Intermittent Fasting Combo - OMAD & 5:2
After my week of liquid fast, I decided to make minor changes to my nutrition and fasting routine. This intermittent fasting combo is the tweak I'm making to my fasting game. But before I explain how I'm bringing these two protocols together, let's start with what is what.
WHAT IS OMAD?
OMAD stands for one meal a day. Some people call it the warrior fast, where you fast for 20 hours and feed within 4 hours. But many who've adopted the warrior fast find it easier to just have one meal, often making it a 23:1 fasting to feeding window.
Personally, I've been doing OMAD for 8 months now and it hasn't affected my health or my gains. I've been growing in strength despite training fasted, and 'hunger' is no longer a word I use - the growls in my stomach are daily occurrences I've acclimatised to.
WHAT IS 5:2?
The 5:2 protocol involves consuming normal daily calories for 5 days a week, with 2 days where calorie intake is dropped to 500 for women and 600 for men. Known as one of the easiest intermittent fasting protocols to follow, I've decided to give it a try.
RATIONALE BEHIND THE COMBO
Every day, I eat a significant amount of calories during my one meal at dinnertime. Heck, I think I eat more than I should - hitting close to 1600-1800 calories daily. 1800 calories is great for bulking - allowing me to put on significant muscle mass for the past few months - but for my upcoming vacation, I've planned to go on a cut. And by consuming more or less what I burn during my workout, my body doesn't have a chance to drop fat despite training fasted. So, instead of cutting calories daily, I've chosen to incorporate the 5:2 protocol into my OMAD routine.
Every Tuesday and Thursday, I would consume around 500 calories. From my liquid fast, I've learned that one day of such a calorie deficit doesn't affect my lifts and performance level the following day. Thursday is also a rest day for me, and there's no need to top up on calories when I've barely expended any.
IMPORTANT THINGS TO NOTE
The OMAD and 5:2 combination isn't a new concept. Though there aren't many posts about it online, people have done fasting mashups before. But with every new practice, one should take a few things into consideration.
1. I have a desk job. The only time I leave my chair is to the bathroom or to accompany my colleagues during their lunch break. Some days, I don't leave the office at all once I clock in. If your job has you burning plenty of calories during the day, this may not be a good idea for you.
2. As someone who has been fasting for almost a year - lean gains (16:8) for the first 3 months and OMAD for 8 months - I've been through the stages of overeating, obsessing over feeding windows, and the delusions of what is acceptable (to eat) because 'I'm fasting'. I've learned through trial and error on what I should and shouldn't do. So, embarking on this new journey isn't exactly new. If you're new to intermittent fasting, this isn't a combo you should do. For many first-timers, fasting 16 hours is already a struggle. I believe you should never overdo anything at the get-go.
3. Throughout my fitness journey, I've learned to listen to my body. Since I started intermittent fasting, I've monitored my mood, my monthly cycle, and my ability to perform my workouts to ensure I'm not causing more harm than good. When starting anything new, whether an eating routine or a workout program, always be aware of the entire process you're undertaking and how your body responses to it. Fitness isn't about the quickest way to the finish line, but rather the smartest and most sustainable way.
SO, ONE WEEK IN...
As of this post, I'm actually one week into this IF combo. It's hard to grade this new routine after a week, but... so far so good - I performed my workouts without trouble, and my energy levels were the same throughout the week. More time will tell if this mashup is sustainable and if it'll help me reach my goals or hinder me from it - I'll have to give it at least a month before I decide to continue.
- A shake of 328 calories:
- Nitro Tech protein: 160 calories
- One tablespoon of chia seeds: 44 calories
- 200 ml of full cream milk: 124 calories
- Vegetables & Fruits (often broccoli and carrot/ papaya and guava)
*Note: Picture on the right is approximately 500 calories. However, I don't plan to be rigid with my choice of calories and will consume alternatives.
My workout program remains the same: reverse pyramid training with 2 leg days and 3 upper body splits, and additional core and jump rope sessions 5 days a week.
I'll be back with a post once I've decided to continue this IF combo for the long run. Fingers-crossed, it'll be more sustainable and convenient than OMAD alone.
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