DISCLAIMER* This is NOT medical advice. Do not do without consulting your doctor or support from others who are experienced in this manner.
I started the year with a bang. A 5 day fast. Yes, you got that right.
No food. Just water.
Water – with a pinch of himalayan sea salt and (unflavoured San Pellegrino. Along with herbal tea – rooibos, peppermint and chamomile.
Side note: I have been practicing intermittent fasting for a while now and have done 1 day fasts in the past.
Why the F would you do that? Let me explain.
Mental resiliency! I wanted a full reset of my body and mind. I didn’t want to be ruled by my hunger anymore. If I didn’t eat every 2-3 hours I would legit get ‘hangry’. I also wanted to mentally test my discipline and will power by doing something so extreme. It goes against everything that I (we) were taught growing up. You have to eat every day, minimum 3 meals a day, 365 days a year. But do we? Think of primitive times where they had to hunt for their food and would fast until their next meal, assuming that they made the kill.
Also, I’ve been recommended by a handful of friends who have done and continue to do 5 day fasts multiple times a year.
1. Prevent cancer – My mom had breast cancer and beat it with a mastectomy. My father passed away from stage 4 kidney cancer that spread to both lungs.
2. Longevity of life – Some of the people that have lived the longest have had some form of fasting protocol throughout their life.
3. Improve heart health, blood pressure, cholesterol levels – reduce risk of heart disease.
4. Boost brain function – Mental alertness and clarity.
5. Boost Metabolism – Amazing reset to metabolism for me.
6. Increase Growth Hormone – Increased muscle strength.
7. Reduce Inflammation – I train a lot so this is great for muscle and joint inflammation. Also foods I eat – healthy and unhealthy – could have caused inflammation within my body.
I started the fast midnight of NYE which was a bad idea. Since the next day we had a family get together with ALL the food. My mother thought I was mad at her because I didn’t eat. I sat on the couch while my family and friends ate dinner at the dinner table. It was brutal. Hearing them eat and talk about how good the food was killed me. The first day was a huge test. But I passed it!
Woke up feeling insanely hungry. I stood up from bed and immediately felt like I was going to fall over. I woke up from a dream of waterfalls. Makes sense since I’ve been chugging water up until this point. Had water with a bit of himalayan sea salt and peppermint tea.
My first client was at 6:30 am. As soon as I did some movement and mobility with him I felt amazing. I did a light training session. And felt pretty good. I wanted to do more but realized I needed to take it easy. I had a full day of clients and surprisingly felt amazing. I felt super focused and dialed in. Very energetic and felt the mental clarity that I was informed I would feel. Just didn’t expect to feel it this fast.
Had a crazy leg day. I pushed the limit on what I could do. I went lighted on the weights but had high volume. I told myself I was going to take it easy during the fast but I felt really good and pushed the envelope. Towards the end I felt a bit nauseous.
Had a podcast that night with the Brain Jiu Jitsu fellas – Ryan Caligiuri, Arlin Grey, Shawn Henry, Enrico De Thomasis, James Nakonechny – who are all experienced fast(ers). They all do it 2-4 times a year. I felt I was in good hands. As the podcast went on I felt fine as I was distracted with amazing conversation, also got golden advice and motivation to keep on going.
In the evening I had some chamomile tea and foam rolled. Felt AMAZING going to bed. Minus my heart pounding out of my chest. I noticed that my heart rate increased dramatically on day 1.
I woke up with a surprise. I was thinking that I would feel better as my body would be getting into ketosis – body uses fat as fuel – but I woke up feeling extremely drained. I almost fell over as I got out of bed to go to the washroom. I had to snooze after (which I rarely do).
Training my clients felt okay as I did the movement and mobility with them. Did not feel hungry as I was focused on being present with them.
However as I got home, the smell of a candle set me off. I immediately got extremely hungry. Had some chamomile tea and thought I would feel better but my stomach was very uneasy. Felt like I could have thrown up or passed out.
When I went to bed I was having a hard time sleeping as my heart beat literally felt like it was going to pop out of my chest.
This was the worst day of how I felt. I was very thrown off as I thought for sure my body would be in ketosis and I would feel the best the last 2 days. However that was not the case. I felt very sick: Stomach hurt, nauseous, very light headed, my body felt drained.
I had a class at the Community Gym that morning at 9am. I honestly questioned how I would get through it as it requires a lot of mental and physical energy to train and motivate 20 people. But as I did the warmup and went through the session I felt immediately better. As I was coaching I was a bit out of breathe but still pulled through.
Took it easy the rest of the day. Felt okay.
Woke up knowing I had only one day left was a huge relief. I felt the same as day 4 but not as bad. Sluggish, very slow, lightheaded and stomach a still a bit uneasy.
Today was my last test as my family went to a Pizzeria. I sat there while they enjoyed amazing pizza. Again I felt I had come this far which I had more pride from.
I broke my fast with bone broth soup made by my #1 supporter, my fiance, Meaghen. It was worth the wait! She truly understood why I was doing it and helped me a ton. I am beyond grateful for her through this journey (and everyday). I love you babe.
How did I feel?
Not gonna lie. It was way harder than I thought. It was super challenging. My sense of smell was insane. The slightest smell would set off urges to eat everything insight. Even the smell of a vanilla candle set me off.
I lost weight (did not weigh myself) But could feel it and see it in the mirror. My clothes felt baggier. I don’t think I lost too much weight and nothing that I know I can’t get back to.
Also, It really messed with me mentally, in a sense that I felt I had to uphold a certain image (size) to feel accepted. As I have for the last 15 years of my physical training career. But that is definitely not the case. I am not valued by my body. I am valued and accepted by the way I accept myself and how I treat and add value to others.
I feel extremely proud of myself knowing that I had done something most people haven’t or won’t in their lifetime.
Next time, I will not tell anyone that I am doing a fast, other than those that have fasted and/or who support me 100% and understand why I’m doing a fast. It is so foreign to people that they don’t understand it. I found myself constantly having to justify myself to other people why I was doing it. Almost felt like people were offended that I was fasting (or maybe just in my head). So for next time (or anytime) I will fast in silence and only tell them once I’m done. Talk less, just DO.
Should you do it?
I’m not going to tell you to do it. But if you do your research and feel that this will benefit you, all you! First, consult with a Dr and have proper support and guidance through the process, then it is up to you to see how it can help you. Do at your own risk.
I loved it. For the simple fact that it was hard as F. I’ve decided that I will do a 5 day fast, a minimum of once per year and supplement it with 1-3 day fasts twice per year. I find there is a true benefit for the body and the mind. I love testing my discipline and this is one way to do it.
I also realized that I took food for granted. To have food readily available to us at the click of a finger. I was rarely present when I ate. Just always tried to shovel it down my mouth like I haven’t eaten for weeks (almost every meal). But instead actually smell the food, chew it, savour it and thank god for granting me a beautiful life to eat anything I want, whenever I want.
My friend Aman Sidhu brought this to ligth as he finished his 5 day fast –
“Think about the billions of people out there starving. Not knowing when their next meal will be. We have food so readily available to us. We are SO BLESSED.”
It was hard as F. But I did it! I want to be able to incorporate this into my yearly routine as I know the benefits will help me long term. I want to live a long healthy life to be able to support my future family to the best of my ability both mentally and physically. I will continue to try other life “hacks” to continue to push the envelope of what I think (know) my body and mind can do.
As my friend and experienced guide, Arlin Gray, through this process told me: