Debbie Potts Coaching

What is your IDEAL Day?

Are you starting your day with morning sunlight stacked with an easy workout in nature?

How can you make today the best day ever??

How to build a good morning routine by Shawn Wells

One change at a time helps you make realistic changes and see what actually works for you. Keep it up for several weeks; make it a part of your daily routine. If it works for you and adds benefit, then add that thing as part of your routine. Once you’ve made that practice part of your routine, add other things, one at a time. If you were to try everything at once (e.g. shot gunning), you’d have no idea what’s working and what’s not, and you may actually get stressed from all these things. Try one thing and see what the effect is.

 “How do I wake up every morning?”

  1. One way of waking brings you joy and a sense of calm as you wake up and one-way jolts you awake with a cortisol rush, fight-or-flight (sympathetic nervous system), and stress. Choose the best way to start your day.
  2. When designing your morning, think about the light you’re exposed to and whether you wake up and see something that gives you joy; incorporate some type of breathing exercise or meditation.
    1. You don’t have to jump straight out of bed – take a few extra minutes.
    2. You can use some deep breathing techniques and slow your heart rate, think about your day, and have gratitude.
    3. Consider starting a daily gratitude journal.
    4. Map out your day, determine priorities and plan. You can even work backward and ask, “At the end of the day, what do I want to have accomplished?” You may want to plan your day the night before…so you start the day with a plan when you open your eyes.

You want to own the day, not have the day own you.

  1. Waking up five to ten minutes earlier would allow you to try morning blue light during winter or on an overcast day or sunbathing or grounding, by lying or standing on the grass.
  2. Taking a walk with your dog or your spouse or significant other is a phenomenal way to start the day with fresh air and sunshine.
  3. As you drive into work, listen to some energizing uplifting music or an inspirational podcast that’s constructive and positive to spark your creative juices.
    1. Some podcasts are as short as three minutes…get rid of the excuses that are creating barriers.
  4. Scripting your day, both at the beginning and at the end, for the next day, can help you feel successful.
    1. You might try scheduling something for the following day that you look forward to. It could be as simple as scheduling a haircut or cooking out with friends and family.
    2. Maybe it’s scheduling a lunch date or phone call with someone you miss or need to talk to.
  5. Setting your circadian rhythm in motion is important both mornings and when traveling.
  6. Go outside and get some sunlight! Outside time also aids in melatonin production.
  7. Food is an important driver of the circadian rhythm.
    1. A good morning ritual is to eat breakfast or drink some coffee to help get that internal clock going. This is especially powerful when traveling. If traveling across time zones, eating breakfast or your first meal of the day at the normal time in the new time zone can really help get your circadian rhythm in the right pattern.
  8. Another way to set circadian rhythm is a cold shower in the morning.
    1. Get your head thoroughly wet. Its best to do a full shower, but even going from your warm shower to cold for the last 30 seconds is a good start.
    2. You will reduce systemic inflammation and neuro-inflammation (brain fog), feel more alert, increase metabolism via brown adipose tissue, cellular energy with enhanced mitochondrial function, etc. You’ll be able to skip the coffee and feel great
  9. Writing a hand-written thank you note or email/text tells someone how much you appreciate them. This morning task can set a great tone for your day and make someone else feel good as well!
    1. Relationships are a huge key to a happy, successful life and are critical to your well-being and the feeling like you have a purpose on this planet.
    2. Your life will feel a hundred times better if you surround yourself with the right people.
    3. Your days will be optimized if you have mentors around you: people who are building you up, people offering constructive criticism to make you better, and people who are honest with you, but who are building you up in the right way.
  10. In the morning, hug or kiss someone that you love.
    1. Physical touch is important and validates who we are.
    2. Human beings thrive on that! It takes at least 6 touches a day to feel “human” per research.
    3. If you are fortunate enough to live with someone that you love, make sure you tell them that you love them each day.
    4. Thank them for all the ways they show you love and watch this one habit transform not only your morning but theirs as well! It can become a habit quickly, however, so just be mindful and make sure you mean it. Even though mornings can feel chaotic, you have five seconds to give to the person you love.
    5. Research shows that this tends to improve quality of life, so acknowledge those around you and share that gift of touch and gratitude with them. In other words, slow down and communicate!

There are quite a few ideas I’ve thrown out for things to include in a morning routine but here is the most important piece of advice.


  • Your routine does not have to include all these items. It can include two or ten. It can be 10 minutes or two hours.
  • Whatever works for you is fine if it is something that helps put you into a relaxed, parasympathetic state to start your day.
  • Keep the stress at bay. There is enough of that in life without adding to it unnecessarily.


What is the SLEEP Toolkit suggest by Huberman Lab?Healthy Sleep

So here is my list for how to get better at sleeping:

1) View sunlight by going outside within 30-60 minutes of waking. Do that again in the late afternoon, prior to sunset. If you wake up before the sun is out and you want to be awake, turn on artificial lights and then go outside once the sun rises.

On bright cloudless days: view morning and afternoon sun for 10 min; cloudy days: 20 min; very overcast days 30-60 min. If you live someplace with very minimal light, consider an artificial daytime simulator source.

Don’t wear sunglasses for this practice if you safely can, but contact lenses and eyeglasses are fine.

No, you don’t have to look directly at the sun, and never look at ANY light so bright it is painful to view! That said, you can’t wear a brimmed hat, sunglasses and remain in the shade and expect to “wake up” your circadian clock.

2) Wake up at the same time each day and go to sleep when you first start to feel sleepy. Pushing through the sleepy late evening feeling and going to sleep too late (for you) is one reason people wake at 3 am and can’t fall back asleep.

3) Avoid caffeine within 8-10 hours of bedtime. Dr. Matt Walker (sleep expert from UC Berkeley) might even say 12-14 hours. I do fine with caffeine at 2 pm and I go to sleep at ~10-11 pm. Dr. Walker was on the Huberman Lab Podcast and we discussed this in detail.

4) If you have sleep disturbances, insomnia, or anxiety about sleep, try the research-supported protocols on the Reveri app (for iPhone). Do the Reveri sleep self-hypnosis 3x a week at any time of day. It’s only 10-15 min long and will help you rewire your nervous system to be able to relax faster.

5) Avoid viewing bright lights—especially bright overhead lights between 10 pm and 4 am. Here is a simple rule: only use as much artificial lighting as is necessary for you to remain and move about safely at night. Blue blockers can help a bit at night but still dim the lights. Viewing bright lights of all colors are a problem for your circadian system. Candlelight and moonlight are fine. (Shift workers should see the Huberman Lab Podcast on jetlag for offsetting shift work negative effects. Same for jetlagged travelers.)

6) Limit daytime naps to less than 90 min, or don’t nap at all. I love naps as do many of my colleagues. I tend to nap for 30 min most afternoons… maybe 45 min, but never longer.

7) If you wake up in the middle of the night (which, by the way, is normal to do once or so each night) but you can’t fall back asleep, consider doing an NSDR protocol when you wake up. Enter “NSDR” into YouTube and the top 3-4 options have different voices, durations for you to select from. Or simply do a “Yoga Nidra” protocol (enter “yoga nidra” to YouTube; 100s to select.)

8) You might consider taking (30-60 min before bed):

  • 145mg Magnesium Threonate or 200mg Magnesium Bisglycinate
  • 50mg Apigenin
  • 100-400mg Theanine
  • (3-4 nights per week I also take 2g of Glycine and 100mg GABA.)

*I would start with one supplement (or none!) and then add one at a time as needed. Some people do not need any supplements, and some people like theanine but not magnesium, etc. so you have to determine what is best for you.

**Don’t take theanine if you have overly intense dreams, sleep-walk, or have night terrors.

***Also, some people (~5%), get an agitated stomach from magnesium supplementation, in which case, do not take it.

****I use supplements from Momentous for all of the above. You can get 20% off all Momentous supplements at or you can pick another source you like and trust.

