Tweeting: Space Junk

Read time: 2 minutes

This post is more like a tweet that exceeds the 140-character limit, with no intention of saying anything of greater value than 99.9% of the tweets out there in social space.

I am at the end of a 32-hour fast, accompanied by several workouts throughout. Yesterday, near the start of the fast, I did a strength workout with a barbell, then several hours later I did an endurance workout on a Concept2 indoor rower, and then this morning I did an intense metabolic workout with a medicine ball.Ā And to top it all off, I washed, waxed, and detailed my car for a few hours in the sun (before, of course, it rained).

The point is this: Throughout the fasting period, all that high muscle tension, heart rate variability, and energetics depletion have not caused me to pass out or to lose control and kick my neighbor for letting his Jack Russell pee on the hydrangea. I am feeling great.

At some point, glycogen metabolism was replaced by fat and ketone metabolism. Fat, ketone, and protein substrates also contributed to gluconeogenesis for further glycogen metabolism. The body is amazing at meeting energetic demands, if given the chance for this adaptability. But that’s all pedantic — useless in the real world where all we want is a better body.

People on various internet forums fret, discuss at length, debate, and advise about meal timing and exercise. You can follow the various practices discussed. Eat after your workout. Get some branched chain amino acid before, during, or after. If you’re skinny, you need to focus more on eating surrounding your workouts. You need X amount of protein to build muscle. etc, etc, etc. And these concerns aren’t even on bodybuilding forums.

Of course, you’re free to try them all; sometimes the practice is complicated, but most often you’ll just end up complicating the practice.

Unless you’re a competitive bodybuilder whose sole existence in muscle mass is at the fringe of genetic potential, where meal-composition and meal-timing may contribute merely another 1%, the rest of us wishing to achieve a normal, muscularly defined and healthy body probably don’t need to complicate life with issues reserved for the freak show at a bodybuilding circus.

Sure, if you’re a tinker of exercise methods and a gearhead of nutritional supplements, by all means zip up your space suit and step out into the vacuum that is the internet and capture among the space junk the golden Pythagorean theorem of muscle mass, fat burn, and health. (If you don’t get impaled by a meteorite that is a frozen chunk of astronaut waste discarded from the space station.)

But if you want liberation from complication or obsession, then stop worrying about the relationship between exercise and meal-timing.

In the end, you can step out into the vacuum of the internet and slip into an orbit that is, in all practice, a perpetual free-fall. Or you can put simplicity back into action and achieve the body you want in this world by:

  • Eating mostly whole, real food to be healthy
  • Eating less if you want to lose body fat
  • Lifting more weight if you want to build muscle mass
Keep it simple. Keep your feet on the ground.
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This entry was posted in Dietary Habit, Exercise and Physical Activities and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

40 Responses to Tweeting: Space Junk

  1. David says:

    I kicked my neighbor’s Jack Russell but that is just a result of my social insensitivity and has nothing to do with my dietary philosophy. šŸ™‚

  2. Haley says:

    AMEN!

  3. Johnny says:

    Good post Johnny. I found this out for myself not too long ago. It is very liberating to eat when you want to and not because you feel like you have to.

  4. Brett says:

    Great post.
    One concern.
    I have been IF’ing for a couple years on and off now. They days I don’t IF is because it’s simply too difficult to eat enough calories is the suggested 8 hour window, but that’s besides the point. I found that after 16 hours of not eating my cognitive function would REALLY start to slip…. I’d start getting shaky, be unable to communicate at full potential, and at some points, really became concerned about my ability to drive. It almost seemed that after each hour that passed after the 16 mark was exponentially worse for me than the previous.
    Could this be some sort of placebo effect? I couldn’t even fathom 24+ hours fasted, although I’d like to do this eventually.

    • KevinT says:

      I’ve been doing this for a while and I still get total energy depletion like you mentioned right around 14-18 hours. Happens probably 4-5 days out of the week. Shaky, extremely irritable, total mind fog, dead energy … the works. Sometimes it leads to an unplanned hour long nap on the floor after resting from a workout or whatever. I’m trying to see if I’m still trying to adapt… but I do believe there’s more to to the story.

