An Experiment w/ Intermittent Fasting

This is the first note in a series of articles that are going to chronicle my journey through 120 days of intermittent fasting (I am now on day 60 give or take a few days)

What is Intermittent Fasting (IF)?

The title is pretty self explanatory — you pick certain time periods and just don’t eat during those. The two main IF protocols are as follows: you can choose to fast for a 24 hour period once a week or you can fast for 16 hours a day and eat well for the other 8. I chose to do the latter.

This was mostly based on a conversation I had with one of clinical faculty in the Metabolism and Endocrinology dept. at UNC Medical School. The clinical community thinks that hormonal/sugar spikes (binges — eating/cheat days) as opposed to regular bad behavior (the occasional cookie) causes significantly worse effects. 

Maybe this is why your paleo diet with once a week cheat days is not delivering the results that you want…. 

Why Intermittent Fasting?

Here are 3 main benefits that have been published in the literature

1. Improved lipid metabolism (less surface fat and increased adiponectin levels)
2. Lower plasma glucose and insulin levels (positive changes in glucose)
3. Lower inflammatory responses.

I’m not going to bore you with the scientific details but if you are interested you can go read more here (  and here (

There is also evidence in animal models that show that it can increase life span… not sure there is really a way to test that on myself.  

Does it make sense with an active athletic lifestyle?

If you are doing CrossFit or any other type of training, you may be doing it for any of the following reasons:

* Increase athletic performance
* Drop weight and get in overall better shape (improve fitness)
* Prepare for competition
* Look better?

What am I going to measure?

1. Fasting and post meal glucose levels (this will give me a reflection of insulin responses which we all know has an impact on performance)
2. Lipid profile (once every 6 weeks) – HDL, LDL, Cholesterol etc…
3. Body composition and metrics:
body fat %
Blood Pressure
Resting HR
4. Performance as measured by Science Behind Sweat
work capacity and power output
All these measures will give me insight into the impact of IF on almost anything you may be interested in tracking as an athlete. 

What am I going to do?

1. I am NOT going to change my diet — this keeps this very unscientific experiment somewhat controlled. 
2. I will be training on an empty stomach with ~10g of BCAA’s @CrossFit Chapel Hill while following their basic programming (MWF; while on TuTh I will train in the evening. This is what my schedule allows for now). 
3. I will be tracking fasting, post meal and post workout blood glucose levels
4. I will get a lipid panel done before starting the program, 6 weeks in and 12 weeks into the IF program. 
5. I will also measure work done and power that I output for each workout. 

Baselines (established during the 1st week):

Glucose (3 measurements on different days):

  • Fasting = 84mg/dl (normal 70-99)
  • 2 hours after eating = 102mg/dl (normal <140 mg/dl)
  • Post workout = 76mg/dl (no necessary benchmark for this)

Resting HR (average of 7 measures) = 54bpm

Body Fat % = 15.9% (this was surprising since I thought I was much leaner — I’ll provide a picture in the next post)


Lab: *ESR (Sedimentation Rate)_25
Name   Value   Reference Range
WSR UPDATE 4-5-07   9   0-15 mm/hr

Lipid Profile ( I was blown away by this) 

Name   Value   Reference Range
CHOLESTEROL, TOTAL   293   100-199 MG/DL

Holy crap — I did not expect that. I have been an athlete all my life and now I learn that I have ridiculously high total cholesterol and LDL’s (which in case you arent aware is the “bad” cholesterol). 

In my next post I will share how things have changed in 4 weeks from these measurements and also changes in athletic performance as measured by


Entering non-standard types of workouts.

I have gotten questions from a lot of you about entering non-standard types of workouts. Below is quick rundown on how I do it. Also, if you have any suggestions — I am happy to hear them.


1. Death by (pullups, situps, burpess…. pick your poison) : How I enter:

a) Pick custom workout

b) Select timed

c) Enter the minute you were able to get to for the “time taken”

d) Enter total reps in the reps column next to the movement selected.

*** I also make a note in the notes section that it was a Death by… workout


2. Tabata : We are working on a better way of doing this and once again would welcome any suggestions.

Here is how I do it:

a) If it is just 1 movement I enter it as a 4 min AMRAP with that movement and enter total reps done either in reps per round and keep the rounds at 1 or say that I did 1 rep per round and enter the total reps in 4 minutes under rounds.

b) If it’s more than one movement: I enter it as a timed workout. Enter total time take in the time box and just enter the total number of reps done for each movement.

** I, once again, make sure to note that it was a Tabata workout. 

*** The chart below explains why only keeping track of your lowest score is not an accurate measure of your performance.

Person 1 did 81 reps versus 43 reps for person B. The rate of decay (how fast you tire in this case) is also very different. Thus we need to have the entire picture to make any kind of interpretation.



Entering a workout like FGB

So… I have gotten a bunch of you guys who want to know how to enter a workout like Fight Gone Bad


We have a couple ways to do it, but the easiest and most accurate way would be:

1. Choose “Timed Workout”

2. Choose the 4-5 movements in the workout (wall ball, SDHP, box jump, Push Press, row & rest **dont forget this one** for FGB). Leave the # of rounds as 1

3. Set the time in the next screen as 18min (15 minutes of work + 3 min of rest)

4. Enter total reps done for each movement and weight.



Change rounds on Step 2 to 3 rounds and enter the number of reps in each round separately.


Hope this helps

Big Changes on Science Behind Sweat

Shortly many of you guys will start seeing some big changes on the site. To help you navigate through some of the changes please read below…

Overview of changes:

1. Profile page will now be a great dashboard showing you how you are “winning” and where you are “losing”(hopefully not!!) in your fitness (you got a preview of this yesterday).

What it looks like now: • What it WILL look like soon:


1. The 1-RM and CWC(conditioning score) charts have now moved to the analysis page

2. The CWC top-20 has been updated to show first name, last initial and gym affiliation of the individual

3. 6 new panels on the dashboard — a)workouts entered broken down by week, b) conditioning score and how it is changing c) most amount of work done in a single workout d) your ranking based on conditioning e) most and least used muscle groups and joints f) projected 1-RM’s on several lifts

And for the Pièce de résistance — the analytics that we have been promising you guys. Couple major insights on this version

1. Impact of different muscle groups on workout times and work output (i.e: which muscle groups and joints have the biggest positive and biggest negative impact on those outcomes)

2. How do you compare to other people very similar to you in those aspects

3. How can you fix you movement biases and deficiencies

Here’s how it will look. Clean UI and personalized recommendations.

We have made some significant progress in bringing you the cleanest UI and the first analytical tool in CrossFit. Keep telling us what you want and we will make big things happen together.

Work Capacity chart issues!!



The chart above is one of the features unique to Science behind Sweat. Over the past couple of weeks, it has been brought to our attention that several of you have been having issues with this particular chart.


We are aware of the issue and have been working diligently on a fix. Rest assured, we also took this opportunity to make a bunch of other changes and improvements across the site. Coming up in the next day or 2 is a phenomenal change in the way SBS works in addition to the fix to the work capacity chart.


Here is a sneak peek:


Next post to add details.