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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. 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