Intermittent fasting and exercise

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Intermittent fasting and exercise

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  • Intermittent fasting and exercise

    This is one of those questions that I get asked a lot and the short answer is, “yes, it seems to be fine to combine the two and may indeed be beneficial”. The long answer is a lot more complicated. I am just working my way through the academic literature on this, some of which is in the book, but the headlines are:

    1. Make sure you are well hydrated. We get a lot of fluid from food (some of it added during the manufacturing process to add weight, bulk and therefore value), so if you cut your calories to a ¼ during your fasting day you will be consuming less water. I recommend drinking lots of calorie free fluid during the day, whether you are exercising or not. This can be black tea, black coffee (the idea that coffee makes you dehydrate is a myth), water from the tap, herbal teas, whatever. I am not a fan of diet drinks for reasons i will write about later.

    2. I have had tweets saying things like, “I have a dry mouth” or “my mouth sometimes tastes funny on a fasting day” and this is almost certainly a sign of dehydration.

    3. Men seem to not only tolerate but respond better to exercise on fasting days. For women the picture is more complicated. I welcome feedback on this.

    One of the key benefits of exercise and fasting is they both increase insulin sensitivity, and insulin sensitivity is an independent predictor of future mortality. But they work in different, complementary ways. Exercise for example, particularly short burst of HIT (High intensity training) depletes the glycogen stores in the muscles, while Intermittent Fasting (IF) depletes the glycogen stores in the liver.

    On a more general note I had a look at the government guidelines for the BBC R4 series, You and Yours, on exercise, 5 a day and alcohol. I attach links to features I wrote about them for the BBC

    BBC features:

    ‘Confusion’ over how active we should be

    Five-a-day campaign: A partial success

    Alcohol message ‘is confused’

    I’m a fit 65 year old man, 1.85 m tall and was about 91.5 kg in mid-August. I’ve been following the 5:2 diet since then and have lost about 6 kg (it’s hard to say what my weight is – the morning after a fastday it’s about 1.5 kg lighter than the morning before). My body fat was below 20% (down from about 26%) for the first time this morning. I’ve combined exercise with fasting. Sessions in the weights room and aerobic sessions lasting an hour or less in the mornings of fast days seem to reduce hunger pangs and don’t seem to cause any difficulty. The one time I did a longer cycle ride (about 25 miles – not unusual for me) instead of lunch I did feel a bit peculiar afterwards and felt that when I got home that evening I really had to eat straight away. I’d had no breaxfast or lunch and I think that the fat-burning mechanism couldn’t provide the energy used on a longer ride. I’d been keep my heart-rate below about 75% of maximum which should help with fat-burning but even so the energy demand must have been too much. I was fine on the ride – the energy debt didn’t hit until about 30 minutes after I’d got back.

    I am 45 and have been following the 5:2 plan since August. I have always been very fit and active and love exercise. I walk the dogs every day for 60 minutes or more and go running 3 or 4 times a week. I love running and the challenge of taking part in fun runs and adventure races. I like to follow training plans to improve my fitness, times and distances and currently run up to 10km in 60 minutes. Not Paula Radcliffe I know, but plenty fast enough for me.
    I have not found exercise a problem on Fast days. I go for my normal morning walk with the dogs. I usually have breakfast when we get home, but on Fast days I just have black tea or coffee. I then prefer to skip all meals and save my 500kcals for one big evening meal. I have found that if I go for a 6 to 8km run at around 5pm, and then have my 500kcal evening meal straight after, then I have no poblems at all. I never go to sleep hungry and sleep like a log. When I first started the 5:2 plan, I was slitting my 500kcals into breakfast and tea, but always went to bed hungry and found sleeping a problem. I could not nod off, and then kept waking up on the hour every hour.

    I have been on the 5/2 since August, and run regularly. If I run on fast days I reduce the distance, (4km instead of 6-10km.) and find this no problem. The main problem is when I have to play chess for my chess team- a 4 or 5 hour chess game is quite a drain, so if I’m fasting I take a snack incase it goes on too long. Interestingly my chess results have improved markedly in the last few months- I am 54 and have not been doing any extra study, so this is unexpected. Am I growing a few more brain cells? Anyone else noticed cognitive improvements?

    Possibly an improvement I crossword solving? Not really sure yet.

    I have an active outdoors job working as a ranger for The National Trust. Some days I will be working outside all day firewood processing, felling trees, digging ditches or just walking and surveying. I fast Mondays and Thursdays and Thursdays are usually a working outside day. I have not had a problem doing hard physical work on a fasting day since I started the 5:2 diet in August, in fact as time has gone on and I have lost weight I have found it is getting easier. I suppose not carrying a sack of potatoes around with me everywhere I go make a difference ;-D

    I have a 32 year old daughter who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis 6 years ago. She gets fatigued and can walk”drunk” like .Could you please tell me if this fast-diet would help her .She does not need to loose weight but I am very interested in the “repair” angle of this diet. Please help

    I have now been doing 5/2 since August. On fast days I exercise like any non fast days. I spin everyday as well as a mixture of other classes like combat, piloxing, body pump, circuit training and some yoga. I exercise in the morning and do not have breakfast. I do drink plenty of water. I feel energised.

    I’m a 50 yr old, male cyclist and have been on 52 for a couple of weeks now. Like a lot of others I’ve found it makes things simpler to hold off eating until the evening. For me its easier to not eat anything during the day rather than start at breakfast and then stop again. I’ve found that using meal replacement shakes eg MRP from My Protein helps keep things simple as they come in at 300 cals each and are nutritionally balanced.

    38yr old female personal trainer & keen exerciser. Have been following 5:2 since September & am loving it. No change in energy levels on fast days, but do focus on consuming plenty of water based on recommendations.

    Tried ADF with no problems but wondering if it’s ok to continue or if I should go to a 4:3 or te 5:2.? I kind of ‘fell off the wagon’ at Christmas but still didn’t eat as much as in previous years and have lost the weight I put on already. I need to lose 4-5 stone and am not suffering any negative side effects from doing ADF, in fact quite the opposite. Any suggestions? I don’t want to end up losing too much weight too quickly or risk negating the long term health benefits

    Exercise is definitely out for me. In contrast to all the other reports I have seen, I wake up on the morning after a fast day having not slept well and feeling as weak and shaky as if I have just got over a fever. Although my strength slowly returns over the next day or two, the shaky, slightly unwell feeling seems to be permanent – it lasts right through to the morning of my next fast day (it is still there on Monday morning having not fasted since the previous Thursday). My whole life I have felt this way if I don’t eat properly – a feeling of only mild hunger which soon passes to be replaced by shakiness and nausea, which I learnt to interpret as ‘better eat something’. (The nausea part goes away if I stay well hydrated). My brother is the same, so perhaps it is genetic? I am a reasonably fit 44 yr old man with a bmi of 24.6 and the classic Thin Outside Fat Inside shape. I’ve only been on the diet for two weeks so far – has anyone else had these symptoms, and do they pass eventually?

    @jeanette Clegg: Sorry to hear about your daughter, what a terrible thing. I can imagine your ears must have perked up when people start talking about 5:2 “repairing” things in your body. I suspect most of us commenting here are not medically trained and I’d be surprised if anyone could answer you with authority; we’re all guinea pigs experimenting on ourselves and sharing the results in this informal fashion. Have you spoken to your GP or consultant about the possibility of your daughter trying 5:2 for a while? If they think it’s OK to try it may be worth a go for its own sake quite apart from what effect it may or may not have on the MS symptoms. I would think it’s not something to engage in lightly or without your doctor’s approval, particularly if your daughter doesn’t need to lose weight.

    I would like to comment on Will’s post.I’m also who has all my life had to eat regularly & not coped with hunger ie go from mildly peckish to sudden hunger which I can’t ignore. This is because I shake, feel faint & wobbly & just have to eat something as I can’t even think straight. I’m tall & have been slim/skinny for all my life until now at age 53. If ever I did gain a few pounds, like after having children I would cut out the cake etc & lose it in a week but not now. I’m not overweight for the health charts but 10LB more than is usual, this has gone on over a 18month period. I’m tackling it as it is mostly on my abdomen which I know is the worst place & I also feel very uncomfortable when I sit down, all my clothes are very tight. I suppose I could just accept it & think middle age spread etc but I don’t want to! i’m an active person even though I work full time, i’ve always walked, cycled & I go to a stretch type gym. I take stairs two at a time & nevr walk slow as I naturally dash about! I decided to try this diet after reading all the scientific evidence & reviews. A colleague of mine has shed 3stones & it’s his first successful diet. Today is my second fast day & so far so good having eaten normally yesterday. I’m finding the hunger pangs harder today than on Tuesday but I won’t give in. I also haven’t felt wobbly which has surpriesd me but I’m spacing my 500 out as I know I couldn’t last all day & trying to eat it as mostly protein & soup both of which shouldn’t give me the dreaded sugar spike/drop & stay in the tum longer. Here’s hoping & good luck to all!

