Monthly Archives: October 2016


High intensity interval training program for weight loss

04

Oct 2016

High intensity interval training program for weight loss

Today I want to talk about a type of workout that I think has the most benefits overall compared to other types of training and has amazing results for weight loss.

Aerobic exercises burn a lot of calories but can push your body in catabolic state which causes your body to lose muscle and decreases your body’s metabolic rate.

Weight training increases your body’s muscle mass and metabolic rate, but it doesn’t burn as many calories.

Here comes HIIT or High intensity interval training, which burns tons of calories, builds muscles, pushes your body into anabolic state increases metabolic rate and has fantastic results for weight loss.

I try to do my HIIT workouts as regular as possible and really feel like something is missing when I don’t do them for some reason.

Human body needs exercise in order to maintain health and performance. Many studies have shown, that regular physical activity prolongs life, boosts immune system, burns fat, prevents degenerative disease, has a therapeutical effect mood disorders like depression and anxiety and has an overall impact on your wellbeing.

The problem of our modern life is that we don’t actually need to do regular physical labor and we don’t need to hunt for our food or run from predators as our ancestors did for thousands of years. Most of us live comfortable lives with little or no exercise in our daily routine. We drive to work, buy our food nicely packed, dishwasher washes our dishes and water runs out of pipes straight into our kitchen. We have made our lives pretty easy and there is nothing wrong with it, but our body needs regular physical activity.

The other problem of our modern life is also a chronic lack of time. Even if we would like to go running, climbing or playing sports we often don’t find time to do those activities. We work long hours in the office, we commute back and forth from where we live to where we work and all that is before you have children, once you have children you don’t even have time to go to the bathroom.

Why am I explaining all this? As there is a lack of time we need to find a way to get the most out of our training in the shortest amount of time. I am not saying you don’t need to do anything else than HIIT, but most of us don’t have time to walk for 2 hours a day even though this is highly beneficial. HIIT or high intensity interval training will give you the most benefits for weight loss in the shortest amount of time. It will boost your anabolic hormone production such as human growth hormone (HGH) and Testosterone, and decrease your stress hormone levels. It will speed up your metabolism for many hours after your workout, which is really helpful for burning more calories throughout the day. A 20 minute long HIIT workout 3 times a week will have a great impact for weight loss and on your overall health and physical performance. You will get even better results if you are do HIIT together with Intermittent fasting 16/8. There is no other workout out there that can deliver so many benefits in such a short amount of time dedicated to it.

What is a HIIT workout

HIIT workout as any kind of high intensity activity, usually somewhere in between 20 seconds and one minute that brings you in anaerobic state in a short time frame alternated with low intensity intervals usually somewhere between 1-2 minutes long. HIIT type of workouts can be applied to running exercises, squatting or other types of high intensity training. This kind of workout allows you to achieve maximum performance for short bursts and the low intensity intervals allow for your body to recuperate and prepare for the next interval of high intensity. This method of training has been proven to have more benefits than doing other kind of workouts.

Anaerobic training

Anaerobic literally means without air. Your body can provide enough energy in all out efforts, where your muscles don’t receive enough oxygen, for up to one minute. For the first 15 seconds little lactic acid is being produced and even short rest periods can provide a full recovery. After about 15 seconds lactic acid starts to build up much faster and about after 30 seconds this becomes very taxing on your muscles and nervous system and your body needs much longer to recover.

Aerobic training

Aerobic means with air, that means that you can provide enough oxygen to your muscles to operate. This are usually activities that are longer than 3-4 minutes and the fatigue remains relatively low as long there is enough oxygen to provide the energy.

The most basic HIIT workout

To give you an example of a typical HIIT workout that everyone can easily understand I will present you the sprints intervals I really love to do as it is one of the most basic workouts you can think of and you can do it everywhere.

