Saturday, August 22, 2009

Randomness

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* Some time ago, Super Human Radio featured Dr Mark McCarty, co-author of a study on fasting and exercise.

Exercise After Mini-Fast Burns Fat And Builds Muscle

Some good discussion here if you can stand the commercial breaks.

What I found impressive was the high adherance rate, as well as the effectiveness of the approach, compared to the usual standard seen in weight loss interventions - especially considering that participants were allowed to eat as much as they wanted throughout the study (though low fat, low glycemic food choices were encouraged).

Here's a few excerpts from the full text version of the study -

"With respect to the long-term sustainability of this regimen, it may be noted that author M.F.M. has followed this regimen for 12 years and, at age 56, maintains a body fat under 5%, having lost approximately two-thirds of his initial body fat."

Damn, sounds like Dr McCarty is ripped.

"It stands to reason that, if daily exercise is conducted in a way that optimizes oxidation of stored fat, and if subsequent meals are low in fat so that this oxidized fat is not immediately replaced (but a satisfying repletion of glycogen stores is achieved), a daily negative fat balance can be achieved that will persist until a new equilibrium is reached at a much lower body fat content [1,2,7]."

This goes in line with some of my own thinking regarding the post-workout overfeedings.

"Clinically, meal skipping has been associated withreduced risk for colorectal cancer in several epidemiological studies [24–27], and serum lipid profiles and plasma levels of acutephase reactants tend to improve during the month of Ramadan
in observant Moslems [28–31]."

Good stuff.

Bahadori B, McCarty MF, Barroso-Aranda J, Gustin JC, Contreras F. A "mini-fast with exercise" protocol for fat loss. Med Hypotheses. 2009 Jul 2. PMID: 19577377.

Read the abstract here

* Andreaz Engstrom, competing bodybuilder and former client of mine, put together a video showcasing some of his progress made with intermittent fasting this summer.

I coached Andreaz for a competition back in April. Shortly after competing, Andreaz got sick with shingles, which prevented him from training for six weeks. As you can see, he made a swift comeback. You can see his before/afters leading up to the competition in this post.

* Alan Aragon on supplement marketing . Good article, but I suspect he may be preaching to the choir. Nonetheless, well worth reading.

22 comments:

Miguel Angel said...

Good to see you that u are posting a lot of times per week, and especially interesting things
Anyway, we are waiting to be released the four horsemen soon!
Keep up the good work Good luck!

Anonymous said...

yeah dude this is one of my fav blogs so im glad to see you up and posting more often. keep at it, great stuff as always.

Stefan said...

wrt: the mini-fast + exercise study, does that mean that you can possibly lose fat while being in a caloric surplus (at least for some time)?

Martin Berkhan said...

The idea that fat loss may occur despite hypercaloric circumstances, such as engaging in exercise and dietary manipulations that would greatly favor fat oxidation and then refeed on low fat and high carb foods (thus temporarily inducing a negative fat balance at the end of the day, as synthesis of fat from carbs is very limited in the short term) has been around for some time.

But this study doesn't prove the hypothesis to be true, no. Recall that this was an 'ad libitum' setup, meaning calories were not controlled - it's likely that participants simply ate less due to various factors imposed by the strategy used (in the paper they mention fasting, appetite suppression, food choices).

justy said...

Pretty impressive results. Makes me wonder what could have been accomplished had resistance training been in the mix. Martin would you agree with the fasted state aerobic exercise and subsequently not eating for a while thereafter? Since the intention of the study is to maximize fat loss it seems like a logical approach. They did mention eating just protein after exercise and eating carbs at a later time to maximize the fat burn. Would this be a good approach in a resistance program? Definetely glad to see you posting more often...anxiously awaiting the book.

Martin Berkhan said...

'Martin would you agree with the fasted state aerobic exercise and subsequently not eating for a while thereafter? Since the intention of the study is to maximize fat loss it seems like a logical approach.'

Sure. Good appetite blunting effects, due to mild post-exercise ketosis, makes it an appealing approach when time is limited and fat loss high on the priority list.

'They did mention eating just protein after exercise and eating carbs at a later time to maximize the fat burn. Would this be a good approach in a resistance program? '

If good doesn't equal optimal from a theoretical point of view, then absolutely. And contrary to what people seem to believe...ah well, let's just say results are interesting and leave it at that.

BIGRED said...

glad to see you posting more often, enjoy your blog!

Mark said...

Hey Martin,
Please feel free to shoot down my lack of knowledge in biochemistry here but what about how excess carbs get converted to palmitic acid (saturated fat) by the liver? Would it matter whether you consume fats over carbs in an effort to keep insulin levels down or does it not matter if you are sticking to not eating about 2 to 3 hours both before and after my workout? Any guidance would be appreciated. Thanks Martin, great blog and just like everyone else, loving the more frequent posts!

Anonymous said...

