Happy Hour and Intermittent Fasting

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Just a quick note for the weekend.

There are times when you’re caught up in the fun, and then you turn around and realize you just polished off an entire bottle of wine, specialty cheese, and other goodies I don’t even care to mention.

Oh well. It was a good time.

Yesterday was such a time. As the 5 o’clock whistle blows every Friday afternoon, our business enters happy hour, when our cafe bar at the gym doubles as a wine bar. And sometimes we just roll the ping pong table out into the parking lot and anyone in downtown Palo Alto, Ca., can simply stop off and play the undisputed (and sometimes drunk) ping pong champion.

It’s a great atmosphere, a lot of laughs, and quite a bit of wine. That’s how we role at our gym/cafe/social club.

Anyway, no big deal that I finished an entire bottle of wine and all that food. Today, I’ll just fast the entire day. Pretty simple.

Turn off the valve.

Crappy iPhone picture of "drunk ping pong." (My wife crushing it out of the parking lot.)

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

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18 Responses to Happy Hour and Intermittent Fasting

  1. lolo says:

    Like always, great (est) post… 2 amazing things right there, love cheese, love ping pong, ( used to be good, lethal service > my second mane) so that place @ lifestyle you are describing sounds like heaven to me… snif, u Lucky sob! (replace the bottle of wine with ice cream and im in tears!) Btw, Most people i know (overweight) Are , like NO! no fkn way! – DENIAL- And im like yes, ( laugh) : 500 grams of meat, 250 grams of cheese, one pint of ice cream, 100grms of chocolate, etc training? Not much.
    btw is that a disabled parking space? XD

  2. Jordan D. says:

    All day fast! Excellent. I haven’t had the guts to try that yet. I’d like to give that a shot… someday. šŸ™‚

  3. Al says:

    Johnny, this is a bit of-topic but with your specific type of eating, can someone who is a runner adopt the same principles? Let me rephrase that. Can intermittent fasting and eating real food be used to improve a particular sport, any sport?

    I must admit though. After reading everyone of your posts over the past year or so I think I have found a new sport:”the sport of being lean.” Thanks for being an inspiration to us all and showing us that it is truly possible to be as lean as we want to be (without going “balls to the wall” on exercise).

    • I once posted a similar question on a running forum and got ridiculous answers of how dangerous it would be (from the experts no less).

      I do believe runs of 3-5 miles can be (and have been) done fasted with no problems whatsoever & there is research showing you’ll burn fat preferentially by doing so.

      On days you planned to run longer you just eat more. Not rocket science.

      I suppose if you use Eat Stop Eat it’s even less of a problem.

      Good luck with whatever you try.

      • Mike says:

        I run daily. I’m on my 5th day of 20 hour fasts. I eat from 4 to 8pm and fast the other 20 hours.

        I’ve run the last 5 days (as I do ever day) and I start anywhere from 6am up until about noon.

        The last 5 days I’ve done 5, 5, 7, 6 and 8 miles. Assuming I run at an average of 10am, that leaves me with another 6 hours before I consume anything other than water.

        Although I was originally skeptical, I’ve yet to notice any difference in recovery. I’ve been having great runs and feel perfect each day, the same as if I had eaten after my run and lunch.

        I plan on increasing my mileage each week, I’d like to get up to about 8 to 10 miles each day, all while doing 20 hours fasts.

        I’ll let you know how it goes… but so far so good!

      • Johnny says:

        Mike, given enough time for adaptation (like almost anything else), you may be surprised how much you can achieve in endurance activities while in a state of fasting.

        A buddy of mine ran a half-marathon with his best time after a 15-hour fast.


    • Johnny says:

      Hi Al,

      Here’s a basic principle to remember: when there has been an adjustment in the level of intake in macronutrients (and, to a certain extent, micronutrients), the body becomes very adaptive in utilization efficiency of those nutrients.

      Given enough time, your work capacity may, for the most part, adapt to your food intake style.


      • Al says:


        I never thought of adaptation that way. Maybe I (and so many others) have tried to adapt their diet to everything else instead of everything else adapting to the diet.