    Jeanette Clegg: I think it’s possible diet could help but I wouldn’t want to raise your hopes too high as I have no knowledge of it myself. The perfect health diet (ignore cheesy name) advocates intermittent fasting but the focus on their MS comment is on other things: http://perfecthealthdiet.com/2010/07/multiple-sclerosis-a-curable-infectious-disease/
    Best of luck to your daughter

    Does anyone know if you can count physical activity towards your calories on a fast day. For example if I went for a run and burned 100 cals could I eat an extra approx 100 cals that evening?

    Also – what is the thinking here on the idea of strictly 24hr fasting. eg last meal at lunchtime on Monday at 1pm. Eating nothing or less than 600 cals until 2pm the next day? This seems like cheating to me? Currently I’m in week 3 or 5:2 and doing 600 cals on Tues and Thurs and not eating until Wed and Friday mornings.

    Exercise is good in itself but I suspect you can’t trade it directly against calories, at least not for some of the hoped-for health benefits of this diet.

    As you say, going from 1pm to 2pm is a 25 hour fast, whereas doing it ‘properly’ is more like 33+ hour. I suspect longer is better, but whatever works for you…

    Like you I do it ‘properly’ (usually Mon and Thurs) and have lost a stone since beginning of October…

    See here for [what appear to be] comments by the professionals who appeared in the original Horizon program.

    I started 5:2 today. Had a late breakfast of boiled egg, half grapefruit and coffee with dash of skimmed milk – 150 calories. About half my normal breakfast. Expected to feel wobbly and hungry quite soon but it’s now about 5.30pm and I am only just beginning to think about an evening meal. I notice that I have felt more thirsty than usual – drank several glasses of water so just as well I’ve not been stuck in traffic anywhere! Are there any new ‘5:2’ers out there to compare notes on progress? And does anyone have any good 350 calorie evening meal recipes?

    @spindrift: The first day will be the hardest, so stick with it if you feel the tummy rumbling! There are lots of recipes around or many of the M&S fuller-longer meals fit the calorie-count requirement.

    I prefer to skip breakfast and lunch and have all my calories in the evening; I find it toughest c.10pm, strangely the following morning I am not usually that hungry.

    Had my last meal at 9 pm on Tuesday and when i got up the next morning……..let’s go for it.

    Breakfast was black tea and then nothing but plenty of water & tea/coffee the rest of Wednesday until dinner at 9 pm again (500 CALS).

    I had a few hunger pangs but nothing major – i’m a serious grazer – healthy food but grazing is grazing.

    Up this morning(Thursday) at 5am (not feeling particular hungry)- LET’S GO AGAIN.
    No problem with making my good ladies tea & hot buttered toast in bed (have to drag that one out of bed).

    Done about 3 liters of water plus an array of various herb teas (nettle & fennel is just wrong)throughout the day – a few issues re colleges popping in for coffee & biscuits (hey, just smile and think of all the benefits).

    Home tonight and dinner again at 9 pm – i will see what happens in the morning….might do another day (i DON’T have too but that is the trick of this lifestyle)

    Exercise – twice a week with very hard & intense weight training.

    If i fast all day tomorrow i will train in the evening – feeling good but i will get plenty of good food down my neck over the weekend so that i can recover – will keep updating as i go.

    I am overweight by about 40lbs but i do have a lot of muscle – the aim is to lose weight while gaining muscle mass.

    I haven’t fallen asleep on the tube & train coming home for the last two evenings – much more alert.
    No problems sleeping – plenty of water is a must.

    Happy to miss breakfast as i feel that this would just increase my hunger pangs….each to their own on this one

    Re-watched the original ‘Horizon’ again – nice boost.

    Keep going @spindrift – positive thinking.

    Thanks for the support, guys. Will try M&S if I run out of ideas, and I found a couple more recipes on line. I need to lose a lot of weight – been in denial since my husband died several years ago – comfort eating but trying to kid myself that my clothes were shrinking in the wardrobe. The 5:2 eating plan HAS to work for me this time.

