A Bangkok Juice Fast + No Caffeine or Alcohol

After eliminating meat and grains and playing around with my meal frequency I was eager for a new food experiment.

Displaying exquisite timing, Codi from Lifestyle Juice Cleanse (I’ll refer to as LJC) contacted me asking if I’d like to try a 3 day juice fast and blog about it.

3 days consuming nothing but juice didn’t sound like a whole lot of fun, which was all the more reason to do it. I signed myself up.

I regularly do 24 hour fasts where I abstain from food and calorie containing beverages from, say, 2pm one day to 2pm the next, so I felt as though I would be well prepared for this experiment.

Why juice fast?

It seems as though the main reasons people juice fast are to lose weight and to detox, presumably after a period of abuse. Juicing can also provide a good way to cram in a load of nutrients in a simple, easy serving.

I didn’t want to lose weight and didn’t feel I was toxic enough to require a detoxification, but I thought it would still be interesting to see how I felt and what the effects on my body would be. Also, if friends or clients asked about it or wanted to try it I would be well placed to give a first-hand opinion.

LJC told me about a movie that demonstrates the power of juice fasting. Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead tells the story of a big bloke named Joe, who does a 60 day juice fast during a road trip across America and pretty much saves his life from disease. Unlike Joe I’m not a morbidly obese truck driver dying of self inflicted illness so I’m not sure how relevant his story is to me, but it is an incredible story nonetheless and it’s clear this approach did wonders for his health and waistline.

Release the evil

I was told that feeling terrible during the fast is not only nothing to worry about, but is actually celebrated. Anything negative felt during the 9 day process is simply ‘toxins leaving the body’, which I’m not sure I completely buy. Broken out into spots? Great, that’s the toxins leaving you. Feeling down and moody? That’ll be the toxins entering the bloodstream. Grown a third nipple? Fantastic, that just shows that it’s working.

I think it’s fair to say that your body may be uncomfortable and struggling with the new health kick, but I don’t think it’s necessarily all about the evil toxins being released. Blaming the toxins is a convenient answer, but I think a lot of the negative feelings during the fast are your body generally being under stress and a weakened immune system during this time.

Other possibilities are that your body is struggling with the calorie restriction or perhaps just withdrawal symptoms from stopping smoking or other addictive substances that you’re refraining from during the fast.

Onto the fast

The 3-day juice fast was actually a 9 day process, broken down into the following essential components:

3 day pre-cleanse: preparing the body for the fast – slowly reduce or eliminate processed/’toxic’ food, caffeine and alcohol

The main event: no solid food – just juice and tea for 3 full days

3 day post-cleanse: 3 days of gradually reintroducing food into your system to complete the process from toxic blob to vibrant health hippy.

Added Bonus: The 3 day pre- and post-cleanse are strictly no caffeine and alcohol, so this also offered a few bonus experiments. 9 days without alcohol is pretty normal for me so no test there, but one of my big vices is my daily 2-3 cups of coffee, usually lattes. I’ve had at least a coffee a day for the last 10 years so I was interested to see whether I had my habit under control or if I was a full-blown caffeine junkie.

Pre-cleanse

I got through the pre-cleanse easily – 3 days of healthy eating and natural food to start to rid my body of all those evil toxins and prepare it for the good stuff. Whole, natural meals were also provided by LJC, but as I was concerned about losing too much weight I topped up the provided food with extra fruit and vegetables, ensuring I kept it all healthy for a smooth transition to the juice.

I was advised to drink the 6 juices in order, but I don’t think it matters. My preferred order was close eyes, stick hand in fridge and bring one out ‘lucky dip’ style

Day 1

The first day was pretty normal – I laughed, I played, I drank juice and just generally went about my day. I had an empty feeling in my stomach but my energy levels were fine. No dramas. The juices tasted great and I looked forward to drinking them. My experience with fasting also helped prepare me and it was all pretty easy and fun.

I drifted off to sleep at the end of day 1… and dreamed of food (seriously).

Day 2

Day 2 wasn’t quite as smooth. I started the day with some fruit infused water, which was a bit of an experiment for me but it worked well. It involved leaving lemon, lime, strawberries and cinnamon in water overnight. I topped it up with a little coconut water the next day and it tasted amazing. This set me up for a pretty steady day again, but later on in the day I started to get hungry when I saw food.

Lemon, lime, cinnamon, a couple of strawberries and a splash of coconut water. Top up with water and leave overnight.

Lemon, lime, cinnamon, a couple of strawberries and a splash of coconut water. Top up with water and leave overnight.

I went to the supermarket to get some limes and all the goodies looked very appealing. The street food and fruit stalls made me pine for solid food consumption. This made me consider whether I was truly hungry or if it was the sight of food that had triggered my cravings. I think often we are set off by visual stimulation, food marketing and even cleverly placed indulgent items in food stores. Often we’re not really hungry but something sets off a trigger and we convince ourselves we’re starving or need to eat. However, I think by this stage I really was just goddamn hungry.

