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New ideas and thoughts from some of our very favorite health and wellness experts.

Posts Tagged training

Experience Life Magazine

Skinless Project Vlog: Triathlon Diary

The Skinless Project founder Maaria Mozaffar shares her thoughts on training for a triathlon.

View more vlogs of Maaria’s triathlon diary here.

Maaria Mozaffar, Esq. is the founder of The Skinless Project, a company created to help women reach their highest potential personally and professionally.

Experience Life Magazine

Honoring The Ebb And Flow Of The Female Body

Lets be honest, it’s not the same in a women’s body as a mans, it’s just not and it never will be.

As women we are simply built to be and function differently as a human body.

I have an amazing husband who supports me 200% in my goals and motivates me to no end with his example of natural conditioning at 40 years of age, but my body and his body are not equal and as women if we do not work to develop a different understanding of and expectation of our bodies, then we are simply missing the point and failing to honor their natural way of being.

I have learned over 39 years to see us both differently, and to develop my own unique expectations of my body, that are not equal to his of his body, because that is what achieving balanced wellness requires of us.

So many women athletes, competitors and fat loss seekers put up this inappropriate expectation on their body in my opinion as women. They demand of it to be in impeccable metabolically pushed conditioning year round and year after year, and frankly they pay for it with internal health imbalances and metabolic damage.

A women’s body is built first and foremost for the survival of the human race.

That is a black and white truth there is no way to get around, and no matter whether you’re prioritizing – fat loss or your athletic goals – internally your body is always calls the shots with your endocrine system in mind and the survival of the human race as #1, whether we want to admit it or not, whether we put our intention inward into our body enough to recognize this or not, it’s going on all the time underneath the hood.

Our sole purpose is ultimately to create human life. Man cannot do that, only we can, and we have a very hormonal endocrine system and reproductive system naturally built-in to make that very amazing act possible.

We also have naturally built-in monthly cycles or ebb and flow by which our bodies as women continually move through, over and over, round and round.

We are not stagnant, we are not straight-lined like men – we are up and down all the time – which is exactly why men are built as consistent and steady, to balance us women out in a very natural, foundational and healthy way.

What does this all mean to you? What I’m saying is step back and consider your health and body and the demands you set on it as well as the expectations you set on it. Also, question whether you are recognizing and honoring this natural cycle of your body in a multitude of ways.

Where are you not honoring your bodies natural ebb and flow?

Where could you do better to “go with the flow” than fight against it, and just let nature “be” as its meant to in your life as a women, and in your body?

Your body is brilliantly programmed to do what it needs, but often it requires us to get out of its way so it can lean towards its natural work and tendencies.

Here’s an example. For me right now, I’ve taken some more internal time and backed down my energy output through changing up my training frequency, workouts & intensity at times. Much of my energy is focused in my mind and creation of e3 Energy Evolved for you, and so that is drawing away from the creative energy and force in some ways I can redirect into my body with high intensity training…for now.

So I’m changing up my workouts and training in ways to adjust for that, fully know when I can release my mind and creative energies back into my body more fully again once more after e3 Energy Evolved is fully complete & launched for you, I will return to more heavy energy output training goal again that I also love and crave as an Ayurvedic pitta, when its time. Right now I am focused on the goal at hand which is creating a mission greater than ourselves to heal this world, and that effort is significantly harder and more demanding than it is to train naturally for NPC national level athletic competition frankly was for me.

Do I love being in very lean, strong physical conditioning naturally, do I love pushing my metabolic boundaries to grow them, do I love tapping my potential as a physical and mental being? Sure I do.

But do I believe that’s a healthy goal to have all the time in a women’s body without creating space of recovery time, without backing off, with out energy and balance restoration and recovery time, letting go of that outward push of energy for a bit?

At 39 years of experiencing and learning about the women’s body through competing at the national level as a natural figure athlete in NPC with advanced natural fat loss goals and beating rare chronic illnesses naturally over years, no I most definitely do not, because that is ignoring our natural ebb and flow.

Our bodies as women are so hormonally charged, we have an energy that is meant to go internal every 20 days or so with our cycle, going again in and out, energy in, energy out.