    I have just embarked on the 5:2 diet and find this easier than anything I have done before however reading some of the posts I may be cheating so all advise greatly received.
    I read an article in the Times magazine on IF and have copied how the author does the diet. I fast from 1pm-1pm but have no calories other than milk in my tea and plenty of water. I find this very easy but for maximum benefit do I need to be fasting 7am-7am as an example? I do feel like I am losing weight and more energized.
    All in all though I think I have found something that suits me! At last 🙂

    the original way Dr M did it was like this – go to bed, wake up, consume less than 500(f)/600(m) calories, go to bed, wake up and eat normally. So really it’s going around 32-36 hours with only 500 cals. Two sleeps and a day 🙂 In the book Mimi suggests the 24 hour (2pm-2pm) option as an easier way for people who struggle with the full length.

    Personally I’ve been doing the fast from after dinner the night before until breakfast the day after, a good 36 hours in total with only 500 or less cals. I’ve been doing that since the Horizon aired in August and I’d feel like I was cheating if I dropped down to 24 hours. However if what you’re doing is working for you then that’s great – this method is quite flexible, as it’s primarily about finding a way which works for you and is sustainable in the long term 🙂

    Thanks for your advise shiningmoogie. I will try your way and compare. What I have been thinking is because I am only having 100 calories or less in the 24 hour period this must equate to the same as if I was fasting for 36 hours with 500 calories. I am up for the challenge and will post again when I fast on Monday.

    @sarah: The experts who appeared on the Horizon programme all seem to think that a longer period without any calorie intake is better. But you are doing well managing for 24 hours just on milk in tea (some discussion about milk also on the forum) – don’t think I could skip dinner!

    My understanding is that with intermittent fasting we can lower our IGF-1 to healthier levels.
    While anaerobic exercise, (high intensity training) depletes glycogen in the muscles and in general works in a complementary way, it also produces human growth hormone (GH). This GH in turn elevates IFG-1 levels. This begs the question: To what extent does this happen and is it something we need to look into?

    I am an ADF failure! but why?
    Retired male aged 77 ex. smoker. Gym 3 times week for last 15 years. LDL Cholesterol Oct’08 = 5.49 (HDL% of total = 20%) so GP put me on statins. Affected muscles. Fed up with statins, told GP 1st Jan’12 will try to control LDL with diet. For 2 months ate porridge with raw honey, fruit, benecol spread, walnuts, oily fish, chicken, no sugar, cheese, butter or cakes. little alcohol.
    Blood test 24 Feb’12 LDL = 3.9 ! AMAZING ! (HDL % = 22%) Carried on with diet, blood test 16 Aug’12 LDL 4.86 WHY ? (HDL % = 20) Started ADF 16 Aug’12 aim 600 calaries day – achieved ave. 667. Blood test 6 Dec’12 LDL = 5.42 ! I AM A FAILURE – BUT WHY ? (Although HDL % of total = 23%) Weight fell from 13st 3 lb to 12st 0lb Height = 5’11”

    @ray Roberts. I to have a higher than desired cholesterol. I cannot remember the numbers off the top of my head, but the LDL was high. This was after I adopted a rather extreme paleo diet. It was extreme as I was trying to overcome Crohn’s disease at the time and this diet was working Anyway, prior to the diet change my LDL was normal and after it was high as a result of the diet This naturally made me worry. The diet I had adopted was controling the Crohn’s but was effecting my LDL adversly. I decided to do some research and came across a book called ‘The Great Cholestorol Con’ by Dr Malcolm Kendrik on kindle. According to the book, it seems that LDL numbers are a very poor indicator of a long healthy life, and worst, they are not even measured at all, but rather estimated through a calculation called the friedewald formula. I also follow Mark’s Daily Apple and The Eating Academy and both have articles that talk in great depth about cholesterol, both of which say the same thing in different ways. So to get to the point, maybe the numbers are nothing to worry about if the rest of your lifestyle is healthy, maybe they are just numbers. That said, I adopted the 5:2 diet out of curiosity to see if it would effect my cholesterol numbers. I have not been on the diet long enough yet to warrent another lipid profile. But whatever the outcome, I’m pretty confident that the numbers I will get back will have very little effect upon my life. Like you, I go to the gym three times a week and engage in a healthy lifestyle and have a healthy diet consisting of unprocessed food, meat and veg mostly and avoid simple carbs such as sugar. These, for me, are the strongest predictors of a health. So, I don’t see you as a failure, if anything, the system has failed us all by fixating on cholesterol numbers and scaring us into taking a drug that does more damage than high cholesterol ever could. I urge all to have a read of Dr Kendrick’s book and read the articles on cholesterol on Marks Daily Apple and The Eating Academy and make up your own mind as to what the numbers actually mean for you.

