“Fast This Way” 📚book: what I learned. Better fasting strategies and hacks for sleep, fat loss, muscles and women.
Hi there, fellow fast-curious soul!
I’m Angela, a nutrition and health coach who’s been into fasting for more than 10 years now. It’s been a journey for sure. Not only for me personally but also for the whole field of fasting — from being considered a “fad of the past” to the present day cutting-edge field of research, that can help to cure or make better almost all of the diseases of modern food environment — obesity, metabolic disease, heart disease, chances of getting cancers, diabetes, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, allergies and sensitivities, auto-immune conditions, skin and hormonal problems, sleep disorders.
I’ve tried almost every fast out there — from a 7-day water fast to daily 16:8 fasting routine, to a fasting-mimicking aka “longevity” diet, to OMAD, to weekly 42-hour fasts, to early intermittent fasting aka eTRF (breakfast, no food after 4pm) to late intermittent fasting aka TRFd (no breakfast, no food after 8pm), to protein fasting, to keto fasting, to bulletproof fasting.
The main lessons I learned:
- Different fasts work differently for different people;
- More isn’t better;
- You got to fast for your goal and adjust it to your life and lifestyle;
- Fasting works best with a nutritionally balanced diet at other times;
- Fasting is a stressor and like any stressor needs to be managed.
My health, my fitness, my body composition all gradually changed for the better the more I learned, the better I practiced. Fasting itself got much “easier” once I learned my patterns, better science, a few “hacks” — now it’s almost a pleasant experience that I’m looking forward to, an experience that makes all the eating so much more pleasurable and special.
“Fast This Way: Burn Fat, Reverse Inflammation, and Become the High-Performing Human You Were Meant to Be”.
A lot of things I read in the book confirmed what I learned over the years, but I also learned quite a few things, that I’m gonna try to get even better results, with less suffering and more benefits.
What you’ll find below are summarized strategies from the book paired with my personal and professional experience. — I bring to you what works, sometimes confirmed by studies sometime just experience of other people like you, dear reader.
Fasting for Better Sleep💤
When it comes to sleep, and many other goals — we want to find a golden middle. Too much fasting and/or at the wrong times might be just as bad for sleep quality and other goals as not enough fasting and/or constant overeating.
We definitely don’t want to be eating too close to our bed time — it’s best to finish our dinner and all the snacks no later than 3 hours before bed.
Some people do better with earlier dinner or skipping it altogether. Some people like myself, early-to-bed (9pm) might not do too well eating too early — when I skip dinner I never sleep well. But if I eat later than 3 hours before bed I don’t sleep well either. So 3–4 hours before bed seems to be optimal for me, and for many people.
Some people do better with more keto/lowcarb dinner, some people, especially women, do better with some more whole food carbs for dinner.
Many people with sleep problems might benefit from magnesium supplement. Dave also recommends to try 5-HTP, melatonin and MCT oil before bed, together or individually.
I definitely noticed, that no matter how good and healthy my meal is — cutting it off by 3pm before sleep is super helpful. I sleep better, need less sleep and wake up all fresh as a daisy with shining skin, bright eyes, a smile on my face and mind full of ideas.
Many of my clients noticed the difference in their body composition, bowel movements, feeling fresher in the morning with 3-hour no food rule. Magnesium helped quite a few of them to stop waking up in the middle of the night.
Fasting for Fat Loss
There are a couple of things, that I’d like to address here.
Fasting is not magic — you still can lose nothing, if you eat a junky diet, fast during the day and eat all-you-want buffet at night, have unmanaged stress levels.
Then, too much fasting can elevate our stress levels, cause overeating and can cause our fat loss progress to plateau.
Fasting done right for our goal, our health and lifestyle can help us to make fat loss easier and faster.
Fasting definitely helps to manage, what and how much we eat in a more simple way since we have to make less food decisions.
Besides having a whole food diet and fasting regularly for 18 hours, not eating 3 hours before bed — one of my personal hacks is taking L-carnitine, vitamin C, minerals and B vitamins, matcha tea powder to optimize my fat-burning processes. Matcha seems to have special benefits for fat metabolism and L-carnitine, vitamin C and some B vitamins are needed to make energy from fats (from our food and our body fat), many B vitamins and minerals are required to make energy from any source. It’s made a huge difference in my fasted workouts perceived “difficulty” and I definitely got quite lean and broke through my personal plateaus.
Using my supplementation protocol many of my clients found it easier to fast and burn through some “resistant” fat.
Fasting for Muscles
The most important thing here is — we definitely don’t want to overdo it and we definitely need our protein in sufficient amounts.
Another VERY important routine, that seems to affect how effectively we can build and maintain lean muscle mass while fasting regularly — Fast-Train-Eat (preferably with some carbs there).
This Fast-Train-Eat routine works perfectly for your hormones and your recovery processes, muscle building and fat loss.
*Please not here that if you are a pro-athlete and/or working on a specific performance indicator — fasted workouts might not be ideal.
What we don’t want to do for sure — fast, train and fast more. That might be more beneficial for autophagy and longevity at times, might have additional benefits for people with a lot of body fat to lose — but it is NOT beneficial and IS counter-productive to have optimal recovery and building/maintaining muscle mass. Not to mention our energy levels and mental performance — they gonna suck after fast-train-fast routine.