Keep in mind if you constantly “give give give” your energy out to others or to other creative or athletic processes with no energy in restoration, there are consequences.

Women again have unique needs of restoration with our bodies that men simply don’t have at the same level because the purpose of our bodies & how they are built differs, in my opinion.

We go through our journey in cycles, being into certain forms of training, then evolving into others, needing shifts. We move from self-focused fit times to selfless times of motherhood and caring for family, and we once again return to our fitness. We are strong and powerful, we are dominant, and then we may find for a bit we need to admit our weakness and softness again for a short while and seek that strength in our husband or someone we love nearby to bridge the gap til we find our strength again, while we rebalance.

We are women in a very unique body in a lifetime of natural ebb and flow, ebb and flow, ebb and flow.

I’ve come to a place in my life at 39, through naturally healing a life-changing & life-threatening auto immune illness in my body involving metabolic damage, that I now understand my bodies purpose and how to work in harmony with that purpose at all times, so much better, and it’s a gift to know.

It’s something for 30+ years prior I never felt or knew because of how society and the medical industry teaches us to numb our experience of the natural flow of the women’s body, with birth control pills and ignorance. That are natural flow is “evil”, “annoying”, and “inconvenience” we must eliminate, when in actuality it’s a deep part of our being, knowing our truest self, tapping into our power to create life and experiencing the feminine body in a healthy, balanced way.

It is part of celebrating the amazing gift we’ve been given with a body uniquely built to generate human life.

And unless you’re recognizing and honoring that ebb and flow as part of how you’re experiencing your body, you’re missing a big part of the gift, and a healthy balanced journey of what it means to be well.

What thoughts or ideas does this topic bring to your mind about your body experience so far as a women? We’d love to hear from you. Share your comments below.

For more of our unique approach to natural health, fat loss & fitness, become a part of our e3 Energy Evolved community by signing up for our e-newsletter, gifts & giveaways. If you’re experiencing challenge in this area and need support, we support distance and in person natural health, fat loss & fitness seekers in creating a better natural result and human body experience for their own unique body.

In energy for improved natural health, fat loss & fitness,

Natural Metabolic Recovery & Conditioning Specialists

Creators of the e3 Energy Evolved™ System | www.e3EnergyEvolved.com

Experience Life Magazine

Three Methods of Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting – it is definitely one of the fastest (no pun intended) growing nutrition topics right now. While it is something I am familiar with, I haven’t talked about it before, except in my interview with Brad Pilon which you can find here.

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I don’t think intermittent fasting is a quick-fix for all your diet woes, but I do think it’s a great method that can be sustained long term. You can definitely use intermittent fasting as a lifestyle approach for nutrition, health, performance, and body composition goals.

I’ll go ahead and say this first – I think everyone can use a form of intermittent fasting for body composition changes. However, if you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you know I suggest doing what works best for you.

No two people are the same, and therefore there is not one universal approach to nutrition or strength training that will work for everyone. However, if you want to give intermittent fasting a try, I believe there is an approach that can work for you, and I’ll share them below.

One more thing – keep in mind that I will be sharing my personal experiences with each method discussed; you may experience something completely different when it comes to intermittent fasting.

What Led Me to Intermittent Fasting?

When I got serious about strength training and improving my body composition many years ago, I succumbed to the typical “you must eat 5-6 small meals throughout the day” methodology. I mean, it was (and still is, to an extent) touted as the one and only way to build a lean and healthy body. Naturally I thought that’s what had to be done, and so I did it fervently.

After following that obsessive compulsive strategy for a year or so, I finally got fed up with the whole thing. I was annoyed with having to prepare so many meals, clean up afterward, and carry around Tupperware.

But for me, that wasn’t the worst of it – I never felt full, I was constantly thinking about food and my next meal, and going out to eat with family and friends was a struggle.

So one day out of total annoyance and frustration, I just gave it up. I stopped preparing meals in advance. I stopped worrying about the next time I had to eat. I didn’t follow an eating schedule.

Instead I just ate whenever I was hungry and stopped eating when I was full. I generally went about 14-18 hours between my last meal of the day and my first meal the following day (I usually ate dinner around 6pm and then would eat my first meal around 11am or so the next day). This all came naturally to me and I felt great with my new eating habits. There was no more stress because I didn’t have to eat on a schedule or carry around food wherever I went.