9) Expect to feel really alert ~1 hour before your natural bedtime. This is a naturally occurring spike in wakefulness that sleep researchers have observed.

Don’t freak out if it happens. It will pass!

10) Keep the room you sleep in cool and dark and layer on blankets that you can remove.

Your body needs to drop in temperature by 1-3 degrees to fall and stay asleep effectively. Body temperature increases are one reason you wake up. Thus, keep your room cool and remove blankets as needed. If it’s too hot you would have to use a cooling device and that’s harder than simply tossing off blankets if you get too warm.

11) Drinking alcohol messes up your sleep. As do most sleep medications.

This was discussed on the Huberman Lab Podcast Episode with Dr. Matt Walker.

12) Kids (and indeed all of us) have changing sleep needs over time. Adjust accordingly.

We might be night owls at 15 but become “morning people” as we age or need 6 hours a night in summer and 7-8 in winter. It will vary.

That’s it for now. Again, sleep is THE foundation of our mental and physical health and performance in all endeavors. Yet no one is perfect about sleep. The occasional night out or missing sunlight viewing here and there is not a big deal, so don’t obsess about that. However, if any of us drift from these and the other behaviors for too long, we start to suffer. So whatever your life and goals and schedule, master your sleep. You’ll be so happy you did!

How does Andrew Huberman start his day (Huberman Lab)

What time do you usually wake up in the morning?

Typically I’ll wake up around 6:30 a.m. It really depends on when I go to sleep. And now we’ve learned that having a consistent to-sleep time, plus-or-minus an hour, maximizes growth hormone release. And so having a fairly consistent to-bed time, it’s going to be almost as important as having a fairly consistent to-sleep time. We also now know that if you want to know your ideal to-sleep time or bedtime, it’s going to be about seven hours after your afternoon dip in energy. Everyone has either a subtle or a dramatic trench in energy in the afternoon, depending on what they’re doing correctly or incorrectly. But everyone has one, and that reflects a temperature change. And so seven hours after that is ideal bedtime.

So for me, the ideal time to go to sleep would be right about 10 o’clock, get into bed at 9:30 and fall asleep by about 10:30. Although sometimes it might be 11:00, sometimes it might be 10:00. You got to give yourself some wiggle room.

So when I wake up in the morning, if I want to be awake, I flip on bright artificial lights, understanding that the eyes, the retina, plays a critical role in waking up the brain because these neurons that respond to light. They have a name: intrinsically photosensitive melanopsin ganglion cells. But that’s just fancy nerd speak for the cells that wake up the brain and then the brain essentially wakes up the body. And then it also sets a timer on some of the hormones related to sleep.

What’s going on in your head when you’re getting your morning sunlight?

I will focus on some external object about a foot or two away, and I’ll try and anchor my attention to that location. And then I’ll look at some more distant location, ideally way off in the distance. And then I will also do it to the horizon if I can see the horizon, the most distant location I can see. And then I imagine myself doing this practice and I think about how I’m existing in the entire globe, which is existing in the universe, right?

Here is an article on morning sunlight exposure

How to Use Morning Light Therapy

You’ll get the most benefit from sunlight if you can get it first thing in the morning. Try to get outside in the first hour after you wake up.113

Spend 30 to 45 minutes in direct sunlight. Don’t wear a sun visor or sunglasses. If the light is filtered, it won’t have the same effect.

Guidelines for Light Exposure

To get the most out of your morning light exposure, follow these guidelines:1214

  • Get out in the sun within the first hour after you wake up
  • Spend 30-45 minutes in the sun
  • Don’t wear sunglasses or visors
  • Get direct light (not filtered through glass)

Oura’s Ten Tips For Better, Deeper Sleep

1. Give Your Screens a Break at Least 1 Hour Before Bed

Being under the covers is more comfortable than the couch, and your phone could probably use a charge, so give your phone, tablet, or TV a break and yourself some time to wind down before bed. By tuning out earlier, you can make sure your circadian rhythm isn’t disrupted by your screen’s blue light.

