What if everyone who said breakfast is the most important meal was wrong? Have you ever thought about that?
The people who subscribe to intermittent fasting, including me, don’t eat breakfast at all! Instead, they eat a big meal around 1pm and 8pm, then go around 16 hours without eating again until lunch the next day.
They promise it’s the optimal way to increase muscle and lower body fat at the same time. Plus, they can cut their amount of visits to the gym in half while gaining excellent results. Doesn’t that sound nice?
In this post, you’ll learn how intermittent fasting works and the reasons why you should consider implementing it in your life. Plus, I’ll address your main questions and concerns, because I’m sure skipping breakfast and not eating for more than 12 hours straight seems a bit nuts.
To be honest, I’m being a little selfish in writing this one. Because my motto is always to only write stuff that will give you value. But this one I wrote partly for me because I wanted to do more research on intermittent fasting.
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that’s designed around eating calories at specific times of the day and then not eating at other times.
It’s not some crazy diet where you only consume tofu and water. You eat the same foods as before, hopefully they’re healthy meals, but eat at different times than most people.
Unlike the traditional diet of eating a meal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner—with snacks all in between—people who do intermittent fasting skip a meal and don’t snack. For most people doing this and myself, the meal we skip is breakfast.
Intermittent fasting allows you to become leaner by shedding fat and building muscle, without bulking then not eating for a week straight. This is because when you eat affects how your body reacts and what it does with the food.
In other words, eating in a shorter window helps your body be more efficient with the calories. And this is how you’re able to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time.
I personally love intermittent fasting because it’s easy and simple to pick up. I don’t need a master’s degree in nutrition to know how to do this and get the benefits.
After reading this guide, you won’t need one either!
How Does Intermittent Fasting Work?
The whole reason intermittent fasting works is based on what your body does during the fed state and fasted state. So you first need to understand the difference between these two.
This is the fed state: After eating a meal, your body begins to break the food down and use what it can for energy during the day. But your body takes the energy you use to walk, talk on the phone, process information, and everything else you do directly from the food you just ate.
Your body isn’t taking energy from the fat stored in you because your insulin levels are high and energy is already accessible. Bottom line, fat burning isn’t happening in the fed state while your body is taking in and digesting food.
This is the fasted state: You haven’t consumed food for around 12 hours, so your body can’t just pull energy from its last meal. It needs a different source now, and to get energy it pulls from the stored fat in your body.
Your body can now burn fat because insulin levels are low and it doesn’t have a recent meal to use for energy. That’s where the fat loss comes from and how you get more lean.
The same process works when you workout in the fasted state. Energy needs to come from somewhere for your muscles to work properly, so your body uses its fat. Not to mention that growth hormones are produced more rapidly in the fasting state for muscle gains. (Also why you can work out less during the week cause you’re getting more out of your workouts.)
Again, if you eat consistently throughout the day your body rarely (or never) enters the fasted state that is so crucial to losing fat.
By shortening the window of when you eat, your body gets a wider window in the fasted state where you lose fat and build muscle.
Why Do Intermittent Fasting?
There is a diverse range of reasons to add intermittent fasting to your lifestyle. Let’s start with the most obvious reason.
1. Lose fat
The number one most notable reason to do intermittent fasting is to lose fat. When you go long stretches without eating, you give your body the green light to lose weight because you’re taking in fewer calories for longer periods of time. This calorie restriction during fasting forces your body to take energy from fat, which is exactly what you want, instead of getting energy from the meal you just ate.
2. Become more muscular
The byproduct of fasting also produces insulin sensitivity and increased growth hormone secretion, a process essential to building muscle. And not only are you becoming more muscular, because you’re also losing fat. Meaning you’re becoming more lean overall.
Everyone looks good when they’re lean.
This eating pattern will always have you ready for summer, hitting the beach, or when you need to look good naked for a wedding. Your flat stomach or six pack is on the way.
3. Pushes you to healthier foods
Don’t tell me your body is going to go on an extended fast and then crave unhealthy chips and pretzels. There’s no way!
After you to fast for 12+ hours, your body will want healthy, nutritious food to gain energy. And mentally putting in the effort to do intermittent fasting sets the tone that you’re going to be serious about losing fat, so you’ll naturally want to eat right.