It wasn’t until a couple of years later, however, that I realized this style of eating had a name – intermittent fasting.

Please note – while I don’t personally do the whole “5-6 small meals” throughout the day thing, I acknowledge that it does work for some people. Just as I greatly prefer to follow some form of intermittent fasting to achieve my goals, numerous others prefer to eat small meals throughout the day because they enjoy it and it allows them to achieve their goals.

Again, I encourage you to do what works for you and do what you enjoy – whether that means employing a method of intermittent fasting or eating several small meals throughout the day. I don’t care what you do as long as it makes your life easier, simpler, and leads you to your goals.

I encourage you to read the following information with an open mind. You just may stumble upon something that makes your life easier.

There are several forms of intermittent fasting, but I will only be discussing the three methods I have tried personally.

  • 24 hour fasts one to two times per week
  • Daily 14-16 hour fasts
  • Daily partial fasts for 20 hours with one big meal

We’ll tackle these methods one at a time.

Fasting for 24 Hours Once or Twice a Week

This is the method promoted by my friend, Brad Pilon. I did an interview with him a couple of years ago which you can find here => Fasting for Weight Loss.

To keep things simple, I’ll outline the main points and my experience with this method:

  • To give an oversimplified explanation – you go 24 hours without food. That means if your last meal was at 6pm today, then you wouldn’t eat until 6pm tomorrow.
  • Incredibly simple to use – you just don’t eat anything for about 24 hours once or twice a week. You can freely drink water and other non-caloric beverages during the fast, but no food. After the 24 hour fast, you eat a regular meal. As Brad explains, “The best way to eat after fasting is to act as if you didn’t fast”. Don’t overeat because you haven’t eaten in 24 hours; just eat a regular meal.
  • It’s effective – I have tried it, many of my clients have done it, and those who use Brad’s Eat Stop Eat and get phenomenal results are way too many to list. It works.
  • It’s flexible – For those who prefer this method of intermittent fasting, it is recommended that they fast on their busiest days. This way you don’t focus on not eating food and potential hunger, but instead you can be very productive. Also, if you know you have a family event or other social gathering planned, you can adjust your fasting days accordingly.
  • Numerous health benefits – Brad discusses these in his book, so I won’t go over them here. Simply put, fasting provides numerous health benefits beyond fat loss, and that is always a good thing.
  • Did I mention it’s really simple? I am all about keeping things as simple as possible, especially when it comes to eating and losing body fat. With Brad’s method of fasting you don’t have to count calories, weigh food, or even restrict your favorite foods.
  • Brad’s system in particular is very “freeing” for many people who use it. They are no longer required to count calories or even restrict their favorite foods. Many people who have been OCD with dieting in the past can’t believe how easy this method is and the amazing results it produces without any stress.
  • This method may be too difficult for some people – some individuals simply struggle with going extended periods of time without eating. Some people get headaches, fatigued, cranky, or just too anxious. In my experience, however, many people “grow out” of this after a few fasts.
  • For some people following a 24 hour fast leads to binge eating – even though you should eat a normal meal after the fast, some people think they are entitled to eat anything and everything they want as a “reward” for fasting for 24 hours. This can be remedied with some self control, but some people are just apt to binging after abstaining from food for too long.

Daily 14 – 16 Hour Fast

This form of intermittent fasting is used and promoted by Martin Berkhan. He has done an incredible amount of research on the topic as well, and his results and those of his clients speak the truth of his system.

  • Men fast for 16 hours each day and women for 14 hours.
  • Oversimplified explanation – if your last meal is at 8pm tonight, you wouldn’t eat again until 10am (women) or 12pm (men) tomorrow. Personally, I have no issues going the whole 16 hours and occasionally go to even 19 hours depending on my work and training schedule.
  • As with the previously discussed method of intermittent fasting, you don’t consume any food or caloric beverages during the fasting period. Water, sugar free gum, and other non-caloric beverages are okay.
  • This method, in my experience, is incredibly easy to sustain long term and to follow every day as it’s very simple to implement.
  • This form generally means you’ll be skipping breakfast. For some people this could be quite difficult at first, especially if they buy into the whole “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” mindset.
  • Martin suggests eating three meals a day without any snacks in between. Since you’ll only be eating three times per day, you’ll be eating larger meals, and that means you’ll actually feel full. This is a huge plus for me.
  • Having a social life is much easier than with other dieting methods (as was the case for me with eating 5-6 small meals each day). Because you can eat larger meals, it’s easier to go to restaurants and social gatherings without having to stress about what you’re going to eat.
  • This type of intermittent fasting can be used for fat loss, building muscle, and even maintenance

