Thinking out loud

Calisthenics is my 2016 Wonderland

The year leaving us, 2016, started with a setback. I got injured at the gym and my dreams of getting ripped before the summer started fading away. What good can you expect when two weeks in the new year something like that happens? Well folk wisdom says there’s no cloud without a silver lining. And folk wisdom is right. My setback led to what is now among my greatest passions: the discovery of Calisthenics.

I didn’t even think I would stick with it. In fact I wasn’t planning it. My plan was to train bodyweight a couple of months until my wrist is strong enough to start lifting again.

My routine in the beginning wasn’t that specific either. I was just doing some bodyweight exercises I knew or had seen. Trying to add some external resistance in some way since I thought it wasn’t enough.

I now realize that my injury was a tumble in the rabbit hole. I was going deeper and deeper until I landed in Wonderland. And that Wonderland is exactly where I needed to be.

So almost a year has gone by and what have I learned? Here is a short list of Calisthenics related lessons:

  • You don’t need external resistance or equipment to train effectively. I’ll say that one more time. You don’t need external resistance or equipment to train effectively. Nothing wrong with having it, but you don’t need it.
  • Calisthenics is not something acrobats or only crazy-strong people do. It’s for everyone. It’s adjustable.
  • There is much more to training than pure muscle strength. In fact, to unlock your full muscle potential you need to train other functions. Balance, coordination, neurological control, mobility to name a few.
  • Although not impossible, it’s harder to injure yourself. Bodyweight is generally kinder on the joints. In some cases it will even heal old injuries.
  • You can literally train anywhere.
  • There are fantastic sources of information on the subject. You can find some on YouTube, read a book or a blog.
  • It will take a long long time until you can say you truly mastered the basics. Pushups ain’t that easy. Easier said than done fits perfectly here.
  • You can build muscle and strength with moves that you never considered as exercises.
  • It’s all about progress(-ion) which…
  • …never ends!

The lessons don’t stop here, but I will. The main lesson I guess is that even if something does not go your way, you can find alternatives. And those alternatives may prove to be the thing you actually wanted.

Happy New Year!

Geo

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Thinking out loud, Training

Why I love working out outdoors

Bodyweight training is all about mastering your own body. Learning to have control over each part, each muscle and joint. I am realizing as time passes that this is a lifelong journey and as with all journeys it’s the trip that matters, not the destination.

Another thing I have started realizing is that bodyweight training involves a spiritual and inner aspect. You do not only attempt to get in sync with yourself physically, but also mentally. It is no secret that disciplines like yoga are grounded to a big degree on just that. And since the mind controls the body, then learning to control your mind is what will ultimately allow you to master your own body. That is a big issue and deserves each own post.

Since I mentioned yoga, let’s take a look at what location yoga is performed in. Now, I am not a practitioner although many of the stretches I do come from yoga, but everyone in fitness has a basic understanding of what it requires: peace and tranquility. Yoga and meditation go hand-to-hand so it comes as no surprise that places which offer quiet and stability are often preferred. Places like the top of a hill, the side of a lake, a quiet spot in a big park.

I was training at the workout station on the hill near my place yesterday. Whenever the weather allows for it I like to go up there and let off some steam. This is what it looks like.

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Pullup bars, dip bars, poles, steps. Benches of course are made for sitting but a Calisthenics enthusiast has plenty more use for them. Rocks and grass. Trees. The real earth.

I fully understand why yoga practitioners like to exercise in such surroundings. How can training in such an environment not trigger the spiritual aspect of training?

Everytime I train outdoors I feel like my training is more “real”. More connected to the original reason it was made for, to make you strong in order to deal with the environment you live in. Isn’t this why our ancestors needed to be strong? It wasn’t to look good, put on a performance or because it was fun. It was because man needed to be able to cope with anything nature would throw at him. It was because man wanted to survive.

Apart from the “profound” aspect of training outdoors, it makes for a more pleasant experience as well. Breathing in fresh air while listening to the sound of the leaves, birds or the steps of the passerby is invigorating. Having the breeze swipe off the sweat of your forehead. Landing on soft grass. Even though I like going to the gym I have to admit that it cannot offer this experience.