2. Stick to Your (Reasonable) Bedtime, Even on Weekends

Improving sleep starts with consistency, so becoming a creature of habit can go a long way. If you set a reasonable bedtime window and stick to it, even on weekends, it can help you maintain your natural circadian rhythm and be rested and ready when your morning alarm goes off.

3.  Find Your Ideal Room Temperature

Warmer? Colder? Somewhere In The Middle? Regardless of your temperature preferences, physiology and science both point to the ideal nighttime room temperature being around 67 degrees Fahrenheit (19.5 degrees Celsius). Your body temperature decreases to initiate sleep, so a cool room can give you a head start.

4. Save Your Large Meals & Heavy Workouts for the Daytime

When you head to your favorite 24-hour late-night food establishment or hit the gym too close to bedtime, your deep sleep takes the hit. An elevated metabolism or heart rate can disrupt your sleep, so it’s best to avoid exercise and heavy meals in the 3 hours prior to your ideal bedtime.

5. Schedule Some Time to Unwind

Of course, this one is easier said than done. However, if you reserve time to unwind–by employing practices like mindful meditation, taking a relaxing bubble bath, or reading a novel–you train your body to enter a relaxed state.

Think about it like you would a muscle: the more you practice engaging your rest-and-digest system while you’re awake, the easier it becomes to generate that same response at night and get some quality sleep.

6. Trade That Late-Night Glass of Wine for Some Extra Sleep

Alcohol may help you feel relaxed before bed, but too much can rob you of highly valuable REM sleep. Once the alcohol’s effects wear off, you may also wake up continuously throughout the night.

7. Move That Late-Night Espresso to Mid-Day

The effects of a late afternoon coffee can last much longer than you think. Caffeine raises your heart rate, making it more difficult to fall asleep. It can also disrupt a key signal in your brain, adenosine, that helps your body regulate your internal clocks. Keep in mind that soda, tea, and even chocolate can contain enough caffeine to disrupt sleep as well.

8. Don’t Exercise Late, Exercise Regularly

Stay active daily. Go for a run or just a casual walk around the block to avoid sitting for long periods. As little as thirty minutes of activity a day can set you up for a good night’s sleep.

9.  Reserve Your Bedroom for Rest & Recovery

If you can, creating separation in your home or apartment can really make a difference. Reserving your living room for media consumption and making it home base for all your screens can get you in the habit of sticking to tip #1 in this list.  Taking the TV out of the room, leaving your phone charger on the kitchen counter, or making sure your work from home setup isn’t next to your bed can help you create an environment reserved only for sleeping. Your internal clocks respond to these sleep cues and your body will thank you.

10. Naps Are Great for Recovery but Remember to Time Them Out

And finally, taking a nap is a great way to rest and recover, but there are good and bad times to take for them. Try to take your naps before 3pm, as naps too close to your ideal bedtime can make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep at night.

Sleep is Unique to You

  1.  Biohack sleep with tech and apps
  2.  Find the right temperature for you
  3.  Reduce blue light to biohack insomnia
  4.  Improve sleep with dietary nutrients
  5.  Induce relaxation with meditation
  6.  Exercise your way to good sleep
  7.  Put yourself on a sleep schedule
  8.  Genetics can influence your sleep
  9.  Gut bacteria for restful nights


What is Ben Greenfields ideal day look like?