Sprints intervals: you should find a long straight path you can run easily without having to watch your step. Try to measure about 200 meters from a starting point and remember that location. Warm Up appropriately as the name high intensity training already tells you this is a high intensity training and you should be properly warmed up before you start your intervals. I usually do a slow run first, flex a little, than do two slow and relaxed 200 meter “sprints”. When doing this slow sprints you should do it really relaxed so no actual sprinting just a fast paced run which you are comfortable with. After you are properly warmed up I do about six to ten 200 meter sprints and walk normally back to the starting point (some people prefer to run slowly, but you need a little more distance that way as you will not be ready to do a proper sprint again after 200 meters of jogging, so you can run another 100 meters in the opposite direction from your starting point and then run back). Sometimes I alternate it a little by doing some shorter and some longer sprints and mix it up a little so I don’t get bored.

This is probably the simplest and most basic way of HIIT workout, but there are many different options and there are a lot you could do also at home.

HIIT workouts plans

Warmup: as already discussed it is essential to be properly warmed up before doing any workout especially a HIIT workout.

Simple warm up routine:

  • Jog in place for 30 seconds
  • 20 jumping jacks
  • Jog in place for 45 seconds
  • 30 jumping jacks
  • Rotate your hips 8 rotations in each direction

A beginners HIIT routine:

5 rounds of:

  • 15 burpees*.
  • 45 seconds of rest

*The burpee is a full body exercise used in strength training and as a HIIT exercise. The basic movement is performed in four steps and known as a “four-count burpee”:

Begin in a standing position.

  1. Drop into a squat position with your hands on the ground. (count 1)
  2. Kick your feet back, while keeping your arms extended, then do a push up. (count 2)
  3. Immediately return your feet to the squat position. (count 3)
  4. Jump up from the squat position (count 4)

If you want to take it a step further you can use light weights 3-10 (depending on your gender and physical shape) pounds and do the same exercise with a pair of dumbbells in your hands

Biggest benefits of HIIT

Lose weight: you will be burning calories for hours after your workout

After your HIIT workout, a process also known as EPOC (Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption), or the so called ‘afterburn’ effect, begins in your body.

This is basically just a process of increased oxygen intake to correct the body’s ‘oxygen debt’ brought about by the performed HIIT workout.

The more intense the exercise performed, the greater this ‘oxygen debt’ becomes – note the word intense, not longer.

Your body increases oxygen consumption to restore itself to a resting state.

To reach a resting state again, it needs to restore hormone balances, replenish phosphagen stores, carry out cellular repair and oxidize built-up lactic acid.

Carrying out all of these chemical processes requires energy and where do you think your body is going to get this energy?

A time saving workout

As we have already mentioned a HIIT workout can provide all of its benefits in a really short time, you really don’t need to be sweating for hours, 20 minutes three times a week will give you most of its benefits for weight loss.

Any type of HIIT will give you similar results

Recent studies have shown that even different types of HIIT workouts produce same benefits. For example doing regular running sprints or sprints performed on a bicycle will give you same results. Any type of HIIT workout will push your body into weight loss state.

It is great for your heart

HIIT has great benefits for your cardiovascular system as it elevates your heart rate for short periods of time. Unless you are already suffering from some sort of cardiovascular disease you should perform HIIT workouts on a regular basis. Please read who needs to consult a doctor before performing any kind of HIIT workouts at the bottom of this article.

It increases muscle mass

You must put a heavy load on your body in order to get into an aerobic state. This increased load is highly beneficial for building muscles. The entire process also elevates HGH and Testosterone levels which are the two biggest muscle growing hormones in your body.

No equipment needed

You don’t actually need any equipment to perform your exercises, you can do sprints outside or even do it indoors doing burpees as we have described it above. All you need is some good will and consistency and you can achieve great results.

Is HIIT safe?

Anyone should consult a doctor before performing any type of high intensity workouts. There are certain risk groups who are should take extra care.

