At first glance, Intermittent Fasting (IF), may seem to fall more into the diet/nutrition end of OFM, because it does not fall into “training” in the conventional sense, however, once the athlete “gets” IF is actually a key component of training the body to fully achieve the potential as a fat burner and how it is an integral part of the OFM Lifestyle that he/she understands IF’s role and place in the OFM protocol.
IF is one aspect of OFM training & Lifestyle which conveys significant benefits for an OFM athlete. It is well studied but not well known that fasting conveys many health benefits including longevity. For the OFM athlete IF conveys performance benefits as well.
In today’s modern world, where carbohydrates tend to make up the majority of calories consumed by an athlete, fasting of any sort is looked upon as a sacrifice and an ordeal of hunger which impedes performance. For the OFM athlete regular IF is simply part of their lifestyle. For the OFM athlete IF should not only be easy and regular but seem natural because, evolutionarily speaking, it is.
IF is one of the many reasons why OFM yields a lot more metabolic flexibility. The athlete can not only perform but perform better without the constant dependence upon exogenous caloric intake.
The duration of an OFM IF varies and is dependent upon a variety of factors. When an athlete is in a period of high volume training IF is shorter due to the tremendous energy expenditure. Under these conditions, an IF can be as short as 6-8 hours and as long as 14-16 hours.
During recovery periods, particularly on days when sedentary an IF can be as short as 10 hours and last up to 24 hours or more without an overriding food craving.
For IF gender does make a difference. In general men will have a much easier time segwaying into IF and tend to IF longer periods. Women’s hunger triggers are biologically hard-wired to be much more sensitive than men even when fat-adapted. So women tend to have to be more resourceful in their strategies for IF periods so they avoid the temptation of readily available foods.
Intermittent Fasting as it applies to the Fat-Adapted Metabolic State:
IF & Fat-Adaptation go hand in hand: The Fat-Adapted Metabolic State makes IF an easy and seamless part of the OFM lifestyle because the body readily releases free fatty acids into circulation for energy. On the other hand, IF maintains the Fat-Adapted State.
Intermittent Fasting as it applies to Nutrition NOT Calories:
When nutritional needs are met caloric needs for an OFM athlete during an IF tend not to be an issue as the athlete is drawing from the vast reserves of onboard fat calories which are readily released in the OFM athlete. By meeting nutritional needs the catabolism of muscle tissue is not an issue during IF. In fact, IF augments the overall tendency of OFM athletes to gain lean body mass!
Intermittent Fasting as it applies to Stomach & Gut Health:
IF is a subtle yet very important part of maintaining a healthy stomach and gut. The mucous membrane, epithelium and microbiome, like an athlete in training need some rest and recovery from each bout of food and drink.
Intermittent Fasting as it applies to Hydration:
IF teaches the athlete to “race hungry” and on an empty stomach and minimal exogenous caloric intake thus allowing the athlete to maintain optimal hydration, for cooling and maintaining blood volume.
Intermittent Fasting as it applies to VESPA:
IF works synergistically with VESPA to yield the high level fat metabolism seen in OFM athletes
Intermittent Fasting as it applies to “Strategic Carbohydrates”:
Because IF maintains the Fat-Adapted Metabolic state, this by default will maintain low insulin levels and high insulin sensitivity. Based upon athlete feedback this has tremendous positive impact on the “strategic” use of concentrated carbohydrates during competition. It is our speculation by maintaining high insulin sensitivity, when carbohydrates are brought back during competition the slight insulin response actually speeds delivery of glucose to cells and conversion of glucose to ATP without seriously impacting high level fat metabolism. Regular IF maintains this level of high insulin sensitivity for sustainable, high impact “strategic” use of carbohydrates.
Additionally, because IF helps build and maintain robust stomach and gut health the potential for stomach and gut issues is dramatically reduced when carbohydrates are used during competition and/or training.
“The Effects of Intermittent Fasting on Human and Animal Health – a systematic review” – Bojan Kostevski
“Intermittent Fasting” Feast or Famine for Endurance Athletes?” – Zach Bitter
LEANGAINS – Martin Berkhan