On November 18th, I started fasting every third day as an experiment on my body. My hope was that “third day fasting” would equate to increased metabolism, greater fat loss and possibly even some muscle gain.
Today is December 21st and it’s the first day that I’ll break my month long pattern of fasting in this manner.
So how do it go? It was an interesting time, to say the least. Here’s a quick review of how I ate and the outcome of my third day fasting test.
3rd Day Fasting Review
Over the last 33 days, I ate 3,000 calories every first and second day and then I abstained from all food (or calories of any kind) every third day. This averages out to 2,000 calories a day.
On my eating days, I halted all my caloric intake every night at 9pm. Since day 1 always followed a full day of fasting, I began eating at 8-9am, depending on when I woke.
On day 2, I always waited until 1pm to eat, creating a more common window of fasting for 16 hours. Again, I stopped eating at 9pm, skipped the entire next day of eating and waited until waking up the next day to eat. This made for a 35-36 hour fast every third day.
I only trained on eating days and I did no cardio during this experiment.
3rd Day Fasting Results
Willpower was not as as big a factor as I had feared. I really didn’t struggle to do this at all. Perhaps having a few 36 hour fasts earlier in the year helped. I knew what to expect and surprisingly, I was never terribly hungry. Doing a EC Stack on my fasting days seemed to help a lot as well.
My wife thought I was a bit crazy and she was a firm reminder to me that long periods of fasting are not for everyone. It’s a psychological game in many aspects but after the first week, I was able to mentally chalk it up to a new habit and it stuck pretty easy.
While fasting, it’s important to treat hunger as a fat-burning signal and not a signal that it’s time to eat.. which is unfortunately how we normally train our bodies.
Would I have preferred to eat? Yes. Though I certainly never felt like I was starving, the idea of a simple, small meal in the middle of my long days seemed very appealing. Science was at stake though, so I stuck to the plan.
What you’re wondering about is the effect on body composition, right?
Well I would love to say that I lost a lot of fat and gained muscle, but I can’t honestly say that my body composition changed in any way. In fact, I took a before and after photo and had planned on posting them, but try as I might, I don’t see a bit of difference in the two photos.
Additionally, my calipers showed the exact same measurement of body fat.
As for the scale, I weighed 158 this morning and that’s almost exactly where I started.
There’s still a couple of interesting things to note, however.
First, I went from consuming around 1600 calories a day to averaging 2,000 calories a day. I also raised my carbohydrate days to 300. Previously, I was at 150 or less.
I would have thought the increase in calories would have contributed to a difference in weight at the end of 30 days, but it did not.
Is it possible that I’ve helped to repair a bit of metabolic damage and I’ve created a new set point for daily calories? I plan to maintain 2,000 calories a day and 300 carbs for the next month, so I’ll know more soon.
The most surprising result of my experiment was an increase in strength. I typically bench 90-pound dumbbells for 6 reps at my max. I was able to do eight on the last two consecutive chest workouts. This was the first time all year I’ve been able to accomplish this.
My dips went from 36 to 42. My squat increased, as well. I was able to add 40 more pounds for six reps.
Increased energy was the other surprising outcome. I felt far more energetic every day. This may have been due to an increase in carbohydrates though, but I was shocked at how much better I felt overall.
There you have it! Another 30+ day experiment completed and those were my results.
I’m picking today to end the trial because I’m headed to Arkansas to spend some family time with the in-laws and they like to eat out. I’ve been strict as possible during this entire holiday season (and year for that matter) so I’m going to enjoy a few days of eating and indulging before hitting it hard on my return.
I sincerely hope everyone has a great rest of the year and gets to spend a little time with loved ones. Working out is a passion but there’s no substitute for surrounding yourself with people you love and just enjoying life.
Have a great Christmas, Hanukkah or whatever holiday you celebrate.