You must consult your doctor before doing HIIT if:

  • You have been told by your doctor that you should only do physical activity recommended by a doctor because you have a heart condition
  • You currently have prescribed medications for your blood pressure or heart condition from your doctor
  • You currently pregnant or have given birth in the last 2 months
  • You feel any sort of pain in your chest when you do physical activity
  • You had any chest pain in the past month when not doing physical activity
  • You lose your balance as a result of dizziness or you have ever lost your consciousness or collapsed
  • You have a bone or joint problem (eg  back, knee, or hip) that could be made worse by exercise

 


Intermittent fasting diet 16/8 beginners guide, 16 hour fast benefits & meal plan food list 2017

04

Oct 2016

Intermittent fasting diet 16/8 beginners guide, 16 hour fast benefits & meal plan food list 2017

So you are here because you are interested in intermittent fasting 16/8 or with other words fasting for 16 hours per day, you either want to lose weight or improve your overall health. You probably heard a lot of things about this or you just came here because you heard about this for the first time and you want to find out what intermittent fasting actually is. This will be an in depth article that will try to explain what intermittent fasting is, what types exist, how to implement it in your daily routine, what are the benefits of doing it and point out some of best practices for an easy start. The knowledge shared in this article is based on my readings and personal experiences implementing it in my life.

What is intermittent fasting.

Intermittent fasting in a nutshell is basically just a limitation on when you eat and when you don’t consume any calories. It is not a diet, it’s more a pattern of eating. You can still eat anything you want as long you do it in the allowed time frame. Sounds great right. However we still encourage you to eat healthy unprocessed and nutritionally dense food. There are different types of intermittent fasting, some leave out just the breakfast and others make you fast for more than 24 hours on a time. It depends what your goals are, how fast you want to reach them and what kind of schedule you have currently in your live. It is easier to skip the breakfast If you have a regular job and it is easier not to eat anything if you are traveling a lot. It all depends on many factors and I will try to explain all possibilities so you will be able to make the best choice for yourself.

Scientist have been exploring short-term and longterm benefits caloric restriction by skipping meals since the early 1930s and discovered that it helped the mice to live longer when they significantly reduced calories. More recent studies confirmed this results on monkeys, roundworms and fruit flies. It has been shown by studies, that a decrease of 30 to 40 percent in calories extends the lifespan by as much as one third. There are also many other benefits of reducing calories such as reducing the risk of many common diseases, increase the body’s responsiveness to insulin, which regulates blood sugar and helps with food cravings and makes it easier for you to control your appetite.

The truth is that humans have been fasting for thousands of years.

The major factor with this method is, that your body is genetically adapted to fast for longer periods and is not well equipped to being constantly bombarded with food each and every day. Our ancestors didn’t had the luxury of eating 3 steady meals each day with some snacks in between. The fact is that most time in our existence we didn’t eat for longer periods of time and then had a big meal and that is why our bodies are so well adapted to that kind of food regime. Our ancestors hunted for food for days, enduring great physical effort without having any food and after the successful kill they eaten like kings for days.

Intermittent fasting helps you lose weight

The longer the window when you don’t consume calories the faster you lose weight. Normal diets that just restrict your caloric intake and decrease your body’s metabolic rate as a result which puts you in a vicious circle of eating less and less and you don’t lose just fat but also muscle tissue which in turn slows your metabolic rate even further. Studies have shown that when doing intermittent fasting it actually increases your body’s metabolic rate, increases growth hormone production and you lose mostly body fat as it helps retain muscle tissue in contrast to other diets. Your body adapts to this by getting more efficient in using fat as energy source and that is exactly what you want to achieve. It does not even limit or encourage you to eat only certain foods you can eat whatever you want and even if you eat the same amount of food in this shorter window it will still have some benefits for your fat loss process.

The science behind intermittent fasting is, that your body can store for about 12h of available glucose in your body, after that period you need to fill up the carbs so to say. When doing intermittent fasting we are trying to avoid eating any calories for at least 14-16h, and eat only in the remaining window of the day, so we have a window of about 4 hours where your body doesn’t have available glucose to use and it’s forced to go into fat burning mode, which triggers many processes and is what we want to achieve, so it is that time after around 12 hours that is actually making that difference and that is why you should go fasting for at least 14 hours for women and 16 hours for men. When your body is in fasting state all sorts of good processes start to happen in your organism.