      I think just like the amount of food and the types of food each person can handle… fasting works the same way. It’s just one tool in the toolbox that probably needs to be sharpened & fitted to each person. Some folks probably need to eat sooner (or later) than others.

      ——

      As for the post, that’s why I had to quit going to fitness forums. Too much routine/muscle/timing/etc talk for me. Drove me nuts!

      I just working on becoming as healthy as I can, lose the extra weight as a nice side effect, & keep things really simple & relaxed for myself. Then maybe I can start helping others figure it all out too without making everything a fitness formula circus.

      šŸ™‚

    • Johnny says:

      Hi Brett,

      Thanks for reading.

      Please don’t misunderstand the post as a suggestion to do a 32-hour fast. I wrote that as a example in concept. The message was that it is OK to skip a post workout meal.

      You’ll have to find a fasting schedule that works for you, and some people respond differently. Perhaps you’re good for up to 16 hours.

      But I’ll have to say that most often it’s not IF that is the factor but perhaps other independent and interdependent variables such as type of food in the diet, hormonal response to feeding regiment, fasting duration experience, psychological makeup, current metabolic status, health status, glucose transport efficiency, fat mobilization and ketone conversion, etc.

      Anyway, my suggestion is still the same message I’ve given for a long time:

      Eat mostly whole, real food, and eat less if you have weight to lose.

      If you personally decide to go longer than 16 hours, then extend it slowly and be sure you’re in a safe situation for this extension (no driving, operation of heavy machinery, yadda yadda). Sometimes you just simply need to acclimate.

      Best,
      Johnny

  5. Dale says:

    Johnny –

    You’re likely wasting your time. It’ll never sell. Remember that we live in a country that builds round-abouts and THEN adds stop signs.

    Seriously, keep fighting the good fight!

  6. Wood says:

    Ok. But don’t You think the result can come faster if someone use all the bodybuilding methods (protein after, kreatin before-after, bcaa before-during so one). Or all of it just bullshit and really doesn’t matter for an average gym goer?

    By the way You should post every week a reminder like this to bring me back to the ground (or I should read it every week) I still want to believe that there can’t be a whole industrie based on lies…

    • Johnny says:

      Hi Wood,

      Believe me, I’ve thought about this a lot and have looked into it extensively. I just haven’t seen a lot of evidence to commit to the concept that such practice can net “faster” or “more” muscle mass for the average naturally trained person.

      The rationale behind eating a post-workout meal (BCAA, food, or otherwise) within 30 to 60 minutes is to build muscle mass because nutrient uptake is accelerated after your workout and therefore will convert to muscle mass.

      But we know that muscle mass is not built within 30 to 60 minutes, nor even in a day. Remember, remember, remember: protein synthesis, or muscle uptake of protein, has not or does not prove to result in actual muscle mass.

      We also know that the body’s response to protein intake lasts 24 to 48 hours post workout, whether the protein is consumed immediately after a workout or many hours after. In other words, whole-body and muscle protein uptake is eventually the same.

      While a workout has been shown to increase the uptake rate of protein, this uptake rate of protein has not been proven to result in increased muscle mass. However, it has been clearly shown that strength training alone signals an increase in muscle mass even in a state of caloric deficit.

      Keeping this in mind, my message isn’t to avoid post-workout meals, but to not allow a non-conclusive concept to encumber your life, burden you with obsessive exercise and eating methods, or to cause you to waste money on the unproven use of protein powders and post-workout supplements.

      Approach your life informed and with less hassle.

      Best,
      Johnny

      PS. I’ve done creatine and found it to be the only supplement worth taking if you’re looking for more (initial) body weight that eventually nets a little bit of accelerated muscle mass and strength increase. I recommend the use of creatine for those looking for increased strength, some muscle mass, and perhaps even protection from head/brain trauma.

      • Wood says:

        Thank You.
        So every natural bodybuilder use this prokotol based on false believes? Or just payed marketing purpose?