Then there’s the minimalism. No clutter, no stuff lying around. This is the only stuff I pretty much carry with me:

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Gloves are optional.

And then there’s play. You’re at the park, probably a place similar to the one in your child neighborhood – if not the same for those living where they grew up. And you are doing what? Running, climbing onto things, pushing stuff around. Throwing things maybe. Falling down and jumping back up again. That’s bodyweight training. But, that’s also playing. How close does it resemble your childhood afternoons at the park? I didn’t think of it until yesterday, but it does bring back memories. Yes, you become a kid again. Suddenly you’re not exercising to hit a PR, grow a muscle or get stronger. No, you’re only playing. Having fun, being carefree. Enjoying life.

I ended up staying up there for nearly 3 hours. No, I was not intensely training for 3 hours. But the inspiration I got from the place just wasn’t letting me go. I wanted to try this and then that and why not another thing. I was deep into exploring mode, experimenting and testing where I stand right now. How much can I really do?

But training is training and as such it should be effective. When it’s all said and done, I went up on that hill for a reason – everything else that comes along is a pleasant bonus. So how does training outdoors rate against training at the gym when it comes to progressing?

The answer is it depends. When you do bodyweight, you don’t really need much so equipment does not play a big role. It does play some though. Exercises are probably harder done outdoors compared to the gym. Yes, the surfaces are rougher to hold on to. Or their state might not be ideal. I was doing bridges yesterday and my hands were slipping slightly on the wet grass. I tried the road and the dirt, it wasn’t the most convenient. But it doesn’t have to be, in fact it probably shouldn’t be. Training to get stronger means adapting to any given situation. We are adaptive creatures, we adjust to the conditions around as and grow along with them. Same goes for temperature and weather. It might be cold outside. Or very hot. It may be raining.

Of course I am not suggesting to abandon all logic and train outdoors no matter what. I live in a place that gets very cold in the winter and I usually train right after I wake up. I would be setting myself up for injury if I decided to go hardcore.

But whenever the conditions are favorable, I want to be out there doing my pushups and hanging from that pullup bar. Trying to see if I can perform a “Closed umbrella” on the bench or jumping on top of that big rock. And then topping all that with a beautiful stroll on the way back home.

It looks like it’s good weather again today. I think it’s time for some mobility work up on that hill.

Misc, Thinking out loud, Training

4 Youtube fitness channels that are worth checking out

We all check Youtube. A lot. Perhaps more than we should. I know for myself that I spend 1-2 hours a day watching videos which mostly have to do with fitness or cooking. I like to think that I am educating myself, which I am to a certain degree (when not re-watching clips from Game of Thrones, Glengarry Glen Ross, Swingers or cartoons I like). The point is that Youtube has become a big part of our lives when it comes to searching for information or entertainment.

Naturally I have browsed through a number of channels looking for tips on how to perform an exercise or what makes for a good diet. Over time I stuck with some and left others. The ones I am following are those who I think make sense.

I like people who present simple ideas in a down-to-earth way. People who value putting time and effort into something and being patient. I have started a journey in strength, health and building an enjoyable lifestyle so I gravitate towards those people who preach the same. Though I think there is nothing wrong with choosing other ways to achieve your goals, I personally can’t relate to, for instance, the bodybuilding way of thinking. In the end we all choose to listen to those around us that we believe give solid sensible advice.

So with no further ado, here’s my list of channels that I frequently watch.

Kinobody

This is the only channel in my list that is not focused on bodyweight training. I first discovered it about 10 months ago and what caught my attention was the emphasis on getting lean without giving up life.

The creator, Greg O’ Gallagher, is prompting people to focus on getting stronger on basic moves, the “key lifts” as he calls them, while implementing Intermittent Fasting as their diet protocol.

What I like about this channel is the simplicity of the approach on building a physique: Get stronger and eat at a slight deficit/surplus, depending on what your goals are. It doesn’t overcomplicate things with strange meal plans or workouts. It also has some high production value videos which get the message across and are entertaining or even inspiring to watch at the same time. Worth a look.