  • Your insulin and leptin sensitivity increases
  • Normalising ghrelin levels, ghrelin is also known as “the hunger hormone”
  • Growth hormone (HGH) levels increase, which plays an important part in health, fitness and slowing the aging process.
  • Body releases more cholesterol, allowing it to utilize fat as a source of fuel, instead of glucose. This decreases the number of fat cells in the body
  • It lowers your bad cholesterol and increases good cholesterol levels

You can achieve all of this benefits simply just by skipping breakfast and maybe delay your lunch. From my experience this is not hard to do especially once you get used to this eating pattern. I also noticed it is really practical as you need less time to get to your work, so you can start earlier and do more. If you wish to push it even further you can just expand the time frame when you are not eating to let say 18h so you only eat in the remaining 6h.

What are the benefits of intermittent fasting

Intermittent fasting offers many benefits, the most obvious one is of course for losing that excess weight. While losing stubborn belly fat great on it’s own intermittent fasting offers many other health benefits, such as prolonging your life and increased physical performance.

Intermittent fasting makes you live longer

As we have already mentioned, restricting calories is proven to prolong your life. When you are starving, your body functions differently and is disposing of old and damaged cells more efficiently that it does on a full stomach. The main thing is that it is kind of hard to starve yourself just to add some time to your lifespan even if everyone would like to live longer people are not likely to do that. The good news is that intermittent fasting provides some of the same benefits that calorie restriction does without you actually starving. You can reap the same benefits for the price of skipping a meal.

Studies: 12

Intermittent fasting greatly increases your own body’s growth hormone (HGH) production

Growth hormone is an anabolic hormone and it is responsible for cell growth and regeneration. It increases muscle mass and bone density and it plays a major role in maintaining health of all body tissues, including brain and other vital organs. HGH also helps improve your sleeping patterns and betters REM-stage sleep. It also boosts your overall energy levels. It is the so called youth hormone as it slows down the effects of ageing.

A recent study on intermittent found out that fasting triggered a dramatic rise in HGH 1,300 percent in women, and an unbelievable 2,000 percent in men! The only other thing that can come close in terms of dramatically boosting HGH levels is HIIT or high intensity interval training.

Intermittent fasting can reduce the risk of cancer

So the statement above is a bit bold so take it with some reservation. There have not been performed many studies about this subject, but the ones that have been are promising. The results however are not dramatic but are showing some potential. Studies performed on animals show a decrease in cancers in the range from 25% to 40 % which means it is not a cure but it still substantial.

Main reasons why intermittent fasting is good for cancer prevention:

  • Being overweight increases the risk of different forms of cancer and losing that excess weight contributes to prevention.
  • It decreases the glucose levels in your blood which is the main energy fuel for cancer cells.
  • Fasting also decreases the amount of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) which is also linked with increased cancer risk.
  • Fasting switches your body from growth mode into repair mode and disposes more efficiently of damaged cells, this particularly affects the cells that have the potential to turn into cancerous cells.
  • Intermittent fasting enhances the ability of nerve cells to repair DNA.

Intermittent fasting is practical

To be honest, being able to skip your breakfast is actually really practical and makes your day easier. I always used to eat breakfast before going to work, and to be honest it took me about 30 min every day to make and eat my breakfast. If you take this 30 min and do some exercise like HIIT every second day you will do yourself and your body a great favour. On the other hand if your job allows it you can get to your job 30 min earlier and and also finish earlier giving you more free time to do thing you love in your life.

Intermittent fasting is good for your brain

Human and nonhuman animal studies have shown that intermittent energy restriction increases synaptic plasticity(a biological marker of learning and memory). It enhances memory performance and leads to the growth of new neurons, decreases risk for all neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, promotes recovery after a stroke or brain injury and it has also been shown to play a big therapeutic role in mood disorders like depression and anxiety. During fasting, your body increases activity and growth of neurons which can help you think faster and more creative and it improves your memory. Your brain also functions exceptionally well on ketones, which are produced by your body when it runs out of glucose. I have experienced a boost in cognitive functions as effect of intermittent fasting but it is the most noticeable at the beginning.