  7. Sami says:

    Lovely, concise, and to the point. I am a new subscriber but have to say that I really like your writing style.

    Thanks for the smiles šŸ™‚ Cheered up my workday.

    //sami

  8. Kim says:

    Hi Johnny! LOVE your site!! Quick question for you: What kind of workouts do you suggest if you don’t want to build muscle? I’m lucky enough to carry a decent amount of muscle naturally and I don’t want to build any more, but I’m not sure how best to approach my workouts. I workout at home and have some free weights, but I really prefer bodyweight work or intense yoga. Any advice (days/week, reps/sets, weights vs bodyweight) would be greatly appreciated! Thanks so much!!!

    • Johnny says:

      Hi Kim,

      I recommend intense metabolic training. It’s metabolically demanding, burns a lot of fat, works all of your muscles, but without pushing you through the tension threshold associated with large muscle mass.

      Last year I eliminated 90% of my strength training and replaced it with metabolic training in order to lose muscle mass and become slimmer. It worked like a charm. (Simple: Less muscle contractile demand, less muscle mass.)

      For metabolic training, I had purchased an 8-pound medicine ball and used it for most of my exercise. It’s amazing what an 8-pound medicine ball can do when you accelerate it at medium-to-high velocity in multiple planes and in various range of motion.

      As many readers of TLS knows, I’ve made passing references to medicine ball training a lot. With my experience using a simple 8-pound medicine ball, I highly recommend medicine ball training, if you’re just looking for incredible fat burning and just enough demand and stimulation to your muscles to maintain (or build a little) muscle mass.

      Google “metabolic training” and you’ll find a lot of examples for a workout. But perhaps it will be useful for a future post to concentrate on some of the medicine ball workouts I personally use.

      Best,
      Johnny

      • Kim says:

        Hey Johnny

        Thanks for the reply! I’d love to see a whole post dedicated to the metabolic training you did. I have a bunch of other questions related to it, like how many times a week did you do it, what exercises do you recommend, reps/sets, did you do anything else, ect.

        Thanks again!
        Kim

  9. Armi Legge says:

    I’ve done some insane workouts in a fasted state. Yesterday I went on 3hr solo endurance cycling workout averaging 18 miles/hr and hour by myself, came home, waited several hours, did a core workout, then broke my fast. That’s after a full night of fasting and no breakfast. I felt great, never depleted or deprived, and it didn’t hurt my recovery at all.

    Today I woke up, went on an 8 mile tempo run, came back and did some work, went for a 1 r swim session followed by weight training, came home, worked for several hours and then broke fast.

    It is a fact that long endurance exercise breaks down muscle, but what people forget is that IF also increases post exercise muscle re-synthesis.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9252485

    Although I don’t have a study to prove this theory, I would expect the increase to be somewhat proportional to the amount of catabolism, if not more so via hormesis.

    I never feel much better after refueling post workout even though that’s what all the “experts” say.

    I do think that some of the catabolism can be stunted by taking in amino acids, but I think this is just that 1% on the top, not a necessity.

    Thanks for bringing some common sense to the world of ruthless food dogma.

    -Armi

    • Johnny says:

      Armi,

      Thank you for the link to the abstract that not only supports the contention that fasted training has adaptive benefits but also that nutrient uptake eventually achieves a “catch-up” state over time — in this case, 24 hours — irrespective of meal timing designated as pre-, concomitant- or post-workout.

      Best,
      Johnny

  10. Dale says:

    Johnny –

    Something I’ve wanted to ask you: you’ve eliminated 90% of your strength training. Does that mean you achieved your muscle mass primarily through long, arduous and heavy strength sessions, or were you using relatively minimalist routines even back then ?

    • Johnny says:

      Except for when I trained for an olympic-style weightlifting meet several years ago, my strength/mass workouts have always been short workouts based on compound movements with some additional arm work. So, yes, minimalist strength training.