On the other hand, if you’re not intermittent fasting and constantly eating all day, then unhealthy snacks won’t feel like a big problem. You can easily trick yourself that it’s only a little here and there. Or if you eat a terrible meal for breakfast, you can lie and say you’ll eat better for lunch and dinner.
4. Eat big without the consequences
How cool is it that you can eat the same food and same number of calories during intermittent fasting, because shortening the window when you eat makes all the difference? You don’t need to eat like a bird or go vegan to lose weight as many diets will recommend.
While I wouldn’t recommend eating McDonald’s no matter what you’re trying to do, if you continue to put your body in the fasting state each day then you’ll get the results with the occasional bad meal in between.
5. Practice discipline and self-control
I geek out about mastering total discipline over something. It’s truly an empowering feeling when your body desires something but you have the mental strength to resist it and come out on top.
With intermittent fasting, you can win this struggle to not eat or snack and feel the endorphins from doing so every day. Knowing your will directs your actions gives self-confidence for success in other areas at school, work, or in the gym. So it is about becoming leaner, but it’s also about becoming a mentally stronger individual.
6. Improve focus
Skipping breakfast and settling for a coffee and water during fasting has increased my focus in the morning. And I recognize that the more I focus on my writing, the less I think about food. It’s a winning system.
To back me up, researchers have found that decreasing calorie intake improves brain health and function. You learn more and remember more by waiting to eat.
7. Get more free time
Do you go out for breakfast? If you do, I bet you don’t realize how much time goes into thinking of where to eat, traveling to get food, waiting in line, waiting for your food, and then waiting to pay for the bill. Intermittent fasting allows you to avoid all of that.
Or if you’re running late for work or classes in the morning, you don’t need to spend any extra minutes making yourself some food because you’re not eating breakfast.
What could you do with an extra hour each day in the morning?
8. Clearer skin
On the offensive for clearer skin, intermittent fasting produces human growth hormone (HGH) and HGH can improve your skin. On the defensive against breaking out, eating at less times during the day gives your body a break from stress and helps you avoid the acne-causing foods like chocolate, bread, chips, and other heavy-carbohydrate foods.
Intermittent fasting does it all from the inside of your body to the outside for your skin.
9. Age better
Autophagy is the cleansing of your body’s cells to help you look young and decrease the effects of aging. And guess what? The less time you spend eating the more time you give autophagy to repair your cells.
Similar to clearer skin, intermittent fasting helps you age better by helping the body rejuvenate living cells and allowing cells to live longer when the body fasts. This maintenance is powerful for your body and why daily intermittent fasting helps you look your age, or younger.
10. Decreases risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease
While serving your body and skin, intermittent fasting doesn’t forget about your brain. This fasting helps your brain’s function and structure. Plus it reduces oxidative stress in the brain, which is a key contributor to brain defects.
Fasting causes more production of proteins in the brain, this leads to growing and connecting neurons, and stronger synapses. All this activity builds a healthier brain that reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and other brain-related diseases.
11. Helps you live longer
It’s also likely that intermittent fasting helps humans live longer.
A study at USC showed encouraging results for intermittent fasting. And this Scientific American article points out that it helped some animals live longer, while the jury is still out whether fasting helps humans live longer.
But my point is that even if fasting doesn’t help you directly live longer, it helps protect you from diseases like cancer, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s. In that sense, it absolutely does help you live longer.
12. Save money
Because you’re not snacking and you’re skipping a meal, that’s less snacks and one whole meal you can go without during the day. Seven less meals a week.
Multiply seven less meals a week times 52 weeks and you get 364 less meals a year. If the average meal costs $8, you just saved yourself $2,912. All thanks to intermittent fasting.
Not to mention that intermittent fasting will help you avoid the unquantifiable future doctor and hospital bills from being overweight or obese. That could total $10,000 to $100,000+.
Why Isn’t Intermittent Fasting More Popular?
I don’t know the answer to that question. Give intermittent fasting enough time and it will produce incredible results for the inside and outside of your body. That’s backed by scientific studies.
But I do have a suspicion or conspiracy (whatever you want to call it), that big pharmaceutical companies and food companies are partly behind it. Here’s why.