Intermittent fasting lowers blood pressure and resting heart rate

Losing weight in itself lowers blood pressure, but there are also other benefits that contribute to this. Lower body fat helps alleviate extra workload put on the kidneys which as a result lowers blood pressure. Intermittent fasting also increases HGH production which results in much better cardiac function.

Intermittent fasting normalizes your blood sugar

Fasting helps normalizing your body’s insulin and leptin sensitivity, which is key for optimal overall health as insulin resistance is the main contributing factor to most of today’s chronic disease, from diabetes to heart disease and even cancer,

Different methods of intermittent fasting

Fast 16 hours eat 8 hours

A 16 hour fast a day is probably the most common method of intermittent fasting. Some may split it up to 14 hours for women and 16 hours for man but I don’t think it is necessary. It is very simple, you simply skip the breakfast and have lunch as late as possible or you don’t eat anything after lunch until the breakfast next day. One can have coffee or tea before lunch, but nothing that has any calories so no sugar or milk in your drink. To eat no calories is actually really crucial in this, because as soon your body gets any sugar it will raise your blood sugar and make you even more hungry, so it will be more difficult to make it until lunch without any food.

This is probably the easiest method of intermittent fasting out there as it is really simple and you can slowly progress to it. To give you an example: If you finished your dinner at 21h (we count time from the time you have finished your last meal until you started eating your next meal) the day before and you have your breakfast at 10h in the morning, you have already done a 13 hour fast. This is really not hard to do and a lot of people are actually doing it already. Now you can just push back your breakfast or skip it until your lunch. It is really simple if you do it slowly and you don’t need that much willpower to do it. Once you reached 16 hours of fasting you can work it up even further up until 18 or even 20 hours. But you really don’t need to push it that high as even 16 hours of fasting each day is plenty and you will rip all the benefits of intermittent fasting.

I personally like to skip the breakfast and have my lunch as late as possible. Sometimes I have only 14 hours of fasting and sometimes I have 18 or even more hours of fasting. It doesn’t have to be the same each day as long as you average it around 16 hours or more. And on the weekends I usually have one normal day and I eat when I feel like it, but the thing is that once you get used not eating let say in the morning you really don’t feel hungry and I usually have a much later and smaller breakfast than I normally had.

Fast for 24 hours once or twice a week

So this is a little different method than the one we described earlier, it is still pretty straight forward and people have been doing 1 day fastings in various religions or for body cleansing / detoxification for ages. The principle is simple you just fast for at least 24 hours or one day which is a bit more. If you fast for 24h you can have dinner in the evening and finish eating let’s say at 8pm and than you don’t eat anything until 8pm the next day, so you stopped eating at 8pm one day and started eating at 8pm the day after. The entire day method is a little longer, so you don’t eat anything the entire day, so your next meal would be the breakfast 2 days after your dinner. For me personally this method is harder to endure and I don’t practice it that often.

The benefits of this method are that you push your body even further and it has some great detox advantages as it gives your body even more time to cleans the toxins out of your system.

The cons are pretty obvious, some people have difficulties to endure 24h or more without any calories.

One large meal per day 20h fast (advanced)

This is an advanced version of the first method we described, and it differs only in fact that you basically eat only one large meal per day. You don’t actually have to consume all of your daily food in one go, but the window in which you are eating should be kept really small somewhere between 2 and 4 hours. This eating pattern was practiced by roman soldiers back in the day and was probably a pretty standard way of eating in the old days. Roman soldiers would walk for entire day and have a big dinner in the evening. They had to endure great physical efforts and were in top shape. This type of intermittent fasting is also called the warrior method.

The pros for this method are that you push your body even further into body fat burning mode and it is really simple for practical reasons as you have to worry only about the dinner each day.

The cons are that some people might find it hard to endure this, so it is not advisable for this method to be the starting method for your first intermittent fasting. You can easily slowly progress to this method from the 16h fasting method and you can control what kind level of fasting is still comfortable for you.

Interval fasting: 1 day 16h fast and limit calories in the remaining window, next day is normal.