      Best,
      Johnny

  11. GuyJeb says:

    Great post Johnny. Although I’m still hoping to see the video from the IF seminar that was given a few weeks back.

    I’d have to say I too fell succumb to Eating 5-6 meals a day, working out daily for 1-2 hours. I did loose fat. I did Gain muscle. But good lord, I wished an Easier way. This was not sustainable and my wife was getting absolutely sick of my crazy diet and high cost of lean proteins (sometimes 5-6 Chicken breasts a day..) on our grocery bills. I eventually gave up this lifestyle.

    Since I started IF’ing, It is unbelievable how little I eat now. My stomach must have shrank and therefore when going to a Buffet at a casino, all my friends “out ate” me, a 6’2″ 260lbs male, by eating 4 plates of food (they were 5’10” 160 lbs.), where I could only eat 2 plates and then felt sick the rest of the day, looking for Some digestive Hot Tea. This is a recurring “Problem” for me.. Yes this is a Problem, because I now have to relearn to cook or buy less food because I feel physically horrible over eating now.

    It is amazing how much a simple Medicine ball or a Kettle bell can do for a person in 20 minutes. This I am still learning.

    Johnny, thanks again for these free contributions..
    -Jeb

    • Johnny says:

      Hi GuyJeb,

      Todd Becker did an excellent job with the talk on IF. He just informed that he now has the “raw” videos of the talk uploaded on his blog. He mentioned in his email to me that the quality is not as high because he wanted to get these up for public use sooner rather than later. Hopefully he’ll have edited versions with slightly better video quality, but I thought these are great and will serve as great information for those looking for insight immediately.

      If the higher quality videos become available, I will provide another link in a post. But for now, here is the talk in several videos:

      http://gettingstronger.org/2011/05/intermittent-fasting-for-health-and-longevity/

      Check out especially his information on the “deconditioning diet” for easier IF practice. Good info!

      Best,
      Johnny

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  13. Hi John,
    Just happened on your website and I have not browsed through your posts much so forgive me if you have answered this question before. I was wondering about your use, if any, of supplements. I use a limited amount of supplementation, a multi, an antioxidant and EFA’s. Was wondering how that would relate to fasting.

    • Johnny says:

      Hi Michael,

      Thanks for reading. I’ll keep the answer simple. If you’re eating mostly whole, real food, then you probably have no need for supplement of any kind. If you’re trying to gain MAXIMUM muscle weight, then give a quality creatine supplement a try. If you’re just trying to get lean, build a little muscle mass, look athletic, and be healthy, then simply eat whole, real food, and don’t overeat. Exercise regularly.

      Wow. Where have we heard this before?!

      Best,
      Johnny

  14. Stephon says:

    Johnny,

    It’s been awhile since I have commented on this blog, but I gotta tell you I love it! You have a way to make everything sound uncomplicated. As you know I have been practicing IF for almost one year now with great results. The one thing that I see a lot of also is the whole macronutrient counting and eat X amount of protein and carbs, but what about the people who just want to enjoy life and stay lean? is it really that necessary?.
    I am struggling a bit with the losing a bit of mass deal and still may be training a bit too much volume. I know you have a simple strength training workout in which I as well as some of your other readers would love to know a little more about, and I must admit I am completely ecstatic about your future post on metabolic/medicine ball training. I am going to invest in another 16 kg kettlebell and a medicine ball, and hopefully your post will give me some great insight on more metabolic training vs Strength training.

    One more question if you don’t mind asking what are your thoughts on the “Mediterranean Diet” from a effect on body composition standpoint? Again thanks and keep up the great posts and info.

    • Johnny says:

      The Mediterranean Diet is another decent diet, if you don’t over eat.

      I will definitely throw out a few posts on the utility of a simple medicine ball. Or kettlebell.

      Really, in the end, it’s keeping with The Lean Saloon’s philosophy of keeping things simple but working diligently.

