Nutrition Interview with Brad Pilon

This is what I’ll be tackling over the holidays:

My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

Can’t wait.

Anyway, I know a lot of people tend to pack on weight over the holidays simply because they eat too much.

To counteract this, you could try intermittent fasting.

Here’s how to do it:

Let’s say you want to fast on Monday.

You simply eat your normal dinner on Sunday night, then don’t eat anything again until Monday at dinner time, at which point you eat a normal meal.

Make sure you drink water as normal and I like to drink Green Tea on my fast days.

That last point is important – don’t give in to any urges to stuff yourself silly.

Just eat slowly and savor each bite and you’ll be full before you know it.

Fasting will not only balance out those big feasts you have and prevent your pants from getting tight, but it will also help you to develop control of hunger.

When you’re hungry, you don’t always have to eat!

Eating when YOU WANT is an important skill to develop.

Anyway, my bud Brad Pilon introduced me to this technique.

Brad’s the author of the book Eat Stop Eat which discusses in detail the science, how’s and why’s of intermittent fating.

He also breaks down a lot of the myths surrounding fasting that are necessary to address if you want to use this strategy.

I fired off a few questions to him a while ago and think it’s a good time to post the interview here.

————- START OF INTERVIEW ————-

Eric: What do you think of the current nutritional landscape when it comes to eating for health and staying lean?
 
Brad: To tell you the truth – It’s pretty scary. I think one of the major problems is that people fail to recognize that health and weight loss or two different things, and both topics ‘sell’, but they only sell with controversy. So if last year Vitamin D was the new ‘greatest thing on earth’ then we’ll soon see headlines about too much vitamin d being dangerous or bad. Same goes with protein carbs and fats…we always want to force them into the false dichotomy of good foods and bad foods. All this noise just adds to the confusion and prevents us from getting down to what’s really important – eating the amount we need to eat to look and perform the way we want to look and perform.
 
 

Eric: The diet industry is constantly coming up with new nutritional tricks, techniques and secrets. What do you make of all of this?
 
You know some of this stuff has merit. Typically, we mess it all up by trying to pretend like we know what we are talking about..we talk hormones, and neuro-receptors and open up the topic for debate, but if we would just leave it alone and state what we know we’d be far better off. A great example is calorie or carb cycling…who cares how it works? The most important part is that it makes dieting more tolerable for some people…BUT if we start making up complex ‘reasons why’ then the debate centres around these reasons…debating possible mechanisms and turning everything into black and white arguments, rather then exploring whether or not there might be a benefit to the actual act. This just leads to more confusion and more wheel spinning and less results.
 
 

Eric: When it comes to nutrition and staying lean and healthy, what do you think the biggest problem most guys have?
 
Brad: People use nutrition as a crutch. You should be mentally able to write a tough exam, spar, lift, do whatever on an empty stomach. Heck, you should be able to do all these things after a 24 hour fast. You need to be flexible and not let your dependency on nutrition become a mental crutch. It’s this crutch that prevents guys from getting lean. Pre workout, during workout, post workout meals, pre bed meals, eating to get big and then wondering why they aren’t lean…I hate watching people through this type of self torture. It’s completely unneeded.
 
 

Eric: If you could sum up your nutritional philosophy as concisely as possible, what would it be?

Brad: Eat the amount of food needed to get to and maintain the body size and body composition that you want, while allowing you to do the things you need to do (exercise etc.) Don’t get caught up in figuring out how many calories you SHOULD be eating, or what the calculators tell you eat etc. Just eat whatever amount is needed to make the changes you want to see. Chances are it will be less, sometimes a lot less than you are currently eating. Then find ways to make eating less enjoyable. Don’t get caught up thinking about healthy foods etc, just concentrate on eating less..if ‘less’ for you includes a donut a day, that’s fine. Once you master less, then play around with ‘healthy’, but make sure less comes first.

 

Eric: Will you lose muscle if you fast once or twice a week?
 
Brad: Possibly…if you stop working out at the same time, then yes. If you have less than 10-12 pounds of body fat, then possibly. But if you are training, and aren’t in bodybuilding contest level of leanness, chances are slim that you will lose any muscle, you should be able to build muscle while fasting twice a week, as long as you are following a solid workout program.

 

Eric: What about a fighter who trains MMA 4-6 times per week and does extra strength and conditioning 2-3 times per week. Do you think fasting would be beneficial for this athlete?

Brad: If they need to lose weight, yes. If they use fasting to maintain they’re weight, yes. If they are doing it for the health benefits then yes. If they are underweight, or are trying to gain weight, then no probably not.

————- END OF INTERVIEW ————-

I hope that info will help you at least try this technique out, as it’s got many more benefits over and above fat loss.

I’ve basically told you exactly how I use fasting, so you can just copy me.

Or if you’re the type of person who likes to get all of the details, the exact science behind everything and break through all of the myths surrounding fasting, then check out Brad’s book Eat Stop Eat:

==> Brad Pilon’s Eat Stop Eat

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Pash H.
Pash H.

While I agree with developing a control of hunger, I don’t necessarily believe that fasting is the answer (well at least not for a fighter). A *small* protein + fiber and efa rich meal 4-6 times a day will help you keep a + nitrogen balance (something you want *especially* if you’re performing rigorous strength and condition exercises 3-4 times per week) When I say small meal, I mean small – 4-6oz chicken breast, with some steamed spinach, drizzled with flax oil. It should all be able to fit in the palm of your hand. While keeping your body nourished, you will also be exercising hunger control, and diet discipline. Cycle your carbs – contrary to information in the interview, carb cycling is not complicated, we know exactly what it does…people just need to do their homework. I’ve tried 24, 48, even 72hr fasts, and from first hand experience let… Read more »

Damian
Damian

I like this Eric. I am in full agreement with the naturalness of fasting. The body is such an intelligent system I believe that it knows exactly what to do when there is less food coming in, that’s if it is healthy to begin with. I think we forget that througout most of history the human body has evolved with times of feast and famine. One of the challenges today with nutrition is that we have too many food options and quantity at our finger tips. There was a time when if I didn’t eat for 3 hours I would feel faint and weak. But I have improved my health considerably since then. Now on my fast day (Sunday) I don’t eat until dinner, I still exercise, and stay focussed mentally. There is no craving or starvation feeling. I am convinced that those symptoms have more to do with the… Read more »

D

I am not sure if i completely agree Eric. If you are fasting, you are taking your body’s fuel away. How can this be healthy?? Maybe I am looking at this method all wrong. I have always been informed that when you get hungry that your body is asking for the nutrients, and if you ignore that “hunger” feeling (and do not eat) that your body will start to steal the nutrients it needs from within the body (like your muscles). Am I wrong?

Landon
Landon

Good article, second time I heard about this guy in the past month. I was wondering if a good day to fast would be Sunday? As that seems to be the day most people take off from training.