One of my fitness goals this year is to get my ab fold down to 10 millimeters. I have some strength goals, an endurance goal, and this is my body composition goal. You all know how gnarly it is to get lean once you're up in years and I set a goal that even a 20 year-old would be proud to achieve! Well, it's one thing to set it, another to make it reality. April was fast disappearing and I knew that I hadn't even budged my body fat, despite headway on some of my other goals.
About that time, Dr. John Berardi, CEO of Precision Nutrition sent out an eBook outlining his 6-months of experimentation with intermittent fasting that he'd done on himself. Yes, Berardi himself had stepped away from his own tried and true PN rules and guidelines (which nearly 100,000 people including myself have used and followed) and experimented with fasting! Over 6 months he'd experimented with at least 6 different fasting protocols and had discovered two that he felt were quite effective for getting leaner with minimal muscle loss. I forwarded it to my son Zak, who was not only willing to try it with me, but also gave me a date that we'd be starting — May 1st!
The thought of fasting sounded brutal but we picked a 16/8 fast that I thought I might be able to survive. We fasted from 8 PM in the evening until noon the next day (16 hours), then ate all of our food for the day over an 8 hour period. I weighed in every AM on my bathroom scale, and once a week Zak measured my ab fold with calipers at the gym. I managed to make it through an entire month! It really wasn't bad at all, but I was glad to see it end.
I started with a 21.5 mm ab fold. This is a vertical fold of the fat just to the right of your belly button. My weight fluctuated considerably starting at 169.8, and at one point dropping to 165.2 for a couple days. I finished the month with an ab fold of about 16.5 mm which meant I was about 45% of the way to my 10 mm ab fold. Even though I was only 2–3 lbs lighter at month's end, I was significantly leaner. This was actually pretty cool because I believe it indicates that I lost very little or no muscle!
As Berardi points out, there are easier ways to get lean, but this was definitely a worthwhile experiment. I wasn't otherwise being disciplined enough to move the needle and this protocol moved it considerably in just 31 days. I'll probably do again soon, and who knows, I may just hit that 10 mm goal and celebrate with a BIG.....chicken salad!
In love and strength,