This is a up and down approche, you cycle your calorie intake from one day to another. First day you make a 16h fast and you also restrict the amount of calories you eat on that day to about 500-800 calories that day. Next day is business as usual and you eat as much as you normally eat, you should not eat much more than you used to before the fasting. This method is a mix of our standard skip your breakfast method and alternating fasting day, it is not that demanding but you need to count your calories for the fasting days which is somewhat annoying to some people and is not that popular among people.

The pros are that you have to fast only every second day and can eat normally on the off days.

The cons are, that it is not that effective, you need to count your calories and you don’t operate in a daily pattern.

Alternating fasting day: You eat one day and fast the next

This is a more advanced version of previously discussed interval fasting method. This is a fairly advanced approach and a difficult to commit for a longer time. This style is not popular among people and I haven’t tried it myself, but it seem to be very popular among science researchers as most studies are performed with this method.

In practice this method makes me wonder if it is sustainable in the long run as it restricts the food intake too much and you could suffer some sort of nutrient deficiency because of that. I also think that it is hard to stay with this as you do not create daily repeatable habits that you can get used to but it is rather going from one extreme to another.

On the other hand, this method is probably one of the more effective methods of intermittent fasting and is probably good if you already have experience in intermittent fasting and would like to mix things up and speed up your fat loss progress.

Taking it a step further

So normally when you do intermittent fasting you don’t need to care what type of food you are eating, but if you wish to take it to the next step, you can also consider eating cleaner food in the eating time frame. You should take care of your body and eat nutrient dense food so you get all the nutrients your body needs for optimal performance.

What I would recommend is to eliminate all processed foods, such as white flour, white sugar anything bought pre made and in a grocery store. Try to increase the consumption of healthy fats and limit amount of simple carbs. Try to eat grass fed meat, free range eggs, and lot of greens. Put some effort in and prepare most of your food yourself, don’t eat out every day, restaurants with high quality and healthy food are rare and expensive. You will be surprised what a change can intermittent fasting and good healthy nutritional food have on your body.

My tips for starting your first Fast

Get familiar with all possible types of fasting first, make sure you are healthy consult your doctor and know in what you are getting into. I would advise you to go slowly and make progress by steps, this will also make it possible to make the most out of it as intermittent fasting is most effective when your body is adapting to new fasting period. If you start slowly and prolong the fasting window each week for one hour you won’t even notice it and you will still make good progress.

Risks and side effects of intermittent fasting

You will be hungry, but that should be only temporary and your body will adjust to your new eating pattern and make it much less difficult for you.

While your body is adapting to this new eating regime you might feel weak, lightheaded and your energy levels will be fluctuating. This symptoms should also be just temporary, about 2 to 6 weeks, while your body adapts and improves the ability of using fat for energy needs.

If you have any medical conditions you should consult your doctor and monitor your health in case you choose to do this type of fasting.

This is even more important if you have any of this:

  1. Diabetes.
  2. Problems with blood sugar regulation.
  3. Low blood pressure.
  4. Are underweight.
  5. History of eating disorders.
  6. Are a female who is trying to conceive.
  7. Are a female with a history of amenorrhea.
  8. Are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  9. Take medications.

What to eat – food list

Even dough there are no restrictions regarding what you can or cannot eat during intermittent fasting, we recommend you eat a healthy variety of highly nutritional foods. Try to avoid foods with high calories and low nutritional value. Load your body with the nutrients it’s been missing with just a few bites of these foods.

  1. Spinach
  2. Brussels Sprouts
  3. Almonds
  4. Turnip Greens
  5. Cauliflower
  6. Sunflower Seeds
  7. Raspberries
  8. Strawberries
  9. Black Beans
  10. Tomatoes
  11. Broccoli
  12. Sweet Potatoes
  13. Green Peas
  14. Asparagus
  15. Kale
  16. Collard Greens
  17. Lentils
  18. Mushrooms
  19. Bok Choy
  20. Soybeans

While you should eat a healthy amount of foods that are described above you should also avoid sugar, drinks filed with sugar like coca cola, simple carbs like pasta and white bread, and all fried foods as vegetable oils become carcinogen on high temperatures and are therefore highly toxic and should be avoided by any means.