There is a popular lifestyle trend, in the nutrition side of the fitness world, called intermittent fasting. The idea seems strange and new at first but that is only because of the overwhelming push for eating a large breakfast followed by multiple small meals that has permeated the majority of health guru’s recommendations for years. If you travel back in time a bit this idea becomes less foreign and makes more sense. Before the times of refrigeration and extremely long shelf life, the foods people ate were the foods that they had foraged that day. Upon waking, one did not sit down to a large meal. Instead they began the daily task of obtaining food. Their meal would come later in the day. Recent studies have debunked the myth that going over 4 hours without eating will send the body into metabolic stress and start the horrible act of burning muscle instead of fat. This body response is very real but is not a concern until after a greater length of fasting and a diet lacking in proper nutrition.
Some people could never do intermittent fasting and that is ok. If your body responds well to 6 small meals a day and you feel satiated and content then don’t bother with it. I fall into the group of people who report never feeling full and satisfied on 6 small meals and in the end, my appetite is increased and my self-control in my food choices is diminished. For me intermittent fasting is very natural and feels great! I don’t eat my first meal of the day until 1:00 in the afternoon. My days are very busy with three children, my husband, a home, my writing and many pastimes. I love not having to think about eating until after everyone else has lunch. It simplifies my mornings! I have 1-3 cups of coffee, which helps to promote fat loss and that is all I need.
I have just recently started creating my meals around the specific macros I need to fulfill the nutrition content I want for my specific goals. I want to burn some fat while building muscle, which makes my macros almost equal protein and carbs with a smaller portion of healthy fat. It feels all scientific and complicated at first but the more I do it the easier it is becoming and I am finding more and more food options that fit my macros and make my meals enjoyable.
My Menu for Today-(a simple menu for a busy day)
- Morning-1-3 cups of coffee with cream
- 1:00-6 egg whites and two slices of whole wheat toast w/butter
- 4:30-Banana and 1 cup of sliced cucumbers and tomatoes
- 6:00-8 oz lean elk steak, 1 cup crushed black beans and sliced olives and a whole grain carb smart tortilla
- 8:00-Protein Bar
This amounts to: 140g carbs, 125g protein and 47g fat for a total of 1450 calories.
Eating this way leaves me feeling full, satiated and strong. My journey has been like a pendulum swinging back and forth between my goals and somewhere far from them. I feel like, with the combination of intermittent fasting and eating for my macros, I am now approaching the balance I have been looking for. Eating like this allows for a lot of flexibility. If I want to go out to dinner or eat a slice of pie I can. I just have to adjust my macros for the rest of the day and it works! I am very excited to spend more time developing balanced, wild game based meals that are flavorful and fit easily into my macros. This stuff is so much fun for me! All of these recipes will be shared on my site with the nutrition information so that you can utilize them too!
With this portion of my fitness journey becoming more routine, I have been trying to find what works for me with my muscle building and endurance training and how I can utilize that with my nutrition to reach my goals. I don’t have time to spend driving to and working out in a gym. I have never had a gym membership and with all I have going on it isn’t a feasible tool. I do all my workouts at home or outside. I started incorporating up hill wind sprints into my routine last fall, before elk season. I saw such a huge cardio response from this that I am determined to keep it in my routine. It is so intense that I am currently shooting for only two mornings each week for this specific training. I won’t do more than 15 to 20 minutes of cardio when I am working on muscle building. It isn’t necessary and makes it harder for your body to maintain the muscle you have. I try for 15 intense cardio minutes that also target large muscle groups. That is why the hill sprints fit my goals so well. I exercise to be as fit as possible for hunting. Being able to run for hours would not be the best way for me to train for hunting. I need strength, hill endurance and stamina for long trudging while carrying weight.
Focusing on short intense cardio sessions is the best way for me to attain that. Aside from cardio, I use free weights and body weight to build strength. I spread my exercises out throughout the week to allow for muscle repair. I like to have at least two sessions each week of pull ups, push ups, curls, shrugs, rows, dips, planks, flys, squats, leg lifts, sit ups and grip exercises. I also participate in a martial arts class one day a week and that provides some variety for my body as well. My weights range from 10 to 25 lbs and I focus on proper form with low reps. I want to build strength and muscle and not be hindered when I go to pack out that elk.
I have had to get creative to fit these exercises into my day. I was expressing my frustration to my dad during a recent visit. I have had a hard time finding a consistent time slot throughout my week where I can focus on getting the exercises I want done. He had the idea that I could assign the exercises to specific tasks I do each day. Laundry could be assigned to pull ups, push-ups could be assigned to making the beds etc. This idea has been hugely successful. I may not have a large chunk of time I can dedicate but I can give myself 5 extra minutes after each task to complete an exercise. I put my pull-up bar on the door to the laundry room and every time I switch the laundry I do a set or two. This is working for me and finding what works for you is the biggest hurdle to a successful fitness and nutrition lifestyle.
It takes time, tweaking and flexibility and as your life changes so will your routine. What worked when you were single probably wont work when you have a family or when you are retired. Giving yourself the time to figure it out may seem selfish or overwhelming but the investment is so worth it when everything starts coming together and you begin to see results. The goals become attainable and that is very exciting for me. I hope you can find something helpful in this article even if it is just some motivation to spend a little time on your own goals and routine. I would love to hear what you do to make your goals achievable!