There’s no money in fasting. For example, breakfast food companies are going to lose billions if all of America cuts out on eating breakfast. So what do these companies do? They ingrain the idea in everyone’s head that breakfast is the most important meal—with no science to back it up. Snack companies market their products all over the tv and internet to create desire for their unnecessary products.
And pharmaceutical companies lose billions when people use intermittent fasting to become healthier, eat more nutritious foods, exercise more, and require less medicine. So why would they publish research in articles that go against their business plan? They wouldn’t, and don’t.
It’s not just me who thinks this.
Editor in Chief of The Lancet, Dr. Richard Horton, said that much of the published scientific literature is simply untrue. Harvard Professor of Medicine, Arnold S. Relman, stated that the pharmaceutical industry has bought the medical profession. And other doctors have spoken out about the lies from the pharmaceutical industry.
The other reason it’s not popular is because people hate getting out of their comfort zone. If they’ve always eaten breakfast, they’re very unlikely to challenge themselves to do something different and go without food. They’re not going to question conventional wisdom, even if it’s worse for them.
As a Take Your Success reader, I’m hoping that you’re up to the challenge of fasting for a longer window and then seeing the results.
It’s encouraging when you know that the facts are behind intermittent fasting, not some companies false marketing plan about eating right when you wake up.
With all of those benefits I listed above, there’s no reason not to try intermittent fasting for yourself.
Remember, it’s simple to plan. And over time you’ll train your body to make skipping a morning meal simple to execute as it becomes a habit you don’t think about.
Just follow an eating schedule like this:
- 1pm to 8pm – Eat two or three meals in this window
- 8:01pm to 12:59pm – Fast, but you’re allowed to drink coffee, water, or tea
If you’re a female, I’ve read that you should have a shorter fasting window because your body is biologically different from a male. So a woman’s eating schedule might look like this:
- 10am to 8pm – Eat two or three meals in this window
- 8:01pm to 9:59am – Fast, but you’re allowed to drink coffee, water, or tea
(You can read more about the effects of intermittent fasting for females here.)
To be clear, my true goal in this post is to get you to experiment it and try it out yourself. It could be the best thing you ever do for your body and you love it. You lose weight, get cut, and feel great. Or if it it’s not working for you for some reason, now you tried it.
Since you’re not going to die from intermittent fasting, the only risk is not trying it and never knowing how it works for you. Or do research on your own. Knowledge is power.
As you can tell, I’m personally a big fan of it and it feels great knowing I control my body and not the other way around.
And there you have the basics of intermittent fasting. Now it’s time for the gains!
*If you have any medical condition related to blood sugar (like diabetes or suffer from hypoglycemia), I highly advise you to discuss this with your doctor before making any big changes to your diet.
What questions do you have about intermittent fasting? Is it something you’re going to do now? Why or why not? I’d love to read what you think in the comments below.
How To Plank: Why This Is My Favorite Exercise!
Whether your motive is looking better with your shirt off, feeling more in shape, or strengthening your body, you’ll want to know how to plank.
It might change, but right now this is my favorite exercise on the planet.
Watch this short video to get a quick explanation of the plank and how to do it to perfection:
In case you didn’t watch the clip or catch the steps to do a perfect plank, here they are:
- Get into push-up position
- Bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your body weight on your forearms
- Keep your upper body and lower body on a flat straight line
- Look at the floor and relax your head
- Hold this stance for as long as you can while maintaining proper form
- Don’t stop breathing, inhale and exhale at a slow normal rate
That’s all it takes to build your core and get stronger muscles. Isn’t the plank simple?
Plus you can plank daily to challenge your abs, where it’s not smart to do chest, biceps, or leg exercises daily. This is another W for the plank!
How often do you plank?
What’s your experience with it?
For how long can you plank without putting your butt in the air and arching your back?
Challenge yourself to start doing this weekly (it doesn’t have to be daily). Note how long you last, with good form, the first time you plank. Then take baby steps to feel the burn and go longer next time. And repeat this process.
Imagine how much progress you can make in 6, 12, and 18 months?
It’s for this reason that you better believe I’m planking tonight. Join me!
111 Reasons To Exercise
Not in a regular workout routine? Maybe the problem is you don’t realize the importance of physical activity. I’ll fix that with these 111 reasons to exercise.