Understanding Real Hunger Vs Food Cravings is crucial to success in your healthy eating journey. I think fasting really helps to distinguish and understand the difference.

By the evening I felt pretty moody and was looking forward to eating again.

Day 3

Me goofing around at the park on the last day - I was feeling lively and upbeat

Me goofing around at the park on the last day – I was feeling lively and upbeat

I woke up feeling pretty good and my moodiness had gone. Perhaps the moody toxins had left my body overnight. I had a pretty normal day and I trained hard in the park. I didn’t feel at all affected by not having eaten for 2 full days and I pulled, pushed, ran and jumped around feeling pretty much at my best. This left me feeling positive and enthused, although I was still looking forward to eating again. The rest of the day carried on as normal and I was happy to go to bed safe in the knowledge that sunrise would bring grub.

Fast over and start of post-cleanse

I woke up early pretty excited about bringing food back into my life. I held back for a few hours and then made a peanut butter, coconut, strawberry and banana smoothie. It tasted absolutely incredible. I savoured every mouthful, each one offering a sensual explosion of taste and pleasure. That might sound a bit over the top, but it really was that good.

The heavenly smoothy that broke the fast

The heavenly smoothy that broke the fast

LJC told me to just eat fruit on the first day, I felt fine so I had a salad with a little chicken for lunch, as well as another tasty juice. I reintroduced food over the next few days without any issues.

No Caffeine

I didn’t suffer any caffeine withdrawal symptoms at all, which didn’t surprise me much. I did miss the process of going into a cafe and sipping a latte while planning my day, but t was good to discover I don’t need it.

Conclusions and summary

So that was how it all panned out over the 9 day process. I must say that it was all a bit of an anti-climax really – I didn’t feel all that much during or after, but others I’ve spoken to have had more of a ‘health epiphany’ during their fast and really valued their experience. I’ve been told that perhaps I’m not your typical juice faster, and those who live an unhealthier lifestyle might benefit more from this approach.

Here is a summary of my main thoughts and feelings on juice fasting:

I’d sooner recommend other dietary approaches and solutions before trying juicing. If someone said they wanted to try it I’d say go for it, but I’d recommend other approaches over this one if someone wants to be healthy and strong long-term.

I think it promotes a culture of unhealthy habits followed by a ‘detox’, which is then repeated ad infinitum. This isn’t a progressive approach. If that’s the only way you can live your life then maybe it has a place, but if you’re doing the right things most of the time you shouldn’t need to do this. We all know people who are always talking about ‘needing a detox’ as if that’s the answer to all their health and life problems.

LJC say a lot of great things on their website about healthy, long-term changes which should be commended, but their slogan sums up who their typical target client is: Work Hard. Play Hard. Cleanse. Repeat. That approach to health and life isn’t going to do you many favours.

The best use for a juice fast is as a kickstart into healthy habits. 9 days of healthy food with a 3 day juice fast could help you understand hunger better, could help wean you off processed junk and could be the start of new habits and a new you.

Intermittent Fasting Vs Juice Fasting: I felt as though I was stretching a 24 hour fast (which I occasionally do) over 84 hours, which to me made it a less enjoyable process than intermittent fasting. I prefer eating fruit and vegetables rather than drinking fruit and vegetable juice, so I would sooner do an occasional 24 hour abstinence from food and calorie-containing drinks and just continue eating normally the rest of the time. I would find this easier to do consistently long term. This is just my experience though, and others find juicing a more enjoyable experience.

Weight loss during the fast was a concern as I’ve dropped a bit recently and didn’t want to lose any more. I lost 1.6kg during the fast which stayed off for a few weeks. Whether the weight was water, fat or muscle is hard to say. I would say water. It was commented that I looked a little gaunt after the fast, so this is something to bear in mind if you are of a normal, healthy weight.

Final Word

Some people have felt great, refreshed and revitalized after completing a juice fast. Others have got incredible weight loss results.

It would be very arrogant for me to say that what they did was wrong – Joe the truck driver used this method to save his life – but I personally believe they would have got the same results from making some positive dietary changes or doing something like a strict raw food diet for a set amount of time.

If can only adhere to a diet plan strict, regimented rules, then give it a go. If you wonder how you’ll feel or would like to use it as a boost to a healthier lifestyle then give it a go… but first up I would suggest trying to just eat more real, whole foods most of the time and seeing if that can get you the results you want.

Has anyone tried a juice fast recently? Did you enjoy it? Would you do it again? Please comment or drop me a message.

I would whole-heartedly recommend Lifestyle Juice Cleanse if you decide to try one out. Good quality, great tasting juices coupled with home or work delivery and solid service. Contact them for more info.

If you’ve enjoyed this article, I kindly ask you to ‘like’ our Bangkok Fitness Facebook page, ‘like’ it here and share on social networks if you feel others would benefit. Many thanks!

