After 7+ months on the road, I've discovered it's very difficult to eat healthily. With a limited choice between a paltry carbloaded sandwich or a malnourished prepackaged salad, staying healthy and keeping weight on is difficult.
One trick I've learned while on the road is to fast. Many of you will say "bah humbug, I'll lose all my muscle fasting." However, fasting actually increases HGH! I never believed in fasting and thought it was a silly gimmick for vegans and Zumba instructors. My body actually repulsed the idea of it. Ever since cutting weight for wrestling, the idea of limiting food made me crave it 100x more.
This all changed when I watched the BBC documentary Eat, Fast, and Live Longer by Michael Mosley. In this documentary you see the main character, Michael, transform his blood tests with one 4 days fast. With all the medicine in the world, he was able to drastically change his biomarkers faster than any medicine could. This was crazy to me, so I did some research and here is what I discovered.
Benefits of Fasting:
- Increases HGH
- Improves brain function
- Reduces free radical damage
- Starves off pre-cancerous cell
- Improves insulin sensitivity
- Regulates inflammation conditions
After seeing this documentary and doing some additional research I decided to try a 24 hours fast for the first time. My first 24 hour fast was in Rio de Janerio. Hunger cravings came and went throughout the day but they all subsided quickly. With my new found knowledge I thought of the hunger cravings differently, I treated them as good pain, like a sore muscle after training. If you’re doing this yourself, just know all hunger cravings pass, trust me. Fasting also teaches you that you don't have to act on every hunger impulse. Smells of french fries or donuts will trigger your brain to say, "Yes, we need to eat that," but within 5 mins of walking past the donut store, your craving will be gone.
My first 24 hours fast was easier than expected. After playing volleyball on Ipanema beach with some locals I didn't even notice my fast. The only problem came at 4 am that night, I woke up wide awake, and couldn't go back to sleep. I think this was due to the spike of HGH that occurs at that time. Since my plan was to eat breakfast in the morning. I broke my fast at 4:30 am with some meat, cheese, and a bulletproof coffee, then started my day early.
Since my first 24 hours fast, I have implemented fasting into my routine. While it isn't consistent due to travel, I tend to fast on our travel days. These days always have the worst food options. Lunch at a train station or airport tends to have very few options. Most of which are prepackaged, sugarcoma inducing choices.
On your next trip, try fasting during your travel day. You may surprise yourself with how easy it is. You'll also save money on food!
- Drink plenty of water.
- Chose to eliminate caffeine or not. I drink one coffee or tea on my single fasting days.
- Remove all temptation Don't pack a "just in case" protein bar. Commit to the fast.
- Remember, all hunger cravings will pass.
Scott Stohler is the co-owner of Roamaroo.com a luxury and adventurous travel blog designed for those seeking to get more from travel. After 8 years as a chemical engineer, he decided to pursue his passions of travel, fitness, and adventure by packing his life into two bags and departing for an around-the-world trip with no end date. An avid Crossfitter and science geek, he’s always testing new "biohacks" and methods to get stronger and healthier. Follow Scott and all his adventures on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter