Intermittent Fasting: 20:4
Just like in football, when it comes to your health, it helps to have a good playbook. After all, what NFL football franchise can be effective without a coach who is a good Xs and Os kinda guy?
The same goes for the coach of your health. You need a good Xs and Os playbook to help your coach out. Unfortunately you only have one permanent coach—and that is you. So if he sucks, you can’t really fire him.
As such, a “playbook” that seems to work for my coach (me)—at least more so than some of the others out there—is intermittent fasting.
What is intermittent fasting?
Essentially, intermittent fasting (IF) is about focusing on the frequency of what you eat, by not eating at all for elongated periods of time.
There are a myriad of ways and methods to do intermittent fasting, but the one that sticks with me the most is the 20:4, sometimes called The Warrior’s Diet, even though they are not technically the same thing.
20:4 Intermittent Fasting Summary
On this plan, you fast for 20 hours and can only have non-caloric beverages.
This sounds tough, but you can count sleep as part of the fast. Another way to look at this fasting method is that you essentially eat one meal a day.
In other parlance, this one meal a day approach is called OMAD.
The Warrior’s Diet
The Warrior’s Diet was written by Ori Hofmekler in 2002. It is one of the first diets that advocated an intermittent fasting approach to health. Although if you read the original book, you will not really encounter the terms Intermittent Fasting at all.
To a certain degree, The Warrior’s Diet advocates for one big meal a day, which it claims was how the macho Romans and Spartans ate, after a day of presumably raping and pillaging far off lands.
In any case, you can eat raw fruits and vegetables in the 20-hour period, which the author describes at the “under-eating phase” of the diet. Because you can eat some foods outside of the fasting window, such as fruits and vegetables, it is not by the strictest definition, a fast.
I am a big fan of this style of fasting and while I have done it with some degree of success for short intervals, I think it works even better for weight loss if you avoid the calories all together during the under-eating phase. This tweak makes it a true fast.
How to actually do the Warrior’s Diet by Fledge Fitness
When it comes to doing the Warrior’s Diet, you can buy the book, which originally came out in 2002, or you can opt to watch some YouTube videos (or both). Here is a great summary video of The Warrior’s Diet and how to actually modify it to make it a true 20:4.
Fledge Fitness explains the Warrior’s Diet and how to do it right. In short, this dude makes it into a more pure 20:4 intermittent fasting approach to weight loss.
Making the Warrior’s Diet or 20: 4 Intermittent Fast part of your Daily Gameday Objective
So if you want to make your Daily Gameday Objective, The Warrior’s Diet, or the 20:4 Intermittent Fast, then it is simple. Give yourself a touchdown each day you do it. Can’t get any easier than that.
Optionally, you can award yourself a field goal for 30 minutes of exercise—a common field goal for me. Conversely, I give up a field goal, when I have more than 2 alcoholic drinks.
In any case, applying the Warrior’s Diet or 20:4 Intermittent Fast playbook to your health plans, should be relatively painless and easy.
What you can expect on The Warrior’s Diet
If you do it right, expect more energy and mental focus. Surprisingly, you will not be that hungry—maybe at first. However, I believe you will quickly discover the benefits of fasting in the first few days. There is a certain mental clarity that seems to result with this diet. Once you get that benefit, the diet becomes alluring and addictive. However, there are some difficult aspects to it.
What to lookout for on the Warrior’s Diet or 20:4 intermittent Fast
My biggest problem with the either the Warrior’s Diet or the 20:4 Intermittent fast is not abusing the 4-hour window to eat.
Sometimes, I found myself trying to squeeze in as much food as possible and the food was not healthy at all. Need I say more than hot dogs at Sheetz?
To guard against this, I would suggest being picky as to what you eat during the feeding window. Maybe you eat Keto or Low Carb, vegan or plan based, or you count calories.
Of course to me the benefit of this “playbook” is that you can safely handle trap games.
What are health trap games?
On the Football Fan’s Diet, a trap game is a social event where you are expected, if not compelled to eat and drink heartily.
This could be a holiday party, summer picnic, or even the Friday happy hour. My advice: stay health focused on wholesome foods as much as possible and allow for the occasional trap game, whereby during your 4-hour window, you can eat what you want. You might even call this a “cheat day” but it is not cheating if it is part of your strategy.
One or maybe even two days won’t kill you. However, if you eat fast food and junk during your feeding window every day, well, garbage in equal garbage out—that doesn’t change at all.
More intermittent Fasting Resources
Here are some good articles for additional learning…
Integrating IF into the Football Fan’s Diet?
Okay, now that you know how to kinda do the Warrior’s Diet or Intermittent Fasting 20:4 approach, it is time to get started and learn how simple it is to incorporate intermittent fasting into the Football Fan’s Diet.
In a sense, your intermittent fast day becomes your DGO (Daily Gameday Objective). When you attain it, you get a touchdown. When you don’t, you give one up. Here is a blog post about how I plan to integrate IF into The Football Fan’s Diet:
What is the Football Fan’s Diet?
I’m sorry. Did I assume you knew what the Football Fan’s Diet is all about?
If you are not familiar with the Football Fan’s Diet unique system of counting touchdowns instead of calories or anything else—here is where you need to go next.