Great stuff Martin!
Keep it comming!

//Seth Ronland

Wilmar said...

wouldn't an ad libitum experiment setup best simulate actual non-dieting eating habits though? like, maybe the question was to see if this could be a proper lifestyle way of eating/fitness.

and on a side note, so fat content in your food matters postworkout? like, if you eat fat, your body will immediately replace lost body fat with the incoming dietary fat? that sounds kind of discouraging :( maybe i should reconsider what i eat post-workout...

thanks for the blog entry!

Martin Berkhan said...

'Please feel free to shoot down my lack of knowledge in biochemistry here but what about how excess carbs get converted to palmitic acid (saturated fat) by the liver?'

Not likely. DNL only comes into play during chronic and/or extreme excess. In a mixed diet, it accounts for less than 1% of stored fat. Excess is the key word here. A very hypercaloric low fat diet will still have your respiratory quotient at 1 for most of the day, and you'd store dietary fat just fine.

'Would it matter whether you consume fats over carbs in an effort to keep insulin levels down or does it not matter if you are sticking to not eating about 2 to 3 hours both before and after my workout?'

In a calorie deficit, no.

But consider the energy cost for lipogenesis, 2 vs 23% calories for fat and carbs respectively. None of this matters in a mixed diet or most real life applications, but let's talk ad libitum (per the example of McCartys study)

The interesting question here is not about extremes, but rather if it's possible to achieve a negative fat balance at the end of the day via the combined effects of

fasted exercise: high FFA oxidation during exercise + improved ins sensitivity rest of the day + inhibtion of acetyl-CoA carboxylase via catecholamines (<8 hrs pwo)

+

a low fat diet which isn't necessarily hypocaloric (or pushed to the extremes)

I'm labcoating now btw, not making claims.

Martin Berkhan said...

'wouldn't an ad libitum experiment setup best simulate actual non-dieting eating habits though? '

Ah, think I just answered this.

'like, if you eat fat, your body will immediately replace lost body fat with the incoming dietary fat?'

Sure. Albeit way too simplistic. You'd drive yourself nuts thinking like that. Fat gets stored after every meal you eat. Fat gets released in between meals. What matters is still storage minus breakdown at the end of the day, which either is positive, neutral or negative.

I'm more interested in whether it's possible to tilt fat balance to negative by the combined effects of exercise/fasting/diet during conditions it shouldn't/wouldn't normally occur (mixed diet/no training).

Mark said...

Thanks Martin. I usually end up falling back into the very low carb camp and avoid fruit and such. I typically eat Paleo but I need to not fear fruit and carbs in general. A good measure should be to eat fat if a meal is low in carbs and the opposite. I know calories matter in the end but by cutting carbs and replacing with fat, my hunger falls off the table.

Martin Berkhan said...

Sure, why not. I'm all for people doing whatever will make them stick to their diet in the long run.

Anonymous said...

what is the definition of low-fat here? less than 50 grams? thanks.

Martin Berkhan said...

Depends, but I wouldn't define it in absolute numbers (nor do I wan't to impose my standards here). But for someone with a maintenance intake of 2500 kcal, I'd say 50 g fat is quite low.

Anonymous said...

Martin,

First of all, thanks for this blog. It's always a great read.

With regards to the post-workout strategy that you are known to apply, I think there might be something to it. I read your original thread back on BR when the topic was first discussed; we even exchanged some e-mails, and you gave me some guidelines to work with. Putting theory into practice yielded some rather impressive gains in terms of muscle:fat ratio going by a DEXA scan. According to the reading, I gained 1.7 kg fat free mass and 0.6 kg fat in 8 weeks. I was quite pleased with this, considering my training status. Unfortunately, a car accident impaired any further progress. I'm able to train with sufficient vigor in a few weeks, and will try your protocol again. If you are interested, I can keep you updated on my progress. I also have the DEXA scans and will e-mail them to you if you are interested in seeing the data.

Stephen Levinson

Martin Berkhan said...

Good to hear, Stephen. Sure, shoot me an e-mail.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Martin.
The study was about exercise after a 12-14 hours' fast. Which would be the effects if this fast included the hours of sleep, too? For example, having dinner at 6 PM, then exercising early in the morning. This would be a fast withour skipping meals...
Best wishes from Italy,
Marcello

Martin Berkhan said...

The fast in the study included sleeping hours.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Martin. I think I made some confusion. I thought people fasted and then exercised, but if I understood correctly, they exercised during the fast and then had a (low fat) meal. As you say that the fast included sleep hours, the low fat meal was breakfast. But, at this point, it would be equally possible to have breakfast, fast and exercise, and then have a (low fat) dinner, skipping lunch.
Best wishes, Marcello

Martin Berkhan said...

Yes, that option was also made available to them.




My name is Martin Berkhan and I work as a nutritional consultant, magazine writer and personal trainer.

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