  4. Stephon says:

    So true about leanness and fashion as I recently had to go shopping for clothes because I leaned out.I wanted to know your perspective on ab training and was wondering if too much ab work really thicken the waist or give you the appearance of potruding abs?Weird question I guess but though I have leaned out ,my obliques or side of my waist seems wider than I prefer my abs are clearly visible but more potruded and I do situps daily.Can you tell me what a good core training routine may be?,I want a slimmer more lithe look to my midsection.Also Johnny I would like to lose a bit of muscle mass and I mean a bit.I do 2 conditioning workouts a week via bodyweight routines and one maximal strength workout(weighted chins,dips,etc.) and one explosive strength workout via plyometrics (push ups,muscle ups,jump squats,etc.)What kind of core work should I really be doing?I love looking being lean but want a strong core to compliment the look,thanks Johnny


    • Johnny says:

      Have you tried plank work for your trunk? I personally don’t do any “core” work. My ab muscles (rectus abdominis, internal and external obliques, transversus, quadratus lumborum, etc.) are all involved to a high degree in exercises that have either appreciable loading (dealifts, squats, etc.) or movement velocity (like push-up plyos, jumps, multi-directional bounding, medicine ball slams, etc.).

      To lose muscle, just demand less from it.


  5. Al says:


    It is comforting to know that someone is fasting the way you do and still be able to run some serious mileage, but I have a question. What are you eating during your 4-hour window? Real food, processed food, or what? Thanks!

    • Mike says:

      Real food. My four hour window includes dinner with my family (wife and kids), which tends to be a home cooked, healthy meal. I have the occasional processed item, but it tends to be a pretty small part of my overall consumption. Otherwise I eat everything, lots of fruits and salads/vegetables, chicken, fish, lean beef, etc. I don’t shy away from carbs and will have bread/starch with dinner and often have red wine 1-2 days per week.

      Interestingly, no one in my family has even noticed I’ve only been eating during a 4 hour window around dinner.

      Toughest time remains the late night snacking. Even though I used to eat healthy snacks (raw veggies, apples, watermelon), once the 4 hour window is up, I’m done for the night (and actually until 4-6pm the next day).

      Easiest time is morning and afternoon, especially during the work week.

  6. Ria says:

    Hey Johnny

    I had a few clarifications I was hoping you could help with:
    1) Any thoughts on whether women and men are equally able to sustain a prolonged fast?
    2) Do you really need to be eating beyond comfort during the feeding period in order not to ‘suffer’ during the fast?

    I am a woman in my mid 20’s and have been experimenting with IF for some months now. I am sold with the theory and have been keen to adopt this eating pattern for myself but I have only managed to do a few 14-16 hr fasts without feeling serious detrimental effects. After about 12hr I’ve noticed myself becoming increasingly irritated, unable to concentrate, feeling cold, moody, and generally like I could do with food.

    I managed to do IF for about 2 weeks straight eating between 1-8pm some time back, but after the initial period I found it became increasingly harder to maintain this pattern in the mornings until lunch. After quite a few more ‘failed’ attempts at IF I’m starting to think this is just not for me, even though I really want it to be.
    [Info: I eat paleo-ish, work out a lot, am quite lean, and trying to loose ‘those last 10lbs’]

    Any thoughts/advice would be much appreciated!

    • David Hoskins says:

      Hi Ria,

      It might be worth checking out Martin Berkhan’s site leangains.com as he recommends slightly shorter fasts for ladies.


    • Johnny says:

      Hi Ria,

      Intermittent fasting is sometimes an individual thing. Your body needs a chance for adaptation — it doesn’t always feel good at the beginning. Just shorten the fasting period to where you’re comfortable, and then slowly extend it.

      The bottom line is that you’ll benefit metabolically, cellularly, and hormonally simply by extending the time between your meals. As for weight loss, it will be overall less calorie intake that you’ll benefit from, and IF (once you are accustomed to it) helps maintain a lower calorie intake without constant constraint.

      You can even start with a fast period as short as 12 hours, and then every few weeks work your way to one or two hours longer.

      In the end, intermittent fasting may not be for everyone, although everyone can benefit from its health effect.


      • Ria says:

        Thank you for the replies (and the link),

        I’m always a ‘do-it-cold-turkey’ person, but perhaps I’ll take the ‘adaptation’ part on board and keep in mind that managing a slightly shorter fast (12hr) does not mean I failed to do IF completely…. it just means I am progressing towards an IF way of eating.

        Thanks again for all the resources (and for being so chilled out about life and health)!


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