GMB Fitness

I recently started spending more time on listening to this channel’s podcasts, interviews and watching their tutorials. The focus is on functional strength and health. They have a lot of content on mobility and flexibility. And they use bodyweight training.

Apart from a number of useful tips on how to achieve certain moves and become more flexible, an aspect of fitness often neglected, a big bonus is the GMB Show. It hosts interviews with people from the Calisthenics community and generally the fitness world. Strong people talking about how they got there? Inspiring.

Fitness on the side, I like that this channel takes a philosophical approach on things. Mindset and mentality is often covered in interviews, a part of their content that I very much appreciate.

Al Kavadlo

Arguably the most recognizable figure in the Calisthenics community, trainer, author and PCC instructor Al Kavadlo has his own channel with video tutorials on progressive Calisthenics as well as on giving answers to questions that trainees have.

Al Kavadlo is the author of a number of books on bodyweight training, two of which I have in my possession. He also appears in part of the Convict Conditioning series of books. His earliest videos date back 6 years and that’s important because it shows commitment. It also shows how one of the leading experts in Calisthenics progressed those past years.

His simple approach on things, his persistence on taking your time and not rushing through as well as his knowledge sharing make this channel definitely worth to check out. On the bonus side, he often posts videos with his brother Danny who is also a Calisthenics master and another interesting person to listen to.

Red Delta Project

I saved my favorite for last. The Red Delta Project is a channel created by bodyweight training expert and trainer Matt Schifferle. He is also a member of the Progressive Calisthenics Certification team and he has recently published his first book, Fitness Independence which is on my “to read” list.

The title of the book speaks volumes about what the channel is all about. It’s about quitting all the unnecessary and focusing on the few things that matter. That includes both training and diet. Matt has been posting frequently for the past 5 years with content varying from mindset building to exercise performing.

One thing that I find particularly interesting and useful are the many subtle tips that Matt gives regarding exercises. Tips on improving your mind-to-muscle connection and taking the most out of each movement. And what I greatly enjoy is that his videos are short, concise and to the point.

I would like to make some honorable mentions at this point, channels that I sometimes watch or have followed in the past but not follow that closely now. Those would be Radu Antoniu, Homemade Muscles, Brandon Carter and Buff Dudes.

If you’re into Calisthenics, or generally training for that matter, then you are surely spending time on Youtube. The more serious the source of information the better this time will be spent and the more effective your workouts will be. Except for the practical advice though, getting inspired and not feeling like you are alone in this journey is equally as important.

Now enough with watching others do it. Time to do it myself.

Misc, Thinking out loud, Training

Why I believe walking is the best type of cardio

I am not a fan of cardio. Wait, let me rephrase that. I am not a fan of gym cardio. Running for hours on a treadmill or on a bike while looking at a TV opposite you – I don’t find that the least inspiring. Physique-wise I have not much to gain from that either. Being a lightweight skinny guy who is working on strength and muscle building, that type of work cannot help me much in my goals.

The benefits of cardiovascular exercise are tremendous, no objection there. You do get healthier if you exercise your heart more, better blood flow, better breathing, your lungs open up plus you get a killer leg and core workout. But if I had to choose, I would say there are other more fun ways of achieving the same results.

I would still go for a sprint in the park or the forest occasionally, mainly because I like being out in the nature and work out. But I’d much rather jump rope or do some HIIT sprinting or jumping. Biking is also fun. But recently I have been changing my opinion on one form of exercise that I used to underestimate for a long time: walking.

Walking has been gaining a lot of fans the past few years as you see more and more people putting on their sweatpants and going for a stroll. I used to think that this type of exercise was mostly good for out-of-shape older individuals who would need to take it easy in order not to get injured.

Sure, if you are an advanced athlete walking is not much of a challenge. But does everything have to be a challenge to be of some benefit?

Walking is the type of exercise I have done the most in my life. I am literally a wayfarer. I don’t have a car, I do use public transport everyday but if I’m not in a huge rush and it isn’t pouring from the skies, I choose to go on foot.