  • I usually wake up naturally without an alarm , somewhere around 5:45-6:15am.
  • Unless I have to catch a flight, I use a sunrise alarm clock, which wakes you up a LOT more slowly, which I think is great to not rip you out of a deep sleep cycle if you happened to be in one (which would make you feel groggy).
  • After I wake, I do some gratitude journaling for the first few minutes of the day. One thing I’m grateful for, one person who I can help that day (whether it’s calling my mom or helping a neighbor, move something, or even just give a bottle of wine to somebody who I know might need a mile that day). I just really like that “OTHERS” facing type of mentality to start the day. I figured if I could help 1 person each day, it’s 365 good things I might do during the course of a year. And finally, I write down any insight I got from my dream cycles or any encouraging words to myself that I want to act on during the day.
  • Then I’ve got a BIG glass mason jar with some hydrogen tablets in it (LOT of good research from the Molecular Hydrogen Foundation for anti-inflammation and selective antioxidant properties. I’m convinced by the research), a pinch of Celtic salt, a 2:1 ratio of Vitamin C (bulk ascorbic acid) and baking soda (really great book “Forbidden Healing” that delves into the science : mild change in pH, increase in immune factor compounds) and sometimes some ACV (really nice insulin sensitizing effect for the beginning of day + adds alkalinity to drink).
  • Then I put on a pot of hot water for either coffee (but only 4-5 days out of the week because I don’t want to desensitize my adenosine receptors too much) OR cocoa mixed with Chaga mushroom (which is full of melanin, which interacts with sunlight to create some free ATP. Eating Chlorophyll or methylene blue does it too.
  • So, I light doing these things before I do red light therapy in my office in the morning). No MCT oil or butter or anything like that because I don’t want to kick myself off of the fasting state.
  • While it’s all brewing, I do 10-15 minutes of deep tissue body work like foam rolling, vibrating balls, sometimes lacrosse ball
  • And once a week, I try to get 75-90 minutes of really good deep tissue massage).
  • A lot of times I combine it with some breath work and inversion table or gravity boots.
  • All while listening to a sermon or really good spiritual podcast to start off my day on a really positive note.
  • Then I grab my coffee or cocoa/chaga tea and head down to my office for 30 minutes of going through research articles on health and nutrition science, different Twitter feeds and research journals, while I stand on a grounding mat (mild anti-inflammatory effect) at my standing desk (mine is Rebel Desk but Vera Desk is really good too), so it’s as though I were outside soaking up some negative ions from the surface of the earth (cf Gerald Pollock PhD research).
  • I’ll alternate with a True Form manual (non-electric) treadmill (people don’t realize electric treadmills emit a HUGE amount of EMFs)
  • I just really like to LEARN at the beginning of the day because my body SOAKS UP and feels really primed to learn. So, I’m not doing emails or social media at that time.
  • While I’m doing all that, I’m fully naked, bathing in those big Joov light panels for about 20 minutes of my 30 minutes research. It’s amazing for the nitric oxide release and mitochondrial enhancement, this COMPLETE feel-good effect. It’s very similar to sunrise : that big red-light dose in the morning, which is great for my circadian rhythm.
  • But don’t over do red light therapy, because there’s evidence you can create excess ROS.
  • I like my office to be this total Zen Den : essential oils (uplifting scents like peppermint and rosemary).
    • There’s no chair in my office.
    • When I’m standing at my standing desk, I have one foot on something, like my treadmill.
    • If I want to alternate from standing up, I have a saddle chair by Salli and also a stool in a pelvic shape position called the “Mogo” by Focal Upright.
    • I also always have a couple golf balls underneath my feet to do some foot rolling.
    • I also use a Fluid Stance that isn’t too hard to balance on so I could be on a phone call.
  • In terms of office lighting, I use incandescent bulbs during the day, which reproduces kind of a natural sunlight (no LED because the flicker tires you out).
  • At night, it’s a red incandescent light bulb (just like my bedroom and bathroom at night)
  • By then, it’s typically around 7:45 to 8:15am. I don’t like hitting the weights hard or doing a big HIIT on the morning so usually for me it’s either about a 20–30-minute walk in the sunshine OR a 20–30-minute sauna session (with again the same essential oils as in the office. And sometimes I’ll put some topical muscle creams on my arms and legs, that contains cayenne, menthol , black pepper because it just makes you sweat BUCKETS. Mine is called “Prototype 8” by ATP Science)) + cold soak after it (or cold shower for 3-4 minutes).
  • Every morning at 9:45am, I have a call with my company Kion. So, I got to get all done and showered by then.
  • So, while I’m getting ready for that call, I make myself a giant superfood smoothie. The smoothie changes every day but usually it’s a base of ice, a sweetener like stevia or monk fruit, a liquid like bone broth or kefir or coconut milk, my homemade yogurt (made out of coconut milk or goat’s milk), greens powder, collagen, lemon, vitamin C, if I want more creaminess, I’ll add half an avocado, if I want some extra greens, I’ll add home grown sprouts. After I blend it, I top it with spirulina, coconut flakes, cacao nibs.
    • I like a very thick texture, almost like an ice-cream, that I eat out of a bowl. It’s like the highlight of my day, I’m thinking about it while I’m doing my sauna or my walk [important reward motivation psychology mechanism].
  • After my call, from about 10am to 2:30pm, I just work like a HORSE with blinders on for the next 4-5h (working on a book, or a series of articles or shooting videos, doing content, consults with my clients to go over their nutrition or workout plans).
  • No push notifications, no twitter, no Facebook,
  • Kind of like that Deep Work concept from Cal Newport.
    • During those 4-5h, I take a break every 30 to 60 minutes, to do some pull-ups (I have a bar right above my office door, so the rule is 5 pull-ups every time I go through the door), kettle bells swings, X-bar, jumping on trampoline, to keep my body moving during that chunk of time.
    • Then it’s lunch : more greens and sprouts. Big fan of the Smashed Diet for the really good omega-3 rich cold-water fishes like sardines, mackerel, anchovies, herring, salmon. Some nuts, avocados, bone broth again. I’ll have something relaxing for the post-lunch nap, like reishi mushroom extract.
    • The carbs are withheld until dinner, like dark chocolate, sourdough bread, sweet potato fries (cf carb back loading).