You may not like reading this list because then you don’t have the excuse of ignorance. Sorry to bury your excuses.
After reading this it’ll just be pure laziness if you’re not exercising and pushing your body to get in shape. That’s 100% on you.
But I got faith in you. You can build this habit—slowly but surely—and become a more fit version of yourself.
Take it day by day. That’s the key. Don’t expect to lose 10 pounds in a week, then get frustrated you’re not seeing immediate progress. All good things take time.
Alright, let’s dive into every single reason to work out!
The Benefits Of Exercise
- Betters your quality of life
- Gives you more energy throughout the day
- Helps you fall asleep quicker at night
- Works to prevent the common cold
- Boosts productivity all day
- Improves your blood flow
- Provides endorphins to feel good
- Fights against depression
- Improves your social confidence
- Extends the amount of years you live
- Stimulates mental focus and concentration
- Lowers your body fat and weight
- Strengthens your immune system
- Presents opportunities to make new friends
- Increases testosterone
- Lessens risk of joint pain
- Tones and strengthens your skin
- Enhances your endurance
- Protects you against heart disease
- Lowers risk of some cancers
- Convinces you you’re stronger than you think
- Fights against dementia
- Motivates you to eat healthier
- Burns extra calories
- Provides a creative outlet
- Helps you feel sexier
- Drives more romance in your relationship
- Lowers cholesterol in a natural way
- Makes your dog healthier and happier with more walks
- Decreases your resting heart rate
- Instills discipline and self-control
- Teaches your kids to exercise
- Increases your work performance
- Adds a challenge to your day
- Strengthens your bones
- Develops your athletic ability
- Pushes you to take more risks
- Digests your food better
- Lowers risk of diabetes
- Lowers triglycerides
- Aids your immune system fighting infections
- Improves emotional stability
- Gives you a positive goal to attach your energy to
- Alleviates constipation
- Stimulates pain-releasing hormones
- Improves oxygen movement to the body
- Lowers the risk of osteoporosis
- Speeds up your metabolism
- Helps remove lactic acid in the body
- Develops a mindset of self improvement
- Straightens up your posture
- Provides a healthy habit to exercise more
- Develops flexibility and range of motion
- Makes it easier to fit into different types of clothes
- Gives you a social setting to meet like-minded people
- Helps you think positive
- Saves you doctor bills down the road
- Increases creativity
- Allows you to eat unhealthy without getting fat
- Makes you drink more water
- Protects your eyes and eyesight
- Creates a mentality of respecting your body
- Builds muscle tone
- Provides opportunities to test your willpower
- Fights against allergies
- Makes you look younger than you are
- Prepares you for change
- Increases fertility for making babies
- Improves body control
- Allows your brain to think more clearly
- Helps your body store glycogen
- Boosts your body’s production of good fat
- Gets you comfortable handling pressure
- Decreases appetite for sugary drinks and unhealthy food
- Adds muscle strength
- Makes you feel hungrier after a good workout
- Takes away guilt when you do relax
- Increases the odds you make more money
- Reduces blood pressure
- Teaches you a lesson in patience to see body progress
- Alleviates back pain
- Readies you for any reunion, wedding, or social gathering
- Improves breathing ability
- Gives you a chance at a six pack
- Instills belief that you can achieve your goals and follow through
- Eases menstrual cramps
- Gets you ready to run a marathon
- Improves your business network and connections
- Provides an excuse to wear and buy new exercise clothes
- Improves reaction time
- Presents opportunities to find new business ideas
- Makes for a free social activity
- Reduces stress and anxiety
- Fights against feelings of boredom
- Protects against age-related muscle loss
- Gives you a pretty mirror view
- Raises your sexual performance
- Allows you to eat more food
- Makes you a more interesting person
- Prepares you to always look good in swimsuits
- Builds muscle size
- Adds a glow to your skin complexion
- Teaches you the value of hard work
- Gives you a reason to manage your time better
- Protects your body against injury
- Decreases the difficulty of lifting heavy objects
- Encourages the people around you to exercise
- Adds to your first impression
- Lowers the scary thought of stepping on a scale
- Increases compliments you receive from other people
- Gives your body what it loves, a good workout
If those 111 arguments didn’t convince you to take your health serious and begin a consistent exercise plan, I give up. You may be hopeless.
