Incremental Fasting .. the journey of a triathlete

Why in the world would a triathlete fast for 18, 19, 20 hours every week?!?!? (updated 4/2/13 w/links)

That was the question I asked myself as I was training for the Ironman and got this idea in my head.  I read a ton and enjoy the research behind different approaches to improving health.  I bumped into some research from Tim Ferris (his book), then his SXSW YouTube video “hacking the human body” (while I was spinning on the trainer no less), and finally on this guy’s YouTube channel (Yuri Elkaim and video of interest).  All raised points that I felt were valid, only I wondered … Could an Ironman in training fast?  Since I didn’t know, I decided to put myself on a 5 week plan as follows:

Fast 1 day a week for 5 weeks and track my training performance, mental state, emotional state, and biomechanics during this period.  Now I don’t have hard numbers to base this “study” on, but I am using soft metrics.  I have faith in these metrics given the fixed training program I am following and the expected trajectory based on prior efforts.  I am allowing water, coffee, and tea during these fasts.

Week 1:

I made it 19 hours.  I started at 8pm Sunday night which allowed me to eat a good dinner and then sleep with food in the belly.  The day went well, but I did feel “loopy” near the end, and noticed a reduction in physical strength at the end.  I was able to easily handle a 90 minute hot yoga class 2 hours after finishing the fast, and a solid 3km swim in the morning.  No negative effects.  The positive was I did not constantly think about food all day – as a triathlete we think about food CONSTANTLY.  Kinda refreshing to just forget about it completely.

A tip to success for this first effort – I planned work calls for 8 hours solid that day.  This kept me focused not allowed for mental wandering that may weaken my disposition.

Week 2: (4/1/13)

Today I am trying to start the fast at 4pm!  Which means I am going to bed with a little feeling of hunger.  I plan to wake early 5:20 and have a yoga practice and then swim at lunch.  This schedule has me wrapping up to eat lunch with a client, so fast/work balance!

Not thrilled about the going to bed hungry part thus far, but I’ll share my progress and feelings in morning…

[updated 4/2/13] Woke up around 4am a bit hungry, but easily back to sleep.  Made it to hot yoga for 60 minutes at 5:30, and fully hydrated.  Balance felt a bit off (this is around the 15 hour mark) on some poses.  Easy turn at the shower and working with my black coffee.  Feel much stronger (mentally) than I thought I would after the yoga.

Always seeking,



About J.D.

Passionate about CrossFit, mindset, bettering each other, technology, and the intersection of cybersecurity with products. The online views and posts represent my journey of discovery and learning.
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