Practical Ways to Implement these fasting and exercise strategies:

  1. One is to exercise before breakfast
  2. Do you add carbs into your break-fast?
    1. IF you are exercising as a pro-athlete or the two-a-day people who are going to exercise again within eight hours.
    2. In that case, you would include carbohydrates with breakfast.
  3. Carb timing? Most people can wait all the way until the end of the day because that end of the day carbohydrate refeed will restore the glycogen levels, restore the carbohydrate levels so that you can get up the next day and workout hard just fine without necessarily eating carbohydrates after breakfast.

The Easiest way to get started with fasted exercise:

  1. Exercise before breakfast
  2. Do an easy walk in the sunshine
  3. Finish with a little bit of cold and then go have your breakfast.
  4. Wait until the after afternoon or early evening exercise.
  5. What this means is that you have lunch, whenever you’re going to have lunch, then you do preferably your harder workout session in the afternoon or the early evening, then you wait one to two hours to eat.
  6. You should have most of your hard exercise and you should have most of your eating done by about three hours prior to bedtime
  7. The idea is to WAIT until the afternoon or the early evening to exercise.
  8. Example: Ben- eat lunch around 1:30. I’ll work out around 5:00 or 6:00. And then, I’ll get some work done, play with the kids, et cetera, and we’re usually eating dinner around 8:00 or 8:30… t but ultimately, you wait one to two hours after your afternoon or early evening exercise to eat dinner.


  • Kion Aminos- amino acids
  • Ketone salts or ketone esters. 
  • Macronutrients: carbohydrates, protein, fat, alcohol and ketones. Now, ketones do contain some amount of calories but they can actually amplify some of the anti-inflammatory and longevity benefits of fasted exercise.
  • Very Active People- who aren’t necessarily trying to restrict calories as much as get a lot of the benefits of fasting, -could do something like ketone salts or ketone esters prior to exercise.
  • Ben finds that he can “exercise in a fasted state and even do a harder exercise session in a fasted state, and it’s like rocket fuel”.
  • Minerals: as the body dumps glycogen, as the body loses storage carbohydrate, you tend to lose minerals along with that.
    • Anyone in the ketotic state also needs higher levels of potassium.
    • Use of electrolytes as the trace liquid minerals made by AquaTru, Quicksilver Scientific’s hypertonic solution called Quinton (like seawater), Celtic sea salt, LMNT or Rel-Lyte.
  • Coffee and Green Tea: amplify the benefits of being in a fasted state, like an increased fatty acid utilization when you exercise while fasted
  • Supplements relatively low in calories but don’t have an insulinogenic response as the amino acids, ketones, electrolytes – all very useful to have in your pocket especially for harder fasted workouts.
  • Ben: “If you started to do this afternoon or early evening hard workout scenario and you find yourself dizzy or low on energy, you’re just too hungry afterwards, sometimes just having lunch and let’s say you’re going work out at 5:00 and just doing a little bit of ketones, a little bit of amino acids before that afternoon or early evening workout, especially if it’s going to be harder, that can help out. I find especially for leaner people, that works.”