I like walking because of a number of reasons. It is the best way to see a place. It is the best way to find cool spots. It is a fantastic way for meeting people, especially if you’re on a trip. It’s easy to have a conversation while doing it. It does not demand great amounts of will power to go through. And above all, it’s so painlessly easy to do. It costs nothing and it requires nothing except for a pair of normal shoes.

Why is it good cardio though? First of all you can adjust it to your level. You can go for a power walk, you can speed up or slow down, you can choose to go uphill or downhill. Walking is really the most fundamental progressive calisthenics exercise there is!

The word fundamental is kind of important, I feel. If you can’t walk right there is no chance you will be able to run or jump. This may sound silly, but there are people who have balance issues or are generally clumsy. Is there a better start to deal with those than working on your walk?

An aspect of walking that I neglected was that it burns calories. Obviously I knew that you burn calories when you move, but I never really counted walking as a fat-burning activity in my calculations. Which is a mistake if you walk a lot.A 75kg person walking on a flat surface covering 1km in 15′ burns 66 calories (calculator). Imagine if you do 3-4km a day. It’s not a lot, say you meet a friend downtown and go on foot, you go for a walk in the stores or decide to visit the park. Or you take a long walk on a Sunday where you go from one side of the city to the other because the weather is nice. You are essentially burning calories without knowing it.

I recently noticed a slight recomp effect on my body and if I had to guess I’d attribute it to walking a lot lately without even realizing it. What happened is that I notice I am leaner than I used to be without necessarily having dropped much weight. Especially since the past month or so I aim at a small caloric surplus since I’m lean bulking – perhaps I was actually in maintenance in the end.

Another great benefit of walking as cardio is that it does not interfere with your strength gains. In order to get burned out by walking you have to be doing it all day long and not really resting that much. Little chance of that happening and even if it does, you are back on track after one or two days off. It won’t injure you or make you sore for days or even weeks like an intense running session could.

According to some, walking is also good for suppressing your appetite. Double benefit if you’re cutting, and a good counterweight if you’re bulking. And hey, if you take a piece of cake with colleagues at your lunch break it’s good to know that you can burn some of it off by walking back home.

Walking is simple painless exercise that everyone can do at any time at any place. You do it without realizing that you’re exercising, and enjoy the scenery in the process. Keep walking as the saying goes, or start if you’re not already doing it.

I’ve talked the talk. Time to walk the walk.

Thinking out loud, Training

1000 words about why I started Calisthenics

I started because I had to. I stay because I choose to.

I came back from my vacation last summer and took a look at the mirror. I did not like what I saw. One could say I enjoyed my vacation a bit too much. I already spoke about how it feels to be skinny-fat but that had gone too far. It wasn’t the image and the body I wanted for myself. As a person who was always generally interested in sports and exercising, I felt that I had to finally put in the effort, time and resources to changing that image.

Can you relate to that?

So I bought a gym card. I started going to the gym, following a program targeted to fat loss and strength based on full-body compound exercises together with some HIIT. In time, I adjusted my diet – back then following the traditional 5 meals a day with some modifications. And I started seeing results. I dropped some weight, my belly got deflated and my lifts were getting progressively stronger. Still miles away from looking anything like a ripped guy, but this was my first time properly working out since my actual first time properly working out, which was years ago.

And then it came. The one thing no one in the fitness and sports world wishes to their worst enemy. An injury.

It happened on a Clean and Press exercise, when I had pretty much reached my limit weight-wise. A cracking noise on the right wrist. Some pain but bearable. I finish the last two reps of that set (we all have done stupid things, haven’t we?) and call it a day.

If you have been training and following a regimen religiously for some time, having set a specific goal, tracking your progress and being really serious about hitting your target then you can imagine how it feels to understand that you cannot train for a while. It feels awful. It sucks.

Needless to say, the following days the only thing in my mind was when and how I could get back in the gym. How serious it was, how I could work around it. I got a wrist support, anti-inflammatory pills and stopped working out for a couple of weeks.

