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Paleo Challenge Day 24: Love For “Free The Animal”

Day 24 – Tuesday January 24
Workout: deadlift 300×5, 340×3, 380×4
Post-Workout Gorging: sweet potatoes, green curry chicken with cauliflower
Dinner: green curry chicken with cauliflower (the remainder)
Second Dinner: tomato soup with bacon and shredded chicken breast
Future baby chickens consumed: 0 (84 total)
Sweet potatoes consumed: 2 (22.5 total)
Inhaler puffs: 1 (2 in last 7 days)

So how was it doing deadlifts after not eating for the past 36+ hours? Dangerous? Maybe. Did I deplete my muscle glycogen stores, relying on fat burning *and* a bit of protein breakdown to provide readily-available energy for my workout? Perhaps. Did it diminish my performance? Not really. I didn’t vomit, I didn’t pass out, I didn’t get gassed any earlier than I thought I would. Still, I felt like I had been hit by a car for a good 2-3 hours after the workout, despite *gorging* myself on sweet potatoes and chicken afterward. Also, I dropped a 45-pound bumper plate on my toe, and that was not fun.

What did I learn? Don’t add stress to stress. The extra-long fast was fine and good, but I’d much rather have a large, leisurely meal to break it, rather than do some heavy lifting right before. Unless I were trying to lose a lot of weight, in which case I’d consider it again. As far as lifting on an empty stomach, it seems a noble goal, using Martin Berkhan’s trick of downing some branched-chain amino acids right before the workout, to serve as a protein source for immediate energy during the lift (and thus sparing your muscle from breakdown). This would turn the weightlifting and its aftermath into a near-pure fat-burning workout, as opposed to preferentially burning liver glycogen and free fat (as you would do on a “fed” workout).

OK, onto “Free The Animal”. I’ve followed Richard Nikoley’s Twitter feed for the past year or so, through his publicized online debates with raw-fruitarians and his rebuttal to an ill-researched anti-Paleo essay. Needless to say, I’m quite a fan. He starts off with his own personal victory over being fat and a slave to junk food, putting together his own personal set of rules for living an ancestral/”Paleo” life (my favorite: “6. have sex”). He’s good at culling data and theories from several different Paleo/Primal authorities, including Art DeVany and Mark Sisson, as well as providing those famous bar graphs of relative nutrient content of bread vs beef liver vs salmon, to illustrate a point about getting more bang for your buck, food-wise.

He has bated approval for the longest-lasting vegetarian society on earth (my own), if only for their love of high-fat dairy, but has nothing but remorse for vegans, comparing them to religious fundamentalists who believe we are all sinful (in this case, the sin of hating earth and nature) because of our innate animal tendencies. The remainder of the book runs through the usual Paleo topics, including good and bad fats, good and bad carbs, and helpful supplements (Vitamin D gets a lot of love), in a fresh and opinionated style that fans of the Free The Animal blog have come to expect and enjoy. He adds some asides about super-important topics like fixing his mother’s diabetes, the link between sugar and cancer, and penis enlargement, but like I wrote yesterday, his most interesting chapter is a well-laid out plan and plea for intermittent fasting.

To quote: “I’d go for 20-28 hours without eating, hit the gym, and then eat big a couple of hours or so after.” If weight loss is your goal, this seems like a great way to rev up the process. Especially given my recent experiment (and my current happiness with my body shape), I’m hesitant about going to this extreme, but there are lessons to be learned. An intermittent 16-24 hour fast (the shorter on that time range, the more often you can sustainably do it) before a workout or before a big meal could lessen your general reliance on eating every meal on schedule all the time and controlling your hunger instead of vice versa.

And at the end, there are some delicious recipes, including for a traditional Mexican chili and some monstrosity called a meat-za, which of course sounds f***ing awesome. Pizza with a ground meat-and-egg crust? These guys would approve.

(from freetheanimal.com)

Good, refreshing read overall, even for someone experienced with Paleo philosophy and science like me.

Next time: The Perfect Health Diet, and how it’ll frame the reintroduction of “non-Paleo” foods into my diet.

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