Cautions: Red Flags

  1. Bonking: if you’re working out for a long period of time, completely run out of liver glycogen and muscle glycogen… like professional Ironman triathletes or professional athletes warning- “Don’t overdo this or you’re going to run out of glycogen.” But what I find in many cases in the general population who’s well-fed and not overly active, a drop in blood levels of amino acids and the subsequent central nervous system fatigue that occurs when that happens is the number one reason that a bonk happens.
    1. Bonking – could be tryptophan crossing the blood-brain barrier and making you excessively sleepy, in which case you can use amino acids to actually stave that off.
    2. If you’re very active, you want to be aware that your carbohydrate needs, and the importance of that carbohydrate refeed in the evening if you’re doing a lot of these fasted sessions becomes very important.
  1. Decreased intensity. 
    1. Those who exercise in a fasted state who are doing low-level aerobic endurance or who are doing powerlifting in very quick like 10 to 30-second efforts, they do just fine.
    2. Exercising in a ketotic state or a fasted state, there’s not that much of a loss of performance because the aerobic exercise uses mostly fatty acids as a fuel.
    3. Those short 10 to 30-second hardcore efforts, those primarily use creatine phosphate as a fuel.
    4. If you start to get into like CrossFit workouts longer, like two-minute row sessions, a lot of these metabolic interval training sessions, spin classes, things that require you to be at an elevated level of intensity for two minutes or longer, that’s where you start to see a decreased intensity.
    5. Powerlifter or someone who’s just creating very short bursts of energy that are under 30 seconds, I’m not worried about that person losing intensity in a fasted state, neither am I worried about an endurance athlete not being able to train aerobically in a fasted state.
    6. People who are doing like two, three, four-minute intervals, things that cause the body to actually burn areas where we create a lot of lactic acid, that’s where the loss of glycogen and the decreased glycogen availability from working out in a fasted state can decrease intensity and decrease performance.
    7. Decreased intensity with a caveat depends on the actual scenario.
  1. Post-workout caloric hyper-compensation or face stuffing. 
    1. If you do a hard workout in the morning and tempted to eat more for breakfast if you don’t actually just be mindful and realize that you’re going to be hungry- “Hey, you’re going to be hungry and that’s okay. You’re going to have a little bit of a growth hormone and a testosterone response, the pros outweigh the cons. 
    2. Post workout caloric hyper-compensation then also just sedentary.
    3. You worked out hard in the morning, so you justify sitting for two or three hours during the day at work because your legs are sore from the squats or whatever. But those are two things to be cautious with.
    4. Post-workout caloric hyper-compensation is just something to keep an eye on and people who are doing fasted workouts because I tend to see that pop up over and over again. By the end of the day, they’ve eaten more calories and they normally would have.
    5. Part of the magic of fasting is not the caloric depletion. It is the compressed feeding window.
    6. You could make an argument that, “Yeah. Well, if you are going to post-workout calorically hyper-compensate, it’s going to be breakfast.” Well, maybe you’re going to have breakfast, you’re not going to eat again until dinner if you just decide you’re going to have this big-ass meal after a morning workout. So, it really depends. But ultimately, you need to be aware of post-workout caloric hyper-compensation.

To wake up and do fasted exercise…or fed??

Depending on the intermittent fasting (IF) schedule you follow, your exercise performance will most likely suffer—at least for a while.

The good news: You don’t need to stop working out. You need only find your sweet spot—that magical place where you’re working out “just enough” and fasting “just enough” to meet your goals.

