to get started with the Brute Eating Blueprint right now?
I would try by just skipping breakfast.
Don’t worry about the eating window right off the bat. You can try 6-8 hours. Don’t stress if you don’t get it correct right off the bat. You can slowly try the four hour window.
Once you’re comfortable with fasting, you can try the 24-hour fast once per week. This is where you see what you’re made of!
It’s not going to be easy, but you push your body and learn about true hunger. Train your mind and your body will follow.
Are there any secret weapons?
- Carbonated water. I swear by this stuff. There’s no calories and it feels you up.
- Sleep. We all know that rest is good for you. The good news is that sleep obviously counts towards your fasting window.
All science stuff aside, why should you try intermittent fasting?
- You don’t think about food all of the time. This is huge. Too much of working out advice involves meticulous tips on meal planning, counting calories, and the amount of food that you should be eating. Who the hell has time to always think about food? Certainly not me. You don’t want to be that weirdo that has a timer setup so they don’t miss a meal. I’m assuming that you already have a busy life and can’t be spending all of your time on eating.
- You save money. You save money. Your meals are simple. You’re not always eating. You don’t do the whole late-night binge eating. You don’t stress about having an expensive breakfast. There’s lots of money to be saved.
- The results are there. Google IF and look at the results. They’re out there. You can’t deny them.
That’s why I tried fasting and have stuck with it. Does it sound right for you?
Let’s look at how to do intermittent fasting…
The theory is great, but we all know that execution is key.
How the hell are you supposed to skip the most important meal of your day?
How do you not eat for 16 freaking hours?
This is how I do IF…
- Wake up.
- Stay busy.
- Drink black coffee. Usually at Starbucks.
- Drink lots of water. Regular water and carbonated water.
- Get work done. I like to write at coffee shops.
- Go to the gym. Depending on the day. Sometimes I do weights and then BJJ. Some days just weights or BJJ.
- Break my fast when the 16 hours are up by eating a high quality meal with lots of protein.
- Go on with the day.
It’s not going to be easy for the first few days. That’s a guarantee. I promise you though that after a few days it’ll become very convenient. Your body eventually gets used to it.
I believe that if you train your mind, your body will follow.
Push yourself through the first few days and then you won’t even think about it. IF is totally sustainable in the long run.
I don’t even think about food in the morning now. I drink my coffee and go on with my day. I start writing. I shoot out emails. I hit the gym. I run errands. I do what needs to be done without worrying about eating until after lunch. I also like to listen to podcasts while I prepare my meals during my fast. I really got into salmon lately.
I obviously have a long way to go. I’m learning and sharing as I go. You should always try to eat high quality food as fasting doesn’t mean that you can eat pizza every single night.
You want more resources?
Why restriction your eating time period to 8 hours will transform your health & fitness. This article from Collective Evolution is the perfect primer for getting started with intermittent fasting. Jeff Roberts does an excellent job on covering the topic in great detail.
Beginner’s guide to intermittent fasting. This piece from Roman Fitness Systems helps you get started with fasting. The article also goes over more advanced techniques.
The art of the epic cheat day. We all need to let loose once in a while. There’s no sense in feeling guilty about it. I wrote about how you can cheat without totally giving up on life.
The ultimate guide to drinking. What’s the point of getting in shape if you can’t drink at the beach?
Now it’s your turn to give fasting a try. You have nothing to lose. If your current system isn’t working, you need to change things. You have to be more realistic with how you approach your eating.