This past weekend, I was up in Connecticut for a business and marketing event, learning some ways to streamline and improve my website, programs and the time I spend on all of them. To say I learned a lot is an understatement.
However, like any seminar I’ve gone to recently, I spent this weekend in the company of fellow fitness pros, who over the past year have become some of my closest friends.
While we all certainly live pretty healthy and structured lives, something about getting us all together seems to throw all of that out the window.
We’re all kind of dieting right now (Joel and I are locked in a fitness bet with 5000 of Joel’s dolla-dolla bills on the line).
So, while we all were hanging out and having an awesome time networking with a lot of other fitness-freaks like Tyler English and Dr. Kareem (who treated my elbow issue, you’ll be happy to know) we had to be very well behaved.
Like the good body-boys that we are, we all scheduled our cheat day for the same time.
We went out to dinner at a local steakhouse (The Capitol Grille) and fully intended to Cheat Our Way Thin. Which sounded like a good idea. Then Joel ordered a few shots. I looked at him askance. With a shrug, he passed the shots around.
Let me just sidebar here to say that I really don’t drink. Seriously. I didn’t drink in high school or college, and I only started socially drinking when I was 25. On average, I have one drink every 2-3 weeks. Almost never do I have more than two drinks on any night I decide to “let loose.”
As Ron Burgandy is fond of saying: “When in Rome.” I knocked the shot back and continued my conversation.
Then Vince ordered more shots.
“One more,” I say, and clink my glass with those of my compatriots.
More shots appeared; at this point, I’m beginning to feel hesitant.
I’d planned to spend the night Cheating My Way Thin…I did NOT, you see, intend to Drink My Way Dead.
Joel and Vince seem to have had other ideas.
Another shot, ordered alongside a “Red Headed Slut” – which, it turns out, was a drink, and not our entertainment for the weekend.
Anyway. I’m plastered before we sit down to eat.
When we arrive at the table, I decided, in my intoxicated state, to order 2 appetizers, 1 entrée and 2 desserts…and ate ALL of it, while regaling the table with my theories on dating. (I’m sure everyone learned a lot.)
Two hours later, we’re at a bar and I’m having a dance off with Vince and this chick who in retrospect may have actually been a dude. (Vince won.)
I’m a little foggy on the deets, but we made it back to the hotel where I am told I ate pizza at 3am.
When I awoke Sunday morning, my mouth tasted of vodka and regret. Joel and Vince appeared a bit worse for the wear, but not as bad as I was.
We made our way to the dining room to meet with some friends for breakfast. Sitting with some marketing experts, we each processed to drink about a gallon of water in short order, but ALL declined to order breakfast.
One of the marketers (20 year old wunderkind David Sinick who is also into fitness) asked why we weren’t eating. Like a scripted B-roll, we all replied “fast day” in unison.
You see, I ALWAYS follow a cheat day with a fast day…especially when that cheat day involves alcohol.
When I first started using the Cheat Your Way Thin system about 7 years ago, I did it as scripted. However, while I loved the fact that I could eat whatever I wanted for a full day, I always hated the digestive aftermath of the cheat day.
Eventually, Joel and I started experimenting with following the cheat day with a fast day to allow me (and my poor stomach) some time to recover and reset. While it was really begun as a comfort thing, we did notice that it seemed to make things more effective.
Fast forward 4 years, and all of the fit pros now use this strategy for both results and ease. In fact, the Feast–>Fast method is so effective that it’s now worked it’s way into Joel’s new program, an advanced dietary system that builds on the already effective strategies of CYWT by using fast days, protein only days and a lot of other cool stuff. (Appropriately, he’s calling it the Xtreme Fat Loss Diet.)
Anyway, getting back to my story: I’m explaining all of this to young David and of course he’s asking why fasting is so beneficial.
As I mentioned earlier, giving your digestive system a day off has its benefits. Not only will it force your body to more efficiently utilize the caloric overload from the preceding cheat day, but you’ll ALSO let the less than healthy stuff move out of your body a bit quicker.
More to the point, you do your liver a favor by allowing it to detoxify you more efficiently, since it won’t have to deal with any “new” stuff you’re taking in. The fast you make the happen, the sooner your liver can get back to producing fat burning enzymes.
The best part is you won’t be sacrificing muscle, because your leptin levels will be so high that the massive caloric deficit a fast day creates will simply help you lose fat that much faster.
Sure, for a good many people, fasting isn’t generally enjoyable, but it’s really a very minor inconvenience. We certainly felt hunger pangs during breakfast (watching everyone eat eggs wasn’t fun), but after that it cleared up.
During a fast after a feast, the first 3-4 hours kinda suck. But after that you start feeling incredible. Whether it’s a alcohol or a simple food-hangover, your body need to focus on dealing with getting over the abuse you put it through, not new stuff.
About halfway through the day, toxins are being released and excreted and you’re burning fat an accelerated rate.
By 3pm Sunday afternoon, I was running around with more energy than I’d imagined possible, feeling like Saturday had been a dream…a weird, freaky dream filled with steak and dancing. I was more productive than usual and had a great lactic acid workout.
I have to say, Feast–>Fast is the way to go.
Hopefully, you’ve learned two things: first, if you hang out with my crew you’d evidently be ready to party. And second, if you DO have a big party/cheat night, you can leverage that your benefit by having a well planned fast the next day. Just drink plenty of water!
If you use Cheat Days as part of your fat loss strategy, you already know all about using diet to outsmart your body. Well, fast days take it a step further and allow you to increase the fat burning power of cheat days even more.
PS – Vince didn’t really win the dance contest. Of course I did.