    I am a 70 year old type II diabetic and have been using the 5-2 intermittent fasting since September 2012 having seen your Horizon programme and have gone from 22 stone to 17.5 stone. I find the regime relatively easy and feel so much better for it. My blood pressure which was very high (175/75) has reduced to the normal range(135/60) Thank you SO much!
    Mike

    Wow. I am 70 too. Lost 5lb first week. Hope I can lose 2 or 3lb this coming week.
    Bri

    Well done on the loss big Mike (wish my dad would take a leaf out of your book, he’s type II and needs to lose a lot of weight), and well done on starting out bigbri!

    Hi, im on day 9 of the 5:2 diet having had 3 fast days in all. unfortunately however, i seem to have put on weight rather than losing it! I have eaten as normal on the on the ‘5’ days and on the ‘2’ have stuck to 500 cals (200 at breakfast & 300 at dinner). Not sure where im going wrong as i find the fast days quite easy and am not gorging myself on the non fast days to make up lost calories. I have around 1st to lose and seem to have gained 2lbs over the last 9 days!! One other thing to note is that i have gone from no exercise to doing some form of exercise each day (sometimes 45 minute walk, or 45 minure Davina workout at home). Not sure if this has an impact? Help!

    Extra muscle maybe?! I wouldn’t get too disheartened, I think many factors can affect weight (monthly cycle being the main one, along with water retention etc) and 2 pounds isn’t very much. People on here are saying that the most noticeable change is a reduction in fat (especially around the middle), so maybe take your measurements and see if they have reduced.
    Like yourself, I only have to lose around a stone, so maybe it will come off more slowly for us than those who have more to lose.

    I too have just been following the 5:2 exactly as it should be (500 cals) and have done 4 fasts in two weeks. Weighed myself for the first time today and have only lost 3/4 of a pound! but 2 inches from my waist…not sure I understand why? I am quite disheartened as I am only aiming to lose 7lbs, but would ideally like to lose a stone. Weighed in at 10 stone and am 5ft 6. I have a small to medium frame and ride regularly for my excersise. The first fast day was hard, but I am suffering no hunger pangs anymore and I do not overeat on non fast days.I am feeling more alert though and less lethargic.Maybe we are just slow losers…

    I have just started the diet today. I have great faith and optimism as I have researched and seen the widespread acclaim it has received. But I will just have to see what happens.
    I have made a spreadsheet that I know will be most useful. It allows you to tweak your ingredients/foods until you reach 600 calories in the “total” box. I listed quite a few foods/ingredients and their calorific values. It enables you to use exact amounts of your favourite foods, cutting back one here, increasing one there.

    I’m on day 7 and have lost 4lb so really pleased. Eat only one meal on fasting days as find this much easier. Have eaten things like margarine on toast for the first time in 27 years without gaining weight so feel I have my life back with this diet. Thank u thank u thank u 🙂

    I have been doing a 4:3 diet for a couple of months now, having started the 5:2 back in August. Weight is not dropping off at the rate people say, but it is going gradually. The Hackers Diet gives an engineer’s (hacker’s) perspective on weight fluctuations. Basically our weight at any one time includes what we eat and drink, less what we excrete, sweat and the moisture in our breath. I find that my morning weight is generally about 2lb less than when I go to bed, and fluctuates by up to about 3lb a day, even going up on some days when I am fasting. John Walker recommends weighing daily and then calculating the trend of the weight, in the same way that financial analysts do for stock prices. There is an Android app called “Libra” to do this, and it does give you some perspective to see beyond the fluctuations in weight.

    As to exercise, I find that I can cycle 20 miles or run 5 or 6 miles at lunchtime when fasting, but I have an extra oat cookie or something for extra energy. I am a 55-year old, type 2 diabetic, and have found that the fasting actually gives me more energy for exercise, as well as helping to control my blood glucose levels.

    I’ve been doing 5:2 since the end of december and have lost 5lb which astounds me as I hate dieting and never stick to it. I find I can’t go long stretches without food so I split 500 cals into 4 small meals which I can cope with. I am a bit peckish in the afternoons (just soup for lunch) but otherwise absolutely OK. That may have less health benefits but as the research is incomplete about that I will take my chances on the principle that the diet that works is the one you actually do! I do now feel confident about sticking to it and just love the fact that I can forget aout diets the rest of the time.