Once I set foot in the gym again, I knew that touching iron was out of the question for quite some time. I could still feel the pain when rotating my wrist – basic moves would cause me to tense and jump up.

People say “do the best you can in the circumstances you find yourself in” or something along these lines. So if lifting was not an option, it was time to get back to basics.

I now realize how ironic this expression is when talking about training. “Back to basics”. When is anyone really at the basics? Pushups, pullups, dips, bodyweight squats. The average trainee these days starts from loading the bar with tens of KGs and squatting, arguing whether or not “ass-to-grass” is better than parallel thighs in terms of knee-health. And that’s at best, since a lot of people’s idea of properly training is high-volume bicep curls until the pump doesn’t let your arms fit in your shirt.

So I started from the basics. Even with an injured wrist, I could work out my chest. Fist pushups with a “neutral” grip. That didn’t cause pain. Bulgarian split squats with a bulgarian bag around my neck. That didn’t cause pain. Inverted rows with a TRX. That didn’t cause pain. Hanging knee raises with a neutral grip. That didn’t cause pain.

Time was passing and I was finally doing the basics – what a contradictory statement. In the beginning two things were in my mind: how do I apply progressive overload to these exercises and when will all this be over so I can go back to lifting. Two months? Three months? I wouldn’t risk going in too soon, the last thing I wanted would be to add a whole year to my recovery. Until then though, I had to be making progress.

As the weeks were going by my focus started to lie more and more on getting better in those moves. I started seeing the value of simplicity it this type of training. I started enjoying the absence of extra equipment. I started testing out more advanced variations, prematurely maybe, and seeing gains that I hadn’t before.

It was like gradually falling in love with the girl next door. Finally appreciating what you thought was only the “next best thing”. And to some extent, like finding your calling. At least in the context of training and getting stronger.

As my recovery was getting better and better, I started playing around with the idea of not going back to lifting. The thought of staying with this, exploring what the people who are really good at it do. I knew there was something called Calisthenics, but it seemed like something that superhumans only do. Up to that point I could not relate to that, it seemed very far away for someone like me.

That’s because I had no idea. No idea that Calisthenics is actually another word for bodyweight training. No idea that Calisthenics starts from the basics. The pushup, the pullup, the bodyweight squat, the leg raise, the dips, the pike pushups. No idea that running, jumping, kicking, punching, throwing, pushing, pulling, climbing, swimming, crawling, squeezing, every single physical move that includes applying strength is, in fact, Calisthenics.

The moment I realized that, a whole new world opened up in front of me. A world full of elementary things that if followed properly and creatively can lead you to the same results a fully equipped gym can but with less hassle. A world of simplicity, creativity and minimalism.

Above all, a world with lots of good material. Books, videos, podcasts from a community that has a common focus: get stronger in a way that is less complicated and feels more natural.

I started Calisthenics because I was forced due to an injury. In retrospect, I can say that that injury was a blessing in disguise. It led me to an amazing discovery. I stay with Calisthenics because I am in love with it. Its simplicity, its focus, its endless possibilities but its high demands as well.

My journey in this new world has only just begun. I can’t wait to see where the road will take me.

Eating, Thinking out loud, Training

Being skinny-fat sucks but teaches virtues

TL;DR: If you want a good physique you have to work double as hard. And learn from that.

I am skinny-fat.

Not so evident right now necessarily, but my body type can be described by that term. I am relatively tall, have long slim limbs and narrow joints. Generally lean, except for the area we really care about being lean: the abdomen.

Owning that body type comes with certain pros and cons. The major benefit is that you never look overweight. No matter how much you eat you will never get so fat that people will look at you and wonder what happened.

I may be exaggerating a bit there. But in order to really look like a person with an obesity problem you have to really be eating a lot of food for quite a while.

So being skinny-fat means that you can get away with eating your big juicy burger covered in cheddar, a nice bowl of fries and drinking coke, to be later followed by consuming your favorite ice-cream sundae. It means viciously attacking the Christmas buffet or reaching for seconds before anyone has had time to lift a fork at the big family dinner. All that without ever really looking fat.