      Best,
      Johnny

  15. Stephon says:

    Thanks for the response as I know you are quite busy. It’s interesting to see your response to my question about the Mediterranean Diet because I know you are more Paleoish if I can recall as well as I ? From what I have read they are both based around eating mostly “whole foods” as well just with Mediterranean having more of a focus on grains, fish, legumes, some dairy, healthy fats, and little red meat consumption.

    I’m considering giving it a try without changing my IF schedule (not eating until after 4 p.m.). Just wondered about how eating less meat would affect the lean chiseled look I have achieved even if I kept food intake the same?. As to my kettlebell and medicine ball, I already have a 16kg kettlebell, should I get a slightly heavier one or another 16kg one? and what weight for medicine balls? any resources? Thanks in advance, you are awesome!

    • Johnny says:

      Hi Stephon,

      Let us know what you’ll experience with the change in macronutrition/diet type. I certainly didn’t see much change in myself during the periods when I adopted more of a Mediterranean diet. It’s hard to label what kind of diet I currently eat, as it is mostly whole, real food that still includes some whole (often sprouted) grains and even some refined carbs. (Love my tiramisu desserts!)

      Only you can decide whether you want a heavier kettlebell. It’s essentially not so much “weight” training as it is “force” training:

      Force = mass x acceleration

      You can increase mass (weight) to increase force:

      F = MASS x acceleration

      Or you can increase acceleration (rate of changing inertia) to increase force:

      F = mass x ACCELERATION

      In other words, with full control and preserving sound technique, increase the speed at which you exercise with your 16 KG kettlebell.

      Or you can just purchase a heavier one.

      Same thing with a medicine ball. I like to keep the same weight in medicine ball — around 6 to 10 pounds, and focus on acceleration, speed of movement, planes of movement, and range of motion. I’ll eventually will write more about medicine ball training — maybe even put up some videos.

      Thanks,
      Johnny

      • Stephon says:

        Johnny,

        Thanks, You are basically saying that I can change the effectiveness of the workout by increasing the speed of the movement with the kettlebell/ medicine ball? Makes total sense, again thanks and can’t wait for the post on training. I will keep you updated on my experience with the macronutrient change for sure! Until then, keep up with the excellent job you’re doing here

      • KevinT says:

        This quick explanation you gave is great! I’ve been considering going up in my kettlebell weight… but I think I’m just gonna work on increasing the speed instead.

        *subliminal message*
        videosvideosvideosvideosvideosvideosvideosvideosvideosvideosvideosvideosvideosvideosvideosvideosvideosvideos

        šŸ™‚

  16. Alex says:

    Johnny,after fasting and intense workout,we should eat some carbs to restore glycogen.What is the best source of whole food carbs?I think of potatoe,but it has very haigh insulin index.What carbs should i eat?

    • Johnny says:

      Hi Alex,

      Can you tell me why you feel it’s important to eat some carbs after the workout to restore glycogen? It’s a legitimate statement, but only depending on what your goal is.

      Best,
      Johnny

  17. Marc says:

    Johnny,

    Simple, yet elegant TRUTHFUL post!
    I couldn’t agree more.

    Have a wonderful weekend.
    Marc

  18. Marc says:

    Real food is where it’s at in my opinion Johnny.
    Thanks for the link love.

    Going to bed on time for a race tomorrow. Mini triathlon. 5k run, 15k bike, 1/4 mile swim in the gulf of mexico. I will be doing it in a fasted state and not any specific training for it. The power of eating right, exercising smartly and enjoying life šŸ™‚

    Marc

  19. Alex says:

    Johnny,
    My goal is lean body.I am not fat,maybe around 12-15 %,the problem is my abdominal fat.But if i want lean body,first i have to get strong and lift heavy.

  20. Alex says:

    P.S. And to get stronger I have to eat carbs after heavy workout.And I really don’t want to quit carbs.They satisfies me.I am now on Worrior Diet,and it is safe to eat carbs at the end of the meal.What is your opinion about WD?

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  23. bodybuilding says:

    We’re a group of volunteers and opening a brand new scheme in our community. Your website offered us with valuable info to work on. You have performed an impressive task and our whole neighborhood might be thankful to you.

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