Bigger Smaller Bigger

by with John Berardi & Martin Rooney

24 Hours Without Food


Today was my first 24-hour fast day.

Apparently it’s all part of some master plan of JB’s. Here’s what happened:

9:00 AM – Wake up

9:30 AM – Realize I don’t have to make a huge breakfast or eat toast. I am ecstatic.

10:15 AM – Prepare my breakfast of greens powder, green tea, and BCAA caps.

10:17 AM – Finish my breakfast. (2 minutes!)

10:18 AM – Wonder just what the hell I’m gonna do with my day now that I don’t have five hours of cooking and eating to deal with. Fist pump.

10:30 AM – Drive to a coffee shop for a double espresso and a chocolate croissant. The coffee is for me. The croissant is for David (not his real name), a 12-year old kid I hang out with once a week as part of the Big Brother, Big Sisters program.

10:35 AM – Drive to David’s house and try not to eat his croissant. First stomach rumble of the day.

11:00 AM – Shoot baskets, toss the football, and chase after the Frisbee at a park with David.

11:20 AM – Get hit in the temple with the Frisbee after he hurtled it at me when I was tying my shoe. Second stomach rumble.

1:00 PM – Take David to a restaurant and watch him eat noodles, meat, and veggies. I drink green tea and stare longingly at his plate of food. Third stomach rumble.

2:00 PM – Drop David off and drive home where I immediately make my second “meal” of greens powder, green tea, and BCAA caps.

Fasting materials

2:03 PM – Finish my lunch. Fourth stomach rumble.

2:15 PM – Drive to the gym with a camera. Strip down to my underwear and get my picture taken.

3:00 PM – Help Richelle make a huge pot of chili. Repeatedly tell her that she should eat some and describe the flavors to me since I’m not allowed to eat until 10:00 PM. After the third time, she agrees. Apparently it’s delicious. Fifth stomach rumble.

4:00 PM – I sit on the couch, feeling pissed off for no good reason.

5:00 PM – Still sitting on the couch. But now I’m reading a magazine.

6:00 PM – Have my third “meal” of greens powder, green tea, and BCAA caps. Finish it in less than a minute. I am so fucking hungry.

6:30 PM – Decide it’s a good time to take a hot bath.

6:45 PM – Lie down in a steamy hot bath.

6:47 PM – Realize that taking a hot bath on an empty stomach is not a good idea. Slowly get out and towel off. I’m lightheaded and wobbly, like I’ve just downed nine shots of whiskey.

7:30 PM – Lie on the couch, watch TV, and complain loudly. Sixth stomach rumble.

8:30 PM – Drive to the grocery store to stock up on food for the next couple days.

8:45 PM – Guiltily walk through aisle after aisle of food. Seventh stomach rumble.

9:30 PM – Start cooking my real dinner. Feel like I’m moving in slow motion.

10:00 PM – Eat two half-pound steaks and a huge bowl of salad. Starting to feel more like a human.

10:05 PM – Smile at Richelle who says, I like you a lot more when you have food in you.

10:35 PM – Wash the dishes, and get in bed.

10:40 PM – Eighth stomach rumble.

All in all, a good day of fasting.

Knowledge Bomb!

Why I Have a 24-Hour Fast Day on a Weight Gain Program

Here I am trying to gain as much weight as possible in 4 weeks and I have an entire 24 hours every week where I don’t eat anything? What kind of sense does that make?

Apparently it makes a lot of sense. At least according to JB, who’s done some intensive experiments with intermittent fasting. While he used IF primarily for fat-loss purposes, I’m using it to offset the inevitable fat gain that would normally come with an eating plan like mine.

In other words, the goal is for me to be in a caloric surplus – and anabolic state – six days per week, eating more calories than I burn which will lead to muscle growth. And in an extreme caloric deficit one day per week, which will help reset my insulin sensitivity, boost growth hormone secretion, and help stimulate fat loss while preserving my lean mass.

Coupled with Martin’s Hurricane sprint days, this one-two punch of interval training and strategic fasting should help me gain quality mass without adding a lot of fat.

The Importance of the Fasting “Meal”

You’ll notice that on Sundays I’m instructed to eat three “meals” containing BCAA (branched-chain amino acids) capsules, green tea, and greens powder. This is because:

  • About 30 minutes before our normal meal times, we release a specific hormone called ghrelin. Ghrelin stimulates hunger pangs and gets us ready for the upcoming meal.
  • It’s psychologically comforting to have some kind of eating routine. When adding in BCAAs and greens powder it feels like you’re still “eating”, which helps curb those hunger signals.
  • The caffeine in green tea (or coffee) helps to liberate stored fats. This helps us eat the “food” that’s stored on our love handles instead of requiring us to actually have a meal.
  • Since I’m not eating calories for a full 24 hours, the BCAAs help preserve every ounce of precious, lean muscle mass. I’ve only got a few weeks to hit my goal.

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