But you are.

Your body fat levels are higher than a person at your current weight ought to have. A 75kg (165lbs) person with ~20% bf is not overweight. But they are fat. And skinny.

All that does not matter until you decide you want to obtain a good-looking physique. As long as you’re not interested in fitness, none of that plays an important role in your life. And as long as your lifestyle choices are not extremely poor, like smoking heavily, drinking a lot, partying out late a bit too often and your relationship with veggies and fruit being as distant as Daenerys Targaryen from the Iron Throne, then your annual checkup will be ok. Your height to weight ratio is normal, or even negative which means you should put on weight. Everything is fine, but…

It all changes once you decide you want to build a great, strong body. A body that is lean, with a visible six-pack, and muscular enough so that nobody would call you skinny. With relative strength that allows you to perform some of the most challenging exercises, like pull ups, for more than a few reps with good form. That’s when things get tough.

For starters, the dilemma most skinny-fat people face is where to start from. You are skinny, you definitely need to add size to those thin arms and small shoulders. But then again, how can you go on a bulk when your gut is sticking out? So…should I bulk or cut?

Then even when you decide what to do you have to face the consequences. If you do go on a bulk you will get size, but your reduced insulin sensitivity because of high bf% will cause you to store more fat then if you were leaner. Plus your relative strength, your strength relative to your own body weight that is, will suffer. Seeing your stomach grow even more, even slightly, will demotivate you even further. You will be growing, but how much of that will be lean muscle mass compared to someone who is bulking from a leaner starting point?

On the other hand, if you decide to tackle your belly problem first, you face the problem on the other end of the spectrum. Your bf% will be getting lower, your belly deflating. But you will be losing size from places you don’t want to lose. You will notice your arms, chest and back getting smaller. You will not be fitting in your clothes anymore because they are too big. And I’m taking about the slim-fit pair of jeans that was small to begin with.

Don’t get me wrong. Strength training with progressive overload that consists of compound exercises will in both cases be your assistant. But strength training is not a magic pill. Especially if you don’t take any magic pills. As a natural, your progress will be slower, will hit plateaus and will require you to be smart and get to better sync with your body and what it is telling you.

But, is being skinny-fat really that different when it comes to getting in shape than being a “skinny ectomorph” or overweight?

In essence, no. The same rules apply. In practice yes. Because you start from the middle on a road where you need to reach both ends. Both get lean and build a solid muscular foundation. The ectomoprh of the question has only one way to go, that’s bulk. Train heavy and eat a bit more. The overweight person also has one way to go, get lean. The developed muscular system is there, it’s just hidden under layers of fat. Again train heavy and eat a bit less. In time, both will reach their goal.

But for a skinny-fat person that time will be double as long and the progress seen in the meantime will never be that impressive. They will never look radically different.

If you’ve read up to this point you might be thinking that life is over. Skinny-fat is a dead-end and getting ripped is an elusive dream.

Well, I don’t think so.

We all work with what we have and do the best we can with it. There are plenty of examples out there with people starting from average or even below-average condition and getting into amazing shape.

The point I am attempting to make is that this whole process of analyzing your current state, wondering what to do and weighing your options, pushing yourself, looking for inspiration, getting occasionally frustrated, slipping, getting back on track and finally finding a balance is both didactic and deep. It teaches patience and perseverance. It requires that you face yourself and that you take control of it.

Nobody has it easy, unless you are blessed with amazing genetics. Everyone has their demons and their obstacles to overcome. Everyone has to fight for every single piece of gains. For skinny-fat guys, it just takes longer. But I do believe that when the time comes when the measurements, the scale, the mirror and most importantly the performance at the gym, are those you’re shooting for…then the satisfaction will be greater too. Until then, learning to appreciate what you have and keep working to improve it is the most important element for your transformation.

Now, let’s push a bit harder for that one extra rep.

Eating, Thinking out loud

My favourite type of intermittent fasting

TL;DR: The one that offers most freedom and simplicity.