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5 Reasons You’re Not Getting The Results You Want

Gaining the perfect physique and optimum health is often not as straightforward as simply popping into the gym a few times a week. Getting great results can take time, perseverance and perhaps some experimentation and thought towards the kind of training you’re doing, food and drink you’re consuming and lifestyle you’re leading.

If what you’re doing isn’t yielding the results you want do not get disappointed  Embrace it and see it as part of the learning curve towards finding out what works for YOU. Remember, everyone is different and what gets me results may not work for you.

Below are five reasons why you aren’t hitting your health and fitness goals.

You’re not lifting heavy enough

You may not be gaining the muscle or tone you desire because you’re not lifting heavy. Male, female, old and young should include strong lifting into their training schedule. An obsession with cardio, calorie equations and core exercises is stunting people’s development and stopping them from getting the results and look they desire. Spending hours on the treadmill and not getting the look you want? Then add some heavy-ass weight to your routine, or try sprinting as fast as you can over 100 meters instead of bouncing along for hours.

She deadlifts heavy, and you should too

She deadlifts heavy, and you should too

You’re eating too often

The often-repeated ‘eat many small meals a day to keep your metabolism burning strong’ is unproven and false. 50 years ago snacking was frowned upon, people ate a few meals a day and obesity was almost unheard of. Now we’re told that we must be constantly eating all the time or we’ll go into ‘starvation mode’ – more wild, unproven claims masquerading as fact in health magazines and diet guides. If you’re trying to lose weight (or perhaps you would like to give you digestive system a break from constantly working), try having longer periods between eating. Your body will thank you for it.

Other sub-reasons would be ‘you’re eating too much’ or ‘you’re eating foods that you’re body doesn’t respond well to’. More on that another time.

You’re not moving enough

Training hard in the gym is sometimes not enough – you need to grab every chance possible to move. Our bodies were designed to be active and you need to take a dynamic approach to making movement part of your everyday routine. The old cliche ‘take the stairs instead of the lift’ is a little tired now, but very true. Walk instead of taking the bus, stand up and do some dynamic stretching a few times a day, play football instead of watching TV. Don’t see this as a chore – make it a habit. You may find that this additional exercise gives you the extra boost needed to hit your goals.

Start by walking home from the gym – the perfect cooldown. To go from a great, active workout with big movements straight into collapsing in front of the TV or jumping in the car and remaining static is not good for your body.

You think looking good is all about diet and exercise

Don’t get me wrong, diet and exercise are two huge pieces of the health and fitness jigsaw, and for some people this gets them looking and feeling 100%. However, the hormonal effects of things such as lack of sleep, stress, exposure to sunlight and happiness can play an essential part. Sleep and relaxation is essential for your muscles and body to repair and grow; sunlight gives us a healthy boost of vitamin D that leaves you looking and feeling energized; stress and tension can negatively impact your endocrine (hormonal) system, which needs to be running smoothly to give you a radiant, strong and healthy body.

Do not dismiss these factors. They are often underestimated and should be strongly considered if you’re not looking and feeling how you want.

You don’t want it enough

One of the most common questions I’m asked is “how do I lose this”, whilst pinching an often minimal amount of body fat around their stomach. Sometimes I’m not sure how to answer… Are they looking for a magic exercise? A five minute routine they can do before bed, perhaps?

The truth is often a sacrifice beyond what some people are prepared to do – lift heavy and regularly, mix in some HIIT training, pay close attention to your eating patterns and diet and experiment with how your body reacts to different foods, make sure you get 7-8 hours sleep a night, reduce alcohol consumption, eat very little processed food, do hill sprints/ kettlebell training/sled pushing etc, and so on.

Of course, some people embrace all this and get insane results, and some opt to strike a balance with the kind of lifestyle they enjoy and so don’t look like a fitness model. There’s nothing wrong with this at all, it’s just about finding out what’s important to you and being realistic about what it takes to achieve it.

How much do you want it, and what are you prepared to sacrifice to achieve it?

How much do you want it, and what are you prepared to sacrifice to achieve it?

So there are a few reasons why you might not be getting the results you desire. I hope it helps you make some positive changes and understand more about the complete fitness picture. If you would like help overcoming a plateau or need some inspiration and help to get strong, please contact me.

Yours in strength,

Jack T

Bangkok Fun Run @ Lumphini Park April 27th 2013

We are organizing a fun run at Lumphini Park in Bangkok on Saturday 27th April 2013. We have both a 5km and 10km run with prizes for the top 3 in both races.lumphini park run bangkok

Entrance is 500 baht, or 400 baht as an early bird rate before April 8th. All participants get an awesome limited edition blue LAB shirt (see pics below).

Registration is 6:30am, warm up and prep at 6:50am and the race will kick off at 7:00am sharp.

With just over 3 weeks to go now’s the time to hit the training hard. Today I did my first run for a while, and it wasn’t too pretty!

the lab fun run shirts lumphiniGood luck, and see you on the 27th