    Forgot to say re exercise – I have bouht a natty little widgit called a Fitbit which is a pedometer that tracks your movement and converts it into calorie usage whichnit synchs to your computer or Iphone. Very motivating. I am now making sure that my average calorie use is above 2000, which I don’t think it was before. On fasting days I tend to walk or swim (which I dont do very fast) rather than run which works well.

    If you are interested in monitoring your fitness, I can recommend a book called “Fitness for Geeks” by Bruce W. Perry, published by O’Reilly. It covers fitbit, sleep monitors, and even has a section on intermittent fasting. Geeks are portrayed as being obsessed with gadgets, and this examines the ultimate gadget – one’s own body.

    Body now used to IF and found my best regime: no cals after 6pm on pre-fast day: no breakfast; 200 cals mid-day; 300 cals tea-time; still living active life. Hope maximising actual fasting times without food (18 hours) is also maximising other health benefits.

    I have been doing the 5:2 since August and lost 3.5 Kg. I am almost 60, averaging 71-72 Kg on non-fast days. My fast days are Monday and Tuesday and I play 2 hours of competitive squash, including a 3 mile walk there and back. What is troubling me is that my waistline is not reducing, so now I am going to increase fast times to 16 hours without calories to see if that helps.
    Also and somewhat concerned, I have just read the NHS website http://www.nhs.uk/news/2013/01January/Pages/Does-the-5-2-intermittent-fasting-diet-work.aspx
    regarding the diet and it is basically stating there is not enough research to support the diet, would appreciate people’s views on this especially a qualified GP?

    It seems that the NHS based their info on old research as opposed to the more recent studies available.

    Currently doing the 4:3 approach to the diet and its working fine. I donate blood and am due to donate tomorrow,which is a fast day. Will it be ok to donate and fast? I currently spread the 500 calories out over 3 meals during the day. I don’t usually over do things after donating blood anyway. Appreciate any thoughts.

    If I remember correctly on Michaels twitter page somebody asked the same question and he thought it best not to give blood but it’s your call. Check it out.

    I gave blood on Wednesday evening and fasted on Thursday – no food until 7pm, only a couple of cups of normal tea with milk, and some black coffee and peppermint tea – and I felt absolutely fine. I’m 5’4″ and 9st, so not much to lose.

    I’ve only been doing 5:2 for a month, but have lost quite alot of weight so far about 1 and a half st, i’m 6’4″ and was just under 20st when i started this it.
    I have been slightly different, on my 2 fast days have just gone a full 24hrs without eating, just sticking to alot of water and black coffee. Not finding it that difficult so far, and i believe i’ve lost quite abit of body fat to.
    Still run 2 to 3 times a week, not done a run yet on fast day but i will try see how it goes.

    I’ve been doing IF since about August. I am a really active person, I run, cycle or row at least 6 times a week. I even ran a marathon in October whilst practising IF, the only thing I make sure is that I don’t fast immediately before a very active day (I.e before a day with two workouts or a marathon!). I can easily do an hours worth of activity in a fasted state, but any more than that i do feel slower and sluggish, marathon runners would recognise this as ‘bonking’ or the start of ‘the wall’. I’ve read that your body stores enough energy for an hours activity (approximately) without needing to take calories in.
    I have lost about 3/4s of a stone, and it’s still gradually coming off. I didn’t have loads to lose but wanted to become a bit leaner. I found that I needed to spread my calories out through the day as I was getting very cold, unusually for me.
    I have definitely got leaner and the fat that was around my waist is definitely less. However, the only thing that does not correlate with what research has shown is my body fat percentage, it still shows as around 31-33% – it doesn’t change?! And I’ve tried two sets of scales to see if it was something to do with the machine. BMI has improved, I sit within the healthy range of every other measure but fat% just stands out as pretty high. Anyone else come across this?

    Re Fitbit – I have just bought one for my husband, who seems to love it. The best bit for me is that it has a wristband that vibrates as an alarm clock, so no more waking me up when he’s got an early train… http://www.fitbit.com/uk
    I got the fitbit scales too (quite expensive), which communicate with your smart phone and come up with sleep pattern/exercise/weight loss graphs. All a bit technical for me, but he’s into it.

    After years of ‘carb loading’ it has taken me quite a wrench to train on fast days. Initially I thought they’d only be good for rest days, but after a few weeks I no longer felt drained on fast evenings, and also started to see articles about the benefits of carb depleted training. Google ‘train low, compete high’ for loads of discussion of recent findings. There’s no doubt believing you are maximising the benefits is a big motivator for winter training. Now I feel combining this with 5:2 should really help with cycle sportifives next season.

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