It’s been almost 5 months now that I have been doing intermittent fasting and I don’t see myself giving it up anytime soon. I started with skipping breakfast and maintaining a 16-hour fast like the leangains protocol dictates. This is probably the easiest way for someone to start, compared to a 24-hour fast for example. In my opinion it is also the simplest one to follow. And as anybody with a little bit of sense will tell you, the best diet is the one you can follow. In other words, it’s easy to sustain and sustainability is evidently what gives results in the long run.

Now, if you’re a person with a “normal” day job and you are somewhat serious about your diet then chances are that you cook your own food more often than not. Not only to be able to track macros/calories but also to save money. Which means you have to spend some time at home fixing food for the next day, or a few hours on a Sunday preparing lunchboxes for the whole week.

There is nothing really wrong with that, I’ve done it for quite a while especially when I was eating 5 meals a day. But it takes time. And effort. And a lot of thought in advance even if you’re not obsessed with counting every last gram. I didn’t want that. I didn’t want to have to think about next day’s food. And I didn’t want to be eating food out of the refrigerator and microwave oven. I wanted to be able to enjoy good meals, fresh out of the oven and worry about food only when the time had come to eat.

My solution? Skipping lunch too.

So no breakfast, no lunch…That’s starting to look like a 24-hour fast, doesn’t it?

Well, I do break my fast before that. And I do generally maintain a 16-hour fast however I am not obsessing over it. What I do is that I break my fast by eating some fruit once I hit or approach the 16-hour mark, or even later sometimes. I simply take one or two pieces of fruit while I’m at work and wait for my normal meals until I’m home.

The approach I have is the one Kinobody recommends, and it has been gaining in popularity because of the simplicity in implementing it.

I have to admit that the benefits of such a structure far outweigh the drawbacks. The benefits of fasting and skipping breakfast are well known, with heightened alertness and improved focus being among them – a very important factor if you are working in the morning. That was something I was reading about and came to realize myself.

But what are the benefits of skipping lunch too? Don’t you get hungry?

Well, by skipping lunch I actually feel like I have more energy. It sounds counter-intuitive but it makes sense to me. My personal experience with it is that my body and my stomach do not have to deal with digestion which means there is nothing distracting me from whatever task I have at hand. If you’re working normal office hours the 2pm-4pm time frame is extremely hard to stay productive in as anyone will tell you. When I was eating lunch at around 12pm all I felt like doing once the clock hit 14.00 was to go take a nap.

Eating a bit of fruit instead of a normal meal at lunch has proven to be a very good way to keep me going until the end. I get a bit of sugar which definitely helps if I’m feeling low on it and gives me a nice wake-up kick. If I’m feeling very tired, because of getting up early to train or simply bad sleep/difficult week, I might even take a cup of coffee. I am not a big coffee drinker but I do enjoy a cup of joe every now and then.

On top of all that I make sure to have a bottle of water next to me which I empty 2-3 times until I get home from work. That’s about 1-1.5 liters of water. As a warning, you will have to go the toilet a bit more often than most people at the office but hey, hydration is good.

So now I’m home at around 17.30 – 18.00 and the kitchen is my playground. My caloric budget is virtually untouched which offers me all the freedom I need to actually eat things that have some taste and consume real, big, satisfying portions. I believe in flexible dieting, which really should be called eating like a normal person. If anything it’s much more natural then restricting yourself and limiting it to only a bunch of tasteless choices. I make sure I get the amount of protein I believe is enough, without going overboard. And the rest of it is fats and carbs which I do not even measure. I simply eat what I feel like eating. My choices are based mostly on wholesome foods of course, without neglecting micronutrients, but I do experiment with them. This is a journey in gastronomy as well as fitness after all.

So there you have it. This is what my daily eating routine looks like. Occasionally I will eat out. The weather is nice for a barbecue, the company takes you to a restaurant, you’re at a party. You don’t have to worry about how much you eat…that much. As a person with some fitness and strength goals, you always keep an eye on what you consume. But making your life easier with smart choices is in my opinion key to staying consistent, which is a virtue when it comes to getting stronger and building a physique.

By the way, this post was written fasted.