'Breaker, Breaker.' Examining the Potential Benefits of Skipping Breakfast

Back in the day – like high school back in the day – I tried to be the cool guy who listened to music that everyone else wasn’t listening to. While my classmates listened to the latest rap and pop tunes of the early 2000s, I thought I was the man by cranking up tunes by rock & roll also-rans that had seen their primes decades before.

One tune that comes to mind is a little ditty called ‘Breaker, Breaker,’ which after listening to it today sounds like 17 cats dying all at the same time. I was totally unfamiliar with the truckers’ lingo and never understood what in the H breaker, breaker actually meant.

The same can be said for people when it comes to breakfast. Quite literally, most peoples’ first meal of the day is breaking a fast, or eating after the eight-plus hours your body went without food when you were sleeping.

Fasting for people in this country seems about as logical as listening to something like ‘Breaker, Breaker’ – like, you just don’t do it. But, a conversation with a client got me thinking the other day about a few things.

First and foremost, the regimented three-meals-per-day structure has been around for as long as anyone can remember. It’s always been pretty well documented about the importance of eating the first meal of the day – breakfast. This post isn’t meant to blast the unquestioned benefits of eating after you wake up.  Instead, we’re looking at the potential benefits of what could happen if you continue fasting after you wake up.

Said client and I had an interesting chat about a fast that she and a group were doing over a 24-hour period. The only thing she could consume was water to help her stay hydrated. Other than that, she was supposed to fight all urges and leave the food on the table.

Is this logical? Is it healthy? Aren’t we keeping money out of the deserving small businesses’ hands that keep us satiated on a daily basis?

Before you grab the pitchforks and torches, let’s first understand what exactly we’re talking about here. Intermittent fasting is becoming popular in many circles as a way to shift the bodies’ method of burning fat instead of sugar/carbs. When your body gets to this state it’s called ketosis, with other popular trends like cleanses and detoxes also achieving the similar desired affects.

Skipping breakfast would give you somewhere in the neighborhood of 11 to 15 hours of fast time if you went to bed at 10 p.m.  Your first meal – lunch - would launch your ‘window’ of eating that would end at around 8 that night.  Now the important caveat here is if after you’ve fasted for the allotted 11 to 15 hours and then stuffed your face with fast food and sugar-filled beverages until you go to bed, you’ve basically made the fast completely meaningless. By pouring blood sugar spiking, inflammation-inducing foods down the hatch, you’re essentially reversing the trend that we talked about above and thrusting your body back to burning carbs and sugar.

Some research has suggested that not eating is actually a detriment to the ‘normal’ American diet, instead shifting the body into survival mode that sees the body trying to hold onto its fat stores. So while both scenarios – one in which the body is in ketosis and one in which it is not – operate with the body ingesting either a normal or slightly less than normal caloric intake, it’s the entire body of work that matters most.

Unless you’re a child, elderly person or an athlete (especially younger), fasting sounds like a perfectly acceptable means of trying to regulate your daily caloric intake while also providing you a very specific schedule of when you should be eating. The current three-tiered breakfast, lunch, dinner approach is so wide open and random; people never seem to actually have a plan of exactly when they’re going to eat.

Poll a number of different doctors, dieticians and nutritionists, and you’re bound to get a bunch of different answers on what they suggest when it comes to fasting. Unless you have known health conditions or take medication (or are the three persons mentioned above – kids, elderly, athletes), what do you have to lose?

For the next month, I’m going to skip breakfast and document my findings by trying to eat as clean and healthy as I can during the ‘window’ of opportunity. I’ll document my findings and report back with a full assessment.

How about you? Is this something you’d be willing to try?

PrimalFit Training Boot Camp 4-16 Workout

Dynamic Warmup

 

-       Dead Bug X 12 each side (slow, w/ breathing)

-       Vertical Band Press (One Knee On Ground; Take Band and Push Press Above Head)

-       Monster Walks w/ squats

-       Plank one foot holds

-       Burpees w/ med ball

-       Kneeling Band Pull Down

-       Offset Tall Kneeling-to-Standing Offset Dumbbell Hold

-       5 min Walk stairs Sprint Straights

 

 

-       Kneeling Diagonal Chop

-       Sit Up w/ weights Full

-       Supine Palloff Press w/ band (laying down; bring band w/ 2 hands to chest and push straight up)

-       Med Ball Side to side Abs

-       6 high knees w/ 1 burpee

-       Bent Over Band Pull Ups

-       2 Cross, two upper cuts, burpee w/ small weights

-       5 min walk stairs sprint straights

The Tax Day Blues; Are Your Workouts Pushing Your Body Beyond its Limit?

As if you needed a reminder, today is tax day.  Accountants, CPA’s, financial advisors and lawyers all work overtime to ensure all of the dollars and cents on your tax return are reported correctly to the IRS.

Those same wonderful people – y’know, the numbers folks we spoke of above – look like walking Zombies these days, overworked and in need of some serious sleep. Just like crunching numbers for days on end can leave your body in need of R & R, working out for too long on a particular day or for too many days in a week without rest can leave your body seriously taxed.

And while the governments’ recommendations for daily exercise fall somewhere in the 20 minutes per day range, many folks tend to over-train themselves with the hope of losing that next five pounds, gaining that extra bit of muscle or looking that much better for the beach.

So what’s the right amount of exercise that your body can handle each week? The simple answer is it depends. A young and healthy 19-year-old’s body can handle a lot more physically than a 50-year-old with a recent knee replacement.

Finding your sweet spot takes some experimenting and listening to what your body tells you. There are some people who do crap-loads of HIIT (high-intensity interval training) per week while mixing in some all-out sprints. Other people fall in the chronic cardio category, slaving away on treadmills or ellipticals for hours on end.

But how will you know your rundown from over training? Signs include feeling sick, gaining weight, losing muscle and constantly feeling run down. If you’re feeling any of these signs, it might be time to pair back what you’re doing and reevaluate your exercise plan. 

Other actions you can take to improve your exercise experience is getting more sleep, improving your diet (this might include reducing processed foods or increasing good carbs) and changing the style of exercise that you do.

As I get older, my workout plans are forced to change based on many of the above points; lack of sleep, crappy diet (those Christmas parties in December are brutal) and simple over-training for long periods.  

So what’s your breaking point when you feel TAXed from exercise?