As promised, here are the before and after pictures of my seven day water fast. The iPhone photos probably weren’t a great way to go but capturing everything on film was kind of an after-thought to all of this. If you read my original post on why I was doing a week-long fast, you already know that this really wasn’t about fat loss at all. I just decided to track it as kind of a side-project.
Fasting for seven days is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I learned so much about so many different things.
Where fat loss and muscle loss is concerned, I was shocked.. and especially after today’s workout.
I hit the gym for my first full-on, intense workout at 4pm this afternoon. I did some chest and tris because that was the last workout I had on the day before my fast. I wanted to compare.
I weighed in at only 156.7 today, which was quite surprising. I was sure that I would be over 160 after being completely glycogen depleted and eating over 2000 calories (many of them carbs) last night. I showed only a gain of 1.1 lbs overnight. Seriously.. how did that happen?
As nearly impossible as it seems (at least it does to me), I’ve lost little to no strength on my fast. Last week’s workout saw me do 6 reps of 95 lbs. I didn’t think I’d come close to that today so I used 90s. I knocked out eight reps and seven for my second set. Turns out.. I should have used 95s after all.
This after not eating anything for a full week and losing 17 pounds.
I hit the dip rack next and I usually do 6-7 reps with a 90 pound dumbbell between my feet. I did seven, six and six for all three sets, respectively. It could be argued that I lost a slight bit of strength here, as I’m 15 pounds lighter on this day – but if I did lose any strength, it was very little.
Here’s the Before/After pics of my fast.
Unfortunately, the iPhone didn’t give great lighting in either pic, but it’s still fairly evident that I leaned up a bit. In all honesty, I don’t feel that I look 17 pounds smaller in regards to muscle or fat but my waist is most definitely skinnier. I needed a belt for my 29 inch waist jeans today and that hasn’t happened in a long time. My wife also made mention that my face is definitely smaller. She’s right.
Here’s a side shot from today (1 day after the fast) that shows I’m a bit leaner.
In particular, the area just below my belly button is smaller and that’s where I always carry the majority of my fat.
The striations across my abs are a bit more pronounced, as well.
Also worth mentioning, I headed out to the garage about an hour ago and hit my dumbbells for some military press. I am still able to do the exact number that I could perform pre-fast. I use 35 lbs and do only high-rep work at home.
Rather it was overhead, side-lat or front-lat exercises, I showed no sign of losing any strength, despite losing 17 total pounds on my fast.
My plan on preserving muscle apparently worked out pretty well.
How I Preserved Muscle While Fasting
In my first post on fasting, I explained that I would be doing single sets of weights, several times every day.
Day seven was the only day I didn’t lift at all. I found it difficult to walk at some points, so I just didn’t care much about lifting. Focusing was difficult enough.
Prior to this day though, I made an effort to do several sets of exercises every day, and always to failure. I’ve realized that even when you’re exhausted, you can somehow always muster up the strength to do one set to failure. I’d then wait another three or four hours and hit a different body part with a different exercise. Again – just one set every to failure. Resistance applied and objective accomplished.
Except for day seven, I did the following exercises every day: military press, push-ups, chin-ups and dips. I had originally planned to work in hand-stand push-ups but I never did those.
I strongly feel that these single sets made all the difference in maintaining current muscle mass.
The Fast is Over. Now What?
I’m back to eating at maintenance for now, at 1800 calories a day. I’m trying to decide if I want to get leaner but I’m leaning towards doing a very slow bulk for a while. I just can’t say I love the idea of getting down to 140 pounds to be at 7% body fat, and especially with fall and winter right around the corner.
Fasting was an awesome experience on so many different levels. I plan to do one last post on the experience next month and include a lot of the things I haven’t even mentioned yet. One of the most unexpected and fantastic results of the fast was that it cured me of a problem I’ve had for the last six months and couldn’t find a cure for. I’ll discuss that in detail but it’s pretty interesting stuff.
It feels great to eat again and the occasional 36-hour fast, that I’ve always previously indulged in, will now be the simplest of things to achieve. I’ll continue to use intermittent fasting to achieve a lean body but I might feel slightly different in regards to a daily 16-hour fast being of the greatest benefit.
More on that in my next post, as well. I want to gather more data on how my body responds to calories and exercise throughout this week first.
Thanks for reading.