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July 11, 2017

GAINZZZ Update on Fasting

I mentioned that I tried a five day fast, which I later cut to four days (to avoid the problems that rarely happen with fasts of five days or longer), which I then cut to short at three days (or almost three days) when I felt dizzy.

I later realized the dizziness wasn't likely due to the fasting, and so have gone back to fasting since.

So here's what the fasting schedule has looked like

Th -- Fast
F -- Fast
Sat -- fast broken in the evening
Sunday -- eat (one meal)
Monday -- eat (one meal)
Tuesday -- eat (two meals)
Wednesday -- fast
Thursday-- fast
Friday -- fast until night, then ate, to make a three day fast (from Tuesday night)
Saturday -- eat one meal
Sunday -- fast
Monday -- eat one meal
Tuesday (today) -- fast

So I did another three day fast, and then have been doing mostly One Meal a Days and lately the Alternate Day Fasting option.

I feel fine. Hungry from time to time, but, as Fung promised, the hunger tends to dissipate after a while. It comes in waves, which pass in an hour. I'm not fatigued or anything.

I've also cut out the bulletproof coffee on most days, and just have my coffee black, in order to avoid that semi-meal. (Bulletproof coffee has a lot of fat and counts as a smallish meal, or snack.)

The reason I'm sticking to this, and trying to build up to a four day fast and then a five day one, isn't really weight loss (though I seem to be losing some weight-- not a lot, but I'm kind of at a sticking point, so any weight lost is a plus) but rather... muscular GAINZZZ.

What sold me on trying this and trying to be hardcore about it is Fung's claim that the natural hormonal response to a fast is an increase in Human Growth Hormone, which has obvious benefits for GAINZZZ as well as being an anti-aging hormone:

HGH is a hormone made by the pituitary gland (the master gland). It plays a huge role in the normal development of children and adolescents as the name implies. However, it also plays a role in adults. HGH deficiency in adults typically leads to higher levels of body fat, lower lean body mass and decreased bone mass (osteopenia).

HGH only lasts a few minutes in the bloodstream. It goes to the liver for metabolism, where it is converted into a number of other growth factors, the most important of which is Insulin Like Growth Factor 1 (IGF1).

Scientists first harvested HGH from cadavers in the 1950s (eeewww), but only synthesized it in labs in the early 1980s. Soon afterwards, it became a popular performance enhancing drug. Normal levels of HGH peak in puberty (as you might expect) and gradually decrease thereafter...

He then talks up the use of exogenous (injected) HGH to shed weight and gain muscle, but also notes the negative side effects of doing so. He then turns to fasting, which can boost HGH production naturally:

In 1982, Kerndt et al published a study of a single patient who decided to undergo a 40 day fast for religious purposes....

[HGH] starts at 0.73 and peaks at 9.86. That is a 1250% increase in growth hormone. Even with a relatively short 5 day fast, we are talking about 300% increase. All this HGH increases without drugs.

What about the potential side effects? Increased glucose? Nope. Increased blood pressure? Nope. Higher risk of cancer? Nope.

Other studies have shown the same increase in growth hormone...

Hartman et al also showed a 5 fold increase in HGH in response to a 2 day fast.

Now, I gotta tell you, if you're thinking "But how can you GAINZZZ muscle when you're not taking in protein for one or several days at a time?," I'm wondering the same damn thing.

He says that in long fasts, the body goes into Protein Conservation Mode, and stops shitting out old protein, instead keeping it within the body for recycling into newly needed proteins. Obviously, at some point, you have to take in protein if you want to GAINZZZ MAZZZ.

And also, that Protein Conservation Mode seems to happen, if I have this right, after like 4 or 5 days. (I have previously read that the weightlifters' worries about catabolisis -- muscle-eating, when no protein is available -- is overstated and does not happen for a day or two.)

So honestly, I don't really understand this myself. I guess maybe I can fast until a lifting day then eat extra protein post-workout? Thus having the protein available when my HGH is still kind of high?

I don't know.

The other thing I'm doing this for is that supposedly on day 4 or 5 of fasting, people feel a powerful mental clarity which some call "euphoric." (This is possibly the biological cause behind many religious people and monastics advising people to fast.)

I haven't gotten to the four day mark, so I wouldn't know about that. Tryin', though.

I just read his second book, written with Jimmy Moore (of Living La Vida Low-Carb blog-"fame"). I'm told that it's basically just Fung's Intensive Dietary Management blog, in the main, but written out in a consecutive format rather than a blog's randomly arranged topic style.

It's pretty good and a quick read. I read it on Sunday while I was fasting. The only knock on it, besides being a bit thin on content, is the way it appears on Kindle: He has a lot of sidebar type stuff, and Kindle never handles that well; rather than being sidebar stuff, it just interrupts the main text with it.

Still, a good place to start. Or just browse his blog.

So: Have you guys gotten any GAINZZZ?

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posted by Ace at 06:17 PM

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