Just kidding. I know that’s not true. Even the most overweight, out-of-shape person can make a turn for the better to prioritize exercise.
And I know after reading this some of you will think, “Exercise is awesome. I’m going to get shredded for the beach this summer.” But then you’ll continue to not work out like nothing changed.
There’s only one road to getting in better shape, and it requires a bunch of sweat.
So snap out of it. Start exercising like you know you should. Get committed.
You owe it to your mind and body at the very least. Otherwise you’ll steal those 111 reasons from yourself.
And as I wrote in this article, the best time to start is now.
Interview: Dr. Littleton, “America’s Energy Doctor” Seen On Dr. Oz
Today I have a special interview for you with a great new friend, Dr. Jason Littleton.
He’s a doctor, CEO, author, speaker, columnist, and so much more. Mainly he’s known as “America’s Energy Doctor,” and has been on The Dr. Oz Show—that’s big time.
What I appreciate about Dr. Littleton is he’s one of those guys who benefits everyone around him, making it look effortless. All you have to do is listen, and you’re going to walk away with some new wisdom or inspiration.
You’ll see what I mean in this interview.
Check it out below, and don’t forget to keep reading after the interview to see my key insights.
Brian: You’re super successful now. But it wasn’t always easy. Tell us about your difficult trial during the MCAT and how you got through it to become Dr. Littleton.
Dr. Jason: In a nutshell, I was on a journey to become a doctor. And one of the roadblocks that came up was when I walked out of the MCAT exam.
One of the things I realized is that when you’re going for anything, you’re going to realize what you do and don’t know about yourself that you need to change. You do this so you can become a better version of yourself.
In my case, studying for the MCAT was a whole lot different from studying in high school. In high school, you read a textbook and remember what you need for the test. Even in college, you’re learning things and you mainly memorize information to get to the next level.
But for the MCAT, there’s information there that you have to not just memorize, but retain for your future success as a medical student and as a physician.
One of the things I learned about myself is that I needed to retrain how I learned information. I needed to retrain how I studied and how I focused, so I could be better prepared when I went into that next MCAT exam.
Here’s the deal when you take a big exam like that. Sometimes there’s pressure to succeed. And I didn’t fully understand that pressure as well as I maybe should have understood.
So through self-reflection, understanding the things I did wrong, and staying motivated, I was able to go back and do the test again, and succeed. That was a difficult time that I overcame. But I never lost focus that I would be a successful doctor.
Brian: What are your overall thoughts on failure? Is failure permanent?
Dr. Jason: It’s both. Failure is a temporary thing for people who see the light at the end of the tunnel, when there’s no light. You have to have a vision for yourself. You have to be able to see it when no one else can see it. And when things in the natural don’t look like they’re going well, you still have to have a mental picture of where you’re going and that you can still get there.
For people who can do that, and everyone can do that, so for those willing to do that then failure is temporary.
For people who are not willing to see the greatness inside of them and are not willing to face difficult times and get through them, failure is permanent. Because these are the types of people who will quit, not continue on, not fight the obstacles, or embarrassment. Because sometimes people feel embarrassed when they fail.
So if you can get past the pride and the embarrassment, to see that mental picture of you on the other side, failure is temporary.
Brian: I know that you’re an energy expert. So what are three changes we can make in our lives to gain more energy throughout the day?
Dr. Jason: First, you should always start with breakfast. A lot of people skip that, but here’s the deal: Carbs are our fuel. That’s like our gasoline. So when we eat breakfast, we’re getting the carbs we need to fill our body with energy.
People shouldn’t ever avoid carbs. That’s like not putting gas in your car. You want to have elite carbs though, such as vegetables and fruit.
The other thing people should do is have snacks throughout the day. I always tell people to have six meals a day—breakfast, lunch, and dinner with three snacks in between. When you do that, you stay energized as you go through the day.
Next thing, people should avoid drinking caffeinated drinks. Sometimes people make a habit out of that and they use caffeinated drinks for energy. But they continue that until it’s something they rely on to feel energized.