I’ve been doing Fast-Train-Eat routine for a long time now and I definitely noticed that it works best for muscles and my recovery, performance later that day. What helped even more with recovery, energy and better muscle composition — introducing whole food carbohydrates into my after-workout eating. Definitely a huge difference!
MY MUSCLE-FOCUSED KETO CLIENTS:
Fast-Train-Eat routine + Carbohydrates got quite a few fans that before experienced dips in energy levels in the afternoons and plateau with fat loss and muscle mass without the carbs.
PS I don’t mention protein, here since I assume people interested in building muscle already know, that this nutrient is of ultimate importance for muscle-building progress.
Fasting for Women
If I were to summarize this one from my personal experience and my ladies’ clients into all things health, fitness, fasting and keto — more isn’t better.
We women are especially sensitive to changes in our diets that increase stress levels — too much fasting, too often, too little carbs all the time, non-stop caloric restrictions. We start experience all the negative “side effects” of too much fasting much faster — loss or worsening of sleep, loss or thinning of hair, period irregularities, often low energy/mood states, decreased “workout energy”, low sex drive.
So, the answer?
Start slow, if you are a beginner:
- Cut out snacks and switch to whole-foods carb-mindful diet;
- Stop snacking;
- Stop eating 3 hours before bed;
- Try out 12-hour daily fasting first;
- Try skipping breakfast or dinner from time to time;
Women seems to work best with fasting done every other day or once a week. Something like 16–18 hours or even OMAD (one meal a day) 2–3 times per week or weekly 24–36-hour fasts and 12 hours on other days — for more experienced fasters.
A few other things to keep in mind:
- Don’t train intensely on fasting days;
- Definitely keep it easier during periods and stressful times;
- Don’t restrict calories all the time, especially with regular fasting;
- If keto — introduce at least 1–2 higher whole-food-carbs days every week;
- Monitor your sleep, energy/mood, periods as you do all these changes.
Different ages, pre/pere menopause? Things will change. Experiment to find out what works best for you at this time of your life.
And remember girls — the goal isn’t to fast more, the goal is more health and vitality. If something is stealing the quality of your life — change it!
MY PERSONAL PRACTICE:
I re-introduced carbohydrates after my workouts every day — that made a HUGE difference! I got my lush hair back that started to fall out in places, I got my regular period back that became erratic, I got my sleep back that became very light with lots of waking-up moments. And I don’t force myself to fast anymore — if on some days I feel particularly hungry, low on energy, fatigued, my workouts suffer — I eat outside of my regular 18-hour fasting window.
I experimented with earlier fasting window based on all the positive feedback from the research — it didn’t work for me, I get too hungry at night and can’t sleep well.
MY LADIES CLIENTS:
Most of the women I worked with report, that they feel their best and it’s easy to lose/maintain weight, feeling high on energy with great sleep quality — when they eat early dinners (3–4 hours before bed) and have 12–14 daily fasts with good amount of whole food carbohydrates at each meal — tubers, whole beans and grains, some fruit.
Fasting Made Easier: Supplements and Other Hacks
Dave wrote a lot about supplements in the book! From bullet proof coffee and activated charcoal to digestive enzymes, adaptogens, probiotics/prebiotics to vitamins and minerals, to anti-inflammatory plant extracts. Dave is a huge supplement fan! I suggest checking out his book for the extensive list of all the supplements and all the possible reasons you might take some.
I definitely don’t recommend to take all of them at the same time, instead trying some experiments with a few at a time, that make sense in your specific situation.
I 100% agree with Dave though, that many supplements can make fasting experience smoother and more effective. Especially when we think about the fact, that most of us don’t come to fasting in perfect health condition and we might benefit from a bit of help — making our fat-burning cellular machinery more efficient to feel more energetic and see more progress faster, or slowing down detoxification process that will accelerate with fasting to not feel as sh*tty.
In my fasting morning I take L-carnitine with vitamin C, that are essential to turn fat into energy — helping me to have more energy and stay leaner instead of being low on energy or burning muscles for energy. I take B vitamins because many of them are essential to turn anything into energy and they also help to prevent nervous system fatigue. I also take some minerals as many of them participate in energy creation, maintenance of normal blood sugar and blood pressure, energy creation processes. I’ve been including ½ teaspoon of pure matcha tea powder in my morning protocol as well — it seems to help with fat metabolism in our body and with many other health biomarkers, being one of the richest anti-oxidant sources.
Having seen quite amazing results with my clients, using these natural simple supplements that I add on top of my coaching strategies — I tend to recommend them for fat loss stage.
And on this biohacking fast-hacking note I’d like to finish my post. I hope you found quite a few useful strategies to upgrade or start your fasting experience in a better way, with less suffering and more short and long-term results.
Please do check out “Fast This Way: Burn Fat, Reverse Inflammation, and Become the High-Performing Human You Were Meant to Be” book by Dave Asprey — where Dave shared his quite unique story of how he got into fasting in one shamanic experience, experience that transformed him, his life and business. You’ll also get a lot more details for different kinds of fasts, supplements, and about the spiritual/mental transformation side of fasting. It’s one great fasting book — with the cutting edge scientific research and many effective hacks yet to be researched and confirmed. And you’ll still get a chance to catch a 14-day fasting challenge Dave organized for all the readers!