In this chapter, we’ll give you a road map that can lead you to that place. You’ll learn:

How someone performs depends on several factors:

  • The individual athlete: Just as some athletes can train harder and longer than others, some also adapt to fasting more easily and more quickly than others. Hello, genetics.
  • Recovery and nutrition: Adequate rest, sleep, hydration, and nutrition can all help the body to adapt more quickly to IF and heavy training.
  • The fasting schedule: Less intense types of fasting (such as the 16:8 protocol) pair better with heavy exercise than more intense styles of fasting.
  • The type of exercise. Fasting is more likely to negatively affect more intense training. (More about this below).

The following activities generally don’t pair well with IF. If any of these are your jam, you can probably expect your performance to suffer as your body adapts to this new way of eating:

  • activities that require intense effort (such as 200-400 meter runs)
  • speed endurance, such as repeated short, intense runs in soccer
  • repeated power-explosive movements like jumping
  • some types of strength and work capacity

You may notice, for example, that you can’t run or cycle up hills like you used to. And if you strength train, you might not be able to bang out as many push-ups or pull-ups.

Worse, if you try to power through, your body will likely undo your efforts in other ways. When Precision Nutrition co-founder John Berardi, PhD paired twice-weekly fasting with a fairly intense exercise schedule, he found he was dead tired by mid-afternoon.

Dr. Berardi described it like this: “It’s like I’m a video game character starting off with 10/10 on the power bar, and by late evening there are only three bars left.”

Why? His body was conserving calories, which kept him on the couch. Unless he forced himself to get up and do stuff, he was neutralizing his negative energy balance.

But it’s not all bad news.

Pairing exercise with IF can boost results, too.

One study looked out at how people did when they tried alternate day fasting (ADF)—either with exercise or without it.2 Here’s how exercise (or no exercise) affected heart health (based on levels of LDL cholesterol), body fat, and lean mass (such as muscle, bone, connective tissue, and internal organs):

Pointer #1: Pair low-intensity exercise with any intermittent fasting schedule.

Our ancestors didn’t kill themselves with tough training sessions. In fact, they wanted to do the opposite: conserve valuable energy and stay uninjured as long as possible.

Most of their exercise was rambling, such as walking, which goes perfectly with IF. That means:

  • If you’re not currently exercising intensely, maintain that status quo when experimenting with IF fasting schedules.
  • If you are currently exercising intensely, consider reducing or eliminating your high-intensity training and adding more daily-life rambling-type movement instead.

Pointer #2: With demanding fasting schedules, decrease workout intensity.

Precision Nutrition’s Director of Curriculum, Krista Scott-Dixon, PhD, learned this lesson the hard way when she started fasting twice a week. Upcoming Brazilian jiu-jitsu competitions created pressure to cut weight, so she kept her exercise regimen pretty intense.

“I was cycling and running several hours a week, often while fasted,” she says. “I thought I was being a badass. In reality, I was being foolish, and doing everything I’d tell clients not to do.”

She experienced insomnia, heart palpitations, anxiety, and horrible mood swings, as well as some budding stress fractures.

Let her story be a cautionary tale.

It’s easy to fool ourselves into thinking we’ll be the exception to the rule. All too often, we eventually find out we’re the rule after all.

What actually counts as “too much” exercise will depend on you, but a good general guideline would be:

  • no more than 3-4 hours a week of heavier resistance training
  • no more than 2-3 brief sessions of metabolic conditioning a week  (intervals, high-intensity cardio, circuit training)
  • no more than 1-2 hours a week of moderate intensity cardio (if any)

(For a deeper dive, see “How to avoid overtraining.”)

Pointer #3: Time eating around workouts.

As you’ll see throughout this ebook, there’s no one best way to organize fasting and non-fasting periods. Self-experimentation (pointer #4) can show you what works best for you.

However, most people find they do best when they schedule their workouts on the days they’re better fed. It allows them to have enough energy for workouts as well as nutrients for recovery.

In this regard, the “intermittent” part of IF can work more effectively than a standard caloric deficit.

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