But that’s not what you need. It hurts your health. It doesn’t make you feel as energized as you actually think. It’s a lot of commercialism.
So those three things, just from a natural aspect of diet and nutrition, will give you more energy.
And here’s one bonus from a mental perspective. People have to plan to go beyond where they think their end point is. For example, if people think at 5 PM their day ends because they got off work and they’re not prepared to go beyond that, their internal mental clock says we’re done working and let’s shut it down.
But I tell people to keep the throttle going. Don’t go home at 5, sit on the couch, and turn things off. Because when you do that, you get tired, it’s hard to start again, it’s hard to work at home, and it’s hard to be an entrepreneur outside of your job.
So I tell people to plan to work to at least 10 PM. When you do that, mentally you’re prepared to go longer than you originally thought was your end point. That’s how you can also have more energy and spring to your step during the day.
Brian: From your experience as a doctor, what’s one of the biggest misconceptions an average person has about living a healthy life?
Dr. Jason: I don’t want to lose anyone here, but sometimes people think that they have to work out to an extreme extent so that they feel like they’re in the best shape of their lives.
But I argue that how many football players and athletes live beyond 70? These are people who work out to an extreme extent to become real muscle-bound. And sometimes that extreme working out causes added stress on the body and inflammation that actually doesn’t cause us to have longevity.
Some of people who have been interviewed who lived to their 100s said the secret to longevity is moderation in exercise and diet. Some of the extremes in terms of fitness won’t take you to longevity.
I’m not saying don’t lift weights, don’t go running, don’t work out. I’m saying do it in moderation, don’t do it to an extreme.
Sometimes people will do it to an extent where they don’t feel good about themselves until they’re beating their body to the extreme. When you do that, it damages your health.
Brian: Walk us through how you got featured on Dr. Oz and what that experience was like on national TV?
Dr. Jason: First of all, I have a business coach, Dr. Stacia Pierce, who is world-renowned business coach who has helped me get engaged with people like a Dr. Oz and a Dr. Nandi.
Having a coach is paramount because you need someone, as an entrepreneur, that will push you beyond what you think you can do. I wouldn’t be where I am without my coach.
She pushed me to write my first book WellSpring: The Energy Secrets TO DO The Good Life. As I started marketing myself, people got wind of what I was doing.
And one day I received an email from the social producer from The Dr. Oz Show, asking me to talk about Dr. Oz’s magnesium grocery list and how I used it with my patients.
Of course I accepted that opportunity.
Brian: What’s your favorite book, fiction or nonfiction, and why?
Dr. Jason: One of my all time favorite books is Your Best Life Now by Pastor Joel Osteen. It’s a great book about making positive affirmations, believing in the favor of God, and really walking your faith out to be your best.
I think it’s a great book because when I read that it helped me through my journey of success as a physician.
There’s another book that’s really dear to my heart. It’s by Dr. James Pierce and it’s called The Success Secrets of Excellence. And it’s about how to be excellent in life, in your job, in your business, being on time for appointments, and how you look excellent because people treat you how you look.
Those two books, and my business coach Stacia Pierce, have made me the person I am today.
Brian: What’s your life mission?
Dr. Jason: My life mission is to help people find their passion and to use that so that they can live as healthy as possible, so that they can buy more time on this earth, and so they can carry it out.
Helping people do that enriches the world. Helping people live longer and be energized to do what they’re passionate about is a huge part of my purpose.
Brian: Where can Take Your Success readers go to learn more about you and your work?
Dr. Jason: People can go to my website: www.jasonmd.com. There they can find links to my Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter profiles.
And on my website they’ll be able to get to every social media site, book, and resource that I have.
What I learned is that Dr. Littleton has a clear vision for the world, his patients, and his life. That’s to live with passion.
And his passion empowers him to do his best work, regardless of the arena.
His passion to be a doctor carried him through his difficult time with the MCAT. His passion to help others live with energy improves the lives of his patients and the people around them. And his passion for entrepreneurship pushes him to continual business success.
I’m totally with him. There’s a 180 degree difference between someone who is pursuing their passion and someone who isn’t. You can see it in their day-to-day life, their mood, and often their eyes.
So I, and I know Dr. Littleton agrees, challenge you to find your passion. It’s the best thing for the people around you and you.