Daily 20ish Hour Partial Fast

This style of intermittent fasting is known as The Warrior Diet and was created by Ori Hofmekler. Basically you perform a 20-ish hour partial fast every day, and then have one large meal at night.

  • During the fasting part of the day, you can consume a few servings of raw fruits and vegetables, fresh fruit/veggie juices, and a few servings of protein (protein shake, some nuts, boiled eggs, etc) if desired. These are kept quite small.
  • You eat your main meal at night. Ori has guidelines for what to eat, and in what order to eat certain foods (veggies first, then meat, etc).
  • Some of his recommendations are quite rigid and can be difficult to follow long term
  • I don’t personally believe this is the best method for someone who is very physically active; especially one who participates in heavy weight lifting.
  • Having to eat such a large meal at night doesn’t work for everyone. For example, I personally don’t like how full I feel after eating such a large meal. Then again, some people absolutely love it.
  • It can be difficult to get in all of your fruits, veggies, and protein with just one large meal
  • It can lead to binging on the wrong foods. Some people will inevitably think, “Well, I haven’t eaten hardly anything all day, so I can eat anything I want”. Then they end up eating nothing but pizza, wings, and cookies every night.
  • You don’t have to worry about food all day. For many people, this is the greatest benefit of the Warrior Diet. Since you do the vast majority of your eating at night, you don’t have to worry about preparing food during the day.
  • It saves money. You won’t be eating as much as you usually do, so you’ll likely save some money on your food bill.
  • Increased energy levels – many people, myself included, tend to experience greater energy levels when fasting. This was the case, for me personally, with all three of the intermittent fasting methods I’ve used.
  • This method is probably best suited for fat loss and not building muscle mass. Again, others may have a different experience.
  • Can be difficult to work around social gatherings that take place during the day.

I should also mention that my friend, Molly Galbraith, is part of the force behind the Modified Warrior Diet approach. This won’t be available for a while (the author of the original Warrior Diet is not involved), but I think this is much more manageable for most people who prefer the “warrior” style of intermittent fasting, and definitely more effective for individuals who engage in serious strength training. I’ll share more about this approach in the future.

So Which Method Should You Try?

I think it all comes down to some personal experimentation. You may prefer one method over the other, or you may prefer to use each method at different times just for the sake of variety and to change things up (I’ve done this).

And, please, don’t think you have to “convert” to intermittent fasting just because it’s potentially the next big thing. Intermittent fasting works, no doubt about it, but I still suggest you do whatever works for you and your lifestyle. Whether that means eating 5-6 small meals per day or adopting a form of intermittent fasting – just do what works for you.

No method/nutrition approach will produce the results you want if you’re constantly stressed out and miserable. You need to find a method you enjoy and that you can sustain long term. In my experience and opinion, intermittent fasting is an excellent method that you can tailor to your life.

I’m Interested . . . Now What?

If you are interested in trying one of the methods of intermittent fasting discussed above, I strongly advise you to read the author’s own words and apply the method in the way he provides. The information above is based on my experience and only scratches the surface of each author’s method. All too often people half-ass apply what they read or tweak things from the beginning, and then after they don’t get results they write the program/method off as a complete failure.

Don’t do that. Do what the author says and apply as written.

  • Brad Pilon’s method (once or twice a week 24 hour fast) can be found here.
  • Martin Berkhan’s method (daily 14-16 hour fast) can be found here.
  • Ori Hofmekler’s method (daily 20ish hour partial fast) can be found here:

The Warrior Diet: Switch on Your Biological Powerhouse For High Energy, Explosive Strength, and a Leaner, Harder Body

Nia Shanks is a personal trainer and author of Fat Loss Detour and Beautiful Badass.